John Dehlin on GA's attitude towards doubting Mormons

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wornoutsneakers
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Re: John Dehlin on GA's attitude towards doubting Mormons

Post by wornoutsneakers » 08 Apr 2014, 19:17

SilentDawning wrote:I felt slightly depressed when I read what John wrote. Is it true? That they see us kind of like the 3rd that was cast out? I don't think so, programmatically, as when I was HPGL they always were after me to chase after the inactive people. I eventually developed an attitude they were irretreivable since after visiting over 100 homes, they only people who came back were the ones who decided to on their own, and independent of any reactivation efforts we made.

I believed that we need to have good programs in place so when people to return to church, they have a positive experience.

However, I do believe the church in general (its members in general) are after short term results. They want to report at a meeting they talked to someone and "challenged" them to be active, addressed a concern, got someone out, or just plain did something to help someone less active. They are so busy they don't have time to invest in long-term relationships unless they truly click with someone.

So, while I think the GA's do in fact care about us, the culture puts us on the back burner since rarely does anyone see activity or improvement in their metrics when they go after people who have testimony or other commitment issues.
Silent Dawning, I had a similiar experience in my ward. I went out and visited with several hundred less active single adults in my ward last summer and fall. Out of the hundreds i visited in person and tried to reactivate, only 3 came back. One has since become inactive again. And to also refer to what Dark Jedi wrote i believe...many of the interactions were very abrupt and full of conflict. I was able to get the Single Adult Rep to go out with me a few times and the Elder and Sister Missionaries on several different occasions. It always amazed me how impressed the members of the Ward were with my efforts. Like they couldnt understand what my reasoning was almost. I kept getting asked "did someone assign you this job?" Which of course, the answer was no. What really frustrated me though was that every 2 weeks i would type up a report of my efforts and relay that information to the Bishopric. They were happy that i was doing their work as they jokingly said, and i was told it would be discussed in the High Priests meeting i believe...but would you believe they did NOTHING with my work. No one went back out and talked to the people that told me they wanted their records removed, no one followed up with the members that wanted to talk to their Home or Visiting Teacher, nothing was done. I got so fed up that i quit. What was the point in gathering all this information if no one cared to followup? But if a FAMILY was possibly interested in coming back the Bishop bent over backwards to try to activate them again. It just reinforced my belief that families are valued more than single adults. And many single adults in my ward share that opinion.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: John Dehlin on GA's attitude towards doubting Mormons

Post by Curt Sunshine » 08 Apr 2014, 20:25

I am quite certain he is wrong, and I am certain about few things.

John is mercurial, for whatever reason. I love him, but he isn't . . . stable doesn't say what I mean, but there is something that is volatile.
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

Ann
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Re: John Dehlin on GA's attitude towards doubting Mormons

Post by Ann » 08 Apr 2014, 22:20

I wonder why he feels this way right now, but he probably shouldn't say. He said, "maybe I'm wrong." Hope so!
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

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nibbler
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Re: John Dehlin on GA's attitude towards doubting Mormons

Post by nibbler » 09 Apr 2014, 05:05

wornoutsneakers wrote:Silent Dawning, I had a similiar experience in my ward. I went out and visited with several hundred less active single adults in my ward last summer and fall. Out of the hundreds i visited in person and tried to reactivate, only 3 came back. One has since become inactive again. And to also refer to what Dark Jedi wrote i believe...many of the interactions were very abrupt and full of conflict. I was able to get the Single Adult Rep to go out with me a few times and the Elder and Sister Missionaries on several different occasions. It always amazed me how impressed the members of the Ward were with my efforts. Like they couldnt understand what my reasoning was almost. I kept getting asked "did someone assign you this job?" Which of course, the answer was no. What really frustrated me though was that every 2 weeks i would type up a report of my efforts and relay that information to the Bishopric. They were happy that i was doing their work as they jokingly said, and i was told it would be discussed in the High Priests meeting i believe...but would you believe they did NOTHING with my work. No one went back out and talked to the people that told me they wanted their records removed, no one followed up with the members that wanted to talk to their Home or Visiting Teacher, nothing was done. I got so fed up that i quit. What was the point in gathering all this information if no one cared to followup? But if a FAMILY was possibly interested in coming back the Bishop bent over backwards to try to activate them again. It just reinforced my belief that families are valued more than single adults. And many single adults in my ward share that opinion.
Wow, solid effort. Good job on your part. A few thoughts:

1) Even if only one out of 100 comes back I think that makes all that effort worth it, even if it doesn't seem that way.

2) It requires a small miracle to convince local leaders to start the process to get someone's name removed from the records of the church. A leader will want to give the person more time to make what to them represents a decision that carries eternal consequences. A leader believes that allowing someone to remove their name from the records is giving up on them and that we simply need to love them more. Loving them more usually translates into something other than leaving them alone so attempts at loving them more often has the opposite effect, it drives people even further away. Leaders are released; the new leader coming in doesn't know that Brother Jones requested his name be removed 2 years ago and that it didn't happen. The new leader makes Brother Jones a project and the cycle reboots. Leaders eventually get burnt out in the ministry which results in local leaders not following up on reports that a well meaning member provides. ;)

At the heart of the matter the leaders do love the people but the application of that love is a bit misguided. From the perspective of the leader they know god's truth and the leader knows that a person that wants to remove their name from the records of the church is wrong. That means their name must stay on the records... if we truly love them. The church would do well in being quicker at honoring people's wishes, honoring their agency. Refusing to remove people from the records of the church or being slow in doing so is just burning bridges.

