Zelophehad’s Daughters

Asking for Change

Posted by Ziff

I enjoyed Lynnette’s post on hoping for change, and the comments that followed. It got me to thinking about the next step after hoping, which might be asking for change. How can a member go about asking the Church to change?

I know that this question makes all kinds of arrongant assumptions, such as that I know in what ways the Church should change, or that its inspired leaders care a whit about what I think. But if you can set aside your shock at my arrogance for a moment, consider that it’s not unprecedented for the Church to change in response to events other than God telling its leaders, “this must be done.” For example, isn’t the story about the Word of Wisdom that it resulted from Emma’s complaint about tobacco use in the School of the Prophets? Or what about the 1978 revelation extending the priesthood to men regardless of their skin color? Would President Kimball (or President McKay before him, if I understand correctly) have prayed so earnestly for this to happen if he hadn’t seen the problems the issue was causing rank-and-file members and potential members?

I suggest that perhaps the way God runs the Church is to directly tell its leaders “this must be done,” only at select moments when no other solution will suffice. But for most other decisions, I suspect that he leaves it up to them to work out solutions without explicit commandment. After all, the bit in D&C 58:27 about being “anxiously engaged in a good cause” and doing things “of their own free will” (without being commanded, see the previous verse) applies to them as well as to anyone else. Therefore, I don’t think it should be surprising that people like Emma Smith, while not called to lead the Church, could still bring up issues that could spur Church leaders to ask for and receive revelation they might not otherwise have asked for, and to make changes in the Church they might not have otherwise considered.

My concern is that the Church has no mechanism to allow its leaders to hear feedback from ordinary members about our concerns. Periodically letters from the First Presidency are read in sacrament meeting that say, in effect, “Please don’t write to us. If you have a concern, talk to your local leaders.” This is completely understandable given the vast size of the Church in relation to the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve. But at the same time that they officially say, “please don’t write us,” they unofficially encourage letter-writing every time they quote in General Conference from letters that they have received.

Considering that they clearly still do get many letters, and that they’re clearly still interested in hearing from members, I suggest that the General Authorities stop asking members to not write them. Instead, they should encourage us to write them, but just make clear that (1) they will almost certainly not respond, (2) they don’t have time to read all the letters they receive, but they will assign staff people to read the letters and summarize the writers’ concerns for them, and (3) they promise nothing about making any change to the Church, regardless of how often a suggestion is made.

I understand the General Authorities wanting to make clear that core doctrines of the Church are not open to being altered based on members’ feedback. But by explicitly asking to hear no comments from the rank-and-file members as they do now, they effectively elevate every practice of the Church, no matter how arbitrary, to the level of core doctrine.

20 Responses to “Asking for Change”

  1. 1.

    Congratulations, Ziff, on your articulate and engaging inagural post! It’s nice to have a man’s voice around here.

    The only thing I know of that the church actively solicits feedback about is its manuals (does anyone know if there’s an email address or website listed these days in addition to the mailing address?) That does seem to suggest, encouragingly, that manuals aren’t core doctrine. I wonder if there would be simple, practical ways to expand such channels?

  2. 2.

    Hi, Ziff! As you well know, it concerns me too that we have no built-in mechanism for feedback. Since I’m extremely skeptical of claims to the effect that our leaders occupy the quintessence, in which the only audible voice is that of God, I desperately wish there were a formal way individuals in the Church could express concerns.

    The Church changes all the time and no doubt will continue to change, in response to cultural change and even in response to issues that are raised that our leaders manage to become aware of. But since an acknowledgment of change is simply not part of the Church’s self-concept, there’s no way to harness that potential power.

    I understand the Church sometimes solicits feedback and conducts studies in an effort to assess and improve its programs (is that true?), jettisoning the missionary discussions in favor of a more spontaneous model, for example, most likely as a result not exclusively of revelation, but first of investigation into the effectiveness of the current program. But whereas some lucky individuals might contribute to the answers, what I really want to know is, who gets to contribute to the questions the Church asks?

    The problem is, how do we communicate to our leaders that we’d like a way to communicate to our leaders? :)

  3. 3.

    My concern is that the Church has no mechanism to allow its leaders to hear feedback from ordinary members about our concerns.

