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Is it just me?


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1 hour ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

Whilst I agree, I think he was just illustrating the principle. He said that, for far too long, the Church had tried to replicate programs that work in Salt Lake City in other locations, with very mixed and often bad results. No longer. If something works in Utah but doesn't work in Zimbabwe, then it needs to be replaced by something that works everywhere.

As we've also seen they're now realising they can go the other way too. i.e Church scouting isn't actually needed.

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23 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

In many cases completely skipped over. I have lived places where printed books were prohibitively expensive and therefore rare, as were landlines. Now everyone has a mobile in his pocket. Technology is transforming the Third World far more rapidly than it is the First World.

My West Africa-born housemate is able to stay in contact with his cousins in their small, remote village because they all have mobile phones and access to solar-powered charging stations. I love listening to the omnipresent crowing of the roosters as they talk!

This reminds me of our zoom meetings at work. The managers live all over the US, including one in Hawaii. We sometimes get to hear the chickens that run wild there:)

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6 hours ago, T-Shirt said:

Thousands = at least 2000

Hundreds = at least 200

That you have spoken with this many inactives and former members is not very believable and that all of them had the same response is not believable.  That you spoke with this many sons and daughters is not very believable and that they all had tears in their eyes is not believable.

I don't know if you made it up, misspoke or exaggerated, but I don't believe it is true, nor even close to being the truth.  That's my opinion.

OK here it goes.  I mentor families struggling with their belief in the Church and having a queer child.  I have been doing that for nine year since the group started.  You can go to Facebook and look it up.  It is called I'll Walk With You -- A Support Group For LDS parents of LGBTQ+ Children.  It currently has two thousand six hundred members almost all of which I have had personal conversations with.  I have met many others through Mormon Building Bridges and Waters of Mormon and listened to their stories.  Probably 300 or 400.  I have attended Affirmation: LGBTQ Mormons, Families & Friends events for 8 years during which I have probably listened to another 500 or 600 stories.  I come from a very large pioneer member family with at least 100 first cousins, 80 nieces and nephews, at least 5 children on average for each of those cousins  with probably 15 grown grandchildren of each cousin.  Do the math.  That is over 1,500 people.  At the very least 20% of those individuals have left the Church and I have listened to most of their stories.  In the wards and stakes I have attended for the last 10 years, I have watched 500 to a thousand people leave and spoken to them.  Some were my age, most were the age of my children.  I have read the stories of why people left the Church and what happened to them when they left for 8 years.  I would guess that would be at least another 500.  I have listened to podcasts of another 500 that left the church.  I have had employees, fellow workers, neighbors, business acquaintances and fellow travelers on planes that are former members of the church.  I would guess that would be another 500.  Total of that is over 5,000 at a minimum.

Is every story exactly the same no.  But the vast majority shared several common themes.  No one reached out when they left and any family that was still active including parents often refused to discuss why they had left the church and that broke many children's hearts that their parents didn't love them enough to honestly try to understand why the left.  You see for the first 50 years of my life I believed just like you about people who leave the church.  Then my son came out and my family was basically shoved to the margins by all our leaders and many members.  I wanted to understand why I was treated this way when my whole life I had been told that the church never treats people this way.  So I started listening to stories wherever I could find them with no judgement.  I often sat next to people as they shared their stories and the pain and hurt almost broke my belief in many thinks.  I realized that the active members of the church and many church leaders rely on assumptions about why people leave.  So my lived experience in my chance to say I think you got it wrong.  Please consider what such beliefs are doing to people who are leaving.  Open your heart and try to understand how painful and difficult it is for almost any of the individuals that I have talked to as they left the church.

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On 1/13/2022 at 10:34 PM, kimpearson said:

Our stake president in our recent stake conference told active members to not get caught up is discussions with family members about why they left.  Rather they should focus on expressing their love. 

This is actually good advise.

Quote

I have also talked to thousands of inactive and former members who have told be that when they left no one made any effort to find out why.  I have listened to hundreds of sons and daughter tear up when they tell me that their parents refuse to listen to them explain why they left the Church.  So that has been my experience in many cases but your right not everyone. 

