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Maurine Proctor
Friday, November 01 2013

You are Not a Member in Good Standing if...

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Editors Note: We stand by the apology that was printed yesterday concerning the article indicated. The following is a response that includes as its intended audience the author of the article as well as those who responded to the article. 

One of the fascinating and sometimes disheartening things we do on Meridian is look at readers' comments. It is fascinating because as Latter-day Saints we come from such diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, inclinations and outlooks. It is disheartening because occasionally we see people criticize and carp at other Church members saying things like, "I don't see how so-and-so can call himself a member if... (fill in the blank)."

The "fill in the blank" differs wildly. I've seen people say they don't see how so-and-so can call themselves a good Church member if they belong to a particular political party. I don't see how they can call themselves a good Church member if they wrote a particular book. I don't see how they can call themselves a good Church member if their child went astray, if their marriage fell apart, if they are arrogant or self-righteous, if they support Obamacare, if they don't support Obamacare. The list is endless.

We've had indignant people write that they would never read Meridian again because of the 27,000 articles we've published, they didn't like one of them. One reader said I was a "liar and a member of the lunatic fringe." Another reader asked how we could call ourselves good members of the Church by publishing this or that statement. 

It is easy to throw darts at each other in this Internet age where we can say whatever we'd like about someone from the safety of our computer in our bedroom, something we would never say to their face in the foyer at Church.

We moderate our comments on Meridian--as a newspaper would choose which letters to the editor to print--for some reasons we think are important. We don't want to use our magazine as a forum for anti-Mormon comments or those who would deride our doctrine or the prophet. We don't let pornographic comments be made. We also don't let people malign our authors-whose views are their own. People, of course, are free to discuss a different point of view within a gospel context, but name calling and deriding criticism such as "this is drivel" we moderate out of the discussion. We don't think our writers should have to be personally beat up for expressing a viewpoint, though we have no problem with calm and rational expression of difference.

Currently, the senior editorial staff at Meridian are out of the country working on a book project. Apparently in our absence an article was published on our magazine that threw the blogsophere for a loop called "Are You a Liberal Mormon?" by Joni Hilton. I am out of the country and have not seen the brouhaha that surrounded this article, but Joni wrote to say that she didn't mean politically liberal. She was using the term liberal more to mean casual Mormon, someone who didn't take their commitment seriously. Apparently, most readers saw this as meaning "politically liberal" and were offended. We are sorry for this and acknowledge that the content and tone should have been more carefully edited or revised. Sometimes as writers we don't understand all of the implications that others will take from our words. We appreciate all the good and insightful articles Joni has added to Meridian over many years.

When my husband, Scot, was young in a very small branch in Ankara, Turkey, a woman came to church who had clearly just smoked a cigarette only moments before. She still smelled strongly of the smoke and people noticed--though they tried not to react. It was testimony meeting that day and she got up and said something he never forgot. "I know you all smelled the smoke on me when I came into church today, but you know if every sin had an odor, the church would be a pretty stinky place." 

We are all always struggling to overcome our weaknesses and become more devoted disciples of Jesus Christ.

So this is a plea. Can we refrain from judging each other as to whether we are good members or not? Can we give each other the benefit of the doubt? Can we act with charity in our comments? Can our hearts expand to include people whose ideas and inclinations may not match our own?

The Adversary would have us scattered and divided. He would love us to make camps and forge little wars against each other. Let's not play his game or fall for his tactics.

This is a favorite scripture of mine which seems to suit the situation. "I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine. (D&C 38:27)

