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SAMORMON

Mormon vs American Culture

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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.

I dont mean to give offense, but you do seem like the very same close minded Americans we have running the show this side.

Did it occur to you that Ive already tried every avenue to resolve issues this side . . .

Did it not occur to you that the reason for not naming names and pointing to specifics is both because what would it matter to you anyway . . . and anyone who has already done so has been worked out of their positions.

The first couple of "sympathetic" commenters actually hit the nail on the head with their PERSONAL experiences in church employment . . . Im guessing you just have friends and acquantences that work for the church . . . well Im married to an employee . . . I get phone calls minute by minute . . .as things happen . . . I have friends that discuss things with me that only only church employed person can discuss with another who is familiar with church employment happenings.

Just because Im not pointing fingers, doesn't mean it isn't true.

My enquiry is in regard to whether we're sitting in a unique situation here or is this normal . . .

As already explained by my supportive Filipino friend . . . Work is work, but you'd expect decisions about the kingdom of God to be made through the direction of God . . . not favouritism or "arrogant pride" as you so clearly pointed out that Im full of.

I appologise that my "gossip" isnt detailed enough for you to run to your friends with and say "have you heard about so and so"

Not to pick a fight, but you may want to go easy on the judgement calls . . . often those that accuse others of pride suffer from the same fate thinking they're better than the accused.

Understand my frustration, we're White South Africans without a home in our own country, we face racist politics on a daily basis . . . wrong colour, wrong gender, wrong language, wrong whatever . . . we dont need it from the church too . . . They're supposed to be a level playing field not "you get the promotion cause you're the right tan, or you have a friend who demands that you get it, or I dont like your cousin so tough for you"

The church already has a welfare program . . . and its not called church employment. This nonsense of "you cant fire me cause I just bought a half a million rand vehicle and I wont be able to afford it" even though they sit and do nothing to earn their salary . . . is nonsense.

Why must your poor financial choices be the churches concern . . . or even the ordacity of "I need a raise because I now need xyz in my life"

Many . . .not all . . . Many church employees take advantage of the church because "they have an endless supply of income from members"

If your spouse is unemployed, how on earth do you resign from your job just because you'd rather be studying . . . and besides Ive earned my welfare, its time for the church to pay me back . . .

Really . . ?

Yes, I am now venting. Church members should get a backbone and stop abusing their "privileges"

There is nothing wrong with the church itself, Ive never put doubt in anyones mind that the gospel is not true, Im just saying that there are members taking advantage of the kind hearted nature of Church programs and other members.

The other reason for asking my questions here is to try and work out if we are unique . . . do I write a letter to the first presidency to bring it to their attention, but since it appears to be standard practice, Im guessing they're aware of it.

Ive always had the view point that you cant complain if you dont do anything to resolve the problem . . . but once you've expressed your opinion to the powers that be (which we've done locally) . . . the consequences lie on their shoulders and its just our responsibility to sustain their choice. But its getting so unbearable that I felt I needed to bring it to someone elses attention . . . someone of greater authority . . .. but at the same time we're told not to bother the first presidency with our every concern . . . there is an order to things. Namely bishop, then stake president, then area president, etc.

Nothing's getting done about it locally . . . thus my enquiry further a field.

None of you on here are an authority, so why should I name names and give details . . . If I did that, it would then just become gossip.

Pull your head out the sand and broaden your perspective Selek, the world is bigger than just your perfect family.

Edited by SAMORMON

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I dont mean to give offense, but you do seem like the very same close minded Americans we have running the show this side.

Clearly you DO mean to give offense- as evidenced by the fact that where I was addressing behavior, you have gone straight to jingoism and stereotypes.

Clearly, you are prejudiced against Americans- which makes me question your credibility all the more.

If this is how you handled your complaints about the Church office, it's little wonder that you failed to receive satisfaction.

If anything, it is not American cultural imperialism on display here, but your own grudges and resentments.

Did it occur to you that Ive already tried every avenue to resolve issues this side . . .
In your rather lengthy diatribe, you whinged incessantly- but didn't once mention trying to resolve the matter.

Given that omission, along with so many others, gives us no reason to believe your story. Why then should I assume anything other than what I see in front of me?

