Feminists Fight Mormon Taboo About Farting At Church

Mormon feminists are launching a campaign urging LDS leaders to vocally support mothers and women who fart at church. This media-firestorm-of-the-week started when a mother of three children was attacked by a bishop for farting. Salt Lake Feminists have taken a break from their other Marxist causes (such as Love-Loud) to focus on this corner of women’s rights.

“It is 2018, and there are still these barriers thrown on women and their families, and we have to start taking the health and free choice of women in the church seriously,” Betsy Friemar said in a Salt Lake women’s conference. “LDS leaders must provide vocal support or women will continue to be excluded, bullied, and attacked for behavior that is natural and also quite positive, not only for her own health but for the health of her family, even if her parenting choices don’t align with local priesthood authority inclinations.”

Farting is actually a natural and beautiful part of a woman’s digestive process, Ms. Friemar pointed out. It has been scientifically proven to be a vital step in receiving vitamins and it helps boost our ability to fight disease. So, when local male priesthood forces women to “hold it in”, they are literally weakening women’s health and destroying their immune system. Additionally, Friemar found in her research that women improve the health of her children by farting. It literally strengthens the cells of those who smell the farts.

The mother of three children told of her harrowing experience when she met with her bishop to get him to sign her temple recommend–a process similar to applying for a Costco membership card. The meeting went completely off the rails when the Bishop started interrogating her about loudly farting during Sacrament meeting. Then, when her husband backed her up he started getting interrogated as well.

The bishop quoted from the Mormon “For the Strength of Youth” pamphlet about clean and intelligent behavior towards those around us. He acted like she as a woman was responsible for the thoughts and reactions of men around her. She had to leave the room several times to calm down, and when she was gone the bishop even told her husband he should not accept this kind of behavior from his wife.

Farting is not mentioned in the “For the Strength of Youth” pamphlet, and the Church of Jesus Christ has no official policy regarding farting in Sacrament meeting. There are just controlling male leaders who don’t like it. Male church spokesman Eric Harrins declined to comment on the thousands of women asking for their rights to be recognized.

Female leadership in the church also hasn’t said anything about it.

It is time for women, Mormon and non-Mormon alike, to rise up and demand massive change in the church. What business is it of men what women do with their bodies? There needs to be no restrictions on farting, or at least provide a special room just for women where they can go to privately do whatever they want and still listen to the sermons over a speaker… oh wait the church already has that. But still, when a mother of three can’t even express natural behavior that is positive for her health and the health of her children, it says far more about the male leadership of that church than it does about her.

So, fart loud! Fart proud! Celebrate who you are!

It’s Not a Valid Interpretation. You’re Just Wrong

What if I told you that the Communist Manifesto is actually an argument for capitalism and private property? Or that the Odyssey is really about horticulture? Or the Harry Potter series is not about magic but about a mental institution and its patients? You’d probably say I was an idiot or a tenured professor. There’s so much evidence pointing against these interpretations of what the stories are really about. The authors couldn’t possibly have had those ideas in mind when writing, so there’s no way those interpretations can be correct.

But what if we just kill the authors’ intentions? We figuratively dismiss the authors from their own works and apply whatever interpretation we want to the story with no one to tell us we’re wrong. Many literary critics, amateur or otherwise, do just that with the death of the author. No longer is the author’s identity regarded nor are the circumstances concerning the creation of the story a concern. The text is completely separated from “limits” and “interpretive tyranny.” Now the true meaning of the text doesn’t matter because there is none. The meaning changes for every person and every time the work is read. So it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about it. All that matters is what you think.

Perhaps you can see the problem with this, but let’s use a real life example to illustrate it. In Acts 16: 31, Paul and Silas say “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Does this mean if we say we believe in Christ we are saved forever? Does it say we need to believe Christ and obey commandments to go to Heaven? Is it correct that all who don’t say they believe in Christ will be sent to Hell forever? Are works not important, only belief? According to death of the author, any of these are true if you want them to be. However, it is impossible for these to all be true at the same time, and with salvation on the line you can’t afford to guess wrong. So you choose one you think is best and group together with people who agree and maybe form a church especially because another group with a different interpretation formed a church and they are condemning people to Hell with their false teachings so you need to show people how your interpretation is right and…then we end up with today’s hundreds of Christian denominations. Instead of freedom, we have confusion. Instead of no limits, we have no guidance.

