Monday, May 30, 2011
we've come full circle in code talking
At the turn of the 19th century polygamy was the central issue within the LDS church and most all the church's actions were directed around polygamy in one way or another. Slightly earlier, when John Taylor was president of the church, he advocated speaking in code to keep hidden the intimate details of polygamy. The code allowed polygamists to communicate but was not easily interpreted by outsiders, particularly the courts that were trying to track down and imprison polygamists. John Taylor and later presidents of the church advocated a policy of "mind your own business", even within LDS wards. It was not proper to inquire about a person's spouse or children. Frequently, even bishops were not allowed to know who was married to whom and when asked it was officially approved to refuse to answer or even to lie. The web of details about family relationships was a state secret.
Today, in the correlated, sanitized, and bland lesson manuals of the LDS church and the general format of it's meetings, presentations, talks, and conferences, a different but similarly insidious code has become the culture. Ideas must be expressed in the approved format and with the approved words. Discussions that probe beyond the shallow surface of many topics are considered to be "lacking faith". Obvious truths that are generally recognized in the world are ignored and conflicts are never discussed. Rather than embrace challenges to approved patterns of thought and stimulate discussion and growth, such discussions are labeled as "apostate".
The bottom line is that using the "code" has always been the way to get approval and get ahead in church politics. To me both of these examples indicate an organization/corporation that is most interested in sustaining and protecting the organization. Next time I go in for a priesthood interview, I may try the John Taylor line, "mind your own business."