    Actually, I believe if someone has feedback, that person can send it to our general leaders through local leaders. I don’t believe there is a completely closed door to our leaders. I just think they want to reduce the direct mail they get for things that could be handled with local leaders. I know my local leaders have passed concerns up from members of my ward.

    Also, I think the leaders are more aware of members’ concerns than we sometimes give credit for. I think that is part of the reason they travel around to stake and regional conferences. They meet with local leaders and I’m sure have talks about “what’s on the minds of your members.” I don’t think we should underestimate the potential trickling up of info shared with local leaders. So, if you have concerns, why not start there?

  4. 4.

    The problem is, how do we communicate to our leaders that we’d like a way to communicate to our leaders?

    That’s exactly it, Kiskilili. Thanks for putting it so succinctly.

    Also, I think the leaders are more aware of members’ concerns than we sometimes give credit for. I think that is part of the reason they travel around to stake and regional conferences. They meet with local leaders and I’m sure have talks about “what’s on the minds of your members.” I don’t think we should underestimate the potential trickling up of info shared with local leaders. So, if you have concerns, why not start there?

    Thanks for pointing this out, M&M. I’m probably too quick to dismiss local leaders as an avenue for making suggestions. I guess I fear that, like in other large organizations, negative information is particularly unlikely to be passed up the hierarchy, since lower-level leaders are not likely to get a positive response from higher up leaders when they do so. But it still might be worth exploring. Has anyone ever tried expressing a comment or suggestion on Church practice in general to a local leader and asking if they can pass it on up the hierarchy?

  5. 5.

    The history of the church leads us to believe that change rarely comes out of the blue, for two reasons; first, the consensus model of decision making rules out anything but the most measured pace of transformation. Secondly, the most dramatic alterations, such as the two official declarations, emerged from a long narrative of petitioning God and sitting on problems until whatever promptings might be felt are.

    What this tells me is that God gives direct answers rarely, and only after much nagging. We’re mostly left to the devices of our own minds and conscience (or, if you like, the Holy Spirit). In the absence of such direct answers, then, the path to take on any issue must be self-evident enough to ensure consensus.

    The problem, then, is that the need for change must reach a critical mass – enough to drive leadership to their knees for an extended period of time, as Kimball and McKay did, or alternatively, to convince a majority of them that change is required.

    All this means simply that the demand for change must be overwhelming. Promisingly, as with the temple alteration in 1990, this is not impossible. It _does_ happen, or all the hype around continuing revelation would be meaningless.

  6. 6.

    Your ideas about consensus are really interesting, Matt; it’s gotten me thinking. I’m wondering whether it might be useful to distinguish (only for heuristic purposes–not absolutely) between official change (pronouncements, adjustments to liturgy, canonization/decanonization, introduction of or modifications to programs) and unofficial change (Church rhetoric gradually drifts toward a new focus, for example). Obviously the latter happens much more naturally and less noticeably (and may well spur more “official” changes). At the same time, so-called official changes are not all that uncommon (witness the most recent adjustment to the temple ceremony); they just aren’t always accompanied by a lot of fanfare.

    Unfortuantely, I feel like I lack the data necessary to make clear sense of why either type of change occurs, so what follows is purely conjectural. Undoubtedly, some sort of consensus is reached behind closed doors before official change is implemented. However, it is clearly not the case that a majority of members need be concerned, let alone expressing concern, in order to stimulate change. I, for example, never encountered any objection whatever to the old initiatories, or to the missionary discussions. Maybe I’m not the best barometer, but my impression is that whatever concern existed was neither widespread nor terribly public. What this makes me think is that in certain (rare) circumstances, someone’s concerns, coupled with their access to those in authority and their ability to make a convincing case, may very well instigate official change.

  7. 7.

    K -

    While I certainly agree that the church is not a democracy – and indeed, most Mormons would find the very idea theologically disturbing – I think that for many issues, the perception of widespread public disquietude is important, primarily because it will drive those in a position to make a change to consider it. This perception – whether driven by word of mouth, polling, or an influx of letters – is more important, I think, than the voices of one or two people regardless of their access. I do think that one or two people can awaken the leadership to an issue, but are unlikely on their own to instigate change. – the process is too slow and deliberate for that. Within their spectrum, the leaders of the church occupy a wide range of positions, and I think that the sense of mass concern is one of a few things – apart from God’s word – that can mobilize them.

