I may choose to ignore people who comment anonymously. I choose never to be anonymous online myself. I have little tolerance for this behavior.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Mormons and a Culture of "Niceness"

I've been dealing with the fallout from my series on Church Leadership Corruption -- a provocative title for some mainstream postings. Some feedback criticizes me for "not correcting or teaching in a loving manner." I do take an adversarial tone in my series. I don't deny it. I won't apologize for it either.

After reading an article in my BYU alumni magazine (I told them not to send it to me anymore, but unfortunately they still do), I'm ready to post a response to that criticism.

Nice Cultures and Building Zion
If the whole idea of addressing your tough issue makes you feel a bit squeamish, the VitalSmarts team says it might be because you are part of what they call a "nice culture."
Patterson says different "subcultures deal with potentially risky conversations very differently." In New York or Great Britain, for instance, it's not uncommon for people to speak their minds—often bluntly. But they say that in places like Asia, Minnesota, Georgia, and Utah—where nice cultures rule—people are much less likely to express concerns or seek resolutions to difficult problems. In a nice culture, "if I express my opinion and it's not a favorable opinion or it's a differing opinion, I'm being rude," says Patterson.
"We mistake politeness for respect," McMillan adds. "Sometimes the most respectful thing is to tell you what you need to hear even if it's hard to hear."
Utah is a "nice" culture and unfortunately that means Mormondom. I can't imagine anyone chastising Samuel the Lamanite or Abinadi for "not correcting or teaching in a loving manner."

When I matured sufficiently,  I looked back on my life and reflected on what I was taught in Mutual as a teen. I wished someone had confronted me more directly with certain things. It took a lot longer to learn some things and change some behaviors because I was not taught with the directness I think I should have been. I wish my leaders had been less concerned about being "nice" and more concerned with telling me what I needed to hear.

I wrote my series the way I did because I thought it was what people needed to hear. It certainly wasn't what people wanted to hear.

In case you missed it. Here are the links:



1 comment:

  1. I've been reading a lot of your blog to my wife (who like you is a smart and educated woman). We don't take offence to anything you say ... Maybe it's because we're Australian? We recently returned from Utah and some friends commented that we were a breath of fresh air because we were honest about life and it's many ups and downs ..... not pretending all is well in Zion (when sometimes it just aint) to keep up with Jones's! Thanks for sharing :)

    I discovered your blog when googling 'lds burnout' as a discussion topic. I enjoyed the corruption series.

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