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Messages - dyany

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1
General Discussion / Re: New Weird News Thread
« on: September 13, 2018, 12:27:35 pm »
As I said in my response to a friend posting this on facebook--"as determined by a poll of sewage treatment plant investors."

2
News of the Church / Re: "Saints" new History of the Church books/series
« on: September 09, 2018, 03:37:40 pm »
Roper, sorry it took me a bit to respond; I reacted internally like your response was to my comments on the worthiness interview thread.
 Now that I've thought about it more, I have to say: so it has ever been.  So it was for those early trial-and-error polygamist marriages.  So it has ever been for women in the Church.  So it was for people of color through most of the Church's history.  So it has been for church members who struggle with mental illness.  So it has been for people, especially children, in the church who have been abused and then given bad counsel and/or no support by priesthood leaders.  As I said before, I believe the Church grows line upon line and precept upon precept just as we as individuals do.  And as we learn, we get better at protecting, serving, and not hurting others.  But in the meantime, the Church is still true despite the flaws in members and leaders as we flounder trying to figure out how best to keep the commandments, and separate the philosophies of men from true doctrine.  Despite the mistakes and sins against us, we still fight to find truth and do what's right.  And that includes forgiving--ESPECIALLY forgiving people from a different time and culture and position which is it PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE to understand. 

I understand your struggles.  I have my struggles too.  But while I personally work to separate truth from sophistry, I never let go of the Iron Rod, I never abandon my Father in Heaven, I never stop recognizing the Spirit as the ultimate source of absolute truth, and I never stop going to church and seeking for the goodness there, even if be that the leaders and every member of the congregation fails me in extreme ways.  Because the Church is true.  It's true.  I have never found, from any other source, anything as true as the truths I have found in this Church.  I have never found, for all my learning, any philosophy or religion that rings as right as the doctrine of Christ.  But I KNOW that mistakes and pain are not just a part of life I have to learn to accept, but they are the POINT of it.  A pain and mistake-free life was Satan's plan, and it was rejected because through that flawed plan it would not be POSSIBLE for us to BECOME what we are destined to become--gods and goddesses.  The mistakes and the pain are the only path through which that becoming can occur.
While the super soldier serum & beta rays that made Steve Rogers into Captain America were amazing, we know that they are fiction, and if we want to become strong, we have to spend many, many hours in the gym.  Nothing else will work, no matter how much our couch-loving hearts wish it or how much various diet schemes claim.  The Lord knows this.  That's why this plan was set up with Christ sacrificing for ALL of us, without even the thought of "if you could just not sin or make mistakes or suffer pain at all, it sure would be easier on me."  Because he knows those things are not only inevitable, but they are NECESSARY.  And they were made inevitable precisely BECAUSE they are necessary.

3
News of the Church / Re: Church Worthiness Interviews
« on: September 09, 2018, 03:17:29 pm »
I don't know what bishops and stake leaders are told around here, but as I have seen it, LDSFS is a resource for mentally ill members or those with addictions, not bishops or other leaders unless they fall into those categories.  My friend's husband did regular trainings and was there specifically for the leaders to counsel with.  Very, very different.

I have an aunt and uncle that did a service mission a couple of years ago in Northern Europe (mostly Germany) regarding mental health, giving various trainings and such.  Which seems great, except that a) my uncle is the only one of the two of them with any mental health training at all, b) he had his PhD, but had NEVER been a licensed counselor, and c) I know that, at least when his kids were young, there were instances of physical and verbal abuse of his kids (I'm still traumatized by being there when he threw my cousin against the wall when we were kids).  I don't know if he ever repented of that.
At any rate, from what I saw of their letters, there wasn't a lot of mental health support in that area.  I don't know what their standards were; they have lived in the southern boonies of Utah most of their lives.


4
News of the Church / Re: Church Worthiness Interviews
« on: September 08, 2018, 10:43:09 pm »
I have a friend whose husband is a mental health counselor who was given a special calling by their stake president to specifically be a resource to all the bishops in that stake regarding abuse and other issues (MOST issues a bishop deals with, frankly).  I feel that sort of thing should not only be somehow required for every stake in the Church, but should include mandatory monthly training and regular check-ins.
Bishops have a big load.  I believe that very few of them are actually trying to victimize members, but many of them make downright ignorant statements and actions that do a lot more damage.  I would like the bottom line to be that the protection of children should always be the utmost priority, and saying "it rarely happens so we really shouldn't have to do anything" is appalling.  But if the bottom line is protection of the institution, then it must be noted that a grown man asking a child probing questions about sex, alone, behind closed doors, will attract the attention of CPS units across the country.  If we don't set protection of children as the highest priority, then the protection (emotional, psychological, reputation, and from suspicion and temptation) of bishops is accomplished the same way.

