"Obedience"

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Kalola
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"Obedience"

Post by Kalola » 10 Aug 2009, 21:05

I was doing some on-line research about Mormon women converts and came upon an interesting blog. I found this post about "Obedience" and thought I'd share it here at StayLDS.
I have read stories of members who were excommunicated for refusing to recant views they’d aired publicly, which were contrary to church teachings. I have seen an all too common thread running through many such stories. It’s stubborn pride. What ever happened to following through on our covenants by exercising obedience to church authorities? 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.
I underlined those sentences that jumped out at me. I would be lost if I had to keep my "dissenting" opinions to myself.

This scripture came to mind:
“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isa. 1:16–18).
"Let us reason together" ... that's what matters the most to me. What are your thoughts?

Curt Sunshine
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Re: "Obedience"

Post by Curt Sunshine » 10 Aug 2009, 21:34

I agree, Kalola, that we need to reason through our thoughts with others.

However, I believe there is a degree of validity to the idea that we shouldn't be out publicly fighting to force the Church as an institution to adopt our views - publicly insisting that others see as we see and believe as we believe. It is a fine line, and it has been crossed way too many times from both sides throughout our history . . . but it is possible to take BOTH ideas to an improper extreme.

Moderation and balance and careful consideration aren't easy, but they are important, imo.
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

swimordie
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Re: "Obedience"

Post by swimordie » 10 Aug 2009, 22:36

My super-liberal TBM sister had some issues with her in-laws last week. It was essentially this exact thing. Her and her husband were talking objectively about some cultural issues at the in-laws and it was not well received.

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?

I've been thinking about this lately because sometimes in this position alot of us are in, the onus is on us to "deal correctly with the TBM's". It feels very one-sided at times, I have to find my way, while they get to just keep on doin' what they're doin'. Sorry, that was a little vent. :oops:

Good topic, kalola!
Perfectionism hasn't served me. I think I am done with it. -Poppyseed

MWallace57
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Re: "Obedience"

Post by MWallace57 » 11 Aug 2009, 03:09

I, for one, love the story of the Egyptian Midwives who frustrated Pharaoh's sinister plan to have every single Israelite, male infant killed.

The Pharaoh of Egypt called in his two chief midwives and ordered them to deliver the infants of the Israelite mothers. They were in examine each newborn and determine if the infant was a male or female. If the infant was male - they were to KILL him. (these master midwives actually supervised a team of about 500 midwives and they were to oversee the destruction of these precious newborns).

Well SH##!!! That's just plan murder!!! Not only was it murder, it was SEXISM and RACISM. Pharaoh was a homicidal, sexist pig, to put it nicely. The midwives refused to obey him and I love it!

Please see this link:

http://www.msawomen.org/uploadedFiles/R ... 0Bible.pdf

No, the Lord does not expect us to obey rules that are based on Racism, Sexism, Political Power Struggles or homicidal maniac impulses. We are to devise ways to foil the plan.

Think about it really.

Isn't killing every male child sexist?

Isn't killing every Israelite male child racist?

Isn't asking women to kill newborn babies in front of their own mothers misogynistic?

isn't ordering someone to kill an innocent human being evil?

So what is the Lord telling us? Hey, I don't do sexism, I don't do racism, I don't do misogynistic stuff and I don't do evil - even if someone in authority orders me to.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: "Obedience"

Post by Curt Sunshine » 11 Aug 2009, 05:36

swimordie, I don't look at your questions in terms of "weakness" or "fragility" or "fear". Most people I know who don't question things don't fit those categories. They simply don't think like you and I do - and that's NOT an inferior thing; it's just different.

Fwiw, every organization needs the worker bees; every civilization needs the settlers. The explorers expand horizons and find danger and excitement, but the settlers allow a civilization to be stable enough to survive - since the explorers also die at a higher rate than the average citizens who live safely in their homes and live "normal" lives.

1 Corinthians 12 is beautiful, I believe, in dealing with this question - and it is a perfect lead-in to a fuller understanding of 1 Corinthians 13. I recommend HIGHLY that you go back and read that chapter in the context of the philosophical foundation for your questions - then read 1 Corinthians 13 as the practical answer to how to find a real solution to them. These two chapters lie at the heart of the principle Elder Wirthlin taught in his masterful talk in April 2008, "Concern for the One". (http://lds.org/conference/talk/display/ ... -6,00.html) I wish every member of the Church understood that beautiful man's sermon deeply and lived the message he taught so profoundly.