The first couple of "sympathetic" commenters actually hit the nail on the head with their PERSONAL experiences in church employment . . . Im guessing you just have friends and acquantences that work for the church . . . well Im married to an employee . . . I get phone calls minute by minute . . .as things happen . . . I have friends that discuss things with me that only only church employed person can discuss with another who is familiar with church employment happenings.

In other words, you admit that you are trafficking in second-hand gossip and deliberately sowing seeds of dissension.

You have little or no first-hand knowledge; you know only what you are told.

Just because Im not pointing fingers, doesn't mean it isn't true.

My enquiry is in regard to whether we're sitting in a unique situation here or is this normal . . .

I'd buy that notion- except you didn't stop at asking the question; you went on to engage in character assassination and unfounded stereotypes.

You offered blanket condemnations of everyone who works in the Church Offices and speculated about their motives and integrity, all without any apparent regard for what effect what your criticism might have on other's testimony.

As I said above, I believe that is a road too far.

... but you'd expect decisions about the kingdom of God to be made through the direction of God . . . not favouritism or "arrogant pride" as you so clearly pointed out that Im full of.
And here we see yet another baseless accusation against those working in the Church; based solely on the chip on your shoulder and a bunch of unsubstantiated gossip.

Call For References, please (that means put up or shut up); please demonstrate (factually) that decisions about the Kingdom of God are NOT made through the direction of God.

You made the claim. Now provide some evidence for it.

Understand my frustration, we're White South Africans without a home in our own country, we face racist politics on a daily basis . . . wrong colour, wrong gender, wrong language, wrong whatever . . . we dont need it from the church too . . . They're supposed to be a level playing field not "you get the promotion cause you're the right tan, or you have a friend who demands that you get it, or I dont like your cousin so tough for you"
So now we add allegations of racism to your canard of ark-steadying and greivance-mongering.

Why am I not surprised?

For all your whinging and complaining, you haven't offered up a single shred of evidence to establish that your complaints are valid, or that your experiences are anything more than a desperate search for an excuse to apostatize.

Many church employees take advantage of the church because "they have an endless supply of income from members"
Call for Refences.
Church members should get a backbone and stop abusing their "privileges"
Call For Refences.
Im just saying that there are members taking advantage of the kind hearted nature of Church programs and other members.
Call for Refences.
... but since it appears to be standard practice...
Call for Refences.
Yes, I am now venting.
You were never doing otherwise.
None of you on here are an authority, so why should I name names and give details . . . If I did that, it would then just become gossip.
Wrong. It already is gossip, Church-dissension, and ark-steadying.

You came here to kvetch and sow disaffection; to nurse your grudge and have your ego stroked.

By your own admission, you knew well in advance that no one here would be able to solve your problem.

By your own admission, you were seeking validation for your disaffection, rather than a means of resolving it.

You (and others whom I actually respect) have demanded that I give you the benefit of the doubt in judging your conduct- a courtesy you steadfastly refuse to extend to those working in the Church offices (or anyone else, apparently who dares contradict you).

Edited by selek

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Sorry I dont have the time to read everything you've said, I've got work waiting for me,

but thanks for your point of view

I apologise if you or anyone else felt I attacked you in any way. This is my final entry on this forum.

Edited by skippy740

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Good morning selek. I hope you are well! :)

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

What is the purpose of your post? Who are you trying to help? In what way are you providing a workable solution?

selek, in case you haven't noticed, the fruits of your posts here has been contention, name calling, fault finding, and bickering.

Respectfully,

Finrock

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I usually find myself aggreeing with you Selek and I've admired how you can finely deconstruct someones flimsy arguments, but in this case I agree with Finrock and don't understand why you feel it necessary to dig at this guy who is clearly and (in my opinion), rightfully irritated.

The ward I'm is now two wards within a ward, while we are one ward, we now have a seperate Portuguese Sacrament meeting to accomadate the large number of Brazilians in our ward. I think this is awesome. I think my ward handles the language (not treating it as a cultural) issue perfectly. We are one ward but we have many languages and in order to assist the older speakers who struggle with english we accomadate them. We have always allowed members in Sacrament meeting (the most holy meeting of the week) to pray in their native languages (Portuguese, French/Creole, Spanish) and yet at some Church office they have banned them from praying in any language other than english?

Let me guess, the OP's wife speaks Afrikaans, and it's now deemed a racist and offensive language by the left wing powers that be. No wonder the OP, who already has to deal with racism in SA is frustrated that this racist policy (it may not actually be racist but I'm sure I can see how it feels like it) is forced on his wife.

