Burning Bosom

Theology, History, Culture, Politics & Life from a LDS (Mormon) Perspective

Reflections On My First Sunstone Symposium

Posted by Shawn L on March 17, 2008

sunstone1.jpgThis weekend, I (along with my co-blogger, Andrew) attended my first Sunstone Symposium this past weekend in Claremont, California.  You’ll note from its title that this post does not aspire to be a comprehensive report of the weekend’s events.   But, in hopes of disabusing people of the same sorts of prejudices I held for so long (as explained below), let me share with you a few thoughts about my experience.   

To begin, a bit of background.  In my house growing up, Sunstone was a “hiss and a byword,” spoken of only with disdain (if it was ever spoken of at all).  As far as I understood the world, Sunstone was a rogue publication authored and consumed exclusively “liberal Mormons,” all of whom were on the high road to apostasy with their prayers to Heavenly Mother and revisionist views of Book of Mormon historicity (not to mention their peepstone fetishism).   Put another way, I saw reading Sunstone as a direct poke in the eye to the Church.  I went on my mission and then came back to BYU in the early 1990′s with these notions firmly in place.  The concurrent rash of BYU firings and excommunications only served to cement my prejudices.

Over the past few years, as I have become enraptured with Mormon Studies, I have had rethink my Sunstone position.  I have subscribed to Dialogue for some time now, but Sunstone, for some unexplainable reason. still carried a bit of a stigma.  It wasn’t until this past year, when Sunstone digitized much their archives and I began actually reading the articles (what a novel concept!), that I shook off my old beliefs and have come to see the good in Sunstone. While I certainly don’t agree with everything I read, I value its contribution to the larger discussion.       

So, with that in mind, here are three of things that stick out most in my mind as I look back upon my weekend experiences at Sunstone:

First, I was blown away by the new documentary, “Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons,” produced by Darius Gray and Margaret Young.  Bro. Gray, who converted to the Church as young man in the 1960′s, is a founding member of the Genesis Group, a support group for African-American LDS.  For those who haven’t seen her many posts and comments, Sis. Young, a long-time and frequent contributor to the Bloggernacle, is on the BYU faculty.   This film, very obviously, is a labor of love.  What struck me about it was not the history, but the overall tone.  Unlike so many other versions of these facts, the film does not stoop to Brigham-bashing or finger-pointing.  Rather, the focus is on the very positive contributions that Black members — from Elijah Abel to the young families appearing in the film – have made, and continue to make, to the Church.  Healing old wounds and starting fresh, not placing blame, seems to have been the filmmakers’ driving purpose.  In this, they have succeeded.   Bro. Gray was on hand to share his thoughts about making the documentary.  His strength of will and testimony shone through his words.  I had the chance to chat with him briefly after the presentation.  A handshake didn’t seem big enough to express my emotion, so I hugged him (thankfully, for my dignity, he didn’t refuse me).  As far as I am concerned, any discussion of “pioneers” is incomplete without a nod to people like Bro. Gray who stayed faithful, and soldiered on, through spiritual adversity on the level of any physical trial faced by those who pulled a handcart.  (See a preview of the film and make a tax-deductible donation towards its distribution here).

Second, just as I am when I enter going into any new, unfamiliar environment, I was a bit of nervous about how would be received.  Yes, it may sound irrational, but it definitely was on my mind.   Would I be seen as an outsider, an interloper?   As it turns out, my concerns were wholly unnecessary.  In fact, the Symposium attendees treated me exactly the way we ask and hope our ward members will treat an investigator.  In almost every session, a stranger took the chair to me, introduced themselves with a warm handshake, then asked questions to get to know a bit about me.  On those occasions when I took the lead and introduced myself to someone (both presenter and fellow attendee), my inquiries were well-received and reciprocated with kindness.  I truly was made feel like one the tribe. 

