Recently, Ordain Women announced that it would be planning a new action surrounding the October 2014 General Conference: women will be requesting to listen to the priesthood session of General Conference…
…at their local stake centers.
Despite the fact that Ordain Women leadership announced months ago that it would not be conducting another event at the LDS Conference Center, many people have taken this new twist on their old Priesthood session event as a let-down. One Facebook group discussion on the topic that I’ve been following began with the following comment:
So that’s it for OW? All they had to do was ex Kate, and the group falls right in line? And how does doing what the male leadership tells you to do have anything to do with protesting inequality?
In the discussion, many have raised that it’s uncertain whether or not all women will be allowed to participate even at their local stake centers. Peggy Fletcher Stack addressed this back in October of 2013, but we did not see anything from it at that time because all attention was focused on the larger event in Salt Lake. Per the report:
…”We have received inquiry about whether women may be admitted to local meetinghouses to view the broadcast of the general priesthood meeting,” read a letter to all LDS area authorities and stake presidents sent days before conference. “If women ask to be admitted, please inform them that the meeting is for men and that men are invited to attend.”
That is the reverse procedure for the all-women Relief Society broadcast, a week before LDS General Conference, the letter noted. “The meeting is for women, and women are invited to attend.”
However, Mormon meetinghouses “should be places of peace, not contention,” the letter instructed LDS leaders, so if women “become insistent” about entering the priesthood session “to the point that their presence would be disruptive, please allow them to enter and view the conference.”…
As a result, some folks have commented that even if certain local leaders turn Ordain Women supporters away, there is no institutional problem for the church because the Newsroom can point to this policy. One response from supporters points to the Wear Pants to Church events. Institutionally, there isn’t necessarily a dress code policy that bans wearing pants, but the events still were effective to point out the problematic unofficial and local responses. But, the original critic was not convinced and expressed it over several comments (emphasis is mine):
…It doesn’t matter if women need to have courage to show up at local buildings for the priesthood session, because all that courage will demonstrate is their willingness to be obedient and sit in a priesthood session and listen to men explain the gospel to them. The only thing it succeeds in doing is reinforcing the status quo, and that’s a shame; it’s courage misspent…
…The last two actions were not about attending the priesthood session; it was about calling attention to the fact that women weren’t allowed to attend the priesthood session. That’s an important distinction…
…I’m not going to encourage women to stick their necks out in a situation like this when the overwhelming odds are that it will have zero impact; that’s a bad bet… What kind of press are these women going to get, exactly, when they explain that they’re simply attending a meeting church headquarters said they could attend?
I have emphasized the parts I did because of the implications they reveal about what the commenter believes about activism. Activism is to an extent about disobedience (even if it’s civil disobedience). It is about calling attention and gaining press.
Interestingly, those are some of the criticisms of Ordain Women and broader “liberal” approaches to change in the church.
Contrasting Liberal and Conservative Thinking
Several weeks ago, Times and Seasons had a discussion Women and the Church: Constructively Engaging the Arguments. This article was a way to summarize the ideological back and forth on women in the church, but my favorite part about this discussion was actually in the comments. And by “the comments,” I mean SilverRain’s comments. I do not apologize that I will take every opportunity (this post is just the latest) to encourage people to read those comments. The first part that struck me was this part in comment 10:
The reason [the anti-feminist] doesn’t have a great response to you is because you have set a battleground upon which she cannot win. Then, you assume that she has no ability to win.
In other words, participation in the Church is predicated upon faith in its basic principles (God the Father, Christ, the Spirit, personal revelation, God’s authority via the priesthood, the efficacy of priesthood ordinances, etc: ie. that the Church is true.) Without a testimony in those things, the [feminist] arguments try to persuade on the battleground of intellect. But [the anti-feminist] has no interest in fighting on that battleground. It doesn’t mean she CAN’T (after all, there are many people who do just that in apologetics, and they generally have good points even if you don’t accept them.) It means that she shouldn’t. That’s just not the battleground on which we have been asked to fight.
