I'm probably too 'progressive' in the view of some. I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut during Sunday School discussions. Yes, but......
Please read Carol Lynn Wright-Pearson's article in the Sunstone Mag about why she has remained faithful.
Many of the changes in the Temple ceremonies are, in seems to me, direct answers to my prayers.
I do wish we could hear more, in the Ensign, etc., from Sisters like me whose husbands have refused to join the Church. Being alone is not always joyful
I am baffled by the idea that the church might evolve to accept same sex marriage. Will that eventually morph into same sex sealings? Such an idea runs counter to fundamental doctrine as does same sex marriage within the church. What say you enlightened Mormons? How far does the church have to "morph" to deliver your idea of true equality? Perhaps the next enlightened Mormon who dies should petition the Lord in person to communicate to his prophet some much wanted change. I wonder how that would turn out.
Progressives cannot be clear about their wishes or their ultimate objectives, because the name itself is a cloak to conceal those things. There's a reason that the 'change everything' crowd has to change its name so often; once they make themselves odious under one appellation they must switch to another. Yet despite the supposed love of change, they haven't changed one whit in over 200 years, and the ideas they espouse are not progressive, but regressive in the extreme.
Even the equality trope is false, because progressives really REALLY don't want equality, except in the sense that everyone else will be equally required to do and to believe as they're told.
And as far as these supposedly unrecognizable changes...I've read lots of diaries from the time the Church was founded, and the differences are minor. These examples used were always inferred and by many expected, even 150 years ago. I personally think women will also hold priesthood ranks at some point in the near future (they already hold offices such as auxiliary presidents), almost certainly during the Millennium and absolutely certainly in the Celestial Kingdom. It is not progress in the sense that progressives mean, however. Women themselves have to grow into it, not because they are inherently incapable, but because thanks to the small, concealable pistol, women can finally be physically equal to men, and that technological change has ushered in myriad social changes. Before that muscle-powered weapons always kept women at a disadvantage, and survival strategies always took that into account. That has changed, but the mores of millennia don't change overnight. Women to this day don't see themselves as true free agents; the central premise of current feminism is that no woman has free will, because every bad thing she does is the fault of a man at some level.
That is only one of many obstacles to women accepting the responsibility of the priesthood, which at heart is accepting responsibility for all actions, good and bad. Many women are already there, as I know perfectly well from my own experience. This is not progressive in the sense that the movement means, but it is progress. The reason why God doesn't just announce the change tomorrow is because He has to wait until we're ready. He gave the Israelites the Law of Moses because they just weren't ready for meat, and the same rule applies. We know from the temple that in the Celestial Kingdom there will be perfect equality between the sexes, hence that is the heavenly ideal. The only question is: are we, men and women both, ready to take the step up to that greater ideal?
I believe the answer to that question remains 'no,' but we're getting ever close to a 'yes.'
Kevin: I'm quoting established authors; I'm not making this stuff up. You seem to be the one operating with caricatures.
Realtrgrl3: Prof. Flake is LDS, active I'm told.
David: Of course there have been significance changes, but you exaggerate: the core is very recognizable. Read Parley Pratt, for example. The plural marriage is gone, but the eternal view of familial bonds is constant. And the eternal role of sexual difference.
The problem with this article is that is full of assumptions . The church will get entrenched more and more , while society changes for the better around it . The church has been opposed to every civil right reformation if the last century. The narrative will become " the world is getting more wicked , Jesus is comming soon" . Wake up people .
The world is changing right under your noses and Jesus is not comming back, the church is not the bastion of morality .
@Realtrgrl3 - Kathleen Flake is not a "Non Mormon" - she is LDS.
This articulate and thoughtful article hit the nail on the head. Yes, the church will be refined and revealed in certain matters as God deems necessary. However, the Restored Gospel will always teach us to love one another, be chaste, be moral, be honest and do not kill. It should be a difficult stretch to include homosexual acts and abortion as part of those basic tenets of a Christlike character. The downfall of civilization begins with humans believing their own intelligent is superior to their Creator. The progressive walk from humility to superiority is all downhill.
