GC Elder Christofferson: Voice of Warning - Offensive?

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Do you find Elder Christofferson's Voice of Warning GC talk inspiring? (up to 2 selections allowed)

Very inspiring (list what inspired in comments)
1
6%
Has some good thoughts
3
17%
Didn't like the talk, but whatev
6
33%
Offensive - I have issues with it (list in comments)
4
22%
Other (specify in comments)
4
22%
 
Total votes: 18

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Heber13
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Re: GC Elder Christofferson: Voice of Warning - Offensive?

Post by Heber13 » 07 Jul 2017, 08:14

DarkJedi wrote:
07 Jul 2017, 05:29
On the other hand, it's not the worst talk ever either. Even bad talks often have nuggets of good in them.
I agree...and I also find nuggets for some are not the nuggets I want.
My understanding of the gospel of love as taught by Jesus (and not mentioned by Jesus in the BoM, BTW), is unconditional and universal.
Hm....so what do you think of this part of the talk:
Because of His incomparable love and concern for others and their happiness, Jesus was not hesitant to warn. At the outset of His ministry, “Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”20 Because He knows that not just any path leads to heaven, He commanded:

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

“Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”21

He devoted time to sinners, saying, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”22

As for the scribes and Pharisees and Sadducees, Jesus was uncompromising in condemning their hypocrisy. His warnings and commandments were direct: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”23 Surely no one would accuse the Savior of not loving these scribes and Pharisees—after all, He suffered and died to save them too. But loving them, He could not let them go on in sin without clearly correcting them.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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Heber13
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Re: GC Elder Christofferson: Voice of Warning - Offensive?

Post by Heber13 » 07 Jul 2017, 08:20

mom3 wrote:
06 Jul 2017, 11:03
This. Yes. I have family who have become more strident as the years have gone on. With each passing season the entrench in ways I never imagined. When we were younger they were the balanced one. Now it's church clothes all day on Sunday. First one to the pulpit on Open Mic Sunday. Prayers every time you put food in your mouth. Early morning scripture reading even on vacation.
Do you see them finding these choices make them happier as a family? Just curious. Is there a noticeable difference one way or another on their family?
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

ydeve
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Re: GC Elder Christofferson: Voice of Warning - Offensive?

Post by ydeve » 07 Jul 2017, 11:37

I'm on my phone right now, and it's hard to reference the talk and write out my response at the same time, so I will write in context of the type of attitude of the talk instead of the talk itself. If you need further responses in context of the actual talk, I can do that after I get home, but otherwise I'm happy not to go read toxic narrative that mostly just serves to make me angry.
Heber13 wrote:
07 Jul 2017, 08:07
It almost sounds like you are suggesting that love is acceptance for others as they are...therefore, you can't correct or judge others and love them or you don't understand what love is. I'm guessing you don't mean that...but that is what I hear. Clarify for me if you can on how you feel about this.
Heber13 wrote:
07 Jul 2017, 08:07
ydeve wrote:I find that many church leaders do not correct out of genuine love for people, but rather out of "love" for the imaginary people they would rather those people be.
Is this similar to the point above...that they cannot correct or judge another. If it is love, then they must accept the other person as they are and not try to change them or it is not love? If so, how do parents do this for children? How do teachers do this for students? How does your boss do this to employees? How should church leaders to this for members?
Yes, you absolutely need to accept people as they are. Otherwise, you are not loving the person they are, but rather the person you want them to be. It is possible to correct someone while accepting that they are who they are. However, there is such thing as boundaries, and violating them shows disrespect and is not loving. Mormons are notoriously bad at this. The church teaches by example that it is ok to pressure people into acting the way you want them to act, and that there is no such thing as boundaries. I have yet to see someone use the phrase "righteous judgement" to describe their behavior and actually be showing love to an adult.