Third, and perhaps most importantly, it was a spiritually uplifting, rather than faith-dampening, event.  For me, I feel more “in tune” with the Spirit when I am intellectually engaged.  Faith promoting rumors and “warm and fuzzy” stories do nothing for me.   The presentations definitely scratched that itch.  My surprise favorite in this regard was a presentation by Robert Rees, entitled “Mormons and the Cross,” which explored the reasons why Mormons did not accept the Christan cross as unifying symbol, and thoughts on why we could benefit from  its adoption.  Furthermore, presenters were not afraid to interject their own faith into their presentations.  My favorite example of this came during the “Why We Stay” session, which is a staple of every symposium.  One of the participants began by saying:  “I brought of papers here with me.  But my 2 children and 2 grandchildren are here.  That’s the real reason I stay.”  It was a touching moment for sure. 

In the end, there were no prayers offered to Heavenly Mother, no one referred sarcastically to General Authorities by their first name, and no one mentioned white salamanders.   My take-away from the event was just what I had been hoping to find.  I was challenged intellectually, but never spoken to condescendingly.  I rubbed shoulders with folks whose work I enjoy (Richard & Claudia Bushman; Newell Bringhurst; Robert Rees), and was introduced to new concepts from thinkers previously unknown to me.  Were there opinions with which I didn’t agree?  Of course, but that same thing happens nearly week in my Church meetings, as well.   

Well done, Sunstone — I’ll see you all next year!

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46 Responses to “Reflections On My First Sunstone Symposium”

  1. IN your last paragraph, did you mean to say “no prayers offered to Heavenly Mother”? No prayers to Heavenly Father sounds very non-Mormon.

    I wrote a paper for the California Sunstone symposium about 15 years ago, which I was unable to attend, so it was read by someone else and I was told about the ensuing discussion. For a while they were offering a sound recording on cassette of that session.

  2. Shawn L said

    Yes — thanks for the heads-up. The change has been made.

  3. Chris H. said

    Hey Shawn,

    You want to know why you were so well received by the Sunstone crowd? Because you have a beard, dude. :)

  4. Shawn, nice writeup. I had fun talking to you during the symposium and am glad to hear you had a good time.

    I’m glad to hear you found the symposium spiritually uplifting. I’ve always felt the same way, even if, like you, I sometimes disagree with some of the opinions expressed. But it isn’t the unanimity of opinion that spiritually uplifts, but the open and respectful exchange of ideas that gets my spiritual gears humming. It is the stifling of discussion, or the pressure to believe or agree with opinions one doesn’t share, that has a tendency to deaden or deflate the spirit.

    I missed Bob Rees’s presentation, but hope to catch up with it on MP3. I agree that Darius Gray was the highlight, but also enjoyed the Why We Stay and GBH Retrospective as well.

    Sunstone only comes to So Cal every other year, so you’ll have to grab Andrew and roadtrip to the SLC syposium this summer. It’s even more fun than the Sunstone West, partly because of the number of sessions (100+), and partly because of the people, bloggers, etc. its fun to meet.

  5. Shawn L said

    Matt — I definitely want to do the SLC run, although I don’t know if I’ll get there this year. From what I’ve read, the So. Cal. symposium is just a glimpse into the extravganza that is the SLC Symposiumm.

  6. Andrew said

    Shawn,

    Thanks for publicly “outing” me as a Sunstone attendee. I had hoped to keep this closeted, but I see that my secret parts have been discovered and my deeds have been announced from the rooftops.

    I echo the sentiments in your review. As I was attending the conference, I kept thinking about how wonderful it would be if a greater degree of openness could become socially acceptable in our church culture when discussing issues we don’t fully understand. I appreciated the opportunity to explore possible answers to perplexing issues, and also to have my faith affirmed by some powerful testimonies about what binds the speakers to the church. And of course, any time you get to hear from Darius Gray, Richard and Claudia Bushman, Armand Mauss, etc., it’s going to be an interesting, educational, and edifying experience.

  7. Shawn L said

    Yikes — sorry about that. Don’t worry, for a very modest monthly fee, I’ll keep the rest of your deep, dark secrets to myself.

