Am interested in your take on this.A friend of mine has spent some time speaking with LDS General Authorities about liberal and/or disaffected LDS church members...and this is what he's communicated to me about how they (many of the brethren) currently see folks like me/us. I share this just for your information/edification:
"....[some GAs] have divided the church [membership] up into thirds based on their engagement with historicity issues with the church. The first group hasn't heard of anything and doesn't have the inclination to even probe. The second has heard of some stuff through family/relatives but doesn't really study or know much about it and doesn't care to. The third group is the group who actually cares about the church's truth claims and wants to have their issues discussed/addressed. Anyway, the gist of the discussion is that the church leadership has discovered--to their delight--that this third group is actually the smallest. They've further accepted that this third group is irredeemable and the church would be better off without them."
Not sure if this is true...but it seems feasible...given my experiences and direct interactions over the past few years.
It. Feels. Like. They. Really. Don't. Want. Us.
I could be wrong, but this is how it feels to me....at least right now.
Elder Jensen told me directly once that the church had concluded that most of those who study the history in depth and lose their testimonies never come back to traditional belief/orthodoxy. That's what I believe is meant by "irredeemable." I believe that as a body, the brethren want to see us: 1) paying tithing, 2) fulfilling callings, 3) being active, 4) going to the temple, etc. And when "irredeemable" is used, I believe that it is being used in that context.
So if we're not doing those things, I believe that organizationally....as administrators...we are likely not of much interest to them (at least programatically). Theoretically I am sure that they love and care about everyone...but from a practical/business standpoint....I am starting to believe that they have decided that we are expendable or not worth making much effort towards. I really do believe that organizationally, they value protecting the 99 over going after the one. Their actions tell me this.
To be honest, if I led an organization, I would feel the same way. I'm not saying they are bad/evil/careless people...only that they have likely made a pragmatic business decision that folks like us aren't worth the effort. To me, their words at General Conference (with the exception of Dieter F Uchtdorf), the way they react to Ordain Women, the way the speak about and fight against the rights of LGBT individuals....all make this abundantly clear.
In my view, the very positive changes they have made (e.g., Joseph Smith Papers project, giving women more visibility, mormonsandgays.org, etc.) are to protect the 99...not to reach out to the 1. I'm making assumptions here...but sometimes we have to do that when there isn't more data. From the messages they send during general conference....and from the treatment I've experienced over the past year at the local level.....this seems likely true to me. It's at least the only way I can explain what I see (though I'm open to new perspectives and/or data).
It seems like they only want us if we defer to their authority -- which is highly suspect right now, given their behavior towards those who are in need..
I respect you, of course, if you see things differently. And if you have more data, I'd love you to share it with me.
2013 would suggest otherwise:
- "Help thou mine unbelief" (Holland)
- "Join with us" (Uchtdorf)
- LDS.org essays
- Josephsmithpapersproject gaining prominence (an article on there mentions polyandry)
- People like Dehlin, Brooks, OW movement not getting hauled into church courts (as they would have in the 1990s)
But... do you see it otherwise?
The conference last weekend had some good "non-LDS/Christian" talks, but little for the doubters (that I noticed). The essays have slowed down and some of the latest are not addressing history any more. Is there a change? Or is this just paranoia?
John, like many of us, seems like an emotional yoyo. When he was getting a lot of attention from 70s, stake president and (what sounded like) an audience with a member of the 12 there was positive attitude. Is this a statement of "I don't feel like they care about ME any more," rather than "they don't care about people who doubt in general any more?"