Guest LiterateParakeet

The MTC Abuse Story

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Guest LiterateParakeet

Someone shared this interesting post about the MTC Abuse story on my Stake Facebook page.   I thought she made some great points.  She helped me think about some new aspects of this, and said somethings I was thinking better than I have.  I would like to discuss this here.  So...thoughts?  

This was a public post by LIndsay Hansen Park (I don't personally know her.) 

Sorry more Mormon commentary from me today. This post is about how we are all complicit in letting abuse thrive in our faith community.

This #MTCabuse scandal, as horrific as it is, has brought a lot of people together on my wall lately. A large portion of former Mormons follow my page and a large portion of current Mormons follow my page. Because of this, I have a unique audience and unique discussions.

I have been privy to some behind-the-scenes details of this story and have been discussing a lot on my wall. I can tell you there is more to come on this story.

Today I want to talk to Mormons and Exmormons. This will be long:

This story is hard. It is challenging for so many reasons. It's hard for everyone that has connections to Mormons. In some ways, I think it is the most hard for faithful Mormons. 

As a researcher, the context of that anxiety makes sense to me. Mormons are a people who have two centuries of persecution that colors the weight that we give outside perception. Two centuries of having to stick together and be loyal above all else. Culturally, we've become a people where we strive to show ourselves in the best light. Oftentimes we are terrified to do or say anything that makes our community look bad. These cultural attitudes are deeply-dyed.

This isn't because Mormons are dishonest or lying. It's rooted in our survival after two centuries of distrust from outsiders and it's also morphed into the idea that if we make our church look bad, no one will convert. That sounds trite, but the need to push conversion is also a strong, benevolent belief.

With that background, I have been able to witness the tone of conversations and I've been impressed and touched by how many faithful Mormons have expressed concern over the abuse stories and put aside their need to protect the institution and do the right thing.

ExMormons, or rather those that no longer attend or subscribe to Mormon belief, also struggle with stories like this. One of the biggest issues in our community is how the faithful and the non-faithful interact. It has been an issue that has long-since plagued our people.

It is hard to explain to outsiders, but credibility and currency in our community happens in proximity to faith and power. If you are considered faithful or in a position of power, your voice carries weight. If you are not faithful, you are not trustworthy, you lose your credibility. I could write for days on this, but the gist is that if you are neither in a church position of leadership and do not have faith, you are not respected in the community. You will not be listened to in the community, and you will be ignored and dismissed as anti-mormon or a critic of the church. 

I want you to think about how these attitudes directly contribute to protecting abuse. It sets up a precedent that if you are indeed being victimized, talking about it won't sound the alarm, rather it will cause your family, friends, and community to distrust you. Mormons (faithful and ex alike) aren't really good at parsing out critiques vs. attacks. 

If we want the Mormon community to be safer against abuse, THIS ISSUE NEEDS TO BE SOLVED. This issue, the inability to trust someone based on their faith, is a scourge and directly impacts how we protect abusers.

Why does it matter now? Because thousands and thousands of Mormons have been wounded by actions like that of the accused in the MTC story. Let me be clear, this is not the only reason people stop participating in Mormonism, but it does speak to why people "leave." 

When you find out something is wrong in your community, you try to speak to someone about it, are usually met with silence and dismissal, anger, or your own character is attacked. Again, this is rooted in a historical precedent, but it doesn't make it better when you experience it.

I've been on both sides of the fence. I've reacted and participated in both sides of the struggle. Mormons, this issue is a barrier that will not allow us to protect our community until we confront it.

My hope is that this #MTCabuse scandal will continue to bring Mormons and former Mormons together in a way that will not only improve our communities and make them safer, but also carve out space for more dialogue between Mormons, regardless of how strong their faith is.

Mormons need to talk more with one another. We need to believe each other. We need to be able to have someone express their position, empathize with it, and not feel like we have to adopt it as our own. (This can be especially important for exMormons to remember. A faithful person expressing their faith doesn't have to be a judgement or an invitation).

When someone says they are hurting, doubting, or expressing deep appreciation for belief, we need to listen, empathize, and love.

I am beyond grateful for the Mormons (ex and faithful) in my threads who are flexing these muscles today. There is too much hurt in this world to let our people turn our backs on one another.

If we truly want to solve these issues of abuse, we first need to practice mourning with those who mourn. No agenda, no conversion attempts (this applies to you too exMormons). Just listening, empathy, and support.

