Friday, November 7, 2014

"We are not a cult..."

The recent interview of Jeff Holland on the BBC was an eye opening experience.  The interview by John Sweeney exposes the attitude these "holy prophets" have  toward the membership and those outside the faith--a total disregard for revealing factual and true information.   He looked extremely uncomfortable during the interview.  John Sweeney wasn't even openly challenging him, he was simply asking legitimate questions.  The most disturbing part of the piece was the blatant deception that was used, not only by Jeff Holland but by Michael Purdy.  It is a case of "lying for Lord",  that  unfortunately most members probably missed.

Why do these men lie, not only directly, but also through omission by not ever telling the whole story?  They duck and weave like the best boxer when faced with difficult questions.

I feel it is deeply programmed into the member's mind.  It starts out in primary with songs and lessons about obeying church leaders.  A popular song is "We thank thee oh God for a prophet".  Most every adult member can at least sing the first verse from memory.  I have seen this song create an up swell of fervor for the President of the church in various meetings.  The mentality is to protect the church and its leaders above all else, even before protecting  loved ones. If that means lying, covering up, giving partial truth, etc.., so be it.  But where does this control come from?  To answer that,  I pulled one article from the youth section on  The title is Five Ways to Follow the Counsel of Priesthood Leaders.

When it is driven home to youth to follow leaders, then they will defend their leaders, and defending the leaders means protecting the church.  This unrecognized control is taught by the church, but begins to be internalized--leading to the member reinforcing the behavior on his/her own. 

Right away the article reinforces the concept of others controlling you.   That is--your leaders receive direction from for you.

Who can receive revelation that applies to me?

Revelation can come to you personally through the Spirit, and it can also come through priesthood leaders set apart for specific callings to help them receive guidance for those entrusted to their care.

The prophet receives revelation for the entire Church; your Area Presidency receives it for your area; your stake president for your stake; and your bishop for your ward. Revelation comes to these individuals in their callings, but it all comes from the same source: Heavenly Father.

So basically, you as a human being, can ask God for direction in your life.  The funny thing is that a stranger down the street, who is a bishop or stake president, can also get instruction for you in your life.  Members begin to turn over their free will to the organization.  They begin to stopping critically thinking, becoming a sheep and going along with what their shepard/leader says.  What if what your leader says is wrong?  Elder Delbert Stapley stated in General conference 1977; 

The Lord has also provided local authorities—stake and district presidents, bishops and branch presidents. In a letter from the First Presidency, dated January 29, 1973, Church members were admonished:
“The Lord has so organized His Church that there is accessible to every member—man, woman, and child—a spiritual advisor, and a temporal counselor as well, who knows them intimately and who knows the circumstances and conditions out of which their problems come, and who, by reason of his ordination, is entitled to an endowment from our Heavenly Father of the necessary discernment and inspiration of the Lord to enable him to give the advice which the one in trouble so much needs. We refer to the Bishop or Branch President. If the Bishop or Branch President needs assistance, he may go to the Stake or Mission President. These brethren may in turn seek counsel from one of the General Authorities, should such be necessary.”
If a matter cannot be satisfactorily resolved by the first steps of this process, we should be obedient and supportive of those who preside over us until further counsel is received.

Basically he is saying, so even if we, as church leaders,  don't know an answer or have taught something controversial, just obey until it is corrected.  Remember, there is no morality in simply following orders. 

What if their counsel is wrong?  What is the moral thing to do?   I have personally experienced this myself.  My bishop asked my spouse and I to follow his counsel and do a relationship experiment.  Now I must be clear, he is a nice and caring individual who no doubt wanted the best for us.  He asked us to write down the "spiritual things" that we had in common.  This was during a tumultuous time in our marriage--things were very rocky.  His recommendation was in direct conflict with what our marriage counselor suggested. I brought this to the attention of the bishop--who still felt strongly about his counsel.  Following his "inspired" counsel,  set us back months of progress.  Because members are conditioned to trust and obey their leaders--they take advice of an untrained bishop, who sells insurance, finance investor, etc., over an actual trained and licensed clinician. 

Every time a member sustains a leader, the concept of obedience is reinforced.  From;

Raising our right arm to the square when we sustain people is a physical demonstration that we promise to honor, respect, and support them as they seek to magnify their callings. Following the counsel of our leaders is one way we can sustain them. Leaders have wisdom and perspective, and their instruction is meant to help us live the gospel. By being obedient to their counsel, we will increase in faith and strengthen our testimony.

The church so often engages in double speak.  I honestly don't know how I missed it all these years.  The conflicting messages really messes with your mind.   Again from the church's website;

The principle whereby Church members sustain those called to serve in the Church, as well as other Church decisions requiring their support, usually shown by raising the right hand.
Jesus Christ stands at the head of his Church. Through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, he directs Church leaders in important actions and decisions. However, all Church members have the right and privilege of sustaining or not sustaining the actions and decisions of their leaders.

This is the defense a member would tell an ex Mormon.  You don't have to agree with your leaders, you have a choice.  But then the rhetoric is always sustain and follow your leaders.  This approach by the church creates confusion.  Timothy Conway, PhD states from his website

 * Orwellian double-speak (Deikman: “manipulating language to suggest a meaning and value opposite to the real situation”). Codewords or buzzwords. Excessive use of slogans to bypass critical thinking. Manipulative rhetoric based on cunning or emotionalism. Reinvention of language—e.g., excessive amount of jargon—to widen gulf between insiders and outsiders and exert mind-control. Adopting new names and titles for members can also be suspect, especially when it is done to create insider group-dynamics. However, we must be aware that, in a positive vein, changing members’ names can facilitate a new sense of identity, less conditioned by former ego tendencies; monastics in major religions, for instance, undergo name changes to help effect a psychological “death” to the old ego-persona. 

The poor members of this church are so busy doing what they are told.  Temple work, home/visiting teaching, callings, family home evening, scripture study, etc... they don't recognize who is really pulling the strings in their lives.  They will defend the church and its leaders above all else.  The most telling concept is the promise made in the temple of giving everything they have to the Mormon church, even their own lives.  They are not giving all to God, but to the church.  With promises made in their "holiest" edifice, is it a wonder that members will cheat, lie and steal for the church and its leaders.  The parable of the lost sheep drives home my point.   Notice the story is about sheep not cats, that is done on purpose,  because sheep just follow orders. 


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