"Mormons Behaving Badly" - RNS Article

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DarkJedi
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Re: "Mormons Behaving Badly" - RNS Article

Post by DarkJedi »

I do think the whole church lawsuit thing is interesting. I might just be unaware, but I don't recall the church using that tactic before. Part of what is interesting is that the church has attorneys in its employ and retains outside law firms as well. Having worked in the public sector, often when municipalities, school districts, etc., are sued they just settle or capitulate. We all know that in addition to the attorneys at the church's disposal, they also have a huge sum of money to pay those attorneys - something small government entities severely lack (hence settling or capitulating).
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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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nibbler
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Re: "Mormons Behaving Badly" - RNS Article

Post by nibbler »

Maybe I need to start up a new thread so the subject is more visible in the thread title but the issue of the church leaning on towns to make exceptions for zoning laws has become a larger issue in recent days.

The church is employing a similar strategy in other towns that it employed in Cody, WY. The one that's been getting a lot of attention lately is the McKinney temple that the church is trying to build in Fairview, Texas.

Similar concerns. A 175 ft. spire and concerns over light pollution at night that both violate currently zoning restrictions. The response from the church appears to be a combination of bribery of local officials, threats of litigation, citing religious freedom, and leaning on members to influence town councils.

I don't have any linked articles to share, just my own opinion that I'm finding the church's response absolutely disheartening. If we're asking what Jesus would do, I'm finding that my answer is that Jesus would do none of those things.

I've heard some of the testimonies being borne in town council meetings (literally) by church members. I believe their position is that god revealed the floorplans of the temples to church leaders, this is exactly what god wants, therefore we cannot compromise on the height of the spire.

I believe this sets an insanely dangerous precedent. Every utterance of the prophet, right down to whether an i has been dotted or a t has been crossed, is the will of god. This is teaching that prophets are infallible but with one level of indirection, perhaps enough to make it go unnoticed.

I think what gets me most is that it's driving a lack of compromise. Rather than build a temple that a community would be more than happy to accept, the church appears to be forcing their will onto a community.
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nibbler
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Re: "Mormons Behaving Badly" - RNS Article

Post by nibbler »

Some have pointed out recent statements from both Bednar and Nelson that the size of a temple isn't important, it's what goes on inside the temple that counts.

I'd guess that the context of those clips is Nelson and Bednar calling members that are upset with the smaller temples to repentance. You're upset that you got a temple where you bump your head against the wall in the changing room because it's a smaller temple and it's cramped, you see that the new temples going up are behemoths, you wonder where your normal sized temple is? Well size doesn't matter.

We want to build a temple five times taller than anything in town and five times taller than the zoning laws. Go testify to the town council that size matters.

I know church leaders aren't winning the hearts of the local communities that they're bullying. They're losing my heart over their approach.

WWJD? What would Jesus do? I don't know. Maybe alter the floorplans and be accommodating of his hosts. Many temples don't even have spires and many that do have spires that are a full on 100 feet shorter than the one being proposed in Fairview.

WWSD? What would Satan do?
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Re: "Mormons Behaving Badly" - RNS Article

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If you erase the mistakes of your past, you would also erase all the wisdom of your present. Remember the lesson, not the disappointment.
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Roy
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Re: "Mormons Behaving Badly" - RNS Article

Post by Roy »

Yeah, I saw this as well. I grew up in Las Vegas so I have been interested in the development of a second temple there.

I think that church members and church leaders have a defensive reaction going on. We feel that we are attacked for having the truth, therefore we assume that our temples would be met with resistance no matter what the design. Rather than try to come up with something that might satisfy the haters, the bashers, and the naysayers, we push forward and hold the course. I think that we have a bit of an oppression complex.
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Re: "Mormons Behaving Badly" - RNS Article

Post by Old-Timer »

I don’t disagree with the general input about this, but, to be fair and consider the other side, there actually is a long history of opposition to temples in multiple places - for just about any imaginable reason. I saw it first-hand in two places I lived years ago - rotating, template reasons that really were just opposition to the Church.

I wish we didn’t feel like fights are necessary to build temples, but I do understand the view that it is, fundamentally, opposition searching for reason, no matter what. I am not saying I believe that view exclusively or comprehensively, but I have seen it and believe it is a fundamental reason for a relatively large part of the opposition in many instances. I understand why it feels like the singular opposition motivation to many members and leaders.
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Re: "Mormons Behaving Badly" - RNS Article

Post by nibbler »

While I agree that there's a group that would oppose a temple no matter what, town members are communicating that they would be more than happy to accept a temple, they'd just like some consideration seeing as how the temple is going to go up in their neighborhood/town.

