Quit Acting Like Christ Was Accepting of Everyone and Everything

Too many people are neglecting what is in the scriptures and trying to “customize Christ”. You can’t do that…seriously.

Too often we read a few scriptures that make us feel good and then omit everything else that we know about Jesus that might make us feel bad. Some have bowed down to modern trends and allowed themselves to be manipulated by the media and false teachers. Too many people are looking for a religion that is easy. In the world, we are offered instant salvation and taught about a Christ that accepts everyone just the way they are. There is no difference between our day and Isaiah’s time when the people asked him to “Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things” (Isaiah 30:10) Instead of looking for a Church that teaches truth, many are on a quest to find a church that can satisfy their innate desire to worship God, and yet at the same time, live the lifestyle that they want to live regardless of how ungodly it really is. Some consider it a great feat to find a church that allows them to live how they want to live, and still feel like they are worshipping God.

men silhouette in the fog

I don’t care whether you’re Mormon, Catholic, Protestant, or any other type of Christian…one thing is for certain. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not a ‘buffet’ that you can compile your perfect plate from. There is no salvation in building your own religion or customizing Christ to suit your needs and wants. The popular trend is to determine how you’d like to live your life and then to conform Christ to that lifestyle. It is done by appealing to Christ’s infinite love and mercy. But you can’t just go around rehearsing that “God is Love” (1 John 4:8) and then be done with it. John 3:16 is awesome…but it’s just one verse! God wouldn’t have given you all of those other verses if he didn’t want you to read them and apply them.

Lately, I’ve been hearing even some of my own friends begin to take the side of public LDS protestors Kate Kelly and John Dehlin. They’ve made statements indicating that if these two people are ex-communicated from the LDS Church for their feelings, then they also should be ex-communicated for sharing some of the same feelings. Here’s the deal though. They are not going to be ex-communicated for their feelings. If they are going to be ex-communicated, it will be because they are publicly leading massive amounts of people into personal apostasy just because the Lord hasn’t revealed this or that doctrine. Instead of humbly praying for change or speaking individually with family members or church leaders, they assume that they can organize a mob to publicly and forcibly put pressure on apostles of the Lord to customize the gospel of Jesus Christ in their own time, and not in His. Questions are one thing, protesting is another.

At the base of this movement is the feeling that Christ was so loving and accepting of everyone, that He would never stand for any kind of exclusion or discrimination. This could not be farther from the truth. Yes… it is true that Christ loves everyone and yes it is true that we should practice the doctrine of inclusion, but Christ was far from accepting behaviors that were not in accordance with the commandments. He didn’t come to this earth and just “accept people” and let them act however they wanted to act. “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” he said in Matthew 10 verse 34. He continues, “For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” In another place in the New Testament He even says, “I never knew you” as he spoke about people that were unwilling to repent and live the commandments. How and why will “a man’s foes be they of his own household?” Because Christ asks you to take a stand. He asks you which side of the line you’re going to be on…and you prove which side you are on by “keeping the faith”. Everyone and everything is not “ok” or “accepted” by Jesus Christ. All are loved by Him, but our behaviors have the power to leave us standing at a door in which He will not open. 

Does that sound all-inclusive?

If Christ were walking the earth today preaching the same things He was preaching back in His day, people would be flying off the handle. He’d teach hard things. Draw a line in the sand. Tell people He loves them. Ask them to repent. Maybe even get mad and turn over some tables. (Matt 21:12-13) Then they’d call Him a bigot. Self-righteous. Un-accepting of others and their way of life. They would “go away” and start their own form of religion like so many of them did while he was preaching in Israel. The question you have to ask yourself is the same question He asked His apostles. “Will ye also go away”? (John 6:67)

People get mad at the LDS Church, it’s leaders, and Mormons across the world for trying to defend some of the basic commandments. I am amazed at the sort of heat the LDS Church gets for its stance on homosexuality. Christians inside and outside of the Church label Mormon doctrine as old and outdated, and in the same breath say that Mormons don’t believe in the Bible. Nothing in the Book of Mormon says anything about homosexuality. But guess where it is visibly forbidden? Paul tells the Romans, in the Bible, that “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.” (Romans 1:26-27) In the Old Testament homosexuality was one of the primary reasons for the downfall of Soddom and Gomorrah. And again, Paul states that it is a man that should be with the woman “in the Lord”. (1 Cor 11:11). That was Biblical doctrine before it was ever something that needed to be addressed by the modern Church. Consider the woman taken in adultery in John 8. The Savior did not condemn her… but he also didn’t condone what she did. He loved her and He forgave her, but He also meant what He said when He told her to “go and sin no more.” The forgiveness of Christ should not be misinterpreted for acceptance. 

Mormons aren’t trying to be exclusive or discriminatory toward anyone. If they are…then they are not living their religion. Elder Quentin L. Cook stated, “As a church, nobody should be more loving and compassionate. Let us be at the forefront in terms of expressing love, compassion and outreach. Let’s not have families exclude or be disrespectful of those who choose a different lifestyle as a result of their feelings about their own gender.”

We should be “loving and compassionate” but we should never allow ourselves to believe that Christ just accepts us how we are. That was never in the program. He’s always asked us to change, to repent, to get better, and to overcome the things that we struggle with. When we quit trying to align our wills with God, and start trying to get God to align His will with ours…that is when we start to lose our way.  

Many people are taking the equality and fairness argument to the extreme, assuming that Jesus is accepting of everyone and everything. It’s just not true according to the scriptures and instead of making rash assumptions and jumping ship, we need to patiently keep our concerns on our spiritual shelf until the Lord reveals His will…


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  • digitalsniper

    Iinteresting the bible does not mention the book of Mormon… LOL…. Oh but thats ok with LDS… or that Paul said that even if ANGELS come from heaven with another doctrine they are false prophets… yet the Mormon faith is based totally on this premise (plus some chinese tin plates the founder dug up on his west bound journey that eventually was debunked by all of his followers…). No mention of those secret stones he put in his hat to translate either…. Seriously? Why not use the bible as your faith. Why use a book written by a broken man to build your faith on.?

    • Melanie L Hobby

      The bible does mention the Book of Mormon Ezekiel 37:15-19. Lehi’s family (BoM) was the house of Joseph. and of course, the Bible, from the Jews, the house of Judah. You join their two histories and accounts into “one stick” and there you go – Book of Mormon and the Bible, together. Easy peasy!

      • Rick Phillips

        Yeah right. That’s exactly what that verse is talking about. It’s clear as day. I mean, who could miss it?

      • curly

        Wow, wow. I’m guessing you’re being sarcastic. If this was a commonly accepted interpretation, then by golly, no Christian denomination should take issue with the history of Mormonism! Easy peasy!

    • disqus_Pd81nqTMBq

      Regardless of all of this, every scripture quoted in the above article was from the bible. Your comment is irrelevant, even without addressing how misinformed it is.

    • Josie

      Really, can you just agree, maybe that this article is true. ? Random negativity and being judgemental isn’t needed. Though your entitled, just not necessary. Any thoughts on the truth of the article?

    • Kierstb

      digitalsniper, the Bible does mention the Book of Mormon. And you are correct, Paul did say that, but if it is the doctrine of Christ, coupled with His restored authority to act by the power of God, then it is His. I won’t even go into what happened in the Nicene Councils with regards to politicians changing, editing, and placing books within the Bible according to their discretion. Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) put their faith in Christ, follow a Prophet ordained by God, believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it’s translated correctly, in addition to the Book of Mormon. Two witnesses are always better than one. I always have to wonder at those who would scorn another’s religion without first investigating it first. Yes, you are perfectly entitled to opinions about a book you have never read, and a religion whose doctrine you have never investigated (with sincere intentions). But until you have, it is difficult to be taken seriously. I encourage you to do so.

    • VirtualGathis

      Your comment is too full of errors to be anything less than a deliberate falshood or the result of blindly following false teaching. The Bible does mention the people who wrote the book of Mormon it even tells why it is essential for a complete picture of the doctrine of Christ. None of the original witnesses ever recanted their testimony, even the ones who left because they could not bear the burden of membership. The “secret stones” were the urim and thumim spoken of in the old testament. I invite you to examine mormon.org search for the answers to these questions as they have been addressed before and the responses too lengthy for this quorum. I know this church is true and its doctine to be inspired of god, the father, and the holy ghost.

      • CG

        The urim and thummim is sometimes referred to as “seer stones”, but I believe you misunderstand the stones he’s referring to (because mormon.org sticks strictly to “varnished” history). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seer_stone_(Latter_Day_Saints)#History
        I have a testimony of the gospel and Joseph Smith as a prophet as well, but facts are facts. Joseph Smith’s imperfectness doesn’t undermine my testimony, but I’m not required to limit my knowledge to varnished facts that are carefully approved and “correlated” for my consumption.

    • BTH

      Ezekiel 37 and Isaiah 29

  • http://southernmormonmommy.blogspot.com/ Sarah

    A lot of these people who make these silly claims are what I’ve grown up knowing them as “Easter and Christmas Christians” (twice-a-year church goers). Scriptures are not ment to be scanned through. We are supposed to feast upon the words of Christ. I totally agree that we can’t just read the happy scriptures that says He loves us.

    Keep the articles coming! I’m starting to look forward to your posts each week!

    -Southern Mormon Mommy
    http://www.sourthernmormonmommy.blogspot.com

  • Britt

    You sound like an angry person. Go eat a cookie.

  • Elder

    Yeah, we should definitely be less understanding and compassionate, there’s so much of that in the world already, it’s what Jesus would do….

    smh…

    • Dallas Lewis

      Yeah, that’s not what he said…at all

    • Tyler Walker

      That is not what he said at all. Please read his reamarks with an open heart and remember context. He is saying that as Christians, we should not accept certain behaviors as okay. We should be sharing the gospel and fighting against sin and wickedness. Though we should, as he says, be compassionate toward our fellow brothers and sisters. The fight is against Satan, not the men and women on this earth. We must do what we can to stop Satan’s influence and not fall in the trap of letting wickedness take over our fellow warriors in the name of acceptance and tolerance.

      • Nonsense

        Crazy talk.

    • Frank Segesman

      Did you even read this article?

  • Mama Dukes

    That was fabulous!!! Right on the mark!!!

  • Apostate Jones

    “There is no salvation in building your own religion or customizing Christ to suit your needs and wants.”

    Dude, you just described the Mormon faith. You are a hypocrite. Your religion is ridiculous.

    “Mormons aren’t trying to be exclusive or discriminatory toward anyone. If they are…then they are not living their religion.”

    Oh, you mean like if someone went door to door claiming your beliefs are false, if not incomplete? You mean like if I wanted to attend the baptism of my dead grandpa in the temple, or the sealing of my son to his wife for time and all eternity, I’d have to abandon my non-Mormon beliefs and be an active tithe-paying “member” first? Yep, exactly zero Mormons are living their faith.

    Mormons are Christian elitists, and the Spirit softly whispers to me saying, “Jesus knows not any of them.”

    I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

    • Jacob

      Apostate Jones, it sounds like there are some deeper issues going on here. Can we just be honest for a moment? Your comment is full of animosity towards Mormons. I am Mormon, and I would love to address all of your questions, as there are answers to all of them but you could just go to Mormon.org and start up a live chat with missionaries. It sounds like you believe in Christ. If you do, the Christlike thing to do or even just the humane thing to do would be to seek understanding with an open mind and try to make the world a better place instead of tearing others down with animosity. Especially if you knew that those you are tearing down have done so much good in this world! So much good! Any honest person can admit that. You completely have the right to ignore this comment, pick it apart, and hash up other issues, but I would much rather have a normal conversation if that’s okay.

  • Blair Barton

    What you have described reminds me of the Pharisee and the Saducees. I think that my version of God is much more tolerant than your version.

  • Ruth

    Where in the bible does it mention the female prophets going through a bishops’ court for being a prophet?

  • Charles

    Great read. Thanks, Greg! Have you thought about changing the domain name of your blog to gregtrimblephariseebigot.com? It might speak better to your target demographic. Good read, though. Thanks.

    • http://www.gregtrimble.com Greg Trimble

      haha! Thats awesome Charles. Thanks for the suggested domain name. I’ll check it out.

  • Josie

    Elder, hmm, pretty sure no where in this article did it say that we need to be “less understanding and compassionate” To the contrary it says specifically that we should be living and compassionate. Quotes straight from the text “As a church, nobody should be more loving and compassionate. Let us be at the forefront in terms of expressing love, compassion and outreach. Let’s not have families exclude or be disrespectful of those who choose a different lifestyle”
    The point of this article is to say that we can and certainly must continue to love and be compassionate to all people, regardless of their lifestyle choices. But one doesn’t have to SUPPORT those choices and condone the lifestyle. Love the person, not the sin. There is a difference and it is exactly the example Christ set for us.

  • Donna

    Elder Holland’s talk at the last General Conference alluded to this also “Sadly enough, my young friends, it is a characteristic of our age that if people want any gods at all, they want them to be gods who do not demand much, comfortable gods, smooth gods who not only don’t rock the boat but don’t even row it, gods who pat us on the head, make us giggle, then tell us to run along and pick marigolds.
    Talk about man creating God in his own image!” Thank you. I completely agree.

  • BFitzy

    This is simply my opinion, but I think dissent is perfectly okay. In fact, most Mormons love the story of Abinidi without realizing that Noah and his priests were essentially the leaders of the church within that particular group of Nephites and Abinidi was a dissenter. Now I’m not comparing the actions of our current leaders to the wicked and terrible ones of Noah and his priests, but it should be evident that it isn’t right condemning someone for having an opinion that contradicts the opinions of the brethren, even publically. I should mention that perhaps the most famous dissenter of all time was Christ himself, who was quick to point out the false traditions and hypocrisy of the pharisees and high priests.

    As far as sustaining the leaders go, I feel that it’s possible to do so without agreeing with absolutely everything they say and do. They are human, after all, and subject to the same fallacies and weaknesses as indeed any human is. Because I sustain them in their offices, I feel it is important to pay heed to them and listen, but I don’t believe it comes with a charge to automatically regard every word they speak as doctrine or revelation, nor do I believe it requires us to regard them as infallible or incapable of leading the Church astray. You said in your opinion that disagreement with the brethren negates sustaining them, but if indeed sustaining them means complete alignment with all their opinions then what is the point of having the gift of the Holy Ghost or indeed even having a personal relationship with the Savior?

    To complete my thought, I don’t think it matters one way or the other if we agree with the views of Brother Dehlin or Sister Kelly, I think what matters is that we love them, we desire the best outcome for them and we believe them when they say they sustain the leaders.

    • M.C.

      In each of the examples you cite, the “dissenters” were speaking out against hypocritical and even evil men who were leading the church members astray. And in those cases, they were correct in their actions. But is that really what you believe is happening today??

      You say, “…but it should be evident that it isn’t right condemning someone for having an opinion that contradicts the opinions of the brethren, even publically.” And that is where you are so very wrong. That is precisely the gateway to apostasy.

    • Jarrett

      BFitzy

      First and foremost,
      we are not talking about opinions, we are talking about doctrine as it has been
      revealed through the Lord’s latter-day prophets. To disagree on a matter of
      opinion (e.g. what is the best flavor of ice cream) is not a big deal. However,
      to disagree on a matter of doctrine (e.g. the performance and acceptance of
      “same-sex marriage”) is much different. Wilford Woodruff said,

      “I say to Israel,
      the Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as president of the
      Church to lead you astray. It is not in the program. It is not in the mind of
      God.” (The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, pp. 212–13.)

      Thus, the
      importance of aligning ourselves with the doctrine as revealed by the Lord’s
      prophet, is that we will never be led astray if we do.

      The comparison of
      the Brethren of today to the Jews of the Savior’s time or to King Noah and his
      priests, and of Brother Delhin and Sister Kelly to Abinadi and the Savior is a
      poor one. Unlike Abinadi and the Savior, Sister Kelly is seeking to promote ideas
      and policies that are increasingly popular. The Savior and Abinadi testified of
      truths that were very, very unpopular. As I am not very familiar with the work
      of Brother Delhin, I will not comment on it. Furthermore, are the Brethren
      trying to kill Brother Delhin or Sister Kelly, as King Noah and the Jews did to
      Abinadi and the Savior?

      You also said,
      “…if indeed sustaining [the General Authorities] means complete
      alignment with all their opinions [i.e. doctrine the Lord has revealed through
      them] then what is the point of having the gift of the Holy Ghost or indeed
      even having a personal relationship with the Savior?”

      The point of having
      the gift of the Holy Ghost, despite the fact that the prophets reveal unto us
      God’s will with regard to current circumstances, is clear through a number of
      scriptures. Jacob 4:13 states, “for the Spirit speaketh truth and lieth
      not. Wherefore, it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they
      really will be; wherefore, these things are manifested unto us plainly, for the
      salvation of our souls.” Moroni 10:5 states, “And by the power of the
      Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things”. 2 Nephi 32:5, “…if
      ye enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all
      things what ye should do.” While these three verses do not define all of
      the ways in which the gift of the Holy Ghost benefits an individual, it is
      clear that an individual who has the companionship of the Holy Ghost, will be
      blessed because the Holy Ghost reveals to him things as they really were, are
      and will be, unto the salvation of his soul (Jacob 4:13). This includes the
      fact that there really are negative consequences associated with sin, even if
      it is popular or gaining broader acceptance (e.g. heterosexual or homosexual
      fornication). Also, the Holy Ghost can confirm to us that what is taught by the
      Brethren is truth (Moroni 10:5). Furthermore, the Brethren can not, and do not
      tell us how to rule our lives in every way. Rather, they teach us correct
      principles, and then the Holy Ghost inspires us as to how to put these
      principles into effect in our lives (2 Nephi 32:5). Thus, the gift of the Holy
      Ghost blesses the individual in many important ways, despite the fact that the
      Brethren reveal the Lord’s will to the world.

      With regards to
      having a personal relationship with the Savior, despite the fact that the
      Brethren reveal the Lord’s will to us, I think the reason is very obvious.
      Those who accept the Savior’s sacrifice through their actions (i.e. covenants
      and righteous living) will be found clean of their sins and able to dwell in
      God’s Kingdom and enjoy Eternal Life, in the hereafter.

      Finally, you said,
      “To complete my thought, I don’t think it matters one way or the other if
      we agree with the views of Brother Dehlin or Sister Kelly, I think what matters
      is that we love them, we desire the best outcome for them and we believe them
      when they say they sustain the leaders.”

      Yes, we do need to
      love them and be tolerant of them the way the Savior has taught (i.e. love the
      sinner, hate the sin). As for believing what they say, when they say that they
      sustain the Brethren, the Savior taught, “By their fruits ye shall know
      them” (Matt. 7:20). What are the fruits of these two individuals? Do these
      fruits help others come closer to Christ, by deepening their faith in His
      Church and its leaders?

    • VirtualGathis

      Your argument is self defeating. You state the you can dissagree with church doctine and still sustain its leadership. You also use Christs example of dissention while ignoring the accompanying message. When Christ disagreed with the doctrine of the established church he instructed his church to repent and when they refused to repent they were instructed to leave the false church. So if you are following Christ’s example while supporting a view opposed to the doctrine as handed down by the prophet who guides the LDS church you are indicating that the church has been called to repent, which would mean that God has called another prophet other than the one leading the church. Following Christs example you would then leave the church if it failed to repent and follow the correct doctrine and the new prophet. So in supporting the dissenting oppinion you are in fact rejecting the prophet and the doctrine he is delivering as being ungodly.

    • Marna

      God will never allow the Leaders to lead the Church astray!

      • TheMogabi

        Neither will I. You can trust that when I said I will never lead you astray I was speaking the truth because I will never lead you astray.

        Do you believe me? I hope not.

    • Bryun

      To say that Noah and his priests were the leaders of God’s church and the Pharisees were the leaders of God’s church at the time of Christ is either a huge misunderstanding on your part or you’re just trying to stir the pot. They may have been leaders, but they were absolutely NOT leaders of God’s church. To imply so is a masterful twisting of the truth to make an argument seem more based in fact. Nice try, but to put King Noah on the same level as Joseph Smith, Thomas Monson or even the bishop of your ward is in gross error and an insult to the latter three. King Noah, the Pharisees, and every wicked (selfish) ruler is in place to put themselves is positions above people. Looking at their fruits, it seems the modern dissenters Dehlin (who has publicly stated that he doesn’t believe the Book of Mormon is scripture) and Kelly (who gets a lot of limelight speaking out against church leaders) are closer to King Noah and the Pharisees. I hope you’re just being argumentative and don’t truly believe that these dissenters are really on par with Abinidi and Christ.

