Notice: Undefined variable: xwq2ay in /services17/webpages/util/r/c/rclifton.site.aplus.net/nine-moons.com/public/index.php(3) : regexp code(1) : eval()'d code on line 1

Notice: Undefined variable: xq9mar in /services17/webpages/util/r/c/rclifton.site.aplus.net/nine-moons.com/public/index.php(3) : regexp code(1) : eval()'d code on line 2

Notice: Undefined variable: xb4jym in /services17/webpages/util/r/c/rclifton.site.aplus.net/nine-moons.com/public/index.php(3) : regexp code(1) : eval()'d code on line 3

Notice: Undefined variable: xm0hy3 in /services17/webpages/util/r/c/rclifton.site.aplus.net/nine-moons.com/public/index.php(3) : regexp code(1) : eval()'d code on line 4

Notice: Undefined variable: x6ow0w in /services17/webpages/util/r/c/rclifton.site.aplus.net/nine-moons.com/public/index.php(6) : regexp code(1) : eval()'d code on line 1

Notice: Undefined variable: xee5jr in /services17/webpages/util/r/c/rclifton.site.aplus.net/nine-moons.com/public/index.php(6) : regexp code(1) : eval()'d code on line 2

Notice: Undefined variable: xa3p7h in /services17/webpages/util/r/c/rclifton.site.aplus.net/nine-moons.com/public/index.php(6) : regexp code(1) : eval()'d code on line 3

Notice: Undefined variable: xinn34 in /services17/webpages/util/r/c/rclifton.site.aplus.net/nine-moons.com/public/index.php(6) : regexp code(1) : eval()'d code on line 4

Notice: Undefined variable: xbdf3c in /services17/webpages/util/r/c/rclifton.site.aplus.net/nine-moons.com/public/index.php(9) : regexp code(1) : eval()'d code on line 1

Notice: Undefined variable: x8y1da in /services17/webpages/util/r/c/rclifton.site.aplus.net/nine-moons.com/public/index.php(9) : regexp code(1) : eval()'d code on line 2

Notice: Undefined variable: xn37zs in /services17/webpages/util/r/c/rclifton.site.aplus.net/nine-moons.com/public/index.php(9) : regexp code(1) : eval()'d code on line 3

Notice: Undefined variable: xquipf in /services17/webpages/util/r/c/rclifton.site.aplus.net/nine-moons.com/public/index.php(9) : regexp code(1) : eval()'d code on line 4
Nine Moons » Blog Archive : Effectuating Change. The Effective Way. » Effectuating Change. The Effective Way.

Effectuating Change. The Effective Way.

Rusty - September 29, 2010

A lot has been said over the last few days about Elder Jensen’s apology. A major strand of those conversations has revolved around the idea of how to best effectuate “Change” in our church. There are those, mostly outside of the Church, suggesting that change will only happen from (surprise, surprise!) outside pressures. Then there are those who are mostly within the Church suggesting that change will only happen from within. I must say that I’m shocked, SHOCKED that the two sides disagree on this point.

This may have been pointed out in one of the threads and I missed it, but to me the clearest answer to that question has already been answered with the original apology. The Oakland Stake President has spent hundreds (?) of hours in outreach to both members and non-members in his stake. Members have engaged in dialogue with other members, non-members, with those in the gay community willing to engage. From what I understand this has been going on for some time now, well over a year. And the fruit of all of that work, that patience, that discourse? A General Authority came to them and engaged in a similar discourse. He listened. And in the end, he apologized.

Now, just like John Dehlin, I’m making no claims that this apology is anything official or endorsed by the Church. But for those who believe that the Church needs to change its tone, its attitude, or even its position on homosexuals/homosexuality, they would surely agree that this is a step in the direction of the “change” they may be looking for.

And it happened from within.

29 Comments »

  1. I would certainly agree that when speaking of the LDS church, all change comes from within. And I would go one further, that the impetus for change comes from local leaders, and not from SLC.

