Marginalized

In some ways I’m very fortunate in my relationship to the Church. Even though I’m really pretty radical on a lot of issues, for the last several years I’ve been very empowered within the Church both formally and informally. I’ve been to every PEC meeting and many Bishopric meetings in the last three years. Hardly a month goes by without me teaching a lesson in some class (it’s been Gospel Doctrine, Elders Quorum, and Institute most commonly). My voice is heard and my influence is felt in a large way. Never has a different view, shaggy hair and a beard, or even a vocal disagreement with the Bishop (even if, looking back, I can see that I sometimes handled it inappropriately) jeopardized that standing. And believe me, what I unleash on my fellow bloggers is nothing in comparison with the fiery and sometimes too-self-righteous indignation my Bishops have had to endure on occasion.

I don’t know if my ability to maintain this empowered status in the face of my unorthodox views and behavior is due to having very patient, understanding local leadership or because I’ve been in inner-city units that don’t have many choices for leadership positions. But whatever the reason, maybe I’ve been luckier than I realize. I say this because a few weeks ago I was talking with my parents (and Bob), and they haven’t been so lucky.

Here’s the story:

My dad — who’s definitely got his own rebellious streak — has been exploring some of his own topics on what it means to be human, our relationship with God and so forth. One of these topics is sexuality. Sex is, of course, central to our humanity and something to be proud of, used properly. He has been considering displaying some artwork that he thinks tastefully celebrates this aspect of our nature. Ultimately he has decided against it for two main reasons, one of which I completely agree with and one that puzzles me.

The first reason he has decided not to display such art is that he doesn’t want to make other people — who may not be as comfortable with sexuality, even tastefully displayed — uncomfortable. My brother and sisters who still live at home bring over lots of friends, home and visiting teachers come by, etc, and there’s no reason to shove things in people’s faces if they’re uncomfortable with them. In a way it’s the same sort of idea as not stopping the Gospel Doctrine teacher every time she doesn’t acknowledge the latest FARMS position on the topic being discussed in class. I get it. This sounds like a great reason not to decorate with such edgy stuff.

But he went further. My dad said that the other reason not to display this kind of art is that he didn’t want to be marginalized in the Church. Marginalized? Yes — he thought his voice and influence in his ward would be quieted. He would become “one of those” people who should never have any leadership or teaching positions. Whose house parents wouldn’t let their kids visit. Whose raised hand in Sunday School would send an uneasy hush through the class and start the teacher’s mind racing for ways to protect his flock from this wolf’s dangerous ideas.

Perhaps I exaggerate. Maybe he meant something subtler than this. But he was clearly afraid of something.

It’s just that hanging some risqué artwork in my home seems rather benign compared to some of the explosions I’ve had in the Bishop’s office without suffering anything like this this. Not that I’m proud of exploding at the Bishop — I’m just saying that I’ve done a lot of stuff that’s more deserving of having my influence curtailed than having a little tantric statue (or whatever he’s considering) in a quiet corner of my living room. The point is that even if I need to learn better how to handle my disagreement or even outrage with aspects of the Church, expressing myself has never caused me to be put on any official or unofficial blacklist.

It’s largely a moot point, of course. My dad is very concerned about making people feel comfortable, so reason number 1 is more than enough to keep him from doing something so bold. But since my dad and I see things so differently on the issue of marginalization, I want to ask you, my fellow bloggers, to share your thoughts and experiences on this matter. Is my dad paranoid? Do I have too narrow an experience base to know what it’s really like for slightly edgy, somewhat unorthodox members in the Church? Does this kind of marginalization even exist, and if so, what does it take to incur it?

Comments

  1. D. Fletcher says:

    Hey, Logan! Good to see a post from you.

    I feel like I might be the paragon of marginalization, and I understand your Dad’s viewpoint, as well as your criticism of it. I have a lot of books about homosexuality, mostly books analyzing it, but there are some books which are short story collections or novels that have risque pictures on the front. These are porn, but nonetheless, I often would have Ward Choir at my house, and I’d try to “hide” those books as best as I could. I’m not ashamed to own them, but when children come over, I wouldn’t want a child asking certain questions (of his parents) that were instigated at my house.

