My Ninety-Five Theses for Today’s Mormon Church

Today is the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg (or maybe he didn’t? either way, that’s the cultural narrative). In doing so, he both posited things about the church that he felt were problematic, and welcomed debate about those issues. Almost inadvertently, he kicked off the Protestant Reformation.

I have neither the goal nor the desire to kick off any type of Mormon Reformation, but hoo-boy, do I have some grievances/ideas/theses about the Mormon church. Sometimes I feel like the policies and practices we have in place are actually stumbling blocks to creating Zion, rather than building blocks.  So, in the very-loosely-defined spirit of Luther (and possibly more in the spirit of Festivus’ Airing of Grievances), I present my Ninety-five Theses for the present-day Mormon Church.

  1. Church is too long. We need a two-hour block, and we need it now.
  2. We need more snacks. I don’t care if this takes the form of a between-the-hours snack break or a monthly break the fast fellowshipping meal, or something else, but there should be an opportunity to break bread with one another and informally chat.
  3. The nursery toys should be cleaned more often.
  4. Relatedly, the nursery toys should be a budget priority. Our children need more than broken plastic cars and dolls that are missing arms.
  5. Primary should be more active. Those kids have been (or will be) sitting through all of Sacrament meeting and possibly some classtime without moving. Let’s get those kids dancing and singing and moving their boogie-bodies.
  6. Primary & nursery teachers are a gift to the ward, and should be treated as such. They need reliable backup lists and team-teachers when at all possible.
  7. To quote a new convert I spoke with recently, “y’all’s hymns sound like we’re at a funeral every damn time.”  Let’s get the tempo up to where it needs to be, and let’s try to add some gusto in our singing.
  8. Also, can we get some hymns that are more active and sound like praise?  I wouldn’t mind some moving and some clapping, too. Let’s pretend that we’re happy to be singing at church.
  9. Don’t just show up at somebody’s house without calling!  Missionaries and well-meaning church leaders, I’m looking at you.  This has been aptly named “well-intentioned social terrorism” by leading experts and makes people less likely to fellowship with us, not more.  If you keep making appointments with people and they don’t show up… maybe that’s a hint that they don’t want to hang out with you, and that’s ok.  Also, don’t show up at somebody’s place of employment, or wait for another tenant of a building to go through the door so that you can get to a person’s front door without ringing a bell.  Again, if they don’t want to talk to you, then they probably have a good reason.  Don’t try all sorts of creative ways to trap them into a conversation.
  10. Relatedly, when somebody sets a boundary, respect it.  If they say, “I don’t want visiting teachers right now,” don’t assign them visiting teachers who are just extra sneaky about visiting teaching.
  11. Youth leaders should be trained in how to respond to and/or report issues of child abuse. Honestly, we all should, but especially youth leaders.
  12. We have a proud cultural history of beards, and so any prohibition of beards on church-affiliated campuses or for temple workers needs to be abolished immediately.
  13. Neckties are the pantyhose of men and should be culturally optional.
  14. The Word of Wisdom is some good advice, and let’s get back to that.  A cup of coffee shouldn’t keep you out of the temple.
  15. For the love of Pete, please dump the Boy Scouts.  And Cub Scouts.
  16. Less meetings.  PEC and Ward Council should be merged and all leadership should attend the one meeting.
  17. Make the priests properly wash their hands before preparing the Sacrament.  And enforce it.  I’m talking surgery-level scrubbing.
  18. “Follow the Prophet” sounds like it’s a theme song for a cult.  Get rid of it.  Being in a minor key makes it even more terrible.
  19. Stop interviewing teenagers behind closed doors without another person present.
  20. Stop talking to minors about masturbating.  Also, adults.  Don’t talk to anybody about masturbating.  Why are we talking about masturbating at church?!
  21. Let’s make the temple clothes for baptisms for the dead a little less see-through.
  22. Have the girls help pass the Sacrament.  There is nothing in the scriptures that prohibits this, and passing the Sacrament tray around isn’t required to be a priesthood function.
  23. Bring the Sacrament to the mother’s lounge.  If the Sacrament is the most important part of our Sunday service, it should be made available to all, including those feeding their babies.
  24. Relatedly, those wards that only provide the Sacrament to those who are seated in the chapel because the people in the lobby didn’t get to church on time??  Stop that right now.  Limiting access to the Sacrament based on arrival time is high-level Pharisee nonsense.
  25. Women’s garments should be sleeveless, or at least without that little bunch under the armpit, which is unnecessary and uncomfortable.
  26. This one may be controversial, but get rid of the one-piece garments.  Just… no.
  27. Stop the worship/emphasis on The Family™.  If you’re going to talk about defending the family, you’d better be talking about all families, not just the ones with cis-gendered, heterosexual parents who are married and who have 3+ children born in the covenant.  Families, as a social unit of primary support and love, are worth defending.  “The Family™” is code for being homophobic and it’s antithetical to the teachings of Jesus.
  28. Relatedly, we have turned church leaders into idols that we worship.  Stop making a false equivalence between fallible humans who are called to positions of leadership/authority and Jesus.  They are not Jesus.  We worship Jesus, not them.  We are supposed to obey God and Jesus, not church leaders.  We have moved the center of our worship onto human beings who make mistakes and who see through a glass, darkly, and it belongs on God and Christ.  Full stop.
  29. Women are not necks who turn heads.  We are people with our own necks and heads.  So are men.  We should work together in a collaborative and equal fashion.
  30. Ordain women.
  31. Change the temple language so that women are covenanting with God, not through their husbands.
  32. Stop carpeting the walls.  Why do so many buildings have carpet running up the walls?  That carpet is itchy and scratchy and makes it very difficult for toddlers to walk against the walls, because it’s not pleasant to touch or hold on to.
  33. I am all in favor of having ward members help clean the building, but if we could get professionals in to make sure that the bathrooms and kitchens are properly cleaned and sanitized every so often, that’d be great.
  34. Please make the women’s session for women, and have it be either 12+ or 18+.  I feel like having the 8-12 year-olds really infantilizes the whole thing.  They’re children, and that’s ok. They don’t need to be there.
  35. Let’s hear from more women in General Conference.  This would hopefully naturally happen should we ordain women (see Thesis 30) but black men have been ordained for almost 40 years and we still rarely hear from them. So, relatedly…
  36. … make a concerted effort to have more diversity in leadership, and in talks during General Conference.  We should value the experiences of all people in this church from all demographic groups.
  37. Either pad the pews, or make church shorter.  Some of us have tailbones that haven’t fully healed from multiplying and replenishing the earth, if you catch my drift, and have a hard time sitting on hard surfaces for that long.
  38. Engage more with community groups and civic outreach.
  39. Do more interfaith service work.  I want to see more Mormons starting soup kitchens and doing anti-poverty work.
  40. I may be biased, but every ward should call a Ward Social Worker to help both the Bishop and Relief Society connect people with resources in the broader community.
  41. More security for missionaries, especially those serving in high-crime communities, and especially women.  I know way too many women who have been sexually assaulted on their missions because they were asked to be places that were unsafe and known for being hostile to women.
  42. Increase the budgets for congregations outside the US.  Wards in Mexico shouldn’t be receiving less money-per-person than wards in the US.
  43. Fund fewer shopping malls.
  44. Make the mother’s lounge more than an afterthought when planning buildings.  Nursing mothers deserve more space than the broom closet, separate spaces to change diapers (without stinking up the whole mother’s lounge), and comfortable chairs.
  45. Put changing tables in all of the men’s restrooms.  Women aren’t the only people who change diapers.
  46. More global hymns.  Less songs about Zion in the mountains and more songs celebrating the cultural diversity of the church membership.
  47. Take the Star-Spangled Banner out of the hymnbook.  Also My Country ‘Tis of Thee and America the Beautiful.  And God Save the King (even though it’s been a Queen since forever).  It’s fine to be patriotic, but having those songs in the hymnbook smacks of nationalism and colonialism in a way that makes me deeply uncomfortable.
  48. Have a Gospel Essentials 2.0 Sunday School class.  Basically it would be a Sunday School class discussing the basic tenets of the gospel, but in a much deeper philosophical/theological way than in the normal class geared towards investigators.
  49. The “Mission President’s Wife” needs an official title that makes her co-equal with her spouse.
  50. Female missionaries should be called as District/Zone leaders, with authority and stewardship over both male and female missionaries.
  51. Please remove the bit in the handbook about asking members to consult with their bishops before getting their tubes tied or a vasectomy.  Why on earth should a couple have to consult their ecclesiastical leader before making a choice about their reproductive health and family size?!  And what bishop really wants to sit down with a couple, only to have them say, “So, bishop, Jeff here is thinking about getting snipped and wants to hear your thoughts”?
  52. Screen-print the garments instead of sewing in the symbols.  Children always pick the most inopportune time to ask, “Mom, what’s that on your nipple?” and it’s awkward for literally everyone.
  53. Now, I can’t find a documented source for this one, but it’s my understanding that if a child is born through surrogacy, the child is sealed to the man whose sperm is used *and the surrogate mother* until the child is later sealed to the biological mother and the biological father in the temple.  WHAT NONSENSE IS THAT.  The uterus/vagina through which a child is grown/birthed should not matter more than the DNA used to create that child.  If this is true, that should change.  If not, please let me know because I’ve had a bee in my bonnet about this for a while.
