"Obedience"

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HiJolly
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Re: "Obedience"

Post by HiJolly » 11 Aug 2009, 09:43

Heber13 wrote:HiJolly, I would love to read that website...that kind of humor is right up my alley...but I realize some others don't appreciate it or think it may be too irreverant.

I enjoyed reading David O McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism because President McKay was very tolerant of others and I think that is a christ-like attitude.

However, there are some individuals who don't use good judgment about how to have their own opinions and feel it is their duty to speak out in inappropriate places, times, or frequencies. If those kinds of people are constantly scattering sheep around just for their own purposes, causing added efforts from the shepherd to keep things organized, then at some point they either need to get on board or step out.

When I was in the bishopric, there were many issues I was not in agreement on and debated openly in meetings, expressed my opinions, challenged others, disagreed with things, but when it was time to make a decision and act, then I was willing to accept what was decided by the group. Sometimes I still felt my personal opinions differed, but was willing to put my own agenda second, with the understanding that it benefits no one for me to continue to voice my opinions if others chose another way to handle things. At some point you say your peace, believe what you believe, and let others believe what they believe.

The people I have seen disciplined for apostacy-type actions towards leaders or the church just were never willing to let others believe what they wanted, they felt a need to continue to voice the issues repeatedly during testimony meetings, classes, or other times when it was not constructive.

I think my views now about the church are much more liberal than most of the people in my family and my ward. I see no need to take it as my responsibility to voice that to others or convice others. Instead, I choose to live with my thoughts and freely share them with whomever wishes to hear them, or keep them to myself.
Wow, Heber13. EXACTLY my experience, too, down to serving in a bishopbric with all that entails (although my ward was the most dysfunctional ward of all time, the Bishop had bleeding ulcers, the ward was dissolved into 3 other wards, bishop then went inactive, etc. etc.--- quite a story!). I agree with your POV 100%.

HiJolly
Men are not moved by events but by their interpretations.
-- The Stoic Epictetus

Poppyseed
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Re: "Obedience"

Post by Poppyseed » 13 Aug 2009, 15:14

I was sharing some of my struggle with my father one day. I kinda expected a little lecture that pointed out the errors in my thinking, etc. Instead I was touched when he told me of his struggles with his faith. He explained to me that he never rejected the gospel, just his misunderstanding of it. And that really helped me to look at my process differently. It wasn't so scary to analyse my understanding of the church/history etc and chuck what wasn't serving me but still trusting God at the same time.



You know its funny. I have read other posters say this as well, but I kinda feel like I have to defend the church no matter what. Maybe we all feel that way about the mormon church cause that is who we are...our heritage. Maybe it is like familial loyalty. Who cares taht my brother is a jerk, I will defend him to end So meet me by the flagpole after school! I think sometimes we miss just listening to the person and where the person is at in their growth. Perhaps we could all learn to be better listeners ....to what people can say, and what they can't. And I also think people don't share their concerns primarily because of counsel that we have been given about criticizing the brethren. That is bad form in mormon culture.

And just one thought about obedience. I think there are different levels of obedience and not all righteous obedience looks like a textbook. We can only obey according to our understandings. And I think that is ok. And how do we really judge another with such a limited view of where they are and what they have been thru?

LIke I said before I was once a teacher at the MTC. (my little sister used to call it the "empty sea". Lol) Anyway, this one kid was in my class and he was a piece of work! Thought he could sell the gospel like you sell a car and could care less about the rules. I had had enough of him, as did my companion teachers. We complained to his BP and tried to talk reason into his head. We decided as teachers that we would pray about it. The answer from the Lord humbled all of us. It was something like..."I am GOD and this boys HF and I brought him here and I am working with him on his level and according to his needs. Your job is to teach him. You do your job and I will do mine!"
“Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.” --old Chinese proverb

jeriboy
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Re: "Obedience"

Post by jeriboy » 13 Aug 2009, 18:54

swimordie said...My question, and this will sound rhetorical but I'm asking sincerely, what are people so afraid of hearing that they don't even want to listen? Are they afraid to doubt? Afraid of losing their testimony? Is it all so fragile that they can't hear even the slightest dissent?

