A Nice Compliment That Enraged Me

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Mormorrisey
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A Nice Compliment That Enraged Me

Post by Mormorrisey » Sun Sep 15, 2019 7:29 pm

So, a bit of an interesting story. Over the course of last year, I was asked a few times to substitute in seminary - clearly the teacher hasn't been warned about me, so I happily obliged. It was church history, and I was interested in looking at the material. I actually was a bit surprised at some of the details that were included. I taught the "martyrdom," for example, and it actually included the fact that Joseph had a pepperbox pistol, and used it. The crowing part of my experience was the week I taught about the handcart companies (which I let them know about the problems with it) and the piece de resistance, the Mountains Meadows Massacre. I was actually impressed with the level of detail about the Massacre, even as I was less than impressed about the conclusions, which essentially came down to a) the leaders didn't resolve conflicts "in the Lord's way" and b) the actions of "some Saints" don't determine the truthfulness of the gospel. Given that these are ridiculous conclusions to this event, I basically told the kids that we all have a conscience, a brain and the ability to say no when asked to do immoral things, even when leaders of the church ask us to. That we are not blindly obedient, we should think about what we are asked, and all it would take would be for ONE person to stand up and say, "This is wrong!" And maybe all these people wouldn't have died. So I counselled them to do the same if they were ever asked to do something hinky by a church leader.

So fast forward a few weeks, and I was approached by one of the parents, stalwart members in our area. This sister was pretty emotional, and thanked me for teaching the few classes I did. She said that her daughter (a great kid, by the way, and she was pretty close to one of my kids so I know her very well) was really touched by my lessons. Apparently, she has read a lot, and has a LOT of questions about church history - and when she approaches some leaders, she either gets blown off by non-answers, or, the old stand-by, Satan is influencing her to question the church. I was absolutely incensed. Now, I'm pretty forceful in my conclusions, and when I hear this BS I just laugh, because I'm absolutely not affected by the stupid judgements of people who know nothing. But a teenager is not going to react well, and I just felt for this kid, and was just ENRAGED by this cultural shaming. So I told this parent there was nothing wrong with her daughter, that she's very bright and studies way more than the average member, and that she deserves the truth. So I told this parent, listen, if your kid has questions, and you want to make sure she's getting approved church sources, has she read the essays? And of course this woman says, "What essays?" So I show her all the material on the church library, the church history topics, the gospel topics essays, the whole shebang. She had no clue, as most members do, that this stuff even exists, but she's very grateful that she has an avenue to help their daughter with her questions, even though, I'm sure, reading the essays will just create more questions, as they did for all of us.

But man, I was so mad. This is a great kid, a very thoughtful young woman with a pretty strong testimony (I've actually had her as a companion speaker on the HC, that's how highly I think of her) and they treat her this way? That they treat her like me, the stake apostate? Do these people not recognize that they are losing EVERYBODY with a brain with this attitude? That it's not a huge red flag for critical thinking people to see the palpable fear and ignorance that the majority of members have? And this is just going to lead more and more people to look for answers on the internet, since the church and its local leaders don't want to touch it with a ten foot pole? Which is going to lead to more and more people questioning and then leaving, etc. etc. etc. Just absolute hogwash.

God, I love this place for my ability to rant. Thank you.
"And I don't need you...or, your homespun philosophies."
"And when you try to break my spirit, it won't work, because there's nothing left to break."

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FiveFingerMnemonic
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Re: A Nice Compliment That Enraged Me

Post by FiveFingerMnemonic » Sun Sep 15, 2019 7:42 pm

Glad you had the opportunity to influence some young minds to think critically about what leaders ask. You might save them from future abuse.

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græy
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Re: A Nice Compliment That Enraged Me

Post by græy » Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:59 am

I can understand your anger to see someone treated poorly when they are honestly seeking truth and understanding. It hurts when you're the one getting that treatment, it hurts worse it is a child on the receiving end.

That said, well done teaching those lessons! If nothing else, the church has taught me to plant seeds. You, sir, are a master gardener.
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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Corsair
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Re: A Nice Compliment That Enraged Me

Post by Corsair » Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:36 am

That's a great story, Momorrisey. I am appalled whenever a local church leader still does not know about the essays and it's on my bucket list to introduce them to more people in a way that won't raise the suspicions of my family when it happens.

The current presentation of the Mountain Meadows Massacre is a least an improvement over the former teaching of "it was the Indians and not us!" foolishness of the all too recent past. At least the institutional church admits that it was definitely the Mormons that carried out the murders. I would love if this were changed to be a lesson on standing up for correct choices in the face of institutional pressure. But it won't and the church is absolutely worse off because of this.

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Mormorrisey
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Re: A Nice Compliment That Enraged Me

Post by Mormorrisey » Mon Sep 16, 2019 9:43 am

Thanks for your kind words, all - and thanks for reminding me that the message delivered was more important than my rather impotent rage. I never considered the abuse/critical thinking angle, so thank you all for pointing that out.

I think my remaining days will be spent helping people not only find the essays, but to reassure them that Mormon history/culture/practice is not always the utopia that is portrayed. Given that my family circumstances will ensure my continued presence in a chapel every Sunday, I could do a lot worse with my life.
"And I don't need you...or, your homespun philosophies."
"And when you try to break my spirit, it won't work, because there's nothing left to break."

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Hagoth
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Re: A Nice Compliment That Enraged Me

Post by Hagoth » Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:14 am

People despise that which threatens their beliefs. -Carl Totten
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

Anon70
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Re: A Nice Compliment That Enraged Me

Post by Anon70 » Mon Sep 16, 2019 12:51 pm

Mormorrisey wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 9:43 am
Thanks for your kind words, all - and thanks for reminding me that the message delivered was more important than my rather impotent rage. I never considered the abuse/critical thinking angle, so thank you all for pointing that out.

I think my remaining days will be spent helping people not only find the essays, but to reassure them that Mormon history/culture/practice is not always the utopia that is portrayed. Given that my family circumstances will ensure my continued presence in a chapel every Sunday, I could do a lot worse with my life.
I wish I had someone in real life NOW (as an adult) to talk to these things about--what a gift to a teenager. Great job!

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blazerb
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Re: A Nice Compliment That Enraged Me

Post by blazerb » Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:56 pm

You are a good seminary teacher. Anyone who really knows the history has to be a nuanced believer, at most. Anyone who dismisses all concerns does not know what they are talking about. I hope that young woman continues to question and learn.

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2bizE
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Re: A Nice Compliment That Enraged Me

Post by 2bizE » Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:42 am

It seems like you are most concerned that leaders do not know of the tools they have to support questions. Why don’t they? That goes straight to the FP and their direction for stakes of Zion. We know the essays are a double-edged sword. It cuts both ways.
My thoughts are any person inquisitive enough about church history that goes to a leader for help is on the path to really wanting to learn. If they show them the essays, it will start the journey down the rabbit hole. If they ignore them, then maybe the doubts will eventually go away???
~2bizE

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MoPag
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Re: A Nice Compliment That Enraged Me

Post by MoPag » Wed Sep 18, 2019 6:55 am

Well done!

Now she knows she has someone who will tell her the truth and won't make her feel like she is the problem.

Maybe get her a subscription to Exponent II for a high school graduation gift. :)
...walked eye-deep in hell
believing in old men’s lies...--Ezra Pound

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