Elder Marlin Jensen Apologizes for Proposition 8 at Mormon Matters

WOW!  An apology from an LDS GA to the gay community!?!?!!  Hopefully there will only be more of this to come.



“To the [extent that] it’s within my power to apologize, I want to tell you that I am sorry.  I am very sorry.”  – Elder Marlin Jensen

People were audibly weeping.  Paul sobbed.  I put my arm around him. It was very, very powerful.  It felt very healing.”

================

September 24, 2010

I don’t know if you’ll feel the same stunned awe, amazement, and gratitude that I felt on reading this post, but I consider it to be evidence of phenomenal moral courage on Elder Jensen’s part. The stake in question is Oakland Stake, and the meeting was Sunday, September 19.

I double-checked with Karen, despite her heading, to be SURE that it was okay to pass this report on. She double-checked with Linda, who confirmed that it “absolutely” was. The “Kay” in Karen’s salutation is Kay Gaisford in Arizona.

Lavina

On 9/23/2010 6:24 PM, Karen Rosenbaum wrote:

> Hi Kay and Lavina,

>

> I figured you two could spread what seems to me positive news‑‑

>

> Before our stake conference last Sunday (I admit I didn’t attend‑‑I went to a spectacular production of Aida instead), there was a “by invitation only” meeting with the visiting seventy, Marlin Jensen, about reactions to Prop. 8. My friend Linda Schweidel, whose first husband was a gay Mormon, has been involved with our stake president, Dean Criddle, in setting up meetings at which non‑gay Mormons, gay Mormons, gay former Mormons, and non‑Mormon gays can all get together and try to understand one another. The one in the Berkeley Ward was enlightening and helpful. (I did attend that.) I don’t think there were non‑Mormon gays at last Sunday’s meeting, unless they were the partners of Mormon gays.

>

> Linda rushed off a brief report of last Sunday’s meeting to me today. She has left out a word or two, but you can figure out what she meant. I’ve copied a part of her report below. Paul is Paul Price, a very sweet man who lives with his partner in the Berkeley hills. He usually attends Sacrament Meeting. Matt and Pamela are our bishop and his wife, the Marosticas. Brett Bradshaw is the son of that wonderful Bradshaw man, the former BYU prof who has been so involved in PFLAG.

>

> Dean Criddle “MC’d” the meeting and introduced Marlin Jensen by saying that when there is a stake conference, the GA who’s coming to speak has the opportunity to find out if there are any issue of “particular interest” to the group and if so, he can address them.  Dean said Marlin had welcomed the opportunity to come listen to people who were affected/disaffected by Prop 8.  They basically opened the microphone to anyone who wanted to speak.  It got off to somewhat of a crazy start when one woman (I don’t know how she got in; again, the meeting was by invitation) got up there and said her twin brother is gay and told of her “devastation” she suffered at hearing the news and then proceeded to quote from the Bible about Sodom & Gomorrah.  I’m not kidding.  It was nuts.  Thankfully Dean quickly got up and thanked her and then she sat down.  After that, though, that wonderful Carol Lynn Pearson got up and said, “Brothers and sisters, the Bible says a lot of things.  The Bible says, for example, that I shouldn’t be up here, talking to you all,” and she went on from there.  So she remedied the situation, I felt like, and then every other person who got up was eloquent, articulate, and right on point.  I didn’t get up – Paul was my “date,” and I was sitting next to him, Matt and Pamela, so I was effectively hemmed in and plus, I felt like the others who spoke were making the points that needed to be made.  Marlin Jensen sat there and listened.  He’d that he appreciated the opportunity come listen and promised to take what he learned “back to the Brethren.”  (He is an extremely warm, kind, funny guy.  He pointed out that of the three‑tiered hierarchy of the Mormon church leadership, he’s in the bottom tier and thus, “very expendable.”  That got a laugh.)  What he did, though, was after everybody got up, and told of the suffering that Prop 8 had caused – the division, heartache, anger, frustration and pain – and when the last guy who spoke told him that the Mormon church owed the gay community an apology, he stood and said, “To the [extent that] it’s within my power to apologize, I want to tell you that I am sorry.  I am very sorry.”  People were audibly weeping.  Paul sobbed.  I put my arm around him. It was very, very powerful.  It felt very healing.

> Stake conference was good too.  Not as good as that meeting, but good.  Elder Jensen was again very warm and genuine.  Dean’s talk, though, was what really got to me.  He talked about “extending the tent” and including everyone because, as repeated, Charity Seeketh Not Her Own.  That was the main theme of the talk.  He said he’d gone to dinner with two couples (Brett Bradshaw and his partner Jeff and Trey and Guy).  He asked should we go to dinner with couples of the same gender, and love them and accept them?  “OF COURSE WE SHOULD!”  I loved it.  It was the first stake conference I’ve attended in a decade at least, and my sense of them was always sort of the fear and damnation.  This was a call to love, acceptance and kindness.

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Replies to This Discussion

This isn’t news in my opinion. Any notes taken in such meetings by members are theirs alone. This was a private meeting. Not that I don’t think the information from such a gathering shouldn’t be disseminated, but in the end it will simply come down to this. Puts on apologist hat and proclaims, Jensen was giving his own personal opinion and not speaking as a prophet, seer or revelator. He was only acting as a man and not in his apostolic calling.

