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A number of Latter-day Saints are going liberal? Washington Put up story tries to make that case — GetReligion

Again in late 2010, I started a seven-year stint of freelancing for the Washington Put up’s Sunday journal to assist fill a niche in protection of conservative faith. I wrote about Pentecostal serpent handlers, a feminine Jewish ambassador from Bahrain and the Orthodox Church of America’s rather controversial metropolitan, amongst different issues.

Then someday in 2017, a brand new editor got here onboard and, after operating my story on Paula White (which made fairly a splash I would add), merely refused to answer any extra of my emails. “There goes in-depth faith protection,” I believed, and turned to different markets.

However lo and behold, the journal just ran a piece concerning the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a few “battle for the way forward for Mormonism.”

Mainly this text makes the case that the Mormons are veering left on homosexual points. The reporter visits a really liberal congregation in Berkeley, Calif., and a few conservatives in Rexburg, Idaho, thought-about a conventional Latter-day Saint bastion.

To not my shock, the reporter, in assist of this thesis, solely cites folks in each areas who’re homosexual or gay-friendly.

It felt just like the reporter had a predetermined aim for the story that simply wanted the suitable quotes to scaffold it. Why? I see all of the interviews going in a single path: Dedicated, severe believers who’ve come to the conclusion that many Mormons are secretly fairly liberal. Right here at GetReligion, we name this “Kellerism,” a nod to the teachings of a former New York Times editor.

A part of the story is predicated on an incredible — and inaccurate — assumption.

Extra so than in different conservative spiritual establishments, liberals — or a minimum of these disaffected from conservatism — are making their presence identified inside and on the edges of the church, scary one thing of a Latter-day Saint identification disaster.

In response to Jana Riess, creator of the 2019 ebook “The Next Mormons: How Millennials Are Changing the LDS Church,” fewer Latter-day Saints are following behavioral mandates just like the prohibition towards alcohol and occasional. Polling performed by Riess and others has proven that the share of Latter-day Saints born after 1997 who don’t establish as heterosexual could also be 20 % or larger. 

One-fifth of the younger Mormons interviewed aren’t heterosexual?

That’s a jaw-dropper, and people numbers raised quite a lot of eyebrows when the survey outcomes had been introduced in June. Drawback is, the survey was fallacious and Riess & Co. needed to run a retraction admitting they had been 7-9 share factors off, and the “one-fifth” determine was “in dispute.”

That sounds vital. Why didn’t the Put up editorial staff add this very important factoid?

The survey’s conclusions sounded suspicious to me, and it took me only some seconds to seek out this Deseret News column eviscerating the survey after which the retraction by Riess.

 After I wrote for the journal, my work was fact-checked extensively, and a slip like this wouldn’t have occurred. Did anybody trouble to fact-check this author, or is what she was saying congruent with the dominant Mormons-are-getting-gay-friendly narrative? (By the best way, do learn the entire Deseret Information piece by Jacob Hess, because it has rather a lot to say with how some analysis is performed in such a approach as to pre-dispose desired outcomes.)

Transferring on to this paragraph:

And extra just lately, there was a profound sense of betrayal when apostle Jeffrey Holland — lengthy thought-about one of many extra liberal leaders of the church — urged the school of Brigham Younger College, the flagship campus of the college run by the church, to take up metaphorical “musket fireplace” towards friends who present public assist for homosexual Latter-day Saints.

I’ve learn Holland’s remarks a lot of instances and technically, Holland urged college to do a greater job in supporting “the doctrine of the household and defending marriage because the union of a person and a girl.” It was broadly interpreted as an assault on homosexuals.

(You possibly can learn the transcript of Holland’s remarks here). Longtime Salt Lake Tribune religion-beat author Peggy Stack did a extra nuanced summation of Holland’s speech here.

The central concept was that Holland was reacting to one thing; perhaps BYU college’s obvious squishiness on LGBTQ points.

In the meantime, I’m not completely satisfied that the stance of college at one establishment factors to the path of the church as an entire. I believe college really feel that talking out both approach on this situation is a no-win proposition; they’ll get shot down it doesn’t matter what they are saying, so silence is the most effective technique. And bear in mind, it’s solely been 4 years for the reason that LDS’ers dumped the Boy Scouts partly as a result of the latter was permitting homosexual leaders. That doesn’t sound lefty-trendy to me.

The reporter visited a liberal LDS ward (congregation) in Berkeley, interviewed a secretive group of homosexual males in Rexburg after which a succession of people who find themselves brokers for change in LDS polity. She spent appreciable time on the Berkeley ward, despite the fact that she warns the reader that the group is an “outlier” from Latter-day Saint norms.

That’s not sufficient proof in my ebook that Mormons are softening on homosexual points. I don’t doubt that many are altering to some extent; that loads of them go to Starbucks once they can. I do doubt whether or not you possibly can hold a whole piece on a line-up of interviews with folks all sharing the identical standpoint.

There’s rather a lot within the story that’s really insightful, plus it’s very troublesome to elucidate in a secular publication what “private revelation” means by way of particular person Latter-day Saints deciding what’s proper and what’s fallacious on ethical points in addition to whether or not to take a sip of wine. The story makes the case that loads of Mormons consider God is extra accepting of homosexuals than the church is, and that this sentiment will ultimately make its solution to the highest of the Mormon hierarchy.

One caveat, as this Medium piece makes clear, such revelation is just for household or private points, and it will possibly’t go towards what church leaders are saying. The story means that if sufficient Latter-day Saints change their minds on a sure situation, church leaders will give you a “revelation” to assist that change, because it did in 1978 on permitting black males into priesthood positions. The story ends by suggesting that same-sex marriage and girls in management are subsequent in line.

Once more, I recognize the journal operating a considerate piece on adjustments which are afoot. I additionally really feel the reporter shoe-horned in quite a few examples and quotes to assist the homosexual rights angle with nobody providing a rebuttal or an opposing standpoint. (She did ask the church for remark, which it declined to provide.)

However there are conventional Latter-day Saints on the market who might have addressed this matter.

That’s all I ask; that such a narrative embrace a component of doubt in direction of its thesis to provide readers an concept of what the conservative majority nonetheless thinks. Operating each side of the story is a primary journalistic course of. This story left one facet out.

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