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open mindedness - a vice or a virtue?


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My spouse and I were discussing this topic of open mindedness today.  He was educating me about Ford motor company who has always been a loyalty first company - and yet they hired a new leader who admitted that he drives a Lexus.  This was a new type of open minded thinking that went against the grain of the culture of Ford.  Of course, Ford is now focusing on their trucks and SUV lines, and is moving away from sedans and small vehicles.  This sort of shift required some open mindedness - let's not do it the way we always have sort of thinking that gets companies in trouble - companies like Blackberry.  And Kodak - who shelved their original idea of digital photography.  
Anyway I'm rambling - this is the beauty of holiday vacation.  My point is, do you see our LDS culture/religion as being open minded or closed minded, and is that a good or problematic place to be in your opinion?  I'm interested in this topic.  Thank you. 

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33 minutes ago, MustardSeed said:

My point is, do you see our LDS culture/religion as being open minded or closed minded, and is that a good or problematic place to be in your opinion?  I'm interested in this topic.  Thank you. 

We can be open minded to different points of view and attempting to understand why people think a certain way.  Perhaps we might learn and adjust our views.  However many truths can not be changed even if someone disagrees.  1 + 2 = 3.  We can't have an open mind about other possible answers.  Sometimes things are what they are even if we don't like it to be that way.

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21 minutes ago, carbon dioxide said:

We can be open minded to different points of view and attempting to understand why people think a certain way.  Perhaps we might learn and adjust our views.  However many truths can not be changed even if someone disagrees.  1 + 2 = 3.  We can't have an open mind about other possible answers.  Sometimes things are what they are even if we don't like it to be that way.

Not so sure about that. Have you ever tried to help your grandkid with the common core math ? 🙂

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We are asked to walk the narrow path but that doesn't mean we are asked to be narrow minded. Some members use doctrine, or their version of it, as a weapon to beat up on others with. I think it was Elder Andersen who said,"In the gospel of Jesus Christ, there is no place for ridicule, bullying, or bigotry." April 2014 General Conference

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I don’t find those descriptions very helpful.  People are typically less than reliable in putting themselves in one of the two categories.  And they’re too often used as overly simplistic labels.

Plus, I think our focus is best placed on developing skills that improve our ability to recognize truth.

As The Nehor points out, lots of time is wasted pursuing the banal and unimportant in the name of open-mindedness.  And some life-altering truths are never discovered by those who opt not to test them.

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2 hours ago, MustardSeed said:

My spouse and I were discussing this topic of open mindedness today.  He was educating me about Ford motor company who has always been a loyalty first company - and yet they hired a new leader who admitted that he drives a Lexus.  This was a new type of open minded thinking that went against the grain of the culture of Ford.  Of course, Ford is now focusing on their trucks and SUV lines, and is moving away from sedans and small vehicles.  This sort of shift required some open mindedness - let's not do it the way we always have sort of thinking that gets companies in trouble - companies like Blackberry.  And Kodak - who shelved their original idea of digital photography.  
Anyway I'm rambling - this is the beauty of holiday vacation.  My point is, do you see our LDS culture/religion as being open minded or closed minded, and is that a good or problematic place to be in your opinion?  I'm interested in this topic.  Thank you. 

I engaged in a debate with a Catholic once and he said something that stick with me.

”The purpose of an open mind is to eventually close on something firm”

being consistently “open minded” sounds a lot like being a skeptic. Never laying a foundation in anything or holding to anything you find true.

I think it is important to be open minded in places where we have nurtured beliefs. If I was raised to believe that evolution was anti Christian, have an open mind about different arguments in that topic. But if you have come to find out for yourself that evolution is or is NOT anti Christian, then hold true to your beliefs. At which point, he closed minded, but engage in productive discussion that may lead you to an open mind later on topics.

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A couple of thoughts. There are certain genes that seem to be strongly linked to open mindedness and many other personality traits. Anyone who has had their DNA analyzed by any of the major genetic companies can download their raw data from the site and upload it to genomelink.io to look at quite a few free traits--personality, intellectual, athletic, physical and food and nutrition.

I think that being open minded was a huge advantage to members of the church in the early days. To embrace a lifestyle (polygyny, united order, following a modern prophet, continuing revelation, etc) that attracted persecution from the mainstream would really take a person who could think "outside the box". I think for people who are raised in the church today, it may be a something of a disadvantage. It may be easier to not think too long and hard about science that contradicts the ideas that are comfortable within the confines of traditional church teachings.

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3 hours ago, MustardSeed said:

My spouse and I were discussing this topic of open mindedness today.  He was educating me about Ford motor company who has always been a loyalty first company - and yet they hired a new leader who admitted that he drives a Lexus.  

Henry Ford built something of an empire but he also almost single handedly destroyed it by his refusal later in life to embrace change. So maybe a lot depends on the task at hand. The predisposition to behave in a particular way may be a great benefit in certain times and places and a huge disadvantage in others. Giving way to new ideas and new people during times of great cultural change is probably a very good strategy.

