Abortion Debates, Picking and Choosing, and Living on the Fringe of Mormonism

by Rachel B. – guest poster

My mom took us out to dinner a lot when we were growing up. Having two picky kids (I being particularly bad) and no spouse didn’t inspire my mom to slave away in the kitchen more than four times a week.

One evening when I was in 3rd grade, we decided that it was a Bob’s Big Boy night. After arriving there, I ordered my usual – hamburger completely plain with French fries – and we settled down to talk about our school day.

My brother Rob was currently in 6th grade and being indoctrinated, as my mom put it, by his teacher Mr. Handler, whose conservative social views were influencing his impressionable audience.

“Mom” Rob said, as we munched away, “It’s awful that abortion is legal. Mr. Handler was talking to us about it today.”

“Hmmm….” my mom replied, trying to avoid a confrontation. Mom always tried to avoid disagreements of any sort. She was a peacemaker to her core. But my brother zeroed in on the non-committal response immediately.

“Well, what do you think about it? You don’t believe it’s ok, right?”

“Well,” my mom said, “I think that a woman should have the right to control her own body.”

Rob’s eyes bugged out. “What! How can you say that? How can you think that? You know the Church is against abortion.”

“I know. I just think that the individual woman should be able to decide something so personal.”

I don’t remember the rest of the conversation, but Mom must have been able to eventually steer it in another direction and sooth my brother’s outrage. While he was horrified by my mom’s revelation of her abortion stance, I was simply interested and had been a silent observer of the exchange. As an eight year old, I had no fixed ideas about abortion, though I knew what it was.

This conversation remained with me for a long time. As I grew older and learned more and more about the culture wars that surrounded this controversial topic, it became increasingly fascinating to me that my mom, my Mormon mother, traditional and conservative in so many ways, would fall on that side of the fence.  She was a Republican, a skilled knitter and crafter, a lover of homemaking, a wearer of polka dots. She was a Martha Stewart without the career drive.

How could such a person become pro-choice? To be a pro-choice Mormon in the 80’s was to be a Mormon on the fringe, since the LDS Church had taken a strong conservative stance against ERA and other women’s issues.  I didn’t realize that at the time, of course. But mom’s conservative exterior was only a shell that hid the more progressive aspects of her quiet personality. No doubt a lot of it came from her own non-traditional mother, who had never accepted the Mormonism of her husband. And seeds of feminism also were instilled when she attended a women’s college. (I would later attend the same college.)

Dinner that evening taught me the remarkable complexity and ambiguity that can inhabit an individual. My mom might have been a stay at home Mormon mother, but she was also a woman willing to pick and choose from the ideas around her and make her own decisions about ethics, law, and God’s will, despite the rhetoric of Church leaders.

Growing up, I often didn’t understand her half-hearted attitude towards churchy things. The total absence of Family Home Evening in our home, her avoidance of religious conversations, her ability to shrug off certain dictates from our Prophet or from our sacred texts, the utter lack of scriptural study in our home, the way we’d always skip stake conference and general conference… “No church today!” mom would announce four times a year, when those conferences were held. It was only when I was a bit older that I figured out that there really was church on those Sundays – mom just didn’t care for the format of those particular meetings. All this paradoxically paired with three hours of church the rest of the year, prayers at dinner,  no swearing, no coffee, no alcohol, and all the other no’s that most Mormons follow.

How could a person be a Mormon and be half-hearted? Wasn’t it all or nothing? Weren’t you in or weren’t you out? Wasn’t there no middle ground? Was my mom going to hell? Were we going to be an eternal family? These were the thoughts that would circle around my child’s mind.

It is only as an adult that I now fully appreciate the ambivalent line my mom walked every day of her life, as a Mormon woman willing to pick and choose, accept and reject. I walk those same lines, and I’ll probably live out the same ambiguity in front of my children. I didn’t understand it at the time, and I even silently blamed her for years for not giving us more religious direction, but I now see what my mom did as heroic.  To keep going and to keep quiet so much of the time. To try as much as possible to step back and let us come to our own religious conclusions, while giving us the framework of a Mormon life and community.

