Old Brad Wilcox racism/dismissal of dissenting voices

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Roy
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Old Brad Wilcox racism/dismissal of dissenting voices

Post by Roy »

https://religionnews.com/2022/02/16/mor ... ar-enough/

I am extremely late to the party on this one (2 years late). I searched but did not see any discussion on this.

Brother Wilcox doesn't say anything overtly racist in my opinion. It was more of a willful ignorance of systemic racism combined with a mocking tone directed at those that might find the priesthood and temple ban more problematic for their testimonies. Racism lite?

As Jana Reiss concludes:
When people in your congregation hear you caricature legitimate questions in a disparaging and condescending way, the end result is usually not the one you are hoping for — that they will miraculously overcome their false beliefs and embrace your superior POV. Rather, what they will learn is that church is not a safe place for them, with the end result being they will either a) stick around but hide who they truly are or b) make for the doors.
This is what I tend to remember from Brad Wilcox firesides of old. Our position was obviously superior and we can good naturedly look down upon those that just don't get it. Brother Wilcox briefly waded into the waters of trying to justify the priesthood and temple ban and I believe that he will not make that mistake again but his general demeanor towards those that raise issues for church truth claims remains.

Unfortunately, I believe that the church is stuck between a rock and a hard place on this one. If they ask members to make room for those with different and non-traditional perspectives there is danger that these people might over time alter the church. It reminds me of the schism in the RLDS church (now Community of Christ) between those that wanted the church to move forward in a more progressive way and those that wanted it to defend old positions.

I think that church leaders are aware that this dismissive and disparaging approach causes members to bury their doubts or leave the church entirely but that is considered to be a lesser evil. By driving people with different perspectives away they see themselves as maintaining the doctrinal purity of the church.

P.S. I observe that church leaders are somewhat welcoming to those with doubts or questions as long as those people are willing to ask church leaders in faith and either accept the answers they receive or be willing to park those doubts on a shelf and possibly not get satisfactory answers until some future time. This is different than those that have different beliefs/ideas/or answers than what official church sources might say. It is this latter group that I believe church leaders continue to consciously drive underground or away from the church.
"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
AmyJ
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Re: Old Brad Wilcox racism/dismissal of dissenting voices

Post by AmyJ »

Roy wrote: 15 Feb 2024, 11:03 Unfortunately, I believe that the church is stuck between a rock and a hard place on this one. If they ask members to make room for those with different and non-traditional perspectives there is danger that these people might over time alter the church.
I think that the greater danger is dilute the teachings of church/practices being practiced to the point where the church as an organization does not survive - mostly because it is not passed onto the future generation(s).
Roy wrote: 15 Feb 2024, 11:03 I think that church leaders are aware that this dismissive and disparaging approach causes members to bury their doubts or leave the church entirely but that is considered to be a lesser evil. By driving people with different perspectives away they see themselves as maintaining the doctrinal purity of the church.
It is a calculated risk that enough members stay active in the church, enough children are raised in the church, and enough individuals convert to the church teachings and adapt to church culture to the point to maintain the survival of the organization.

The collateral fallout of the church's operating policy is the decreasing relevance of those church teachings. For myself, the doctrinal teachings of family hierarchy and organization became worthless when I became the primary presider & provider (of the things), and when I recognized that my personal "nurturing style" is closer to "Momma Bear with Cubs" and less like "Love at Home". It was even harder to reconcile that "while I was the aberration", when I talked to other women at church - their lived experience was closer to mine then not.

