As announced in a post at the Newsroom, “A Special Video Message of Hope and Healing Is Coming From the Prophet November 20.” And who can argue with a message of hope and healing in these difficult times? You might be a bit skeptical about how special it might turn out to be, as these sort of “special message” promises get thrown around all the time in order to get members to attend a not-so-special meeting or to view an entirely unremarkable broadcast.
But let’s be positive: there’s a lot of good things that could be said by way of counsel or encouragement at the moment. Let’s review some options for what President Nelson might say tomorrow. Here are a few options for tomorrow’s topic that I’ll sort of summarize in a one-paragraph blurb. You can vote for one you think will be said or should be said, or come up with your own suggestion.
COVID: Wear Your Masks. “Brothers and sisters, protect yourself and your families by wearing masks when you are in public places. Part of being a Zion community and caring for our neighbor is to take reasonable precautions to protect them as well. Follow the recommendations of our medical professionals: Keep your social distance. Wear a mask in public buildings. Wash your hands frequently. Make Thanksgiving a small gathering for just your immediate family. This will save lives, possibly someone in your own family.”
Elections: Support your President. “Brothers and sisters, here in the United States we are blessed to live in a country with free elections, democratic institutions of self-government, and constitutionally guaranteed personal rights and freedoms, including religious freedom. Being a good citizen means avoiding the evils of racism and bigotry, but it also means supporting our duly elected public officials, including our President. Don’t contribute to social conflict and disorder. Practice kindness at every opportunity. The First Presidency will show its support for these goals by sending President-Elect Biden a congratulatory message shortly after he is inaugurated on January 20, 2021.”
Jesus Still Loves You. “Brothers and sisters, know that Jesus still loves you, despite the difficulties we might presently be facing as a community and as a nation. He’s sorry you might have lost a friend or loved one to the awful plague that rages among us, but the scriptures tell us that sometimes we must taste the bitter to better appreciate the sweet. Be assured that we in the First Presidency and the other apostles who lead the Church have taken all reasonable precautions to protect you and other members of the Church as you eventually resume attending meetings and our temples. So please continue to watch our video messages, continue to do your Come Follow Me reading and study, and continue to mail in your tithing checks.”
Those are my top three guesses. Or it might be something completely different: an initiative to revamp and dramatically upgrade the ventilation systems in LDS buildings worldwide, maybe tapping into that $100 Billion Fund. Or cutting tithing to 7% until the end of 2021 to assist everyone dealing with financial stress due to Covid, making up any revenue shortfall from the $100 Billion Fund.
What do you think might be said by President Nelson tomorrow? What do you think *should* be said by President Nelson tomorrow?
The first two items would be great to be included in President Nelson’s message. The third item is wimpy unless we thought that Jesus doesn’t love us anymore. However, I think that President Nelson will talk about the item 3.
I assume that the message will be one of hope, a hope in Christ. That seems to be the theme that the Church is pushing harder than ever. No more “Mormons. A new logo. Etc. Etc.
I am often critical of Church messaging at General Conference and our official curriculum but honestly, if RMN focuses on Christ and our basic Christianity I’ll be the first to praise the message.
What I want: 1 and 2.
What we’ll get: 3.
I can’t think of the last time I was pleasantly surprised by church leadership. I can think of a lot of disappointments.
If I had to pick just one, it would be number 2. Accompanying that should be a plea to respect and trust knowledgeable, properly trained authorities such as election public health officials. The problem is that Trumpism continues to cow Republicans and conservatives into submission. Conservatives now have a duty to rise up and reject Trumpism and conspiracism, which is significant philosophy undergirding Trumpism. While President Nelson is not a self-identifying conservative, at least not in his position as president of the church, he commands the respect of a significant number of conservatives in the Mountain West, whose opinions could help push back against Trumpism. An acknowledgement of a Biden presidency would be huge coming from President Nelson. And an acknowledgement of that would also signal a validation of public health officials and the fight against COVID-19.
Yes all these, but should congratulate Biden NOW, previous congratulations for Obama, and Trump were by 9th on November, before all states were called. Waiting until inaugeration, just allows Trump and his enablers to continue to claim they will win until then, and justify not transitioning.
