Ward Council is Closed (Minded)

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hmb
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Re: Ward Council is Closed (Minded)

Post by hmb » Sat May 11, 2019 7:32 am

What a roller coaster of emotions from this thread.

Many things I wanted to respond to, but without going back, I can't remember which lines I wanted to speak to.

The first part of reading had me laughing pretty hard in an early morning visit to my local Starbucks. I kept reading WC as Water Closet, even though WC is spelled out in the title (I didn't make that connection until I went back and looked). If you go back and replace all the WC with water closet, it is an amazing comedy. Not trying to belittle the anguish of attending these meetings, but when you read...

To the WC anyone who isn't super active is broken and needs fixing...
I began loathing WC during my faith crisis.
WC became almost intolerable toward the end though.
I feel like it is a win to confront some members of the WC and let them know that business as usual will not work.

I'm a dork.

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Re: Ward Council is Closed (Minded)

Post by nibbler » Sat May 11, 2019 9:25 am

græy wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 9:59 am
  • "We all need constant reminders to keep our testimony strong. We should journal and re-read our spiritual experiences regularly."
Forget the history, forget the policies. This is one of the reasons it's so incredibly hard for me to stay active. All of our meetings, including our sacrament meeting, feel like people reacting to subconscious insecurities. At church we constantly talk about how true the church is. We're constantly telling and retelling stories designed to prove that we're in the one true church. If we had any degree of confidence at all in being a true church we'd talk about something else, anything else, other than the near constant reminders of how true we are.

Leaders are concerned with retention of converts and youth. Usually we land on the reason why people leave is because people did not understand the doctrines well enough or people didn't have a strong enough testimony (what does "strong testimony" even mean?) so the focus of our meetings becomes pure indoctrination in order to retain. Teach people what is correct, pound it in. Anything that deviates from the doctrines is wrong.

I feel that approach just ends up driving people away. For one, it's boring. How many times do people need to hear the exact same stories and lessons? Also it drives home what has become a central theme of modern Mormonism... If you believe differently, you're wrong, and there's no place for you here. Is it any wonder why people leave when the solution is to repeat the same stories and tell people they need to be stronger (implying they are lesser and weak)?

Please, come to our meetings where we talk narcissistically about how great the church is, talk about the imagined weaknesses of people that aren't there, and won't tolerate thought that deviates from the manuals and edicts of general conference.

It's a predictable, judgmental snooze-fest.
græy wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 9:59 am
  • "Why don't they come talk to us? We are friends, if they have questions, why don't they say anything to us? Does the literature they read tell them not to talk to people? It sounds like some kind of conspiracy to get people to leave without giving them a chance to find the truth."
Often when people do open up and share their feelings they are met with harsh judgment. Why don't people come talk to us? We've made the church an inhospitable place for people that believe differently. Why don't they say anything? They have. People didn't listen so much as they attempted to fix (implying a brokenness). Why don't people speak up? They don't because it's a learned behavior in our culture.

- - - - - - - - - -

Sorry. Me blowing off steam and I know I'm being judgmental in these comments too.

It can be hard to remain in a community where the default, assumed position is that anything different than the mold is wrong, weak, or evil.
We see things not as they are, but as we are ourselves. - H.M. Tomlinson

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Re: Ward Council is Closed (Minded)

Post by NewLight » Fri May 31, 2019 7:14 pm

I don’t comment much here – I suppose it’s mostly because I have resigned and moved on. But I confess to enjoying your discussions and observing the level of maturity that is in this group. You are such thoughtful people!! I wanted to say thanks to Graey for sharing the experiences in this thread and for being a voice to those who don’t tow the line exactly as Mormonism demands. I know it is exhausting to do this just because I tried for a few years to be a “catalyst for change” at Church before I finally gave up realizing that the members WANT to tow the party line and follow the prophets/apostles and are somewhat harsh to those struggling to maintain an acceptable testimony and follow the “rules”.

A few years back as I was in full blown faith crisis mode, I was walking into the Gospel Doctrine class one Sunday and a devout sister made a comment that all the messy history was there all along and if people didn’t know it, that was their fault. Needless to say, I was more than seething and my wife was squeezing my hand extra hard to stop me from saying something or going ballistic. She succeeded and I held my tongue.

As I have read through this thread and seen how the Sunday School president in Graey’s ward council meeting acted more or less like the devout sister in my former ward, I have thought some on Mormons who simply don’t understand how 99.9% of members don’t know about a seer stone, or other vague, church events that have taken place. I think at this stage in my life, I have lost the anger toward members who have a complete lack of empathy toward those of us who feel or felt deceived upon learning the true history of the Church. That’s probably a good thing.

