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About MrShorty

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  1. MrShorty

    Marriage to the Lord

    While we are applying Gottman's principles to our relationship with the Church, I came across this one today where the author talks about applying Gottman's "magic" 5 positive:1negative interaction ratio to our relationship to the Church:
  2. MrShorty

    Marriage to the Lord

    I like the idea. I think I would have made different parallels for the 4 horsemen in a relationship between a person and the Church*. (note that it has been a few years since I read 7 Principles so I may forget exactly what he said in that book, but I have tried to keep up on his principles by following his blog and referencing the book, so I don't think I am completely ignorant of what he teaches.) Maybe? 1) Criticism: The person is always finding fault with Church doctrines, policies, procedures, and behaviors. I note that Gottman makes a distinction between complaints and criticisms, so a person should still be able to have and express doubts, disagreements, etc. with the Church. On the blog, he notes that the antidote to criticism is the softened startup. Basically, it is not about having differences and conflicts with the Church, but how you manage those differences. Being able to bring up questions, concerns, and disagreements with the Church in a way that avoids the other horsemen (and it sometimes seems to me that the Church can be quick to exhibit defensiveness when someone expresses a question, concern, or disagreement). I might also mention here that part of this might include being able to identify the perpetual problems (those issues where the person and the Church are not going to find a mutually agreeable resolution) and figure out how to manage those perpetual problems in a way that allows the relationship between the person and the Church to continue. 2) Contempt: The person reaches the point that the Church can do nothing right. The Church is dangerous and on the wrong side of everything. It seems that there are many who leave the Church who have developed this level of contempt. Again, it seems that the Church's response is often defensiveness or even stonewalling ("even if they are my neighbor I won't talk to them anymore even about neighborly things"). The antidote is building a culture of appreciation and respect. Basically, the person must learn to see and appreciate the good the Church does and believes and build on that. Even if their disagreements are perpetual, finding other things in the Church to be positive about is important to keeping the relationship open. 3) Defensiveness: The Church has a tendency to tell people when they are sinning or where they need to do better (that should be part of the Church's purpose). If the person becomes defensive, they refuse to acknowledge their sin. Naturally, Gottman's antidote for defensiveness is take responsibility. When the Church accuses you of sin, acknowledge your guilt or where you could do better. Some of the problem here might be in discerning when something is sin. If the Church claims something is sin and I don't think it is sin, then we are back to trying to manage this difference of opinion. Defensiveness is often a reaction to criticism or contempt. Is the Church making complaints or criticisms? Could the Church use softer startups or express gratitude for the person as part of the call to repentance? 4) Stonewalling: When the person refuses to interact with the Church. "Everytime I go to Church, they tell me I'm a sinner, so I'm not going anymore." As you note, many don't want to even answer the phone/door when the bishop/home teachers/others come to call. The antidote is to learn physiological self-soothing -- learning how to have difficult conversations without descending into contention. Learning when you need a break to calm down and come back to the discussion later (I seem to remember Gottman talking about the importance of coming back later and not using "flooding" as an excuse to avoid the difficult conversations). Again, stonewalling is often a response to criticism and contempt, so what is the Church doing that helps contribute to a person stonewalling. Could it do something different? I think there is a place for discussion here. I'm not sure I am convinced that it is mostly one sided on the part of the one who leaves. Because the Church* is kind of a nebulous concept, where the person who leaves is fairly clear cut as an individual, it is easier to put responsibility on the shoulders of the one and more difficult to talk about or control how responsibility falls across the many different shoulders that make up the Church. In that respect, the person is bearing more responsibility just because they should have more control over themselves and their choices as an individual, but the Church cannot be responsible for every individual that might fall under its umbrella as far as this discussion is concerned. * -- I'm having trouble defining who or what "the Church" is in this, because it clearly is not easily represented as a single individual. I kind of have in mind some kind of conglomeration of the institution with its organization and policies and procedures and doctrines and manuals, the leadership -- both local and general, and the loyal, believing, orthodox members.
  3. The author claims to be a former president of the Canadian Council of Churches, and simply argues that "[The Mormons] should be welcomed to walk alongside the rest of us." The comments section certainly shows that not all agree with Rev. Christie. I guess it just shows that, while there are the counter-cult minsitries and individuals like Dr. Jeffress out there, there are also many who are more welcoming. The belief that Mormons aren't Christian is not universal.
  4. MrShorty

