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New Order Mormonism and the Teenage Mind

The Teenage Mind

When I was in junior high, a mere 14 years old, I was positive I was in love. Not just infatuated. Not just hormonal. This was no ordinary teenage crush, it was different!

New Order Mormonism and the Teenage Mind

And, indeed, it was. The object of my affection—affection that was first bestowed upon me from him—was a 19-year-old college boy.

Let that just settle into your mind for a minute.

In spite of my assertions that “chronological age is not a determiner of maturity or responsibility,” in spite of my emphatic claims that I was different, special, and extraordinary, in spite of my pleas and promises and throwing myself prone on my bed in a tormented angsty rage of tears, my (mean, awful, hateful) parents would not be swayed.

All I wanted in the whole entire world was to date just a tiny bit (precisely 1.83 years) before the Mormon standard of 16 and to date someone old enough to be…well…illegal. I would forgo every other life opportunity and privilege for the rest of eternity, yea verily, I would do extra chores and practice my violin an extra half hour a day. Plus continue to get straight As. Plus read many, many scripture chapters weekly. Plus visit the elderly and the shut-ins. Plus make my bed. If only I could have my heart’s one true desire!

Yes, I even played the love card. 

If you really loved me, you wouldn’t keep me from the person I love!

Thus, I continued on for nearly a year of agony until my beloved finally left on his mission, still undated. Faithfully I wrote to him…for a few months…until I finally began to notice other boys, boys who weren’t trying to woo much younger, stupid, romantic girls in 9th grade.

By 16.5 I had to admit that my parents had figured something out. Not much, to be sure, but something.

New Order Mormonism

As each progressive progressive cause du jour (see what I did there?) unfolds, I am thrown back to Lakeridge Junior High and the demands I made to my unreasonable (and likely insane) parents.

If you really loved me, you’d let me do what I want to do!

Whatever people feel like doing—if they really, really (and I mean really) feel it—they should not be denied. In fact, they should be embraced in the name of love or justice or tolerance or just kumbaya. And Facebook should have profiles in their honor and everyone should post on social media about how awesome and brave and authentic they are. And there should awards and trophies involved. And applause and universal foaming adoration.

And if you are one of those haters who hate on people for just doing-what-they-gotta-do, well, you are just a hater who hates. The stockade is a pretty good place for you. Or thumb screws. Or the rack.

Of course, this loving-people-for-doing-what-they-gotta-do only extends so far. If you really, really (and I mean really) want to limit your cake-baking time to hetero wedding cakes, well that’s a hate crime too far. And if you really, really (and I mean really) feel compelled to say that transgenderism makes no sense, you have displayed unseemly bigotry and given unreconcilable offense.

When presented with the latest social outrage, we hear strident voices demanding that the church change its policy, practice, or position. To these (curiously, often disaffected) “thought leaders,” the church needs to get with the times and swap out it’s paletot coats and bonnets for man buns and beards.

It must be done so they can feel better, happier, and/or more satisfied. It must be done so they can continue to fellowship with the saints—to the extent they choose—without changing their desires or behaviors.

Generally speaking there is little in the way of rational discussion. If we really cared, we might ask, for example:

  • What are the benefits of the desired change?
  • What are the unintended negative consequences of change?
  • How does the current position impact culture, faithfulness, loyalty, cohesiveness, function, efficiency, effectiveness, governance, piousness, missionary work, etc.?
  • Could there be reasons God supports the status quo?

We must understand that personal preference is rarely the trump card it is purported to be.

The Other Side

While we should be able to openly discuss troubling issues, we must do it with the underlying agreement that—after all our wrestling—God still gets to define what is right and wrong.

Over the course of my life there have been myriad things I have wanted to do, even felt compelled to do, that—if I prescribe to Mormonism—I can’t do. Unless your value set is pure hedonism, that’s true of you as well. If you do prescribe to hedonism, others have likely suffered displeasure due to your pleasure seeking. (Funny how that works.)

When God proscribes behavior we desperately want to engage in, it behooves us to consider his will before our own. The question of whether the leaders of the church actually know the behaviors God proscribes is a different question entirely, but we must at least accept possibility that they do.

If you do want be part of the church—even just as a matter of culture or tradition (which pretty much means you want to leach off the faithful and observant members, but that’s another post as well)—you must at least admit that the culture and experience and everything  you find attractive about Mormonism are probably greatly attributable to the church’s past and presence governance. In other words, the very thing you want to change is the thing that made you want to stay.

As we redefine “godly love” to mean “capitulating to my tantrum,” we lose the very essence of the gospel which is to become like God the Father and God the Mother. The end is to remake ourselves in their images, not the other way around.

{ 44 comments… add one }
  • IdRatherNotSay December 7, 2015, 8:19 am

    I love this:

    “The very thing that you want to change is the thing that made you want to stay.”

    I’ve pondered many of the questions that you listed in this post. I have thought often about what (if hypothetically implemented) our religion would look like. I have compared that image with the church I have loved all of my life, and I don’t like it. I am sure it would be a feel-good, welcoming place, but I think it would rob us of the culture and traditions I hold most dear to my heart. LDS Mormonism is still a welcoming place now, but maybe not quite so “feel good” to those who prefer to live in oppositions to LDS membership standards or those who see the atonement as oppressive rather than saving. I think that changing our doctrine (yes, I said doctrine because this is not a policy issue like the Boy Scouts; this comes from God) would make us feel very mainstream Christian. Mainstream Christianity is beautiful, I’m not saying it isn’t, but we are different. We always have had an extra flavor in our denomination.

    As for those who discuss these things online… I feel like they are not doing so with sincere hearts looking for clarification or understanding. After listening to many podcasts myself, I began to feel sick. There is always an underlying agenda, which many “hosts” try to hide under the auspices of “intellectualism.” “Oh, I am just stating the facts; form your own opinions,” they say (news flash: a lot of Mormons have Ph.D.s and critical thinking skills, they have just arrived a different conclusions than John Dehlin. His opinions are not more academic than those of anyone else. And please, for the love of everything holy, can we stop hearing about Dr. John Dehlin, Ph.D.’s Ph.D.? (That was intentionally redundant)). I grew irritated with their prefacing thoughts and questions with carefully worded caveats designed to fool listeners into believing that the discussion is objective. Never. There is always a bias. What got to me the most was the arrogance, as they all began interviewing each other and stroking egos, convincing themselves and one another that they were somehow experts of church history and original thought. Pardon my lack of a better analogy, but it brings to my mind the “sniffing their own flatulence” as they re-hash the same issues over and over. The moment the church comes up with something [not] new, like not allowing gay marriage, they all feel immediately compelled to interview one another about how “hurtful” this [non] change is to everyone who is somehow shocked over the [non] news.