You can point out what I'm doing. If you love me, you *should* point out what I'm doing as long as it doesn't violate any boundaries. But you point it out once, and then you stop. Nagging is inappropriate, and shows that you do not respect my agency. It's loving the ideal, not the person.
Heber13 wrote:
07 Jul 2017, 08:07
ydeve wrote:When you "love" someone but disregard their experiences, that is not love.
How did Elder Christofferson disregard experiences? I'm not saying you are wrong. I am trying to connect this talk with the reaction some have, and why some do not have that reaction.
Without going back and rereading the talk, I cannot tell you if or where *he* disregards people's experiences in it, but I can tell you how members and GAs will do so as they "apply it to their lives." Here are a couple examples. I'm LGBT, and I understand exmos. These are two groups who are often demonized by the church, its authorities, and its membership. And if not demonized, our experiences are disregarded or misconstrued. Savannah is an excellent case in point. Her heartfelt testimony was deemed unchristlike because it did not toe the party line. Shunning and hateful behavior towards friends and family are often because people feel the need to show that they do not "support" so and so's actions. Talks like Christofferson's fuel abusive behavior, again by the church, its authorities, as well as the membership.
Heber13 wrote:
07 Jul 2017, 08:07
ydeve wrote:When you "love" them and demand they behave without regard for their *actual* wellbeing, that is not love.
Is "demand" too strong of a word for the invitations of an apostle?
No, "demand" is not too strong a word, because that's how it is in practice. The church doesn't just "invite" LGBT people to live unauthentically. It's backed by threat of excommunication and loss of community. "Ponderizing" was an invitation. Paying 10% of your income as a tithe, regardless of whether or not you can feed your children, is not. Oak's "there is no such thing as a loyal opposition" was also not an invitation. Neither was Prop 8 an invitation, but an "invitation."
Heber13 wrote:
07 Jul 2017, 08:07
ydeve wrote:Nor can you hate a fundamental part of who someone is and still truly love them.
If Elder Christofferson is claiming the only motivation correction should be done is out of love, why do you feel they really hate fundamental parts of others?
Because I'm LGBT, and I experience this on a regular basis at church. Again, from both GAs, including the Q15, and membership.
Heber13 wrote:
07 Jul 2017, 08:07
ydeve wrote:And when it comes to the kinds of things that the church corrects people on, the results are tragic. The fruit of their actions is self-evident. It's poison, and no amount of apologetics can change that.
Are there fruits that are NOT tragic? What of my son serving his full-time mission, trying so hard to be completely obedient, and is a sponge listening to all the MP and other leaders and scriptures and church manuals have to teach him...and he has never been happier in his life...and has had spiritual and emotional experiences connecting with people he teaches. For him...there is fruit of love that he has never felt in his life that strong. I don't believe he is being tricked. I respect him and admire him.

Can you really say that the fruit is tragic and self-evident? Or do you think you are seeing one outcome is that for some it is tragic. But for others it is not?

Good fruits do not erase bad ones. If your food contains peanuts, you do *not* demand that everyone eat it, make those who don't feel horrible guilt, and then go and ostracize them. The fact that most people may enjoy your food doesn't change the fact that it's deadly poison to others. The fact that those others can still technically choose not to eat your food does not absolve you of how you pressure them into eating it. In practice, this is what happens in the church, and much of it is enforced by the GAs, not just local membership. Except the number of people with deadly allergies to aspects of what the church teaches are *far* greater than the number of people allergic to peanuts.

When I heard this talk, I heard the same rhetoric that mormons use to justify all the hatred and abuse they deal out to me and people like me. And not just LGBT people, but rather people who do not or cannot fit the mormon mold. That's why I call it poison and toxic, because it fuels the cycle of abuse in the church.

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mom3
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Re: GC Elder Christofferson: Voice of Warning - Offensive?

Post by mom3 » 07 Jul 2017, 11:52

Heber asked -
Do you see them finding these choices make them happier as a family? Just curious. Is there a noticeable difference one way or another on their family?
The answer is yes. They feel happier. Safer. Purposeful. Focused. Valiant.

I see things differently. But I see it both ways. I was once like them. All pain was related to either "God was testing me. Therefore it's a good even if it hurts." or "I didn't do enough. We can't keep skipping family home evening." (or whatever area I felt lacking.)

Whatever narrative supports the outcome of safety we want we will adhere to it.

Years ago a carpooled kids to school. Many of my kids friends were Evangelical. During one school year a random shooting at a tavern in the nearby town killed a girl many of my daughters friends knew. It was tragic. A few days after the incident one of the girls in my carpool matter of factly stated, "She wasn't going to church." That was it. Simple as that. God took her because she hadn't gone to church. Her family were believers and she was a renegade.

I was very TBM at the time and I had a hard time swallowing that logic. Now that I have moved to a different place I see and hear comments like that from multiple sides. We write the story. We just don't realize it.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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mom3
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Re: GC Elder Christofferson: Voice of Warning - Offensive?

Post by mom3 » 07 Jul 2017, 12:00

Ydeve - I have a couple of questions. How do you think John Gustav-Wrathall, Mitch Mayne, or Tom Christofferson see their place in the church or kingdom?

This isn't a snark or mean question. My husband is post-mo. He holds the very same opinions you do. On everything including tithing. I hear and see the world through his lens as much as mine. There are openly gay members who see the story differently than you? Do you have any idea how that happens? You may not. I can't fully answer why my husband and I differ so much but we do.

I'd love your insights if you care to share.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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Reuben
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Re: GC Elder Christofferson: Voice of Warning - Offensive?

Post by Reuben » 07 Jul 2017, 12:11

Heber13 wrote:
07 Jul 2017, 07:48
What I hear you saying, Reuben is that the position that Elder Christofferson is taking is poison to youth and adults with horrible consequences. You state there are false dichotomies. This sounds like what I was saying about one side being the premise (unchanging truth from God) and then Elder Christofferson says the other position is someone who believes truth is relative to personal preference and moral standards that change on a whim according to social media as the standard.

Is that what you are saying is poison, even worse than porn?
Yes, that's the poison. I'm not sure whether that particular instance of it is worse than porn. Depends on the porn, I guess, and the person experiencing it.

