The prevalence of a spirit of contention amongst a people is a certain sign of deadness with respect to the things of religion. When men's spirits are hot with contention, they are cold to religion. - Jonathan Edwards “The Book of Mormon does not supplant the Bible. It expands, extends, clarifies, and amplifies our knowledge of the Savior. Surely, this second witness should be cause for great rejoicing by all Christians.” - Joseph B. Wirthlin

Thursday, January 23, 2020

changing minds--political example

We all know how difficult it is to change our minds because few of us ever change our minds. Ideally, better information leads to better opinions, but that's rarely the case in the real world.

Most people stick with what they're comfortable with and what suits their lifestyle choices. Regarding the Book of Mormon, M2C is a "safe" belief because when challenged, M2C believers can refer to the plentiful books, videos, web pages, etc. that justify and rationalize M2C.

Of course, for most people in the world, M2C is absurd. Five minutes of investigation shows that the Book of Mormon narrative doesn't fit Mayan culture, and vice versa. Faithful LDS who know and believe what the prophets have taught soon reach the conclusion that M2C is a hoax based on a mistake in Church history.

However, M2C works for many LDS because they don't know what the prophets have taught and they are unaware of the evidence that supports those teachings. Employees and followers of the M2C citation cartel engage in bias confirmation to perpetuate M2C.

Which is all perfectly fine so long as it works for them.

But it's a serious problem for missionary work and retention.

A recent article in the Wall St. Journal discusses the effectiveness of campaigns in changing the minds of voters. There are some similarities that are worth considering.

From the Wall St. Journal:

Do Political Campaigns Change Voters’ Minds?

Why are people so hard to persuade? And does this mean that we are so hopelessly pigheaded that all efforts at changing our minds are wasted?
When we encounter a message that challenges our views—like being asked to vote for a candidate we don’t already favor—our first reaction is usually to reject it. We change our minds only if we are provided with good arguments, ideally in the context of a discussion and from a source we perceive as competent and trustworthy. Gaining voters’ trust or engaging them in proper discussion is very hard to do en masse, which is why large-scale persuasion nearly invariably fails to convince us.
When provided with the right reasons by the right people, however, we do change our minds. Profs. Broockman and Kalla found this sweet spot in a 2016 study published in the journal Science, in which canvassers engaged people in a 10-minute conversation on transgender rights. They offered information and arguments and asked the voters to remember a time when they had been “judged negatively for being different,” so that they could better understand the plight of transgender people. This intervention reduced prejudice, and the changes seem to have been genuine, as they were still present three months later.