    P.S. I own some gay movies on DVD, as well, though these don’t seem to have the same graphic covers. I wonder why…?

  2. Good for your dad. Maybe the phenomenon you’re discussing should be labelled “self-marginalization,” which both of you have so far avoided — him by good judgment and you by good fortune (which won’t last forever). People manage to self-marginalize even online, so it certainly happens IRL.

  3. D. Fletcher says:

    HaHa, I meant about the novels and short stories, these *aren’t* porn.

  4. a random John says:

    Logan,

    There is a difference between exploding at the bishop privately and hanging something up that all visitors jugemental or not will see. Do you think that the populace of the ward is aware of your explosions?

  5. D. and Dave, it sounds like you both agree that my dad has something here. It probably is largely luck that has helped me avoid marginalizing myself.

    Also, it sounds like maybe this is just an aspect of life more than one peculiar to the Church. One of the many facets of the idea that the community of the Church is as important as anything else. At the same time, my youthful exuberance has a hard time silencing myself just so others won’t do it for me.

    a random John, you may have a point. I’ve always tried to hard to be publicly supportive of all my leaders. Of course, other members of PEC have been there for an outburst or two, but that’s probably not the same as a public one.

  6. Nice post, Logan.

    I think there’s two perspectives at work here. First, I think your dad is largely being paranoid. I know I’m often guilty of not giving enough credit to ward members and leadership. Each ward I’ve been in, I’ve been hesitant to tell people where I used to work, often referring to it simply as a “magazine.” But each time the name Sunstone came up, more often than not, no one blinked an eye. There were, of course, a few stunned people, but they were definitely the exception.

    However, even though your father is being a bit paranoid, we can never underestimate the ability of just one leader to make someone’s life miserable in a ward. The stories are all there and we’ve heard them from different friends and family: The prospective missionary who isn’t allowed to attend the temple for three months until he’s stopped watching R rated movies; the man who’s released as teacher, despite popular lessons, for simply not “sticking to the manual enough” (even though he did use the manual); or the ward member who’s surrounding by bishopric and priesthood leadership and hassled for drinking Coke at the last ward outing.

    These are all stories that’ve happened to my friends and family – not a friend of a friend.

    And while I truly believe they are the exception, and that I am guilty of magnifying these events and making them more representative of the Church than they actually are, they’re real to the people that they happen to. I agree with Dave that sometimes self-marginalization (or perhaps the majority of the time?) is the problem, but in our rush to defend the Church, we ignore those people who have been marginalized over issues that are questionable at best.

  7. D. Fletcher says:

    I had such a bad experience last year, with my leaders, that I left the Church for a whole year. I’m back now, playing the organ again.

  8. Logan, I think it is partly just “part of life,” but there’s also diversity of personalities at work. Some people are just more outspoken than others, whether in a group or one-on-one with the bishop. While the Church is happier with quiet, deferential members, every ward has a couple outspoken types that everyone recognizes. However, recognition is not marginalization, and there are several positive aspects to having a few outspoken people around. So just because you need to speak your mind regularly, or even vent publicly now and then, doesn’t mean you are really a candidate for marginalization (depending on what exactly you speak or vent, I suppose).

  9. I wish I had Benny Hill for a dad too.

  10. Marc Bohn says:

    Logan,

    Having been raised in your parents home ward, I found your post fascinating for several reasons. Among them is the fact that my parents had two framed nude sketches that they hung in our house as I was growing up. My siblings and I never thought it was a big deal. In hindsight, I don’t think my parents would ever claim to have felt marginalized (my mom’s been relief society president 3 times and my dad has held numerous callings, most recently he’s taught the High Priests).

