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rongo

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About rongo

  • Rank
    Brings Forth Plants
  • Birthday 07/19/1975

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    Male
  • Interests
    Baseball, basketball, football (especially college); LDS Church history; the Gospel; reading

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  1. rongo

    Missionaries and health insurance

    He has a full-tuition scholarship, and the Pell Grant and three other grants completely pay for the remainder (including housing and food). So, no out of pocket for this school year. The ca. $10,000 he will have earned by the end of the year (this is still in progress; he works around 30 hours a week for grounds crew on campus, and he did a lot of construction all summer long) is all income (he will get W2s for them). I'm not particularly worried that I or he won't get to use Hope credits or anything else. Our "refund" has always been kind of a sham, although we do take it and don't send it back to the IRS. I pay no federal withholding, and get ca. $7000 "back" every year. As my children reach their majority and start claiming themselves, this "refund" will begin disappearing. I fully expect that. My only interest is seeing that his grants don't go away after his mission because he filed his own return and we don't claim him as a dependent any more. It appears from what has been said here that we don't have anything to worry about on that score.
  2. rongo

    Sam Young is Excommunicated

    I strongly agree that this is a far worse problem than resignation. I have referred to it before as a drop in intensity, enthusiasm, and commitment. There is a conservative counterpart, too. If, say, the Church were to officially condemn the priesthood ban itself, or declare that the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham are non-historical but still inspired in some way, I wouldn't leave the Church. But my enthusiasm and commitment would take a big hit. As a family that has been extremely active and which has given the Church a lot, this would hurt. Multiply that by X number of others, and you get an impact. Sam Young and his movement affect a segment this same way. I don't think this segment is nearly the sort of "mavens" that people like my family would be if we de-coupled from Church service and engagement. For some (some here, in fact), the Church's policies and practices with interviews, male authority, not condemning the ban, etc. are just as dismaying, and if they haven't left the Church, they are not as enthused or committed. Some of these get whipped up in a frenzy by a single issue and make a snap decision to formally resign. I wonder if any of these snap decision resignees regret their decision, and wish they wouldn't have reacted so emotionally.
  3. rongo

    Missionaries and health insurance

    This just in, hot off the presses ( I literally just got the email). My dad was called and set apart to be the new branch president in Liberic (I'm not going to copy/past unique characters and accent marks). So, he's going to have to get his Czech up to speed! Liberic is about an hour east of the Freiberg temple in Germany, and about a half hour from Poland. So, in the Sudetenland, in Bohemia. My dad speaks German, so hopefully German is still spoken there, although it may not be. They were introduced to the Czech national drink by the mission president: Kofola. Tastes like black licorice. Yuck! My dad likes it, my mom does not. Unlike in Warsaw, where my parents were the finance/mission secretary couple, my parents will spend their whole time running the branch in Liberic this time around.
  4. rongo

    Sam Young is Excommunicated

    I'm a nobody. I don't have any pull with the Church. The Church is very transparency-adverse about a great number of things, membership numbers being one of them.
  5. rongo

    Sam Young is Excommunicated

    How can any of us verify the quality of resignations at all? I've heard that the annual resignation parties in the park in Salt Lake have people who are not or are no longer members signing up to resign to pad the, what, couple hundred people, maybe? But how could anyone know anything about any of the resignees? What does the law firm do if a dummy resignee signs up? Do they research it, and then tell the person that they aren't a member? Or, do they simply put it on the spreadsheet as another resignation? I agree with you about South/Central America. Census data places LDS membership far under what the Church says. I'm not so sure that we don't have some Helen Radke-esque cooking of the books, either. It is imperative to those swept up in the Sam Young mania that it be shown that mass resignations are happening NOW! because his movement is sweeping the nation and the Church. I don't think this is the experience of anyone outside of the movement. I think echo chamber psychology is reigning, and feeds a need for validation in news stories, law firm spreadsheets and updates, Facebook likes and shares, etc.
  6. rongo

    Sam Young is Excommunicated

    Nope. I've never been a fan of the Church's emphasis on raw numbers. I've been in too many positions where I can see the sausage being made. The strength of the Church (really, the Church itself) is the 4-5 million active members. Of course, this is fluid, and people come in and out of activity, so we don't want to write anybody off. Still, a great many don't consider themselves to be LDS and will never come back. I strongly suspect that most of the legitimate resignees (non-duplicates or non-made up ones) are from this group. Yes, there are certainly some who are newly "woke" and went from being fully on board a short time ago to "out" in a hurry, but not at the numbers critics are claiming. Critics have a vested interest in painting the sky as falling fast. I think the best gauge is our own wards and stakes. If resignations ever reach a point where ward budgets, tithing receipts, or fast offerings are significantly less, along with drastically less attendance, then there might be a trend. As it is, I don't think this latest spate of resignations even shows up on local radars, to say nothing of the COB.
  7. rongo

    Sam Young is Excommunicated

    I only meant in a practical sense. If people who are extremely inactive, do not contact, etc. resign, that doesn't really impact the Church from the standpoint of driving change. Most people won't even know they've resigned. If the resignees are very active, and more important, influential and impactful on others in their wards, this packs much more of a wallop. These would be Gladwell's "mavens" (people whose actions impact others powerfully. Most people's just don't). This isn't to say that it isn't a loss to the church, or tragic. Furthermore, I don't trust the categories reported by critics. We have no way to confirm them, other than our own anecdotal experience. Critics have a vested interest in inflating both raw numbers and strength of resignees. We don't even know if these reported numbers are made up out of thin air, strictly accurate, or what.
  8. rongo

