Is Sam Young Racist?

Black and White
Black and White

Am I racist if……

Thanks for helping me understand where I need improvement. I desire to eliminate all vestiges of racism that exist in my being.

**As of 11:00pm, CST, 58 survey responses.  61%:  Racist.  39% Not  Racist.  Dang.  I was hoping I was less racist  than that.

**As of 12:00am, CST 8/31/16:  167 responses.  65% Racist.  35% Not Racist.  Looks like I’m getting more racist as time goes on.

The Only True Hope for the Only True Church

imageRating the performance of Our Apostles

Good in many areas.
Frightening in others.

Good
Membership at 15 million

Frightening
Two thirds have left the church
More are leaving EVERY DAY

Good
We have a vast missionary force
Annual baptisms in the hundreds of thousands.

Frightening
Baptisms per missionary has plummeted
Church growth rate has plummeted

Good
I’m still in the church and active

Frightening
My mother and all 5 siblings are out or very limited in activity
Many cherished friends have left

Disobedience

Here’s my take on why the church is in trouble. We are taught that obedience is the first law of heaven. When we openly disregard a plain and precious truth, given by Jesus in a very clear manner, what would we expect?  Choose the wrong and the consequences will follow.  And, they won’t be good ones.

Common Consent(CC)

One of the most beautiful parts of the restoration is the structure for the governance of the church.  Unlike many other rules and standards, the Law of Common Consent is plainly taught in our scriptures.  It is mentioned with clarity and frequency in the D&C. The purpose of this post is not to expound on CC.  That will come soon.

This vital and important law establishes a counter-balance to the power, and the temptations of power, that surround the apostles.  Today, the high leaders, as well as the general membership have relegated this Law & Commandment into irrelevancy.

The Blunt Edge

Sometimes bluntness is offensive or downright rude. But, I love my church and it’s founder, Jesus Christ, enough to be blunt. We as the membership as well as the apostles are thumbing our noses at an indispensable commandment.  We are thumbing our noses at obedience. As a result, nobody really knows if we are following God’s will or not.  We don’t know what policies or doctrines are of Christ.

Divine Plan of Church Governance

The Savior has specified how doctrine, policy, scripture, callings, and every other matter that affects the members, are to be established. Encapsulated in four simple steps, Christ’s plan bears witness of His great trust and love for EVERY member of His church.

1. The prophet is to listen to the people in all things.
2. The prophet and apostles present proposals to the people.
3. Whatever is accepted by the people is accepted by God.
4. Whatever is rejected by the people is rejected by God.

This is only happening with regards to callings.  I recognize and sustain President Monson because he was confirmed by common consent.  I accept the inclusion of the blacks in the priesthood, as it was confirmed by common consent. The exclusion of blacks was never confirmed by common consent. It was never the will of God.

Without common consent, we are left with a dictatorship.  That is not in any way, shape, or form God’s plan. We are left to the inevitability of the errors of men, subject to being led astray, justifying doing things that are wrong just because a prophet said so.

It also leaves our prophets completely open to the temptations so common to men in authority.  Power corrupts.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely. According to our scriptures “unrighteous dominion” almost always results when just a little authority is given. If the apostles have unfettered & unaccountable authority, what kind of risk does this pose to these very leaders?  Let alone to the church?

Jesus knew His apostles and prophets would be imperfect men. His solution was to establish the Law of Common Consent.  Disobedience to God’s law by the entire church is wreaking it’s havoc already.  More havoc is to come.

Solution or Destruction

The solution to the problems in The Church of Jesus Christ is in plain view. We as members should demand that “all things MUST be done by common consent.” We as members must consider the policies & doctrines that have not been confirmed as God’s will and weigh-in on them.

This morning, I discussed this with my wife.  She said that the challenge is that we are all so busy that we just let the apostles handle everything.  Of course, she’s right. There’s the problem.  We are so busy that we don’t care about our important place in the governance of God’s earthly kingdom.

This will ultimately result in the destruction of the LDS church.  Maybe not complete destruction.  But, the church has already been destroyed in the lives of two-thirds of the membership.  The vast majority have already fled.  More took flight during the time it took to write this article.

Where are the Good Men?

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” ― Edmund Burke

Where are the good men who will do something?
Where are the good men who will demand that we follow Jesus?
Where are the good men who will demand that the church obey the law of common consent?
Where are the good men who love the church enough to stay the course, so that His church changes course?

