Built to Deceive?

CV Harquail writes a very popular management blog, and yesterday she turned her attention to organisations that are Built to Deceive. I follow her because her writing applies so well to so many things. Religion, business, personal relationships can all be authentic or inauthentic. She spells out that an organisation is built to deceive when it:

  • Has employees who are willing to accept a lie as the premise of their organization’s identity
  • Has employees who accept that their work for the company will hurt some customers
  • Has employees who don’t believe that customers should be treated with respect
  • Has employees that cannot be completely proud of their work
  • Has employees that are willing to act unethically in order to sell their product

Let’s do some word switching so that this applies to religious groups:

  • Has members who are willing to accept a lie as the premise of their church’s identity
  • Has leaders who accept that their work for the church will hurt some members
  • Has leaders who don’t believe that members should be treated with respect
  • Has leaders that cannot be completely proud of their work
  • Has leaders that are willing to act unethically in order to gain converts

If you’re a religious person and your feathers got ruffled by reading that, now may be the time for some introspection as to how you can better combat elements of deception and manipulation that creep into your congregation.

7 thoughts on “Built to Deceive?

  1. Today, my husband and I were having a conversation about leaving the church, and he said something that made me think of you, and this discussion: the church trains its members to be like white blood cells–to get together and gang up on the outsider. I thought it was brilliant, and it perfectly captures how the church trains its members to see any divergence of opinion as a threat to the “body” as a whole, which must be eradicated.

  2. It’s sad, because it shows how threatened the vast majority of Mormons really are by the idea that they might be wrong. Until recently, I truly didn’t believe that this was the case. I honestly thought that there was a place in the church for new ideas. And, some day there might be…but I’ve come to believe that there isn’t, right now.

    This discussion sums up the Mormon experience pretty well, I think:
    http://v-lo.blogspot.com/2010/10/no-middle-ground.html

  3. Yeah I know more than one religion that fits that description.

    Man it’s sad how a couple iconic public figures (John Paul II, Mother Teresa, and Mother Angelica) were enough to completely win me over for such a flawed, patriarchal, hierarchical institution. I was totally in awe of my local priests (at least two I remember) and Pope John Paul II. I still think of him as John Paul the Great. I don’t know if I just never saw it, but I don’t remember JPII ever emphasizing the doctrines I find the most distasteful in Catholicism (being gay is evil, subjugation of women, etc). Benedict however is sort of the embodiment of some of the worst Catholic ideas (even if he preaches that increasing the gap between rich and poor, wrecking the environment, and human rights violations are mortal sins). His neo-orthodoxy is truly frightening to me, and his attitude is what made it so easy for me to leave my own devotion to orthodoxy and ordained authority figures behind. 😀 Nice one Benny.

  4. I just got some wonderful “fan mail” on my blog…yet another example of how “Christlike” people choose to school those of us who (sigh) just aren’t Christlike enough.

  5. And, once again, I have cause to remark on the fact that, by and large, the people I know who do the best job of following Jesus’ teachings are, in fact, atheists. Also, has anyone else noticed how money-centric this religion seems to be? The problem in question–that caused this whole thing initially–had to do with us not giving them enough money for a charity race.

    There’s an argument to be made, for sure, that blogging about the situation (however abstractly) was in poor taste–although, honestly, 1) my blog is anonymous, and 2) this comes three years after them enthusiastically telling us to drop dead.

    The talking point that’s come out of this is how we’ve grown up in a religious and social fishbowl that teaches: anyone who dares to speak out (whether about being abused, molested, etc, or simply daring to say “my feelings are hurt”) is *evil* and *causing a problem* and *threatening my testimony*. Which begs the question: how’d we all get so codependent?

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