    Sorry, I am rambling. I’m home alone with my kid and needing some semblance of adult communication right now. For the record, I chose this, I love it, and I do not feel oppressed by the church or forced by the church to spend my time with the human I chose to bring into this world!

  • Lincoln Cannon December 7, 2015, 9:30 am

    It is inaccurate to reduce ethics to a dichotomy between “God said so” and hedonism. Also, I don’t understand what this post has to do with New Order Mormons.
    Lincoln Cannon recently posted…Ethics as Dimensions of DesireMy Profile

  • IdRatherNotSay December 7, 2015, 9:38 am

    Lincoln,

    Just curious, but why do you say that “it is inaccurate to reduce ethics to a dichotomy between ‘God said so’ and hedonism?”

    Can you explain?

    I could be misunderstanding but it seems to me that your end game is to conclude that God is only “ethical” if His rules agree with whatever your opinion might be.

    Then again, I could be totally off base and missing whatever prompted this discussion to begin with. I am a busy person with very little time for social media. The only reason I remember come here is because I get an e-mail letting me know there is something new to read. Otherwise, I’d probably forget to check!

  • Lincoln Cannon December 7, 2015, 9:51 am

    IdRatherNotSay,

    Humans have advocated and debated ethics in richly diverse ways since at least the dawn of our history. We have had much more to say, on reasonable and charitable grounds, than that which a simplification like this acknowledges.

    If you’re referring to my blog post, you have misunderstood. I believe it’s as important that I reconcile to God as it is that God reconcile to me. Of course many traditional theists believe we should engage in unidirectional reconciliation to God. I think they are overlooking their own motivations for such a position, and I think their position does not account well for Christian scripture.

    I’ll add an additional criticism of the original post. It is essentially an appeal to ridicule, which hopefully even most traditional theists would agree is poor grounds for choosing an ethical position.
    Lincoln Cannon recently posted…Ethics as Dimensions of DesireMy Profile

  • JasonXmas December 7, 2015, 10:26 am

    My thoughts perfectly expressed in print. There are many things about the church that trouble me (polygamy, gay issues, etc.) but I am just overwhelmed with the people who want bits and pieces of Mormonism while spending every waking moment trying to tear down the things that make it work.

    Thank you!

  • Curtis R December 7, 2015, 10:30 am

    As the father of three daughters, that college boy would have had more things to worry about than the legality of a relationship.

  • Alison Moore Smith December 7, 2015, 10:40 am

    IdRatherNotSay, I appreciate your comments and understanding my intent.

    This post isn’t about Dehlin, even implicitly, but I absolutely understand your points. (My husband has had a PhD since 1991. My dad also had one, both in (ahem) hard science. Neither ever pseudo-intellectualized themselves out of the church.) While I actually thought Kate Kelly’s initial actions did not warrant excommunication and, rather, felt she was dismissed as a thorn in the patriarchal side, Dehlin behaviors have (again, in my opinion) long been subversive. Tricky and carefully planned, but subversive. He used his membership credentials much as uses his brand new psych degree. (To be clear, Kelly’s subsequent actions have often been off the wall.)
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  • Alison Moore Smith December 7, 2015, 10:44 am

    Lincoln Cannon:

    It is inaccurate to reduce ethics to a dichotomy between “God said so” and hedonism.

    Yes, that would be inaccurate. Good thing that’s not what I did. 🙂

    Also, I don’t understand what this post has to do with New Order Mormons.

    The New Order Mormon position very often reduces to: “If you tell me I can’t do what I want to do, I will unleash my angsty teenage wrath upon you.”

    I hope that helps. 🙂
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  • Alison Moore Smith December 7, 2015, 10:45 am

    IdRatherNotSay, I’m pretty sure you’d remember to come here because you can’t do without my posts! 😉 Yes?
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  • IdRatherNotSay December 7, 2015, 10:48 am

    Lincoln,

    Thanks for the explanation but I am not sure it answers my question. So you are saying that human beings are and have historically been too complex to agree on what is ethical, and Alison’s opinion is too simple?

    I agree that few things in life are black and white but Alison’s post, in my opinion, is about God’s rules and humans wishing to change them to fit their desired lifestyles. I do not see where it is about humans disagreeing over what is ethical. I suppose your answer to this might be that humans (the church) might not really know what God wants and regardless of what is in the bible about this sort of thing, someone else interprets it differently… So you might say this really is about (only) human beings debating ethics. Am I wrong? If I am right, I would argue that well, maybe if some people don’t believe what the church teaches, then, that they should be able to disconnect from it and be free to guiltlessly live however they might choose, since God doesn’t speak through the church – He just talks to them in their heads and tells them what they want to hear (I do believe in personal revelation, but I think some people claim they are receiving it when they are not).

    I disagree very much with your last statement – or should I say, accusation, that Alison’s opinion is a reaction to ridicule. She has been writing about this kind of thing for years and her opinion has never changed. This is not a knee-jerk reaction, it is a sound opinion that she has held for a long time and like every other blogger in the world, she is responding to an issue being discussed at large.

    I’m admittedly not heavily schooled in history and world religion. I don’t mean to be rude, but they bore me to tears and I think most of what we know today is speculation and opinion. History is often both recorded and inaccurately determined. I know it is important to study as a society, but I leave that to people who have the patience to do it.

  • Lincoln Cannon December 7, 2015, 10:56 am

    Alison,

    I’ll take your word for it that you did not intend to reduce ethics to the dichotomy I’ve understood you to be advocating. Because that’s not what you’re advocating, and because I don’t understand what you’re advocating, I’m interested in understanding more accurately your position. How does ethics work in relation to the will of God, if it’s not reducible to identifying goodness uniquely with the will of a particular external God?

    While I don’t know many persons that identify as New Order Mormons, I do know a few. None of them would agree that you have characterized them accurately in this post. I think you would agree. As mentioned in another comment, my understanding of your position here is that it is essentially an appeal to ridicule, which doesn’t purport to represent accurately those it is criticizing. Do you feel that’s the most productive way of advocating your differing view on ethics? How does that factor into your view on ethics?
    Lincoln Cannon recently posted…Ethics as Dimensions of DesireMy Profile

  • IDIAT December 7, 2015, 11:02 am

    Sunday School teacher yesterday referred to Elder Oaks’ talk in October 2009 conference “Love and Law.” He addresses the “if you love me you’d (insert cause)” very well.

  • IdRatherNotSay December 7, 2015, 11:03 am

    Alright,

    It is clear that I have no idea what we are taking about here! Sorry for my generalizations. I guess I need to crawl out from under my rock and find out what is going on.

