The Limits of Orthodoxy

August 31, 2010 | 28 comments
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Apparently, you can’t say polygamy was not God’s will. But you can say that a male-only priesthood is not God’s will. Go figure.

28 Responses to The Limits of Orthodoxy

  1. Eric Russell on August 31, 2010 at 11:39 am

    Julie, these profiles aren’t reviewed by a correlation committee that’s carefully considering the implications of every comment. They are approved or disapproved by BYU students who work part time in the MTC. Generally speaking, they’re just looking for what they consider actual errors in doctrine or anything otherwise inappropriate. If you submit a profile that happens to come across a kid who’s tired and near the end of his shift, you could get a number of things by – especially if your language fairly temperate.

    In this case, the profile about polygamy actually used the word “mistake” to describe it, which is probably what caught the attention of the reviewer.

  2. Dave on August 31, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Eric, it’s nice that LDS leaders have outsourced doctrinal review to deserving BYU students rather than a call center in India. But I’m guessing they still prepared the equivalent of doctrinal talking points for the fresh-out-of-high-school reviewers, to guide them in reviewing the submitted responses for each question.

    Perhaps at our next General Conference one of the General Authorities will describe the process in more detail and reveal some of the contents of the doctrinal guide provided to reviewers. I can’t believe that the Church that gives local leaders a two-volume Handbook of Instructions wouldn’t prepare a similarly detailed set of guidelines for reviewing profiles to be publicly posted at an LDS-sponsored website.

  3. Adam Greenwood on August 31, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Far be it from me to be cynical, but is it that unthinkable that explanations could be rejected for PR reasons even if they happened to be non-heretical?

  4. Adam Greenwood on August 31, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Also, the comment you link to does not come out and say ‘a male-only priesthood is not God’s will.’ The writer probably does think that, but the statement could mean, e.g., that God has ordained a male-only priesthood to accommodate the flawed social structures of mankind, or even as a statement that patriarchy is just part of the order of things.

  5. Mark Brown on August 31, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    That profile must have overstepped the limit, because it’s gone now. The link takes you to a blank profile.

  6. michelle on August 31, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    I thought it was interesting to note that the second link had comments about polygamy where she said 1) she has been bothered by it and 2) she doesn’t see it as an eternal principle. So it’s not like they aren’t letting people not be happy about it.

  7. michelle on August 31, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Mark, it worked for me. ?? Might be worth another try.

  8. Julie M. Smith on August 31, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    Mark Brown, it is working for me but here is the relevant part:

    “Why don’t women hold the priesthood in the Mormon Church? How do women lead in the Mormon Church?

    Another tough question for me. I believe that women do not hold the priesthood in the Mormon church because we live in a patriarchal society in which men exercise power over women and the Mormon church is no exception to that rule.”

  9. Kevin Barney on August 31, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Like Mark I get a blank profile. But I had read the substance of it earlier.

  10. H. Ross on August 31, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    I did a forced refresh and I can still see the profile. Very odd that some of you can’t see it.

  11. Mark Brown on August 31, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    Huh. It shows up in IE but not in Firefox.

  12. Justin on August 31, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    Another reason to switch from Firefox to IE.

  13. Julie M. Smith on August 31, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Works for me in Firefox. Hm.

  14. Kevin Barney on August 31, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    OK, that’s weird. I went there and did a refresh as H. Ross suggested and it magically appeared. (I’m on IE.) Carry on.

  15. Struwelpeter on August 31, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    What is the source of Eric’s information re: BYU students approving these profiles?

  16. hkobeal on August 31, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    Hi, I’m Heather and I’m a Mormon. ;)

    I’ve heard that people at the MTC are approving/censoring the profiles. ??

  17. Martin on August 31, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    Somebody who can definitely and authoritatively state who’s actually approving the profiles should pipe up. I’ve heard different things, and I’m getting the impression people are just repeating rumors.

    The link works fine for me.

    By the way, I kind of tested the system when in my profile I said I found the temple ceremony silly (since I’m not a ceremonial person), but considered the covenants sacred, and that was apparently kosher.

  18. queuno on August 31, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    The site has had functional problems since the beginning. It’s quite common for login attemps to fail saying you need to register when you’ve had access for awhile…

  19. Scott B. on August 31, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    It’s my sincere hope that T&S will post a link or an update of each and every “curious” statement on Mormon.org, so as to bring to light the works of darkness and ensure that they are all quickly removed. We must be relentless, people!

  20. California Condor on August 31, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    This new user-generated Mormon.org could end up softening some of our doctrine over the next few years. It should be interesting.

    Does anyone know if any non-members actually visit the site?

  21. Left Field on August 31, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    Maybe I’m just used to reviews of scientific papers, but “may not be correct” and “please review and update” doesn’t sound at all like a rejection to me. If I got that from referees or an editor for a paper I wrote, I would carefully consider the objection, and possibly make a revision that addresses the issue, or simply resubmit with a cover letter explaining why I’m sticking with what I wrote. But I sure wouldn’t consider my paper rejected and stomp off in a huff.

