John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

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Meadowchik wrote:I think that the leadership decisions can be just as prone to prioritizing the natural, material limitations when it suits while prioritizing so-called inspiration when it suits. It's a historical pattern since the founding. Let's not pretend that it's always only "the Spirit" that guides them. One could say that Dehlin's quote is simply holding up a mirror to the church institution, the same mirror which it has given individual members for inspecting themselves.

ETA: That mirror Mormonism creates for the regular member definitely does not prioritize the spiritual witness above all, it has very material expectations, day in and day out, and it has always been that way. The church has always held up its material claims as evidence of its spiritual authority.


The spiritual informs the tangible. The vision precedes everything. The spiritual witness of the truth precedes the conversion. The revelation precedes the prophetic direction. Nothing that you have said above challenges the primacy of these beliefs and patterns. You may not believe them. You can point to instances in which it appears not to be the case. But it is always assumed to be the way things work, and I would bet that it is quite often how they do. We don't have to believe it to grant that the religion is ideally meant to function in this way.
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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

Post by honorentheos »

Kishkumen wrote:
honorentheos wrote:As noted earlier, it's convenient to blame a couple of individuals when seeking to protect the institution on the one hand, and then blame the institution when seeking to protect the behavior of select individuals who are merely acting out their beliefs as provided by the institution.


Well, in this case, the facts are that it was not the "leadership" who excised that account and put it in Joseph Fielding Smith's safe.

Whether by my voice or the voice of my servants, it is the same.

honorentheos wrote:I don't believe Dehlin said anything about handling the history the way academic historians might, or that the issue is one of professional ethics.


What other kind of history represents the ideal of dealing forthrightly and expertly with the facts? Academic history sets the standard. It is clear that he has always promoted scholarly history in preference to devotional history.

Here's what he said as quoted in the OP -

"There’s this massive amount of decisions that you make, you know in a finite life, and to base that life on a narrative, when not only the narrative isn’t what it claims to be, when leaders know the narrative isn’t what it claims to be, and intentionally - for as long as they could - withheld the information that would allow people to make an informed decision about how they spend their finite time and resources –that’s profoundly immoral."

Based on his own words, the context of the discussion didn't start with academic handling of history nor did it bend that way. That occurred in this thread. I don't believe it really has any bearing on the underlying moral question as it redirects the concern from the moral behavior of the leadership as directed towards the membership to the ethical treatment of historical materials. That's an entirely different subject. Granted, one that professional trained historians certainly are not only better qualified to judge but perhaps uniquely qualified to judge. But since we are discussing the way the LDS leadership uses the narrative from which their apparent authority is derived to control the membership in ways that infantilizes them, that redirection seems to send us off into an unproductive pothole where there is no room for discussion in this forum. It's also meaningless given the individual narratives of experiences with the subject of the OP are neither illuminated nor expanded on by that diversion.

honorentheos wrote:By manipulating it's history, it's asserting it knows better than the layperson in the Church what is best for them and infantilizes them by doing so.


You see, this is where you have it absolutely backward. The history did not start out as the facts that someone deviously twisted. The history started out as the story of the faith. It was constructed as that from the very beginning. Scholarly history tells a different kind of story of the past. But it was never the case that there was a pristine factual narrative. If anything there was a story of the faith that was later challenged and edited according to the influence of scholarly history.

But the details in how one choses to describe the object "history" is meaningless in this context. We're discussing its effects. It's mass is what matters when we are discussing gravity. It's color or the fine contours of it's shape are largely irrelevant.

honorentheos wrote:Arguing that this should be permissible because religious history is in a class deserving special protection is in effect agreeing that the church knows better than the lay membership what is in their best interest. That's pretty arrogant.


It is not permissible or impermissible. It is. There is a story of the faith, and it has traditionally been the narrative members were converted by and placed faith in. So there really is nothing "arrogant" about it. It is instead arrogant and ignorant not to recognize and acknowledge the actual relationship between these narratives. The influence of scholarly or academic history will change that story over time.

