There’s a phrase thrown around a lot on Twitter, in a humorous manner, in which a person says “I feel personally attacked” in response to a meme, another Tweet, or any other observation. It’s a self-deprecating joke. The person doesn’t really feel attacked.They are just poking fun at the fact that the thing referenced hits close to their personal identity or self-perception. Similarly, people sometimes say “I feel seen” as a response to the same types of observations. It reminds me of an expression people used to use, also self-deprecatingly, “I resemble that remark,” which was a comic alteration of the phrase “I resent that remark.” In both cases, the joke is that the remark or the observation is something that the person identifies with in such a way that they feel attacked or seen by association or that they resent or acknowledge how close to home it hits.
For most people, our beliefs feel like who we are, our identity. But are they? We weren’t born with them. These are ideas we picked up along the way based on our life experiences, the ideas of the people around us, and the various cultures we live in. Change the circumstances, the experiences, the people around us, and our beliefs might be quite different.
I’ve been reading the book Think Again by Adam Grant. He details an “unethical” psychological study done in Harvard in 1959 in which participants were asked to write out what their personal beliefs were. They were then told they would be paired up with a partner to discuss those beliefs, but in reality, they were set up with a law student to have their beliefs attacked and to have to defend them under rhetorical siege. The researcher, Henry Murray, was interested in finding out how people navigate difficult interactions. What he found was that the responses to having their beliefs “attacked” varied greatly from participant to participant. The interactions were filmed, and participants were invited back over the following months to review their performance. For many of them, it was excruciatingly painful to see themselves sweating, grimacing, and struggling to respond to the onslaught of criticism against their beliefs. Even 25 years later, many of them still experienced pain and discomfort reliving the experience. They described their response as feeling full of rage, chagrin, discomfort, embarrassment, betrayal, bewilderment or humiliation.
But that wasn’t how all participants felt. There were some participants who had the exact opposite response to having their beliefs “attacked” by the law student “partner.” They felt exhiliarated, amused, thrilled or energized, and described the experience as “fun.” They avoided being so deeply attached to their beliefs and ideas that separating from them was painful. They were open-minded about the possibility that they could be wrong. They didn’t feel threatened because their identity was separate from these beliefs and ideas they held.
When a core belief is questioned, though, we tend to shut down rather than open up. It’s as if there’s a miniature dictator living inside our heads, controlling the flow of facts to our minds, much like Kim Jong-un controls the press in North Korea. The technical term for this in psychology is the totalitarian ego, and its job is to keep out threatening information.
There are a handful of stories on the Church website that exemplify this inability to detach one’s identity from one’s opinions, and unfortunately, they are lauded as great examples. These are stories of Church members attempting to defend beliefs that they think they must hold, but don’t understand well enough to defend. They just have a vague sense of being attacked; they come across as extremely defensive, yet uninformed. These will sound familiar to many readers. A teacher presents information that a student finds threatening, particularly evolution, and the student emotionally and defensively bears testimony to the teacher about the Church. In these stories, as they are told, the teacher respects the student for standing up for his or her convictions. These stories feel implausible. We are meant to believe that the science teacher is going to be wowed by the conviction of the student who, admittedly, knows nothing about the subject but feels “called upon” to confront the science teacher? OK, boomer.  And yet, I’ve definitely been on the receiving end of one of these conversations when I was a student at BYU (and doubtless many more times since then). This is not a far-fetched scenario for Mormon behavior, even if it is us at our worst: self-righteous, defensive, yet totally ignorant, striking out at those whom we don’t really understand because we feel under threat.
There’s a scene in the Pixar film Inside Out in which the characters are travelling on the Train of Thought. There are small tablets labelled with runes that represent “facts” and “opinions.” Joy trips, and all the tablets scatter everwhere. “Facts” contain information that is always true, and “Opinions” contain information that is what Riley Andersen (the girl whose brain they inhabit) believes. Joy scrambles to put the tablets back in the correct crates, but Bing Bong just stuffs them all in the crate labelled “Facts” and explains to Joy that people can’t tell the difference anyway.
