Granting small indulgences

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blazerb
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Granting small indulgences

Post by blazerb » Sun Dec 19, 2021 12:04 pm

Often when listening to conference as I have been distancing myself from the church, I have thought, "This is a good talk." Usually it's a talk that acknowledges problems that come into people's lives or that one talk by Uchtdorf that acknowledged problems with church leadership. These talks never, of course, acknowledge problems with the doctrine and practice of the church, but they do give a little pat of the back of the members that I thought was healthy. It felt like things were moving in a better direction.

That said, I was listening to the "Little Bit Culty" podcast. They interviewed Dr. Alexandra Stein. In a very short exchange, she talked about the importance of "spontaneous granting of small indulgences" to building the unhealthy organization. (I might have the wording a little off.) It occurred to me that this is what these talks are. They are not signs that the church is becoming more healthy. They are the random acts of positive reinforcement that actually increase attachment to the group when used in conjunction with the scare-mongering and guilt-inducing actions. It is the random nature of the reward that is most effective in building attachment. People are constantly looking to get that boost. They will endure a lot of crap to get it which leads to strong group identification.

I know they worked on me that way. I'm glad I had a chance to get a little distance and see how unhealthy it all was.

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Hagoth
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Re: Granting small indulgences

Post by Hagoth » Sun Dec 19, 2021 3:12 pm

Good cop, bad cop?
“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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2bizE
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Re: Granting small indulgences

Post by 2bizE » Mon Dec 20, 2021 6:04 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Sun Dec 19, 2021 3:12 pm
Good cop, bad cop?
We could be talking about Oaks. Definitely bad cop, bad cop.
~2bizE

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Hagoth
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Re: Granting small indulgences

Post by Hagoth » Tue Dec 21, 2021 7:06 am

Image
"Look, buddy I only want the best for you, but I'm afraid if you don't cooperate I'm not going to be able to stop Mr. Oaks from putting the electrodes on you."
“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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moksha
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Re: Granting small indulgences

Post by moksha » Tue Dec 21, 2021 7:09 pm

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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stealthbishop
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Re: Granting small indulgences

Post by stealthbishop » Wed Dec 22, 2021 11:21 am

I think there is some truth to this idea. But I don't think it's always as organized or done exactly in that way all the time.


For example (from my POV):
During the Monson era, Uchtdorf had a lot of latitude to say what he truly thought and believed as a member of the FP (IMO). Monson and Uchtdorf had a close friendship. Sure BKP would say his stuff as well as RMN and Oaks as senior apostles but the President has all the cards and the FP determines the message and have double dosing in terms of what they say to the members. Uchtdorf was not just acting as a good cop. He really believed in his approach and was consistent and gave some good messages in spite of all the toxicity that we're all familiar with. He was a reformer or reform-minded IMO.

As Monson's health deteriorated, Uchtdorf became eclipsed in power and the senior Apostles started throwing their weight around more and more until we come to the RMN era (and shortly before) where Uchtdorf is literally kicked out of the FP (has only happened twice before I think). The President of the church holds all the cards. If they are vibrant and healthy, they lead and the rest follow. That's it.

BUT, none of us should be faulted for any whiplash we get in the church. There is plenty of toxicity to point out. And I do believe that counselors and more junior apostles do get "dirty" assignments sometimes to be a "bad cop". Sometimes they just take that role on themselves and sometimes they are assigned. But sometimes the "good cop" is acting in good faith and really believes what they are saying and may in fact be trying to reform the system. There have always been liberal/progressive/reform minded individuals in organizations and movements and then there are the conservatives/traditionalists who want to hold on to the way things are or the way they have always been as they see it. That's not unusual in any institution.
"Take second best
Put me to the test
Things on your chest
You need to confess"

-Depeche Mode

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blazerb
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Re: Granting small indulgences

Post by blazerb » Sat Dec 25, 2021 6:25 am

stealthbishop wrote:
Wed Dec 22, 2021 11:21 am
I think there is some truth to this idea. But I don't think it's always as organized or done exactly in that way all the time.


