My bishop and the Proclamation

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jhp33
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My bishop and the Proclamation

Post by jhp33 » 20 Apr 2014, 18:18

I'm really struggling today.

I'm a primary co-teacher with my wife, and this year's primary theme is all about families. The Sharing Time curriculum this year centers heavily on the Family Proclamation, which is fine. I understand.

However, the way it is being presented in lessons really bothers me.

As I'm sure is the case in many wards, each opening and closing exercises features a child standing up and giving a scripture. In our ward, the scripture is the same for a whole month. This month, it is not a scripture, but an excerpt of the Proclamation.

I first noticed this last week and it really bothered me since, oh I dunno, the Proclamation IS NOT SCRIPTURE.

But I let it roll off my back. I've been trying very hard to focus on the positive and try and let the negative stuff not bother me so much.

This week, however, the sharing time lesson really pounded the point home. The teacher spent 10 whole minutes talking about how the Proclamation is modern scripture, comparing it to the 10 commandments and saying that it was direct revelation from God to his prophets. I honestly had to get up and walk out.

I was already considering talking to my bishop about it last week. Today just strengthened my resolve, and so this afternoon after church I shot off a quick but respectful email outlining my concerns about how the primary was teaching about the Proclamation, and that it makes me uncomfortable having my kids being taught things that aren't accurate.

He shot me back what I took to be a very snotty response:
Seriously? How many times did the family proclamation get quoted in Conference? No, I will leave the teaching to the Primary Presidency.
This is the same bishop who asked to meet with me a few months ago when I abruptly resigned as seminary teacher and scoffed/laughed at me when I suggested that my faith crisis made me feel uncomfortable coming to church because of the new way I looked at things.

I'm trying not to take this personally, but it really seems like he is all talk when it comes to caring about my concerns, and I feel powerless in that I have to send my kids to church feeling uncomfortable with the doctrine they are being taught, but there is nothing I can do about it.

Anyway, thanks for letting me vent.

wornoutsneakers
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Re: My bishop and the Proclamation

Post by wornoutsneakers » 20 Apr 2014, 19:08

jhp33 wrote: As I'm sure is the case in many wards, each opening and closing exercises features a child standing up and giving a scripture. In our ward, the scripture is the same for a whole month. This month, it is not a scripture, but an excerpt of the Proclamation.
Hi, i just wanted to reply about your post. In our ward we do have an excerpt from the Proclamation on our bulletin board, as the monthly scripture reference, but we dont read it. The children in both the Junior and Senior groups recite the Theme in opening exercises. Then one child in each group is assigned to read a scripture of their choice. We dont recite any part of the Proclamation. I guess every ward is different? Im pretty sure the Presidency is following the guidlines set forth in the Sharing Time manual.

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On Own Now
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Re: My bishop and the Proclamation

Post by On Own Now » 20 Apr 2014, 19:18

Tough one. Good luck. I don't know the best avenue to approach; I fear there might not be any 'good' way ahead. It's not scripture and its not doctrine, by the very nature of statement. It, at most, can be policy. It has never been presented as a revelation from God, as far as I know. I think I'd pursue a meeting with the Bishop to clarify concerns. In GC, there have been all kinds of quotes from the writing of others. Quoting something or saying something in GC doesn't make it scripture. You aren't asking for anything that the General Authorities wouldn't approve, IMO. Beyond that, I don't know. I might have a conversation with the SP about whether you have any avenue to voice your concerns, and then if he is friendly to the idea, set up a meeting with the bishop and SP. At the same time, I went to the SP once, over some stuff that was very dissatisfying to me, and while the problem was resolved, I was still sort of treated like an outcast.

If you do have any further conversations at any level, I suggest staying away from anything suspect in the POTF. Your only complaint should be in teaching that something that is not in the scriptures is scripture, and the precedent that will set up for the children in primary. We all know crazies that latch onto non-doctrine and then teach it as doctrine to validate what they are saying, at that isn't good. We should arm the kids with the strength to stand up to false teachings when they encounter them, and if that means that we can't treat the POTF as scripture, then that is a worthy price to pay. The kids should be taught what is scripture is scripture, what is doctrine is doctrine, and we should stand by what we know and not confuse the issue, because it is so important. I would offer that I love the POTF, even if that isn't entirely true, and that it is wise counsel from good men, just so that these separate issued don't become conflated. It's a good thing for the kids to understand about what makes scripture, and this is undermining that very important construct.
"Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another." --Romans 14:13

Curt Sunshine
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Re: My bishop and the Proclamation

Post by Curt Sunshine » 20 Apr 2014, 21:05

He sounds like someone who has a clear vision of what he believes and doesn't understand or try to understand any other perspective. Unfortunately, challenging him probably won't do any good - none at all. I wish I could give you concrete advice, but the only thing I can offer is to keep teaching the kids so someone with that view doesn't teach them, instead.
Im pretty sure the Presidency is following the guidlines set forth in the Sharing Time manual.