I don’t know if I’ll have the same strength of will power – I’m more outspoken, politically active, and concerned with issues of social justice than my mom. I can easily imagine myself turning to my kids constantly at church and saying, “Look how differently men and women are treated. Do you think that’s right? Do you think Jesus would want that?” While I see value in pointing out inequities and injustices when I see them, I also see the wisdom and the Herculean act of will power it would take to not try to strong-arm my children into seeing the world the same way I do.  Having in years past mentally criticized her regarding our religious training, I now hope in many ways to model myself after my mom, a parent strong enough and wise enough to step back and let her children come to her with their questions, in their own time.

Did your parents raise you with any similar religious ambivalence? What was its effect on you?

Caroline

Caroline is a PhD student in Women's Studies in Religion and mother of three.

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  1. Alisa says:

    Interesting post. My own parents didn’t allow for this kind of ambiguity, but I remember when I first heard my MiL, a bishop’s wife, express a similar view about abortion as your mom. I had never heard a true believing Mormon say that abortion should be a woman’s choice. Never.

    Up to that point, I could have never seen how anyone could think abortion was any less than murder. I asked my MiL to explain her thoughts, but she got defensive and said it’s not something she discusses (she was probably wise–the debates hardly ever go anywhere without some mental gymnastics). Over the next year, I pondered the minimal information from that discussion and I began to realize that my own views were not actually those of the Church, but much more conservative/black and white, in essense going far beyond how even the Church viewed things. I’ve learned a lot from her, but I think because this is such a deep-seated issue, it took some time.

  2. EmilyCC says:

    Good questions, Rachel! I often think about how much of my beliefs I should push on my own kids. When will they be ready for me to point out the problems I see? Can I present those issues in a thoughtful way?

    I’ve noticed that my parents’ beliefs changed as they raised their 5 kids. In fact, my younger brothers and I joke about “my parents” who were married and more liberal about the Church and “their parents” who were divorced (I had married and moved out by then) and did things like FHE, scripture study, and instituted a firm no R-rated movie policy.

  3. Megan B. says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I’m pregnant with my first child right now, and my husband and I are struggling with this same thing. Until this last week, I’ve felt like I had 2 choices- either all in or all out. This post, and some posts on FMH, have shown me there is a third alternative.

  4. G says:

    I find this so refreshing. simply because it is rather a revelation to me that some people are able to do Mormonism this way. Growing up it was a stringent all or nothing with a healthy dose of superiority over those who were ‘luke-warm’.

    refreshing… but also so difficult… to receive such censure from one’s (indoctrinated?) children. wow.

    well, mark you mother up as one of my hero’s now as I try to negotiate ways of being a mother to Mormon children.

  5. Rachel B says:

    Alisa, I think your reaction to the idea of abortion is common among a lot of Mormons. The Church’s stance is actually somewhat nuanced in terms of sanctioning it certain cases. But I know a lot of Mormons who take a very strict ‘conception starts at life’ line and don’t want it allowed in any situation.

    Emily, I think posing difficult questions in a thoughtful way to your kids is so important. I expect I won’t have the will power to always wait for them to come with me, but if I can introduce the topics in a sensitive and open ended way, maybe they’ll be able to reach important conclusions themselves.

    Megan B., Welcome! There is definitely a third alternative, in my opinion. I’m surprised by how many people I find in the Church who are nuancing their beliefs and supplementing their practices in interesting ways that better meld with their consciences. I don’t think it’s a super easy road, but I think it is possible.

    G, yes, my mom is awesome. And I do wonder if she knew about my silent censure. I suspect she did, but I also hope she knows that it was tempered with a lot of compassion, respect and love. My mom has always been the most Christ-like person, when it comes down to it. Thank goodness I knew that, even in my most black/white phases.

  6. Quin says:

    That teacher had no right to infringe on the rights of parents to guide their own child’s moral and ethical development. I hope that kind of rubbish doesn’t fly any more in public schools.

