Monday, November 9, 2015

Handbook-gate: Defending the doctrine of Christ against the Church

The new revised and updated policy leaked this past weekend doesn't affect me personally. Still, I'm deeply troubled.

For one thing, I'm troubled over the fact that I haven't thought twice about how this policy has been in place for muslim children and children of polygamists a long time. Maybe I should've reacted earlier. We all need to speak up for the weak, and not just the weak people of our choosing, but everyone that needs an advocate. That's why this meme is relevant.

I will try to address a few of the aspects that are disturbing in all of this. At the end, I will address what's, to my mind, is most serious for a Church called by the name of Christ.

The sneakiness

I understand why there wasn't a big press release. It's said to be a clarification that only led to a change in Handbook 1, a handbook most members don't even know exists. I don't know how they thought this would be received, but it seems clear that they didn't consider the risk that someone would leak it on the Internet. How anyone can underestimate the Internet in the year 2015 is amazing. T's equally unfathomable that anyone can overestimate the loyalty among employees in the COB or among leaders in bishoprics and stake presidencies in this day and age.

Instead of owning the situation, the Church is now involved in heavy damage control, and I fear that the credibility of the Church isn't what it used to be and never will be.

The quest for polygamy revisited - this time reversed!

My thoughts are brought back to the 1880's (or to what I've read about it). The Church did all it could to present polygamy as an essential part of the religion. In the end, the Church had to back down and stop practice it (even though the doctrine of plural marriage is very much in force). Today we see the same thing happening, but in reverse. We now do everything we can to keep people out of (our definition) of marriage.

This was shared on a Facebook-group. I don't know who wrote it (if you come around to read this, I hope you accept my apologies for borrowing your analysis.)

If anyone is wondering why the LDS church is taking this stand against same sex couples and their children, the answer is very simple: Dallin Oaks has been obsessed with religious freedom and the legal and theological infrastructure to support it. Oaks is in the background orchestrating a legal strategy to preserve the church's right to refuse to perform same sex marriages. If the church were to perform all other ordinances except marriage for same sex couples and their children, it could theoretically create a contextual precedent that would weaken the church's religious freedom to refuse to perform same sex marriages. That's why the church also included a statement that same sex marriage constitutes apostasy from the church. The LDS church is making a clear line of demarcation so that the church's position from cradle to grave is unmistakable and clear. This is a space where religious freedom and civil liberties collide. The church is bolstering its legal defense against the individual's right to a same sex marriage (in any church). It's a strategy against a long-term threat--a potential threat against the nature of the Mormon temple ceremony, which is the core of Mormon religious life.
This is no revelation; it's a policy change!

Elder Christoffersen was clear - this is not the result of inspiration from God! How can I say that? Well, for one, he never claimed it was. If no one claims that the Lord was involved, I won't assume that He was. This approach isn't widely accepted. Many members, who have defended the Church, say, in substance, the following:

Since my testimony that Thomas S. Monson is a true prophet of God is firm I have a testimony that he, and the apostles, are called of God, and that they speak for God. I don't need to know anything else. With this testimony, I feel peace that the leaders will lead the church according to God's will, not man's. Against this backdrop, there is no need to re-evaluate my testimony every time an issue arises because my testimony was established ages ago. We have been promised that God will not allow his prophets to lead us astray. I pray that I will be wise instead of learned.
In the last days the wheat will be separated from the tares.  
Our leaders are human. I won't let this fact shake me. Nor will I be shaken by any new policy or counsel from church leaders. 
As a youth I learned that when the light has moved from me, I'm the one who moved. It is my responsibility to look inside myself to get back to the light.  
If new policies, or any kind of guidance, rubs me wrong, I know that what I need to do is pray for peace and understanding, pray that the Lord will help change my heart.
In my mind, this is an attitude that is prevalent in today's Church and totally contrary to what elder Charles W. Penrose said in 1882. In my view, it's problematic.
President Wilford Woodruff is a man of wisdom and experience and we respect and venerate him; but we do not believe his personal views or utterances are revelations from God; and when ”Thus saith the Lord” comes from him, the Saints investigate it; they do not shut their eyes and take it down like a pill. When he brings forth light they want to comprehend it. Light, truth, intelligence, wisdom, progress, growth all the time - that is ”Mormonism” - to grow in grace and the knowledge of the truth. […] The Latter-day Saints are not blindly led by leaders or blindly directed by priests; but every man can receive the divine testimony in his own heart and be a priest in his own house. – Charles W. Penrose, Millenial Star 54:191
There are more quotes to the same effect.

