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Thoughts on Addressing a Struggle with, or Loss of, Faith


smac97

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4 hours ago, Kevin Christensen said:

Robert asked:

Kuhn explains that every paradigm choice involves choosing "Which problems are more significant to have solved" and "Which paradigm is better?" where how "better" is measured is not completely paradigm-dependent.  That is, there is a huge difference in criticizing someone for not being "Us", who ever "us" happens to be, and seriously asking "Why us?"

I tend to accept that when someone tells me what they find problematic or challenging or difficult or persuasive and important, they are telling me which problems are more significant to have solved.  And it is never difficult to figure out how a person is measuring "better".  Paradigm choice is always a value based decision, and never entirely rule based, because the choice of which evidence to consider and which measurements to apply always involve values.

The restoration begins with Joseph Smith's insight that "the different teachers of religion understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible."  His very post-modern insight there harks back to the Parable of the Sower, the point of which was to explain that the same seeds could produce radically different harvests all depending on soil, personal priorities and efforts (cares of the world), predation, time and careful nurture.  Of that parable, Jesus makes the important remark that "Know ye not this parable?  How then will ye know all parables?"  His parable of the Wine and the wine bottles shows that the weakness of an old container does not say the first thing about the quality of new wine.  And without an apt container, even the best wine is of no use.  It's not a bad thing to change our containers when the circumstances call for it.  We are a diverse bunch, people of various types and talents and ages and backgrounds, interests, and aptitudes, belonging to a well pleasing "true and living church", a covenant community, not a Big Book of What to Think.

Rather than theorizing that Mormons believe because we have cognitive bias, and critics have transcended such things, I accept that everyone has bias, limits, ideology and limitations.  Those who face and admit their own ideology can then be self-critical.  Those who insist that they have no ideology, but that they are rational, objective, logical, scientific, and simply follow the facts to their conclusions, are, it happens, at the mercy of their own ideological blinders.  (Alan Goff has written a dozen or so insightful essays on that theme.)  The key is to come up with a mode of self-criticism and of paradigm assessment that is not totally paradigm dependent.  And that, it turns out, involves self criticism at the start (removing beams from our own eyes first, "Then shall ye see clearly", deliberate comparison rather than dismissing anything from an out group as "not us" and therefore not worth considering, and using criteria like "puzzle definition and solution"", that is testability, accuracy of key predictions, comprehensiveness and coherence (breadth, depth, and interconnections and compatibility with other knowledge), fruitfulness (what emerges when you try it on for size that you might never have suspected from the outside), and future promise.  That is Kuhn, and Alma 32 conveys the same values and process to apply to the life choices. 

Kuhn explains that "anomaly emerges against a background of expectation."  Something I do whenever I run across something I did not expect is to consider, "What should I expect?"   The process of asking that question makes a difference.  So often, "That can't be right!" turns out to be exactly the problem.

"How come no one taught me this or that?" demonstrates at the very least, an expectation based on a sense of entitlement.  I operate not on a sense of entitlement, but the law of the harvest, "Seek and ye shall find.  Knock and it shall be opened."

"Why would God allow this or that to happen?" demonstrates at the very least, a tendency to measure God in terms of "It's not what I would have arranged if I were God," that is, demanding that God measure up to our subjective sense of rightness, rather than an honest inquiry into what his might be, and an honest up front recognition that "I am not God."  Isaiah 55 makes a powerful case that things might look very different from another perspective.

"How can I have faith in the absence of absolute certainty?" demonstrates that the asker has failed to grasp what faith is, that is, based  on certainty, but open-ended, incomplete "cause to believe" as Alma 32 puts it.

"Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him?" a deference to the opinions of who ever one's fashionable authorities happen to be is not the same thing as an actual paradigm test.  In the field in which I have worked for decades "Hierarchy is a strategy for dealing with complexity."  As in engineering, so also in society.  But I can look for myself, and it helps to "Seek out of the best books, words of wisdom," and thereby see further by standing on the shoulders of giants.

