THE MORMON CURTAIN
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EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 5
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.
| Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the presidency of the Seventy gave what may become one of those watershed talks; the one where in years to come you mention this talk when somebody asks "What started you questioning the church?"
Here are his opeing words;
Years ago, when my brothers and i were boys, our mother had radical cancer surgery. She came very close to death. Much of the tissue in her neck and shoulder had to be removed. And for a very long time it was difficult, painful, for her to use her right arm.
(* I wanted to get this in time for the Carnival so have transcribed it from listening to the talk. The text won't be available online until tomorrow. I double checked but there may be some errors.)
One morning about a year after the surgery my father took mother to an appliance store and asked the manager to show her how to use a machine he had for ironing clothes. The machine was called an "Iron Right". It was operated from a chair by pressing pedals with one's knees, to lower a padded roller against a heated metal surface and turn the roller, feeding in shirts, pants, dresses and other articles.
Despite my father's good income as a veterinarian mother's surgery and medication had left them in a difficult financial situation. On the way home my mother was upset. "How can we afford it? Where did the money come from? How will we get along now?" Finally dad told her that he had gone without lunches for nearly a year to save enough money.
"Now when you iron" he said "you won't have to stop and go into the bedroom and cry until the pain in your arm stops." She didn't know he knew about that. I was not aware of of my father's sacrifice and act of love for my mother at the time, but now that i know i say to myself, "There is a man."
There are so many things that make my jaw drop about this story, i'm sure each of you now have some of your own.
Yes i know what the apologists will say. It was a different generation, woman's role was different etc etc.
- How come he couldn't have ironed his own clothes?
- Or got some of the kids to do it?
- Or had less than perfectly ironed shirts?
- Or if he is saving up all this money, why not use it to hire someone to do it for them?
- How come he didn't get the manager to show him how to use the machine?
- How come his wife didn't say "Wait a minute, you knew that i have to go into another room and cry in pain and you didn't say a word? You never offered to help? Or told me not to put myself through the agony?"
But what's the message to the priesthood by sharing this story in 2006? Being a man means making it easier for your butchered wife to press your clothes? I don't get it.
I think being a man is ironing your own shirts.
Would love to know what reaction there has been from the wimmin of the church.
| My mom is one of the most loving, kind people I know. She will always try to find a way to work out a disagreement and is even willing to be treated badly at times for the greater goal of keeping the relationship going. I am one of 8 kids and am the only one in my large LDS family that has left the Church.
It has been 6 years since I left. But yesterday I was talking with her on the phone and she started bearing her testimony to me and told me that I need to "go back to square one" as far as the Church is concerned.
In responce I asked why there is always someone willing to testify to me that they know its all true but there is always a complete lack of people willing to demonstrate the respect and common courtesy to even find out why I don't believe, let alone make any effort to address any of the concerns I have. (Keep in mind that one of my brothers was killed 20 years ago and a grandaughter was recently killed this past summer. So in her mind she will lose me and my family permanently).
I won't go into the details but she completely lost it. She swore at me for the first time in my life (I'm 48). She was sobbing and telling me that she loves me and she doesn't want to lose me (and my family).
There wasn't much to say (or that could be said) and I know she's under a lot of stress from other sources as well. When she calmed down I said goodbye and I sent her some flowers later that day to let her know I still loved her. It was a really rough day for me.
But this whole episode has got me thinking how many doctrines of Mormonism are designed specifically to threaten, shame or guilt people in to greater devotion to Mormonism and have nothing to do with improving ourselves or providing service to others, (which is what I believe are the first and best callings of religion).
What does the threat of losing your children in the afterlife have to do with becoming a better person? What do the temple ceremonies, garments, not drinking coffee, have to do with providing service to others (at least to others that we are sure exist?)
The bottom line is that my mom has devoted her life to Mormonism and now when she is getting to the end of her life, instead of comfort from the Church, she sees more threats and is terrified that she is losing another loved one.
| Auguste Pinochet was the dictator of Chile from 1973 through 1990. He came to power as a result of a military coup which overthrew Pres. Salvador Allende, a Socialist.
During his dictatorship, Pinochet committed numerous atrocities to subdue his political opponents. The Rettig Commission, a Chilean reconciliation group, reported that during Pinochet’s reign, Pinochet was responsible for the death or disappearance of over 3, 000 people.
Pinochet’s human rights violations are too numerous to detail here. However, the following link provides stories of those victims who suffered under Pinochet.
In addition to the over three thousand dead and disappeared (presumed dead), Pinochet’s regime tortured countless others. Victims had their arms broken, females had their breasts burned with electric irons, victims were doused in kerosene and set on fire, teenagers were electrocuted, etc.
And what did the leaders of the LDS Church say about Gen. Pinochet?
The then current prophet, Spencer W. Kimball said of Pinochet, when presenting him with a copy of the Book of Mormon, that he was "one of the great leaders of Latin America."
Future member of the Seventy, and prominent LDS business man, Robert Wells said the Pinochet’s 1973 coup was an "an act that served the purpose of the Lord." Wells also said of Pinochet’s murder of the 3,000 Chileans: “If he had to shoot anyone, the great majority deserved it since they were terrorists."
And what has current LDS President Gordon Hinckley said of Pinochet? "It was a time of trouble,"
And what would the 3,000 dead and presumed dead have to say of Kimball and Hinckley?
“We thank thee O God for a prophet to lead us in these latter days?”
I hardly think so.
| I was running from one meeting to the next today - that is, for some strange reason a creative time for me. I will review essays in my mind, think through projects, and often plan my latest artistic endeavor - though I rarely do art any more.
Today I was thinking about my sister (I have five - you figure out which one). She only reads Mormon approved books and regularly attends BYU Education week and the local conferences sponsored by the church.
When she tells me what she has learned at those I just cringe. Once she listened to a woman talk about porn and how addictive it is. She told stories of boys as young as 8 and 9 seeing a cover of a magazine like Cosmo and becoming addicted for life. Their addiction prevented them from successful relationships, destroyed their testimonies, and sometimes led to dire consequences like becoming a rapist, gay, or a child molester.
My sister, emphatically encouraged all of the sisters to go to the stores in our neighborhoods and have them put up covers on all questionable magazines.
Apparently, that speaker was motivational. Today I went to the grocery store and that is my opportunity to catch up on my reading. As I wait in line I read the covers of all the magazines. It is fun and perplexing because sometimes on the same day I learn that Brad and Jolie are breaking up and getting married. I come home confused and wait anxiously for my next trip in the hopes I will be fully informed.