Thus, you get the “faithful” members of the Church who deride the “intellectuals” because THEY can’t fight on spiritual grounds, and the “intellectuals” who deride the faithful because they can’t fight on intellectual grounds.
It’s like a tree full of birds chattering about how dumb the fish are because they can’t fly, all while the fish are swimming around blurbing about how much more fun the birds would be having if they just tried swimming.
Not many of us are flying fish, or kingfishers.
Once I hit this comment, I basically zoned out the rest of the comments and asked SilverRain questions to try to get a better feel for her position. I for one do think there’s something to the claim that politically liberal or progressive Mormons often try to discuss Mormon issues from an intellectual standpoint (I think there are many bloggernacle articles advising that we should do this less, but habits die hard.) But I don’t think intellectual can be put at ends with spiritual. I think liberal spirituality may present differently from conservative spirituality, but it is not nonexistent.
But for a second, let’s assume that spiritual is distinct from intellectual. What are some ways that the “intellectual” or secular would be incompatible with the sacred, faithful, or “spiritual”?While I do think the flow of comments was insightful and thought-provoking, this next comment snippet encapsulated to me what I think the ultimate distinction is. From comment 57:
…Let me put it this way: there are many, many people who are inspired to talk to the leadership about problems they see in the Church. They are acting with patience, charity, humility, respect, and deference. You can know that because you don’t know their names. They did not choose to organize in the public eye and use that to try to force behavior from the leadership.
That is the meaningful difference, John. You don’t know their names. Of those few activists in history whose names you know, (like Darius Gray,) you know them not because they set themselves up in opposition to the Church and demanded change, but because of their efforts elsewhere.
People possessed of the Spirit of God do not garner attention to themselves. If they get attention, it is in spite of their desires, not because of them.
In SilverRain’s comments (but especially this one), I get the sense that for her, sacred advocacy is in a sense secret advocacy. Faithful activism must be humble, obedient activism. You don’t know the faithful advocate’s name (and if you do, it’s not because of that activism.)
Is public activism inherently unfaithful?
The quoted comment from SilverRain and the quoted criticism of the latest Ordain Women event are almost completely opposed to one another. In the criticism, Ordain Women is criticized for appearing too obedient, not garnering press attention, and so on. But, from another perspective, obedience (or at the very least, the humility, respect, and deference that obedience imply) and lack of attention are precisely the prerequisites for a faithful engagement.
But…do you agree?
- How would you define spirituality within Mormonism?
- Does a spiritual perspective exclude public activism?
- If so, is this kind of action more faithful than what OW has done previously? Is this what they should have done all along?
- If not, what sort of advocacy should they have done? Or does a spiritual perspective preclude any advocacy of changes within the church?
- If not, then how can people advocate for changes while remaining faithful?
So, I think this new action is weird. From all I’ve read women showing up at the time of the priesthood broadcast in their local building have usually not had a problem seeing the broadcast. Additionally, now that it’s available online many people are watching it together at home anyway, just as for the remaining sessions.
I don’t believe public activism is inherently unfaithful however.
I do believe public activism is inherently unfaithful. Contention, divisiveness, setting oneself up as a light to others contrary to the pattern of call and sustaining, shaming, and so forth. This doesn’t mean one cannot have a differing opinion, even passionately, and pray for change, and discuss the matter to learn more. Like a teenager who disagrees with his or her parents on curfew time — sustaining his or her own family and working within his or her own family is far more important, in the long term, than winning a victory on the curfew — so it is with our church family.
Sorry but it isn’t a spiritual argument vs. an intellectual argument taking place in the bloggernacle, it is an authority/obedience vs rational argument. The only spiritual thing that can be pointed to in the authority/obedience position is some vague folklore belief that almost anything said by LDS leaders is inspired but in practice this is a very weak “spiritual” tea based on self-serving comments by the authorities themselves but not supported by their memoirs of how modern LDS “revelation” actually occurs. There is indeed a legitimate gnosis vs rational argument but it isn’t being employed here.
