Last week, a blogger by the name of Josh Weed, posted a personal story that quickly went viral. Why? Because Josh Weed came out as a gay Mormon man who is happily married to a woman. I’ve decided to write a response to Weed’s story, not so much because of what he said, but mainly for what was not said: his omissions and the implications of his story on the wider LDS and LGBT communities.
You can read his story on his blog, The Weed, here: Club Unicorn: In which I come out of the closet on our ten year anniversary.
An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins, by Grant H. Palmer, is a solid overview of the documented facts surrounding Joseph Smith Jr., the Book of Mormon, and the beginnings of the Mormon religion. With Palmer being a practicing member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a three-time director of the LDS Institutes of Religion, a former LDS seminary teacher, and a member of the Mormon History Association, I was fully expecting his book to be an apologetic view of Mormon origins, which I’m pleased to say was not the case. Palmer lays out a very well researched and referenced exposé of the foundational aspects of Mormonism that would make any ‘anti-Mormon’ proud.
Tell It All is the heartbreaking autobiography of Fanny Stenhouse. Her story begins with her as a young woman returning home to England, after spending some time in France, to discover that her family had converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While investigating her family’s new-found faith, she became the object of one of the Elders’ affections. They were soon married and subsequently ‘counseled’ to serve a mission for the Church while in impoverished conditions. It was only after years of whispered rumours (and public denials by apostles) of polygamy being practiced among their American counterparts, that Joseph Smith’s polygamic ‘revelation’ was finally disclosed in England. Her adventures only truly began when she and her husband were later ‘counseled’ to emigrate to the ‘promised land’ of Utah, where she learned, first-hand, the detrimental effects of Brigham Young’s institutionalized polygamy.
A few weeks ago, while I was reading Jim Whitefield’s The Mormon Delusion Vol 1, I double-checked a claim that the author had made regarding the Church’s official website. On pages 132-3 of TMDv1 (2011 PDF edition), Whitefield had noted that, in 2006, the Church’s biographical sketch of Zina D. H. Young grossly misrepresented history and established facts. After Whitefield had pointed out the ‘error’, the Church deleted the offending sentence – which Whitefield notes in the updated edition (I read the latest 3rd edition).
I wanted to check for myself what the current wording of the biographical sketch was, so I did a quick google search of Zina Young site:LDS.org. Sure enough, I quickly found the revised bio, just as Whitefield said. However, in the search results, I also found a link to a Relief Society Presidents poster which still contained the original biographical sketch! There I had it, proof that the LDS Church had not only rewritten history to mislead people, but that they had deleted the misrepresentation once it was discovered!
Below is Jim Whitefield’s official September 2011 update containing my contribution. Click here for the original source.
I recently came across a blog post called “The Family“, by The Blissful Heretic. I thought it was really well written, and successfully illustrates the contradiction that exists with the LDS Church’s marketing strategy of promoting themselves as a ‘family church’, while actively preaching against any and all family types that don’t fit it’s patriarchal, heterosexual, and procreational ideal.
I highly recommend my readers to follow the link below to read her great post. Here’s a sample:
In recent years, the church has been trying to enhance its image as a “family” church. It has always been adamantly opposed to homosexuality and gay marriage, and it has received a lot of press for this since its involvement in Prop 8. Nary a conference goes by without a veiled reference to “the family” being under attack. The current threat is the gay rights movement, but historically the church has also identified feminism and interracial marriage as threats to the family. READ MORE…
The Mormon Delusion, Vol 1: The Truth Behind Polygamy and Secret Polyandry (TMD-1), by Jim Whitefield, is a comprehensive and thoroughly-researched look into the polygamous & polyandrous practices of the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), that lasted nearly 100 years. The author’s ability to present an incredible amount of facts and research into a well-organized, and easy to follow book, is quite an accomplishment. I read the 3rd edition in eBook (PDF) format, released in 2011.
So, I got a call from the LDS missionaries. Normally, I wouldn’t have picked up the phone, but I had just walked in the door and answered it without looking at the caller ID. For what I initially thought would be a quick, “please don’t call again”, turned into a 15 minute theological discussion. I’m quite impressed that he was so willing to answer my questions, considering that I’m not an ‘investigator’ and am an official apostate. Rather than summarizing, I will attempt to recount the conversation as best I can:
One of the defining aspects of Latter-day Saints, is their abstinence from alcohol, tobacco, coffee, and all kinds of illegal drugs. In this regard, I continue to be the poster-boy for Mormonism. I haven’t had a single alcoholic drink, cigarette, cup of coffee, or illegal drug in my entire life. Only recently, after having distanced myself from the Church, have I started to truly consider my reasons for maintaining this abstinence. For this blog post, I’ll be focusing on alcohol portion of the Word of Wisdom.
Alcoholic drinks were never in the house while I grew up. My world was alcohol-free, and I remember being told on numerous occasions that it was evil and dangerous to drink. My parents would even make the odd derogatory comment whenever we’d see someone drinking on TV. This type of teaching method didn’t work in the way I believe my parents intended, in that I made the correlation that bad people drink, opposed to the drinking itself being what was bad. I had always been warned that I should not be friends with anyone who drinks, and that if I found myself in a situation where alcohol was present, I should leave. Again, strengthening the idea that it’s the people who were bad for drinking, rather than the drink. Only bad people drank alcohol, or so it seemed.