Remember that feeling when we all sat together in the pews to take the sacrament? Let's keep that spirit of unity in our hearts and let our empathy be our communion together."

 

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Guest LiterateParakeet
5 minutes ago, Grunt said:

Isn't she the militant feminist?

I really don't know.  I had never heard of her before this post.  I just like what she said here.  I think it is important for us to talk about these issues.  I grew up with alcoholics  we never talked about it.  My parents have both passed, and my siblings and I still don't talk about it.  It was that proverbial elephant, because of that I hate secrets.  I think there is value in discussing even the difficult things.  

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1 minute ago, LiterateParakeet said:

I really don't know.  I had never heard of her before this post.  I just like what she said here.  I think it is important for us to talk about these issues.  I grew up with alcoholics  we never talked about it.  My parents have both passed, and my siblings and I still don't talk about it.  It was that proverbial elephant, because of that I hate secrets.  I think there is value in discussing even the difficult things.  

I feel the same way, but maybe for different reasons?  I've always thought that when things see the light of day, they lose a lot of their power over you.

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Guest LiterateParakeet

@Grunt  Yes, good point!   I think it is also helpful to discuss things like this so we can strengthen one another.  I've struggled a bit with it, but the Lord has given me peace....not answers necessarily, but peace.  I'm good with that.  This week I'm going to meet with a friend who is struggling with this, and try to help strengthen her.  Sometimes it simply helps to know someone else is struggling, and other times that person might share something helpful.  I hope to do both for my friend.  

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6 minutes ago, LiterateParakeet said:

I really don't know.  I had never heard of her before this post.  I just like what she said here.  I think it is important for us to talk about these issues.  I grew up with alcoholics  we never talked about it.  My parents have both passed, and my siblings and I still don't talk about it.  It was that proverbial elephant, because of that I hate secrets.  I think there is value in discussing even the difficult things.  

 

4 minutes ago, Grunt said:

I feel the same way, but maybe for different reasons?  I've always thought that when things see the light of day, they lose a lot of their power over you.

I think those are largely the same reason: being forcefully silenced is weakening, even if the silence is just imposed via social taboo.  Some things are not pleasant to be discussed, but being able to discuss them & know that you're not alone is empowering.  

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10 minutes ago, LiterateParakeet said:

Someone shared this interesting post about the MTC Abuse story on my Stake Facebook page.   I thought she made some great points.  She helped me think about some new aspects of this, and said somethings I was thinking better than I have.  I would like to discuss this here.  So...thoughts?  

This was a public post by LIndsay Hansen Park (I don't personally know her.) 

Sorry more Mormon commentary from me today. This post is about how we are all complicit in letting abuse thrive in our faith community.

This #MTCabuse scandal, as horrific as it is, has brought a lot of people together on my wall lately. A large portion of former Mormons follow my page and a large portion of current Mormons follow my page. Because of this, I have a unique audience and unique discussions.

I have been privy to some behind-the-scenes details of this story and have been discussing a lot on my wall. I can tell you there is more to come on this story.

Today I want to talk to Mormons and Exmormons. This will be long:

This story is hard. It is challenging for so many reasons. It's hard for everyone that has connections to Mormons. In some ways, I think it is the most hard for faithful Mormons. 

As a researcher, the context of that anxiety makes sense to me. Mormons are a people who have two centuries of persecution that colors the weight that we give outside perception. Two centuries of having to stick together and be loyal above all else. Culturally, we've become a people where we strive to show ourselves in the best light. Oftentimes we are terrified to do or say anything that makes our community look bad. These cultural attitudes are deeply-dyed.

This isn't because Mormons are dishonest or lying. It's rooted in our survival after two centuries of distrust from outsiders and it's also morphed into the idea that if we make our church look bad, no one will convert. That sounds trite, but the need to push conversion is also a strong, benevolent belief.

With that background, I have been able to witness the tone of conversations and I've been impressed and touched by how many faithful Mormons have expressed concern over the abuse stories and put aside their need to protect the institution and do the right thing.

ExMormons, or rather those that no longer attend or subscribe to Mormon belief, also struggle with stories like this. One of the biggest issues in our community is how the faithful and the non-faithful interact. It has been an issue that has long-since plagued our people.

It is hard to explain to outsiders, but credibility and currency in our community happens in proximity to faith and power. If you are considered faithful or in a position of power, your voice carries weight. If you are not faithful, you are not trustworthy, you lose your credibility. I could write for days on this, but the gist is that if you are neither in a church position of leadership and do not have faith, you are not respected in the community. You will not be listened to in the community, and you will be ignored and dismissed as anti-mormon or a critic of the church. 

