My question concerns not so much our strength in this area, but rather what potential strengths could be drawn from having a more theological or philosophical background in evaluating the right thing to do. Ending the ban because doing otherwise would be wrong would seem to me to be better than ending it through expediency alone.
Any thoughts on this matter?
I think it would stop people with brains from getting cynical about the Church -- people like ME. After bubbling to the top of various Stake and Ward leadership callings, I saw firsthand how the decisions are made VERY MUCH from the perspective of business expediency.
I therefore feel less willing to fork over my kids college fund, my retirement savings, and the security of knowing I have a roof over my head when I see the decisions are made with a strong orientation toward business and organizational interests first and foremost -- secondary to those of individuals and also to philosophy.
So, I think people who get a look under the hood would have fewer testimony issues if they saw the Church putting their money where their philosophy is.
I think we would see greater kindness from our local leaders when individual and organizational/business interests conflict.
Cases in point about their tendency to be expedient rather than consistent with values:
1. Recent, open discussion and ownership about MMM and the historical memorial is probably due to the fact the Church can't hide what happened any longer from the members. This is due to the Internet -- not because it's morally right to own what happened there and make amends. It has become a bigger PR issue, so it has to be dealt with -- a long time in coming.
2. They would rather split wards and drive everyone into major burnout than invest in a new building. Because local labor is free, it's cheaper to pack everyone into staggered meeting times and duplicate effort in leadership callings across Wards, so they do that. They use the argument "more people get the opportunity to serve" but the real motive is saving investment in buildings.
I often wonder what would happen if they had to pay the Ward council a decent stipend for their service. I think we would see larger Wards to save overhead, with new reasons given for NOT splitting the Wards.
3. They ceased plural marriage only after the government threatened to confiscate their assets. The Church let all the members go to prison, lose their businesses, etcetera. But threaten the Church's assets!! THEN you get action.
Yep, a more philosophically driven leadership would lead to far less cynicism among people who try to live their life from an ideology.
Someone said, "A religion that is truly committed to truth can't care about the longevity of its own existence". The implication is that if you want to live your life from pure values, sometimes you have to make sacrifices that hurt your organization. The Church is GREAT at expecting this from individuals, but terrible at expecting it from itself.