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Town Hall on LDS Church Policy Change

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9 minutes ago, Calm said:

It doesn't have to be one or the other.  Stuff in Handbook 1 is not secret given the number of church leaders who have access to it (at least 4 in every ward at any given time, plus there are how many in the stake and then past leaders so I am guessing at least 5% are familiar with or have access to the handbook for their callings or past calling...and if it is at their home) plus anyone can ask the bishop/leader to be able to read it for themselves.  I have on several occasions read it, including front cover to back several times.  Otoh, stuff in it is not publicly promoted; it is not meant to be used as a common reference for anything from newsroom releases (though it is done on occasion when necessary) to SS lessons.  IOW, it is easily available to those who need it and it should take some work to those who do not so that it is not used for casual entertainment, inappropriate management of others' callings, etc.

For example, the policy for polygamy has been generally known among membership for decades (long before the internet made the Handbook accessible to anyone willing to look it up on antimormon sites) even though it is listed in the Handbook 1, not Handbook 2.  It is not generally talked about in classes.  There is nothing secret about it, but it is not a part of typical church conversation...yet it has drawn a very effective line in terms of people knowing that engaging in polygamy is going to get you excommunicated.  It is there available as an official declaration of policy when it is necessary for the Church's position to be stated.  There is no question about it that I've ever seen, but just as there is no question about the criminal law against stealing, sometimes it still needs to be discussed in public discourse to explain behaviour of officials or expectations of the public.  

There is public awareness of the policy without total public access to the Handbook.  Thus a message to church membership...though if it hadn't been made a very public issue of, it may have taken more time to be shared (though I doubt it given the Church's grapevine) without the Handbook being meant for the general public or even general membership.

 

I doubt most members are fully aware of handbook policies regarding polygamy.  For example, I doubt most realize that the policy is different in counties where polygamy is legal. 

But, I was just trying to clarify because I have been told numerous times on these threads that, in actuality, not many kids are affected and their bishops could have handled those cases appropriately. I've been told that the real purpose of the policy was to send a message. I'm just confused by that... If that was the real purpose of the policy, why do it through a handbook available to a small percentage of members rather than in a forum like general conference or a FP letter read over the pulpit?

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Why is everything needing to be black and white/all or nothing?  It is either a secret message or meant for the world.  It is either a policy of men or a revelation from the Lord.  People (and policy) must be totally accepting (as in as a member in full fellowship) or they are unwelcoming.

I find the general refusal to allow for nuances and/or complexity in the position of church leadership and the traditionalist POV disturbing.

 

I see a lot of variation and complexity in many of the nontraditionalists' views on how things should be interpreted and then enacted. I don't see that allowance being made that often for traditionalists.  It seems that the either/or approach is used way too often for them.

Edited by Calm

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8 minutes ago, rockpond said:

I doubt most members are fully aware of handbook policies regarding polygamy.  For example, I doubt most realize that the policy is different in counties where polygamy is legal. 

But are they aware that someone who engages in polygamy is viewed as an apostate and excommunicated if they were a member of the Church?

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3 minutes ago, Calm said:

Why is everything needing to be black and white/all or nothing?  It is either a secret message or meant for the world.  It is either a policy of men or a revelation from the Lord.  People (and policy) must be totally accepting (as in as a member in full fellowship) or they are unwelcoming.

I find the general refusal to allow for nuances and/or complexity in the position of church leadership and the traditionalist POV disturbing.

I'm comfortable with nuance.  It's the only way I'm able to remain an active part of the church.  But I'm not being given much room to have a nuanced view of this policy. 

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On 09/12/2015 at 3:55 PM, rockpond said:

If by accepting "gay lifestyle" you mean recognizing gay marriage, yes, I think that there were and still are many members who thought that would go the same direction as our acceptance of the "black lifestyle".

What do you mean by "black lifestyle"?

Thanks,
Jim

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3 minutes ago, Calm said:

But are they aware that someone who engages in polygamy is viewed as an apostate and excommunicated if they were a member of the Church?

Mortal polygamy, yes. 

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5 minutes ago, theplains said:

What do you mean by "black lifestyle"?

Thanks,
Jim

No idea. I was using the term to illustrate the odd, though frequent, use of the term "gay lifestyle". 

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8 hours ago, rockpond said:

1.  I don't think we should have secret policies in the church.

  • And....why?  What is the harm in teaching leaders policies in how to serve in their callings?  Does the front line worker in a corporation need to understand every policy in running the store?  Does member need to know everything in being a bishop?  Does every bishop need to understand everything the prophet does to serve as prophet?  This is really sounding like something to complain about without any foundation.  Why?  

