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Featured LDS If the LDS religion is not legalistic and overbearing, then what's up with...

Discussion in 'Debate Other Religions & Faiths' started by dzheremi, Jul 8, 2019.

  1. dzheremi

    dzheremi Coptic Orthodox non-Egyptian

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    LDS bishops asking such invasive questions in worthiness interviews that they actually give people specific ideas they wouldn't have otherwise had?



    LDS leaders revoking temple recommends for refusing to stop talking about your own divorce, in the context of trying to get help dealing with it?



    LDS missionaries asking people they've just met who are just barely beginning to investigate their religion about their private lives/personal relationships/living arrangements?



    Note: This is in response to posts by Ironhold (specifically #34 and #41) in this thread. I didn't want to drag that thread off-topic, but I do think a discussion as to whether or not the LDS religion is legalistic and overbearing deserves its own thread.

    I'd like to hear from any current members why/how it isn't, or from any former members why it is (if they feel that it is, of course; if they feel that it isn't, I'd like to hear about that, too). Thank you.
     
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  2. JacobKStarkey

    JacobKStarkey Well-Known Member

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    LDS'ism is as legalistic and overbearing as any other religions in my experience, I guess.

    I am not a member but have lived almost all of my life around bunches of various kinds of Mormons, from monogamous to polygamous, from LDS to FLDS to CoC to Strangite and whatever else ite.
     
  3. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    When the name of the game is moralism over grace, I don't think it's possible to avoid overbearing and invasive. To be fair, this is a problem in a lot of churches though, given the prevalence and influence of Pietism, especially in American Protestantism (that's not an indictment against all American Protestants, as I'm an American Protestant myself, only that 19th century Pietistism has had a lasting legacy on many forms of American Protestantism).

    To give an example: My maternal grandmother was raised in a church in which:

    - women could not wear makeup, jewelry, or pants
    - men couldn't have facial hair
    - entertainment was strictly verboten: attending the cinema, playing card games, etc.
    - one's finances, one's relationships, and every-day actions were tightly scrutinized by an authoritarian pastor, and one's salvation was always regarded as being in deep jeopardy by failing to maintain a system of moralistic performance and "standard of holiness".

    Even decades after all of this (my grandmother left that church as soon as she was an adult and married to my grandfather) she still struggled and wrestled with the immense guilt and psychological harm done to her. I remember on more than one occasion she asked me if Jesus could love her and if she could still be saved, even though she was overweight. Yes, that's right, she had basically been taught from back then that simply being overweight could forfeit one's salvation. And so my grandmother constantly needed the comforting reassurance of the Gospel, of God's love for us in Christ.

    This broke my heart. It broke my heart all the time when she came to me asking/talking about these things, and it breaks my heart still even though she has since gone to be with the Lord. It breaks my heart, but it also infuriates me.

    It infuriates me that people use religion to hurt the vulnerable.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
  4. dzheremi

    dzheremi Coptic Orthodox non-Egyptian

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    I absolutely agree, my friend. I started this thread because it was claimed that the LDS religion is not like this, and when I provided an example of something that made me doubt that in the thread in question, I was told essentially that this didn't count because it was just one interview once every few years. My point is more about the sort of culture that this religion tends to produce, which could be viewed by some as very overbearing and harmful. Thanks be to God, recent Mormon leaders have even addressed this, which is a good sign:



    But I still wonder if this is so deeply embedded in Mormon culture and religion, as per the above video clips in the OP, that it is incorrect (or at least a case of 'rose-colored glasses') to say that the LDS religion is not legalistic. Hence the thread. That other religions may suffer from the same sorts of manifestations is immaterial to the question.
     
  5. JacobKStarkey

    JacobKStarkey Well-Known Member

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    Yes, certain LDS leaders can be overbearing and presumptuous. So have Catholic priests, and baptist pastors, and Pentecostal preachers, and Church of Christ ministers: my oh my.

    If the OP is unhappy with overbearing and presumptuous leaders, I am all with him.

    If the thinking is primarily that it is overwhelmingly LDS, that is dead wrong.
     
  6. LaBèlla

    LaBèlla Well-Known Member

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    I’ve encountered this in several churches and I’m leery of anything which tries to influence my thoughts or behavior through coercion and a laundry list of should’s which grant one a place in the cool camp.
     
  7. dzheremi

    dzheremi Coptic Orthodox non-Egyptian

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    Guys, the question is about the LDS religion in particular, since the claim was made about the LDS religion in particular, by a practitioner of that religion.

    I don't really care if you've had bad experiences with other religions in this context (I care in a general sense, and I have had similar experiences with Baptists, the Catholic Church, etc., but they don't belong in this thread). Please stop posting "Yes, but this happens everywhere." I'm asking about the LDS religion in particular.

