Ep 68 – The Loyalty

Written by on April 17, 2014

Tom talks to Allen about his listener submitted essay: “Goodness vs. Loyalty: The little known dichotomy.”

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  1. Brad   On   April 18, 2014 at 2:03 am

    Interesting take. I agree that an appeal based solely on a sense of loyalty can be suspect. However, it is also a very powerful appeal. When some one or some thing is hitting the loyalty play, it is difficult to resist.

  2. Riley Ockerman   On   April 18, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    I remember talking to my Bishop about how the church is either true or not, there’s no middle ground, a la Hinkley. He just kind of laughed it off and said of course there’s a middle ground. I know he was trying to help and looking back I’m glad he wasn’t so black and white but his ambivalence towards the words of the prophet really struck me. If something as serious as the absolute truthfulness of the church can just be disregarded then what good is anything that comes out of these guys’ mouths? Great episode guys.

    • A.L.   On   April 18, 2014 at 10:58 pm

      When I realized that a prophet of god was presenting this exact false dichotomy, that solidified my choice to leave. How could a prophet be so damn illogical? There are parts of the gospel, church, my faith, etc. that can be true, while other parts can be a lie or false. I think Mormon Expression podcasters discussed this once and explained it pretty well. Anyway, interesting how that phrase by Hinkley seems to have effected so many people in very different ways.

  3. JT   On   April 19, 2014 at 1:02 am

    Excellent essay Allen. Thanks.
    Yes, that tension between loyalty (defection bad) and goodness (doing harm bad).
    There’s interesting research going on in moral psychology from the evolutionary perspective.
    Jonathan Haidt’s Moral Foundations theory counts Care/Harm and Loyalty/Betrayal as two of five innate moral “foundations.” His research indicates that people fall on a spectrum with respect to their bias toward each. He argues that loyalty “instinct” was a “group selected” adaptation.
    More interesting is how liberals and conservatives differ with respect to the relative value they give to each foundation. Conservatives score much higher than liberals on the loyalty, sanctity and [respect for] authority] foundations while liberals are biased toward the care and fairness while discounting the others.
    Haidt has a concise TED talk about it here.
    John Hibbings studies the “biology of ideology.” Among other physiological correlates of conservatism, he uses “eye tracking”
    technology to show innate differences in how liberals and conservatives perceive the world.
    What is the liberal to conservative ratio among ex-Mormons?
    Are gold plates simply more plausible to the moral minds of in-group loving, authority-obsessed, sexist prudes?

    • Cylon   On   April 19, 2014 at 4:18 pm

      I don’t know any scientific studies of that question, but from what I’ve seen from informal polls in the ex-Mormon groups I’ve been in, as well as just the general feel from participating in those groups, I’d say liberals far outnumber conservatives. In fact, I can’t think of any actual self-described conservatives among ex-Mormons I know, although there are a fair number of libertarians.

  4. JT   On   April 19, 2014 at 1:32 am

    It seems that whenever the brethren bring up loyalty they always dish it out with promises of personal blessings and happiness. They rarely come right out and admit that the Institution is immediate beneficiary.
    Loyalty is always about the group preservation and flourishing first and the individual second.
    Now, back in hunter-gather days (or today on battlefields and lawless societies) there was no distinction between group and individual survival. The loyalty instinct had to kick in strong.
    But in many modern societies, particularly those with strong social services and safety nets, people can survive without religious institutions. So, what do religions do? They manufacture imaginary threats and fictive kinship:
    * There will be celestial reward without us,
    * and no eternal family.
    * Watch out for Satan and his minions!
    * Watch out for those secularists who want to rob you of our
    religious freedom!
    * Homosexuals are out to destroy your families.
    * Brother and sister this and that – we are all children of god
    etc. etc.
    And some of us find ourselves in the position – or of the disposition – to stop buying it.

  5. pk   On   April 25, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    Just a side comment. “There is no such thing as righteous pride”
    is a phrase that has been taken out of context since the day it was said. If
    you listen to the talk by Pres. Benson you will see that he was talking about
    understanding the scriptures. When “pride” is found in the scriptures, it is
    always negative. Righteous pride in the scriptures will be worded in a different
    way, like “in whom I am well pleased” etc. This misunderstanding by members of the phrase always
    bothered me as a believer and I guess still does to some degree.

  6. Jill Searle   On   April 27, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    Allen I really enjoyed your essay on Loyalty. It gave me a lot to think about. Would it be possible to get a written copy of your essay? I would like to be able to read through it and tuck it away for a re-read now and then.

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