Holding Past Actions Against People and Organizations

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SilentDawning
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Holding Past Actions Against People and Organizations

Post by SilentDawning » 23 Jan 2019, 09:10

OK, something I think long and hard about. When you are in a long-term relationship with someone, the issue of when to stop holding past actions against them is an issue for me. It also applies to organizations, like the church, where there is a long, persistent relationship.

Forgiving 70 X 7 is easier when the relationship is at arm's length than when it is long-term. I know there are extreme situations, like when an arms-length person commits murder or other heinous crimes against us or our loved ones, but those situations are not typical for me personally.

For example, the church did in fact hide church history from us. Not only that, they whitewashed it in the book Truth Restored. This amounts to a kind of untruthfulness that I can't tolerate in the one and only true church led by Christ. It's too Enron for me.

They did do a reversal of sorts with the Gospel Topic Essays, and apparently a bit of reversal with the Saints book everyone is talking about. But have they changed as an organization? If the Internet didn't expose our history and the church's whitewashing thereof, would they have been up front about it out of free will?

So, while I'm not burning up with hate about it, I guess I still hold them accountable for that because in the heart, I am not sure they have actually changed at the top. As someone said in another thread, they are giving up ground they already lost with the Gospel Topic and Saints book, only being honest now because they can't hide the history. If the Internet didn't exist, I believe they would not have become more open about the faults in our history and past leaders. If given the opportunity to suppress new and damning truth about our history, that is not widely disseminated on the Internet, I believe they would still hide it from us rather than let the divinity of the church stand the test.

So, in a close, enduring relationship, is it right to limit involvement over past dishonesties when you don't believe the core character has changed? At what point do we let those past dishonesties go and then embrace the church like we did before the infraction?
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dande48
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Re: Holding Past Actions Against People and Organizations

Post by dande48 » 23 Jan 2019, 10:53

While we should forgive everyone, I believe we should also take their "repentance" into account going forward. Also, forgiveness doesn't mean the sin didn't happen. For example, lets say a person cheated on their spouse, and later repented. Later that person wants to hang out with "friend" from the opposite sex. Maybe go out to dinner, just as friends. Is it right for their spouse to be worried? I think it is. What if the former-cheater responds, "But I have always been faithful to you!", is that right? No. Repented or not, that is a lie.

Forgiveness is about moving past the hurt. It doesn't mean you should keep trusting. It doesn't mean the flaws and weakness of the forgiven are magically gone, nor that you should keep trusting them in the same respect. The Church doesn't repent. It doesn't change its course of action. It seeks to hide its wrongdoings, and when it can't, it seeks to excuse them.

SilentDawning wrote:
23 Jan 2019, 09:10
At what point do we let those past dishonesties go and then embrace the church like we did before the infraction?
I'd say, forgive the Church and let the past hurts go, as much as you can manage. But I won't be able to "embrace" the Church, until the systemic dishonesty stops being a continual problem.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

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Roy
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Re: Holding Past Actions Against People and Organizations

Post by Roy » 23 Jan 2019, 11:14

Forgiveness and boundaries are not mutually exclusive.

Forgiveness for me involves not holding personal rancor.

In my lifetime I have loaned money to people and have not been paid back. In general, I no longer loan money. DW and I have at times provided goods and services (sometimes with the expectation that we be paid back sometimes as a gift). Yet it is always small enough that we can accept not being repaid. If we are not repaid then we now know not to help that particular person in the future. There is no animosity, no rancor, no silent treatment or avoidance - just an additional boundary.

My faith crisis had much to do with my reliance of the "just world hypothesis". I was young and naive. I was a young missionary bearing my fervent testimony to prospective converts. I knew more than I said but I emphasized the positive and downplayed or ommitted the negative. It would be hard for me to be bitter against people that are similar to how I was. I am also regularly reminded of how good these people are - flawed, sometimes thoughtless, somewhat myopic - but generally good. In a day and age when good communities can be hard to find - this can be a solid community. "It takes a village to raise a child" and the church can be a pretty darn good village.

My approach to the church is not too terribly different than with an individual. I set boundaries. The church is the church. One of the things that the church does is push boundaries. Some believe hypothetically that there should not be any boundaries - that we should sacrifice everything on the altar of church service. However, almost everyone understands that in the practical application each individual must prioritize their resources between personal pursuits, family needs, gainful employment, and church participation. There have even been church talks published in the Ensign that give permission to put family and emplyment needs before church service.

