Humble Home Inspections (Mormon 7-9)

Monday, November 2, 2020

Transcribed by Maddie Daetwyler of @lightenprint

C: Hi, I’m Channing

E: And I’m Elise.

C: And this is the Faithful Feminists podcast.

E: But this is not just any Come Follow Me podcast. We do things a little differently here. We offer approachable feminist interpretations of the Come Follow Me manual for those who want to study and understand the scriptures in a framework of equality, social justice, and sisterhood. We are here to show you all the really good ways that faith and feminism work together to illuminate and deepen the gospel experience.

C: We’ve saved you a seat on the soft chairs. So join us today for a conversation about Mormon chapters 7 through 9 for the dates November 2nd through November eight. We're so glad you're here today.

E: Welcome back, everyone. Thanks for joining us on another episode. Today, we're going to be spending some time talking about basic testimonies, the power of critique, and humble prophets. 

C: So this week we get to hear from two prophets. Mormon 7 is from Mormon, who we heard from last week. And this chapter is not very long. It's 10 verses and Mormon just basically writes down his super quick testimony of all the things that he thinks are the absolute most important for people to hear. And then we get to Mormon chapter 8 and we hear from Moroni, his son, who tells us that Mormon died. The Lamanites hunted down the remaining Nephites and killed them all, including his father. So Moroni is left to compile the rest of the records. And in chapter 8, he also talks about God blessing him with kind of a vision of what our modern day looks like. And he's talking directly to the people who live in the future. So a lot of times people assume that it's us, our day, talking about the church structures and just overall what life is like for us. And then chapter 9, Moroni spends some time talking about the text itself and the imperfections contained in the text. And just some advice for readers of the Book of Mormon to look at the text as the work of man with the hand of God in it, or you can look at the other way, the work of God with the hand of men in it. So either way, he provides some advice and context for the Book of Mormon. So it's just three chapters this week, but they are all chock-full of so much goodness, and we're excited to get into them. 

E: So if we start in Mormon chapter 7, this, like Channing said, is the last thing that we hear from Mormon in the actual book of Mormon, in his actual book. And if we think about the narrative up to this point, Mormons, the majority of Mormon's people, the majority of the Nephites, have been murdered and destroyed. And Mormon probably feels like his time is coming too. And so really this chapter 7 feels like his last desperate attempt to testify of God. And I find that so beautiful, that you would still choose to testify of God in the midst of such great grief and sorrow. But what I appreciate about chapter 7 is that it seems like Mormon is stripping down his testimony and what he knows of God to the very, very basics. In verses 2 through 8, he kind of moves just one sentence at a time about all of the things he knows to be true and wants to share with the people. He says, look, you have to know your divine nature and your family lineage. Also know that you must repent and can be forgiven. Please stop fighting and hating each other. It's so important for us to believe in a literal historical and spiritual Jesus, because Jesus is what makes it possible for life after death. We can also live with God in a state of eternal happiness that has no end. And then finally in verse 8, he talks about taking hold or seizing the opportunity of the gospel. And so in a really beautiful way, I think that's what Mormon turns to after he goes through a phase of destruction. Channing, for you, what are your go-to kind of 7 verse basics like Mormon has here that you try to hold on to and rally your spirits around so that you can keep some wits about yourself, so that you can keep moving forward?

C: It's really funny that you ask this. Today I was at a yoga teacher training and we were focusing on the crown chakra, which is all about our connection to the divine. One of the questions that they asked was, what are the things that you know? Or even just, what is one thing you know? And for me, I'm always really wary of the people who get up in testimony meeting and are like, I know the church is true, because I'm like, that's not really faith to me, but sure, whatever. So I was a little hesitant to answer and I had to spend some time really thinking about what is a truth that I absolutely know. So I don't know if I can provide you with 7 of them, but I can provide you with 2. And this is the answer that I gave. I said, I know for sure that God is love and that everything that comes from God, whoever that is, is always loving. And the second thing was that what happens here on earth and the decisions that we choose, just what we do in this life, matters so much, because we are a reflection or a mirror image of God as love. And so it's important for us to be loving here because what happens in the here and now is important. So, I don't know that I have any verses that specifically, perfectly correlate with that off the top of my head. But for me, that's what I always go back to. Even in the chaos, even if life is hard, I always remember that God is love that God asks me to be loving, and God will always be loving toward me. And I am worthy of that. So it's pretty basic, but sometimes the basics are all you need. What about you Elise? What are your go-to basics that you hold on to? 

