A Primer on the Divers Kinds of Mormons (that may not be all that kind)

iron rod (2)I’m having an identity crisis. I used to call myself a Mormon. Then the Brethren deemed that a religiously incorrect term, so I switched to Latter-day Saint even though its a mouthful. If I had my druthers, I’d call myself a Saint, just to make life simpler, but there’d be too much laughter, so I don’t.

After I moved to the Bible belt, I pretty much reverted to the moniker “Mormon” because, when people asked my faith and I answered, “Latter-day Saint,” I usually had to add “Mormon” just to replace their blank expression with one of grave concern so I’d know whether or not they were still alive.

Regardless, the way I see it, calling yourself a Mormon (or a Latter-day Saint) should hold enough meaning for anyone. After all, a Mormon is (supposed to be) clean-cut, honest, trustworthy, faithful, and, to the outside world, basically weird, considering we don’t drink, smoke, fool around, or even cuss …unless we happen drop a hammer on our toe or get caught up in singing along with the soundtrack of a certain Broadway musical no one in our ward knows we’ve seen. But these days, being Mormon just isn’t enough. Nowadays, a Mormon has to have a classification, a subset, or some kind of clique to belong to within Mormonism in order to have an identity. In order to fit in. My problem is, I just can’t figure out where I belong. So I’m going to run a few of the more popular Mormon classifications by you in the hope you can help me figure myself out.

First, we have the Iron Rod Mormons. Iron Rodders tend to approach their faith legalistically. They stick to the rules at all costs, whether those rules are commandments or handbook regulations, which, to them, are the same thing. They are letter of the law Mormons and tend to think of the world as black and white, right and wrong, obedient or disobedient. These are the folks who get really hung up on deciding whether or not something is good for the church or bad for the church, because, you know, the church has certain “nutritional needs” that must be met or it’ll perish. Positive press is like a One-A-Day multivitamin and negative press is a shot of cyanide. Iron Rodders like other Iron Rodders, but are puzzled by the rest of us. If you ever catch an Iron Rod Mormon at an R-rated movie, he’s there to drag his kid out of the theater.

Liahona Mormons, on the other hand, fancy themselves followers of the spirit of the law, not so much the letter of the law. This is particularly true when it comes to things like coffee ice cream or pulling their ox out of the laundry soap row at the local Target on a Sunday afternoon. They see the gospel—and life—as more complicated than Iron Rod Mormons do and, like Father Lehi, rely on revelation to guide them through moral, ethical, and spiritual complications. Of course, if that revelation doesn’t come, then they remember God gave them a brain for figuring things out. So they pretty much decide on what feels right and do thatliahona_close. If you find a Liahona Mormon at an R-rated movie, it’s because the film has something deep to say. For instance, Schindler’s List is a Liahona favorite, as is The King’s Speech. In fact,  The King’s Speech may rank as a Liahona’s #1 R-rater because no one understands God’s willingness to overlook the occasional habit of swearing royally quite like a Liahona.

Then there are the Borderland Mormons. These folks have been getting a lot of press lately because they are the Mormons with serious doubts and questions. You know, the kind we’re now supposed to be talking about in Sunday meetings. The problem is, most Borderlanders aren’t going to obey that counsel since many of them attend church only for the sake of their families, and spouting off about historical incongruities, or questions about Heavenly Mother, or other pesky details might too easily identify a Borderlander as a potential candidate for a Court of Love, which could upset the Family Home Evening prayer chart.  Not that Borderlanders are apostates. Many Borderlanders have testimonies of the restored gospel, but struggle with the way the LDS culture and the official church organization sometimes implement it. For instance, a Borderland Mormon isn’t likely to equate building a high-end commercial mall or a towering luxury condominium complex for the rich with washing the Lord’s feet using expensive oil, since, you know, there will always be poor people among us for the Church to assist. You know, later. Besides, their questions have been known to explode the heads of certain Iron Rodders, and no one is delusional enough to think the Deacon’s quorum would do a half-way decent job of cleaning that kind of gore off the folding chairs before putting them away.

