Everything's on the table now

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hawkgrrrl
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Everything's on the table now

Post by hawkgrrrl » 15 May 2019, 13:26

I forgot to post this from last week. I was ruminating on the reasons why, as a progressive who's long been clamoring for changes like the recent sealing policy change, why is it that I'm suddenly freshly bothered when the changes occur.

I know more orthodox members like to say a couple of things regarding these progressive changes that irk me:
1) It's always been this way (hard for them to claim with some of the changes)
2) This change is because some members (not them!) find the "higher law" too hard (utterly ridiculous that barring families from their child's wedding is a higher law or that prohibiting the innocent children of gay couples from being baptized is a higher law).
3) The church is caving to progressives who are still not grateful, complaining even now!

The third thing is kind of true in my case, and I was trying to figure out why progressives are finding the changes troubling. I did a post on it here: https://wheatandtares.org/2019/05/08/th ... e-fallout/

Some of my conclusions relate to the problem of Sunk Cost. For many of us, we want progress, but we've been putting up with things for a long time.
Sunk cost: “In economics and business decision-making, a sunk cost is a cost that has already been incurred and cannot be recovered. Sunk costs are sometimes contrasted with prospective costs, which are future costs that may be incurred or changed if an action is taken.” (from Wikipedia)

It’s no wonder that church leaders would make decisions based on avoiding future costs rather than addressing the sacrifices that have already been made, the embarrassments and inconveniences suffered, the relationships harmed. Better to move forward. We can’t change the past, right? We can’t unfeel racism or sexism in temple practices. We can’t get back the hours of church meetings we’ve already attended. We can’t go back and undo the hurt feelings of converts’ families who had to wait outside of weddings. Water under the bridge. But it stings, like getting an expensive speeding ticket the day before the speed limit is raised.

Without any sort of acknowledgement or public statement of apology, those who sacrificed the most–or who feel those sacrifices most keenly–may be feeling a second type of pain: that their sacrifices were arbitrary and in vain. For some policy changes, the pain is more acute than others, particularly since some people were impacted more than others. The revised policy around gay parents was one, temple verbiage changes another, and this week’s announcement about no longer delaying temple sealings for civil married couples is another.
And that brings up another big problem, disassociation from the organization, skepticism of whatever it's doing that doesn't feel right. We begin to rely more on our internal compass and to view the organization with a look of distrust. What else are they getting wrong?
Once you conclude that the church’s institutional policies have caused you unnecessary pain with what feel like arbitrary man-made policies that are easily reversed, it’s not a long walk to putting all existing and future church policies on the table for reevaluation. For progressives who have long clamored for these changes either publicly or privately, this sense of vindication reduces the influence of church authority in personal decision making. That may be a good thing, perhaps long overdue, maybe inevitable for progressives in a conservative faith, or maybe it’s one of those new problems Kissinger talked about.
These feelings are exacerbated when the person has chosen the church over family members in the past, choosing to beat others up for their perceived lack of righteousness--now those individuals feel guilty and complicit in upholding something the church has just easily set aside.
The lack of acknowledgement carries another pain point: personal regret at past actions for those who upheld those policies, who now see themselves as having behaved callously, chosen the institution over family, or felt smugly superior for following church counsel, souring relationships in the process.
“I regret it everyday. The exclusion and moral superiority I felt at that time, now disgusts me and makes me feel horrible. This change is fantastic, but IMO, too little to late.” Church member regretting following a now defunct policy.
That last bit's not me, but I was surprised at how unhappy I felt about the sexism being (mostly / at least on the surface) dropped from the temple. I'm glad it's gone, but I have literally had to endure a lot because of the decades of its existence, and apparently I was right all along, even though I was called faithless and told I just didn't understand. No, I understood only too well. And I don't trust the organization, partly as a result.

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dande48
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Re: Everything's on the table now

Post by dande48 » 15 May 2019, 13:51

Good post, Hawkgrrrl.

