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9 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I'm not interested in speculating about how he feels.  I'll go with his public statements.

I agree with this.  Elder Uchtdorf is a good man and more than capable of doing what is right in spite of any potential feelings.

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Again, I think we are seeing bits and pieces of a weird phenomenon where the General Authorities are perceived less like men called by inspiration and more like political candidates.

You talk votes, you talk politics.  But I don't think that's what anyone is really saying.

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Again, I do not think Elder Uchtdorf would appreciate such efforts to foment discord and factionalization in the Church.

I agree.  This is not an attempt to create division where none exists.
It is an observation of differences in approach and personality, and the natural tendency to gravitate to those who share our outlooks.  That is all anyone is saying.  President Nelson didn't demote Elder Uchtdorf, or punish him, or anything of the like.  What he did is select a counselor who shares his own approach to the gospel instead of one who appears to take a different approach.
That's not sinister or factionalization.  Just observation that like attracts like.

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15 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

The humanness is hardly ever shown.  These guys looked every bit their age, mentally and physically.  It seems obvious much of the polish of the church's official position isn't originating from these brethren, but things like the policy change, with it's utterly poorly thought out explanations were likely produced by these brethren, even if the latter efforts, embarrassing as they were, to change it, rework it and pretend it was meant to be helpful were likely not from these brethren.  I was taken aback about how much they seemed to make it about them, rather than graciously, even if feigning such, speaking about the others and the issues.  

I'm not sure the press conference was a smart move. I understand why they did it and in theory it's a great idea. But they definitely weren't ready for that. They all looked overwhelmed and not able to give the style of answers people expected. I think they'd have been far wiser to have waited a month. Also give Uchtdorf credit. He's probably the best at getting these stylistic issues down since Hinkley. While I have no qualms about Oaks taking that place, the reality is that there's a lot of benefit to someone who is stylistically able to give the sort of public facing voice that people want.

Do I think that unfair? Perhaps. But most people just don't care about content as much as style. If politics has taught us nothing else it should have taught us that. Actual policy matters less than how it's presented for most people.

I earnestly think both Oaks and Nelson wanted to convey answers expressing love and inclusion to LGBT people. But they just weren't able to do it and it came off very awkwardly. (Including Eyring as well who is also normally extremely personable in other settings)

Part of the problem is the generation gap. Rhetorical expectations are simply very different from when these men developed their habits. Honestly this is also a place where I suspect their more academic oriented backgrounds work against them. Particularly Oaks. Don't get me wrong. I love that academic tendency. It's why I absolutely love Oak's talks. But I'm not most people. Most people prefer the rhetorical style of Monson, Hinkley and Uchtdorf.

SMac

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Again, I think we are seeing bits and pieces of a weird phenomenon where the General Authorities are perceived less like men called by inspiration and more like political candidates.

I think this is right. It's unfortunate but clearly understandable. Part of it is the era of our times where people seem to care mostly about whether a person communicates in the style of their main group. That was behind a lot of the last Presidential election but I think besets a lot of discussion throughout our culture at the moment. 

Whether we like it or not that's the reality. (And I most definitely don't like it) Thus lots of tweets and blog comments that clearly judge people in terms of how they talk not what they say. However if the goal is to communicate, you have to be willing to navigate that reality for better or worse. It'll make Pres. Nelson's and Elder Oaks jobs that much more difficult.

Edited by clarkgoble

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3 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

I'm not sure the press conference was a smart move. I understand why they did it and in theory it's a great idea. But they definitely weren't ready for that. They all looked overwhelmed and not able to give the style of answers people expected. I think they'd have been far wiser to have waited a month. Also give Uchtdorf credit. He's probably the best at getting these stylistic issues down since Hinkley. While I have no qualms about Oaks taking that place, the reality is that there's a lot of benefit to someone who is stylistically able to give the sort of public facing voice that people want.

Do I think that unfair? Perhaps. But most people just don't care about content as much as style. If politics has taught us nothing else it should have taught us that. Actual policy matters less than how it's presented for most people.