And of course we have the Feminist Mormons who are really just a subset of the subset Borderland Mormons, except they usually talk a lot about wanting the priesthood when your average, everyday male Borderlander might be more interested in talking about shucking off some priesthood “responsibilities,” particularly those that involve extensive meetings where everyone talks about how to fix everyone else who isn’t in the meeting so that some day they can be in a meeting just like this one. Lately, Ordain Women’s Kate Kelly is being offered up as a type of Golden Calf of LDS feminism, with the Public Affairs office standing in as Moses and calling out to the rest of us, “Who is on the Lord’s side? let him come unto me!” (Exo. 32: 26). But not all Feminist Mormons take the same stand on female ordination as Kate Kelly and her group. Still, most MoFems (probably all) have her back, feeling she’s been misrepresented and mistreated by the official church. Of course, Feminist Mormons have many more things to talk about besides female ordination, like the sexiness quotient of bare shoulders and navels. The point is, Feminist Mormons are not a monolithic group–some are for ordination, some are not, many aren’t sure–but they are united in their concern regarding how gender issues are expressed and explored in Mormondom, particularly those that may harm, or put at risk, our girls in any physical, emotional, or spiritual way. Contrary to popular belief, Feminist Mormons are reported to wear make-up, high heels, and knee-length dresses. At least on most Sundays. Sometimes, however, they wear their bras underneath their garment tops. But at least they wear them.

Conservative Mormons, also known as mainstream Mormons (also known as Republicans) see little separation between their political and religious philosophies. They are most likely to advocate for their political viewpoint in a Sunday School classroom than anywhere else, except perhaps on social media. They consider political Facebook posts to be a kind of campaign contribution. Of course, they’d like to donate cold hard cash to their Republican candidates, or to the Impeach Obama campaign, but they don’t have any money left over after paying tithing to help the poor buy Coach handbags outside Temple Square.

Progressive Mormons, also known as Democrats, sit on the back row of church meetings and, like Borderlanders, keep their mouths shut. Not out of fear of Courts of Love like the Borderlanders and Feminists, but out of fear they might someday accidentally verbally bitch-slap a Conservative Mormon who makes really good funeral potatoes. Progressive Mormons understand that the only time in their Plan of Salvation Timeline when their Conservative Mormon peers will praise them for their particular brand of insight into the human condition is at their funeral, so they don’t want to mess that up. Since, duh, elephants never forget. The tricky thing, though, about the Progressive Mormon classification is that, technically, it’s sometimes applied to an unsuspecting Conservative Mormon who develops an awkward hope for more inclusiveness in the Church culture, particularly regarding our Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community.

Oh yeah. And then there are LGBT Mormons. I’d throw the Q onto the back of LGBT, but that Q stumps Iron Rod and Conservative Mormons, who pretty much think of anything besides heterosexuality as Q. I’d say more about LGBT Mormons, but, to be honest, I suspect they’d enjoy it more if Mormons did less talking about them and more talking to them. You know, as if they were real humans and not just “sinners.”

Joseph_Smith_Preaching_to_LamanitesThen there are the infamous True Believing Mormons,or TBMs. A TBM lives the gospel to the T, believing all they have been taught at church or through the prophets and apostles must be true in a literal way, or else it must all be false.  There is nothing figurative in the scriptures for TBMs. Jonah spent 3 days afloat in the gastric juices of a Shamu who lived in the Red Sea and every American Indian is a direct descendant of Lehi, no matter what DNA shows, no matter that the Book of Mormon itself doesn’t support this teaching of Joseph Smith.  TBMs will often claim a testimony that doubt is a sin that moves us away from God, so they avoid ideas and information that challenges the True as they understand it. They not only disbelieve, but distrust science, particularly the whole smoke and mirrors theory called evolution, which is ironic in a way, because if, within Mormonism, there is human evidence that man descended from unthinking apes, it would likely be found in TBMs.

