The Inevitability of LDS Gay Marriage

Somewhere in the roiling sea of the Gay Marriage Debate ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú where the determined, but overmatched boats of Prophetic Proclamation, Scientific Speculation, Political Posture, and Bleeding-heart Babbling bob and weave, toss and turn ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú stand two immovable pillars.?Ǭ† Like towering lighthouses, they patiently endure the pounding sea, barely taking notice of the pitching and tossing boats, except for an occasional, bemused glance in their direction.?Ǭ†

The pillars are two immutable facts:?Ǭ†

  1. The Onward March of Civilization.
  2. The LDS Imperative to Maintain an?Ǭ†'Optimal Tension' with the World.

To support the first pillar, I turn to the sage advice of Levi Peterson:?Ǭ†

Many Mormons see little value in the process of civilization.?Ǭ† Some of them tend to regard the Church as a culture which gives to but does not take from its sister cultures in the world, particularly in such essential matters as theological insight and moral understanding.?Ǭ† Such things, in their view, come strictly through revelation, and it is the role of the Church to dispense them to the world through missionary work.?Ǭ† It is inconceivable that an increased understanding of perfection might come to the Church from the wisdom which slowly accumulates through the civilized development of the human conscience in many cultures.?Ǭ†

Certain other Mormons are even more militantly conscious of their disesteem for civilization, which they express by rejecting the world at large as the symbolic Babylon from which the Church, as God’s specially anointed society, is to keep itself unspotted.?Ǭ† This view tends to take on a doomsday color, for the changes occurring in non-Mormon cultures are often seen as totally corrupt and retrogressive, tainted by sin and worthy of destruction.?Ǭ† Everywhere are wars and rumors of wars without end and perversities and whoredoms beyond calculation.?Ǭ† Armageddon looms on the horizon, and the fearful settle into the fortress of their righteousness to await the imminent end of the world – something like Jonah, who supposed there was nothing in the city of Nineveh worthy of salvation.?Ǭ†

This cynical view of civilization is unfortunate.?Ǭ† The Church is not a detached and isolated island; it has a symbiotic, interdependent relationship with numerous other cultures, with whose people its members commingle on a daily basis.?Ǭ† Civilization is a social process which flourishes most dramatically precisely when such interaction takes place.?Ǭ† A new insight, a new value, a new tool passes from person to person, crossing boundaries and domesticating itself in various cultures, stimulating among its recipients further inventions and discoveries.

Civilization, what Peterson calls the incremental 'development of the human conscience,' inevitably marches on.?Ǭ† There seems to be little doubt, even in the minds of most conservative members, that the world will eventually accept Gay Marriage, whether Prop 8 is defeated this fall or not.?Ǭ† Heterosexual-only Marriage is taking on water like the Titanic, and?Ǭ†though the water may not have reached the tipping point, the end is a 'mathematical certainty.”

Bruce Ismay (a.k.a. Titanic’s venal businessman): But this ship can’t sink!

Thomas Andrews (a.k.a Titanic’s builder): She is made of iron, sir. I assure you, she can. And she will. It is a mathematical certainty.

So the question is not whether the World will accept Gay Marriage, the question is whether the Mormons will follow??Ǭ†

The answer to that question is the second pillar: The LDS Imperative to Maintain an “Optimal Tension” with the World:

Since shelving Plural Marriage in the late 1800s, the LDS have steered a course that allows us to be both 'in' and 'out' of the world. We maintain a healthy distance, or 'optimum tension' between the Church and the World, but we will never let the distance or gulf to grow too wide (or too close). Armand Mauss convincingly details this phenomenon in The Angel and The Beehive as the ongoing process of assimilation and retrenchment:?Ǭ†

If survival is the first task of the movement, the natural and inevitable response of the host society is either to domesticate the movement or to destroy it. In seeking to domesticate or assimilate it, the society will apply various kinds of social control pressures selectively in an effort to force the movement to abandon at least its most unique and threatening features. To the extent that the society succeeds in the domestication effort, the result will be the eventual assimilation of the movement. Failing to achieve sufficient domestication, the host society will eventually resort to the only alternative: persecution and repression.?Ǭ†

Movements which, like Mormonism, survive and prosper, are those that succeed in maintaining indefinitely an optimum tension between the two opposing strains: the strain toward greater assimilation and respectability, on the one hand, and that toward great separateness, peculiarity, and militance, on the other.?Ǭ† Along the continuum between total assimilation and total repression or destruction is the narrow segment on either side of the center; and it is within this narrower range of socially tolerable variation that movements must maintain themselves, pendulum-like, to survive.?Ǭ†

If, in its quest for acceptance and respectability, a movement allows itself to be pulled too far toward assimilation, it will lose its unique identity altogether.?Ǭ† If, on the other hand, in its quest for uniqueness of identity and mission, it allows itself to move too far toward an extreme rejection of the host society, it will lose its very life.?Ǭ† Its viability and its separate identity both depend on a successful and perpetual oscillation within a fairly narrow range along a continuum between two alternate modes of oblivion.?Ǭ†

So, unless the Church reverses its course to become a truly (not just 'sort of') 'peculiar people,' (think FLDS, Amish, or other fringe groups who doggedly refuse to shift with the World), it will continue to shift along the continuum with the rest of civilization.?Ǭ†

We're seeing it now ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú since the charged rhetoric of the 1960s and 1970s (i.e. homosexuality is an abomination on par with beastiality), the Church has slowly adopted a decidedly 'softer' stance towards same-sex attraction.?Ǭ†

At some point down the road ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú the next generation? the generation after that? ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú the 'optimal tension' between the Church and the rest of Civilization on the issue of Gay Marriage will become so strained that a revelation is likely to follow.?Ǭ† We have ample precedent ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú the Manifesto of 1890 and the Revelation of 1978 are both fairly clear-cut.

Of course, reducing divine revelation to a mere sociological phenomenon, to worldly pressure, is a blunt and unnecessary conclusion.?Ǭ† But there is still ample room for the mystical or spiritual, for the guiding hand of the Divine.?Ǭ† I return to Levi Peterson and the process of civilization:?Ǭ†

Given the fact of proximity and interaction, the Church has inevitably influenced its sister cultures, not merely by proselyting converts from among them but also by the example it gives of Christian living.?Ǭ† But one does no dishonor to the divine mission of the Church by admitting that, in its turn, the Church is highly influenced by the world, sometimes even in matters relating to Christian living.?Ǭ† Evidence for this assertion may be seen in events preceding the revelation of 1978 which extended the priesthood to Mormon men of all races.?Ǭ† That revelation was an immense relief to numerous Mormons, whose united concern and questioning about the inequality of the former policy had moved the prophet to seek a revelation on the matter.?Ǭ† But why should Mormons of the 1970s have been so concerned when Mormons of the 1920s were not? The reason is that they had been influenced by the growing racial equality in other cultures.

Why can't the influence of Civilization be a part ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú sometimes even a key component ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú of Revelation??Ǭ† Don't we have ample precedent for this as well??Ǭ† Don't we have a long track record of accepting all truth, 'let it come from whence it may'??Ǭ† Don't we recognize that the Light of Christ shines on all of God's children??Ǭ† Don't we accept that many of Civilizations' greatest advances, whether spiritual, scientific, technological, industrial, etc., have come from non-Mormons??Ǭ†

(Pesonally, the idea?Ǭ†that God influences all of His children throughout the world, one person at a time, gives me goosebumps.?Ǭ† Sometimes, because of our unique gifts, our “readiness,” our sensitivity to this or that issue, Mormons are the first to hear God’s still small voice, and we set the example for the rest of the world.?Ǭ† But other times, other groups or cultures are better prepared, and God chooses them to reveal a new truth.)

