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BlueDreams

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Posts posted by BlueDreams

  1. 7 hours ago, bluebell said:

    There's an article in The Guardian that claims that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Utah are bleeding the state dry because we believe that it's a commandment to "make the desert blossom as a rose". 

    Uh, what?

    I've lived here for almost 9 years (9 in October) and I have never heard this spouted by anyone, member or not.  It's not a concept that is even on my radar.  So I have to ask, are there members that actually believe/teach that we have to keep watering our lawns to be obedient to God?  I'm up here in Davis county (and our town saved so much water last year that the city is still talking about how amazing we did with letting our lawns die) and I'm not seeing it but maybe it's more south that this attitude prevails?  

    I honestly have no idea.  Does this ring a bell with anyone?  Do Latter-day Saints love a green lawn more than people anywhere else in the country?

    (I only quoted the first few paragraphs of the article so feel free to check out the link and read the whole thing).

     

    This person really reached for their "it's really the mormons" reasoning. Like we're somehow special to all the rest of the US that seem to exploit natural resources to the detriment of the environment. Most articles I've read about this point to more practical culplrits. First and foremost a water budget pact made 100 years ago that was completely unrealistic to how much water is available in the west. Then comes other concerns: intensive farming that promotes water waste (that's the majority of UT's water use), industries reliant on water sources, and then urban sprawl/developments that's been slow to change what is deemed "beautiful," focused on a northern european aesthetic that was dependent on a temperate climate and is hard to kill. I'm seeing more lawns that are putting in more water-wise yard planning, but it's a slow shift I'd say more due to inertia and lack of negative reasons to change (say from higher water bills for example).  

    But sure...it's some sort of commandment. That's what has us hooked on the wet stuff. Why not? 🙄 

    Most places I've lived have a thing for lawns....utah or no. They're intrinsically tied with what people picture as a manicured yard in most the US. This goes especially with places with HOA's. This is changing, though slowly, and not without a bit of push back from the people who love lawns. Something I'll never fully understand. 

     

    With luv,

    BD

     

  2. 5 hours ago, Teancum said:

    Not to belabor this issue but I did have a few thoughts. 

    I don't mind at all :) 

     

    5 hours ago, Teancum said:

    I will readily agree that Church leaders have made some strides in some areas that are less harsh and hard and more compassionate and caring.I do think there is a long ways to go though.  However I think it is an error to think one can simply dismiss something because it was said a long time ago.  Some things said a long time ago that were harmful, still find their way into talks in wards, stakes and even GC.  Remember the references a few years ago to Bensons 14 fundamentals of a prophet?  And still what was taught has an impact. I am 63. You are 34.  I grew up with a lot that molded me and shaped who and what I became both good and bad.  It had impact and still does.  I believed what prophets and apostles said.  And I was taught I should.  We could debate how much has changed and how much has not.  Anyway, I do not dismiss your opinion because you  are young. I find you very thoughtful and bright.  I do think you like many I know that may have concerns about Church things but still stay, are very nuanced and have molded your beliefs to work for you but I still am not convinced that the Church leaders would see the Church in the same way you do or the way a few of my close active but very nuanced friends do. And I cannot simply dismiss what was taught decades ago because I have lived it.

     

    Thanks!

    I would Like to premise what I'm about to say by noting I hope nothing I said indicates that your experiences are dismissible. I certainly don't think that. To me there's a difference between dismissing and deciding whether an experience represents the whole of the church. I don't think any one experience does, including my own. Your story and experience tells a part of a story within an LDS framework. Mine tells another. They have overlap I'm sure, as well as differences. My biggest problem isn't that you had a story where you can resonate with the book you've referred. The problem I have is that that story is disproportionately given space to define the entirety of said organization. 

    That said, I have some spazzy thoughts when i was reading your post. Both are one where I can relate and/empathize and then differ a bit on your experiences. I don't think I dismiss the past per se. I'm young-ish, yes. That doesn't mean the past hasn't effected me. The biggest one was probably on racial concerns. And to work through those entailed heavy study off and on for years on several fronts around the topic. I met plenty, including my own mother, who still subscribed to what I see as racist interpretations and ideology. My conclusions that allowed me a comfortable space with the topic were at times dismissed by others who could not see past the model they'd been given and worked with (in both defending and critiquing the church)...well until similar outlooks to my views began to gain traction in circles and bolstered by things like the gospel topics essay and historians. Suddenly I was less the oddball and those that kept hold of the past interpretations were the odder ones.   

     The other is that I've never had a faith crisis...the closest I've had is a "faith" crisis in my country. It has similar elements that I've seen of those who describe a faith crisis. Namely an over-idealistic and selective image given of both our history and present actions that get chipped at through experiences and learning other things about our past...which mixed with some negative experiences caused my views of my country to drastically shift. Things I used to love now make me sad or uncomfortable. Anger creeps in when certain views or problems I see are on display. It's not always safe or good to share my problems with it. I'm still working through it. I don't know what it'll mean for me down the road. I assume I'll have a different experience with how I view my country than I had years prior. I hope it changes. I doubt in some ways that it will or at least in a timeline I'm comfortable with. 

    For a while now, I've been thinking about what's made the difference for me in terms of keeping a strong faith. I don't think it's just that I have a nuanced view. I do on some things, on others I'm about as TBM as they come. I think it comes down more to how I've engaged and been engaged within a church setting. I haven't just been valued in spite of my views. Often I've been valued because of them, in varying ways. I know that my views do not consistently line up with every leader/member I've met, but with most it's been a boon to how I relate to those in my wards/religion. Or at the very least something they think about. I've never been punished or questioned because of my views. Many of my views are actually fairly common, at least at a distance. For example, most people I meet agree with me that how we teach about sex needs to change. They may not agree with every last idea I have around that, but that main idea is still there. I don't hide my oddities much....maybe because of that I don't feel odd. I don't feel like I'm swimming up stream against a current of rigidity and HDG characteristics. Due to my job, I've gotten to engage with more bishops than the usual and my opinions and perspectives are generally valued and taken into careful consideration. And I guess that's part of it. My experience is not just me accepting the words and ideas of leaders or dismissing parts I don't like, it's me interacting and engaging with leaders in ways that are more collaborative in our different rolls and experiences. It participating in a changing landscape with balance. Where my input can shift conversation I think if that wasn't there I'd have a far harder time being in the church and an easier one placing the church strongly in the HDG camp, as opposed to a "B" rated cult (jk).

     

    I have work, I hope that made some sense.

    With luv,

    BD 

     

  3. Sorry, one more thing: I was still a little bored today and found this quiz about HDG's that you can score. It was one mormon stories, but it's framed to be fairly generic. I took it and scored around a B range (there were several that I could kinda see from other's experiences that I've known even if they weren't mine. So I gave those a .5 or .25 depending how often I recall those). Most of my personal experiences were 0 or 1, with one 2. At the end I looked at some of the comments and wasn't surprise that many former LDS rated far higher (a score of a D or an F)

    It seems like a perfect example of how perspective really effects what one experiences or recalls experiencing. 

    Here's the quiz if anyone's curious and/or bored

     quiz: https://Mormon*******.***/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Was-I-Raised-in-a-Cult-A-Self-Assessment.pdf

    Responces: https://Mormon*******.***/podcast/was-i-raised-in-a-cult-or-high-demand-religion-a-self-assessment/

     

    With luv,

    BD

  4. 1 hour ago, Teancum said:

    I am not an apologist for the author or her book.  I think the book is better than her web site.  Her book is one of a number I have on the topic.

    I'm not super interested in the topic. It's been more a side note when looking into groups like hasidic/orthodox jews.  It can be either neutral or negative in use, depending who is using it and how their biases shape their views on more structured groups. Most the groups I've seen this applied to seem at fact value for more strict than the LDS faith in aggregate (again, there are pockets of more rigid communities). 

    1 hour ago, Teancum said:

    I am sorry but I find the argument that these are all old quotes weak sauce. And the book has more current sources as well. I could pick plenty of comment from current leaders. The recent talk by President Oaks and BYU on the two greatest commandments and the first superseding the second and following the prophets.  A talk by Elder Ballard on "where will you go" annd "stay in the boat." Two earrings and a Bednar talk about a RM dumping his GF because she had two earrings and that indicates she might not follow the prophet in all things.  Heck the whole two earring thing was totally cult like.  One talk was taken way to far. No beards for temple workers and on and on. All of these examples fall into various categories of control type messaging.