    That said, I don’t think your dad is necessarily paranoid. Marginalization can definitely be an issue in some wards, but sometimes it says more about those individuals doing the marginalizing than those they marginalize. I’ve seen people snub their noses at the spiritual opinions of others for a range of reasons including drinking caffeinated beverages, reading an issue of Dialogue/Sunstone, playing football with the neighborhood kids after Church on Sunday, paying tithing on net earnings instead of gross, and mowing lawns during a Saturday session of Conference. I think the degree of marginalization that can occur as a result of these and other decisions can differ from ward to ward. Though I can’t cite any sources on this, my general impression is that any marginalization that might result from these more trivial things doesn’t usually impact a Bishop’s decision to extend callings, etc. (Maybe it just that I hope that most Bishops seek inspiration in these matters rather than relying on the opinion of Brother or Sister Soandso).

    Ultimately, as the ole’ saying goes, you can’t please everyone. A fear of being marginalized shouldn’t be the deal-breaker on the decisions one makes in life. There is room in the Church for differing views and opinions and I don’t think it necessary or even possible for every Church member to have the same ideas on what is appropriate or right. My next door neighbor may feel that it is wrong to use birth control, should my wife and I refrain simply because we fear being marginalized by her for doing so?

    As to what might justify any sort of marginalization? I don’t know. I keep thinking about something I once read regarding a doctrinal dispute between Orson Pratt and President Brigham Young. Several men close to Brigham urged that Pratt be excommunicated over his views on a particular matter, but Brigham adamantly refused saying that Orson “bleeds Mormonism.” Hopefully most members, likewise, don’t allow themselves to confuse differences of opinion with commitment to the Church.

  11. I spoke a few weeks ago to a former missionary companion who is the bishop of a ward in northeast Provo. He has almost 500 members in his ward, almost all of the adults are endowed, most are active, capable, dedicated.

    I was envious, for about a minute. He spoke of the 150 members of the ward for whom there is no calling. How difficult it would be in those circumstances to overcome one’s tendencies to call only those who surely are committed and dependable, rather than those who may be on the margins (however defined).

    In small wards and branches, that problem doesn’t exist. Calls to service aren’t reserved for those who have already arrived (as if there were any of those in the church!), but they’re for all who are willing to put hand to the plough.

    And, as you must know by now, your local leaders are patient and understanding beyond measure. Like Raymond Shaw, they are the “the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being[s] I’ve ever known in my life.”

  12. This reminds me of an experience I had on my mission.

    We were visiting in the home of the 2nd counselor in the bishopric and his wife. I asked to use the lavatory, and was given directions down the hall. As I came back out of the bathroom, the door to the couple’s bedroom across the hall was partially open, and on the bedroom wall, what to my wondering eyes should appear but a life-size, living-color oil painting of sister 2nd counselor, reclining in the nude. As I recall, the portrait was well done and there was quite a lot of detail.

    When I returned to the living room, I looked upon them both, but especially her, in an entirely different light. And no, I didn’t have to go to the bathroom again before we left!

    I agree with the sentiments expressed by the others. Church members and leaders are often more broadminded than they are given credit for, but the rare tramautic experience is bad enough that caution is wise.

    D., I’m glad you’re back.

  13. Marc Bohn says:

    I’ll reiterate: “Maybe it’s just that I hope that most Bishops seek inspiration in these matters rather than relying on the opinion of Brother or Sister Soandso.”

    I really wonder just how many members in every ward aren’t on the “margins” in the opinion of some other ward member. Your post leaves me with the impression that you believe there to be some sort of consensus on what a “committed and dependable” ward member is.

  14. Ah, but Marc, didn’t you know that I wasn’t allowed to go to your house?

    Just kidding. Actually, I particularly appreciate your perspective on this. You did live two doors away, after all, and you know the exact people my dad’s concerned about. I’ll have to see what he thinks about that art at your parents’ house.

    Dave, I guess the “depending on what exactly you speak or vent” is what it all comes down to for me. I could rattle off a list just like John’s about harassment for what I see as minor differences in how people express themselves and live the gospel. At the same time, in an effort not to stand for that kind of harassment for minor details, I sometimes fail to exercise prudence in choosing my battles, and everything can become a life and death matter. In fact, that might be one of things I struggle with the most in finding my place in the Church.

