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Oaks on Religious Freedom

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50 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

I hate racist ideology also.  The difference between us is that I believe in telling the complete truth about organizations and people, while you do not.  That is immediately indicative of hatred on your part.  That is a defect which you need to overcome.  Your grave sin here is the sin of omission.  It doesn't really matter at all what someone is a member of.  The question is about personal integrity.  Telling the complete truth is just hard for some people.

This is such an inappropriate response to @Ouagadougou.  Let's keep the dialogue respectful.

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

I hate racist ideology also.  The difference between us is that I believe in telling the complete truth about organizations and people, while you do not.  That is immediately indicative of hatred on your part.  That is a defect which you need to overcome.  Your grave sin here is the sin of omission.  It doesn't really matter at all what someone is a member of.  The question is about personal integrity.  Telling the complete truth is just hard for some people.

Notwithstanding the mountain of evidence that shows and proves the church taught such racist principles/doctrine until 1978, you are still in denial and can't accept that prophets, apostles, and church leaders did, in fact, embrace such terrible ideologies (e.g., skin curse and not mixing races); this is a primary example of "omission" and/or denial.

Moreover, you still proceed to banter on about my non-existent hatred, with, by the way, no CFR or actual evidence...it's nothing but an empty accusation and comes off as very desperate, IMO. "Telling the truth is hard for some people," especially for those who can't accept the racist ideologies once embraced by the church and its top leadership before 1978.

Finally, prophets and apostles before 1978 called these racist beliefs DOCTRINE, but apologists only call it "policies" or "theories," which is -- as you stated -- "the sin of omission."  

 

 

 

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Edited by Ouagadougou
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36 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Of course not.  Indeed, I have been much harsher on racism and other sorts of bigotry in my life than you could ever be, but I also try to be even-handed.  You elevate Brother Brigham, while I see him as flawed by the same sort of flaws many men have.  Joseph Smith likewise emphasized his own flaws, and I accept that humility as a good sign.  Brother Brigham did speak on behalf of the LDS Church, which makes his racist rants and policies all the more distasteful.  As his admirer,  Elder McConkie stated in retrospect, Brigham was wrong.  For some reason the full impact of that fact has not sunk in with everyone.  Unlike Elder McConkie, it didn't take me till 1978 to figure that out, and I was far from alone.

I find it foolish to fail to see things as they really were in the past simply because policies were changed and then reversed.  I appreciate a factual account of history.  The huge mistake made by Jerald Tanner in the late 1950s was his sole focus on racism in the LDS Church (a pretty normal feature in America during the period he covered), to the exclusion of Joseph Smith's opposition to racism.  He and Elder McConkie were as one in their focus, and Elder McConkie's irresponsible book Mormon Doctrine was a great foil for Jerald.  How wrong they both were.

Likewise, I see Brigham Young as flawed.  All of us are.  And, yes, Elder McConkie, post-OD2, stated that President Young and others spoke without the light that we have today.  None of this erases past racist teachings by church leaders (nor does it discount those who opposed them).  It just means that we've improved.  Unfortunately, it feels to me that we are now repeating past mistakes.  But I am confident we'll correct those as well.

If you feel that I have presented something that is not factual, please feel free to show where I am mistaken.

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35 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Still, the LDS Canon of Scripture is normative for the Church, even if what you say here is true.  That is the official nature of LDS theology.

Many Mormons agree fully with that last statement.  But are you really comfortable accepting the most right-wing view on LDS history and theology?  How is it that you sound just like a TBM?  I should think that being identified with the TBMs would be anathema to you, as it is for me.  I consider them unnatural and brittle in their beliefs.

I'm confuses... what do you, Robert, believe ARE church teachings?  Because you seem to be saying that anything taught or written by a person (even as a prophet) does not qualify as a church teaching.  Or am I misunderstanding you?

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1 hour ago, bluebell said:

I read the first two links and neither are talking about trying to silence or discriminate against religion let alone advocating for laws or constitutional precedent that would systematically discount religions or religious speech.  

This doesn’t satisfy my CFR, you need to do more than a google search and copy links to articles with titles that seem to be vaguely related to your argument.  You need to find actual evidence to support your argument.  Please do that.  

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12 minutes ago, rockpond said:

This is such an inappropriate response to @Ouagadougou.  Let's keep the dialogue respectful.

Hopefully he'll learn not to make up false accusations about people he doesn't know personally; I think this is just a manifestation of his frustration and overall desperation, so he has to resort to childish accusations about my imaginary hatred toward the church and some make-believe defects.  