Today I did no reading. Every single magazine had a cover on it. In the past I have reach behind the cover and put the magazine in front of it. (I am a rebel at heart). But today I was actually discouraged. Some crazy woman tells other crazy women some unsubstantiated information about porn and scares them to death and in an effort to save their poor helpless boys from masturbation and enjoying a woman's body - (now go exponential here) and I go to a store where literally every single magazine had a cover on it.
I wondered what that did for their magazine sales. Oh well, fundamentalism wins again. Thanks to my sister and others like her I am saved against my will.
I thought for a self-righteous arrogant moment that my sister is not very bright and then it occurred to me what has happened to her is not too unlike the ancient Chinese practice of feet binding. Mothers would start to bind their daughter's feet - sometimes at four. This would essentially cripple the girl and make her extremely dependent on others.
My sister had her brain bound. Her culture makes reading things outside of the approved list dangerous - not just to her, but to her family. She does not read non-mormon literature because she loves her children. She, like the Chinese mother who destroyes her daughter's feet teaches her own children this fear.
She makes decisions based on the leaders who constantly tell her to not trust anything or anyone outside of the approved list.
Last April BTC, me and my children went to St. George on Conference weekend. My sweet, darling, TBM daughter listened to conference. I heard about one sentence of one talk. I think it was Gordo - but I would not bet my life on it. The speaker referred to some of the great philosophers and snidely commented on their limited knowledge and light.
I asked my daughter about that comment later. She said that she thought that philosophy is something that is boring and not worth study. I had just finished a great ethics class where we studied not only some of the greatest philosophers ever, but the process of philosophy and critical thinking. I was not sure if her comment was one of youth or church indoctrination.
I hope it is youth. I resent the zealous, righteous women out there trying make the world a safer place. And besides I did not find out today if Brad is marrying Jolie and that really bugs me.
| Many of the problems with our TBM family and friends that causes the most angst and difficulties in relationships is that they completely reject the fact that we are all entitled to change our mind about Mormonism, and anything else for that matter!
This is particularly true in marriages when one spouse changes their mind and the other thinks it is some kind of horrific deal breaker to their whole marriage. Children don't even count.
Insignificant tiny things like underwear, coffee, non attendance at church, ditching FHE, the BOM, etc, are more important in the TBM's mind. Unbelievable.
I grew up with the old adage: "It's a woman's prerogative to change her mind." I think that helped me understand that I didn't need anyone's permission to change my mind!
One of the first things that motivated me, (when I realized that Joseph Smith Jr,--that lying little bugger who told that huge whopper), was that I was under no obligation to believe him and I could change my mind, and I did, laughing much of the way! I was damn mad at times too! I still get indignant when I hear about the injustices! But eventually, the humor would rise to the top like cream on milk!
I don't know about the rest of you, but I have found very few people who are faith based believers (in any religion/church) that have any concept of our general human rights that it is acceptable to change our mind!
That seems to be at the core of many of our problems leaving Mormonism. We can leave, but it won't leave us easily and on top of it the Mormons won't leave us alone, even after we die! If that isn't harassment, I don't know what is! Maybe it's something else, but harassment came to mind!
How did you handle changing your mind about Mormonism?
| Top signs that you are a TRUE BELIEVING MORMON.
Get indignant when you catch someone reading a Playboy magazine, but have no problem with your churchs founder sleeping with every female (and possibly male) that moved.
Oppose gay marriage, but think that polygamous relationships will be allowed during the millenium as the correct insitution of marriage.
Support the US Military killing hundreds of heathens in foreign lands, but feel you are being oppressed if you see someone reading 'No Man Knows My History'
A marriage can be saved if one of the spouses has had an illicit love affair, but god forbid one of the spouses lose their testimony, divorce time.
Believe that science is deceptive, and 'non' scientific, but an 80 year old guy can speak on ANY subject whether spiritual or secular with more authority than any expert on earth.
Drinking Coffee, Tea, Beer, and Smoking are bad for you, but you have no problem downing an entire half of a Little Ceasars Pizza, or drinking a gallon of chocolate milk in one sitting.
You have two sons, one with an MD, Ph.D, and making 200000 a year, who lost his testimony, and the other living in the street, drinking, smoking, and partying, but still believes, and you are more proud of the 2nd son.
believe that victims are partially responsible for the crimes committed against them and need to repent too.
believe that 2 men should teach any class with kids for accountability and safety, but have no problem letting your 12 YO daughter go into a room with a 40 YO man by herself for 30 minutes or so.
Believe that abortion is evil and murderous, but see no problem with the death penalty.
believe in storing enough food and supplies to run a small city for a year is necessary for a possible 3 day emergency.
Believe that the Church doesn't involve itself in Politics, just moral issues, such as gay marriage and Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, which is also a moral/social issue for some reason.
believe that Indians, and Tongans and Somoans are actually Jews
As a woman, you see no problem with a man being allowed to be sealed to multiple women, but you can only be married civilly to a second husband and have to have your divorced husband permission if he is still alive to allow you to do this.
Silently believe that blacks, chinese, hispanics, etc., will actually be caucasions in the afterlife.
Believe that Jesus Christ who was born in the Middle East, most likely to semitic parents, has a passing resemblance to Dolph Lundgren with long hair and a beard.
Believe that Joseph Smith looked like Dolph Lundgren.
Can't understand why all the Prophets in the Book of Mormon are great Political Leaders and War Heros who could compete in the Mr. Universe contest, but the current leaders are all old bald fat guys.
Believe there is a cave filled with a bunch of archeological records in New York at the Hill Cumorah, but never take the time to verify this belief by excavating the hill.
Believe it is alright to excommunicate someone for adultry, while there is nothing wrong with the Church running a brothel in SLC during the 1920s.
Believe reading Anti-Mormon books is more evil than a suicide bomber throwing themselves into a restaurant killing 50 people or more.
| There's a disconcerting sterility to Mormonism that I didn't notice when I was a member, but which is striking to me now, and the worst part of it is the sameness of everything. Members seem a little like clones, there's very little physical difference in most of the buildings and their interiors are bland and lifeless. The LDS seem make no attempt to adapt to the cultures of their members or conform their buildings at all to their surroundings.
On my recent trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico, literally translated as "Holy Faith", I saw dozens of beautiful churches, both Catholic and Protestant. They were all different, yet reflected the culture and landscape of Santa Fe. Built in a beautifully simple Pueblo style, they seemed vibrant and full of life just like the mostly ethnic congregations they housed. On Sunday morning, as we strolled along the painted sidewalks of that artsy city, we saw inside some of the old churches. The parishioners wore the brightly woven ponchos, large silver and turquoise jewelry and fringed jackets that anyone would expect to see in the Southwest. The congregation was a lively mix of people.
