I’m not certain what’s going on with John Dehlin and his Mormon Matters Blog—but from all accounts it looks to be a massacre in the classic sense of the word.  There are several good posts up already in the Bloggernacle about this debacle where you can get most of the details.  See Faith Promoting Rumor’s Elder Jensen and the Exploitation of the Sacred Moments, and Times and Seasons post Credible Criticism.  I’m sure there are likely others as well.

John Dehlin’s original post on Mormon Matters has been removed in its entirety, including all the comments–which is simply incredible given John Dehlin’s one man crusade for truth, justice, and transparency in all things Mormon related.  The cached version is here. I’ve also copied and pasted it into the last part of this post, just in the unlikely chance it somehow falls out of the cache world.  Why?  Simply because I think John’s hypocrisy in his trying to hide, slant, shade, moderate, change, or spruce up his own past–at least vis a vis this post, given his incredibly incendiary language against the Church is simply too much, at least for me.

John’s latest pontification on the subject comes in a post where he lambasts a fellow blogger, or I should say ex-blogger(s) over at Mormon Matters in the post What Happened at Mormon Matters.  Writes John:

Most of the permabloggers from Mormon Matters have chosen to leave Mormon Matters and start another blog, led by Hawkgrrrl, whom I love.

I am not angry about this…and I sincerely wish them well.  I have become neglectful of the blog over the past year or two, and something like this (a separation) was bound to happen at some point.

Unfortunately, Cheryl Bruno (Bored in Vernal) has been spreading untrue or inaccurate information about what went down the past few days on MM that led to the defection, and other folks have expressed concern about these rumors to me privately…so I feel like I want/need to tell my side of the story — just for the record books.  Cheryl can tell hers where she wishes.

What specifically, John, has Cheryl said that was untrue or inaccurate?  You leave everyone in suspense, but nevertheless make the accusations leaving out any specifics of just how or what was spread and how it was inaccurate.  This seems like an awfully feeble attempt, John at smearing an intelligent, honorable, and otherwise decent Sister in the Community of Saints, to take pressure off you for your ridiculous post about Elder Jensen and Proposition 8.

Continues John:

Here goes.

- I posted the Marlin Jensen report

- I Facebooked and emailed whoever I knew, and asked them to publicize it.  I was sincerely excited about Elder Jensen’s comments.  Still am.

Facebook he did.  It seemed almost every 10 to 15 minutes John had a new status update about how Elder Marlin Jensen was apologizing for Proposition 8. When I first saw John’s first update it was on my Blackberry and I thought–wow, that’s some type of news.  I wonder why the Church would have someone like Elder Jensen make such an apology.  Of course, once I actually clicked on John’s Facebook link it turned out more to be like one of those Obama’s a Muslim emails everyone gets from the right wing fringe element of the GOP.

Continues John:

- As the comments started ensuing on the blog, some folks accused me of wrecking Marlin Jensen’s chances of becoming an apostle, or of delaying the church’s positive progress on gay issues…and those comments deeply offended me (sorry…but that’s silly. Either God calls apostles, or it doesn’t matter whether Elder Jensen is called or not…and if the church is led by God…then anything I say or don’t won’t stop positive progress in the church)…so I removed a few of the comments that made these accusations.

- I have always moderated comments on my own posts at MM, and I never agreed to anything different as the owner…never (though the permas did have their own policy, which I supported for them…but never agreed to abide by personally).

Perhaps, John not everyone sees what you do and say as necessarily positive progress for the Church.   That you moderate comments at your site, is just priceless John.  You as the moral crusader for truth, justice, transparency, and one of the Church’s harshest critics for supposedly hiding, changing, and/or moderating it’s own past.  Just priceless, John, absolutely priceless.  You could make the next MasterCard Commercial with some of this stuff.

Continues John:

- I also deleted some of my own comments that I deemed offensive, and some anti-Mormon comments that I deemed offensive.  I also re-titled my blog post here, and removed all my Facebook postings out of concern for misleading people about Elder Jensen’s intent, once people like Carol Lynn Pearson expressed concern.  It was NEVER my intent to give people the impression that Elder Jensen spoke officially for the church.  Never.

I can’t get inside your mind, John to determine intent, but your original title certainly gave me that impression.  And, from many of the now deleted comments and post which you are trying to hide from the world, others apparently had that impression as well.  Below is a screen shot of my Facebook Page reflecting your original title of your post (now completely removed from Mormon Matters): “Elder Marlin Jensen Apologizes for Proposition 8 at Mormon Matters.”

With that headline and an official looking photo of Elder Jensen it’s pretty easy to infer this was an official apology by the Church for what you and others considered a hate filled bigoted endeavor.

Continues John:

- When I saw that the comments were getting out of hand on MM, I closed the comments. I simply did not have time to moderate them, and I like to moderate my own posts.  Sorry.  That’s how I roll from many years of nastiness on Mormon Stories.  I’ll add that the Bloggernacle has a long history of moderating comments and even banning people…and of closing down comments….so I don’t think I’m alone in this regard.

Yeah, the rest of the Bloggneracle, sure they censor, moderate, change, or completely pull posts down.   But Et Tu John?

Continues John:

- Cheryl (and whomever else) expressed concern starting Monday w/ the other MM permas about my closing the comments and moderating a few comments on my post.