E: A basic testimony for me would look like, I think copying one of yours, but God is love. Also basic testimony is that if we want to see the face of God, then we need to look to our neighbors and the strangers that are around us.

C: So good.

E: And then maybe find -- well, two more things, maybe. One, that God cares for me, that God knows me, and God wants me to be my whole self. So that's kind of one. And then also that it's okay for me to not have everything all figured out yet. It's okay for my faith to look different than those that speak at the pulpit. And it's okay for my faith to include a really robust doubt. So that's what my basics are. And I honestly feel like there's so much more to the basics than just, Oh, we had to strip it all down, but, I find what I'm stripping away is the excess, is some of the passed down traditions that might not be serving me or others really well. And I find that at the core, there's these really beautiful bits and pieces of me and God and others that help me shape a church and a world I want to be a part of.

C: I appreciate that whittling things down to the basics, and kind of just setting aside all of the extra, helps us become more aligned with what we feel like God is directing us to do in this life, which is to be more like God, to be loving, to be love itself. And I think that's really beautiful. 

E: After Mormon shares his basic testimony, chapter 8 is when we hear from Moroni. And at this point, all of,  ALL OF the Nephites have been destroyed, except for Moroni, who is Mormon’s son. And at the beginning of this chapter, there is this really deep sense of displacement and uncertainness and anxiety about what Moroni’s is fate will be. I wanted to spend a bit of time thinking about the way that Moroni feels really alone and isolated, because there's no one around him. He has no friends or family, no one to support him. And I wanted to see if we could use this image of feeling alone, feeling abandoned, feeling really distraught and desolate and lonely, I wanted to see if we could apply this with a social justice framework. And for those who threaten the status quo and who threaten that safe, secure, fixed understanding of the gospel doctrine and of the culture, these people are often hunted, ran out, and, metaphorically, killed. Well, and they can also be literally killed too, depending on how big the threat is, because those in power, those who hold privilege to set the dominant culture, and those who get to speak over the pulpit about what is and isn't acceptable, those people never go quietly. And so there's a risk here. Speaking up and acting out is often a risk that leaves us literally and metaphorically alone, especially in a church context. 

C: The first thing that I thought of when I was listening to you talk about this was Jesus. He literally did this, and it's true that the dominant culture did not go quietly. In fact, they made sure Jesus died because of the way that He was speaking out against and resisting the dominant culture and understanding of the religion at the time. And so this isn't a far or extreme stretch, this is literally a central tenant of our gospel theology.

E: That's such a great example. And I think with that example, too, we can remind ourselves here that we're speaking about that very idea or feeling of feeling abandoned, like our friends and family and allies have been hunted and pushed out of the church, or we ourselves have been hunted and pushed out of the church. And we're speaking less about the historical event of the Nephites who were evil being literally murdered and destroyed. More about the metaphorical feeling and less about the literal historical event of the Nephites. In chapter 8, verses 3 through 7, we hear Moroni’s loneliness come out. He writes, “I even remain alone to write the sad tale of the destruction of my people, but behold, they are gone and I fulfilled the commandment of my father and whether they will slay me, I know not.” And I think what I'm picking up here is this kind of constant state of uneasiness about, well, what if I'm next? What if I'm found out? What if I'm found? What if I… what if the critique I share here is the critique that pushes people over the edge and they come for me? In verse 5, he writes “I'm alone. My father has been slain in battle and all my kinsfolk, and I have not friends nor whether to go and how long the Lord will suffer that I may live, I know not.”

