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

Monday, September 30, 2013

Bizarre Experiences in Mormondom: Not That Unusual . . .

My last posting resulted in some strong feelings. I have somewhat avoided posting direct criticisms of my current ward, but I'll tell you some undisputed, accurate statistics:

  • 1. More than 3/4's of my ward is inactive.
  • 2. Our home teaching and visiting teaching  is either non-existent or less than 10 percent.

These facts are well known.

There are many theories about why, but there is one cause that is well known and undisputed: personal differences among family members and former family members.

I knew some of this before moving into the ward because we have lived in two other units in this stake. People darkly suggested other problems in the ward, but would give us no details. They would only infer that we might be "frustrated." Hmm.

For the record, in all my meanderings I have encountered the following viewpoints and practices in the many branches, wards and stakes I've been assigned, that I find troublesome:

- If you are active, you don't need a home teacher or visiting teacher and none will be assigned to you.

- Once every year, all church meetings are canceled after Sacrament meeting so that people can attend high school graduation.

- Church leaders can prohibit someone from attending church. Just meet them at the door and tell them they aren't welcome.


- The Relief Society room is under the sole jurisdiction of the Relief Society President. She doesn't have to let the Bishop and his counselors decide whether to hold the Gospel Doctrine Sunday School class in there if she doesn't want to. It's HER room.

- The Elder's Quorum, the High Priests and any other priesthood quorum and auxiliary have their own rooms and the rooms are for their sole use and benefit. No one else can use their space.


- People who have lived in the ward their whole lives are the important people. If you are new, you have no worth.

- All church guidance is in Handbook 1 and 2 in hard copy. There isn't any other guidance church members need to follow.


- Sometimes church policy can be ignored because the needs of actual people trump it. This includes using candles during a going away party for senior missionaries held in the cultural hall.

- Forget about teaching lessons, all church activity, especially in Young Men and Young Women, should be FUN!


- Young people NEED a church-sponsored and funded trip to Nauvoo, even if you have to spend much of the Stake budget to do it or raid every other unit auxiliary budget to do it.

I could go on, and on, and on . . .

Monday, September 16, 2013

You Should Opt Out of The Numbers Game!

On Sunday, one of the counselors in our Bishopric described something he now regrets. Some years ago, in  a prior calling, he was told to make certain that all priesthood members were assigned as home teachers and all members were assigned a home teacher.

In order to at least superficially comply with this, he assigned all the priesthood members who never did their home teaching as home teachers to all the members who never came to church.

Problem solved, right?

Numbers that can be easily fudged or manipulated should never be relied on. Numbers don't mean that much in the Church and they shouldn't be relied on as indicators of how well individuals or entities are doing.

Numbers can never really be used to determine the depth of someone's testimony or even the existence of it. They don't indicate if members are being fellowshipped, loved or served.

Sending a card to a visiting teachee as opposed to actual personal contact doesn't compare. And if you do show up for personal contact, but spend the whole time talking about yourself that's not really doing things properly either, even though it qualifies as a contact in the numbers game.

So, opt out of the numbers game and stop resorting to gimmicks to make it look like you are doing your spiritual work, when you really aren't. 

You are simply demonstrating that you fear men more than God and you aren't fooling Heavenly Father .

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Force People to be Good. It's for Their Own Good!

There seems to be a new trend in local church leadership. Instead of allowing people to volunteer for assignments or otherwise exercise their agency, people are now being assigned to do things.

Choice is no longer an option. People are assigned to do various acts of church work and they have no say in the matter.

What's more, local church leaders simply pull rank and say you have to obey me because I am (drumroll) your leader and I have authority to do what I do. If you voted to sustain me, then you have to do whatever I tell you to do.

This seems to have resulted from no one doing much of anything, resulting in horrendous local statistics. The answer is force and compulsion.

Force people to do church work. Force them to do their home teaching. Force them to do their visiting teaching. Force them to accompany the missionaries. Force them to come to class. Force them to accept a church position or assignment. Force! Force! Force!

Force people to be good. After all, it's for their own good.

If someone protests, simply assign someone else to take over their calling responsibilities and neuter the protester by undermining them.

If anyone questions a leader on these actions, tell them if they don't comply they will lose their Temple Recommend. That'll teach them. If for some strange reason it doesn't, then excommunicate them. Leaders have the authority and power to do it. After all, they can do whatever they want to do, right?

Some people have to learn these lessons. If they won't, we'll just force them to.

Question: Does anybody else have a problem with the above, except me?

Question: Does anybody else think this resembles Satan's plan in the pre-mortal life, except me?

Question: Does anybody else think this violates D&C 121: 37-41, except me?

Further Question: Does anybody else think this is unrighteous dominion, except me?

Elder Larry Y. Wilson:
We simply cannot force others to do the right thing. The scriptures make it clear that this is not God’s way. Compulsion builds resentment. It conveys mistrust, and it makes people feel incompetent. Learning opportunities are lost when controlling persons pridefully assume they have all the right answers for others. The scriptures say that “it is the nature and disposition of almost all men” to engage in this “unrighteous dominion,”5 so we should be aware that it’s an easy trap to fall into. Women too may exercise unrighteous dominion, though the scriptures identify the problem especially with men.
Elder M. Russell Ballard:
Those who hold the priesthood must never forget that they have no right to wield priesthood authority like a club over the heads of others in the family or in Church callings. The Lord told Joseph Smith that “when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man” (D&C 121:37).

In other words, any man who claims the special powers of heaven for his own selfish purposes and seeks to use the priesthood in any degree of unrighteousness in the Church or in the home simply does not understand the nature of his authority. Priesthood is for service, not servitude; compassion, not compulsion; caring, not control. Those who think otherwise are operating outside the parameters of priesthood authority.