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Can I complain about another TSM story?

Posted: 26 Mar 2017, 19:12
by Joni
I'm sorry, I know I complain a lot about TSM stories. But this one struck me as particularly problematic.

Follow the Prophets of God

My ward's Primary read this story today during Sharing Time, then held a discussion on ways we follow the prophet (suggestions include: not having more than one pair of earrings; not drinking caffeinated soda; not going to sleepovers.) Then a rousing chorus of "Follow the Prophet." I wanted to scream. :shock:

A couple of questions I have about this story:

Are we expected to place the church's demands of unpaid labor above career aspirations?

Does it make a difference that the Stake President who gave him this counsel turned out to be President of the Church later on? They didn't know that at the time, right?

What did TSM's wife think of his decision not to go through with officer training? I mean if my husband did that, I would be LIVID. Like, divorce livid.

Does it make a difference that it turned out okay for TSM? Yes, once you are called as an apostle you have guaranteed income for life. But it doesn't work that way for most of us.

Do you think it occurred to anyone on the Church magazines editorial board that "do what your church leaders say, even if it doesn't feel right to you" is a really, REALLY bad message to give to children???

Re: Can I complain about another TSM story?

Posted: 26 Mar 2017, 19:48
by squarepeg
It would be nice if there were stories once in a while about times when a person prayed about whether to do the church thing or the career thing and followed a prompting to do the career thing, and how it brought them blessings. I can't think of any stories like that, even though I'm sure it happens often.

I also don't like the line that says something akin to, "If not for the decision I made that day, I'd never have become Prophet." It seems to imply that the kids should all be aspiring to high-level church leadership callings by working their way up the ladder.

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Re: Can I complain about another TSM story?

Posted: 26 Mar 2017, 19:59
by LookingHard
I for one don't mind your venting. We all need an outlet. But I can't give much of an answer to your questions other than, "yep. that bugs me also."

Re: Can I complain about another TSM story?

Posted: 26 Mar 2017, 20:08
by dande48
I think this is a strong problem in the Church. We hear all the time of stories that go:

"Once upon a time, I was faced with the choice between keeping commandment 'X', and providing for my family. I chose to keep commandment 'X', and gave up the opportunity. Then later, the Lord blessed me with 'Y'. This cemented my testimony of keeping commandment 'X'."

Correlation does not mean causation, even with blessings. But those stories of "doing good and recieving good", are inspiring and faith building. And to those who have things work out, after such a valient sacrifice, and cemented even further in their belief. I think that is why so many general authorities, mission presidents, and stake presidents are always so successful in their careers (never met one that didn't make at least six figs). But are their callings and their business success due to their unwavering faith? Or is it because of their financial success that they have their positions and their faith?

Re: Can I complain about another TSM story?

Posted: 27 Mar 2017, 03:13
by Reuben
dande48 wrote:
26 Mar 2017, 20:08
Correlation does not mean causation, even with blessings. But those stories of "doing good and recieving good", are inspiring and faith building. And to those who have things work out, after such a valient sacrifice, and cemented even further in their belief. I think that is why so many general authorities, mission presidents, and stake presidents are always so successful in their careers (never met one that didn't make at least six figs). But are their callings and their business success due to their unwavering faith? Or is it because of their financial success that they have their positions and their faith?
Bingo, with a heaping helping of confirmation bias (looking for things that confirm faithfulness) and selection bias (those for whom things work out like this tend to stay, those for whom things don't work out and stay anyway tend to keep quiet).
Joni wrote:
26 Mar 2017, 19:12
Do you think it occurred to anyone on the Church magazines editorial board that "do what your church leaders say, even if it doesn't feel right to you" is a really, REALLY bad message to give to children???
I don't think it occurs to them to question the message even when it's given to adults.

Doubts about this message used to occur to me occasionally, but I mostly dismissed them with "I'm glad I haven't been put in that position." I was aware that the conflict was real for other people, and I trusted God to make it work out in the end in the unlikely event that trying to follow the prophet led to harm.

By the time of my FC, I saw it like this:
  1. God sometimes speaks to prophets
  2. Prophets sometimes get things wrong
  3. Other people sometimes get hurt
  4. God always makes it work out in the end
After my FC, #1 and #4 were gone, and I was "other people."

It's amazing to me how well "I'm not getting hurt" and "God makes it all work out in the end" justify strict obedience to people you know have been very wrong in the past.

I think the Catholics have this right. Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 1776 and 1782:
"Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment. ... For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God. ... His conscience is man's most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths."
Man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. "He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters."

Re: Can I complain about another TSM story?

Posted: 27 Mar 2017, 06:35
by squarepeg
Why can't the bishopric council meeting be moved to another night, I wonder, so that he can attend the navy thingy and the church thingy, both?

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Re: Can I complain about another TSM story?

Posted: 27 Mar 2017, 09:33
by NightSG
dande48 wrote:
26 Mar 2017, 20:08
"Once upon a time, I was faced with the choice between keeping commandment 'X', and providing for my family. I chose to keep commandment 'X', and gave up the opportunity. Then later, the Lord blessed me with 'Y'. This cemented my testimony of keeping commandment 'X'."
To me, it's more often the matter of what "Commandment X" is. Providing unpaid labor for one of the richest organizations on the planet, or helping my neighbor who honestly needs help. (Or just not taking the opportunity to screw someone over.)

IMO, helping those who legitimately need it is rewarded far more often in this life.

Re: Can I complain about another TSM story?

Posted: 27 Mar 2017, 10:28
by Curt Sunshine
They had him pegged as a potential apostle early on in his life. I have no problem with his decision - for himself. I don't like using it as an example for all members.

That is how I feel about a lot of things: fine at an individual level, not good applied collectively to everyone.

Re: Can I complain about another TSM story?

Posted: 27 Mar 2017, 11:05
by Ann
Reuben wrote:
27 Mar 2017, 03:13
By the time of my FC, I saw it like this:
  1. God sometimes speaks to prophets
  2. Prophets sometimes get things wrong
  3. Other people sometimes get hurt
  4. God always makes it work out in the end
After my FC, #1 and #4 were gone, and I was "other people."

It's amazing to me how well "I'm not getting hurt" and "God makes it all work out in the end" justify strict obedience to people you know have been very wrong in the past.

I think the Catholics have this right. Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 1776 and 1782:
"Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment. ... For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God. ... His conscience is man's most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths."
Man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. "He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters."
I wish we had a beautifully stated teaching like this.

Lately I'm thinking that our bell curve (this will work most of the time, unfortunate about the outliers...) approach is antithetical to a true definition of gospel. Shouldn't gospel be something that is always true and true for all? And that the definition of apostleship would be guarding that category and not allowing any unworthy teaching into it?

Re: Can I complain about another TSM story?

Posted: 27 Mar 2017, 11:49
by NightSG
Ann wrote:
27 Mar 2017, 11:05
Shouldn't gospel be something that is always true and true for all?
To my mind, that would be the very definition of Gospel truth.

I just wish there was more emphasis on actual integrity in the Church. Way too many people have the attitude of "if I don't get caught in this life, and I claim to repent, it's not going to have any effect on me in the end." Completely ignores that a changed heart is the core of repentance, and when you're using that excuse for the same actions on a regular basis, you're never really repenting.