  8. George Jackson said

    If you go to the any number of feminist presentations on women and priesthood and any number of others on the sunstone site and download the free mp3′s of them, you will find and be able to listen to any number of prayers to “Dear Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother”. You just didn’t get the “privelege”/”unfortunate luck” (whichever you prefer) of witnessing one of these prayers. And they are tolerated and welcome at sunstone, as are all of our “friends” from the September 6 such as Paul Toscano, and lest we forget, our friend “President Kimball’s favorite Mexican” himself.

    Not that there is plenty to be found that is of much worth at sunstone. I just don’t know how I can ever bring myself to be a supporter/attendee at sunstone because of their welcome embrace of these people. I have a real problem with that.

  9. [...] http://burningbosom.wordpress.com/2008/03/17/reflections-on-my-first-sunstone-symposium/ [...]

  10. George, I can almost guarantee that were you to attend a Sunstone symposium, you’d have a different opinion than the one you have now. Your mocking tone and use of snear quotes lacks the charity I’d expect from a Latter-day Saint.

  11. George Jackson said

    Well, yes, I suppose you are right about my lack of Charity in my use of the language I use, and you can find fault all the day long with how I fall into that abrasive attitude sometimes, something that anyone that has had any kind of dealings with me knows that its one of my faults that stands out the most. And its something that I end up having to apologize for all the time, because I fall into it all the time.

    On the other hand, I stand by the substance of my argument, that a prayer to both the Heavenly Father and the Heavenly Mother is out of line, and how apostates that preach false doctrine are coddled and embraced at sunstone. What are we to do with that? How could I have a different opinion when I have heard plenty of audio from sunstone. How would having witnessed these things first hand rather than on the recording change my opinion? I hear what I hear from the feminist apostates. And this is what I hear. I hear what I hear from Quinn and Toscano and any number of other people who have left the Church and are embraced at sunstone? How can I posssibly say that I have no association with apostates in a temple recommend interview if I were to ever support Sunstone monaterily or by attending a symposium? Explain to me how you can have it both ways?

  12. Shawn L said

    George — I’m not sure I’m the right guy to be “the Sunstone Defender,” because, as I mention in the post, my exposure has been relatively limited. Others with more experience should chime in.

    That said, I simply don’t see having a temple rec. and attending Sunstone as an either/or proposition. The specific question you are referring to doesn’t mention “apostates.” As I recall, it reads as follows: “Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” As a threshold matter, Sunstone itself has no “teachings” — rather, it is a collection of people who are striving to understand issues relating to Mormonism and the Gospel. Do I agree with everything that is written/spoken by everyone engaged in that conversation? Of course not. But the same could be said of the great bunch of people with whom I attend Church every Sunday. For example, I heartily disagree with the overtly right-wing political statemets I hear spoken as doctrine.

    Despite these disagreements, we should not be so quick to throw the baby out with the proverbial bathwater. For all of the places where we differ, there are many more places where we find common ground. Don’t forget that, over the years, Sunstone has “embraced” — and continues to “embrace” — folks whose “orthodox Mormon” bona fides are beyond impeachment — Richard Bushman (who spoke on Saturday, as well); Hugh Nibley; and Edward L. Kimball, to name just a few. This belief that Sunstone participants all have the ulterior motive of taking the Church down a peg or two is unfounded, I believe.

    To address your specific concerns regarding Michael Quinn, Margaret Toscano and prayers to Heavenly Mother. For the record, prayers to HM would make me unconfortable, as well. Was there a time when Sunstone supporters were a bit more strident, shall we say? Yes — the late 1980′s and early 1990′s were a difficult period with bad feelings on both sides of the arguments. Matt T. can speak to this point better than I can, but Sunstone has come a long way since then.

    So, George, for me, there no question of having it both ways. Sunstone (along with Dialogue, a whole bedside table full of books, conversations with smart folks from all across the religious spectrum, and this very blog on the glowing screen in front of you) help me to be “anxiously engaged” in the Gospel. I can’t think of a better to get myself prepared for temple attendance.

  13. George Jackson said

    Yeah, I’ve heard the whole thing with how sunstone as an entity has no “teachings” or whatever.
    I know you can get everything all over the spectrum which is exactly why I cannot stop listening to many sunstone symposium recordings and reading the magazine when I look at it at the library.

