Has the church really changed

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Cadence
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Has the church really changed

Post by Cadence » 09 Jun 2019, 09:08

Lots of talk about all the rapid changes lately. For the record I support all of them and find it refreshing. Especially not having to wait a year to go to the temple. That always bugged me.

But really has anything fundamentally changed? A few policies and procedures for sure but the power structure remains intact. Everything is still top down with no local input. 15 aged white men still make every decision. Maybe that is a good thing to keep things going in a unified direction but never is a good system for real change.

I guess the real question is fundamental change even needed? I guess that would be a debate many would have.


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SilentDawning
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Re: Has the church really changed

Post by SilentDawning » 09 Jun 2019, 11:06

Cadence wrote:
09 Jun 2019, 09:08
Lots of talk about all the rapid changes lately. For the record I support all of them and find it refreshing. Especially not having to wait a year to go to the temple. That always bugged me.

But really has anything fundamentally changed? A few policies and procedures for sure but the power structure remains intact. Everything is still top down with no local input. 15 aged white men still make every decision. Maybe that is a good thing to keep things going in a unified direction but never is a good system for real change.

I guess the real question is fundamental change even needed? I guess that would be a debate many would have.


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A lot of small changes aggregate to big change. I believe RMN and our past prophet have made a lot of changes that are significant...

priesthood ban disavowal
elevating role of women in leadership decision-making
HT changes
2 hour church
One Year Waiting Period gone
new Hymns coming...
I'm sure we can add other things...

Yes, we still have a gerontocracy, and they are 15 aged men. But I think, given the "blinded by faith" problem that leads to a kind of unconscious arrogance about the divinity of their opinions we spoke of in another thread, these changes are significant. The Internet affords a very rich place to get broad-based input from groups within the church. I believe, rightly or wrongly, some of the recent changes were things we have written here at StayLDS -- not as a movement, but just as opinion. I heard one Apostle even quote something that had its genesis in the Bloggernacle (Members have the right to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience).

So, I do think there have been some pretty sweeping changes, and the church has fundamentally changed.

There are a lot of other things that could change, but there always will be.
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Curt Sunshine
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Re: Has the church really changed

Post by Curt Sunshine » 09 Jun 2019, 12:39

The changes in sex/gender language in the temple is huge.

Going to two hours for Sunday meetings is big.

The removal of the sealing wait period is almost immeasurable.

There are a lot of little changes. Aggregated, they can be seen as big or small, depending on perspective.

In the end, I think this will be seen radically differently, all across the spectrum, by members of all activity levels.
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.

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nibbler
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Re: Has the church really changed

Post by nibbler » 09 Jun 2019, 14:05

Some changes are more immediate but I think it will take time before other changes start to have an effect on established culture.

1 year wait period: Short term I imagine most couples doing what we've done historically, make a combined marriage/sealing in the temple the priority. Given time we may move to where couples default to separating marriages and sealings to make the marriage ceremony more inclusive.

Ministering: Our area still talks about ministering using the exact same language as we used when we talked about home teaching. Frankly I don't know what it will take to change the culture of this program... at least where I live.

What has changed with ministering: There are less in-home visits, though we still stress them and some families expect them. We often set goals where ministers are expected to do an in-home visit.
What's more or less the same about ministering: Reporting. Now instead of reporting via a call or email once a month there's another meeting to attend once every three months.
What hasn't changed with ministering: I thought the spirit of the change was to focus on helping people with their needs but we're still using the program to check up on people to ensure they're meeting the church's needs. Maybe those are one and the same for a lot of people but it's hard for me to have any enthusiasm at all about a program where the only reason for the contact is to find out how my family is doing with some stake goal that has been imposed on us.

2 hour church: A welcome change. One that has more immediate effects. I hope we're open to tweaking the formula and we don't lock the current formula down for the next 30 years.

The shift to two hours was mostly positive but there was one change that has actually made the Sunday experience more difficult for me. We got rid of announcements, hymns, and an opening prayer to kick off the 2nd hour. It makes for 50 minutes of instruction. I'm sure the boys in Salt Lake are happy that we all have more time for indoctrination (and I don't use that term pejoratively) but it's been 5 months now, we've mostly settled in, and from my experience over the last 5 months... we really struggle to fill 50 minutes with material.

Is increased indoctrination time really a concern for people that have had or will have decades of exposure to the doctrines? The doctrines are very finite, attend for 6 months or so and it all starts to become repetitive. Especially when we're doing things like reading conference talks. Especially when it's less of a discussion and more a means to ensure everyone ends up on the same page with beliefs.

