- Hardcover: 184 pages
- Publisher: Signature Books (August 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1560850493
- ISBN-13: 978-1560850496
- Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,620,462 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Sanctity of Dissent Hardcover – August, 1994
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Toscano discusses a wide range of ideas, including spiritual abuse, overemphasis on the rights of authority figures, sexism, and abuse of authority within a religious context. He calls for leaders to be responsible and accountable and for members to hold their leaders accountable. The title essay presents the central concept of the book - that dissent is a sanctified act, that Jesus was a dissenter, and that dissent is the obligation of members of any organization. We must dissent when we see an organization to which we belong making mistakes or its leaders abusing their power; this is especially essential in something as important as our faith.
Toscano doesn't validate dissent for its own sake; he calls us to dissent when reform is needed, when abuses must be resisted and corrected. As members of any organization or church, we have a moral obligation to dissent to abuses. As dissenters we must be "the loyal opposition" - faithful to the organization, its success and survival. Dissent can be an attempt to reform abuses, mistakes and missteps of an organization.
Toscano's challenges his readers to rethink their views and values and to be prepared to pay the price. He knows first hand the cost of challenging orthodoxy; in 1993 he was excommunicated from the Mormon Church. Toscano was excommunicated because of the ideas in this book but is loyal to the Mormon Church.Read more ›
In this period of fanaticism and fundamentalism (Christian, Muslim, Jewish, doesn't matter...) Toscano's message is timely. Failing to dissent is often giving way to much deference, and ultimately power, to a handful of men (they are almost ALWAYS men...) who are notoriously irresponsible with that much power. His arguments are convincing, his insight often piercing, and his motive *appears* to be wholesome. This is a book that can be enjoyed by readers of many faiths, not just Mormons, as his argument is broadly applicable. As I write this, the Catholic Church is being rocked by the scandal of priests engaging in sexual molestation of young boys. If dissenters of the Catholic Church had not been burned at the stake historically, perhaps we might never have gotten here. If the Taliban had been willing to listen to alternate opinions, perhaps Afghanistan would not be the war-ravaged nation that it is. And if the Mormon church were tolerant of diologue and introspection, perhaps its brightest minds wouldn't being leaving the fold, either voluntarily, or in Toscano's case, involuntarily.
This book is not mean spirited, but it will prompt you to separate yourself from nonsensical dogma. And, in my case, it helped me hang on to my faith in God/Jesus Christ, when most folks who free themselves from abusive religions end up throwing all of their faith overboard.