C: These verses remind me of people who have been disciplined for supporting LGBTQ folks and advocating for their full participation in ordinances without having to hide, pretend, or pray away their gender or sexual orientation. I also think of those who have been disciplined criticizing the church's racist past. Those who have spoken openly about Black Lives Matter and siding with protestors. aAndnd those who actively condemn Trump and advocate for Biden. Those who push for women in more leadership roles and women to hold the priesthood. And I'm not only meaning disciplined by a church authority. I'm also talking about the absolute rejection and hostility that comes from members in person, behind their backs, and online in the comment sections.

E: Yeah. What you just shared is really quite terrifying because with this discipline, our group of support and allies can be forcibly dwindled. And I think that's what Moroni is saying here, too. My father, my righthand man, gone. All of my family and kin, gone. I have no friends anymore. Right? So this group that you thought that you could rely on has, not by their own choice, been disciplined, silenced, punished, and kind of humiliated in a way that tries to honestly excommunicate and exclude them from full participation. In verse 7, Moroni writes “The Lamanites have hunted my people, the Nephites, down from city to city and from place to place, even until they are no more. Yea, great and marvelous is the destruction of my people.” And this first makes me think of those who have tried and tried and tried to create the church that they want to be a part of from the inside out. And yet, the hostility and the rejection has been so violent, so discouraging, and so harmful that the persecuted, that the oppressed, who are trying to speak up and advocate and make change, those persecuted have been pushed out and often feel that returning to the church is no longer safe and serving them.

C: I think we see this a lot. Or at least I do in kind of the more progressive and post-Mormon communities where people just get tired, and are working so hard to push for change that is incredibly slow and causes a lot of violence, whether it's intentional or not, along the way that people just kind of say, “I have to put a boundary here. And the boundary is that this no longer is helping me live my best and happiest life. And so I have to go.” And a lot of times those people are met with exactly what you're talking about here -- hostility and rejection, where church members don't trust them. They don't let their kids play with their kids. They are left out of the neighborhood and just a whole lot of things happen, especially here in suburban Utah, the epicenter of all things Mormon, but it's just sad because people just get burned out.

E: Yeah, exactly. And I often think that the cities and the neighborhoods that we might be a part of, or even the wards that we might be a part of, we might be one of the only people in that ward who wants to make this big change, stand up for this group of people who wants to be vocal and kind of stir things up. We might be the only person in our ward that does that. And while that is courageous, it doesn't mean that we feel safe. It doesn't mean that we feel welcome or invited. 

C: Well, yeah, I remember in our Phoenix ward where I was going through my Heavenly Mother stage and, Oh, my gosh, that ward hated me so much. It was just, it was painful. Every Sunday was painful because it was so deep in my heart and I'm the kind of person who lives and speaks as authentically as I possibly can. And I would share things about Heavenly Mother or about feminism or about women in the scriptures and honestly, 95% of the time was met with so much hostility, so much rejection, that the only person who kept me going to church was Elise. Because she and Lisa, my friend, Lisa, who would sit by me in Relief Society every week. She literally, that's why that's in the podcast, she literally would save me a seat in Relief Society so I would have a safe person to talk to, and sit by and she would hold my hand after I made comments. And Lisa, if you're listening, I miss you much. And it made all the difference in the world. And I do realize how lucky I was to have people there, even though I never felt safe at church, I never felt safe in Relief Society, that I had two people that I could go to, and that I could trust with everything that I knew would stick by me. And luckily one of them was in the Relief Society presidency, and the other one was the Young Women's president, so I was pretty okay. But it makes all the difference in the world. And if you don't have that, it is terrifying. It's exhausting. Church gives you panic attacks. It makes you not want to go back. And for understandable reasons, because connection and belonging is an irrefutable human need. And if you don't have that in your spiritual community, it's really difficult to establish a connection, not just with others, but often with the divine. And that's a violence in and of itself. 

