Friday, August 31, 2012

Steve Bloor's Open Letter to LDS Europe Area Presidency

Steve Bloor blogged an "Open Letter to Europe Area Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" by Christopher Ralph.  Ralph's treatise isn't perfect, of course. But it is the kind of respectful and high call that I would love be able to compose about the arising challenge to the LDS Church of the disillusionment of many of its most dedicated members.

The Europe Area LDS Presidency wrote a letter urging local leaders to respond to a burgeoning crisis of faith driven by a mismatch between the current LDS historical/doctrinal narrative and the increasingly unavoidable story informed by internet resources.  Christopher Ralph wrote a response to that letter.  What I found refreshing about Ralph's letter was its graciousness, generosity, and gentleness.

Ralph brings up a couple of examples of story mismatches in a way that is circumspect and sympathetic.  About the story of the translation of the Book of Mormon, he says, 
It is disconcerting when our children alert us to the true facts of this crucial event in Mormon history after watching an episode of South Park. The discovery that the creators of South Park place a higher value on historical authenticity than do the Brethren creates spiritual shock-waves from which some members never recover.
It is a sin of commission no less.
But what I appreciate most is the attitude Ralph conveys when he suggests the most appropriate course of action:
We may of course ascribe much of the present situation to human failing. We might ask: is it wrong to fail if we acknowledge failure, and try again? Do we ever truly repent and learn when we cover our sin? It seems to me that we do not, and what applies to the individual, also applies to the institution.
Simultaneously refusing to speak evil of his brethren who are responsible for the sin, he evokes our beloved Doctrine and Covenants 121:34-46 in insisting that the only way forward is institutional confession and repentance.  It is an invitation that I find to be gentle and prophetic.

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