66 Comments

  1. Another of my favorite scriptures is "He that is without sin among you,let him first cast a stone..." John 8:7 This scripture definitely leaves me out.
  2. I'm sorry, but Joni's hind sight explanation doesn't fly. she might not have meant "liberal" politcally but she surely meant it theologically. not to suggest "luke warm" mormons, but those of us who earnestly and honestly pray but get different answers than she does.
  3. Joseph Smith said two things that I think are relevant: "I don't want you to think I am very righteous, because I am not very righteous." The other: "And I say unto you there is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner that repenteth than over the Ninety-and-nine just persons that are so righteous; they will be damned anyway, you cannot save them." I'll be keeping my eye on my own sins thanks. Comparing sins with other people is a waste of time. As Saint James said, "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." Which makes me guilty of all, pretty much every day. I have had a couple of perfect days, but too few, too few. If you have achieved perfection, then you'll be too righteous to be offended by silly statements, so I think we can safely presume that all those who take it upon themselves to judge are still sinners.
  4. You infer the mixup is over us (the reader) seeing liberal as meaning political. Not in my case. I understood exactly what she was speaking about and yet the article still fell way short. It was an attempt to minimize a group off LDS who do not follow the Church blindly but rather try to recognize when a prophet is acting as such. Church members can't be split into dichotomies like this article tried to do. The article fell short for many reasons beyond your excuse for why it fell short.
  5. I appreciate you ending with D&C 38:27. It is such a great admonition for us to strive toward. I am confident that Joni did not intend to create a divisive tone but it appears that she did. I believe that President Uchtdorf's view of our church where believers and unbelievers all comfortably reside is definitely something that we will achieve... But, it won't be without some growing pains. Thank you.
  6. I especially liked the last five paragraphs and one quote in particular - "I know you all smelled the smoke on me when I came into church today, but you know if every sin had an odor, the church would be a pretty stinky place." Then the hard hitting one - The Adversary would have us scattered and divided. He would love us to make camps and forge little wars against each other. Let's not play his game or fall for his tactics. Truths clear through.
  7. Maurine, I appreciate the tone of your article and your words of kindness and love. Calling for all members of the church to refrain from judging each other is a wonderful thing. We are here to support each other in our lifelong work of improvement. I read the article you're discussing (Joni Hilton's "Are You a Liberal Mormon?") and its tone was quite the opposite of yours here. Despite what she may have intended by writing it (the intent wasn't clear in the article), what I felt at the end of reading it was that if I'm not perfect, I'm not welcome. You say that people were confused and upset by her use of the politically-associated word “liberal.” I don't believe that's what they were offended by. It's not what I was offended by. They were upset, as was I, about her judgmental attitude and divisiveness. She made a long list of behaviors she didn’t approve of, and then called people who behaved in any one of those ways all the same thing – liberal Mormons. And then she told them that the church is “all or nothing”, implying that if you behave in a way she disapproves of, she would prefer that you not darken the doors of her church. I read the article expecting a discussion of the juxtaposition of our conservative religion and liberal politics, so in that way, I was confused and surprised at the content. But it was the tone, the derision of the less-than-perfect, the smugness, and the unpleasantness that upset me, not the use of the word liberal.
  8. I did not find offense with the article b/c I felt she misused the word 'liberal'. She could have used any other word in place of 'liberal' and it still would have been one of the most offensive articles I have read. Period.
  9. I have to agree with the comments on this blog. I wasn't offended because I assumed Joni meant the term liberal to be political, and neither did the majority of the commentors on her article Are You a Liberal Mormon. The offence came from the tone of the article, as she listed behaviors and made assumptions about people who engaged in those behaviors. She made several gross generalizations about the kind of people she wrote about, and her tone was incredibly judgmental and made me (I consider myself to be a pretty traditional member) uncomfortable as she judged my brothers and sisters. I appreciate the tone of this article, and I'm grateful that Joni's attitude doesn't represent the majority of Meridian Magazine (or the population of the church), as it was removed fairly quickly and apologies were made.
  10. Has Joni's article been taken offline? I have been unable to access it.
