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  1. I love the segment around 38:30 minutes to 48 minutes or so where Dan and Gina first (and Natasha to the latter part of that timeframe) discuss whether all (or most) Mormons would have interactions with deity/God/spirit — and discuss that many folks don’t perceive such things, so to refer to them is a nonstarter.

    Gina later on says that people should “thirst for” the spiritual…but if you haven’t ever experienced it, how do you even know to be thirsty? It really drills down to what Gina says — she’s always been a spiritual person. but if you haven’t been, does that mean you should give up this idea that you can be a loving critic?

    I think that what Natasha says from 54m to 57m knocks things out of the park, though. And i think near the end (1 hr 30 min ~) Natasha kinda gets the others to speak more on the subject of what about for those whom it doesn’t work?

    But I feel that the summary of this podcast is basically that trying to be heard isn’t as important as gaining or cultivating a certain sense of distance or independence from the institution so that you don’t “need” to be heard.

  2. Pingback: On Being Heard within Mormonism | Irresistible (Dis)Grace

  3. I agree with Andrew S. on the discussion around interactions with God! I loved the wisdom from all three participants…but special kudos to Natasha for representing those of us who find spiritual experiences a hot mess!

  4. Excellent discussion. Having the representative speaking for the non-experiencers via Natasha was great. We often forget the assumptions we jump from aren’t universal.

  5. In-Scope vs. Out of Scope for the Church…

    If we accept that the ultimate, big picture aim of spirituality is:
    -To solve the problem of separation from God and ultimately getting to union with God,

    …there are sets of activities tasks and accountabilities that lead to the realization of this goal. We need to accept that the Church has the ability to choose what is in scope and what is out of scope of this goal. Here’s a way to look at what the church has determined, by revelation, what is in and out of scope:

    IN SCOPE
    -Provide a system, structure, culture and set of doctrines that helps people avoid behaviour that is unacceptable to Heavenly Father.
    -Strive to create a society where unacceptable behaviour to Heavenly Father is not condoned
    -Create a clear vision of the afterlife that, when you back up from the ideal afterlife situation (including the nature of family relationships), helps to give us a path in this life to get to that ideal
    -Teach that salvation and eternal life is something that we achieve following a judgement of our behaviour against Heavenly Father’s standards.
    -Provide regular opportunities for people to have spiritual experiences to strengthen them so that they can avoid behaviour that is unacceptable to Heavenly Father.
    -Declare the infinite love of a Saviour that will make up the difference for anything we do that is unacceptable to Heavenly Father according to the desires of our heart.
    -Help us to understand that this way of living is True Happiness

    OUT OF SCOPE
    -Mentor and teach individuals how to seek union with God through participation in daily spirituality of a transformative nature.
    -Teach the pre-eminence of love as God’s core characteristic and ultimately the characteristic that ultimately creates a union with God for all of his family.

    The sooner we can understand and accept what is in or out of scope for the church, the sooner we can accept what the actual situation is (vs. the Potemkin village we project on it or hope for it). I`m not talking about faith or lack of faith, but I`m talking about objective reality.

    For many of us, accepting and being willing to embrace what is in and out of scope for the church will be painful, and I think it’s important that we feel that pain. It is only accepting it that we will be able to have open eyes to determine what to do next for ourselves, our families, our wards.

    I recognize that this view seems very business/project management-like. That’s part of my point…the Church is an incredibly run business-like organization. All successful organizations are. Perhaps then, we need to recognize that true spirituality can’t come from a successful organization, but it proliferates through people who have discovered and emanate the light that comes from union with God.

    Accepting what is may also change our purpose from trying to convince those in a ward body to think or believe a certain way and move us towards looking out for the LGTB youth in our ward that needs help, mentorship and love. It may lead us to ditching our fully-active home-teaching family to spend time with someone who needs us more. It may lead us to diverting some of our church offerings to building a backyard treehouse with the neighbour’s children who recently lost their father.

  6. Thanks for yet another thoughtful, and relevant conversation. Gina, I was really struck when you spoke about Utahns coming and demeaning New Zealand and suggesting that Zion looks like Utah, not an “evil welfare state.” I felt this tension as a missionary in Christchurch. The most influential missionaries were more often than not, American. These missionaries would sometimes mock New Zealand cultural attitudes and be certain that the American attitudes they espoused were correct. I was swayed by these missionaries. Thankfully, I was also impressed by church members in that mission. I loved them and learned from them, so much so that upon my return to Utah the first thing I noticed walking out to the parking lot in the Salt Lake airport was the size of vehicles. I was disgusted by it. If I could change one thing about my training as a missionary, it would be to better learn how to be culturally sensitive to the people I was serving. Perhaps Gina could teach those lesson for those serving in New Zealand. What do you say?

  7. I think I’ll talk to the podcasters. There was some talk about being in subjection. In my notes I wrote the sentence: “We should be in subjection to Christ.” Learn His will and do it. Learn His will and testify of it, if prompted. If we aren’t supposed to testify than why do we have testimony meetings. Or shouldn’t we have those meetings? Members should be led by God but not controlled (commanded in all things) by God. I found that the whole discussion centered around personal revelation. If you have it, fine, if you don’t, not fine. Dan, you didn’t talk with the universe, you talked with God, so go ahead and say it. I’m not so sure He likes to be referred to as the universe. He’s your Father. If you aren’t asking amiss then go ahead and ask as many hard questions as you like. They won’t get to hard for God.

