Renlund story makes me mad

This is for encouragement, ideas, and support for people going through a faith transition no matter where you hope to end up. This is also the place to laugh, cry, and love together.
Post Reply
acmeist
Posts: 29
Joined: Tue May 08, 2018 12:42 pm

Renlund story makes me mad

Post by acmeist » Thu Jul 28, 2022 10:58 am

https://www.ldsliving.com/elder-renlund ... dium=email

I am on the email list for this site still, and this click bait headline sucked me in because I knew the story would be Renlund giving himself pats on the back for correcting priesthood blessings. The poor branch prez in this story who had to travel with this condescending corporate higher up on visits. Ugh. As if dropping the right amount of oil or saying the exact order of words is important to God if they are going to heal anything or help humans. I was brought back to countless sacrament prayers being redone because the teenager stumbled or left out a word or mixed it up. I also remember back to why I rarely ever wanted to attend an endowment session when I was active. A temple worker rushed over to me when I placed my packet on the floor. She acted like I dropped it in a vat of vomit, and I was informed to never place it on the floor again. That that was a fatal error or something. It makes people really not want to bother next time. I hope the branch president (if he really exists) quit soon after getting this calling and having to be walked through the manual and multiple blessings with this self-righteous prig.

User avatar
Red Ryder
Posts: 3735
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2016 5:14 pm

Re: Renlund story makes me mad

Post by Red Ryder » Thu Jul 28, 2022 11:40 am

I clicked so you don’t have to! :lol:

I’d like to know if the man was healed? What happened Elder Renlund? What happened to Brother Thomas?
The first man we visited, Brother Thomas, was dying of AIDS. After offering comfort and support, I asked if there was anything we could do for him. Brother Thomas asked for a blessing. The branch president was asked to anoint and I was asked to seal the anointing. It was apparent that the branch president had never participated in blessing the sick. He held the plastic container of consecrated oil about ten inches over Brother Thomas’s head and squeezed out a very large drop that splattered on impact. The branch president then put his hands on Brother Thomas’s head and said, “I put oil on your head to heal you. Amen.” An experienced holder recognizes that this is not the prescribed language used in anointing the sick.

In this circumstance, I felt assured that God would not withhold a blessing from Brother Thomas simply because the anointing was not performed using the correct words. Recognizing that the branch president had done his best, I did not correct him in front of Brother Thomas. Rather, I put my hands on Brother Thomas’s head, asked the branch president to put his hands on mine, and sealed the anointing in the usual fashion. Brother Thomas seemed pleased. Good-byes were offered, and the branch president and I left.


As we walked away, I put my arm around the branch president and said, “You have such great faith. You brought a wonderful spirit to that blessing. I am sure the Lord is pleased.” I pulled out a copy of the white missionary handbook, gave it to the branch president, and asked him to read the instructions on administering to the sick. As the branch president read, he said, “Oh, no! I did it wrong.” I repeated, “You had such great faith and brought a wonderful spirit. I am sure the Lord is pleased.”

As we arrived at our next visit, I asked the branch president if he thought another blessing would be requested. The branch president said he thought so. I suggested that we review the missionary handbook before we entered the yard. A blessing was requested. The branch president performed the anointing, and I sealed the anointing. As we were leaving, I said, “President, you have such wonderful faith and brought such a wonderful spirit. Should we see how we did?” The branch president again reviewed the missionary handbook. As he did, he was sad to recognize that he had left out a prescribed element. I said, “Yes, but you brought such great faith and a wonderful spirit to the blessing. I am sure the Lord is pleased.”

The branch president and I visited nine homes that day and gave priesthood blessings in six. The branch president performed the third anointing perfectly. With the sixth blessing, he sealed the anointing perfectly. As I left that remote town, I left a branch president who had “become strong” and who could, as he accompanied less experienced priesthood holders on the Lord’s errand, build the Church as the Savior’s Apostles had in ancient days.
“I switched baristas” —Lady Gaga

Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

User avatar
nibbler
Posts: 780
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 7:12 pm

Re: Renlund story makes me mad

Post by nibbler » Thu Jul 28, 2022 12:58 pm

I'm sure the Lord is pleased but... :roll:

If he was so sure the Lord was pleased, then why the correction?

You may be right, the "branch president" may not even exist, but the only thing that didn't track with my experiences is that usually the pedant will abruptly stop the person doing their best and make a more public show of correcting them. Maybe less in the spirit of trying to prove to everyone in the room that they know a butt load of crap about the gospel and more in the spirit of worrying that the blessing won't count.

So I might move Renlund up a notch (putting him at notch one ;) ) for correcting him in private. On the other hand, if the Lord was truly pleased there would be no need for any correction at all.