Certainly you would be irritated if a Church office building in California banned prayers in English and only allowed them in Spanish.

You should familiarize yourself with what is going on in SA, because it's what's happening here in the U.S. it's just softened.

"When South Africa was governed by a racist white minority, it was scorned by the West ... Now that a racist, black majority government controls the country ... it's the toast of the West."

Here is a book that sheds some light on whats going on over there (and here)

Into the Cannibal's Pot: Lessons for America from post-Apartheid South Africa

"Ilana Mercer calls her book `a labor of love to my homelands, old and new.' The old is South Africa, which the author left in 1995. The new is the U.S.A. In both nations the founding European stock yielded up their dominance in the interests of justice and liberty. Instead of moving to equal citizenship under fair laws, however, both nations - in different style and measure but with similarly dire results - have embraced official tribalism (`multiculturalism') and state-enforced racial favoritism (`affirmative action'). For South Africa the transformation has been fatal - brutally so for victims of the nation's swelling social disorder, as Ms. Mercer documents in heartbreaking detail.

Anyway Selek, this guy isn't some anti-mormon, he's a brother in the gospel and rightfully irritated and confused at the garbage his wife has to deal with at work. If he wasn't concerned he wouldn't be a good husband.

Edited by Windseeker

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Here's a facebook page that may offer some ideas & support:

http://www.facebook.com/groups/355468294495274/members/

This group is for black Latter Day Saints and their friends and families. It also is for those who may be interested in ...the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

The purpose of this group is to share testimonies, uplifting messages, scriptural quotes, references, questions and answers, upcoming events and activities, poetry, good clean comedy, and Family Home Evening Ideas.

Twins are two people who look alike but have had different experiences. "Twin Mormons" refers to the black Latter-day Saints in Africa and in America; they look alike but have had very different experiences. The Church is strong and growing rapidly in Africa. Already, there are more than twenty stakes in Nigeria alone. So far, there only have been two black stake presidents in the US.

One purpose of Twin Mormons will be to become a forum to leverage the Church's strength in Africa to provide missionary and fellowshipping support in the U.S. This may be simple things like posting videos and photos of stakes and wards in Africa so our members and others in the US can see and hear parts of the Church in which they would be like all the others. African leaders and members may speak at firesides to people in the US through Skype and other means. We hope to catalogue African members' abilities and availability to be resources to talk with members' families and with investigators who don't believe they truly would have a place among us because of our history. Please tell us of your ability and availability by writing to us at [email protected]

Please note that disrespectful messages are not allowed. This includes personal attacks, sacrilege, pornography, and racism. Disagreements must be discussed respectfully; "Never let a point to be made become more important than a person to be loved."

When in doubt, ask yourself whether what you're about to post meets this standard:

"We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after that thing." -- 13th Article of Faith

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Good morning selek. I hope you are well! :)

And you, as always.

What is the purpose of your post? Who are you trying to help? In what way are you providing a workable solution?

You got me on this one.

I offered SAMormon no workable solution. That having been said, I am not convinced he/she/it actually wanted one, for the reasons I stated above (assuming they have not been editted out).

selek, in case you haven't noticed, the fruits of your posts here has been contention, name calling, fault finding, and bickering.

On the contrary: all of that existed into this thread before I waded into it.

SAMormon was more than happy to spread contention, smear good Latter-day Saints, and run the reputation of the Church and her people through the mud long before I arrived in this thread.

My comments were merely the catalyst that brought the disaffection and disrespect into focus.

I usually find myself aggreeing with you Selek and I've admired how you can finely deconstruct someones flimsy arguments, but in this case I agree with Finrock and don't understand why you feel it necessary to dig at this guy who is clearly and (in my opinion), rightfully irritated.

Hi Windseeker,

Your statement actually exposes the beating heart of my irritation: namely that we DON'T know that SAMOrmon was "rightfully irritated"- as no evidence of politicking, mishandling of personnel or resources, or favoritism has been offered.

His/her/its (I'm still not certain whether we were dealing with a man or a woman- and frankly couldn't care less) entire argument was predicated on an appeal to stereotypes and to bigotry.

Those were (in order of appearance):

1) the stereotype of wasteful, incompetent, back-biting workers in the Church offices

and

2) "the ugly Americans".

