Nate Oman has created quite a discussion concerning the appropriate decision-making mechanism for a top-down hierarchy like that in the LDS Church. He makes a case for a slow and deliberate process that brings along Mormon conservatives. In a follow-up post to his original, he mentions a more progressive decision-making process, that he doesn’t personally endorse.
The dominant strain of contemporary liberal philosophy going back to John Rawl’s A Theory of Justice deals with this problem by creating lexical orderings of values and of people. Hence, one might create a list of basic rights in order of importance and then make one’s deicison by respecting the rights according to their lexical ordering. Alternatively, one migh lexically order different people. Rawls famously argued for a maxmin principle, whereby inequalities were to be tolerated only to the extent that they were to the benefit of the least well off. (They could not, for example, be tolerated if they simply made everyone better off or increased total aggregate welfare.) I suspect that part of what lied behind ethical critiques of my argument is some lexical ordering. A good candidate here is a maxmin principle. He presents liberals, Black Mormons, and others harmed by institutional inertia as “the least among us” and then suggests that toleration of harms to these folks is immoral or unethical. I think that some kind of implicit assumption that lexical ordering coupled to some maxmin principle is the proper mode of moral reasoning lurks behind much of progressive thought these days.
To truly believe that Mormonism is one of Christ’s true religions, don’t we need to stake out the moral high ground. Aren’t there certain “inalienable rights” that should be granted equally to worthy members and to society as a whole? For example, the right to marry, the right to full participation in the church, the right to not have to dress like an undertaker (I’m sort of joking on this last one), etc.
Following Christ’s example, don’t we have a greater obligation to the poor, the sick, the afflicted, the underpriledged, the mentally and physically handicapped, to individuals living in atrocious conditions in developing countries (some of them members of our own church)?
There are a lot of things that supercede the institutional worries of the conservative and/or liberal (for that matter) factions of our church.