The Courage This Change Took

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nibbler
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Re: The Courage This Change Took

Post by nibbler » 04 Apr 2019, 16:04

I know someone that resigned over the PoX and I've got mixed feelings over this one. While I want to take some time to celebrate I'm also holding back a few less than positive feelings.
hawkgrrrl wrote:
04 Apr 2019, 14:58
But it's got to take some spectacular mental gymnastics to go from defending the PoX (and attacking those who didn't buy it was revelation) to defending it being rescinded (and attacking those who say it never should have existed). But there's a subset of church members who will do just that.
I know the type. I'm already seeing the battle over "But that was never revelation, that was never doctrine." It's human nature to be on the defensive when you feel threatened but that defensive behavior can serve as another layer of abuse.

Culturally we are still far from giving the rank and file member breathing room to be out ahead of the leaders (or behind them for that matter). If you disagreed with the PoX when it first came out you were apostate. The leaders made it clear that it was the revealed mind of the lord. If you are against the policy, you're wrong. Period.

My takeaway is that I think I'll use this as an example the next time we have a lesson on personal revelation. People can receive personal revelation that is in direct conflict with church leaders and that revelation is every bit as valid.
If one dream dies, dream another dream. If you get knocked down, get back up and go again.
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dande48
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Re: The Courage This Change Took

Post by dande48 » 04 Apr 2019, 20:43

hawkgrrrl wrote:
04 Apr 2019, 14:58
Is it? I thought it was just revelation, something all of us have access to. This calls into question the reliability of such.
Only if it aligns with the Church.
hawkgrrrl wrote:
04 Apr 2019, 14:58
But it's got to take some spectacular mental gymnastics...
Humans are spectacular.
nibbler wrote:
04 Apr 2019, 16:04
My takeaway is that I think I'll use this as an example the next time we have a lesson on personal revelation. People can receive personal revelation that is in direct conflict with church leaders and that revelation is every bit as valid.
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DarkJedi
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Re: The Courage This Change Took

Post by DarkJedi » 05 Apr 2019, 05:00

On Own Now wrote:
04 Apr 2019, 15:02
So, I was around and substantially impacted by the March 1982 Policy of 18 month missions for Elders. It was reverted in December, 1984, 2.75 years later; less time than it took to revise the Nov 15 policy (just under 3.5 years).

As far as I could tell, people took that in stride. It made sense to undo it. What I came away with from that affair was the idea that the Church could make and rescind policy and it was fine, and that every action wasn't the express command of God (which was healthy).
I was around for that, too. I was an 18 month missionary and may not have even considered going if the 18 month thing hadn't been introduced. I think the big difference there was that neither implementing nor changing 18 month missions was presented as revelation. The explanation for reducing to 18 months had more to do with allowing people in countries who otherwise wouldn't be able to serve because of military obligations, etc. And I do recall it being a financial consideration (in those days there was no uniform cost - if you went to Mexico it cost you $50/mo. and if you went to Alaska it cost you $450/mo. and you didn't know how much you needed until you got your call AND $450 was a lot more money then). Also at the end (I was out when it changed back to 24) the explanation was that mission presidents didn't like it because 18 months was when a missionary was at his peak and they had to put people in leadership positions with less experience. I didn't buy those by the way, and I think there were a couple other similar lame things I can't recall. Anyway, it was only ever presented as policy change then, no revelation claimed.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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SilentDawning
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Re: The Courage This Change Took

Post by SilentDawning » 05 Apr 2019, 05:20

hawkgrrrl wrote:
04 Apr 2019, 14:58
"prophetic revelation is the bedrock of this Church."
Is it? I thought it was just revelation, something all of us have access to. This calls into question the reliability of such.
My thoughts exactly, except I drew this conclusion when they hid the gospel topic essays on LDS.org, and stated they didn't know where the priesthood ban came from, and disavowed all racism. That statement, to me, threw into question the whole revelatory foundation of our church, or the statement that the prophet would never lead us astray.

I have seen scanned letters from the FP to a sociologist in Cuba in which they FP members called the priesthood ban doctrine (back in the 50's or 60's). The FP at the time even rebuked the sociologist when he questioned racism in the FP's questions regarding blacks in Cuba. The sociologist also questioned their questions about the impact on expanding missionary efforts there due to the presence of blacks. The FP responded by telling the sociologist not to rely on the wisdom of men, and called the priesthood ban "doctrine".