Again, we're not talking about history as object, but the effects of how the narrative is used to establish authority on the membership. Everything just "is". Fetchface seems to be groping in that direction, recognizing that the LDS concept of agency is flawed because free will is an illusion. Behind every action and apparent causal decision were innumerable background factors that led to that action occurring. These influenced the subject leading to the action to such a degree most of us, on examination of those factors, would question how realistic it may have been that the person would have "chosen" to do anything else without first having to change the influences themselves. Whether we are discussing a child trying to hide the fact they broke something from their parents to a world leader taking actions that lead to the deaths of thousands, the choice doesn't stand isolated from the influencing factors that give rise to that action occurring. If neuroscience is correct, the best we can do is work on influencers such that when we are in the moment making "decisions", the twig was already bent in the direction we would ideally wish the tree to grow. At some point, when grappling with the implications of this fact of existence, a person has to come to some realization that moral systems still have to operate for societies to be viable. We can't just assume everything is permissible because no one is completely responsible for their decisions in the black and white way Mormonism portrayed it when we were taught that our agency is what allows God to judge us justly. We agree that there is complexity involved to a large degree. But that doesn't then demand acceptance of an outcome because the inputs were complex and drive the leadership to maintain a narrative and behavior that has an effect we ought (yup, ought) to recognize should give way to behavior that is more enabling of the membership.

So whether or not we accept the behavior of the Church in how it deceptively presents the narrative influences how it will continue to do so. Having a permissible attitude about it, allowing the kid to not learn to take responsibility for their actions, leads that child to grow up to become the world leader who would sacrifice thousands of lives to protect their own selfish interests. I stand by my original statement. Arguing that the abuse of narrative to protect authority and infantilize the membership should be permissible because religious history is in a class deserving special protection is in effect agreeing that the church knows better than the lay membership what is in their best interest. It's enabling the immoral actions of the leadership. And they are immoral because the underlying ethical issues aren't ambiguous. Arguing for special pleading on behalf of religion isn't helping but rather enabling the abuses of that narrative and placing the value of the institution over that of membership itself.

In the meantime we can talk about how immoral it is that the story is not changing quickly enough to suit us.

What makes it immoral is the effects it has on the membership. So while I agree with this sentence, it seems to miss that moral reasoning first demands a moral foundation from which to build. On what moral foundation does this then build if not the premise that manipulating history to the Church's advantage at the expense of the membership is itself an immoral act such that changing the narrative approach shifts the moral judgement with it?
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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

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Kishkumen wrote:
Meadowchik wrote:The spiritual informs the tangible. The vision precedes everything. The spiritual witness of the truth precedes the conversion. The revelation precedes the prophetic direction. Nothing that you have said above challenges the primacy of these beliefs and patterns. You may not believe them. You can point to instances in which it appears not to be the case. But it is always assumed to be the way things work, and I would bet that it is quite often how they do. We don't have to believe it to grant that the religion is ideally meant to function in this way.

Mormonism very much makes spiritualism inseparable from materialism. Mormon apologetics use favourable material evidence and tend to be as skeptical as possible of unfavorable material evidence. But in both cases, the importance of material is also spiritual. In this way, Mormonism attempts to fill the gaps left unexplained by concrete observation, but not replace what is concrete.

In Great Basin Kingdom, Leonard Arrington says,

"Joseph Smith and other early Mormon leaders seem to have seen every part of life, and every problem put to them, as part of an integrated universe in which materialities and immaterialities were all of equal standing, or indistinguishable in God's kingdom. Religion was relevant to economics, politics, art and science. If Christianity was "the most avowedly materialist of all the great religions," as asserted by William Temple, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Mormonism came near to being the most avowedly materialist of all the Christian religions." (1966, 6)

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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

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Kishkumen:

The spiritual informs the tangible. The vision precedes everything. The spiritual witness of the truth precedes the conversion. The revelation precedes the prophetic direction. Nothing that you have said above challenges the primacy of these beliefs and patterns. You may not believe them. You can point to instances in which it appears not to be the case. But it is always assumed to be the way things work, and I would bet that it is quite often how they do.

