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 Post subject: Brainwashing: Where is the line?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:32 am 
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So I went to church a few weeks ago, and posted on the primary wall was a large cutout that read "I KNOW that Jesus lives!" And, yes, the KNOW was actually bolded.

Mix this with all of the primary songs about knowing, how can an LDS member claim that they do not brainwash the children? There appears to be so much focus on making sure the kids KNOW that Jesus lives and that the church is true.

Where is the line between indoctrination and brainwashing? Do other religions focus this much on knowing?

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 Post subject: Re: Brainwashing: Where is the line?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:50 am 
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I had the calling to teach 15 year olds about two or three years before I left the church. I would have considered myself faithful then, of course, but I had just got back from being activated for the Iraq war and was beginning the process that led to my ultimate leaving the church.

I really liked that group of youth and we talked once and a while about things that were going on in the seminary class along with questions they had.

I asked them once if they felt they had a testimony which they all answered in a "soft positive". I told them that I felt I had one too, but that there were things I didn't "know" but just believed and had hope/faith in.

Then asked them if they felt they "knew" some things that were part of their testimony or just hoped or had faith in. At that point they opened up about wanting to know, just having hope or a strong belief, etc. So we started talking about why we never used the phrase, "I believe".

I found out that they had all had a seminary class on that very subject and were told it was wrong to say "I believe" rather than "I know". There were a number of reasons, like the Packer-lite "a testimony is to be found in the bearing of it", or about the effects it may have on some people to hear you say, "I believe". It had to do with how saying, "I believe" left room for, or maybe even created, doubt.

It was eye opening.

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 Post subject: Re: Brainwashing: Where is the line?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:58 am 
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I was just talking to my friend about this the other day. He is inactive but he still believes in the church. I told him how I wasn't sure if I was brainwashed or not and how it concerns me that we really ingrain what we believe to our children. He said well if we did not teach them the gospel then some other people in schools or what ever will teach your children something else so you might as well teach them the gospel. He also mentioned that when we were teenagers we were always told that we had to find our own testimony and not rely on are parents testimony. I made a suggestion that maybe it is ok for the church and parents to teach the childern the gospel but tell them when they are young this is what they believe and the childern should find out for themselves what they want to believe. As opposed to teaching them this is truth and you should believe it but you have to find out for yourself. Oh and if you don't believe it than you are not special and you want have the full truth. He seemed to agree with that statement.


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 Post subject: Re: Brainwashing: Where is the line?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 11:30 am 
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honorentheos wrote:
There were a number of reasons, like the Packer-lite "a testimony is to be found in the bearing of it",


Far be it from me to defend Packer but this does happen.

example:

I grew up in the Church slightly (perhaps an understatement) askew from the norm.
At eighteen I sought for my right to receive true membership in the kingdom of God. My focus was only upon Christ and God and my repentance and meekness and contrite submission to God with all my heart, might, mind and strength. So Joseph Smith never came to mind about any of it. Neither did I consider him at my farewell address seven months later.

At the the first Zone Conference the testimony bearing was row by row and I realized I would be standing up to bear my testimony. This was the first time I was confronted with my faith concerning Joseph Smith. When I stood up and spoke I affirmed my faith in God and Christ and the Church, and when I said I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, I was moved upon with a witness by the power of the Holy Ghost of its truthfulness as I said it. I have never lacked for great love and respect for Joseph Smith since.

The Church cast me aside from my young youth before I was even eight. I never identified myself worthy with the Church and felt a disconnect that resulted in an eventual super connection. THE REAL GOSPEL. My case was the opposite of brainwashing. What ever that is. An interesting set up where you are denied identity with what's happening and that makes you focus better and get it perfect later on, without the baggage of pretense and hypocrisy. Pretty cool, huh?

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 Post subject: Re: Brainwashing: Where is the line?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:07 pm 
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Mix this with all of the primary songs about knowing, how can an LDS member claim that they do not brainwash the children? There appears to be so much focus on making sure the kids KNOW that Jesus lives and that the church is true.

Where is the line between indoctrination and brainwashing? Do other religions focus this much on knowing?


Your examples don't seem any different than what parents (or public schools for that matter) do to instill their values in their children; constant repetition of what they know to be true.