- Cheryl then initiated a conversation w/ the other permas about opening comments again on my post against my will…which I was not interested in.  This is when I pulled Cheryl’s admin rights.  As the owner of the site, I’m not going to allow someone else to open up comments after I’ve decided to close them….and I didn’t have time to argue w/ Cheryl about it.

Yeah, that parade of horribles certainly deserves its own post to minimize your own poor judgment in posting the topic in the first place.

- As some MM Permas requested a conference call, I told them all that this was my busiest week in the 1.2 years of my PhD, and that I couldn’t talk until next week. This is still true.

But, with still enough time to continue posting on the subject at Mormon Matters.

- Cheryl then started threatening publicly to disclose the private dealings of MM on a blog called Faith Promoting Rumor.  I refer you here.

Chris H., I will say that you are not the only one who is pulling out your hair.
I wonder if John D. would like to be held publicly accountable for his actions behind the scenes at Mormon Matters this evening?
Comment by Bored in Vernal — September 27, 2010 @ 8:33 pm

Cheryl now claims that this wasn’t a threat.  I think that’s funny.

Anyway, I felt like it was totally wrong for Cheryl to make this sort of a threat as a permablogger and an admin on our private site…but that’s just how I feel.  I know that she was frustrated w/ me as well.

- Within a few minutes of Cheryl’s threat to disclose private, internal MM communication to the bloggernacle…..private, internal communications from our MM conversations started appearing on the blog. Cheryl claimed to have nothing to do with the leaks.  This may be true…but it was hard to not see a connection as the leaks came in under fake names.

- Even if Cheryl wasn’t responsible for the leaks…she quickly piled on w/ the comments disparaging me publicly — which is fine…but didn’t make me feel any better about her having full admin rights at MM.

A threat, John–really?  I don’t see any threatening language there, or even the hint of revealing anything remotely as you suggest here.  Again, no specifics, John, just vague generalizations and innuendo.

- At that point, I had no idea who was on board w/ MM as it is, who was with Cheryl on the mutiny….and who wasn’t….so to stop the leaks….I just temporarily pulled everyone’s rights/access and called (via email) for a reset. I tried to email the folks every step of the way….to let them know what was happening (including emailing them about the leaks)….but again, this was the busiest day of my PhD career…so I had ZERO time for this…and Cheryl was coming off the hinges in a really uncool way (at least to me) publicly.  I emailed Hawkgrrrl numerous times throughout the day, and was on email w/ her until like 1am in the morning getting clarification.  Just ask her.  It’s true.  I have the emails.  Her computer at work was down so she missed most of my emails to her during the day…fwiw.  But I have them.

- As Permas reached out to me privately to disassociate themselves from Cheryl’s leaks or threats of leaks or general nastiness, I restored their access/rights (if they wanted me to…turns out most were ready to leave by this point).

- Again, it was only a temporary measure to stop the leaks while I was swamped w/ work stuff.

So that’s my side.

Cheryl is claiming that the leaks came from my Facebook page.  This is just silly.  I never once posted anything about Mormon Matters on my Facebook page.  Never.  That is a complete and total fabrication.

Hawk and I have had some good email exchanges through all this, and she knows that she has my full affection and support.  It just didn’t make sense for them to keep contributing to the blog when I wasn’t being more supportive.

I totally wish the former MM permas well.  This probably should have happened a long time ago.  I’m sorry it ended this way…but I sincerely wish them well.  Even Cheryl.

A Mutiny, John–truly?  Cheryl a traitor to be sure.  But, the saving grace, of course is that you wish her well, as well as all the others who abandoned your sinking ship.  I’m not sure, but after your massacre of them over at MM, they may not feel the same.

John’s almost original Elder Jensen post over at Mormon Matters with comments as of September 27, 2010 16:36:01 GMT.

Elder Marlin Jensen Personally Apologizes for the Pain Caused by Proposition 8


Published

on September 27, 2010
in Mormon

.Tags: .

(To read Carol Lynn Pearson’s account of this event, click here).

I just received the following email with permission to share.  Here’s the critical part (full text below):

“To the [extent that] it’s within my power to apologize, I want to tell you that I am sorry.  I am very sorry.”  – Elder Marlin Jensen

People were audibly weeping.  Paul sobbed.  I put my arm around him. It was very, very powerful.  It felt very healing.”

================

September 24, 2010

I don’t know if you’ll feel the same stunned awe, amazement, and gratitude that I felt on reading this post, but I consider it to be evidence of phenomenal moral courage on Elder Jensen’s part. The stake in question is Oakland Stake, and the meeting was Sunday, September 19.

I double-checked with Karen, despite her heading, to be SURE that it was okay to pass this report on. She double-checked with Linda, who confirmed that it “absolutely” was. The “Kay” in Karen’s salutation is Kay Gaisford in Arizona.

Lavina

On 9/23/2010 6:24 PM, Karen Rosenbaum wrote:

> Hi Kay and Lavina,

>

> I figured you two could spread what seems to me positive news‑‑

>

> Before our stake conference last Sunday (I admit I didn’t attend‑‑I went to a spectacular production of Aida instead), there was a “by invitation only” meeting with the visiting seventy, Marlin Jensen, about reactions to Prop. 8. My friend Linda Schweidel, whose first husband was a gay Mormon, has been involved with our stake president, Dean Criddle, in setting up meetings at which non‑gay Mormons, gay Mormons, gay former Mormons, and non‑Mormon gays can all get together and try to understand one another. The one in the Berkeley Ward was enlightening and helpful. (I did attend that.) I don’t think there were non‑Mormon gays at last Sunday’s meeting, unless they were the partners of Mormon gays.