I never know when you are speaking as a historian and when you are speaking as a religious believer. How is it that these beliefs hold a “primacy” for those who believe differently? When you say you bet that’s how things work, I can only assume that is the believer in you, not the historian.

But most significantly, how can you say “it is assumed” without specifying who is doing the assuming? Obviously, not everyone assumes that, specifically those who consider the presentation of specific items, such as those discussed in this thread, to be dishonest.

You seem to be ruling out dishonesty by asserting that, as a starting condition, “the way things work” is a spiritual witness that is valid on the face of it. This amounts to assuming the conclusion, which is never a valid approach.

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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

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I guess I may have neglected to state earlier that my point of view on this subject assumes that the leaders are true believers. If not, then they are obviously very unethical people on a great many counts. I believe that Joseph Smith falls into this latter category with his only excuse for his behavior being a likely personality disorder.

Going back and thinking about the example that Physics Guy raised about flat-earthers, I really can't see any circumstance where a true believer is going to enthusiastically share information that challenges their worldview. It just isn't going to happen. First instinct is going to be to reject the evidence as suspect and hide it (out of genuine concern at first, right? Who wants to spread misinformation?). As it becomes more and more clear that the evidence is not faulty to the true believer, the next step is going to be to assimilate the information with a complex explanation about why it isn't a problem, or for evidence that cannot be assimilated, a complex theory explaining why the "false" evidence looks so true, usually involving a vast conspiracy.

What I see when I look at the evolving Mormon faithful historical narrative is a group of true believers following this process. I mean, read Jeffrey Holland's talk from the '70s about the continents rearranging themselves under a global flood ca. 2300BC. That's nuts! You don't see him giving talks like that today. He's definitely assimilated some facts into his not-so-dodo mind.

What I see is guys who grew up learning how fantastic Joseph Smith was just like I did, and they are wrestling with new information just like I did. I wasn't inclined to fight very hard to maintain belief as I have always felt oppressed and unfulfilled in the church, but I did fight for a while, and I did follow these steps to reject contrary information.

The arguments that I am seeing in favor of the brethren's behavior being immoral seem to assume that the brethren know the validity of the contrary facts. While this may be true of a particular fact and a particular leader from time to time, I think that the vast majority of unflattering historical facts are still being fought against in most leader's minds, sitting in a pile of insane spaghetti logic between their ears.

This whole process is stupid, and strongly illustrates how flawed human reasoning is on average, but I just don't see it as "immoral." I just see it as unfortunate and sad.
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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

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honorentheos wrote:Whether by my voice or the voice of my servants, it is the same.


That does not address my objection to your sloppy assignment of blame to the leadership in this instance.

Here's what he said as quoted in the OP -

"There’s this massive amount of decisions that you make, you know in a finite life, and to base that life on a narrative, when not only the narrative isn’t what it claims to be, when leaders know the narrative isn’t what it claims to be, and intentionally - for as long as they could - withheld the information that would allow people to make an informed decision about how they spend their finite time and resources –that’s profoundly immoral."

Based on his own words, the context of the discussion didn't start with academic handling of history nor did it bend that way. That occurred in this thread. I don't believe it really has any bearing on the underlying moral question as it redirects the concern from the moral behavior of the leadership as directed towards the membership to the ethical treatment of historical materials. That's an entirely different subject. Granted, one that professional trained historians certainly are not only better qualified to judge but perhaps uniquely qualified to judge. But since we are discussing the way the LDS leadership uses the narrative from which their apparent authority is derived to control the membership in ways that infantilizes them, that redirection seems to send us off into an unproductive pothole where there is no room for discussion in this forum. It's also meaningless given the individual narratives of experiences with the subject of the OP are neither illuminated nor expanded on by that diversion.


His idea of what the history should be like is absolutely informed by scholarly history. There is no question that this is the case. He doesn’t have to refer to it explicitly here for that to be obviously true. His whole faith struggle is predicated on the primacy of scholarly history over the traditional faith narrative.