E: Actually, I was thinking about you when I was making some of the notes for this section, especially for this line, because I think it applies to your situation and lots of other people's situations, but just the line in chapter 8, verse 3, the last sentence that says, “And whether they will slay me, I know not,” but that constant threat of, Okay, I know I'm pushing the boundaries here, not even the boundary… No. Not boundaries. I know I'm pushing against the status quo, against the way things are currently set up. I know that I am demanding more of this church than what's currently being given here. And I know that that's a risk, and whether people will come for me and slay me, I know not.

C: That's literally how I felt. Every time I made a comment in church, I just thought, Oh, well, we'll see if I get a phone call to meet with the Bishop on Wednesday. Right? That's what I thought every time. And I still think that, even in a ward that I live in that has a fantastic Bishop now, and people who are incredibly supportive and yeah, that is how it feels. I told Elise at one point, “I want to be here. I want to stay, but there's a good chance that they're going to say, ‘Hey, Channing, there's the door. Don't come back. We don't want you here.’” That's how it felt every time that I was at church and it was rough. It was really rough.

E: Yeah. And so if these verses are speaking to you in this way, or if our experiences are speaking to you and resonating with you just know that even if you're the only person in your ward, even if you're not even active anymore, you've got a full kind of global network of pockets of people spread out across the world that are trying to be in this work with you, that are trying and still showing up, even when the risk feels incredibly high. 

C: Yeah. And if you need to know how not alone you are, just show up to The Faithful Feminist Instagram page and someone is going to show up for you. Our community is so amazing, and I'm so grateful for them. 

E: Me too. If we approach these scriptures from this lens of a demand for change that's being met with hostility, a hostility that dismembers us and kills off our people, then I think that Moroni’s critique of the church that comes in the next few verses of chapter 8 is all the more welcome. Because it may act as a balm to heal our wounds and to continue to feed us and remind us that this work is important. It reminds us that the church should be critiqued and held accountable by both the members and the prophets. Because if we truly covenant to bear one another's burdens and uplift the least of these, then that means that the church and the people have some changing to do. 

C: Yes, Elise. I'm so excited to talk about this. In Mormon chapter 8, verses 27 through 41, Moroni dives into a prophecy about the wickedness and pollution of the future church and does not hold back his critique. He writes that “churches and leaders will become defiled and polluted because of the pride of their hearts. They care more about very fine apparel envyings, strifes, malice and persecutions than they do about the people that they care for.” Moroni also says that churches will say that you can be forgiven if you have enough money to offer. And in verse 37, Moroni mentioned that the people love money, clothes, things, and the adorning of churches more than they love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted. And then Moroni just really gives it to them. He says in verse 33, “Oh, you wicked and perverse and stiffnecked people. Why have you built up churches unto yourselves to get gain? Why have you transfigured the holy word of God that you might bring damnation unto your souls? Why do you adorn yourselves with that which has no life, and yet suffer the hungry and the needy and the naked and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you and notice them not?”

E: Go Moroni. This critique,  he really does just lay right into the people. And honestly, he's speaking about a future time, which means that he's speaking to us about us. So before we say, Oh, these verses apply to so-and-so church, or these verses apply to so-and-so place, that's not Utah or that's not Phoenix. No. This is us. We're implicated here, and this is our responsibility and our work to do.

C: Yeah, just like I said, last week, we don't get to interpret the Book of Mormon for our day just up until Third Nephi, friends.

E: Right. And I think the critiques that you just read need a lot of unpacking, especially that verse that talks about adorning ourselves with things that have no life while letting the hungry, the needy, the naked and the sick pass us by. And I just wonder, in what ways do we get all dressed up, all fussied up with things that give us no life and miss out on the lives of real people all around us. I'm thinking, how do we adorn ourselves with All Lives Matter? Which is an adornment of seeming life, but in reality, it has no life and even more, it dismisses the life and the critical situation of others. How do we adorn ourselves with Make America Great Again, which is an adornment that seems to have life, right? There's this nostalgia for a past life or a longing for a time, which never was. But in reality, it has no life even more, Make America Great Again is proving to only give life to the few and not the many. And I'm thinking here of immigration and refugees, essential workers, women who want to make choices for their own bodies, trans people, right? Make America Great Again doesn't look great, and never looked great, for these people. 