>

> Linda rushed off a brief report of last Sunday’s meeting to me today. She has left out a word or two, but you can figure out what she meant. I’ve copied a part of her report below. Paul is Paul Price, a very sweet man who lives with his partner in the Berkeley hills. He usually attends Sacrament Meeting. Matt and Pamela are our bishop and his wife, the Marosticas. Brett Bradshaw is the son of that wonderful Bradshaw man, the former BYU prof who has been so involved in PFLAG.

>

> Dean Criddle “MC’d” the meeting and introduced Marlin Jensen by saying that when there is a stake conference, the GA who’s coming to speak has the opportunity to find out if there are any issue of “particular interest” to the group and if so, he can address them.  Dean said Marlin had welcomed the opportunity to come listen to people who were affected/disaffected by Prop 8.  They basically opened the microphone to anyone who wanted to speak.  It got off to somewhat of a crazy start when one woman (I don’t know how she got in; again, the meeting was by invitation) got up there and said her twin brother is gay and told of her “devastation” she suffered at hearing the news and then proceeded to quote from the Bible about Sodom & Gomorrah.  I’m not kidding.  It was nuts.  Thankfully Dean quickly got up and thanked her and then she sat down.  After that, though, that wonderful Carol Lynn Pearson got up and said, “Brothers and sisters, the Bible says a lot of things.  The Bible says, for example, that I shouldn’t be up here, talking to you all,” and she went on from there.  So she remedied the situation, I felt like, and then every other person who got up was eloquent, articulate, and right on point.  I didn’t get up – Paul was my “date,” and I was sitting next to him, Matt and Pamela, so I was effectively hemmed in and plus, I felt like the others who spoke were making the points that needed to be made.  Marlin Jensen sat there and listened.  He’d that he appreciated the opportunity come listen and promised to take what he learned “back to the Brethren.”  (He is an extremely warm, kind, funny guy.  He pointed out that of the three‑tiered hierarchy of the Mormon church leadership, he’s in the bottom tier and thus, “very expendable.”  That got a laugh.)  What he did, though, was after everybody got up, and told of the suffering that Prop 8 had caused – the division, heartache, anger, frustration and pain – and when the last guy who spoke told him that the Mormon church owed the gay community an apology, he stood and said, “To the [extent that] it’s within my power to apologize, I want to tell you that I am sorry.  I am very sorry.”  People were audibly weeping.  Paul sobbed.  I put my arm around him. It was very, very powerful.  It felt very healing.

> Stake conference was good too.  Not as good as that meeting, but good.  Elder Jensen was again very warm and genuine.  Dean’s talk, though, was what really got to me.  He talked about “extending the tent” and including everyone because, as repeated, Charity Seeketh Not Her Own.  That was the main theme of the talk.  He said he’d gone to dinner with two couples (Brett Bradshaw and his partner Jeff and Trey and Guy).  He asked should we go to dinner with couples of the same gender, and love them and accept them?  “OF COURSE WE SHOULD!”  I loved it.  It was the first stake conference I’ve attended in a decade at least, and my sense of them was always sort of the fear and damnation.  This was a call to love, acceptance and kindness.

52 Responses to “Elder Marlin Jensen Personally Apologizes for the Pain Caused by Proposition 8”
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Dan
Sep 25th, 2010 at 7:35 am
a nice step in the right direction.

Ulysseus
Sep 25th, 2010 at 7:46 am
To the expendable extent, Dan.

carlos
Sep 25th, 2010 at 7:55 am
Hmmmm….. “To the [extent that] it’s within my power to apologize, I want to tell you that I am sorry. I am very sorry.””

I read that its a sorry for the pain caused and suffering caused but not really any alteration of any doctrinal view. Remember that Pt Eyring also extended an apology to the mountain meadows people but didn’t accept responsibility or suggest that we now blame BYoung for that. It seems that it was a sorry, like this one, ‘for hurting you with what I believe’ thing.

But that’s the impression i get here and I might be wrong off course.

Dan
Sep 25th, 2010 at 8:03 am
I didn’t say it was a big step.

MichaelG
Sep 25th, 2010 at 8:08 am
I think he worded it in that way because he wanted to make it sound like a personal apology and that it was not his prerogative to apologize for the church. It still is meaningful to me. It means that the concerns we have been raising for years now are slowly (very slowly) making it up the chain. It’s encouraging to me.

I met Elder Jensen personally at a stake conference several years ago. He is a genuine, sweet man.

Kiley
Sep 25th, 2010 at 8:11 am
It is hard to say for sure what was actually meant by his statement. One can apologize for the sadness and suffering of someone else and feel for that person and what they are going through and not be “sorry” per se for what caused it. He can apologize and say that he is sorry for how everyone is feeling and what they are going through and not be sorry for the church’s stance on homosexuality. Without more context I would not take this to mean an apology for Prop 8…

April
Sep 25th, 2010 at 8:18 am
I have to say, I think it took a lot of courage and love for him to step forward and say sorry. Even if it is a personal one and not an institutional one. I don’t think it is within his station to offer and institutional one and it could potentially cost him dearly if the Q12 or FP decide he was overstepping his bounds.

