Jump to content
phaedrus ut

David Bokovoy on Mormon Stories

Recommended Posts

20 minutes ago, pogi said:

Just to verify, can you show me any "meticulously gathered psychological data in a scholarly way" that affirms that the Church policy is associated with increased risk of suicide in LGBTQ individuals?

How is this type of speculation any less dangerous?  It seems dismissive of the complexity of a life-time of issues that might be afflicting a suicidal individual, and instead uses a singular and convenient target to place the blame.  It comes off, to me, as though these individuals who deserve a more holistic and individualized approach are being grouped together as a whole and used as religious and political pawns - which to me seems unethical and unsympathetic. 

I am not saying that church policies are absolutely not contributing factors for any individuals, but just how much weight is there?  This is all speculative at best, and dismissive of the holistic picture. I am afraid that blowing up the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will not resolve these more complex issues.    

By offering "alternative explenations", we are addressing the reality that there is rarely a singular factor in suicide risk.  It is WAY too simplistic to blame it all on one church policy. 

This is to me is all "irresponsible" and "dangerous and hurtful speculation".

     

You're misreading my post as well.  I didn't claim to have any meticulously gathered data on the church and its policies and whether or not they contribute to suicide.  

Share this post


Link to post
1 minute ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

Thank you, Kevin. As a professionally trained historian, I am always grateful for those who can (and choose to) see through the fabrication of dominant narratives to the messy but very real nuts and bolts beneath. It is, as you no doubt already understand, a mostly thankless and sometimes dangerous exercise.

This is great, maybe I could point you to a few of my posts where I'm critiquing the dominant Mormon narrative?   I wonder if you'd be interested.  I'm constantly trying to point out areas where our dominant narrative isn't complicated enough and is too reductive and doesn't take the complexity of issues into consideration.  I'm glad to hear that you enjoy those kinds of posts.  

Share this post


Link to post
12 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

I didn't say anything about the LDS church in any of my posts on the topic, you're reading something into my comments that I isn't there.  Sorry.  Whether the church and its surrounding culture is contributing to the high rates of youth suicide in Utah is a different subject that I haven't commented on. 

Then what is the following all about?

Quote

By offering alternative explanations for contributing factors towards suicide of an at risk group that questions the very identity of these individuals, you're traversing into the territory of disrespectful prejudice, and I worry that this kind of position could itself be a contributing societal factor to suicide rates.  I find this kind of speculation very irresponsible.  If we were discussing a set of meticulously gathered psychological data in a scholarly way, that would be different, but as I see it you're offering up dangerous and hurtful speculation.  

 

It sounds like you are accusing members of being disrespectful and prejudice who offer "alternative explanations" in trying to understand the complexity of suicide risk.  This assumes that the LDS church is rightfully to blame.   

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
35 minutes ago, pogi said:

Then what is the following all about?

 

It sounds like you are accusing members of being disrespectful and prejudice who offer "alternative explanations" in trying to understand the complexity of suicide risk.  This assumes that the LDS church is rightfully to blame.   

No, I didn't say or imply anything about the LDS church.  My point is directly in response to Kevin's comments.  I read his comments as questioning the very identity of gays and characterizing their very natural behaviors as addictive and I think that this disparaging way of thinking if widespread enough could potentially contribute to suicide.  As I understand it, the church hasn't made any official statements that would characterize gays as being addicts.  If it has, please let me know, because that would be seriously newsworthy in my opinion.  

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, Kevin Christensen said:

I have looked at a number statistical studies, including one that shows that suicide among gays is higher than normal populations even in secular and sexually liberal countries like Denmark, which to me raises the issue of why the LDS get singled out as the toxically intolerant and unsympathetic perps in so many narratives.  But I was not writing about them.  I was not even writing about the causes of suicide, but rather included one sentence "The LDS and gay suicide has become a socially useful narrative" that apparently, in your eyes, is enough to demonstrate, prejudiced assumptions, hurtful, dismissive, and even   It's the use of narratives, of such stories as leverage, applied according to the Archimedes principle:  Give me a lever and a place to stand, and I can move the world," or in this case, a world view.  A way to move out of Mormonism.  Something that Bokovoy mentions.

So that one sentence in long post has exposed me as holding "prejudiced assumptions" , being "hurtful", "dismissive", even being and/or conveying "contributing factors" which leaves me with blood on my hands.

