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Posted by: Inspired Stupidity ( )
Date: July 22, 2013 06:23PM

I just listened to the Mormon Stories interview with Hans Mattsson. I was struck by, among other things, the general authorities' reply to his suggestion that the church should apologize for having mislead its members on so many topics. They said that the church never publicly admits its errors or apologizes. As Gordon Hinckley once said, why should we get obsessed over "those little flecks of history?"

I personally know that the church never says "I'm sorry." I went on a mission that went horribly wrong. The church finally figured that out and replaced the mission and the regional leadership. But despite two appeals by friends to apostles, they never reached out to the missionaries who suffered through that hell. The result was that several of those missionaries went home thinking they were failures and unable to forgive themselves for what they had done under orders from their church leaders. I also have two immediate family members who were badly mistreated by a branch president on the East Coast. An older friend contacted a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, who instructed the area authority to order the branch president to stop his abuse. But when we asked that the church tell the local congregation that my relatives had done nothing wrong, the Seventy refused on the grounds that the church never publicly admits its errors.

I wondered about that. The church teaches little children that repentence requires restitution, which in the case of public mistakes requires public correction. And here the malefactors included a branch president, the stake president who protected him, and the area authority and Seventy who had responsibility over the branch in question. Those men knowingly left a family's reputation in disrepair, making them suffer isolation and alienation from their friends in what was a very small and closed community. The consequences ultimately included a lost job, a divorce and several severely troubled children. Surely that intentional refusal to offer restitution was sin, especially since it was perfectly obvious that the reputational damage would over time bring more concrete harm. How can those church leaders not see themselves as personally responsible for these wrongs? Why do they feel no need, as individuals, to repent?

But the refusal to apologize is much broader than my little clan. The church still refuses to apologize for its institutional racism, or for its condemnation of interracial marriages, or for the discrimination that some parts of the church still impose on children of mixed race. There has never been any public statement that black people were just as valient in the pre-existence as white people. Nor has there been an apology for the horrific mistreatment of gays, Lesbians and others of complex sexual orientation despite the fact that the church's past policies literally tortured people (in the electrotherapy rooms at BYU) and killed people (like Stuart Matis) who struggled to be something other than what God made them. The absence of an apology means that the harm will continue for years, even decades, to come.

What the church fails to recognize is that an organization that does not publicly acknowledge and apologize for its mistakes is by nature irresponsible. Through its silence it leaves in place ideas, behaviors, and prejudices that continue to inflict damage on innocent people. And the men who impose that silence, knowing full well the cost of their decisions, are evil. They fail to adhere to the promises they made when they were baptised at age eight and therefore have no place in God's church let alone in its leadership.

The truth, which Gordon Hinckley and Thomas Monson refused to see, is that those "little flecks of history" are actually human beings.

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Posted by: sstone ( )
Date: July 22, 2013 06:32PM

The answer is really very simple. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a personality disorder. They don't care how they hurt others as long as they can see themselves as good and right. So anything, like an apology, that would actually force them to go through some form of introspection is seen as a threat.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/22/2013 06:33PM by sstone.

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Posted by: Carol Y. ( )
Date: July 22, 2013 07:25PM

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Posted by: vh65 ( )
Date: July 22, 2013 07:26PM

Practicing the repentance they preach could strengthen the LDS church. I for one have a lot more respect for the Catholic church based on their efforts to deal openly and humbly with the pedofile priest acandals.

So sorry to hear about your family. My grandparents were bible scholars and wrote a book that was not well received by "the bretheren," though David O McKay apparently had a correspondence with my grandma that removed some of the sting. The family was treated "differently" after that, in their small southern Utah town and I believe it affected their 6 kids - not as badly as your relatives, perhaps, but it made it hard for my parents to date and a couple of his sibling were pretty "lost" for much of their lives. While it may be a positive force in many lives Mormonism can also be toxic. Apologizing occasionally might help but they never admit fault. They are missing out on the best part of Christianity - repentance. I truly believe that, and I no longer consider myself Christian.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/22/2013 07:35PM by vh65.

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Posted by: thankfullynotamo ( )
Date: July 22, 2013 08:15PM

Don't the Mormons have a saying, "The Church is perfect, the members are not"?

I think that explains a lot...

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Posted by: jpt ( )
Date: July 22, 2013 08:53PM

when they can just overtly lie about it? No need to apologize that way:

Alexander Morrison of the Seventy, Sep 2000 Ensign, "How grateful I am that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has from its beginnings stood strongly against racism in any of its malignant manifestations."

