The Mormon church’s biggest problem with its recent First Presidency change
Dieter Uchtdorf was replaced as a member of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That’s sad, but there was something worse — and I say this despite having cried Friday about Uchtdorf being out:
Dallin Oaks is now a member of the Mormon church’s highest governing body.
At the end of the day, Uchtdorf is still a member of the church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
But Oaks is in Uchtdorf’s place. Oaks, despite himself saying “I will be accountable to higher authority” on his administration regarding the church’s gay policy, reaffirmed in his last talk among the ones he gives twice per year that the church still opposes gay marriage.
He also said that the church’s opposition to gay marriage will never change.
What Oaks has said on gays — and he’s said more against them, many of which have been faithful members of Oaks’ church — is only the most polarizing and perhaps most damaging remarks that he has made. Sometimes, they have stood in stark contrast to some of Uchtdorf’s.
Oaks said “the church doesn’t seek apologies and we don’t give them” (as part of a discussion on LGBTQ+ issues, actually).
“Members or leaders in the church have simply made mistakes.”
Perhaps new Mormon prophet Russell Nelson didn’t like that Uchtdorf’s comments on falling short was reported in media outlets headlined by The New York Times (as opposed to Oaks’ talk on the church forever remaining opposed to gay marriage meriting stories in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and Newsweek).
There are other examples of times in which Uchtdorf has been “(LDS Mormonism’s) Pope Francis,” as Mormons said five years ago, even before incidents including those mentioned in this column occurred. And examples of when Oaks has been … something different.
I don’t know where Mormons go from here, other than to hope that the death of older generations will result in change. But then the changes wouldn’t come from God, and Mormonism, as believed as “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth,” is predicated upon being run by God.
And run entirely by God, without Uchtdorf’s comment.
And there’s the very paradox — and if growth matters (it’s essential in LDS Mormon doctrine), the very problem the church created for itself.