Does the church bow to public pressure?

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SilentDawning
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Does the church bow to public pressure?

Post by SilentDawning » 17 Dec 2013, 08:00

Just curious if you think the church "bows" to public pressure. There have been articles quoted here that indicate the church leaders don't like to make that impression (presumably because as a divine organization, we do what God wants, not what the natural man wants). Some even have said they do not bow to pressure (for example Dallin H Oakes said in conference that it takes moral courage to stand up for certain values, speaking about the same sex attraction issue and the public pressure to alter church policy).

But as you consider the history and decisions made by church leaders -- where do you think the leaders fall on the continuum of "bowing to public pressure"? That is, making changes due to external forces they would rather not make -- but doing so to avoid negative consequences to the Church?

0 - Does Now Bow to public pressure
10- Bows to Public Pressure

You can be anywhere in the middle of the range of 0 -10 in your opinion....
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hawkgrrrl
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Re: Does the church bow to public pressure?

Post by hawkgrrrl » 17 Dec 2013, 08:14

8. Bows to public pressure - ALWAYS - but generally much later than I would like.

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DarkJedi
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Re: Does the church bow to public pressure?

Post by DarkJedi » 17 Dec 2013, 08:42

I guess I'd have to give it a 5 because I think they do sometimes and don't sometimes. Thy did come clean on Mountain Meadows, for instance, due in large part to public pressure. (No, I don't buy that this info was always there and people just didn't look - we couldn't look.) Polygamy ended due to pressure of the government and Utah wanting to be a state. Why do women now offer prayers in GC? Public pressure, IMO.

On the other hand, there doesn't appear to be any sign of movement on marriage, specifically gay marriage, or women in the priesthood.
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SilentDawning
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Re: Does the church bow to public pressure?

Post by SilentDawning » 17 Dec 2013, 09:20

I put it at more of a 5-6 because they seem to be more heavily influenced by the church's thirst for growth and temporal self-preservation than responding to public pressure. Public pressure is only one arrow in the quiver -- it's when the public pressure threatens operations, temporal interests or future growth that they really sit up and make changes. And there usually has to be some "business benefit" from the change. Examples:

1) blacks allowed priesthood to allow for expansion into historically black countries where they needed local leaders
2) reversal of plural marriage due to threat of confiscation of lands and properties
3) lowering the age for women to go on missions due to a decline in growth of new member converts
4) being more transparent about history due to the apparently large number of members who leave over feeling hoodwinked

I do think they listen a bit to the Internet chatter though (a form of pure public pressure)...as evidenced by:

a) elevating Ward Council to at least the same stature as PEC
b) disavowing the priesthood ban when there was no immediate temporal benefit for doing so.
c) Uchdorfts attempts to stitch in the unorthodox and admission that prophets make mistakes. That is all over the bloggernacle.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

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nibbler
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Re: Does the church bow to public pressure?

Post by nibbler » 17 Dec 2013, 10:15

I find it a bit difficult to give a 0-10 number right now. In the spirit of levity I'll say that as imperfect people what we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do? Put it up to eleven.

More seriously, the church is made up of people, people bow to public pressure, I bow to public pressure, it stands to reason that the church will bow to public pressure on some level. Nothing new really, even JS bowed to public pressure:

Where are the 116 pages?
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Roy
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Re: Does the church bow to public pressure?

Post by Roy » 17 Dec 2013, 10:21

hawkgrrrl wrote:8. Bows to public pressure - ALWAYS - but generally much later than I would like.
I believe that there are two main forms of this public pressure. One from outside society and the other from the preferences of the membership. I read somewhere (I believe it was from Hawk) that some 40ish percent of Mormon men are ok with women getting the priesthood but 90ish of Mormon women are against it. I think this is partly because we teach women that wanting the priesthood is somewhere next to Satan wanting to sit in God's throne as examples of vain ambition and over-reaching.

Anyway, if the majority of Mormon women were asking for it I believe that this would be a much different conversation.
SilentDawning wrote:Public pressure is only one arrow in the quiver -- it's when the public pressure threatens operations, temporal interests or future growth that they really sit up and make changes.
I agree. It is when outside pressure aligns with the preferences of the membership that change really happens.
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Roy
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Re: Does the church bow to public pressure?

Post by Roy » 17 Dec 2013, 10:25

nibbler wrote:Where are the 116 pages?
My wife is nagging me about cleaning up tobacco spit (of course this could have just as easily led to a revelation about how elders should clean up after themselves ;) )
etc.
Perhaps my favorite was that short period in Nauvoo where JS was trying to make Hyrum the prophet. The people pushed back and then it was like, "Just kidding!" :D
"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: Does the church bow to public pressure?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 17 Dec 2013, 11:56

Yes and no.

Depends on the issue, the source of the pressure and the time frame allowed in the question.

I have issues with the timing of some changes (one side of the coin), and I have issues with some tactics to try to force change (the other side of the coin), but I have NO problem with making changes due to pressure - since I'm not much into fundamentalism that resists change at all costs. Church leaders are real people, and so they change when the right amount and kind of pressure is applied - and so do I, and so does everyone here, unless we are inflexible pricks. I do it all. the. time. in my marriage.

I can't imagine it being a problem here that the Church is willing to change due to pressure. I understand the cynicism that some might attach, given expectations that were taught about leaders being right all the time and/or that inspired people ought to be at the forefront of every important change, but we now know that's unrealistic - and I can't see inflexibility being lauded and praised here.

The tree gets pruned according to the strength of the root. There is a lot of power in that concept. Sometimes we need to let go completely of the expectations of our youth/innocence/teachers and embrace more realistic expectations of real people doing real things in really difficult situations. People bow to pressure - and that can be both bad and good. It's a really, really, really fine line to try to walk.

Just saying. :P
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SamBee
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Re: Does the church bow to public pressure?

Post by SamBee » 17 Dec 2013, 13:18

hawkgrrrl wrote:8. Bows to public pressure - ALWAYS - but generally much later than I would like.
Yes, usually twenty or thirty years after most other folk!
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Jazernorth
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Re: Does the church bow to public pressure?

Post by Jazernorth » 17 Dec 2013, 14:07

I'm one that prefers and organization like a church to change slowly. If they change to quickly, there will be problems with membership.
Does the church change fast enough or slow enough? That is a tough question, which each would probably give a different answer.
I think they are an 8, but not as "fast" as one may think they should.
I have a mental bet that same sex marriage will be "tolerated" in the church soon. Meaning that they will not let it happen in the temple or the church, but, if you are "same sex" married, then you can still be baptized. That kind of change I see coming sometime. {This isn't to get the discussion to change to same sex marriage .... }
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