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2 hours ago, rockpond said:

While I agree that we, as people of faith and members of the Church, have a right to participate in public discourse that doesn't change the reality that leaders of our church have both disseminated racist teachings and discriminated against gay couples.  No fine tuning of the terms is needed to understand this.  The First Amendment gives us the right to believe that these racist teachings and discriminatory practices may have been God's will but it doesn't give us (or Elder Oaks) the ability to claim that they weren't racist and discriminatory.  My noting this observation isn't character or verbal violence.

In the article linked in the OP, Elder Oaks seems to be trying to place organized religions on some kind of moral high ground when it comes to racism and discrimination.  As many have shown here, this isn't the case.  Oaks is on record using his religious beliefs to justify discrimination against a minority (referring to the 1984 document and likely a few others times with respect to the gay marriage battles).

You keep using standards for these terms (racism, discrimination) that have not been codified nationally through the three branches of government, so such statements lack authority and are reduced to rhetoric. You attach them to individuals and institutions when the same moral and character judgements could easily be said of you (which would be character and verbal violence against you). This is not what is needed for public discourse. The avoidance of fine-tuning, internally (as reflected in the repetition of the personalized rhetoric) is sloppy, and avoiding specificity in messaging is a disingenuous tactic.

There’s another thread about outrage, and in the last national election, a common theme in the media and the get-out-the-vote messaging was that people are voting, and must vote, because they are angry. According to that. it has come to the point where a lot of folks have devolved to the point of politicizing raw emotion while informing that emotion with political rhetoric, and it is easily observable, along with the imprecise framing of the issues. I see this is a sickness, and that thread in fact refers to it as an “addiction." I don’t see the Church operating from a basis of outrage, imprecision and divisiveness in her messaging. It does take discipline and moral authority to take the high road.

Edited by CV75

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27 minutes ago, CV75 said:

You keep using standards for these terms (racism, discrimination) that have not been codified nationally through the three branches of government, so such statements lack authority and are reduced to rhetoric. You attach them to individuals and institutions when the same moral and character judgements could easily be said of you (which would be character and verbal violence against you). This is not what is needed for public discourse. The avoidance of fine-tuning, internally (as reflected in the repetition of the personalized rhetoric) is sloppy, and avoiding specificity in messaging is a disingenuous tactic.

There’s another thread about outrage, and in the last national election, a common theme in the media and the get-out-the-vote messaging was that people are voting, and must vote, because they are angry. According to that. it has come to the point where a lot of folks have devolved to the point of politicizing raw emotion while informing that emotion with political rhetoric, and it is easily observable, along with the imprecise framing of the issues. I see this is a sickness, and that thread in fact refers to it as an “addiction." I don’t see the Church operating from a basis of outrage, imprecision and divisiveness in her messaging. It does take discipline and moral authority to take the high road.

The words racism and discrimination are not made-up terms awaiting fine-tuning and national codification by the US government.  I'm not sure why you are trying to turn this political.

I am using racism and discrimination as they are defined in the English language.  You can refer to Merriam-Webster and drop the bizarre outrage and violence accusations.

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1 hour ago, hope_for_things said:

I read the first two links and neither are talking about trying to silence or discriminate against religion let alone advocating for laws or constitutional precedent that would systematically discount religions or religious speech.  

This doesn’t satisfy my CFR, you need to do more than a google search and copy links to articles with titles that seem to be vaguely related to your argument.  You need to find actual evidence to support your argument.  Please do that.  

Please stop trying to make me give references for things that I never claimed.  It's weird.  

I never claimed anything about laws or constitutional precedent or systematically discounting religious speech.  My claim was pretty straightforward.  I'll quote the exchange for you again (for the third time):

You said "maybe people like myself should advocate for not allowing the church to have a voice in society" and I claimed that "people do want to that".  You can only issue a CFR on my specific claim.  The claim is simple-some people do want to keep churches from having a voice in society.  That's all you can ask me to support with references because that's all I said.

The articles I linked to (which it doesn't sound like you actually read) support my assertion that there are people who are advocating (through argument or the use of boycotts) that our religion should not be allowed a voice in society.  Your CFR has been satisfied; I provided articles supporting the statement that I made.

If you disagree you can report me and let the mods figure it out.   

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2 hours ago, Ouagadougou said:

Finally, prophets and apostles before 1978 called these racist beliefs DOCTRINE, but apologists only call it "policies" or "theories," which is -- as you stated -- "the sin of omission."  

 

I've not been following the thread much, but as I noted earlier we have to distinguish between different uses of doctrine. Otherwise we're equivocating and talking past one an other. Again not speaking for anyone else but given the presence of racist teachings in McConkie's Mormon Doctrine I'd be shocked if anyone here wasn't aware that some GAs had called false teachings doctrine.

