At the April 2015 General Conference, several church members took the unusual step of voicing opposition during the sustaining of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. Frustrated with the lack of dialogue between the church’s top leaders and those with questions about church doctrines, or who hope to help leaders see the negative effects of certain teachings, practices, or types of rhetoric, members of “Any Opposed” felt that being vocal about their dissatisfaction–even at the risk of disruption of a well-known and sacred ritual–was worth the negative pushback they would receive. Surely much went on within the hearts of those who performed this action that brought them to a point in their thinking processes where they felt so voiceless that they saw this ritual moment as one of the only ways they might ever be heard.
In this podcast, co-released by Mormon Matters, A Thoughtful Faith, and Mormon Mental Health, Dan Wotherspoon, Gina Colvin, and Natasha Helfer Parker (the hosts of these podcasts) discuss the issue of voice within today’s church. What are the institutional factors that lead to difficulties being heard, especially when our experience or views do not fit within the mainstream? What are cultural forces as play? But, most importantly, are there ideas, framings, skills, and disciplines we might undertake to become more effective in conveying our observations and feelings about things even when the contemporary church and culture is not ideally suited for discussions of difficult issues? How have the hosts found the strength, courage, and abilities to speak up and still be seen (by most members) as faithful, active, and constructive voices within today’s Mormonism?
Free-wheeling discussion alert—but it is still one that we think you’ll enjoy. Let us know in the comments section below if we are right. And please share your own experiences with speaking up and being heard within the church!