Meridian Magazine – Are You a Liberal Mormon? – By Joni Hilton

October 31, 2013
By

A brief history of this article:

1. An article entitled “Are You a Liberal Mormon?” was written by Joni Hilton (writer for Music and the Spoken Word) and published by Meridian Magazine on October 31, 2013. This is the original link to the article (which has since been taken down).  A full version of the original article can be found here.

2. Sometime after we posted a link to this article on Facebook expressing concern, the article was taken down.

3. A listener shared with me this response that she received from the Meridian Magazine Editorial Team after the article was taken down:

“XXX (name withheld here for privacy reasons),

The team in charge of editorial today was not on the top of things and we agree that this article is extremely offensive and it will be taken down.  It has been removed from the homepage and will be completely deleted from the site before long. There may still be a cached copy if you don’t clear your cache, but it will be removed in the next few hours. God loves everyone, regardless of whether they are liberal or conservative. James E. Faust was a liberal Mormon too.  We are embarrassed that it slipped through somehow.”

4. On November 1, 2013, Maureen Proctor – Editor-in-chief of Meridian Magazine- published this response to the debacle — leaving many curious as to whether or not she understood the concerns of those who objected to the article. The “we didn’t mean political liberals” retort felt to many as though she missed the central points of the concerns/criticisms.

5. Today (11/4/2013) I received the following email from Maurine Proctor, Editor-in-chief of Meridian Magazine:

Dear John,
You have posted a Meridian article in its entirety on your site. May I remind you that posting an article in its entirety is not considered fair use. I request that you take this article down immediately.

Maurine Proctor
Editor-in-chief
Meridian Magazine

6. Consequently, we have edited the text below to only include excerpts.

Sincere best wishes to Maureen and the good folks at Meridian Magazine.

===============

jonihilton140-ArticlePicture
Are You a Liberal Mormon?

by Joni Hilton

Meridian Magazine

(We have been asked by Meridian/Ms. Proctor to not include the entire article, only a few excerpts are included below. )

“Liberal people had been to Europe and let you knew it. They had Continental tastes, exposure to the latest fashions, and eagerly embraced whatever was new and exciting. ”

[Liberal Mormons decide] “which aspects of our faith to accept or reject, from honoring the Sabbath to wearing less than.”

[Liberal Mormon are] “members of convenience. When they didn’t like something the Prophet said, they felt perfectly fine skirting around that one, and writing their own rules.”

[Liberal Mormon are like Jack Mormons in that] “you see them staggering out of a bar, or heading into the shopping mall on Sundays.”

[Liberal Mormon are] ”slippery.”

[Liberal Mormons dodge] “Gospel Doctrine class because the teacher is “so by-the-book.” This criticism is meant to imply that he’s a dolt who never questions anything, so why should I attend a class taught by someone so narrow-minded?”

[Liberal Mormons] “…disagree with several points in the Proclamation to the World, say no to callings that insult their intelligence, and create their own spin on how God will ultimately judge us (very leniently, usually). They think bikinis are fine, iced tea is a tasty drink, and R-rated movies are often artistic and worth seeing.”

[Liberal Mormons] “…do not read their scriptures every day. They do not attend the temple, they do not show up to help someone move, and they do not Home Teach or Visit Teach with regularity. They view those who do as quaint minions who never question authority and who follow the rules like mindless sheep.

[Liberal Mormons] “…do subscribe to with gusto” to “free agency. In fact, free agency is their justification for the Designer Gospel they have refurbished to suit their individual tastes.”

[Liberal Mormons] ”…are playing right into Satan’s hands.”

[Liberal Mormons have] ”…forgotten that Christ runs this church, not mortals. God’s laws are unchangeable and eternal, not somebody’s notions that sway in the breeze and adapt to each new social trend.”

[Liberal Mormons forget that] “When the Prophet speaks, the debate is over.” This is because the prophet is speaking for God and telling us what He would have us hear. He is not just the president of a corporation, giving us his personal views.”

[Liberal Mormons believe that the church is merely] “….a smorgasbord of ideas from which we choose.”

[Liberal Mormons are] “…unwilling to sacrifice and work will fall by the wayside, then claim it’s where the wiser folks actually belong.

[The Liberal Mormon approach is] “…an admittance of weakness.”

[Being a liberal Mormon] …. “….takes little– if any– effort. Like laziness, it spawns rationalization, something the obedient never have to worry about. The dedicated members don’t have to excuse or explain themselves; they simply continue working, inching along on the path Christ outlined. Only when we stray do we feel we have to justify our choices. Perhaps that’s one way to tell if you’re at risk. Only the Liberal Mormons feel the need to explain their twist on faith.”

Some points that were noted at the end of the article:

  • Joni Hilton shares short videos that teach easy household tips and life skills at : http://bit.ly/YourYouTubeMom
  • Joni Hilton’s blog is: jonihilton.blogspot.com.
  • Joni Hilton currently serves as a Relief Society President in her ward
  • Joni Hilton is advertising the following book for Christmas: “Wishes for an LDS Child” at http://bit.ly/1g7YXYj

 

136 Responses to Meridian Magazine – Are You a Liberal Mormon? – By Joni Hilton

  1. Seth R.
    October 31, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    Funny, I used to be highly liberal throughout the first decade of the 21st century. And it was some of my most active time in the LDS Church. Did all my home teaching, held and filled callings with enthusiasm, always showed up for moves and service projects.

    Last three or four years, I’ve gotten older, crankier, and more conservative (especially on social issues), and it’s during this period that my church service and participation went into a period of mild backslide.

    Maybe Sister Hilton can chew on that one and tell me what to think about it.

    • Robert K
      October 31, 2013 at 3:28 pm

      Hmmm. But you’re here. On Mormon Stories. Yes, I’m sure you’re super conservative.

      • Seth R.
        October 31, 2013 at 4:20 pm

        Robert, I made it clear enough that I became more conservative of certain social issues. For instance, I’ve gotten into trouble with the crowd here on multiple occasions for taking a clear line of opposition to gay marriage. That’s a position that only developed since Prop 8. And I’ve gotten more hardline on divorce and sex as well. All of this really only evolved over the last 5 years or so.

      • rawiri smith
        November 1, 2013 at 8:54 am

        Monitoring ultra conservatives, including tea party followers (conflict with WOW?), allows thinking members of the church to see what inventions are being promoted in the name of faith, but are distortions of the truth so they can be self righteous. Jack Mormons do not fulfill the requirements of the gospel, but Molly Mormons make up requirements that they judge people by. in truth it is their perspective of the gospel, not the true gospel. Cultural conservatiism, unrevealed opinion, over extended logic and other distortions of the truth that seek to assimilate thinking in the guise of proselyting are aspects of worldliness. When charity is distorted by people taking roll, people determining a public accounting do not understand the true love of Christ

    • Ann
      October 31, 2013 at 4:00 pm

      Hmm, makes sense to me. If you listen to people like Beck, and Fox news lambasting, blaming, and vilifying the poor and working poor, it would become harder to feed the hungry and wish healing on the sick. Not to mention service, “they should do it all themselves or they are lazy.”

      • Pacumeni
        November 1, 2013 at 11:03 am

        This response embodies on the liberal side–but more egregiously because it names a particular Church member–the same attitude that most commentators here complain about in the Hilton piece. Are you sure Glenn Beck does nothing for the poor, that he doesn’t contibute a generous fast offering, give to other charities that help poor people, or help individuals in difficult circumstances? Take a look at charitable giving as a percent of income by state. People in red states consistently give more than those in blue states do. I suspect that Beck fits that pattern. Hilton distinguishes–not clearly enough–between political liberalism and doctrinal liberalism. You make no distinction at all, tarring political conservatives as not caring about the poor or hungry. Patterns of personal giving by political affiliation do not support your charge.

        • Hersheysky
          November 1, 2013 at 1:45 pm

          What we have to judge Glen Beck is his own personal, published and broadcasted rhetoric. He projects the image by which he has been judged. I highly doubt Ms. Hilton even knows any democrat Mormons to accurately and righteously judge them in anyway. Also. . .statistically speaking. . .red states are the states that receive more government aid than blue states. Utah isn’t not in that classification, but statistically speaking Utah is one of the exceptions.