“Being wrong is the only way I feel sure I’ve learned anything. . . . My attachment to my ideas is provisional. There’s no unconditional love for them.” Daniel Kahneman, Nobel-prize winning psychologist and author
Adam Grant points out two useful types of detachment that we can use to prevent us from defending our wrong ideas:
- Detaching your present from your past
- Detaching your opinions from your identity
As an individual, we can detach from the less experienced, less educated person we used to be. Ideally, we should recognize that we will at some future point see our present self in that same way also. We can recognize that we are constantly learning new information, experiencing new things, encountering facts and ideas from those around us, and those things will challenge our wrong beliefs and help us see that we were wrong. To do this, we also need to recognize that we are people with ideas and beliefs, but those ideas and beliefs are not who we are. They are like the tiles in the crates. We can discard them if we realize they aren’t true, and doing so will not diminish us. It will elevate us.
Unfortunately, doing these things becomes harder at an institutional level. An institution has a harder time changing than an individual does because it’s bigger and comprises of many individuals, and if it changes too much or too often, it ceases to be identifiable, and loses people in the process. If Church leaders rely on the historical succession process to bolster their authority, it can feel harder to detach from prior leaders’ opinions that were codified into doctrine or cast as revelation. Pres. Nelson doesn’t seem to have any problem throwing predecessors under the bus, but this has been a difficulty in the past for various leaders. In the David O. McKay biography, we learn that Mormon Doctrine was published by Bruce R. McConkie with over a thousand inaccuracies in it and without having received prior authorization to publish; yet, top leaders were unwilling to say this openly and publicly lest they reduce McConkie’s infuence among Church members which was still seen as a positive. This is a very alarming example of unwillingness to detach present beliefs from past beliefs. Another one is our institutional unwillingness to apologize for past racist teachings and policies, instead downplaying them or calling them God’s will. Part of learning and growing is letting go, fully, of past wrong ideas. As evidenced by a recent report of racism in Davis County schools, many Church members still embrace racism in 2021. They haven’t let go of those wrong opinions and beliefs that the Church hasn’t fully rooted out.
How can a Church can detach opinions from identity since religions are institutions based on a worldview that is a set of beliefs? I actually think this is one that Joseph Smith set up very wisely when he started the Church, even though over time we’ve largely lost this ability. He said that we would constantly improve our ideas and beliefs as our knowledge and experience grew through the process of revelation, making it easier to discard past beliefs. Pres. Nelson is again pretty willing to use this approach, even if he’s pinned it to some things that feel easily identifiable as opinions and ideas rather than Capital T Truth. We went from being told that the 2015 Policy against children of gay couples getting baptized was Revelation(TM) to being told that doing away with that policy a few years later was ALSO Revelation(TM). Okey dokey. I’m not convinced either of these was the right use of that term, but I am all for embracing the fact that we were wrong. We used to downgrade doctrines to policies to indicate that they were wrong, but the latest change to the handbook has taken that point of retreat away by considering it apostasy to disagree with policies. So now, we have to uncritically accept policies, too, not just revelations or doctrines. I guess if you say so.
“Who you are should be a question of what you value, not what you believe.” Adam Grant
A Church can be a group of people who want to learn to be more like Christ while acknowledging that our beliefs may change with further light and knowledge, which is the point of ongoing revelation. That revelation can be personal or institutional, but if it can’t change with new information, then it’s not revelation; it’s just human stubborn defensiveness.
- Do you think the Church teaches its members to be defensive and perceive attacks where they don’t exist or to be open-minded to be able to update our beliefs when they are wrong?
- Do you see the Church as willing to discard wrong beliefs or clinging to them to preserve identity or authority?
 Nevermind the fact that evolution is taught at BYU! But apparently the CES people who lauded this story as fantastic and faithful are still fighting that fact.
