TR Question Survey - Summary

Public forum to discuss questions about Mormon history and doctrine.
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wayfarer
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TR Question Survey - Summary

Post by wayfarer » 13 Jul 2012, 19:01

My initial observations about our survey over the past 10 days.

There were 22 people weighing in on questions about god, but only 8 on each of Keeping Covenants, Honesty and Temple Covenants; and 9 on each of Unresolved sins and Worthiness. Please take a moment and comment on those questions where you haven't yet weighed in. the trend of 22 at the beginning to 8 at the end is pretty typical, but I'd sure like to see as many weigh in as they can.

The top issue areas for participants were:
Restoration - 50% could not answer yes.
Sustaining LDS Leaderhsip - 43% could not answer yes
Tithing - 42%
Keeping Covenants (non-temple version 8) - 38%.

The top areas where participants answered in a compliant way:
God - only 9% had an issue here
Worthiness and unresolved sins - 11%
Holy Ghost - 12%
Atonement, honesty, and unresolved sins - 13%
Jesus Christ and Affiliating with Apostates - 17% (interesting pairing).
Temple covenants - 25%
Word of Wisdom - 31% (although there were some very creative interpretations).

The key issues seem to be Restoration, linking to the history of the church, and sustaining Church leadership today. These areas of disaffection correspond well to the work by Dehlin on why LDS are disaffected. Tithing, keeping covenants, and word of wisdom follow, which LDS TBM's might impute as 'desire to sin'. I sense from the comments, however, that tithing is affected by modern corporate policy, keeping covenants was a bit confused as to what covenants were, so I'm not sure this is significant. As for word of wisdom, it appears that disaffection preceeded word of wisdom non-compliance for those not keeping the current church definition of word of wisdom.

Most respondents had some kind of belief in god, Jesus Christ, the holy ghost, and the atonement, although about 1/4 of the respondents reflected some fairly unorthodox beliefs. Most had no issues with honesty, or sympathizing with bona-fide apostates. All respondent felt worthy to go to the temple, although one responded that he didn't think the church would think so - importantly, by self assessment, all felt worthy.

Obviously this small sample is statistically meaningless, although my sense is that for the people coming to StayLDS, the key issues holding them back from temple attendance is a loss in testimony about the restoration and church leadership, and not worthiness as a primary cause.

As this started with a thought to revise the guidance on answering temple recommend questions, perhaps more attuned to belief rather than evasion, I think we've succeeded in identifying many very good and legitimate ways to answer the questions. Some of the most important findings are:

1. The need to pre-assess your answers to questions before the interview. This ins't to try to practice answers, but rather, to really take a personal inventory, and if there is an area for concern, determine for yourself ahead of time how to resolve issue prior to the interview.

2. All respondents feel personally worthy to enter the temple. This finding surprised and encouraged me.

3. People are much harder on themselves than they need to be to legitimately answer these questions. It tells me that if someone legitimately wants to go to the temple, there isn't much that has to be done to go there.

4. There are legitimate reasons to not want to go to the temple, and not seek a recommend -- and that's ok.

5. This is really a great bunch of people -- the answers were courteous, thoughtful, honest (from what I could tell), and I don't think people supressed what they really felt.

Thoughts?
Last edited by wayfarer on 14 Jul 2012, 08:10, edited 3 times in total.
"Those who speak don't know, those who know don't speak." Lao Tzu.
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Curt Sunshine
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Re: TR Question Survey - Summary

Post by Curt Sunshine » 13 Jul 2012, 20:14

People are much harder on themselves than they need to be to legitimately answer these questions.


That has been my belief for a long, 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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Minyan Man
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Re: TR Question Survey - Summary

Post by Minyan Man » 14 Jul 2012, 20:20

Personally, it has been an interesting process. There were good responses from all of you that made me ask some tough questions about what I really believe.
I also ask myself, do I really want or need a TR? Do I really want or need to go to the Temple to be more spiritual or closer to God?
If I choose to get a TR again, I will be in a better or honest position during the TR interview.

I agree with this statement:
People are much harder on themselves than they need to be to legitimately answer these questions.
Thanks to everyone that participated. You've helped me alot to better define what I believe.

Mike from Milton.

doug
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Re: TR Question Survey - Summary

Post by doug » 14 Jul 2012, 21:23

Wayfarer, thanks for going to all the effort to put that together and summarize the results, and for sharing your own personal views. I appreciated reading everyone's responses ... very enlightening.

IN case you're interested, I found that once we got past the first few questions, the questions lost any relevance for me personally. While I am concerned about my relationship with god, I can take or leave the rest, I guess, and so I was much less likely to respond.
The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also. -- Mark Twain

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cwald
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Re: TR Question Survey - Summary

Post by cwald » 15 Jul 2012, 09:19

As we progressed through the questions, I found myself getting more and more irritated. I finally just quit responding.

Sure, I understand the church does this to admit folks into their temples, but, you know what...I don't think it is productive or healthy to have the church poking it's nose into the personal lives of it's members like this. I think they have the right to make their rules...but I don't think they have a right to insert themselves between man/woman and the gods. Yeah, I understand that the TR is suppose to be a self reflection...but it is not. It is used as a litmus test to determine loyalty to the institution, and a tool used to control behavior...by enforcing obedience with promise of exaltation.

