THE MORMON CURTAIN
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EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 11
The "Opinion" topic was created to separate out recovery from opinions on posts made in Ex-Mormonism. A large selection of posts made by Ex-Mormons that do not fit in "Recovery". These are more considered "Soap Box" posts. While they may be opinions, they are still very important in the steps to recovering from Mormonism.
| DandC 121:35-37 says that the priesthood can only be used in "righteousness" - that any man who uses his priesthood "in any degree of unrighteousness," such as to "exercise control, dominion or compulsion" over others' souls, loses his priesthood and his authority.
It would seem that this doctrine (as logical and just as it seems) poses a serious problem for Mormons, in two ways.
First, how would one know that an elder performing a baptism or ordination has not lost his priesthood because of some previous attempt to use it unrighteously, to exercise "dominion" over someone? The passage implies that the mere act of using the priesthood authority unrighteously causes it to be lost; no church court or process or announcement is necessary. The "heavens withdraw." God knows that the man has lost his authority, but nobody else necessarily knows. In fact, even Mormons who know of his unrighteous use of the priesthood will probably comment "It's not for us to judge," and "Nobody's perfect; we are all human and make mistakes." But those comments nullify what DandC 121 says and make it meaningless.
And yet the concept of "authority" is fundamental to Mormonism. If you were baptized by a Methodist minister or a Baptist preacher (who in Mormon eyes have no authority), you simply have not been baptized at all. But how is that different from being baptized by a Mormon elder who has invisibly lost his authority because of using it in "unrighteous dominion"? (I'm recalling the Mormon husband who forced his unwilling wife to have sex every night because he held the priesthood and was an authority over her, for example. Or Joseph Smith's promising Helen Mar Kimball that her parents' salvation would be guaranteed if she would submit to becoming his wife - that certainly is not doctrinal.) Is that baptism or ordination valid, from an elder who has lost his priesthood authority?
I have asked this question of Mormons, and their responses are pretty lame.
One Mormon said that the offender retains his authority until officially removed by a church court. But that is not what DandC 121 says. It mentions nothing about any action by church authorities.
Another Mormon said that the validity of the baptism or ordination depended on the faith and belief of the recipient, not the priesthood holder. If the baptizee BELIEVES that the baptizer has authority, the baptism is valid. Yet that nullifies the entire idea that ordinances are only valid when performed by someone with valid authority. This argument would also validate the baptism by the Methodist minister or the Baptist preacher, since the baptizee obviously believes that the baptizer has the authority to perform a valid baptism.
The second problem is that Mormons HAVE to believe that unrighteousness by priesthood holders causes the loss of authority, since that belief underlies their entire theory that the early church fell into apostasy: the leaders were unrighteous, and THEREFORE they lost their authority. And that produced the "great apostasy" and the need for a restoration. And that argument negates the explanations given by Mormons: the Christian church can point to a clear line of priesthood authority from Peter to the present day, whether "righteous" or not. And clearly all the Christians who have been baptized in the last 2000 years believed that the priest had the authority. So, according to that Mormon argument, their baptisms are all valid, right?
Can anyone come up with a better Mormon solution to what appears to be a fundamental problem for Mormonism?
| 1. Pr*position 8 has so many long term ramifications that no other issue comes close to its complexity.
2. The FLDS fiasco put the spotlight where TBMs don't want recognition.
3. R*mney's candidacy showed what much of the country thinks of Mormons.
4. Was the PBS/Frontline Mormon special this year? Although most of us think it too soft, it did show a lot of people some aspects of Mormonism they didn't know about.
5. Chad Hardy's calendar and excommunication, and all the publicity he garnered.
6. The media in general. We are seeing a steady stream of negative references to Mormonism on late night comedy from Leno to Jon Stewart. Law and Order has incorporated Mormonism's weird side in several plots. In 2008 Mormons seem to have few friends in the media beyond Glenn Beck.
7. LDS, Inc was squabbling with almost everyone all year. Mormon missionaries desecration of a Catholic shrine. The Catholics returned fire by denying LDS members access to parish genealogical records. There was also another development in the fight by Jews to make the LDS church stop baptizing holocaust victims - the Jews gave up the fight, pronouncing the LDS church unwilling to cooperate.
8. The economic crisis is sure to continue strangling the great and sacred Mall project and cause the church more corporate pain.
9. David Robert's book "Devil's Gate" about the handcart disasters, and the polygamy books, "19th Wife", "Stolen Innocence", "Escape".
10. Meldrum's rise in championing traditional BoM geography. Watching apologists eat their own is quite entertaining.
11. The talk at BYU finally condoning the use of the internet for Mormons who want to discuss the church.
12. Packer's talk about disasters to come required a denial from the head office. If only it had been recorded.
13. The change from Hinckley's PR savey style to Monson's near invisibility.
14. The top creative Mormons for 2008 were Julianne Hough, who made the list by a complete abandonment of modesty as she showed her talent, and Stephanie Meyer, who prefers vampires to sex. Oh dear.
15. Craig Criddle's new word print study should be higher up the list - although it's too early to know what the full impact will be.
16. The January post here describing an exmo's Second Anointing was my favorite for the year.
| I think that the main ingredients for falling into the Mormon Church are fairly similar to that of other cults:
3. Vulnerability caused by any number of life problems;
4. The desire to belong;
Beauty appeals to youth. Purported knowledge satisfies ignorance. Friendship allays vulnerability. Fellowship satisfies wanting to be part of a community. And a powerful moral vision appeals to youthful idealism.
The Church ostensibly offered immortality, certain knowledge, strength, love, and confidence. I had a problem and it had a plan. I bought it, hook, line, and sinker. Throw a bunch of hot young fellows, missionaries, into the mix as the marketing front for the Church, appealing to a gay boy (albeit unbeknownst to them), and I didn't stand a chance. :(
But maybe if I hadn't gone through what I did, I wouldn't have become who I am now. No third degree. A dead-end job. No critical thinking. There's no way to predict what could have happened had it not been for my encounter with Mormonism.
I have learned one lesson, though, and it was a question that I asked myself at my first, and last, priesthood meeting: Can a bad tree produce good fruit?
Yes. (Sometimes, and in a roundabout way.)
| When leaving the bonds of Mormonism, we feel that we are alone in our struggles, that our lives are crumbling and that only those who have gone before can truly understand what it is that we are enduring and escaping. While this is true to a certain extent, I believe it also leaves us as Exmormons with a feeling that we are special, unique and alone in our quest for authenticity and reality post cult which can lead to a bit of a post-Mormon myopia.
During the recent Exmormon Foundation conference held in October, one of the featured presenters was Steven Hassan. Steven was a former high ranking Moonie who was able to escape the clutches of his former cult and emerge into the light of reality. He decided to take his new found freedom and to apply it to the study of cults and mind-control organizations and how one can effectively free oneself as well as loved ones from the bonds of a cult. His presentation was very well done and can be viewed in its entirety here: http://www.youtube.com/user/ExmormonFoundation and then by clicking on the “Releasing the Bonds” play-list section.
In a conversation I had with Steven, he pointed out to me how important it is to see beyond what Mormonism has done to me and to others and to focus on the greater picture. He encouraged me to see that cults are a worldwide problem, enslaving millions of people and taking away their lives and free will in service to their respective cults. I have pondered about that conversation that day and have since tried to broaden my understanding of cults and how they operate the world over; in particular the Watchtower Society.
In my discoveries, I have come across a similar recovery site for JW’s and it is very interesting to read their stories and to understand that our experiences are very similar. It gives one hope and encouragement to see that so many are leaving the bonds of cults the world over, yet it also shows how much sorrow and pain these destructive organizations leave in their wake.