Maybe doctrine is special though. Let’s choose a simple story like a man helping a poor soul who has been robbed and left for dead on the side of the road even though they are from groups hostile to each other. Does this story mean we should have open borders for all countries? Or maybe that racism is bad? How about that the Jews were and are racist? The story of the Good Samaritan is world famous and has thousands of interpretations. Which one did Jesus mean? It must certainly matter when people are using it as a basis for government policy.

With all these “valid” interpretations comes endless confusion and contention. So what’s right? A powerful truth is found in the Bible Dictionary for parables which helps clear the fog. It states, “It is important to distinguish between the interpretation of a parable and the application of a parable. The only true interpretation is the meaning the parable conveyed, or was meant to convey, when first spoken. The application of a parable may vary in every age and circumstance.” Here we have the crux of the matter. People have confused application for interpretation.

We can apply not just parables but all stories and principles in endless ways. Maybe the bravery of Abinadi inspires you to never back down from sharing your testimony. Perhaps the damage done to innocent lives by the Count of Monte Cristo stays your hand when you consider getting revenge. These applications come from a correct interpretation of the story though. Abinadi was brave. Revenge is wrong. Flawed interpretations will lead to flawed applications.

So how do we know the correct interpretation? This leads to the hardest question and the seduction of death of the author. Sometimes the author’s meaning is clear, other times it isn’t, and still other times it has layers of meaning. Sussing out what is correct is no mean feat. Death of the author offers an easy way out. Just say it doesn’t matter and it can mean whatever you want. However, an incorrect interpretation by definition will either ignore some things, force meanings, or put ideas together in an unwieldy manner. It can never offer full satisfaction.

The true interpretation can be found though. Again, the Bible Dictionary about parables offers advice. Among other things, it says it’s critical to consider the context and setting. For a parable, this would be who the Lord is talking to and the circumstances of the time as well as the idea it sprang from. A story is a bit different but follows from this. The author’s history and social context must be considered, evidence must be found within the text, and any author commentary can help. Occasionally, the author will just flat out say what the correct interpretation is, but it’s not always that easy. An important thing to keep in mind as well is that with many more recent stories, the author never had an interpretation in mind, wanting instead to have the audience dream up whatever they want. This can easily be boiled down to the correct interpretation being that there is none and it’s meaningless.

Thus, for every story or text, there is a correct interpretation and incorrect ones. It is our responsibility as the audience to find what that interpretation is and then apply it how we want. If we find we are holding on to an incorrect view, we should change when presented with evidence. It is the height of folly to dismiss evidence in the text or especially what an author directly states, and cling to erroneous interpretations. If someone states his interpretation is correct, then it is reasonable to ask him to prove it. Discussion should be centered around finding evidence and putting it together to get at what the author truly meant. Remember that the correct interpretation doesn’t limit us. It guides us to countless applications. Whether it is trying to understand the nature of God or simply finding what motivates a character, we can be safe in the knowledge that a correct interpretation exists for us to find.

Will the LDS Church Finally Remove Toxic Patriarchy From Our Hymns? #HymnbookEdits

Every week I sit silently as the hymns are played, gazing around at other women who like me roll their eyes and yawn. This is because Mormon women are subjected every week to no less than three harmful songs, not including the patriarchal indoctrination songs we have to listen to during the other two hours of church (which shouldn’t even exist, by the way). Well, those hundreds of songs by old white men filled with outdated messages may get replaced very soon, as the Mormon church is reportedly making significant changes to the hymnbook.

Hymns are a tool of the patriarchy, and this is why I never sing. Sometimes when I can’t stand it anymore, I take out my earphones and blast modern pop music (I do this a lot actually). Feminists have noted that the hymnbook needs to reflect the global nature of the church, and I couldn’t agree more. No more “My Country Tis Of Thee.” We need to bring in minority voices, and set a quota of class groups for authors and LGTBQIAA+-friendly themes. We also must make sure the majority of songs have female authors (like we already have for the primary songbook), preferably women with hyphenated last names. Did you know most hymns currently speak of God as a male, only a few as a neutral gender, and zero speak of God as female? This must change now.

