Several years ago in a High Priest meeting, we were talking about setting goals for the Ward. I said that we should never set a goal that takes away somebody else’s free agency as God would not help us meet that type of goal. We were specifically talking about setting a goal for the ward of X number of convert baptisms and I said that was not valid because people have their free agency to accept or reject the gospel (Jesus’s plan that God accepted). I also said that missionaries should not set baptismal goals.
As you can imagine, this did not go over well and I got a lot pushback. My answer was that we can set goals to invite X number of people to church, give out X number of Books of Mormon, and the missionaries can set a goal of inviting X number of people to have a discussions. My argument seems to go over the heads of most of the very TBM members in attendance.
Since that time I have wondered about other goals we should not be setting. Setting a goal of having all our children go on missions, married in the temple, etc. is again taking away their free agency. You can set a goal in your house to talk about missions all the time, have family prayer, talk about the blessings of a temple sealing, in effect laying the ground work for your children to make their own decision.
When is it appropriate to use the carrot and stick approach for getting your children to reach certain goals? Is it OK to tell your kids you’ll pay for their education only if they go to BYU? Is it OK to withhold a drivers license from a boy until he gets his Eagle Scout award? Would it ever be right to threaten to write a child out of your inheritance if they fall away from the church? The church actually recommended that at one time.
We are all familiar with the bad outcomes that happens when a Mission Presidents sets baptism goals. What are other bad outcomes that come to us when we set goals that involve other peoples free agency?
What is your feelings about setting goals as related to church related efforts?
Since God put the forbidden fruit in the garden, for the sake of preserving Adam and Eve’s free will (okay, *agency*), it stands to reason that BYU ought to at least have a Starbucks.
But seriously, there is some doubt as to whether free will / agency even means anything. (If I do something because of my desire, did I act freely?)
When we set goals like these, we set up an all-or-nothing dynamic. We get our minds locked into there being one right choice on a given subject and the rest of the choices are wrong, wrong and wrong. Then when the predictable occurs (look at how the church is faring among Gen Z…) we blame it on Satan and The World.
This sort of goal only has one real outcome, and that’s disappointment, ever despair, and a feeling of persecution for the person who sets it.
I agree with you regarding ward goals. I once resisted ward goals such as every family will read the scripture, every family will pray, and so forth — I said that we (the ward council) should have goals reflective of our own effort, not other people’s, such as we will hold x number of ward activities. I prevailed (indeed, a rarity for a non-bishop to persuade the ward council — actually, I only had to persuade the bishop, and everyone else simply agreed with the bishop no matter what he said).
Carrot and stick for children? Yes, especially minor children. Parents need to guide children — that is a major function of parents. And parents need leeway and discretion to find what works for their children. I always hope for good sense and humor and so forth. But as children get older, techniques need to adapt with each child’s maturity. Older parents need to help adult children find their places in the world, not to punish them.
Bill, I share your distaste for goals that involve others’ agency. We can control our own actions, behavior, and choices ( and let’s be honest, it’s tough).
The church’s emphasis on the temple and eternal marriage for decades is an example of goal setting gone awry, particularly because these goals are not within the control of a single individual. Here are a couple ways this plays out.
1) In some (many?) cases it leads to loneliness because members pass up potential partners in pursuit of the elusive RM who will take them to the temple.
2) In other cases this focus leaves the church weak outside a few states in the western United States because members relocate to “Zion .” A long term secondary or tertiary consequence of Zion building and continued westward migration is playing out in Utah—extreme politics and extreme environmental damage.
3) Another way the focus on the temple has backfired is the devastating consequence to many family relationships when individuals step away from the church. Parents’ fear of losing their children in the eternities forces then to compel belief now. Some shun children who leave. It’s quite ironic that those who want eternal families most are often the ones violating agency and damaging family relations today.