Do I see the Church as willing to cling to “wrong” beliefs to preserve authority? Of course. Let me explain something that I know we all understand but it needs to be said:
One of my frustrations with progressive members (I am one so don’t this as a personal attack) is that they are always pushing for change that would ultimately undermine the authority of the Brethren. For example, many of you want the Church for A, B, and C. But once that door is opened, there will be demands for the Church to apologize for D, E, F, and G and it will never end. Furthermore, if the current Brethren apologize for the “mistakes” of past leaders, they are opening themselves up to attack. After all, if previous leaders were “wrong”, current leaders can be wrong. See how that undermines their authority?
The Church is literally a large US corporation with corporate officers and it largely acts like one with one major exception. Most large US corporations will rush to apologize for and remedy any inappropriate acts that the institution or its leaders may have engaged in. That’s just good PR and crisis management 101. But if the leaders of your corporation are said to receive revelation from God and are described as authorized servants of the Lord to carry out His will via revelation, it’s very difficult to admit wrongdoing, It undermines the entire identity and authority of the officers and the institution.
For the reasons I’ve described above, I rarely criticize LDS leaders for their lack of honesty and humility and willingness to admit they are wrong. That would be bad corporate policy if your business is authorized religion. Instead, I’ve voted with my feet.
correction: “many of you want the Church to apologize for ABC” (I left out “to apologize”)
J. Reuben Clark famously stated, “If we have the truth, it cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not the truth, it ought to be harmed.”
Clark was absolutely correct. We should never be afraid to hold our ideas up for honest evaluation. Nor should we be afraid to admit when new information comes to light indicating that we should make different decisions.
A failure to rethink positions when needed can lead to catastrophic consequences. For example, Kaiser Wilhelm II caused the destruction of an entire continent because his subjects were unwilling to question his statements and determine whether they matched the facts. Sadly, there are many today who sit around in sweatpants and crocs mindlessly watching political leaders make untrue statements on television. The masses of today give no more scrutiny to these statements than did the masses to the Kaiser’s statements.
Of course, evaluating statements for truth takes effort and it takes work. It requires turning off the Bon Jovi music blaring in the background and pushing the plate of Irish nachos to the side in order to read and focus. Far too few are willing to do this.
I join hawk girl in calling for all people and organizations to seek the truth. This will take great effort, but there is no other way to have a peaceful, moral society.
Because the church and its leaders refuse to apologize when they have been wrong, and not owning up to their mistakes, most of the time claiming revelation, it naturally implies that it is God who can’t make up his/her mind. We have put all the blame on God and turned God into a very indecisive, at times vindictive, racist, misogynistic, etc., entity. This can cause people to lose trust and hope in God. This is the real sin of the church and it’s leaders to own up to their own mistakes and ideas. I always wondered why in the Ten Commandments, “Thou shalt not take the Lord’s name in vain” was thrown in there with do not murder, commit adultery etc., as if God would get pissed off by people casually saying his name, and I believe the church by refusing to own up to its mistakes is taking the Lords name in vain, causing people to see a God that isn’t like God at all. If people started telling my children false things about how I felt about them, that truly would piss me off!
1) Yes, the Church absolutely teaches is members to be defensive and to perceive attacks where they aren’t there. This is thinly veiled as ‘the world.’ Members are strongly discouraged from updating their beliefs, only being ‘allowed’ to do so when the leaders update theirs.
2) The question of identity and authority for the Church is key. The church has a narrative of control of truth through its leaders and, from my observations, it is that narrative of itself that causes people to leave. Many, I understand, would stay if the church (leaders) had a more mature narrative of failure and vulnerability; if they embraced the atonement as applying to them as leaders and to the church as an institution; if they had more humility about their roles; and more expansive love and trust for those they serve. But they don’t. Instead, the leaders tend to lead by fear. Afraid of losing face and of losing control, they are willing to damage those they look after in order to be ‘right’ and to protect the ‘good’ name of that narrative, because their narrative demands they do so. They are like parents who, having raised their children to be subservient, unquestioning, duty-driven kiddos now have no idea how to respond when face with adolescent growth.