I understand the need for some people to see things black/white. Why can't they deal with the slightest gray, even just to listen?


While reading the above couldn't help but wonder, what is so important to say to someone that we would want them to hear it when they don't want to hear it. In my personal life I try hard to not inflict my views onto someone who has no interest in them. I often receive e-mails that are not appropiate for everyone, and try to share only those with people who will really like them. I share books from my library with friends who have left the church, so they can search out those things that will please them. And I loan out other books to people who want to strengthen their testimony. It takes only a little thought to measure a persons interests and to leave them happily within their comfort zone.

swimordie
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Re: "Obedience"

Post by swimordie » 13 Aug 2009, 22:30

jeriboy wrote: swimordie said...My question, and this will sound rhetorical but I'm asking sincerely, what are people so afraid of hearing that they don't even want to listen? Are they afraid to doubt? Afraid of losing their testimony? Is it all so fragile that they can't hear even the slightest dissent?

I understand the need for some people to see things black/white. Why can't they deal with the slightest gray, even just to listen?





While reading the above couldn't help but wonder, what is so important to say to someone that we would want them to hear it when they don't want to hear it.
I honestly can't remember if I wrote that as a rant or not, but I think I was being sincere. I wasn't being cynical. (for once :oops: )

My question is and was, why don't they want to hear it? Not because I'm going to say it, or push it, or try to change anyone's mind.

Is it as simple as you said, they just want to stay in their comfort zone?

Again, I'm not trying to shake anyone, I'm just trying to understand for myself, what someone's thought process may be in that situation. I was extremely TBM most of my life, but I don't remember being offended or upset when hearing someone speak ill of the church or the brethren. I would often defend it/them, but I don't remember it affecting me to the point of taking offense, shaking testimony, etc.

It feels like there is an element of fear in just hearing "opposing" views. What is the fear?
Perfectionism hasn't served me. I think I am done with it. -Poppyseed

Curt Sunshine
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Re: "Obedience"

Post by Curt Sunshine » 14 Aug 2009, 05:44

It feels like there is an element of fear in just hearing "opposing" views. What is the fear?


The desire for peace, safety and security is one of the strongest instincts we possess as a collective group. It also is one of the things that allows the explorers to explore - the knowledge that they always will have some place to return that is safe and secure.

I try hard to realize that it is NOT the explorers and critics who create the peace and security in my life; it is the settlers and acceptors. I need to be willing to accept them as equally important (if not even more important in some ways) and be grateful for them.
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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Antiquarian
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NOT "Obedience"

Post by Antiquarian » 14 Aug 2009, 10:37

It's long I'm sorry, but this is something I've thought a lot about.

:geek: I do not think that what we are talking about here is a question of obedience. I think it is a question of personality and respect. A question often asked is “are you a spirit of the law or a letter of it?”

Another way to put this comes from a GA; I’m sorry but I can’t remember of it was Maxwell or Holland. It was related to me by a best friend. She heard it first hand – over 10 years ago. The GA said that there are two kinds of members. The Iron-rodders and the liahonas. They are both good members, but they live the gospel differently.

The IR’s do just as the song states, they hold to the rod. They do not want to look beyond the path and the rod, the Gospel; they don’t see a need. They are meticulous in their step along the path. They fear that if it isn’t just right the Lord won’t approve. They like rules and mandates (exactly how many ear-rings they can wear and still be “good” or don’t stray from the manual in RS cuz that’s “bad”.) They are also often numbers and checklist people. “These are the exact steps I have to take to get to Heaven”. To cling to the path is safe, it’s righteousness. They feel that to look up from the path is to invite apostasy. They are loyal to the Plan and trust that the Plan will get them to Heaven. They feel that to ask questions is to doubt the Plan and therefore the Lord and therefore our Heavenly Parents. It’s very black & white to them. Unfortunately this means that if they leave the church they feel deceived and will likely not come back. Or they may even turn into anti-Mormons desperate to prove to others that the logic is wrong. I have found that Mathematicians, IT/computer people, and Businessmen or lawyers tend to be IRs.