    You're allowed to find it weak. I don't I know she uses more quotes that are more recent. She had an Oaks talk bingo card in one of her articles with varying jargon labels to look for in the talk. My problem with both her using old quotes and what you describe here is a problem of balance in critique and display. It gives a stagnant absolutist church, when we're more dynamic and have more variety in positions than we're given credit for. With the balance many (if not most) of her arguments to pidgeon us in the BITE model of cults begins to fall apart. Because for every Oaks talk there's a lovely Uchtdorf one to balance it out. There are talks trying to address compassionately issues of abuse and depression in just about each GC in the last couple of year. We are not a monolith in how we engage , not even in the highest levels of leadership...but especially in how it is applied in the ward, peer, and family level. 1 Earrings lasted a couple years, it wasn't super unreasonable at the time, but became anachronistic when trying to convey keeping a nice presentable appearance . Similar to how long skirts died out. At this point several people have multiple earings and few think twice about what it "says" because it's just a common beauty option. Heck with my migraines, I've had more than 1 active member ask me if I'll get a second piercing in my cartilage to help. Similar to beards. Though The temple is yet a great example of the balance trying to be struck by rules and compassion. Temple workers often have a different set of rules to follow. They're more strict than average callings. Yet they've also loosened somewhat, and what is officially directed to workers in temple lesson videos is one of open compassion and reducing judging patrons based on appearance among other things. It's NOT to over-police patrons into following what we may deem "respectful" or "better" for the temple.

    1 hour ago, Teancum said:

    But again, the Church needs to own what its leaders say no matter when they say it.  You may be to young for 30 to 40 year old comments. But I am not.  I grew up with them as have many members and they had an impact and still do.

     

    I do not hold a standard that we need to "own" previous teachings, beyond acknowledging they're there and you can find them. It was easy enough to dig each of them up on the LDS website. But I prefer promoting and focusing on the changes made while contextualizing where past ones come from and both their value and limitations in their time. AND how we need to continue growing as we come to understand things differently or meet some of the concerns. How imporant it is to recognize that is equally part of this church experience. I know many of these comments still have an effect now, particularly with older generations. And thus how older gens may approach topics in lessons and even leadership practice (Gen x +). But Again, that's only part of the story. And if one stays stuck with 40 year teachings you're going to miss the higher purposes of the church in terms of continuing revelation, dynamic organization and discussion between average members and lay-leadership. You'll miss the pushes to have more collaborative and careful conversations. You'll miss different narratives, experiences, and views within a large and diverse church. And that's my problem. In order to get to her conclusion you have to flatten the church into a stereoytpe based on a singular form of experience within it. 

    1 hour ago, Teancum said:

    I don't know what church you grew up in nor what you taught your kids if you have them but this was al part of the messaging I got and gaev to my children who range from 40 to 27.

    I'm 34. My daughter is 3 for a reference point. I was raised by a mom who was very culturally mormon and relied on a more conservative background/reading of the church. Her views were stuck in another time and place....one I would have limited access to for most of my formative years. My husband is peruvian and raised by solid parents who converted when he was really young...then leaving and coming back himself in his late teens after exploring varying religions and beliefs. Netiher of our experiences fully fit these descriptors, and that's a big problem IMHO. Particularly when labeling and describing the church in aggregate.

    1 hour ago, Teancum said:

    Not really.  I can find all sorts of things currently as noted above.

    And I can find several that don't or have several caveats to them.

    1 hour ago, Teancum said:

     

     

    2 hour church-came after the book was written.

     

    Callings-I have had many calling that take 8 plus hours. BR Counselor, bishop, YM president, Ward Mission Leader, EQ president Stake HC-heck that could take an entire Sunday when I had to trave l to speak and a unit a long way from my home.  Plus it is not just callings.  It is activites youth activities, getting teens to seminary, temple attendance, family history, journaling, etc

     

     

    FHE-yes that is a variable.

     

    Scripture/Prayer-variable.  I know I spent hours a week on these things.

    But are we talking 22 hrs consistently. Not just in a handful of higher demand callings. My most time consuming church activies/experiences were as follows: Mission by far, sunday church, temple worker, YW's leader, and going to Seminary. The most (minus mission) would have been the mix of seminary, weekly activities, and church, I did pray and read daily. that would have equaled 10-14 hrs a week...most things falling of or slowing during holidays and summers. As a temple worker, I had around 4 hr shifts, plus church (3, mostly), plus calling (I prefered some sort of teaching calling as a YSA and usually got them; it also seconded as my scripture study...so I'll say 4 hrs). So at best that's around 11.  Mission obviously entailed a hyper focus on churchy things. That's the only time my personal interests and ideas for down time seriously took a hit. But again that's a short period of time and I knew it would. My shortest periods of churchy things were likely early marriage and with young baby. At times I didn't have a calling at all...or one that was intermittent. So church things went down to 2-3 hrs a week...at most maybe 6 if I had a calling. I'm not saying that being a "good mormon" can't take a lot of time. It can. But not usually 22hrs worth for the vast majority of members. There's 168 hrs in a week. 49-56 of those should be sleep. If you work a 40 hr work week that leaves at least 72 hours. Even if you worked at a calling for 22 hours, that leaves 50 hours of unspent time. That's a little over 7 hrs a day (I'll give 3 extra for small daily tasks....so 4). So even if that were true, you'd still have free time and her argument relies on the idea that you can never take time off from said calling too. It just doesn't work. MOST of our time isn't used for church related things. Most of us have and make time to play in non-churchy ways. And the crux of her argument is that we are soooo busy we never get time to chill. It's not so.

    Also, some things I don't know if I count as church because I like them and would do them anyways. Just because it's advanced as a good thing to do by the church, doesn't make it a church outlet. I've mentioned gardening, but I also like journaling to clear my head, and I like family history gathering because It fills blanks I have about my heritage.  

    1 hour ago, Teancum said:

    As noted this is just one of many books on high demand cult like techniques.  Don't like this book?  Fine. As mentioned I am not an apologist for the book.

    Ok. Like I said I was bored, so I read parts of the article instead to get a feel.

    1 hour ago, Teancum said:

    I don't know much about 7th Day Adventists but based on what little I do know I would not be surprised to find them lumped into a high demand group. I think many evangelical groups fall into the mix.  I think mamy multi level marketing groups fall into the category.  As for recent labeling of the church as what a HDG?  I do not know timing or anything.  Most use the work cult.  As noted I do not. But I think outside the church calling the church a cult is not new.  ut that term was more used by other Christian critics and they use it in a different way meaning a pseudo Christian sect that is not orthodox though most when they hear the term don't interpret it that way.  Anecdotally I think you may be surprised how many outside the church have long viewed it a cult like.  Heck my mother in law thought her daughter was joining up with a group like the moonies when my wife joined. I have heard similar comments from others all my adult life.

    I know fairly little as well. I had a friend in high school and taught/shared a meal with one on my mission. What I do know is via random moments of curiosity on tangential topics (like blue zone groups). It doesn't surprise me that they would be called a cult via certain conservative christian groups. They're different and have a differing POV on christianity. That's usually enough to demonize them in those circles. I'm also most certainly unsurprised how many view us a cult outside the church. I lived in Texas in the bible belt. That seemed to be a hub for labeling us a cult. Softer versions would usually include fraud and deceived. Derogatory stereotypes included sheeple, racist, and secretive. If I sat and thought about it, I could probably think of more that I've heard over the years. What did surprise me was just how much the HDG label was getting traction in certain ex-lds/post mormon circles....insomuch that it was leading to different algorithm reads than another group with similar stricter values. The HDG label was there prior...usually left to small research papers or casual examples on sites like I posted previously giving examples of it. To me that shows this label has gotten disproportionately popular among certain circles. BUT when I read the reasoning, I don't see a ton of difference between how this term is used now to how those previous labels were used then. They're just a little softer and give a better air of analysis. 

    Honestly when I read some of this, it just looks like critique coming from certain people who find more value in another way of living. Which kudos to them. I just wish people would keep better tabs on their biases when groups that range in practice widely all the sudden can be lumped in one label that is then taken usually negatively. 