On a little league sports team the coach is a volunteer. Some players want to be there, and some were obligated. In sports, failure is assured. No team will win 100%, over time. The goal is to “win”. However, when the “losses” happen, if a coach takes the approach of berating and creating an atmosphere that the players are not good enough, the team will never reach its potential. Eventually, many players will quit or despise sports later in life. If the coach creates goals and an atmosphere of: lets have fun, as we work hard and give it our best effort and develop skills; the outcome is irrelevant. (eventually those teams have high winning percentages). A good coach will ask, what can I do better and also take responsibility in the losses. Compare Andy Reid’s approach to Urban Meyer.
The LDS church is LOST, like Coach Meyer. It no longer even knows what its real goals and purpose are, it changes every quarter. Is the goal more baptisms/missions ? Not any more, the church is shirking and the missionaries are bored sharing an irrelevant message. Is the goal greater sacrament meeting attendance? Better press releases? Is the only goal to follow the prophet? What happened to the 4th mission of assisting the poor, is it no longer a goal? Is the only goal, build more temples? There is no longer “fun” at church. There is no skill development. There is hard work, but it is futile. There is no longer a community. This happened IMHO when requiring activities and goals needing only a “spiritual” purpose. you are assigned to “volunteer” to clean the church/temple and welfare projects.
For behold, this is my work and my glory– to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”—-Really ? , are you serious? I can see better ways of doing this than the current LDS model. Most of the LDS programs are broken. Even charity, getting food orders or temporary assistance is bishop roulette and with shame. Do not feed the malnourished children ! The outcomes of LDS intuitional goals over the past 40 years are now being manifest with a new scandal/policy, now 1-2x/week. Just follow type in Mormon into Google news or read the SL Trib religion articles, before they ask for another media fast.
When you clear the weeds the LDS main goal is for the attention getters to get promoted, stay in power, and ask you for your tithing money, your kids lives, and your time. If you are not in the leadership pipeline, the church has zero use for you after you are married, or over 30 years of age. Why do you think all the attention to the youth? Why so little attention to the widows, to the sick, to the down trodden ?
The best goals in life and those that you set for yourself or with a trusted team, not those that are imposed upon you.
The emphasis on the wrong goals on my mission really messed with my fragile mental health. I was convinced I was damned. I had to come home early with severe depression. This was on the US East Coast 20 years ago.
IOW, I completely agree with you, Bishop Bill.
Your comment reminded me of a current McDonald’s tv commercial showing 2 youth baseball teams. One coach congratulates his team on a winning effort while the other admits, “Let’s face it, this was not our finest moment.” Then both coaches exclaim, “Let’s go to McDonald’s!”
At the risk of reducing life lessons to a McD’s commercial, the point being to celebrate “playing the game” rather than just tallying up so-called wins and losses.
I see this from a counseling, mental health perspective and you are absolutely correct. The only person you can control is yourself. Your committee can make goals for itself but not for other people.
This applies to parents and children as well. A parent can control their own actions. I did alot to try to control outcomes with my older children that I regret now. I based it on false information about my control that I was recieving from the church.
With my younger children I have fully accepted what I learned from my experience with the older children. So much is just not my decision. I can only decide to love and support their development.
The church needs to accept reality instead of wasting it’s time giving talks and direction that encourage older parents to despair and younger parents to have unrealistic expectations. It’s really bad for mental health.
Undermining mental health isn’t what a church is supposed to be doing. A church, in my opinion should be doing things that support a peaceful, supportive connection with God instead of regretful self recrimination. We should be supporting actions that build inclusive community instead of excluding and shaming those who don’t measure up. To me that is truly following Christ.
Faith, I agree about the bishop roulette. There seems to be too much of an emphasis on self reliance. This can give leaders mistaken ideas about what other people actually can do. This creates a false justification for disregarding Mosiah 4 and withholding our help. We fail to recognize our own wealth is a blessing we didn’t earn and that the poverty of others is also part of the terms of this world and not controllable by them in many cases. And yes, it is the comparatively wealthy that make these decisions.
As a parent of people with disabilities, I want bishops to understand that some people just aren’t born with what it it takes to be self reliant, or to fit into a cookie cutter covenant path. It’s our obligation in following Christ to love and care for those who don’t fit in as well, instead of judging them as sinful and excluding them.
While I occasionally enjoy the temple I fear too much attendance can prevent us from serving the living and taking care of the problems we face as a people.