But the details in how one choses to describe the object "history" is meaningless in this context. We're discussing its effects. It's mass is what matters when we are discussing gravity. It's color or the fine contours of it's shape are largely irrelevant.


History is not a Platonic form. The history of history has everything to do with this argument. You can’t ignore that. If you do, you’re ignoring everything that makes the conflict intelligible and reducing the terms to absolutes. There is not a consensus on what a perfect, morally correct history or handling of history is. What I learn from you is what your particular values and assumptions about history are. They do not seem to be grounded in an appreciation for the historic evolution of historiography. That knowledge actually matters here.

Again, we're not talking about history as object, but the effects of how the narrative is used to establish authority on the membership.


Those topics are inextricably intertwined. You cannot separate what history is perceived to be from how it is used. One cannot demand that everyone adopt a single definition and prescribed proper use of history. It makes no sense to dictate to a community how it should tell its story from the position of an outsider. Let’s tell the indigenous peoples of Australia to abandon their myths because they are not scientifically accurate.

I will say that there is something a little sweet about a colonizers’ religion being colonized like this, as heaven knows they had no compunction about rewriting the identities of indigenous peoples, but the hypocrisy here is pretty rich.
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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

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Lemmie wrote:I never know when you are speaking as a historian and when you are speaking as a religious believer. How is it that these beliefs hold a “primacy” for those who believe differently? When you say you bet that’s how things work, I can only assume that is the believer in you, not the historian.


I am sorry that this is all you feel you can assume. Because what I am doing here is trying to understand the system as it is on its own terms and why it is that those inside the system think differently about history and its uses. It requires no belief in or assent to the teachings of another culture to do that. It does require discipline, imagination, and integrity. I am trying to cultivate such attributes in this exercise.

Lemmie wrote:But most significantly, how can you say “it is assumed” without specifying who is doing the assuming? Obviously, not everyone assumes that, specifically those who consider the presentation of specific items, such as those discussed in this thread, to be dishonest.

You seem to be ruling out dishonesty by asserting that, as a starting condition, “the way things work” is a spiritual witness that is valid on the face of it. This amounts to assuming the conclusion, which is never a valid approach.


The religion as a system places revelation at the foundation of its epistemology. I don’t see how it is possible to get around that. The role of revelation is integral to the faith’s concept of history and how it should be used. To recognize this historical fact is not to assume the conclusion. Joseph Smith founded a Church on claims of divine revelation. The Church invites people to obtain divine revelation confirming the truth of his work and join the Church. The leaders of that Church claim that divine revelation guides the Church. These facts are inescapable. Our skepticism about divine revelation does not change the fact that the Church founds its system of knowledge about the world on revelation. It follows that the community’s beliefs about revelation will shape its concept and handling of history.
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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

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fetchface wrote:...Going back and thinking about the example that Physics Guy raised about flat-earthers, I really can't see any circumstance where a true believer is going to enthusiastically share information that challenges their worldview. It just isn't going to happen. First instinct is going to be to reject the evidence as suspect and hide it (out of genuine concern at first, right? Who wants to spread misinformation?). As it becomes more and more clear that the evidence is not faulty to the true believer, the next step is going to be to assimilate the information with a complex explanation about why it isn't a problem, or for evidence that cannot be assimilated, a complex theory explaining why the "false" evidence looks so true, usually involving a vast conspiracy.

What I see when I look at the evolving Mormon faithful historical narrative is a group of true believers following this process. I mean, read Jeffrey Holland's talk from the '70s about the continents rearranging themselves under a global flood ca. 2300BC. That's nuts! You don't see him giving talks like that today. He's definitely assimilated some facts into his not-so-dodo mind.

What I see is guys who grew up learning how fantastic Joseph Smith was just like I did, and they are wrestling with new information just like I did. I wasn't inclined to fight very hard to maintain belief as I have always felt oppressed and unfulfilled in the church, but I did fight for a while, and I did follow these steps to reject contrary information.

