THE MORMON CURTAIN
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I think it’s far too cynical to suggest that these ads are an extension Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. They are just part of a larger strategy from the LDS Church to rehabilitate its image, which suffered considerably because of Proposition 8. For instance, the LDS Church also recently unveiled the new mormon.org. Mormon.org, as opposed to lds.org, is intended for nonmembers. There, you can read profiles of everyday Mormons and chat online with missionaries (a function that I imagine is frequently abused ha ha).
Maintaining a positive public image is crucial for proselytic faiths like Mormonism. So in that respect, this ad campaign and the new mormon.org make sense. But there is also a danger to Mormonism in becoming too mainstream. Mormons have long prided themselves as a “peculiar people” with peculiar doctrines. Full admission into the religious mainstream may require that Mormonism lose its uniqueness.
Disclaimer first: I mentioned the polygamy because the comments have turned into a discussion about polygamy. The mormons on there keep saying that they don't believe in it or have anything to do with it. That's why the tangent is included and was actually my main point in registering to comment. Here it is:
I could not get through these commercials because the image it is selling is a lie. As an active and believing Mormon, I can tell you that I was not encouraged to do much except "bow my head and say yes", have kids, have my dead ancestors baptized and bake a mean loaf of wheat bread. Women in this religion are not encouraged to pursue their own interests, unless it "builds the kingdom". My mom was an artist with a very fruitful career and she received a lot of grief for this, even though she worked out of our home. She was viewed as a "sinner" for working while being a Mormon mom. Now they are trying to make her occupation look cool and acceptable? Give me a break.
I was not encouraged in my career or activities. They wanted me to be a wife and mother and not much else. Then, in the next life, they wanted me to be one of many goddesses married to the same god, so that we could have our own planet, by a star called Kolob.
You see, a little secret that Mormons continually deny is that they DO practice and believe in polygamy. The highest order of law they have takes place in their temples, where they routinely practice polygamist marriages. A Mormon woman who is divorced or has her spouse die is not allowed to marry another spouse in their eternal marriage ceremony. They may marry for time only, but not eternity, which is a big distinction for Mormons. However, if a man finds himself in the same situation, he can remarry as many times as he wants and all of those women will be "sealed" (married) to him for eternity, according to Mormon beliefs. Additionally, I sat through many of these temple ordinances where I was sealed (married) by proxy for my polygamist ancestors who had not made it to the temple. I personally had my male ancestors sealed to many (17 in one case) wives. This is why they do genealogy. Don't be fooled. It's all to do proxy ordinances for the dead. They believe polygamy will continue in heaven and only gave it up because they were finally cornered enough to say they would. It went on for years afterward though in Utah, as I could prove through my ancestors' journal accounts. You can also research this and all of the above yourself and find that I am speaking the truth, not dogma. You won't find many of these journal accounts though because the Mormon church leaders asked all members to turn them over to the church. They then attempt to re-write history according to their liking. Many of us exmormons were members of their church long enough ago that we know differently.
I'm just here to set the record straight. I have no hate, but I don't like to see lies spread. The Mormons are NOT what these commercials make them seem.
I just finished watching twelve of the new "I'm a Mormon" commercials showing in various cities across the country. The only thing I can say is, "This is certainly not the church I grew up in."
Wasn't it just a few years ago that we were all instructed to use the full name of the church? We weren't "mormons." We were actually scolded by the authorities if the word, "mormon" slipped from our mouths.
Now, I don't mean to dismiss or demean the lives of the 12 remarkable people the church selected for these clips, but they don't exemplify anything near the kind of lives we were taught to prepare for when I was growing up in the church. In fact, I believe that, even now, they are not what is presented as the ideal.
They are probably like a couple of people who lived in my ward when I was young. They sang in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and never came to church on Sunday morning because they were singing in the choir. They couldn't accept a church job because they had to attend rehearsal during the week. They were different. They were more celebrities than real mormons. Everybody else had to do the grunt work of being a mormon-attending every meeting, doing the home teaching and visiting teaching, being the bishops and stake presidents, moving people, cleaning their yards and washing windows, building the chapels, etc. I would never have known these folks were in the ward except that we lived on the same street as they did, and their kids attended.
I have nothing against these celebrities. I DO have something against the mormon church "using" them, and making them seem like mainstream mormons.
One clip showed a girl walking around in her spaghetti strapped outfit. Girls aren't allowed to wear anything like that to camp.
Only one family had four children; most of the others had two or fewer. The church hasn't changed the teaching that a couple shouldn't limit the size of their family.
