The Coming Revolution Inside of Mormonism

UPDATE – I recently wrote a book based on this blog post in case you are interested: You can find The Cultural Evolution Inside of Mormonism book on Amazon if you’re interested.

I’ve had many experiences lately with people online and offline that lead me to believe that there’s a coming revolution that will be taking place inside of Mormonism. This revolution will not be against the prophets and apostles. It won’t be against history or doctrine. And it won’t undermine the foundational principles upon which this church was initially built upon. No… this revolution will be against culture… and everything that entails. This revolution will be against those that judge, those that hate, and those that refuse to see past their narrow, regurgitated, cliche point of views. This revolution will be a revolution of love.


Do you remember what was happening in Israel right about the time that Christ came on to the scene? Israel had started to live by their own set of oral laws and traditions, or what we might refer to today as “culture?” The “culture” in Israel when Christ showed up was one of the most judgemental and hypocritical cultures the world had ever seen. It was a very isolated and unaccepting culture. But Christ showed up and cast a net over all types of people. The Greeks, the Romans, The Samaritans, and every other nation across the globe. His net covered even the worst of repentant sinners. The only people that were excluded or damned were the unrepentant elite… the “scribes, Pharisees, and hypocrites” who “strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.” It was Christ who brought with him a revolution of love, empathy, and compassion. He built a culture that was geared toward the lowly of heart and revolted against those that spent their lives pointing out the flaws in others. “For ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.” (Matt 23) The bulk of Israel was living according to their culture and their superstition. This has been the bane of each and every covenant society, which caused Joseph Smith to say: “What many people call sin is not sin; I do many things to break down superstition, and I will break it down.” (History of the Church, 4:445 (7 November 1841) The doctrine of this church doesn’t lose people. It’s the culture and superstition that causes unnecessary strife.

I can imagine a time not too far off where a gay man, a straight man, a biker with full body tats, a woman who smokes, a man who reeks of liquor, a recently married couple who is having trouble with tithing, a recently re-baptized excommunicated member, a man with a full beard and jeans, and a returned missionary who is addicted to porn sitting in the same congregation together, who make it through all three hours of church without someone dressing them down with their eyes or their words. It’ll be a time where the stalwart multi-generational Mormon honors the saying that is on each of the signs that represent our church… “Visitors Welcome.” Not the sinless visitor, because Jesus said that the “whole need not a physician”, but the visitor who comes with every last bit of weakness that they have. It’ll be a time where the families in that congregation recognize how hard it is for people to set foot inside a church once they feel like they’ve strayed too far.

I’ll never forget walking into a Michigan trailer park and knocking on the door of a woman who was on the records of the church but hadn’t been active in over 25 years. She had a husband now, and a couple of kids. I still remember her sitting in a rocking chair, skin and bones, and tearful welcoming us in to sit with her and her husband. You could see that she had been ravaged by the years of drug use. When we asked her if she’d come to church with us, I’ll never forget her response:

inside of mormonism

“I’ll never set foot in church again. I’ve done too much. God doesn’t want me in his house ever again.”

I quickly opened up Alma 36, read a few passages from a prophet who had been to the depths of hell and back, and then assured her that she had not “done too much.” We sat there… as she began to cry uncontrollably. She rehearsed a life of sin unlike anything I had heard before… and said emphatically: “GOD DOES NOT WANT ME IN HIS HOUSE EVER AGAIN.” It’s not easy for people to come to church who have lived a life of mental torment and anguish because of their past choices. They know that what they’ve been doing was wrong. They don’t need someone else to remind them about it. When they do finally take that step forward, there’s a good chance that this is the feeling of their hearts as they make their way through those chapel doors:

“I’m here because I need the help of the Savior… and I need your help. I’m here because I have no hope, no happiness, no family, and no friends. I’m here because I’ve hit rock bottom, and I’m here because the merciful hand of the Savior guided me this way through the power of the Holy Ghost. I’m here because the light that is within me has not been completely extinguished and I hope and pray that you will put some kindling on that fire and not extinguish it with your disdain for me.”

I believe this revolution will produce an environment in which people always feel comfortable when they step inside a church building. It’ll feel like home. They’ll never have to feel like they’ve got to watch their back. They’ll never have to worry about what sister so and so thinks about her outfit, or what brother such and such thinks about the fact that he returned home early from his mission. Those that have gone astray from the church in their younger years will feel welcome when they come back to mend their wounds. They won’t have to suffer the indignation of others based on times that have long since passed and sins that have long since been atoned for. The past history of a person will mean nothing to this new generation of saints. “Who are you now?!” is what we’ll ask. Not “who were you then?”

I wonder if people looked at the Sons of Mosiah and said… “Who do they think they are? How can they be missionaries? How can they represent Christ? How can they give advice in church when they were the vilest of sinners?” I wonder if those great missionaries were made to pay for their sins by their contemporaries even though those sins had already been paid for? Because of these repentant boys ability to overcome their past, they may have been the only Nephites alive who were willing and able to make an impact with those wretched Lamanites. People who have lived through massive challenges in life or made major mistakes and have been willing to make themselves vulnerable enough to empathize with others are able to reach people like those hostile Lamanites who we thought might have never been reached. And all of this revolves around love. Love that is passed from person to person to person. An extended hand, an arm around a shoulder, or a fervent prayer on behalf of an individual who has been through the ringer in life. Our culture needs a reboot. We need to pull for each other instead of being like the whiners in the parable Jesus gave about the workers in the vineyard.

One of the most influential senior missionaries I served with during my mission once told me that he loved the smell of alcohol and tobacco at church. He said, “It’s the smell of change.” There’s someone sitting in that pew… trying to kick a habit, learning of Christ, and hoping for a friend to help take their mind off of that addiction… and yet some of us will move to the furthest pew and simultaneously say things that throw it right back in their face. This is bad! This is wrong! How can people do this or that! Slam! Whack! Bam! And the shame begins all over again for that struggling soul as they make their way back to their lonely apartment.

I see a place where people have study groups again to provide support for those that need friends to talk to about the things they hear on the internet and social media. I see a place where people support one another, ask questions, resolve concerns, and speak honestly about the things that give them trouble in life and in the church. I see a time where “home-teaching” is just referred to as “ministering” and more lessons will revolve around love and not quotas. I see a time where “fellowshipping” will be replaced by “friendshipping” and where pure love is a stronger motivator than guilt.

inside mormonism

I think this revolution will produce a people who don’t make a checklist of things they can and cannot do on the sabbath… and then hold others to their own standard and checklist. I think we’ll see a time where programmatic meetings are cut by 50% and where the efficiency of those meetings are increased by 50%. We’ll spend less time behind closed doors meeting about all the stuff we should be doing, and more time ministering to the proverbial fatherless and the widows. We’ll get back to true religion and root out any programmatic religion. 

Members will increase their personal studying of the scriptures again. Missionaries will actually start memorizing scriptures again so that there will be water in their well. And callings won’t be looked at as promotions where congratulations are in order. Any form of pageantry will die with this revolution during the uprising of the greatest generation of saints this world has ever seen.

I hope this revolution happens fast… because this world is in need of love… and that love will need to go out from Zion.

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  • An inspired post. Thank you.

  • Anthony Benson

    If the church was really serious about the phrase ” making bad people good and good people better” i would return

    • Rachel

      The church is serious about that phrase. As my father once said “the church is true, the people in it may not be.” We’re all sinners, we all have problems and things to overcome. Church is meant to help come unto Christ, for as Christ said, the well need not a physician, but they that are sick.

      • lunarpatrol

        The people are the leadership. The leadership directs the church…erm Christ.

      • Everybody [members] says that, often…I’d actually phrase it this way – “the people are true, the church they are part of, isn’t”.

    • Steven Feil

      If it is not that in your eyes the YOU were not working hard enough.

    • Linda.

      Anthony Benson, The Church IS serious about that. Listen to General Conference, coming up this next week. There is so much love and acceptance to be felt from the Brethren and Sisters who speak. Elder Holland is such a sweet and loving apostle, and the others as well, and of course Pres Monson. The Ward we attend has already gone through some cultural changes that makes it so inclusive and loving to all the members attending. When I first moved into it in the 1970’s, there were some members that was extremely judgmental, and thought they knew what was best for everyone. It alienated a lot of people. I was fortunate to have a testimony of the gospel and the Church to the point that the “people” did not make me fall away. Eventually, that family moved to a whole different area, as it became known of some very serious transgressions by the Priesthood holder who had once been our Branch Pres. The point is, in the case of the Church, one bad apple, or even a dozen, does not have to spoil the whole bushel. We, make the decision of whether we lose our testimony or retain it, regardless of other peoples actions. I’m happy to say that we have a huge ward at this time this is so full of loving accepting people. And while those members who are older and accepted what the Prophet said about tattoos and dress standards, etc., for themselves, they in no way discriminate against those newer members who have them, or who dress different, or bring the smell of smoke on their clothes. And in all fairness to comments above by other posters, MANY people who may get up and move because of the smoke smell, is because there are many who are truly allergic to tobacco smoke. My daughter is one, who really becomes ill for weeks from the exposure. I have a little bit of an allergy to it, but hers is awful. But we never demean anyone who smells of it.

  • Kimberly Anderson

    It stings that transgender people are again left out of the narrative of love.

    • P.J. Vaught

      Might as well have everybody offended about something.

      • Sydney Brown Jones

        From all your comments, you are exactly who this article is referring to.

  • Cherry

    Unless people completely lose all ego, this is nothing but a fantasy – much like the religion itself.

    To look at the gospel as the word of God, literally, people keep mental score of how well they are doing and everyone else gets a judgement score. It’s too bad that so many believe in the absolute truth of what happened with Joseph Smith. It was a con, people.

    • evidence for this, please?

      • Cherry

        How about you, pious mormon?

        • the burden of proof is on you, you made the accusation. I testify in the name of Jesus Christ that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true and that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ in the Sacred Grove and was called to be the first prophet of this dispensation. This conversation’s over.

          • Cherry

            Why? Scared I might have more solid evidence than your inculcated testimony?

            Start with reading the (Google) CES letter.

            Smith used a divining rod as a fraud to find treasures for people. He made the whole religion up to swindle people of their money. Educate yourself before telling people they don’t know what they’re talking about.

      • Cherry

        I now see that you probably want evidence of the con, instead of the meat of my post.

        Try as a starting point. Of course there are areas to fill in the gaps, as proof is hard to come by in these matters; but this raises some solid and well thought out questions.

  • FroFro68

    “This revolution will not be against the prophets and apostles. It won’t be against history or doctrine. And it won’t undermine the foundational principles upon which this church was initially built upon.”

    The revolution IS against all those things AND culture. When generations of church leaders (the prophets and apostles) tirelessly deflect, conceal, side-step and deny damning actions, teachings, doctrines, and history, then when those things come out and can’t be hid anymore, they still continue the same song and dance, then cultural crap is the least of their worries. Sorry, but this article feels like a song and dance too.

    When people have to go to so much work trying to save a church from itself it’s just not worth saving. Truth about Jesus Christ and his teachings have been in the world all along. It’s just the LDS are still so busy trying to earn grace that they never see it and they are being told to not see it!

    • lunarpatrol

      Agreed until the last paragraph.

    • P.J. Vaught

      Well, that is about a self-righteous rant as I’ve ever heard…..

    • Ordain Women right? Oops, I made a judgment. Christ in the Bible actually commands us to make righteous judgments. The Church isn’t false. Search your soul.

