FACE TO FACE: FOUNDATIONS FOR A MYSTICAL TRADITION IN MORMONISM
Panelist: Philip McLemore
Moderator: Michael J. Stevens
At this point, any panel that brought up mysticism was the one I wanted to attend. He did a good job of dwelling on the abstracts of God, and how really modern Mormonism has put God in a box, and Jesus was broader than that. It gave me a new way of thinking about being born of the Spirit.
FROM LOST TRIBES TO MORMON HUMOR: ONE MAN'S FAITH JOURNEY THROUGH MORMON
Panelist: Glenn Ostlund
Moderator: Alicia Aiken
This was Glenn's story, how he went from faithful member / returned missionary to being one of the goofs on Infants on Thrones, a subversive ex-Mormon podcast. He spent a lot of times tlaking about the folklore around the Lost Tribes and how many thought that Japan or other parts of Asia contain lost tribes.
JOSEPH SMITH'S TEACHINGS ABOUT PRIESTHOOD, TEMPLE, AND WOMEN
Panelists: Clair Barrus, Bryndis Roberts, Nancy Ross.
Moderator: Nadine Hansen.
This one discussed not only the Gospel Topic essay that has the title of this presentation. It goes into more historical details about the Anointed Quorum, and how the attempt to explain away the interpretation of the word "ordain" is strained. Women used to be ordained, they used to lay on hands for healings, they used to anoint with oil, and they used to have more autonomy in the Relief Society.
THE 2ND REFORMATION? KEEPING A RECORD OF THE MORMON INTERNET EXPERIENCE IN THE BEGINNING OF THE 21ST CENTURY
Panelists: Bill Reel, Melissa Young, Gina Colvin, Sarah Collett.
Moderator: Brooke Walrath.
This explored the internet's affect on the gospel, and how blogs, podcasts, social media, etc., are shaping people's perceptions. Are they overall helpful or detrimental? Bill and Gina were able to come at it from their perspectives as hosts of the podcasts Mormon Discussions and A Thoughtful Faith, respectively.
NEW BOOK: THE GHOST OF ETERNAL POLYGAMY
Panelist: Carol Lynn Pearson
Moderator: Lindsay Park
Carol Lynn Pearson has a new book out where she makes the argument that the time has come for the LDS church to disavow the doctrine of eternal polygamy. She read a pssage from her book. I'll say that Pearson has the presence of a true artist, in her oratory, in her poetry, in her presentation. She argues that men and women are not equal before God when God says to the men: have many wives.
REPAIRING AND PRESERVING RELATIONSHIPS DAMAGED BY FAITH CRISES
Panelists: Steve Lowther, John Dehlin, Grant Palmer, Thomas Wirthlin McConkie, Sandra Tanner, Gina Colvin, Nathan McCluskey.
Moderator: Derrick Clements.
Now this was a diverse panel. You had everyone from the faithful Nate McCluskey, the Betweeners like Gina and Thomas, to the decidedly ex-Mormons in Grant, John, and Sandra. Sandra Tanner's been "anti-Mormon" for 50 years (she doesn't care for the label), but she still has family members who belong, and their relationship's been rough. Grant spoke about the pain of sitting in the foyer of the temple for sealins and such, but he said the amount of people in the foyer has been growing.
John gave a rapid-fire slideshow of advice to ex-Mormons on how to act around the faithful, all with the message about remember to be patient and merciful, and you used to be just like them.
Nate and Gina are husband and wife, and they spoke about making it work when spouses are on different pages. Which is the story of Monica and me. (The four of us went out for dinner later. I love those two.)
AN EVENING WITH TYLER GLENN
Tyler Glenn, former lead singer of Neon Trees, showed the video of "Trash", and he read some journal entries from his past, where he talked about realizing he was gay, where he talked about supressing it, talked about serving a mission, talked about falling in love but not wanting to do anything about it, talked about speaking at Affirmation and telling others how you could make being a gay Mormon work. And then he talks about the anguish and heartbreak when the November 2015 policy came out, the one that automatically declared same-sex married couples apostates and said that their children could not partake in any church ordinances (baby blessing, baptism, etc.) until they turn 18 and disavow their gay parents' lifestyle. I could feel Tyler's pain. it was that policy that made him question his testimony. He looked up YouTube videos of "I am an ex-Mormon" and devoured John Dehlin's podcasts. He teased his next song "Shameless." he also sang a slow, acoustical version of "Trash."
It reaffirmed what I already concluded about the November policy. It is not from God.