It's been an experiment for me. When it was the 3 hour block I went home after SM. It was the easier choice. With the 2 hour block I find it easier to stay for both hours. But the issues I had with the 2nd and 3rd hours haven't been addressed, we just alternate which one we do each Sunday, and my issues have even been exacerbated by increasing the time we spend on the indoctrination portion by anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes. I could still go home after SM like I did with the 3 hour block, but with the reduced block it becomes tempting to not go at all. [shrugs]

Lots of words to say that the changes have had a few immediate effects and I expect them to have more effects a generation from now as the people married to the old ways forget them or the people married to the old ways take a less prominent place in the culture.

nibbler
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Re: Has the church really changed

Post by nibbler » 09 Jun 2019, 14:21

Cadence wrote:
09 Jun 2019, 09:08
But really has anything fundamentally changed? A few policies and procedures for sure but the power structure remains intact. Everything is still top down with no local input. 15 aged white men still make every decision. Maybe that is a good thing to keep things going in a unified direction but never is a good system for real change.
Maybe.

Some years ago I gave myself permission to do church how I want to do church instead of taking the package deal. Maybe some of these changes will inspire members to do the same.

Before the move to the 2 hour block I knew lots and lots of people that were desperate for it. I wanted a shorter block too and my solution was to shorten my block, I started doing SM only. Other people waited patiently for an official change.

Similarly I see people that are anxious for an official announcement to remove coffee and tea from the WoW. I'm also starting to see more and more rank and file members deciding for themselves that they can drink coffee and tea and still consider themselves compliant with the WoW. They're making the change for themselves and not waiting for permission.

I hope that's the lesson people take away, that it's okay to make the church experience one that works for you without waiting around decades for the desired change to become official... if it ever comes.

That said, there are many other things about the church that no one has control over. Don't like the curriculum for PH/RS? Tough cookies. The only autonomy you have is which conference talk you read, and even then the local top down leadership decide which talk.

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mom3
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Re: Has the church really changed

Post by mom3 » 09 Jun 2019, 16:34

They're making the change for themselves and not waiting for permission.
I am seeing this inch by inch, whether it's one hour church or no taking callings.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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mom3
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Re: Has the church really changed

Post by mom3 » 09 Jun 2019, 16:44

But really has anything fundamentally changed?
Not directly. What it has done, I believe, is open the door to those types of changes. Question will be whether the next few guys in line will do it. I wouldn't say I am an RMN fan, but I give him kudo's for moving things. He is also, at 94 years old, out and about. Both of those images bode well for future change.

I also have a lot of hope in the non-Utah guys coming into the Q12.

The church is a ton different from what it was in my youth. It has a long way to go. I watch with piqued curiosity.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

BJE
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Re: Has the church really changed

Post by BJE » 09 Jun 2019, 17:13

Policies and programs have changed but the church and its doctrine have not changed.

I read one cynical comment that said that changes in church policy are being driven from the ground up rather than the top down. In other words the changes are a reaction to demands from the members. I can’t say whether or not that is true.

I think recent changes to the garments are a result of member complaints.

asher
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Re: Has the church really changed

Post by asher » 09 Jun 2019, 20:08

There are examples throughout history where majority of change is gradual and at times not realized within a generation. One example is Jason Lind, British medical officer, in 1747 through a “controlled trial” discovered vitamin C cured sailors’ scurvy. It was major breakthrough, yet it took 44 years for it to become practiced on ships consistently. A change that if implemented sooner could have saved up to 200,000 lives. Change is difficult for individuals/communities and organizations.

It seems that why some changes (2 hour meeting) have immediate change,(though will be interesting 20 years from now how that change truly affects members and the church). The majority of changes seem to happen over generations. Has any research been done on church history to see if there where groups/underlying philosophies that helped mold the change of priesthood/polygamy ect. And what will things look like 50 years from now because of blogs, movements, podcasts. Changes that impact the “unfolding of the restoration of fullness of times”.

BJE
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Re: Has the church really changed

Post by BJE » 10 Jun 2019, 05:22

asher wrote:
09 Jun 2019, 20:08
Has any research been done on church history to see if there where groups/underlying philosophies that helped mold the change of priesthood/polygamy ect. And what will things look like 50 years from now because of blogs, movements, podcasts. Changes that impact the “unfolding of the restoration of fullness of times”.
I think the biggest influence for change in polygamy was the fact that laws were past against it and had it continued the government would have seized church assets.

I think the biggest influence for change of the priesthood ban was the fact that the São Paulo, Brasil Temple was being built but there weren’t enough white members to operate it. Missionaries were being trained as temple officiators. The local people who contributed to it being built were banned from entering. This influenced the prophet to seek counsel from The Lord on whether the ban should be lifted.

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