Children and the handbooks timeline (updated)


Credit to Laura Compton for assembling this.

The first Church Handbook of Instruction was published in 1900 in response to Lorenzo Snow’s tithing visits to Southern Utah.  The handbook only speaks about how to handle Tithing.

April 1935 – The policy for polygamous parents’ kids has gone through several iterations since it first showed up in April 1935. 

“The children of men and women who have been excommunicated from the Church because of their having entered into illicit relations under the guise of plural marriage be not baptized until they have sufficient understanding to apply intelligently for baptism, give assurance that they accept the teaching and doctrines of the Church and express regret for the opposition manifested by their parents to the rules of the Church. There is no consistency in baptizing a child and having him re-enter a home, the spirit of which is antagonistic to the authorities of the Church, and out of harmony with its principles.”

1960 – The final sentence about having kids re-enter homes was removed, From 1960-2010 there was no requirement kids leave their parents.

1968 – Plural marriage was changed to “so-called plural marriage.”

1983 – bishops were first directed to forward questions about specific cases to the First Presidency. Up until that time baptism was a local matter.

1989 – the responsibility for baptism was no longer one children had to request; instead the bishop had to be satisfied baptizees understood and accepted teaching and doctrines and repudiated the teachings that led to their parents’ excommunications.

1998 – First Presidency permission for all polygamous baptism began to be required. Mission presidents and bishops are recognized as having need to review (and forward to the first presidency) requests for baptizing children whose parents had been excommunicated for practicing plural marriage.

2006 – Policies regarding children from plural marriages referenced only those children whose parents had been excommunicated from the Church. Prior to 2006, the policy did not clearly address children whose polygamous parents were not LDS members.

From 1935 – 2006, the policy on its face applied only to children whose parents had been members but then had been ex’d for turning to polygamy. (Probably not a lot of cases for the First Presidency to review each year.)

2010 – Handbook language is changes closer to the original 1935 letter than any of the intervening iterations, despite taking approval out of the hands of local leaders. It currently reads:

“Children of parents who have practiced or are practicing plural marriage contrary to the law must receive approval from the First Presidency before they may be baptized and confirmed. The mission president may request this approval from the Office of the First Presidency when he is satisfied that all three of the following requirements are met:

“(1) The children accept the teaching and doctrines of the Church

“(2) The children repudiate the teachings upon which their parents based their practice of plural marriage.

“(3) Minor children are not living in a home where polygamy is being taught or practiced.”

[updated 11/13/2015 1:15 p.m. to add current details to timeline]

Nov 5th, 2015 –  Handbook update is leaked by John Dehlin discussing excommunication of legally married gays and prevention of baptism by children who have legally and lawfully married homosexual parents.

Nov 6th, 2015D. Todd Christopherson gives an emergency interview to quell the backlash

Updates get national media attention on major media outlets.

Nov 13, 2015Clarification is issued by the church officially regarding the policy.  A list of outstanding questions and issues along with their consequences

Michael Otterson releases a PR article about “understanding the Handbook”.  The PR announcement turns a “Leak of private policy” into a “Letter from the First Presidency” as causing the debate which is a deliberate deception.

That prompted questions from many Church members, who were mostly reading media headlines portraying the instructions as a rejection of children and refusal to name babies

I think the lack of mention that this was a leak of the official handbook on how Bishops and Stake Presidents were to act, with all the context that exists in the handbook for all issues makes this statement also a blatant lie.  I’d dare Mr. Otterson to back up “most members” got their information from headlines vs. those who immediately were able to look up the details and get all the context that the church would have provided local leaders with if this had not become a national issue.  It was not misleading headlines that caused the issue.

He then makes a statement that is shocking and disturbing:

A purpose of the Handbook is to provide bishops and other leaders with a standard reference point when they make decisions. Because it is a policy and procedural manual, the Handbook is not written in language that is necessarily contextual or explanatory.

The handbook, which he admits is there to “…guide lay leaders of the church in 30,000 congregations across the world” doesn’t provide context or explantory language.  It is simply a “Do this” set of commands with no explanation.  And this is how it is for 90% of issues.  Members, I think mostly assume that leaders have reasons as to why the do things, but this illustrates that no, no context is given for instructions.

He then admits

  • There is new information in the Handbook that addresses a narrow range of situations involving the children of same-sex couples.

