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How 132 Would Affect Future Revelations on Women & Gays

With General Conference coming up this weekend, Dr. Bill Smith and I speculate on some possible future revelations coming up!  Would Official Declaration 3 deal with Gays?

GT:  You mentioned a couple of things that were very interesting to me, especially in light of the Family Proclamation.  D&C 132 is kind of the foundation for forever families.  But you mentioned singles and you also mentioned gays.  How do those relate to section 132?

Bill:  Well I think that section 132 is by evidence, at least by internal evidence, it’s very much in the vein of thinking of sex as being in terms of heterosexual sex, of course not necessarily one-man and one-woman sex, but one-man, multiple-women.  So, I think that’s the point of the revelation.  It doesn’t really speak to the possibility of gay marriage.  It doesn’t open that possibility at all.  Whether that can be addressed in some other way, I don’t know, but the revelation, that’s not on anybody’s mind.

GT:  Right.  So, do you see that as being a possibility of a future revelation?

Bill:  Anything is possible.  I don’t know.  Whether people would feel that there is dissonance with section 132 and any further revelation that expanded some kind of approval of gay relationships, gay marriage, I don’t know.  That’s for another generation, I am guessing.  But yes, that might be something that would be addressed.  I don’t know.

Of course we do this in relation to Section 132 of the Doctrine & Covenants, which is one of Mormonism’s most important revelations:  The New & Everlasting Covenant of marriage.  Is there room in this revelation to accommodate gay marriage?  In our next episode, Dr. Bill Smith will answer that question, and discuss how it might impact future revelations dealing with not only gays, but women as well.

Bill:  Well there’s something of equal probability I think is that we have an official declaration that says that women can be ordained.

GT:  Would that be more likely?

Bill:  Boy I don’t really know.  I think yes, it probably fits better with the current paradigm than say gay marriage would be, recognizing gay marriage.

.,.

GT:  Do you see 132 being compatible with say female ordination?

Bill:  Yeah, the polygamy parts seem to partake of the typical sort of patriarchal kinds of views of the 19th century, the 18th century and back.  In terms of incompatibilities, that’s where that would lie.  In terms of ordination practices, those kinds of things, I don’t see an incompatibility there, structure.  I mean it would be easy to enfold women into priesthood structures if that was to take place.  I don’t see a problem there.  I don’t think it would be possible to stop that because you had the same kinds of issues with blacks and the priesthood when the ‘78 change was announced.  They were very clear that this meant that there weren’t any restrictions on their participation in any way.

Is this Official Declaration 4?  Check out our conversation…..

Here are some others episodes you may be interested in.

093: Greg Prince on History of LDS Policy Toward Gays

092:  How to Polygamists Feel about Gay Marriage? (Wilde)

048: What are the Theological Justifications of Polygamy? (Hales)

044: Does D&C 132 Conflict with Genesis? (Hales)

012: Kirtland Era Polygamy (Staker)

 

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Critiquing the Gospel Topics Essays

Between 2013-2015, the LDS Church published a series of essays dealing with sensitive topics in the LDS Church.  They are known as the Gospel Topics Essays.  Dr. Newell Bringhurst and Dr. Matt Harris have produced an anthology that will be released later this summer critiquing these Gospel Topics Essays.  In our final conversation, Dr. Newell Bringhurst will tell us more about the work that he’s been putting together on these essays.

Newell:  We go through all 13 Gospel Topics Essays.  It’s composed of 13 chapters.  I probably should pull out my notes so I can remember the name of all the contributors.  We start with the Book of Mormon and look at the historicity of the Book of Mormon, critiquing that essay, critiquing the essay on DNA and the authenticity of the Book of Mormon and of course the different accounts.  We critique the essay that was written on the various accounts of the First Vision, the historicity and authenticity of the Book of Abraham which is another very controversial topic.

We look at peace and violence along the Mormon frontier.  John Turner who did the biography on Brigham Young did the essay on that for us.  He is kind of a marquis figure.  He really did an outstanding job in looking at the whole issue of violence and how it involved the saints.  Although I think one of the strongest essays in there is Gary Bergera who presented at [Sunstone.]  He presented on Joseph Smith and his involvement with polygamy.  Of course, he has a much different spin on whether Joseph had sex with those other women.  {chuckles}

We’ll talk about the other authors as well!  Check out our conversation, and don’t forget to hear our other episodes on polygamy, blacks, and women in religion!  (A transcript of the entire interview will be available soon!)

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Women Will Never Get Priesthood!