While it isn’t a huge doctrinal step, at least it is a step that can show people that having a different opinion than the one that the FP has put forward is an acceptable thing to consider.

My respect for him just skyrocketed out the roof.

SLK in SF
Sep 25th, 2010 at 8:31 am
My sister lives in the Oakland CA stake and, like Linda Schweidel and others, has been deeply involved in what’s been going on there. (She spoke at one of the firesides last fall, about her own gay son.) She has the highest admiration for Dean Criddle’s leadership, BTW.

I applaud Elder Jensen’s apology, as far as it goes. But while I tend to sympathize with those who will say it’s too little, too late (and they will), I think Dan in the first comment is right: it’s a step in the right direction. May it not be the only one.

p.s. Kudos to the “wonderful Carol Lynn Pearson” for that excellent statement.

Kiley
Sep 25th, 2010 at 8:31 am
That is true John. Forcing clarification would be even better.

@ April – You are right. Even if it is just a personal apology that took a lot courage.

Aaron
Sep 25th, 2010 at 8:43 am
“I read that its a sorry for the pain caused and suffering caused but not really any alteration of any doctrinal view…”

Same here. I think this is being blown out of proportion.

Sean
Sep 25th, 2010 at 8:54 am
The Mormon Church is simply a man-made organization. After years as a seminary student, missionary, EQ President, married in the SL Temple, grad school at BYU, blah, blah, blah…I decided to squelch the many plaguing doubts I had by weighing both sides of countless doctrinal issues. I tried to be as objective as possible, and when I did, so many of the church’s historical claims, divinity of the BOM, and supernatural claims fell apart within a matter of weeks. The light brought forth by so much of the church doctrine is blown out by basic science. It was devastating at the time, but I healed and my family (wife and daughter) and I have been blessed beyond measure ever since. I recognized the happiness that had been missing for years in trying to align myself with a church whose values are well-meaning, but misguided.

After being inactive for years and formally resigning two years ago (Prop 8 was the final straw), I now see Mormon issues in a much different light. When I hear a believing-Mormon talk about church doctrine or that “_____” GA says “_______” I see it as a claim of a Star Trek fan who refers to a 1969 episode where Spock gives the 3 law of the Vulcan constitution. Then then the Trekkie acts astounded and perplexed that others don’t believe it to be a guide for their lives. Like Roddenberry’s fictional Star Trek I view Joseph Smith’s fictional Book of Mormon in the same light: entertaining, a little far-fetched and cheesy, and completely made-up. I think people give up something very crucial when they live as an actor on the Mormon stage, they give up a great deal of their individuality and authenticity and allow other’s decisions and opinions to truly impact their day-to-day lives.

To those struggling, don’t give up who you are. Don’t let your faith in God be trumped by your faith in Mormonism. They are two different things. Keep in mind the great words of Ralph Waldo Emerson “Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.” Best wishes.

MisterCurie
Sep 25th, 2010 at 8:54 am
It would be nice to hear this in GC, across the pulpit, from the Prophet.

Amy Gordon
Sep 25th, 2010 at 8:58 am
I think most good Mormons would say they were sorry for another person’s sincere suffering. That doesn’t amount to an institutional apology or a reversal on doctrine. If we play gotcha with Elder Jensen’s personal apology, I suspect that will lead to an institutional retrenchment that will only slow down any church-wide movement in the direction you’re seeking. Apostles don’t take well to having their feet “held to the fire.” Let’s take Elder Jensen’s sincere love for what it is, and rejoice in the baby steps, without blowing their meaning out of proportion. If the Church decides it was wrong about Prop 8, believe me, you’ll hear about it.

Nick Literski
Sep 25th, 2010 at 9:10 am
Considering the public relations debaucle which arose from Mr. Monson’s homophobic crusade, I can’t help but read this as the “sorrowing of the damned.” They’re sorry it reflected badly in their recruitment numbers. They’re sorry it hurt the political fortunes of Mitt Romney and other power-poised LDS. It’s a sorrow “not unto repentance,” as the Book of Mormon would say.

alice
Sep 25th, 2010 at 9:16 am
When Pres. Monson apologizes and explains what the church will do to begin to undo the damage the church has done to gay members, to gay non-members and to the community of the church I will be heartened. Hooray for Elder Jensen for finding his compassion for humans who are sinners of various varieties. But right now this just serves to make me nervous for Jensen and bring the silence of the GAs into high contrast.

Rebekah
Sep 25th, 2010 at 9:20 am
While I believe that the FP and Q12 are men of God and do not take significant actions without direct revelation from our Father in Heaven, I too am sorry about this situation. I don’t understand why we have all this gender confusion, why God made people to suffer so much anquish over a conflict between biological gender and their self-perception of gender and attraction, or all the reasons the church has chosen to take a political position on the definition of government-sanctioned marriage. And I agree %100 that we should treat all our brothers and sisters with kindness, compassion, and respect. I will not let the issue divide me from my faith, however. I continue to seek resolution to my questions from my Heavenly Father through the Spirit and personal revelation.

Stacy
Sep 25th, 2010 at 9:22 am
I agree with Sean, my experience has been very similar to his. I could no longer align myself with an group that was so active in trying to remove rights of others. This is the same way things went in the LDS church with blacks and women (still quite a bit with women). The church stands its ground until they start looking really unpopular and then its all about damage control.

