Then there are weeks like this one, when there's so much material I just can't decide. I almost wish I had one of those big roulette-style wheels I could spin and then go with the topic it lands on. Lacking that technology, I think I'll just list all the events, along with my brief commentary and let my readers decide which one carries the most interest.
The LDS "Pro-Gay Rights" Press Conference
On Tuesday Apostles Dallin Oaks and Jeffrey Holland, along with General Young Women's president, Sister Neill F. Marriott announced in a press conference that the LDS Church supports a state bill that protects LGBT rights, specifically in areas of employment, housing and public transportation.
Why is this interesting? On the surface because it's unusual to see the LDS Church officially back any legislation that specifically benefits the LGBT community.
But that's a tad misleading. The majority of the event was consumed by a defense of religious freedom, the implication that churches should have a greater voice than secular institutions, and the assertion that individuals who embrace bigoted views because of their religion should not be "discriminated against." According to Dallin Oaks:
"Churches should stand on at least as strong a footing as any other entity when they enter the public sphere to participate in public policy debates." (Italics added.)--In other words, more self-centered whining from the Brethren about how persecuted they are because of their bigoted, outdated views.
Dallin Oaks' Refusal to Apologize to Gays
In a Tuesday interview with the Tribune, Dallin Oaks said (in regard to the possibility of an official church apology to gays):
"I know that the history of the church is not to seek apologies or to give them. We sometimes look back on issues and say, 'Maybe that was counterproductive for what we wish to achieve,' but we look forward and not backward."Then on Thursday, during a video chat, he exacerbated things further by telling Tribune reporter, Jennifer Napier-Pearce, that the word "apology" did not appear in LDS scripture.
Why is this interesting? The utter, bleeding hubris, obviously. For years, the LDS Church has marginalized gays, branded them as sinners, even conducted electroshock therapy treatment at their church-run university. The church continues to oppose gay marriage. Moreover, official doctrine still requires actively gay Mormons to confess their "sins" to their church authorities, feel sorrow over their actions, and then repent. Church leaders, on the other hand, are exempt from apologies.
What might Oaks personally apologize for? How about his answer to the question, "What if my gay son wants to bring his partner home?"
"I can imagine that in most circumstances the parents would say, ‘Please don’t do that. Don’t put us into that position.’ Surely if there are children in the home who would be influenced by this example, the answer would likely be that. . . . I can also imagine some circumstances in which it might be possible to say, ‘Yes, come, but don’t expect to stay overnight. Don’t expect to be a lengthy house guest. Don’t expect us to take you out and introduce you to our friends, or to deal with you in a public situation that would imply our approval of your 'partnership.'"--Read the entire interview here on the official Mormon Newsroom site.
D. Todd Christofferson Promised to Expand the Mormons and Gays Website
Why is this interesting? For writers of satire blogs like me it's great news. Christofferson's brainchild, Mormons and Gays, is a veritable treasure trove of material. Beginning with this quote on its homepage:
"The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people."a--But also because, Christofferson, who has a gay brother, seems to consider himself progressive because he advocates being "civil" in our discourse about homosexuality--thus driving home how unbelievably clueless the Brethren continue to be on this issue.
LDS Church Asking Mormons for Input on Temple Garments
There's a survey. Online.
Why is this interesting? Well, the Mormon temple garment has always been a source of fascination. Also, it must be a hopeful sign to the rank and file that there may be some less itchy, wedgie-free days in their future.
--But in this particular week, it emphasizes the point that Mormons are not only told what to think, how to vote, and who to marry, but also what to wear--right down to their underwear.
And speaking of how to vote…
Mitt Romney Decided Not to Run for President
Why is this interesting? I know there are some diehard LDS Republicans who may be shedding tears over this. But, man-oh-man, is it a relief to the greater Mormon community who were dreading another torturous year--potentially four years--of listening to our former stake president's droning voice, lame jokes, and nonsensical unprepared remarks on a daily basis. He may not have been the biggest nut in the jar, but, paraphrasing Jane Austen, we ExMormons are happy to let the other candidates have time to exhibit.
--Thanks to Ahab--who understands our predicament--and was first to surprise me with the happy news about Romney this morning.
Also, the time has arrived to vote for your favorite Mormon-themed blogs and sites in the 2014 Brodie Awards! Vote here.