Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Importance of Proper Indoctrination

This post is aimed directly at the critics of the Church who attack and mock our deeply held and divinely taught indoctrination techniques.  They think that by pointing these out it will make us look cultish and will have a negative impact on the mission that the Lord has bestowed upon us.  Of course nothing could be further from the truth. 

We are not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ or the way we teach it.  In fact when the word “indoctrination” is used in proper context by Church leaders it is anything but negative.  The intent of this post is to show the world that we as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are honoured to be known as a peculiar people and are proud of the tried and true methods of indoctrination that we use to help our members develop firm testimonies of the restored gospel.

Although most people view the term indoctrination in a negative light the dictionary correctly defines its meaning (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/indoctrinate) as follows:
“To teach (a person or group of people) systematically to accept doctrines, especially uncritically.” 

I couldn’t have said it better myself.  As members we raise our children to accept the doctrines of the church and discourage the negative critical attitudes towards these beliefs that are so prevalent in the world today. 

“Indoctrination….is often distinguished from education by the fact that the indoctrinated person is expected not to question or critically examine the doctrine they have learned.”

This view is of course completely supported by the Church.  In fact Elder M. Russell Ballard after talking about how solidly anchored in our testimonies we must be succinctly stated “We won’t question the doctrines that are part of our belief.”
Brothers and Sisters I hope you are beginning to see the word indoctrination in its true (non negative) light. 

Wikipedia goes on to state that “indoctrination implies causing people to act and think on the basis of a certain ideology.”

The worldly who tend to oppose such methods are then mentioned in the same article where it states that “Some secular critics maintain that all religions indoctrinate their adherents, as children, and the accusation is made in the case of religious extremism. Sects such as Scientology use personality tests and peer pressures to indoctrinate new members. Some religions have commitment ceremonies for children 13 years and younger, such as Bar Mitzvah, Confirmation, and Shichi-Go-San (baptizing our 8 year olds would also be a good example here). In Buddhism Temple boys are encouraged to follow the faith while still very young (it is the same in our religion too). Critics of religion, such as Richard Dawkins, maintain that the children of religious parents are often unfairly indoctrinated. The process of subjecting children to complex initiation rituals before they are able to critically assess the event is seen by Dawkins and other critics of religion as cruel.”

Now I should state that in the case of other religions I would tend to agree with what has been said but what people like Richard Dawkins will never understand is that members of our Church (which is the only true and living Church upon the face of the earth) are under certain scriptural obligations which carry with them solemn parental warnings.  In D&C 68:25 we are taught: “And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents.”

If any of you doubt the position of the church with regards to indoctrinating our young people the Church’s official website clears up the matter once and for all where it contains President Kimball’s inspiring talk entitled “When the World Will Be Converted” which included comments on the quality of missionaries needed in the field.  Here is what was said on the topic of indoctrination by the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a modern day prophet, seer and revelator:

“When I ask for more missionaries, I am not asking for more testimony-barren or unworthy missionaries. I am asking that we start earlier and train our missionaries better in every branch and every ward in the world…..I am asking for missionaries who have been carefully indoctrinated and trained through the family and the organizations of the Church.”

May we be truly blessed as we indoctrinate a new generation of worthy missionaries who will willingly give up two years of their young lives in the service of the Church.  As a Stake President this is my humble prayer in the holy and sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Anonymous said...

Yes, proper indoctrination is the pathway to having a strong testimony. It's not that our young primary kids do not properly understand when they testify they "know the church is true" - it's about laying a firm foundation so that when they are older they will not be so prone to fall into academic miscalculations that will be contrary to what they have been taught.

But then again I sure hope the next time I visit my Doctor he doesn't make the same academic miscalculations

Anonymous said...


This is NOT a website sanctioned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Nor is "President Paternoster" a stake president within the Church. Rather, this site is farce, and [usually] not good farce, at that.

Most of the posts here are written by quasi-apostates who mock those who are sincerely striving, albeit imperfectly, to follow Jesus.

Caveat utilitor.

James said...

Dear Anonymous Gideon,

We love you. You are to this website the same kind of anomaly the Osmonds are to the media: The weird but likeable sideshow.

Anyhoo, I agree with everything President Paternoster has stated. We've been asked by our prophets to teach our children the truth of the only true and living church upon the face of the earth as soon as they are old enough to learn.

For example, as soon as my daughter could say mommy and daddy, we started teaching her to say Joseph, Jesus, Temple, Coffee Bad!, Worthy, Perfect, and many other things that will be so crucial to her eternal life decision when she turns 8.

We know that Satan has been working hard on this generation because our daughter has already been diagnosed with clinical depression. We pray for her and remind her that as long as she does everything she can possibly do to be worthy of God's blessings every day for the rest of her life, she'll be okay. But we tell her Satan is a powerful foe.

