I would not be alone in suggesting that the Church has undergone some massive shifts in the last 10 years.
Chiefly, these would include:
1. A fuller understanding of our history – including polygamy, Book of Mormon translation, the race and the priesthood and Pearl of Great Price issues
2. The shift in our narrative on homosexuality
3. Discussion on the role of Women
These issues will continue to be on the radar for some time.
What the prophets have said in the past is thought by members to be anything from “thus saith the Lord” to “you’ve got to be joking”, depending on what they said, how they said it and the context in which it was said. How do you feel about two ear rings, planting a garden or reading the Book of Mormon by a certain time???
Any organisation, religious or otherwise, goes through stages. Organisations learn and grow, develop and change. The LDS Church is no exception to that.
Some things our organisation has done range from stupid (Ponderise.com) to criminal (mountain meadows). How we deal with our history and move forward will determine the strength of our members, our public profile and the growth of our church. In some ways we have done a good job. Our social media presence is good as is addressing some prickly issues from our past. However, do we need to go further?
One example is homosexuality. We have a pretty poor track record in this area. I was reading recently one person’s assessment of The Miracle of Forgiveness regarding its narrative on homosexuality. Wow… Everything from masturbation causes homosexuality which causes bestiality to veiled and some not so veiled references to suicide and the death penalty being solutions. This person referenced current LDS official content on mormonsandgays.org as being in direct contradiction to the content in The Miracle of Forgiveness. They stand in direct opposition to one another, yet both remain as true and correct sources on information. It’s great that there is a new way to talk about homosexuality, however do we need to, as I have suggested, go further? Do we need to publicly rescind the previous content, have a prophet apologise for the past or at least acknowledge the harm done?? Do we need to stop publication of such documents and stop making reference to them?
Another example, previously discussed on this blog, was removing all or at least part of Section 132 from our cannon. Mormon Heretic smashed out a great post on this which spurred a massive conversation. Talk of concubines, virgins, not-virgins, threats of Emma being destroyed – no wonder it got people talking. Is it consistent with what we hear at General Conference, from the Apostles, the Proclamation? Do we need to take some of it out? Do we need to go that far?
On the subject of the Proclamation, do we need to add to our cannon as well. The last addition to our cannon was in 1978 with Official Declaration 2. We openly state that we have an open cannon – the fact that we are the only Church that has a Prophet of God. Yet the official narrative of the Church is a very dry river bed. To me it seems like the Church is hedging its bets. On one hand we are told the Ensign is scripture, and the Church PR Department occasionally releases information, and the Church even releases Proclamations. However when pressed, none of them are actually considered scripture. I feel a bit lost when I hear the Prophets and Apostles speak. The narrative around what is truth is not clear to me. I guess that’s another argument. My point here is that with the copious references to “The Family Proclamation etc” why not just make it scripture and be done with it. Make something scripture. Take a stand. Put it in the book.
So my (re) vision of the future is a mix of officially sorting out the past by removing, rescinding or at least revising the previous narratives. This will create a more consistent present and will solidify our future by officially clarifying our position. God is not a God of confusion. It is my feeling that the past and present are creating an inconsistency that needs formal resolution.
What is your (re) vision of the future??
How would you reconcile official opposing church narratives??
Do you see the Church doing anything in this regard in the future??