It's important to recognize how often people let their metaphors and standard examples an ideological assertions can do all the work for personal choices that broadly based evidence and experiment over time ought to do. An assertion that "Cognitive Bias" explains Mormon believers is not the same thing as comprehensive and coherent and detailed explanation of what I personally see as persuasive and convincing in the Book of Mormon and the story of its origins.   I've made an effort to keep up with serious critiques and challenges to LDS faith, from Brodie to the Tanners, to The God Makers, to Runnells, and Taves and Vogel and Metcalfe, and Riskas and others.  We clearly have processed the same seeds differently.  So who is doing it better?  How do we measure?  Does my abundant and promising harvest count when someone tells me that what I have is worth nothing?

I have faith, and my faith is continually rewarded.  Open questions remain, but that is what makes it faith.

I know people who are simply not interested in scholarly issues, some who have collapsed when looking at difficulties, some who simply turn to their own personal experiences as having more significance.  I think about John 9 and the blind man compared to those who tried to discredit the miracle by one means or another.  The blind man simply knew that now he could see.  The same seeds produce different harvests.  Soil, nurture, time, all make a difference.

Some years back on this board, I think, some one asked Dan Vogel if he was disappointed by the response to New Approaches to Book of Mormon Study.

He replied, "We had no illusions about the impact of a single book."

I chimed in. "The Book of Mormon was a single book."

Some seeds, and harvests, are clearly better than others.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

 

And this is one of the very best. Print it out and put it on your walls. Frame it and put it in the living room.

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On 12/16/2019 at 5:39 PM, Analytics said:

Perhaps. With this sophisticated audience, I'm not going to pretend to know what the actual truth claims are, much less make a statement about whether they are "true."

I think you are missing the point here. Over the last few decades cognitive psychology has done a great job of figuring out how people go about making decisions in ways that are both irrational and predictable, i.e. we have cognitive biases. If we want to get at the truth, we need to figure out how to get past our own cognitive biases and evaluate things in a way that is truly based on reason. Moosa's point is that people who are highly intelligent very frequently use their intellect not to see past their cognitive biases, but rather to rationalize them.

Applying this to Mormonism, the question is how do cognitive biases relate to deciding whether or not to believe? Does reading the Book of Mormon, praying about it with a sincere heart with faith that if you are truly sincere God will tell you it is true, regularly attending testimony meetings so that you can feel the spirit as your friends and loved ones share their testimonies, etc. a set of methods to cut through cognitive biases and make a rational evaluation of the truth, or is it a way to exploit cognitive biases in order to foster belief? When intellects say the whole test was set up so that we have to make our decision about whether nor not to believe based upon faith, is that a rational evaluation of what is going on, or an example of intellects rationalizing their dependency on cognitive biases by claiming that's how God wants us to make decisions in this case? When apologists say anything else, are they rationalizing decisions made via cognitive biases, or are they helping us cut through them and evaluate things based in a truly rational way?

I would suggest that when people come to the conclusion that revelation isn't a trustworthy way of figuring out the real truth of things, they will tend to agree very quickly that Mormonism makes the most sense when seen as yet another false religion, not that much different than all the rest.

And here you show your own cognitive bias as does Moosa. How could anyone ever differentiate between cognitive bias and alleged "truth?".

These issues are not objective science but even in cases of objective science sometimes it applies. Everything is subject to interpretation. Every text is subject to interpretation. Every experiment is subject to interpretation. It is simple naivete to believe anything else.  The entire purpose of peer review is to get the stamp of approval from the crowd, as it should be. Peers are experts in their fields. Yet of course they also differ in opinion.

"Knowledge" itself is often merely a cognitive psychological state of certainty about a stated principal.

Today's truth is tomorrow's error

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14 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

 I think you are missing the point here. Over the last few decades cognitive psychology has done a great job of figuring out how people go about making decisions in ways that are both irrational and predictable, i.e. we have cognitive biases. If we want to get at the truth, we need to figure out how to get past our own cognitive biases and evaluate things in a way that is truly based on reason. Moosa's point is that people who are highly intelligent very frequently use their intellect not to see past their cognitive biases, but rather to rationalize them.

