Julienna Viegas-Haws, in an op-ed piece in sltrib.com, gives her definition of a progressive Mormon as one who is less likely than traditional Mormons to believe in: “obedience to authority above personal inspiration” and “the unquestioned authority of the leaders of the LDS Church.” Thus, I assume, she is not a believer in the phrase “once the prophet has spoken, the thinking is over.”
The issue of obedience was recently kept in the forefront when LDS leaders penned an official letter to be read to the adult membership reiterating the Church’s stance on same-sex marriage. I suspect that a fair percentage of the members disagreed with either the tone of the message or the message itself. So where does that leave “progressive” members? And to be perfectly clear, I disagree with both the tone and the message of the letter. It sounds like it was written by a lawyer and not by an inspired group of religious leaders.
Robert Kirby, also writing for sltrib.com, commented on the LDS letter:
I never assume that being in charge automatically makes anyone right. So as long as I have a mind, I’m going to make it up myself.
Agreeing with someone just because they’re in charge is the best way I know of to prolong whatever it is that they may have gotten wrong. And let’s be clear about that–no group of human beings, regardless of how special they believe themselves to be, ever gets everything right.
So where does personal revelation or inspiration fit into this discussion? Many of us feel that the LDS leadership is wrong on the issue of SSM. Can both the leadership and “progressives” be right? I don’t know, but I feel comfortable with my opinion. I don’t know if I’m inspired or not.
I’m old enough to remember the “black priesthood ban” fiasco. I silently disagreed with the ban and was happy when for it was lifted in 1978. The “same-sex marriage” ban seems hauntingly similar.
While I may have been silent prior to 1978, I can’t be silent now.