Mr. Kafka Goes to Temple Square

This is the clause I’m adding to my freshman composition syllabus next semester:

If, during the course of the semester, you find that you need something from me, please do not come to my office and ask for it. By doing so you will interfere with the dialogue I am always already having with my students about their needs. Any student who comes to my office asking for something will be redirected to the bar near campus where the college dropouts hang out, which is an ideal place to express opinions and ideas about the classroom that differ from mine. Please remember that students in this class, by a very large majority, do not share your advocacy for anything at all beyond a vague and mostly apathetic hope for grade inflation.

If any student comes to see me in spite of this, I’ll just put a trash can in front of the door to let them know I’m not available.

25 thoughts on “Mr. Kafka Goes to Temple Square

  1. 1

    Yes! This really highlights the absurdity of the situation. Thanks for helping me laugh about it too!

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    I love it. I thought the line about the productive conversations being had about women’s issues that OW is somehow “impeding” was hysterical. It’s only because of the headlines they’re generating that the conversations are happening at all.

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    This made me laugh SO loud and hard (just reading the title!) that it scared off the birds perched on the tree outside my (shut ) window. Feminism hurts birds .

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    The LDS response to the Ordain Women movement precisely tracks the recent Republican response to questions about pay equity for women. [real]Women are too busy to bother [and their pretty little heads] with a getting equal pay. Besides women are poor negotiators. Men receive higher pay because they are wonderful negotiators [and teens genitals aren’t icky]. [real] Women don’t want equal pay. The only ones who want equal pay are whiners.

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    To keep with the office hours analogy, Ordain Women is like the college student who attempts to see the professor outside of her normal office hours by loudly banging on the door when the professor is known to be in her office. When the professor politely tells the student to come back during office hours, the student again appears at the next opportunity outside of office hours in the same manner as before, even after the professor reminds the class that she needs people to respect her work and office hours. Her syllabus clearly stated that office hours were between certain hours. The church, like the professor, has an established policy for the time, place and manner in which conversations can occur. Ordain Women’s continued insistence on attending priesthood meeting is obscuring their desires to work with church leaders. Even in their efforts they are not following the policy the church has set out for them and are attempting to get in through other means: through the PR department or through letters to the COB which is like the student trying to climb through the window to get into office hours.

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    The church, like the professor, has an established policy for the time, place and manner in which conversations can occur.

    Yeah, this is exactly what they haven’t done. The church has no office hours. Writing letters has borne no fruit, attempts to meet with church leadership privately has accomplished nothing. What exactly is this policy you speak of that dictates the time, place, and manner for meetings to occur? The membership is explicitly told that attempts to contact church leaders will be re-directed to stake presidents. Banging on the office door is pretty much the only option left.

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    Descent (I guess, as in you’re falling), Having written letters to headquarters that return unread to the stake president, having asked stake presidents and bishops who rightly say that my concerns about these things are not their call, having tried internal channels for years to no avail, and recognizing that thousands of women have disengaged with the Church, I am happy to, as Jesus directs, ask, seek and knock. You may believe that we’re coming at non-office hours. I see it that we are supplicants asking at a time, for once, when we can be heard.

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    Aside from the “yep” and the “ouch” (this post is basically perfect), Ziff led me to the Ron Swanson super cut, of which I have heard so much.

    This post and (most of) the comments have made my week – no small task, given that this week I learned my sister is moving to my city. Huzzah for ZD.

    Melyngoch, I have only a passing awareness of Kafka, does this reference a particular story? Or just that it’s so bizarre and illogical, it would fit into his body of work?

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    Descent, you realize that the link you posted is pretty much the opposite of open office hours, right? A better analogy would be that the professor posted a sign that all questions should be directed to the TAs, and that under no (or very limited) circumstances will students be allowed to ask the professor anything directly. Oh, and the TAs are not actually empowered to address the students questions, other than to parrot back the inadequate answers given in the PowerPoint. Plus many of the TAs feel the questions being asked are a waste of time anyway and that the students should just not fret over them because those issues will be resolved after they die… I mean, “graduate.”

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    Most large university classes utilize TAs to handle class questions, etc. in the times that a TA forwards something on to the professor, the professor directs the TA to handle it in a certain way. What you describe (minus the hyperbole) is pretty typical. The church states that headquarters can’t handle every communication it receives so it uses stake presidents like TA’s who then act as a filter so that everything is addressed and the most applicable concerns get passed on to the professor. Granted, some TAs/stake presidents are better than others, yet I am aware that the church is working to improve training for stake leaders and teach pastoral counseling. The church is not unfairly structured in the way that many people think. The process is clearly available though not many people understand how to navigate the system.

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    “The church states that headquarters can’t handle every communication it receives so it uses stake presidents like TA’s who then act as a filter so that everything is addressed and the most applicable concerns get passed on to the professor.”

    I think the Church makes it pretty clear that HQ can’t handle *any* communication, so *all* communication will be sent back to the TAs.

    “The process is clearly available though not many people understand how to navigate the system.”

    Ahahahahahahaha! Brilliant! Will you be here all week?

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    If you are implying that the section in the CHI is not very easy to understand to most members, I agree with you. It believe it could use some editing for ease of reading. Yet it’s there in the rule book and church members continue to disregard the direction contained there. This is something that every member could stand to be informed about and activists especially need to be respectful of it . When they are, their chances of success basically disappear.

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    Descent, please describe for me how I could, in keeping with the CHI and church policy, go about setting up a meeting with anyone in the general leadership of the Church. I think Ordain Women and I would both super love to know.

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    The process is not as straightforward as you want it to be. Stake Presidents facilitate meetings between church members at the local level and leaders at the general level. Consider it a screening process so that disruptive people aren’t making unrealistic demands on leaders’ time. Stake Relief Society Presidents can facilitate meetings between women of the stake with members of the RS board or presidency. Usually meetings begin with letters of correspondence (think Darius Gray and the Genesis Group) and at some point leaders will either request a meeting or inform you that they have it covered and do not need the assistance you offer.

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    That’s why numbers matter. If the 250 participants of Ordain Women tried to follow the direction in the CHI, the chances of success are higher that some, maybe a handful, maybe dozens will be successful. To use another schooling analogy, it’s unjust to withhold a test from someone because administrators and teachers think they will do poorly on it. We don’t know how stake presidents respond until we give them the chance. Agency requires that they could go all unrighteous dominion on earnestly seeking church members but those who remember D&C 121 very well could pass the test. Also, how many church members who have spoken with church members have 1) cited the CHI in their discussions and/or 2) requested that they forward their request/ thoughts onto the First presidency (like the CHI says is within bounds)?

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