Tuesday, November 14, 2006

What Kind of "Fold" is This?

(Posted at Exponent 2 blog--go there to see some interesting comments!)

The other day I had a rude comment on my blog by an anonymous poster. This poster berated me for my opinions and urged me to “come back to the fold.” I continue to be surprised that the perspectives I present on my blog and in my comments on other blogs are perceived to be so apostate. I realize that my viewpoint is probably not mainstream, but I don’t know why bloggers reading my posts immediately assume that I am not a member in good standing.

As far as I can ascertain, the following opinions of mine are those which have drawn the most acrimony:
1. I don’t believe Church leaders are infallible.
This is something I taught to people on my mission. I don’t believe I’m doctrinally incorrect here. I see leaders as people much like myself who are doing the best they can and will occasionally make mistakes. When mistakes are made, I see no problem discussing them in a respectful manner, without covering them up or pretending they don’t exist.
2. Faithful endowed women hold some type of “priestesshood” which we do not understand completely at this time. Latter-day revelation goes so far as to tell us that we have a Heavenly Mother, but goes no farther. Perhaps we will not be able to increase our understanding very much by discussing the matter, but we can harm no one by our speculations, hopes, dreams, poetry, or attempts to move toward a theological understanding of the feminine.
3. The Church’s official stand in regards to politics is strict neutrality. We are reminded of this over the pulpit on each and every election day. Members are free to hold any political position that they deem righteous and in accord with their personal integrity. As members of the Church, we should be able to maintain any political position, and though others certainly may disagree heatedly, they should not call into question our Church standing due to our political views.
4. Certain practices in the Church are “policy” related rather than doctrinal. An example of this might be that we don’t allow guitars in the chapel. Withholding the priesthood from blacks is a policy which is no longer practiced today. Who we give welfare help to or who should be excommunicated are both policy related issues and may vary in different wards throughout the Church. It is usually a mistake to attempt to attach doctrine to those things which are policy related.

After receiving criticism from the anonymous poster, I responded by outlining my level of activity in the Church. But I felt angry that I needed to justify myself on my own blog. What kind of “fold” ostracizes good members who may be pied, spotted, straked or just a little different? How do people who actually are less active ever gain the courage to come back to a “fold” which is so intolerant of diversity, or for that matter, sin?

I address this to you who consider themselves part of “the fold.” Do you think these opinions place me outside of the pale of true Mormonism? Are my opinions simply diverse, or are they dangerous and subversive? You are welcome to browse my blog

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