I’ve told my wife about the time I realized my very church broke parents weren’t perfect and how crushing that was. She responds that she never had that experience because her parents never pretended to be. People leave because the church pretends to be something it isn’t; it acts in a way that it shouldn’t. If it didn’t have that narrative of itself, so members wouldn’t have the experience of learning to so deeply mistrust it.
It’s a stiff tree, not a flexible one. It breaks when the winds are strong enough.
“Totalitarian ego …” Phrase of the day! I can think of someone in public life this describes.
Speaking from my own personal experience, growing up, I remember being taught to be extremely sensitive to “the world” and its attacks. I remember stories of one of the leaders getting extremely offended while in the hospital over a nurse “taking the Lord’s name in vain.” I heard innumerable stories of extreme sacrifices people would make all in order to not play a sport on Sunday or not buy gas on Sunday. I was taught that early Mormons were all heavily persecuted and that “the world” continues to laugh at and persecute Mormons to this day. Once I ventured out into “the world” I discovered that Mormons are hardly persecuted and that most people don’t know much about them and generally show respect. They think the coffee thing is a little weird, but don’t push it on you.
I don’t think that the church is fully locked in its ways. I’m 41. I’ve seen and felt change for sure. Those older than me express having seen much greater changes than I have. But change is slow and takes time. Pressure from progressive Mormons and ex-Mormons for change have had an effect. Not the full effect that they were hoping for, but an effect nonetheless. I get the sense that the aggressive Hugh Nibley-like apologetics of the past is frowned on by the wider culture now and a more kumbaya apologetic approach is more the norm. Hard homophobia used to be very common just a decade ago. Now it is much less heard. Consider the fact that the BYU student who poured water on rainbow sidewalk chalk art at BYU in response to Elder Holland’s controversial sermon and said, “f*****s go to hell” was condemned by BYU administration immediately after the video of him was put up online and expelled from the university. That guy was every guy when I went to BYU in the early 2000s. He is now a persona non-grata.
Do you see the Church as willing to discard wrong beliefs or clinging to them to preserve identity or authority?
They are excellent at discarding beliefs, especially compared to Christian denominations that have more stable doctrines. If you are unhappy with the speed of the the discarding, just put your camera on time lapse and watch the movie later.
Here are some of the ways:
1) Redefine terms: celestial marriage used to be polygamy but now is one-wife-at-a-time-monogamy
2) Memory hole: Journal of Discourses (or insert title here) –> is that still available on the Gospel Library CDROM?
3) Don’t knowism and hasn’t been revealedism
2) and 3) can be combined: I don’t know that we teach that…
“Sadly, there are many today who sit around in sweatpants and crocs mindlessly watching [religious] leaders make untrue statements on television. The masses of today give no more scrutiny to these statements than did the masses to the Kaiser’s statements.”
Fixed that for you ;-).
Yes I believe the Church teaches it’s members to look for persecution where there is none, because that’s the behavior they model themselves. To wit:
In the middle of a global pandemic, Elder Bednar gives a talk about religious persecution because he was tired of zoom church. Poor guy. There we were, with businesses shut down, livelihoods behind lost, people sick and dying, hospitals and their employees straining to survive, but the real thing wrong with the world was online church.
Additionally ,Elder Holland’s BYU address in August 2021. Oh those poor parents and students who are confused by rainbow flags. They’ve trodden such a hard path; it’s time to enlist to support them.
Funny thing is, when I visited Liberty Jail several years ago, the sister missionaries were actually quite balanced. Instead of a persecution complex, they discussed how the influx of so many Mormons in such a short time, making claims that God wanted them to inherit the land, probably wasn’t the best way to build bridges with the existing local community. I assume if they want the current local community to support their visitor center, this approach makes sense. But it proves we can be fair about the narrative if we want to be.
