Subject: Church leaders defining emotions for others?
Date: Nov 14 13:29 2002
Author: smo

By way of introduction:

I am relatively new to posting here, although I’ve lurked around for almost a year. I have posted a couple of times under this name, but I’ve also posted under other names. In the interest of full disclosure, the other names that I remember are: pro-choice mormon (now pro-choice ex-mormon), a teacher, cnn junkie, and I voted today! I may have used other names, but these are the only ones I remember.

Additionally, I would like to apologize for further fueling the abortion debate that raged on the board a couple of days ago. I, like so many others, find the abortion debate compelling and emotional. However, I recognize that I ultimately contributed to continuing a debate that engendered harsh feelings and words, that wasn’t particularly constructive for either side, and that may have been better suited to another forum.

Finally, I have posted my story on the Biography and Story board for those who may want to know more about me.

That said…

I am curious to see if others have experienced anything similar the following situation. When I was in high school, I attended seminary for two years. Our seminary provided several firesides throughout the year. At one fireside held outdoors in a lovely private garden, my sister and I sat together. Growing up, my sister and I were very close (in terms of age and affection). At this fireside, we sat near each other on a blanket on the grass. We took turns leaning against each other and generally trying to make each other comfortable as we listened to the presentation. At the end of the fireside, I felt a surge of love for my sister as I reflected on the evening and on how much my sister was a dear friend to me.

Here’s what bothered me: As I left the fireside, my seminary teacher approached me. He told me how great he thought it was that I had “felt the Spirit so strongly.” Having just thought about how I had felt a surge of sisterly love, my seminary teacher’s re-defining of the experience was rather jarring. I felt like he was defining, circumscribing, and interpreting my feelings for me. My first response was surprise. I was not emotionally or spiritually close to this man. He knew relatively little about me. However, he felt it was appropriate for him to explain my own feelings to me.

I have had other experiences where church leaders, male and female, took it upon themselves to define my emotions for me. Sometimes I went along with them. Other times I was struck by how different their interpretations were from my own. Part of my journey out of the Mormon church involved taking responsibility for my own feelings (and their consequences). I believe that throughout my childhood years, my church leaders and teachers were trying to convince me to give them (and, by extension, the church) the control to define who I am AND what I can feel. (I am not saying they intended to do this.)

Did anyone else have similar thoughts or experiences?

Subject: sure did!
Date: Nov 14 13:37
Author: msmom

that sounds like a lovely moment with your sister, ldsism aside!

I was a newly temple married tbm and the missionaries invited me and drdad to visit someone to whom they were giving the discussions.

They showed the film strip (ok, it was a LONG time ago, pre video era!) "Man's search for happiness." At the end, the nice old man is reunited with his wife in heaven.

You feel all warm, fuzzy and happy for the guy (though interestingly, you feel nothing one way or the other for the woman, but I digress, but I may be on to something. Uh where was I?)

Right, so you feel nice and the missionaries say, "That warm feeling you are experiencing is the holy ghost witnessing to you that our message is true." Even as a tbm I thought it was deceitful!

As if the church owned all emotions. Anger - that's satan. Happiness - that's the holy ghost telling you the church is true, ANY TIME you feel it.

Emotion stealing cult!

Subject: It is part of the basic missionary training program
Date: Nov 14 13:43
Author: Søvnløsener - Insomniac

called the commitment pattern.

Anytime an investigator feels a positive feeling it is the missionaries' job to point out that this is indeed The Spirit(tm) prompting you to 'Choose The Right'(tm).

Insidious Mind Manipulation.

Subject: I'm told that they've gotten rid of the commitment pattern
Date: Nov 14 14:07
Author: Tyson Dunn

It's a development in the last two years, but essentially too few missionaries were able to customize it, instead using it in a "literal" fashion in far too many situations.

However, I am sure that "identifying the presence of the Spirit" is still around - because that was part of the discussions, which have not changed.


Subject: What?????? But the commitment pattern . . .
Date: Nov 14 14:50
Author: Schweizerkind

was Alvin R. Dyer's great innovation for the European Mission in 1960! It was the key to harvesting the field which was was ripe! Oh -- I forgot -- (see: Ballard, Dyer and Missionaries)

It-never-did-work-at-least-in-Switzerland-ly yours,


Subject: It's amazing how many people WANT that.
Date: Nov 14 14:04
Author: Eve of Destruction

How many times have TBMs asked how to know the difference between their own thoughts, conscience, inspiration, revelation, the Light of Christ, the influence of the Holy Ghost, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and all those other terms. Instead of looking inward and deciding for themselves where the thought came from, instead of deciding that if the thought is a good one it doesn't really matter where it came from, they turn to someone else--a bishop, a seminary teacher, whoever, and ask that person to define their own feelings for them.

Subject: Oh yes! This is the only way they can explain Mormon 10:5 to...
Date: Nov 14 14:13
Author: dimmesdale

all those people who study and pray and never receive that "witness."

It's troubling to the faithful to notice other active and righteous members questioning their faith because they havnen't received any "burning" or "still small voice."

So they have to grab any "feeling" and reign it in and decorate it as a "testimony."

Recovery from Mormonism -   

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