What’s wrong with Mormonism—why that?
It had a catchy ring to it. It’s short and attracts attention. Many of you on both sides of this issue however, are going to be seriously disappointed in my little musings.
There are plenty of anti-Mormon fanatics out there eager to blather about granny’s magic underwear and show you just where Mormons fit into the New World Order, right there along with the Illuminati, the World Jewish Banking Conspiracy, the Insiders, the CFR, and Skull and Boners. Hundreds of professional born-again-again apostate Latter-day Saints roam the anti-Mormon revival circuit, enthusiastically trying to prove it’s all about blood oaths, death squads and temple orgies. At the very least they insist that Mormons aren’t really Christians in an “orthodox” sense, and therefore are still burning in hell even if they do accept Jesus Christ as their savior—and even if the whole Mormon population is as warm and good hearted as they all seem to be on the surface.
In “orthodox” Christian tradition a good heart and pure intent doesn’t count for anything at all. If you don’t run into a Bible and have that “come to Jesus” moment, you’re burning in hell. And of course, it has to be exactly the right Jesus, and the right Bible, no more and no less.
In “orthodox” Christianity, most of the billions of humans who have ever lived now, then or tomorrow, are burning in hell. That’s the whole point of their religion. To them, Mormonism’s “unorthodoxy” doesn’t even have to be particularly indicting for its proponents to be worthy of hell—just slightly off that particular “One True Faith” of the “orthodox” Christian pundit or authority you’re dealing with at any given moment. “Orthodox” Christianity concludes that even the aborted fetus is a natural son of Satan and doomed to be eternally whipped around the Lake of Fire by his little umbilical cord as punishment for just existing.
Now, nobody’s going to admit to actually believing the unborn are inherently evil little bastards and are Satan’s rightful children to claim. It’s not a big selling point nowadays. Not in this day and age, though in the past it was very plainly preached. But the fact is, that’s where “orthodox” Christian theology and two-thousand years of hard-fought Christian dogma inevitably leads if you really believe in it at all. You can’t maintain a serious argument based upon “orthodox” Christian, career-clergy-driven requirements for “salvation,” that also excuses the unborn from the fundamental, orthodox demand that all human kind must first undergo a conversion from a literal child of the devil (via the Church) into an adopted child of Jesus Christ, in order to join Him in the “House of God.”
If Christianity contends that whole continents full of humanity were “preordained” to not be “elect” and have no escape from their rightful inheritance in the House of Hell simply because of an unfortunate, happenstance time and location of birth, you can’t logically, rationally, have the same “Christians” turn around and blow up abortion clinics to save the “innocent unborn.” In “orthodox” Christianity, there are no innocents–born or unborn–who haven’t confessed Christ. End of theology. It’s billed as an absolute truth. Absolute is absolute—however weird and sick and demented the outcome of its application seems to be. We can only have a limited, pathetic human understanding of it. It’s a “mystery.” But in God’s wisdom it is entirely just and fair. Really. Trust us on that, the “orthodox” Christian clergy can only half-heartedly urge, hoping you’re placated long enough to forget about it.
Lest some of you think I’m making this up or exaggerating for effect, let me say this once again: In virtually every sect, schism, denomination and offshoot of all the mainstream, “historical” Christian orders, it is literally taught that by virtue of Adam and Eve’s rebellion in the Garden of Eden, our First Parents became the bonded spiritual and physical children of Satan. Their flesh became unholy. The act of procreation became vile and ungodly. All of their offspring were thereafter born the physical and spiritual children of Satan. All the descendents of Adam and Eve were conceived in sin and born corrupt souls into corrupt bodies and are incapable of good in this, their natural state. A kindly Father in Heaven, a loving and forgiving Jesus Christ, a peaceful Holy Spirit, are none of them the creator of the “innocent unborn,” but the True Lord of all Flesh, the Master of all the Earth, Lucifer, Satan is our natural born creator. He is our Father in Hell, our spiritual and physical master at conception.
The sweetest and most innocent appearing of little children is inherently evil, condemned to hell at conception and incapable of doing good even when doing good. (Or even before being old enough to do anything.) The unsaved, all those anywhere who for any reason have not been formally “born again” by accepting Jesus Christ as their personal savior, can do nothing God can count as good. Even the good they do is done in the name of Satan, their literal and true father. And there are no exceptions, not for age, ignorance, education, culture or intelligence—including the complete lack thereof. There is no escape clause in Christian “orthodoxy” for location of birth or parentage or social conditions or lack of proximity to any hope of any potential to ever come in contact with anyone or anything that might inform and prompt one to become “born again.” The Christian clergy has worked out a two-thousand-year-old system of apologetics for giving the troubled believer various ways of trying to explain it away, but no real, logical, satisfying explanation. This is because it can’t be explained. It is not rational or just. Sunday School children see through it. Calling this scenario “God’s Divine Wisdom” insults a toddler’s intelligence. But it does scare him into being faithful and trains him early on to not bother asking the scores of similar questions he’ll want to ask through his “Christian” career.
