The New United Order

Is church Correlation the new United Order? I remember a conference talk from years ago (by Pres. Packer, if I recall correctly, though I haven’t been able to find the actual talk to confirm it.) The speaker talked about how his local church unit had a wonderful and unique youth program — something about performance or public speaking, I think. It was managed by great leaders and the results with the students were remarkable. They were engaged, enjoying themselves, and learning new skills.

However, the call came down from higher authorities to shut down the local program and replace it with a correlated curriculum that was being used church-wide. The speaker told how he was disappointed at first. The new program wasn’t as effective. However, over time he came to realize that the church leaders were concerned with the welfare of all the church units, and that it was better for the church as a whole to have a B-level program that could be replicated across the church, accessible to all the youth, than to have an A-level program that only helped the youth in one particular area.

When I was a kid, my mom used to play a record called “The Order is Love”. Do any of you remember that one? It was a musical about the story of the Orderville community trying to live the United Order. In one scene I remember, the children of the town are gathered together, and one of the town leaders is passing out candy to each of them. Candy was rare, so this was a very special event. When they got to the end of the line, they discovered that they were short a couple of pieces. The rule in the United Order was that all share equally, and since there wasn’t enough for everyone all the children had to give their candies back.

Today it hit me that the story of the youth program is essentially the same as the story of the candy. We complain about correlated lessons and materials because they are so bland, generic, and uninspiring. I think we all know superstar teachers who could do amazing things with their classes if they were left to their own devices. But perhaps the church isn’t concerned with superstar teachers. Most of the teachers aren’t superstars. Most of the youth and Sunday School teachers are busy people who rarely even peak at the lesson book before they arrive at class to teach it. Keeping the lessons simple means that even the most poorly prepared teacher can still provide some useful instruction to the class. I suppose that our correlated lesson manuals are an expression of that principle of the United Order — it’s better that we all receive unremarkable instruction than that some of us receive amazing instruction while others are left flailing alone.

64 comments for “The New United Order

  1. May 26, 2011 at 10:25 am

    Dane L.,

    you may be on to something. In education, new pilot programs invariably do well, because they have committed staff who are familiar with the program and even the students are excited to be part of something new and innovative. When the programs are applied generally, the outcome almost always is below expectations. The pilot programs results don’t replicate.

    Implementation and replication is hard. God is in the details.

  2. Michael
    May 26, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Wouldn’t what you suggest just be a form of socialism or communism where no one is allowed to seek for excellence if it is not possible for all to obtain excellence? Is the equality requirement to apply only to physical items such as earthly goods? Or does it also carry over into intellectual pursuits and the acquisition of both spiritual and secular knowledge? If one person has a vision from the Lord must they reject it because all cannot have the same vision? How many parents would tolerate their children being held back in school because the whole class is not able to advance to the same level.

    It seems to me the interpretation of correlation you present above would basically be mimicking Lucifer’s proposal in the pre-mortal existence of totally equality and assurance of commonality of results.

  3. May 26, 2011 at 10:59 am

    An interesting thought, though the idea breaks down for me in a few places:

    1. Local teachers have remarkable freedom HOW they teach the correlated lessons. In my HP group, some read from the manual, others base their lessons on the scriptures from the manual, others lead a discussion that touches on points from the manual without explicit reference to them. All are acceptable methods.

    2. While youth Sunday lessons are correlated, midweek Mutual activities are not — they are entirely up to the local unit.

    3. It’s not my experience that most teachers don’t even peek at the lesson before showing up.

    All that said, simplicity does seem to be one of the sought-for virtues of correlation so that even a less experienced teacher far from the center of the church can be effective at teaching simple principles of the gospel.

  4. Last Lemming
    May 26, 2011 at 11:32 am

    The federalist in me wants to protest. How do we know that the local program could not have been replicated throughout the Church? Might it not have been superior to the existing correlated curriculum, even without top-flight instructors? Is the only way for a new idea to get propagated for somebody in Salt Lake to think of it?

    I think I’ll go out to the back yard and bury my one remaining talent, since I’ll never be on the correlation committee.

  5. JrL
    May 26, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    Your exzmple seems to refer to an activity program, rather than a Sunday lesson program. And I don’t see anything in the handbooks that would prevent a unit from, for a time, using public speaking or performance or something else as the content of its activity program for youth. Even scouting programs can accomodate that. But they seldom have that much imagination — or should I say inspiration?

