Latest from Mormon Land: Should the family proclamation be canonized?

Also: “Schindler’s List” tops reader poll of R-rated movies worth watching; remembering when top Latter-day Saint leaders spoke against the arms race; and a BYU professor gets bullied.

(Image courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" was unveiled in September 1995.

The Mormon Land newsletter is The Salt Lake Tribune’s weekly highlight reel of developments in and about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Support us on Patreon and get the full newsletter, exclusive access to Tribune subscriber-only religion content and podcast transcripts.

Elevating the family proclamation

The question often arises: Will “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” be canonized?

Wheat & Tares guest blogger Jim Bennett warns that members who would love to see that happen may end up wishing it hadn’t.

After all, he reasons, making the 28-year-old document scripture would mean locking in its revelatory language as written and ranking it above the ceaseless interpretations that have followed.

A “guy accused me of heresy for refusing to concede that gender is ‘immutable’ like the family proclamation says it is. Except the family proclamation doesn’t come close to saying any such thing,” Bennett writes. “The [proclamation’s] entire commentary on gender comes in a single-sentence summation that defines it as ‘an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.’ So he’s dead wrong, at least until some rogue thesaurus decides to christen ‘essential’ and ‘immutable’ as synonyms.”

Same goes with same-sex marriage. Top church leaders forcefully condemn it, but the proclamation is silent on the subject.

“It talks about how God loves marriage between a man and a woman, and how procreation shouldn’t take place out of wedlock, and many other commendable things with which I can wholeheartedly agree,” the blogger states, “all the while leaving the negative stuff — ‘oh, and same-sex marriage is NOT ordained of God! So there!’ — to the reader’s imagination.”

If this iconic treatise were posted not just in living rooms but in, say, the faith’s Doctrine and Covenants, Bennett predicts, it “would instantly become open to far more inclusive interpretations than are currently applied to it.”

The winner is …

(Universai Pictures | Amblin Entertainment) Liam Neeson stars in "Schindler's List," Steven Spielberg's 1993 epic about the Holocaust.

We asked readers last week to give a thumbs-up to R-rated or TV-MA shows that faithful members can and should watch.

We received dozens of responses. The runaway winner: “Schindler’s List,” Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning 1993 epic about the Holocaust.

Said one commenter: “I don’t like gratuitous anything in movies, but a good historically based movie regardless of rating gets a pass with me.”

Another Spielberg World War II drama, 1998′s “Saving Private Ryan” about the D-Day invasion, also drew multiple votes.

Others on the list: “The King’s Speech,” “The Shawshank Redemption,” “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” “The Last of Us,” “Spotlight,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” “Hacksaw Ridge,” “The Big Lebowski,” “Billy Elliot,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” “The Pianist,” “Slumdog Millionaire,” “Gangs of New York,” “Good Morning, Vietnam” and “Ted Lasso.”

The latest ‘Mormon Land’ podcast: ‘Isn’t God supposed to protect children from harm?’

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) Rabbi Avremi Zippel of Chabad Lubavitch of Utah poses for a photograph, Tuesday, May 2, 2023.

A Utah rabbi who was sexually assaulted as a boy for a decade by his family’s nanny discusses his new book, “Not What I Expected: A 20-Year Journey to Reclaim a Child’s Voice,” the pain he endured, the healing he found, and how religious leaders can help the fight against abuse. Listen to the podcast.

Saying no to nukes

(J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah) MX missile protesters in Salt Lake City in this undated photo.

Forty-two years ago this week, the church helped shoot down controversial plans to base a nuclear missile system in Utah’s West Desert.

On May 5, 1981, the governing First Presidency, led by then-President Spencer W. Kimball, decried the destabilizing nature of the proposed MX deployment, the overall arms buildup and the impact the weapons scheme could have on the environment (including precious water resources), the economy and all of humanity.

“We repeat our warnings against the terrifying arms race in which the nations of the earth are presently engaged,” Kimball and his counselors, N. Eldon Tanner and Marion G, Romney, wrote. “We deplore in particular the building of vast arsenals of nuclear weaponry.”

Church leaders feared the MX, labeled a Peacekeeper, would become a peace breaker, noting that “men have seldom created armaments that eventually were not put to use.”

The faith’s forceful opposition on this “moral” issue helped turn public opinion in Utah against the Cold War-era proposal, and the U.S. eventually abandoned the MX project.

From The Tribune

(Courtesy photo) Sarah Coyne, a professor of human development and associate director of Brigham Young University's School of Family Life.

• A family life professor at Brigham Young University became the target of bullying after mentioning her transgender child in class.

• The Heber Valley Temple under construction in Utah’s Wasatch County will be lit up but won’t shine as brightly as the church originally desired.

• And it came to pass that Latter-day Saints could come to the past by visiting a re-creation of the biblical Hebrew Tabernacle on display in and around Salt Lake City.

• A California jury awarded nearly $2.3 billion in damages to a woman who was molested for years by her stepfather. The church, implicated earlier in the case, settled its part of the lawsuit for $1 million.