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179: Handbooks, Policies, and Sleight of Hand


Today Chris Bloxham returns to talk to me and one of my listeners Clay as we take this policy change apart every step of the way.  This may be one of the best episodes yet on Mormon Discussion as we try to make sense of this public relations nightmare.

This is part 2 of a 2 part series. In part 1 we discuss at length my increasing cynicism and frustration with the Church and then the Gut punch of this policy fiasco.


13 thoughts on “179: Handbooks, Policies, and Sleight of Hand”

  1. Bill, just let me say you are NOT alone. I have one really hard decision to speak out or not given a close relative having a wedding soon. But I am almost at a point of saying that I CAN’T stay.

  2. Wow Bill, this is a great episode. Thanks so much for your voice. My wife and I are really getting into the last few episodes since the policy change and it’s great to know that we are not crazy and that there is someone out there working through it like we are.

  3. Bill,
    Although the new policy is just that– policy, and not revelation or doctrine– a large portion of faithful comments on logs and newspapers seemed to mirror a faithful belief that this was inspired and from god. On reviewing the original policy (that was not meant for public consumption) the language was very clear in its intent to apply the restrictions to all children of Gay parents (whether or not the child was living with that parent) who were cohabitating or married to a gay partner. And only after the huge public outcry did the brethren walk back and make these incremental and more humane “clarifications.” But these are not clarifications. They are revisions. And apparently the original language of 16.13 still exists. How can this entire bungled pr mess be viewed as inspired? To me it speaks of a dysfunctional leadership. And yes, I do expect more out if men who purport to be prophets, seers and revelators. They Should be held to a higher standard. But alas, they prove to be as ineffective as any normal corporation. But to apologize for this clear snafu would lead to a crises of faith in their faithful base. Just another indication that the church’s foundational truth claims are myths.

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  5. Rich on November 18, 2015 at 6:48 PM

    “This policy change diminishes agency.”
    (Oh, boy. This has started out bad.)

    “As a faith, agency is one of our most important gospel principles.
    (Well, that’s not bad.)”

    “Removing the choice to bless a baby, to be baptized, to receive Priesthood (if a male) negates the agency of both the parents and the child.”
    Hey! Hold on! What’s this ‘removing the choice for a child to receive the Priesthood’ ‘(IF A MALE)’? What if it’s a daughter? She should get the priesthood, too. Unless God has already said that women can’t hold the priesthood – unless God has already said that gay marriages are an abomination – unless God has said that children however they have gotten into these abominable families should not be baptized until they have reached adulthood and recognized the evilness of it. All this and they would be to be ready and willing to obey the gospel when they are taught the right way.
    It’s pretty obvious that none of you have ever been told by God that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s Church and that all those sweet, candied, testimonies you gave in the past were nothing but a pack of lies. Have a good time in one of those other churches.
    I’ll write more about this sickening post, later. Whether the Bloggernacle likes it or not.

    1. Rich – The body of Christ includes those who favor the policy and those who oppose it.
      We can disagree with one another without condemning one another. (D&C 121:41-44)
      There are examples of Jesus acknowledging authority and deferring to authority, as well as criticizing those in authority.
      We are called on to mourn with – not to condemn  – those that mourn.
      We are members of each other, and so a condemnations of other members is, in a sense, a condemnation of ourselves (Romans 12 v. 5)
      We should try to understand the minds of every other member, even those who we feel superior to. (Romans 12 v. 16)
      We can challenge our leaders’/servants’ human opinions or perspective without challenging their divine authority.
      We should be able to agree with a policy or leaders without having our humanity questioned.
      We should be able to disagree with a policy or leaders without having our testimonies questioned.
      Our leaders are also our servants.

  6. I really enjoyed the honest raw discussion here. I only started yelling at my phone while listening when I heard….”the Brethren are just human and just trying to get it right”. While I totally agree we are all human and make mistakes…I don’t claim to get personal revelation as an apostle or prophet. The Brethren can’t claim direct authority and communication from God then have members cover for them when they get doctrine wrong. You don’t get to have it both ways.

    And yes. I said doctrine. I hate how some use the word policy to hide wrong, bad and hurtful doctrine. If a policy directly affects a person’s access to saving gospel ordinances, it’s a doctrine. Blacks not getting priesthood or access to the temple….not a policy….not a theory…a doctrine. LGBTQAI member not getting baptized….not a policy…a doctrine. Apostles and Prophets can make false policies and doctrines. We have to get away from the black and white Bruce R mcconkie Mormonism and the idolatry of prophet infallibility. We have to move away from the Gordon B Hinckley statement that it is all true or it’s a fraud. This policy is a perfect example of the gray The Many Shades of Grey that this church is. And if we follow Gordon B Hinckley and this policy is not true and other doctrines were not true in the past then this must be a fraud. Again this all comes back to my frustration that the Brethren don’t get to claim direct Revelation from God and then when they make mistakes #1..not apologize for them and #2 members get to just then say oh they’re men who make mistakes and they’re trying their best. You cannot have it both ways.

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