  54. BYU and other church-affiliated campuses should have coffee available as a courtesy to visiting and/or nonmember faculty and students.  And, honestly, if students want to drink it, I don’t think it’s a sin.  See Thesis #14.
  55. Missionaries shouldn’t ask members to commit to finding “x” number of people for them to teach by a certain date.  Changing one’s spiritual beliefs and/or home is a big deal.  I’m not going to force that on my friends or family because you have a quota to fill.
  56. Stop measuring the success of missionaries by how many people they teach and/or baptize.
  57. Have missionaries do more service.  Maybe make lasting partnerships with organizations in your area, and commit to having a certain number of missionaries available to them for a certain number of hours per week (so that organizations can depend on that continuity).  “By their fruits ye shall know them!”  Let’s make sure we’re bearing good fruit.
  58. Let missionaries call their parents more than twice per year.  I know that we want them to focus, but especially with lowering the mission age, many of these kids are away from home for the first time.  Let them call their moms or dads.  It might actually make them more effective as missionaries, not less.
  59. Let sister missionaries wear pants whenever they want, especially if they’re serving in places where they’re riding bikes, or where there is a high incidence of mosquito-borne illnesses.
  60. Let families plan their own baptismal services.  Let them invite the people they want and have people close to the individual being baptized speak.  I know that there are a lot of baptisms in the Wasatch Front, but turning them into assembly-line functions makes it less special for the people being baptized.  Let families celebrate this ordinance and rite of passage in a way that’s meaningful to them.
  61. Get rid of the one-year temple penalty on civil marriages within the US (and some other countries, I think).  Let people plan their marriage and/or sealing in a way that best works for them and their families.
  62. Open up sealing ceremonies to everyone, regardless of “worthiness.”  I don’t think we need to perform sealing ceremonies for everybody, but let family members and friends witness the ceremony and celebrate with their loved ones.
  63. Allow cooking in the kitchens.  We could be teaching all sorts of skills in there if they weren’t for “warming only.”
  64. Allow children of same-sex couples to be baptized.  What is this nonsense.  I can’t believe I even have to say that.
  65. Relatedly, stop excommunicating married people in same-sex relationships.  Let them come to church, partake of the sacrament, and hold callings.  Hold them to the same standards that we hold heterosexual couples to, and encourage commitment, fidelity, and love.
  66. Truthfully, I think there’s space to allow same-sex relationships to be sanctified and sealed in the temple.  Taylor Petrey’s “Toward a Post-Heterosexual Mormon Theology” has some insight on this.
  67. Amplify the fourth mission of the church: Care for the Poor and Needy.  Tackle it not just on a case-by-case level, but on a systemic level.
  68. This has been improving in recent years, but broaden the catalog of “acceptable artwork” for church buildings.  Let’s see artwork that reflects the diversity of the membership.
  69. Put pictures of female general leadership in the building, and not just in places where only women and children gather.
  70. Call women into the Sunday School presidency and men into the Primary presidency.
  71. Stop treating young single adults (or old single adults, for that matter) as not-fully-formed members of the Body of Christ.  Have them serve in positions of authority.  Don’t require their activities to be supervised by married members.  Trust them to make decisions as adults.
  72. Use the buildings during the week.  Sure, there are probably insurance/liability issues, but other churches have found ways to work through them.  Hold literacy classes.  Help with childcare.  Provide pop-up food banks or shelters.  Let them be used for elections.  These buildings sit empty through 90% of the week, and could be used to do so much good in the community.
  73. Model disagreement within church leadership.  I would love for members of the Quorum of the Twelve to give conference talks that disagree with one another, and to acknowledge that they disagree.  So much of our issue is thinking that there is one answer to every question, and that everybody needs to fall in line.  Instead, we need a multiplicity of viewpoints, of ways to think about different issues, and a dialogue on so many topics.  I know that the Quorum of the Twelve disagree with one another behind closed doors, but I would love to see them model a civil conversation of how to respectfully disagree and still be fully in line with church teachings. My hope is that this model would trickle down to provide much more substantive/interesting discussions in local church meetings.
  74. Revamp the Sunday School curriculum so that the teacher’s manual is less of a call-and-response.  Acknowledge thorny issues in the manuals and provide a variety of ways to talk about/understand those issues.
  75. Some wards still only allow men to be the final speakers in Sacrament meeting.  Stop it!  Women can speak last, too.
  76. Create coming-of-age rituals for the girls in the church.  This could be corrected with ordaining women (see Thesis 30), but girls need to mark their maturation into adulthood and feel welcomed and needed by their congregation, too.  Give them responsibilities and ways to serve their ward community.
  77. Call the female presidents of auxiliaries “President.”  Similarly, call the wives of mission presidents “President,” unless they get a better/co-equal title (see Thesis 49).  We should be talking about President Bingham and President Oscarson the same way we talk about President Nelson and President Callister.
  78. Have women pray in General Conference.  Remember how we tried that and it was awesome?  What happened??
  79. Have General Women’s Session alternate with General Priesthood Session every year in April/October.  DONE!
  80. Teach about prominent women in the scriptures and church history.  Make sure the men and the women know about our spiritual forebearers.
  81. Stop doing Trunk-or-Treats.  Unless you live somewhere that Halloween doesn’t otherwise exist, and you want to celebrate it for some reason, actually go out and trick or treat with your community instead of doing a quick grab in the church parking lot.
  82. Have mothers hold their babies during baby blessings.
  83. Encourage activities that are inclusive.  Fathers/Sons campout is great, unless you don’t have a father or you don’t have a son, or you have three brothers who all get to go camping but you’re stuck home.  I’m not saying that we can’t do activities that are just for certain groups, but examine the gendered makeup of these activities.  Are the boys always camping and the girls always doing crafts?  Maybe flip that script once or twice and have the girls go camping and the boys do crafts.  I promise it won’t cause the earth to stop spinning on its axis, and you might meet the needs of some people who are excluded from the traditional activities.
  84. Please, please, please turn up the heat in the Chapel.  I swear the thermostats are exclusively set by people who are wearing suits.  Some of us women are wearing skirts and dresses and we are freezing.
  85. Embrace our glorious theology of a Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine.  God isn’t just a He.  Change the YW theme to say “We are daughters of our Heavenly Parents, who love us, and we love them.”
  86. Focus on people over numbers.  I know that it’s hard to measure outcomes and program success without quantitative data, but try to find innovative ways to determine whether your ward is healthy and functional beyond “percentage of adults with active temple recommends” and “percentage of households being home taught once per quarter.”
  87. Allow wards to do special musical numbers that are outside the hymnal.  I’m not saying you just allow anything, but we hear “Consider the Lillies” all the time in Conference and that isn’t in there.  Some wards are pickier about this than others, but realize that not all uplifting music is in the hymnal.
  88. Have less stuff run up through the RS President and Bishop.  I know that oversight is important because things really do go off the rails sometimes, but our poor Bishops and RS Presidents) are overworked.  Maybe the Bishop doesn’t have to sign off on the visiting teaching assignments, for example, and maybe the RS President doesn’t need to approve every activity.  Less micromanaging, more delegating.
  89. Change youth standards to be more inward reflections than outward.  When talking about modesty, don’t just talk about what body parts need to covered, but talk about what it means to be modest in all of your thoughts and deeds.  When talking about the Word of Wisdom, talk less about what substances to eat/drink and more about what it means to treat your body with respect and have moderation in all things.  If we set less outward markers on what it means to be a righteous Latter-day Saint, we’re more likely to build an inner spiritual foundation that is based on principles instead of actions, and we’re also less likely to judge others who aren’t outwardly conforming.
  90. Allow women to be sealed to more than one man in the temple, similar to how men can currently be sealed to more than one woman.  We do this after women are deceased anyways (after women die, you can seal them to any husbands she had during mortality) with the idea that God will sort it all out in the end.  I think we can be confident that God will sort it all out in the end if we do it in mortality, too, and it reduces unnecessary anguish to divorcees, widows, widowers, and their families.
  91. No Sacrament meeting start times after 2pm.
  92. I really love our lay ministry, but provide more training for Bishops and RS presidents.  I would love to see some sort of weekend training where new bishops/stake presidents/RS Presidents/maybe even auxiliary presidents get two days of serious, intensive leadership training.  I would love to see them talk about ministering, and about knowing when you are out of your depth and to refer out to professionals.
  93. Temple films that reflect age and racial diversity in the people being portrayed.
  94. Home teaching standards that are more similar to the new visiting teaching standards.  More ministry, less formality.  Serve people in the way they need/want to be served!
  95. Put stained glass in the chapels.  We suffer from a tragic shortage of stained glass in our meetinghouses.