I just wanted to come back to this and show the direct contradiction between the beginning of the paragraph in the end of the paragraph.

The first part speaks of cognitive psychology and how it shows that is impossible to get around cognitive bias.

The second part speaks of getting Beyond cognitive bias to "truth" apparently using our cognitive biases to get beyond our cognitive biases.

Best wishes on that approach.

And it probably also tacitly begs the question that reason only means positivism, which says that if something cannot be objectively proven, that it is false.

This is notion of "reason" is enlightenment thinking and it is about 300 years behind the times, also contradicting what cognitive psychology has to say about the ubiquity of cognitive bias.

A better approach would be to simply acknowledge cognitive bias as a social phenomenon and teach children from the outset that are there people have other opinions and it's okay for that to happen.

Stop worrying about one perfect worldwide opinion and just concentrate on making peace with others, and teach them to evaluate their own biases and make the best decisions that they can knowing that even if they are the "best" decision, they will still be biased AND also the best decision for that individual

We need to foster diversity of opinion.

It is not to be feared

We are here to create worlds out of matter unorganized.

 

Edited by mfbukowski
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On 12/17/2019 at 5:57 AM, Analytics said:

....................................... 

I'm responding to Smac97's misguided view that apologists have the intellectual high ground and that if somebody's spiritual journey happens to lead away from the church, it is probably because they weren't intelectual enough and didn't give the religion they had lived for their entire lives a "fair hearing" by reading enough Jeff Lindsay et.al.

Not sure that Spencer was actually saying all that.  In any case, "apologists" and polemicists don't have to have any sort of "intellectual high ground" to do their thing -- whatever that is.  The woods are dark and deep with apologists and polemicists, and no one needs to give heed to them.  Indeed, it might be a complete waste of time and energy to do so.  Unless one intends to become a well-trained professional, it might even be dangerous to go forth on the pretended "intellectual" path.  The naivete of those would-be warriors is their Achilles heel, and they don't even know it.

The anti-Mormons are waiting for them with scads of tried and true disinformation, which is delivered via the "firehose of falsehood" -- creating lies faster than they can be refuted.  If "the truth has one voice, lies are infinite."  The audience is exhausted by the increasing number of lies and by the endless possibilities which are placed before them (as false equivalencies), until they just walk away overwhelmed with toxic cynicism.  The polemic method is 

1. Be there first

2. Repeat it over and over again

3. From a "trusted" source (Balkanization of believable sources)

4. Block out all rebuttals

5. Narrow the discussion to preselected narratives or talking points

6. Use an information cocoon from which they cannot escape

The disinformation approach completely lacks sincerity or mutual respect.  It is a "war" in which the more casualties, the better.

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On 12/30/2019 at 9:24 PM, Kevin Christensen said:

Robert asked:

Kuhn explains that every paradigm choice involves choosing "Which problems are more significant to have solved" and "Which paradigm is better?" where how "better" is measured is not completely paradigm-dependent.  That is, there is a huge difference in criticizing someone for not being "Us", who ever "us" happens to be, and seriously asking "Why us?"

Human beings indeed seem to be structured to address problems in a hierarchal nature, responses ranging from involuntary reflex to premeditation and generational planning. It is a vast array of conflict resolution strategies. At the personal level, we all start out as narcissists. We generally grow out of that to varying degrees. Some grow less, and some regress. It is my understanding that narcissism results from childhood trauma and this seems to make sense: a traumatised body and mind will adopt such a long-term survival mode to survive the traumatic paradigm imprinted on them at a criticial developmental stage.

Human beings seem to do this collectively too, at a different level, where the individuals may not be narcissistic but participate in a narcissist's paradigm.  The "great leader" is often someone bold and self-absorbed (perhaps narcissistic) enough that their personal agenda aligns very effectively with popular sentiment, thus creating potential for social movements collectivized around a personality. Then that movement itself can become an identity, both that of a shared identity and individual identities.

So I think that we have all ventured forth with some degree of self-centeredness, as is the reality of being a living person. And so we employ methods to protect ourselves, some very conscious, some not conscious at all.

