Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Obedience is the first law of heaven aka the brethren..

My opinion of the Mormon church is that it is an organization of obedience.  It is run like any other successful corporation, those at the top make the rules and the rank and file member is expected to obey.  This is what the corporation/church was from the outset and continues to be--a system of obedience.  One concern is that of blind obedience which is;

Blind Obedience

Blind obedience is defined as the unquestioning adherence to inherently imprecise rules, even in the face of silly or adverse consequences.
More simply, blind obedience is essentially doing something because you are told, you adhere to the rules because they are the rules. Blind obedience is unquestionable or complete obedience without giving any thought. The connotation of blind obedience is typically negative, its being passive in the face of adversity, taking the obedient route.

Blind Obedience is doing something because you are told, you put no thought of your own into the decision you do it just because you’ve been told, (typically law).
-Obedience to the state: you don’t defy or question the source of authority (mrplasko-psych-soc.wikispaces.com)

Stanley Milgram an authority performed a ground breaking study.  http://wadsworth.cengage.com/psychology_d/templates/student_resources/0155060678_rathus/ps/ps01.html  The disturbing finding is this in the summary;

The experiment yielded two findings that were surprising. The first finding concerns the sheer strength of obedient tendencies manifested in this situation. Subjects have learned from childhood that it is a fundamental breach of moral conduct to hurt another person against his will. Yet, 26 subjects abandon this tenet in following the instructions of an authority who has no special powers to enforce his commands. To disobey would bring no material loss to the subject; no punishment would ensue. It is clear from the remarks and outward behavior of many participants that in punishing the victim they are often acting against their own values. Subjects often expressed deep disapproval of shocking a man in the face of his objections, and others denounced it as stupid and senseless. Yet the majority complied with the experimental commands. This outcome was surprising from two perspectives: first, from the standpoint of predictions made in the questionnaire described earlier. (Here, however, it is possible that the remoteness of the respondents from the actual situation, and the difficulty of conveying to them the concrete details of the experiment, could account for the serious underestimation of obedience.)
But the results were also unexpected to persons who observed the experiment in progress, through one-way mirrors. Observers often uttered expressions of disbelief upon seeing a subject administer more powerful shocks to the victim. These persons had a full acquaintance with the details of the situation, and yet systematically underestimated the amount of obedience that subjects would display.
The second unanticipated effect was the extraordinary tension generated by the procedures. One might suppose that a subject would simply break off or continue as his conscience dictated. Yet, this is very far from what happened. There were striking reactions of tension and emotional strain. One observer related:
I observed a mature and initially poised businessman enter the laboratory smiling and confident. Within 20 minutes he was reduced to a twitching, stuttering wreck, who was rapidly approaching a point of nervous collapse. He constantly pulled on his earlobe, and twisted his hands. At one point he pushed his fist into his forehead and muttered: "Oh God, let’s stop it." And yet he continued to respond to every word of the experimenter, and obeyed to the end.   