    Yeah, my husband and father-in-law have Ph.D.s in hard sciences (I’d argue that their fields are more about methods and results than critical thinking, but they’re obviously very smart people) and I have one in the *gasp* social sciences where I was required to analyze, synthesize and critically think my way into a premature aging process… And still, none of us have left the church. My testimony is stronger thanks to my chosen life path. I think that if you want to leave the church, you’ll find a way out. You don’t need school to take you there.

    And yes, Alison, I do not mean to imply that I’d never check your blog! I think that perhaps I am just lazy because I know I’ll get a notification! Haha love your writing as always!

  • Lincoln Cannon December 7, 2015, 11:04 am

    IdRatherNotSay,

    I’m not confident I know what Alison’s post is about, so I’ll not comment further on that until she clarifies. I will, however, correct your understanding of my previous statement. I did not say Alison is responding to ridicule. I said she’s appealing to ridicule. By that I meant that her post uses ridicule to argue for her position.

    Regarding my opinion, I do not think ethics is merely a human endeavor. I believe God is intimately involved in the matter. But I also do not believe any of us, even the the greatest of prophets, has infallible access to the will of God. Nor, for better or worse, do I believe that God’s will is immutable in relation to our varying wills.
    Lincoln Cannon recently posted…Ethics as Dimensions of DesireMy Profile

  • Alison Moore Smith December 7, 2015, 11:22 am

    Lincoln, I guess I need to explain this, but didn’t want to. I honestly don’t think you read the post carefully before responding. Here is the actual “simplification like this” you are insisting upon:

    Over the course of my life there have been myriad things I have wanted to do, even felt compelled to do, that—if I prescribe to Mormonism—I can’t do. Unless your value set is pure hedonism, that’s true of you as well.

    I didn’t remotely “reduce ethics to a dichotomy between ‘God said so’ and hedonism.” I simply noted that all value sets—except Hedonism—proscribe behaviors that people would otherwise choose to engage in.

    When NOMs, progressives, and other discontents demand (loudly and, hello, with excessive ridicule and mockery) that Mormons should allow, tolerate, embrace, accept, respect a particular behavior, they rarely acknowledge the things they, themselves, do not allow, tolerate, embrace, accept, and respect. In fact, they often seem blissfully unaware that they exist at all—even when they are apparent in the same sentence with which they decry the lowly TBM.

    The entire demand for tolerance and respect itself is so ridiculously circular. We must tolerate everything…except intolerance! We must respect everything…except disrespect!

    The truth is, none of them promote tolerance and respect, they promote selective tolerance and respect and simultaneously advocate selective intolerance and disrespect—but rarely acknowledge the truth of it. (Which is rather like the “pro-choice” position, whose advocates denounce most choices while promoting the singular “choice” to dismember a baby.)

    It is essentially an appeal to ridicule, which hopefully even most traditional theists would agree is poor grounds for choosing an ethical position.

    As a traditional theist :), I do think some things are inherently ridiculous—as in “absurd.” It is, I think, an accurate observation more than an appeal. Just as my own behavior toward my parents was absurd—sadly on many more occasions than the one revealed here (let’s just say both Nora and David were easier to raise, as you can imagine)—the general NOM behavior toward the church is as well.

    If it matters, I also think there is great difficulty not working on an level playing field. By that I mean that, because of the “traditional” beliefs, one side is expected to behave in a civil and dignified matter, but the other has free reign to Saul Alinksy the hell out of every conversation and action. I have to sit primly in my parlor embroidering with a vacant stare because, hey, I’m a TBM, but the NOMs can promote vagina painting and it’s cool because they have no claimed boundaries. The same thing has occurred among conservatives and liberals for decades. A conservative senator signals a desire for gay sex and he—of course!—is soundly castigated, arrested, and kicked out of office while the democratic president is giving oral sex to interns in the oval office and she is the one who is reviled. (For, you know, making the serial adulterer skank president who votes for abortion rights look bad.)

    So, to be clear, I do not hold a value that says, “If things are ridiculous, you can’t ridicule them because being nice is the only thing that matters.” 🙂 If I’m the one TMB who ends up terrestrialized because I was ridiculing the ridiculous, I will willingly sacrifice myself for the cause. 🙂 I’ll probably glorify myself as the Porter Rockwell of the blogging world or something. I might not be saved, but I’ll get down in the muck with the NOMs.
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  • Gene December 7, 2015, 11:32 am

    Lincoln Canon, I’m not nearly as smart as you seem to be but I think the point is obvious. Maybe you have been so involved with New Order Mormons (or agree with them or are one of them . . . I don’t know) that you can’t see what they do? This is a good describer of what they do all the time I see it all day long. They get mad because they don’t like something the churchc does (now of course its gay marriage and apostacy) and they throw a public fit. They cry and scream about how unfair and mean and awful the church leaders and believers are as if htey can’t just walk across the street to get a church that tells you gay marriage is GREAT.
    I’m not saying *if you don’t like it just leave,* but I TOTALLY AGREE that most of these people do not AT ALL respect the idea of leadership and just want to CHANGE the church to their own ideas. They want to USE the church for some reason they won’t say but make it more to their liking.
    Makes no sense at all if you ask me.

  • Alison Moore Smith December 7, 2015, 11:33 am

    P.S. This was originally modded because you mistyped your email address. I haven’t blocked you or anything. 🙂
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  • Lincoln Cannon December 7, 2015, 11:43 am

    Gene, I’m not a New Order Mormon, but it seems clear to me that no one here is identifying or representing New Order Mormons in a fair way — including me, as I’m not confident how they would like to represent themselves. Are there some Mormons (independent of identity as “New Order”) who complain a lot without contributing much that’s constructive? Yes. But that is not happening only on one end of any spectrum into which we might categorize Mormons, as is illustrated by what I’m observing here.
    Lincoln Cannon recently posted…Ethics as Dimensions of DesireMy Profile

  • Lincoln Cannon December 7, 2015, 11:45 am

    Thank you, Alison.
    Lincoln Cannon recently posted…Ethics as Dimensions of DesireMy Profile

  • MariaBonita December 7, 2015, 11:58 am

    Disaffected Mormons (whether still attending or not) make a big show of ridiculing “traditional Mormons.” Go to any Facebook or other group that revolves around LDS feminism or the “bloggernacle friends” (the word “friends” really meaning “friends of NOM’s and haters of TBM’s”) and you will see it every day all day long. I think I’ve seen Lincoln in some of those groups (though not a lot, I admit) so you have to know what I’m talking about. (If I’m wrong, I’m sorry the name just looks familiar and it’s not a typical name.) I haven’t seen him jump into that kind of trash talk, but please please please don’t pretend you don’t know what it is. You only have to be there for 30 seconds to see it. It’s not even “here are the TBM positions and why I think they are ridiculous” it’s almost always “the TBM’s are soooooooo stupid and sooooooo uneducated and sooooooooo old fashioned and we are soooooooooo much smarter and better.”