The term apostate is thrown around by cults in order to manipulate and control their membership and to keep them from questioning and retaining them in the bonds of obedience. I think you will enjoy this video which shows just how similar our cult experiences are. You can view it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3J5hkv2cNw
Hopefully we will all continue on our journey post-Mormon with a greater understanding about those around us as we overcome our post-Mormon myopia. We are all in this together, even if our origins were in different cults.
| I have never seen LDS, Inc. pull all the stops like this before: http://abrandnewyear.lds.org/index.ht... They have a cast of about 500 singing kids with staging, choreography and full orchestra, and all the vocal soloists are American Idol ready.
They are wearing jewel tone shirts and getting down and showing how wholesome they are. Hey, celibate kids that never use profanity are kewl 2! There are also an abundance of dark-skinned people on stage. It doesn't reflect the true demographics of SLC but certainly projects a "global" image.
The GAs are kewl 2 as they now step out from the pulpit wearing head mics and read from the teleprompters that must be at least 20 ft. away. Don't worry they're still in their suits and ties.
Also reflecting the global Church were the very white GAs who all spoke with very Utah accents. It's a little trip down memory lane as I hardly ever hear them anymore. I believe one was the daughter of Little Tommy Monson, but hey, let's not go into the nepotism issue right now.
The music was all in a vapid Christian pop style. They even got the crowd to wave their arms in the air (aka "Jeehsus antennae"). That's the first time I have ever seen that at a Mormon event.
Behind all the elaborate mode of delivery was the same old tired message: don't sin, don't sin, don't sin, and it's better to be dead than disbelieve. They are hyperfixated on all the cultic minutiae to maintain control of their adherents.
Many platitudes are delivered. The Apostle that started the show kept on saying how much they loved the youth and how good they looked. So much so that you really couldn't believe him. He didn't seem completely comfortable with the setup.
I think LDS, Inc. is seeing that they have do more to compete with all the other media vying for the youth's attention. Does it work? Since they believe what they are selling is so truly true, doesn't it make since that it should mostly sell itself? I think this has been the modus operandi in the past, but I think they are getting a little desperate with this kind of presentation.
BTW, LDS, Inc. is not the first to discover that stadium rallies with music, uniforms, speeches, and cheering crowds will inspire and solidify the next generation of dues-paying adherents: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuMajt...
| When I was growing up whenever the world had a practice which was similar to a Mormon belief, I was taught that it was the Adversary''s counterfeit of a true belief.
For example, Communism was Satan's counterfeit to the Mormon belief of the Law of Consecration. Although both systems advocated a shared common ownership of property and distribution based on need, one system, Mormon's version, was by choice and properly administered, while the other was by compulsion.
Catholic priesthood and even academia's honors and robes were counterfeits of Mormon priesthood and the Mormon temple robes.
Now it appears the questioning is Satan's version of the Mormon practice of sincere inquiry and prayer.
The world's version of questioning can mistakenly lead one to analytical inquiry and skepticism while the the Mormon practice ALWAYS leads to confirmation of Mormon beliefs. The Mormon version of inquiry rarely utilizes outside material and information but rests on the words of Mormon leaders and the inside manifestations of the Holy Ghost. The counterfeit version wrongly leads to sources and materials based in science, philosophy and mathematics.
| I have been out of the church for a long time now. I am way beyond being left alone. I think they only regret I am still alive.
What fascinates me is that things never change, never go away. The monumental efforts of Gordon HInckley to mainstream Mormonism failed. He did not get anywhere, really. All those ads, clever PR spots, and television interviews accomplished nothing. As Mormons learned last year, via Mitt Romney and
Texas polygamy, acceptance is not coming.
Part of this is the stuff that Mormons just cannot give up. No matter how much it hurts them, or makes them look silly, they will not give it up.
Polygamy is the most obvious thing people cling to. And Mormons all know they have just put it on the back burner. Its still there, simmering on the "LOW" setting. It is not going away. All the pictures of family relatives in their prison for polygamy stripes prove it. Mormons still wink at it, accept it, and plan to practice it again.
The Word of Wisdom is another. It has become tiresome to so many. The silly prohibition against tea and coffee is just a joke now. Only Mormons care, because they use it to club each other over the head. It has its uses.
Far from fading, the Word of Wisdom grows in strength. When you cannot measure what a "good" person does, or who a "good" person is, the Word of Wisdom is there for taking measure. It might not mean anything, but it has great value to Mormon leaders. Souls can be lost or saved in a cup of coffee.
The fascination with masturbation is another. No matter what, the church does not give it up. On and on it goes, and more and more kids are forced to lie. Masturbation cannot be eliminated or stopped. But the tiresome old interview never stops either. It has become a cruel parody of itself.
Home invasions are still popular. Mormons will never stop the unannounced and uninvited home invasions. They love to knock on the door, take you by surprise, and find a coffee maker at work. The element of surprise thrills them as much as it did the planners of Pearl Harbor. Catch them off guard, and you have them. Put a few torpedoes below their waterline!
Along with home invasions comes the NIce Bishop/Mean Bishop selector switch. Mormon leaders try the Nice Bishop side of the switch first, but it never lasts. When opposition is met, the church leader instantly switches to
bully and thug. The false compassion goes out the window, and the angry accusations---followed by threats----kick in.
Another thing that will never change is the yearning and desire to be loved. Mormons pride themselves as being a "peculiar people," and for being "in the world, but not of the world." But they CRAVE a nice article, television profile, or comment. Mormons, belittled by their own leaders, and constantly told how inadequate they are, always look outside of the church for a few crumbs of praise. When they get it, they melt like butter in a hot pan. Oh how they crave those few words of praise. Its all they ever get.
I find all of this rather sad, because it removes Mormonism from being a way of life one would want to follow. It is all intrusion, and no inclusion.
| The hatred and bigotry that radiates from Mormons, Jews, and Muslims can be explained by this. Reading the "holy books" of these "faiths" indicates where these weirdos get their aggressive tendencies. The founders of all three of these religions were no different than Charles Manson and Jim Jones. Narcissists all and users/abusers of anyone they felt they could use to satiate their aggressive needs for power. Many of those left in these three religions are of a similar mind as their mentally ill founders.
The following is very, very telling and reflective of what one finds in Mormonism, fundamental Islam and Judaism. My comments in [brackets].
* Keep the person unaware of what is going on and how attempts to psychologically condition him or her are directed in a step-by-step manner.
o Potential new members are led, step by step, through a behavioral-change program without being aware of the final agenda or full content of the group. The goal may be to make them deployable agents for the leadership, to get them to buy more courses, or get them to make a deeper commitment, depending on the leader's aim and desires.
[Milk before meat, the gradually increasing commitments of the missionary discussions, temple attendance kept until adulthood for those born in the church and only after a year of membership for converts.]
* Control the person's social and/or physical environment; especially control the person's time.
o Through various methods, newer members are kept busy and led to think about the group and its content during as much of their waking time as possible.
* Systematically create a sense of powerlessness in the person.
o This is accomplished by getting members away from their normal social support group for a period of time and into an environment where the majority of people are already group members.
[Missionary service does this in the extreme.]
o The members serve as models of the attitudes and behaviors of the group and speak an in-group language.
o Strip members of their main occupation (quit jobs, drop out of school) or source of income or have them turn over their income (or the majority of) to the group. [Recently experienced this at the hands of an unmentionable religion. This is also what happens to an extent with tithing and completely with the temple covenant to use all time and resources for the building of the "kingdom".
o Once the target is stripped of their usual support network, their confidence in their own perception erodes.