    John, it’s great to be reminded that Church members are often quite tolerant. My dad, sensitive as he is about these things, would probably have a heart attack if he had to walk around with “Sunstone” stamped on his forehead. I’m really, really glad to hear that it hasn’t been a problem for you.

  15. D., I’m also glad you’re back.

    By the way, I did find a pianist for the baptismal service last Sunday. But you will still be on my list. :)

  16. Seth Rogers says:

    Just to answer the question at the end of the initial post:

    It depends on your ward.

    It also depends on how you present yourself to others as a “package deal.”

    Some people can get away with nude art because of how they positively interact with others. Their fellow ward members are already predisposed to like and respect them. In this case, they will likely shrug off an “indiscretion” here or there.

    Others have been creating a track-record with their associations. If people don’t like you in the first place, even minor indiscretions can be treated much more harshly. Sometimes I wonder how many people complaining of a single instance of “unfairness” or “cruelty” at church are just using the single instance as a scapegoat, while in denial to the fact that a lot of people in the ward just don’t like them (sometimes for good reason).

    It might have nothing to do with that feminist statement you made in Gospel Doctrine. It might just be that you’re a jerk in general.

    Or it might be a real injustice.

    My point is – you have to look at the totality of the circumstances before judging how something a “little edgy” will be taken in the ward.

  17. Logan,

    My dad is the same way, so it might be age. He’s very uneasy about some of the stuff I’ve told him about the gospel, and because of that, he’s decided to just roll his eyes when I tell him something “edgy,” and just “stick to the basics.” He’s what I call a “McConkie Mormon,” (read: ultra-traditional/conservative) and won’t budge on anything. He’s intransigent for the same reasons I suppose–the truth hurts, but the basics are a safe zone, and he gets a lot of love from his ward for his safe-zone antics. So he has to maintain that. He’s the high priest quorum leader, so naturally he’s looked upon as the old man that knows it all (which is sad, cuz he doesn’t), but doesn’t want to be fed by his half-his-age-graduate-student-in-biblical-studies of a son for what could be in all probability information much nearer to truth.

    As far as bishops, they’re the final go-to source for doctrinal insight in my opinion. I have severe disagreements with mine, and he calls me out on them once in a while, but just recently severely rebuked me (or tried, anyway) for teaching that the wine that Jesus and his disciples drunk was NOT alcohol-free. I told him I had done the research on it, and concluded that the alcohol-free “grape juice” thing is tosh. He went quiet and told me to stick to the manual. Huh? So I’ve concluded that for “file leaders,” the truth isn’t what is sought. Insight is something you do on your own time. Independent critical thought is the devil incarnate. So now I just stick to the manual, but I roll my eyes or make large quotation marks with my fingers when I say things… oh, the reindeer games we play.

  18. “just recently severely rebuked me (or tried, anyway) for teaching that the wine that Jesus and his disciples drunk was NOT alcohol-free.”

    Wow. I don’t think this would ever happen in my ward or Institute class. I was also unaware that the manual has anything on the topic :)

  19. Recently the SS teacher (and class) were engrossed in the ‘Prophet shall never lead us astray’ mantra. I asked how D&C 107:82 applies to this.

    It’s been really cold in SS lately…

    PS. I’m really getting tired of the Primary questions (and answers) being put forth in SS.

  20. Ben–

    It’s not in the manual of course, but somebody brought it up, and I had to say something. I was very forthcoming, probably more than I should have been, and I guess it ticked some people off that I swung the other way (which should come as no surprise to them). It’s just rediculous to me that the NT is rampant with warnings of avoiding wine because of its enebriating effects, and that 1st century Judaism had no proibitions against “regular” wine, and yet some ding-dong somewhere is offended that Jesus could have drunk wine and invented some retarded rumor in order to create a plug for D&C 89. That is so gay.