Could give women the priesthood, to help single women cope, but that could be hoping forbtoo much?
Thanks for the comments, everyone.
Elisa said, “I can’t think of the last time I was pleasantly surprised by church leadership. I can think of a lot of disappointments.” Well, I was pleasantly surprised when the leadership, after a week or two of chewing on the issue and the scope of the decision, went ahead and transferred all missionaries back to their home countries. That was a big call and a tough decision, however clearly it was the right decision.
Geoff-Aus, yes the continuing unwillingness of the First Presidency to issue their standard letter of congratulations to President-Elect Biden is getting more and more glaring. My guess is they are well aware that roughly 70% of Mormons voted for Trump and, more importantly, continue to support him, and that a fair number of these Trumpers believe every word he says without reference to real-world facts. I think they are wary of alienating the Trumper membership. They ought to be worried about their claim to political neutrality, already questionable, losing even more credibility.
@Dave B, fair. I should have been more clear – I was specifically referring to announcements and talks. The last few general conferences at least have been a huge let-down.
I agree that some of the Church’s response to the pandemic (stopping meetings fairly early on when other conservative Christian religions refused to do so) were good (although I’ve been less impressed lately).
What I wish he would say, but won’t. “Brothers and Sisters, Joseph Smith said that we as a people seek truth where ever it is found. I am afraid we as a religion have often fallen short on that in that we reject some truth partly because some other Christian religions or political leaders have rejected that truth. I am talking of course about the truth that is found in science.” Then he could go on to talk about how the medical knowledge he had as a doctor saved lives and how we could save lives now by listening to the advice of the countries best medical leaders and wear the stupid mask. He could talk about the rejection of scientific knowledge of climate change is going to destroy the earth God gave us. He could even go so far as to say that science has shown for over 50 years that homosexual attraction is inborn. He could say even that God created the animals on the earth by a process of evolution. The Bible never said exactly how God created animals and us humans, just that he did. And science has shown us that it was through a process of evolution. He could fight the anti intellectual attitudes that fundamentalist Christians and politicians who are elected with money from oil companies have been pushing. Anti intellectualism is really pro-stupidity. He tie this anti intellectualism to the anti “elite “ push of the far right and talk about how this rejection of “experts” is a rejection of the truth. He could talk about searching for the truth in the world is part of our religion and that this applies to the truth of news reports. He could emphasize how people need to fact check things before passing them on with social media, and how we should trust the experts when they say a vaccination is (mostly) safe and stop passing on debunked theories about the danger of life saving vaccines.
But he will probably tell us to have faith as we go through these dark times and to keep studying the gospel, with no advice on how we can fight this pandemic or heal our nation.
Gossip mill rumors
# 1) His speech was pre-recorded. He’s not speaking live.
#2) Nothing earth-shattering, just #3 from above and “stiff upper lip” advice. Be grateful along the way.
#3) nothing about masks, social distancing, elections.
#4) New program to re-locate everyone to Missouri.
Just kidding, seeing who is awake.
I just know the world has never been in greater need of a Living Prophet with direct communication to Heavenly Father in my 70+ years.
Whatever he says, it won’t matter much or lead to any significant actions, create any hope, or heal anyone or anything.
But he seems to love the camera. A lot. And in a way, that’s special.
TC is correct, but it will seem significant and create the perception of hope and healing, and that’s been the modus operandi for so long now.
I had been hoping he would say something about masks. Desperately hoped as maybe then some of the hold outs would wear masks, just to be obedient.
But then the YW face to face happened on Sunday and they made almost no concessions to following covid protocol. People stood a little bit away from each other. And that was it for protective measures. It was like a gut punch watching it.
No one on stage wore a mask. Ever. The presidency sat a bit apart from each other but frequently moved to stand closer than 2 metres. They had multiple unmasked singers multiple times on the stage.
The only real acknowledgment that covid exists was a few pictures of service that young women had done wearing masks. Only a few however. Most of the pictures however were groups and individuals not wearing masks.
I lost hope that the message from Salt Lake would involve masks.
