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Posts posted by rongo

  1. 1 minute ago, bluebell said:

    This doesn't mean that everyone who circles the wagons around "their people" are evil.  None of us want abuses (of any kind) to go unchecked.  We just want to support the people (or organization) that we know and have experiences with and love.

    But it's that very bias that can make us into people who enable and protect evil in the name of loyalty.

    This sounds like replacing a presumption of innocence with a presumption of guilt --- or at least, never having something definitely settled, because you can't prove a negative. It would be going from the status quo (heavy systemic bias in favor of priesthood leaders) to constantly questioning, suspecting, and second-guessing them. 

    If the "new and improved" process (ombudsman, dedicated staff and hotline, extra layers of bureaucracy, etc.) yields an outcome that the accusers aren't happy with (and the likelihood of this is high, in my view), then it would also be because of a good ol' boys system, circling the wagons, etc. It would be proof positive in the victims' eyes that the fix is in. 

    I don't see that adding layers of "independent" bureaucracy would really be an improvement in practical terms. It might sound good in the hypothetical on a message board, but I don't think it would actually be different from the system already in place. 

  2. 28 minutes ago, Calm said:

     I have been a member all my life, heavily into apologetics, so paying attention to how the men say things are done plus read handbooks when they have been available to me and I don’t have a clue how confidentiality works between an SP and Bishop.  Is the Bishop allowed to discuss anything with him and it still be covered legally?

    Yes. Since the stake president makes the determination as to jurisdiction, what is and isn't on the table, etc. with sensitive matters, but the bishop is usually the first to learn of situations --- both are in the loop and in the know about the details of the matter. Both are covered by clergy privilege, and the bishop is legally and practically able to speak frankly about his appraisal of the situation before (and while) the stake president meets with the person(s). 

    I think the confidentiality is seen as being within the unity of the priesthood leaders involved. When I replaced a bishop who was disciplined, a A70 and 1Q70 was brought into that loop as well (personal interviews). It isn't a breach of confidentiality that these layers gave and received passdowns and consulted. 

  3. 3 minutes ago, smac97 said:

    It does?  How so?  Unless one of the two parties to the discussion (the individual or the stake president) behaves improperly by publicizing the dispute to other members of the ward, ["kills your reputation stake wide so now your black sheep status is widespread"] sort of thing seems . . . unlikely.

    Even under the best leadership imaginable, things like this sort of filter out (via counselors, the high council, etc. Sometimes from the leaders themselves). Yes, none of the disagreement or discord leaking out whatsoever is ideal, but people are humans and not robots. I would say this even extends to general authorities when they were stake presidents, no matter how "exactly obedient" one assumes they were. Or, people may be perceptive that there is a clear "something," even when nothing has been said (e.g., despite any known reason, this or that clearly ideal person appears to be outside of consideration). Nobody is perfect at acting as if nothing has happened when there has been a major emotional disagreement about something. 

    Usually, though, there is far more leaking on the part of the rank-and-file member, more than the leader (unhappiness with how it turned out, what the decision was, agreement and accord, etc.). Ranting and commiserating with friends and perceived advocates, etc., and then from there it's widespread. 

  4. Just now, Navidad said:

    It seems that in a small ward in a rural area much is decided over Sunday dinner! I am sure we have been invited to be more active than would be the case in a larger urban ward. Maybe not! I really don't know.

    20+ years ago, in our ward in Gilbert, AZ (back then, **the** area of heavy LDS density in Arizona. It's now shifting to Queen Creek/San Tan Valley as Gilbert ages demographically), my mom was RS president, my dad was HPGL, and I was EQP. This didn't sit well with some people, because the ward obviously had many other options outside of our family. But, that was the stake president and our bishop's call (no relation). 

  5. 21 minutes ago, Calm said:

    Did you pay attention to who took the sacrament?  I have heard this often said, but I wonder if anyone is really watching.

    I didn't take the sacrament twice while serving as a bishop (this actually came up last night while talking to my daughter on her mission, interestingly enough. She was surprised by this). While you might think that this is very noticeable, nobody seems to have. I agree with you that anxiety about people noticing is mostly in the mind of the person worrying about it. 

    I also think that a great many of us have not taken the sacrament on our own at one time or another, and so most people won't assume the worst even if they do notice that others don't. Most of us have been there. 

  6. 10 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

    I've heard from a lot of people that their porn "addiction" centered on a cycle of shame: they'd look at porn, feel intense self-loathing and shame, and then use porn to feel better. Lather, rinse, repeat. Once the shame was gone, the cycle stopped, and porn use declined or ceased. And most of these guys I know are married. 

