Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Personal Note

I thought about what you said today after Nathan finished his talk in Sacrament Meeting—incidentally, why not just conclude the meeting with the final speaker even if it is a couple of minutes early? Then other teachers would have more time to give their lessons in the succeeding block session; the lesson manuals always contain more material than can be presented. Would that be such a bad thing? You seem to have no qualms about concluding considerably past the time, as, for example, was the case last week. Incidentally, each second that passes after an hour and ten minutes is up is mostly lost as to any message given by a speaker. The vast majority quit listening. They begin packing up, tapping their feet, and moving on in their mind and imagination. Also, those assigned to speak ought to be counseled and held acccountable, accordingly.

Relative to the inactive and disaffected, who you characterize as "lagging behind," I encourage you and others to see things from a different perspective, a more positive one—even from their viewpoint, if possible. Characterizing people who have distanced themselves from the church or gospel as laggards (as in lagging behind the wagon train) is counterproductive. Many are not lagging at all anyway. They have quit. Those you characterize as laggards, who actually feel like they do lag behind, already know it. In my opinion they don't need broad, pejorative characterizations of them as such in public forums before whole, "active" congregations. It's bad enough to do that in PEC, Ward Correlation Council, etc. Instead, members need personal help and encouragement, intimacy (as in closeness) and friendship, not expansive negative categorization. There are, however, also significant numbers of members who don't come or participate because they have or are exploring a different trail or believe that they have found a better path for themselves. It is not just enough to lift somebody up and put them in the cart. Their wounds have to be addressed, nursed, and healed.

Perhaps, for example, someone has been told by a person in authority that they should not talk about their concerns about histories, policies, revelations, passages, or differences at church. Or they should only address their friends and acquaintances there formally, with some sort of title, even if it is a simple "sister" or "brother" so-and-so. Anyway, negative characterization of them as laggards who have fallen behind only makes for defensiveness and hostility.

As in this that I read just today:

Leaving Mormonism is like leaving the circus and getting followed by clowns, bellowing ring masters, and elephant plops for the rest of your life. I stopped giving that money-making institution any religious or moral credence decades ago. It's the same damn show with same damn peanuts and bad popcorn and cotton candy, recycled like it's new.

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