And then there is me:

  • I’m much more Liahona than Iron Rod, though I’ve come to think of the Iron Rod and my backbone as synonymous.
  • Like a Borderlander, I struggle with much in the LDS culture that doesn’t seem to live up to what the gospel intended. Plus, I have questions. Heck, I enjoy questions. Questioning is how I grow.
  • Like a feminist, I have an abiding interest in weeding out certain problematic cultural practices that are making it harder and harder for young LDS women to bloom within the faith.
  • I’m definitely a Conservative Mormon, but I’ve also been accused of being a Progressive Mormon because of my thinking on certain social issues.
  • I’m not LGBT or Q, but I’m an ally who visits Mormons Building Bridges on Facebook when I need a good dose of Christian love to keep me grounded.
  • And of course, like TBMs, I believe the gospel is T for True. And yet, I’m not afraid to look into the shadows of LDS history or to squarely face the fallibility of our leaders and theologians.

I fit all these classifications, in a way, and yet I fit none. I suspect many of you have a similar problem.

So after reading this over a few times, I’ve decided to advocate for a new classification–the Believing Mormon, or BM. By dropping the T in TBM, I’m not suggesting we drop the quest for truth, only the illusion that we have it all.

Okay, sure, I hesitate to call myself a BM and you might too, since the acronym is basically polite potty language. But then I remembered how Paul compared the followers of Christ to the body of Christ. You know, some believers are the heart of the Church, others the hands, and still others the mind … Well, even the body of Christ needs (forgive me for being impolite) an anal sphincter to push out the $#!^. Like labels. Is it so wrong for me to aspire to be that BM? The job may stink, but you know what they say: someone has to do it.

Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am. (3 Ne. 27:27)

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24 thoughts on “A Primer on the Divers Kinds of Mormons (that may not be all that kind)

  1. Sterling Ashley Ingram

    “The sin I reject… is not homosexuality, or even same-sex intercourse. The sin I reject is self-righteous intolerance.” – L. T. Downing

    “I’m definitely a Conservative Mormon, but…” – L. T. Downing

    “My problem is, I just can’t figure out where I belong…” – L. T. Downing

    “Surprise, surprise, surprise.” – Gomer Pyle

    Some believe people can be classified with a label such as L, G, B, T, and Q, but I don’t believe the Church agrees with this labeling; I believe God sees us all as his children.

    He does not identify us as straight, L, G, B, T, or Q- just His children.

    I believe people who have same-sex attraction feelings are just like me. They are just people. They don’t need, and I doubt most of them want, special labels or attention. They just want to be treated in a Christ-like manner. And I doubt there is a group of Christians anywhere who do a better job of treating people better than we, as Latter-day Saints (Christians) treat people.

    One reason we are able to do a good job serving our fellow man is because we have a living prophet who is the Lord’s mouthpiece on earth. He guides and directs the Church in a manner that the Lord would have him do. When the Lord’s prophet says we should stand against same-sex marriage, we should stand against it. Do we as covenant making Mormons not covenant to “sustain and defend the Church- even at the peril of our own lives?”

    What our Church needs at this time is more people standing with our leaders. I can see why some would be conflicted when they claim they are conservatives and at the same time feel the need, at this juncture, to stand with Kate Kelly. Why do you feel the need to stand with her? You declared in the past that you are a feminist and that (probably all) MoFems “have her back, feeling she’s been misrepresented and mistreated by the official church.”

    There seems to be a common thread that binds the MoFem group that supports KK and the LGBT groups. They align themselves with each other and with those who have either an outright distain for or complete lack of respect for our Church leaders. This tread that binds these three groups is weaving some rather ugly quilts that will be on display for years to come. If you don’t believe me, get one of your kids to give you a lesson on how to use google.

    I don’t have one ounce animosity or distain for people due to their sexual preference or type of sexual attraction, nor do I feel the need to join a group that parades through town waving colorful signs and flags touting their sexual preference or type of sexual attraction. We need less labeling and less grouping. I often tell my wife that were it not for the ward boundaries, I probably would not have much to do with most of our ward. Unlike most churches, we are thrust into a ward based on our address. In many cases, the main thing we have in common is our membership and our core belief in the Savior. That common thread is enough to bind me to my fellow Mormons and it is enough to help me overlook our obvious differences.

