Over the past several years many have contacted me in response to my support of same-sex marriage and gender equality in LDS leadership to say:
“If you believe in this church, then you believe in revelation and in following your leaders. Consequently, it is inappropriate for you to be speaking openly about wanting LGBTs to be more accepted in the church, your support for gay marriage, or for women to receive more church responsibility. Either the leaders of the church get their direction from God, or they don’t. If you choose to be a part of this church, then it’s either get in line and follow, or get out.”
My response: A quiz for you.
1) What were the conditions/environment/personalities involved in Joseph Smith receiving the Word of Wisdom revelation? Was it purely direct revelation, or at least partially a response to people and situation?
2) What were the conditions/environment/personalities involved in the 1890 Official Declaration renouncing the practice of polygamy? Was it purely direct revelation, or at least partially a response to people and situation?
3) What were the conditions/environment/personalities involved in the granting of priesthood to black males? Was it purely direct revelation, or at least partially a response to people and situation?
4) What were the conditions/environment/personalities involved in the LDS church’s changing stance regarding oral sex (first forbidding it, then rescinding that forbidding)? Was it purely direct revelation, or at least partially a response to people and situation?
5) What were the conditions/environment/personalities involved in the LDS church’s change in stance regarding LGBT people, going from a) telling LGBT people that SSA was a result of sin, b) that being LGBT was a choice/non-biological, c) that LGBT folks should “get married, not tell their spouse, and it will go away,” or d) to try reparative therapy……vs. the church’s current position (http://mormonsandgays.org/) — abandoning all of those positions? Was it purely direct revelation, or at least partially a response to people and situation?
6) Rinse and repeat with other issues like the use of contraception, women working outside of the home, apostolic denunciations of evolution, interracial marriage, changes in the temple ceremony, the cessation of publishing Bruce R. McConkie’s Mormon Doctrine and Spencer W. Kimball’s Miracle of Forgiveness (now I’m being prophetic on that one), women praying in general conference, the modern young single adult program, etc.
7) In fact, are you aware of ANY significant changes in the church that were NOT made in response to conditions/environment/personalities ?
8) What is the value of continuing revelation, if it is not used….and what do you think precipitates revelation? Does it happen in a vacuum?
9) Finally, if conditions/environment/personalities can lead to change in all of these other scenarios, why couldn’t/shouldn’t it be so with gay marriage and the role of women in the church?
In this three part interview with Josh and Lolly Weed we discuss:
- Part 1: How they fell in love and decided to marry, in spite of both knowing that Josh is gay
- Part 2: The complexities and risks of living in a mixed-orientation marriage, and
For more content regarding the LGBT/LDS experience, check out Gay Mormon Stories Podcast, No More Strangers blog, and additional LGBT-related interviews on Mormon Stories Podcast.
Dr. Ralph C. Hancock is a professor of political science at Brigham Young University. He holds a B.A. and an M.A. from BYU and a Ph.D. from Harvard University, and teaches classes on American and French political history as well as the history of political thought. He is currently serving as president of the John Adams Center for the Study of Faith, Philosophy and Public Affairs at BYU, and within Mormonism is perhaps best known as a critic of Mormon liberalism and feminism. You can read Dr. Hancock’s writings here, and responses to some of his writings here, here, here and here. In today’s four-part interview, we discuss:
- Part 1: Early years and the formation of his philosophical positions
- Part 2: His critique of Mormon liberalism
- Part 3: His critique of Mormon feminism
- Part 4: On Mormon apologetics, LGBT issues and his final testimony
As part of a new podcast initiative called “Gay Mormon Stories” (in cooperation with Mormon Stories Book Club) we interview the beloved poet, playwright, LGBT activist and Mormon author Carol Lynn Pearson about her new book entitled, “The Hero’s Journey of the Gay and Lesbian Mormon” (click here for the Kindle version, and here for the print version).
From Carol Lynn:
I am so happy to introduce the fourth (and probably final) of my works that focuses on the needs of our gay brothers and sisters. We live in a wonderful day. Science has shown that a homosexual orientation is not a choice. Most people are aware that one or more of their loved ones is gay. Society and religion are moving in the direction of understanding and inclusion. But for many of our gay family members and friends, the path is still difficult and sometimes life-threatening. I am thrilled to offer what I believe to be a beautiful “gift book” that might serve as a traveling companion providing a new and brighter vision of this journey. What if, after all, being gay is not a defect, not a lesser life, but a different calling?– an invitation to travel the road of heroes mapped out by mythologist Joseph Campbell and find the life-giving substance that cures all ills.