    Also, in my experience working with people, access to sex isn't a "cure" for problems with pornography and masturbation. The habits, when ingrained, continue and aren't "cured" because there is a different "outlet" for them. They appear to me to entail a complex interplay of psychological and neurochemical things (dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin) and to be a completely different "feedback loop" than normal attraction and arousal. 

    I've even known a man with a gay porn problem (stemming from abuse when he was a young teen) who is not attracted to men at all. His problem with gay porn was frustrating and baffling to him, precisely because he isn't attracted to men outside of that. They have five children now, including a baby not too long ago. 

  7. 16 minutes ago, bsjkki said:

    I have grown to dislike the wording on many things in that book. It’s not doctrine and changes with the times

    I'm curious what examples you have of FtSoY changing over time. It seems to me to be remarkably stable from the 1980s to the present. Excluding artwork or graphics, of course! :) 

    I think anyone would be hard-pressed to improve on the concise explanation for the law of chastity in it (which covers fornication, masturbation, homosexuality, etc. in a concise, clear way, IMO). 

    I would be very interested in anyone here's "sandbox," hypothetical re-writes of that or anything else. What can people suggest that would be better than what we have? 

  8. 16 hours ago, JLHPROF said:

    Which has doctrinal repercussions in my opinion.  It completely defeats one purpose of the endowment.  🤷

    There are a lot of doctrinal repercussions with many of these "a change in presentation, not a change in doctrine" changes. There is a very big one in particular with respect to prayer circles with the most recent changes (he that hath ears to hear, let him hear). I expect there to be more content removed from the endowment that change what is taught (doctrine) and the story. :( 

    My endowment cannot be taken away, though, and I can transmit what I know and believe (including insights from previous iterations) to my children and grandchildren --- keep blowing on the coals within my sphere of influence. 

  9. I'm not home right now, so I can't look it up in my library, but in the Pistis Sophia, the resurrected Jesus leads the apostles and their wives in something very similar to a prayer circle. He then tells them that what He has shown them will soon be removed from the earth and taken away (which shocked and saddened them), but that these ordinances would be restored later. 

    Pistis Sophia is one of the writings that Hugh Nibley compared in his book comparing the Book of the Dead and Book of Breathings with sources with strong parallels. 

  10. 34 minutes ago, MiserereNobis said:

    I assume from context that prayer circles are part of the temple ceremony. Do you know why they were discontinued outside of the temple?

    By their nature (further details, this deponent cannot give) :) , prayer circles make more sense as a "temple only" ordinance. There is more to it than simply praying (which anyone can do anywhere). I'm surprised that they could be done in a high council room up to that point (large room with a large table and 20+ chairs), by its nature. But then, they had been performed outside of the temple previously. 

    One purpose of prayer circles are used to pray for special blessings people are seeking for themselves or others. 

    One prominent example I can think of of "auβertempelische" prayer circles was during the deliberation of the Edmunds Act in Congress (the Edmunds-Tucker Act was ultimately the act that finally brought the Mormons to heel on polygamy. Very draconian measures that would shock people today. The Edmunds Act was the abortive predecessor). George Q. Cannon, an apostle and counselor to Church president John Taylor, was delegate to Congress (Utah as a territory had no senators or representatives, similar to modern US territories today). The Edmunds Act seemed destined to pass easily, which greatly concerned the Church. Cannon reported:

    "Brother Caine and myself, with some other Utah friends, were in the Senate chamber on the 23rd of February last, watching Senator Edmunds' attempt to get through his special legislation of which you have read. It seemed as though nothing could prevent it. Senators with whom we had conversed said that they saw no possible chance of stopping it; that its passage seemed inevitable. But a Cabinet minister gave a dinner party that evening, and one by one those who were invited stole from the Senate Chamber while the bill was under discussion to the dinner party; and the first that was known when a vote was called was that a quorum was not present. In the absence of a quorum, you know, a legislative body is powerless to act. For four hours Senator Edmunds did all in his power to get action on his bill; but every attempt was resisted by the Democrats upon the ground that there was no quorum, and they accordingly filibusted until Edmunds, disgusted and tired, called for an adjournment.