Saturday night, my husband and I saw large groups of Santa Fe youth bedecked in traditional Native American and Spanish dress walking to a local Catholic church for a dance. They looked so lively and fun we wished we could join them!
In contrast, while driving though one of the nicer suburban neighborhoods, we spied a large, bland, box-like building which I immediately recognized as the local LDS church. The brethren had obviously made only minimal attempts to match the surrounding architecture or terrain. A lifeless, soulless building plopped sloppily amid the more expensive homes of the upper middle class, the Mormon church's preferred congregants. The parking lot was gated and locked, and in my mind I could envision the white shirted, white bread Priesthood holders leading their homogeneous families dutifully through the industrial looking doors on Sunday morning.
It's not just the case in Santa Fe, New Mexico - it's just the way things are all over the world. Mormonism is about sameness. There's no tolerance for diversity or cultural expression. Conformity is the mark of a faithful Latter-Day Saint; abandoning any ethnic or cultural dress, attitudes or activities that aren't traditionally Mormon or white and delightsome is an expected part of belonging to God's One True Church.
There is a cultural vacuum in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a hospital-like sterility that makes me more and more grateful every day that I no longer have to live in that environment and conform my self to the blandness of Mormonism.
| One of the difficulties in leaving the lds church (and with talking to those still in) is the use of emotionally charged words. The lds church is masterful at using emotionally charged words in its recruitment and retention efforts.
Example One: "Family"...or "forever family". Always a 'seller'..I mean who wouldn't buy into an institution that is FOR families..right? And if you're not FOR families, then you MUST be AGAINST them....
Example Two: "Truth". To me "truth" is something that you can prove...like with an experiment. "Theories" on the other hand are statements, suppositions, hypotheses, and just flat out 'guesses' based on some kind of reasoning that have yet to become "truth" [by being proved]. All religions mix "truths" with "theories" (some more than others). Most of these "theories" can never be proven (at least given the current conditions). Real convenient for those that want you to PROVE their "theories" are NOT true.
Example Three: "Authority"...I mean that means that you know what you are talking about right?...and you're 'large and in charge'...and someone had to give you that, right?
Example Four: "Testimony"...I mean it sounds so official..and judicial..and you MUST have done or seen something spectacular to get one of those...
Example Four: "Prophet"...It sounds so 'old school/testament'--I always pictured Moses for some reason.
Example Five: "Word of Wisdom"..Gotta be official, right? I mean what's the alternative the 'word of idiocracy'?
It's the attachment people have with these 'words' that makes it so hard to have a logical conversation with an lds member....and testimony meetings, firesides, primary programs, temple ceremonies, etc etc etc are ALL geared to make someone place more and more emotional stock into the 'words'.
Very hard for one to see from inside the organization IMHO. Maybe we should invent a decoder dictionary...or just use other 'words'......just a thought.
| I grew up in the Mormon church in the Pocatello, Idaho area. Pocatello is an old railroad town that was not founded by Mormons but by the Oregon Shortline Railroad. The city has always been Democratic in it's politics and has always had ethnic groups like: Greeks, Blacks, Italians, Chinese and even some Jews. Most my friends growing us were not Mormon and were a mix of the ethnic people mentioned. I served my mission in New York and came to realize Pocatello in a small way was kind of like a small New York because it has some of the same kind of people. I remember eating Greek, Italian, and even Kosher food at friends houses. My best friend was Ukranian and we would make fancy Ukranian easter eggs. I had more of a community upbringing than the Mormon upbringing my wife had.
My dad was on the bishopric and high council. He served in other callings and was a busy guy. Church often seemed wierd and invasive. I never got the hometeaching thing. I never got all the meetings. That being said we did have fun ward activites and the members were nice people. All the bishops I had growing up were good guys and all were well liked.
I was not the best Mormon growing up. My dad was an occassional drinker and I followed him. I later found out my grandfather was too. The family Sunday tradition was to have Sunday diner at the resturaunt owned by Chinese friends of ours. My mom didn't like certain members of the ward she called puritans but the ward and stake leadership basically never told us what to do. My dad was well respected.
The church had it's rules but didn't ride it's members very hard about it. The important thing was you came to church on Sunday. It was more of a social thing and making people feel comfortable than the stressfest it has become now.
I'll never forget the huge awakening of when I entered the MTC as a missionary. The church I grew up in was way different than this overbearing, guit tripping, holier than thou monstrosity I now found myself in as a missionary. What was normal behavior back home was sinful in Provo and I felt like a second class citizen. I had now found myself in the reality of the Mormon hiearchy that the local church in Pocatello filtered out. You have to remember the local leaders ran things more in those days.
Now since the church micro manages the church from Salt Lake City and controls all the finances from there. Every ward has now become the MTC. Bishops are pawns instead of people who really ran wards and were in charge of the bulding. Stake Presidents are the local power brokers and they answer to Salt Lake. Salt Lake meddles in local church affairs as never before. In the old days, the locals had their own money and had more control over things. I liked it better that way. No corporate Church representatives as much either.
I don't know if it was a Pocatello thing or the church in general in the 1970's and early 1980's, but you certainly couldn't go out for Chinese food with non-Mormon friends on Sunday and keep your calling in the bishopric today. It was more social and following the commandments was more up to personal interpretation. My dad never felt we were breaking any commandments because our friends ate dinner in their resturaunt.
My parents served a mission in the church office building. They left that with a very eye opening and dissapointed view of the church. Both complain it's become a big corporation. Both stay in it. Both wish I would return to the church but don't give me too much grief. Both aren't in the best of health now. Why change I guess.
| Although the doctrine of the church contains the raw elements which could be pieced together to form a moral code, and the church gives lip service to the notion of free agency and self determination with members proudly quoting Joseph Smith's, "I teach the people correct principles, and they govern themselves," Mormons do not know what really differentiates right and wrong. They have lists of behavior, thoughts, dress, food, beverages, etc. that have been identified by the church as right or wrong, but that is not the same as knowing why something is right or wrong.