I think what perturbs be the most (I can't think of a better word), is that policy doesn't make the Church more or less true. Policy is symptomatic of doctrine. Even IF the Church had the "correct" policy all along, that wouldn't change the underlying truthfulness of the Church. As an extreme example, take the Mosaic Law: there's a LOT of "bad policies" in there, we no longer follow. Thank goodness! But the trouble is... we either believe in a God who issued those policies, or Moses was a false prophet, because he said those policies were from God. There's really no middle ground. Pick your poison.

The Church is either redefining past revelation to "personal opinion", "best judgement" and "we never said we were perfect"... or are maintaining that it was revelation, which was later overwritten. We still have the doctrines of polygamy. We still practice it, at least as far as the law allows. We are still affected by it. But to come out and denounce the former revelation would be Church suicide. Or with blacks in the priesthood... It was racist times and early Church leaders made a mistake. Please ignore all the racist stuff they taught.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

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AmyJ
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Re: Everything's on the table now

Post by AmyJ » 15 May 2019, 13:58

I agree and I liked the article.

I think that at least for me, there is almost a visceral reaction to what I feel are the unstated prospective expectations of me by my family members.

Example: I had issues with the temple wording previously, and that was part of why I was not interested in more fully engaging with the church. Now that that the policy has changed, I feel like others in my family expect me to become more involved and enthusiastic about the church (or be labeled as "prideful"). I honestly don't know how to process it all, and my feelings towards the church are more complicated and nuanced than that...

While the changes are huge and positive (and may have been issues balanced on the rubble that was my shelf), I don't know how to respond to the unspoken expectation (and if I brought it up, it would be very uncomfortable). I am not entirely certain that this unspoken expectation is only in my head (as would be the next logical argument), but I am fairly certain the expectation is unconscious and unspoken.

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felixfabulous
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Re: Everything's on the table now

Post by felixfabulous » 15 May 2019, 14:05

Great article. I have been generally pleased with the changes as well, but have had a lot of the reservations you've so eloquently expressed here.
And that brings up another big problem, disassociation from the organization, skepticism of whatever it's doing that doesn't feel right. We begin to rely more on our internal compass and to view the organization with a look of distrust. What else are they getting wrong?
That's been my reaction. If I was right on these things all along, why would I rely on the organization to dictate how I wear my underwear, what I can and cannot drink or how I choose to spend my time on Sunday?

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DarkJedi
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Re: Everything's on the table now

Post by DarkJedi » 15 May 2019, 15:06

dande48 wrote:
15 May 2019, 13:51
Good post, Hawkgrrrl.

I think what perturbs be the most (I can't think of a better word), is that policy doesn't make the Church more or less true. Policy is symptomatic of doctrine. Even IF the Church had the "correct" policy all along, that wouldn't change the underlying truthfulness of the Church. As an extreme example, take the Mosaic Law: there's a LOT of "bad policies" in there, we no longer follow. Thank goodness! But the trouble is... we either believe in a God who issued those policies, or Moses was a false prophet, because he said those policies were from God. There's really no middle ground. Pick your poison.
It's not necessarily either/or God did it or Moses was a false prophet. There are certainly other points of view, one of which is Moses wasn't speaking as a prophet then and/or the things recorded are his (or the recorder's) opinion.
The Church is either redefining past revelation to "personal opinion", "best judgement" and "we never said we were perfect"... or are maintaining that it was revelation, which was later overwritten. We still have the doctrines of polygamy. We still practice it, at least as far as the law allows. We are still affected by it. But to come out and denounce the former revelation would be Church suicide. Or with blacks in the priesthood... It was racist times and early Church leaders made a mistake. Please ignore all the racist stuff they taught.
I don't actually have a problem with this. I also don't have a problem with "new light and knowledge." Both of these could be in play as well as other things. I get out the idea of continuing restoration every chance I get (which tends to be at least almost every Sunday).

Unlike others, I don't have a problem with the changes and eagerly await more. As I have studied the very early church, I think I would have liked that church and would like it to be that way again. Some of the changes have brought us close to that.
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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DarkJedi
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Re: Everything's on the table now

Post by DarkJedi » 15 May 2019, 15:09

AmyJ wrote:
15 May 2019, 13:58
I agree and I liked the article.

