A Public Brainstorm on How to Effect Significant Change in the LDS Church

John Dehlin Blog, Mormon Stories 151 Comments

kristof-tiananmen-videoSixteenByNine1050There has been a lot of talk about vigils, petitions, marches, mass resignations, and protests, and so I have been trying to think of what actions can be taken that will effect the greatest impact, with the least amount of effort and harm.

I would like to facilitate a brainstorming session to help us determine what actions might be taken that will lead to the greatest likelihood of meaningful change within the LDS church – and when I say change, I mean a change in policies/teaching/practices that harm LDS church members and their families/friends.  Here are two of my best ideas so far:

1) For those who are considering resigning, what if instead we were to request a church disciplinary council. From experience, I will tell you that a DC can be a very painful process, but it can also be very liberating. More importantly, disciplinary councils can be very effective at building awareness and empathy on a local and national level in ways that are very hard to match. They also garner a significant amount of empathy and exposure, as Marisa Pond Calderwood​, Carson Calderwood​, Kate Kelly​, Denver Snuffer, and I can attest.  In my mind/heart – an action is effective when it elicits empathy/sympathy from either believing LDS church members, or from the international media.

There will be people for whom a disciplinary council is not healthy, safe, or wise, and for them I would certainly not advise this approach. But for those who are in a position to do so, I wonder if requesting a disciplinary council might help the cause of truth, sunlight, and exposure more than most things we might do – especially vs. the choice to simply resign. After all, the church has set up the disciplinary council process. They have defined what apostasy is. Consequently, this feels like an ethical way to proceed. Thoughts? Feedback? Disagreement?

2) As we’ve seen by recent recordings of talks by Elder Oaks and Elder Nelson, and from my own meetings with my stake president, I wonder how much change we could effect if everyone who has had a conversation with, or who listens to a speech from a bishop, stake president, or general authority about matters of church policy or doctrine – were to make an audio recording of said speech or conversation (WHERE IT IS LEGAL TO DO SO). The idea is as follows – where we are able/willing to share the audio of what is being said/taught, I cannot think of a single greater way to effect change…to force them to be accountable for the things they say and do – on a large scale. This will also expose hypocrisy and inconsistency wherever it exists.  Again, in my mind/heart – an action is effective when it elicits empathy/sympathy from either believing LDS church members, or from the international media.

To be clear — I am NOT suggesting that everyone do these things. At this point, I am simply trying to brainstorm as to what actions we might take that would lead to the greatest degree of change in a church that means well, but (in reality) hurts far too many vulnerable people.

If you think these ideas are bad, please provide feedback…and preferably better ideas in their place.

Thanks for engaging. I look forward to your thoughts, ideas, and feedback.

Sincerely,

John Dehlin

Comments 151

  1. They are a business now. The only thing businesses understand is $. I will be voting with my money by withdrawing financial support.

    1. Exactly. That’s what they care about. Better yet, go to tithing settlement and tell them why they aren’t getting money.

    2. Exactly. They only care about the money. People should go to tithing settlement and explain why the church won’t be getting their money.

      1. I think this is an excellent idea becasue it is obvious the church cares more,about money than people. As sad as it is, it would be more effective to stop paying tithing. Also, Sunday Strike and not go to church as a protest. Instead, people could gather at a different place to have a musical devotion with LGBT families to show the church that some of us have no problem associating with same sex couples and families.

        1. I like Arwen’s idea as well as with hold tithe. Though it might not work in some areas as there needs to be enough people to descent.Same with disciplineries for it to work you would need to gather enough people to swamp local leaders.

      2. This is what I’m considering. I’ve been a committed member as a convert despite being fully aware of various historical and social issues from the beginning. I could make it work for me so far, but really have been saddened and angry with this policy. I have no intentions of leaving the church (although I realize I love “Mormonism” more than “the Church”), but I no longer feel able to support it financially with good conscience. I have been paying half of my tithing to the church and part to other organizations all along, but I need to take at last a break from paying tithing to the church. I considered doing this just quietly, but it feels more authentic to let at least my bishop know and as a result turn in my temple recommend. I never understood tithing settlement, but I think I’ll go this time and use it as an opportunity to discuss these issues. This seems the best solution I have found so far for myself.

    3. I am with M. I will never give another dime in tithing money to the church. My husband may still, and can report as he wants related to our family obligation…but no more of my earnings to a church that is actively trying to destroy my family.

      1. what about, for those that still have one, turning in temple recommends?
        just say: “I no longer support the brethren, I don’t agree with the handbook, and the harm it can cause children.”

    4. I think money is the best way to get their attention. You could even get TBMs to participate by refusing to pay fast offerings or any other donations; if they want to maintain temple worthiness they can still pay tithing. Boycott church companies like City Creek, Deseret Book and News, etc.

    5. The argument frequently posted in this thread suggesting that the brethren respond only to financial pressure and enforced dogma is simply not true. The brethren, as leaders of any organization of numeric and moral significance are not so simple. The leaders of the church are in fact not found to be financially motivated dogmatic bigots. Any arguments meant to drive action that begin at this assumption will fail, because they rely on false first premises. The leadership (and membership) are in fact motivated by desire to behave rightly and hampered by inability to understand properly.

      I am gay and married to a many but was first married to a women (my best friend in high school) while living in Provo at age 19. We were still married at age 25 when living in New York City and both in graduate school (medical school and law school) and had a baby. We did ultimately figure out that I was gay and did finally divorce. We have remained extremely close for all of these years, including raising our daughter (now 14), who it turns out still maintains more faith than either of her parents. Neither of us objected to her desire to be baptized at 8 and both understood her decision as free and self directed though not actively encouraged by either of us.

      Presently we maintain separate households (Alpine & Park City) but our daughter travels freely between both. She is enrolled at the Winter Sports Shool in Park City and thus spends the majority of her life in a home with her gay father and my husband. She spends weekends at our Alpine home with her mother (who still frequently attends, and doubts) and her fiancee. It is a matter of significance to our daughter to be able to attend church on weekends in the ward where she grew up. She draws strength from her experiences at church and maintains a real testimony of the gospel.

      She is a competitive moguls skiier, and while she finds she is the only true “mormon” in her athletic peer group she finds she is understood as “not-so-mormon” in her church peer group, and this produces significant suffering for her. She has an impressive intellect but so far has been able to bridge these worlds and we support her motivation to do so on the basis that her faith is hers and we support her.

      I suppose one would say that as parents we are mormon apologists (though it appears as of this week the leadership would say we are both apostates. I hope desperately this week that my daughter is not scanning the news because I do not wish her to learn the church has taken actions she could only find destructive and painful. She knows very well that both of her parents love her desperately and she knows as well that we both struggle with the actions of the church’s leadership but has so far been able to reconcile her faith with the reality that neither of parents take an orthodox view of the religion.

      This weeks news seems to suggest that both of us (parents) will soon be subject mandatory disciplinary action wherein my ex-wife (and best friend) would be asked to disavow her clear confidence that our daughter is safe and comfortable in my home and demand that our child return permanently to our Alpine house or give up her membership, and her school and her competitive ski career. It appears that we would necessarily be required to refuse to destroy our family in this way with the result that both of us (parents) would be excommunicated and that our daughter’s thoughtful and personal decision to be baptized at age 8 would be rescinded at least until 18, given it would be unlikely that she would be willing to give up her mother or her father. Essentially it appears we are asked to accept the idea that God’s plan for our family is to crush our daughter’s faith and annul the free agency she executed at age 8 when she was baptized and confirmed.

      I have no doubt that our family will choose to protect our family and our children and their fundamental moral worth as sons and daughters of got and will thus be required to refuse these insults the church mandates for us. I frankly believe our bishops and stake presidents are quite unlikely to initiate these supposedly mandatory procedings either. I wonder if the leadership expect to excommunicate the many bishops and stake presidents who will surely be unwilling to crush families in their wards in order to achieve compliance with the issued guidance?

      I wonder what the leadership expects the outcome would be for families who struggle more to cooperate in raising their children in harmony together? I can certainly say that I my first wife was willing to accept the guidance that she she try and extract our daughter from my home in Park City in order to avoid excommunication I would expect to tidily win a lawsuit wherein the state of Utah would find an ex-wife’s desire to destroy a child’s life in order to maintain an acceptable status in the eyes of the church, to be without ground. Does this mean the church hopes to physically and legally force children to give up one or the other parent and the safety and security benefits that are necessarily connected to the existence of two loving parents merely because one of them is not heterosexual?

      I struggle mightily with the questions because I am unable to see how such an outcome could possibly be compatible with supporting the growth of strong and loving families. I have spent a great many years, speaking positively about the evolution of a conservative institution into one that is moving toward a better and righter posture. This essentially began when it became clear that our local leadership in the Manhattan 1st ward did not plan to excommunicate me in 2003 and pointed out that there were in fact a good many gay men attending church in New York City at that time.

      I have never found it to be particularly problematic to continue to voice positive messages toward the church and it’s processes until this week. I have found it essentially possible to move foward daily, recognizing that the church could theoretically choose to hunt and excommunicate me at any time, on a doctrinal basis but have understood the last decade as ample evidence that it chose not do to so by some design (God’s design).

      This is the first week in history where I have had to come to grips with the fact that the church has now mandated that our local leadership has received directives to initiate DC with intent to excommunicate me and my ex-wife and apparently also dissolve the baptism, blessing and naming of my child.

      This is too far. I am done. I can consider myself mormon no more. Of course, I do not find myself apostate, though. In fact it’s a good bit worse than that. I’m left with no option other than to recognize that I am not apostate. Rather, I see that the 12 are apostate, and that they seek actively to destroy my family.

      I see no way to reconcile these actions with the supposition that these are actions inspired by God. They simply are not. I do wonder how 12 apostates managed to gain control of God’s church.

      Disheartened,

      Christian

      1. Per Amy Potts’ suggestion below, may we share your post beyond this forum? I realize comments are public, but this is a fairly specialized site so didn’t want to assume. Your family’s story is beautiful, heartbreaking, and powerful.

      2. Wonderful and moving post, Christian. It casts a real-life light on the effects of this short-sighted policy. But I think that you and even the church have not completely thought through the effects of the policy– at least if the actual language of Handbook section 16.13 is construed as written. It states, ” A natural or adopted child of a parent living in a same- gender relationship, whether the couple is married or cohabiting, may not receive a name and a blessing.” Likewise, a natural or adopted child “of a parent living in a same-gender relationship . . ., may be baptized and confirmed, ordained, or recommended for missionary service” only if the two stated requirements are met . Notice that there is no requirement that the child live with, part or full time. Rather, these rules apply if THE PARENT of that child is in the same-gender relationship, apparently not whether the child even lives with the “offending” parent. This literal reading of the policy would lead to even more outrageous and unfair outcomes: A divorced mother (whose ex-husband remarries a man) with custody of an 11 y.o son remarries a man with an 11 y.o. Son. A strict-constructionist bishop,following the policy as written could bar the woman’s son from ordination to the priesthood , while allowing the ordination of her step-son. How’s that for building families– both the gay family and the blended hetero on?
        My hope is that many good-hearted bishops will see the problems with this policy, regardless how strictly the church construes it, and will choose to take something like a “don’t ask, don’t tell approach. But short of that, probably the only way to fight this is to prayerfully determine how we can express our disagreement to this to our local authorities with whom we have a relationship. The brethren at the top obviously have made up our mind.