Speaking of real people, I did, you notice, mention a few that I do know personally.  A friend's ex-wife (not an addict, in my view, but a person who had been abused by her father, and had a long strange healing trip that did after all, eventually lead to temple marriage), for instance, and several men that I do know, and met with regularly over a decade, sharing very personal stories.  I could go into much more detail, including some quite harrowing.  One who reported that participating in the fellowship and recovery saved his life.  When he came to his first meeting, as an alternative to killing himself, he reported that his greatest fear is that as soon as he mentioned his mode of acting out (primarily with other men), that he would be immediately rejected.  He was amazed and enlightened to find not only acceptance, but the understanding from people who had similar stories.  (About a third of the men in SA meetings I have attended have reported male to male sexual experiences.  Indeed, the man who wrote the SA manual had that kind of background, including a habit of picking up hitchhikers, despite the personal risks.  I heard him speak about when he was driving home from his brother's funeral, after his brother had died as consequence of picking up a hitchhiker, he paused to pick up a hitchhiker, when his wife was in the car behind his.  He reflexively lied to her, claimed it was a student he recognized.  Now, he has +30 years of sobriety)  And I did subsequently mention my essay "A Mormon Rashomon" about some other real people.   I could have mentioned the ex-wife of a very close relative, who left him for a man, then the man for a woman, and that woman for another woman, and that woman for another woman, last I heard.  Real people are involved.  And their children.

Hope says:

Speaking of "prejudiced assumptions" how many serious studies of sexual addiction have you read?  How many meetings of addicts have you attended?  How many people, real lives, and real stories have you listened to and prayed with?   I've read more than a dozen books, and have more than 12 years worth of meetings, and quite literally hundreds of real people in face to face situations.   I remember watching the A Chorus Line movie, and a gay character telling about his his Mom had to work, and how he spent his time movie theaters, and how men would come sit by him, and more than sit.  That's just a movie, that kind of story has fallen from favor nowadays.  But I know real people who tell that kind of story and much worse.   And I know people who have had such relationships that I would not describe as due addiction. 

Maybe the silence is conspicuous to me because of the real people I know and the real experiences I have had, as opposed to ignorance, insensitivity and prejudice.  For instance, a few months ago I watched an episode of Perception on Hulu that wound me up.  It's a quirky consulting detective drama that ran for three seasons with the guy from Will and Grace (Eric McCormack) as an A Beautiful Mind style psychologist whose hallucinations help him solve crimes.  One episode had a psychiatrist being killed.  Turns out he had a coded way of referring to gay men that he treated with a science fiction experimental drug that provided amazing intimacy with whomever.  At one point they had a trio of  couples trying to make things work, all sympathetically acted, as sincere and heart-felt in their desire for a working solution to preserve their marriages, despite the men admitting homosexual attractions. (And I do know several men in that situation who have succeeded, not by suppressing, or denying, or dubious Skinnerian approaches, or drugs but through recovery.)  Yet the addiction word never enters in. It turns out that the Psychologist/Therapist was killed by a male patient with whom he'd been having drug enhanced affair (not the only person or gender with which he was involved in such affairs), after proposing that the patient he was supposedly treating leave his wife for him.  According to McCormack's character, the only social solution for these couples is to dismiss the marriages as inherently doomed despite the presence of anything like love or children and especially not faith (a religious character was depicted as cruelly fanatical and close-minded), and accept the reality of who you are, and act accordingly without shame, guilt or emotional restraint. Addiction is not so much as mentioned.  So, of course, neither is the possibility that addiction recovery might be relevant for those whom a diagnosis was apt, and that could make a difference for people who really wanted that difference.

Popular acceptance, going along with the crowd, uncritically accepting the dominant narrative, the current social orthodoxy, is not precisely critical thinking, but is rather, a shortcut from the burden of critical thinking.

Is my body of published work no more than confirmation that I never exercise in critical thinking, or perhaps, some evidence to the contrary?

