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President Oaks' advice to young married couples in Chicago

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1 hour ago, MustardSeed said:

Bluebell you are quite intelligent. I have no CFR but just going off my experience, it is ***my opinion. 

Thanks MustardSeed.  I'm not sure what you are responding to though?  Was this meant for someone else? :) 

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20 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

The problem with research that's so often done is that it is coming from a purely secular perspective and only giving one side of the debate. 

I agree.  So I believe the solution is for these topics (polygamy, etc.) to be taught by the leaders and in our lesson materials.... and in a faithful manner (not avoided like what has been done in the past).  They are most definitely a part of our history and can't be avoided anymore (with the internet and other readily available resources).    Most of the topics creating a faith crisis (if caused by church history or past doctrines) are still pretty taboo to discuss in a classrooms setting or from over the pulpit.  That needs to change if leaders want members to not learn about them in "a purely secular perspective".  Or do you see another solution?

The solution certainly is not to discourage members from researching and studying on their own, IMO.

Edited by ALarson
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4 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

https://www.thechurchnews.com/leaders-and-ministry/2019-02-04/president-oaks-advice-to-young-married-couples-in-chicago-on-how-to-tackle-faith-threatening-questions-48930?fbclid=IwAR0vpkbLjE_SRyprFVryPA9DO6Tva5j-kfJT-xKdRmOgDaCSeTuHTYL_QPA

Another talk on faith struggles was recently given and I wanted to share and get some discussion going.  

Good that he's acknowledging that the game has changed here.  People are less likely to just blindly trust what they've been told.  

I find it sad that he's taking a negative approach to living among people with different beliefs.  I just attended the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit last week in Utah and one of the themes of the conference was around diversity and how beneficial it is for successful business.  Is it really that hard to "love and live with" other people?  Is having someone challenge your standards in a "persuasive" way really a bad thing?  

This is interesting insight as I'm not sure I had heard this explicitly articulated before.  If they are listening to women's voices more than in the past, I think that is a very good thing.  I suspect that this effort to listen to women had a direct impact on the recent temple changes.  All of these things are a good sign for the future and I hope this continues to progress.  

Here is the whopper of a section.  [Sentence removed. Disagree with church leaders respectfully.] This runs counter to previously given advice and common sense.  Think of this in light of the famous quote from J. Reuben Clark, "If we have the truth, it cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not the truth, it ought to be harmed."  What do you think?  

I'm glad that he points to the Gospel Topics Essays, this is one of the rare times you get an Apostle pointing to this resource in a very public way.  The problem is that he's suggesting that the essays offer "answers" to questions.  Almost as if these answers are the final word, rather than a place to gather additional information and to continue to study and search.

I remember back to when I first started having what I would have called a faith crisis at the time.  I confided in a good counselor in the stake presidency that I was feeling a lot of guilt and discomfort and that I was reading RSR and Dialogue.  This good man comforted me, and encouraged me to continue to study and to read and to search and to not feel guilty about honest inquiry and rigorous research.  He told me it may take me many years and he expressed that there are many questions he still has that are unanswered and that this is part of the journey of life.  I will always be grateful for the early advice that I received that I should not just study things on the surface, but that I should search and research and study deeply. 

This has made me into a much better person, and I think is one of the best pieces of advice to give someone in this situation.  Don't run away from the problems, don't hide and pretend they don't exist, don't ignore them.  If religion and the existential questions about life actually matter, then you need to engage with these questions as if they do really matter.  

I worry that President Oaks doesn't care about actually helping people to grow into mature humans with the advice he's giving but that he only cares whether a person is an active member of the COJCOLDS.  That makes me sad.  

Is the question about whether JS is a prophet a question that your kid can ask, or is that an out of bounds question?   

Thats about it for what I wanted to comment on.  Let me know your thoughts.  Thanks

 

It simply is more proof that the leaders of the LDS Church are in panic mode and doubling down on their authority and telling members not to critically think.

I think this is the beginning of the end of the LDS Church as we know it.