The arguments that I am seeing in favor of the brethren's behavior being immoral seem to assume that the brethren know the validity of the contrary facts. While this may be true of a particular fact and a particular leader from time to time, I think that the vast majority of unflattering historical facts are still being fought against in most leader's minds, sitting in a pile of insane spaghetti logic between their ears.

This whole process is stupid, and strongly illustrates how flawed human reasoning is on average, but I just don't see it as "immoral." I just see it as unfortunate and sad.

That is an unfortunate legacy for us all, but it is certainly plausible. Sadly.

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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

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Kishkumen:

The point to identifying the epistemology informing the practice of history in the community is to get away from a loaded, prejudicial assessment of the community's way of talking about the past.

Yes, I can agree with that. In my opinion, your approach is as loaded and prejudicial as you think mine is. How do we find a neutral ground?

All we are doing here is going back and forth about the necessity of adopting a naturalistic history in the community in order to practice history morally and safely.

I disagree. We are talking about honestly portraying history, a behavior inherent in the leadership position, not the telling of a factual story. behavior is not the same as story line.

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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

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fetchface wrote:I guess I may have neglected to state earlier that my point of view on this subject assumes that the leaders are true believers. If not, then they are obviously very unethical people on a great many counts. I believe that Joseph Smith falls into this latter category with his only excuse for his behavior being a likely personality disorder.

Going back and thinking about the example that Physics Guy raised about flat-earthers, I really can't see any circumstance where a true believer is going to enthusiastically share information that challenges their worldview. It just isn't going to happen. First instinct is going to be to reject the evidence as suspect and hide it (out of genuine concern at first, right? Who wants to spread misinformation?). As it becomes more and more clear that the evidence is not faulty to the true believer, the next step is going to be to assimilate the information with a complex explanation about why it isn't a problem, or for evidence that cannot be assimilated, a complex theory explaining why the "false" evidence looks so true, usually involving a vast conspiracy.

What I see when I look at the evolving Mormon faithful historical narrative is a group of true believers following this process. I mean, read Jeffrey Holland's talk from the '70s about the continents rearranging themselves under a global flood ca. 2300BC. That's nuts! You don't see him giving talks like that today. He's definitely assimilated some facts into his not-so-dodo mind.

What I see is guys who grew up learning how fantastic Joseph Smith was just like I did, and they are wrestling with new information just like I did. I wasn't inclined to fight very hard to maintain belief as I have always felt oppressed and unfulfilled in the church, but I did fight for a while, and I did follow these steps to reject contrary information.

The arguments that I am seeing in favor of the brethren's behavior being immoral seem to assume that the brethren know the validity of the contrary facts. While this may be true of a particular fact and a particular leader from time to time, I think that the vast majority of unflattering historical facts are still being fought against in most leader's minds, sitting in a pile of insane spaghetti logic between their ears.

This whole process is stupid, and strongly illustrates how flawed human reasoning is on average, but I just don't see it as "immoral." I just see it as unfortunate and sad.


I can understand that level of ignorance from a lay member or local leader.

When I held my first child, it was not the first time I held a baby. But this was my baby. The significance was fundamental.

Apostles of the church are fundamentally in a different position of responsibility. Like a train operator is more than the ticket taker. Once they become apostles, they have so much more moral responsibility. They are representing God to people in a way unmatched by any of their previous positions. They then take on more moral obligations and frankly they also do it full time. Thus they have more ability and opportunity to do the job of representing God than they likely ever had before.

Holland has revealed some of his internal thinking which imo reveals that he knows there are problems, but he continues to go on in faith even believing that even the wrong road for the whole church, if it takes it, is God's will. I think this choice is an example of immoral reasoning given his position.

Likewise I think Packers CES speech was an example of immoral reasoning. I even think that Nelson's focus on Mormon when there are much more pressing needs for correction is another example of immoral reasoning. Oaks insistence on not apologizing is an example of profound failure of his moral reasoning.