Plvtime: Nope, celestial marriage still is polygamy. It has never been discarded or discredited. (See: RMN and DHO, polygamists). And the Journal of Discourses dates back to 1886. Discarding something every 150 years is hardly excellent.
“Do you think the Church teaches its members to be defensive and perceive attacks where they don’t exist”—
Absolutely, the most recent being Holland’s BYU address to faculty. You don’t need muskets unless there’s an attack from the world.
“or to be open-minded to be able to update our beliefs when they are wrong?”—
Only when it serves the institution. Otherwise it’s “eternal,” “unchanging,” “ancient,” “everlasting,” or “the same today yesterday and tomorrow” BS.
“Do you see the Church as willing to discard wrong beliefs or clinging to them to preserve identity or authority?”
Any willingness to discard a wrong belief is reclassified as something other than having been “wrong.” As previously mentioned, doctrine becomes policy, God is just up there doing stuff we will only understand in the eternities, or revelation happens. The Church is never wrong.
As I understand, Patrick Mason once stated that the church has put too much into the “truth cart.” So much so that to do anything other than cling to or defend these truth claims makes the church look like a bunch of liars or idiots.
There’s too much money involved now, too many lives controlled and wasted through the years, too many GAs and families with legacies established. There’s nothing the Church can do except slowly turn that truth cart around and throw a few things in the trash cans that appear over the years. Wish I could be here in 200 more years to see what happens.
Also, thanks for mentioning the recent report on rampant racism at Davis School District. I was unaware of that but I looked it up and read the Deseret News report on it. Wow. A two-year investigation by the Department of Justice finding myriad cases of racism ignored by school administrators at Davis. Truly disgraceful. What is similarly disgraceful is what many Deseret News readers wrote in the comments section. Full of racism denial (a form of racism itself) and outright racism. One guy wrote, “well, Utah isn’t the place for them.” Shame on Utah.
Not having beliefs define you and updating your beliefs according to new information makes sense, but this becomes much more complicated when the beliefs are about yourself.
If people have negative beliefs about themselves: I’m not smart; I’m not talented. It’s healthy for people to identify those as dysfunctional beliefs and change them. But what about positive beliefs about yourself?
Ironically, I left the church because the positive beliefs it fostered in me: I’m a child of God; I have inherent worth and value; my life was made to be loving and joyful, etc. wouldn’t let me accept the negative beliefs about myself the church wanted me to: I need to be presided over by my husband; my sole focus should be motherhood; I can’t truly become like God because I’m female, etc. Is the book author’s premise that if we value ourselves, then that is part of our identity and leads to positive beliefs about ourselves?
I guess I’m trying to understand how the discarding of dysfunctional beliefs based on new reliable facts works for situations when there aren’t facts, so to speak. What I mean is equality is a belief about oneself and others, but it isn’t a fact that every single human being is the same as another in possessing traits that are valued. For example, a person who has embezzled money and I are equals. But it is factual that my prosocial behavior (not committing crime) is better for society than the embezzler’s antisocial behavior (stealing money). So based on that fact, someone could conclude that I am superior to the embezzler. I don’t think this is true, but it’s a possible conclusion.
Because the church insists on an all or nothing approach: it’s all true or it’s not, then people who accept positive beliefs the church teaches about them as human beings have a really hard time when any of the other beliefs (that shouldn’t be attached to one’s identity) are challenged. Because if it’s true that Joseph Smith didn’t translate the BOM = religion is man-made = there is no God = I’m not a child of God = I have no inherent value except for what society has agreed on (luckily in theory it’s that everyone is equal and humans have value). That seems to be the rabbit hole one can go down and why members get so defensive I think. Though I wouldn’t say these thoughts are conscious. It’s an emotional response that’s triggered, and this logic may be going on in the background. But I think this is maybe a deeper human issue than church teachings. There definitely seems to be a simplistic persecution narrative the church promotes that makes it hard for mormons to really engage with valid criticisms about their beliefs.