With the Priesthood Ban against Blacks, the healthy or 'optimum tension' was stressed during the Civil Rights movement of the 50s and 60s, but had become seriously strained by 1978.?Ǭ† By ’78, the major Civil Rights wars had been fought and won, and we were left standing on the wrong side of the line.?Ǭ† Today, were the Ban still in effect, the tension would be unbearable.?Ǭ† Without the Revelation, I am doubtful that Mormonism could have survived today, except maybe as a fringe group, like the FLDS or the Amish.?Ǭ† But its international footprint, its mainstream acceptance, (and even respect), in society today would be gone.

Is it not so hard to see that history will?Ǭ†likely again repeat itself??Ǭ†

1890.?Ǭ† 1978. ?Ǭ†20XX?


  1. Matt #146: You say “Our cherished religious truths are important and special?¢‚Ǩ¬¶ they help define who we are, they help light the path ahead of us?¢‚Ǩ¬¶ but valuing our dogmas over people is a big mistake. People are more important.”

    That is ALMOST the point! I say “almost” because more important than “people” is *relationships with people*. I’m sure you agree with this and that I’m putting too fine a point on your point. Attempts to control people by enforcing dogma or doctrine or rules of any kind, is to miss the primary importance of “relationships”. Having twice been excommunicated from the Mormon Church, I can speak from experience. But I’m still here and I’m still passionate about my life, my family, my people, and my beliefs (which are continually transforming). I treasure Bob Rees’s comment to me years ago, when he was editor of Dialogue and I had just come out of the wilderness after seven years: “Do not loose your fire, Gene!” Thanks to him and others, I haven’t.

    Wondrously, in the Sunstone community I can have my cake and eat it, too(!) without fearing excommunication from you-all, although I’m sure my passion and na?ɬØvet?ɬ© often discomforts more than some. In the Sunstone community I don’t have to be *right* in any of my opinions and perceptions, but I do need to be loved and accepted “just as I am” (to quote Billy Graham). Why? Because I am worth knowing–just as I am! In this attitude, I pledge to accept you-all just as you are, even (gasp!) those who often p-ss me off! As Lincoln allegedly once said, “There’s a man I do not like. I’d better get to know him.”

  2. Matt Thurston says:

    Thanks for those thoughts, Eugene. Yes, “relationships with people” is the key.

    A relationship with God is also of utmost importance, but that relationship must be defined by each individual. We get in trouble when we try to define that relationship for other individuals.

    I am very interested in knowing what God said to you, to our good Rabbi friend, to Barry, and to President Monson… I really want to know and understand, because what he said to you might help me better understand some principle or idea, whether it has to do with marriage or whatever.

    But someone at the recent Sunstone defined “taking the Lord’s name in vain” as invoking God’s authority and saying that you know his will, and that you have the authority to tell other people how to think or behave. There is a difference between sharing our opinions about God and imposing our opinions about God on others.

  3. Eugene, I thought it interesting that you were excommunicated twice. That is actually a good thing as it means that someone is paying attention. Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook (z”l), the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Palestine from 1921 until his death in 1935, was excommunicated (placed under the ban of Herem) four times during his tenor as Chief Rabbi, by the Ultra-Orthodox of Jerusalem. He said that it did not bother him as he could always find a minyan to pray with, even if it was with the Communist Kibbutzniks.
    Let us keep in mind that the Prophet Moses often had to interject himself between God and the Israelite people to keep God from destroying the people so that God would keep the promise made with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses to make their seed as numerous as the sands of the sea and to bless the nations of the world through them.
    The Torah itself, forbids the Israelite people from proselytizing (Deut 4: 19)as it is God who allots to people how they are to worship. Judaism, unlike Mormonism, does not seek converts, instead it seeks to help people come to ethical principles of Justice and Peace.

  4. Matt #152: Yes the supreme relationship for any of us is with God, and no one, I mean *no one* else has the right to intrude on that relationship OR tell any of us what or how it ought to be experienced. My own epiphany occurred on old California Highway 99 on the morning of July 17, 1965. It was a complete surprise (not unlike the experience of Saul of Tarsus), but it changed everything for me. Rather than betray what I experienced I have had to give up everything I ever held dear, INCLUDING my family, church, profession, reputation, possessions, friends, possessions, you name it.

    In recent years I have reconnected with most of my family and friends and have found new family members I’d never even known about both here and in the old country (Ukraine).

    I would love to share my experience with you, Matt, because I continue to learn about its meaning and purpose the more I value the questions and experiences of others.

    Rabbi Gelman #153, I wholeheartedly agree with your tradition’s prohibition of proselytizing. Mormonism’s zeal reminds me too much of Soviet zeal. I know this zeal first hand in both cases. I think Judaism’s purpose of seeking to help people come to “ethical principles of Justice and Peace” is right on. I would hope that included in your tradition’s search is that of knowing the Messiah on a personal, intimate basis.

  5. evasquez says:


    You stated that it was clear to you that “the gay condition is that of a SUPERIOR being” and asked you if you meant to exclude females or not. You clarified that you meant both males and females, even if you couldn’t “think of any” females at the moment who are considered “geniuses”. It is your responsibility to provide the names of world changing gay females to support your opinion that gays/lesbians are superior beings, not mine.

    My point was that while some may be exhibit extraordinary intellectual and creative talent, it does not follow that ALL gays do, or that genius applies more often to gays than to heterosexuals.

  6. EV, to clarify. I don’t know why you are harping on the word “genius”. I did not use the word. Do you have a great need to be “right”?

    I do believe, however that the gays I know AND know about, both male and female, are superior beings. That is my belief from my own observation and experience. I have nothing to prove to you. I did ask if you knew any female gay examples whose lives have blessed the world. I suppose you can’t think of any either, which of course does not mean there aren’t any. Gay people, in my experience–and this includes my youngest son–are typically smart, talented and sensitive. This of course doesn’t preclude that there are superior straight folks either. I can cite many who write on this blog.

    I will disclose my knowledge of one gay female who has blessed the world in my eyes. She would never want to be known for her contribution, but I will tell you she was the greatest human being I had ever met at a critical time of my life (not long after the epiphany mentioned above). She not only gave me a home when I was homeless, but she listened to my story with compassion, understanding and wisdom, when no one else would. She was not concerned whether I was crazy or strange or socially unacceptable. She trusted her own instincts and judgment and was not the least intimidated by judgmental Mormon people who, out of “the fear defilement”, were trying to force their will on me. I will bless her name forever. She gave me a priceless education in Jungian terms in her capacity as a professional analyst. She also became my second wife and blessed me with my fifth son.

  7. evasquez says:

    Mark said-

    ?¢‚Ǩ?ìI hope you won?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t argue that God somehow wanted the Ban, that prophets were innocent of discrimination, that they were simply following orders?¢‚Ǩ¬¶ or that God allowed the Ban to remain in place until 1978 for his own reasons?¢‚Ǩ¬¶ these arguments are incredibly weak. They make ?¢‚Ǩ?ìidols?¢‚Ǩ¬ù out of prophets and demonstrate an immature understanding of ?¢‚Ǩ?ìrevelation?¢‚Ǩ¬ù and the limits of prophethood.?¢‚Ǩ¬ù

    Maybe I just have an immature understanding of revelation and the limits of prophethood (not to mention the definition of what constitutes an ?¢‚Ǩ?ìidol?¢‚Ǩ¬ù)-but I am unaware of any scriptural or doctrinal evidence that proves that the above arguments are weaker than any others. We wouldn?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t be arguing about this issue 30 years later if there was indisputable evidence that God somehow did not want the Ban, that prophetic discrimination nullifies prophetic authority, that they were NOT following orders, or that God allowed the Ban to remain in place until 1978 against His will.

