When we were house hunting in Singapore in 2011, I noticed that none of the properties, even those that were brand new, had garbage disposals in the sinks. Not one. The realtor didn’t even know what I was talking about. As an American, I couldn’t even remember the last time I lived somewhere without one. Maybe I never have.
Most properties had a separate wet kitchen where the live in helper would do food prep and most of the cooking before bringing it into the “dry” kitchen area in the main house. The condo we eventually chose also had a garbage chute, also in the maid’s quarters. Food waste was physically gathered by hand and put down the chute. This just seemed like a terrible solution to me. The chute was streaked with liquid and other food waste, and was often foul smelling as a result. Obviously, since it was in her quarters, it was separate from the house and not usually a bother to us, but I was bothered that she had to smell it. She didn’t mind. She was glad that she had her own quarters, her own separate space.
I noticed things like this often while living there. I was appalled that there were so few do-it-yourself conveniences that I was used to in the US. Instead of pumping my own gas and paying at the pump, I had to let an old man (old enough that I felt guilty about it) do the work and take my payment inside to process, then return my card to me.
Our helper was often concerned that our kids would not let her do things other families expected her to do like tie their shoes or carry their backpacks or bring them snacks. They preferred to do these things for themselves. They didn’t like to be “babied” as they saw it. I once spent an afternoon making doll clothes on my sewing machine for my daughter until I got tired of the erratic converter that was causing power surges. Our helper was amazed that I knew how to sew. She couldn’t believe I would take the time to learn how to do a menial task.
I explained to her that in the US, we assume everyone is equal and has their own hopes and dreams, and that we can do things for ourselves, independently. It was unusual for us to have someone else do things we were used to doing for ourselves, but we didn’t really have a choice there because Singapore is not built around those assumptions. Singapore is built around the assumption that you will hire someone to do those things for you. That’s why there are no garbage disposals. Nobody cares if the garbage chute smells bad.
An Indian colleague of mine who relocated to the US while I was living in Singapore was having the reverse culture shock to mine. He had always had live in servants growing up in India. Living in Ohio, suddenly, he and his wife were expected to wash their own clothes in the washer and dryer. “But it’s so easy!” I said. “It takes no time at all!” They had to do their own cooking. I had a ready answer for this one, too. “In Asia, you have a helper. In the US, you have Costco. There are so many ready-made, delicious meals available, you don’t need a helper! And you don’t have to shop every day because our food is so full of preservatives that it lasts three or four times as long. It’s made to be convenient.” He still said he felt like he got a demotion when he took that promotion. I too felt like I had lost out in the process. Everything was much harder than just doing it myself. I may not have to cook or do housework, but it was worse: I had to oversee and plan the cooking and housework while also running a $60M P&L business and traveling over 50% of my time. Blerg.
I actually looked into garbage disposals toward the end of my stint there, thinking this was something that really needed to be pitched to the government. I found that in order for garbage disposals to work, you have to have a specific type of plumbing, and your water treatment plant has to be set up to process food waste in the water. It’s not as simple as ducking down to the Home Depot and attaching one under the sink. It requires government regulation and modification across the board. It requires a community consensus that it’s needed. Say what you will about the repression of women in the 1950s, and I have plenty to say about that, but the one upside is that American companies created a lot of products and equipment to make housewives feel like actual “domestic engineers.” The technology of housewifery has revolutionized our assumptions about daily life in the US in ways that simply don’t exist in other countries.
I haven’t thought about garbage disposals for almost a decade until in September when we chatted up an Irish couple at dinner in Greece. All of us ended up talking about our experiences in other countries and how differently people lived due to their cultural assumptions, and I mentioned the garbage disposals which I have seen as a symbol of American egalitarianism, engineering ingenuity, and female empowerment. They found the very concept recklessly anti-environmental, consumerist, and ethically dubious. Of course I agreed that composting food waste is superior, but also impractical in some parts of the country, and downright inconvenient to all but retirees. Do I have to live with worms to be an ethical person? They were also appalled at the idea of a clothes dryer in the home, a feature that is particularly empowering to dual income households in the US. They saw it as a grave ecological concern that we would use electricity (or gas) to dry our clothes with heat rather than hanging them on a line outside and hoping it didn’t rain as they do in Ireland (protip: it’s Ireland; it’s going to rain). I didn’t even mention dishwashers. You get the point.