But still gives nowhere to go to get full context or answer all questions.  This is not PR, this is propaganda.  With most questions still unanswered the admitted issues with the policy should give anyone reading it pause.


The same-sex marriage requirements are very similar to the current polygamy requirements, but those requirements have only been extant in their current form for about 5 years.  One of the key differences is that, in fact, polygamous unions that are legal would not require First Presidency approval, while LEGAL homosexual unions do.  This may seem like a minor difference, but when it is, in summary; not recognizing marriages that are legal and lawful.

(Take a look at the Edmund Tucker Act, and General Authority statements about it if you want to see when the LDS church, itself, wanted uncommon marriages recognized as legitimate) 

[updated 11/13/2015 1:15 p.m.] The church is being blatantly dishonest with members when they were caught with this policy.  They are attempting to spin the story to alter the facts.  This is the same accusation made of the detractors of Joseph Smith Jr. and the church.  This is not moral.  We encourage the church to be “Honest in their dealings with their fellow men” and admit that this policy is hurtful, still hateful, and that the PR department is more concerned with saving face than honesty.

Posted in Current issues | 2 Comments

A pet peeve of mine

I know that pet peeves can be silly, and this one is.  This really bugs me though.  Children’s bible stories:

greatadventuresThe cartoon style to appeal to children, while at the same time including rape, murder, homosexual relations as a condemnation of God, the concept that God would murder everyone on Earth, etc.  But even more so is right there, in the front on the right.

No no, not the burley Sampson guy who’s barber-job was hated by God so much God let him die.  No the puppy.

You see that dog there by the kid?  And puppies are always placed next to children in these books.  Dogs were unclean under jewish law:

“27 And whatsoever goeth upon its paws, among all beasts that go on all fours, they are unclean unto you; whoso toucheth their carcass shall be unclean until the even. 28 And he that beareth the carcass of them shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even; they are unclean unto you.”

Which means not to eat dogs.  Simple enough.

Out of the 40 references (in English Bibles) to dogs, most are decidedly uncomplimentary. Dogs are generally described as licking blood, eating vomitus, or consuming a carcass. When not doing these activities, they are described as being outside of God’s city, or dumb (as in “unable to speak”) or greedy. Ecclesiastes 9.4 (“a living dog is better than a dead lion”) is the only passage that might even conceivably be complimentary to dogs, and that’s a stretch.

Modern Jews have often extended this to include a prohibition of touching even a living dog. The question I’m posing is whether Jews in Palestine in the time of Christ would have felt that such touching was forbidden.

So these kids bible stories are very definitely “Modern Christian” and often depict kids and dogs together like we have them today.  Something that would be mildly offensive, I imagine to the modern Jew.

I know small stuff, but it’s one of those things that I think the artist could take a few minutes to study and be accurate, rather than to sell to the audience.  “See, Jesus loved puppies just like you!”

Regardless of that, there is also the overly-young characterization of David.


or other characters to sell the idea to children.  I get that the idea is that David was a young man during the story; but they tend to go all out to where he looks 1st or 2nd grade.  And when little Johny gets into a fight with a 5th grader and gets the tar beat out of him without God coming down and guiding his fighting ability, this over-sell is partially to blame.

Selling death, sexually explicit situations, and historical inaccuracy to children, all in the name of the modern concept of God.


Posted in Current issues | 1 Comment

Imagine that you’re driving down a highway…

And you recognize the school bus in front of you as coming from your home town.  Not just that, but as you pull along side it, you realize that it is, in fact, from your old school.

SchoolbusA wash of nostalgia comes over you and you think about old times at that school.  Then you see something grey drop away from the school bus windows.

“Punk kids are littering,” you think, feeling a touch of guilt that something familiar to you could be seen in a negative light.

Then you see another grey thing drop out and realize, to your horror that it is a cat.  You’re both going slow enough that the cat survives, although dazed.  What are they doing?

Then another one drops and it is a kitten.  Astounded you push your car up to the front of the bus to try and see if the bus driver is aware.  You ponder calling the police over animal cruelty.  What can anyone do?

falling kitten

Continue reading

Posted in Current issues | Leave a comment

Were we lied to by church leaders?

