The new LDS Church General Handbook of Instructions is now available. Join us as we first provide a general overview of the Handbook changes in Part 1, and then welcome an all-star panel of Natasha Helfer Parker, Gina Colvin, Anthony D. Miller, Kyle Ashworth, Samantha Taylor, and Jana Johnson Spangler for Parts 2-4. Initial analysis of the changes may be found below our audio/video links.

Part 1 – John gives a general overview of the Handbook changes:

Part 2 – The panel provides commentary on changes to church discipline:

Part 3 – The panel provides commentary on changes to attitudes and policies regarding LGBQ believers:

Part 4 – The panel provides commentary on changes to attitudes and policies regarding transgender believers:

Part 1

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Part 2

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Part 3

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Part 4

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Some initial analysis (will update over time):
  • More of the General Handbook is publicly available than ever before.  Replaces Handbooks I and II (For the most part?  Some things till hidden?)
  • Apostasy/Church Discipline Issues
    • Disciplinary councils have been renamed to “Membership Councils.”
    • The Mormon church has officially eliminated the punishments of “excommunication” and “disfellowshipped.” The new term for excommunication is “Withdrawal of church membership.” The new term for disfellowshipped is “Formal membership restrictions.”
    • Many disciplinary (Membership) councils are now being pushed to bishops (priesthood-holding males included). Bishops must get approval from stake presidents to hold a disciplinary (Membership) council.
    • Stake high councilmen are no longer required at stake-level disciplinary (Membership) councils, and are now optional.
    • Apostasy is no longer included in the list of behaviors requiring a disciplinary (Membership) council. But it is still an act that can warrant a disciplinary (Membership) council. Huh?
    • New additions to criteria of apostasy:
      • “Showing a pattern of intentionally working to weaken the faith and activity of Church members.”
      • Formally joining another church and promoting its teachings (Total inactivity in the Church or attending another church does not by itself constitute apostasy. However, if a member formally joins another church and advocates its teachings, withdrawing his or her membership may be necessary.)
    • Behaviors REQUIRING a disciplinary (Membership) council: Murder, Rape, Sexual assault conviction, Child or youth abuse, Violent predatory behavior, Incest, Child pornography, Plural marriage, Sexual predatory behavior, Financial predatory behavior, such as fraud and similar activities, Serious sin while holding a prominent Church position, Any felony conviction
    • Behaviors where disciplinary (Membership) councils are optional (“May be necessary”): Attempted murder, Sexual abuse, including assault and harassment, Abuse of a spouse or another adult, Adultery, fornication, same-sex relations, cohabitation, civil unions and partnerships, same-sex marriage, Intensive or compulsive use of pornography that has caused significant harm to a member’s marriage or family, robbery, burglary, theft, or embezzlement, Perjury, Serious sin while holding a position of authority or trust in the Church or the community, Serious sin that is widely known, Abortion, Pattern of serious sins, Deliberate abandonment of family responsibilities, including nonpayment of child support and alimony, Sale of illegal drugs, Other serious criminal acts.
    • Financial fraud seems to be elevated as something that is punishable.  Finally!
  • LGBQ
    • Church is more comfortable using “same-sex attraction” label, vs. “same-gender attraction.”  SSA still problematic.
    • Same-sex sexual activity seems to now be placed at the same level as extramarital heterosexual sexual activity. Both are frowned upon, but disciplinary (Membership) councils are now optional for both. Same-sex sexual activity seems to no longer be classified as more “perverted” or “abominable” than straight, unmarried sex.
    • Same-sex marriage is no longer listed as an act of apostasy, and is also no longer listed as a behavior requiring a disciplinary (Membership) council.  Instead, councils are “optional,” which leaves legal same-sex married couples vulnerable to leadership roulette.
    • Same-sex marriage is still not approved of.
    • I cannot find any language regarding the denial of baptism from children of same-sex-married parents.
    • Blessings and baptisms of children require only one custodial parent to give permission.
    • I also cannot find any of the past “denunciation” language regarding children of same-sex married couples. This entire policy/doctrine may have totally disappeared.
    • As long as an LGBTQ member is “striving” to live the law of chastity, they are allowed to hold a calling.
    • BYU removed LGBTQ language about “homosexual behavior” from Honor Code on the same day.
  • Transgender Issues
    • The word “Transgender” was used for the first time.
    • Regarding gender and transgender individuals, what’s most important to the church is that one’s gender always remains consistent with one’s biological sex at birth. This is the church’s gender-based “line in the sand,” and that is what must remained fixed for a transgender Mormon to remain in good standing.
    • The church is OK with a member identifying as transgender. Transgender individuals may be baptized, confirmed, take sacrament, etc.
    • The church has provided a way for a transgender member to update their preferred name and/or pronouns in the membership record system.
    • Transgender individuals are discouraged from doing any medical or surgical operations, or from engaging in “social transitions” (changing their gender identity, name, pronouns, dress/grooming styles) as a part of their transition. If they do, “membership restrictions” will be applied for the duration of their transition. (Does this mean that once the transition is completed, they return to full standing?)
    • Transgender members who have undergone transgender-related surgery are forbidden from temple service or the exercising of priesthood.
    • Membership restrictions for gender-transitioning individuals (e.g., in the process of changing name, pronouns, appearance, surgery) include receiving/exercising the priesthood, receiving/using a temple recommend, and receiving some church callings.
    • Transgender individuals considering transgender-related surgery are not allowed to be baptized. Transgender individuals who have undergone such surgery can only be baptized with First Presidency approval, and will be banned from priesthood participation or temple attendance as members.
    • “For those born with “ambiguous genitalia” or “intersex,” parents or others, with the cooperation of medical professionals, will have to determine their child’s sex. Questions about “membership records, priesthood ordination, and temple ordinances” for those members should be directed to the First Presidency.”
    • Note at the end of this section: “Some content in this section may undergo further revision.”
  • Protect Children
    • Bishops and stake presidents are still not encouraged to immediately notify the police when they are informed about sexual abuse of a child. Instead they are still encouraged to only call the Kirton and McConkie hotline.
  • Women and the Patriarchy
    • Young Mormon men are encouraged to serve missions. Young Mormon women, “when they desire,” “may be recommend to serve missions.”
    • The church softened its stance on surrogacy.  Church still discourages it, but sealing surrogate child to parents no longer requires First Presidency approval. (Reiss: “Sternly worded prohibition that is slowly moderated over time.  Will likely be moderated over time, like contraception)
    • The Mormon church still TOTALLY and OFFICIALLY believes in eternal polygamy.
    • “All Latter-day Saints, regardless of gender or church assignment, exercise delegated priesthood authority when they are given formal service opportunities in their congregations. “All church members who keep their covenants — women, men, and children — are blessed with God’s priesthood power in their homes to strengthen themselves and their families.” Only men and male youths, however, can be ordained to priesthood offices.
    • “The church “condemns” female genital mutilation, a not uncommon practice in some parts of the world where the faith operates. The handbook notes that “additional policy direction” will be coming on this issue.”
  • General Policies
    • Word of Wisdom section provides a link to D&C 89 for individual interpretation, and the only clarifications it provides are “no coffee and tea,” “no illegal drugs,” and no “harmful or habit-forming substances except under the care of a competent physician.” This seems to clear the way for medical legal recreational marijuana to be ok. It also seems to allow members to decide for themselves if wine and beer are acceptable (since they are allowed in D&C 89).
    • “Ties and white shirts are no longer mentioned as being “recommended” for young male deacons passing the sacrament; now they should just be “well groomed and clean.” The notion that members should “partake” of the bread and water “with their right hand when possible” was added.”
    • Any display of romantic behavior and/or discussing one’s sexual orientation are discouraged during church services.
    • “Efforts are reinforced to persuade members, media and others to refer to the church by its full name and cease using shortened terms like “Mormon” and “LDS.””
    • “The “four aspects of God’s work” are detailed as “living the gospel of Jesus Christ; caring for those in need; inviting all to receive the gospel; and uniting families for eternity.”


