Episode 4: Threats!

Join Lindsay, Amanda and Matt as they talk about the oft-discussed quote from Elder Boyd K. Packer’s talk to the All-Church Coordinating Council about biggest challenges or “threats” to the LDS church. Are Feminists, Gays and Intellectuals threatening to the church or is the issue more complicated?


Links mentioned in this podcast:

Talk to the All-Church Coordinating Council, By Elder Boyd K. Packer

Clip before the bumper is taken from PBS Frontline’s documentary: The Mormons (part two) featuring the voices of Elder Oaks and Elder Packer. Watch online here.

Matt Bowman’s “The Mormon People.”

17 Replies to “Episode 4: Threats!”

  1. This one was goooood. Lindsay, I adored your frank statement to those who would say we’re anti-Mormon. It is *not* anti-Mormon to discuss things! Brava. And Matt, your conclusion at the end was stellar. The real threat is letting Mormonism stagnate and cease to be relevant. I agree completely.

    And may I just say, I appreciate the tone of these podcasts. While I can handle just about anything, my husband dislikes the disbelieving air given off in some of the other podcasts I frequent. We can listen to the fMh podcasts together without him getting defensive. Which means he agrees more often and therefore becomes a little more feministy! Perfect.

    1. Have your husband read this quote by Elder James E Talmage, “The man who cannot listen to an argument which opposes his views either has a weak position or is a weak defender of it. No opinion that cannot stand discussion or criticism is worth holding. And it has been wisely said that the man who knows only half of any question is worse off than the man who knows nothing of it. He is not only one-sided but his partisanship soon turns him into an intolerant and a fanatic. In general it is true that nothing which cannot stand up under discussion or criticism is worth defending.” ~ James Talmage, Improvement Era, January 1920, p. 204

      Unless it will make things worse between you, then don’t tell him.

  2. I’m intrigued by your ideas of a more fluid church ongoing, but I am not entirely sure how it will work.

    To be fluid means to admit to fallibility which calls into question the claims by the brethren to be receiving true and prophetic inspiration directly from God. That fallibility issue is obviously already out there, but unofficially and in a sort of sideways way – ‘he was speaking as a man’ is used without overtly directing the problems this causes. The obvious question an outsider has is IF a prophet cannot tell the difference between genuine inspiration from God and just personal opinion then what gives prophetic weight to ANY statement or instruction from the leadership?

    I have seen small efforts to admit to fallibility, but far greater efforts to deal with the problem by prioritizing obedience over all other virtues – statements that essentially say it doesn’t matter if a prophet gives incorrect instruction (such as teaching bias and prejudice and even violence towards minorities) because the faithful saint who follows that guidance thinking they’re doing the right thing will be held blameless. To me that is a frightening teaching and it implies an organization that is preparing not to become more fluid but to ossify even further.

    Personally I think that the church cannot evolve until the claims of exclusivity are dropped, but dropping exclusivity means quite likely losing the claim to restoration, to priesthood authority etc etc. The problem, I think, is that so many things are knotted together and pulling out one weak thread can unravel a great deal more.

  3. I absolutely wait for the day when the prophet gets up and lays it on the line. That they are no better then the rest of us and are just trying to do the best they can. I wish they would take a more open approach like the community of christ and be more inclusive of people. Perhaps more like a unitarian universalism where everyone is welcome along with their varying beliefs. I lost my faith in religion and god in general a couple years ago but continued with the church because its my culture. I recently stopped attending because I was not being fulfilled. The lessons are so structured and boring, everyone just nods their head and says yes. I haven’t attended a ward with a good discussion going on in years. Its boring and stagnate. I agree with Megan that the church would lose a lot by making itself more fluid but I think in the end it will be worth it. If we all fit in the cookie cutter mold how will we think outside the box?

  4. Awesome podcast! I wonder of the day will ever come when things will be represented with more purity and less fear.
    I just ran into this statement and thought it was interesting.
    “Boyd K Packer is what is know as the hatchet man. They knew from the start that he would not out live Monson and so he has the great task of saying it how it is. This way they can have someone who is out there to chastise and keep the church in line who doesn’t have to account for his sayings as prophet.”
    What do you think?

  5. I’m going to be honest, I’ve always shied away from fmh because I’m not a housewife. I’m a Mormon, I’m a femenist, but as a single, childless woman who works in an office 5 days a week, I find the term housewife more divisive than I probably ought to. I really enjoyed this podcast – so much so that I just finished listening to all the previous episodes. Well done, I say! I am impressed with your choice of topics, your presentation and the quality production work that has gone into this podcast. I’m excited to hear what’s coming up next!

    1. I’m a big fan of the blog fMh even though I’m not a housewife either. (I work outside the home. Plus I’m a guy.) If you enjoy the podcast, I hope you’ll give the blog another chance. I think you might find a lot of posts and comments you enjoy.

  6. I would have enjoyed this podcast more if there had been an additional guest to rebut the claims being made; a pseudo-Packer, if you will. Just someone to point out the holes in the arguments presented.

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  8. Now I’ve lost track of which of y’all said it, but I loved the line that yes indeed, feminists, gays, and intellectuals are a threat to President Packer’s idea of what the Church is. But that’s not what it is anymore.

    Great discussion all around! I wasn’t even familiar with all the other gems in that talk, like his determination to represent the Brethren to the members, even if it means ignoring the members’ suffering. At least he’s upfront about it, I guess!

  9. I liked the story that Lindsay shared about her neighbor who came out to his family about the problems he had with the church and how he was met with love and understanding…I wish it was always this way. I think you’re right that when the reception is one of love it makes it easier to have a positive attitude toward the church; even though the pain and anguish are still there…it makes it so much easier to deal with.
    It made me think about a something another blogger I follow said about the other side of the coin. She said: “It is hurtful to have everything you say dismissed. It is hurtful when you’re brutally honest and put yourself out there, digging deep to really expose your motivations and feelings and struggles, only to have the ones you truly care about use those struggles and your honesty in talking about them as a valid reason for shunning you.”
    I look forward to people in the church becoming slowly more open to treating those with different opinions with love.
    I like to live by the article 11th of faith “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”
    It is ok for people to believe things other than the church that Packer was trying to defend from these so-called threats. And I’d also like to say that I don’t think the article of faith was implying that we all have a collective conscience that dictates how we all as a whole church should worship God. I think It means that each individual can claim this privilege and worship how where and what they may, living according to how their own personal conscience dictates.

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