  • Jacob Morris

    Amazing article that I 99% agree with. The only part that made me go, huh was “missionaries will start memorizing again”. If anything I see it going even farther from memorizing than Preach my Gospel already does. Preach My Gospel ( I was a PMG missionary) teaches missionaries to use the spirit and help people where they are and to get away from putting people in boxes. I know my mission president had us focus as missionaries on studying the doctor and then honing how to teach in general and said”always follow the spirit”.

  • Trevor

    I haven’t read any of your posts for a long time now, Greg. In fact, I blocked them on Facebook because I always found them so distasteful and uninformed.

    This one, however, feels different. I share with you the hope for a church that is more relevant for *everyone*, that focuses more on helping people improve themselves rather than become expert judges of other people, that understands truly what it means to love other people.

    • Thanks… I think lol

      • JeremiahS

        You know, Greg, I thought the same thing, and then I realized I was doing to you what you condemned in this article. Thank you for these beautiful thoughts.

      • Braden Jenks

        Greg, I did feel this post was much more in the right direction than some of your previous posts. Honestly, I became very frustrated with your post about “Christ, loving everyone and everything” because a lot of church members used that as fuel to throw more mean-spirited comments and hatred toward the LGBT community. A community we should be building bridges with, not walls.

        I do hope this revolution of love and acceptance you begin to hint at will come sooner than later. We’re making progress, but a massive leap is desperately needed in our church. It will not be a church revolution, because our church has always preached this. Rather, it will be a cultural revolution, because Mormon culture has failed countless individuals in the past.

        As someone else pointed out in these comments though, this cultural revolution needs to extend beyond becoming accepting of those who are slowly assimilating into our church. What we need even more of is extending that love and friendship to those who will never join our church. Or to those who will join our church but never assimilate as “traditional-thinking Mormons.”

  • Lisa Porter

    It’s already here. And has been. Just more are joining. Thanks for your thoughts!

  • Tasi Young

    My whole life there have been members calling for this type of cultural revolution, but the dang doctrine keeps getting in the way.

    “same-sex marriage is only a counterfeit. It brings neither posterity nor exaltation. Although [Satan’s] imitations deceive many people, they are not the real thing. They cannot bring lasting happiness.”

    • Steven Feil

      The doctrine does NOT get in the way. The doctrine cannot change to suit yours or the feelings of anyone else. Churches that try to modernize or “get with the times” will and are failing.

      • Mike G

        People are leaving the Mormon church at about the same rate as other churches.

        I think the point Tasi Young is trying to make is that you can’t have a revolution of acceptance as suggested in this post if you’re constantly labeling others as counterfeit.

        • RecoveringUgrad

          Well that isnt what the general authority said. Its the marriage that is counterfeit, not the people. It is a spiritually regressive union that opposses God was plan and as a direct consequence of the actions of the gay couple entering that marriage they halt any of their progress and actually go backwards.

    • RecoveringUgrad

      Not sure what the problem is with your quote. You appear to be going for shock value or something. It may have an impact on those who don’t understand doctrine. It’s actually a very good explanation as to one of the several irreconciliable differences that the concept of gay marriage has with Gods plan. Its the simple concept of cause and effect. Gay couples cannot ever obtain the blessings of eternal increase. Do you not understand that doctrine? Have you not connected the dots or have you be blinded by liberal hyperbole and false arguments? Those that enter gay marriage fundamentally reject that covenant of their own will. its simple biology and anatomy that shows its incompatible. The abrahamic covenant / exaltation is the ultimate covenant. That is why gay marriage is considered apostasy. It s a public rejection of Gods blessings, which is much different than fornicating parents and recreational drug use and all the other shortsighted arguments are of people who dont understand the issues.

      Do you think the temple ordinances can be given to a gay couple while keeping those ordinances, covenants the same? If you do, you havent been paying attention.

      Babylon would have God change his will to match the worlds, but it doesnt work that way. If you want the fulness of Gods blessings, you submit to Gods will. No amount of protesting, rioting or strawman arguments are is going to change that.

      I hope you can have the self awareness necessary to admit the possibility that your understanding, and the worlds understanding on gay marriage miss the point in an extremely tragic manner.

      • ReligiousPrivilage

        Your comment is the real tragedy here.

        • RecoveringUgrad

          Your comment reminds me of those birds that would randomly attack senior citizens from the air in Florida…then fly away like a flock of cowards. Do you have something of intellectual value to add or is being a closed minded and intolerant cyberbully your only purpose in being here?

          • Wait – after your comment you can really call someone intolerant!? Wow.
            Your comment was so full of condescension that it is clear there is very little to say other than the tragedy that people can continue to treat other people in the way that you do here.
            Here’s the thing – not everyone believes in ‘the doctrine’. As a matter of fact, an extraordinary minuscule amount of people actually do.
            You can believe what you want, that’s the beauty & curse of it all. Where this becomes a problem is when you want your beliefs to dictate to other people who do not believe the same as you.
            What if temple marriages were deemed ‘counterfeit’ and therefore not allowed? Would you be OK with that? What if someone really, really strongly believed that God isn’t ok with temple marriages (like many actually do)?

          • RecoveringUgrad

            Oh get ready for a response that is going to show the complete irony and utter hypocrisy of what you just said.

          • I’d love to hear. I’m curious to know how me asking for the church to allow other people to live their own lives is considered intolerant.

    • StarResident

      The phrase “gay marriage” is an oxymoron. Marriage is a covenant between a man, a woman, and God. God is totally not OK with homosexual sexuality. The idea that He would bless and sanctify such an arrangement in marriage is blasphemy. This will never change. I feel bad for people who have this particular challenge/temptation, but sugar-coating the situation is not going to help. Sorry.

      • ReligiousPrivilage

        And what about people that don’t believe in God? Should they be prevented from being married? Is God totally OK with that? Should they just not bother?
        No one is asking for God to ‘bless and sanctify’ gay marriage, they simply want the same chance to live their life in a committed relationship just like everyone else.

        • StarResident

          Two words: domestic partnership.

          • There are married people that don’t believe in God…do they still make a covenant with God because it’s called marriage? Or as long it’s a man and woman, it’s OK? Or they shouldn’t be able to get married either? Maybe we should vet any marriage request for a belief in God before letting anyone get married?
            Let’s try this – let’s replace ‘gay’ with ‘mormon’. Would you be ok with legislation being put in place to say that you can or can’t do something because you’re a mormon, like say, getting married? Doesn’t sound right, does it?
            Mormons believe anything less than a temple marriage is well, less. Why the need to try and infringe on other peoples rights because of your belief?

          • RecoveringUgrad

            Well God still blesses even unbelievers with children and it still meets his law of marital union so their lack of belief in their creator is irrelevant to God accepting their marriage.

          • So children are the indicator of Gods ‘acceptance’ of marriage?
            Did anyone ever think that maybe “Gods law” should have absolutely nothing to do with ‘mans’ law? That in fact, that’s the point?
            Would you be OK if someone else’s beliefs impacted your ability to get married?

        • RecoveringUgrad

          Thats not true at all. Just listen to the dissenting voices of those that criticize he churchs position on gay marriage. Plenty of people are asking God to bless and sanctify gay marriage.

          • I’ll criticize the church on their position on gay marriage, but I’ll also defend their right to have that belief (as much as I may disagree with it). The church and others cross the line when they want to impose that belief on others that don’t share that same belief.

  • Dana

    But what about the other 6 days of the week? That seems to be the part that everyone struggles with. They welcome you to church but then won’t interact with you or let your kids play with your kids because one person in the house has doubts, like it might rub off on them.

    • P.J. Vaught

      Did you have this happen to you?

  • Dingus O’Malley

    Crazy how there is opposition in all things, even with members of the church. I’m all for people not judging and do not condone it, but that’s not a reality to have it completely stop as everyone has their weaknesses including judging others. Unrighteousness judging is an addiction. But how much of feeling judged is really what we perceive? How much do we listen to the adversary and believe what is going or is it an assumption? Negative thinking is also an addiction. The church teaches a lot about judging, yet people don’t automatically change when they receive the message, what you are talking about is mind control. But if you are going to preach of love, you do know that Christ like love involves respecting agency? How often is Christ disrespected and yet he still love those people? Be honest with yourself, can you learn to love your enemy? Perhaps dealing with members who aren’t perfect is Christ’s way of teaching us how to love everyone? If you are going to church to not face trials and not deal with imperfect people, it’s can definitely make it hard to stay active. You do know that the atonement heals all things, including dealing with the pain from others right?

  • Peggy Adams

    I’m one of the older (60’s) people you think are always judging those who have fallen and are trying to get back up. My experience is that there are a few people who will judge no matter what, and age doesn’t matter. There have always been, and will always be those who judge regardless. There have always been and will always be those who love unconditionally. There are far more who love and want to show a hand of fellowship, than those who condemn and judge. I think this is an ongoing growth of new awareness, and that none of us are perfect, and we’re all in this together.

    • P.J. Vaught

      Well said, Peggy. The intent of this article seems to be to cast blame at the members regardless of what kind of people they are. My experience tells me that true fellowship is best when both parties are trying to be the best people they can be….

  • Shannon

    Christ himself taught that in the last days the wheat would be seperated from the tares (the Saints from the world). This was not to be some cataclysmic event. It would be a self-separation, so to speak. When we sin, we don’t feel comfortable in the presence of the spirit. That is what leads to repentance. People’s actions–whether they repent or continue to sin, will decide whether they continue to feel comfortable with the spirit or self-separate. Even the most loved person will still leave the presence of the spirit if they live contrary to the gospel without any desire to repent. This is also the principle upon which it will be determined which degree of heaven we live in. We will seek that level of light which we are comfortable with. In our post mortal experience we are loved beyond all comprehension. Yet many will not endure living in the presence of God. Unfortunately we live in a world that the scriptures describe as an increase in polarization between the righteous and the wicked. That being said, part of righteousness is charity, the pure love of Christ. It doesn’t mean members suddenly acquire this for we are all sinners, but hopefully we are working toward charity.

  • Who here among us has not been broken
    Who here among us is without guilt or pain
    So oft’ abandoned by our transgressions
    If such a thing as grace exists
    Then grace was made for lives like this

    There are no strangers
    There are no outcasts
    There are no orphans of God
    So many fallen, but hallelujah
    There are no orphans of God

    Come ye unwanted and find affection
    Come all ye weary, come and lay down
    Your head
    Come ye unworthy, you are my brother
    If such a thing as grace exists
    Then grace was made for lives like this

    O blessed Father, look down upon us
    We are Your children, we need Your love
    We run before Your throne of mercy
    And seek Your face to rise above

  • windy_way8192

    Perhaps, but just as likely is a revolution in the form of continued exodus of committed Mormons from the church.

    We’re learning that what we were conditioned to believe is false, that good feelings are not indicators of truth of an entire book, which then negates the argument of a true book proving the Restoration claims.

    We’re seeing that, without the bias for the church, there’s no reason to accept the original truth claims given widespread, more accurate information. Without the premise, the emotional need for it to be true, the church is obviously false.

    That’s the revolution.

    • P.J. Vaught

      Well you certainly are windy….and a secular humanist. You’d better hope it’s not true…..

      • Mike G

        You sure like to label people a secular humanist.

      • Sydney Brown Jones

        You keep calling people “secular humanist” as if that is a bad thing…

      • windy_way8192

        Why? Do you really believe God will punish people for being honest?

      • windy_way8192

        And btw the way, the way is windy. I am the one trying to be truer than the Church has been to me.