Perhaps that argument is being made in bad faith but members are reacting as if the opposition is saying that they don't want a temple at all. That's simply not the case.

The church is working within the legal channels afforded to them. They have the right to ask for exemptions to zoning laws. I don't think they should be 100% entitled to do whatever they want to do, but they have the right to petition.

I'd just like to see the church enter a community and work with it to build a temple. Threats of litigation doesn't feel like it achieves that goal. Coaching members to testify that temple spires are important feels less than honest. There's an absence of institutional humility.

Who likes a stranger coming into town throwing their weight around?
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Re: "Mormons Behaving Badly" - RNS Article

Post by AmyJ »

Old-Timer wrote: 10 Jun 2024, 18:41 I don’t disagree with the general input about this, but, to be fair and consider the other side, there actually is a long history of opposition to temples in multiple places - for just about any imaginable reason. I saw it first-hand in two places I lived years ago - rotating, template reasons that really were just opposition to the Church.

I wish we didn’t feel like fights are necessary to build temples, but I do understand the view that it is, fundamentally, opposition searching for reason, no matter what. I am not saying I believe that view exclusively or comprehensively, but I have seen it and believe it is a fundamental reason for a relatively large part of the opposition in many instances. I understand why it feels like the singular opposition motivation to many members and leaders.
Assuming this is the truth - wouldn't be more community building for the LDS community to coordinate caravans/hire buses and child care to create systems to get to people to existing temples regularly rather then challenging the towns and non-members who don't want the new temple?

While potentially setting up the systems to access and use existing temples may be more costly as the church spends monies to get people to temples that those individuals normally spent - I don't think the cost difference is that dramatic a difference. If the church got creative enough, they could host "retreats" around temples with less volume that focused on recharging individuals in a variety of ways instead of just focusing on temple work. I am too young, broke, and have young children to go on weekend retreats - but I know it is a burgeoning business out there. That would even be in line with the mission of "perfect the saints".
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DarkJedi
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Re: "Mormons Behaving Badly" - RNS Article

Post by DarkJedi »

nibbler wrote: 10 Jun 2024, 20:06 While I agree that there's a group that would oppose a temple no matter what, town members are communicating that they would be more than happy to accept a temple, they'd just like some consideration seeing as how the temple is going to go up in their neighborhood/town.

Perhaps that argument is being made in bad faith but members are reacting as if the opposition is saying that they don't want a temple at all. That's simply not the case.

The church is working within the legal channels afforded to them. They have the right to ask for exemptions to zoning laws. I don't think they should be 100% entitled to do whatever they want to do, but they have the right to petition.

I'd just like to see the church enter a community and work with it to build a temple. Threats of litigation doesn't feel like it achieves that goal. Coaching members to testify that temple spires are important feels less than honest. There's an absence of institutional humility.

Who likes a stranger coming into town throwing their weight around?
While I think you are correct in what you said, as is OT, I see the big difference in these recent scenarios cited in the article is that the church is now willing to throw its monetary weight around in actual court cases. You're right, there has always been opposition to temples (except in the Corridor, which now seems to no longer be completely exempt) but those issues have generally been resolved by working with zoning boards, city/town councils, citizens groups, etc., and often involved the church giving a bit ("OK, we will knock 10 feet off that tower as long as we can light it up 24/7"). Going to court to get what they want seems to be a fairly new tactic. The issue this brings up is that as I previously stated while the church has lawyers on staff, lawyers on retainer, and more lawyers at their disposal and copious amounts of money with which to launch and fight (if necessary) lawsuits these places where temples are being built (often suburbs/smaller towns and not the city itself) do not have those same resources and can't raise taxes enough to effectively fight. This is a big corporation tactic.
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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Re: "Mormons Behaving Badly" - RNS Article

Post by Carburettor »

I don't understand what all the fuss is about. There should be more consideration the legitimate sensibilities of locals who are not of our faith. Would the Church support the building of a tall mosque in an out-of-the-way community?

I've visited the Frankfurt Temple on more than one occasion. When it was built, local authorities didn't want its spire to rise higher than those of other churches in the town (Friedrichsdorf), so it was positioned to the side: https://www.thechurchnews.com/almanac/t ... rt-germany

Perhaps the Church is willing to compromise outside the U.S. because it is considered more diplomatic to avoid angering a bunch of foreigners.

To me, the solution is simple.
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