    And to answer the question, my parents were rigidly orthodox. Anything that was faith-promoting was promoted and defended, even if it was patently untrue. Anything that questioned authority or dogma was instantly condemned. That attitude ironically did nothing to keep me firm in the faith. Rather it meant that when I had questions I looked elsewhere for guidance, and that eventually led me to information and independent thought that helped me decide Mormonism wasn’t for me.

  7. G says:

    gah! I hope you didn’t think I meant you… I was thinking of your brother’s reaction to her non-conformity over the legality of abortion.

    oh… and ditto what quin said

  8. lel says:

    I don’t believe in the “letter of the law” when it comes to worshipping, but I don’t think ambivalence is good either. My mother was/is inactive most of my life and it, along with other things, negatively impacted me and made life really hard for me (and still does!). I often felt “outside” the church. I didn’t understand the gospel as much as my friends did. I wished we had FHE and could definitely feel the lack of the Spirit in our home compared to theirs. I wished I had a family to sit with during sacrament meeting. I always felt like Little Orphan Annie and that everyone felt “sorry” for us. She also projected a certain amount of guilt onto me…if I choose to go to church with my father instead, I was somehow choosing sides.

    I want my kids to know where I stand, and that I stand firm. I want them to know its okay to search and question and ponder, but in the meantime you try to have faith. I want them to know its okay to intrepret things differently, but that they shouldn’t let the “world” convince them something is okay when it is not.

    I can’t even approach the abortion part of this post. I feel much too strongly about it to engage in any sort of conversation, especially with those whose minds are made up. Enough to say I can’t fathom how anyone could believe its okay if they truly knew how it was done.

  9. Kiri Close says:

    IF we have children (since we’re talking about reproductive rights here), I would appreciate the reality that our offspring will be their own individual singularities with the expectation that they will feel, think, act independent from me & Rob in the end.

    However, our kids ‘inheriting’ my LDSness & Pacific Islander-ness, Rob’s ‘Whiteness’ & British-Canadian-ness will, inevitably, stain who they are/will become—how can it not?

    Most likely you will find Rob&myself bringing forth all these attributes (unable to hide them) from our ‘spawn’.

    So, how Rob&I feel about abortion–me as an LDS gal–for the most part, is rather conservative & 80% dependent on official word from the First Presidency. This, too, will be known to our children. They, of course, will do what they will with that information.

    Having said that, though, I’ve NEVER been unkind, or tactless toward women & couples(LDS & non) who’ve chosen abortion.

    We must also understand that pro-choice means different things to different women/people around the world: I’ve had college students of mine who had to choose this since their home villages were constantly marauded by trigger happy & rape happy rebels–YOU try raising a kid amongst all that.

    We must also consider other violent situations: incest (by force), health of the mother, health of the baby, etc. before simply ‘reacting’ to those who are pro-choice.

  10. TJ Shelby says:

    Considering that the Church is technically pro-choice, I have always found it amusing that so many Mormons were so adamantly pro-life. Considering there has never been a prophetic statement as to when life begins, why so many Mormons hold to the cliche “Abortion is murder” doctrinal tenet is a byproduct of our Mormon system.

    We like to think we are a church that promotes individual free thought…but only as long as it doesn’t go against the grain.

  11. Rachel B says:

    Quin, I’ve heard others say similar things about being raised in ultra rigid environments. I suppose one reason I’m planning to be ambivalent and flexible is in hopes that my children will see a third way, like Megan mentioned, of staying within a Mormon framework.

    G – Oh, I get it. Thanks for clarifying.

    lel, Yes, I can see that having an inactive parent could be difficult as you attempted to establish your Mormon identity. I never felt the same lack you did in my Mormon life – but maybe that’s due to the fact that my mom was definitely active.

    Kiri, thanks for putting the pro-choice stance in perspective. I in my current situation would probably never choose to abort, but I can certainly imagine horrendous situations, like you mentioned, that make me glad the choice is there (in our country, at least) for other women.

    TJ, that’s my take on the Church’s stance too. I’ve actually been pretty pleased that they are so open to the idea of it in certain situations. Definitely shows that they don’t consider it the same as murder.

