This is not going to be a list like the letter to the CES Director. This is going to be a short list (call it “Dan Petersen” length) of new issues not discussed previously by apologists or church leaders of things that should cause one to ask tough questions of the LDS church in 2015. Apologists are constantly stating “We’ve heard all that before” or “those are old issues”, so for 2015, some brand shiny new issues. You’re welcome.
15. Thomas S. Monson owns 2 houses one he kept secret for most of his life worth $383k. This, coupled with public records showing apostles’ wives getting homes at a discount and the whole idea that they council people to buy modest homes and then do not do it themselves. Compare this to the Book of Mormon’s view on priestcrafts and “working with one’s own hands” for support as a church leader and one should come away with at least a question or two.
14. That two members were involved in writing and authorizing torture. Sure sure, they were just members and “The Church is Perfect, the people are not” but the belief system allowed two individuals in two different wards to feel absolutely okay with instigating extreme pain in other of “Heavenly Father’s Children”. That should at least make one ask a question or two, such as the apostles of old when told one would betray Christ, “Is it I?”. Could any member end up justifying that kind of behavior?
13. Chapel Cleaning fees – Whenever someone gets married in a chapel, they have to pay a $50 cleaning fee. However, it is the membership who cleans the chapel (And the families of the Bride and Groom are expected to clean the church as well), so where does the $50 go? Well, according to the CHI all local funds go to Salt Lake City. Yeah, Thomas S. Monson directly receives those cleaning fees. Now, I don’t think this was maliciously done, I think that this is an oversight that was left over from when the church swapped from paying janitors to unpaid members, but they still collect it, and it goes to say, pay for $300k houses.
12. The failure of Prop 8 and the Church’s stance on Polygamy. Prophets and Seers who failed, failed, and failed again to prophesy or see the outcome. If you don’t see why this is an issue, I’d recommend you read the prophet’s on the wrong side of history on race issues and the complete disregarding Brigham Young’s words on Race and the Priesthood and imagine what this whole era’s leaders will sound like in 50 years from now.
11. The new institute manuals moving away from scripture, and more into folk doctrine and current policy. Anyone who loves the scriptures should be wary about this issue.
10. Kate Kelly’s excommunciation. When so much of our scriptures depends on individuals (including women) asking questions and getting answers, to see someone excommunicated for asking about women having priesthood like they did in 1920 should be very disturbing to members
Sections of scripture dependent on Questions and Answers:
- D&C 89 (Asked by a woman!)
- D&C 77
- The Aaronic Priesthood restoration (Joseph and Oliver asked a question)
- Deborah in Judges is a Prophetess who the generals ask to prophesy for them.
- Joseph Smith asking about which church is true
9. John Dehlin’s pending excommunication. Anyone who feels anything at all on LGBT issues and is familiar with the science behind the LGBT issues has to feel heartburn that he was challenged with excommunication
8. Rock Waterman’s pending excommunication. Here is a man who believes the church doctrine to the extreme, but he was also threatened in his membership.
7. The Apologist responsible for defending the Book of Abraham, the only one with a degree in Egyptology, had his license revoked for making inaccurate statements last year.
6. The lack of response to the Letter to the CES Director. That the FAIR conference didn’t even really deal with it beyond Ad Hominem attacks. Nor did the CES system answer the questions officially, or any answers at conference. This should be somewhat troubling. Oh, the FAIR conference said that one could buy several $80 books to get the answers, and that sure seems like priestcraft to me, but hey, simple answers take a lot of effort to find.
5. The Boat Speech at conference. Speaking of the lack of answers at Conference, the boat speech should be a true red flag. I worked for a company that was involved in illicit set of dealings. The CEO would point out all the benefits of working for the company (Call them blessings, if you will) and tell people not to leave. Anytime someone is more interested in telling you to stay rather than answering questions, one should be wary.
Imagine you were on a real boat and the captain came by every few minutes saying “Stay in the boat”. The first time you might say “sure, ya, why would I leave?” But about the third or fourth time you might start to wonder. Then you find that there is a rumor that people are being called to bail out water in the bottom of the boat. You should probably investigate that claim. The captain saying “Stay in the boat” becomes evidence there is a problem with the boat.
4. The Polygamy Essay admitting to Helen Mar Kimball, Drawn Sword forced marriages, and Joseph having done it to 30-40 women. Perhaps more troubling was the instance that Fanny Alger was a wife, when Joseph’s interaction with her was in 1832 and the marriage recorded in 1836, but the essays breeze over it my just mentioning the marriage happened sometime in the 1830’s.
3. Real Estate investments like the Mall, the living space near the new temples and so forth. It’s a big deal. Anytime the question of a religion investing into billions of dollars of real estate, one should ask a few questions.
2. The Church’s Essay about Joseph translating using a rock. This isn’t a new one, but the church admitting this last year and then NOT UPDATING THE IMAGES so that they are still showing Joseph using the Golden Plates to translate, and this illustrates the church’s willingness to deceive.
1. Trust. One word. All the other items on this list lead up to it. The church is completely built on trust. One trusts the leadership, one trusts one’s feelings are the prompting of the Holy Ghost. One trusts that the scriptures are accurate. Each of these items on the list illustrates a breach of trust. And the church needs to refocus winning trust as it is the only capital the church trades in.