On the show The Good Place [light spoilers follow], there is a point system that ranks the actions we take in our lives. You might get positive points for letting someone in front of you in traffic and negative points for cutting someone off. Ultimately, in the show, the problem is raised that the systems we have are now so much more complicated than they ever were before. You might get positive points for drinking oat milk, avoiding animal suffering, but if it is sourced from a remote location that contributes to global warming, you also lose points from the same action. Every decision we make in the modern world is fraught with conflicting ethical concerns. We do something to empower women, but it creates an ecological problem. We try to support an emerging economy, but we also support an oppressive regime committing human rights violations. We stop fighting foreign wars, but we also stop protecting innocents.
Church attendance is also fraught with these types of problems. For example, last Sunday’s primary lesson was about the martyrdom of Joseph Smith. A sunbeam teacher in an online forum shared that her students were traumatized by the retelling of the events that were in the lesson plan. My own CTR 4 class was unperturbed, but that’s probably because I don’t think they’ve ever listened to a word we’ve said. That class is chaos, I tell ya. The church video on this topic is downright dishonest about the events of the martyrdom. There’s a lot to unpack about why Joseph Smith was killed by the mob, and while vigilantism is morally wrong, so were a lot of the things he did, most of which we don’t talk about because it’s more important to paint him as a sinless, selfless martyr for some reason. The real events of that day bear more resemblance to the ending of Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid than they do to the crucifixion. Alas, saying that he destroyed the printing press for printing lies is wishful thinking at best. But what’s the point of this story anyway? What are four-year-olds supposed to be getting from this lesson? Manufactured outrage and tribalism? An adventurous and titillating tale of murder and danger? The idea that mobs are bad (*cough* January 6th *cough, cough*)?
- What types of moral quandaries have you encountered due to the complexity of modern life?
- How do you balance competing moral imperatives?
- Is there an ethical way to teach Joseph Smith’s martyrdom story? What would you do? Would it vary based on the age of the class?
- Do you face an ethical quandary when asked to teach “approved” materials when those materials are misleading or inaccurate? How have you dealt with this?
Garbage disposals? ! ?
Here in Britain we have a food waste caddy (food waste is a separate item) by the local council appointed refuse collection teams every week. It goes to an anaerobic digester to produce fertiliser and biogas.
Also the water companies don’t want that stuff in the sewage system.
Recyclable waste is collected once a fortnight. As is nonrecyclable, nonfood waste.
My #1 ethical concern right now is trying to balance authenticity with sensitivity. I could disturb many lives around me were I to be more authentic about my views on the COJCOLDS. But that would be insensitive. So instead, I hold back for other people. Which seems very phony to me. I’m trying to balance my need to be honest and real with my desire to not disturb the universe of certain family members (extended family) and close friends around me. Fun times.
I had to teach the martyrdom lesson and sidestepped the quandary by just not teaching the martyrdom at all. I’ve been in a teaching role at church for much of my adult life and I pretty much always disregard materials I think are misleading or not helpful and I have no problem doing that. I also do my best to teach history truthfully where it makes sense. I taught the lesson on Emma Smith this year and was very open about how Joseph Smith practiced polygamy and how she didn’t like that, and how she and Brigham Young had a falling out over splitting up property and leadership succession and that’s part of why she didn’t go to Utah and who could blame her? For this lesson, though, especially because I was teaching with two of the girls in my class, it seemed a little too in-your-face to shove the printing press bit into the lesson when I found other ways to teach that basically just avoided talking much about JS at all. (In general, while I understand why we have youth teaching lessons, it has made it harder for me to modify lessons that are crappy.)
So much of history of course is fraught. I was at an event last night where they were celebrating the fact that Utah women were the first to cast votes in the country. Well, great! But why was that? Well, to give Mormons enough votes in Utah to preserve polygamy. They left that part out. They also left the part out how in the 70’s Utah women were again mobilized to defeat the ERA. So basically both times Mormon women were pawns of Mormon men to meet the Mormon men’s objectives. I didn’t bring up either of those points. Wasn’t really the right forum.
