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I enjoyed that! I want to ask if you've thought about comparing the LDS response to the Catholic response. We're both much more centralized than the Protestants.

Although I don't know much about the gender issues, I do know some of the history of the adoption of H-C work. The Catholics had an advantage in that they shifted later and did so more smoothly. Hence, there are fewer fundamentalist Catholics. Both the delay and the relative smoothness of the transition are due, in part, to centralization.

Thanks, Mogget. In general, the Catholic response was to reject all higher criticism from the mid-19th century through the mid-20th, at which point the Pope did an about face and Catholic scholarship quickly blossomed in that area. What I know I picked up from Bokenkotter's book (on the sidebar) and Kung's The Catholic Church: A Short History (which for some reason I didn't put up). I hope to do a few posts on Catholic topics next month.

I suppose it's worth noting how lucky Mormons are that the LDS Church has never really faced a schism

I think you may be underestimating how traumatic and schismatic not only the aftermath of the martyrdom, but also the Kirtland apostasy of 1837, would have seemed to those who lived through them.

Over at the Pandas Thumb, all the blogger are excited about the new female Archbishop because she is strongly pro-evolution. You know that's gotta win me over.

I appreciated your comparison between corporate financial bankruptcy and church spiritual bankruptcy. This makes for a good analogy. As long as the LDS Church doesn't go spiritually bankrupt, it's probably OK.

On the schism thing, I think you may be underestimating the post-martyrdom crisis. I also note that we are still dealing with the schism that occurred in the aftermath of the discontinuation of polygamy. Perhaps I am not objective on these issues, as both have affected me personally.

Some of my ancestors joined the Church in the U.K. and came to Nauvoo. They stayed in Nauvoo after Br. Brigham went west with the bulk of the saints. They eventually linked up with the RLDS Church. My great aunt converted to the LDS Church and sent missionaries to my grandmother. Grandma sought to prove them wrong, but ended up joining the LDS Church as well. However, I have many relatives (descendants of my ancestors) that are missing out on the blessings of the gospel today because of the Nauvoo-era schism.

As for polygamy, I have relatives that are members of one of the splinter polygamist groups that formed after the Church ended the practice.

But note that both of these schisms were precipitated by extremely major events in the church. The former by the death of the founder and subsequent confusion. The latter by a major shift in church policy. I don't know that the gay marriage issue can offer anything along these lines to cause division.

I would say there will not be a schism in the LDS Church over this issue. It is too centeralized and dominated by at least the idea of Revelation of Authority. The only ones I have seen effected by the Church's position on homosexuality are the liberals who have made lots of noise, but pose no real threat to the organization. The LDS Church might lose numbers of attendants, but I have never heard any liberals talk about splits or creating their own Mormon Church.

As with the other two times when there has been splits, it is when there has been a major change at the top. The only way that would happen is if liberals "take over" positions of authority. They don't seem to have been succesful at, or even tried, doing that.

I would have to argue that that schism regarding the Episcopal (US) church, and the Anglican church as a whole (which has lots of other churches underneath the umbrella of Anglicanism) is mostly a matter of patience.
Personally, I think that it is right that a woman be able to be a bishop, straight of gay. But, for the greater good of the Anglican Communion, what Rowan, Archbishop of Canterbury (pretend GBH was a really brilliant liberal) The "Church" has asked the Episcopalians to wait until there has been a compromise/agreement within the entire communion. They have general meetings every few years...and vote on doctrine and things of that nature.
So, in my measly opinion, I think the Episcopal church should have waited...for the good of the entire Communion...until everyone sitting around the table has a chance to pray, talk, and vote about it.
Unlike the Prophet the Archbishop doesn't have the final say on anything really...his role is more of referee...and thinker.
I think the LDS church could stand to learn something from this aside from the whole gay marriage debate.
I think we could stand to see how important every single persons viewpoint is...and if you don't take everyone into account...well, that's neither Christian nor democratic. Also, the LDS church is quite new compared to the Anglican or Catholic churches...there hasn't been too much time to have such a rift!

The difference is in the LDS Church the prophet, or at lest the presiding quorum, are the representatives of how God feels on the subject - that is the nature of their prophetic mantle. And to first order approximation, how God feels decides the question conclusively.

Now there is no doubt more to the story than that, but I suspect the question was decided in the councils in heaven ages ago - i.e. in the LDS Church, legislative conciliarism largely occurs in heavenly councils, and earthly councils focus on rather more mundane implementational issues.

I don't know how the Episcopalians feel about the authority of the scriptures - to most Protestants the issue would be closed on that basis alone.


Don't you think that perhaps the American Episcopalians' connection to the political left (with it's inherent tendency toward trendiness, and open-mindedness to a fault) made them a little more susceptible to a schism of this kind than a more conservative bunch like the LDS mainstream would be?

I don't think conservative or liberal thinking has a direct connection to the tendency to divide organizationally. You could argue that Anglicans, with their latitudinarian approach to church life (a liberal attribute), their "big umbrella" approach, would be least susceptible to schism.

Too much latitudinarism is also the end of any sense of organization or shared belief. i.e. why be an Anglican or an Episcopalian at all?

Mark, I agree that too much latitudinarianism can lead to a watered-down sense of identification, but that's not what's happening here. These people do identify as Anglican or Episcopalian, they just disagree about what the proper statement of Anglican Communion belief and practice should be. In a sense, they are all acting anti-latitudinarian on this issue.

On civil unions, President Hinckley has already said, in public, that he expects that they will become the law and will be a necessary compromise on the marriage issue.

So far no schism over that.

Yes, but that is Pres. Hinkley on the Law of the Land, and not on the Law of the Church. Big difference. Besides, was it said as a warning or a declaration of agreement?

On a related note: It might be because such a statement hasn't been openly or widely published. I for one have no idea what or when Pres. Hinkley has said those comments.

Jettboy, I haven't the slightest idea.

I don't know Dave. I have a sneaky suspicion that the Liberal committment to "tolerance" is really only skin deep.

Human beings have a natural conviction that there is a right way and a wrong way to go about things. That's going to come out eventually.

But taking a tolerant and accepting initial stance can often be the doctrinal equivalent of "sweeping the problems under the rug." Let's all be tolerant is a superficial fix.

Despite the rhetoric, human beings, on any position of the political spectrum, want truth. They'll put up with that which seems false, to a degree. But, in the end, they'll burst forth in even more damaging ways.

Better to be up-front that we just disagree with some people, and will not accept certain things than to pretend that differences don't exist or to claim that differences aren't important.

re: 12

Can somebody provide documentation of this GBH quote about civil unions??

I'm the son of an Episcopal minister. About twelve years ago I got completely fed up with the Anglican church pandering to gays. Gay and Christian at the same time is fundamentally hypocritical. I left the Episcopal church and eventually joined the LDS faith. I let my feet do the talking on this issue. I don't think I'm the first and suspect that I won't be the last. The Anglican church isn't spliting - it's dying... much to the lament of my father.

Thanks for the "insider's" view, Mark. I've been following the commentary at Father Jake's blog, and it really does appear the Episcopalians have driven a stake into the heart of the Anglican Communion. Anglicanism has traditionally been able to tolerate a wide variety of views within its circle of affiliated churches, so it's sad to see it end this way. The present difficulties show there is a limit to how much diverse opinion and practice can be brought under one roof.

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