At present, if I ever came across members who somewhat dismissively state that the history has “always been there” and people SHOULD know, I would want to ask them one single question. It would be this: “Since you know church history so well, and certainly more deeply than the bulk of the members, how do you reconcile the truly awful things that early leaders did in the name of the religion?”

I am curious how those who are judgmental and believe they know the history well would respond. I suspect that many of the people who claim to know it deeply really don’t and if they asked me what the “awful things” are that I am referring to, there are any number of situations that I could cite involving Joseph Smith’s behavior, polygamy, race issues – so much to choose from with the history Mormonism has! I think some of the know-it-alls would find their knowledge of Church history lacking.

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Re: Ward Council is Closed (Minded)

Post by FiveFingerMnemonic » Fri May 31, 2019 10:20 pm

NewLight wrote:I don’t comment much here – I suppose it’s mostly because I have resigned and moved on. But I confess to enjoying your discussions and observing the level of maturity that is in this group. You are such thoughtful people!! I wanted to say thanks to Graey for sharing the experiences in this thread and for being a voice to those who don’t tow the line exactly as Mormonism demands. I know it is exhausting to do this just because I tried for a few years to be a “catalyst for change” at Church before I finally gave up realizing that the members WANT to tow the party line and follow the prophets/apostles and are somewhat harsh to those struggling to maintain an acceptable testimony and follow the “rules”.

A few years back as I was in full blown faith crisis mode, I was walking into the Gospel Doctrine class one Sunday and a devout sister made a comment that all the messy history was there all along and if people didn’t know it, that was their fault. Needless to say, I was more than seething and my wife was squeezing my hand extra hard to stop me from saying something or going ballistic. She succeeded and I held my tongue.

As I have read through this thread and seen how the Sunday School president in Graey’s ward council meeting acted more or less like the devout sister in my former ward, I have thought some on Mormons who simply don’t understand how 99.9% of members don’t know about a seer stone, or other vague, church events that have taken place. I think at this stage in my life, I have lost the anger toward members who have a complete lack of empathy toward those of us who feel or felt deceived upon learning the true history of the Church. That’s probably a good thing.

At present, if I ever came across members who somewhat dismissively state that the history has “always been there” and people SHOULD know, I would want to ask them one single question. It would be this: “Since you know church history so well, and certainly more deeply than the bulk of the members, how do you reconcile the truly awful things that early leaders did in the name of the religion?”

I am curious how those who are judgmental and believe they know the history well would respond. I suspect that many of the people who claim to know it deeply really don’t and if they asked me what the “awful things” are that I am referring to, there are any number of situations that I could cite involving Joseph Smith’s behavior, polygamy, race issues – so much to choose from with the history Mormonism has! I think some of the know-it-alls would find their knowledge of Church history lacking.
What I find was true of myself pre-faith transition and those who claim to know obscure facts is that they only know a few surface items more than the average lay member. They suffer from Dunning Kruger effect which is that those who know a little about a subject feel over-confident in their knowledge and perceive themselves as experts when in reality they know very little.

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Re: Ward Council is Closed (Minded)

Post by græy » Mon Jun 03, 2019 2:28 pm

NewLight wrote: At present, if I ever came across members who somewhat dismissively state that the history has “always been there” and people SHOULD know, I would want to ask them one single question. It would be this: “Since you know church history so well, and certainly more deeply than the bulk of the members, how do you reconcile the truly awful things that early leaders did in the name of the religion?”

I am curious how those who are judgmental and believe they know the history well would respond. I suspect that many of the people who claim to know it deeply really don’t and if they asked me what the “awful things” are that I am referring to, there are any number of situations that I could cite involving Joseph Smith’s behavior, polygamy, race issues – so much to choose from with the history Mormonism has! I think some of the know-it-alls would find their knowledge of Church history lacking.
Agreed. If I was a bit braver during WC meetings I might actually ask something like this. That could have some serious repercussions though...
FiveFingerMnemonic wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:20 pm
They suffer from Dunning Kruger effect which is that those who know a little about a subject feel over-confident in their knowledge and perceive themselves as experts when in reality they know very little.
I think I suffer from the opposite of this. Regardless of how much I've read and how long I've been studying, I have a hard time actually acting on that knowledge based on the belief that there is still more to learn. Surely, I don't understand it all yet, so there's no need to act hastily. Now going on 3 years attempting to forge my own middle path.
I'm better than dirt... well most dirt. Not that fancy store bought stuff, I can't compete with that... full of nutrients and everything. -Moe Sizlack

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Re: Ward Council is Closed (Minded)

Post by græy » Sun Jul 28, 2019 6:40 am

I'm fairly confident that this thread will continue in one form or another until I am released from my calling. Today's story comes from bishopric meeting.

