Yesterday a letter from the First Presidency was read in my ward’s sacrament meeting. It sounded like the standard letter that’s sent every so often asking members to please not write to Salt Lake about our concerns but instead to talk to our bishops or branch presidents.
But at the end I thought I heard something different from what these letters usually sound like. There was a bit where I think they said if you have a question or concern that your stake/district/mission president agrees might be helpful to bring up to the general leadership of the Church, your president can write about it to them on your behalf.
I concede that it’s entirely possible that either I misheard yesterday, or I wasn’t paying close enough attention every other time in the past when similar letters were read. But, on the off chance that this is new, I find it a very encouraging sign. I understand that the Church will always be run from the top down. But I’ve long wondered why the general leadership seemed so determined not to accept any feedback from the members, particularly when some members have such good ideas for making church better.
Of course I realize that their demanding schedules would require questions/comments/suggestions to be filtered somehow. I always figured an easy solution might be to have some employees at Church headquarters read everything, tally things up (278,511 requests for a 2 hour block, 5 requests for a 4 hour block, etc.), and then pass along suggestion counts and perhaps any particularly useful sounding unique suggestions to the general leadership. This might work kind of like how I assume politicians handle many letters or emails they receive. But (again assuming that I’m right that this is new) it appears that they’ve chosen instead to filter suggestions at the members’ end, by having local leaders decide what’s worth passing along.
So I have a few questions. Did anyone else hear this letter read yesterday? Did anyone else hear this bit at the end about having your local leadership write on your behalf if they agree your question is important? If so, has this bit always been in the “please don’t write us; our schedules are busy enough already” letters from the First Presidency, or is it actually new?
- 21 April 2008