And that’s that!  What do you think?  What theses would you add?  Which would you remove?  What could make practiced Mormonism more like Zion to you?


Liz is a reader, writer, wife, mother, gardener, social worker, story collector, cookie-maker, and hug-giver.

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140 Responses

  1. Xu says:

    I’ll suggest another:

    #96. Give the RS pres her own office.

    • Dani Addante says:

      I was thinking about that too! The Bishop has his own office and so does the clerk, but the RS President should have one too. RS presidency members often have to print things out (like attendance lists, newsletters, etc…) and it would be helpful if they had their own office for that.

      • Sarah says:

        They should also stop putting the YW closets in the R.S. room or Primary. It’s so obnoxious to have them there.

    • Linda G Andrews says:


  2. Elizabeth says:

    I would welcome ALL of these changes. What I struggle with most—after all is said and done—is the question of whether or not my believing many of these changes are IMPERATIVE means I’m making Mormonism what I want it to be rather than what it actually is.

  3. Colleen says:

    Would it hurt for adult ward members to all wear name tags and have temporary ones for visitors? You could put the person’s calling underneath their name in smaller print. Let’s work on not being so insular! Stop using exclusive language that makes guests feel like outsiders.

    • cruelestmonth411 says:

      When I attend other churches it is so nice to see people’s names and makes it easier for the introverted to connect.

  4. W in Michigan says:

    Thank you for writing this–it nicely puts what I (and I’m sure others) have been thinking. I teach primary right now and I agree–3 hours is too long and the primary kids need to move! These kids are just going crazy and tuning out the lesson.

    Regarding #63; kitchens would have to be certified and inspected by a health inspector to be used for cooking, so I understand why we don’t cook in them. Also, a note about opening the building during the week–I really wish we could do this! I have non-member friends who were surprised that our building wasn’t open during the week. I have been to their church building for many community functions on week days! And, if you want to add to your list about building use and cleaning–it drives me nuts when I am assigned to clean because it is a pain in the @#$ to track down a key to let yourself in to clean!

    And, this is funny–I had no idea members were supposed to talk to their bishop about getting a vasectomy. My husband had one years ago after 6 kids–I would have 20 kids by now because I got pregnant so easily and I didn’t want to use the pill because my mom died of breast/ovarian cancer (I was afraid of messing with my hormones. (Maybe we should all read the handbook).

  5. Moss says:

    I would add “Clearly and unambiguously disavow the priesthood ban as from God.”

    • Elizabeth says:


    • Beth says:

      And when talking about the priesthood ban, call it the priesthood and temple ban. (Black women were banned too.)

    • krissy says:

      In an Institute class, the teacher said they actually have no idea when or why the ban started. Which makes me super mad that they waited for revelation to stop doing something that wasn’t even revealed in the first place.

      • Andrew says:

        Since at least some presidents of the Church from David O McKay to Spencer W Kimball prayed to ask the Lord if the ban could/should be lifted I assume you are actually mad at God for waiting to give the revelation to stop the ban.

        In good faith these men believed the ban was real (and it may well have been, there is not evidence that it wasn’t, only lack of evidence that it was) they also believed they needed God’s approval to repeal it. They asked, repeatedly and received either no answer, or a negative one. So, what should they have done?

  6. Heather says:

    Liz you are, of course, insightful, articulate, and correct. I loved reading this. And my right hand is raised to sustain you.

  7. Patricia I Johnson says:

    Well put!

  8. Kirsten says:

    #44 is why I leave church early. Our “mothers lounge” is a room off the bathroom WITH NO DOOR BETWEEN THE TWO. Which means I’d have to nurse a baby while listening to people poop! Oh hellllllllllll no.

    • cruelestmonth411 says:

      This is gross and wrong.

    • ME says:

      Everyone needs to go visit the mother’s lounge in the Conference Center. It’s waaaaaaay back behind all the stalls in the women’s restroom on the main floor. It has subdued lighting, diaper changing table, glider rockers and a door to shut between it and the rest of the bathroom. My first thought when I went there–we aren’t supposed to bring any kids under 8 and they put this posh mother’s lounge here????

  9. Ziff says:

    Liz, this is outstanding! What strikes me in reading your wonderful list is how many of your changes could be made without having to change church doctrine at all! I mean, ordaining women is near and dear to my heart, but I realize that the current crop of GAs generally can’t even imagine such a thing. But there are so many ideas you’ve put out here that could be implemented with no real underlying change required, other than perhaps accepting that we can’t read the will of God into every tiny little directive from Salt Lake or random pattern of behavior that creeps into the church.

  10. Kim says:

    Brilliant!!! I would like to add that a revision of Temple Recommend Interview questions would be welcomed. Why not reduce the Interview to one question: “Do you feel prepared to make and keep sacred covenants with God?”

  11. Dot says:

    W in Michigan, you’re right–we SHOULD all read the handbook. #96+: make church handbooks available to all.

  12. Kevin Barney says:

    Great stuff, thanks.

  13. Kristine says:

    #53 is inaccurate. Maybe some goofball High Priests group bandied this about somewhere during lesson time, but it’s nowhere in the Handbook of Instructions. I think you can euthanize the bee 🙂

  14. Caroline says:

    Liz, This. Is. Awesome. love, love, love. Here’s one of mine. Get rid of the second adult speaker in Sacrament meeting. One fifteen minute sermon is enough. And if we get out Sacrament Meeting after 50 minutes or an hour, even better.

  15. Beth says:

    # 98. Let speakers in conference speak in their native language. That was a wonderful change that should have stuck.

  16. Sue Bergin says:

    Leadership, publicly apologize when you mess up or ddin’t fix mess ups from the past that you knew about. Give details about the wrongs and what you will do to prevent them from happening again.

    Institute annual outside audits of church finances and make them public. I don’t mind giving my portion, but I want to know how my hard-earned dollars are being spent. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable request.

    Include female leaders (at least Relief Society presidencies) in the general authority-level meetings that bishops and stake presidents attend.

    Stop judging members by policies and standards they don’t know about because they’re unwritten or they’re only in Handbook 1.

    Make Handbook 1 public. The secrecy around it infantilizes members and excludes women.

  17. Terrific ideas, Liz! Thanks.

  18. Simpley a sister says:

    Love all of them. Thanks Liz

  19. Scanada says:

    Thanks for this. While serving as a stake RS president I realized how desperately I needed a layer of women’s leadership between the stake and SLC. I worked with more than one stake president, and while good men, I really wish I had had a woman to counsel with when I completely disagreed with a decision. Like not allowing a single adult female to address Laurels and YSA at a RS conference workshop because she wasn’t married and therefore not a good enough role model. And certainly not talking to them about preparing for a career, because education is good but careers are bad. Fortunately now our stake RS president is a single professional, so that myth has been shattered locally. Another decision involved caring more about the (supposed) repentance of a serial child molester than about his now adult victims who were too traumatized to attend the temple for fear of seeing him there. In addition to tough situations like those and others that I spoke out against (and cancelled the workshop rather than have it be a mere shadow of what it should have been), I never once received training from a female leader specific to my calling as stake RS president. Once a counselor from the General RS presidency came, but I sat in the same large regional meeting as bishopric members, my counsellors and secretary. I wanted training just as the stake presidents got training with their fellow presidents as part of the coordinating council. I wanted to be able to share problems and RS conference ideas with other area presidents annually and even requested this through my stake president, but it never happened. Although my calling was a rewarding one, it certainly had its moments of frustration because of too much power held by men.