Growing up TBM, I certainly had lists of things that had been identified for me as being either right or wrong. A turning point came one day, however, when I was sick with the flu and running a fever, and I had to get something at the BYU book store. While searching the aisles, I came across some postcards that had fallen to the floor from a display stand. I reflexively stooped down to put them up. My head swam as I straightened up, and I had to ask myself why I went to the effort to fix something that really did not concern me. I thought it was "good" to pick them up and put them back, but why? As I matured, I continued to seek within the teachings of the church an understanding of the nature of good and evil. I was sadly disappointed. The lack of this basic and necessary (to me) concept was one of several spiritual gaps that led me to question the church, and to my eventual departure.
I started thinking about all of this again today after reading a Washington Post article by Elizabeth Williamson examining Karen Hughes' rules to the diplomatic corps for speaking to the public. The article in part,
"..Here she tries to provide rules for every imaginable case. She presents a thicket of rules, and if all the guidelines are followed, a person won't be able to say much of anything.
"It is also a mixed message: Go out there and communicate freely and vigorously, but be very careful what you say.
"The combination of micromanagement and mixed message will lead to learned helplessness on the part of the recipient. They will feel obliged to do something but unable to decide what. . . .
"The only thing a recipient can do is spout the preexisting words of senior officials. There is no possibility to exercise initiative -- which is another way of saying this is an exercise in micromanagement." '
Feelings of helplessness, guilt, and reliance on authority figures, doesn't this sound like the church? Micromanagement uses fixed rules in place of guiding principles to control and direct. This protects the stability of the organization, but at the cost of growth and development of both the individual and organization.
Next time a member tells you about something being good or bad, probe a little and see if this comes from a personal understanding of principles, or if it is a reaction to a rule based set of values. As long as people operate from sets of rules, they will never be more than what the rules allow. And should rules disappear or be proved wrong, the people who depend upon them are left without an inner sense of direction and purpose.
| The subject of being offended comes up all the time in Mormonism. In the past year or so I have read numerous articles in the church mags on this topic and my favorite apostle, David Bednar, gave a talk about being offended in the last general conference. Obviously the problem of members becoming “offended” is causing some significant chafing and consternation among the Lord’s anointed.
In Mormon circles, it is automatic to assume that a member who becomes inactive, or who **GASP** resigns, only does so because he/she has been “offended” by someone at church. Apparently, this is a deeply ingrained part of Mormon beliefs and culture. Even the little pamphlet they send you after resignation states, “If any have been offended – we are sorry. Our only desire is to cultivate a spirit of mercy and kindness, of understanding and healing”. Yeah – right..... but that’s a topic for another post.
What is so funny about this whole assumption of offended-ness is how completely absent this concept is from other religious belief systems. It has simply never occurred to the Presbyterians that people decide not to go to church anymore because someone “offended” them. In all my years going to a Presbyterian church I never once heard the topic of being offended come up – NEVER once! I also have close ties to the Catholic Church and I never heard a Priest give a sermon about the problem with Catholics getting their feelings hurt and turning away from their church because of it. The subject of members being offended is simply non-existent in other mainstream religions.
** Question for Mormon leadership** Don’t you guys find it odd that so many of your members are getting offended – so seriously offended that it causes them to stop attending church or to completely RESIGN from their religious community? Doesn’t this phenomenon seem especially strange when you consider that members of other belief systems go happily along without being offended??
Another really bizarre thing about all of this “offended-ness” is how the Mormon leadership responds to it. If Episcopalians suddenly starting leaving the Episcopal Church in droves because they were getting offended, you can bet your bottom dollar that the Episcopal Priests and their faith communities would be concerned. Resolving this problem would go something like this –
1 - Goodness me! We have had numerous families leave our church because they are being offended by other members of our congregation and sometimes by people in leadership. This is a terrible shame!
2 - We need to find out what these people are being offended about and who the main offenders are!
3 - We need to have some serious conversations with our congregation and our leadership about Christ-like behavior and how to treat others with respect, dignity, tolerance, acceptance, and common courtesy. What ever is happening to offend our brothers and sisters needs to stop immediately!
But not the Mormons – OH, NO!!! Their response to the problem of member offended-ness goes like this –
1 - Oh great heck! We have had numerous families leave our church because they are being offended by other members of our congregation and sometimes by people in leadership. This is a terrible shame!
2 - It is OBVIOUS that these members who are being offended have attitude problems. They are silly, thin-skinned, self-absorbed, and prideful. They need to be more humble!
3 – We need to have some serious conversations with our members about learning to put up with abuse, insults, belittlement, humiliation, and disrespect in the proper manner – by sucking it up and enduring to the end like good Mormons! This being offended nonsense has got to stop immediately!
It just seems to me that if members are routinely getting offended and leaving, then MAYBE, just MAYBE, the Mormon Church should take a look at WHY people are being offended and then do something about that. Instead, they just keep beating up the victim which is completely dysfunctional!
Hmmmm.....the whole thing says an awful lot about Mormon culture and values to me – none of which is positive.
| I'm a Nevermo who has been attending their services sporadically as an investigator (*cough*) and religious explorer.
Recently I witnessed something that is making me want to do a Martin Luther on their bulletin boards. In this service there were several speakers. The theme of the first was Christ's message and The Atonement: what a heroic example (words are too weak to describe). It was illustrated with teachings from the New Testament; all very good; and it included the verse from Luke 3, if you have two coats, give one away.
The theme of the final speaker, a member of the High Council, came down to Obedience. Repent now. Follow all the teachings. Attend sacrament and other meetings. Observe Family Home Evening, and maintain your food storage. Tithe. Obey the Word of Wisdom. Get and keep your Temple Recommend. Do temple work frequently. Through this you will gain a greater knowledge of God, and you will experience blessings in your life.
The speaker went on to say how he had seen evidence of these blessings being poured out in other lives, and he had experienced them in his own. One example he cited specifically was that, when he was asked to move in order to take up a new calling, he and his wife were able to sell their two houses (one occupied and one under construction) very quickly and at their asking price. He made a profit of 20% on the occupied house after two years of ownership, and $8000 on the new house despite it not yet being finished. He said that in this he saw the Hand of The Lord helping his progress.
Hello? The Hand of The Lord, i.e. The Hand of Christ, helped deliver you this? Would this be the same Christ who threw the moneychangers out of the temple, and who taught (through John the Baptist) to give your second coat away, and also to give your food away, to the poor, or to your neighbor; and who inspired the apostles to declare that missionaries should travel without purse or scrip? And would this Christ help you make a quick and tidy profit on your real estate, paid for out of the pocket of, uhhm, your neighbors?