The “spiritual” authority/obedience argument is an appeal to authority that depends on the conflation of the words of leaders with the mind of God, an unfounded linkage even when inspiration is assumed given the biases of men that inspiration would necessarily have to be filtered through.
I don’t think that public activism is inherently unfaithful, but as with most things, it depends on the intent of the doer – in this case, the activist. I do think that contemplated action should be thought through carefully, because the activist is likely to be judged by actions and perceived intent rather than on actual intent. In fact, no one is likely to ask about actual intent. The activist should be willing to take the likely consequences – one of the things I’ve always admired about Martin Luther King is that he was breaking the law, he knew it, and he was willing to go to jail for it. He didn’t spend a lot of time asking to be excused from the consequences of his actions, even if the law and the consequences were unjust.
I also think that, intent aside, the consequences of the earlier actions on the part of OW were entirely predictable, and outrage about their injustice at this point is a result of not thinking through, or not being ready to, accept those consequences. That conclusion is completely separate from the question of whether the consequences actually were unjust.
That said, in a church where inspiration comes from many directions and where our goal is that “all the LORD’S people [should be] prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them,” some kind of semi-public activism, at the least working calmly amongst fellow members, seems like one way to stir up the revelatory winds of change. I’ve always been a little suspicious of other churches’ decision-making by synod or committee, as if God could be swayed by popular vote. However, I do think that a people can be brought around to see things the Lord’s way in time.
Part of the problem I see is that the “sit down and shut up and keep your thoughts to yourself” method is being lauded as spirituality — which reinforces a cultural tendency to avoid difficult issues.
But are spirituality and “obedience” always synonymous? And how can we really quantify and measure spirituality in the first place? In the Church, we tend to look at the person’s actions and compare it to our own internal definition of spirituality/obedience and then make a judgment of that person’s spirituality. This practice is problematic for many reasons.
Discussing OW’s tactics is interesting but I think it’s glossing over the root problem– which is, in essence, that institutions only remain vital when members are allowed to think freely and respond in new and creative ways to present challenges. So how do we create a culture that applauds this rather than fears it?
I daresay it’s not by being quiet.
Thank you, Andrew! I’m flattered. I didn’t want to chime in until a few comments had worked themselves through, first.
I think that, so far, the comments tend to show that we are so entrenched in the democratic/Western/intellectual way of thinking that we have a very hard time accepting or understanding any other way. We assume that either we publicly discuss freely, or we fetter and gag ourselves. We have lost the ability to navigate the gray areas, as Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Mahatma Ghandi, and so many unsung others have done so successfully.
I do find it interesting how easily one can determine which side of the dichotomy a person perceives themselves on by which side of my comparison they accept, and which they reject. I suppose that means I did a fair job (not perfect, of course) representing each side’s self-definitions.
It is a shame that each side is so focused on trying to define the other’s side for them, they are missing my point: that there is a language barrier. Even more than a language barrier, a cultural barrier that makes communication nearly impossible. My experience with navigating my own fears, questions, doubts and disagreements has been that the first step is to give the “other” space to define themselves, and accept that there is good in their position that you might learn from.
I think swimming and flying are both pretty awesome, and I suspect the Lord gives seemingly conflicting commandments in order to encourage us all to learn whichever we are least naturally inclined.
I don’t think faithful activism has to be secret, just that it must be personal and private. That is not the same thing. By definition, if you have faith in God’s ability to govern His people, and if you have faith that you are right with God, you do not need to garner public support for your actions. If God is on your side, you don’t need media, nor politically-savvy friends, nor philosophies of activism to work His will.
God is a personal God. He works mighty miracles by the small and simple means of one-to-one interaction and case-by-case progression.
