Fingers, Moons, and Doctrine

I’ve been following Bob’s recent exaltation thread from afar. More interesting to me than the different positions being taken on either side is that there is a discussion at all.

I first wondered what difference it would make whether or not exaltation were a gift. Would the answer change my testimony or how I live my life? How? I was about to write a post asking what would happen if it came down from President Hinckley himself (or we had whatever we might consider an authoritative answer) that, say, exaltation could not properly be thought of as a gift. (In fact, I might still ask that question.)

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In some ways I’m very fortunate in my relationship to the Church. Even though I’m really pretty radical on a lot of issues, for the last several years I’ve been very empowered within the Church both formally and informally. I’ve been to every PEC meeting and many Bishopric meetings in the last three years. Hardly a month goes by without me teaching a lesson in some class (it’s been Gospel Doctrine, Elders Quorum, and Institute most commonly). My voice is heard and my influence is felt in a large way. Never has a different view, shaggy hair and a beard, or even a vocal disagreement with the Bishop (even if, looking back, I can see that I sometimes handled it inappropriately) jeopardized that standing. And believe me, what I unleash on my fellow bloggers is nothing in comparison with the fiery and sometimes too-self-righteous indignation my Bishops have had to endure on occasion.

I don’t know if my ability to maintain this empowered status in the face of my unorthodox views and behavior is due to having very patient, understanding local leadership or because I’ve been in inner-city units that don’t have many choices for leadership positions. But whatever the reason, maybe I’ve been luckier than I realize. I say this because a few weeks ago I was talking with my parents (and Bob), and they haven’t been so lucky.

Here’s the story:

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Salvation Shmalvation

I haven’t heard it quite as much in the last couple years, but at least as recently as a 2000, President Hinckley often said things like “I say to those of other faiths: ‘You bring all the good that you have and let us see if we can add to it.'” (here’s one instance, about a third of the way down.) He may still say it for all I know, but whether he does or not I have no reason to believe that it doesn’t fairly accurately portray his views, and I’ve been thinking about the idea lately.

What “good” do you think Prez H means? What good do we add to that of other faiths? Maybe the answer is that we have the “truth” and that we can offer salvation. If so, my reply is: Salvation shmalvation.

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Ward Hunting

My wife, Amy, and I have been fixing to move for a while here. I think the day is actually at hand. (We’ve got our eye on Williamsburg, but we’d love to hear suggestions if you’ve got any.) Oh, there are the reasons we give people, like "it’ll be a shorter commute on the Subway", and "with the money we save on tolls by living closer to Amy’s work we can get a better place for the same monthly expense". But let’s be honest here: the biggest reason we’re moving is that we don’t think we can stand our ward much longer. I know this is somewhat taboo in the Church, and I hope we can all still be friends.

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Working Mormon (Future) Moms

I know it’s a few weeks old by now, but I found this Newsweek article very interesting.  It talks about how even though women are doing a lot of amazing things professionally, as they become mothers they find that both jobs and motherhood are both full time endeavors.  According to the article, many, many women are being driven crazy trying to do both well.

I’m not sure what can or should be done on a societal level to fix this problem.  For all I know, it may not even be much of a problem.  But if it is I am deeply skeptical that the solutions are the things suggested by the article’s author (who actually wrote a book on this same topic) like government-provided daycare and "progressive tax policies that would transfer our nation’s wealth back to the middle class".  (Just because we’re liberal Mormons here, it doesn’t mean we’re all on the left politically.)  Of course, a discussion on public policy isn’t what I intend with this post.  The thing is that my wife and I will one day have kids.  Is she doomed to be one "of the mothers [who] appear. . . to have lost nearly all sense of themselves as adult women"?  Does being Mormon offer any insights into this issue?  Maybe the Proclamation on the Family affirms that this is just the lot of women.  (I sure hope not.)

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Is There Much to Mormon Spirituality?

Our Church is wonderful for many reasons and it does many things well. I have not found teaching spirituality to be one of them. Developing our capacity to understand things of a spiritual nature is an important aspect of our growth as human beings both on Earth and eternally, yet it is not uncommon to find examples of very intelligent and capable people in the Church expressing difficulty in learning how. Certainly there are those in the Church who have learned very well how to interpret spiritual things. But I doubt their skill has very much to do with any instruction they’ve received in the Church.
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Moroni, Tevye, and Testimonies (Oh, and some Jehovah’s Witnesses, too)

For my #4, I thought I’d redo a fairly recent post of mine.  I think it relates to John H.’s recent post about doubt and faith.  It’s my own take on some of the seeming inconsistencies in the Church, or at least in my testimony:

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Can We Question and Respect?

My #5 golden oldie post was written as a response to some early fireworks in the LDS Blogosphere (this was before it had been christened "The Bloggernacle"), when Times and Seasons was said to be excessively intellectual.  I smile as I recall LDS blogging’s little existential crisis.

It also doubles as a good articulation of the philosophy Bob and I bring to blogging.  There were a few comments, but not really that many.  If you’re interested in reading them visit the original post.

Also, (it should go without saying, but) I’ll point out that I wrote the post’s final sentence before I had come over to the dark side, so don’t hold the details of it against me.

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Hey Y’all! What’s Up?!

First things first: even though it says “posted by Logan” above this, that only means he won the arm wrestle.  (Speaking of which, anyone who questions how MASSIVE these changes are obviously hasn’t seen Logan’s biceps.  Or Bob’s video game skillz, for that matter.)  Being the prima donnas we are, neither of us is willing to forego any publicity for the joint work that is this post.  Okay.  That said. . .

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