People are permitted to assume that whatever comes from the COB is the word and will and mind of God and as good as, or even better, than scripture. This could be considered as dishonest. And if it is, it's serious.

All are equal before God, but some are more equal than others

The children of same-sex couples get special treatment from the Church. Whereas the children of murderers, rapists, sexual abusers, spouse abusers, abusers in general, adulterers, fornicators, heterosexual cohabitants, abandoners of family responsibilities etc. are welcome to be baptized (if these parents consent), the children of married same-sex couples can't be baptized, even if the parents are ok with it. The rationale? The desire to not expose the children to conflicting messages and causing them to stand between the lifestyle of the parents and the beliefs of the Church.

If we truly want children to not experience conflicting messages between Church and the home, thy don't we ban the use of TV,video games, the Internet and so forth. And why are the children of same-sex couples even allowed to visit Church (in reality, you don't have to be baptized in order for you to hear what's taught)? And when will the Church charge the home teachers to go into full surveillance of their families? I mean, we don't want the kids to hear one thing at home and something else in Church. If this policy is to be taken to its extreme, we are headed for Big Brother: Mormon Edition!

The destruction of Article of faith #

Not being allowed to receive the "saving" ordinance of baptism is, in my mind, equal to being punished. If this is done because of the sins of your parents, I'd almost consider it evil (at least medEVIL).
We [used to?] believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression. - Joseph Smith in the Wentworth Letter
This change should have been brought up in General Conference for the sustaining by Church members.

The thought of original guilt is actually about Adam and Eve. Still, the thought resurfaces every now and then. Regretfully it seems to have taken hold of the Church in a modified version.

The denial of the doctrine of Christ

This is the most important in my mind.

In 3 Ne. 27:8-11, we read:
And how be it my church save it be called in my name? For if a church be called in Moses’ name then it be Moses’ church; or if it be called in the name of a man then it be the church of a man; but if it be called in my name then it is my church, if it so be that they are built upon my gospel. Verily I say unto you, that ye are built upon my gospel; therefore ye shall call whatsoever things ye do call, in my name; therefore if ye call upon the Father, for the church, if it be in my name the Father will hear you; And if it so be that the church is built upon my gospel then will the Father show forth his own works in it. But if it be not built upon my gospel, and is built upon the works of men, or upon the works of the devil, verily I say unto you they have joy in their works for a season, and by and by the end cometh, and they are hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence there is no return.
What is the gospel of Jesus? What is his doctrine? Later in the same chapter, He answers this question himself.
Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day. Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; (v. 20-21; read v. 13-21 for the longer explanation)
Jesus taught the same thing when he first came to the Nephites.
Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine. And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me. And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God. And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned. Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine. (3 Ne 11:31-35)

He then added this most important warning.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them. And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandyfoundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them. (v. 39-40)
I dare to say that no one is exempt from this warning. Not the Pope, not your home teachers, not the Bishop, nor the First Presidency or the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

And this, makes me seriously concerned. Have we just seen the Church turn its back to the doctrine of its founder? Have we just seen the Church adopt anti-christ policies? If yes, we've witnessed something historical, and we will see the Church have "joy in their works for a season, and by and by the end cometh, and they are hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence there is no return."

