A prophet speaks online...
March 31, 2001 9:35 AM   Subscribe

A prophet speaks online... A link for the religiously inclined: General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons). I'll give a little background in the thread.
posted by silusGROK (30 comments total)
Twice a year, faithful Mormons the world over gather at chapels or in their homes to listen to the leadership of the Church speak on various issues. General Conference, as it is called, is a series of 6 two-hour sessions spread over a Saturday and Sunday. Think of it as something akin to the Pope giving fireside chats.

I thought this might be interesting as the conference organizers have taken advantage of the internet to get the conference out to people who would otherwise have to wait a month for the printed transcripts to be made available (despite the extensive church satellite dish network, many of the church's 11 million members still live in areas not serviced by the network)... seems the internet gets to more parts of the world than the satellites can point. Chalk one up for the internet!

I counted 40 languages being webcast including Navajo and Thai. Pretty cool.
posted by silusGROK at 9:46 AM on March 31, 2001

There's a reason its the fastest-growing religion in the world.
posted by rschram at 10:22 AM on March 31, 2001

Yeah, that, and that they all have about 20 kids.

I live approximately 10 miles from a very large Mormon Temple. This area is very heavily populated with Mormons. I worked for one once, and I refuse to again... To me, there's something wrong about making your faith such a large part of how you deal with other people and do business.
posted by SpecialK at 10:32 AM on March 31, 2001

I work less than 0.5 miles from a temple. It looks like a cross between a bank, Barbie dream home, and Superman's fortress of solitude.
posted by rschram at 10:33 AM on March 31, 2001

SpecialK: Not that I'm a mormon, or religious in any way, really, but what's wrong with trying to act consistantly with regards to your base philosophy in life, if you've got one? If you believe in something, after all, you believe in something. Is half-assed any better?
posted by frednorman at 10:41 AM on March 31, 2001

what's wrong with trying to act consistantly with regards to your base philosophy in life, if you've got one? If you believe in something, after all, you believe in something. Is half-assed any better?

Sometimes people take it too far, and their religion rules how they do everything.

"Carl! Stop wondering how Jesus would stack those loaves of bread and get back to work! We've got shelves to get stocked!"

seriously though, I've worked with mormons before, in a large organization (with a sizable population of other mormons) and I felt it was pretty obvious how some people got special treatment, because they were in the same ward or something.
posted by mathowie at 11:04 AM on March 31, 2001

Hey... we don't _all_ have 20 children.

: )

But I must admit to knowing more families than I can count who have 10 or more kids. But just to clarify: birth rate is not the only factor in the Church's growth; 300,000 adults join each year.
posted by silusGROK at 11:07 AM on March 31, 2001

I must admit to knowing more families than I can count who have 10 or more kids

No offense Vis10n, but I find that shocking (I don't doubt its truth). If I think about it, I probably know hundreds of people on this planet, and no one I know has or was part of a 10 child family. Zero.


What's does a woman with ten kids do with her life besides create offspring and nuture them?
posted by mathowie at 11:15 AM on March 31, 2001

Matt... I don't think that what you experienced is necessarily (and you weren't saying it was) particular to Mormons. Any affinity group would have similar problems: time spent with people naturally breeds strong bonds. This phenomenon is one of the reason's people vy for a golf date with the boss. It's part of the human group dynamic... affinity groups are bound to have a shorthand for the common social structures which create faster friendships and deeper levels of trust.

Of course, I'd like to think that chuminess wouldn't translate into cronyism, or other forms of favoritism that aren't appropriate at the work place... but some people just don't realize -- or worse, don't care -- that they are alienating the people around them.
posted by silusGROK at 11:19 AM on March 31, 2001

Matt... about the lady with ten children: my family isn't Mormon, and not all Mormons have large families... and not all the large Mormon families are very well run. The women though that I know who have large families lead active lives that expand beyond their children. In fact, what I hear from a lot of women in these situations is that the second child was harder than the fifth. Crazy, eh?

The funny thing is, from my experience with family life in general, is that nurturing children is extremely rewarding... but I can't testify to that personally.

Of course, in the Church, there's a natural support system for these families: baby sitters, social activities where children are welcome, intellectual stimulation, and the like.

As for me... it'll depend a lot on what my wife wants (when ever I find her :) ...mostly, I think I'm going to take it one child at a time. If that means one, or five, so be it.
posted by silusGROK at 11:35 AM on March 31, 2001

Here's a truly fantastic piece piece written by a woman who was a full and willing participant in the surreal process of being thrown out of the Mormon church. It got me over the let down that comes with the realization that it's going to a long while until Jim Morrow publishes a new book.
posted by NortonDC at 11:40 AM on March 31, 2001

FWIW, my experience of large families is that, apart from producing babies, the mother doesn't need to do that much after a while - the older children tend to look after the younger ones.

(I don't mean it's as relaxed as having no kids, but it doesn't scale as you might expect).
posted by andrew cooke at 12:20 PM on March 31, 2001

Large families are also common among Hasidic Jews; one of my cousins, for example, is up to #8. Yes, the older kids help out with the younger ones--they're all very good children and have been well-raised. But it's been really distressing to see the mother get progressively worn-out by this experience. Not even the Victorians thought families this size were particularly good for the mother's health.
posted by thomas j wise at 12:31 PM on March 31, 2001

just to clarify: birth rate is not the only factor in the Church's growth; 300,000 adults join each year.

