Harmful LDS Teachings/Perfectionism

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Roy
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Re: Harmful LDS Teachings/Perfectionism

Post by Roy » 26 Apr 2015, 14:21

Thank you for the responses.

I am wondering if it would be worthwhile to meet with the primary president or his teacher. I would make it clear that we really appreciate what they do and that we do not know what was taught (only how it was received by DS). Would that feedback that DS has perfectionist tendencies and needs more than anything permision to forgive himself be useful?
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Harmful LDS Teachings/Perfectionism

Post by Curt Sunshine » 26 Apr 2015, 16:09

Absolutely.

Fwiw, I frame the kingdoms of glory in terms of the condition of the heart: the unrepentant (Telestial),the decent who just don't try (Terrestrial) and people who do their best and try to improve (Celestial). That helps a lot of people with a healthier perspective, imo.
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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hawkgrrrl
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Re: Harmful LDS Teachings/Perfectionism

Post by hawkgrrrl » 26 Apr 2015, 18:54

I wonder how much scrupulosity is driven by hereditary factors. I've known far more intermountain Mormons than Mormons where I grew up who are scrupulous. It really wasn't an issue where I grew up.

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Heber13
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Re: Harmful LDS Teachings/Perfectionism

Post by Heber13 » 26 Apr 2015, 21:59

Kids need to be taught to have hope and faith. Heaven and Hell, no matter what variation of doctrine taught, is still all based on faith that God is merciful and just and right. So we focus on our hearts, and choosing right, and have faith God will make all things right with families. It takes faith, but we never go wrong by choosing the right. God does not require perfectionism. The Atonement is for all of us if we accept it in our lives.

Your son sounds smart to be thinking through things. I think people have been wondering the same kinds of things ever since the revelation was given...because we want to grasp the black and white rules so the afterlife is certain and clear to us. And yet...it's just not...and no one really knows. Despite how sure primary teachers think they are.
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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nibbler
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Re: Harmful LDS Teachings/Perfectionism

Post by nibbler » 28 Apr 2015, 05:26

A kid is probably going to eventually grow out of their worries about not being with their parents for eternity. Show of hands, how many of us want to live in the same house as our parents? :P They may grow out of that desire but the problem will just shift to worrying about not making it to heaven at all.

I suffered from scrupulosity big time when I was more orthodox. Many LDS teachings were harmful to me but I know that wasn't the intent, it's just that for me specifically the teachings were a very bad fit and I didn't even know it. I would probably have come away with the same conclusions from serious participation in any organized religion.

In our meetings people frequently take the time to tell people that everything is going to be okay, I'll call it play the role of good cop. Speaking for myself, those good cop messages didn't work at all, their effect was fleeting. I'd only temporarily feel like I could be saved but afterwards that feeling would eventually wear off and the scrupulosity would set back in.

For someone like I was one bad cop message could override many good cop messages. On this site we've talked about a 5:1 ratio, make 5 feel good comments for every comment that may be viewed as being somewhat critical. It would be nice to have that same ratio applied to the good cop:bad cop messages. Someone suffering through scrupulosity likely needs to hear the good cop/grace message on a much more frequent basis and even then it may not be enough.

All the bad cop messages are probably rooted in the fear that overexposure to good cop messages might lead people to an eat, drink, and be merry mindset. The one message for everyone approach really makes it hard to strike a balance.

Maybe a friendly reminder that if we were to hold everyone to the same standards that we currently hold ourselves to then no one is going to heaven. No one. The hope is that perhaps the standard we hold ourselves to would begin to relax.

Another problem is that people tend to only put their best selves on display in public. We beat ourselves up because we know all of our sins and assume that others are better than they are because we are only exposed to their public image.

It took a FC for me to break the cycle. I may have gotten to the point where I was so OCD about my religion that the fuse finally blew.
It’s strange. When I couldn’t find the drop and the plague came, you seemed so far away I would not ever be able to find you again. But I know now that you were here all along, and that nothing, not the Black Death nor seven hundred years, nor death nor things to come nor any other creature could ever separate me from your caring and concern. It was with me every minute.
― Connie Willis , Doomsday Book

amateurparent
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Re: Harmful LDS Teachings/Perfectionism

Post by amateurparent » 28 Apr 2015, 18:02

My youngest daughter takes meds for OCD and she has Aspergers. Brilliant kid in math and physics .. But social awkward. And a horrible social fit in YW.

At our house, we phrase the 3 degrees of glory in less absolute terms. Our extended family is of multiple religious beliefs. All really good people .. But not all LDS. (But then, JS isn't someone who I am really fond of right now.)
frame the kingdoms of glory in terms of the condition of the heart: the unrepentant (Telestial),the decent who just don't try (Terrestrial) and people who do their best and try to improve (Celestial). That helps a lot of people with a healthier perspective, imo.
It think that captures it really well.

Because of my daughter's issues, we skip "standards night" and fire sides that focus on modesty, chastity, and appropriate dating behaviors. She doesn't have problems in any of those areas. She doesn't need those lessons drilled into her. She internalized those lessons a little too well the first time she heard them. Many kids need the reminders .. She doesn't.
I have no advance degrees in parenting. No national credentials. I am an amateur parent. I read, study, and learn all I can to be the best parent possible. Every time I think I have reached expert status with one child for one stage in their life, something changes and I am back to amateur status again. Now when I really mess up, I just apologize to my child, and explain that I am indeed an amateur .. I'm still learning how to do this right.

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Re: Harmful LDS Teachings/Perfectionism

Post by Curt Sunshine » 28 Apr 2015, 19:57

I have no problem with teaching perfection as our goal, IF it is framed as an eternal journey to become complete, whole, fully developed - as the Greek meaning footnote in Matthew 5:48 defines perfect. That is a forward-looking, exciting journey of growth and discovery.

When the more common definition of mistake-free is used, all kinds of issues arise - even with a side dish of atonement and repentance, since that focus is backward-looking and fear-based.
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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Heber13
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Re: Harmful LDS Teachings/Perfectionism

Post by Heber13 » 02 May 2015, 12:16

Many organizations hold up a vision of perfection as a goal or mission so that all daily activity is to move towards that "perfect state" even if it isn't realistic in the near term. Toyota has been held up as a model for business organizations, and that is what they do. It pushes everyone every day to be the best they can be and not accept underperfomance or under effort, focusing the problems on the processes and systems, not on individuals.

Religious organizations are interesting, and may need to learn something from Toyota. While the church can hold the "perfect state" as our vision to work towards, they could learn and shift the problems away from individual obedience to a perfect organization led by perfect revelation, but more about our participation to reveal and celebrate improving the organization/church to move closer to revelation. The church blames the person. Violating one of Toyota's principles.

Interestingly, Toyota values conforming and obedient and committed workers. But not for silence on criticizing the waste or defects they discover in the organization.
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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LookingHard
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Re: Harmful LDS Teachings/Perfectionism

Post by LookingHard » 02 May 2015, 13:47

Very interesting Heber.

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