C: But also thinking, too, of the fact that the church has $7 billion in their church funding accounts in reserve that isn't being spent, and arguments have been made that, you know, they're putting money away for the last days for a wise unknown purpose. And, I don't want to take that belief away from anyone, but I also strongly believe that the scriptures -- even here, Mormon is advocating, and always the scriptures always have advocated for the poor, the needy, the sick, the afflicted, the widows, the children. And are we adequately taking care of those in our communities? I don't think we are, but other people might, I'm not the authority on that, but Moroni does critique here a church that gathers gain and doesn't share and spread the wealth, and doesn't administer to the critical everyday needs of the people. And I do think that that's striking. Because this is a global church. It's not just the church of Utah. And even in Utah, people suffer, too. And to hear, I also think of ecological and environmental consequences. In what ways do we say, I'm going to wear the fine clothes and I'm going to have the big house and I'm going to have the nice car and not think about the environmental impact of all of those choices. And not just the environmental impact, but the impact on the poor communities, on the oppressed and marginalized peoples. And just like Moroni says in verse 33, why do you adorn yourselves with that which has no life? And I think that that's a pretty good example, too, because even though we think that it's the nice clothes and the nice car and the big house, and if only I had X, Y, and Z, then we could finally start our life. Right? We can finally be happy, we can finally start living, but that's actually not true. That's not true. And the text even lays out right here that our lives have already begun. We are already living them, and further, a life of service to the hungry, the needy, the naked, the sick and afflicted, is what life is all about. And yeah, I love this verse. Can we put this on a title of Liberty too? 

E: And the critique doesn't stop. Moroni continues, “Why do you build your secret abominations to get gain? And cause that the widows and the orphans mourn before the Lord?” And then he just kind of drops the axe in verse 41. He says, “Behold, the sword of vengeance hangeth over you. And the time soon cometh that he avengeth the blood of the saints upon you, for he will not suffer their cries any longer.” And with this, I'm like, well, shoot, get it, Moroni. Get after it. And his critique here is pointed and it's sharp-tongued. And it just seems really apparent to me that Moroni offers this kind of a critique for a few reasons that I can see. I think that Moroni can see what is happening and what will happen. Right? If you keep going in this way, there's damnation and destruction on your horizon. Lots of people will die.

C: We’re living that reality right now. It's not even that he's -- I mean, he is obviously prophetic because he's having this vision of the future and all of that, but I also think he literally lived the life of people not being righteous, and not following in the ways that he's recommending here. So this isn't just -- not saying the scriptures are average, but this is not your average, “repent or your city will implode.” It’s, “Repent or your city will implode. I've literally seen it with my own two eyes, please do something different. Please make a different choice.”

E: Yeah. And he comes from that place, I think, because he cares about the people. He clearly cares about the oppressed groups, he cares about the lost and the lonely and the least of these. But I also think that he still does care about the prideful people. He still does care about the oppressor, and that's a really beautiful kind of utopian love that he has. But I think that's why he can offer such a strong critique because it comes from a place of care. 

C: I love that, that's really powerful. And it's the message of scripture, no matter where you are, you can always return to God. You can always return to love. 