Surprise! The church as an organization acts as many other organizations in prioritizing the growth of the organization over competing interists. Surprise! The church gives fairly decent advice on a number of topics but I most likely gave it too much trust and authority over my life decisions.
I take this new information and make adjustments. My goal is to make the best decisions for myself and my family to maximize the potential for a full and happy life.
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On Own Now
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Re: Holding Past Actions Against People and Organizations

Post by On Own Now » 23 Jan 2019, 11:28

The Church still has plenty of issues. However, I find it helpful to keep in mind that the CURRENT Church Leadership is a different group of people from PAST Church Leadership. Are the current leaders responsible for the Ban, polygamy, the Oath of Vengence? Do THEY need to apologize or is it OK for them simply to make changes in a forward-looking manner? If we are promoted to a new position, do we still have to be sorry about what the person in that job in the 1970's did?

For people like us, it's easy to see the Church as an entity that exists in a continuum from 1830 to 2019. We find things we don't like from the past and we see the Church today as the same organization and we want to yell at it. But the Church has evolved. We wouldn't recognize the Church of the 1800's, and I would contend that that is mostly a positive thing.

I do believe in significant ways that the core character of the Church has changed, as have the core characters.
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mom3
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Re: Holding Past Actions Against People and Organizations

Post by mom3 » 23 Jan 2019, 12:29

For me organizations are easier to forgive. Even if they are divinely inspired. I have worked on enough teams, whether that is volunteer or employed, to know that an organization is a full set of group think. Lot's of compromise and most everyone loses something.

Individuals is my issue.

I am huge on forgiveness, if even a person hasn't changed or apologized. However, I don't give it easily when someone flippantly apologizes and doesn't try to change, or if they find themselves above reproach. I can still forgive the church but the person who keeps giving talks about issues that tick me off isn't so lucky.

I get some of the reasons "the church" won't/can't apologize. I have concluded that I would love something like, "We want to thank the members who have continued to connect with us, even when we have areas of disagreement or struggle. Your (insert word) has helped us with our past and heading into the future." - It doesn't need to be an apology, just an acknowledgement.
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dande48
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Re: Holding Past Actions Against People and Organizations

Post by dande48 » 23 Jan 2019, 12:34

On Own Now wrote:
23 Jan 2019, 11:28
If we are promoted to a new position, do we still have to be sorry about what the person in that job in the 1970's did?
I think this is a good analogy. But I'd also say "yes and no". Current Church leadership does not need to take personal responsibility for what early Church leaders did. But with the analogy, if you are a company's representative, you do need to take responsibility for what the company did and continues to do. We see this bad behavior in certain groups and organizations who have become "holocaust deniers" (to use an extreme example). Germany has night and day changed. Europe has changed. Their leaders do not need to take responsibility for what their forefathers did. But if they downplay what really happened...

"It wasn't so bad" (it was)
"America did the same thing to the Japanese" (we didn't)
"Auschwitz had great amenities. There were sports teams, schools..." (if you were German and not a prisoner)

... they're being dishonest and an absolute jerk to those who were hurt. Point is, while no one should take personal responsibility for another's actions, I think the organization should acknowledge past mistakes. Further, we shouldn't glorify, condone, or seek to excuse the mistakes of past leaders. Nor should we hide the past. Nor should we claim infallibility of our own position.
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nibbler
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Re: Holding Past Actions Against People and Organizations

Post by nibbler » 23 Jan 2019, 17:28

SilentDawning wrote:
23 Jan 2019, 09:10
If the Internet didn't expose our history and the church's whitewashing thereof, would they have been up front about it out of free will?

So, while I'm not burning up with hate about it, I guess I still hold them accountable for that because in the heart, I am not sure they have actually changed at the top. As someone said in another thread, they are giving up ground they already lost with the Gospel Topic and Saints book, only being honest now because they can't hide the history. If the Internet didn't exist, I believe they would not have become more open about the faults in our history and past leaders. If given the opportunity to suppress new and damning truth about our history, that is not widely disseminated on the Internet, I believe they would still hide it from us rather than let the divinity of the church stand the test.
Devil's advocate...

I'm sure there were some people in the know that actively suppressed information that they felt might harm people's testimony. Their motives may have been altruistic. They may have been genuinely worried that members would lose faith in what they believed to be the only vehicle that could bring about their salvation. Risking it all on the "imperfections" of revered leaders would be seen as too much of a risk, so they whitewashed it.

I'm willing to entertain that the majority of leaders came online to this information sometime after the ground had been utterly lost, in other words it took losing the ground for them to open their eyes to the new information.
SilentDawning wrote:
23 Jan 2019, 09:10
OK, something I think long and hard about. When you are in a long-term relationship with someone, the issue of when to stop holding past actions against them is an issue for me. It also applies to organizations, like the church, where there is a long, persistent relationship.

