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SAMORMON

Mormon vs American Culture

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Hi everyone

I dont want to be controversial, but do have a genuine concern about members abilities to live the Gospel according to the Saviour vs according to america.

Ive been a member my whole life and have been taught to, and strongly believe in, sustaining my leaders. However there seem to be more and more "american" traditions being forced onto us and they're being labeled "church tradition".

I live in South Africa where we have 11 official languages and as many cultures. The problem with the blurred line of american vs church culture seems more prevelent in church employment. My spouse, along with many friends are employed at the the SA church headoffice. they often get chastised about the way they do things. For example, many years ago an opostle said he loved to hear people prayer in their mother tongue. my spouse agrees with this as this is the language they have always used to communicate with their Heavenly Father. There is now an american running the show, who has put forward a "memo" that the only language that will be spoken in the offices will be english. My spouse was asked to pray one morning in devotional and then got rebuked for not praying in english.

Im sure when the prophet goes to brazil or mexico, he doesnt demand all to only speak english.

He is a guest there, not vice versa!

The entire office has lost the spirit of working for Our Heavenly Father. There is so much politics and "digging a pit" for their neighbour to fall into at the offices I cant possibly believe that the desicions being made are under the direction of the first presudency. Im actually of the opion that they are misinformed of all that is going on here. . . as im sure if they knew, it would not be happening.

We are counselled to bring our good traditions and add them to the "traditions" of the church . . . but how is it that so many american traditions are being labeled as "church" traditions and other traditions/cultures being frowned upon.

As I memtioned, I in no way wish to be controversial about this. There is no doubt in my mind that the gospel is true and that we have a living prophet and apostles on the earth today. But I cant help feeling that there will soon be a split in the church because people are pushing their personal beliefs and preferences onto others and labeling them as doctrine . . .especially when it comes to more temporal affairs.

How envolved is the first presidency with temporal affairs and are they really aware of all thats going on in church employment.

I cant name a single person who is currently happy within church employment in SA due to all the internal politics. . . . And im talking about faithful members who have happily worked for the church for the last 30years who themselves confess it feels nothing like working for the Lord anymore.

Is South African Church employment different to elsewhere or am I just over reacting?

Its all good and well to say that if an apostle hasnt said it then its not doctrine, but arent all leadership supposed to be acting under the direction of the twelve?

I dont want to "not sustain" my leaders, but how can i be sure that "the powers that be" are aware of whats going on in the "lower ranks" so to speak.

How do you address such problem when it kinda stems from the very top of the area. Another member who Ive never known to say anything derogatory about anyone, simply made the comment that leadership here "is rotten from the top".

Ive served in leadership positions under the same leaders about whom some of these comments have been made . . . and I have spiritually felt the opposite about what has been said about them.

How can one person be so spiritual eclesiastically speaking but so corrupt or misguided temporally speaking.

Surely one cannot also be the other.

I hope im making sense to someone, i feel like im mostly just thinking out loud now.

I look forward to your comments!

Edited by SAMORMON

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I am (or used to be) very close to someone who served a mission in South Africa, at a time when Zimbabwe was a part of the mission. He personally witnessed some very disturbing corruption at the mission president level; when he complained about it, he was disciplined and eventually sent home. Today, he is completely disaffected from the Church and to a large extent from his family. At least a part of the blame lies at the feet of the mission president and others who acted in a corrupt manner. I don't know if that's an endemic problem in South Africa or if it was just a coincidental experience from years ago. Doesn't sound much like what you're describing, but there may be some deep underlying connection.

Ive been a member my whole life and have been taught to, and strongly believe in, sustaining my leaders. However there seem to be more and more "american" traditions being forced onto us and they're being labeled "church tradition".

I live in South Africa where we have 11 official languages and as many cultures. The problem with the blurred line of american vs church culture seems more prevelent in church employment. My spouse, along with many friends are employed at the the SA church headoffice. they often get chastised about the way they do things. For example, many years ago an opostle said he loved to hear people prayer in their mother tongue. my spouse agrees with this as this is the language they have always used to communicate with their Heavenly Father. There is now an american running the show, who has put forward a "memo" that the only language that will be spoken in the offices will be english. My spouse was asked to pray one morning in devotional and then got rebuked for not praying in english.

