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MARLIN K. JENSEN
Marlin Keith Jensen, prior General Authority of the Mormon Church, released in October 2012.
| Carol Lynn Pearson has posted her account of the meeting where Marlin Jensen apologized on her website, here:
Many of you will see parts of it as an apologetic for the church, but her account of Connell O'Donovan's speech is gripping. I am sure that Jensen will be unable to convey the experience adequately to "the brethren," but hearing the people in this stake had to be a life-changing experience for him.
If I had a gay loved one, I would do everything in my power to get them out of the toxic, homophobic environment that the LDS church is. But for those who stay, I thank the leaders of the Oakland Stake for the work they have done (partly due to Carol Lynn's unrelenting work in educating them) to try to make a difference.
I'm not sure the church intentionally sent Jensen to the stake conference for exactly this purpose, as the session was set up by the stake presidency, and does not appear to have been foreseen by Jensen. I think it is very possible that they sent Jensen as the visiting authority, though, knowing that he would be most likely to be well-received in a stake that includes Berkeley, and where the stake presidency had already done what triage it could by doing a presentation on treating gay people well in every ward in the stake.
I also don't think that the church has any way to consciously control Carol Lynn, though certainly they will use whatever she says to their advantage if they are able to do so. For her part, Carol Lynn is doing what she can to help gay Mormons, knowing that many will not leave, even though they would have better lives if they they did.
I don't know that they will never had a 1978-style revelation on homosexuality, though I certainly don't expect one in my lifetime. The LDS church would have to go the route of the Community of Christ (former RLDS) to have that happen, and I don't see that happening any time soon. IF the church fundamentally changes in the way if views itself, as part of a larger Christian faith rather than the "only true church," then it could also change its stance on homosexuality. Such an eventuality is currently unthinkable, but I can't predict what the church might do in the future to maintain its existence, if the larger world gets over its homophobia.
While I have doubts about whether Jensen was specifically sent there to say what he said, I have NO doubts that the church uses him to placate the more thinking and liberal members of the church.
With those few quibbles, I agree with what you have said, especially that the church hasn't evolved, Jensen has evolved. I'm just a little less certain that you are that it will never evolve. It might not, but if it comes down to having to concede on homosexuality, because it's become America's marginalized laughing-stock--well, it gave in on polygamy. So maybe.
There may be hell to pay, or there may not. To see what else this stake has done, go here:
At this web page, Carol Lynn Pearson describes the series of meetings that were done by her stake presidency, and she includes the talks that people gave. I find it pretty remarkable.
What this stake presidency did is no secret. As you will see if you go to the page is that an account of the meetings was written up in the Salt Lake Tribune. And even before Carol Lynn posted the texts of the talks, at least portions of the compiled information were circulating by email. I have not heard of any effort to quash it, though admittedly I am not connected to any circles where I would easily find that out.
I still believe that the LDS church is a highly toxic place for gay people, and I think gay people can have a more fulfilled and happy life outside of it than in it. Some are determined to stay, though, and for those, I think the Oakland Stake would be about as good as it gets. So I have to give credit where I think it is due, and it seems to me that some credit is due to the stake presidency there. They are doing the best they can in a homophibic church to make things work for gay people and for those who have gay loved ones.
This is the background of the meeting that Jensen walked into. Just to be in a stake where homosexuality can be openly discussed, and where the members have been allowed and encouraged to "speak truth to power" is pretty amazing in a church where no one is supposed to do that, and everyone is supposed to tell leaders how wonderful they are and how inspired they are and how they alone know the "mind and will" of God.
We may yet see Jensen and the stake president face retaliation, but if we do, there will be yet another round of bad publicity for the church over this issue. I think it is more likely that the LDS hierarchy will just try to wait for it to blow over. Then after that, these men will be quietly released in due time and their church "careers" will go no further.
| I have met Marlin Jensen and think that he is a good person. I accept that his heart was touched and that he was overcome by emotion when he heard of the suffering those affiliated with the LDS church experienced because of the LDS church's involvement with the Proposition 8 measure in California.
I also accept his statement that the LDS church will never change its position as to who should marry and that gay members will be required to live celibate lives.
This admission alone makes me wonder why anyone gay would remain in the LDS church.
I also think the LDS leadership have used him as a patsy. Assignments are made well in advance of who will visit a stake conference. If the LDS church really cared about this issue it would have done things differently.
The stories Jensen heard are not new, they unfortunately are ones, which keep repeating in the homophobic policies caused by the homophobic leaders of the LDS church. The leaders of the LDS church could have had a meeting like the one reported PRIOR TO involving itself in the Proposition 8 issue. Church leaders didn't because they don't care how their homophobic attitudes and policies hurt gay church members and their families.