There were lots of working women in these clips. Except in the case of Jane, the famous national news journalist, turned mother, lauded in church reports for abandoning her career for her family, most working women in these clips weren't even considering quitting their jobs. If women in the church are encouraged to work outside the home, it's been only recently, when I haven't been there to hear it.
All the people in these commercials were thin and fit and mentally healthy. So different from what you see in a normal ward. And, ha! I think they represented nearly every race and culture in the twelve clips. Again, so different.
I guess what I'm saying is that I wouldn't mind a church similar to what these commercials show. But, that's not the church I grew up in. Watching these commercials, I feel betrayed---similar as to how I felt when the blacks all of a sudden became worthy to hold the priesthood. (I never felt it was right---I was only a kid then---but I wrapped my mind around the prohibition and tried to explain it to my friends as best I could.) When the proclamation came, I felt like a fool (which I had been!).
Now, mormons are trying to appear to be just like every other religion. In my day, it was taught that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints " stood apart"-that they were a "chosen people"-that people could tell just by observing their countenance that members were special. Now "mormons" are trying to show that they are just as normal as everyone else in the world. Who can possibly keep up with these PR people the mormons hire? The script changes from week to week.
Oh, and by the way, where were that cyclist's garments as he biked to work? I don't think they were on his body.
In an unofficial campaign not connected to the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mormons have made a slew of ads depicting themselves as regular people who just happen to be attractive and interesting enough for television. (The online clips are extended versions of the shorter TV spots.) It seems random, but it really isn't. Being run out of town is a constant in Mormon history, and South Park's 2003 hatchet job of the Mormon church still resonates with people my age. So, it makes sense that they'd want to reassure their fellow Americans that they aren't racist, homophobic polygamists. Some suspect this whole thing is advance work for Mitt Romney's inevitable 2012 presidential campaign, as well as penance for supporting Florida's campaign against gay marriage. But it could just be a long-overdue call for tolerance.
The mormon church I knew did not encourage women to work. My mother was not at all encouraged with her career. She was very successful and those old farts should have been happy for all of the extra tithing dollars.
Nealster just stated the following in another thread, "It's ironic that tscc isn't promoting women going to work, as tithing revenue would be increased." He has a good point. Why don't they encourage women to work? If their finances are in that bad of shape, I'm surprised they have not received revelation about this. Or have they just not YET?
If you think about the image they are trying to sell in their new commercials, that image involves a lot of successful women with careers. Many of them are also mothers. I resent this because not only did they not encourage my mom in her career, but they did not encourage me in mine. Thank goodness my parents saw things differently than the cult. They actually used to threaten me to "not dare even think about getting married until I had a PhD". But the cult did not like that kind of talk. Now I look like a liar to my nevermo friends after I tell them stories of the cult's ERA fighting days, which ended what--a month ago? Luckily, my reputation and the cult's reputation both preceedeth us, so I think my friends still know who the bastards are.
But now all of a sudden the cult wants to act like they encourage women to work? Why is this? We can just dismiss it as nothing more than one more random, annoying lie or we can further examine this lie to find out what their motive might be, much the same as a person has to do when dealing with a Sociopath.
For me personally, when I do this, I can't help but wonder if they will have to load up their space shuttle for a little trip to Kolob to have a chat with their Elohim soon. I predict that they will announce that it is good for women to work. If they don't come right out and declare this as a revelation, then at the very least, you might start to hear the language in their publications, GC addresses and overall tone chill out a bit when it comes to working women.
They know they know they are losing a lot of members and tithes. They also are looked at as dated and too conservative. This small change could help both problems significantly. They might still be racists and they might still be bigots, but maybe they will try to work on their misogynistic image a little bit--for once. Not that they will change anything but appearances and income. . .I guess, in a way, I wouldn't mind this change, for the sake of my TBM nieces. The part of me that enjoys watching them shoot themselves in the foot, one toe at a time, wouldn't enjoy it. But that's the selfish, bratty side of me.
I Know How The Church Can Clear Up The Confusion Over Their Deceptive Ads Tuesday, Aug 24, 2010, at 07:52 AM Original Author(s): Jonny The Smoke Topic:MORMON CHURCH PR-Link To MC Article-
The poeple in the new ads should be called "Normons" because they are just normal people who just happen to be mormon. However, most normal people don't need what the church offers, so they won't convert many potential "Normons" with these ads, as we have already seen by the public opinion of them.
The church needs another set of ads to depict the vast majority of actual mormons...the kind of "mormon" they really want in their organization.....
Ad #1 - A soldier in the military taking about how his underwear can stop bullets and napalm.