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It’s very important to be open minded. I think a lot of the answers to difficult questions will end up being right under our noses once we allow the right paradigm shift.

For instance, I argue that “Onitas,” referred to in the KEP is code for Osiris. 

I think I make a pretty good case
 

At the same time, it’s important for me to be open-minded as well. And so it goes :)

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23 minutes ago, katherine the great said:

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

I think that being open minded was a huge advantage to members of the church in the early days. To embrace a lifestyle (polygyny, united order, following a modern prophet, continuing revelation, etc) that attracted persecution from the mainstream would really take a person who could think "outside the box". I think for people who are raised in the church today, it may be a something of a disadvantage. It may be easier to not think too long and hard about science that contradicts the ideas that are comfortable within the confines of traditional church teachings.

How do you assess the changes being made thick and fast by Pres Nelson?  Will the main body of the Saints remain faithful and make the requisite changes, or will they balk at them?

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15 minutes ago, katherine the great said:

I think that being open minded was a huge advantage to members of the church in the early days. To embrace a lifestyle (polygyny, united order, following a modern prophet, continuing revelation, etc) that attracted persecution from the mainstream would really take a person who could think "outside the box". I think for people who are raised in the church today, it may be a something of a disadvantage. It may be easier to not think too long and hard about science that contradicts the ideas that are comfortable within the confines of traditional church teachings.

But isn't this where the trouble always starts?  If we say "the early pioneers needed to be open minded because of the new truths they were given, but not so for us", we are limiting our understanding.  I believe what Joseph Smith taught about dealing with things that go contrary to our traditions applies equally to science.  We just need to be very careful how we interpret (or reinterpret) the things that we've been given that we know are true.  Sometimes it means that we need to take a second look at what the revelations say.  Or a third look.  Or forth.  We (in the church) still hold on to a lot of traditions that aren't really taught specifically in scriptures or in revelations that we've been given.  

And I believe this way of thinking really needs to be applied to how we view science too.  We are not anti-science in the church, we hold a high view of it.  Look at what President Nelson said about it in April 2015 (here:  https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/church/news/church-leaders-gather-at-byus-life-sciences-building-for-dedication?lang=eng)

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“There is no conflict between science and religion. Conflict only arises from an incomplete knowledge of either science or religion, or both,” Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said during the dedication of the new Life Sciences Building at Brigham Young University on April 9.

“This university is committed to search for truth and teach the truth,” said Elder Nelson. “All truth is part of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Whether truth comes from a scientific laboratory or by revelation from the Lord, it is compatible.”

It all will fit together, somehow.  (How good are you at playing Tetris?)  :) 

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

How do you assess the changes being made thick and fast by Pres Nelson?  

I think they're great!

 

1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Will the main body of the Saints remain faithful and make the requisite changes, or will they balk at them?

I haven't heard a lot of balking. But time will tell!

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1 hour ago, InCognitus said:

And I believe this way of thinking really needs to be applied to how we view science too.  We are not anti-science in the church, we hold a high view of it.  Look at what President Nelson said about it in April 2015 (here:  https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/church/news/church-leaders-gather-at-byus-life-sciences-building-for-dedication?lang=eng)

 

I wish I could agree with you. Science is very broad. My observation is that in general, the church gives lip service to science but only embraces the evidence that supports their understanding of the universe. I still hear leaders espouse a literal reading of Noah's flood, anti evolution rhetoric and a basic rejection of gender/biological sex studies.

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16 hours ago, katherine the great said:

It may be easier to not think too long and hard about science that contradicts the ideas that are comfortable within the confines of traditional church teachings.

I think that really depends on how you were raised and maybe where.  My parents never taught us science was problematic and .I don't remember ever being troubled by anything I heard taught in person at church.  I didn't feel any conflict if I didn't take the flood something set in stone.  My parents had Widtsoe's Evidences and Reconciliations which I read as allowing me to explore ideas and not having to be locked into one way of thinking about science or history. . I know this may be different for others, just saying there is likely a wide range of experience probably more dependent on local or family culture than church culture.

One of my psych professors at BYU was an evolutionary/sociobiologist psychologist who iirc became both the department head and a stake president.  I am spacing on his name, it will probably come to me in a day or two (got it...Hal Miller).  BYU appears to have had a positive effect on members' views of science.