But I was happy about the implications it has for the revelatory foundation of our church. This is because it only justified the peace-inducing path I had taken a few years ago -- lessening my commitment to the church, putting my own conscience ahead of any irrational revelation from above, and doing what made me happy (and wholesome) rather than what the church said I should do. (Remember, there have been ample talks about revelation seeming irrational to people, when it actually makes sense in the long run(( but often, never does)). I think my own commitment shelf was already broken, so more evidence that it SHOULD be broken is welcome.

And I can be somewhat active in our church without believing everything that comes out of the mouth of a prophet or high level GA is pure revelation.

Again, so thankful for the Internet that really provides a lot of fast feedback on policies put forward by our leaders. I often wonder if our posts here -- given by people who still have affinity for the church, but can also look at it with a naked eye --influence the leaders decision making even a tiny bit. I think they might.

I can even come up with a rationalization for the reversal of the policy. This is a rationalization from a StayLDS perspective -The reversal was necessary to show the membership that the church can grow and change, make mistakes, and publicly reverse them, thus projectingforward a kinder, gentler, less stubborn faith. This was direction from God to send that message. I am only rationalizing. It will be interesting to see what traditional believers do with this. What justifications will they give? I am looking on with interest.
Last edited by SilentDawning on 05 Apr 2019, 05:59, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Courage This Change Took

Post by SilentDawning » 05 Apr 2019, 05:54

dande48 wrote:
04 Apr 2019, 13:36
In the future, I hope the Church is a little more careful with what they declare as "revelation". Most members would do well, to do the same.
Best to call as much as possible "policy" and leave it at that. LIke the difference between an executive order by the POTUS and actual legislation passed by Congress. Executive Orders are the temporary decree of the president and can be easily rescinded and invoked, Laws are permanent, hard to change, and passed by Congress and the Senate. Executive orders are like policy, legislation is like revelation (I am not saying our politicians are inspired! Just drawing an analogy).

Years ago, when they revamped the Handbook of instructions, someone said it wasn't revelation, simply the current leadership's best understanding about how it should all work. THAT is a good example of church change.

I am also a bit tired of leaders playing the "the Lord wants you to take this calling" card. And using the revelation card as a way of getting people to believe or at least, not object. It might sound good in the moment, but it makes it really hard to make change when the new revelation turns out to produce unintended, undesirable results.

I like the creed of the Dunkers, a religious group that existed in the time of Ben Franklin. Franklin refers to how the Quakers would routinely paint themselves into a corner over uncategorical statements of what is "truth" or "revelation". In this case, decrying ward, and therefore, unable to support troops in the revolutionary war. Frankline believed the Dunkers had a better approach...

"These embarrassments that the Quakers suffered from having established and published it as one of their principles that no kind of war was lawful, and which, being once published, they could not afterwards, however they might change their minds, easily get rid of, reminds me of what I think a more prudent conduct in another sect among us, that of the Dunkers.

I was acquainted with one of its founders, Michael Welfare, soon after it appeared. He complained to me that they were grievously calumniated by the zealots of other persuasions, and charged with abominable principles and practices, to which they were utter strangers. I told him this had always been the case with new sects, and that, to put a stop to such abuse, I imagined it might be well to publish the articles of their belief and the rules of their discipline.

He said that it had been proposed among them, but not agreed to, for this reason: "When we were first drawn together as a society," says he, "it had pleased God to enlighten our minds so far as to see that some doctrines, which we once esteemed truths, were errors; and that others, which we had esteemed errors, were real truth. From time to time He has been pleased to afford us farther light, and our principles have been improving, and our errors diminishing. Now, we are not sure that we are arrived at the end of this progression, and at the perfection of spiritual or theological knowledge; and we fear that, if we should once print our confession of faith, we should feel ourselves as if bound and confined by it, and perhaps be unwilling to receive farther improvement, and our successors still more so, as conceiving what we their elders and founders had done to be something sacred, never to be departed from."

