Don't You Dare Bail--Elder Holland

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Re: Don't You Dare Bail--Elder Holland

Post by Old-Timer » 01 May 2016, 12:40

Honestly, I have the same reaction as Roy, even though I dislike the word choices - but for a different reason:

I have been part of this forum for seven years. Frankly, I have read statements here (and still do, sometimes) that are no different than what he said, only from the other side of the issue.

We can be the ones holding the stones or the ones protecting the woman on the ground - but we lose all moral high ground when we are throwing stones back at the stone throwers.
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Re: Don't You Dare Bail--Elder Holland

Post by nibbler » 01 May 2016, 14:31

Roy wrote:I respectfully ask for someone to explain how this kind of declarations are all that different from what church leaders say all the time?
It probably isn't different than things leaders regularly say but I find that to be a sad commentary on the types of messages that leaders share. I think we're reaching the point where people are beginning to stand up and say "this is wrong and I don't want it to continue anymore, I expect better of my ecclesiastical leaders."

I don't feel like transcribing so I'll paraphrase some portions of the talk:

"What on earth kind of conviction is that?" :: The implication is that people that leave the church have no conviction. I don't want to put words into her mouth but maybe this is where bridget_night feels like he insults people that have gone though hell to navigate a FC prior to leaving the church. Compare this to Uchtdorf's:
Sometimes we assume it is because they have been offended or lazy or sinful. Actually, it is not that simple. In fact, there is not just one reason that applies to the variety of situations. Some of our dear members struggle for years with the question whether they should separate themselves from the Church.
There are better ways to say the same thing without challenging people's conviction.

Later he says "I'll get up here and do a half-gainer over the side. That's a terrific performance. I can tell you're in for a good experience." Here he employs sarcasm and trivializes people's pain. How much are people suffering if they feel like jumping off the boat is preferable to remaining?

It's hard to sugar coat the phrase "I'm so furious with people who <fill in the blank>". He backs off that statement a little then comes back to it.

I think it mostly comes down to tone. His tone didn't help me feel love, even when I don't feel like I'm a part of the group of people in his cross-hairs. That said, pre FC I felt like Holland's pulpit pounding style recharged my batteries, post FC it comes across as anger. For me it's important to remember that Holland still fills the role of battery recharger, it's just that he no longer fills that role for me. Still, it's one thing to pound the pulpit over Adam and Eve and the BoM having to be literal and pounding the pulpit over contemporary people that leave. Adam and Eve probably aren't going to be discussed over Thanksgiving dinner in the same way that a family member leaving the church will.

Ray, you mention throwing stones. When someone in a leadership position (apostle no less) throws a stone I think it sets a bad example for followers, they might be more inclined to do the same with family and friends. Is believing someone threw a stone another way of throwing a stone?

"I'm not going to let you leave it (the church)" :: I guess it's important to remember he is preaching to the choir. Maybe this is interpreted by people in attendance as Holland is going to help me to ensure that I don't fail (a good thing). From the outside looking in it might feel like Holland is guarding the exit like a pack of rabid dogs. ;)

"STAY IN THE BOAT" :evil: :: He said this with so much emotion/force that it almost came across as a threat. Broken record, I feel this is Holland's style. He hasn't changed, I have. The style that used to be a source of strength is now a turn off. Funny how we can do a 180 like that.

"The only thing dumber is for someone else to follow you." :: Implies people have made a dumb decision. I'm sure it probably looks that way from a believing POV.

Paraphrase time: "Did it ever dawn on you, does it ever dawn on me or anybody that god might be tired, Christ might be tired. Certainly in his mortality he's tired. He's sleeping through this storm. ... Everywhere he goes he's tired, it's people, people, people, problems, problems, problems." ::

This is where I felt Holland was projecting. It's interesting to go back and listen to this portion in the context of Holland being Christ and the storm being the problem of people leaving the church. Heck, that may be how he intended it to be interpreted.
Roy wrote:I don't see it as so much as an attack against me and my viewpoint as I see it as an emotionally defensive position around HIS viewpoint.
Yeah, for the most part this is where I am with this talk.
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Re: Don't You Dare Bail--Elder Holland

Post by Roy » 01 May 2016, 15:40

I agree nibbler.

I do believe that the less formal nature of the talk and perhaps the audience laughter allowed Elder Holland to get more hammy in his caricatures of people leaving the church as without convictions and taking ill advised "half-gainers" into stormy sees.

It is ironic that the imagery that he uses is of a storm battered vessel and people choosing to jump ship in the middle of the voyage. It is obvious that they are in for an exhausting battle of storm and surf until they finally succumb to be drown in the depths.