2.  Kids would find out when they were denied baptism... and it might even be worse if they and their parents went into a bishop's interview without any knowledge of the policy.

  • IF, and that is a huge, gigantic, monumental IF, there was ever any situation where a child, who lived with gay parents, attended the church faithfully - with parents in tow (or are you proposing that these gay, custodial parents just push little Mary and Johnny out the door to attend church alone as small children? Enough with this digression), anyway, this child is desirous of being baptized into a faith that clearly bases their teachings on moral standards that condemn active, homosexual lifestyles - this small child, with the encouragement of those actively gay, married homosexuals - wants to enter the waters of baptism is told, "Johnny, do you think your parents' lifestyle is sinful?"  This eight year old that has got everyone wringing their hands in anguish due to the pain of this situation - this child responds, "Yes, I think they are sinning and stand in opposition to the laws of heaven"  This child, who then at the direction of the Holy Spirit then feels so strongly that he contacts the First Presidency and they tell him, with thunderous voices of rejection, "NO, we will not allow this at this time because we are mean, grumpy, old, white, straight, evil, men".  This enlightened child is then invited to remain firm in the faith and wait until baptism at a later time when he is an adult and is capable of being independent and in a better position of make such a mature decision for his life.  Further, that the bishop is concerned about how this choice at this age might affect the unity of his family.  This child, you know all.....what, one in a billion or is that one in a trillion?  This child would actually be so mature as to understand the actions of his parents, but would not understand that the Church of Jesus Christ feels it is better to wait?  Yeah, you know this just sounds like what it is, balderdash.  It does not exist and it will never exist.  It is understanding if we are talking about adults choosing to be baptized, but hat mythological creature that is causing all the agonizing in the gay community is a figment of their emotional, propaganda machine that some have swallowed whole without ever once actually thinking about how preposterous it is.  

3.  You question the number of kids affected but obviously it was significant enough that the Brethren felt the need to single them out with a special section.

  • Who is really affected?  It certainly is not a child because that child does not exist!  It is the adults that have married a person of the opposite sex, had children, got excommunicated, began a gay relationship, married a person of the same sex, and the reality that they are really, truly excommunicated and finally faces the truth that they will not be able to return to the waters of baptism without a complete repentance.  

I suppose that this bit of fantasy makes good propaganda, but it just does not make sense.  The child does not exist and never will exist.  Yet, the Brethren made allowance that if this rare situation should actually arise there is recourse to approach the First Presidency with the story of this unique child.  Everything else is just silly hand-wringing over nothing.  It isn't even good drama.  

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1 hour ago, rockpond said:

I'm comfortable with nuance.  It's the only way I'm able to remain an active part of the church.  But I'm not being given much room to have a nuanced view of this policy. 

I am not seeing that from most of the posters here, even the traditionalists.  The only thing I see as a number of traditionalists saying is that they don't see same sex marriage as ever being acceptable in the future.  In the here and now and how to respond to the situation, I don't see a lot of traditionalist posters saying it must be approached in only one way or else someone is at the opposite extreme.

I understand different interpretations, I just don't understand why one goes to the extreme position with posters like Deborah and Bluebell.

I do see some, but given Deborah and Bluebell's past posting and their posting here (there are some others, but these are the ones I remember off the top of my head wondering why they were being responded to that way), I would have thought they would have been given the benefit of the doubt and you (and others) would jump to the conclusion they only see things such a simple, extreme way or approaching the situation in extremes...as in the handbook not being given out to the general public means the policy can't be seen as a message to membership.

Edited by Calm

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1 hour ago, rockpond said:

No idea. I was using the term to illustrate the odd, though frequent, use of the term "gay lifestyle". 

It seems pretty obvious that people use that term to describe those gay or lesbians who are not celibate. 

Because the teachings of the church in regards to homosexuality are based on actions, posters often need to differentiate between the two groups.  

 

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38 minutes ago, Calm said:

I am not seeing that from most of the posters here, even the traditionalists.  The only thing I see as a number of traditionalists saying is that they don't see same sex marriage as ever being acceptable in the future.  In the here and now and how to respond to the situation, I don't see a lot of traditionalist posters saying it must be approached in only one way or else someone is at the opposite extreme.

I understand different interpretations, I just don't understand why one goes to the extreme position with posters like Deborah and Bluebell.