It doesn't help any that one of my children is "quasi-tone deaf" when it comes to organization structures and transfer of power. This child cannot "perform deference" as a hierarchal default. This child runs a mental meritocracy internally that determines whether you are a voice to be heard out/have anything useful to say. "Presiding Over" this child is the best way to traumatize them and prevent them from doing what needs to be done.
NOTE: This child is not attempting to be willful or defiant (though there are moments). The ONLY tactic that works is "sharing power" and "transferring autonomy" to this individual - asking over and over again, "What do you know about what you need to do/are doing/want to do/need?".
Roy wrote: 15 Feb 2024, 11:03 P.S. I observe that church leaders are somewhat welcoming to those with doubts or questions as long as those people are willing to ask church leaders in faith and either accept the answers they receive or be willing to park those doubts on a shelf and possibly not get satisfactory answers until some future time. This is different than those that have different beliefs/ideas/or answers than what official church sources might say. It is this latter group that I believe church leaders continue to consciously drive underground or away from the church.
They are welcoming only as long as they feel that "you want to belong to the community" and/or "you might be rescue-able".

I treasure in my brain the times when I was introduced to a person I hadn't met before at church functions and their facial response when I told them, "I am at best an Easter and Christmas Mormon". Their facial contortions, speechlessness, and then attempting to recover from being caught off guard are impressive/memorable.
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PazamaManX
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Re: Old Brad Wilcox racism/dismissal of dissenting voices

Post by PazamaManX »

When it comes to the black-eyes of racism and polygamy, I think the church has trapped itself on a crumbling cliff and it isn't getting off without sacrificing something.

The church can't control the narrative anymore thanks to the internet (Though I'm convinced their history books like Saints is an attempt to mitigate that). The best way out would be an apology, but even that won't get them out unscathed. Our claim to being the true Mormon church relies on Brigham Young, so they can't throw completely BY under the bus for it. They could go halfway and just say he only got those specific things wrong, but that would make anyone who taught or defended those practices look foolish.

Part of the reason why Pres. Nelson is being chummy with the NAACP, I think, is that its his attempt to make up for mistakes of the past without losing face. Perhaps hoping that people will look at what we're doing now and not at what we used to do.

If I had to make a prediction, I think the church is going to stay on the cliff until it collapses beneath them.
AmyJ wrote: 15 Feb 2024, 12:48
Roy wrote: 15 Feb 2024, 11:03 P.S. I observe that church leaders are somewhat welcoming to those with doubts or questions as long as those people are willing to ask church leaders in faith and either accept the answers they receive or be willing to park those doubts on a shelf and possibly not get satisfactory answers until some future time. This is different than those that have different beliefs/ideas/or answers than what official church sources might say. It is this latter group that I believe church leaders continue to consciously drive underground or away from the church.
They are welcoming only as long as they feel that "you want to belong to the community" and/or "you might be rescue-able".
This is what I've observed as well. There seems to be all the patience in the world for those who look like they are willing to go along with the church's teachings, no matter what state they're in. But if someone has the wrong questions or a different interpretation from what's in the correlated curriculum, they don't want that person around to spread their ideas, even if that person is trying to be "faithful".
"Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness, even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear." ~ Thomas Jefferson
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nibbler
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Re: Old Brad Wilcox racism/dismissal of dissenting voices

Post by nibbler »

I agree, it's a bad look to be so dismissive of people's legitimate concerns. Leaders may be between a rock and a hard place. They may feel like validating some specific concerns may be seen as approval. It can be especially hard to be validating with a person that you may disagree with but being invalidating in that manner... well we all saw what happened.

If I'm remembering correctly, that was the same talk where Brad Wilcox said most people in the world are merely "playing church." Where he clarified that people in other churches are sincere in their efforts but since they don't have authority (aren't the true church), it's play pretend.