5
News of the Church / Re: Church Worthiness Interviews
« on: September 08, 2018, 09:03:32 pm »
They just barely instated the rule that a child or teen can request a 3rd party to be present.  What makes you think they would take that away?  That's the OPPOSITE of progress.  Especially because it is the CHILD'S choice.  No one else's. 
If a minor has not a single soul that they trust enough to be there with them, and they don't trust the bishop either, then they had better darn well be calling CPS or someone that child can feel safe with.

Palmon, I'm really, really confused by your statements.  They make zero sense to me.  If you were a child who, like you, feared you wouldn't have gotten the help you needed if a 3rd party was present, then you don't ask for one.  Simple.  If you don't feel safe being alone with the bishop, you ask for a 3rd party (of your choosing, as I understand it--which could be a leader, a parent, a friend, a teacher, an attorney, a cop, whatever.  I doubt they could insist the person be a church member).  Simple.  The problems I fear are a) children not being informed of the choice they have, b) children (and others) not being informed of what constitutes inappropriate questioning or behavior in an interview if they choose to go in alone, and c) children and families not having an effective way to report if a bishop or other interviewer behaves inappropriately.  Right now, when an adult is naughty, they generally groom the victim, which includes various forms of mental abuse and coercion to make the victim feel that THEY made the mistake and that telling would be very, very bad for the victim.  And, unfortunately, IF the victim is well enough informed AND they have the courage to say something anyway, aside from the police (which are not always the most appropriate, if the inappropriate behavior was more verbal or ecclesiastical in nature), the only person in the church hierarchy they are supposed to report to is the stake president.  But I know of multiple instances where the stake president stood by their bishop rather than the victim.  This makes matters much, MUCH worse. 

6
News of the Church / Re: Church Worthiness Interviews
« on: September 07, 2018, 11:38:57 pm »
As I understand it, youth can ask for a 3rd party to be present - but I am not sure it has to be a parent. I can see MANY cases (not just when a parent is an abuser) when a more objective 3rd party would be more appropriate.

7
News of the Church / Re: Church Worthiness Interviews
« on: September 07, 2018, 03:40:19 pm »
I know that there are problems everywhere, and that while some of it is Mormon or US culture, I also know it is not completely constrained within the 50 states.  If you haven't seen it, you haven't seen it.  That doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

8
News of the Church / Re: "Saints" new History of the Church books/series
« on: September 07, 2018, 11:26:10 am »
I agree with Cook.  I don't interpret "God will never permit...the President of the Church to lead you astray" to mean "God will never permit the Prophet of the Church to make mistakes, sometimes egregious ones, in the leading of the Church." 
That's really difficult to accept, because it is MUCH easier to try to accept the black and white interpretation, which would absolve us from any sort of thought or accountability in our membership.  But the bottom line is, we are taught that prophets are fallible people who make mistakes and we are supposed to pray about things before sustaining them.  Yes, the culture says you ALWAYS 'lift your hand to the square' when someone is being sustained unless you know first hand of some grievous sin to make them unworthy.  (I'm not saying you vote AGAINST people easily, but this is a different subject and I'm trying not to distract myself). 
During the 19th century, the belief within the church was you NEVER, EVER say no to a priesthood leader.  Ever.  Not in spiritual matters, not in temporal matters.  The early church was at LEAST as involved in every member's temporal life as they were in their spiritual, even going so far as to rule in community and civic matters as well.  It was one of the reasons they pissed their neighbors off so much.  Things have changed dramatically since then.  I have come to believe that the CHURCH, as well as individuals, learns and grows line upon line, precept upon precept, grace upon grace.  It doesn't mean it has "gone astray," but it DOES mean it does many things poorly or downright wrong until it learns better, just like we as individuals do.  I, personally, have make many horrific mistakes in my life while trying to do the right thing, that have resulted in some really awful consequences.  But I have never gone astray.  I have never lost my testimony.  I have never stopped trying my dangdest to do what's right.  Sometimes it's hard to reconcile those things.  "How can I say I've never gone astray when I'm suffering so many consequences from mistakes?  How can I say this is the right path?"  But holding to that iron rod doesn't mean you aren't tripping and screwing up along the way.