  11. I thought of "offender's for a word" and wonder if people, eager to be offended, jump at the chance over the use of a word.
  12. I am yet another reader who did not think Mrs. Hilton meant politics when she used the word "liberal." I am an adult convert to the church. I love the gospel and since my baptism I have served a mission, married in the temple, and am raising five children in the church. However, as someone who was raised to think and view things differently than someone who grew up as a lifelong member; I definitely felt as if some of my personal quirks and habits somehow make my commitment to the church and living a Christlike life less valid than hers. I assure you, it is not. This was my first taste of Mrs. Hilton's writings and it will also be my last.
  13. I understood Joni's point perfectly. My anger (as a former mormon, but one who still has affection for the community, the followers, and my loved ones still in the church) was that even if she did mean disobedient mormons, even if she did mean those who are doing a lousy job following the gospel, even those who do pick and choose, intentionally so, what they obey and what they don't, it's between God and them! It's not her business. All she was doing was thumbing her nose at how "unworthy" "they" are. There was no way to read her use of Liberal (be it liberal politics politics, liberal with the rules, or as she explained in a comment, just plain old "disobedient.") that didn't come across as completely holier than thou. Meridian did the right thing pulling the article.
  14. Thank you for trying to clear the air. I agree we should avoid polemical comments. I hope Meridian will be careful not to print articles in the future that amount to the print version of standing around in the foyer whispering, "See sister so-and-so over there? She's not a good enough Mormon because of [insert reason here]".
  15. I didn't misunderstand who she was talking about. My comment specifically critiqued her rhetorical strategy, which was divisive, judgmental and shallow, in no way embodying the goodwill you ask of people commenting on your articles. It doesn't matter who Hilton was targeting, her assessment of those people was atrociously cruel, offering no love or compassion, but only ostracizing condemnation. In calling out her rhetoric, I am not passing a judgment on her total character or the intentions of her heart in writing her article. I'm talking about the result, her finished product, what it says and the impact it has. People make mistakes and say things poorly. Often many of those mistakes and poor statements stem from poor thinking. Hence the need for public, civil discourse, where we learn together as a community. Her delivery deserved critique, for I found it to be extremely far from the Christian ideal. I don't know what she hoped to accomplish from the article. Based on the text, nothing positive could have come out of it, for its tone and thinking were designed to destroy people rather than love them. Naturally the result would be for many to react just as viciously (write a contentious article, get a contentious response -- human nature), though I recall a great number of well-thought/-articulated responses. I would hope that out of this incident we can learn greater compassion and understanding.
  16. Thank you for these kind words. To clarify, though, it seemed quite clear to me that Joni Hilton was not referring to liberal politics, though the article would have been equally offensive if she had. The tone was very belittling of those who have different ideas from hers and very judgmental--in an oddly mocking way--of such mundane behaviors as drinking iced tea. I would be interested to hear Sister Hilton's response to you question, "Can we?"
  17. There is still the bigger issue of what Joni, and others, are doing to the word 'liberal' in the Church. Nowhere in my scriptures is the word used to describe people who are relaxed and undisciplined in religious matters. Rather I find the word used to identify generosity in material and spiritual things. By this standard I would be proud to be identified as a liberal Mormon. Is it too late to reclaim these inspired senses for a word with such a dignified history, or are we following another standard?
  18. Joni Hilton most certainly did not mean "politically" liberal, and she spelled that out t th beginning. That's not what I found so discouraging about her article, though - she went about and completely deconstructed and denigrated my Church experience. Yes, I am one of those "liberal" Mormons. Oh, and BTW, I do attend Sunday School, serve in the bishopric, help people move; and I don't violate my covenants. How lame would the Church be if we were all Stepford Mormons?
  19. I believe your last 3 paragraphs (particularly your "plea") is precisely what so many commenters were trying to convey to Joni. Hopefully Sister Hilton has had a chance to reflect on your plea as well.
  20. I believe the plea at the bottom of your piece is exactly what the objection to Joni's was about. Not that she was getting political, but that she had set herself up as a judge and arbiter over who was, and wasn't, a good Mormon, and why. It was entirely baseless and unfounded chiding from a supposed place of righteous calling-out, and it was recognized as such. The use of the "liberal" label did add to that for some, because of how often they experience its use as a "dirty word" among those who also express attitudes similar to Joni's as presented in her piece. But it is not just the use of that word that was the problem. It was the entirety of what she meant in using a label at all.