    More importantly, what is the impetus that drives the desire for change at a local level? With regards to the priesthood ban, a significant impetus was how to identify “negro” in Brazil, a country with lots of “african blood” spread throughout the population. Local leaders saw nothing but difficulty and heartbreak in trying to manage the ban and pushed for change.

    What is the motivation of local leaders in Oakland? I would agree with you, that it has come from “dialogue with other members, non-members, with those in the gay community willing to engage.” So, in effect, the push for change is multifactorial, coming from within and without.

    Comment by Kari — September 29, 2010 @ 3:21 pm

  2. Thanks, Rusty. Well said.

    Comment by Chris H. — September 29, 2010 @ 4:20 pm

  3. Rusty: Now, just like John Dehlin, I’m making no claims that this apology is anything official or endorsed by the Church.

    I have to admit that I’m somewhat baffled by this whole flare up. Why wouldn’t we assume the apology is endorsed by the church? As I understand it, the apology was focused on the pain people have suffered as a result the position that the church has taken — not for the church’s stance on the definition of marriage.

    I see zero evidence of Elder Jensen or the Church implying they would stop opposing the legalization of same-sex marriage. I certainly see no reason why any American should ever apologize for voting according to their conscience.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 29, 2010 @ 4:41 pm

  4. Who ever said the apology had anything to do with “voting?”

    If all the church did was vote its conscience, or tell members to “vote your conscience” then we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    Unfortunately, we all know that’s not what happened.

    Comment by MCQ — September 29, 2010 @ 11:22 pm

  5. MCQ: Who ever said the apology had anything to do with “voting?”

    Huh? The apology was generally about Prop 8 and Prop 8 was a measure on the CA ballot that required “voting”.

    If all the church did was vote its conscience… we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    Huh? The leaders of the Church felt the measure was a moral issue and acted according to their collective conscience in supporting the ballot.

    What do you think happened?

    Comment by Geoff J — September 29, 2010 @ 11:42 pm

  6. I’m just going to assume you’re joking Geoff.

    Comment by MCQ — September 30, 2010 @ 1:41 am

  7. I’m not joking MCQ. Enlighten me.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 30, 2010 @ 2:56 am

  8. Ok after reading Carol Lynn Pearson’s account I see now that the apology had nothing to do with Prop 8 specifically (although the Church’s support of that proposition was reportedly the reason for the meeting). Is that what you are talking about MCQ?

    Comment by Geoff J — September 30, 2010 @ 3:07 am

  9. And it happened from within.

    I absolutely agree with you.

    That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the efforts of others that attempt to effectuate change using other methods (not all methods, thank you). It’s one of those things where I’ll be happy if I’m proven wrong. Win/Win, no?

    I’m not in the church to change it. I’m here because the Saints are my people. Even when they annoy the hell out of me. Yes, there are some issues -SSM, women’s issues-not all of them :), the super far right stance of many western members– that trouble me deeply and make it necessary for me to sit out a period or two.

    But…I’m still a part of the community and I still continue to do and ask for what I believe is right, though activism is not what I think will work (sorry to those of you that think I’m working against you). Even though I have a strong personality, I’m not comfortable taking public stances and being seen. I prefer to deal with individuals and on the personal level where I’ll most likely have a bigger and more lasting effect.

    Thanks for the post, Rusty.

    Comment by mfranti — September 30, 2010 @ 8:44 am

  10. Stuff like this almost always has to happen from within. The Church is like a non-Newtonian fluid or a teen. Apply external pressure and it hardens up and stubbornly resists, let it sit on its own and it will loosen up and flow organically.

    Comment by Thaddeus — September 30, 2010 @ 9:50 am

  11. Nice, Thaddeus.

    Partly, Geoff.

    Mostly, what I’m talking about is that the apology was necessitated by the fact that people were hurt. People don’t get hurt by others “voting their conscience,” they get hurt by others engaging in a political campaign which appears designed to make them feel despised and degraded.

    That’s what the apology was for, in my opinion. It had nothing to do with voting.

