Mistakes in Mormonism; or Why the Church Handbook isn’t Doctrine

First Presidency and the Twelve, circa 1898 (Wikimedia Commons).

By Gary AshcroftLet me preface my comments with a few statements. I am Mormon. I’ve been one for my entire life. I believe that the Gospel is true and that it can bring us happiness. I also believe that the Church is led by a prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and that he speaks for God. I am proud of my membership in the Church and wish in no way to disparage it, abandon it, or equivocate as to my beliefs.That being said, I also recognize that the Church and the Gospel are not the same. The G … [Read more...]

These Arguments are Weak.

Wikimedia Commons. Alterations by JJ Feinauer

That “Insight into new LDS Church policies on same-sex couples and their children” post, written by a Michael Worley on Kathryn Skaggs’s blog, is making the rounds. Others like him have been circulating. People seem to think they offer compelling arguments. But beyond its presumption (the author has no special insight into God’s and Church leaders’ minds, but claims he does) and its condescension (“Bill Nye voice”) lie false analogies and rickety rationalizations.Before I analyze Worley’s arg … [Read more...]

Junia The Apostle and Mormonism’s Priesthood

Most Mormons don’t know it yet, but Romans 16:7, "Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives who were in prison with me; they are prominent among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was," may soon become one of the most important and contested verses in our community. If we look at how other Christians dealt with their own internal struggles over women’s ordination, we can see that in the 1980’s-1990’s, this text received a dramatic increase in attention from mainline Protestant and Evan … [Read more...]

Emma, My Daughter in Zion: A Preliminary Study of D&C 25, Part 2

In the preceding post (part 1), I work through a set of exegetical preliminaries to any theological engagement with D&C 25, the revelation to Emma Smith. I take as my task now to begin addressing the revelation at that more interpretive level. I’ll give my attention to three isolable themes in particular in the course of this post, each with clear implications for feminist interests. … [Read more...]

Emma, My Daughter in Zion: A Preliminary Study of D&C 25, Part 1

This and the post following it (part 2) are pieces I wrote a few years ago as a guest blogger at another Mormon-themed blog. I've reworked them a bit, but I've largely left them as I originally wrote them. I think they're worth a revisit now for a host of (largely obvious) reasons I won't go into. I'll say that my having written them in the first place and my posting them now shouldn't be construed as either supportive or critical of any positions being taken on relevant issues. My aim in these … [Read more...]

Ordaining Women Is Not Going Away for LDS

The issue of women’s ordination in the LDS church is at least in its fourth decade.   In the 1970’s, and especially in the 1980’s after the expansion of the priesthood to all worthy males in 1978, LDS women and men have published and organized in favor in women’s ordination.  Such movements have been common in other American churches, which vigorously debated the issues during the 20th century. Movements for women’s ordination exist in nearly every denomination which has not already made the tran … [Read more...]

Justice and Fairness

It’s been interesting to follow discussions about gender and priesthood during the last several months. One theme lately has caught my attention: the idea that women’s ordination is required for the sake of justice. Is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, by virtue of excluding women from priesthood offices, treating the women members unfairly? Is the ordination of women to priesthood offices the just thing to do?The simple answer, I think, is no.Do I think the Church and the … [Read more...]

“If We Can’t Fix It, It Ain’t Broke”

 “IF WE CAN’T FIX IT, IT AIN’T BROKE.”Because I live in Hong Kong, whenever I’m in the States I tend to notice all sorts of little things and to recklessly ascribe deep cultural meaning to them. So when I read this slogan on the wooden sign nailed on the outside of the car repair shop, it struck me as a charming specimen of Americans’ optimistic, can-do attitude.The wooden sign was a play on the original saying,  “IF IT AIN’T BROKE, DON’T FIX IT." It kept nearly the exact same wo … [Read more...]