Timothy R. Clark: Give people a license to disagree

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  • RFLASH Salt Lake City, UT
    March 4, 2014 11:17 a.m.

    We live in a society where people look at things as being right or wrong. If we could change that a little, it wouldn't be so hard to disagree with each other. Sometimes there needs to be disagreements in order to find the best solution to a problem or issue. As people listen and tell each other their disagreements, it can be amazing what the outcome can be! Right now we are all going through this process with the same sex marriage issue. There are some big disagreements, but as time goes by there are more and more people who are willing to listen to the disagreements. It would be easy for the majority to walk over the top of gay people, but there have been many who have taken time to hear another point of view. It is worth the time and effort! Sometimes we have to give a little, but it can be well worth it! I have been extremely grateful to so many people for allowing me to be me when I know that their beliefs would tell them that I am wrong! Disagreements can be good. They make us grow and expand!

  • EJM Herriman, UT
    March 1, 2014 3:19 p.m.

    In most organizations leaders surround themselves with yes men/women. People are afraid to speak up and out, respectfully. Why? I know of one local large school district where those in positions of power and influence don't want to rock the boat and speak out about the biggest problem facing our schools today: student accountability and responsibility. Instead everything is placed on the teachers and what they should do differently. And teachers are afraid to speak ou about this because their own houses are not in order in their classrooms. Jeepers.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    March 1, 2014 1:34 p.m.

    One old man: based on your analysis of Obama, including a dramatic irony disclosing, for example, Mike Lee as someone that Lacks the emotional intelligence of Obama is quite revealing, since without Lee and Cruz and a few others, Obama would have had carte Blanche ability to first say what he wanted and then do what he wanted without a feather's worth of resistance. it is unfortunate that the very things the writer said about what makes a great leader has not occurred under Obama! Think about it! It is widely known that even those who disagreed with Reagan still liked him and he was able to pass all sorts of positive legislation, yet Obama has literally been so stymied in his leadership, he now has resorted to passing executive orders on a scale unsurpassed. I would call that tyranny, not leadership!

  • Res Novae Ashburn, VA
    March 1, 2014 10:29 a.m.

    @A Quaker,

    I have issues with some of the commenting limits and moderation policies here, but 5 minutes perusing the comments to any LDS-related story at that "other paper" should make it clear why the DN has zero interest in adopting similar commenting policies. Civil discussion ended there a long time ago. There are plenty of opposing views to be found here, and if they're not as robust as you like there are plenty of no-holds-barred forums for punching Mormons elsewhere. As a Mormon I've had few problems here pushing back against the dominant conservatism and orthodoxy found in my faith.


    Perhaps it isn't easy to perceive along the Wasatch Front, but underneath the surface of Mormonism there is a strong tension between top-down culture of obedience and radical individualism. The pendulum has swung well towards the former in the last four or five decades, but there's still plenty of ability for it to go the other way. And there are plenty of indications that it is starting to in some ways. Frankly, the tension between individualism and authority gives my faith a rich vibrancy that isn't always obvious to many.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Feb. 28, 2014 4:01 p.m.

    liberal larry: "...Yet you can walk out to the street and find that only 47% of average Americans 'believe' in evolution..."

    The question "Do you believe in evolution?" is such a loaded one. If you say no, many scientists will say that you completely ignore all scientific evidence that points to just about every species experiencing minor adaptations over time. If you say yes, then others assume that you have no need for God and believe all life on Earth is just random chance. So you see...the question is not a simple Yes/No.

    Kind of like "Do you believe in Global Warming?". Yes, I think the Earth is currently getting a little warmer. No, I don't buy into the THEORY that man is the primary reason for it (or that it is necessarily a bad thing) and that we need to adapt a caveman lifestyle and get taxed to the hilt in order to keep the oceans from swallowing my house.

  • Indiana H Mission Viejo, CA
    Feb. 28, 2014 12:03 p.m.

    99% of "leaders" nowadays aren't leaders, they're managers. They don't understand most of what's going on, don't understand and address the critical issues & all sides of problems, are not open to new ideas, and are too bound by sensitivity, liability, and political correctness concerns to lead. They are dishonestly overpaid just to delegate the problem solving & real work to their subordinates. The real leadership & problem solving is done by highly motivated dishonestly underpaid people lower in their organizations. This applies to all organizations, whether they be government, business, whatever. The leaders are just there to take credit and lay other people off when their decisions backfire. The real problem with leaders is that they think they are leaders.