I don't think so. I think this leader has plainly revealed himself as a Pharisee: his road to heaven consists of following all sorts of picky little rules. I also think his talk plainly shows how the LDS is in the business of selling indulgences. A key link in his chain is to tithe and hold a temple recommend. At the end of the chain, if you have done all the tasks, he testifies that you will be rewarded with blessings both eternal and temporal -- including financial rewards.
So how should I go about stirring this pot? Most of the membership will think that this local leader can do no wrong. It's easy for me to find essays on the hubris of claiming to know when the Hand of The Lord is at work. One such caution even turned up, I recall, in Hinckley's talk at Fall Conference after Hurricane Katrina in 2005: he had to pour cold water on certain folks who wanted to see that as God's punishment of the wicked city of New Orleans. But what I'm wondering most about is what sort of sources, and what sort of approach, to use in order to cause some Martin Luther sort of effects.
| Years ago when I was teaching my ward gospel doctrine class, the subject of apostasy and the unpardonable sin became the topic of conversation. I asked them if they knew how one becomes a son or daughter of perdition, (the Morg has waffled back and forth on the issue of female perdition participants. They want the "naughty" types for themselves when their other pure and holy celestial spouses won't kick in, but I digress.) and several hands flew up in answer to the question. “You must deny the Holy Ghost!” came the answer from several class members. I then asked them how many will be in such a state? Then came the response of, “There will only be a few, no more than you can count on one hand.” I told them they were wrong, according to Morg doctrine there would be many. (We all know its really bullshit, but it is fun to see how this whole thing works.)
I directed them to the “inspired” words of Bruce “Almighty” McConkie for further elaboration on the subject. According to the quotes given in his infamous “Mormon Doctrine,” the issue of candidacy for perdition was very clear.
First a quote from Joseph Smith as quoted in “Mormon Doctrine”: “What must a man do to commit the unpardonable sin? He must receive the Holy Ghost, have the heavens opened unto him, and know God, and then sin against him. After a man has sinned against the Holy Ghost, there is no repentance for him. He has got to say that the sun does not shine while he sees it; he has got to deny Jesus Christ when the heavens have been opened unto him, and to deny the plan of salvation with his eyes open to the truth of it; and from that time he begins to be an enemy. This is the case with many apostates of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
So with that quote, it does not bode well for us according to Morg doctrine, however now the arrogance of Smith come shining through with the next quote, also found in “Mormon Doctrine.” “When a man begins to be an enemy to this work, he hunts me, he seeks to kill me, and never ceases to thirst for my blood. He get the spirit of the devil-the same spirit that they had who crucified the Lord of Life- the same spirit that sins against the Holy Ghost. You cannot save such persons; you cannot bring them to repentance; they make open war, like the devil, and awful is the consequence.” McConkie finishes this section with the following: “Among other things, this statement from the prophet, explodes forever the mythical fantasy that the sons of perdition are so few they can be numbered on the fingers of the hand.”
Then to make things worse for covenant breaking, former priesthood holding apostate men like me, DandC 84:40-41 clearly shows things don’t look too good for us either. “Therefore, all those who receive the priesthood, receive this oath and covenant of my Father, which he cannot break, neither can it be moved. But whoso breaketh this covenant after he hath received it, and altogether turneth therefrom, shall not have forgiveness of sin in this world nor in the world to come.”
So there you have it, a double whammy of Perdition perfection! We all had the warm fuzzies of truth given to us courtesy of the Holy Ghost along with experiencing the warmth of the Lard’s truth that was welling up inside us at one time. Now we have turned from it all and called it what it is, utter and complete bullshit.
Time to get fitted for that suit of flames, make mine a 48 extra long.
| I have always recalled that line from "The Godfather"--you know the one, "Every time I think I am out, I get pulled back in again." It is so good, it was even used, with a touch of humor, on "The Sopranos."
It reminds me of Gordon Hinckley, and his endless quest to make Mormonism mainstream. He wants it so badly, it hurts. He ventured into "Larry King Live," and "60 Minutes" to try to push the idea of mainstream Mormonism.
He wrote "Stand for Something," and tried to get a real publisher to print "The Book of Mormon."
He gave us "Legacy," which shows no polygamy, and the current idiotic bio of Joseph Smith--where he rides in a sleigh with his lovely wife Emma, the only wife the viewer is made aware of. A touching love story, mixed with images of the misunderstood "Prophet Joseph." Why, to see the video, you would think he was a kindly, loving man, who only thought of Emma and others. He was so sweet, sugar could not melt in his mouth. And his trousers never came down at the wrong moments.
Hinckley wants a church based on monogamy, denied doctrine, handcarts, tradition, and sacrifice. He loves his ancestors, and wants us to look back, whenever its convenient. He wants a feel good religion, based on family, pioneers, and great PR.
The problem, of course is that it cannot be. Every time Hinckley thinks he is making headway, something new surfaces. He gets "Big Love," and Warren Jeffs (the reincarnation of Joseph), "Under the Banner of Heaven," "Leaving the Saints," and the idiotic pronouncements of Mormon politicians, leaders, and Presidential wannabes.
Mitt runs, or wants to run, and the next thing you know, his underwear is far more important to the media than what he has to say. And it could only get worse. A campaign by Mitt could be lethal to the new, improved image of the Mormon church.
And we must not forget the humorous moments--BYU banning Rodin, and trying to edit "Schindler's List." BYU athletes act up, commit crimes, and its swept under the rug in a truly hamfisted manner. BYU is funny, It has always been funny. Its a huge exercise in self-parody, a large university run by Captain Kangaroo or the Gestapo--depending on the circumstance.
You don't have to go back very far to see the "Mormon tradition." You have Mountain Meadows, blood atonement, wife swapping (basically), marriages to little kids, castration, and vicious intolerance. Scratch a modern orthodox Mormon, and you quickly find Heber C. Kimball, or Orrin Porter Rockwell.
I would not be surprised--at all--if Hinckley says "Every time I think I am out, I get pulled back in again."
| This topic in particular and the idea of divine revelation in general is what got me to eventually admit I had been duped. I realized that I couldn't really trust or decipher between my feelings and "personal revelation", and that nobody else really could either. These were some of the questions that helped me open my eyes:
How can it be possible to decipher when a "prophet" is acting as a prophet and when he is only speaking his opinion?
If he is teaching in some capacity he is "leading" and aren't we told that god will not allow his prophets to lead us astray? If he's truly a prophet he should know that people will listen to his words expecting to hear the words of God; how can he go to firesides and conferences and teach, and not be acting as a prophet? Shouldn't they know that something is wrong to teach? Isn't that what a prophet is supposed to do? And if they're not sure, they shouldn't teach it in their teaching/leading capacity.