End of story…not news…move along folks.
You're probably right SM, but any sign of descent from the morg status quo is welcome.
Hopefully, if he follows up on his promise, his dissent will reach the higher echelons of the Mormon hierarchy. Maybe that will cause some reflection of the issue on their part. One can only hope. BTW, does anyone know how change is triggered in that tight knit group?
If his descent reaches the higher levels of the LDS Church.... he will be released.

Don
A guy beats the hell out of his wife and feels bad. Then he states, "To the extend that i can apologize...."

It is better to never get dog poop on your shoe than it is to hose it off. Sorry an abuser is an abuser.

Don
Pretty impressive. No lecture, no disagreement, just listening and apologizing. An apology, for what the church has done to us gay guys, is a good start. Let's see if Jensen goes unpunished, if more apologies are forthcoming, if money is given to families who have lost loved gay sons to suicide, or if anything else at all happens. Mr. Jensen gets my approval for at least doing more than I ever though a single one of them would ever do.
Just as it was decided that skin color is biologically predetermined,
and therefore African-Americans can hold the priesthood,
eventually science-based knowledge will light up, showing
that sexual orientation also is biologically predetermined,
and thus, EVERYONE will be given a place in the church.

Mormon leaders are typically loving and caring, totally opposite
the misguided teachings that have come from the words of an Old
Testament culture long gone, a culture that did burnt offrings, killed
witches, captured women for wives, captured and killed non-virgins
dividing virgins among the warriors and members of the priesthood,
killed non-believers and so on.

Some teachings of the church, taking on a life or their own from
repetition and reinforcement, have blindly and unwittingly caused,
at a developmental level, (totally opposite to the loviing and caring
nature of the leaders of the church) child abuse. On an adult level,
these words from a culture long gone, are unknowingly depriving
people of their human rights and indeed their very existence.

Elder Jensen's spirit should be warmly welcomed and
rewarded. I have the feeling that his attitude is also the
silent attitude of those in high places, though they are
unable to come out and say it for politcal reasons. Realize
that the higher up the ladder of leadership, the stronger the
pressure to repeat and reinforce previous and prevailing
patterns, and therefore it is not easy to change directions. .
They will apologize they do so because it is to their tactiful advantage. Funny that they would be inspired and led by God until the tithing went down, or the members complained...then, God changed his mind. The LDS Church was going to behead the Gay members of their Church. They were doing so that they would look Conservative and gain more members that pay tithing maybe. They want growth and if it dosen't happen then God will reveal a new policy and procedure on something.
They were going to eschew and cut off Gays. They were actively moving against their own members. They did not care. And I am supposed to be touched??!! They were self serving assholes, and still are. They were going to cut off their own members, excommunicate others and do what ever it took to gain the conservative Christian image...for what??? For new members that pay tithing. Funny how Money changes things.

D~
So, if Hitler were to apologize to the Jews, that would make it ok? People will do as they wish, hurt others and know that if they apologize, ... that will make it ok... I can hurt people, but so long as I mouth some empty words that make overly emotional people "feel better" then all is ok.

Nah, wrong is wrong and they should be held to account. They are apologizing not because they have a recognition of any wrong act on their part. They are kissing ass because they want to keep the $$$ comming in. It has nothing to do with knowing right from wrong. If they actually spoke with God (the revelation game) they would have been turned to a pillar of salt for hurting Gods kids! Instead they did it, got embarrassed because they got busted (not privately but in public) I say, good for them. Their better than anyone, I am Holy, "I am not paid I just have my needs met" ass needs to experience some humility. How frickin dare any organisation be like secret Nazis and try to hide behind people and go out to hurt others. All of us will still be married if these Guys and Ladies are allowed the same. Life is to short. If you have a person you love and will be nice to until death, consider yourself lucky, as many do not have that. We will still be married if Gays and Lesbians are given the same right. Allow others the same. Damned dumbass LDS leaders. They need to keep tjheir asses in prayer and religious issues and stay out of politics. Maybe they want to loose their tax free status! OOOOOOOH, theres an idea!!

Don, in Las Vegas
Not that an apology makes things better, but would you prefer there never being an apology, as with MMM? I wouldn't jump to conclusions that Jensen wasn't necessarily genuine in his apology. It sounds like he may have breached protocol in doing so, out of his own genuineness. While a broader apology could maybe be interpreted this way, I don't interpret Jensen's this way. At the same time, an apology is only as good as attempts at righting the wrong go. Until I see the church openly accepting gays and at least allowing them to be worthy while married to other gays, any apology is still worthless. But I still hope this is a step in that direction. But I'm not holding my breath.
I appreciate you view. However, I feel hell will freeze over before Salt Lake will not press out the Gays and Lesbians. Why do they do it? Really, it is, IMHO, a simple reason. Gays and Lesbians do not increase the largess of the Church by having kids, who have kids..... It has nothing to do with Christliikeness, but a self serving nature.

Sorry guys, if i offend some. I was not raised in the LDS Church, but was a convert. I lack the generations of LDS behind me :)

Don
While SM is correct, I nonetheless think we should report this widely and encourage discussion. It was reported that Jensen referred to himself as a"third tier" leader of COJCOLDS and Carol Lynn Pearson (who is a credible person to lots of moderate Mormons) reported that Jensen said

“…Do we owe an apology? I will say I am sorry. To the full extent of my capacity I say I am sorry.”

I think a fair interpretation of that might be "to the full extent of my capacity [as a third tier leader in COJCOLDS] I say I am sorry."

I encourage this discussion to continue and for others to blog about it, link to the original Mormon Matters post on Facebook, etc.

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