    I don’t mean to do the reverse thing here, but it’s very hard NOT to see the great and spacious building and the rameumptom going on here. VERY HARD. “You really believe that homosexuality is a sin???? What stone age did you come from? You stupid, hateful bigot! Get out of my sight! hahahahahah”

  • Lincoln Cannon December 7, 2015, 1:18 pm

    MariaBonita, I’m certainly not denying that there are many spiteful former and disaffected Mormons. I’m saying that I’m confident you and others here are over-generalizing in your characterizations of persons that identify as New Order Mormons, and that in doing so you’re undermining your own case.
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  • Alison Moore Smith December 7, 2015, 1:30 pm

    What is or is not “constructive” is certainly subjective. My point (which is constructive at least to me and a few others) is that the cacophony demanding change isn’t necessarily rational. Conflating love with getting one’s way is not a logical place to hang one’s moral hat.
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  • Lincoln Cannon December 7, 2015, 1:36 pm

    I agree that conflating love with getting one’s way is wrong. I also think promoting ridicule of those who ridicule is not love, nor is it carefully targeted in this post, which ridicules all who may identify as New Order Mormons. So neither love nor reasonableness is being demonstrated here, in my estimation.
    Lincoln Cannon recently posted…Ethics as Dimensions of DesireMy Profile

  • Alison Moore Smith December 7, 2015, 1:49 pm

    MariaBonita, I see the things you refer to all day long. You’re right that Lincoln almost always responds with caution and consideration. He is a great example of civil discourse.

    The interesting thing, however, is that the general mocking and ridicule is a clearly codified tactic, not just an accident of nature. While I think many are simply jumping on the bandwagor in for the “fun,” without knowing why, this isn’t new or revolutionary behavior, just new within the church itself.

    A few of Alinsky’s rules apply here:

    #4 Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.
    If conservatives, TBMs, etc., claim a moral high ground, they must follow it—even if the opposition does not. (And particularly if they do not.) Two teams playing by different rules. Who will win?

    #5 Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.
    It doesn’t have to be rational, it doesn’t have to be kind (see rule #4), it doesn’t even have to be true. It just has to get everyone pointing and laughing.

    #6 A good tactic is one your people enjoy.
    Applies to both rule #4 and rule #5. See the fun?

    #12 The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.
    The NOM, et. al., alternative to Mormonism is a Mormonism that “does not require the sacrifice of all things.” In fact, it doesn’t a sacrifice of anything much at all. It’s a Mormonism that is defined according to the desires of the movement. Sounds great, right? Salvation without having to give up anything. (Which is, at its core, hedonism, is it not?)

    #13 Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.
    The church has been a steady target for some time.

    A lot of Alisky’s tactics are fairly similar: #7, #8, #10, #11 are all about how to put on constant pressure with the pressure backfiring. Church malcontents try to use these in various ways. Push on one issue, push on another, go back to the first with a twist, start a new argument.

    The church’s capitulation of sorts has offered short-term relief with long-term increased problems, if you ask me (which no one did). IMO it was obvious from the start. With regard to LGBT issues (which are bafflingly (even to some members of those groups) conflated) the church supported anti-discrimination laws for the general populace (while unconscionably making themselves (and BSA???) exceptions to the rules), donated to LGBT youth programs, otherwise reconciled to gay rights groups, etc., they created a perception and expectation that made the new church policies with regard to gay families exponential more problematic. Sometimes you really need to use history to look toward the future.
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  • Katie December 7, 2015, 2:52 pm

    As you talked about the inappropriateness of a 14-year old with a 19-year old, I thought this was going to be an anti-Joseph’s polygamy sort of post!

    ~~

    I find this post incredibly interesting, as it comes from someone who is a NOM/progressive. It seems that you don’t characterize yourself that way, but you would certainly be assumed to be one by anyone reading your posts about women and the church.

    ~~

    I think you’re missing a major piece of information when you talk about people following their feelings. When LDS people say they know they are transgender, or that their non-heterosexuality is confirmed to them by God, most of them are receiving actual revealed knowledge from the spirit, not just experiencing strong feelings about something they want. There is a huge difference between revelation and feelings. We can list many ways to recognize the spirit. It teaches truth. It imparts knowledge. It has very little to do with feelings. Many times strong feelings come along after the knowledge from the spirit, and many times it’s difficult to articulate what we are experiencing, and it comes out sounding like “I feel very strongly about this.” But from the many experiences I have read, it is clear that people are receiving true revelation from the spirit, not just experiencing strong feelings or desires.

    ~~

    I’m not sure which progressives you’re hanging around, but I see endless conversations on the four rational questions you pose. It’s just that once you have exhausted the discussion, many LDS policies clearly don’t pass the rational test. That leaves us to conclude that there is no rational reason for them, so they must be from God (and we don’t understand his ways), or they must be wrong.

    “The question of whether the leaders of the church actually know the behaviors God proscribes is a different question entirely, but we must at least accept possibility that they do.”

    I think this is THE foundational question. I think that no other question can really be answered fully unless this question is answered. Actually, it has been answered in fairly clear terms in recent years, so it’s not really that we need to answer it — we need to accept the answer we’ve been given. Now that we have the 1949 First Presidency Statement along with the Race and the Priesthood essay, I don’t understand how even the most ardently faithful/unquestioning member cannot see that the Q15 sometimes do not know what God wants, even on major issues of extreme importance. There is simply no way to reconcile the 1949 statement of doctrine with what the essay tells us is unchanging doctrine.

    We have seen another crystal clear example in the last month. The Q15 can’t have clearly known the will of God on November 6th, because they made such a drastic change to the policy after that date. The only ways left to discount this are to 1) believe that because it’s just policy and not doctrine, it’s OK to change it completely, or to 2) believe that God changed his mind over the course of a week.

    So, sure, we can accept the possibility that the Q15 know the will of God, but we also have to face up to the fact that they have been wrong, and they could be wrong again. It is up to each of us to gain a personal relationship with Christ and learn to receive true revelation from the spirit so we can recognize those times.

  • Alison Moore Smith December 7, 2015, 4:27 pm

    I find this post incredibly interesting, as it comes from someone who is a NOM/progressive. It seems that you don’t characterize yourself that way, but you would certainly be assumed to be one by anyone reading your posts about women and the church.

    Anyone who assumes that simply doesn’t know the definition.
    New Order Mormons: Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who no longer believe some (or many) of the doctrines of the LDS church, but who want to maintain membership for cultural and social reasons.

