Need Opinions/Help with the "Us vs Them" Mentality

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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Re: Need Opinions/Help with the "Us vs Them" Mentality

Post by wayfarer » 26 Jan 2016, 14:32

Orson wrote:My immediate question was: "how does the knowledge of love put people in direct opposition to God?"

The problem is when I read "good" or "righteousness" I instinctively see it as "Love" or synonymous with "charity" or "the love of God." Obviously Greg Boyd had another concept in mind, one that involved details, commandments, or some tangent from love that can lose the original point.

My point is only to build awareness of how others often see things differently than ourselves. When we are discussing the finer details there is a good chance we mis-communicate more often than not.
true. miscommunication abounds, and not everything Greg Boyd says resonates with me. He refers to the partaking of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil as putting ourselves in gods place, or as Satan put it, "ye shall be as the gods". Whether you replace Good and Evil with Love and Hate - either way, its a kind of predefined knowledge structure.

I think our temple teachings have a deeper meaning, one which isn't available to boyd. The purpose of the temptation of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was to take a short-cut -- Twice the temple ritual discusses that the purpose and Plan is to "learn through our own experience". Interestingly, a "tree of knowledge" sounds an awful lot like an ontology -- a schema of information in an organized "tree" hierarchy, and when we add "good and evil" on it (or in your case "love and hate") it becomes a specific ethical schema - a set of orthodox knowledge, represented in strictly dualistic terms: good and evil, love and hate, white and black, etc., and thus your eyes will be opened, and you shall have "knowledge".

As i contemplate the specific emphasis that Satan puts on the term "knowledge", I have to observe how this "knowledge" embodies our LDS certainties: "I know that God lives", "I know that Jesus is the Christ", "I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet", "I know the book of Mormon is the word of god", "I know the Church is the only true church on the face of the earth", "I know that Thomas S. Monson is a living prophet.", and "I know that the prophets cannot lead us astray". In specific terms, when Correlation began, Elder Harold B. Lee laid out a complete hierarchical representation of all knowledge a church member needed to "know": a tree of knowledge of good and evil, that would be followed with exactness in the Church curriculum, talks, and media.

We might say that such ontological dualism is necessary to provide a framework for religious education; but instead of helping us, the dualism creates a strict splitting of things within the Mormon symbolic universe, and that which resides without. And, the "we/they" mentality is the natural result. Everything becomes constrained by the boundaries of the "tree of knowledge of good and evil", and the easy choice is then to "love our neighbors (those within our universe), and hate our enemies (those outside our universe)".

Boyd certainly makes the case that judgment is gods provenance -- and while I agree, I think the deeper meaning is that God is One, and we are One in God through the atonement. Dualism denies the Oneness of God, and as such, keeps us separate from the mystical reality of God's love.
"Those who speak don't know, those who know don't speak." Lao Tzu.
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Re: Need Opinions/Help with the "Us vs Them" Mentality

Post by jgaskill » 30 Jan 2016, 09:20

I think we need to speak up when someone starts to bad mouth another religion . I do hate the us vs them thing !!!!!!! I have spoken up before on this very subject and visited it in my temple recommend interview . The only reason someone would say that this is the only true church and everyone else is headed for outer darkness is because they don't know !!!!!!! i tell people I believe this church is true because it is my religion, if I were another religion I probably would say the same about that religion. It is the only true church too me !!!! Anyone that says anything else and bad mouths a religion is just full of it as we are all here on this planet trying to figure it out . God doesn't care what church you belong to he cares what is in your heart and if you tried to be a good person and help others . Were you kind caring compassionate help others in their time of need or were you self absorbed and only concerned about yourself ???????? The book of Mormon is true only because I believe it is !!!!!!!!!!! I hope you get my point and I am clear enough for you I sometimes feel this view of things is as clear as mud to others but i have found peace with it.

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Re: Need Opinions/Help with the "Us vs Them" Mentality

Post by DevilsAdvocate » 30 Jan 2016, 12:04

I see this as mostly an all-to-human ego-trip and example of tribalism that the Church exploits (intentionally or not) to encourage extreme loyalty to the Church as well as a general attitude of disrespect and fear toward the outside world. This is one of the most common characteristics to watch out for that you will find in many mind control/cult checklists because it is fairly typical of high-demand religious groups. As far as any claims about things supposedly getting worse overall I don't believe that for a second because when I look at things like the World Wars, Vietnam War, the Great Depression, slavery, etc. it makes what most Americans have to deal with now seem rather mild by comparison and I don't believe some of the Church's outdated notions about supposed sexual morality are all that important in the first place.
"Truth is what works." - William James

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Re: Need Opinions/Help with the "Us vs Them" Mentality

Post by marty » 03 Feb 2016, 00:19

Where two or more are gathered together in my name ... there is sure to be in-group and out-group dynamics.

It's just a part of the human condition. It's hard to avoid it even when you know it's there. But, yeah, we as Mormons do have a very strong persecution complex, and we're trained from a young age to be very distrustful of outsiders.

I think little comments in Church here and there are good to rattle people just a little bit, but I've found more peace in just accepting that there's nothing I can do to change it :)

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Re: Need Opinions/Help with the "Us vs Them" Mentality

Post by nibbler » 03 Feb 2016, 05:06

marty wrote:Where two or more are gathered together in my name ... there is sure to be in-group and out-group dynamics.
None of the things one frets about ever happen. Something one's never thought of does.
― Connie Willis , Doomsday Book

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