History vs. Heritage

While I like the trip down history lane given by the blog linked above, the individual writing leaves out some important moments in history

While the church is, without question, paying the price for promoting an overly-simplified “heritage” approach to history, I don’t think the motive was based in intentional deceptiionThat is to say, the author completely skips the formation of the correlation committee and it’s stated goal of making the manuals all tell the same story; and reducing “What it means to be mormon” down to 72 notecards.

In addition here are times the church and the leadership were intentionally deceitful. Anyone who gets this article as evidence that they shouldn’t claim lies can rebut with this post:

The count goes on and on.  I could literally spend an entire 24 hours writing about specific lies told by leadership, passed off as revelation, or direct attempts by individuals within the correlation department to deceive members.  I leave you with my own tale:

I was EQ instructor and prepping a lesson I turned to the Brigham Young manual.  There I saw a quote that said something to the effect of “Celestial marriage … is the benefit of every man”.  I forget the exact quote, but I remember the trail.  I looked at the footnote for the quote and saw it point to a Deseret News article published in 1977.  I remember thinking that someone must have miss attributed the quote; because Brigham didn’t live in 1977; and citing a source rather than a source of a source (Hugh Nibley’s big complaint about Fawn Brodie) is sloppy history/writing.  So I looked up that news article and it cited a 1976 manual.

Geez, I thought, I don’t have time to track them all down.  I pulled out my copy of “The Prophet Speaks”, published by the church and sold at Deseret Book; supposedly of every talk ever given by Prophets, and looked up the quote.  It wasn’t there.  Now I have a slew of 1970’s quotes of Brigham Young, and a clearly missing quote in a book published by the church.

So I went to the internet.  Typed in the quote that I had and presto, I found the actual quote was “Celestial marriage, which is polygamy,  is the benefit of every man”

It was very clear this was intentional deception.  This wasn’t the history department trying, and having Leonard Arrington blah blah blah.  This was someone who knew the truth and had control and power to alter what members thought, burying their tracks intentionally.  And the deception covered a range of news articles, published works, and official church manuals.  Finding another dozen or so of these led me to where I am today.

So I will keep saying the church lies, thank you.  It’s not a simple matter of Heritage vs. History; this is outright deception, codified and incorporated on an institutional scale.

Posted in Current issues | 8 Comments

An Exmormon view into the new Star Wars

I’ve seen several posts on here about the Star Wars trailer. I want to voice my own concerns as I think it is a shared experience among many of us that is hard to identify, let alone vocalize.


I am excited for Star Wars VII. Like, really excited. I have the same cautious “This could suck, I hope there is no Jar Jar” feelings that everyone has. But I also find another feeling deep down that needs to be discussed. That is, the message of Star Wars resonated with me as a member.

And I know I’m not alone. There is a reason that Yoda shows up in the Book of Mormon Musical as a voice in Arnold’s head. There was a feeling about the Force and the Priesthood; a similarity that although not stated directly, frequently came up in the nerd-discussions as I grew up or even in Elder’s Qurum.

“Well, the Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together”

The Priesthood is the power by which planets are made[1] . It is how God governs the heavens[2] . It is the force that makes the elements obey God[3] . One can see how Mormons are big Star Wars fans naturally as they believe they have access to this Force.

And this isn’t by accident. George Lucas said that he wanted a generic “Force” that would incorporate religion into his universe without it being a single religion[4] .

“I wanted it to be a traditional moral study, to have some sort of palpable precepts in it that children could understand,” said Lucas, in a recent New Yorker interview. “There is always a lesson to be learned. … Traditionally, we get them from church, the family, art and in the modern world we get them from the media — from movies.”

Now, as a person who has left a religion that has a Force that does not function, I worry that the movies will feel preachy. Too frequently the answer to problems presented by Hollywood is “Just believe”. As Luke Skywalker races down the Death Star trench in A New Hope, and he “Let’s go” and “Trusts his feelings” the message is to have faith and it will work better than even “a computer”.

Better watch your mouth, kid, or you’ll find yourself floating home. Smug Superiority.

Star Trek, I find, to more often require Science, even standing up in direct defiance of gods (Such as Apollo, Q, Trelain and event supposedly God, himself in Eden in Star Trek V. The idea that mortal man can stand up to Gods with the attributes and science we have is a foundational principle of Star Trek. Not that Star Trek and Star Wars are opposites, but in this aspect, the difference is surprisingly central to my emotions.