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58 minutes ago, sjdawg said:

I find it more disturbing that General Authorities are so paranoid about having a broader audience for their words.  Perhaps if they were more confident in their messaging then a recording wouldn't be a bad thing.  When you have the entire talk available it is much more difficult to take something out of context or confuse what you thought you heard with what was actually said.  If the message is correct a recording seems to offer a lot of protection against having the talk taken out of context.

I have no issue with someone recording a public meeting with or without permission.  I"m also 100% fine with people recording their own disciplinary councils.  I'm a little less ok with people recording personal conversations.  

Wow.

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1 minute ago, Bernard Gui said:

Wow! Thanks for answering the CFR. It’s even worse than I thought. That is awful! Such a huge overreaction to a bunch of deacons going off course a little bit. Oh, the legalistic anger! I can just hear his bullying and scolding tone! The condemnation!  I can hardly bear it. You said young men, but he said young men and women? They’ll never ever recover. 🥴

Does his doctrinal teaching connecting baptism and sacrament upset you, his correction of an innocent erroneous practice, or is it the presumptive anger in his voice? The anger doesn’t come through in the written form.

I still have a huge problem with members who surreptitiously record Church authorities and then use the recording to demean them. 

Why is it okay for the church to record others in lessons and Sacrament?  Yes, I've gone down that road because I'm not a true believer in these men and that is because I don't trust the leaders of this church. I see that the members give them too much credit. I see that leaders do much harm, through starting doctrines that may eventually hurt so many people, such as polygamy. Do you know how many women and children have been sexually abused through their polygamist families/communities, well I do and I listen or read accounts all the time for the last 12 years. How can you trust leaders that continually get it wrong? But I see you're pretty much making fun of me, so be it.

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It sounds like most of us need to do a little more research into this talk to determine what President Oaks actually meant.

😉

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8 minutes ago, bluebell said:

I see him as saying that research is not the answer for spouses wondering how to respond to their husband's or wife's doctrinal issues.

Well, that makes no sense then, IMO.    If he's not referring to researching church history and doctrine, what specifically do you believe he's referring to?   Of course a spouse should take the time to learn more about what is causing the faith crisis.  How can they even discuss it with them if they aren't willing to research, learn and then try to understand and help?

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8 minutes ago, bluebell said:

I think he's referring to researching church history and doctrine, but that he's talking to the spouse (who is looking for a way to resolve their husband's or wife's faith crisis) of the person having the faith crisis, not the person actually having the faith crisis.  

I get what you are saying..... but in real life situations, if a spouse is to really help, they need to learn and study what is causing the faith crisis.  It does not help when they cannot intelligently speak to what is troubling their spouse and if they themselves do not know the topic.  Just telling a spouse to pray more or attend the temple more or anything along those lines can just cause more damage when one is struggling.  The struggling member is looking for answers and understanding and discussion from their spouse....not judgment and definitely to not be blamed for not knowing previously what they now have been exposed to.

It's a difficult situation for sure.  But, discouraging any member from doing their own research is not the answer from what I've experienced with couples facing this.

Edited by ALarson
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26 minutes ago, ALarson said:

I agree.  So I believe the solution is for these topics (polygamy, etc.) to be taught by the leaders and in our lesson materials.... and in a faithful manner (not avoided like what has been done in the past).  They are most definitely a part of our history and can't be avoided anymore (with the internet and other readily available resources).    Most of the topics creating a faith crisis (if caused by church history or past doctrines) are still pretty taboo to discuss in a classrooms setting or from over the pulpit.  That needs to change if leaders want members to not learn about them in "a purely secular perspective".  Or do you see another solution?

The solution certainly is not to discourage members from researching and studying on their own, IMO.

"Three weeks ago, the Church completed a series on the topic of plural marriage (polygamy), which has recently been the subject of a large number of media stories. Below is additional context for those essays.  Much of what you'll find in the essays on polygamy has been published in diverse sources and known among long-term and well-read members, historians, and Church leaders for many years. The Church has now gathered this information into a single location as a convenient means of placing these resources in the hands of all members.  The fact that Joseph Smith had plural marriage relationships is not new, of course."