If you put together a group of people with a similar set of values, they will, due to their similarity, create a dominant narrative.  No conspiracy is required.  Just a common way of thinking, and common interests.  It happens that two of the most important diagnostic features of sex addicts is (1) that they have a deeply held personal conviction that "sex is my most important need" and (2) addicts tend to be very good at looking for hypocrisy and weakness in others, a set of grievance stories which have the effect of providing convenient moral justification for themselves.  It follows then that a group with enough addicts to influence group values could be identified by the presence of (1) a conviction that sex is their most important need and (2) a conspicuous tendency to complain about the hypocrisies and oppression and atrocities perpetrated upon them, all of which serves their own self justification.

Know any groups that might answer that description?

Just asking.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

 

Ok, so just to be clear, it wasn't that sentence that concerned me the most.  I also not talking about the church and its surrounding culture contributing to suicide.  The most concerning elements of your post to me were the way you're characterizing addiction, and correlating it as a contributing factor to gays committing suicide and the solution to this "problem" being religious prescriptions of accountability and boundary setting as solutions to the perceived problem.  

 

After reading your follow up posts and the additional clarity that you're giving, I'm inclined to think that you've been consuming a very one sided diet of material that is fundamentally skewed towards a prejudiced position about gays.  I suspect the same on the subject of addiction, that you've been consuming a very once sided set of material on that subject.  

I will tell you that these subjects are not an area of expertise of mine or of great interest for me personally.  However, I've learned enough to know that the way you're characterizing addiction is way outside mainstream psychology today.  I have read enough to know that even the topic of sexual addiction itself is a debated topic in the professional psychological community.  This 2015 study talks about some of the concerns about the concept of sex addiction.  

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301051115300107

As for homosexuals, I don't see any controversy in the professional community gay sexual behavior being uniquely treated in terms of addiction.  The professional community moved way past that old categorization in the 1970s, and licensed professionals don't treat gays in the terms you've characterized in your post.  

I suspect that your experiences attending Mormon addiction recovery meetings are highly skewed towards people that have been told that their "problem" with "same sex attraction" is an addiction by their conservative ecclesiastical leaders, and their efforts to "repent" of this behavior have obviously colored your perspective on this subject.  

I've consumed enough material from actual trained and licensed professionals, without the religiously influenced ideology, to know that what you've said here on this subject is wrong, however well intended it may be.  I also think that its sadly hurtful to the entire LGBTQ community to have these kind of views portraying them and their experience.  Being a homosexual doesn't make you an addict any more than being a heterosexual makes someone an addict.  I imagine if you had a bunch of heterosexuals that were married to partners of the same sex, that many of them would act out and seek opposite sex experiences because that is how they are naturally attracted.  That wouldn't make these people addicts.  Its pretty natural if you think about it.  

Share this post


Link to post
1 minute ago, hope_for_things said:

No, I didn't say or imply anything about the LDS church.  My point is directly in response to Kevin's comments.  I read his comments as questioning the very identity of gays and characterizing their very natural behaviors as addictive and I think that this disparaging way of thinking if widespread enough could potentially contribute to suicide.  As I understand it, the church hasn't made any official statements that would characterize gays as being addicts.  If it has, please let me know, because that would be seriously newsworthy in my opinion.  

Ok, I accept your explanation.  However, I think you are largely misunderstanding Kevin.  He is not characterizing them all as addictive.  As far as I can tell, he is suggesting that there are many potential contributing factors that can play a role in suicide risk.  Addiction is one potential factor - gay or not. The point is that it is over simplistic and irresponsible to blame a Church policy in denial of likely more complex and individualistic factors.  He mentioned a few other potential factors as well.

Here is exactly what he said:

Quote

I know several men who nearly came to suicide, not because they could not act out sexually (they did so countless times), but because they could not stop acting out.  Addiction recovery saved their lives and enhanced the quality of their lives in ways that are simply not allowed to become part of the contemporary socially defining narrative. 

This is not a general statement that all gays are addicts - but he is simply pointing out that contributing factors can be varied and complex. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

Maybe I could point you to a few of my posts where I'm critiquing the dominant Mormon narrative?   I wonder if you'd be interested.