    I believe the LDS church is God’s earthly mechanism for building his kingdom. I believe the LDS church his the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I believe the current church leaders have God’s authority to act in his name collectively. And, yes, I have a current temple recommend and I answered the questions honestly. 🙂

    I’m not remotely concerned about stating my true opinions very openly (and by that I mean I don’t carefully couch my radical thoughts in faithful verbiage to avoid getting in trouble with the patriarchy), but if you think I’m a NOM, I think you’ve been reading selectively. You have probably conflated my ideas about women in the church with your progressive friends’ views when they, in fact, don’t really align. (Which is why so many of them get so angry at me for not toeing the line.) This post (also linked in the OP) explains that difference pretty clearly, I think.

    When LDS people say they know they are transgender, or that their non-heterosexuality is confirmed to them by God, most of them are receiving actual revealed knowledge from the spirit, not just experiencing strong feelings about something they want.

    Actually, I’m not referencing anyone who’s claimed personal revelation on the matter. I’m referencing the general progressive Mormon outcry which is very similar in most aspects to the general secular progressive movement. That said, I tend not to ever to use the personal revelation trump card to try to make a case. (Funny how this Mormon trump card plays better among the disaffected than the…affected…) If you’re going to go there, you’re going to have to discredit the notion that anyone has the right to general revelation.

    Also, if you’re going to bring up transgenderism rather than just attraction, you’ve gotta go over to the transgender post (the one I think you told me (on Facebook) you wouldn’t respond to because it was disrespectful?) and make sense of that. I can’t talk about it when I can’t make heads nor tails of it…and I’ve not seen a single person who could. (You know that even many gay rights groups (and feminist groups) want to disassociate with trans groups, because they feel it undermines their entire arguments, right? An position I tend to agree with.)

    I’m not sure which progressives you’re hanging around, but I see endless conversations on the four rational questions you pose. It’s just that once you have exhausted the discussion, many LDS policies clearly don’t pass the rational test. That leaves us to conclude that there is no rational reason for them, so they must be from God (and we don’t understand his ways), or they must be wrong.

    Well, you know we met in some of these forums. Please do point me to the any exhaustive rational discussion about those questions. I’d be interested in seeing them. I’d also be interested in seeing the NOMs who concluded, for example, that the new policies must be from God. I haven’t seen that conclusion anywhere either.

    Perhaps the most baffling part is this: “there is no rational reason for them, so they must come from God.” The assumption that humans are the quintessential arbiters or logic is mind-boggling and/or that God is the domain of the irrational is kind of baffling. I suspect, rather, that we are fools and once advanced will see the absolutely clear reasoning and, probably, think, “Oh, wow. Duh!”

    Still, if your friend cannot think of any rational reasons for most church positions, I fear they are remarkably unimaginative and/or ignorant. I can even think of reasons to keep enduring BSA and to keep women out of the priesthood. I’m not saying they must agree with the rationale, but if they can’t even fathom any rational explanations? That’s just intentional blindness.

    I think this is THE foundational question.

    You might, but it’s still a different question than I’m addressing here. It’s OK to post about a particular thing that’s going on. 🙂 If you (collective you) don’t accept the possibility that the LDS church leaders do know what God proscribes, why in the world would you be a Mormon? No, that’s not a “if you have questions, get out” statement. It’s a “if you want to be part of a church that erroneously and falsely claims sweeping divine authority it doesn’t have you’re an idiot” statement. 🙂

    Note that be definition NOMs want to be around the Mormon culture and society, largely without having to conform to the demands and the rules. That’s an extremely interesting thing all on it’s own. (And something I have yet another half written post about…alas…)

    I don’t understand how even the most ardently faithful/unquestioning member cannot see that the Q15 sometimes do not know what God wants, even on major issues of extreme importance.

    You seem to assume that God wants the church to be run perfectly. If he did, he could just do it himself, strike dead those who are imperfect, or something more eloquent. (Like, perhaps, turn the errant leader into a unicorn.) I have rather deistic leanings. In my application that simply means that to a great extent, God set things up and lets them run without much interference. He might come in when his plan is utterly being thwarted or, perhaps, to confirm that he’s actually around, but mostly he lets agency (for better or worse) rule the day. I think God set up the basic foundation of the church and wants the humans to muddle through it, with his blessing and his authority.

    I think that is the way he wants it to be. If that means decisions that seem the best and aren’t, so be it. If it means decisions that are the best but many members don’t understand, so be it. If it’s one of the infinite combinations of approximating how he would do it, how we would do it, general benefits, general harms, situations that don’t have perfect solutions, etc. I think he’s OK with that.

    The question of the post isn’t leadership infallibility. And, as I linked above, the difference between the NOM stance and mine is that while I have opinions and will state them, I don’t demand that the church conform to my wishes and I leave open the idea that I’m the one who’s short-sighted and uninspired.

    Just one small example with regard to the policy that children who live primarily in a SS household. Is it possible that the general benefits—particularly given that our local leaders are part-time, volunteer clergy—of not having to manage official membership of those living primarily in a household whose primary caregivers are living in defined apostasy might, possibly outweigh the harm of those children being required to wait to adulthood to receive the blessings of baptism, should they so chose?

    Again, I’m not asking you to agree this possibility is the reality (and I’m not saying I personally think it is), but I can imagine that it’s possible that trying to navigate the problems that might occur in those families could overwhelm the lay leadership in some areas. And if they are overwhelmed, it could wreak havoc with church function. Heck, I have seen lay leadership overwhelmed by far less—and given the endless complaints NOMs and other disaffected Mormons have about “leadership roulette,” I’m pretty sure most of them think most leaders are at least somewhat incompetent about general, run-of-the-mill governance without even considering highly politicized issues that are often publicly scrutinized.

    I don’t have time to carefully edit this. I hope I didn’t leave gaping holes and incomplete sentences…
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  • Lincoln Cannon December 7, 2015, 4:39 pm

    Alison: “… if you want to be part of a church that erroneously and falsely claims sweeping divine authority it doesn’t have you’re an idiot …”

    This is more complex than you seem to be acknowledging. It’s entirely possible that some authorities believe themselves to have more authorities of more kinds than God recognizes them to have, and to yet value those authorities for authorities of kinds we recognize them to have.
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  • Katie December 7, 2015, 5:32 pm

    Based on your posts, NOM seems to describe you well, whether we are measuring by the definition you posted, or by the colloquial definition (“any LDS person who has a problem with any orthodox doctrine or policy”). I trust that you can define your own labels appropriately; I’m just telling you what it looks like based on your posts.

    “I can’t talk about it when I can’t make heads nor tails of it. . .and I’ve not seen a single person who could.”

    You should probably stay out of it then, and just focus on being Christlike and supporting people (not their positions/beliefs). If gay rights and feminists groups want to disassociate with trans or poly (a group more hated than trans), then all the more reason to love and care for them.

    “Please do point me to the any exhaustive rational discussion about those questions.”