I think a big moral dilemma that I face and that people have faced really throughout time is how to engage in institutions that are racist / homophobic / sexist. To what extent do I work within the institution to effect change from within and to what extent do I say that working form within is only legitimizing a fundamentally oppressive institution? This is of course an age-old question in reform movements and I think there is a need for people along the spectrum, but I am growing a bit tired of women and gay people who are legitimizing the Church by claiming they have a seat at the table there. And so I often ask myself whether the right thing for me to do is to show up because no matter what I do there will always be gay kids at church and they are better off getting a lesson from me because I will be an ally or whether the right thing to do is to vote with my feet. And I really don’t know. So far I’ve still done the former, but I’ve voted with my wallet by redirecting tithing away from the corporate Church and scaled back my loyalty and commitment quite a bit.
My other recent ethical quandary was when we got a dog we got a designer dog and not a rescue. I felt a little bad about that. But with a lot of allergies and kids in the house, we had to be selective on the breed and I just couldn’t accept the risk of a dog with trauma and behavioral problems. Our dog has increased our love and appreciation for all animals so I think it was a good decision but I know some people feel quite strongly about that one …
My current problem/tension with what I would consider authentic, genuine participation and involvement with Church curriculum in particular is as follows:
1. I morally cannot teach or promote ideas that appear to not be true or that misrepresent key points of the story;
2. I have a hard time letting people make unchallenged comments or declarations, especially to those who do not have the capacity or experience to analyze such (thinking of children and young men/women);
3. I am torn with the pros/cons of having a correlated lesson manual for public use, sometimes it keeps the Kolob BS at bay from members who have been given “personal revelation,” while other times it continues to promote or excuse serious problems like racism, homophobia, etc.;
4. I recognize that church attendance for most members is a time for community, friendship, relationship-building, personal worship, and not a forum for debate, argument, etc., so I am constantly agitated but withholding comments because I do not see it adding to the discussion in my Ward;
5. I see in most of my fellow Ward members a group of very kind people who embody many Christ-like virtues, yet hold space for an institution they have constructed their lives and eternity around to have more influence than anything else;
6. I recognize that my kids will suffer socially by choosing to not advance or fully participate, yet they will be miserable for two hours each week and then just bail on everything Church-related when they leave home, so I choose to encourage and discuss benefits/burdens with them and let them choose.
I tell ya, it’s tough right now, and COVID lockdown and subsequent Zoom option has changed the “participation” calculus so much that we are not anxious to return.
Wow. Lots of relatable comments here. For me, the church used to present a number of ethical dilemmas, many the same as the ones commenters have already mentioned (LGBTQ issues, feminism, church lies about its own history, etc.). My big moral dilemma has been the exact one that Elisa mentions: Where is the line between staying “in” and trying to effect change and getting “out” so that my conscience no longer troubles me about the fact that I belong to a racist, sexist and homophobic institution? And like Elisa, I’ve decided to stay for now, but have voted with my wallet. The church will not get another penny from me as long as I live. Also, one thing I did that of course killed my chances of getting “promoted” to higher leadership positions but allowed me to keep attending church by giving me less of a guilty conscience was to be open with my leaders about my positions and thoughts regarding the church. At the last bishopric turnover, I was asked by one of the new counselors about my prior church callings, leadership experiences, etc. He then asked if there was anything I wanted to add and I told him that if I were ever called to any sort of leadership position, I would refuse to lie about church history and I would refuse to read or teach anything either over the pulpit or in a classroom that demeaned or denied the humanity of women, LGBTQ folks, people of color, and non-members. I of course was not extended a leadership calling of any kind (and believe me, I was not seeking one anyway, but there is quite a leadership shortage in our stake), but I did feel as if I did the right thing by being very clear about what I would and would not do. It’s rather sad that following one’s conscience in the church named after Jesus Christ often makes one a pariah, but c’est la vie.