      3. My heart goes out to you and your daughter, especially as in one group she is seen as TBM and in another a not-so-Mormon for whatever pigeon hole they have placed her in ( church is good at placing us in pigeon holes). You are in one so am I , I am single and divorced woman with a brain and a mouth and not afraid to use either and people like me are to be seen and not heard in the church…which is why I was ‘pushed’ out for want of a better word….I understand the new discrimination…getting at the parents by punnishing the kids…is abusive and is not of the Biblical Jesus. Jesus set the standard in the New Testament who are this bunch that they think they have the right to change it? Suffer little children to come unto me….you know the rest…even the pope has spoken out on this.

      4. My understanding is that the 70, the 12, and the 1st presidency are all paid compensated. They want to keep this going, They want to expand everything. They continually require finances to maintain all their assets and to operate. They have all have significant staff which require compensation.

        I’ve heard it said that the most sensitive part of a man’s anatomy is the pocket book (followed closely by the ego).

        Finances are a significant measure of success for any corporation, which is how I now view my former ‘church’. I think they successfully push a facade of financial independence. They have a lot of money for sure, but I think they require a lot to maintain, operate, and grow.

    6. Wouldn’t it be great if caring members would not pay tithes this year and would cite the ‘policy’ as their reason. After all it’s just a ‘policy’, right? The brethren would drop the policy and Jesus would be proud (or at least stop crying).

    7. ith regards to “How to Effect Significant Change in the LDS Church,” I think that it depends on what end-game you’d like to see happen.

      Don’t get me wrong, I agree with almost everything said above, but consider this; would you prefer the LDS church to change or go out of business?

      I personally, as a former member, have no problem with watching them eat-their-own and consequently burn the institution to

      the ground. In fact, I’d like to dance on their grave. I simply have no interest in trying to infulence or reform the church

      into becoming a thoughtful, loving and inclusive organization (but still based on a stupid mythology).

      Yes, as a community, we’d still be tasked with picking-up and fixing the human carnage that they continue to leave behind…

      but aren’t we doing that anyway?

      The way I see it… the more ridiculous, outrageous and hateful policies that they adopt will only result in more membership

      resignations and less conversions; and I’m OK with that.

      Again, I have not interest in reforming the LDS church, I simply want them to go out of business… and after reviewing their

      decisions during the last few years, they’re doing a pretty good job of that themselves.

  2. Here is an idea for a long game:

    Attend every meeting faithfully, every day of the week that they happen. Make sure that the electricity and plumbing are used as much as possible. Eat the lime jello and casseroles.

    Never volunteer to feed the missionaries. Never volunteer to clean the church. Don’t bring food to the potluck. Stop paying tithing.

    In other words, consume church resources, but do not donate money or offset operating costs with free labor.

    Members that do not pay tithing will lose their recommends, which weakens ward statistics. Allow the church to weaken its membership numbers as a response to weakened funds. Fewer people will attend existing temples. No new temples will be built. The church would never shut down a North American temple (prosperity inage) and so they would still have those costs to absorb.

  3. The LDS church largely is allowed to do what it wants because it controls its own narrative. It uses missionaries, members on social media, its own media outlets, apologists, and its own internal mechanisms to keep dissenters quiet (shaming, guilt, fear, limiting information, branding of apostates, etc). This all goes towards creating a membership which is unquestioning towards leadership.

    Change happens when the membership starts questioning the policies. And that can’t happen as long as the church controls the entire dialogue. I believe that post Mormon and NOM types have done an amazing job raising questions on the web … but the rest of us need to be more involved in bringing up the difficult questions in loving and non confrontational ways through counter social media movements – where we engage our friends and families (rather than staying quiet due to church pressure).

    Also, simply educating the public about what it is to be Mormon. The Mormon church relies on a changing metric for membership to get people in the door and then slowly introduce new requirements to them as they become more involved and reliant on the church for meaning and purpose. I personally wonder if there’s not a way to provide more resources for the public who might be trying to make decisions as to whether or not to join the church and highlight some of these more damaging doctrines and practices which they will be exposed to? The missionaries are not teaching them. This done in the form of a web site which is marketed to investigators could be valuable in helping people make the most informed decisions with all available information PRIOR to committing their family and their dollars to the church.

    I believe this combined with the above mentioned ideas. Recording talks and discussions from General Authorities could be really valuable in the sense that contradictory doctrine and ideas could be highlighted. They could be held more accountable. I’m not sure recording local leaders would make a difference as they are “just people” but the church actually teaches prophets cannot be wrong when speaking as prophets – so holding the people in higher office accountable for what they say when they are speaking as GA’s would be very illuminating.

    Highlighting individual cases of people harmed by these decisions. Every single post I’ve read from pro Mormon sources in the past 48 hours has somehow highlighted a gay person who is ok with this change. Why not do a mini ad campaign highlighting people who are hurt by this? Show their struggles, their pain. Make it real rather than abstract. That affects change. When a GA stands up and says this is for the good of the children, and you contrast it with a child who’s actually crushed because of this … well … the GA will change his tone.

    I think asking for excommunication is a good idea because it starts a dialogue about these issues. It can be done publicly – and it forces the ward to confront the reasons the person is being excommunicated.

    1. I agree with Ryan. I am a former, life long member but left the church many years ago. I no longer have a voice. I tried to open honest and sincere discussion with my friends and family members on this issue but soon realized they don’t want to discuss–they just want to make me see the error of my ways. Change will never happen so long as it is advocated by the voices of the dissenters. It must come from within.

  4. I have been thinking of resigning over this, but I have not been active in a decade and it doesn’t seem to me that a disciplinary council would do much, if it was on an individual basis (also, as I’m a atraight ally, not sure they’d have reason to x me). Would like to find a way to do something in mass — point out that we have gay kids or friends or sibs, and it only makes sense that these rules extend to us, as well, if we won’t disavow them. Try to force some sort of statement or action, but as I said, I don’t think individual DCs would do much.

    1. I’ve been thinking of resigning, too. I’m the organist, so they might notice.

      The same idea I want to express has been used before. If the Church is not of God, it will fail on its own. If it’s not, it will succeed with or without our help. So we don’t have to worry about the Church as a whole. Just worry about ourselves, and those around us. Resigning from the Church won’t affect them, but it might affect you, and those around you, and that effect might be good.

  5. What if all the members who think this is a horrible policy were to band together and stop attending and stop paying tithing until the policy is changed or reversed. A church-wide effort. A strike, of sorts, perhaps? Is this punishable by excommunication?

    1. I like this idea, a strike of sorts. But I wonder if instead of simply not attending, make an appointment with the bishop, ask to be released from your calling, make clear you will accept no others, and that you will no longer give money as long as this policy is in place.

      1. Many people have done this already over other things and they just didn’t care. I don’t think it’s going to work to be released. The money will annoy them but that’s about it. Still is better than nothing.

      2. I agree with being asked to be released from callings. There are so many callings that need to be in place for the ward to function properly…and probably 75% of the ward has callings….that if even a quarter of the people request to be released from callings, it would cause fairly significant attention and disruption. Add on to that stopping tithing and I think at least the message would be clear at the stake level…and that all percolates upwards. I was Ward Clerk and monthly tithing totals and all the numbers are certainly calculated and reported every month. A big change in things would certainly make those monitoring things take notice.

    2. I wouldnt mind marching in the streets, or like your picture of the student in the tiananmen square picture or the marches in the south during the civil rights movement of the suffragette movement. I think the internet has done a tremendous job of informing people, and also a great job of rallying people as we have seen in the middle East during the overthrow of Gaddafi in Egypt a few years back. I think organizing protests and marches are honestly the best way to go. They garner a lot of media attention and publicity and showcase the drive to action by a large group that is otherwise much less visible on say a forum online like /r/exmormon

  6. I think the church is interested in jettisoning anyone remotely progressive and become moving towards the hardcore fundamentalist right. That seems to be an effective survival mechanism for some organizations facing social change.

    That said your ideas are good – the first would be great to demand video or audio – put these on YouTube. There should be YouTube videos of how to resign and get your name off the roles – perhaps a mini-documentary showing issues with the later.

    Image is very important to many of the members. Schools that play BYU should be lobbied to avoid games. Schools that play them are supporting an anti-gay policy.

    If they want to retreat under the hardcore rock there should be a social cost.

    There will be more than a few interested in transitioning, Your new organization can help – particularly those who still believe in a God and are if the Mornan tradition. Perhaps there’s should be Church of Christ get acquainted sessions.

    My brother is livid but doesn’t want to leave just yet. He told me he’s taking a one year break starting now and that includes halting his tithing. That may be noticed as he does extremely well financially.

    Finally – back to Mormon Transitions – many in heavily Mormon areas are afraid of the social costs associated with leaving. If this is as big as I think it us, they need to be given an idea of how big and that it is possible to get in on the ground floor of new community building.

  7. I commend your actions and efforts.

    However, the church has confessed the lies, admitted their prophet “married” little girls, and now, has shown such anti Christian policy such as Black segregation was not an aberration.

    To remain in this institution, you must be completely ignorant, which I understand why some people choose to be, or, if you are aware, you condone bigotry, hate, malice, vitriol, ridicule and hurt.

    This is who is left. Quiet protests, loud actions, nice, symbolic, but pointless.

    These are deranged people who are left.

  8. Members should speak with their stake presidents like they were instructed when opposing the sustaining votes in conference.

  9. I think it might help to offer a clear alternative that’s entirely better than this madness. I’m not exactly sure what that is, but it should allow families to keep tradition without disavowing each other. What if the church simply got out of the marriage game altogether? It seems to me the doctrine of Mormonism should only concern itself with temple ceiling and not temporary marriage. All temporary marriages should be given equal value. They can put whatever limits they want on the temple, but the social church has social impacts and should be treated that way. Somehow I think we need to hold the leadership accountable for the social impacts their policies have.

  10. Hi John. I believe there are a few website facilities that allow for online petitions and people to join them. Let’s do that. Hundreds of thousands of signatures would be a nice little present to drop at the front door of the COB. Change.org is a good example.

  11. From a practical point of view, probably all you can do is what CoC has already done: vote with your feet.

    How many GAs are there? A few hundred? They are the only real members of the church because they are the only ones with exercisable authority, the only ones whose beliefs, opinions or feelings amount to anything. With the assets they have now they could keep the GAs comfy for decades, maybe centuries without receiving a single tithe dollar from this point on. They could just close temples one by one and sell the real estate off to mega-churches and gentrified law firms as it became available. I don’t think you can choke them off or starve them out. They don’t need you anymore.

    What you can do is ignore them. Take the family down the street to the Community of Christ church next Sunday. Or whatever denomination you prefer. Or camping or golfing or to the movies. My family gave up on church very early on, but doing something with the family on Sunday is a tradition that continues to this day even though there are very few of us left. Do something with the family this Sunday and simply ignore the Brethren. You’ll be glad you did.

  12. I have been told, by two people today, that the new policy concerning children of non-heterosexual parents being banned from baptism while they live at home is the Last Straw. This will not stand with a lot of younger members who know and love LGBT friends and family. The church is cutting its own throat.

  13. In addition to your great ideas, I would suggest finding individuals/families that have directly been impacted by this policy change. Do what you do best- have them tell their stories and with their permission publicize it as much as possible. This could be a springboard to a much wider audience–I’m thinking big–UN Human Rights Council, Congress, Etc. We know the church doesn’t like to be in the spotlight-especially if it is a negative one. One person/family can make a difference.

    Please see Convention on the Rights of the Child – Article 14 http://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/crc.aspx

    You might want to contact Kate Kelly on this as I am no lawyer, but I feel that a great injustice to children has been committed.