I earnestly think both Oaks and Nelson wanted to convey answers expressing love and inclusion to LGBT people. But they just weren't able to do it and it came off very awkwardly. (Including Eyring as well who is also normally extremely personable in other settings)

Part of the problem is the generation gap. Rhetorical expectations are simply very different from when these men developed their habits. Honestly this is also a place where I suspect their more academic oriented backgrounds work against them. Particularly Oaks. Don't get me wrong. I love that academic tendency. It's why I absolutely love Oak's talks. But I'm not most people. Most people prefer the rhetorical style of Monson, Hinkley and Uchtdorf.

 

I would definitely be interested to hear Elder Uchtdorf's answers to the questions asked yesterday.  I do think if he were there, it would have unfolded a little better.  But probably true if Christofferson or Anderson were there too.  

I guess in the end, though, it really is about whether they can relate to people well.  Whether they are willing and able to address questions asked or not.  It's not that complicated.  Style matters some, sure, but an effort to be genuine far outweighs polish in off the cuff.  That was a big problem.  

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5 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

I'm not sure the press conference was a smart move. I understand why they did it and in theory it's a great idea. But they definitely weren't ready for that. They all looked overwhelmed and not able to give the style of answers people expected. I think they'd have been far wiser to have waited a month. Also give Uchtdorf credit. He's probably the best at getting these stylistic issues down since Hinkley. While I have no qualms about Oaks taking that place, the reality is that there's a lot of benefit to someone who is stylistically able to give the sort of public facing voice that people want.

I thought the whole thing seemed awkward. I think, as Mormons, we are used to changes in callings at general conference or at church meetings. I wanted to listen to the whole press conference but found it too awkward. This wasn't a church meeting or a traditional press conference and I think neither worked well. Traditionally, in both settings, a person stands at a podium to speak and I think, having them all sitting a table and then speaking was a mistake.  President Nelson is a kind man and I look forward to his address at conference. A lot of these impressions were on 'style' and not substance so I completely agree with your main point. This is just 'my opinion' and it is all the 'PR' side of my education coming out. I completely support and sustain President Nelson and his counselors. 

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34 minutes ago, Exiled said:

So, we should just deny whatever isn't faith promoting? You know I grew up around the G.A.s and spent time in their houses and discovered that to my shock and horror that they were human and subject to very non-faith promoting emotions.

Deny isn't the correct word

We do need to emphasize that which is uplifting and de-emphasize that which is not uplifting. 

If you look for the good in people, you will find it.  If you look for the bad in people, you will find it as well. 

Looking for the good, is for me, much more pleasant. 

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The medium isn't necessarily the message.

Just what was the message being presented, if not of unanimity, personal regard and love (both between and among the new First Presidency, and between them and the Twelve and between all 14 and the Church, and between them and the world)?

I've pointed it out earlier:  the concerns of the press and the world are not even much on their radar.  Pleasing G_d, serving His children, and doing the best job they're capable of in their new callings pushed everything else off.  If you're on the outside looking in, perhaps it's bewildering.  That the press isn't smart enough to see what was going on is really a shame.

"But!  But!  But!  What about the women!?!?!?"

"Weren't you listening?"

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4 minutes ago, smac97 said:

When people speak of Elder Uchtdorf's automatic release from the First Presidency as being a "demotion," that sounds more political than spiritual.

When people characterize Elder Uchtdorf's automatic release from the First Presidency (and, as a corollary, the calling of Pres. Oaks into the First Presidency) as some sort of great calamity for the Church, that sounds more political than spiritual.

When the Salt Lake Tribune publishes an article entitled "Many Mormons are not happy with Uchtdorf’s lower profile," notes that Elder Uchtdorf has a nickname (the "Silver Fox"), characterizes him as "a kind of latter-day superstar" and "the symbol of what so many hoped would be seen as an increasingly global faith," that sounds more political than spiritual.

I have some specific examples, but I'll refrain from quoting them directly.

He also selected as a counselor the next senior apostle.  Around half of the presidents of the Church have served as counselors in the First Presidency.

