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Scrupulosity


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1 minute ago, pogi said:

My point is that going to school or work can do the same for those who are predisposed.  I think treating the mental illness and comorbid conditions instead of absolving all expectations is the more reasonable approach.

So, those are the only two alternatives: treat the individual or get the church to remove all expectations? 

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15 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

So, those are the only two alternatives: treat the individual or get the church to remove all expectations? 

If the expectations are generally experienced as a net positive to those practicing the faith, and do not generally induce mental illness and pathological dysfunction in and of themselves, then yes, we should be focusing on the individual.  

I think it is fine to take measures to assess unnecessary cultural expectations or church practices which may unnecessarily generate anxiety and guilt etc. but I don’t think it is fair to point the finger at the church as the primary reason and source of this disorder.

Edited by pogi
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Just now, pogi said:

If the expectations are generally experienced as a net positive to the faith and not inductive to mental illness and pathological dysfunction, then yes, we should be focusing on the individual.  

I think it is fine to take measures to assess unnecessary cultural expectations or church practices which may unnecessarily generate anxiety and guilt etc. but I don’t think it is fair to point the finger at the church as the primary reason and source of this disorder.

Nobody here is pointing the finger at the church as the "primary reason and source of this disorder." It brings back a lot of bad memories to hear people say it's just you, the individual, and the church has nothing to do with it. An important step for me in healing was to recognize my contribution to my personal problems but also to understand toxic influences around me. 

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25 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

Nobody here is pointing the finger at the church as the "primary reason and source of this disorder." It brings back a lot of bad memories to hear people say it's just you, the individual, and the church has nothing to do with it. An important step for me in healing was to recognize my contribution to my personal problems but also to understand toxic influences around me. 

I felt like meadowchik was pointing the finger.

I am sorry to trigger that in you.  However, if you have not personally suffered from this specific disorder, is it possible that you are projecting your concerns of focusing on the individual onto a potentially unrelated pathology?  Is it possible that it is actually the right thing to do to focus on the individual instead of blaming the church in order to promote true healing from this specific mental illness?

 

Edited by pogi
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16 minutes ago, pogi said:

I felt like meadowchik was pointing the finger.

I am sorry to trigger that in you.  However, if you have not personally suffered from this specific disorder, is it possible that you are projecting your concerns of focusing on the individual onto a potentially unrelated pathology?  Is it possible that it is actually the right thing to do to focus on the individual instead of blaming the church in order to promote true healing from this specific mental illness?

 

IOW - I'm sorry you felt blamed.  Let me blame you some more.

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59 minutes ago, pogi said:

There is a history of some cultural expectations in some missions which may cause some stress and even unnecessary guilt.  There are also some church-wide expectations which may cause guilt.  
Guilt in and of itself is not necessarily a problem, nor a pathological disorder leading someone to become “objectively dysfunctional”, etc.  we are not talking about mere guilt, or even unnecessary guilt but a condition leading to pathological dysfunction. 

When I was in high school, my best-friend's dad was my bishop, and he knew me pretty well. After serving as bishop he did a stint in the stake presidency and was then called to be a mission president. He was really positive, always whistling, always slapping you on the back and being enthusiastic about whatever he was doing. I remember how excited he was when he bought his first minivan. He was just a happy, positive guy, and by all accounts the Church was working for him. 

In the bishop's office one day he offered some really insightful advice that I still remember. He told me, "Analytics, your problem is that you are too sober. Being sober means taking serious things seriously. Don't get me wrong--being sober is a good thing. But I think you take it too far. Don't take it all too seriously." It happens he was also a mental-health professional.

Some people naturally take it too seriously, while others (at least according to some), don't take it seriously enough. When the Church is trying to manipulate teenagers to become lifelong faithful members, it is hard to strike the right balance between those two groups when laying on the guilt and the seriousness of it all.

My basic point, though, is that the Church makes some promises that just aren't true. Those promises are typically predicated on the worthiness of the person receiving the promise.

That whole construct is messed up.

It's like promising your wife that you will be faithful to her, but predicating your promise on her doing her part to remain attractive to you. When you then have an affair, she feels guilty for not remaining attractive enough. Conditional promises like this are messed up.

