A progressive Mormon sometimes has to suffer sitting through a Church meeting where they don’t feel like they belong. These members are the ones who reluctantly stand out because they ask uncomfortable questions about Church teachings. Some of them are more brazen activists who have felt a personal calling to defend an important cause. These members love their wards but their choices can put them at odds with the traditional Church orthodoxy. This creates a natural tension, where it feels wrong to abandon their controversial ideas and also wrong to challenge the beliefs of the general body of the Church. Members who struggle to be true to both start to feel the anxiety of living under the weight of a contradiction. The story of their Church membership becomes colored by feelings of estrangement. Continue reading
In 1969, the First Presidency released a statement on “the position of the Church with regard to the Negro”:
Our living prophet, President David O. McKay, has said, “The seeming discrimination by the Church toward the Negro is not something which originated with man; but goes back into the beginning with God.”
With the benefit of hindsight, we know that the Church was hurtling toward a sea change. After a few years, the Church would give the priesthood to blacks and then would disavow its racist doctrines. Knowing that, what would you do if you were transported back in time to 1969? Would you sustain the First Presidency? Imagine the dilemma for an activist at the time who couldn’t know the future, but could feel the surety of personal inspiration that racism was wrong. Was this First Presidency statement a revelation from God or a mistake from men? Continue reading
There’s a popular Mormon doctrine that describes the future of the soul. It’s always called the Plan of Salvation. Teachers present it so often that I have wondered what made it so important. People wouldn’t accidentally find themselves in Hell just because they forgot the order in the diagram.