In my opinion, this particular example is probably not indicative of American cultural imperialism. It is surprising to hear the director of a Church office in South Africa demand that prayers be done in English. However, I would tend to chalk that up to individual ignorance and unconscious arrogance rather than institutional cultural imperialism.

I do agree that it's inappropriate for this brother to demand English-only in the Church offices. If it's a disruptive force, which it sounds like it is, you probably want to talk directly to the individual running the show. Wouldn't hurt to have others involved, too, though the more people you have involved, the less angry and hostile you want to be, so the individual doesn't feel cornered and ganged up on.

As this is a place of employment and not strictly a Church calling, I personally would find little problem with contacting this individual's superior and explaining the situation to him.

But I don't have any feel for the political situation involved, so I'm speaking from a position of ignorance. I'd hate for you to follow my advice and end up fired as a result. Good luck.

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Thanks Vort

Its dificult for me as alot of what goes on is hear say, and as you said, its employment like any other. so as a spouse i cant walk in and tell my spous's boss to "catch a wake up" it wouldnt be appropriate in any work environment.

At the same time its the last thing you would expect to hear about in CHURCH employment.

Ive been told that I dont know the half of the nonsense going on . . . and if i did my testimony may be forever jolted as your friend's was. its not right, and there is no authority unaffected by the internal politics to go to within the country.

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My father worked for the Church as a manager of Temple maintenance, manager in Deseret Industries and retired as the head of Church Employment for the Northwest (Washington and Oregon) region. Prior to that he worked in the Banking industry (Real Estate arm) and also was self-employed.

With what he told me it seemed like employment at the Church is NOT exempt from petty politics, interoffice grudges, gossip and infighting. The Church for whatever reason is more patient with behavior that would get someone thrown out on their ear in a regular business. He has seen toxic people removed from Church offices to the relief of the co-workers but they all seemed to be removed via promotion and hardly ever fired.

My Father didn’t let his experience harm his testimony; he always viewed them as two separate entities.

Despite how the “secular” and very necessary administrative/business arm of the Church is run or functions, the Church is true. If you expect the church to have perfect insight and fairness in how it runs its business and treats its employees you will be sorely disappointed. I have a testimony that Jesus is the head of this Church, but it's still administered by imperfect men and women.

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I agree Windseeker. My parents are currently working for the Church and they have their share of troubles. They have had several managers over the years and one manager had a family member who wanted my parents job. Boy, were those rough years. People are people even when they are employed by the Church.

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With regard to language issues...I have a good friend who served her mission in Durban about 10 years ago. They only taught in English, though she learned a bit of conversation Zulu. They only had English copies of the Book of Mormon for distribution. I asked her once about it, because I assumed it wasn't the easiest to read for everyone there. She agreed that it wasn't, but explained why they used exclusively English instead. She had been instructed that there weren't adequate words for translation into some of the local/native tongues that would allow preservation of the holiness of the Book of Mormon. Its words (and by extension, its message) would become corrupted.

I don't know that this holds true for prayer -- a prayer can use whatever words one wants. It's possible that it is a regional instruction, and is widely and generally applied.

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I'm not sure that you can blame that on American culture. We have wards even here in Utah such as Spanish and Samoan. I've been to both. In the Samoan wards most of the service is done in English. However, the prayers and even the hymns were done in Samoan. Absolutely beautiful.

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Thanks all . . . its good to know we're not just being "picked on" this side.

Sorry I dont know how to Quote properly, but Windseekers said:

"With what he told me it seemed like employment at the Church is NOT exempt from petty politics, interoffice grudges, gossip and infighting. The Church for whatever reason is more patient with behavior that would get someone thrown out on their ear in a regular business. He has seen toxic people removed from Church offices to the relief of the co-workers but they all seemed to be removed via promotion and hardly ever fired."

That just doesnt sound like a practice that should be endorsed. With all the talk of Choice and Consequence, how can people then just turn around a "reward" bad behaviour while all affected get "Demoted" . .. either physically or spiritually by seeing the "wicked" progress while they are "punished" for being innocent.

Im by no means implying that anyone should loose their jobs if they step out of line, but why should everyone else suffer because the powers that be are too scared of confrontation. . . . "Its better that one man perish than a whole nation dwindle in unbelief"

Anyways, Ive been advised to not speak out too much for fear of harming the testimonies of any investigating the church and potentially having this blog used as canon fodder to further the bias against related employees at church employment.