          • Maddy
            November 1, 2013 at 8:12 pm

            Glenn Beck:
            “Jesus never said, “Take from the rich and let the government redistribute it.” Take the parable of the Good Samaritan. The Samaritan chose to take it upon himself to help; he took on the bills himself. The government never told him to do it. Anything else is a perversion of Christianity and the perversion of the principles of God.”

            Question: what type of govt existed and what were taxes used for during Jesus time on earth? Where did Jesus say a progressive tax system (or any taxes for that matter) were evil?

            Hilton’s article is so over the top. Has she really been told by someone they wouldn’t accept a particular calling because it “insulted their intelligence?” I’ve lived my entire life in the church, outside and inside Utah, in conservative and more liberal areas and never met the people she describes. I wonder how she became so jaded in regard to fellow LDS members, let alone mankind.

            Sister Hilton,
            Life is a journey. We travel our own paths–like babies learning to walk. What matters is where we start, what we learn, and where we end up. God will be the judge of that journey. Our job here is to love our neighbors as ourselves. Take a moment and read your screed inserting your own name in fornt of a mirror or the name of someone that is dear to you. How does that feel? Imagine Jesus standing next to you as you read it. How does that feel?

          • Pacumeni
            November 1, 2013 at 9:17 pm

            Hersheysky, can you supply examples of Glenn Beck saying on his program that individuals should not help the poor, that they should not be charitalbe? He quite often celebrates generous people who give of themselves to help others. Maddy, thank you for supplying that Glenn Beck quote. It demonstrates that Beck feels a personal responsibility to help the poor, that his model is the Good Samaritan who gave of his own means to help a needy man. It costs one nothing to use the compulsory powers of the state to take someone elses’ money and give it to the poor. In giving one’s own money to help another, one demonstrates the kind of virtue the Savior sought to encourage in the parable of the Good Samaritan.

    • November 1, 2013 at 4:38 pm

      We have many active members of the church as well as the party. How could she say something like that!

  2. Seth R.
    October 31, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    However, before anyone gets outraged at this woman’s questionably informed opinions….

    I think the real news story is the backlash she’s received. She got completely blasted apart in the response to her article. And even Meridian Magazine, of all things, felt the need to pull her article.

    Surely that says something encouraging about our world, does it not?

    • Robert K
      October 31, 2013 at 3:29 pm

      “even Meridian Magazine, of all things…”

      Confirmed! You are a staunch conservative.

    • Sarah
      October 31, 2013 at 4:23 pm

      Yes because stereotyping, being devissive, and down right unchristlike to a bunch of members doesn’t deserve not call of backlash? Not to mention questioning the worthiness on how people vote?? Even the ultra conservatives of the Meridian deemed it offensive! THAT DOES SAY SOMETHING- pegging God as a political party is blasphemous. You’d expect the philosophy of man mingled with scripture to be a little more censored.

    • Richard C.
      November 6, 2013 at 7:31 am

      Yes, it does, Seth! I am a politically moderate member of the church and pretty open minded. I am also very active. I like the balancing out and I like my member friends as diverse as my non member friends. It’s nice to see a reaction like this to her article. I hope it speaks to her.

  3. square peg
    October 31, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    I found her broad-generalizations of “liberal mormons” to be very off the mark! I read this article this morning and have been simmering all day since. But I guess if I wasn’t “living in the gray area,the fringe” I wouldn’t have been upset about anything said-right?

  4. October 31, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    They didn’t publish my comment, even though it was extremely tame and respectful. So I’ll just say it here!

    It sounded a lot like she was demonizing anyone that didn’t agree with her ever. And she sounded bitter because she’s never gone to Europe. Frownsmile.

    • lumanwalters
      November 5, 2013 at 2:10 pm

      This is so true though. It stings of jelousy and the sense that she’s just personally hurt by someone in her own life. This has nothing to do with people taking a different approach to faith, this has to do with little joni getting hurt somwhere along the way and she’s just trying to cover her pain and fear with self-righteousness.

  5. Jon H.
    October 31, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    Seems like she was writing a “shock” piece to get attention for her book and youtube channel.

    • beth r
      November 1, 2013 at 12:12 pm

      Jon H. you pegged it. Shock to get attention, people will want to buy her book…could have been an agent or publisher who encouraged her to set this all up.

      Using the Gospel to judge others…maybe we need to learn what the Gospel really is all about. But of course, selling books is more important than truth. Isn’t it?

  6. Hersheysky
    October 31, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Closed minded and judgmental and exactly what Satan wants us to be. If he can make it so we sit around and judge each other in such inaccurate ways we are not actually debating issues and learning facts. Too often so called conservatives have chosen to believe that anyone who thinks differently from them as some degree of evil. This way they can stay in their comfortable beliefs that they are right and the Lord loves them. It is why Fox News is so successful because they don’t want to take the time to learn truth, learn the science of economics, politics, and social programs. They absolutely thrive on the fallacy that they are morally superior in some way. Truthfully these ideas are more in line with the people of the rameumptom than they are with Christ. I love the gospel, I have studied the Law of Consecration and prayerfully pondered over what the Lord expects from us and will always support laws that support the doctrine of Jesus Christ. I love the Proclamation to the World. I enjoy Sunday school, happily attend the temple regularly and support, and sustain President Thomas S. Monson, the apostles, general authorities and local leaders of the church.

    • Dan
      October 31, 2013 at 9:32 pm

      Hersheysky, I enjoyed your comment, but would just like to add that liberals, conservatives and moderates all tend to end up with rameumptom like behavior from time to time. Thinking oneself morally superior is definitely not limited to a single subset of society.

      • Hersheysky
        November 1, 2013 at 1:55 pm

        Thank you Dan, but I have to disagree with you. The conservative side of the spectrum uses my Savior to further their agenda and put themselves on a pedestal of unrighteous indignation. You don’t often hear liberals using the Savior to further their agenda in the way that conservatives do, ie. . .the above article. I have never read anything comparable written by democrats. But I have read and heard so many things along these lines authored by conservatives. If they are going to use the Savior in such blatant and blasphemous ways they should at the very least perpetuate the Lord’s teaching by supporting assistance to the poor and needy and showing compassion and love towards those who are different from them.

        • Robert K
          November 1, 2013 at 3:05 pm

          Just to clarify, liberals, Democrats, and even self-proclaimed socialists use Jesus all the time to justify and promote government aid to the poor and needy.

  7. Mike
    October 31, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    Why do I feel so dark and sad after reading this?

  8. Catsissie
    October 31, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    Read the thirteenth article of faith, Joni. By thinking so narrowly of the world, you are excluding so much that is wonderful in it. Use YOUR agency to discern the beauty of the world, don’t waste it. And don’t waste your precious time on earth checking others’ eyes for motes when you could be interacting in more meaningful ways with your brothers and sisters on earth. Is that not what the Savior taught, the Savior whose name the Church bears? Think about it.

  9. October 31, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    What Mike said. I thought I was a liberal Mormon until I read this; now I think I’m extremely conservative. Those of us who are members outside the USA tend to be a little less strict on things like Sunday dress, or drinking water on Fast Sunday, or cleaning the chapel on a Monday night and, I like to think, less by-the-book than those who are born in the church in strong Mormon areas. But this absolutely doesn’t describe us in any way. We love the gospel, we live it proudly and non-judgmentally, and we are often persecuted for it.

    • Village Mom
      November 4, 2013 at 4:19 pm

      Thank you. The letter was offensive to me as a liberal Mormon. There is such a hatred being demonstrated by Mormons who take on a different view in politics.
      Read Alma Chapter 1 — liberally is used in the first chapter. How many bosses are liberal with their employees? How many bosses make more than 10 or 12 times more than their employees? To me this me that you pay your employees an amount that shows appreciation for what they bring to you. Liberally means to me there is no longer a Lord and Serf mentality. We need garbage persons,we need janitors, we need waitresses, we need baggage handlers, etc — do they not deserve the right to enjoy a decent living without working two jobs, with having time to enjoy their family, etc.

      • Village Mom
        November 4, 2013 at 4:26 pm

        I enjoy going to the Temple, I enjoy serving in my callings whether it is a primary teacher, scout leader, or Relief Society President. I enjoy reading the scripture. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. The gospel has helped me guide my family into what I believe represent what the Lord says about service and to be engaged in good works.

  10. Margaret
    October 31, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    I can’t think of anything good to say, so I won’t say anything.