     

    With luv,

    BD

  5. 8 hours ago, Teancum said:

    I did not say that they were the  only expert, nor the bet expert, etc.  But the book is well researched and my guess is you really did not look at it much. I don't think you are interested in really exploring the topic much.  And it seems nonsensical to argue people have written lots of books about IT.  I assume you mean cult/mind control?  That diminishes the values of the topic how?  So many have written about religion, Jesus, Mormonism, evolution, self improvement and likely other topics that you may find worthwhile. Do you dismiss other books because so many have written books about IT and they don't agree with each other?

    All religious leaders do not mean the definition.  Nor do all religions tilt heavy on the mind control techniques.  Your premise is faulty.  If you don't want to do a healthy examination of your own religion and its methods that's fine with me.  But that does not mean it does not have some, a lot, who knows. As I said to another poster I don't think the church is a cult but I do think it moves down the right side of the bell curve when one plots the attributes of high demand groups. Some people like that, and thrive on it. Some may need it.  Others may disagree with me. I am not an expert on this.  But I have read some on it by different sources. Thus my personal conclusion.

    I can't speak for BB, but I got bored today and looked more closely at the website. The first page is super vague and it's hard to get a good read of what the author is going at if you don't already agree with her conclusions on the faith. So I went and scanned some of her related blog posts/articles about this. I landed on this one specifically and started taking a deeper dive into what she wrote. If this is an example of how she does research and forms her conclusion, I'm not impressed. 

    I made it through part 1 "behavioral control." Here are the main problems I see with it.

    - Almost all the quotes from modern leaders are from sources at least 30-40 years old. Almost all of them are from the 80's and 90's. The one I was most curious about was from peer pressure, I looked it up and the section isn't the best from my eyes. But of course this was from a time that I would have been either a baby or a you child (depending the copy right), so not from my time and sensitivities. It also was pretty vague up until maybe the end. Her conclusions on the church on this ignore the plethora of sources from the lest decade or so that talk about this same topic. They range from explicit condemnation of ostracism based on religious affiliation and general good advice that I have a hard time picturing most parents disagreeing with if they have any desire to teach their kids boundaries and safety. Things like, how to say no to activities that make one uncomfortable (like drinking parties, or uncomfortable movies/media). These come from sources ranging from church magazines to GC talks. But lets go with one  of the more awkward lessons from a manual no one uses from a time most people under the age of 40 can barely remember. 

    - To make her points she needs to over-generalized and/or exaggerate the degree of reprimand someone would get from the church. So for example several things are described as "prohibited" that are at best uncommon or discouraged. This includes things like dating pre-16 or dating/marrying non-members or less-active members. Other "strongly discouraged" items also vary a ton in actual discouragement. 

    - Her points are frozen in time...that time beings somewhere between the 80's-00's. There were several things that were antiquated or have obviously shifted. Temple garment use for example. There was never clear instructions on how to wear your g's with undies or other random specifics. This was usually dependent on who gave instructions. I watched this in real times as both one who got endowed with two temple workers emphasizes or shrugging of extra advice the other was giving. One was older, one was younger. And then again as I watched temple policy clarify to insist that one not give excess advice on temple garment use beyond the approved script with a strong emphasis to not give newbies advice on how to wear their bras. In general many policy changes made in recent decades have usually worked to clip the degree of imposed rigidity that can happen in individual wards or stakes. But again, this is ignored...focusing on a time when this was becoming a serious problem.

    - Using smaller populations to fit assertions she was trying to make. One included a stat about bankruptcy in UT (the whole utah = a worldwide church where the majority of members don't live there nor hold their cultural quarks). But on one of her weakest points, she noted a rando survey of 17 EQ men on their sleep patterns. This has so many problems: the small completely non-representative sample size and the comparison to both non-active members or non-member of a similar demographic being the biggest. By no means is this solid, but then she uses this to help bolster a claim tied with cults: disrupted sleep patterns EVEN THOUGH she acknoweldge that actual church doctrine strongly encourages good sleep and several policy changes and emphases have focused on reducing the amount of time any one person is working on a calling. THis leads to...

    - Though she acknowledges contradiction in practices, she doesn't really address what this means to her arguments when pidgeon holing us into cultic traits. This shows a ton in the WoW section. It's all over the place. At one point we're super rigid and cautious about the WoW. On the next we're ignoring other caveats in scripture. On the next we're fat because we don't follow the WoW...but also showing we're not receiving the blessings on the WoW?? On the next we're discouraged from caffeine, but then we sometimes do or sometimes don't follow it depending on our level of being a kosher rebel. So basically, like every religion, we have principles/beliefs that have variances of belief and obedience to with minimal consequence if we do or don't minus some old fart getting the vapors when they see a coke. Not really nailing it.

    -  Exaggeration to make stronger claims. This shows a ton on the "leisure time" part. She stretches us to having to spend 22 hrs a week filling church "duties." 22 hours! I'm a "good mormon" and the most I've ever done was maybe 10? again, minus special 1-2 times a year activities or super rare experiences like missions. Here's the list that makes it... it hits bingo on several of the other problems I mention:

    3 hours/week Sunday Church meeting - antiquated...it's 2 now

    Average 8 hours/week for callings - for who?? maybe leaders who suck at delegating and maybe the bishop. That's not a lot of callings. Most callings are easy to complete in 2-4 hrs at best.  

    2 hrs/week additional meetings - no specification or description just assertion we're supposed to take by her word

    2 hrs Monday for Family Home Evening -  No where is it insisted how we do FHE, let alone how long. The practice is highly variable based on ages, desire, family status, etc. 

    1 hr/day scripture reading & prayer - Again, highly variable and exaggerated. Most I seriously doubt are studying an hour a day. Especially if they have younger kids. I like deep dives and chatting with God (aka prayer). So mine may be longer some weeks...Barely there another cuz I still have a 3 year old and other interests. The only time I ever consistently studied 1-2+ hrs a day was a mission. That's not exactly the norm. 

     

    But all of this and more is to get to the conclusion that we don't have time to play. Even though most members* play at least somewhat and openly.  Personally, I paint play video games (mostly with my husband, along with home projects), watch TV, read books, hike when I can (3 yr old), hang with friends, and garden....though she puts that last one as an encouraged activity so I probably was brainwashed into liking that last activity to a nigh obsessive level. True I have reduced my fave hobby of travel.  But that one's covid more than church related. Note: I do at least one of these activities daily. Even with my calling.

    *I say most because I'm a therapist. Therapists tend to get people who are out of balance. Including overachievers. Over achievers tend to burn out or struggle to take breaks. They also can be found in just about everywhere where high-achievers are common.

    - I could go on, but it's getting late. I would add I found the "need to ask permission for major decisions" pretty bad too. it ends with "Parents can (but don’t always) exert a lot of control in both major and minor life decisions." You know, like every parent I've ever met on earth, member or not. This section just doesn't fit what it looks like for cults (let alone HDG's) to have a dependency on the org for major life decisions. 

     

    One doesn't have to be uninterested in having a "healthy examination of one's religion" to find serious reasons to be completely uninterested in this book. This author has an unchecked bias (other things that I scanned)...a bias that's fairly antithetical to an LDS worldview. And it shows a ton. Is there fair critique to our faith found both in and out of the church? yeah, i've read many. But I don't think this is showing solid signs of being it. 

    Side note I find it curious how much LDS have been recently labeled HDG's online. It's so disproportionate that when I first looked up HDG's "mormon" often came up with it. I thought it was just that I look at a lot of LDS material...so Google. But then I looked up a group that is also "right of the bell curve" and could fit a number of traits that are HDG's: 7th day adventists. Also had a charismatic leader, believes in supernatural phenomenon and have some "extreme" views, strict religious behavioral recommendations and expectations, and some I would say are a little more strict that ours. And yet when I did a few searches trying to attach the phrase HDG or HDR to SDA I got nothing. All there was, were a few scattered comments about them being "cults" by a few christian sites. What was the difference? from what I could first tell, the number of post-SDA sites giving this term a run. Wasn't a big a thing as the Post-lds or lds critical sources that are more adamant in finding a quasi-scientific approach to give legitimacy to grievances and concerns without using the cult-word immediately to de-legitimize it (since heaven knows that'll shut down a convo fast with a member and likely aligns too strongly to another group many post-mo's are also not big fans of: conservative x-tians). I don't know if this is fully a thing. It's completely anecdotal and based on my research powers via google and exposure of some post-mo thoughts/experiences. But based on how this woman does "research," how I ran this "research" has about the same degree of legitimacy. 