  • Overall Reflections and Questions
    • Membership/Disciplinary Councils
      • Do Mormons who have been excommunicated and/or disfellowshipped get clarifications or apologies?
      • What’s the difference between excommunication and “withdrawal of church membership?”
      • As someone who as been excommunicated, I actually think the change in wording from excommunicated/disfellowshipped to “membership withdrawn” is an improvement.
      • The list of mandatory vs. optional reasons for a disciplinary (membership) council are pretty much along the lines of: Council required if they break the law, Council option if they don’t break the law
      • Why in the HE%& are the following behaviors OPTIONAL for a disciplinary (Membership) council?: Attempted murder, Sexual abuse, including assault and harassment, Abuse of a spouse or another adult, robbery, burglary, theft, or embezzlement, Perjury, Sale of illegal drugs, Other serious criminal acts.
      • Pushing things down to local leader discretion makes many vulnerable to “Leadership Roulette”
      • Why is one’s punishment more severe if their sin is widely known?
      • Does the new disciplinary/membership system set up a “Caste System” of sorts?  Like we had with People of Color prior to 1978?
    • Transgender Issues
      • Why are elective breast reduction and augmentation allowed, but “top surgery” to reduce gender dysphoria renders you unworthy for temple or priesthood service?\
      • Since any transgender expression carries immediate church discipline, does that not mean that the church considers transgender expression to be worse than these behaviors wherein church discipline is optional? (e.g., Attempted murder, Sexual abuse, including assault and harassment, Abuse of a spouse or another adult, robbery, burglary, theft, or embezzlement, Perjury, Sale of illegal drugs, Other serious criminal acts).
      • What does it mean if you are allowed to call yourself transgender, but you are not allowed to change your name, pronouns, appearance, or have any medical procedures to actually express your identity without church punishment?
      • Are the church’s transgender policies much like its November 2015 LGBTQ policies and other social issues policies in the past….in that they will evolve and become more open and lenient over time?
    • LGBTQ Issues
      • Does this open the door to same-sex married couples having a place at church?
      • If so, what about past same-sex married couples who were excommunicated?
      • If you are an LGBTQ Mormon, how much of a consolation is it to know that even though “….[your] circumstances…do not allow [you] to receive the blessings of eternal marriage and parenthood in this life….[you] will receive all promised blessings in the eternities, provided [you] keep the covenants [you] have made with God”? What type of life does that leave you?
      • If a gay Mormon puts his arm around his boyfriend or spouse at church is that now forbidden? Is it then also forbidden for a straight Mormon to put their arm around their partner?
    • Protect Children
      • Why are Mormon bishops not instructed to IMMEDIATELY call the police or Child Protective Services if they are made aware of the sexual or physical abuse of a child?
    • Feminism/Women’s Issues
      • Why is polygamy both ex-communicable (or should I say “withdrawal of church membership-able”?), yet also explicitely practiced by our top leaders (e.g., Nelson and Oaks)?
      • Why the variance in expectations for Young Men vs. Young Women in missions?
    •  General
      • Is Diet Coke not a “habit forming substance”?
      • Where are the apologies for the harm caused by past policies/doctrine that have been eliminated or corrected? My understanding is that many people died as a result of the November 2015 policy alone.If leaders “got it wrong” with past policies/doctrines – sometimes in very harmful or even fatal ways – how do we have confidence that these guidelines are any better, or any more divine?
      • How much of this is a “Victory” of sorts for Progressive and Post-Mormon critics and activists?  Are they the new prophets of the Mormon church?
      • Are Mormon progressives and ex-Mormon critics basically spending their time as unofficial “service missionaries” dedicated to improving Mormonism?
What musings or questions would you add?