    Youth activity programs should be the result of quorum and class presidencies identifying the needs of the quorum or class members and developing activities that meet those needs. I hope that a quorum or class that actually identified a need that would be met by a public speaking training and experience program and then proposed and implemented such a program would not be “shut down.” If, on the other hand, the program were developed by adults who may not even know the youth’s needs but simply thought it was a great idea ….

  6. May 26, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    I totally don’t think it’s right to enforce mediocrity! What a bad idea! Instead we should be using the examples of excellence to inspire programs churchwide!

  7. Jon
    May 26, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    Reminds me of government education. Left to our own devices we can do so much better.

  8. psychochemiker
    May 26, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    I totally agree with Tatiana. I don’t believe in “enforced mediocrity.” Those should be last resorts, programs used for people unable to design or implement programs on their own.

  9. Bob
    May 26, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    I think the only thing in common between Correlation and the United Order, is both were efforts for central control by the Church. I do not think either were created for the equality of Church members.
    I think you need to go back to the founding of these programs. The Church in the United Order, wanted central control over members money, not to make sure everyone got an equal amount. In Correlation, centeral control of how members think and behave.

  10. Scott Armstrong
    May 26, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    I’ve disliked correlation as much as the next guy, but I don’t see it changing radically anytime soon. An improvement that actually might be feasible could involve hybridization, allowing for more autonomy within an overall correlated structure.

    Maybe the lessons guides could be shorter, with instructions that teachers supplement the basic correlated principles with outside materials they find on their own. I would love to see more references to art and literature, but at the very least teachers could find their own General Conference quotes and scriptures references.

    Last Sunday I was thinking how interesting it would be to have a Sunday School lesson devoted to the local history of the church (Wichita, KS), a subject I know little about. Surely things like this could be worked into the correlated structure without tearing the whole thing down.

    As for the above comment that many teachers just glance at the lesson before showing up, not all do this, but some do. My contention would be that hyper-correlation allows, if not encourages, this kind of perfunctory preparation. If they’re bringing more to the lesson through their own study, they’ll have to put some effort into it.

  11. May 26, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    I just want to say that the candy story is dumb. Why not have all the kids share a bit of their with the others? Or why not give the diabetic kid an apple? Or the chubby kid celery? 8-0

  12. Jax
    May 26, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    amen Alison….”If I can’t have any then nobody should” is always a bad argument. Just make sure the next time candy is available that the ones left out are served first!

  13. May 26, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Dane, the idea of using a conference talk I remember from years ago but can’t find now and then citing a supposed story from it as foundation for an idea is pretty silly. I honestly can’t ever recall hearing that story, unless it’s this one which exhibits difficulty in finding a reliable source as to it’s authenticity and origen.

  14. chris
    May 26, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    10 – probably because it’s not true. But just as faith-promoting rumors spread among those wishing to believe anything, so do ancestor-demoting rumors…

    I’ll happily stand correct and condemn the idea when presented with evidence to the contrary. But for now, I’m guessing it’s not true.

    The only similar story I’m aware of is the one with the guy and the pants, who stole inventory from the united order (or witheld it during his “tithed” labor) and bought some fancy new pants. They took the fancy new pants and considered them propery of the order and made everyone a pair just like them.

  15. David
    May 26, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Great Post!

    Medeocrity is never acceptable, in fact it is very sad to hear it mentioned in the context of Sunday school.

  16. Scott Armstrong
    May 26, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    13–Mormon stories not always true?! If you’re right I might need to reevaluate my faith as the majority of my testimony is based on the Three Nephites.

  17. May 26, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    Allison (10), let’s call up Carol Lynn Pearson and tell her.

    [Of course, IIRC, most of the play is based on stories from early Utah history.]

    You may not like the solution that they came up with, but that really doesn’t change the issue. Just because you can come up with an idea that invalidates an example doesn’t mean that the general principle is invalid all the time. And, IMO, its worse when you attack a piece of literature.

    I think we are going to have to approach this by looking at the overall issue, or at least by showing how our individual examples change how we look at the overall issue.

  18. May 26, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    David (14), why is mediocrity never acceptable? What if the job doesn’t require anything more than mediocrity?

    While I’d tend to agree with you in terms of how we raise our kids, in other cases good enough is good enough.