    God Speed John! Thank you for all you have done and continue to do!

  14. Concerning disciplinary counsels: a person needs to be quite self-assured and willing to go public about their life. This can be very demanding on a person. It is a lot to ask of people, but if they are willing, it would be good.

    The negative publicity is also a great idea of how these policies are specifically harming families with bullying of children, sadness of the children being left out, rejection of parents, etc. Showing intimate scenes of troubled individuals that show the difficult emotion that tugs at people’s hearts.

    I also agree that we need to look at how we can impact the church financially. They are looking to develop a community in Florida. There needs to be more publicity concerning what a bad influence they would be in doing that. There must be other developments where LDS Corp has other financial plans that can be stymied.

  15. Hello All:

    I personally am bothered by former members who are letting The Church control them through their obsession with opposing it. I’m interested in reading all current news items, but as a former journalist, that’s normal for me. I am not angry or trying to turn anyone away from the Church as so many former members appear to be. In my younger days, I was a Jehovah’s Witness and am endlessly grateful to them for teaching me the Bible when my Catholic Priest and family did not. I try to sop up the good and discard the bad. My 20-year connection with the Mormons taught me that the Holy Bible is still the greatest and only guide I need to get through the few years I have left on this Earth. I have left The Church quietly and don’t plan on grandstanding. I have not sinned in any way and resent the idea that my very well thought out and studious attempts to find the truth might be used against me. I simply never changed. I refused to “Fit in.” I never cooperated for more than a week at a time and then my brain warned me that I was taking the wrong road. I fought brain-washing on a daily basis and emerged relatively unscathed. Week after week, I took my Bible to Sacrament and weeks passed without me opening it. Later, in bed at home, I asked God’s spirit to guide me and opened my Bible to the scripture I needed to study. In Primary, I carried the Good News Bible with me and taught the children that it was an honest attempt to correct the errors of the King James Bible. We played games that focused upon character and Bible stories. The Missionary Sisters invited me to go along when they conducted Bible studies and made return visits. I loved teaching, but there was a hitch. The sisters were teaching the Book of Mormon and I was teaching The Bible. I couldn’t possibly continue to behave as though I believed the Church’s teaching were true when I knew they were not. When I challenged some of those teachings using Biblical information I was told those were mistranslations. But I already knew where most of the errors were and most of the Mormons did not. They were accustomed to telling converts that the Bible could not be trusted and being believed. I never believed that. When I left The Church a few months ago the first thing I did was pack all my Temple clothing and undergarments into a large box which I gave to a sister and then I went to the store and bought some Coffee. It was Independence Day and I remember singing “Free at last.” It was a 20-year struggle that turned very dark at times, but it is finished now for one simple reason. It was all a lie and my Heavenly Father does not because He cannot lie.

  16. My suggestion would be to pay your tithing to another charity that supports what you view as God’s mission on earth. Whether that be helping the homeless, vaccines for third world countries, etc instead of to the church.

    1. My mom has done this for years, even in retirement and I admire her for it. She gives 10% of her income to causes she deems worthy which vary from CARE and the Red Cross to the local symphony. To her, “income” is anything she actually receives; she doesn’t worry about trying to determine her “gross” income.

      Yes, cut out the secretive, unresponsive, grossly inefficient middle man.

    2. And still submit a tithing slip and envelop that says instead of paying tithing to the church you have donated it to “……..” organization. That way they still have to spend time opening tithing envelopes and would have to check each one.

  17. I was born and raised here in SLC. I never loved or even liked the church, and nobody asked me if I wanted to be baptized at the wise old age of 8, it just happened. I call myself a never-mo, because consent was never established.
    If I understand the new policy correctly, if I had been born to two loving gay parents rather than the two abusive psychopaths I was born to, I could have been spared the years of misery baptism caused me? Good to know.
    Clearly they have become very sensitive about PR, so any mess like this may be effective in a more humane course correction, but who knows.
    The other thing that always grabs their attention is a threat to the flow of tax-free, invisible dollars. It may be a long shot, and an actual legal mind may have to weigh in on this, but religious tax exemption is granted in exchange for a broad public good. When a policy is so obviously exclusionary and discriminatory, is it perhaps possible to challenge the tax exempt status of the institution?
    Just a side note, I wonder how all their young, gay retail employees at the church-owned mall feel about this.

  18. I also had a second idea about the City Creek mall. A letter writing campaign to the various tenants there. I wonder how Tim Cook the CEO of Apple , openly gay will feel about having an Apple Store there. Many letters could at least bring that to his attention. Many businesses might feel like leavin too.

    1. Nancy, I think that might be one of the more effective suggestions I’ve read here and it’s something everyone could contribute to including non-members and those of us who left so long ago that the church no longer knows we exist.

      Certainly anyone who still pays tithing or otherwise contributes monetary resources should quit doing so but I agree with Phonin’ It In From Kolob that the church is so wealthy at this point they could continue for another century on the assets they have right now without noticing the lost cash flow.

      I also like John Dehlin’s idea of requesting a disciplinary council but that option is only available to current members with some kind of standing. A letter writing campaign to businesses within the church owned mall and other business associates of the church is something any of us could do. What we need is a list of those businesses along with valid addresses.

  19. A few years ago – some BYU students had an alternative commencement because at the BYU ceremony Dick Cheney was to speak. My daughter and I went and it was amazing. (Like in the 60’s)

    What about having a church service for members that are LGBT, have family members that are LGBT – those that are supportive of those involved in the LGBT community, those who cannot in good conscience support this new directive – attend. On a Sunday, maybe several Sunday – as an alternative to a regular service. It could be “led” by a gay man, lesbian and person of color (or something that demonstrates the hope of inclusion throughout the church). It would be good to pass the sacrament and have women bless it, have anyone pass it – old, female, 10 years old. The talks could be on inclusion, love, being true to one’s self. I would go.

    1. I agree with Terri and I add my voice to her comment. The only real solution is to provide a place for disaffected members to GO.

      Use the organizational skills you have learned from the church to provide an alternative solution, an alternate meeting space where we can prop each other up in fellowship. It won’t be officially recognized, but there are enough of us that the effect on those that are hurting would be real anyway.

      We don’t need the leadership for that. We can heal what they have broken, and we don’t need to do that alone. Instead of just talking about it, do it! I am not a leader, but there are those out there who are.

  20. Cut off the money. My wife and I haven’t paid since July of 2014. Also I say this half jokingly but start a newspaper. Mormon Expositor. I dare them to destroy the press again.

  21. On a local scale, I propose that we think about the children and families in our wards, reach out to them and hang on tight! Be their support, their guardian angel. WE will serve them in every way possible. (We could sign a change.org petition to be an LGBT ward guardian angel). In my ward alone, I count 7 children affected by this policy. I bet you know some too. For many, this won’t be new work. There is a beautiful and living core we need to make sure is not extinguished. Bishops, a little civil disobedience would be in order ; ) as the spirit directs, make local decisions. You are not automatons. For those children and youth who choose this painful walk, we will walk with you.

  22. I don’t like the idea of using church disciplinary council. That puts the gatekeepers of truth with the council/church. It might work for high profile cases, like Mr Dehlins, but I think it is an overall counter productive approach.

    I think a better approach would be to start a #itstime campaign on twitter to encourage members who have left the faith but were too apathetic to remove their names to take the next step.

    I used to not care that the LDS church kept my name. I figured removing my name from membership takes me off one list and puts me on another. Considering what feels like an attack on children, I am starting to feel like it’s time.

    I think a twitter campaign has the potential to also garner attention.

    Otherwise I like sharing personal stories on social media, educating family and friends in a loving way of the consequences of such a hateful policy towards children, and recording talks and continuing to publish policy not intended for the public.

    Maybe we can also start drafting a response both to http://wellbehavedmormonwoman.blogspot.com/2015/11/response-to-new-church-policy-gay-marriage-children-baptism.html?m=1 and the video response by Christofferson.

    Most Mormons I know and love felt a severe cognitive dissonance between their love/testimony of the church and what they think it stands for and the ickiness of this new policy. However, I can almost feel a collective sigh of relief from them after that discomfort was placated by these popular Mormon responses.

    Having a place that loving shows the fallacies in the church/member responses will help members come to terms with the dissonance and find acceptance in admitting the policy is wrong and removes the best parts of Christlike love and unconditional acceptance.

    As far as I am concerned the Church, it’s policies, and it’s leadership are no longer relevant. I won’t be using their courts.

    1. Thanks for this offering John. Great discussion. I agree with Lee’s idea about an organized response directly to the apologist explanations on http://wellbehavedmormonwoman.blogspot.com/2015/11/response-to-new-church-policy-gay-marriage-children-baptism.html?m=1 and the video response by Christofferson.
      As many of us witnessed friends and family grappling with their cognitive dissonance until these messges and others came out to explain away any discomfort. I watched these messges get posted, sent directly to my inbox, and watched people say “shut up” on facebook no longer wanting a further discussion once they had found peace of mind. We have to keep the dialog going. Good policy and advocacy work is done by creating awareness and keeping it fresh in people’s minds,,,especially when they are feeling discomfort and distress. Why else whould the TBM’s be told to stay away from social media and the evil internet. But the national and international media is our best “weapon” against the censorship of the church. We have to maintain a prescence in order to protect the vulnerable populations this policy directly targets.

  23. At a local level, we should identify the children/youth effected and become their guardian angels. We can hold on tight-serve them however needed. We could create a change.org list or some sort of online signature bank of those who will be LGBT guardian angels for any child/youth. There is a beautiful core of love amongst our people-a strong and radically brave core, we can’t let it be doused. If a child/youth decides to walk this difficult road, we will walk it with them.

    And I second the idea of boycotting City Creek as well.

  24. The movie “going clear” has done an incredible amount of damage to scientologies image. An idea is to make a movie that mimics the LDS movie “meet the mormons” that was in theaters recently. Have six authentic true narratives of people hurt by the church. You could tell the story of someone excommunicated. You could tell the story of a boy who is denied the ability to go on a mission like his older sister currently is because he lives with his gay parents, a story of someone about to graduate from a church owned school who is kicked out because they live with their gay parents and lose transfer credits when they are forced elsewhere, a 13 year old boy who goes to church weekly but is excluded from passing the sacrament, temple trips, and knows he won’t be allowed to be a home teacher all because his parents have split custody and he sometimes lives with his gay mom and her wife. We need to show the real world negative impact of these policies. We need to be nice and not angry. We need to let the sadness and hurt in these true authentic, genuine life experiences of real people that we can relate to speak for themselves.

  25. I think the only way to effect significant change in the LDS church is for active members to voice their concerns to their leadership, and if enough do it, then word would get around to the Brethren to do something about it. The upper-echelons don’t care about the concerns of NOMS, or liberal mormons, or feminists, or LGBT sympathizers, these are all considered fringe groups with radical, apostate-leaning ideas. What they do care about are the opinions of active, moderate members who are obedient and spin excuses for whatever the Brethren say. If these members are disturbed enough, and actually tell their leaders about it, then something MIGHT change.

    1. Forget about it. We tried to do this. We were very active temple workers and spoke against bullying and racism with the local and stake leadership and pretty much told us they were the leadership called by God, they had the answers and we should listen, obey and remain quiet. Nothing changed, only that people became inactive and those that complained became the problem in the leader’s eyes. People I. The wars stopped talking to us and viewed us a the trouble makers. When you report a problem, they start looking at you like ypu are the problem, the disobedient, the rebellious child, the guilty.

