Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Firestorm over reporting Elder Jensen apology

In a previous post, I excerpted a report of a special meeting in Oakland CA for those having difficulties with the church's involvement with Prop8.  Two years after the church mobilized members to contribute money and efforts towards Prop8, wounds continue to exist among those who remain conflicted over church loyalty and equality for gays.

The meeting was apparently very touching and those in attendance were moved by the outreach from a general authority, particularly his apology.  Similar feelings were felt by many as news of this spread over the Internet.

When John Dehlin at Mormon Matters posted the report, a heated debate erupted over the intent of the post.  In uncharacteristic fashion for a moderate-to-liberal blog, the post along with the associated comments were removed ( but most are cached here ).  In place of the post is message:

This post has been removed, along w/ all comments.  It was found to be totally objectionable by virtually everyone: believers and unbelievers alike….including most of the perma-bloggers on this blog.

What a disaster. The Management

Rory Swensen at Times and Seasons (also involved in the debate at Mormon Matters, contesting some of Dehlin's points) reported that "a debate erupted over whether the headline and the conclusions were warranted, or whether it was being spun into something that could be used by advocates for change" by commandeering "the use of inflated rhetoric to leverage Elder Jensen's words to effect change." 

Furthermore, he noted some discussion has "been replaced with fresh status updates, free of the inconvenient 'alternate voices' and "a number of comments on the thread at Mormon Matters, particularly those revealing intent and those pointing out problematic and inflated rhetoric, were deleted or moderated."

-- Apparently, strong feelings were brought to the surface.--

The discussion probably could have been handled in a more appropriate way.  But the fact that it unfolded the way it did seems to underscores the continuing difficulty in the church resulting from Prop 8. 

The idea of a general authority apologizing for the hurt felt by so many apparently resonated very deeply for some, and reminds me of the potency of some faith promoting rumors.  Irregardless of the factual basis for such rumors, they never-the-less speak to ones hopes and sense of what ought to be, and take on a life of their own.

The ensuing debate of the possible guilt of church leaders, the defense of the church's integrity, and the subsequent removal of this uncomfortable discussion  underscore the depth of feeling on this topic.

To me, this discussion is an indication that the rift resulting from prop 8 remains deep.

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