There are 6 thoughts on “Feet of Clay: Queer Theory and the Church of Jesus Christ”.

  1. Do you see this as scriptural and prophetic justification to not preach the gospel to homosexuals or even kick them out of our families? Why would God place someone like that in a LDS family? How would a member of the Church love a gay person do you think, all the while holding out no hope for their exaltation? I just wonder why a gay person would even believe in God if his prophets say these types of things

  2. This article felt rushed to me. For example, the reviewer argues:

    “The misleading treatment of President Kimball demonstrated above recurs often.”

    His evidence starts with this quote:

    “by 1969 [Kimball] had published his pastoral magnum opus, The Miracle of Forgiveness. With all of its hopefulness about the possibility of repentance, Kimball represented same-sex relationships in the darkest terms — “revolting,” “detestable,” “ugly,” “repugnant,” and so on. While his earlier public statements had been harsh with a dose of pastoral empathy, Kimball’s rhetoric in this book was vitriolic (70–71).”

    After which he states that:

    “Tabernacles must demonstrate that such language is uniquely “vitriolic,” not merely assume it or leave the reader with that impression.”

    But even though nothing in the first quote said Kimball was “uniquely ‘vitriolic’ “, the author spends the next 12 to 15 paragraphs explaining how Kimball was disturbingly “vitriolic” about many sins, and therefore was only ‘normally’ vitriolic about homosexuality.

    Which was what the book reviewed actually stated. The author continues:

    “The misrepresentation continues when Tabernacles claims “[Kimball] placed same-sex intimacy just below murder in the hierarchy of sins” (71). Tabernacles’s evidence is The Miracle of Forgiveness, pages 77–85 (71n95). This is misleading — these pages contain the entire chapter on homosexual acts, [Page 242]and Kimball says nothing therein about placing them “just below murder in the hierarchy of sins.”

    Except that according to the reviewer, he does. The author quotes Kimball, in direct contradiction to his review:

    “Kimball does place opposite-sex sin as next to murder in the preceding chapter. (In fact, the entire chapter is titled “The Sin Next to Murder.”

    And then the reviewer quotes Kimball:

    “Let it therefore be clearly stated that the seriousness of the sin of homosexuality is equal to or greater than that of fornication or adultery;”

    The reviewer then equivocates, saying Kimball didn’t really mean what Kimball said:

    “Equal to or greater” does place homosexual sin next to murder — but the context of the entire chapter would reveal that homosexual sin was being treated the same as all sexual sin.”

    So… ‘equal to or greater’ means ‘the same as’??????

    That’s only one section of the article that I looked at. Once again, the Interpreter peer review seems to have utterly missed these inconsistencies.

    • Hi Lem.

      The fact that you believe the material I intentionally cited disagrees with my claim suggests that you have misunderstood me. 🙂

      I suspect jumping into the middle without having read how I (painfully!) teed all this up made me less clear than it would have been. The Kimball material is where everything previous comes together for my argument. So you need to have seen the prelude, I think.

      The problem is not that Tabernacles claims that homosexual sins is “next to murder.” (As you note, I was at pains to explain what aspects Tabernacles got right, but how its presentation is nevertheless misleading to those who do not know LDS history or discourse well. I think I’m quite clear about what it got right, and what remains misleading.)

      The problem here is that the footnoted source offered as evidence does not say that (a problem which occurs too often, sadly). Precision matters.

      But, citing the proper chapter would disclose that homosexual sin is simply being treated as all sexual sin was–which disclosure doesn’t suit the book’s goals, I suspect.

      This is Tabernacles’ (following Quinn’s Same Sex Dynamics’) recurrent trope–that the Church took homosexual acts relatively lightly until the 1950s-1960s, when people like Kimball suddenly amped up the rhetoric and altered previous’ leaders benign neglect of this behavior. Tabernacles’ claim is that Kimball’s opposition was a relative novelty in the Church.

      I wish it were shorter, but there’s a lot to unpack. And, I could either expect readers to trust me if I made declarations, or show my work. Tabernacles expects readers to trust the author–and doesn’t end well. So I felt I owed it to readers to see the sources for themselves.


      For you or any others who don’t have time or interest to read the entire thing, I recommend just the few paragraphs around footnote 377 (start with the heading above it).

      It’s a beautiful example of misrepresenting Kimball, with a textual manipulation worthy of Jerald and Sandra Tanner.