My experience from bishoprics, elder's quorum presidencies, YM presidencies, ward missions, six plus decades of membership, etc. tells me something very different.  When a person or a family leave, the first thing everyone asks is, "Why?"  In the process of trying to understand why, quite often that answer never comes, because the people, themselves, don't want to share it and don't want to talk about it.  Every attempt by a ward or family member to try to find out why, pushes them further away.  It is very common, however, for these same people to be very open about why they left the Church when they get in a group of people who also left the Church and have a similar experience.  Trying to find out why, is usually a very fruitless errand.  Reaching out in love, can be more successful as those who have left will voluntarily share their experience once a relationship of love a respect has been established.

While I don't believe that 2000 plus people have told you, personally, that when they left, " no one made any effort to find out why", even if some have said this, I don't believe you are getting the whole story.

Edited by T-Shirt
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On 1/14/2022 at 8:31 PM, kimpearson said:

You see for the first 50 years of my life I believed just like you about people who leave the church. 

You don't know me and I have not shared what I believe about people who leave the Church so yo can't possible know that you used to believe just like me, because I haven't shared it.  You made a wild assumption about me while, at the same time, making the accusation that active members, "rely on assumptions about why people leave".

Quote

I realized that the active members of the church and many church leaders rely on assumptions about why people leave.  So my lived experience in my chance to say I think you got it wrong.  Please consider what such beliefs are doing to people who are leaving.  Open your heart and try to understand how painful and difficult it is for almost any of the individuals that I have talked to as they left the church.

I am beginning to understand why you have said the things you have.  After one post on a message board, you think you know me and how I think, even though I haven't shared anything about how I think on the topic. You then proceed to give me advise about something you can't possible know about me.

I'm getting a better picture of how you operate and trust even less, the claims you are making.

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On 1/15/2022 at 12:55 AM, rchorse said:

I've heard many of the same stories from people who have left the church. I have a hard time taking them at face value anymore because I know the enormous outreach most of them received and how many people tried to reach out and have a discussion. Simply put, the outreach was rejected and then they claimed it never happened.

I'm sure there are cases where it really went that way. I'm familiar with some. But far more, in my experience didn't go at all the way it was claimed when you know both sides of the story.

Too bad there's no way to get the other side of the story in most cases.

I was the bishop of my ward from 2003 to 2009.  HC after that.  Many calling before that. Pretty well known member of the ward and stake from 1981 to now.  When we stopped going to church do you know how many people reached out?  Two.  One older friend asked me to lunch but really did not want to hear about the reason I as not attending.  But it was nice to know he cared.  The other was the  bishop and that was about two years after I stopped attending.  He came to visit.  This bishop had been ward clerk when I was bishop and was our home teacher for years.  A few months into covid I got a text from my ministering brother.  New to the ward. Did not know me.  Said he was not attending due to covid but wanted to be sure that we were ok.

At first I was fine because I did not want the attention or to be bothered.  And by the way I was not vocal.  I do not know how many people had any idea as to why we stopped attending.  But after a while it did bother me some. I do not mean this boastfully but I was a pretty prominent member.  To just be ignored was surprising. I would not turn away a visit or a request to chat.  

Oh and  last year a few missionaries started texting me.

I do have  a few good friends who attend different wards in the stake that I discussed my faith journey with all along the way. But that was primarily instigated but me.  Once I stopped going though, pretty much crickets from my ward.

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On 1/13/2022 at 10:28 AM, rongo said:

 

* Bishoprics can still assign their own talk topics, but I'm unaware of wards that do this much, any more (I'm sure there are still some. We always used to). 

Our ward does.  We hardly ever have conference talks as the basis for talks and when we do the bishopric makes it a point that the talk isn't on the conference talk but on the speaker's experiences with the doctrines taught or personal feelings on the talk.

And if a member struggles with just reading the CG talk despite the instructions then that is noted so that they aren't given a conference talk to speak on again.

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Just now, bluebell said:

Our ward does.  We hardly ever have conference talks as the basis for talks and when we do the bishopric makes it a point that the talk isn't on the conference talk but on the speaker's experiences with the doctrines taught or personal feelings on the talk.

