Hard Sayings and Safe Spaces: Amazing BYU Devotional

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Curt Sunshine
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Hard Sayings and Safe Spaces: Amazing BYU Devotional

Post by Curt Sunshine » 07 Aug 2018, 20:34

I have never seen a BYU devotional that caused loud applause. This one, given by Eric Huntsman, a Professor of Religion, is special. He asked BYU students to carve out safe spaces within Mormonism for LGBTQ members, Black people, those who struggle with faith, etc.

Things are changing. This was a Huntsman and a religion professor. The new generations will not perpetuate much of what we inherited from my generation and older ones.

His speech begins at the 10:00 mark and ends at 40:30.

https://www.byutv.org/player/54f7f31a-2 ... 426effd2a5
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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SamBee
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Re: Hard Sayings and Safe Spaces: Amazing BYU Devotional

Post by SamBee » 08 Aug 2018, 02:00

"Safe spaces" are a dangerous and pernicious idea. Not only is nowhere fully "safe", they also prevent the individual from recovering and toughening themselves up against "triggers" in the wider world.

There is also the issue of censorship which frequently comes with the concept too.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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SamBee
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Re: Hard Sayings and Safe Spaces: Amazing BYU Devotional

Post by SamBee » 08 Aug 2018, 04:36

I can't go into many details as I'm anonymous, but I had an experience of this stuff not so long ago.

Our organization got one of these, a woman excluded all males from it in a very aggressive way (thereby alienating half of it) and then acted in such a way in it that the women who had experienced various traumas were actually constantly reminded of their experiences (so I'm told). Despite the supposed safeness, a worse environment was created and hostility was manufactured.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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DarkJedi
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Re: Hard Sayings and Safe Spaces: Amazing BYU Devotional

Post by DarkJedi » 08 Aug 2018, 06:13

Two of my sons (one on the recommendation of the other) have had Br. Huntsman as a teacher. They both loved him and told numerous stories about his frankness and willingness to poke fun at the culture (to the chagrin of some in the classes). He is also a MoTab member. I'll try to get to this speech later today.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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dande48
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Re: Hard Sayings and Safe Spaces: Amazing BYU Devotional

Post by dande48 » 08 Aug 2018, 07:29

SamBee wrote:
08 Aug 2018, 02:00
"Safe spaces" are a dangerous and pernicious idea. Not only is nowhere fully "safe", they also prevent the individual from recovering and toughening themselves up against "triggers" in the wider world.

There is also the issue of censorship which frequently comes with the concept too.
Bro Huntsman specifically pointed out, he wasn't referring to "safe spaces" in the way it is commonly used in society. He meant it in "creating environments that are, on the one hand, places of faith where we can seek and nurture testimony, but are also, on the other, places where our sisters and brothers can safely question and share their pain."

I think one of the difficulties we face in Church, is it's very difficult to disagree; And when disagreements do happen, it becomes an all out war. I've seen this many times in Sunday School, where one person will give a "Hard Saying". People are either completely silent and try to brush on past it, or they get into a heated argument.

One thing that's difficult for me, with the Church and religion in general, is how "religiously" it is followed. Any opposition is viewed as "of the devil". Criticizing or disagreeing with leadership (past or present) is viewed as apostasy. It's really difficult to come out and say "I don't believe in that, but I do believe in this." Heck, you can be denied a temple recommend for not believing in certain things. And not holding a temple recommend, you're placed in the "unworthy" camp, even if you're keeping all the other commandments.

I am tired of feeling like a second class citizen in Church. It is not an understanding and accepting place. Not for me.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

AmyJ
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Re: Hard Sayings and Safe Spaces: Amazing BYU Devotional

Post by AmyJ » 08 Aug 2018, 08:33

dande48 wrote:
08 Aug 2018, 07:29
One thing that's difficult for me, with the Church and religion in general, is how "religiously" it is followed. Any opposition is viewed as "of the devil". Criticizing or disagreeing with leadership (past or present) is viewed as apostasy. It's really difficult to come out and say "I don't believe in that, but I do believe in this." Heck, you can be denied a temple recommend for not believing in certain things. And not holding a temple recommend, you're placed in the "unworthy" camp, even if you're keeping all the other commandments.
I agree that absolute binaries cause a lot of problems in church culture. We see this in a lot of ways:
  • OR Vs AND - You can be a SAHM OR a working Mom; instead of what is more common these days as staying home at specific times or working at specific times, or working from home. Men get to choose between presiding OR nurturing; instead of presiding AND nurturing as needed. In fact, a good case can be made from D&C that a leader presides over another in their charge to rebuke (if needed - presiding gives authority to this role) and then nurtures that person (shows an increase in love afterwards).
  • Distorts perception - binary thinking polarizes people onto sides, thus creating echo chambers.
  • Removes additional options/states of being because they aren't binaries.
  • Treats principles that are more spectrum based like an on-off light switch. When I look at living a specific teaching as a principle to be applied in my life rather then a checklist item to be checked off as done, it changes and deepens my thinking. NOTE: I am a fan of checklists as a vehicle to achieve and prioritize specific goals - every Saturday I make an index card of stuff I want/need to accomplish for the weekend to help me achieve. And every Saturday that the index card becomes more important then the "why" behind the item, I fail.
dande48 wrote:
08 Aug 2018, 07:29
I am tired of feeling like a second class citizen in Church. It is not an understanding and accepting place. Not for me.
I am with you on this one. There are times I don't want to go back because I don't trust that it is an understanding accepting place.