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0205798

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Polling data reveal a decades-long residual rejection of evolution in the United States, based on perceived religious conflict. Similarly, a strong creationist movement has been documented internationally, including in the Muslim world. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS, Mormon), a generally conservative denomination, have historically harbored strong anti-evolution sentiments. We report here a significant shift toward acceptance, compared to attitudes 30 years earlier, by students at Brigham Young University, which is owned and operated by the LDS church. This change appears to have multiple explanations. Students currently entering the university have been exposed to a much-improved introduction to evolution during high school. More importantly, there has been a significant decrease in negative messaging from Church authorities and in its religious education system. There is also evidence that current students have been positively influenced toward evolution by their parents, a large percentage of whom were BYU students, who earlier were given a strong science education deemed compatible with the maintenance of religious belief. A pre-post comparison demonstrates that a majority of current students become knowledgeable and accepting following a course experience focused on evolutionary principles delivered in a faith-friendly atmosphere. Elements of that classroom pedagogy, intended to promote reconciliation, are presented. Our experience may serve as a case-study for prompting changes in acceptance of evolution in other conservative religious groups.

 

Edited by Calm
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3 hours ago, katherine the great said:

............................... a basic rejection of gender/biological sex studies.

While it is true that LDS leaders say that we don't know what causes same-sex attraction, etc., they at the same time declare that such feelings are not a sin.  That seems to leave volition out of the equation.  They are admitting that one does not choose to be gay, otherwise it could be defined as a sin.  The same applies to their willingness to oppose conversion therapy.  That bespeaks a recognition that such feelings are not easily malleable.  Just as Jesus made a point that neither the parents nor the blind man had sinned, that he was born blind, so the implication is obvious:  Some traits are inborn, or at least acquired in the womb.  It thus helps no one to play the blame game.  None of that would be possible if there were not a tacit acceptance of gender/biological sex studies.

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9 hours ago, The Nehor said:

Most people who insist they are open minded are airheads.

True open mindedness is difficult and time consuming. It means to remove prejudice by removing the “pre” which means digging up all the facts before making a decision. It is difficult in most cases and often impossible in others.

Especially to the part I bolded. I think it's easy to take for granted that people even can be open-minded, or to think differently, or consider another perspective. This is not always possible. 

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12 hours ago, MustardSeed said:

My spouse and I were discussing this topic of open mindedness today.  He was educating me about Ford motor company who has always been a loyalty first company - and yet they hired a new leader who admitted that he drives a Lexus.  This was a new type of open minded thinking that went against the grain of the culture of Ford.  Of course, Ford is now focusing on their trucks and SUV lines, and is moving away from sedans and small vehicles.  This sort of shift required some open mindedness - let's not do it the way we always have sort of thinking that gets companies in trouble - companies like Blackberry.  And Kodak - who shelved their original idea of digital photography.  
Anyway I'm rambling - this is the beauty of holiday vacation.  My point is, do you see our LDS culture/religion as being open minded or closed minded, and is that a good or problematic place to be in your opinion?  I'm interested in this topic.  Thank you. 

The Zion culture is bu8lt upon humility and wisdom, employing experimentation and a desire to believe (Alma 32). Alma 32 describes this kind of open-minded on an individual scale and also on a  collective scale (verse 23).

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Thank you for all shared thoughts. 

In my opinion, our religion and culture is steeped in tradition, with details as small as a single word being replayed over and over.  In my opinion, the sameness creates a sense of stability and consistency that results in familiarity from ward to ward around the world. It’s comforting to many who need something to rely on- that familiarity.  You know exactly what will be served at the funeral.  The words spoken and the jargon and the lilt at the pulpit during prayer is the same.   The music played for special numbers is predictably solemn and has no semblance of popular music, no slides into notes for violins, no stretching of notes for vocalists, no show, it’s how it’s always been done. It’s all familiar, anything else would be awkward and uncomfortable. 

I think we are at large quite closed minded in many things as a whole.  I think this is evidenced by the excitement of “changes” , no matter how small, as of late ( President Nelson has recently challenged our rigidity imo) 

i wonder at times how we get in our own way. 

I also wonder about the dangers of open mindedness. 

 

Edited by MustardSeed
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1 hour ago, MustardSeed said:

I think we are at large quite closed minded in many things as a whole.  I think this is evidenced by the excitement of “changes” , no matter how small, as of late ( President Nelson has recently challenged our rigidity imo) 

I think the strong traditions creating a familiar culture plus the excitement is evidence of the desires to have both stability and growth.  A firm foundation is what allows for the most effective expansion.  Balancing the two can be difficult.

On another note, one can be very open minded in some things and closed minded in others.  My dad was very supportive of us exploring ways to challenge the status quo in our lives, both at home and in our schools and church...until we turned that learned skill on him and his instructions for us.  

I see this as a pretty common attribute of openmindedness in that one can have flexibility, sometimes great flexibity, until it is one's own anchors that are getting pulled up.

Edited by Calm
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I just watched a documentary about the Hasidic Jews. The LDS people do not have a corner on tradition and closed mindedness !!! 

A friend once commented about his traditional father. He said his dad had a mind like concrete... all mixed up and set. 

There is the statement about avoiding being " blown about by every wind of doctrine. " so having your mind so open that your brains fall out isn't good either. 

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