It was both troubling and fascinating (something like watching a car wreck) to witness the dustup of the past few days over the unfortunate column by LDS author Joni Hilton excoriating what she dubbed “liberal Mormons.” I’m sure that Sister Hilton is a wonderful person who may or may not regret at least some of both the tone and substance of what she wrote, not to mention the minor firestorm she set off. I have no idea why she feels the way she does, or what prompted her to write the column in the way she did. I’m not interested in piling on or even directly taking on Hilton, but it might be worth reflecting on one of her core arguments.
Joni Hilton’s definition of a “liberal Mormon” (setting aside her poorly chosen moniker) is a person who is a member of the LDS Church but “who [draws] their own lines in the sand. They [decide] which aspects of our faith to accept or reject.” This is a serious charge, especially in a church that closely connects the receipt of heavenly blessings to personal obedience, and in which children are taught from a young age to “follow the prophet” and “keep the commandments.” [Read more...]