    I’m fairly sure you’re not in the group that discusses things the most rationally and humbly, and it seems best that way. In that group, it’s common to see “Wow, that’s a great point. I didn’t think of that. I was wrong.” You seem to not actually care about finding true answers; you seem to just want to be right and have everyone bow down to what you think. You seem to think your logic is impeccable and never open to challenge. I have seen it play out in your comments section many times (I’m not talking about your discussions with me.)

    “I’d also be interested in seeing the NOMs who concluded, for example, that the new policies must be from God. I haven’t seen that conclusion anywhere either.”

    Uh, look on any blog post or Facebook post, anywhere. You’ll see people stating that constantly. I sure hope no self-respecting NOM would state it, because we have actual evidence that it isn’t true (or at least that the Q15 can correctly portray God’s will on their first try).

    “God is the domain of the irrational is kind of baffling.”

    I totally agree. Nevertheless, it’s in the scriptures, and it’s the last-resort argument for every member who insists on defending illogical practices. We hear it constantly — “His ways are not our ways,” “God’s ways are higher than ours,” “When we get to heaven we’ll understand even though we don’t have any answers now.” I fall back on it daily. It’s the only possible explanation. But yes, it is terribly baffling.

    “can’t even fathom any rational explanations?”

    I never said that. I said they don’t pass the test. Sure, you can come up with lots of imaginative ideas about how a policy could have a benefit. But when the harms outweigh the imaginative benefits by 1000 to 1, you can’t really say that it qualifies as a logical policy.

    “If you (collective you) don’t accept the possibility that the LDS church leaders do know what God proscribes, why in the world would you be a Mormon?”

    I ask myself this question constantly. I have no answer, other than this is what God wants me to do right now. I have no idea why. It feels evil, frankly. I so desperately wish I didn’t have the feelings I have that tell me to stay. I wonder if I’m actually listening to God when I hear the voice telling me to stay. I wish my family had never heard of the church. I fear that I am being spineless and pushing this self-torture off onto my kids because I am too weak to deal with it. I beat myself up over this regularly. I know this makes me an idiot.

    “God wants the church to be run perfectly.”

    I doubt that. The opposite would be that God wants the church to release a policy that is horrifically written, and then make sweeping changes (that are still legally vague) a week later. I think neither is likely. I do think God at least wants the Church to be run somewhat competently.

    “God set things up and lets them run without much interference. He might come in when his plan is utterly being thwarted”

    I completely agree with you. But this is totally a NOM/progressive view. Being a NOM doesn’t require that you insist the church do anything. It merely requires that you hold a belief that is different than the orthodox belief. I’m 100 percent sure you’ll argue with that definition and continue to believe that your definition is the Only True definition. Whatever you want to label it, it’s certainly not the faithful/orthodox view. You’re really fooling yourself if you believe stuff like this and still believe you are TBM/orthodox/whatever label you want to use.

    “Is it possible that the general benefits. . .might, possibly outweigh the harm”

    Sure it’s possible. But so what? It still goes against every scripture on the subject of baptism. We already have clear scriptural doctrine, and we already had clear logical policies protecting the authority of parents (that parents must consent to children being baptized). Let’s follow what we already have, or get back to it where we need to (such as in the case of polygamous children being denied baptism — that’s not doctrinal). And even if it’s clear that it would be hard or take a lot of effort to manage these members, again, so what? Our doctrine doesn’t say anything about only taking members who will be easy for the local leadership to handle. That’s a horrible rationalization.

  • Alison Moore Smith December 7, 2015, 6:04 pm

    Lincoln, you are right. There could be people who have some authority from God, which they have misconstrued to be more authority (or different authority) than they actually have. So you can recognize the particular authority you think they do have while rejecting the authority they falsely claim.

    So, in this scenario, I have a few questions:

    1. What authority do they actually hold?
    2. What authority do they claim, but not actually hold?
    3. Would God demand that you recognize (and what does that entail) authority falsely claimed or inappropriately used?

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  • Lincoln Cannon December 7, 2015, 6:08 pm

    I’m perfectly confident that the answer to #3 should be “no” for any God worthy of worship — at least for any God I intend to worship myself. The answers to #1 and #2 depend on lots of details, which many of us are trying to figure out often, I think.
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  • Alison Moore Smith December 7, 2015, 7:03 pm

    Based on your posts, NOM seems to describe you well, whether we are measuring by the definition you posted, or by the colloquial definition (“any LDS person who has a problem with any orthodox doctrine or policy”).

    First, I claim full right to define myself within my own belief system and I utterly reject New Order Mormonism. Second, by the “colloquial definition” every LDS person on earth is a NOM. Again, if you think I “look like” a NOM, I think you are misunderstanding what it means.

    “I can’t talk about it when I can’t make heads nor tails of it. . .and I’ve not seen a single person who could.”

    You should probably stay out of it then, and just focus on being Christlike and supporting people (not their positions/beliefs).

    I’ll stay out of it when it stops being shoved down my throat, thank you very much.

    When I don’t have, at every turn, someone telling me I should accept and respect transgenderism (and why not all the other trans-isms?), when the normalization of transgenderism isn’t pushed and awarded, when transgendered individuals aren’t demanding to go into opposite gender bathrooms and dressing rooms and locker rooms, and when people aren’t telling me that I can’t talk about an issue that makes no sense because I can’t make sense of it (even though no one else can either), then maybe I’ll stop talking about it.

    If gay rights and feminists groups want to disassociate with trans or poly (a group more hated than trans), then all the more reason to love and care for them.

    You conflate “love and care for them” with accepting gender dysmorphia as simply an alternate, normal, acceptable lifestyle, rather than as a serious condition that should be carefully and lovingly treated. In doing so, you deny those so afflicted with getting much needed help.

    As I said, I prefer that you address this on the post already written about it and on which I explained at length why transgenderism does not make sense in any rational context. I’d also note (again) that if you accept transgenderism, you likely have little basis to reject any trans-isms or other feelings-based dysmorpohias or “harmful” psychoses. For example, I assume you don’t support anorexics in their quest to be thin or suicidal people in their quest to die. Why not? Why don’t you “accept” them as they are and just love and care for them?

    You see, I don’t denigrate people who think they are transgender. Rather, I feel greatly for them. (And, to be clear, I do have transgender friends and a transgender nephew whom I love dearly. This isn’t just some intellectual exercise to me.) I denigrate people who promote ignoring the real needs of these people in favor of pandering to progressive positions and feelings so that they can assuage their guilt and discomfort with very challenging problems.

    But, as I said, that isn’t the topic of this post.

    I’m fairly sure you’re not in the group that discusses things the most rationally and humbly, and it seems best that way.

    Haha, you have a lovely backhand, my dear! Yes, I’m sure it’s best that I’m not involved in that singular group. But it sounds like this kind of discussion is going on just about everywhere. Are there possibly any public groups that I could quietly read?