I would say that something about LDS apostleship likely screws up their moral reasoning. Maybe the second anointing is part of that.
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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

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fetchface wrote:I really can't see any circumstance where a true believer is going to enthusiastically share information that challenges their worldview. It just isn't going to happen. First instinct is going to be to reject the evidence as suspect and hide it (out of genuine concern at first, right? Who wants to spread misinformation? As it becomes more and more clear that the evidence is not faulty to the true believer, the next step is going to be to assimilate the information with a complex explanation about why it isn't a problem, or for evidence that cannot be assimilated, a complex theory explaining why the "false" evidence looks so true, usually involving a vast conspiracy.

I accept that initial rejection of adverse evidence is only natural. It's even quite reasonable. Plenty of true things have been confronted with pieces of seemingly contradictory evidence, only to have been vindicated eventually. If clear vindication doesn't come, though, but only awkward excuses, then my feeling is that one can only go on accepting the excuses for so long before it becomes irresponsible for a leader to keep on telling the flock that all is well.

What I see when I look at the evolving Mormon faithful historical narrative is a group of true believers following this process. I mean, read Jeffrey Holland's talk from the '70s about the continents rearranging themselves under a global flood ca. 2300BC. That's nuts! You don't see him giving talks like that today. He's definitely assimilated some facts into his not-so-dodo mind.

Wow. I may have been failing to take into account just how bizarrely benighted a lot of supposedly educated Americans have still been in my lifetime. I've never lived in those parts of the country.

The arguments that I am seeing in favor of the brethren's behavior being immoral seem to assume that the brethren know the validity of the contrary facts. While this may be true of a particular fact and a particular leader from time to time, I think that the vast majority of unflattering historical facts are still being fought against in most leader's minds, sitting in a pile of insane spaghetti logic between their ears.

This whole process is stupid, and strongly illustrates how flawed human reasoning is on average, but I just don't see it as "immoral." I just see it as unfortunate and sad.

Well, if the Mormon leaders are really still in a stage of recognizing problems themselves, then maybe they're mostly still in honest territory, and just moving more slowly than I would have expected people of their intelligence and experience to be moving at this point.

Perhaps what I would say is that for the Mormon leaders to maintain their current position indefinitely would be immoral. If they keep moving on from here then maybe I'll accept that they were doing the best they could, given their personal starting points.

I still think that leaders have an obligation to do the right thing more quickly than ordinary members, because if there are cats that finally get let out of the bag five years from now instead of this year, then in five years there may be hundreds of thousands of people who are angry at having wasted five years of their lives that could have been better spent.

Ultimately the unfortunate and sad situation is one that the leaders do have the power to change. At some point that buck has to stop with them. Leaders, and especially leaders who are supposed to be prophets and seers, cannot just plead forever that they are only dust in their cultural wind.

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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

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Physics Guy wrote:I still think that leaders have an obligation to do the right thing more quickly than ordinary members, because if there are cats that finally get let out of the bag five years from now instead of this year, then in five years there may be hundreds of thousands of people who are angry at having wasted five years of their lives that could have been better spent.

Ultimately the unfortunate and sad situation is one that the leaders do have the power to change. At some point that buck has to stop with them. Leaders, and especially leaders who are supposed to be prophets and seers, cannot just plead forever that they are only dust in their cultural wind.

Yes, the other unfortunate piece to this puzzle is that the system of selection for LDS leadership highly favors guardian type personalities. Every time they enter the room for their meetings, they enter in order of seniority. They are highly deferential to seniority in their meetings as well (I don't know if you have seen the leaked video of their meetings, but the more junior apostles hardly speak at all, the senior ones clearly dominate).

This is why I brought up Jonathan Haidt earlier, because before I read his work I guess I just didn't understand how people like that thought at all. Their moral reasoning is very different than mine. I may honestly think it is inferior, but I have to grant that they are using a (mostly) consistent process and since morality is all in our heads anyway, I can't say objectively that they are wrong. It pains me to say this, but I think some of what I consider flaws in their moral reasoning have heavily contributed to the success of our species. The Mormon leaders have certainly succeeded in creating one of the largest, most cohesive groups I have ever seen.
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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

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Meadowchik wrote:Likewise I think Packers CES speech was an example of immoral reasoning. I even think that Nelson's focus on Mormon when there are much more pressing needs for correction is another example of immoral reasoning. Oaks insistence on not apologizing is an example of profound failure of his moral reasoning.