Emotions

As I write, my eyes fill with tears.  I try to hold back the sobs.  The words I type are blurred as I cry.  Can the church of my youth, the church of my adult years be saved?  Can it be redeemed before it’s destroyed in my life and the lives of so many others?

 

Interview with an Apostle

image

First, A Parley with an Apostate

Last week, I was in Utah and had an extended chat with an apostate. Terrible word. He’s also been excommunicated. Another terrible word. In a couple of weeks I’ll provide a link to our conversation. For the time being, he’ll remain anonymous.

Until the past 2 years, I really didn’t know any apostates or excommunicants.  I find them to be wonderful people.  Intelligent & thoughtful, open & understanding. Plus, they’re kind and loving.  Who would a thunk it?

While in Utah, by happenstance, I ran into an apostle.  He’ll also remain anonymous. A reliable record of our conversation is recounted below

The Apostolic Interview

Apostle:  It’s very nice to meet you.

Sam:  I’m honored and a little nervous to meet you, sir.

Apostle:  Before we start, I’d like to ask you a question. Sam, how do you think I look?

Sam:  You look great….except….for….. . . . Well, there’s a booger hanging from your nose.

Apostle:  (Pointing to his nose) Do you mean this big, fat, green booger?

Sam:  Um…y..y..y..yes?

Apostle:  Don’t worry about it. It was sent from God.

Sam:  What does that mean?

Apostle:  It’s a booger filled with love.

Sam:  This isn’t making any sense.

Apostle:  This beautiful juicy booger is filled with love for gay people and all of their children.

Sam:  Well, it kind of upsets my stomach when I look at it.

Apostle:  I’m sorry about that. Everybody else has told me that my booger of love is really handsome.

Sam:  You’re joking, right?  Who, in the world, would tell you that they like your booger?

Apostle:  I visited your stake conference last April.  One thousand and one members were at the meeting.  I asked the congregation to tell me how I looked.  One thousand people raised their hands in approval of my appearance.  Only one person didn’t like my booger.

Sam:  That was me!

Apostle:  Here’s what I want you to do, my dear friend, Sam.  Go read the scriptures and then pray….about my big, fat, green booger. Before long, you will know that it is delicious to the taste and very desirable.

Sam:  I’m not going to pray about your booger. I already know that it’s disgusting.

Apostle:  Now, now, Sam.  When you get home I want you to go talk with your stake president.

Sam:  Ok.

**Note: This morning I asked my adult daughter, “Suppose you were meeting with one of your clients, someone in upper management.  If they had a booger would you tell them?” She replied, “Nope.  I’d only tell someone really close, like my sisters or a best friend.”

Moral of the story:  when our friends have a booger, we point it out.  If we don’t, what kind of friend are we?   The booger is the policy of excommunicating gay couples and excluding their children.  It was announced in November 2015.

Divorce or Disobey?

Hint: Adam and the Mormon Temple say……..DISOBEY.

image

A Tender Text

Today, my youngest daughter sent me this message:

Dear dad,

Thank you so much for putting mom and our family before yourself. Today I met a Mormon couple that is getting divorced because the man has left the church. I talked with them for a while and it was apparent that he just wasn’t willing to make sacrifices for his wife’s happiness. I am so glad to have a father who is able to see the importance of family above everything else.

Love, Emily

BTW, I have not left the LDS church.

Divorce

Over the past couple of years, I have come in contact with many members who have left the church. Their prior faith obliterated by history, doctrine & policies that they had only recently discovered. This includes good friends and family.

Sometimes, married couples depart from the church together. Sometimes, it’s only one spouse whose faith transitions. Unfortunately, I have heard and read many stories of couples divorcing when only one leaves the church. Often, the believing partner is encouraged by bishops and stake presidents, family and friends, to divorce the non-believing spouse. The family is broken. Children confused, scared and heartbroken.

All this over belief & church.  Is marriage less important than belief?  Is family less treasured than church?

Disobedience

For the first time in almost 2 years, I recently attended the temple. I explain here exactly why I decided to go back.  This time, I went with new eyes.  It was fascinating, uplifting, and spiritual.  Lot’s of new understandings.  I have already written about one monumental take-away here.

The temple movie presents a beautiful portrayal of the creation story.  Adam & Eve are placed in the Garden of Eden.  Satan tempts Adam do disobey God.  Our first father will have nothing to do with disobedience.

