John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

Post by Stem »

honorentheos wrote:What's immoral is making the decision for others. That includes the current leadership, not just Joseph Fielding Smith.


People are making decisions for others all the time. I make decisions for others, at work, at home. I often end up deciding what information is important and what is not. I could be wrong. If that's immoral I'm sunk.

I'm stuck seeing Dehlin's point and wondering how his condemnation doesn't fall on everyone.

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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

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I think there are "guardian" types of personalities that think it is their duty to shield others from information that they feel the others cannot handle. What they do doesn't seem immoral to them. They think it is their duty and that they are making the world better by doing it! And they may actually prefer that others take these types of steps with them.

It seems very immoral to someone who is highly analytical like me. I need to see all of the data so that I can make the best decision, after all, and so does everyone else. My first instinct is to assume that everyone else wants this and that everyone wants society to function like this always. However, I have been shown many counterexamples in my life (inside and outside the church), and I have to conclude that there is a whole class of people who think like this.

I think that the LDS church is very good at selecting these types of personalities for their leadership. I think the vast majority of GAs genuinely don't understand the basics of how people like me think and/or feel in the church.
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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

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Stem wrote:
honorentheos wrote:What's immoral is making the decision for others. That includes the current leadership, not just Joseph Fielding Smith.


People are making decisions for others all the time. I make decisions for others, at work, at home. I often end up deciding what information is important and what is not. I could be wrong. If that's immoral I'm sunk.

I'm stuck seeing Dehlin's point and wondering how his condemnation doesn't fall on everyone.


Do you have an example that compares to the whole church system?

In my view, a system can be immoral even if the people are good.

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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

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I think the leaders are delusional, yet probably a lot have good intentions. It's obviously false yet, they had a good feeling and history was so far in the past that it doesn't matter any more. There must have been a good reason for the past to have played out the way it did, they must tell themselves, and the book of Mormon is the source of good feelings because the group says so. They view themselves as good people, doing good things and want to only do what's best for their families and whomever they have under them in the hierarchy. My TBM, former stake president brother feels this way. For him, the history doesn't matter because he believes what he is doing is "good."

The church is good at reinforcing this goodness loop, based on the good feeling they have and continually tell each other. There is "safety" staying in the group and humans are hardwired to seek to belong to groups. I don't know how many times, but it is a lot, where I am saying this or that about how the church cannot possibly support its truth claims and I get the impression that the TBM is asking themselves how can such a good thing be false? We're good people, doing good things. You must have been offended or whatever in order to not see what I see. For them the past really doesn't matter. The absurdity of God not being able to forgive sin unless Jesus died is beyond comprehension for them because it is assumed. No, having thought about this for a while and not being able to get inside of any leader's head, from an outside perspective, I think they are more likely delusional.

Even so, I think people are better served realizing that the history doesn't add up and that the church is over-charging for its services. The church isn't the source of everything good as it wants to claim and reinforcing that nonsense is where it has to stop. Getting together as a group is good and having a support group is good, but being delusional about who should get credit for whatever good decision I may make or anyone makes is wrong and needs to change.
Last edited by Dr Exiled on Wed Jan 15, 2020 2:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

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Meadowchik wrote:
Do you have an example that compares to the whole church system?


I'm not sure what you're asking for. Feeling dense here.

In my view, a system can be immoral even if the people are good.


On that point I'd wonder if anybody who has ever lived has not been a part of or associated with a system that is by some measure immoral. There is often something immoral about how countries are run. There is likely some immoral activity happening in business or trade. I mean with the Church finances...I think there's some immorality to be point out there. This feels like it's getting us away from the original quote though.

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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

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fetchface wrote:I think there are "guardian" types of personalities that think it is their duty to shield others from information that they feel the others cannot handle. What they do doesn't seem immoral to them. They think it is their duty and that they are making the world better by doing it! And they may actually prefer that others take these types of steps with them.

It seems very immoral to someone who is highly analytical like me. I need to see all of the data so that I can make the best decision, after all, and so does everyone else. My first instinct is to assume that everyone else wants this and that everyone wants society to function like this always. However, I have been shown many counterexamples in my life (inside and outside the church), and I have to conclude that there is a whole class of people who think like this.