On Sunday, my 8.5 year old daughter asked in a whiny tone "Why do we go to church" [you know the one I am sure...]
It took a moment for me to answer her - because I came up with lots of reasons not to go to church in my head.
Finally, I told her - "We go to church because that is our community. We love people there and they love us."

This is the 2nd week in a row that I went without my husband (very ironic given our current belief narratives). Here is why I go:
  • Community - the sisters help me with my children both in the pews and in their physical needs.
  • Teaching/Learning Opportunities - aside from how to sit through boring meetings (which may be useful), there are core good values there.
  • Service Opportunity/Paying it Forward - I sub in the nursery most weeks (staffing issues and fussy/clingy toddler). While I don't want the calling - there is meaning to me knowing that I am giving back to the organization that teaches my children and has made my husband and better man. The Primary President knows that if my family is at church and we stay for the whole 3 hours, that I am happy to watch the children in the nursery.
  • Being the Dissident Voice - If I am not there respectfully saying, "Here is another way we could view this" or other ways to provide my perspective, the church in my area would be more of an echo chamber. Because I was there and I spoke up respectfully in R.S., in Gospel Doctrine, in Pathways - people have a more nuanced view of Atheists and Agnostics [OK, the opportunity to add to their understanding of people with these beliefs].
  • Tent Expansion - If I want there to be room in the tent for me and my children, then I have to get out there and help stretch the tent or find the stakes.
  • My Terms - If I leave the church, I want it to be because I chose to do so, not because I was pushed out or made to feel that I was inferior. I refuse to give the church and church cultural leaders the authority to define my worth to the organization {as long as I am respectful and not antagonistic towards them}
  • Family Obligation - my husband would have problems if I deliberately started not going. He knows that the current expectation is that if he goes, I usually go. If he does not go, I am not expected to go either - but he honors the sacrifice/challenge it is to go without him and taking the girls. We council together Saturday nights as to whether the best decision for the family is to go or not go depending on circumstances.
I reserve the right to change my decisions going forward if I move into a different phase of my life or if the cost becomes too much.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Hard Sayings and Safe Spaces: Amazing BYU Devotional

Post by Curt Sunshine » 08 Aug 2018, 15:27

Dande48 already highlighted Brother Huntsman's different definition of "safe spaces", so I won't belabor the point.

What I love is that the speech directly addressed the concerns everyone here has expressed. I could quibble about maybe two things he said, but the entire speech is one of the best I have heard from any pulpit - and he has been saying much the same thing in his classes for a long time.
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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Re: Hard Sayings and Safe Spaces: Amazing BYU Devotional

Post by DancingCarrot » 08 Aug 2018, 21:36

Wow, what a great find! I found myself simultaneously feeling accepted, at peace, and motivated. What a wonderful thing. Thank you so much for sharing it.

I can't find just a few quotes to share, so I'll just add my voice to say watch it! It'll be a positive point in your day. Also, I hope and believe that this is the direction the church goes in. One thing that struck me as I watched the devotional was that the work and disruption from being an early adopter of change is something the church doesn't deal with, at least as far as I've noticed, since the church is not often an early adopter of change. On the one hand it can be and is disappointing waiting for change, especially when so many people could benefit from it. However, I am also grateful that the church isn't a tumultuous place, where every new idea or thought is experimented with. I much prefer the staying power of a government over the whims of a start-up (as a metaphor and example, not to be taken that literally).
It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live. -Dumbledore

Roll away your stone, I'll roll away mine. Together we can see what we will find. -Mumford & Sons

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Reuben
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Re: Hard Sayings and Safe Spaces: Amazing BYU Devotional

Post by Reuben » 10 Aug 2018, 01:24

dande48 wrote:
08 Aug 2018, 07:29
Bro Huntsman specifically pointed out, he wasn't referring to "safe spaces" in the way it is commonly used in society. He meant it in "creating environments that are, on the one hand, places of faith where we can seek and nurture testimony, but are also, on the other, places where our sisters and brothers can safely question and share their pain."
I would love to reframe that by changing the word "but" into "because." Creating environments that are places of faith where we can seek and nurture testimony because they are places where our sisters and brothers can safely question and share their pain.
My intro

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

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Re: Hard Sayings and Safe Spaces: Amazing BYU Devotional

Post by Curt Sunshine » 10 Aug 2018, 12:58

I love that, Reuben - and I think it is comsistent with Bro. Huntsman's intent and message.
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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