[This happens to exmos, those who challenge Islam or Judaism in various communities.]
o As the target's sense of powerlessness increases, their good judgment and understanding of the world are diminished. (ordinary view of reality is destabilized)
o As the group attacks the target's previous worldview, it causes the target distress and inner confusion; yet they are not allowed to speak about this confusion or object to it - leadership suppresses questions and counters resistance.
o This process is sped up if the targeted individual or individuals are kept tired - the cult will take deliberate actions to keep the target constantly busy.
[This happens in the MTC and in the mission field. It is also a common problem with many children, a full-time job, several callings, scripture study, journal writing, etc]
* Manipulate a system of rewards, punishments and experiences in such a way as to inhibit behavior that reflects the person's former social identity.
[The Mormon, Jewish, and Muslim "my way or the highway" mentality. In Mormonism and Islam these rewards and punishments are very explicit and more manipulation in Judaism. It is all incredibly devastating nonetheless. All three religions have no qualms about destroying lives, careers, health, families, and social relationships to achieve their selfish ends.]
o Manipulation of experiences can be accomplished through various methods of trance induction, including leaders using such techniques as paced speaking patterns, guided imagery, chanting, long prayer sessions or lectures, and lengthy meditation sessions.
o the target's old beliefs and patterns of behavior are defined as irrelevant or evil. Leadership wants these old patterns eliminated, so the member must suppress them.
o Members get positive feedback for conforming to the group's beliefs and behaviors and negative feedback for old beliefs and behavior.
* The group manipulates a system of rewards, punishments, and experiences in order to promote learning the group's ideology or belief system and group-approved behaviors.
o Good behavior, demonstrating an understanding and acceptance of the group's beliefs, and compliance are rewarded while questioning, expressing doubts or criticizing are met with disapproval, redress and possible rejection. If one expresses a question, he or she is made to feel that there is something inherently disordered about them to be questioning.
o The only feedback members get is from the group; they become totally dependent upon the rewards given by those who control the environment.
o Members must learn varying amounts of new information about the beliefs of the group and the behaviors expected by the group.
o The more complicated and filled with contradictions the new system is and the more difficult it is to learn, the more effective the conversion process will be.
o Esteem and affection from peers is very important to new recruits. Approval comes from having the new member's behaviors and thought patterns conform to the models (members). Members' relationship with peers is threatened whenever they fail to learn or display new behaviors. Over time, the easy solution to the insecurity generated by the difficulties of learning the new system is to inhibit any display of doubts -- new recruits simply acquiesce, affirm and act as if they do understand and accept the new ideology.
* Put forth a closed system of logic and an authoritarian structure that permits no feedback and refuses to be modified except by leadership approval or executive order.
o The group has a top-down, pyramid structure. The leaders must have verbal ways of never losing.
o Members are not allowed to question, criticize or complain -- if they do, the leaders allege that the member is defective - not the organization or the beliefs.
o The targeted individual is treated as if he or she is always intellectually incorrect or injust, while conversely the system, its leaders and its beliefs are always automatically, and by default, considered as absolutely just.
o Conversion or remolding of the individual member happens in a closed system. As members learn to modify their behavior in order to be accepted in this closed system, they change -- begin to speak the language -- which serves to further isolate them from their prior beliefs and behaviors.
There are many other ways in which Mormonism, Judaism, and Islam engage in these abusive patterns. One only need look around them to see. I wish a place existed on this planet where these three stooge religions did not have a stranglehold.
| Mormonism is a myth. Some people reify (literalize) it. Others treat it as a fraternity or sorority with a charming foundational fable, like the founding of Rome by Romulus and Remus. Others dismiss it as a parasitic corporation greedy for money, power, and people to do the bidding of its oligarchy of leaders. It continues to exist, despite evidence that incontrovertibly discredits its history and dogmas, because of the social glue that binds its members together. Mormonism was started by a small number of families. It continued to grow as extended family members joined, and close friends of families, and close friends of those families, and so on, just like a stone thrown into a pond generates a ripple. The ripple isn't water waves, but people, people who are stably connected to each other.
The nucleus was Joseph Smith, and around him revolved everyone else in their various callings, much like planets orbiting a sun, or subatomic particles orbiting an atom's nucleus. The social glue--and its deft management by the leadership--assured that the atom would exist in a stable, persistent manner (much to the consternation of most other religions).
Do you ever wonder what those early pioneers got out of being early, persecuted pioneers of a strange, reviled religion? Most certainly, they got social connectivity, and a great deal of it. External persecution strengthened their internal cohesion and gave them goals: to fight for their existence against oppression, and to reach the Celestial Kingdom. Their lives became battles fought by self-perceived willing martyrs in defense of the true faith (which is another way of saying, the value of their social bonds and the shared values that intensified them and invested them with awe-inspiring meaning--or better put, *feeling*).
In short, I theorize that Mormonism exists because it's an effective social fraternity. It meets the needs of its members, and expects certain things from them to sustain itself. I'm firmly convinced that Mormonism is a form of collectivism. Does anyone disagree?
If I'm right, then I suspect that missionaries are able to make their most effective appeals to those desperate to connect to others, from which they derive meaning (positive feelings). They appeal to the lonely. It's important that the missionaries be young, and, preferably, bombshells, because the Mormon message is, at heart, a Romantic one: youthful, potent, confident, good, inspiring, safe, loving, and true. It pulls at the heart strings. It tells you what you wish were true. And the storytellers serve as substitutes for the all-loving Heavenly Father. The relationship that investigators are encouraged to form with Heavenly Father is realized, concretely, in the relationships between the missionaries and the investigator, and the parishioners and the new member. The former is much, much more intense and meaningful than the latter. When the missionaries go away, the new converts tend to soon follow. The fable, the illusion, disintegrates, and once the pumpkin has burst, Cinderella finds herself just as shewas before.
The leadership uses 19 year olds to recruit because they're in the bloom of youth and beauty. The marketing is heavily laced with romantic overtones: "You, too, can be young--in fact, immortal--and beautiful, and loved, and supported, and safe. You can depend on the Church. It will never let you down. Heavenly Father loves YOU, so much so that he has given you an opportunity to progress to godhood, yourself!" Who doesn't want to hear this from romantic messengers? The missionary encounter is strikingly like advertising new cars at auto shows by strutting out beautiful female models to promote the cars. It's bald-faced classical conditioning, like the experiments with Pavlov's dogs, and investigators eat it up!
I don't claim that every investigator is drawn into Mormonism because of my theories above, but I do think that Mormonism, in general, forms a romantic social milieu within which its various machinations play out. It is all--ALL--about attachments. It starts with the investigator and the missionaries. An attachment forms. If the investigator isn't married, he is inevitably encouraged to do so. To do it right, increasing, successive commitments to the Church are needed, and when marriage finally occurs, a molecule forms. Now, there's additional social pressure to stay in the Church, because the new member's wife is already bound to the Church, and to *her* family within it.
When the occasional "errant" member starts to question the Church, the powerful nature of the many social bonds that he has more often than not forces him to keep his mouth shut--to varying degrees--and remain part of that "great fraternity." Witness John Dehlin, not to mention countless posters on RfM that are still in the Church while not believing one whit of it.
Now, we're faced with a problem. Our rationality tells us: "Get out!" Most people want their freedom, when they realize that they're enslaved. But our emotions, which are so profoundly influenced by others through emotional contagion and repeated contact--can cause us so much pain (in the form of depression and anxiety, usually) that it's virtually impossible for all but the most resilient of individuals to pull up their roots--sometimes deeply historical, multigenerational ones--and escape.