  1. AE Moss February 19, 2020 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    Two questions: 1) Should LGBTQ people remain celibate? and 2) CAN they remain celibate? I know plenty of grossly overweight LDS women who are now in their 50s, and they have never been married, and will never be. They are active in the Church, and always have been. Are they celibate? I would say they probably are. Are they going to bars to try to pick up men? I would say, no. Would they get married and have kids if they were not active Mormons? Hmmmm, as long as there are ex-felons who cannot find jobs, who need places to stay and three hots a a cot, obese women can find men. Just very low quality men. I knew very effeminate gay Mormon men in San Francisco, who were 100% active. If they had lovers, I didn’t know it. If they did, they hid it well. They knew what the Church taught on homosexuality. They were active anyway. At least one of them was engaged to a very, very sexy active Mormon woman, and he’s way a more Femme than she was. Should they remain celibate? If the Church is true, they should, because the eternal and earthly “blessings” are great. I don’t believe the Church is true. CAN THEY remain celibate? I think some do, and some marry women, and during marriage they fantasy that the women are men (i.e. turn them over). But true celibacy means no porn and no masturbation. Very difficult for most men! For some reason, God made men able to make babies at 12 or 13, maybe 14 or 15. What’s up wid dat??? Ok, God is “testing” us. Ok, well, I failed that test, over and over gain. Yet, God keeps testing. How many times can I fail this test before God admits I can’t pass it? Apparently, I can fail that test until Hell freezes over, if I just attend my meetings and pay my tithing.

