What exactly are the controversies surrounding the Church today, and who or what is behind them?
WOMEN AND THE PRIESTHOOD
There are a small number of LDS women demanding to receive the priesthood. When pressed on the issue, they say that they are not demanding to receive the priesthood, just insisting that the President of the Church, whom Mormons consider to be a prophet, seek a revelation from God to see if He wants women to hold the priesthood. They claim to accept the President as a prophet. Yet, as the answer comes back to them, “No, not at this time”, they reject that answer, because it’s not the one they want.
One of the interesting things about this group of women is that they are supported by women who are not LDS, most of whom practice no religion, and don´t believe in the power of the priesthood anyway. For them it is just a political issue, a women´s issue, or simply a way to poke at the church. Faithful LDS women involved in this cause ought to take a look at who their supporters are, and what that says about their cause and organization.
I am not a women hater, nor do I insist on dominating women (just ask my wife). If the Lord ever revealed that the time had come to give women the priesthood, I would be on board 100%. I know a lot of women. I like women; I love a good number of them. I want them to be happy
HOMOSEXUALISM AND THE CHURCH
There are homosexual members who are demanding to have all of the benefits of belonging to the Church. Some even want to be married to other homosexuals in the temple (a place considered especially holy by other Mormons and where only Mormons in good standing are allowed to enter). The Church has gone as far as it can go in this respect. The church does not excommunicate homosexuals for having homosexual feelings. The Church backs anti-discrimination laws. Homosexuals can be members of the church, hold callings, hold the priesthood, go to the temple, etc. What they cannot do is practice homosexual behavior, and remain in good standing as a member. We are not waiting on some new doctrine in this regard. This has already been revealed. It´s scriptural. Homosexual activity, just like all forms of sexual relations outside the bounds of marriage between a man and a woman, is considered sinful. As apostles have stated recently, that just is not going to change, and those who think that it will are sadly mistaken. Church doctrine does not change. Period.
Recently, there has been a related controversy, when the Church announced that along with its backing of homosexual anti-discrimination legislation, it would like to see protected the rights of religious people who oppose homosexuality and its practice. This created quite a backlash in the homosexual community, because of course, their civil rights take precedence over everybody else’s, especially in terms of those constitutionally protected rights of free speech and practice of religion. Some governments are also getting on the bandwagon, such as the Salt Lake City Police Department (surprised anybody?), and the State of California (no surprise). Blog posts to follow on both of these stories.
Again, I know some homosexuals. I like some of them. I can´t say that any of my closest friends are homosexuals, but there are some family members with whom I have very limited contact, and a few at church with whom I have friendly relationships. I also want them to be happy.
Then, of course, there is that group of undeterminable size who just hate Mormons and post hateful garbage as commentaries to articles, create nasty blogs, and otherwise hide behind the internet wall of anonymity while hurling verbal dirt clods at Mormons who may be passing by. I don´t know any of these people because they hide in the dark. I don´t like any of them, because they are trolls. I´d like for them to be happy so that they would quit being trolls, but I don´t see that happening any time soon.
To clarify a statement I made in my first paragraph. When I say I am saddened, please understand that I am not concerned about the church, not really. Anyone who knows the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints understands that the church and its members have been through some bad stuff and come out all right. Our ancestors went through horrible hardships including the murder of the church leaders (tacitly approved by local and state government), an extermination order executed by a state government, and constant persecution by governments and other groups almost since its inception. Yet, here we are, strong and growing.
I am however especially saddened by those members of the LDS Church who write blogs or newspaper articles in which they claim to be active members of the church in good standing, and then proceed to attack the church doctrine and the teachings of its leaders, sometimes personally attacking the leaders themselves. Their statements make it obvious to all members in good standing who make the mistake of reading their tripe, that they really do not understand their own religion, and are what is becoming known as "cultural Mormons". I call them "MINCOs": Mormons in Name and Culture Only. They don´t see the Church as a religion. They see it more as their heritage and/or social club. Let me explain something to the MINCOs. Things are going to get a whole lot rougher for you. The church is not going to come after you; there will not be wholesale excommunications, as some silly writers would have you believe. However, as our society becomes more and more permissive and accepting of those behaviors that the Lord has specifically labeled as “sin”, it is going to get progressively harder for you to identify as Mormon. It won´t be popular, it won´t be fun, not even in predominantly Mormon communities. The time will come when only those who are truly dedicated to the doctrine, who know for themselves of its veracity, will be able to withstand the persecution. I suggest you climb off the fence now, one side or the other, before it becomes really uncomfortable.
In conclusion, I don´t believe that writing this blog is going to change much of anything. I don´t have that big an ego. However, as all writers know, writing about something you consider important can be extremely cathartic. I get very angry about the lies and distortions in the media and in the “bloggernacle”, and venting that anger would be unchristian. It would also, of course, would make me a target of those who enjoy attacking the church through the faults (which are legion) of its members. And so, instead of getting angry and returning insults, I will write, and try to set the distorted record straight.
I will try to be coherent, kind, and not let my anger shine through. My purpose is not to be contentious, but rather to correct and to allow one more testimony to shine forth. If I think or believe something to be true or false, I will say I think, or believe. And when I know something to be true or false, I will say that I know. I hope there will be no confusion about my feelings, or my knowledge. To borrow from President Boyd K. Packer, I know what I know. Sometimes ones feelings simply do not convey the depth of knowledge.
If there are errors, let me know, and I will correct them. Although I am an active member, (I hold a calling, a temple recommend, etc.) I in no way officially represent The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. My opinions, statements, knowledge and testimony are my own, and no one else´s. So blaming the church for any inaccuracy or shortcoming in this blog would be wrong, dishonest, and even a little cowardly.