  20. Allyson Reynolds says:

    I understand why we don’t want the crucified Christ as the focus in our chapels, but why not big glorious pieces of art of the mortal and ministering or resurrected Savior? They are in the chapels of several temples I’ve attended so why not in our meeting houses? Speaking of which (and referencing #95) our meetinghouse where we lived in L.A. (La Canada) was built by the members themselves in the 50’s and has a beautiful stained glass of Christ knocking at the door at the front of the chapel (not to mention awesome exposed beams in the arched ceiling of the cultural hall). It was SO NICE to have something like that to look at and focus on during sacrament meeting other than the hairstyle of the woman in front of me or the bishopric. Also, my husband is the bishop and after reading Neylan McBaine’s “Women at Church” and discussing with him, he not only lets women hold babies during blessings if they choose, but he recently let a nonmember father hold the baby so he could be with all the other men in the circle. (Bonus: the gay married grandfather and his spouse were sitting front and center during the meeting as well.) Lastly, because this has been a big beef of mine since I was a young woman and I have three daughters of my own (and my husband is awesome and totally appreciates my perspective), he has called High Adventure leaders for the young women and they have high adventure activities at least quarterly. (Things like rapelling…) The high adventure leader is basically the assistant camp leader so girls camp is never ever about the crafts! Our ward was the first to have a group of girls attend a Boy Scout camp a few years ago, and they have also have hiked the Narrows, river rafted for three days straight, etc. Progress!!

    • S.Thorp says:

      I love the idea of having women hold their children during blessings. Maybe mine wouldn’t have screamed all through the blessing because he was looking at a bunch of strange faces, because some of our guests forgot their recommends and weren’t allowed to participate after travelling several hours to be there.

      • Andrew R. says:

        That was a violation of Church policy. Only the voice in a blessing has to provide a recommend if they are coming from another unit. Handbook 2 section 20.1.3

  21. Pete says:

    Allow women to serve as financial clerks and/or auditors.

    • Sarah says:


      Currently our 1st counselor is also the Executive Secretary and Branch clerk Because we do not have enough men to cover the callings.

  22. So funny, as I was reading this I kept thinking “I need to talk to Liz!!!” and then I saw that you were the one who wrote it. This is so great!

  23. Allyson Reynolds says:

    One more: nursing/changing areas in temples where nursing mothers have to travel long distances to attend. I have a nightmare of a story from when my husband was in medical school in Iowa and our now 20-year-old daughter was three months old. I was dying to go to the temple for some much needed spiritual strength and perspective as a new mother, so we made the 4-hour trek to the Chicago Temple and naively planned to just take turns before driving the four hours home because we didn’t have money for a hotel. When we arrived at the doors of the temple with our sleeping baby, the sweet little temple worker looked at us like we were lepers. I had assumed (foolishly!) there would be a room like in chapels where I could sit and nurse and keep her happy while my husband and I took turns (it was the dead of winter, so waiting in the car wasn’t an option), but after much ado and consulting with other equally horrified workers, they stuck me in a drafty little closet off of a big waiting area that was viritually empty. And here I was thinking I was executing one of the most important parts of the plan of salvation.

  24. J. H. says:

    Liz, you are hereby called to a court of love at the stake center at 6:30pm Wednesday night to discuss your membership.

    • Liz says:

      I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or not, but just FYI, calling an author’s righteousness into question is expressly against our comment policy: “This is not the place to question another’s personal righteousness, to call people to repentance, or to disrespectfully refute people’s personal religious beliefs.”

      One more violation and you’ll be placed in moderation! Thanks for reading.

  25. m says:

    So basically, turn the Mormon church into every other church.

    • Ziff says:

      Yes, exactly. There are only two types churches in the world: the Mormon church, and every other church, which are all exact clones of each other, and look like more progressive versions of Mormonism.

      • m says:

        That’s correct, according to 1 Ne 14:10:

        “And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.”

      • Ziff says:

        Really? Nephi saw in vision that all the other churches were more progressive versions of Mormonism? That’s some grade-A level reading between the lines you’re doing!

  26. C.P. says:

    There’s only a little bit of poop in those brownies. Ergo, it’s fine for us to eat them. There’s nothing wrong with just a tiny little bit of apostasy.

    • Liz says:

      Hi! Calling an author’s righteousness into question is expressly against our comment policy: “This is not the place to question another’s personal righteousness, to call people to repentance, or to disrespectfully refute people’s personal religious beliefs.”

      One more violation and you’ll be placed in moderation! Thanks for reading.

      • WonderBoy says:

        You seem to have pretty thin skin on some of these comments. If you can’t handle a little feedback that doesn’t fawn over your opinion, what’s the point?

      • Liz says:

        WonderBoy, we have a comment policy and we expect people to follow it. If you don’t like it, go comment somewhere else. I’m fine with people disagreeing with me, but comments that “question another’s personal righteousness, call people to repentance, or disrespectfully refute people’s personal religious beliefs” aren’t welcome in this space.

  27. The Wiz says:

    I had to look up the church’s stance on surrogacy. (#53) It is highly discouraged, and if you do have a child through surrogacy, and want it sealed to you (I have no idea why it isn’t considered BIC) Handbook 1 says the Stake Presidency refers it to the First Presidency. So yes, ditch that one. So weird. Also, yes to ALL OF THEM.

  28. sallypeel says:

    Fantastic. You’ve captured my thoughts! Thanks for writing this.

  29. Andrew R. says:

    RE #53 Children are born sealed to the mother (birth mother) and whomever they are sealed to. If she is not sealed to anyone they are not born in the covenant.

    I understand your point about DNA. However, consider a woman who is unable to produce eggs. She uses a donor egg and her husband’s sperm for IVF. In your scenario the child would be born sealed to the donor.

    So for simplification, it is the womb used. And I know that is not always ideal.

  30. Andrew R. says:

    A very interesting list, not least of all because I see many that already are happening where I am.

    #1 The Church is already trialling 2 hour church.

    #2 Many of our wards and branches have “Munch and Mingle”. I don’t think it needs to be advocated for from on high, as a must.

    #3 The cleaning of the toys in nursery should surely be something that just happens. Why does it need a change in policy?

    #4 Our nursery toys are great.

    #5 Our primary has a set of percussion instruments that the children use regularly. They also use movement songs.

    #8 The extent to which hymns sound like praise is in part down the tempo and also the gusto of the voices. I play hymns at the upper end of the suggested rate and at they speed they are fine. I was in a ward in SC a couple of weeks ago. Over 200 people and virtually no sound, and everything too slow. In stake council last week, here in the UK, we made more noise.

    #15 No scouts in the UK

    #16 Sounds like a good idea, and for the most part is what is done. However, making the sisters sit through solely priesthood related reports seems a silly waste of time. Most of our units have a short PEC prior to the sisters joining for the ward council. Seems to work.

    #30 (and those referencing it) What if that is not what God wants. Everyone holding the priesthood in this life was foreordained to it in the pre-mortal existence. So if females were not foreordained they will not receive it. You can’t just do it because it seems right (and I am not saying it doesn’t seem right). You have to do it because it is what God wants, and so far He doesn’t appear to.

    #31 What if the temple language is exactly how God intended it to be? If He wants it changed, and reveals that, then fine. But maybe He doesn’t.

    #37 our pews are padded

    #67 I believe that the new first Sunday should help to make this a reality – but it will, as always, depend on the members.

    #77 Brother Callister is not referred to as President for the same reason as the other auxilliary presidents. Only those holding priesthood keys (and their counsellors) get that designation.

    #84 we have the opposite problem – our chapels are often too hot!

    #87 We have never had a problem using good music in sacrament meetings that wasn’t in the hymn book. We have also used hymns like Jerusalem.

    #92 – Amen – we are very, very bad at training. You may believe that stake presidents are trained in CCM’s. However, I can tell you they are not. They discuss issues relevant to the stakes in the CCM. There is little in the way of training, other than the experience of the individual Area Authority chairing the CCM.

    #95 it would be nice to see more stained glass, but it is not unheard of.

    • W in Michigan says:

      #1 – The church is not trialing two hour church–that is a rumor.

      • Angie says:

        They are in some areas. I was in a ward that did it.

      • Sarah says:

        In the handbook for small branches it states you can already incorporate a 2 hour block meeting if you don’t have enough adults to manage 3 hours.

        I’m in one of those branches. We already have thought to change over/eliminate 2nd hour classes.