It has been raised at least twice in the last month or so that a particular individual seems to be "struggling" with "questions about the gospel." It seems that this past week in Gospel Doctrine this individual raised some questions which were just crazy enough to prompt another bishopric member to question how we should deal with apostate discussions in Sunday School.

I don't know what he said, or what his questions are. I do want to reach out to him now, but I'm not exactly sure how to do that without outing myself more than I want to at the moment.

But it does bother me that we're having these discussions about how to "handle" these thoughts and questions. Why can't we just have open discussions? Why can't we be open to at least hearing, if not considering, other's opinions?

These are mostly rhetorical thoughts. It's just... frustrating.
I'm better than dirt... well most dirt. Not that fancy store bought stuff, I can't compete with that... full of nutrients and everything. -Moe Sizlack

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Re: Ward Council is Closed (Minded)

Post by FiveFingerMnemonic » Sun Jul 28, 2019 7:45 am

græy wrote:I'm fairly confident that this thread will continue in one form or another until I am released from my calling. Today's story comes from bishopric meeting.

It has been raised at least twice in the last month or so that a particular individual seems to be "struggling" with "questions about the gospel." It seems that this past week in Gospel Doctrine this individual raised some questions which were just crazy enough to prompt another bishopric member to question how we should deal with apostate discussions in Sunday School.

I don't know what he said, or what his questions are. I do want to reach out to him now, but I'm not exactly sure how to do that without outing myself more than I want to at the moment.

But it does bother me that we're having these discussions about how to "handle" these thoughts and questions. Why can't we just have open discussions? Why can't we be open to at least hearing, if not considering, other's opinions?

These are mostly rhetorical thoughts. It's just... frustrating.
Wish you could be open enough in bishopric meeting to pose that exact question about why we can't have honest open questions, especially when the church PR spokeswoman told Doug Fabrizio that is exactly the place (sunday school) to discuss those things. I'm sure the answer would be along the lines of Milk before Meat and protecting the new converts.

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Re: Ward Council is Closed (Minded)

Post by græy » Sun Jul 28, 2019 9:51 am

FiveFingerMnemonic wrote:
Sun Jul 28, 2019 7:45 am
Wish you could be open enough in bishopric meeting to pose that exact question about why we can't have honest open questions, especially when the church PR spokeswoman told Doug Fabrizio that is exactly the place (sunday school) to discuss those things. I'm sure the answer would be along the lines of Milk before Meat and protecting the new converts.
Very much this.

The discussion only got more frustrating in ward council after bishopric meeting. I'll post more about it later.
I'm better than dirt... well most dirt. Not that fancy store bought stuff, I can't compete with that... full of nutrients and everything. -Moe Sizlack

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Re: Ward Council is Closed (Minded)

Post by græy » Mon Jul 29, 2019 10:53 am

græy wrote:
Sun Jul 28, 2019 6:40 am
I don't know what he said, or what his questions are.
From our WC discussion on this same individual...

Apparently, the class discussion was on Acts 10 where Peter receives the revelation to take the gospel to all the world. Particularly Acts 10:28 -
...God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
The person in question raised a concern about reconciling that verse with the priesthood ban and prophetic comments about black people being somehow "less-than." He then went on to suggest that prophets can teach false concepts and ideas pertaining to the gospel.

I still do not know exactly how these sentiments were phrased. Only that the teacher basically nodded, and moved on with the discussion. But it was enough to prompt a lengthy discussion in ward council. During which the phrase "apostate" was used several times to describe that particular line of thinking. I really struggled with the discussion because the priesthood essay and those very questions where the catalyst for my own faith transition.

The WC went on and on about how the teachers need to be educated on how to handle these questions when they come up.

I spoke up and told the WC that the individual is likely looking for answers to these questions himself. I mentioned that having these questions, having these concerns can be very scary and isolating. RS President nodded and even kind of whispered an agreement, but the point was mostly ignored by everyone else.

Someone pointed out that the WC as well as the teachers need to know how they can "set the matter straight" if an issue comes up. Bishop mentioned that we don't need to know answers. If we don't know then we can tell them we'll look into the issues and let the class get back to the regularly scheduled primary-answer based non-discussion.