I do see some, but given Deborah and Bluebell's past posting and their posting here (there are some others, but these are the ones I remember off the top of my head wondering why they were being responded to that way), I would have thought they would have been given the benefit of the doubt and you (and others) would jump to the conclusion they only see things such a simple, extreme way or approaching the situation in extremes...as in the handbook not being given out to the general public means the policy can't be seen as a message to membership.

Honestly, Cal, I'm not trying to say that they are extreme.  But I'm struggling with how she is saying that it's bad that the policy was published to the public while simultaneously saying that it was actually meant as a message to membership.

If it was meant as a message to membership than it shouldn't be a bad thing that it was made public.  Does that make sense?

Regarding nuance, you've been around to know quite well that my nuanced view is considered apostate by quite a few "traditionalists" here.
 

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27 minutes ago, bluebell said:

It seems pretty obvious that people use that term to describe those gay or lesbians who are not celibate. 

Because the teachings of the church in regards to homosexuality are based on actions, posters often need to differentiate between the two groups.  

 

I disagree that this is "obvious".  How do you refer to heterosexuals who are not celibate?  Can we not just use the same terms?

There is no defined "gay lifestyle".  The lives that LGBT persons live are as varied as those that straight people live.

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5 minutes ago, rockpond said:

I disagree that this is "obvious".  How do you refer to heterosexuals who are not celibate?  Can we not just use the same terms?

There is no defined "gay lifestyle".  The lives that LGBT persons live are as varied as those that straight people live.

I usually don't need to refer to heterosexuals who are celibate. It's not something that comes up in discussions here where the distinction between the two groups regularly needs to be made. 

When it comes to homosexuality, the distinction needs to be made often. 

And you're right, there is no monolithic gay lifestyle. I'm guessing that Deborah understands that since she's smart, and also has a lesbian daughter.  The one difference (among many) between one gay person's lifestyle and another's *that is at all relevant to these discussions* is whether or not they are sexually active. 

I suppose that's why it seems obvious to me what someone means when they use the term. 

Its hard to understand, given the specific topic, that you couldn't deduce what she was saying even if you disagreed with the way she said it. 

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33 minutes ago, bluebell said:

I usually don't need to refer to heterosexuals who are celibate. It's not something that comes up in discussions here where the distinction between the two groups regularly needs to be made. 

When it comes to homosexuality, the distinction needs to be made often. 

And you're right, there is no monolithic gay lifestyle. I'm guessing that Deborah understands that since she's smart, and also has a lesbian daughter.  The one difference (among many) between one gay person's lifestyle and another's *that is at all relevant to these discussions* is whether or not they are sexually active. 

I suppose that's why it seems obvious to me what someone means when they use the term. 

Its hard to understand, given the specific topic, that you couldn't deduce what she was saying even if you disagreed with the way she said it. 

Exactly.  As you'll note from my response to her, I understood what she was saying.  I used the term "black lifestyle" to show why I disagreed with the way she said it. 

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18 hours ago, Jeanne said:

Deborah, I so much respect you.  But why should it stun you?  For a moment, can you put yourself in their shoes?  Better yet, put yourself in the shoes of a child with LDS friends and ward members unable to take baptism steps because of their parents??  When I was eight years old..I didn't care about the covenant..it was a right of passage and the biggest deal was I got to be baptized with my friends...all born in March..little things like this..they hurt.  It was unnecessary to do this to kids. 

But that's not what people are supposed to be baptised for, and I'm sorry to say that someone neglected to teach you properly. Baptism is not just an everyone-else-is-doing-it social occasion; it is about the covenant, whatever your eight-year-old self thought.

 

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17 hours ago, rockpond said:

1.  I don't think we should have secret policies in the church.

2.  Kids would find out when they were denied baptism... and it might even be worse if they and their parents went into a bishop's interview without any knowledge of the policy.

3.  You question the number of kids affected but obviously it was significant enough that the Brethren felt the need to single them out with a special section.

  1. I don't think we do have secret policies in the Church. The notion that this policy was ever intended to be kept "secret" is risible. It's not like the overeager publicity hounds waited until it was properly in place and all the training had been given; they pounced on it as soon as it started to be rolled out.
  2. See 1.
  3. But if the Church doesn't have a unified policy to deal with these things in advance, the Lamans and Lemuels grumble about "leadership roulette."

Being a critic is really immensely easy, isn't it? One need only assume that whatever the Church does is wrong, and immediately one can find endless opportunities to find fault.

