We are taught that we need to support our church leaders - both local and church wide. We are not to engage in any evil speaking of the Lords anointed. Bishop H. Burke Peterson said that the 'anointed' applies to all who are working in the kingdom ("Ensign" June 1981). But, does that mean we can't say anything bad about anyone or anything in the church? What are we really saying when we pledge to support our church leaders?
Where is the line separating legitimate criticism and evil speaking? Can't we support our church leaders while disagreeing with them in certain areas? They are human, after all, and subject to the same shortcomings as the rest of us. Infallibility is not part of our doctrine. Yes, I know, we've been promised that the Lord will never condemn us for following the prophet, even if he is wrong. But, is the inverse true? Will the Lord condemn us for not following a prophet when they're wrong? I don't think so.
I've already made my feelings about gay marriage known - which, admittedly, is in direct conflict with counsel given by our church leaders. But, that's not the only thing that I disagree with.
- I think the prohibition on boys wearing earrings is dumb - not that I have any desire to go get my ears pierced - but I honestly don't see anything wrong when a boy does. And, face it, some guys look pretty dang good in earrings :) And what about cosmetic surgery, teeth whitening, and all of the other things we do to satisfy our vanity? Why are they OK, but an unobtrusive stud in a boys ear signals Armageddon?
- Whenever there is some sort of youth activity that involves putting costumes on (e.g. roadshow, etc.), it seems we are always counseled that boys are not allowed to wear girl's clothes (sometimes they might add that girls aren't allowed to wear boys clothes). What are they afraid of? If you put a dress on a boy then he will turn gay? Seriously! I'm not advocating that we should all update our wardrobes; but, in a theatrical setting, it can be appropriate for a guy to wear womens clothes, even if just for comedic purposes - and there's nothing wrong with it (and it's not going to turn him gay).
- The "God Loveth His Children" pamphlet counsels that we shouldn't have openly gay people as friends ("It is better to choose as friends those who do not publicly display their homosexual feelings", p.9). Hogwash! If a person's abstinence from gay sexual relationships is so tenuous that merely having an openly gay person as a friend is going to push them over the edge into the 'gay livestyle' then I have news for you: It's only a matter of time before they make that jump - with or without gay friends. What they need to be teaching us is how to be "in the gay world but not of the gay world." They need to be teaching us how to apply the principals in the "For the Strength of Youth" pamphlet to our gay relationships. Can we get past the sterotypes? Just because a person is open about their orientation doesn't mean that they are constantly tempting you to go out clubbing with them or something. You just need to choose the right friends.
- In "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" it says "Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose." I don't necessarily disagree with that statement, but I'm not sure I completely agree with it either. I'm certainly no expert, but it is my understanding that some babies are born with ambiguous genitalia, extra chromosomes or with a pattern that does not concur with external appearances, etc. In those cases the doctor's may counsel with the parents on which gender the child should be raised as (and possibly surgery to make the genitalia match that gender). How does the eternal nature of gender fit when we have humans assigning gender at birth? To be honest, I really don't know how I feel about this. But, there is something about that line in the proclamation that just makes me feel a little uneasy whenever I hear it.
- When I was in the Salt Lake mission home (yes, I'm that old - I predate the MTC), we had gone through a session in the Salt Lake temple and were then escorted up to the solemn assembly room on the top floor where we could ask any question we wanted. Mind you, I had only been a member of the church barely 2 years; so, my question was probably one that many primary children probably could have answered. The general authority in attendance thought it was a stupid question and he told me so in a "I can't believe you would even ask that" tone of voice. I was crushed - here was one of the Lords anointed telling me that I'm stupid - in the temple - making me feel like I was not worthy to serve a mission. I don't even remember the question anymore - but I remember the incident and the feelings that I had. To this day I believe he was wrong for reacting to my question the way he did. He was being a poophead! Did I just speak evil of the Lords anointed? Do I need to start watching out for lightening bolts?
- I love Spencer W. Kimball - he was my first prophet. I had the opportunity to meet him in person and shake his hand on a couple of occasions. I served my mission in the same area of the country as he did. I even proselyted in some of the same towns that he did. But, I've never read his book "The Miracle of Forgiveness" and have no intention of ever doing so. I've seen quotations from that book; and, frankly, I consider some of his statements regarding homosexuality to be hateful.
I feel these things are legitimate questions and criticisms. I'm not attacking anyones character, I am merely saying that I disagree with how some of the things done or the way certain things are said. And I'm OK with that. I am comfortable saying that I support my local and church leaders, even though I may not agree with them 100%.