I don’t think the apology was authentic, I think it was another calculated move to make the LDS church look like it might be softening.

Thomas Parkin
Sep 25th, 2010 at 9:26 am
Elder Jensen is also doing some wonderful things in a position of responsibility over church history, etc. My folks have been working in the Church History Library and Museum for almost five years, and they have had some chance to be in proximity to him. He gave a talk on Pioneer Day this last July in which he reminded people that the day might have a different meaning for the Native American populations who had been displaced by the western migrations. He was the GA that was sent to the Utah State Legislature to ask them to be cautious and sensitive regarding immigration. By all accounts he is very exceptional. I share Amy’s concern that nothing happen that would marginalize the influence that he currently has in some really key areas. ~

Suspicious Minds
Sep 25th, 2010 at 9:36 am
John wrote, “I think we should seize this as an opportunity and tell every living, believing member in the church the news.”

This isn’t news in my opinion. Any notes taken in such meetings by members are theirs alone. This was a private meeting. Not that I don’t think the information from such a gathering shouldn’t be disseminated, but in the end it will simply come down to this. Puts on apologist hat and proclaims, Jensen was giving his own personal opinion and not speaking as a prophet, seer or revelator. He was only acting as a man and not in his apostolic calling.

End of story…not news…move along folks.

manaen
Sep 25th, 2010 at 9:37 am
As tenuous as are third-party accounts, this sounds consistent with Elder Jensen’s comments during his interview in PBS’s documentary on “The Mormons” in 2007. If this relation of his comments is accurate, I agree with other commenters that he likely was saying he’s sorry/sympathetic for the pain others have for a tenet that he and the Church hold to be true. I certainly hope that’s the case here.

johndehlin
Sep 25th, 2010 at 9:39 am
Amy, it was not my intent to suggest that this is an institutional policy. I only quoted Elder Jensen.

To Rory — I (respectfully) submit that your logic is deeply flawed.

I….nor any other lay LDS church member….will ever be responsible for “snatching defeat from the jaws of progress” with regard to the church’s position on Proposition 8.

Any progress….or lack of progress, I can promise you, will be 100% their own doing. To blame anyone else (including me) for the decisions they might make in that leadership stratosphere feels somewhat equivalent to blaming the victim.

This will be their own doing…or un-doing….and we’re all just bystanders. My motive is to help change hearts and minds on the ground in any way I can (that is reasonable and ethical)…and know this — the leaders will do what the leaders will do. To blame me (or anyone else) for what they may do or not do seems just crazy…and sad. Kinda like blaming a gay person for not trying hard enough.

Terry
Sep 25th, 2010 at 9:39 am
Stay tuned for the retraction/clarification – something along the lines of “Elder Jensen is sorry if any offense was felt by the LGBT community. He stands firmly behind the church’s official position on SSM and Prop 8″.

johndehlin
Sep 25th, 2010 at 9:44 am
Terry — All the better. At some point, the church either needs to stand behind its policies (polygamy, blacks, gays, etc.) or apologize for them. This nuanced meandering, de-emphasizing and double-speak without accountability or atonement HAS to stop at some point.

I love the church, and the brethren…but too many people are getting hurt. This has to stop.

Suspicious Minds
Sep 25th, 2010 at 9:48 am
John, that’s the beauty of continuing revelation. The policies, the doctrine, the whole gamut can change at anytime without any explanations or reasons given. Don’t forget that anything the living prophet says takes precedence over what a dead prophet said. Mormon doctrine and polices are simply a moving target that changes with the way the wind blows.

Trevor
Sep 25th, 2010 at 9:53 am
I applaud Marlin for his courage and sincere caring for those in distress. I also agree that holding his feet to the fire may cause a backlash from the FP. However, if possible, I think it may be important to communicate with Marlin and express our support to him.

Alliegator
Sep 25th, 2010 at 9:56 am
“Mormon doctrine and polices are simply a moving target that changes with the way the wind blows.”

Or, Mormon doctrine and policies evolve as we as humans grow to become more and more understanding of the kind of people our Heavenly Father wants us to be.

Sean
Sep 25th, 2010 at 10:06 am
John, I really like your podcasts…they are fair, well-reasoned, and are downright “excellent”. Now that I’ve written this, it looks like I have to donate, damnit!

In any relationship, waiting for someone else to change is often the recipe for long-term dissatisfaction and sadness. It’s only when someone can acknowledge the other for who they are and make the decision to accept them and live with them or move on with what’s left of the rest of their lives without the other and make a new life for themselves. Or, perhaps, there is an altogether different choice. Perhaps, it’s moving on with their lives, while still trying to be a support to the other person they have left, although in a different relationship role. I view you as having made this third choice. I appreciate the fact you have taken a stand and have essentially said “the church is not for everyone”.