I'd say that--consistent with fairly universal human patterns relating to any shared identities--a person that is very dependent on the identity provided by Mormonism will essentially become a proxy for the entire system. They will see attacks on it as atacks on themselves.

On 12/30/2019 at 9:24 PM, Kevin Christensen said:

I tend to accept that when someone tells me what they find problematic or challenging or difficult or persuasive and important, they are telling me which problems are more significant to have solved.  And it is never difficult to figure out how a person is measuring "better".  Paradigm choice is always a value based decision, and never entirely rule based, because the choice of which evidence to consider and which measurements to apply always involve values.

Yes, and the adoption of a person's values are not necessarily conscious.

On 12/30/2019 at 9:24 PM, Kevin Christensen said:

The restoration begins with Joseph Smith's insight that "the different teachers of religion understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible."  His very post-modern insight there harks back to the Parable of the Sower, the point of which was to explain that the same seeds could produce radically different harvests all depending on soil, personal priorities and efforts (cares of the world), predation, time and careful nurture.  Of that parable, Jesus makes the important remark that "Know ye not this parable?  How then will ye know all parables?"  His parable of the Wine and the wine bottles shows that the weakness of an old container does not say the first thing about the quality of new wine.  And without an apt container, even the best wine is of no use.  It's not a bad thing to change our containers when the circumstances call for it.  We are a diverse bunch, people of various types and talents and ages and backgrounds, interests, and aptitudes, belonging to a well pleasing "true and living church", a covenant community, not a Big Book of What to Think.

The sower parable compares the seed and the different ground. It's interesting to think of the Bible as a seed and these teachings of "teachers of religion" as the resultant growth, and then the Restoration through Joseph Smith as the solution to this perceived problem with the Bible. Joseph Smith transforms the problem by essentially replacing the authority of the Bible with his authority seen as given him from God. Thus, applying these analogies, the Truth becomes not so much a wrestle with ideas as much as the attachment to Joseph's authority. And that pattern continues today in Mormonism, with the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as the mouthpieces for God. While there are plenty of church writings produced since the publishing of the Book of Mormon that one can study like those teachers of religion studied in Joseph's day, Mormonism is still centered at the mouths of the leaders. And thus, for better or worse, the relationship with the Word and the Individual is still very much tethered to their utterances. With Mormonism, it is no longer about what Books to read to Know What to Think, but Whose Thoughts. 

 

On 12/30/2019 at 9:24 PM, Kevin Christensen said:

Rather than theorizing that Mormons believe because we have cognitive bias, and critics have transcended such things, I accept that everyone has bias, limits, ideology and limitations.  Those who face and admit their own ideology can then be self-critical. 

Yes, and that is much healthier than trying to scaffold up an image of faultless understanding.

On 12/30/2019 at 9:24 PM, Kevin Christensen said:

 Those who insist that they have no ideology, but that they are rational, objective, logical, scientific, and simply follow the facts to their conclusions, are, it happens, at the mercy of their own ideological blinders. 

First, I would not equate having no ideology with the attempt to be "rational, objective, logical, scientific, and simply follow the facts to their conclusions." I'd say that one who follows the latter will be better off to acknowledge that they do indeed have some ideology at some level, and some system of values and beliefs. It is then a matter of identifying it in a continual process.

However, in both cases above, both types are still at the mercy of their blinders. Accepting we have them does not mean we have identified all of them.

 

On 12/30/2019 at 9:24 PM, Kevin Christensen said:

The key is to come up with a mode of self-criticism and of paradigm assessment that is not totally paradigm dependent. 

Yes, it is a critical key. I would say that there are also non-cognitive elements that play a critical role. Feeling safe, literally and intellectually, changes everything, as does feeling threatened. The ability to feel safe considering various thoughts and their associated identities can expand our ability for robust analysis, interior and exterior.

