Years ago my job required me to troubleshoot complex electronic systems on US Navy ships. We would be called as the “experts” when the sailors couldn’t fix the problem. I once flew half way around the world, and got lowered by cable from a helicopter to get to a ship that was in a very bad place in the world. We would sometime bring a representative from the company that made the disabled system, the original equipment manufacture (or OEM, the real expert!).
We normally had a good idea what the problem was by looking at the symptoms, and by reading the “fault codes” that were built into a self diagnostic system. Kind of like the “check engine light” on your car, only these fault codes were actually useful, unlike the idiot light in your car.
But sometimes we had no idea what the problem was. That is when we would start Easter-egging. This is what we called it when we just started changing out parts until the thing started working When it did start working, we knew the last thing we swapped out was the bad part!
I’ve noticed that the church does a lot of Easter-egging when they get a fault code. During my mission to Chile, somebody decided that the hundreds of baptisms a month the mission was having was not enough (fault code), but they really didn’t have any idea how to fix it. So they started Easter-egging. First was the “home blessing” program, where we offered to bless peoples homes. That didn’t fix it, so then we tried the “baptismal challenge”. This is where we challenged people to get baptized in out first meeting, the theory being we would not waste out time with the unprepared, and only do one lesson unless they were truly going to get baptized. This did not fix the fault code either.
Today we see this as the Q15 stare at a blinking check engine light in the church statistics. Not a lot of young men are leaving for a mission? Was it because of financial hardship to the families? Shorten missions to 18 months (1982). The blinking light didn’t go out, so change back 3 years later. Young men are leaving the church after they turn 18 and move away from home? Swap out the “missionary age circuit card” and let them go at 18, and lets see if that keeps more YM in the church.
There is nothing wrong with Easter-egging when you have run out of intelligent ideas. I used it all the time with varying degrees of successes. But if you claim that your change is because you spoke to God (the OG OEM!), and it still does not work, then you have a problem.
So what examples have you seen of Easter-egging by church leaders, either at the local or general level? Is there anything wrong with it if a church that claims direct revelation from God does it, or is this a case of seeing “through a glass, darkly”, and I should cut them some slack?