  12. lel says:

    I think the church has made it very clear that abortion is second only to murder, and the only cases where it should even be considered is rape or the mother’s life is in “danger” (although that is sort of silly to even say b/c there are no instances where an abortion is the only option to save the mother’s life, and the baby doesn’t have to be killed in the process, even if it dies outside of the womb of “natural causes”)

    I don’t think its refreshing that any institution would be okay with this procedure. Believing it is akin to murder doesn’t mean someone is “brainwashed” by their religion. Thats pretty insensitive to say. Its a very emotional topic and some people have actually done their homework on it before making a decision (like myself).

  13. D'Arcy says:

    My parents never deviated from the black/white
    teachings which has made my journey to finding so
    many shades of gray to fill me with much guilt
    and frustration.

    I tend to be a bit louder in voicing my differences
    now because I was quiet for so long.

    I admire the way your mother was so straightforward
    and calm about the whole event.
    I could learn from that.

  14. Markie says:

    lel, speaking as a woman who has had two abortions to save my life, I can confidently say that you have NO idea what you are talking about. There is a lot more I would like to say on this topic, but I think most people have made up their minds one way or another and it would only serve to rile me up further.

  15. amelia says:

    no religious ambivalence for us. at least not overt. there were plenty of ways we weren’t perfect–no regular FHE or scripture study, for instance–and other ways in which we were–perfect attendance at seminary for instance.

    somehow i’ve ended up capable of thinking about mormonism in a much more nuanced way than the way i was raised to think about it. which i think is a good thing. that said, being raised with a very strong all-or-nothing approach to mormonism has had its serious consequences. nothing like a little cognitive dissonance to deal with on a daily basis…

  16. confused says:

    lel…”I think the church has made it very clear that abortion is second only to murder.”…..
    really? i’ve never heard that before. i always thought it was something along the lines of denying the holy ghost, murder, breaking law of chastity…hmmm…

  17. Rachel says:

    Thanks, Rachel.

    This comes at a very appropriate time. I’ve spent the week defending my youngest sister to my siblings. They can’t understand why she’s going to church when she goes drinking with her friends. I say, good for her for going. Why does it have to be all or nothing in our religion? Since when was church just for those that are perfect? Why can’t Mormons be more open to shades of gray? So many other religions are just happy when someone goes to church regardless if they are following every commandment or social norm perfectly.

  18. jen says:

    My mom was very orthodox and didn’t like questioning whatsoever. My dad, on the other hand, was much more open to personal interpretation. So it was kind of interesting to have both sides growing up and I also think it was kind of good to have different examples of dedication to the church. I leaned more towards my dad’s way of thinking, but I married a guy who feels more like my mom. We both encourage open-mindedness in our kids, but I think it is beneficial to have that solid foundation that my husband can provide them. And I help them discover their own feelings on things. It’s working out good so far.

    Ectopic pregnancy is the obvious situation where an abortion is needed. The baby’s growth can cause a rupture and severe life-threatening bleeding long before the baby becomes viable.

  19. Rachel B says:

    D’arcy,
    Yes, i think the way my mom did it paid off in the long run for me. I had a model of how to do Mormonism my own way, and as an adult, I value that. Though it could be a little confusing as a kid…

    Markie,
    Thanks for contributing your story. When I said that I probably would never opt for an abortion given my current situation, I wasn’t even thinking about endangerment to my life. I would certainly choose to abort – as early as possible – if my life was seriously threatened. I’m sure it would be heartbreaking, though.

    Amelia, cognitive dissonance – I know all about that too. 🙂

    confused, yes, I had never heard that abortion was second to murder either… though to tangent on that topic, i think it’s ridiculous to say that breaking the law of chastity is second to murder. Torture seems a whole lot worse to me.

  20. Rachel B says:

    Rachel,
    Good for you sister! That’s right, we need people along all spectrum’s of Mormonism to be involved. And if she’s open about her temptations and struggles, all the better in my opinion. I loved it when a couple of ladies in my RS talked about loving to drink coffee and it being just a matter of time before they did it again.

    Jen, it sounds like your kids have a great situation. My kids will have a similar experience, though I think there is bound to be some tension between me and my husband about certain churchy things.