    If Russell M. Nelson is a true Prophet, then he could ask God “Why is being gay bad, and why did you make people such if you don’t want them to be gay?” Of course, The Lord would part the heavens and say:

    Verily, thus saith the Lord unto my servant Russell
    2 I have given men and women weaknesses, to test them, saith the Lord
    3 For it needs be that all men and women are tested, to prove their faithfulness to my gospel
    4 And I, the Lord, do not give men burdens so heavy that they cannot bear them.
    5 And I, the Lord, do not give men the same burdens, but varied burdens.
    6 Same-sex attraction is a burden I have given to some men and women, to try them, like
    gold is tried by fire.
    7 And should they overcome this burden in this life, their reward is eternal life, which
    is eternal happiness, eternal increase, worlds without end.
    8 And should they fall and stumble in this thing an hundred times, but always repent
    and be faithful and obedient to my chosen servants, I, the Lord, will forgive their sins.
    9 But should they reject my servants, and head not their words, and keep not
    their counsels, and commit this sin even once, without confession and repentance,
    then I, the Lord, will not blot out this sin, and they shall inherit a lesser kingdom,
    and their bodies will no longer be able to produce seed, and the bodies of the
    women shall be barren, for all eternity: for they have become like the chaff when
    it is separated from the grain, to be cast away by the wind and trodden under.
    10 Verily I say unto you, my servant who is called Russell, the mender of hearts,
    that same-sex attraction is not a sin, but sodomy is a sin, and when one man
    uses another man, or a boy, as a woman, that is a great abomination before me,
    and, unless followed by confession and true repentance, will bring upon all
    those involved in this abomination damnation, and wailing, and gnashing
    of teeth, in the resurrection of the unjust.
    11 So, my servant, the mender of hearts, proclaim to this generation nothing
    but repentance, and obedience to mine anointed, for I come quickly, at a time
    no man expects, and I shall deal harshly with the hypocrite, and mercifully
    with the repentant who seeketh my forgiveness. Even so, Amen.

    So, don’t worry, Rusty is gonna publish this Revelation during the April Conference.
    That should clear things up nicely.
    P.S. Abortion is NOT forbidden in the Church. All the girl has to say is “I was raped”
    and she is given the option of abortion as long as she is not in her third semester.
    Sandy Utah is the date-rape capital of the U.S., as well as the virgin-birth capital North America.
    Abortion by married women is more difficult, unless she claims her husband
    raped her. That is more problematic, and does bring a Church Court of Love.

    • josh h February 19, 2020 at 1:56 pm - Reply

      AEMoss: please provide a source for your assertions about Sandy, Utah (where I happen to live)

      • AEMOSS February 21, 2020 at 1:00 am - Reply

        Oh, golly, you’re right. All Mormon girls are virgins at marriage. They never would never date a man or boy who was wicked, so, they just can’t be date-raped. And, again, NO Mormon woman in Sandy, nor any place else, has claimed she “didn’t know” how she got pregnant because she “has never had sex”. Golly, never happened. But, yes, it has. Ask the Salt Lake County Prosecutor’s Office about “rape and Mormon girls”. See what they tell you.

        • JonFB February 21, 2020 at 3:23 pm - Reply

          AEMOSS, are you claiming that your source for the claim that “Sandy Utah is the date-rape capital of the U.S., as well as the virgin-birth capital North America.” is the SL County Prosecutor’s Office? If so, when did you ask them and what was the data they provided?

          • AEMoss February 23, 2020 at 12:10 pm


            1) What is the rape stat in Sandy Utah compared with the natural rape rate. Go to the following website, and scroll down to about the middle, and you’ll see Sandy Utah rape compared with the natural average.
            2) Call the Rape Recover Center of Utah. They are in Salt Lake City, but they know about Sandy. Ask to speak to the Director. Otherwise, you’ll get a volunteer who “may” just be starting and does not know the answer to your questions such as “How does Sandy compare to the national in rape?” and “How prevalent is date-rape in Mormon culture in Utah?” Again, if you get a 19 year old UofU student volunteer, she probably is not going to have the info. You need to ask someone who works there and has been there for years.
            3) You can call the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office, Sandy Branch. Ask the questions:
            a) If Sandy Utah has a great than average amount of rape than nationally, why does it not have a greater than average amount of arrests and convictions (or does it)? If not, why not?
            b) Someone reported on the Internet that Sandy Utah had a lot of incident of women getting pregnant and reporting they did not know how the got pregnant, have you ever heard of this?
            c) Did any Mormon women or girls who claimed raped also claim that their bishop told them to marry their rapist?

            Again, if you get a paralegal whose been there less than a year, you probably won’t get any answers, because the woman does not know. You have to get in touch with a prosecutor whose been there awhile. I was told what I wrote above by the former director of the Utah Rape Recovery Center, who quit in 2015. She told me (probably in 2011 or 2012) over the phone:
            (not direct quotes but close enough):

            *Date rape is a huge problem in much of Utah but especially Sandy.
            *Mormon girls often continue to to date and even have a relationship with their attacker after the date-rape, which makes them almost impossible to prosecute as rape as the law defines it.
            *I’ve heard of plenty of cases where a Mormon girl gets pregnant, but claims she has never had sex of any kind.
            *Often if a Mormon girl gets pregnant from a rape, her bishop will tell her she should marry the man or she would face Church discipline.
            That woman’s name is Holly. Look her up. Ask her about this. I don’t know if John Dehlin has ever interviewed her. If not, he should.