That is wrong. To me.

And I know it is used this way, because when I got accused of apostasy, they grilled me about the first four TR questions for hours. I have since learned that at least two other acquaintances had the same type of interviews...first four questions....

Like Doug said...after the first two questions...what is the point? It is just a litmus test, IMO.

I'm done with that kind of stuff.
  Jesus gave us the gospel, but Satan invented church. It takes serious evil to formalize faith into something tedious and then pile guilt on anyone who doesn't participate enthusiastically. - Robert Kirby

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wayfarer
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Re: TR Question Survey - Summary

Post by wayfarer » 15 Jul 2012, 10:14

cwald wrote:As we progressed through the questions, I found myself getting more and more irritated. I finally just quit responding.
Hmmm. i don't really agree with the process either, but it is what it is. sometimes i have to ask, "how important is it?"
"Those who speak don't know, those who know don't speak." Lao Tzu.
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cwald
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Re: TR Question Survey - Summary

Post by cwald » 15 Jul 2012, 11:22

wayfarer wrote:
cwald wrote:As we progressed through the questions, I found myself getting more and more irritated. I finally just quit responding.
Hmmm. i don't really agree with the process either, but it is what it is. sometimes i have to ask, "how important is it?"

Good question.

I think going through the TR questions was a good idea. I just got to the point where I had nothing productive to add.

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  Jesus gave us the gospel, but Satan invented church. It takes serious evil to formalize faith into something tedious and then pile guilt on anyone who doesn't participate enthusiastically. - Robert Kirby

Roy
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Re: TR Question Survey - Summary

Post by Roy » 15 Jul 2012, 11:30

wayfarer wrote:There were 22 people weighing in on questions about god, but only 8 on each of Keeping Covenants, Honesty and Temple Covenants; and 9 on each of Unresolved sins and Worthiness. Please take a moment and comment on those questions where you haven't yet weighed in. the trend of 22 at the beginning to 8 at the end is pretty typical, but I'd sure like to see as many weigh in as they can.
I have found this to be a helpful exercise. I had to take some time to contemplate some of the questions. I have taken about a week mulling over possible interpretations of the Restoration of the Gospel. If I had answered immediately I would have answered no. But now I believe that I am prepared to answer yes.

I do not currently have a TR. I do not believe that I could answer "correctly" to all of the questions. In the coming year I would like to baptize DD. I assume that the bishop will go through these questions in determining whether or not to issue permission to perform a live ordinance. I also assume the the greater percentage of questions I can answer "correctly" the better my chances.

So in summary - My 3 biggest benefits from this exercise have been:

1) Introspective analysis and formation of positive belief.

2) Improved chance of performing live ordinance when the time comes.

3) Yet another opportunity to build meaningful bridges between where I am now and my faith heritage. This is also important in being able to interact with and speak the lingo of more traditional believers.
wayfarer wrote:Obviously this small sample is statistically meaningless
The sample is also self selected. Of all the members, how many have a faith crisis? Of those that have a faith crisis, how many seek out online support groups? Of those that seek out online support groups, how many gravitate to the "stayLDS" model? Of those that come here how many post? Of those that post how many answered all the TR survey questions?

I think that we can learn important lessons from the survey questions, but there are a number of limitations applying these lessons to all members or even to all disaffected members.
"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

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wayfarer
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Re: TR Question Survey - Summary

Post by wayfarer » 15 Jul 2012, 11:43

cwald wrote:I think going through the TR questions was a good idea. I just got to the point where I had nothing productive to add.
I understand. The reality is that most of the participants here are good with the first two and the last two. and, given the last two are a summary of personal perception of worthiness, the rest don't really matter.

but they ask, and we are basically honest people. so what happens is because we feel we can't answer honestly to what we perceive as their intent, we deny ourselves of the blessings of the temple. so what happens is that an unthinking TBM who justifies his personal hatred of gays by the political position of the church goes to the temple, and another person who cannot support what he perceives as the position of the church leaders on gays stays out. and both brethren are wrong, but the questions don't ask whether we love and pray for our enemies, so the first guy is off the hook.

so, can we be reasonable? without dissembling, can we answer the questions how we feel is right? i think we can, but it requires us to sort out what we believe, and then be confident about it.

i wonder if knowing what you do now, would you provide different answers to the questions asked to you during the four hour inquisition on the first four questions?
"Those who speak don't know, those who know don't speak." Lao Tzu.
My seat in the bloggernacle: http://wayfaringfool.blogspot.com

doug
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Re: TR Question Survey - Summary

Post by doug » 15 Jul 2012, 11:58

wayfarer wrote:so, can we be reasonable? without dissembling, can we answer the questions how we feel is right?
What some people see as reasonable, others might see as deceptive, though what the intent of that deception might be, I'm not sure. So are we free to do this -- to reframe the rules of a game which we once clearly understood to have one meaning to a set of entirely new ones that we by necessity make up as we go along? Who "owns" the temple (not the building itself, but the whole experience surrounding it) anyway?

I haven't the faintest idea what the answers to these questions are, or if I even care.
The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also. -- Mark Twain

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