For example (from my POV):
During the Monson era, Uchtdorf had a lot of latitude to say what he truly thought and believed as a member of the FP (IMO). Monson and Uchtdorf had a close friendship. Sure BKP would say his stuff as well as RMN and Oaks as senior apostles but the President has all the cards and the FP determines the message and have double dosing in terms of what they say to the members. Uchtdorf was not just acting as a good cop. He really believed in his approach and was consistent and gave some good messages in spite of all the toxicity that we're all familiar with. He was a reformer or reform-minded IMO.

As Monson's health deteriorated, Uchtdorf became eclipsed in power and the senior Apostles started throwing their weight around more and more until we come to the RMN era (and shortly before) where Uchtdorf is literally kicked out of the FP (has only happened twice before I think). The President of the church holds all the cards. If they are vibrant and healthy, they lead and the rest follow. That's it.

BUT, none of us should be faulted for any whiplash we get in the church. There is plenty of toxicity to point out. And I do believe that counselors and more junior apostles do get "dirty" assignments sometimes to be a "bad cop". Sometimes they just take that role on themselves and sometimes they are assigned. But sometimes the "good cop" is acting in good faith and really believes what they are saying and may in fact be trying to reform the system. There have always been liberal/progressive/reform minded individuals in organizations and movements and then there are the conservatives/traditionalists who want to hold on to the way things are or the way they have always been as they see it. That's not unusual in any institution.
I have a question for you. Do you think that the positive comments that are sometimes expressed in GC are a sign of progress or are they just the efforts of an outnumbered group who would like to see progress?

My concern is that this dynamic is similar to what is seen in abusive domestic relationships. Random positive feedback is a very effective training method, but it leads to serious mental and emotional abuse.

Cnsl1
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Re: Granting small indulgences

Post by Cnsl1 » Sat Dec 25, 2021 9:06 am

I think it seems pretty clear that there are GAs and apostles who press for more inclusivity and love, and these guys are in the minority to those who press for more adherence to this covenant path sort of thing. Both say they "love" you no matter what, but the one group seems to offer more acceptance, whereas the majority seems to like to tell you how tolerant they are and how many tears they've shed crying over you. And probably there are not really two groups, but they all fall somewhere along a continuum between very conservative/dogmatic and a little more open to change/more liberal(ish).

They seem like managers... and pretty good managers of an extremely rich corporation, trying their best to balance between selling the standard fare to the faithful, while realizing the narrative is not sustainable for the future. I think they are not of one mind on how best to do this, but the organization is set up such that there is a president and what he says goes. I think if there were not the fear of hurting thousands to millions of members, we'd have already seen an apostle speak out.. saying something like, this is not true, folks. But leaders are good at picking other leaders like unto themselves--toe the line managers and loyal yes men, steeped in tradition and ancestral history.

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Palerider
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Re: Granting small indulgences

Post by Palerider » Sat Dec 25, 2021 9:55 am

blazerb wrote:
Sat Dec 25, 2021 6:25 am

I have a question for you. Do you think that the positive comments that are sometimes expressed in GC are a sign of progress or are they just the efforts of an outnumbered group who would like to see progress?

My concern is that this dynamic is similar to what is seen in abusive domestic relationships. Random positive feedback is a very effective training method, but it leads to serious mental and emotional abuse.
Just to jump in here...

I think there is a cult-ture in the Q15. As a newly called apostle, there's a desire to bring what one has (ideas, principles, experience) to the table. Otherwise, why would the individual been called to the Q15? They think to themselves, "Maybe here is where I can help. Or here, or here."

But that desire to help has to be balanced against the mandate of "unity" among the brethren. And what constitutes unity is found only in the mind of the President.

For example Uchtdorf's talks would have had to have passed muster with Monson before being delivered.

Imagine if he had talked to Nelson first and said, "Just give this a read through and tell me what you think." I feel quite secure that Nelson would have "lovingly" rejected parts of the "Leaders made mistakes" talk and said change this before you submit it to Monson.

But Uchtdorf was in the 1st Pres and didn't have to run anything past Nelson. I'm betting Nelson hated that talk. But he was powerless to do anything about it. If it passed muster with Monson then Nelson had to get in line regardless of what his personal opinion was. Unity with the prophet is everything.

I think this is why Aunt Wendy said it was as if Nelson had been unchained when he became President. All those years of having to get in line were finally over. Now everyone has to get in line with him.