    Comment by MCQ — September 30, 2010 @ 10:12 am

  12. This is a good post, and this issue is long since dead, but I want to point out that there is no such thing as a strict distiction between inside and outside. Would the SP be working for hundreds of hours had there not been so much “external” opposition? What is a gay, inactive Mormon whose family remains active? What is a family who was active but left the church over this issue? There is always a dialectic because these is never any absolute inside or outside.

    Comment by TT — September 30, 2010 @ 12:14 pm

  13. MCQ: People don’t get hurt by others “voting their conscience,” they get hurt by others engaging in a political campaign which appears designed to make them feel despised and degraded.

    I guess I don’t see the distinction. While some of the tactics of the Yes on Prop 8 campaign were objectionable, it seems to me that the real beef people have with the church was its open support of the measure in general. But it also seems very clear to me that the Church still very much supports the idea behind the measure.

    As I read the CLP account, it appears to me that there was absolutely no apology for the Church’s stand on Prop 8. Rather, Elder Jensen heard tales of church leaders botching how they ministered to people with same-sex attraction and he apologized for those missteps and for the pain they caused.

    Do we agree on that?

    Comment by Geoff J — September 30, 2010 @ 12:31 pm

  14. People don’t get hurt by others “voting their conscience”

    I think this isn’t really the case. People don’t shrug good-naturedly and say, “Oh, well, they won and we lost” in any election on any subject with any consequence, no matter how elevated the design of the campaigning or how solidly people vote their conscience. If a candidate you believed in didn’t win, you’re disappointed. If an issue you supported lost, you can’t understand why everybody didn’t see it your way. If the matter is one that affects your life in an intimate way, you’re hurt.

    There is no doubt an additional pain if you felt despised and degraded, but even absent that you’re hurt. In some hypothetical universe where Prop 8 had passed without church involvement, people would still have felt hurt.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — September 30, 2010 @ 12:37 pm

  15. Yes, Geoff, I agree with your last paragraph.

    Ardis, yes, maybe but then they wouldn’t have felt hurt by the Church, which is why the apology was needed. These people mostly felt hurt because the Church actively poured effort and dollars into this campaign and made public statements supporting it which people felt directly attacked them. They wouldn’t have been directing their hurt feelings and resulting ire at the Church if the Church had done nothing but say “vote your conscience” and the measure had passed with no further official involvement.

    Here’s an example: The voting records show that black people overwhelmingly supported prop 8, but you don’t see gay people engaging in mass protests and directing angry words at African-Americans.

    Comment by MCQ — September 30, 2010 @ 1:12 pm

  16. “In some hypothetical universe where Prop 8 had passed without church involvement, people would still have felt hurt.”

    That hypothetical universe can be found in a couple dozen states. Florida’s Amendment 2 passed the same day as California’s Propostion 8, but hasn’t received a fraction so much attention.

    Comment by John Mansfield — September 30, 2010 @ 1:19 pm

  17. So MCQ, you seem to be saying that people were hurt because the Church got involved with the campaign. And that if the church had just kept quiet then the folks at the meeting would not have been hurt. Is that right?

    Do you feel that the Church was somehow morally wrong to take a stand on the issue and thus needed to apologize for that? (Just trying to nail down what your point here is…)

    Comment by Geoff J — September 30, 2010 @ 1:28 pm

  18. I’m with TT. We have no idea what influenced the SP and members of the stake individaully. I’m sure a number of elements were/are at play.

    Comment by CJ Douglass — September 30, 2010 @ 1:30 pm

  19. I really didn’t think I was being that esoteric, but I think you’re missing my point on both counts.

    I was not saying that people were hurt just because the church got involved. I was disagreeing with your statement that the apology was somehow related to people voting their conscience. No one need apologize for that and, in my mind, no one did.

    The apology (I believe) was directed at the hurt feelings that were generated by the campaign, which included public statements that many found personally offensive and belittling (not judging one way or the other here, but that’s clearly how they felt).

    I don’t know what level of involvement by the Church would have resulted in no hurt feelings. Obviously no involvement in the campaign would have resulted in no hurt feelings, at least against the Church.