    And you’re right, ectopic pregnancy is an obvious situation where abortion is needed.

  21. TJ Shelby says:

    Lel, I have to disagree with too many of your points to mention. So I will just ignore the obvious medical misinformation and deal with the religious side as that is what the blog was about anyway.

    Until the Church can take a position on when life begins, your alleged staunch stance that they hold “that abortion is second only to murder” carries about as much weight as the previous inference that “blacks were less valiant in the pre-existence”. In other words, if Church leaders won’t define when life begins yet infer that abortion is next only to murder than any form of birth control is equivalent to abortion.

    At least the Catholics have a doctrinal leg to stand on in their opposition to abortion. They believe life begins at conception so logic naturally allows them to have a position of: abortion equals murder of life.

    Mormons do not have that.

  22. jks says:

    I think people traditionally say adultery is second to murder, but now of course everyone agrees that being a child molester or rapist are worse than adultery. Most married people would put adultery pretty high on the list, above other law of chastity sins.

  23. djinn says:

    Im thrilled by your mother, Rachel B., my
    family was so orthodox that no questioning at all
    was allowed. Of course, this produced not only a
    questioning child, but a child that felt that
    every Sunday meeting, every FHE, every scripture
    reading (did they ever actually read the content
    of those books) only made me feel like I could
    not talk to them about anything of import of my life
    and would be at best unloved and at worst, cast
    out if I spoke anything close (even closeish) to
    the truth to them.

  24. djinn says:

    Continuing…so, of course, I never once said
    anything of import to them; I grew up without
    them knowing me; and I certainly never ever ever
    trusted a thing they said to me; little did they
    know. I realize quite a bit of this
    was due to my own cowardice, but I really feel
    that, basically, I raised myself with essentially
    no adult input. Can’t complain, really. I’m
    independent, but hardly who my family wishes
    I was, and the rift has never healed. I’ve
    tried to do better with my own kids. But I figure
    we all just make a different set of mistakes.

  25. Karolyn says:

    I am a little confused at some of these comments being posted. I am not sure that our loving Heavenly Father sees the color Grey.I know He does not see the color of skin…so for me everything is pretty much light ( white) or darkness stepping out of the light( black) In our path for perfection and to build our faith and testimony, we are all at different levels of growth. We have all had different upbringings even in the church and why that may affect how we approach thinking. Today in reading in Alma, I found it interesting that the Anti Nephi-Lehi’s were turning away from the traditions, biased teaching of their parents. If your parents taught you that abortion was a woman’s choice, and that is all, then I personally believe why we might admire individual thinking in some ideals, I do not believe that is our Heavenly Father’s thinking..not just the “church’s doctrine” and is in fact, a step further away from the light. Why does the church say that abortion is next to murder? Because like immorality you are dealing with our Father’s plan for His spirit children, thus His plan for bringing them into this world giving them life. And abortion, like murder, is also thwarting His plan for His spirit children, taking that same life. My mother had many many miscarriages years ago and she battled knowing when life begin. She wrote to the first presidency at that time and was told that life began at the time of “quickening”. We still do not really understand when that is or what was meant by that statement. And since that did not come from a prophet, we just don’t know, but in reading the proclamation to the family, which I believe should be adopted as scripture, we can understand more of our Father’s view of the family and His doctrine of life and the family. I am pretty surprised to see some of the diverse theories, feelings and emotions expressed here. For me, on the path that I am trying to trod, the gospel is not a “smorgasboard” of things that I should be able to pick and choose what I want to believe. If we lack understanding or faith on gospel principles then it is up to us to become better informed for ourselves what the Lord’s stand is on these issues for ourself. If you have a problem with the Husban presiding in the home then find out for yourself why God set up the family unit with that order. When I was younger I did not really understand it and it made me feel like “boys” or “men” were more special, after all they got the priesthood. But as I grow in the gospel and in my quest for a strong testimony as well as my temple attendance, I understand more and more the dual role we as husband and wives both have and both are equally important in the sight of our Heavenly Father. However, it took me alot of study, prayer and becoming humble or teachable to understand the doctrine. So I have hope that in time you that don’t agree will be abale to have a view of the bigger picture, which I am just getting a tiny glimpse of the more I learn and listen to the spiritual promptings. It is not my intent to dismiss any of your heartfelt feelings or opinions, only sharing what I know to be true. I think too many Mormons are trying to live in the big and spacious building while trying to hang on to the iron rod, and you just can’t do it.

