Preference Falsification

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blazerb
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Preference Falsification

Post by blazerb » Thu Dec 03, 2020 9:10 pm

I was listening to the Hidden Brain podcast. The most recent episode (https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/a-consp ... f-silence/) is about preference falsification. We all have hidden preferences. These are the things that we want, but we don't voice them because of social pressure. In some cases, we try to be civil, not hurt feelings. However, in some cases we are trying to protect ourselves from harm. Examples were given from North Korea and East Germany, where people lost their lives when they ran up against those in power. It only takes a couple of instances of this before the rest of those around fall into line out of fear. Other examples were given of the extreme rhetoric that political leaders use in the U.S. to punish those who cross them. It really causes problems because moderate positions are the most suppressed by this. The solutions most likely to really work are never considered because voicing them results in punishment.

It made me think about how the church enforces conformity. Nothing new here, I know. We all suspect that most active members would speak up about some things they see at church if they weren't worried about repercussions. For years, I pretended to believe things that I did not because I wanted to fit in. The church makes examples of a few people to show that speaking up has consequences. For example, I read about the crazy way that the number of baptisms was increased in the Tokyo South mission from 79-82. You can read about it here starting on page 18: https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cgi/view ... monhistory. On page 36, an example was given of a district president who was disfellowshipped for expressing disagreement with the methods used. We also know about the September 6 and others who were excommunicated for speaking up like Kate Kelly and Sam Young.

I learned to keep my mouth shut back at BYU. I had just started living in a new apartment in a new ward. After a month of living there, our EQ president told us that our home teaching was going very well, over 90%. I am mathematically minded. I asked my roommates if they did their home teaching and if they were home taught. We were uniformly not involved with home teaching on either side. That right there put the percentage near the limit of people possibly missed and still have home teaching be so high. We started asking others in our ward. We actually didn't find anyone who was doing their home teaching. This did not match what we were told at all. I and a roommate went to the EQ president's apartment to talk about the problem. I just wanted him to make sure he was getting good information. He was not happy to be told that his number made no sense. He didn't threaten us. He just made it clear he did not want to talk to us. When we left, I felt pretty bad. I spoke with my parents about the incident. They wanted me to apologize to the EQ president. I'm not sure what I was supposed to apologize for. In any case, I didn't. However, I learned to keep my mouth shut if I wanted to be accepted by those in authority. This was not the only time I learned this lesson, but this time has stuck with me.

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Palerider
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Re: Preference Falsification

Post by Palerider » Thu Dec 03, 2020 9:39 pm

As I recall, Joseph Smith ingrained this tactic in Mormon culture by threatening the women he approached with the destruction of their reputation if they should refuse his advances and not remain silent about it.

A fine tool every honest prophet of God should keep at his disposal. :oops:
"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."

"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light."

George Washington

Cnsl1
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Re: Preference Falsification

Post by Cnsl1 » Thu Dec 03, 2020 11:37 pm

I used to imagine getting up to the pulpit and asking everyone to bow their heads and close their eyes, then raise their hand if they didn't really believe ALL of this stuff. I just wondered how many hands would be up in any given congregation.

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moksha
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Re: Preference Falsification

Post by moksha » Thu Dec 03, 2020 11:55 pm

blazerb wrote:
Thu Dec 03, 2020 9:10 pm
They wanted me to apologize to the EQ president.
Perhaps they felt allowing the EQ President to save face was important.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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Red Ryder
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Re: Preference Falsification

Post by Red Ryder » Fri Dec 04, 2020 11:13 am

This reminded me of the short time I was the elders quorum secretary.

It was such a chore to track down visit statistics the night before the reports were due. Half the time I would send out emails and make a few calls and get the same half assed responses. I knew who was doing it and who wasn’t. The stats were bad. I’ll admit I gave up trying to legitimately track down stats and started to enter them based on my own speculation.

