Skip to comments.Mormon scholars: Internet spotlights LDS taboos
Posted on 03/30/2012 9:22:37 PM PDT by Colofornian
OREM -- Online exploration of formerly taboo subjects is changing how Mormons talk about their faith, both officially and socially. What this means to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members was the subject of a UVU conference which launched on Thursday.
Joanna Brooks, an award-winning religious scholar and writer, gave the keynote address of the "Mormonism and the Internet" gathering on Thursday morning.
"One of our big challenges right now is that young people do have a lot of access to information about our history that is not discussed at home and at church," Brooks said. "That is a big frontier for us."
Historically, some subjects are simply not openly discussed within the church. But the Internet has made it difficult for families and official church literature to sidestep controversial elements of its history. As a result, both families and wards find themselves struggling with how to address issues for which there is no "official" church literature.
For most of history, little attention has been paid by the world to what LDS Church authorities have said in twice-yearly conferences. The digital age has changed that. Brooks cited the controversy over how Elder Boyd K. Packer in October 2010 said, while speaking on live television, that homosexuality is not an inborn "tendency." Within hours, Packer's statement was international news. And when the church published Packer's talk, the word "tendency" had been changed to "temptation," which again made news.
As another example, Brooks said that views about blacks that were once widely "taught from LDS pulpits" were discredited in an official church statement last month after national media, reporting on presidential candidate Mitt Romney, quoted a BYU professor.
Those examples represent a sea change for the church, considering that for decades, Mormon scholars were openly told by church authorities not to write about race or other fraught topics, she said. Scholars in the 1960s and 1970s who were exploring how black members came to be forbidden entrance into LDS temples were told the church would be harmed by any spotlight on the issue and scholars could lose their church standing. But today, in a reversal of that policy, the church put out an official statement about its history of race relations, and that statement discredited what had been taught from LDS pulpits for generations, she said.
Those examples show that the Internet "has eroded the church's ability to manage the LDS message," Brooks said. Women of color are likely to soon be the statistical majority of church members, and they have questions about the church's history of dealing both with issues of gender and race. While the church once routinely "deflected" any attempts to discuss such issues, such deflection is no longer possible, she said.
What is needed now is an acknowledgement of the obvious -- that there are difficult issues that church members grapple with, and simply not talking about those issues is no longer an option, she said. Members -- especially younger members -- are discussing formerly taboo subjects, and reading historical documents that parents and church authorities had traditionally been silent on.
"The digital era amplifies the pressure" to be more open and transparent about all aspects of Mormonism, Brooks said. "There is work to do, and if we don't do it, others will do it, and with far less care."
When thorny and heated issues arise, why not discuss them, she said. The challenge for both the church and families is finding a way to address those questions. Yet dealing with such issues openly is new to both the official church, and the culture.
"We are having our adolescence in the public eye, which is never pretty," Brooks said.
Church members in the audience said they were conflicted, feeling "love and respect and anger and frustration" at the way the church is discussed, and the way the church responds to controversy. The youth are "hearing one thing from their mothers, another thing from the pulpit, and another thing from their friends," said one audience member. "Where do we find something in between, a space to ask questions without feeling afraid?"
The blogosphere has become the answer, Brooks said. And unlike the highly managed way the church has been able to present its message in the past, in the blogosphere, that kind of public relations backfires or fails.
In a panel discussion after Brooks' keynote, BYU philosophy professor James Faulconer said sometimes the faithful are swayed by an anti-Mormon faction portraying the church as "duplicitous and hiding things. We have to construct a more resilient Mormonhood where we are not afraid of our own shadow."
Ardis Parshall, whom organizers introduced as an "epic Mormon blogger," said that too many young people, after becoming aware of a historic controversy, "want to go immediately to the limits" instead of seeking original documents, and examining their own family history.
"They accuse people of lying to them because they haven't read the basics, even though the basics have been there," Parshall said. When fraught subjects are approached with fairness and a level head, testimonies "don't get shaken unless you are really always walking on shaky ground."
Too many church members are looking for clean lines in the history of the church, said Faulconer.
"Real history, real lives, and real theology are incredibly messy," he said. "If we only look for things that reaffirm what we already know, I don't think we are being faithful." He suggested that members must become more comfortable "living in the questions" of the Mormon faith.
Mormons simply need to be more courageous in discussing fraught subjects, Brooks said.
"Let's examine our fear of exposure in the light of day," she said. "If I find out something terrible, it may not change who I am. I might be fine. We need to foster places where we can be wrong and it is not a character flaw. It's not shameful if we address it with humility and acknowledge the human-ness of this process."
The "Mormonism and the Internet" conference continues Friday. For information, visit tinyurl.com/uvumormon.
Hmm...If we were to give a family as a parallel example here, this would be called "emotional stuffing."
From the article: Brooks said that views about blacks that were once widely "taught from LDS pulpits" were discredited in an official church statement last month after national media, reporting on presidential candidate Mitt Romney, quoted a BYU professor...Scholars in the 1960s and 1970s who were exploring how black members came to be forbidden entrance into LDS temples were told the church would be harmed by any spotlight on the issue and scholars could lose their church standing. But today, in a reversal of that policy, the church put out an official statement about its history of race relations, and that statement discredited what had been taught from LDS pulpits for generations, she said.