But I must confess that this is the problem with the entire South African society . . . its all about "human rights" . . . but only if you're guilty . . . if you're innocent, then just suck it up. I didnt think this would be the attitude within the church too.

Thanks again for your support.

I do know without a shadow of doubt that the gospel is true and each of us are responsible for our own salvation and can blame no one for our actions. We just need to make sure we aren't a stumbling block to others.

Keep the faith for there is peace in living the gospel . . . it may just not be found in church employment.

Edited by SAMORMON

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Keep the faith for there is peace in living the gospel . . . it may just not be found in church employment.

This is a great statement! :)

SAMORMON, it just might be that the Lord is waiting for you to be the one to lead the South Africans to find joy in church employment by seeking positive changes in love, kindness, and humility - the way Jesus Christ taught us.

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I don't know if I would agree that it's a great statement. It's putting thousands of people who do work for the church into the same category and it shouldn't.

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I don't know if I would agree that it's a great statement. It's putting thousands of people who do work for the church into the same category and it shouldn't.

C'mon Pam. Of course he meant his neck of the woods in South Africa. Don't be such an onion peel about it. It's a great statement in that he recognizes the gospel is true regardless of what happens in church employment.

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C'mon Pam. Of course he meant his neck of the woods in South Africa. Don't be such an onion peel about it. It's a great statement in that he recognizes the gospel is true regardless of what happens in church employment.

Did you just call me an onion peel? :lol:

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Did you just call me an onion peel? :lol:

Onion peel --> Poe online --> Lion no pee --> I, lone peon --> El Noe pi, no?

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Did you just call me an onion peel? :lol:

I can't find my Idioms for Daily Use book... it might have been a gingerbread button or something. :D

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My problem with SAMormon's anti-testimonial is that it is second-hand (at best), hearsay, and incredibly short on specifics.

The only substantive accusation made is that the boss insisted that all prayers be made in English. <GASP!>

You'd think he was burning Qorans or something!

I'll point out that there may be a number of reasons for such a directive- not the least of which is that English is the only language shared by everyone working in the office. How edifying is a prayer that deliberately excludes some people from participating/understanding what is being asked of/shared with Heavenly Father?

The OP is grumbling and complaining- spreading second-hand disaffection- without naming a single name or providing a single substantive fact to back up her allegations.

That troubles me deeply.

It smacks of pride, and suggests someone who wants to vent rather than to find a workable solution.

As such, this thread is little more than tabloid-grade gossip- though most of posters have given it a more serious response than it seems to deserve.

Do I think the Church-offices are free from petty politics, strife, or bureaucratic turf-wars?

Of course not.

But is kvetching about it on an anonymous internet forum going to do anything to solve the problem or inspire change? Not a hope in Hell.

If you've got a problem with how the Church is run, or how it is administered, you need to take it up with the men who hold those keys, not whinge about it to total strangers.

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My problem with SAMormon's anti-testimonial is that it is second-hand (at best), hearsay, and incredibly short on specifics.

The only substantive accusation made is that the boss insisted that all prayers be made in English. <GASP!>

You'd think he was burning Qorans or something!

I'll point out that there may be a number of reasons for such a directive- not the least of which is that English is the only language shared by everyone working in the office. How edifying is a prayer that deliberately excludes some people from participating/understanding what is being asked of/shared with Heavenly Father?

The OP is grumbling and complaining- spreading second-hand disaffection- without naming a single name or providing a single substantive fact to back up her allegations.

That troubles me deeply.

It smacks of pride, and suggests someone who wants to vent rather than to find a workable solution.

As such, this thread is little more than tabloid-grade gossip- though most of posters have given it a more serious response than it seems to deserve.

Do I think the Church-offices are free from petty politics, strife, or bureaucratic turf-wars?

Of course not.

But is kvetching about it on an anonymous internet forum going to do anything to solve the problem or inspire change? Not a hope in Hell.

If you've got a problem with how the Church is run, or how it is administered, you need to take it up with the men who hold those keys, not whinge about it to total strangers.

Alright Selek, so I am okay with the first part of your response. Yes, there was nothing mentioned about anything other than English is to be used. Which, frankly could be a business decision of any company and I am not alarmed about that at all. But then it seems that the OP pushed some of your buttons?