    For example, it strikes me as highly unlikely that the wording of the old temple oath concerning husband and wife would have been altered without some sense on the part of the leadership that many, many women found it disturbing. Similarly, without the civil rights movement and the calls for local leadership that accompanied church expansion into the southern hemisphere, I am uncertain whether the Quorum would have examined the priesthood ban so carefully.

    Interestingly, I’m not so sure that the distinction you draw is so clear – Correlation, I think, has ensured that official church rhetoric is scrutinized to the point that shifts of any kind are unlikely to happen unconsciously. Witness the strange death of “free agency” and its replacement, “moral agency,” for example. It is possible for broader transformations to occur, such as the church jumping on board the Protestant apocalyptic bandwagon for a generation a few decades ago, but again, I think these sorts of changes are reflective of widespread moods in the church, and the leadership’s reaction to these perceptions (which they themselves, being lay, likely share).

  8. 8.

    MattB’s reference to consensus decision making is not just a social custom. It is scripturally mandated in D&C 107:

    27 And every decision made by either of these quorums must be by the unanimous voice of the same; that is, every member in each quorum must be agreed to its decisions, in order to make their decisions of the same power or validity one with the other-

    If you have ever been in a High Priests group meeting, you will know that getting 15 old guys to agree on anything is not an automatic process. It is interesting that even on something as important as OD2, President Kimball just “happened” to present it to the Quorum of Twelve when diehard Elder Mark E. Petersen just “happened” to be out of the country on an assignment.

    As a result of this formal requirement of unanimity, change in the Church is inherently slow and deliberate even if some of the leaders become aware of information which would point to the need for some change. And, as has been pointed out, there is no official mechanism for sending such information up the heirarchy.

    Until such time as the top leaders themselves see the need for and institute such mechanisms for getting information from the “front lines,” my view is that efforts to effect change are more efficiently vested in affecting local leaders in areas where they have control. It is easier to get the ear of a bishop or stake president than an apostle or the president of the Church. For example, we may not get women the priesthood, but we can get funding and effort for the young women more on parity with the young men in our own wards and stakes.

    In all cases, one’s influence will hinge on one’s stance. If the change advocate is seen as promoting the change in order to advance the accepted goals of the Church one will be far more effective than if one’s stance is aggrieved or critical.

  9. 9.

    This is a really fun discussion with some great comments!

    There are so many possible factors influencing change and influencing one another–God’s will, cultural norms, leaders’ awareness of widespread disquietude, leaders’ own personal preferences, pressure from outside the Church–that I really feel at a loss to sort it out. Nevertheless, I feel like indulging in some speculation. :)

    Matt says, “For example, it strikes me as highly unlikely that the wording of the old temple oath concerning husband and wife would have been altered without some sense on the part of the leadership that many, many women found it disturbing.”

    This seems very plausible to me. But what led many, many women to find the oath disturbing? Undoubtedly changing cultural norms and the Church’s stated acceptance of gender equality created a discordance with the temple ceremony. But, then, by what mechanism was this widespread disquietude communicated to Church leaders? Through collection of survey data? Through leaders’ own interactions with those with whom they were in close contact (possibly spurring the collection of survey data?) Did the publication of exposes embarrassing the Church play a role in bringing issues to the attention of Church leaders, possibly prompting investigation into whether there was widespread disquietude? This is where I have no information, but tend to believe that multiple factors influencing one another ultimately brought about the change.

    Because our self-concept is that of a transcendent entity, change is difficult for us to process, which is why I’m guessing that one general rule is that the Church becomes open to serious change when it saves more face by changing than it does by staying the same, which necessitates a fair amount of pressure. OD-1 and -2 are examples of extremely official change, and although speculation about the theological implications of both is rampant–especially on the Bloggernacle–in the Church as a whole I don’t think we’ve adequately explained either change to ourselves. (Notice that President Hinckley’s standard response to questions about these earlier policies tends to be along the lines of, “Let’s not worry about that. That’s behind us.”) Awareness of change makes us uncomfortable.

    In regard to less official change, while I agree it’s not necessarily unselfconscious, I do think it’s effected more smoothly because the Church does not have to acknowledge to itself that it’s changing. In the last several decades we’ve seen an increasing emphasis on temples, the Book of Mormon, the Word of Wisdom, Jesus, motherhood, etc. If the Church is in a period of retrenchment as Armand Mauss argues very plausibly, I don’t think this fact constitutes any part of the Church’s general self-concept.