    “I’d also be interested in seeing the NOMs who concluded, for example, that the new policies must be from God. I haven’t seen that conclusion anywhere either.”

    Uh, look on any blog post or Facebook post, anywhere. You’ll see people stating that constantly. I sure hope no self-respecting NOM would state it, because we have actual evidence that it isn’t true (or at least that the Q15 can correctly portray God’s will on their first try).

    OK, so there aren’t any NOMs who conclude that the policy must be from God. Which was my point, right?

    We hear it constantly — “His ways are not our ways,” “God’s ways are higher than ours,” “When we get to heaven we’ll understand even though we don’t have any answers now.”

    I suppose that’s where we differ. To say that God’s ways aren’t ours and concluding that we are the rational and he the irrational is interesting. It’s not my conclusion at all.

    But when the harms outweigh the imaginative benefits by 1000 to 1, you can’t really say that it qualifies as a logical policy.

    You don’t know that the harms do outweigh the benefits. You couldn’t possibly and neither could I. Neither of us has worked extensively in general church administration nor has much (any) experience at all in the international church governance. To presume that we know the harm/benefit ratio based on our incredibly limited experience isn’t rational. Like I said, I’m happy to say what appears to be reasonable to me, but I’m not willing to extend that reasoning to be some overreaching assertion like the one quoted immediately above. (Your statement is fairly common in the NOM community and one I would never assert.)

    Please note this point, you like to claim that I think I have to be right all the time, even though I try to leave enormous room for considering things I don’t have experience with. At the same time you will make sweeping claims you can’t possibly be making from an authoritative position, but not seem to recognize you are doing so. Could there be a bit of pot/kettle here?

    I ask myself this question constantly. I have no answer, other than this is what God wants me to do right now. I have no idea why. It feels evil, frankly.

    Can I ask a personal question? (Of course, you don’t have to answer…as you already know. 🙂 ) Since you think staying in the church “feels evil,” is there anything about the church you personally like, or it only your specific feeling that God wants you in the church that compels you to stay?

    The opposite would be that God wants the church to release a policy that is horrifically written, and then make sweeping changes (that are still legally vague) a week later. I think neither is likely. I do think God at least wants the Church to be run somewhat competently.

    That’s not what I said, but I’ll address it. You assume that making a sweeping change (which, let’s admit, wasn’t terribly sweeping, really) is contrary to God’s will that is badly written is contrary to God’s will. I just don’t, because I value agency so much.

    “God set things up and lets them run without much interference. He might come in when his plan is utterly being thwarted”

    I completely agree with you. But this is totally a NOM/progressive view

    This philosophy has been around long before NOMs I’ve never once heard them address it. Not only that, but they seem to think (as you express) that the natural human dealings are utterly unacceptable and wrong. I don’t.

    Sam and I have a theory about two levels of revelation that I’ll post about some day, but we tend to think most of the intervention is on a “cataclysmic” scale and most of the rest is good intentions, best interpretations, etc. And, yes, that God wants it that way. 🙂

    Being a NOM doesn’t require that you insist the church do anything. It merely requires that you hold a belief that is different than the orthodox belief.

    Being a NOM doesn’t require anything (which is kind of the point, but I digress 🙂 ), but there is a very vocal faction of NOMs who do make these demands all day long.

    I’m 100 percent sure you’ll argue with that definition and continue to believe that your definition is the Only True definition.

    Well, there’s a point to be noted here. This is my post, so I get to define the terms as I see fit. It’s equivocating to change my definitions to mean something I don’t and then to argue from the alternative definition. I accept and am using the definition from NewOrderMormon.org.

    You’re really fooling yourself if you believe stuff like this and still believe you are TBM/orthodox/whatever label you want to use.

    Or maybe you’re fooling yourself about what TBMs really are.

    Sure it’s possible. But so what? It still goes against every scripture on the subject of baptism.

    What scriptures are you referring to?

    Part of my problem with your “look at the scriptures and our good policy” is that I’m not going to let you break your own rules. NOMs are happy to selectively use scripture and selectively ignore policy, so how can you insist upon it now?

    And even if it’s clear that it would be hard or take a lot of effort to manage these members, again, so what? Our doctrine doesn’t say anything about only taking members who will be easy for the local leadership to handle. That’s a horrible rationalization.

    It’s only a “horrible rationalization” if you ignore human capacity, but it’s utterly irrational to do so. If church leaders in some areas would be so overwhelmed by the politicization and problems coming from a particular faction that they couldn’t minister to anyone else, that programs were nonfunctional, that wards were polarized, etc., what good would it do to anyone?

    Katie, this kind of flippant disregard for real world problems doesn’t help reach a solution nor does it fairly address the issues at hand. There are endless real world examples that should make it clear that sometimes—again, due to human fallibility and capacity—the best measures for the group and not necessarily the best measure for every single individual. Anyone should be able to discern that from merely looking at their own family. The group—in this case, the church—has a specific four-part mission that defines the purpose for its existence. It’s obviously possible that the church might actually need to limit its scope in order to be able to meets its purpose at all. In fact, in an increasingly combative culture, its fairly plausible.

    Everyone is supposed to have the opportunity to receive the gospel, right? Isn’t that the singular most important thing if you believe its salvific? Well, why didn’t Joseph Smith immediately disperse all the saints around the globe to preach and baptize from day one? The answer to that simple question is the answer to a lot of others, too.
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  • Justaneighbor December 7, 2015, 10:17 pm

    I have read Alliosn’s blog since I met her when she moved to my ward. I don’t think I’ve ever told her that and I never comment here, but I think I need to say something today.

    She goes to my ward and she is a very typical true Mormon. She is smarter than most of us hahhah I will say that. Her husband teaches gospel doctrine and they are the best lessons I’ve ever had and that says a lot because President Matthews used to be our teacher. She subbed for her husband one week and it blew me away that two genius people could live in the same house. She doesn’t comment much at church, but when she does it always makes me think a lot. The thing is her comments are very shall we say orthodox but not typical stuff, but stuff that fits perfectly if you think about it. She once told me she tries to make sense of things and that’s where I think it comes from. She doesn’t write unless she has thought about it a lot.

    I just wanted to say that she is not anything like John Delin or Kate Kelly or Joanna Brooks or any of them. She is more like Neylan McBaine or Fiona Givens (whose books I read when she recommended them).

    I just wanted to say that because I think it’s unfair to change the terms and call you something you’re not.

    Keep on writing! I love your ideas!

  • Justaneighbor December 7, 2015, 10:39 pm

    I butchered your name, Alison. So sorry!