If god revealed truth to prophets, why do they disagree?
How can a man be a prophet if he doesn't know when he's teaching the truth?
If they did know, why would they have to vote on it?
If something was revealed as true once, why would it be changed later?
| A few weeks ago I was onced again asked by a new Mormon client to my business, what religion I was, have you ever noticed that this is the only state where people feel entitled enough to even ask that question....anywhere else in America it's considered to be rude! It's like asking people how much they weigh or how much money they make....it's none of anyone's business. Well, instead of pointing out to this person his obvious lack of manners, I decided to answer in a way that it would give him something to think about, so I told him, that I was a person who lived from my conscience rather than a creed. There was silence and nothing more was said on the topic. Later, as I revisited the incident in my thoughts, it caused me to review how different and fulfilling my life has been since I began listening to my conscience instead of the dictates of the Mormon creed. For instance:
Instead of paying tithing to the Mormon Church, so they can decide where to use it, it's more empowering to me to look at different situation in the world of need and then let my conscience decide who I should write the check to. Today, with what used to be my tithing money, I now support causes that help and protect children and animals, instead of the big new mall downtown (I know they say they're not using tithing money i.e. currently collected, instead they are using money they made from investments which were made years ago with tithing money....an example of the Mormon creeds "spin zone" tactics). Where is their conscience?
My relationships have changed dramatically as well, now when coming from my conscience, I no longer feel the need to judge people or somehow size them up based on the right and wrong list of the Mormon creed. Instead I just meet them where they're at and form my opinions from actual experiences I have of them. This level of relating has been truly freeing and at the same time amazing to me, it's as if people can sense my true essence and me theirs, instead of meeting the walls and postures that are a natural by-product of the Mormon creed. It leaves one to wonder how different "Zion", would be if people were to follow the adage that "when your conscience speaks the debate it over".
| Motives matter. Mormons are taught to spread their gospel, to shun those who refuse it, to mistreat one another and blame the offended for what they suffer. Their church clouds their judgement and decent sensibilities. They can't help being driven to act the way they do. I fully understand all of that.
But does that mean that everyone must enable and play along with them? I don't think so. We don't leave our doors unlocked for poor druggies who think they deserve our valuables to buy a fix. We don't give in to two year old tantrums because a baby is sure he deserves candy.
Nor do we have to enable mormons who unjustly gang up or afront us. We can in all fairness carve out our own haven where our boundaries are our own.
Those still in the church might consider saying no to callings they hate or to bishop interviews. Inactives might tell HTs and VTs that their services aren't needed. Those who are out of the church have a right to expect mormons will not constantly invade their privacy or deride their personal choices.
Good intentions might be the difference between first and second degree murder, but they don't make murder acceptable. In the case of mormons, their good intentions can be a road to hell, which we don't have to tread.
| When I was growing up, there was a right way, wrong way, and dad's way. The morg had the same effect on me: There was a right way, wrong way, and the morg way.
We were to shun those who did not conveniently fit the definition of who we were:
God forbid that you would be homosexual. We wanted you to be like us, "straight." After all, you could not procreate with someone the same sex you were. We didn't care that you were human and had feelings and emotions: These were not a factor. Therefore, we didn't want you around.
If we heard that you had had an abortion, we wanted to insure that it was for rape, incest, or health of the mother, the only true blue reasons that you could end a life in the womb, and we poked our noses into your business to insure it was ONLY for these reasons.
We wouldn't provide any assistance with your severely handicapped child: After all it was yours not ours. God would take care of those born who are severely handicapped. They wouldn't even need to take their endowments out. They are truly blessed.
The word of wisdom: Let's discount the fact that Mos are the most obese of any religious group. Yep, it is wisdom to have moderation in all things. But, please don't drink coffee, tea, mountain dew, nor coke. But, hot cocoa is okay?
God forbid that you would be a college-educated female. We needed you to be dutiful wives and mothers. I'm not sure if we were considered to be too stupid as females to graduate from college, supposed to procreate to continue the Mo race, or truly be darling Molly MOs who love to bake, clean, and sew. Unfortunately, probably all of the above.
We need you to "preach the gospel of Jesus Christ." So, young men, prepare for your missions early, sing those primary songs, and get revved up because you are going to dedicate two years of your life to missionary work. We didn't brain wash you. We just knew that you'd want to do this.
We need to show you the correct way to pray. God will not accept any other version than this.
We can't tell you what you will be doing in the temple because these things are sacred, not secret. Do remember that we are Christian and don't forget to purchase all the clothing you will need in advance at the Bee Hive Center.
Don't YOU want to be with your spouse forever? We are sure that there is an afterlife, and we are confident that if we marry the two of you together in the sacred edifice, that you and your posterity will be linked together in a family unit. How quaint! I fell for this one BIG time.
You, too, can become a God and have your own planet. Space ships provided.
The insanity of it all!
| The Little Christ Child and problems with the prophecies of his advent.
Over the years as I have delved into the study of early Christianity and Judaism of the 1st centuries BCE and CE, I have come more and more to the conclusion that Paul is responsible for turning a sect of Judaism into a totally different religion. With the deification of Jesus, a devout Jew and a Messiah figure, pagan themes and stories were melded into some Jewish beliefs to create this new religion.
The New Testament is comprised of the Gospels and various letters. Many of the letters pre-date the Gospels and lay the foundation for the Man-God myth. The Gospels then were written to promote this belief and stories such as the “virgin birth” were included to further show the divinity of this Man-God.
When reading the New Testament, it becomes clear for the New testament scholar (if they are studying the text in Greek) that the writers of the New Testament were not familiar with the Tanakh. What they were familiar with was the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Tanakh. This translation is known to have many mis-translations in it that form the basis of some of the “proofs” or prophecies about the coming Meshiach that Christians used. The Gospel of Mark really gives no hint of a godly siring of Jesus, unlike the later Gospels. It is implied in Mark that Joseph is Jesus’ father. Matthew cited a passage in Isaiah to show how a child born of a virgin would become the Meshiach (Messiah, Christ). However, does the original Isaiah actually say what Matthew reports it as saying?
“Behold, a virgin (Greek: parthenos) shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel.” Matthew reports that this virgin was mary who was betrothed to a man named Joseph and that she was pregnant through a miraculous event set in motion by the Holy Spirit of God. The writer of Matthew was using the Septuagint. The only problem is that the original Hebrew is different. The original Hebrew called this young woman “almah” which in Hebrew was a simply a young woman who could be married or not, sexually experienced or not. The Hebrew word does not denote a virgin, simply a young woman. If this prophecy would have been cited in Jesus’ lifetime, any Biblically trained and literate Jew would have very quickly pointed out the problem. The other problem with this passage is that Jesus was not named Emmanuel.