    (Lynnette once suggested to me that one likely prerequisite to our ordaining women is Catholics’ ordaining women. At the time, I was a little skeptical, but now I’m pretty convinced this is the case. The fact that Catholics with their billion members resist female ordination creates an environment in which we’re extremely comfortable resisting female ordination.)

    So I agree that Correlation keeps the doctrine on a short leash, but I also think, even on a short leash, one can go long distances–it just happens very gradually, as others have stated. I probably wasn’t clear in referring to “unofficial” change; “change” may be too strong a term. But I do think individuals in leadership positions can have an effect on subtle shifts on emphases, which, when observed over a long period of time, constitute genuine change. One person’s opinions can attain the status of doctrine as that person rises in the Church hierarchy. So I wonder whether it isn’t the case that when an individual who is aware of a particular issue is elevated higher and higher in authority, that issue isn’t given increased attention, setting the stage potentially, eventually, for more official change.

    I’m not sure any of this made sense, but right now I’ve got to run to a lecture on climate change. Carry on!

  10. 10.

    I actually wrote an essay on this in 1996, called “Edifying Others.”

    I’d love your thoughts on it.

  11. 11.

    K -

    On one hand, I think the church is uniquely rhetorically prepared to deal with change. After all, most church members these days think the two ODs are absolutely wonderful – and the fact that we did about faces on such deeply entrenched policies allows us to celebrate continuing revelation. And I think that if, when Gordon Hinckley dies, we are told that God has revealed that Elder Uchdorf is to replace him, few people would have a problem that a long tradition of succession got suddenly upended. So, if the leadership chooses to approach change using those rhetorical tools, it often goes smoothly. Even those in opposition are marginalized, as the Woolley family can attest.

    On the other hand, I think you’re on to something when you point out that the church, as an institution, is ill-equipped to process the _process_ of change. In fact, it’s my sense that we as a membership tend to assume that everything in the church now is pretty much like is always has been. The default assumption about change here is that it comes over the pulpit from God, like the declarations, so if there’s a problem, it will be dealt with top down. This, I think, is reflective of the “true-church” meme – what you call our claims to transcendence. This makes it institutionally difficult to process attempts at grassroots change; indeed, there’s another meme out there that equates such attempts as criticizing the Brethren.

    Here, I think, it’s useful to bring back the women and the temple example. This alteration happened in 1990, which, comparatively, is surprisingly late; similarly, OD-2 seems very bringing-up-the-rear to us now. My sense is that the assumption that change will come from the top down, combined with the demand for consensus at the top, and – to be frank – the fact that the church leadership is rather old and naturally conservative makes action that shifts policy move very slowly.

    I think you’re right that a combination of things will work to bring such issues to their attention – I think I heard somewhere in the nacle that there was in fact a survey associated with the 1990 reforms – but ultimately action is directed in consensus from the top; if there’s a faction in opposition among the Twelve, nothing will happen. Greg Prince’s David O McKay book has some useful information on this.

    I think what you say about correlation is probably true, and the very gradualism of it allows such drift to be rhetorically framed as “renewed emphasis” or “clarification,” thus making it much more safe than radical change. I think you do have a good point the role of particular leaders – certainly Mormonism today is heavily flavored with Bruce McConkie and Neal Maxwell, through an interesting combination of their particular rhetorical abilities and adoption, I think, by the official media of the church. Of course, this sort of thing is a much more gradual shift that direct policy reversals, but again, I think, it’s pretty much top down.

  12. 12.

    Stephen – that’s a very Niebuhrian essay (which I like – Niebuhr fan here :)); the courage to change what I can and the serenity to accept what I cannot. I think it’s accurate, more or less; the problem of fighting City Hall exists in any institution, particularly one as heirarchical in Mormonism. Fortunately, I think Mormonism grants us a spiritual independence that I at least find absolutely essential, and I admire the essay’s recognition of that. :)

  13. 13.

    This is a fascinating discussion! I just have one thought to add: I think there could be real psychological value in having some kind of official mechanism for feedback. My guess is that most people find it easier to be loyal to an organization that expresses some interest in what they have to say. (Random idea–what about something like a census every couple of years?) Even knowing that my views were just being collected by staff members into reports of overall trends, I’d still appreciate the sense that my voice was in some way being heard.