I think that the LDS church is very good at selecting these types of personalities for their leadership. I think the vast majority of GAs genuinely don't understand the basics of how people like me think and/or feel in the church.


This^ for me too.

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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

Post by Meadowchik »

Stem wrote:
Meadowchik wrote:
Do you have an example that compares to the whole church system?


I'm not sure what you're asking for. Feeling dense here.

In my view, a system can be immoral even if the people are good.


On that point I'd wonder if anybody who has ever lived has not been a part of or associated with a system that is by some measure immoral. There is often something immoral about how countries are run. There is likely some immoral activity happening in business or trade. I mean with the Church finances...I think there's some immorality to be point out there. This feels like it's getting us away from the original quote though.


I mean, do you have examples where you make decisions for people at a level comparable to the church?

Yes, we could find immorality in many common systems easily. But the point of the OP quote is the level of control crafted by the Mormon narrative for those who convert to it or are born into it. The existence of similarly-controlling systems doesn't change the immortal nature of the system.

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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

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I think John's statement is overly simplified and in a lot of ways condemns each leader individually, but I think there's also a lot of merit to it.

For example, Russell Nelson last conference asked members to study the First Vision, but he didn't tell them to read each one or look at outside resources. He told them to read the canonized one while at the same time the leaders are out there demonizing those with doubts.

Is it Nelson's fault they have taken the identity of Native American members away? No, but he's clearly not interested in admitting they were wrong about the Book of Mormon history because it ruins God's revelation which ruins the church.

So I guess to me it is immoral to teach a history they know has problems while also vilifying the people who have legitimate doubts and questions, and to tell those members they'll be separated at death because one of them just didn't hold on with blind faith in the church.

I don't know what the leaders know or don't know - none of us do. But we do know they've caused great harm by claiming to speak for God on the Nov 15 policy, and we know that science and history proves the church false.

So to me it is immoral that not only do they teach a history/doctrine that is false, but that they simultaneously attack those who question it or leave. It causes harm to people that are struggling such as the LGBT community, and it causes stress in families when one person does look into the history and has doubts or leaves.

And again I don't know what is intentional or not, but I do think that if they do not know of these issues it is because they are purposefully avoiding them. As leaders of the church it is their job to know what is going on, and as such they should be aware of what is causing people to leave. Yet instead of being upfront with members, they double down on making members distrust and ignore those who have doubts while continuing with an untenable narrative.

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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

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honorentheos wrote:Fox News is kewl, then? ;)


I know, right?

So, no. Fox News is not “kewl.” Why? Because the People of the United States of America own the airwaves and news ideally is there to inform the electorate as it votes on important issues and candidates. These (churches and news organizations) are different kinds of organizations that fill different functions in our society. A church does not serve the same public interests in the nation that a news organization does.

But you winked, so I know you know all of this.
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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

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To me, what is immoral is the negligence that the LDS leadership shows in understanding its flock, and the resulting pain that is caused by that negligence.

I don't think they are doing it on purpose, but it doesn't excuse the harm either. They can and should be expected to do better, just like a commercial business should be expected to proactively take a look around and make sure their premises are free of injury hazards. The church leadership should be proactively looking to reduce or not cause spiritual/emotional harm to its membership. It doesn't do a very good job of this and this constitutes a moral failing.

They are too busy patting each other on the back for being the one true church to be open to proactively evaluating and reducing the harm they cause.
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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

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kairos wrote:From [Dean Robbers]:" Realistically, people create social institutions and social institutions govern people's choices and realistically, the packaged life deal a person gets out of Mormonism isn't that bad compared to other packages out there. There are also other tight-knit communities where shunning happens in principle or practice to the same degree as Mormonism or worse. "

Is it ever "right" for an organization,religion, government, cult, tribe, nation,state, city,town or even a family to "force" (big F or little f) a life package deal on a person? The RCC tried it on me and others teaching that the life package deal was what God wanted for me or do to me. For me, rebellion/denouncement/breakaway and freedom was much much easier it seems than one "caught " in the Mormon life package deal scenario. On a much smaller level but still important, my friends who went to West Point because of granddad/dad/uncle/brother, often found later that the military life package deal was not them. Often it took courage to opt out.
maybe john is saying that when a life package deal becomes /is coercive there is something not right(maybe not immoral) about if from a denial of a person's inalienable rights to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. finally is relativism ( life deal A is certainly a hellavu lot better than life deal B) applicable here?