From another perspective, Perhaps some of those that leave were treading water withing the boat itself. They were drowning. Once they left they might find that the outside world was not the horrible death they had been warned about. The whole menacing and ominous storm that had everyone so worried was just a tempest in a teacup.

I find myself less concerned by his words in part because I do not expect anything different. Elder Uchtdorf is the exception that proves the rule. In another part I am not terribly offended because I have some emotional distance from the church. Elder Holland's opinion has no power over me.
nibbler wrote:"I'm not going to let you leave it (the church)" :: I guess it's important to remember he is preaching to the choir. Maybe this is interpreted by people in attendance as Holland is going to help me to ensure that I don't fail (a good thing). From the outside looking in it might feel like Holland is guarding the exit like a pack of rabid dogs.
I remember an apostle making a similar statement at an MTC devotional . He stopped his message and said that he had an impression that some of those present might be considering going home and leaving the mission. He said that if he could he would tear the cables from the sound booth to tie them down if it would help to keep them there. Such was the importance he felt serving a mission would be for their own personal growth and salvation. At the time it felt like genuine concern and caring - dare I say love. The context of a statement and the audience that it was intended for can add perspective to what is said.

You and I are on the same page on this one.
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Re: Don't You Dare Bail--Elder Holland

Post by Ann » 01 May 2016, 22:19

I just don't know what happened. I recall considering him an elegant speaker in his BYU president days.

And I've wished (probably in vain I'm thinking now) that he would develop and express some of the thoughts from his 2007 PBS interview about the church having a place for non-literal believers in the Book of Mormon.

He seems to have changed, but, like Nibbler says, so have we all.
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Re: Don't You Dare Bail--Elder Holland

Post by hawkgrrrl » 01 May 2016, 22:48

This feels like par for the course for E. Holland. He so often speaks through thinly veiled anger. I do struggle to see him as a great example of Christlike behavior as a result, although he is frequently emotional about the atonement also. This talk falls into a trap that I really dislike--going for the cheap laughs at others' expense. Why our congregations go along with it, I do not know. Respect for the mantle? The uncomfortable silence they want to fill? It's not right behavior.

I feel for the leaders who are bewildered and tired and feeling betrayed by those leaving. But it's also important that they acknowledge their role in this departure, and that the church has not been perfect or wise in all its actions. I understand being weary of complaints, but when those complaints fall on systematically deaf ears, when leaders brag about never apologizing (even when it's beyond obvious to every casual observer that some of the policies we've enacted have caused great harm), then it's time to quit pointing fingers at those leaving and time to take a look in the mirror. Members who rejoice in cutting out so-called apostates will be emboldened by this type of speech. Are some of those leaving weak disciples? Sure. So are plenty of those who are staying and pointing fingers at those who are leaving. And some of those leaving feel every bit as weary, heartbroken and betrayed as E. Holland seems to feel.

It's easy to call others childish for leaving when they don't get their way, but it's a bit unsavory when the one saying it is one of the only ones who actually does in fact always get his way (or on the council that does) when it comes to setting policies. For example, gay people leaving due to the policy (and their allies) isn't due to lack of conscience but rather because of conscience.

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Re: Don't You Dare Bail--Elder Holland

Post by SilentDawning » 02 May 2016, 03:52

It's a great example of egocentrism at work. In Stake Priesthood meeting, we had a member of the SP who did the same thing about people who asked to be released from their priesthood callings. His answer was for the member to simply "tell the SP their situation" and let the SP decide. But he was angry about the fact that brethren would ask to be released from their callings. No consideration for privacy issues, no concern for issues like I faced (health issues), only concern that the rank and file members did not appear to be committed to their callings. And heaven forbid if they put the SP to any extra work!!!

Holland's statement "infuriates" me too. Because he doesn't take into account things that deter people that are within the control of the church if only they opened their mind and approached the situation with a little more compassion. Even the BoM says that Corianton's father indicated "when people saw your behavior they wouldn't believe my words". The behavior of rank and file members, and definitely leaders DOES impact commitment, and for that, the institutional church has to take responsibility to maintain its crediblity as an institution with a divine commission.

Here is JRH's statement:
"At 2:10 - "Don’t you dare bail. I am so furious with people who leave this church. I don’t know whether ‘furious’ is a good apostolic word. But I am. What on earth kind of conviction is that? What kind of patty-cake, taffy-pull experience is that? As if none of this ever mattered, as if nothing in our contemporary life mattered, as if this is all just supposed to be “just exactly the way I want it and answer every one of my questions and pursue this and occupy that and defy this – and then maybe I’ll be a Latter-Day Saint”?! Well, there’s too much Irish in me for that."
Not an apostolic moment in my view, and he partly seems to admit it.