Out of respect for your intelligence, integrity, and honesty, I would love to know your answers to two questions:
1) What positives does the church give you that you cannot find outside of the church?
2) What negatives does the church cause you and others, that you would not have outside of the church?
[Feel free to tell me to "stick it"]

Suspicious Minds
Sep 25th, 2010 at 10:12 am
Alliegator…but prophets are the mouthpiece of God. If that is the case, then I would think the prophets would get the doctrine and policies right the first time, just as it was “restored” by Joseph Smith. Oh wait, that’s right, they’re not perfect or infallible. They’re just men. Hmmm…so did they err again, but this time on prop8? They err’d on polygamy. they err’d on blacks and the priesthood. They err’d on the ERA. These men do not communicate with God is apparent from the constant flip flops. If there is a God, he is not a God of confusion, but unchanging and constant. Church polices are divisive and hurtful among the membership and indirectly to those who are not.

dadsprimalscream
Sep 25th, 2010 at 10:14 am
Marlin Jensen is one of the good ones and I believe his apology was sincere. I’ll accept it and take it for what it’s worth. He apologizes for Prop 8, for the suffering it caused, for his personal involvement in it perhaps, but I don’t think he apologizes for the church’s stance. He was the GA interviewed years ago who apologetically said he can’t ever see the doctrine towards gays changing. He’s not apologizing for God.

That said, I don’t believe it means much more than that there’s a kind, sensitive, honest man in the 3rd rung of Mormons leadership. It wasn’t a church apology. And let’s face it, the essential element that keeps the LDS church’s policy (and thus Elder Jensen’s) towards gays in place is blind obedience to a prophet.

The only declaration or apology that means anything is this case must come from another man for it to mean anything to the membership.

Alliegator
Sep 25th, 2010 at 10:21 am
Suspicious Minds-

There are a lot of things that I don’t have answers to. I believe that the church leaders were wrong about prop 8. I also don’t believe that God is a God of confusion.

Where does that leave me? That I believe that either 1) God talks to the prophets and they interpret his words through their own personal lens of life experience, or 2) God is more subtle with how he communicates with even prophets, and prophets do their best to lead the way they believe God wants them to. Or perhaps it depends on the issue, sometimes God intervenes more directly. I don’t know.

I’m okay with either of the options, because I believe what I believe, and am not terribly concerned about those details, except for when people I love and care about are hurt. Then, I am concerned, and pray for clarification for our leaders, and healed hearts and families for the rest of us.

Hellmut
Sep 25th, 2010 at 10:48 am
It’s a step in the right direction and Mr. Jensen deserves credit for that. He may or may not speak for the Church and we have to be sensitive with regard to his institutional constraints.

The real question is would he do it again? Would push a discriminatory agenda that hurts our children and neighbors if the prophet asked him to do it?

That’s the real measure of the man, our culture and the LDS Church.

Jon
Sep 25th, 2010 at 10:49 am
to Rebekah: (re: I don’t understand why we have all this gender confusion)

As a gay man (who is still active in the LDS church), there is no confusion about my gender. I was born male and continue to identify as male. I have no desire to be a woman nor to dress and/or act as a woman. I just happen to be attracted to men rather than women. I mean no disrespect for those who feel they were born into the wrong body. I’m just saying being gay is not the same as being transgender – two very different things.

MoHoHawaii
Sep 25th, 2010 at 11:01 am
I think the story here is not Marlin Jensen but Dean Criddle. I don’t know the man personally, but I am extremely impressed with his humanity and moral courage. What would the Church be like if Stake Presidents across the Church followed his example of compassionate, Christ-centered leadership? I hereby nominate Dean Criddle for apostle, next time there’s an opening.

I also want to nominate Carol Lynn Pearson for apostle, but that’s going to have to wait a while.

While we’re at it, I nominate John Dehlin to replace the entire staff of LDS Newsroom. (Thanks, John, for all you do.)

Here’s one dose of reality, though: President Criddle’s kind anecdote about going out to dinner with gay couples is completely contradicted by Dallin Oaks’ public statements. For example, Elder Oaks suggests a response when you are asked by your gay adult child if they may visit with their partner:

‘Yes, come, but … [d]on’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.”‘

[BTW, LDS Newsroom is a master of the scare quote idiom. Since this was an interview, Oaks must have paused and used the rabbit-ears quote gesture when he said the word "partnership" or LDS Newsroom's style sheet must have a guideline that any positive aspect of gay humanity must be placed in quotation marks to indicate that it is a risible imitation of actual human experience. I'm not sure which of these two is worse.]

In any case, congratulations to Dean Criddle and the Oakland Stake.

Winifred
Sep 25th, 2010 at 11:10 am
Many, many churches are against homosexuality. Really, you change the definition of marriage for one group you change it for everyone. This is a fight that is not going away anytime soon. Some interesting reading. The idea of gays getting marriied is till relatively untested. It’s not surprising that people are not comfotable with it.

Truth and lies about homosexuality. One of them tackles the issue about being homosexual and in a loving relationship,

http://www.porn-free.org/homosexual_truth_lies.htm#15

What’s wrong with defending traditional marriage?

http://www.sourcenewspapers.com/articles/2010/09/25/opinion/doc4c9d119a55a11974457036.txt

Suspicious Minds
Sep 25th, 2010 at 11:11 am
Helmut asked, “The real question is would he do it again? Would push a discriminatory agenda that hurts our children and neighbors if the prophet asked him to do it?”

Of course he would do it. Loyalty and obedience.

Carol Lynn Pearson
Sep 25th, 2010 at 11:15 am
The headline “Elder Marlin Jensen Apologizes for Proposition 8″ is a bit misleading. I was present at the meeting. There was a great deal of pain expressed by a number of people about their experiences around Prop 8 and the larger context of church policy regarding gay people. It was a remarkable meeting, and Elder Jensen took copious notes and was visibly emotionally touched as he listened to the stories. At no time did he say anything like, “I know Proposition 8 was a mistake and I apologize for that mistake.” He was responding personally and in general to the extraordinary pain he was witnessing. No one had a tape recorder, but I wrote down the words, “…Do we owe an apology? I will say I am sorry. To the full extent of my capacity I say I am sorry.” It was a sincere and moving statement. It would not be constructive to make his statement sound like something it was not. The meeting itself was an historical event, for which I and many others are deeply grateful.