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 Post subject: Re: Brainwashing: Where is the line?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 1:57 pm 
bcspace wrote:
Quote:
Mix this with all of the primary songs about knowing, how can an LDS member claim that they do not brainwash the children? There appears to be so much focus on making sure the kids KNOW that Jesus lives and that the church is true.

Where is the line between indoctrination and brainwashing? Do other religions focus this much on knowing?


Your examples don't seem any different than what parents (or public schools for that matter) do to instill their values in their children; constant repetition of what they know to be true.


Lightening must have struck twice in the same spot. BC and I actually agree on something! LOL

Primary songs are a form of brainwashing? Give me a break.
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 Post subject: Re: Brainwashing: Where is the line?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 2:24 pm 
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There is something to this. I was in my kid's sharing time on Sunday and noticed the instructor saying things like,

"Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, right?"
children: "yeah!"
"We know he was a prophet of God, don't we."
children: "Yeah!"

That is a little different than school, where someone might say,
"George Washington was the first Pres. of the U.S., right?"

And the language of the songs does use the word "KNOW" a lot. It primes the kids for when they start to bear their testimonies in F&TM.

What would happen to the children if we stopped using the word KNOW?

How would my child react if I told them Joseph Smith was not really a prophet? I would guess many questions would follow, but I don't know for sure.

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 Post subject: Re: Brainwashing: Where is the line?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 2:32 pm 
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I think the fact that we teach children stories as though they are true when we clearly don't they are true is abusive, immoral, and obviously brainwashing. It's adults taking advantage of pliable young minds to warp their sense of reality.

It is much different from teaching kids facts and how to think critically (as opposed to what to think). I'm always surprised when anyone actually expresses doubt about the church's brainwashing activities. It's as though they've been... oh, I don't know... brainwashed?

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 Post subject: Re: Brainwashing: Where is the line?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 2:43 pm 
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bcspace wrote:
Quote:
Mix this with all of the primary songs about knowing, how can an LDS member claim that they do not brainwash the children? There appears to be so much focus on making sure the kids KNOW that Jesus lives and that the church is true.

Where is the line between indoctrination and brainwashing? Do other religions focus this much on knowing?


Your examples don't seem any different than what parents (or public schools for that matter) do to instill their values in their children; constant repetition of what they know to be true.


Can you give some examples of the sort of thing you think is comparable?


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 Post subject: Re: Brainwashing: Where is the line?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 2:44 pm 
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To be honest that line has always been hard for me to draw. I think its crucial that a religion indoctrinates in order to survive. that's the purpose of most religious functions and the messages, ceremonies or rights will consistently be repeated and ingrained so that believers will understand, reverence, and become attached to the beliefs and practices. that's the nature of religion and supposing if the religion were actually true it would be entirely appropriate to begin teaching children as early as they can understand or mimic. I suppose in order to draw the line one must assume all religion to be true to find a common limit to what is acceptable.

Assuming Mormonism was true it would be entirely appropriate and wise to teach the children and indoctrinate them at an early age. It would also be appropriate to use thought patterns such as "I know" or behavioral patterns such as "testify until you gain a testimony." Its all consistent with the theology of gaining a testimony and receiving a spiritual witness. For me the line must be drawn at reward and punishment for expressing belief or disbelief, for being actively engaged or not engaging in religious practices. I would draw the line depending on the punishment or reward. One thing I CANNOT stand is parents sending their children up to bear their testimonies at such young ages... definitely brain washing behavior right there.


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 Post subject: Re: Brainwashing: Where is the line?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 3:06 pm 
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Some Schmo wrote:
I think the fact that we teach children stories as though they are true when we clearly don't they are true is abusive, immoral, and obviously brainwashing. It's adults taking advantage of pliable young minds to warp their sense of reality.

It is much different from teaching kids facts and how to think critically (as opposed to what to think). I'm always surprised when anyone actually expresses doubt about the church's brainwashing activities. It's as though they've been... oh, I don't know... brainwashed?


It's very nice to know that the bulk of my parental requests of my children have a rational basis. It's nice to know that when I express a social or political opinion, I can express it as my own - and explain it as I get older. When I encourage them towards choosing certain activities (e.g., music, sports, theater, community service, etc), it's nice to know that those are for perceivable benefits, for themselves and for others. It's nice to watch them grow and become inquisitive, to ask questions to which the initial response from their parents is "Well, what do you think about that?" They will be encouraged to grow in ways in which they will understand benefits and detriments, and to form their own views. Very much different than the construct in which I grew up - spending a great deal of my time adhering to rules and participating in activities that had no practical application in the real world.