  26. Anyone want to volunteer to go on hunger strike or self-immolate on Temple Square?

    I realized that many of the Facebook conversations I am having are like anti-missionary work. That might be another lever to pull on.

  27. I love the employment of Saul Alinsky tactics. One that would affect local leaders and cause some pissed-off clerks, bishopric members, and their spouses: for those of you who must continue to pay tithes and offerings per a believing spouse (or have some spare money to play along), pay it in pennies in a milk jug a la Harvey Milk with a note stating you will continue paying in this manner until the policy is changed.

    To up the ante, it wouldn’t take much effort to coordinate 50+ people to visit a single ward and drop off 50+ milk jugs of pennies with the bishopric after SM. Tip off the news of the protest. The following week, visit another ward. After all, they do claim that visitors are welcome.

    An advanced version of the above would be to divide the offering into derivatives of 18 in opposition to the new age requirement. This would mean the clerks would need to open thousands of envelopes and record each of them. This’d take more prep time for the demonstration, but it’d raise the level of awareness and meaning. For those who don’t wish to pay tithing to the church, you could donate to the humanitarian fund or fast offerings. A little quick math, 50 people with $18 per person would be 50,000 envelopes. This has a secondary effect of diminishing the supply of envelopes at other meeting houses.

    This next one has actually been employed during the Civil Rights Movement and is recorded in Saul Alinsky’s book Rules for Radicals. There is nothing illegal about farting. However, to do do in public strains social mores. Alinsky organized a large group of church-goers to attend a local congregation of a denomination they were not members of after eating beans freely. Then during the service, they freely farted. This church had not been oppressive of blacks, but the well-connected pastor was suddenly on board to get the city council to change the egregious policy.

    1. How long has it been since you saw a physical tithing receipt? Even though you can stipulate where you want your donation to go, there is a disclaimer at the bottom that states the church can use it where they want at their discretion (paraphrasing).

      While I like the idea, I wouldn’t want to give them another cent.

  28. I think that tithing/financial areas are a good start. A week, heck, a MONTH of staying at home would be awesome. Like a strike. But wait. . . I had already decided to do both those things. . . so I have nothing new to contribute. I really don’t know how you can convince people who are TBMs to follow up with stuff like that. It would really be a miracle.

  29. I think to change the LDS church, we need to be good examples ourselves. One effective way to accomplish this and help other unorthodox Mormons is to create a place for them. An organization like a church founded on reason and compassion could be helpful for many people. These secular communities would be havens for Mormons and ex-Mormons who feel misunderstood and rejected. They should be accepting of everyone in the same way that public universities are, welcoming to both atheists and theists (though based on reason, freethought, and ethics). Those within the church who are suffering often do not know where to find help. In our efforts, we need to remember that those we are reaching out to often are still believers, but as victims of shaming, they often do not have the confidence they need to improve their circumstances.

    We need to continue posing calm, rational challenges to the leaders of the church. With tact and consideration, we can avoid falling into the angry anti-Mormon stereotype which many members have. This will take responsible activism and careful scholarship. When critiquing the church, we should focus on issues of fundamental importance including the literary and historical context of scripture. The most important challenges will be in epistemology and ethics; showing how faith, revelation, and concurrence with leaders as taught and practiced in the LDS church can and does lead to false beliefs which often harm people’s lives.

    Lastly, we should remember that many LDS people are good people with the best of intentions, and there is a lot of good that comes from LDS church members. Almost all my family and relatives are still in the church, and I do not want to be the cause of prejudice or harm to them. I recognize the tremendous suffering that comes from the authoritarian culture, the doctrinal dogmatism and the cultural shaming. While the world would likely be a better place without it, we can take these terrible circumstances and use the lessons we learn from them to guide us in working for a better world.

    1. So…not all current members are “deranged” as stated above in a comment deemed worthy of publication by the professionally trained, astute, kind, and unbiased moderator/host?

      Thank you! for your good example…

    2. Well said, Samuel. Fully agree (although I’m in Australia and it wouldn’t be easy to get something like the above going here).

  30. I’m not a lawyer, but: Legal action. When the IRS wouldn’t grant Scientology non profit status they became inundated with thousands of lawsuits from members. Scientology was quickly granted exempt status.

    Legal action, either directly or indirectly (challenging their non profit status).

    Thousands of simultaneous law suits.

    1. Could a class-action lawsuit be brought, in which tithe payers could sue for their tithing (and emotional distress) if they feel that they gave it in error? In other words, if they feel that the church lied to them about it’s divine authority, etc?

  31. OK you guys listen up, maybe you had to live through the sixties…

    I have been giving much thought to this topic. You have to have all dimensions cooking at once.

    #1
    Civil Disobedience–never ask for something, e.g (can we attend priesthood please?) No, No, NO.., refuse to do something. eg. refuse to veil face in the temple.
    This has to be public… not paying your tithing quietly does absolutely nothing to affect change to the institution.
    civil disobedience has to be public,
    it does not require large numbers to be effective. eg. Rosa Parks
    the CV has to be on an issue that sparks members to feel hyper emotional, or have a hyper logical response…you have to get both types… think.photos of blacks being fire-hosed (emotional) counter sitters…(response…yea, gosh darn it , why CAN”T they just sit and eat there, who cares..
    The broader culture of the org has to be ready.. Rosa Parks gets no where in 1930

    The arts hav to be involved.. think anti-war movement without music, etc.
    I’m getting ready to launch website for this

    So much can be done, I think the time is right NOW!! Don’t let the moment pass.

    1. Could we wear rainbow colors to church? Could we wear a rainbow tie? Could we show we love our brothers, and sisters and their children by wearing a symbol on our person?

      If this is inappropriate, forgive me. I’m trying to think of ways to show love.

      1. I love the idea that we wear identifiers at church on a regular basis. I suggest a small white ribbon, not only to show support for LGBT, but to let others in the congregation know who is safe to talk to. Wear a white ribbon to show that you are faith transitioning and need a safe space to be authentic, etc. Wouldn’t that be the day, when half the people in church have on a ribbon? What courage would that gives us, to respond to inappropriate comments or get up and walk out if necessary.
        You have hit he nail on the head. If a TBM asks yo what it is, just say something innocuous and polite.
        any other ideas?

  32. John Dehlin, you have already brought change in the church by giving members and ex-members a place to communicate and express their feelings and opinions.

    The church doesn’t care about one person, who is easily eliminated.

    The church changes when pressure is put on the top hierarchy, because the church only changes from the top down, not from the bottom up. So the pressure must be felt at the top. Why should they change anything they have a good deal.

    A class action law suit by most of the gay members of the church. The church is still operating as if an individual chooses to be gay or straight. But of course, this has been proven incorrect. For gay youngsters raised in the church, the church’s policy automatically creates terrific mental stress, even child abuse, plain and simple. The gay person grows up in the church thinking he or she is OK. Then at some point it finally dawns on the youngster that he or she is
    not OK at all, but that they are an abomination, through no choice of their own.

    A class action lawsuit could also be put together for the payment of tithing. Tithing is really an effective method of extortion and scam. In order to keep your wife and kids in the herafter, you must go to the Temple, and in order to go to the temple, you must pay tithing. Thus, brainwashing members that they must attend the temple is the best method of making money the church has.

  33. How about encouraging our own children not to be baptized until they turn 18? Even for believing members, the conversation can go, “Baptism is very important, since it shows Heavenly Father and Jesus that you want to follow and be like them. However, right now, there are some people that are not allowed to be baptized until they turn 18, and not because of anything they did. Part of baptism is mourning with those that mourn and bearing one another’s burdens. So, to show God you are really serious about that, you can bear the burden of not being baptized for another ten years.”

    And then let them know that it’s their decision, and you’ll support them either way. And then do.

  34. Dear John,

    I’m glad you care enought to post your suggestions to change church policy. Here is my feedback:

    1) I don’t agree it would be beneficial to request a disciplinary council. My experience is that lately the LDS leadership feel threatened and considers any disagreement direct opposition to their authority. I persoanlly met with the local and stake leadership in my area regarding bullying and racism in our ward in Orem with no results. After contacting the area president and the first presidency about the same issues, I was told to forget about these problems. The leadership was concerned with the church image because the problems were caused by other leaders. This is how the church handles every conflict. It’s their modus operandi.

    It is nice of you to think that the leadership in this church has good intentions. Unfortunately, when you get to contact the top leaders, which includes some of the seventies, you realize they are very different from what they appear to be. Is my experience that this men dont have good intentions. I am sorry to disagree about this with you. I know waiting and hoping for the church to change and for the leaders to care, will not happen. Meeting with the leadership will result in excommunicarion, mental pain and wasted time. The leadership don’t care about our feedback, unless of course, it damages their public image in the world.

    2) Now, I like your second idea better. Actually, I was thinking about this subject a few days ago. The idea came to my mind that when people are made accountable for the things they do, then they have no other choice than to make things right or face humiliation. I just was not sure about how this should be done. But I think this would be the best approach. I am not sure filming the leadership would be a good idea. I think is better to make a huge campaign using facebook, Twitter, you tube videos, you get me. There is a reason the leadership thinks the Internet is The Devil. Some people gave good suggestions about creating videos with personal stories of the people affected by this new policy. I think a video showing the leaked document will be useful as well. Also, a video where a bunch of us gives an opposing vote, raising our hands in opposition like if we were in general conference will make an impression. It could be a protest/ campaign that would last 7 days with different activities. The opening ceremony could be to boycot the city creek mall like someone suggested. We wouldmhave to make sure these activities are carried peacefully. The main thing is to make the activities original and make sure the media is there to broadcast.

    The ultimate success depends on media coverage. Any activities should get the best coverage available. By this I mean you and all of us need to go international. People are not aware in other countries yet. You need to somehow produce YouTube videos targeting spanish audience and asking for their support in this campaign. Also, ypu may be able to contact some ex mormons in major European countries like Germany, France, Italy and Spain. The leadership will hate to see their image being tarnished in these European countries where they are trying to establish good relationships with the different local governements to build their temples and to invest in real state. the only times this church has changed anything, has been because of some type of pressure, like government pressure or bad press. The church’s Achilles heel is their public image and reputation. This is the most effective way to make them accountable for anything, publicly in the social media, TV news, blogs, newspaper, etc.

  35. Hindered Spirits project?

    Jesus’s disciples rebuked people when they brought their children to be blessed by Jesus. Jesus corrected the disciples and blessed them anyway. (See Matthew 19:13-14 below.)

    Now those who call themselves disciples again wish to stand in the way of those seeking Jesus’s blessing for their children. (See Elder Christofferson’s video quote below.)

    How about arranging for newly married gay couples to adopt members of the Quorum of Twelve with a commitment to pray that Jesus will heal them and open their eyes, perhaps repeating his commandment “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them”. You can post a picture of each quorum member who needs a prayer adoption and have the adoptive couples send in a video message for their adoptee (on youtube, think “it gets better”). Each quorum member could be adopted multiple times. Kind of a plural adoption.

    The adoptive couples don’t have to be believers let alone LDS, they just need to want to make the world a better place by praying for the brethren.

    “Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:13-14)

    http://www.biblica.com/en-us/bible/online-bible/niv/matthew/19/

    “We think it’s…incumbent on us as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ…to yield no ground in the matter of love…” — Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Quorum of Twelve Apostles

    https://youtu.be/iEEMyc6aZms?t=2m51s

    1. I hope John has a chance to read this. I am not on Facebook or other social media, so I can’t make this happen easily. But I’m happy to offer the following for John or others under his auspices to use with my blessings:

      “No Hindered Spirits!” Project…

      ADOPT AN APOSTLE
      as your prayer buddy!