SLK in SF
Sep 25th, 2010 at 11:23 am
To MoHoHawaii (#35) – Yes: more Dean Criddles, more Carol Lynn Pearsons — and more John Dehlins. Please.

BTW, I just now had an email from my sister, who tells me she also spoke at the meeting last Sunday. Her opinion on Elder Jensen’s statement: “It was definitely a step in the right direction.” She went on to tell me how grateful she is to live in the Oakland Stake. (For a year now, ever since Oakland’s historic meetings last fall, she’s been hearing stories — both inspiring and heartbreaking — from LDS mothers of gay children in other, less accepting, locations across the country.)

Rory
Sep 25th, 2010 at 11:31 am
John,

Are you kidding me? You tell me that my logic is flawed, that it is tantamount to “blaming a gay person for not trying hard enough”?? What on earth are you talking about? Submitted respectfully or not, that’s bullshit.

Overstating and spinning an event to embarrass or force change does nothing to advance your goal, and only serves to undermine your credibility. It’s the very problem we face in this country on the political scene – talking heads detached from reason and truth, advancing a cause with extreme rhetoric and polarization.

If you are sincere about changing the hearts and minds of the membership, you should rethink your approach.

John Dehlin
Sep 25th, 2010 at 11:44 am
Carol Lynn,

Never in this post was it my intent to indicate that Elder Jensen made an officially apology on behalf of the church. But just to make sure things are not misunderstood, I changed the title to: Elder Marlin Jensen Personally Apologizes for Proposition 8 (see above).

Rory,

Having some personal experience in this regard — I am growing tired of these private, one-off apologies and assurances that still allow for double-speak, and for the general membership to hold bigoted and damaging beliefs/views/positions. It’s almost like the church is triangulating a la Bill Clinton to try to have their cake (active members in Berkeley) and eat it too (active members in Utah, Bible belt, etc.). The church has just grown too large, and too powerful. When it makes a misstep — people die now. It’s no longer trivial to me (if it ever was).

I feel that if the brethren are going to claim to be prophets, seers and revelators….and if they are to expect obedience from church members….they need to be more careful….and act more responsibly. I feel like they need to learn to “repent” in the same way that they encourage us to repent: confess…and forsake. And I’ve honestly grown to feel as MLK felt…that power does not abdicate itself voluntarily…it must be forced. Gentle patience ends up just enabling, and drawing out the pain for those who are inflicted….in my experience.

I’m honestly not trying to embarrass the church. I’m honestly trying to do my part to prevent more damage in the LONG RUN…and in the LONG RUN….the only way the church will learn its lessons is to:

1) Be held accountable,
2) Learn to apologize, and
3) Stop making overly-bold claims about absolute truth and special connections w/ the divine…along with expectations of exact obedience.

It’s not even about Prop 8. Its about the church becoming humble and more conscientious and careful about its power and influence. In my opinion, allowing the brethren to nuance their way out of their mistakes (to me) feels like enabling them and letting them off the hook. They must be held accountable for things they say and do — both publicly and privately.

I also honestly believe that Elder Jensen can take care of himself….and that if he ends up like Arrington/England/Roberts, etc…..it will not be ONE IOTA of my/our fault. To me…the only fault/responsibility we might have is if we continue to not hold the brethren accountable for their teachings and decisions — to let them nuance their way out of accountability through slow historical revisionism.

Even if you totally disagree with me…I hope you can empathize w/ what I’m saying. As someone who works with the psychologically afflicted now on a daily basis in Utah and sees daily the collateral damage that is being caused by the church for folks on the margins/fringes….these feelings/actions result from a tiring of burying the bodies, so to speak.

Syphax
Sep 25th, 2010 at 12:01 pm
#42. I think many people could empathize with what you’re saying but the stability and certainty of leadership in this Church gives many people a reason to wake up in the morning. Human beings need certainty sometimes, even if it’s misplaced. In this World, time and time again, when we “liberate the margins”, blood and chaos flow, and after that, the leadership is merely replaced with another kind of misplaced certainty. Or the people move on to another group of certain but misplaced men. “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

Do what you feel is right, but sometimes we don’t know the real consequences of our actions. Actions on this scale can be… big… and unpredictable.

Martine
Sep 25th, 2010 at 12:19 pm
Do what you feel is right, but sometimes we don’t know the real consequences of our actions. Actions on this scale can be… big… and unpredictable.

The same could be said of the Church’s actions for Prop 8.

MoHoHawaii
Sep 25th, 2010 at 12:20 pm
Re #39 It would not be constructive to make his statement sound like something it was not.

Wise words from one the wisest people I know.

Soundbites are fun, but they have nowhere near the amount of information needed to positively contribute to complex public discourse.

Re #42, I think the headline of this post should be something like “Oakland Stake continues gay/Mormon dialog.” It’s the open discussion of this topic that is what is important here. Honestly, I’m more interested in the stories that individual members shared during that meeting than what the leadership said in response. (We all know the official LDS position already.) If anyone was there, please let us know what was discussed in more detail.