     

    With luv,

    BD

  6. 17 minutes ago, Teancum said:

    I would not disagree.

     

     

    So use cult if you prefer.  I don't think the Church is a cult. My wife thinks it is but she is a pretty black and white thinker. I know other disaffected members who feel the same.  I don't.  I think there are attributes that cults use that are part of the LDS Church experience.  I think it is on the right slope of the bell curve when you graph those attributes.  I think time demands are one of them.  OThers can disagree.

    I don't. I don't think we fully match either, though there are practice and communities within the religion that can be more cultic. I had a client once who described several of their small community's practices and behaviors in the faith and I told them that it was cultic. It was also pretty foreign to me...I had no equivalent community I could compare it to within the church. The ones I could best "get" seemed an extremely rigid interpretation to random advice and counsel. Others were so rigid and separatist to the point of being contradictory to other forms of church guidance (like many being concerned if a kid went to a nearby college). Others were just insane or cruel to me. But there's a reason these were foreign to me...they didn't represent the entirely of the church. Some of it went overtly against what I'd been taught or believed as a member. I can't call the church either cult or HDG in aggregate because that is still a representation of other forms of cognitive distortion to me (overgeneralizing, mental filtering, labeling, jumping to conclusions, etc). That there are some attributes of cults or HDG's in it doesn't make it one.

    17 minutes ago, Teancum said:

    Have you looked at this book per chance:  http+s://recoveringagency.com/

    When googling I was looking for sources not focused on a singular group, but generalized principles or attributes. These are the three I landed on

    https://secularliturgies.wordpress.com/2020/02/24/the-25-signs-youre-in-a-high-control-group-or-cult-by-anastasia-somerville-wong/

    https://www.colleenrussellmft.com/high-demand-group-or-cult-education-a-recovery

    http://www.dreichel.com/Checklist_of_Cult_Characte.htm

     

    With luv,

    BD

  7. 16 hours ago, nuclearfuels said:

    Youth problem / fallout? Same in your ward?

    community

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    Faithful, lifelong member here.

    Stake had an 8 hour familyhistory event for youth yesterday.

    Bishop's fireside tonight.

    early morning seminary every week day

    Ward conference today.

    Wed's night activites every week.

    Is there a problem w/ the youth that suggests this much time?

    The re-org a while backwhere Bishoprics work w/ the young men directly - I get it.

    This just seems like overkill.

    Same in your ward?

    It may just be a random moment where several special events converged at once. That would happen a lot when I was a YSA...usually early fall since people were new and they were trying to re-situate callings, leadership, etc. 

    In bold are the activities that aren't really common. I don't remember a ton of firesides....usually a couple a year that took about 1-2 hrs. They'd have bigger youth events 1-2 times a years that may happen over a weekend (youth conference, for example). Ward conference barely differs in structure to church and supplants church. The others are common and haven't shifted in decades. The bishop rearrangement has...but in structure it hasn't necessarily shifted what the youth experience directly (beyond bishoprics being a little more involved with YM's and indirectly YW's activities at times. I don't think I've ever had a week where I was doing church stuff as a youth for more than 10 hrs. Usually less. And as an adult even less than that. There were a few exceptions. Which were usually funner/bigger church activities. All of which were optional (camp, youth conferences, etc)

    I'm currently a YW's leader. The biggest changes I've seen compared to my youth is actually none of these and moreso the emphasis on having the youth take a more proactive role in planning what we do and/or doing lessons for YW/YM's. It doesn't equal a massive increase in time. In our YW's what this looks like is a youth led class once a month, a yw's activity every 3 months about what what activities that want to do, and smaller check-ins that last 15 minutes to see what's needed for the activity that week. They usually come, hang out, have some fun/socialize with their friends, and go about their day. Some weeks we have a lot of girls; some weeks we have just a few. We usually have a solid turnout for sundays for yw's/class, though. I'm very pleased with my YW's group. We get along, aren't super judgy, and there doesn't seem to be a girl who's the "outcast."   

    3 hours ago, Teancum said:

    Thanks for the down vote about the church filling up your time to control you.  I know the truth hurts.  But this is what high demand organizations do. It is not just the church.  But the church does dominate an active members time.  I am sure you have associate with non LDS who when they see the amount of time the church takes they are a bit surprised.  Anyway sorry if that made you mad.

    The biggest problem with what you said is that it's not "truth" but subjective and assumes the worst potential intentions for what you describe as "high demand organizations." High demand orgs are not uniformly defined by any source. Many sources that use this term have obviously just swapped it for "cult" to sound better and are very biased in their use of said term. Sources that are less biased (say therapy groups) differ in definition, though they do hold similar themes. Some of these we do fit. Some of these we definitely don't. Many are dependent on a specific family or more rigid community within the church in order to apply. For example while googling one mentioned how he left mormonism and used the example that instead of regular vacations to say disney, they went to church sites as an example of an HDG characteristic. Is that extremely rigid? Sure. Is that a proscribed church experience/practice? Absolutely not. Plenty of us go to disney, mountains, beaches, europe, road trips, etc (depending our budget/interests).  

    Personally as a YW's leader, my goal with our other YW's leaders for the activities we have is to have a place to socialize and build positive connections for the girls. At church it's for them to learn about God and share their own experiences of faith. We work to make sure everyone is included and welcomed in our group. We encourage our girls in their pursuits. We try to teach the girls things that we also personally value/helped us and with honesty. We try to help our girls who may be struggling. For example one of our was showing strong signs of bipolar disorder. We tried talking to the parents and the bishop also tried to encourage/support them with getting help. When her calling became too much, she was promptly released without an ounce of shame and encouragement to keep getting better. We just want our girls to grow up well, to support them, and to have faith in God. That's our intent. Our girls have plenty of time to study, date, have side jobs, have other friends etc. As a youth, young adult, and adult, I had plenty of time to do the same...and did/do so based on what I wanted to and/or could. 

     

    With luv,

    BD

  8. 12 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

    And the journey has been wonderful, hasn’t it? You are preaching to the choir, good brother. I have sought understanding for decades including from the brethren you mention. Surely it is is a great book, but as the the days dwindle down to a precious few, I’m not eager to spend time with yet another book on something about which very little has been revealed. Forgive and be patient with my skepticism, but I agree with Elder Redlund on this topic: “it can lead us to deception or divert our focus from what has been revealed.”

    It technically could but doesn’t have to. In some ways learning more about HM from good sources reaffirms and builds my faith in other doctrines and things revealed, both personally and generally. I’m on pg 26 of the book and to me it reinforces the principle ideas around apostasy and corruption that occurred. Also gives another means to value and connect to books of scriptures. What I’ve seen from those that focusing on the idea of HM can lead to “deception or divert our focus” is more when there’s already serious concerns and diversions that people then use or incorporate HM in. It doesn’t just naturally devolve because one has a particular affinity, experience, or desire to learn more on this subject. 
     

     


    with luv, 

    BD 

  9. 5 hours ago, Teancum said:

    My issue with religion, and especially with Mormonism, is I am supposed to trust a few select people that God speaks to.  Why does God speak to a few?  Can I trust them?  Joseph Smith, in his famous happiness letter where he tries to persuade Nancy Rigdon to marry him, that whatever God says is right.  And that God can command and revoke.  ell if that is the case Joseph I better be sure I can trust what you say is from God. And based on his track record, IMO. I don't think I can trust him. Same is true for the track record of many LDS leaders on a number of what I believe are substantive issues.  See even with other religions this is the same.  Muhamed got the message from Gabriel and wrote it down and is the last prophet.  I don't know.  It seems a sketchy way to base one's life on such things.  It used to work for me. It doesn't any longer. Maybe it will some day. I am open. I search.  I talk to God though I wonder if a God is there. 

    Our journey with faith and religion is inherently different in several regards (mainly based on what I read here obviously). That difference starts showing around the first sentence of this paragraph for me and keeps growing from there. Here are a few of my different starting points: 
    - I assume God doesn’t speak to a few. I assume God speaks to just about everyone with varying degrees of awareness that that’s what’s happening. I think God has a specific apostolic calling for a few people at a time. They're not the only ones that have callings and stewardships in this life. 
    - my trust starts with God and extends out. I do not hold the same degree of trust that I do in God that I do with anyone else who’s human. That trust is subjective and not as consistent and even with God I have my limits and moments with trust that it's not immediate or without a fight. I find it weird when people just trust without question or pause, that is not my natural state.