But this is the faith placed in the priesthood in church. Everything has to be just so. A series of meaningless rules that only exist for someone to feel good about themselves after correcting someone else on the right way to do things. As if god is sitting on his throne and suddenly realizes that in one of the blessings he gave he said "by the power of the priesthood which I hold" instead of "by the authority of the priesthood which I hold" and then the universe suddenly collapses in on itself because god made a mistake.
We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.
– Anais Nin

User avatar
wtfluff
Posts: 3332
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 3:20 pm
Location: Worshiping Gravity / Pulling Taffy

Re: Renlund story makes me mad

Post by wtfluff » Thu Jul 28, 2022 3:07 pm

Well... EVERYONE knows that the Magick doesn't work if the spell/incantation isn't worded completely correct!

[/SARCASM]
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

User avatar
blazerb
Posts: 1356
Joined: Thu Mar 30, 2017 4:35 pm

Re: Renlund story makes me mad

Post by blazerb » Thu Jul 28, 2022 7:41 pm

Renlund pisses me off. I'll state that at the outset. Wasn't he telling us to be grateful for the dinghy we get to ride in and the saltines we get to eat?

That said, what really pisses me off about this particular story is that Elder Renlund could give any imaginable response and LDS Living would declare it "perfect." Nothing he actually says or does matters. His position gives him the right to be declared perfect regardless of his actions.

User avatar
Angel
Posts: 503
Joined: Thu May 31, 2018 8:26 am

Re: Renlund story makes me mad

Post by Angel » Thu Jul 28, 2022 8:09 pm

Well, if vain repitions don't work, I'm sure it's the lack of faith of those blessed that prevent the healing ...

Everyone who dies of cancer, heart attacks - just not enough faith I guess.
“You have learned something...That always feels at first as if you have lost something.” George Bernard Shaw
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

User avatar
alas
Posts: 2024
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 2:10 pm

Re: Renlund story makes me mad

Post by alas » Thu Jul 28, 2022 11:05 pm

wtfluff wrote:
Thu Jul 28, 2022 3:07 pm
Well... EVERYONE knows that the Magick doesn't work if the spell/incantation isn't worded completely correct!

[/SARCASM]
Yes, just like in Harry Potter, where Herminony corrects how Ron pronounced “Leviosa” not “Leviosar”. You have to get it just right, or your goblet might still have a rat’s tail in transfiguration.

User avatar
sparky
Posts: 102
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2016 8:47 pm

Re: Renlund story makes me mad

Post by sparky » Fri Jul 29, 2022 8:13 am

The first paragraph is classic Mormon ethnocentrism and arrogance:
In the Lord’s Church today, experienced priesthood holders work with those with less experience. I had a wonderful service opportunity that demonstrated why the Lord uses this pattern to establish the Church.
Oh you mean the same "pattern" used in every human (or animal for that matter) endeavor ever?

Dr. Licious
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2021 10:57 am

Re: Renlund story makes me mad

Post by Dr. Licious » Fri Jul 29, 2022 12:11 pm

I love this forum and thread, and I agree with almost everything said. However, we need to remember to be tough on systems (processes), but easy on people. I totally understand not liking Renlund, but I think this was a good example of being easy on people.

acmeist
Posts: 29
Joined: Tue May 08, 2018 12:42 pm

Re: Renlund story makes me mad

Post by acmeist » Fri Jul 29, 2022 12:32 pm

I totally understand not liking Renlund, but I think this was a good example of being easy on people.
I am not sure if you mean that Renlund did a good job being easy on the branch president in the story? If so, I am sure in his mind he was the nicest and most accommodating. However, I have known too many members who see it their duty to school new members (more specifically non American members) and do so in a patronizing way. The American church version of Mormondom is the best and here's why mainly. However, my biggest beef with the story was the emphasis on how the exact order of things in the church is the be all and end all of asking help from God. It obviously brought back bad memories for me. I should get off LDS Living's email list.

User avatar
stealthbishop
Posts: 319
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:25 am

Re: Renlund story makes me mad

Post by stealthbishop » Mon Aug 01, 2022 12:25 pm

One thing I see is the importance of rituals for human beings. We have all kinds of them. This one was a spiritual ritual. Human beings have been using rituals for tens of thousands of years and maybe even hundreds of thousands of years. One reason we do rituals is that they help ground us and give us some meaning, purpose, order and predictability in a chaotic world so full of uncertainty. They can be good things in our lives and they can support our mental and spiritual health. I get why people want their rituals and traditions to be the same every time. If we were looking at a ritual done by an indigenous culture and an elder in the tribe was correcting a less experienced tribe member, we wouldn't think much of it. But this one is in our tribe or the tribe we used to belong to.

