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Scrupulosity


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32 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

And instead of being expected to simply do one's best to take care of our bodies, we're given some highly specific rules while other important health concepts are neglected. 

Of course.

Weight lifting instructions do not include nutrition instructions. One thing at a time.

Yet you have to do it all to get fit

It's like loosing a hundred pounds and keeping it off for life. You must obey the program- all of it- to see the results 

 

Edited by mfbukowski
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14 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Oh my gosh. You are just revealing your problem right here.

Obedience is a spiritual exercise program like lifting weights. It's not supposed to be fun, the joy is in the results.

Relax.

Try it, you'll like the results.

This is a discussion about scrupulosity. It is not an invitation for you to psychoanalyse anyone here. 

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18 minutes ago, Duncan said:

my Mom told me that she actually enjoyed not having stake women's conference last year and probably this year, she said that "usually it's the same, they say that you're too fat and not worthy"

Well if you are too fat, and...

Nevermind.

 

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6 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

This is a discussion about scrupulosity. It is not an invitation for you to psychoanalyse anyone here. 

Sorry, I was talking about some attitudes on the thread

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Finally had a minute. 

I mentioned that those struggling with some version of scrupulosity or at least strong moral based anxiety have root causes in several areas. I see this from a UT base so I’d assume it would be a little different in other communities. But because the church conmunity and general community have a huge overlap in UT this one is hard to sus out. Often what some ascribe as “church” I would probably describe as their social community. For example they may mention their church body as all being extremely perfect and having extremely manicured lives and homes. That doesn’t describe the “church” per se but likely a church community that was fairly homogeneous and well off monetarily. I have others describe “church” as a small tight knit community that’s leery of change and outsiders and even higher education as potential sources where people could lose their testimony. Again that’s not “church” that’s a religious community in a small rural region. Some local church communities are more flexible open and easy going than others. Others are more rigid, rules based, and traditional. This is usually a mix of a reflection of their regional or class based culture and overarching societal expectations. 

 

 

likewise with family. Different religious families practice their religion differently. Most families fall somewhere in between in terms of religious practice and family dynamics. In other words they have a few unhealthy and usually several healthy dynamics going for them. The few unhealthy ones just tend to be the Achilles heel for kids with certain predispositions or concerns. When I have clients fearful of telling their religious family members their struggle in the faith, leading to a sense of isolation, with a little encouragement to share 9 times out of 10 their concerns are met up with empathy and care. though they may not be perfect in execution the person usually feels a sense of relief to realize their worst case scenarios they’d built up weren’t really there.  Most religious families are first families that love their peoples. But there are exceptions. Most the time I’m not surprised by the exceptions. They’ve told me enough about their family culture to know that their family may not take their concerns well. Some are simply not emotionally safe, super rigid and perfectionistic, and haven’t done well in the past with their children’s emotional vulnerabilities. I wouldn’t suggest they share much with them. Some are straight up abusive. All of these may use church messages to bolster their family dynamics. Obviously there are behaviors from these more caustic families the church as a whole would never approve of. But with a mix of cherry picked beliefs, regional influences, and family history these messages can be hard to shake and came be extremely emotionally and spiritually damaging. 

 

And then you get to the church as a whole. As in it’s more universal religious practices and teachings. These are still hard to divide from the regional messages to some degree but they are still there. For example I’ve never had some one who veers towards more rigid views of the faith ruminate on say Uchtdorf talks. It’s usually the aspects that best fit the cultural, familial, and personal anxiety voices/messages. Someone who assumes they need to have a lot of kids to be righteous will hone in on Anderson’s last talk for example...miss every message that indicates personal choice and circumstances and focus more on the messages that reflect cultural norms. 

It’s one of the reasons I want and like more diversity in the church in general. It’s not that that completely goes away but that there’s more balance in perspectives. So for example let’s take the expectations around ordinance rites. 