    -  Trust in a prophet is different than trust in all the prophet says or does (even in their calling). They are still people and people f-up/have limits...even when well meaning and trying. My faith in prophets the last 2 rounds specifically were ones found by witness that they were called to this. Not that I generally found them impressive or immediately worth my admiration. I remember with Monson specifically. I wasn't a fan of him prior and wasn't looking forward to him being prophet when I realized he'd likely be it. I happened to be in a talk I think at BYU where he came in with another apostle whose health was failing a little. His kindness and care for the apostle helped me know that he was a good man for the call. Anderson as well, I had a moment when he was first called when I happened to meet him on my mission. He was small, nerdy, and a little clumsy with getting his talk going for the YSA's that day. But his testimony and witness of Christ told me he was an apostle. He is one that I've had a talk or two rub me the wrong way. Which leads to the next point

    - I value pain, conflict, and contradiction. I value mess or at least am well grounded when it comes. I'm okay with a leader who may be the right call at the right time, but who made error, held cultural based assumptions and promoted them in earnest, and who I disagree with...sometimes adamantly so.  My life has been messy, I have been wrong, I've allowed my desires to fill in blanks that turned out to be dead wrong while pursuing God's will...and yet I've found God and been led by God throughout. I can't deny that. Often my mistakes have been teaching points later. So it's not hard to assume that I'm not exceptional on this. When confronted with a more complex and messy JS, that actually helped more so than hindered my faith in a restoration. Messy JS made sense....Pure JS fell flat for me. 

    When I read your post on this, because of what I mentioned above, it's hard for me to jump into the same line of conflict that you have. It's simply not mine. I didn't start with an extended trust in leaders. I was skeptical of grandiose image of them (still am). Trust was secondary. I learned that trust needed to be extended to some degree because that's what allowed for both development of faith, me, and community at large. It still doesn't come without discernment and boundaries to how far I extend said trust. I take in guidance and counsel....I do not view it as edicts and absolutes for me in my life. I trust a prophet/apostle to the extent of their calling...as general leaders for the time they were set up, to do the work God asked them, at the rate the church (aka the members) as a whole is willing to take in.  And I trust God to help me know what will apply to my life now. I don't know what you're view was when you were more believing and I don't know it now. I assume it may have been a little different than mine. And I assume it may be different in the future in your search. Tis life. 

     

    With luv,

    BD 

  10. 18 hours ago, Teancum said:

    If there is a god and it tells me something in person I am likely to do it. Still waiting for this.

    Honestly, I kinda doubt this, but not for CO2's reasoning. Mine's based on agency and personal experience. 

    I doubt anyonef would really go against their most valued beliefs and assumptions about the world simply by the appearance of a God saying "yo, do this thing that completely opposes 20-50 years of strongly held values you follow." I believed/followed God, received strong answers (no god appearances via physical eyes FWIW), and still really struggled when what I was asked to do went against just about everything I naturally felt or believed was good. It's unnatural to contradict oneself. And I believe and experience a God that expects change from us and the world around us when we choose Them.   

    Even on a non-god basis, it's well known that the hardest thing to change in therapy is people's values. Most the time, unless it's obviously toxic, it's best not to touch them...even if you think there may be better values to hold. The few time's I have to, doing so ain't easy. I can't just go up and give them stats and figures as to why they should change their beliefs (evidence). It doesn't sink in, or worse it get's reincorporated in unhealthy ways in their pre-existing system. What becomes easier for them is to either find a way to reject the source or to dismiss the advice as mere opinion. 

    This brings me to agency. I don't think agency is completely gone just because God or an angel shows up. We still have choice and our current paradigms that may make it really difficult to shift one's beliefs just because we saw God. If one's asked to change a fundamental part of who you are or do something antithetical to how you behave, it may be easier to dismiss the experience in one way or another. Visions and angels become hallucinations or a psychological break due to stress. Or simply something hard to explain, but that must have natural reasons for why they occurred. If no one else saw God or signs of God when you were having the manifestation this would make it even easier to dismiss. If you fell asleep from exhaustion after, you could dismiss it as a really weird dream. Maybe one doesn't deny the manifestation but just the message. There is always an answer or means to dismiss the experience in favor for what we prefer to do and value. 

    In short, God can't force someone to belief let alone faith. Even more blatant and strong answers can't touch our ability to choose otherwise. What does change IMHO is accountability and responsibility to the answer we received. To the experiences where someone with little faith did get a potent answer, it was usually a decision weighing between the damage they were causing and the damage to their potential salvation if they rejected the message. And some still chose otherwise to God to one degree or another.   

     

    With luv,

    BD

  11. 2 hours ago, Tacenda said:

    The only explanation I can come up with is the belief that the after life, even in the Telestial kingdom is better than this life that came from Joseph Smith, or allegedly did. Here's an article speaking about it connected with suicide. I wonder if this man wanted to be with their son so much and believed it's better than this life.

    http://lifeongoldplates.blogspot.com/2008/12/committing-suicide-to-get-to-telestial.html

    Ehh. I would go with what's most common in these cases (at least according to research), some form of abuse/impulse issues, enmeshment, and throw in unchecked serious mental health issues. What people use to justify this usually runs on whatever they have around them to prop up what makes them feel good or justifies their impulses. These are usually the branches rather than the root of a very sick tree. You'd be surprised what sticks for people, it doesn't have to be that overt of a connection to their pathology either. One of the worst cases I heard of entailed using prayer and revelation to control others. Another more mild case of abuse had used messages on unity. But it doesn't have to be religious or spiritual...most justifications that prop up or mask abuse aren't. There's a chance there was little evidence for abuse...but in these cases most the time there is. 

     https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-human-equation/202003/the-tragedy-murder-suicides

    9 hours ago, smac97 said:

    Terrible:

    I have commented on this before, but I find it problematic when a member of the Church does some terrible thing, some news outlets go to great lengths to emphasize the person's membership in the Church.

    If that membership is germane and relevant to the misconduct, then such references are appropriate (e.g., stories about "affinity fraud" in which members of the Church prey on other members through shared membership).  

    He lost a son to cancer, then (apparently) killed the rest of his family, then himself.

    No words, really.

    -Smac

     On the bright side, when i googled his name, this was literally the only article with the title talking about their religion. Most identifies them by where they lived or with relevant details about the case. 

     

    With luv,

    BD

  12. 7 hours ago, Nofear said:

    One of the complaints from the nay-saying sphere is that the Church and scriptures portray a coercive God and not one who persuades (and hence doesn't respect moral agency in all situations). How to best respond?

    1. What do you use as a the defining feature that separates coercion from persuasion

    2. Apply 1. to specific examples:

    • Nephi cutting off Laban's head
    • Joseph Smith being threatened with a flaming sword
    • Abraham taking a slave (Hagar) to wife
    • Alma the younger told by angel to stop persecuting the church
    • Joseph Smith being told by God himself not to join any church*
    • other examples (those not believing the Church are welcome to add other examples too)

     

    * Does one really refuse when God directly/in-person tells you to do something, or does his mere presence constitute coercion?

    Interesting set of thoughts.

    On 1 I would say I'm okay with the basic context of the googled definitions. Coercion is trying to persuade someone via threats and force or to restrain/dominate by force. Persuasion is to cause (someone) to believe something, especially after a sustained effort; convince. Or to (of a situation or event) provide a sound reason for (someone) to do something.

    The other thing I would add is a distinction between threats and divulging consequence/effect. For example, Yelling to someone to stop or they'll drive off a cliff and die is different than saying "stop or I'll drive you off a cliff or die." More realistically, when I sit someone down and telling them they need to change ASAP cuz they're in the wrong and xyz will happen on this course, this isn't a threat, it's divulging consequence that they're ignoring/unaware of. 

