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truth a la carte

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About truth a la carte

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  1. Our family’s biggest problems with Sunday meetings were when I was in the RS presidency or president, and/or when my husband was in the EQ presidency – though we also had a fair amount of meetings when my husband was scoutmaster and in the YMs presidency. (And no, our ward is not as small as it would seem, with those callings happening concurrently. We're just really short on people who can hold leadership callings. Perhaps because we have several family history consultants who are expected to work many hours a week in our stake's family history center, several other stake callings that pull people from our ward, six seminary teachers and assistants that are called from our ward, and a lot of families that are working tons of jobs for very little money and don't have the time required for church leadership callings). When I was the RS president, I was at the church for eight hours straight at least. Ward council, church, meetings with recent move-ins after church, meetings with new converts after church, meetings with struggling folks after church, meetings with our presidency after church every two weeks or so, meetings with the activities folks about once a month. When my husband was EQ president it was the same. And then of course we also had additional meetings the stake/region wanted us to attend. The “motivational” meetings were the most galling, I admit – when we were asked to attend a meeting for something we already knew the details for (for example, self-reliance or missionary work or temple work) but a meeting was scheduled because the people called to oversee the programs wanted the wards to do more than they were doing. Now things have settled a bit, and we’re just doing youth presidency meetings once a month before or after church for each of the kids (of course on different Sundays), attending baptisms for eight-year-olds, attending baptisms for new converts, attending the devotionals for youth, attending the devotionals for adults, attending the regional firesides, etc. I felt that way, even before all these changes. I agree that it is worse for the folks in those roles now.
  2. A few more: Define the role of women in the church. What are women here for? How do we help build the kingdom (and please don’t say that our job is to be mothers, since men are often fathers and they also have a role in building the kingdom). As an aside, I actually don’t think our role is to serve in priesthood roles (perhaps that is because I don’t want that though); however, I have suspicions that we should be doing something in addition to being mothers and supporting the priesthood. My thought is that we should probably be leading the charity efforts of the church. Women’s eternal progression. It would be helpful to acknowledge that men have a (somewhat) decent idea of what their eternal progression may look like for them, and that they find that knowledge rather important and comforting (e.g., men have physical bodies that are similar to the exalted body of Heavenly Father; men have the priesthood which is the power that is used by Heavenly Father and is the power by which the universe runs; men are sealed to the women of their choice for time and eternity). Alternatively, women don’t have as decent an idea of what our eternal progression looks like, and that is rather discomfiting (e.g., we probably have a mother in heaven because that is logical; we can have access to the priesthood because we can be sealed to a man but that knowledge gives us no idea about the role of women in the afterlife; polygamy in the afterlife via earthly sealings is a problematic idea for most women). Also, if you can bring yourself to do it: Women everywhere would thank you for bringing up the observation that women’s underwear has undergone some incredible improvements since the garment was first designed (bras were patented in the United States in 1914, and the cotton undies style that women wear now weren’t the norm until 1980). These improvements in underwear address the needs of women’s bodies (e.g., extreme size differences in various parts of the body due to pregnancy, extreme shape variations between women, functionality needs for activities like breastfeeding, functionality needs during menstruation). While women’s underwear has seen tremendous improvements in functionality over the years, women’s garments have actually become anti-functional for women by staying fairly similar in cut and design, a design that now works against the needs of the underwear we use to address the needs of our bodies. (A quick note: After years of fighting daily with my garments, I bought underwear for my suddenly-tall son last year and was STUNNED to see how closely mens’ garments mimic mens’ underwear in both form and function. Every day since, my garments have testified to me that the church hasn’t taken the time necessary to ensure that women experience the same level of comfort as men. That knowledge is less than awesome.)
  3. What is doctrine? I feel it would be helpful to have a canonized list of some sort, rather than saying that doctrine is what most current General Authorities agree on at that moment. For example, perhaps “doctrine” is fairly limited and includes only revealed truths that can be traced to specific experiences (e.g., the First Vision) or revelatory commandments from God (e.g., the Doctrine & Covenants). Alternatively, perhaps doctrine includes those things that the GA’s vote on unanimously and feel good about (e.g., the Proclamation on the Family). I really like the article by Elder Bednar (“Act in Doctrine”) that Smac shares on this board about the differences between doctrine-principles-applications. But this framework works best if the jumping-off point (doctrine) is agreed upon / well defined. Provide a better separation between a) revealed behavior requirements that require obedience and b) good, old fashioned “wisdom.” In addition, statements about behavior that is “discouraged” or “not normally encouraged” should probably be removed from the handbook on church policy – that guidance doesn’t need to be lost, but it should not be suggested that obedience is usually required. Time for church members. We have far too many meetings and church responsibilities. Let’s stop using church members’ entire Sundays for sedentary meetings and our Saturdays for a million other church responsibilities that are active. Far too many Saturdays are required (often three Saturdays per month, in our area). Far too many evening devotionals should instead be used as actual church (perhaps a special ward/stake/regional conference, or to be viewed during the second hour). Far too many meetings are scheduled when visiting authorities come by, which then requires everyone to stop what they had planned to do that day and drive to attend. Please, please, please give us a break. The church has begun to “simplify” (hooray!) but there is SO MUCH more to be done. And a few additional notes: · Stop making it seem like eternal life is earned by checking the right boxes (e.g., the new YW theme where girls “qualify”). · Issue corrections for past positions that were incorrect (and even, perhaps, for guidance that turned out to be less important than initially presumed). · As mentioned earlier by another poster: service missions – even for healthy young men. · Also mentioned earlier: transparency in church finances. · Also mentioned earlier: spend a good portion of tithing monies on charity. · Define tithing (net? gross? perhaps something else entirely – for example, does the Community of Christ give guidance to their members that “increase” is what is left, after basic living expenses are taken out?)
