Ex-Bishop Up for Disciplinary Council Regarding Minor Interview Outspeak

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Curt Sunshine
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Re: Ex-Bishop Up for Disciplinary Council Regarding Minor Interview Outspeak

Post by Curt Sunshine » 24 Sep 2018, 17:43

If his objective included the complete elimination of Leader-Youth interviews, probably not - at least not in the near future. In a real way, that would be like pressuring the Catholic Church to stop having priest-member confessions, even though there are obvious differences.
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

DoubtingTom
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Re: Ex-Bishop Up for Disciplinary Council Regarding Minor Interview Outspeak

Post by DoubtingTom » 24 Sep 2018, 18:18

Curt Sunshine wrote:
24 Sep 2018, 12:30

He decided he wanted more - specifically, everything he wanted. Nothing less. To try to get it, he crossed the line of no return - and what happened was predictable and understandable. Right? Wrong? I can't say, since that is a very subjective decision. It was completely predictable and understandable...

Sam forced an excommunication. I want to stay. To each his or her own. We are here to help those who want to stay.
What I can’t wrap my head around and what boggles my mind is why speaking out publicly necessarily leads to excommunication. This form of public punishment seems so barbaric and the opposite of Christ like ministering. Is the church so insecure in itself that any open challenge to its authority is dealt with by kicking the challenger to the curb? Why should Sam’s actions be a forced excommunication? Because he wouldn’t get in line? Asinine!! And keep in mind he was just openly challenging a policy - not the authority of the leadership directly. A challenge to a policy is cause for excommunication?

I think of the Boston Globe reporters who exposed the Catholic church in the movie Spotlight. They were Catholics and none were excommunicated. The church leadership could ignore Sam like they did with his hunger strike if they wanted. They didn’t have to excommunicate. Their hand was not forced - they chose to discipline in the way they did. I think it is shameful.

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Re: Ex-Bishop Up for Disciplinary Council Regarding Minor Interview Outspeak

Post by Curt Sunshine » 24 Sep 2018, 18:51

There is an important difference between the two examples: The reporters who exposed the actions of the Catholic priests didn't turn around and demand the Catholic Church change any of its core "religious" practices - like eliminating confessions or the existence of altar boys or all interactions with male youth. They simply exposed the corruption, so the Catholic Church could focus on that corruption and fix "non-religious" issues. (I know those actions can be attributed to organizational structure, which can be lumped in with traditional religious practices, but they are separate in the eyes of the believers, including leaders.)

Sam didn't stop where they did, and he only got excommunicated when he pushed beyond where they stopped. He didn't just "speak out publicly". His original activities (speaking out publicly) led to awareness and open dosucussion of a serious issue (ecclesiastical abuse), as well as necessary practical changes. That wasn't enough for him; he wanted the complete end of a core "religious" practice. He made it clear he wasn't going to accept anything less than that, and he took an extreme step to challenge the leadership to see it his way that went FAR beyond speaking out.

I have said multiple times that I dislike how often we use excommunication in the LDS Church and how subjective it can be. However, openly fighting against any organization and demanding it do things your way, and highlighting your resolve by intentionally making it a public fight, is not going to allow you to stay an accepted member of that organization. The Catholic Church draws that line regularly, as well, as does every other religion and denomination - and perhaps every organization of any kind

We talk of breaking points and tipping points because they exist and can't be avoided if someone is determined to cross them.
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

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Ex-Bishop Up for Disciplinary Council Regarding Minor Interview Outspeak

Post by Curt Sunshine » 24 Sep 2018, 18:58

This is just an opinion based on decades of studying history and people, but I think in the end Sam wanted to leave the Church - but he wanted to be a martyr for his cause. If he resigned or walked away, that wouldn't happen, so he had to get excommunicated. I am quite certain he knew what would happen, and he chose to make it happen.

That is not a condemnation of him or his actions. Truly, it is not. It just is a recognition that he didn't want to stay involved from the inside, but he didn't want to leave on his own. He wanted to be kicked out. That was important to him.