I want you to think about how these attitudes directly contribute to protecting abuse. It sets up a precedent that if you are indeed being victimized, talking about it won't sound the alarm, rather it will cause your family, friends, and community to distrust you. Mormons (faithful and ex alike) aren't really good at parsing out critiques vs. attacks. 

If we want the Mormon community to be safer against abuse, THIS ISSUE NEEDS TO BE SOLVED. This issue, the inability to trust someone based on their faith, is a scourge and directly impacts how we protect abusers.

Why does it matter now? Because thousands and thousands of Mormons have been wounded by actions like that of the accused in the MTC story. Let me be clear, this is not the only reason people stop participating in Mormonism, but it does speak to why people "leave." 

When you find out something is wrong in your community, you try to speak to someone about it, are usually met with silence and dismissal, anger, or your own character is attacked. Again, this is rooted in a historical precedent, but it doesn't make it better when you experience it.

I've been on both sides of the fence. I've reacted and participated in both sides of the struggle. Mormons, this issue is a barrier that will not allow us to protect our community until we confront it.

My hope is that this #MTCabuse scandal will continue to bring Mormons and former Mormons together in a way that will not only improve our communities and make them safer, but also carve out space for more dialogue between Mormons, regardless of how strong their faith is.

Mormons need to talk more with one another. We need to believe each other. We need to be able to have someone express their position, empathize with it, and not feel like we have to adopt it as our own. (This can be especially important for exMormons to remember. A faithful person expressing their faith doesn't have to be a judgement or an invitation).

When someone says they are hurting, doubting, or expressing deep appreciation for belief, we need to listen, empathize, and love.

I am beyond grateful for the Mormons (ex and faithful) in my threads who are flexing these muscles today. There is too much hurt in this world to let our people turn our backs on one another.

If we truly want to solve these issues of abuse, we first need to practice mourning with those who mourn. No agenda, no conversion attempts (this applies to you too exMormons). Just listening, empathy, and support.

Remember that feeling when we all sat together in the pews to take the sacrament? Let's keep that spirit of unity in our hearts and let our empathy be our communion together."

  •  

 

I’ve said this before and I’ll keep saying it.

i get annoyed when people say things like “We have a problem in this church!”. If we are going by Holland’s definition of “too much *insert sin*”... any amount is too much

lived in Colorado for 10 years, KY of 2, and Utah for 10. I hear all sorts of people complaining about some church culture another and all I can think of is “The only people I see with these problems are the ones complaining about them”. I feel like the idea and possibility of it once happening and maybe happening again causes so massive of a fire that we never stop to think “is this really happening”. I feel like those hurt the most by “the system” are those that don’t understand the system or don’t use it how it ought to be used. And of course the small percentage of examples where something awful really is or did happen do arise too.

I also thought the phrase she used to poke at the culture “if you aren’t faithful, you aren’t trustworthy”... ya... that’s what that means xD people who keep their covenants are a lot easier to trust than those that make them but don’t keep them.

And when she says “I have been privy to some behind-the-scenes details of this story and have been discussing a lot on my wall. “I get kinda annoyed when people take this stance of supposed power against problems that are already being addressed by general authorities. Why do words of a frustrated blogger sway our hearts more than the words of the prophets?

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@LiterateParakeetI would like church leaders to have a glass window on the interview room. Even a small window would help. Perhaps the window could be on a wall shared with the clerk so that only the clerk could see. Yes, words alone can be abusive but a partial solution would be a step forward. 

Edited by Sunday21

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Guest LiterateParakeet

@Fether  Just to clarify, I didn't post this to criticize the church or the General Authorities.   But the culture, yes, I think we do need to change....there is no growth without change.  We can't become perfect if we don't change.   I absolutely believe our General Authorities when they say that abuse is not to be tolerated.  However, some Bishops still are....struggling....  Still, my point in sharing this is not to correct Bishops, I'll leave that to those who have stewardship over them.  My concern about is how we...regular folks support one another through these things. 

Also this happened, it brings up different feelings for different people, and that to is worth discussing. 

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2 minutes ago, Sunday21 said:

@LiterateParakeetI would like church leaders to have a glass window on the interview room. Even a small window would help. Perhaps the window could be on a wall shared with the clerk so that only the clerk could see. Yes, words alone can be abusive but a partial solution would be a step forward. 