I again spoke up and reminded them that we had previously discussed a 5th sunday lesson on the Topics Essays. If we're concerned about not knowing the issues, or how to respond to questions, maybe we should revisit the idea of talking about the essays. No one even nodded at that one. I was completely ignored.

In the end, there was no plan of action, no assignments made. Nothing changed and no one will do anything any differently. The member who raised the "apostate questions" will go on suffering and wondering in silence. The WC will sit in the front of their various rooms in smug ignorance.

The only silver lining is the few sympathy points I earned from DW after I shared the experience with her while taking large amounts of Tylenol which still failed to get rid of my headache.
I'm better than dirt... well most dirt. Not that fancy store bought stuff, I can't compete with that... full of nutrients and everything. -Moe Sizlack

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Linked
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Re: Ward Council is Closed (Minded)

Post by Linked » Mon Jul 29, 2019 11:30 am

græy wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 10:53 am
græy wrote:
Sun Jul 28, 2019 6:40 am
I don't know what he said, or what his questions are.
From our WC discussion on this same individual...

Apparently, the class discussion was on Acts 10 where Peter receives the revelation to take the gospel to all the world. Particularly Acts 10:28 -
...God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
The person in question raised a concern about reconciling that verse with the priesthood ban and prophetic comments about black people being somehow "less-than." He then went on to suggest that prophets can teach false concepts and ideas pertaining to the gospel.

I still do not know exactly how these sentiments were phrased. Only that the teacher basically nodded, and moved on with the discussion. But it was enough to prompt a lengthy discussion in ward council. During which the phrase "apostate" was used several times to describe that particular line of thinking. I really struggled with the discussion because the priesthood essay and those very questions where the catalyst for my own faith transition.

The WC went on and on about how the teachers need to be educated on how to handle these questions when they come up.

I spoke up and told the WC that the individual is likely looking for answers to these questions himself. I mentioned that having these questions, having these concerns can be very scary and isolating. RS President nodded and even kind of whispered an agreement, but the point was mostly ignored by everyone else.

Someone pointed out that the WC as well as the teachers need to know how they can "set the matter straight" if an issue comes up. Bishop mentioned that we don't need to know answers. If we don't know then we can tell them we'll look into the issues and let the class get back to the regularly scheduled primary-answer based non-discussion.

I again spoke up and reminded them that we had previously discussed a 5th sunday lesson on the Topics Essays. If we're concerned about not knowing the issues, or how to respond to questions, maybe we should revisit the idea of talking about the essays. No one even nodded at that one. I was completely ignored.

In the end, there was no plan of action, no assignments made. Nothing changed and no one will do anything any differently. The member who raised the "apostate questions" will go on suffering and wondering in silence. The WC will sit in the front of their various rooms in smug ignorance.

The only silver lining is the few sympathy points I earned from DW after I shared the experience with her while taking large amounts of Tylenol which still failed to get rid of my headache.
Ward council is the worst, followed closely by teacher improvement lessons. It all boils down to how do we keep people within the boundaries? In the case you mentioned how do we keep the person and the lesson within the boundaries? How do we better keep the youth from talking about things they care about? How do we keep 3 year olds still to listen to stories about Joseph Smith? How do we handle a legitimate question that suggests God is not personally directing the prophets and apostles?

The line of reasoning you mentioned, "...reconciling that verse with the priesthood ban and prophetic comments about black people being somehow "less-than." He then went on to suggest that prophets can teach false concepts and ideas pertaining to the gospel." is clearly out of bounds. Not only is it out of bounds, it is the worst kind of out of bounds because it undoes the Truthiness of the church. A deep discussion of polygamy, blacks and the priesthood, or the PoX are all out of bounds because the only thing they lead to is that the prophets are wrong.

There is a logic to it though. If the mormon church were "True", then the boundaries for people are given by God, and the boundaries for lessons are there to support the boundaries for people. What a mess.

Hang in there in WC!
"I would write about life. Every person would be exactly as important as any other. All facts would also be given equal weightiness. Nothing would be left out. Let others bring order to chaos. I would bring chaos to order" - Kurt Vonnegut

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Re: Ward Council is Closed (Minded)

Post by nibbler » Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:55 pm

græy wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 10:53 am
The member who raised the "apostate questions" will go on suffering and wondering in silence.
Given this comment:
græy wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 10:53 am
...the teachers need to know how they can "set the matter straight" ...
The person in your SS class will probably continue to attend in silence until your ward leaders can figure out that perfect thing to say that will effectively drive him into inactivity. Then, should the person that asked the question in SS leave, leaders will then use the fact that he left as confirmation that they were right about him being an apostate all along.