  26. Markie says:

    Karolyn, quickening refers to the time that a mother feels the baby move inside her. Most Christian denominations (and many other religious traditions) throughout history believed that this was when a baby’s spirit entered the body and it could move for the first time. We now know that a fetus moves long before the mother can feel the movements, and that there are many factors such as a mother’s weight and number of previous pregnancies (not to mention the baby’s size and activity level) that can affect when “quickening” is felt. In response, some religions have modified their positions to say that life begins at conception. The official position of the LDS church is that we just do not know.

  27. lel says:

    Just to make myself, clear, I know ectoptic pregnancies require ending the pregnancy, but I dont think that is considered to be an “abortion” on the same scale. Just like having a D&C if the baby naturally dies in utero.

    And some quotes easily found in the gospel library on lds.org:

    “Human life is a sacred gift from God. Elective abortion for personal or social convenience is contrary to the will and the commandments of God. Church members who submit to, perform, encourage, pay for, or arrange for such abortions may lose their membership in the Church.”

    “When the controversies about abortion are debated, “individual right of choice” is invoked as though it were the one supreme virtue. That could only be true if but one person were involved. The rights of any one individual do not allow the rights of another individual to be abused. In or out of marriage, abortion is not solely an individual matter. Terminating the life of a developing baby involves two individuals with separate bodies, brains, and hearts. A woman’s choice for her own body does not include the right to deprive her baby of life—and a lifetime of choices that her child would make.” -Russel M. Nelson

    “Abortion is one evil practice that has become socially accepted in the United States and, indeed, in much of the world.” -James E. Faust

    “In view of a recent decision of the United States Supreme Court, we feel it necessary to restate the position of the Church on abortion in order that there be no misunderstanding of our attitude.

    The Church opposes abortion and counsels its members not to submit to or perform an abortion except in the rare cases where, in the opinion of competent medical counsel, the life or good health of the mother is seriously endangered or where the pregnancy was caused by rape and produces serious emotional trauma in the mother. Even then it should be done only after counseling with the local presiding priesthood authority and after receiving divine confirmation through prayer.

    Abortion must be considered one of the most revolting and sinful practices in this day, when we are witnessing the frightening evidence of permissiveness leading to sexual immorality.

    Members of the Church guilty of being parties to the sin of abortion must be subjected to the disciplinary action of the councils of the Church as circumstances warrant. In dealing with this serious matter, it would be well to keep in mind the word of the Lord stated in the 59th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, verse 6, “Thou shalt not steal; neither commit adultery, nor kill, nor do anything like unto it.” -1st Presidency, Harold B. Lee

    “Some Latter-day Saints say they deplore abortion, but they give these exceptional circumstances as a basis for their pro-choice position that the law should allow abortion on demand in all circumstances. Such persons should face the reality that the circumstances described in these three exceptions are extremely rare. For example, conception by incest or rape—the circumstance most commonly cited by those who use exceptions to argue for abortion on demand—is involved in only a tiny minority of abortions. More than 95 percent of the millions of abortions performed each year extinguish the life of a fetus conceived by consensual relations. Thus the effect in over 95 percent of abortions is not to vindicate choice but to avoid its consequences. 1 Using arguments of “choice” to try to justify altering the consequences of choice is a classic case of omitting what the Savior called “the weightier matters of the law.” -Dallin H. Oaks
    http://lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=7755a1615ac0c010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1

    and just because I think its interesting…

    “If we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill each other? … Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want.” -Mother Theresa

    “If it seems more horrible to kill a man in his own house than in a field, … it ought surely to be deemed more atrocious to destroy a fœtus in the womb before it has come to light.” -John Calvin

    I don’t see how it is possible to be pro-choice and encourage the possibility of abortion for everyone else and still remain in good standing with the gospel, after reading these quotes. I think its also not a secret that most abortions are not done for these “few select reasons”. Not to mention that at least 7% of these abortions end in born alive babies that are left to die outside the womb without medical care (which equals thousands per year in the US alone).