    I believe as long as any member of the Church goes against the basic teachings of the Savior and His Prophets, they will continue to find themselves asking, “where to I belong?”

    WE, THE FIRST PRESIDENCY and the Council of the Twelve… solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God… WE WARN that individuals who violate covenants of chastity… will one day stand accountable before God.”

    Regarding sexual indiscretion, the Savior did not condemn the sinner to death as the Law of Moses would have done. But he did condemn the sin and admonished the sinner to “sin no more.”

    “And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”

    “The sin I reject… is not homosexuality, or even same-sex intercourse.” – L. T. Downing

    Your assertion that, “Iron Rodders like other Iron Rodders, but are puzzled by the rest of us” is way off.

    Iron Rodders (as you label them) are not puzzled by luke-warm Mormons, Iron Rodders are disappointed that they have to defend their faith against other Mormons. I grew-up way outside the Book of Mormon Belt. I also served a mission in the Bible Belt. I’ve heard and seen enough anti-Mormon stuff to last me a lifetime. I never dreamed I would start seeing it inside the Church that I love. This concept of members fighting the leaders is something that I thought pretty-much died-out in Nauvoo in the 1840’s. Before you write another blog that in any way degrades the Church and or it’s leaders, I hope you will consider how it makes those inside the Church feel.

    And as for your parting musings, “Well, even the body of Christ needs an asshole anal sphincter to push out the $#!^. “

    I think you need to clean-up your act. Please do not use the Lord’s name in vain in the future lest you offend the Iron Rodders.

    And please know that I love you even though I come right out and tell it like I see it. Use your God-given talent to build-up the Church that you are a member of.

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    1. Correction: I mistakenly listed 8 classifications that have popped up in LDS culture when I should’ve listed only two, namely Iron Rod Mormons and Lukewarm Mormons. Iron Rod Mormons are the ones who know just how other Mormons should believe/think/act/feel and Lukewarm Mormons are the ones who believe/think/act/feel differently than Iron Rod Mormons. 😉

      As to whether or not I’m a feminist, I guess I am, but I also guess I’m not. That is the predicament that inspired–no, I better not use that word–that lead me to this post. I’ve got a split personality on this one (and other things). There’s baggage with the label that doesn’t fit me comfortably even though I’ve tried it on. Do I have KK’s back? You can read what I’ve said in earlier posts. I mourn with those that mourn, which is a commandment. I’d cite the verse but, as a devout Mormon, you either know it or know how to find it.

      I’ll leave the rest of your criticisms alone, except …

      As to my parting musings, well <heavy sigh<. Yeah, I totally made a Liahona joke, which can be a good thing because it will allow Iron Rodders to practice the art of forgiveness. At least I didn't spell it out. Not much, but its something.

      Teasing aside, I stand by the concept. I really do. There is waste product that develops after 200 years of living anything, including the restored gospel, stuff we assume is doctrine because its become the way we practice or talk, but its just cultural. Each of these labels is precisely that kind of waste product. You are 100% right about that. But that was the point of this post, so I'm glad you got that. In the end, we are Believing Mormons and we should be pushing out the waste product, like these 7 classifications, and seeing ourselves as children of God.

      Thanks for reading and pushing back. Its always a healthy thing. In fact, according to your thinking, you just made the effort to expel what you see as waste product (my ideas) by responding, so I have to applaud you for that gumption. And sure, I did understand that this post would offend some people. I'm guilty there. Its the risk of writing humor. I just felt it was time to shake it up a little, find a less serious way of making a serious point.

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  2. Dorothy

    Brilliant! I enjoy your mental-verbal-spiritual wrestling matches and I adore having a ring-side seat. Your pooper-scooper-style of wisdom has helped me find peace when I couldn’t find sense, and I bless you for it.

    Of course we’ve long had these conversations at our house. We crave happier, more rejoicing hymns, a deeper awareness of our own inner spiritual workings & thought processes while still claiming a rich pioneer heritage renewed in each generation.

