In the inaugural issue of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought in 1966, Frances Menlove bravely wrote: “The very nature of the Church demands honesty, which is inherent in its mission to seek truth. What are the motives behind dishonesty? Perhaps it is the desire in everyone to protect that which they love. If one admits to past disasters, misdirection, failings, then it is possible to wonder if the Church is not in some way faltering now. But if we believe that truth and knowledge have limitations, we must welcome diverse opinions, even criticisms. Only by honestly receiving and scrutinizing all positions can we come close to an understanding of the truth.”
These words remain as fresh and bracing today as they were nearly fifty years ago. The fifteen other essays and sermons, some published here for the first time, are equally bold, exposing injustice masked as God’s will. Yet, there is an underlying theme of personal integrity and striving for spiritual transformation. As an example, Menlove prays that an intersexed child will not be coerced into gender conformity because of faith commitments but rather that we try to stand perceived wisdom on its head, as the scriptures so often do. Readers will want to share many of these essays with family and friends but will also find the concepts occupying their own private thoughts.
Frances Lee Menlove holds two academic degrees: a PhD in psychology from the University of Michigan and a MDiv from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley. She was manuscripts editor on the founding staff of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. She serves on the board of directors of a small Oregon non-profit called Peace Village, which since 1996 has been teaching non-violence to children in interfaith settings. She also volunteers with the American Red Cross, offering counseling services during national emergencies.
Dan Wotherspoon holds a PhD in religion from Claremont Graduate University. He is a past editor of Sunstone magazine and is active with the Eugene England Foundation, Foundation for Religious Diplomacy, and Society for Mormon Philosophy & Theology. He hosts the Mormon Matters podcast.