  4. This happened ten years ago, during our ward’s Evening of Excellence (the closest equivalent on the boys’ side would be Court of Honor, I think?). All the young women were in attendance with their parents. Displayed around the room were pictures of their personal accomplishments as well as hand-made items and other artwork. During the event, girls who had reached goals during the year were given awards and ribbons. The evening was beautiful. The final speaker was the stake Young Women’s president. This is what she had to say at the event (paraphrased): “The stake president has asked me to attend each of the wards’ Evenings of Excellence and tell all the girls and their parents that girls need to stop wearing immodest swimsuits and bikinis to the stake pool parties. It is causing the boys to have bad thoughts. Girls, you need to cover up with a t-shirt.” I think this one experience highlights many of the issues for girls. First, all of the girls’ accomplishments were not just minimized but completely ignored. Second, their bodies were the only thing discussed by this authority figure (and the stake president, apparently). Third, their bodies were vilified. Fourth, their guilt was pronounced. I would also add that the whole speech seemed to imply that the girls' primary area of influence was not their personal growth and accomplishments, but the way they looked. And, let’s be clear, the way they looked had been assessed by everyone from boys to the stake president and the auxiliary heads, and was pronounced to be bad. It is VERY important that we consider the effects these discussions can have on girls, and not just the effect that girls' clothing may have on boys..
  5. Good catch, I'm typing too fast. What Oaks did say: "All can choose obedience to seek His highest blessings, or make choices that lead to one of the less glorious kingdoms." Again, this is not difficult for those of us who are a little older. We're used to nuance.
  6. I agree with Rockpond. Every child is different, and parents know what is best for their kids (as the church has repeatedly pointed out). I would have been very upset with Oaks’ talk if it had occurred a few years ago when my kids were a bit younger. Among our friends and neighbors are two men who are legally married to each other and who are raising children. It would have been inappropriate for my kids, at 8 or 9 years old, to hear a prophet, seer, and revelator say that our friends were unworthy…... though they should be loved anyway…... This was not a message for kids. My kids ALREADY love our friends. Oaks' message was far more applicable to adults (who are often quite ugly to people they judge as sinners). Furthermore, the message of “love-the-sinners-but-know-they-are-unworthy” is very easily reduced in a child’s mind to “the-sinners-are-unworthy.” Entirely inappropriate for young kids. There is absolutely no way I would have wanted President Oaks giving this talk to my children when they were a few years younger than they are now.
  7. We tried Sunday clothes once. We've worn comfortable weekend clothing ever since.
  8. We had an experience that was quite surprising at the time, though we laugh about it now. First, some background: the chapel of the DC Temple is not on the same floor as the ordinance rooms, so the chapel is always empty and crowds can form around the ordinance rooms. One Saturday my husband and I arrived at the temple at 10am. Bad idea (we were young and inexperienced). Conversations were very loud and distracting (e.g., conversations about the worst professor at BYU, the latest football game, I forget what else). We still had at least 45 minutes to wait but had come with a purpose and were getting bogged down by the situation, so my husband went down to the chapel and brought back a Book of Mormon for us to read. Within thirty seconds an ordinance worker came over to berate us saying, "Book of Mormons do NOT belong on this floor of the temple!" She was quite loud, though of course she had to be with all the noise. We were horrified. We were told to remove the Book of Mormon immediately and bring it down to its rightful place in the chapel. We tried reasoning with her (reverently, of course) for a moment, saying that we of course intended to replace the book in the chapel before our session, but it was a lost cause. My husband dutifully brought the book back down to the chapel and then came up to wait for our session. I hate to say that we had completely lost the spirit at that point. We have gone on weekdays ever since. Incidentally, quite a few Bibles and Books of Mormon now "belong" in that section of the temple (or used to, before the renovations began). They arrived about a month after our experience. Someone must have seen what happened and made a comment.
  9. I responded as three wards, but we also have a foreign language branch in our building as well. The branch meets separately for Sacrament Meeting but joins one of the other wards for activities.
  10. covered in ants (trying again 🙂)
  11. You are all much better than I am about cleaning the church building! I must admit to being irritated EVERY SINGLE TIME our family has been tasked with the duty these last eight years. Of course I do a good job of rationalizing my response because during that time I’ve had a constant string of church callings that required 10-25 hours per week and my husband’s callings were similar. (We both work and have young children as well, so cleaning the building was never a welcome addition.) Your thoughts have been helpful in putting things in perspective. I’ll try to keep them in mind the next time our family is scheduled.
  12. Thought I'd pop in quickly to say that I have appreciated your comments and agree. You are definitely not alone in this. My conclusions came more slowly than yours did, but the outcome was the same. And yes, I am also a regularly-attending, tithe-paying member who holds tons of callings and devotes a lot of time to the faith. This issue is concerning to many people, not just those who were already distancing themselves from the church.
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