The prophet, church, temple should be pointing us to Christ like love and behavior towards others. Instead I fear we focus on the finger that is pointing instead of what it’s meant to point to.
Corporations set goals. Churches spiritually nourish.
I remember having conversations about baptism goals on my mission, they never went well. My go to comparison was that I could set a goal for how many letters I would write in the month, that was something I had control over. But it would be silly to set a goal for how many letters I would receive in a month since that was out of my control. Resistance was futile.
Setting goals is a way to stretch our capabilities beyond our normal capacity. It helps us draw from the powers of heaven as we involve the Lord in our goals to help us improve our own inadequate efforts. I’m not in agreement with how agency was talked about. When we invite God into our goal setting, nothing is impossible with God. No part of Devine assistance regarding reaching our goals violate personal agency, but open doors, opportunities, accessiblilities, that would not normally be available to us. Elevating the effort by setting a goal taps into Devine resources that are dormant without raising the commitment level. I’m not a goal setting fan because it causes me to stretch, and stretching hurts a bit and I don’t like hurting. But I do know there is great value and power in goal setting when we involve Devine assistance.
My personal opinion.
It seems a lot of comments that get a lot of thumbs up are coming from those that have had somewhat of a tainted view of things regarding the church. If anyone hopes to find perfection in the lives of members of the church or in any church, they will be disappointed.
Establishing a goal for weight loss, or to get a better job, to fix the lawn is good, or to be kind to others— if it is self imposed. It is not easy or comfortable, but admirable, if that is what the goal setter desires.
Creating a goal to have have 5 new converts in the ward and reactivate 2 families is also not easy, but can be a positive experience for all involved; if that is what everyone seeks. God can part of the establishing the goal and if all improve, that is great !
However, this is not reality in the LDS church. Goals are imposed. Stating the ward council or such and such group, set the goal under God’s inspiration is a facade. Many in the council dare not the speak up or if they are do, they are out voted. Then when implementing the goal, other people are to “sacrifice” and guilted into the accomplishment. If the goal is to have all ward members attend the temple one month, but someones’ work/travel/school schedule does not allow it, they are deemed faithless. But they were never part of the original plan. Maybe that families goal is to have quality time with their kids instead of attending the temple. Maybe they have to work 2 jobs to stay afloat.
Mission goals are a whole mess alone, that is why I suspect Bishop Bill only mentioned it in passing. The final result is baptizing 9 year olds or mentally challenge adults, which creates a whole nother problem for the church.
When someone else imposes goals for us, they think they know what is best for us and our life. Do they really? Are the LDS churches goals best for its’ members, or best for the institution?
In corporations, managers can set quarterly profit goals and even succeed. But if the result is unhappy customers with a bad product or a dissatisfied sales force, what was accomplished other than a quarterly financial gain or a promotion.?
I would not call this a tainted view, it is decades and decades of living experience. You may call it tinted, which not everyones LDS experience, depending on leadership roulette. The only tainted comments come from those seeking power, instead of acting like Christ.( to clarify this is not directed toward you, but to decision makers who have caused harm).
I wasted a lot of my mission feeling guilty over doing the things that actually got referrals, and feeling self-righteous over activities that ultimately amounted to nothing like door-knocking.
I wrote a lot about this in my mission memoir. My first experience with being asked for a goal was in my first interview with the Mission President. He asked how many people I was going to baptize, and I thought he was asking for a prediction, not a goal (!) because how could I set a goal for whether other people would join the church. It made no sense! It still doesn’t! But the mission culture was very focused on goals and district & zone leaders berating missionaries in an animated style that I mostly thought was a joke, not something I took seriously. Along with some of my fellow missionaries, we made fun of their antics, or deliberately set ridiculous goals so everyone could see how dumb it was. They knew they were putting on a performance. They weren’t being serious.
The missionaries who took it to heart were the ones who were actually damaged by that culture, and while they were in the minority in my mission, many missions had serious issues with this. Communicating between missions often didn’t work well because those in more guilt-driven missions didn’t really understand that we thought the numbers were a joke, like bragging about how you were going to win the lottery.