    The “historical” points you included are certainly not indisputable examples of the violation of the doctrines of revelation and/or the limits of prophethood.

    For example you say :?¢‚Ǩ¬ùAnother apostle at the time, Mark E. Petersen explained that it was god?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s sacred will that American society be segregated: ?¢‚ǨÀúI think the Lord segregated the Negro and who is man to change that segregation??¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢?¢‚Ǩ¬¶?¢‚Ǩ¬ù In this example, the words ?¢‚Ǩ?ìI think?¢‚Ǩ¬ù indicate he is expressing HIS thoughts. If you or John Williams THINKS he was declaring ?¢‚Ǩ?ìGod?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s sacred will?¢‚Ǩ¬ù that is again-a personal opinion-not a fact.

    Alvin R. Dyer-?¢‚Ǩ?ìThe reason that spirits are born into Negro bodies is because those spirits rejected the Priesthood of God in the Pre-existence. This is the reason we have Negroes on the earth, as a result of the curse placed upon them.?¢‚Ǩ¬ù Do you or John Williams have the stewardship required to know that these spirits did NOT reject the Priesthood of God in the Pre-existence? Can you show me where someone with that stewardship ever officially refuted this claim or declared that every single pre-mortal spirit achieves the exact same degree of righteousness and authority prior to mortal birth?

    Not sure what your point is with McKay?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s comments.

    As far as the quotes you used from Ezra Taft Benson- the one you selected states?¢‚Ǩ¬¶?¢‚Ǩ¬ù the Communists were using the civil rights movement to promote revolution and eventual takeover of this country.?¢‚Ǩ¬ù
    First- the definition of eventual-?¢‚Ǩ?ìhappening at some indefinite future time or after a series of occurrences?¢‚Ǩ¬ù. We have no proof that ETB used this word incorrectly, so the fact that this prediction hasn?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t happened YET, doesn?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t make him wrong. Second- the definition of Communism- ?¢‚Ǩ?ì1)A system of government in which the state plans and controls the economy and a single, often authoritarian party holds power, claiming to make progress toward a higher social order in which all goods are equally shared by the people. 2) The Marxist-Leninist version of Communist doctrine that advocates the overthrow of capitalism by the revolution of the proletariat.

    Now, you can?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t say it?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s just me, because millions of other US citizens could tell you that not only do those two definitions fit almost word for word into Barak Obama?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s campaign speech rhetoric, but if he gets elected as President, there will literally BE ?¢‚Ǩ?ìa single (Democratic) authoritarian party holding power?¢‚Ǩ¬ù in the United States. I’m sure you are aware that many of Obama?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s closest friends are KNOWN communist/Marxist/socialists. And if you do not think the Civil Rights Bill has not negatively affected ?¢‚Ǩ?ìthe vestiges of state government?¢‚Ǩ¬ù in any way, you are not as informed as you think you are.

    I share ETB’s concern-?¢‚Ǩ?ìWhen are we going to wake up??¢‚Ǩ¬ù Hopefully, before it?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s too late.

  8. Rick Jepson says:

    Or, how about J.R. Holland in his interview with Helen Whitney? Do you suppose HE has the “the stewardship required to know that these spirits did NOT reject the Priesthood of God in the Pre-existence?”

    “Well, some of the folklore that you must be referring to are suggestions that there were decisions made in the pre-mortal councils where someone had not been as decisive in their loyalty to a Gospel plan or the procedures on earth or what was to unfold in mortality, and that therefore that opportunity and mortality was compromised. I really don’t know a lot of the details of those, because fortunately I’ve been able to live in the period where we’re not expressing or teaching them, but I think that’s the one I grew up hearing the most, was that it was something to do with the pre-mortal councils. … But I think that’s the part that must never be taught until anybody knows a lot more than I know. … We just don’t know, in the historical context of the time, why it was practiced. … That’s my principal [concern], is that we don’t perpetuate explanations about things we don’t know. …

    “We don’t pretend that something wasn’t taught or practice wasn’t pursued for whatever reason. But I think we can be unequivocal and we can be declarative in our current literature, in books that we reproduce, in teachings that go forward, whatever, that from this time forward, from 1978 forward, we can make sure that nothing of that is declared. That may be where we still need to make sure that we’re absolutely dutiful, that we put [a] careful eye of scrutiny on anything from earlier writings and teachings, just [to] make sure that that’s not perpetuated in the present. That’s the least, I think, of our current responsibilities on that topic. …”

  9. Rick Jepson says:

    Whatever you decide to argue, you’re playing a losing game if you take the side that the early arguments about lineage or premortal valiance are somehow valid or defendable. They are NOT!

    B.R. McConkie:

    “Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whomsoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world.

    “We get our truth and our light line upon line and precept upon precept. We have now had added a new flood of intelligence and light on this particular subject, and it erases all the darkness and all the views and all the thoughts of the past. They don?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t matter any more.

    “It doesn?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t make a particle of difference what anybody ever said about the Negro matter before the first day of June of this year, 1978.”

  10. Rick Jepson says:

    Thus, by McConkie’s declaration, you cannot validly discuss ANY point of doctrine on this ban unless you limit the support of your argument to post 1978 statements. And you’re not going to find anything definitive in the strain of B. Young or Orson Hyde.

    The burdon of proof, then, is not on me to disprove the earlier folklore, but for you to PROVE it with post 1978 statements. GOOD LUCK!

  11. Matt Thurston says:

    Wow, evasquez (#157), nothing really to add to your own comments. I really don’t want to end the conversation, but it is clear from the way you parse the statements I referenced in #145 that we really can’t communicate. Though we may come at this issue from different points of view, there are certain baseline givens that must exist if fruitful conversation can take place. Rick’s Jeffrey Holland quote demonstrates that even modern day Apostles, less than 10-20 years later, are distancing themselves from the charged racist rhetoric of Apostles prior to 1978. Imagine what Apostle quotes will look like 20-30 years from now.

    Your Obama comment speaks for itself.

    Eugene (#154), an honest relationship with God, or with one’s true, inner Being, truly does trump all, including those people or institutions we hold most dear: family, friends, religion, profession, etc.. It is a sad fact of life, of the limitations of people and institutions, that some people are forced to choose between one’s God and one’s family/religion/profession/etc. It is clear to me, both having met you in person and online, that your personal story is important, that like all souls, you burn to share your inner self with other souls. I hope to learn more some day…

    Well said, as usual, Rick…

  12. Matt #163, your faith-filled words give me new hope that there are those in this discourse who truly seek understanding. Allow me to correct “you burn to share your inner self with other souls”. I no longer “burn to share?¢‚Ǩ¬¶” That need was long ago satisfied by my encounter with LJB in January 1966. What I do burn for is to know your INNER story and the INNER stories of all those in the Sunstone community who wish and/or need to tell them. I do not know if this is practical, but can you as a perma blogger consider a thread that might offer such an enterprise?

