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.
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.
Sola Scriptura is the idea that scripture is the only authority for doctrine and for resolving questions of faith. It’s common in protestant sects, but it’s also embraced by fundamentalist-minded Latter-day Saints and Mormons. Our version of sola scriptura manifests itself in conversations like these:
Church leadership: we are announcing a new policy on accessing church computer systems in meetinghouses.
Critic: I don’t see any revelation in the scriptures on that! Show me in the D&C where we have a revelation on church computer systems!
“Follow the Prophet” is a phrase that many people have come to regard as quaint or childish. In fact, it is the exact opposite. It’s not a commitment that anyone should be unclear about; it’s a deep and intelligent and mature commitment for people who are spiritually serious.
Church members often seem to get discouraged and doubtful over the prospect of their exaltation. It’s time for us to transition to thinking about this concept in ways that are more energizing and hopeful.
Preference falsification is when someone publicly expresses a preference that they do not really hold. The phrase “virtue signaling” arose to describe a form of preference falsification; progressives tend to voice loud support for cultural transformations in the direction of diversity and inclusion, for example. But when Hollywood creates movies that align with these professed values, progressives do not actually go to see those movies. “Go woke, go broke” is just a way of saying progressives claim to want things, but when presented with those things they claim to want, they do not choose those things.
Is it possible for our church congregations to accommodate people who don’t believe in our doctrines or sacred history?
What should our congregations do — and avoid doing — in response to people’s struggles with faith?
Are there differences in male and female spaces when it comes to questioning and commentary?
What did President Oaks mean when he said that “research is not the answer?”
Seeker-sensitivity is way of doing church that was developed among some Christian communities in the 1970s. In this presentation, we discuss that trend and explore the question of what are realistic possibilities for accommodating seekers among Latter-day Saints.