And as far as teaching, that is my one calling at church and I’ve been fortunate to have been teaching for a while and to have earned the trust of the EQ leadership, so I never teach any lesson based on a manual. I teach about stuff like Pauline theology as it relates to human emotions or how to act like an ethical person in real world situations or how to deal with anger and disappointment in a gospel context. My lessons seem pretty well received, so I’m pretty much left alone in my calling. Of course, that will all likely change at the next leadership change, but for now, I’m able to teach EQ in ways that are meaningful to me and, hopefully, to the other quorum members.
Elisa: Your comment reminded me of something I read earlier this week in Mona Hathaway’s book The Seven Deadly Sins for Women and Girls:
“Putting women at the service of patriarchy is no victory for us. These are discussions that will come up again and again as women demand inclusion in institutions that have not been friends to women, such as the military, religious institutions, corporations–and the CIA. . . Patriarchy is rewarding [named female leader] with elevation to an unprecedented position for a woman, but patriarchy understands that [she] will not threaten it with ambitions of her own. She will take what patriarchy gives her. . . The woman allowed power by patriarchy must essentially be a blank slate on which patriarchy paints what it wants.”
This reminded me so much of my misgivings about Ordain Women. Without ordination, women have no real ability to influence Church policies and curriculum and so forth, but the priesthood as currently constituted is about the most patriarchal organization you can imagine with all the accompanying features: hierarchy, authoritarianism, and the rituals to support the same. Patriarchy is like a pyramid scheme that sells manhood.
@Angela C yep. I still think ordination and full inclusion in leadership is better than the double-speak “women have the priesthood too” BS we are getting now, but I understand that perspective too. Richard Rohr has the same misgivings about female ordination in the Catholic Church.
My way of dealing with that is I’ve just stopped playing the patriarchy game. I literally do not care what my reputation in my ward is, I take every opportunity to opt out of patriarchy (even though obviously there is stuff I can’t really opt out of). I do not countenance that authority over me to the fullest extent I can avoid it.
I know in some ways that also limits my influence and there were ways I had influence when I was more orthodox that I don’t have anymore but I just can’t be that orthodox now and still have integrity. In any event, I am not trying to “change” the Church (as if). I am just trying to teach YW lessons that don’t do more harm than is already happening to girls and LGBTQ folks, esp since my daughter is staring YW in Jan.
“Patriarchy is like a pyramid scheme that sells manhood.” Comment of the year, Angela C. You should put that on a t-shirt; you’d sell millions.
Elisa and Brother Sky: the two of you seem to have one foot out the door but seem reluctant to take the second step. You may have very good reasons for that. I just want you to know that the second step is very very liberating. I’m not lazy. I’m not rebellious. I’m not offended. I’m not seeking to “sin”. I just could not reconcile the truth with my participation any longer. I bet you’ll be where I am sooner than you think.
I had the internal debate about changing the Church from within vs. walking away. I was raising issues every week or biting my tongue in disgust. I came to the conclusion that the TBMs are happy doing their thing and it’s not my job to change their perspective. Of course, we are taught in this culture to share and proselytize so it’s unnatural to walk away from the discussion. But it’s liberating to just focus on myself and let others do their LDS thing.
@josh h, I get that. I have a very active spouse, a couple of engaged kids, and I live in Provo. And I guess old habits die hard too. So that pretty much sums up my reasons.
Right now the only meeting I attend is YW. I had been in the presidency but asked to step down and be an advisor instead. I’ve been tempted to opt out of that, but my daughter – who is very into participating – is aging into YW (and my group specifically) in January. Hence, here I am. She is the one I’m most worried about getting indoctrinated so I want to be in the room where it happens ;-).
I’m definitely not trying to change the church from within so if my comment left any with that impression that was sloppy. I only meant be a force for good for individual people I come into contact with via my participation in the church.
Thanks for the post. My new years resolution for the upcoming year is to “Unapologetically be me.” Hopefully that leads me to living with integrity and doing MY best when confronted with ethical dilemmas.