And then there's the role of revelation, which is getting remarkably short shrift in this discussion.  It's as if this discussion is more about a political personality, and not as much about a revelatory process in which God's administration of His Church is presumed.  In that sense, then, some of the remarks I have read really do come across as factionalizing.

Thanks,

-Smac

Are you of the opinion that there are no politics in church leadership? I see that as an impossibility. Politics, in a very broad sense, plays into every group dynamic I can think of. It's the most natural thing in the world. It's part of every conversation and friendship and team. I don't see the brethren as somehow being able to perfectly transcend that human condition.

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3 hours ago, Gray said:

What emotion is the person below feeling? This is really tough to figure out. Faces are such a mystery! Some have suggested sadness, but how could we ever really know? He could just be bored or amused!

851913.jpeg

 

 

 

 

 

 

And yet when I see Elder Uchtdorf smiling that's an indication that he angry and secretly leading a rift against the Prophet

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My problem with the press conference is the press asking the same questions all over again that have been asked at prior such press conferences and elsewhere yet somehow thinking that the question has never been asked before ("I'm really going to zing them this time when I ask about LGBT!!! This is going to be our moment of triumph!!"). The responses were I suppose refreshingly awkward as though the three of them were saying, "Yes, this always comes up and you always get roughly the same answer."

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Gray, et al:

Even if I accept the conclusion from all of the outstanding face-readers and emotion-readers on this thread that yes, former-President-now-Elder Uchtdorf (Dang! :() appeared upset, angry, sad, [fill-in-emotion-here-seen-on-Elder-Uchtdorf's-face-by-expert-face/emotion-reader], if I am to accept the experts' conclusion, I also have to accept that either:

  1. Despite the fact that President Nelson likely has been considering these changes for months (almost since the very moment President Monson, God rest and bless his soul, drew his last), conversely, Elder Uchtdorf didn't get any cues from the Spirit about what was coming down the pike, unlike the former bishop's counselor and bishop, respectively, that I mentioned earlier in the thread (Welp, I guess that, somehow, those spiritual cues are reserved for the rank-and-file, while the Lord's Anointed, conversely, are left so in-the-dark that they're utterly blindsided by such changes in assignment and are left to appear [fill-in-the-blank-with-negative-emotion-here] at the meeting announcing the changes); or
  2. Accepting, solely for the sake of this discussion, that the face/emotion-reading experts are correct, Elder Uchtdorf was so blindsided by the changes in assignment that he was able to do absolutely nothing in the roughly 48 hours between the meetings when the changes were (a) made, and (b) announced to process the change emotionally.  I suppose I'm better at that sort of adjustment than Elder Uchtdorf is, then, because I've gone to bed: (a) spitting mad, (b) abjectly sad, (c) somehow discontented, (d) fill-in-negative-emotion here, and yet still woke up: (a) feeling OK; (b) with a desire to mend fences; (c) relatively content, or even happy, perhaps; and/or (d) at least without negative emotion (d).

 The bottom line is, even if we skeptics accept that the expert face/emotion readers are absolutely correct in their reading of Elder Uchtdorf's facial expression(s)/emotion(s), if we accept the "why" proffered by those experts, we also must accept one of the two options above, or some combination of them, and that's where the "experts" go off the rails, I think.  Are the Brethren human?  Yes, of course.  But that introduces a whole host of potential reasons why Elder Uchtdorf might have looked as though he felt [fill-in-emotion-here] which may have absolutely nothing to do with the recent changes in assignments among them.  Perhaps Elder Uchtdorf went skiing, and, feeling a newfound freedom and sense of adventure because of the weight lifted off of his shoulders by the change in assignment, he disregarded Schwester Harriet's instruction to stick to the Bunny Hill, leading to a disagreement between them the night before.

There is exactly as much evidence for the foregoing hypothesis for Elder Uchtdorf's facial expression and alleged emotional state is there is for any other hypothesis being offered in this thread.

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17 minutes ago, smac97 said:

And then there's the role of revelation, which is getting remarkably short shrift in this discussion.  It's as if this discussion is more about a political personality, and not as much about a revelatory process in which God's administration of His Church is presumed.

True that.