Here is a link to 1 Corinthians 12: http://scriptures.lds.org/en/1_cor/12
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

johndehlin
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Re: "Obedience"

Post by johndehlin » 11 Aug 2009, 07:47

Kalola,

The only thing I'd like to briefly add is that for the most part (and this is just my opinion) -- those who have been disciplined by the church over the past 20 years were disciplined not for having personal or even opposing opinions....but instead for either:

1) Publicly and sometimes brazenly denouncing the church and/or its leadership, or
2) Openly calling the church's foundational claims fraudulent

In my experience, it is extremely rare for the church to after someone for their personal views.

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HiJolly
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Re: "Obedience"

Post by HiJolly » 11 Aug 2009, 09:01

swimordie wrote: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?

I've been thinking about this lately because sometimes in this position alot of us are in, the onus is on us to "deal correctly with the TBM's". It feels very one-sided at times, I have to find my way, while they get to just keep on doin' what they're doin'. Sorry, that was a little vent. :oops:
We all have differing levels of understanding, not to mention differing levels of wisdom.

I once sent my TBM in-laws a link to a blog that had a spoof on anti-mormonism. It started with a titillating blurb about Mormonism being a 'cult' but then on the next page talked about Webster's definition of 'cult' and ended up being quite humorous and turning the accuser's point on its head -- showing that Mormons are not really a cult, in the colloquial sense of the word. I thought it was hilarious.

My Father-in-law said he didn't read it; that he couldn't afford to take a chance to lose his faith. Now, truly, this good man is the salt of the earth. A more sincere, intelligent, righteous man you couldn't find. He's just amazing. And so even though I regret that he's not going to 'get' the humor, I have to respect his effort to keep his faith where he wants it to be.

And I think I know his struggle. The Spirit has worked with me to teach me what looked at first to me to be 'heresy' -- things that necessarily cause me to doubt certain aspects of my TBM faith. I had refused these earlier in my life, and I found that the Spirit stopped working with me for a time, stopped giving me 'further light and knowledge' as taught in the temple, until I was willing to listen and accept the promptings. It's a scary thing, though, and pretty much unacceptable unless you've dabbled in Fowler's stage 4 a bit.

It's dangerous though, because if you *haven't* been in stage 4 up to then, well. It's a whole new world. If you're not emotionally healthy than it can be quite a ride, even a dark ride. And what's more, I don't see any need to force anyone down that path. A TBM that is full of faith in the institution (stage 3) can do miracles and bless many lives. The only risk is if they can't progress down the road --- but who am I to say where on their path they must make a change? I think people get what they need, when they need it.

Anyway, I'm babbling now... John's comment is good, too. I am quite different in my views from where I was 20 years ago, and even though I get a bit vocal about Church history in my adult Gospel Doctrine class, I *don't* get all universalist on them. They shouldn't have to get that from a rogue Sunday School teacher, IMO.

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

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Heber13
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Re: "Obedience"

Post by Heber13 » 11 Aug 2009, 09:30

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.
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."

swimordie
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Re: "Obedience"

Post by swimordie » 11 Aug 2009, 09:33

@HiJolly:
Thanks, that response is very insightful. I guess my "blockage" is just that: I see the stage 3-ness and feel the "need" to "want" to "help" people get "unstuck". That's on me. I get it. It's just hard when you hear people talk in Stage 4 terms but they are really in a stage 3 place in their lives. It feels a little hypocritical and that get's the blood going a little. Anyway, thanks for the ramble. It was perfect for me.

@Ray:
Wow! I read those chapters (as instructed) and they really are powerful. I hadn't read them in a while and they definitely have new meaning to me at this stage of my journey.

My guess is that this is one of your favorite passages in all scripture. It is definitely profound and, to me, right on the button. Like I said above, I'm not questioning someone's "place" or "journey", it's just hard to recognize when someone is Stage 3 when what they say sounds so stage 4. But they can't hear stage 4, at least they reject stage 4 unless it matches their own idea of stage 4 which, of course, makes it stage 3.

The thought I had whilst reading those chapters, the church, brethren, membership overall are not accepting certain "appendages" as part of the body (homosexuals, non-orthodox) and, it appears, are lacking in true charity towards these "appendages". How does this current "view" relate to your pruning concept? I could see orthodox TBM's seeing THIS as the pruning (getting rid of non-orthodox, homosexuals, sympathizers). What to make of this?
Perfectionism hasn't served me. I think I am done with it. -Poppyseed

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Heber13
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Re: "Obedience"

Post by Heber13 » 11 Aug 2009, 09:40

Kalola wrote:I would be lost if I had to keep my "dissenting" opinions to myself.
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, just like there is an appropriate time and place and audience for sacred and holy things as well.

I'm trying to teach my teenage girls that they should never feel they cannot raise their voice, but they have a responsibility to raise it appropriately. They should respect the priesthood but never be domineered by it.

I'd be interested in hearing any good women conversion stories you find on the web so I can share them with my girls [of course, that would be a different thread or a personal message since it doesn't really fit this thread].
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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