Joe Smith, First Visions, golden plates, seer stones, revelations and personal angelic visits aside–if you compare the Mormon doctrine of baptism by proxy for the dead for instance, to a birthright of being condemned to eternal torment simply because your mommy dropped you out of the womb in the upper Amazon in 1554 instead of London or Paris or New York in 1999, the worst you can say against proxy baptism is it’s a very legalistic solution to the problem. Mormonism has its hard questions to answer, but none of Mormon theology sends you to hell just because you never stumbled upon some lucky missionary who just happened to beat his way through the jungle and find your isolated, remote village at exactly the time you just happened to be around to hear his sales pitch for Jesus in a language you hopefully could understand. Even most self-proclaimed Christians would have to generally agree that their clergy’s historical arguments like, “Election,” or “Pre-Destination,” and the “Doctrine of the Heathen Nations,” intended to rationalize why Almighty God surrenders most of humanity to perpetual pain and butchery in the pit of hell, are far wackier and nonsensical than a boat load of “magic underwear” could hope to be.
“Magic underwear” is at worst silly. “Manifest Destiny” is genocidal.
In one anti-Mormon tact, the Christian will maintain that it’s not worth the risk fooling with Mormonism even out of educational curiosity because one slip from Grace and you’ll be burning in hell even if you’re already saved. In the the next tact, the same Christian will teach that once saved you’re saved no matter what, and Jesus forgives every sin you have committed, every sin you are committing, and every sin you will commit. Except apparently Mormonism.
While eager to denounce Mormon doctrinal folly, Christianity still can’t even deal with the ages old “cheap grace” phenomenon. “Hey, I’m saved now! Great! Thanks guys. See you at the Pearly Gates brothers…” then off to a lifetime of casual sinning and a deathbed repentance. On the one hand, one has to admit it’s a sales-clincher to promise a sure trip to hell without the Church, and guarantee salvation no matter what with it. On the other hand, once you’ve got them in the pews under the understanding that they’ve got a sure seat in paradise, most Christian sects have found it necessary to perpetuate the notion of individual or congregational “backsliding” from Grace and burning in hell anyway. (Even if they don’t technically believe in it.) Many sects just add some mandatory rites, some requisite priestly functions, a lot of highly-billed salvational pageantry, and it keeps the flock from getting too cocky and thinking they’ve no further use for organized religion.
Anti-Mormonists of the Christian persuasion gang up on Mormons under what they often tout as a “universal” banner of “orthodoxy.” What is really implied in these often ridiculous unions is that “orthodoxy” means Christian sects and denominations that openly mock each other in their own sanctuaries and Sunday School classes, can for anti-Mormon purposes call each other “true Christian believers”—even though they still harbor radically opposed doctrinal views about something so basic as the fundamental effect and nature of salvation.
On the “cheap Grace” issue for example, “orthodox” Christians resolve this irreconcilable conflict by the one side arguing that the backsliding or evil-doing Christian could not have been truly born-again. Their equally Christian opponents insist that backsliding from Grace is in fact possible and you have to actively work to remain “saved.” The other side counters that backsliders couldn’t possibly have been truly converted, otherwise they would not be capable of sinning because they would literally be changed, born again, as a new, godly creature. And a third side argues that the born-again Christian is still capable of sinning just fine, but you still can’t backslide and sin your way out of salvation–the ultimate difference between being “saved” and “unsaved” is that a Christian will have his sins forgiven.
Now, most of the general public thinks these fanatical anti-Mormon, anti-“cult” “Christians” are even more loony than the Mormons. But the public doesn’t mind having a good poke at Joe Smith for sheer entertainment purposes anyway. The fact remains that “orthodox” Christianity is dangerously illogical and far more convoluted from a theological perspective than Mormonism could ever aspire to be. The “True Christianity” the professional Christian clergy has been shoving down the throats of their constituent congregations for generations, is more often than not, little more than two-thousand years of religious and political oppression, tyranny, torture, genocide and war in the name of Jesus Christ.
The truth is, most so-called “Christians” when push comes to shove, don’t really believe the core principles of the faith they’ve been indoctrinated into. Most don’t even know them. They just memorize what they have to say and do to get through the service. They don’t need to get too personally involved in the whole religion thing. They just do what their clergy tells them to do. That’s what they pay them for.