That's very innovative. I like it.  There is a reason all the classrooms have windows...

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1 hour ago, LiterateParakeet said:

"It is hard to explain to outsiders, but credibility and currency in our community happens in proximity to faith and power. If you are considered faithful or in a position of power, your voice carries weight. If you are not faithful, you are not trustworthy, you lose your credibility. I could write for days on this, but the gist is that if you are neither in a church position of leadership and do not have faith, you are not respected in the community. You will not be listened to in the community, and you will be ignored and dismissed as anti-mormon or a critic of the church."

This particular paragraph has problems. Primarily, it's not true. Not unless you define "community" as LDS only community. In which case...well...yeah...and it should be that way. Why should someone who's turned against the principles of an organization have credibility in that organization? But in the community at large? Not true. The idea that we dismiss people who have turned against the church as having turned against the church is as it should be. The idea that we dismiss people who have turned against the church as worthless as fellow employees, politicians, not to be trusted as policemen or public servants, etc...that is simply not true.

Edited by The Folk Prophet

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12 minutes ago, LiterateParakeet said:

@Fether  Just to clarify, I didn't post this to criticize the church or the General Authorities.   But the culture, yes, I think we do need to change....there is no growth without change.  We can't become perfect if we don't change.   I absolutely believe our General Authorities when they say that abuse is not to be tolerated.  However, some Bishops still are....struggling....  Still, my point in sharing this is not to correct Bishops, I'll leave that to those who have stewardship over them.  My concern about is how we...regular folks support one another through these things. 

Also this happened, it brings up different feelings for different people, and that to is worth discussing. 

I know you weren’t criticizing the church :) Never thought that. I just get a little annoyed when bloggers/tweeters with large following make these grand posts like this as if they are “opening the eyes” of the Mormon church.

I also struggle with understanding cause I have seen numerous situations where people have been hurt, but never once have I seen one where it was not handled with love and respect. Every time, that I have seen at least, someone claims they were handled unjustly by members or leadership, as she explains here, it tends be because they don’t like the consequences (which by nature tend to be extended by leadership).

Ironically, of the congregation I have been in, the one that had the fewest problems had a bishop that didn’t follow the rules.

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Honestly, you could replace the word "Mormons" with "people" and the thing would make just about as much sense.

People betraying ideals for personal gratification is an 'everybody' problem.  Here in the first world United States, the LDS culture has evolved perhaps slightly quicker than other cultures, perhaps at the same pace, perhaps slightly slower, depending on the issue.

Tell you what, I'll take all that good advice, and shout it from the rooftops as something we all need to be doing more.

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Not replying about this specific blog/poster, but I was going through an old journal today that I take notes in and I had written down some notes from when Elder Ballard came and spoke to the YSA stake I am currently in a little over a year ago. He stated, "Be careful in what you involve yourself in, and what voices you take heed to."

It struck me, as this new age of social media has evolved into this platform of "speaking out". But are we heeding to the correct voices that will help our testimony? I think it's a slippery slope. 

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2 hours ago, LiterateParakeet said:

This was a public post by LIndsay Hansen Park (I don't personally know her.) 

Sorry more Mormon commentary from me today. This post is about how we are all complicit in letting abuse thrive in our faith community.

Great, Lindsay. Thank you for admitting your complicity in abuse. BUT -- don't speak for anyone else. YOU, Lindsay Hansen Park, are abusive, not the guy sitting next to you in the pew. Don't accuse him unless you have some pretty compelling evidence. And don't accuse me. Speak for yourself, and no one else.

2 hours ago, LiterateParakeet said:

Culturally, we've become a people where we strive to show ourselves in the best light. Oftentimes we are terrified to do or say anything that makes our community look bad. These cultural attitudes are deeply-dyed.

Or maybe we simply are not willing to cop to evils we didn't do.

2 hours ago, LiterateParakeet said:

I've been impressed and touched by how many faithful Mormons have expressed concern over the abuse stories and put aside their need to protect the institution and do the right thing.

Translation: I've been happy to see so many virtue-signalling Mormons who are willing to rush to judgment without having all the facts, because it furthers my own narrative.

Doing away with the rest of my commentary. Maybe I'm just jaded and Lindsay is sincere. But her approach to the issues is fundamentally flawed, and her analysis of LDS culture is half-baked. Even assigning the best of motives to her, what she writes is mostly ignorable.