    Recently the SS teacher (and class) were engrossed in the ‘Prophet shall never lead us astray’ mantra. I asked how D&C 107:82 applies to this.

    Withheld — nice one. I wish I could have been there. I have a buddy in SLC that has spent years studying the “nobody will lead you astray” thing. He shows that it not only smacks with the verse you point out, but I think 1 Nephi 22 and 3 Nephi 16 (especially) point out that our being led astray is inevitable. And again — were the post-manifesto plural marriages a form of “leading astray”?

    It’s just funny to me reading all the comments here — the thinkers are the ones who get marginalized, or so it seems.

  21. Marc Bohn says:

    David J… I heard both Stephen E. Robinson and Richard Holzapfel teach in Religion classes at BYU that the idea that the wine in Jesus’ time was not fermented was ludicrous. You have some heavy hitters on your side : )

  22. I would need to see the pictures before I had an opinion on whether your dad should put them up in the living room.

    I think this marginalization that you speak of occurs more than we realize, maybe especially in Utah. Conformity is power.

  23. Indulge me by letting me restate and reiterate what has been said earlier on this thread: this is a personnel issue. In a large unit, social norms play a role in the selection of leaders. In a small unit, crushing need plays a role in selection of leaders. My own experiences bear this out. In my previous ward, which was well staffed, I was marginalized because of my leftist political beliefs. People did not talk to me and I served a long stretch in the nursery–quite enjoyable, actually, but I took the hint. I moved to a small branch and almost immediately I was in charge of it. Yes, I ride my bike to the church for our Wednesday activity/interview night as an environmental statement, but my SUV-driving friends still raise their hands to sustain me in branch conference. During the 04 election, I had a “Re-Defeat Bush” bumper sticker on my car, but my W-backing clerks and I got along just fine.

  24. Boris, tick both sides off and go Libertarian!

    http://www.lp.org

  25. “I was marginalized because of my leftist political beliefs. People did not talk to me and I served a long stretch in the nursery–quite enjoyable, actually, but I took the hint”

    Boris I am surprised they gave you a forum where you could mold such young minds with your communist ideology.

    LOL! just kidding!

  26. Not to push my blog but in July I did a post on a related subject and why I purchased a certain poster.

    http://tomanyquestions.blogspot.com/2005/07/i-just-had-poster-delivered-to-my-door.html

    Many simple nice looking images can lead to troubles and even threats of temple recommends being removed. So being marginalized is a big issue.

  27. Old men that develop an interest in human sexuality that they want to share with wall hangings are justifiably marginalized.

    David J: So are Libertarians.

  28. Fratello Giovanni says:

    “In my previous ward, which was well staffed, I was marginalized because of my leftist political beliefs.”

    I stumbled in to my current ward at the end of 2002. It didn’t help that I was coming off a very difficult year, but all the Iraq talk didn’t help. (You could even say I understood much better how Helmuth Hubener felt in his branch.)

    As such I spent most of 2003 – as well as, to a lesser extent, much of 2004 – feeling somewhat marginalized myself. It got personal, including a Relief Society counselor going into conniptions when I showed her my voter registration card. (The bishop had already assured me I wasn’t the only one polluting the ward – his wife belongs to the same party.)

    To me, incidentally, the notion that “The Prophet will never lead us astray” is tempered by “A prophet is a prophet when he speaks as such.” And I think it applies in a more general sense in any event.

  29. Isn’t it a farce to post something like this at BCC or any of the big three were no real unorthodox discussion is tolerated? They ban anyone who speaks candidly. Now some self righteous fairy will ban me.

  30. Prudence McPrude says:

    Hey Aunti! Say hello to Uncle for me, O.K!

  31. Isn’t it a farce to post something like this at BCC or any of the big three were no real unorthodox discussion is tolerated? They ban anyone who speaks candidly. Now some self righteous fairy will ban me.