    • Tom

      One vital thing to realize about Abinidi’s story is that not only were the priests not the apostles or the counselors to the prophet, but all Abinidi really did was recite to them the commandments. Being that Alma then later became the first prophet in that part of the land, we know that there was no God-ordained structure at the time. If what is being said by those who ‘dissent’ is “follow what God has already instructed us to do”, then it’s certainly good to ‘dissent’ inasmuch as we’re following the spirit and word of christ and our opinions aren’t based in societal norms or society-determined definitions. I think a good archetype is the quorum of the twelve apostles. They said they all have their own opinions, but when the prophet says “I feel it should be this way” it’s unanimous. The vital thing there is following the Holy Ghost, which is God’s mouthpiece. Anyone who knows Thomas S Monson at all can easily tell he has a pure heart and is a worthy vessel of God’s will. Knowing this, the choice to accept a “no” when we petition him should be an obvious choice if we’re humble.

  • Kaylee

    You’re on the right path, but then you get it all wrong. You forget that Christ is the ultimate judge. Not one of us in the church should weigh in on John and Kate. We should keep quiet since it’s not for us to decide. In fact, it’s sinful to open our mouths and weigh in – that’s judging and by God’s laws we’re not in a position to do that. It also sounds like you don’t completely understand what Kate and John are doing, and how much they’ve helped church members – not turned them away.

  • Jeffrey

    Acceptance and approval are two different things. Christ was accepting of everyone, and he withheld his judgment of a person’s actions or status. He spent his time amongst those his own religion had labelled as sinners, filthy, and unworthy.

    Christians would do well to listen to that instead of trying to manipulate his message to support judgmental attitudes.

    And a Mormon using Christ to justify his own bigotry would do well to remember that not only did Christ never say a word on homosexuality, but when presented with the moral outcasts of his day – an adulteress – he instead told her accusers to mind their own business.

    And that is supposed to mesh with the LDS Church’s treatment of independent thought and the homosexual community?

    Seems to me this guy – who lacks an understanding of either the Roman culture Paul was speaking to, or the true nature of Sodom and Gomorrah’s crimes in those myths (which was not homosexuality) – should take a bit of his own medicine when it comes to manipulating Christ.

    And I’m not even Christian.

    • Matthew Bennett

      It’s clear you’re not a Christian and don’t know the New Testament. Christ and those He approved of had plenty of harsh words that they leveled against a multitude of evils and those who did them (including but not limited to: liars, exploiters of workers, unrighteous religious and social leaders, hypocrites, and adulterers and fornicators (which would include anyone involved in homosexual activity, since gay marriage was against Biblical principles)).

      Christ called those that he ministered to “sick” (spiritually). He never claimed they were doing what was right–but they were the ones who needed to hear his message. It was those who repented when He called on them to repent and stopped doing those evil things that were approved of Him.

      LDS theology is clear that Christ’s first coming in the flesh was about Atonement, reconciling God with mankind. The Second Coming will be about judgment, when those who refused to repent when He commanded them to will be destroyed. That mirrors all Christian theology I’ve ever read that accepts the doctrine of a Second Coming.

      • CG

        He called on them to repent, but he did so with LOVE. He knew better than anyone that repentance requires a change of heart, and there’s no way for that change to come if your heart is unreachable because you’re being condemned for being a sinner (by a bunch of sinners who merely sin differently than you). He forgave the adulteress and told her to sin no more. And she was *undoubtedly* better able to follow his admonition because of his compassion, kindness, and LOVE. Those condemning her could never have brought that result from their course of action.
        Is the goal to actually help people to know Christ and experience a change of heart? Or is it to be “right” in our condemnation and judgment of them?
        Your statement speaks of the Second Coming being about judgment and destruction, but I still see that as being His decision when the time comes and NOT ours at any time.

    • Hawkfan79

      “…but when presented with the moral outcasts of his day – an adulteress – he instead told her accusers to mind their own business”

      And then he told her to “go, and sin no more.” The standard of not committing adultery was not relaxed simply to make the woman feel okay about her sins. Rather, she obtained forgiveness through the Savior and was given the opportunity to make better choices going forward.

    • Anthony D.

      You hit the nail right on the head, Jeffrey. Thank you. Let us not forget that Sodom and Gomorrah was guilty, not of homosexuality, but of inhospitality and attempted rape (see Ezekiel 16:49-50 for a list of Sodom’s actual sins). And as Jeffrey said, the Roman cutlure was one of great indulgence and sexual gratification.
      Being gay is not the same as being a sexual deviant, any more than being heterosexual is. It is a longing and attraction that a person does not choose, the same as a heterosexual attraction and desire, and I believe it is pure at its core. While I don’t understand all the reasons why someone is gay, I know God loves them infinitely. Having same-gender attractions is not a sin in LDS doctrine, and even that understanding has come over time. We believe in continuing revelation after all, don’t we, as LDS? That we need to be patient and have faith in the Lord’s timing as He continues to reveal His will?
      What needs to change in our Church is how we treat and empathize with LGBT individuals, especially LGBT youth, in our Church, for they are surely at risk, especially when they meet with nothing but ostracism, misunderstanding, ignorance and rejection. There are still too many members that haven’t even heard about mormonsandgays.org, for instance. Perhaps we should be asking and praying for our leaders to talk more about this issue as it surely affects real people and can even lead to those people, most of them young kids, taking their own lives, or engaging in seriously risky behaviors.

  • BJ

    Good article! In reference to:
    “Consider the woman taken in adultery in John 8. The Savior did not condemn her… but he also didn’t condone what she did. He loved her and He forgave her, but He also meant what He said when He told her to “go and sin no more.”
    I believe that James Talmage, in his book “Jesus The Christ” teaches us that the woman taken in adultery could not be forgiven right then and there. She needed time to go through the repentance process. Note the Master’s words to her, “Go, and sin no more.”
    He did not say “you are forgiven” or “I forgive you”. He said unto her, “Go, and sin no more.”

  • FreeCommunist

    Nailed it. The bigger issue with Kate Kelly and others is whether or not they’re willing to follow the prophet. It’s becoming more and more clear that their answer is No unless the church becomes part of the feel good Christianity movement.

    • Ruth

      To consider: the followers of Charles Manson only did what they were told. He was their leader and they had hero worship and devotion toward him. The followers could not say, ‘he told me to kill’ and think that would make it ok. They are still guilty and still in jail. It’s true that Thomas Monson has not made one prophecy in his time as prophet nor has he said to kill; nevertheless if a lower-ranked leader tells you to do something you are still responsible for your actions.

  • Mary Cate Bassett

    Christ was harsh on hypocrites. That means he wouldn’t like people calling excommunication an act of love, invitation, and inclusion.

  • Just A Member

    First you can’t say one versus doesn’t back up a claim, John 3:16, and then use 2-3 other versus to prove that one point is valid due. You invalidate your position when you do that.

    When Christ reestablished his church he primarily was trying to clean house as it were, since the original Jewish faith had become corrupt, primarily because they became too focused on the law, or church organization.

    Clearly Christ shocked the majority of “his faith” not because of his overzealousness, but his willingness to reach out to people that had previously been seen as outcasts. I truly believe that Christ meant what he said, love god and love your neighbor.

    As members of the church it worries me when we try and impose our values on others. We are invited to share the gospel with love and patience, that’s it. As Christian we are to bear the cross. If others rebuke us and condemn us we have examples of what we should do, turn the other cheek, say nothing, and die if need be. The fact you take so much from Christ overturning over a few tables is ironic. You realize he meekly died, and was very much a proponent of turning the other cheek.

    We have the gospel, we are invited to share this with others. If they reject the gospel we should feel true sadness, we should not get defense or wish for the judgments of God to rain down upon them. Christ is long suffering, and we should be the same. Your line of thinking is problematic. If there are people that see things differently than yourself, it isn’t your place to condemn them. We have amazing leaders that will handle this in a civil manner.

    Ultimately God is in charge, and regardless of what people do, the work will continue. Our primary concern should be the work of charity and obedience to the commandments, on a personal level. God is well equip to deal with what needs to be dealt with. Take Alma Jr. for example. His father loved him, and ultimately God stepped in and worked a miracle. Something similar can happen in this case.

  • Crazywomancreek

    “You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” Anne Lamott

  • fiona64

    Well, I guess I must be reading a different Bible from you: Christ disapproved of charging money to rent temple clothing or buy food in the temple, and of praying in public. Otherwise, he was indeed pretty darned accepting. And there were only three commandments he made to his followers: comfort the afflicted (ailing), feed the hungry, and love your neighbor as yourself. I don’t see a lot of subtext here. ::shrug:: In fact, it’s all pretty straightforward. Not one peep about “never question anyone.”

    Oh, and apostasy? That means that the person has disaffiliated themselves from a religion. *Heresy* is what it’s called when you question leadership in public.

    • Natasha

      Only three commandments??? Yeah, you’re definitely reading a different Bible . . .

  • Frank

    Greg, outstanding comments and thank you for taking the time to make them. I truly believe that this is exactly what Jesus asked of us when he said to go and spread the Word / minister to others. What I have learned is that fear and uncertainty causes many of us to react to protect our perspective / our comfort level rather than open one’s heart to listen and hear if the Spirit is communicating to us. When are beliefs come into question, our human reaction is to protect them without opening one’s heart to listen.

    I truly believe and agree with you, that as a general Christian population, some of us try to find a Church that will make things “easy” or more “comfortable” to make our lifestyle accepting to God. To ease our conscience. When reading Matthew 5:17-48, I always get reminded of my humanity and shortcomings against such a high standard. But the loving nature of God and the forgiveness that is always there, no matter what, brings me confidence that I can work toward the high standards and receive forgiveness when I fail.

    Jesus further goes on to talk about judging people in Matthew 7:1-5, right? It helps me recognize that although I need to work on living the Word of God and in accordance to the new teaching of Jesus, judgment is not for me but for the Lord. This doesn’t mean we openly accept and do not question or comment, but it leaves judgment to The Lord. We are told to watch out for false prophets or concern ourselves with self deception (Matthew 7:15-23). In the letters of James, Peter and Paul, they warns us about human weaknesses and to be watchful of deceptions. They intend for us to question and comment. In doing so, however, one cannot become a new false prophet or create such deception that others follow “blindly” or because it is “easy” or “comfortable”. For some of us, it is our tendency to want to find the easier path. Sometimes, we just need to get through the day and why not have one less thing to “worry” about. And that is how we get distracted and pulled away from the Way. So when someone openly questions or comments, a sense of responsibility needs to be part of process. That is where we fail. We make the comments or questions without consideration for the listeners or the respective responses. We enjoy the limelight and the sensationalism that stirs the establishment (in this case the LDS Church) to make them bend. But at what cost? Was it led by the Spirit? Did they listen to the whisper or go for the loud salacious noise before reacting? What was easier to follow?

    The “Narrow Gate” verse in Matthew 7:13-14 is one which clearly indicates inclusion vs. exclusion. But not because God has chosen who will enter and who will not. The choice is left to us. By accepting or not accepting the teachings of Jesus, will we decide which gate we enter by. The choice is ours to make. And we have the “directions” to go through either one: the easy, wide gate if we chose to ignore the teachings of Jesus or the harder, challenging gate if we chose to follow the teachings of Jesus. I think the descriptions you provided Greg were right on. It is in the Bible.

    Regardless of the topic, homosexuality, accepting of divorces (for the Catholics out there) or when to get baptized, the Bible has comments to help guide us. It also allows for interpretations to be generated to help us maneuver through life, at least many of us think that is the case. Individually, we need to understand the teachings and stand fast on our believes. Including the questioning of the elders of our churches. As we reflect on those believes, are we allowing the Spirit to direct us (and maybe making the tough decision) or does our human compassion come into play. Either way, I still go back to Matthew 7:1-5. Judging is not for me … but for The Lord. What is for me, is to stand for what I believe and practice that believe to the best of my ability accepting God’s mercy and forgiveness when I fail. And I will not add judgment to that list of failings. Rather, I will extend love and acceptance and open myself to have a conversation to discuss the differences non-judgmentally. That is what I believe we have been asked to do: “to teach them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

  • Vin Ablack

    I am not a LDS, but I wholeheartedly agree with everything you’ve mentioned. Too many Christians are acting like the Word of God is a buffet table. They’re acting like the world and still expecting Godly answers to their prayers…. Jesus said, the gospel of the Kingdom is a sweet smelling savor to some and a stench to others…. Either we are ‘for’ Him or ‘against’ Him. No middle ground. This is called commitment, folks!
    As followers of Christ, we may not agree on everything, but on the points that we do agree on, let’s be united against those who deliberately distort the Word for their own selfish gain.

  • tom hojanks

    Thanks so much for posting this! I’ve been feeling nauseous all morning and, after reading this, I threw up immediately. I feel much better now.

  • Geo Appiah-sokye

    Here is my 2 cents
    Jesus did not accept everyone’s ways.
    but he would welcome those who were willing to change their ways with open arms.
    this was a guy who flipped sh*t because the people in the temple were gambling in there. but chilled with the likes of zacchaeus
    He told it as it was, that’s why he was not accepted by the Jews who ended up crucifying him.
    Luke 6:26 “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way.

  • branson

    My great uncle was ex-communicated for publicly denouncing the priesthood ban on blacks and the storyline of fence-sitters in the pre-existence. I would like to think it was a measure of his struggles and battles that ended up righting the ship ultimately. Yes Jesus was not accepting of everybody. But it is important to get it right!!!…and the leadership of the church (after getting it wrong for an ENTIRE RACE of people) are not showing a great track record!

  • random

    Greg,

    Consider a little bit of additional information about Soddom that may help support your point in this post. Soddom may have been known for homosexuality, but there were other evils there too, and the scriptures indicate that other cities are even more sinful than Soddom, although not necessarily because of homosexuality (see http://pjsaunders.blogspot.com/2013/02/homosexuality-is-only-one-symptom-of.html). Ezekiel lists quite a few reasons that Jerusalem was worse than Soddom, and in doing so, he gives us more information about what Soddom’s iniquities were: “pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and the needy. And they were haughty and committed abomination…” The abominations were only part of the problem, perhaps even a symptom of the real problem, which was disdainful pride, selfishness, laziness, total lack of charity.

    Its easy to tout homosexuality as sinful, but if homosexuality is only a symptom, then it means that those who

    desire to be “Saints” will step up our level of “kindness…without hypocrisy and without guile – reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost (not when moved upon by our selfish pride); and then showing forth afterwards an INCREASE of love towards him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy…Let thy bowels be full of charity…” As Latter-day Saints, we’ve covenanted to mourn with those that mourn and to bear one anothers burdens, and as Joseph Smith said, “The nearer we get to our heavenly Father, the more we are disposed to look with compassion on perishing souls; we feel that we want to take them upon our shoulders, and cast their sins behind our backs…”

    Does this mean that we lower our standards? NO! It means that we love even more, forgive even more. And we don’t just forgive. If we have been so richly blessed in healthy, loving relationships, then we ought to give of our plenty to those who have none. How else are they to come unto Christ, unless someone with the Spirit invites them? This is the very reason that Christ was found eating and drinking with “publicans and sinners”. He lived all the verses that he taught. “For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so?” As Elder Anderson’s last conference talk encourages, it means that we befriend and even love those that we would classify as our enemies, and lift them up on our shoulders.

    If Zion = no poor among us, what are we doing to enrich the lives of those we judge to be “abominable”, or spiritually poor? If we cast them out, how is that better than Soddom’s approach to the physically poor? What are we doing to “give of our substance”, of who we are,
    and of the light that we’ve received? “Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.”

    “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief” teaches powerful doctrine, that as we travel down the busy highway of our lives, we need to pay attention to those on either side who are either physically or spiritually “stript, wounded, beaten nigh to death”, whether they realize it or not. By going out of our way to care for them in a variety of ways, we will find our own concealed wounds healed and our own broken hearts bound up with peace. This is the core of the gospel.

    Elder Holland put it this way: “What you believe about the atonement is not going to be said in a classroom. For me, it certainly isn’t going to be said in a symposium. What you will say about your understanding of the atonement will come in your human relationships with other people who have problems, with other people who are, if not sinful, at least unfortunate, who make mistakes, who haven’t every day of every year and in every hour done all that he or she could have done. You know I’m describing you and me. There is a burden there. The burden of sin. And this is the cry from Paul to the Galatians: ‘Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.'”

    Do we all need to keep our standards high? Yes we do. Standing loudly and unflinchingly against “all appearance of evil” is perhaps the easy part, but it isn’t the core. I agree with what you’ve posted here. Christ’s comprehensive teachings invite us to take an even higher road. Doesn’t he invite us to develop a loud and unflinching pure, Christlike love, and to overcome our own Soddom-like disdainful pride, selfishness, laziness, and lack of charity toward the “poor”, “who is my neighbor?” With His help, we can all accept His invitation and develop one heart, and one mind, and dwell in righteousness.

  • Daniella

    I think this article backs up the very reasoning for such persecution and rebellion within the church. If you’re not ‘worshiping the God of what everyone thinks,’ or sticking your nose in your neighbors business, you’re not a real Mormon. This is the very reason why I left the church and was baptized as a real Christian. I accidentally clicked on this article today. But for whatever reason, I’m thankful I am not a victim of this agonizing religion anymore.

  • Kristina

    Yes! Thank you!!!

  • David Richards

    Excellently put.

  • Veritatus

    There is a big difference between Christ and Christ’s church on earth, and you convolute the two.

    Jesus says “I never knew you” to people who claimed to perform miracles in His name, this warning is given immediately following a warning to avoid false prophets. It is clear to me that people who use the priesthood for their own gain are those who Jesus “never knew.” As you say–don’t just take in the one verse, but read the whole of the message.

    I would also posit that placing business advertisements in the same blog as your skewed attempts to twist your philosophies into the gospel would qualify as you being a wolf in sheep’s clothing (Matt 7:15).

    Also, it really would be easier to read if you understood basics of grammar: for example, the difference between “too” and “to” would be a good start.

  • Clumpy

    So out of curiosity, what do you think of the members who were “agitating” the Church to extend the priesthood to all worthy members prior to 1971? The recent response from the Church regarding this issue basically said outright that the policy was probably a social one, probably instituted by people like Brigham Young who in addition to being a prophet were products of their time, and who picked up messages and narratives from the Christian cultural around them. Clearly people were supposed to have the priesthood before 1971 who… simply didn’t. We no longer accept many policies and de facto doctrines regarding race in the Church, to the point that a BYU professor was recently disciplined for propagating them.

    Similarly, during the time of Joseph Smith a lot of major doctrines and revelations came from Church members who came to him with questions or concerns about then-current policy and doctrine.

    Revelation isn’t a telephone line; it’s a complex relationship between a person, their knowledge and priorities, the Lord, and the people they serve. Who’s to help us to poke at policies and beliefs which may be similarly flawed, if not members with concerns and priorities? As long as they accept that they might be wrong, there’s totally a reasonable precedent for members doing what Feminist Mormon Housewives, Mormon Stories, or Ordain Women are doing.

    • Jared
    • Hasara

      An important comment in the above paragraph states: “As long as they accept that they might be wrong.” It seems to me that that’s a large part of the problem with these particular people, and some others like them. From what I’ve observed, they seem to “know” they’re right, and feel that church leaders should/would come to the same conclusions if they sincerely gave it more thought, effort, and/or prayer. And apparently they think that things like many Conference talks, articles, and the “Proclamation on the Family” were just outdated opinions rather than inspiration. It’s important to keep in mind that many other faithful members of the church feel that we’ve humbly and sincerely asked for answers, also, and feel strongly that we’ve received confirmation from the Lord that the doctrines taught by these leaders ARE correct and in accordance with His will. Some of my own answers have included some very specific “whys” that make a lot of sense to me, and have changed my confusion and concern to feelings of understanding, patience, and peace. (And it might be helpful for people to keep in mind the Martin Harris story, and to remember what happened and how Joseph Smith felt after he kept asking the Lord, basically, to change his mind on something He’d already given an answer to. And there are also other stories in the scriptures along those same lines. It seems to me that when the Lord reveals His will to his servants the prophets, He expects them to pass that information along to members of the church– and not ask if He could please change His mind so that the church would be more politically correct or popular in modern society.

      For those who still struggle with the “Blacks and the Priesthood” problem, they might benefit from reading the stories of some of the Blacks who joined the church before the policy was changed, and also the account of how (and how long) Pres. Kimball struggled with and prayed about the issue before finally receiving the revelation that opened the door for all worthy male members of the church to hold the priesthood. He (and most members of the church) always knew that the time would eventually come, but it just wasn’t known WHEN that time would be– regardless of WHY it was withheld from them in the first place. (As far as I can tell, that point is still debated.) There are some very touching and faith-promoting stories out there.