Combining this thread with some ideas in the accountability thread... maybe removing your name from the records should be as simple as logging on to lds.org and making an official request, complete with an optional survey. Maybe that's not the best of ideas because of accidents, hacking, etc., but the process has to be easier. There's too many people out there that have made an unhonored request that turn beet red (and for good reason) when someone from the church comes knocking again. It's bad for the person being visited and it's bad for the person making the visit. Time to fix it.
Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.
— Hippocrates

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mackay11
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Re: John Dehlin on GA's attitude towards doubting Mormons

Post by mackay11 » 09 Apr 2014, 05:37

nibbler wrote: Combining this thread with some ideas in the accountability thread... maybe removing your name from the records should be as simple as logging on to lds.org and making an official request, complete with an optional survey. Maybe that's not the best of ideas because of accidents, hacking, etc., but the process has to be easier. There's too many people out there that have made an unhonored request that turn beet red (and for good reason) when someone from the church comes knocking again. It's bad for the person being visited and it's bad for the person making the visit. Time to fix it.
It is easy. You can write directly to the local church office in your country/region and they will remove your name within about 48 hours. They have to for data protection reasons in a lot of countries. My friend resigned and had his name removed immediately after he had written to the local church office.

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nibbler
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Re: John Dehlin on GA's attitude towards doubting Mormons

Post by nibbler » 09 Apr 2014, 05:40

Interesting. My experience has been that people requesting removal get caught up in the "one more try" cycle.

Thanks for the info.
Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.
— Hippocrates

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DarkJedi
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Re: John Dehlin on GA's attitude towards doubting Mormons

Post by DarkJedi » 09 Apr 2014, 05:55

nibbler wrote:Interesting. My experience has been that people requesting removal get caught up in the "one more try" cycle.

Thanks for the info.
My experiences have been similar. I believe SOP in the US is that requests sent to church headquarters are generally sent back to the SP, unless there has been a recent change.
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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GodisLove
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Re: John Dehlin on GA's attitude towards doubting Mormons

Post by GodisLove » 09 Apr 2014, 06:26

I don't know John Dehlin but I do know where he lives. Local leaders for him would tough. I don't know exactly the circumstances or details he is referring to, but in this area there is a mentality to "fix them". If you can't be fixed then you are at danger of hurting others.

I can totally see them being done with him. Especially if they have read or heard any of his stuff...in my opinion of course.
Not one Sparrow is forgotten
E'en the raven God will feed
And the lily of the valley
From His bounty hath its need

Then shall I not trust Thee, Father
In Thy mercy have a share?
And through faith and prayer, my Mother
Merit Thy protecting care?
Shaker Hymnal 1908

Curt Sunshine
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Re: John Dehlin on GA's attitude towards doubting Mormons

Post by Curt Sunshine » 09 Apr 2014, 07:09

Yes, there is a local influence, absolutely.
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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DevilsAdvocate
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Re: John Dehlin on GA's attitude towards doubting Mormons

Post by DevilsAdvocate » 09 Apr 2014, 07:31

I don't think it's a matter of GAs not caring about or wanting disaffected members to stay in the Church at all as much as them simply not knowing what to do about members that don't necessarily buy into the idea that the Church speaks for God in an authoritative way. Basically it seems like their interpretation of the parable about leaving the 99 and trying to bring back the one lost sheep is that the one needs to be almost exactly like the 99 in terms of testimony, paying tithing, obeying the WoW, wearing garments, etc. and if not there is supposedly no point because the sheep is still lost. So if you want to hang around it seems like your best bet is to simply keep quiet about any disagreements with the Church as much as possible because it will typically not be received well. Least of all would I expect Church leaders to make radical changes anytime soon based mostly on what a minority of bleeding-heart liberal activists would like to see as long as the majority of active members are sill relatively conservative and aren't nearly as concerned about any pet causes like this.

Where I think they could be miscalculating if these rumors are true is that even if disaffected members that actually care about historical/doctrinal issues are greatly outnumbered by active members that don't pay attention to and/or care that much about these issues that doesn't necessarily mean they will just go away quietly. In many cases it will strain family relationships and/or they will take as many of their family with them as possible. So not only will the overbearing pressure to conform not ever win over the hearts of members like this in many cases it will turn them specifically against the Church. Some members that would have put up with the Church for their own sake specifically wanted to get out mostly because they thought it would be bad for their children to indoctrinate them according to the current LDS traditions. I understand if they don't want to make radical changes in doctrine but it seems like they could easily reduce the aggravation to less faithful members simply by shifting the emphasis as far as which existing doctrines they focus on the most and tweaking a few things like worthiness interviews, tithing settlement, callings and meetings, etc. to make them less dependent on unquestioning confidence in the Church going forward.
"Truth is what works." - William James

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