Monday, October 5, 2015


While this was on, what did you see?
Salt Lake City, UT—Blogs, Twitter comments, Facebook postings and other social media messages throughout this weekend revealed how liberal and conservative Mormons alike highlighted the many “devastating missed opportunities” yet again in this year’s General Conference.

Two of the most common “missed opportunities” according to liberal Mormons were not having any non-Utah apostles called and “not doing more to end the ban on facial hair.” On this first complaint, one liberal blogger wrote that “I’m sure God knows some really great brown men who could have been up there, but we all know that the Twelve only want their white buddies in the club!” The twitter hashtag #blessthebeard included strings of comments about how conference presenters or at least talks “could have brought to an end the terrible cultural taboo against faithful facial follicles!”

Conservative Mormons also complained loudly on social media about key chances that Church leaders missed. Facebook saw the viral spread of an article highlighting how, “if he were here, Elder Packer would have warned about the impending demise of the family, would have praised Kim Davis, and would have prophesied, poetically, about how Obama is seeking to destroy the God-ordained Constitution and the divine sanction of our automatic weapons.”

Besides these “missed opportunities,” liberals complained about the “late timing” and “hypocrisy” of President Nelson’s talk about women asserting their voices in the Church, while conservative Mormons, reacting to this very emphasis on women, started an All Voices Matter campaign. Conservatives called for more personal stories of great church leaders and less emphasis on how they might be “fallible” or “human,” while liberals complained about Elder Bednar’s “deification” and “circular justification” of the prevailing “gerontocracy.” Where conservatives pointed out how hard it is to understand the bizarre accents of so many people “who sound like foreigners,” liberals saw a missed opportunity for talks in other languages. 

Both groups also expressed dismay at members who “just pull quotes and unthinkingly post them” or who “only find the sort of feel-good reinforcement that they want.” Those from the left and right fear that “most members don’t really get it” or “miss out on some very important principles” if “all they get from Conference is renewed reassurance, rekindled faith, and a resolve to find more joy.” Liberals and conservatives used social media to shake their collective heads at “those people,” noting that “those people are the real losers from this Conference’s missed opportunities!”   

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