  • Cammie Vanderveur

    If this comes it will come from the base with the 15 men at the top kicking and screaming. The level of centralized control, in money, in franchised buildings and lesson books and in the handbook rather than scripture. Cultures work hard to institutionalize themselves Greg. With things like church courts, excommunication, disfellowship, changed temple recommend questions as teeth for policy, policies in handbooks, hidden finances, subtle shunning of those who do not serve a mission, magazines, talks, fireside by GAs. Amicus briefs. The leaders have the tools they need for the power control battle. When something like the courts change, or finances are disclosed, or children of gays policies change to restore agency and love……those will be the signs of what you speak. Sadly the institutional trappings seem to be augmenting, not receding. Do not be surprised if they double down even harder like the FLDS did. When the church courts stop playing games with records that matter to mortals only in sociality (as an omnipotent god would have no need). When church courts are buried and replaced with not so called courts of love, but no courts, and just people who love and stop using it for additional social imposed judgement and consequence when they don’t think the natural outcome was harsh enough……when they abdicate judgement back up to god….that will be the sign, and we can talk again.

    • P.J. Vaught

      If that “sign” ever came, you wouldn’t listen…..You sound more like a secular humanist….What do you think Christ meant when he said if thy right eye offend thee, it is better to pluck it out than to end up in Hell? It is better to go into Life with one eye than to go to Hell with both…..

    • iJenni

      Bishops who interview members that are truly repentant should read this. Maybe they would recognize that “punishment” like disfellowship and excommunication are NOT always what every sinner needs. Some of us sinners just need to be loved back into the fold.

      • Mouria

        Disfellowship and excommunication are not really bad. I believe too much emphasis is placed on the social impact such judgements may have upon a person, and not enough on the spiritual impact. More often than no these words denote negativity. But in reality, they should denote positivity because these are just doors on the path of repentance.

        The social impact of disfellowship/excommunication may include “shunning” or withdrawal by both the disfellowshiped/excommunicated and members. The restrictions of certain aspects of church participation may appear to some as being unwarranted, unjust, and even antiquated. But we must remember that it is God who established the standard of worthiness, which is the only standard by which we can approach Him. When any member sins, they effectively “disfellowship” themselves from the companionship of the Holy Spirit. When Adam and Eve were cast from the garden of Eden, this was a disfellowshiping, even an excommunication – Adam and Eve were cut off from the presence of God.

        We speak of spiritual death without a second though most times, because we understand that such is a natural consequence of sin. But when the word “excommunication” is mentioned, far better is he who is spiritually dead; for some reason, from what I have observed, excommunication seems to have taken on the definition “eternally forsaken”. This is not the case – yes excommunication is not a pleasant thing. Truly, to be “cut off” from those things which can bring us to God is never a good thing. But, for the truly penitent, God always has a way to reconciliation.

        Disfellowship and excommunication should not be though of as “punishment”, rather chastening. Believe it or not, but such chastening is usually the appropriate course when it is warranted because it is an act of both justice and mercy from God, just as the flood was – Pres. Taylor wisely taught that he flood was justice, for the wicked received the reward for their sin. But it was a mercy for them also, for it stopped them in their sin. It was also a mercy for those who were being raised in sin, and those who were yet to be born, that they should not be born to parents unworthy and unrepentant. It was a mercy for the world, for the earth was cleansed from sin.

        The same mercy is available to all those who humble themselves and believe in Christ. I should know because as I look back upon the years I was disfellowshiped, which was about 6 years, turns out to be full of tender mercies from the Lord. And in the experience of those I know who are re-baptised excommunicated members, they would testify to how such proved valuable – If God extended the hand of mercy and repentance to Cain, who was then on the very cusp of perdition, He would, and does, extend the very same to all.

        • Eric Thomas

          They aren’t bad in a sense, but the method can be sloppily carried out or even abused by men. Church history is full of it.

    • Eric Thomas

      I gotta admit I cracked up at this, even though you probably didn’t mean for it to be funny. I just pictured some Mormons blowing a gasket. I don’t agree with much of this. There has to be living oracles at the head and guidelines in dealing with the masses, otherwise scriptures will be ran over roughshod far more than they already in LDS culture. The brethren are not perfect, but I sincerely believe they are TRYING to get it right and do what’s best. The gay thing has EXPLODED over the last couple decades and will change even more so the church was bound to make some adjustments, though you may disagree with it. I do believe some of the church discipline is not in harmony with the principles of Christ (not that there is no place for it. Sometimes even excommunication is best and often people who are feel relieved. Perhaps the Lord knows they need a break, a restart or are just downright evil, depending on the person) but if church leaders followed the handbook better and applied Christlike principles in these proceedings I would feel much better about it, which I am confident they generally do, but mistakes happen and even the priesthood has men full of weakness.

  • JannetMoranz

    Thank you!

  • Shane

    Thank you.

  • Chris Taylor

    Greg- I like the spirit of your article, but I think your vision is too narrow. In fact, I think what you envision already exists in most Stakes outside Utah. Accepting someone is easy when they are there to change/assimilate. The true difficulty is accepting people that will never change, like a gay married couple, or a bishop wearing a blue shirt every week or having a beard or an earing, or a smoker that is not planning to quit, or leaders with strongly held different views on doctrine or church history, or members continuing to get tattoos. The list is a thousand pages long. The church needs standards, but the hedge around the standards is tall and wide, and until we get over the cultural hedge, and beyond acceptance based on assimilation, we are just more of the same. Your post is about more of the same.

    • Lee Zurligen

      I recently moved to Washington state after living in Utah for 34 years and I have to say that I have experienced more “judgemental” commentary and behavior here than I ever did in Salt Lake. And you don’t have to imagine the scenario he mentioned of all of those disparate folks sitting together. Just visit my old ward in South Salt Lake on any Sunday.

    • Tristen Lawrence

      Amen to this

  • floydfloyd

    “The doctrine of this church doesn’t lose people. It’s the culture and superstition that causes unnecessary strife.”

    That’s a nice thought, but then you get confronted with Brigham Young proclaiming that interracial marriage is cause for death and will always be so. Or the doctrine of polygamy … that loses plenty of people. And this is among many others. I, like you, desperately want a more inclusive Mormonism where the culture and superstition aren’t what drive us. But by discounting those who leave or feel uncomfortable due to the doctrine, aren’t you excluding them too? The doctrine of the church DOES lose people, and we should be sensitive to that.

    • Mouria

      I disagree – it is important to distinguish what is and is not doctrine. Brigham Young is notorious for saying things, whether they are direct quotations or second hand, even third hand, accounts which appear so contrary to Doctrine. However, just because someone said it does not make it so.

      As far as polygamy is concerned: there is so much about this that we do not understand, even to whom the revelation came, and for this very reason we cannot say the doctrine is responsible for members leaving the Church, or others rejecting the Church, but rather the lack of understanding.

      There are some who leave the Church because they do not fully understand the purpose and covenants of the temple. Others leave because they cannot understand, and therefore will not abide, the law of Tithing. But for those who have a fuller understanding thereof, such laws and doctrine become anchors of faith, anchors which hold them fast to the Rock of heaven.

      God’s law, His doctrine, is pure and perfect, for God is pure and perfect – if they are not, they are not of God. But we should not mistake our current comprehension on such as being the standard. No, rather, we should be willing to accept that perhaps what we know now is not enough, and we should seek to improve and increase our understanding of the Gospel, because by doing so, we will find that the fault lies with us, and not God.

      What may be difficult for some to accept is this: the Church is a perfect organisation administered by imperfect beings, and rightly so. Further, the way by which we achieve harmony with God – in other words, how we abide His laws – through various Church policies, etc are subject to change. It is important to understand this because here is the difference: Doctrine is eternal, policies are not. God has inspired His servants, the prophets, to adopt policies which are appropriate for their time which, in my experience, can either chasten, inspire, instruct, teach, among others; policies are given to help us both obey and understand his law and doctrine.

      Thus, for some, the challenge is trying to overcome administrative imperfections – how they can better administer the Gospel; for others, it’s learning to overcome how they perceive the mistakes and imperfections of their ecclesiastical leaders. But the doctrine is always the same, given for one purpose: to reconcile mankind to God, not to separate.

      • floydfloyd

        I’ve heard this argument many times before, and you make it well. It just doesn’t sit right with me. It’s essentially hand waving to say, “well, we just don’t know, and there really are only circumstantial reasons to believe it, plus we’re going to silo this kind of thinking from this kind of thinking, and you should just press forward in spite of all that because we say so.”

        If any misunderstanding of polygamy or dubious nature of the accounts of events can be used as an apologetic approach to still believing, then to be fair we must use the same arguments against the positive evidences. All accounts of the first vision are dubious. Essentially everything that is taught or came from God is on the say-so of some one other than yourself. If you’ve for yourself come to an understanding that they are telling the truth, then that’s great. I can’t have the same position when there are so few evidences for the church and Occam’s Razor argues very strongly against it.

        So far for me, I’ve held onto kindness, love, and character building, which is essentially what the Gospel is anyway, and it’s working well for me. I am grateful to my upbringing for emphasizing those things to me, but I would like to come out as one who left the church for the doctrine and not because of the culture. I loved the culture. The doctrine pushed me away.

        • ricardo Dartist

          Floydfloyd, I wonder if all of the doctrine pushed you away from the church or only some of it? (You do not have to answer me as it is a personal question but it intrigues me when someone uses that as a reason to stop living the Gospel). I hope that some of the principal teachings of Jesus Christ are still important in your life. I was not always a latterday saint but I had many questions when the missionaries first met me in 1979. Their answers are still true and relevant to me today as they were then and I draw great comfort in that fact. You mentioned the first vision, I have read all nine accounts of the first vision and none of them contradict each other, while at the same time each one seems to be relevant to the audience to whom that account was written for. The doctrine of the first vision is a very important one; it tells us that the heavens are not longer closed to mankind but that God still talks to us. It tells us that Jesus Christ lives and knows us by name. It tells us that up to that point in history no church had God’s seal of approval nor the authority to speak in His name. It tell us that God recognizes Jesus as His only begotten and that we should hear him. It tells us that Satan is real and will try to stop us from praying to God or doing the right thing. It tells us that God has called prophets to the earth once more. If God was to deal with men today as He did in the past (as the Bible tells us) it would have done just as the first vision accounts say. Please do not take offense on my post as it is intended to share some light into my reasons to believe in the doctrine of the church. Can the truth push people away? I was taught by the LDS Missionaries not to rely in their words but to ask God. Having said “all” of the above, I know it to be true because I asked God (but the answer came nearly after six months of daily prayer). Just try one more time dear brother, for it is true.

  • lunarpatrol

    There is a demographic and psychographic shift happening and a forced and belated realization or acknowledgement by leadership that it’s not only happening but they need to respond and change. There’s increasing numbers on the rolls… and we’re great records keepers, but decreasing participation amongst people of my generation.

    Many outside of the Lime Green Society feel they have had very limited influence on decision making, so outside of a loose cultural or family association why should we care?

    The LDS Church and heirarchy desperately needs to break out of the Searsesque model… they can see it failing so many- and we don’t want to wait for a generation to die before we can have more influence over its destiny.

    • P.J. Vaught

      The problem here is that you see the Church as a man-made institution and some of us see it as the actual Church of Jesus Christ. These differing views are irreconcilable…..”Searsesque mode”??? Talk about a loud sounding nothing…..

  • Gabriele Funaro

    HI Greg! First of all, thanks for posting this!! I love reading tons of things every day and I love those voices that are out of the choir!! You really know what you’re talking about and I perceive a strong spirit and sincere intention in your words!! My comment is something that I have shared with my friends as well and I wanna expand your subject because I believe there’s one important element missing, something that rarely occurs in Church related subjects.