Ad #2 - A barefoot and over stressed housewife with 8 kids in diapers taking about how important it is to not work outside the home and home school the kids, because you can't trust what is in textbooks and on the internet....even if your hubby is unemployed.
Ad #3 - A gas station owner taking about how he cast a demon out of a family member using his preisthood power, and how he knew it was a demon by the color of his hair and his refusal to shake hands when asked to.
Ad #4 - A pimple faced teenage kid talking about how he will be one of the slain missionaries that rise from the dead in the streets of Jerusalem just before Jesus returns to earth.
Ad #5 - A smelly, wrinkly old man talking about how he can't wait to have hundreds of young hot wives assigned to him to have sex with for eternity in the Celestial Kingdom because he never married in this life.
Ad #6 - A man that looks like Bruce R. McKonkie explaining that the Catholic church REALLY IS the church of the devil.
Ad #7 - An African-American man talking about how even though he was less valient in the pre-earth life (which made him black), he still made the right choice so he could get a body, even a black body, and come to earth and join the church.
I say its time for the church to separate the wheat from the chaff and these types of ads will bring in the converts the church really wants!
This PR Campaign Is Disingenuous At Best, And Just Plain Gross, At Worst Thursday, Aug 26, 2010, at 08:56 AM Original Author(s): Holly Welker Topic:MORMON CHURCH PR-Link To MC Article-
So the new ads, challenging the effects of correlation, are overdue. However, they're not perfect. First, while profiles might feature hipsters with trendy clothes, the opinions and beliefs in a profile must be completely orthodox and thoroughly respectful, or it will be rejected by the site.
Second, as ECS of Feminist Mormon Housewives notes, there's a bait and switch going on in the profiles of women: most featured profiles showcase "women with small children who choose to work outside the home in demanding careers," which is not the ideal Mormon women are told to aspire to -- instead, they're encouraged to be stay-at-home-moms whenever possible. ECS concludes that if the church doesn't address the discord between what it tells its own members Mormon families should be like, and what it tells the rest of the world Mormon families are like, then "this PR campaign is disingenuous at best, and just plain gross, at worst."
Finally, the ads simply won't fix a primary problem they're designed to address: the church's dreadful image.
People think badly of the Mormon church not because they don't like its members, but because they don't like its policies, practices and teachings. Demonstrating to the world that individual Mormons are interesting, thoughtful, likable people won't compensate for the corporate church's vendetta against the queer community, its assault on women's rights, its history of racism, its polygamous past (or the fact that polygamy remains a central tenet of Mormon doctrine, even today), its odd doctrines (such as the belief that God is a resurrected man who lives near the planet Kolob) and its most arrogant practices (such as baptizing everyone's ancestors into the Mormon faith after they die, and trying to convert everyone else while they're still alive). In that list, there's something to offend just about everyone who isn't already Mormon -- and even many Mormons are outraged and hurt by the church's aggressive opposition to civil rights.
DH and I watched the ABC report on the new “I’m a Mormon” ad campaign with a few comments from John Dehlin. At one point an LDS PR rep says cheerfully, “It’s a big tent!” We couldn’t stop laughing.
1. Is it really a big (inclusive) tent? They expanded the tent a little in 1978 but they shouldn’t get credit for being belatedly as decent as the unwashed gentiles who showed them the way by giving blacks equal rights contrary to the teachings of ETB and other church leaders.
2. How is that relevant? So they’ve got a big, drab tent full of people who think god cares if your shoulders show or if you wear flip flops to worship him. A big tent full of grown men and women still sucking down correlated “milk” who are fearful of truth (the not useful kind), homosexuality, feminists, and intellectuals. Narrow is the way and strait is the gate and big is the tent.
I love Josh M’s commercial: I’m a Mormon AND a skateboarder! Wow, big tent indeed: eternal polygamy, lame underwear, Masonic rituals, major time and money demands, pharisaical and strict dress and behavior code, intrusive interviews regarding sexuality starting at the age of 12… with a skateboard option.*
*Do not skateboard on the Sabbath or on Monday nights (unless it is for FHE) or when you should be working on your calling, attending other meetings, cleaning the church, home/visiting teaching, praying or reading your scriptures. Do not use naughty words when you turf it. Don’t hang out with skateboarders who say naughty words. Don’t spend money you should give to the church on skateboarding.
Spokesperson Scott Trotter Inflated Number Of Missionaries In Sendai Mission Tuesday, Mar 15, 2011, at 07:05 AM Original Author(s): Villager Topic:MORMON CHURCH PR-Link To MC Article-
This morning I ran across a column from the Trib called “Life in Mormon ads not consistent with reality.” The comments on the piece seem to split between agreeing with the writer and saying that she clearly has not gotten out of Utah or gotten to know her fellow church members very well.