Listening to my 9 year old discuss religion with her 8-year old active TBM cousins is interesting to me. She doesn't just accept what they say, and they get frustrated because they "know" they are right.

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 Post subject: Re: Brainwashing: Where is the line?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 6:42 pm 
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bcspace wrote:
Your examples don't seem any different than what parents (or public schools for that matter) do to instill their values in their children; constant repetition of what they know to be true.


Children don't know the church is true. They are just told that, and told to say they know, and with lots of repetition they can convince themselves they know without ever really knowing it at all. Brilliant, worked on me and most other kids I have known. I do acknowledge that many other religions do the same.

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 Post subject: Re: Brainwashing: Where is the line?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 6:45 pm 
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Themis wrote:
bcspace wrote:
Your examples don't seem any different than what parents (or public schools for that matter) do to instill their values in their children; constant repetition of what they know to be true.


Children don't know the church is true. They are just told that, and told to say they know, and with lots of repetition they can convince themselves they know without ever really knowing it at all. Brilliant, worked on me and most other kids I have known. I do acknowledge that many other religions do the same.


Not only are they told it, they are told that it is wrong of them (or anyone else) to think otherwise.

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 Post subject: Re: Brainwashing: Where is the line?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 6:50 pm 
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Scottie wrote:
So I went to church a few weeks ago, and posted on the primary wall was a large cutout that read "I KNOW that Jesus lives!" And, yes, the KNOW was actually bolded.

Mix this with all of the primary songs about knowing, how can an LDS member claim that they do not brainwash the children? There appears to be so much focus on making sure the kids KNOW that Jesus lives and that the church is true.

Where is the line between indoctrination and brainwashing? Do other religions focus this much on knowing?


It seems to me that your church visit took place on or around Easter. Assuming that is true, what you would more likely see in an Evangelical or Protestant church on BB's and such would be things like:

He is risen!
He is risen indeed!
He lives!

That sort of thing. In our EV or Protestant churches there is not an emphasis on "knowing" so much as there is on "believing" or "accepting". We are taught in our SS from childhood about the ministry of Jesus Christ on earth. There is emphasis on "accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior" however I am not aware of pressure to do so.

You would not find people saying "the church is true", you would see an emphasis on the truth of who Jesus is as Savior/Son of God.

Does that make sense?

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 Post subject: Re: Brainwashing: Where is the line?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:49 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Brainwashing: Where is the line?
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:48 am 
Jersey Girl wrote:
Scottie wrote:
So I went to church a few weeks ago, and posted on the primary wall was a large cutout that read "I KNOW that Jesus lives!" And, yes, the KNOW was actually bolded.

Mix this with all of the primary songs about knowing, how can an LDS member claim that they do not brainwash the children? There appears to be so much focus on making sure the kids KNOW that Jesus lives and that the church is true.

Where is the line between indoctrination and brainwashing? Do other religions focus this much on knowing?


It seems to me that your church visit took place on or around Easter. Assuming that is true, what you would more likely see in an Evangelical or Protestant church on BB's and such would be things like:

He is risen!
He is risen indeed!
He lives!

That sort of thing. In our EV or Protestant churches there is not an emphasis on "knowing" so much as there is on "believing" or "accepting". We are taught in our SS from childhood about the ministry of Jesus Christ on earth. There is emphasis on "accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior" however I am not aware of pressure to do so.

You would not find people saying "the church is true", you would see an emphasis on the truth of who Jesus is as Savior/Son of God.

Does that make sense?


But really, how is saying, "I know Jesus lives" any different from saying "He is risen"?

If you are saying He is risen, you are assuming that He lives.

Sorry, but I don't see how either approach is brainwashing.


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 Post subject: Re: Brainwashing: Where is the line?
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:16 am 
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liz3564 wrote:
If you are saying He is risen, you are assuming that He lives.

Sorry, but I don't see how either approach is brainwashing.

Because both approaches make an unsupported assertion with no empirical data to back it up, coupled with repetition.

"Just keep telling yourself this lie until it feels true." Sounds pretty brainwashy to me.

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 Post subject: Re: Brainwashing: Where is the line?
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:37 am 
Some Schmo wrote:
liz3564 wrote:
If you are saying He is risen, you are assuming that He lives.