    • Moss says:

      “I play hymns at the upper end of the suggested rate”

      God bless you. I mean this with all sincerity. This alone would increase the quality of our meetings tenfold!

  31. Pete says:

    Andrew R.

    “#31 What if the temple language is exactly how God intended it to be? If He wants it changed, and reveals that, then fine. But maybe He doesn’t.”

    What if She wants it changed? Who does She reveal it to?

    • Andrew R. says:

      The unfortunate implication of your questions is that we have Heavenly Parents who are not in harmony with each other. I can’t believe in such a God. God is Both.

      There isn’t a God for men and a God for Women.

      I realise that I gendered my response. But nonetheless. God is Our Heavenly Parents.

      For me a God that is so devoid of power over the Church established by God is not God.

      I don’t know why the temple ordinances are how they are. But I (and I stress I) have to believe that they are how God intends. If not, then what is the purpose of the Church, and how is God supposed to redeem Their children?

      • Pete says:

        Weird, here I was thinking that it was Jesus Christ’s atonement that redeemed us.

      • Shaun says:

        The temple ordinances are the way they are because when Brigham Young foisted polygamy on the church and the women didn’t like it much, he needed a “authoritative” way to put women in their place and make them shut up and obey their husbands.

  32. Rebecca says:

    #97… Stop frowning on tattoos and allow people to do what they feel is right with their own bodies. After all, if we see tattoos as “virtuous, lovely or of good report or praiseworthy,” then shouldn’t “we seek after these things.” ?

  33. Jennifer says:

    Protect the primary children more… most large churches have instituted widely successful and appreciated “safe church” policies where everyone working with children must complete a background/police check. Children are signed in and out of their classes, hall monitors are a regular sight and children are never to be alone with an adult for both of their protection…meeting alone with a priesthood member is SO ludicrously against any grain of common sense! These are easy to implement and widely accepted in environments that allow for easy targets with predators (and if you think predators are not alive and well in your congregation…think again!)

    • S.Thorp says:

      At the church of one of my good friends, the parents and children are given copies of barcodes that are scanned to track the movement of their children in and out of the junior Sunday school. Their liability insurance requires that they have background checks and that there are always atleast 2 people in the room with a child or youth. This has been the case for the last 10 years! Why is the church so slow on this?

      • Jennifer says:

        These things are all common sense and can only benefit children. We no longer attend the LDS church (see above 95 plus 100 more reasons) but this was one area of relief when we visited different churches. One of which we did join. The safety of the children was paramount. I never felt this was the case in our ward. Young children would be found totally unsupervised after an hour when no teacher showed up and no one seemed to have issue with this..nor the fact that the inclusion and “forgiveness” of a known pedophile was given priority over the safety of the children at church. I only knew of his past because my husband in the bishopric knew about it and wasn’t going to keep that from me and I certainly wasn’t going to keep it quiet! But I think that was the expectation. And the music can seriously improve! So many talented musicians in the congregation every week while the same old hymms are pounded out on the piano… it would be a breath of fresh air to experience an orchestra, worship and praise music and a different “flavor” once in a while…. and please…carpeted walls. Just… stop.

      • Sarah says:

        The church is self others words, they have no insurance.

    • Shaun says:

      The Church’s defenseless victim policy (i.e. no firearms allowed unless you’re an agent of the state) scares me. Any crazy person with a gun could come in off the street and walk straight into the Primary room, and there’s nothing we could do about it.

    • Kristine N says:

      In Australia this is already true. You have to pass a police background check to fill any calling with children.

    • Jacqueline Riggs says:

      That’s a really good idea! Thanks for sharing!

  34. Please find a way to let gay kids know they are loved, valued, and not broken. There are still gay Mormon kids commiting suicide.

  35. Fun! My addition:

    98. Invite all members who are gay to come to church, celibate or not. Let them take the Sacrament, give talks, do home teaching or other teaching, and sing in the choir. And pay tithing like everybody else. Win win.

  36. S.Thorp says:

    How about changing this one about the vasectomy policy to just saying that only God can judge period.

    21.4.14 Suicide

    It is wrong to take a life, including one’s own. However, a person who commits suicide may not be responsible for his or her acts. Only God can judge such a matter.

    • Andrew R. says:

      Surgical Sterilization (Including Vasectomy)

      The Church strongly discourages surgical sterilization as an elective form of birth control. Surgical sterilization should be considered only if (1) medical conditions seriously jeopardize life or health or (2) birth defects or serious trauma have rendered a person mentally incompetent and not responsible for his or her actions. Such conditions must be determined by competent medical judgment and in accordance with law. Even then, the persons responsible for this decision should consult with each other and with their bishop and should receive divine confirmation of their decision through prayer.

      I don’t see this policy as anything more than cautionary. It says “should” consult, not must. And the expectation is that they couple will receive the answer to their prayer.

      No one goes to the handbook to decide if they will commit suicide. The policy is there to help those who have lost loved ones to suicide and to give them information that may help them – ie that the person may not have been responsible for their actions.

      However, going to a medical professional to be sterilised is something that takes time. The professional will want to be certain you have made the choice willingly and fully informed. I don’t see the policy as anything more than reinforcing that stance.

      I know plenty of ex-bishops who have had vasectomies.

  37. MJ says:

    This is fantastic!!! I would add that we should really have a non-proselyting mission option. One that is every bit as valid a choice as a traditional mission but for kids for whom that experience sounds like their own personal hell (me!).

    • Andrew R. says:

      Recent developments are certainly moving in that direction.

    • Sunny says:

      They do… My autistic (aspergers, so still high functioning, but unable to serve a traditional proselyting mission) brother in law served a Family History mission. Still 2years, still had a companion, etc. but modified to allow people of varying abilities be able to succeed.

      • MJ says:

        My disabled brother served at the humanitarian center, with an autistic companion. I mean as an option for anyone. Not only for those who can’t serve a “real” mission. And not just to staff church programs. I would love to see missionaries called to just go do service in the community. Like the peace corps. No tracting, no baptism targets. They could refer interested parties to the teaching missionaries, but their primary goal would be straight up service. I would have considered going on that type of mission.

  38. Six says:

    “This one may be controversial, but get rid of the one-piece garments. Just… no”, I couldn’t DISAGREE more, I love the one-piece garment!!! You would too if you had my build. I can’t keep up my pants much less underwear without one piece. This design definitely came from God. 🙂

  39. Lindsey Shumway says:

    Liz. You are my spirit animal. And can I get a Hallelijah for the church hiring staff to facilitate a mother’s day out.?

  40. Neal says:

    Ditch the emphasis on white shirts. It’s become cultish to the point that men and boys are excluded from Priesthood duties if they don’t have a white shirt. God doesn’t care about shirt color!

    • A Poor Wayfaring Man says:

      Take this a step further and ditch the dress code. Wearing a powder blue shirt should not disqualify someone from being welcomed, and is not a sign of apostasy. Let women wear pants, it’s 2018. Extend yourself and greet someone in the overflow – they might be struggling just to show up.

      Sometimes church feels like a country club, for people who have arrived, instead of a hospital for people who need a spiritual mend.

  41. Alisa says:

    Fantastic!! ..and may I add…stop asking if we wear our garments day and night in the temple recomend interview. My last set of interviews I answered honestly that No I dont.I don’t wear them at night.When I did the man interviewing me was so taken back by that he turned red in the face and clearly didn’t know what to say to me after that. It was so awkward for us both. When I got home and told my husband about it he Immediately started laughing and asked if I clarified that I do wear pajamas, which I didnt think to .My Husband said that he probably thinks I sleep in the nude. Oh My Gosh!!
    I can believe that because to this day he can’t look me in the eye at church and I know he avoids me. I’m horrified…
    Tell me please WHY are we discussing our underwear habits with these men , Honestly!..
    Secondly why do we have them in the firstplace,what are they protecting us from? I’m not sure Its ever really been explained ..and between you , me and the ladies here …how hard is it to wear a femanin napkin ?Seriously!!
    But don’t think I’m going to bring that one up in my next interview if asked why I don’t always wear them..Can I get an Amen Ladies!!

  42. Steve says:

    #96: End the practice of Tithing Settlement. We don’t have Word of Wisdom settlement, or Chastity settlement, at the end of each year. Asking if members are paying tithing during the temple recommend interview is sufficient. Leaders claim the practice is done for “statistics purposes” or “tax purposes” but I have a feeling it’s done to guilt the parents into paying a full 10%…and what parent wants to say “no, I’m not a full tithe payer” in front of his/her children?