I won’t be able to tune in live but I’m sure we’ll be seeing the Cliff Notes circulating by the faithful on social media right after – and I will be profound! (A little sarcasm here) it will probably be #3 but I’d like to see #1. #2 is important for all the US people but we need to remember – this is a global church! (inserting 🥴🙂 here). Oh and the bit about tithing – all you folk staying home haven’t been keeping up!!!
Wish there was an editing option – ‘it will be profound – not I will be’ 🤣
@Anna, it’s sad that your comment reads like satire because it’s so absurd to imagine. A fun thought exercise though! If only.
He will announce that we should follow the Lord’s anointed
Just got wind of some leaks – on a Thanksgiving theme – showing gratitude.
Because Thanksgiving is so…. a global festival… ?
I really don’t want tired platitudes.
A message encouraging gratitude
Use social media for 7 days to express gratitude
I swear, if RMN (or anyone else subsequent to him) publicly uses the phrase “attitude of gratitude” I’m going to put my fist through the wall.
The more accurate way to describe the worship of a growing number of Latter-day Saints is “attitude of platitudes”.
Well… that was a lot better than I feared… stuff about racism, violence, political conflict, plus all those pictures of folks in masks, and the comment about protecting against infection or transmission – I forget the exact wording – as we see someone put a mask on…
And even though he did recommend gratitude, Jack’s walls are safe…
And the winner is … Brad, who either has a working Urim and Thummim or an inside source. The message is gratitude: be grateful and use social media to tell the world how grateful you are for the next seven days (complete with the approved hashtag).
He did throw in a plea for civility and an end to social unrest and conflict, as well as praying for an end to the Covid pandemic, but he didn’t do the two things that could further those ends: (1) tell all Latter-day Saints to get onboard with wearing masks and social distancing, and don’t give others who do so a hard time; and (2) acknowledge that the President-Elect won the election, post a public letter of congratulations to him, and encourage all Latter-day Saints to support our freely and fairly elected President-Elect rather than embrace kooky conspiracy theories. Mitt Romney can figure this out; why can’t LDS leaders?
Anyway, here’s a link to the video. Note all the gushing leader-worship messages from LDS followers flowing up the left side of the screen.
He he, still and all, a prophet of God praying for the world…
Waiting for my ward whatsapp humblebrag feed to hit.
Big love to all of you who have lost someone precious in these precarious times, please be assured that although you may not be able to see it for a little while, the love of many enfolds you as you walk alone.
And it turns out that the “very special” message is a big nothingburger. Surprise, surprise. But alas, I point this out to believing family and friends, and they get all huffy and say I’m criticizing the lord’s anointed, need to listen more carefully, and criticize me saying how dare you say anything negative in these times of negativity. And then they question whether I’m watching porn and having trouble paying thousands of dollars to help build the $100 billion-dollar trust fund.
So this must be why about half an hour ago my Facebook feed started filling up with people saying what they are thankful for, without actually thanking anyone. A bit of Thanksgiving Theater, one might say.
While on the subject, I would like to thank hawkgrrl and the other permas and mods for maintaining this forum, which I very much enjoy, and also most of the commenters, including those who disagree with me. This blog certainly leans on the liberal side of Mormonism, but it has been one of a few places where I see people on all sides, and that is getting increasingly hard to find.
After supposed mouthpieces for the lord speak, this is the question that always occurs to me : If what counts as prophecy is something Oprah could have come up with, what good are so-called prophets? I just don’t get it.
What I’d really like revealed is this 95 year old heart surgeon’s fitness routine b/c whatever he’s doing …
What I’d really like revealed is this 95 year old heart surgeon’s fitness routine b/c whatever he’s doing …
jaredsbrother: I mean, Oprah is pretty great, tho.
Yes, Angela, she is, and were she to be christened a prophetess, I would not object.
Oprah, Brene Brown, Ekhart Tolle, Richard Rohr, and Greg Boyle: five people who are more prophetic than RMN in my view.
Who am I missing?
My social media is filling up fast. Here’s the thankful tally so far: (1) President Nelson; (2) family. No one has yet mentioned being thankful for Christ, God, the Atonement, etc.