Sorry, but I don't see how either approach is brainwashing.

Because both approaches make an unsupported assertion with no empirical data to back it up, coupled with repetition.

"Just keep telling yourself this lie until it feels true." Sounds pretty brainwashy to me.


So your view is that all organized religion is "brainwashy". I can accept that.

What I have problems with is saying that the Mormon Church "brainwashes" children in Primary anymore than other churches "brainwash" children during their Sunday School, Bible Camp, or various children's activities. That was really my point.


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 Post subject: Re: Brainwashing: Where is the line?
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:24 pm 
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Jersey Girl wrote:

It seems to me that your church visit took place on or around Easter. Assuming that is true, what you would more likely see in an Evangelical or Protestant church on BB's and such would be things like:

He is risen!
He is risen indeed!
He lives!

That sort of thing. In our EV or Protestant churches there is not an emphasis on "knowing" so much as there is on "believing" or "accepting". We are taught in our SS from childhood about the ministry of Jesus Christ on earth. There is emphasis on "accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior" however I am not aware of pressure to do so.

You would not find people saying "the church is true", you would see an emphasis on the truth of who Jesus is as Savior/Son of God.

Does that make sense?


liz3564 wrote:
But really, how is saying, "I know Jesus lives" any different from saying "He is risen"?

If you are saying He is risen, you are assuming that He lives.

Sorry, but I don't see how either approach is brainwashing.


Hang on there, missy! ;-) I wasn't supporting Scottie's theory regarding "brainwashing". I lazily copied his entire post when I should have indicated exactly the part I was responding to which was this:

Quote:
Do other religions focus this much on knowing?


As I stated, it seems that his church visit took place around Easter. I attempted to provide the types of "sayings" that one would see in an EV/Protestant church around that time.

I also discussed the EV emphasis on "believing/accepting" vs "knowing".

Is there a difference between saying He is Risen vs I KNOW that Jesus lives?

Perhaps not, except as I pointed out there is also the phrase "I know the church is true". In that regard I do think there is an emphasis on "knowing" vs "believing" in the LDS church.

Did any of that make sense? Perhaps not. I'm completely brainfried right now.

Maybe I can respond to Scotties statements regarding "brainwashing" so you know where I'm coming from on that issue.

I shall try to make sense.

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 Post subject: Re: Brainwashing: Where is the line?
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:38 pm 
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Scottie wrote:
So I went to church a few weeks ago, and posted on the primary wall was a large cutout that read "I KNOW that Jesus lives!" And, yes, the KNOW was actually bolded.

Mix this with all of the primary songs about knowing, how can an LDS member claim that they do not brainwash the children? There appears to be so much focus on making sure the kids KNOW that Jesus lives and that the church is true.

Where is the line between indoctrination and brainwashing? Do other religions focus this much on knowing?


Sorry but I have to do this to you, Scottie.

Where is the line between indoctrination and brainwashing? None, if you're someone who wishes to strike out at a church, in this case the LDS church.

All too often the word "indoctrination" is used pejoratively in reference to religion and it typically used by those who wish to smite a religious community. ie, ex-member, skeptic or atheist. As soon as the word "indoctrination" is thrown out there, it's only a hop-skip-jump to "brainwashing". These are inflammatory references to religion that no one should accept as "intellectually honest" because in reality, it's simply a form of indoctrination itself to the arguments regularly touted by skeptics and others, in an effort to demean/disparage religion.

Had you come in contact with me oh, 7-10 years ago, you would have seen me posting that the Mormon church brainwashed it's members. I'd like to think that a little common sense won out in that regard.

ALL societies engage in the socialization of their children to their particular culture. In this case, we are discussing that part of culture that is religious.

So, Scottie, I'm afraid that you yourself have been indoctrinated by your online experiences to think that socialization is actually indoctrination and = brainwashing.

Further, you can mentally carry your tent from indoctrination=brainwashing and pitch it right into the cultspeak camp. Don't believe me? It's all over this board.

Try to see the big picture. It's not as insidious as some would lead you to believe.

There are far worse outcomes for a child to be had then being socialized into a religious community that believes it "knows" that Jesus lives.

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 Post subject: Re: Brainwashing: Where is the line?
PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2010 8:10 am 
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I somewhat agree witj you, Jersey Girl.

A common alternative indoctrination I see is that America is the greatest country! Is it? Probably not.

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