    @liberal larry.
    Almost nobody is open minded. Whether they be scientific, religious, liberal, conservative, whatever. They all think they are but every one of them has their blinders up. I very successfully work in science and constantly fight with "scientists" who can't see the truth staring them right in the face, on 8 million different issues, because of their bias, laziness, and narrow interpretations of the scientific method.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Feb. 28, 2014 12:02 p.m.


    I completely agree with your post, but I think the answer is that most religions are not at all institutions where innovation and diversity of thought are promoted. The primary activity is following, not leading.

    Perhaps in less hierarchical churches, like a Quaker church, or various generic Protestant congregations there is room for brainstorming and strategizing, on how to move the church forward, and grow, but in highly hierarchical churches like the Catholic Church or the LDS church, soliciting constructive criticism from those who are in the lower levels is completely at odds with the hierarchical, authoritative nature of the organization.

    The leadership of the organization is supposed to be getting direction from the Almighty, and disseminating it to the followers. Asking the followers for their advice undermines the whole idea of the organization.

  • liberal larry salt lake City, utah
    Feb. 28, 2014 10:28 a.m.

    Most people find it very distressing to discuss any issue of importance in an intelligent manner. Usually people adopt the prevailing view of their peers and then defend that position to the hilt.

    A good example is the "controversy" surrounding evolution. I've had years of science classes and never once met a biologist who disagreed with the fundamental principles of organic evolution. Yet you can walk out to the street and find that only 47% of average Americans "believe" in evolution.

    I think most people form opinions with a minimal amount of good data, and are very reluctant to look at their own beliefs objectively, and EXTREMELY reluctant to actually CHANGE those views.

  • David Anderson Lakewood, WA
    Feb. 28, 2014 10:24 a.m.

    To Question is the Answer is a talk our city manager recently gave. Though not present, I hope he quoted Ken Miller who wrote - Government needs leaders who ask big questions, rising above small answers.

    Then maybe objectivity will be rescued from go-along-to-get-along, alls-well-unanimity. Also known as cowardice or just as bad: apathy.

    Imagine fostering a culture of skepticism, a devils advocate approach to critical issues, requiring critical thinking, not, mind you, that which undermines leadership but that values the largess of the mission more than loyalty to the man.

    Certainly, had Wagner Dodge consulted with the other 15 pair of eyes of the smoke jumpers before they parachuted into the swirling smoke of Mann Gulch; had the leader a management style that asked questions, long before that fateful August 5, 1949; had he a to-question-is-the-answer modus operandi that allowed, even demanded, debate instead of relying on only a single pair of eyes, his own, then what Michael Useem in his book The Leadership Moment describes as the worst fire fighting disaster to that time in Forest Service history, would not have occurred.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Feb. 28, 2014 9:48 a.m.

    one old man:

    No he does not mean "like Obama".

    Obama is not a leader who is open to disagreement or criticism. He surrounds himself with Yes-Men who think exactly like he does and never challenge his decisions. He refuses to change course with policies even when the facts prove that the current course is not working. He refuses to listen to any ideas from Republicans. He won't work WITH Congress to get things done, he just dictates policy with a "my way or the highway" attitude. If Congress does not give him what he wants, he totally ignores them and tries to bypass them with execute orders and refusal to enforce laws he disagrees with.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Feb. 28, 2014 8:35 a.m.

    "The way an individual handles disagreement is a primary measure of emotional intelligence and an accurate predictor of leadership potential."

    You mean like Obama? It certainly does not describe many of our GOP "leaders" like Mike Lee, Ted Cruz and others.

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    Feb. 28, 2014 8:08 a.m.

    I only wish the moderators of the Deseret News comments had such an enlightened view of these comment threads. Comments conflicting with LDS doctrine (or with other readers espousing same) are too often curtailed. This newspaper already has powerful editorial capability, and a clear voice. I'd like to see a little more tolerance for opposing views and contention between readers in these threads. For that matter, it might even be nice to have threaded comments, where readers could respond to each other's postings, a la the Disqus system that that other paper in town uses. Where a story might get dozens of responses here, that same story will typically get hundreds there.

    I fail to see the harm in seeking a more vibrant, albeit chaotic, discussion.

  • Star Bright Salt Lake City, Ut
    Feb. 28, 2014 7:41 a.m.

    "The way an individual handles disagreement is a primary measure of emotional intelligence and an accurate predictor of leadership potential."