On 12/30/2019 at 9:24 PM, Kevin Christensen said:

(Alan Goff has written a dozen or so insightful essays on that theme.)  The key is to come up with a mode of self-criticism and of paradigm assessment that is not totally paradigm dependent.  And that, it turns out, involves self criticism at the start (removing beams from our own eyes first, "Then shall ye see clearly", deliberate comparison rather than dismissing anything from an out group as "not us" and therefore not worth considering, and using criteria like "puzzle definition and solution"", that is testability, accuracy of key predictions, comprehensiveness and coherence (breadth, depth, and interconnections and compatibility with other knowledge), fruitfulness (what emerges when you try it on for size that you might never have suspected from the outside), and future promise.  That is Kuhn, and Alma 32 conveys the same values and process to apply to the life choices. 

I am grateful for the elements of Mormonism, like Alma 32, which helped me develop analytical skills and the basic values that I continue to nurture today as an agnostic atheist.

On 12/30/2019 at 9:24 PM, Kevin Christensen said:

Kuhn explains that "anomaly emerges against a background of expectation."  Something I do whenever I run across something I did not expect is to consider, "What should I expect?"   The process of asking that question makes a difference.  So often, "That can't be right!" turns out to be exactly the problem.

"How come no one taught me this or that?" demonstrates at the very least, an expectation based on a sense of entitlement.  I operate not on a sense of entitlement, but the law of the harvest, "Seek and ye shall find.  Knock and it shall be opened."

"Why would God allow this or that to happen?" demonstrates at the very least, a tendency to measure God in terms of "It's not what I would have arranged if I were God," that is, demanding that God measure up to our subjective sense of rightness, rather than an honest inquiry into what his might be, and an honest up front recognition that "I am not God."  Isaiah 55 makes a powerful case that things might look very different from another perspective.

"How can I have faith in the absence of absolute certainty?" demonstrates that the asker has failed to grasp what faith is, that is, based  on certainty, but open-ended, incomplete "cause to believe" as Alma 32 puts it.

"Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him?" a deference to the opinions of who ever one's fashionable authorities happen to be is not the same thing as an actual paradigm test.  In the field in which I have worked for decades "Hierarchy is a strategy for dealing with complexity."  As in engineering, so also in society.  But I can look for myself, and it helps to "Seek out of the best books, words of wisdom," and thereby see further by standing on the shoulders of giants.

It's important to recognize how often people let their metaphors and standard examples an ideological assertions can do all the work for personal choices that broadly based evidence and experiment over time ought to do. An assertion that "Cognitive Bias" explains Mormon believers is not the same thing as comprehensive and coherent and detailed explanation of what I personally see as persuasive and convincing in the Book of Mormon and the story of its origins.   I've made an effort to keep up with serious critiques and challenges to LDS faith, from Brodie to the Tanners, to The God Makers, to Runnells, and Taves and Vogel and Metcalfe, and Riskas and others.  We clearly have processed the same seeds differently.  So who is doing it better?  How do we measure?  Does my abundant and promising harvest count when someone tells me that what I have is worth nothing?

I identified as Mormon very heavily for my entire life. I remember attending a BYU devotional given by Vaughn J. Featherstone, listening to his affectionate counsel and the very clear, precise assessment pressing on my mind that "These men are truly my friends." I believed that, although they might not know my name or have time to talk to me, that these men had my best interests at heart. I even identified more with these men than my own femaleness! It was an extremely powerful sense of belonging from which I could not think my way to the outside.

And yet I was still able to contemplate the nature of faith, the value of discovery, the need to recognise my own inability to comprehend God's thoughts. I was able to be analytical as much as my core identity allowed it.

On 12/30/2019 at 9:24 PM, Kevin Christensen said:

I chimed in. "The Book of Mormon was a single book."

Some seeds, and harvests, are clearly better than others.

Indeed. I'd say that the Mormon experience of being very ideological but also very analytical has been fruitful for me.

At the very least, I intend to continue to grow a harvest from the experiences of my life, while also "standing on the shoulders of giants," but perhaps now with a more expanded array of giants. But I use the term "giants," loosely, not so much as single minds who amassed and distributed insight about the meaning of swaths of human thought and experience, but the "giants" are rather the ideas themselves, and the processes that human beings have, by fortune and by nature, come to use and reuse over time, on different soils and under different skies. 