E: And finally, I think he offers the critique, not only because he wants things to be different, but because he believes that they still can be different. He still believes that there is a chance for us to make that change. And in this way, I believe that a harsh critique is necessary for care and for change. There's a passage that I really appreciate from professor Saba Mahmood, and she writes, “To critique a particular normative regime is not to reject or condemn it, rather, by analyzing its dimensions, one only deprives it of innocence and neutrality so as to craft, perhaps, a different future.” I think in other words, what she's saying is critique is not about rejecting, hating, or condemning, but critique does strip away the disguise of innocence and naivete. The sense that, Oh, well this is just the way things are. Or, if God wanted things to change, then God would change them. Or, things will be sorted out in the next life. This kind of innocence or perceived naivete. Like we can't do anything about it and we're not doing anything wrong. And I think that sometimes critique can look and feel a lot like chaos and destruction, but that's because it shows us where our foundations are slippery and shaky. It shows us what systems aren't working for the benefit of all people. It throws open the shades and lets that sun pierce our eyes, which can be painful and really disorienting. But remember, the critique is not about turning a blind eye and trying to just patch things up so that there'll be a little bit better. We've got to let things crumble, no matter how painful, so that we might craft a different, better future through critique. 

C: I love that. I actually had a thought that just kind of came to my mind. When my husband and I were buying our first home in Syracuse, before we finished the home buying process we had to have a home inspection, and the inspector came over and checked literally everything. He checked to see how well the water pressure was and how well the toilets flushed. And if there was any issues with the foundation, or we even asked him to do a meth test on the house and see how much energy loss was happening in the house. And at the end, we went over and he walked us through the entire house, showed us all the issues, and gave us a report. And on the report he said, everything in the house looks great for the most part, but the biggest issue is the roof. And I just remember having this moment, first-time home buyer, very innocent about the whole process. Right? And I turned to my husband, I was just looking over the report, and I was like, “But look, there's a 47% of energy loss coming through the windows.” And Bryce looked at me and he was like, “But Channing, the roof is about to fall in.” And I was like, “I know, but the windows,” and it was kind of this moment of realizing that I wasn't focusing on what was important. And this idea of a critique of a structure, I feel like, can kind of be seen through the lens of a home inspection, where there may be people walking through the church as a structure or as an institution and saying, “Um, hello, the roof is literally going to fall in on us.” And then there's other people being like, “But look, the appliances are brand new and they just put in new carpet in the basement,” and we're looking at two different things and neither person is wrong, but one need is more immediate than the other, and the critique isn't because we're trying to say this is a bad house, we don't want to buy it. But it's a, We love this house. Help us fix what needs to be fixed so that we can be happy and safe and healthy living here, instead of always afraid that the roof is going to cave in. That's what I think of when I think of critiquing the church, it's a home inspection and we all live here and we're all responsible for its care.

E: That is such a fantastic and incredibly applicable example. I can't wait to hear what people think about this. And it's so lovely and welcoming and homey. Like this is a home, this is all of our home. And so we need to do well by each other to make sure that this is a safe and warm and abundant house for everyone, not just for the few of us. I also think that I'm drawn to this idea of critique as care and critique for change, because it gives all of those people that we were just talking about earlier, the ones who are speaking out against the status quo, who are pushing back against the powers of oppression and domination -- it gives those people validation. It says that the Lord is right here with you saying Black Lives Matter. Saying that The Family Proclamation erases and vilifies LGBTQ folks. Saying that a patriarchal church is one built on domination. God is in that work with us. And I think critique as care and critique for change also fill our cup because it's focused on dreams and goals for betterment for all, not just for some.

C: Kind of like the utopia that we've talked about in the Zion episode two weeks ago, that it's everyone gets there, not just the people at the top of the system.

E: Yeah. And I think we won't get there without a robust critique of the systems at play because utopia won't look like utopia for everyone if there's not a critique of power and privilege and systems of oppression. 

C: A theme that we see introduced in chapter 8 and then discussed at length in chapter 9 is Moroni’s statements about the accuracy and perfection of the Book of Mormon. He essentially says that the book may contain imperfections, and if imperfections are found, Moroni and all of the other authors of the Book of Mormon take full responsibility for those imperfections. Moroni is very specific to say, if there are faults in the book, they are not of God, they are man's faults. So we found that very striking and just wanted to discuss that a little bit.

E: In chapter 9, verse 31 Moroni writes “Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father because of his imperfection, neither them who have written before him, but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that you may learn to be more wise than we have been.:

C: I love that verse.

