Stake Conference

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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nibbler
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Location: Ten miles west of the exact centre of the universe

Re: Stake Conference

Post by nibbler » 13 Feb 2020, 08:03

I don't see the new programs as much of a departure from anything we've done in the past. Members have long been counseled to study lessons at home and come to class prepared. No one does it, but that's been the consistent instruction.

Here are a few things I think serve as barriers to people thinking for themselves:
  • Human nature. Maybe it comes from survival instinct - that people are stronger as a group and people have to behave in a certain way to maintain a relationship with that group. Here I'm not talking LDS church, I'm talking any social construct.

    People often worry more about what other people think of them that what they think of themselves. It's a human condition.
  • Orthodoxy. Believing in One True Church comes with baggage. If there is a definitive right answer (things that come from the One True Church) then any departure from that right answer is wrong. That belief system discourages individual thought. "The thinking has been done."
  • We've cultivated a system that rewards conformity and, at times, punishes individuality. A system like that is going to discourage people thinking for themselves.
Maybe all those bullet points are really boil down to the same thing... human nature.
DarkJedi wrote:
13 Feb 2020, 06:46
I think this is a legit concern. It definitely is a culture shift from the spoon feeding "this is what you're supposed to believe" most members are used to. A similar fear is that people will stick to the old ways just because they don't want to change, or heaven forbid think for themselves. It is my hope that we are able to make the transition, but I think it will take beyond the current church president's remaining life span and will need to be as supported by his successors. The good news is I think the majority of the Q15 are in agreement.
My perception is limited by my vantage point, but from where I sit I don't see leaders that want members to gain independence, I see leaders that reiterate dependence on leaders/the church. Once you do gain that independence/self-sufficiency, it becomes harder to thrive in the culture because the culture is constantly trying to steer people back towards dependency on the church.
He who sits alone, sleeps alone, and walks alone, who is strenuous and subdues himself alone, will find delight in the solitude of the forest.
— Buddha

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mom3
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Joined: 02 Apr 2011, 14:11

Re: Stake Conference

Post by mom3 » 13 Feb 2020, 14:06

My perception is limited by my vantage point, but from where I sit I don't see leaders that want members to gain independence, I see leaders that reiterate dependence on leaders/the church. Once you do gain that independence/self-sufficiency, it becomes harder to thrive in the culture because the culture is constantly trying to steer people back towards dependency on the church.
I am more on this level. ^^^^^

Yet, I think societal-ly there is a shift coming that may over ride that. I keep watching the desperate grab to hold onto the Millenial Crowd. Because like it or not they are losing members in that age bracket faster than before. I think life will keep developing in a way that future generations won't be as reliant on someone ahead of them or at least not in a group way. They will pick their own Influencers. No matter how much Salt Lake dreams of "guiding the flock" - the horse is already out of the gate. In a couple more generations, especially in America, church is going to look different because members are different.
"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

grobert93
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Joined: 30 Nov 2015, 16:05

Re: Stake Conference

Post by grobert93 » 15 Feb 2020, 09:27

DarkJedi wrote:
13 Feb 2020, 06:46
grobert93 wrote:
12 Feb 2020, 15:31
I just fear that people are so dependent on a digital or paper Manuel and on approval from priesthood leaders that they can't think for themselves.
I think this is a legit concern. It definitely is a culture shift from the spoon feeding "this is what you're supposed to believe" most members are used to. A similar fear is that people will stick to the old ways just because they don't want to change, or heaven forbid think for themselves. It is my hope that we are able to make the transition, but I think it will take beyond the current church president's remaining life span and will need to be as supported by his successors. The good news is I think the majority of the Q15 are in agreement.
Not only that, but we've been told if we DON'T follow the prophet's counsel or follow our leaders, we will be led astray or lose blessings. This cultural toxicity is part of what's "led me away" from being an active believer. I have felt the spirit while in nature more than in a 3 hour conference. because the past few decades have been pounding at the pulpit to do as we are told, the idea of being independent will seem rough for the older generations. My parents are struggling with the "third hour", saying it feels like FHE on a Sunday. While my friends my age and I have found ways to be happy outside of this structure.

I'd say it will take 20-30 more years before the cultural demand shifts pressure in the church and we seem even more relaxation. I remember one time my wife and I were sick and surprised to see two deacons show up at our door with the sacrament. They blessed it and gave it to us. Now imagine if we allowed the priesthood to be used in every home regardless of gender. We could have the sacrement performed every Sunday by families instead of all gathering into a building. Just imagine the savings! IDK, it's wishful thinking in a church with interesting cultural traditions.

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Gerald
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Joined: 29 Sep 2011, 04:57

Re: Stake Conference

Post by Gerald » 16 Feb 2020, 06:10

I have never enjoyed Stake Conference much. I find it (generally) the most boring meeting of ALL the meetings the LDS Church inflicts on its members. It CAN be interesting (just like any meeting can be) but it generally is not. Even when General Authorities visit, we don't hear anything we couldn't hear at General Conference. And I do weary (like others) about people talking about how inspiring an obviously uninspiring meeting is. But I do try to remember that what I find inspiring others may find boring (and vice versa).

Our stake (I suppose this is universal) has an adult meeting Saturday night and then an early morning meeting that is sometimes a priesthood meeting and sometimes a priesthood leadership meeting. I finally decided that enough was enough and only attend the Sunday Stake Conference meeting. I'm much happier come "stake conference" time.

And since I'm already in whiny mode, I'll mention one more thing that drives me a bit batty. Our stake presidency are three very good men who I individually like and admire very much. But, boy!, do they get along! It's rare to have any meeting where the three of them are present and they don't talk about how wonderful it is to work with each other. I think they just really like one another and work well together (which is great) and they regularly let the stake know it (which is a bit tiresome). They also have some little in-jokes that make their way over the podium from time to time. The result is similar to sitting at the high school lunch table with the popular kids listening to them chortling over shared amusing experiences that you will never be part of.

Okay. End whine.
So through the dusk of dead, blank-legended And unremunerative years we search to get where life begins, and still we groan because we do not find the living spark where no spark ever was; and thus we die, still searching, like poor old astronomers who totter off to bed and go to sleep, to dream of untriangulated stars.
---Edwin Arlington Robinson---

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Stake Conference

Post by Curt Sunshine » 16 Feb 2020, 11:36

I've had some excellent stake conferences and some really bad stake conferences - and everything between those extremes. Roulette is real.

Why do we do it? Using the collective "we":

We like to gather occasionally with larger groups.

It can be very good for members, especially in branches, to see a lot more people like them once in a while.

It was set as the standard when the Church was small.

We have stake leaders, and we like to have our leaders speak to us.

Tradition!!! Tradition. ...drum roll...Tradition!

I actually like the concept a lot. It is the implementation that bugs me, especially making it a two-day event for leaders and adults. (That makes sense when people can walk or drive a very short distance. It makes less sense, and can be expensive, when people have to travel to attend.)
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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