  19. Howard
    May 26, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Keeping the lessons simple means that even the most poorly prepared teacher can still provide some useful instruction to the class. I would love to see lessons with interesting content recorded by professional teachers who can hold the attention of the class perhaps retired professors? Make the videos available to watch or download on the church’s website. The video would stop at predetermined spots so the ward teacher could lead a discussion. Busy people could rip a copy and go without giving a mediocre or worse lesson more involved teachers could go into as much depth as they like.

  20. Dustin
    May 26, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    The talk you are thinking of is one that Elder Packer gave to the All Coordinating Council of the Church in 1993. The full text is here:

    Pres. Eyring made the comment in April that the Welfare System is the new United Order. Relating to the temporal aspects of the United Order, that is true. I suppose one could view Correlation as the spiritual aspect of the United Order – the way the Church keeps the doctrine pure. I know a lot of folks don’t like Correlation for one reason or another, but I don’t know how else the doctrines could be kept pure throughout the entire worldwide Church. For whatever its draw backs, I view it as necessary.

  21. Howard
    May 26, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Correlation…the way the Church keeps the doctrine pure like omitting Joseph was a polygamist?

  22. May 26, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    Howard (18), I can’t imagine a worse state of affairs — in the name of good teaching we surrender development of gospel teachers and the learning that comes from trying to be a good gospel teacher to a small group of sanctioned individuals — correlation gone amuck, IMO.

  23. Howard
    May 26, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    Kent, I’m really tired of and bored by being handed a slip of paper with a number on it and asked to read it when we get to my number for the lesson in Priesthood not to mention that you can’t hear most of the readings. Do you consider preparing part of the lesson the discussion portion surrendering the development of gospel teachers? I don’t think we have to give up anything in teacher development. Is there any reason a teacher couldn’t review the video in advance and put the same development time into discussion prep? Wouldn’t this result in much better lessons?

  24. May 26, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    For those of you who complain about how lessons are taught. You should ask your local leaders for an opportunity to show how it can be done better.

  25. Howard
    May 26, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    Roland that’s great! Why didn’t I think of that?

  26. Cameron N
    May 27, 2011 at 1:03 am

    I feel sorry for those who are upset at correlation for uninteresting lessons.

    Frankly I love the correlation system. It provides a basic framework for the teacher to build upon with great flexibility based on their talents, personality, and the preparation of all participants. I’ve only had one teacher that I can remember where I was disappointed in their efforts and didn’t feel I got anything out of the lesson.

    The Spirit can renew interest and add upon things we believe we fully understand, in my experience. Especially since I’m lacking in almost every quality you can find in a Gospel Principles chapter, it’s still relevant for me because I still need to improve in those areas.

  27. Cameron N
    May 27, 2011 at 1:10 am

    A Howard (20) – the facts of Joseph’s or anyone’s polygamy aren’t that relevant to us right now and would be of far lesser worth than subjects that actually help us get closer to Christ and become better people. If the Spirit has confirmed the gospel’s truth to us already, we can accept the restored gospel and move beyond controversial things so we can focus on what matters most. Most members know the doctrine from D&C and Jacob, but honestly I have at least 52 more important principles to be edified on each year.

  28. Howard
    May 27, 2011 at 5:07 am

    Well Cameron N the Spirit has confirmed the gospel’s truth to me many times but thanks for explaining why Joseph’s polygamist marriages were omitted from 150 Years of Church History which does mention his marriage to Emma and his revelation on Plural Marriage (D&C 132). What would we do without correlation keeping us closer to Christ by focusing us on noncontroversial history?

  29. May 27, 2011 at 6:20 am

    Howard (22), I’m NOT suggesting that local teaching doesn’t need to be improved, or that the methods you describe aren’t bad. I AM suggesting that your suggestion for replacing them is WORSE.

    I’m sure you can come up with better suggestions than that, ones that preserve the development of local teachers.

    Yes I do think that the manuals are part of the problem. And yes, the lack of effort too often seen from local teachers is also part of the problem. So address those problems instead of taking away the local teaching altogether.

  30. May 27, 2011 at 6:36 am

    The candy story is just awful and describes the approach in communist East Germany and Eastern Bloc states. I am certain the United Order was not meant to function like that.

