Finding Hope From The Westboro Baptist Church

A Westboro Baptist Church protest. (Wikimedia Commons, alterations by Cody Ray Shafer).

For years, the Westboro Baptist Church have been synonymous with bigotry. I learned this when they protested at my high school in 2004 over a production of The Laramie Project (documented by my embarrassing teenager blog). A large counter protest was organized, and an event originally sparked with hate turned into a largely positive, jovial affair. The Phelps clan were woefully outnumbered, and they left rather quickly, while the crowd left behind cheered and laughed and prayed together. As an … [Read more...]

Polygamy and the New LDS Policy: Two Thoughts

Wikimedia Commons. Alterations by Cody Ray Shafer.

 MichaelMany, including Elder Christofferson, have noted that the LDS Church’s new policy toward gay couples and their children is a carbon copy of the Church’s policy toward polygamous families, on the books since the 1920s. (If you’re curious, see Ardis Parshall’s post about it.) Most of these people have focused on how the Church is applying the old policy (re: polygamy) to a new situation (gay marriage).But there’s another arrow of influence. The Church is turning the attitud … [Read more...]

These Three Things Are True


Sharp divisions make it hard to pinpoint "how Mormons feel" about the policy barring children of same-sex married parents from blessing or baptism in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but these three things are true:Mormonism is charismatic. Mormonism is organized. Mormonism is Mormons.By “Mormonism is charismatic” (from the term “charismata”, or gifts of the Holy Spirit including visions, healings, prophecy, etc.) I mean that its existence as a religious tradition is … [Read more...]

What This Policy Shift Means To LGBT Mormons Like Me

“But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven,” – Matthew 19:4

I have struggled to comprehend my thoughts on the recent announcement by the LDS church concerning new policy changes in Handbook 1. There is an ever growing list of reasons why this policy change is both confusing and heartbreaking.As a young man I spent many Sundays contemplating my future, both temporal and beyond. I grew up seeing the joy on a child’s face as they’re baptized before their brothers and sisters. I grew up seeing the smiles of new parents as they bless their newborn before t … [Read more...]

How I choose to see the revisions

"Christ in Gethsemane" By Heinrich Hofmann (Wikimedia Commons)

I write this as a heterosexual person, one who is not directly affected by the new strictures in the Church Handbook of Instructions (CHI). For that reason, this is all very easy for me to say. I do not blame those who are 'closer to' this situation if their reaction is different from mine. I do not blame those who will leave. However, let's get one thing straight from the beginning: those who made this decision did not relish it. The Brethren do not look for ways to kick people out of the … [Read more...]

Ahmed Mohamed, and The Need For A New Narrative

Photo courtesy of Anil Dash

  Ahmed Mohamed, a high school student in Irving, Texas, had a rude awakening this past week when he brought a homemade clock to school. Much has already been written about Ahmed’s experience, as he appeared on Good Morning America, had a shout out from Mark Zuckerberg, and President Obama himself.One of his teachers thought the clock looked like a bomb, and alerted authorities. Ahmed was escorted out of class, handcuffed, and interrogated. He was not even allowed to call his p … [Read more...]

No Blessing: A plea to LDS leaders regarding single members in the Church


First, a caveat: I don't mean to come off as whiny or overdramatic in this entry. I know this is a first-world problem. I know life could be so much worse than it actually is for me and those in my relationship category. However, those other, 'worse' problems are not mine/ours. I can only speak for what I know, and this is the biggest cross I've been called to bear to this point in my life. Despairing your future, no matter what circumstances bring on such feelings, is a terrible situation in … [Read more...]

Death, Sealing Power, and “Trusting into Transformation”


[Preliminary note: This is the first of two posts relaying insights from a few years of reflecting on Mormon ideas about salvation and family in light of Sam Brown’s masterful study of early Mormonism, In Heaven as It Is on Earth: Joseph Smith and the Early Mormon Conquest of Death.] My favorite invocation/description of what Mormons call “the sealing power” comes from the eulogy that inspired the King Follett Discourse, Joseph Smith’s boldest challenge to the brand of Calvinism popular among ma … [Read more...]