    Ok, on to 2. The ones that are easily strong persuasion, IMO are crossed out above. The ones in bold are tangential to me. Abraham taking Hagar isn't really clarified as to why it began. There's not really a mention of God till Hagar runs away and it counseled to go back to Abraham because she's preggo and the kid/she have a great purpose to fulfill. That part I would consider persuasion, what got her into the situation in the first place isn't openly defined as directed by God in the first place, so I don't feel a need to call it either in terms with God. JS not joining church was a direct answer to him sincerely asking what God wanted from him in this regards. This is different to both persuasion or coercion as the directive was initiated by JS asking for direction on this and God answering him, albeit in a way he didn't foresee but that he also wasn't opposed to. But on the *question, people have refused, found work arounds, or half-obey directives from God, even in powerful answers. Alma the younger compared to Laman and lemuel's angel visit for example. Balak finding a way to not curse Israel while still giving the prince something to work with against Israel is another. 

    That last one leads to the last italicized part, which is likely the most difficult to suss from coercion and persuasion. Let's say the accounts around this are accurate. He's at this point made more than one promise out of choice to follow whatever God asks of him. God asks one that he finds difficult to follow and he's wishy washy on this. Partially (assumptions follow) from the stress it puts on his marriage with Emma that's most obviously his major partner and mate.  Partially from knowing or sensing he's sitting on a powder keg socially with this one, both within the faith community and outside with increasingly more hostile situations. Maybe partially from his own mixed feelings about what this is entailing. So this seems dangerous and a bad idea when he's focused on the literal concerns right in front of him. God can't lie. He can't promise that this will be a basket of joy and blessings and goodness in his temporal circumstance. It won't be. But if true, something about this was absolutely necessary long term. In short God can't persuade him by carrots. So the question is then is there space for sticks in persuasion? Where the consequence of disobeying God can be laid really bare? I can see an argument for this being coercive, I can also make an argument for how it can fit into being persuasive by laying out real consequence for failing God on a command made 3 times clearly and directly while acting as a Prophet of God.  

     

     I'm sure how one sees God will also differ based on one's experience with God. One of my most formative experience around this was when I was in an unhealthy relationship I didn't want to be in anymore because God had told me to. I'd begun griping about it a ton in my prayers...and probably to anyone who knew the situation well enough for me to gripe to. I felt pushed (coerced) into this circumstance I wouldn't have chosen for myself. One day while praying it became clear that I had a choice. That I could live a decent life without doing this thing or that I could follow God and have something greater. Humbled, I reaffirmed that I wanted to choose and follow God, wherever. God had told me when I sought God well before this to stay, the experiences of this persuasion were strong but peaceful answers to stick this through. When I didn't I often became off balance in weird ways I refused to name because I was trying really hard to ignore God and parts of myself in order to pull it off (which again could be seen as coercion...or natural consequence for going against light, truth, and God's ways). I was choosing not a earthly relationship, but God in obeying, and I'd lost track of that in my pain and frustration. I still view this as being persuaded to follow God...but I can easily see how someone may see these same circumstances as being coerced by God too. It's a matter of where we stand and what outcomes we see as defining choice.

     

    With luv,

    BD    

  13. On 9/7/2022 at 11:30 AM, Meadowchik said:

    Also I think LDS young people do rush into marriage with the motivation to be able to engage in activities the law of chastity prohibits outside marriage. I think they even do this on an unconscious level because that biological drive can be so strong. 

    Also my eyes skipped over this the first time I read this. 

    Couples who believe in holding off on sex till marriage can indeed end up in this category. I've certainly seen couples - particularly ones who married super young (18-20) - show signs of this or state a much when their marriage was dissolving (it shows in some of their more childish approaches to their marriage). But It's by no means super common or predominate. Most who hold off on sex also hold other values that place marriage as extremely desirable and valued for other reasons than sex. These reasons usually change the calculus in deciding when it's right to marry and how long courtship needs to be. Because LDS hold similar values and beliefs around what marriage is for, this is usually fairly balanced out and the intentions around dating often speed up the process in finding a good partner. 

    At least from what I've seen.

     

    With luv,

    BD

  14. On 9/11/2022 at 6:44 AM, Meadowchik said:

     

    I don't think I've argued for cohabitation or pre-marital sex as panaceas, I've been saying they can be a part of a moral and circumspect approach to relationships. And I've argued that--rather than claiming that they're bad or evil--that people are losing out on an important element to personal and relational development by abstaining from sex before long-term commitment. That's not saying sex the main element.

    They can be. Where I strongly disagree is this second part. Panacea may be too strong of a word, but this description and the first one that I commented on still sets a hierarchy of value to premarital sex. It may not be a main element, but it was still seen as so important that you stated you couldn't rightly suggest making a lifelong commitment where it's included in the commitment. That's what I fundamentally disagree with. Think of it this way...children are important and are known for fundamentally shifting a relationship. One doesn't suggest that a couple try out a baby say via fostering or by having one as a necessity before deciding to enter a solid commitment that includes becoming parents. One also wouldn't suggest watching someone else's kid is similar enough to having your own. Minus the questionable ethics of having a tester-child, it's just not an accurate gage for anything. Pre-marital sex isn't a great gage for post-nuptial, long-term sexual relationships that tend to change and shift as the partners experiences and bodies shift. Pre-marital sex may give people experience with sex. But that experience is by no means equal or uniform and it can range from absolutely meaningless and caustic to deeply valuable and even healing, from my experience with those who've had sex outside of marriage. Pre-marital sex doesn't really correlate with the results. Which is why I've seen some amazingly solid marriages and some pretty disastrous ones with or without pre-marital sex. What does make it is the context the sex happens in. And that can easily be replicated in marriages without sex pre-marriage. These values and ability to communicate, share, honor where another partner is at, have patience, avoid overly-assertive and unrealistic expectations, etc aren't found by just having sex. Sex does not imbue knowledge. It's just a physical act. What we do and value around sex defines what it can or can't mean for us. 

    Can a moral system be built around it that includes pre-marital sex? Sure. Is it inherently better or that another is "losing out" if they haven't done so? No. I have seen no such correlation in my work as a sex therapist. And personally I certainly don't feel I "lost out" from not taking the opportunities where I could have had sex pre-marriage. Frankly, I'm overtly grateful I didn't, for varying reasons.  

    On 9/11/2022 at 6:44 AM, Meadowchik said:

    I think there's just too much other major changes going on for us to draw major conclusions about cohabitation's inherent effects. It is happening in a world that on multiple levels has not been set up for it, so I'm not going to be surprised if it is correlated to unwanted outcomes.

    This got me curious and I was searching for world comparisons in the research. The rate, safety networks, and assumptions around cohabitation vastly differ from country to country, by age, by pattern of choosing cohabitation etc. There isn't a single pattern. In some places, long-term cohabitation has pretty solid protections and is converging on marriage in terms of how it's viewed in these societies (again, not necessarily in results, though these also vary based on several factors of general advantage/disadvantage and reasons for starting cohabitation). I was particularly looking over this overview of it that worked to collect data from a wide range of factors (time, country, socio economic status, age, and diversity). I think there's shifts but I still think there's enough to say cohabitation is not necessarily better than marriage. At it's best it strong varies on how one cohabitated and how one treats the cohabitating relationship. Which can be somewhat similar to marriage, except that marriage is usually more culturally proscribed for why and when one enters it (this doesn't mean there aren't seriously problematic marriages structurally, including issues with power dynamics, divisions of labor in some, and chaotic/forced entrances to marriage). My only point is that I still wouldn't describe the concept of cohabitation inherently better to marriage. I have no good evidence of that. One may prefer it, or believe it has potential to be a social boon...but that's still more a belief than strongly supported.    

    On 9/11/2022 at 6:44 AM, Meadowchik said:

    Premarital sex can be included in a moral and circumspect approach to personal development and relationships. In other words, premarital sex can be moral. (There's so much more to morality in sex that marriage does not necessarily address. I like it when people focus more on the the more personalized moral issues around sex--like consent, caution about pregnancy, protection from disease, consideration of the other in the short and long term...marriage isn't a panacea for that and I'm happy when those promoting chastity also promote those other moral considerations.)

    It can be. Again, I'm not denying this. But that is by no means all that is premarital sex, which tends to vary as much as who is doing the deed. There is no inherent morality in any sexual act. That is defined by cultural and personal beliefs, experiences, and expectations. (Marriage can also have variation...though because marriage often comes with more cultural parameters and personal contracts, there's a little less variance than premarital sex that doesn't naturally have either restraint). I do think there are overarching values that increase the benefit and value of sexual expression that are fairly universal. The ones you mention in parentheses is what I'd describe as the bare minimum of universals that I want a person to hit in their sexual relationships with whoever.