Eve is Lucifer’s next target for temptation.  She carefully considers the Adversary’s argument. Her rational decision is to disobey God.  Result: Eve was to be cast out of the protected, perfect and paradisiacal Garden of Eden.

Now, it’s her turn to offer the forbidden fruit to Adam. He considers. Refuses.  “I will not disobey Father,” he insists.  Eve persists.  Finally, Adam looks into heaven and weighs the options.  His decision: it’s more important to disobey God than to have their precious union broken-up.

What a tremendous temple statement!  What an amazing example of righteous disobedience!  This, from the very first story in the bible.  The foundational epic of Christianity and Mormondom highlights two “sinful” acts.  Eve disobeyed God in order to bring about the human race.  Adam disobeyed God in order to keep his marriage in good grace.

So, bishops & stake presidents, friends & family, reflect on the temple teachings before you encourage a believer to divorce the non-believer.

1 Corinthians 7:14 “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband.”

“The Dominant Church Narrative Is Not True”

image

This, according to Dr. Richard Bushman. I have many friends who have left the church because they, also, have found out what Bushman knows. More friends are on the fence. “The dominant church narrative is NOT TRUE.”

Fireside

Dr. Richard Bushman, is a serving LDS patriarch, former stake president, historian, expert on Joseph Smith, and author of Rough Stone Rolling.  At a recent fireside, he was the featured speaker.  During the Q&A, the following exchange took place:

Questioner:  “In your view, do you see room in Mormonism for several narratives of a religious experience or do you think that in order for the Church to remain strong they would have to hold to that dominant [orthodox] narrative?”

Richard Bushman:  “I think that for the Church to remain strong it has to reconstruct its narrative.  The dominant narrative is not true;  it can’t be sustained.  The Church has to absorb all this new information or it will be on very shaky grounds and that’s what it is trying to do, and it will be a strain for a lot of people, older people especially.  But I think it has to change.”

Not True

Thank you, Richard Bushman, for validating what so many of us already know! “The dominant narrative is not true!”

We have been taught, and are still teaching, things that are untrue. Untrue = false. Teaching a known falsehood = lying.  Either way, unwittingly teaching falsehoods or lying, neither should an integral part of the “only true and living church.”

Somehow, our LDS culture has developed to where it’s improper, stigmatized, or outright forbidden to discuss “new information.” As a result, half truths and falsehoods are commonly taught. Openly discussing our history, doctrine and policies is not permitted, at least not in my locale.

It Can’t Be Sustained

So, why are we trying so hard to sustain & control our current curriculum and discussion?

I think many members are totally fine with the falsehoods in the church. For them, the false narrative feels safe. I’m OK with that.

However, there is a large and growing group of members who will not tolerate a narrative saturated with falsity.  I have joined this group.  Feeling betrayed, many have left.  Feeling betrayed, I stay.  Still committed to the church. Still committed to truth.  No longer committed to false narratives.  Life is too short.  Salvation, too precious to embrace what I & Bushman know to be false.

MoroniAll Truth Can Be Circumscribed Into One Great Whole

I now pay very close attention to the covenants and doctrines of the temple. At the end of the endowment ceremony, we are taught that “all truth can be circumscribed into one great whole.” Profound and thought provoking.  The church is violating it’s own temple instruction.  It has circumscribed falsehoods into the “great whole” and consigned much truth into hidden obscurity.

My temple covenants are more sacred to me than circumscribing a narrative that is “not true.”

Driving Members Away

I have been told that we should never discuss our true and complete history and doctrine at church.  It can cause people to lose their testimonies.

What a weird thing to say!  So, it’s better to hide the truth so that a person will continue to believe the “truth” that’s really not true?  I know that there are adults in the church who want to be treated this way.  Not this adult.  In fact, most adults would say this is not adult behavior.  “When I became a man, I put away childish things.”

I now see the other side.  Not discussing our complete history and doctrine at church is causing members to lose their testimony.  It has driven my friends right out of the LDS church. The church whose “dominant narrative is not true.”

Teaching and embracing falsehood is not good…at least, not in my neighborhood.  My church is good, it’s time to get better.

Mr. Cubit’s Shocking Gay Interview

Anonimity

Mr. Cubit

I met Mr. Cubit about 2 years ago.  It was around the time that my church questions started to coalesce.  He has witnessed my entire journey and has been a great support.  In fact, he has been very influential in the path I’ve chosen.  For the time being, he’s asked me to maintain his anonymity.  After reading this, I think you’ll understand his quest to remain obscure.