The conflict came when the prior months were 90% and above. Then when honesty was applied they were 20-30%. It was really easy to just bump it up to 90% and hit submit. Towards the end of my time as EQ Sec I was already down the unbeliever route. I just started to be honest which resulted in a few calls from the EQP, the Bishop, and the SP wondering what happened.

They blamed me for not getting the reporting right. I told them I must not have received the reporting status from all the liars that month. I was released shortly after. In Mormonism, they don’t want the truth. They just want the box checked.

Another example I can think of is missionary statistic reporting. Weekly number of Book of Mormon’s handed out, first discussions taught, baptismal commitments, etc.

When you were honest you got reprimanded for low numbers. When you fudged the numbers you got praised and patted on the back. It doesn’t take long for a young inexperienced kid to figure out how to report their weekly numbers.

Now imagine if all the missionaries were doing this and each time the numbers were reported up the next level in the chain, what kind of information the church leadership and apostles are getting?

District leader thinks his district numbers are low.
He embellishes. Zone leader think his numbers are low. He embellishes. Mission president doesn’t want another call from the area authority and wants to be promoted. He embellishes. Area authority wants to be promoted, he embellishes.

By the time the data is reported and discussed in the Thursday afternoon apostle debrief, they’re looking at reports that don’t reflect reality. They think the church is doing well. Missionary efforts are off the charts! Church growth is on pace and the work is rolling forth like a stone cut out of a mountain. Then suddenly it’s not.

They get angry, push the blame and responsibility down. Suddenly the MP is getting blasted. His promotion is in jeopardy and he’s only got a year left to fix it. He harps on the missionaries to obey the rules with exactness and berates at your unworthiness. The area authorities come in to help new programs that are eerily similar to the last program that didn’t work. The cycle continues.

In reality, if everyone had the integrity to be honest in their reporting maybe real change would take place in the church and they would fix a broken product that very few people outside of the homegrown membership would like to participate in.

Imagine a church where real progress could be made and happiness found within? I’d be a willing participant in that kind of church any day.

Instead we have an institution that worships within a toxic dishonest cycle built to guilt, framed to shame, and prohibits the free agency and desire to live and learn from our mistakes. Not get spiritually abused and emotionally beat down when all your trying to do is love Jesus and live his gospel to your best ability.

Instead we get bland, boring, and overly repeated lectures on obedience to the church leaders and the check box list. Where happiness can only be found when you pray, pay, and obey.

The church is built to make you sick, only to have them then force their medication down your throat! When that doesn’t work they blame you and recommend to double the dose!

Sorry for the rant.
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

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Hagoth
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Re: Preference Falsification

Post by Hagoth » Fri Dec 04, 2020 8:39 pm

Maybe this explains the amazing growth Elder Holland claims to be seeing in the church.
“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."

Wonderment
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Re: Preference Falsification

Post by Wonderment » Sat Dec 05, 2020 12:24 am

Imagine a church where real progress could be made and happiness found within? I’d be a willing participant in that kind of church any day.

Instead we have an institution that worships within a toxic dishonest cycle built to guilt, framed to shame, and prohibits the free agency and desire to live and learn from our mistakes. Not get spiritually abused and emotionally beat down when all your trying to do is love Jesus and live his gospel to your best ability.

Instead we get bland, boring, and overly repeated lectures on obedience to the church leaders and the check box list. Where happiness can only be found when you pray, pay, and obey.

The church is built to make you sick, only to have them then force their medication down your throat! When that doesn’t work they blame you and recommend to double the dose!
This is why they can claim that it is the fastest growing church in America. They're like your EQP. They don't want to hear the real numbers. It's like trying to explain national election voting results to Q-Anon believers. - Wndr.

hmb
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Re: Preference Falsification

Post by hmb » Sat Dec 05, 2020 6:24 am

Wonderment wrote:
Sat Dec 05, 2020 12:24 am
This is why they can claim that it is the fastest growing church in America.
Do they still claim this? I'm not there to hear it, but I find it fascinating if they still make that claim. Maybe it's just my perspective, being on the other side of the fence. I thought their numbers were all in trouble. Do TBMs not know their numbers are in trouble?