      WHO?
      Same-sex couples (especially if married or co-habitating), as well as their family, friends, and other allies…

      To do WHAT?
      All you have to do is…
      — Choose one of Jesus’s twelve present-day apostles to adopt as your prayer adoptee.
      — Create and post a personal video message to your apostle-prayer adoptee that:
      o Names your apostle-prayer adoptee
      o Tell him your personal story
      o Explains that you will be praying to Jesus on his behalf.
      o Offers any other positive thoughts that will help him recall Jesus’s instruction to the disciples (that is, Jesus’s disciples are not to hinder the children, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to the children).

      WHY?
      The apostles–as current-day disciples–are interposing themselves between Jesus and the little children, just as the original disciples did! (See Matthew 19:13-14 at http://www.biblica.com/en-us/bible/online-bible/niv/matthew/19/)

      For example, one apostle says, “We think it’s…incumbent on us as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ…to yield no ground in the matter of love…” — Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Quorum of Twelve Apostles (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEEMyc6aZms)

      But they seem to have forgotten that Jesus rebuked the original disciples for just this kind of action. Today’s disciples need Jesus’s intervention, just as the original disciples needed it. Your prayers of intervention can remind the apostles that the kingdom of heaven belongs to the children, not to the apostles, the brethren, or any other legalistic patriarchy.

      Q&A

      A. Who are the apostles and which one may I adopt to pray for?

      You can select any apostle from among the following twelve:

      https://www.lds.org/church/leaders/quorum-of-the-twelve-apostles?lang=eng

      B. Is there only one adoptive family per apostle?

      No. Put simply, there are no rules against plural adoption. Any apostle can be adopted as a prayer adoptee by as many families as possible.

      C. Can my family adopt more than one apostle to pray for?

      Absolutely! You can adopt all 12 if you have time, but please be sure to identify each of them individually in your video message so they know you are speaking to the individuals, not the offices.

  36. Somehow we have to get the Handbook text to the entire general membership. The policy is so inherently un-Christ-like and discriminatory against the innocent, that I don’t see how anyone can read it and not be shocked and sickened, especially since it shines a light on the hypocrisy of the GA who just recently instructed members that homosexuality is not a choice and to love and show compassion for our gay brothers and sisters. Those who have email lists of their ward should get this info out. The subject line could be the title of the Washington Post news article, and the body of the message a link to that story. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/11/05/mormon-church-to-exclude-children-of-same-sex-couples-from-getting-blessed-and-baptized-until-they-are-18/) with a request, “Please ask your Bishop and Stake President about this.” {The Handbook text is included in the news article.}

  37. I can help by translating text to spanish for videos and also with voice over. I can also help reading Italian. But not with translation. I suggest a whole week full of activities that involve the community and also lots of media activity.

    Among these activities I suggest:

    Opening ceremony with a parade with families and friends of same sex marriage couples in downtime salt lake ending in the City Creek Mall. People can take signs and wear t- shirts with a picture of Jesus saying:” let the children come to me”, or any other significant message. Some people may carry bells to ring as they walk by to make themselves noticeable, rainbow flags, lanterns with tea lights.

    A vigil will follow in a church that accepts same sex marriage couples where people will sit together. Then prayer, a message, some could share their experiences, it would be better if we could have musical numbers. Everyone will be welcomed. These are some suggestions. Maybe someone knows a Polynesian dancing group that would be willing to perform and we could hold a luau at the end of the week. For sure a massive resignation would be part of the activities to end the protest.

  38. Something I feel that I’ve been wanting to explore for awhile is the question of my identity. Who owns it? There are alot of people that say things like “Mormonism, love it or leave it”. As if I have to ask permission to use my identity to some guy who owns the name of it. Having been a Mormon my whole life, regardless of what I believe or don’t believe, I was born into this identity. As an adult I come to learn that I have no say in what my supposed church says and how it portraits me. At some point you would think that my right to my religious identity would become my own and something I had a say in.

    Years ago I had a political disagreement with my stepdad and he told me if I didn’t like this country I could go find another. As if his political party could be the only answer for my continued citizenship. I feel the same way here, that if I don’t like their dictates, I must exit my religion and convictions. Who’s going to figure out how to fix the hole in my identity? my problem. Who’s going to help get me deprogrammed from my lifelong indoctrination? my problem. Who’s going to help me with my anger problems of realizing that my religion might be a fairy-tale? my problem. It’s an all or nothing proposition. Maybe I really like the BOM, I just don’t want to conform to every little whim the church comes up with about what it means to be a good Mormon, too bad it’s all or nothing. Maybe I think the idea of eternal marriage is a really spiritually romantic idea but I don’t feel the need to wear special underwear, too bad it’s all or nothing. Maybe I love getting together with my tribe, but can do without the constant judging, too bad. This whole church is all or nothing. But I’m feeling like I want to take back my religion, and my religious interpretations, and own my religious identity, really own it. So I say that we begin exploring ways that we can do that.

    A lot of disaffected Mormons become atheists. But that is in the context of the current all or nothing paradigm being forced upon us by a closed minded, senile, geriatric bunch of control freaks (don’t forget, Jesus and Joseph was 30 or younger). But what if the context was different. We can enjoy it just like Christmas, without having to hinge the whole thing on whether there really is a Santa, if Joseph actually saw God the Father or the current church leader is a real prophet, or if the BOA is a literal translation.

    We’ll keep everything, unlike the COC because really no one part is any more or less true than the other. Like the founder’s of Mormonism we’ll accept the word of wisdom, but drink, smoke, and go out for coffee, because perfection is a process, and we’ll lean towards being saved by grace which is completely scriptural.

    You want to fix this? Get some smart brothers and sisters together and lets start the Progressive Mormons Church. I’m not saying it will be an unbelievers church, it will be a church for people who love fellow Mormons and are open to believing. Let’s get them all in here, the gays, the polygamists, the hippies, because Mormonism has always been crazy, but that’s ok because we’re all a little crazy or else we wouldn’t be here.

    They want us out, lets give all of us a place to go. Then we’ll change harmful policy and practices. We’ll ordain women and we’ll share leadership (with term limits), and our votes will actually mean something, . And while our church might not be the one true, it will truly reflect our values, and hopes along with some crazy beliefs. You want to turn in your resignation? Let them know you have some other place to go, and where they can go.

    Too bad it’ll never happen…

  39. To show solidarity with families directly impacted by this (and give the Church another reason to reconsider this new policy), perhaps those of us with young children could do the following: Not allow our children to be baptized before the age of 18. Tell the Church that since we disagree with its policy toward our LGBTQ brothers and sisters, then in order to spare our children the difficultly of growing up in a home where compassion and acceptance of LGBTQ is expressed, in contrast to the lessons they will hear at Church, that we’ve decided to follow the Church’s lead on this and will allow our children to be considered for baptism at age 18.

  40. What about also silent protest through the wearing some sort of a rainbow tie pin or broach at church…that is after you’ve stopped your tithing and asked for release of calling.

  41. More public stories from those of us who served kiddie baptism missions demonstrating how low a threshold the Church actually places on the baptismal ordinance. As John has talked about, there are many of us out there who served missions where the norm was to baptize droves of kids who never went to Church before or after their baptism. Kids whose relationship with the Church prior to baptism consisted of a condensed one-hour-or-less speed discussion. Missions where kids in the neighborhood who showed up to watch their friend’s baptism were baptized as well after a five-minute discussion with the missionaries. Missions where intellectually disabled people were baptized – more than once, each time counting as a new convert baptism. Kids whose parents were never spoken with about baptism. People who were baptized in secret because their spouse did not consent. Mission presidents who told us to pay the taxi fare for kids to get to and from the Church on the day of their baptism to make sure they got in the water. Missions where we were told at conferences attended by the prophet that some missionaries where we served were baptizing congregations of people at a time and that we should be doing the same. Missions where if a kid or his family had reservations about being baptized the same week as meeting the missionaries, telling the kid that a “prophet” (read: zone leader) would be visiting them the next day to interview them and would be able to tell if they were ready to make that covenant. (Spoiler alert: they were always ready for baptism). Missions where we were told by our mission president that “the celestial kingdom is for the elite, but baptism is for everyone.” These are all personal experiences from my mission. I know there are many whose mission experiences are similar. We should be sharing them more often and lay bare the myth that the Church sets a high threshold for baptism, or that it is generally concerned about the impact of baptism on families.

  42. Great ideas John. I fully support that. I think something small but important we can all do is generally being more open with our Mormon friends about our beliefs about the church and it’s harmful practices. People like you and Kate Kelly are great examples of the power of one courageous persons voice. I feel like so many of us feel content to slink into the night with our dignity intact. While I can understand why as it was my initial reaction as well it only leaves the stalwart faithful at the table for the conversation. The more of us engage in open conversation about our disagreements about doctrines and policies the less they can brush the off the few of us that do as rabble rousers.

    We should hold all people in our society to be accountable for the things they say and do. To be questioned and challenged on their premises. The more we just leave each other to ourselves out of fear of creating hurt feelings or give each other “safe spaces” the more we leave people to confirm their biases only with like minded individuals.

    Let’s not be afraid to politely and respectfully talk about the negative impact the church is having on the society we all share. We all know first hand just how effective Mormons have been at sharing THEIR version of the truth with the world.

    I say: “Every EX-MEMBER a Missionary.”

  43. Everyone with a computer and the internet potentially has a voice. Share your experiences. Be supportive of other people who are brave enough to share their experiences. Amplify their voices by liking, sharing or posting.

    Love your Mormon friends and family members. Be loving and non-judgmental so that if they ever feel hurt, they know you’re a safe person to talk to. Keep working to build post-Mormon communities that are warm and inviting, so that when someone is hurt, they have a community to fall back on. Make it easier for people to make the jump if they need to, and maybe the church will start paying attention.

    Unfortunately, a person who is inactive, excommunicated, or an open disbeliever doesn’t have enough social capital to change the organization from within. So if that’s your situation, I think your efforts are much better spent putting pressure on the church from the outside.

    1. Thanks for your comment. I agree. Loving Mormon friends and family is important, because our lives are often better if we keep strong relationships. In some cases (although not all) we can be examples and teachers, helping our LDS family understand what the major problems are, giving them to opportunity to reflect on them and form their own opinions.

  44. Isn’t the purpose of psychology to assist others to overcome past traumatic experiences and to be able to move on with life? Would a psychologist counsel a woman in an abusive relationship to stay with her abuser but to try and change him? Makes no sense.

    For those who feel that Mormonism is abusive, isn’t the healthiest option to make a clean break and to work toward moving on, completely leaving the past behind? It is surprising that a group of professional psychologists would advocate for the abused to remain with their abuser with the goal of trying to change him. How is that healthy for the abused?

    1. There is no clean break for most. Yes “you” can leave but they keep the hearts and minds of nearly everyone you care about or who “cared” about you. When you belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints your relationships become a lease agreement between you and the Church. How many of your loved ones can you be expected to leave behind?

    2. Isn’t the analogy that the abuser is a parent who (in his way) nurtured and raised you? Who taught you how to view the world and to interact with other people? Not just you, but every one of your siblings, extended family, and friends, too?

      Now, how do you fully abandon any will to make thinks different and better for your family and friends and those to come?

      It is futile to try to rescue the patriarchy of the brethren from itself. But to get folks to see the patriarchy for what it is? I understand why John and others want to make an effort. This said, even if the LDS can find its Francis, the efforts will be similarly Herculean as trying to change the Catholic Church.