Interesting discussion here. If I were called upon to teach the martyrdom of Joseph Smith (I’m in my early 40s and I haven’t yet, at least not in a formal Church setting), I would take an approach that would be heavy on historical facts, consequences be damned. Especially if it were a youth audience. We spend our whole lives getting the Church-approved sanitized version that invariably makes Brother Joseph out to be the spotless hero. To balance out those years of fact-free teaching, it would necessitate the Mormon equivalent of killing Santa Claus, and I’m OK with that. I would consider that approach to be the most ethical, regardless of who’s feelings it may hurt. I don’t think it’s right to willingly allow grown adults to spend their lives believing that Joseph Smith walked on water.
To start, I would get rid of the “martyrdom” language and call it what it was. Mention the fact that he and his companions were armed as well (he died in a gunfight that he brought upon himself, so I can hardly call him a victim). Explain why he was in jail in the first place. When you think about it, the historically accurate image of Joseph Smith as a gun-slinging vigilante/womanizer/would-be dictator is a lot more entertaining than the official whitewashed version.
My intense love of freedom, individualism, personal responsibility and personal achievement – vs. – the needs of a worldwide population and those who are born without opportunity. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to embrace “equality of outcomes” but I am a strong advocate for “equality of opportunity”. Nature is a bit cruel this way…..and whether we like it or not….human kind is part of nature. Even with opportunity…one must fight to thrive and live.
Here is one ethical dilemma that troubled me as a young man. I remember a young men’s lesson I had as a teenager about keeping the Sabbath day holy. It had all of the usual talking points (do’s and don’ts, but heavy on the don’ts). The YM leaders specifically counseled us boys, some of whom had part -time jobs, to not do any paid work on Sundays, and don’t spend money on Sundays because it forces others to work, and they further gushed about how “blessed” they were to have comfortable (and boring) white-collar careers that followed a predictable M-F work schedule. Being the resident smart-ass, I asked if police and firefighters and ER doctors and nurses were Sabbath breakers, even though they were providing essential services that enabled the rest of us to go to church and enjoy our Sabbath days. The leaders hemmed and hawed, and then gave some lame answer that treated essential workers as a footnote of society. In hindsight, they probably hadn’t even given it a thought. I furthermore considered that the very act of turning on a light switch in the chapel and expecting light requires an entire chain of events to occur in electricity generation and delivery, which also requires lots and lots of people in that chain to show up for their jobs regardless of what day of the week it is. The impact of that “sabbath-breaking” is far more significant than, say, ducking into a 7-11 on the way home from church to buy a candy bar. Again, the adult leaders weren’t prepared to wrap their heads around that, so they just continued on with whatever was in the lesson manual.
Interestingly enough, for most of my adult life, I’ve been in the military or in government work, all of which were jobs that required me to occasionally work on Sundays. I’ve long since made peace with Sabbath-day observance in my own way.
@JackHughes – With regards to keeping the Sabbath day holy, online shopping in a global economy creates a whole mess that is not easily solved. I live in Japan, so being a day ahead when buying things on Amazon I always question: Is it better to buy it on Sunday, because that’s Saturday in America? Or should I wait until Monday, because that’s not my Sabbath, but it will be processed on Sunday in America? (The reverse would apply if you’re in America and buying things coming from Asia). I wonder how that would pan in the point system proposed in The Good Place. (I suppose the most correct answer would be for me to just shop online Tuesday-Saturday, or use Amazon Japan on Mondays).
@jack Hughes I also feel like there’s a real class element to working on Sundays. I don’t think anyone snubs their noses at doctors working on Sundays but what about grocery store clerks? So better-educated and higher-paid folks get the “privilege” of working on Sundays without judgment? Another ethical morass …
Related, one time a family member gifted family photos for us. The only time the photographer wanted to take the photos was on a Sunday. So on the one hand, that was “making” her work on a Sunday. But on the other, my insisting that she not do it on Sunday because of our own religious beliefs would have been more inconvenient for her. (We did the photos on a Sunday … seemed like a higher law was at play there. Love your neighbor and all that.)
josh h: I hear you and you may be right. I gave up trying to persuade anyone in conversations a long time ago, but I do feel as if I’m able to have some positive impact with my teaching. And since I read, study and plan during sacrament meeting and Sunday school, I don’t pay attention to what’s said and therefore I’m not at all invested in what the ward zealots think about anything. I like the few friends I have in the ward and enjoy seeing them (they’re very good and kind people), but when I retire and move to Las Vegas, I don’t plan on attending church anymore. There’d be nothing there for me. So really, I feel pretty free as it is. I love music, poetry, fishing and teaching far more than I love what Mormons claim to be “the gospel”, so I feel pretty centered and okay with myself and since I’m not very invested in what happens in church every Sunday, I’m actually pretty calm about things and don’t experience a lot of cognitive dissonance.