I think that at least for me, there is almost a visceral reaction to what I feel are the unstated prospective expectations of me by my family members.

Example: I had issues with the temple wording previously, and that was part of why I was not interested in more fully engaging with the church. Now that that the policy has changed, I feel like others in my family expect me to become more involved and enthusiastic about the church (or be labeled as "prideful"). I honestly don't know how to process it all, and my feelings towards the church are more complicated and nuanced than that...

While the changes are huge and positive (and may have been issues balanced on the rubble that was my shelf), I don't know how to respond to the unspoken expectation (and if I brought it up, it would be very uncomfortable). I am not entirely certain that this unspoken expectation is only in my head (as would be the next logical argument), but I am fairly certain the expectation is unconscious and unspoken.
This is kind of what I love. I can now safely say "X was wrong."
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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On Own Now
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Re: Everything's on the table now

Post by On Own Now » 15 May 2019, 15:26

hawkgrrrl wrote:
15 May 2019, 13:26
why is it that I'm suddenly freshly bothered when the changes occur.
I can't speak for anyone specifically, but I do believe that one cause of bother is that when the Church makes these changes, they do it in a way that does not address or acknowledge past pain. There is no lamenting of the what was; and certainly no apology. I'm mostly OK with that, but it does somewhat bother me, and I can see that this would be a source of concern for many.

I'll give one example where I am truly bothered.

We've been talking a bit recently about the MMM. When GBH dedicated the reconstructed monument there 1999, he tried to leave it with the thought that "Let the book of the past be closed." He explained that we don't really know what happened, that BY wasn't responsible, that all we can do is come to peace, but that it is our "christian duty" to memorialize the site. As much as I loved GBH, and that is a lot, I have to say that his words leave me bothered. I support GBHs view that BY wasn't directly responsible, but I also believe that the Church shares some of the blame for its attitudes and teachings. GBH couldn't have admitted that if he wanted, because it would leave the Church open to having to pay reparations to descendants. I get that. But I wish he had at least acknowledged that the perpetrators were members of the Church, and that even though they acted without the direction of the Church, we feel deeply saddened that some of our own people could have done this terrible act, etc. And that would have set up a nice concession that after that awful massacre, we in the Church take it as a sacred duty to counter extremism and violence. That because this happened in our midst, we are more aware and conscientious than ever, and ask others to join with us in this vigil. Yet his words were: let's let bygones be bygones.

Long example, but I hope it illustrates what I think is the source of angst when these changes occur. Of course we are glad for future generations, but what about the family members who were shut-out from April weddings? Ouch.
"Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another." --Romans 14:13

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LookingHard
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Re: Everything's on the table now

Post by LookingHard » 15 May 2019, 16:26

This blog post was yet another one of Hawkgrrrl's posts that made me thing, "Dang she is insightful." I agree 100% with her assessment and I "felt" it (i.e. very frustrated), but the way she detailed the WHY was spot on.

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Re: Everything's on the table now

Post by Cadence » 15 May 2019, 19:07

Some years ago I had decided to live by my own moral compass. I no longer give the leaders much if any consideration. I do not believe they talk to god any more than I do, which is not at all. I stay a member because it is still who I am and I like my friends in the church.

That said I welcome positive changes. I do not think we should feel resentful if something good happens. Yes it affected us negatively in the past, but moving forward it can be positive.

I can’t change the past, just live in the future. I would hope we choose to live the best we can.


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dande48
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Re: Everything's on the table now

Post by dande48 » 15 May 2019, 19:51

DarkJedi wrote:
15 May 2019, 15:06
It's not necessarily either/or God did it or Moses was a false prophet. There are certainly other points of view, one of which is Moses wasn't speaking as a prophet then and/or the things recorded are his (or the recorder's) opinion.
It wasn't his opinion that it was his opinion. It might be your opinion. But it's a shady authority who calls what they claimed was "truth" to be "opinion", the moment it's proven false.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

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