To each his or her own, but if there is "fault" in his excommunication he shares every bit as much as the Church does. I don't use "fault" in situations like this; I use "mutual responsibility".
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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LookingHard
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Re: Ex-Bishop Up for Disciplinary Council Regarding Minor Interview Outspeak

Post by LookingHard » 24 Sep 2018, 19:28

I am not sure Sam "wanted" to be ex'ed, but I do think he was "willing" to be ex'ed.

I do think one other thing at play that he probably got caught up in is the same thing that John Dehlin found, but Sam's probably was harder.

John mentioned that after he started getting some attention, he was flooded with people that wanted to share their story - not necessarily recorded for the podcast, but they had to get it off their chest. He said if he was heading to a city, he would get people that said, "Let me drive you from the airport to your appointment just so I can talk." Hearing so many people's pain will have an impact on you.

With Sam he has a book with 100's of reports. I know for a fact that some people have flow to go visit with him face to face just so they can tell their heartbreaking stories of abuse. I think I would be brought to anger and say, "I can't rest until I do everything in my power to stop this." That anger may have blinded him from seeing maybe the most effective long-term strategy, but I for one can't say for sure that he is doing what God wants him to do.

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Re: Ex-Bishop Up for Disciplinary Council Regarding Minor Interview Outspeak

Post by mom3 » 24 Sep 2018, 21:43

I just read a CNN piece on this. The link isn't working right now. Sorry.

In it they did mentioned that David Todd Christofferson wrote Sam or told Sam he read the book and that it was heart wrenching/breaking. (Wish I'd grabbed the quote before I closed the page).

I have faith in the slow movements of this effort. Perhaps Elder Christofferson will keep the needle moving on this issue.

Found it.
He said, however, that he did receive a message from apostle David Todd Christofferson, delivered through Hruska, that he had read all of the victims' testimonies and considered them "tragic."
https://edition.cnn.com/2018/09/24/us/m ... municated/
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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Re: Ex-Bishop Up for Disciplinary Council Regarding Minor Interview Outspeak

Post by AmyJ » 25 Sep 2018, 06:39

Roy wrote:
24 Sep 2018, 13:17
Curt Sunshine wrote:
24 Sep 2018, 12:30
What we have said is that there is a line that is impossible to erase once it has been crossed - so if your desire is to continue to work in a supportive role from within to facilitate change, don't cross the line.
One line that I am very careful of is the rejection of authority. This is one that the church takes seriously. At work, if I said I did not need to listen to my boss I would be out of a job. At church it is less clear. What makes the Bishop or the SP authorities in my life. Priesthood ordinations? What if you question the legitimacy of that?
I have been giving this a lot of thought, and still don't have answers.

My experience has been that overwhelmingly, as long as I don't try to flagrantly teach others to defy authority, and I want to be at the church and in the community, my belief in authority is my own and not subject to discipline. I did meet with my branch president and that was the explicit message he gave me. He did not ask for my temple recommend (though I would have said I am not giving it up but I will choose not to attend if he had), and he made it clear that it was acceptable for me to take the sacrament on Sundays. I know that leadership roulette worked in my favor.

My husband understands that I share equal authority in our household with him - and that we counsel with each other. If anything, he thinks I have more "authority" in our household because I have the highest level of executive functioning in the family and get things done/have the vision of what needs to happen. Periodically, he gets carried away a little and I remind him that we are equals and I am not his subordinate. I am lucky that his sense of personal worth is not tied to fulfilling cultural expectations of the church social group, because we are outliers in how we live our lives.

I believe that finding authorities in your life largely depends on the amount of authority you give someone in your life to influence your choices at the time.

My theory about why I ended up in the position I face at church has several parts - a) leadership roulette, b) I can speak "Sheepese" and more importantly, make comments that center on the 2 Great Commandments (the 2nd one I am convinced is a true principle) and seem to help others, and c) being female. Being female places me outside the priesthood hierarchy - so it is more socially acceptable for me to have my own beliefs.

