( Before reading this post, you must listen to the Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go“, and get the song stuck in your head. Then enjoy the post!)
Dr Deborah Brix was Pres Trump’s Corona Virus Response coordinator. This last week, free from Trump’s repercussions, she told about the false data the President received from unknow sources, often discounting her own data. Trump would then present this false data at news conferences to the American People. She is being criticized for not speaking out. From the CNN article:
It’s tough to imagine that Birx would have changed much of anything by speaking out. She had a choice: She could call out the president for lying, lose her job and leave the White House Covid-19 task force in the hands of people like Atlas. Or she could keep her mouth shut and try to clean things up from the inside.
She said she chose the second option, setting off to meet with state governors and help them with their Covid responses — the only effective strategy at her disposal, since the Trump administration punted everything to the states.
She sounds a lot like the disenchanted Mormons that stay in the church even if the disagree with its teachings, thinking they can change it from within. I’m sure you’ve read in progressive Mormon online groups about people wanting to change the church, and realizing they can do more from within the church than if they leave. There are two main issues I see most often talked about for reasons people chose to stay to “change” the church:
1 LGBTQ: They hope by staying they can be an ally to LGBTQ Mormons, create a safe space for them, and be a friend to them in the church.
2. Women equality issues: Men can stay in the church, and hope to give women greater equality in the church. As an example, when I was bishop, I invited the RS Pres to Priesthood Executive Council, a since discontinued monthly meeting of the Bishopric, EQ and HP leaders, and Ward mission leader. The purpose of the PEC was to discuss Home Teaching and Ward Missionary items. I could not see talking about Home Teaching without involving the RS Pres, which represented over half the ward. Also, because I had three daughters and no sons, I had “father daughter” campouts.
Another reason people stay (or refrain from making so much trouble they get excommunicated) is so that their voice can reach more members. Think John Dehlin and Bill Reel. While they were members they probably could have influenced more traditional TBM members. Now they are ex-Mormon’s (not by their choice) their audience is more limited, and their influence to bring about change in the church is greatly diminished, although one could argue it was never that great even when they were members.
Do you know anybody (yourself, friends) that have made a conscious decision to stay in the church to change it from within? If so, how is that going? Do you know of other reasons apart from the two above that people stay so they can change them? Do you think it is a valid reason to stay, or conversely if the organization is so bad, does your staying (re: Dr Brix) lend legitimacy to the corrupt institution? And finally, did Dr Brix make the right choice?