Other problems also exist with Matthew and the writer’s use of scripture from the Prophets. Micah’s statement that the Davidic King would be a Bethlehem native is not born out in the further record of Jesus life in the Gospels. He is reported to have been born in Bethlehem but he is not a native. He was raised elsewhere. The elsewhere included Egypt which was supposed to be a fulfilment of a prophecy by Jeremiah that stated that Rachel “weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they were no more.” This is relation to the report of the killing of the innocents by Herod. However, if one takes this scripture in context it is quickly apparent that Rachel is weeping for the whole of the exiled Jewish people which is shown in the two verses following; “They will return from the enemy’s land ... and your children will return to their border” i.e. the border of Israel. Even the quote from Hosea saying “Out of Egypt have I called my son” refers not to Jesus or the Messiah, but to Israel as the restof the verse makes clear: “When Israel was a lad I loved him, and from Egypt I called forth my son”.
In order to truly understand the Old Testament, it must be studied in the original tongue. Any time a translation is made, nuances from the original language are lost. For example, the spirit of God being female (ruah in Hebrew meaning the spirit of God is a female noun). What was also lost by the early Christians was the oral Torah or oral traditions as reported to have been passed down from Mount Sinai directly from God. This oral tradition was kept alive by the Rabbis and was written down and called the Mishnah. This text is important as it helps to clarify the Torah. Christians did not have this text and did not work from the Hebrew Torah and so misunderstandings crept into Christian teachings.
Who would understand more fully the Tanakh (the whole of the Old Testament)? A literate Jew or a Gentile?
And so we return to the story of the little Christ Child. What exactly was this story? In my estimation it was one more story to be told of this new Man-God that would make him look as powerful and important as the gods that the non-Christian gentiles believed in. If Mithra could be born of a virgin (coincidently on Dec 25th) and be a worker of miracles, so could Jesus. Other myths from other cultures in the area also have parallels to reported stories about Jesus. These may easily be found by a search on the internet.
| I don't know where you were raised or in what decade, but in the 70's and 80's, there was a heavy cycle of approval and rejection that was used to train the youth of the Mormon corridor.
We were taught by parents and teachers first and foremost to seek that praise. Second, we were taught which set of behaviors (righteousness) would get us praised, and which set of behaviors (wicked) would get us scolded. We were taught before we could even formulate whole sentences that we'd get hugs and kisses if we could repeat after Mommy, "I know the church is true. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen." It doesn't really matter if 90% is inaudible because everybody knows what you're saying.
We are taught over and over again which behaviors will get us praised and which ones will get us scolded. Girls do this, boys do that, and never the twain shall meet. If we ever veered off track, punishment was immediate and brutal, much like an electric fence. All adults were part of the conspiracy, too. Parents, aunts, uncles, peers, Sunday School teachers, bishops, and even complete strangers in the supermarket. The kids even joined in in an effort to gain approval for themselves. The withdrawal of approval came to be an even greater punishment than any punishment. I became addicted to approval.
One of the biggest sources of approval was going to church. If you went, the praise was heaped on. If you didn't, you were a nobody. When you're addicted to approval, you'll do what's necessary to get that approval. When I was an adult, I decided to go back to church. I noticed immediately how Mormons were using approval on me. For example, every time I got a haircut, people would give me compliments. Short hair = correct behavior = approval. Lather, rinse, repeat.
I saw it happen in my BYU ward. The women who had children immediately after marriage had all the status. The guys who got married right after their mission and had children were granted God-like status. No wonder young people go on missions, recite the 'right' phrases, and even get married and have children even if it is not in their best interests. It is approval-seeking at its worst. Mormons are taught to seek approval. Losing that approval is so traumatic that a TBM will do anything to get it again. And the release of gaining approval again causes such euphoria that the TBM associates this with feeling the spirit.
When we are pressured to say something we don't believe, marry someone we don't love, or have children we're not ready for, we feel inner conflict. Over time, repeated inner conflict causes depression. By that time, we have lost sight of the initial source of conflict. If we are particularly TBM, we know enough to blame ourselves if anything goes wrong. We might find ourselves on Prozac, wondering how we could be so weak. "It must be my lack of testimony. I'm not reading the scriptures enough. I'm not magnifying my calling."
So we redouble our efforts, trying to get 'the spirit' back into our lives. And all the things we're told to do to get the spirit back don't work. So we work even harder. On top of depression, we are now exhausted. We're on a treadmill, depressed, exhausted, and not knowing where to place the blame, we blame ourselves. We might gain weight, a further sign of our 'weakness'. And the cycle continues.
In the end, we find that all we need to do is gain self-approval, a skill we were likely never taught because Mormonism depends on us being addicted to external approval.
Speaking from experience, I have not mastered the art of self-approval yet. But I have broken the cycle of addiction to external approval. That has been one of the highest and most treacherous mountains I've climbed after leaving Mormonism, but the view is amazing!
| An article in last Friday’s local newspaper, (Fort Worth Star-Telegram) reminded me of why I left Mormonism so many years ago. It seems the late bishop of the Fort Worth Catholic Diocese, Joseph Delaney, ordained an admitted child molester, Gilbert Pansza, to the priesthood in 2000 assuming that, since the event occurred in 1970, “enough time had passed that it was a safe risk.”
Once again, I wondered, “Is this how God really operates?”
Assigning the restoration of the “True Gospel of Jesus Christ” to an uneducated fourteen-year-old farm boy always seemed like a goofy idea to me, while granting one man the power to “ordain” other men as earthly interpreters and enforcers of God ’s will appeared even more silly. As a result, I’m hardly surprised whenever something goes wrong, yet still can’t get over the poor choices Heavenly Father often makes.
Ever hear this one? - “The church is perfect, the members are not.” - Yeah, well, that’s certainly a viable excuse. Leave something perfect in the hands of imperfect beings and they’ll always screw it up. But doesn’t that line of reasoning tend to suggest that whatever might have been perfect at one time no longer is? … Oh, well!
And how do guys like the aforementioned child molester sneak in under the radar? … Naturally, his superiors petitioned God long and hard before they ordained him, so why the obvious mistake? … Can’t blame this one on the adversary as these are “enlightened “ servants of our lord and maker who would know the difference. My guess is that the all-knowing, all-seeing creator of all things just simply forgot, even though his chosen representative admitted to the abusive episode in 1998.