    EV #155. In no way was I speaking about ALL gays. However, here is one more example of a superior gay female. I met her at The Ranch of the Way in the Santa Cruz Mountains in late October 1965, just a week or two after I had dropped out of my former life, mentioned above. She, as I, had come to the ranch at the invitation of Episcopal priest John David Arnold, who had founded the ranch, in order to rest from her strenuous duties at Big Sur Hot Springs (now known as Esalen). She introduced herself as “Mike” and said she was a masseuse. When I asked her what that was, she answered simply, “Take off your clothes and get on the table”. I was so surprised and shocked by this that I simply obeyed. And, as I lay on that table in a state of fear and trembling with clenched fists and eyes tightly shut, she drenched my body with olive oil and went to work. The healing I experienced at the hands of this marvelous woman was a revelation. “You’ve been hurt”, she said to me as her powerful hands moved into and around my uptight body in their ministry. “I feel it in every cell of your body. Your body is starved for love. That is my work, to pour love into starved bodies.” My body was literally transformed on that table. So was her spirit. When we parted the next day she had become “Michelle”, and I realized I had experienced a divine anointing.

    One last thing: Earlier, I mentioned Rene Gerard’s notion of “The fear of defilement” as one of the two kinds of fears that typically exist in institutional religions. There is one other typical fear that exists in such institutions, which is “The fear of insufficient love.” If one has to fear at all, he counsels, let your choice be the one of insufficient love. That is the fear felt by all the saints throughout the ages, known and unknown.

  13. Skaught says:

    Dittos to Mr. Bigelow.

    This is not really about the inevitability of LDS gay marriage; it’s about the fallibility of the prophet(s). If indeed the argument is that the prophets are fallible, then what prevents us from questioning every foundational principle in Mormonism? Gee, I have trouble obeying the law of chastity. Everyone knows that men and women (men especially) are not naturally monogamous creatures. It’s just too difficult to suppress our God-given instincts to procreate with every suitable mate we see. Why would God curse us in this way? We need to seriously question this doctrine because monogamy is simply not in our nature.

    Okay, satire aside, I think those who predict that the church will backpedal on the gay marriage issue are sorely mistaken. Gender and marriage are foundational principles in Mormonism; we will not cave in to popular opinion on this one. The argument that the Mormon church has always bent to the will of the people sounds good, but, comparatively speaking, the church has a very short history. It’s difficult to prove established patterns at this point. If you think the church is going to reverse itself on this, think again. This is a deal-breaker. If I’m wrong and the church eventually condones, or, dare I say, endorses gay marriage, then the ensuing schism caused by the widespread revolt will result in yet another Mormon offshoot. So far we have the LDS, RLDS, FLDS…what’s next? GLDS? Or is it GLBTLDS (Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgendered LDS)? I just want to know what the politically-correct terminology is so I don’t offend anyone.

  14. Rick Jepson says:

    Whay take that tone? Does it help your argument at all? The reason Chris B’s conservative contributions to this discussion are so powerful and give people pause is that he doesn’t come off as a sarcastic, arogant, belittling jerk. If you ever want to really affect a dialogue, you should emulate that. And if you don’t want to affect it, why pipe up at all?

    Now, to the pith of your argument. You mention the relative youth of the LDS church as a weakness to observations that it has historically realigned itself with society. I think you need to look through that glass from the other direction and realize that in just its very short history, it’s managed to have a number of earth-shattering changes that conformed to society rather than stood against it. If the church is capable of so much change in such a brief history, it’s hard to argue that it will prove otherwise on any one particular doctrine or practice.

  15. Rick Jepson says:

    P.S. I sound like as ass in that post. I don’t think you ARE a jerk, I just think that you fell into a sarcastic tone that is a poor reflection of you as a person or to the views that you are entitled to hold. The views may be very logical and well-reasoned, but the tone disguises that.

    So anyway, sorry if I’m an ass. Or THAT I am…because it’s well established.

  16. Eugene #154 <>
    If by “Messiah,” Eugene, you are referring to my Jewish brother and fellow rabbi, Jesus ben Joseph of Nazareth, I say that I know him only through the writings of others (the New Testament) as nothing is mentioned about him in contemporary Jewish writings of his own time period. He did not cause much of a stir among his tribal community. If by “intimate,” you mean did I know whether he wet the bed when he was a child or not, I can only offer my guess based upon my own experiences.
    I am a Jew, Eugene, a Sephardic Jew. My ancestral experience includes forced conversions to Christianity and expulsion based upon being faithful to the Covenant made between God and Abraham. As a Mormon whose ancestors were forced out of several states because of your own Covenants made between your people and your concept of God, surely you understand the intimate nature of that relationship. I see Jesus as my brother and not as a god or demi-god. I also see him fully in his role as a Jewish rabbi; a judge, a teacher, and a moralist. He certainly was not celibate if he kept the commandments of the Torah, the second one of the 613 being to marry and reproduce. He was also a man of the common people, not beyond chastising in the harshest of terms his own branch of Judaism and redefining Torah Law in the most liberal manner.
    Were he alive today, I have no doubt that he would support equality for gays and lesbians in both civil and religious ceremony, ritual, and law.

  17. Skaught says:


    No offense taken. I might be a sarcastic, arrogant, belittling jerk. Or maybe not. I realize you don’t agree, but perhaps my tone here is precisely what’s needed to affect the dialogue. I understand you don’t feel it contributes, but it did get some attention, and sometimes that’s what it takes to get the foot in the door.

    I agree the church has changed, but I think it hyperbole to describe that change as earth-shattering. Gay marriage, on the other hand…that definitely qualifies as earth-shattering. I do wonder why you believe that gay marriage is a foregone conclusion as far as society goes. If you look at history to base your conclusions about change in the Mormon church, it seems you have to use the same history to contemplate the gay marriage question. Historically speaking, there’s little evidence to suggest that gay marriage will ever become a social norm. I think the gay marriage issue highlights the arrogance and self-centeredness of American society in general, which believes that we are the center of civilization and that what happens here will inevitably carry over to the rest of the world. The U.S. is becoming an ever smaller minority in terms of global influence. I agree that we have a fairly strong influence in the world today, but I think gay marriage is a case of the Emperor’s New Clothes, and clear-thinking people will eventually proclaim “He’s got no clothes!”

  18. Rick Jepson says:

    Actually, your tone didn’t invite any discussion; I responded in spite of it.

    Still, I shouldn’t have responded in kind.

    As I’ve mentioned countless times through this thread, I don’t personally see where the church will go on this issue, and I do find Matt’s expectation unlikely–but not impossible.

    Did I approach hyperbole? Perhaps. But particularly with polygamy, the statements were quite strong. It was central to the theology, to identity, and to society (e.g. in terms of eugenics). I believe I’ve even encountered a lot of “end of the world will happen” statements about polygamy.

    At any rate, these are some major shifts in a very brief history; hardly setting a foundation for expecting an unwavering stance on ANY particular doctrine over the next century. And the changes always conform to society.

    I’m really puzzled by your implying that same-gender tolerance is a phenomenon particular to the USA. How do you suppose this?

  19. Rick Jepson says:

    Here’s an example of “the world will end before we give in” kind of stuff from Brigham Young.

    “Let this Church which is called the kingdom of God on the earth; we will sommons the first presidency, the twelve, the high counsel, the Bishoprick, and all the elders of Israel, suppose we sommons them to appear here, and here declare that it is right to mingle our seed, with the black race of Cain, that they shall come in with us and be partakers with us of all the blessings God has given to us. On that very day, and hour we should do so, the priesthood is taken from this Church and kingdom and God leaves us to our fate. The moment we consent to mingle with the seed of Cain the Church must go to destruction, – we should receive the curse which has been placed upon the seed of Cain, and never more be numbered with the children of Adam who are heirs to the priesthood untill that curse be removed.”