At that point there were no active latter day saints which I spoke to in leadership positions that would say that they were surprised to learn that Joseph Smith was a polygamist.  I would then ask what they thought of Fanny Alger, and would get confused looks on their faces.  "Who is Fanny Alger?"  Absolutely no one with a temple recommend serving in leadership positions or visible callings would ever admit to not being a "long-term and well-read member".  

Edited by blueglass

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3 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

In the interest of doing the necessary research to form my own understanding, I ask you for a CFR. I need to hear or see for myself exactly what he said and the context in which it was said. Please post the talk or a transcript.

I find it very disturbing that members (?) are recording General Authority talks without their knowledge or permission and then using snippets to discredit them. Who did this?

Why shouldn't people record what the Lord's "annointed" say?  Are they afraid of the repercussions?

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40 minutes ago, bluebell said:

Research is not the best thing for helping a spouse resolve another spouse's faith crisis.  

Well, I can speak from my actual own experience.

When I first learned about some events and details from church history, it caused me to really struggle.

What did my huaband do?

He did not put me down or make me feel like I was sinning or that I was doing something wrong.  He said, “I see how upset you are so let’s study church history together.”

And so we did research TOGETHER rather than him leaving me feeling like I had to hide what I was concerned about or feeling stupid for not knowing about history.  We grew closer and helped each other through it.

So, I think giving this kind of advice like President Oaks did, can really pull spouses further apart and could cause the struggling spouse to feel even more alone and in even more pain.

Edited by JulieM
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1 hour ago, ALarson said:

I agree.  So I believe the solution is for these topics (polygamy, etc.) to be taught by the leaders and in our lesson materials.... and in a faithful manner (not avoided like what has been done in the past).  They are most definitely a part of our history and can't be avoided anymore (with the internet and other readily available resources).    Most of the topics creating a faith crisis (if caused by church history or past doctrines) are still pretty taboo to discuss in a classrooms setting or from over the pulpit.  That needs to change if leaders want members to not learn about them in "a purely secular perspective".  Or do you see another solution?

The solution certainly is not to discourage members from researching and studying on their own, IMO.

I honestly don't know the solution for Church. The problem with what you outline is the reality of the capabilities and knowledge of people in the ward. That makes me distrust doing this on a ward level. I've been in primary for a while now, but I know that just before I was called back into primary that they were having one Sunday a month where they'd engage in a combined RS/PH with issues such as the gospel topics essay. They'd pick someone who was able to teach well, was spiritual and was able to address it either from the ward or from the Stake. Sometimes they'd have two different teachers each taking part of the class. That might work better. It's just that assigning this to the typical Sunday School teacher would be an absolute disaster.

So I can appreciate the problem and am very glad I'm not in charge of the solution. I do worry thought that the shortening of Church is apt to make the problem worse not better as people get even less education. The people I worry the most about are already the people less likely to read their scriptures let alone study topics in both a rigorous and spiritual fashion. So we've just reduced the amount of teaching they're getting if they aren't doing it on their own at home. 

35 minutes ago, blueglass said:

At that point there were no active latter day saints which I spoke to in leadership positions that would say that they were surprised to learn that Joseph Smith was a polygamist.  I would then ask what they thought of Fanny Alger, and would get confused looks on their faces.  "Who is Fanny Alger?"  Absolutely no one with a temple recommend serving in leadership positions or visible callings would ever admit to not being a "long-term and well-read member".  

That is a real problem and partially why I'm nervous teaching controversial issues in Church. A lot of people think they're far more informed than they are. And many people who are quite informed aren't necessarily able to teach the stuff in a faithful manner simply because it's not an issue for them, and they have a hard time getting at an emotional level why it's a struggle for others.

9 minutes ago, JulieM said:

And so we did research TOGETHER rather than him leaving me feeling like I had to hide what I was concerned about or feeling stupid for not knowing about history.  We grew closer and helped each other through it.