Flat Lander
Sep 25th, 2010 at 12:23 pm
John,
Please read Syphax’s comment at #43 very carefully, then follow the core advice: “Be afraid, be very, very afraid!” Doing ANYTHING that isn’t correlated can lead to utter destruction. Do you really want that? I didn’t think so.

I think Jensen’s apology, whether personal or institutional, SHOULD be shared with as many people as possible both in and out of the church. I think DISCUSSION of this matter is a GOOD thing. There can be no question but that John Dehlin is a force for encouraging conversation. John knows the doesn’t control the outcomes, but he keeps starting those conversations again and again.

I encourage everyone to share a link to this page on your own blogs or Facebook accounts. Create new blogs and new discussions of this topic. There is GREAT pain in Mormonism now related to the Church’s involvement in Prop 8. I know a number of people who have left the church over it. I know a number of people who have retrenched and become MORE devout over it. This won’t be an easy one to resolve, but this one won’t be resolved by waiting patiently for God to speak to his Prophet.

I don’t always support John Dehlin’s actions or choices, and I have a very different way of approaching things than John does, but please folks, don’t attempt to silence John Dehlin with threats of unknown catastrophe or injury to the church. John sometimes stirs the pot, but he didn’t build the fire, he didn’t put the porridge in the pot, and he isn’t the guy who doles out the porridge once it’s done. Nonetheless, his job of doing some of the stirring is an important one.

Let’s publicize what Elder Jensen said. Let’s talk about it. It DEFINITELY won’t make things WORSE, and it might just help a little, perhaps around the fringes as someone suggested, but echoing some of the other comments here today “it’s a good start.”

johndehlin
Sep 25th, 2010 at 12:26 pm
Syphax,

I’m fine w/ churches existing. I personally love this church.

I’m not fine w/ churches doing serious damage to people on the margins.

So amen to the former. But regarding the latter — sitting by quietly and watching while people get hurt isn’t the answer, I believe. Churches need loyal opposition to remain healthy.

But I don’t expect everyone to agree or join in. Everyone follows their own values/goals/conscience. I’m cool w/ that. This is how I follow mine. I support how you follow yours.

Hanford Searl Jr.
Sep 25th, 2010 at 12:34 pm
… As a former Mormon (excommunicated for “being gay”) after 15-yrs. membership & active member of Affirmation, I’d exercise “spiritual caution” in regards-to-this “development.” As-well-as the recent (“pro-LGBT?!?”) stance taken by-thee-”church” in Salt Lake City about LGBT civil rights in housing, jobs, etc. This is SO similar to how the LDS patriarchal hierarchy REACTED to all-thee-BAD press about “Blacks” & the priesthood during thee late 60′s forward! They were PRESSURED-into-CHANGE by riots at the away-games at Colorado State-&-Wyoming for the BYU basketball team. Not-to-MENTION thee CONTINUAL press ure from articles critical of the Mormon faith in the NY Times. +, the LDS Church has ALREADY last tax-exempt status for one temple in Great Britain & is facing more-legal-challenges there. & FRANKLY, Affirmation has ALWAYS-been-SUSPECT of NOT-being-a CREDIBLE organization willing-to-CHALLENGE so-called “church leaders!” I KNOW: I was “friends” (15-yrs.) with Spencer W. Kimball, starting when he was ONLY one-of-thee two 12-Apostles, who “dealt” with “homosexuals” at BYU in-thee-1960′s! THAT’S when-the-”church” OPENLY-endorsed ELECTRIC-SHOCK- TREATMENT for gays!!! Are thee “church leaders” ALSO “very sorry” for THAT yet?!?

Cynthia L.
Sep 25th, 2010 at 1:29 pm
“They must be held accountable for things they say and do — both publicly and privately.”

You keep saying this, and it’s hard to disagree with. I guess where I get really confused is how holding them accountable for something someone didn’t say accomplishes anything.

Calguy
Sep 25th, 2010 at 1:31 pm
Wow! Shocking and nice to read! thanks for sharing.

Alliegator
Sep 25th, 2010 at 2:01 pm
I think the personal apology to those who are in pain over prop 8 should be spread far and wide, because it gives hope to those who have struggled with the church’s involvement.

geb
Sep 25th, 2010 at 2:02 pm
The Church is finally moving in the right direction. Like on the racial issue 50 years ago, the Church is finding itself on the wrong side of history. The society is rapidly accepting gays without the kind of ill judgments previously imposed. Europe and Canada, are ahead of the US, but we are quickly catching up. The Church will eventually as well.

UTMormon
Sep 25th, 2010 at 2:16 pm
I didn’t see that as an apology that the Church was wrong in supporting prop 8; the Church is NEVER going to agree that marriage should be between a man and a man; a woman and a woman; a man and his dog; or anything other than a man and a woman. The apology was obviously an apology that people were hurt; or that people felt pain. The gay community and others may want to read into it further; as hope that the gay lifestyle is approved by the LDS Church; that will never be the case.

johndehlin
Sep 25th, 2010 at 2:27 pm
I’m closing the comments…because I don’t have time this weekend to moderate…and things are getting a bit nasty here.

I’ll end by saying this …I never meant to imply anywhere that this was an official apology for the church…only that this was apparently a personal apology from Elder Jensen. Sorry for the confusion.