      • AEMoss February 23, 2020 at 1:33 pm - Reply

        See my response to JONFB below. Compare rape stat of Sandy Utah, with national average (not “natural”….I was tipsy when I wrote that). Contact Holly, the former director of Rape Recovery Center of Utah. Ask her the questions listed below. Also, you can “try” to call the Salt Lake County DA office, and speak with a long-term prosecutor or long-term paralegal (more than a year there) and ask: “Why does Sandy have a much higher than national rape stat, but a far below national average of rape arrests of convictions?” Mind you, the person you speak to, especially if male, will take the question as an insult, a personal insult to them (because many there are Narcissists and have egos to match Mount Olympus). But, you may get a nice woman who will try to answer your question. Worth a try. My points are VALID:
        *Rape is much higher in Sandy than the national (not natural) average, why?
        *Why are rape arrests and rape prosecutions WAY Under the national average. Why?
        *Have any pregnant Mormon girls in Sandy EVER claimed that they did not know how they became pregnant? (i.e. virgin births)
        *Have any pregnant unwed Mormon girls told the DA office that they were raped, and then they told their bishops, and their bishops
        told them to MARRY the man who raped them?
        Try it. Let us know what they tell you. If you get a DUDE he’s gonna get angry and ask you your full name, perhaps where you live, and/or hang-up on you. Best best is to talk to a female attorney whose been there more than 3 years.

    • D. Michael Martindale February 20, 2020 at 4:14 pm - Reply

      What’s with the fat-shaming?

      • AEMoss February 23, 2020 at 12:13 pm - Reply

        There are no fat Mormon women. Every Mormon woman is beautiful, and exactly like God made her. Every Mormon woman is a pure virgin until marriage, never lies, and never willfully sins. Mormon women would never date, much less marry, any man who was not temple-worthy: Mormon or Gentile.

  2. L Johnson February 20, 2020 at 11:34 am - Reply

    So- if apostasy no longer is cause for excommunication, how many Excommunications would have been prevented in the past, if that were the case back then and how many from the present and future are being avoided? The majority?? Including yours, John? Seems the cult is making it increasingly more difficult to leave.

  3. Margaret McDonald February 20, 2020 at 4:09 pm - Reply

    1. Yes, Diet Coke is indeed addictive. I’m glad I resigned so I can enjoy it guilt-free. I cannot drink red wine as I have a rather severe reaction to it (think stomach pain so severe I had to go to the ER). I do not like beer. I am inclined not to drink alcohol regardless of my church membership. I do really enjoy tea, and my Dr. recommends drinking green tea every day for health benefits. I do not understand why the policy is so insistent against tea and coffee while allowing some things that seem to me to be more harmful.
    2. I do not understand why financial predatory behavior rates a mandatory disciplinary council, while much more physically harmful behaviors such as attempted murder and sexual assault are optional!?! For god’s sake, attempted murder means you tried to kill someone! And may have injured them badly in the process. What is WRONG with these people? I always thought the GAs were leaders in their fields – businessmen, doctors, educators. I thought they should be pretty smart. Apparently they didn’t stop to think about the message they are sending with this manual. It makes zero sense to me. Not logical. I’m glad I am free of their “leadership.”
    3. Maybe church leaders need to get out of people’s bedrooms and instead encourage healthy monogamous, loving relationships (between consenting adults, of course) instead of dictating the specifics of what is and isn’t allowed. I’m not LGBTQ+ and I’m the first to admit I just don’t get all that, but why are they making such a big deal about it? Hand holding or arms around shoulders not appropriate in church? Who cares if someone does that. I would smile at someone who obviously loves their partner. People who talk about sexual preferences in church or otherwise mixed company, are outside the bounds of good taste and we all know when we’re crossing that line. They have to dictate that? Odd that they think they need to. They’d do a lot less harm if they go after people who bully, abuse, gossip, cheat, take advantage of other people. Now those are some behaviors that should get you sat down and talked to.

    • AEMoss February 22, 2020 at 6:17 pm - Reply

      Mormon Swingers? Why not? If the Church gets out of my bedroom, who gets to tell me what to do in my bedroom?
      p.s. One of my suggested to the Brethren was to “get of Disfellowshipping” because to “disfellowship” means to SHUN and Disfellowship in Mormon terms NEVER MEANT shunning! Yes, I told the Brethren to get rid of 17 men in a small room surrounding some compulsive porn addict why he’s a wanker.