On a positive note, a neighbor friend recently diagnosed with cancer thanked neighbors for helping during this difficult time, and another neighbor was thankful for our school district doing such an amazing job keeping our kids safe at school this year. Those ones felt real, and I appreciated the effort.
I though it was a very sweet message and right on target.
In his message the messenger was very much impressed with the messenger (that is, himself). His message was ordinary but seasonally timely. It was nothing more. It was distinctly mediocre.
In the middle of the middle of worst pandemic, when 50% of members believe Trump won the election he lost, and presumably the virus is a hoax. The only person those members might listen to, chooses to look the other way, and not accept his responsibility.
The republican leadership are disgraceful in their silence. Romney, and Flake have stood up, but most are not telling Trump to go gracefully. The majority of the republican leadership are enabling this attack on Americas democracy/republic.
By his silence Pres Nelson has joined the enablers. Can this really be what a prophet does? Credibility? Yes what he said was nice, but does not address reality? Irrelavent.
From the comments it looks like I may be in the minority, but I’m really glad this “very special message” wasn’t about the American election. The theme of gratitude is still US-centric since Thanksgiving is coming up for you guys, but it’s still applicable worldwide regardless of the time of year. If they’re going to address the election results, fine, but do it in a broadcast specifically for the US. It is supposed to be an international church, after all, and if my primarily Canadian social media feeds had filled up with reminders to tune in to Nelson’s message only for it to be even more American election commentary I think I’d go crazy.
On another note, I’m thankful that my stake presidency decided to halt in-person Church meetings for the next few weeks. Covid cases are spiralling out of control in my area and the provincial government is slow to respond, so I’m glad that the local church leaders took a initiative to keep the members safe.
Jaredsbrother and Elisa,
What if the simple advice from RMN is a test of faith, like looking at the serpent on a staff, or simply bathing to remove leprosy? It’s possible we need to give it a chance, I’m taking that chance, but I too feel disappointed. Here’s why.
Hinckly leaned into his simple style. There seemed to be strength in his earnestness, self-deprecating humor, and humility. Profound and spiritual gems of wisdom emerged from his simple couplets which shone brightly contrasted against the unassuming and short man. Most of the time he shared the basics, but did so with enthusiasm and authenticity, and it felt natural.
Today, the story is much different. We constantly sing praises to RMN’s world-renown medical career (which ended over 36 years ago), or Ucrdorf’s ace flying days. By doing so, the stage is set set for grandiose epiphanies from unparalleled people. By allowing professional credentials to be muddled into their message, they are the ones who open the door of comparison to the rest of the world and it’s only fair to contrast Oprah, Tolle, the Dali Lama, etc. is a foolish PR road Hinckley never took. Meanwhile the church is intent on only serving correlated “milk” to the worldwide membership. It’s terribly disappointing if not insulting to have milk served by such a high–and-mighty person who was trumpeted into the room. You’d expect a feast.
Wasn’t it just two years ago that Nelson asked women to fast from social media because it was such a time waster and negative influence?
The simple advice may be helpful for fat and happy Saints in the US but it’s sort of patronizing to those who live in developing or oppressive nations, like when Africa was told to pay more tithing.
I think we are indeed actually looking for grandiose epiphanies from our 96 yr old so-called modern Moses and not for something that feels like a product of PR/media department deliberations.
Yes, you are right. The timing of that social media fast came right during a pivotal election in Brazil (where we have a major LDS population). They elected their own “Trump”, and during that high-stakes election month, LDS women were asked to go silent instead of participating in their democracy during a truly critical time for the country. Facepalm.
Last comment- it was disturbing to me to hear RMN bring out spiritual polygamy- by comfortably talking about his wives (plural) and then mentioning how happy his family will be in heaven. Uncomfortable. I cringed for Wendy when he talked about “my wife” (present tense) Dantzel, and then cringed for Dantzel and the kids when he moved on to Wendy. Did no one
Watch this part?
Yes Mortimer, I also cringed at him talking about his wives, but many people have remarried after a death or divorce. It is just against the backdrop of eternal polygamy that makes it cringey.