Yeah, I've read a number of your posts ... and those of other critics. I find some of it (speaking broadly and not just about you) helpful, but often what I see is an attempt to replace a disliked dominant narrative with a preferred one -- one that fits in better with current social orthodoxy. I'll certainly keep reading what you post in case I'm missing anything. In the meantime, my professional assessment is that the Church Historical Department are doing a far better job of providing access to a fuller, more authentic and more complete historical picture than any critics are. :good:

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
11 minutes ago, pogi said:

Ok, I accept your explanation.  However, I think you are largely misunderstanding Kevin.  He is not characterizing them all as addictive.  As far as I can tell, he is suggesting that there are many potential contributing factors that can play a role in suicide risk.  Addiction is one potential factor - gay or not. The point is that it is over simplistic and irresponsible to blame a Church policy in denial of likely more complex and individualistic factors.  He mentioned a few other potential factors as well.

Here is exactly what he said:

This is not a general statement that all gays are addicts - but he is simply pointing out that contributing factors can be varied and complex. 

Ok, thanks, you may be right about what Kevin was getting at.  I read his comment in the context of gays.  So if he wasn't meaning to associate gays with addiction directly, and if he's thinking addiction applies to all kinds of sexual orientations, then his comments are certainly less problematic.  Although I did make some points in my last reply to him about addiction in general and sexual addiction in specific, and that this topic is a debated one in the professional community.  

Share this post


Link to post
1 minute ago, hope_for_things said:

Ok, thanks, you may be right about what Kevin was getting at.  I read his comment in the context of gays.  So if he wasn't meaning to associate gays with addiction directly, and if he's thinking addiction applies to all kinds of sexual orientations, then his comments are certainly less problematic.  Although I did make some points in my last reply to him about addiction in general and sexual addiction in specific, and that this topic is a debated one in the professional community.  

And what of their testimonies that addiction recovery saved their lives? 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, pogi said:

And what of their testimonies that addiction recovery saved their lives? 

What of the testimonies of polygamist wives in the FLDS church? 

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

What of the testimonies of polygamist wives in the FLDS church? 

Are you being a bit dismissive here?  We are talking about lives of gay people being saved from suicide, which has nothing to do with the testimonies of polygamist FLDS wives. 

Share this post


Link to post
10 hours ago, pogi said:

Are you being a bit dismissive here?  We are talking about lives of gay people being saved from suicide, which has nothing to do with the testimonies of polygamist FLDS wives. 

I'm respectful of polygamist FLDS wives and their testimonies.  I'm saddened that they essentially have been conditioned to view the world through a lens that from my perspective is extremely unfair and stifling, but I respect that they have chosen this life based on the information and conditions unique to their experience.  

Same thing with people taught other things like certain addicts with testimonies about their recovery.  Its important to me to be respectful of others even though I have knowledge that informs me differently.  

Share this post


Link to post
43 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

Same thing with people taught other things like certain addicts with testimonies about their recovery.  Its important to me to be respectful of others even though I have knowledge that informs me differently.  

Are you suggesting that we not listen to what has worked for suicidal individuals?  We shouldn't consider what they personally credit for saving their lives, but instead dismiss their first-hand accounts because some people in the "professional community" can't come to any agreement on the topic of addiction?  Just what information do you have specifically that "informs you differently"?  If the professional community is not in agreement, how can you be so dismissive of their personal experience?  I don't know what you think respect is, but being dismissive of the personal experience of a life saved from suicide is not it.   Comparing these people's personal experiences to FLDS polygamist wives is also not respectful. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
8 minutes ago, pogi said:

Are you suggesting that we not listen to what has worked for suicidal individuals?  We shouldn't consider what they personally credit for saving their lives, but instead dismiss their first-hand accounts because some people in the "professional community" can't come to any agreement on the topic of addiction?  Just what information do you have specifically that "informs you differently"?  If the professional community is not in agreement, how can you be so dismissive of their personal experience?  I don't know what you think respect is, but being dismissive of the personal experience of a life saved from suicide is not it.   Comparing these people's personal experiences to FLDS polygamist wives is also not respectful. 

Is this a serious question?   Let me give an example.  Lets evaluate all the different methods for how to treat illness that have been used in the past 200 years by the various cultures of the world.  How should we decide to proceed in treating people?  Should we use subjective testimony of the individuals who claim to have been cured by all kinds of various methods of healing from blood letting, to grandma's special sauce recipes, to shamans and witch doctors. 

Or should we use the scientific approach? 