    I swear, it's like you can't ask a specific question anymore! :doh:
     
  8. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    Certainly from an outsider's perspective it's hard for me not to see the LDS as having an overbearing and authoritarian cultural architecture. And the testimonials of people who once were within the religion doesn't paint a much better picture overall.

    So I agree with you certainly. I just felt it was fair to not single out the LDS, even though that is the thread topic.

    There's literally no reason for anyone in positions of spiritual leadership to be looking over anyone's shoulders or scrutinizing behavior, or being invasive.

    Concern for the individual and for the well-being of the community does mean addressing harmful and toxic behavior; if there is someone in the community who is a danger either to themselves or to others then that should be properly addressed, both spiritually as well as practically (such as perhaps contacting child protective services, or getting into contact with civil agencies and authorities if need be, or as simple as helping guide someone to a proper and licensed medical professional for counseling or therapy). So obviously pastoral care does involve getting involved; but there is a huge difference between pastoring and lording. Ultimately my conscience is only beholden to God, and in Christ I am allowed the freedom to be a spiritually mature adult--so I bring myself to confessing my sins, not being coerced or investigated for example. Scrutinizing behavior, being invasive, lurking over and coercing is unacceptable behavior for any servant of God.

    Yes, it certainly seems like this is, best as I can see, a problem within Mormonism that is worth noting and addressing.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
  9. dzheremi

    dzheremi Coptic Orthodox non-Egyptian

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    We agree, and I agree with the others who have so far made the same point, but please: I am asking this specific question about this specific religion to some specific people who might have very definite insight on it because they are there or have been there. It's not meant to be a broad question, because it is in reaction to a specific claim about a particular religion, not all religions or forms of religion everywhere.
     
  10. He is the way

    He is the way Well-Known Member

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    So this is a very legalistic overbearing specific agenda concerning The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints?
     
  11. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    For most of us, the idea of interviewing members' personal lives is....overbearing, yes. Even aside from abuses that this can entail, the very premise itself comes across as invasive, scrutinizing, and unhelpful. Regardless of the purpose of such an interview might entail.

    If my pastor called me up to sit in with him, so he could interview me, and investigate my private and personal life, that would be a massive breech of boundaries--it would be completely unacceptable behavior on his part. To be perfectly blunt, it's none of his business.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
  12. Phoebe Ann

    Phoebe Ann From Mormonism to Christ Supporter

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    Well, I'm not sure I watched the correct video. Anyway, I watched the interview of the two missionaries. I got the impression that they know less about Mormonism than I. Some of their answers were inaccurate.

    Yes, Mormonism has a lot of rules. A couple of the rules didn't make sense. One was that women couldn't wear slacks to Sacrament Meeting, but store-bought dresses were usually too short to be considered modest. And not every person could sew or own a sewing machine. I purchased a sewing machine and made several dresses that were modest. Most rules didn't bother me because I had grown up with an excessive amount of rules.

    Another thing that didn't seem right to me was the effort to have non-Mormons think your family life was incredible. And Relief Society lessons seemed silly because they weren't all based on scriptures. I did not drink coffee or tea even once; yet the fact that you must keep the Word of Wisdom to get a temple recommend was odd to me. Without a temple recommend, a person can't attain eternal life.
     
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  13. Phoebe Ann

    Phoebe Ann From Mormonism to Christ Supporter

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    I see.
     
  14. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    To perhaps offer some nuance to my previous post: I think that if I am a problematic person, or causing disruptive, harmful, or toxic behavior, then the pastor does reserve the right to take me aside and discuss these things with me. Because his duty is to the well-being of the congregation.

    But as I mentioned in an earlier post, it's the difference between pastoring and lording. My pastor calling me in to, say, ask how often I'm praying, or fasting, or talk to me about my attendance, or asking about any number of invasive, personal questions simply is well beyond his position as a pastor. I may request time to come in and talk to him for private confession, as Lutheranism maintains the practice of private confession of sins, but no one is under any obligation to do so, it is entirely up to me to come to my pastor if this is something I want. And my pastor's job isn't to scrutinize me, or have me think of sins, or anything like that, but rather to hear my confession, and pronounce forgiveness of those sins, in Christ's name and stead. In the Lutheran Confessions we consistently read that one shouldn't agonize over trying to enumerate one's sins (this is neither helpful nor, truly, even possible), but if there are specific sins we want to confess, to confess them; confession isn't for God's benefit after all, but is for our benefit.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
  15. dzheremi

    dzheremi Coptic Orthodox non-Egyptian

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    No, the point of the question is to ask you interpret these various practices that others see as legalistic and overbearing so as to come to the conclusion that your religion is in fact not that (if that is the conclusion you come to). As I've just attempted to explain several times, it's not "You guys are the only legalistic religion/the only religion with legalistic features", and more "How are these Mormon-specific practices not legalistic and overbearing?"