You're being the flippin' king of civil discourse right now, by the way.
Heber13 wrote:
07 Jul 2017, 07:48
Do you think it is this talk, and Elder Christofferson's words here...or is your position accumulated based on this talk as evidence of all the other things said in church and over the pulpit over time all leading to a huge issue for you?
That's accurate, but it's not the whole reason.

(Thanks for the restatement and question. Answering it is making me be more precise.)

It's more than just parts of this talk getting added to my personal accumulated evidence. What I mostly take offense at is the accumulated effect of all this dichotomizing and divisiveness on my current and future relationships with other members. Any single instance of it is relatively benign. Anybody could brush it off. But aside from a few outliers from leaders like President Uchtdorf, these partly harmful, divisive messages are persistent and relentless. If I require their individual badness to pass some threshold before I recognize them as bad, I would never recognize their effects.

In other words, it's a slow poisoning. When should I take offense at a slow poisoning?

Here are some examples.

The Book of Mormon has a grand total of maybe 5 out of a cast of many, many fleshed-out characters who are depicted as anything but wholly good or wholly evil. Two of them (Alma and Corianton) pass from one extreme to the other.

Modern prophets are nothing but heroic. Modern apostates are moustache-twirling villains.

"Homosexual agenda."

"So-called friends."

"So-called intellectuals."

"Anti-Mormon literature."

Most members of the Church can't comprehend having morals without believing in God, as a result of messages like in Elder Christofferson's talk.

You're either all in or you're sinning.

Elder Holland preaching that you can't appreciate the atonement without believing there was a literal Adam and Eve.

Just after my FC, I sat through a combined EQ/HP lesson where we spent a good chunk of time talking about why belief in a literal Christ is superior to other kinds of belief... in my highly academic ward, where you'd least expect it.

It goes on, and on, and on. I'm sure everyone here can list ten more examples off the tops of their heads.

The accumulated effect of this persistent, relentless boundary maintenance is that it's very hard for a believer to regard anyone as being anything but "in" or "out." If you don't display the right behaviors or talk the right talk, you must be out. And everyone knows that someone who goes from in to out is worse off than if they had never been in. They're someone to be feared, someone without the Spirit, and maybe an unwitting agent of the devil. Who knows what someone like that would do? The worst that could happen is they'd destroy your testimony, which is a fate worse than death.

The accumulated effect justifies all kinds of cruelty in the name of love or self-protection.
My intro

Love before dogma. Truth before loyalty. Knowledge before certainty.

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Re: GC Elder Christofferson: Voice of Warning - Offensive?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 07 Jul 2017, 12:27

Personally, I like the nagging analogy - a lot.

My kids know how I feel about most things, because we have talked about most things. I have a son who is inactive. He knows I would love it If he was active. I don't have to keep saying it to him. He knows. Continuing to say it would be nagging - and he is an adult. I think I have taught him correct principles. I now need to allow him to govern himself. He is a wonderful, loving, kind, hardworking person. I have to accept him as he is (a truly good person) and not hyper-focus on the one area where we are quite different (church attendance).

I feel the exact same way about almost all topics related to sexual issues of all kinds and how they are addressed, generally, in the LDS Church: We botch them quite badly, and we pound the stakes so far into the ground they disappear and end up distorting and shrinking what the tent originally was created to be.

Having said that, please be careful about judging Elder Christofferson. Everything I know of him tells me he is a good man who is trying to walk a difficult tightrope right now. I don't envy him in that regard, and I can't condemn him - especially since I have no desire to walk in his shoes for any distance.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

ydeve
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Re: GC Elder Christofferson: Voice of Warning - Offensive?

Post by ydeve » 07 Jul 2017, 12:37

Mom3, I only see one of your questions. If there's a second one, please restate it for me.

I do not really understand people like Mitch Mayne and Tom Christofferson. My guess is it might come down to a different understanding of the Kingdom/Choir/Zion and the church's role in it. To me, Zion is purely metaphorical and completely divorced from any one church. I don't believe the truth claims of the lds church, and I don't believe it is necessary in any way for salvation or building up the Kingdom. I see it as a vehicle that some use to do so. If you do believe the truth claims, then I can see how you could be like Mitch or Tom.

ydeve
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Re: GC Elder Christofferson: Voice of Warning - Offensive?

Post by ydeve » 07 Jul 2017, 12:50

Curt Sunshine wrote:
07 Jul 2017, 12:27
Having said that, please be careful about judging Elder Christofferson. Everything I know of him tells me he is a good man who is trying to walk a difficult tightrope right now. I don't envy him in that regard, and I can't condemn him - especially since I have no desire to walk in his shoes for any distance.
I make no judgment of him as a person. We all strive to do the best we can with the cards we've been dealt. I just have no particular respect for what he preaches, as I've seen its fruit and judge it bad. For that matter, I have little respect for the teachings of anyone who says or treats me as subhuman, whether or not it is intentional or they are conscious of it. Assuming Christofferson is sincere, I do not envy the cognitive dissonance he must be experiencing.
Last edited by ydeve on 07 Jul 2017, 12:56, edited 1 time in total.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: GC Elder Christofferson: Voice of Warning - Offensive?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 07 Jul 2017, 12:54

Well said, ydeve.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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