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This abuse story is going to be a lose-lose situation for everyone involved. First and foremost, the victims of the abuse of course. Than, it's going further the wedge between progressive and traditional Mormons. Then, it's going to damage the reputation of the church from the eyes of investigators. Oh sure-we can argue about who is right/who is wrong/what happened and what didn't happen and by all means lets continue to do so-but this is like watching a couple go through a divorce in slow motion. It's going to end badly. 

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The big question mark, of course, is what does "doing more" mean?  Where does the rubber hit the road?

I do like @Sunday21's idea of having a glass partition between the clerk's office and bishop's office.  But that said, windows are to ecclesiastical sex abuse what banning AR-15s is to gun violence:  They are solutions geared towards a statistically-insignificant subset of the problem.  Most abusive ecclesiastical leaders aren't doing the nasty with female congregants right there in their offices.  Bishop's case is a statistical outlier, but even his alleged assaults didn't happen in his regular office; he had apparently set up another room for his use.  And as the administrator of what is essentially a small-sized college complete with dorm rooms, if the administrator wants a place for his rendezvous . . . he's going to have the power to set that up.  He just is.  

So, what changes are we really looking at?  So far, those leading the outrage seem to want changes in the power/relational dynamics at play; and to this end I've seen advocating for five major changes:  1)  Every allegation is to be believed--not only in dealing with the victim on a therapeutic basis; but in dealing with the perpetrator on a punitive basis; 2) Alleged perpetrators are to receive formal LDS discipline forthwith, with the victims being made aware of the results; 3) ecclesiastical leaders should receive no special deference within their congregations; 4) ecclesiastical leaders should not be interviewing congregants on a one-on-one basis; and 5) ecclesiastical leaders shouldn't be talking about chastity issues with youth under any circumstances.  

Without going into too long of a rant; suffice it to say that I think 1), 2), 3), and 5) are nonstarters; and I think the ultimate resolution of 4) is that it's going to need to be determined by individual bishops on a case-by-case basis.  

Also, I agree with @The Folk Prophet .  When Ms. Park says that "One of the biggest issues in our community is how the faithful and the non-faithful interact. It has been an issue that has long-since plagued our people"--well, ma'am, it's a faith community.  Traditionally when one chooses not to have faith in the community's truth claims, one elects not to remain in the community.  The issue is that Mormonism's "faith community" has worked so well, from a socio-cultural standpoint, that it has accrued a lot of sociological bling that the disaffected don't want to give up.  So they make a concerted effort to get the overall faith community to abandon its truth claims and replace them with a faith in sociological riches attenuated to left-wing social justice theory; never stopping to wonder whether they may be killing the doctrinal goose that's been laying all those culturally golden eggs.  But then those pesky "True Believing Mormons" push back on the grounds that a) they sort of like Mormonism the way it is, and b) they're pretty sure God does too.  And the disaffected completely lose their cookies over the resultant impasse.  They hate us; they honestly hate us—with a depth incomprehensible to those who haven’t been subjected to it; and with a justification incomprehensible to those who have been subjected to it.

What Ms. Park (who, by the way, is one of the head honchos over at the "Feminist [anti-]Mormon Housewives" blog) is really saying is, "I'm not going to let this crisis go to waste.  Not only am I going to push for changes that are going to make Mormonism "safer"; but I'm going to push for ways to convert Mormonism from a religion to a social club."

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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2 minutes ago, Just_A_Guy said:

(who, by the way, is one of the head honchos over at the "Feminist [anti-]Mormon Housewives" blog) 

Oh! So that's why @Vort is such a huge fans of hers. He loves that blog, talks about it all the time. 

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35 minutes ago, Just_A_Guy said:

What Ms. Park (who, by the way, is one of the head honchos over at the "Feminist [anti-]Mormon Housewives" blog)

I take back any feelings of forebearance or of giving the benefit of the doubt. If this is the case, there is little doubt.

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5 hours ago, Grunt said:

I feel the same way, but maybe for different reasons?  I've always thought that when things see the light of day, they lose a lot of their power over you.

Unfortunately, the sanitizing effect of daylight can be reversed by the hot sirocco of virtue signaling or a blinding SJW snow blizzard, if not also obscured by the giant shadow of a self-appointed army of ark-steadiers..

Too often the well-intend will usurp the responsibility for problem solving without the least clue how to effectively solve problems. 

Then there are the not-so-well-intended who use the pretense of self-righteous indignation as an excuse to poke sticks in the eyes of presumed foes.

