Mormon News, February 23–27

In the News

The LDS Church, in an article in the Ensign, drew a distinction between “questions” and “doubts.” The article is part of an ongoing response to challenging issues that were previously waved lazylionaway, but are increasingly visible in the Internet Age. In the essay by Adam Kotter, questions were framed as “critical part of our eternal growth,” while doubts were characterized as little more than an excuse to sin. According to Kotter, those with questions will dedicate themselves more to the LDS faith and its teachings, while doubters disobey and demand answers. Those with doubts are even compared to Korihor, the infamous anti-Christ of the Book of Mormon.

A writer using the moniker “smallaxe” takes issue with this characterization in a post at the Faith-Promoting Rumor blog. The author argues the article establishes the grounds for an unhealthy relationship between members and the church. The message is little more than, “You are free to question as long as you do it in the way I find meaningful, as long as you continue to live by my guidelines, and as long as you come up with the answers I determine to be correct, or you should at least accept that you may never have your questions answered. If you do not go along with this, you are insincere, prideful, and likely immoral.”

At a contentious debate in a committee meeting of the Wyoming House of Representatives, an LDS Republican ousted her colleague after he violated her call for “civility.” Chairwoman Elaine Harvey was overseeing a discussion of an anti-discrimination bill that would protect LGBT citizens of the state from retribution. When Harlan Edmonds asked if the bill would also protect pedophiles and then suggested the bill take effect “when hell freezes over,” Harvey ordered him out of the room. In spite of her LDS and Republican bona fides, Harvey supported the non-discrimination bill, which now moves to the full Wyoming House for a final vote.

 On the Blogs

Katie L. blogging at Feminist Mormon Housewives, offered a thoughtful post on the practice of excommunication and the importance of community. Unlike others who have objected outright to excommunication, Katie argues that it has its place, but that it is so devastating and powerful, it needs to be wielded cautiously and under the right circumstances. She goes on to argue that the recent excommunications of John Dehlin and Kate Kelly do not fit the bill, as they only discussed real issues within the church. What is more, she argued, none of these challenges should be news. “This should not be surprising, by the way,” Kate writes. “Central to the Christian message is the idea that we are all sinners, every single last one of us. Things will always be difficult and messy, because that is the human condition. It’s not about avoiding messes. It’s about working through our differences with as much care and compassion as we can. This is grace.”

News update by John Hatch, acquisitions editor