  Any understanding of the phenomenon of obedience must rest on an analysis of the particular conditions in which it occurs. The following features of the experiment go some distance in explaining the high amount of obedience observed in the situation.
1. The experiment is sponsored by and takes place on the grounds of an institution of unimpeachable reputation, Yale University. It may be reasonably presumed that the personnel are competent and reputable. The importance of this background authority is now being studied by conducting a series of experiments outside of New Haven, and without any visible ties to the university.
2. The experiment is, on the face of it, designed to attain a worthy purpose–advancement of knowledge about learning and memory. Obedience occurs not as an end in itself, but as an instrumental element in a situation that the subject construes as significant, and meaningful. He may not be able to see its full significance, but he may properly assume that the experimenter does.
3. The subject perceives that the victim has voluntarily submitted to the authority system of the experimenter. He is not (at first) an unwilling captive impressed for involuntary service. He has taken the trouble to come to the laboratory presumably to aid the experimental research. That he later becomes an involuntary subject does not alter the fact that, initially, he consented to participate without qualification. Thus he has in some degree incurred an obligation toward the experimenter.
4. The subject, too, has entered the experiment voluntarily, and perceives himself under obligation to aid the experimenter. He has made a commitment, and to disrupt the experiment is a repudiation of this initial promise of aid.
5. Certain features of the procedure strengthen the subject’s sense of obligation to the experimenter. For one, he has been paid for coming to the laboratory. In part this is canceled out by the experimenter’s statement that:
Of course, as in all experiments, the money is yours simply for coming to the laboratory. From this point on, no matter what happens, the money is yours.2 6. From the subject’s standpoint, the fact that he is the teacher and the other man the learner is purely a chance consequence (it is determined by drawing lots) and he, the subject, ran the same risk as the other man in being assigned the role of learner. Since the assignment of positions in the experiment was achieved by fair means, the learner is deprived of any basis of complaint on this count. (A similar situation obtains in Army units, in which–in the absence of volunteers–a particularly dangerous mission may be assigned by drawing lots, and the unlucky soldier is expected to bear his misfortune with sportsmanship.)
7. There is, at best, ambiguity with regard to the prerogatives of a psychologist and the corresponding rights of his subject. There is a vagueness of expectation concerning what a psychologist may require of his subject, and when he is overstepping acceptable limits. Moreover, the experiment occurs in a closed setting, and thus provides no opportunity for the subject to remove these ambiguities by discussion with others. There are few standards that seem directly applicable to the situation, which is a novel one for most subjects.
8. The subjects are assured that the shocks administered to the subject are "painful but not dangerous." Thus they assume that the discomfort caused the victim is momentary, while the scientific gains resulting from the experiment are enduring.
9. Through Shock Level 20 the victim continues to provide answers on the signal box. The subject may construe this as a sign that the victim is still willing to "play the game." It is only after Shock Level 20 that the victim repudiates the rules completely, refusing to answer further.
These features help to explain the high amount of obedience obtained in this experiment. Many of the arguments raised need not remain matters of speculation, but can be reduced to testable propositions to be confirmed or disproved by further experiments.3
The following features of the experiment concern the nature of the conflict which the subject faces.
10. The subject is placed in a position in which he must respond to the competing demands of two persons: the experimenter and the victim. The conflict must be resolved by meeting the demands of one or the other; satisfaction of the victim and the experimenter are mutually exclusive. Moreover, the resolution must take the form of a highly visible action, that of continuing to shock the victim or breaking off the experiment. Thus the subject is forced into a public conflict that does not permit any completely satisfactory solution.
11. While the demands of the experimenter carry the weight of scientific authority, the demands of the victim spring from his personal experience of pain and suffering. The two claims need not be regarded as equally pressing and legitimate. The experimenter seeks an abstract scientific datum; the victim cries out for relief from physical suffering caused by the subject’s actions.
12. The experiment gives the subject little time for reflection. The conflict comes on rapidly. It is only minutes after the subject has been seated before the shock generator that the victim begins his protests. Moreover, the subject perceives that he has gone through but two-thirds of the shock levels at the time the subject’s first protests are heard. Thus he understands that the conflict will have a persistent aspect to it, and may well become more intense as increasingly more powerful shocks are required. The rapidity with which the conflict descends on the subject, and his realization that it is predictably recurrent may well be sources of tension to him.
13. At a more general level, the conflict stems from the opposition of two deeply ingrained behavior dispositions: first, the disposition not to harm other people, and second, the tendency to obey those whom we perceive to be legitimate authorities.(Milgram)

These findings are interesting.  In the story of Nephi getting the brass plates, he has a similar situation only his authority figure was inside his head (The Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 4:6-17); 