Liahonas are those who carry the Gospel with them as a compass as they explore their surroundings. Wanderers. As Gandalf said, “not all who wander are lost” and as JG Kimball once said, “I like the strait and narrow path. I try to cross it as often as possible”. These members are seekers. They want to see the whole picture and to ask about it – to learn. They don’t like “cuz the manual says so” as an answer. They need reasons: “the Lord did it this way for this reasons so that these other things will happen.” For them asking questions is essential to eternal progression. It’s a moral imperative. It’s proving to our Heavenly Parents that we care and that we want to understand. “Ask and ye shall receive.” They trust that no matter where they go the Lord will be with them and will lead them and that no mistake is fatal. They seek spirituality from lots of sources not just “church approved”. They fully believe that anything good comes of God and that to dismiss it for not being from the Church is to dismiss the greater work of the Lord. Liahonas don’t like to be confined. They see the out-of-Gospel rule as pointless – for example Tithing counts, while the number of ear-rings you have doesn’t get you into or keep you out of heaven. They often view the ear-ring rules as closer to Satan’s plan of conformity than of the Gospel of love and feel sorry for the GAs who are forced to make these rules because of the IRs. They believe that your heart is what matters not your exterior or the numbers/checklists. These members may wander in and out of activity and they tend to wander away when hurt by something/someone in the Church – because the Lord doesn’t hurt us he saves us. They seek comfort elsewhere for a time. If they leave more permanently they often don’t make a show of it – it’s not worth it. They also tend to see value in some of the Church’s teachings so they don’t diss it. These members tend to be artist, scientists, historians and Humanities people.

An example of these types is Adam and Eve. Adam was a keeper of all of Father’s Laws, while Eve reasoned that what ever that thing called Knowledge was it was worth the risk of death – whatever that was. I’m not saying that all men are IR and that all women are LH’s, but I think that when a woman is a LH she tends to be vilified by leadership. Another example is Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. JS was a seeker of answers while BY was a that’s-just-how-it-is-get-over-it kind of guy. There is a place and time for both types.

I hope that this helps people understand that there isn’t just one way to be a member and that we need to respect that.
The terrible reality is that when these two groups collide it gets ugly. IR tend to decry the LHs as wrong and on the verge of apostasy and the LHs see the IR as controllers or exercisers of unrighteous dominion. The horrible thing is that the Church is dominated by IR I think because LH go away. I hope that this changes in time. The need is for greater respect of these differences. It’s the Gospel that matters not the “look” or numbers – these are just tools. However, even in Christ’s day there were these problems – Paul and Barnabas – and human nature hasn’t changed that much.

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jmb275
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Re: "Obedience"

Post by jmb275 » 14 Aug 2009, 11:37

@Antiquarian
Very well said here. It wasn't from a GA though. Richard D. Poll wrote the IR vs. LH description of members. You can find a copy of the talk here.

As for obedience, here's my take. I don't feel I have some moral obligation to keep my ideas to myself. We are not, and should not be, in the business of restricting speech. If people don't want to listen, they don't have to. That's fine. But I believe it is extremely unwise to try and suppress those who have contrary ideas and opinions. This is what breeds an Orwellian society. We become hell bent on safety from a perceived threat and liberty is universally the victim. If the Brethren have truth on their side they need not fear the rantings of the disaffected.

However, having said this, I do think it is benevolent to not offend. I choose to use my free speech in a constructive manner. I do not wish to destroy the faith of others, but I do think my voice is important to provide balance. Even the anti-mormons play an important role in the church and in our society. I would not wish for them to go away, nor would I wish the TBMs to go away. We also have to realize there are consequences to our speech, and some of them may land is in unfortunate circumstances. But that's not a good reason to restrict it.