And if a member struggles with just reading the CG talk despite the instructions then that is noted so that they aren't given a conference talk to speak on again.

You have a wise bishopric. :)

I've never understood the conference talk topics. Well, it is easy. We always had people talk on topics we wanted our ward to hear --- or, that we felt the speakers would benefit from preparing and delivering. But that manifested ad specific topics from us, not the closest approximation from the most recent conference.

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On 1/13/2022 at 7:07 PM, Hamba Tuhan said:

Hearing people talk about their personal experiences with living/applying gospel principles is one of the central reasons why I go to church. I can stay home and read the scriptures. What I need when I gather is the strength and renewal I get from hearing others.

I agree.  Please give me talks with personal stories.  I want to hear how someone lives the gospel, or experiences that they've had with different doctrines.  I really really struggle with talks that just quote scriptures or regurgitate the doctrine that we all already know.  I want to hear about the gospel in action.

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On 1/13/2022 at 6:03 PM, The Nehor said:

Was the world better when you were young or because you were young?

There is so much truth to this.  We sometimes forget that it's not just times that have changed, but the way that we experience the world and live in it has changed to, and that can really impact the lens that we view everything.

There is a reason that every era always has an old person longing for "the good old days".  It's a universal lament, and doesn't really have much to do with how the past actually was.  

 

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48 minutes ago, Teancum said:

I was the bishop of my ward from 2003 to 2009.  HC after that.  Many calling before that. Pretty well known member of the ward and stake from 1981 to now.  When we stopped going to church do you know how many people reached out?  Two.  One older friend asked me to lunch but really did not want to hear about the reason I as not attending.  But it was nice to know he cared.  The other was the  bishop and that was about two years after I stopped attending.  He came to visit.  This bishop had been ward clerk when I was bishop and was our home teacher for years.  A few months into covid I got a text from my ministering brother.  New to the ward. Did not know me.  Said he was not attending due to covid but wanted to be sure that we were ok.

At first I was fine because I did not want the attention or to be bothered.  And by the way I was not vocal.  I do not know how many people had any idea as to why we stopped attending.  But after a while it did bother me some. I do not mean this boastfully but I was a pretty prominent member.  To just be ignored was surprising. I would not turn away a visit or a request to chat.  

Oh and  last year a few missionaries started texting me.

I do have  a few good friends who attend different wards in the stake that I discussed my faith journey with all along the way. But that was primarily instigated but me.  Once I stopped going though, pretty much crickets from my ward.

Like I said, I'm sure it happens, and I have seen it happen. I'm not doubting your experience.

But it's not universal like critics make it seem, and in my experience, it's not even the majority. And without both sides of the story, I'm going to withhold judgment on either side.

Edited by rchorse
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4 minutes ago, rchorse said:

Like I said, I'm sure it happens, and I have seen it happen. I'm not doubting your experience.

But it's not universal like critics make it seem, and in my experience, it's not even the majority. And without both sides of the story, I'm going to withhold judgment on either side.

Fair enough.

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1 hour ago, Teancum said:

I do have  a few good friends who attend different wards in the stake that I discussed my faith journey with all along the way. But that was primarily instigated but me.  Once I stopped going though, pretty much crickets from my ward.

This is another way to see it.... from a member's pov.

You make it clear you don't want the church in your life when you leave, for whatever your reason.   

Perhaps also you don't want to share your knowledge that Joseph Smith was...... whatever you believe he was --simply out of concern that the person may be upset and lose their testimonies because of the wisdom of your superior intelligence, and surely you don't want to do that.... so you must keep your superior knowledge to yourself.   Besides you are getting on with life and want to perhaps talk with people who are as intelligent as you think you are and not the poor sheeple you left behind.     

You may quietly think "So sad, these silly people who stay.   Oh well, let them remain as placid believers in a lie.  Who am I to disturb them with the truth?"

For my side, about harrasing those who leave, I tend to respect people's privacy, so why should I call them weekly to find out if they still don't want to talk to me?

I have met a lot of people who have left the church, but I have never seen one who thought that they knew more about topic x- which caused them to leave-  than I did.   I was seen as the poor simpleton doing mental gymnastics to justify my ignorance.