We need these alterations to current hymns and Primary song titles:

  • Press Forward Saints To Equality
  • Praise to the Women
  • Onward Christian Social Justice Warriors
  • Count Your Many Pronouns
  • A Poor Wayfaring Woman Disenfranchised
  • I Am A Child of Karl Marx
  • Did You Think To Check Your Privilege?
  • Do As I’m Saying Not As I’m Doing
  • I Hope They Call Me By My Preferred Pronoun
  • and of course… As Feminists In Zion

Additionally, we need to add the following to make hymnbook and primary song book inclusive:

  • A Cup of Coffee – by Katy Perry
  • Imagine – by John Lennon
  • This Land Is My Land – Woody Guthrie
  • Believe – Imagine Dragons
  • One Love – Bob Marley
  • All You Need Is Love – The Beatles
  • Respect – Aretha Franklin
  • Born This Way – Lady Gaga
  • She’s So High Above Me – Tal Bachman

What is your suggestion for a hymn alteration? What can the church do to make it so our young women aren’t indoctrinated to think they are second-class members and inferior human beings? How can we drag these ornery men in the church into the 21st century as equality-minded progressives?

Post your ideas under #HymnbookEdits! Make a statement they can’t ignore!

How Holding The Priesthood Fulfills Men

Different churches preach very different ideas about priesthood and the man’s role in religion. Some churches are dominated by grim priests who give lengthy sermons. Some churches entertain on a stage. Some churches sing guitar songs about love and avoid the heart of theology and faith. I find that in any case, a good strong man who leads the congregation delivers an uplifting message and brings us closer to heaven.

One vitally important thing about the LDS is the practice of giving a measure of this responsibility to all worthy men. Priesthood is an important element of our church that fulfills us individually and lifts us as a community as each man takes part. This relationship and service for God and position of leadership empowers men so that he can bless his family and entire community.

A Case For Patriarchy

The 1828 dictionary defined patriarch as, “The father and ruler of a family; one who governs by paternal right.” The dictionary today erases the part about ‘paternal right’ (not surprising, Dictionary.com has made their contempt for traditional-minded people clear.) Our Socialist thought-leaders want us to believe patriarchy is an out-dated model founded on societal conditioning. But the truth is it is a paternal right. It starts with fatherhood.

The father deserves a leadership role of his family, and this beneficially provides a healthy environment for children to grow up in. Each father fulfilling his patriarchal mission is like a trickle of water that collects into a stream, and the stream directs society as a whole. A man’s leadership role is simple biology–a fact that was once common sense but today scientists are too afraid to tell the truth about. It is a leadership role that blesses his children and wife, and provides for society.

In the Old Testament, patriarchal leadership for society was synonymous with family. Nomads wandering the deserts found family to be the most basic and important unit of their society. The Hebrew Law formalized this kind of arrangement, with grave punishments for children who rebelled against their parents. Imagine today a law that severely punished children who did not obey their parents. It’s unthinkable because of how greatly patriarchy has diminished in our urban culture, as well as how greatly big government has replaced a man’s rightful place of leadership in society and family. The prophets Abraham, Isaac, and Joseph lived in tiny migrant groups where everybody was familiar and related, and authority rested on the superior elder. Urban centers such as Sodom and Gomorrah experienced social decay and quickly collapsed.

What kind of power did women hold as mothers? More than we think. Rebecca got her son Isaac to steal his brother’s birthright and changed the entire course of history. The bible doesn’t treat this as an act of treachery as we might expect, but instead celebrates what she did. Eve directed the course of human events from the very start by taking matters into her own hands for how to fulfill God’s commandment to replenish and multiply. Sarah made Abraham’s other wife, Hagar, her own servant, to become banished because she was jealous of her. We can’t pretend like women don’t continue today to direct the course of human events. But unfortunately, women have forgotten the godly power they rightfully hold, just as men have.

With Adam and Eve, we see two very important roles distinguish Adam, fatherhood and relationship with God. Aside from rare events such as God’s intervention on behalf of the forsaken Hagar, it was often men who angels appeared to and delivered messages that affected the entire family and society. Mary the mother of Joseph submitted to her husband Joseph, as an angel appeared to Joseph, not Mary, and warned him of impending danger from the government and urged them to flee to Egypt. It was his role.

Endowment Of Power

Sensual and emotional urges are unfortunately twisted to animistic perversion, but they could motivate us to take that scary leap from singledom to fatherhood and husband, and in so doing claim the power and leadership role. We in the West are incessantly confronted with television commercials, magazine adds, films, music, and other globalist influence that seek to diminish this power and hand it over to corporate powers, to both men and women. The vast majority of media today is dedicated to convincing us to give away our rightful powers, and we don’t even see it. The television commercial that shows a wife rolling her eyes because her dumb husband burned himself on the grill again–buy this health insurance! The movie script that shows women balancing a CEO job with family and hectic New York life, all with a smile–work a job! The message is always that we need to buy a product to make up for our inadequacies as men or women, and that we need to be corporate slaves instead of focus on progeny.