I want to end with my testimony, that I know this Church is true. I want to tell my family how much I love them. I know President Monson is a true Prophet of God. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Tom "Busty" Monson said...

What does "quasi-apostate" even mean?

I know what apostate means, and I know that "quasi" means "resembling; seeming; virtual." Is he saying that we only appear to be apostates, but are really good members of the True Church, even the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

Is he saying that we are actually beter than the apostates, like himself, who openly admit to not perfectly following Jesus and His commandments, while appearing to be righteous?

I'm afraid that we are not nearly as two-faced as you, Anon (may I call you Anon?). But we do pray for you constantly, even always. Sometimes we have to pray silently because we are eating or drinking, but we are constantly praying, I assure you!

Nations Doctor said...

James ,
I hope you also taught your daughter to say the words "inappropriate" . That's such an important word for an LDS child to know.

Bjorge Queen said...

I'd be pretty offended if somebody called me a "quasi" apostate. Is that like being a "so called intellectual"?

Himzelph said...

Once when my testimony was wavering I was concerned that I was not going to be able to properly indoctrinate my children, the way my parents had me.

I expressed my concern to my Bishop but in my inarticulate weakness I described it to the Bishop as "benevolent brainwashing". He was horrified and said that we do no such thing in the church.

Thankyou for giving me the tools to go back to the bishop and describe to him in a more articulate and referenced way what I meant. I just hope he sees the error of his ways and ensures that his own children and all the children in the ward get the proper indoctrination. To carry the burden of all the potential sins of those children (as per D&C) would be unbearable.

Anonymous said...

@James: Thanks, I think?! :)

@Tom: Hmm. Good point. May have to think of an alternative to "quasi."

@Bjorge: You literally made me laugh out loud.

Anonymous said...

Thankyou for the clarification .... All this time I thought I was brainwashed .... Thank God for you, to make things straight ...

Emma Smith said...

Proper learning of the gospel is so important for children. In fact, it is this intensive learning that can help children as they grow into young adults and then into the future leaders of the Lord's Church. It gives our children a firm foundation as saints of the Lord to withstand the buffetings of Satan in these, the Latter Days. In a recent seminary graduation, the Stake President of our Stake admonished the Seminary Graduates, to "Arise and Shine forth, you have had a lot of money spent on you, we expect to see a great return on our investment." (I am sure he and our dear President Paternoster would be the best of friends if they were to live closer to each other.) It is so important to let these young adults know, that there is a reason that we spend so much time and money educating them in the truths of the restored gospel. We expect them to follow it! With knowledge comes responsibility, and I am glad that our youth can have these serious commitments put upon themselves, instead of on us as parents. This way, I as a parent can wash my hands of any sins that they commit, because I know I along with the spiritual geniuses at CES, as well as our YW/YM leaders have done our part. We can only pray that all this instruction can make it harder for our children to sin, and when they do, a measure of godly sorrow push them to their knees, that they may know God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ. They already know all the answers from church and seminary, why waste time questioning, of steadying the ark?! If they humbly listen to the spirit, they can receive the kingdom of heaven as if they were little children, even when they are adults with children of their own, and they will be blessed. I have seen this in my own life, and bear solemn testimony, in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

Emma the Younger said...

I think the key word is "humbly." As long as we teach our children abject humility, a willingness to allow the Truest Church on Earth to completely overwrite their own thoughts and egos, our children will never be able to accept the gospel in this "advanced" civilization. Yep. Humility is the key. No one is entitled to their own thoughts or conclusions. Thoughts and conclusions are only for the Lord's annointed. Who have promised us they are who they say they are. Except for Warren Jeffs, who the regular Mormons say is not really the prophet even though he tells us that our regular Mormon prophet is not who HE says he is and. . . Wait. . . .

a lowly sister in the one true church said...

One of the most profound sayings I've ever heard was from a seminary teacher who was questioned by one of his students about the way he taught his children. The student said, "it sounds like you're brainwashing your children!" This righteous priesthood holder promptly replied, "If I don't brainwash them, who will?"

There were tears in my eyes as I pondered these inspired words from a Father who patterns himself after our own Father, even our Father in Heaven.

ALSITOTC said...


Anonymous said...

I know this blog is true. CTR, modest is hottest, LDS forever, etc.

Stake Pres. said...

Thank you all for your wonderful support and comments. I love hearing from each and every one of you. It is especially nice to have such wonderful lowly and humble sisters contributing to the conversation. May the Lord bless us all as we strive to become more like him.

The President

Jebidiah Peterson said...

I have been working very hard to indoctrinate all I meet about the true teachings of the LDS church, mingled with scripture. How is this teaching being received? Very well--except this man, Anonymous Gideon, does not seem to believe what is being taught.