Prop 8 Redux: Afterthoughts

Without touching on any of the merits of one or the other side of the same-sex marriage/marriage equality debate, I’d like to suggest a possible answer to the following question: How can Mormons who feel that the Church is wrong about the threat gay marriage poses to families reconcile their doubts on this particular question with their faith in the restored gospel, and in the identity of Church leaders as prophets, seers, and revelators? [Read more…]

Civil unions

In response to the accusation that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints opposed “gay rights,” the church’s online “Newsroom” made the following statement: [Read more…]


Short(ish), possibly accurate answers to some legal questions about Prop 8.

Q1. What happens to the 18,000 same-sex couples who married in the interim?

A. Nobody knows. [Read more…]

Excavating a Sense of Pride over Certain Aspects of the Prop. 8 Win

You all know me and know that I did not favor Proposition 8. I was sorely disappointed when it passed, although my sense of disappointment was tempered by an Obama win–very exciting, particularly here in Chicago! And the fact that it took awhile for the result on 8 to be called gave me an opportunity to get used to the idea of it passing. Also, I thought of Derrick Rose, the NBA no. 1 draft pick of the Chicago Bulls. He has won at every level, but now he is going to have to get used to losing much more than he has experienced in his life. But, as the veterans have taught him, in the NBA the next game comes so quickly that there’s no time to obsess over the losses; you’ve got to keep focused on the next contest. I don’t doubt that this is just one step along the way in a process, and eventually when the culture catches up there will be gay marriage, in California at least. [Read more…]

Pictures at a Demonstration

Last night, thousands of people gathered in the cold across from the Church office building in Salt Lake City for a hastily organized demonstration. While I do not know who organized it or how it came together, I do know that Thursday night text messages flew along networks announcing the rally and march for the next day. One, from a former student who was forwarding it arrived late at night and woke me from my sleep. [Read more…]

Am I Adequately Outraged?

At a recent screening of _Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons_, a very bright audience member said that Mormons were pretty silent during the pre-1978 years about what most would now view as clear discrimination.  A few were adequately outraged, but not many–not enough.  He wondered if he in this day was not outraged enough that his daughter would be excluded from the priesthood. [Read more…]

Real Americans, Reality Checks, Kenyan Last Names

During the just-concluded U.S. presidential elections, various Republican candidates drew opprobrium for referring to “the real America,” “the real Virginia,” and so forth. Presumably, the “real” versions of these various geographic and political entities were basically Republican, made up of people with center-right ideology and conservative Christian faith. Such rhetoric is not particularly new; as a former resident of the San Francisco area, I have over the last decade routinely encountered dismissive comments about the Americanness of people like me who live in major metropolitan areas, have worldwide social networks, and occasionally eat spring mix salads in the place of iceberg lettuce. [Read more…]

JRCLS Fireside

Consider it your chance to interrupt Kaimi having fondue with the legendary (yes, he really exists!) Greg Call. Also, to discuss same-sex marriage. Really! [Read more…]

UPDATED: Sex and Natural Law…AND SSM!

Aristotle taught that everything has a purpose, its “final cause.” Things are moral if, and only if, they serve this final purpose. Adapted by Aquinas, this idea of ethics became Christian “natural law.”

Let’s talk about sex, as natural law theorists inevitably do. [Read more…]

You Make the Call (Conference Weekend Edition)

In case anyone would like to cleanse the palate from all of the conference discussion, one of my mystery correspondents just sent me another “you make the call,” which is based on an actual situation: [Read more…]

Astonishing and Humbling Contrasts

Neal Kramer rides again!. See his earlier posts here, here, and here.

I am reeling from the vast contrasts I have experienced in the past 10 days. [Read more…]

Mormons in the Next Congress, Part I – Senate: A Tight Race in Oregon

Part I of a series by Guestblogger Bob King

Two Latter-day Saints are candidates for the U.S. Senate this year. One is a Republican incumbent in a tough race to hold on to his seat. The other is Democratic congressman running hard for an open Senate seat. Ironically, the two Mormons are second cousins. Their success on November 4th will determine whether there will be four, five or six Latter-day Saints serving in the Senate in January 2009. [Read more…]

What’s a Newsroom for?