    As with another commenter above, the federalist in me bristles at the larger point about Correlation resulting in grade A approaches developed and run by efficient, hard-working and creative local initiative being replaced by a lowest common denominator program that can apply itself regardless of context and situation so that a ward with the resources and initiative of the one in the example has to “dumb itself down” and implement a self-executing program designed for the weakest units.

    Let’s allow local leaders to be inspired in their stewardships to create approaches tailored to their particular circumstances and possibilities!

    If we believe the US Constitution was inspired, then the principle of federalism or subsidiarity underlying its structure certainly is part of that inspiration.

  31. Howard
    May 27, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Kent it is difficult to take your 28 comment seriously it seems disingenuous if you read 22 you must know that taking away the local teaching altogether is quite an exaggeration. It is clear I am not proposing taking away local teaching altogether.

  32. Bob
    May 27, 2011 at 9:31 am

    “A B-minus program reaching most of the youth would, in the aggregate, bring better results than an A-plus program which reached relatively few”.(Elder Packer).
    Read the whole Elder Packer link again. He wants the ‘local’ out of Correlation. No ‘doing your own thing’ to make the lessons better. Centeral B-minus lessons are better than A-plus ‘local’ lessons.

  33. May 27, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Kent #16:

    You may not like the solution that they came up with, but that really doesn’t change the issue. Just because you can come up with an idea that invalidates an example doesn’t mean that the general principle is invalid all the time.

    What is the general principle I’m supposedly trying to invalidate? The example gives a harsh, 1-entire-piece-per-person-or-nothing-for-anyone which not only removes common sense, but also creative solutions to individual problems. In other words, it’s silly. (And am I supposed to bow down to CLP or something?)

    And, IMO, its worse when you attack a piece of literature.

    What’s worse? “Literature” is off the table for discussion?

  34. May 27, 2011 at 10:27 am

    31 Bob: I disagree with your interpretation of Elder Packer’s words. First, he walked away from a Seminary-sponsored speech contest in favor of an MIA-sponsored one. No mention of local units at all.

    Second (and this was the point of his talk), he believes there’s value in following inspired leadership rather than seeking to advise or correct it.

    That’s no surprise. He’s been that way throughout his entire term of service as an apostle.

    And third, he personally has made changes to his talks and articles based on feedback from his leaders; he’s made them willingly and benefited from that action.

  35. May 27, 2011 at 10:39 am

    As weird as it may sound, I discover more and more than as a teacher I appreciate the bare bones correlated Sunday School manuals. Each year I look at the manual in November or December and groan, and wonder how in the world I’m supposed to teach from that empty, insipid thing? But once I actually start working on a lesson, I realize how free I am to tailor the lesson both to my individual teaching style and, more importantly, to the peculiarities of my class. If there were much more there beyond a purpose statement and a few assigned stories/verses, I would be bound much more tightly to whatever a central committee called for without regard to local conditions.

    There was a lesson a week or three back about sacrificing the things of this world in order to gain eternal life. How you taught that to a group of rich retired returned mission presidents would need to be very different from how you taught it in a class filled chiefly with struggling part-member convert families. No pre-recorded round table, no matter how many pauses occurred for local discussion, could be flexible enough to teach what each class needed to hear before discussion.

    I think bad teachers would be just as bad no matter how elaborate might be the lesson plans provided. People who think they can teach just because they’re long-time members who know the doctrine as well as anybody in the room are likely — I’ve seen it in my new ward — to think that no prep is necessary, that they can open the book for the first time at the beginning of class and ramble on about the first thing that suggests itself because, hey, we all know this already, right?

    If you want to push the idea of Correlation as United Order, try it this way: Consecration isn’t about getting stuff and eying what your neighbor gets to be sure you get as much. Consecration is about stewardship, about magnifying your talents and caring for what is entrusted to you. It’s entirely about what you give, not what you get.

  36. ji
    May 27, 2011 at 10:42 am

    We need to remember context — the context of Elder Packer’s talk was to seminary programs, not Sunday School or mid-week Mutual programs. And in that context, I agree. Elder Packer was saying speech contests aren’t appropriate for seminary — he never said they were inappropriate for mid-week Mutual programs. And he never said Sunday School instruction should be mediocre. May God bless Elder Packer.