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1 hour ago, jkwilliams said:

I recall some trauma-inducing rituals involving extreme punishment, and as Tim mentioned, those of us who have left have experienced ostracism. So, there's a spectrum of contributing factors. 

I had a longer post that mentioned the difference between local community and family cultures that are often described as “the Church” but are by no means universal church experiences or representative of church policy and doctrine. Ostracism is a great example of that. Not only is it more likely with rigid families/communities but it’s also been discouraged as a practice multiple times. Including in the last GC if I remember correctly (I may be confusing that with the idea of only playing with LDS kids....though very similar ideals that tend to go together in these communities). 
 

and what do you have in mind as “extreme i punishment?” When I say that I’m really picturing things like corporal punishment, condemning the whole family for the behavior of one, enforced/codified forms of isolation from the group, etc. basically things you would see in small isolated or extremist sects. excommunication as it’s currently practiced wouldn’t count. Yes it removes you from official membership, but it doesn’t remove you from the community at large or from one’s family unit, etc. 

 

With luv, 

BD 

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10 minutes ago, ttribe said:

IOW - I'm sorry you felt blamed.  Let me blame you some more.

I am not blaming him for anything here.  Just suggesting an alternative perspective and possible explanation.  
The question still stands, is it possible that in this very specific disorder, is it most efficacious and healing to focus on the individual instead of the triggering institution, as school or work may be a trigger for some...

Edited by pogi
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Just now, BlueDreams said:

and what do you have in mind as “extreme i punishment?” When I say that I’m really picturing things like corporal punishment, condemning the whole family for the behavior of one, enforced/codified forms of isolation from the group, etc. basically things you would see in small isolated or extremist sects. excommunication as it’s currently practiced wouldn’t count. Yes it removes you from official membership, but it doesn’t remove you from the community at large or from one’s family unit, etc. 

 

With luv, 

BD 

I can't answer that without getting in trouble with the mods, I'm afraid. 

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13 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

I can't answer that without getting in trouble with the mods, I'm afraid. 

I’m assuming you mean the temple pre-1990? Which even if I fully agree that would be “extreme” (can’t say one way or another since at that time I was 2) at this point would exclude most of the adult population under 50. Ironically rates of anxiety disorders (ocd is anxiety related) have been increasing nation-wide  since then. Do you have something in mind post that time in mind? 
 

Just to be clear, I do not think that church experiences are scot free from problems or concerns that can feed people’s psychological disorders. My problem is insisting it as a global entity (not a local manifestation) is a/the primary cause. I simply haven’t seen that as a therapist. I have never seen a case that simplistically straight-forward ever. 
 

 

with luv, 

BD 

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31 minutes ago, Analytics said:

When I was in high school, my best-friend's dad was my bishop, and he knew me pretty well. After serving as bishop he did a stint in the stake presidency and was then called to be a mission president. He was really positive, always whistling, always slapping you on the back and being enthusiastic about whatever he was doing. I remember how excited he was when he bought his first minivan. He was just a happy, positive guy, and by all accounts the Church was working for him. 

In the bishop's office one day he offered some really insightful advice that I still remember. He told me, "Analytics, your problem is that you are too sober. Being sober means taking serious things seriously. Don't get me wrong--being sober is a good thing. But I think you take it too far. Don't take it all too seriously." It happens he was also a mental-health professional.

Some people naturally take it too seriously, while others (at least according to some), don't take it seriously enough. When the Church is trying to manipulate teenagers to become lifelong faithful members, it is hard to strike the right balance between those two groups when laying on the guilt and the seriousness of it all.

My basic point, though, is that the Church makes some promises that just aren't true. Those promises are typically predicated on the worthiness of the person receiving the promise.

That whole construct is messed up.

It's like promising your wife that you will be faithful to her, but predicating your promise on her doing her part to remain attractive to you. When you then have an affair, she feels guilty for not remaining attractive enough. Conditional promises like this are messed up.

We may disagree on the systemic and institutional manipulation, etc.  

No one is disagreeing that the church may be a trigger for some who are predisposed to mental illness. The question is, is it a trigger for scrupulosity in healthy individuals?