1984 was a pivotal year in the RLDS Church.  It was the year a revelation was canonized allowing women to receive the priesthood.  However, it caused a schism within the church and many people left the RLDS Church and formed other Restoration Branches, or in our case, the Remnant Church.  We’re talking to Jim Vun Cannon, a counselor in the First Presidency of the Remnant Church and we’ll ask about his recollections of those events in 1984, and we’ll also ask how does he feel about women holding the priesthood now?

Jim:  Well, wow.  1984 was very much a pivotal year, and it came to its climax in a revelation that was brought by Wallace Bunnell Smith.  It was allowing women to be ordained into the priesthood.  That was kind of the tip of the iceberg of all the different changes and things that were going on.

The church was doctrinally changing from probably the mid to late [19]60s.  It was going through a transformation.  There were a number of priesthood members who had entered into the church who had different ideas about the doctrine of the church.  To be fair, I believe they’re trying to seek Jesus Christ in the best way they understand.  I’m speaking apologetically. I hope everyone understands that.  I still love a lot of lovely people over there, just like in the LDS Church. We find many, many lovely people there too.

The thing was, they went about changing the structure and the order underneath, and then at ’84, that became the pivotal point where no one could go any further.  It was like, look.  This isn’t right.  We don’t agree with this.  We can’t find any doctrinal support for women and the priesthood basically.

Does Jim think that will ever happen in their church?

Jim:  No.

GT:  Would the prophet ever have a revelation that could happen?

Jim:  We don’t believe so.  We don’t believe so.  Here again it kind of comes back to one of those things: that’s so significant in so many ways.  I’ve heard all the arguments for women and the priesthood because I was pretty close to it in ’84 and I don’t believe it was a societal thing that well the Lord couldn’t bring forth women and the priesthood because society wouldn’t accept it.

There were plenty of times throughout history if you go and read, and even matriarchal societies you could find that could have occurred, but it didn’t occur.  I just don’t find any basis for it.  It’s like women ordained to have children, bear children.  Thankfully we’re not as men.  {chuckles}  I think the Lord calls each of us to a work to that we are to do.  It’s not we’re trying to hold somebody out one way or the other, because just as you all have sister missionaries, we believe that witnessing to Jesus Christ is everyone’s job to go out there and to promulgate the gospel.  It’s just the ordinances that they can’t perform.  I really miss what the big deal is when it really comes down to that.  I think it’s much more of an ideological than theological point of view that people tend to move to when they go down the road of women and the priesthood, and I don’t know how far you’ve gone into looking at that.  I think it also gets into relative truth versus absolute truth.  It goes a number of different branches but anyway, I’ll stop.

In the LDS Church, there is a saying that men have priesthood, women have motherhood.  I was a bit surprised to hear when he made a similar statement.

Jim:  It’s like women ordained to have children, bear children.  Thankfully we’re not as men.  {chuckles}  I think the Lord calls each of us to a work to that we are to do.  It’s not we’re trying to hold somebody out one way or the other, because just as you all have sister missionaries, we believe that witnessing to Jesus Christ is everyone’s job to go out there and to promulgate the gospel.  It’s just the ordinances that they can’t perform.  I really miss what the big deal is when it really comes down to that.  I think it’s much more of an ideological than theological point of view that people tend to move to when they go down the road of women and the priesthood.

GT:  It’s just so funny because I’ve heard that so many times in our church that women have motherhood, men have priesthood.

Jim:  It’s like, if I use this analogy, I don’t want anybody on this podcast to think that I’m being demeaning in any way towards women. I’m not going to say anything derogatory.  I’m just going to use an analogy.  I feel that there’s kind of a logic error if you will.  Because I believe that God’s word in it is inherently logical.  I mean it makes complete sense and it has a balance to it and it is perfect.  It’s just like in the past, I could use the logic that God used Balaam’s ass, did he not?  He did.

GT:  I believe Brigham Young said that was not literal.  {both chuckle}

Jim:  Well ok, that’s alright.  We consider that it was, but ok.  But considering that that was, He did that.  I can stitch from that and I could also come over here and say I’ve got a dog and this dog is a lovely dog.  He knows unconditional love.  He’s never barked at anybody.  He just loves anybody he meets.  He doesn’t care who you are, and oh by the way he happens to be male so I should just ordain him to the priesthood.  Does it really make sense?  That’s the question I really want to ask.  Does it really make sense?

Why are we doing this?  Are we doing it for the sake of doing it because we can or are we doing it because it’s what the Lord has asked us to do?  That’s the question I have is, do we believe in revelation?  Do we believe that God tells us things?  That’s what I think it comes down to.

What do you think of this line of reasoning?  Do you consider the story of Balaam’s ass to be literal?  What do you think of his other comments?  (I hope you listen to the entire interview.)  Check out our conversation (as well as our previous episode discussing 1984)  …..