You may be a God, but we wil judge you, you will not Judge us!

I find myself hoping that they won’t rely on Faith as the answer to all problems in the new Star Wars movies. I find myself preferring Han Solo’s “Ancient religions and hokey weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side” philosophy far more appealing that Obiwan. I see Obiwan’s lies to Luke as central to later problems. In the prequels, the corruption of the Jedi order, the enforced celibacy for no reason, the simple slip-ups in security while over-focusing on restrictive rules all seem key to the Jedi order. In my mind, the “Good guys” aren’t necessarily good. They are corrupt, bending natural processes and excluding the general populous from access in order to set themselves up as special.

A bit of me will be cheering for all of those without the force, trying to make the odds without the special powers or following religious rites. People who traveled the Universe and saw a lot of things but still don’t believe there is one all power Force that controls everything. Maybe that’s why I find Hon Solo saying “it’s all true” to be a bit disturbing.

Mind you, in that Galaxy Far, far away, if you use the force, you see actual, physical evidence. The lightsaber comes to your hand, the person is choked, your speed is increased.

I hope we find midichlorians entirely removed as a concept. Access to the Force for everyone, and a fighting dynamic beyond “Light side” and “Dark side” where tougher questions are asked of the religion.

And I’m afraid that no matter how spectacular the special effects, and the craft of the actors, there is a bit of me that will be struggling at the basic premise of the impact of religion on the nature of man; and how easy it is for those with exclusiveness to form needless rules and regulations over substance and real value. I am afraid I may have lost the ability to enjoy such a movie as I did in my youth.


Posted in Current issues | 4 Comments

BtGC – Our Heritage

Our Heritage

(Compare to this talk and this talk)

We come from the heavens, we are made from the heavens.  Science and Religion need not be at odds.

My beloved brothers and sisters, my dear friends, it is a joy to be with you today. We are saddened by the sight of three empty places here on the stand. We miss President Packer, Elder Perry, and Elder Scott.  Death is a reminder to all that this life is a temporal time and that we should use that time well.

Not long ago I saw a quote that made me stop and think. It went like this: “Tell a man there is an invisible man in the sky, and he’ll believe you. Tell him there’s wet paint on the wall, and he’ll touch it just to be sure” -Anonymous .  We are the guardians of people’s faith.  We are trusted by millions to teach correct principles about the man in the sky as well to warn against touching the wet paint.  It is an awesome responsibility and not one any of us who stand as witnesses of the name of Christ take lightly.

When I go to my medical caretakers, I go to individuals trained in science.  They spend years learning the methods of skepticism to ensure that when they find an answer, it is the only answer.  I am a man of faith.  When I try to approach ailments and infirmities I view it from an eternal perspective, with a lens of faith.  Of course, researching things for ourselves is not a bad idea, and viewing things with a lens of faith is valuable, but I still go to the doctor.  Even I rely on skepics.

Sometimes, we want the truth to seem straightforward, plain, too simple because we of what we have experienced and know to be true through faith, that we disregard those who spend years learning precise mechanism to pursue more mysterious or complicated information. Hopefully, we will never think those who spend lifetimes becoming experts in scientific fields are merely chasing after shadows or pursuing matters that have little substance and value simply because we have the gospel.

Let me be clear: there is something noble or impressive about being cynical. Skepticism is difficult—but anyone can do it. However, the faithful life that requires moral strength, dedication, and courage is also valuable. Those who hold fast to both faith and can still ask questions are far more impressive than those who live by either alone.

In the Church, we learn that we are children of our heavenly parents, placed lovingly in mortal bodies.  Science teaches that stars that exploded billions of years ago formed the planets and stars we see today, and that the very elements of our bodies are constructed of “star stuff”.  These two ideas give individuals hope from two angles.  The idea that we are the culmination of events that mounted on top of each other taking amazing amounts of time and circumstance to come to where we are today does not require one sacrifice skepticism for faith, nor faith for skepticism.

When it comes to spiritual truth, how can we know that we are on the right path?

One way is by asking the right questions—the kind that help us ponder our progress and evaluate how things are working for us. Even if we do not take the skeptical approach to our spiritual lives, self-evaluation of our faith is important.  We cannot grow in faith if we never doubt.

I wonder if we as Church members might also benefit from asking ourselves from time to time: “Is my experience in the Church working for me? Is it bringing me closer to Christ? Is it blessing me and my family with peace and joy as promised in the gospel?”

