While in engineering school, I took a class on feedback control systems. In its simplest form, a closed feedback control system takes input from its environment to control the output of a process. You all have a simple one in your home, the thermostat on the wall. You set the temperature, the heater or A/C comes on, and when it receives the feedback that the set temperature had been achieved, it turns off.
Businesses have feedback from employees and customers in the form of surveys, employee interviews, and the like. In the LDS church, the only scriptural mandated feedback control system I have found is in the Doctrine and Covenants where it talks about “common consent” (D&C 26:2, 28:13). I believe in the early days of the church, common consent was a true feedback system. A proposal would be put forth from the pulpit, debate would take place, and then a vote (feedback) would happen. This is NOT the case today, and I see no formal feedback control system today for the general membership.
When you believe that your church is run by God, then there is really no need for feedback from the membership. Elder Boyd K Packer said as much in this quote
Elder Lee had agreed to give me counsel and some direction. He didn’t say much, nothing really in detail, but what he told me has saved me time and time again. ‘You must decide now which way you face,’ he said. ‘Either you represent the teachers and students and champion their causes or you represent the Brethren who appointed you. You need to decide now which way you face.’ Then he added, ‘Some of your predecessors faced the wrong way.’ It took some hard and painful lessons before I understood his counsel. In time, I did understand, and my resolve to face the right way became irreversible.“All-Church Coordinating Council,” May 18, 1993.
Elder Packer’s direction from Elder Lee was to represent the brethren (church) to the members, and not the members to the brethren (feedback).
In spite of Elder Packer’s counsel, and lack of scriptural mandate, the church has realized that if they don’t get feedback from the membership, then people will tend to send their feedback by leaving the church, or in a particular case, stop attending the temple. A survey was send out in 1988 asking about temple attendance, and what was keeping members from attending. In 1990, major changes were made, using the survey as a feedback system.
But this post is not about the church’s feedback control system, or lack thereof, but it is about me, Bishop Bill, getting feedback. This post marks my 170th time I’ve written on these pages. I’ve posted every Sunday for the past three years, and did guest posts for several years before that.
So let me have it. What works with my posts and what doesn’t? What turns you off in my writing, and what do you like? Too snarky? Too immature? I hope with some feedback, I can face you my readers, and give you posts that will educate you, entertain you, and from time to time make you laugh or cry (most of the laughing will be due to my spelling and grammar!).