 

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On 12/17/2019 at 12:26 PM, smac97 said:

Given that Givens is perhaps the world's leading expert on what he believes, and given how massively incorrect you were in reaching a purportedly "inescapabl{e}" conclusion derived from applying "patience and intellect to read what he is actually saying," I think you'll understand which of the two sources I will find more persuasive.  

Hi: I really like this statement. Good job! I often have my LDS friends inform me what Evangelicals believe. A few maybe . . . some perhaps. . . but me, nope and I am an Evangelical! Now you have helped me to realize and perhaps in the future verbalize that I am the world's leading expert on what I believe! Thanks my friend!

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On 12/17/2019 at 9:06 PM, Robert F. Smith said:

Apologetics is taught as a major subject in Protestant seminaries and large tomes are written about it.  Evangelicals would no doubt agree with you that they have seen much good come from efforts to defend their version of Christianity -- a "ready defense."  The problem is that a lot of left-leaning-Protestants and anti-Mormons find it built on sophistry, rather than on scholarship.  Rather than take it seriously, they tend to chuck the whole thing as an annoying and endless back-and-forth tennis game or Bible bash.

How do you explain defenders of the faith, like Brent Metcalfe and Consiglieri (you know of many others), who have become anti-Mormon?  Apologetics and polemics are really mirror images of one another.  Many apologists learn just enough to be dangerous, to themselves and to others.

I have studied apologetics in both seminary and graduate school. I have found it a rather excellent way for me to be ever surer that everything I believe is correct. I have spent the last forty years trying to unlearn that! My experience with apologetics has been confronted by works like "The Sin of Certainty" by Peter Enns and by simple yet very profound statements like that of Nobel Laureate Neils Bohr, "The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. The opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth." I say Amen to that!

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5 hours ago, Navidad said:

I have studied apologetics in both seminary and graduate school. I have found it a rather excellent way for me to be ever surer that everything I believe is correct. I have spent the last forty years trying to unlearn that! My experience with apologetics has been confronted by works like "The Sin of Certainty" by Peter Enns and by simple yet very profound statements like that of Nobel Laureate Neils Bohr, "The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. The opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth." I say Amen to that!

Do you consider Pete Enns an apostate from evangelical Christianity?  As to Bohr, he and Einstein used to go round and round.

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45 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Do you consider Pete Enns an apostate from evangelical Christianity?  As to Bohr, he and Einstein used to go round and round.

Robert - I am so impressed to find a Mormon scholar who knows both Enns and Bohr! You have made my day! First, no I do not consider Enns an apostate. He comes from strong Anabaptist roots which teaches us to question and challenge. He got caught in an uproar at Westminster Theological Seminary. He wrote a book on Old Testament hermeneutics that upset some of the Presbyterian Calvinist hierarchy. The faculty of the seminary reviewed his writings and cleared him of apostasy. The board of trustees (the politicians) went against the faculty recommendation and censored him. I don't remember if they recommended his dismissal or not. Anyway he left Westminster and has ended up at Eastern Baptist College as a professor. I attended Eastern Baptist Seminary so I am partial to his new home. I greatly admire his writings and consider him an outstanding rather progressive Evangelical. There is nothing in his writings that cause me to come to any other conclusion. 

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One thing which I think does not get enough attention is the dynamic at play, when individuals express criticism based on their own experience and understanding of the church. Faithful members will all-too-often do what members of any group often do, which is to consider those criticisms as personal attacks. They will then treat it as such, instead of realising that those individuals are dealing with an enormously powerful organisation that has untold influence over that individual's life which no one person can control. 

When I insisted on attending a meeting between the stake presidency and my husband, I was predictably rebuffed with the statement, "That's not how the church works."  Policy took precedence over sense. Many dissenters have experienced this ugly systemic side and can see patterns that are harmful. 

I would like to see more attitudes of "how can the church be better" and, not just for the believers, but for everyone who has to interact with it, directly or indirectly. 

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35 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

When I insisted on attending a meeting between the stake presidency and my husband, I was predictably rebuffed with the statement, "That's not how the church works." 

Was that your husband or the SP saying it?  

