Of Testimonies and Twelve Year Olds

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SilentDawning
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Re: Of Testimonies and Twelve Year Olds

Post by SilentDawning » 20 Jun 2017, 13:46

Originally, I thought I would address it. But I am of the mind now that I would just let it go.

Here are the range of reactions I have seen in similar situations:

Some BP's look uncomfortable -- intentionally -- as a show of tacit disapproval. Some might shake their heads or look up concerned. Others have grasped the arms of their chair in clear white knuckling, as if they are considering bolting up to the podium if it goes on too long. And when the person quits, they relax and show obvious relief it's over.

The congregation does watch the leaders when these things happen, so body language in itself sends a message of disapproval without embarrassing the leader or the speaker.

If I approved of what she was saying, I might sit there looking a bit uncomfortable that she is doing it in that context, but let her finish. As I said, I do think the F&T context is not a good context for expression of openly contrarion positions on doctrine, even if I agree with them. It puts everyone in an awkward position when the statements are in direct opposition to doctrine. And of course, it limits the cruising range of the member making such statements in the future.

Comments such as "I don't believe TSM is a prophet or that JS was a prophet" fall into that camp, as would saying women should hold the priesthood, or that gay people should go to the temple. I am not saying I think those are necessarily false statements, but I am saying they don't fly in the midst of an official meeting of true believers. The organization as a whole will HAVE to take some kind of action if it happens repeatedly. These things might be true statements of the way things are, but that context -- F&T is not the right place to do it for the reasons I just gave.

So, even if I believed those things I would never say them over the pulpit given how uncomfortable and ineffective it is in making change, and the impact it has on the speaker. Remember, the handbook advocates stricter action when contrarion opinions are shared in a widespread fashion that when they are shared only in private. And someone who broadcasts such ideas in F&T might garner a phone call to me, the BP, from the SP with his own idea of how I should handle it.

And I would I would think very seriously about whether I stood up and shut her down. And of course, it's a rat's nest if you start talking afterwards.

The short story is that I hope I'm never in that position. I'd like to hear how others would react, but my hope is that I would just let it go. The leaders have a bit of an "out" because she is very young.

I would not want it recorded, though -- I would have a counselor get off the stand in the meeting and ask the people recording, to not do so. That is true for any situation like this, regardless of the issue.

How would you handle the aftermath? Would you meet with the 12 year old who spoke and their parents? What about the future? If these people are members of the Ward, what might you do afterwards, if anything?
"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

ydeve
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Re: Of Testimonies and Twelve Year Olds

Post by ydeve » 20 Jun 2017, 13:55

SilentDawning wrote:
20 Jun 2017, 12:35
If you were presiding over the meeting in which this happened, how would you have responded?
I'd follow my conscience, praise her for her courage, and probably be released rather quickly. I'm very mentally out and have no respect for people or policies that treat me as subhuman/sub-child-of-god. Yes, I'm bitter, but I'm in a place that continually rubs me raw, and I don't think that forgiveness will be able to come until I'm able to get out.

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SilentDawning
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Re: Of Testimonies and Twelve Year Olds

Post by SilentDawning » 20 Jun 2017, 13:58

ydeve wrote:
20 Jun 2017, 13:55
SilentDawning wrote:
20 Jun 2017, 12:35
If you were presiding over the meeting in which this happened, how would you have responded?
I'd follow my conscience, praise her for her courage, and probably be released rather quickly. I'm very mentally out and have no respect for people or policies that treat me as subhuman/sub-child-of-god. Yes, I'm bitter, but I'm in a place that continually rubs me raw, and I don't think that forgiveness will be able to come until I'm able to get out.
I get it. I still have the ability to interpret situations from the perspective of the establishment, and can visualize with the plight of leaders when they are subject to the handbook, culture, and pressure from above. This is without necessarily agreeing with those perspectives. And that is influencing how I see this situation, notwithstanding the 12 year old's desire to assert her beliefs about her worth and self-acceptance. I see that too.
"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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SilentDawning
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Re: Of Testimonies and Twelve Year Olds