A person who’s more black and white around it may look and sense a cultural expectation to do baptism or get the endowments or get sealed. Because that’s what’s expected and “everyone” does. They may assume no one really is presented this as a choice that they can also choose not to do without major social ire. But I’ve known other parents who are really careful to present it as a choice and an individual decision with no judgment on the kid one way or another. These parents often read the exact same verses and religious material and get different things from them. They’re also more capable of pushing back on messages or people who subscribe to more rigid (fundamentalist, authoritarian, etc) versions of the religion. So for example I know my stake presidency are very...let’s say they fit a cultural stereotype more than once (although often ironically while doing some forward thinking things...people are messy). When they get into one of these moments (like insisting the only reason we feel the spirit at home sacrament is because the prophet says we can do it right now and have permission from the bishop to do so) it’s easy for my brain to reject that as likely over-assuming policy as doctrine. I have several protective factors that have helped me do so. My family culture often entails rowdy arguments and discourse about tricky issues and also entails several member who were never or are currently not LDS. I’m used to going it alone on my personal beliefs and desires. My formative years happened in a very different community where messages that stuck out to me at church were very different from the ones I’ve heard here. And my own spiritual experiences and interpretations go against some of their assumptions. And I personally am comfortable with gray and moral relative constructions. Moral absolutism has never been my spiritual staple though I do think there are truths that are fairly consistent. The fewer protective measures they have in the arsenal the more this strain of religious experience may effect them in negative ways. 
 

with luv, 

BD 

Edited by BlueDreams
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2 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

Here's the context of my statements, which were a reply to Pogi:

Pogi said:

and I responded:

Here are some examples of instructions and expectations which go far beyond "teaching right from wrong."

The majority of LDS temple interview questions, which include expectations and instructions to

1) Seek a testimony of God, the Atonement, and the Restoration. This in itself can generate a lot of anxiety and inner turmoil in a person who is otherwise calm and stable.

2) Sustain church leaders. 

3) Not support or promote any teachings, practices, or doctrine contrary to those of the church. This, along with 2) isn't necessarily about right from wrong. Rather it is about loyalty to the church organization.

4) Keep the Sabbath day holy, attend meetings; partake of the sacrament; and live your life in harmony with the laws and commandments of the gospel?

5) Are you a full-tithe payer? And this and 4) are also more laws that are not necessarily about right from wrong.

6) Do you understand and obey the Word of Wisdom? Same issue, though perhaps more open to controversy than some of the others above. And instead of being expected to simply do one's best to take care of our bodies, we're given some highly specific rules while other important health concepts are neglected. 

7) Wearing the temple garment. Again, not really about right versus wrong, more about symbolism and ritual.

Just this list alone produces major additions to the instructions and expectations a person develops themselves in their efforts to live right from wrong in their lives. 

 

I think it would be better stated that in your personal subjective opinion, these things are not about right and wrong.  My moral compass says otherwise.     Again, it all boils down to the belief that your morals are right and ours are wrong, or not important, or insignificant, with no positive or negative moral consequences.  

Edited by pogi
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9 minutes ago, pogi said:

What you mean to say is that in your personal subjective opinion, these things are not about right and wrong.  My moral compass says otherwise.     Again, it all boils down to the belief that your morals are right and ours are wrong, or not important, or insignificant, with no positive or negative moral consequences.  

Nope, it's not merely my subjective opinion.

These are expectations and instructions the church creates as part of participation in the church. As I said, pretty straightforward.

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4 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

Nope, it's not merely my subjective opinion.

These are expectations and instructions the church creates as part of participation in the church. As I said, pretty straightforward.

It is simply your opinion that those instructions and expectations are not morally based. 

 

 

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7 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

Nope, it's not merely my subjective opinion.

These are expectations and instructions the church creates as part of participation in the church. As I said, pretty straightforward.

The 7 examples you listed do not demonstrate the notion of "obedience for obedience's sake."

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9 minutes ago, pogi said:

It is simply your opinion that those instructions and expectations are not morally based. 

 

 

A more proper framing would be that it is the church's opinion that the covenant path, including all these instructions and expectations, are for the good of people.

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/new-era/2015/03/be-a-missionary-now/your-covenant-path?lang=eng

So that is in addition to, or instead of, decisions people would themselves make about right and wrong. That is, to put it more specifically, institution-dependent and institution-loyal decisions about right and wrong. Quite arguably a shaky foundation and therefore, given the conflict this would naturally generate for many people, a recipe for unhealthy perseveration, and scrupulosity.