  11. Robert K
    October 31, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    Wait, people. Ms. Hilton never ties her definition of “liberal” to politics! She doesn’t say liberal Democrat or politically liberal or left-leaning liberal or liberal bordering socialist. She begins with what liberal used to mean, as in “open-minded” and “rebellious” and then uses that definition to define modern Mormons whose beliefs and/or practices fall outside the norms held by the faith’s mainstream.

    • Sarah
      October 31, 2013 at 4:29 pm

      She never mentioned Jesus being liberal too? But he was. At least not politically. So does she mean Him too?

    • hawkgrrrl
      October 31, 2013 at 6:13 pm

      She also doesn’t tie it to reality. Also, since when did “liberal” mean “rebellious”? Only in her strawman argument.

  12. John Taber
    October 31, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    You would think someone at Meridian would have screened this before it went up. I don’t think this is the first time for this sort of thing with them.

  13. Sloan J Mckay
    October 31, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    Are you a self-proclaimed ‘Good’ Mormon?
    Long before some members of the LDS Church began characterizing themselves as a “Good Mormon” (as opposed to a “Bad Mormon” or “Liberal Mormon”) it simply meant “a dedicated Disciple”. Good Mormons were the ones who showed up on Sunday and did the heavy lifting in our volunteer organization. They tried to do the right thing in the right way. They were a bit resistant to anyone who questioned traditional ways and dogmas and considered themselves a tad more righteous than cynical folks who preferred to “kick against the pricks”. Good Mormon folks fancied themselves less questioning, more obedient, and more dedicated, but for the most part, hey were solid Christians who were trying to practice real Christianity.
    Good Mormon people were from Salt Lake City and you knew it. They had Pioneer heritage, high aspirations for ecclesiastical position and connections to get themselves noticed. They were a daring crowd, the ones who were unafraid to get up in a monthly Testimony meeting and boast that they were ‘sixth generation Mormons’ implying that coming from such a lineage clearly reflected on their premortal worth. Straight laced, conservative—they all prided themselves on being guardians of the real LDS Faith and being on watch for the sheep in wolf’s clothing who are always trying to penetrate the faithful.
    I think that I was a new convert when I first heard the term “Good Mormon” proclaimed by a self-righteous woman in my Ward, in response to a comparison to a liberal woman in the Relief Society that was always making provocative comments. It meant people who were of our Faith, but who drew their own lines in the sand about what qualified as a real and Good member of the Church. They decided what was acceptable for living Gospel Principles, from exactly what activities are acceptable or unacceptable on the Sabbath, to what is considered modest clothing, clearly, the important things. Now, it has come to describe people who are members of strict and severe adherence, people who are unbending. When they don’t like something a believing but questioning member of the Ward or Stake said, they feel perfectly fine passing immediate and harsh judgment, and publically shaming anyone who has a different opinion about how to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
    “Molly Mormon” is a phrase that has come to describe self-proclaimed “Good Mormons”, perfect Mormons in fact, who can measure their righteousness by their outward appearances. How perfect are their homes, their children, do they have the right leadership positions? Are all of their meals homemade? Do they have regular, over the top Family Home Evenings? Is their Visiting Teaching done each month (well before the last week). They view any who deviant from the approved, prescribed and measurable formula of approved Gospel living as suspicious and apostate. Those who question authority and who don’t follow the rules with exactness are heretics and clearly less valiant, faithful and on their way out. In fact some of these modern, “Good Mormons” have been known to ask members who they find to be living the Gospel in a way they don’t agree with or who have opinions they disagree with: “Why don’t you just leave the Church?”, implying that they are not wanted or welcome.

    Self-proclaimed “Good Mormons” are unmovable. They always attend church but they’re the ones who will judge someone who shows up to worship and isn’t wearing the correct attire or with facial hair. If you can’t at least make an effort to conform and look like a good Mormon then there must clearly be more rebellious or non-conformity hidden inside in your thoughts and behaviors. Judging others is an acceptable pastime for self-proclaimed “Good Mormons”.
    They would never consider disagreeing with any doctrine or policy and require strict, unquestioning, allegiance to all Church pronunciations, including The Proclamation to the World and all Conference talks (except the ones that state that we should offer Christ-like love to all.)
    They think that shunning working mothers is an acceptable attitude because Good Mormons know that a woman’s role is to be in the home and that you can only effectively nurture children by being with them 24/7. They are suspicious of anyone who would call themselves a Feminist or support Marriage equality because these are surely clear markers of an Apostate. They would never wear a bikini, drink iced tea or watch an R-rated movie, but are fine gossiping, judging, shunning, and treating others with contempt.
    Invariably, self-righteous, good Mormons read their scriptures every day, not because they are seeking to be more Christ like, but because the dutifulness is measurable and they can mark it off their ‘to do’ list. They attend the temple faithfully, always on Ward Temple night, so they can be seen by others and be known to be ‘doing what they should.’ They Home Teach and Visit Teach without exception. It doesn’t matter how they actually feel about the families they serve, or what the actual need is, they simply want to be compliant and seen as a “hundred percenter’. The one thing they don’t subscribe to however, is the notion of “Free Agency”, especially when it comes opinions on controversial political topics, such as to Abortion, marriage equality, or intellectual subjects such as feminism, evolution and liberalism.
    We all know members like this. What they don’t seem to grasp, in all is that their acerbic dutifulness blinds them to the true gospel that they supposed to represent.
    The New Testament states “”You hypocrite, first take the mote out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” and the Savior himself condemned the Pharisees for being more concerned with outward appearances rather than Christ-like love and charity. The sad part is that they are playing right into Satan’s hands. Satan wants the self-righteous, and smug who consider themselves good Mormons, to feel proud and superior, to scoff at those who struggle, who are wandering and who are struggling to find their way. They’ve forgotten that Christ runs this church, not mortal leaders. God’s laws of love, compassion and mercy are unchangeable and eternal, not a self-righteous notion that makes way for picking and choosing what principles to accept.
    When we pray for a testimony and get the answer that this church is exactly what it claims to be—the restored gospel of Jesus Christ—then we need to embrace every principle, including humility, meekness, kindness, and Christ like love and tolerance. This is not a smorgasbord of ideas from which we choose; it is the grand feast God has prepared, of which we are privileged to partake.

    Charity, compassion, forgiveness and Mercy—these take effort, sometimes against gale-force storms of black and white thinking and hypocritical judgment. Those unwilling to extend a soft heart and open mind to others who may appear or act differently in their living of the Gospel fall into the trap of believing they are living the Gospel, when actually their hearts and actions are far from it.
    Living in the strict black and white, in the smug, judgmental cocoon of self-righteousness, takes little—if any—effort. Like the Pharisees of old, these good Mormons will ironically shroud themselves in the outward appearance of living the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but actually miss the mark completely and are Christians in name only, not because they behave like true Disciples of Jesus Christ. And perhaps that is how you tell if you are at risk. Only self-proclaimed, self-righteous, smug, Good Mormons are pre-occupied with exactness and hair-splitting rule keeping. They see the Gospel as a set of rules and want anyone who can’t or won’t play the game like they do, to leave.

    • Pharisee
      October 31, 2013 at 3:50 pm

      I hate all the GOOD MORMONS! THEY MAKE ME SICK!

      hahahaha

      You’re fun

    • Robert K
      October 31, 2013 at 3:58 pm

      May the enlightenment of Good Mormons occur before the Millenium, I pray.

      Amen.

    • Mames
      October 31, 2013 at 5:35 pm

      Slow clap.

    • Tyler
      October 31, 2013 at 6:06 pm

      Best response ever!

    • JohnM
      November 1, 2013 at 7:08 am

      I found Joni’s article to be extremely judgmental and off-putting in tone. I find this reply by Sloan J Mckay to be identically judgmental. Both lack self- and other-awareness.

      There’s also a certain irony in the comments of those criticizing the judgmental tone of Joni’s article who then turn around to stereotype and ridicule Meridian Magazine for its approach to faithfulness.

      • Carter Nelson
        November 1, 2013 at 2:54 pm

        If there were a comment contest, I would vote for yours.

      • Shelton Beach
        November 2, 2013 at 5:27 pm

        Sloan hit the nail squarely on the head. Sometimes you have give someone a taste of their own medicine to get them to look into the mirror and really see themselves.

