Why the Church abuses

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Roy
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Re: Why the Church abuses

Post by Roy » 11 Jun 2017, 18:01

I just saw Katzpur's signature line that reminds me of this thread:
"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." ~Rudyard Kipling ~
"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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dande48
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Re: Why the Church abuses

Post by dande48 » 11 Jun 2017, 20:19

I loved the comments in here, as well as the topic. I think it is MUCH easier for an organization, company, or institution to abuse an individual, than for an individual to abuse another. In business especially, but I also think religion, the leaders can get away with a lot, under the guise that it's just "business".

Fortunately, the membership in most religions believes it is there for the salvation of the individual. There are a lot of leaders and members who go about doing good, simply for the sake of "goodness". In business, it's not like that at all (I've had a few experiences like Ray). Most businesses would murder their own employees, if they thought it would turn a profit. But the Church's focus is on our eternal happiness (even if it is approached in the wrong way).

On the flip side, anything the leadership does is considered to have the "mandate of heaven". It makes it even more difficult to recognize harmful practice, let alone point it out.

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DevilsAdvocate
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Re: Why the Church abuses

Post by DevilsAdvocate » 12 Jun 2017, 07:21

Reuben wrote:
10 Jun 2017, 09:45
Probably the worst sign is that the doctrines themselves help propagate abuse. They contribute to the warped value system that leads to abuse, and they also help justify abusive behavior. Examples:...Satan exists. This provides the most ready, isolating, divisive and wrong explanation for when members lose faith. Can a church with doctrines like this not be abusive? I don't know.
I'm not sure the idea that Satan exists inherently leads to abuse by itself any more than belief in God or life-after-death. If parents tell their children Santa Claus exists and he knows who's been bad or good and will reward them accordingly then is that abuse? To me it looks like it's mostly about tradition and trying to get people to behave the way they have been told that they should. The Church reminds me of the movie "The Village" but in the Church the majority of adults actually believe the monsters are real themselves. To me it seems like the Church (institution and doctrines) almost has a mind of its own and its primary goal is simply its own survival (I.E. perpetuating LDS Mormonism itself).

If you think about it the survival of LDS Mormonism largely involves effectively controlling members' behavior (WoW, chastity, tithing, full-time missions, garments, temple marriage, etc.) and beliefs (prophets, one true Church, priesthood authority, etc.) because most of the ones that don't go along with this abandon the Church completely leaving behind a majority that still think all of this is very important and the Church doesn't even need conscious decisions to specifically aim for this in order for this selection process to play out repeatedly. As long as Church leaders and rank-and-file members believe all this is as important as they currently do then to some extent they don't really know any better (whether they should or not) because they are largely acting as just another interchangeable cog in the machine. Of course, if some members already feel at home in this environment then they won't necessarily experience this as abusive at all, to many of them this seems like it is normal and the way things should be.
"Truth is what works." - William James

Ray DeGraw
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Re: Why the Church abuses

Post by Ray DeGraw » 12 Jun 2017, 08:21

Just to say it, what DA describes, while accurate, applies to almost all religions - and businesses - and clubs - and political parties - and societies as a whole.

Survival is paramount, even if it isn't recognized consciously as the prime directive, and all organizations seek solidarity naturally - because that is how we tend to be wired biologically.
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

Ann
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Re: Why the Church abuses

Post by Ann » 12 Jun 2017, 16:14

Heber13 wrote:
10 Jun 2017, 16:22
One part I would disagree with is the attack on the Q15, here:
Reuben wrote:Most of the Q15 seem to have an abusive value system. Elder Ballard apparently does. "Where will you go?" also speaks volumes. Elder Holland apparently does. "I am so furious with people who leave this church." "Don't break your mother's heart." I think his anger and attempt at control arise from entitlement. (Also, is your mother entitled to your faith in the Church?)
I would have to re-review those quotes in context and what was said, but I do not see any of the Q15 have a value system of abuse. I don't doubt or dismiss the limitations of church leadership, and even mistakes. But abuse by the Q15 and their value system? Hm. No. I have no evidence or proof of that. I disagree. Pretty strongly, actually.