I would say that something about LDS apostleship likely screws up their moral reasoning. Maybe the second anointing is part of that.

I agree that the second anointing probably does nothing to make these guys better people.

And your above statement is why I was citing Haidt earlier. I was alluding to the fact that a lot of these guys honestly believe that submission to authority and loyalty are moral positives (independent of what that loyalty and submission to authority is trying to get you to do). This is a very foreign way of thinking to me (and probably to you) but it is indeed the way they think.

To simply dismiss and condemn this way of thinking as immoral doesn't help us understand how these incentives for being less-than-honest happen, nor does it help us reach these types of people with our arguments. That's where I'd like to get to.
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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

Post by fetchface »

Kishkumen wrote:The religion as a system places revelation at the foundation of its epistemology.

I seem to remember a blurb on the church website that stated explicitly that spiritual confirmation is more sure than information we gather with our 5 senses. I can't seem to find it at the moment but I'll keep looking.

ETA: Not the one I was looking for, but interesting:
Glenn Pace, 1989 wrote:What can we learn about balance from the recent fuss about historical documents? The lessons on straying off center are vivid. Would the discovery of any document, no matter how contradictory to what you believe to be true, destroy your testimony? It may raise some intellectual questions, but it need not destroy your testimony. There is an avenue to truth greater than intellect and more certain than the five senses. The most glorious of all avenues to truth is direct revelation from heaven. A saving testimony will never come from a spectacular historical or archaeological find, and a testimony need never be lost on the basis of such a find.


2nd ETA: Found it!
Church Website wrote:We can receive a sure testimony of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ only by the power of the Holy Ghost. His communication to our spirit carries far more certainty than any communication we can receive through our natural senses.
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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

Post by Meadowchik »

fetchface wrote:
Meadowchik wrote:Likewise I think Packers CES speech was an example of immoral reasoning. I even think that Nelson's focus on Mormon when there are much more pressing needs for correction is another example of immoral reasoning. Oaks insistence on not apologizing is an example of profound failure of his moral reasoning.

I would say that something about LDS apostleship likely screws up their moral reasoning. Maybe the second anointing is part of that.

I agree that the second anointing probably does nothing to make these guys better people.

And your above statement is why I was citing Haidt earlier. I was alluding to the fact that a lot of these guys honestly believe that submission to authority and loyalty are moral positives (independent of what that loyalty and submission to authority is trying to get you to do). This is a very foreign way of thinking to me (and probably to you) but it is indeed the way they think.

To simply dismiss and condemn this way of thinking as immoral doesn't help us understand how these incentives for being less-than-honest happen, nor does it help us reach these types of people with our arguments. That's where I'd like to get to.


I haven't been dismissive of it, neither is the OP, because it is contemplating and elaborating on why it is wrong. As have I been arguing specifically why it is wrong.

There is value in calling it immoral if it is, providing an argument on why is even better because then it makes space like I have made to let people separate their conclusions about the action from their conclusions about the actors respective characters.

The argument isn't necessarily meant to directly change Oaks mind, but it can help drive change by comforting and reassuring those who have been harmed, that indeed nice-seeming people can do very bad things and that they do have reason to feel hurt. This is in a community that discourages such recognition of any whisper of being hurt by the church.

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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

Post by fetchface »

Meadowchik wrote:I haven't been dismissive of it, neither is the OP, because it is contemplating and elaborating on why it is wrong. As have I been arguing specifically why it is wrong.

There is value in calling it immoral if it is, providing an argument on why is even better because then it makes space like I have made to let people separate their conclusions about the action from their conclusions about the actors respective characters.

The argument isn't necessarily meant to directly change Oaks mind, but it can help drive change by comforting and reassuring those who have been harmed, that indeed nice-seeming people can do very bad things and that they do have reason to feel hurt. This is in a community that discourages such recognition of any whisper of being hurt by the church.