    But this is the whole problem. I find stuff from sunstone that I simply cant get anywhere else. The same goes for dialogue. So I have a conundrum there, that I simply have had to deal with by rationalizing it. That I admit.
    Yet, if I went ahead and fully “partook” of Sunstone-ness, which, I would be supporting sunstone, and participating in sunstone. That is where I have had to draw the line. Perhaps I shouldn’t be rationalizing anything and if I was perfect, i should have nothing to do with sunstone talks at all. but to me, that is extreme.

    I don’t know. I might be wrong. But this is how I have tried to personally show the Lord where my loyalties are. I see it as a matter of loyalty to the Church to not show any support to an entity that gives equal voice to these people. Its a real complicated issue, and this is the best I have been able to do with it personally. Not doing anything about it personally, I think, would be a statement to the Lord that I’m not worried about lack of loyalty to him, and that I would be in league to whatever small degree with people that have decided not to be loyal to the Lord.

  14. Shawn L said

    As I see it, Sunstone and Dialogue are just like any other source of information: you should read them critically, feeling free to agree with those arguments that ring true to you, and to reject those that do not. Simply reading Sunstone, Dialogue, the LA Times, etc. does not constitute a wholsale acceptance of their varying opinions.

    I appreciate your honesty and understand where you are coming from. You certainly not the only person I know who feels that Church membership requires a rejection (albeit in your case, a partial rejection) of other, non-mainstream voices. And I am no position to judge whether you have drawn your own personal boundaries in the right place. If they work for you, then Godspeed.

    At the same time, for me, opening myself up to a broader conversation enhances, rather than diminishes, my faith both in the Gospel and the Church. Although I have spent a good chunk of time today justifying my reading habits, you might be surprised to find that (despite my beard), I am a pretty orthodox sort of Mormon. I do not feel that I am, or have ever been, “in league with” apostates.

  15. George, for someone who purports to not “support” Sunstone, you sure seem to spend a lot of time reading and/or listening to Sunstone materials. It appears to play a role in your life/faith as a source for a “spectrum” of information. Whether or not this constitutes “support” seems to me mere semantics.

    The reason I have invited you to attend a symposium (I’ll pay your way if monetary support is your hangup) is not because you can’t get the same information from the magazine or download via MP3, but because you’ll realize by meeting the authors and attendees in person that they are warm, open, and friendly people, not the enemy “apostates” you make them out to be. Your characterization reminds me of the cartoon characterization of Utah Mormons in the 19th Century. Eastern reporters travelling through Salt Lake were always amazed to find that Mormons were just curteous, loving, Christian people.

    You’ve overstated the prayers to Heavenly Mother issue. I’ve attended RLDS/CoC services at Sunstone, heard FLDS leaders preach, heard Protestant ministers and Buddhists share their beliefs, etc. all under the banner of “faith seeking understanding.” In such interfaith exchanges I’ve almost always learned something new that informs or expands my faith. I would group those that pray to a Heavenly Mother as believers in their own faith/religion, and as such show repect to their prayers the same way I would show respect for a Buddhist prayer. It’s called religious tolerance.

  16. Kerry said

    Matt-

    Do you have a non-audio transcript of that presentation on your blog entitled “Why Mormons should celebrate the Holy Week”? I would love to read it.

    Thanks,

    Kerry

  17. Kerry,

    It was published in Dialogue, Volume 37, Fall 2004, following the original Sunstone symposium presentation in 2001. You can find it starting on page 151 of that volume here:

    http://content.lib.utah.edu/cdm4/document.php?CISOROOT=/dialogue&CISOPTR=32471&REC=2

    Matt

  18. George Jackson said

    Matt,

    Nobody said that apostates weren’t nice people. Just because they are nice people doesn’t mean that they aren’t apostates. Apostate doesn’t equal Anti-Mormon. Anti-Mormon means that you spend your time fighting against the Church. Apostate means that you are a heretic and you couldn’t stop publicly preaching/sharing your heresy after being warned, so you get ex-ed. Just being a closet heretic doesn’t make someone an apostate. So apostates are heretics, but being a heretic doesn’t necessarily make one an apostate, if that makes sense. Or, also apostate can mean that you associate yourself with apostates, or sympathize with them. I don’t sympathize with apostates. I agree with some liberal ideas here and there, but I don’t sympathize with the supposed “plight” of the apostates.