9
News of the Church / Re: Church Worthiness Interviews
« on: September 07, 2018, 11:13:28 am »
Cook, I understand that it is a multi-faceted issue.  But, aside from the core issue of parents RARELY teaching their kids how to recognize and report, we have an overpowering culture in children AND adults in the Church where bishops and similar positions are THE doorway through which our worthiness not just to enter the temple but to be baptized and our worthiness determined.  Most of us have been trained since birth or baptism that if the bishop asks you to do something, you do it--whether it's a calling we don't want, to answering questions we might not want to answer, which leads to a gray area where bishops have been known to sometimes ask inappropriate questions in the effort to get at the truth or 'educate' members (usually youth) who seem unclear on the meaning of certain basic questions. 
When we have authority figures whom we are a) supposed to defer to and give respect merely because of their position, b) we cannot say no to (whether that's taught by the family or the church or the culture doesn't matter), c) have the power and key to certain areas of success or acceptance in our lives, and d) are meeting with our youth entirely unsupervised and asking sometimes intimate questions,
it's a problem because that EXACTLY is part of grooming behavior.  The Church is making efforts by saying that bishops need to stick to just the questions given and saying that children can request to have a 3rd party present.  BUT!  How are we ensuring that children understand their choices?  How are we ensuring that bishops are sticking to the rules?  Saying that 'parents should tell kids' and 'people should be aware enough and brave enough to report misbehaving bishops, without any direction on where or how to do so' is NOT NEARLY ENOUGH.  If the SYSTEM (Church and/or culture) is what presents the risk to children, then yes, teachings from parents can help, but it is the SYSTEM'S responsibility to ensure that the risk is eliminated.  Is it a complex, multi-step process?  Yes, absolutely.  But this kind of crap has been going on for decades at the very least.  There has been a lot of time to examine the problem and evaluate solutions and come up with better policies.  It seems very much to myself and to victims and others that the general attitude has been to deny that these evils happen, because it's uncomfortable and hard to deal with and hard to admit that these kinds of problems exist.  It's much easier to say, "we were sure that bishop needed to be called, therefore, we are going to assume that the Spirit is all the guidance and instruction he needs" and claim that more exact instruction and policies are unnecessary.  But decades of the testimonies of hundreds, possibly thousands, of people prove otherwise.  I am glad the Church is starting to acknowledge the problem openly and do something about it.  But because the culture is part of the problem, more PUBLIC action and change needs to take place.  By public, I mean we as members need to know what rules and accountability the bishops have, and have clear options on how to report issues, including options for when the stake president does not take action.  It's needed for accountability.  It's needed for safety.

I would never go to the level of Sam Young.  I would NEVER steer people away from the Church, because I KNOW it is far more good than bad.  But I know WAY too many people whose tender testimonies have been shaken, bent, and broken by this kind of thing.  They are hurt by people in positions of power in our church--that alone is often enough to break a person and make them mistrust the church whose representatives damaged them.  But most of my friends, once they realize what's happened (children rarely understand at first), seek help within the church.  And are usually dismissed, disbelieved, ignored, told they are sinners, and otherwise NOT supported.  When you are hurt and those who are supposed to help you fail, you take whatever help you can get.  If the help and support is not in the church, then BY DEFINITION, it is OUTSIDE the church.  Which will then open a pathway to leave the church, because the supportive, helpful people will be trusted more, along with their non-doctrinal beliefs.

Ezekiel 34 is huge on this subject, but I will sum it up by quoting Isaiah as quoted by Nephi in 1 Nephi chapter 21: "Hearken, O ye house of Israel, all ye that are broken off and are driven out because of the wickedness of the pastors of my people."

God loves those children.  He knows his leaders have sometimes screwed up enough to drive people away.  That doesn't make it acceptable.