It works two ways.   Pride is enmity 

Edited by mfbukowski
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2 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

This is another way to see it.... from a member's pov.

I have done so. Been on both sides.

2 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

You make it clear you don't want the church in your life when you leave, for whatever your reason.   

Ok. So?  What is the purpose of the church?  What is the purpose of ministering?  What does Jesus say about the lost sheep and coin?  

2 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Perhaps also you don't want to share your knowledge that Joseph Smith was...... whatever you believe he was --simply out of concern that the person may be upset and lose their testimonies because of the wisdom of your superior intelligence, and surely you don't want to do that.... so you must keep your superior knowledge to yourself.   Besides you are getting on with life and want to perhaps talk with people who are as intelligent as you are and not the sheeple you left behind.

I am not sure you are trying to be funny, sarcastic or snarky.  But I don't approach anyone that way and any time I talk to active members in person I respect their boundaries.  Your comment above is out of line really.

2 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

I tend to respect people's privacy, so why should I call them weekly to find out if they still don't want to talk to me?

Do you believe in the various missions of the church?  Last I checked one of the reasons it exists is to reach out to lost souls.  Or has that been tossed aside.  So guess what. I f you believe what your church preaches you have an obligation.  Were you really a bishop?  I hope you didn't approach your troubled members this way. 

2 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

I have met a lot of people who have left the church, but I have never seen one who thought that they knew more about topic x- which caused them to leave-  than I did.

I am not sure I follow. You have never met a member who know about topic x more than you did, or that thought they knew more  than you did.

2 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

It works two ways.

No it does not really.  The disaffected member does not have the same covenant or obligation you do. Better study up on your NT a bit.  But I don't really fret about it. I am just puzzled. I have a few good LDS friends still that I talk to about LDS things from time to time.  I reach out to them and them to me and our friendship is not contingent on what we believe.  Maybe yours is for those you associate with.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/17/2022 at 1:35 PM, bluebell said:

So were they.

True. But I am more persuaded by the trials they faced without the benefit of the scriptures as we enjoy them today. 

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On 1/13/2022 at 7:07 PM, Hamba Tuhan said:

Hearing people talk about their personal experiences with living/applying gospel principles is one of the central reasons why I go to church. I can stay home and read the scriptures. What I need when I gather is the strength and renewal I get from hearing others.

This.  Perhaps I'm odd, but I love hearing how the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ works in the lives of real, live, living, breathing, flesh-and-blood human beings.

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1 minute ago, Kenngo1969 said:

Perhaps I'm odd, but I love hearing how the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ works in the lives of real, live, living, breathing, flesh-and-blood human beings.

It's the essence of personal witness.

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On 1/17/2022 at 1:03 PM, Teancum said:

I was the bishop of my ward from 2003 to 2009.  HC after that.  Many calling before that. Pretty well known member of the ward and stake from 1981 to now.  When we stopped going to church do you know how many people reached out?  Two.  One older friend asked me to lunch but really did not want to hear about the reason I as not attending.  But it was nice to know he cared.  The other was the  bishop and that was about two years after I stopped attending.  He came to visit.  This bishop had been ward clerk when I was bishop and was our home teacher for years.  A few months into covid I got a text from my ministering brother.  New to the ward. Did not know me.  Said he was not attending due to covid but wanted to be sure that we were ok.

At first I was fine because I did not want the attention or to be bothered.  And by the way I was not vocal.  I do not know how many people had any idea as to why we stopped attending.  But after a while it did bother me some. I do not mean this boastfully but I was a pretty prominent member.  To just be ignored was surprising. I would not turn away a visit or a request to chat.  

Oh and  last year a few missionaries started texting me.

I do have  a few good friends who attend different wards in the stake that I discussed my faith journey with all along the way. But that was primarily instigated but me.  Once I stopped going though, pretty much crickets from my ward.

I think your second paragraph typifies the darned-if-we-do-darned-if-we-don't concern that can arise when someone leaves the Church.  If X stops attending and members reach out, we can be characterized as nosy interlopers intruding into X's private life.  Alternatively, if X stops attending and members do not reach out, then we can be characterized as callous, indifferent, "shunning," and so on.  As you put it: "Pretty much crickets from my ward."

