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the mormon church and social psychology


nickleus

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here are some interesting videos i have found on social psychology. these were real eye-openers for me... (NONE of these videos are about the church or even reference the church, they are about social psychology only)

stanley milgram obedience to authority experiment:

solomon asch conformity experiment:

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=wGfJUi90Pxc

discovering psychology (one of the segments is the stanford prison experiment), by philip zimbardo (youll like that guy)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzs70FowrTY

i thought it was especially interesting, the part from the stanford prison experiment about "put on a uniform and act the part" : sunday dress, missionary uniforms, temple clothes/garments, etc...

why most evil comes from hierarchy, by philip zimbardo:

and anything else by philip zimbardo is good. heres a cool 6 part series by him called like the lucifer effect:

let me know if any of these links dont work. it would be interesting to get active members' feedback after watching some of these to see if you recognize elements mentioned here in the way the lds church does things.

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here are some interesting videos i have found on social psychology. these were real eye-openers for me... (NONE of these videos are about the church or even reference the church, they are about social psychology only)

stanley milgram obedience to authority experiment:

solomon asch conformity experiment:

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=wGfJUi90Pxc

discovering psychology (one of the segments is the stanford prison experiment), by philip zimbardo (youll like that guy):

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=53Xi36I0ps8

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=0Tk95M-6pGQ

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=JQmVYLx0XUA

i thought it was especially interesting, the part from the stanford prison experiment about "put on a uniform and act the part" : sunday dress, missionary uniforms, temple clothes/garments, etc...

why most evil comes from hierarchy, by philip zimbardo:

and anything else by philip zimbardo is good. heres a cool 6 part series by him called like the lucifer effect:

let me know if any of these links dont work. it would be interesting to get active members' feedback after watching some of these to see if you recognize elements mentioned here in the way the lds church does things.

Maybe you could start by telling us which of these videos you find related to the LDS Church.

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Maybe you could start by telling us which of these videos you find related to the LDS Church.

all of them are relevant:

"obedience to authority"

"conformity"

"i thought it was especially interesting, the part from the stanford prison experiment about "put on a uniform and act the part" : sunday dress, missionary uniforms, temple clothes/garments, etc..."

"why most evil comes from hierarchy" (potential dangers of hierarchy)

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all of them are relevant:

"obedience to authority"

"conformity"

"i thought it was especially interesting, the part from the stanford prison experiment about "put on a uniform and act the part" : sunday dress, missionary uniforms, temple clothes/garments, etc..."

"why most evil comes from hierarchy" (potential dangers of hierarchy)

Well I asked this because I am familiar with all these experiments, and in my experience LDS members don't typically descend into horrific behaviours like torture just because their leaders wear a suit and tell them to "keep going". In fact, I doubt whether Church contexts are in any way comparable to these experiments, at least Milgram's and Zimbardo's. For example, Zimbardo's prison experiments apply to a particular context that is completely foreign to that of LDS units.

Asch's experiments are just about our tendency to agree with the largest group. It doesn't apply very well to Church meetings though, because in the experiment the participants are all strangers to each other, which accentuates the desire to conform with the majority. Groupthink is probably a better description of poor decision-making in Church meetings.

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Well I asked this because I am familiar with all these experiments, and in my experience LDS members don't typically descend into horrific behaviours like torture just because their leaders wear a suit and tell them to "keep going". In fact, I doubt whether Church contexts are in any way comparable to these experiments, at least Milgram's and Zimbardo's. For example, Zimbardo's prison experiments apply to a particular context that is completely foreign to that of LDS units.

Asch's experiments are just about our tendency to agree with the largest group. It doesn't apply very well to Church meetings though, because in the experiment the participants are all strangers to each other, which accentuates the desire to conform with the majority. Groupthink is probably a better description of poor decision-making in Church meetings.

you cant think of any horrific behaviors by church members due to a hierarchical system and pressure to conform (be obedient), etc? =)

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nice choice of words =)

Consider the size of today's LDS membership and the variety of cultures under which LDS hierarchy operates, the absence of "horrific behaviours" committed by members out of conformity is rather more striking than the isolated incidents that occurred in early history, don't you think?