I can't take credit for the sage words of Dean Robbers, but I will say that we are all handed a certain package at birth in the form of our parents, our culture, our society, our wealth, our DNA, etc. We make the best of our situation, for the most part. Some people shift radically far from this package in certain respects during their lives, but it is difficult if not impossible to escape entirely. What we do with our package determines who we are as moral actors, and often we will find the we cannot, for one reason or another, do what may seem ideal from one perspective because of the totality of considerations. I am in the midst of struggles right now that illustrate these problems very well to me. It is one thing to strive to be a moral individual as an individual, and then there are other considerations when operating as a member of a group.
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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

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fetchface wrote:To me, what is immoral is the negligence that the LDS leadership shows in understanding its flock, and the resulting pain that is caused by that negligence.

I don't think they are doing it on purpose, but it doesn't excuse the harm either. They can and should be expected to do better, just like a commercial business should be expected to proactively take a look around and make sure their premises are free of injury hazards. The church leadership should be proactively looking to reduce or not cause spiritual/emotional harm to its membership. It doesn't do a very good job of this and this constitutes a moral failing.

They are too busy patting each other on the back for being the one true church to be open to proactively evaluating and reducing the harm they cause.


It is a very top-down organization to be sure. That is not conducive to understanding the flock. They will have to figure this one out if they don't want to continue to hemorrhage members.
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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

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Also John Dehlin:

"The hymns rock!"

So, you know, maybe consider the source.
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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

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Hi Kish,

I appreciate that you have a soft place in your heart for the Church, and an intolerance for John Dehlin. Knowing your dislike of Fox News, it was a bit of a cheap shot. But illustrative, too.

Kishkumen wrote:
honorentheos wrote:Fox News is kewl, then? ;)


I know, right?

So, no. Fox News is not “kewl.” Why? Because the People of the United States of America own the airwaves

Cable, brother. Cable.

...and news ideally is there to inform the electorate as it votes on important issues and candidates.

Ideally. True.

These (churches and news organizations) are different kinds of organizations that fill different functions in our society. A church does not serve the same public interests in the nation that a news organization does.

Yeah. Churches are tax exempt charities in the United States. Fox News is a for-profit cable news organization. Both "ideally" would operate in the interest of the public good. But of the two, one of them is using taxpayer dollars to fund their activities and therefore should be more beholden to "ideals" than the other. IMO. Both should do significantly better than they do. So, whether or not you want to accept that Church is doing the membership wrong by playing gatekeeper with information, they are. They're wrong. It's not morally good or neutral when they do so.

The leadership of the Church is immoral when they hide facts from the membership. Do they do other things that are good? Sure. We're all a mixed bag like that. But the instance in question doesn't fall on the neutral or moral side of the line.
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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

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honorentheos wrote:The leadership of the Church is immoral when they hide facts from the membership. Do they do other things that are good? Sure. We're all a mixed bag like that. But the instance in question doesn't fall on the neutral or moral side of the line.
To expand further on this point. I'd think I'd be more willing to grant the CoJCoLDS and its leadership a ruling of neutrality if they had merely declined to actively share information that they found damaging to the mission of the church. However, particularly in reference to the first vision narrative, they have spent a considerable amount of effort to conceal and bury material fact. I'm not sure how you could look at any organization's actions of attempting to sweep evidence under the rug as "neutral".
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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

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Xenophon wrote:
honorentheos wrote:The leadership of the Church is immoral when they hide facts from the membership. Do they do other things that are good? Sure. We're all a mixed bag like that. But the instance in question doesn't fall on the neutral or moral side of the line.
To expand further on this point. I'd think I'd be more willing to grant the CoJCoLDS and its leadership a ruling of neutrality if they had merely declined to actively share information that they found damaging to the mission of the church. However, particularly in reference to the first vision narrative, they have spent a considerable amount of effort to conceal and bury material fact. I'm not sure how you could look at any organization's actions of attempting to sweep evidence under the rug as "neutral".


I agree that it is wrong to sweep material information under the rug.