    Did this guy even try resubmitting, either with or without minor revisions? Apparently not; he just went off complaining that he had been “rejected.” If these are reviewed by volunteers, it’s entirely possible that a different reviewer might have sent it on through. If he was trying to find out how much he could get away with, then he unfortunately abandoned the experiment just when it started getting interesting. Since revisions were requested, he should have seen it through to see if a revised (or even unrevised) resubmission would fly. I don’t think this tells us a blamed thing about what you can or can’t say about polygamy.

  22. Ben H on September 1, 2010 at 5:49 am

    Yeah, I thought Heather’s comment on the priesthood was very nicely done, as much as anything because it is open to a few different readings, as Adam (#4) points out.

    What a fascinating arrangement, by the way! Here we actually have a site organized by the Church but representing the viewpoints of individual members, who inevitably express a range of views. I’ve argued before that its pluralism is one of the great strengths of the CJCLDS; here’s a chance to give that hypothesis a certain kind of test drive . . .

  23. Chino Blanco on September 1, 2010 at 6:15 am

    Found under a section titled Frequently Asked Questions at this profile

    The Church’s official position on homosexuality is actually pretty open when compared to many “bible-belt” Christian denominations. The Church believes that being LGBT, Gay, or “Same-Gender Attracted” is completely, 100%, okay. However, because we have the ability to choose our actions, having sex with a member of the same gender is a sin.

    The explanation continues but this second graf probably deserves a new heading of its own: Frequently Unanswered Questions

    This stance puts Gay Mormons like myself in a precarious position … Sadly their are not many definitive answers to questions about Homosexuality in the Church, instead many are met with the answer of “We don’t know”.

    In any case, now that I’ve read the rest of the profile, I’m thinking maybe this comment of mine would be more appropriate under a post titled The Limits of Patience (because as far as I can tell, David is doing his humble best to understand and respect the limits of orthodoxy).

  24. kevinr on September 1, 2010 at 11:55 am

    I don’t quite know how the review process is taking place, but I had posted the following answer in response to the “why women don’t hold the priesthood question” about a month ago. It kept saying “pending review”. When I eliminated the following sentence from the very opening of my posted answer, the balance was approved. I don’t know if this means I was rejected or not, or if it simply was a long time in the “pending” status, but I’m now approved.

    Opening sentence originally read:
    Many of us Mormons like to speculate on why women don’t hold the priesthood, but I think the answer lies in the simple idea that we hold onto many traditions in the Church. I think things will change eventually.

    The balance of my answer was and now reads:
    At the practical, congregational level, called a ward, women and men both serve in various leadership capacities. It should be realized that no one holds a paid priesthood position and therefore priesthood is not a career as it is in some churches that changed to women “holding” the priesthood so that women also could have a religious career as a pastor or reverend, etc. In the Mormon chuch every lay member who wants to, can and does serve in many varied leadership and teaching roles that rotate amongst all of us. Women and men both give sermons in Sacrament Meeting. Women and men both pray and bless the congregation at Sacrament Meetings. Women and men both teach adult and youth Sunday School classes. Women and men both teach young children and nursery-age kids, too. So, in the practical sense, women lead and help the same as men. Of course, I’m speaking from a man’s perspective, so I suppose I have some bias. Here’s a real-life example. My wife served as president of the Primary, the Mormon Church’s organization to help teach children about Jesus for more than 6 years. This was an unpaid, voluntary assignment that she took on willingly. She led not only in terms of directing that organization, which included directing male teachers and other male workers in the organization, but she also was part of the Council that met to figure out how to make the entire congregation work well together. This is called the Ward Council. She freely expressed ideas and concerns in that Council, just like other men and women who were present, and led by example, by voicing opinions, and by volunteering and serving. So, I come back to the basics, which for me are that women lead and serve the same as men. I guess even more basic than all of us having equal opportunities to lead, though, is the doctrine that all leaders and teachers in the church, male or female, try to espouse, and that is we try to serve as the Savior did, where “he who is greatest among you shall be your servant”.

  25. Alison Moore Smith on September 1, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    Justin, there is no sane reason to switch from Firefox to IE. In fact, there is no sound reason to switch from USPS, Pony Express, or hieroglyphics to IE, either. In the communication hierarchy there are some perpetual bottom feeders that we simply should not accommodate.

  26. Steve-Dave on September 1, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    I was in a ward with Heather, and that answer pretty well sums her up.

  27. Joseph Smidt on September 2, 2010 at 11:57 am

    @Eric,

    That’s interesting they are being approved/disapproved by BYU students. I’m sure they’re having a field day sifting through all the entries! :)

  28. Rebecca J on September 2, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    My answer to both of those questions was “How the hell should I know?” which was also not approved.

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