  37. May 27, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Ardis, well said (as usual).

  38. Bob
    May 27, 2011 at 11:10 am

    @Paul and ji: IMO, Elder Packer was not limiting his talk to Seminary programs. only using them as an example of not making changes to meet ‘local’ needs. He was also talking about Sunday Schools (IMO).
    This is not to say I am in agreement. I like good local lessons.

  39. Howard
    May 27, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Ardis do not assume you have to use a video lesson but it would be a big improvement to most of the priesthood meetings I have attended and it would help busy or less dedicated teachers and their classes.

  40. May 27, 2011 at 11:36 am

    #37 Bob: I suppose you an infer whatever you like from his talk, but I don’t find the text supports your conclusion. That said, Elder Packer clearly is a fan of correlation, and he is a fan of listening to one’s file leader for guidance.

  41. Bob
    May 27, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    @ Paul: Elder Packer is a fan of Correlation, follow your leaders, don’t think out of the box. So was Harold B. Lee__ who created Correlation.

  42. May 27, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Harold B. Lee, a “don’t think out of the box” man? He-he, that’s almost funny. Ever hear of the Welfare Plan?

  43. Bob
    May 27, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    @ Ardis E. Parshall: Yes, I have heard of the Welfair Plan. What box was he thinking out of?

  44. chris
    May 27, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Your mind doesn’t occupy the only box. Perhaps there minds just don’t like to frequent the boxes you prefer :)

  45. Bob
    May 27, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    #chris; I would just like to know the box H.B. Lee left when thinking about Welfair. The Church’s box, FDR’s box, don’t feed the poor box…?

  46. May 27, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Bob, do some research into the Welfare Plan. When HBLee was stake president in the Pioneer Stake at the beginning of the depression there was 50% unemployment in his stake. He created a way to help those men while providing them something to do — before there was any government or church funds to do so. And before there was a church program to do so.

    You say HBLee was the creator of correlation. He didn’t act alone. Of course the McKay biography by Prince puts one spin on the experience, but the latest TS Monson biography paints the experinence in an altogether different light.

  47. May 27, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Ardis #34:

    I think bad teachers would be just as bad no matter how elaborate might be the lesson plans provided. People who think they can teach just because they’re long-time members who know the doctrine as well as anybody in the room are likely — I’ve seen it in my new ward — to think that no prep is necessary, that they can open the book for the first time at the beginning of class and ramble on about the first thing that suggests itself because, hey, we all know this already, right?

    If you want to push the idea of Correlation as United Order, try it this way: Consecration isn’t about getting stuff and eying what your neighbor gets to be sure you get as much. Consecration is about stewardship, about magnifying your talents and caring for what is entrusted to you. It’s entirely about what you give, not what you get.

    How is it that you are so consistently dead-on in everything you say?! AMEN to the above!

  48. May 27, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    45: Exactly, Paul. While the Church had always tried to take care of its poor, the Welfare (called then the Church Security) Plan instituted by HBL first in the Pioneer Stake and slightly later in the Church as a whole because it had proven so successful in that first stake. It didn’t just feed the poor with a handout; it enabled people to work to whatever extent they were able and still receive what they needed (not just food but many other necessities). It also organized the Church into a whole system — your stake made soap, my stake sewed overalls, and that other stake over there grew green beans, all of it available where the Plan was instituted. The Plan didn’t just take care of today’s emergency, either, but produced and stored materials against future emergencies (one reason the Church was able to send so much relief to Europe so quickly after the end of World War II).

    You can find pale shadows of many Welfare elements in other contemporary relief efforts (CCC workers were supported by their labor on make-work projects, for instance, but they only earned subsistence for themselves, not their families; the Relief Society had long stored wheat, too, but not the 101 commodities provided through the Church’s Plan). HBL thought far beyond anything that was occurring then, either inside or outside the Church, and his thinking covered not only temporal goals but spiritual ones as well. Nobody told him to do it, either: as stake president, he saw a need and set to work to find a solution. He thought outside everybody’s box.

  49. Bob
    May 27, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    @Paul: “The concept of the bishop’s storehouse is based on a revelation received by church founder Joseph Smith, Jr. on February 9, 1831, whereby he was instructed to keep goods “in my [the Lord’s] storehouse, to administer to the poor and the needy”.[3] The first bishop’s storehouse was established in Bishop Newel K. Whitney’s store in Kirtland, Ohio.”
    The “Depression” for Utah and Idaho started in 1920. H.B Lee became SP in 1930. The Welfare Program and the United Order, shared many things. FDR set up Welfare Programs before the Church.
    Now we can stop the tread-jack.

