Lots of news today. Not in the limelight is a revealing write-up about how the Mormon church has silenced members who have opposed construction plans by the church.
In recent months the Mormon church announced plans to build a 9-story building at it's Missionary Training Center (MTC) complex in Provo, UT. The MTC complex is in a Mormon dominated residential neighborhood adjacent to BYU (I worked there for several years while attending BYU). Some LDS members who live nearby have opposed the tall building as a zoning issue.
These members were very careful not to step outside the approved lines by consulting with their Stake President who assured them that their opposition would not affect their church status. This changed when the church used it's ecclesiastical authority over these members to silence their opposition. The Stake President had a change of heart (ie: got a call from Salt Lake). The opposing members were then called in to meet with their Stake President who "invited" them to "support the brethren" and told that this was now an ecclesiastical matter. Most of the opposing members quickly switched sides. One member commented that she knew from the tone of the "invitation" that any further opposition to the project by her could result in disciplinary action.
In Mormondom this will be viewed as a minor thing where a few members were brought back by the guidance of their leaders. To me, the strong arm tactics, passive aggressive behavior and word games of the church are revolting. It once again gives a glimpse of how the church would control government, if it could. It acted because it knew it would be successful in stopping the annoying opposition.
The church then had the balls to issue a statement that said "to suggest that this was an attempt by church leaders to exercise undo influence is without merit". That is exactly what it was! It was the big bully in the neighborhood using its influence to brow beat otherwise faithful members into submission.
This type of institutional passive aggressive behavior is one of the main causes of a culture of passive aggressive interpersonal relationships in Utah that is so damaging to so many people.
This is also another example of the church abusing it's lay member leadership by essentially forcing them to bring their fellow members into compliance with some mandate that has nothing to do with religion.
It continues to amaze me how the church takes credit for the good works of it's members but reflexively drops them without any thanks as soon as they do something that conflicts with it's PR message. Once again acting more like a corporation than a church.