Another factor may be that members may be a bit averse to having their cherished beliefs disparaged, even desecrated, to our faces by former adherents. I experienced this back in 2020.  I summarized the experience here:

Quote

Earlier this year I went to lunch with a long-time friend ("Tom") who has become extremely hostile to the Church.  We ended up speaking for several hours.  The conversation remained civil, but we still spoke plainly about our respective positions.  Tom repeatedly insisted that his departure from the Church was "not a choice." 

After a while, I said something like "Tom, it seems like your position about the Church is that those who are like you, who have researched and investigated its history and doctrines, have only two options.  The first option is stay in the Church by becoming a party to its lies and deceits and frauds.  Profound dishonesty, and perhaps even some evil, is required for this, since remaining in the Church after learning of its history requires members to continue to advance the teachings of the Church, which are based on lies.  The second option is to leave the Church."

Tom thought for a moment, and then said "Yes.  That's right.  Those are the only two options."

I then asked "Then how do you account for me?  I've studied the Church quite a bit.  Nothing you've said during the last few hours is new to me.  Are you saying I am therefore profoundly dishonest in staying in the Church and continuing to have a testimony of it?"

Tom said "No."

I responded "I appreciate that.  But again, if there are only two options, to leave or else to stay and become a liar, and if I am not a liar, and if I haven't left, then how do you account for me?"

He did not respond.

We talked a bit longer.  Before we parted we hugged (in a manly way), and expressed our mutual affection and continuing friendship.  I concluded with "I hope you will in time consider the possibility that there is a third option.  That it is quite possible to know about the doctrines and history of the Church, including its errors and controversies, and still have a very strong testimony of its divinity and truthfulness.  There is still a choice to be made."

It was not, on the whole, a pleasant experience.  The pandemic has slowed things down a bit, so our communications since then have mostly been through social media.  I'll continue to reach out, but I don't exactly relish the notion of interacting with him more.  There is little sense of "live and let live" given his overt and freely-expressed contempt for my beliefs.  There is essentially zero chance of him exhibiting basic respect and decorum for my beliefs.  So there is something of a calculus in me reaching out.  There are things that are very sacred and important to me.  Do I, in talking with my friend, simply avoid the elephant in the room?  For his sake?  That seems prudent, but it sure calls for a lot of self-censorship and walking on eggshells.  And even then, I suspect that I will be called upon to endure his disparagements of things which I hold to be sacred.  That can be a difficult thing.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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On 1/13/2022 at 5:35 AM, Fether said:

Is it just me or have the talks from our leader become more and more bland over time? I’m only old enough to remember as far back as Gordon B Hinkley, but I remember his public addresses being full of personality. Monson too had his own personality implanted into his talks. But today, aside from Oaks, Eyring, Holland, Uchtdorf and Bednar (the eldest apostles), the personality has been taken out of the messages and they are all becoming one bland message. When I look at the apostles, I see no difference between Ulisses Soares up to Quinten L Cook and M Russell Ballard (though I feel the current bland approach may be his own individualistic approach).

I think back to the apostle who recently died and they too all had individualism on their talks. Packer as like the wise old guy who you knew had seen Christ. Perry had that old man fire and could speak powerfully. Hales and Scott were these gentle, soft spoken grandpas.

If you keep going back, you find more and more apostles who had fairly intense personalities (for better or worst).

The message itself is excellent, but I don’t feel the individualism in them. Am I making all this up in my head? Has it always been this way?

 

It’s just you.

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Duplicate

Edited by mfbukowski
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29 minutes ago, gtaggart said:

It’s just you.

Opposition in all things!

There is no progression without opposition, you can never do better if you are already perfect.

If eternal progression is real then so is eternal opposition.

Without routine talks, the really important ones would not be really important 

"Same as it ever was - letting the day go by..."

Same as it ever was
Same as it ever was
Same as it ever was ;)

It's not on us, its ennui 

Ok weirder than usual today I suspect...

Camus overdose...

Edited by mfbukowski
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