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27 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

I would definitely be interested to hear Elder Uchtdorf's answers to the questions asked yesterday.  I do think if he were there, it would have unfolded a little better.  But probably true if Christofferson or Anderson were there too.  

I guess in the end, though, it really is about whether they can relate to people well.  Whether they are willing and able to address questions asked or not.  It's not that complicated.  Style matters some, sure, but an effort to be genuine far outweighs polish in off the cuff.  That was a big problem.  

But I think they were trying to be genuine. That people didn't think they were genuine is inherently about style.

 

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5 minutes ago, smac97 said:

And then there's the role of revelation, which is getting remarkably short shrift in this discussion.  It's as if this discussion is more about a political personality, and not as much about a revelatory process in which God's administration of His Church is presumed.  In that sense, then, some of the remarks I have read really do come across as factionalizing.

I am sure there are those who would like to portray a split, division or factionalizing.  I find those as much a pendulum swing in one direction as those members who swing in the other direction in their claims of "sameness" and perfect unity among the Apostles.
And for me it's not a political personality but a religious one.
One Mormon scholar wrote yesterday that:

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13 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Are you of the opinion that there are no politics in church leadership?

Politics:

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1. the science or art of political government.
2. the practice or profession of conducting political affairs.
3. political affairs:
The advocated reforms have become embroiled in politics.
4. political methods or maneuvers:
We could not approve of his politics in winning passage of the bill.
5. political principles or opinions:
We avoided discussion of religion and politics. His politics are his own affair.

"Political":

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1. of, relating to, or concerned with politics :
political writers.
2. of, relating to, or connected with a political party:
a political campaign.
3. exercising or seeking power in the governmental or public affairs of a state, municipality, etc.:
a political machine; a political boss.
4. of, relating to, or involving the state or its government:
a political offense.
5. having a definite policy or system of government:
a political community.
6. of or relating to citizens:
political rights.

To answer your question: I think "political" motivations are absent (or largely absent) from the operations of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve.

I think these men are sincere in their religious beliefs, including that they are doing the work of God.

I also think that these men have sincere and good-faith differences of opinion as to how they can and should go about discerning the will of God and leading the Church in accordance therewith. 

I do not think these differences of opinion are aptly or fairly described as "political."

13 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

I see that as an impossibility. Politics, in a very broad sense, plays into every group dynamic I can think of. It's the most natural thing in the world. It's part of every conversation and friendship and team. I don't see the brethren as somehow being able to perfectly transcend that human condition.

I think we are perhaps disagreeing more on labels, and less on substance.

Thanks,

-Smac

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9 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Are you of the opinion that there are no politics in church leadership? I see that as an impossibility. Politics, in a very broad sense, plays into every group dynamic I can think of. It's the most natural thing in the world. [Emphasis added by Kenngo1969.]  It's part of every conversation and friendship and team. I don't see the brethren as somehow being able to perfectly transcend that human condition.

Maybe, but, see Mosiah 3:19, Matthew 23:11, Matthew 20:20-28.

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As evidence that we don't always know how to interpret what one's facial expressions mean I relate the following:

About 15-20 years ago it was time for a new stake presidency in our stake. I was unable to make it to the Saturday evening adult session of the stake conference (I think because of work), but my parents went. Of course everyone was speculating about who the new stake presidency was going to be and most of the guesses were that it would be one of the two counselors (President Turner, the first counselor, or President Anderson, the second counselor). After I got home from work that night and after my parents returned from the adult session my mother said, "I figured out who the stake president is going to be!" I said, "Really? How would you know?"
She responded with, "Because I saw both the counselors there tonight and President Turner was sitting there looking very despondent and President Anderson was zipping around looking very upbeat and just really happy and almost like he was on Cloud 9. So that means that President Turner is upset that they passed him over to be the next stake president and that President Anderson is overjoyed that he gets to be it."

I said, "Mom! You have just proven to me who the next stake president will actually be! Based on what you are reporting President Turner WILL be the next stake president and what you perceive to be his expression of being upset over being passed over is actually him feeling the weight of the pending calling. And President Anderson is actually overjoyed that he does NOT have the weight on him of having to be the next stake president."