    We don't have interviews with our bishops in the Orthodox Church. The only time such a thing would happen (as happened historically at various councils and synods) is when an individual is charged with creating or promulgating heresies, which it is of course the Church's duty to stand against. The idea of an individual one-on-one interview is...strange. Some people could compare it to confession, I guess, but from what I have seen it is vastly different than that, as it is popularly called a "worthiness interview", whereas confession by its very nature involves the penitent already accepting their unworthiness, not before their bishop as a temporal authority (bishops do not hear the confessions of laity, except I imagine in some extreme and very anomalous circumstances; in other words, I don't know that it's canonically forbidden -- I would think not -- it just doesn't happen, because you're supposed to have a father of confession in your priest, who knows you and your particular struggles well), but before God with the priest as a sort of 'witness' and co-faciliator, for lack of a better way to put it (so goes confession in Eastern Christianity, anyway; the exact theology of what is going on, how, and why may vary according to what particular church you're looking at). 'Co-facilitator' in the sense that the penitent and the priest pray prayers for forgiveness together and so on, and witness in the sense that obviously the priest witnesses your repentance before God when you go to him in confession and tell him whatever it is that is weighing on your soul and causing it to bleed or to slumber.

    We further do not inquire of inquirers as to their personal lives, because the pre-Christian life is not a mark against the one who has chosen to turn against his or her former self, as baptism is a true rebirth.

    So things like this are very foreign to traditional Christianity, and cause a person who is not Mormon to doubt the assertion that Mormonism is somehow less legalistic than other religions, or (as the claim goes) not legalistic while others are. That seems false.

    What do you say? As a Mormon, how do you navigate these various things that pop up as strains in the Mormon culture so as to come out of it feeling unburdened despite (?) these things? How do you rate your religion as being less legalistic or not legalistic? Because to the outsider it does not seem so.
     
  16. Ironhold

    Ironhold Member

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    I almost literally can't hear the audio in the second video in the OP, yet literally all of the other YouTube videos I've been listening to today have been loud and clear, to the point that I've had to turn some of them down to protect my speakers.

    Got another source for that one?

    Also...

    1. The interviews run a standard 15+ questions; anything beyond that is on the person giving the interview.

    2. Church policy is that if you're an unmarried couple living together, you need to get hitched to join the church. I think this is pretty standard across many, many religions.

    3. I don't know how long ago Phoebe was a member, but the standard is "the best of whatever you have". While culturally women are encouraged to appear in dresses, it's rather common to see people of both genders come in wearing work uniforms (including T-shirts) and relatively casual clothing.
     
  17. He is the way

    He is the way Well-Known Member

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    Peter also asked personal questions:

    (New Testament | Acts 5:1 - 11)

    1 BUT a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,
    2 And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet.
    3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?
    4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
    5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.
    6 And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.
    7 And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.
    8 And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.
    9 Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.
    10 Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.
    11 And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.
     
  18. LaBèlla

    LaBèlla Well-Known Member

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    My lone encounter with the LDS was due to a free bible offer on television. The commercial appeared late at night and I called and made a request. I’d been away from church a few years and felt good about reading the bible once more.

    I expected a package in the mail and was met by a man wearing a black suit. He introduced himself and stated he came by to talk and received my information from the bible request. Did I have a moment?

    Irrespective of his dress and candor I had no intention of inviting him in. I was home alone and unsettled by his sudden appearance. I told him I couldn’t talk.

    Then he came again. And again. And again for one month straight! He wouldn’t stop until I told him I wasn’t interested in joining their church and asked him to stop appearing unannounced. I never received the bible or dealt with them from that point.
     
  19. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    1) Context
    2) See my posts about pastoral responsibility toward the well-being of the community.
    3) Note that Peter didn't investigate, scrutinize, and invade Ananias and Sapphira's personal lives.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
  20. dzheremi

    dzheremi Coptic Orthodox non-Egyptian

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    Unfortunately, no. Sorry.

    What does that mean? Is the individual authority free to stray from the prepared questions, and if so, what does it mean that it's "on him" that he does? Is there some way of disciplining him if he asks questions that are invasive and leading, as your own leaders said should not be done? (in the first clip)

    Yes, but what business is it of missionaries to already be passing judgment on this couple? As one of the missionaries admits, they didn't even realize at the time that the man was looking into the LDS religion...and then after they did, it seemed like it became "Oh, they might not be living up to our moral standards." Duh! They're not a member of your church! So it seemed weird. (I don't think this is necessarily reflective of the LDS religion as a whole -- though again, I don't know; that's why I'm asking --- but I do wonder if it says something about the missionary training process.)

    This is very interesting. Thank you. I'm not sure how to phrase this follow-up question, but one thing I've noticed in watching the testimonies of ex-Mormon women is they often refer to their uncovered shoulders (as when wearing spaghetti strap tops or dresses) jokingly as "porn shoulders" (if that gets auto-censored, then...uh..."adult movie shoulders"?). Do think that this tells or should tell us something about the LDS stance on this sort of topic?

    Thank you for your answers.
     
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