  21. I LOVE this article...
  22. Most of the comments that were published regarding Joni's article on your site as well as all over the internet were not about politics at all. The majority of them were about her use of the word liberal and her depiction of liberal Mormons. I did not read a single comment where someone felt offended or upset over politics. What I did read was a lot of comments feeling like she had defined the word liberal in a very negative light and that a liberal Mormon was somehow less valiant/obedient/faithful. This is what hurt so many people. There is great variety in the church and we need all of those different voices. Ostracizing those that aren't just like you or have the same perspectives as you is not what the gospel is all about. It does not send the message that Pres. Uchtdorf shared. The message that there is room for everyone in the church.
  23. Because the "liberal" members were the ones to be upset and offended by yesterday's article. It would be a correct response to have the author, Joni, write an apology. I appreciate what was done today, but this doesn't address what needs to be done.
  24. I don't think anyone thought Joni was deme grating political liberals. I think the article was clear that she was talking about the doubters, the outliers, the marginalized Mormons who struggle in the church. It's a group she clearly doesn't understand but a group of dedicated souls who are serving and doing the best they can. A very hurtful piece to many who felt Uchdorfs words of welcome in the last conference were balm to the soul.
  25. Most of the comments that were published regarding Joni's article on your site as well as all over the internet were not about politics at all. The majority of them were about her use of the word liberal and her depiction of liberal Mormons. I did not read a single comment where someone felt offended or upset over politics. What I did read was a lot of comments feeling like she had defined the word liberal in a very negative light and that a liberal Mormon was somehow less valiant/obedient/faithful. This is what hurt so many people. There is great variety in the church and we need all of those different voices. Ostracizing those that aren't just like you or have the same perspectives as you is not what the gospel is all about. It does not send the message that Pres. Uchtdorf shared. The message that there is room for everyone in the church.
  26. While I appreciate that the article was removed, I don't think changing out the word liberal would have made her mean spirited article any more palpable. Why are we as Latter day Saints so eager to push people out and why aren't we more invested in a faith community?
  27. I appreciate Joni Hilton's response to and apology for her article, and I appreciate Maurine Proctor's plea here. They address a problem that is endemic throughout the church. Christ told us not to judge, lest we be judged ourselves. And while the JST changes it to "Judge not unrighteously", still, who are ANY of us to judge, righteously or otherwise? Yes, bishops and other church leaders, specifically called to be judges in Israel, must judge members' worthiness, in temple recommend interviews, for example. But the rest of us? We are ALL too quick to judge. Who hasn't heard stories like the woman who came alone to church for X months, with fellow ward members wondering if her husband was inactive or a non-member, only to find out that her husband was actually in a busy stake calling, or perhaps in the military overseas on deployment? Who hasn't seen examples of people shamed for what they wear to church, be it an innocent young woman with a skirt that's a bit too short 'cause she just had a growth spurt, or an investigator or less-active member who shows up in jeans? And let's not get started on those Mormons who judge other Mormons based on which political party they vote for, or whether any of their kids are gay, or how much money they make? We all do it sometimes, some people seem to do it all the time, and it has to stop. I encourage all of us, when we're tempted to judge someone else, to stop and consider asking them a polite question instead. For example, instead of "How can you possibly be a good Mormon but vote for the Democrats?!", how about asking nicely about their political ideas in a setting that allows for calm conversation? Or offer to help a mom in the pews alone (for WHATEVER reason, which is none of your beeswax unless she tells you or maybe you're her visiting teacher) with her kids? Or even just eat the judgment and smile and just say "Hello"? This is an area where we might have a long way to go ... but it's also an area where just a little effort could make a HUGE difference in how we share Christ's love with ALL of our brothers and sisters.
