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In continuing our series “The Human Mormon Mind,” I had talked with Michael Barker and Mica McGriggs about the three related concepts of Groupthink, Pluralistic Ignorance and Religious Cults (Dr. Sheldon Greaves chimed in on the last topic as a scholar of religion). We discuss the ways in which our thinking and willingness to share our honest observations and thoughts are affected by the group dynamics in the world at large and in Mormonism, both at church and online.
As with the other parts of this series we draw topics and cursory explanations from David McRaney’s two books You are Not so Smart, and You are now Less Dumb.
Just listening to this episode and have observed this behavior in both Church and Business Settings. Some of the motivations are the same right, at work, I want my job, I want a raise, I don’t ruffle feathers. At church, I feel like I’m not supporting my leader which is ‘bad form’. I’ve never, personally, understood this, but I don’t think I’m the same.
But, the idea of councils is that we do have this varying of opinion. I have been in many councils at both Ward and Stake level that felt very much like a rubber stamp of the leader message. However, that is not always the case. I’ve seen many women who will question, what I’d call some minor mansplaining, also input as to why something a man thinks is a good idea isn’t going to work because of how it affected families, etc…
I was the clerk in a SP that functioned really well, the counselors were nearly polar opposites in their approaches to the church. I saw many occasions that deliberation resulted in very good decisions. In most of these one counselor or the other came to a more middle ground than they were comfortable with.
I have never had a problem speaking truth to power. I’ve held many conversations with Bishops/Stake Presidents where handbook policies may not have been followed very well, finance concerns, the welfare of their own families as they make decisions, etc.. I’ve never had a Bishop or SP think anything other than that I loved them, was someone that was there to advise/counsel them. I’ve had counselors take exception to my thoughts at times, but one-on-one with leaders, it has never been a problem.
But I’m the guy in the room that responds to the missionaries who tell a Ward Council about a ‘golden’ convert they ran across this week named Labaron, a construction worker, just moved here from Mexico with his wife and his wife’s sister. HELLO! Labaron! Mexico! Anyone, Anyone, seriously?