Many philosophers (I'm one of them) have suggested that what we call a meaningful life is intimately connected with positive mood states, with positive feelings. These, in turn, come mostly from social relationships for most of us. It's no wonder that an escape from Mormonism tears families up. Institutions, like people, fear death, and will do whatever it takes to secure their survival--indeed, their immortality.
And so, you have constant affirmation from within (emotional testimonies, warm fellowship, numerous social events and callings), and a collective identity formed through a long historical opposition against perceived persecution. I speculate that these are some of the crucial forces that keep the whole thing going.
And then, there are some who join because, unable to find meaning--to create meaning--on their own, they desperately need someone else to give them a meaning for living, which entails goals to strive for and felt rewards (positive mood states) that come from social approval. Finally, others join to escape their problems, whether poverty (the inability to feed themselves) or temptation (from pornography, alcohol, drugs, sexual compulsion, homosexuality, and numerous other possibilities). Believe it or not, I know of a gay male, now in his mid-sixties, who joined decades ago to extricate himself from his self-destructive hedonistic lifestyle. He seems to believe that Mormonism is true, but from my standpoint, I think that he needed externally imposed restraints to keep him on the straight and narrow road. By joining, he was leveraging the power of external reinforcement to replace bad habits with more healthy ones. Mormonism can serve many functions besides its avowed goal of helping parishioners to reach the Celestial Kingdom. For this gay man in particular, Mormonism became like a personal (fitness) trainer, facilitating positive lifestyle changes (but at what cost, I wonder). For him, it has a utilitarian value. It "works." It may even have saved his life by preventing him from engaging in behaviors that could have led to an AIDS infection.
And that, in a nutshell, is my explanation for why Mormonism exists today and will likely persist as long as the country does, or until we have a second wave of the Enlightenment that eradicates old-time religions in favor of humanistic alternatives that don't pretend to have answers that no one does, but are open-minded, non-dogmatic, and self-critical.
| A pure religion is one who's leaders share their knowledge and then the followers use their freewill and judgement to apply the knowledge in their lives. The leaders are like sensi or teachers. They share what they know or have mastered but it's up the individual to apply this knowledge to get any benefit from it. As we know, good instructors make themselves available to give extra help or to clarify what is trying to be taught or communicated. Whether you continue in the program or master is depends on what you want to do and you are free to continue or leave at will. It's your choice and your potential gain or loss.
Mormonism has no intention of giving it's members free will whatsoever. Mormonism uses group and family acceptance as a reward/punishment mechanism to motivate you to do what they tell you to do. The leaders bark the orders and you follow. There is no discussion or debate and failure to comply brings guilt and punishment.
Any example of this is let's say you want to go to a relative's temple wedding. Let's say you got the invitation and you are invited by the wedding couple. You should be able to go to the wedding since they want you to be there but the church over rules all their subjects and what they do and what individuals want does not matter. To get into that temple wedding, you must pass two interrogations by church leaders where sexual, family, personal, and other personal information is asked about. You must conform to strict rules or lie to make it look like you do. You must pay the church large sums of your income. You must tolerate being probed on your sexual behavior, family relations, and affiliations outsides of the church. Then if you are deemed worthy you get a temple pass card good for two years. It is now barcoded so they can track how often you go and to which temple. They also can revoke your cards validity at any time.
After this process you can go to the wedding. Nice. George Orwell would be proud. What's pathetic is most Mormons view this sick control system as spiritual when it basically goes against free will and trust that God values.
| I've had lots of experience with trust breakers. Individuals have broken my trust, some severely. The Mormon church also broke my trust. I've learned some painful lessons, but hopefully I'm the better for them. |
An important thing I've learned about trust is that it's a two way street. That's a lesson the institution of Mormonism has yet to learn, in my opinion. Members are expected to confess sins to their Bishops--reveal the intimate details of their most embarrassing failures--while Mormon hierarchy does their best to keep the church's rotten skeletons safely hidden away in the closet. I was asked, as a teenager, if I let a boy I had kissed touch my breasts or put his hands up my skirt. The Bishop asking me those questions is the same man who, when I was questioning Mormonism, tried to excuse Joseph Smith's polyandrous marriages. The Bishop who knew about Smith's debauchery and kept it hidden from members somehow felt justified asking teenagers if they'd allowed themselves to be felt up on dates? Good grief!
Most active Mormons have sat through tithing settlement. The church that refuses to open its financial records has the nerve to call in members individually and inquire as to whether they've paid a full ten percent of their income to the gerontocracy in Salt Lake City. What a load of BS.
Another important thing I've learned about trust is that trust breakers do not get to determine when or if they should again be trusted. The injured party determines that. Trust breakers should not be trusted until they have proven themselves. Apologizing isn't enough. Behavior must change. If the Mormon church wants the trust of its membership, then it should change its ways. Open financial records. Publish true history.
To me, it seems obvious that the Mormon church isn't true. But for those who believe it is, or who have doubts but want to retain their membership, I do think it important that the Mormon church be worthy of the trust it expects.
| 1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
So we are told that we must have faith when confronted with doubt or when seeking confirmation. This is good advice when hoping God really is there, or if your intended loves you back. We can even have faith that the mechanic will not rip us off. He hasn't worked on my car, but he is rated well at BBB. The love sought after may be indicated by action, and you can have faith in that.
We are told to just have faith that the plates existed. The are not seen, and they are hoped for.
Martin Harris was one of the three witnesses. They all got together, but he could not see them no matter how hard he tried. But later, Joseph was alone with him and he eventually could see them with his eyes of faith.
In another episode, he demanded to see them and Joseph told him that he would take them out to a field and come back. Martin followed the footsteps to the place and saw nothing. Joseph said he did not have faith enough. Martin was sorrowful.
So here we have misplaced faith.
So it is with us. We KNOW that there is no account of Peter James and John. We KNOW that Joseph Smith told several versions of the First Vision. We KNOW that Joseph Smith wrote in the 1830 Book of Mormon, The Book of Moses, the Inspired Vesrion of the Bible and in the Lectures on Faith that God did not have a body of flesh and bone. We KNOW that he failed to accurately translate the Book of Abraham from the papyrii.
These are things that are seen.
The faith that we are commanded to have says different.
We are told to believe by faith in things that are clearly not real.
| David Stewart from Cumorah.com has provided an analysis of the Mormon church's Truth Restored campaign. For those who don't know, Truth Restored was a multi-media advertising campaign for the church that started in 2007. It was tested in several different cities in the US, like Las Vegas, and closely coordinated with the local missions and wards. A big part of the campaign was the church's new spiffed out mormon.org website, where TBM's were encouraged to record their testimonies for investigators to hear.
There were high hopes for this program. but those hopes are now gone, as this "inspired" program has failed like all previous "inspired" ones. Here is the link to Dr. Stewarts analysis and some quotes.
"When measured by annual baptisms across the metropolitan area, the impact of the Truth Restored program was negligible. Statistics on annual baptisms for six stakes in the Las Vegas area distributed to ward mission leaders at the beginning of 2008 demonstrated that the number of convert baptisms in 2007 was actually lower than in 2006 and 2005, in spite of the multimillion dollar media blitz."
Regardless, the ads were highly successful - at making church members feel better about themselves and the church.
"The Internet is also a double-edged sword. Those who go to Mormon.org are also likely to search other Internet sites for information on the LDS faith. Although I applaud the Church's increasing missionary foray into online media that had too long been neglected, it must be recognized that the Internet has been a major forum for the church's critics."
