Premortal existance

What does life without premortal existence resemble: A parable

There once was a mighty king with wealth untold. He went out into his kingdom one day and found the poorest and most destitute individual that seemed to subsist but hardly exist at all. He went up to this individual and handed him a million golden coins. The king told the man that he had no choice but to take the golden coins because if he attempted to return them he would be viewed as ungrateful and that the penalty for this would be death. The king then proceeded to tell the man that he had recently passed an extensive set of 613 very complicated laws regarding to individuals to whom the king had granted presents, and that the penalty for the violation of even the smallest of these would be death. He told the man that he expected that he govern perfectly and in command of the law even without perfect legal training. He told him that his son was an especially good lawyer and that he could get the man out of any sentence pro bono so long as the man called upon the song and told him that he had been recommended by his father. The man was warned that one day he would be brought before the king and judged. If he did not properly utilize the money, he would be killed. 

Premortal existance: A parable

There once was a mighty king whom had three sons. The youngest son grew up for a while in the close presence of his father and grew and developed. One day, the father decided that the young son could no longer learn anything new in the perfectly controlled court environment. The father spoke to his son and they agreed that the son should venture far out into the world. If the son remained too close to home, the father knew that the son could never fully and totally grow. Thus, the father gave the son a million gold coins as a grant and sent him into the far reaches of the world. Yet, the father knew the son could get into trouble and thus they agreed that wherever the son would be, he could call on his older brother whom would be sent to bail him out of any trouble. After a while, the father brought his son back and judged him based on his deeds and stewardship. If the son showed himself a worthy stewart, then he would be given his own kingdom and be appointed a viceroy by the most high king. If he did not show this type of responsibility he would inherit a lower station and that the worst negligence of all could merit banishment 

Which of these visions of the King seems more just? It seems to me at least that the king in the first version is not a figure that the man should admire or respect although he should certainly fear. In the first, the man was given no choice and no opportunity to deny the present. Thus, a whole set of criterion and laws were pushed onto him without his consent. The king is not completely capricious because he does offer his son as a way to redeem ones failures. Still, all of risks are pushed onto the man without an option and thus the very scenario this man finds himself in is crafted by the king. Even if the king has the mans ultimate interest in mind and is truly altruistic, this king is still a despot and certainly not a being that the man should love.

The second king in contrast deserves the sons love and admiration. He has worked in concert with the son to develop a plan that he feels will best develop the sons potential. Moreover, he has given the son the choice and shown him the consequences of success or failure. Thus, this king has not imposed coercive rules with their consequent punishments but the son has instead voluntarily entered into a covenant with the father.

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The LDS church is NOT opposing civil union in Illinois

This story of a mass e-mail written by a private member of a single LDS ward in Illinois urging fellow members to make calls to the legislature in opposition to (Nauvoo, Illinois 3rd ward) ( Incidentally the most conservative of wards because of its high mixture of members from Utah) has been circulating for a few days now, but with a front page story on The Advocate’s website, and an ABC news story it seems to have finally broken. Yet, it is important for us to differentiate fact from fiction and to realize that this is not the same as the official church policy taken in regard to proposition 8 and not an example of the church rearing up its propaganda campaign or anything of the sort suggested by others posting here.

Examples: LDS now wants to shut down civil unions in IL
The Mormon Church is at it again!

symphonyofdissent’s diary :: ::
Both of those posts contain many inaccuracies and outright lies about the scope or intention in this instance. The Advocate ( a publication I usually rely upon for solid journalism) is equally shoddy in its coverage.

Mormons Set Sights on Killing Civil Unions in Illinois

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently sent a private e-mail to its Illinois members urging them to contact state legislators and voice opposition to civil union legislation the state is currently considering. According to the Human Rights Campaign, the e-mail was sent to at least one LDS ward in Illinois and was authorized by a bishop named Chris Church.

The diaries on this site and this Advocate article make it sound like there is an official church policy disseminating these e-mails. Instead, the e-mail in question was written by a private member on the Ward webspace that is available to members and sent to all members of only that specific ward. It is true, that a Bishop has to approve of all messages that are sent not merely between a few members but to the whole ward, but this does not imply that support of this message is official ward policy. Ward e-mails tend to contain information about events or causes that may be of interest to the members of the ward and there is usually not a high level of top down control.