I think one thing is that in Mormonism (at least in 2014), a big part of faithfulness (and how spirituality is expressed within Mormonism) is sustaining leaders. I think this gets to your point about obedience vs rationality, but the basic issue is that there is a strong narrative that couples obedience and spirituality together.
So, a lot of my thinking on liberal vs. conservative is in wondering how both groups sees sustaining *differently*.
(Now, if you think the church is so far off that obedience is not appropriate, then that’s a different concern. Also in the discussions at T&S, SilverRain had comments to that effect — OT prophets were outspoken, but they were also basically claiming that the status quo institution was apostate. Which, if anyone wants to claim that, then that’s their prerogative, but it’s very different than the message of, “We sustain our leaders as right on x, y, and z, but just not on this one issue.” It will of course also lead to the institution going back and saying that the other side are the real apostates.)
I first had a LOT of problems with how OW was going about things. It was really distressing to me. But last year I felt prompted to start a public blog and share my thoughts and story…. and it’s public advocacy and everything that people have said about OW they have said to me. That they are attacking the prophets, that they clearly don’t have a testimony, etc. etc. And I was taken back because I feel prompted to share what and how I do publicly, and I wouldn’t continue what I’m doing if not for the personal notes and messages I’ve gotten that have told me I am helping other people. I know I have helped people stay IN the church.
After that I just had to step back and see that I personally have been prompted to do something others consider apostate, but if the Spirit has moved me to act and then shown me fruits of those actions that are good . . . . who am I to judge others’ actions and their promptings? Maybe God moves in mysterious ways. Maybe he wants us as a people to be having these conversations and thoughts and to wrestle with these questions. Perhaps he is prompting them and their actions. I haven’t personally been prompted to join and participate in that way. There may be people that only they can reach.
As for being divisive and becoming one, I’ve blogged about it a few times myself, but here I’ll quote Rachel Held Evans (the evangelical kate kelly, I suppose) and her response to her critics On Being Divisive:
I suspect Paul combined this call for the Body’s unity with an acknowledgement of the Body’s diversity because he knew that unity isn’t the same as uniformity.
We’re not called to be alike; we’re called to love.
We’re not called to agree; we’re called to love.
We’re not even called to get along all the time; we’re called to love each other as brothers and sisters, as people united in one baptism, one communion, one adoption.
Maybe we need these differences to be animated, to be alive, to mature. Maybe friction isn’t a sign of decay, but of growth.
The world is certainly watching. But this doesn’t mean we hide our dirty laundry, slap on mechanical smiles, and gloss over all the injustices and abuses, conflicts and disagreements, diversity and denominationalism present within the Church; it means we expose them. It means we talk about them boldly and with integrity, with passion and with love. I suspect that talking about our differences is better for our witness than suppressing them, and I’m sure that exposing corruption and abuse is better for our witness than hiding them.
And when it comes to injustice, a far more important question to me than “What will the world think if they see us disagreeing?” is “What will the world think if they don’t?”
Also, I have to point out I have met with my own bishop and discussed these issues with other leaders locally and have an appointment to meet with my stake president. I think all players have their part and we need to life where we stand. I think we need Kates, Joannas, Lisas, Neylans, Julies, Kristines (Haglund, natch), Hawkgrrls, Hedghogs, etc. Doing what they feel prompted to do.
While to an extent (actually, a large extent, as I’ll say later in my comment), I think you’re right that “we are so entrenched in the democratic/Western/intellectual way of thinking that we have a very hard time accepting or understanding any other way,” I have pondered something Jeff Spector said in a previous post where I was discussing similar issues. What I got from his comments was that it’s more that online, we just happen to have a lot of admittedly, self-descriptive nonbelievers who are critiquing, and we conflate that with liberal belief. So, the comments may be pretty entrenched, but we could also be missing out on another perspective.