And yes, there are the professional Christians who are not openly hostile towards Mormons. They may not be holding mock-the-Mormon parties and passing out a collection plate to finance the war to keep the Mormon hoards in check. They might be as critical of rival “Christian” sects and denominations as they are of the Mormons on many doctrinal fronts. But frankly, the Mormon lay-clergy-based organizational scheme still shoots holes in the hired ecclesiastical gun’s contention that you need to pay a priest to deliver a sermon every Sunday. If the Mormons are conceded to be running a growing, world-wide, multi-billion-dollar religious juggernaut primarily with volunteers from the common body of the church, “orthodox” Christianity’s career clergy must confess themselves to be at least on some level, basically parasites making a buck off of a captive flock too afraid to fire them or leave for fear of burning in hell. The Mormon model is an organizational disagreement too vexing to let slide.
So, again, I’m sure you can find yourself an anti-Mormon blog if that’s what you’re looking for. This isn’t it. You can also find yourself a Mormon “intellectual journal” if that’s your thing. This isn’t that. (I know linking “Mormon” and “intellectual” in the same sentence means you’re inviting a lecture from your bishop concerning the dangers of “philosophizing.”) Think of this as unfiltered insight into Mormon culture and religion and society from a very personal perspective–someone who lives in and out of it on a daily basis with relative ease. This isn’t however, comparative social or religious study in any conventional sense.
If anything, this blog will focus on the time-honored tradition of “speaking ill of the Lord’s anointed,” or in other words: relatively minor or implied criticism of LDS church leadership, organization, and in particular casting doubt upon the universal cultural superiority of the Utah pioneer experience. If you don’t like sarcasm leave now. If you’re not willing to laugh at yourself go sit in the Celestial Room of the nearest temple and have then send in pizza and non-caffeinated soda now and then, so you never have to come out and be with the common folk who use common language to talk about common things. Just stay quietly out of my blog and feel holy about yourself.
If you still believe the church is true, that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God, that [insert current church president’s name] is a Prophet of God, that your uncle once got shot in the heart at the deer opener but his garments stopped the bullet, that you once paid your tithing instead of the mortgage and a sack of money fell out of an airplane and landed on your porch the next morning, that you were knifed by a mugger on the way home from church and the guy’s blade impaled itself in the temple recommend you’d just interviewed to get and still had in your vest pocket and it saved your life, that bla bla bla and more faith-boasting and fast and testimony meeting braggadocio soon to be a featured in some LDS publication or the other… But still you’re ticked off about a thing or two and wouldn’t mind venting, then: This is the Place.
That pun was intended, and there are many more to come, along with even longer, more convoluted sentences for you spell-check and grammar NAZIS. Oh yea, verily. You’ll easily make me an offender for more than just a word, but also, spelling, punctuation, typographical errors, dangling participles and grammatical license. Not to mention rudeness, smugness, and general pettiness. Better to be a smart ass than a dumb ass. And yes, I like broken sentences. It’s the wave of the future.
In the Mormon camp naturally, the Mormon church can do no wrong. And any wrong it has done is either a lie invented by persecutors and apostates, or the personal fault of some individual Saint who surrendered to worldly guile and corruption. Not that there ever has been any wrongdoing going on in the Mormon church. But just in case you do find some wrongdoing you simply can’t sidestep, excuse, or debunk, it’s still going to be explained by way of the apostasy of some weak Saint–usually because they lost their “testimony” while reading stuff like this here.
If you value your “testimony” stop reading now. And never take a job with the LDS church. Also, if you like sausage don’t ever go to the meatpacking plant and see how it’s made.
In the Mormon mindset questions aren’t often necessary. Mormons believe they are lead by a prophet of God. They have the gift of personal revelation and all they have to do is ask for the true answer to all the questions—even which kind of laundry soap to use and what multi-level marketing scheme to invest in. They believe the Holy Ghost is a constant companion to prod and poke and prompt and goad and cajole, inspire, rule and regulate every level of Mormon society and that it has done so with perfect clarity not just through this current generation, but throughout the church’s institutional lifetime.
The story of the Mormon rise from one obscure New York farm boy’s personal epiphany to a massive multi-national religious empire as told by the faithful, is the tale of a flawless prophetic giant rising from the common folk to assemble the Kingdom of God on Earth. This inspirational genius lead a humble and obedient body of believers into a new world and founded a great American religion simply to fulfill the demands of deity in total innocence. When Joseph was struck down by a satanically driven mob, the very Mosaic Brigham Young transformed into his fallen predecessor and addressed the crestfallen crowd of believers to prove God’s sanction of his organizational inheritance. Young then led the faithful Saints into the Promised Land. The Holy Land. Zion.
