Stop pushing the button

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.

See Darren Brown convince a girl to electrocute a kitten in a similar experiment

(Don’t think about the church teaching about porn and masturbation  every time you see the kitten)

This entry was posted in Current issues. Bookmark the permalink.
Last edited by Mithryn on June 19, 2014 at 10:48 pm

4 Responses to Stop pushing the button

  1. Kevin Rex says:

    Thank you for having the courage not to push the button anymore. It was hurting. I almost killed myself. Sincerely, me, a 50-year-old gay man who came out just last year after 40 years of electrical jolts to my psyche from my religion.

  2. vikingz2000 says:

    Just found your website. Great thinking; I will continue reading with interest. I’m thinking about resigning, as well after more than a half century of membership as a ‘convert’ (although I was hardly ‘converted’ at the time) along with my parents. If I was ever threatened for publicly voicing my thoughts and ideas about the LDS church, then that _would_ be the push out of the nest for me.

  3. Angry Ex-Mormon says:

    To push or not to push? Seems that on one hand central authority figures are afraid that they may be ousted, so they order the button be pushed. on the other hand, they realize that ordering the button pushed means that they are going against what “wisdom” they are supposedly trying to instill in others, yet the constant need to protect thier own hypocricy means that they have to order the button to be pushed. and then you have those that are just nasty enough to force you to push the button and call it a vision that you were selected to push the button…

    i hate the double standards…one for them and the one they use against the chruch members. it is said (paraphrased) “he that is among you without sin cast the first stone” … so … in order to maintain a good church standing, be temple worthy, wear your gammies 24 hours a day, pay your titheing…..if told that you will be exhalted in heaven with a planet of your own to be a God over, you have to push that button, knowing that it will harm others that are jsut as worthy as you……

    i won’t push the button…i’ve seen a life time of the evil that man does agaisnt man in the quest for religion….you can order me to push the button all you want…the only thing that i’m going to push is my fist into your nose!!

    angry? yes…i was lied to, abused (in a metaphorical sense), degraded and humiliated at the whims of those that are supposedly called by God to lead….

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