By your line of thinking shouldn’t this part of the forum be completely shut down? It seems like a legitimate question that they have. Sure, in Utah there is a lot of church employed people you may know, but how about in South Africa? Do you have a slew of people in every ward that you can ask about Church Employment. Should we only have postings on the scriptural references and talk of the gospel on this site? I think this post is completely acceptable and the responses have been courteous.

To the OP: You are being employed by an employer. Although you should expect that standards higher than most other employers, treat it like work. Complaints should be submitted to managers, not through prayer. (Although prayer sure helps me get through the day). Good luck.

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My problem with SAMormon's anti-testimonial is that it is second-hand (at best), hearsay, and incredibly short on specifics.

The only substantive accusation made is that the boss insisted that all prayers be made in English. <GASP!>

You'd think he was burning Qorans or something!

I'll point out that there may be a number of reasons for such a directive- not the least of which is that English is the only language shared by everyone working in the office. How edifying is a prayer that deliberately excludes some people from participating/understanding what is being asked of/shared with Heavenly Father?

The OP is grumbling and complaining- spreading second-hand disaffection- without naming a single name or providing a single substantive fact to back up her allegations.

That troubles me deeply.

It smacks of pride, and suggests someone who wants to vent rather than to find a workable solution.

As such, this thread is little more than tabloid-grade gossip- though most of posters have given it a more serious response than it seems to deserve.

Do I think the Church-offices are free from petty politics, strife, or bureaucratic turf-wars?

Of course not.

But is kvetching about it on an anonymous internet forum going to do anything to solve the problem or inspire change? Not a hope in Hell.

If you've got a problem with how the Church is run, or how it is administered, you need to take it up with the men who hold those keys, not whinge about it to total strangers.

Oh selek is being an ogre! :)

Selek, he's South African LDS seeking a place to vent his frustrations.

I am Filipino. My husband is American. He does not speak my language. Do you think I would demand that my parents who can barely speak English say grace in English in my house for the benefit of my husband? Of course not. That's just silly. If there's one thing that can easily distract from the spirit of prayer it's having to desperately find the proper English words for what I feel. I speak from experience on this one. But, on the other side of the coin, we have a Spanish-speaking lady in our ward and she sometimes prays in Spanish and I will testify to you that the spirit brought by the prayer is so strong that it doesn't matter much that only 3 people in the room of 25 understood the exact words.

If one has a problem with anything Church related, I would hope they come to lds.net so that we can put our heads together to bring peace. That's what we are here for. Not just give advice on how to stop from masturbating.

Edited by anatess

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Alright Selek, so I am okay with the first part of your response. Yes, there was nothing mentioned about anything other than English is to be used. Which, frankly could be a business decision of any company and I am not alarmed about that at all. But then it seems that the OP pushed some of your buttons?

Yes- unfounded gossip and fact-free denigration of people (particularly those in the Church) are push-button issues for me.

By your line of thinking shouldn’t this part of the forum be completely shut down? It seems like a legitimate question that they have.

I don't have a problem with people asking questions about the Church, about our theology, or our practice.

I DO have a problem with them making blanket accusations and denunciations without offering a shred of evidence to back up their claims.

I DO have a problem with them doubling down on those accusations and denunciations when someone offers them a sympathetic ear.

As I noted above, the problem isn't the question: it's the unfounded assumptions and blanket smears being offered by someone second-hand.

To the OP: You are being employed by an employer.

Unless I wildly misread the OP, it is not this poster, but her spouse who is employed by the Church.

She is simply repeating the gossip he has brought home to her, as though it is authoritative.

That is the kernel of unreasonability which drives my irritation.

Although you should expect that standards higher than most other employers, treat it like work. Complaints should be submitted to managers, not through prayer. (Although prayer sure helps me get through the day). Good luck.

Good advice.

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Oh selek is being an ogre! :)

Well, somebody's got to do it, and since I already have the body-type.... ;)

Selek, he's South African LDS seeking a place to vent his frustrations.

See my response to Earl, above, please.

I understand the need to vent. On exceedingly rare occasions, I've been known to pop off in anger or frustration myself.

I don't understand why the need to vent justifies belittling the integrity, faithfullness, and basic decency of others based on second-hand hearsay offered in the comforting assurance that those you are accusing cannot actually respond here.

None of the people the OP is smearing can offer their side of the story.

No proof has been offered in support of her allegations, which she has apparently not seen first-hand. It is the OP"s spouse who is employed by the Church, not the OP herself(himself?).