This is the chance for us all to root ourselves even more firmly on the rock of our Redeemer, for he alone is might to save.


  1. Primary program in our ward yesterday was all about love and how the Lord loves the little children...all except those whose parents are polygamists or gay that is.
    No matter, there are many who are currently baptizing outside the jurisdiction of the church, but within the Doctrine of Christ using their priesthood wisely as directed by the Holy Ghost. Leaders of the church are only succeeding in driving more and more people out of the church and showing their own folly.
    James Russell Uhl

  2. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days Saints is such a joke. Imagine for a second that instead of a church having this policy, it was the Swedish Democrats. Just like the political party, the Church has a similar torrid racist past by its members and leaders and parallels a history of civil and human rights abuses. Would anyone of us associate ourselves with such a group? Now imagine instead of an institution spewing such hate, it was a group of friends. Would anyone stand for that? For whatever reason, the Church continues to get a pass but enough is enough.

    Despite, the monopoly on ‘family values’ that some members falsely hold, the Church is one of the most anti-family organizations we’ve come to see in recent time. In order for children of gay parents or some other unsavory group (take your pick) to become members they must ‘disavow’ the people that matter most? The idea that someone is in a state of the apostasy—through no fault of their own—because of the perceived (though not in reality) actions of another is filthy to the core. By every modern and rational standard this is just wrong. Why is that the secular world gets this but leaders do not? It’s time to stop using shaded rhetoric and tap dancing around the issue and call this for what it really is: hate.

    There are no two sides to this issue and despite the fact that many of these hateful policies have been formally or de facto in place for years, one has to question why or what the pressing need was for the Church to address this issue. Or at the very least, why did they feel the need to articulate this so publicly now. Was there an influx of such classified ‘undesirables’ that were attempting to destroy the Church from within that it just had to be addressed? Of corse not. The leaders have already done that themselves. In typical Church fashion this is yet another attempt to consolidate power—especially after the naming of new apostles. There is no aspect of life that the Church doesn’t wish to control; from what we can or can’t wear, from the words we can or can’t say to the thoughts we can or can’t have everything is quantified, correlated and written in a manual and taught more than the actual words and philosophy of Jesus.

    Hear it now and believe it later, Thomas S. Monson is not a prophet and Jesus Christ is not the head of this church. Here is a man who supposedly speaks face to face with Jesus but doesn’t have the brass to elaborate anything to anyone. How cowardly. A claimed prophet who never has any revelations as did his predecessor or his predecessor or even his predecessor. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not true. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is corrupt. The Church is slowly destroying everything that Jesus stood for.

    What chance do any of us have when the good people stand by and do nothing.

    -Shawn Quinn

  3. Through prayer and study I felt the spirit bear wines of thisb policy change. It does effect families and people I know and it may not make sense to the world at this time but it is "for a wise purpose" that we will understand as we turn to Him and seek answers with faith rather than fear. I have felt the peace that comes from Faith, and scripture study. I feel no need to argue, be contentious or seek from any other sources. Prayer and faith and the knowledge that our Heavenly Father and savior loves each and every one of His children is all I need. This is an act of mercy for these children. I know my Savior lives and loves all of His children. He atoned for all of us. He has a plan. His glory is to the Father. This is His restored gospel upon this earth. It is led today by a prophet of God. I have Faith in my Savior. I do not fear. My eyes are on Him. I have need to partake of the power of His atonement daily as I repent and come unto Him. He changes my heart as I do the things He asks of me. I have seen and felt His power in my life. It is real. As Isaiah states in chapter 55
    8 ¶For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
    9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

    Turn to him, seek understanding from Him as He speaks peace to your heart,

    26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
    27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

    I am not troubled, nor do I fear. He leads and guides this church. I know it.

  4. The Hoy Ghost has testified to me that the Scriptures' core message is true; my understanding is: that message contradicts this policy

    1. True! Thanks for stopping by, reading and commenting!