LDS Institutional Integrity and the Lesson of the Great and Abominable Church

On the day President Russell M. Nelson was given audience with Pope Francis in the Vatican, I encountered a Latter-day Saint pointing at the Catholic Church and accusing it of being “the great and abominable church” condemned by the Book of Mormon. This she called doctrine.

This coupling of the Catholic religion with the great and abominable church has rankled me throughout my forty years of adult membership. As a convert from Catholicism, I maintain respect for the good people and positive aspects of my former faith. But that’s not why. The claim is the ideological equivalent of a sickly inbred descendant. The amorous ancestors aren’t cousins, but Institutional Integrity and Sleight of Hand.  That’s harsh, I know, but I think fair. To demonstrate, it’s important to identify how wrong ideas have taken root in our religious culture. For this example, Step 1 must be a brief recap of the history of Bruce R. McConkie’s Mormon Doctrine. Continue reading “LDS Institutional Integrity and the Lesson of the Great and Abominable Church”

Why Race Matters

I am white. I grew up in a very conservative home in a very conservative suburb of Los Angeles County. The headquarters of the John Birch Society was walking distance from my house. In my 12 years in one school district, I never had a black classmate. Then, in my late teens, I joined a religion just stepping away from a doctrinal stance that denied black men the priesthood and all people with “Negro blood” access to temple worship. Across 40 years, I’ve watched as the LDS church first claimed that “the curse of Cain” was God’s will, and then shifted, insisting the Curse had been policy, not doctrine.  I watched as the Church was pelted by the undeniable reality that its leaders had taught bigotry as if it were the word of God. I’ve watched the Church limp hesitantly toward an accountability it doesn’t want to bear. I’ve watched. Safely distant. Comfortably oblivious that some of my brothers and sister were living it all like a daily beating.

On May 17th, 2018, top LDS leaders met with leaders of the NAACP. During that meeting, a devastating hoax was perpetrated against black members of the LDS church, all in the name of satire. Continue reading “Why Race Matters”