    For a long time we called ourselves Zen-Baptist-Mormons. As we learned more of the vast Spiritual Buffet which God has granted us, we became Eclectic Mormons which was followed by being Tired Baffled Mormons as more and more of the exclusive, prejudice & narrow-minded culture became burdensome and drowned out doctrine. Now when someone asks me if I am LDS/a Mormon, I respond ‘Frequently,’ because there is SO MUCH MORE to my spirituality and my relationship with the Divine than what is seen as politically correct in the Grand Scheme of LDS Philosophy; and I am completely unwilling to settle for less–or to pretend it isn’t so.

    I don’t know what that category is, but it has been infinitely more satisfying for me, predictably alarming for many, and for those who wondered what took so long, a breath of fresh air.

    So, colon-cleanse away, my beloved stool-softening friend; it would appear the Restoration is in need of a Reformation, and you are just the right remedy!

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  3. This was a delightful, hilarious at times, and refreshing read! Enjoyed it and relate to so much of it.

    One thing I want to respond to though, comes from the the commenter:

    “What our Church needs at this time is more people standing with our leaders.”

    Actually, we have enough sheep. What we need more of is more people who can stand independently on their own two feet to follow Christ in their own way, and who can think and receive inspiration for themselves.

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    1. Another Liahona! For me, Clean Cut, the issue with “What our Church needs at this time is more people standing with our leaders” is the assumption that so many LDS who see or do or think differently are standing *against* leaders, or in opposition to leaders. We are called to *sustain* our leaders. And okay, sure, I’ve been known to joke that sometimes we find ourselves sustaining a leader in much the way we sustain an injury, but “sustain” means we are to encourage and help them lead according to the will of God. I’m not comfortable with the You’re Either For or Against the Leaders mentality. But oops. That’s my Liahona coming out. I better go watch a slasher movie to revive my sensitivity to obvious right and obvious wrong.

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  4. Randy Knight

    Excellent. I’d add one more classification though. Social Mormon. Don’t believe or disbelieve or really even think about it. Don’t want to rock the boat in any direction so go with the flow.

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  5. Allison

    This post made me laugh out loud….at myself, which I think is always a good thing to do every now and then (I should probably do it more often). I think you illustrated perfectly the many roads of the diverse membership of the LDS church and the crap that we really do need to sift through, when it comes to the culture and folklore of the church, as a result of that diversity. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Thanks for posting!

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  6. Delberta Skagg

    I find this sort of comment tremendously depressing:

    “This concept of members fighting the leaders is something that I thought pretty-much died-out in Nauvoo in the 1840’s.”

    Why so many LDS don’t take an active interest in LDS history is, to me, a sad mystery. LDS history is fascinating. All of it. And, no, I’m not talking about anti-LDS “revisionist” history. And, no, I don’t care what side you take on any given Church controversy or issue.

    (With regard to “fighting church leaders” ending in Nauvoo in the 1840s, does the word “polygamy” ring a bell? Even a faint one?)

    Only very recently in LDS history have the LDS rank and file become passive and submissive — and this is something I strongly believe that the Office of the First Presidency and the rest of the Church hierarchy should neither be pleased with nor welcome.

    Passivity and blind submission are major steps on the road to apathy, to numb robotic hearts and minds going through the motions of faith, of callings, of conversion, with the true meanings of those things having become but a memory.

    Please consider what happens in a marriage when couples, once passionately in love, once deeply engaged in each other’s thoughts and mutual well-being, can no long be bothered to disagree or argue. The home may be more tranquil, but it will soon be torn asunder. Because the couple have lost all interest in working through the differences that inevitably arise as a marriage evolves and matures. Why bother? Why, after all, stick around?

    What I fear most for the LDS Church is that more and more of those serving in its hierarchy want a “faith community” (sounds like a marketing term, doesn’t it?) that runs with the smooth, uninterrupted tranquility of a computer-chip factory. They no longer see the Church as a living, breathing entity with a heart and soul, but rather as a production line managed with precision and efficiency as its only goals.

    There are countless historical examples of LDS raising a real, thumping ruckus that made the Office of the First Presidency sit up and take notice. And these LDS weren’t guilty of causing “noise pollution” or apostasy, they were, rather, “making a joyful noise unto the Lord” because they so desperately loved their Church and its tenets and precepts.