I watched it and really enjoyed it. I gathered from the video that they do encourage mask wearing and that wedding dresses can be beautiful, even if they show a little tiny sliver of shoulder. He praised science over and over in the video which I also appreciated. I wish he would have made the plea more personal, like think of who has blessed your life and reach out to them and thank them. You know like don’t let your right hand know what your left hand is doing, don’t stand on the corner pale faced seeking the honor of men type of thing, but who am I to offer suggestions?
My favorite part is that, just like he did with the word revelation, he is letting people see what a special message from a prophet in 2020 is realistically going to look like. The special conference got all the crazies thinking something great was going to be revealed and it was just ordinary. This time around the crazies got excited again and yet another zero. If you take away the hype, it was just a good message from a good man with a lot of wisdom. That is enough for me and without the hype and the expectations of something spectacular, the message was spot on.
You don’t think these extraordinarily challenging times call for something more than a nice man with a nice message, Zach? There are lots of nice men with whatever wisdom they’ve acquired in a lifetime that can be framed into nice messages. Many of them are cleaning toilets in chapels and trying to figure out how to keep their families afloat. They’re not Living Prophets.. Isn’t it merely reasonable to expect more from Heavenly Father’s spokesman to our times? Should our expectations have to be that low?
Journaling about things you’re grateful for has been empirically proven to help one’s emotional and mental health. Posting about it on social media, though, seems a bit…performative? Humble braggy? I believe it’s well-intentioned but I’ve already seen some of my single 30-something friends responding that the sudden influx of “I’m grateful for my wife/husband/children” posts has been hard for them.
Alice, believe me I 100% know where you are coming from. Looking back, this was the number 1 issue during my faith crisis. I knew that my life had a plan in front of it. I was lucky enough to have the Holy Ghost and leaders with super human powers to guide me. I had a patriarchal blessing and the priesthood. There was a right decision and a wrong decision and my duty was to always make the right decision by tapping into my vast resources. The prophet was simply a puppet who met with God on a weekly basis and relayed his messages to us. God micromanages His prophets and my life. Satan is a real power trying to lead me into every wrong choice.
The point to my original post is that I strongly feel the brethren realize this mindset is a huge stumbling block and are trying to wean people away from that. God is obviously not meeting with President Nelson, but guess what, he is not meeting with ANYONE. Does that mean he doesn’t love us, or does that simply mean this life is an adventure with no predetermined map? Shit happens. Make the best choices you can every day and move onto the next one. Pick good organizations to support and wise people to hold up as role models. When you lower the bar, you can find much wisdom in the message that was sent out.
Is this moving the goalpost and changing definitions? Absolutely, but for me and many like me it is the only viable answer.
Zach, Your recommended course of action has much to recommend it. However, I have not discerned any evidence that “the brethren realize [the] mindset [you describe’ is a huge stumbling block and are trying to wean people away from that.” Where should I be looking for any such evidence?
OK. I hear what you’re saying but is hoarding $100billion or parking it in real estate or securities the best choice the church could be making in such difficult times? Is remaining silent when disruptors refuse to recognize an election or seize federal lands? I get that taking a firm stand would disappoint some, anger others and inflame a portion who choose to be armed bullies. But doesn’t silence allow the bullies to prosper and influence the discontented?
Being a Prophet should mean something! Having resources of finance, influence and wisdom should mean service to mankind in my book. How am I wrong? Isn’t this an opportunity for the church to be a beacon instead of being inert?
Is this what “god” and “prophet” mean? IF we’re to become priests and priestesses, gods and goddesses is this the model we should be employing in the Eternities if we are fortunate enough to be in that position?
I can follow a course of making good choices and being the best person I’m able to be. I can attempt to do good when I have an opportunity. My question now is, do I need this church to assist me in my efforts?
It’s been an evolution for me to be sure but I never thought at the end of my life I’d be in this position after a lifetime of belief.
These goalposts are hard to move – some friends just returned from Mexico and were all fired up about Mayan ruins and BOM and temple connections etc.