The thing, I think, is that both camps are right. Not only are church members typically a little more diverse outside of the Book of Mormon belt, but I personally know a hugely varied range of people who are LDS church members. Not only do they have many different takes on their own religion, but their hobbies, careers, looks, race and everything else run the gamut.
I also think the sort of people I attract as friends are semi-atypical of Mormons. While the people within the church may have individual lives, the capital-C Church has worked very hard for the last 40 years to create uniformity. The Mormons may have started out as a rag-tag bunch of trailblazers, but the implementation of correlation created personal conformity in addition to doctrinal conformity. From the top down a very conservative personal dress and lifestyle is encouraged. Many members feel pressure from leaders and doctrine to look and act a certain way, and (particularly in my area) any deviation from that is met with judgment from friends, neighbors and fellow congregants. Watch an R-rated movie? Expect a few whispers. Grow a beard? Better hope you don’t get called into the bishopric. Feel like you, as a woman, should work outside the home? God give you strength to deal with people telling you how you are hurting your family.* So members stay in line to stay in good standing with the church and because it is culturally reinforced.
I think this video kind of says it all. The church is trying to attract ever more diverse populations with a uniform, conservative message. But most church members I know deviate from that norm, at least somewhat. (Hell, my best friend is planning on getting dreads this summer!) So where is the truth on this issue? Does the new ad campaign reflect the reality of LDS membership, even if it doesn’t reflect the reality of correlation? Do I just know unusual Mormons? Or is the whole issue just shades of gray? Thoughts?
*Many of these are becoming more accepted and recent talks from church leadership have softened pronouncements on such issues as birth control, working moms and other divisive issues, but there are still a lot of traditional expectations for members.
I wanted to report in about my experience in church today. The bishop called a rather impromptu 2nd hour meeting, and asked that all over age 14 attend, rather than go to their regular sunday school classes.
Here are my notes:
The focus of the meeting was about mormon.org profiles. Our stake (and who knows how many others) had a training yesterday with Elder Wright about the "new intiative." Basically, we're all to "sign up" and have our profiles in to mormon.org by 9/15. There was no mention about monetary assessments. We will have another ward meeting on 9/18.
The bishop did a PowerPoint presentation to outline the content of yesterday's training. Basically, the church has a "perception problem"! A study (or studies) done in 2009 and involving focus groups showed that others perceive mormons as weird, secretive (28%), cultish (39%), sexist (20%), controlling (38%), conservative (38%), pushy (9%), anti-gay (24%), and family-oriented (44%), among other things. The studies also showed that if people were introduced to individual mormons and got to know them, their negative perceptions softened.
Two PR firms have been hired, and the church is rolling out a "Missionary Media Initiative" starting in October. It'll start out in 8 areas -- San Antonio/Austin, TX; Indianapolis/Ft. Wayne, IN; Omaha, Lincoln-Hastings, NB; Seattle-Tacoma, WA; Spokane, WA; Denver, CO; Atlanta, GA, and Phoenix, AZ.
The initiative, to run from October through mid-March, will involve 30-second TV ads and signage on billboards, buses, etc. In the Phoenix area alone, they're planning to use 30 billboards! The other focus of the initiative is, of course, social media--FaceBook, YouTube, and Twitter.
Originally the focus of the mormon.org profiles was to be those 18+, but as of yesterday that's been changed to 14+.
When you go to mormon.org to enter/finish your profile (up to 2500 words), "screeners" will go over it to make sure that you don't put in personally-identifiable information like last name, geographic area, kids' names, etc. [Several members of my ward said during the comment period that they'd had technical difficulties, and couldn't figure out how to satisfy the screeners' requests and have their profiles accepted.] People can search for profiles by inputting first name, ethnicity, location, etc.
We can go to www.boncom.com/mormon to learn more.
Our ward is going to order cards for members to distribute, and it was suggested that we could write down our facebook page or mormon.org url on them if we wanted.
One friend, who is one of the church's Arizona spokespersons, said that to her the real desire of the program is to show that our positive behaviors are related to our desire to follow Jesus Christ. For example, lots of folks think mormons are "nice," and the church would like to tie that to living a belief system.
This looks more like the game plan of a corporation, not a church. What other "church" out there needs to hire 2 PR Firms to fix public image and relations problems? If there's a perception problem, it's because of past experiences people have had with both the LDS church as an organization, and church members, not FALSE perceptions. Building a fancy profile website to appear "normal" and spending millions on ad campaigns and public relation firms isn't going to fix that. Fessing up and apologizing for past discrimination abuses and outright changing doctrine in a public announcement would do more and quicker.