Otherwise you might have to rephrase your OP and make it clear that you are only interested in how these experiments relate to early Church history.

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Consider the size of today's LDS membership and the variety of cultures under which LDS hierarchy operates, the absence of "horrific behaviours" committed by members out of conformity is rather more striking than the isolated incidents that occurred in early history, don't you think?

Otherwise you might have to rephrase your OP and make it clear that you are only interested in how these experiments relate to early Church history.

the goal of the experiments was not to show that people would be killed or tortured, it was to show how hierarchical systems can use uniforms (dress, clothes, grooming), transfer of responsibility and the exploitation of human psychology to induce conformity and control people. it's up to the ones in control as to how far they want to take it.

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the goal of the experiments was not to show that people would be killed or tortured, it was to show how hierarchical systems can use uniforms (dress, clothes, grooming), transfer of responsibility and the exploitation of human psychology to induce conformity and control people. it's up to the ones in control as to how far they want to take it.

Can you be a bit less obtuse? Are you arguing that LDS leaders are exploiting human psychology to induce conformity and control people? How far do you think they want to take it? What are they trying to do by exploiting humans that way? Speak your mind, please!

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Can you be a bit less obtuse? Are you arguing that LDS leaders are exploiting human psychology to induce conformity and control people? How far do you think they want to take it? What are they trying to do by exploiting humans that way? Speak your mind, please!

yes, if only one could speak his mind on this board without having his account being suspended =)

> How far do you think they want to take it?

what does one of the temple covenants require members to promise ("...even their own (insert plural noun here)...if necessary...")?

> What are they trying to do by exploiting humans that way?

is that a rhetorical question?

does the church have programs to try and keep members "faithful to the church"?

does the church have a program to recruit new members?

does the church want to expand its influence and increase its membership statistics?

has the church recently tried to influence political affairs?

does the corporation of the church own businesses to generate profit?

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I loved Social Psychology in University! Let us not forget that Milgram was trying to figure out why it was that the Nazi's could do all these horrific things and to train people in such a short time (IIRC) and what he found was that the Nazi's weren't any different then anyone else anywhere else. As interesting as these things are I don't know if I see any connections to our Church

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all of them are relevant:

"obedience to authority"

"conformity"

"i thought it was especially interesting, the part from the stanford prison experiment about "put on a uniform and act the part" : sunday dress, missionary uniforms, temple clothes/garments, etc..."

"why most evil comes from hierarchy" (potential dangers of hierarchy)

Nicky, I feel for you

You must be scrambling hard to undermine your faith if these videos are your evidence.

Obedience to authority can be bad but is often quite good. If you think about it, you will see it depends on the authority

- obeying parents is usually a good thing, except where the parents are abusive (statistically rare)

- obeying civil authorities is usually a good thing, except where cops and officials are corrupt (rare in North America)

- obeying Church authorities is a good thing when they are guided by God's commandments. Abusive Priests, Ministers and Bishops are statistically rare.

In essence, group dynamics can be both good and bad. Please articulate how they are so destructive in the LDS church.

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I'm willing to bet that the extent of your studies in social psychology are these videos and maybe Wikipedia. Therefore, I don't think you are in any position to start making claims about psychological exploitation in the Church, especially since all you've done is given examples that are true of pretty much any organization in one way or another.

My education is in organizational behavior. I think the problem is not so much the hierarchy, but the attitude and understanding toward hierarchy by both those at the top and those at the so-called bottom (which would be me, given the fact that I don't have a calling at all). The larger and more global an organization becomes, the more tightened the structure must become. For example, things like really basic (and boring) lesson manuals are the natural outcome of global expanse. Simplifying lessons to the foundational basics is a way of making sure everyone is on the same page. The Church has specific doctrines and beliefs that it expects its members to share, just like any organization. Conformity? Yes, to a degree. One joins the Church because one wants to conform to its doctrines and teachings.

