Friday, January 23, 2015

"How in the world in the 21st century is a church asking people not to talk openly about things?"

I struggle to always express things gracefully and diplomatically; regardless, along with Thomas Jefferson "I have sworn upon the altar of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." So this quote from John Dehlin on the Salt Lake Tribune's "Trib Talk" really resonated with me:

"How in the world in the 21st century is a church asking people not to talk openly about things? And I want to be really clear about something. People say that I'm talking openly about my doubts and disbelief and giving voice to doubters because I'm trying to tear people away from the church. That is so wrong. I'm a mental health professional. I'm a few months away from getting my PhD in clinical and counseling psychology. I counsel Mormons everyday. And what I can tell you is that, by far, probably one of the most damaging aspects of Mormon culture is the fact that they need to keep things hidden, they keep things secret, and they can't openly discuss what they think and what they feel. I think this leads to depression, I think it leads to anxiety, I think it leads ostracization and marginalization, and I think it can even lead to suicide and things more serious. And so it is totally unacceptable for a church leader to say to me "you can support same-sex marriage but you can't speak openly about your support", "you can support Ordain Women but don't ever tell anybody", "you can have doubts, but you can't speak openly about those doubts." I think that's a recipe for mental illness and sadness, and frankly, it doesn't engender a community that's meaningful where people are able to share their heart and their soul with each other. It's not going to be a backbone for the church culturally that's going to lead to vibrance and vitality when an organization like the church starts to use sort of Stalinist techniques or Maoist techniques to clamp down on information, to prevent people from talking, to punish people if they speak openly. That leads to the death of community, to conscience, to people's mental health and well-being, and I would much rather be disciplined than violate my conscience."

29:05--30:31 minute mark

*Also relevant is the story of Sterling McMurrin and David O. McKay: See "Heretical Beliefs and Feeling Welcome in the Church"