    Well then there’s some backlashing blame. It seems to me that if that were the case (the webmasters banning us for the occasional comment that is “outside the box”), why would they post a weblink to Dialogue journal at the front of the website? It goes without saying that the fellas and gellas at Dialogue are more unorthodox (I hate that word) than many of us here, and frankly, Dialogue is good readin’.

    I think it’s things like bad swearing (yes, David J thinks there is good swearing), derogatory (spelling?) personal remarks, and things of that nature that are not tolerated. Am I mistaken?

  32. Sounds about right, David. And there’s unorthodox and there’s nasty.

  33. “I’m really getting tired of the Primary questions (and answers) being put forth in SS.”

    Then stop getting all your answers in SS. SS generally is, frankly, where you should get your basics. That doesn’t preclude you from exploring more nuanced answers on your own. SS anticipates that every member is in a different place and so to reach most of those people, it has to start at a very basic set of facts and doctrines. Maybe the key is to ask the difficult questions in arenas (informal or otherwise) more designed to respond to the more difficult aspects of the gospel. The fact that most members haven’t gone through the same analyses that you have is about as surprising to me as that most of the people you started kindergarten with didn’t make it all the way to a PhD.

    “It’s just funny to me reading all the comments here — the thinkers are the ones who get marginalized, or so it seems.”

    Wow–that’s pretty self-serving. According to you, then, the problem isn’t that you can’t read normal social cues that would tell you that everything you know and every thought you have doesn’t need to be articulated to the group; the problem instead is that people marginalize you because you -gasp- think. Is it possible that the problem lies more with your lack of discretion and less with your ability to “think”? I know plenty of people who have wrestled with deeper doctrinal issues than these but that don’t yell at their bishops and don’t purposefully make difficult comments in SS. Perhaps those who get marginalized aren’t those who “think”, but instead those who haven’t put some effort into deciphering the proper fora for discussing such thought (not to mention the general reading of social cues). Frankly, if it’s marginalization you’re looking for, you may want to look to how you just intimated that everyone not asking difficult questions in SS must not be as smart (or at least as thoughtful) as you.

  34. Wow jimbob, that’s incredibly insightful. Thanks. But I think you missed my sarcasm in the original post, in which case I understand–perhaps there is no place for sarcasm in religious discussion; and you don’t know me. I’m sorry if what I wrote was interpreted by you as something that was self-serving or self-indulgent. I was just noticing the idea that for anyone to “think differently” from the mainstream, jello-eating Mormon was nearly equal to marginalization (ie, the poster, politics, etc. etc.). Also note the conditional clause at the termination of the original post (#20) — “so it seems.”

    Furthermore, I think your definition of “thought” is less semantically restricted than mine given the context of marginalization. In this context, I think “thought” and “thinking” could be construed as “independent thought” (which again, as you pointed out, goes against the ability to decipher social cues)–but again, this is a definition that is derived from context. Most at BCC, by what I’ve read, are sort of “rebellious” when compared to your typical Mormon–and I’ve also noticed a trend that most here also think independently from the established “social cues” or norms which the mainstream culture of the church (inadvertently?) established. So by saying that most here are “thinkers” is my way of saying “independent thinkers,” but I thought that was a given in a discussion of this nature. My bad.

    It’s also difficult when the system asks one to perform a teaching function on a weekly basis and to avoid fielding questions of a “questionable” nature when they arise. To me that goes against rational thought and courtesy; I’ve had teachers that shoot people down when they ask loopy questions, even when the teacher could have fielded some form of answer or even speculation that would have aided the student’s misunderstanding or confusion. I actually applaud my class when they ask the difficult and abstract, even when the answer is (as is often the case) “I don’t know.” So at times, people get shot down because they thought independently or outside the social cues and norms, and they phrased their independent thought in the form of a question or comment in class. Sometimes that form of behavior (read: independent thought) causes marginalization. Again, note the conditional: “sometimes.”