  14. 14.

    Are you saying the Church is “not entirely stable”? I’m glad you’re here to tell us these things!

  15. 15.

    Thanks, Matt. Your points make a lot of sense to me.

    Upon further reflection, I think I would qualify my earlier statement by saying that the Church does have a way of processing change, but only one: by invoking the manifestation of God’s mysterious will in enabling us to adapt to changing circumstances. It’s struck me before that in some situations we claim that transcendence (for lack of a better term) is evidenced by our continuity through time, whereas on other occasions we point to our very adaptibility (that is, mutability) as evidence of the same thing. We typically construe that adaptibilty as a sign of God’s continuing involvement, but with limited acknowledgment of any human component motivating earlier changes. If we did acknowledge a human component, I think it might make it easier to put in place formal mechanisms for examining current policies.

    I absolutely agree that our liturgy and our official policy tend to lag significantly behind cultural changes that affect the Church in more subtle ways. It’s one of the things that frustrates me most about the Church. I can see reasons liturgy would change infrequently and at a snail’s pace (our leaders come from a very different generation, there’s no particular reason for them to be aware of dissatisfaction, a consensus has to be reached at the top, etc.). But it still seems irresponsible when the liturgy is at odds with other teachings of the Church; I wish we would either own up to the implications of our liturgy in our rhetoric outside the temple, or else change the liturgy. Instead, I think our tactic is to use extra-temple teachings to attempt to force new interpretations onto our liturgy. (Okay, personal rant over.)

    Like Lynnette, I do think there’s psychological benefit in communicating my own perception of a problem or an inconsistency in what the Church says.

  16. 16.

    Oooh, take me (“the professor”) into the back of the Church and plug me into the hyperdrive! Y’all are gonna be in for a shock when you see where the Church is headed next . . .

  17. 17.

    Are you saying the Church is “not entirely stable”? I’m glad you’re here to tell us these things!

    Maybe someone should take Kiskilili into the back and plug her into the hyperdrive . . .

  18. 18.

    In re feedback, here are a few possibly relevant data points:

    (1) Historically feedback very much occurred in the Church, but on an informal basis. When the Church was smaller and more geographically concentrated, almost every Church member had some connection through acquaintanceship or family with at least one high Church leader. If you were visiting Salt Lake, it was no big deal to pay a call on an apostle or even the president of the Church. Two apostles attended every stake conference for at least two full days and always stayed in Church members’ homes. In these circumstances, feedback happened all the time naturally. Obviously with the tremendous growth in numbers, geographical expanse and linguistic diversty of the Church, these informal means of communication between the Church rank-and-file and the hierarchy have completely broken down.

    (2) The one probable exception to this breakdown in the informal social mechnisms for feedback is a small number of members from the East Bench of Salt Lake who still have personal and family contact with the Church’s leaders. I suspect that these informal mechanisms are is still operative for this limited group. An example is the policy limiting the Sacrament Meeting focus on departing missionaries. This was a policy clearly dictated by the experience of a small number of older East Bench wards who were going through a period of having a lot of missionairies leaving and ignored the experience of little mission field wards and branches where a departing missionary is a rare event. When the policy came out, you could almost hear the apostles’s elderly friends grousing “I don’t mind missionary farewells, but is seems like every Sacrament Meeting is a missionary farewell IN MY WARD these days!”

    (3) The Church does have a very professional survey unit in the Correlation Department which was founded by Spencer Condie (BYU sociology professor now a Seventy) staffed by social science professionals. However, its operations and results are highly confidential, and it is unclear to what extent various of the Church leaders understand or pay attention to their findings.

    (4) One interesting paradigm is the Nibley/FARMS school. They did not set out to “change” the Church per se, but in the course of pursuing new avenues of professional scholarly rigor in the service of goals which would be seen as positive (understanding and confirming the BoM) they have set in motion a substantial shift in our understanding of the Scriptures. I wonder if there are not indirect ways of effecting change which would be more efficacious than what might be interpreted as direct “lobbying” of the powers-that-be in the Church.

  19. 19.

