Monday, February 22, 2016
Monday, February 15, 2016
Salt Lake City, UT—The church announced this morning that the disciplinary action recently called for against Jeremy Runnells would “not be confined to the privacy of a stake office” but would instead be carried out over social media.
According to a statement from the church, “we appreciate Brother Runnells’ efforts to speak to a large LDS audience” clarifying that, since statements from his stake president will still protect Brother Runnells’ privacy and will be held confidential, doing the council on Facebook “will give social media a complete look at all of one side.”
Offering a thorough view of one side seems to be Brother Runnells forte, so clearly the church is taking a wise step in having all of his arguments presented with no additional context or qualifying information.
When asked if members like Patrick Q Mason, Fiona and Terryl Givens, Randell Bowen, FairMormon, or others might be available for the social media disciplinary council, the church said that “well, if all of those people, their time, efforts, and expertise don’t seem to matter to Runnells, then that makes it pretty clear that they are all worthless.” The church added that since Runnells insists that his stake president answer his questions, and since his stake president must be an expert in all of those areas, and since that stake president does not have a job, family, or other personal matters, and since said stake president does not have other stake members with any physical, spiritual, emotional, or intellectual needs, then it is that stake president’s job to answer Runnells’ questions to Runnells’ satisfaction without, of course, that leader commenting on social media about any of his efforts.
The church also expressed gratitude for those “brave, pioneer saints” who paved the way for people like Brother Runnells’ to have his say in the “Facebook courts of truth.” The church specifically thanked saints like John Dehlin for his efforts, including posting online the transcript of his confidential disciplinary council. Besides Dehlin, the church thanked Kate Kelly for “bravely keeping everyone up to date on every element of her side of her case” in addition to posting on Facebook the names and work contact information for her stake presidency. The church added that “though some of that information may have later been deleted or modified, Kate was sure to keep people in a fairly constant state of agitation and surely helped some contact her stake leadership and their families, all of which must have been a blessing for everyone involved!”
In addition to expressing this gratitude, the church noted thankfully that Runnells, Dehlin, Kelly, and others had so effectively used social media to “really shake up those complacent Mormons who naively believe that making and keeping covenants, loving and serving others, and sincerely trying to live by Christ’s invitation to follow Him are NOT enough, and that all members should be overwhelmingly troubled by all social injustice, inequality, and doctrinal and historical ambiguities so that those things eclipse all other considerations and priorities.”
Finally, the church expressed appreciation for the love and cultural sensitivity shown by the above mentioned saints who treat the church like “God’s big family.” “What those saints have done,” concluded the statement, is important, “since we all know that using individual power as a bludgeon to embarrass and shame is only part of the way we show love in families. The other part is posting pictures of it on Instagram or starting a foundation to celebrate it.”
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
|Like that but in Utah and it was only me looking|
This is Carl. I, uh, work for the janitorial staff here at the Church Office building. Yah, so yesterday morning, I got here really early ‘cuz I like to get here early Monday morning, you know, start my week off right. I usually clean the offices in the basement first, and the lowest level of the basement is usually the dirtiest and that is where the offices are for the Mormon Tabernacle Enquirer. I never know what I’m going to find in there. One week they had a goat, boxes of string cheese, eight track tapes, glue guns, and like four hundred Christmas trees with little blue Book of Mormon lights on them. And it was June. A few weeks later there was this really confused family of eight from Guatemala that I think someone bought off of the dark web or something. Lots of weird stuff!
So anyway yesterday morning I got there real early, and wouldn’t you know it they was all there. The editorial people, I mean all thirty-seven of them were in the conference room along with most of the reporters. Elder Kory Anton was in his office writing something, I think his letter to the First Presidency about getting back to his mission. Shania Bender was in from Ohio, Gene Dyer, and Hannah Shelton from New Hampshire. It was like they all decided to get to work super early, and it was super busy.
So right then I seen this huge light, you know like one of those spotlights for where there’s a new store opening or something. Yah, so there was this light, and the whole place was just all white and lit up. It’s usually kinda dark down there, you know, on account of there not being windows since it’s in the basement, but I tell you it was as bright as noon up in the President’s office. Then I heard some noise, but I couldn’t make out what it was. It was like really loud mumbling. So all of the journalists and the staff, and even the interns that just make hot chocolate and copies and stuff, well they was all looking and listening. And then they all had like these really meh looks on their face, you know like when you remember something you have to do but you don’t care either way.
So right after they started looking meh, suddenly they all sort of lifted up, floated out the doors, up the stairs, and then right up into the sky. I followed’m, but I could hardly keep up. By the time I got outside I could just see the last ones, you know, like Barley B. Bratt and some of the sports staff disappearing into the clouds. It was the craziest thing.
I must’of been staring for a while, ‘cuz then there was two guys who looked like they were from the temple came and says to me, “ye man of Sandy, why stand ye gazing up into heaven?” I told them that I thought that all of the Mormon Tabernacle Enquirer people had, like, flown up to heaven, and they told me something like “these same…reporters and editors, which are taken up from you, um, I’m not sure they were going to heaven exactly.”
Monday, February 1, 2016
“More obedience is always the answer
and will make it all clear, right?”
Brother Brill is known to everyone in the Boca Raton West ward as faithful and easy-going. “Oh, yah, nothing gets Dave down,” reported Jeremy Knowlton, his High Priest group leader. He continued that “Dave is just one of those stalwart saints, you know, doing whatever is asked without complaints or worries.”
What Brother Knowlton and others in the ward do not know, and what David Brill would scarcely admit to himself, is that recent events in his life and in the church have led to difficult questions. David’s elderly parents have drifting into an old age that has brought financial distress, sickness, and despair. Brother Brill often wonders why God would ask these humble, faithful people that he loves so much to pass through such pain.
Brother Brill’s suffering parents are not his only questions and fears. Years of committed church service always helped him feel safe and secure in the sense of place and purpose that the gospel gives him. But as he sees so many good people doing great service in other churches, the idea that he is in the “only true and living church” seems at least questionable. Brother Brill’s gnawing questions include wondering how God would only be leading Mormons and how everyone else could be in error.
Difficult questions like these as well as others have caused Brother Brill to feel adrift and sometimes even out of place at church. These questions, which he views as doubts that reveal a lack of faith, have also caused an unacknowledged sense of inadequacy, unworthiness, and even shame. These feelings have only been compounded by what he understands as God’s exacting standards of perfection and flawlessness.
Lacking the skills, perspective, network of trusted, wise friends, and assistance he needs to acknowledge, understand, and address his concerns, and finding no place to do so at church, Brother Brill has unconsciously decided to increase his scripture study by an extra 15 minutes, to pray for more missionary opportunities, and to attended the temple one additional time each month. Little does Brother Brill know that this additional obedience will not make his questions and fears go away. When his extra righteousness does not alleviate his doubts and fears, Brother Brill will in fact experience even more doubts, fear, and shame. Time will only tell if this will cause Brother Brill to fall deeper into despair, to find relief in some form of unquestioning fanaticism, or whether he will seek the skills and help he will need to learn to honestly, faithfully, and bravely examine and make peace with his feelings and concerns.