Edited by pogi
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23 minutes ago, Analytics said:

My basic point, though, is that the Church makes some promises that just aren't true. Those promises are typically predicated on the worthiness of the person receiving the promise.

That whole construct is messed up.

Well then there is that little thing called the will of God. Promises are good and give people hope, but it is also dependent on God's will for us and according to His timeline.
I tend to lean more in that direction rather than pile too much guilt on myself if the promise is not fulfilled.

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1 hour ago, jkwilliams said:

Sure, but my point is that one can't say there is an absence of "extreme punishment or ostracism" in Mormonism. Obviously, everyone's experience is different. 

It depends on the semantics they are using; they can and the can't; they do and they don't. You were actually making the point that these include "trauma-inducing rituals involving extreme punishment" -- using that specific personal claim to portray Mormonism as a cult-like group.

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It would help the discussion if we had any idea of statistics in pthe church relative to other institutions - the fact that it is not even a recognized diagnosis may prove that to be difficult.  

We may be making a mountain out of a mole hill.  

Edited by pogi
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18 minutes ago, BlueDreams said:

I’m assuming you mean the temple pre-1990? Which even if I fully agree that would be “extreme” (can’t say one way or another since at that time I was 2) at this point would exclude most of the adult population under 50. Ironically rates of anxiety disorders (ocd is anxiety related) have been increasing nation-wide  since then. Do you have something in mind post that time in mind? 
 

Just to be clear, I do not think that church experiences are scot free from problems or concerns that can feed people’s psychological disorders. My problem is insisting it as a global entity (not a local manifestation) is a/the primary cause. I simply haven’t seen that as a therapist. I have never seen a case that simplistically straight-forward ever. 
 

 

with luv, 

BD 

I’m in complete agreement with you. My objection was to the suggestion made on this thread that there is nothing in Mormonism that might contribute to feelings of excessive guilt. Obviously not everyone feels that way. 

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10 minutes ago, CV75 said:

It depends on the semantics they are using; they can and the can't; they do and they don't. You were actually making the point that these include "trauma-inducing rituals involving extreme punishment" -- using that specific personal claim to portray Mormonism as a cult-like group.

Absolutely not. 

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29 minutes ago, BlueDreams said:

I’m assuming you mean the temple pre-1990? Which even if I fully agree that would be “extreme” (can’t say one way or another since at that time I was 2) at this point would exclude most of the adult population under 50. Ironically rates of anxiety disorders (ocd is anxiety related) have been increasing nation-wide  since then. Do you have something in mind post that time in mind? 
 

Just to be clear, I do not think that church experiences are scot free from problems or concerns that can feed people’s psychological disorders. My problem is insisting it as a global entity (not a local manifestation) is a/the primary cause. I simply haven’t seen that as a therapist. I have never seen a case that simplistically straight-forward ever. 
 

 

with luv, 

BD 

Who is supposedly saying that?

 

27 minutes ago, pogi said:

We may disagree on the systemic and institutional manipulation, etc.  

No one is disagreeing that the church may be a trigger for some who are predisposed to mental illness. The question is, is it a trigger for scrupulosity in healthy individuals?

Again, 0% responsibility for spreading these teachings?  It's just, you're already broken (nee' "predisposed to mental illness") and couldn't handle it.

 

18 minutes ago, CV75 said:

It depends on the semantics they are using; they can and the can't; they do and they don't. You were actually making the point that these include "trauma-inducing rituals involving extreme punishment" -- using that specific personal claim to portray Mormonism as a cult-like group.

Ummmm, you read that into his statement.  He said nothing of the sort.

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17 minutes ago, ttribe said:

Again, 0% responsibility for spreading these teachings?  It's just, you're already broken (nee' "predisposed to mental illness") and couldn't handle it.

We are 100% responsible for spreading our teachings.  In fact, it is part of our mission to continue the labor until it has sounded in every ear.  

You seem to be implying that our teachings are the cause of this disorder and therefore responsible for it.  Again, how is this different from school or work being a trigger for some?  Isn’t it best to treat the individual in those cases and not remove expectations?

As Bluedreams well said, we may be the soil, but we are not the seed for this very specific condition being discussed.  

Edited by pogi
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1 hour ago, pogi said:

I felt like meadowchik was pointing the finger.