SAMormon asked if anyone else had heard such rumors (which are a perennial favorite in the anti-Mormon crowd) and then assumed that the stereotype had currency and used it as the basis for his entire tirade.

As I've pointed out repeatedly, there's not one shred of evidence that the Church offices in SA are being misrun.

But everybody was happy to buy into the stereotype and run with it- and denigrate, smear, and besmirch our fellow Latter-day Saints in the process.

When called out of that unproven assertion, SAMormon went on to claim reverse racism- that "blacks" are treated more favorably by the Church because of their skin color- but never bothered to provide any evidence in support of that accusation.

What do you call someone who throws out accusation, after allegation, after rumor, after stereotype- but never bothers to back up any of their charges? A gossip.

And I, for one, find it difficult to stand idly by while my people- the Latter-day Saints- are gossiped about, lied about, attacked, smeared, and defamed- no matter who is doing it.

Yes, we are counseled to avoid contention; but we are also commanded and commissioned to confront falsehood and correct error.

That is what I was doing in this thread.

The ward I'm is now two wards within a ward, while we are one ward, we now have a seperate Portuguese Sacrament meeting to accomadate the large number of Brazilians in our ward. I think this is awesome. I think my ward handles the language (not treating it as a cultural) issue perfectly. We are one ward but we have many languages and in order to assist the older speakers who struggle with english we accomadate them. We have always allowed members in Sacrament meeting (the most holy meeting of the week) to pray in their native languages (Portuguese, French/Creole, Spanish) and yet at some Church office they have banned them from praying in any language other than english?

Let me be clear: I was not defending that particular decision (it's not my stewardship).

I was merely pointing out that there might have been reasons behind it other than the "cultural imperialism" or "bigotry" which SAMormon alleged were the cause.

Certainly you would be irritated if a Church office building in California banned prayers in English and only allowed them in Spanish.

I probably would be; but on the other hand, I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that the only reason for the change was because the Brethren were a bunch of racist anglophobes seeking to establish a cultural monopoly.

You should familiarize yourself with what is going on in SA, because it's what's happening here in the U.S. it's just softened.

With respect, you are making two assumptions where without evidence:

1) that I am ignorant on state of affairs in South Africa

and

2) that everything SAMormon has told us is gold-plated truth.

Neither is in evidence, but both appeal to your assumptions and presumptions.

Here is a book that sheds some light on whats going on over there (and here)

Into the Cannibal's Pot: Lessons for America from post-Apartheid South Africa

Thank you, I will attempt to acquire a company (good reads are always a favorite of mine).

Anyway Selek, this guy isn't some anti-mormon, he's a brother in the gospel and rightfully irritated and confused at the garbage his wife has to deal with at work.

An assertion nowhere in evidence, I am afraid.

Except for his/her/its "I really am a faithful Mormon. Honest. Cross my heart. Trust me." mea culpas (which are worth precisely as much as the paper they are written on), SAMormon's rant would fit right in at any number of apostate and "recovering" boards.

As stated above, I would love to give SAMormon the benefit of the doubt- but he/she/it has steadfastly refused to extend the same to the members of the Church who allegedly provoked her ire, and has offered nothing but attacks on anyone who does not toe his or her line.

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One further note:

I want to thank Anatess, Finrock, and Windseeker for engaging me without (overt? ;)) rancor or name-calling.

We clearly do not agree on this matter, but I respect you tremendously for being willing to "lock-horns" with me over what you believe (and believe I am doing wrong).

Thank you for asking, rather than merely assuming.

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One further note:

I want to thank Anatess, Finrock, and Windseeker for engaging me without (overt? ;)) rancor or name-calling.

We clearly do not agree on this matter, but I respect you tremendously for being willing to "lock-horns" with me over what you believe (and believe I am doing wrong).

Thank you for asking, rather than merely assuming.

Now you're making me feel bad for calling you an ogre!

:D:D:D

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Good Morning selek. I've been busy so haven't had a chance to respond, but I hope you had a good weekend.

One further note:

I want to thank Anatess, Finrock, and Windseeker for engaging me without (overt? ;)) rancor or name-calling.

We clearly do not agree on this matter, but I respect you tremendously for being willing to "lock-horns" with me over what you believe (and believe I am doing wrong).