I don't think people come to church to learn or to be challenged in a way that produces growth. I think people come to church looking for comfort in the familiar.
We see things not as they are, but as we are ourselves. - H.M. Tomlinson

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Re: Ward Council is Closed (Minded)

Post by græy » Mon Feb 10, 2020 2:39 pm

Since I'll likely be in ward council until the bishopric realizes that I'm not paying a full tithe, I'll try to keep these stories coming until then.

This past Sunday one of our auxiliary presidents, err, wait, organization officer? I forget what they're called now. Either way, one of the members of the ward council was set to give a spiritual thought at the start of the meeting. She asked everyone if they'd heard anything about the "mistake" that was "accidentally" printed in the physical copy of the CFM-BoM manual. I thought about raising my hand, but didn't. She then went on to read Elder Stevenson's remarks on the matter to the NAACP (https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2020/01 ... -becoming/), and then concluded about how wonderful it is that we have "continuing revelation" and can declare that we've moved beyond racism in all it's forms. The rest of the council nodded and smiled happily accepting the claim that there was nothing to see there.... except for the one Indian (Indian Indian, not Lamanite Indian) man in the room. He just looked uncomfortable.

I wanted to point out that the Book of Moses, the Book of Abraham, and the Book of Mormon are still very racist. There is no way around the fact that Mormonism is build on a past of racism which was taught and perpetuated by prophets as though it was doctrine given directly from the mouth of God. The Book of Moses explicitly declares that all black people are descendants of Cain, and their skin color is a direct result of his curse. The book of Abraham further states that people who become leaders are part of the "noble and great ones" from the pre-existance. Conversely, those born into lowly positions are there because they were less valiant before birth.

THERE IS NO WAY TO GET AROUND THIS AND BE HONEST. Mormon doctrine is racist.

But it doesn't really matter, because we don't actually talk about or teach Mormon doctrine anymore.
I'm better than dirt... well most dirt. Not that fancy store bought stuff, I can't compete with that... full of nutrients and everything. -Moe Sizlack

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Re: Ward Council is Closed (Minded)

Post by FiveFingerMnemonic » Mon Feb 10, 2020 3:10 pm

græy wrote:Since I'll likely be in ward council until the bishopric realizes that I'm not paying a full tithe, I'll try to keep these stories coming until then.

This past Sunday one of our auxiliary presidents, err, wait, organization officer? I forget what they're called now. Either way, one of the members of the ward council was set to give a spiritual thought at the start of the meeting. She asked everyone if they'd heard anything about the "mistake" that was "accidentally" printed in the physical copy of the CFM-BoM manual. I thought about raising my hand, but didn't. She then went on to read Elder Stevenson's remarks on the matter to the NAACP (https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2020/01 ... -becoming/), and then concluded about how wonderful it is that we have "continuing revelation" and can declare that we've moved beyond racism in all it's forms. The rest of the council nodded and smiled happily accepting the claim that there was nothing to see there.... except for the one Indian (Indian Indian, not Lamanite Indian) man in the room. He just looked uncomfortable.

I wanted to point out that the Book of Moses, the Book of Abraham, and the Book of Mormon are still very racist. There is no way around the fact that Mormonism is build on a past of racism which was taught and perpetuated by prophets as though it was doctrine given directly from the mouth of God. The Book of Moses explicitly declares that all black people are descendants of Cain, and their skin color is a direct result of his curse. The book of Abraham further states that people who become leaders are part of the "noble and great ones" from the pre-existance. Conversely, those born into lowly positions are there because they were less valiant before birth.

THERE IS NO WAY TO GET AROUND THIS AND BE HONEST. Mormon doctrine is racist.

But it doesn't really matter, because we don't actually talk about or teach Mormon doctrine anymore.
Tell us more about your Indian ward member. Seems like it would be somewhat rare to have hindu/muslim Indians convert.

Edited to add: Only if it won't identify you based on unique info.

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Re: Ward Council is Closed (Minded)

Post by græy » Tue Feb 11, 2020 2:21 pm

FiveFingerMnemonic wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 3:10 pm
Tell us more about your Indian ward member. Seems like it would be somewhat rare to have hindu/muslim Indians convert.

Edited to add: Only if it won't identify you based on unique info.
To be honest, I don't know a whole lot about his background yet. I'll have to ask him sometime.
I'm better than dirt... well most dirt. Not that fancy store bought stuff, I can't compete with that... full of nutrients and everything. -Moe Sizlack

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