Moreover, it might be useful to point out exactly what a Bishop is in the LDS church. A bishop is merely a person called to a leadership position in a specific ward. He is not a paid individual or full time worker for the church. Instead, he is typically an individual who is also involved in the professional world. Bishops are individuals and just like anyone partake in political activity in their private lives; The bishop in my ward in Boston was actually involved in the Mitt Romney campaign, for instance. Thus, LDS bishops are private citizens and their actions have no say on the top down policy coming from Salt Lake City or anywhere else.

The bishop soon after allowing the e-mail to be sent out, put out another e-mail commenting on the fact that this e-mail was not meant to suggest any compulsion or official policy on the part of the church.

From: Chris Church
Date: March 4, 2009 1:58:47 PM CST
Subject: Church Position on Legislation

Members of the Church may take any action they wish concerning legislation but the Church does not take any position in relation to these issues.

Bishop Church

Update On That Mormon Email: LDS Backs Away

Moreover, a statement was issued today by LDS public affairs ( an official church source) that made it clear that the LDS church has taken no position on the Illinois legislation and that this e-mail was not a sign of official policy.

As is widely known, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes in the sanctity of traditional marriage. The Church has not taken a position on any legislation currently being considered by the Illinois State Legislature. The Church did not send an e-mail to its members in regards to House Bill 2234, although a false report to the contrary has been circulated. An e-mail was sent from a local Illinois Church leader to his congregation – one of 129 congregations in the state — who was free to express his own views.

No LDS campaign in Illinois

Because of all of this, the rhetoric of even illustrious and renowned organizations such as Human Rights Watch has been rather disturbing.

“It is irrefutably clear that the LDS Church is fighting an antigay crusade throughout the nation, targeting any form of equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community,” said Bruce Bastian, a member of HRC’s board of directors and a former member of the LDS Church. “Church leaders want nothing more than to do their hateful work in secrecy, but the time has come to shine a light on their insidious efforts. If the LDS Church won’t tell the truth, we will.”

(quoted from the advocate article cited earlier)

Truly, an organization like HRC should know better than to throw around words such as an antigay “crusade.” In this case, such language is completely out of proportion and based on a distorted understanding of the position of a bishop as well as the perceived official nature of this e-mail.

If a well known group with a great reputation such as Human Rights Watch overreacted so strongly, some of the commons on blog posts were utterly disgusting and offensive. Some of the comments attempted to suggest that the church should be kicked out of the state of illinois once again. For a member or anyone who knows the history of the Mormon church, nothing but slaughter and oppression, this suggestion is akin to suggesting to a Jew that maybe he should be kicked out of spain or forced out of their communities by pogroms . It is absolutely inappropriate and we should be better than that.

Sure, some members of the church are bigoted and oppose civil union legislation in Illinois. Yet, this does not equal official policy and such messaging is not supported by the leadership of the church. I am reminded of the attempts by conservatives to smear democrats and Obama because of the DailyKos diaries that unrelated members posted. This kind of thinking is absurd no matter what the cause or issue involved. There is no Mormon conspiracy against civil union in illinois or anything else of the sort. Those fighting for rights should get the facts straight before they become needlessly bigoted in response.

_______________________

For Reference here’s the full text of the e-mail that was sent out

From: Kristy Combs
Date: March 3, 2009 12:27:59 PM CST
Subject: Civil Union bill scheduled for a hearing Thursday – calls needed

This message has been authorized for sending by Bishop Church.
The Civil Union Bill (HB 2234) has been scheduled for a hearing in the Youth and Family Committee this week on Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 9:00 a.m. in Springfield. If the bill is voted out of committee, it becomes eligible for a vote before the full Illinois House of Representatives. This bill will legalize civil unions in the state of Illinois, and will treat such civil unions with the same legal obligations, responsibilities, protections and benefits as are afforded within marriage. In other words, civil unions will be different in name only from marriage. As has already been seen in Massachusetts, this will empower the public schools to begin teaching this lifestyle to our young children regardless of parental requests otherwise. It will also create grounds for rewriting all social mores; the current push in Massachusetts is to recognize and legalize all transgender rights (An individual in Massachusetts can now change their drivers license to the gender they believe themselves to be, regardless of actual gender, which means that confused men and women are now legally entering one another’s bathrooms and locker rooms. What kind of a safety issue is this for our children?). Furthermore, while the bill legalizes civil unions, it will be used in the courts to show discrimination and will ultimately lead to court mandated same-sex marriages.