     

    With luv,

    BD 

  15. 9 hours ago, Saint Bonaventure said:

    What you've written, MiserereNobis, resonates with my experiences with my Latter-day Saint family members (the adults, anyway).  We're all trying to be very open to the good that one another brings, but it can just feel too narrow sometimes. I think my SiL has been alluding to the quote you mention, as she's said she's glad for the good I can add to the family, but....yeah....that good doesn't include me offering a prayer at meals at her home (something about the sign of the cross and an electric chair), and she's made it clear that she doesn't want me talking religion when her children are within earshot. She did accept herbal tea from me, so maybe that's a start.

    My BiL, has been different, though. He's come to Mass a few times and has apologized for the "Church of the Devil" stuff. He drinks Mountain Dew and listens to Aerosmith when his wife isn't around, and those are "good" things in their own way. 

    Life's just messy, and while a mixed-faith family isn't the same as a convert to a church, I couldn't help but notice the parallels. I hope my in-laws don't feel that I'm rejecting the good they're trying to bring. Something to mediate on during Adoration this week. 

     

    I'm sorry to hear that. For what it's worth, my catholic grandmother gave me a cross for one of my b-days many moons ago. I wore it happily... for me it's a dear reminder of a sweet lady who quietly lives her faith. 

    Though I can figure out why people can become rigid and fearful in their approach to other faiths, it still bothers me to see it in action. 

     

    With luv,

    BD

  16. 7 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

    I would say that co-habitating, premarital sex, etc ... is more than about what you want* per se as in it is also about communal grounding, too. (*People want communal grounding, too--so compatibility can indeed still be part of "purchasing" the communal acceptance a person wants.) Online comments can be shallow and not truly reflect the depth that's there.

    Online can be. I tend not to interact with said sites/discussions. This one is not particularly shallow and the reasons for were one’s I’ve commonly heard. They weren’t abnormally bad or extreme. Nor were they my first experience with people who’ve cohabitated. I meet them plenty via therapy and there’s not something extra they have compared to the couple that haven’t. Note: I’m not writing off cohabitation entirely as inherently bad. Nor am I doing that with pre-marital sex. I know couples who did both and have great relationships. It’s just not necessary for a relationship to flourish or start out strong. Focusing it as a solution to poor relationship development isn’t really that helpful. It’s a cultural myth that’s grown as our culture has. It’s not actually borne out in the numbers and figures we have. When I’ve met with people who are trying to avoid or get out of bad relationships, there’s usually more obvious tells and personal approaches that are creating cycles. These are NOT based on cohabitating or if they had sex before marriage. They’re based usually on personality, family baggage they haven’t addressed, and an unawareness of or tendency to excuse red flags. There’s ways to bolster the chances of a good marriage and I strongly recommend people take those up. Cohabitation and pre-marital sex just isn’t some of them. If they do it, I’m not going to insist they not. But I’m not going to pretend it’s a panacea of relational health. 

    7 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

    Furthermore, communities are changing. Mating and commitment is changing. I would hold off on taking too much from cohabitation studies. 
     

    Cohabitation studies have been happening for a few decades now. They’re large and small, from different data sets, use different checks and extraneous variables. They ask and seek out different factors and methods to cohabitation. As well as long term shifts in reasons couples cohabitate. It still shows the same overall basic results (neutral to marriage outcomes or more likely to end in divorce/lower relational satisfaction). I have no reason to ignore them except that they can be inconvenient to current cultural trends. The common adage about it, just isn’t empirically true…it’s bolstered by anecdotes of individual success and satisfaction. Social research will to some degree always be a snapshot of the cultural moment. That is not a great reason to write it off.

     

    7 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

    Of course chastity can have value--sex is risky on plenty of levels--what I am saying is that there can be a circumspect, moral paradigm including premarital sex that is more cautionary in the long-term, when you assume the eventuality of marriage/long term commitment. 

    Okay, I read this a few time to make sure I’m understanding you. Are you saying premarital sex can including a moral stance that leads to more caution in forming longer-term commitments? In which case, what do you see some of those moral stances being? I would prefer to make sure I’m following you before I respond to this part.

    7 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

    Iow, learning a healthy management of sex before commitment is better than figuring it out after you've already committed to your sexual partner for life.

    I’ll wait for the response on the first have before responds to the second :) 

    with luv, 

    BD 

  17. 2 hours ago, Jim Dandy said:

    I had pre-marital sex and I regret it.  If it had been only with the woman I married then maybe I would not have as much regret about it, but the fact that I gave in to other women still tears me up inside when I think about the fact that I let it happen.  I was never the instigator, although I did become attracted and aroused by all the attention.  The consequence of having those memories is all it takes to bother me.  I would much rather have felt pure and untouched by any woman other than the woman I married.  That I was only for her, and she was only for me, in that way.  If not with the first one, then the next one, and I was ready and willing to marry each one that I had sexual relations with.  I gave so much of myself to those women that my sharing changed who I was before it happened.  The woman I married and will remain married to will never break my heart.  All of those other women left me, even after I gave them so much of myself.  My heart and soul and all the best I had in me at those times of my life, which I know isn't saying a lot but it was the best I had in me to give at that time. THAT is why pre-marital sex should never happen, or if it does it should be only with a man and woman who are ready and willing to marry each other forever, or at least until they part at death if they don't believe a marriage can last forever.  There should be no practice runs or experiments only to see what it feels like.  When it ends it can pull a man apart inside.  It really hurts, badly. If and when any love is involved in it.

    I’m sorry this eats you up. Though this is likely a good reason for you (you seem like a bit of a romantic at heart…as well as someone who does best in a strongly committed relationship). That isn’t necessarily Everyone’s experience nor is it inevitable. My husband was also not a virgin when I met him. Though he differs from you in several ways after that. It was exactly with one other, he was youngish and it was a bit of an act of rebellion. He initiated and though he found the girl nice he was by no means in love nor had illusions that he’d one day marry this person. He doesn’t regret it. He doesn’t really think about it. In his own words he “learned what he needed to from the experience” and called it good. I didn’t have sex with anyone before him. I did play around a bit. None were “hook ups” as those weren’t my thing. There was a time it went too far for me and felt wrong. I course corrected and called it good. No regrets on my end. neither of us think of it as saying or being anything in regards to our marriage. It just is. Regret to me seems like you’re picture this massive ideal that is constantly compared to one’s own reality. That’s a painful way to live. I’ve had moments of it in other ways, and wouldn’t wish it on another. My story has pain and wrong turns; mistakes and problems. Some my making, some others. So is my husband’s. Personally, my only ideal is that this story in God’s hands can be consecrated for my good. And it has. I love my story. I love the way we came together. I love the partner I’m with. He loves me. I feel like I’ve received so many gifts in my life, not because I was “pure”…but because I was messy and God purified me and endowed me with wisdom from it. Still is. i can’t imagine a better ideal. 
     

    I think, fairly innocently, we came up with temporal ideals of this perfect life which entails meeting a person and both of you only having each other before and after. And though it sounds romantic, I hate that anyone would hold that as THE way to be married. Your story is yours. It’s good and beautiful in its own right. I hope you one day can fully see that :) 

     

    with luv, 

    BD 
     

     

  18. 3 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

    Mating and pairing off can be a little--or very--consumeristic regardless of approach to sex. 

    It can be. But the ulterior reasons and assumptions for it can make a big diff. For example I watched with interest several posts on my period app that were discussing cohabitation pre-marriage. Several mentioned it as an absolute necessity...and a few that didn't were almost apologetic that they didn't. (Which is funny, because the research has been pretty consistent that cohabitation is at best neutral to marital strength and at worst more likely to end in divorce and less satisfaction). Most of the reasoning for cohabitation were tied to fear based reasons: gaging a person, really knowing a persons living habits, testing to see if they were really a good fit, etc. It had a general belief that marriage/relationships were hard and you had to really really know every last detail about a person before tying the knot (if one ever did). This is different then having say similar values lead/guide finding a partner to help form stronger social or family relationships. This form of checking the dating market means you're looking for a partner that isn't just tied to what you want, but is tied to cultural, social, and community grounding. It's looking for someone who doesn't just fit you, but that you and them can then help meet the goals and communal needs together. This is not individualist consumerism. It's communal in nature, laden with social values and goals. It's a little more grounded than just you and what you desire and fits your individual current circumstance and.     