From the link:
"Shortly before the launch of the Truth Restored program in early 2007, one California mission president mentioned that his missionaries in his mission were losing approximately half of their investigators to online anti-Mormon literature."
In the "old days" we missionaries would make an appointment for (let's say) next Thursday and in the meantime our investigators MIGHT go to their encyclopedia or they MIGHT ask about the Mormons at work, but that was the extent of the information they'd have when we finally arrived. Back then we controlled almost everything they knew and they trusted our explanations because they had little else to go on.
Now when the missionaries show up, the investigators may actually know MORE than the missionaries themselves. No one prepares the missionaries through their entire lives in the church. Can you imagine a useful lesson at the MTC on "Blood Atonement"? Or all of Smith's wives?
Today, the missionaries are sitting ducks! Instead of TEACHING, the missionaries end up LEARNING a lot more than they ever wanted to hear!
| I have to laugh at the way I looked at myself when I was a missionary.
I had a real secular streak in me, and I tried to bat it down. I also had a certain degree of self-respect, and a desire for a positive self-image.
I knew that the people who saw me, and who drove me away from their doors, thought I was a kook. Hell, normal people do not spend two years of their youth knocking on doors in a foreign country, and meddling in religion. Even as a dumb missionary, I knew I was doing weird things. But found ways to fool myself. But there were were always reminders of reality.
I recall knocking on a door, and a woman said "I know why you are here. BELIEVE!" It set me back. I had not viewed myself that way. I thought I was presenting a message, which they could either accept or reject. I was certainly not a fanatic who would go from house to house and yell "BELIEVE!"
We used to look at the Jehovah's Witnesses, and call them "kooks." After all, they were doing the same thing we were doing, but we were right, and they were wrong. That made them kooks. We were normal.
But then, reality would set in, and our comfortable little shield of respectability would drop.
I recall knocking on doors in an affluent part of the city. I knocked on one door, and a lovely, well dressed Englishwoman asked "What do you want?"
The shield dropped. I had to answer her, in English, and tell her what we were doing. Suddenly, I was a kook. She drove us away angrily, and told us "This is not the time to be talking about some silly religion." She was right. We had interrupted her dinner.
Another time, late at night, I knocked on a door, and two nuns answered. They quickly brought an Irish Catholic Priest to the door. I was embarrassed at the situation, and told him we were lost. He got a cab, and took us home. On the way, he said "One thing I will say about you Mormons. You do, at least, have commitment." I guess what he was saying is that even kooks can be committed. Maybe we should have been committed--- to a mental hospital. We were not doing any good, we were not changing the world, and we were not helping anyone with anything practical.
My companion said "You were embarrassed by what we are doing weren't you?"
I had to answer "Yes, I was embarrassed. " He said "I was too. "
Damn, reality hurts when you realize you are a kook.
| From the church's mouse organ itself . . .
Tomorrow night, Port O'Call will close its doors for the final time after 20 years in operation. The building housing the bar has been condemned to make way for the new federal courthouse.
Among the friendships that began there, you can number this hackster and Chad (Swedeboy) Spjut, current president of the ex-Mormon Foundation . . .
Those who frequently go to the bar say they're sad to see it go.
Chelsea Stevenson said, "I'm so sad this bar is closing. I've met some amazing people here. It's a wonderful social outlet."
And honest, folks, I still don't drink, but apparently Senator Hatch and his minions are assuring the virtues of Utah's young women will have one less evil hangout to be exposed to worldly temptations . . .
Forget Utah's tourist business; these are the Last Days, anyway, and y'all can expect the call to mount up for Missouri anyday now . . .
What, am I being a conspiracy tinfoil type? Well, directly south across the street from the Shubrick Building is a grassy parking feature owned by Earl Holding, TBM billionaire and proprietor of Grand and Little America Hotels (and Sinclair Oil and Sun Valley Resorts). There's an almost identical square block area directly south of his two hotels. Here's a synopsis from one of the posters on the Tribune "Comments" section on another article . . .
And here's a link to the original article on the property valuation issue . . .
"Reasoned Thought" wrote . . .
While the whole thing has been poorly handled from the get go, I don't think we can assign blame to the State Legislature however we can give credit where credit is due. Senator Hatch was instrumental in insuring that the block on the south side of 4th south (you know the one that is a big parking lot) was removed from consideration because his buddy, Earl Holding (Sinclair, Grand America, Snow Basin, Sun Valley) owns that piece of real estate. This is the same pair that pushed through the Trapper Loop road and then remembered that they had land there that would suddenly become more valuable once the road was built.
I agree with this analysis, and I can confirm the Snow Basin land scandal that involved Senator Hatch and some property afftected by the 2002 Olympics . . . I've also spent some time in Sun Valley; it's one of my favorite places in the entire Western United States, but the nightlife at Sun Valley Resort and other Holding assets is stinkeroo . . . They close things up tighter than Provo or Orem does on the Sabbath . . . Every night . . . One has to go into Ketchum to find any social stuff; it's worth it since some friends of mine were seated next to Bruce Willis at a steakhouse one night, but it's a hassle . . .
It's past time to send Senator Hatch home to Pittsburgh and let Earl Holding go back to Idaho.
Pass the Prilosec, please . . .
| Today I was looking for an e-card for a family member and came across one with an animated message, "Have a happy birthday, or else!" It made me think that the message of the Mormon Church has always been, "Be a good Mormon (and you'd better enjoy it), or else!"
Or else Heavenly Father will stop blessing you.
Or else the Lord will punish you.
Or else the Holy Ghost will stop protecting you and cease to give you inspiration.
Or else Satan will 'buffet' you and gain control over you.
Or else terrible things will happen to you and your life will fall apart.
Or else God will hold you accountable for the souls of those non-members who would have joined the church if you had only been a 'righteous' influence in their lives.
Or else you won't be able to go to the temple (where you can learn the secret handshakes necessary in the afterlife to get into the CK).
Or else you'll be separated forever from your 'righteous' LDS family members and friends.
Or else you'll experience everlasting regret and torment of soul after death for having been 'slothful' during your 'mortal probation'.
Fear is integral to Mormonism.
| We are not talking the fake, patriolic, friendship of a regimented cult, experienced at the brute end by the rebuffed single parents of this board, but the type of solidarity between, say, women, men and children made to work in a mine, who would give up a day's desperately needed pitiful wage in support of an oppressed, sacked colleague, standing shoulder to shoulder on the front line in the face of corporate aggression.
This type of real solidarity, or act of unbridled love, is unknown within the tight boundaries of prescribed religion. If the need does not fall within the set regime, the need is not understood. This may account for the many stories of penishood abuse that weekly chill us to the bone, with the victim often being blamed for the acts of the perpetrator.
The result is opposition to basic human rights for women, gay and bisexual men and women, black people and any other proposition that may be proposed by the progressive side.
Many exmos detail the difficulty they have making ordinary sexual relationships work after leaving, having weak normal character development, the same cult that inculcated the need for strict adherence to the cult before any other act of human bonding.
Nor will a few token community schemes and paltry charity donations, betraying the lurking sinister motives of a corporation that breathtakingly grasps the tax exemption of a supposed church from the state, cut the mustard.
If the Morg had any real sense of solidarity with the rest of humanity, its membership, lock, stock and two filthy barrels, would say to God: " You can stuff your Celestial Kingdom and promise of jam tomorrow with a shower of blessings. Unless, God, you admit your multiple acts of abuse and abandonment, we are not prepared to go ahead without our other brothers and sisters." Instead, the members seem motivated by a private fascist utopia of a separate kingdom where presumably they can patronise the rest of us with how we need to fast and pray more, and need to confess our many blasphamies to the Bishop.