      • TheMogabi

        “An important comment in the above paragraph states: “As long as they accept that they might be wrong.” It seems to me that that’s a large part of the problem with these particular people, and some others like them. From what I’ve observed, they seem to “know” they’re right”

        Shouldn’t the leaders of the church accept that they might be wrong as well? After Blacks were allowed to be ordained to the Priesthood in 1978, Bruce R. McConkie said the following:

        “There are statements in our literature by the early Brethren which we have interpreted to mean that the Negroes would not receive the priesthood in mortality. I have said the same things, and people write me letters and say, “You said such and such, and how is it now that we do such and such?” And all I can say to that is that it is time disbelieving people repented and got in line and believed in a living, modern prophet. Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whomsoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world.

        “We get our truth and our light line upon line and precept upon precept. We have now had added a new flood of intelligence and light on this particular subject, and it erases all the darkness and all the views and all the thoughts of the past. They don’t matter any more.”

        “It doesn’t make a particle of difference what anybody ever said about the Negro matter before the first day of June of this year, 1978. It is a new day and a new arrangement, and the Lord has now given the revelation that sheds light out into the world on this subject.”

        Source: http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=1570

        Bruce R. McConkie basically said that everything that came before on the subject was outdated opinion. Why can’t the same thing happen with the subject of women ordination?

    • K

      Questions are fine, but I feel like God has been pretty clear on the question of women and the priesthood. In recent general conferences the apostles and prophet have made clear God’s current stance on this topic. (See Elder Dallin H. Oaks’ talk of the April 2014 conference). There really should be no doubt at the moment.

    • Chuck

      Clumpy, you are misrepresenting what the church said. No one knows why it was done, but the previous prophets did not feel it could be altered without revelation. Everything else is speculation.

    • teri9

      Here is the reason why the current prophet will always trump the past prophets. Joseph and Brigham were still in the infancy of the Church. The Lord never intended nor expected them to “get it all in one big lump”. It was line upon line, precept upon precept. They had many misconceptions back then, because they simply could not just restore the entire Church of Jesus Christ, with zero background on it, and expect to have it all set up within even 1 year’s time, fully and totally complete. Eventually the Lord did accomplish the task of teaching His prophets all about the doctrine and organization of His Church.

      Secondly, there are many of those quotes, and I’m familiar with most of them, that are spoken while under the influence of the Holy Ghost, and others that are spoken in a matter of personal opinion. Context, context context.

      The prophets today are walking a thin tightrope of political correctness which has been forced upon them. They do not literally come out and say that “Brigham Young was wrong and screwed up.” They choose their words very carefully and the meaning and understanding of those words are usually not what today’s average person would consider them to be. Basically they have to side step many issues because the Church does not have time today to split hairs. The work has been hastened and there are more eternally important things taking place that need to happen. So they do only what they must in public relations, and they do not disclose all that they know or could disclose. It has always been so with prophets. Meanwhile we peons sit here in the dust debating back and forth what we think we know so much about, but in reality know little to nothing about.

    • Kelz

      During the time of Joseph Smith, a lot of those major doctrines and revelations that came from church members came to him with questions. Example when Emma Smith questioned the use of Tabacco and Alcohol. Joseph Smith then prayed about them himself, and took it to the lord, and then recieved an answer. Ordain Women had every right to do the same. But rather than take it to their bishops and stake presidents with questions they took it to the streets and the media to get attention for it, which as he mentions above- is bringing much apostasy amongst the church.

  • Jewelfox

    Please stop putting words in others’ mouths and bearing false witness about them, their religious beliefs, and their consciences. Jesus asked you not to.

  • Jewelfox

    With all that Mormons claim their beliefs are misrepresented by others, and insist that you should ask them and nobody else about what Mormons believe in, one would think that you would have the decency to at least ask a progressive Christian or Mormon what they believe before telling everyone your thoughts on it. I guess agitation and creating a public outcry are only bad when they’re done to people that you agree with.

  • lasvegaspamela

    An awesome institute teacher of mine states that “people will be filing into the Telestial kingdom proudly singing Frank’s Sinatra’s old hit, “I Did It My Way”

  • Bmei

    The compassionate thing to do is visit Kate Kelly and John Dehlin’s blogs. Listen to what they have to say first with an OPEN HEART (even if you disagree with them) rather than reading what’s printed on Deseret news or some third party reporter. These people actually love the church and want to remain members. In Joseph Smith’s time, you weren’t excommunicated for heresy; he would use “persuasion, meekness, and long suffering” to teach correct doctrine. It was never “my way, or the highway” and people were allowed to stay as long as you wanted to remain a member. That, was compassion. Just because people err in doctrine doesn’t mean we should kick them out (especially when they believe in the Book of Mormon and want to remain members).

    • Scott Thompson

      I have read way too much of what they have put out there – directly from their websites. It is exactly that. They are demanding change – often speaking out of both sides of their mouths.

  • Matthew Bennett

    The primary sin of Sodom was “pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy”. (Ezekiel 16:49) “Abomination” (homosexuality?) is mentioned in verse 50 as almost an ancillary reason. Ultimately, Sodom was destroyed because of how hateful, arrogant, and godless it was. The homosexual abuse of house guests merely fit right into the moral climate.

    Just a heads up.

  • cjcalifornia

    Well said!

  • alesha artis

    signs of the last days. keep the faith.

  • shanewendi .

    Talk about completely misunderstanding Jesus. Jesus not only accepted religious dissent, he embodied it. He didn’t humbly pray for change or speak individually with family members or church leaders. He was in the full view of public, even in the temple no less. Jesus wasn’t just excommunicated for heresy, he was executed for it. It’s true that Jesus was intolerant of some people, but only the bigots and hypocrites, kind of like the author of this blog.

    • Scott Thompson

      Jesus wasn’t dissenting from His own religion. It was His religion. His to reform.

      • shanewendi .

        If the religion was truly his, then it wouldn’t have needed reform. All churches are run by men, not Gods. Church leaders can be, and have been wrong. Uchtdorf admitted this when he said:

        “We openly acknowledge that in nearly 200 years of church history — along with an uninterrupted line of inspired, honorable and divine events — there have been some things said and done that could cause people to question. To be perfectly frank there have been times when members or leaders in the church have simply made mistakes. There may have been things said or done that were not in harmony with our values, principles or doctrine.” He then said to those who question these issues, “there is room for you in this church.”

        George Q. Cannon said the same: “Do not, brethren, put your trust in man though he be a bishop, an apostle, or a president. If you do, they will fail you at some time or place; they will do wrong or seem to, and your support be gone.”

        Joseph F. Smith agreed, “We talk of obedience, but do we require any man or woman to ignorantly obey the counsels that are given? Do the First Presidency require it? No, never.” (JD 16:248) (Millennial Star 53:658-59)

        • Scott Thompson

          In reference to your original post: The religion that was being practiced at the time of His coming – the Jewish religion of the Old Testament – was His.

          As for today, you can have faith that the leaders of the Church are properly called and leading this Church and simultaneously believe that they are doing so under God’s direction.

  • Jeremy

    Sometimes discipline, including church discipline is love. If you are implying that love and patience means we never reprove people for sin and apostasy, I think you misunderstand.

    • Drew

      I love that! It reminds me if a parable. There was this shepherd who had a flock of 100 lambs, but there was one little lamb who was loud and wouldn’t keep quiet. So this wise shepherd picked up that baby lamb from the heard of 99, and he then threw it out of the pasture and on the other side of the fence, into the wilderness.

      The shepherd now feeling good about his decision said “this is out of love and will be good for one lamb to be on his own, maybe it will learn it’s lesson and keep quiet if it wants to continue to have the safety of the flock, and the shepherd. But, if the single lamb gets eaten by wild wolves… well it should have kept it’s mouth shut and not spoken up. It brought it upon itself.

      Such a beautiful parable!

      • Jeff Tiberend

        That’s exactly what the church is turning the “Parable of the Lost Sheep” into.

      • frilamma

        …John Dehlin and Kate Kelly are not baby lambs, they are full grown adults that have been counciled many a times to stop their public protesting against the Church. To go with your parable….the shephard warned the noisy lamb to lower his/her voice lest the big bad wolves find the entire flock and wipe them all out. With disregard and many warnings from the shephard of the flock the noisy lamb continued on its wreckless ways and was removed from the safety and comfort of the flock.

        …its a free country, if you dont like a certain state go live in another state. If you dont like a certain college, go to another college. If you dont like a certain religion its ok if you go find another one.

        • Rhonda

          It’s not even that John and Kate are being noisy. It’s that they are wandering away from the flock and encouraging others to, as well. As Greg says, the problem is that they are trying to ‘customize’ the shepherd. They’re trying to drag Him over to where they want, by trying to move enough of the flock, regardless of His knowledge, will, and plans. He will never abandon them. They are abandoning him.

        • Tom

          In the context of God the Father we are all lambs, even John and Kate. Compared to Him none of us are ‘adults’. That’s what they meant with the parable of Christ, or the shepherd.John Dehlin and Kate Kelly

      • Jec

        Actually… in that day when a lamb didn’t listen and was unruly, the shepherd would break its leg. That’s one thing they used their crooks for. Then the Shepherd would carry that little lamb around until it was healed and the lamb knew very well who his Shepherd was, and that it was important to listen to the one who would care for it and feed it.

  • ember

    ” . .leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another . . .”

    Now that is a burn. My natural use is for men to have intercourse with me. Wow. Talk about life purpose. Just wow.

  • Kim P

    All in all a great article. But consider this, Jesus said a marriage is between a man and a woman (not several women) – Mormon church still practices polygamy in their temple. Jesus left mankind with (2) commandments to follow: love God with all your mind, soul, strength and to love thy neighbor as thyself. What Paul spoke was of Paul, not words written by Jesus Christ. Also, no one is leading a group to apostasy, the church won’t even have a discussion with Kate Kelly. They send PR to the public. Where was Jesus Christ’s PR when he was being accused? He faced the questions and he spoke openly to men and women.

    • Scott Thompson

      He didn’t leave us with two commandments. He did say which were they greatest two, though.

  • Luke Swenson

    Good job demonstrating the principle of customizing christ! That’s so crazy that people can read the New Testament and come up with such a hateful Christ to conform with their homophobic worldview!

    • Kevin Thomas

      Jesus Christ was accepting of the person but was not accepting of the sin, which Greg so wonderfully illustrated in his article. To say that Christ was tolerant of sin defeats the entire purpose and necessity of the Savior.

  • DayiaKnyte

    Jesus would love you as a gay man, but you would be expected to not sin; which means the expectation for you would be celibacy.

    Jesus’ love and sacrifice was not a free pass for men (or women) to live in sin and simply disregard scripture. While love is the foremost law, Jesus also stated (to Satan himself) that man must live on EVERY utterance that comes from
    God’s mouth. While love is important, it is not the end all or be all of Gods expectations.

    This is why, as a gay man myself, I left Christianity. It is not up to me to change the face of God as defined by the Bible. God is very specific about his laws, I don’t agree, and if that means my death, then so be it.

    It is conceit on my part and beyond arrogance to think God would change his standards for me.

  • Jeremy Douglas

    Just reading through this article and all these comments reinforces my decision I made years ago. I choose to live a spiritual life. Not a religious life.

  • Noah Bergevin

    Neal A. Maxwell, “Eternalism vs. Secularism”:

    “Secularism often seizes upon a single, true principle and elevates it above its peer principles. This act of isolation does not make the principle seized any less true, but it strips that principle of its supporting principles. One can be incarcerated within the prison of one principle.
    “For instance, “peacemakers” are precious commodities, but peace-making must be tied to other principles or it can easily become peace-making at any price. Candor is an important attribute, but it must not be separated from genuine concern for those who will feel the consequences of candor. Paul’s counsel is to be sure that we are “speaking the truth in love.” (Eph. 4:15.) Love and truth need each other.
    “Charles Frankel observed of those who would currently subordinate everything else to “equality”:
    “The fallacies of the new egalitarianism come largely from having ripped the notion of equality loose from its context. The result is to turn it into a principle vagrant and homeless, and identifiable in fact only if a quasi-theological context is unconsciously imported.” (“The New Egalitarianism and the Old,” Commentary, Sept. 1973, p. 61.)
    “Elevating any correct principle to the plane of religion is poor policy. Just as one person makes a poor church, one principle makes a poor religion!
    “In a sense, principles can become “prodigal” as well as people can! Principles can have the equivalent of estrangement and of a “journey into a far country” and be “spent,” with little to show. These “prodigals,” too, must return to and be reunited with the “family” of principles.
    “The doctrines of Christ need each other, just as the disciples of Christ need each other. It is the orthodox orchestration in applying the gospel of Jesus Christ that keeps us happy and helps us to avoid falling off the straight and narrow path, for on the one side there is harsh legalism and on the other syrupy sensualism. Little wonder that man needs careful and precise help, the guidance of the Spirit, in order to navigate under such stressful circumstances.”

  • Jeff LeFevre

    Nice – and thank you! This is what I needed to hear today! The quote from Matthew – it’s like I’d heard it for the first time.

  • Ed

    Great reminder Greg. Thanks for sharing.

  • LisaLou

    After reading many of the comments below I would just like to say I think this post was well done! It’s a perfect answer to those hard questions we often get and can be used without hurting too many feelings. People will either agree or not but you’ve given them excellent food for thought with the appropriate biblical references as backup. For those who are arguing semantics on other comments you’ve got too much time on your hands, didn’t read the whole article or are jealous you didn’t think of it first! Get a grip.

  • Harold Eaton

    Greg, the OW movement has asked the 1st presidency and Q12 to go before the Lord and inquire as to whether or not women should be given the priesthood.

    How is it that they won’t have a dialogue with them and go before the Lord regarding this seeing as to how there is nothing in LDS doctrine regarding women and the priesthood?

  • Religiousnonsense

    Religious mumbo jumbo.

  • Marcus Rhodes

    Christ didn’t forgive Mary.

    As a rabbi, he can’t forgive sin, as the Pharisees once pointed out. (A rabbi’s proper role is that of judge in a modern courtroom: To ensure the laws are understood all around, and properly applied, and that’s all.) (That’s why they’re called doctors of the law.) And that’s why they brought *that* woman to *that* rabbi. (The real lesson here is overlooked in the same way, and for the same reasons ‘Christian’s have been building a false idol only somewhat resembling Christ to worship) Nor can he condemn her, but that’s different from sentencing her, which he did do, telling the men that the one of them not also involved in what she was involved in should cast the FIRST stone (implying they could all cast any further stones). Remember that Saul held the coats of those stoning Steven. There’s a reason we’re told this. Saul was a rabbi. Rabbis can’t stone anyone, aka ‘condemn’ them. Neither can Christ.

    Then there’s the matter of what Christ drew in the dirt. Everything seems to have hinged on that, after all, and, if we don’t know what it was, then we don’t understand what happened. What it was is the same thing Christians have been drawing in the dirt ever since, and for similar reasons.

    Recall that part of Jeremiah’s Lamentations had to do with the people’s corruption of the temple and temple ordinances, instituting their own form of Heiros Gamos. Indeed, the sons of Eli had been involved in this, too, so it was nothing new, and it was very prevalent throughout the middle east at the many other ‘high places’ and ‘sacred groves’. But it was forbidden in Israel, so, in order to do what they wanted anyway, and get away with it, a secret enclave arose with secret signs and such, and the sign they used was the same as everyone else’s, which was, very appropriately, the symbol for the planet Venus, goddess of ‘love’ (or rather sex). And not just any Venus symbol, but the one used only in ‘temples’, the one which, like the Star of David, came from the Indus Valley, the ‘fish’ (actually comet) symbol.

    By drawing that symbol in the dirt as he passed his curious twist on his sentence, he was letting Mary’s accusers know that, not only was he wise to their little operation, but they’d be held just as accountable by him as they were holding Mary. (and for reasons that need to be thought about before they come to you.)

    Notice also that he never turned around until after the men all left. He let them sneak out the back door anonymously. Once known to Christ, they could hardly back down. As long as they remained unknown, they could pretty much pretend nothing ever happened, which was a clever step on Christ’s part to defuse the situation as quickly as possible for Mary’s sake. And only then did he directly address Mary. And he still didn’t forgive her. He simply told her the obvious: That he was powerless to carry out the sentence; That there were no accusers left to carry out her sentence; And she’d better not do it (or any sin at all) again. Ever.

    She wasn’t so much ‘forgiven’ as she was ‘off the hook’, she just got away with it, which is pretty much how Joseph Smith describes the situation at the bar of God between the righteous and Satan ‘whose hands will tremble with palsy’ at the deeds of his own followers, leaving him unable to raise an accusation against the righteous, leaving them off the hook. Although, yes, the demands of justice still had to be met, hence Gethsemane.

    But Gethsemane hadn’t come yet. And, as a rabbi he could not legally forgive sin. But, read the law, as her husband…

  • http://www.gregtrimble.com Greg Trimble

    Thanks Jim! You are awesome!

  • CB67

    I’m sorry, but who do you think you are? I have no words. This makes me want to cry and throw up at the same time.

  • Patti Sullivan Brasga Radovich

    Well said.. Well spoken. Hope it goes viral

  • Blake

    Here is what I know, and what I believe. We should be accepting of everyone, no matter what. Everybody sins. We all do. However, “everybody does it” doesn’t make it ok. There is still a right and a wrong.

    In this article, it discusses how the world adjusts Christ to fit their lifestyle. Christ will never change. Christ taught what he taught, as have the commandments he gave. The bible contains eternal truths. It is not ok to take certain parts and forget others. Paul, the apostle, says in Ephesians that there is “one lord, one faith, and one baptism”. Christ does not only enforce certain commandments. He enforces them all. It is not our place to discriminate the sins of others. They should not be treated differently. However, some judgement is necessary. Out of love and compassion, it is important to disciples of Christ to let people know they are doing something wrong. Even if they don’t believe what you believe.

    We are all saved by the atonement. That’s done. It happened. We are all saved by the grace of our savior. By following the commandments, we are not trying to “achieve” salvation. We already have it. Our obedience determines how comfortable we are when we return to our father saying “I’ve done what you wanted. I followed your commandments. I am clean because of your grace, regardless of my mistakes”. Or, “father. I didn’t even try. I have been saved by your grace but I have done nothing to deserve it” No unclean thing can dwell in the presence of God. We won’t even WANT to be in the presence of our father.

    The gospel of Christ was never intended to be easy. Different commandments are hard for different people. The adversary targets us all in different ways. We will all make mistakes. ‘Perfection’ and ‘failure’ are not the only options.

    God has always had a prophet in the past. Why wouldn’t there be one now? The prophet of the lds church is a modern prophet. This does not mean we go through him to get to god. He is there to help guide us to Christ. We can all talk with Christ and get guidance from him on our own. Ask him questions. Recieve confirmation.

    If anything I have said makes me a bigot, unaccepting of others, etc. Then so be it. This is what I know to be the truth. I do not look down on anyone who makes mistakes. Maybe my belief is different than theirs. But in my own belief, it is important that I lovingly let them know they are in the wrong. But I would never discriminate against them. I would mention it once out of compassion and never again

  • Katie D.

    I love this post! Great food for thought. I like the reminder that Christ-like isn’t the same as accepting all no matter what. There are clearly some actions that cannont fit in with the teachings of Christ.

  • Drew

    Philosophies of men mingled with scripture? That is a pretty legalistic view of the scripture. Paul also spent quite a bit of time teaching about how we’ve been freed from the very law you are trying to condemn people with.

    As imperfect vessels full of our own sin, with a very limited view on the heart of another person heart, we should always error on the side of grace. If you disagree I will leave a nice size stone on my doorstep, and I invite you to bash my skull in with it.

  • Paula

    I do work for a small company that workers do and say such things. and it is a horribly sad place to work. I have been there a little over 3 months and have lost a level of happiness. What a change in my countenance. I am currently looking for different employment. Great example of when it is OK and not OK to accept the behavior of others!

  • not_black_or_white

    This article is “customized” so the author could make his point based off his personal beliefs. The bible is a lengthy book and it is very contradictory. It has been passed through too many hands to take literally. Christianity was established by corrupt power hungry leaders preying on the lower class of society. That class saw hope and latched on. Religion is supposed to make an individual feel good so to each their own.

  • Gregg Hammerquist

    Perhaps but He’d be trying to get them to repent. You also miss the different roles everyone plays in life.

  • Jeff Biggs

    Thank You.

  • Riley

    The Westboro Church agrees with everything you just wrote.

  • michael

    I stopped reading at mob…..ridiculas

  • Dale T.

    I am a convert to the church, having joined in my teens. I also have lived my entire life in “the mission field”…..aka outside Utah and Idaho. I was taught and believe that the church is led by a living prophet that receives revelation from the Lord to lead His church. I was also taught that when the Lord chooses to remain silent on a subject, so should we. My observations are that the insular world inside the Utah-Idaho borders view the church simply as a social obligation, and that the Church is led by a Board of Directors, not a living prophet. This latest journey is simply a diversion from the truth. Perhaps we should be spending more time on our knees and in the Temple that we do on Facebook! My two cents. Not condemning Utah Mormons. Just making an observation from the “outside” looking in!