Patriarchy and womanhood are solemn and profound roles that compliment and strengthen each other. Unfortunately, the consumerism-focused corporations that direct our popular culture demonizes the role of father and mother, and do everything to keep us apart–exactly like how Satan did everything he could in the Garden of Eden to keep man and woman apart and avoid reproduction. Today, birth rates are falling and children are more neglected than ever. Literature, movies, and games that do include father figures distort what fatherhood is all about, confusing the role of mother and father and in some other way completely mutilating them to erase the principles of power. When is the last time you saw a movie with a male character who admires the leadership of his father and strives to improve himself to be like his father? We saw that in Black Panther, but then the movie gave us a twist and we ended up ruing his father’s patriarchy. He ended up handing over his country’s power to globalism. Women are taught to hate manliness and always linger her finger over the divorce button. Children are taught to resent morality that would protect them, and compete for the coveted role of who is most oppressed. “My Mormon father is always forcing his standards on me…” is what they want Mormon children to say. The power that a father fought his entire life so hard to achieve can so easily be erased by the child that gives in to the persuasive antics from the Great and Spacious building that they are daily forced to enter, starting at age five. Our godly position of authority is a battle we never seem to stop fighting.

Our realm revolves around our wife and children. For example, our political concerns are primarily about our family. Then our it extends to the community, and then to the world at large. As conservatives, we seek to preserve the system that worked very well for thousands or millions of years but only now the Left wants to liberalise. Our greatest nightmare is that like Jacob we wake up one morning and find that the wolves of Leftism have claimed our prize son, who has become a slave to the worldly nightmare of modern culture. We try to protect our homes from poisonous intrusions such as feminism and the cult of equality. We are weak. But heaven delivers us power as men to achieve great things for the sake of the wives and children.

“Wherefore, I call upon the weak things of the world, those who are unlearned and despised, to thresh the nations by the power of my Spirit;

And their arm shall be my arm, and I will be their shield and their buckler; and I will gird up their loins, and they shall fight manfully for me; and their enemies shall be under their feet; and I will let fall the sword in their behalf, and by the fire of mine indignation will I preserve them.” (D&C 35:13-14)

Hagar got the power she needed to fight this battle, because she was completely alone and needed something. But most women have options. It is unnatural for women to fight this good fight the way men do. Yes, I know, film after film portrays the 5 ft 2 inch girl as a crazy tough chick who beat down the giant men, saving her children and diminutive husband from danger. Nations and corporations increasingly fill top leadership positions entirely with women. Should women stay in the home? Well I can’t imagine the stress it takes to run a business and also raise children. If someone can handle that, more power to them. But I think another issue, and what we don’t really talk about, is how the power of a father trickles into mainstream society. How does that happen? Does that happen? Growing up in modern culture you wouldn’t think so. Fatherhood is for wimps, according to modern culture. But I think the patriarchal force lead nations. At its most basic level, a man hunts to provide for the children and pursues excellence to impress a suitable mate. This develops society. A man off on his own? That doesn’t count for much. And yes, the priesthood power of a woman is there every step of the way. But let’s stop pretending they are the same. They are not the same. Women do not beat up twenty large men who are attacking her. That is not reality. Social justice conditioning pushes this gender equality lie that pushes away from our power as men and women, pulling down the strong on an equal playing field with the weak. Real power is a manful battle.

What Priesthood Is

When we talk about a priest in mainstream society, what comes to mind? Maybe you think of a celibate monk who confines himself in a sedentary space and repeats lines from text over and over in his head. Maybe you think of the old superstitious crazies who threw children and women into volcanoes to appease the gods, or the smooth-talking Southerner who buys expensive yachts to “spread the good word.” What is priesthood? It is a principle that empoewrs, and it applies to everyone. We are all priests or priestesses to some kind of doctrine–the true path of God or the counterfeit path of the world.

