What happens when our empathy is high, but our knowledge is low? or in reverse, what happens when our empathy is low and knowledge is high?
Data is not the same thing as narrative information, and narrative information is not the same as knowledge. These are very important distinctions that indicate our level of knowledge. Where we map onto this chart has immense consequences for our church experiences, our gospel conversations, our ability to relate to others, and our ability to appreciate the decisions of church leadership.
In this presentation, we explore these questions and discuss some examples of issues and influencers.
When in 2013 Elder Uchtdorf encouraged us to doubt our doubts before we doubt our faith, that was a call to self-awareness. If I’m doubting a gospel principle or a narrative of our sacred history, then what do I personally bring to that equation? Let’s explore things that all of us bring: assumptions, worldview, epistemology, and bias.
Anchored Narratives is a 1993 book written by psychologists who were trying to understand wrongful convictions in courts of law. The authors examined 35 examples of dubious and clearly-wrongful convictions, trying to figure out how prosecutors manipulate judges and juries into accepting false narratives about people.
What do hiring decisions indicate about the organizations that enact them? For many organizations, hiring decisions don’t carry any particular weight beyond measures of employee competence. For religious organizations, however, alignment with a religious mission is critical.
Latter-day Saints do not believe any of their leaders are infallible, and the same goes for church employees. However, there is a meaningful distinction in perceptions between called leaders who help direct the Church, and hired employees who execute the instructions of those leaders.
There is controversy in the news with several former church members who have been strongly influenced by the book Visions of Glory. In this presentation, we explore some questions around that book and its genre, which is called apocalyptic.
There’s a quote from Jonathan Haidt’s “The Happiness Hypothesis” that has haunted me ever since I read it many years ago:
As in Plato, Christian love is love stripped of its essential particularity, its focus on a specific other person. Love is remodeled into a general attitude toward a much larger, even infinite class of objects. Caritas and agape are beautiful, but they are not related to or derived from the kinds of love that people need. Although I would like to live in a world in which everyone radiates benevolence toward everyone else, I would rather live in a world in which there was at least one person who loved me specifically, and whom I loved in return. (emphasis added)
I have long and easily felt God’s love in the general sense, “stripped of its essential particularity”. I know that God is good, and because God is good He treats everyone kindly and patiently. Of this I have no doubt. But am I loved, in particular? I know the answer is yes, but I have long struggled to actually feel that love.