This modesty in a sect is perhaps a singular instance in the history of mankind, every other sect supposing itself in possession of all truth, and that those who differ are so far in the wrong; like a man traveling in foggy weather, those at some distance before him on the road he sees wrapped up in the fog, as well as those behind him, and also the people in the fields on each side, but near him all appears clear, tho' in truth he is as much in the fog as any of them. To avoid this kind of embarrassment, the Quakers leave of late years been gradually declining the public service in the Assembly and in the magistracy, choosing rather quit their power than their principle."

I think as Mormons we might take a similar approach if we want to keep the phrase "the church is perfect but the people aren't" credible. The leaders are people, and they make the policies. Let's acknowledge they are imperfect and keep our testimonies intact in the process!!
"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."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

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dande48
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Re: The Courage This Change Took

Post by dande48 » 05 Apr 2019, 06:13

SilentDawning wrote:
05 Apr 2019, 05:54
Years ago, when they revamped the Handbook of instructions, someone said it wasn't revelation, simply the current leadership's best understanding about how it should all work. THAT is a good example of church change.

...

I think as Mormons we might take a similar approach if we want to keep the phrase "the church is perfect but the people aren't" credible. The leaders are people, and they make the policies. Let's acknowledge they are imperfect and keep our testimonies intact in the process!!
The challenge with that is, it only works for policies either no one will notice, or no one will care about if they did. But if there are policies the Church leaders feel they should implement, even if they're unpopular, people will have a much harder time following. I imagine if PoX had been presented as policy, and "what we feel is best", there would've been a lot more room for people to feel outraged. I think, even at the local level, it wouldn't have been followed. "Revelation" is a trump card, and people are more willing to follow it than "we talked about it, prayed, and felt it was a good idea" (which is how revelation usually works, I believe).

Callings are another thing which wouldn't work if it weren't for revelation. A lot more people would turn down positions or callings they didn't feel qualified for, or simply don't want to do. And for a select few, you'd have the sudden "office politics" of trying to get into the top callings... I mean, more than we do already.

I've never understood the phrase "the Church is true/perfect, but the people aren't". Last I checked, the Church was the people. Or at the very least, the Church is the top leadership. There is no discernible disconnect between the two. If the prophet makes a Church-wide policy change, and in hindsight it was a really bad idea, that means the Church wasn't perfect. But... in the case of PoX, whatever the policy happens to be was right all along.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

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grobert93
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Re: The Courage This Change Took

Post by grobert93 » 05 Apr 2019, 07:44

dande48 wrote:
05 Apr 2019, 06:13
SilentDawning wrote:
05 Apr 2019, 05:54
Years ago, when they revamped the Handbook of instructions, someone said it wasn't revelation, simply the current leadership's best understanding about how it should all work. THAT is a good example of church change.

...

I think as Mormons we might take a similar approach if we want to keep the phrase "the church is perfect but the people aren't" credible. The leaders are people, and they make the policies. Let's acknowledge they are imperfect and keep our testimonies intact in the process!!
The challenge with that is, it only works for policies either no one will notice, or no one will care about if they did. But if there are policies the Church leaders feel they should implement, even if they're unpopular, people will have a much harder time following. I imagine if PoX had been presented as policy, and "what we feel is best", there would've been a lot more room for people to feel outraged. I think, even at the local level, it wouldn't have been followed. "Revelation" is a trump card, and people are more willing to follow it than "we talked about it, prayed, and felt it was a good idea" (which is how revelation usually works, I believe).

Callings are another thing which wouldn't work if it weren't for revelation. A lot more people would turn down positions or callings they didn't feel qualified for, or simply don't want to do. And for a select few, you'd have the sudden "office politics" of trying to get into the top callings... I mean, more than we do already.

I've never understood the phrase "the Church is true/perfect, but the people aren't". Last I checked, the Church was the people. Or at the very least, the Church is the top leadership. There is no discernible disconnect between the two. If the prophet makes a Church-wide policy change, and in hindsight it was a really bad idea, that means the Church wasn't perfect. But... in the case of PoX, whatever the policy happens to be was right all along.
By using the trump card of "Revelation", it usually gives the automatic preset of the following assumptions:

1. The individual questioning the change or announcement is questioning both the authority of the prophet (which you have to have a testimony of in order to get a temple recommend) and the lord (temple recommend again)

2. The individual questioning is not just accepting the information with faith (first principle of the gospel?), but is seeking for more. To some, faith should be adequate. For others, the truth is mandatory.

