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A questioning culture

Several months ago, I found myself in a situation where someone chastised me for something I had written on this blog. Never mind the fact that what I had written had been misinterpreted, but I was hurt that someone doubted my commitment to the church because I asked questions.

I knew I had seen quotes from past leaders embracing questioning from members, so I spent several days combing resources for such quotes and compiled them into one document.

Here is what I came up with:

  • “If [the prophet] writes something . . . out of harmony with [scripture, we are] duty bound to reject it. If [it’s] in perfect harmony with [scripture], [we] accept [it].” —Joseph Fielding Smith
  • “If [the prophet] says something that contradicts what is found in the standard works . . . it is false” —Harold B. Lee
  • “When ‘Thus saith the Lord,’ comes from [the prophet], the saints investigate it: they do not shut their eyes and take it down like a pill.” —Charles W. Penrose
  • “There is no place in the church for blind adherence.” —John A. Widstoe
  • “I am fearful [members trust] their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence” —Brigham Young
  • “Let every[one] know, by the whispering of the Spirit . . . whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates.” —Brigham Young
  • “Every church member is expected to understand the doctrine of the church intelligently.” —John A. Widstoe
  • “God has not established His Church to make of its members irresponsible automatons” —James E. Talmage
  • “[We] . . . are obedient because [we] know certain spiritual truths and have decided, as an expression of . . . individual agency, to obey the commandments of God.” —Boyd K. Packer
  • “Those who talk of blind obedience may appear to know many things, but they do not understand the doctrines of the gospel. —Boyd K. Packer
  • “Each member . . . has a right to . . . judge . . . those who . . . act in their interests” —Lorenzo Snow
  • “We can tell when . . . speakers are ‘moved upon by the Holy Ghost’ only when we . . . are ‘moved upon by the Holy Ghost.’ . . . the responsibility [is for] us to determine when they so speak.” —J. Reuben Clark

You can read the quotes in context here.

Do you know of any others? Share them in the comments below.


What the family proclamation doesn’t say about stay-at-home mothers

You’ve probably seen that The Family: A Proclamation to the World has received a lot of air time in the nearly 20 years it’s been around. In fact, many throughout the church consider it scripture.

I was reading it for the umpteenth time the other day, and I noticed two things:

  • It doesn’t say that mothers should stay at home
  • It doesn’t say that women should do all the housework

There are some parts where one could extrapolate the assumptions that women should stay home. For example:

“. . . fathers . . . are responsible to provide the necessities of life . . . for their families.”

One could assume that because fathers are singled out here that mothers must not have that responsibility. It’s just that, however: an assumption. Here’s another example of an extrapolation point:

“Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.”

One could assume here that this implies a mother must stay home, especially when combined with the previous sentence. Again, however, this is only implicit and not explicit. Nowhere in the proclamation does it actually say that women must stay at home. Even the responsibility of nurturing the children doesn’t require the parent to be at home 24 hours a day.

Consider the next sentence in the proclamation:

“In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.”

So, if fathers have an obligation to help mothers as equal partners in nurturing children, and they decide (as cultural tradition dictates) to work out of the home, how can they nurture their children? If fathers can nurture their children without having to be home 24 hours per day, certainly mothers can, too.

On my second point, there is just nothing anywhere that can be reasonably extrapolated to support the idea that women must do all the housework. There isn’t much else to say about that.


Humiliez-vous et persévérez dans la prière vers lui.

I was reading my French copy if the Book of Mormon tonight. I’m in Alma 34, and as soon as I had read verse 19, I stopped for a moment:

Oui, humiliez-vous et persévérez dans la prière vers lui.

I’m not sure why, but that verse touched me. Every once in a while, a verse will jump out at me in French that never had in English. For some reason, this one did for me today.

Maybe it was the use of persévérer instead of continuer, implying that perhaps Amulek intended something more than what we read in the English version. The French translation seems to indicate that not only should we pray, but we must persevere at it.

What makes it more interesting is its pairing with the admonition to be humble, a possible allusion to trials and testing. If that’s the case, then it shows not only that continuing to pray will be difficult, but it will be necessary.


More merciful or more just

We had a couple of baby blessings at church today. For one of the babies, some of the family aren’t members of the church.

As the testimonies went in about families, a question came to mind: will God be more merciful or more just at the final judgement when it comes to families being together forever?

What do you think?