    • Shona Salver
      November 2, 2013 at 7:26 am

      Brilliant response ! I heard a quote from President Monson during our recent Stake Conference: “The Church has enough observant organisers, it needs more Christians”.

      Maybe Sister Hilton could ponder on how to become a Christian for her next article.

  14. Lynn in Europe
    October 31, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    Robert K, Joni herself “clarified” that she was using the term “liberal” to mean “disobedient” (to which I responded by saying that that was not only unkind, but also etymologically incorrect).

    • Robert K
      October 31, 2013 at 3:56 pm

      Most of the commenters are interpreting her article as political. Meridian appears to have done the same.

      • Sarah
        October 31, 2013 at 4:30 pm

        Jesus was liberal too. And not in a political sense.

        • Jean
          November 1, 2013 at 12:00 pm

          And not JUST in a political sense. He mainly taught love and acceptance. I saw none of that in Joni’s article; just judgment.

          • annie
            November 6, 2013 at 12:49 pm

            Same on many of the reactions here.

  15. October 31, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    When I first read this on my friends FB wall, I hand to goodness, thought it was a satire.

    • Sarah
      October 31, 2013 at 4:31 pm

      I wish it were -.-

  16. nitpick
    October 31, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    I admit being disappointed that Meridian took this down. I thought the article epitomized Meridian and its “Not Even Once Club” club.

    • bridt
      November 2, 2013 at 11:19 am

      yes!

  17. Kevin
    October 31, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    I wish Joni well. Because God loves her he will bless her life with occasional dissapointment, sadness and grief–just like he does with all of his children. May she find sympathetic, nurturing friends and allies of every persuasion, because like all of us, she will need them.

    • Missouri
      November 1, 2013 at 9:02 pm

      Amen brother.

    • green tree
      November 2, 2013 at 3:02 am

      I read her article and what I felt underlying the words was fear. This article felt like it was written by someone holding onto faith like I might ride a rollercoaster–eyes closed and white knuckling it even after the ride was over and missing all the fun of the amusement park. If she truly lives her life displaying this kind of vitriol it must truly be a scary life indeed. I think instead of slamming her we should probably be sending her lots of love and prayers and I personally will pray that she does not use the name of our church to offend people but maybe she can have some peace in her heart and spread that instead.

      Life comes at us so fast, and heaven truly knows our children, family and friends deal with issues we don’t want to think about, make decisions we don’t like and sometimes just turn out to be different than what we expected. When someone lives like this article was written alienation and sadness follow and it may just be this particular woman’s struggle in life to learn how to let go of control or judgement or fear and eventually she might get it, after life beats her up with whatever she needs to learn. I don’t think we should judge her harshly, maybe just look at what is driving that kind of language and feel bad she is living with that kind of load. And just don’t buy her book or feed her notoriety.

  18. Charlie Carey
    October 31, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    It doesn’t matter whether she is dissing the political liberal or the social liberal, her shallow, stereotyped essay is anything but Christian. The gospel doesn’t tell us to be conservative in either politics or social matters. God has given us unchanging principles not a set of rigid rules like those of the Old Testament. He has given us repentance, not punishment. He has given us charity not unity. He has given us correct principles and asked us to govern our selves. The gospel is completely lacking from Sister Hilton’s message.

    • Sarah
      October 31, 2013 at 4:32 pm

      Amen

    • Carter Nelson
      November 1, 2013 at 3:38 pm

      Great comment, I agree this post was not Christian. But I don’t get what you meant by “(Christ) has given us charity not unity”. I’m guessing you meant that homogeneity (everyone is the same) is not necessary. But in case you really were asserting that unity (people committing to being on the same team with each other despite their differences) wasn’t necessary, I wrote the following hoping it could persuade you to rethink that:

      Unity is the one of the primary purposes of the gospel, and of our existence according to the gospel. It is one of the defining characteristics of Godhood (and likely the most cited). Christ prays for us to have unity in the intercessory prayer (John 17) and modern revelation makes it clear that unity is a condition of our acceptability before God (DC 38:27; “Be one, and if ye are not one, ye are not mine.”) Paul’s metaphor of the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12) demonstrates the need for unity. Also, the Book of Mormon prophet Alma (senior) taught explicitly that his people should have their hearts knit together in love and unity (Mosiah 18:21). I like that image because it suggests that both charity and unity are necessary for a people to have their hearts knit together. From that view one could see the assertion that good Christianity promotes “charity not unity” almost like saying that good Velcro has hooks and not loops. Charity is important partly because it is a means to unity, unity is important because it is an incubator for charity. Unity is not homogeneity, but rather unity is the prioritizing of the common goal to follow Christ and return to God as a heavenly family above any and every other goal or idea that we may disagree about. Unity is what allows us to have peace, it allows us to have conflict (because we disagree) without having contention (because we don’t let our disagreements keep us from seeing the other as a beloved brother or sister to whom we have a responsibility to join with in the work of salvation). The principle of unity is one of the fundamental principles of Christianity.

  19. Anna
    October 31, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    I hope Joni got the message..

  20. Scotty
    October 31, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    Interesting dilemma here, one I seem to find myself facing very often. If I suggest to someone that perhaps they should pay more attention to the beam in their own eye, am I not doing exactly the same thing they did?

  21. nitpick
    October 31, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    Am I the only one who thinks Joni Hilton (with this column) and Wendy Watson Nelson (with her Not Even Once Club book) are simply expressing the majority view in Mormonism. Agter all, they did not come by their views by chance–are these views not taught from Sunbeams on up all over the world. I think most Mormons would see nothing controversial about these writings (I do not think the commenters are representative of “most Mormons”. The “fringe” of Mormonism out here on the interwebz on sites like these surely take issue with them, but I think the authors’s core audiences will eat it all up (just as I think Meridian editors did…before they didn’t…if you know what I am saying).

    • Sarah
      October 31, 2013 at 4:34 pm

      So. The majority of the church is unchristlike? I’ve seen that in the scriptures before.

    • Laura
      October 31, 2013 at 5:33 pm

      Yes! I know what you are saying! Sadly.

  22. Micah
    October 31, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    “They’ve forgotten that Christ runs this church, not mortals. God’s laws are unchangeable and eternal, not somebody’s notions that sway in the breeze and adapt to each new social trend.”

    Do you think if she was given an actual list of the LDS standards/doctrines that have changed from “trend to trend”, he head would just explode?

    Also – “He (the Prophet) is not just the president of a corporation, giving us his personal views.”

    Yeah… do we REALLY want to get into that one….?

  23. Apostate
    October 31, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Articles like this and the people who share their views make it easy for me to remain severed from the religion of my Great-great grandparents. This attitude is pervasive in so many aspects of life in Utah, from neighbors that won’t allow their kids to play with kids whose families aren’t “good mormons,” to snotty high school teens who hold themselves in the highest regard. Extremism in any form isn’t good. There are lots of mainstream mormons who are perfectly wonderful people and don’t share Joni’s views. I wouldn’t consider them liberal mormons because everyone’s faith is unique to them. What they choose to believe is their choice. Those are the members I wish would rise up and paint the church in the light it deserves.

  24. October 31, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    This was my email exchange on Facebook with Joni Hilton today.

    Conversation started today
    Sarah Zarate Braudaway-Clark
    10:30am
    Sarah Zarate Braudaway-Clark

    I just read your Meridian article about “Liberal Mormons” and all I can say is that I’m so beyond grateful you are NOT my Relief Society president. How in the world can any woman in your ward trust you after reading that? How will anyone with pain or doubts or questions or even a toe out of the line YOU’VE drawn in the sand feel comfortable going to you for help or counsel?

    There are families in your ward who need you, and your negative opinions of them, published for all to see, are doing them a disservice and doing the Church as a whole a disservice because they feel less comfortable there. Perhaps you might consider reading Elder Uchtdorf’s last conference talk and think about whether labeling and disparaging entire groups of people, people you have been set apart to serve with love, is really furthering the work of Christ. (You know…the man who ate with sinners while telling the righteous and unfailingly obedient pharisees they were hypocrites.)