 And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.
 Nevertheless I went forth, and as I came near unto the house of Laban I beheld a man, and he had fallen to the earth before me, for he was drunken with wine.
 And when I came to him I found that it was Laban.
 And I beheld his sword, and I drew it forth from the sheath thereof; and the hilt thereof was of pure gold, and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine, and I saw that the blade thereof was of the most precious steel.
 10 And it came to pass that I was constrained by the Spirit that I should kill Laban; but I said in my heart: Never at any time have I shed the blood of man. And I shrunk and would that I might not slay him.
 11 And the Spirit said unto me again: Behold the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands. Yea, and I also knew that he had sought to take away mine own life; yea, and he would not hearken unto the commandments of the Lord; and he also had taken away our property.
 12 And it came to pass that the Spirit said unto me again: Slay him, for the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands;
 13 Behold the Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes. It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief.
 14 And now, when I, Nephi, had heard these words, I remembered the words of the Lord which he spake unto me in the wilderness, saying that: Inasmuch as thy seed shall keep my commandments, they shall prosper in the land of promise.
 15 Yea, and I also thought that they could not keep the commandments of the Lord according to the law of Moses, save they should have the law.
 16 And I also knew that the law was engraven upon the plates of brass.
 17 And again, I knew that the Lord had delivered Laban into my hands for this cause—that I might obtain the records according to his commandments.
 18 Therefore I did obey the voice of the Spirit, and took Laban by the hair of the head, and I smote off his head with his own sword.

This is homologous to the Lafferty brother's chilling ritualistic murder of their sister in law and child. .http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Under_the_Banner_of_Heaven

Obedience is the anchor for Mormonism.  Without obedience to leaders, the system would fail.  The leaders know this, thus the emphasis to obedience.  I'm all for obeying certain laws but Mormonism twists it to absolute obedience to the church above all else.  

An example of Christian obedience is following Christ's teachings of loving your neighbor,  but in Mormonism, Christ's teachings =big 15 counsel.  What they say is what God says.  When Elder Oaks was first assigned to the missionary department to assign mission calls  he recalled a discussion with a senior apostle,  

"Elder McKonkie, how do you know where to send them? And he said, 'you're the servant of the Lord and your action is the Lord's action.  You study it out in your mind and you assign them--and they're assigned by the Lord'.  You see the application of that principle to the bishop?" 


Again, when the big 15 emphasize obedience to the Lord, Jesus Christ, they are really stating obey us.  President Monson stated in General Conference;

   Declared President Joseph F. Smith in October 1873, “Obedience is the first law of heaven.”

He also made the statement and promise that any questions we may have can be answered through obedience.

 There is no need for you or for me, in this enlightened age when the fulness of the gospel has been restored, to sail uncharted seas or to travel unmarked roads in search of truth. A loving Heavenly Father has plotted our course and provided an unfailing guide—even obedience. A knowledge of truth and the answers to our greatest questions come to us as we are obedient to the commandments of God. 

So to summarize obedience is the first law of heaven and everything else is secondary.  Faith, hope and of course charity are secondary to obeying.  Not just obeying God's teachings, but a fellow man who tells you they are God's chosen vessel.  What if they are wrong or tell you to do something that is immoral or outright evil?  We see this in Nephi beheading Laban.  It happened with the Mountain Meadow Massacre.  It happened with polygamy and polyandry,  blacks and the priesthood, Adam God doctrine, blood atonement, the list can continue.  If these are the mistakes of men or opinions of leaders, than what good is a prophet if he can't determine his own bias and delusions from the holy spirit?  Why should I follow a teaching that is offensive, immoral and sometimes criminal?  Because the leaders tell me to?

Members of the church struggle to obey their leaders because that is what they are programmed to do.  It is a blind obedience.  If they are questioning, they are told to go to the Lord in prayer and ask if what the prophets and leaders are teaching is right. This was seen in the Kate Kelly case, she claims she honestly feels that women should get the priesthood.  Unfortunately, if the answer is different from the leader's counsel then the seeker of truth is being misled by Satan.  The double bind--only your leaders answers are correct.  It is one giant mind game--and the members are paying the price.



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