Jan 27

On Stewardship and Revelation

In a 1997 talk, Elder Gerald Lund spoke of 5 ways you can distinguish between real and counterfeit revelation.  For number 5, he stated the following:

5 A person is not given revelation to direct another person unless they have priesthood or family responsibility for that person.

This principle is described by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as the principle of “stewardship in revelation.” This means that “only the President of the Church receives revelation to guide the entire Church. Only the stake president receives revelation for the special guidance of the stake. The person who receives revelation for the ward is the bishop. … When one person purports to receive revelation for another person outside his or her own area of responsibility … you can be sure that such revelations are not from the Lord” (“Revelation,” New Era,Sept. 1982, 46).

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Jan 23

Feminist Trajectories

Carmella is a devout Mormon who would describe herself as conservative. She is highly critical of feminism, worrying that it focuses on the wrong things, devalues the important contributions of women, and potentially leads to apostasy. However, over time, small things begin to bother her, and she starts dipping her toe into feminist waters. She notes that all the women’s organizations are presided over by men, and wonders why women can’t pray in General Conference. She becomes more concerned with the gender roles outlined by the church, and more skeptical of the priesthood/motherhood equation. She wants to know more about Heavenly Mother.  She becomes more and more aware of the ways in which patriarchy is destructive. Her belief in the church slowly wanes, until she describes herself as agnostic at best, and she is uncertain that she can continue to be part of the church and still have integrity.

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Jan 20

Dalton Discouragement

President Dalton’s much-discussed talk was particularly hard for me. It’s of course frustrating to hear that if you see inequities, the problem is your lack of righteousness, and if you want more of a voice in your own church, you’re insufficiently virtuous. But I’ve heard those sentiments so often that usually I can take the Teflon approach: roll my eyes, and get back to whatever I was doing. This talk, though, hit me harder, and left me more seriously wondering than I have for a while what the heck I’m doing in this church (even as my use of the phrase “what the heck” makes me feel ridiculously Mormon). Continue reading

Jan 03

“What is God really like?”

When Beatrice and I were serving together as missionaries, we were lucky enough to be in a district that included the mission offices.  The APs and office Elders were in our district, so more often than not we held district meetings in a cozy conference room in the main mission office building, giving us frequent occasion to see the Mission President and his wife.

Throughout our companionship, Beatrice mentioned to me that she had questions about the role of women as depicted in the temple endowment. We discussed it a few times in companionship study, and then – taking advantage of our proximity to the mission leaders – one day we decided to take the issue to the wife of the MP. To be clear, we didn’t openly dissect elements of the endowment that are considered private or sacred. We talked about the sorts of things that are commonly parsed on fMh, Exponent II, and here at ZD: the hearken covenant; women veiling their faces; the almost complete silence of Eve and lack of other female characters in the pre-mortal realm; and other, similar issues. Continue reading