E: Me too. It's so humble. It brings in a sense of humility for the prophets and the leaders, but also a sense of humanity. We see him in his uncertainty, in his weakness, in his moment of really brutal honesty, especially when we think that Moroni had to inherit the project from his dad and there's reference that he's finishing these records because he promised his dad he would do so. And so there's a sense of obligation here. Maybe Moroni feels unqualified or ill qualified for the task.

C: Or pressure to do it right. Because I would feel that way. 

E: Absolutely. And I think all of these elements make it -- it's probably not easy for him to say, but make it possible for Moroni to say, “Look, there probably are faults here, but when you see these faults, don't write off everything. Don't throw the whole scriptures into the trash. Don't write us off because we're imperfect. Instead, thank God that we're imperfect so that you can do better.”

C: I think this pairs really well with what we were talking about with critique within the church. I think you can even go the opposite way and say, okay -- and I definitely don't mean this in a harmful way, but just because there are imperfections in the church doesn't mean that everything about the church is now wrong or bad or no longer has value. I think no matter whether you decide to stay in the church or not, we can still hold grace and gratitude for the goodness that the church and its teachings have provided for us while still recognizing that it is an imperfect institution, and just hold those two things together in kind of a very human paradoxical way of recognizing that everything in this life, even the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints comes with both pain and pleasure, both happiness and sadness, and joy and depression and destruction. So yeah, I think Moroni was very wise to put this in here. Like he says, that you may learn to be more wise than we have been. I probably say this about every verse that I love, but that's potentially one of my favorite things that’s been written in the book of Mormon. So that's amazing. 

E: Well, and imagine the ways that our church could change and could learn from our past mistakes. One, if we were honest and open about those mistakes, and two, if the leaders and the prophets were this humble. I'm not saying that they're not humble, but if they were just humble enough, and we, and we, we need to be included here, if we were all humble enough to take a step back and say, look, this is me giving it my best shot here, but if it's wrong, I will admit it. I will make a change. I will be held accountable, and I hope that you can do better. I hope that we can do better because of it. 

C: Right. I'm just thinking in very explicit terms here, but what would it be like if instead of getting a conference talk over the pulpit about how amazing the church leaders in the past have been, that we talk about, Yes, the church teaches that families can be together forever. And the church also taught that black people did not deserve to have families be together forever because of the priesthood and temple ban up until the 1970s. What would that church look like? What would it be like to say, Yeah, we taught that and it was wrong and we need to revise so that we can make things right. Or what if this church teaches that, Yes, everyone is a child of God, and also recognizes the amount of harm done to indigenous peoples when the pioneers came to the Utah territories. And said, Wow, we really didn't live up to our claim there. What can we do better going forward? And how can we make reparations for the harm done in the past? What would that church look like? Um, pretty dang awesome. And I would be really excited to be a member of a church who was able to look at, for their own selves, and hear the critique of this is what's happened and this is what it could be, and do the comparison and move more toward a church that truly deserves to be in Christ’s name.

E: This sense of humility and humanity on the side of the leaders and the prophets involves a few things, I think. It involves people being courageous enough and kind of removing their blinders in order to be able to see what's happening, and then offer a critique of it. But then the humility comes into play that we have to be open to critique for change. And I think Moroni gives us a really beautiful template of how we might navigate this humility and critique by saying, Look, I'm imperfect here. The work I do is imperfect, but I'm always going to keep trying. And I hope that not only I can learn from it, but I hope that everyone can learn from my mistakes so that we can all benefit.

C: Thank you friends for joining us for another episode. We're so grateful to you. If you've enjoyed this episode or any of the others in the past, we'd love it if you'd leave us a review on iTunes and let us know your thoughts about the podcast. What you love, what you wish you could hear more of, we want to hear from you so that we can make sure that this podcast is beautiful and effective and serving our communities in the best way possible. We love you so much and can't wait to talk to you again next week. Bye!

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