Mortimer and Alice, if I could like your comments a million times I would. I feel a bit like Ralphie in “A Christmas Story” when the special message was “be sure to drink your Ovaltine.” I think the world needs more, and I have been put off by this administration continually putting polygamy front and center in their messages. Thanks to this community for sharing, I very much appreciate your thoughts!
Wondering, I love your comments on here. I used to comment a lot, but have scaled my commenting back quite a bit, but still enjoy reading.
Admittedly, people see what they want to see so I’ll say that as a disclaimer. The biggest evidence for me is President Nelson changing the meaning of the word revelation. The more we dilute the word, the more people are aware how decisions are made in the local councils and highest councils of the church.
Like I said, people were upset by him saying there was a special message. Many were speculating and stake leaders were telling members of something significant, but it just ends up being a very rational normal message. How many more times can they throw around “special message” before people realize this is what they are going to get?
Two talks by Elder Oaks “Good, Better, Best” and “The Power To Become” both point people to just make good decisions. Elder Ballard admitted that they are not experts in everything and encouraging people to turn to the best scholars in his address to the CES stands in direct contrast to Elder Benson saying a prophet is an expert in any field he wishes to opine.
The stuff the Maxwell institute is putting out, the book on producing ancient scripture, the essays, all point to me that they are loosening their grip on the narrative and listening to what the scholars are telling them. Sure their hand was forced, but it signals to me they realize the problem they have created.
I have noticed changes in governance on a local level also I don’t know if this is a rogue area authority or if it is coming from the top, but my local leaders have much more freedom than they did a few years ago.
My guess is that it will ebb and flow over the next few decades until the church will resemble the Community of Christ in 50 years and there will be more fundamentalist groups who think the church has fallen into apostasy.
Alice, I wish you the best. I was angry for years and now I just don’t care anymore. I wish they would build schools and hospitals with their money. I wish they would do a lot of things differently, but I don’t really care what happens up top anymore.
Thanks, Zach. I suppose it hadn’t occurred to me that RMN was even aware of his attempt to change/dilute the meaning of “revelation” as understood by the common Mormon-in-the-pew. After all, there have been other times when he has seemed unaware that his rhetoric went beyond historical fact.
As I read the Newsroom announcement there was to be a “Special Video Message.” “Special” has a variety of meanings. I suppose many may have been focused on something like Merriam-Webster’s “distinguished by some unusual quality” and took “special” to modify “message” rather than “video” or “video message.” On the other hand, I read it as something like Merriam-Webster’s :”designed for a particular purpose or occasion,” in this case other than the usual general conference or other standard periodic timing or whatever. On that reading, it was simply a “specially” prepared video. It could be that the non-standard approach of calling advance attention to the world to tune in to YouTube to hear RMN preach and pray was what was “special” rather than the “message.”
“Very Special Message” seemed to me to be Dave B.’s version rather than RMN’s or the Newsroom’s, but I could easily have missed it elsewhere. It’s much harder to read “very special message” as anything other than a message “distinguished by some unusual quality.” I couldn’t even guess whether “very special message” might have been used ironically or tongue-in-cheek or what. But it seems to have turned out to reflect and expectation or desire common to a number of people, however disappointed.
I am struck by the “nothing to see here” effect I felt while watching the video. I have to ask why are the messages from “God’s anointed” always so banal? And what is “special” about this statement? While Earth burns, people die from COVID-19, and democracy is taking a hit, we are told that we should spend the next week posting on social media? That’s going to do a lot.
Zach, right? We shouldn’t expect anything crazy like, I don’t know, guidance on how to handle a global pandemic from a prophet of God.
I liked the message. Rather than taking sides on our arguments of today, President Nelson asked us to think from a different perspective. I really do not want church leaders to take sides on all of our arguments of today. I am okay with them teaching correct and timeless principles and letting us govern ourselves. God’s purpose is sanctifying and saving souls, and President Nelson’s message is on that plane. I believe his message was an honest message.
@Zach you make some good points, but I think they are trying to have it both ways. They are trying to lower our expectations and integrate some of the bad history while still claiming a special relationship with God that gives them authority to tell us how to live our lives and spend our time and money and what to wear and eat and who we can love etc.