    So, yes, you are certainly right that heretics/apostates can be very nice people. That’s the sheeps clothing that the wolves are dressed in, and you don’t need to believe that you are a wolf to actually be a wolf.

  19. George, it seems you’ve got it all worked out. Personally, I think the more you focus on loving your neighbor, the less preoccupied you’ll be with worrying if you are consorting with wolves, heretics, apostates, or anti-Mormons.

    Take care.

  20. Craig A. said

    I have heard on Mormon stories podcast about a statement on symposia issued in 1991 by the church. Does anyone have this reference? I have enjoyed symmposiums at BYU so I am curious about the content of this statement.

  21. Andrew said

    Craig,

    I believe you are referring to Elder Oaks’ conference talk in 1989 entitled “Alternate Voices,” in which he cautioned–but did not purport to prohibit–church members’ participation in symposia.

    Armand Mauss subsequently published a response to Elder Oaks’ talk in Sunstone magazine. You can find a link to Elder Oaks’ talk, as well as Brother Mauss’ response, here:
    http://www.timesandseasons.org/?p=3130#more-3130

    Bro. Mauss’ essay is the best articulation of why the church needs “alternate voices,” and how church members who wish to meekly suggest new perspectives can do so without undermining church leaders’ authority. It’s a must-read in my opinion.

  22. Shawn L said

    Andrew — thanks for the link to Mauss’s response, which I think hits the issue right on the head. I especially like the line about avoiding the trap of using information simply to “make mischief” and that folks who do so are “intellectual adolescents.”

    George — I don’t know what more I can say to you. Your attempt to distinguish between “apostates,” “liberals” and “anti-Mormons” betrays a hostility towards all three. What happened “love your enemies,” “love one another” and all that good stuff? Does that apply only to people with whom you agree?

  23. Kerry said

    #17 – Matt Thurston: Thank you, loved it, great read.

  24. George Jackson said

    RE: “I don’t know what more I can say to you. Your attempt to distinguish between “apostates,” “liberals” and “anti-Mormons” betrays a hostility towards all three.”

    Well, nobody can give me a good answer about what I’m supposed to do other than be how I am. Because if I am any different than I am, then I’m not loyal to the Church. You guys would have me go mingle with these people and sympathize with them when I’ve been advised not to by authorities. It seems to be that simple to me. Tell me where I have misunderstood this? Is this or is this not what you are asking me to do? Are you or are you not asking me to go mingle and sympathize with people who have demonstrated a lack of loyalty to the Church.

  25. Shawn L said

    George — No one here is asking you to do anything. Read or don’t read Suntone, it matters not a whit to me. All I ask is that you refrain from judging others based your own ill-informed stereotypes. You obviously already have the “good answer” you’re looking for. Be at peace with that.

  26. George Jackson said

    RE: “You obviously already have the “good answer” you’re looking for. Be at peace with that.”

    I don’t have any kind of an “answer,” only a way of looking at it where I can err on the side of caution rather than falling off a cliff. You say they are stereotypes. Well, then, what is an apostate? What is it that I’m told that I’m not supposed to affiliate or sympathize with if it isn’t somebody that has been exed for apostasy? You define it then. What is your definition since you thing that I’m just full of stereotypes and prejudice. Be so kind as to show me how you are so much more enlightened than me, since I’m just a bigot.

  27. Andrew said

    George, please allow me to address your question by posing a question that I think suggests the answer:

    When you read a newspaper or magazine, or watch a television show, or listen to a talk radio show, and you hear someone express a viewpoint that disagrees with church doctrine (for example, advocating gay marriage), does your act of reading or listening to that speaker make you guilty of affiliating with those who advocate positions contrary to church leaders?