As an adult, we once had a bishop who extended a calling that was very ambiguous, and when asked what the goals of the calling were (e.g. what am I supposed to be doing in this calling I’ve never done before), he said, “It’s not like work where you are handed goals. Figure it out yourself.” A fine enough sentiment I guess, but I can say it’s a little hard to know what these callings even are sometimes.
Your comment reminds me of my Dad. Many years ago when my Dad coached our soccer team his philosophy was if we win – we go for ice cream to celebrate. If we lose, we go for ice cream to commiserate. It was a great life lesson. And maybe McDonald’s owes my Dad some royalties.
Goals tend to involve something you can measure. Number of baptisms, number of BoMs placed, number of families visited, etc. But numbers don’t measure quality. Was the baptism sincere? Were the BoMs placed with someone who will actually read it? How was the spiritual was the visit? So the numbers frequently mean nothing. In the case of swimming pool baptism, the number is a net negative.
Much of Christianity involves unmeasurable ideas, concepts, and doctrine. Love God, love your neighbor. Though shalt not steal (depends of you how you define steal). That’s part of the reason that the TR questions are so shallow, and in many cases meaningless. Read Gordon Monson’s op-ed piece in the Sltrib. You can be a quiet humanitarian and drink coffee, and be denied a TR.
When we make other people’s actions/choices OUR quantifiable goals, we treat them as objects. They become the means to our ends. I don’t believe Jesus advocates treating people as objects, yet that is what we end up doing with much of the numerical goal setting we do as a church.
mb, “When we invite God into our goal setting, nothing is impossible with God. No part of Devine assistance regarding reaching our goals violate personal agency, but open doors, opportunities, accessiblilities, that would not normally be available to us.”
The idea that saying just the right thing, opening just the right door, or creating just the right opportunity will cause a person to do what we think they should—this is a fundamental misunderstanding of agency.
When I was in college on the quest to find a wife and fulfill the measure of my creation, I was trapped in this mindset. I thought that if I liked a girl I could persuade her to like me back if I said just the right thing, called at just the right time, or prayed hard enough. God would help create just the right scenario for her to realize how awesome I was. After all, my exaltation was at stake!
I misunderstood agency. And, honestly, I was thinking of the young women around me more like subjects to be acted upon than as people whose wishes, feelings, and autonomy were just as important as mine. I don’t think I could have realized that about myself at the time, but I was trained to see women as “appendages” to men (as Elisa explained so eloquently in a recent post). I never tried to physically force anything (as so many men tragically feel compelled to do on account of this same toxic mindset) but I regret the amount of desperate attempts at persuasion people had to endure when they’d already made their feelings clear.
The end result was a lot of depression on my part and a lot of awkwardness for the young women who unfortunately had to deal with me.
So I fully agree with the OP and I’d even take it a step further. We shouldn’t make goals regarding other people unless the goal is to help them achieve something they already explicitly want (like food, shelter, healthcare, etc) as opposed to things we want them to want.
When it comes to numerical goals set at a ward, stake, or mission level in the Church, there are two problematic practices that I think are worth noting.
First, the Church often wants wards, stakes, and missions to use modern Western business/sales practices. Many salespeople working for Western corporations have their compensation based on how many sales they make and/or must meet sales goals/quotas. Corporations don’t care one bit that potential customers have their own agency, and that a sale is not completely in the control of their salesforce. Corporations just know that basing the compensation of their salesforce on how many sales they make typically results in higher profits than if they base compensation based only on metrics in the control of their salesforce (number of phone calls/emails made, number of lunch/dinner appointments, etc.) or simply have a salesforce with a set salary (not based on sales performance at all).
Since the Church tends to promote successful businessmen into leadership, it is hardly surprising that we see the Church often utilizing modern business/sales practices. (The purple Missionary Handbook I had on my mission was practically a corporate sales handbook with the words “salesperson” replace with “missionary” and “sales” replaced with “baptisms”.) A business owner accustomed to setting sales goals for his salespeople (and who is getting pressure from the Church leader above him in Church hierarchy) would naturally also want to set baptism/reactivation/temple attendance goals for his ward/stake/mission.
