I just finished watching the HBO series “The Wire“. It is a VERY NSFW police drama, with more F and N words/min that any show in the history of television! One theme of the show was what the rank and file police called “Juking the Stats”. This involved manipulating the crime statistics in such a way that show a reduction of crime.
While listening to a podcast this week where a former church employee dishes on what happens behind the scenes, I realized that the Church also “jukes the stats”. In the podcast, he listed ten things he learned after his first year of working for the church. Each one could be a Bishop Bill post, but the one that jumped out to me was this one: “The operational church (paid employees) must always spin things positive to the ecclesiastical church (Area/General Authorities)”. He relates a story where he was in a meeting and asked a question by an Area Authority. He thought he was suppose to answer honestly, but he learned he was not. He was trying to let this Area Authority know the reality of something that happened over the past year, and after the meeting his boss told him that he was not to share anything negative, and he needed to spin things like that in a positive manner.
Another of his ten points that is related is: “Statistical data tells us what we want to believe is true” The statistics would be manipulated until they showed what they wanted them to show. He talked about a recent graph in his work that showed a trend, and they removed the numbers so it just showed the trend without measurable numbers. Just like the police juking the stats so that it would show a decrease in crime even though crime was going up.
I saw both of these as the local level, and I was usually the only Bishop that spoke out with bad news in our monthly Bishop’s council meetings (all the Bishops in the stake meet with the SP). After I was released, a Bishop from another ward told me the meetings were just not the same without me!
How can the Church ever get better if this is going on at every level, which one could imagine it is. The Bishop spins it for the SP, the SP spins it for the Area Authority, Area Authority spins it for the 70, the 70 spins it for the Q12, and the Q12 spins it for the First Presidency. All is well in Zion.
What has been your experience in the Church with “juking the stats”.
What would need to change in the church for the truth to be told?