    If Sunstoneblog were around then, I have no doubt that we’d have a load of folks pass by to say how awful/sinful/rebellious it is to anticipate black’s getting the priesthood since: 1. the scriptures clearly support racism; 2. the brethren have spoken; 3. there’s no precedent for openness to race.

  20. Skaught says:

    It’s just my impression, or instinct, that same gender tolerance is unique to the USA, but perhaps it can be extended to the Western European countries too. It is definitely not a feature of the early or modern societies of Asia, Africa, or South America. I think the movement has its beginnings in the USA, but I don’t think it will get much traction globally.

    The race question you pose is certainly interesting; I’m not exactly sure how to respond to that one. Although it’s popular to intermix issues of race and gender, I’m not compelled to think they are necessarily equivalent. I know many blacks in America don’t appreciate the linking of race and same-gender tolerance. I think many would agree that gender/same sex tolerance is a different animal.

  21. Derek says:

    Those who feel that the church is one day going to approve (in way of preforming or accepting gay marriages as not sinful) of same sex marriage is wrong.

  22. Netherlands
    The first country to grant gay marriage in 2001.

    The second nation to legalize same-sex marriage in 2003.

    In June of 2005, the Canadian Parliament enacted a law allowing legal marriage for same-sex couples.

    Became the sixth country to legalize same-sex marriage on May 11, 2008. (read more)

    South Africa
    South Africa became the fifth nation to recognize gay marriage in 2005.

    Spain became the fourth nation to allow gay marriage on June 29, 2005.

    US states that recognize gay marriage:

    On May 15, 2008, California’s Supreme Court ruled that banning same-sex marriage in the state was discriminatory… (read more)

    New Jersey*
    New Jersey is the third U.S. state to offer same-sex civil unions behind Vermont and Connecticut. The new same-sex civil unions law, which goes into affect on February 19, 2007, grants gay and lesbian couples the same rights as marriage. *(Although same-sex unions in New Jersey are classified as civil unions, couples are granted the same rights as married heterosexual couples.) read more

    New York
    Note: By a May 29, 2008 directive, New York only recognizes gay marriages from couples legally married outside of the state. read more

    On May 17, 2004 Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage. The State of Massachusetts also issues licenses to gay couples from New Mexico and Rhode Island since neither state explicitly prohibits same-sex marriage.

    Nations that allow same-sex partnerships or unions:

    Civil partnerships for same-sex couples have been granted since 2003.

    Legal civil partnerships have been allowed since 1989.

    Has offered registered partnership benefits since September 2001.

    Pacte Civil de Solidarit?ɬ©?¢‚Ǩ¬ù (PACS), or ?¢‚Ǩ?ìCivil Solidarity Pacts,?¢‚Ǩ¬ù were instituted in France on November 9, 1999.

    Gay couples can register as “Life Partnerships,” granting lesser financial and pension benefits than marriage.

    Gay couples have been protected under common-law marriages since 1995; however they are not eligible for legal marriage.

    Since 1996, gay Icelanders have been protected under registered partnerships.

    Civil partnership legislation modeled after France’s PACS were introduced in Luxembourg in 2004.

    Same sex civil unions were legalized in Mexico City in November 2006 and in the state of Coahuila on January of 2007, essentially making civil unions legal in all of Mexico (by law, each Mexican state must recognize the laws granted to individuals of the other states). (More on Gay Mexico)

    New Zealand
    In December, 2004, New Zealand enacted legislation recognizing same-sex civil unions.

    Since 1996, gay Norwegians have been protected under registered partnerships.

    Same-sex partners have the same rights as opposite-sex partners in common law marriage.

    Swedish same-sex couples have been able to register under domestic partnership laws since 1995.

    Same-sex couples are given limited legal benefits with civil recognition.

    United Kingdom
    Domestic partners can register under the Civil Partnership Act. This legislation took affect in December 5, 2005 giving registered same-sex couples all of the rights, privileges and responsibilities of married heterosexual couples. The Civil Partnership Act applies across all of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

    US States that allow same-sex partnerships or unions:

    Although Connecticut defines marriage as between a man and woman, it became the second U.S. state to grant same-sex civil unions in April, 2005.

    New Hampshire
    New Hampshire, home of the Episcopal Church’s first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson, became the 4th state behind Vermont, New Jersey and Connecticut to offer civil unions. Same-sex partners were allowed to register for civil unions in January 2008. More on New Hampshire Civil Unions

    Under Oregon’s new domestic partnership law gay and lesbian couples are eligible for all the state-wide rights and benefits of marriage. Oregon also outlaws discrimination based on sexual orientation. (more)

    The first U.S. state to offer same-sex civil unions in 2000. Learn about Vermont civil unions.

    On April 21, 2007, Washington’s domestic partnership bill was signed into law giving gay and lesbian couples many of the benefits of marriage. (more)

  23. Rick Jepson says:

    Skaught, I agree that race and orientation aren’t equivalent designation and don’t have precisely equivalent issues. I only bring them up together in an LDS context because I do find that the history of racism in the church may prove to be an instructive precedent for the course of understanding orientation.

    Although, again, I can’t predict how similar they will be or even to what extent society at large will evolve in its understanding of sexuality.

    Complex, interesting topic. I’m amazed at the conversation it’s generated on the all-to-often-dead-as-a-doornail Sunstoneblog.

  24. evasquez says:


    I?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢m sorry, but that interview with Helen Whitney is the best defense you have? Elder Holland says ?¢‚Ǩ?ìI don?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t know any of the details of those [suggestions] ?¢‚Ǩ?ì he does not officially refute the claim, because he is not THE prophet and he has no authority to officially do it. And “I don’t know” does not equate with saying that every single pre-mortal spirit achieved the exact same degree of righteousness prior to mortal birth.

    Even your link notes, ?¢‚Ǩ?ìattempts to get the Church to repudiate these notions have been rebuffed?¢‚Ǩ¬ù. No official repudiation as of 6/10/2008 it seems.

    But let’s examine your own parsing. Poor Bruce R.McConkie- He is chastised and maligned here as racist and uninspired when someone doesn?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t agree with his teachings, then dragged back onto the witness stand when something he said can be taken out of context and presented as strong evidence of some sort. What amazes me is that those who cling to this specific quote always seem to omit the first half of it, in particular starting with the third sentence:

    ?¢‚Ǩ?ìThere are statements in our literature by the early Brethren which we have interpreted to mean that the Negroes would not receive the priesthood in mortality. I have said the same things, and people write me letters and say, ?¢‚Ǩ?ìYou said such and such, and how is it now that we do such and such??¢‚Ǩ¬ù And all I can say to that is that it is time disbelieving people repented and got in line and believed in a living, modern prophet. Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whomsoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world.?¢‚Ǩ¬ù

    He does NOT say ?¢‚Ǩ?ìForget everything I or BY or GQC EVER said in the past, we were completely wrong on every front?¢‚Ǩ¬ù. He says forget everything CONTRARY to the present revelation.

    Now, since none of the men present during the revelation in 1978 have ever said that God ALSO revealed that the ban was human error or that all spirits were equally righteous pre-mortally, the “present revelation” couldn’t possibly be contrary to those teachings or vice versa. The only ?¢‚Ǩ?ìpast days?¢‚Ǩ¬ù teaching he even refers to in this paragraph is the one stating that ?¢‚Ǩ?ìthe Negroes would not receive the priesthood IN MORTALITY.?¢‚Ǩ¬ù And since the revelation made it clear that they would indeed be receiving it in mortality starting NOW, it is the only thing he?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s stating is ?¢‚Ǩ?ìcontrary?¢‚Ǩ¬ù and should be forgotten.

