I listened to the radio interview of Nielsen suggested by JD in yesterday's comments and was surprised to hear how much I like Nielsen. I mean, I didn't dislike him before (despite my flippant post tone), but he really appeals to me for his insights, his quick concessions on certain points, and his humility. I wasn't expecting the humility. I had him down as more of a martyr whistle-blower, confident in his pious sacrifice. I like to believe he and I would be great friends if given the chance (not -L-, but the quite distinct real person who masquerades as -L- online).
But then, on the other hand, I think I pegged him pretty well yesterday. I think the root problem with his view is that he doesn't believe the leadership of the church really has much relationship to God's will. He tries to make a distinction between criticizing theology and criticizing the politics of the church, but God is just as much an expert on politics as he is on theology.
Nielsen made an interesting reference to Jewish friends who aren't big fans of Noah because of his unhesitating acceptance that God was going to destroy the world with a flood. They are bigger fans of Moses, who actually argued with God a little more as an advocate for Israel. I really like that thought. And I recognize (and I think I've said so) that leaders aren't micro-managed by God on every issue and that the specifics are often subject to the limitations of an individual's ability to implement guidance on that issue. But while Nielsen calls for greater transparency and information sharing on the part of all organizations (which I can whole-heartedly applaud in the context of management positions I've held in the past), he seems not to understand that the organization of God's church--including ranked leadership and a certain lack of divine transparency--was God's own design.
Do we know then that Hinckley hasn't gone to blows with God regarding gay marriage? Do we know that he doesn't have deeply loving and ambivalent feelings for how gays can find some measure of happiness, but that his efforts ultimately ended with God laying down the law? How can we ever be certain that an "open dialog" about moral issues is supposed to end if we don't accept the prophet's final word on the subject?
I repeat my conjecture that "moral reciprocity" has already had every consideration in the private debates among the brethren. And I tentatively think there is no subject that doesn't have relevance to theology, politics or otherwise. I think it's central to truly believing the LDS church to believe that prophets truly speak for God.