The Gay Interview

Sam:  Could you describe your current status within the LDS church?

Mr. Cubit:  I’m an active, believing, heterosexual member.  My life has revolved around the church my entire life.  It’s a wonderful organization.  But, it is not perfect.  Changes should and will be made.

Sam:   You are aware that I strongly disapprove of the church’s exclusionary policy toward children of gay parents.  But, you recently told me something that takes LGBT concerns to a new level.  I was a bit shocked with what you had to say.  Can you elaborate here?

Mr. Cubit:  I’ll just blurt it out.  GAY SEX IS NOT A SIN.  Heterosexual sex is not a sin within marriage.  Neither is gay sex.

Sam:  How did you come to that conclusion?

Mr. Cubit:  The apostles recently disavowed and condemned our past racist beliefs, doctrine and policies.  This is a courageous game changer.  We are finally admitting that prophets can and do get important matters wrong.  This condemnation covers official practices that spanned over 125 years and during the tenure of most presidents of the latter-day church.  The apostles explain that there is no known revelation that implemented the discrimination towards blacks of African decent.  They speculate that church leaders simply fell victim to the prevailing culture of the time.  In other words, it wasn’t God who implemented racism, it was the leadership. 

Sam:  What does that have to do with gay sex?

Mr Cubit:  For a long, long time, we have had a homophobic society.  Just as God is not racist, he is not homophobic.  Rather, I believe that we, as a church, as well as our leadership, have simply fallen victim to the the culture of our time. 

Sam:  How can you possibly say that?

Book of Mormon

Mr. Cubit:  First, I love our LDS scriptures.  The Book of Mormon contains the fullness of the gospel.  Yet, not one homophobic peep.  It’s a book of scripture that was prepared for our day.  An ancient document preserved to direct us in the last dispensation.  Homosexuality is a major issue in the modern era.  Yet, no mention whatsoever.  This book is the Keystone of our religion.  How can we make anti-gay sex a keystone of our doctrine if the Keystone containing the fullness doesn’t condemn it?

What’s more, we have the Doctrine and Covenants.  This is actual modern day revelation from God.  It supports our Keystone.  Just like the Book of Mormon, nary a mention of this supposedly horrendous sin.  God warns of wine, tobacco, and to use meat sparingly.  But, where is the warning of the “far worse” sin of homosexuality.  It’s completely absent.

There is a pattern here, comparable to race and the priesthood.  There was no formal or canonized revelation to exclude blacks.  There is no formal or canonized revelation to exclude homosexuals.  It simply reflects societal views.  God is not racist or homophobic.  He created blacks, black.  He created homosexuals, homosexual.  

Sam:  OK.  What about the bible?

Mr. Cubit:  The Book of Mormon and Doctrine of Covenants witness of Jesus Christ.  They also witness of his teachings.  Here’s what Jesus had to say about homosexuals and gay sex:  NOTHING.  No warning, no condemnation, no exclusion.  For me, that’s one of those powerful confirmations that our LDS scriptures come from God.

Sam:  Aren’t there biblical references that condemn gay sex?

Mr Cubit:  This topic could be a whole interview, by itself.  I’ll try to be short.  The bible does not address sexual orientation or same-sex marriage.  We believe in the bible “as far as it’s translated correctly.”  Many believe these passages are incorrectly interpreted or poorly translated.  Mormons are very selective on what we literally take from the bible.  For example, Paul says that women should not speak in church.  Long hair for men is unnatural.  This revered apostle seemed to sanction slavery, instructing slaves to obey their masters with deep respect.  And, the Old Testament…tons of weird and immoral laws and practices. 

Sam:  The church’s position is that “same sex attraction” is not a sin.  Acting on it is.  Gay people are instructed to refrain from romantic relations for their entire life.

Mr Cubit:  I’m going to use some harsh words here.  There is no way that I could look a gay man in the eyes and say, “The most fulfilling & joyous aspect of my life is a lifelong, romantic & intimate relationship with a person whom I deeply love.  Now, listen up, my homosexual friend, you can never have this.  If you do, you are doomed to hell.”  I find this doctrine arrogant & insensitive, hypocritical and harmful.  There are reports of suicides among our gay youth.  How could there not be, when we offer such a hopeless and damning message.

Sam:  Have you ever brought this up at church or with the leaders?

