Years ago there was a program called “Scared Straight” where they would take at risk youth to visit prisons, as it was thought that is would scare the kids into keeping out of trouble.
Religion throughout history has also used this same approach. Hell, damnation, Outer Darkness, Son’s of Perdition. They all are part of the scared straight program. There are even some very funny memes that show the irony of religion using scare tactics.
And then this one from one of my favorite TV shows
President Uchtdorf spoke against using fear when he gave an address at the April 2017 General Conference:
First, let us address the problem with fear. After all, who among us has never been compelled by fear to eat better, wear a seat belt, exercise more, save money, or even repent of sin?
It is true that fear can have a powerful influence over our actions and behavior. But that influence tends to be temporary and shallow. Fear rarely has the power to change our hearts, and it will never transform us into people who love what is right and who want to obey Heavenly Father.
People who are fearful may say and do the right things, but they do not feel the right things. They often feel helpless and resentful, even angry. Over time these feelings lead to mistrust, defiance, even rebellion.
Unfortunately, this misguided approach to life and leadership is not limited to the secular world. It grieves me to hear of Church members who exercise unrighteous dominion—whether in their homes, in their Church callings, at work, or in their daily interactions with others.Uchtdorf, April 2017, Sunday Morning
But then a new First Presidency was installed, and they were having none of Pres Uchdorf’s feel good Gospel. From the Sunday morning session of conference in 2019, Pres Nelson said:
I understand why God weeps. I also weep for such friends and relatives. They are wonderful men and women, devoted to their family and civic responsibilities. They give generously of their time, energy, and resources. And the world is better for their efforts. But they have chosen not to make covenants with God. They have not received the ordinances that will exalt them with their families and bind them together forever.
…..His Resurrection assures that every person who ever lived will indeed be resurrected and live forever, much more is required if we want to have the high privilege of exaltation. Salvation is an individual matter, but exaltation is a family matter.Pres Nelson, April 2019
The scare tactic here is that if you don’t go to the Temple (go to church, pay tithing, follow modern interpretation of Word of wisdom, etc) and be sealed to your family, you will never be able to be with them in the afterlife.
Pres Eyring had set the tone the night before with his talk on sustaining your leaders
By raising your hand to sustain, you make a promise. You make a promise with God, whose servants these are, that you will sustain them.
These are imperfect human beings, as are you. Keeping your promises will take unshakable faith that the Lord called them. Keeping those promises will also bring eternal happiness. Not keeping them will bring sorrow to you and to those you love—and even losses beyond your power to imagine.Eyring, April 2019 Priesthood Session
If you don’t sustain your leaders, bad thing will happen to you. “losses beyond your power to imagine”.
Do you respond to fear? I wear a seat belt in my car because I’m afraid of the consequences if I don’t and get in a accident. When does fear work with you, and when does it not?