A few Good Place type of moral quandaries some of us face in the US:
• Buy a Tesla or a gas sipping Corolla. I’m not totally convinced Teslas are responsibly sourced, etc etc
• Buy a truck (or maybe an Outback) to take the kids to the desert to teach appreciation for nature. While contributing to natures destruction by owning a truck (and hauling Ward youth around).
• Work for a company that does a lot of good but also some crappy stuff
• Travel by air to fun places and teach my kids to expand their mind or stay local and contribute way less greenhouse gases.
• Eat vegetarian for health reasons but throw away leftover meat
• and finally – attend church to keep the wife happy. If I’m honest with myself that’s why I do it.
The best decision making device I have is to answer the question the best I can – which choice contributes to make my family (first) and everyone else (second) legitimately better people.
I have a garbage disposal in my kitchen sink, but they are not standard in all houses here. When we were building the house we went to South Africa, and to a home show there. They had stainless steel sinks with a lightly knurled finish that showed up water marks less, so we asked sink manufacturers here if they could do that finish, so we have a sink like that. We are in the provess of having a lift installed from the garage to the house level. Carrying groceries up 18 stairs, let alone self at 73 looks like it will be a problem soon.
The thing that surprised me in America is you have very few indoor shoping malls. They are all indoors in Australia so you don’t go out in the weather between shops. We do have strip shops as well but they are more for car yards, fuel stations, fast food, hardware etc. Clothes and food are all inside.
We are having discussions about the treatment of women here. A young woman staffer was raped in the office of her minister. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-12-01/key-recommendations-parliament-review-brittany-higgins/100665722 This is a report done on how to improve the situation for women in parliament house. The ruling party has 22% women MPs the more progressive Labor party is almost 50 50 and the women MPs say that changes the culture greatly. The Labor party got to 50 50 by using quotas, but the conservatives don’t like quotas for women(though they have them for lots of other things) they are trying to fix the problem of male culture without more women.
I understand Republicans have far fewer women in congress and senate than do the Democrats but could not see the numbers. Another reason to vote Democrat is to have more women in power, as well as stop trump. It would be great to see a woman president. Perhaps Kamala Harris ?
If there were a woman president would it put pressure on the church on equality for women? I think so.
I think it is a big moral problem that 80% of members over 40 voted for trump. Trump is respected by a very small number of people here, and sadly that is now the only place to look for potential converts. Normal sane people will not associate with a church of trumpers.
To the Elisas, Brother Skys, and Josh H’s out there, please stick around! And if you’re gone, come back every now and then and check in. We need the full spectrum of belief and loyalty and truth in the building, and we need to hear the challenging material. Keep that teaching calling as long as they’ll let you. I guarantee you are having an impact even if it feels pointless. For one, there are a lot more like-minded people there than you realize, and they could use the support. For another, the youth need to see modeling of a variety of ways of living the gospel. I do think it’s possible to prevent the church from becoming an echo-chamber of fundamentalists.
Geoff-Aus: As to your question about indoor shopping malls, they peaked in the 1990s, and have become less and less profitable over time, often ending up being shuttered. This is mostly due to the high development cost while online shopping continues to grow and take over retail. The pandemic has really been the death knell for a lot of them due to social distancing needs and a lot of businesses shut down. Here in the part of Phoenix I’m in, I’m personally aware of three enclosed malls, one of which was just recently demolished. The other two are still around, one of which contains a lot of high end retail. It seems to be much more successful here to have large open air pedestrian shopping because the weather is always good (summers are hot, but AZ often empties out in the summer, and there are cooling misters and splashpads all over the pedestrian areas.) All the newer malls here are of this type, many of them high end, and they are mostly thriving from what I can see. These aren’t strip malls which are another variety entirely. There are a couple of these outdoor shopping areas in SLC also, despite the bad weather. Gateway is this type of mall. They have a better mix of restaurants, public space, artwork, etc. than the old style indoor malls. Of course, the Church’s big mall project which was high end retail was the old school indoor mall style. It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks.