  • Peter

    And by what authority do you speak all this? You and I must know two very different “Christ’s”. Let me guess, with the exception of your mission you’ve lived within 100 miles of the same ward house your whole life haven’t you. Get out man and see that some people just need to be told they’re loved. Not hit upside the head and told they’re falling short.

    • fiona64

      Don’t you know? Greg has the “priesthood,” which means he’s always right … even when he’s wrong.

  • Mel

    Matthew 22.38-40… @fiona64:disqus you’re misguided.

    The reality is there adultery -> homosexuality, stealing, murder, etc. .. all sin. Comforting, feeding, and loving… are all part of 2 laws… on which ALL law hangs.

    • fiona64

      Oh, so being gay is just as bad as murder?

      Here’s everything that Jesus ever said about gay people, all in one place: ” ”

      I’d go into the exegesis for why you’re wrong about being gay being a sin, but I a) don’t have the time) and b) figure it would just go over your bigoted head anyway.

      • http://www.facebook.com/yahoo#!/profile.php?id=100000534460823 Sarah_Nichole

        @fiona64:disqus, Christ said that men were to cleave unto women in marriage, and that whether by His mouth or by the mouths of His prophets, it’s the same. His prophets have repeatedly declared homosexuality to be sin, in multiple places in and out of the scriptures. He said plenty about homosexuality to everyone who bothers to read the Bible honestly.

        • fiona64

          Nope, Jesus said not one peep about homosexuality — because ;;wait for it:: sexual orientation was not understood in Biblical times as it is now. Sex was not something between equals. A free man could have sex with woman because she was beneath him: she was chattel. A free man could have sex with slaves of either gender because they were chattel. Two free men together were “Toevah,” which is a Hebrew word meaning “ritually impure.” To give you an idea, a menstruating woman is toevah (not for having intercourse with … merely for being on her period). Those who were toevah had to be ritually purified before returning to temple. I know this exegesis is very short, but the fact of the matter is that you are WRONG. You are relying on mistranslations and bigotry to form your opinion … because you don’t know any better.

          Oh, one last thing: Pauline doctrine is almost 100 percent antithetical to what Jesus actually taught. And, frankly, I don’t care how many of your Mormon fat-cat “prophets’ say being gay is a sin. About 5 percent of the population is born gay or lesbian … and they are not sinners. They are people just like you and me — who have a right to fall in love and form families with the consenting adult partner of their choice.

  • Chipzhao

    That concept has never been official church doctrine. And yes, we’ve had prophets that have been wrong before. As an example, the Church admitted that Brigham Young outlawed blacks from having the priesthood because he was racist (and by doing so admitting that the official doctrine of the church on this issue was WRONG).

    • http://www.facebook.com/yahoo#!/profile.php?id=100000534460823 Sarah_Nichole

      They did no such thing. Did you even read the statement about race and the priesthood, or are you just repeating what you’ve heard others say? What the statement said is that theories about the reason behind the ban – such as blacks being descended from Cain – were merely speculation and were never officially Church doctrine. They said they don’t know why the ban was put in place, but that Brigham Young said, in the same speech where the ban was announced, that it would be reversed in due time. They also said that various prophets had been praying over it for decades before President Kimball got the answer to reverse it. They said flat out that they don’t know why the ban was instituted, not that “Brigham Young was a racist and church doctrine was wrong.”

      • Steve Lowther

        All you have to do is go to the official Church website and see how they explain the priesthood ban as policy and not doctrine, even admitting the Brigham Young was wrong.

        • http://www.facebook.com/yahoo#!/profile.php?id=100000534460823 Sarah_Nichole

          I did read the statement, several times. It does not once say that the priesthood ban was policy and not doctrine, or that Brigham Young was wrong. I suggest you read it again, because your statements are incorrect. It only said that the theories behind the reason for the ban – such as black people being descended from Cain – were just that: theories, and had never been official doctrine. It said there was confusion over who started the ban, Brigham Young or Joseph Smith, and why, because it was never formally written down, but that even when it was officially announced, it was never intended to be permanent. It said that racial tension in the Utah territory may have possibly had something to do with it, but again, they don’t know, because a lot of things weren’t properly documented during that time period. There was so much moving and settling and fighting going on, they’re missing some important documents from the era. It said that several prophets had prayed over the matter for decades, and the time to lift the ban was never correct, until 1978. That’s all that it said. It never once said that it was down to racism, that it never came from our Father, or that Brigham Young pulled it out of his hat and was wrong to do it.

    • Tom

      Where did the church admit this? I don’t ever remember reading this. Let me talk about the african american situation with the priesthood. Everything boils down to timing. In all of Jesus’ ministry he never preached to a gentile, though he walked the streets with them on a regular basis. He preached only to Jews. It was only after Jesus’ death that the Gentiles even received his gospel or were allowed to participate in it. Was Jesus racist? Of course not. Why did he do it that way then? Timing. At the time of the restoration blacks were slaves. With all of the the persecution they were experiencing and the amount of new ‘apostate doctrine’ they had, the Lord didn’t see it fit to give them the priesthood at that time. It wouldn’t have been the first time He withheld his blessings authority from a race temporarily.

  • Chipzhao

    The Church itself pointed the finger at Brigham Young, did you not read the official article put out by the church stating so?

    • Tom

      Where was that?

  • Melony

    Good Comments Greg! This old gal has seen a few things and I keep hearing in the back of my mind “Even the very Elect will be deceived.” You are right, Doctrine is the Key. Following the First Presidency and the 12 are the ultimate safeguard. As a convert of 39 years, I’m so Thankful to be privileged to have this gift. It just so happens that frequently there needs to be a ‘Thank-you’ fast to remind me of where I was and where I am. There is no place for complacency or lack of study… The world will whisk one away in a heartbeat! I’ve seen that happen more than I can count in both converts and lifers! Very Sad state of affairs when one loses this Pearl of Great Price.

    Keep up the Good Work!

    • sansfoy

      “Following the First Presidency and the 12 are the ultimate safeguard.”

      Trusting in the arm of flesh is the ultimate safeguard? The ultimate safeguard is the promptings of the spirit and your own conscience.

  • Dr. N.

    You can leave the church, but you cannot leave the church alone. I am impressed by the extreme efforts that former members, like yourself, will make to justify their decision to leave. Alma 24:30 sums it up: “And thus we can plainly discern, that after a people have been once enlightened by the Spirit of God, and have had great knowledge of things pertaining to righteousness, and then have fallen away into sin and transgression, they become more hardened, and thus their state becomes worse than though they had never known these things.”

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  • Maximus

    I don’t know what’s more wack, this egotistical article, or Kate Kelly… Both are very stale!
    PS- please tell how you know what Jesus would be doing if he were here on earth today.

  • JDI

    You seem to have missed the entire point of the Christian faith. What a hateful diatribe. No wonder the popular view of Mormons is what it is.

  • Mark Manley

    Just a reminder homosexuality is not a sin, homosexual behavior is.
    Mark Manley

  • meghan

    Wow this is amazing I love this well written . I am going to share this any one who doesn’t understand this or like it is 1in denial or 2 is not willing to give something up to come closer to Christ because they just don’t want to or are ashamed

  • Marissa

    Thank you so much.

  • Lisa Jeppson

    I have never read your blog before but this is really true. It seems we are afraid to admit we don’t agree with things we know are wrong. Simply because we don’t want to be considered unChristlike. You spoke the things I have been feeling but never could have expressed them so clearly. Thanks very much. I am going to share this with my husband in the morning. Thanks again

  • Linda Wilson

    We have been told by our prophets that in the latter days the seat of the church will be tried and tested. That is Salt Lake City. My faith tells me to trust in and love our leaders. I do. My right hand is raised to the square. The last thing I want is to hold the priesthood. My job is hard enough.

  • Joe

    Great article! It is unfortunate that most individuals do not or will not understand that this is the Lords church and it is He who is running it. If we just listen to the doctrine, it will keep us safe and keep us free from his judgements that will surely come to those that do not. Let us recommitt ourselves to Christ and to ever be watchful of the cunning one who is laying the trap.

  • Rebecca Sss

    My only concern is that IF the church is supposed to be the government of God on the earth… then to speak freely, peacefully gather, form discussion groups etc, all unalienable, God given rights should be protected. As it stands, as a LDS, we must live in fear of being excommunicated if we speak publicly. We are more free as citizens of the United States than as members of the church. If the church were the united states government you and Sister Kelly and most people at some point would be risking exportation from the country, fines, or jail time for simply being too”free with their speach”. I see this as hugely problematic as a government system.

  • KHarvey

    I agree with this article completely. Well said.

  • R

    Dearest Brothers & Sisters,

    As I read through these comments, I am reminded of so many things. Mostly, I’m reminded why it is so hard for me to remain active in the church that–for all extensive purposes — saved my life and healed my soul.

    I suppose you can say, easily, that I was one of the people that the author states Jesus would not have accepted. For years, I lived my life as an atheist, choosing to believe in Science and my measurable five senses over any religion. Don’t get me wrong: I loved religion, even studied it as my minor in college. I was fascinated by the opium that enchanted the masses.

    I was 28 when I met the man that would, in essence, change my life forever. His kindness, compassion, goodness, and love rubbed off on me: and 8 weeks later, he Baptized this cold-hearted, lonely atheist into the best family I would ever know. I remember that my hair was dyed blue on the day he Baptized me, and because it had just recently been dyed, that day when we left the Baptismal, we left behind a blue tank of water (dying his pants and tie blue) and somehow symbolizing the life I was washing behind me.

    Over the next four years he would teach me– by example alone — how to be a friend, a brother, and a parent. He would teach me how to be a better person, how to be a good Mormon.

    I made more mistakes than progress. My liberal roots never went away, and despite my ever-growing love of tattoos and bad decisions, he still accepted and loved me.

    And one-by-one, those mistakes faded away. Not because he bashed me over the head with scripture and church history and talks: but BECAUSE he loved and accepted that I was on my own journey, and he realized that it was his job, as my older brother, to lead me, guide me, and to always, always accept me.

    Because when he called me “Sister,” it WASN’T a formal title: he treated me like the big brother I’ve always wanted and always dreamed of.

    Brothers & Sisters, I do not claim — nor will I ever — to be smart enough to debate doctrine or history with you. You all are very seasoned, very educated, very talented saints.

    I can say that it was not doctrine, nor church history, nor ones accomplishments, callings, or even one’s talents that brought me into the church.

    It was the love one man was willing to show a stranger. Even though he did not agree with my viewpoints, or my lifestyle, or even my haircolor: he showed me love. His goodness & kindness rubbed off on me just a little bit every single day, and because of him, I have been to the temple. Because of him I have been promised things I can only dream of.

    However, not everyone in our church is like him. I think sometimes we get so caught up in doctrine, and policies, and fulfilling our callings, and just…DOING things that we are supposed to do we lose sight of the love that we are supposed to share with each other.

    I don’t know what should happen to these individuals who are so loudly challenging our church officials– I don’t claim to be smart enough to decide if there is any merit to their claims. I DO know that our apostles are called by Heavenly Father, and led by him, so I’m sure he will give them guidance and direction.

    I DO know it is our job, despite what we believe personally–whether or not we support their decision or not– to LOVE them and accept them. And if you do this, if WE do this, our goodness will rub off on them in due time and they will grow.

    To ostracize them is to do what every other Protestant church would do when some group disagreed, and one thing that sets us apart — or at least SHOULD — is that we are not like that.

    At least the church that I was brought into was not like that—there is no way that they would have ever loved me if that was the case.

    Please, brothers & sisters, while I love your dedication to your scriptures & church history (I’m even envious of your knowledge!) please, please don’t replace that information for your love.

    Even as I read these comments they feel intense and divisive. Never once have I read “that’s a great point” or “I hadn’t thought about that.” Even among ourselves we are bickering.

    This breaks my heart.

    Humbly,
    -R-

  • Doreen Wyman

    I am very impressed with your point of view on this subject. I’d like to think I would pen the same words, if I had your insight. Thank you for clarification and courage to stand. I agree wholeheartedly and applaud.

  • Raymond

    I think this discussion is a good one to have, but I also think that there is a crisis in the church that we need to overcome together, that this is all part of a larger issue that the small focus of this article (those dissenters) fails to address. I feel like so many in the church (even myself at many times) are getting caught up in the social politics of the day, forcing an us vs. them mentality that is exacerbating these conflicts. The central question of this article seems to be, why don’t these dissenters take their concerns prayerfully to God and not to the church leaders? Well, I think the reason this idea never crossed their minds is because they see this conflict as primarily a social one, as somehow removed from their relationship with God. The problem for them is not with God, but with the people in the church. And sure, from the top level all the leaders of the church are great, very kind and loving and Christlike, they are great examples. Yet we forget that so often when you go down to the level of the everyday member, you encounter again and again the kind of nonacceptance that is not Christlike, no matter what scripture you use to define that term. So standing from where we are standing, we don’t understand we think how can a faithful member who sustains the church leaders act in this way? But we aren’t seeing it from their point of view, what is maybe clouding their judgement and causing them to act that way. Maybe it is our own selves? That is also a worthy subject of discussion I feel is threatening to become taboo as we focus on “the problem with them,” and forget that we too might have a problem.

    And what might this problem be? Well personally, I feel and that there is this growing culture of, I don’t know, the only word I have is negativity, cynicism, closed mindedness, the kind of thing Paul warned the early Saints about. What I’m saying is, it is not only the dissenters who need a reality check as far as Christ is concerned, and it is up to us personally to search within our hearts and decide whether some of their criticisms are not valid. Maybe they take it too far, but maybe they are reacting to something, call it a growing attitude or culture not only from outside the church but from within it as well, that we as faithful members could stand to change. As they say, the Church is true, the people are not, and if we want to “be the change we want to see in the world” we must first accept that changes indeed need to be made, and that we are not inoculated from faults or weakness by virtue of our membership in the church.

  • Adam Smith

    My wife only stays because of people like John and Kate. Without a public forum for those who don’t fit the Provo Mormon mold, there is little room for diversity or growth. Eliminating or silencing those who sincerely (key word) seek answers is not in line with the heritage of our Church or scriptures.

    PS: I’m always uncomfortable with people using their religious views to promote public discussions to conveniently promote their online business.

  • Roger Fenner

    I would love to engage you in conversation about this topic. However, since you attempt to speak for “Protestant, or any other type of Christian” in your post, our discussion must be predicated upon the Bible being the doctrinally inerrant word of God. Without that as the basis, you cannot discuss what Protestants or Christians believe.

  • MEle VaEnuku

    “If the first comment is true and dissent is healthy, then why do we waste time at General Conference or stake and ward conference sustaining our local and worldwide leaders?”

    So True.

  • Patrick Miller

    Jesus challenged the Authority of his priesthood leaders when he saw in them hypocrisy. We should follow his example. Jesus would be outraged at the amount of church $$ spent on the City Creek SuperMall

  • Patrick Miller

    Dissent is not healthy, but discussion is right? Previous preisthood leaders have changed their minds due to pressure from other members. President Hinckley decided on his infamously meticulous ‘one single pair of earrings” doctrine because his wife suggested it. She surely doesn’t get revelation for the church being a woman right?

    • TheMogabi

      “Previous preisthood leaders have changed their minds due to pressure from other members.”

      More often, big changes in the church come due to societal pressure rather than pressure from other members. Polygamy was undoubtedly changed due to societal pressure. Whether or not extending the Priesthood to Blacks was due to societal pressure is less clear (I happen to think it was), but with polygamy Official Declaration 1 and Wilford Woodruff’s statements at the time make it clear it was changed only due to societal pressure.

  • Patrick Miller

    Dissent isnt healthy, but discussion is right? Previous preisthood leaders have changed their minds due to pressure from other members. President Hinckley decided on his infamously meticulous ‘one single pair of earrings” doctrine because his wife suggested it. She surely doesn’t get revelation for the church being a woman right?

  • MEle VaEnuku

    Thank you for this. It has really put things in to perspective for me as far as questions or doubts about how I handle or feel about things that may not fall in line with my beliefs. There is so much going on in this world I’ve found that if I stick to these two commandments, the two He says all commandments hang on…it makes it easier to deal with and approach the changes in this world. But I still question if I am doing enough?

    Love God with all your heart. Love thy Neighbors.

    Regardless what we think, feel or know is right I feel that to really know God isn’t just doing what He wants ME to do, but always representing what He is and that is Love above all things. Whether we agree or disagree with how others choose to live their life I honestly believe that 2nd commandment was put in place as the Lords way of using US and that example, as a way of representing Him the way He wants to be represented. Everything else falls in to place because it all starts with loving Him with all our heart, and we lead with example.

    This article has really helped me recognize that while I am vocal against those who discriminate, I need to be more vocal about what IS right. Don’t know if that makes sense, but thank you for sharing this.

  • Shannon

    Thank you for stating this so well. I agree completely with all of your comments and wish others would really read the Bible and understand all that the Savior taught us.

  • http://www.debbittybears.blogspot.com debbie nicholas

    The truth about excommunication is that regardless of a persons public dissent, we will never really know why they were excommunicated. Unless we were in the private discussions between them and their leaders we won’t know the reason. I mean that someone could be guilty and unrepentant of adultery but their public claim would be they were excommunicated for dissent. The leaders would keep the sacred nature of those meetings and not reveal the true reason, which leaves the “dissenter’ to say whatever they want about why they were excommunicated and it may not be, is probably not, true.

  • UintahSpringsPress

    I dpn’t know. Jesus was wrong about some things, like mental illness being caused by devils. In this life we have to use our own brains and experience besides scripture and authority to to work things out. The South has had to reverse course re: the age-old, scriptural practice of slavery and racism. The LDS are not right on everything, either; they exco’d Lavinia Fielding for giving LDS sexual abuse victims a voice. Maybe we ALL have some repenting to do?

  • bornontheblue

    What the Mormons have a hard time understanding is that the purpose of Christ’s life was not to be a good example, but to be a sacrifice and take the punishment that was intended for us because of our sinful lives. Yes we should ask try to do good works, but that is not the essence of being a Christian. A believer is 100% dependent on Christ for his entire salvation and not his own effort.

  • TheWarDoctor

    Thank you so much sir. I loved this article and it is true. I happen to be a Latter-Day Saint and I agree with everything that was stated, and thank you again.

  • Clumpy

    The main thrust of what I was saying comes from this passage:

    The Church was established in 1830, during an era of great racial division in the United States. At the time, many people of African descent lived in slavery, and racial distinctions and prejudice were not just common but customary among white Americans. Those realities, though unfamiliar and disturbing today, influenced all aspects of people’s lives, including their religion. Many Christian churches of that era, for instance, were segregated along racial lines. From the beginnings of the Church, people of every race and ethnicity could be baptized and received as members. Toward the end of his life, Church founder Joseph Smith openly opposed slavery. There has never been a Churchwide policy of segregated congregations.

    During the first two decades of the Church’s existence, a few black men were ordained to the priesthood. One of these men, Elijah Abel, also participated in temple ceremonies in Kirtland, Ohio, and was later baptized as proxy for deceased relatives in Nauvoo, Illinois. There is no evidence that any black men were denied the priesthood during Joseph Smith’s lifetime.

    In 1852, President Brigham Young publicly announced that men of black African descent could no longer be ordained to the priesthood, though thereafter blacks continued to join the Church through baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Following the death of Brigham Young, subsequent Church presidents restricted blacks from receiving the temple endowment or being married in the temple. Over time, Church leaders and members advanced many theories to explain the priesthood and temple restrictions. None of these explanations is accepted today as the official doctrine of the Church.

    I think that the implication is pretty crystal-clear, and along the lines of what I said. Statements about pre-mortal worthiness of nonwhites and their “privileges” (or lack thereof) as a result of their lineage once accepted as de facto doctrine, and taught by various leaders, are no longer considered appropriate. I don’t believe that any of this contradicts revelation as it’s understood and taught in the Church, except in the “one-to-one telephone line to God” simplistic version we sometimes seem to share.

    Parenthetically, I’d like to differentiate between Church leaders “changing” doctrine or policy based on social pressures, and being inspired to explore a question further because of social pressures. The latter is what I was referring to.

    • Liesl

      I do not think they were ever wrong. It was not the blacks who were not ready for the priesthood, it was America that was not ready for blacks to be In what would have been considered a “high” position. A position of authority in the church. The church and it’s people had been through so much, and werstill in a very precarious position. The country even went to war against the Mormons. Do you think the church would have survived during this time if they had given the priesthood and therefore such a position of authority to the blacks here in this country? Joseph Smiths views were absolutely radical for his time. He showed the way, that it was right and good for the blacks to hold the priesthood. Then he was killed, the people were put under an extermination order, and driven once again from their homes. Brigham Young was the prophet called to re-group, protect and strengthen his people. To re-build them after terrible persecution and keep the church together and safe for a season. Did you know that blacks that were baptized in areas outside of the USA, where they weren’t under such conditions, were given the priesthood? It was nothing against the blacks. It was protection in America until the time when it would be safe to give to them. I believe that the Church gave the priesthood to the black as soon as they were able. God

      • justgrateful

        I just want to say thank you for your wonderful stance with the church. Reading these comments fills me with doubt and confusion and I can feel Satan trying to tug me away from the church. However I read what you said and felt so sure with the spirit once again. I know this church is true and I’m glad I could see your knowledge on this subject. It is strengthening my testimony in this area. Thank you.