I agree that comments that are compassionate tend to be inclusive and coax people back to the fold. Light a warm fire, keep the door open, and avoid banishing us into the naughty room. Angry, unempathetic statements like this only alienate us further and confirm perceptions that a common code produces the unwanted side effect of judgmentalism.
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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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Re: Don't You Dare Bail--Elder Holland

Post by LookingHard » 02 May 2016, 04:55

hawkgrrrl wrote:This feels like par for the course for E. Holland. He so often speaks through thinly veiled anger. I do struggle to see him as a great example of Christlike behavior as a result, although he is frequently emotional about the atonement also. This talk falls into a trap that I really dislike--going for the cheap laughs at others' expense. Why our congregations go along with it, I do not know. Respect for the mantle? The uncomfortable silence they want to fill? It's not right behavior.

I feel for the leaders who are bewildered and tired and feeling betrayed by those leaving. But it's also important that they acknowledge their role in this departure, and that the church has not been perfect or wise in all its actions. I understand being weary of complaints, but when those complaints fall on systematically deaf ears, when leaders brag about never apologizing (even when it's beyond obvious to every casual observer that some of the policies we've enacted have caused great harm), then it's time to quit pointing fingers at those leaving and time to take a look in the mirror. Members who rejoice in cutting out so-called apostates will be emboldened by this type of speech. Are some of those leaving weak disciples? Sure. So are plenty of those who are staying and pointing fingers at those who are leaving. And some of those leaving feel every bit as weary, heartbroken and betrayed as E. Holland seems to feel.

It's easy to call others childish for leaving when they don't get their way, but it's a bit unsavory when the one saying it is one of the only ones who actually does in fact always get his way (or on the council that does) when it comes to setting policies. For example, gay people leaving due to the policy (and their allies) isn't due to lack of conscience but rather because of conscience.
Amen. Very succinctly put.
SilentDawning wrote:comments that are compassionate tend to be inclusive and coax people back to the fold. Light a warm fire, keep the door open, and avoid banishing us into the naughty room. Angry, unempathetic statements like this only alienate us further and confirm perceptions that a common code produces the unwanted side effect of judgmentalism.
I can't let that go without an "amen" also.

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Re: Don't You Dare Bail--Elder Holland

Post by SilentDawning » 02 May 2016, 05:16

Roy wrote: Yes, it is condescending and generalizing. However, it is not terribly different from what I might expect an LDS church leader to say. I don't see it as so much as an attack against me and my viewpoint as I see it as an emotionally defensive position around HIS viewpoint. He cannot validate me without diminishing himself.

I respectfully ask for someone to explain how this kind of declarations are all that different from what church leaders say all the time?
I think it is his tone. First, he is angry about people leaving. That shows an implicit lack of compassion and understanding for people who grow dissaffected, particularly when the triggers are leadership abuse, policies that back you into a corner where you are "damned if you do and damned if you don't", and so many other things the church should at least take SOME responsiblity for.

Second, it's his position -- he even admits that being angry about this may not be apostolic. We can attribute harsh attitudes at the local level to the odd overzealous, unempathetic renegage leader, but when the people at the top start making statements like this, it becomes an "institutional system".

Third, there is a tremendous lack of charity in his statement, and he appears to violate principles of kindness, longsuffering, and patience in his commentary. In addition to some arrogance.

In a mere paragraph, he's done what some local leaders do, but to the power of 10. I've only seen this twice in my lifetime on this scale. Further, although many leaders have the same judgmental attitude as JRH, they often don't say it unless it's in a meeting or behind closed doors. Some are savvy enough to say nothing at all. And others reach out with understanding (a few, in my experience -- very few).

So, combine his negative emotion, his position, and his lack of charity and empathy, you have the antithesis of Uchdorfts "there is room for all" talk that presented a kinder, gentler, more inclusive church than the one JRH has implied here. I think I could probably open up to Uchdorft on some of my dissafection reasons (if I knew he wasn't going to run my SP with it), but JRH? No way. He's closed the door on any helpful discussion with this kind of statement.