    Sam Young is Excommunicated

    And it is precisely these 4-5 million active members who really matter when it comes to resignations. When most resignations are people who are not active in any way, anyway, their leaving doesn't have much of an impact (if any). If there begins to be a groundswell of active members leaving (a groundswell would be more than the 4-5 wards-worth supporters claim). And remember: these would have to be *active* members to move the needle. The internal support for ending the priesthood ban is not comparable to the active agitation of the last five years that has led to excommunications. Nor were Stanford, San Jose St., etc. protests and boycotting or the violent protests a factor, either (these happened in the late 1960s). Most people are probably aware that the Sao Paolo temple was the biggest factor, arguably the only real factor, excluding actual revelation. I really don't think the "movement" to end the ban is comparable to things like Ordain Women, Protect LDS Children, etc.
  9. rongo

    Sam Young is Excommunicated

    I agree with this. Like with the 116 pages, sometimes God lets leaders/the Church learn from experience by following their will. I see some of the Church's reactionary changes in this vein. I can definitely see how my approach to Church actions I don't like would also be used by those who don't like other Church actions (that I do like).
  10. rongo

    Sam Young is Excommunicated

    I believe this as well. Sometimes, I think this means we have policies and practices that God allows to happen, but are not really in our best interest. This is what I think happens when I think the Church "caves" to pressure on an issue . . .
  11. rongo

    Sam Young is Excommunicated

    I put it in quotes to designate "for lack of a better term." I was referring to the concept of "social contagion," which doesn't have connotations one way or another. Like with suicide contagion, or social memes (the technical term, not pictures of Willy Wonka with captions) I think it's beyond doubt that the "clumping" (again, for lack of a better term, but I think you know what I mean) of incidence of people insisting on or even availing themselves of chaperoning, can be traced back to (neutral) social media "contagion." Another way of looking at it is Malcolm Gladwell's concept of "stickiness" in "Tipping Point" (which has great applicability in this discussion). He looks at why some social phenomena "take off," and others don't. It's a fascinating sociological phenomenon to look at. For chaperoned interviews to "tip" in the Church would require factors and key people ("mavens") to align and push things to critical mass. If this happens, then the Brethren will yield to the internal social pressure, as they have before. But it is not certain that things will develop that way, and obviously I hope that they don't. I think that supporters see the enthusiasm among their "fellow travelers" (lack of a better term, again) as indicating snowballing momentum within the Church. I think Sam Young's movement will follow other "can't miss" movements, like Ordain Women. Excommunications are very effective at taking wind out of those sails.
  12. rongo

    Sam Young is Excommunicated

    Fascinating! I think there might be some "contagiousness" with the intensity, and that it is prone to clumping in pockets of influence. We had 65 youth and a primary of 120 in my old ward. We post all First Presidency letters (including the one on allowing chaperones), and announced from the pulpit that this was available. Not a single youth or parent requested it. I think this is more normative than the anecdotal pockets where there are some families that want this. In writing, though? Man, oh man! Sometimes I'm grateful for the hand I was dealt.
  13. rongo

    Sam Young is Excommunicated

    How many are you actually talking about? I would be fascinated to know exactly how many have insisted on this in your ward. I ask, because I am completely unaware of this phenomenon, personally.
  14. rongo

    Sam Young is Excommunicated

    Potato, po-tah-toe. I reject the whole "grooming" argument as made by critics of interviews. What I meant was I see positive reasons for the enculturation (critics would call it grooming or brainwashing) that interviews provide in forming and informing members' interactions with priesthood authority. Critics' argument is that, even when a "good" bishop does and says nothing "bad" in the interviews, the very interviews themselves teach that it is okay to be subjected to questioning like this, and so members are likely to "go along to get along" if and when they later have a "bad" bishop. I personally find such a line of argument to be kind of nutty and paranoid, but then it is a moral panic approach.
  15. rongo

    Sam Young is Excommunicated

    This is an interesting question, and I think people on both sides of this divide would continue to differ on the hypothetical results. In my own experience, I think the number of active (attending, serving, and tithe-paying) who are up in arms about it is very, very small. I had no one of this description on my radar in four different wards (twice as a counselor, and twice as a bishop) in a very typical stake in an area of strength for the Church. Which illustrates the problem. This, and other hot button issues de jour, are only a "thing" for people heavily dialed into the online discussion board culture. Most active members actually aren't. It can seem to us like our tempests in a teapot are raging throughout the Church, but they really aren't. We'll all know when we've reached that tipping point. It won't be a controversial discussion point online. Prior to the obvious tipping point? Of course. The default setting of normative Mormonism should continue to carry the day. Frustration with this is what pushes the Kate Kellys and the Sam Youngs of the Church into crossing the adversarial line. Feels like an Abraham/God negotiation, doesn't it? I would say that 40% of active membership would be well beyond the tipping point, and it wouldn't be controversial because everyone would feel the need and urgency. I think we are far, far, far below that number of active members who actually feel that way. ALarson and JulieM have said that they have parents who are insisting on chaperoned interviews. Would either of them put the number of families insisting on this at 40% of their total active families with youth? Or, are we talking 2 or 3 sets of parents here?
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