        • Liesl

          Thank you “Just grateful” I am now going to copy and paste something that I have shared on other sites with other issues, so that this can hopefully help you as well: There are so many people starting to have doubts about the Church.

          It seems that they have read anti-LDS accounts, and have not looked very deeply into any of the apologetics. Here are some things that may help people who are having this difficulty in their search.

          Book of Abraham…. Did you know that there were at least 3 and probably 4 scrolls that Joseph Smith was working with, and we only have 1? A small one at that? The largest roll was 17 feet long. His mother described it. Said they had laid it out, and it was the full length of the house. This scroll is missing…this scroll is most likely the one that the book of Abraham was translated from. Did you know that there have been more writings found on papyrus that are stories about Abraham? Stories that are very similar to what JS traslated? Here is a link telling about it. It also shows that the Hieroglyphics were correctly translated by him as well.http://home.comcast.net/~michael.rhodes/JosephSmithHypocephalus.pdf

          Anti’s can say whatever anti-mormon stuff they want, there is always an answer. Because this Church is true. I have studied it all. I have read it all. I have found answers. All things in LDS history are going to be biased. It doesn’t matter which side you are on, there will be bias. What it comes down to is what you CHOOSE to believe. if people have chosen to believe the church isn’t true. They will look to things that support that belief. I have chosen to believe it is true. I went down the path of looking at all the other stuff, and the difference between many who leave and me is that I kept praying, I searched on all sides, I looked into everything I could find on BOTH sides. I found the inconsistencies in the anti-mormon claims. I looked up the things that were being said. I found the things that had answers, and kept looking for answers. I even looked into other churches considering attending somewhere else to keep my family worshiping together. I would go to another church if that was what was true. If that was what God wanted for me. He led me to the Gospels. To studying the words of Christ. No other church is so well aligned with the teachings of our Savior Jesus Christ. You read His words. LDS Church leaders teach according to His words. I decided to stay with the Church even though I hadn’t found all of my answers yet. Then within about 3 months, the answers fell in my lap. The Lord has blessed me greatly. I turned my will completely over to Him. I told Him I only wanted to do what HE wanted for me for the rest of my life. I have since had spiritual experiences that have brought about in me the change of heart that Alma speaks of. Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ are what this Church is about, even if the people they have to work through are imperfect.

          People are having a problem lately and complaining about the Salt City Creek center in SLC.
          The statement that the Church used tithing money to pay for projects such as this, IS NOT TRUE. It is sacred and set aside for the purposes the church say it is used for. The money used to build this mall is from money of the corporate side. And yes the corporate side is separate. If the church has built this to help to have more money for things, precisely because there IS need for it, and they will NOT use tithing money to fund other things. Maybe if we all gave more generously in our tithes and offerings, the church wouldn’t have to go to these lengths. Think of all the disasters everywhere. The church sends literally tons of stuff to help.
          Think of all the people who are losing jobs in the church….the church pays their rent, house payments, feeds and clothes them. Think of all the temple being built. All the church houses being built, all to very high standards. All beautiful for the people and for God. Think of all the materials the church supplies for the buildings. For the money that is shelled out to cover many expenses. For all the many buildings and temples all over the world. For church advertising, for printing the manuals and BOM’s.
          The anti’ have been yelling for a long time that our tithing money is being used for this or that. Just because they say it is doesn’t mean it is true. Like I said…the fact that the church HAS a corporate side shows that they have found other ways to make the money that is needed for the church to accomplish the many things on it’s plate, other than tithing money.
          The first thing I have found is that you cannot believe everything an anti says just because they say it.
          Here is what I have found for an answer where this concern is. It was interesting, I was led to this scripture twice, and I didn’t know why. I didn’t even understand it actually. Then all this came out about the Salt City Creek and I understood why. Here is the scripture:
          Luke 16: 1 And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.
          2 And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward.
          3 Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.
          4 I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.
          5 So he called every one of his lord’s debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord?
          6 And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty.
          7 Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore.
          8 And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.
          9 And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.
          10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.
          11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?
          I couldn’t understand why the scripture was speaking of being friends of the Mammon of unrighteousness?!?! Why would we even WANT to be received of them if we failed? Why would we want to be faithful in unrighteous mammon? Since seeing what people are saying about the church, and thinking about how Joseph Smith…a child of light was not wise in this thing, I can see how the leaders later were led to do differently, maybe they were led to this very scripture. Telling them that they had to be friends of the Mammon of unrighteousness that they would be able to be wise stewards over the unrighteousness Mammon. We have to live in the world. The church has to deal with Mammon in order to continue on in what has to be done. Joseph Smith tried to do other wise, and the church was bankrupt. Things had to be done in a way to keep the church afloat. I still feel like things are inspired. The Church has to do somethings with Mammon. But the teaching to the people are still pure.
          The Church works good and is “Faithful in the unrighteousness Mammon”. They are showing that they can be trusted even as they work in the Mammon of the world. Therefore they are still trusted to the good riches. As the scripture above says.
          As far as people complaining about the advertising at Salt Creek, and having things there that are not up to church standards….we are not of the world , nevertheless, we are in the world. The Church has put it’s foot down and posted signs that people not smoke…etc in the areas around temple square. What a stink arose from the non-LDS community over this. The church built a commercial building to help raise funds. It is not their place to police this building that non-members are frequenting and make it all LDS standards. This picture was done by whatever advertising company was hired to cover this establishment. It was not made by “The Church”
          The building is rented out to whomever wants to rent a space and have a business. Including businesses that are not up to church standards. It is part of being in the world and dealing in Mammon with the world, even though we are not of these things.

          • Broadmind

            ugh. YOU are the exact type of person that makes me happy I left your cult. You have not taken one step outside your own little tiny life and this little tiny time frame since Joseph Smith (or Christ for that matter, it was only a few centuries ago and how old is the universe genius?) You are placed here for a fragment in time in this little teeny tiny world. PA-LEASE. You are short sighted, short-lived, mentally narrow and un-spiritual. You probably praise and promote and then consume synthetic unhealthy products right into your body you claim is a temple. This will certainly coincide with your synthetic perception of this world. Have you even looked in a microscope? That should teach you more than any book that NOBODY KNOWS THE TRUTH! Your words and attitude are nothing more than vile vomit on my soul and all the collective beings in this mighty vast universe that you are insulting with your thin tiny narrow ridiculous rhetoric. You have no clue as to the real purpose of ANY BEING in this universe. “Well its true to me, because I wanted it to be true”. Whatever! So shallow! You nor anyone has an inkling as to what the truth is. But you just go ahead and “want” to believe your whole life with your head in the sand. Go dude go. But you are shallow, tunnel visioned and uneducated. I feel sorry for your posterity and all those who consume your fantastical physical, not spiritual perspective that is just plain warped. I know you do this so you don’t have to change. Change is hard so its easier to justify the crap pounded in your head since Primary. I know I took the hard road, and I am daily grateful.
            Thank you for reminding me what a load you all are promoting.

        • Liesl

          I am so glad that this helped you! :) I have posted on some other things my thoughts. I will share it with you now, in case these things have been bothering you as well from other posts…

          There are so many people starting to have doubts about the Church.

          It seems that they have read anti-LDS accounts, and have not looked very deeply into any of the apologetics. Here are some things that may help people who are having this difficulty in their search.

          Book of Abraham…. Did you know that there were at least 3 and probably 4 scrolls that Joseph Smith was working with, and we only have 1? A small one at that? The largest roll was 17 feet long. His mother described it. Said they had laid it out, and it was the full length of the house. This scroll is missing…this scroll is most likely the one that the book of Abraham was translated from. Did you know that there have been more writings found on papyrus that are stories about Abraham? Stories that are very similar to what JS traslated? Here is a link telling about it. It also shows that the Hieroglyphics were correctly translated by him as well.http://home.comcast.net/~michael.rhodes/JosephSmithHypocephalus.pdf

          Anti’s can say whatever anti-mormon stuff they want, there is always an answer. Because this Church is true. I have studied it all. I have read it all. I have found answers. All things in LDS history are going to be biased. It doesn’t matter which side you are on, there will be bias. What it comes down to is what you CHOOSE to believe. if people have chosen to believe the church isn’t true. They will look to things that support that belief. I have chosen to believe it is true. I went down the path of looking at all the other stuff, and the difference between many who leave and me is that I kept praying, I searched on all sides, I looked into everything I could find on BOTH sides. I found the inconsistencies in the anti-mormon claims. I looked up the things that were being said. I found the things that had answers, and kept looking for answers. I even looked into other churches considering attending somewhere else to keep my family worshiping together. I would go to another church if that was what was true. If that was what God wanted for me. He led me to the Gospels. To studying the words of Christ. No other church is so well aligned with the teachings of our Savior Jesus Christ. You read His words. LDS Church leaders teach according to His words. I decided to stay with the Church even though I hadn’t found all of my answers yet. Then within about 3 months, the answers fell in my lap. The Lord has blessed me greatly. I turned my will completely over to Him. I told Him I only wanted to do what HE wanted for me for the rest of my life. I have since had spiritual experiences that have brought about in me the change of heart that Alma speaks of. Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ are what this Church is about, even if the people they have to work through are imperfect.

          People are having a problem lately and complaining about the Salt City Creek center in SLC.
          The statement that the Church used tithing money to pay for projects such as this, IS NOT TRUE. It is sacred and set aside for the purposes the church say it is used for. The money used to build this mall is from money of the corporate side. And yes the corporate side is separate. If the church has built this to help to have more money for things, precisely because there IS need for it, and they will NOT use tithing money to fund other things. Maybe if we all gave more generously in our tithes and offerings, the church wouldn’t have to go to these lengths. Think of all the disasters everywhere. The church sends literally tons of stuff to help.
          Think of all the people who are losing jobs in the church….the church pays their rent, house payments, feeds and clothes them. Think of all the temple being built. All the church houses being built, all to very high standards. All beautiful for the people and for God. Think of all the materials the church supplies for the buildings. For the money that is shelled out to cover many expenses. For all the many buildings and temples all over the world. For church advertising, for printing the manuals and BOM’s.
          The anti’ have been yelling for a long time that our tithing money is being used for this or that. Just because they say it is doesn’t mean it is true. Like I said…the fact that the church HAS a corporate side shows that they have found other ways to make the money that is needed for the church to accomplish the many things on it’s plate, other than tithing money.
          The first thing I have found is that you cannot believe everything an anti says just because they say it.
          Here is what I have found for an answer where this concern is. It was interesting, I was led to this scripture twice, and I didn’t know why. I didn’t even understand it actually. Then all this came out about the Salt City Creek and I understood why. Here is the scripture:
          Luke 16: 1 And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.
          2 And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward.
          3 Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.
          4 I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.
          5 So he called every one of his lord’s debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord?
          6 And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty.
          7 Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore.
          8 And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.
          9 And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.
          10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.
          11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?
          I couldn’t understand why the scripture was speaking of being friends of the Mammon of unrighteousness?!?! Why would we even WANT to be received of them if we failed? Why would we want to be faithful in unrighteous mammon? Since seeing what people are saying about the church, and thinking about how Joseph Smith…a child of light was not wise in this thing, I can see how the leaders later were led to do differently, maybe they were led to this very scripture. Telling them that they had to be friends of the Mammon of unrighteousness that they would be able to be wise stewards over the unrighteousness Mammon. We have to live in the world. The church has to deal with Mammon in order to continue on in what has to be done. Joseph Smith tried to do other wise, and the church was bankrupt. Things had to be done in a way to keep the church afloat. I still feel like things are inspired. The Church has to do somethings with Mammon. But the teaching to the people are still pure.
          The Church works good and is “Faithful in the unrighteousness Mammon”. They are showing that they can be trusted even as they work in the Mammon of the world. Therefore they are still trusted to the good riches. As the scripture above says.
          As far as people complaining about the advertising at Salt Creek, and having things there that are not up to church standards….we are not of the world , nevertheless, we are in the world. The Church has put it’s foot down and posted signs that people not smoke…etc in the areas around temple square. What a stink arose from the non-LDS community over this. The church built a commercial building to help raise funds. It is not their place to police this building that non-members are frequenting and make it all LDS standards. This picture was done by whatever advertising company was hired to cover this establishment. It was not made by “The Church”
          The building is rented out to whomever wants to rent a space and have a business. Including businesses that are not up to church standards. It is part of being in the world and dealing in Mammon with the world, even though we are not of these things

        • Liesl

          I am so glad that my comment was helpful to you! :) I would like to share with you a post that I have been putting up on other subjects as well. With what has been going on with blogs and the ordain women movement, there have been a lot of anti-LDS comments causing doubt for the saints. They are having a field day with this. I want to share part of my journey with you. Here is the post:

          There are so many people starting to have doubts about the Church.
          It seems that they have read anti-LDS accounts, and have not looked very deeply into any of the apologetics. Here are some things that may help people who are having this difficulty in their search.

          Book of Abraham…. Did you know that there were at least 3 and probably 4 scrolls that Joseph Smith was working with, and we only have 1? A small one at that? The largest roll was 17 feet long. His mother described it. Said they had laid it out, and it was the full length of the house. This scroll is missing…this scroll is most likely the one that the book of Abraham was translated from. Did you know that there have been more writings found on papyrus that are stories about Abraham? Stories that are very similar to what JS traslated? Here is a link telling about it. It also shows that the Hieroglyphics were correctly translated by him as well.http://home.comcast.net/~michael.rhodes/JosephSmithHypocephalus.pdf

          Anti’s can say whatever anti-mormon stuff they want, there is always an answer. Because this Church is true. I have studied it all. I have read it all. I have found answers. All things in LDS history are going to be biased. It doesn’t matter which side you are on, there will be bias. What it comes down to is what you CHOOSE to believe. if people have chosen to believe the church isn’t true. They will look to things that support that belief. I have chosen to believe it is true. I went down the path of looking at all the other stuff, and the difference between many who leave and me is that I kept praying, I searched on all sides, I looked into everything I could find on BOTH sides. I found the inconsistencies in the anti-mormon claims. I looked up the things that were being said. I found the things that had answers, and kept looking for answers. I even looked into other churches considering attending somewhere else to keep my family worshiping together. I would go to another church if that was what was true. If that was what God wanted for me. He led me to the Gospels. To studying the words of Christ. No other church is so well aligned with the teachings of our Savior Jesus Christ. You read His words. LDS Church leaders teach according to His words. I decided to stay with the Church even though I hadn’t found all of my answers yet. Then within about 3 months, the answers fell in my lap. The Lord has blessed me greatly. I turned my will completely over to Him. I told Him I only wanted to do what HE wanted for me for the rest of my life. I have since had spiritual experiences that have brought about in me the change of heart that Alma speaks of. Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ are what this Church is about, even if the people they have to work through are imperfect.

          People are having a problem lately and complaining about the Salt City Creek center in SLC.
          The statement that the Church used tithing money to pay for projects such as this, IS NOT TRUE. It is sacred and set aside for the purposes the church say it is used for. The money used to build this mall is from money of the corporate side. And yes the corporate side is separate. If the church has built this to help to have more money for things, precisely because there IS need for it, and they will NOT use tithing money to fund other things. Maybe if we all gave more generously in our tithes and offerings, the church wouldn’t have to go to these lengths. Think of all the disasters everywhere. The church sends literally tons of stuff to help.
          Think of all the people who are losing jobs in the church….the church pays their rent, house payments, feeds and clothes them. Think of all the temple being built. All the church houses being built, all to very high standards. All beautiful for the people and for God. Think of all the materials the church supplies for the buildings. For the money that is shelled out to cover many expenses. For all the many buildings and temples all over the world. For church advertising, for printing the manuals and BOM’s.
          The anti’ have been yelling for a long time that our tithing money is being used for this or that. Just because they say it is doesn’t mean it is true. Like I said…the fact that the church HAS a corporate side shows that they have found other ways to make the money that is needed for the church to accomplish the many things on it’s plate, other than tithing money.
          The first thing I have found is that you cannot believe everything an anti says just because they say it.
          Here is what I have found for an answer where this concern is. It was interesting, I was led to this scripture twice, and I didn’t know why. I didn’t even understand it actually. Then all this came out about the Salt City Creek and I understood why. Here is the scripture:
          Luke 16: 1 And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.
          2 And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward.
          3 Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.
          4 I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.
          5 So he called every one of his lord’s debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord?
          6 And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty.
          7 Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore.
          8 And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.
          9 And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.
          10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.
          11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?
          I couldn’t understand why the scripture was speaking of being friends of the Mammon of unrighteousness?!?! Why would we even WANT to be received of them if we failed? Why would we want to be faithful in unrighteous mammon? Since seeing what people are saying about the church, and thinking about how Joseph Smith…a child of light was not wise in this thing, I can see how the leaders later were led to do differently, maybe they were led to this very scripture. Telling them that they had to be friends of the Mammon of unrighteousness that they would be able to be wise stewards over the unrighteousness Mammon. We have to live in the world. The church has to deal with Mammon in order to continue on in what has to be done. Joseph Smith tried to do other wise, and the church was bankrupt. Things had to be done in a way to keep the church afloat. I still feel like things are inspired. The Church has to do somethings with Mammon. But the teaching to the people are still pure.
          The Church works good and is “Faithful in the unrighteousness Mammon”. They are showing that they can be trusted even as they work in the Mammon of the world. Therefore they are still trusted to the good riches. As the scripture above says.
          As far as people complaining about the advertising at Salt Creek, and having things there that are not up to church standards….we are not of the world , nevertheless, we are in the world. The Church has put it’s foot down and posted signs that people not smoke…etc in the areas around temple square. What a stink arose from the non-LDS community over this. The church built a commercial building to help raise funds. It is not their place to police this building that non-members are frequenting and make it all LDS standards. This picture was done by whatever advertising company was hired to cover this establishment. It was not made by “The Church”
          The building is rented out to whomever wants to rent a space and have a business. Including businesses that are not up to church standards. It is part of being in the world and dealing in Mammon with the world, even though we are not of these things

      • moi2u

        Consider that with the underpinnings of ‘perceived’ racism within the Church widely known, the prophecies that the Lord’s kingdom would spread into every nation and kingdom could not be completely fulfilled. The blacks (and every people in every nation) as a whole, had/has to receive the Priesthood of God for this to come to pass. No peoples (as a society) are going to accept oppression for the long-haul and continue to belong to a church who, in their mind, oppresses from holding the highest office in the Lord’s Church–an office given, primarily, to BLESS The Lord’s peoples in ALL Nations in preparation for His glorious return and the ushering in of His Kingdom. It was time. The church was growing faster outside the US than within it. It HAD to happen in order for prophecies to continue to be fulfilled, else the Church would splinter and fracture in foreign lands without proper Priesthood guidance from leadership chosen by proper Church authorities from among a people’s own righteous leaders, regardless of race.

  • Girl

    The Lord has revealed his will. Having same sex attraction feelings is not wrong. But acting on them is. THIS WILL NOT CHANGE, EVER!! It was the same in bible times and the same today. Eternal truths do not change even though the laws of the land might.