10
News of the Church / Re: Church Worthiness Interviews
« on: September 06, 2018, 04:12:56 pm »
I have been reluctant to participate in this thread because of the many people I know who have had horrible experiences at the hands of either well-meaning but clueless church leaders, or wolves in the clothing of church leaders.  And the comments made by some people here have mimicked some of the cruel, head-in-the-sand attitudes I have seen damage many victims I know. 
My personal feeling is that we cannot rely solely on parental instruction to protect children.  The culture of "eek this makes me uncomfortable, don't talk about it" is far too well-established and powerful.  The Church needs to ENSURE that children KNOW what their rights are and are able to protect themselves, from things as simple as saying no (even to church leaders), to having a 3rd party they trust there, to being able to report church leaders for inappropriate behavior.  The Church needs to ENSURE that leaders have better training and accountability.  I don't agree with everything Sam Young has done or said, but he has seen the abuse and he is fighting it.  When the Church doesn't deal with a problem well, people are left to their own devices in trying to deal with that, and that often ends up in seeking help from NON-church sources.  Aren't we supposed to be the shepherds?  And doesn't that mean to protect?  If our young people don't get protection from the Church and church leaders, THEY WILL SEEK IT ELSEWHERE. 

And lest anyone think I am exaggerating in any way, I have a very good friend who experienced severe abuse as a child and the subsequent mishandling of it has hurt her in many ways.  I don't agree with everything that she says, but considering what she has experienced, I have sympathy and I support her.  She is not, by a long shot, the only person I know who has experienced similar things, but she wrote a great post about it today that I have been given permission to share that I hope shows the need that is there. 
Quote
Here’s my story: When I, as a teenager, told a bishop the sexual abuse I suffered at the hands of my brother, which had NOT been addressed in my home or family, this very nice and totally untrained man gave me The Miracle of Forgiveness to read, and then directed me towards the repentance process.

For those who do not know, The Miracle of Forgiveness was written by Spencer W. Kimball, who later became the president of the church; therefore, TMoF was treated as doctrine, and was a staple of the bishop-administered repentance process for decades. (It’s now out of print but has never been formally disavowed, so, some of its harmful principles are still lingering in MormonSpace.)

TMoF contains this passage: “It is better to die in defending one's virtue than to live having lost it without a struggle.”

My abuser had assured me that his offenses against me were my fault, and now my bishop and a prophet agreed with my abuser. I believe this contributed materially to my suicidal ideation I suffered from as a teenager. I attempted suicide twice.

As a child, I thought nothing of a bishop taking me aside, alone, behind a closed door, to talk to me about sex, because that was exactly what my brother did when he abused and assaulted me. It wouldn’t have occurred to me to ask for help, because abuse had taught me that I had no boundaries and no safety. The church’s practice mimicked my abuse. The church’s defense for the indefensible mimicked the justifications and blame I heard from my abuser.

The church’s current policy for interviews is to say that children being interviewed may ask for someone else to be present. This means that the little ones who are most in need of safety are the least likely and least capable of asking for it. It is incumbent upon adults to show what safety is by creating it. To require children to demand this after requiring passive obedience is unrealistic and, I believe, immoral.

And there’s still no way to report a bishop for refusing to allow a child an advocate, or for enabling abuse, or for abusing the children themselves—all of which have happened. There is nothing, no new practices or policies, that would stop another Joseph Bishop from assaulting another McKenna Denson.

Sam Young: Thank you for your hunger strike.

I’m a survivor of both sexual and ecclesiastical abuse. Much of my church trauma happened in one-on-one interviews in church offices behind closed doors, though the abuse was primarily emotional/verbal, sometimes it intersected with sexual trauma in how there were no witnesses and no accountability for whatever happened behind that door.

Because it was me and an older, larger, stronger, high-status male alone, I was not believed. The church replicated my abuse, right down to the pressure to pretend nothing happened.

Like many other people who have had their bodies and spirits violated to satisfy the desires of another, I resorted to my own hunger strike: anorexia. I tried hard to disappear in broad daylight. Sadly, my efforts to disappear were approved of by most people around me. If I could cease existing, then all the troublesome abuse would disappear with me.

I’ve spent nearly forty years as a sixth-generation member of the LDS church, attending several wards in several different states, and connected to LDS recovery communities. I tell you that because since Young’s hunger strike began, I’ve racked my brain to remember all the other active Mormon men I’ve personally known to put himself on the line on behalf of abuse victims. Believe me, I looked desperately, as survivors do—always evaluating every situation and person for danger and safety.

Sam, you are one of the vanishingly few Mormon men I’ve known who were willing to discuss this publicly and risk themselves on behalf of the least of these. And you do it in such a Mormon way. I recognize this from my many readings of the Book of Mormon: the idea that someone may be called to challenge the church, like Samuel the Lamanite; that he’d publicly fast outside the temple, like Third Nephi; that he’d call people to stand in defense of the suffering, like Moroni holding aloft the Title of Liberty.