    President Taylor told me upon my return that, on the 22nd of February, feeling exercised in his mind about our political affairs, and that it was a time of peril, he called a few of the brethren together and they met . . . according to the holy order, and besought God, in the name of Jesus, to baffle the plans of our enemies and frustrate them in their designs, and put them to confusion and shame. In watching Senator Edmunds that evening, I thought that if ever there was a man confused, chagrined and confounded at the futility of his own attempts, it was he. And there is no doubt in my mind that the prayers of President Taylor and the brethren ascended favorably unto the ears of the God of Sabaoth, and were heard and answered. The dreadful wrong was defeated and failed, and it may be said, it met with its death blow; for every attempt afterwards made to bring it up, was unsuccessful. In this way God has wrought out deliverance for Zion." (Journal of Discourses 24:63)

  11. 6 minutes ago, ttribe said:

    Why is it you assume there is any relationship, whatsoever, between 'living the gospel' and mental illness?

    It sounds like you assume that there is no relationship, or possibly an adverse one (i.e., that Mormonism causes more than average). Noted.

    I'm interested in what active, believing members think about this, though. Why is there such an apparent presence and proliferation of mental health problems in the Church? Or, are Church members exactly average with this (no more, no less than average)? If average or worse than average, why isn't the gospel, obedience, divine help, the priesthood, etc. more of a mitigating factor?

    I get and expect that non-believers would respond "because there is nothing to LDS truth claims." What I'm curious about is why active, believing members think that this situation reigns? Is it that these are what individuals and families need to experience for their own personal growth?

  12. I'm curious what people's ideas are on why mental health problems appear to be so prevalent and proliferating. Which would lead to the question of whether they are so prevalent and are proliferating (i.e., is this a false assumption? Have mental health problems been more or less steady for centuries?)

    I suspect that some would argue that they have pretty much been around forever, with more openness and less stigma, naturally there will be a higher incidence. Sort of like the defense of the prevalence of psychotropic prescriptions in areas with high Mormon populations (they are more likely to seek professional help).

    Doesn't it seem like living the gospel should lead to less prevalence, not more, of things like this? Or, is this what God knows these people and families need from their time in mortality?   

  13. 1 hour ago, MrShorty said:

    It would have to be well funded so it could cover many/most/all of those we need to cover (somebody upthread suggested as many as 80%??? More likely 5 to 15% of CES post-secondary students??). 10% of 40k students is 4k scholarships, so yes, it will require an investment on the part of someone (whether the Church, or CES/BYU, or private donors). 

    Other than removing barriers to transfer, where the barriers are something BYU could willingly cooperate or assist with, I don't agree that BYU should endow scholarships to help students who leave the Church or stop believing to transfer to other schools. It's kind of a crazy suggestion, really --- especially in light of the new affirmative action scholarships that have been discussed over the last year. Scholarship funds for those who leave the Church or their faith to go somewhere else? While so many BYU students don't get any type of scholarships, or only very little?

    1 hour ago, MrShorty said:

    Do we feel strongly enough about helping students who don't respect the honor code out of the CES/BYU system to invest this money? Do we think a scholarship like this would help encourage these students to transfer elsewhere?

    I don't think it really would, actually. In the first place, any scholarship would be a fraction of the tuition and fees at any other school, so there is a financial incentive to "stand pat," even if a scholarship of up to a couple of thousand were offered to help them go somewhere else. In the second place, I think students like these who publicly "give the middle finger" to BYU and the Church **want** to remain embedded 5th columnists --- either to convert others to their cause, to agitate among the student body, or to embarrass the Church. For these students, they are exactly where they want to be, and they don't want to go anywhere else. 

    I'm sure there are also a significant number who are grateful for what BYU/the Church offered them, and would rather "put her away privily" and spare BYU/the Church embarrassment and drama and just move on. I would be more empathetic towards students like this, but how would we separate the wheat from the chaff? 

  14. Just now, Danzo said:

    I am not sure you can extrapolate your local flavor of rebellion to the whole church. 

    Of course not, but there are more data points than just my observations. @Senator shared anecdotes from his daughter that put WoW/LoC violations at BYU at 80%. I think that is high, but I think others' experiences and observations in a variety of other places would bear that youth and young adults are less observant of several commandments than past generations. We're also facing a deluge of young people going inactive or outright leaving the Church. That trend would certainly dovetail with that. 

  15. 6 hours ago, Calm said:

    Not only that, but a friend reminded me seminary is required for visas in some countries for missionaries.

    I've heard this, too ("Training in the ministry is required; seminary checks that box for some countries"), but is there any actual evidence of that? Or is this something that's passed down, hearsay? If there were any type of scrutiny of seminary as "ministerial training," we'd be in trouble. ;) 

    6 hours ago, Calm said:

     If they eliminated Institute, less interaction and therefore less marriages among college age members. 

