Friday, November 12, 2010

New CHI, whatev

So the CHI (Church Handbook of Instructions) has been updated. And changed. To avoid making this post even longer while hijacking another's post, I will redirect any interested and uninformed peoples to Project Mayhem's post.

The following was initially purposed as a comment on Irresistible (Dis)Grace's blog post today, but I thought y'know, I wax on and on. I'll just post a response here:

I tend to agree with those opinions that state this is more a matter of saying things in a different, seemingly more open-minded way as to corral those on the brink into coming back, if even for a little bit. Those who have left the church and still feel the sting tend to be cynical and suspicious--I fall under this umbrella. But at the same time, who knows. I don't necessarily feel the need to explore this all that much because it won't change a damn thing for me. I've no plans to go back, even if they suddenly receive another convenient revelation about how gay people are totes okay with god and all this bullshit GBLTQ members have dealt with for decades upon decades is mere "policy." Y'know. Like with the "Lamanite" members until fucking 1978. Because, despite what they may tell themselves, that's not entirely why I left. While I believe in gay rights and find the church's actions reprehensible, I left because of what it represented.

The change is rather interesting following Packer's talk (heavily edited following actual talk, of which you can see here) considering that as Irresistible (Dis)Grace discusses, conservative opinion is given free-reign while any iota of liberal opinion is gasped at. Nobody knows if Packer received any sort of behind-the-scenes chastising, and if so we'll never hear about it. And the membership wouldn't care--too many agree with him. Too many don't see the problem. But the liberal members do. The questioning members do. Those on the brink of inactivity or even lesser activity do. That said, I think this new, nuanced version of the CHI may appeal to both in the active and to those who have their first real doubts.

But, y'know, if it's real progress it's progress. It won't do much for me as a person who doesn't necessarily believe in god anymore and sees far too much ill to come of any sort of mainstream religion--be it mainstream Christianity or Mormonism. Even if the church does liberalize by way of GBLTQ issues, it's going to take a LONG time for the more conservative membership who make up the vast majority of the church to accept it not only in their minds but in their hearts.

Maybe one day we'll get to the point where it's a lot like the relationship the church has with its women, separate but equal, and the active gay LDS community will chomp at the bit to convince both themselves and outsiders--I dunno. They do that now. At least at first. But the more they feel accepted and supported, the more they'll fight to stay in despite the basic and fundamental life experiences they will be denied as a result. Because the ultimate goal is to bring people to god and to live for death. Because God only loves those who keep his legion of commandments even if it makes them miserable enough to kill themselves.

So, separate but equal? Maybe that's how one could describe the situation today. But who knows. It isn't any better, but try telling a fully indoctrinated member that.


  1. I ultimately don't think this can be designed to corral people into coming back. For one, the CHI is not a document that is widely disseminated. None of us should even know that there is a new edition, because only people in leadership positions receive the CHI.

    So, it wouldn't be a great strategy to try to bring people back into the fold...since those people would be least like to see the CHI changes (unless they are, like us, savvy bloggers.)

    It's too quiet to *bring people back*. But maybe it can keep some people in for a bit longer. Now Bishops will have a different official strategy to dealing with members with many of these issues...

    I don't know how I ultimately feel, as a result. If the two options are A) the church has a strict and uncompromising policy that pushes people out sooner or B) the church has a slightly less uncompromising policy that keeps people in, suffering in quiet desperation, then I'd actually want option A. I'd rather have gay members realize that the church does *not* have their best interests in mind and leave than for them to stay and try to suppress their humanity.

    But the problem is that I recognize that when faced with option A, some people never are able to break free from the church, and instead, they give up on life. I wish there were a more effective way of telling people that their lives are far more important, but...

  2. You know, I didn't even consider that. I suppose I'm used to the thought that everyone ought to know about all this stuff, but most members probably aren't.

    I'd want option A as well, but the church probably sure as hell doesn't. They don't value this life as much as they value the next life, and that's the rub. I would submit that this is why people find it more palatable to kill themselves because if this life, as presented by teh gospel, causes misery--then what the fuck is the point?

    I would imagine, however, that people who turn to their bishops and stake presidents with "SSA" issues will be presented with these new ideas. Some may see a difference. Others may not.

    I dunno, either.

  3. Ugh, I highly doubt members are even going to see this stupid "rule book." Gag me. I honestly have no words. (Unless a lot of profanity counts - I just want to take the fucking church down.)