However (here is the glorious thing), members are expected to use the Spirit when teaching the lessons and fine-tune it to their audience. I call this the Preach My Gospel approach. That is actually quite a lot of autonomy when you think about it.

One should review Elder Oak's "Two Lines of Communication" before one does a piss-poor job of psychoanalysis.

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yes, if only one could speak his mind on this board without having his account being suspended =)

Haa, so that's why you're asking people to speak their minds on your behalf, well played :P

what does one of the temple covenants require members to promise ("...even their own (insert plural noun here)...if necessary...")?

Again, would you care to share modern-day examples of this being a problem for members of the Church? Any LDS martyr-terrorist blown up recently?

> What are they trying to do by exploiting humans that way?

is that a rhetorical question?

does the church have programs to try and keep members "faithful to the church"?

does the church have a program to recruit new members?

does the church want to expand its influence and increase its membership statistics?

Oooh, naughty, naughty! Any true Church surely wouldn't try to do any of these things!!

has the church recently tried to influence political affairs?

does the corporation of the church own businesses to generate profit?

Right, now we're getting somewhere. Your beef is with the Church trying to get rich and fat. Now please point your finger at the people you are accusing of enriching themselves off the donations of exploited, controlled members, victims of social psychology? Let's see some evidence, instead of not-so-subtle accusations.

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Your beef is with the Church trying to get rich and fat. Now please point your finger at the people you are accusing of enriching themselves off the donations of exploited, controlled members, victims of social psychology? Let's see some evidence, instead of not-so-subtle accusations.

You mean, as in:

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Again, would you care to share modern-day examples of this being a problem for members of the Church? Any LDS martyr-terrorist blown up recently?

i guess you don't find it frightening that the church has the *potential* to ask members to give up their lives for the building up of its organization? (please dont ban me, there's no other way of saying it! =) whether leaders decide to act on this or not, it is frightening and you even concede that they have in the past. does the fact that a long time has gone between the last time make the potential/oath/organization any less scary?

whether or not people are getting fat or rich off of the control doesnt change the fact that the church manipulates members using guilt, dress codes and obedience to hierarchy. as a member you subject yourselves to these men's whims and let them dictate to you how you may dress, how to use your free time, how to use your money, etc... have you seen the nice office buildings they get to work in? do the general authorities clean the COB like they ask the members to clean the churches, for free? someone here will probably answer "they have more important things to do", to which i reply "and you dont?" are the general authorities better than you? =)

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i guess you don't find it frightening that the church has the *potential* to ask members to give up their lives for the building up of its organization? (please dont ban me, there's no other way of saying it! =) whether leaders decide to act on this or not, it is frightening and you even concede that they have in the past. does the fact that a long time has gone between the last time make the potential/oath/organization any less scary?

whether or not people are getting fat or rich off of the control doesnt change the fact that the church manipulates members using guilt, dress codes and obedience to hierarchy. as a member you subject yourselves to these men's whims and let them dictate to you how you may dress, how to use your free time, how to use your money, etc... have you seen the nice office buildings they get to work in? do the general authorities clean the COB like they ask the members to clean the churches, for free? someone here will probably answer "they have more important things to do", to which i reply "and you dont?" are the general authorities better than you? =)

Elder Robert K. Dellenbach, after being given emeritus status, cleaned the conference centre as part of his High Priest group activity!

http://www.byui.edu/Presentations/Transcripts/Devotionals/2009_01_20_Dellenbach.htm

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When I was a little girl, my mom had us wear matching dresses to church that she made one day. I had the instant urge to commit mass murder. Thank you for teaching me why, nickleus.

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i guess you don't find it frightening that the church has the *potential* to ask members to give up their lives for the building up of its organization?

No more frightening than dying for your family, friends, country, liberties, or principles.

whether leaders decide to act on this or not, it is frightening and you even concede that they have in the past.