I have met many men who though not LDS were on the right path, just as I have met LDS who were on the counterfeit path of social justice even though they were Mormon. Consider world leaders who have power but use it to evil ends, such as Harvey Weinstein or Germany’s Angel Merkel. Do their power and wisdom stem from their family roots? Well, Angela is childless and Harvey–well, you know. Sometimes power stems from a righteous priesthood, but especially with the leaders of this world, it often doesn’t. It is an evil priesthood which is not built on patriarchy. In the case of Harvey it is built on feminism-turned-male-scumbag. If not principles of fatherhood and husbandship, what principles does false priesthood power rest on? Greed. Jealousy. Hatred. Social Justice. Selfishness. If we consider the community and world at large as their “children,” then they consume their children like the evil priests of ancient times. It comes back to raising good children to the Lord versus consuming children for selfish greed. Godly priesthood begins and is judged by fatherhood, and this is the virtue with which we approach it. This is how it spread from the individual to the family, and from the family on to the world.

The Oxford Dictionary revises words that feminists don’t like. The thought-leaders hate patriarchy and are doing everything to expel fatherhood from our lives. We are surrounded by the new-speak, and it is pretty much impossible for someone who is not influenced by the gospel to figure it out on their own. It is hard enough as Mormons to figure it out. With the high possibility of being fleeced by no-fault divorce, your children being brainwashed against you, and the government arbitrarily tearing your family apart, it feels like walking through a minefield, and most men think “why bother?” Most men want to fulfill this life and become powerful patriarchs in charge of their lives and bringing peace to the world, but the possibility of success appears hopeless. It is so much easier to give into feminism, believe that patriarchy is the “main and integral force of oppression,” and feed the ugly beast that rides upon the waters. As a man of the church, I feel it my duty to reach out to these men and empower them. They don’t have to be Mormon to embrace these principles and make the world a better place through self-improvement.

Patriarchy is a righteous priesthood, and it is the basis for peace, prosperity, and development of civilization. Any civilization devoid of male leadership has dwindled and devolved into chaos. Civilization needs the men. It is a matter of individuals and society as a whole embracing their divine authority and stepping into the dark unknown, just as the patriarchs of old did. It is a potential that resides in every man.

Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson 22: Not All Good Things Are Good All The Time

Pretty neat when the lesson material lines up with current events, isn’t it? And I don’t mean David and Goliath, I mean the story that’s here as a foil to it, where Saul refuses to slaughter the Amalekites quite like he’s been told to. The prophet Samuel walks into the warcamp and hears something more than awed silence, which was not the plan, and Saul remonstrates, he justifies, he claims he was doing a good thing with the non-destroyed livestock.

And in a way, he’s right. Sacrifice is good. God loves sacrifice. He’s just not all the way right, which is worse than not right at all, because God doesn’t hate disobedience as much as he hates competition. We cannot set prior commandments of God up against current commandments of God. We can’t use some of the gospel to neutralize the rest.

Which brings us to the US-Mexico border. There’s a lot I could say, but I’ll leave that for others, as I fear this conversation is more light than heat. It is my sad duty to inform you that the progs are at it again, this time with the value of keeping all families together at all times, against the value of national sovereignty. They’ve done it before, set our values fighting each other like worms in a curse jar, and they’ll keep doing it just as long as we let them.

To obey is better than to sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. You can never be a true Christian if you do not understand that verse. You can’t give up values for other values on your own terms. We need sacrifice in this life but we’re not smart enough, we’re not experienced enough, we’re just not good enough to know what goes where. And some would tell you “err on the side that doesn’t separate families from their children.” That is good advice, if you have to err.

We don’t.

To obey is better than to sacrifice. David understood this. When he had to kill a man for the sake of his country, when he had to kill a man in single combat for the sake of his country, when he had to kill a man much bigger, stronger, meaner, faster, and more experienced than him, he didn’t rationalize, he didn’t pit the value of being alive for his country against the value of doing what his country needed right then, and we can too.

Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson 21: Honor Is Not About You

The word “honor” is in a weird place right now. Our culture’s managed to provide workarounds for many of the problems that honor was a life-and-death matter about in ages past, what with credit scores and police forensics and reporters trawling the social media accounts of political candidates. It’s a propaganda word we use to try to polish a personality, just another perfect head of hair or twinkle from the corner of the mouth. An “honor system” is when you take the exhilarating, risky decision to trust people to tell the truth. An “honor code” is when you take on the mantle of an authoritarian, the iron fist of the kings of old, to tell college kids to act like adults until very recently used to just act.