I may as well be talking Greek on the moon of the benefits of cheese as to make a violently abusive cult say sorry to its many victims denied proper support.
Solidarity in the Morg? Nah! Looking for evidence of real human solidarity is as futile as looking for real Book of Mormon geography.
Hang on, I'm sure that's a man I see on the moon faithfully going about his home teaching on the stony streets of the Sea of Tranquility Ward I South.
| In my normal daily life I say no and hear it said to me every day.
From reading here at RfM, I think mormons are programmed to think "no" is a mean, nasty, rude word.
In actual fact it's one of the most powerful and useful words in the English language.
A no can save our lives if we sense a dangerous person is trying to enter our space.
Saying it has saved my life more than once when I was under pressure to undergo unneeded medical procedures or to continue with doctors who weren't listening to me.
The first time I traveled in Europe the guide told us to use the word no in a loud assertive tone to fend off pickpockets. That tip saved one of our party who shouted it at four or five aggressive beggars who were forming a circle and closing in around her in a deserted alcove.
I've had friends who strung along boyfriends for months simply because they couldn't say no. What a waste for them and for the men they would like to stop dating!
Leaving the morg means we MUST be able to say no. The morg counts on our distaste for the word. They hope we'll be cowed into fretting over what they'll think of us. They also count on us to worry about representing some unseen group of exmos to show that we and they are not "bitter" or "anti."
Here's the reality:
No is not a cuss word. It's as polite as the words flowers and candy.
No is a kindness when it saves others the pain of false hope.
No is a complete sentence by itself. Explanations beyond that one word are optional.
A "no" can be couched in smiles and pleasantries, or not.
Learning to say no could save your life, your health, your emotional wellbeing, your time, your money, and your freedom to leave a destrustive cult.
| "We are in the world, but not of the world," was a frequent comment I used to hear during the interminable church meetings.
Another was "we are a peculiar people."
Mormons like to think they are, indeed, "in the world, but not of the world."
They like to believe they do not care what people think of them. They are separate, apart, and free of all the frictions of being carnal, sensual, and devilish.
But the problem is, and always was, Mormons want to be accepted. They want it desperately. There is nothing they want more. No abnormal group has ever wanted to be so normal.
If you watched the long Hinckley years, you could not help but notice the way he tried to have Mormons accepted, and brought into the mainstream. It was his biggest desire (with the possible exception of construction projects).
He went on television, and submitted to interviews. He defended, apologized, and gave new meaning to the word "spin." He was pretty darn sure he had reached his goal. After all, Mike Wallace came to his birthday bash.
But 2008 made Mormons realize they are the skunk at the picnic, the odd man out, the freak in the carnival show. They are not accepted, not mainstream, and not particularly liked. All of the efforts come to naught.
You cannot send out legions of annoying kids in white shirts, who knock on every damned door on earth, and try to push their way into every house to change things that do not need changing. It creates a stereotype that you never recover from.
You cannot try to lie about, change, alter, and spin polygamy. It does not work. Polygamy was a huge mistake, and there is no getting away from it. The fact that it still goes on is laughable. It NEVER goes away, and no amount of spin can change the fact it came from Joseph Smith's Mormonism.
Mormons cannot live in a community and act standoffish when normal social behaviors are evident. People drink, and Mormons just cannot accept it. They are still stuck on coffee and tea. How on earth would they ever accept the fact that people drink? The sight of a cigarette makes them go into a pother.
Mormons claim to not care about "worldly trappings," but they are as addicted to "trappings" as anyone else. The size of the house matters. So does the car.
Clothes are terribly important in any half-affluent Mormon area, and so, God help us, is the image of prosperity.
Mormons, too, like their boats, RVs, and the rest. Nothing wrong with that if you have the money, but you cannot have it both ways. Mormons want to be rich, but they want to be rich in a different way. Its a pretty hard juggling act.
Above all else, Mormons love praise. No people on earth are as starved for praise as Mormons. The want it above all else. They become livid if someone writes something that fails to praise them, and they swoon if some columnist has some faint praise (and most of the praise is distant or parenthetical).
After all, the people who hand out a little praise never join the church.
I can understand the feeling. I had it too. I tried to be a good Mormon, and I felt the resentment that brings outside of Utah. I, too, loved the faint praise.
I , too, wanted to be normal, accepted, and mainstream. But it just does not work. Mormonism has a lot of barnacles on its hull. They cannot be scraped off. They come with the package, and they slow the ship down.
All the years of effort to be rid of the drag have failed. You really cannot change reality.
| This is a little analogy I think is kinda fun!
Religions mark off their territory on an imaginary grid and set up rules and regulations for participation including outfits, coaches and players..
Religion in general is about teams: good vs bad, God vs Satan, right vs wrong, and on and on.
In the Bible, for instance, if you are on God's side--team, you win. If not, you loose.
Many years ago, when I was interviewed by the local stake president, he asked me about my testimony. He asked: "Do you know the church is true? I replied that nobody knows -- it's believed by faith. The important part of this interview is that he agreed, said I was correct!!
My continued reply went something like this: "In case it is the only true church, I want to be on the winning team."
Another thing about teams -- Mormons played a lot of basketball -- and at one time, there was a special referee assigned from the high counsel to be the "Cussing Referee"! I don't know if that was his official title, but that was his function. Apparently the air was getting so blue, someone had to clean it up for the game to proceed! Team members could be fouled out and benched for too much cussing!
In a the same analogy, Mormonism is a team that I have fouled out and benched for too much no-sportsman-like behavior, and a multitude of other fouls, like thinking for myself, and challenging the priesthood and the list of rules!
Men in general, in my observation are more emotionally attached to their favorite teams than to religion. Women, generally are the opposite.
Just looking in the stands proves my point! They will do anything to show support for their team. The most outrageous outfit, stripping almost naked, and on and on.
The same is true for belief in a deity. Human beings throughout the history of humanity will do almost anything in the name of their deity. They pick outfits, music, cheerleaders, bands, (choirs) and have lots of rules and regulations and penalties either in this life or their belief in a next life, etc etc. just like sports teams do.
Sports games in our home are a raucous event. The guys are whooping, hollering, arguing with the referee, jumping up and down, etc. I am sure everyone knows exactly what I am talking about.
I don't think religion in general or Mormonism, specifically is harmful. Can be, sometimes people get hurt, badly. Mormonism is just fine with me----for someone else! It's a religion that appeals to some people, particularly in a traditional, cultural society. That is how most of them work in the first place. They create their own unique culture in many ways.
Emotional attachments to traditional religious beliefs even if they are superstitious over rides reason and logic. That is part of what makes us human.
Games. Sports. Religion -- all much the same.
Since I fouled out, I am not playing the game anymore! :-) Sometimes I don't even want to watch!
| Its interesting to see how Mormonism defends itself when faced with scientific evidences. On a thread discussing the Lamanites/DNA issues I wrote something that I'd like to share on a new thread that illustrates this point. It has to do with the Lamanite/DNA issue. While contemplating on this I came up with a potential apologetic argument I've never heard of before. I can see how an apologist could spin this to successfully defend the religion for most TBM(s) against the Lamanite/DNA issue.