The other thing to be mindful of is the perception of cultism by onlookers in the church. Although I know we are not a cult, his statement "don't you dare leave" gets a bit too close to the kind of confining attitudes that bona fide cults use. I would be very careful of saying anything that even broaches or hints that Mormon leaders have similar attitudes toward their members. I would much rather he said how saddened he is when people leave, but ultimately it's our choice -- that God paid a big price for the gift of agency to mankind, that we want to retain people, and want them to find joy in active membership in the kingdom.
"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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Re: Don't You Dare Bail--Elder Holland

Post by SilentDawning » 02 May 2016, 06:01

Old-Timer wrote:Honestly, I have the same reaction as Roy, even though I dislike the word choices - but for a different reason:

I have been part of this forum for seven years. Frankly, I have read statements here (and still do, sometimes) that are no different than what he said, only from the other side of the issue.

We can be the ones holding the stones or the ones protecting the woman on the ground - but we lose all moral high ground when we are throwing stones back at the stone throwers.
Point taken. Naturally, as a likely stone thrower, I have a response. First, we are on the "short end of the stick" as disaffected members. We can't express ourselves openly to local leaders without censure, loss of priviledges, ostracization and sometimes, even negative impact on our marriage. Leadership roulette, and cultural values like the one Holland promulgated above prevent this. Apostles don't seem to have the same consequences for openly "calling us to repentance". In fact, the scriptures justify leaders reproving with sharpness, or rebuking the "unrighteous:. It's clearly not a level playing field so I'm not convinced the same standards apply to both leaders and the struggling rank and file members.

Further, the mission of the site is to help people StayLDS, so if leadership behavior presents an obstacle, there is often a period of grieving and angst when true feelings are shared. I know in my own case, it took a few months of saying the same thing in various shades of anger, disillusionment, and hurt, over and over, before I realized it was old news. Fatigue set in and I grew ready to sit down and problem solve how I might cope -- and found this was the place to get advice and make plans because the people here accepted me. So, people in our shoes need that outlet now and then, and sometimes, it means sharing naked, raw feelings to get past that point. I am not convinced General Conference is a fitting place for an Apostle to do the same.

Second, our comments are directed to interested readers on this forum, and not directly to the apostles. And as you know there are strict site rules about whether we can actually speak directly to the leaders who have given offense (and for good reason). So our comments are not aimed directly at the leaders, and therefore, not as inflammatory as direct statements made by leaders like JRH to people like us. So, I see the inflammatory quotient as much smaller from the stone throwers on this site than the words that come from an Apostle that are aimed right at us, publicly, reinforcing some of the very situations to the TBM members that landed some of here in the first place.

Third, we hold no position power, so, some might argue that we are held to a lesser standard than an apostle.

Also, without the ability to express our angst now and then, how are we any different than apologist sites? What is unique about this site is that it is both supportive, yet accepting of contrarion and sometimes critical ideas. It creates an alternate community ("new ways to stay connected") that allows you to keep your mouth shut at church, and then come home and share those things you can't say locally, here. This benefits the local membership who become insulated from contrarion ideas the leadership would not appreciate, while supporting the unorthodox member in a way the locals cannot normally do. You feel part of a Mormon community, but one that understands you and counterbalances the local one at which you feel like an outsider. I don't know about everyone else, but it helps me stay in the normally uncomfortable middle ground between outright name removal and full activity -- with relative comfort these days. Take away the ability to express anger or disapproval with leadership at all levels, these benefits will not likely exist to the same extent as when you can share what you think, openly.

At the same time, I realize the need to temper criticism of leaders with kindness and charity. If I had more time, I would quote Professor Mauss's paragraph or two on his attitudes toward leaders. The essence of his message is that it's a mixed bag, that in general, he thinks most leaders are well-meaning, are trying to do the right thing, and some are even trying to mediate between directives from higher leaders (which they may not agree with), and the obligation they have to obey them. At the same time, he's appreciated some of the leadership far more than others.

Personally, I try to see the virtue in the leaders we have, and to empathize with them, but I have to confess, I've experienced some leaders that even the TBM membership has a hard time staying quiet about given their many leadership errors and abuses. And there is no where to talk about it openly, and get candid feedback, in a balanced way, than here (that I'm aware of).
"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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Re: Don't You Dare Bail--Elder Holland

Post by flameburns623 » 02 May 2016, 08:24

I have listened to the longer context of this talk, and I just do not hear it the same way.

In the Army, especially in combat, this sort of bold-chested rhetoric is frequently used to shore up the flagging courage of fighting men, to bolster and to embolden them in the heat and sound and fury of battle.

"C'mon you slugs! Forward! What are you? afraid of a few little bullets? Scared of a couple bombs? Come! On! you little sissies! Fight! Did you think you was gonna live forever? Jodie done stole yer girlfriend, ain't nothin' waiting fer ya back home! C'mon! Let's make some of the Enemy die fer their country! C'mon!"

That IMHO, is what Elder Holland was intending. It's how I hear him. Your mileage may vary.

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