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Hagoth
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Re: Preference Falsification

Post by Hagoth » Sat Dec 05, 2020 7:28 pm

hmb wrote:
Sat Dec 05, 2020 6:24 am
Wonderment wrote:
Sat Dec 05, 2020 12:24 am
This is why they can claim that it is the fastest growing church in America.
Do they still claim this? I'm not there to hear it, but I find it fascinating if they still make that claim. Maybe it's just my perspective, being on the other side of the fence. I thought their numbers were all in trouble. Do TBMs not know their numbers are in trouble?
I remember at one point Elder Cook (I think) started taking the other route, that you know the true church because it is small. A pebble cut out of a mountain without hands that rolls halfway to the driveway.
“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."

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wtfluff
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Re: Preference Falsification

Post by wtfluff » Sat Dec 05, 2020 8:16 pm

It seems to me that Preference Falsification goes hand-in-hand with Pluralistic Ignorance: "No-one believes, but everyone thinks that everyone believes," and thus everyone conveys the "preference of the group."

As a believer I would have had no idea that these types of sociological terms/constructs even existed, but I definitely knew how it felt to experience those constructs.
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

Keep the company of those who seek the truth - run from those who have found it -Václav Havel

The Beauty of Gray

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græy
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Re: Preference Falsification

Post by græy » Sun Dec 06, 2020 10:50 am

I was in a college ward (not at BYU) where the EQP, who was an engineer and a numbers guy, gave weekly updates on home teaching statistics. "Last month, our home teaching was 21%. So far, we are at 18% HT visits for this month. With 2 weeks to go we are in good shape to make some good progress. If everyone in this room visits with just one single family we'll hit 33%. That said, our only goal is progress. If we hit 22% this month, we've accomplished our goal."

It helped young me (also an engineer and a numbers guy) to personalize the effect I could have in the quorum. I clearly remember thinking, as I scheduled three HT visits, that if only one panned out, I will have done my part to hit 33%. Measurable progress was made in that ward, and after a few months, we were regularly hitting 30-40%.

Over the years since, I have tried recommending a similar approach on multiple occasions and have always been told that it "wouldn't be wise" to give true numbers to the members, or to "focus on the numbers." Even though that is what helped me. And let's be honest, the church really does "focus on the numbers." :roll:
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

Wonderment
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Re: Preference Falsification

Post by Wonderment » Sun Dec 06, 2020 4:40 pm

hmb wrote:
Sat Dec 05, 2020 6:24 am
Wonderment wrote:
Sat Dec 05, 2020 12:24 am
This is why they can claim that it is the fastest growing church in America.
Do they still claim this? I'm not there to hear it, but I find it fascinating if they still make that claim. Maybe it's just my perspective, being on the other side of the fence. I thought their numbers were all in trouble. Do TBMs not know their numbers are in trouble?
To be honest and to be more specific, I have not heard this for about 5 years. But, my TBM friends used to mention that frequently, without wanting to give the numbers. When questioned by a skeptic, they tend to be reticent about specific numbers, as they know that can be held against them. - Wndr.

hmb
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Re: Preference Falsification

Post by hmb » Mon Dec 07, 2020 6:14 am

Wonderment wrote:
Sun Dec 06, 2020 4:40 pm
hmb wrote:
Sat Dec 05, 2020 6:24 am
Wonderment wrote:
Sat Dec 05, 2020 12:24 am
This is why they can claim that it is the fastest growing church in America.
Do they still claim this? I'm not there to hear it, but I find it fascinating if they still make that claim. Maybe it's just my perspective, being on the other side of the fence. I thought their numbers were all in trouble. Do TBMs not know their numbers are in trouble?
To be honest and to be more specific, I have not heard this for about 5 years. But, my TBM friends used to mention that frequently, without wanting to give the numbers. When questioned by a skeptic, they tend to be reticent about specific numbers, as they know that can be held against them. - Wndr.

(Like law suits with no evidence.) :lol:.

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