      The true SHUNNING by Mormons happens when:
      1) You are poor, and go to a wealthy Ward
      2) You are unattractive, and go to a wealthy Ward
      3) You drive a junky car, and go to a wealthy Ward
      4) You smoke, and clothing and breath smells like a Nevada casino
      5) You are black, and you attend a Ward in a very rural area of Utah or eastern Idaho
      6) You are Rock Waterman, and you critique the Church leadership online
      7) You are Denver Snuffer, and you critique Church leaders, in a very Tellytubby way, in books

      • Adam July 27, 2020 at 10:58 am - Reply

        Bull! I am a convert to the church for over 20 years now and I have NEVER seen poor people shunned and we’ve had plenty of tobacco users embraced and loves as everyone else. While few in the church may have a holier than thou attitude, this list is the exception and not the rule.

  4. D. Michael Martindale February 20, 2020 at 4:16 pm - Reply

    The improvements are baby steps, some only cosmetic. The other things not constituting improvement, especially non-reporting of sexual abuse, are inexcusable.

  5. Julie February 20, 2020 at 5:49 pm - Reply

    I know this is very small in comparison to the other issues, but why are they throwing in discrimination against those of us who are left handed?

  6. TAMLYN BODINE HEATON February 21, 2020 at 3:49 pm - Reply

    The power differential remain the same. This still continues the destructive belief that “men” know all that is needed. My experience as women and a retired therapist and friend to many men and women leads me to conclude that the LDS Church heirarchy is lacking the truth of people. For example a good friend of mine was not allowed to see her secret church file, but figured out there were letter in there from past abusive priesthood leaders. Her voice was not only absent it was clearly not wanted. This is a church of “men” and as a result it missing the women’s experiences and voices. Thus is a disciplinary counsel or what you want to call changed…not really.

  7. Rentrah February 21, 2020 at 10:53 pm - Reply

    Do I still need to talk to my bishop before getting a vasectomy?

    • Rentrah February 21, 2020 at 10:57 pm - Reply

      asking for a friend…

  8. Nicole Allison February 22, 2020 at 1:11 pm - Reply

    Trans and cis are opposites. If you are cisgender, your gender identity matches birth sex. If you are transgender, your gender identity is different from birth sex. So, saying one can’t identity as anything other than cisgender, then you can not identify as transgender. Mn

    • AEMoss February 23, 2020 at 2:06 pm - Reply

      Good point! Dallin Oaks was an idiot when he said in general conference that everyone is born either male or female. Not true. Some are born hermaphrodites to one degree or another. Philo of Alexandria, a Jew who lived in Egypt around the time of Jesus, referred to them was men-women and women-men. In other words, the men-women were born closer to the male pole, and the women-men were born closer to the female pole. Dallin Oaks is a great lawyer. However, I don’t even think that FairMormon would use his arguments, because they are lame as hell. I think Elder Gong set him straight in some meeting. Elder Gong is pretty sharp. He really researches things, and he is really current on the issues (by current I mean well-informed, not Liberal). Jesus himself said: “Some men are born eunuchs, others are made eunuchs by men, but still others became eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven”. The born-eunuchs are the men-women that Philo was referring to. Made eunuchs are young slaves who were castrated so they could serve in the household of rulers (who usually had harems of young gorgeous women who often walked around nude in the HARAM or “forbidden” (i.e. women only) part of the great houses of rulers. “Those who become eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven” were the Essenes, who refused to marry, remained celibate but did not marry women.

      Did the Essenes have sex with each other? That is like asking do Catholic monks have sex with each other. Probably happens. Do ALL (100%) of active male homosexual Mormons, active in the Church, have male lovers? I would say PROBABLY at some time in their life. Almost never on the missions. Some are more committed than others. Others keep it secret. Others avoid it. People are different. The Essenes were followers of “The Teacher of Righteousness” and no scholar knows who this Teacher was. Moses nowhere taught celibacy. However, this “Teacher of Righteousness” did. Some scholars speculate that the Teacher of Righteousness that the Essenes followed (along with the Law of Moses) was the Greek philosopher Pythagoras, who taught his disciples celibacy, and had them dress is all white linen (they did not wear the skins or fur of slaughtered animals). The Essenes were known to wear white linen, and, like the Pythagoreans, were celibate. Why were the Pythagroeans celibate? Probably had to do with the Gnostic belief that we are souls trapped in matter, and having sex will only trap us again and not release our souls to return to the Plemora (Fulness of Light). Teachings such as this were popular in the Greek Mystery Schools, which were popular at the time of Pythagoras, about 600 B.C.