Should the Church set goals for things that aren’t completely in their control (because people have agency) just like Western corporations do? I think one problem with the Church behaving this way is that it naturally leads to behavior that may not be in the best interest of the people it is supposed to serve. Corporations are driven by profit–they need to make sales and retain customers, and they typically don’t really care a whole lot about how they achieve these goals. In fact, oftentimes they will attempt to achieve these goals in ways that hurt people/society if they can get away with it. When the Church sets goals like corporations do, it can lead to bad behavior as has been noted on this post: baptisms of people who aren’t really converted, repeatedly harassing inactive members who don’t want to be contacted, etc. The Church is supposed to be an entity that represents Christ. Would Christ want His Church baptizing people who aren’t converted or harassing people who have asked not the be harassed? Probably not. Since setting goals tends to lead the Church to such bad behavior, the Church should stop doing this.
The other problem with the wards/stakes/missions setting goals is the assumption that all of these goals are coming from God. If God was really revealing to each bishop that they should reactivate X number of people or each mission president that they should baptize Y number of people, then who could argue with that? It’s God’s revealed will after all. The problem is that I really don’t think that God is revealing these numeric goals to Church leaders. I’ve personally observed the process of setting these goals at the ward/stake/mission level many times–it didn’t appear to me that God was involved at all.
I think there’s a line between loving someone/wanting what’s best for them and manipulation. I’ll be broken record and repeat Steve Young’s definition of the Law of Love. That is Loving and accepting someone just as they are, expecting nothing in return. Once we have goals for other people, we are no longer “expecting nothing in return” and it’s no longer a pure love. People can sense that, and it makes it less likely that they will do the behavior that we’re expecting to get out of them (because no one likes to be manipulated).
Although it can’t be measured, I think that “loving others, expecting nothing in return” is a great goal to set.
mb: You are right. And yet this process looks different from my perspective.
I was part of a ministering team that helped someone who was not at the time involved with church come back to full activity. It was a wonderful experience! I could go into detail about the many blessings and the joy that came from it.
Activation was not our goal. Our goal was to show that we care, to become friends. And we would have stayed friends whether or not the sister involved had ever stepped foot into a church.
You are right that inviting God into our goals makes all things possible. He gave us the help we needed when He helped me, a major introvert who HATES visiting, be able to be a friend when there was a need. He still continues to give me that aid because frankly I still struggle to visit and support my friend. (Given a choice, I would probably never interact with a real human. I just don’t think the gospel of Jesus Christ gives me that choice. LOL)
Roger Hansen and LHCA’s comments reflect my thoughts as well.
Comparing corporate goals to church goals: I’m a corporate tax guy so my revenue is based on several annuity projects (think tax returns and financial statements that are required annually) mixed in with some one-off consulting projects (like helping a client apply for a tax credit or a PPP loan). So setting my revenue goal each year is simply looking at my annuity work recurring and maybe adding a stretch goal on how many one-off consulting projects I can sell. The process is pretty knowable. Contrast this to the church where there is no annuity stream, it’s nearly impossible to guess how many people you can baptize. A lot of time and effort is wasted in even trying.
I will say that my mission experience ruined me for goal setting.
Lastly, I hated ward council goal setting. We set the goals in January because it’s expected, then we lock the goals in the file cabinet, never to re-visit them. Then we do it all over again the next year. So much wasted time and effort. Shameful.
I subbed for the YW pres in a ward council meeting once when they were setting goals together and in our auxiliaries. I was assured that they understood I was standing in and this was last minute and whatever goal I set for the YW was fine. But when I said I felt like getting the girls to do more service would be a good goal, the bishop made it clear that this was not at all what he had in mind, service being “unrelated” to missionary work. I was stunned that service could ever be the wrong answer to anything! It reminded me of the scene in Kill Bill when Lucy Liu’s character encourages participation, then chops the head off of a participant whose input she doesn’ t like.
The mission field definitely seems like ground-zero for operationalzing religion to death. I served in the late 00’s, and most the planning meetings that companionships were supposed to have ‘weekly+nightly’ were all organized around goal setting.