 

 

 

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10 minutes ago, CV75 said:

The 7 examples you listed do not demonstrate the notion of "obedience for obedience's sake."

Then why are they tied to institutional loyalty?

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14 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

A more proper framing would be that it is the church's opinion that the covenant path, including all these instructions and expectations, are for the good of people.

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/new-era/2015/03/be-a-missionary-now/your-covenant-path?lang=eng

So that is in addition to, or instead of, decisions people would themselves make about right and wrong. That is, to put it more specifically, institution-dependent and institution-loyal decisions about right and wrong. Quite arguably a shaky foundation and therefore, given the conflict this would naturally generate for many people, a recipe for unhealthy perseveration, and scrupulosity.

 

 

 

So morals taught by institutions (which would include the institution of the family) should automatically be discounted?

What if my personal moral compass tells me it is good?  Should I ignore it? What if through testing the seed it has become delicious to me with moral fruits?  Should I let the fruit sour?

What is wrong with me considering these things moral for me personally?  Who are you to tell me I shouldn’t consider them right for me?

Edited by pogi
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26 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

Then why are they tied to institutional loyalty?

It’s easy to dismiss when you take God out of the picture.   But when one believes this is God’s kingdom in earth, then loyalty to it becomes an obvious moral choice.  Loyalty can be a moral good, believe it or not.  So can obedience for obedience sake...”I know not save the Lord commanded me.”  They May not jive with your morals, but remember that your morals are not mine.

Edited by pogi
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13 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

Really, really.

Nope, seriously look up rules for strictly ordered religions and then come back and try to explain how the Church is a mess of rules by comparison.

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54 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

So that is in addition to, or instead of, decisions people would themselves make about right and wrong. That is, to put it more specifically, institution-dependent and institution-loyal decisions about right and wrong. Quite arguably a shaky foundation and therefore, given the conflict this would naturally generate for many people, a recipe for unhealthy perseveration, and scrupulosity.

 

I see this as a vacuous notion.  Nothing there! 

OF COURSE we are influenced by institutions in chosing morals and values.   Look at the US Constitution that is institution based and preaches the clearly non-scienctific belief that "all men are created equal'.

Following traffic laws is institutionally based.   Why drive on the right side or the road and not left?   Why are traffic lights red and green and not blue and yellow?

Isn't morality itself "institutionally based" in many ways?

Do these "naturally generate for many people, a recipe for unhealthy perseveration, and scrupulosity."?

The consequences of violation are clear and detrimental for the individual violator, and lead to loss of happiness and freedom.

I believe that is the same situation for violation of spiritual rules as well.

You want to be happy?  Follow the rules that make that happen.

You want to lose weight?  Are the rules to do so "institutionally based"?  

You follow the rules, you reap the consequences.

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56 minutes ago, pogi said:

What is wrong with me considering these things moral for me personally?  Who are you to tell me I shouldn’t consider them right for me?

And this is precisely the contradiction of atheistic secularism vs religion!  Great point!

Everyone has their "own truth" regarding morals and sexuality, political views etc except religious people.   Everyone follows their own truth except religious people can't because religious truth is regarded as clearly irrational.

And if you say "I know the church is true" it's insane, but if you say "It's true that all men are created equally" you are a champion of justice.

Endowed by their creator with human rights?  How do they make that a "secular" statement?

Where is the evidence for either statement?

Obviously these ideas are faith based but that would never be seen as about "religion"   "Diversity" is a good thing as long as it doesn't include belief in God or diversity in religion as a category!

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2 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

Then why are they tied to institutional loyalty?

CFR, as I see them as temple recommend questions tied to temple attendance, not institutional loyalty. The specific reasons (blessings) for observing these tenets are explained in their respective foundational scriptures (and CFR that obedience is for obedience's sake).

Edited by CV75
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14 hours ago, pogi said:

So morals taught by institutions (which would include the institution of the family) should automatically be discounted?

What if my personal moral compass tells me it is good?  Should I ignore it? What if through testing the seed it has become delicious to me with moral fruits?  Should I let the fruit sour?

What is wrong with me considering these things moral for me personally?  Who are you to tell me I shouldn’t consider them right for me?

