(This post is derived from the podcast Latter Day Struggles, episode 3 by Valerie Haymaker. Some of the thoughts below are from the podcast)
When dealing with cheating in a marriage, how the offended party (the one cheated on) finds out makes a huge difference in the healing process. Therapist will refer to this as “discovery vs disclosure”
Discovery occurs when the cheating partner gets caught or his behaviors are unintentionally discovered and made known to the betrayed partner. Discovery is shocking, unplanned, overwhelming, and usually only a portion of the betrayal is revealed and acknowledged.
Disclosure is the exact opposite. In disclosure, the cheating partner voluntarily tells the betrayed partner the full scope and details about his behavior. Discovery is part of the betrayal, part of the addiction, part of the trauma. Disclosure is part of recovery.Partner Hope website
It is pretty obvious how this relates to the Church. Trauma is so much worse when it is discovered vs disclosure (in a cheating spouse or the church) The betrayal trauma is worse than the original sin. This is how my son-in-law felt when he learned about the truth of the Book of Abraham and Book of Mormon translation. He told me it wasn’t the actual facts, but that he was lied to by the Church. If they were lying about this, what else were they lying about?
The church realized that they had a problem about 12 years ago, and tried their hand at disclosure. The Essays are trying to “disclose”, but it is only part way, like a spouse admitting infidelity, but only claiming it happened once, when it went on for a year.
Should the church come out with the ugly truth ( e.g BY was raciest, polygamy was driven by power hungry men, etc), and take the fallout? Is more damage done by hiding it? Which is worse, a faith crises caused by the truth, or a trust crises caused when the members find out the truth?
Which would lose the most members; Coming clean with all the dirt, or keep it hidden like they have tried for hundreds of years. I think that for the short term, keeping it hidden, not admitting the dirty past will keep more members, but in the long term it is not sustainable. The Church should take the short term loss with long term viability.
The pathway out is going to cause pain and discomfort. Should the institution hold on to the members that need the lies to believe? Is that the kind of members they want? Or do we want an institution that has leaders that can tell the truth, and with members that can handle the truth? Will the truth harm the simple believers? I blogged about this last year, where I talked about Elder Packer believing that we needed to protect “the little people”. I quoted from Richard Bushman where he said:
Elder Packer had the sense of “protecting the little people.” He felt like the scholars were an enemy to his faith, and that we should protect the grandmothers living in Sanpete County. That was a very lovely pastoral image. But the price of protecting the grandmothers was a loss of the grandsons. They got a story that didn’t work. So we’ve just had to change our narrative.”Bushman Fireside 2016
I’ll leave with this quote from the podcast
No people, agency, institution, nation or culture entity can resist idolatry, self-idolization, unless there is pressure and motive to engage in constant self-examination. I cannot point to an institution in the world today, or in the world’s history, that renews its self unless there is a build in mechanism for calling things into question. I don’t think such pressure comes from without, because that brings about defensiveness in the institution. This mechanism must come from within from those that share the presuppositions of the larger group.Latter Day Struggles #3
What are your thoughts?