“I actually think this is one that Joseph Smith set up very wisely when he started the Church… He said that we would constantly improve our ideas and beliefs as our knowledge and experience grew through the process of revelation, making it easier to discard past beliefs.“
Was Joseph all that hot on discarding past beliefs? I know he was cool with discarding *other people’s* ideas but I was always under the impression that he, like most members today, believed that each new revelation would validate the old ones and build off them. “Precept upon precept” rather than, “new precept debunks old precept.”
I used to really look forward to new revelations. When I was a missionary I remember sincerely discussing with the other elders the possibility of the Brass Plates being revealed over the general conference pulpit someday (cue present-day facepalm). Back when I was grappling with the cognitive dissonance of the church’s position on LGBTQ+ people, I remember holding out hope for a new revelation that would clear things up. Imagine my shock when the revelation I was waiting for finally came—not from the Brethren but from the voices of LGBTQ+ people themselves.
If you’re feeling like your partner is constantly telling you what you’re doing wrong . And this little recognized mode of self-defense should work whether your hair-trigger reaction is feeling hurt. When you’ve just been attacked, anger is a normal response. · https://www.faimission.org/
What sources of information do you find reliable?
I do think the church clings to wrong beliefs to maintain identity and authority. A prime example is polygamy. I don’t know the stats, but a substantial percentage of members – mountain west members who are stalwart, serve, and pay tithing – have polygamous roots. They are good people (of course!) and no one wants to disavow polygamy lest they strike at the heart of many Mormons’ indentities..
I assume leaders are doing ongoing calculations to weigh the cost of disavowing polygamy and alienating descendants versus maintaining that it was God-given and alienating an enormous number of younger members, especially women.
I made a comment on RNS Flunking Sainthood. And this personal/national attack was the response from Goa Away.
That’s the sort of thing we expect from Australians, the people almost destroyed their economy in the mistaken belief they could make COVID-19 go away if they believed hard enough.
Geoff – Aus
I saw the lies produced by right wing american media. My state with population of 5 million has not been restricted and has 7 deaths from covid so far. Repeating right wing lies is called “bearing false witness” one of the 10 commandments.
They weren’t lies.
1 – Australia suffered the worst economic decline in three decades;
2 – The notion that the virus could be stopped turned out to hinge completely on Australia keeping its borders closed forever, which it could not do;
3 – As a result of its approach vaccination rates in Australia were among the lowest in the Commonwealth, matched by New Zealand which sucked on the same lemon;
4 – Now Australia has to do what everyone else did: accept a certain number of cases as inevitable, and with that a certain number of deaths; get crackin’ on vaccinations, and join the rest of the world in the new reality.
I understand Tucker Carlson and other fox news presenters have been attacking Australias covid 19 response. Fox is owned by Murdock an Australian who has a similar outfit in Aus called Sky news after dark, but it gets ratings of 40,000 to 70,000, whereas Carlson gets 3,240,000 viewers. US population is 13 times our population of 25.7 million. So fox coverage 3.5 times more than sky in Aus. Also Candice Owens, and Ted Cruise have joined in even suggesting the us should rescue us from our leaders.
Has anyone responded in America with the facts? Can’t see anyone on the internet so for your information if confronted by these lies.
To point #1 above Australia is one of 5 countries that are in better shape now than before the carona virus. Us is not one of these, so incredible hypocracy. https://www.ft.com/content/2bd78c98-fff9-40b5-b9c9-3ef1fb6c7bfc
#2 Australias approach was to control/eliminate the virus until a high proportion of the population could be vacinated. (Not forever) Of our 8 states 2 have failed ( but even so we have had a total of 1756 deaths. 30 of these deaths were in the 6 states that did well.