  28. We do everything for Him and our words and actions need to represent that. If we would be embarrassed if a non-member reads it, then it shouldn't be published. If we think it would cloud a future missionaries mind then it shouldn't be published. If members from other nations would be embarrassed by the points of the article, then it shouldn't be written. Sister Hilton, I'm sure is a good person but if she re-reads and thinks about these criteria, I'm sure her article would be written differently. I pray and hope that what comes out of Meridian always has His Spirit in mind, otherwise you are defeating the purpose of the gospel which I'm sure is not the magazine's purpose.
  29. I appreciate what you are trying to say, and the Spirit with which you say it. It is very hard to believe that an author wouldn't have used the word "Liberal" to refer to LDS people of a certain political persuasion. Giving her the benefit of the doubt the article was still laden with judgement and filled to the brim with assumptions. Honestly it was the antithesis of Christ's message, or that of President Uchtdorf who welcomed all to the church with open arms. The tone was exclusionary, pretty much anyone who doesn't fit into the authors (Joni Hilton) narrow view should stay home! She did attempt to walk back her comments by saying that to her "Liberal" means "Disobediant", I find it hard to believe that she wouldn't have used the word "Disobediant" if that was what she really meant. Then when it was taken down there was a statement from Meridian saying that Elder Faust was a Liberal. He was a Demoocrat yes, nothing near a Liberal as she described it, that statement just made it seem even more like it was about LDS people who are Politically Liberal. I so appreciate that you wrote this and I hope that we can all move forward in the Spirit of Unity. I also hope that Sister Hilton gleaned something from the constructive criticism that came from so many readers.
  30. I appreciate the efforts of the editorial staff to try and correct this issue, but Sister Hilton is a published author and knows the impact of words within the medium of this site. She had plenty of time to proof the article and clarify the point she was making. Articles are not the result of a quick verbal submission, but a work of sometimes hours and hours. For a brand new author, maybe. For an author with as much experience that she has, no way. No such pass allowed.
  31. Oops, Maurine (not Maureen) I meant!
  32. I came to the same conclusion as Maureen Proctor, and said so on the Facebook upload of this article I read. Just wanted to make it "official" by posting it here!
  33. I suppose I am one of the few who looked at the article and said to myself, "Lord, is it I?" Sometimes when we read something that raises our hackles a bit, might it be because we recognize ourselves and our own need for daily and weekly repentance? I don't believe that Joni was in any way trying to be divisive, but simply trying to help us take a closer look at our OWN lives and determine whether or not we may be doing things which would either offend the Spirit or cause us to fall into "spiritual disrepair". Satan is so careful in his tactics to try and convince us that what we're doing is "ok" , when maybe we really aren't doing as well as we could. Having been "liberal" myself and realizing just how much I was judging those who I thought were looking "down" on me, I recognize now that maybe they were just looking out for my spiritual welfare.
  34. Sister Hilton and MM, thanks for hosting this fantastic conversation. I've been away from the church for some time, (logistical reasons) and it's very enlightening for me to observe what one of our current Relief Society Presidents thinks about a good portion of the sisters under her stewardship. I wasn't personally offended by her tone because I've been aware of attitudes like this within the church for some time, but I was alarmed that she was a RS Pres. and that the article was published by a fairly mainstream church themed blog. I sincerely hope that the conversation stirred by this article will go a long way towards initiating a humble and Christlike process of self-reflection among all our members, liberal or not.
  35. Thank you for this article. It is always important to remember that we should not judge each other. And yet, I still find the explanation problematic and judgmental. “[Sister Hilton] was using the term liberal more to mean casual Mormon, someone who didn't take their commitment seriously.” Who is she to judge anyone else’s commitment but her own? Does she know what is in other people’s hearts? I hope that we as Mormons can be more accepting and loving and realize that the Church is big enough for everyone, whether they appear to be perfect Mormons or “casual” Mormons.
  36. It's a good things all sins don't smell. I said that many years ago but nobody quoted me. Then Pres. Uchtdorf said it in GC. I had to agree with him - 'cause I am a member in good standing (well mostly)
  37. I wish we would just QUIT label each other any old way, and just concentrate on working on loving/respecting each other and on our personal salvation! We know nothing of what goes on someone else´s heart, or of their intention for doing/thinking/feeling the way they do. What was it president Uchtdorf said: "don´t judge me because I sin different than you".