Do what you will, my point is that these institutionally-directed rules are a recipe for scrupulosity, moreso than simply being concerned with choosing right versus wrong.

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13 hours ago, CV75 said:

CFR, as I see them as temple recommend questions tied to temple attendance, not institutional loyalty. The specific reasons (blessings) for observing these tenets are explained in their respective foundational scriptures (and CFR that obedience is for obedience's sake).

Sustaining the church leaders, attending their church meetings, paying a tithe to the church are explicitly institutional-dependent expectations. 

And, for context, I said "many of these instructions flow from basic principles of right and wrong, but there are yet still many more which are rules which must be followed to demonstrate obedience for obedience's sake." 

Obedience for obedience sake is about "obedience" being a principle of righteousness in and of itself. So a system that elevates obedience itself as good, which uses obedience to rules as a measurement of worthiness, is implementing the concept of "obedience for obedience sake."  It contributes to scrupulous notions, like for instance if a person leaves their garments on the floor after doing laundry, or if they don't wear them, they will expose themselves to danger like getting in a car accident, something not directly related to whether the garment is worn, or whether it has touched the floor, but moreso related to whether the person was obedient.

Edited by Meadowchik
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14 hours ago, The Nehor said:

Nope, seriously look up rules for strictly ordered religions and then come back and try to explain how the Church is a mess of rules by comparison.

It's not a contest. The very-involved rules of the church can contribute to and even produce a disordered obsession with "righteousness rules" which then interferes with a person's ability to function. 

 

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3 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

Sustaining the church leaders, attending their church meetings, paying a tithe to the church are explicitly institutional-dependent expectations. 

And, for context, I said "many of these instructions flow from basic principles of right and wrong, but there are yet still many more which are rules which must be followed to demonstrate obedience for obedience's sake." 

Obedience for obedience sake is about "obedience" being a principle of righteousness in and of itself. So a system that elevates obedience itself as good, which uses obedience to rules as a measurement of worthiness, is implementing the concept of "obedience for obedience sake."  It contributes to scrupulous notions, like for instance if a person leaves their garments on the floor after doing laundry, or if they don't wear them, they will expose themselves to danger like getting in a car accident, something not directly related to whether the garment is worn, or whether it has touched the floor, but moreso related to whether the person was obedient.

I'm sure a secular form of the "obedience for obedience sake" principle is foundational to your everyday life. Something would be wrong with you if you didn't observe it. And if there happens to be something wrong with you (I'm not suggesting there is!), you might have pathological feelings of guilt, fear, anxiety, etc. associated with excessive observance of practical habits that are otherwise justified by science.

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3 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

It's not a contest. The very-involved rules of the church can contribute to and even produce a disordered obsession with "righteousness rules" which then interferes with a person's ability to function. 

 

Contribute, sure. Produce, no. That’s like saying dirt produces flowers. It can help them grow, but you need a seed for that to even have a chance. Simply having fairly limited expectations (the temple questions are not that elaborate) is not sufficient to produce a mental disorder like OCD manifested as scrupulosity. You would need something far more extreme and preferably traumatizing to get to a point that you would see an organization leading to mental disorders. (These would be trauma based ones...which mean the anxiety behaviors would really just be manifestation of trauma). Think more cult-like groups or ones into extreme punishment or ostracism as a means of behavioral control. 
 

with luv,

BD 

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On 4/27/2021 at 2:56 PM, jkwilliams said:

That these feelings are pretty common among church members suggests something more than OCD behavior. I remember reading a survey published about feelings of guilt among members of various religions. No other religion compared to Mormonism. Sure, family and individual personality are contributors, but this doesn't happen in a vacuum. 

Scrupulosity, or perfectionism is a mental/emotional trait. I have no idea how prevalent it is in societies in general but it logically would follow that in institutions where the standards are high, the effects would be more pronounced than in cases where rules, etc. are very relaxed and non-demanding.

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3 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

It's not a contest. The very-involved rules of the church can contribute to and even produce a disordered obsession with "righteousness rules" which then interferes with a person's ability to function. 

 

I think it might only contribute to an obsession in a person with an OCD personality. It would not by itself produce the obsession. Nothing about the church doctrines or principles or practices has produced any obsession in me at least.

 

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