I think there is an interesting dynamic at church - men are "in charge" at church, but women wind up knowing more about the social network and practicing the executive functioning to get things done (and getting blamed when it doesn't work out). When planning my daughter's baptism, I got the program done, I got her there and ready. I did not know I was supposed to arrange to get the font filled - and so I got dirty looks from the counselor in charge and some snarky comment on how my husband was supposed to tell me that in the process of that chicken with the head cut off expedition. I glared at him and pointed out that a) he had my email and could have contacted me himself, b) I asked several people and no one said anything about that to me as a possibility to check into, and c) when has giving a husband a message (especially my husband bless his heart in a good way) ever ended well? He shut up after that.

Also, there is a lot of "smile and nod" going on - my husband and I have been championing being paired together as ministering companions, and we get told "That's not how it's done - except in special circumstances". I ask what the "special circumstances" are, and get nothing specific. I explain why it makes a lot of sense in our "special circumstances" of 1 car, 2 introverts, and a family with limited resources that would be better served being united to serve others rather then be fragmented into several companion ships - evidently that is not "special" enough.
Roy wrote:
24 Sep 2018, 13:17
So I am in this odd place where I feel co-equal with the bishop and the SP. We are all just men. Indeed, I actually feel that my authority is primary in making decisions for my life and my family. What about church policy? I do not have authority there. I compartmentalize that and render unto ceasar that which is ceasar's.

However, not every leader can compartmentalize as well as I can. Some feel that boundary setting is being a "buffett Mormon" to pick and choose what to obey. Because I do not want to run afoul of these individuals, I would be careful not to challenge their authority. A specific example is my Bishop in tithing settlement defining tithing as gross and telling me that tithing is one of the few commandments where we can be perfect. I could argue with him that tithing calculations are between the individual and the Lord but to do so I believe I would be challenging the Bishop's authority to define tithing for me.
I agree with the co-equal (I would put it as we are just people doing our best, but your statement carries the spirit of the message that I share).

I agree that my authority is primarily home-based. I also carry some community authority in that I work with families in the branch, and I have made some people there feel more welcome and see things differently. Big church organization policy - minimal impact on me and mine (for now) though I am empathetic for those who are more impacted than I am. Local tribal authority - I am interested in collaborating to get the best for all parties involved for the community for as long as possible. I also recognize that life circumstances make it so that we won't be your Stake President picture-perfect family (and I am more than OK with that). I guess another way of putting it is that I know that I am a good tent expander, but be a lousy central tent pole. I am too busy being a good tent expander (in my very imperfect doubting way) to feel guilty that I don't aspire to grow up to be a central tent pole.

I would not bring it up because I don't want to give up the freedom/personal authority of defining tithing for myself.
Roy wrote:
24 Sep 2018, 13:17
Would my bishop in defining tithing be exerting church authority, personal authority, or some mixture of both. Were I to vocally reject my bishop's definition (even just privately between us) I believe this could alter my bishops perception of me from struggling faith brother to a possible willfully stubborn, racalcitrant, and heart hearted individual that might even be a danger to the communal faith.
The assumption is that the bishop automatically knows better. I refuse to make that assumption these days. There is a spectrum between assumption of personal authority and relinquishing all personal authority to defer to the leaders. When put together, there is extreme tension there. Yes, I tend to defer towards personal authority a lot - because a) I know my own circumstances best, b) I have to deal with the consequences from choices I make in following the leaders, not them.

But then, I am a huge believer in listening to counsel, thanking the speaker for the counsel, and replying back with I will think about it and ponder how it applies in my current situation.

The bigger problem I have is that I don't know if I believe enough to stay.
a) Godhead as 3 separate beings - well, if you add a Heavenly Mother to the equation, that brings it up to 4. I am not sure that Joseph Smith's vision proves they are literal, separate physical beings - and sometimes the number of personages he saw varies.
b) Book of Mormon = Word of God - I think it is inspired, but I think there are a lot of inspired writings out there.
c) Joseph Smith = prophet - sure, I can see that. But I also think that God (if God exists) has called more prophets.