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Posted by: Inspired Stupidity ( )
Date: July 22, 2013 09:32PM

Jpt, you are right in describing the church's approach: lying rather than apologizing. But--and I'm pretty sure you wouldn't disagree--the days in which that worked are long gone. In my opinion the two things that have changed with the internet are, first, the fact that all lies are exposed; and, second, people like me and vh65 can now commiserate over injuries our families have experienced at the church's hands. I think people underestimate the degree to which the personal stories and the emotions they convey have affect the church and its reputation.

vh65, perhaps the Mormon church will learn to imitate the Catholics' new (and limited) honesty. I'm not sure that would help either institution, since apologizing for horrible sins is an indirect admission. Perhaps the internet has changed things so much that the churches ultimately have no choice but to acknowledge the truth. But maybe that is not a winning strategy in trying to build a religious movement. Maybe the institutions needed secrecy and dishonesty and nothing can save their claims to represent God. It does not, for example, appear that honesty about child abuse has resulted in a flood of new converts to Catholicism.

But the situation is a different matter on a personal level. Regardless of institutional politics, if those Mormon or Catholic leaders are believers, if they really think there is a God who will hold them responsible for their knowing sins, then surely they feel a need to repent for their errors and those of their subordinates. How can a person tell himself that God will forgive him if he throws innocent people to the wolves? Part of the answer is probably the Second Anointing, which is effectively a license to lie, steal cheat, or sin in the interests of the church. I suspect that was one of the reasons Joseph introduced the ordinance to those whom he dragged into polygamy: "don't worry, you're already guaranteed a place in heaven." the Danites probably also took some comfort from the ritual.

But a lot of today's Mormon leaders are too low-ranking to have received the Second Anointing. For them, I truly wonder how they sleep at night. What is it about serving the church that makes them impervious to the promptings of their consciences? Do they have consciences?

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Posted by: azsteve ( )
Date: July 23, 2013 01:31AM

If the church were to actually carry out the six steps of repentance that many of us taught in the mission field. There would be nothing left of the church afterward. 1.) recognize that they've done something wrong. 2.) feel genuine sorrow for displeasing the lord. 3.) confess the sin 4.) ask forgiveness 5.) make restitution 6.) forsake the sin. The narcissism would prevent step number one. Feeling sorrow would mean they would have to change their ways. Confessing their fraud and abuse to the world would pretty much prove that god doesn't speak to the church after all. Asking forgiveness isn't feasible when they won't admit they're wrong in the first place. Restitution is the big one. They would have to liquidate the cult's assets and stop accepting tithing. Forsaking their sin would put a complete stop to the cash flow. So don't expect them to repent any time soon. Thirty years after coming home from my mission and I can still remember those steps. I don't think the church leaders even know why I left, even though I explained it in my resignation letter. An organization like that won't last.

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Posted by: lucky ( )
Date: July 23, 2013 01:35AM

Gordon "B.S." Hinckley was way too busy LYING and insulting people to apologize for anything.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/23/2013 03:25PM by lucky.

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Posted by: DonQuijote ( )
Date: July 23, 2013 01:53AM

They also made it clear that they regretted what happened at Mountain Meadows, but were in no way apologizing for it or taking responsibility.

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Posted by: Inspired Stupidity ( )
Date: July 23, 2013 05:28AM

1) We are gathered here at Mountain Meadows to memorialize those scores of people who lost their lives so tragically some 160 years ago. It was a really unfortunate turn of events and we, both the Mormon church and the descendants of the families of the dead, should never forget what happened here... Now let us move on, putting these obscure historical events behind us, and in the spirit of mutual forgiveness resume our more important work of spreading the gospel.

2) Isn't it wonderful, isn't it marvelous that in 1978 the Lord God revealed that the time had come to treat black people as equal children of God--as long as they don't try to date or marry white folk? We don't know why or when the priesthood ban was imposed but those days are past and we are all united in brotherhood now--so long as they don't try to marry our women.

3) What a pity that Stuart Matis committed suicide. Did you know that our church has a gay website? Gays are perfectly welcome here, assuming that they don't do gay things or talk to people about cheerful topics... Stuart appeared to be a faithful, committed Mormon from a strong home, but something was obviously wrong... You know, sometimes things in families are not quite what they appear. Maybe his mother...

Why can't the world put the blame where it belongs--on rude wagon train parties and angry Indians, the communist-infiltrated Black Power Movement and a God who can't make up his mind, and mothers and fathers--but mainly mothers--who are so tender and loving that they raise girly boys? Why does everybody try to hold the church accountable for the mistakes made by these others?

It's lonely at the top.

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Posted by: snowball ( )
Date: July 23, 2013 10:09AM

I think they realize that if the leadership apologizes, and admits to an error that it opens them up to questioning on the front end later.

The leaders would then ask people to do something--say donate to an anti-gay marriage campaign, and the person would say: "I think this is just like the policy mistreating people with dark skin. I'm not going to do it. The prophet is just speaking as a man, and I believe God would approach this differently."

Admission or error would empower ordinary people way too much for their taste.

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Posted by: Chicken N. Backpacks ( )
Date: July 23, 2013 02:03PM

Corporations that have a faulty product certainly don't want the information to get out until a lawsuit forces them, and then they employ an army of lawyers to spin it and minimize the impact.

TSCC gets the extra layer of protection because it's a "church"...

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