So, I think giving this kind of advice like President Oaks did, can really pull spouses further apart and could cause the struggling spouse to feel even more alone and in even more pain.

Why do you think that is at odds with what Elder Oaks said? That seems exactly what Elder Oaks wants if the study is done with faith and the spirit.

1 hour ago, Teancum said:

It simply is more proof that the leaders of the LDS Church are in panic mode and doubling down on their authority and telling members not to critically think.

I think this is the beginning of the end of the LDS Church as we know it.

And I take it as a pretty consistent message through the last 100 years and part of teaching members how to critically think by including what often gets left out.

Kind of funny how people are getting such different interpretations. I wonder why that is.

 

Edited by clarkgoble
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9 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

Why do you think that is at odds with what Elder Oaks said? That seems exactly what Elder Oaks wants if the study is done with faith and the spirit.

Because he said that research is not the answer and for my spouse, it was for sure the answer.  He really started researching with me by his side, learning and growing together.  If he’d followed President Oaks advice and refused to look at anything I had been reading or if he’d told me to stop researching, that would have been disastrous (for us at least).  I would have pulled back and felt he wasn’t interested in helping or learning with me.

Edited by JulieM
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41 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

Again, he didn't say don't research. Nothing like that. He said research isn't the answer to inactivity it is to "increase faith in the Lord Jesus Christ" through "prayer and study and service, furthered by loving patience on the part of spouse and other concerned family members."

I don't quite understand why people are dismissing study (i.e. research) as part of what he's encouraging. To say that research isn't the answer is not to say it's not important. Especially when explicitly three sentences down he says to do it.

A lot of people are ignoring most of the quoted text and making a lot of a single sentence simply because he didn't add the word "alone" to it. (Not disparaging you - just that it's clear people are focusing on that single sentence divorced from its context leading to difficult to support interpretations)

I think it’s easy to see the difference with the two things he’s saying.  

Don’t research the details of certain topics from the past (doctrines, polygamy, blood atonement, and so on). IOW,  the topics that have caused the crisis of faith.

But read and study church sanctioned writings and read the scriptures together.

The later is good advice of course.  But it’s the doctrines and church history that are causing the struggles and pain.  Those are what need to be studied and researched together and the message he’s giving is not to do that type of research.

At least that’s how I read it.

Edited by JulieM

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4 hours ago, MustardSeed said:

Well I for one do not need my leaders to be flawless and like I said I’m happy to think for myself, even when listening to a general authority so I’m happy to assume ***for myself that he suggests we not research in a way that removes us from God. 

I personally don’t believe (***my opinion) that this little talk was some great revelation that suddenly Oaks wants the people to stop asking questions and stop researching answers.  

It is not a great revelations. Oaks and his peers don't want you to research or use critical thinking. Just have faith and keep your fanny in the pew.  Nothing new here. But a horribly poor way to approach truth claims and to live your life.

Follow the brethren, even if they lead  you astray...and you still will be blessed.  

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On 2/5/2019 at 1:53 PM, Tacenda said:

Why is it okay for the church to record others in lessons and Sacrament?  Yes, I've gone down that road because I'm not a true believer in these men and that is because I don't trust the leaders of this church. I see that the members give them too much credit. I see that leaders do much harm, through starting doctrines that may eventually hurt so many people, such as polygamy. Do you know how many women and children have been sexually abused through their polygamist families/communities, well I do and I listen or read accounts all the time for the last 12 years. How can you trust leaders that continually get it wrong? But I see you're pretty much making fun of me, so be it.

The fact is that President Oaks was unfairly demeaned both in your post and by the publishing of a surreptitious recording on YouTube in a thread whose purpose is to discredit him. Having read your paraphrase and listened to the tape, I think that is obvious. I don’t think doing that is funny. So in one step we go from teaching deacons the correct way to take the sacrament to polygamy and institutional sexual abuse? How is that fair?