    Bruce R. McConkie, never ever taught post 1978 that the ban was a man made mistake. In fact, this same speech repeats at least three times AFTER the quote above that the Lord had a specific time-frame in mind for the ban to end. So few ever quote those either:

    ?¢‚Ǩ?ì?¢‚Ǩ¬¶the other underlying principle is that in the eternal providences of the Lord, the time had come for extending the gospel to a race and a culture to whom it had previously been denied, at least as far as all of its blessings are concerned. So it was a matter of faith and righteousness and seeking on the one hand, and it was a matter of the divine timetable on the other hand. The time had arrived when the gospel, with all its blessings and obligations, should go to the Negro.?¢‚Ǩ¬ù

    ?¢‚Ǩ?ìIn this eleventh hour the Lord has given the blessings of the gospel to the last group of laborers in the vineyard.?¢‚Ǩ¬ù

    ?¢‚Ǩ?ìOn this occasion, because of the importuning and the faith, and because the hour and the time had arrived, the Lord in his providences poured out the Holy Ghost upon the First Presidency and the Twelve in a miraculous and marvelous manner, beyond anything that any then present had ever experienced.?¢‚Ǩ¬ù

    SO-you want post 1978 comments? 11 years later in his book ?¢‚Ǩ?ìSermons and Writings of Bruce R. McConkie?¢‚Ǩ¬ù Chapter 9 Revelation on Priesthood we find this:

    ?¢‚Ǩ?ìThe ancient curse is no more. The seed of Cain and Ham and Canaan and Egyptus and Pharaoh (Abr. 1:20-27; Moses 5:16-41; 7:8, 22) ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùall these now have power to rise up and bless Abraham as their father. All these, Gentile in lineage, may now come and inherit by adoption all the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Rom. 8:14-24; 9:4; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938], pp. 149-50). All these may now be numbered with those in the one fold of the one shepherd who is Lord of all.?¢‚Ǩ¬ù

    And here’s a footnote that says:?¢‚Ǩ¬ùIllustrating the perfect harmony that exists between the doctrine and practice of the Church both here and in the spirit world, Elder McConkie said to a family gathering in Colorado Springs, on July 26, 1978, “This means that the same revelation had to be given to the Brethren in the Church in the spirit world, so that they can conform their preaching of the gospel to our new system on earth.”

    Now perhaps you can explain to me why a man-made-controlled ban on earth was being echoed and not corrected by God in the spirit world?

    But now that I know that you personally consider Bruce R. McConkie to be an authoritative voice that is valid and defendable, let me include one of his post 1978 comments on homosexuality. He starts by quoting Paul:

    “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves.” Because they turned away from him, “God gave them up unto vile affections”?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùthink now of homosexuals, and lesbians, and all those in the last days who revel in unclean, unholy, and unnatural sexual perversions?¢‚Ǩ‚Äù”for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.

    Be it known that the sexual perversions sweeping the United States and other nations in this day are not of God. Those who pursue them are evil, degenerate, and depraved. It matters not what these advocates of lewdness and license may believe or say. These things are of the devil and lead to hell.

    You may regret making Bruce R. McConkie your authoritative voice on all subjects post-1978 yet.

  25. Rick Jepson says:

    I guess I’m not understanding you here… think McConkie is authoritative but that Holland isn’t. Really?

    Holland, whom you twice annually sustain as living prophet, expresses relief that he wasn’t a part of furthering the “folkore”–his word–and says that AT THE VERY LEAST we can’t repeat it or teach it any more. J.R. Holland says “that from this time forward, from 1978 forward, we can make sure that nothing of that is declared.” How can you possibly cling to it?

    And the church spokesman says it was never doctrine….what could that mean besides what it means? Does he just speak without getting approval from the first presidency? And you suggest that the church spokesman disavowing the doctrine is somehow LESS authoritative than something McConkie said at a FAMILY REUNION? When did we start canonizing those?

    And…can we revisit the Joseph Smith point you brought up? Was it Joseph Smith’s policy, as you suggested? If so, why did he and his younger brother ordain black men to the priesthood? When did the revelation come to deny blacks the priesthood? Who received it? Where was it recorded Why were exceptions made (like Elija Abel’s son and grandson)?

    Why did David O. McKay call it a “practice” and not a “doctrine”? Why did McKay say in 1954, ?¢‚Ǩ?ìThere is no doctrine in this church and there never was a doctrine in this church to the effect that the Negroes are under any kind of a divine curse.?¢‚Ǩ¬ù

    And even McConkie, bless his heart because I truly do love and admire him, clearly backs off his hard line on race. Later editions of Mormon Doctrine say “we reason and suppose” or wording to that effect. And NONE of your quotes after 1978 says that blacks were less valiant in the pre-existance. Where has this continued to be published or pronounced? Nowhere. Never. It was abandoned. Rightfully. And as McConkie still says: ?¢‚Ǩ?ìIt doesn?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t make a particle of difference what anybody ever said about the Negro matter before the first day of June of this year, 1978.?¢‚Ǩ¬ù

    Or as President Hinckley said on 60 Minutes: “Because the leaders of the church at that time interpreted that doctrine that way.” NOT, because blacks were bad in the preexistance. NOT because blacks are decended from Cain. But because the leaders INTERPRETED the doctrine that way.

    The deeper you dig your trenches, they more they look like holes. At this point are you arguing your side just so you won’t lose an argument? You’re reminding me of a polygamist sect that can’t progress with the church so they stay put and cling to a practice we left behind. I can’t think of a single person I know who would still argue that the black curse folklore was true.

    The truth of the matter is shown in this recording of Leonard Arrington, an official Church Historian: “A special committee of the Twelve appointed by President McKay in 1954 to study the issue concluded that there was no sound scriptural basis for the policy but that the church membership was not prepared for its reversal.” (David O McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism, p. 80)

    The evidence is simply too overwhelming. And honestly, if you’re going to stick to your guns on the issue despite all that, I think we should end the exchange. You are entitled to your beliefs about anything, evidence be damned. But if that’s your course, let’s stop wasting each other’s time.

  26. Rabbi Gershon #170 & 176, I agree with you that “Were he [Rabbi Jesus ben Joseph of Nazereth] alive today [and walking among us], he would support equality for gays and lesbians in both civil and religious ceremony, ritual, and law”. I have looked at your website, especially the link “Christianity, Mormonism and the Gathering of Israel.” You clearly have much to teach us. I am also an admirer of your mentor Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, whose various broadcast conversations with Ken Wilber I have not only found remarkably honest, but moving, enlightening and provocative.

    As if in anticipation of your response #170 on Sunday (yesterday), I had a dream earlier that same morning where I am driving a school bus down a narrow residential street cluttered with parked cars which make the way difficult to navigate. There is one passenger, a younger man, and we are discussing how the Christ manifests in individual lives, all of which are unique. The young man has a device that puts into text what we verbalize. It contains a knob allowing one to choose different colors for highlighting. My reference to “The Messiah” in my message #154 to you was to understand how this title is used in your own tradition. After discussing your response with my Swedish wife Birgitta (who is a Bible student) I was surprised to learn that the Aramaic word “Messiah” (meaning The Anointed One), occurs only once in the Old Testament (Daniel 9: 24-26) and only twice in the New Testament in (John 1:41; 4:25).

    Growing up Mormon, I had been taught that the names Messiah, Jehovah and Jesus are names for the same divine person. Furthermore, my wife’s son, whose father is a Messianic Jew, sent us from Sweden an interesting reference to the recently deceased Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri. Being one of Israel’s most prominent rabbis, he had written the name of the Messiah on a small note which he requested would remain sealed until his death. When the note was opened, it revealed the name Yehoshua, or Yeshua (Jesus) as the Messiah, but in cryptic terms. I understand this disclosure has become a deeply controversial issue among Rabbi Kaduri’s followers as well as others. Perhaps it is troubling to you, too?