It might have been a polite way of saying they wanted to discuss something confidential.  I don’t have the right to insist on attending a meeting between my husband and his doctor either.  There is often a sensible reason behind policy. 

Edited by Calm
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5 minutes ago, Calm said:

Was that your husband or the SP saying it?  

It might have been a polite way of saying they wanted to discuss something confidential.  I don’t have the right to insist on attending a meeting between my husband and his doctor either.  There is often a sensible reason behind policy. 

It was the Stake President, and no, it was not about something confidential. It was in fact about something in which I was just as involved (tenant-landlord dispute between ward members) but I was excluded as a non-priesthood-holding woman.

I'm sure some may think it is appropriate to treat women differently in the church, that it might even be merciful to make priesthood-holding men more accountable, but it can have unforeseen impact. 

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17 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

It was the Stake President, and no, it was not about something confidential. It was in fact about something in which I was just as involved (tenant-landlord dispute between ward members) but I was excluded as a non-priesthood-holding woman.

I'm sure some may think it is appropriate to treat women differently in the church, that it might even be merciful to make priesthood-holding men more accountable, but it can have unforeseen impact. 

Did they say you can’t attend because you are a woman, or because you don’t hold the priesthood?  Are you certain there were not other reasons?  

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2 minutes ago, pogi said:

Did they say you can’t attend because you are a woman, or because you don’t hold the priesthood?  Are you certain there were not other reasons?  

Policy was cited. Women are dealt with at the bishopric level, not stake level. 

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10 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

Policy was cited. Women are dealt with at the bishopric level, not stake level. 

Do you have a reference for such a policy?

Are you suggesting that women cannot meet with stake leadership?

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10 minutes ago, pogi said:

Do you have a reference for such a policy?

Are you suggesting that women cannot meet with stake leadership?

I suspect she's speaking of disciplincary councils.  In terms of jurisdiction, "women are dealt with at the bishopric level."

Of course, men are also often "dealt with at the bishopric level."  As I understand it, the stake has jurisdiction over Elders because Elders Quorums are technically organized at the stake, rather than the ward, level.  But the vast majority of discipline is handled informally by the bishop.  Disciplinary councils are fairly rare (as compared to instances of informal discipline).

I'm not sure how this amounts to unfair treatment of women.  Having participated in many such councils, at both the ward and stake levels, I think most people would much rather have a disciplinary council in front of 4 people whom they likely know (the bishopric and the executive secretary) rather than a council in front of 16 or so people whom they likely don't know as well (stake presidency, the high council (which must include 12 high priests, so if a member of the high council is unavailable for the council, some other high priest in the stake is summoned to fill the spot), and the executive secretary).

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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21 minutes ago, pogi said:

Do you have a reference for such a policy?

Are you suggesting that women cannot meet with stake leadership?

I'm speaking of disciplinary councils. And since our bishop did not consider it a worthiness issue, no one asked me to come in like they asked my husband.

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17 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I suspect she's speaking of disciplincary councils.  In terms of jurisdiction, "women are dealt with at the bishopric level."

Of course, men are also often "dealt with at the bishopric level."  As I understand it, the stake has jurisdiction over Elders because Elders Quorums are technically organized at the stake, rather than the ward, level.  But the vast majority of discipline is handled informally by the bishop.  Disciplinary councils are fairly rare (as compared to instances of informal discipline).

I'm not sure how this amounts to unfair treatment of women.  Having participated in many such councils, at both the ward and stake levels, I think most people would much rather have a disciplinary council in front of 4 people whom they likely know (the bishopric and the executive secretary) rather than a council in front of 16 or so people whom they likely don't know as well (stake presidency, the high council (which must include 12 high priests, so if a member of the high council is unavailable for the council, some other high priest in the stake is summoned to fill the spot), and the executive secretary).

Thanks,

-Smac

That may be the case with disciplinary councils, but she didn't make it sound like a disciplinary council though.  She said it was nothing "confidential" (a disciplinary council would be), but was about a tenant-landlord dispute between ward members.  That seems weird to handle something like that at the stake level though - even weirder to suggest that a woman couldn't be involved because she doesn't hold the priesthood.  I suspect she is misunderstanding something, or not giving complete information here. 