    • Roger Fenner

      Matthew 5:27-28: 27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’[a] 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

  • Hypocrite

    Interesting post and discussion. This is my problem with this article…Who is really right on what Christ said and didn’t say? The Bible was written by men more than thousand (not sure how long) years after Christ and by some people who are given second hand or even third hand information. Then you have people thousands years after putting these writings together. They are the opinions and interpretation of men and what they thought Christ meant or said. Even Paul tries to say in his letters what are his opinions of what Christ meant, he obviously wasn’t inspired in everything he taught, just as past and current LDS Prophets are not always inspired. Good examples of LDS history and where the Prophets truly following Christ? The LDS Church has a history of excluding and then changing course when pushed by outside forces. There are some women in the early days of Church that Joseph Smith gave the priesthood. Bruce R. McConkies talks about his mother giving them blessings because his dad was not around. So the ordain women movement do have reason to ask questions and be that force that agitates the LDS Church. I don’t agree with the movement and how they are doing it, but I agree that the LDS Church should not excommunicate John Dehlin or Kate Kelly. We then have a history and issue of how the Mormon faith has treated women. It all started with Joseph Smith, he started polygamy and carried it further and married other men’s wives (polyandry). I ask where is that in Christ’s doctrine? No where I can find. So women where told that angels would destroy Joseph Smith if they didn’t marry him….really, and Christ would destroy a person for not marrying a man who says they shouldn’t turn him down?? Brings up a another problem, Joseph didn’t even follow his own rules of polygamy, he didn’t tell Emma and they weren’t always virgins as stated in D&C 132! Then we have blacks being denied full access to Church. We focus on the men not being given the priesthood but black women were denied going to the temple or being sealed. This was after Joseph Smith had ordained black men to the priesthood. Brigham Young changed that in Utah and came up with his crazy racist doctrine..You are going to tell me that was inspired and Christ showing love for his children. For 130 years God denies something “The Prophet of restoration” gave them? Thats 9 prophets who went along with it. It wasn’t until Jimmy Carter threatening to revoke the tax exemption and BYU being boycotted in sports by Stanford and other universities, that would change.(agitation for change). Would think Christs church would lead the Civil Rights movement not be one of the last major church to accept it! The prophets can and do lead people to things that are morally just WRONG! Speaking of priesthood, even Richard Bushman, author of Rough Stone Rolling, confirms this point. Joseph Smith’s family or any church member had never heard of the priesthood until 1934 or the restoration of it. There is nothing recorded by Joesph or Oliver of the idea of priesthood prior to 1934. They would go back and change the Book of Commandment to retrofitted the priesthood restoration to the 1829-1830 period…there is plenty of journals by members and documentation to prove this point. In the mean time Joseph Smith was being “sealed” to women before he even had the sealing power by Elijah! My point is that none of us know what Christ would do in these times but we want to think ‘BLACK and WHITE” but even Christ was not Black and White and gave mixed messages and we see that mixed message in today LDS Church. Just my opinion backed up with documents and history if you wish for sources, be happy to give them to you or go to the LDS FARMS or Neal Maxwell institute and they confirm all I have said.

    • Roger Fenner

      “The Bible was written by men more than thousand (not sure how long) years after Christ and by some people who are given second hand or even third hand information by men more than thousand (not sure how long) years after Christ and by some people who are given second hand or even third hand information” That statement is entirely incorrect. A common example would be the Dead Sea Scrolls which are dated somewhere between 200 BCE and 233 CE.

  • Rebekah Bales-Dunford

    With all due respect, Mr. Trimble, you are re-creating Christ in your own image even as you disparage others for doing so. It is often difficult to see our own hypocrisy. The state of your own heart is illuminated to the reader of your article. If Christ is as you say he is, you yourself have some spiritual adjusting to do. Christ disliked the hypocrites most of all.

  • Rob Bates

    You’re right! You can’t customize Christ or doctrine.
    I hereby call for everyone one who has committed a sexual sin to be excommunicated. As we know, it is the sin most egregious, next to murder & denying the spirit. So if Jon & Kate are going to be ex-ed, surely all sexual transgressors should be too.

    Seriously, I hope the sarcasm leaks off the monitor and ruins your keyboard.
    You say you can’t customize Christ and then in the SAME article you claim to know what Christ would preach today.
    You’re not just a hypocrite, but you’re verging on blasphemy.

    • Roger Fenner

      Don’t forget that Jesus told us that if we’ve even thought about it, we’re guilty of it. :)

  • TR

    More prooftexting.

  • Hypocrite

    Q you are wrong, Brigham Young and other Prophets do have very clear statements that Blacks would NEVER receive the priesthood until Christ came again. If you wish I would be happy to give you all those quotes, there are many. Whats wrong with whining or complaining or asking questions, what good does it do to not challenge?

    • Chuck

      An explanation of a revelation is not the same thing as the revelation itself. Sometimes we make inferences about why the Lord things that are not always completely correct.

      • Hypocrite

        I’m not trying to explain the “revelation”, just that it is just racism from Brigham Young. The facts are Joseph Smith allowed blacks full blessings of gospel and then Brigham Young denied that when they settled in Utah. Then 9 to 10 prophets “didn’t ask” and let it continued. Show me were Brigham Young said it was revelation to deny blacks the Priesthood? I sincerely want to see it because I haven’t found it. thanks Chuck.

        • Liesl

          It was never said that it was revelation. This was B.Y.’s opinion based on the times he was living in.

        • ScathArach

          Reading many of your statements and their sources has been interesting Hypocrite. The problem is all of your sources that even hint at Blacks NEVER getting the priesthood are sources which the Church has taught are not doctrine. The one source you did quote that could be considered doctrine said at the present time and that was 1949 22 years later it changed. The Ordain Women movement changed from asking a question to teaching false doctrine when they started preaching that women are to hold the priesthood and started going against church leaders who said it was not to be at this time. Creating 6 missionary like discussions was also creating false doctrine which is being Apostate. The created contention at every turn and the scriptures are very clear on who contention aligns you with. Women if treated as the Gospel teaches are already elevated above men and to be almost revered mostly because of their role as mothers. President Hinkley said on many occasions his wife was one of his most important counselors and never was behind him on anything but beside him as an equal.

          http://dallinkatieandco.blogspot.com/2014/06/heres-why-kate-kelly-was-not.html?m=1

          There is a link to an article that explains very well why Kate Kelly was excommunicated and it was not for asking a question. Asking a question and seeking proper divine guidance has been encouraged from day one. The LDS Church was founded because a young man dared to ask a question of the Lord. Many revelations came from members asking questions and Joseph taking it to the Lord. Brigham Young’s Discourses have been taught to not be doctrine many times over they were personal views by Brigham Young. I hope this helps you find some of the answers you are looking for.

    • Really?

      You’ve got to be kidding me. What’s wrong with whining or complaining?? Did you learn nothing from the stories of Laman and Lemuel who murmured against their righteous father? They complained and refused and fought MANY times against their father’s correct promptings from God. Did you even see how their life turned out compared to son Nephi who said he would “go and do” instead of trying to dissect every reason from heaven, and find a better way than God’s way (for he knew that simply doesn’t exist). Laman and Lemuel were rebuked many times even by an ANGEL for being so disobedient. I think it’s much safer to follow in Nephi’s example. But he didn’t just follow blindly. He had loads of faith. And even when he was unsure, you know what he did? He prayed. For strength, understanding, courage to do the difficult things God asked him to do. I suggest you do the same.

    • teri9

      Hypocrite, Brigham Young was not speaking prophetically when he said that. He was giving his thoughts and opinions, with as best knowledge that was available at that time. And before the accusation is levied, No, a prophet does not speak prophetically at all times. He is still just a person, fallible like the rest of us. But when the Spirit comes upon him and he speaks under its influence, then what he says is the word of God. And yes, he and those around him can tell the difference.

      Whining and complaining is not from God. That is what is wrong with it. There is honest debate and honest searching for answers, but neither of those qualify as whining and complaining, which is what OW is doing.

      If someone wishes to “challenge” – they should take note of Brigham Young’s counsel to always take it to the Lord and find out for themselves. Here is where it can get tricky. If the person listens to the wrong spirit – they will be fooled into believing they are being “inspired” when in reality it is the adversary “inspiring” them. Sadly, Kate Kelly and John Dehlin are desiring their own agendas so very much that they are listening to the wrong ‘spirit’. Pride goeth before the fall.

      It is said that by their fruits ye shall know them. Stand back and watch for the next 5-10 years. Kate Kelly, John, and others like them will fall by the way side. The Church will continue to move forward. That is the fruit of truth. That is the answer we all seek. The Church is His. all who fight against it will fall by the wayside. When these people fall, you and we all will know they were following the wrong Spirit.

      (P.S. I’ve been studying all those quotes and texts, in context, for the past 32 years. Nothing new, except for those who just discovered it via the internet.)

  • Hey

    I agree with many things in this article but it is also contradicting to the fact that we cant believe what we want …amen to that …but thats exactly what the mormons do. They arent christian and have no biblical foundation. Just like Jesus called out the pharisees he would call out that religion as well. That is run by the devil so backing it is not from God.

  • Guest

    Brother R, the decisions to end polygamy and lift the priesthood bans were *not* changes in doctrine. The Book of Mormon plainly says that God has the right to command or withdraw polygamy as He sees fit. So, according to Church doctrine, there was *always* the possibility that polygamy would be discontinued. If the Scriptures said that the practice of polygamy would never end in the Latter-Days and *then* the Church decided to stop it, *that* would be a change in doctrine. Likewise, concerning the priesthood ban, the prophets preached that blacks *would* get the priesthood in the future. In order for the priesthood extension to constitute a change in doctrine, the prophets would have to say that blacks would *never* get the priesthood. But, that was not the case.

  • Jake

    Very well written: “…but our behaviors have the power to leave us standing at a door in which He will not open.” You know what doctrine compliments this post well? “Divine Love” by Russel M. Nelson

  • Tom

    Hasn’t it always been like that? Prophets are only believed by the majority hundreds of years in hindsight. Jesus was thought to be one of the worst heretics of all time in his day. In fact, Jews still don’t believe he was even the Messiah. The audaciousness of what he said stunned the people, and only the people who followed him in act and spirit knew him for who he was. It’s the same way with his church today.

    • Steve Lowther

      Your very words condemn the leaders of the Church since they are recognized as being prophets today.

  • Raymond

    One problem Greg…

    It was the church that Christ was constantly condemning.

    If you think Christ would be among us, embracing the Church, I would recommend you read the gospels again.

  • luke

    This article only takes scriptures out of context, and sets at naught precisely why Jesus Christ came to the earth. It is sad to see these types of articles where people are so wrapped up in the teachings of man, and try to conform Christ’s messages to the teachings that have been taught to them by those of their culture. You need the spirit to understand scriptures else you’ll lead others away into forbidden paths and you will someday hear “I never knew you.”

    P.S. You also ignore the Prophets and Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by how you address the church and its people.

  • Nathan T Wright

    The truth is we don’t actually KNOW what Christ did or said. What we have as “records” of what he said or did we’re written by multiple people in multiple locations multiple years and in some cases decades and even generations after his death. What is clear however is that those who “recorded” his actions had as many motives for promoting their ideas about correct living as you or any of those you’re taking down in this post do. So, here’s the REAL thing, we know how we want to be treated and we know how to treat others in the same way. Jesus probably had some great and amazing things to share that could really help us find genuine and functional peace in this life, but the truth is we just can’t know with much certainty what those things really were. In the end, appealing to his “ideas” as justification for our own ideas–as those you speak of in your post do OR as you yourself are doing by the very act of writing this post–is simply an exercise in ego driven self justification. If you allow yourself the freedom to use Jesus as you see fit, probably a good idea to allow others the same.

  • Tom

    Well put! More Christ-like is never less compassionate

  • Austin

    A savior that knelt with and did not condemn an adulteress, and who washed the feet of the man who would betray and sell him out for silver, sounds pretty accepting to me. The love that the church has for it’s members should not drive them to a social stoning, but the the leadership of the church should invite Kate Kelly in to talk, as a man to a man. If she’s wrong, she should have a face-to-face explanation of why. Churches discuss doctrines, businesses mandate policies. See the difference? And if she still feels she needs to champion the cause that the church disagrees with, they should ask to her to leave, and no sooner. It still doesn’t feel right that they see it fit to extort her silence with her own salvation as the leverage.

    • Roger Fenner

      ^ As if any church has anything to do with salvation. :)

  • RyanFrost

    This is ridiculous. As an agnostic, I agree that Jesus (or any public leader beneficial to humanity) does need to condemn certain activities: rape, murder, violence, etc. We may not be allowed to be tolerant to these activities, because they hurt people. However, there is a fundamental difference between being homosexual and murdering someone, and as so, the two have to be approached from different viewpoints. If you can’t figure out what that difference is, I don’t really know what to say. Unless me being gay, or being a “slut” is physically or emotionally harmful to others (while acknowledging and managing the public health risks associated with these), I don’t understand why it must be condemned. Being satisfied with some excuse to treat other people as less pure than you, or to treat them like they can’t live their lives as they wish (again, within the boundaries of no-hurting-people-ville), is a large step in the direction of losing touch with human empathy. In a world filled with religions claiming truth, reaching this empathy is what I believe is the point of life, not adhering to some ridiculously provincial standards written in a book with a historically localized influence.

  • Christopher Carroll

    Ah google, the source of all concrete and substantial knowledge.

  • village idiot

    Joseph Fielding Smith also opined that the sun and stars are glorified, celestial worlds. I think I’ll pass on the teachings of Joseph Fielding Smith.

  • http://www.facebook.com/yahoo#!/profile.php?id=100000534460823 Sarah_Nichole

    @disqus_HqGy0RLmTh:disqus, the boycotts were in the early to mid ’60s, and had died out WELL before the late ’70s. There was also no danger of the church losing its tax exemption. That’s a falsehood that picked up steam online, but has no basis in fact. Jimmy Carter had no say in the matter, and there is no law against a private religious organization ordaining whomever they choose – or not, as the case may be. There aren’t even governing who the churches can have or decline as members. None of those issues have any bearing on tax exemption.

  • village idiot

    I’m sure a lot of what you say, Greg, appeals to many Latter-day Saints. You make fair points regarding passages in the Bible that seem to speak clearly enough on your subject matter. If criticism of the LDS Church’s stance on homosexuality indeed comes from professed, believers of the Bible you quote, I have to agree that this particular criticism is a bit perplexing.
    That said, I don’t think that’s where most of the criticism stems, and I don’t think your article really speaks to the heart of most people’s disagreement with the LDS Church regarding gay marriage and related issues.
    You use prophets and scriptures to back your stance. That’s well and good, but it’s also what everyone else does when pushing their particular religious persuasion. What if people don’t agree with your interpretations (and the overwhelming majority of people, moral and immoral, intelligent and uneducated, have not embraced your church’s doctrine during its rather brief history)? Are they guilty of “customizing their Christ,” or are they simply doing exactly what you’re doing–gravitating towards a faith that suits their interpretation of Biblical teachings, etc. or otherwise appeals to their own moral compass? In the end, I don’t see a lot of difference between how you would arrive at your faith and how those you criticize go about finding theirs, except you happen to fit within the dogma of a particular religion, and you appear adamant that you are right.
    Your article smacks of many of the same arguments that were likely levied against the founders of your own church. Persecutions that were criminal were justified in professed Christians’ minds due to Latter-day Saint beliefs that were widely accepted as perverse and dangerous. Your very people were denied their rights under the law by a majority who disagreed vehemently with their interpretation of religious matters, lifestyle, brand of morality, and later, their views on marriage.
    That last item seems a tad ironic. Before the practice of polygamy was recanted, Mormons nearly went to war with their own government (allegedly born of a God-inspired constitution) before disavowing the practice under duress. Nowadays, many Mormons are equally adamant that another minority be denied the right to enter into bands of matrimony according to its own conscious. Go to war to protect your own marital rights, then be willing to fight with similar zeal to deny another group the same opportunity. That’s quite a double standard, isn’t it?
    Why not step aside and allow homosexual couples the same protections under the law that you’d claim for yourself? If you and your church want to classify marriage as between heterosexuals according to your own conscience and morals, knock yourselves out. Don’t recognize them in your ordinances or in your temples. Believe as you will. Just don’t lobby to deny others the same rights under the law to which you insist you’re entitled. It’s that last line, and your church’s inability to live and let live that sticks in the craw of many fair-minded folks.
    You’re most welcome to your morality. Believe and preach on, brothaman, as it’s your right to do so. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. But don’t expect those who feel differently to accept the specific views you deem as acceptable, no matter how many scriptures you quote. And certainly don’t expect the laws of the land, on whose protections you rely, to conform to your whims.

  • Amie J

    I don’t pay any attention to Kate Kelly, and I don’t agree with her. But as for John Dehlin, I have to speak up. John Dehlin is leading people astray huh? Well here is how I found John Dehlin – and he had nothing at all to do with my struggles with the church (which I have had plenty). In fact, because of him, I have found a way to find some piece with the church again. I do not always agree with John. I am at odds with him about his stance on gay marriage. I agree with the church on that. But I am forever grateful for his honesty and courage. Here is why….

    Several years ago, I was a very devout LDS mom, who was being questioned by my ex-husband about the “hard issues’ in the church. (He had once joined the church, but had never attend. The church had been a large factor in our break up. I wanted him active, he wanted me out of it). I gave him all the answers I had been given growing up – all the “church answers’. But he pushed and pressured me on a number of topics. I was indignant by the accusations he was making about Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and church history. I KNEW the church was true, and that I had been taught the truth about church history. I was sure that he had been reading a bunch of Anti-Mormon literature and listening to people who were trying to pull him away. So I went searching for proof that I was right. I read every LDS history (only church approved, as I had been warned my whole life not to read “anti-mormon” stuff) and found FARMS. At first, FARMS seem to have answers, and I was so interested! Theory after theory was laid out and I was excited to reinforce my beliefs. But the more I read and researched, the more the walls started coming down. All the accusations my ex-husband said were turning out to be true. I was reading FARMS and resources sighted by FARMS as legitimate LDS records – including the Journal of Discourses (yikes!) As I read and researched I became more and more alarmed and disoriented. The things I found out were completely different from the stories I had been taught growing up in the church – things like how Joseph Smith translated the BOM, Josephs “peep stone” and money digging, how Joseph was killed, who else Joseph was married to – their ages and how those marriages came about, and how some were married to other men! And how Emma REALLY felt about it (when she even knew!) how the Temple ceremony had changed and how closely it matched the Mason ceremony (especially the early version), things Brigham Young taught, the book of Abraham, the and it goes on and on.… It was actually all there in legitimate LDS documents, but what I had been taught about these issues were often false or at best “sugar coated”, denied or changed, or just flat out lied about. I felt deceived and completely foolish! I had stubbornly told my ex-husband that HE had been deceived and felt very superior to him for “knowing the truth”- but all along, it had been ME who didn’t know the real story!!! I had believed the “faith promoting” version of the church. I felt like a fool, but my belief and integration in the church was so strong, I spent 7 more years in an internal battle with myself, holding on to the church, but churning with doubts inside. I told myself that I had just allowed my faith to slip, and decided that I simply needed to increase my testimony – so I did so by increased my praying, scripture reading, tithing, fasting and serving to the best of my ability. I “doubted my doubts’ and put my growing questions on the shelf. But inside I was in agony! I prayed and prayed and prayed that I get a strong “witness” that the Book of Mormon was real and that the people in it really existed. I had often had a “witness” about being loving, or doing good, and I had always believed that the Book of Mormon was true – but I had always heard (and read in the BOM itself) that if you read the BOM and prayed about it, you would get a specific witness that it is true. I wanted that confirmation for sure! So I prayed and prayed and prayed!!! Nothing came. Ever. Instead, day after day, I fought the sinking feeling that it was all a lie.

    I was miserable and felt terribly alone. ALL of my friends were LDS, along with my best friend – my mother, and my two children who I had raised very firmly in the faith, and who both believed. When I tried to bring up my questions and concerns, my friends would quickly get out of the conversation, obviously uncomfortable and my mother would panic and send me books to read and lecture me. Bishops would give me conference talks, and said that I needed to pray and be faithful. I tried and tried! But it was too late. I never could believe the that the LDS church was “The True Church” again. No matter how much I loved it. No matter how much I wanted it to be true. I had prayed for years, and I had been getting answers for years. The answer was to get out and to leave the church behind.

    Finally, about two years ago, in despair and loneliness, I went looking for any other Mormons who felt like me. I found John Dehlin and his description of how many people leave the church. To my great surprise, he described my experience almost to the letter! I could hardly believe it! After years and years of being completely alone, scared and desperate, here was someone else who admitted to the exact same experience, and opened a forum for those of us who had no where else to turn!

    John Dehlin had NOTHING to do with MY loosing faith in the church. It was simply that I learned too much to keep believing. John was simply someone brave enough to stand up and tell his real experience, no matter the price.

    Of course Jesus didn’t condone bad behavior. But if you read closely, you will find that there was only one thing he ever harshly judged – and what was that one thing? Was it adultery? Nope. Was it breaking the sabbath? Nope. Was it thieves he was hung next to on the cross? Nope. Was it the men who literally killed beat him and murdered him. Nope. All of these he treated with forgiveness (even if he did not condone the behavior – and certainly told the people to change because he loved them and knew that their behavior would hurt them and others). But who were the only people he was ever harsh with? The Pharisees – the rule following leaders who stood on their high horses and didn’t know how to love or how to forgive. And for that, Christ was also “excommunicated” to the point of death.

    So I say, thank you John Dehlin, for not shutting up! For speaking up so that so many of us have a place to turn. For not hiding your doubts and pretending you don’t feel like you do. For your courage to say “i know that my whole community says that I am SUPPOSED to be experiencing XYZ… but I am NOT experiencing that! I am experiencing this!!! And I am not going to deny my REAL experience, even if you criticize me. Even if you hate me. Even if you judge me. Even if you ostracize me. Even if you excommunicate me.” Thank goodness the church is not willing to kill those who speak up and say, “I disagree!”. Many churches have done that over the years!