  50. May 27, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    Holy cow, Bob. You can stop your “tread”-jack anytime you please. It would be a revelation to have you admit your ignorance and stubbornness first, though.

  51. Bob
    May 27, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    @ Ardis E. Parshall: I admit my ignorance and stubbornness. But you started the tread-jack by bring up the Welfare Program.
    My understanding of the Welfare Program is based on Arrington’s book ” Building The City Of God” ( Chap. 15). Also from my parents who lived the Church’s and FDR’s programs.

  52. May 27, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    Your understanding is woefully deficient, Bob, wherever it came from. As I suggested in #47, while there are surface similarities between the Plan devised by HBL and other welfare-assistance plans, the Plan developed by HBL is no more like those other plans than a roller skate is like a Sherman tank. HBL’s Plan certainly did share the general principle of Joseph Smith’s bishop’s storehouse in that both had the goal of caring for the poor, but the manner in which the poor were cared for, much less the scope in administration between a small, localized stock of flour and beans in Kirtland and the international production and distribution of hundreds of products by tens of thousands of people certainly did require some new and creative thinking.

    This all is in no wise a “tread”-jack, or even a threadjack, in a discussion based on present day members’ (mis)understanding of the United Order, and whether or not individual or local initiative has any role.

  53. Martin
    May 27, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    Ardis, your #34 is exactly how I feel as well.

  54. Bob
    May 27, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    @ Ardis E. Parshall: If my understanding of the history of the Welfare Program is deficient, so must be Arrington’s.
    If we are back to the United Order, my understaning comes from the novels of Whipple “The Giant Josehua” and Pearson “The Harvest waits”, along with Arrington. Also my GF and GGF who lived the United Order in Moroni,UT.
    (Thanks for not making my spelling errors an issue)

  55. Cameron N
    May 28, 2011 at 1:51 am

    @ Howard (27) I don’t know why we don’t publicize it more. I suspect because it’s a weird concept to the current generation and it is probably wise to defer such information until people have more mature testimonies. Plus, it doesn’t really relate to sunday school at all, although I wouldn’t mind if it was included in some sort of official timeline somewhere

    Interestingly, the first time I felt a ‘stupor of thought’ was when I told a contentious investigator on my mission (in spite of my mouth resisting) that Joseph Smith only had one wife (didn’t know he had married others at the time).

    Sorry for such a late response!

    In an attempt to be more on-topic, I’m sure President McKay was probably inspired to reflect on FDR as well as Joseph of Egypt’s grain silos and many other examples. Inspiration is often the spirit calling our attention to information or ideas already available to us. Same thing with President Hinckley and smaller temples. It happen in a small spurt in the 80s, and then in the mid 90s he was reminded of that concept and prompted to accelerate matters, probably timed to precede the financial troubles the world is in now, of which we don’t really know if or when they will be resolved.

  56. May 28, 2011 at 11:01 am

    #53 Bob, so glad that you understand Arrington so well. And I’m glad you’re here to interpret his writings for the rest of us, since he’s the only one who can possibly read the history and come to any conclusions and you’re the only one who can read Arrington and come to any.

  57. May 28, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Careful, Paul, you’re in danger of becoming as caustic as I am!

    Bob, that your parents lived during FDR’s administration, or that your ancestors lived in some United Order community for a time, doesn’t give you any genetic authority to understand the issues involved. Likewise, possessing a copy of Arrington’s book doesn’t mean you understand it. Nothing you have written here suggests that you do understand the similarities and differences between the Church’s Welfare Plan as developed by Harold B. Lee and any other scheme, whether church or state, for providing for the poor.

    I don’t care at all whether you DO understand. That is immaterial to me. What I do care about, and what I have done here, is to challenge your bald assertion that HBL was a mere functionary implementing the bureaucratic decisions of others. Nothing could be further from reality, and his development of the Welfare Plan, first in his own stake and then church-wide (a recognition by the First Presidency that HBL was the thinker behind the project) disproves your ignorant claim.

