Join us as we discuss Mormon Apostle Dallin H. Oaks’ recent and somewhat shocking remarks delivered at the University of Virginia regarding the LDS Church’s evolving strategy regarding “religious freedom” and LGBTQ rights in the  United States.  Elder Oaks specifically described this address as “the most difficult address [he has] ever undertaken”.

Show Notes:

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  1. Garth Jones November 18, 2021 at 9:32 am - Reply

    There is a huge irony that Oaks would go to the University of Virginia law school to argue that there should not be a wall of separation between church and state but rather a curtain between church and state. The U of V was founded by Thomas Jefferson who first coined the phrase wall of separation to describe the relationship between church and state enshrined in our Constitution.

    When I was a law student at BYU (YBU), the university was promoting the saying that BYU was the “Harvard of the west.” After studying the Supreme Court’s opinion in the Bob Jones University, several of my friends and I referred to BYU as the “Bob Jones University of the west.”

    One other note, Oaks was a law clerk to Chief Justice Earl Warren around the time that the Supreme Court addressed the constitutionality of prayer in public schools. Oaks was also a prominent law professor at the University of Chicago Law School.

  2. Jay Larsen November 18, 2021 at 1:32 pm - Reply

    I protest my taxes being paid to institutions that discriminate against any marginalized group of people.

  3. Jon Ellington November 18, 2021 at 2:06 pm - Reply

    MP3. Version?

  4. Cassandra November 18, 2021 at 4:32 pm - Reply

    Will you link to the On The Record article referenced in the podcast?

  5. John November 24, 2021 at 5:47 pm - Reply

    Oak’s speech is appalling on so many levels. He presumes to direct both sides in how to behave, as if that is his decision to make. He charges both sides to act in good faith, despite the fact that he has absolutely no intention of doing so – that’s a tactic to handcuff his opposition. He doesn’t want to be called a bigot, yet he never considers looking inward and correcting the behavior that makes that label so descriptive of him.

    Oaks has shown everyone exactly what his motivations are, in the leaked videos during the training sessions provided by Gerritt Gong. When discussing the subject of homosexuality, he says that they (the church) must “manage the message”. That is what he is about – control. He cannot be negotiated with, he has not had any sort of moment of enlightenment on the topic. It’s all a fake. I hope that the people who wish to find common ground with him and the church learned their lesson in 2015, after Tom Perry used Equality Utah’s leadership as a photo op, then proceeded to stab them in the back a month later in Conference. Never trust them.

  6. Old Dog December 28, 2021 at 10:23 am - Reply

    This is the best Mormon Stories podcast ever! Well done! Your panel of very bright, intelligent, sincere, young people was so impressive. My heart goes out to those of you who have had to deal with so much trauma. The image of the electric shock torture, water boarding, touching by a woman is shocking and sticks in my mind. I am OUTRAGED and ANGERED. An underlying toxic environment must exist in a church that produces leaders who think this is OK. Voltaire said, “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” It is heartening to see you triumphing over the trauma and abuse and moving forward to fight for change. I see a better future ahead, and I am sure you will all be instrumental in making that happen.

    Regarding Dallin Oaks. Who does he think he is kidding? What hubris to think he could address a group of sharp, young lawyers and pull the wool over their eyes by mischaracterizing discrimination exceptions as a “win-win” or a “compromise.” As you played Oaks’ talk, quote after quote, I kept thinking, “Dallin, have you no shame?” His cockeyed misrepresentations and outright lies disqualify him from the lofty position he holds as a representative of Christ. I have tried to figure out what makes him tick, and all I can conclude is that he must cling to every archaic attitude and harsh word of the Bible and fancy himself an Old Testament prophet akin to Moses. Leviticus 20:13, “If a man lie with mankind as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.” Or he thinks of himself as a New Testament prophet akin to Paul. Romans 1:26, “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature.” To Jospeh Smith’s credit, as far as i can see, there is no mention at all in the LDS scriptures about homosexuality. Times change, knowledge expands, and social and scientific advances are made much more rapidly than religions can evolve. Oaks is the old guard and has not caught up yet.

    I have tossed out the scriptures and left the church, and have concluded that everyone needs to just get back to basics. All we need is one simple creed, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This is not a new idea, and Christianity does not have a patent on it. It goes at least back to Confucius around 500 B.C.E. He said, “Do not do unto others what you would not want done unto you.” This puts an emphasis on doing no harm. The LDS church has a lot of good and well intentioned people in it and could be so much better if it abandoned the scriptures altogether, and the hierarchy, and the patriarchy, and operated solely based on three words, DO NO HARM.

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