Edited by Bernard Gui
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2 hours ago, bluebell said:

I see him as saying that research is not the answer for spouses wondering how to respond to their husband's or wife's doctrinal issues. That's the context for his 'research is not the answer' statement.  

"Some spouses wonder how to best go about researching and responding to such issues.  Research is not the answer."   

He doesn't seem to be speaking to the person having the faith crisis in this statement, but to the one trying to respond to the person having the faith crisis.

 

The English language is just not that hard to understand. Problems develop particularly when one is carrying a gigantic ax they love to grind. Then it does not matter what is actually said, distortions abound, offense is taken, and lies follow. I just don't have enough time in the day to engage on such topics, but I always admire your calm, logical commentary when such things evolve. 

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7 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

https://www.thechurchnews.com/leaders-and-ministry/2019-02-04/president-oaks-advice-to-young-married-couples-in-chicago-on-how-to-tackle-faith-threatening-questions-48930?fbclid=IwAR0vpkbLjE_SRyprFVryPA9DO6Tva5j-kfJT-xKdRmOgDaCSeTuHTYL_QPA

Another talk on faith struggles was recently given and I wanted to share and get some discussion going.  

Good that he's acknowledging that the game has changed here.  People are less likely to just blindly trust what they've been told.  

I find it sad that he's taking a negative approach to living among people with different beliefs.  I just attended the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit last week in Utah and one of the themes of the conference was around diversity and how beneficial it is for successful business.  Is it really that hard to "love and live with" other people?  Is having someone challenge your standards in a "persuasive" way really a bad thing?  

This is interesting insight as I'm not sure I had heard this explicitly articulated before.  If they are listening to women's voices more than in the past, I think that is a very good thing.  I suspect that this effort to listen to women had a direct impact on the recent temple changes.  All of these things are a good sign for the future and I hope this continues to progress.  

Here is the whopper of a section.  [Sentence removed. Disagree with church leaders respectfully.] This runs counter to previously given advice and common sense.  Think of this in light of the famous quote from J. Reuben Clark, "If we have the truth, it cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not the truth, it ought to be harmed."  What do you think?  

I'm glad that he points to the Gospel Topics Essays, this is one of the rare times you get an Apostle pointing to this resource in a very public way.  The problem is that he's suggesting that the essays offer "answers" to questions.  Almost as if these answers are the final word, rather than a place to gather additional information and to continue to study and search.

I remember back to when I first started having what I would have called a faith crisis at the time.  I confided in a good counselor in the stake presidency that I was feeling a lot of guilt and discomfort and that I was reading RSR and Dialogue.  This good man comforted me, and encouraged me to continue to study and to read and to search and to not feel guilty about honest inquiry and rigorous research.  He told me it may take me many years and he expressed that there are many questions he still has that are unanswered and that this is part of the journey of life.  I will always be grateful for the early advice that I received that I should not just study things on the surface, but that I should search and research and study deeply. 

This has made me into a much better person, and I think is one of the best pieces of advice to give someone in this situation.  Don't run away from the problems, don't hide and pretend they don't exist, don't ignore them.  If religion and the existential questions about life actually matter, then you need to engage with these questions as if they do really matter.  

I worry that President Oaks doesn't care about actually helping people to grow into mature humans with the advice he's giving but that he only cares whether a person is an active member of the COJCOLDS.  That makes me sad.  

Is the question about whether JS is a prophet a question that your kid can ask, or is that an out of bounds question?   

Thats about it for what I wanted to comment on.  Let me know your thoughts.  Thanks

 

When I read the several recent threads that speak to this recurrent theme, I don’t know whether to gently smile and shake my head or throw up my hands in utter exasperation. It amazes me that as many times as the leaders of the Church try to patiently explain that the only effective way to deal with doubts and faith crises is to apply the revelatory method of Moroni’s challenge, not just to determine the divine authenticity Book of Mormon but to gain inspired answers to every other doctrinal and/or administrative issue that might present challenges to one’s testimony, but they still don’t get it.