  58. Bob
    May 28, 2011 at 11:29 am

    Paul, you are being silly and rude. First you challenged me to read more__now you attack me for reading.
    Elder Packer speaks for himself__ that’s why I said for others to read his Sermom for themselves. You are the one who gave an opinion on Elder Packer__not me (“He is a fan of Correletion”).
    Arrington speaks for himself__that why I told people to read him themselves. The Church called Arrington to teach it’s history to it’s members__I have only done that.

  59. Bob
    May 28, 2011 at 11:34 am

    @ Ardis E. Parshall:
    I am sorry I walked on your lawn Sister Parshall. I will try to learn my place.

  60. May 28, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Oh, it’s okay, Bob. We all understand by now that you can’t help it. Cheers!

  61. Chris
    May 28, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    Wow, the unkindness here makes me feel sad.

  62. Jonathan Green
    May 29, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Ardis is performing a labor of love, not unkindness.

  63. Bob
    May 29, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    @ Jonathan Green:
    #16: “A fool shows his annoyance at once
    but a prudent man overlooks an insult”.

  64. JWL
    May 30, 2011 at 9:03 am

    Correlation is not the United Order. In fact, in many respects they are opposites. “United Order” is only used in its scriptural context to refer to an economic system which attempts to facilitate the law of consecration and stewardship. The “and stewardship” part of that is always left off, but if one examines the sections of the D&C which deal with the United Order, you will see that they clearly contemplate that assets were to be passed into private ownership and control, to be retained by the holder even if he transgressed (D&C 51:5-6). The most instructive period in understanding the United Order was Brigham Young’s attempt to implement it in the 1870s in the context of a modernizing economy. There were many forms of United Order, but in most economically developed areas they took the form of worker or community owned corporations. The legendary Orderville was actually unusual in the extent of its communal organization, which should primarily be seen in its anachronistic circumstances as a desert pioneer agricultural effort in an industrializing economy. In its context, Orderville is more analogous to the kibbutz which began to be established in Palestine not much later rather than as a model for how any united order effort would function in a modern economy.

    However, the critical point for this discussion is that all united order efforts, even Orderville, were locally managed and controlled. Most were worker cooperatives, and even the famous incident with the pants described in the musical was a local decision, not dictated by Church headquarters.

    Correlation has a very different origin. Modern Church correlation began in the 1950s as an effort to apply then current management theory to better administer a growing Church. Based on a military model, 1950s management theory contemplated a top-down centrally-coordinated enterprise to maximize efficiency. To Church leaders of the time, this management theory seemed to mesh comfortably with preexisting traditions of Priesthood hierarchy. When correlation was initiated, no one made any appeal to United Order scriptures. It was about the central ecclesiastical authority of the Priesthood which stood on its own doctrinal grounds quite independent of the united order scriptures.

    Of course, modern management theory has long since abandoned the centralized, top-down concepts upon which Church correlation was originally based. It was recognized that the old theory stifled innovation and initiative. Always conservative (indeed the old centralized, top-down management methods were already decades old in the 1950s), the Church has struggled to incorporate these new insights, especially on the local level, culminating most recently in the latest iterations of the Handbook of Instructions and accompanying training.

    I believe that some day there will be a fascinating tale to tell about the Church’s evolution away from central correlation. One unlikely central figure in this tale will be Elder Russell Ballard who, as a former small business manager, seems to understand the shortcomings of the old management methods more directly than many of his colleagues with their backgrounds in law, academia, and Church business. The president of a successful car dealership, as Elder Ballard was, soon realizes that you don’t motivate car salesmen by edicts from the boss’s office, but rather by making them all feel part of the team. I predict, hope and pray that current efforts to implement this spirit on the local level will slowly creep back up the hierarchy over coming decades as new Church leaders increasingly recognize that they will need the participation of all Church members to carry forward the Gospel in ever more challenging times and places.

    One point to remember is that the hierarchy predates correlation. There will always be more central control in the Church than some Unitarian-style Mormons will like. The path for much of this evolution will be private efforts — private humanitarian efforts beside the Church’s, Gospel Doctrine teachers who bring creativity and additional insight to teaching the passages of scripture designated by the correlated curriculum and, of course, the now officially encouraged efforts to share the Gospel from one’s own perspective via the Internet. And ultimately perhaps, these uncorrelated efforts will even begin to revive the practice of united order economic principles, a revival which by its very essence could never be centrally correlated.

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