  35. David J.,

    Here’s what I’m saying, on a more personal level: I think it’s fair to say that I know most of the historical, theoretical, and theological problems with our history, theory and theology. By no means to I claim to be an expert, but I am conversant in most difficult Mormon issues. I also know many who are similarly situated. Every now and again we get together and discuss, e.g., the doctrinal difficulties found Wilford Woodruff’s diaries or how the ex cathedra theory applies to the prophet. Under your definition, I probably am an “independent thinker” (unless independent thinker necessarily equates to revisionist Mormon). But I can’t ever recall yelling at my bishop over a matter of policy or doctrine or correcting my SS teacher for not pointing out that Joseph Smith was a wildcat banker in Ohio who lost the saints a lot of money. I don’t see GD as the forum for that, and wonder why anyone else would either. My problem (to the extent I have one at all) with your “independent thinking”, is its apparent lack of discretion as to when to bring–and with whom–these difficult subjects up. That is, I see the problem we’re discussing as having very little to do with independent thought, and much to do with the need to be recognized as someone who has independent thought. And, again, the intimation of your post is that if you are an independent thinker, you undoubtedly have yelled at your bishop or scoffed at a narrow-minded GD teacher. My guess is that there are lots of “independent thinkers” that you’re not giving credit to in the church who don’t feel a need to do either. (Also, on a very personal note, I both enjoy Jello and “think differently.”)

  36. Seth Rogers says:

    David J.,

    It’s not that there’s no room for sarcasm in religious discussion.

    It’s just that there typically isn’t much room for sarcasm on the internet. Even 15 year old boys discussing Pokemon cards on the internet can tell you that sarcasm rarely translates well to a written format for 99.99% of the population.

    You’re better off saying what you mean in print and leave the sarcasm for cocktail parties (or even occasionally Sunday School … maybe).

  37. “They ban anyone who speaks candidly. ”

    As a permablogger at M*, I can’t recall ever banning anyone. We did chase off a zealous EV who couldn’t stop posting long off-topic sermons every time he commented, and the occasional F-bomb gets deleted. But we haven’t banned anyone that I’m aware of.

  38. leave the sarcasm for cocktail parties

    VIRGIN cocktail parties, right? :)

  39. by the intimation of your post… you undoubtedly have yelled at your bishop

    No, I never have. I don’t recall posting that I did. Sorry if that’s what your intimation about my post lead you to believe. He’s rebuked me in his office, but there wasn’t any yelling. For me, “rebuke” doesn’t imply yelling (the OED would agree with that). He understands my level of study and research and just asked me not to allow the class to go in certain directions, but he didn’t challenge what was said. Again, it was just the wine issue, and ancient Near Eastern oenology (or viticulture) is sort of a hobby of mine, and felt I wasn’t stepping on anyone’s toes by answering the question as frankly as I did. But some people didn’t like the answer.

    You’re right, SS isn’t the place for discussing the wine that Jesus drunk or other things of that nature, even if the question comes up. And I told my bishop after his rebuke that I would do my best not field questions of that nature anymore. Now I just avoid them with a smile or a quizzical shirk. Again, you’re right. My bad–and the bishop let me know that, and there wasn’t any yelling.

  40. porter rockwell says:

    FWIW someone who has so little self control that he “explodes” at his bishop has issues. In all your apparant deep understanding of cutting edge doctrines, you seem to have missed the part about modeling our behaviour after Christ and being kind to one another, and “exploding” at anyone, be it the Bishop.. or a cop who pulled you over for speeding is rather imature.. and.. ironically, you marginalize your own temper in your post.

    And I agree with the poster who thinks a middle aged guy who feels the desire to share his glorification of sex with the world SHOULD be marginalized. Sex is great, and a natural part of humanity, but so is relieving yourself of painful gas and bloating. (For the most part) I choose to fart in private. Just ’cause it is natural doesn’t mean it belongs on the front room wall (or in the front room air).