HAVING SAID ALL THAT, in this case, Renland and this article come across to me as arrogant, condescending, and that the ritual is more important than a human being. Perhaps he was wanting to really try to avoid coming across this way but IMO it didn't work and it just doesn't feel great to me. Could be just the way the article is written or the way he is communicating the story. Maybe it's my issues with rigid hierarchies and patriarchy. Maybe it's because I don't put as much stock in this particular ritual as much anymore or maybe it's just where I am at with the LDS church but I don't really like it, even though I can see this in the broader anthropological context of something very common for human beings since the beginning of time. In the end, when a ritual becomes more important than the humans it serves, something perhaps has gone wrong, or damage can be done to relationships, or a healthy perspective has been lost for the people involved.
"Take second best
Put me to the test
Things on your chest
You need to confess"

-Depeche Mode

User avatar
Not Buying It
Posts: 1284
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 12:29 pm

Re: Renlund story makes me mad

Post by Not Buying It » Tue Aug 02, 2022 9:37 am

No non-member who heard this talk would be at all interested in whether the proper wording was used because they would be too busy trying to figure out what kind of bizarre cult even has a healing ritual like that.
"The truth is elegantly simple. The lie needs complex apologia. 4 simple words: Joe made it up. It answers everything with the perfect simplicity of Occam's Razor. Every convoluted excuse withers." - Some guy on Reddit called disposazelph

User avatar
DPRoberts
Posts: 364
Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2016 6:48 pm

Re: Renlund story makes me mad

Post by DPRoberts » Tue Aug 02, 2022 8:41 pm

The example he gave that quoted the actual words of the Branch President is telling. Something about how the blessing could actually heal the person. I suspect the reason the "official wording" is so important is that the brethren have carefully removed any words that imply a promise of healing. Don't the folks in the mission field understand that Mormons have "the faith not to be healed"?
When an honest man discovers he is mistaken, he will either cease to be mistaken or cease to be honest. -anon
The belief that there is only one truth, and that oneself is in possession of it, is the root of all evil in the world. -Max Born

User avatar
moksha
Posts: 4425
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 4:22 am

Re: Renlund story makes me mad

Post by moksha » Wed Aug 03, 2022 3:08 am

wtfluff wrote:
Thu Jul 28, 2022 3:07 pm
Well... EVERYONE knows that the Magick doesn't work if the spell/incantation isn't worded completely correct!

[/SARCASM]
As long as the Saints include an Eye of Newt and a little battery acid, it's all good.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

User avatar
alas
Posts: 2024
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 2:10 pm

Re: Renlund story makes me mad

Post by alas » Wed Aug 03, 2022 9:20 am

moksha wrote:
Wed Aug 03, 2022 3:08 am
wtfluff wrote:
Thu Jul 28, 2022 3:07 pm
Well... EVERYONE knows that the Magick doesn't work if the spell/incantation isn't worded completely correct!

[/SARCASM]
As long as the Saints include an Eye of Newt and a little battery acid, it's all good.
Please do not anoint me with battery acid and Eye of Newt in the oil.

User avatar
moksha
Posts: 4425
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 4:22 am

Re: Renlund story makes me mad

Post by moksha » Wed Aug 03, 2022 9:59 am

alas wrote:
Wed Aug 03, 2022 9:20 am
... in the oil.
Oil?!!! No, those ingredients will simply be included for the efficacy of the incantation/prayer. Please, do not include them in the oil, and especially do not take the oil internally. I imagine LDS physicians have enough on their hands reminding members in more rural communities to not swallow bleach as a homeopathic remedy. They can take those large Ivermectin suppositories up the butt, but only for pleasure purposes (since those are actually meant for horses).
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

User avatar
Hagoth
Posts: 6222
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:13 pm

Re: Renlund story makes me mad

Post by Hagoth » Thu Aug 04, 2022 5:37 am

Looks like the church actually produced a video dramatization of the Renlund talk:
https://youtu.be/vD7PRZD9Rq4?t=157
“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."

Cnsl1
Posts: 374
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 1:27 pm

Re: Renlund story makes me mad

Post by Cnsl1 » Fri Aug 05, 2022 12:35 am

Nothing in story about whether or not anyone was healed, but how one new church guy finally got the prescribed words just right, and how Renlund was so patient and understanding in teaching him.

Stay on the covenant path
And get all the words just right
Cuz god, as it turns out,
is a cranky English teacher.

It could be worse, I guess
What if god was more of a math crank?
Sacrament prayers would be easier
But, tithing settlement would super suck.

Is it "eat" , "drink", or "partake"?
I can't remember but I gotta get it right, or this white bread guiltily pinched apart by masturbation hands won't sufficiently bless and sanctify the souls of those who get it.

It's not my soul that's hungry this morning, Lord. So forgive me for sneaking back to the prep room before Sunday School to get three or four slices of smashed Wonder to sneak into class. Gluten never tasted so good.

Wouldn't it be great if we followed the D&C to a T, and it was wine in them there cups and not lukewarm tap water? Break out another bottle, Bishop. It's Bobby's farewell today.

Cnsl1
Posts: 374
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 1:27 pm

Re: Renlund story makes me mad

Post by Cnsl1 » Fri Aug 05, 2022 7:13 am

Just makes me cringe.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], Just This Guy and 14 guests