Mr. Cubit:  No.

Sam:  Why not?

Mr. Cubit:  I value my membership.  Sharing this opinion could result in excommunication.

Sam:  That sounds highly unlikely.

Mr. Cubit:  Not long ago, a couple posted their objection to the teachings about polygamy in D&C 132.  Their stake president demanded that they take down the post.  They refused.  Church discipline was threatened.  They are now disaffected.

Sam:  That’s hard to believe.  So, you have never talked with anybody about this before?

Mr. Cubit:  I’ve talked to 4 members.  But, I have to be super careful.  Discuss with the wrong person…judgment, gossip and possible reports to my bishop.  Here is what these 4 told me.  1) Active, former bishop, not you, Sam.  He said it’s not a sin.  Huge surprise.  2)  Gay friend who left the church after November’s policy…not a sin.  Not a surprise.  3) Semi-active, believing member…not a sin, but doesn’t like to think about it.  A surprise.  4) Active, semi-believing member…of course it’s a sin.  #4 reacted so strongly and judgmentally, that I’m really gun-shy to discuss…unless I know it’s totally safe. 

Sam:  #3 said he doesn’t like to think about it.  How do you feel about that?

Mr. Cubit:  Last year I asked my stake president about a particular sexual practice.  I wanted to know if it was sinful within marriage.  He spoke with wisdom. “I don’t ask any questions about what happens in the bedroom.  That’s between the couple.”  Wow!  I feel the same way about a married gay couple.  I don’t want to know about their bedroom.  Nor, do I want to share with anyone what goes on in mine.

Sam:  Do you think the church will ever change it’s doctrine about homosexuality?

Mr. Cubit:  They will be forced to.  Society is changing all around them.  The pace of change is quickening.  Eventually, corrections will be made to mirror the culture.  Today, we don’t tolerate racism.  Tomorrow, the rising generation will not tolerate homophobia.  Thank heavens.

Sam:  Anything else you would like to share?

Mr. Cubit:  At a recent stake conference, a general authority seventy, said this to LGBT members: “We love you, we understand you, we respect you, we need you. You bring a richer sense of understanding and spirit. Please stay with us.”  

That’s a step in the right direction.  I’d add.  “If you can’t stay with us, I can totally understand.  God loves you just the way you are.  He is going to reverse the current policies and doctrine, but it may take awhile.  In the meantime, I love you whether you leave or stay, remain single or marry.  I support and love you either way.  And so does God!

Sam:  Thanks for being honest and open.  And…thanks for trusting me enough to share what could elicit strong judgmental thinking towards you.

Candlesticks of Silver

image

You’ve left the church, my dear friend. Words of love, to you I send.

As is the Mormon custom, a new name I give to you.  Jean Valjean’s the name to please remember, as you read this message through.

In another story, in another time, a catholic priest beckoned another Jean Valjean to shelter for the night.  At first light,  Valjean was gone. He’d pilfered a cup of silver.

The law suspected the cup was stolen. To confirm his crime, to the priest he was taken. The honest bishop lied.  A lie, oh so sublime. Bearing candlesticks of silver, this was his reply:

“You forgot I gave these also
Would you leave the best behind?
So Monsieurs you may release him
For this man has spoken true
I commend you for your duty
May God’s blessing go with you.”

The other time’s a sample of what I want to do today. Though not good, as this storied Catholic priest, I want to emulate his selfless love for the least.  No candlesticks of silver do I possess. All I have of value, are words of holiness. Words of encouragement and love. Words I hope are inspired from above.

I view it, as you’ve left your prison. With no sins to be forgiven. “Freedom is yours. The earth is still. You feel the wind. You breathe again.”

In the church I’ve decided to abide.  And…TO…STAND…BY…YOUR…SIDE.
As we pursue our parallel track…I’ve got your back.  Your good name I’ll defend.  On this you can depend.

You didn’t leave because you’re lazy or mad, arrogant, bad or broken.  Rather, you are intelligent, good and caring. Your decision is reasoned and right.  Respected and honored it will be, by me.  You’ve searched for truth and found it.  In this there is no shame.

No shunning…ever…on my part. When we meet, I will greet you with open arms, open ears, and open heart.

“But remember this, my brother
See in this some higher plan.”
Let us live this life together
Side by side & Hand-in-hand.
You’ve left a church my friend
But, our friendship will not end.
In fact, our bond is stronger.