    The Plan of Salvation is not now nor was it ever a self-help guide for a getting a full night’s sleep. On the contrary, it is a warning call, a fire alarm, a siren intended to rouse us from the slumber of complacency, narcissism, selfishness, and mundane, mindless distraction.

    Wake up and smell the smoke. Alert your sleepy ward to the real and present danger.

    The life you save may be your own.

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    1. Excellent, Delberta.

      I take issue with with the notion that people who are even a little different in their thought or approach from any given LDS leader are “fighting the leaders.” Heck, if this were true, we’d have to say that the Brethren are fighting against one another when they don’t see things eye-to-eye. No one sees all things eye-to-eye with any other human. Someone once suggested to me that there are an unlimited number of ways to be righteous, or to do good, but only a limited number of ways to be unrighteousness, or do ill. I think that’s simplistic, but there is some kernel of truth there. At least in terms of there being an unlimited way to demonstrate your discipleship through living the gospel.

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    2. Sterling Ashley Ingram

      Delberta Skagg,

      It appears you directed three or four questions at me. I’ll try to answer them. In an effort to get clarity from you, I’ve posed three questions for you. My questions are simple yes/ no questions. I see things as right or wrong, black or white… I’m not one of the feel good people who dance around subjects and pretend the world is complicated. I recognize life’s journey can be hard and we all have struggles, but sustaining and defending our Church and our leaders is not a struggle for me.

      Q1 from Skagg: (With regard to “fighting church leaders” ending in Nauvoo in the 1840s, does the word “polygamy” ring a bell? Even a faint one?)

      ANSWER: Yes, it does ring a bell. I believe it was sanctioned by God thousands of years ago (see The Holly Bible) and I believe God directed members of His Church to stop the practice in 1890. I also have a basic understanding of the practice from reading Church history and reading Jacob chapter 2 in The Book of Mormon. I believe Joseph Smith was a true prophet and I believe Wilford Woodruff was a true prophet. I also believe Thomas S. Monson is a true and living prophet. I don’t quite understand your purpose of bring up the subject. I’m not trying to be cute, but are you now or have you been involved with this practice? If you answer yes, I can then better answer your question about the faint sound of a bell.

      Q2 from Skagg: Because the couple have lost all interest in working through the differences that inevitably arise as a marriage evolves and matures. Why bother? Why, after all, stick around?

      ANSWER: Without having the benefit of getting clarity from you, I don’t have much of an answer to your question. The leaders of the Church, with the scriptures backing them, are not pro same sex marriage. Are you for same sex marriage? You can love your LGBT friends, but you may have a hard time being a member in good standing and be openly pro gay marriage- the two positions are opposed to each other. For the record, I love LGBT people just as I love others; I just don’t believe same sex marriage is ordained of God.

      Q3 from Skagg: What I fear most for the LDS Church is that more and more of those serving in its hierarchy want a “faith community” (sounds like a marketing term, doesn’t it?)

      ANSWER: No. It sounds like the word of God. The leaders of the Church do want a faith community and that is a good thing. The plea of our Savior is, “Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not” (D&C 6:36). Considering the leaders of the Church and the Lord desire us to be part of a faith community, do actually believe our leaders are leading us astray by seeking to hasten the work and build a faith community?

      Considering I’m a loose follower of the “party of no” (I rarely for Democrat), I’ve worded my questions in hope you will answer no to all three of my questions.

      I love you and I hope you find peace in your life. By the way, my daughter is getting married in August and I’ll be in Happy Valley! I hope none of the liberal Mormons that I try to talk off the cliff recognize me and hit me in the head with a hammer. My flight does not stop in Texas, so don’t get any ideas.

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      1. I hate the term progressive. I am liberal theologically and a socialist politically. Progressives…not sure what that is. I guess I want my own category all to myself. I think of myself as something along the lines of “punk Mormonism.”

