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Spencer W Kimball’s Grandson turns in Temple Recommend


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https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2023/01/18/jana-riess-how-stay-lds-after/

 

curious if anyone has read his book? After being released as a bishop he turned in his  temple recommend.  He evidently had been struggling to maintain a traditional childlike belief in church.  No one seems immune anymore and yet he has found a way to remain a participant in his ward as a blue shirt with no tie wearing back bencher.

Edited by Craig Speechly
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44 minutes ago, Craig Speechly said:

https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2023/01/18/jana-riess-how-stay-lds-after/

 

curious if anyone has read his book? After being released as a bishop he turned in his  temple recommend.  He evidently had been struggling to maintain a traditional childlike belief in church.  No one seems immune anymore and yet he has found a way to remain a participant in his ward as a blue shirt with no tie wearing back bencher.

The cynic in me asks, “Do you know how wearisome it is to listen to childish adults’ presumptions on how to think like adults about religion?” The pragmatist in me asks, “Why would an adult waste their time on the back bench of something they don’t believe in?” The believer in me asks both.

Anyone who needs a book like this is going to continue thinking as a child: “The book includes lots of different ways of thinking about growing up.” Sounds like something written by and for 7th graders!

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29 minutes ago, MrShorty said:

I haven't read this book. In the "edge of inside" circles that I frequent, the book has been well received by those who have read it. As I have encountered comments on various "bloggernacle" blogs by Christian, I often find them very insightful. We'll see if I manage to get my hands on a copy of this book, but I expect I would find it insightful and valuable. But then, as one who considers himself "on the edge of inside" of the church, I have found many of those who talk about being on the "edge of inside" and what it is like to be in that space insightful and pertinent to my own experience.

In the linked article, Kimball says that his target audience is those who have had some kind of "faith crisis," and, for whatever reason, have decided to try and stay (I identify -- in spite of the efforts to avoid all identifiers other than child of God -- with this group).

The edge-of-insider in me says that, if you cannot answer this question for yourself, then you will have a very hard time understanding or empathizing with Kimball's target audience.

As a believer, not only do I ask the question, but I also accept an answer in good faith. I also have some answers I've thought of; some of which were mentioned in the article (a particular kind of partial faith, tradition, family obligations, need for community, etc.). But for me the operative word is "waste" -- it would be a waste of time for me to do that for any of these reasons, and I can navigate these associations in ways other than spending time in church. I can still empathize -- I have similar feelings perhaps in other areas of life with lesser priorities than my religion, so I think I can understand them in that sense.

I have no issue with his target audience, only his assumption that their erstwhile belief was childish and that the key to staying active in a church you no longer believe in (giving broad berth to the notion that that's desirable or healthy in the first place) requires adult coping skills. Unless his target audience is childish adults, in which case it is better for them to stop rewriting their narrative as children who were deceived into believing a falsehood and just accept responsibility that they no longer believe and can live (and demonstrate living) happy lives without the restored gospel.

Edited by CV75
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@MrShortysorry, I have a bad habit of editing my posts and it seems you gave a rep point (which you may wish to retract!) midst-edit... so what you responded to may not be the same as what is currently posted. I don't know your rationale or process of being on the edge of inside; I am only responding to the OP and the article linked therein. I am perfectly happy accepting someone's explanation, "I don't believe it anymore," and feel like they've missed their own point when they have to justify it with a revised personal history.

Edited by CV75
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Spencer W. Kimball had an inactive son.  I know this because he told me.  I had just completed my missionary training and was at the SLC airport catching my flight to my mission area. It was 4:30 a.m. and the airport was pretty much empty. I looked down the hall and saw this little guy walking with what looked like a large body guard. As they got closer I recognized him as Spencer W. Kimball, the current prophet. I went up to him like a 19 year old would, and introduced myself. This made the big guy real nervous, but SWK was nice and took the time to chat with me. He asked what mission I was going to, and when he found out it was Illinois, he asked me to look up his granddaughter's family, who were inactive.  She was the daughter of the inactive son. The whole interaction I had with him lasted just a couple of minutes, but I went away thinking he was a very kind grandfatherly person. I did actually look up his granddaughter and her husband. They were also nice but wanted nothing to do with the church.