Thank you for asking, rather than merely assuming.

selek, I don't mean to say that I am superior to you as a person. I have flaws, many that are great.

I wanted to point out that a bitter fountain cannot bring forth good water (Moroni 7). Meaning, we can't help people feel the Spirit if we are bickering, arguing, name calling, etc. To me, your posts here in this thread crossed the line from being direct/blunt yet truthful, to bullying and abusive (even if truthful). I feel obligated to speak out against bullying/abusive behavior.

However, I've read many of your posts in the past and like Windseeker, I enjoy your ability to keep on topic (and keep others on topic). I can tell that you have a firm grasp of logic and you are very knowledgeable. I also love your testimony of the gospel. Thank you!

Respectfully,

Finrock

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This issue is faced by all denominations that evangelize in other countries. It is not isolated to Mormonism. All denominations need to be careful as the reach out to other nations to remember the goal is to make people Christ-like, not to make them like Americans. All doing missions should teach preach God's word, but embrace local culture as long as it is not sinful. This has been a hot topic in evangelical circles, too.

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This issue is faced by all denominations that evangelize in other countries. It is not isolated to Mormonism. All denominations need to be careful as the reach out to other nations to remember the goal is to make people Christ-like, not to make them like Americans. All doing missions should teach preach God's word, but embrace local culture as long as it is not sinful. This has been a hot topic in evangelical circles, too.

For sure...in my area we had a massive schism a few years ago when our Samoan wards were told they had to hold meetings in English and would be expected to attend wards in their boundary instead of language based wards. Sadly a large group of Pacific-Islander members took great offense to this and left to start their own version of the church. Even after meetings with GA's who lovingly invited them to come back (and I think an apostle also met with them at one point) the leaders of this group still refused to budge unless they could have meetings conducted in their own language again. No-one gave in on either side, and many who left have not returned. We still have wards that are predominantly Pacific-Islander in membership (my ward is one of them) but the language spoken is English. It's a little ironic since I'm probably in the minority of members there whose first language is English and yet mine is the language everyone must speak on Sunday. I know there were reasons for the change (we live in a highly multicultural and somewhat complex area) and our leaders are good men, but I don't really see why a ward can't be run according to the dominant language of its members.

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The question of where the divide between local and Church custom lies is one which has plagued Christianity since the beginning. Many in the very early Church believed that Greek was the appropriate language for all liturgical actions, and then the western Church moved to the more widely spoken Latin, it caused quite a stir. Its funny that later, then, Latin would become the western purist's language of choice.

My point here I suppose it to point out that the issues you're facing in that regard are nothing new or out of the ordinary. As for the corruption that may exist in the South African hierarchy, that again is nothing new. How many of the original apostles in the Doctrine and Covenants fell away, at least for a time? Quite a few if I recall. In Catholicism, there's a famous story where Napoleon threatened a bishop by saying that he could destroy the Church. Napoleon responded by laughing and informing Napoleon that the Church's bishops had been trying to destroy the Church for two thousand years with little success.

I'll close of with an excerpt from the letter Diognetus, which was written by an unknown Christian author in the early second century:

"Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life. Their teaching is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of men. Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine. With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign."

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Didn't read the whole thread - but the Church in Russia, both from the business end and within the ecclesiastical end, has some similar problems.

 

My take is this - when the Church goes to a country where corruption is rampant, it's hard to find people who won't carry those practices with them into the Church, because for them, it's a way of life. It's just how things are done, and they've been doing it so long, that's how they think. They kind of have to be re-programmed.

 

There also can be a disconnect at times between American leaders in a foreign land and the people beneath them. Sometimes the Americans do expect things to be done a certain way and can be insensitive to the culture around them. The guy who wanted everyone speaking English, (my guess) probably just wanted to make things simpler and didn't mean to hurt anyone's feelings, but ended up stepping in it by doing so.

 

I am very much for the Church adapting to the culture of their area, and not simply Americanizing the people around them. It's a problem that this is seen as an "American Church," - but it's something we have a tendency to do to ourselves. Ideally, it should be seen simply as God's Church and let the culture of the area fill in the rest.

 

It's kind of funny in a way, but even here in America, the cultural issue goes one more level in - we have Utah culture vs. the culture of wherever else the Church is in the country. Some people move in from Utah or are from that general area and have certain ideas about how things are supposed to be done.

Edited by Magus

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