Many members will answer with great warmth that their experience as a member of the Church is working exceptionally well for them. They will testify that whether during times of poverty or prosperity, whether things are pleasant or painful, they find great meaning, peace, and joy because of their commitment to the Lord and their dedicated service in the Church.

But I also recognize that there are some who have a less-than-fulfilling experience—who feel that their membership in the Church sometimes isn’t quite what they had hoped for.

I hope to answer some of the more difficult questions today by revelation.  As such, I will be turning the rest of my time at conference into a Question and Answer session.  Understand that most questions will come from the Skeptical point of view.  Most answers are likely to come from faith.  However, I will try to answer honestly and put to rest some of the most frequently asked questions by members whose experience in the church may be causing heartburn withing them.

Thank you.

Posted in Life Improvement | Leave a comment

BtGC – Are we not all Refugees?

Are we not all Refugees?

(Compare to This talk)

Deep inside each of us is a feeling we are far from home.  When we see others forced from their homes, their livelihoods and their familiar circumstance, a peice of us connects with them.

Update: some people wanted a way to help despite the church not starting such a program.  I know of one page that directly reaches out to Syrian refugees.  This is the one I know

The LDS Hymn “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief” is rumored to be the final song Joseph heard before dying.  It speaks of a man cast out of his circumstance, despised of men and acquainted with grief.  It is an excellent parable of human interaction

Isaiah states that our savior, even, Jesus Christ would be:

“…despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.” – Isaiah 53:3

But on a deeper level, the verses of the song teach us that great lesson as taught by King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon

“…when ye are in the serviceof your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” – Mosiah 2:17

We live in a world of sorrows.  A world of tribulation for many.  Most of us believe we have a tribulation or are acquainted with sorrow when we cannot find our car keys or our hair will not conform to the norms we have come to expect from it.  We struggle with zits, or making it to meetings on time.

But right now, in our world, there are hundreds of thousands who would call our “tribulation”: “Luxury”.  Wars and strife have turned them out of their homes.  It has ruined businesses that were in families for generations.  It has made paupers out of those who had a great standard of living.  Worries about cell phone placement are traded for worries about food, clothing and basic necessities.

In addition to the loss of home, culture, and income; many have lost family members.  Recently a photo made its way across the internet of a toddler who died due to the family trying to escape the ravages of war while finding safe havens proved too difficult for too long.

In Europe, this need for shelter is understood.  Although possibly starting to fade from memory, many of those who live now remember stories from grandmothers and grandfathers of their need to find shelter from the ravages of World War II.  Many countries have opened their doors to our Heavenly Father’s children to accept our Brothers and Sisters seeking refuge from the pains of destruction.  However, our nation resists.

It is perhaps out of fear, and we can understand fear for the safety of our neighborhoods, our loved ones, our surroundings.  September 11th, 2001 still serves as a grave reminder of what can happen by those within our own borders can do.  However, the scriptures teach us a better way.

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear:” -1 John 4:18

Elder Tom Perry, who recently passed away, taught us in October Conference of 2011; when we see our brothers and sisters on this earth with celestial eyes, we will not fear them.

We invite every member to write to their congressman to invite additional refugees into our homes and into our neighborhoods.  We ask Bishops and Stake Presidents to be prepared to administer to those who have “no place to lay their heads”, similar to how Christ was when He walked this earth.  We announce tonight, a worldwide program of using the donations to Deseret Industries and to Humanitarian aid to be distributed directly to these refugees in any state, country, or province they are found.  Any donations given will be delivered with financial transparency, but also with privacy to the receiver.  Then, we can truly state that we did not sound a trump before our alms.

We encourage members to donate generously, that when we meet our savior at the end of our lives, we may honestly hear the words “Fear not, for thou didst it unto me”.

I leave these thoughts with you, in the Sacred Name of Jesus Christ,


Posted in Life Improvement | 3 Comments

Better than General Conference – Consent is Key

After doing the 40 Talks in 40 days, I can’t help but think that the world has a need that is not fulfilled in guidance.  Those men and women spouted out such bad advice, untrue moments and so many logical fallacies, I can’t help but think that many who were used to following them, but now question, could use some actual Guidance.  As such, I create a new Category: “Life Improvement” with a new series “Better than General Conference”.  Talks, in a similar style, but touching on actual issues of our day.  The intent:  That when a relative sends you an inspired quote or request to read General Conference talk, you can send back some real life advice for dealing with real issues.