1 hour ago, rockpond said:

I am using racism and discrimination as they are defined in the English language.  You can refer to Merriam-Webster and drop the bizarre outrage and violence accusations.

Not to keep harping on semantic issues but people really do mean quite different things by these terms. Some use racism as a description of a person's beliefs and intents. Others use racism as a description of the effects of an act and whether they disproportionately negatively affect one racial group. That's rather significant as the same act can be racist in one sense and not the other. There's then further nuance as some people mean ethically racist and other people mean legally racist with again the result/intent distinction.

Edited by clarkgoble

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28 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

I've not been following the thread much, but as I noted earlier we have to distinguish between different uses of doctrine. Otherwise we're equivocating and talking past one an other. Again not speaking for anyone else but given the presence of racist teachings in McConkie's Mormon Doctrine I'd be shocked if anyone here wasn't aware that some GAs had called false teachings doctrine.

Yes, it was called doctrine numerous times in the past by prophets and aposltes; however, the church's own essay (which was approved by the Quorum of the 12) now calls it just "theories." 

"Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects unrighteous actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else."

https://www.lds.org/topics/race-and-the-priesthood?lang=eng

You just further highlighted my point; some people are in such denial that they can't admit that it was doctrine (or now false doctrine) prior to 1978.  

Edited by Ouagadougou

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19 minutes ago, Ouagadougou said:

Yes, it was called doctrine numerous times in the past by prophets and aposltes; however, the church's own essay (which was approved by the Quorum of the 12) now calls it just "theories." 

"Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects unrighteous actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else."

https://www.lds.org/topics/race-and-the-priesthood?lang=eng

You just further highlighted my point; some people are in such denial that they can't admit that it was doctrine (or now false doctrine) prior to 1978.  

I think you missed the whole point about my comment that it's not a term that means a single thing but that it has several uses. Equating any use of the word as if it the same concept is an equivocation fallacy

Certainly I agree with you that GA's have used the term doctrine. I don't think that's the dispute in question for the reasons I listed.

Edited by clarkgoble

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10 hours ago, rockpond said:

I'm confuses... what do you, Robert, believe ARE church teachings?  Because you seem to be saying that anything taught or written by a person (even as a prophet) does not qualify as a church teaching.  Or am I misunderstanding you?

Just because someone, anyone, says something, does not make it so, regardless of who that someone is.  A church doesn't have teachings anyhow.  A church is an organization.  In the case of the LDS Church, the church is merely a very malleable tool of the Melchizedek Priesthood, that is the Priesthood of the Son of God.  The true content of that endeavor is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the ordinary men called to administer that church organization are primarily engaged in transmitting the Gospel, regardless of their human frailties, which are many.

When this Earthlife is over, there will be no more church, but only the holy priesthood forever, now in more perfect hands.  Dual male and female hands for eternity.  Somewhere else, on a fresh new world,  there will be an imperfect church with imperfect people trying like hell to make a proper go of it.  There will be among them now and then a confused pebble plunging into the water, breaking the surface tension, and wondering what it is all about.  The pebble will experience an existential crisis, not certain what the proper interpretation might be, not realizing that life is a process and it takes patience to allow it to unfold in its own way.

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10 hours ago, rockpond said:

Likewise, I see Brigham Young as flawed.  All of us are.  And, yes, Elder McConkie, post-OD2, stated that President Young and others spoke without the light that we have today.  None of this erases past racist teachings by church leaders (nor does it discount those who opposed them).  It just means that we've improved.  Unfortunately, it feels to me that we are now repeating past mistakes.  But I am confident we'll correct those as well.

If you feel that I have presented something that is not factual, please feel free to show where I am mistaken.

Well, I agree with you, which doesn't make us correct at all.  I would, however, urge you not to believe in the false doctrine of progress.  History is not linear and progressive, but instead oscillatory and very dangerous.  Life is a test.  Each of us is being put through the wringer.  Unlike "Fight Club," however, we are permitted to talk about it.

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10 hours ago, Ouagadougou said:

Notwithstanding the mountain of evidence that shows and proves the church taught such racist principles/doctrine until 1978, you are still in denial and can't accept that prophets, apostles, and church leaders did, in fact, embrace such terrible ideologies (e.g., skin curse and not mixing races); this is a primary example of "omission" and/or denial.

Moreover, you still proceed to banter on about my non-existent hatred, with, by the way, no CFR or actual evidence...it's nothing but an empty accusation and comes off as very desperate, IMO. "Telling the truth is hard for some people," especially for those who can't accept the racist ideologies once embraced by the church and its top leadership before 1978.

