Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by HappyJackWagon

  1. A Special NAACP Conference Featuring Pres. Nelson? Cool. This is a smart, strategic relationship for the church. Well done.
  2. Fair enough. We can disagree. In support of your view, I think they overuse "special" so that it really doesn't mean a whole lot anymore even though I think they are truly suggesting that it is something more special than the usual. It seems we have "special" firesides, "special" meetings, "special" everything. And now it's "special" and "featuring" an apostle. Good times
  3. Does this strike anyone else as a little odd/funny? It reminds me of TV shows or movies that list the actors and then at the end has a special "Featuring Tom Cruise" or "Special Appearance by Angela Lansbury". It seems a little grandiose and when I see those things I always wonder about the actor's agent who negotiated the "featuring" or "Special Appearance" credit. Since when do church firesides/Broadcasts "Feature" apostles. Isn't that kind of the expectation? General Conference: With Special Guest Stars, Pres. Russell M Nelson, Gerrit Gong and Dieter Uchtdorf. Just feels like they're trying to Up the Hype.
  4. I think there is a similarity, but it's not good. It seems like the church wants younger children to become comfortable talking to adults about private information. That's a groomer's dream.
  5. I agree and when you consider how much is really on the line in some cases, it would seem wise to take someone with you who can at least be a witness to what is said and done. For example, if an honor code office elicits some kind of confession that could lead to a student's expulsion, thus costing them thousands of $$$ and/or impact the work they've done towards their degree, there really is a lot riding on honor code interactions for some students.
  6. Just out of curiosity, I'm wondering what people think about which approach is better. Approach 1- Teach investigators extensively. Require them to attend church regularly and have very high standards that may reduce the number of convert baptism but have the convert baptisms be solid, retained converts. IOW- Baptize 2 really good people on a mission and keep those 2 people active for the next 30 years. Approach 2- Teach investigators quickly. Require some commitments but focus primarily on getting them baptized and connecting them with local members in hopes that they will remain active. The idea being that a missionary has more baptisms (lets say 10) even if only 3 of those remain active. Would it be better to have a 2/2 ratio of convert baptisms and retention or better to have a 3/10 ratio? The percentage on the first is better, but it represents one fewer person. Which is better?
  7. No. I don't believe he'd say anything like that and I have no desire to search for something like that. I mentioned his involvement with Preach My Gospel to illustrate that he has substantial experience working with the missionary program, lessons, and training. So to me, it seems very unlikely that he would be unaware of the expectations outlined in the discussions.
  8. I can't tell who you are trying to correct or why. Did either Calm or I say "theirselves"? Definitely not in the quotes linked in your post. I agree that gaslighting implies dishonesty. It is about a person's motive for saying something that isn't correct. I often say things incorrectly but it's usually just because I don't know any better. So it would seem the motives for why a person would gaslight, would be a) to make a person doubt themselves so they are easier to manipulate b) deflect blame from oneself c) sadism d) I'm sure there are others but I can't think of them But I think it's interesting to note that gaslighting isn't necessarily just about making a person think they are insane. It's about power and manipulation.
  9. I suppose it would be important to define "sanity". If you doubt yourself enough to think that what you experienced, you really didn't experience, is there a loss of sanity. I don't think this definition of gaslighting is limited to making someone think they are insane. But I do think that doubting the experiences of your reality is in essence doubting ones sanity. ETA- Think of it this way. If I have the experience of learning something and then act on that believing it is right, doing that thing would be a sane thing. It would be rational and normal. Now if I did that rational and normal thing, based on my learning, but was later told by the person who taught me that they never really taught me that, I would question the rationality and normalcy of my actions based on what I had been taught to do. In that way, I would be doubting my sanity.
  10. You're right that calling something a manipulation may often be more accurate. But I don't have to tell you you're going crazy to gaslight. I can simply tell you that what you know to be true, never really happened. For example- If I know I was taught X my entire life, but then someone tells me I wasn't taught X, but rather Y, then I might start to doubt myself and think I'm going crazy. I doubt my own experience because someone who knows better is telling my I was never taught X. So if I believe X, it is my fault. I think that is legit gaslighting. IOW- ALL gaslighting is a manipulation, but not all manipulations are gaslighting.
