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.


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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I took noted of this comment Marlin made: He pointed out that of the three‑tiered hierarchy of the Mormon church leadership, he’s in the bottom tier and thus, “very expendable.”

plausible deniability in play here, folks. This man was speaking only as a man.
I read it as "plausable deniability" at work also. It's much like political candidates who say one thing when campaigning in one state then something very different when campaigning in another. Elder Jensen says this in a stake in Oakland. Would he also say it in a stake in Utah? Would he say it in General Conference? Or is this a bit of "speaking out of both sides of our mouth" attempt at damage control? Also exactly what was he apologizing for? Often an apology is for the fact that an action has hurt people, not that the action was wrong or regrettable. Was Jensen saying, in effect, I'm sorry that so many bad feelings resulted while still holding that the Church's actions were right?

Just a thought
Despite the cynicism of some here, I think this is big news. A bold step for any GA. Hope it gets wide coverage.
I can't imagine it not getting picked up by the press. If for some reason Jensen is pressured by the Morg to modify the meaning of his apology, to imply that he's only sorry people got hurt and not sorry that the Church took this path, it will only look worse for the corporate Church.

Seems like a win to me.
I agree Rock. I hope this eventually makes it to the Huffington Post or some other mainstream media and then demands a statement from the LDS church. It will then either make them look worse if they deny the apology, or lead to more acceptance towards the gay community from the LDS church. Either scenario seems like a win to me too.
It could very well be as you think, Mikeutah, however, it is possible that the MORG is gauging the media response to determine whether any damage control needs to be started. I think if this doesn't get media traction, then things will be allowed to die down. Give enough time to any controversy and people go on about their lives and forget about it. (the old, "move along folks, nothing more to see here.") Conservatism is fixation on keeping things stable (in a world where the constant is change).
The Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ..... is a corp. It does what is in its best interests and will feign anything needed to get it. It looks at the bottom line. If this issue of worldwide publicity and what they did had of not come up they would not have felt a damned bit bad. They would have walked away thinking they did something....worthy of themselves. They do not feel bad now. They send a low level guy to speak to a guy in the San -Oakland area. I served my mission there and know that they did it to attempt to stop the rising waters of negative publicity they can drown in. They did not do it to repent, make social amends, etc... He is a lower level corp leader and IS expendable. If it goes bad, he is expendable and gets the boot. If it works, they get the credit. Corps make decisions and do what is in their own best interest, (they cal it Missionary Work) and just smile as they screw you over. When have you EVER! ever, I mean ever seen the LDS Church do anything aulturistic?? When they supposedly secretly send food and ...etc... to flood ravages areas of the world, uhm wonder why or how you know? The cameras were there first! The info was leaked and done so in a fashion that they could look surprised that anyone knows. It is all media management and done so for the benefit of the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ.... damned, ther is that corp again.

Me? a sinic?(sp) Reality causes it at times. But I do not run around someones building seeking their approval like a puppy chases its master either. It's a good trade.

I am trying to decipher context and sincerity. I am skeptical it means what everyone wants it to mean, but will look for the silver lining nonetheless. But apologies are only as good as the actions that follow them. And apologies are only as good as one has right and authority to apologize for the organization, as Jensen makes clear in his disclaimer that he can only say "sorry" so far as he has authority. What will make this all ring true are further apologies from others in the hierarchy and, most importantly, a church that stays out of this issue as it is appealed and as other states address the issue.
I agree...I find it hard to be overly optimistic when they send a top GA to the Evergreen conference and talk about telling gays that they aren't gay....once again, it seems like a bait and switch. But at least it is something....


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