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But isn't the ultimate point of such gardens the enjoyment or educations of people going to the garden. Does this mean that we have an artificial hothouse environment that some members couldn't survive outside of for the entertainment of some? I guess I'm missing the analogy.

Not that I deny God is a gardener. But I thought the point of those analogies were more that he wants good hardy fruit and discards those that aren't. The parable of Jacob 5 with its harvest oriented theme seems quite different from what you present. Perhaps, ala Jacob 5, were simply at the stage where for various reasons the gardener can't introduce survival of the fittest?

No, visitors are tolerated for good institutional PR and a few dollars of revenue. Okay, there is an educational aim to some of those tours and activities, but the serious business of botanical gardens is largely focused in other directions.

I guess it gets back to “liberalization” strategies. One aim of liberal international policy is to prevent strong societies from destroying weaker ones. It aims to remove the natural consequences of states. One aim of liberal national policy is to remove the consequences of people who can’t fend for themselves. In school, the government specifically instructs us to give students every conceivable extra chance, effectively removing the consequences of their actions. When dealing with minorities, the pressure (consequences) of the majority are removed, giving the minority a chance to grow and stand on its own. Is the hothouse debate just a natural extension of liberal thought? To me, liberal policies are based on giving people a chance to get some roots before being challenged. I think this is fine, as long as we don’t assume that this has to be continued for ever. Of course deciding when and how to face the world is the tough part. Changing from a liberal view that prevents consequences to a conservative one that accepts them is not easy to do. To do this gradually is even more difficult. Obviously the best way to do things would be to soften consequences without removing them. However, I am not sure if this is ever really possible.

Speaking only from my personal experience, the whole thing is just one big hothouse. Only those plants with really, really, (really, really) deep, strong roots are able to survive outside...and then only if they just tell themselves that no, it's not cold.

I spent 15 years in the hothouse before I ever had to face a storm. I thrived in the hothouse, but it only took a couple of storms to blow me over.


Chris, you get my vote for great post of the week. The reason liberal Mormons are looked down upon for their questions on history are because of liberal philosophy. (grin)


I think we're mixing too many concepts in one (metaphorical) discussion. I think accountability and "consequences" of a person's conduct or behavior choices are a separate topic from the extent to which a person's faith, beliefs, or ideology should be exposed to critical scrutiny.

Some consequences are the natural results of prior choices; other consequences are "artificial" results imposed by human institutions, which might appear just or arbitrary depending on the situation. In general, we view such accountability favorably.

Critical examination of personal faith or beliefs is a more complicated question, as illustrated in some detail in the discussion of Kristine's original T&S post. My feeling is that in a pluralistic, tolerant society unsolicited criticism of others' faith or beliefs is generally inappropriate. But participating in spirited public discussion (stepping outside the greenhouse) about politics, religion, or similar topics is an implied invitation to discussion and criticism. The upshot is that I view critical discussion of LDS history or doctrine in church on Sunday as improper--that's not what people go to church for. For those who want it, other forums are available. Whether the Church should be depicted as a greenhouse protecting fragile plants from "the real world" or as a welcome shelter protecting pilgrims from the storm raging outside is open to dispute.

Just out of curiosity, what exactly is the link between Clark and Chris Goble? I don't want to get the two of you confused.

We are multiple representations of our parent’s DNA, however Clark’s Canadian sequence got turned off and he is now an American.

“I think we're mixing too many concepts in one (metaphorical) discussion” – Dave.

So do I. And parables/allegories always seem so easy to discuss!

I don’t know if consequences vs. actions are separate from belief vs. critical scrutiny. I think in social interactions, the natural consequence of belief is a critical value test. Of course you make this point when you mention stepping out of the hothouse. I just think for many the default view of belief / faith lacks a critical component. In other words we tend to think challenging other’s beliefs is wrong. Why? Obviously because some are stronger or weaker than others, and we don’t like anarchy. Since no man is an island, I think we are already out of the hothouse. To me, it becomes more of whether we prefer living in a fantasy world where we get to make up the consequences, or the real world where we discover natural consequences. I don’t think real faith has anything to do with fantasy. Like Dave alludes, church is a place to grow. Whether or not this happens, to me, has a lot more to do with the way things are presented, rather than a misdirected attempt to suppress natural consequences

Chris, I still say "eh" so they couldn't all be turned off. (Although I did definitely lose my accent but I still like vinegar on my french fries)

Dave, I suspect you don't take "one shouldn't be critical of an other's faith or beliefs" too literally. For instance if someone in Priesthood started teaching blacks were inferior fence sitters, I suspect you'd speak up. (I certainly have before) When false doctrine that is sufficiently false or hurtful is taught, I think most people will speak up or say something. The question is always when is that point? A lot of times we'll let erroneous ideas go through without a big debate, simply because it isn't worth the effort. i.e. it isn't *that* big a deal.

Dave, I like the metaphor, and you've fleshed it out beautifully. (And I'm really jealous that you've been to Upsaala).

I think I still disagree that church should be entirely free from critical discussions. I'm not really inclined to make a fuss about most things either, but too much sentimental, pre-digested, "faith-promoting" material is like Miracle-Gro: makes the garden look nice for a while, but too much burns the roots and strips the soil. Can't the sifting of mistaken or underdeveloped ideas about history and doctrine yield compost? Can't that happen during church?

[yeah, OK, I was a lit. major--I recognize that the metaphor has been stretched way beyond the breaking point. Sorry!]


Unlike lit majors, I can't whip up a metaphor at the drop of a hat. So when I see one I can run with, I strike while the iron is hot.

I pretty much agree with your comment. As I see it, one of the unfortunate effects of Correlation is to suppress any overt indication of differing but still legitimate views expressed by leaders or others on points of doctrine or history. It promotes the illusion that "they" know everything that needs to be known and that it's all quite simple, so there's really nothing to discuss except how best to apply the scripted teaching to our own lives. Yet that posture seems inconsistent with the standard defense of the need for continuous revelation--that there are things we do not know, things that are yet to be revealed.

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