  11. That's a really good point. When people are reduced to numbers it's easy to treat them as numbers, and talk about percentages, and talk about methods to improve the averages. It kind of goes along with the Harman Rector Jr. Law of the Harvest philosophy. If you do X number of golden contacts and Y number of 2nd discussions and Z number of baptismal invitations you will get J number of baptisms. But I don't really believe any church leader would shortcut an actual person, but playing to the average is far more abstract and easier to go along with. I suspect that's what has happened. I can understand how people or even an organization can fall into that trap and I can be pretty forgiving if they recognize the flaw and make adjustments. I'm less forgiving when they are only able to recognize the problem and then claim to have no idea how that problem occurred, when it is quite obvious how it occurred. All Ballard needs to do is say, "we used to do things this way but we believe there is a better way. We are going to do this differently now." I've got no problem. But stating that he doesn't understand how it happened and that it was never the leaders intention for that to happen, really just seems like a CYA statement from top leadership.
  12. Thanks for sharing. So when an apostle states that he doesn't know where that practice/expectation began and that it was never their intention, how does that make you feel?
  13. You want me to produce a timeline for the past 50 years that describes changes in missionary policies as well as Elder Ballard's activities during that time? Sounds like a massive assignment. I think I'll pass. It would be interesting to see how the training shifted during that time. I served my mission in the early 90's but I suspect many of these expectations, training methods started during the early 80's just based on conversations I've had with others. For example, I know for sure that it was very different in the late 60's when my father served, and the 70's when my uncle served. Beyond just missionary work, things in the church seemed to change quite a bit that affected my generation that doesn't seem to have impacted the previous generation, and in ways the church seems to be trying to correct now. Whether it was correlation, missionary teaching etc, there seems to be a difference in the experience of many in my generation verses other generations. But then, I only really know my own experience so maybe I'm wrong
  14. You were taught to invite on the Second discussion "no matter what"? Me too. But what if the investigator hadn't felt the spirit? Would you still invite? Isn't this what Elder Ballard is claiming to have never intended and doesn't know where it began: missionaries inviting investigators to be baptized without feeling the spirit. And you are defending his statement while also claiming you were taught to invite no matter what. Interesting. ETA- Would you feel better if I conceded that he wasn't blaming anyone in particular, but was really just deflecting blame from the leadership, including himself. I can see that.
  15. He may be talking about new material but he claims not to know how it all started. The leadership started it decades ago. It started with training us OLD FARTS to preach the gospel and invite in certain ways. Now he's shocked that people still do that and can't figure out why they are inviting too early. Really? We old farts all group up learning things a certain way and now our children are missionaries. Old farts like us are now mission presidents and bishops and in other leadership positions. He is blaming us and it's pretty disheartening.
  16. Those really were abbreviated lessons. I remember being trained in both the MTC and again in the mission to do the diagram discussions which covered a ton of ground in just 15 minutes. I have no problem accepting that I made mistakes teaching on my mission. But I wasn't unique, in fact we were trained to do things that way. It seems my primary mistake was trusting leadership and doing what I was trained to do.
  17. Was anyone taught the principle of asking if something is NOT true. IOW the prayer would seek a spiritual confirmation if something wasn't true (I'm thinking Moroni 10:4). Or similarly, study it out in your mind and make the decision and then ask for confirmation by asking something like "if this isn't true, or isn't the right thing, please let me know by the spirit." It's a difference in phrasing the question. It assumes truth or that a decided path is appropriate unless the spirit prompted otherwise. So instead of seeking a spiritual confirmation that God wants you to do something affirmative (like get baptized) you seek a spiritual witness to tell you if something is wrong or improper. So if the prayer is phrased..."God, the missionaries are teaching me about the church and have challenged me to be baptized on XXX date. If you don't want me to be baptized please let me know by the spirit" a no-response prayer would be viewed as an affirmative answer. Was anyone else ever taught this way of praying?