    Joni Hilton
    12:38pm
    Joni Hilton

    I’m so glad you wrote, Sarah– it gives me the chance to clarify. am not criticizing anyone who struggles, or who has differences (including political ones). I am urging members to look within their hearts to see if they’re starting to apostatize, to rewrite the commandment, and to ignore our leaders. I grew up hearing “liberal Mormon” to mean people who were themselves judgmental and hypocritical, who found fault with the leaders and with Christ’s gospel. People who are striving, regardless of their opinions, color, or culture, are not the issue. Obedience is the issue. Even in President Uchtdorf’s wonderful talk about diversity and inclusion, he emphasized that we are “united in obedience.” I love variety– my dad was a sociologist who practically made this a family value. People of varying political views, cultures, colors– bring it on! I welcome this with open arms– it enriches the whole. But that wasn’t what my article was about. It was about people who reinvent the commandments to suit themselves. And Christ never taught that. I think the world “liberal” is the problem. Too many people see that word and immediately jump to political leanings. I thought I had dealt with that, but ought to have made it clear that all stripes are welcome. I have Democrat friends, Republican friends even a Communist friend. I love them all. The issue is not one’s culture, nor one’s politics or individual differences, but one’s acceptance of the restored gospel. I do not judge people based upon their tastes or political opinions, and this is evident from the dozens of other articles of mine which I hope you will read on Meridian. But what we need to judge in ourselves– in our own hearts– is whether we are making excuses for ignoring counsel from the Lord, and/or counsel from the prophets. That’s really what this piece was about– spiritual apostasy. I hope this helps. Much love, Joni

    Sarah Zarate Braudaway-Clark
    1:30pm
    Sarah Zarate Braudaway-Clark

    Thank you for your response. Though I am politically and socially liberal, I understood your post and also saw your clarification in the comment section. My problem comes from the overall tone of your piece, your use of labels, and the assumptions you make about these members.

    As many who have commented pointed out, you’ve painted a lot of people with a very broad brush. You assume you know their hearts, call them lazy and superior, and you seem to think you know an awful lot about what these people think of more righteous Mormons like you. You may have anecdotal experience with a few or even many people who fit the description you’ve shared, but anecdotes do not equal truth. For the majority of those who pick and choose or fall away or aren’t as active or as obedient as you feel you are, it’s a lot less cut and dried than you make it.

    There’s very little love or understanding to be found in your post, even if you intended for there to be. What I see is a whole lot of judgment, and this is what I think will turn people away from the Gospel of Christ and turn people away from asking you for help as a Relief Society president.

    We can disagree about Christ, but I can say from multiple readings of the New Testament, Christ DID change what people in his time believed were commandments. He was there to fulfill the law and the prophecies, sure, but for those in charge, those who expected others to obey them and the hedges they’d created around the Law of Moses, he did an awful lot of changing, not just to the hedges but to the actual laws. He did away with blood sacrifice and introduced the sacrament. He changed the eye for and eye doctrine to that of turn the other cheek. In my own, personal relationship with Christ and my Heavenly Parents (not saying this must be true of all), I feel certain we as LDS people are obedient of many outward appearance type “commandments” that have little to do with the 2 great commandments He shared. If a person chooses to focus on loving God and loving his or her fellow human beings and less on the number of inches in their clothing or the number of checkmarks they can make on the “good LDS person” list, I don’t see Christ faulting them. I definitely don’t see Christ ever writing something like what you wrote about those people.

    • Michael Tweedy
      October 31, 2013 at 6:40 pm

      Great reply. Thank you for taking her on.

    • Dawn Lair West
      November 1, 2013 at 6:56 am

      You said what I was thinking, while reading that article, but you said it much better than I. Thank you!!

  25. Laura Berry
    October 31, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    Laura Berry
    Lauraberry2123@gmail.com
    I am a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I also happen to vote “liberally” because of what the gospel has taught me since I joined the church over 35 years ago. I have served in every organization of the church, and recently released after 6 years serving as our stake Rs president. I teach institute because I love our youth and I am a passionate student of the scriptures. I love the living prophet and do my very best to follow him. How you describe me as a “liberal Mormon” tells me you don’t know the first thing about me or other members who have a different perspective than yours. Your views expressed here are not even in the realm of anything I know to be true of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I invite you to open those scriptures and study them as you never have before and and

  26. Laura
    October 31, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    This perspective is so out of the realm of where our leaders are trying to lead the people of church. Any self respecting publication would remove her. She does NOT represent the very diverse voice and life experience of church membership today. meridian can do better.

  27. Michael Tweedy
    October 31, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    I WAS a liberal Mormon, and a very good one. Mormon, I mean. And liberal. Myh wife still is a good Mormon (stake RS presidency and all that), well-respected, and exceedingly liberal. But when I finally saw where Mormonism was leading me, I had to quit. Although I terminated my LDS membership, I still am in touch with a lot of active, helpful, believing, and very, very good Mormons. This woman is full of crap. At any rate, she hasn’t a clue. It IS offensive, just as Meridian staff say. And stupid. And small-minded. And narrow. And clueless.

    • Steve in Millcreek
      November 1, 2013 at 9:41 pm

      Okay, fine, you disagree with her, Michael. You have strong feelings against her article; and I largely agree with your view. But consider the possibility that saying she is “full of crap” to be crossing a line that approaches her level of offensiveness toward you and other beloved liberals.

  28. nitpick
    October 31, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    Earlier this month, Ms. Hilton entitled a blog post: “Open Mouth Insert Foot”…just sayin.
    http://jonihilton.blogspot.com/2013/10/open-mouth-insert-foot.html

  29. Mike H.
    October 31, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    “To be perfectly frank,” (President) Uchtdorf said, “there have been times when members or leaders in the church have simply made mistakes. There may have been things said or done that were not in harmony with our values, principles or doctrine.” -October 2013 General Conference.

    I wonder how many of the offenders were from the “Conservative” Mormon camp, per Joni Hilton’s definition?

    In many ways, I fit her “Liberal” Mormon descriptions by her. But, I don’t think bikinis are a good idea at public pools, I don’t do ice tea, I have seen just a handful of unedited R rated movies. I *have* show up for moving people, many times. I love Gospel Doctrine when I go to Church. I’ve done lots of Family History & Temple Work, until a Bishop told me my 3 son’s autism was from “neglecting” them *by* doing Family History & Temple Work.

    Also, I remember when Pres. Hinckley said NOT to be “Holier than Thou” in General Conference. So, did he mean the “Conservative” Mormons can point fingers of scorn at the “Liberal” Mormons?

  30. hawkgrrrl
    October 31, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    My absolute favorite parts of her essay were when she accused liberals of . . . going to Europe and telling people about it (gasp!) unlike those more righteous conservatives who secretly sneak off to Europe. I also enjoyed her portrayal of liberals staggering out of a bar and into a shopping mall on Sundays. Because there are a lot of skid row winos in shopping malls.

    • Michael Tweedy
      October 31, 2013 at 6:39 pm

      That was pretty sweet. But in retrospect, I’ve gone to Europe and told people about it, so…

    • bhaktigrrrl
      October 31, 2013 at 6:54 pm

      Yes! This was a fun read. I am fairly certain that she has never known or loved any so-called liberal Mormons. It’s as if she wrote a blog post about Americans after growing up on Mars.

  31. HappyHomemaker
    October 31, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    Ummm… Hilarious!

  32. Tom
    October 31, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    She’s right. I hate to admit it but she described me perfectly in this article. I absolutely embrace the gray, believe I’m smarter and more enlightened than everyone in my ward, suck at home teaching, and drink ice tea.

    I’m not sure why there is such a backlash on this, maybe the truth hurts a little.

    • Jen
      October 31, 2013 at 8:27 pm

      Love your honesty, Tom!!! I was thinking the same thing. What’s all the hubbub about? The truth does hurt the most when it applies.

      • Hersheysky
        November 1, 2013 at 2:09 pm

        For me, the “hubbub” is about inaccurate stereotypes. I am tired of conservatives using this type of rhetoric because it prohibits logical conversation/debate about facts and how best to have a solid society and government. I am sooo tired this rhetoric and it will never stop until people stand up and correct it. It may be an accurate description of you, but it certainly is not of me.

    • Missouri
      November 1, 2013 at 8:53 pm

      Amen Tom. Please everyone, stop pretending to be shocked by the article. Don’t many of us feel like we know better? Things don’t add up for much of LDS theology/cultural practice to many people. Why should I feel inclined to follow everything when I don’t buy everything? That’s one reason many people don’t want to have anything to do with being mormon…the expectation that you have to believe some comprehensive list of stuff. But really, we don’t have to buy everything (although you will risk being marginalized in the church community).