      Thanks for reading and asking.

  3. Excellent article. I have recently thought that I should speak out in defense of Spencer W. Kimball’s ‘The Miracle of Forgiveness,’ especially regarding the chapter on homosexuality, and to also speak out in defense of Boyd K. Packer’s talk, ‘To the One,’ since these two writings have been so misrepresented and maligned by others for some time now. Being someone who experiences SSA, when I had first read these two resources, I remember feeling uncomfortable, and wondering why I had become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But, over the years, I have often thought of what I had read from these two men about the subject of homosexuality, and when I became willing to look past some of the dated language, their message was one of hope and God’s unwavering love for someone like me. Thank you for coming to their defense here.

  4. I read about half of this closely, skimmed about a quarter, and did not read about a quarter (the charts, etc.). Greg has put a tremendous amount of sound and solid work into something that most of us take for granted–that homosexual behavior is very wrong and sinful and has been since Adam’s day. But we still have to give him plaudits for all his effort simply because there are some among both members and nonmembers that try to make contrary arguments and use the philosophies of the world to do it (Queer theory, etc.). So it is good to have this kind of strong and substantive refutation available to those who need to see the overwhelming counter-arguments and counter-evidence.

    On a side note, I must point out something from this piece which is striking to me. Very first line Greg says: Taylor Petrey wants to “think creatively and theologically within Mormonism” since he believes “LDS theology faces serious credibility issues” at present. “Perhaps,” he writes, “LDS ritual and rhetoric may embrace … [sexual] variation, including homosexual relationships in … [temple] sealing.”

    More: “This argument asserts that opposition to homosexual acts is not central to the doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ and that any reluctance stems from an abandonment of past concepts of things that Latter-day Saints should recover from their religious heritage by rethink[ing].”

    As I read these and other similar comments as given in this fine review, where the author of Tabernacles of Clay was seeking to convince readers (including Latter-day Saints) that rethinking doctrine needed to be done, my mind instantly jumped to similar quoted wording I had seen in some reviews of Terryl and Fiona Givens’ recently released book, calling for rethinking and reimagining church doctrine and vocabulary and “reinventing” the Restoration. All Things New: Rethinking Sin, Salvation, and Everything In-Between. In this book the Givens’ advocate for rethinking the most core and important doctrines of the Church, such as repentance from sin and on and on.

    Well, where can such thinking take us? We have just been shown. It seems it takes us to Petrey’s thinking. Here we are given a brand new way of reimagining and a new (though worldly) vocabulary that can easily be adopted by the Restoration (the Restored Church of Jesus Christ)–if we want it to sink into apostasy.

    All the wording of the Givens’s, that I had seen in the reviews of their books that I had read, came screaming back to me. Where do these calls for reimagining and rethinking doctrine and vocabulary end in the minds of members (or anyone)? Do we reimagine the Book of Abraham as something besides formally canonized scripture? I have quotations from Givens saying Joseph’s translation was wrong. Do we reimagine the Book of Mormon as a nineteenth century production and not an ancient inspired text translated by the gift and power of God as Joseph said it was? Some LDS scholars push for this view. Do we follow the LGBT activist voices and seal gay people to each other in the holy temple, using the sacred sealing powers restored by Elijah, as this Tabernacles book author calls for? Do we cast aside the Atonement of Jesus Christ, repentance and forgiveness, and seek “healing from woundedness” instead? Do we change our doctrinal vocabulary from that found in the scriptures and approved by the Brethren and found in the Church Style Guide, to what some academic proposes instead? Does the Restoration really need to be rethought for everything between sin and salvation? Have the prophets and apostles and scriptures taught the Restoration to us that poorly?

    There is a lesson to be learned here, that I am pleased Greg pointed out, though in a different subject context. If we accept small rethinking’s of our precious doctrine, our eternal truth, next comes the large departures until we have no Restored truth left and become as the other Christian Churches. Not trying to dump on them, but we are members of the Restored Church for eternally important reasons and determined commitments we have made. Of course, we would end up with doctrines and vocabulary that would fit in well with liberal sectarian churches around us; but we wouldn’t be able to tell us apart. John Clark bemoaned that possibility in his own review of a Givens book on this site. Let it not be so. Let us see the sense in the grounded arguments Greg is making. They are really more than just arguments.

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