    3 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

    And it's arguable that insisting on chastity or virginity is more shallow and much less about individual and relational health. An abstinence mindset can preclude the development of moderated sexual behaviour because it is so restrictive about sexual behaviour altogether. That moderative habituation is something that people can adapt both individually and in their couple. I do not think that being good at abstinence is comparable to being good at management of healthy sexuality. It can effectively be the same in some cases at some times but it's no where close to the wide spectrum of harmonious ways a couple can manage their sexual lives together.

    Just as it's an error to conflate pre-marital sex with excess promiscuity, it's an error to conflate abstinence/ and chastity with its most rigid manifestations. Extremes tend to foster their own problems. There is a difference between personally striving to follow the law of Chastity and allowing for others to have their own journey with it and insisting on virginity as a pre-cursor to a relationship. If you haven't read my posts to smac it may be helpful to do so. I am by no means suggesting an absolutist victorian stance that's skiddish around talking about, understanding, and even exploring one's sexuality pre-marriage. Nor do I think it great if someone is "good at abstinence" ...I don't even know whath that means but it usuals seem to focus on avoiding any form of sexual expression, thought, or even decent education. Not a fan of that. I'm just not willing to go as far as to say that limiting some forms of sexual expression to marriage doesn't have it's value. To me that's throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  

     

    With luv,

    BD 

  19. 23 hours ago, MrShorty said:

    Obviously, I cannot speak for @BlueDreams, but I will inject my opinion.

    I'm not sure that devolving into do/don't lists is necessary. Sometimes when I think about this problem, I feel like the main problem is trying to understand the basic, underlying principles that form the basis of the law of chastity (or maybe I'm the only one that really doesn't understand them). In the spirit of "teach them correct principles then let them govern themselves," I would be inclined to better articulate the basic principles of the law of chastity.

    We often might start by "defining" chastity. Outside of the temple, we usually define it as some form of "abstinence before marriage and fidelity after marriage." [CHI 38.6.5] From there we usually find ourselves seeking do/don't lists as we try to decide exactly what behaviors/feelings/experiences we are abstaining from and what behaviors/feelings/experiences constitute fidelity/infidelity. I recall an interesting infographic many years ago showing the results of a survey of college students where they were given a list of a dozen or so behaviors (from "passionate kissing" to various penetrative sex acts with or without orgasm) and asked to state which of these activities constituted "having sex". Interestingly, there wasn't a clear demarcation, in the aggregate, between activities that these students considered "having sex" and "not having sex". In a completely different context, I recall a sex therapist talking about older couples when "standard" sex acts become more difficult or unreliable who talked about finding sexual pleasure in some of these other activities (like passionate kissing). If "passionate kissing" is a sexual activity, we don't exactly condemn it when engaged by our dating singles. However, we would condemn it if engaged in by a married person who is kissing someone not their spouse. Clearly,  this doesn't really get into the underlying principles that help us understand abstinence/fidelity and what they mean and why these are important.

    Sometimes we move into "purposes" of sexuality. I usually see two purposes given [see same CHI section] -- Procreation and strengthening marriage. Occasionally I see a third purpose -- building self-control/self-mastery.

    I think a lot of our sexual ethic is driven by procreation. We strongly believe that children do best (sometimes entitled) when born and raised in a stable, loving, two (opposite sex) parent family. I feel like a lot of our sexual ethic is driven towards making sure children are not conceived and born outside of marriage. But procreation by itself seems insufficient to explain our views on many solo sexual activities, or heterosexual activities that do not involve any chance of germ cells finding each other, or homosexual activities, as these have nothing to do with procreation. Sometimes we talk about self-control, but it seems to me that we always talk about self-control in terms of abstinence rather than in terms of what we are supposed to be learning to control.

    I have seen some (including apostles -- if memory serves Elder Renlund used this, and Elder Bednar said something in his 2013 GC talk) say that the foundational principles come from our understanding of the plan of salvation. Whenever I have encountered these claims, I have found them interesting and somewhat instructive, but rarely comprehensive enough to fully explain our sexual ethic.

    I have sometimes felt like "temperance" (meaning reduce/minimize/moderate pleasurable experiences) is a driving principle. Under this, we convince ourselves that God wants us to limit or moderate sexual pleasure because they are too strong. Insert reference to Kellogg and why he came up with Corn Flakes.

    Very, very well said. I definitely do think that procreation drives are sexual ethos and language around it. Which is astounding since most of our sexual experiences will not lead to a baby or even pregnancy. I wish it would focus first and foremost as a potent means to share and express love, connection, and commitment through enjoyment/mutual pleasure FIRST. And OUT of that space (ideally) would grown children who then benefit from homes that are filled with love and close ties that started with the parents. It then makes sense to hold off actions that could lead to kiddos for a relationship that can support said kids. It then gives clearer understanding for why we should care and foster our sexuality with intention and direction. (though I'd point out the obvious...that this is generally from a hetero-stance)

    Personally, on that 3rd somewhat mentioned purpose, I find self-mastery a little limiting in terminology and my experiences. For me, it was a means to learn more of Christ and God. First by submission then by expression...both by a thoughtful and careful relationship with God to guide it.

     

    23 hours ago, MrShorty said:

    I don't have the knowledge or understanding to do it (if it isn't obvious from above), but that's where I would go. I don't think do/don't lists are helpful or necessary. If we could really get to the underlying principles behind our sexual morals, we would be better able to govern ourselves (independent of age or stage of life). For now, all attempts I have found to explain underlying principles have been superficial, inaccurate, or otherwise unsatisfying.

    Don't sell yourself short, Mrshorty ;) ....you have more understanding around this than you think you do.

     

    With luv,

    BD

  20. 5 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

    There's so much a person cannot know about sex and about such experiences with another person that I can't in good conscience recommend making a lifelong commitment that includes it, without experiencing it first. I think people benefit from an understanding of their own relationship with sex and that relationships benefit from such mutual understanding too.

    Also I think LDS young people do rush into marriage with the motivation to be able to engage in activities the law of chastity prohibits outside marriage. I think they even do this on an unconscious level because that biological drive can be so strong. 

    Taking the edge off of the initial overall mystery, and developing wisdom about such experiences, can help people make better decisions about their long term commitments.

    Promiscuity isn't the only alternative to the LDS definition of chastity. And being sexually active before marriage can be done within the boundaries of circumspect moral choices. 

    I can and am just fine maintaining a standard of keeping certain forms of sexual expression (intercourse) off the table. There are benefits to it*...some of these can include more patience with sexual problems, less comparisons to previous partners, less sexual expectations, less baggage from previous partners to sift through, it's a little easier for them to shift gears, and it's less likely for them to over prioritize sex in marriage, etc.

    I think this is a common cultural refrain that technically would make sense, but often has a specific approach to what marriage is that isn't recognized as also having problems. Namely it's a little consumeristic. In other words: does this person meet my needs and expectations. This is particularly common for places like the US because we tend to be individualistic. And in this scenario, test driving makes sense. But it's not the only way to look at it, and I'm personally not a fan of the model of doing so.

    To be clear sex is important in marriage for sure, but honestly what makes or breaks it usually are factors that can be sussed out before marriage: communication, clear expectations, an ability to meet in the middle, basic chemistry (attracted, enjoy kissing/making out with said person, feel an urge to do more with them), flexibility v. rigidity in expectations, ability to support and manage challenges, clear sex ed and learning the basics on how to communicate around physical intimacy, knowing the partner and marrying a partner to work with, not a means to an end (means being things like babies, social expectations, money, "fixing/saving the partner," escape, etc). I can't tell if a couple will struggle just by whether or not they had sex before marriage or not. I can tell by some of these patterns whether the relationship will fall flat. 

     

    * I won't say there are no benefits or it's absolutely terrible for a relationship if the partners had pre-marital sex (or even were more "promiscuous" before meeting their marital partner). That's also not true. It's more about what role sex played in both the formation of their relationship, what they believe about sex, and their expectations around sex that decides whether it helps make or break it.

     

    With luv,

    BD

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