  45. I have another idea, but for this one we would need to cooperation of same sex marriage families and their children.
    My idea is to make a video with all the children of same sex marriage couples singing a song about Jesus. If it a primary LDS song, even better. If the children are small, great. all the children wearing white clothes. At the end of the video the scripture of Jesus welcoming all the children will be on the screen.

    But again, this is just an idea. I am not sure if these couples would,like their kids to appear on video. I personally think the video could be uplifting and beautiful and we could make sure it is seen everywhere in the USA, South America and Europa. People need to see with their eyes who are these children that the mormon leadership is hurting with their policies.

  46. There needs to be options listed for people along the entire spectrum, from nonmembers, inactive, ex, and tbms. I know many people who are strong believing members who are quietly horrified by this. But they are never going to take any grand steps that will threaten their membership. What can they do quietly to help? Every little bit counts.

  47. Why can the children of Gay parents wait till 18 and not have any problem? Can all children wait until the age of 18?

    If there is another foundation for this Policy other than “Gay and Transgender people choose to be Gay and Transgender”, I would like to know it. I think the message my family will hear is that “I choose to be Transgender” and the distance between us will grow.

    Why can’t the Lord reveal a way for me not to be Transgender rather than revealing ways to make my life even harder? Better still why can’t He reveal a way for us all to be together they way we were before?

    I read a lot of comments saying just ignore them but that would ignore the very real and tremendous suffering they cause. They can not be ignored. They are too large to be ignored, they control too many things to be ignored including my family.

  48. We must be like the sons of Mosiah

    Alma 17:2-3

    2 Now these sons of Mosiah were with Alma at the time the angel first appeared unto him; therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God.

    3 But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God.

    1. we must search the scriptures diligently, when we do it becomes very apparent this policy is not of Christ and we must be able to show others.

    2. we should be fasting, let our Father in Heaven know that these issues are more important to us than our very lives.

    If we do these things when we teach, we teach with power and authority of God.

  49. I suggest a very professional ad campaign called Meet the “Other” Mormons. It should show male and female married couples with their children in a conservative loving setting.

    The 30-60 second ads should reflect messages of love and support for the church including missionary service and years of callings, etc. The message should then move to the emotional and spiritual strain the new rule changes have brought upon these good families and their children.

    The final message should be to voice your thoughts, concerns, and frustration with local and senior church leadership.

    The ad campaign should be anonymous, without any “sponsorship” to a group or organization so that the church can’t write it off as anti Mormon rhetoric.

    The othe thoughts listed here like being released from callings and stopping of donations will send a message, but this needs to be fought in the court of public opinion. The church is such a large corporation that they have wise attorneys, money managers, and financial consultants on the payroll. They have billions of $$ in reserve for a rainy day just like Bank of America or any other major corporation. The withholding of our individual contributions won’t make a dent in the church’s financial armor unless it was sustained accross all members for a couple of years.

  50. 1) One issue at a time. Those who are inspired to seek change remain a minority. Pressing on many fronts will be unsuccessful. Direct confrontation will also fail.
    2) For me the issue is the new “policy” re same-gender couples and children.

    I propose that all who do not support this decision, it has not been put forward for a vote, sustaining, begin wearing blue shirts to church. It is not a violation and is not so obvious as pink shirts. Thus we know who is on the lords side…

  51. It is easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment. As I think a bit more I believe the church has no intention of changing. They see this as a good thing – a way to purge those who have been agitating for change. While it is true (and wonderful!) that society is changing, it is also true that conservative groups that harden become more resilient even if they’re smaller. Being the other and feeling persecuted is a powerful part of identify in such groups.

    The Brethren are self-selecting — don’t fool yourself if you think there is going to be major positive change in the next twenty or thirty years. The ‘revelation’ on Blacks and the Priesthood came a decade after enormous societal change that found the LDS church way off the track. In more normal times violent moves to the right are moderated, but there are exceptions as we’re seeing in the mideast and here. While there is some social change now – particularly with LBGT issues, but we’re also seeing a large growth in the far right – the country is nearly as polarized as it was 140 years ago. In short the church has social and political cover as its policies are similar to the evangelicals.

    If this is true the church will harden. Getting information out is important so moderate and liberal members can plan accordingly. If you’re a non-believer and are just quietly going along it is time to consider resigning and getting off the records. Some people are going to find this difficult – perhaps mass events and solid instructions would be helpful. If you’re a believer think about the type of God who would allow this. Perhaps this is the wrong church – there are many other ways to worship. Go shopping around.

    John has been focusing on building community. This is exactly the right path. There need to be online kits and seed organizations. Community isn’t easy to sort out.

    If you’re a believer stop paying tithing. If you believe in the tithe, give it to a more efficient and compassionate organization. Quitting callings makes sense too.

    Perhaps this could be done in steps. How about an 18 week, or 18 month, vacation from the organization of the church. No tithing support, no meetings, no callings. Lots of time to bond with your family and enjoy the beauty of the world. Perhaps even find other communities. Tell people you’re hurt and you need the time to think it over – to see if you will return.

    If half the membership did this it would rock the leadership. That isn’t going to happen. LDS and Seventh Day Adventist ranked about even as the churches with the most conservative membership. I’d be surprised if half of those who are upset do anything and that may be a very small number – a few people per ward. Even so it is still worthwhile to be true to yourself.

  52. My only comment on these suggestions is to ask the following question. If the church is a fraud, and I believe it is, why do we seek to find ways to change it. Change it or not, it remains a fraud.

    1. You’re exactly right Robert, no question. All I can say is that what I find here are the true truth seekers, the real Mormons. The truth is in us. The Corporate church is a fraud, but the church of those with a developed conscience is not and never will be. Yes many have lost faith, and for good reason. But in the context of the truth being in us, perhaps faith can be recovered.

    2. That was my question, also, Robert M. The conclusion I’ve come to is that we want to make the Church into a COMFORTABLE fraud. I’ve listened to story after story on the EXMO podcasts by people who know the church is a fraud but don’t feel they can leave because it would tear their family apart to do so. And, in the process of tearing their family and social infrastructure apart, their lives would be shredded.

      If, however, we could change the church into a welcoming, tolerant, member-centric, democratically governed, service oriented organization, then those people who would absolutely freak if we left the current church (the in-laws, our parents, our siblings, half of our grown children, maybe even our spouse), would automatically be brought along into our bright, newly enlightened religion. For the most part they’re going to go where the Church goes. They won’t go where YOU go without kicking and screaming and ruining your life, but if the whole Church changes direction, they will too.

      The church would not be any less of a fraud, but it would be a comfy, far less traumatic fraud. If this could be done, after a while, what you’d have is carbon copy of the Community of Christ, which we could walk down the road and join tomorrow if we had the guts. What we want, though, is for the Community of Christ to come to us. Or not even—what we want is for it to grow up under our feet so that we can enjoy it without having to leave anything or reject anyone who’s going to bite back.

      That’s all I can figure. I bet if it weren’t for the “What about my family?” factor, a third of the church would leave tomorrow and another third the day after that. VERY few people believe this stuff anymore, they just can’t afford to say so.

  53. I think we should contact the LGBTQ school groups at the universities that BYU will be playing in football and let them know of the policy changes. Having schools refuse to participate in sporting events with BYU has had an impact on disgusting church policies in the past.

  54. I agree with so many others about the court of public opinion. They are truly PR sensitive. I’m seeing many people on forums such as this saying they are officially resigning over this issue. However, those resignations will be essentially “invisible” to the rest of the world.

    How about creating a database of names of folks resigning over this issue? Or if they want to remain anonymous, at least a count? It’d require getting the word out so that new exmos could submit their names, but in the end a large N could make a huge impact if enough was done to attract media attention.

  55. How about getting george takei involved? He lives calling out people or organizations who ate behaving I a less than supportive way towards the lgbtq community. If the heads of The Corporation need to be embarrassed or financially threatened to change, getting george takei involved could help!

  56. I suggest a focus on mass resignations.
    In episode 583 there were agreement in the discussion regarding the question if the church did not change the Handbook just to get progressives to leave…
    I second that thought – hence I agree with the church when I suggest mass resignations.
    It would show parents, siblings, cousins, nephews, nieces, friends, co-workers, ward members, etc. that lightning do NOT strike when people follow their own continence. Then they TOO can dare to make their voice heard – membership would then be an OPTION rather than a mandate.
    However, do not focus (mainly) on Utah… GO GLOBAL! There is so much easier for members abroad to leave.
    1) They often do not have the social investment in the church – hence not that much to loose – many are converts who are inactive anyway.
    2) Many cultures (like here in Scandinavia) are less conservative, progressive equality is the norm and Utah is the statistical oddity.
    3) Salt Lake would have a huge problem stopping such a gushing artery, if members tarted to mass resign in other parts of the world – they would HAVE to accept that the church is out of touch with reality and have little to offer those who are not fitting their, increasingly, strict membership criteria.

    GO BIG! GO GLOBAL! GO MASS RESIGN!

  57. I was born into the LDS church and I left the church in all the ways that matter about 20 years ago. I was a young mother and my bishop had some ‘revelation’ about my life that 100% conflicted with my heart. (I was pregnant and he was pressuring me to give up my daughter and not marry my (still) husband) Anyway it’s 20 years later and I have almost no extended family a few people from my HUGE extended LDS family (50+ first cousins) are my friends on FB or say hi once and awhile but we’re not invited to events and things like that. I hardly know them anymore really.

    It’s not that they’re bad people there is just no real way to have a relationship with a large group of mormons without being one. Also from the outside you’re free from the pressure to be perfect all the time which is great. But it also makes it difficult to want to be around people striving for perfection and for them to be around you. No conclusions or anything I am just rambling on because I understand why people stay. The rules are all made up anyway – might as well just do what you want. Just because they say it’s all or nothing doesn’t mean you have to live by that. Pick and choose what you believe. That’s what everyone does anyway really.

  58. Hi John, third time posting on this subject. Just having watched the “Church’s” press release. I am more convinced now than ever of how to approach this situation. First, the community of Christ being the long lost cousin could have picked up this mantle but they have opted to remain silent and not be part of the solution. What they could have done but haven’t, what we can do is this: As intelligent, mature and capable former fellow members we can: First, Ordain Kate Kelly (if she isn’t already), and publisize it! Offer to Baptize the children of any gay couple who’s child wants it. Hold courts of love potentially vindicating those who have been excommunicated by the “church”, and publicize the results.

    This is how you fight the injustice being perpetrated. You fight it with justice. Because while the BOM may not be true, and church leaders may not actually be prophets, we are real and our conscience is real too. You may not be believing enough to be directly involved in this, but you can be a voice to help others conduct these actions.

  59. Here is just a thought for your consideration. I would very much like to see a panel of attorneys put together (maybe by Dehlin) to discuss how the LDS Church might be legally forced to change their ways. Kay Burningham might be an excellent participant. I firmly believe religious freedom is important; however, it is an entirely different matter to claim a book is about real people when it can be shown to be fictional, and for the most part, plagiarized and copied ideas and phrases from other books of Joseph Smith’s day. A few days in a courtroom with a jury would be interesting to say the least. Let’s get some attorneys brainstorming together about how that might actually happen. That would be the trial of the decade. We shouldn’t attack anyone’s right to religious freedom but does that give them right to defraud others under the banner of religion. Where do we draw the line?

  60. What happens if active temple worthy parents live with an adult child in a same-sex relationship? Are they judged as unworthy ‘by association’? Please enlighten.