    • Andrew R. says:

      I believe it is quite pointless nowadays. Certainly in the UK where we are not required to produce anything from the Bishop to prove our charitable payments for tax purposes. Standard rate tax payers.

      Of course, not all tithe payers are recommend holders. Also the recommend interviews are now every two years.

      It is also a time for the Bishop to stress the need for Fast Offering.

      The reality is, only those who pay a full tithe, or have slipped a little, actively attend settlement.

    • Ziff says:

      Ooooh, we should definitely start having Word of Wisdom Settlement! “Sister Jones, how many cups of coffee were you offered this year? And how many did you turn down? Mmmm, very nice.” 🙂

    • Sarah says:

      There is no requirement to go to tithing settlement. Just don’t go.

  43. Reg says:

    A lot of these I can’t really argue with, but others…
    14. It was originally “good advice”, but the Brethren felt impressed to be more strict with certain specific aspects. If they feel impressed to go back, it’ll be on the Lord’s timetable.
    19. Teenagers need confidentiality too, and many won’t talk at all unless it’s guaranteed. Yes there is a risk involved, but that should be covered by #11.
    27. And they do best when they ARE a married mother and father raising their children, and studies outside Mormonism have confirmed that. And merely pointing that out is not antithetical to the teachings of the One who condemned adultery both in thought and in deed.
    28. Either you believe this church is governed by revelation, or you don’t. Of course prophets are fallible, particularly when they ignore revelation in favor of their own opinion or the opinions of others. Ask Balaam, Jonah, or Joseph Smith how well that works out.
    30. If the revelation comes to ordain women, it will not shake my testimony. If it NEVER comes, will it shake yours?
    47. There is nothing wrong with patriotism. I would expect other countries to have their own national anthems in the hymnbook.The 12th Article of Faith isn’t merely something to put up with. Civil society is one of the blessings we need to secure our rights and freedom.
    51. Because the family is the basic unit of the church, and a decision like this with such a lasting, serious impact should be discussed with the one who has the keys to receive revelation for the couple.
    56. This “measuring success” is an unfortunate cultural extreme, but smart members know better. Otherwise, when I was on my mission, tracking the numbers didn’t make me feel pressured to produce, it made me feel pressure to be WORKING.
    64. It’s called conflict of interest. The same rules have also applied for a long time to children of polygamists. They can wait until they are old enough to be out of their parent’s shadow. Until then, there is no point in the Church setting them up for conflict in the home.
    65-66. Homosexual behavior is, and always been a sin, particularly one of those which abuse the power of creation. The Church isn’t going to sanction it any more than it would sanction adultery, fornication, or murder.
    73. Again, this church is governed by revelation, not by factions, not by academics, and not by the opinions of the world. Christ said, “If ye are not one, ye are not mine.” The reason the General Authorities speak as one is because at the end of the day, they pray to the same God and receive the same answers.
    93. OK, let’s have Satan be played by a black guy! (dodges tomatoes)
    95. I prefer we keep our opulence limited to the temples, which are more exclusively set apart for the Lord, and I’d rather not have our tithing used to compete with or imitate other denominations.

    • Alyssa says:

      it’s answers like these that keep me out of the church. and i’m not saying you’re wrong.

    • Sarah says:

      Patriotism isn’t the issue. Nationalism is. GA just spoke out against it. We have to stop being USA centered.

      • Mee Shell says:

        “Patriotism isn’t the issue. Nationalism is. GA just spoke out against it. We have to stop being USA centered.”

        Sarah – I think we’re splitting hairs here. Patriotism is what WE think about our country; Nationalism is what other’s think about theirs. With that in mind though, the liberties that allow you and I to freely discuss religion, (and write whatever else we want on the Internet) is not an accident. These rights are codified in the Constitution. In fact, have you considered that the church was established in the United States precisely because we were one of the only nations at the time that had codified freedom of religions, press, speech, etc (even though it wasn’t fully respected until much later)? Have you ever been to an authoritarian country? China, Russia, most of the Middle-East? Or any failed states? Syria, Somalia? Or to a country while they’re having a coup (almost all of Central America and/or Africa)? Trust me, these freedoms are rarely respected, and they certainly aren’t protected. Given that our national hymns are not in most other country’s versions of their own hymn books, I think the least we could do is we sing the National Anthem once a year.

      • Sarah Ince says:


        You do not have the correct definition of nationalism.

        There is a reason the GA spoke out against it.

        Nationalism is “exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups”

        It causes xenophobia, jingoism ect.

        USA is the best country..yadda…

        Which by providing the usa patriotic songs to other countries wards… That’s what we are promoting.

  44. Carolyn Nielsen says:

    Great list. It makes me nostalgic for the Protestant church I was raised in.

  45. Steven says:

    Interpretation of the Word of Wisdom has change though history.

    I was quite restless all night. Felt chilly. Took a little Brandy sling and a cup of coffee, and slept some before daylight and until 9 am… (Wilford Woodruff Journal, 9 Jun 1897).

    We are told, and very plainly too, that hot drinks – tea, coffee, chocolate, cocoa and all drinks of this kind are not good for man. We are also told that alcoholic drinks are not good, and that tobacco when either smoked or chewed is an evil. We are told that swine’s flesh is not good, and that we should dispense with it; and we are told that flesh of any kind is not suitable to man in the summer time, and ought to be eaten sparingly in the winter…
    …we must feed our children properly…. We must not permit them to drink liquor or hot drinks, or hot soups or to use tobacco or other articles that are injurious. (JD. V.12:221&223. George Q. Cannon 7 Apr 1868).

    Heber C. Kimball, who was a member of the First Presidency, once stated that “virtuous Saints,… will not sell whiskey, and stick up grogeries, and establish distilleries,…” (JD. V.2:161) This statement seems very strange when we learn that Joseph Smith sold whiskey in Nauvoo, and that Brigham Young built a distillery and sold alcoholic beverages in Utah. Even the Mormon-owned Zions Cooperative Mercantile Institution (now known as ZCMI) sold the items forbidden by the Word of Wisdom. On Oct. 7, 1873, George A. Smith, a member of the First Presidency, made this statement: “We are doing a great business in tea, coffee, and tobacco in the Cooperative Store.” (JD. V.16:238). (Tanner 1987:412).

    And yet Woodruff drank brandy and coffee himself in 1897 (see p.161) as recorded in his very own journal. Even after the turn of the century, the First Presidency and Twelve were facing dilemmas concerning what to include in the Word of Wisdom. On 1 February 1901, the first Presidency decided to suspend a ten-year policy allowing the sale of alcohol at Saltair (a church owned amusement park and resort). (Quinn 1997:803). During a meeting on 11 July 1901, consideration was given as to whether they should continue to sell beer at Saltair or whether stopping would invade the rights of the old saints who would go there and smoke their pipes and drink alcohol.

  46. Steven says:

    Lets adiminister the sacrament according to the pattern set forth in the scriptures.

    3 Nephi 20
     4 And when they had eaten he commanded them that they should break bread, and give unto the multitude.
     5 And when they had given unto the multitude he also gave them wine to drink, and commanded them that they should give unto the multitude.

    D&C 20:76 … And the elder or priest shall administer it; and after this manner shall he administer it—he shall kneel with the church and call upon the Father in solemn prayer, saying: O God, the Eternal…

    D&C 20:58 But neither teachers nor deacons have authority to baptize, administer the sacrament, or lay on hands;

    3 Nephi 18
    11 And this shall ye always do to those who repent and are baptized in my name; and ye shall do it in remembrance of my blood, which I have shed for you, that ye may witness unto the Father that ye do always remember me. And if ye do always remember me ye shall have my Spirit to be with you.
     28 And now behold, this is the commandment which I give unto you, that ye shall not suffer any one knowingly to partake of my flesh and blood unworthily, when ye shall minister it;
     29 For whoso eateth and drinketh my flesh and blood unworthily eateth and drinketh damnation to his soul; therefore if ye know that a man is unworthy to eat and drink of my flesh and blood ye shall forbid him.

    1828 Websters Dictionary
    2. To dispense, as to administer justice or the sacrament.

    • UTManMI says:

      These verses haven’t always been interpreted the way you seem to wan to. For instance:


      Question: Have members not holding the Priesthood the right to pass the sacrament?

      Answer: You pass it to one another, do you not, all the time, all you sisters and all you brethren? Then why ask the question? The administering of the sacrament is not passing it to the people. The administering of the sacrament is when the brethren offer the prayer in blessing the bread or water. That is the administration of the sacrament. That cannot be done by Deacons, nor by members of the Church who do not bear the Priesthood.