To many people, honor is an anachronism, a social technology for establishing trust that is no longer needed in an age when we don’t even trust nature and our senses without a peer-reviewed, replicated study to prove that dreams are in fact real. In some parts of the world, the credit systems we’ve developed to determine mathematically if a borrower is honest enough to pay back what is owed has been adapted to cover all aspects of life, and if the social credit system works over there you can look forward to a similar system being established here, outsourcing personal integrity to the guardian angels of a computer system, their silent notes taking stock of your character with a margin of error in the bottom quartile of the industry, and then nobody will need to get to know you to see if they should trust you.

Ancient Israel got to field-test the old EMP-proof version of honor. Our Gospel Doctrine lesson today divides the story of Samuel’s career into four things honored, or loved, or trusted. Eli’s sons honored themselves. Eli honored other people.  Samuel honored the Lord. Israel honored the world. Continue reading “Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson 21: Honor Is Not About You”

Liberate Yourself, Upload Bikini Pics To Ex-Mormon Reddit

Mormons teach girls that the worst sin they can commit is to show bare shoulders. We’ve come a long way since my seminary days, when the instructor shamed me for showing my upper arms as I came in late. But millions of Mormon girls still say they are being treated like objects and shamed because of the thoughts “they put” in boys’ heads. Why are we as women responsible for the thoughts boys decide to have? The church teaches that our bodies are temples, after all. Why are women told that their bodies are evil and shameful?

The Exmormon Reddit is a support group where Ex-Mormons, liberal LDS members, and feminists like myself cope with toxic church teachings. It is a safe space where one by one we can stand high up and talk about how much better we are than the traditional Mormons. Women and girls who suffer under the Mormon patriarchy are encouraged to liberate themselves and upload photographs with little clothing on. A supportive group of elderly Exmormon guys give these young girls encouragement as they examine these photos of the young girls and share them with friends.

This is a great way for young women to respect themselves and to teach body positivity to the elders. Hundreds of young women and girls are taking part in this healthy expression of self-respect that the elderly Exmormon men provide for us feminists. It helps us overcome the abuse that is so common in Mormon institutions like BYU. Come, be part of the “shoulder porn addiction!” It is good fun! Continue reading “Liberate Yourself, Upload Bikini Pics To Ex-Mormon Reddit”

A Wise Steward

Who is wiser? The man who receives money, invests it, and reaps more reward, or the man who receives money and buries it away or spends it? We don’t need to wonder, because Christ answered this in his famous parable about talents. When the Lord blesses us with something, be it money, abilities, or opportunities, He expects us to do our best and make the most of it. If we do, the Lord is pleased with us and will continue to bless us. For others, they can know that such a person is an industrious and wise steward.

This is comforting knowledge because recent news (from a self-designated leaker site no less) shows that the Church is using money it gets from its business interests to invest back into the stock market and reap the huge gains that have occurred there. The site put the possible money held now at $32 billion in 13 LLC companies, but this comes with several assumptions such as the Church owning 100% of every company. Even if you don’t think that to be the case, it still shows the Church is investing and growing its money wisely, and has a large nest egg to boot.

So why does the Church need that money? Besides churches and temples, the Church also has many employees that help everything run smoothly. Only a select number of people actually know how many people are employed, but it is well known that the Church pays well and looks out for its employees. This is in addition to all the money needed for the many activities and materials the Church creates to further the Lord’s work. The Lord expects us to do what we can and put in all our efforts to further His work and that includes having the money to do it.

Further comfort can be found in the fact that the Church is not pressed for money. Organizations, just like people, can be bullied and coerced when they need funds. The Church can maintain its independence and fend off any insidious attacks that require capital to resolve whether they be defending against groundless lawsuits, standing up to hostile campaigns, or countering false information. Just like Captain Moroni had the Nephites prepare themselves against attack, the Church must be ready too.

This information, though understandably wanted to be kept private by the Church, should earn the respect of everyone for the Church. Just as Christ counseled, the Church is being a wise steward with what has been entrusted by the Lord. Members hearts can be at ease about the Church’s financial situation.

Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson 20: An Ordinary Story

This is an odd story to find in the Old Testament, isn’t it? Or you might think so if you hadn’t read the emotional high notes when Jacob reunited with Esau and Joseph revealed himself to his brothers. The fast pace and gory action of Judges dies down, and the focus on great battles and important figures shifts to just one family.