Perhaps contrasts help me understand better. What would be examples of leaders of large organizations that are not abusive, and how they compare to the Q15?
Was Christ abusive to Pharisees and Sadducees? If so, was that wrong?

I hope I don't come across dismissive in any way. Simply want to learn more from your posts, and others'. Thanks for the dialogue.
"To Whom Shall We Go?" (Peter to Christ, and the title of Elder Ballard's October 2016 talk), or "Where will you go?" (in the body of Elder Ballard's talk). Big difference. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/ ... o?lang=eng

We should ask ourselves, "to whom shall I go?" The church should ask, "Why are you leaving?" The howling online response of hundreds after this talk was strong. Deleting expletives and hot tempers, it boiled down to: Where will I go?!? Anywhere but here, and to anyone but you, who doesn't listen.

I think it's disinterest, lack of comprehension/empathy, and neglect - and not outright abuse - but "Where will you go?" does smack of control, imo. And possibly women are more sensitive to it than men. It seems phrased to intimidate and scare.

(Another big problem with this talk is the fuzzy line. Leaving the church is not by definition leaving Christ. I wish someone would just say that, in General Conference.)

But here's a small example "On The Other Hand." The other day I was in a meeting about how to cut down meetings. The trickle-down story from the area authority who had trained the priesthood leaders was about a young man who wasn't active. They'd apparently asked him why, and he said he resented the church for eating up all his father's time. He never saw him. I liked that they were revealing: people are leaving activity in the church, leaders are willing to tell us what an inactive member said, and they're willing to change in direct response instead of presenting it as nothing but their own revelation.

For the first time in my life, I was recently contacted through lds.org to be part of a survey. I answered my first set of questions about how often I pray, read scriptures, have FHE, and (I think) pay tithing. I sure hope they want to hear more.
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

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Re: Why the Church abuses

Post by Ray DeGraw » 12 Jun 2017, 18:56

I forgot to mention the area where I beleive the most egregious abuse occurs:

The rhetoric surrounding homosexuality. I see that as classic abuse - verbal and emotional, but also historically physical in reparative therapies that were supported in the past. We have moved away from that, thankfully, but our rhetoric still is abusive and causes real, serious harm.
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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SilentDawning
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Re: Why the Church abuses

Post by SilentDawning » 12 Jun 2017, 22:06

I always like to define my terms before I discuss anything, so here is what the dictionary defines as abuse. There were actually 5 definitions but the last two involved sexual abuse and other horrendous things I don't consider part of the church on a wide scale. So I didn't quote them, but here are the ones that seem to fit.

verb (used with object), abused, abusing.
1.
to use wrongly or improperly; misuse:
to abuse one's authority.
2.
to treat in a harmful, injurious, or offensive way:
to abuse a horse; to abuse one's eyesight.
3.
to speak insultingly, harshly, and unjustly to or about; revile; malign.
I think the church abuses because:

a) We have a culture set by past leaders that encourages it. BKP's "The Unwritten Order of Things" is one such culture-creator in the "never say No to a calling" principle.

b) We have scripture that encourages abuse with the "you owe me" message. King Benjamin's discourse that says that if we serve God our whole life we will always be indebted to him. There is no way out. This can be quoted at anyone who doesn't want to give it all.

c) Although I know Ray disagrees with this interpretation, the story of Abraham and Isaac and other blind obedience stories (such as JS asking me to turn over their wives to him) is a case in point. To me Abraham epitomizes the leader who abuses another person because he thinks he's acting under the direction of God. Nephi killing Laban was a form of abuse. I think the sense that a person is acting in the name of God may seem to justify abuse when the person feels that abuse is divinely inspired.

d) The statement that we have a divine head and are led by God.

e) There is a lack of accountability to members built into the system.

f) The Temple Ceremony encourages abuse by putting the members in a position to voluntarily accept abuse of their time and resources in hopes of distant, unverifiable reward.

I like Ray's list of abuses as I could have written many of them myself. It surprised me, particularly since the term abuse is pretty strong.

What do we do about this?