3. The individual questioning may have a history of not believing in leadership decisions as revelation and could have other problems (temple recommend)

Essentially by questioning anything claimed to be revelation, it puts you into an awkward situation where people can assume further sinful desires or imperfections that could disqualify you from a recommend or callings, etc.

I view the church as the people as separate. The church is a concept of the gospel being put into action by people, to me. The church has the opportunity to represent the will of the Lord. But the church isn't baptism, or the priesthood, etc. So when the church makes decisions that are disagreeable or are policies, it is easier to see it as the human leadership of the church guiding the church (vehicle) so that the gospel can continue to help others.

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Re: The Courage This Change Took

Post by SilentDawning » 05 Apr 2019, 10:48

dande48 wrote:
05 Apr 2019, 06:13
SilentDawning wrote:
05 Apr 2019, 05:54
Years ago, when they revamped the Handbook of instructions, someone said it wasn't revelation, simply the current leadership's best understanding about how it should all work. THAT is a good example of church change.

...

I think as Mormons we might take a similar approach if we want to keep the phrase "the church is perfect but the people aren't" credible. The leaders are people, and they make the policies. Let's acknowledge they are imperfect and keep our testimonies intact in the process!!
The challenge with that is, it only works for policies either no one will notice, or no one will care about if they did. But if there are policies the Church leaders feel they should implement, even if they're unpopular, people will have a much harder time following. I imagine if PoX had been presented as policy, and "what we feel is best", there would've been a lot more room for people to feel outraged. I think, even at the local level, it wouldn't have been followed. "Revelation" is a trump card, and people are more willing to follow it than "we talked about it, prayed, and felt it was a good idea" (which is how revelation usually works, I believe).
Couple things on this

1) We have so much leader worship, emphasis on obedience, etcetera, I think most Mormons would follow policy even if objectionable. If they are against it, they will keep their mouths shut in face to face settings. And if they don't follow it on a mass scale, that's great feedback on how good the policy was in the first place.

2) If the leaders are ambiguous about whether the new practice is revelation or mere policy invented by the people, the average member will assume it's revelation.

3) The more expansive our reliance on "revelation" to convince people to do things, the more we paint ourselves in the corner -- particularly if the bad so-called revelation happens in the same lifetime of one of its proponents, or even within a couple decades of its reversal. Reliance on the revelation trump card hurts us in the long run as it makes us less able to change as needed, and to correct the decisions made by PEOPLE leading us.

If I were in leadership, I would never call anything revelation unless God or Christ himself appeared and said it to me, or some other extraordinary thing happened to convince me it was direct from God. No taking strong impressions, or mere ideas, and labeling them as revelation when the evidence for it being revelation is weak.

4) For me, the church and its people are essentially one. No people, no church. So the statement "the church is perfect but the people aren't" has no meaning to me. To me, it's simply a way of church members and leaders dodging responsibility when things go wrong. If something is great -- it's the church. Something is awry, THOSE DARN IMPERFECT PEOPLE!

I prefer, "The church isn't perfect and neither are the people, although at times, each can be very inspiring".
"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."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

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Re: The Courage This Change Took

Post by Rumin8 » 05 Apr 2019, 10:54

I had an interesting conversation with my somewhat orthodox wife last night about this reversal. I shared that I was extraordinary happy that they reversed course on something I felt in my bones was very wrong in 2015 up to now. It nearly forced me out of the church back then, and only didn't because it did not overtly harm anyone super close to me. If it had, I would have been gone. I do feel terrible for those that this "policy" harmed. And I wish that it never had been.

So, anything that promotes inclusion, I'm all in favor of. I also agree that this took more courage than I have. I finally had to go offline yesterday because the vitriol was incredible.

My own feelings are complex, and I may keep them packed up and may simply be grateful that this is a move in the right direction, as I see it.
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Re: The Courage This Change Took

Post by hawkgrrrl » 05 Apr 2019, 15:52

SD:
"the statement that the prophet would never lead us astray"
And so far, he hasn't! It's our leader worship that has led us astray. He can only lead us where we are willing to go, after all.

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