The next morning President Turner was sustained as the new stake president and President Anderson went on to becoming a greeter in sacrament meetings in his ward. (Names have been changed here, but the "greeter" part is accurate.)

Much of what is coloring the whole discussion in this thread is the idea that general authorities are some kind of rock stars who somehow deserve celebrity status and that they must be allowed to continue in that "status" as long as we feel they should. But that's not how it works in the Kingdom of God.

Edited by CMZ

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7 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

I am sure there are those who would like to portray a split, division or factionalizing.  I find those as much a pendulum swing in one direction as those members who swing in the other direction in their claims of "sameness" and perfect unity among the Apostles.

 

The Brethren do not claim "perfect unity" in all things.  They start with differences of opinion, but then they come together and become unified as to the outcome.  Hence we get unanimity on even controversial issues like the policy changes.

I am not aware of members claiming "perfect unity among the Apostles" in terms of opinions and perspectives.

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And for me it's not a political personality but a religious one.
One Mormon scholar wrote yesterday that:

I think these are differences in style and emphasis, rather than on Christology per se.  These approaches are eminently compatible.

Thanks,

-Smac

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15 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

I am sure there are those who would like to portray a split, division or factionalizing.  I find those as much a pendulum swing in one direction as those members who swing in the other direction in their claims of "sameness" and perfect unity among the Apostles.
And for me it's not a political personality but a religious one.
One Mormon scholar wrote yesterday that:

The Tribune will always say what the Tribune will say. Both Oaks and Nelson have talked about Love and Law. As did Jesus Christ.

Edited by CMZ

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13 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

We are reduced to reading tea leaves now?

Tea leaves - wishful thinking - Schadenfreude - whatever. This is what I call "the gas law of gossip." Any hint, however tiny, expands to fill any information vacuum, however large, just so long as it goes the way the would-be gossip wants it to go.

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6 minutes ago, CMZ said:

The Tribune will always say what the Tribune will say. Both Oaks and Nelson have talked about Love and Law. As did Jesus Christ.

Tribune didn't say it.  A member of the Church who happens to be a professor of Philosophy and Comparative religion did.
The Trib just quoted him.

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5 hours ago, Gray said:

I think most people are pretty good at reading faces. I think it's much harder to hide our emotions through our expressions than it is through our words.

Again, the problem with that is that it so frequently fails.  Juries go by outward appearance, God judges by the heart.  There is a reason for that.  Many are misled by Hollywood movies into believing that everything is telegraphed through facial expression and other gestures.  In real life that does not necessarily obtain.

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2 minutes ago, CMZ said:

The Tribune will always say what the Tribune will say. Both Oaks and Nelson have talked about Love and Law.

From the article:

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“The new First Presidency does not understand how those of us who are not white, not male, not old, not heterosexual, and not from the United States long for a face and a voice that represents us,” said Bryndis Roberts, a black Mormon in Atlanta and head of Ordain Women, a group seeking female entrance into the LDS priesthood. “To say that the representation occurs at the local leadership level ignores the reality that many of the concerns members have and the changes members seek cannot be addressed at the local level. As such, it is imperative that all levels of church leadership reflect the diversity of the church.”

That sounds rather "political," does it not?  

Thanks,

-Smac

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9 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I think these are differences in style and emphasis, rather than on Christology per se.  These approaches are eminently compatible.

So you can't imagine a situation where President Nelson would select a counselor who shared his approach rather than a different one?
Or the Lord may have selected one by revelation in order that the First Presidency be completely on the same page as to their approach to the gospel?

Is it entirely inconceivable that there might have been an actual reason why Oaks was selected over Uchtdorf, even if that reason came by revelation?
Maybe it was just that Oaks is next in line and Nelson recognizes the difficulty in becoming President never having served in the First Presidency.  Perhaps the reason is he wants his friend President Oaks to have experience he never received.

There is nothing wrong with wondering why either the Lord or President Nelson selected President Oaks over Elder Uchtdorf.  And I fail to see why the staunch defenders are getting so up in arms over such thoughts.

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