1. Drop any desire for approval from church leaders and members.
2. Put the church in its proper place in your life. If you are no longer committed, then that is fine. Create boundaries about what they can extract from you.
3. Make friendships and networks out of the church. I realized the other day I have a whole network of friends and people that have nothing to do with the church.
4. Take joy and self-respect in worshipping God according to the dictates of your own conscience.

If you saw that movie from Disney Inside out, you see the main character's structures in her mind crumbling as old relationships and paradigms crumble, which can be traumatic. But if you have other networks and structures in your life, then then the loss of one structure is not nearly as devastating than if you have only one structure defining your life.

In limiting the church's role in your life (thus causing the social structure that may have developed inside), you minimize the amount of abuse they can inflict upon you. It's hard to abuse someone who is dancing to the tune of their own drum.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- 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."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

kate5
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Re: Why the Church abuses

Post by kate5 » 12 Jun 2017, 22:19

I really have enjoyed this thread, thank you for starting it Reuben. I have been mentally out since I read a few books on spiritual abuse. I always just fell in line my whole life. When I looked at the way members are treated from the outside looking in, it just seems so manipulative.

The "one true church" line is a method of control by implying you can't get to Heaven any other way. You're stuck with us or goodbye family.

Also, IMO the whole temple recommend process is abusive. It creates a class system on who the "worthy" members are and who the slackers are. You are above others when you have that recommend. To me, it is like separating here on earth who is going to the Celestial kingdom and who is not. This is all decided by leaders. God is left out of it. When leaders are put in the position of being judge and jury during this life, it can create an abusive and manipulative situation. Basically, "we hold the cards to your salvation so you need to fall in line". It really makes me sad when people feel there fate could be decided over a cup of coffee or sip of alcohol. It doesn't make sense and I think it is wrong.

I believe that members and leaders of are church are great people for the most part. They are kind and successful. The church just reminds me of the Pharisees sometimes. It looks awesome on the outside but sometimes it is hard to find the heart and soul on the inside.

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Re: Why the Church abuses

Post by Ray DeGraw » 13 Jun 2017, 12:18

SD, I don't like the traditional interpretation of the Abraham and Isaac statement. As commonly viewed, it is a scary story that is salvaged only by the redemption / atonement meaning inserted into it by later Christians - which almost surely wasn't part of the original intent of the person or people who wrote it. That is why I like non-traditional interpretations - like Abraham failing an important test and God intervening to "save" him from the terrible, abusive practices of his ancestors.

The story is perhaps THE best scriptural example of abuse being excused by people trying to make sense and find meaning from bad things good people do. I would rather see it as a cautionary tale than as a model of faithfulness - but my view doesn't have thousands of years of apologetics giving it extra weight.
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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SilentDawning
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Re: Why the Church abuses

Post by SilentDawning » 14 Jun 2017, 09:00

Ray DeGraw wrote:
13 Jun 2017, 12:18
SD, I don't like the traditional interpretation of the Abraham and Isaac statement. As commonly viewed, it is a scary story that is salvaged only by the redemption / atonement meaning inserted into it by later Christians - which almost surely wasn't part of the original intent of the person or people who wrote it. That is why I like non-traditional interpretations - like Abraham failing an important test and God intervening to "save" him from the terrible, abusive practices of his ancestors.

The story is perhaps THE best scriptural example of abuse being excused by people trying to make sense and find meaning from bad things good people do. I would rather see it as a cautionary tale than as a model of faithfulness - but my view doesn't have thousands of years of apologetics giving it extra weight.
I don't quite remember your interpretation of the story Ray, so if you have a link on it, or care to explain it briefly I'd be all ears.

Another similar story was Nephi and Laban. Although this story has more of a "point" to the command to murder other people that the story of Abraham and Isaac (the practical goal to get the brass plates after all non-coercive methods had failed), it implies that God has a Utilitarian attitude toward ethical issues -- the greatest good for the greatest number. And it flies in the face of Christ's parable that if you have 99 sheep, and one is lost, you should go after the 1 lost sheep -- as EVERYONE is important.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- 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."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

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