    Now, you raise some very important points that we absolutely have to work on, EVERY ONE, regardless of our position in the Church, and I give credit to you for touching those points, but there’s one big detail that most people fail to see: SUPERFICIALITY!! It’s not just about being judgemental, the problem we are living in the Church is also about being SUPERFICIAL where people really understand the concepts, but then fail to apply them in their lives due to a lack of profoundness in their human interactions. We see people with thousands of friends on Facebook and other social media, people that attend every YSA Conference and activity, but then you ask them “Hey, how is that person?” and they have no idea who they are talking about. This is because it’s not just about having as many interactions as possible, it’s also about making those interactions profound and meaningful.

    I know in first person how tough it is to have good interactions with others. Being Autistic, I struggle to spend time with too many people, it can become overwhelming, but there’s one thing that I never want to do: replacing quality with quantity. So even if I have a conversation with one person, either a member, a non member, a friend, a relative or whatever, it has to be a worthwhile conversation! Lately, inside the Church, there’s this serious illness of empty, hollow conversation, so people simply talk, but either they avoid getting too deep or they are even scared. Having Asperger Syndrome, I often go straight to a subject without considering the consequences. Sometimes I see people getting very scared because of my behaviour, but in a limited number of times I see people looking at me with gleaming eyes and say “This is exactly what I needed to hear and nobody had the courage to say it!”

    So praise to this blog, I like the fact that people are waking up, but we must also face this vile enemy called superficiality and defeat it, otherwise, even the best intentions written here, are completely useless. This is my reflection on your article!! Thank you for posting it!!

    Best regards from an Italian member of the Church of Jesus Christ,
    Gabriele Funaro

  • Eric Clermont Player

    Man, have you been attending the wrong wards.

    You say you want a revolution, well, you know . . .

  • Blaine Chandler

    What we this article is forgetting is the culture is a product of the doctorine and teachings of the church.

  • Kimberly Watson Smith

    I really did enjoy this article however while calling for a revolution against placing judgment and and spreading love there was a lot of judgement thrown around about people who just are trying to do their best the best they know how. So I ask this question What about a revolution against the judgment of those whose enjoy going to church every Sunday, who enjoy wearing their Sunday best, who have experienced the sweetness and the blessings of living correct princples and want to bear their testimony of Christ’s truths? Can we stop calling those people “holier than thou” and and can we stop accusing them of passing judgment on people simply because they believe keeping commandments makes people happier? For once i just want to attend my meetings without people assuming that I think I am better than anyone else. I would also like to attend Church in my Sunday best without someone accusing me of not accepting someone not dressed like me. I would also like to continue being active in my ward and in my calling without having articles written about me and others like me that tell the world that they will only find judgment from “active church members” or that they only reason they home and visit teach is to meet a quota. How about we just attend church with the intent to humble ourselves before the Lord, to seek guidance from the Holy Ghost and to love and support each other active or not. We are all deserving of Christ’s love free from judgement.

    • you see, it’s SO easy for people who aren’t living righteously to rebuke those who are doing their best to do so. That’s not supposed to be the point of this thread

    • Beverly Aicard

      Good ideas but I can “hear” his comments coming loud and clear from your words……I always try to read over what I have written before I post it. Maybe you should study what you just said and possibly get a clearer picture of what he means.

    • Sill DePlacito

      Thank you Kimberly for your post!

    • Sid

      Great thoughts and so valid too. I have felt both sides. I agree 100% with Greg and I speak outrightly about the negative cultural ways in our church that have become at times Pharisee minded that need uprooting. I love the church. I love the true message of the gospel and Christ’s perfect ways and teachings. I want all to be included, all to feel loved and all to come unto him because he is the source of all light. However, on the other side of the coin, because I do attend church faithfully, I have been accused by a few that assume they know my heart but do not. Sometimes people are judged based on their group by something that negatively happened to them in the past by a member of that group. It is hard for them to separate a group (as in the LDS church as a whole) from an individual in that group. As time goes on and better experiences occur, people do slowly change their perceptions. Perceptions do not necessarily equal truth. As in Samuel, “The Lord seeth not as man seeth, for man looketh on the outward appearance but the Lord looketh on the heart.”They key is the heart. It will always be. We need to constantly examine our hearts whether in or out of the church, recognize our weaknesses and turn them into strengths. We need to humble ourselves. As Elder Eyring said, “Those who do not see their weaknesses do not progress.” Every person that walks this earth has weaknesses so we need to be patient with our fellow travelers. Love is patient, love is kind, love is long suffering, love envieth not, seekth not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, beareth all things, endureth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things… all that good stuff on charity. When I have felt judged incorrectly, I try to smile and sometimes just brush it off until the accusers grow more. On occasion, I have gotten upset with a few family members & acquaintances when my heart was judged incorrectly. It hurts too just as much as those Greg is talking about in this article. I realized that I was lacking charity and long suffering towards my accusers and needed to personally work on that. It is easy to love those who love us. What about those who hate us? That’s why we have been admonished by the Savior to pray even for those that despitefully use and persecute us. We never know the far reaching effects of pure unfeigned love. It can change everything. Was it Mormon or Moroni that lamented on being persecuted and was basically told by the Lord that it matters not. “What is it to thee?” I recall the words being spoken to him. He was then comforted that he had kept himself unspotted from the world. If things are well with God, nothing else really matters. The Savior too was persecuted for being the greatest of us all. “The Son of Man hath descended below them all, art thou greater than he?” That scripture has taught me volumes in my life. For every wrong we feel committed against us or that we have committed ourselves, there is an answer shown by Jesus on how to deal with that situation in the scriptures. I love this amazing being that we call our Savior and our older brother. He has truly shown us the way. Sending good thoughts.

    • Melanie

      People a often illogical and irrational, love them anyway. You will never be all things to all people. Love them and keep it moving. The only person’s opinion that really matters is the Lord’s and if you’re living the 1st and 2nd greatest commandment, it’s hard to get it wrong when interacting with people.

    • Nonnie E

      Yes, I can understand how you can be frustrated, with the feeling that just because you want to live the principles of the gospel to a higher standard, doesn’t mean you are condemning and judging others who may not live up to this. But as far as this article goes, I don’t know this guy and this is the first article that I have read by him. But from what I see here, I don’t believe and I hope he’s not trying to condemn those living a higher standard as much as the possibly of those in the church treating others negatively and unloving because they are still struggling to live that higher standard.

      • Eric Thomas

        I don’t think he is! What did Christ do? He earnestly went after the establishment (as in the pharisee type people) of the faith. Obviously some differences, but you cannot say there is no arrogant, insensitive, lazy, shallow, prideful and not very loving members of the church. It’s not like it’s black and white where if you’re active that automatically assumes you’re one of the Christlike and humble ones who sincerely practices the gospel. I know many MANY non-Mormons who are much more Christlike than some Mormons and Christlike principles are the very heart of the gospel. I know Mormons who literally have little faith if any at all, yet go to church. One of the biggest problems in the church is our lack of ability self reflect on the faults in the culture. Why would any truly good person who loves the church with all their hearts not want us to see some of the cancer and problems are LIFT the standard rev more? We don’t like it when a child is snubbed or treated coldly, nor do we like it when injustice of any kind happens to ourselves. Imagine an inactive trying to come back whose soul is fragile, scarred and yearning for the Atonement with a strong testimony the church can deliver that Atonement much more and any of the actives don’t like the person. Perhaps a business partner from the past, a past sin, a quirky style, strong opinions, a an intuitive personality that makes the frauds feel insecure because they sense she or he sense something, even though he or she still feels goodwill for that person.All kinds of things happen. I’ve seen it my entire life. I’ve active members be snobby and CRUSH the Atonement working in a life that needs salvaging. This isn’t something people should be fighting in anyway. This is something that all disciples and people who love the Lord and His church should seek to understand and better.

        • Erik

          Very well said!

    • ChrisFish81

      This is Satire right Kimberly Watson Smith? Are you trying to tell me that the people who don’t show up to church have made you feel unwelcome and unable to attend church because of your holier than tho attitude that is supposed. Your comment just goes to demonstrate how correct and much a change is needed from the Saints… You sound like a social justice warrior for affirmative action for the Holier than thous in the church.

      • Malty17

        Your rant comes across self-indulgent, snarky and more “holier than thou” than Kimberly’s post. Judging can and often does go both ways.

    • Cynthia Siebken Bower

      I didn’t take it like that. My husband and I are active, love the Savior, yearn for the Sabbath Day, study, do our callings etc. We also pray every single day that somehow our six children will be loved back into the church. One is gay, one lives with a man she won’t marry, another is immersed in a life of alcohol, some of them prefer Eastern religions and minimize the Atonement of Christ and pray to a universe, not a loving Father in Heaven. Our prayers are that loving members of the church will reach out to them and be their friends. I see the Lord at work in their lives and how valuable their lessons could be in a future in the church. They are familiar with things I never wanted to know about, yet they are actually helping people who they have become acquainted with. I bring people to ward functions hope hope hoping that someone besides me will want to sit by them or converse with them rather than shake hands and move on to their good friends. People coming into the church need more than one friend. They need a community of friends.

      • Diane Stiles

        I’m one of those that desire a friend within my ward. Someone who isn’t just friendly and shake my hand. I often feel alone and ignored. There are many times I’ve left crying. I know I’m not alone spiritually, and that is what keeps me going. I’ve move many times and I’ve met many people, but I’ve made very few long time friends. I know I’m a bit rough around the edges, but I’m still a good person. A Daughter of Heavenly Father.

        • Twister51

          Hang in there, sister! Never, EVER forget that you are valuable. I think the best sermon I ever came in contact with was a bumper sticker on the back of a beat up old pickup truck I saw on the street outside my house in Valdosta, GA. It said “God loves you anyway”. Keep the faith.

        • Alone

          Me too. I’ve been a member my whole life and itseems since I’m not the typical mother of ten, I don’t fit in. I can’t have children and nothing makes me more saddened. But it also hurts to just have the Sunday MTG friends. Hang in there, you’re not alone. Just remember that our Savior knows and loves us more than we know. Doesn’t make it easier, but we will make it!!!

    • Jason

      Yes. The acceptance and love will have to be in all directions and to all our brothers and sisters. Without hesitation or reserve.

    • Jasmine Cheree Atkinson

      True true!! Just always attend church for the love of Christ!! always!!- and then you will have love to offer others. Testimony is based purely on your strength of character in following the teachings of Jesus Christ. A strong testimony will never come by focusing on other peoples thoughts or circumstances, so we can always feel happy when we put Christ and His teachings at the helm of our thoughts, and motives
      Lets Use the doctrines of Christ to heal and strengthen ourselves first. Then we may assist others in our sphere of influence. 🙂

    • disasterdave

      Kimberly, There are victims and antagonists on both sides of the issue. We all need to stop looking for the revolution and simply make it happen in our own lives.

    • Twister51

      Amen, sister!, amen! Sometimes people think that only well dressed people can discriminate against others. Rubbish. The Book of Mormon says, in extremely clear language, that the rich can persecute the poor AND that the poor can treat the wealthy with jealousy and contempt, too. Goes both ways. Our goal should to NOT be a part of it no matter what side of the economic or activity spectrum we are on.

    • Jonathan Scott

      If you are worried about what people think of you then you are part of the problem.

  • P.J. Vaught

    This is just an inversion of values that is happening in our society today. You call good evil and evil good. Thank you for saying what you said, because the longer you talk, the more we know what is in your inmost heart. As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he…..