Many have highlighted the LDS Newsroom’s very interesting coverage of the discussions surrounding Proposition 8, in particular the document entitled, “The Divine Institution of Marriage.” The analysis of this document and the arguments and doctrine it contains I leave to more talented and audacious bloggers than myself (suffice it to say that like any other political document, it contains things that I find convincing and things I do not), but what I find infinitely more interesting than the immediate squabble over Prop 8 is the nature of the Newsroom itself and this document in particular. “The Divine Institution of Marriage” gives us an opportunity to revisit and microwave one more time that most rewarmed of topics, that of defining and delineating our notions of what constitutes doctrine. [Read more…]

A change on Domestic Partnerships?

Today’s statement from the church about marriage is intriguing because of what it says about non-marital legal rights. [Read more…]

BCC Zeitcast 23

Season 1 Album Artwork [display_podcast]

This week: Brad, Amri, and Cynthia on the horrors of domestic violence, the value of reality TV, the fun of speculating about plural marriage, and the sheer, rapturous joy of Mormon blogging.
[Read more…]

Same-sex marriage and hypocrisy?

This post started life as a comment at Chino Blanco’s TPMCafe blog. However, the comment never cleared moderation there, clear evidence of a conspiracy to keep Mormons out of the discussion wacky technical glitch. Given the conspiracy glitch, I thought I’d post a slightly modified version of the comment here. In it, I try to address Jason’s suggestion at TPMCafe that the church’s published statements against same-sex marriage shows “blatant hypocrisy and shameless disregard for Mormon history.” [Read more…]

Historical Footnote: The Church’s Contemporaneous Explanation for its Opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment

The Church’s opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment (the ERA) in the 1970s and early 1980s periodically comes up in discussions of the Church’s involvement in political or social issues. For those of us who were in pre-school in 1980, the substantial paper insert contained in the March 1980 issue of the Ensign (posted below) is instructive about this episode in the history of the Church. I stumbled upon it while browsing through old Ensigns I came across at my ward building a couple of weeks ago and figure that many members have never seen it even though they might occasionally be confronted with questions about the Church’s involvement in opposing the ERA. [Read more…]

Gay and Mormon: Such Diversity!

Affirmation is in the news lately. It is standing up and actively using the words Gay and Mormon in public statements that are getting press.

The issue of same-sex marriage and LDS Church involvement with it is a much-ventilated one that I am not going to engage here. [Read more…]

The Easy Way Out

I’ve skimmed the last few years of general conference talks, and a clear pattern emerges. We are repeatedly admonished by church leaders to “love and honor”, “reach out the hand of fellowship”, “seek out and befriend”, and “welcome into church” a particular group of people. Our leaders are speaking about gays and lesbians.

[Read more…]


“We conclude that retention of the traditional definition of marriage does not constitute a state interest sufficiently compelling, under the strict scrutiny equal protection standard, to justify withholding that status from same-sex couples. Accordingly, insofar as the provisions of sections 300 and 308.5 draw a distinction between opposite-sex couples and same-sex couples and exclude the latter from access to the designation of marriage, we conclude these statutes are unconstitutional.”

California Supreme Court decision, In re Marriage cases.

How should we feel about this? [Read more…]

Dialogue 40/3 (2007)

The fall issue of Dialogue is printed. The following is a brief review of this issue’s scholarly articles: [Read more…]

Call for Essays on Same-Sex Attraction

I am posting the following call for papers on behalf of Ty Mansfield. (Those of you who attended the recent Sunstone Symposium saw an extract of his interview with Helen Whitney.) [Read more…]

Big Love Comes Out

From MikeInWeHo

HBO kicked off the new season of Big Love with big hopes that it will replace The Sopranos as its primary moneymaker. The series has received excellent reviews, lots of positive buzz, and a multi-million dollar marketing campaign. The executives at HBO are good at what they do.