      Francis M. Lyman, “The Administration of the Sacrament in the Sunday School,” Proceedings of the Sunday School Convention 74, 77 (1899)


      Even passing sacrament trays among the congregation requires no priesthood authority. With or without priesthood, men, women, and children one by one pass the sacrament tray or cups to the next person down the row. Recognizing this reality, President Heber J. Grant wrote to a mission president in 1928 that there was “no rule in the Church” that only priesthood bearers could carry the sacrament to the congregation after it was blessed. While it was “custom” for priesthood men or boys to pass around the bread and water, he said, “it would in no wise invalidate the ordinance” if some “worthy young brethren lacking priesthood performed it in the absence of ordained boys” and he had “no objection” if it were done.

      Heber J. Grant, Letter to Henry H. Rolapp, 28 June 1928, in William G. Hartley, “From Men to Boys: LDS Aaronic Priesthood Offices, 1829-1996,” J. Mormon History, Spring 1996.


      Women and custodians usually prepared the sacrament table, so it did not appear on a list of priesthood duties until 1933. Metal sacrament trays needed to be polished, and fine white linen or lace tablecloths needed to be laundered, starched, and pressed, tradition- ally the work of women. Women also baked the sacrament bread in many wards. Kate Coreless of Salt Lake City’s Fourth Ward took care of the sacrament table for a quarter century after 1906. She crocheted the cloth, polished the silver trays, baked and sliced the bread, and set the sacrament table. As late as 1943, the Presiding Bishopric publicized for bishops the example of young women in one ward who “take care of washing and sterilizing the sacrament sets after each service.” Annette Steeneck Huntington recalled that during the 1930s in Emigration Stake, the “young girls in MIA …filled the water cups in the kitchen and placed the bread on the trays. We then prepared the Sacrament table with the cloth and trays on it. It was a wonderful privilege I shall always remember.”

      William G. Hartley, “From Men to Boys: LDS Aaronic Priesthood Offices, 1829-1996,” J. Mormon History, Spring 1996.

  47. Steven says:

    Alma 5:62 I speak by way of command unto you that belong to the church; and unto those who do not belong to the church I speak by way of invitation, saying: Come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye also may be partakers of the fruit of the tree of life.

    Commanding all, members of the church to be rebaptized, and inviting non-members to be baptized.

    Moroni 6:1 And now I speak concerning baptism. Behold, elders, priests, and teachers were baptized; and they were not baptized save they brought forth fruit meet that they were worthy of it.

    To be an elder, priest or teacher you have to have already to be baptized. This is not saying they were baptized to become these offices, but they were already holding this office and then were baptized.

    Moroni 8:10 Behold I say unto you that this thing shall ye teach—repentance and baptism unto those who are accountable and capable of committing sin; yea, teach parents that they must repent and be baptized, and humble themselves as their little children, and they shall all be saved with their little children.

    Teach parents who wanted their children to be baptized too young, to be baptized themselves.

  48. Steven says:

    1835 D&C section 101, last edition while Joseph Smith was alive. It states one man and one wife, to marry in public where everyone can see it.

  49. Steven says:

    In Leviticus 23:2 it is written, “… the feast of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations …” The Hebrew term translated as convocation in Leviticus 23:2,4 is miqra, which means “a rehearsal” From this we can see that God gave the festivals to be yearly “rehearsals” of the future events in the redemption. – The Seven Festivals of the Messiah pg 10

  50. Apostate Pete says:

    Liz! You are absolutely wonderful for writing this! You put into words all the thoughts I had during so many years of church activity. One time in Elders’ Quorum they were discussing plans for upcoming activities – stuff like shooting guns, barbecues, etc. – and I spoke up and said, “why do we have to always do the same old activities? Why can’t we do something different? Like, what if we got together in the cultural hall, turn on a hockey game, and make some blankets or quilts to give to charity?” To that the EQ responded, “I think you are in the wrong room… Relief Society is down the hall.” These idiots will never change a damn thing about how the church is run. These changes you propose are under the assumption that the church exists to benefit its members. It doesn’t! It is a cult designed to CONTROL its members. I finally wised up and left the church, and have never been happier. But, I hope your nicely written list will get more members to wake up and start thinking about these things.

  51. rebeccadalmas says:

    As an institution, apologize for mistakes. As an institution, repent for any sins. Along with modelling disagreement as apostles and other leaders, invite members to disagree while maintaining a spirit of love and truth-seeking.

    • kjensenopera says:

      AMEN! Currently, per Elder Oaks, the official policy is that the church never apologizes, which scares me for the health and longevity of the institution. It seems completely out of line with the teachings of the Savior.

  52. John-Miguel Mitchell says:

    What a great list! I’m sure it took a lot of time. Well done!

  53. kjensenopera says:

    The under-use of buildings due to “insurance issues,” focus on numbers, investment in shopping malls and buying up real estate, etc., are because the church is a corporation. I read that the church entity as recognized by the government was dissolved by the government about the same time the ban on polygamy by the supreme court was issued. And then the Corporation of the President of the church was established, to keep the organization going, which means our entire religious organization is also a corporation. This is why the church doesn’t act like most churches…

    And, AMEN to all the feminine inclusion items! The Divine Feminine consciousness is awakening widely, and if those structuring and leading the organization aren’t willing to humbly make the many adjustments that are well overdue, there will be very, very intense growing pains in the coming years.

  54. This sounds like a list of reasons Community of Christ is a better Mormon denomination. It’s not run like a business, it respects members, etc. It’s no wonder people are leaving the LDS church for a more user friendly Latter Day Saint denomination.

  55. WonderBoy says:

    Should be titled “Some Interesting Ideas with a Generous Dose of Cultural Marxism/SJW Bluster.”

    • Liz says:

      I’m curious – which theses do you think qualify as “cultural Marxism/SJW Bluster?” I don’t see why any of these would go against the teachings of Jesus.

      • Jacqueline Riggs says:

        I wish I had thought of doing this! Just brilliant! I have thought of every single one of these at various times. The only negative? It made me anxious, kind of jittery actually. I desire these changes so much, but, alas, it seems utterly hopeless. And so the longing and yearning and pining away for Zion remains. Thanks again–for being both lovely and brave.

  56. Shaun says:

    I like almost all of this, except for the transgender nonsense. I would think a feminist would know better: gender is not a real thing – it’s a social construct created to box people into certain behavioral norms based on their sex. The concept of gender is itself sexist, and we can blame our obsession with it for people who feel like they ought to be another sex because, hey, if they want to behave a certain way the *must* be another “gender.”

  57. I just got divorced. No kids, no abuse just a straight forward divorce. My wife went to the bishop and asked him to pay for a lawyer. He said yes…so basically the church paid for my divorce and offered me no assistance. Thankfully I have a friend who is a lawyer. She thought it odd that the church paid for a straight forward divorce. So I would like to add that since divorce is more or less a product of social norms (i.e. it’s so common now) the church should not pay for lawyers on any side. The bishop needs to remain neutral in case either party wishes to talk to him. I always felt he picked a side after paying for it. Moreover, bishops need training on how to be a good counselor. In my area there is a Chaplin school that is only a few weeks long that could be used.

  58. repeal1968guncontrolact says:

    Too wordy. I’ll help and save everyone reading all of that overworked/overthought stuff.

    1. Obey Jesus’ words and accept kids of gays

    2. Obey the word of God saying that God created plants and stop supporting government violence against people who have the wrong plant.

    3. Stop the medieval and non scriptural “excommunication” bullsh__. Your own scriptures say to never stop communicating with people. Even after names blotted out.

    4. Stop the medieval and non scriptural “disfellowshipment” bullsh__. Your own scriptures say to never stop fellowshipping people EVEN if you have to blot out their names due to THEM not wanting to be part of you.

    5. Stop the one sided, sadistic phony “disciplinary” courts where the accused has zero rights, zero defense, and zero real appeals, and the process is worse than a Chinese court.

    6. Stop lying about polygamy. Yes you DO still believe in it. 2/3rds of the first presidency are eternal polygamists. Stop running from that phrase.

  59. Daniel says:

    It’s easy to complain publicly about cleaning nursery toys, but it’s more noble to serve your ward by doing it.

  60. Katie stringham says:

    You are so wise. And you are wise enough to leave this church! I’m 38 and my husband and I recently left the church for so many of these reasons. Your heart is telling you this is not right. It’s scary, but when you finally follow your heart and trust God and leave, you will be at peace!