The result is that things tend to get worse and are only turned for the better by the action of a few genuinely concerned, adept, and authoritative people, in spite of the public hue and cry,

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Edited by wenglund

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One of the problems our culture (American) has created is the social media soapbox. Misinformation, false news, lies, distortion of truth, etc, are rampant. In the fringe Mormon and anti-Mormon communities they take advantage of this big time and make it appear like there's these massive paramount problems in the church patriarchal leadership. Everytime one of these stories come up they make a huge deal out of it. But, they go beyond that in an all out frontal attack on why the church must change.

If we want to really create change in our culture it would be to follow the lead of the prophets and watch in how they deal with these problems the Lords way, not the worlds way, and support them in their dealings. There really isnt a problem in the church as social justice warriors claim. In general, the way the priesthood organization is set up, very very few predators make it into leadership positions. As compared with other organizations, churches, companies, etc, it wouldnt surprise me one bit if the church is bottom on the list for actual abusive leadership relations incidents. Evil people in leadership are in every organization. I feel confident that in the church very few evil people, especially sexual predators, make it into the upper eschulons of church leadership. Its just not a problem in our church.

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4 hours ago, LiterateParakeet said:

So...thoughts?  

Honest question.

What is the acceptable way to voice disagreement with some aspect of the mormon church?  Cultural, doctrinal, etc.,

Maybe there isn't a way.  Maybe anyone who says the leadership/doctrine/culture is wrong needs to shut up, decide to accept it, or leave.  i could never find a way that just didn't make everyone fighting mad.  

And that's fine.  There's nothing in any bill of rights that says i have a right to expect to be able to tell someone else they are wrong or messed up and have them listen - especially when my participation with them is voluntary.

In my quieter moments, i think i see that there is enough people forgotten in the shadows to keep an army of people more capable than myself busy.  Just help patch up the people that didn't click with the system and got hurt.  And as you here all know, i hardly consistently follow this advice myself.

But i acknowledge the need for the Martin Luther types in any system.  The ones the system swears are not needed and yet when you look back on it, say 'Wow, i'm sure glad that person whose actions we hated said or did what they did'.  And for them - the ones wiser than myself - how should they proceed?  Or should they just accept that things are not going to change and try and get over it?  

i hope you all take this in the spirit in which it is written.  It's just a question i would like to hear your thoughts on.  

 

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25 minutes ago, lostinwater said:

Honest question.

What is the acceptable way to voice disagreement with some aspect of the mormon church?  Cultural, doctrinal, etc.,

Maybe there isn't a way.  Maybe anyone who says the leadership/doctrine/culture is wrong needs to shut up, decide to accept it, or leave.  i could never find a way that just didn't make everyone fighting mad.  

And that's fine.  There's nothing in any bill of rights that says i have a right to expect to be able to tell someone else they are wrong or messed up and have them listen - especially when my participation with them is voluntary.

In my quieter moments, i think i see that there is enough people forgotten in the shadows to keep an army of people more capable than myself busy.  Just help patch up the people that didn't click with the system and got hurt.  And as you here all know, i hardly consistently follow this advice myself.

But i acknowledge the need for the Martin Luther types in any system.  The ones the system swears are not needed and yet when you look back on it, say 'Wow, i'm sure glad that person whose actions we hated said or did what they did'.  And for them - the ones wiser than myself - how should they proceed?  Or should they just accept that things are not going to change and try and get over it?  

i hope you all take this in the spirit in which it is written.  It's just a question i would like to hear your thoughts on.  

 

I think it really comes back to the idea of Chesterton’s fence.  Once you show that you understand what the fence is, why it’s there, and what purpose it serves, I’ll be more open to hearing about the negative side-effects the fence creates and how those side-effects can be mitigated in a way that still serves the fence’s original purpose—and at some point I may be open to seeing the fence modified or removed.

Precious, precious few would-be “reformers” of Mormonism seem to have given any thought to this whatsoever.  

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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13 minutes ago, lostinwater said:

What is the acceptable way to voice disagreement with some aspect of the mormon church? 

Just a few possible ideas:

  • Ask sincere questions rather than demand change.
  • Determine if the disagreement is doctrinal or other.
  • If doctrinal, represent your disagreement as opinion rather than fact, and either familiarize yourself with apologetics and teachings on the topic and/or be prepared to receive them from others.
  • If not doctrinal, ignore it, or discuss it with those applicable.  Be prepared for information suggesting it actually is doctrinal but you may not have realized it at first.

Really, it will always depend entirely on the subject and depth of the disagreement.

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