      Bottom like…like President Uchdorf said, come in a sup with us, no matter where you are in life. Sounds good to me. Carry on. And so what if you drink iced tea…or don’t. Nice article Ms. Hilton. You actually nailed many people on this. You aren’t perfect in your rhetoric. So what? Keep groovin’.

  33. Cello di Nemo
    October 31, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    Did I overlook something in the article? I saw no curse words. I read some difference in perspective but no intentional derogatory insult. I fail to see what it is that’s supposed to be offensive.

  34. teelea
    October 31, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    Any chance that Meridian might publish an article representing a contrasting viewpoint–perhaps titled “Are You a Mormon Pharisee”?

    I didn’t think so.

  35. Scott
    October 31, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    Former Young Women President, Elaine Cannon, once said, “When the Prophet speaks, the debate is over.”

    I love it how she says this, yet a couple general conferences ago they admitted, “not everything stated over the pulpit is doctrine”.

  36. Catinthehat
    October 31, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    I’m proud to be a liberal. I was a liberal Mormon but now just a liberal. But I did do my VT, my callings (I excelled at them) but did occasionally frequent the local mall on sunday.

    Never drink tea, coffee, alcohol. Oh, wait. I am no longer a liberal Mormon, just liberal. I figured it out and left the Mormon church so that I could sin…….

    • Pacumeni
      November 1, 2013 at 11:30 am

      Depending on what you mean by liberal, this (an Tom’s confession above, if not satiric) count as data points in support of Hilton’s thesis. Are borderlanders more likely to leave the Church and/or reject teachings of Church leaders? The answer is certainly yes. To be sure, any organization needs multiple perspectives, including critical perspectives that point up problems, to thrive. That said, the people Hilton called liberals are, like Catinthehat, more likely to abandon the faith than are “true believers.” The latter have their own pitfalls (and sometimes have brittle testimonies), but from what I have seen, they are proportionally more likely to remain in the faith than their borderland liberal fellow members.

  37. November 1, 2013 at 12:15 am

    I think the meaning here is Mormons who are liberal about their faith, not Mormons who are liberal about their politics.

  38. Mary Marine
    November 1, 2013 at 2:08 am

    Well as a former “Jack Mormon” and Liberal Democrat who also happens to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”. I just want to tell Sister Hilton, if I had met you or someone like you and this is the way you chose to speak to me because of my political preferences, without and consideration to my choice to follow the teachings of the church because my one and only desire was to become closer too and know my Lord and Savior and I new my Mormon faith was the the only way to be blessed with that personal relationship, I shudder to think what direction I would have chosen. My testimony may have been altered or non extent. I don’t know, maybe not. I may have been able to get to that wonderful testimony in spit of the things you said. I hope others like myself, will not read your words. I want them to know Christ and be a good Christian first and foremost. Being a good Mormon will only follow after knowing our Savior. I am less active but I refuse to accept your “opinion” and that’s what it is, re: me and people like me who are less active or non active. You don’t know my heart, or my story. I really hope you can see how your words can hurt and how untrue they are. Oh, and I was a visiting teacher who enjoyed and did my best at my calling. They only had to ask me once. You have received some very good replies to your comments. I hope you can understand with an open mind and an open heart. Ya know, we listen to the same Prophet as you do. Same conference talks, read the same BoM and other scripture. Believe in the same true church and most important, we believe that Jesus is the Christ, the living and loving Savior of the world sent to us by a loving and caring Heavenly Father and Mother. Why do you want to segregate us from what you seem to consider the good Mormons? We are not the bad guys, just vote different, that’s all.

  39. WWP
    November 1, 2013 at 8:16 am

    God gives to all liberally…

    • Irene
      November 1, 2013 at 12:35 pm

      I read it and did not agree on most parts, that makes us both not perfect. I am glad I’m not her right now. “When the whole world is on your case”. But you know what? I think I forgive her. So, done it

      Irene, Europe

  40. Iowa Mormon
    November 1, 2013 at 10:57 am

    I would just like to point out by her very definition of liberal being broad minded, the antonym to broad minded is NARROW-MINDED,

    So if being a liberal mormon is to be broad minded Mormon then I will gladly take that over being Narrow minded simpleton any day of the week and twice on Sunday!!!

  41. Korihor
    November 1, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Joni made the mistake of pointing out something which many active members think, but most know they should not say OUT LOUD.

    Until you have been threatened with excommunication for privately discussing historical problems with friends, whether or not the concerns were valid or true, it may be hard to appreciate the nature of this repressive culture.

    When the “Prophet speaks, the thinking has been done,” or “it is wrong to criticize the brethren, even if they are wrong,” is the conservative paradigm, no progress towards anything of truth or actual value can be made. You are left with the smug superiority of the intentionally uneducated.

    By the way Joni, I have some time this weekend, where can I attend your “creationist” museum?

  42. J
    November 1, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    The ways I see it, conservatives wish liberals would act more like Christians, and liberals wish Christians would act more like Jesus.

  43. Terry
    November 1, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    I’m in my mid-50’s, having clocked some time observing the world. I’m also a convert to the church—baptized when I was 19. Long before I ever heard of the church, oh…about when I was 12, I happened upon a book in the town library that had a significant influence on me. It helped me become a seeker of truth. It was titled “How to Know When Someone is Lying to You.” A strong title, but it was basically about detecting the logical fallacies that salesmen, politicians, and other basic “impassioned” people may present to us. Each has its own Latin name, of course.

    Hey…Shouldn’t we fit the subject of clear and logical thinking somewhere in the church? After all, we do have a hymn titled, “Oh Say What is Truth.” Perhaps we could make it the 5th year of the Sunday School study curriculum!

    So as I read Sister Hilton’s article, the one though that kept crying out to me throughout was, “Straw man fallacy! Straw man fallacy!” It shocked me.

    Today I looked up what Wikipedia had to say on this subject. The article there actually makes some observations fit for both opponents of any subject to read. I copied a portion, and provided it below. As Rod Serling would say, “Submitted for your approval.”

    A straw man or straw person, also known in the UK as an Aunt Sally, is a common type of argument and is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position. The misrepresentation can be intentional or accidental. It is possible to unintentionally misrepresent an opponent’s argument by failing to understand it in the first place and honestly communicating what one (wrongly) thinks is the actual argument. This can lead to opposition believing the creation of a straw man argument to be intended, when it may or may not be…The origins of the term are unclear. The usage of the term in rhetoric suggests a human figure made of straw which is easily knocked down or destroyed…”

    If Sister Hilton has unintentionally misrepresenting the “liberal” in the church, it may be because of the too frequent reliance church members make on clichés and euphemisms, to view their world. I guess this is an entire subject in itself. I have noticed though, over the years, that there are a fair number of Mormons who have everything neatly cinched up in their minds, why people do what they do, etc. Being a seeker of the truth, and having the benefit of observing things as both an insider and an outsider, this sort of things scares me, and disappoints me. I would not consider myself a liberal, but I do wish more of our church members would grow a little deeper in their thinking.

    Yes, you could say we have the Truth with a capital “T”, the gospel of Jesus Christ. But how I wish more members would seek the many lower case “t’s” of truth around us. For example, not summarizing or categorizing people. Frankly, whatever were her motives, I feel embarrassed for Sister Hilton.

  44. Perfessr
    November 1, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    So, I was about to leave a comment. All I could think of was 3 Nephi 14:1-5 or Matthew 7:1-5.

    God bless us, every one.

  45. Jean
    November 1, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    I tried to post these comments to Hilton’s piece on Meridian yesterday, but think they must have pulled the site before I got my comments in. They are not any more profound than the many others who have posted, but for the record, here they are:

    Being a liberal Mormon does not mean to me what it apparently means to you. (Jack Mormon? Certainly not the same thing where I grew up.) Moreover, it doesn’t mean I favor abortion (although I think I understand why some see it as their only alternative), and it doesn’t mean I favor homosexual marriage (although I certainly see why some see it as a “fair and just” response to a phenomenon perhaps none of us really understands completely). It does mean, however, that I cannot treat people who do favor or act on those causes as pariahs. Mostly, I am a liberal Mormon because I care about other peoples’ opportunity, reject quick dismissals about pulling oneself up by the bootstraps, etc., and, as Scott T. cited, believe the doctrine taught in Alma 1:30, “whether out of the church or in the church.” (I was once told our obligation to the poor was limited to church members.) Sometimes I think I’ll scream at the prospect of enduring one more time, in a church setting, the dismissal of the poor and needy by the placating ourselves with the fact that we pay fast offering. Our obligation to them is drilled into us over and over in the scriptures. And quite frankly, the need is so great that I can’t conceive of making a dent without the intervention of government. It’s sad to think we can’t do better in this regard until Christ establishes his, but I think we have an obligation to try. Everyday I try to keep my covenants through my public and personal worship of the Savior and gratitude for Father’s great plan. And I hope I extend love, encouragement, and means to those who may be at a different place in their own spiritual development, “whether out of the church or in the church.”