When the Church was a political community as well?

does the fact that a long time has gone between the last time make the potential/oath/organization any less scary?

I guess I just don't find it that scary, especially given the ancient covenantal roots of such language and symbolism.

the church manipulates members using guilt, dress codes and obedience to hierarchy

1. How does "the Church" in the abstract manipulate anyone? Who is manipulating?

2. Guilt: This assumes that those teaching that certain things are wrong don't really think they are wrong and are only doing it to manipulate. I highly doubt GAs preach against pornography just to manipulate people into feeling guilty.

3. Dress codes: Wear your Sunday Best. The horror.

4. Obedience to hierarchy: I already addressed this.

as a member you subject yourselves to these men's whims

Or prophetic counsel and revelations.

and let them dictate to you how you may dress, how to use your free time, how to use your money, etc.

Dress: I guess I just don't have a problem with modesty. I don't mind GAs telling my future daughters not to dress like sluts.

Free time: Whaaa?

Money: 10% of it perhaps. But I like having a Church that is self-sustained.

have you seen the nice office buildings they get to work in?

I've seen the nice church building and temple I meet in.

do the general authorities clean the COB like they ask the members to clean the churches, for free?

I have no idea. But having an interest in economics, I think it is quite efficient. I don't mind doing it a couple times out of the year.

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i guess you don't find it frightening that the church has the *potential* to ask members to give up their lives for the building up of its organization? (please dont ban me, there's no other way of saying it! =) whether leaders decide to act on this or not, it is frightening and you even concede that they have in the past. does the fact that a long time has gone between the last time make the potential/oath/organization any less scary?

whether or not people are getting fat or rich off of the control doesnt change the fact that the church manipulates members using guilt, dress codes and obedience to hierarchy. as a member you subject yourselves to these men's whims and let them dictate to you how you may dress, how to use your free time, how to use your money, etc... have you seen the nice office buildings they get to work in? do the general authorities clean the COB like they ask the members to clean the churches, for free? someone here will probably answer "they have more important things to do", to which i reply "and you dont?" are the general authorities better than you? =)

LOL someone has a HUGE chip on his shoulder rofl.gif

As a fully active member of the Church, I am 100% free to decide how I dress, how I spend my time and my money. I donate money because I want to and because it simply makes sense, I wear decent clothes at Church out of respect for the occasion, and I use as much free time for my callings as I see fit, considering my other responsibilities as a husband, father and student (sometimes I don't spend any time at all and no one tries to make me feel guilty about it!).

Your argument is really, really weak, maybe you could find some better examples of oppression and manipulation, or just let go and enjoy the flowers!

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Other examples of uniforms:

Choirs (we know the evils that choirs do)

Schools (obviously of the devil)

Sports teams *gasp!*

Maintenance workers (especially evil - sometimes the belts don't quite work)

Dancers (every time I see a group of little girls in tutus, I feel the presence of evil)

Doctors

Nurses

Employees at Baskin Robbins

Flight attendants (it must be the uniforms that possess them to fill the cups full of ice so we get maybe one ounce of beverage)

Nickleus, I hope you're working hard to make sure all uniform wearing groups are notified of the evil influence they're under.

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Other examples of uniforms:

Choirs (we know the evils that choirs do)

Schools (obviously of the devil)

Sports teams *gasp!*

Maintenance workers (especially evil - sometimes the belts don't quite work)

Dancers (every time I see a group of little girls in tutus, I feel the presence of evil)

Doctors

Nurses

Employees at Baskin Robbins

Flight attendants (it must be the uniforms that possess them to fill the cups full of ice so we get maybe one ounce of beverage)

Nickleus, I hope you're working hard to make sure all uniform wearing groups are notified of the evil influence they're under.

To Nickleus' credit, Doctors' uniforms are used for evil purposes every day. Just last month they manipulated me into buying an outrageously expensive toothbrush!

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