So...'twas "OK" from Mormon pulpits for over a century...but not an interview, eh? 'Twas "OK" for BYU professor Randy Bott to write about in a blog in 2008...and be rewarded by the BYU student body as being "THE MOST popular" prof in America that same year...but what? Now that we have a black president whom a Mormon is likely to be matched up 1x1...that's anathema???
From the article: "The digital era amplifies the pressure" to be more open and transparent about all aspects of Mormonism, Brooks said.
Uh, oh. Have you really looked into that Mormon closet and ALL that's been junked in there?
The crisis -- the fear-factor -- is coming out. Mormons are literally becoming unglued due to the Internet.
The bubble can no longer be protected.
Mormonism...not "true" after all. What will I do? How can I face my family? Won't it destroy family relationships?
Now, if we could just convince everyone that Mitt Romney is a taboo for Ameria and doesn’t need to be elected.
We don’t like Obamacare, and we would not like Willard, the flip-flopper’s Romneycare either!
The point is, there was a lot of false “prophecy” going. There were no golden tablets, angel Moroni, etc. Joseph Smith was not getting direct revelation from God.
Or were the golden tablets only partly right, etc.?
The truth shall set you free.
Btw, here was another rather interesting presentation article re: what was to occur (last night) at the UVU conference: Survey on Mormon Disbelievers to be Released at UVU Forum [74% point to theological concerns]
Note my post #1 there...mentioning how a Mormon would be releasing his survey of 3,000+ disbelieving Mormons -- saying that "74 percent of respondents citing ceasing to believe in the theology as a major factor"...
Here's the link to a 26-page report this Mormon was unveiling @ the UVU conference: UNDERSTANDING MORMON DISBELIEF: Why do some Mormons lose their testimony, and what happens to them when they do?
From this link: Here are the top five "General Factors Contributing to Disbelief"...[this is found on page 8 chart of results]:
1. I ceased to believe in the church's doctrine/theology (74%)
2. I studied church history and lost my belief (70%)
3. I lost faith in Joseph Smith (70%) [my note: A very bad place to place & transfer faith toward to begin with!]
4. I lost faith in the Book of Mormon (65%)
5. I lost confidence in the general authorities (50%)
Two other factors within the Top 10 included
"I did not feel spiritually edified at church" (47%)
and "Church's stance on race issues (blacks, native Americans, etc.)" (43%).
In contrast to the reasons Mormons & Mormon leaders often pin upon such disbelievers, only 4% said it was because they were offended by someone in the church and 4% also pinpointed "I wanted to engage in behaviors viewed as sinful by the church" [the very bottom reasons listed on the chart].
12% said they "received a spiritual witness to leave the church and go elsewhere"...Over 1/4 said they lost their faith in [the Mormon] God/Jesus.
I guess the most perfect church is admitting it’s not so perfect; so it must be a false religion.
I thought it said “LDS tattoos” for a second. Now THAT would have been a fun thread :-)
“Perfect”, in Judeo-Christianity, is usually a term used to describe the Divine - not the human/earthly.
Thus, that a church (an earthly construct) is not perfect does not make it false.
It's more like some of the grassroots are saying that the prophecies of the "prophets" are turning out false en masse...
...all while the "old line" [Ya gotta understand the bulk of Lds general authorities are in their 60s, 70s, & 80s] "dig in" via denial.
It's one thing if somebody 'fesses up to being "wrong" in a sermon...
It's quite another when...
(1)...the propaganda line is "the Mormon god will NEVER let the Lds 'prophet' be led astray" [all as they believe that the church of Jesus Christ led by Jesus the Prophet supposedly -- per Lds doctrine -- went 100% AWOL for about 1800 years]...
...Which means the "old guard" HAS to "hold the line" and will not repudiate anything ANY specific general authority has ever said!
...and (2) The things Lds leaders have falsely said in the past weren't done in the vein of "speculation" -- but were REAL teachings REALLY proclaimed and REALLY embraced by REAL embodied beings!
After all...how many times does a thief have to be arrested for to go to jail for theft?
How many murders must a murderer commit to be convicted?
And how many false prophecies does a "prophet" have to give before being deemed a "false prophet." [Deuteronomy 18 lays this all out]
Alas. The Lds general authorities know this "false prophet" scorecard...
...And therefore can't even 'fess up one false prophesy...
Lest the entire rickety structure come crashing down like the Tower of Babel juggernauts of old!
The internet is making it increasingly difficult for us to Lie for the Lord!
I am still freaked out about the Holy Underwear thing.