Of course! Bureaucratic nonsense is another. For instance, I left the LDS church when I was seventeen and for the next 4 years I was hounded by "elders" trying to bring me back into the flock. When I explained over the telephone to these spiritual telemarketers that I wanted them to just take me off their membership rolls, they explained that I would need to meet with one of their representatives in person, for that to happen. I hung up and within weeks there were tottering old men, scriptures in hand, showing up at my door at all hours of the day asking if they could come in and join me in prayer so that at least our "Heavenly Father" could be a part of this decision of eternal importance. After four years of this, they sent me an official looking letter indicating that a "bishop's court" had been held and when I failed to appear, the decision was made to excommunicate me.

Surreal? Yep.

While, I imagine the letter meant that I'd finally been taken off of whatever list they use when tallying and publishing their impressive membership numbers, I'm certainly not going to be contacting them for clarification.

How is the Mormons translating and publishing/broadcasting their marketing materials on the Internet any more interesting than any other money making entity doing so?
posted by panchesco at 12:42 PM on March 31, 2001

I'm sorry that you had such a bad experience, Panchesco.
posted by silusGROK at 12:56 PM on March 31, 2001

Matt, I don't think the 10 kid thing is so much insane, but instead irresponsible in a world-vew . I don't think anything like this should be legislated (e.g. China) but I do think that having that many children puts more of a strain on the social and ecological infrastructure of the world. Especially when it's something instituionalized by any group.

It's not like in prehistoric days when more than half of your children died before mating...
posted by fooljay at 2:11 PM on March 31, 2001

Fooljay, if we don't do something about school shootings, we may be back there faster than we thought... ;)
posted by SpecialK at 2:44 PM on March 31, 2001

SpecialK, you have a point. Not that I would ever advocate violence, but in those cases, perhaps proactively beating the ever living hell out of the negligent/absentee/emotionally-unavailable parents might help...
posted by fooljay at 2:49 PM on March 31, 2001

(offtopic) I know what'd be scarier... force the parents to do mandatory commuinty service... such as grading papers in the school their child goes to! (/offtopic)
posted by SpecialK at 3:27 PM on March 31, 2001


i will be so glad someday when i finally get My letter panchesco. i think it is safer to talk politics online here than religion. seriously.

*hangs sign on door*

"no solicitors."
posted by th3ph17 at 8:05 PM on March 31, 2001

I don't know, th3ph17 (okay... maybe I'm not up on my l33t dialect, but what does your name spell? thephiz?), seems like the discussion here went well. I have high regard for the folks here at MeFi, and I'm seldom disappointed.
posted by silusGROK at 10:48 AM on April 2, 2001

thephil. 7 looks kind of like a rotated L.
posted by cCranium at 11:51 AM on April 2, 2001

not that i think i'm a hacker or anything--i'm strictly a graphics guy-- But someone who is a hardcore l33t coder 'gave' me that version of my usual thephil. i'm not l33t enough to have earned it myself.

As far as the discussion goes, yeah, very nice and polite. 'Cause its MeFi.

me personally, i'm always polite, even though i considered the link to be the same as someone posting a link to a product their company sells, which is bad etiquette. I'm biased though, i'll admit that.
posted by th3ph17 at 12:34 PM on April 2, 2001

"th3ph17" is pronounced "th-three-ff-seventeen." Apparently this poster is a stuttering Borg. Hope this helps.
posted by kindall at 12:42 PM on April 2, 2001

I don't know, th3ph17, it seems more akin to a Nader hound (I voted for Nader) posting a link to one of the conventions he had last summer.

The intriguing part of the post (to me, at least) was how a growing world religion was making the internet an integral part of their ecumenical offering. That I'm a Mormon posting it didn't seem inappropriate. Still doesn't.

Suit yourself.
posted by silusGROK at 1:05 PM on April 2, 2001

Suit yourself.

i always hate the way that sounds...

i think i am just being overly sensitive, and i think philosophies are a lot more personal than politics.
*shrug* thats all. The political postings were ripped apart by all the different factions, but somehow a religious post has to be dealt with more respectfully...with kid-gloves on.

would you even vaguely agree with that? that there is a different level of response? Anyways...we are missing out on all of the current threads in dealing with this one still.
i'm done. i think we are at a bit of an impass, personal views interfere with logic....at least for me.
posted by th3ph17 at 1:55 PM on April 2, 2001

I think you're right: religious/personal philosophy posts demand a certain approach not generally afforded political ones. You're absolutely right. You're also right about the "suit yourself" phrase... a little more flip than I'd have liked.

Okay. Back to the new stuff.

- v
posted by silusGROK at 2:17 PM on April 2, 2001

"th3ph17" is pronounced "th-three-ff-seventeen." Apparently this poster is a stuttering Borg.

dammit kindall, willya hand me a wet wipe for my suddenly coffee-stained screen?
posted by Avogadro at 7:46 AM on April 4, 2001

The link up-top may longer... here's the audio archive of the Conference proceedings.
posted by silusGROK at 12:09 PM on April 5, 2001

Er... "may _not work much_ longer"
posted by silusGROK at 12:10 PM on April 5, 2001

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