“Immorality” occurs when one is knowingly and intentionally harming another person for one’s own gain.

It is immoral to sweep people under the rug for one’s own gain. People are alive and it is terrifying to be swept under a rug. It’s especially terrifying when the person doing the sweeping is simultaneously sweeping associated information under the rug.
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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

Post by Stem »

Meadowchik wrote:
I mean, do you have examples where you make decisions for people at a level comparable to the church?


well that's the rub. Earlier someone (could've been me) brought up the first vision example. When leaders fail to mention accounts not in line with the official account, they don't think there is something in those other accounts that are really problematic. They think they simply aren't as good or useful. I mean, giving them the benefit of the doubt. So when they talk about it or teach about it, they aren't thinking anything but what they are saying is really true. In their minds their job is not and has never been about telling the whole story and letting people decide between choices. In their mind and really how they have defined it, they are telling people what they think is true and asking them to follow along or feel inspired to agree.

Yes, we could find immorality in many common systems easily. But the point of the OP quote is the level of control crafted by the Mormon narrative for those who convert to it or are born into it. The existence of similarly-controlling systems doesn't change the immortal nature of the system.


The system could be defined as immoral but it doesn't necessarily mean the leaders of it are being immoral in their definition of the true historical narrative.

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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

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Stem wrote: well that's the rub. Earlier someone (could've been me) brought up the first vision example. When leaders fail to mention accounts not in line with the official account, they don't think there is something in those other accounts that are really problematic. They think they simply aren't as good or useful. I mean, giving them the benefit of the doubt. So when they talk about it or teach about it, they aren't thinking anything but what they are saying is really true. In their minds their job is not and has never been about telling the whole story and letting people decide between choices. In their mind and really how they have defined it, they are telling people what they think is true and asking them to follow along or feel inspired to agree.


So in your experience, when do you make decisions about other peoples' lives which are comparable to the pre-fabricated decisions of the LDS narrative, thoughts about life's meaning, who to trust, how to live: who to marry, what to eat and drink, what to wear, what to say...?

Stem wrote:
The system could be defined as immoral but it doesn't necessarily mean the leaders of it are being immoral in their definition of the true historical narrative.


I am much less concerned with blaming leaders than with evaluating the system itself.

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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

Post by fetchface »

Well, if it were morally wrong in Mormon theology for the leadership to withhold material information, we presumably wouldn't see God modeling this behavior in D&C 19 where God admits to giving people false impressions in order to get them to go along with the program.

The leaders are just modelling Godly behavior when they withhold material information that their followers would use to make informed major life decisions.
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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

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Meadowchik wrote:
So in your experience, when do you make decisions about other peoples' lives which are comparable to the pre-fabricated decisions of the LDS narrative, thoughts about life's meaning, who to trust, how to live: who to marry, what to eat and drink, what to wear, what to say...?


I hear the point you are making, I don't think that really relates well with the narrative being told though. I don't think the leaders know and are lying. If they know, which at least some do, I think they are being sincere. There are plenty of people who get the problems with the narrative and yet still find themselves faithful to the church--leaders included. To me that suggests their suggestions and influence as it pertains to these decisions are their best sincere advice. I"m quite happy with how things have turned out so far, for me. I don't really think the leaders misled me in my decisions. I just think they are wrong in their conclusions about the Church.

I am much less concerned with blaming leaders than with evaluating the system itself.


Fair enough. Such an evaluation is precisely why I find myself on the outside. I found the system broken.

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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

Post by Meadowchik »

Stem wrote:
I hear the point you are making, I don't think that really relates well with the narrative being told though. I don't think the leaders know and are lying. If they know, which at least some do, I think they are being sincere. There are plenty of people who get the problems with the narrative and yet still find themselves faithful to the church--leaders included. To me that suggests their suggestions and influence as it pertains to these decisions are their best sincere advice. I"m quite happy with how things have turned out so far, for me. I don't really think the leaders misled me in my decisions. I just think they are wrong in their conclusions about the Church.


The quote is essentially two parts:
1) a life-absorbing high-demand religion
Based upon
2) a faulty narrative.

I would say both are deeply related, necessarily entangled. From the very beginning, the faulty narrative required high levels of control in order to secure retention.

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