I am sorry to trigger that in you.  However, if you have not personally suffered from this specific disorder, is it possible that you are projecting your concerns of focusing on the individual onto a potentially unrelated pathology?  Is it possible that it is actually the right thing to do to focus on the individual instead of blaming the church in order to promote true healing from this specific mental illness?

 

When exactly did it seem like I was pointing the finger, Pogi?

From my first reply to the thread topic:

Quote

"Of course Mormonism is not alone in its scrupulousness, neither are religions. All sorts of ideologies perpetuate scrupulosity and vice versa."

And, for the record, the OP introduced the topic of scrupulosity in church members, and wondered if they had been affected by their parents. So it is reasonable to consider the church as an influencing the appearance of scrupulosity.  And yet I did not confine my remarks to the church alone.

And in my first reply to you, specifically, I said:

Quote

"Right from wrong is not the same as an intricate ideological instructions for righteousness. The latter can generate myriad laws to transgress and thus a false sense of guilt where there is no actual guilt, just failure to live up to the system's expectations."

ETA

And in my second reply to you, when you asked me to define "intricate ideological instructions":

Quote

It's pretty straightforward. Along with other ideologies, the LDS framework consists of intricate ideological instructions for righteousness, or very involved, detailed requirements for becoming and remaining righteous, or worthy. 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. 

So I did make an extra effort to not single out the church. If you want to say that is still pointing the finger, so be it, but it is completely within the scope of the thread topic.

Edited by Meadowchik
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13 minutes ago, ttribe said:

Who is supposedly saying that?

 

Again, 0% responsibility for spreading these teachings?  It's just, you're already broken (nee' "predisposed to mental illness") and couldn't handle it.

 

Ummmm, you read that into his statement.  He said nothing of the sort.

When I was a missionary in Bolivia, we rarely had visits from general authorities. I was told by the area president that he did not want to come to Bolivia unless it was absolutely necessary, and he wanted to get in and out quickly (I was the travel secretary). Only once in 2 years did a general authority visit Bolivia (the aforementioned area president), and we were so excited to hear from him. My companion and I were both quite ill (almost half our mission was ill at any given point), but we got out of bed and went to the zone conference where he would be speaking. To this point, I felt pretty good about my mission. I'd had success teaching and in leadership positions, and I was giving it my all. I had injured my knee shortly before then, and the missionary department had recommended sending me home, but I wanted to stay. So, with high expectations, we attended the zone conference. The area president yelled at us for a good 45 minutes. He told us the Lord was disappointed with us because we were lazy, uncommitted, lax in keeping the rules, and not representing the Lord as we should. He said, "I know some of you are thinking he's not talking about me. Yes, I am talking about you, each one of you collectively and individually." He told us we needed to repent for wasting the Lord's time. It went on like this for 45 minutes, as I said. By the time we got home, we were both in tears, but we decided he must know what he was talking about. We knelt down that night and asked for forgiveness. I couldn't sleep that night because I kept thinking how hard I was working, how much I had given--and it was obviously not enough. I look back on that and realize that was the moment I internalized the belief that, no matter what I did to serve the Lord, it would never be enough. Took a lot of therapy to get past that. 

I wrote about this episode in my book, and I have heard from at least a dozen other former missionaries who were at that meeting. My zone leader at the time told me that he felt that talk "broke his spirit." Everyone else who talked about it remembered that as a pivotal moment in their lives, and they all said it made them feel the way it made me feel. Only one guy said that he went home and told his companion the area president could go and f--- himself. 

According to some people, this experience must only have affected us because we somehow were predisposed to feel bad like that. Obviously, that is just one experience, and thankfully, most people in the church have not had an experience remotely like that. So, no, it's not universal, but it is incorrect to suggest that nothing in the church ever contributes to members feeling excessive guilt or shame. 

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29 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

When exactly did it seem like I was pointing the finger, Pogi?

From my first reply to the thread topic:

And, for the record, the OP introduced the topic of scrupulosity in church members, and wondered if they had been affected by their parents. So it is reasonable to consider the church as an influencing the appearance of scrupulosity.  And yet I did not confine my remarks to the church alone.

