I had a great conversation last night with an open-minded TBM friend. He asked what I would change about the LDS church (if I could/if I cared). I said I would change the behaviorist approach, starting by eliminating home and visiting teaching, and well, most auxiliary programs for that matter. Here was my reasoning:
- By approaching service as a duty/obligation, the church undermines and nullifies instinctive human desires to serve.
I'm not saying that home and visiting teaching are never meaningful. I'm just saying that I think that love/service would exist without the structure, and would perhaps be more genuine and satisfying.
- By emphasizing programs that socially integrate (and keep active) members, the church fosters false connections and inauthenticity.
My guess is that, if the church dropped all its programs, the dynamic of membership would change dramatically. There would be fewer lonely individuals sustained by false friendships (you know who I'm talking about). I personally think this would be a good thing. Everyone deserves the chance to seek love, without being deceived by its counterfeit (pity). Also, perhaps more of those individuals less-committed to the mission and objectives of the religion would leave (unobstructed by a church-based social network), but that is because they really don't belong/want to be there! So also, they'd be better off.
I think such changes would help make the LDS church a more authentic place. But I still wouldn't want to be there. And anyway, it's not gonna happen - because over authenticity (heart), the church values its appearance (behavior).