Post by SilentDawning » 20 Jun 2017, 13:59

SilentDawning wrote:
20 Jun 2017, 13:58
ydeve wrote:
20 Jun 2017, 13:55
SilentDawning wrote:
20 Jun 2017, 12:35
If you were presiding over the meeting in which this happened, how would you have responded?
I'd follow my conscience, praise her for her courage, and probably be released rather quickly. I'm very mentally out and have no respect for people or policies that treat me as subhuman/sub-child-of-god. Yes, I'm bitter, but I'm in a place that continually rubs me raw, and I don't think that forgiveness will be able to come until I'm able to get out.
I get it. I still have the ability to interpret situations from the perspective of the establishment, and can visualize with the plight of leaders when they are subject to the handbook, culture, and pressure from above. This is without necessarily agreeing with those perspectives. And that is influencing how I see this situation, notwithstanding the 12 year old's desire to assert her beliefs about her worth and self-acceptance. I see that too.
How would you handle the aftermath? Would you meet with the 12 year old who spoke and their parents? What about the future? If these people are members of the Ward, what might you do afterwards, if anything?
"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

ydeve
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Re: Of Testimonies and Twelve Year Olds

Post by ydeve » 20 Jun 2017, 14:18

SilentDawning wrote:
20 Jun 2017, 13:59
How would you handle the aftermath? Would you meet with the 12 year old who spoke and their parents? What about the future? If these people are members of the Ward, what might you do afterwards, if anything?
I don't think that anything a local leader can do will have any long-term effect on whether or not an LGBT individual stays in the church. Like I said above, the Q15 have set things up so that we must choose between being damned in the garden of Eden and leaving so we can live up to our full potential. But it can have a huge effect on their self-worth. I would be as supportive and affirming as I can and stand up for her to ward members, and like I said, it would get me released very quickly. But at least this girl would have heard a church leader affirm her worth as a daughter of God.

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Reuben
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Re: Of Testimonies and Twelve Year Olds

Post by Reuben » 20 Jun 2017, 14:29

I think it's understandable that he was asked to cut her off, given how so many members feel so intensely persecuted by the normalization of homosexuality. Her message didn't contain just your average, everyday doctrinal mistake or personal disagreement. It contained a rejection of one of the Church's key differentiators, and of possibly the doctrinal hill it's chosen to die on. The message from Salt Lake is clear: gay marriage is Satan's counterfeit, deviously designed to deceive the very elect and lead them carefully down to hell. Fear of such terrible outcomes led to the mic cutoff, probably rationalized as having been done to keep virulent thought diseases from being transmitted from the pulpit to impressionable youth.

Dogma before love. Loyalty before truth. Sanctity and certainty before knowledge. The Church has all of this bass-ackwards. It even thinks the persecution is going exactly the wrong direction.

Part of me wants this to blow up badly enough to induce change. I have to keep reminding myself that my parents wanted something terrible to happen to my sister to drive her back to the Church, and in both cases it's just vengeance. Couldn't something wonderful happen to induce change instead? Besides, the last thing gay kids in this church need is more entrenchment.

I still want to see copycats, though.
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Love before dogma. Truth before loyalty. Knowledge before certainty.

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SilentDawning
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Re: Of Testimonies and Twelve Year Olds

Post by SilentDawning » 20 Jun 2017, 15:28

Reuben wrote:
20 Jun 2017, 14:29
I think it's understandable that he was asked to cut her off, given how so many members feel so intensely persecuted by the normalization of homosexuality. Her message didn't contain just your average, everyday doctrinal mistake or personal disagreement. It contained a rejection of one of the Church's key differentiators, and of possibly the doctrinal hill it's chosen to die on. The message from Salt Lake is clear: gay marriage is Satan's counterfeit, deviously designed to deceive the very elect and lead them carefully down to hell. Fear of such terrible outcomes led to the mic cutoff, probably rationalized as having been done to keep virulent thought diseases from being transmitted from the pulpit to impressionable youth.
Right -- this perspective is one the church holds whether we like it or not. So, if we are trying to understand why the leaders acted the way they did, we have to look at it from their perspective.