They say “we aren’t experts in everything” and yet they claim superior expertise to science when addressing the subject of LGBTQ folks.
They say “you need to develop your own personal relationship with God” and yet they continue to ask us to doubt our doubts, “trust the brethren”, and follow the prophet.
They at times discourage leader worship but they all engage in it, groveling before RMN during conference, and while they pay lip service to “leaders make mistakes” they never actually own those mistakes or apologize (polygamy, blacks and priesthood, sex abuse cover ups).
They soften some of the story on the BoM and are shifting towards a “revelation” instead of a “translation” rhetoric, but in April 2020 they doubled down on a very literal interpretation of the first vision with their “proclamation”, leaving little room for a nuanced view of church history.
And I don’t think Nelson changing the definition of revelation is to make him any less a prophet. It’s to make him more of one so that when he makes a decision people disagree with (like the exclusion policy, or demonizing the word Mormon), he can play the “revelation” card so people will get in line.
I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect someone who claims to be a prophet, seer, and revelator to prophesy, see, and reveal. And I’m coming up dry on examples of that happening.
I’ve enjoyed reading all the comments but have to confess that I still haven’t watched the broadcast but I think perhaps it’s all been pretty well summed up? It’s weird and kind of sad but I honestly can’t watch RLN and DHO speak anymore – they sort of creep me out and give me anxiety – because sad heaven and homophobic ugliness etc. I’m also tired of the hype we get for several days on social media and email with anticlimactic results. And let folk post grateful things throughout the year of their own volition. We’re not all in the US here. Sorry – covid getting me grumpy 😕
How about instead of giving thanks via social media, we just give anonymously to people who are in need and hurting and then DON’T humble brag about it. I don’t recall Jesus telling Mary when Lazarus died that she was myopic, to buck up and be grateful. He sat and wept with her. Let’s do that instead.
I’ve just been humbled by my husband’s prayer – he spoke about hoping that RMNs message might heal the members of the church. Discussing together afterwards helped. I’m not in the US but during the recent election cycle I see so many posts on one of my FB groups about terrible hurt and alienation that has arisen within families and congregations. Perhaps having us think about what we ought to be thankful for will set some of us in the direction of healing. There’s a lot of that needed right now, especially with this ever present pandemic.
I knew it wasn’t going to be anything “special.” Just more “keep that positive attitude” hookum. One reason why I didn’t watch Conference.
@Di. I understand. I can’t watch RMN or DHO anymore. Actually, I can barely watch any of them. The MTC Abuse Scandal broke my faith in them and it hasn’t fully recovered. It’s given me serious PTSD based on my own experience as a victim of abuse and the reactions of my church leaders.
I read a bit of his message, but it seemed more of the “aren’t I awesome” message he seems to give, along with a banal dose of “think happy thoughts.” I’m tired of it. And sad.I want a prophet who speaks prophecy.
Thank you Di. Your post regarding RMN and DHO expressed my own feelings so well. I’ve been a faithful, believing member of the church all of my life, but since the middle of President Monson’s s tenure when it became apparent that he was struggling with dementia and especially since RMN took over nearly three years ago I have wrestled mightily in mind and spirit because I feel that the church has changed directions and is going down a path that feels wrong to me. To my mind the days of ward members and leadership truly caring about each other and working together to help others within the ward boundaries regardless of church activity or even membership are gone. Now a ward feels feels like a collection of people in a geographic boundary who stick with their own families and friends and aren’t very interested in getting acquainted with other people in the ward. Ministering sounds like wonderful concept but is more often neglected than home and visiting teaching was because there is no pesky supervisor to call monthly to find out whether or not it was done. (I hated the phone calls). I’m just saying that another lifeline to ward members is often lost.