Finally, prophets and apostles before 1978 called these racist beliefs DOCTRINE, but apologists only call it "policies" or "theories," which is -- as you stated -- "the sin of omission."  .......................................

The quotations from George Albert Smith are very apropos of this discussion, despite the melange of false statements which you unashamedly repeat here once more -- another example of your deep, unrepentant hatred.

It has not at all occurred to you to ask why it is that George Albert Smith's counselor, David O. McKay, did not believe those quoted statements by his boss.  As the next prophet, McKay rejected those views and searched in vain for an authentic revelation or other evidence of doctrine for the prohibition on ordination of negroes.  If your false stories were so true, how could that be?  Someone not motivated by hatred would ask that question first.  One would also have to honestly ask why Joseph Smith thought ordination of negroes was right and proper.  Why did Brother Brigham go against Joseph?  But your hatred makes you blind to these honest questions.

Even Bruce McConkie finally had to honestly face the stark reality of having been so wrong.   When are you going to admit how wrong you have been?  This life is a test, brother, and you are failing this exam question.

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11 hours ago, rockpond said:

This is such an inappropriate response to @Ouagadougou.  Let's keep the dialogue respectful.

See my latest response to him.  If you think it unfair, please tell howso.

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11 hours ago, SouthernMo said:

Heck no. This is a very good point. I’m just trying to get a grasp of what I’m actually a member of - what I’m actually sustaining?  What are ‘church teachings?’ What is “the church?”  Really not sure I belong or want to be in this club anymore because the dynamic vagueness coupled with living leaders’ authoritarianism that results in quasi-logical coercion because the leaders control the property and ordinances.

There are too many who exclude because of their personal interpretations of what a Mormon should believe, and I don’t want to be part of a group in which the majority don’t like what I believe (or don’t believe).

It is very much like a "club" isn't it?  With dues, bylaws, and everything.  If you were a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE) and they adopted policies distasteful to you, then you might indeed want to find another, more agreeable fraternal organization.  Or none at all.  Sounds reasonable to me.

Of course, religious organizations tend to make much deeper and more fundamental claims about the purpose of life and the very ground of being.  One must finally decide whether it seems both true and worthwhile, which may not be easy to figure out.  Each person must confront the matter in his own way.

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27 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

It is very much like a "club" isn't it?  With dues, bylaws, and everything.  If you were a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE) and they adopted policies distasteful to you, then you might indeed want to find another, more agreeable fraternal organization.  Or none at all.  Sounds reasonable to me.

Of course, religious organizations tend to make much deeper and more fundamental claims about the purpose of life and the very ground of being.  One must finally decide whether it seems both true and worthwhile, which may not be easy to figure out.  Each person must confront the matter in his own way.

Mark my words:

One day, years from now the LDS church leadership will not only allow, but embrace same-sex couples. They will be married in the temple if they’d like. There will be an official declaration indicating such.

As a result, leaders and members will then carefully explain that The Family: a Proclamation to the World or any other statement, teaching, or handbook policy that restricted or separated homosexuals was not really an LDS Church teaching. Rather, it will be explained away as men speaking in their homophobic times and attitudes.

And we will be asked to embrace again some other teaching as doctrine that will change in another future generation.  The cycle will continue in this church until we become less dogmatic, and more principled.

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13 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

I hate racist ideology also.  The difference between us is that I believe in telling the complete truth about organizations and people, while you do not.  That is immediately indicative of hatred on your part.  That is a defect which you need to overcome.  Your grave sin here is the sin of omission.  It doesn't really matter at all what someone is a member of.  The question is about personal integrity.  Telling the complete truth is just hard for some people.

Are these kinds of personal attacks allowed?

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2 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Just because someone, anyone, says something, does not make it so, regardless of who that someone is.  A church doesn't have teachings anyhow.  A church is an organization.  In the case of the LDS Church, the church is merely a very malleable tool of the Melchizedek Priesthood, that is the Priesthood of the Son of God.  The true content of that endeavor is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the ordinary men called to administer that church organization are primarily engaged in transmitting the Gospel, regardless of their human frailties, which are many.

When this Earthlife is over, there will be no more church, but only the holy priesthood forever, now in more perfect hands.  Dual male and female hands for eternity.  Somewhere else, on a fresh new world,  there will be an imperfect church with imperfect people trying like hell to make a proper go of it.  There will be among them now and then a confused pebble plunging into the water, breaking the surface tension, and wondering what it is all about.  The pebble will experience an existential crisis, not certain what the proper interpretation might be, not realizing that life is a process and it takes patience to allow it to unfold in its own way.