  46. jg
    November 1, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    Joni is the Miley Cyrus of mormonism–boldly and outlandishly being herself to gain attention. And her warped perspective on things all started with the disney of religions–mormonism.

  47. jg
    November 1, 2013 at 10:13 pm
    • Perfessr
      November 4, 2013 at 7:31 pm

      Did Jesus even use text messages?

  48. Melanie
    November 1, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    Articles like this make me embarrassed to be a Mormon. I think this statement is what hurt the most- “Living in the gray area, the fringe, takes little– if any– effort.” If she only knew how much more effort it really takes. Life was easier when I viewed things the way she does.

    • Laura
      November 2, 2013 at 8:22 pm

      yeah, that part cut me deeply too.

  49. Kris
    November 1, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    I think this is a tempest in a teapot. Sister Hilton has her opinion. I have mine. So what? Lets not be so thin skinned. I am disappointed in Meridians response. We are big people and don’t need to be protected by
    Meridian.

  50. Marisa Wright
    November 1, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    I simply feel bad for her. To view the gospel of Jesus Christ as a set of rules instead of “Good News”, kindness, compassion and goodness. . .
    It seams that she has missed the whole entire message of how Christ can change our hearts and make our earthly experience more meaningful.

  51. Sue G
    November 2, 2013 at 5:09 am

    I just took a look at Sister Hilton’s You Tube channel and the video I looked at was preceded with an ad for Guinness. That’s liberal!

  52. European Saint
    November 2, 2013 at 5:14 am

    Labels are tricky things, to be sure. “Liberal” means so many different things — some positive and some negative. Speaking of labels, I have to say that the following line in the reply from Meridian got a good chortle out of me: “James E. Faust was a liberal Mormon too.” I know President Faust was a Democrat, but I’m not sure I would *ever* label him a “liberal Mormon” (read talks like this and others if you disagree
    http://www.lds.org/ensign/1995/09/serving-the-lord-and-resisting-the-devil?lang=eng). Anyway, I agree that the article contains several very problematic portions and I did not appreciate it. That said, I think I know why she felt compelled to write it, and I don’t think there is “nothing to see here; please move along” (as some on this and other websites might suggest). Embracing an increased level of openness and transparency regarding church history and rejecting notions of prophetic infallibility (think Givens and Bushman) can both be very positive things, I believe; what is less than positive is a tendency to view General Conference as “just normal people saying what they think” and promoting social norms and mores above scripture and the words of the prophets. The latter is occurring quite frequently on the blogosphere.

    • Shona Salver
      November 2, 2013 at 7:35 am

      I agree that it is important to differentiate before what are perceived as “liberal” religious views and “liberal” political views because they are definitely mutually exclusive.

  53. Shirley
    November 2, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Goodness Joni! How can you enjoy going to church with all that in your head? We are all here to love and help each other. Forget it and just worry about yourself. After all that’s all we are responsible for.

  54. Matthew Andersen
    November 2, 2013 at 9:40 am

    I can see the good intentions of this article, but let me summarize why it never should have been written in the first place–at least not like this:

    1. You do not need to describe the sinner in order to preach how to be a saint.

    2. The noun form of the word ‘liberal’ has been widely accepted as the description for an entire group of people–in this case, a political group. This article attaches a negative connotation to the word, making it no less insensitive than calling someone a woman for being a coward or autistic for acting anti-social. To that end, it implies that political Liberals cannot be good Mormons. Anyway, why didn’t you use the word ‘conservative’? As in, some Mormons are conservative about the which commandments they choose to follow.

    3. This article characterizes liberal Mormons with weaknesses that can be applied to just about anyone in the Church. I don’t remember to read my scriptures every day. I have had Sunday School teachers who have behaved very offensively towards those who don’t fit the stereotypical conservative Mormon mold. A friend of mine was an RS counselor in Provo and had to cut off an RS instructor when she started blatantly denouncing all Democrats and anyone who planned on voting for Obama. If all three Sunday School teachers in my ward acted like that, I wouldn’t attend either. Who wants to be in an environment like that? I also don’t always help others move. Sometimes I do, but sometimes I have other plans, the person doesn’t practice good moving etiquette (e.g. having everything in boxes and ready to be loaded), and sometimes the person is a jerk. My old roommate couldn’t get our EQ to help him fix his roof because he was not pleasant to be around. God does not expect us to subject ourselves to abuse at the hands of others who are capable of helping themselves anyway. There’s a difference between that and simply loving those who are difficult to love.

    In other words, we all have at least a few of these weaknesses, and that’s what the Atonement is for. As long as we’re making the effort to overcome those weaknesses, the Atonement can and will be applied to any of them. But besides that, we can’t judge others who have those weaknesses as being less faithful. As per the examples I just shared, we don’t know their hearts.

    4. You do not have the authority to describe what is right and wrong beyond what the Prophets have already revealed. You can say that murder is a sin that leads us into Satan’s hands, and you can say the same thing about adultery. But until the General Authorities come out and say that not going to Sunday School or helping people move is a sin, you cannot declare either of them as such.

    All that being said, I’m sorry for the backlash you have received. But there are so many things that need to be considered before writing an article like this. I have actually made similar mistakes in my own writing in the past. The best thing to do is move on.

    • DJ
      November 3, 2013 at 7:14 pm

      I agree with everything stated above, but the scary thing is, these are the thoughts of our leadership. This may have been written in bad judgment, but Sister Hilton’s mindset is clear. Sorry, this is way off from what I would expect. This is not Christian in nature. I don’t see how this approach will lead people to Christ? If leading people to Christ is our mission?? we need to see a change in leadership! ASAP

  55. liz
    November 2, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    oh dear… what about if like me, you just are european… am i damned to hell? better just give up now.
    She actually insulted a whole continent of people! very amusing article…. not out raged because im, well european, chilling during sunday school, drinking my ice tea watching my artisitc movies ;) haha…

    • jg
      November 3, 2013 at 4:41 am

      good response liz.

  56. November 3, 2013 at 1:48 am

    Joni–Thank you so much for addressing issues that have been clearly taught by our Prophets for many years. It is obvious you were not talking about political leanings, and we would have to be deaf, dumb, and blind to not notice members who write their own rules and then proudly make sure other church members realize how “progressive” they are. Anyone who would take offense to your reminders that tea-drinking, immodest clothing, unwillingness to serve, etc., are not in harmony with the doctrines of the church probably is dodging repentance. Otherwise, why are they so uncomfortable with your article?

    • A
      November 4, 2013 at 9:07 am

      I’m sorry, but I agree with Maryann. I hold no judgement to those who participate in any of the activity listed in this article as I have been there in my life also. I don’t understand why her listing the things that are against the church believes are so offensive. I think a lot of people that have read this are seeing the term “liberal” as political and I don’t think she meant it this way. If you are participating in the things mentioned, “drinking tea, wearing bikini’s, watching R-rated movies, going to the mall on Sunday,” I don’t have any judgement, but it does mean you are not following the teachings of the Mormon church. Why is that so offensive if you feel ok with the way that you are living your life? As a Mormon that follows the above mentioned teachings I am ok with the way you are living your life if you are not following them. I think the question arises “Are you ok with the way you are living your life?” Why are you so offended with her pointing out the teachings of the church and then saying if you are not following these things you are in the gray?