But that being said, I do agree that the comments suggest we are very entrenched. But I think that is far more widespread — it applies to liberals, conservatives, etc.,
Jeff G at New Cool Thang had a post that disaffection was really the adoption of the *alternative ideology* of “liberal democracy.” But my question (which I don’t think Jeff was able to adequately answer) was: how can ANYONE defend from adopting these values, given that we all live, learn, and work in such an environment, and find nothing wrong with it in the vast majority of cases? This is not just a problem for, say, converts, because even people raised in the church will be well acquainted.
And I would go further. Liberal democracy isn’t just something for disaffection. Wouldn’t it be possible for many stereotypically “conservative” cultural points in the church to really be external to the gospel, and instead part of the outside social ideologies?
Anyway, it seems difficult to sort out, but however it does sort out, I definitely think that what you’re saying makes sense.
Re: secret vs private. In one sense, I was using it to try to tie in the idea that the sacred in Mormonism is often confused by outsiders as secret…so the response is, ‘sacred, not secret.’ I couldn’t help not to take advantage of the pun opportunity here with the connection between faith/sacredness and privacy/secrecy.
BUT more substantially, I feel like there is some connection between privacy and secrecy. I’m thinking of Matthew 6:6, which, depending on your translation, either translates as pray to Heavenly Father in *private* or in *secret*. And maybe i’m misunderstanding context, but it seems that the context is similar here — it sets a pattern whereby true faithfulness is not done “on the street corners so that [one] may be seen by men.”
Civil disobedience is often obedience to conscience and even God, and as such is not inherently unfaithful. An organization that teaches its members to “stand for truth and righteousness” shouldn’t be so surprised when someone actually does.
But both approaches are valid and vital. Civil disobedience is a catalyst for change, while obedient dissent (for lack of a better phrase) makes change palatable to conservatives. Put another way, the civilly disobedient force the issues, and their more conservative disciples give their cause credibility.
On Wear Pants to Church Day I justify my Nicodemus feminism by telling myself I can make more of a difference posing in a skirt. As a mild-mannered instructor I can push for subtle changes: including more female voices and being an authoritative female voice myself, encouraging deference to God over men, focusing on doctrine rather than pharasaical hedges, and advocating compassion and inclusiveness. If I showed up in pants I would possibly be released and definitely lose credibility in the classroom.
I think one thing is that in Mormonism (at least in 2014), a big part of faithfulness (and how spirituality is expressed within Mormonism) is sustaining leaders.
Indeed it is! But, can you (or anyone) point to scripture or revelation that substitutes sustaining leaders for the by common consent that is called for in the D&C? Am I lending my consent to anything the church or my leaders do in the *future* by raising my arm today to sustain them (in a peer pressure compliance situation btw)?
but the basic issue is that there is a strong narrative that couples obedience and spirituality together.
I disagree unless you’re arguing that spirituality can come to a person as a byproduct of obedience to God. But my Bishop isn’t God and TSM isn’t God so what exactly is that strong narrative and where can I read it? I hear GAs implying it from the podium, I read the “faithful” arguing it and I see D&C 1:38 often prooftexted out of context used to support this idea/argument. Can you show clear linkage coupling obedience of modern LDS leaders to spirituality?
Obedience is an important lesson but really it is just beginning lesson, it makes no sense to be stuck in it for generation after generation; where exactly are our ‘leaders’ leading us by marching in place??? Obedience is obsoleted by both the living the NT beatitudes and/or experiencing the BoM mighty change of heart so why are we stuck in the OT? If as much jawboning was focused on those two concepts as obedience the church would be much farther along in it’s collective spirituality.
On the other hand obedience clearly accrues to the leaders who just happen to make the rules so I doubt it is any coincidence that they strongly emphasize something that makes their jobs and lives so much easier. Pray, pay and obey that’s the LDS way! It would be much harder to actually grow this tribe spiritually than to just maintain it while constructing new buildings.