    • Wendy Manwaring

      My genuine question, which comes in the form of several, to you is: How are you doing now? Has your scripture study increased now that you have left the church? Have your personal prayers become more sincere and your relationship with Heavenly Father improved? Do you think of others more often and try and lift their burdens? Have you developed more Christ-like characteristics? Have the core questions in your heart been answered? Is it easier or harder to resist the temptations and influences of the adversary, Satan? Is your heart softened? Are you more teachable? Do you have peace? Do you like yourself? Do you now know who and whose you are? Do you rejoice? Do you have joy and peace even in times of very difficult trials? Do you walk with the Lord and feel His promptings daily? I wonder because these are the things I strive for. I want to become not just do. That process takes a life time, but little by little I see myself changing. I believe it is because of the gospel of Jesus Christ that my character is changing and I understand my relationship with others and God.

      Which part of your life is easier? Which part of your life is fulfilled? Which part of your life feels prepared to meet God? If this sounds like a cross examination, please believe when I say it is not. I am honest in my questions and desire to know another’s experience. I have often wondered what takes place in the life of someone that leaves the church? I wonder what really happens.

      Heavenly Father does love you and me as much as anyone else….He wants to bless each and everyone to the extent that they are willing to receive. Through the gift of our agency, we hold the key to receiving those blessings. Do you feel those blessings flowing into your life. Do you even think about it? I think about it every day. Is your day like mine?

    • Roger Fenner

      The LDS church has done that in the past.

  • blahblah

    Sounds like black males are the last ones to get the priesthood from what Brigham Young said. Sorry OW.

  • cara

    very clearly articulated. thanks for this article.

  • Clint

    Very well said brother! Thanks for saying what I think and feel in a much better way than I could!

  • Steve Lowther

    And as we have seen the leadership do an about face on such things as polygamy and racism, and the previous leaders did not seem to recognize the Spirit, we can expect the same conduct now.

    • Dave

      We can expect a prophet to be an imperfect being, who has been called by God to lead an organization, that will take us through all the imperfect ideas and imperfect people, to an eventual state in which we know and live perfect truth. We can expect that prophet to listen and obey to the Spirit of God, at a level, that the rest of us can follow to that perfect state of happiness and truth. We can expect the Spirit to help us follow Christ and his prophets, by confirming truth, helping us stay humble in such a way that we can follow, move forward in our progress.

    • Digitaldave

      We can expect a prophet to be an imperfect being, who has been called by God to lead an organization, that will take us through all the imperfect ideas and imperfect people, to an eventual state in which we know and live perfect truth. We can expect that prophet to listen and obey to the Spirit of God, at a level, that the rest of us can follow to that perfect state of happiness and truth. We can expect the Spirit to help us follow Christ and his prophets, by confirming truth, helping us stay humble in such a way that we can follow, move forward in our progress.

  • Steve Lowther

    Except the precedent has already been established: agitate, excommunicate, and finally accommodate. First with polygamy, and then next with racism.

    • Unworthy

      Tough guy alert! Bow to his superior intellect! We are not worthy!

    • ScathArach

      The abandonment of Polygamy was a decision that was brought about mostly for the safety of Members and is in accordance with the teachings that we are to obey the Laws of the Land and when the Federal Government made it illegal and Utah was seeking to become a state it was a necessary change for Zion to be established in the United States. Again it was something I am sure the Prophet and Apostles of the time prayed heavily about before making the decision. Agitation was not what brought about the changes for Polygamy or race.

  • shanewendi .

    This is what apostasy looked like in 1977:

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1454&dat=19771015

    Heresy is just a matter of dates.

  • idaho_mormon

    A couple examples of Brigham Young speaking in regards to blacks and the priesthood and salvation.

    1. “Any man having one drop of the seed of Cane in him Cannot hold the priesthood, & if no other Prophet ever spake it Before I will say it now in the name of Jesus Christ.” (Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet, pg 226)

    2. “If any man mingles his seed with the seed of Cane, the only way he Could get rid of it or have salvation would be to Come forward & have his head Cutt off & spill his Blood upon the ground.” (Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet, pg 226)

    There are, of course, others. The two above come from the biography “Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet”, written by respected historian John Turner. You can grab a copy and check his sources to decide for yourself whether you believe they are accurate or not.

    I don’t share these quotes for the sake of arguing one way or the other. I am active member of the church and am trying to make sense of all this just like many of you. But I share them to suggest that perhaps things aren’t as crystal clear or perfect as we believe. Read any biography of early church leaders (I recommend “Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling” and “In Sacred Loneliness: Plural Wives of Joseph Smith” – both written by active members of the church) and you start to see that things may not have been as you expected. There are doctrines, ordinances, teachings that have drastically changed or ceased altogether over the years. Does this mean the church isn’t true? or that our prophets aren’t inspired? That’s up to each individual to decide after careful consideration and prayer. But in the meantime, I think the best advice for both sides of the argument is to 1) consider the possibility that you might be wrong and 2) be respectful and kind as you engage in debate with those who don’t share your opinions or beliefs.

    • LaJean Carruth

      Quote no. 1 is from Wilford Woodruff’s undated summary of Brigham Young’s speech to the Utah territorial legislature on 5 February 1852. I have transcribed George D. Watt’s shorthand record of that speech, which is both significantly longer and more complete. The shorthand recorded by Watt (official reporter for the legislature) does not contain any reference to “one drop”, nor do any of Brigham Young’s speeches that I have transcribed.

  • Hans_Thieme

    May I ask, in nothing but curiosity, where the belief that the mark upon Cain was black skin and a flat nose…I only ask because I’ve heard this before but have never confirmed it for myself and would like to verify the validity of it

  • Gordon B

    Strong feelings are often confused with the holy ghost. Some people feel the same way at church as they do when they eat hot pockets. Also, using majority vs few makes the church a democracy; which it’s not.

  • Phil Ips

    I think it is good that you share your point of view. It certainly seems to have generated a lot of discussion.
    I hope people are able to recognize that no matter what they think they “know”, they actually don’t “know” any more than any other individual in the world. We’re all in the same boat, we’re all equals and we’re all here on this earth trying to make sense of it.
    This writing is no different than the writing of any other well meaning person throughout history who is trying to argue their cause, promote their god and assure themselves of the correctness of their path. It is countered by myriad others who felt passionately about their beliefs which are basically the same in their claim to correctness, but with some differences in name and practice.
    I am all for faith and religious practice which promotes community, personal wellbeing and a sense of purpose, especially where this is done without “being right” as the central tenet.

  • Doug Wendt

    If Christ is not accepting of those who sin, then who is he accepting of exactly? Where is the line?

  • Guest

    He did not condemn the woman taken in adultery. That is not forgiveness. Forgiveness comes when we repent and he sent her on that road when he said “Go thy way and sin no more.”

  • GameTheory

    Oh yeah he wasn’t always accepting, like the time he wasn’t accepting of blacks having the priesthood. He only accepted them 20 years after the civil rights movement had begun. Oh yeah and he isn’t inclusive to polygamist anymore, like he used to be. Yeah no, his will doesn’t correlate with peoples views and cultures at all.
    The Prophet: Oh wait…. this just coming in everybody…. God has just changed his mind about black people… yup. reason minded people: hey but what about that scripture that said the laminites had a curse of dark skin? Church Correlation: uh i don’t know what you are talking about? there is no such scripture just ignore that. how dare you question my authority. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

  • Mark

    so where’s the part about the blacks wouldn’t get the priesthood until Christ came? did I miss that or was that a lie. If you lied to prove a point, then you have no point, and that’s my point.

  • ClearThinker

    I disagree. According to the Mormon Church, Joseph Smith was “exalted” as the “prophet of the Restoration” (for details, see D&C 135 as well as church materials on lds.org). However, Smith repeatedly disobeyed the “principle”, quoting the church, of “plural marriage” that Latter-day Saint men were to restrict their desiring of virgins to females “vowed to no other man”, and only after obtaining the “consent” of “the first” wife (see D&C 132:61), being Emma in JS’ case.

    What we know from the LDS Church’s FamilySearch.org genealogy records for JS and the exhaustive research of historian & author Todd Compton is that Mormonism’s founding “prophet” targeted not only teenage girls and single women to make them his plural wives, but 11 women vowed to their husbands. Details are at http://www.wivesofjosephsmith.org/ , http://signaturebooks.com/2010/02/in-sacred-loneliness-the-plural-wives-of-joseph-smith/ , and http://www.utlm.org/newsletters/no66.htm#OTHER%20MEN%27S%20WIVES

    D&C 132:61 is explicit that ONLY Mormon men who “espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another” and obtained the all-important “consent” from “the first” wife to practice polygamy could avoid the spiritually disastrous “sin” of adultery, which Latter-day Saint leaders have repeatedly said is “second only to murder” (see lds.org for related talks, articles, and lessons).

    Joseph Smith not only pursued the wives of George W. Harris, Henry Jacobs, Norman Buell, Windsor Lyon, Adam Lightner, David Sessions, Orson Hyde, Jabez Durfee, John Cleveland, Edward Sayers, and Jonathan Holmes, he also illegally married young females such as Fanny Algers and Lucy Walker without asking Emma if that was OK (see http://www.wivesofjosephsmith.org/02-FannyAlger.htm and http://www.wivesofjosephsmith.org/23-LucyWalker.htm for details).

    Sarah Pratt, the wife of Mormon apostle Orson Pratt, gave a lengthy interview to author Wilhelm Ritter von Wymetal (W. Wyl) about JS using the services of prostitutes and having extra-marital affairs. Details are on pp. 54-62 of Wyl’s “Mormon Portraits Or the Truth about the Mormon Leaders from 1830 to 1886.”

    D&C 76:103 says that “adulterers” as well as “liars” will spend eternity in the dreaded Telestial Kingdom, where they will experience torment of their souls that lasts for eons of time.

    Joseph Smith was not only a serial adulterer, he was a practiced liar. For example, he fabricated conflicting versions of his so-called First Vision experience, and stories about golden plates of ancient American origins (the “keystone” of Mormonism – the Book of Mormon). JS was also untruthful about being visited by celestial beings and having “revelations.”

    Details are online and in several volumes, including: “An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins”, “Early Mormonism and the Magic World View”, “Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA, and the Mormon Church”, “The Changing World of Mormonism”, “The Mormon Murders: A True Story of Greed, Forgery, Deceit, and Death”, “Latter-day Saint Swindle: The Mormon Church’s $200-Billion Scam”, and other well-researched and -written books.

    On YouTube, “DNA vs. The Book of Mormon”, “The Lost Book of Abraham”, and “Grant Palmer – ‘My Ah-Ha Moments While Researching Mormon History'” are among the Mormonism-related videos certainly worth watching.

    On newspaper websites, “Some Mormons Search the Web and Find Doubt” (New York Times) and Reuter’s special report, “Mormonism besieged by the modern age” also provide troubling info. about JS and his Latter-day Saint movement.

    Nevertheless, despite ALL these ‘faith’-busting facts, according to the LDS Church Joseph Smith was accepted by Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father into the Celestial Kingdom (near the Mormon star or planet Kolob), to become a deity, and by the power of the priesthood he will create and rule his own universe forever.

    Clearly, equal and lesser “sinners” will do just fine after death.

  • Elizabeth Deighton

    I am a woman serving happily in the Church. I do not want the Priesthood, and interestingly, nor do over 90% of women. There was a poll done admitidly amongst the USA women where this was found. Intersestingly, more MEN were pro for women having the priesthood then the women were. Not only that, but when the polsters divided the women into the most active and less, it was nearly 95% of the most active women who did not want the priesthood. Please let us serve with dignaty, and in faith but not with the added burden of the priesthood. We have enough on our plates serving in our callings, being wives and mothers (those of us who are blessed with that) and sometimes even with holding down a job.

  • TheMogabi

    When Wilford Woodruff said this (in the context of reassuring the members that God was truly behind the abandonment of polygamy), how do you know he wasn’t wrong?

    If I told you God would never allow me to lead you astray, I hope you wouldn’t believe me. Are the church leaders beyond reproach?

  • OreoCookies

    It was interesting to read your perspective. I cannot for myself fathom the thought of a Heavenly Father who is not accepting of each of us and able to provide unconditional love regardless of our differences.

  • Latter-day Jane

    I knew Kate Kelly and I feel sadness at her excommunication. I did not agree with her movement, but I feel the compassion without condoning that Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson talked about yesterday. Thank you for sharing these insights. You’re right — we can’t pick and choose only some doctrines and attributes of Christ while discarding the rest. I’ve penned a few of my thoughts here: http://latterdayjane.com/2014/06/24/a-snapshot-of-kate-kelly/

  • Teni

    Amen!
    I think what we have here is a division between intelligence and spiritual maturity. As we have a body of flesh and bones we also have a body of the spIrit. The mortal body is weak, handicapped, and must get in tune with the spiritual body. We as members of the Church need to help these natural bodies who are voicing their “feelings” with mortal mouths to learn the spiritual intellect so they know that the perfect light of Christ can reveal to them what is wrong and what is right! As in the book of Mormon in Moroni chapter 7 it tells you ” the way to judge.” then we can help them. But they think the things of the spirit are foolish…..
    Frederika

  • http://dissidentdispatches.blogspot.com Greggory Wood

    Organize a mob? Does the persecution complex continue? The questions that Sister Kelly and Brother Dehlin have brought up have made many rank-and-file Mormons uncomfortable, indeed. It’s not surprising at all to see most of them call for the ouster of John and Kate. This is going to hurt your church, Greg. There will be more excommunications that will call into question not only the mission of your church, but its leaders who are merely mortal. Goliath no longer controls the narrative; David does.

  • sffilk

    The only sin Kate Kelly engaged in, at least according to Mormons, is that she had the audacity to think for herself. Plain and simple.

  • Karena

    Thank you Greg for that insightful article. Too many people are “spiritual bargain hunters” looking for the cheapest price tag. Living the Gospel of Christ takes commitment, faithfulness, and sacrifice.

  • Alisa

    But don’t succumb to the fallacy fallacy–just because the argument contains a fallacy, doesn’t mean the argument is false.

  • Megan Lind

    So when the LDS church was created Joseph Smith wrote his own scriptures and created his own set of rules and guidelines because he didn’t like any of the other religions of the time. How is he different from the people of today that do the exact same thing?

  • Dunnyn

    This is why I’m so glad I’m an atheist. Thanks for reminding me! :)

  • puzzled

    Wow. Just.. Wow. Looking mormons up on the internet sure does turn up some gems. The mormon brand of crazy is straight up psychotic. This makes evangelicals look positively sane by comparison. You’ve guaranteed that this person won’t have anything to do with your crazy church. Makes me feel sorry for the people I know are members. Flame me, whatever. DILIGAF.

  • Karl

    This is a great post. There is one correction that might want to change. There is nothing in John 8 that says that Christ forgave the woman caught in adultery. Obviously he would have had must have if she followed His counsel to repent and “sin no more” but we don’t know for sure that these did this. It is a small thing but I just wanted to clarify. Thanks for this great post.

  • J Merrell

    We are warned against soothsayers. Meaning people who use soothing words and flattery to make us feel good about certain things. I believe this is that to which you refer. I believe God and Christ do love us as we are because Their love is perfect. The Love that will keep us away from God is our Love. “If ye love me keep my commandments”. It is the level of our love for God which will condemn us. We are commanded to Love as he does even our enemies, we are to bless them that curse us and do good to them who spitefully use us. In doing this we show our love to God. For inasmuch as much as (we) do it unto the least of these… we do it into (Him)”. Therefore we must love.
    In doingthis, some warn that we must avoid the appearance of evil. This is commonly misinterpreted to mean that we must avoid being in places that make us look like we are condoning sin or doing things that look like sin, but the actual meaning in Greek is that when evil appears we are to move away from it, or avoid the act of sinning. The former is judging others the latter is discerning right from wrong. BEDNAR has said that weer cannot practice discernment without being obedient. Maybe we need to recognize that and know that anything less than showing Love is falling short of keeping the commandments and achieving the love we have been charged with as Saints.

  • GeorgiaMormon

    Excellent article Greg. As a SoCal resident you’ve probably heard of pastor John MacArther at Grace Community Church in the San Fernando Valley (where I used to live before I escaped to Utah). You’d enjoy reading his book “The Gospel According to Jesus Christ” in which he challenges fellow evangelicals about their teachings of “cheap grace” or “easy believism”. I’ve quoted him extensively in my upcoming book “REALLY Inside Mormonism: Confessions of a Mere Latter-day Christian”. And I like what you’re doing with Beliefwear. Let’s talk sometime.

  • Mahonrimoriancumr

    This whole ruckus over women is the priesthood is frankly ridiculous. The Mormon Church is patently a fraud. It saddens me to think that so many people are duped by the promise of “worlds without end” and eternal families and all you have to do is give complete and utter obedience to old white men. And by the way, they are ALL paid handsomely for the work the do for the church. Of course members will never be able to get salary information on the General Authorites because it is not “faith promoting”. The LDS will never give women the priesthood because it would lessen their power over the lives of the gullible LDS masses. It doesn’t matter if women don’t have the priesthood. The Church is still a massive fraud.

  • Just Me

    I am not defending anyone in any way at all but I must say that I have been shocked in general at how very ugly people have been in the last 24 hours. While this post was kinder than many others I have seen, it was still not what I would have expected from the Savior if he were here. I am old enough to have been an adult graduated from college, married and had a baby when the blacks got the priesthood. Before that happened people were very unkind towards those that expressed disagreement over that issue. Now we have the exact opposite where the church has DISAVOWED all the doctrine that was associated with it. (see the link below) Again I am not taking sides or defending anyone, just saying we need to be kind even though there is disagreement. https://www.lds.org/topics/race-and-the-priesthood

  • Britte Bjerga

    I think that the lack of spiritual intimacy and the obsession in being more correct, more righteous, more blessed, and more in favor of The Lord than
    Other people or organizations are what drives (amazing) people away from Christ’s church or any church in general. I don’t care if Christ was accepting of everyone. I don’t care if he tells all gays or blacks or Jews to burn in hell for their iniquity. I care about being a kind, loving, and accepting person myself, even if that means burning in hell with everyone else who sucks at life just by being humans born into very personal situations with very personal reasons as to why they choose the lives they choose. We as humans know
    NOTHING. And we will know nothing so long as we obsess in being perfect or receiving answers from anyone other than our own souls and the will of God for ourselves. I’m sorry to break it to you, but you know nothing either. You might know some facts and some scriptures, but your message claiming a greater understanding of Christ than society is sad. You know nothing and neither do I. All I know is that fear and shame are the lowest and most dependent states of being we can be in, and the less we fear, the more we will be likely to move forward with love.

  • Dan Ludlow

    Sometimes you have to instruct/correct in order to show Christ-like love: http://seekingabsolutetruths.blogspot.com/2014/03/why-its-not-enough-to-simply-love-as.html

  • Marcia Neiss

    Loved your input – Thanks for sharing Greg – Love it when I read good stuff that truly makes good sense – The Savior would be proud of your words… I Love the Church; as always the teachings are the Lord’s and our will needs to line up with his – He knows best! Love the sinner but not their sin…

  • KB

    For a better understanding of blacks and the priesthood check out: http://blacksinthescriptures.com

  • Liesl

    God sees things in the eternal perspective. It is not that He respected the whites. It is that He lets things come about as they have to naturally. This is because of the free agency His laws demand. He could not allow the church to be destroyed, and have it be that the future generations of blacks then also would not have the priesthood. You could say that He was a respecter of persons by allowing the dark age to happen. No priesthood there for anyone. The only thing He is “allowing” is free agency. Then He puts his works into motion. This takes time for these things to come about. He only uses miracles when it is absolutely needed. Otherwise, free agency must come first, and He will slowly put things into place for His purposes to come about.

  • Liesl
  • Liesl
  • Sorrel Jakins

    Matt 12:30 says –
    He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.

    So; did Jesus contradict himself? No. People who do good things will reap their reward. (Luke 9)

    He who sows schism and discord is following Satan, and if left unchecked would cause the Church to fail, but they are called to account and the Church therefore will not fail. Matthew 12:25-30

    https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/luke/11.17-23?lang=eng#15

  • Liesl

    We reconcile it with free agency. God has an eternal perspective that we don’t. His top priority would have been to keep the priesthood on the earth, and the newly restored Church intact. Then the priesthood would eventually be available for ALL men.