      • A
        November 4, 2013 at 9:08 am

        *beliefs* sorry for the typo

      • Blake Garten
        November 5, 2013 at 10:14 am

        I think the problem is that Joni Hilton draws a line in the sand for full church membership and celestial glory, and anything less from her brothers and sisters here on Earth is a product of laziness, disobedience, weakness–in short, being less of a real person and a legitimate member of the church. So anyone who is inactive or has questions or doubts or who picks and chooses in ways she disagrees with is basically written off and tossed to the “wayside.” But then why try to re-activate these people, why have Elder Uchtdorf speak on the subject of being welcoming and about the complexities in some people’s doubts and questions. He’s trying to preach a bigger tent, more welcoming Mormonism and she’s trying to preach a smaller tent Mormonism. For her, there is just one way to be a Mormon. Anything else is weak, lazy, etc. And it appears that a number of people, good people, members, disagree with her. In the end she is just preaching blind obedience, as though obedience and not love was the Savior’s first Commandment.

  57. Jared Baxter
    November 3, 2013 at 10:09 am

    She’s joking, right?

  58. Blake Garten
    November 3, 2013 at 11:45 am

    “When we pray for a testimony and get the answer that this church is exactly what it claims to be…”

    And what about peole who don’t get that answer?

    “Faith, obedience, commitment—these take effort, sometimes against gale-force storms. Those unwilling to sacrifice and work will fall by the wayside…. But being outside the mainstream is not a badge of honor; it’s actually an admittance of weakness.”

    I would sacrifice and work for the Lord, for my family, for the people, places, and ideals I care about, but not for anything less. And my doubts and questions about the LDS church having been satisfied in the negative, I see no need to be an Uber-member such as you’ve described.

  59. Jeanmarie
    November 3, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    Wow, you are a judgmental Mormon! And so proud of it!

  60. Pamela Smith
    November 3, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    Why be so offended by Sister Hilton’s characterization (mis- or not) of you, if you are liberal? Why not instead enlighten her, and all of us, about how and why she is wrong, so as to create further understanding? Don’t we all realize that it is the adversary who seeks for all to be miserable, like unto himself, and who is the father of all lies?

  61. Matt
    November 4, 2013 at 10:20 am

    Thanks for keeping this alive. It needs to be known that this perspective remains prevalent in the church, as shocking as it seems when reading it.

  62. Reader
    November 4, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    I personally think care should be taken when speaking or writing on such personal, sensitive subjects in the Church. This is my opinion, because anything else comes off as judgment, even when one’s position may actually be correct (or even if it is not correct). I think that the Brethren do a very good job at this — quite the accomplishment when speaking to millions of people at once from every walk of life and culture on the earth. That said, and while thinking care should always be taken to not be judgmental or self-righteous, it remains interesting to me that human nature seems to be such that some crush others in order to not be crushed themselves, or in retaliation for feeling they have been crushed. The thought also crosses my mind that perhaps Samuel the Lamanite was similarly vilified. Maybe there is responsibility on both sides of the aisle, as is so often the case?

  63. DJ
    November 5, 2013 at 1:26 am

    Judgy-wudgy… nuff ‘said. Everyone here is a little disgusting. Everyone.

  64. lumanwalters
    November 5, 2013 at 9:41 am

    She sounds hurt. That’s all I hear. All I hear is how much she’s hurting over something. May she be filled with lovingkindness and be well. May she have peace.

  65. November 5, 2013 at 10:27 am

    I think Joni’s article about Liberal Mormons is worthy reading. I don’t agree with everything she wrote, but I don’t think the article should have been taken down.

    Many who read my blog consider me to be ultra conservative. But as the years go by I have modified some of my views and now view some things that might be considered “liberal” by conservative Mormons.

    Now in the latter part of my 7th decade I don’t feel to categorize other members. I try to accept everyone who feels to participate in church.

    When I speak or teach I encourage others to live so that they can acquire the manifestations of the Spirit in their lives. I’m able to teach from the scriptures about the things of the Spirit, but more importantly, I can testify from my own experience.

    If church members are not experiencing the things of the Spirit then something is amiss.

    I hope we will encourage one another to draw near to the Lord so all can receive and recognize His Spirit.

    • David
      November 5, 2013 at 10:37 am

      Thanks Jared. Your comments sound like the Gospel amid all the contentions on this subject.

  66. Brent
    November 5, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Still need to finish this article (displaying Joni’s article with commentary) and the current comments, but came upon this comment which must be retorted: “Commentary: Sort of true. Many of us disagree with a few points in the Proclamation…but most of it we agree with and value.” Don’t know who the “us” refers to or what basis exists to claim “many” fall within this categorization — but every word of the Proclamation is both true and intended to be completely embraced by the faithful. In other words, while some may struggle with its contents, needing greater understanding, all should accept it as the mind and will of the Lord… because it is.

  67. Me
    November 5, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    I am trying so hard to keep it together after a crisis of my faith.

    After forty years of faithful membership, graduating from BYU, marrying in the temple, serving in YW, two Primary Presidencies, RS teacher, and years of Cub Scouts, among other callings, I have learned information that make it impossible for me to believe the way I used to. I keep going to church for my kids but I admit I dodge Gospel Doctrine and at age 40 donned my first bikini on a trip with my husband, although I still haven’t brought myself to watch an R rated movie. Instead of helping perfectly capable members move, I volunteer every week at a refugee center helping little girls from Somolia learn English.

    Joni is writing this from a perspective that the church is all true, that every aspect of it is the way the Savior wants it. I don’t see it that way. I am dealing with a lot of sadness and anger over what I feel to be a betrayal by the church, of everything I once held dear. I am wondering if I can even still be a part of the church. If I stay, I will stay as a liberal mormon.

    I thought maybe after Pres. Uchtdorf’s talk I could keep it up, but Joni’s article makes me wonder why I would even want to.

  68. Seth R.
    November 5, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    Two points – first off most of you are giving this waaay more attention than it deserves. Basically nobody worth mentioning has even agreed with Joni Hilton in the first place. Even the famously conservative Meridian Magazine pulled her article.

    The only way this becomes news is if you people make it news.

    Secondly, Joni Hilton did a lot of unfair reading into motives and personal mental state of those with whom she agrees.

    It seems that many in this discussion are now trying to do the SAME thing to her out of some sense of revenge.

    Keep it up people, and you may even succeed in making me feel sorry for her. I don’t yet, but you guys are pushing it.

  69. Zack T.
    November 6, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Thank-you Seth

    Being what I consider a thoughtful conservative, I plead to thoughtful progressives/Liberals, this is disturbs me and does represent me or the majority of my conservative Brothers and Sisters. this is purposefully posted on Mormon stories to make appear that people like myself are some how sympathetic towards this type of extreme attitude.

    This is truly a very small minority that talk this way about an important part of our Mormon culture our brother and sisters that are progressive’s whom I love.

    This reminds me of when I walk through the halls during Sunday School or priesthood and here discussions on negative subjects left,right and just plain gossipy, in other words trashy, all the while the true lovers of the gospel of Jesus Christ sit attentively in gospel doctrine, teaching preforming duties and callings.

    John, to whom I have great respect, this article was not worthy of discussion, or if you insist, a like blog, which I could find for you to post that is just offensive, angry, etc. coming from the progressive side.

    Thus, I much rather learn of the issues that are difficult, but thoughtfully presented. (By the way which you have do very well 95% of the time).

  70. Maddy
    November 7, 2013 at 11:09 am

    John
    Please remove my comment. I am curious as to why my comment and one repsonding to it are the only ones which don’t allow a reply.

    Thanks!

  71. Yvonne Aston
    November 9, 2013 at 5:11 am

    I can’t believe that Joni’s article can have generated so much anguish and criticism. From its tone we can see that her statements are merely her opinion and we’re all entitled to an opinion. Her presumptions are at odds with Church doctrine and Christianity itself. So? She has used her agency to choose a stance in opposition to the religion that she thinks she has espoused. We’re here to learn and maybe Joni has learned something from her ill-advised rant. A loving God has given us a map in order to ease our way through this wonderful mortal experience, but we aren’t all good at reading maps, so we get the meaning of the scriptures wrong. Some of us ignore the satellite navigation system, we aren’t good at listening to the prophet or his counsellors.We are all here to learn, we all make mistakes Let’s listen to the Holy Spirit and move on. Let us not be divided by someone’s opinion. Opinions can be changed by greater knowledge and experience and that applies to us all.

  72. Mat
    November 17, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    There is an article at truthinessality.blogspot.com that makes the argument that active LDS members live the lives of liberals more so than they do conservative…and it makes sense.

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