Share this post


Link to post
8 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

Is this a serious question?   Let me give an example.  Lets evaluate all the different methods for how to treat illness that have been used in the past 200 years by the various cultures of the world.  How should we decide to proceed in treating people?  Should we use subjective testimony of the individuals who claim to have been cured by all kinds of various methods of healing from blood letting, to grandma's special sauce recipes, to shamans and witch doctors. 

Or should we use the scientific approach? 

In other words, you don't have any good data/information which impels you to be dismissive of their experience...

A person's personal psychological experience of being saved from suicide is entirely subjective - unlike blood letting, etc.  But even then, medical trials are heavily dependent on the subjective testimony of individuals.  Did your headache stop after taking this pill, yes or no?  With enough data gathered of subjective testimony, we can be more confident in distinguishing correlation from causation.  Until that data is gathered, to dismiss a person's testimony would be reckless.  So, what data do you have to make you so confident in your dismissal?   

I have a feeling that if it was any other suicidal person's testimony, you would not be as dismissive - for example, if a young man claimed that recovery from drug addiction ultimately healed him from suicidal ideation, would you reject that testimony?  Of course not!  Why would you?  You have no good reason, evidence, data to.  But because a church program might have actually saved a gay person's life from suicide, it is just all too much for you to accept. 

To dismiss their experience for no good reason is reckless and not respectful at all. We are talking about real people coming back from the brink of suicide, doesn't their voice matter?

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
43 minutes ago, Kevin Christensen said:

Pogi was correct.  And yes, my comments are less problematic than your response made them out to be.  I have noticed a tendency in these kinds of discussions for some people to cast my comments into the grooves of arguments that they expect or fear that I have made (based on their own prejudices), rather than the arguments I actually make.

Ok, thats good to hear, thanks for the clarification.  I understand, as people often misread something in my comments as well.  

44 minutes ago, Kevin Christensen said:

I am aware that some professionals are skeptical of the diagnosis of addiction.  For instance, the Mormon Therapist blogger at Patheos a while back claimed that to call a person an addict to unjustly "pathologize" them.  I agree that misdiagnosis is possible, but I had a problem with the use of the rhetorically loaded term "pathologize" over the neutral term "diagnose".   And I noticed that her characterization of what went on in 12 step meetings (essentially toxic shame fests) was completely different than anything I have experienced in over a dozen different groups over many years.  I commented to this effect, and after several days, my comment finally made it through moderation.  If a person actually is addicted to a behavior (that is, has an increased craving combined with impeded judgement), then for a professional to tell them that there is nothing wrong with them, that they ought to be "true to themselves" and break the shackles of their benighted religious culture or frustrating marriage or other relationship then, it follows that the opportunity for healing is lost.  Over the course of my 40 years  of marriage, we have had opportunity to consult counselors in several states.   I've learned that they are neither omniscient nor infallible.  Some  who could have diagnosed me much earlier based on available evidence, did not.  Since addiction is a progressive disease, I got worse instead of better.  I have personally consulted a few people who were very helpful and knowledgeable (Milton Magness and Marsha Means), as well as some who wanted to help but who had read less on addiction than I have.

I do think there is an element of pathologizing of behaviors that can be detrimental.   And I would definitely privilege the perspective of a licensed and trained professional.  Even using the term diagnose when it comes to certain behaviors could be potentially problematic.  Cultures and religious traditions can label certain behaviors as taboo and in violation of accepted norms and these labels can create significant anxiety and unnecessary shame.  As I understand it, the goal of the professional is to alleviate the suffering of their clients and to help them the best they can without passing judgment on the culture/religion of their client.  However, I imagine this is very difficult in some circumstances.  

12 step programs I think can help some people, but don't work for everyone, and potentially could do harm to some people.  I think there is still much we need to learn about the brain and how chemicals work to influence behaviors, especially compulsive and additive tendencies.  However, I think the end goal should be to alleviate suffering, so whatever tools work best to do that should be employed.  I also think religions and the taboos that they foster in communities can be negative contributing factors on all sorts of mental disorders. 

As good as religion can be, it also can be very detrimental in certain circumstances.  My hope would be to take the good and eliminate the bad.  For example, if your religion teaches that something that is healthy and natural is evil and pernicious, for some individuals who try to stop this natural and normal behavior the guilt/shame they feel from their religious paradigm actually feeds the behavior and exacerbates a perceived problem even further.  The simple solution for many of these people is to just learn that the natural behavior is normal and healthy.  