I believe it is complete hyperbole that a person from the past would not recognize the Church if today. Changes in some practices? Yes. Surprises? Certainly. But the core beliefs and doctrines, the same Spirit, is here today as it was then.
I enjoyed Dr. Hancock's characteristically well-written article, and I agree that to the extent religious progressives insist on the presumption that change is always good or that there are no moral absolutes which could rightfully defeat any equality claim, progressivism could "rot" our minds and souls. The converse is also true and presents a useful caution to the religious conservative; to the extent religious conservatives insist on the presumption that demand for change is always an affront to authority and that gender equality claims are tantamount to the the abandonment of family values and the endorsement of immorality, conservatism could "rot" our brains and souls. Closer to the center of the spectrum, away from these rotten extremes, is a place where useful dialogue can take place. A place where progressives see the gospel-rooted devotion to faith and obedience which is so admirable in conservatives, and where conservatives see the gospel-rooted devotion to love and the golden rule which is so admirable in progressives. A place where we can engage in pragmatic discussion of the pro's and con's of particular ideas and -- as you insightfully emphasize -- their consequences.
It's always interesting to hear Non Mormon experts like Ms. Flake define the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Saying the Mormons do not give full equality to women - WRONG. Totally untrue. But she speaks like the expert she THINKS she is.
This was a stimulating article. It is easy to see how Lucifer has been effective in converting governments to say good is evil and evil is good. Like Elder Nelson's talk if everybody is doing it, it doesn't make it right.
Ralph Hancock is guilty of doing what many "progressives" do, which is put up a caricature of the opposition and then proceed to carefully demolish the value/purpose of that false image. Brother Hancock could have made some good argument, but a clear reading of his approach proves that when one mis-represents the opposition, it's easy to make a rebutting argument (c.f. most anti-mormon literature).
The progress vs progressivism dichotomy reminds me of hugh nibley's distinction between sophic (wisdom) and sophistry (rhetoric).
I also wonder what other people consider the core "good" aspects of the gospel. The things that they personally don't want changed.
Historical changes arevnot strictly linear. Societies emerge, grow decline and die just as people do.
Regardless of whether progressivism is good or bad, the reality is that church members of 150 years ago would not recognize the church today. The church has changed many core beliefs. The practices of baptism, word of wisdom, tithing, marriage/sealings, endowment and priesthood etc. have all changed. Even basic doctrines regarding grace vs. works and repentance have changed.
Therefore where do we draw the line that defines further progress as bad and rotting our brains? Your view that a quest for equality, that you define as equality for women and homosexuals, ignores equality for race. Should conservatives accept race equality as it is today or reset the view to match the doctrine from 50 years ago?
I find it interesting that many of those who fight hard to prevent future change in doctrine and brand it corrosive are perfectly comfortable with current practice and the progressive changes from the past.
I don't like the simplistic use of labeling. Many could be considered progressive Mormons for a variety of reasons and just as humbly submit to religious requirements without fuss. It's better to focus on the errant partisan attitude of people in all ideologies than create a defined label to place people in.
You might wish to check your information about Fitzgerald. He came out with a statement that his comments were not quoted properly and take out of context.
I have heard some members predict that the Church will eventually endorse gay marriage. But this would be such a fundamental change in our theology that it would prove that the Church was never true to begin with. Members will have to choose which they believe more, secular progressivism or the plan of salvation as summarized in the Proclamation. Those who cling to the bedrock of our beliefs are in for a bumpy ride.
It reminds me a critique of similar (if not identical) ideologies:
"Other philosophies more wicked have been devised: none more vulgar."
-C.S Lewis, "The Abolition of Man"
Thank you for this most excellent article. You have exposed the progressive argument using great logic which is so needed in discussions these days. I really chuckled at your final closing line. Praying that the majority, if not all of our members will "catch" the tricks before we are caught by them.
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