    Note that every human, even the most enlightended loving soul marginalize people every day.. (a normal) adult(s) simply interact with far to many people every day to have every single one “non-marginalized” or for lack of a better word.. top of mind. Every single person subconsciously marginalizes other humans.. you can’t give top billing in your head to the girl handing over your lunch at Wendys every day. You may marginalize Rush Limbaugh when you skip across him on your car radio when searching for a station because of his politics.. You may marginalize the migrant laborers working on landscaping around your office because they don’t speak english… and as a result you may not have any easy way to establish a relationship with them. You may marginalize your wife when she call you at work and you are late for an important meeting.

    Is not your choosing to argue with your Sunday School teacher marginalizing her or him? Why is your point any more important than the point they won’t get to later in the lesson because they run out of time because you choose to take up the classes time to pursue your own question, which (may or) may not interest the rest of the class.

    It happens.. it is part of the way we orgnanize our world in our head… so if someone marginalizes you, get over it, move on, stop looking to be offended.

    I find your post odd in that you mention that you attend PEC and Bishopric meetings, do you have a calling that calls for this.. or do you just feel compelled to attend. In my world, SEEKING OUT extra meetings to attend is a very odd behaviour. I barely make the ones I am supposed to attend.

  41. Seth Rogers says:

    The only people who are supposed to be at both meetings are: Bishop, his counselors, Exec. Sec., and the head Ward Clerk. But different Bishops may not always follow the handbook exactly.

    Anyway, I think there’s a fine line to tread in SS. I agree that some topics are better left to personal study (the wine thing for example) since they don’t really address anything fundamental or central in the religious life of those present.

    But sometimes a topic is a bit more important. For example, we discussed riches in SS a few weeks ago. The teacher asked what “wealth” means.

    Now, I could have launched into a big diatribe about how riches tend to lead us to pride and such as well as challenging the typical Mormon dismissal of the wealth problem (“oh it’s just the LOVE of money that corrupts, not money itself.”). It’s been on my mind, and I think that Mormons really don’t worry enough about how wealth tends to corrupt MOST people. I’ve got lots of scriptural ammo.

    Sure, it would have woken up the class a bit. Probably would have elicited some irritated responses. Maybe I would have been seen negatively by some in the class for rocking the boat.

    But I didn’t do it. Instead I just commented “You know who’s rich? Anybody with more money than me!”

    Everyone chuckled at that. Some also nodded thoughtfully in agreement. I heard a few mutter “isn’t that the truth!”

    Mission accomplished. Everyone got a bit of substance to chew on and I didn’t look like (or act like) a jerk.

    My point is not self-glorification. I’ve also fallen on my face miserably in SS before (and looked very much like a jerk). The point is that sometimes the in-your-face approach isn’t really productive or called for. Sometimes a bit of humor, or a well restrained, thoughtful remark can serve much better.

    I repeat. Sometimes a person’s marginalization has nothing to do with a single remark in SS or a fashion statement in Sac. Mtg (although many delude themselves that this is the case). Sometimes it’s just due to the fact that you are generally a jerk to people.

  42. Bob Caswell says:

    Well, well, I must say that it’s time to back the truck up here. I know Logan very well and have a deep understanding of his dealings with others inside the Church. Sometimes our preconceived notions of what constitutes “vocal disagreement” or “indignation” can muddy the waters. But to think Logan is seeking out extra meetings? His situations have been unique in that at different points in time he has had around five callings simultaneously putting him – at times – in a position to offer insight about his ward’s situation that the bishop and many others do not see. He sacrifices his own time to show up to meetings for the hope of improving the ward, and he vocally disagrees with the best interests of others in mind. This, I think, is at least a little Christlike. Let’s not forget that the first half of the New Testament is Jesus ruffling feathers to help those around him.

    And another thing, what’s with the extremely negative references to “old” or “middle aged” men? Talk about marginalization, sheesh. So “young” men are ok on this one? Or is it women that are ok? Developing an interest in human sexuality through wall paintings is obviously fine for some people; otherwise commenters wouldn’t feel the need to specifically condemn it of certain men. They would have just used the word “people.”

    Ironically, Logan’s question about marginalization is indirectly answered here. He’s been lucky till now…

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