We, as Latter-day Saints are commanded NOT to engage in gossip, back-biting and ill-speaking of our fellow Latter-day Saints. And we are most especially admonished not to do so in a public forum where our disaffection may harm the testimony of others.

The OP waxes rhapsodic about how the workplace environment is supposedly harming testimonies, but gives no thought to how her own public roasting of the Church and its employees might do the same.

I am Filipino. My husband is American. He does not speak my language. Do you think I would demand that my parents who can barely speak English say grace in English in my house for the benefit of my husband? Of course not. That's just silly.

This is an apples and oranges comparison on the one hand, and a red herring on the other.

First, your home is not a Church-run office. You are not required to make any considerations or concessions in your home. A professional environment, such as the Church-offices operates differently.

If one has a problem with anything Church related, I would hope they come to lds.net so that we can put our heads together to bring peace.

As stated above, I don't have a problem with people asking questions or seeking solutions.

I do have a problem with them back-biting and gossiping and attacking the credibility of the LDS Church and LDS people.

In the very first post (and in subsequent responses) the OP quickly moved well beyond asking questions and into making unfounded and unsubstantiated accusations against fellow Latter-day Saints.

She repeated second-hand gossip as a weapon and a judgement against our fellow Mormons.

Call it "a cultural thing", but I don't think that's appropriate or acceptable, even in so libertine a crowd as this.

Edited by selek

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Well, somebody's got to do it, and since I already have the body-type.... ;)

See my response to Earl, above, please.

I understand the need to vent.

I don't understand why the need to vent justifies belittling the integrity, faithfullness, and basic decency of others based on second-hand hearsay offered in the comforting assurance that those you are accusing cannot actually respond here.

None of the people the OP is smearing can offer their side of the story.

No proof has been offered about her allegations, which she has not seen first-hand. It is the OP"s spouse who is employed by the Church, not the OP herself(himself?).

We, as Latter-day Saints are commanded NOT to engage in gossip, back-biting and ill-speaking of our fellow Latter-day Saints. And we are most especially admonished not to do so in a public forum where our disaffection may harm the testimony of others.

The OP waxes rhapsodic about how the workplace environment is supposedly harming testimonies, but gives no thought to how her own public roasting of the Church and its employees might do the same.

This is an apples and oranges comparison on the one hand, and a red herring on the other.

First, your home is not a Church-run office. You are not required to make any considerations or concessions in your home. A professional environment, such as the Church-offices operates differently.

As stated above, I don't have a problem with people asking questions or seeking solutions.

I do have a problem with them back-biting and gossiping and attacking the credibility of the LDS Church and LDS people.

The OP moved beyond asking questions and into making unfounded and unsubstantiated accusations against fellow Latter-day Saints.

She repeated second-hand gossip as a weapon and a judgement against our fellow Mormons.

Call it "a cultural thing", but I don't think that's appropriate, even in so libertine a crowd as this.

I try to give lee-way on the tone of the post when the poster obviously do not use English as their primary language.

And when I say something about my husband's experience it is NOT second-hand experience. That denotes that my husband and I are not ONE. We are. It's called a Marriage.

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I try to give lee-way on the tone of the post when the poster obviously do not use English as their primary language.

Good advice.

I still don't believe that that excuses the behavior I have seen from this OP.

And when I say something about my husband's experience it is NOT second-hand experience. That denotes that my husband and I are not ONE. We are. It's called a Marriage.

Yes- and you may redefine "blue" to mean "green" as well, but it just doesn't make it so.

If your husband witnesses a car crash in Alabama while you are vacationing in sunny Turkistan, it doesn't mean that YOU saw the car crash.

Any information you might offer about the car crash is inescapably second-hand information (at best).

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Good advice.

I still don't believe that that excuses the behavior I have seen from this OP.

I read the post again. I don't see the same behavior you see.

Yes- and you may redefine "blue" to mean "green" as well, but it just doesn't make it so.

If your husband witnesses a car crash in Alabama while you are vacationing in sunny Turkistan, it doesn't mean that YOU saw the car crash.

Any information you might offer about the car crash is inescapably second-hand information (at best).

In a court of law, sure.

Yet I am able to express his perspective on the matter being his wife without having to say What do I know, I'm just his wife on LDS.net. Sheesh.

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