Obedience facilitates even greater problems like elevating faith promotion and folklore above truth and leaders above criticism even when it’s true! The LDS brand of obedience facilitates a leadership hierarchy of nude emperors as evidenced by the ban on blacks fiasco.
Andrew, I agree it applies to everyone. I hadn’t thought I’d indicated otherwise. There is a reason I don’t comment any longer on the one “conservative” blog the Bloggernacle has.
I don’t think we have to defend from adopting those values, so long as we retain self-awareness of our own biases. Or, rather, the humility to accept we have them. They aren’t bad values, they just aren’t the only useful tool by which to measure our realities, nor our relationship with God.
In other words, when we tell other people that they espouse “sitting down and shutting up” when they caution that obedience is a principle of God, or when we actually tell people they have to sit down and shut up or they aren’t being obedient, we err. Rather, we should realize that there is a “time and a season” to use every tool in our box, and seek to develop the tools of understanding we don’t currently master. There is a time to speak, and a time to be silent.
It isn’t my job to say, “OW, you are sinning and wrong.” I don’t know that. I CAN’T know that. But it IS my job to say, “I don’t agree with your methods, because in my experience, God has asked me to approach things in THIS way.”
Or, to take the opposite approach, it isn’t my job to say, “Conservative sheep, you are sinning and wrong. God’s will can only be found through vigorous public criticism, and you are wrong to try to silence people.” I don’t know that. I CAN’T know that. What I can say is, “I have struggled with these problems for so long, and after prayer and study, feel that the Lord has asked me to publicly agitate against those principles of the Gospel in which the leadership are apostate.”
I still maintain that you can’t publicly agitate against the sustained leadership of the Church without claiming some level of apostasy. And, as you say, accepting the consequences of that claim. Either they are doing the will of the Lord in that thing, or they are not. If they are not, either the Lord is working with them on it in His way, or they are rejecting His council and are apostate. There is no room in scripture or personal experience that I have found for a member of the Church to correct the leadership by appealing to secular power. (Quite the contrary: D&C 50:17-19)
If you are on God’s side, rely on God’s power. If you are not relying on God’s power, you are not on God’s side. Therefore, to me, OW has robbed themselves of any legitimate claim to be acting on God’s side by relying on secular power and tactics to accomplish His work. That is the entity of OW, NOT individuals. I can accede that, for whatever reason, God may allow or guide individuals to participate in a movement that isn’t His. (If I didn’t, I’d speak up more strongly against the BSA.)
Not only do I find it possible for conservative ideals to be outside of the gospel, I guarantee there are many which are. That is, in part, probably why I can’t label myself either conservative or liberal. There is just too much baggage on both sides I’m not willing to shoulder. I prefer to remain free from self-labels that are likely to keep me from being open to the promptings of the Spirit. I have enough trouble following the Spirit as is, why borrow more from other people’s ideas?
Laurel, rather than making it “more palatable,” I find the civilly disobedient undermine a great deal of the work of those “more conservative,” as you say. Pants are a perfect example. Women in my last ward wore pants now and then and no one said a word or cared…at least, they did until they stopped because it became a symbol of rebellion against oppression. My current ward is a whole new kettle of fish: but the field is already white.
Howard, you know that the scriptures provide clear examples of prophets preaching to people, and the people’s various reactions to those teachings. Those who heed the messages of the prophets are clearly put into a more righteous category. Those who do not heed the calls are clearly put into a more wicked category. Those who responded positively to Samuel the Lamanite went to their local ecclesiastical leader (Nephi) to be baptized. Those who responded to K. Benjamin’s talk made covenants. Those who responded to Alma the Elder’s teachings became baptized. Those who responded to any number of OT prophets found themselves under the protection of God. Do I really need to go on? In the D&C, the Hiram Page incident clearly set a precedent for *who* would be receiving revelation for the members of the church in the Latter-days (Prophet or 1P). Given these examples, it is not unthinkable that many members of the church have made “following the leaders of the church” an essential criteria for “righteousness.”