Share this post


Link to post
31 minutes ago, pogi said:

In other words, you don't have any good data/information which impels you to be dismissive of their experience...

A person's personal psychological experience of being saved from suicide is entirely subjective - unlike blood letting, etc.  But even then, medical trials are heavily dependent on the subjective testimony of individuals.  Did your headache stop after taking this pill, yes or no?  With enough data gathered of subjective testimony, we can be more confident in distinguishing correlation from causation.  Until that data is gathered, to dismiss a person's testimony would be reckless.  So, what data do you have to make you so confident in your dismissal?   

I have a feeling that if it was any other suicidal person's testimony, you would not be as dismissive - for example, if a young man claimed that recovery from drug addiction ultimately healed him from suicidal ideation, would you reject that testimony?  Of course not!  Why would you?  You have no good reason, evidence, data to.  But because a church program might have actually saved a gay person's life from suicide, it is just all too much for you to accept. 

To dismiss their experience for no good reason is reckless and not respectful at all. We are talking about real people coming back from the brink of suicide, doesn't their voice matter?

I didn't say we ignore the testimonies, I said we should evaluate them in the context of all the data.  I'm no expert on this subject, so I can't comment on what the data tells us.  I'm giving examples where testimony by itself is a very flawed approach to medicine, which seems obvious to me.  It sounds to me like you want to privilege certain types of testimony (religious ones) over others.  I think its equally subjective and for that reason very limited in what we can expect to learn from it.  

Share this post


Link to post
8 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

Ok, thats good to hear, thanks for the clarification.  I understand, as people often misread something in my comments as well.  

I do think there is an element of pathologizing of behaviors that can be detrimental.   And I would definitely privilege the perspective of a licensed and trained professional.  Even using the term diagnose when it comes to certain behaviors could be potentially problematic.  Cultures and religious traditions can label certain behaviors as taboo and in violation of accepted norms and these labels can create significant anxiety and unnecessary shame.  As I understand it, the goal of the professional is to alleviate the suffering of their clients and to help them the best they can without passing judgment on the culture/religion of their client.  However, I imagine this is very difficult in some circumstances.  

12 step programs I think can help some people, but don't work for everyone, and potentially could do harm to some people.  I think there is still much we need to learn about the brain and how chemicals work to influence behaviors, especially compulsive and additive tendencies.  However, I think the end goal should be to alleviate suffering, so whatever tools work best to do that should be employed.  I also think religions and the taboos that they foster in communities can be negative contributing factors on all sorts of mental disorders. 

As good as religion can be, it also can be very detrimental in certain circumstances.  My hope would be to take the good and eliminate the bad.  For example, if your religion teaches that something that is healthy and natural is evil and pernicious, for some individuals who try to stop this natural and normal behavior the guilt/shame they feel from their religious paradigm actually feeds the behavior and exacerbates a perceived problem even further.  The simple solution for many of these people is to just learn that the natural behavior is normal and healthy.  

There is that word, "pathologize".  It's not rhetorically neutral.

12 Step programs obviously and unquestionably do help people.  They don't cure broken bones of fix teeth.  But for specific known problems, they do help amazingly well.  I have seen people enter who have not been helped.  But participation for over 12 years has made it obvious that "It works if you work it, it won't if you don't" as we chant together at the meeting's end.  The lack of personal commitment and personal effort and follow-through by those who do not benefit is stark and clear and unmistakable.  12 Step Groups are not a pill to passively swallow and wait for unearned relief, but a well-marked and carefully explored path to take.  Those who take the path, who do the work and the reading and the writing and set boundaries and accept accountability all improve in all aspects of their personal life and relationships.  Those who take hold the iron rod (the 12 steps are quite simply scripture based repentance) make it through the mists of darkness, and who ignore the mocking and pointing from those in the Great and Spacious building, who reach the tree and taste the fruit, and delight in it, and who go on to share what they have found with others, yes it works for them.  Those who say, "I have no need of repentance," or who decide that it's too hard, or who ask "Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees or any of the authorities who tell me the smooth things I prefer, have they believed on him?" and that sort, their harvest is notably sparse.  And there is no mystery as to why.