  61. LK says:

    Fabulous! And all of these and more are why I left the Church and have never been happier or had a more meaningful life.

  62. jane says:

    #53 You are correct. I had to have my twins sealed to me (but not after my Stake President had to get the ok from the Prophet himself, I still have the letter signed from President Monson) when they were 6 months old. I had NO IDEA they were not already sealed to me since my husband and I were already sealed in the temple.

  63. Rose White says:

    I freakin love this. Couldn’t agree with you more! Amen Sister!

  64. Lacey says:

    #63 about “warming only” in the kitchen. That’s just a building code requirement. If it was a true industrial kitchen, Lee building code laws, it would require a grease trap. Those are expensive to install and maintain. Thus the “warming only” signs.
    Great post, I like so many of them!
    Also, every building I’ve been in outside the Wasatch front has padded pews. Time for a remodel!

  65. Nonya says:

    hahahahahahahahahahaha Wow!!!! After reading this, that’s 95 more reasons why women shouldn’t lead in the church.

    • Brian says:

      What an idiotic, moronic, and profoundly sexist comment from someone too afraid to even give his name.

    • Chezlorraine says:

      Your attitude is one (of too many) of the reasons I left the church. People like you ensure I’ll never go back

      • truthseeker says:

        Why worry about what people say or do in the church? They are not Jesus and He’s the one who loves you and has proved it time and time again.

        Don’t believe He loves you, my friend?

        Ask Him…

  66. Mee Shell says:

    15. Why would you want to dump the Boy Scouts when the rest of your points speak of including all people in all church activities? Wouldn’t you want to just have the church accept all the changes that the BSA (outside the church) have already adopted, such as gay leaders, transgender children, and girls?
    27. You call the church’s version of “the family” homophobic, but then readily accept other versions of family. Seems a little….well,homophobic.
    29. Women are attractive. And they clothe themselves and wear their makeup in very intentional ways that are clearly meant to turn heads. If you’re cold (#84), then wear more so I’m not always turning my head to sneak a peak. Haha.
    41. Agreed, yet you later criticize trunk-or-treat for not being participative of the larger community; wasn’t trunk-or-treat devised to keep families and kids safe from dangerous areas and people? I’m being rhetorical – because it was.
    47. Nationalism and colonialism..?!!?! What colonialism are you talking about exactly? Puerto Rico? Our stint in the Philippines? The star spangled banner was written in 1812 before any of that. There’s not a trace of “colonialism”. It’s clear to me that you don’t appreciate the hand that God had in the establishment of the United States. This is in multiple scriptural references. Same ones you mention in your 95 list. They also tell followers of Christ to be grateful for the blessings they’ve been given. Do you think America is an accident? If not, then we should sing about. It’s the most stirring song in the hymn book – you know, the kind of music you say we should start singing in # 8.

  67. Robert Wood says:

    You seem hellbent against the Mormon Church. Full of misunderstandings. Here’s an idea, look at the Episcopal Church. They seem more to your philosophy.

    • ChezLorraine says:

      Your attitude is why the Church is always 15-20 years behind the curve. I know it’s probably scary for you … but it will change eventually.

  68. Imac Ivil says:

    Cool list, some things I never thought about but would make church better

  69. Cor says:

    I’m on board with about 2/3 of these, some of the rest is just a cultural thing specifically in Utah, and some others not worth arguing about.

  70. Beefster says:

    #71 got my attention. I’m 25, single, and still get treated like a child. My social status in the church should not depend on my marital status.

    I would also add “Missionaries should be dressed less formally as to be less intimidating. Business Casual should be appropriate for every day proselytizing.” Much of the world has come to associate suits with salesmen, politicians, business executives and other untrustworthy people. Pulling away from that makes missionaries more authentic and personable.

    While we’re at it, “Members should not be expected to dress up for church.” The scriptures make no justification for this practice and actually condemn the wearing of costly apparel, especially in the context of church attendance.

  71. Sarah says:

    1. 2 hour church is already allowed in small branches of necessary 😀.

    16. Our Branch already has eliminated PEC. We have Branch Council 3 weeks a month though 🤤.

    17. Hallelujah!

    20. Masturbation is no longer included in SFTY or Handbook #1. If members are talking about it they are not supposed to.

    32. That is there literally to keep people from wanting to lean against the walls and keep equipment from scuffing the walls. It won’t be removed.

    57. Is already done. In our Branch the missionaries work at the Catholic thrift store sorting clothing each week, and the animal shelter Saturday mornings.

    60. It’s one of the few things that big wards in Mormon zones miss out on. In rural areas we often have our baptisms on Sunday after church. The whole ward/Branch stays to watch.

    81. Most Trump or Treats are not on Halloween and typically families still go trick or treating.

    What I would add

    * Add Come thou Fount back into the newly revised hymnbook.

    * Make handbook #1 available for everyone to read. There is nothing secret in it, so they should stop acting like it needs to be secret.

    *Have the church make guidelines for dances and activities per dress code that cannot be altered so we don’t get legalistic nonsense opinions from overzealous YW/YM leaders.

    *BYU dress code needs to follow SFTY. Notice the SFTY doesn’t care about beards, sandals, sweat pants, shorts, capris, ect.

  72. Mee Shell says:

    “You do not have the correct definition of nationalism.
    There is a reason the GA spoke out against it.
    Nationalism is “exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups”
    It causes xenophobia, jingoism ect.
    USA is the best country..yadda…
    Which by providing the usa patriotic songs to other countries wards… That’s what we are promoting.”

    I’m concerned that you didn’t really address most of the points I brought up in my previous argument about why we should sing patriotic songs. You’re just trying to explain to me what nationalism is, despite the fact that I’m very familiar with the subject.

    Regardless, do we promote any of the “nationalistic” goals you just mentioned in our songs? Do we sing about placing our interests above other countries or people? No – there is none of this in these songs. We don’t even put our hymns in all country’s hymn books, although some do have them due to large US populations in some places. Despite this, I think you should review the National Anthem – none of it fits with your definition of nationalism. Then read American the Beautiful – again no “nationalism”. In fact, one of the verses asks for God to mend “its every flaw”. Finally My Country Tis of Thee proclaims freedom and asks God to protect us by His might. In fact, the only reference that could be remotely tied to America is one mention of “pilgrims”. It doesn’t even mention America or the US. In each case, these songs proclaim freedom, liberty, and throwing off the yoke of oppression. Maybe more countries should be singing these songs.

    But since you brought up culture and national interest, do you believe that all cultures are inherently equal? A culture that respects women’s right, voting rights, a free press, freedom of speech, etc, is much different than a culture that practices female circumcision, or engages in the hideous practice of bride-burning, whereby a widow is burned alive by her in-laws after her husband dies. Or how about cutting off the heads of “infidels”? Or the endemic culture of corruption among many nations around the world. Places where “justice” goes to whoever has the most money or the best connections. Cultures where women are forced to cover themselves and aren’t allowed to drive. Maybe you’re right – I DO think we should promote our culture over those types of cultures. And you promote your culture every time you speak out against any of these things. You promote a religious culture every time you tell someone about the church. The US has had some problems with inequality in the past, but if you believe that the US is on an equal footing with some of these other cultures, then our disagreement is beyond the scope of this thread. The values we sing about in our ‘nationalistic’ hymns are the very ones that have allowed the United States to flourish as a beacon of liberty that respect the rights I just mentioned – not a perfect model, but an example nonetheless.

    And like it or not, our country does have interests – they’re actually called “national interests”. Every country has interests. If I valued Honduran interests above US interests, then I would just move to Honduras (or become a Honduran spy in the United States). The BoM and other scriptures mention a choice people and a choice nation. This is NOT because of race, but because of a culture of righteousness. If any of the above makes me a nationalist, then so be it. But I understand the world and America’s role in it.

    • Sarah Ince says:

      I never said to remove the patriotic sings. That’s the blog writer.

      What in stated if that all wards in foreign nations hey out hymn book with our patriotic songs & one from the UK (ironically they’ve been singing God Save the Queen for decades but the church printed it as God Save the King).

      Include more countries patriotic songs/anthems. It would be exciting if the primary kids learned a new one each year.

      We need to stop being so self centered.

  1. January 29, 2018

    […] guess the Salt Lake Tribune recently ran an article about a blog entry recently.  I find it greatly disturbing anyone thinks like this, but I thought I’d cover the […]

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