Forgiving 70 X 7 is easier when the relationship is at arm's length than when it is long-term. I know there are extreme situations, like when an arms-length person commits murder or other heinous crimes against us or our loved ones, but those situations are not typical for me personally.
I want to borrow from one of my posts in an old thread (True Forgiveness):
nibbler wrote:
07 Apr 2018, 18:30
One category I've struggled with, and the one where I feel it's difficult to find a balance...
It's hard to forgive people when there are chronic issues. Not just one time offenses but a pattern of behavior that has happened in the past, and worse yet, patterns that you fully expect to extend out to the foreseeable future. You know the change isn't going to come, the offenses will continue but you have to dig deep to find a way to forgive... not just past incidents but future ones as well. Like you have to forgive a part of someone that will always be with them as opposed to forgiving a specific act.

I think this is where we get into the struggle; where the ideas of forgiving but not forgetting and the forgiving but closing yourself off from further harm come from. It's not easy. It's never easy. If there was an answer everyone would be doing it and it wouldn't be a struggle. It may take time, let it take time, it's supposed to take time, but continue to work at it.
I think that can apply to the church as well.There are one time events that can be forgiven and there are aspects of the church culture that are probably rooted in human nature, will outlive me, and can be forgiven.

For instance, the church tends to fixate on being the One and Only True Church. A church that fixates on being exclusively correct will have all problems that are associated with being arrogant. The church culture also tends to segregate along lines of perceived righteousness/worthiness. In my opinion that produces victims. I don't see the organizational church moving away from truth claims or excising "worthiness" from the heart of the culture any time soon. So those would be examples of what I talked about in the quoted section above, things that you know aren't going to change but have to find a way to forgive anyway.
SilentDawning wrote:
23 Jan 2019, 09:10
So, in a close, enduring relationship, is it right to limit involvement over past dishonesties when you don't believe the core character has changed?
Absolutely. We all need boundaries.
SilentDawning wrote:
23 Jan 2019, 09:10
At what point do we let those past dishonesties go and then embrace the church like we did before the infraction?
That's a tough question to answer. I think it can be something that just has to run its course, not something that can be forced.

Nelson Mandela said, "As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison."

Someone said, "Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die."

Just throwing those out there. Personally I feel there's a time and a place for anger. Moderation in all things. The trick is to not let it consume you. Easier said than done when injustices are great or when injustices seem to be indefinite.
Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.
— Henry David Thoreau

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Reuben
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Re: Holding Past Actions Against People and Organizations

Post by Reuben » 24 Jan 2019, 01:38

I've been kicking around the idea of never having affective relationships with organizations, which makes the idea of forgiving them moot. I don't mean cutting myself off from belonging to every organization, but fundamentally changing how I think about my relationships with them.

I work for Company X. Do I like Company X? Well, does it like me? That makes no sense. In general, there's no reciprocation of feeling because Company X is a huge machine. Liking Company X, loving it, hating it, resenting it... none of this would ever be reciprocated. Maybe my relationship with Company X should be like my relationship with the computer I use at Company X. I still have normal human relationships with my coworkers, manager, manager's manager, and maybe a distant one with the CEO (whom I do like as a person), just not Company X.

Again, it's a machine, not a person. It's a machine made of people, assets, hierarchy, communication channels, policies and culture, but a machine nonetheless. I'm indifferent to machines.

My little family can be thought of as a machine. It's a much smaller one. I love all the people in it like crazy. They're all different, and I already know that thinking and feeling about them as members of the family before I think and feel about them as individuals can cause prejudice. I'm still trying to determine whether I would lose anything by reframing my relationship with my family (as an independent entity) in a non-affective way. The only thing I've identified is convenience. But thinking of my family as a machine might be too radical for some reason I haven't thought of.

The church is a machine. It doesn't feel. I'm indifferent to machines.
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SamBee
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Re: Holding Past Actions Against People and Organizations

Post by SamBee » 24 Jan 2019, 04:08

Is the church even the same organization that was around when JS was alive? That's contestable, particularly from the period just after his murder. We can certainly draw a line back to BY and claim to be the biggest successor, but the succession was hotly contested and I think BY had to reconstitute things in the chaos.
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dande48
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Re: Holding Past Actions Against People and Organizations

Post by dande48 » 24 Jan 2019, 11:17

SamBee wrote:
24 Jan 2019, 04:08
Is the church even the same organization that was around when JS was alive? That's contestable, particularly from the period just after his murder. We can certainly draw a line back to BY and claim to be the biggest successor, but the succession was hotly contested and I think BY had to reconstitute things in the chaos.
The Church claims it is. And JS claimed "We believe in the same organization that existed in the premitive Church", i.e. back in the times of Jesus, Moses, Abraham, and even Adam. Shouldn't we hold the Church accountable for their claims, even if they aren't true?
"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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