      What did Jesus mean when He said that “some men become eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven”? He means that the Essenes remain celibate because they desires to be freed from the bondage of matter, and escape the “world of darkness” so they could ascend to the “world of light” (Plemora). This was a common Gnostic theme at the time of Jesus, before it, and after Him. To do that one had to “withhold his seed within him” (i.e. become a pure celibate overcoming all sexual desire otherwise known as a MOOSHLAAM “Perfected, Completed one”). You can read about this in the Third Epistle of John (brother of Jesus) where he says that the person who is saves “sins not, and his seed is within him”. Bible scholars think John was saying that God sends His “semen” (the holy spirit) to dwell in the born-again person. NO!!! John was saying that a Perfected/Completed ONE (Mooshlaam) has overcome all desire to sin, and all sexual desire completely, and thus “his seed tarries within him”. Read that, in 3rd John. The Jains of India teach the same thing, that ones becomes an Arahant (a god, a perfect one) only when one overcomes the 7 ego desires (sexual desire, desire for wealth, desire for vindication, etc.). This is why some early Christians were known as “saints” (holy ones), those who practiced “virginity” meaning those who abstained from all sexual practices (even masturbation): because they were on the Straight and Narrow Path, a Path which few could walk because it was so difficult

      No, men-women and women-men are not trans-sexual. You are correct. They are not TRANSitioning from one thing to another. They are simply deciding to identify with the “gender pole” that they are closest to. Some Hermaphs don’t identify with either and won’t use “him” or “her” or “he” or “she” but various concoctions such as “they” and “them” etc. Some call them “heshe’s”.

      The Church is slowly recognizing the fact that there are men-women and women-men, and does not quite know what to do with them. However, just a generation ago, any woman-man raised male who decided to identify as a woman, was excommunicated and shunned. Now, men-women and women-men can choose to identify as one of the other, and probably not be endowed or receive the priesthood, and of course never sealed in the Temple (until after death). So, things are changing, ever-so-slowly.

      • AEMoss February 23, 2020 at 2:48 pm - Reply

        Errata: 1 John 2:26

        King James Bible
        Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

        “his seed” is interested by Catholic and Protestant scholars today as “God’s seed (semen)=the Holy Spirit.

        Yes, Christians believe that the Holy Spirit is Gods’ “semen”.

        Actually, the correct version would be:

        Whosoever is born of God, born of God’s Holy Spirit, and has reached the state of mooshlaam (perfected/completed), that man’s seed remains in him, and his seed does not leave his body [i.e. via sexual relations, masturbation, nocturnal emissions known as “wet dreams”] , he he cannot sin [he is mooshlaam/sinless/perfected/completed], because he is born of God [i.e. born again, has a new clean soul]”

        The Hebrew word “mooshlaam” is translated “fully instructed” in English Bibles, in the Gospels. A mistranslation. The word “mooshlaam” means “perfected/completed/whole”. In Sufi Islaam, this is called “fana’i’llah” (Dying in God). When you annihilate your nafs/self/ego, God begets you again, as an angel. In Jainism, this is called becoming an Arahant (a god, free of the 7 earthly desires).

  9. Heather February 26, 2020 at 9:41 am - Reply

    I believe the change to have most of the membership councils with the Bishop, and to no longer have 15 men there, are moves to protect the church in sexual abuse cases. This is where a lot of the church sees bad press. They want to keep the decisions at the lowest level possible so if it goes public at some point, the higher layers of church leadership can say it’s all handled by a layperson, volunteer Bishop, and they weren’t involved. By including less people in the councils, they limit how many people know about abuse cases, so word doesn’t get out to the ward and there’s less chance someone would be compelled to go to the authorities or more victims will come forward. If they can keep the people who know about abuse cases to just “the Bishop & councilors”, there’s also less chance the church would be mandated to report. This all to protect the church’s reputation and finances above all else.

    • AEMoss February 26, 2020 at 5:53 pm - Reply

      Heather…Damn, I think you
      you’re probably right!!! I had not even thought of that. More secrecy. More cover-up.

      The Brethren care about protecting the following things:

      1) Their blood relatives (even the pedophiles)
      2) the blood relatives of the “Second Anointed” (those who have been through the Second Anointing…even the pedophiles)
      3) the “image” of Church leaders (including Stake Presidents and Bishops) as always inspired of God (remember Elder Uchtdorf said that “members and leaders” made mistakes in the past? Then notice how he now travels around Europe giving missionary pep-talks instead of being one of the Big Kahunahs)
      4) the Church “assets” (aw….the Church Assets!!! If the Church is rich…and getting richer…so it must be true!)

      I call these “The Top 4”. The rank-and-file Members are expendable compared to the Top 4.