    In any case, my earlier question was a request to know more of your personal experience of the divine presence, however you address him/her/it. For me, ever since the epiphany so many years ago mentioned above, my primary focus is on developing a more intimate–i.e., immediate–relationship with God. Of course I am by no means unique in this desire.

    I like to think about a hologram containing the image of God as metaphor. If this singular hologram should be broken into pieces, each piece still contains the complete image of God. The difference in the image seen in the unbroken original versus that in the various fragments is that the image is not so clear in the fragments. And, to reverse the process, as fragments are brought back together, the image becomes clearer. I imagine us flawed, human fragments as having within us the entire image of God, albeit unclear. When we come together in the name of God, His image becomes clearer to us collectively.

  27. merrybits says:

    Rabbi, I would love to read more about the “Jewish Jesus” without the Greek/Persian overtones. Would you please reference some books? Thank you for your wise posts.

  28. Rick #178 and EV #179. Would it surprise or interest either of you to know that reading your attempts to communicate with each other is really exhausting?

    Consider the word “beloving”, which, when I learned it in spring 1990, just two weeks after my third marriage ended, I felt convicted in painful, but exciting ways. It was defined in a conference presentation by Education Professor Mac Freeman of Queens College in Kingston, Ontario thusly: “Spending time with someone in such a way that that *someone* experiences his or her own beauty.” The definition stunned me! Especially when I learned its opposite meaning: “power tripping”. In a flash I could see why so many of my valued relationships up to that time had gone sour, even though at the time I thought I was functioning in the name of love. NOT! The word allowed me to re-evaluate all my actions and behavior.

    When I conducted a dream workshop for the 2005 Salt Lake Sunstone Symposium, I was greatly surprised by the answers to the most important question asked of all participants about their dreams: “Are you beloving of all the beings in your dream?” The working hypothesis of the dream analysis process is: “Dreams are pictures of feelings that parallel waking life.” Of the 17 participants in the workshop, 16 brought a dream to work on. One participant brought an outer event to examine, which scored transformative. (The event was her temple marriage). Two of the participants were bishops, whose contributions were precognitive dreams about being called to be bishops prior to learning of the call. The surprising answer to the question of beloving by all 16 of those who brought dreams was simply “No”. They were not beloving in their dreams.

    In reflecting on these results I had to ask: is it possible that our general Mormon culture does not understand the concept of beloving? I certainly didn’t prior to March 1990! If not, can our general Mormon culture consider that what they boastfully call loving, is in fact not that at all, but power-tripping?

  29. Richard Jepson says:

    Eugene, sorry to wear you out! I don’t mind an intense conversation and don’t think of it as the opposite of beloving. But even I have tired of this particular exchange with evasquez.

    I can only expend that kind of energy in a dialogue that moves forward in some direction or that challenges me to expand my understanding.

    So don’t worry, you’ll have less to get tired of!

  30. Hey Rick, that sounds really positive! Reminds me of J. Golden Kimball: “The Brethren can’t excommunicate me. I repent too damn fast!” Where are guys like that these days? Well, you’re one of them. 🙂

  31. The HEBREW term “Mashach”, for “one who is anointed” is found also in Numbers 35: 25 & Isaiah 61: 1; 1 Kings 1: 34; 1 Samuel 10: 1; Psalms 45: 8; 2 Chron. 22: 7; Genesis 31: 13; Exodus 40: 15 and in many other places, none of which infer a god status to the person or object anointed.
    I am well acquainted with the teachings of Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri. I have never heard this story before and, even if true, does not mean that Rabbi Kaduri accepted the Christian concept of Messiah. If you have read my website then you know that I believe that Jesus ben Joseph of Nazareth was the Messiah of his generation but that the term “Messiah” refers to the Office of King of Israel, Descendant of King David, of which he was only one in a long line continuing even to this day.

  32. #181 Marybits, the book that I would recommend is “Jesus Through Jewish Eyes” edited by Beatrice Bruteau. In this book 19 rabbis,and teachers, representing all the different spectrum of Judaisms big fence, tell their impressions of Jesus and why they feel that way.
    Eugene, the Book of Daniel was not accepted in the canon of Prophetic Writings (Naviim) BECAUSE it was not considered by the sages as having been written in the Sacred Tribal language of Hebrew(except for the chapters 1-2: 4 and chapters 8-12 )and because it was written in Aramaic. Chapters 7 – 12 date from the Maccabean period, reflecting the persecutions of Antiochus IV Epiphanes from 168-164 BCE. Because it was not considered Authoritative Scripture, it is including with the stories, chronicles, songs, proverbs of the early Jewish people.

  33. A Story by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi
    retold by Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer

    The Messiah finally arrives. Jews and Christians, after waiting for so many centuries, rush to meet him. The Jews cry out, ?¢‚Ǩ?ìthis is the first time you have come, is it not??¢‚Ǩ¬ù The Christians, raising their voices above the Jews, insist, ?¢‚Ǩ?ìThis must be Your second coming that we have been waiting for!?¢‚Ǩ¬ù The Messiah smiles wearily and waits for the noise to subside. Then, in a quiet and gentle voice, long suffering, he says, “My dear, foolish children. I have come not once, not twice. I have been here hundreds of times. But you have all been so busy fighting with one another you have never even noticed.”

  34. Rabbi Gershon #185. Here is an excerpt from the report my step-son sent us from the April 30, 2008 on-line edition of ‘Israel Today’. “A few months before Kaduri died at the age of 108, he surprised his followers when he told them that he met the Messiah. Kaduri gave a message in his synagogue on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, teaching how to recognize the Messiah. He also mentioned that the Messiah would appear to Israel after Ariel Sharon?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s death. (The former prime minister is still in a coma after suffering a massive stroke more than a year ago.)”

  35. evasquez says:


    I agree totally that this exchange is at it’s end, and I apologize for any contention I brought here personally. My only suggestion should have been what instead will be my last-and it is the perfect answer from the perfected source-“If any man will do his [God?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s] will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God.”

    My best to you all

  36. I did a Google search on the “ISRAEL TODAY” magazine and found out why I had not heard of Rabbi Kaduri’s so-called statement that the Messiah’s name is Yeshu. The reason is that he did not say it. The magazine is put out by Messianic Jews living in Israel and they do not have the best track record for truth telling. When your goal is to convert the Jews from Judaism by any means necessary, often the ends justify the means. When I was the rabbi in Idaho, I once went into a Christian bookstore and purchased a book about the Book of Mormon. Later, I took the book back and let the proprietor know that the book contained many falsehoods and half-truths. He told me that the book was his most successful tool against the Mormons and it did not matter to him if it contained lies or not as the souls of the Mormon people were at stake. Do you think that his books on Judaism were any more truthful? I think not.

  37. Sharon will die soon and we shall see if the “prophecy” comes to pass, won’t we? However, like the New Testament statement that Jesus would return “soon,” the so-called Kaduri prophecy will not be held to term limits. I cannot tell you just how many second coming dates I’ve lived past and yet the believers still continue to believe.

  38. Here is an interesting book by a student of Rabbi Kaduri.
    “Many Messiahs”
    Item Number: LKTS-100
    Price: $9.00

    Ben David, Ben Yosef and Ben Aharon?

    How many messiahs are there supposed to be?