Sam, you starved with the others of us who were wounded in the house of our friends, the other lambs who were not fed, who needed to disappear. Thank you for that.

11
News of the Church / Re: "Saints" new History of the Church books/series
« on: September 06, 2018, 03:33:53 pm »
1.  I am guessing maybe one out of every 200 people or so (about .5 percent) can look at historical records and not apply modern values and judgments to at least part of the motivations.  It's really sad.
2.  When it comes to "why did this church leader do this horrible thing?" I remind myself of 2 things: a) this is a living church, and God often changes policies according to the need at the time.  Point #1 up there needs to be carefully applied, as well as millions of things we have no way of knowing as to WHY a particular policy is given.  b) Very often, God gives a commandment, without telling us (even prophets) HOW it is supposed to be implemented.  As such, we often make mistakes in attempting to obey.  As I understand it, God's commandment to Joseph was merely to implement plural marriage.  No details on how.  It is very clear to me from the wildly divergent ways in which it was carried out, especially in the first decade or two, that there was a LOT of trial and error in the attempts to implement it.  I think we are too quick to assume that the root commandment was wrong because it doesn't fit our current sensibilities and because early attempts to implement it were so clumsy.  But we don't look at Nephi's multiple failed attempts to get the brass plates as evidence that the commandment to retrieve them was wrong. 

It is through trying and failing that we learn many, many, MANY things.  Sometimes there are even side effects of the failures that are somehow good (for instance, Laban basically stealing all of Lehi's family's precious things could be seen as robbery, especially since he sent men to kill Nephi and his brothers, in which case his death could be justified.  Or, Nephi bringing Zoram out of town with him when he took the brass plates could seen as a mistake, until you realize that God was looking out for Ishmael's oldest daughter, whom Zoram later married).  Life REQUIRES failures because the purpose of life is to learn and to become, and we don't learn or become more and better if the exact answers and solutions are just given to us. 

12
You're right, there isn't a reason why.  I mean, here the files aren't being personally kept, they're being kept at the Church (I can see certain things possibly being passed to the next Bishop to keep him 'up to speed' but even that can be sketchy).  At any rate, it's a legal liability and I'm sure Salt Lake has policies against keeping those sorts of files.

13
Quote
Bishops do not take notes or keep records like that when they are talking to people in confidence.

I'm sorry, but how do you know this?  While you may not have seen any do that, that is not proof that none of them do.  And many people write things down AFTER the meeting is over, so they aren't distracting during the meeting but so they can remember stuff better for next time (as a mental health professional, I know this happens on a regular basis).  Even if the policy from Salt Lake is not to do this, I think they've shown a predilection to only keeping the rules they feel like following. 

14
It's 7 years for financial information in the States, too.  And when I worked in the legal industry, everything (except wills) was destroyed after about 10 years or less.  If it was kept longer, you ran the risk of being disbarred.

15
"Unit" has been the official term for all local congregations (wards or branches) for many decades now.  That's how it's termed in MLS and all official stuff from SLC. 

Speaking from a legal perspective, those confidential documents being so easily available are a huge lawsuit waiting to happen.  Since we use a lay clergy, the LDS church rarely has leaders that are trained well enough (or take it seriously enough) in their roles as officially sanctioned ecclesiastical leaders.  And this is BAD, because ecclesiastical leaders are one of a very small group granted privilege in a court setting in the U.S.  'Privileged' matters cannot be legally inquired into in any way, and communications between certain people fall under legal privilege.  They traditionally include only your spouse (unless both parties agree to waive privilege), your attorney (unless client agrees to waive privilege), and your ecclesiastical leader (unless parishioner agrees to waive privilege).  To give you an idea of how serious and important this is, 99% of the time, parents and children don't even have privilege with each other. 

The leadership in Salt Lake are trying very hard to fix a lot of these problems (especially since they are deeply tied to many of the protests and lawsuits the church has already experience and is experiencing), but many local leaders, especially in smaller areas, don't have the interest, acumen, or time to deal with this properly.  "People are blowing things out of proportion," they might claim. "That would never happen around here," or "I know these people," or "That's far more bother than it's worth." 
Well, they're wrong.  And I hope they figure that out in a better way before they are standing before an earthly or heavenly judgment bar.

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