A concerning thing was how this worldview of operationalizing to death is transferred from the mission president down to the missionaries, especially to those with whom he interacted more frequently with (AP’s, ZL’s). I remember towards the end of my mission the AP’s instructed us all to start measuring ‘interactions’ with non-members. I.e. ‘how many times did you open your mouth to attempt to invite others to come unto Christ’. We were to keep of that every day and set goals for increasing the amount of times we would talk to people.
Even as a 21 year-old, I scoffed at it at the time as being a numbers game, but in other ways that way of thinking had set in. Around the same time (in the last few transfers of my mission), I was growing concerned about my ability to ‘feel the spirit’, I never seemed to have all of these ‘strong impressions’ to do/say X’ like other missionaries/church members in general, seemed to have all the time. I got into a deep funk, worrying about whether I was worthy or not receive inspiration from the spirit. So I started to operationalize it in an attempt to fix the issue. I would keep track of how many times I ‘felt’ the spirit in a day and note the time of day, and what I was doing, and that sort of thing to see if I could modify my behaviour and thinking to increase the number of instances I felt the spirit in a given day.
I gave up on it after a couple weeks or so, mostly out of laziness, but in hindsight I’m glad I did; doing that sort of thing seems like it would just amplify feelings of unworthiness and concerns about ‘not trying hard enough’ and would’ve probably been an express ticket to burn-out and depression.
I nominate a book by Grant Von Harrison, “Drawing upon the Powers of Heaven”, as the most destructive book in LDS history. It exemplifies the agency-denying, pseudo-Calvinistic, goal-setting corporate ideology which permeated missions and then church leaders.
Less any misconstrue this comment, I am likely understating the intense dislike for this book. In my experience, it destroyed missionaries, harmed readers’ mental health, instigated faith crises and assisted in the perpetration if the business ideology which harmed my religion. I am not into burning books. But if I had to burn just one, it would be that book.
I will now give my own post a thumbs down for ranting and negativity.
Old Man, I’m a lot like you were, except I think our family copy of this book belongs to my wife…
For an organisation which says “it’s not about the numbers” we do talk about numbers an awful lot.
On my mission we got to the point where the APs trained us to set baptism goals for the month in the following way: discuss things with your companion. Go into separate rooms and pray about what the goal should be. Come back and if the numbers match, then–hey presto!–that’s your inspired goal. Repeat if necessary until the numbers match. I’m not making this up.
If we going down that road they might as well have said: think of a number. Bury that number in a box in the garden. Take a deck of playing cards (sorry, McConkie). Ask a member of the congregation to pick a card, any card. Place the card in a hat. Look at the card in the hat (sorry, Joseph). If the number on the card matches the number in the box, then–hey presto!–that’s your inspired goal. If it doesn’t then pretend it does anyway because it’s dark in the hat and no one will know. If it happens to be a king/queen/jack/ace and you happened to think of that originally for a baptism goal, then that’s just a bit weird.
My number 1 goal in life was a Temple Marriage. I’m still waiting for God to force some guy into it.
Bishop Bill: Is that picture from Time to Climb?
Upvote to Chet for giving me the Neil Young earworm for today.
Bill and others, you are absolutely correct that goals are often set improperly. This is not unique to the church, but is a problem in all organizations. What you specified is confusing desires with goals. The ward council or missionary or Bishop may desire 2 convert baptisms and 2 reactivations this quarter, but that is not his goal. A better goal is to identify the desire and set a goal for actions under his control (like x invitations, or contacting x people) acknowledging the desire. So, in order to convince 2 new members to join our congregation this quarter we will 1) hold monthly activities to invite friends and investigators to join us for fellowship 2) encourage each member to invite someone to at least one church activity 3) introduce all visitors to at least 3 members when they join us. This way the members can still achieve their goal in hope of conversion by others.