    The Billy Graham Rule

    In some ways, I think this might be the heart of the question -- Is it morally wrong for unmarried men and women to be alone together? My impression has always been that the real moral right/wrong question is about adultery/chastity/sexual impropriety. Men and women being alone together, by itself, is morally neutral. Things like the Billy Graham rule are more like "hedges about the law". By setting a standard -- a hedge -- that is far away from the actual moral question, one eliminates/minimizes the opportunity to cross an actual moral boundary.
  5. That is very possible. I don't think that's what I am trying to say. I think Pres Ballard wants to see people genuinely committed to following the Savior. I think he is also concerned by those who don't simultaneously commit to the Church.
  6. @The Folk Prophet I think we are saying the same thing, then. The idea I was trying to convey was that, while scripture may say (as others have pointed out) that all that is required is a commitment to follow Christ, I think Pres. Ballard was also concerned that they should also be on their towards some level of commitment to the Church. In response the question I posed, I see you saying that we should not be content with baptizing those who are not committed to the Church even if they are committed to the Savior.
  7. @The Folk Prophet Like I said, someone like PrisonChaplain might be better able to comment on the difference between committing to the Savior and committing to a specific Christian Church. We, with our "Mormon Exceptionalism" and "One True Church" claims have often said that they are not different. If one is unwilling to commit to this Church, then one is not truly committed to the Savior. And, we take a certain amount of flak from other Christians for these kinds of claims. Is there a difference? I'm sure there is a believable, logical sequence that leads one to conclude that one who commits to follow the Savior must commit to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However, I cannot look at someone like PrisonChaplain and convince myself that he/she is not committed to the Savior because he/she is unwilling to commit to this Church.
  8. A couple of unrelated thoughts: 1) A lot of the discussion has been about what exactly Pres. Ballard meant by this early invite. As many have noted, the official missionary publications and instructions and training have long included/expected a baptismal invitation within the first few lessons. From my time in the early '90s, an "optimal" timeline would be first contact -> schedule two lessons per week and baptismal invite is before the end of the 2nd lesson (first contact to baptism invite ~1 week) -> continue 2 lessons per week until 6 are completed and the investigator attends church at least once and so on (first contact to end of lessons ~3 weeks) -> baptism shortly after lesson 6 (first contact to baptism 3-4 weeks). I cannot say how many people I talked to were really ready for the baptismal invite after the 2nd lesson. Some that I judged were ready really weren't, and some that I judged not ready were. Is this the kind of practice Pres. Ballard is talking about in this talk, or is he talking about some of the other rumored scenarios ("come join our baseball team. If you want to join our baseball team, we have this initiation where we dunk you in a swimming pool, then you will be an official member of the team"). Perhaps Pres. Ballard is being intentionally vague, so that someone doesn't get the idea that a certain minimum time needs to pass. Pres. Ballard says that he wants the person to learn something about our faith and feel the Spirit before being extended the invite. Those kinds of things may happen very quickly (hours or days), and others need longer (cue Eeyore, "Days, Weeks, Months...who knows?"). Perhaps it is not about a calendar based time frame, but an event based time frame that we should be considering. The difficulty from the missionary's perspective is judging when those events have occurred. 2) Some have mentioned the scriptural examples where the only real requirement is a commitment to follow Jesus Christ. In many ways, I will agree that this can be the only requirement for baptism. However, Pres. Ballard specifically also mentions the idea of "retention". Reading between the lines, I think Pres. Ballard is looking for something more than just a commitment to follow the Savior. I think he is looking for a commitment to follow the Savior and actively participate in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Perhaps someone like PrisonChaplain might be better able to comment, but I see two very different commitments there. Are we content with baptizing people who are committed to the Savior but not committed to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? If we expect a commitment to the Church as well as the Savior, should we raise the bar a little bit on what happens before inviting to baptism?
  9. MrShorty

    A Modesty Article that is going around.