    This lesson takes us on a journey through history, theology and the cherished beliefs of both Judaism and Christianity.

    We discuss the Biblical concept of Messiah and understand it in its proper form as a renewal of the Davidic monarchy and Jewish independence from foreign and secular rule.

    We delve into the teachings of the Qumran community and the Essenes with their beliefs based upon Ezekiel’s prophecy that there should be a Messiah of Aharon (the priestly line).

    We continue to discuss the historical character of Yeshu HaNotzri (Jesus) and his family and movement the original Nazarenes (Ebionites). We explain what their concept of Messiah was and what they wanted Yeshu to be.

    This lesson shows what the original faith of Yeshu closest followers, Peter, James and John was how it was radically different from later Christianity. We explain details here that show how the original followers of Yeshu were certainly not Christian by today’s standards and certainly would not have ascribed to modern Christianity’s concepts about the Messiah.

    We discuss the role of the Nazarenes in promoting the Civil War against Rome and what actually led to the schism between Judaism and the followers of Yeshu. The schism was originally political in nature, not religious. We discuss the radical ancient Jewish origins of Paul.

    We then discuss how the concept of the dying Messiah of Yosef developed and how it has been understood by Jews and Christians through the centuries.

    This lesson is certainly iconoclastic. However this is not a challenge or attack on anyone’s faith. Faith is sacred and above reproach. This lesson merely deals with facts of history that can be documented and in most cases validated.

    This lesson serves as a bridge between the Jewish and Christian communities and will definitely answer for all to hear why Jews are not Christians and why Jews do not believe that Yeshu was the Messiah.

  39. Another very good, scholarly book about the Messianic pretensions of Jesus of Nazareth, is the book THE JESUS DYNASTY by Professor James Tabor (a friend).

    In The Jesus Dynasty biblical scholar James Tabor brings us closer than ever to the historical Jesus. Jesus, as we know, was the son of Mary, a young woman who became pregnant before her marriage to a man named Joseph. The gospels tell us that Jesus had four brothers and two sisters, all of whom probably had a different father from him. He joined a messianic movement begun by his relative John the Baptizer, whom he regarded as his teacher and as a great prophet. John and Jesus together filled the roles of the Two Messiahs who were expected at the time, John as a priestly descendant of Aaron and Jesus as a royal descendant of David. Together they preached the coming of the Kingdom of God. Theirs was an apocalyptic movement that expected God to establish his kingdom on earth, as described by the prophets. The two messiahs lived in a time of turmoil as the historical land of Israel was dominated by the powerful Roman empire. Fierce Jewish rebellions against Rome occurred during Jesus’s lifetime.

    John and Jesus preached adherence to the Torah, or the Jewish Law. But their mission was changed dramatically when John was arrested and then killed. After a period of uncertainty, Jesus began preaching anew in Galilee and challenged the Roman authorities and their Jewish collaborators in Jerusalem. He appointed a Council of Twelve to rule over the twelve tribes of Israel, among whom he included his four brothers. After he was crucified by the Romans, his brother James ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú the ?¢‚Ǩ?ìBeloved Disciple?¢‚Ǩ¬ù ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú took over leadership of the Jesus Dynasty.

    James, like John and Jesus before him, saw himself as a faithful Jew. None of them believed that their movement was a new religion. It was Paul who transformed Jesus and his message through his ministry to the gentiles, breaking with James and the followers of Jesus in Jerusalem, preaching a message based on his own revelations that would become Christianity. Jesus became a figure whose humanity was obscured; John became merely a forerunner of Jesus; and James and the others were all but forgotten.

    James Tabor has studied the earliest surviving documents of Christianity for more than thirty years and has participated in important archeological excavations in Israel. Drawing on this background, Tabor reconstructs for us the movement that sought the spiritual, social, and political redemption of the Jews, a movement led by one family. The Jesus Dynasty offers an alternative version of Christian origins, one that takes us closer than ever to Jesus and his family and followers. The story is surprising and controversial, but exciting as only a long-lost history can be when it is at last recovered.

    This is a book that will change our understanding of one of the most crucial moments in history.

    James D. Tabor is chair of the department of religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He holds a Ph.D. in biblical studies from the University of Chicago and is an expert on the Dead Sea Scrolls and Christian origins. The author of several previous books, he is frequently consulted by the media on these topics and has appeared on numerous television and radio programs.

  40. Rabbi Gershon #193-196! Looks like we’ve generated a religious fire storm. I don’t know how to evaluate the truth of the “Irael Today” claims about Rabbi Kaduri?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s so-called statement about the Messiah?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s name, which you now dispute.

    But, here’s what I propose to do about it. I will forward your remarks to my Swedish step-son who originally sent me the link that has evoked this passion. He is presently on a two-week honeymoon, so we will have to wait for his return. However, he is uniquely qualified, as a prize winning documentary film maker, to get at the root truth of your and my concern.

    In the meantime, please be at peace about my respect for your beliefs and tradition. I have no intention to convert you to a point of view that is at odds with your own conscience. We are having a discourse among earnest, conscientious believers who come to the table from different traditions and persuasions. We must honor our differences!

    God bless us both and our respective peoples with compassion and wisdom as we probe, expand, test and celebrate the truths of our respective traditions and consciences.

  41. Rick #179,183 + EV #190.

    Although I was exhausted by your recent head-to-head attempt to communicate, I was disappointed to have you both leave the field of battle. Both of you are obviously bright and earnest. I know Rick personally and have felt his spirit, so I trust his intention. I don’t know you, EVasquez, but your most recent posts convince me that you are equally earnest.

    When I saw your #190 comment it made me sad to witness the impasse.

    Then I had an idea that might bring new life to the dialogue.

    Allow me to propose moving your conversation FROM HEAD TO HEART by considering the following experiment. Please accept my invitation to step aboard my dream school bus (#180, paragraph 2a) by asking each of you to bring a recent dream on board for discussion. Any dream will do, but it would be ideal if it occurred AFTER Matt’s original post date for this thread. You need not disclose its content, unless you wish to.

    If you accept this invitation please consider the following question APPLIED TO YOUR DREAM SELF BEHAVIOR IN THE DREAM: Are you “beloving” of all beings in this dream? [Beloving is defined as spending time with someone in such a way that that someone experiences his/her own beauty and in so doing you experience your own.]

    If your answer is “no”, then consider this next step: Imagine what you can do to transform your behavior in the dream such that this “no” becomes “yes”. There are no limits to what you can imagine. You can invite any help you need–friends, heroes, even the Messiah!–anything you can envision. If each of you were to share your dream with the other, you might find a new way to communicate on issues closest to your hearts. And the rest of us observers would be enlightened and uplifted by your exchange.

  42. Dear Eugene, I am sorry if I have made it seem that “we’ve created a religious firestorm,” by the recent postings of suggested books about Jesus that I would recommend that did not have the Greek/Persian overtones in answer to Comment # 181 by merrybits.
    I contacted the Kaduri community in Israel last night to see if there was any truth to the rumor that was printed in Israel Today Magazine and they assured me it is a figment of the imagination of a Christian missionary and did not really happen.
    Many years ago, while in Salt Lake City representing Idaho’s Jewish community at a General Conference, an Elder of the LDS Church, Cleon Skousin, told me of a revelation that Joseph Smith had that fit the time period that we were living in in the 70’s. It was known as The White Horse Prophecy. He was very adamant about this prophecy. Turned out though that it was not received by Joseph Smith and was just apocryphal. That happens. It happened with the death of the Lubavitcher Rebbe and not with the Holy Saint, Rabbi Kaduri (Z”L).

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