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        1. Blame Hilary for “progressive.” I remember, when she began using the term, the conservative talking heads argued the word was code for “socialist,” historically speaking. Regardless, I appreciate that you, a punk Mormon, are traditional enough to prefer the term “liberal.” I’m having a hard time envisioning you as punk, based on your photo. Add a little purple to that beard and then maybe …

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  7. Joe Maa

    • Good… you have a back bone and it is founded in the gospel.
    • LDS culture is of men. Of course it doesn’t live up to what the gospel intended. After all we are men, we are fallible.
    • All of a sudden it is hard for young woman to bloom within the faith after almost 200 years?
    • All true Christians (or LDS) have what would be seen as progressive thinking on social issues. The difference is true Chrstians believe in freedom of choice instead of forcing people to make the good choic.
    • The great majority is not LGBTQRSZ. A good does of Christian love would be for all to drop their subculture and just identify as a child of God.
    • Of course the gospel is true and that our history is filled with uncertainty and fallible leaders.

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    1. Thanks, Joe. Regarding young women blooming in the gospel: Too many are, in fact, struggling. This concerns many more LDS than simply the feminists. Feminists, however, have a particularly interesting voice on the matter, seeing as they are female. A wise person who is concerned with our girls will listen and act where they can. So many today hear “feminist” and only think “Change the priesthood doctrine!” But LDS feminists are about other things as well. Cultural things, things that can be changed by individuals on a ward level. Like no more telling a girl she’s a chewed piece of gum if a male hand goes where it shouldn’t. That’s an old example, but stuff like that. The stuff we have been saying without thinking it through. But that’s also more for another day.

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  8. James

    When I teach in Church, I often remind people that much of the Golden Plates were sealed. So, one of the first things we should always remember about the restored gospel is we don’t know everything. We know only so much as the Lord wants us to know. Until we learn to live what we do know, we will not get more. Interestingly, much of the most sincere questioning I have encountered falls into the realm of those matters not yet revealed. The idea that people close their minds to new ideas is gut-wrenchingly awful. It is actually sinful considering we have been commanded to seek out knowledge.

    I enjoyed much of your piece. After all, self-examination is critical to eternal progression. However, the most offensive part is your denigration of political conservatives. “[Progressive Mormons]…keep their mouths shut. Not out of fear of Courts of Love like the Borderlanders and Feminists, but out of fear they might someday accidentally verbally bitch-slap a Conservative Mormon…”

    This is nothing more than rank prejudice. Not only have I never been “bitch slapped” by a political liberal, I have never lost a political argument with a liberal. I have seen many instances of liberals believing they won arguments, even though they were never in the game. My point is not that Mormons should be conservative instead of liberal, I enjoy a diversity of ideas. I am saying that your dismissive treatment of conservatives is as much a form of intolerable bigotry as racism or homophobia. After all, “All generalizations are false, including this one.”

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    1. James, there is so much in this post to be offended by. I tried to be an equal opportunity offender. Actually, what I aimed to do was to list the complaints against each group according to its *opposition*–and then exaggerate! So the offensive (and hopefully amusing throughout) part about the Iron Mormons is what a Liahona might say, and vice versa. Borderlanders and feminists are linked with the TBMs. The most difficult pairing for me to write, not co-incidentally, was the political one because, aside from the social issue I mention, I most strongly identify with conservatism. So suggesting my “dismissive treatment of conservatives is as much a form of intolerable bigotry as racism or homophobia” is a misreading. It’s understandable. I do, throughout my blog, strive for bridge building between sections of our LDS culture, including political. You aren’t the first conservative to assume that makes me a bona fide liberal. But here’s the reality: The only time I’ve voted for a liberal was when I crossed party lines in 2008 and voted for Hilary against Barack Obama in the 2008 primary. The Republican candidate had been decided (John McCain? Really?) so I registered my vote against the young senator from Illinois who was a hot air balloon, in my opinion. My family still can’t believe I ever voted for a Democrat. But hey. I figured plenty of Democrats, particularly early in that primary season, had been crossing party in other states to help put McCain on our ticket. I tried my best to return the favor. So there. Have I restored your faith in my conservative roots? 😉

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  9. Anonymous

    Awesome. Pretty sure I am Liahona. Although I have been known to visit the Borderlands… My husband is an Iron Rodder. Makes life an adventure!

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