The guidelines are to recite scriptures. There is nothing that identifies the Proclamation as scripture, but if someone see it that way, I can understand why they might allow it to be quoted. As the primary reference? That would bother me - a lot.
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cwald
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Post by cwald » 20 Apr 2014, 21:59

-sigh-

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nibbler
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Re: My bishop and the Proclamation

Post by nibbler » 21 Apr 2014, 04:47

How many times does Dickens get cited in GC? Maybe share a Dickens quote if you ever have to share a scripture as an adult in the primary. :twisted: Just kidding, I'd definitely try to stick to the high road.

I get where your bishop is coming from, I see it all the time. To many the proclamation and GC talks are scripture. I don't think you'll see any fruits trying to convince people otherwise, that's just of how it is. Your primary teacher has elevated the proclamation to the level of the 10 commandments in their mind and your bishop likely believes every talk in GC is scripture.

We've all heard that lesson in church, right? What is scripture? The bible, BoM, D&C, PoGP and the words of the prophet and apostles in GC and in the ensign. Any manual with TCoJCoLDS stamped on the back will occasionally get lumped in with those as well. I don't know how good disagreeing vocally will do in those situations so I chose to just ignore it.

Did your bishop really laugh at your reasons for resigning from the seminary teacher post? That's unfortunate. I also view his response to your concerns over the primary lesson as being uncaring and dismissive. I'll pull a quote from a different thread:
Ray DeGraw wrote:...In fact, when he asked about how the Lord runs the Church, one of the former Bishops in the group said,
Through imperfect people. We have to deal with the results.

Not to strip the quote from all context but the church operates through the efforts of imperfect people... and there are lots of them (all of us). :D
If one dream dies, dream another dream. If you get knocked down, get back up and go again.
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jhp33
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Re: My bishop and the Proclamation

Post by jhp33 » 21 Apr 2014, 06:31

nibbler wrote:
Did your bishop really laugh at your reasons for resigning from the seminary teacher post? That's unfortunate.
Well, the conversation was a bit more complicated than that, but that's the general feeling I got.

I went into the meeting with him with only one main question: is someone who thinks the way I do and believes the way I do really welcome in this ward and in this church?

I asked him that question directly and he gave a response similar to the email above. He laughed out loud (I mean, literally threw his head back laughing) and said "Don't be ridiculous."

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Orson
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Re: My bishop and the Proclamation

Post by Orson » 21 Apr 2014, 09:09

Here's a line of scripture for you (JR Holland, April 2013):
...imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with. That must be terribly frustrating to Him, but He deals with it. So should we.
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On Own Now
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Re: My bishop and the Proclamation

Post by On Own Now » 21 Apr 2014, 10:02

jhp33,

Two followup questions:

- What part of the POTF is being quoted? Just curious, it doesn't change anything, I would just like to know what the primary thinks the kids should hear from it.

- When the quote is made, do they say it is scripture? In other words, do they say, "We will now have our scripture..."? Or is it just a quote that in the past has been a scripture and is now a statement from the POTF, and next month could be a quote from TSM? What I'm asking, really, is whether the kids are set up to receive the POTF as a part of the scriptures.
"Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another." --Romans 14:13

jhp33
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Joined: 06 Jan 2014, 10:09

Re: My bishop and the Proclamation

Post by jhp33 » 21 Apr 2014, 10:08

On Own Now wrote:jhp33,

Two followup questions:

- What part of the POTF is being quoted? Just curious, it doesn't change anything, I would just like to know what the primary thinks the kids should hear from it.
It is this part, as outlined in the Sharing Time manual: “Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and … the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World”).

https://www.lds.org/manual/2014-outline ... n?lang=eng
- When the quote is made, do they say it is scripture? In other words, do they say, "We will no have our scripture..."? Or is it just a quote that in the past has been a scripture and is now a statement from the POTF, and next month could be a quote from TSM? What I'm asking, really, is whether the kids are set up to receive the POTF as a part of the scriptures.
Yes, one of the presidency members stands up and says "Now Johnny will give our scripture" and Johnny stands up and recites that line from the Proclamation. No other actual scripture is given either in conjunction with or relating to the quote.

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