  38. Sister Proctor....as a editor of a widely read magazine....you place yourself in a vulnerable spot as an attractive target for criticism. I've heard it said, "If you try to please everyone....somebody won't like it.." There will always be critics. It seems belly aching is what many of us do best.....because we choose to be offended. All things considered....you do a wonderful job with the Meridian Magazine. I read it most every day. Please continue....your efforts touch many lives and you are much appreciated by a lot of saints. I would hate to think what it would be like if you stopped publishing. TW
  39. I read this article when it first came out, and it did rub me the wrong way, but not enough for me to react like it seems a lot of people have. I think part of the reason that I reacted the way I did personally was that I saw some of myself in this article. I think the artcile could have done a better job of defining the group of people she was talking about. However, let's face it, were we offended by the use of the word "liberal" or because we thought what she was saying just might apply to ourselves? Just saying...
  40. Ms. Hilton threw a very hurtful stone this week. She made it no less hurtful by changing out the word "liberal" for "disobedient". The "liberal" or "disobedient" Mormon that Ms. Hilton referenced "staggering out of the bar on Sunday" should give us all pause--not to point the finger of disgust like she did. She made many mean-spirited references that it doesn't matter what word is substituted for "liberal". What she really means is "if you're not as good as I am, then you're not good enough for this church." She made it clear that she is her own litmus test for righteousness. The apology is definitely appreciated. The article was not offensive because anyone thought that she was only referencing the politically liberal among us--it was divisive, unresearched, biased and, therefore, offensive. It would be great to see a simple apology from Ms. Hilton herself--I'm sure she's surprised by the backlash. I don't think she knew how much she would hurt people.
  41. appreciate the point of this article, I really do. But it whitewashed Hilton's participation in this 'brouhaha.' Joni wasn't misunderstood, Ms. Proctor. Using the term liberal incorrectly did not confuse people. Her points were very clear. She was calling some of us to repentance, but instead she is the one who is being called to repentance. And that's okay!!! I just wish you hadn't have implied it was all just a misunderstanding. Still, you made wonderful points.
  42. It would be nice if Ms. Hilton wrote her own retraction notice and/or apologetic cover story. Hopefully, when all this sinks in, she'll find enlightenment and come back with a strong article on how to "Love One Another." Or something thereunto.
  43. My original comment was an invitation to cut everyone a little more slack, and a proposal to be introspective. Catherine (above) has carried that forward beautifully with her question "Lord, is it I?" It is very important to me not to be judgmental of Sister Hilton. I appreciate her for trusting me enough to share her perspective. I would have no hesitation to go to her for individual advice and church assistance when I need it. In my experience church leaders who appear to be strict perfectionists cultivate sincere love when it comes to carrying out kindness. I think Sister Hilton is one of these. Addendum to Maurine: keep up the gentle balancing that you do so well.
  44. She made a mistake, she apologized. That is good enough for me. Let's move on ...
  45. I appreciate Meridian Magazine and what it stands for. The big elephant in the room which has not been addressed is that there is a continuum in the Church and politically from left to right, conservative to liberal. I would classify Meridian as being on the conservative side of the spectrum. I have seen Meridian ridiculed on more liberal blogs. I don't think it quite fair to pile on Joni Hilton and her views, which are more conservative and then feel smug on those blogs which are more liberal. I read all the blogs and I don't think Mrs. Hilton has been treated fairly in this instance.
  46. I thought Joni's comments hit the nail on the head. She was not giving her opinion---she was addressing basic and clear doctrines that have been taught by Prophets for many, many years:----tea drinking (keeps you out of the temple), modesty (when my son was on his mission he had to keep averting his eyes from the revealing clothing of the young women in the ward ), etc. I fear we are becoming so fearful that we are going to offend someone somewhere that the clear doctrines of the church are getting watered down so we can all live in our comfort zones. I wish I knew Joni personally and I would give her a big hug. When Joni talked about visiting teaching, I felt a little pang, and that means I need to repent!
  47. I'm pretty certain very few readers thought Sister Hilton was using the word "liberal" to describe a person's political leanings.
  48. I've been waiting for a forum somewhere online where those interested in making progress on certain issues can bounce ideas off each other without fear of bullying. Looks like I've found it, keep up the good work. You've won a reader here. As for the title and tenure of the article perhaps we chalk it up to inexperience and move on.