To help defeat this bill, please call your state representative and state senator and ask that they support traditional marriage and vote against the civil unions bill. If you are unsure who your legislators are, please see the link at the end of this email.

Also, please take a moment and call the following members of the Youth and Family Committee to encourage them to vote no on this bill. We need 4 votes to keep it from passing out of the committee. And – as always, please pass this on to all who believe in protecting our families and our children. If you are interested in attending the hearing, it will be held on Thursday, March 5th at 9:00 a.m. in Springfield in Room 122B of the Capitol Building (I can give you directions to the Capitol Building if needed).

Members of the Youth and Family Committee:
Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) (Greg Harris is also the sponsor of this bill, but he needs to hear your opposition to this bill)
Chairperson
217-782-3835

Rep. LaShawn K. Ford (D-Chicago)
Vice-Chairperson
217-782-5962

Rep. Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago)
Republican Spokesperson
217-782-1653

Rep. William D. Burns (D-Chicago)
217-782-2023

Rep. Michael P. McAuliffe (R-Chicago)
217-782-8182

Rep. Al Riley (D-Matteson)
217-558-1007

Rep. Dave Winters (R-Rockford)
217-782-0455

Directions for identifying your legislators:
You can use the following link to identify your state legislators and their contact information: http://www.elections.il.gov/ DistrictLocator/ SelectSearchType.aspx? NavLink=1 (and enter your 9 digit zip code). If this link doesn’t work, you can use the general link http://www.ilga.gov and then click on ” legislator lookup” near the bottom of the page, then click on “by zip+4″. Type in your zip code, and you’ll see a list of your legislators. You want your state senator and state representative as they will be the ones voting on the bill.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Sister Combs.

LDS and civil unions

I am going to write a brief post on this topic because I am fuming right now and absolutely need to do so. I will follow up with a full post on gay marriage and proposition 8, but I was just irked on to write this immediately by this latest news story hitting the net and now front page on The Advocate’s website.

http://www.advocate.com/news_detail_ektid74341.asp

Lets look at the headline

Mormons Set Sights on Killing Civil Unions in Illinois

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently sent a private e-mail to its Illinois members urging them to contact state legislators and voice opposition to civil union legislation the state is currently considering. 

This is of course inaccurate on many levels. ABC has a much more balanced take on this story and The Advocate article does later put in place all of the necessary caveats

Now, the true story is that a single e-mail was sent to a single ward. The e-mail was written by a private member and only voiced her opinion. The e-mail was approved for sending by the ward Bishop. Yet, I have a feeling the bishop will approve anything for this kind of mass e-mail unless it is pornographic, or against the church message in some clear way. This was an e-mail that could be of valid interest to many member and there was not effort to declare it official ward policy.

The bishop and a church spokesperson have quickly backed off from the e-mail with the church spokesperson stating

As is widely known, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes in the sanctity of traditional marriage. The Church has not taken a position on any legislation currently being considered by the Illinois State Legislature. The Church did not send an e-mail to its members in regards to House Bill 2234, although a false report to the contrary has been circulated. An e-mail was sent from a local Illinois Church leader to his congregation – one of 129 congregations in the state — who was free to express his own views.”

-Scott Trotter, Church spokesman

Still, this e-mail exploding on the same day as the proposition 8 backlash is clearly bad timing of the worst sort and sure to taint the church.

“It is irrefutably clear that the LDS Church is fighting an antigay crusade throughout the nation, targeting any form of equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community,” said Bruce Bastian, a member of HRC’s board of directors and a former member of the LDS Church. “Church leaders want nothing more than to do their hateful work in secrecy, but the time has come to shine a light on their insidious efforts. If the LDS Church won’t tell the truth, we will.”

This is the opposite of the message we should be working on sending and yet we have totally lost control of the message over proposition 8. How can a church that is so brilliant at rallying its members to support proposition 8 in the first place and be so efficient at missionary work and so many other endeavors be utterly unable to control a media narrative?

It is my personal view, that the day after proposition 8 passed, the church should have begun to truly make an effort to live up to its words when it stated that its actions were pro-marriage and not anti-gay. The church should have taken up Equality Utah’s Common Ground proposal instead of leaving it unanswered for well over 100 days and allowing the basic rights bills to die an ignominious death in the Utah legislature

http://www.equalityutah.org/action/common.html

The church should be fighting to make it clear that it is a loving institution and should fight for the hearts and souls of those who will now be instead hardened and stiffened against the church because of its lack of compassion. 

This is a true disappointment.