|Jensen's Vote for Next LDS Church Leader|
Salt Lake City, UT—James Jensen, the blogger behind MormonVistas, has completed his transition from the faith that initially inspired his online work to the cynicism that now typifies his blog’s “truth seeking.”
“It has been quite the faith transition,” Jensen recently reflected in the podcast that accompanies his blog. “Where I used to just believe everything I heard and read from the church, now I can see that it is all sanitized and whitewashed milk that keeps Mormons weak and subservient to the church’s massive PR machine.”
Jensen’s faith transition can perhaps best be measured by the change in what follows this phrase: “If they would only.” When MormonVistas started, Jensen often wrote about how “if members would only” followed by phrases like “serve one another” or “put in a little more effort to magnify their callings” after which Jensen often wrote that, “wards and branches would run better.”
But over time Jensen’s faith in those principles was first challenged by suspicions and then completely replaced by an unmitigated cynicism toward Mormon leaders, practices, and culture. Now Jensen’s website and podcast often feature “if members would only” followed by “see how the church is all about power” or “look past the façade to see what is really going on.”
An example of Jensen’s overwhelmingly cynical approach is a recent post about how “Modesty Creates Sexual Violence.” In the post, Jensen describes grudgingly attending the missionary farewell of a distant cousin. During that meeting, a “charming and talented young woman” gave a “boilerplate, clichéd talk” about personal struggles, the death of a close friend, and finding her faith amid uncertainty. After talking about her struggles to set her own boundaries for sexual expression, the young woman remarked, seemingly parenthetically, that she was “grateful for modesty standards that help her see and then feel in control of the signals her clothes and body send.” From this remark Jensen wrote a 700 word tirade about the oppressive nature of modesty teachings in the LDS church, teachings that, according to Jensen, “commodify women’s bodies, turn them into objects, and perpetuate sexual violence.” Where in years past Jensen may have found inspiration or expressed at least a balance of sympathy and suspicion for what this unsuspecting young woman had said, he now finds nothing but the nefarious “power workings” of the “whited sepulcher” and “evil empire” that is the LDS church and its culture.
If asked about the post, the young woman would have no idea what Jensen was saying. Jensen himself would find pride in his brave “truth seeking” and “truth speaking.”
Though MormonVistas is now consistently “revealing” the shortcomings and hypocrisies of the Mormon Church, Jensen has recently written several positive posts about the man who now seems to be the patron saint of liberal and/or disaffected Mormons: Pope Francis.