Monday, June 23, 2014

People Don't Have to Listen

There is no law nor moral imperative that says people must listen.

A group called Ordain Women wants to march up to the LDS General Authority and slap down a demand that women be ordained a priests.

The LDS General Authority is in the process of "casting out" the creators of Ordain Women. I used the word "casting out" because The Doctrine and Covenant by Joseph Smith actually says that the LDS Church is to handle dissent by casting out the dissenters.

Personally, I am a huge fan of open discourse and I dislike closed power structures.

But, guess what? I realize that there is no law that says my words or that the words of anyone else be heard.

I have a whole list of things that I think are important and would love to say. But accept that I live in a closed society where people simply stonewall each other.

BTW: Pointing out that the LDS Church is a closed power structure is fine. That is what I am doing in this post. The expectation that a closed power structure is supposed to discuss any pet issue is absurd.

A closed power structure is closed. That is the whole point of a closed power structure.

I dislike closed power structures and actively encourage people to reject such things, but the expectation that closed power structures behave like open power structures is unreasonable.

April Bennett wrote an amusing op-ed in the Tribune

In stark contrast to allegations by LDS Church public relations employees that Ordain Women has made "non-negotiable demands," Ordain Women representatives have actively sought to initiate discussions with LDS leaders, including five written requests to LDS Church headquarters for meetings with any General Authority available and willing. These requests have been ignored. In this vacuum, we are left to interpret the will of our own ecclesiastical leaders through a hodgepodge of church PR statements.

The editorial is amusing in that Ms. Bennett is claiming that the "Ordain Women" is not making "demands" when the very name of the organization is a demand. In English Grammar a verb followed by a noun is a command.

If a group called "Impeach Obama" made a request for a White House Press Interview; the White House would be correct to assume the group was a political group seeking to impeach the president and not engaged in simple journalistic inquiry

Just as the LDS Church is a closed power structure by its very nature. The group "Ordain Women" is a demand by name and structure.

That a closed power structure is stonewalling a demand is not unexpected.

I admit that living in a closed society is quite frustrating but the expectation that the people closed up on the Tower or Power on the corner of State and Temple listen to arguments is against the nature of the Tower of Power.

It would be nice to live in a world where people could talk with one another but, with the way we were taught in school to engage in discourse, such a dream is not possible.


ChrisM said...

When you belong to a church, it may
entail submitting to church authority. You need to follow the rules of the church or find a new church

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y-intercept said...

I am with the LDS Church on this issue.

An outside group is demanding changes to the group's internal power structure. IMHO, the LDS Church should resist.

This issue touches on a second problem. What should one do when a group is so powerful that it dictates state policy. Even worse, what should one do when there is a group that is so powerful that it is able to lock people out of civic debate.

In my case, for the last six years I've been wanting to attend or host a meeting about free market health care reform.

Powerful members of the LDS Church (including Harry Reid, Mitt Romney and Mike Leavitt) are heavily invested in the health exchanges and use the weight of the church to shut down debate.

I am not LDS, I accept that Utah is run by the LDS Church and that people like me are simply locked out. The structure of such a closed society means that important social issues like free market health care reform can never discussed.

BTW, I suspect that the silencing of bloggers goes way deeper than the "Ordain Women" site which is the first to publicly stand against their excommunication. Judging from the large number of LDS blogs which have gone silent through the years, I think most people do just submit.