When I was in college I learned about a very particular experiment that changed my life:
The Milgram experiment in which volunteers were told the buttons they were pressing were harming another human, but were told to keep doing it by an authority figure (in a lab coat).
The results showed (consistently) that 61-66% of the people around us would push the button to fatal levels if told to do so by an authority figure.
After learning about this experiment I decided that I would not be one of those people who pushed the button. I would value other humans more than obedience to authority. I thought about guards around internment or concentration camps and why they would continue to do their job. I decided I would be the person who wouldn’t be there doing that.
As I read the LDS members who are wildly opposed to Kate Kelly’s heinous crime of organizing women to ask a question, John Dehlin’s devious sin of saying we could be nice to gays, or Rock Waterman’s horribly question about “Could we start actually following doctrine”, I see a lot of pushing the button because leadership tells them to.
Most arguments invoke “I will follow the prophet”, or “They didn’t do what leaders said”, and I’m a little surprised and horrified by that in a church defined in its mythos by a boy asking a question challenged by religious leadership of his day, they are so unwilling to allow people to ask questions. That the boy Joseph Smith from the mythos would be excommunicated by the current LDS church is no question in my mind. This is a church that has woven into its DNA that it could change with the times via continuing revelation and yet when members ask for revelation, the Church excommunicates them; even when it was a prophet who prompted people to ask the question.
Many times people ask me why I resigned my membership. I decided I would stop pushing the button.
I couldn’t be part of an organization that secretly experimented on Gays
I couldn’t be part of an organization that hides its history from its members
I couldn’t be part of an organization that hurts families and members while claiming to be about families and members.
Obedience to leadership is not a virtue if that obedience harms other humans. Doing nothing is the same as approval of the behavior. It’s time to stand up to authorities who are telling people to shun, harm, or debase others for their own gain.
A lot of members have stated they might resign as members over this issue. I hope, they can find the courage to be part of the 33% who can no longer keep pushing the button too.
(Don’t think about the church teaching about porn and masturbation every time you see the kitten)