  18. Yeah, that's what I was thinking too. And $100 a month isn't an insurmountable increase, yet looking at it as 25% increase seems a little high. It seems like making adjustments a little more regularly might be a good thing
  19. I shared my experience. Many others had similar experience. Either church leaders were aware of this process or they weren't. If they didn't know, why not?
  20. Do you think your mission was unique? If it didn't come from top leadership, I wonder why so many missions functioned in that way. This went on for decades. Was top leadership not aware of that? Did they not inspect the work of missionaries? Did they not interview mission presidents or even missionaries? You seem to think top leadership had nothing to do with a very common issue across many missions over a significant period of time. Either they were inept at implementing and inspecting their training program for missionaries, or they're not being honest.
  21. Wish I could give you rep points! Thanks for your contributions on this thread
  22. Really? How do you explain the training and expectation to commit to baptism by the end of discussion 2?
  23. Missionaries (myself included) were taught to do things a certain way, for decades. Teach about baptism and commit them to baptism by the end of the 2nd discussion. Now Elder Ballard seems befuddled by the way missionaries committed people and then baptized them...for decades. He doesn't seem to understand how or why it is done this way and seems to be blaming the missionaries. He is either clueless (which doesn't inspire confidence) or he's not being fully honest (which doesn't inspire confidence). Your experience may be different than mine, or Raskolnikov's, but I know what I was taught to do. I know how I was held accountable to those expectations. To hear Ballard say the equivalent of "I don't know why you did it that way. That was never our intention" isn't honest. I don't believe he is clueless. I believe he is trying to shift the blame from leaders like him, to the lowly missionaries who did what they were taught to do. If he's truly confused, he should probably stop speaking, or simply go back and read the discussions and review the training program he was involved in administering.
  24. On my mission we were required to report numbers. Lots and lots of numbers: number of discussions, number of golden questions, number of baptismal challenges, number of investigators at church, how many baptisms etc. etc. It was most definitely a highly regimented program full of reporting on behaviors. It's a good way to hold people accountable to doing the things the leadership wants done. These things all started with the Mission President, and then funneled down through the AP's, Zone leaders, district leaders. Sometimes we reported weekly, sometimes daily. It was clearly an expectation that by the 2nd discussion every investigator should be invited to be baptized. The thinking at the time was that a challenge from a representative of Christ would help the investigator feel the spirit and choose to join the church. I recall vividly that by the end of the 2nd discussion we would challenge each person to be baptized. We would pray with them. "How do you feel?" They might say something like "Good." or "relaxed" and we would respond with something like "That's the spirit testifying to you that God wants you to be baptized. Will you follow Jesus and be baptized?" Or they might respond with something like "I don't really feel anything" and we would respond with "Do you think God would tell you if it was wrong? If you don't feel God telling you it is wrong, then it is right. That's the spirit." It was a bit of a hard push sales approach. No question about it. It was definitely part of my mission culture, but also the mission culture of virtually all of my friends as well. After my mission I've served as ward mission leader, EQP, HPGL, Bishop, YMP, High Council and in all of these positions I had regular interaction with the missionaries. Except for the past 10 years where I've seen an easing away from this hard sales method, I remember many discussions with missionaries privately or in council meetings and they also had the expectation placed on them that they were to challenge for baptism by the end of the 2nd discussion UNLESS the spirit prompted them not to. So when Elder Ballard says this... ...I have to wonder how honest he is being. He's been a part of the missionary committee. He was involved in the creation of Preach My Gospel. But he doesn't know where these practices began? I'm incredulous. Can someone please help me understand how he could make a statement like this and millions of members not view it as disingenuous? Yes, there's the caveat about feeling the spirit, but missionaries are trained and directed how to "help investigators recognize the spirit" and "overcome objections" which can become a manipulation of the investigator. IF they really want to dramatically increase retention rates then there is a lot of work to do. Getting away from an almost blanket requirement of challenging people for baptism by lesson 2 is a very good start. But that good effort is overshadowed by a claim that "church leaders don't know where these practices began". Leaders have got to be better than that IMO.
  25. It is interesting to think of Jesus as a demi-god (which technically he is) but it also feels like a bit of a blasphemy. I'm curious how others view that issue.
  • Create New...