This same problem of confusing the goal with the result plagues business settings too. There’s a reason that there are so many (conflicting) management books out there. They seem to come in and out of style. Missions are particularly bad because this conflicting advice is dropped onto 20 year old’s trying to lead each other. It’s not that goals are bad, it’s that we use them wrong. I don’t know the book, but there was some hooey trying to get missionaries to commit to crazy goals and “trusting the lord” by doing ridiculous things (extra fasting or getting up 1 hour early for extra study) to convince him to grant your goals. When my companion tried to get his junior companion to join him, I might have let him down politely, but likely it wasn’t too polite as I was 19 and still knew everything. At least I knew that the goal-setting there was nonsense. Later in the mission, I recall I made one of my monthly goals to “Shake my Booty”. I’m pretty sure I tied that somehow into a mission-appropriate interpretation, but I was also on an island a long way from the mission home then…
The book that dropped the insane goal-setting, Grace-denying, God-bribing philosophy on young missionaries for decades was “Drawing on the Powers of Heaven…” mentioned in my comment above. Even typing the title makes me cringe…
What we should teach our kids and grandkids is that we exercise faith by controlling what little we can control, which is solely inside ourselves and never within the locus of others and leaving the rest to God. That is good religion and interestingly enough, good mental health.
Old Man, you have a way with words: “insane goal-setting, Grace-denying, God-bribing philosophy” really flows off the tongue. That idea rubbed me raw then and I can generally ignore the occasional recurrence by tuning out. I get the same feeling from a lot of the insipid management or leadership books that come out repackaging 7 Habits to sell more books.
@Angela, did you respond with “Zero, I will baptize zero people because I am a woman.”
I had the same issue on my mission. Seemed much better to focus on how many contacts we would make and what was within our control. Goals led to severely mentally disabled people getting baptized, which I saw many times. I’m not saying those people shouldn’t have been baptized … good for them if they wanted it … but it was distressing to see pressure and manipulation.
We did just get a “goal” from our Area Presidency to “invite our friends and neighbors to attend Church with us on Christmas Sunday.” That’s actually the right kind of goal – it only asks us to invite, not actually bring – but it made me laugh because (1) our Christmas services tend to be extremely sterile and not something I would invite someone to, and (2) what I really think this means is that they are concerned that members won’t attend; they don’t want to admit that, so instead they are framing it in this way as a nudge to get members to go.
Elisa: He actually worded it accurately I think (rather than my shorthanded version), so I didn’t get to make that distinction. I did respond “How should I know? I’ll just do what I’m here to do, but that’s up to them!”
Lily, I had to look up “Time to Climb”, looks like a fun game for kids. My photo is from Pexels.com, a royalty free photo bank
It looks like Zla’od was first one who wrote a comment (up there At the top now).
It was funny! It must have been stuck in purgatory for a while, though, bc even the currently designated SCMC commenter got more attention!
The mental health filter is a good one. Values and goals are given to us growing up and continuously. We assume that ‘once the prophet has spoken…..’ which precludes our own thinking and values/goals. Is it freedom to constantly doubt yourself and wonder if you’re going to Hell for going your own road? For me, temple marriage destroyed my marriage and dating life! Why? Because it seriously limits who you can marry in many geographic areas. So, you date and feel anxious (subconsciously) believing you can never reach the CK. Never enough. You stay single or date non-LDS and end up in the Bishop’s office confessing sexual sins regularly. Sorry, this is mental torture driven by the self-interest of the church and its leaders. Other than some mental health programs available centrally, the church gives little thought to mental health. In fact, they create anxiety, shame, and depression through their legalistic culture and requirements. I never saw or found grace and God’s unconditional love in LDS land. Say what you want about ‘oh it was taught’- I know. Companies advertise and tell us stuff too but it’s the actual ‘brand experience’ that forms our emotional reactions and ‘knowing the reality of what the company is about’. Listen to your intuition. If you don’t believe mental health is an issue, just Google ‘grace, legalism, and mental health’ – funny how LDS scholar Dan Judd (BYU Religious Studies) is at the top of Google!!! Yup, because members are having big-time problems with anxiety, shame, fear, OCD, and depression. I knew this stuff in my gut but it was great to see that, as usual, people other than the senior leaders are trying to do something about what the senior leaders perpetuate: legalism. Sorry, not sorry.