    I am reminded of something Pres. Harold B. Lee said. Necessarily paraphrased, because I could not readily find a copy of "Teaching no Greater Call" or other reference to pull the exact quote from, he said that we should not only teach/communicate clearly enough to be understood, but so we won't be misunderstood. It seems clear to me that, no matter how good we think these analogies are, some are misunderstanding them. How much of that should be on the "teacher" (including the curriculum writers and other sources the individual uses to develop the lesson plan) and on the learner (because he did not adequately think through the interpretation) I don't know. It seems like there needs to be some kind of working agreement where both teacher and learner acknowledge each others' weaknesses and failings and try to work together so that Truth is taught and learned. I don't know all the ins and outs of doing that. It sometimes seems to me that we in this community want to blame all of these misunderstandings on the "idiot" learner as if the teacher could not have possible done anything different to avoid the misunderstanding. I linked earlier to something written by the group of BYU professors that published some recent books on sexuality who mention that they were still hearing references to these analogies just a few years ago. I have not encountered them recently in my limited circle, but I still hear of them from well outside my circle. I don't have a good feel for how commonly used they are, but they don't seem extinct.
  10. MrShorty

    A Modesty Article that is going around.

    Probably not adequately, but here's something at ldsliving by the authors of Sexual Wholeness in Marriage (2014) and A Better Way to Teach Kids about Sex (2018) that claims that they are still hearing about these metaphors being taught to young adults "in the years leading up to" these publications.
  11. MrShorty

    A Modesty Article that is going around.

    @Just_A_Guy I recall the same article. I don't offhand recall the year, but it was before I got married, so early '90's at the latest. I found it quite enlightening at the time, because I learned that those analogies (which I had encountered at some point prior to this article) were wrong. An interesting thing I note is that, 20+ years later and these object lessons are not extinct from our teaching. One New Era article (and numerous online discussions since then) is not quite enough to push the analogy to extinction. I don't recall encountering very many references to this New Era article within my own Church instruction (perhaps because I have not been involved in the youth). Would it be enough to give that article greater visibility in our curricula? TFP, I hope I would not find anyone who is invested in these kinds of analogies. I don't understand why, but, even if none of us is invested in these ideas, these ideas seem to have a persistence to them. Would it be so terrible in this introspection process for the Church to ask itself why these false ideas persist in our culture/teaching and what it could do differently to refute them?
  12. MrShorty

    A Modesty Article that is going around.

    I think you are right, but I also don't recall ever seeing a curriculum manual that explicitly says, "We hear of some of you using chewed gum object lessons in your chastity lessons. Don't use them because they are false." It sometimes seems like our curriculum materials don't often disavow false teachings of yesterday. Maybe that's all that is needed sometimes. Or maybe those kinds of things fall under "teacher training". It sometimes seems like we are so resistant to any kind of "let's look at how we are teaching the gospel (formally and informally) and see if we can make improvements" when it comes to these kinds of topics. I think there are improvements that could be made.
  13. MrShorty

    A Modesty Article that is going around.

    Agreed, I was careless there. In that post, when I reference "the Church", I have in mind the institution/entity/people responsible for publishing curriculum materials, conducting teacher training, and such. Those responsible for deciding what topics are taught when and for suggesting to teachers how to teach those topics.
  14. MrShorty

    A Modesty Article that is going around.

    Theoretically, yes. If only we could all agree on what Christ would/would not do.
  15. MrShorty

    A Modesty Article that is going around.

    This, I think, illustrates part of the problem with these kinds of discussions. It goes beyond modesty into other sexual areas (good girl syndrome type topics). We can insist left and right that no one at church taught ______, but there seems to be a lot of people who learned _______ from Church. I sometimes think that one of our challenges in the church is how to deal with this sort of thing. Some insist that the Church needs no introspection -- its all the learners' (or a few teachers who went off the rail) fault. Some insist that the Church is terrible at developing curriculum and teachers and the Church bears the responsibility for the false doctrines they learned. Could this possible work better if we met in the middle. If the Church and teachers were introspective enough to ask questions about how to best teach these kinds of topics -- not only so that truth is taught -- but so that truth is not misconstrued? I sometimes think it would help if the Church and its teachers were more willing to point out cases where these kinds of things were poorly taught or easily misunderstood. Can we as learners simply accept that enough false doctrine is taught at church so that we approach our lessons and other claims made by our coreligionists with enough skepticism to filter those teachings through our own discernment filters and other teachers and sources? An additional dimension to these kinds of topics is that they are often aimed at our youth who are often in the early stages of learning teaching skills and learning learning skills and learning discernment skills so that it is easy for them to misconstrue things. I don't know how to do these things -- my own senses of skepticism and faith and discernment are still developing. There are things in that process that I must unlearn. There are things in that process that I must understand better so I can teach them better. Edit to clarify: When I write about "Church" in this post, I am thinking more of the institution than membership. Thinking more of the lesson materials and directions given to teachers for preparing lessons.