  49. It was clear to me that she did not mean politically liberal, she said so at the outset. But the implication is equally as clear. "Liberal" is a bad thing. I think the leap from "liberal" Mormon to "liberal" politics was intended to be implied and then denied. So that the political conservatives among us can shake their heads knowingly but act flabbergasted at the offense taken by others.
  50. So what happened to "Are You a Liberal Mormon?" I'd like to be able to read it and judge for myself. It seems to have been removed from the site. That's a shame.
  51. I thought Sister Hilton was pleading with us to come closer to center and pointing out all the ways we could wander away without being aware of it. I appreciate the warning.
  52. I appreciated Joni's article and view point. I did not agree with everything she said, but it gave me food for thought. I appreciated Maureen's comments as well. My take on all of this I love Meridian magazine, its columnists. I don't always agree with everything published, but that is a good thing. For instance, I got way bent out of shape over a columnist who supported home schooling. But--I genuinely enjoy reading differing points of view.
  53. Maurine, I appreciate your article to try and clear some of the issues surrounding Sis. Hilton's article. We do need to be kinder to each other. Often we don't take the time to find out what someone's story is, and why they feel the way they feel or behave a certain way that we may have no business judging. Elder Uchtdorf has been making a real effort in many of his latest talks to reach out to everyone in the church, no matter where they are spiritually or emotionally. In her use of the word liberal, Joni had to know it is a loaded word in the cultural lexicon of the church and it does have political implications as well as implications to behavior or assumed behaviors. If she meant something else, she should have used another word and I find it hard to believe she did not intend for it to have some very pointed thinking in it's usage. I have known many members who don't have what might be considered mainstream or traditional Mormon views on things, but love and live the Gospel and want the same things most of us do, but may have another way in their opinion of getting there. I consider myself both traditional in a lot of my thinking as well as independent. Joni made a lot of assumptions and generalizations that are, in my opinion, largely unfounded. I found myself upset that she decided that A must follow B if a person does not conform to her standard of righteousness and I can say from personal experience it simply isn't so. My father-in-law was not always active, but if the Bishop called and asked for the use of his truck or some help moving a ward member, helping with the ward building, or any number of things he was there, regardless of his activity level. I have also known very active members who wouldn't be caught dead at a service project or taking a calling they thought beneath them. And I have known active members who did their best to both be at church and be there for their brothers and sisters in and out of the church. The other thing that bothered me is that Joni is a Relief Society President and I truly wonder if her viewpoint reflects on how she views, judges and deals with the Sisters in her care. The vast majority of RS Presidents I have known radiate such love and do their best to serve all the sisters regardless of where they are in their walk with the Lord. Some may start out aloof, but any I have had the privilege to know always change for the better in their service to the Lord with his children. I hope that is the case here. I think all the issues surrounding this article has given us all plenty to think about.
  54. While you do make some good points (speaking to the author), there are ligament questions about membership out there, like why do Republicans want to belong to a religion that helps the poor? It's a conflict of interest that doesn't make sense. They vote for the party of greed but belong to a religion all about helping those in need. It's not a judgement "they are bad people" idea, it a conflict of philosophies that doesn't make any sense. I read an article by a libertarian Mormon that thought using tax money to make St. George look better was a violation of his religious views - and this is where the problem lies. Most people don't know either a) their politics or b) their religion. This man knew his political views but he clearly is not a student of Mormonism. Libertarian Mormons clearly have never read the Book of Mormon or the New Testament, as both teach that we should avoid the island mentality and work as communities for the betterment of mankind. They are unknowingly rejecting the core principles thought within the Scriptures. They are welcome to their point of view, yet it is unclear why their live in the delusion they created.