Political activism is a good tool for righting perceived wrongs in a liberal democracy. I do not feel comfortable with the idea of activism in the church, but I’m not a natural activist in any venue. I tend to agree more with SilverRain and Laurel’s perception that blatant public dissent tends to shut down more conversations in this church than it opens up.
The problem I see is that it’s almost impossible to get the attention of the brethren privately unless you have really good connections, which most people don’t. And relying on bishops and stake presidents to take an issue all the way up the chain doesn’t seem to work very well, if at all. So the only way to get the brethren’s attention is to take the issue public, which automatically means you draw attention to yourself, whether or not you want to. Now I don’t know Kate Kelly’s intents or whether she wanted the attention. But I do understand the conundrum. If your conscience or the Spirit tells you the brethren need to hear certain concerns, then going public seems to be the only viable option (possibly there are better ways to do that than the way OW did, but I’m not sure what they would be). It would be nice if there was a better way to privately take concerns to them, but with so few of them and so many of us, they probably won’t hear you unless you shout above the crowd.
Either they are doing the will of the Lord in that thing, or they are not. Well, we know men/leaders are imperfect so they must be a mix of doing the will of the Lord and not doing it.
If they are not, either the Lord is working with them on it in His way, or they are rejecting His council and are apostate. This is far to black & white and assumes somewhat perfect communication between our leaders and the Lord and that the Lord would never work is will by going outside of the official LDS hierarchy.
When we force this into black and white we force an accusation of apostate upon both sides when it isn’t necessary.
Contrary to popular LDS belief Prophets and leaders are not synonymous! The church conflates a lot of pharisaical practice with the gospel and with righteousness, the lesson of obedience being carried much to far is one of them.
loved your comments, but this part in particular:
That’s probably the most difficult part for me to really wrap my head around (if I am open to the idea of a God that communicates with us) — that maybe we are supposed to be wrestling (even if it’s sometimes personally or interpersonally painful.
Laurel, I like the comparison/contrast here:
Although maybe I think I would say that instead of the obediently dissenting giving the civilly disobedient more credibility, the civilly disobedient increase the window of obedient dissent that is heard/listened to.
When it come to Civil disobedience I think it’s important consider normalcy bias which predicts a response of about 70% sheeple, 10-15% fighters and 10-15% flighters so no it isn’t popular but you’ll wait forever for change if you leave it up to the sheeple. Jesus and Joseph were agents of change so obviously change isn’t inherently wrong, I think the main problem the LDS church faces is a huge leadership vacuum at the top that is prophets seers and revelators who don’t but if they did they wouldn’t find the progressive tail wagging the dog instead the dog would out easily outrun the tail!
MOQT—I’ll refer you to the parable of the unjust judge. It’s a great illustration of what can happen when you are at the mercy of someone who doesn’t care about your particular perspective. In my experience, even the stubbornest of SPs and bishops eventually give in and send it up the chain as you continually bring up your grievances with them. That is humble activism at its most obnoxiously effective.
Also, I think the Spirit of God won’t really tell you “the brethren need to hear” things. It can tell you to speak. That is all. Just as the Spirit won’t tell you “this person needs to be repent,” but it can tell you to open your mouth and testify. That is one great way to measure what Spirit is really talking to you: the humility of tone and your scope of stewardship.
SR wrote: even the stubbornest of SPs and bishops eventually give in and send it up the chain…That is humble activism at its most obnoxiously effective.
This sounds workable if your patient for maybe years and your issue can be resolved somewhere within the local level but it is often reported that SPs are discouraged from passing complaints upward as are A70s so from what I’ve read the chances are pretty slim for your issue to actually to reach Q15. Of course so far Q15 have identified (almost?) all known complaints as either the fault of local leadership or the error of dead Presidents leaving us with the conclusion that Q15 and church HQ is right where God want’s ’em (so why would they change anything?). No agitation, no change at the general level.