  • I was born and raised in the church but became inactive after my mission and for a couple decades so far so I’m one of those “people”, but this article I find misleading. This “revolution” on how people will start to be treated is how people should have been treated since the beginning and founding of the modern day church. So the article basically tells me that they’ve been doing it wrong all along and that it lacks consistency. I’m rather disappointed in this article.

  • Nigel Gillingham

    People today want others to accept their actions. Even when they are wrong and against societies better interests. They do not like to be thought of as doing wrong. As a result many cry the “Judgement card”, much like some cry racism, bigotry, hypocrite and other cards to try and justify their actions. When this doesn’t work, they say others are at fault. I have seen much love, forgiveness and sacrifice in the church, I have also seen other stop going, because their actions were not accepted and they felt uncomfortable even though they were not necessarily condemned by those around them. When a person feels guilty for doing things wrong, they are often their own worst judge.

    • Mike G

      This attitude is why the Mormon church can’t be a safe place for others. Their members have been told their whole life that they’re the only ones with all the truth and it’s poisoning their ability to reach out to people who don’t see things exactly like they do.

      • Nigel Gillingham

        What a load of rubbish! Members are free to do what they want. That is the whole purpose of life here and our free agency. However, the church does teach us to live the higher laws of Christ like behaviour. That said, this means that everyone is at a different level in life. Those who make bigger efforts or lesser efforts naturally live different lives. The purpose of a church is to try and elevate people to a higher level of Christianity. We all choose the lifestyles at which we personally are comfortable and happy living. Just as you choose your lifestyle, so I choose mine and others choose theirs. To say the LDS church can’t be a safe place for others is just plain ridiculous. We claim to have all the ordinances as well as a Priesthood Lineage, but the truth is out there for anybody who wishes to seek for it.

        • Unless a man wants to marry another man. Then they can’t do what they want.
          Unless a child with a parent that is homosexual wants to get baptized. Nope, sorry.
          If you’re a woman in the church…ooh yeah, different rules for you too.
          Perhaps ask someone thats not a middle class white straight male in the church if it’s been a safe place for them.
          See, the statement ‘higher level of Christianity” is exactly whats being (purposefully or not) referred to.

          • social justice smh. You have to live the commandments to the best of your abilities.

          • Nigel Gillingham

            I am an environmentalist, in many ways. I believe in nature and its natural laws. I believe that life has an order and a purpose. 2 men or 2 women do not further the population, so have no natural reasoning, however, if they choose same sex partnerships that is their choice and the church actually accepts that. Sex outside of marriage, is what I believe you are actually talking about. On this subject the church is non discriminative. No marriage- no sex. That is it. The Church is not here to justify our actions and to be a social club. It is here to teach people how they must live if, and only if, they want to live in the highest kingdom with our Father In Heaven. Regarding women in the church, our church has the oldest women’s organization in all churches, they operate at all levels of leadership from top to bottom. In fact their organization is larger than the men’s and often has greater responsibilities and service opportunities. As an ex-bishop, my Relief Society president was often more important to me than my counselors and was responsible for most of my congregation. The trouble is many just do not know the real organization of the church and what happens in the leadership positions.

          • Homosexual behavior is present in nature.
            Homosexuals ARE having sex (I know, icky), whether marriage is legal or not. Straight people are having sex outside of marriage, and yet they can still get married later.
            What about people that can’t have kids? Shouldn’t they be unable to get married? Or older folks (like Neal Maxwell) that marry after a spouse has passed and they’re beyond reproductive years?
            I’m not saying the church has to ‘condone’ any behavior or justify anyone else’s actions. As we know there are may rules the church enforces amongst their congregations. That is their right, whether I agree with what they believe or not.
            Where I take issue is when they attempt to enforce those beliefs on other people that do not hold the same beliefs (think Prop 8). I’ve said this on other comments but I think it applies – would you be OK with legislation being in place preventing temple marriages because other people believe that it is ‘counterfeit’ or sinful?
            Even worse, more recently, their stance on the children of a homosexual parent is literally punishing someone for someone else’s transgression (sound familiar?) is both heartbreaking and, in my mind, immoral.

            As for women, I am very aware of the organization of the church, having served in many leadership positions and also worked closely with women in the church. Your talking points are just that, talking points.
            I could go into detail, but suffice it to say women do in no way have the same opportunities as a man for leadership or decision making in the church. I know all of the rebuttals, but my comment was directed at the ‘members are free to do what they want’ – a woman cannot bless their child, pass the sacrament, make any kind of decision outside of the RS, or even know their husbands ‘name’…

        • Mike G

          Your belief that the people who don’t live life like you are on a “different level” than you (I’m guessing a lower level) is the problem I’m talking about.

          You probably didn’t even realize or mean to put yourself above others but there it is. It’s everywhere in the language and culture and it’s not healthy. It’s off putting to those not of your faith (not just former Mormons) and it goes against the cultural change spoken of in this post.

          • Nigel Gillingham

            Again you are being judgemental. I do not know what your moral and ethical standards are so i would not judge you, neither do i know your circumstances or your social environment. It is easy to judge people, but it is harder to understand them and realize what they have been through and struggled to overcome. We all know that we can become better people. That we have personal faults and failings, some are worse than others and we also know that we can do a little better in overcoming those weaknesses. Life is not just a ladder as Jacob saw it, neither is a simple road with many junctions as often used by people, life is unique to each of us and it is for each of us to become the best we can under the circumstances that endure. You say I put myself above others?? You do not know me, neither do you know my trials, so do not judge me. What I will say is that I have made an effort to be better than I used to be and that is enough for you to know.

          • You make some beautiful points here.
            The ask is that we allow others to experience their same journey in their own way.

      • that’s garbage. That is the prototypical liberal mentality though. Agree with me or you’re wrong. I’ve never once said that to someone who disagrees with me.

    • Sid

      A very good piece of the puzzle. Thanks for sharing Nigel. There are so many factors involved.

  • wishtrish

    This isn’t coming. It’s not on the way. It’s already here. I see this every day.

    I have been blessed to live in the most loving and safe wards most of my life. Yes, I have seen some things done that shouldn’t have been, but who hasn’t done things they wish they had done differently? Overall, I have been blessed with wards and leadership that have provided a place of comfort and safety open to all people, members and nonmembers, saints and sinners, the repentant and non-repentant. There have also been a few times when I have cried over the injustices I had witnessed, many of which completely broke some of my dearest friends and nearly broke me in turn, as someone who loves them deeply.

    I realize that in some places, this “revolution” is far more needed than others and have come to know the enormous blessing I have experienced in having primarily enjoyed my church life in safe and loving communities where things were already running seamlessly in the fashion of which this author only hopes for.

    The Gospel of Jesus Christ is for all people. ALL, no matter their circumstances past, present, or future, and no matter their desires then, now, or to come. This causes daily interesting conundrums as both the abused and the abuser have need of saving, the forgiven and the forgivers sit side by side, and as not only the runaways, but also those run-off, need found and brought back to a friendly loving fold full of sinners wishing, striving, failing and trying again to be better.

    It’s not a revolution, it’s an evolution. It always has been. It always will be. As we center our SELVES on Christ, he will change us. The evolution of souls will bring the “revolution” of the church. It’s an ongoing process, but, never fear, with Christ at its center, it is ever in progress. As we allow Christ to change US, we will change the climate of the Church.

  • Thayne Rigby

    There will be no revolution. Because it would be bad for business. It has to all be true. It has to be special. It has to be all inspired. There must be justifications for seeming missteps. There is no Mormon church without the infallibility of its leaders. Make no mistake, it will fall, but not by revolution, But by devolution.

  • Gloria D. Gross

    My father smoked and I must have reeked with tobacco on my clothes, but I never felt uncomfortable because I was totally unaware of the smell. No one ever said anything or did anything to clue me in–they just loved me. My parents didn’t attend Church, but I did.

  • Mike G

    Sounds nice but what evidence do you have that this is starting to occur in the LDS church? To an outsider many of the talks that come from leadership continue to be judgmental of others.

  • dmai

    I have been struggling with my testimony and part of it is I hate all the “standard responses.” I’m at a point where I need to get past those. Totally agree with your comment!

    • mormonado

      Keep struggling. Testimony is personal, it has to be. The church is only there to support the growth of your testimony and your family. It will always stay ‘basic’ bc people are at such different levels spiritually. I can tell you the gospel is true, with or without the LDS culture or the many ‘Primary’ answers from church.

    • Nigel Gillingham

      From time to time we all have reality checks where we look at where we are and where we have come from in life’s journey.

      Strangely some of the stock answers are the right ones, it just takes a while to realize that.

      You are not alone. It happens to all and this is where our efforts to grow and become more Christlike kick in. Basically, you know what you have felt, you know how the spirit has affected your life and now is the time to make that greater effort. In many cases the gospel is not about us, but other people. What we can do for them and how we can do acts of kindness to help or cheer others up. Giving a cake or some chocolates to a lonely widow or stressed out single parent, spending time to talk to a struggling child and, if able, helping them with a school homework problem (Check with parents).

      Maybe a neighbor needs some help. “When we are in the service of our fellow beings we are only in the service of our God”. This is when the the Spirit touches our soul the most. Set your yourself a task to study. Maybe your query is “this” or “that”. So search the dictionary or index in the scriptures and read about it in all of it references. LDS.ORG has some great articles use the search button to find them.

      The fun in the gospel is finding knowledge and where we can better ourselves through our challenges. It might be a pain or difficult at the time, but as you look back you will see the growth you have made as a result and how happier you feel at making those right choices.

    • Eric Thomas

      There is way too much superficiality in the church. Not much depth, thoughtfulness, consideration, mercy, empathy, etc. You have to realize there was never anyway around that even among the saints, as this world is fallen, but I do believe there are ways it could be made better, but the more stubborn or naive members or just prideful are the biggest stumbling block to the enlightening that is needed and the momentum this subject calls for. Either way, it’s coming. It’s not by chance the Lord pronounced judgments upon His to commence in the very last days. Sadly, because we lack the humility and desire to really see the problem and fix it.

  • CocoaCoveredHeretic

    I love your imagined version of the future church. It is the church that I want to belong to. It is a church that I could probably buy into even as an atheist. But the church as it stands today has a LONG way to go. Because I’ll tell you I couldn’t feel less welcome at church right now. And I’m a lifelong member.

  • Oh Hale Yeah!

    [Do you remember what was happening in Israel right about the time that Christ came on to the scene? Israel had started to live by their own set of oral laws and traditions, or what we might refer to today as “culture?”]

    So the jews were wicked. This wasn’t a new thing at the time of Christ and their oral traditions were the norm from inception up to the Bar Kotchba revolt around 70 AD where an entire generation of Rabbi’s got wiped out by the Romans (In addition to a Holocaust of 600,000+ “regular” jews who were also executed) as punishment while the Torah was forbidden to be taught. The Romans further punished them by renaming Judea to Palestine (after the Philistines) in an attempt to ethnically cleanse them. Point is…conflating their “culture” with Mormon judgementality to make your argument is miniature golfing.

    The economic revolution at the turn of the 20th century gave us wealth redistribution and put us on a path to insolvency as a nation. The race revolution in 1960s led to the great society and the complete decimation of black culture. The sexual revolution to free liberated women has been a complete disaster for American culture… Now what we really need is a feelings revolution in the church to cure all of our ills…? I got news for you, it’s already here.

    Your prescription isn’t the cure, it’s the cause. This is a soft message for a fragile and hypersensitive people. We don’t have to bury our kids on the side of the trail, ford freezing rivers, or have extermination orders that result in the rape and murder of our people. We read about Job while tackling our generation’s Abrahamic struggle: Low self-esteem.