In essence, what President Oaks is saying is that the only way to gain a deeply rooted and unconquerable knowledge of the truthfulness of the restored gospel is for each member to do what’s necessary to become a prophet of God in his or her own right. President Oaks and the other leaders are attempting to help the members to understand that the only way to successfully wade through the seemingly endless morass of faith challenging questions is to go straight to the Source of all knowledge, even God, and receive from Him personal revelation that will powerfully confirm the restored gospel is true and the many prophecies of its ultimate glorious triumph will all be fulfilled. 

Yet as many times as this sound prophetic counsel is given there are always those who will, once again, reject the sage counsel while insisting it’s the prophets who don’t get it. But at the risk of raising winds of ill will, I will say that those who refuse to accept and apply the counsel of President Oaks, and the similar counsel given by several other Church leaders, are going to wake up one morning twenty years from now still complaining that the leaders haven’t given satisfactory answers to the secondary questions, and still wondering why they’re plagued by legions of raging doubts.

 

Edited by teddyaware
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1 hour ago, bluebell said:

I think he's referring to researching church history and doctrine, but that he's talking to the spouse (who is looking for a way to resolve their husband's or wife's faith crisis) of the person having the faith crisis, not the person actually having the faith crisis.  

I see posts like this all the time on Facebook.  They go something like "Help!  My husband has found some stuff about the church and it's destroyed his testimony!  Where can I find answers to his concerns so that he'll come back to church?!?"  Or "I don't now what to do!  My wife has been reading about polygamy and now she doesn't believe JS was a prophet.  Where can I find the answers to her questions so I can show them to her??"

Research is not the best thing for helping a spouse resolve another spouse's faith crisis.  Maybe your experience is different but I've never known anyone to be researched out of their faith crisis.  I've never seen "research" be the answer that the concerned spouse wants it to be.  

 

Here are a few suggestions on how deal with these issues over the last few years.  

1)  Don't study church history too little!  “I would offer you the advice of our Assistant Church Historian, Rick Turley, an intellectually gifted researcher and author, whose recent works include the definitive history of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. He says simply: ‘Don’t study Church history too little.’  sept 2013, Elder Christofferson  https://www.lds.org/church/news/elder-christofferson-gives-compelling-counsel-to-study-the-life-of-joseph-smith?lang=eng

2) Give Brother Joseph a break!  "For example, questions concerning the Prophet Joseph Smith are not new. They have been hurled by his critics since this work began. To those of faith who, looking through the colored glasses of the 21st century, honestly question events or statements of the Prophet Joseph from nearly 200 years ago, may I share some friendly advice: For now, give Brother Joseph a break!"  Oct 2015 Elder Anderson   https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2015/10/faith-is-not-by-chance-but-by-choice?lang=eng

3)  research is not the answer!   Matters of Church history and doctrinal issues have led some spouses to inactivity. Some spouses wonder how to best go about researching and responding to such issues.  “I suggest that research is not the answer,"  https://www.lds.org/church/news/elder-christofferson-gives-compelling-counsel-to-study-the-life-of-joseph-smith?lang=eng

4)  Stop playing Church history whack-a-mole!     https://www.lds.org/church/news/elder-and-sister-renlund-tell-young-adults-to-let-faith-not-doubt-drive-questions?lang=eng

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1 hour ago, Teancum said:

Why shouldn't people record what the Lord's "annointed" say?  Are they afraid of the repercussions?

Perhaps, except the purpose is usually to demean them and to make them look like bad people.

For example, in this case Pres Oaks’ private instructions to a group of kids are mischaracterized to make him appear as an abusive monster screaming legalistic invective at cowering children. The truth is, that did not happen. But the meme has been created and the myth will be perpetuated.

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16 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

Perhaps, except the purpose is usually to demean them and to make them look like bad people.

For example, in this case Pres Oaks’ private instructions to a group of kids are mischaracterized to make him appear as an abusive monster screaming legalistic invective at cowering children. The truth is, that did not happen. But the meme has been created and the myth will be perpetuated.

Duplicate 

Edited by JulieM

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