First Presidency Letters – Self-Awareness Groups (October 13, 2010 and 2001)

// January 30th, 2011 // Weird or Interesting News

http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/60087/From-the-First-Presidency.html

Self-awareness groups

In a letter dated Oct. 13, (2010) the First Presidency (of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS, Mormon) wrote:

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

We have repeatedly warned of the risks inherent in participating in so-called “self-awareness” groups sponsored by commercial enterprises that promise heightened self-esteem, improved family relationships, and increased spirituality. It has come to our attention that some of these enterprises continue to express or imply Church endorsement, thereby attracting members of the Church to their programs.

The Church has not endorsed any such enterprise. We warn that these programs are not in harmony with Church doctrine or gospel principles. Church members should not participate in groups that:

1. Challenge religious and moral values.

2. Advocate confrontation with spouse or family members as a means of reaching one’s potential.

3. Imitate sacred rites or ceremonies.

4. Foster physical contact among participants.

5. Meet late into the evening or in the early-morning hours.

6. Encourage open confession or disclosure of personal information normally discussed only in confidential settings.

7. Cause a husband or wife to be paired with other partners.

Once again, we counsel members against participating in such “self-awareness” activities.

Signed by the First Presidency:

Thomas S. Monson

Henry B. Eyring

Dieter F. Uchtdorf

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Here is the 2001 version (basically the same thing except 1 & 2 are combined in the older version, and “parties” in the last sentence is changed to “partners” in the 2010 version, and the last sentence is different:

http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/40005/Members-counseled-about-self-awareness-groups.html

The First Presidency directed that the following letter be read in sacrament meeting:

It has come to our attention that some commercial enterprises promising heightened self-esteem, improved family relationships, increased spirituality and the like by participating in their programs are implying Church endorsement. Such claims are untrue and unfounded.

The Church has not endorsed any such enterprise. Neither should the Church’s failure to formally challenge any such enterprise coming to its attention be construed as a tacit endorsement or stamp of approval.

We repeat the counsel set forth in the Church Handbook of Instruction, page 157:

“Church members should not participate in groups that:

1. Challenge religious and moral values or advocate unwarranted confrontation with spouse or family members as a means of reaching one’s potential.

2. Imitate sacred rites or ceremonies.

3. Foster physical contact among participants.

4. Meet late into the evening or in the early-morning hours.

5. Encourage open confession or disclosure of personal information normally discussed only in confidential settings.

6. Cause a husband and wife to be paired with other parties.”

We strongly counsel against affiliation with any such group and warn against believing any claim of Church approval, tacit or otherwise, by any private organization offering “experiential” or “empowerment” training.

Sincerely yours,

Gordon B. Hinckley
Thomas S. Monson
James E. Faust

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