In one of the presentations I use, I show brain scans of addicted people compared to healthy people.  There are clear differences.  And it happens that 12 step recovery leads to observable changes in the brain that go along with the improved behavior, relationships, and quality of life.  That is rather specific.  A very clear and detailed foundation of knowledge, theory, practice, and demonstration.

Can you be specific, rather than abstract?

Take the good and eliminate the bad.  Of course there is always the problem of those who confuse the two.

And there is the simple solution of just doing what comes naturally, going along with the in-crowd when not just pleasing one's self in all things, not asking too many questions, especially self-critical ones, and not rocking the boat.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
14 minutes ago, Kevin Christensen said:

There is that word, "pathologize".  It's not rhetorically neutral.

12 Step programs obviously and unquestionably do help people.  They don't cure broken bones of fix teeth.  But for specific known problems, they do help amazingly well.  I have seen people enter who have not been helped.  But participation for over 12 years has made it obvious that "It works if you work it, it won't if you don't" as we chant together at the meeting's end.  The lack of personal commitment and personal effort and follow-through by those who do not benefit is stark and clear and unmistakable.  12 Step Groups are not a pill to passively swallow and wait for unearned relief, but a well-marked and carefully explored path to take.  Those who take the path, who do the work and the reading and the writing and set boundaries and accept accountability all improve in all aspects of their personal life and relationships.  Those who take hold the iron rod (the 12 steps are quite simply scripture based repentance) make it through the mists of darkness, and who ignore the mocking and pointing from those in the Great and Spacious building, who reach the tree and taste the fruit, and delight in it, and who go on to share what they have found with others, yes it works for them.  Those who say, "I have no need of repentance," or who decide that it's too hard, or who ask "Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees or any of the authorities who tell me the smooth things I prefer, have they believed on him?" and that sort, their harvest is notably sparse.  And there is no mystery as to why.

In one of the presentations I use, I show brain scans of addicted people compared to healthy people.  There are clear differences.  And it happens that 12 step recovery leads to observable changes in the brain that go along with the improved behavior, relationships, and quality of life.  That is rather specific.  A very clear and detailed foundation of knowledge, theory, practice, and demonstration.

Can you be specific, rather than abstract?

Take the good and eliminate the bad.  Of course there is always the problem of those who confuse the two.

And there is the simple solution of just doing what comes naturally, going along with the in-crowd when not just pleasing one's self in all things, not asking too many questions, especially self-critical ones, and not rocking the boat.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

I'm a pragmatist, so if the 12 step program works for someone, then I say great.  I just pointed out that it doesn't work for everyone and its not because they just failed to have enough faith or to try hard enough.  You sound almost religiously dogmatic about this program, so I won't try to persuade you otherwise, but will just say that we'll have to disagree on that point.  

And no offense to you and to all your experience working with people over the years and the books you've read and the knowledge you've acquired.  I imagine you've done a whole lot of good and from what I can tell you are a sincere and caring individual, and those things are very important and to be applauded in my book.  

However, I wouldn't trust your expertise on this subject over the expertise of the professional and certified therapist community.  Your experience might work very well for many people, but I also see some red flags of potential harm and that is why I chose to comment.  

Share this post


Link to post

While I have never been a treatment professional, I worked for several years in a support capacity in recovery.  Can professionals do much good?  Yes.  Do they?  Yes.  (Potentially, they can also do much harm: Even having a bowlful of alphabet soup after ones name is no guarantee that that won't happen.)  But it's one thing to hear from a therapist, a counselor, a physician, a psychiatrist, a psychologist, or another professional that "Doing [x] yields result [y]."  It's quite another to hear from someone who's been in treatment, where the rubber meets the road, that "Doing [x] yields result [y]: I know, because I am Exhibit [A]."  Other people who've been where the Twelve-Step "newbie" now is can speak with an authority that even professionals lack.  Professionals and clients may speak much about theory in their sessions together, but, really, for the most part, it is in Twelve-Step meetings and in other such venues where that theory is put into practice.  And even the most competent, most caring professional in the world isn't going to make a damn bit of difference if the client himself doesn't see the need for change and/or if he doesn't believe such change is possible.  Again, it's one thing to hear that from a professional: It's another thing entirely to hear it from someone who's been there.