But, since I follow the cultural expectations (dress the part, abide the main tenets of the Word of Wisdom, show up some Sundays, married with kids etc) I am not cast out more than usual (tongue in cheek). My greatest "sins" culturally are a) I don't bake, b) I don't cook, c) I am horrible with crafts, d) I work outside the home, and e) I don't wear high heels. However, I have been reassured in Relief Society that none of these offenses are enough to cast me out on. In fact, a & b are acceptable because of changing diets and grocery stores, c is strictly optional, and e is acceptable because you can get a doctor's note. As for d, increasing numbers of sisters are being mothers AND working outside the home, so I am just a part of a new(ish) social norm.

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Re: Ex-Bishop Up for Disciplinary Council Regarding Minor Interview Outspeak

Post by Reuben » 25 Sep 2018, 13:54

Curt Sunshine wrote:
24 Sep 2018, 12:30
Nobody here has said people should never speak out and challenge. What we have said is that there is a line that is impossible to erase once it has been crossed - so if your desire is to continue to work in a supportive role from within to facilitate change, don't cross the line.
Thanks for the correction. I rescind my comment about members here talking about "the" way to get the church to change.
Curt Sunshine wrote:
24 Sep 2018, 12:30
Sam forced an excommunication. I want to stay. To each his or her own. We are here to help those who want to stay.
Thank you for doing this.
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Love before dogma. Truth before loyalty. Knowledge before certainty.

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Reuben
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Re: Ex-Bishop Up for Disciplinary Council Regarding Minor Interview Outspeak

Post by Reuben » 25 Sep 2018, 14:08

Curt Sunshine wrote:
24 Sep 2018, 18:51
Sam didn't stop where they did, and he only got excommunicated when he pushed beyond where they stopped. He didn't just "speak out publicly". His original activities (speaking out publicly) led to awareness and open dosucussion of a serious issue (ecclesiastical abuse), as well as necessary practical changes. That wasn't enough for him; he wanted the complete end of a core "religious" practice. He made it clear he wasn't going to accept anything less than that, and he took an extreme step to challenge the leadership to see it his way that went FAR beyond speaking out.
I've seen headlines that claim he wants to end worthiness interviews, and read from Sam himself that he wants to "end sexual worthiness interviews." I don't recall him saying or writing that he wants to end worthiness interviews altogether. Is that what you mean?

"End sexual worthiness interviews" is unfortunately ambiguous, and Sam isn't always precise with his words (and mixes metaphors in a way that drives me nuts, too).
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Re: Ex-Bishop Up for Disciplinary Council Regarding Minor Interview Outspeak

Post by Roy » 25 Sep 2018, 15:53

I appreciate your insights Amy.
AmyJ wrote:
25 Sep 2018, 06:39
I know that I am a good tent expander, but be a lousy central tent pole.
I like that. Good imagery
AmyJ wrote:
25 Sep 2018, 06:39
I would not bring it up because I don't want to give up the freedom/personal authority of defining tithing for myself....But then, I am a huge believer in listening to counsel, thanking the speaker for the counsel, and replying back with I will think about it and ponder how it applies in my current situation.
In my situation I do not pay tithing and do not hold a TR but I do want to baptize my kids and ordain my son to the priesthood. There are certain assumptions at play in my one on one meetings with the bishop, 1) That I owe the church tithing, 2) that a full and honest tithe is equal to 10% of my gross income, and 3) that the temple is where DW and I need to be. I am careful not to challenge those assumptions lest I needlessly antagonize the bishop. Much better IMO to fit the bishop's expectations of a brother with weak faith struggling to make ends meet. I do much as you do. I thank the Bishop for his concern, smile, nod, and make vague but hopeful overtures about moving towards the temple.
We talk of breaking points and tipping points because they exist and can't be avoided if someone is determined to cross them.
I am aware of several situations in which an individual was told by a church authority to stop doing what they are doing and the individual stopped to maintain their membership. This can include writing about church history, doing art pieces that challenge church standpoints on nudity/modesty, and/or working against a church building project through petition. Once the church authority says to stop then to continue is seen as a sign of disloyalty and can put an individual's membership on very shaky ground. I believe that for the church this is a clear "Line in the sand."
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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