Go read http://scriptures.lds.org/en/matt/3/9#9 where John the Baptist claims that God can turn stones into children of Abraham. If God could do that then surely he could cause the DNA of the Lamanites to exhibit the Siberian markers and lose the Hebrew markers. It's all just a test of our faith. So open your wallet, pay your tithing, obey the Brethren and get back to church because the Lamanite/DNA issue is a silly one that's easily resolved ;)
Mormons are able to successfully defend themselves against Science based on 5 assumptions being true:
Now try to present any issue against the church with these 5 assumptions in mind. Naturally one of the first questions that'll come up is whether or not you are WORTHY. If you're not or if its supposed that you might be critical of the Brethren then your credibility is shot. If you quote the Brethren or scriptures it'll automatically be assumed that you have misinterpreted the meaning. If they think your argument is contentious or upsetting of their world view then they know its from Satan and "get thee hence". No matter how much evidence you provide it'll be remembered that with God that nothing is impossible. Assuming these assumptions are correct its impossible to win against the Mormons.
- With God anything is possible.
- The LDS quad of scriptures are true as long as they are translated and interpreted correctly.
- Words of the Brethren are true as long as they were spoken by the Spirit and interpreted correctly by the Spirit.
- Only those who are fully worthy (i.e. holding a current LDS temple recommend worthily) and have the priesthood keys (i.e. stewardship over someone being judged) can properly interpret and judge whether the scriptures or words of the Brethren are being interpreted or in-context correctly.
- The spirit of contention is of the devil. A person loses the Spirit anytime they contend against Mormonism.
When an apologist comes across an issue they'll sometimes pull it down from the shelf and examine it. Sometimes they'll come up with an idea that could be used to defend the religion. For example, look how I spinned Matthew 3:9 to "solve" the Lamanite/DNA issue. The apologist will feel good about their interpretation and think they've "felt the Spirit". They look at it as personal revelation that defends and sustains their testimony. Anything critical of this argument can be quickly dismissed as being contentious and from Satan.
Now suppose an interpretive argument from an apologist gets plenty of scrutiny. Its shown to be bogus beyond all reasonable doubt. It becomes widely known that this argument is false. The apologists are able to quickly dismiss it. They can say that the interpretation was just personal opinion. That's because the arguments made by apologists (and now even the Brethren) never are acknowledged as being anything more than private personal revelation. Thus its impossible to scrutinize. The embarassing quotes from the Brethren/scriptures can be quickly dismissed as having been misinterpreted.
Of course the 5 assumptions I listed are bogus. But they sure do keep plenty of Mormons sucked in. To this day I'm amazed that somehow I broke free. For me I personally think its because (a) I'm a very curious person who always digs deeper when examining problems/issues to make sure I have a thorough understanding, (b) I was NOT innoculated on certain issues thanks to the "sweep it under the rug" mentality of Mormondom during the last half of the 20th century. This resulted in the Correlation program and other methods of obfuscation.
Will the LDS leaders come up with an effective strategy to innoculate without losing the youth? I don't know. But I'm confident they'll try. However their efforts won't win them both wide appeal and conversions in the world. Simply put its because their efforts will always face scrutiny and be exposed for their lack of complete honesty and integrity. Look how they've handled the California Prop 8 issue for an example on how easy it is to expose their dishonesty.
The same 3 key headaches that the leadership faces with gays, feminists and intellectuals are going to be with them for as long as they don't fully respect gays/lesbians, truly give women equal authority/rights in the church and have any conflicts between science and church teachings. Of course they'll try to dismiss these issues as they arise. But they'll continue to arise amongst the youth of the church because about 10% of the youth will be gay, another 10% will insist on feminist rights, another 10% or so will come across intellectual issues as I did and speak their minds, and the other 70% will know plenty of peers in these 3 camps and many will have sympathies for them personally. All I can say is that I'm glad to no longer be a Mormon leader of any sort.
| Think about it – you get to be married for Time and all Eternity if you are a Mormon. Isn’t this wonderful and majestic? You and your spouse, clothed in the robes of Holy Priesthood, linked arm in arm will proceed until the end of time itself as a couple, a unit, a whole spiritual being that reflects your maker like a mirror. You are God together and you will be instruments in bringing the glory of life’s highest sentience to worlds without end.
This would be grand and all except it is a lie. You who are married in the LDS Temple aren’t an eternal couple but merely links in a bizarre doctrine that strives to create a net of spiritual relatedness back to a distance and foggy past couple, the husband of which was claimed to be God Himself. Like Adam and Eve, you two celestially married people will serve in Mormon heaven as mere nodes in a grander scheme of things. You are subject to more glorious beings and your posterity is subject to you two. Realize that you are in a celestial multi-level Mormon marketing scheme and not a holy union solemnized forever in the eternities of worlds without end.
I know you are thinking that I’ve got it wrong and that the first paragraph more accurately describes Mormon Temple Marriage. But what you don’t realize is that several items are missing from Mormon so-called Celestial Marriage. First, among the missing is the fact that your marriage isn’t between two people but three people. God is the one you’ve covenanted to follow, obey and love more than your spouse. In Mormon conceptual understanding, God is paramount. Only through the medium of God are these eternal promises conveyed. And to top this fact off, the fact also exists that it matters not to the Mormon God who stands before Him for sealing. The only fact that matters in standing to be sealed by God is the set of procreative tools you were given.
Not a perfect picture of a perfect marriage is it? No. It is just a random bunch of people thrown together in whatever social and cultural situations they may happen to have been born into and they are joined – eternally.
Looking back through time, we can see distinct things about Mormon Temple Marriage that standout and make it seem less exalted and more plebian. Do a study of cultural mating habits of humans on this planet and you will discover an interesting fact – marriages for “love” aren’t the norm. Until the end of the 19th Century, Western Civilization’s marriages involving love as a primary ingredient was a happy accident and not something actively promoted by these societies and cultures.
Mormon history itself attests to this fact. Joseph Smith developed the idea of Celestial Marriage not from a concept of two impliedly tied individuals full of their own freedom to choice and love the companion of their choice. No he took the idea of marriage beyond death as a device to seal posterity in eternal worlds. The family is what is focused on here in Mormon Temple Marriage. The individuals can actually not love each other and still constitute a Celestial Marriage.
What Joseph Smith actually came up with and was further developed by his Utah successors was just a spiritual dimension to what has existed for centuries. Mormon Temple Marriages have a polygamist flavor to them. They have an ideal of many people more than a single couple being “sealed” in a bond of union. In fact the Mormons take children not born from a sealed couple and retroactively bind them to their form of marriage in what can only be called sealing because the couple is already married for time.
So how is this celestial form of marriage plebeian? No focus is given on the suitability of a couple to be bound from eternity to eternity. If an eternal marriage could exist and people exist after they have died, finding a suitable person to be with forever would be not only requisite but an evidence for any organization claiming to marry people beyond death. I’m basing this bit of logic on the idea that a personal God could and would be the influence behind such marriage. But the truth of the matter is Mormons encourage their singles to just find someone of the Mormon faith and then go with this relative stranger to be sealed to them for the rest of all time. This doesn’t seem much different than previous centuries and the contract of marriage among the poor and economically equally destitute.
For peoples of previous centuries with any form of wealth and power, marriage was an opportunity to consolidate, unite and protect this earthly accumulation of glory. So why not have something similar in Eternal Marriage? Why not have as a prerequisite the finding of another individual who spiritually would be mutually endowed with their partner’s spiritual qualities? If there are mansions in heaven to be obtained, why would a person just find someone and chaotically unite their spirit with them based only on their qualifications in passing an interview with a Mormon ecclesiastical leader?
One would think, that with a personal God involved here, that Mormons involved in sealing themselves to each other that they would get some sort of revelation that would confirm their endless future together. But this isn’t the case. Often Mormon singles are counseled to just find someone in the same way serfs were encouraged to marriage and produce in the middle ages.
