Sunday, March 13, 2011

Retention via Obedience

You'll probably hear a lot about this in the next week or two. I can't decide whether to analyze the language of retention rhetoric in the church or focus on the current climate surrounding the "problem" of teachers.

The first is easy, though maddening. I do wonder if it would help me get over everything. It's not difficult to point out various aspects of the church's strategy to keep people in, but to lay it all out at once and see it all for what it is might help.

Then again, what am I learning? And would it help anyone else out--not the faithful, but the fringe perhaps? The non-member? Those who tell me (as I was told on friday) to focus on the rhetoric of conversion because "leaving the church is easy"?

(i corrected her tout de suite. i don't know if she was a member or just ignorant, but it didn't matter--i've grown to have an automatic impassioned response for such bullshit)

In looking at the church issue I've run into loads of it. Like this:

To obey means to follow and to accept direction...I was impressed by the remarks of Elder A. Theodore Tuttle of the First Council of the Seventy, when he asked a young man if he was preparing to go on a mission. The young man replied, ‘I don’t want to go on a mission.’ Elder Tuttle’s response was, ‘What does that matter? The Lord wants you to go.’ This is a perfect example of how the law of obedience should be exercised -- Keith Brian Rutledge, in Conference Report, Melbourne Australia Area Conference 1976, p. 18. via  "Lesson 34: Obedience," Aaronic Priesthood Manual 1, (2002)

I've heard similar BS in my own wards. Like the time my Gospel Doctrine teacher told the story of a couple invited to meet with the stake president, who would ask the husband to a rather burdensome position--bishop? Anyway, apparently the SP asked the wife if she would support this calling. She said "I don't like it." The SP said, "Too bad."

My Gospel Doctrine class, with the exception of my husband and I, laughed.

They laughed.

It's just, you know. Really?

And it's everywhere.

And I've done this for 2 1/2 years myself. All this would result in is a more nuanced understanding of one aspect and a paper. I don't particularly care anymore if there's a member in my class who might get his or her feathers in a ruffle over this--they need to know. And they probably won't. Members are olympiads when it comes to mental gymnastics.


The other issue gets me off the church mindset. It would help me focus on a field I'm looking to enter into in a few years. It's part of many related issues I don't know a lot about, other than what I've seen in my own family for the last 2 1/2 years and through my interactions with my kids' teachers--not to mention the experiences I've heard from friends of mine. In that way it'd likely be educational for me as well. Right now I'm thinking of looking at what I see as the current focus--salary--and the rhetoric surrounding the argument.

Or something like that.

That, and Jon Stewart provides me with more than one fantastic commentary I could use. 

I love me some Jon Stewart.


  1. "Too bad." -- yeah, that's the mindset, all right.

    I'd be willing to bet almost any amount of money that there were a few of those in the GD had turned down callings in the past. People shouldn't turn down callings, but in _their_ case it _different_, and don't you dare say otherwise, because _you_ don't _understand_.

    But they'll still laugh at other people.

  2. Absolutely. Makes them super righteous.

  3. Wait! I found more!

    "to surrender what you are, and to live without belief, is more terrible than dying." -- jeffrey holland, asshat extraordinare, to the YOUTH OF THE CHURCH.

  4. Oh GAWD! I just read/heard that one. Absolutely sick. But man, I used to eat that shit up. Why do you think that is (deeper than brainwashing...?)

  5. i just read this because i've not been on my computer. but i think you should write about both--maybe not at the same time, and maybe in different venues, but why not? especially since you're having trouble deciding.

    you're not excluding thought about one or the other if you delve into only one for your project.

  6. I've thought about that, Jess, but I don't know when I'd write about the other. Although I might have a chance to address the salary/bad teacher/standardized test issue(s) during any one of my education/credential courses.

  7. And I've no idea, Erin. I didn't hear anything like that while I was in the church (that doesn't mean it wasn't said, I just don't remember it).

    So I don't know. But it particularly bothers me here because ten seconds later they pan over to what can't be more than a 12-year-old girl who looks scared to *death.* Mission accomplished?

  8. By analyzing what I have read about your experience with LDS Church that they really pound your mind from a young age.. I have watched some of the programs they have on the LDS channel and it was pretty scary I am sorry that you had to live under such tyranny. Though I am a Christian myself I believe that we should all have the right to learn lessons ourselves and search out things in life with a mind that is in liberty and not in bondage perpetuated by Men who claim they are oracles of God but don't give those who want to choose to walk away to even have a choice to go and learn a lesson the hard way.
    It always worries me when you walk into a room and all the facial expressions of those in the room are blank and distant and they all have the thousand yard stare like the effort they are taking to fake happiness is actually pierced by an emotion of self loathing. I have seen this in not just LDS churches but also some pentecostal churches and methodist churches. The legalism and effort to appear holier then the other is so pathetic its like people forget why they even believe what they believe truly mind boggling to me.