While I personally like Kamala Harris, she didn’t fare well when she ran for president, and Biden’s coattails are probably too short to get her there. Plus, do you think our racist, sexist country is going to vote in a multi-racial woman when they could literally vote for the worst human being alive instead? (Yes, Trump is implying he’s going to run in 2024, and there’s nobody in the Republican party who can or will oppose him if he does). I too find it sickening that so many Mormons are Trumpers. It’s absolutely disgusting.
“Do I have to live with worms to be an ethical person?” Yes. Kind of. Seems that Amish have the gold-standard model for Zion.
Come Follow Me” manuals are so belief-system-driven, they reduce IQ the longer you look at them. The most important sentences in the current manual, page vii:
How Should I Use This Resource?
“Use this resource in any way that is helpful to you… [it] is not meant to replace or compete with other good things you are doing.”
The manuals are great for recycling and compost.
Go to your meetings, speak your mind. Call out every stupid unsubstantiated belief system that gets proffered by the offensive ignorance of those who behave as if “all is well in Zion.”
If we differentiate the “institution” from the “church,” there is room for “Gospel,” beyond the fuzzy-feeling placebo.
Solid post. Creative. Maybe somebody will be inspired to retrofit a composter to the standard suburban garbage disposal.
Downvotes on even the most anodyne comments interest me. Imagine getting stoned because you believe in composting. The crazy bar is set mighty low in these parts. Yes, I expect this comment to be downvoted.
Oh did my eyes ever pop out when I saw my Primary lesson topic was the Martyrdom – NOT appropriate for 4-6 year olds, controversial or not. We did the Ten Commandments instead.
I feel a lot of environmental guilt at having an above-replacement number of children. But I was a bicycle commuter for 20 years. We have also increased the number of vegetarian days, and mostly cook from scratch so not a lot of kitchen trash generated.
The biggest thing we do to enhance global equity is encourage people to get an education. For years, we have contributed financially to a fund that helps children in Indonesia attend school. The public schools are theoretically free but there are fees for uniforms and books. Also, if they cannot pass a test between elementary and middle school, they do not qualify for public middle school–they will have to drop out or pay tuition at a private school. So the fund helps with all that. I also serve as a mentor for an Indonesian woman who hopes to enroll in BYU Pathway. But that is only available in English, and she is trying to get her English up to the level where she could qualify. (I’m a certified TEFL teacher.)
I don’t think of myself as rich, although as you point out, of course living in foreign countries does put that definition into question. When we lived in Brasil, I brought a little photo album along, and since people there got most of their idea of the USA from television, they were genuinely surprised to see our 1-story cinder block house and that we commute by bicycle. Folks at church stopped constantly adding “ricos” to “Americanos” when discussing the pride cycle in the BOM. During our time there, we had to live in a fancy-looking high-rise building because my husband had scientific equipment that had to be kept safe. But we couldn’t afford help, and the electric grid would not support large appliances. So we had to do all our laundry by hand.
I am blessed not to struggle as much with the church as some folks. It seems like every time I start to have a concern, it is resolved. For example, the last time we studied D & C, the lesson on witnesses of the BOM, as the class progressed I asked if we were going to mention Mary Whitmer. The teacher was unfamiliar so I shared her story from the Primary manual. This year, the story was already included in the lesson and also in Saints, even in the small portion translated into Indonesian, so I did not have to make a stink about it.
[I had forgotten that you were in Singapore, which I love. The city where we served as missionaries was only an hour flight from Singapore, and when it turned out that one of my prescription drugs was not available in our country, we got permission to travel to Singapore to get it, since it has some of the best health care in Asia as well as clean water out of the tap.]
The dilemma of sacrament the last time we attended:
How can I possibly sing Praise to the Man knowing both the original and current lyrics and how can I not sing the tune when it’s such a bop?