To my mind the church under RMN as President of the Q12 and the prophet has become a place where we’ve replaced many good and beautiful things with other things that are shutting many church members who hunger and thirst for real spiritual engagement out. It has become a place where leaders, especially at the top, expect adulation and total obedience. Gone are the days of humble leaders and treating callings as a servant stewardship. The days of “seeking wisdom and knowledge out of the best books” and “The glory of God is intelligence.” have been replaced with “When the brethren speak the thinking is done.”and dumbed down correlated materials. As children and youth we were taught that knowledge, wisdom and testimonies are built “line upon line, precept upon precept” and that we should wrestle with things of the spirit in order to really gain a testimony and that saying “I believe” is good enough. Now, wrestling with things of the spirit and doubts/concerns is seriously frowned upon. If you can’t say “I know beyond all shadow of a doubt…” you are somehow on the wrong path and someone to be avoided. I was taught that because we love God we worship and honor Him in a spirit of humility by the way we live our lives, help and love everyone around us (and not just those who “deserve” it), follow the commandments that the Savior taught and that the focus is always on Heavenly Father and Christ “So that the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing”. Now the tables have been turned back to the time of the Pharisees where the more good deeds we wrack up and are seen by others to be doing or that we bring to others’ attention on social media is applauded. A temple recommend has now become a form of virtue signaling for many because it shows just how many commandments we scrupulously obey-whether or not our minds and motives are actually as worthy as is humanly possible. I long so much for something more in our church, something to fill the deep spiritual hunger that is within me. My concern is that with the direction that the church is now going in there may be little spiritual satisfaction in store and more and more of what I have described above. I hoped that yesterday’s message would recognize the spiritual hunger that many people of all faiths are feeling right now as this pandemic and other cataclysmic events are taking place all over the world . It did not. My heart weeps.
@Poor Wayfaring Stranger, well said. I’ve been wrestling with things for many years but that has accelerated in the last few. Ironically one of the biggest shelf-breakers for me was reading the New Testament last year for CFM and seeing how far we are from what Christ taught & how the manual at times seemed to willfully misinterpret his words to shoehorn an LDS morality message in the lesson. That + the exclusion policy contradictory revelations + the responses to sex abuse scandals + the 100B have me pretty distrustful of the Q15 and I want nothing to do with them.
That leaves me with my local ward as a community (because I do believe community is valuable) and I’ve tried to focus on that, but I’ve not found it to be the kind of community I had growing up.
Without its truth claims of “one and only way to get to heaven” (which I think increasing numbers of people disbelieve) the only thing the Church can offer is its utility and value to people navigating life through helpful spiritual teachings and community. And I’m not seeing a lot of that. The church gaslights and victim-blames that it’s our fault and we are selfish if we don’t get anything out of it, and I agree sometimes we have to do hard or boring things for a greater good, but ultimately it’s up to the church to stay relevant and meaningful to people. And it’s not to me.
(And agree with Di, I really have a hard time listening to Nelson and Oaks. Not sure why but just a very visceral negative reaction to them.)
The second I realized that I DO NOT need a formal religion (with a bunch of corporate – organizational “middle-men” in management) to worship God, I felt inner peace; and continue to do so now. I simply love my personal journey and my own attempt to “find the divine” without the historical and cultural baggage of Mormonism; or any other religion for that matter!
And….Geoff Aus: continues his obsessive “love affair” with everything Trump; even when we’re not talking about him.
Geoff-Aus brings a valuable worldview to our discussions. Much of the world does not view us well for highly valid reasons. I appreciate Geoff-Aus’s efforts to widen our understanding of how others perceive us. He makes some important points (for instance pointing out that the church leadership has yet to congratulate Biden on his victory, speak more forcefully against covid denialism, etc). He has highly relevant points. Church members, I have heard through other channels, are deeply dismayed at the support US members have for Trump.
Let me add as a Brit, that I have been asked by friends, knowing I am a member, why would Utah and Idaho vote Trump. All I could say was that I too found it to be very upsetting.
For a missionary- oriented church it’s a very bad look. Geoff Aus is not wrong.
No. He’s not. Not from a global standpoint. Not from a domestic standpoint. Not from a moral standpoint.
He’s completely correct and people need to start hearing what he’s saying and give it some serious consideration before the damage is compounded and compounded again.
Canadian de-lurking here to chime in as well and agree with what Geoff Aus is saying. My classmates in university associate Mormons with Trump now. We were seen before as weird but upstanding, now we’re viewed as hypocrites, supporting a man who is against everything we say we stand for.