Is primary always manipulative?

rainwriter jAN. 2013

I've been in the primary for 2 Sundays, so I know that what I've observed could be the exception for our ward rather than the rule, but I'm somehow doubting that. I've seen 4 adults in the primary cry while testifying of the truthfulness of something, which at first doesn't seem like a big deal. But when it happens each week, it's clear that it's not only teaching the kids that emotions equate the spirit, but is also very emotionally manipulative.

They've also been praised for "feeling the spirit," when asked by the crying music director if they could feel it.

The ward is having an "incentive" for the kids to all pass off their articles of faith memorization so they can earn an ice cream sundae party. Not only does everyone in the senior primary (8-12) have to pass them off, the junior primary (3-8) have to repeat them all back. Again, not so bad on the surface, but in practice it's teaching the kids to do something spiritual for the wrong reasons, putting a tangible value on the knowledge/skill, and using peer pressure to keep kids in line with what the adults want. To add to the "holy crap, everyone's gonna be mad at me if I don't do it because then it'll be my fault that they don't get their ice cream," panic, they've also decided to combine the activity with the other ward that shares the building and have the party together, so anyone who doesn't want to/can't/whatever will worry that they're the cause of _both_ wards not getting the party they earned.

Has primary always been designed to be so manipulative, or am I just in a weird ward? (I don't remember this kind of thing in the ward where we taught primary right after we were married.)

Re: Is primary always manipulative?
Yes, primary is always manipulative. It teaches young impressionable children to bear testimony of something that's untrue, obey church leaders, etc. Not all of them have as much crying or ice cream parties as rewards like yours, but the simple fact of the subject matter and that it is being imposed on children makes it disturbing.

Re: Is primary always manipulative?
Oh yes, we also had a comment by the sharing-time presentor, after talking about how much Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to live with him again, "But do you think that if a person makes bad choices all of their lives that they'll get to live with Heavenly Father again? No, they won't, so you have to make good choices." Ouch, way to teach unconditional love with conditions.

Re: Is primary always manipulative?
Yes it is. I believe the way that it is most manipulative is in the songs that the children are taught. Many of the songs have repetitive phrases. Maybe those phrases make it easier for the kids to learn the song, but it is also a way to drill a teaching into a child's brain.

Do you think they could squeeze the word "prophet" in the song "Follow the Prophet" one more time?

Here's just the chorus:

Follow the prophet, follow the prophet, follow the prophet, don't go astray. Follow the prophet, follow the prophet, follow the prophet he knows the way.

Another song that I can think of that is very similar to that one is "Keep the Commandments."

Keep the commandments. Keep the commandments. In this there is safety, in this there is peace. He will send blessings. He will send blessings. Words of a prophet. Keep the commandments. In this there is safety and peace.

Re: Is primary always manipulative?
I taught a leson to my then 6 year old 2 years ago. It was about the plan of salvation. I was so outraged about the lesson diagram that I took a picture of it.

It showed a cake-like diagram with steps, faith, repentance, baptism, confirmation and at the top? thue ultimate step? endure to the end? nope
follow jesus? nope
go to heaven? nope
it was "follow the prophet"

The lesson assured and asked me to testify that if we do what the prophet says our lives will be happy and we will go to heaven. But it is very imprtant that we do exactly as we are told.

So they have COMPLETELY changed the gospel, now you are done trying and thinking the sunday following your 8th birthday.

Re: Is primary always manipulative?
Wow, that's really indicative of how "the prophet" has replaced "the teachings of Jesus / Jesus".

That's a scary cult tactic if there ever was one!

Re: Is primary always manipulative?
I believe Pavlov did similar experiments with a dog and a bell.

Re: Is primary always manipulative?
This is the new Mormon doctrine:
You no longer need personal revelation, the only revelation you need is that the BOM is true, from there everything is implied, including complete obedience to the prophet. Once this is accepted you will never need to find out for yourself if anything is true, beucase any claim made by the church or its representatives rests of your faith to accept the prophet. Now that this is established, you have to understand that Jesus will no longer be talking to you, he only talks to Tom Monson, so if you want to know what jesus wants you to do listen to him or one of his employees.

And thus mormonism, as a doctrine dies. The whole thing was based on the law of common consent/personal revelation/seeking our your own salvation- that every person had the right to receive revelation of each principle and live by it or reject it,now it is all dumbed down to a simple bow your head and do as you are told forever, you will learn the details later.

Re: Is primary always manipulative?

Re: Is primary always manipulative?
Young minds are literally rewiring their physical structures in response to the environments they encounter. Babies are born with many more possible "brain connections" than necessary -- some get strengthened, others are trimmed away as the child encounters the world.