    In your mind, what makes reading Sunstone any different from reading the Wall Street Journal or Newsweek, or watching Hannity and Colmes, or listening to talk radio? You’re likely to hear viewpoints contrary to church doctrine from all of those sources. If you feel Sunstone is “off limits” (which is something Elder Oaks never said in his “Alternate Voices” talk) because you think some of its speakers make some statements contrary to church doctrine, doesn’t that logic likewise require you to cease reading the news, watching news t.v., and listening talk radio, lest you be exposed to any views that contradict church doctrine?

    I’m afraid your absolutist views about Sunstone prevent you from experiencing all the good it has to offer. A few nights ago my wife and I listened to an old Sunstone broadcast about Holy Week. It inspired us to make a greater effort to emphasize the spiritual side of Easter, as opposed to candy and Easter eggs. Today we had the most Christ-centered Easter we’ve ever had. And it was inspired by a wonderful Sunstone presentation.

    I think if you look more closely, you’ll see that Sunstone is not one dimensional. Is there bad? Yes. Is there good? Yes. Does that also hold true with any other source of information? Yes.

    You know, George, the ironic thing is that your approach of wanting to have nothing to do with an organization that has faults is exactly the same attitude that causes people to leave the church as soon as they detect a fault here or there, rather than looking for and appreciating all the good the church has to offer.

    We should look for the good in everything, whether it be the church, Suntone, the Wall Street Journal, Fox News, or Rush Limbaugh, and not let their faults cause us to cut ourselves off from them completely.

  28. Kerry said

    George v. Andrew…the rumble in the jungle. I think you both make interesting points. This conversation has made me re-think how I answer the temple interview question.

    If we assume that Sunstone has both good and bad, as well as NYT has both good and bad, as well as WSJ has both good and bad…then what is the question in the temple interview referring to? I assume there are apostate groups who only teach things that are contrary to the church’s teachings? If that group does release one teaching that is in accordance with the church, does that group now qualify as one that “has both good and bad?” I am probably splitting hairs…but the basic question is this: at what point does a group and it’s teachings cross the line? And, at what point have we associated and/or sympathized with said group?

    Seems very gray, but so do the other temple interview questions.

  29. Andrew said

    Kerry,

    Personally, it seems to me that recommend interview question is aimed at people who try to keep one foot in the church while having another foot one of several groups that continue plural marriage or other such groups with competing claims to having special authority to continue practices that have been discontinued by the church. I certainly hope subscribing to the WSJ, NYT, the Economist, or any other publication does not make me guilty of affiliating with groups that oppose church doctrine, and I cannot believe that’s what is contemplated by it.

  30. George Jackson said

    Well, Sunstone has crossed the line many times. It has coddled apostates who are apostates according to the general understanding of the word, which would be “bad” from a typical “conservative” Mormon understanding.

    Sunstone is also a source of information as you say, not good or bad from that point of view.

    Therefore, my way of looking at it, by erring on the side of caution is to (1) not treat Sunstone as a social group where I would mingle with these people or support them. Yet, (2) I’m able to use the Sunstone publication at the library and MP3 recordings as a source of information where I can a la carte choose what I want to hear and read, depending on the presenter/writer, just simply not listening to anything from anybody that has some apostate point of view, or from any apostate presenter. Yes, I’m fully aware that there are all shades of gray there.

    And since I’m able to read the stuff at the library, then I’m not forced to monetarily support Sunstone in order to read it. This, I think is a healthy balance of straining out the good from Sunstone while avoiding entirely the bad, and not giving them monetary support. It isn’t perfect, and it may be even extreme. But this is the best I have been able to do to avoid the bad and not falling off a cliff, while not throwing the baby out with the bath water. Its walking a tightrope obviously. Find fault with it if you will.

  31. Kerry said

    Andrew-

    No, I was not inferring at all that subscribing to the WSJ or NYT should in anyway make someone answer that interview question in the affirmative. That would be ridiculous. My question, which I think you answered quite well, was specifically what kind of group should be avoided.

    The question could actually be interpreted in many different ways, similar to the other interview questions. And like many issues inside the church, I think the questions are meant to be open to personal interpretation.