That’s essentially what I meant, SilverRain. I think the Spirit can tell you that you need to share a perspective, insight, concern, or experience with a certain person, including the brethren, for any number of reasons. I don’t think that means we should be ordering anyone around, but, for example, our words may be what they need to hear in order to make a decision about something. I think church leaders are good men, but not all-knowing men. They can’t always know or understand everything they need to in order to lead the people in the best way – partly because of where they’re situated in the hierarchy. Sometimes it’s the people in the trenches that can tell you the most about what’s happening down on the ground.
Giving the appearance that the church is always unified with every single member in lock step at all times absolutely hurts missionary work. The church seems very divided on this issue, which is why we get conflicting messages like “it’s OK to ask questions” but “watch HOW you ask them” or “go out on the internet and talk about your faith” but “here are some stock memes you can share.” “Be authentic” but “only say things we like.”
I don’t think those injunctions are coming from a single person, but rather represent two different philosophies. I think we are helped, not hurt, by dissenting views within the church up to the point that those dissenting views distract from personal growth. But the problem is that the majority correlated viewpoint already impedes personal growth in many ways so some correction is always going to be needed.
To clarify, by “obedient dissent” I meant an ill-defined category of the outwardly conservative who want change but are committed to obedience — liberals in sheep’s clothing all the way down to their itchy wool long-johns. I do think they make the ideology of the more rebellious palatable simply because we humans are more open to new ideas from people who otherwise think like us.
Conservative feminism is feminism gussied up for popular appeal. However, there’s only so much that can be done in high heels. I see both liberal and conservative, civilly disobedient and “obedient dissenters,” as integral to change. I can see the perspective of demonstrating feminists making conservative feminists look bad, but demonstrators have also shifted the middle ground from pretty-darn-conservative to conservative feminism. In a sense, they’ve made the conservative feminist look good by standing next to her in those Satanic Sunday pants.
PS, the parable of the unjust judge is not about effecting change in a hierarchical and authoritarian ecclesiastical system.
PS. Any parable can be about several things. How to appeal to leadership that isn’t listening is one good use.
MOQT, glad to hear we are on similar pages.
Gotta watch out for all those sheeple and sheep – wearing liberals. Going to take up spinning for Jesus.
Lol sheep – wearing liberals! Yep those tricky liberals sure can pull the wool over your eyes if you’re not careful.
don’t be surprised if you are excommunicated. didn’t a lot of the women of OW claim that they went to the bishop and showed them their ow profiles bishop look i am participating in an apostate group abd causing divisiveness in the church.
Bishop I just wanted to let you know what I’m doing
What the essence of Mormonism is to me [its “spirituality”] is a declaration of what God has literally said to human-beings in this present day. And so, what’s wrong with things in the church [for me] is that it feels like we’ve switched from that “spirituality” and have gone over to the whole “re-telling” path that led to the so-called “Great Apostasy”, where the passing generations just regurgitate the stories and sayings of God that the previous crowd had received [but where no one is receiving anything new for themselves anymore]. That’s stagnant, and Mormonism’s “spirituality” needs to be an open-stream where the following generations learn new things and do things in new ways, expedient to their own conditions and circumstances.
Preclude? Holy moly — it should necessitate public activism. If religious people truly believed, unto the most inward parts of their being, that the Creator of the universe, the Originator of all things from pinecones to pi, actually loves you with an utterly non-stingy, agape kinda love — then we’d look like utter lunatics with respect to how much we’d be trying to beat people’s doors down in the proclamation of such a fantastic revelation. It’s telling [to me] that our current response to what we say we believe just isn’t proportional to what it actually means.
As an anarchist, I believe in local solutions to local problems. So — yeah — I think that just having the women in a particular ward attend priesthood meetings, or having the women all vote contrary to callings/ordinations, etc. are the better way to address the perceived inequalities.
Lol — just “get in line”.