Official sites are sites supported by LDS officials unless said official sites are consider unofficial by said officials.At that point such sites are unofficial unless officially referenced for official purposes by officials who can do so officially.This should not be misconstrued as an indication that official sites can be unofficially recognized as official nor should it be implied that unofficial sites cannot contain official information, but are not officially allowed to be offical despite their official contents due the their unofficialness.Official sites will be official and recognized as official by officials of the LDS unless there is an official reason to mark them as unofficial either temporally or permanently, which would make the official content officially unofficial.This is also not to imply that recognized sites, often used here by haters cannot contain official information, it just means that content, despite its official status, is no longer official and should be consider unofficial despite the same information being official on an official site elsewhere.Even then the officialness my be amended due to the use of the unofficial information which may determine the officialness of anything be it official or unofficial depending on how and where it is used officially or unofficially.
To LIE and EDIT and COVER UP is REALLY what he means!!
And when the church published Packer's talk, the word "tendency" had been changed to "temptation," which again made news.
Party ownership of the print media
made it easy to manipulate public opinion,
and the film and radio carried the process further.
The Ministry of Truth, Winston's place of work, contained, it was said, three thousand rooms above ground level, and corresponding ramifications below.
The Ministry of Truth concerned itself with Lies. Party ownership of the print media made it easy to manipulate public opinion, and the film and radio carried the process further.
The primary job of the Ministry of Truth was to supply the citizens of Oceania with newspapers, films, textbooks, telescreen programmes, plays, novels - with every conceivable kind of information, instruction, or entertainment, from a statue to a slogan, from a lyric poem to a biological treatise, and from a child's spelling-book to a Newspeak dictionary.
Winston worked in the RECORDS DEPARTMENT (a single branch of the Ministry of Truth) editing and writing for The Times. He dictated into a machine called a speakwrite. Winston would receive articles or news-items which for one reason or another it was thought necessary to alter, or, in Newspeak, rectify. If, for example, the Ministry of Plenty forecast a surplus, and in reality the result was grossly less, Winston's job was to change previous versions so the old version would agree with the new one. This process of continuous alteration was applied not only to newspapers, but to books, periodicals, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, films, sound-tracks, cartoons, photographs - to every kind of literature or documentation which might conceivably hold any political or ideological significance.
When his day's work started, Winston pulled the speakwrite towards him, blew the dust from its mouthpiece, and put on his spectacles. He dialed 'back numbers' on the telescreen and called for the appropriate issues of The Times, which slid out of the pneumatic tube after only a few minutes' delay. The messages he had received referred to articles or news-items which for one reason or another it was thought necessary to rectify.
In the walls of the cubicle there were three orifices. To the right of the speakwrite, a small pneumatic tube for written messages; to the left, a larger one for newspapers; and on the side wall, within easy reach of Winston's arm, a large oblong slit protected by a wire grating. This last was for the disposal of waste paper. Similar slits existed in thousands or tens of thousands throughout the building, not only in every room but at short intervals in every corridor. For some reason they were nicknamed memory holes. When one knew that any document was due for destruction, or even when one saw a scrap of waste paper lying about, it was an automatic action to lift the flap of the nearest memory hole and drop it in, whereupon it would be whirled away on a current of warm air to the enormous furnaces which were hidden somewhere in the recesses of the building.
As soon as Winston had dealt with each of the messages, he clipped his speakwritten corrections to the appropriate copy of The Times and pushed them into the pneumatic tube. Then, with a movement which was as nearly as possible unconscious, he crumpled up the original message and any notes that he himself had made, and dropped them into the memory hole to be devoured by the flames.
What happened in the unseen labyrinth to which the tubes led, he did not know in detail, but he did know in general terms. As soon as all the corrections which happened to be necessary in any particular number of The Times had been assembled and collated, that number would be reprinted, the original copy destroyed, and the corrected copy placed on the files in its stead.
In the cubicle next to him the little woman with sandy hair toiled day in day out, simply at tracking down and deleting from the Press the names of people who had been vaporized and were therefore considered never to have existed. And this hall, with its fifty workers or thereabouts, was only one-sub-section, a single cell, as it were, in the huge complexity of the Records Department. Beyond, above, below, were other swarms of workers engaged in an unimaginable multitude of jobs.
There were huge printing-shops and their sub editors, their typography experts, and their elaborately equipped studios for the faking of photographs. There was the tele-programmes section with its engineers, its producers and its teams of actors specially chosen for their skill in imitating voices; clerks whose job was simply to draw up lists of books and periodicals which were due for recall; vast repositories where the corrected documents were stored; and the hidden furnaces where the original copies were destroyed.
And somewhere or other, quite anonymous, there were the directing brains who co-ordinated the whole effort and laid down the lines of policy which made it necessary that this fragment of the past should be preserved, that one falsified, and the other rubbed out of existence.
BEFORE the Pub's CONVENTION; you boobs!!!!
Can we now quote from the internet's list of oxymorons with impunity?
“Cheers: It’s Lonely on the Top (#11.22)” (1993)
Norm: Would you like to tell me what is tattooed on my butt forever?
Cliff: A big American flag with the words “God Bless the U.S. Postal Service”.
Cliff: What does mine say?
Norm: I love Vera.
Cliff: If you want I can come over and show Vera.
Norm: No, Cliff, that’s all right.
Cliff: Then would you mind coming by the Post Office and show all the guys?