Here's my take on if their answers were TRUE or FALSE (including evasion, lies, dissembly)
They answered 12/21 Truthfully. GRADE F
Q01 - Why do some call the Church a cult?
True answer from their perspective.
Q02 - Does the Mormon Church believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God?
True answer to the question asked.
Q03 - Does the Church believe in the divinity of Jesus?
FALSE, they didn't really answer the question. They just repeated the answer for Q02.
Q04 - Does the Church believe that God is a physical being?
Q05 - If so, does the Church believe that God lives on a planet named Kolob?
FALSE, they just talked about Kolob and did not answer the question.
Q06 - Where is the planet Kolob? What significance does the planet have to Mormons?
FALSE, First part false 2nd part True. they didn't answer where Kolob is. But they did the second part.
Q07 - Does the Mormon Church believe that God and Mary had physical sex to conceive Jesus?
FALSE, They didn't answer what the question that was asked.
Q08 - Does the Mormon Church believe Jesus appeared in North America after his crucifixion and resurrection?
Q09 - If so, when did this happen? And under what circumstances?
Q10 - Does the Mormon Church believe its followers can become "gods and goddesses" after death?
FALSE some dissembly performed here.
Q11 - Does the Mormon Church believe that women can only gain access to heaven with a special pass or codewords?
FALSE, signs, tokens, secret names, handshakes, etc.
Q12 - Does the Mormon Church believe that women must serve men on both Earth and in heaven?
FALSE, "hearken unto her husband"
Q13 - Is there such a thing as Mormon "underwear"? if so, are all Mormons required to wear it? What does it symbolize?
TRUE, They sort of avoided the symbolize question but I'll give it a pass. TRUE
Q14 - Does the Mormon Church believe in the existence of another physical planet or planets, where Mormons will "rule" after their death and ascension?
Q15 - What specifically does the Mormon Church say about African-Americans and Native Americans?
TRUE, today at least but there was no time component in the question so yes, TRUE
Q16 - What are or were the "Golden Plates"?
TRUE (If you believe it)
Q17 - Are consumption of alcohol and tobacco prohibited or simply discouraged?
TRUE, they didn't really answer the dichotomy but still a true answer.
Q18 - Does the Church also ban the consumption of "hot drinks"? And does that apply specifically to caffeinated drinks?
Q19 - Why do Mormons go from door to door?
TRUE, that was a softball!
Q20 - What do the Mormons believe about the family?
Q21 - Can someone who may never marry in life have eternal marriage?
FALSE, they didn't answer the question that was asked. They injected those that have the "opportunity"
Why do they evade the living indigenous people? Now they are just "those people" from sometime in the past?
Q: Does the Mormon Church believe Jesus appeared in North America after his crucifixion and resurrection?
A: The appearance of Jesus in the Western Hemisphere shortly after his resurrection is described in the Book of Mormon. Mormons believe that when Christ told his disciples in the Bible He had other 'sheep' who should receive his message he was referring to those people in the Western Hemisphere.
I would like to see a news media question:
Q. Does the Mormon church believe American Indian in the United States are a "remnant of the house of Israel"? Is the Book of Mormon a true history about their ancient ancestors?
I am not sure I belonged to the same church.
Just one glaring example:
Q: Does the Mormon Church believe that women can only gain access to heaven with a special pass or codewords?
Maybe they are just objecting to the phrase "special pass or codewords."
Here is another one that seems to contradict my understanding of mormon doctrine. Yeah, I agree, it is a peripheral concept, but it is my recollection the goal is to one day rule your own planet as a god.
Q: Does the Mormon Church believe in the existence of another physical planet or planets, where Mormons will "rule" after their death and ascension?
Michael R. Otterson, managing director of public affairs for the LDS Church, said "Define us by who we are and by our central beliefs rather than who we are not or by obscure or irrelevant beliefs"
What I want to know is: Where are the Lamanites in the United States? The Book of Mormon Preface is not the introduction written by McConkie. It is allegedly translated from the gold plates.
"Written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile"
"Which is to show unto the remnant of the House of Israel [the Lamanites] what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever–And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that JESUS is the CHRIST, the ETERNAL GOD, manifesting himself unto all nations"
Why are the Lamanites no longer mentioned in temple dedicatory prayers, conference talks, etc.? Are the words in the Book of Mormon preface just "obscure or irrelevant beliefs"? Come on Michael R. Otterson, please tell us why DNA had nothing to do with making a belief irrelevant. Please tell us why the LDS wish to make the Lamanites obscure.