    The current practices of abortion are contrary to women’s rights in my opinion. Doctors solely in the business of abortion prey on the weakness and vulnerbality of a woman’s situation, encourage them to end the life, blur the reality of how old the baby is, offer third term abortions for “emotional reasons”…all for that elusive dollar. Its not so feminist to protect this business as some might initially think. The fact that abortions are done without repercussion on full term babies in almost every single state is deplorable.

  28. TJ Shelby says:

    Lel, you are simply coming at this as a point of religion and not looking at social policy implications. The Church has no official position on when life begins regardless of individual statements from apostles picked out of varied sermons.

    We (and I’m speaking for all of the socially liberal Mormons that you feel should not be held in good Church standing) can believe and follow our faith -personally – but some of us realize that we don’t live in a nation of citizens that share all of the same religious views.

    We can separate our faith, and how we live our personal lives, from what we can accept as social policies for a melting pot of differing faiths and cultures. Hence, I can be against abortion personally but pro-Choice socially.

    If you haven’t seen this clip from Obama speaking about the separation of Church and state. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2Kh-xzerjE

    I highly recommend it…unless it is against your faith to listen to the rational thoughts of black Democrats? Because I can pull those quotes from apostles too…unfortunately for you, the “apostle-quote-trump-card” works both ways.

  29. JD says:

    I think that a lot of people commenting here as well as the author have made a logical fallacy in saying that there are two options – you listen to everything the prophet says and never question anything and are a blind sheep or you listen to the prophet when it fits your personal opinions and views and you question everything and aren’t a blind sheep.

    What everyone is missing is the third option. You question the things the prophets teach, pray and study it out in your mind and ask for a confirmation that the teaching is true. If the feeling comes you of course live it and if it doesn’t you live by faith and live it anyways remembering that these men are the Lord’s mouthpiece. To be honest I find it kind of shocking to find so many people saying that only listening to the Prophet when you want to is totally fine. To say to your children “Look how differently men and women are treated. Do you think that’s right? Do you think Jesus would want that?” in my opinion is wrong. The church isn’t perfect and if you have a problem with that fact then why don’t you work on it and pray about it rather than justifying your sin and passing your cynicism on to your kids. If you are always pointing out to your children all the things that you think are wrong with the church do you really think that is supporting your local leadership, a major commandment in the church? This post really just made me depressed because it made me realize that thinking that because someone is a member they are spiritually mature and a true disciple of Jesus Christ was really naive of me.

    Since I know most of you are thinking I am being judgmental and overly dramatic here is a quote from Elder Maxwell. “Some give of their time yet withhold themselves, being present without giving of their presence and going through the superficial motions of membership instead of the deep emotions of consecrated discipleship. Some try to get by with knowing only the headlines of the gospel, not really talking much of Christ or rejoicing in Christ and esteeming lightly His books of scripture which contain and explain His covenants. Some are so proud they never learn of obedience and spiritual submissiveness. They will have very arthritic knees on the when every knee shall bend. There will be no gallery then to play to: all will be participants! Maintaining Church membership on our own terms, therefore, is not true discipleship. Real disciples absorb the fiery darts of the adversary by holding aloft the quenching shield of faith with one hand, while holding to the iron rod with the other. There should be no mistaking: it will take both hands!”

    What a wonderful quote from a true disciple of Christ. Just so you know where I am coming from I am the son of a mother who had parents like all of you who only gave up a part of themselves to the church. I am so grateful my mother had the courage to reject these ideas and fully embrace the Gospel and Savior with all her heart and taught us to do likewise.

  30. JD says:

    I also find it funny that TJ says “I can play the quote an apostle card too” seeing how you can’t because they disagree with what you are saying. Good video by Obama though. Although I disagree with everything else you said, he really is a good man who is trying to change things for the better even if I don’t agree with everything he says.

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