  61. Ultimately I think these efforts will be ineffective because, sadly, the people that the Church really cares about in this equation will blindly follow anything that that the Church says.

    I would go as far as to say that this policy is intended to further drive a wedge between those who are sympathetic to the LBGTQ community within the church and those who are not.

    The change in attitudes toward the LBGTQ community is already happening within the Church even if at a relatively slow rate. This policy (while I believe it will ultimately fail to achieve what they hope it will) has the intent of inoculating their core membership from the (in their view) insidious change toward acceptance of the LBGTQ community. By cutting off those who by virtue of their family situation are sympathetic to the cause, they hope that they can further insulate those who are not sympathetic at this time.

    Ultimately though, this will only slow the progression and hurt many people in the process.

    I don’t know that I can encourage any sort of protest by those within the Church. Ultimately that is what they want. They are willing to accept the short term negative feelings and press in order to root out the sympathizers. They hope that they will then be able to re-energize those that remain. This may work in the short term, but ultimately it will be a hollow and short term victory.

  62. I think it’s important to keep in mind that forcing change on a religion is a very dangerous thing. It is all too easy to push believers into a defensive mindset that causes them to double-down and become even more rabid in their beliefs. The FLDS church is just the most recent example. The FLDS members view their jailed prophet as a martyr and have now closed ranks more firmly than ever.

    Ironically, polygamy was a fantastic tool for creating a strong community for the LDS church. All the attacks the church suffered through to keep polygamy (including the martyrdom of Joseph Smith) resulted in building a strong community that is now in the millions. By contrast, the RLDS church never adopted polygamy and was prompt to adapt to changing societal norms (e.g. allowing blacks in the priesthood, female ordination, gay clergy). But they kept losing members all the while and are now just a small Community of Christ.

    I am all for trying to bring about change in the LDS church but I think we need to be cautious in how we go about it so as to avoid unintended consequences.

    1. I was about to write virtually the exact same thing Michael. The “belief perseverance effect” suggests that committed people will become more entrenched in their beliefs if presented with contradictory evidence. The last thing that a hyper-conservative church member is going to do is reconsider their belief system because an “outsider” tells them that they might be in error. We have an opportunity to change hearts here, but also the possibility to polarize camps if we are not careful.

  63. John,

    First, thanks for being a mouthpiece and taking a lead on this issue. I’m very grateful.

    Thursday night when the news broke online and then on the 10 O’clock news, I was a bit stunned at first. It took about an hour to sink in in a profound way. I bawled a lot. While I am gay, the tears were not for me. the LDS church cannot hurt me anymore. But my emotional reaction was for people who are still young, or those who are older, gay and held out some hope for acceptance and kindness by the organization that professes to be the dispensary of Christ’s gospel and love. Really?

    I also wept for so many of my straight friends and couples who are ‘progressive’ and who have been so supportive of gay rights over the past couple of years. It has been touching. Many have said to me, “be patient, the Church is changing.” I felt badly that so many goodhearted, thinking, intelligent and accepting people had the legs knocked out from underneath them; by their own Faith.

    I also wept because I trusted the Church. I truly thought that the LGBT community and the Church had come to a mutual peace and respect. I did not see the vitriol and mean spirited actions coming. LGBT individuals and their children have been reduced to annoying and inconvenient objects to be shunned and discarded. Progressive thinkers are also expendable.

    I went to the mountains in Wyoming to truly get away from the SLC hysteria; to think and get some perspective. This ruling truly flies in the face of reason and human kindness. It smacks of a long smoldering resentment that certain octogenarians did not get their way in the legal system, now they are using the power card on the believing. These men are not of God. They do not speak for a loving God.

    So I’ve pondered this. Most LGBT people who are or have been LDS have been through hell and back with the Church. In your SSA study, you indicate that 70% of gay men totally reject religion after coming through their church courts and their humiliating journeys from the time they were young. I would venture that 98% of gays couldn’t care less about what the LDS Church does. However, for those who cling to the faith of their heritage and who are currently practicing, it is an abominable thing that has been done to them and their families. That overnight, you are compared to a felon and a pervert, and are titled an apostate even though you still cling to the faith of your heritage and practice in your local congregation.

    This is the work of lunatics with a delusional sense of power that is so far from the gospel of Christ. The idea of pastoral care to the needs of individuals has gone completely out the window.

    I watched the lame Church press conference interview with Elder Christopherson, while sitting in a cabin in the mountains. Clearly the church PR department was hamstrung to ask only safe questions. The explanations given by Christopherson were lame at best. If the tables had been turned on ‘straights’, using the same explanations, there would be a public uproar. The Church was so afraid of damage control, that no other media were allowed in to the conference to ask honest questions. It was like a wolf guarding the henhouse. Again, with the Church there is no transparency or honesty. None. I had such hopes for Elder Christopherson, and have lost all respect at this point.

    I would be very open to being part of a brainstorming session, wherein some ideas could be formulated that would perhaps be persuasive enough to help the LDS church see a better way. Then again, I ask myself will it ever matter? Do they really care about fellow humans? Is this all a way to turn Bishops into little tithing gathering robots for the Business of the Church, and the Corporation of The President?

    I listened to your podcast of Natasha Helfer Parker, Dr. Kristy Money, Dr. J. Nelson Seawright, and Dr. John Dehlin. It was well done and right on the money! I agree with the conclusions that you all made there.

    I am 62, an excommunicated gay mormon bishop, dad, grandad. At this point in my life I am happy and well adjusted, I also have nothing to lose in life by being an activist; speaking out for humane treatment of others. I feel a great need to help others with wholeness and issues of acceptance, self worth and happiness. It is the young that I particularly care know that life does get better. I’m grateful to so many that have helped me get to this point in life. I’m at a point where a righteous anger is propelling me to do something to help out. I was a target and victim of the sex orientation change therapy that the church pushed in the 80’s. It was cruel and misguided. It was humiliating.

    Let me know what I can do to be of service. I want to help!

  64. HUMOR can be a major component of bringing visibility to the discriminatory practices of the Mormon Church. It needs to be relatively clean, discrete and credible. People love to be entertained. God only knows how much ammunition is available in current and historical LDS policy to support this tact.

  65. As part of a pragmatic, deliberate, well thought-out marketing campaign that is sure to garner media attention is to strategically plant members on any given months “testimony meeting” church-wide and have them bear their testimony on the subject in each of the wards/chapel. You could invite the media in. And, if the Church gets wind of it ahead of time so much the better!

  66. Pray in Sacrament and other meetings.

    As I was in church yesterday I wanted nothing more than to hear the concluding Prayer for their Gay brothers and Sisters. To offer a compassionate plea to soften the Lords heart toward us.

    I think that is something people can do without calling down the wrath of fire upon themselves. Pray for us in sacrament meeting. Pray for us to soften the hearts of the Brethren and the Church.

  67. The church jumped so far off the cliff with the gay issue so it’s almost impossible to repair. But what can be repaired is the child issue by gay parents.
    The church has encouraged gay members to marry the opposite sex in hopes they’ll get over it. So if five or fifteen years down the track and divorces occur we have this issue. Now they are blaming the gays and their children for their ignorance.
    If you can highlight and bring to light the fact that the church has caused this issue and now wants to blanket it. I think at least the brethren will change on the children issue. I do think that is possible. But this blatant blame towards gays by getting at their children is what will bring the lgbt issue to light.
    I honestly don’t think the church will change their stance on lgtb rights but I think they can be embarrassed enough publicaly to fix the rights for children. And then stop harassing lgtb families.

  68. In the recent video apologetic, Elder Christofferson prefers to characterize his role in the church as a shepherd, one who, like Peter, “feeds his sheep”.

    While the “sheep” can voice their discontent in ever increasing numbers, this will not be sufficient to change the shepherds. The reason is that the Brethren are asserting what they believe to be their transcendent “edge” over the sheep. Discontented sheep in ever increasing chorus cannot bleat loud enough to drown out the self-assured voice that divine connection brings; especially if it is delusional.

    Speaking of leaders as shepherds, in ancient Israel Heavenly Father raised up a mouthpiece to condemn the abusive shepherds of the time. Ezekiel pens this:

    Ezekiel 34:1-5
    “And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

    “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?

    “Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock.

    “The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.

    “And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: …”

    There is no more persuasive voice with a shepherd than the disgruntled voice of the owner of the sheep, Heavenly Father. We must deliberately remind these shepherds of the Biblical parallels with Israel because it demonstrates that the “owner of the sheep” hears the disabused bleating of the flock even if the shepherds choose not to. And in his love for the sheep, every sheep, he fired the shepherds.

  69. I think the best way to effect change is to change from within. This is true in people (for the most part) but sometimes change has to be effected from without. It seems to me the best kind of change is the change that comes from talking with loved ones, family, friends (in no particular order) and asking how and what they feel. It’s a big deal to ask someone to explain what, and why they feel the way they do. You are no longer asking someone to explain what someone else feels but to interact on a personal level. This is apparent in many situations that have been exploited by TSCC in the example of Family, isn’t it about time series. No big deal except who doesn’t want a family that cares and goes the extra mile? What closer thing can you do to effect change than to open a families eyes? What better way than to start at home with those we hold most dear and ask why and what they feel. Sometimes we understand how we feel when we are asked to describe it. I believe this is why fast and testimony meeting is so vital to TSCC. If you have no solid foundation for the hurt and pain caused to innocent kiddos who may or may not want to participate in ordinances and are now denied by policy you should back that with scripture. More importantly I defy someone to find scripture preached by Jesus to back that foundation TSCC has now decided to stand on. Just my two cents. Stay classy San Diego.

  70. The headlines show that The University of Missouri has created change (to racist conditions) by their football team going on strike. Today their President and Chancelor resigned.

    It would be awesome to have the BYU Football team or the Tabernacle Choir take a stand like that until the church reverses its recent rules.

  71. For those members who are still active and can do baptisms for the dead, or have children who can perform that ordinance here is an idea:

    Flood your bishops with requests to be first in line to perform baptisms for children who tragically die and have been denied baptism because of this new church policy. If possible you’d also like to perform their temple work as well.

    State that you’d also like to perform those same ordinances for same sex couples who have been ex-communicated for apostasy once they pass into the next world.

    Attack hate with love. Love always wins.

  72. How to effect change — In my humble opinion, the following:
    1) For those of us who can still tolerate church meetings, go and without rancor express your perspective about issues where you feel Church culture or teachings could use additional perspective or change. Every time I speak up on issues in a respectful way in Church, I have members afterwards come up to me and thank me because they share some of those concerns but perhaps didn’t have the courage to express them.
    2) Be true to your ethics and principles, and speak up respectfully. If you have a problem with a Church policy or leader’s action, attempt to discuss it with them in private with sincerity. After many Stake conference talks, I have approached the speaker privately and expressed my concern for his/her comments that I found problematic. Many local leaders have never been made aware of their language or preaching could be offensive to others and why. So in this I provide feedback to the Church on its website feedback forum on a regular basis.
    3) Request a meeting with your priesthood leader to express concern over issues where you believe a teaching or action has impacted a member of the Church or is inconsistent with doctrine, ethics, or morality.
    4)For those who can and feel ok doing so, remain involved. If all members with concerns leave, the only ones left will be more fundamentalist and further support group think. Consider the Church a social support and take what you like of the doctrine and culture and leave the rest. You make covenants with God not with the Church.
    5) Active members of the Church need to sign and present petitions that are carefully written so that the feedback is not only coming from outside the Church or from excommunicated former members, but more forcefully from members still active in the Church. It is easy for the Church to dismiss protest from outside and “apostates” but much harder when concern is expressed from within the church.
    6) If you must vote with your feet and leave the Church, don’t sever your ties with your friends and family within the Church. Speak respectfully to them about your concerns and avoid using pejorative terms for those who still believe. Use of slurs and pejorative language alienates our concerns and legitimate issues from those we wish to understand our perspectives. A variety of perspectives exist in the world religious and nonreligious, We need to be sure our rhetoric and conduct is not destructive and as flawed as that which we disagree with. Frequently we sit on our critical moral high horse and demean others who have belief as if our perspective had an exclusive claim to truth. We destroy without having something to promote to further moral and social progression. We should be honest with ourselves if we believe in no God are our attacks of those who do based on the hurt we felt or our attempts to convince others their belief is unfounded from our perspective? Address distinct issues rather than attack all religion. Does our system of reason and morals stand the test we are hurling at others? Work for what we wish to see not as much against what we don’t want to see.