Truth of the matter is that Mormon Temple Marriage is on the surface a lie. It is a promise of eternal companionship with no regard to who the companion is. It is a focus on the familial bonds and not the marriage bond.
I think many Mormon couples know this at a subconscious level, but they choose to see the eternal promise for their couplehood over the implied focus on the multigenerational network of Mormons. Rarely do Mormon couple think about the simple premise that their marriage is just a link in a chain of marriages and not something divinely predestined. Oh, they want it to be predestined, but their leadership, while not outright quelling this notion, have deemphasized the requisite “finding” that one special person who it right and rightly chosen to exist with as a heavenly couple for their eternities.
The truth of the matter is Mormon Temple Marriage is nothing more than when the whole Western world was Catholic and a couple when and had their marriage recognized by their church and their children’s names were taken down when theses children were baptized. The big difference only being that this couple of long bygone era didn’t have the guilt of messing up an eternal marriage.
You have got to appreciate the Mormon’s ability to make a bad situation worse. The man or woman who wakes up one day and realizes that they have never really loved their spouse, gets to think about the eternal consequences of a marriage made in heaven but consummated in what is becoming hell.
| An important part of growing up/maturing psychologically/becoming a true adult is to stop being naïve.
We live in a complex world where things are not black-and-white. It requires sophisticated, adult, fact-based thinking to properly understand the world, other people, ourselves, events and actions of people like politicians that affect us, etc.
Religion and 'warm and fuzzy' 'spiritual' beliefs truly are opiates of the masses. Hundreds of millions of people mentally escape into religious/spiritualistic beliefs because stark, harsh and even brutal realities aren't congruent with those beliefs. They unconsciously erect psychological fortress walls because they don't want to perceive reality as it is. Why not? Because observed and experienced realities always present evidence to one's mind that one's 'spiritual' belief system is inadequate and thus, the type of 'God' or deities (or angels or a 'higher power') in which one believes, does not exist.
Mormonism impedes the natural development of critical and rational thinking in children (and teens and adults) because it indoctrinates and conditions them to mentally flee from, trivialize and even condemn facts (and the messengers communicating facts) if the truth conflicts with church teachings and widely-held LDS beliefs.
Fully becoming an adult, psychologically, involves losing one's faith. We become aware through experience that people, even parents and other close family members, are not always truthful, trustworthy, or good. Politicians lie for their own gain and even mislead the people of their countries into war, which they ineptly manage. Corporations, including a secretive religious corporation like the Mormon Church, conceal important info. from consumers and manipulate them to their own ends.
We live in a time of enormous loss of faith in many of the institutions and leadership that our parents, grandparents, etc. naïvely trusted. Thanks to mass communication and the decentralized nature of the Internet (in most countries), massive collective psychological evolution is underway. Naïvete and ignorance serves no one. There is no 'saviour' coming to the rescue, not individually or collectively. We'll just have to save ourselves and the world upon which our survival ultimately depends. Psychologically mature adults understand this reality 100% and take on the responsibility. Psychologically immature adults, which includes 'faithful' Lattter-day Saints, do not. They persist in their 'faith'-based/reality-avoiding mindset.
| Would you run with a Church if you were God, or would you settle for a nice fluffy philosophy? You may think you can get a lot more done with your own Church. And you may think you should provide a weekly sanctuary for the more light-minded of your copious brood. But running with faith carries problems, as you know.
"Faith is powerful enough to immunize people against all appeals to pity, to forgiveness, to decent human feelings. It even immunizes them against fear, if they honestly believe that a martyr's death will send them straight to heaven."
-- Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene
You'll have to tamper the evidence, and then stand idly by while the best of your brood bludgeon themselves to oblivion. Hmmmm.
And I'm afraid you've not got a very good record raising sprogs, having booted a third of 'em out of the family nest for being too lizard-like. Which doesn't sound much like a god. And the best of the brood are a bunch of freaks, quite frankly, and will pervert your Church, within five seconds of you opening the doors, with a virus of contaminated opinion. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Perhaps you should call the whole thing off.
Let's be honest. People are a nightmare. No God in His right mind is going to let this lot loose on the universe and stand idly by. "Hell is other people", as Jean Paul Satre quaintly said.
Then you'll have to put in the frying pan all the nasty stuff that the fake religions are going to dish up, till you can't tell the difference between the good and the fake stuff.
Hell, the more you travel this Yellow Brick Road of Logic, the more you realise how culpable you'll be for the jam that wrecks the family for good. And it's all sounding a nightmare and divisive by nature, contrary to your raison d'etre of keeping the family together. How are you going to tell the good guys any longer? You'll have to sink to favouritism. Black is starting to turn into white in your universe. A bit like Michael Jackson.
"My point is not that religion itself is the motivation for wars, murders and terrorist attacks, but that religion is the principal label, and the most dangerous one, by which a "they" as opposed to a "we" can be identified at all."
-- Richard Dawkins, The Devil's Chaplain (2004)
That's decided. You'll settle for a nice fluffy philisophy, 'cause starting a Church doesn't stand a rat in Hell's chance. Better tell 'em your decision. So they won't make silly mistakes. Something about whosoever shall preach more than this... is about as reliable as Joseph Smith. Yes, that should do the trick. What could go wrong? Much better.
Time for a nice long snooze in a quiet dark room. It's not easy being God, you know.
| I don't know how to spell that word, but it sounds like
Maybe there is a hyphen after "anti-".
We were the ORIGINAL questioners of authority of the mid-20th century. We did not take the word of those in authority until or unless we passed it through the proverbial bullchip detector, first.
Of course, we didn't call it "bullchip", but you get the point.
Our feet were firmly planted in the 1940s, but spanned the growing-up years of the two decades that followed. We were born into the traditionalism of "don't question authority" and, not feeling at all at ease with that, we put on our chit-kicking boots and became entrenched in Anti-Establishment ideologies.
We memorized that silly, nonsensical "long word" that most children learned, to impress their friends:
Anti-dis-establishmentarianism (probably without hyphens)
But, after we were old enough to know the meaning of that word, we decided that we really were not against those who were against the Establishment (as the word implies).
So, here I sit, all these years later, and I am continuously dumbfounded at the stupid, insipid, largely-unspoken remnant of the 1950s that Mormons embrace, in the quote "FATHER KNOWS BEST".
Gawww. Mormons are behind the social curve by 50 years! On this one!
There was a 1950s "sitcom" (before the word sitcom was ever invented) with the title FATHER KNOWS BEST!
We, in middle America, outgrew that sappy ideology, because we knew that fathers were idiots more often than not: and that they in fact did not "know best".
We learned to put our trust in ideas: not in idiots who were leaders of this or that (including families).
The Mormon Church has held onto that "father knows best" idea 50 years longer than the rest of the U.S.A.
Oddly, when reading the Journal of Discourses, I stumbled onto an account of a Bishop Woolley (circa 1868). Woolley is a family name representing part of the late Spencer Woolley Kimball's clan.
So, this Woolley guy had a visitor to his ward, once. It was Brigham Young, who said for the people to obey Bishop Woolley like they would their natural father.
I guess "Father" really DID know best, huh!
So, Utah is strange, that way.
As a sidebar, I visited the deep South, about 25 years ago. And, going into one of their drugstores, I saw the parquet flooring and the soda fountain that we remembered, all through the 1950s and into the 1960s, where I lived. It was like a time warp: they were 25 years behind the times, down there, in the Deep South.
Utah is like that, too. Except [that it is] in an ideological sense
"Wouldn't you rather have a Buick?"
(old advertising gimmick)
Wouldn't you rather be a Mormon?
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