Big Tent Mormonism -or- The Church of Anything Goes

In the wake of the Kate Kelly excommunication, there have been many posts about how The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints should be big enough for … whatever.  Fill in the blank.  Basically the point is that a few people feel that the church should be more tolerant.

As I have thought of this, it strikes me that one definition that could be given of a church is that it is a religious organization that tells people what they ought to believe and how they ought to behave.  If a church were to cease teaching such things, it seems it would stop being a church in a meaningful way.  It may be a good social club, or a service organization, but not really a church.

Taken to an extreme, ‘big tent’ Mormonism would include any beliefs or behavior, and would cease to be much of a church at all.  A church of anything goes.

It is easy to see how this might appeal to some people.  Believe and act as you please, and continue in a hope for a fullness of salvation.  And not a soul shall be lost.  I hope you can see the source and force of my concern.

Boundary maintenance in not new or unique to this church.  Almost everyone does it.  Companies fire people for not behaving as the company feels they should.  You can get kicked out of a swimming pool for running, or asked to leave a library for being noisy.  Many examples of enforcing beliefs or behaviors could be cited.  To me the only reasonable question is not if the church should maintain some level of required behavior, but was this specific case sufficient cause for such an action.

I have read commentary on both sides of this event.  It seems that opinions often come down to whether or not one feels that Kate Kelly was just asking questions, or if she is an activist, recruiting followers to organize demonstrations to protest and pressure the church to change in the way she wants.

To me, I think the church did the right thing, and must continue to teach what one ought to believe and how one ought to behave in order to be The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints instead of the church of anything goes.

Church Discipline as a Shepherd Rescuing Lost Sheep

We are all familiar with the parable of the lost sheep, where the shepherd leaves the 99 and rescues the one who was lost.  But I do not view this lost sheep as kicking and screaming the whole way back to the flock.  I also do not view this sheep as waiting for the shepherd to turn his back so they can make a break for it and get themselves lost again.  To me the only way this rescue works is if the sheep comes back voluntarily.

Continue reading ‘Church Discipline as a Shepherd Rescuing Lost Sheep’

For the OW Crowd, OD2 Would Seem Like a Two-Edged Sword

It is common for those sympathetic to the cause of OW, to site the removal of the priesthood ban as an example of the church changing its practices as a result of continuing revelation.  It was while pondering this, that I decided to review Official Declaration 2  (OD2).  In doing so, I felt that the actual text of OD2 is in fact damaging to their cause.  OD2 is a fairly recent revelation regarding access to the priesthood, and is perhaps the most clear revelation that states that it is males who are to be ordained to the priesthood.  Here are a couple of highlights (emphasis mine):

Continue reading ‘For the OW Crowd, OD2 Would Seem Like a Two-Edged Sword’

Book of Mormon Geography: North America

I should probably acknowledge up front that I am nowhere near an expert on Book of Mormon geography, although that will be pretty obvious from the start.  My interest in a North American setting for the Book of Mormon (and specifically a Great Lakes / Northeastern United States) has been kindled by my move to Ohio.  There are a lot of native American Indian mounds in the area, apparently built by a group of Hopewell Indians, at about the same time frame as the story of the Nephites.  Many local members are convinced of a Great Lakes setting for the Book of Mormon, and they have encouraged us to visit some of the mound sites around the area.

Continue reading ‘Book of Mormon Geography: North America’

New Gospel Topic at LDS.org – Becoming Like God

Once upon a time I used to write blog posts.  And many of them were on the topic of being children of God in a literal (complete) sense.  And I once wrote a paper that I presented at an SMPT conference on the implications of taking this belief literally.  The recently added gospel topic at lds.org reinforces all of that.

Past Changes and Future Changes Some Hope For

Recent events have caused me to evaluate how I feel about certain current issues and how I would feel if these issues were to result in changes in the doctrine or practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  The issues include ordaining women to the priesthood, and same-sex marriage.

Continue reading ‘Past Changes and Future Changes Some Hope For’

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 15,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


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