  73. I am a TBM but struggling deeply with this policy. If LDS aged youth stopped attending seminary and held public walkouts it would get attention fairly quickly.

  74. There is not an effective social media hastag yet. This isn’t the end all be all, but it should be worked on. Also to be effective it really has to separate the frustration over the treatment of children as 2nd class citizens rather than attempt to persuade/change church members feelings homosexuality.

    Perhaps a subtle jab at the 2nd Article of Faith??

    #UnlessAdamWasGay
    #UnlessEveWasReallySteve

  75. Use reverse psychology if you protest or use other means to object the doctrine. I.e., Thank the church for requiring them to be 18 before they can make a decision. They are smarter and more accountable. That is true with
    everyone. Everyone that joins the church should not get a blessing, baptism, membership , prepare for missions etc. until they they are 18. I would make the age requirement 25 . No more 8 year olds! Let the church know they are wrong to make a decision for anyone under the age of 18-25!!!!!!!

    This will cure the whole faith, religion problem for millions of people!!!!!

    1. Love the idea, but it won’t happen of course. I think it would be wonderful if the LDS Church adopted the inspirational practice of refusing baptism etc. to anyone under 18 years old….although 25 is indeed a better option.

  76. Maybe a boycott would work: no more blessings of babies, baptisms or confirmations, ordinations to the priesthood, or missionary service until the policy is changed.

    I can imagine even eight year old children organizing their own boycott if one of their friends was denied baptism.

  77. I’m with John. I know some people think these kinds of protest are nothing against a corporation, but that’s where you’re wrong. They’re everything. This is how change is started, and people that think it’s useless are the reason movements like these loose inertia and feel unorganized. Anything and everything helps. We’ve seen it with the recordings and we’ve seen it with the leaks. We know they monitor this subreddit and we know they don’t like it. These men need to be exposed and held responsible even if it’s for dumb comments like Ballard’s lipstick remarks.

  78. I would like a bumper sticker simular to the HRC Campaign that Says “I’m Out”.
    While I was stuggling and saw the “=” I felt a community and support that made a real difference just seeing those signs.

    1. I’d love a bumper sticker. I’d use it. I know several who probably would. And I’m not a bumper sticker kinda guy.

      I’ve taken a few days to get some perspective on this whole thing, amidst a lot of tears, texts, emails, social media, etc. It’s time for a break and some fresh air. I feel that nothing is going to change the rigid position of the brethren so soon after this thing has been released. In spite of it not even being called a revelation. The thing is wrong on so many levels.

      Protests won’t work.

      Letters and petitions may be useful.

      I also feel that some really great video public service announcements, online ads, YouTube videos, and print ads about what a gay person(s) is would be educational and change hearts. Fear is what is driving this among some of the leaders and followers. To see real people and real lives, and the effects of this on people is what will change policy.

      An example might be: Two elderly women chatting over the fence. In the background is a nice looking young man in his twenties with a child on his shoulders, playing. Maybe clipping grandma’s hedge. One of the women eventually says, ” I love my grandson Ryan. His little girl Megan is the light of our lives. I love his partner John, too. They are so good to me and they’re gay. They’ve been a blessing in my life!”

      One could be of a young lesbian mom kneeling by her two year old’s bed, helping her with her nighttime prayers.

      Maybe a family reunion where family of all types are shown, including a gay couple who are the favorite aunts.

      Or a fun wedding celebration where you’re not quite sure who is getting married til the end when a couple of young men are being hugged by family as they are sent off, following the party. The family is genuine their love. The young men are equally loving, healthy and expressive to their family.

      Okay, okay, I’m not a script writer, but I feel that positive messages that also support the good people out there who support LGBT people is important. We can’t come at this from a negative angle towards Mormons. If we do, they will further entrench. There have been so many sweet acts of kindness and expressions of love and embarrassment over this, the past 5 days. I just feel that we need to honor that and recognize good people everywhere, who have great hearts and open minds. These are average, sweet people who are standing up to the bull#$@@!#. While some of these folks might have timidity about repercussions from others within their faith because of their support, this will let folks know that it is okay. Others are doing it, and you can too.

      There are so many stories and scripts that could be written and shown. Maybe a campaign tag line could be something like : “Lives change where love is shown” Or something else.

      Just a thought.

  79. I live in a ward dominated by elderly members who will primarily focus on homosexuality whenever we talk about strengthening the family and will constantly insinuate that Democrats are trying to thwart God’s will. After a heated discussion last week over the policy in which the echo chamber wanted to reassure themselves that nothing was different, that it is in the child’s best interest because the church says it is doing it for the child’s best interest….I started thinking about what testimonies will be like next Fast Sunday. Just thinking about hearing the pious echo chamber bear testimony about this, and shame any who question that this is not divinely inspired…it made me realize that there is no way I can hear that testimony after testimony. So I plan to walk out peacefully during any such testimony. So how about a testimony meeting walk out ward by ward?

  80. After reading through the posts, I still believe that the church would care the most about dwindling numbers then about our voices.
    My reasoning: If we leave then the church may either – go more conservative, from loosing progressive voices – OR – go more relaxed, from not having to argue with progressives. The question is: who’s voice is stronger and who controls the agenda? I would answer the church, we are much less synced and organized. We do not have the lawyers to write protocol or the PR-department to blast marching-orders. Liberals are like cats, you can not heard them… 🙂
    The less they hear our voice the less they have to dig into the trenches. But, if we keep quiet and just walk away they will be confused.and focus on how to stop the fall-away. Since it is “all about the numbers”, they would flip over backwards to show that they are still growing.

  81. This is how the church will get the message and will reverse the policy on LBGT and children. Get the collages that play BYU to boycott their games. Over time this might happen on its own, if the policy continues and America keeps growing further from church teachings/practice.
    I am not too sure on how things happened with blacks and priesthood and anit-racist protest/boycotts in the latter 70’s But I believe some members of the UTEP track team did boycott and not run against BYU and Colorado State basketball halftime turned into a riot at half time when BYU cheerleaders danced.
    Nothing more will change the grassroots members more and wake up the brethren when BYU faithful go to Saturday afternoon football game and there will be noting to cheer for, the other team doesn’t show up!

    1. I agree. The only thing more important to TBMs and Chapel Mormons than being the number one church is being number one in sports.
      I think the root of what you said is still bad PR. And boycotting or shaming BYU is about the worst kind.

  82. If feel it is important to flood our local, regional, and SLC leadership with voices of dissent. I know where to send a letter to my bishop and Stake President, but where would one send a letter for most impact in SLC? Who would you even address it to – we all know President Monson isn’t going to read it. Any recommendations on who and where to send letters to would be helpful to me.

  83. The church humanitarian aid is always accepting donations of new handmade quilts. What if we made gorgeous RAINBOW colored quilts and flooded Salt Lake City with them? I know what the church does with donations is out of our hands, but what if we did this as a statement of protest for the current policy and love for our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. What if we did it because we believe that every child deserves the comfort and companionship of the Holy Spirit of our Savior? Make a rainbow quilt. Show your support and love of ALL of God’s children. And put a loving action to your outrage over this policy.

  84. Bad publicity. That’s what the Church responds to.

    If they get enough bad publicity then they slowly start to address it.

    Examples:

    – The Church released essays
    – Clarification on its Same-Gender Marriage and Children Policies
    – Delayed excommunication of high profile members
    – The seer stone article
    – Women praying in General Conference

    The list goes on.

  85. I didn’t go to church last Sunday out of frustration. I was reluctant to go today but did and sat in the foyer with my 11 year-old son.

    What if, across the entire church, those who still attend but disagree with this policy sat in the foyer during sacrament meeting, every Sunday? The real power would come if everyone knew what was going on. Maybe a few simple emails to various leaders and other members to get the word out. Social media could also quickly get the word out, across the globe. Some catchy phase to go with it would help. Sort of a “sit-in”. “Sit-in for change” ?

    If a significant portion of the ward was sitting in the foyer each Sunday, on folding chairs, spilling into the hallways, it would get attention. It would also be a way to express your opinion but still attend, still take the sacrament if you want. Some who have stopped attending may want to come and sit in the foyer just to quietly show support for change. No picket lines. No banners. Just a simple statement by where you sit.

  86. Let me quote from the Mormon Stories Community guidelines:
    “We strive to build a safe bridge between tradition and belief and uncorrelated belief or non-belief. We attempt to create a respectful, safe place for believers and non-believers alike.”
    “…we feel strongly that in order for Mormon Stories to be a safe bridge between traditional belief and uncorrelated or non-belief we must strive to make Mormon Stories safe for believers and non-believers alike.”

    Without assessing the reasons for the recent changes in the positions on both sides, may I safely assert that this guideline is dead, now?

    Thanks for the heads-up.
    Henning

      1. It looks like no one had any thoughts on this point.
        So I will briefly explain where I am coming from.
        A small number of group members have now left our closed German-language FB group after they said that “What has Mormon Stories on it has John Dehlin in it.” and they are basing this stance on this very discussion here.
        These members (as most others) had joined our group because the Mormon Stories communities were founded on the above mentioned principles which they understood to be a moral platform for uncorrelated and safe dialogue. They think this kind of ‘lets see how we can fight against the church more effectively’ activism goes too far (a frantically yelling Kate Kelly on a symposium like its 1917 Moscow or some 18th century barricade in Paris comes to mind here.) And I can see where they are coming from.

        This very discussion is in and of itself not helping (even if I was quite impressed with Samuel the Lamanite’s post in this discussion).
        The church itself has harmed itself more than any of us could, And my recommendation is to take the high road and to let the church stand in exactly the sad and cold corner it has meneuvered itself into.
        My hope would be that we continue to openly and publicly express our positive and genuine journeys of healing and understanding.
        I personally find it alot more worthwhile to build a positive identity – whether you call it ‘Community of Good’ or ‘Community of Christ’ or ‘Mormon Transitions’ – and to capitalize on that.
        Based on its founding values Mormon Stories was a bridge. Through its 2010’s decisions the church has moved further to the right. If we now move left all those who will need it for a while will have nothing to stand on.

  87. Remind the LDS leaders that they are supposed to follow the teachings in the New Testament — NOT the old Testament of Leviticus. Jesus did not condemn homosexuals, and his latter=day followers should not, either. The rulings regarding same-sex marriage are splitting families apart — including mine. What good can come of that? The Church has professed to be a strong supporter of families — and families are the backbone of society. People who adopt children or raise the children of others are forming a family that will love and care for them. What’s wrong with increasing the amount of love in the world?

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