The one true church mindset can be a poison. It gives credence to the phrase perfect is the enemy of good. If it came to it, I'd rather have a good church than a true one.
Roy wrote: 15 Feb 2024, 11:03 Unfortunately, I believe that the church is stuck between a rock and a hard place on this one. If they ask members to make room for those with different and non-traditional perspectives there is danger that these people might over time alter the church.
The church is going to change over time regardless. Perhaps the question is, "If the church is going to change anyway, what does the church want to become?" I'd rather the church steer towards inclusivity than exclusivity. Ironically being more inclusive can end up being exclusive, as you describe.
If you erase the mistakes of your past, you would also erase all the wisdom of your present. Remember the lesson, not the disappointment.
— I dunno
AmyJ
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Re: Old Brad Wilcox racism/dismissal of dissenting voices

Post by AmyJ »

nibbler wrote: 15 Feb 2024, 14:09 The church is going to change over time regardless. Perhaps the question is, "If the church is going to change anyway, what does the church want to become?" I'd rather the church steer towards inclusivity than exclusivity. Ironically being more inclusive can end up being exclusive, as you describe.
I think the church as an organization wants the following:
  • Financial Security
  • Member Commitment Security - time in temples, supporting church-sanctioned/church associated businesses (Temple Square Mall)
  • Refine Priority Values (Proclaim the Gospel, Perfect the Saints, Redeem the Dead, Care for the Poor & Needy)
  • Convert from a Western-Thinking-Based Religion/Way of Life to a Global Way of Life
  • Define & Implement "Zion" - their best shot seems to have the tagline "Think Celestial" as the talking point.
CHALLENGES:
  • The organization needs all 3-4 of them to be the unique organization it is rather then specializing in just 1 value.
  • Competition for time & attention (substitute philosophies/organizations/non-organizational activities)
  • Church teaching "Perfecting the Saints" accurately - historical issues, "one-size-fits-all" semi-transparent processes that gaslight and traumatize people in the margins...
  • "Perfection" as defined by "Obedience" and "Gender Performance" rather then "Diversity" and "Loving-Kindness".

The most radical thing that they could do is change the policy for the top 15 leaders to be at least half female and see what happens:)
Roy
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Re: Old Brad Wilcox racism/dismissal of dissenting voices

Post by Roy »

nibbler wrote: 15 Feb 2024, 14:09 If I'm remembering correctly, that was the same talk where Brad Wilcox said most people in the world are merely "playing church." Where he clarified that people in other churches are sincere in their efforts but since they don't have authority (aren't the true church), it's play pretend.
Yes, this is the same talk. I do not believe Brother Wilcox is overtly racist. I do believe that this good naturedly patronizing and dismissing questioners, doubters, and people of other faiths is pretty consistent with what I remember from multiple Brad Wilcox talks over the years.

I also find it interesting that, from my perspective, we are all "playing church" and play pretend. How does it make us look when our play pretend church goes around insisting that we are true and all the other play pretend churches are false?
AmyJ wrote: 16 Feb 2024, 13:34 The most radical thing that they could do is change the policy for the top 15 leaders to be at least half female and see what happens:)
:o :o :o I expect that this would result in a schism.
nibbler wrote: 15 Feb 2024, 14:09 The church is going to change over time regardless. Perhaps the question is, "If the church is going to change anyway, what does the church want to become?" I'd rather the church steer towards inclusivity than exclusivity. Ironically being more inclusive can end up being exclusive, as you describe.
Yeah, it seems like there is both "laying groundwork for future more progressive policies" and retrenchment going on. I suppose that there are multiple personalities in the Q15 and that they do not all see eye to eye on the best way to proceed. I suppose, I am guilty of thinking of church leadership as a monolith when it is likely not.
"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
AmyJ
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Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: Old Brad Wilcox racism/dismissal of dissenting voices

Post by AmyJ »

Roy wrote: 21 Feb 2024, 10:10
AmyJ wrote: 16 Feb 2024, 13:34 The most radical thing that they could do is change the policy for the top 15 leaders to be at least half female and see what happens:)
:o :o :o I expect that this would result in a schism.
At first I thought so, but I re-thought my position.

I honestly think that pigs will fly before this radical change occurs. BUT if it did occur - it would mean (in essence) that "heaven and earth" collided to create this change - and the majority of the LDS group would stay in the new party line - "following the money (and revelation)" if nothing else.

Bottom Line:
The schism wouldn't occur because the momentum to make this change isn't currently there.
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