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8 minutes ago, MrShorty said:

I hope I am reading this correctly, because, to me, this can be the most important part of the relationship to the "insiders." Those who talk about being on the edge of inside often talk about how difficult it can be. Those who are all out are disappointed in you because you haven't fully left. Those who are all in are disappointed in you because you aren't all in. The ones that bother me the most, though, are those who are all in who just wish the edge-of-insiders would get it over with and get all out. I hope that, when you talk about accepting an answer in good faith, that means that you are willing to let the edge-of-insider choose without wanting them to fully leave -- even if you would hypothetically never choose the edge of inside for yourself.

I agree wholeheartedly. Sadly, I've read that some members on the edge or maybe inactive for a while, like myself, are asked if they want their records removed. That's just messed up IMO. 

There are many members who like the friendships and even like the talks and music too and like me, can't find another place to worship that they like better. 

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1 hour ago, MrShorty said:

The ones that bother me the most, though, are those who are all in who just wish the edge-of-insiders would get it over with and get all out.

What you called "edge-of-insiders", I would probably call friendly less active or inactive members.  I've never seen or heard anyone express the sentiment that these members should get out. If a member is pleasant and tolerant of ministering activities (even if all they do is stand in the doorway, smile and thank you for the cookies, but never invite you in) they can sit on the ward rolls their entire life. Why would anyone want them to leave?

However, I am not a fan of hostile inactives. These are the people who leave themselves on the church rolls, but snarl at every member that knocks on their door or pitches a fit if you inadvertently email them a list of Relief Society lessons because they didn't remove their email from the member tools when they decided to quit attending. If an inactive member is disgruntled to the point that they can't even be polite to other members, I'd certainly hope someone would ask them if they want their names removed. Why continue a relationship they obviously abhor?

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23 minutes ago, Emily said:

Why would anyone want them to leave?

Less families on ministering lists means more time for each or more time spent elsewhere.  Also less need for contacting about other things which may likely be declined (coming in for a tithing settlement, etc).  Not saying that is the correct attitude, but I have heard it.

Most of the time though I have heard such asking is done to prevent the inactive member from being annoyed by unwanted contacts.

Edited by Calm
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13 hours ago, CV75 said:

“Why would an adult waste their time on the back bench of something they don’t believe in?”

Because TBM family members label a questioning family member apostate if the family member chooses to sever all contact with the church. For some members it's easier to pretend to believe and go to church on Sunday, compared to telling the truth to family members, leaving the church for good, and starting a completely new life outside the church. 

13 hours ago, CV75 said:

Anyone who needs a book like this is going to continue thinking as a child: “The book includes lots of different ways of thinking about growing up.” Sounds like something written by and for 7th graders!

Understanding the meaning of religion, including our religion,  can help one understand why people in a religion that demands a lot, will find it easy to dismiss wayward family members. 

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8 hours ago, Tacenda said:

I agree wholeheartedly. Sadly, I've read that some members on the edge or maybe inactive for a while, like myself, are asked if they want their records removed. That's just messed up IMO. 

There are many members who like the friendships and even like the talks and music too and like me, can't find another place to worship that they like better. 

As a member of our church, we are taught our church is the only religion on the face of the earth that can push the penthouse button in the elevator. Everything we are taught revolves around pushing the penthouse button, everything. Look at it this way. A big LDS family enters an elevator, they've all been taught the penthouse is the only place true happiness can be found, so everyone is shouting at the family patriarch, PUSH THE PENTHOUSE BUTTON DADDY, PUSH THE PENTHOUSE BUTTON! So daddy pushes the penthouse and while the elevator is climbing to the tippy top, daddy starts explaining the rules required to enter the penthouse once the doors of the elevator open. Well, one of the children decides he's not interested in hanging out in the penthouse for the rest of his life, he rather walk the halls of the building, play with the ice machines, the soda machines, knock on doors and run away, explore. So daddy explains to the wayward child, that getting off at a lower floor will separate the child from the rest of the family and if the child decides to take the stairs to the penthouse, none of the family will be able to open the penthouse door when the child knocks. He tells the child an explanation will have to be given to the guards that stand on either side of the penthouse door, why the child decided to waist time playing in the hallways. He explains to the child, the guards won't just open the door to the penthouse, the guards will demand for the child to circle back to the doors he knocked on for fun and apologize to all the guests for running away. They'll also make the child clean up any ice that fell on the carpet while he was playing in the ice machine. And after making the child wait for 6 to 12 months so the child can prove loyalty to the family, the guards may or may not allow the child to enter the penthouse. 