I think the general tone on this forum is that we would like the church to be more inclusive, but unfortunately, that ain't happening. And so, leaders act this way out of existing doctrine and belief to which they have subscribed.

A non-member looking in, or someone who has written off the church in their own minds, or someone who doesn't understand the imperatives the leaders are under -- these people would be indignant, and many here would not blame the non-members or disaffected for that sentiment.

But I understand why the leaders did what they did given a) the doctrine b) the expectations of TBM on whom they depend for support in the ward and c) the watchful eye of high councilors, stake leaders, and the church as a whole if the video is viral. All these factors put pressure on them to act when someone decides to go totally contrarion in our "premiere" meeting of the week.

I am very surprised members are calling for the Stake Leaders resignation...unless this happened in a very liberal Ward, I would think most TBM members would be supportive or at least tolerant of what the leaders did when the 12 year old girl spoke.

Now, I have a question -- as a Stake leader, would you get more criticism for shutting down the testimony when you SHOULD NOT HAVE, or letting the girl speak the full time when you should not have? Which would cause the least harm?
"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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hawkgrrrl
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Re: Of Testimonies and Twelve Year Olds

Post by hawkgrrrl » 20 Jun 2017, 17:56

I don't think that anything a local leader can do will have any long-term effect on whether or not an LGBT individual stays in the church. Like I said above, the Q15 have set things up so that we must choose between being damned in the garden of Eden and leaving so we can live up to our full potential.
I agree with this.

If the church comes out with an instruction to local leaders on this, either as a result of this publicity or copycats, I'd expect them to be non-interventionist. F&T is basically open mic time. Nothing anybody says is authoritative or binding on the members, and it's just one person's feelings. No harm in that, almost no matter what they say. For the leader to shut her down makes him look weak and bad. It's a dick move. It's regrettable he felt that was the right thing to do because it probably would have blown over by now if he hadn't tried to kill the grease fire with water. Even if it hadn't blown over, the story could have been that people were loving and understanding toward a 12 year old girl even if they don't agree.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Of Testimonies and Twelve Year Olds

Post by Curt Sunshine » 24 Jun 2017, 11:40

Elder Christofferson said officially in 2015 that members can support gay marriage, including on social media and marching in Gay Pride parades, as long as they are not actively attacking the LDS Church and trying to pull people away from membership.

Based on that, nothing should have been done by the local leadership in this girl's case. She should have been allowed to finish her testimony.
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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Reuben
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Re: Of Testimonies and Twelve Year Olds

Post by Reuben » 25 Jun 2017, 02:57

Curt Sunshine wrote:
24 Jun 2017, 11:40
Elder Christofferson said officially in 2015 that members can support gay marriage, including on social media and marching in Gay Pride parades, as long as they are not actively attacking the LDS Church and trying to pull people away from membership.

Based on that, nothing should have been done by the local leadership in this girl's case. She should have been allowed to finish her testimony.
This was before the November policy update, right? I think that even if the Church's position on SSM advocacy hasn't officially changed, its position is de facto different now. There's been a lot of boundary drawing and persecution rhetoric since Elder Christofferson's statement.

But I'm all for cherry-picking statements that represent the position I think the Church ought to have. Doing so is especially helpful when communicating with less nuanced members. Thanks for the reminder.

We have a term for expressing nuanced views in language acceptable to all members: sheepese. Is there a term for recognizing the Church as it is, but emphasizing evidence that suggests that it's already what we want it to be? Cherry-picking is accurate but has negative connotations. Maybe something with the word "aspirational" in it?

Or is this just another aspect of sheepese?
My intro

Love before dogma. Truth before loyalty. Knowledge before certainty.

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