Note, I’m not a prophet.  I’m a non-prophet at best.  I’m a human who has some ideas about life.  That said, I’m still convinced this advice is far better than what the “Prophets, Seers and revelators” dish out.  I will not mention this again, as I’d like to kind of leave the comparison with Mormonism in this section and just discuss life, current events, and how we can do better tomorrow than we did today.

Consent is Key

When considering relationships, whether sexual or not, we need to remember a key to a lasting relationship is consent

Have you ever had a parent make you clean your room?  When I was a boy I would sometimes leave toys on floor in the family room in the basement.  I also was sometimes afraid of monsters.  At one point, a brilliant idea came to me, if I laid my toys out, similar to a minefield, with them in unpredictable locations, any monsters coming to get me would be injured on the way.  After I had gone to bed, I heard several cries of pain.  I knew my monster trap had worked.  Of course, there were no monsters.  Instead, my father had come down for a shower, and, crossing the family room, had found a field of foot injuring action figures instead of a quick path to a refreshing shower.


My father had a serious talk with me after several nights of my protective strategy were put in place.  My ability to choose to leave toys out was seriously impacted.

Relationships always require communication if they are going to work.  Talking with my father before setting my trap would have saved his feet some pain, and an original Kenner Star Wars action figure or two.  His willingness to communicate with me helped improve the situation both for him and myself.

Part of what was wrong is that I did not allow my father to consent to the situation.  Relationships between boys and girls, men and women  and even between members of the same gender are always improved when both parties communicate, and allow the other to consent to actions.  Especially where our bodies are concerned.

Many times I have met someone with a different definition of personal space than myself.  Hugs, when consent is granted, are warm, comforting, and communicate love and concern.  Hugs, when consent is not granted can be cold, off-putting and even threatening.

Even in marriage, when consent has been given previously, communication of continued consent is very important for feelings of comfort and safety that allow love to flourish.  If a partner becomes withdrawn, quiet, or changes patterns, communication should lead before consent.

Teenagers, you are in an experimental time.  Many times media portray relationships as “normal” that do not illustrate good consent.  You need to have good role models and to talk to those you trust about how to give and deny consent and what to do if someone denies consent to you.  You are in a practice time to learn good consensual actions to build relationships based on communication.


If a friend is feeling down, ask first, before you hug them, but hug them if consent is given.  If a person tells you not to touch them, even if they are weaker, smaller, or unable to resist, do not touch them.  Even if it is part of a joke that your friends are enjoying.  Practice good consent and your lives will be enriched.

If leaders or people of authority pressure you for relationships, actions or deeds that make you uncomfortable it is important that you report this.  HR departments deal with lawsuits for millions of dollars caused by poor communication and situations lacking consent.  If you find yourself attracted to someone under your authority, understand that person cannot give you consent.  Anyone who is powerless to resist, or whose livelihood is dependent upon forced consent cannot consent.  Persue other relationships until the power in the relationship is equal.

Adults who interact with minors need to understand how little children can really consent to. There are something that they cannot be allowed to decide for themselves.  Toddlers would run around with filled diapers forever rather than be changed.  However, adults dealing with minors must always be careful in getting and respecting the consent of children and knowing the boundaries of their guardians and loved ones, as well as showing children decent respect that should be given to any human.

Sometimes a power imbalance in a relationship can be thrilling.  It can stir powerful emotions.  Leave that for fantasy time, and roleplaying rather than actually exercise power over others.

Individuals who are not conscious, inebriated, or otherwise incopacitated; including from drugs, medication, or injury, cannot give consent.

By communicating with our loved ones, our co-workers and those we wish to add to our list of individuals regularly included in our lives, including discussing situations of consent we can improve our lives, enrich our future relationships and engage on a deeper, more meaningful level.  We can avoid costly lawsuits as well as stand up for ourselves when others put us into situations that would rob us of consent.

There are times when competitors, rivals in companies, or even neighbors may take our consent away.  It never feels good.  But if we all strive to live lives that use the key of consent, the world around us will be a better place


May you all live lives of communication and consent.