So to me what is really happening in the church is that it lurches back and forth like a ship with loose cannons depending on who is in the top seat. It's more of a paradigm struggle among large and fragile egos than a "good cop", "bad cop" situation.

The byproduct of that struggle are the occasional "random rewards" or "progress" that seems to pop up and then disappear.

It would have been very interesting to see if the church would have changed the "priesthood policy" if Spencer Kimball had died before reaching the top chair. Can you imagine Ezra Taft Benson changing the priesthood policy? :shock:

I doubt it.
"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

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stealthbishop
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Re: Granting small indulgences

Post by stealthbishop » Mon Dec 27, 2021 7:48 am

blazerb wrote:
Sat Dec 25, 2021 6:25 am
stealthbishop wrote:
Wed Dec 22, 2021 11:21 am
I think there is some truth to this idea. But I don't think it's always as organized or done exactly in that way all the time.


For example (from my POV):
During the Monson era, Uchtdorf had a lot of latitude to say what he truly thought and believed as a member of the FP (IMO). Monson and Uchtdorf had a close friendship. Sure BKP would say his stuff as well as RMN and Oaks as senior apostles but the President has all the cards and the FP determines the message and have double dosing in terms of what they say to the members. Uchtdorf was not just acting as a good cop. He really believed in his approach and was consistent and gave some good messages in spite of all the toxicity that we're all familiar with. He was a reformer or reform-minded IMO.

As Monson's health deteriorated, Uchtdorf became eclipsed in power and the senior Apostles started throwing their weight around more and more until we come to the RMN era (and shortly before) where Uchtdorf is literally kicked out of the FP (has only happened twice before I think). The President of the church holds all the cards. If they are vibrant and healthy, they lead and the rest follow. That's it.

BUT, none of us should be faulted for any whiplash we get in the church. There is plenty of toxicity to point out. And I do believe that counselors and more junior apostles do get "dirty" assignments sometimes to be a "bad cop". Sometimes they just take that role on themselves and sometimes they are assigned. But sometimes the "good cop" is acting in good faith and really believes what they are saying and may in fact be trying to reform the system. There have always been liberal/progressive/reform minded individuals in organizations and movements and then there are the conservatives/traditionalists who want to hold on to the way things are or the way they have always been as they see it. That's not unusual in any institution.
I have a question for you. Do you think that the positive comments that are sometimes expressed in GC are a sign of progress or are they just the efforts of an outnumbered group who would like to see progress?

My concern is that this dynamic is similar to what is seen in abusive domestic relationships. Random positive feedback is a very effective training method, but it leads to serious mental and emotional abuse.
You and others as well as myself have EVERY RIGHT to be concerned. Many people's relationship with the church is toxic for them. One thing all the leadership believe sincerely or not is that the church is beneficial for all human beings. And that belief can lead to cultiness.

My sense is that with regards to positive comments in GC, it can be all of the above. It is a potential sign of progress that may or may not happen and if it does then it might only be a small foretaste of what's to come many years or even decades from now. In EVERY group or organization there are reformers/progressives and there are conservatives/traditionalists and there is a constant tension between the two. When Galileo challenged the church orthodoxy and doctrine of the Earth at the center of the universe and was later put under house arrest, it's not that he convinced any of the church leadership. Eventually all the church hierarchy who believed that doctrine died. They were never convinced. I think the same is true in our church in terms of reforms.

AT THIS TIME, we can see what is going on. The reformers such as Uchtdorf and Holland have been silenced or turned in RMN's direction. Monson was losing his faculties and thus there developed a power vacuum of sorts. Not anymore. RMN is sharp and directive. He's fully calling the shots and everyone beneath him is falling in line. He does not leave much room to maneuver. Hinkley was more open minded I believe and allowed more freedom perhaps.

Is it culty? Sure. But not unique in organizations. As I look back at my employers/businesses I've worked for over the years, I see similar things. Working for a companies, I know of many people who worry and wonder about leaving a toxic work environment. Where will they go? "But, I'm making good money", "I have good benefits", etc.
"Take second best
Put me to the test
Things on your chest
You need to confess"

-Depeche Mode

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