And in my first reply to you, specifically, I said:

ETA

And in my second reply to you, when you asked me to define "intricate ideological instructions":

So I did make an extra effort to not single out the church. If you want to say that is pointing the finger, so be it, but it is completely within the scope of the thread topic.

I know that you were not singling out the church, I felt you equally and wrongly blamed all religions as the cause of the disorder, rather than recognizing any source causes in the individual with religion as a trigger.

...these concepts are scrupulous in nature.”

That is some pretty strong finger pointing - the individual is only a victim of the scrupulous nature of the church’s core teachings.  I am reframing that to suggest that the individual is a victim of mental illness with a potential myriad of root psychological causes and triggers.

Edited by pogi
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2 minutes ago, pogi said:

I know that you were not singling out the church, I felt you equally and wrongly blamed all religions as the cause of the disorder, rather than recognizing any source causes in the individual with religion as a trigger.

You made us culpable here:

...these concepts are scrupulous in nature.”
 

How does that "make" *you* culpable? I am talking about concepts, not people. 

The OP introduced the topic where LDS-related concepts were believed to have contributed to the woman's crippling anxiety. So unless otherwise requested, it is within the scope of this thread to consider the impact of LDS-related concepts. 

You are perfectly free to issue a rebuttal to that reply specifically. But you didn't yet.

 

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18 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

When I was a missionary in Bolivia, we rarely had visits from general authorities. I was told by the area president that he did not want to come to Bolivia unless it was absolutely necessary, and he wanted to get in and out quickly (I was the travel secretary). Only once in 2 years did a general authority visit Bolivia (the aforementioned area president), and we were so excited to hear from him. My companion and I were both quite ill (almost half our mission was ill at any given point), but we got out of bed and went to the zone conference where he would be speaking. To this point, I felt pretty good about my mission. I'd had success teaching and in leadership positions, and I was giving it my all. I had injured my knee shortly before then, and the missionary department had recommended sending me home, but I wanted to stay. So, with high expectations, we attended the zone conference. The area president yelled at us for a good 45 minutes. He told us the Lord was disappointed with us because we were lazy, uncommitted, lax in keeping the rules, and not representing the Lord as we should. He said, "I know some of you are thinking he's not talking about me. Yes, I am talking about you, each one of you collectively and individually." He told us we needed to repent for wasting the Lord's time. It went on like this for 45 minutes, as I said. By the time we got home, we were both in tears, but we decided he must know what he was talking about. We knelt down that night and asked for forgiveness. I couldn't sleep that night because I kept thinking how hard I was working, how much I had given--and it was obviously not enough. I look back on that and realize that was the moment I internalized the belief that, no matter what I did to serve the Lord, it would never be enough. Took a lot of therapy to get past that. 

I wrote about this episode in my book, and I have heard from at least a dozen other former missionaries who were at that meeting. My zone leader at the time told me that he felt that talk "broke his spirit." Everyone else who talked about it remembered that as a pivotal moment in their lives, and they all said it made them feel the way it made me feel. Only one guy said that he went home and told his companion the area president could go and f--- himself. 

According to some people, this experience must only have affected us because we somehow were predisposed to feel bad like that. Obviously, that is just one experience, and thankfully, most people in the church have not had an experience remotely like that. So, no, it's not universal, but it is incorrect to suggest that nothing in the church ever contributes to members feeling excessive guilt or shame. 

I wouldn't call that "The Church",  but it is certain that individuals (a certain Area President) in the Church can contribute to it.
I guess it depends on what is included when you say "The Church".

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6 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

How does that "make" *you* culpable? I am talking about concepts, not people. 

The OP introduced the topic where LDS-related concepts were believed to have contributed to the woman's crippling anxiety. So unless otherwise requested, it is within the scope of this thread to consider the impact of LDS-related concepts. 

You are perfectly free to issue a rebuttal to that reply specifically. But you didn't yet.

 

The question was, were you pointing the finger at the church. 
I think the quote I provided reasonably demonstrated why I felt that you were.

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9 minutes ago, JAHS said:

I wouldn't call that "The Church",  but it is certain that individuals (a certain Area President) in the Church can contribute to it.
I guess it depends on what is included when you say "The Church".

So, the church does not include its leaders. Good to know.

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