 

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9 hours ago, rockpond said:

Okay, so I can assume that you view it as a policy of men and not a revelation from the Lord?

Deborah can speak for herself, of course. I'm confident that it represents the Lord's will on the matter. I'm less confident of the good intentions and/or careful thought of those who rushed to get themselves some attention by jumping up and down about this before it was properly rolled out.

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8 hours ago, rockpond said:

Exactly.  As you'll note from my response to her, I understood what she was saying.  I used the term "black lifestyle" to show why I disagreed with the way she said it. 

Your use of the term black lifestyle doesn't seem relevant to anything.

 

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1 hour ago, bluebell said:

Your use of the term black lifestyle doesn't seem relevant to anything.

 

Exactly.

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1 minute ago, rockpond said:

Exactly.

What i mean is, there is very much a gay lifestyle that is relevant to church doctrine and thus to this discussion-the lifestyle of those gays who choose not to be celibate.  On the other hand, there is nothing at all relevant to any church doctrine now or any time in the past concerning a 'black lifestyle'.  That's because church doctrine regarding blacks never had anything to do with their actions or choices.

So, trying to use the term 'black lifestyle' to comment on Deborah's use of the term 'gay lifestyle' seems like trying to use the term apples to comment on someone's usage of the term oranges.

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I'm beginning to think certain posters have a reading comprehension problem. In any case they like to take a simple statement and then roll it into all kinds of extreme interpretations. It's impossible to have a discussion with someone who twists everything you say.

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29 minutes ago, bluebell said:

What i mean is, there is very much a gay lifestyle that is relevant to church doctrine and thus to this discussion-the lifestyle of those gays who choose not to be celibate.  On the other hand, there is nothing at all relevant to any church doctrine now or any time in the past concerning a 'black lifestyle'.  That's because church doctrine regarding blacks never had anything to do with their actions or choices.

So, trying to use the term 'black lifestyle' to comment on Deborah's use of the term 'gay lifestyle' seems like trying to use the term apples to comment on someone's usage of the term oranges.

It's all a matter of perspective.  I was simply making a point.  If you find the use of the term "black lifestyle" to be confusing, irrelevant, or offensive, then you now understand how I feel when someone uses the term "gay lifestyle".  It's your choice what you do with that new knowledge.

Edited by rockpond
grammar fix

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27 minutes ago, Deborah said:

I'm beginning to think certain posters have a reading comprehension problem. In any case they like to take a simple statement and then roll it into all kinds of extreme interpretations. It's impossible to have a discussion with someone who twists everything you say.

I'm not sure who you are referring to but I hope you don't feel that I have twisted what you said.  That certainly wasn't my intent... I was only trying to understand your position.

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12 hours ago, rockpond said:

 

If it was meant as a message to membership than it shouldn't be a bad thing that it was made public.  Does that make sense?

Regarding nuance, you've been around to know quite well that my nuanced view is considered apostate by quite a few "traditionalists" here.
 

There are a variety of ways a message can be made public.  Do you see it as possible that some of those ways may be bad while others may be good.

I am not saying that there are not traditionalists that label your nuanced view as apostate, but most at least appear to grant you the ability to hold a nuanced position and to present it relatively accurately even if they vehemently disagree with it.  OTOH, it seems to me that often nontraditionalists reduce the traditionalists' views to be much less nuanced than it is.  Your implication that if something is a message any way it is made public should be acceptable to Deborah is an example. I believe I have given several other examples as well where nuances are removed from views and only the extremes are presented as if those are the only choices of opinion a traditionlist could hold.

It makes it very difficult to have a conversation.  And I think Deborah appears to feel the same.  It may not be intentional, but it appears to me you have misrepresented hers and others' viewpoints by going to extreme positions in this discussion.

I am not saying that there aren't plenty of traditionalists labeling nontraditionalists' views as "apostate" but that has nothing to do with rejecting the possibility of a view to be nuanced.  Being able to discuss what a view consists of is an essential part of creating a discourse, an effective discussion on whether views are appropriate or not can't actually occur until views are accurately portrayed.

Edited by Calm

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42 minutes ago, rockpond said:

It's all a matter of perspective.  I was simply making a point.  If you find the use of the term "black lifestyle" to be confusing, irrelevant, or offensive, then you now understand how I feel when someone uses the term "gay lifestyle".  It's your choice what you do with that new knowledge.

I get that. I was just explaining why I felt you failed at making the point you were trying to make. :pardon:

But it doesn't really matter.  Neither of us are arguing matters of great significance to anyone else. 

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