Podcast #9: Ordain Women in Mormon History-An Interview with Chelsea Shields Strayer

In this exciting episode, Russell Stevenson interviews Chelsea Shields Strayer, a member of Ordain Women’s Executive Board. We discuss the history of the Ordain Women movement in the broader context of Mormon history and explore the contours of the relationship between Ordain Women and the institutional Church. The discussion that arises is rich, provocative, and illuminative–a journey into the heart of what makes Ordain Women such an important movement for 21st-century Mormons, men and women alike. Stay tuned!

Mormon-History-Guy-Logo

When Mormon History Fails You

It’s time to ask the tough question: is Mormon history even helpful to the Ordain Women movement?

Like Joanna Brooks has said, this cause isn’t one that burns deeply within my soul.  If President Monson told us tomorrow that women could be ordained to be “Elders” or “High Priestesses,” I would cheer along with everyone else. If it means that women would get their share of anti-porno talks and dating chastisements, I’m all about lovingly retiring the pedestal–and then burning it in the quiet of the night. I can think of “binders full of women” right now who would run my Elders’  Quorum meeting more competently than I ever could. In that sense, I can confidently say that I’m in support of the Ordain Women movement. Continue reading

Let Not God Speak with Us: The Tragedy of Mormon Racism

The story of white Mormon racism gives me heartburn.  It makes me sad, tragically so. And tragedies are only possible when there’s something–something big–to lose. As Rabbi Abraham Heschel observed, though “few are guilty…all are responsible.” Deflection and projection will not do.  To paraphrase the haunting language of poet Jeremy Loveday, “the culture of violence [though I would say, “racism”] touches us all. And by dismissing perpetrators as monsters, it allows us not to analyze our own actions.”  It is the simple and sincere question asked of Jesus: “What lack [we] yet?”  Jesus did not coddle the inquirer but directed him to give up the things he valued the most in order to follow him.  The young man walked away glumly; he never had considered the kind of sacrifice that Jesus’ kingdom required. Continue reading

On Restrictions and Races: A Response

Since this material draws from documents in a forthcoming volume, most citations will not be included

It’s a topic that’s gaining steam in the press these days: is it appropriate for women to mobilize a public demonstration to show their discontent with current gender discourse?  Margaret Young has weighed in, suggesting that the proper way to address this is through personal conversations with leaders in power.  Tristan Call has kindly responded, arguing that she has failed to take into account the role of social movements and protest.

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The Long Night of Whiteness

For my book, Black Mormon: The Story of Elijah Ables, click here

Official Declaration #2 is often cast–in its most generous light–as the Church’s efforts to usher in a new era of racial pluralism and globalization.  President Kimball had long dreamed of “when all the world will be converted,” and this was merely the next step.  It speaks to what I call the dispensational interpretation of Official Declaration #2.  Because Peter received a vision to “take the gospel to the Gentiles,” we assume that Official Declaration #2 was merely another incarnation of that. The interpretation has become almost axiomatic.  Continue reading

Dark Angels: Batman, Mormonism, and the Byronic Hero

The horrific shooting at a midnight showing of the Dark Knight has made the fundamental questions of the trilogy all too real.  To what degree should decent people go to protect themselves? What if one of the “good guys” had been allowed to carry a gun into the theater?  Unless Americans want to embrace anarcho-capitalism en extremis, citizens need to entrust their safety to certain individuals.  But how do we decide who has the moral judgment to wield that power? The words of Commissioner James Gordon from The Dark Knight are noteworthy: Batman “wasn’t the hero we deserve.” He’s “the hero we need right now.” Who/what was the hero the people of Aurora needed? A crackshot vigilante, stricter gun laws, or federally-implemented metal detectors?

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