Well, that seemed just a little to complicated to the child, he was also scared, so the child thought, hmmmm, I'll just pretend I still believe, that way I won't be separated from everyone I love and I can be with my family. The child realized the inconvenience of going to church once a week and pretending to believe was better than possibly losing an entire family over not believing in the demanding belief system the family patriarch decide to raise the family in. 

That's how thousands of thousands, if not millions of "faithfull" LDS feel right now. And it's my opinion atleast 20% if not more of the people found in sacrament meeting are probably there so they can make a family member happy, nor because of a strong testimony of belief. Am I wrong? Isn't this what Kimball is probably doing?

 

Edited by John L
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9 hours ago, MrShorty said:

I hope I am reading this correctly, because, to me, this can be the most important part of the relationship to the "insiders." Those who talk about being on the edge of inside often talk about how difficult it can be. Those who are all out are disappointed in you because you haven't fully left. Those who are all in are disappointed in you because you aren't all in. The ones that bother me the most, though, are those who are all in who just wish the edge-of-insiders would get it over with and get all out. I hope that, when you talk about accepting an answer in good faith, that means that you are willing to let the edge-of-insider choose without wanting them to fully leave -- even if you would hypothetically never choose the edge of inside for yourself.

I think it is important to talk about personal difficulties with Church activity with trustworthy people. As a fairly private person, I am selective with what I share and with whom. The three kinds of listeners you mention, in my opinion, are not trustworthy. I try to be a trustworthy person and so, in the rare instance when someone is vulnerable enough to tell me that they no longer believe or believe as much but continue attending, I never comment on what I would do in their shoes and let them know in so many words that they don’t have to explain themselves for my sake unless they wish to discuss. I do invite them to discuss anything they wish but never initiate topic.

I think a book like the one in the OP represents an approach that is not trustworthy because the author builds a specific case for the no-longer-believing-yet attending reader. It seems to overlook that people at any level of cognitive, moral or spiritual development can both believe or disbelieve within in their respective modes of thought and mental states.

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6 minutes ago, CV75 said:

I think it is important to talk about personal difficulties with Church activity with trustworthy people. As a fairly private person, I am selective with what I share and with whom. The three kinds of listeners you mention, in my opinion, are not trustworthy. I try to be a trustworthy person and so, in the rare instance when someone is vulnerable enough to tell me that they no longer believe or believe as much but continue attending, I never comment on what I would do in their shoes and let them know in so many words that they don’t have to explain themselves for my sake unless they wish to discuss. I do invite them to discuss anything they wish but never initiate topic.

I think a book like the one in the OP represents an approach that is not trustworthy because the author builds a specific case for the no-longer-believing-yet attending reader. It seems to overlook that people at any level of cognitive, moral or spiritual development can both believe or disbelieve within in their respective modes of thought and mental states.

I disagree, who's to say the person like Kimball might not get a lightbulb go off that he does believe more than he thought. I've asked this question before, why does the church leaders or teachers etc. bring up to us in church to always work on our testimonies?!?

Edited by Tacenda
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1 hour ago, John L said:

Because TBM family members label a questioning family member apostate if the family member chooses to sever all contact with the church. For some members it's easier to pretend to believe and go to church on Sunday, compared to telling the truth to family members, leaving the church for good, and starting a completely new life outside the church. 

Understanding the meaning of religion, including our religion,  can help one understand why people in a religion that demands a lot, will find it easy to dismiss wayward family members. 

This observation seems to have more to do with perpetuating family dysfunction than with applying the principles of the Gospel (for believers) or establishing healthy boundaries (for non-believers).

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2 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

I disagree, who's to say the person like Kimball might not get a lightbulb go off that he does believe more than he thought. I've asked this question before, why does the church leaders or teachers etc. bring up to us in church to always work on our testimonies?!?

Because this is a gospel of repentance (progress) and the freedom of conscience; the choice to work on a testimony or not is sacred at any stage of development. The book's model is that you need to "grow up" enough to disbelieve and then compromise to keep up a modicum of appearances from there, as if that is "grown up." But both can be done whether you are "grown up" or not. These decisions are a matter of belief, not your stage of development.