Then we have this restoration of the true gospel in these, the latter days. I’ve always wondered how it got lost in the first place. Did God just wake-up after two-thousand years and say “Oh, shit! What did I do with it?,” and, if so, are we to assume that, given how he overlooks a child molester every now and then, the omnipotent one might not be all that perfect?
Maybe it should go like this - “The church ain’t perfect, and the members … well, let’s not even go there!”
Blacks and the Priesthood was what ultimately forced me out. I never could understand why God would intentionally create beings he knew would “straddle the fence,” then punish them for doing exactly what he knew they would do. When I asked about this, I was always told that we don’t fully understand God’s plan. Obviously not! … Indeed, it is very difficult to understand any plan that makes no sense!
The gay and lesbian issue appears equally suspicious. If God is all-seeing and all-knowing, then he just had to know that some of his creations would be homosexual. What right, then, does God have to punish said creations for being exactly what he created them to be? … Don’t fully understand the plan? … I wonder why?
Its interesting in the post-mormonism experience to discover the same fallacies in other religions. They each claim exclusive rights to the absolute truth, yet only provide lame apologetics when the situation gets a little tricky. There was a time when I desperately wanted to believe and simply accepted what I was taught. I read and prayed and read and prayed, yet never got the knowing. At first, I privately doubted myself and quietly played along. In the end, however, I came to realize that I had, in fact, received the answer after all!
And the hits just keep on coming!
This is the Gospel according to Timothy … I’ve seen all good people turn their heads each day so satisfied I’m on my way!
| I maintain that the members, generally don't know what he says!
Things like: I don't know that we teach that, that's what they call me, that is more of a couplet, deep doctrine that we don't know much about...etc. He is addressed in the CNN interview, for instance: as Mr. President. Are these lies, or is he being brutally honest and truthful?
He is openly admitting that the LDS Church doesn't really have any prophets, for instance. He knows he is not a prophet.
In addition, much of what is thought of as doctrine, really isn't. It is personal interpretations bantered about but not strictly reliable, documented doctrine. Things like "free agency," for instance, is not taught. Agency is taught without the word free in it at all.
That is why it is appropriate to say that nailing down Mormon doctrine is like nailing jell-o to the wall! It is constantly changing to some degree with each succeeding president. That is also why Bruce R McConkie's "Mormon Doctrine" had to be rewritten.
A perfect example of how the members don't follow their own prophet is how they behave when members leave the LDS Church.
What he says is very honest. Either it is the kingdom of God, or it is nothing. Nothing! Very interesting word to use. Nothing. He understands, honestly, the dilemma people face.
He specifically instructs the members not to be arrogant, self righteous, clannish, holier-than-thou, not be offensive, never be disagreeable to others. To be: humble,, friendly, soft spoken, neighborly, understanding and so on.
But what do the members often do? They lecture, rant and rave, hurl insults, threats, cry, rip people apart, shun, take their business elsewhere and on and on.
Members who leave the LDS Church often loose spouses, children, homes, careers, business clients, and on and on. Why? Because, apparently, not one of the members that behave in that manner know what their own prophet has said, and even if they do, have no idea how to live it.
"Each of us has to face the matter-either the Church is true, or it is a fraud. There is no middle ground. It is the Church and kingdom of God, or it is nothing."
President Gordon B. Hinckley. "Loyalty," April Conference, 2003.
"We cannot be arrogant. We cannot be self-righteous. The very situation in which the Lord has placed us requires that we be humble as the beneficiaries of His direction. While we cannot agree with others on certain matters, we must never be disagreeable. We must always be friendly, soft-spoken, neighborly, and understanding."
- President Gordon B. Hinckley, Fall 2003 General Conference, Sunday Morning Session
"As I have said before, we must not be clannish. We must never adopt a holier-than-thou attitude. We must not be self-righteous. We must be magnanimous, and open, and friendly. We can keep our faith. We can practice our religion. We can cherish our method or worship without being offensive to others. I take this occasion to plead for a spirit of tolerance and neighborliness, of friendship and love toward those of other faiths."
- President Gordon B. Hinckley, July 2001
On Deconstructor's site, we find many quotes. It appears to me that GBH is not lying, he is being honest, he is telling the truth.
That's my two cents regarding the president of the LDS Church and what he has said in interviews, etc.
His quotes above show clearly, that he knows the members have some very nasty behavior that needs to be cleaned up. He is, by his words, chastising the members and, teaching them how to act and behave. But, do they listen?
I suggest that when telling our TBM family and friends that we have used our right to change our mind about our religion, we need to give them these quotes. It just might help us all deal with the fall out of their horrific, inappropriate, disrespectful, rude, nasty behavior.One would certainly hope so.
I suggest that we have an opportunity to teach the members how to treat us and follow their own prophet!
| The Mormon church harbors grandiose illusions of it's own importance.
Dan Peterson recently queried as to why Jews would want to alienate Mormons, because Jews have so few friends. To most people, that would seem arrogant. But you see, what Peterson knows that the Jews and everyone else, for that matter, don't is that EVERYONE needs Mormons! Mormons, not Yahweh, Jesus, Mohamed or any other Prophet or deity, are the saviors of humankind. They spend their minuscule amount of free time attending temple ceremonies saving both Jew and gentile, all the while swelling with righteous pride like the future Gods they believe themselves to be.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that the entire world revolves around them - every advance in medicine or science or technology is specially orchestrated by God to benefit the One True Church. The internet was created to further genealogical research. Satellites came to be for the main purpose of broadcasting General conference. The end of the Cold War was designed to allow Mormon missionaries into Russia, ad nauseum...
How can Mormons NOT have an inflated sense of self-importance? They're taught that they were selected in the pre-existence to come forth in the last dispensation. They are a chosen people, an elect priesthood, the bearers of God's absolute truth, and the salvation of the world is in their hands.
What Mormons don't seem to understand is how incredibly unimportant they really are in the scheme of things. As far as world religions go, their influence is infinitesimal. Jews and almost everyone else, for that matter, couldn't care less what Mormons think. Most people view Mormonism as nothing more than a weird cult that's adherents don't drink coffee or alcohol. Most of the people where I live think Mormonism was started by John Smith, if they can recall any name at all. Joseph Smith said his name would be known throughout the world for good or evil, but in reality, it isn't known by very many people at all, which would undoubtedly be disappointing to him, megalomaniac that he was.
Mormons can go along believing their grandiose illusions while the rest of the world simply ignores them.
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