Edited by Kenngo1969
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
23 hours ago, pogi said:

In other words, you don't have any good data/information which impels you to be dismissive of their experience...

A person's personal psychological experience of being saved from suicide is entirely subjective - unlike blood letting, etc.  But even then, medical trials are heavily dependent on the subjective testimony of individuals.  Did your headache stop after taking this pill, yes or no?  With enough data gathered of subjective testimony, we can be more confident in distinguishing correlation from causation.  Until that data is gathered, to dismiss a person's testimony would be reckless.  So, what data do you have to make you so confident in your dismissal?   

I have a feeling that if it was any other suicidal person's testimony, you would not be as dismissive - for example, if a young man claimed that recovery from drug addiction ultimately healed him from suicidal ideation, would you reject that testimony?  Of course not!  Why would you?  You have no good reason, evidence, data to.  But because a church program might have actually saved a gay person's life from suicide, it is just all too much for you to accept. 

To dismiss their experience for no good reason is reckless and not respectful at all. We are talking about real people coming back from the brink of suicide, doesn't their voice matter?

"Rate your pain on a scale from 1 to 10" (Knowing that will determine how many pills you get to take)

No wonder we have a crisis

As you say inferring causation from correlation as a grievious error, and first preached against by St. Hume. ;)

https://www.iep.utm.edu/hume-cau/

"

Empiricists of the Early Modern period, along with John Locke and George Berkeley. Although the three advocate similar empirical standards for knowledge,  that is, that there are no innate ideas and that all knowledge comes from experience, Hume is known for applying this standard rigorously to causation and necessity. Instead of taking the notion of causation for granted, Hume challenges us to consider what experience allows us to know about cause and effect.

Hume shows that experience does not tell us much. Of two events, A and B, we say that A causes B when the two always occur together, that is, are constantly conjoined. Whenever we find A, we also find B, and we have a certainty that this conjunction will continue to happen. Once we realize that “A must bring about B” is tantamount merely to “Due to their constant conjunction, we are psychologically certain that B will follow A”, then we are left with a very weak notion of necessity. This tenuous grasp on causal efficacy helps give rise to the Problem of Induction--that we are not reasonably justified in making any inductive inference about the world. Among Hume scholars it is a matter of debate how seriously Hume means us to take this conclusion and whether causation consists wholly in constant conjunction."

 

Edited by mfbukowski
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

The most recent interview on Mormonstories  David shares his views. One wonders where he is really at this time. The LDS excommunicated  Quinn and yet David has views that a a really challenge to LDS orthodoxy. How can you view the Book of Mormon as 19th Century and accept  Jesus paid the peoples in America a visit.

Share this post


Link to post
On 11/20/2018 at 9:40 AM, hope_for_things said:

As good as religion can be, it also can be very detrimental in certain circumstances.  My hope would be to take the good and eliminate the bad.  For example, if your religion teaches that something that is healthy and natural is evil and pernicious, for some individuals who try to stop this natural and normal behavior the guilt/shame they feel from their religious paradigm actually feeds the behavior and exacerbates a perceived problem even further.  The simple solution for many of these people is to just learn that the natural behavior is normal and healthy.  

Lots of things might be considered "natural and healthy" not not natural and healthy.   Marriage is not natural and some might say is not healthy.  Monogamy is not natural.   Stealing can be considered natural and healthy.  Animals don't respect property rights and they take from each other all the time.  It is natural for one to take from another.  Our religion however goes above this.  It teaches that the natural man is an enemy to God.  So simply giving the ok to what is considered natural and healthy in the standards of man might get one condemned by God.  We are asked to put off the natural man and conform our lives to Christ and that includes sacrificing what we might desire or be inclined to do naturally.  Some people are psychopaths. It is better that they do not do what comes naturally to them even if it is healthy for them to give into their inclinations.

Edited by carbon dioxide
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

The idea that treatment X must help everyone or it has no value, irritates me. Unless you are referring to the statement that " everyone who breathes on their own is alive" , we should recognize that humans follow the laws of probability . At what point do we accept a treatment as acceptable? If it helps 60%  and not the other 40%? How about if it helps 95% but kills 5 % ? Every treatment carries with it side effects otherwise lawyers would have way less work. Every time someone says ," well, not everyone... " they display a lack of familiarity with the bell curve and all its implications.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...