If HBO succeeds and the show is a hit, it may present PR issues on a scale never-before encountered by the contemporary Church. Why? [Read more…]


So I’m sitting here with the windows open on a beautiful Spring day in Chicago, and indulging in one of life’s great pleasures: reading the Sunday paper. My wife is off with her boyfriends this weekend to see Golden Smog and Soul Asylum in Rochester, Minnesota; I’m just getting over a cold, so I’m playing hooky from church; and I’ve got the Chieftains playing on my iPod. Life is sweet. [Read more…]

Doing some good in the world

I made the following remarks at a dinner celebrating Dialogue’s fortieth anniversary, held in Salt Lake City on September 22, 2006.

I consider it one of the signal honors of my life to serve as editor of this distinguished journal. I undertook the task knowing it would be a great challenge. I had no notion of doing more that leaving its tradition intact when I am through with my designated five years of service. That remains my ambition. I hope I have met the challenge so far. I recognize how completely dependent I am on others. I am deeply grateful for the indispensable contribution of my fellow workers on the editorial and production teams and for the support and encouragement of the members of Dialogue’s board of directors. Clearly, I am a part of a cooperative effort. My purpose is to be guided by collective rather than my private values. For one thing, I am appointed by Dialogue’s board of directors. Once a year, they exclude me from a half hour session of a board meeting to discuss my performance. For another thing, not only do I depend enormously on my subordinate editors and production workers but also on the expert reviewers who voluntarily referee submissions. Finally, all of us, the board of directors, the editorial team, our expert reviewers, and I myself try hard to judge what our readers value. Dialogue has a constituency. I judge that Dialogue’s subscribers share many of my personal biases–but by no means all of them. The goal is to appeal to a variety of interests, both liberal and conservative, without offending deeply felt taboos. In an attempt to achieve this balance, I have assumed a caution and conservatism as editor quite unlike what I will call the brash, friendly irreverence I often display in my essays and speeches. [Read more…]

Oaks on Gays

Not to be out-gayed by T&S or M*, let me just say that there is a fantastic interview regarding Same-Sex Attraction over at the Church’s website. It deserves more than the mere link it received here. Public Affairs has seen fit to grill Elders Oaks and Wickman on homosexuality, the nature vs. nurture debate, same-sex marriage, civil unions, etc. Whether or not one agrees with every aspect of their views, it is surely signficant that Elder Oaks and Wickman were willing to go on the record with all this, and in such detail. I was particularly struck by how good the questions were that Public Affairs posed. The interview really covered all the hard questions, and didn’t sidestep any aspect of the issues, as my cynical self might have expected it to. I certainly hope this Q&A session is a harbinger of things to come. Wouldn’t it be great to read an interview like this concerning the Church’s views on evolution, the notion of “No Death Before the Fall,” or any number of other hot topics? Imagine the endless fodder for new blog posts in an otherwise burned-out Bloggernacle! [Read more…]

Random Sampler

As the powers that be have failed to do their hometeaching for the past couple of months (and yes, as your unofficial 2nd counsellor in your BCC elders quorum, I am calling you to repentance, Steve and Ronan), I have taken it upon myself to emulate another section of the Ensign. Or, failing that, I would like to write a series of brief notes, because I don’t have enough material at the moment for one long post. [Read more…]

Homosexuality and the Bible

I wrote the Old Testament section, Ed Snow the New Testament section.

Clearly, Mormon sexual doctrine is influenced by the Bible. It would therefore seem important for us to understand what the Bible says on the subject of homosexuality. [Read more…]

Why I Favor Gay Marriage

The Church’s recent statement on the proposed federal marriage amendment has spurred threads at M* and a lengthy one (well over 300 posts at the time of this writing) at T&S. A lot of this discussion has focused on the politics of the proposal and the legalities of federalizing the definition of marriage. [Read more…]

Big Love Hits and Misses

I started out watching Big Love out of sheer morbid curiousity, coupled with the fact that I was watching The Sopranos anyway. I didn’t think it was very entertaining at first, and I figured I’d check it out for two or three weeks and then move back to Gray’s Anatomy.

But the show is getting more entertaining as the characters develop. It is still no Six Feet Under, but it has potential. So I’ll probably keep watching for now. [Read more…]