Edited by pogi
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4 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

I'm speaking of disciplinary councils. And since our bishop did not consider it a worthiness issue, no one asked me to come in like they asked my husband.

I am confused.  How is settling a tenant-landlord dispute the same as a disciplinary council?  How is a disciplinary council not confidential?

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1 minute ago, pogi said:

That may be the case with disciplinary councils, but she didn't make it sound like a disciplinary council though.  She said it was nothing "confidential" (a disciplinary council would be), but was about a tenant-landlord dispute between ward members.  That seems weird to handle something like that at the stake level though - even weirder to suggest that a woman couldn't be involved because she doesn't hold the priesthood.  I suspect she is misunderstanding something, or not giving complete information here. 

Or maybe the system is just not perfect. It's not always a member's fault and it's not always a member misunderstanding something.

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6 minutes ago, pogi said:

That may be the case with disciplinary councils, but she didn't make it sound like a disciplinary council though.  She said it was nothing "confidential" (a disciplinary council would be), but was about a tenant-landlord dispute between ward members. 

Given her post a few minutes ago, it looks like I was right.

6 minutes ago, pogi said:

That seems weird to handle something like that at the stake level though - even weirder to suggest that a woman couldn't be involved because she doesn't hold the priesthood. 

Yep.  Weird.  

6 minutes ago, pogi said:

I suspect she is misunderstanding something, or not giving complete information here. 

Let's see what she says.

Thanks,

-Smac

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8 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

I'm speaking of disciplinary councils. And since our bishop did not consider it a worthiness issue, no one asked me to come in like they asked my husband.

Your stake president wanted to meet with your husband about a "tenant-landlord dispute between ward members," but excluded you by citing a "policy" pertaining to disciplinary councils?

Color me confused.

-Smac

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4 minutes ago, pogi said:

I am confused.  How is settling a tenant-landlord dispute the same as a disciplinary council?  How is a disciplinary council not confidential?

Good questions. Why did the church get involved in our civil case? Why did they ask us to drop the case in order to have our temple recommends? Why did they make a civil dispute about temple worthiness?

I think I know much of the answer here, and I have a lot of compassion for the stake president and bishop in this case. But, the stake president's actions still hurt me.

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16 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

Or maybe the system is just not perfect. It's not always a member's fault and it's not always a member misunderstanding something.

I honestly don't know what you are talking about.  Can you clarify by answering my last question?  And, what do you mean "it is not always a member's fault...?"  It goes without saying that the system is not perfect though. 

Was it a tenant-landlord dispute, or a confidential disciplinary council?  If merely it was merely a dispute being settled between ward members, why was it handled at the stake level and framed as disciplinary council? 

Edit to add: it looks like you just answered my last question.   So it wasn't a dispute being settled/mediated by the stake leadership, it was a disciplinary council as the result of a dispute.  That makes more sense as to why you weren't allowed to attend. 

Edited by pogi
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11 minutes ago, pogi said:

That may be the case with disciplinary councils, but she didn't make it sound like a disciplinary council though.  She said it was nothing "confidential" (a disciplinary council would be), but was about a tenant-landlord dispute between ward members.  That seems weird to handle something like that at the stake level though - even weirder to suggest that a woman couldn't be involved because she doesn't hold the priesthood.  I suspect she is misunderstanding something, or not giving complete information here. 

I could see a stake president hoping to address a dispute between ward members.  The bishop could usually handle such an informal dispute, but a SP may get involved if, for example, one of the parties does not want to meet with the bishop.

That said, it would be a pretty odd for either the SP or the bishop to try to resolve a legal dispute, such as "a tenant-landlord dispute between ward members."  I would think that local leaders wouldn't want to either take sides in such a dispute, or involve the Church in a dispute better left to the legal system.

I don't see any reason a stake president would, in such circumstances, invoke a policy pertaining to disciplinary councils to exclude Meadowchik.  That just does not make sense at all.  And it's not a "because women don't hold the priesthood" thing, either.  There is no such policy in the Church.

-Smac

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