Elimelech, Naomi, Mahlon, Chilion. They’re just a family from Bethlehem, looking for food. We leave our homelands looking for work now, don’t we? A lot more than maybe we want to. Every American ward you go to outside of Utah you’ll find plenty of people from elsewhere, who felt called there, or who chased a job there, or who just wanted some land and it was cheap there. Nowadays I know more people from my hometown in Utah than in my hometown. It’s a lonely thing, for everyone to be around people they didn’t grow up with. And the book of Ruth is a lonely story.

Elimelech dies. No less a tragic story for being common. You might imagine Naomi would come to hate the place that killed her husband, but she stays, I’d imagine for her sons, as they take wives of the Moabites. This land becomes a land of joy and sorrow both.

Then the sorrow overthrows the joy. Her beloved Mahlon and her beloved Chilion die. Naomi alone is left of that family that left Bethlehem.

There’s a lot of weeping in this book. It’s a humble story that hits you in the heart. It’s good to read, in the midst of all the action, all the adventure, all the smiting and killing and God schooling Israel with the famine and the sword, it’s good to read about ordinary people who just couldn’t stand to see each other be lonely.

Naomi doesn’t want her daughters-in-law to care for an old woman all their lives, one with no prospects for them, returning in rags to the place she was born. Neither of them want to see the mother of their beloved husband wander off to die alone. And at the culmination of the story, we find that Boaz can’t allow Ruth, a woman with virtue as bright as the sinners of the book of Judges were dark, to linger in mourning.

Elimelech doesn’t come back. Mahlon and Chilion don’t come back. We never see Orpah again – I hope she was able to make a visit. Grief is woven into the structure of this short story, which makes it more thematically appropriate, I think, than many other stories in the Bible. Our world is broken. Sin and death reign. Hope is fleeting but it exists and blessed be the name of our God for that.

I don’t know why or how the book of Ruth survived the millennia to come to us. There are explanations, for sure, but I don’t think it would be any less great of a story if David and Christ didn’t trace their ancestry to this Moabite woman, if Spear Carrier C were the most illustrious descendant of Naomi and Ruth. It’s a reminder not only of the fallen nature of the world we live in, but that sometimes, despite that, good things happen.

Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson 19: What Are Tales For?

When Latter-day Saints hear the phrase “the reign of the judges” we think of the Book of Mormon version, or the time period that takes up the bulk of the narrative, a time of unity for the Nephites under an ostensibly democratic form of government. There are profitable comparisons between that and the Old Testament reign of judges, where the heirs of Moses and Joshua ruled over an Israel at least as prone to pride cycles as the Nephites.1Pride cycles are better than just being wicked all the time. The unknown compilers of Judges were, like Mormon, interested in showing that Israel prospers when it obeys the Lord. I’m sure Mormon based some of his style in compiling Mosiah and Alma and Helaman from the version of Judges he had access to.

We don’t have much from the book of Judges, though by all accounts it seems to have some of the oldest, least-changed bits of the Old Testament. Nobody really had a reason to alter it. It is what it is. And what it is is stories. I’m normally against mining stories for basic one-sentence moral lessons, and I’m especially against that here. The Gospel Doctrine manual focuses on the stories of Gideon, Deborah, and Samson, and those stories do have some of the easiest morals to mine, but we shouldn’t let that mar our appreciation of them as stories. Gideon tests the Lord in a very suspenseful passage, we know people have died for this sort of thing, but when he’s been satisfied he’s completely true and faithful, and the winnowing of his army and his victory in the night are just good literature. Samson is prideful and haughty and a bit of a bully, so in a way we’re glad to see him fall, at the same time he manages to pull off a heroic comeback right at the end.

And even the stories in Judges that we don’t talk about, those frighteningly violent stories of Ehud and Eglon or the war with the Benjamites, what sort of value do you think those had for the Israelites? Sure, you could try to make Ehud into some sort of moral lesson, but his 80s action hero one-liner “I’ve got a message from God” before he blows away the Moabite king is a sure crowd-pleaser, along with his hapless servants so terrified of their king’s wrath they don’t even know he’s dead. The awful story of the Levite and his concubine and what happened after has enough sex and violence to satisfy today’s HBO crowd, and I’m sure some of that sentiment was around back then.

And Jephthah? I really don’t know. What were the Israelites thinking when they heard this? It’s the worst story in the Bible. What sort of lesson can you even take from it? Maybe it’s just been left in as a reminder that history is weird and vague and murky and we don’t know how these stories got here.

In any case, Samson, Gideon, and Deborah are good stories. I’m glad we get to focus on them at least once every four years.