  55. I didn't think the article was offensive, maybe only to those who do those things she mentioned. I agree we should love and accept each other, but even the leaders of the Church have warned against being luke warm, that the Gospel isn't a smorgasboard where we choose what we want to do or believe. In these troubled times, we all in the church need to examine ourselves to see if we're doing all we can to merit the blessings of the Gospel and be prepared for the 2nd Coming of the Savior. We have to be diligent in keeping all our covenants. We are all weak, however, and need to support each other.
  56. Considering all of the sins that do not remove a member from attending church, or working on their salvation (Addictions, inactivity, not accepting callings, complaining about leaders, etc.), a particular political viewpoint or affiliation may not be so serious...
  57. I would like to the read the article, so I can understand what all this flap is about. Thanks
  58. Wow! I thought we were supposed to love and support each other. I hope I don't judge other Mormons, and I hope others aren't constantly watching me and judging me and my family on our political, aesthetic, recreational, and other values. What a hateful place the church would be if everyone else went around with their own list of *You're Not a Member in Good Standing If..."
  59. Was able to read the article. Shouldn't have pulled it. While it may offend some, it wasn't offensive, graphic, mean, inappropriate or whatever. It was a thought provoking opinion which clearly bore the name of its author and does not define Meridian in any way other than being willing to publish divergent views -- a scholarly attribute any publication should embrace.
  60. I did not read the article as it seems to have been removed. However, most people seem to not understand that the term "liberal" in the political sense used in the United States is really a contradiction in terms. The "left" so to speak are not literally "liberal". They are for more restriction of freedom and more regulation. That does not imply that those who identify with the "left" are not members in good standing. Just a clarification of the misuse of the word "liberal." As Inigo Montoya said, " You keep saying that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. "
  61. I read Joni's article and was not offended by it. I find that in this era of "political correctness" we have slouched into that too many about us are simply looking for things to take offense at. As the autumn leaves are dropping from the trees, so let us drop the criticism and show some love and tolerance for Joni. I enjoy her articles.
  62. I know Sister Hilton, doesn't "hate" anyone who supports liberal politics. The point is we all have friends and family that are liberal and it is very hard to understand why, when it seemingly goes against our basic beliefs of life, and liberty. A lot of very nice, smart people support Harry Reid for instance. More, not less needs to be written about this oxymoron, as we figure it out in a Christ like way. Let's not let "politcal correctness" get in the way of a discourse that could lead to more understanding and oneness.
  63. I too felt the article mentioned was not a good article. However, I feel sorry that some, based on one article, have decided not to read anything new by Joni Hilton. Her article "In-laws Coming for the Holidays?" is well worth the read. We all make mistakes. We all have need of the Atonement. As for me, I have enough of my own sins to worry about to worry about another's mis-step..
  64. It took a little bit of digging, but I found Joni's article. I thought it was very good and don't see the need to apologize. It was very well written and I totally agree with her. The church was organized by the Lord, and He is still the head. We are all striving to be worthy to return to our Father. A reminder on how to do that is a good thing, not an insult.
  65. I just don't agree.. Let's not kid ourselves. I think she was incredibly judgmental and rude in the way she portrayed her thoughts in the article. I remember yesterday I heard from a mission president who just returned here to the Tempe, AZ stake and he said: "I love the smell of cigarette smoke in the chapel during sacrament meeting. Why? Because it means someone is trying to change." THIS is the attitude that we need to take with those who aren't living the same way we are. Everyone is dealing with their own struggles. Don't judge others because they sin differently from you. If we all TRULY understood this there would be no problems. Do you think Christ and his disciples went around comparing people? No. He called them to repentance but still welcomed them with open arms. He broke bread with prostitutes and sinners and thieves. Let's not remember who we TRULY are. We are all children of God. "Coming to Christ is not the end; the end is to become like Christ. Coming to Christ is the means to the end." - Brad Wilcox, BYU Professor and Member of the Sunday School General Board.
  66. Am I the only one sooooo tired of people taking offense??? Brigham Young said, "It is a fool who takes offense when none is intended." I do not believe that Joni Hilton was trying to offend any one, but instead was pointing to behaviors that she personally finds discouraging in those who claim to be Saints. Shouldn't she be free to express these thoughts? You don't have to agree with them! Stop being so offended and, instead, prove why she may be wrong by improving your behavior.

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