Over the past few days, I’ve witnessed two completely, totally unrelated situations where things have begun to unravel.
The first concerns the marriage of Saeed and Naghmeh Abedini. We’ve written about U.S. pastor Saeed’s imprisonment in Iran here before and I have devoted other blog posts, links and Tweets to continuing to both bring his story and his wife’s advocacy to the forefront.
But this week Christianity Today reported:
For the past three years Naghmeh Abedini has publicly battled her husband’s captors, advocating for his release from an Iranian jail.
Behind the scenes, she also struggled with his inner demons.
Last week, the emotional distress of doing both finally proved too much, she said.
In two emails to supporters, Abedini revealed details of her troubled marriage to Saeed Abedini, an American citizen and pastor imprisoned in Iran since September 2012…
…Touring the country to advocate for Saeed’s release while coping with marital conflict proved too much, she wrote. She told supporters she’s withdrawing from public life for a time of prayer and rest…
…He has been repeatedly beaten and denied medical care at times, said his attorney, Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice.
In September, Abedini’s lawyers learned that his eight-year prison term might be extended.
Sekulow told CT that Saeed was beaten again this week and that his life remains in danger…
click the link above to read the full story at CT
The other item is the story of the decision of the LDS Church (Mormon) to not baptize or confer any of the church’s other sacraments including ordination for ministry on the children of same-sex couples. An exemption would only occur if (a) the child turned 18 and also (b) moved out of the house and also (c) renounced his/her parents lifestyle.
Now many members are resigning their membership. The Salt Lake Tribune reports:
More than 1,000 inactive and active Mormons — along with their backers — rallied in City Creek Park on Saturday to protest the LDS Church’s recent policy decisions involving same-sex couples and their children.
Many who attended the Salt Lake City event brought rainbow flags in support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. They also hoisted signs with slogans such as “LDS: Love Doesn’t Separate.”
At one of several tables, attorney Mark Naugle helped Mormons expedite their paperwork to resign their memberships in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Their forms were then dropped into a file box, which was rapidly filling 90 minutes after the event began, for mailing to nearby LDS Church headquarters to have those members’ names removed from the faith’s rolls…
…”We may have even reached 2,000.”
click the link above to continue reading at the Tribune
Is this the beginning of a movement? I’ve always felt that the LDS Church seems to have had an inordinate number of gay supporters, and was possibly a haven for some who wanted a worship life that was gay-friendly. Perhaps this stems from a disproportionate number of gay LDS bloggers that I’ve run into in the context of compiling weekly news feeds. Apparently the head office is putting an end to that perception with this announcement.
As to the other story, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) will continue to advocate for Saeed’s release even as his wife and family step out of the media spotlight.