I do think obedience is way way overrated. When there is a well-understood, important principle, I choose to live the principle because I believe it has some benefit. Obedience for obedience sake is too scary for me to submit to it (at least when humans are involved). I do believe that if God were to require something of me (and I knew 100% it was God) I would do it whether I understood the principle or not. But since what our GAs say is the definition of "the philosophies of men mingled with scripture" (and I don't mean that in a negative way, just an honest way) I feel at liberty to pick and choose what I think is most inline with my principles and spiritual benefits.
We are NOT supposed to pick and choose which aspects of the church’s teachings and rules we will obey. We certainly have the right from Heavenly Father to use our agency. But no one ever has the right to infect others with his or her spirit of dissent. If one must harbor contrary views, then such views should be kept to oneself.
The really interesting part of a quote like this is that this person likely feels at ease infecting others with his or her spirit of belief. I find this in some TBMs. They feel anti-mormons, and even us StayLDSers have some obligation to keep our views to ourselves, but they have no problem peddling the historical inaccuracies, or even their own faith promoting false doctrines to me, my kids, and anyone else who will listen. It's an accepted double standard that I hope will be rooted out someday.
I am like a huge, rough stone rolling down from a high mountain; and the only polishing I get is when some corner gets rubbed off by coming in contact with something else, striking with accelerated force against religious bigotry, priestcraft, lawyer-craft, doctor-craft, lying editors, suborned judges and jurors, and the authority of perjured executives, backed by mobs, blasphemers, licentious and corrupt men and women--all hell knocking off a corner here and a corner there.
- Joseph Smith, (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 304)

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Heber13
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Re: "Obedience"

Post by Heber13 » 14 Aug 2009, 12:55

Antiquarian wrote:The Iron-rodders and the liahonas.
Yes, this analogy really seems to be a great analogy and dead on. I think the other thread about Myers-Briggs also may shed light that not all members of the church are the same, and so the tools (IR vs Liahonas) don't universally work for all just as equally...something that may be hard for the IRs to understand and the liahonas to tolerate.

I have felt in my church experience, however, that its seems from an organizational pespective easier to lead a group of Iron-Rodders ... and so more emphasis from local leadership is placed on that approach (just my experience). However, the further up the heirarchy, I feel the leaders understand more the diversity in the church and praise "liahoners" that have internal strength (not the fake liahoners that are just rebellious). David O McKay's depiction from "Rise of Modern Mormonism" seems to paint DOM in that light, that Free Agency is paramount.

Thank you for your wonderful post, Antiquarian.
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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Orson
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Re: "Obedience"

Post by Orson » 14 Aug 2009, 13:00

Heber13 wrote:In my opinion, Kalola, no one should feel they have to keep dissenting opinions to themselves and never discuss them. I just think there is an appropriate time and place and audience for such expressions ...<snip>
Thanks for making this distinction Heber, I was going to make a similar comment.

I think there is a difference between "infecting with a spirit of dissent" and "discussing contrary views." I hope with respect and tact we can learn to discuss differing views in a non-threatening way. I tend to think the ability to do this has as much to do with individual personalities as cultural influence.

I believe and hope that time is on our side in turning some of these cultural tendencies around to hearing, understanding, and even learning from different viewpoints. In my mind the elimination of differing views seems cultish and stifling to agency. I believe truth will cut its own way, and seekers of truth will value all views - because the cream rises to the top so to speak. This can be a little bit of a shift for some people, but again I think time is taking us there.
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I first found faith, and thought I had all truth. I then discovered doubt, and claimed a more accurate truth. Now I’ve greeted paradox and a deeper truth than I have ever known.

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Heber13
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Re: "Obedience"

Post by Heber13 » 14 Aug 2009, 13:05

jmb275 wrote:I do think obedience is way way overrated.
I would agree on some aspects... but believe it is highly dependent on the principle ... some obedience carries much greater value than others, it just depends on what we're talking about, IMO.
jmb275 wrote:Obedience for obedience sake is too scary for me to submit to it (at least when humans are involved).
That may depend on the capacity of the individual. Someone smart and mature like yourself, I'd agree with. Someone young or new in the gospel may need obedience for obedience sake...the Israelites seemed like they needed that at times since they seemed they couldn't handle themselves for a few days when Moses was in the mountains.
jmb275 wrote:The really interesting part of a quote like this is that this person likely feels at ease infecting others with his or her spirit of belief. I find this in some TBMs.
I totally agree and attribute this to Stage 3 faith behaviors, its just that desire for confirming one's faith but gets out of balance when they apply the double standard you mentioned or when they start thinking their faith applies to me and my family or others just the same as it does for them.
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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