    Your second paragraph in #17 is completely wrong. I’m not saying the Church needed to apologize at all. I am glad Elder Jensen did. I am also glad for the Church’s support in SLC of statutes outlawing discrimination against gays in housing and employment. These are great steps that will help people heal and I applaud them.

    Comment by MCQ — September 30, 2010 @ 1:43 pm

  20. So MCQ, you seem to be saying that people were hurt because the Church got involved with the campaign. And that if the church had just kept quiet then the folks at the meeting would not have been hurt. Is that right?

    That’s probably true. I imagine the hurt didn’t come so much from being denied marriage licenses, but that their Church, their own people were actively campaigning for it.

    One can understand and expect a stab in the back from an enemy, but not from one’s closest allies. Perhaps this, and not the marriage thing, is what the apology was for.

    There is room to regret the alienating manner in which the Church played a role, but I don’t see room for the Church to regret its political stance.

    Comment by Thaddeus — September 30, 2010 @ 1:57 pm

  21. I think you misread my #3 then. I didn’t say the apology was “was somehow related to people voting their conscience”. In fact I said the opposite. So perhaps you were just agreeing with me after all.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 30, 2010 @ 2:01 pm

  22. Thaddeus,

    See here for a first hand account of the meeting. As I read that it seems to me that the apology had virtually nothing to do with Prop 8 (contrary to most of the secondhand reports I have seen). Rather it was about botched ministering in general. Maybe others reading it differently though.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 30, 2010 @ 2:04 pm

  23. members of the stake, invited
    specifically for the purpose, voiced the grief they had experienced as a result of their
    church’s involvement in Proposition 8 as well as the broader history of programs and
    policies relating to gay and lesbian members.

    Some speakers expressed anger that the Proposition 8 campaign had given
    people “a license to hate”–expressed amazement that our church could have led a
    campaign that violated its own principles, a campaign in which love was not in evidence,
    in which Christ seemed to have been forgotten–expressed sorrow that a family who
    previously had managed to come together in loving inclusion of their gay brother and his
    husband and their child found themselves ripped apart by the Proposition 8 campaign.

    Elder Jensen added that in his experience the general authorities of the Church are as
    good-hearted a group of men as could be found anywhere, perhaps not perfect, but trying
    hard to do what is right and that they entered the Proposition 8 campaign without malice.

    Those passages make clear that the purpose of the meeting was to talk about the feelings generated by the Church’s involvement in the Prop 8 campaign, and that many people there expressed concerns about exactly that.

    It seems clear to me that Elder Jensen’s apology was personal to him, not necessarily speaking for the Church, but was directed at all the pain expressed in the meeting, including the pain generated by the Church’s involvement in prop 8.

    Comment by MCQ — September 30, 2010 @ 4:18 pm

  24. I don’t disagree with your basic point MCQ.

    This quote is important too though:

    There was never a statement suggesting that Elder Jensen felt the Church’s support of Proposition 8 was an error or that he was apologizing for that event.

    I just was really struck by the story of the one guy who followed counsel of leaders and was subjected to some awful sound aversion therapy and whatnot. It seems like that sort of mess was really what cut the folks in the room, including Elder Jensen, to the core.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 30, 2010 @ 4:44 pm

  25. That definitely was the focus of much of what CLP wrote. Stories like that are horrifying, and probably more widespread than we know.

    Comment by MCQ — September 30, 2010 @ 5:54 pm

  26. wait. what was this thread about?

    Comment by mfranti — September 30, 2010 @ 7:45 pm

  27. Rusty was blathering about something. But does that really matter now?

    Comment by MCQ — September 30, 2010 @ 8:26 pm

  28. But does that really matter now?

    of course not. only the words that come from your mouth, precious.

    Comment by mfranti — September 30, 2010 @ 8:32 pm

  29. You are so wise!

    Comment by MCQ — September 30, 2010 @ 10:04 pm

Leave a comment

RSS feed for comments on this post.
TrackBack URI