    Matt and Kiskilili, I like your discussion of how the Church processes change. Kiskilili, you said,

    But, then, by what mechanism was this widespread disquietude communicated to Church leaders? Through collection of survey data? Through leaders’ own interactions with those with whom they were in close contact (possibly spurring the collection of survey data?) Did the publication of exposes embarrassing the Church play a role in bringing issues to the attention of Church leaders, possibly prompting investigation into whether there was widespread disquietude? This is where I have no information, but tend to believe that multiple factors influencing one another ultimately brought about the change.

    I like your list of possible causes of change in the temple ceremony. And of course it might be taken as a list of causes of changes in the Church more generally. But of course, as you both note, there’s only one officially acknowledged way for change to come about, and that’s when God dictates it from on high.

    I wonder if Church leaders don’t prefer it this way. Of course members’ concerns (if they reach Church leaders) influence Church leaders, and of course bad press does too. But they are likely hesitant to acknowledge these influences because to do so would be to invite more attempts to change the Church from below and without. That, I think, is the number one reason why the Church does not have any formal way for members to give feedback to the top leaders. They don’t want to provide the illusion that the Church is any kind of a democracy or socially influenceable institution. But in doing this, I think Church leaders inadvertently convey that they don’t care much for individual members.

    (Of course I’m not saying that local Church leaders convey that they don’t care much about members. My experience is that most local leaders do care about members. It’s just that they don’t have any power to resolve issues that concern the way the Church as a whole is run.)

    JWL, as you point out so well, the problem of general Church leadership being able to avoid getting feedback from the membership at large is a relatively recent one. Perhaps the Church leaders will eventually realize that they have been cut off from a potentially valuable source of information. Matt, as you said, the Church’s changes are always just a step slower than you would expect. I fear, though, that Church leaders might enjoy the quiet of not hearing feedback from us. It’s probably a lot less stressful to hear from only a few selected people who carefully filter any feedback that you do get to make sure it’s not too negative. I wonder if they will ever get around to asking to hear from members in general again.

  20. 20.

    Z – I fear that those days are likely gone for good. Andrew Jackson was famous for leaving the door to the White House unlocked; Abraham Lincoln reserved one day a week for, essentially, office hours. Similarly, Brigham Young answered his own door and would often answer letters personally. The problem that our church shares with the presidency is one of increasing impersonality forced by institutional growth. As JWL notes, this isn’t an issue if you live next door to Boyd Packer. However, that sort of thing is – and has always been – an informal channel of grassroots influence, one that existed by virtue of size and structure rather than policy. Really, ever since Hiram Page, a formal grassroots voice has been nonexistent, and thus informal lines had no real institutional support once the organization got too big for them.

    This:

    They don’t want to provide the illusion that the Church is any kind of a democracy or socially influenceable institution

    is the other problem, and I think it explains the phenomenon that K (and I, frankly) struggle with.

    But it still seems irresponsible when the liturgy is at odds with other teachings of the Church

    In my judgment, in the absence of something so dramatic as an OD, the church chooses to deal with such things by deemphasizing them in arenas like the Ensign and General Conference. This is done through ceasing to mention the offending doctrine, or proclaiming the opposite of it, again without mentioning what prompted the current point in the first place. President Hinckley’s attack on racism is a prime example. This can cause some confusion on the ground floor, but it allows the church to preserve an image of constant progress.

    However, the church is _not_ exempt from cultural influence; our discourse has been wildly remolded by things like the (alas) the John Birch Society and racism, but the true-church meme is powerful in the minds of many, and would have us believe that nothing alters the shape and form of the institution but God. This is why such cognitive dissonance as I described one paragraph above might occur. And though individuals can often be supportive, there is a cultural feeling that if you question the church, you’re obviously questioning God.

    Thus, while I want to believe that the GAs care at some level about what we think (I read Hinckley’s use of letters as something of a symbolic gesture to this end), and I don’t think the exclusion of grassroots voices is malicious, I do believe that – particularly in middle management – the true-church meme weighs heavily, and thus grassroots protest is discouraged.

    This has been abetted by increased stress on heirarchy and authority, which has come from the top, in an attempt to increase local autonomy. Thus, we have an organizational problem here – a choice on their part between heavy-handedness and distance. The other alternative is to deemphasize authority altogether, but I don’t see that happening.

    And really, if I hear “God’s house is a house of order” used to defend something so mundane as Area Authority Seventies one more time, argh.

    This was somewhat disjointed, I think – apologies, am off to the library hoping to find a Josiah Strong book.

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