Well, my comments are just me “trying like hell” to make a proper go of this imperfect church on this new world. 

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On ‎12‎/‎5‎/‎2018 at 11:58 PM, Robert F. Smith said:

Factual statements are always laughable to those who disagree.  It is a simple statement of fact that the First Amendment makes it possible for each religion to make its own boundaries or self-definition (you clearly don't like that).  Value judgments, on the other hand, vary infinitely, and each group wants to vaunt its own set of rules as the "best."  You are making your own value judgments ("should") absolute measures of right and wrong.  Perhaps God is on your side, and not on the side of your opponents, but how could we establish that as a fact?  Philosophers know that such is impossible.

One reason we need Constitutional rights is because we have many sorts of intolerant people (such as you and your opponents) who don't like Constitutional rights.  Those with whom you disagree deserve to be punished, or at least to get a good tongue-lashing.  Right?

I'm pretty sure you're smarter than this. You're responding to when I said...

Quote

This is laughable.

Yes, of course church leaders have the ability to decide what is acceptable behavior within the LDS church. I haven't seen anyone argue against that. But you seem to be saying that since they have the right to discriminate against others within the church that that means they are not mistreating the LGBTQ community. It's not an either/or proposition. They can have the right to discriminate within the church, then discriminate and harm others. That's what is happening. It's not about what they CAN do. It's about what they SHOULD do and how their choices impact on others.

Does that honestly sound like I'm arguing against the church's right to self-define and set boundaries for the church? Come on, dude.

I'm not arguing that the church can't self-define for itself. It may very well say that discrimination in cases of X, Y & Z are appropriate. What I'm saying is it can't control how society views their discrimination, nor can they force their views on society. So if the church says, it's ok to discriminate against LGBTQ in certain ways (like calling them apostates and refusing to baptize their children) they can do that, but they can't prevent others from calling out their discrimination. They define what's appropriate discrimination for themselves and the rest of the world will define what's appropriate for them.

Of course I'm making my own value judgements about what is right and wrong. Aren't you? Or are you allowing someone else to form your value judgements?

Have I argued against constitutional rights? CFR. Please be responsible in your posts. Claiming that I don't like constitutional rights, and going further by stating I'm "intolerant" is stepping over the line of polite discourse. It's as if you're intentionally creating conflict to deflect from the real issue. You can't just go around lobbing insults and accusations at people, even if you are losing an argument.

I will expect an answer to the CFR or you can apologize with your retraction ;) 

@Robert F. Smith

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Robert F Smith has been banned from the thread for personal insults.

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4 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Well, I agree with you, which doesn't make us correct at all.  I would, however, urge you not to believe in the false doctrine of progress.  History is not linear and progressive, but instead oscillatory and very dangerous.  Life is a test.  Each of us is being put through the wringer.  Unlike "Fight Club," however, we are permitted to talk about it.

One purpose of our life here is to progress.  Progress isn’t a false doctrine. 

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1 hour ago, rockpond said:

One purpose of our life here is to progress.  Progress isn’t a false doctrine. 

I haven't been following this conversation so I could totally be confused, but I think what Robert meant by the false doctrine of progress is the false notion that the passage of time alone produces progress.  

The idea that time produces progress is what he seems to be arguing against.  Progress can happen but so can digression.  Progress is not a given.  We are not more progressive than those in the past just because we have come after them, and the future will not be more progressive than us just because they follow after us. 

I think that's what he means by the statement that history is not progressive but oscillatory.  Progression and digression both happen over time.  If we were to graph 'progress' throughout history, we would see that it's not linear.

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9 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Just because someone, anyone, says something, does not make it so, regardless of who that someone is.  A church doesn't have teachings anyhow.  A church is an organization.  In the case of the LDS Church, the church is merely a very malleable tool of the Melchizedek Priesthood, that is the Priesthood of the Son of God.  The true content of that endeavor is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the ordinary men called to administer that church organization are primarily engaged in transmitting the Gospel, regardless of their human frailties, which are many.

When this Earthlife is over, there will be no more church, but only the holy priesthood forever, now in more perfect hands.  Dual male and female hands for eternity.  Somewhere else, on a fresh new world,  there will be an imperfect church with imperfect people trying like hell to make a proper go of it.  There will be among them now and then a confused pebble plunging into the water, breaking the surface tension, and wondering what it is all about.  The pebble will experience an existential crisis, not certain what the proper interpretation might be, not realizing that life is a process and it takes patience to allow it to unfold in its own way.

How about if that someone like President Nelson who declared the Oct policy to be a revelation.  Does that make it a revelation  from God in your opinion?

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