I guess I fundamentally disagree that there is a clear-cut objective system of morality and ethics and have been entirely unsuccessful in persuading you of this.
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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

Post by Meadowchik »

fetchface wrote:I guess I fundamentally disagree that there is a clear-cut objective system of morality and ethics and have been entirely unsuccessful in persuading you of this.


Well do you agree that the church has hurt people?

This is part of the feedback in the information loop. If you favor less harm, hopefully you favor the airing of the information.

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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

Post by fetchface »

Meadowchik wrote:Well do you agree that the church has hurt people?

This is part of the feedback in the information loop. If you favor less harm, hopefully you favor the airing of the information.

Yes on both counts. But that is my system of morality, based on my prioritization of moral principles. And there are certainly situations where I think that causing harm or hiding information is the right thing to do.
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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

Post by Meadowchik »

fetchface wrote:Yes on both counts. But that is my system of morality, based on my prioritization of moral principles. And there are certainly situations where I think that causing harm or hiding information is the right thing to do.


I can respect that. What's key here to me is the airing of information and elaborating on the arguments. It is not an authoritarian tactic, unlike the church's, rather it inserts more democratic elements into the process, even if they are marginal and unapproved.

In short, make the claim and its argument and let people decide.
Last edited by Meadowchik on Thu Feb 06, 2020 3:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

Post by honorentheos »

Kishkumen wrote:
honorentheos wrote:Whether by my voice or the voice of my servants, it is the same.


That does not address my objection to your sloppy assignment of blame to the leadership in this instance.

Earlier in the thread you excused individual behavior due to their being believing cogs in the wheel of the machine that is the institutional church. You're arguing whichever side suits you on a particular point. Feel free to say whatever you want about my pointing this out. At least it isn't arbitrary and silly. Oh, and wrong.

His idea of what the history should be like is absolutely informed by scholarly history. There is no question that this is the case. He doesn’t have to refer to it explicitly here for that to be obviously true. His whole faith struggle is predicated on the primacy of scholarly history over the traditional faith narrative.

Ok. He's clearly saying what he didn't say because you know what he was saying between the lines. Got it.

History is not a Platonic form. The history of history has everything to do with this argument. You can’t ignore that. If you do, you’re ignoring everything that makes the conflict intelligible and reducing the terms to absolutes. There is not a consensus on what a perfect, morally correct history or handling of history is. What I learn from you is what your particular values and assumptions about history are. They do not seem to be grounded in an appreciation for the historic evolution of historiography. That knowledge actually matters here.

Even if we were to assume the entire issue here is the handling of history, you are then arguing in defense of hiding resources to protect a particular narrative. That's not ethical in any field. You want to argue the people doing so aren't trained historians so they shouldn't be held to the same standard as a professional historian? Unethical behavior when practicing in a field where one lacks training isn't defensible anywhere, anyhow. You want to shift the argument, the problem remains: Withholding the information is unethical. That doing so tightens the grip of authority of the leadership of the church over the membership, steals agency from the membership, and infantilizes the membership in doing so is simply immoral.

I don't know why you want to burn yourself up over this issue. You're on the wrong side. You recognize that readily when the subject isn't the LDS church who is behaving in the same manner. Your defense swings wildly from argument to argument as needed to defend the assumed position even when it contradicts previous positions you've laid out.
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Re: John Dehlin on the Immorality of Mormonism!

Post by honorentheos »

fetchface wrote:And your above statement is why I was citing Haidt earlier. I was alluding to the fact that a lot of these guys honestly believe that submission to authority and loyalty are moral positives (independent of what that loyalty and submission to authority is trying to get you to do). This is a very foreign way of thinking to me (and probably to you) but it is indeed the way they think.

To simply dismiss and condemn this way of thinking as immoral doesn't help us understand how these incentives for being less-than-honest happen, nor does it help us reach these types of people with our arguments. That's where I'd like to get to.

How does it happen that people hide information that advantages them and disadvantages others?

Really?
The world is always full of the sound of waves..but who knows the heart of the sea, a hundred feet down? Who knows it's depth?
~ Eiji Yoshikawa

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