If you extrapolate 1756 deaths for 25.7 million to 330 million of USA you would have 22,550 deaths not 770,550. So had you done what we did you would have saved 748,000 American lives. Had you done as well as the 6 other states you would have had less than 500 deaths.
#3. Because of our approach we have low vacination rates? We were able to manufacture AZ vaccine which was developed in UK, but it had problems with blood clots and only used for over 60s initially. US developed vacines were not licened for manufacture outside US. We did not get adequate supplies until July this year. 3 months ago. Most of our states now have over 80% first dose vaconated heading for over 90%. US with unlimited access 69% with first dose.
#4 We expected to open up when vacination rates were high enough. The 2 states with the majority of the deaths are opening up gradually as vacination rates pass 80%. The other states are holding out for 90%, which should happen in the next month.
So the fox report was a series of lies, but Goa Away still believes fox news over truth.
We are open to criticism on climate change. We have a conservative government which has grudgingly agreed to net zero by 2050, but has no plan to get there. In the last election ridiculed the opposition for climate policy and advocating for setting up infrastructure for electric cars. There is an election by May hoping for a Labor win, so get things done.
We are having an extreme storm season this spring with larger hail than ever before at 6.5 inches. Imagine the damage that could do. And tornadoes which we do not usually get.
Right now there is one apostle that is a direct descendant of Joseph Smith Sr.(that I know of). On a blog I ran across written by someone who served a mission under him, the author said that to explain the many interlaced GA genetic lines, he taught that it is because they have believing blood.
It is speculation, but I suspect that the church cannot begin to disavow polygamy while this great+ nephew of Joseph Smith Jr. still presides.
Time will tell.
JCS: What is it about crocs, sweats and Bon Jovi? I like Danskos, jeans and ACDC myself.
Seriously, this is actually one problem I have with progressive members. Once they decide something is right or wrong they have no tolerance for any other thoughts. If progressives decide something is unfair then they say “these things aren’t from God because they are offensive to us.” An open minded person, although offended, would at least leave room for the idea that from an eternal perspective, there may be factors at work that we just don’t understand.
Anon for This: Why do you see this as a problem solely among progressive Church members (who are becoming a tiny minority) and not see the same human tendency among conservative Church members? I’ve seen ample evidence of intolerance among both groups, including claims that the thing they detest is “not from God.” There are plenty of closed minds regardless of political preferences.
Angela: Oh, definitely. Both sides of the spectrum are equally guilty. I guess I assumed that it was obvious that conservative Mormons were that way.
@ruth, you know, I don’t think they are declining to disavow polygamy because they don’t want to offend – I think they are declining because a lot of leadership legit believes they will have multiple wives in the afterlife. I think the sad truth is that is how they see women and how they see heaven.
Elisa, I had an elders quorum president who was open about his expectation of more wives as part of his celestial reward. He was in his 30s, with young wife. Not sure how she felt about it. I was shocked.
As always, excellent post, Angela. Great comments.
1 – I spent a lot of time thrashing about with the questions: “Why do they (the Q15) do this to us? Don’t they know better?” While, yes, I do think the church is increasingly authoritarian and controlling of thought and deed, these guys grew up in this same soup. Their elevated positions allow them to feel absolutely correct and completely empowered in what they say and do. It’s like expecting Russian oligarchs (and maybe their princesses) to wonder if they are being a bit too exploitative or that they are not leaving enough on the table for the the masses. It just does not occur to them that they *can* be wrong.
2 – If you found someone that knew nothing of the church and had them read the collected body of W&T posts and comments – I think most would think we are out 0f our minds for spending so much time and energy on such a questionable organization. The awesome things about the church can be had elsewhere without all the horse hockey. We can individually access revelation for ourselves and those we care about. Why do we need to pay and indenture ourselves to those that treat us so poorly?
But we do love the parts of the church we love. For better or for worse, it’s hard to let go. I once told a pastor friend that leaving the church is like trying to extract an alien parasite that has invaded every bit of my being.