    All the appropriate utopian nonsense that ignores human nature is here: [I can imagine a time not too far off where a gay man, a straight man, a biker with full body tats, a woman who smokes, a man who reeks of liquor, a recently married couple who is having trouble with tithing, a recently re-baptized excommunicated member, a man with a full beard and jeans, and a returned missionary who is addicted to porn sitting ….] Kum-ba-freaking-yah!

    It’s much like the progressive argument that Muslim terrorists would be nicer if we just stop making them feel bad and marginalizing them.

    The only reason all these people aren’t in the pews is because of YOU. The way YOU act, the way YOU talk, the resentment YOU secretly harbor for sinners, YOUR narrow vision. YOU are the reason people make the choices they do. YOUR freedom comes with accountability, theirs? Meh.

    Christ was the greatest pitchman on “Team God”and he lost 1of 3. If only he had been a little more sensitive to their feelings, a little more self conscious about his spiritual privilege. If he wasn’t so hateful…

    We don’t know if the adulterous woman ever went back to church, but we do know that Christ really blew it when he told her to “sin no more.” Another hateful cliche.

  • Wyatt

    Actually the ‘doctrine’ and stories of the church are demonstrably false. When I realized it really is a fantasy, and the doubt I carried but tried to ignore all my life – from the earliest days I can remember sitting in primary thinking with a kid’s simple logic that so much just sounded ridiculous – it was a burden that I carried for no good reason. When I realized that I quit the church and it is still one of the great liberating and happy moments of my life. I have had a much better life in every way since I quit trying to believe in nonsense, 13 years ago.

  • Lanette

    I love this idea conceptually; however, in practice I don’t believe it will happen until the Millennium or possibly when we are called upon to live the Law of Consecration – basically, something that will separate the chaff from the wheat. I’ve lived in more Wards than I could count and while some have been much better than others, none have met this utopian standard.

    My own aunt felt that she couldn’t “come back” to the Church. My mother was the only active member of her family and she took her half-sister with her when my aunt was younger until my mother headed off to College. My aunt went inactive, became active again when she was married with small children even though her husband wasn’t a member — only to go inactive again once she was divorced and she moved back to UT. My mother would lovingly ask her to return to the Church, but her response in those later years was always the same — “How can I go back now with all the choices I’ve made? When I compare myself to you and your choices, then I just can’t reconcile how I can be forgiven? You’ve been so good and I’ve made such different choices.” My mother would argue with her and plead with her to no avail. My aunt would say that “If I were forgiven then it just wouldn’t be fair to how good you’ve been all your life.” We just couldn’t get through to her that it wasn’t about comparing, but about loving, forgiving, repentance, and grace.

    Her children abhor the Church (or I guess I should say members of the Church). After their parent’s divorced, they moved to UT and dealt with the isolating “Christian” behavior of “I’m not allowing MY children to associate or play with children who don’t go to Church.” It greatly embittered them and they still will not have anything to do with the Church or even most Church members. My aunt told me to her dying day that I was her favorite Mormon, even more than her sister (my mother). She never felt judged by me, just accepted and loved.

    I loved the jeans and t-shirt bit — I’ve actually worn pants to Church twice in my life, deliberately. Both times it was because a non-member was attending and they were wearing pants and I didn’t want them to feel alone. One had a disfiguring of her legs from a childhood illness and NEVER wore a dress and the other just didn’t own any dresses at all (my sister-in-law). I wore pants with them and had no regard for any judgement that might have been cast my way. I smiled and ignored the stares. I couldn’t care less!! Unfortunately, the woman felt isolated and uneasy anyway and never came to Church again and neither did my sister-in-law. I would wear pants anytime that I knew another daughter of God was coming in pants and not feel a bit ashamed — I KNOW that God understands what is in my heart and that I’m just doing my best to try to help a sister feel accepted and loved.

    I read another comment here about how no one cares about those who are different, that they’re not judging, and that it’s 99% in their head and not actually occurring. I do think that happens a lot as well. I’m an introvert and shy to boot and there have been times with someone who was disfigured or different when I’ve smiled at them and in my mind I was saying “Hello and welcome! Do you want a friend? Do you want to talk to me?” Unfortunately, I think they looked at me and thought that I was giving them a smile of pity or upon seeing my glance decided I was looking at them in disgust and they turned their backs to me or their companion would shun me and protectively hover over the person and glower at EVERYONE in the room, like we were all being so hateful.

    I think there are many times when people just don’t know HOW to act – I include myself on this list. If someone comes with severe burns, then should I offer to shake their hand? Aren’t burns more sensitive? Would I be inflicting pain? I just don’t know. Thankfully, I haven’t experienced that trial in my life, but can’t people come without looking for stares of pity/disgust/horror and realize that people are just unsure of what to do in some situations? It doesn’t mean I don’t want to talk to them, but I have the same problem with everyone, not just them. I’m no good at small talk and I never know what to say to anyone. It’s just that with them, I’m not even sure whether I should offer to shake their hand… or not.

    However, UT Mormons do crack me up. I grew up around Latinos, blacks, and Asians. I’ve learned that everyone feels pretty much the same as I feel, but come from different backgrounds and cultures. I have no problem talking to someone as long as I have a topic or they have a topic and start a conversation, but frequently, I can’t think of a topic to kick off the conversation. But Utahans just have no idea what to do around blacks. I lived there for a number of years before I escaped again and have just to story to illustrate. I was temping at a bank and a black woman started temping there as well. I’d already gotten to know a number of the employees and since I grew up with varied peoples I wasn’t daunted at all. I’d say hello and smile, but she would just say hi with her head down and keep going without even looking at me. I was a little taken aback, but persevered. One day I was talking and said something about having moved to UT from PA. She looked up at me, finally, and laughed and actually grabbed a hold of me and obviously didn’t want to let go. When she found out I’d lived in VA and PA, then she totally opened up to me and wouldn’t STOP talking! She told me about all the discrimination she and her husband were going through in UT…. It was VERY pathetic and I totally sympathized and just couldn’t believe some of what they were being put through. They were from Nigeria, were very dark, and had strong accents, but as soon as they found out that I was from PA/VA, then they knew that I accepted them. We ran into each other at other locations a few times and they would just beam and run up to me and hug me!! The response of my UT co-workers was what truly blew me away though – they were like “Oh, now that you’ve made friends with her, will you introduce us? Please invite her to lunch, so we can meet/talk with her!” They were so excited to be friends with someone who was black, but again, they just didn’t know how to approach her or what to say, especially because of the discrimination and how it inhibited her. But then the discrimination came about because of fear of the unknown and an unwillingness to treat everyone as children of God.

    Later, I was in a ward where there was a black member. I came to realize that she lived in the same apartment building I did. I stopped by her apartment a couple of times trying to catch her, but she wasn’t home. She moved away and the next fast and testimony meeting came and a member got up and chastised the congregation for not welcoming her and treating her so poorly. My chin was on the ground. Every time I’d seen her at Church, she’d been with someone and being a shy introvert, I definitely don’t like to interrupt others, so I’d had no idea that she was being treated poorly. It made me wonder if this sister had taken on the role of protector instead of friend. If she was so busy trying to be Christian and proving that she wasn’t racist that she was actually being racist, if you follow me. My experience at the bank showed me that my co-workers really wanted to meet my new Nigerian friend and since I don’t have a problem with race, I was able to introduce and share her with others. I sympathized with how she was being treated by inexperienced Utahans, but didn’t feel the need to turn all protective and try to insulate her from others. On the other hand, the novelty of meeting and talking with your first black person doesn’t automatically translate into actual friendship.

    It seems that many who commented on this article already live in a ward that they feel is totally open to all. That’s great for them, truly; however, I do wonder if everyone in those wards feels the same way. I’m single and I’ve never felt accepted or even truly wanted in any of the many wards I’ve attended. You wouldn’t believe some of the things I’ve had people say straight to my face, even Bishops. I’m not a Molly Mormon. I’m more logic driven then emotion driven. I don’t have much in common with women in RS. They have no idea what to do with me. I can’t really blame them, except when they attack me or treat me like I must be after their husbands. Some of the things I’ve gone through have been simply unbelievable. I gave up 14 years ago. I love the gospel, but I don’t need the stress- and panic-attacks that seem to go with having to deal with members of the church. I pay my tithing/fast offerings. I obey the Law of Chastity and Word of Wisdom. I read my scriptures and the Ensign. I watch Conference. I can’t turn my back on the gospel, no matter how angry I am with Heavenly Father. But I’m done trying to deal with members of the church. So, if you attend a ward where you think everything is great, maybe you should talk to a single adult in that ward and ask them if they feel accepted. Wanted. If they feel like they matter. Or, if they feel like they’re part of the lowest class, because the church DOES have a class system. With those married in the temple with children being in the highest class and those who are single and never had children in the lowest class, possibly tied with divorcees who didn’t have children.

    This revolution you talk about… it can’t and won’t happen until there’s a culling of the wheat from the chafe. Until everyone who is already a member actually feels like they’re children of God, like they’re seen as equal to the others, until they’re treated like they’re equal. I have friends who I’ve talked with extensively about the class system in the church and when they’ve served with members who are single, they’ve asked “Hey, do you feel this way…?” And, every time the response has been “Oh, my gosh, how did you know?” I’m the reason they knew. I’m the reason they keep an eye out and bother to even ask, then try to pay attention to them as children of God, and involve them, love them. I think it’s easier for many members to treat non-members with compassion and charity than those within their circle who don’t fit the socially-accepted norms of the LDS culture. That’s been my experience at least.

    Sorry, didn’t mean for this to be so long, but then I don’t really have anyone to talk to about this stuff much. Just an empty apartment, so when given a forum, sometimes I run off at the mouth, so to speak.

  • moronibreitbart

    What a great article.

  • Gary Trimble

    I found the read truly profound.

  • Sill DePlacito

    Amanda, Thank you very much for your post!

  • StarResident

    You know, I have been attending the LDS church for many, many years. I have never witnessed any of the judgementalism being discussed in this article, with the possible exception of an EQ president in a student ward back in the ’80’s. Maybe we in the Eagle/Star ID area are the exception. To people who have had negative experiences, I would say that the people of the church are not perfect. Neither are you. You don’t really have a right to expect perfection from other human beings.

    Sometimes we have to look past the other members and remember that we didn’t make covenants with other people. We should all make it a point to look for the good in others, try to not offend, and try to not take offense, even if offense is intended. God’s word is not intended to offend, but to offer guidance. If that guidance is rejected, and offense taken, well that is on you. Don’t expect that the doctrine of the church will change simply because it offends you.

  • markstoddard

    Poorly written. Glittering generalities. Hateful to so many members of the faith without substantiation. How gullible so many people are to swallow this swill.

    • if you’re not living righteously, you’ll look for any justification you can get for how you’re living your life.

  • Gail Wasden

    I think this is a message that people in my ward understand and actually practice. We once had a man come in to the chapel through a door near the front of the room. His clothing was casual and just a little unkempt and he was holding a plastic cup that usually holds coffee. The speaker kept on talking while he sat down, but only for a moment before getting up and heading out the door on the other side of the room into the hall with three people going out after him. One of them caught up with him and encouraged him to come back in and he would be welcome. He acknowledged that he was a church member but wouldn’t come back. However, he came the next week and the same thing happened (sans coffee cup) but again, those who followed him out of the chapel couldn’t convince him to come and stay. We never saw him again but had hope that sometime he would stay.

  • Cameron Bolender

    There is one great truth: God loves us.