    • AEmoss February 26, 2020 at 6:05 pm - Reply

      Heather. I apologize. You are not “probably” right. You ARE right! Mormon Profits, Sears, and Regulators are Pharisees in blue suits. Yes, I said that. Yes, I served a mission, with the very possible exception of Uchtdorf who seems like a very nice guy who invested too much time and money and work into a religious-Amway/religious Mary Kay Cosmetics, that he thinks he can’t get out of it now.

  10. Mormon X February 27, 2020 at 4:08 pm - Reply

    OH COME ON! Tea is still against the Word of Wisdom. Now it’s just personal on the part of the general authorities because they don’t like a nice cold glass of ice tea. So now I have to continue to hide my consumption of tea from my wife and kids. I have to hide my empty cans of Arizona Green Tea beneath the rubbish in my recycling bin. I feel like this is equivalent to hiding contraband like my weed or Playboy magazine (of which I don’t have either to clear the record but I have friends that do) from my family. I’m an active, non-believing member who is frustrated beyond description that I have to let this bogus religion have this strong influence on every aspect of my life such as what I can and can not drink. But I have to keep the peace and fake my way through this.

  11. Jedi Mind Tricks February 28, 2020 at 8:21 am - Reply

    Not sure if this got discussed in the podcasts, but the language regarding sealing is that women are sealed to men, and men have women sealed TO them. Men are not sealed to women. Men are the hub, women are the spokes. I was curious if the handbook language would change given the changes to the temple liturgy, but it appears not. How the church can claim to not practice polygamy is astounding to me. Sealing is for all time and eternity. The present is part of ‘all time and eternity’, is it not?

  12. Pish March 4, 2020 at 9:33 am - Reply

    I want to add that the church will never apologize, I do not need the church to apologize to fix what is still happening. I just need them to openly state what the new beliefs are. They do not need to say they made a mistake, just identify that the church does not suggest gay people marry heterosexual partners, and that they believe being gay is not a choice. Also it would be nice if they should state any family that would disown or shun a gay family member simply because they came out is in gross error and guilty of abandoning their family responsibilities.

  13. Happy Exmo March 10, 2020 at 11:16 pm - Reply

    I would love to see a followup from all these panelists now that the church and their holy university has backflipped on allowing LGBT members to show affection. I think LGBT members need to hold off on getting excited about any changes the church makes whilst Oaks, Bednar, and Nelson are still alive. They will never stop persecuting LGBT members.

    It’s not all negative though – this backflip is giving the Mormon church so much bad publicity that their dismal 1.3% growth rate will turn into an actual decline that will increase with every year.

  14. Joan Galloway September 1, 2020 at 1:12 am - Reply

    I have found all of this extremely interesting. Particularly with regard to transgender issues. Members being unkind and insisting that I should kick my son out (“your house, your rules” which was actually husband’s rules and now that I am in my own house, it’s our house our rules; and “born a boy, always a boy”) did not make me leave the church but when a good friend told me that The Book of Mormon was plagairised, I did investigate and the evidence was damning. I went from being absolutely believing to non-believing overnight.
    Even after I was excommunicated, I still believed that the church was true. I didn’t want to be rebaptised because I thought that once an organisation kicks you out, you should take the hint and just stay out but my then husband wanted to be baptised, so we were. The irony is that, we wouldn’t even be disciplined now. I don’t find it all surprising that financial predation is worse than any other kind of harm and requires a hearing because so many members judge their worth on how much money they have and getting caught ripping someone off is actually worse than doing it. Maybe if you’re willing to prey on others, you’re less likely to pay a full tithing, fast offering, endowment, missionary , educational, building and any other fund than those who do pay tithing.
    I also find it laughable that one of the missions of the church is to help others when self-reliance is the big thing here.
    I think that I’m just tired of the world being run by rich, old, white men who have no clue about the lived experiences of people outside their group and are so willing to park reason at the door when their feelings are stirred.

  15. Donald Thomason September 25, 2020 at 11:13 pm - Reply

    The Scottish Kilt is a a recognized garment, therefore it should be authorized to be worn in Church. Temple garments should allow a white Scottish kilt for wear in the Temple for Temple business–this would eliminate the discrimination against Scots being experienced today, A member of the MacFarlane Clan of Scotland, currently I am being discriminated against b y Temple directives, which in reality is against the law in the United States Civil Rights Act of 1964. This prevents me from doing Temple business in all Temple aspects required for Celestral positioning beyond the Veil.

  16. glen September 25, 2022 at 8:15 am - Reply

    is a wife refusing to have sex with her husband a sexual sin and in violation of the temple covenants of a temple sealing(marriage)?

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