Marlin Jensen was sent for a purpose. Instead of sending someone with real authority, they sent a mid-level manager to hear disgruntled views Jensen's meek demeanor is well known and a calculated decision was made to send him to soften the hearts of those affected so the LDS church could continue to move down the path it has chosen. And it appears their decision was a good one.
For the next ten years every time a gay LDS member or family member suffers persecution at church, many will point to Carol Lynn Pearson's report and say: "Be patient, the church is evolving." No, the church isn't evolving. Marlin Jensen evolved. But unfortunately, Jensen just bought another ten years of more patience from those who have suffered so greatly already.
The LDS church won't have a 1978-ish revelation on homosexuality. It may become more tolerant but it will never become accepting, endorsing, caring, supportive or open to gays and gay relationships. Gays will never be allowed to be married in temples, serve openly in bishoprics, stake presidencies, or relief society presidencies. They will never be asked to be youth leaders, unless they hide their fundamental sexuality. Their adopted children will never be sealed to them in LDS temples - ever. Sad considering even Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun were sealed in LDS temples by proxy.
It is immoral to ask human beings to suppress their individual sexual identity and to deny their basic biological need to be physically loved, especially when those reasons are not based on science or health, but on millennia old mythology and bigotry.
While I respect Marlin Jensen and Carol Lynn Pearson, I believe they were used by the LDS Church to pacify the disaffected and hurt. The real issues and needs of gay members will continue to be ignored and Marlin Jensen will go the way of Hugh B. Brown - paved over by the ultra-conservative orthodox corporate brutality mindset of those that are called "prophets, seers and revelators."
My advice to gays is to view the LDS church for its actions and hold it responsible for the hatred and hurt it causes you. And to leave it. It will never change to embrace you as you warrant. You deserve to live a happy live. Do not let good intentioned people, but powerless ones, like Jensen continue to feed you intoxicants hoping that your deadened senses will stay pacified by occasional doses of empathy.
| In SL Trib today, Jensen said, "I have heard that our overall activity, especially in the United States, is as good as it’s ever been."
In QandA session at Utah State on Jan 18 Jensen said, "We never have had a period of, I’ll call it apostasy, like we’re having right now."
Lyin' for the Lord?
Partial transcript of QandA session with with Elder Marlin Jensen (recently released church historian) and LDS students at Utah State on Jan 18, 2012:
Female questioner: I too have often been confused by how we view history, especially as I've come to study church history in the last few years. And I'm wondering if that will be reflected in the manuals. Have you had any time? And I'm not trying to be goading here, but I'm wondering when the stuff that I hear from Richard Bushman or Leonard (inaudible), when I read that kind of stuff, when am I going to see that reflected in the Sunday School lessons?
Elder Jensen: That's really a great, fair question. And it's one that was asked by the Institute faculty today, in a sense. And I mentioned there that we've actually been given the task of creating a way to respond. You know, I don't like to think that there are problems with church history. I know someone taught a course at the University of Utah once called "Problems in Church History." (laughter) And he only taught it once. (more laughter) This is what we have in mind: to develop our response to the tough issues, whether that's polyandry or DNA in the Book of Mormon or whatever it is. Then, with the cooperation with the Curriculum Dept and the Church Education System, to build into our curriculum, material that covers these areas. ... My daughter, one of them, came to me and asked me, "Dad, why didn't you ever tell me that Joseph Smith was a polygamist?" Well, Kathy and I never intended to dwell on Joseph's polygamy. (laughter) It didn't occur to us. (more laughter) It might occur to us today, though, to be quite frank with you.
Follow-up question: Has the church seen the effects of Google on membership? Are the church leaders aware? I may be overstating it, but it seems like the people who I talk to about church history are people who find out and leave, quickly. Is the church aware of that problem? What about the people who are already leaving in droves?”
Elder Jensen: We are aware. Let me say this, I often get this question: "Do the Bretheren really know?" They do. And I'm not speaking for me. I'm speaking for the fifteen men that are above me in the hierarchy in the church. They really do know. And they really care. And they realize that maybe since Kirtland, we never have had a period of, I’ll call it apostasy, like we’re having right now; largely over these issues. We do have another initiative called "Answering Gospel Questions." We are trying to figure out exactly what channels to deliver it in and exactly what format to put it in. But we want to have a place where people can go. We have hired someone that’s in charge of search engine optimization. We realize that people get their information basically from Google. They don’t come to LDS.org. If they get there, it’s through Google. So, we are trying to create an offering that will address these issues and be available for the public at large and to the church leaders, because many of them don’t have answers either. It can be very disappointing to church members. And, for people who are losing their faith, or who have lost it, we hope to regain to the church.
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