  8. The very few who stood and voiced decent at GC were nothing more than attention hounds, and the amount of people who were hurt by there action far out strips the amount of people who felt some kind of gain. These brothers and sister no doubt thought their action was intellectually superior.

  9. Random thoughts

    I can totally understand the frustrations of the dissenters. There is a “glass ceiling” so to speak between church members and the leadership–doubly so for women. Leaders, including those at the ward and stake levels don’t want to engage with those of us who are outside the “cookie-cutter” mold. It is a lonely existence.

    Is it true that the leaders have “assigned” topics for General Conference?
    When I think about the Oakland Stk meeting post Prop 8 with Marlin Jensen it just illustrates the insularity of the leadership. Marlin Jensen didn’t need to attend. He was already aware of and empathetic to the hurt. Of course those who actually might’ve experienced something new and gained some insight, stayed away–and they continue in their ignorance–continue to cause hurt. Every week, on Sundays, I expose myself to things I don’t necessarily agree with. I try to be open. Often I liken it going to the gym–exercising muscles.

    Thank you, thank you Dan, Natasha and Gina! This is one of my favorite podcasts ever!

  10. I think many LDS people, especially Americans, tend to think everything in their world should be a constitutional republic like our government is. Guess what… the church is not a republic. It’s not a democracy. Changes in the church come from decisions made by a select few. With the US government, ultimately everything has to go through the body of the people because we have the power to vote for/against laws, and vote our representatives out of office. The church does not run that way, nor should it. If the church ran that way, the church would bend to the changing public as the world accepts new philosophies and practices.

    And I took a lot of angst with the way Natasha used the word “abuse” like the church abuses people who aren’t living according to LDS standards. If someone feels uncomfortable in the church because they’re not living according to the standards, that’s not the church coming after them. That’s the natural feeling one gets by not living how they should. As the wise man Inigo Montoya once said, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

    1. I agree with you, Russell. I’m afraid this podcast used many words and phrases that were biased against the church. Perhaps, it was not meant to be an unbiased podcast.

    2. “If someone feels uncomfortable in the church because they’re not living according to the standards, that’s not the church coming after them.”

      In my mind Russell, this is where you go too far in your statement. I cringe many times on befalf of LGBT-friends when listening to talks. And before you are an adult you really do not even have the possibility to “leave” an environment that does not support you emotionally. Also, you may actually be very much “living according to the standards” and still feel ostracised.

      I found the word “abuse” one that recognizes the pain of those that so often are described as “other” in church settings. I felt that Natasha shows that she sees the pligth of individuals, so this word stayed with me for a very different reason.

      The book – No More Goodbyes: Circling the Wagons Around Our Gay Loved Ones by Carol Lynn Pearson is an antholigy, and as such it is very helpful in broadeninng perpectives, and deepen empathy. I reccomend it.

      1. Marion, I couldn’t disagree with you more. One of the most common phrases in the scriptures is “cry repentance”. Either sin exists or it doesn’t. And if we can agree that sin exists, then God will always call people to cry repentance to the sinners of the world. Now the question to ask is whether or not homosexuality is a sin. The leaders of the church all agree that it is (as do I). It’s not hard to find scripture to back that up. To say the leaders of the church abuse homosexuals for not being in line is saying that anyone who cries repentance is an abuser. Samuel the Lamanite abused the Nephites? Abinadi abused those of the wicked King Noah’s court? Christ abused people on just about every page of the New Testament? You can say the leaders of the church come down hard on homosexuals, but to say they are abusers is just plain wrong. It’s called “tough love” and there’s no doubt in my mind the leaders love homosexuals just as much as theyou do temple recommend holders.

  11. I am so glad you hosted this conversation and validated the people who opposed and the church for seeking effective avenues of communication with church members, I personally get caught up in the conversations we can have with church leaders and get excited about that as a possible avenue for progress minded LDS people. I also see the church trying to establish boundaries that they are comfortable with and allow church members a way to communicate with them in a mutually respectful way. That’s where the conversation regarding parenting relationships, marriage and “how you say it is more important than what you say” is so right on. I tried to understand the process that the church is asking us to follow both in the CHI and from the pulpit in GC when those opposed made their vote known. This Square Two article is where I put my thoughts and described my efforts: http://squaretwo.org/Sq2ArticleAlderksChurchCommunication.html

  12. I was somewhat surprised to hear that spiritual experiences are so few. I have served in many callings in the church, even now in a stake presidency, and I have had many, many spiritual experiences – way, way to many to count. And I am not confusing spiritual experiences with emotional experiences. As I have ministered one on one, as spirit converses with spirit, I have been bolstered by the Holy Spirit and felt his presence and influence. Maybe the cause of so many disaffections in the Church is the lack of spiritual experiences which not only testify of the gospel’s truthfulness but also of our Father’s constant love for us – depriving us of the recognition that we are uniquely loved and acknowledged. I am not sure but is it possible that we too often seek intellectual validation and not enough of the spiritual validation that comes with loving and serving?

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