Posted in Life Improvement | 1 Comment

40 Talks in 40 Days – Returning to Faith, Rosemary M. Wixom

Well, here we are.  Tomorrow is Conference.  And no, I didn’t hit 40 talks (Comic-con and Skyrim got in the way), but I feel comfortable that most members who joined the challenged didn’t hit 40 talks either.  I had hoped to take another anti-homosexual marriage talk and delve deep into the science, but never had time for that either.

Regardless, I hope having someone who isn’t enamored of the authority of the individuals taking a hard look at what they are actually saying helped you to think about what some of the subtext is said, or what is overtly said that others might find offensive, not because they are misled by Satan, but because the leaders are saying offensive, hurtful, or just plain non-sensical things.   I want to point out another item and then we’ll get to the talk.  That is that I could, and did, praise many of the talks about many of their points.  If you are a believer, I challenge you to be able to vocalize anything negative you see in any of the talks. If you cannot, please understand that the bias lies heavier in one who cannot express both sides, than someone who can.  Being able to critically evaluate a popular speaker helps to remove our natural bias and leads to a closer understanding of truth in all cases.  General Authorities are not exempt from the natural laws of the universe or basic human psychology.  I think I even pointed out in a few talks, that actually they know that, and manipulate human psychology and bias to their advantage.

And now, the final talk for this year “Returning to Faith”

Returning to Faith

Every one of us can strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ on our individual journey and find joy.

Continue reading

Posted in 40 talks in 40 days for General Conference | Leave a comment

40 Talks in 40 days – On Being Genuine, Dieter F. Uchtdorf

On Being Genuine

I pray that we will resist the temptation to draw attention to ourselves and, instead, strive for a far greater honor: to become humble, genuine disciples of Jesus Christ

Says a man in a suit at a podium being broadcast worldwide.  Think about that for a minute.

In the late 18th century, Catherine the Great of Russia announced she would tour the southern part of her empire, accompanied by several foreign ambassadors…There was only one problem: it was all for show. It is said that Potemkin had assembled pasteboard facades of shops and homes. He had even positioned busy-looking peasants to create the impression of a prosperous economy

What a horrible thing to do.  If a company does this for investors it is fraud in today’s world.

the term “Potemkin village” has entered the world’s vocabulary. It now refers to any attempt to make others believe we are better than we really are.

So, for example if you only have 5 million active members, but continue to doggedly insist there are 14 million members


Oh oh, I know if you insist that your organization does charity but in reality spends more on a mall than all the years of its existance that would be an example of a “Potemkin village” right?

Or if you send out 30,000 more missionaries but have the same conversion rate, but still claim it a success that might be a bit similar to a “Potemkin village”, huh?

It is part of human nature to want to look our best. It is why many of us work so hard on the exterior of our homes and why our young Aaronic Priesthood brethren make sure every hair is in place, just in case they run into that special someone.

Ha ha ha.  Oh, yeah.  I’m sure there is no one who helps the LDS leadership look well for their televised events.  Vanity, right?  But as he says, vanity; although a sin in some religions, isn’t the problem here.

There is nothing wrong with shining our shoes, smelling our best, or even hiding the dirty dishes before the home teachers arrive. However, when taken to extremes, this desire to impress can shift from useful to deceitful.

So when, exactly does it shift from Useful to Deceitful?

In our day, the Lord has similarly strong words for priesthood holders who try to “cover [their] sins, or to gratify [their] pride, [or their] vain ambition.” When they do this, He said, “the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.”3

So anytime the church tries to cover their sins, or gratify their pride or vain ambition, the priesthood is removed from the organization.  Well, it’s a good thing we don’t have a long sordid history of trying to hide facts or skeletons in the closet.  And we would never want to have leaders who say, lie on international television, or state that historians are too willing to tell the truth but should only tell useful truths.  That might mean the church was in apostasy and devoid of priesthood!

as the Revelator said of the Ephesians—we have “left [our] first love”?4

And there you have it, if you take actual, verifiable facts and compare them to Deiter’s talk, the conclusion is that the organization has left Christ as a whole.  His words, compared to what they imply when one takes the organization and holds it accountable, equate vain ambition and trying to look good before the world, with abandoning Christ.

He’s either wrong, or his position as Apostle is.  Which do you think it is?

Posted in 40 talks in 40 days for General Conference | Leave a comment