    There are two great commandments:
    Matthew 22:37-40
    37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
    38 This is the first and great commandment.
    39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
    40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

    All our efforts and focus should be on the one great truth and the two great commandments.

    Church is a hospital for the sinner, not a mansion for the saint.

  • Katy

    Unbelievable that after such a beautiful message I go to read the comments thinking, everyone will be so happy this was written and it’s something we should all individually work on. I mean when is there ever too much love? Yet again, the comments were filled with judgements, hatred and finger pointing. I being one who had fallen away from the church and returned can not tell our members how important this message is. How intimidating it is to come back after 15 years and have nothing but noses turned to me from members of the ward and even my own extended family. I am just pointing this out to simply remind people that this message is for everyone. That we all are sinners and every single one of us judge. That no matter how great of a person one thinks they are, or may even really be, there is always work to be done, service to do, a simple smile or hello to be given. You know in my time away from the church the reasons were different from person to person of why they stopped attending church but the one thing they all said was, I have never felt more alone as I did in those churches. We don’t have this reputation because this behavior doesnt exist. I truly hope and pray that this wonderful message he wrote reaches many hearts and we can begin to heal those hearts that have been hurt. That the wonderful religion we belong to can be what its supposed to be. I can truly only work on one person and that is me! I know I can strive to become more like Christ and become less jugmental and in turn heal from judgment. Thank you for this beautiful message and I hope it is truly heard!

    • Yet your comment is filled with just that……. “judgements, hatred and finger pointing”. Just because people have an opinion or share their experiences, it doesn’t make them bad people. Many of the opinions aren’t reflected towards the church, but more towards how the article was written which pretty much gives the church a negative image even though that wasn’t his intention.

      The “revolution” started on Day One with Adam and Eve.

  • wishtrish

    This isn’t coming. It’s not on the way. It’s already here. I see this every day.

    I have been blessed to live in the most loving and safe wards most of my life. Yes, I have seen some things done that shouldn’t have been, but who hasn’t done things they wish they had done differently? Overall, I have been blessed with wards and leadership that have provided a place of comfort and safety open to all people, members and nonmembers, saints and sinners, the repentant and non-repentant. There have also been a few times when I have cried over the injustices I had witnessed, many of which completely broke some of my dearest friends and nearly broke me in turn, as someone who loves them deeply.

    I realize that in some places, this “revolution” is far more needed than others and have come to know the enormous blessing I have experienced in having primarily enjoyed my church life in safe and loving communities where things were already running seamlessly in the fashion of which this author only hopes for.

    The Gospel of Jesus Christ is for all people. ALL, no matter their circumstances past, present, or future, and no matter their desires then, now, or to come. This causes daily interesting conundrums as both the abused and the abuser have need of saving, the forgiven and the forgivers sit side by side, and as not only the runaways, but also those run-off, need found and brought back to a friendly loving fold full of sinners wishing, striving, failing and trying again to be better.

    It’s not a revolution, it’s an evolution. It always has been. It always will be. As we center our SELVES on Christ, He will change us. The evolution of souls will bring the “revolution” of the church. It’s an ongoing process, but, never fear, with Christ at its center, it is ever in progress. As we allow Christ to change US, we will change the climate of the Church.

  • sometimes, people are looking for an excuse to be offended so they take offense at benign things and do themselves a disservice.

  • StephenSela

    “Produce and environment” that is the apropro phrase that I agree with, but in terms of tolerance & welcoming, I believe what you suggest goes against the psychological sela-honesty of many individuals who (would otherwise be) entering into your church.

  • Aaron Orgill

    I’m glad that there are people like you in the church trying to improve it and trying to treat all people with love. I really am. But for me personally, after years of trying to convince myself that it was just a matter of culture, I finally had to shift my paradigm. You insist, as any member in good standing must, that the revolution won’t be against the leaders. If there is to be one at all, it’s going to have to come to that. It blows my mind that I ever gave general authorities that kind of cop-out. They are not powerless to do anything about the culture; in fact, they play a large part in creating it. You can’t tell me that Jeffrey R. Holland has love in his heart when he rants, red-faced and in danger of popping a vein in his forehead, against any person who has ever even thought of leaving. You can’t tell me that Prop 8 was loving in any way, shape, or form. And you can’t tell me that the Brethren have no responsibility for the fact that Elder X (one of several who have come out as gay since coming home from the mission where I served) hates himself and eventually suffered a nervous breakdown after years of trying to fight his own urges. I could go on, but to me, this just doesn’t feel like the same church I grew up in.

  • garoboloco

    The problem with the church is that they haven’t been honest with the members when it comes to church doctrine. For the longest time we were told that homosexuals chose to live that lifestyle. Since recently, the church has changed its position. Same goes for blacks in the priesthood. For the longest time we’re told that they Africans descended from Cain. Now they say that they church doesn’t support those theories and that they don’t know why blacks were banned from having the priesthood in the past. These changes in doctrine should be sent via letters to the members to be read from the podium at sacrament. To this day, there are still members who believe that gays chose to be gay and that blacks descend from Cain.

    • Nonnie E

      I’m not sure what you are trying to say but reguarding homosexual lifestyle the church has always said that it does not condone that lifestyle. There is no such thing as “born at birth gay”. That is a theory. Theory is not Fact. Just because the world deems something as correct does not mean that it is. It has always been a choice whether the individual wants to believe that or not. Of course there is “same sex attraction” but everyone has the choice in whether they choose to follow that or choose to live a heterosexual lifestyle.

  • Nonnie E

    I found that this article was meant and many times did portray
    the meaning of “how judging with unrighteousness is not loving” and “to love
    everyone like Christ would” which is excellent.
    However, this article also seems to have the attitude that “love is free
    without responsibility.” What I mean by that is, one “Should Judge Righteously” in order to have and teach healthy boundaries to their family and those around them. For example, if someone has been excommunicated, imprisoned, or convicted for child molestation, rape, etc; they should and are not allowed to hold a calling dealing with children. That is the healthy boundary that protects others. Even though the person may have repented, there are still consequences for one’s actions that God will not take away. Pornography being another one, after complete and genuine repentance God does not completely take all the images away. The addict will need to fight it off continuously just like any other addiction. That is
    the consequence; without it there cannot be a complete understanding of the
    full joy of repentance. Another example, as a parent, we teach our children to love one another but if two gay or lesbian people came into church and were displaying intimate behavior; I certainly would explain to my children how we love them because they are Gods children
    and our spiritual brothers and sisters but that we don’t condone that lifestyle
    and behavior because God has taught us that it is immoral and wrong.

  • ChrisFish81

    This article hits a taboo subject right on the head that only the guilty would be shamed to admit too. But that which happens on the daily in many wards I say many wards as I have been on the receiving end of cynicism and malice and of others judgement in the church in a time I came to the church with problems and issues that needed addressing. Times when I was at my lowest and just needed love and kindness I received discontent and church leadership lead the way in this culture of negativity and judgement. Instead of loving a brother and helping a son of Christ come back to the path things were compounded by the holier than thou patronizing church leadership. Nothing feels worse then coming to the bishop or church leadership with your sins and yourself laid bare for all to see and your situation taken advantage of time and time again by different church leadership in the culture of passing judgement and ridiculing and the outright disdain for a member who has broached the cultural norms and has deviated but has decided to come back. My latest trial is my hardest yet I feel a very strong feeling to leave the church for a time for the exact reason in this article. I go to church to fill my lamp and gain christs vitality and love when in reality going to church is draining me and leaving me ashamed and reviled against in my own wards. So what happens when the culture is so bad that one searching for the spirit is unable to find the spirit and is driven away from the church from those who are supposed to be obligated in assisting those of us in trials to come back to the light? I have good stories and bad stories of the church but the bad outweigh the good as of late in a total tally. When I first came back to the church I was blessed with a loving kind YSA ward and a non judgmental bishop who deserves all of the Lords blessings and more! I felt open arms and a loving embrace that if I failed they would catch me. Moving past the YSA ward and being married and going to church in a family ward has been the worst transition I have made in the church it’s like trying to force a camel through the eye of the needle it just won’t happen. I would very lightly put a label with a warning notice that this is my own experience that the most judgmental and worst disdain and malice comes from those in church leadership positions. Who have white collar jobs or who have never known a true sinners struggle or if they have they have forgotten it in their successes I would label this group in my past and most recent experiences as the 35-48 crowd anyone over that has seen some pretty rough times and I’ve only ever felt love and true welcome and kindness from the elderly of the church. The millennial age as it is so callously put is I believe the generation most accepting and willing to work with even the most vilest of sinners and be truly genuine without this obvious reservation of disgust or outright disdain for ones past. Again I’m not here to take aim at the church these are my experiences as a member who was inactive for 6-8 years and has been active for the last 4 and has been struggling with this culture which is talked about. It makes it very difficult to find peace and love from those whom are meant and supposed to have it most.
    -Christopher Fisher Juneau Alaska

  • Beverlee Albrechtsen Leung

    For the most part, I feel like members are loving, inclusive, welcoming and nonjudgmental, in most every ward I have ever lived. (And I have lived in 6 states and 4 foreign countries.) They may be awkward and uncomfortable in their approach to a newcomer, visitor, or ‘less active’ member, but it is because, like you, they feel inadequate in their ability to embrace and not push away a newcomer with their words or actions. When someone feels unwelcome or unworthy to be at Church, much of the issue is in the perspective of the one coming. There may be an underlying guilt–that pulled them towards Church in the first place, not imposed by anyone there, but imposed by themselves. There may be an assumption that they will be judged, that they are expected to comply–to be the same as everyone else. Again, this is self-imposed. They may assume that members are either perfect, or hypocrites, because they are asked to give talks and lessons on tithing, the Word of Wisdom, chastity, etc. They assume no one sins or is unhappy because that is not what they SEE at Church. But no one that I have EVER heard speak in Church has ever said, “I am perfect at living this principle. That is why I was picked to speak on this topic, because I’m an expert. So follow these principles LIKE I DO if you want to live again with your Father.” No! They ALL say, “Follow these principles like the Savior does … you know the one whose name is on the building? Me? I’m definitely still in the learning process–pretty much the beginning phase of it, I’m afraid.” But just like members don’t claim to be perfect, most members will not get up and share over the pulpit or in their lesson the heart-rending sins they have committed or struggle with. No scarlet letters are applied to our clothing. There IS a reason for this. We don’t share our intimate sins so openly because our relationship with sin is between us and the Lord (and sometimes the Bishop, etc.). We aren’t meant to share these things with everyone. First, because unlike the Lord, humans aren’t always so good at ‘remembering no more’. And ‘none of us wants to be defined by the worst thing we ever did’. And, second, our sins really aren’t anyone else’s business UNLESS the Spirit prompts us to share, to help another struggling–and that requires trust.

    Most members, I believe, try every day to see their brothers and sisters, ANY of their brothers and sisters, through the eyes of the Savior. We aren’t even close to being perfect at it. But most of us are trying. When you walk into a Church building you don’t have to find judgment, unacceptance or offense. You will if you look for it. But it is MUCH easier to find love.

  • It DOESN’T MATTER if YOU think it’s a sin. No one is even asking you to condone it. If it is two consenting adults, then it is none of your business.
    I thought it was Satans plan to not give people choices and force people to do ‘right’, but the church seems to be just fine taking that position.
    “I feel sorry for them in their struggles” but, too bad, so sad…that’s about the most unchristlike disingenuous thing I’ve heard.