That's why our childhood experiences and traumas are so powerful and lasting. It is also why we need to be so mindful of how our children are raised. Every society places great value on the education (or indoctrination) of the young.

It's very serious business.

The fact is that the Mormon church is literally molding young minds to fit its needs.


Re: Is primary always manipulative?
I'm BIC, and rainwater, I just had flashbacks to my days in primary. Wow, talk about indoctrination at its finest!


Re: Is primary always manipulative?
Kinda offtopic, but kinda related.

You know what pissed me off when I was in primary?

When they would get up and say "we have a special treat for you". Then instead of candy it would be some boring guest speaker.

nomo moses
Re: Is primary always manipulative?
Although I had other issues, my aha moment to leave the church was during the primary program. I suddenly recognized the indoctrination.
Re: Is primary always manipulative?
Imagine a room full of young children singing this:

Follow the prophet, follow the prophet,
Follow the prophet; don't go astray.
Follow the prophet, follow the prophet,
Follow the prophet he knows the way.

could it possibly be any more manipulative?

Re: Is primary always manipulative?
I HATED that! Treat meant candy or a cookie, GD-it!

Re: Is primary always manipulative?
I also have a problem with the songs almost always being sung in first-person. Examples include: "I love to see the temple, I'm going there someday," "Jesus wants me for a sunbeam," "I will follow God's plan for me," "I am a child of God," and so on.

Little children (and adults, during sacrament hymns, for that matter) are being forced to repeat phrases about themselves that aren't true, but because of all that repetition it is ingrained into their minds. Of course, the church doesn't want you singing "The prophet says mormons should want to see the temple," the "I" and "me" falsely makes it seem like the singer is convinced that what he or she is singing is true.

Re: Is primary always manipulative?
Here's the thing: OTHER churches believe in the teachings of Jesus--but LDS is the only one with a real live prophet. So kids being taught that Jesus's teachings are all-important could learn to be quite at home in another Christian church--one that doesn't demand 10% of your gross income and lets you wear whatever undies you want and lets you drink anything you like.

Re: Is primary always manipulative?
I just finished a book by alfie Kohn called Punished by Rewards. He cites plenty of studies that say that children who are bribed to do something with the promiseof the reward end up not liking what they do, remember it less and feel controlled.

heh heh! Bring on the incentive programs!!!!

Oh, and later you have to up the incentives to get the now older kids to do stuff.

Re: Is primary always manipulative? 

Re: Is primary always manipulative?
I like this song better:

John Butler's "Hand of the Almighty". Hilarious.

Re: Is primary always manipulative?
I have spent probably 8 of the last 10 years in Primary in every capacity from chorister, president, pianist, teacher, and counselor. We were taught at training meetings to create opportunities for the children to feel the spirit. As a teacher, I taught the kids turning 10 the year we were teaching about church history. During the lesson on JS's death, I got all choked up. It wasn't fake, I really felt it. I actually cringe now, and hope like hell that my "testimony" during that lesson wasn't one of the defining points in my students' lives. The spirit was very powerful in the classroom, every eye was on me, nobody was goofing off, and you could have a heard a pin drop. I'd love to see every one of those young men and young ladies walk away from the church.

Yes, why would it be less manipulative than TSCC as a whole? 

It should be a book...The Conditions of Unconditional Love 

Primary was always manipulative, but it's getting worse & worse year in, year out. 

Re: Is primary always manipulative?
"Fold yer arms, Breedum, and be REVERENT".

"Bow yer head, Breedum, and be obedient".

"Open yer wallet, Breedum, and pay".

No kidding; I was paying tithing from the piggy bank.

~Lawn Mowing and other Scams~

Re: Is primary always manipulative?
I've read this too and agree that he is spot on. If you have kids, his Unconditional Parenting is also a good read.

Re: Is primary always manipulative?
I'm honestly contemplating asking to be released. (Well, I was already thinking about it anyway because of time limitations with school and homework and my family, but this is for an entirely different reason.) I'll give it another couple of weeks to get a full month of observation in just in case these last two weeks are the exceptions. If they're the rule, though, I'm not comfortable being a part of that. A less than 5 minute lesson in the nursery is no big deal, and I can handle sitting through normal meetings, but I don't want to be a part of teaching those standards to kids.

Re: Is primary always manipulative?
Yes. Even though I'd lost my testimony, I was still hanging around the ward to fulfill a calling I thought I needed to keep. But when my daughter came close to primary age, I pulled her from church before I left. I couldn't stand the thought of her learning those songs about going on missions and following the profit. I couldn't do that to her.

"Recovery from Mormonism -"