    You could say that He was a respecter of persons if you look at the dark ages. We can have the priesthood, but they didn’t? It is all about free agency. The way they chose to live made it so that it wasn’t possible for the priesthood to be on the earth any longer. The way people in the USA looked at blacks made it so that they couldn’t hold the priesthood for the time being…then God set things in motion, brings things about to line up in the right places. To bring things to pass. But this takes time. One of the things He did was instilling the desire to run for President into Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith made his views known on his pamphlet he handed out about his candidacy. In this pamphlet it said: Eliminating slavery was another important part of his platform. He wrote in General Smith’s Views: “The Declaration of Independence ‘holds these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;’ but at the same time some two or three millions of people are held as slaves for life, because the spirit in them is covered with a darker skin.” 12 Instead of simply calling for the abolition of slavery, Joseph Smith’s platform would have Congress “pay every man a reasonable price for his slaves out of the surplus revenue arising from the sale of public lands, and from the deduction of pay from members of Congress.” 13

    Does any of that sound familiar? Part of it Lincoln used in his famous Gettysburg address. Which took place after Joseph Smith had been killed. I guess he felt safe using JS’s words since he was dead.
    God used Joseph Smith to instill the fire in Lincoln to bring about what needed to be brought about for blacks to be free and be able to have the priesthood in our country.

    God uses natural means to accomplish His purposes and sometimes these things take time.

  • Beebomp

    You are really on to something here. You should turn your insights into capital by marketing bumper stickers to the LGBT community that read: “God loves me but he doesn’t accept my behavior”. And while you are at it, get one for yourself and everybody else who has ever existed because your sins qualify you to be destroyed. Yet God doesn’t do that. He allows you to humble yourself and accept his forgiveness. You don’t need to tell everyone else what to do. Just tell yourself what to do. And you’d do well to leave the judging to God.

  • Tristan

    Great post. Very well said.

  • Meg

    “We should be “loving and compassionate” but we should never allow ourselves to believe that Christ just accepts us how we are”

    …but if God made us this way, then why should we change? This more than anything else has confused me more in religion. Can someone please provide some sort of explanation?

    • Greg T

      Meg – per my post above, I think He does accept us as we are. But that doesn’t mean we’re prepared to live with Him the way we are now. I think Greg’s language is off on that point. I love and accept my children just as they are. But I know that their joy relies on them making good choices and my acceptance of them doesn’t remove that condition.

  • Stowie

    All that you have said is exactly what I have thought but could not put into words as plainly as you have. Thank you!

  • cpierce278

    Yikes so many people are taking this to the WRONG level. I am half black and my ancestors waited VERY PATIENTLY to receive the Priesthood, regardless of what anyone says. They knew their Heavenly Father loved them, and they felt in their hearts that it was right when the time came, they were preparing for it all along. I dunno where all these racist comments are coming from, so many people are writing quotes that are not General Conference addresses, therefore for all we know, they are just lies. Watch the documentary on blacks and the Priesthood. Maybe you can all learn something new. And if you don’t like something that the Church puts out, pray to God about it, NOT complain about and against the Church. You must all sound like babies to God, whining and crying about worldly stuff that has no importance in your life whatsoever. Just take your blessings and thank God for them and MOVE ON with your life!

  • Angie

    Thank you so much for this article! It states very clearly exactly how I feel.

  • Sean

    I agree with this, but when you ask the prophet and he responds, you need to accept his response. Martin Harris just wanted to convince his wife about the Book of Mormon and we know how that turned out. We don’t know the whole story with Ordain Women, but we do know that they went way beyond humbly petitioning the Lord.

  • Kristen

    I think I understand why you posted this. But I have some problems with the logic. The Lord tells us to feed his sheep, and that’s our job. He made the atonement for all, not for a few obedient souls, and thus we have a universal resurrection. In fact WE are the ones, according to the scripture you have quoted, who decide to exclude ourselves – when we don’t obey the commandments, when we refuse to love or repent, when we do evil. Christ is still inclusive – his arms are always open. If we disqualify ourselves, that’s on us.

    I agree entirely that the woman whose bishop decided to excommunicate her did so because she was trying to lead people in a way that was outside the gospel. She was interjecting herself between the prophet and the people. A dangerous and very unwise place to be. I have no argument with you there.

    But Christ is inclusive. WE have to avoid people who will harm us. WE have to be careful of those who would harm our spirits. But we are still under the commandment that puts it on us to love our neighbors as ourselves. We have to be wise, in other words, in our dealings with mortality – we do not exclude; but we do not throw pearls before swine, either. But I think we are expected to love the swine anyway. The atonement paid for your sins, follies, flaws – and it paid for your neighbor’s too. If you cash in on that by repenting, you are wise. If your neighbor does not, then his life and immortality are wounded, crippled, darkened by his choices. But that does NOT give you license to break the love your neighbor commandment.

    The Lord’s church is organized under the direction of the Lord himself. If he wants to change it, he will. I think that sometimes, as we have seen in the past, there are things that we haven’t asked about that he doesn’t bother to speak about. So the Prophet can go to the lord and ask the question. The Lord says yes, then fine. The Lord gives direction – finer still. The Lord says no, he says no. But through all of that, we, personally will be held accountable for our obedience to the first two great commandments – we are to have mercy, to love, and for Christ’s others, to hope – as he obviously did, making the atonement.

  • Melody

    Do you recall the place in the New Testament where the non-Jewish woman asked Jesus to heal her daughter but he replied that he was sent only to the house of Israel? When Jesus finished his mission with the Jews, he told the apostles to start teaching the Gentiles. They resisted because they considered the Gentiles to be low class, unworthy, unclean. But Jesus commanded them to take the Gospel to the Gentiles because it was their time to receive it. The descendants of Cain were cursed to receive the Gospel last, after all the other descendants of Adam. That doesn’t mean until each person individually receives it. It means each people, or group or tribe. The Gospel has been taken to every country or people in the world so the descendants of Cain finally got their turn. No amount of mobocracy or protests or tantrums can change God’s timetable nor his doctrine. I figure if there’s something that I don’t like it’s because I don’t understand it and if I don’t understand something, I educate myself. An essential part of learning spiritual things is having the Spirit with us as we read and study and pray because we cannot learn spiritual things without it. The spirit opens our minds and hearts and gives us knowledge. Plus, “…by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” Moroni 10:5. Having the spirit is the key.

  • Russ Massengill

    Impressive TRUTH! Thank you! Well Written Elder. :)

  • teri9

    I like your post, Greg. I would only clarify one thing: Christ DOES accept us “as we are”… IF we are working toward improving. We will never be fully perfect or fully clean or fully worthy. However, we can be working toward those goals with all honesty of heart and soul and effort. THEN Christ makes up the difference for us. Because He knows we can never do it on our own. I find it sad that more people do not comprehend that.

  • teri9

    Hypocrite: first, you will note that it did not say the blacks will NEVER receive the priesthood. But only “at the present time.” Second, B.Y. was talking about the blacks of that day – and he was correct – all of them went down to death, and it wasn’t until the 20th century that “the rest of the children” had received the blessings in the holy priesthood, that then the curse WAS removed from the seed of Cain, and they DO now possess the priesthood. You have offered proof positive that BY is a prophet, and that things worked out exactly as he said they would.

    You see – context, context, context. This statement is 100% factual which you quotes above, and it has come to pass. The Church is true, and headed by Christ Himself. It will always be so. He has promised it.

    • moi2u

      I must interject here as you are incorrect that ‘all of them went down to death’ without being ordained to the Priesthood. Joseph Smith, himself, ordained several black men to the Priesthood…The first known black Latter-day Saint was “Black Pete”, who joined the Church in Kirtland, Ohio, and there is some evidence that he held the LDS priesthood. Other African Americans, including Elijah Abel in 1832, Joseph T. Ball in 1835 or 1836 (who also presided over the Boston Branch from 1844–1845), and Walker Lewis in 1843 (and probably his son, Enoch Lovejoy Lewis), were ordained to the priesthood during Smith’s lifetime.

      Additionally, William McCary was ordained in Nauvoo in 1846 by Apostle Orson Hyde. Two of the descendants of Elijah Abel were also ordained Elders, and two other black men, Samuel Chambers and Edward Leggroan, were ordained Deacons.

      Early black members in the Church were admitted to the temple in Kirtland, Ohio, where Elijah Abel received the ritual of washing and anointing (see Journal of Zebedee Coltrin). Abel also participated in at least two baptisms for the dead in Nauvoo, Illinois, as did Elder Joseph T. Ball.

      I am familiar with Joseph T. Ball’s story, as I served a full-time mission in the Mass-Boston Mission way back when–it is part of the historical record….Also, I am familiar with the Kirtland ordinations of these individuals as I am, originally, from the Kirtland area where this history is much better known. While I did not, personally, write the info. given above, I do have and.or have read most of the books and journals that contain accounts of these historical facts (I am an LDS rare book dealer). It appears that it was Brigham Young who was vehemently against the ordination of blacks to the Priesthood and set that precedent.

  • teri9

    Again – Hypocrite – the above quote is exactly what happened. The actual quote, in context, explains that unto the “4th generation”, and until the descendants of Abel are able to receive the priesthood blessings, THEN the black race will have the opportunity to receive it. That came to pass. Exactly as described. There is no racism or false prophesying here. It all came to pass already. You are not understanding the FULL history and context behind that quote.

  • teri9

    Something that most people fail to catch, is Brigham Young’s own sorrow at the fact that the black race could not hold the priesthood. Listen to his lament: “How long is that race to ENDURE the DREADFUL CURSE that is upon them?” – that right there, shows his heart aches for the fact that these brothers and sisters cannot hold the priesthood. He is NOT speaking these words as one would assume he is speaking them today – with intended racism. He is speaking blunt facts. That is all. And he does so in ALL of his quotes. He is NOT showing racism and he IS feeling sadness. People reading these quotes first need to read them in the FULL context (as in, read the entire book, not just a quote), and they also need to read them from a different and much higher paradigm. That part, I’m afraid, is nigh impossible in today’s world. Hence all the accusations levied toward BY and the Church. Ignorance. That’s all it is.

  • Greg T

    My belief is that He loves us and accepts us all just as we are. Completely, perfectly, and fully. There is nothing we can do to change that. His love is as complete, Eternal, and independent as He is. But we cannot return to live to with Him/become like Him if refuse to follow Him with all our heart (and that means denying ourselves of all ungodliness and actively repenting when we inevitably fail). I fully accept and love my children just as they are. I challenge them to become greater because I know that joy lies therein. His love and acceptance of us is unconditional. Returning to live with Him has conditions. He himself won’t violate them because We have choice and it must be our choice. On His terms – not ours.

  • Terry Musser

    Well said. Thank you.

  • Kate Elizabeth

    Brilliant and spot on. Thank you!

  • ETB

    Wait, Didn’t old Joe customize his version of Jesus when he invented Mormonism? Hmm…

  • Cris

    This is a really sad thing to read. I think God accepts everyone as we are. I was created homosexual because He created us in His image. At least, that’s what I was always taught. And since God is love, and God doesn’t make any mistakes, then we must be exactly the way He wants us to be. The way He intended us to be. That goes for every person, every planet, every mountain, every grain of sand. And every gay/lesbian/bisexual person who happens to love a person of his/her same sex. Start condemning the misogyny of the Church, the world’s crimes and injustices, the racism, the homophobic attacks, and let the gay people live alone and get married. We’re all His- He loves us all.

    In Leviticus it says that eating shellfish is an ABOMINATION to god. A few verses in the that same chapter it also says that a man who lies with another man is also an ABOMINATION to god. If God seems to find both equally evil, why do most people allow certain parts and not others? Funny…

  • Sharon

    This was such a terrible read I thought I was going to die.

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  • beginningtosee

    Thank you so much Greg Trimble for that amazing article you wrote. It makes me think of some things I have been doing that are not in relation to what Christ’s teachings are. Thank you for your courage and strength for posting this and sharing it with those in need. For those people who are having a debate in the comments, I must ask you to get each others email and email back and forth or simply come to peace with the fact that no matter how many comments you leave, it will not change the mind of the person you are trying to prove wrong. Thank you again Greg for these words.

  • Born Again

    There are parts of this article I do very much agree with (like how people are picking and choosing what to do and not to do in the Bible). However there are two things that very GREATLY bother me. In your article, you are saying that yes Jesus accepts us but he isn’t the loving God we portray him to be. Your exact quote states “We should be “loving and compassionate” but we should never allow ourselves to believe that Christ just accepts us how we are.” I find this to be INCREDIBLY wrong. Jesus died on the cross for our sins KNOWING that we could never redeem ourselves. We will NEVER be perfect and we will NEVER totally stop sinning while we are on this earth. Sure we should try to live as Christ wants us to, but it’s unrealistic to say that we should stop sinning altogether. We know and God knows this will never happen, otherwise He wouldn’t have sent Jesus to die for us. If you are saying that God doesn’t accept us as we are after Jesus paid for our sins on the cross, you are essentially saying that Jesus’s sacrifice wasn’t enough for our salvation, which in turn tells us that God is allowed to lie. Which is wrong.

    The 2nd thing that bothers me is you are implying that as believers (Christian, Mormon, whatever) that it is possible to lose our salvation. Your quote “All are loved by Him, but our behaviors have the power to leave us standing at a door in which He will not open.” If you agree with this standpoint, then you are doing exactly what your article says NOT to do… pick and choose verses to support your opinion. Jesus tells us that of those who belong to him (believers) he will lose NONE of them (John 6:39-40). God sealed us with the holy spirit to guarantee our inheritance (Ephes 1:13-14). You think God will unseal us? If He guarantees our inheritance in this way, and then takes it away, He’ll be breaking His promise to us. And if He does that, how can we believe ANYTHING He says?

    I understand that’s not exactly what this article is about, but that’s what I took away from it. I don’t care about the gay/lesbian issue because it isn’t our place to judge (Matt 7:1-3). It’s God’s place to make that call. In the meantime, our goal should be reading the scripture, following Christ, and living as Christ wanted us to live not because we are SUPPOSED to, but because we WANT to as thanks for our salvation. Not everyone ministers to others by word of mouth. Many of us minister to others by the way we live our lives (and not necessarily by doing “good deeds” which the bible clearly states that your works will not get you into Heaven (Ephes 2:8-9)). And as long as we believe in Jesus, that he died for our sins and was resurrected on the 3rd day, our names will be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life forever, regardless of what others say. That shows a pretty loving God to me.

  • Me

    So how does the LDS church explain the fact that the Bible refers to numerous women as holding the highest offices in the church? Anna (Luke 2:36) is listed as a Prophet. Junia (Romans 16:7) is shown as an Apostle. And Priscilla (Acts 18:18-19, 26; Rom. 16:3; 2 Tim. 4:19) is noted as being a great leader and likely holding priesthood. If all of these women are shown with titles that Mormons associate with needing to have the priesthood to hold, why does the LDS church think the opposite?

  • Brynne Brackhahn Christensen

    Very well said. Thank you for asserting this truth that may not be very popular.

  • http://theicidalmaniac.wordpress.com/ Kennelmouth

    Maybe, as a Mormon and a non-Jew, you ought to be whole-heartedly embracing the idea that Jesus accepted everyone. Otherwise you might be S.O.L.

    Jesus was a Jew, and was preaching to the Jews only. In fact, in the only notable encounter Jesus has with a Gentile (prior to his execution) is when he is approached by a Gentile woman who is asking that her daughter be healed. Jesus explains to her that his miracles are for Israel, not for Gentile dogs. He refuses to help her, but eventually she admits that she is a dog, which Jesus finds hilarious. Since she made him laugh, he agrees to help her. Here’s the text:

    From Mark, chapter 7:
    “25 For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet:
    26 The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.
    27 But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.
    28 And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs.
    29 And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter.”

    It was Paul (who never met Jesus and who disagreed sharply with other early Church fathers) who let the Gentiles in, not Jesus. In fact, the same story as above is also related in Matthew, where Jesus reveals in chapter 15, verse 24, that he is sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.

    So maybe you ought to make fast friends with this all-accepting Jesus, eh?

  • moi2u

    You asked: “How many people would look forward to attend church if every speaker or teacher was continually interrupted by people saying, “You’re wrong,” or “You’re devilish for teaching that?” Have actually had that happen while teaching–and I was quoting directly from the manual, page and paragraph with manual in-hand! The dissenting individual actually caused quite a stir because the teachings did not agree with her own mindset–so much so that I was released from the calling the next Sunday (having prepared a really wonderful lesson) without n’ere an objective inquiry with me, personally, or others present as to the truth of what happened and what was actually said/taught, nor a notification that I was being released and to not bother praying about another lesson. (No-one in the RS Presidency was present for that lesson so the woman was very influential in getting her best friend who was in the presidency to believe her diatribe against me). Everyone was surprised at my release, including me, and, sadly, as a result, few attended RS for quite some time after that, so you’re right to ask “How many people would look forward to attending church if..” The Spirit of The Lord cannot prevail in the room and with a good many people when persistent contention is present.

  • Karie Clingo

    Very well said! I was just reading in John today…yep, Jesus didn’t make friends everywhere, that’s for sure!
    BTW: What Font are you using…? It reads well….I am putting together a blog/website. Thanks!

  • http://www.gregtrimble.com Greg Trimble

    Mark –

    Great post. I can tell you put a lot of energy into it and I appreciate it a lot. I don’t even know what to say. I hope that God blesses you and your son in every way possible. I know He does and will continue to do so…

    Thanks,

    Greg

  • A Reader

    Jesus’ biggest problems were with the Pharisees, who thought they (and God) were above everyone else and shouldn’t dirty their clothes by hanging out with “lesser” individuals. It’s true that Jesus didn’t approve of all behaviors, but He loves all people. “Come just as you are,” right? James 2:1-4 warns against separating people for their ‘right’ to be in God’s presence. John 6:37 says “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” When we meet and learn about Jesus and grow to love Him, we will want to change for Him. But He does not exclude us from the start. That wouldn’t motivate anyone–no one likes feeling judged for their behaviors, and inspiring someone is a much stronger motivator. You might enjoy “Jesus Is ___” by Judah Smith. It’s a great book that explains how people are more moved to change by Jesus’ love and acceptance than by the judgement of others.

  • lkaumans

    Interestingly enough, as an LDS woman, the only people who have ever told me I am not equal or not enough in the LDS church, are OTHER WOMEN! I have never felt degraded, disrespected, or discriminated against as a woman in the LDS church. I’ve never been treated as “less than”, to use your terminology. I serve in a very busy calling and sit on the ward council with men who respect my opinions and listen to what I have to say and again, this has always been my experience in the LDS church.

  • lkaumans

    First, I don’t need to do any of those things in order to be equal. Secondly, as the young women President in the ward, I sit on the ward Council along with other women and priesthood holders, and I probably do more teaching in the ward than many of our male ward members. Third, just because a 12 year old boy holds the priesthood, does not give him more “power” than me. I won’t contend with you but I will state again that the only people telling me I am not equal are other women. Rather ironic. Perhaps or definition of equality differs. Also, I don’t have to have the same duties as men in order to be equal to them. There are duties I perform in the church that men are not allowed to do.

  • Guest

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is perfect. The people inside of it, however, are not.

  • Laney

    I am not trying to put you down, but only what you say
    about change of behavior. The only way me or you or anyone else can do this is to know we are sinners in need of a Savior. That Savior is Jesus Christ, He Came, He died, He Arose again, He Ascended, He’s coming Back. The only way we can live and please Him is to Repent of our sins and except what Christ did for us on the cross and allow His Holy Spirit to direct and be in control of our behavior and everything else we say and do. I pray you see your need of a Savior, Praise be to God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, the 3 in One.

  • pastparticiple

    I love this. I have thought these exact thoughts on numerous occasions. God is not a free-love hippie. He never was. He never will be. His love is constant, but that does not mean that we don’t ever incur his righteous wrath, that he wants us to “never change”,and/or to roll with the changes.
    He holds up a standard and invites us to come to it, to stand for something, and to defend truth and righteousness.

    Clark Roger Larsen, dissent is not healthy when it means rebelling against the Lord. It just isn’t, because no one is more interested in or has greater knowledge of what is best for you. Dissent is not a teaching of Jesus Christ. It is not the doubting of religion that betters us. It is the seeking of pure religion and doctrine and having the desire to then live that religion that improves us and our lives.
    Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints recognize the President of the church as a prophet of God. In the Old Testament, the Lord teaches, “Whether it be by my own voice or that of my servant, it is the same.”
    It is faith, it is belief, it is conviction that drives our obedience. Some feel that those traits are weakness. I believe that when they are sincere, they are strength.
    Disbelief or rebellion is not of greater value than faith, and it certainly never accompanies greater character.
    All of the most selfless, kind, upstanding, admirable people I know are sincere Christians, and most (though certainly not all) are Latter Day Saints. That is not to be boastful. I am a convert to the church and I have clearly (up close and personally) seen the difference between people who simply claim religion and people who truly strive to live it.

  • pastparticiple

    Precisely. The Lord has a kingdom on earth, currently known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.. In that kingdom, He has appointed leaders and others to carry out His work. These are not perfect people (and God knows that), but they are in the employ of the Lord. Why would I rebel against the government of God? Do I, in my feeble, human condition seek to counsel God? What a fool I would be to do so.

  • pastparticiple

    Thank you for this post. True.