One of the perennial debates that springs is how much control the Church exercises over its members. Ever since the early days of the Church, critics have charged that the Church exercises an inordinate amount of control over its members in their daily lives. Even today we hear resurgent claims that “when the prophet has spoken, the thinking is done” (which sentiment has been roundly denounced by—of all things—a prophet over 60 years ago) and the concept that Mormons are somehow brainwashed. (This last charge is particularly prevalent among those who need, for whatever reason, to classify Mormonism as a cult.)
Well, now it seems that the debate has reached mainstream newspapers (once again). Recent articles in the Salt Lake Tribune and the Boston Globe have played two sides of this same broken record relative to the Church’s involvement in Proposition 8. Let’s start with the quote from the Salt Lake Tribune:
That may make some independents wary of voting for a Mormon candidate, he says, and stoke more fears of how much power the church has over its faithful members.
The statement, referencing a statement by University of Iowa communications professor Bruce Gronbeck, raises the specter of “too much control.” Conversely, over at the Boston Globe, writers are almost gleeful over the Church having too little control:
The church’s outspoken support for Proposition 8 exposed an unusual level of disagreement in the ordinarily harmonious Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as the Internet facilitated grass-roots organizing by the minority of Mormons who support same-sex marriage.
Too much control? Too little control? Seems people can’t really decide—in or out of the Church.
Ya gotta love it.