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17 hours ago, Craig Speechly said:

https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2023/01/18/jana-riess-how-stay-lds-after/

 

curious if anyone has read his book? After being released as a bishop he turned in his  temple recommend.  He evidently had been struggling to maintain a traditional childlike belief in church.  No one seems immune anymore and yet he has found a way to remain a participant in his ward as a blue shirt with no tie wearing back bencher.

It is extremely difficult to discard ones culture and tribal membership. Especially when you still live within the clan's borders. Even when publicly, you no longer want to be part of the clan, it is difficult to extricate yourself from the habits of a lifetime. 

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9 hours ago, Calm said:

Less families on ministering lists means more time for each or more time spent elsewhere.  Also less need for contacting about other things which may likely be declined (coming in for a tithing settlement, etc).  Not saying that is the correct attitude, but I have heard it.

Most of the time though I have heard such asking is done to prevent the inactive member from being annoyed by unwanted contacts.

I don’t like the attitude that if a member isn’t over-the-top engaged, that they should then be ignored. There’s a multitude of reasons that a member might be less engaged or not engaged. One of the first people that reached out to me when I was an investigator was a woman who had been inactive for thirty years. She returned to the church when a new bishop reached out to her. He was the very first person who had ever done so in those thirty years. When she had stopped attending, not a single person had even bothered to ask if she was okay. 

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22 hours ago, CV75 said:

The cynic in me asks, “Do you know how wearisome it is to listen to childish adults’ presumptions on how to think like adults about religion?” The pragmatist in me asks, “Why would an adult waste their time on the back bench of something they don’t believe in?” The believer in me asks both.

Anyone who needs a book like this is going to continue thinking as a child: “The book includes lots of different ways of thinking about growing up.” Sounds like something written by and for 7th graders!

See this is why I really don't think his middle way effort works.  I tried it for a bit. I just found myself getting more frustrated and my anxiety level was off the charts when I attended Church. Your comments are reflective pretty much of most active members.

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23 hours ago, CV75 said:

The cynic in me asks, “Do you know how wearisome it is to listen to childish adults’ presumptions on how to think like adults about religion?” The pragmatist in me asks, “Why would an adult waste their time on the back bench of something they don’t believe in?” The believer in me asks both.

I do not know how much you interact with those of other faiths.  But I do and have.  Many mainline Protestants I know, and Catholics, seem to have the ability to participate fully or not so fully and be openly critical and questioning of their religious traditions teachings, doctrine and policy and still be in good standing.  Heck even conservative evangelicals seem to be able to openly debate what they term the non essential doctrines. This seems much more difficult for Latter-day Saints.  There was a time before I started doubting theism in general that I considered Catholicism or mainline protestant faiths.

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18 hours ago, MrShorty said:

I hope I am reading this correctly, because, to me, this can be the most important part of the relationship to the "insiders." Those who talk about being on the edge of inside often talk about how difficult it can be. Those who are all out are disappointed in you because you haven't fully left. Those who are all in are disappointed in you because you aren't all in. The ones that bother me the most, though, are those who are all in who just wish the edge-of-insiders would get it over with and get all out. I hope that, when you talk about accepting an answer in good faith, that means that you are willing to let the edge-of-insider choose without wanting them to fully leave -- even if you would hypothetically never choose the edge of inside for yourself.

Pretty much spot on!

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1 hour ago, Teancum said:

See this is why I really don't think his middle way effort works.  I tried it for a bit. I just found myself getting more frustrated and my anxiety level was off the charts when I attended Church. Your comments are reflective pretty much of most active members.

Read on, breathe deeply and slowly.

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7 hours ago, Raingirl said:

I don’t like the attitude that if a member isn’t over-the-top engaged, that they should then be ignored. There’s a multitude of reasons that a member might be less engaged or not engaged. One of the first people that reached out to me when I was an investigator was a woman who had been inactive for thirty years. She returned to the church when a new bishop reached out to her. He was the very first person who had ever done so in those thirty years. When she had stopped attending, not a single person had even bothered to ask if she was okay. 

I am out of points, so am posting to say I completely agree.  The only cases, imo, this offer should be given to (and not pushed on, but presented side by side with staying on the rolls imo) is when the individual makes it clear that they want no contact ever, as the only way to truly achieve that is to withdraw membership or when an individual is significantly abusive to those contacting them….at that point the well being of ministers to this toxic individual needs to be considered as part of the decision whether to suggest it.

You never know what effect having the thread of membership still intact may have on someone, best to leave it in place.

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