    • reacting so angrily, that’s not a Christlike trait. I have struggles too but I have to overcome the natural man as does all flesh. Please explain to me how I’m taking away their choices? It’s just like abortion, which is a sin in the sight of God. Women can commit abortion if they choose and those who identify as gay can fulfill their lusts. It’s their choice but there are consequences if you sin. Nope, I’m not sorry for my comments.

      • There was zero anger in my post. The caps was for emphasis. I’m also not trying, nor claiming to be Christlike.
        I am attempting to to be a moral, compassionate person by allowing others the same privilege to live their lives as you or I are able to.
        The comparison to ‘overcoming the natural man’ is not a good one. You’re telling them that they cannot enter a committed relationship with someone they love, ever. These are real people. Real lives. Imagine if someone told you that you couldn’t love or marry a woman – you can’t just overcome that, can you?
        Let me clarify though – I am not arguing your right to believe that they ‘shouldnt’ or that it is sinful. That is your right, even if I may disagree.
        What I am against is for the church and those in it to have those beliefs spill over into places where they should have no influence, such as legal marriages.
        If there are consequences for these actions, then let God be the judge, not us.

  • Jewels

    I’ve read the article, and some compelling responses to it. I am left wondering though, why the members – who it seems Greg is saying are the problem – are waiting for their leaders to correct the problem. I had the personal experience of being in a ward with a bishop who did so much harm to so many members. The Stake President was made aware of the situation, as were the General Authorities in SLC, and the only thing that happened to this particular person was that as soon as he was released from being bishop he was made a stake high counselor. I could not take one more person telling me leaders in the Church were called for one of two reasons – because of what they can give to members, or what they need to learn themselves from members. I have a testimony of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and of the restoration of the priesthood authority. Thomas S. Monson has served his entire adult life, and is God’s chosen leader for His kingdom on this earth. I guess the problem is between Salt Lake City and the Happy Valley wards. I find it difficult to defend the Church, especially to those who have left it because this revolution of love has not yet occurred from the top down, and not the other way around.

  • Jonathan Lautaha

    I think it’s very presumptuous of the author to cast judgement on the character of the entirety of the church.

    The situation where he described “a gay man, a straight man, a biker with full body tats, a woman who smokes, a man who reeks of liquor, a recently married couple who is having trouble with tithing, a recently re-baptized excommunicated member, a man with a full beard and jeans, and a returned missionary who is addicted to porn sitting in the same congregation together” and not feel judged has most likely ALREADY HAPPENED. Just because you’ve never seen it, doesn’t mean it’s never happened.

    And if you are unwilling to recognize that, then your view is more reflective of your ignorance and not that of the faithful members of the church.

    I’ve lived in Utah for 4 years. And despite the quirks and imperfections of the saints here that is harped on so much, I’ve lived in some of the poorest areas, with some of the highest concentration of drugs per capita in the US.

    Members give their time, money, souls, lose sleep, lose family time to serve their communities. And not just the active members, but many wards take on the burden of areas with high inactivity and high dependency on the church.

    You’re going to tell me that these people don’t have charity in their hearts?

    I’ve met and seen many excommunicated members return to open arms in the church. I’ve seen gay people treated very delicately within the church and not ostracized in any way on a local level, despite what you think of broader church policy. I’ve seen families struggle to not pay tithing, and still come and feel welcomed with open arms. And I’m a return missionary recovering from an addiction to porn, which my Bishop and my LDS addiction recovery group has helped me come a long way with.

    Have you ever sat in a disciplinary council when someone was brought back into full fellowship?

    Have you ever been to an addiction recovery meeting?

    If you have, you would realize that the revolution has already happened, and continues to happen today. And the source of that revolution was the same in old Jerusalem, the same in the early days of the Restoration, and the same today–the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    There will always be good and bad people in the church. But to paint with broad strokes a church that is not welcoming and not accepting is preposterous. Not because the feelings of those who felt unwelcomed are not real, but because there are people that do feel welcomed and accepted. And their views are not a minority. And their views should be represented and not glossed over.

  • Jonathan Lautaha

    This article is preposterous and the author is extremely presumptuous in assuming that the entirety of the church fits his description of a judgmental congregation.

    I’ve lived in Hawaii, Northern California, and Utah. I’ve lived in Utah for 4 years, and everyone always give Utah flack for being too molly mormon. But I have been blessed to see some of the greatest, more courageous saints in Utah.

    The author says he dreams of a congregation of “a gay man, a straight man, a biker with full body tats, a woman who smokes, a man who reeks of liquor, a recently married couple who is having trouble with tithing, a recently re-baptized excommunicated member, a man with a full beard and jeans, and a returned missionary who is addicted to porn sitting in the same congregation together” and not feel judged by the members.

    This statement is extremely presumptuous and judgmental. Mainly because this probably ALREADY HAPPENED. And just because that hasn’t been part of your experience, doesn’t mean it’s not part of the experience of many members of the church.

    Who you ever lived in central Ogden, where you walk the streets and literally every person you bump into that day could be on drugs? I have. And you know what I saw the saints there do? Take them in, welcome them to church, provide them with material help as much as they could, and sacrifice their sleep and their personal and family lives to serve their communities.

    You’re going to tell me that these people are judgmental and don’t have love in their hearts?

    As for people that are excommunicated? People in my immediate family have been excommunicated and welcomed back with open arms. Your going to tell me these members don’t have love in their hearts?

    I am a returned missionary and a recovering pornography addict. Have you ever been to an LDS addiction recovery meeting? YOU go to one of those meetings and YOU TELL ME if those people are judgmental and if they don’t have love in their hearts.

    I currently live in a ward composed of 3 apartment buildings of young couples and old singles. Almost everyone is struggling financially, and I’d guess a near majority are receiving help from the Bishop. In just my 2 years in my current ward, I’ve seen Bishops, EQ presidents, RS presidents, faithful home and visiting teachers give their time, money, lose sleep, lose precious family time, to serve our ward. You’re going to tell me these people are judgmental and don’t have love in their hearts?

    My problem with this article is that, despite the controversy over recent Church policy changes, the revolution this article speaks of is old news.

    Why is it old news? Because it already happened. And the source of this revolution is the same source that existed in old Jerusalem, in the early days of the Restoration, and up until now–the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    There will always be good and bad people in the church. But painting with broad strokes like you’ve done here is an egregious misrepresentation of the Church.

    • A human being

      Thank you. I read all the comments on here and this struck me. What Greg is sharing may not be happening where he attends, but then again #firstworldproblems. Talk to someone in Monrovia, per Elder hallstroms talk. They worry about and pray for their next meal. Then they go serve and build up the church. They pay tithing and fast offering when they virtually have nothing. Yet they have everything spiritually. They believe it is a privilege their fast offering goes to the membership worldwide where we may have members living beyond their means. This “revolution” like you said has happened and is quietly doing so all over the world while too many of us are arguing over doctrine, something a prophet said, etc. on here.

  • Eric Thomas

    Too many members live a bubble. Most are unaware of of how superficial many aspects of many missions are and many of the former missionaries forget, almost as a coping mechanism and to feel only triumph and success. It’s sad to be honest. The church needs more people who humbly see the problems and bring more attention and light to them.

  • Eric Thomas

    I don’t feel the need to give examples, but I have seen way too much. If you’ve been around in the church that much I am SHOCKED you have not. Perhaps you only see the good, of which there is plenty!

  • Gwennaëlle Cojan

    thank you so much for this article. Thank you so much for each word. I feel less alone in my view of things as I see that more and more people feel the same way as you and I do. Yet we need to do better and help everybody feel the urge for this change.

  • Ryan Lee

    I don’t know if this revolution is really the answer. I mean, most young people are leaving because they are just discovering its not true. It’s not cause they are offended or have vices, or dont want to be judged. They have simply just discovered that it wasn’t what they thought it was. It has some good, and they can take what good there is and move on. I think this article misses the mark on why people leave and why they want something else. However, I think the article is good in the sense that it promotes more acceptance. But sometimes members just have to accept that other people have determined it to be untrue and/or unhelpful.

  • Malty17

    No ‘revolution’ is needed. Acceptance and love has been preached since the beginning–and in my life experience is generally followed. Yes, we all can and should do better.

  • Sherry Morris

    Sounds like some are judging the ones that judge,careful. When we truly are christlike we wont be leaving his church because of someones short comings we will love them anyway. We will forgive as we want forgiveness. I believe this revolution will come about as we are all humbled through trials to come. True unconditional love has no prefix of “if only”

  • Max Knoth

    Let me know when this ‘revolution’ happens. I’ve never been judged so harshly as the one time I made an honest attempt to live the principles and seek a testimony. I was rewarded with whispers about my past and disclosure of my past ‘sins’ by the council members who I’d ‘confessed’ them to. Men who lived with there heads planted firmly in their own self-righteous backsides, had no understanding of a world that involved warzones or criminals but were happy to judge me because that was (and is) my vocation. I’ll go twice a year now (Christmas and Easter) for the sake of my wife and children (who go every week) – but unless there’s a significant change where church ‘position’ isn’t used by weak men (and women) as some form of social status – I’d never be able to ‘feel’ any truth in any form of gospel, real or not.

  • ronadair

    This article is great, and addresses a much needed diversion from gospel wisdom toward unhealthy tradition, pharisaical standards, and “cult”-ure. I think it’s important to acknowledge where we’re falling short. I feel one line in the opening paragraph could use a bit of refinement, however.

    “This revolution will be against those that judge, those that hate, and those that refuse to see past their narrow, regurgitated, cliche point of views.”

    SOOOOOO close. This is almost there. But just as the doctrine “Don’t be an asshole” is fatally flawed by dehumanizing and excluding those who fall into assholery (all of us, if we’re being honest), so too does this statement serve to exclude those who are judgmental, hateful, or narrow-minded as if they’re inferior to us (when in reality they ARE us since we often find ourselves equally as fitting for those labels).

    The answer to this conundrum is that rather than seeing others as “other”, we instead accept them as ourselves. Accepting ourselves, in fact, is the hardest part of accepting others. Where “don’t be an asshole” falls short, “Be kind, especially to the assholes” perfectly encapsulates the sentiment of maturation, growth, and advancement this post calls for. Where “DBAA” inclines us to point out others and label them as violators of the one and only doctrine, BKETTA helps us accept our own fallibility and weakness when it presents, and rather than hating ourselves for being an asshole, we learn patience and acceptance for ourselves despite our own weaknesses. If we can be kind to ourselves (the biggest asshole any of us will ever meet), then we can easily accept others in whatever state of brokenness and weakness we may find them in.

    Be kind, especially to the biggest asshole you know: yourself.

  • Alan Jones

    Those kinds of changes have been going on for years. I would not call it a revolution, but an evolution. In times past I have heard many things by members that were not really doctrine, I hear less and less of it all the time. I see more and more love to everyone. I do hope the church culture, as you called it, continues to be refined.

  • Keith Dailey

    I agree with this article. I find tolerance and acceptation is more prevalent in the church, but we have a long, long way to go….

  • Capri Jensen- Barlow

    Greg, who do you write these kinds of articles? Isn’t there more important issues to write about? It seems like you want to start a revolution. This is the second article you have written in a short while about this. Come on, we need to come together. Our faith, our love for each other, or charity, our love of the gospel, our love of our Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. There is so much you can write that binds us. I really like those articles. “Bind Us” please. You seem to bring contention from people that are either on the edge of leaving the gospel or x-saints. Come on Greg, you are better than that.

  • Greg Bean

    I think that we will get to where he says, if for no other reason than that there are so many of us church members who have been damaged. There are so many more of us who can identify with those who are still out there because so many of us have been in their shoes. If we try, it is not that hard to find the gold inside everyone because everyone has some. All we have to do is get to know them.