Sunday, 25 September 2016
"What, if anything, could the Mormon Church do right now to make it more favourable in your sight, or in the sight of others who view it unfavourably?" - A Survey
*The 'Mormon Church', 'the church' and 'organisation' are used in this article in reference to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
With a lot of issues that have sprung up in recent times regarding the Church's policy or stance on topics such as the church essays, seer stones, sexual orientation, females and the priesthood etc. I have compiled a set of responses to the question outlined in the title of this post.
The question was open to interpretation regarding whether one thinks the church has a necessary obligation to make certain changes to accommodate others, whether it would even be possible for the church to do just that, or whether it is people who need to change and align themselves with the church. As such, the question was answered in a number of different ways.
We cannot simply ignore the way this organisation has made people linked to it, feel. It is my urge that we have to seek for every opportunity to build bridges between active, less-active and ex-members. That the qualities of compassion, empathy and love manifested by Jesus Christ be the standard on both sides.
Building bridges may include listening to others instead of responding with a retort, demonstrating sincere empathy. Showing the Saviour's love for each and every soul may take precedence over attempting to prove that you are right in a doctrinal/historical/policy back and forth.
And now to the survey itself.
I do not personally agree with every comment made in this report. The comments of other individuals do not necessarily reflect my position on issues. However, I feel it absolutely necessary to publish everyone's comments exactly as they were given, with zero alterations. The comments contained herein were given from real people whom I contacted privately and separately through facebook messenger.
This survey is neither an attempt to slander the church or renounce my faith in it, nor an effort to narcissistically extol myself or the church. I am merely genuinely interested and intrigued by the people who have contributed their opinions, their method of thinking, and their vivid ideas and feelings.
The following messages contain candid and honest opinions both in favour of, and in opposition to the church. Please decide for yourself whether you wish to proceed in reading this survey after this point.
"WHAT, IF ANYTHING, COULD THE MORMON CHURCH DO RIGHT NOW TO MAKE IT MORE FAVOURABLE IN YOUR SIGHT, OR IN THE SIGHT OF OTHERS WHO VIEW IT UNFAVOURABLY?"
(This question was originally worded as "What, if anything, could the Mormon church do right now to appease you and make it more favourable in your sight?")
I will kick things off with Greg Rattey, who I became acquainted with in a conversation on facebook:
I met Henry Lions in the same facebook thread, and these are his comments:
Next up are some comments from a Graham:
Jolyon Folkett shared his views as such:
Gareth Horne offered up his response to the question as follows:
Sarah Fuller indulged me with her comments:
Hilary Presbury shared her comments here:
These are Eric Spaans' comments:
Next are Mitch Hilburn's comments:
Joanna Horne shared her thoughts about this question:
Finally, we turn to the remarks of Nephi Hatcher:
While the entries here in this survey are raw and candid, I have found that we don't have to share the same opinions in order to be agreeable. We don't have to agree on common beliefs to be respectful. And we don't have to see eye-to-eye regarding our concept of truth in order to attempt an empathetic response. It is these such traits or qualities - agreeable, respectful, empathetic - which provide a foundation to build bridges. Their exact opposites create chasms.
We cannot attempt to demonstrate these attributes without first listening to and understanding the different viewpoints and feelings of both members and ex-members. Whichever side we are on, we have all been affected by the church in one way or another.
Of course, I always welcome sincere comments but I really hope that such comments don't isolate individuals who contributed, castigate them, ridicule their opinions, or cast them in a negative light. We are all humans and we all have strong feelings. Let us treat each other with kindness as we all try to be civil and respect each other's right to worship how we may and our right to an opinion and a voice.