    There would still be college wards, just not the institute classes or credit. Interaction, dating, and marriage are all more influenced by the wards and ward activities than the institute. 

  16. 25 minutes ago, Calm said:

    Not what I have heard.  It is very clearly recognized youth need to be taught early to be prepared for stuff they come across on the internet.


    27 minutes ago, Kenngo1969 said:

    If it were to happen, that would be a huge mistake.

    I think institute would be a bigger tragedy. My two college age kids have had a fantastic experience with NAU institute. 

    Subaru could be done away under "home centered, church supported." They already aligned it with CFM, and it's basically just another discussion venue for the CFM topics of the week (same with Sunday School). There aren't unique seminary materials.

    For some reason, he felt based on his CES meetings, contacts, etc. that institute would be eliminated first.

    ETA: phone typing. I guess get rid of Subaru, too, while we're at it. :)

  17. 1 minute ago, Calm said:

    They had it in the Friend and the Youth magazine last August.

    Last August, huh?

    What's the readership,really,any more? 

    Staff articles, submissions, or Church leader articles? 

    And what's the next Church mention or treatment before that? It pales in comparison to depression, anxiety,mental health, etc. as a topic. 

  18. 1 minute ago, Calm said:

    Teachers don’t say anything?  At all?  Like I would say in private to a kid something along the lines of “you know I want you here no matter what, but the Church defines the WoW as including no coffee.  Are you sure you want to be drinking it?”

    If they aren’t saying anything, do you have actual knowledge they have been instructed not to or if a personal choice?

    Oh, I let them know my feelings about it, when it comes to it. 

    I was released in 2018 when we moved, and thus was starting to be a thing then. I do have my two boys in seminary now, and I talk to other kids about seminary and things. The coffee/tea thing has gotten bigger, and @Senator's daughter's anecdote  and estimate of sinful behavior at BYU doesn't surprise me at all. 

    Since my boys have been at their school, our traditional/conservative brand of Mormonism has created quite a stir. I've had students say to me during the day, "Did your boys tell you about seminary yet?" A lot of kids relished the arrival of kids who could push back on these trends, progressive doctrinal shifts, etc. Word of Wisdom, among others.

    I know back in our old stake, the seminary teacher (CES principal, former stake presidency member, and former mission presidency member) didn't say anything. He didn't want the kids to quit coming or get offended, and obviously I think he wasn't doing them any favors by not saying anything. We discussed this on some occasions (I was a bishopric counselor to him, and served both times as a bishop under his stake presidency). He also expressed to me his view that the Church will eventually do away with seminary, but will start with institute at college first. 

  19. 1 hour ago, bsjkki said:

    Dutch Bro’s has a zillion non coffee options. Maybe they are assuming behavior?


    1 hour ago, bluebell said:

    Actual coffee?  Not one of their many many non-coffee options?

    Actual coffee (cold and hot). You can smell it when it's hot, and they are open about it. There is widespread, growing generational difference of opinion about whether coffee and tea products are or should be against the Word of Wisdom, so many youth and young people don't feel guilty about just answering "yes" to keeping the WoW in interviews. 

    The Church is staying out of it (when's the last time you remember a WoW talk?). The growing acceptance for first medical and now recreational marijuana among active, attending members is another area that the Church is staying quiet on. Youth and young people are very comfortable with the thought of marijuana. 

  20. 26 minutes ago, Senator said:

    If that were the case BYU's student body count would be a fraction of what it is, according to my sophomore daughter currenty attending.  I brought up what is being discussed in this very thread.  She exclaimed, "Dad, everyone, evvverrryyyone is either drinking, smoking pot, having sEx or any combination the three."  I of course said that that obviously isn't true.  She agreed, and then in all seriousness said that if she had to assign a number, she would put it at 80%.  I still question the accuracy of the number.  Nevertheless,  her firsthand observations is pretty sobering.

    My dad was a YSA bishop for six years, at the same time that I was a bishop the first time. We often shared stories and compared experiences. He said that the level of immorality among Church-attending youth is staggering. Many of them rationalize or justify practices that stop technically short of intercourse, but are against the spirit and the letter of the law of chastity (and they know it, too, they just don't care). 

    There are a lot of seminary youth who bring coffee from Dutch Brothers or Starbucks into seminary, so that more is crumbling among seminary-attending youth. 

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