  32. John said

    Rather than passing judgment on George, shouldn’t everybody just acknowledge his concerns as valid ones and allow him to come to a decision that is something that he feels good about? Similarly, George, perhaps you should “live and let live” and not pass judgment on something you seem to acknowledge is anything but black and white.

  33. Shawn L said

    “shouldn’t everybody just acknowledge his concerns as valid ones and allow him to come to a decision that is something that he feels good about?”

    John — see my comment re: “be at peace with that.” That’s what I was trying to say.

  34. Andrew said

    John, or should I say, George Jackson? Just curious why you decided to invent a new commenter, John, to support George’s arguments, when you are one and the same person. Or at least you both have the same IP address.

    Funny, but a little weird, George, I mean John.

  35. George Jackson said

    “John, or should I say, George Jackson? Just curious why you decided to invent a new commenter, John, to support George’s arguments, when you are one and the same person. Or at least you both have the same IP address.”

    I guess you aren’t familiar with what is called pseudonyms, as George Jackson is not a real person either. I don’t particularly give a damn if you approve of the practices of my alter egos online. My arguments are substantive and real. Answer them or don’t answer them.

  36. Shawn L said

    Andrew & Kerry — I have always understood the question at issue to refer to polygamist groups. I don’t have the reference at hand, but I’m quite sure that that was its genesis. It is the product of that period (early 20th Century) when the Church was making every effort to distance itself from the practice. I have never once paused at answering that question “no,” despite the fact that I am a Dialogue subscriber and occasional Sunstone reader.

    George — your views about Sunstone and its ilk seem very well-settled and, while I disagree, I can respect where you’re coming from. The ultimate question in the recommend interview is, “do you consider yourself worthy to attend the temple.” All other questions are ancillary to this. If your “a la carte” approach enables you to answer this question with confidence, then good for you. I’m in no position to “find fault,” as you suggest. At the same, I take a differing approach and am entitled to the same deference. Your views on Sunstone, whether right or wrong, have absolutely no place in determining my personal worthiness to attend the temple, period. What works for you is not a universal standard to applied to all seeking to enter the temple. That’s what concerns about your talk of “apostates.” You need not besmirch others in order to better yourself. That’s all I’m trying to say.

  37. John Jackson said

    I think George’s arguments are very valid. I also think John is a great guy. He is very insightful.

  38. Shawn L said

    #37 — this is, undoubtedly, my favorite comment of the week. :)

  39. Werdna said

    George/John,

    You know, it seems you think your are “defending the faith” in your comments, but don’t you realize that your un-Christlike attitude is exactly the type of thing that poisons Mormon culture and drives people out of the Church? Shouldn’t we be trying to make the tent bigger out of a motivation of love for God’s children instead of trying to exclude as many people as possible from our midst?

  40. George Jackson said

    To hell with the whole bloggernacle thing. I’ve had it with this. Piss on this whole thing. My kind is unwanted here. Piss on you all.

  41. Shawn L said

    I retract my earlier statement — #40 is definitely my favorite post of the day. Well done, George!

  42. Andrew said

    That was not really George Jackson in #40. George has a different IP address. Someone was posing as George.

  43. Shawn L said

    Oh, I know, but I still stand by my comment. The fact that someone took the time makes me smile. Will the real Geogre please stand up?

  44. George Jackson Doppleganger said

    Hi, I’d like to introduce myself as the George Jackson Doppleganger. Check my IP address if you’d like and I’ll prove it. I have a theory about myself, that I have multiple personality disorder and perhaps some sort of schizophrenia or something. All of my personalities manifest themselves in different ways.

    You know, what I’m wondering is, when the one dude called himself legion in the bible, was he really posessed, or did he have multiple personality disorder, or is there no distinction.

    By the way, I’ve switched to John now. George had to sign off. Fred says hi too. And now Mike would like to chime in.

  45. eden joyce said

    coOl.. im a lds

  46. Cialis said

    zkNGEM Thank you for the material. Do you mind if I posted it in her blog, of course, with reference to your site?

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