Yeah, that's right. I said it.

I've been doing some reading on this blog, specifically the recent posts dealing with gay marriage and the mormon church. For a long time, this issue (among others) has made me feel conflicted and lost, especially because the bend of the people of the church has been to "follow the prophet." This of course means to follow without question, to pray only to receive confirmation of what we already are assured is the will of God escaping directly from the mouth of his prophet. I've spent time stuck in the circular paradox of this idea; that if the prophet is a man, he must be fallible, but if he's fallible then how can he be a prophet in the 'mormon' sense of the word? Perhaps he's only ever 'human' when he's in private? How is that even possible?

The posts on the Sunstone website are fascinating and comforting, to say the least. They show me that I'm not the only person who considers herself a faithful member of this church who feels the way I do. The responses to this post have been especially enlightening, and have given a much better voice and vocabulary to how I feel. This is of course very frustrating, because I like to be able to give my own voice to my feelings. After many discussions and defensive posts from the popular mormon view, the author responds to one poster by quoting Orson Pratt (an early General Authority of the mormon church) thus:

“We have hitherto acted too much as machines… as to following the Spirit… I will confess to my own shame [that] I have decided contrary to my own [judgment] many times… I mean hereafter not to demean myself as to let my feelings run contrary to my own judgment… When [President Young] says that the Spirit of the Lord says thus and so, I don’t consider [that]… [and] all we should do is to say let it be so.”

Of course, he also includes a quote from the other side in direct response to Elder Pratt which mentions that the prophet is to be listened to and not questioned.

The main tenor of the post and responses is that there have been many instances in which the church has at one point said one thing, and then later (as in the case of the 1978 decision about the priesthood) changed their position. This is the nature of revelation and a living church. To realize that I'm not the only one who feels this way, and to see my feelings mirrored back to me, has made me feel like perhaps I can go to my meetings tomorrow and not feel like I'm betraying something I feel very deeply: that personal revelation is valid for me just as much as for anyone else, and that my feelings on gay marriage, sexism and bigotry are just as inspired.

8:48 p.m. - 2008-08-09

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