  • Lincoln Cannon December 7, 2015, 11:36 pm

    No doubt. Alison and Sam are awesome.
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  • Katie December 8, 2015, 11:08 am

    “She is more like Neylan McBaine or Fiona Givens ”

    I would absolutely agree! Those are two of my favorite progressive Mormons. I am incredibly thankful for Neylan’s bravery in requesting/insisting changes be made in the church. She’s far more brave than I. I wouldn’t even dare give her book to my bishop — it’s so far beyond what most people think is acceptable. I commend her for it and hope that everyone in the church will benefit from the brave ones like her who are willing to insist on change.

  • Jim Foster December 8, 2015, 11:30 am

    Alison, thank you for such a nicely worded and thought out exposé.

  • Alison Moore Smith December 8, 2015, 6:16 pm

    Justaneighbor, wow. Thank you for the very kind comments. I would never put myself in the same room with McBaine or Givens, but I certainly appreciate the comparison. I admire them both and, yes, recommend their books! 🙂

    Of course, now I really wonder who you are! One woman at church told me she really loved my blog a couple of weeks ago. I was blown away because she was not someone I would have ever thought would have said that. Is that you? Or…probably not since you said we’ve never talked about it. Anyway, thank you.

    As for President Matthews, yes, he’s legend around here. He died less than a year after we began attending the ward, but before our home was built. His wife still lives a couple of doors down. Everyone has margin notes attributed to him throughout their scriptures! Good man. 🙂
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  • Alison Moore Smith December 8, 2015, 6:32 pm

    I absolutely love McBaine’s book. With regard to whether or not it’s acceptable, I think her strength is that it’s very hard to argue that anything she posits is not acceptable. Is there something in particular you are thinking about?

    True story: I’d been marking and reading pieces to Sam. One day I was reading it on the treadmill when I realized she had quoted me. I seriously nearly blew off the back end of the machine and started yelling for Sam. It was very undignified.

    Part of the problem is the terminology. Given the linking of progressivism to extreme liberal political ideology, I’d never call myself progressive. I don’t know if McBaine or Givens do. (I have conversed with Neylan on a few occasions (only virtually), but never Fiona. I perm on T&S with her son, Nathaniel, and I wouldn’t call him one.)

    In a very similar way, I almost never use the term “feminist” unless I can careful define it, because the suffragette movement has, for decades, been infiltrated (and, yes, I like that word there!) by extremists. The general feminist movement is almost completely engulfed by the pro-choice movement which, IMO, is anti-feminist in the extreme. So feminists will support the ultimate womanizer (Bill Clinton) and his wife (who ruined the lives of women to protect her skanky husband and her own political aspirations)—no matter how they harm real women and harm real female causes—because they vote for abortion on demand. So feminism has taken on a great deal of that baggage and many, sadly, simply accept it as part of the package that must be demanded and justified. It’s horrific to me.

    In either case, I don’t believe those who look for positive change in the church (which isn’t, by the way, unidirectional) should be conflated with NOMs. From everything I’ve seen both McBaine and Givens are “true believers.” Both work toward very respectful discourse (yes, something I am not remotely good at, I know this), both approach it from a faithful standpoint, both acknowledge church authority, neither takes the position that they are “helping” by showing people how to “transition” out of the church.
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  • Katie December 8, 2015, 7:23 pm

    I think McBaine’s suggestions are great. It’s just that I have been led to believe through several interactions with local leadership that they would not appreciate anything that is even slightly outside the box or different than the current norm. I decided it’s not a good idea to share the specifics publicly.

    I can totally understand your point on terminology. I believe the most correct definition of NOM is those who only stay in the church culturally but don’t believe one or more of the standard truth claims. I haven’t seen anyone define NOMs as people who are helping others transition out of the church. I would call that ex-LDS. Clearly you and McBaine and the Givens do not qualify as NOMs based on these definitions. But I still think that colloquially speaking, especially with people who are not well-versed in the nuances of the unorthodox LDS world, NOM is understood to mean anyone who isn’t traditionally orthodox LDS. It’s just like you describe with the feminist label. My sister is an EOD specialist in the Air Force. She told me she wasn’t feminist. I thought she was insane or deluded. It turns out she was thinking like you were — she wanted to define it for herself.

  • Alison Moore Smith December 9, 2015, 10:39 am

    I’m sorry that your leadership isn’t open to those sound suggestions. I’m not shocked, but still sad. I have known very thoughtful open leaders and very rigid ones. :/

    As for NOMs, yes, I’m not a cultural Mormon. If I didn’t believe in the tenets of the church puts forward, I would not be a Mormon at all. I actually do like much of the culture, but I’m not one to give up that much of myself for the sake of a community with which I don’t share many foundational beliefs. I’m not saying it’s wrong to conform for the sake of community—because we all have to do that to some extent in every community—it’s that the conformity required to be LDS is often contrary to my nature. 🙂

    Give your sister my honor. I had to look up EOD. Holy cow, double honor.
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  • Jack December 13, 2015, 1:36 pm

    “I’ll add an additional criticism of the original post. It is essentially an appeal to ridicule, which hopefully even most traditional theists would agree is poor grounds for choosing an ethical position.”

    This has probably already been dealt with. But I’m going to jump in anyway and just say that this is a classic retort from the new order types. If you can’t beat them intellectually then harangue them with their failure to live up to their own religion (or ethical values). Forget suggesting that anything hedonistic might be causal because you’ll just be accused of being judgmental and failing to live up to the two great commandments.

  • Lincoln Cannon December 13, 2015, 3:22 pm

    Sometimes a retort becomes classic because it is true. Alison herself seems to have acknowledged that her characterizations of New Order Mormons here were less than charitable.
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  • Jack December 13, 2015, 8:52 pm

    There you go again: “Less than charitable.”

    And I guess that means less than true?

  • Alison Moore Smith December 14, 2015, 1:07 pm

    Lincoln Cannon:

    I also think promoting ridicule of those who ridicule is not love, nor is it carefully targeted in this post, which ridicules all who may identify as New Order Mormons. So neither love nor reasonableness is being demonstrated here, in my estimation.

    This is from way up there, but I neglected to respond. Given that my post is not about promoting love for NOMs and the target is whomever chooses to read it, your first two points don’t seem pointed. 🙂 As for whether it’s reasonable, I don’t understand your contention.

    Alison herself seems to have acknowledged that her characterizations of New Order Mormons here were less than charitable.

    I’m not sure what you think my purpose is here. To “help” NOMs? To tolerate and respect them? If so, no, those aren’t my aims.

    My purpose is to expose the fallacy of the constant hue and cry that insists the only possible expressions of goodness can be love, tolerance, and respect for all things. (Which, of course, that really means selective things that NOMs want to be loved, tolerated, and respected…but we’re really not supposed to notice that.)
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Same-Sex Marriage/Cohabitation Policy Clarification: Time to Fire the Legal DepartmentMy Profile

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