As I get older, I get crankier. I have little patience with long lines at Walmart or for Costco gas, and for idiots on the TV news. My wife is regularly reminding me that they can’t hear me as I yell at the TV screen. I yell mostly at the local news people. I hate how everything is “officially” one thing or the other. “Today is officially the first day of Fall”. “The Orange County Fair officially opened their gates today”. Were they unofficially open yesterday? People are always “bracing” for strong winds, floods, climate change, the midterm election, etc. There is always a “spike” in some illness, price, or temperature, even though it only went up 10-20 percent. That is no spike. And don’t get me started on “exponential growth”. Has no news writer ever taken a math class?
Several of my posts complain about stupid things at church, and I’m sure a lot of it comes across with a “get off my lawn” mentality. But I’ve come to realize that Mormons don’t have a monopoly on doing stupid things.
I work for the Federal Government (USA), and there is a lot of stupid stuff they do. For example, years ago here in California they used to pay us a minimum amount for jury duty, even for one day. Since I was fully paid by my government job for the day of jury duty, I was not allowed to keep the money. I had to write a check to the US Treasury for the $5.00 the state gave me. But guess what? It cost the US Treasury $12.00 to process that check. So for every day of jury duty, the government lost $7.00. Why not just let me keep the $5.00? “That’s the law” I was told. I could go on and on.
There is stupidity all around. But what makes the church stupidity worse (in my opinion) is that stupid decisions made by Church leaders come with an implicit or explicit message that it is from God. Throw in the word “revelation” and the prohibition of saying “oops, we made a mistake, sorry” and the stupidity takes on a whole new level.
A few years ago my work decided to go with the “open offices” that was all the rage. No more cubicles, just open areas with desks (no dividers) to promote more collaboration. They tried it in a few areas and nobody liked it. With the negative feed back, they stopped it and said “yup, we made a mistake”, and gave us back our cubicles. Contrast that with the Exclusion Policy of 2015 in the Church. Not just a good idea, it was revelation according to Pres Nelson. With negative press and feedback, they stopped it three years later. But there was no “yup, we made a mistake”. It was revelation again that rescinded the policy.
When my boss at work makes a stupid mistake ( or I make one), it is understood that nobody is perfect, and things happen. When the Church makes a mistake, it is quietly swept under the carpet so as not to shake the members faith. How much better it would be if the Church just came out and said “we are not perfect”, and really mean it. And how would they prove they really meant it? By acknowledging the mistakes, and saying they would try better next time.
So what do you think about the mistakes made by Church leaders?
Is our Church any worse than other churches with its mistakes?
Is our Church any worse than any other large cooperation when it comes to mistakes?
Is there a way for the Church to acknowledge mistakes and apologize for past errors while still keeping members believing in the authority of its leaders?