Yesterday, Stephen Carter published a nice blogpost at Rational Faiths called Did You Keep Your Baptismal Covenants this Week? reminding members of their covenantal obligations to”mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort” in the wake of the devastating, family-ripping policy that was silently put into Handbook 1 of the Church.
In response, Angela Peterson Fallentine of Mormon Women Stand published a piece titled Murmuring With Those That Murmur. The blogpost is as bad as you might expect (actually, it’s probably worse). The article not only includes errors and unsubstantiated claims, but it shows that the people of Mormon Women Stand are as much Cafetaria Mormons as they would claim John Dehlin is/was.
All with very public criticism of “the Church” (aka the doctrine and policies set forth by prophets and apostles) via social media. In a twist, those who are supportive of the prophets and apostles are now being asked to “mourn with those that mourn” — when they’re ultimately being asked to “murmur with those who murmur.”
That’s an interesting definition she give of “the Church”, one I’m sure chosen to avoid taking about “the Church” as the corporation sole that owns the trademark The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “the Church” as members, or “the Church” as the administrators that run the corporation and its holdings. In her blogpost, with a title that she likely thinks is a cute modification of scripture, she trivializes covenants that she herself considers sacred by likening mourning with those that mourn [over the new policy] as murmuring with those that murmur. Really, in the entire article she is babbling with the babblers of the hate group World Congress of Families.
Walking away from the Church is meant to be a form of public protest of what some see as injustice. Yet do they truly understand that as they do so, they walk away from the Savior and their families?
It’s ironic that she the talks about walking away. If you remember the Parable of the Good Samaritan, there was a man beaten, stripped, and left for dead. Two religious men (a priest and Levite) walked by and did nothing, walking away. They let their interpretation of the Law act as a wall between someone suffering and themselves. I’m sure they were so proud of themselves, though, for keeping kept the Law. But remember, Jesus came to break down the “wall of partition” (Ephesians 2:14). Fallentine, no doubt, is a modern-day priest, congratulating herself for re-building walls that Jesus broke down, walls that provide her comfortable distance from people that are suffering.
I am personally aware of fathers and mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers grieving and mourning because their sons or daughters or grandchildren have declared they are walking away from the truth (or distancing themselves from the truth) because of this new policy. Perhaps even right now there are husbands and wives who are contending between doctrine of marriage and eternal families and the philosophies of men. This is no light matter, especially for those who have made covenants with Heavenly Father in holy temples.
She does seem to recognize some mourning, but to her not all mourning is created equally.
There is contention in Zion, and Satan is gleefully wringing his hands together right now. As Elder Maxwell has said, “No one knows how to work a crowd better than the adversary.”
Yes, there is contention in Zion. Going back to Ephesians 2, the author explains that the walls of division were the Law and the source of hostility. Jesus broke down the was by fulfilling the law with the ultimate goal of ending the hostility. The irony of in her comment is that the contention she wants to blame on Satan is in fact the result of the walls she continues to build and support. She is actually acting against Jesus by building the walls he came to tear down.
Now, we get to an interesting part that show insight into the mind of the conservative side of LDS Church membership:
Perhaps one of the underlying reasons that isn’t really being mentioned much is those that have hoped for support for same-sex relationships in the Church now have a sudden realization that the door has been fully closed. Closed on the hope, albeit misguided, that in some future day, homosexual relationships, gay marriage or gay adoption will be accepted or condoned by the Church. Some have gone as far as to express the thought that the Church will eventually change the temple ceremony to accommodate homosexual relationships. Now that policy states with perfect clarity that those living in same sex relationships are acting in apostasy and face disciplinary council and potential excommunication, all hope of same-sex marriage being accepted in the Church are dashed.
I didn’t cite it earlier, but in the first paragraph Valentine claims “these policy updates come directly from The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles” (unsubstantiated) and that it is proof of their ability to “prophesy, see and reveal”. Since she places such revelatory and prophetic weight on these secretly developed and released policy decisions, of course she views it as the end of an acceptance of same-sex marriage in the Church. It confirms her hopes and desires: to exclude and build walls. It’s a good thing that policies “come and go.”
She ends with a plea (her emphasis):
Please avoid those posts and groups that feed on criticism, “loyal opposition” and dissent. They do not know or love you and your family the way Heavenly Father does.
I make the same plea. Avoid people, their posts, and their online groups that want to build walls that Jesus tore down, that support policy decisions that harm children and faithful members, that support hate groups and their agendas, and that trivialize their basic covenantal obligations from baptism to mourn with those that mourn.