Everything from how wide the streets are in Salt Lake City to where they conveniently found room to put the elevators in the Salt Lake temple is directly inspired by God. Mormons don’t have to think. They have the whole program spelled out for them. Hundreds, thousands of years in advance. Mormons are blessed with an ever-increasing stack of LDS canonical scripture and an equally bulging litany of daily prophetic ramblings that are made essentially canonical simply through an ongoing policy of bold assertion from those “General Authorities” authoring it. The typical Mormon really believes the Lord would take LDS leadership out of its place if any one or all of them ever attempted to lead the faithful astray. I mean they believe any or all errant church leadership would be struck dead immediately by some Supreme act. Mormons know this to be true because LDS leadership has told them so. It’s scripture. It’s in all the current literature so there can be no doubt about it.
The “True Blue Mormon” as they are often called now, actually believe that if they don’t break down in tears of spiritual ecstacy reading General Conference summaries out of the Ensign they’re just not in tune with the Holy Ghost. The True Blue Mormon has been told from the pulpit, often in General Conference by General Authorities, by the Prophet Himself, that they should be able to humble their own basic intelligence to the point that listening to the rhetorical equivalent of a recitation of the Salt Lake telephone directory for three hours can be a fulfilling religious experience. Just get in tune with the Spirit. Even a High Councilman’s talk in sacrament meeting can be enlightening they believe, and if you aren’t getting anything out of it that’s all down to you not listening with the Spirit. They know this to be true because that is what the High Councilman’s talk is usually about. So don’t blame him if you fell asleep or thought it was boring. It’s your fault.
When Mormons expound upon the “Great Apostasy” that they believe followed the death of Christ and his apostles in the ancient Church, they often quote grave scriptural warnings about “even the very elect” being deceived. That’s not their “very elect” mind you. When their own prophets tell them Satan can appear even to the “very elect” as an angel of light, Mormons have an idiotic blind spot that allows them to set aside any suggestion that the Latter-day Saints are in fact the very elect to which these scriptures refer. “The Lord’s Anointed” and “Prophets of God” are by definition the “very elect.” You don’t get any more “elect” than that. You would think that when “God’s Chosen” preach warnings to “God’s Chosen” from “God’s Word,” they’d understand they’re talking to themselves about themselves because God specifically named them in the warning. And when we fairly examine the implication of who the “very elect” of the “very elect,” or the most “chosen” of “God’s Chosen,” would have to be, one can only conclude that those scriptures were not written by the finger of Jehovah and preserved for thousands of years to alert the modern Saints about the possibility of their local church janitor going off the rails.
The notion that Biblical and other Mormon scriptural cautioning from God Almighty clearly directed at His own flock has anything to do with them and theirs is beyond Mormon comprehension. For almost two hundred years at this point, their entire system of church government has been all there is between them and a conspiring, evil world out to get them. Mormonism has evolved in an isolated, naive culture that doesn’t even recognize the fact that they haven’t been the majority population of their own state since the early 1980’s. The vile, sinful world they still pretend they’re immune to has surrounded, infiltrated, and essentially usurped them in their own mountain fortress.
Frankly, Salt Lake City is nothing special in the urban paradise department and hasn’t been for a good hundred and fifty years or so. The Wasatch Front has been a haven for the Saints more or less alright, but it’s also been a magnet for all manner of non-Mormon, anti-Mormon, and “Christian” political, military, and religious jackasses from the early days. Even the Baptists and Methodists who followed them out to “civilize” and “save” them made it a point to be sinful, annoying arseholes, and among other things, rub the drinking, whoring dregs of a federal army in their faces just to show the Mormons how forgiving their Jesus is. But the increased exposure to even normal healthy American lifestyles today, only hardens Mormon resolution to ignore and condemn these “external” influences and go to even more extreme measures to insure Mormon “peculiarity.”
Mormons are incapable of seeing what great friends and neighbors Catholics and Lutherans and Muslims or Jews or whoever can be. They don’t see fine, upstanding citizens and neighbors peacefully, cheerfully going about the business of being Catholics and Protestants and Buddhists and whatnot. They just see potential Mormons. They see the only legitimate relationship they can have with their neighbors of good faith is a lifelong series of schemes to convert them plied over and over till they either take their required dunking or tell them to feck off and leave them alone.
Mormons think they’re great Americans. Even the German and French and Italian ones. Even the Russian ones. But the Mormon flock will never put absolute faith in any man, any government, or any ecclesiastical ruling body, except of course whenever and in whatever the “Brethren” tell them to. “When the Prophet speaks, the debate stops,” they say. But then again, if that were true, the Salt Lake Temple would be built out of sandstone and Mormons would still be waiting for it to turn into granite—which was Brigham Young’s original plan. And I suppose we should be grateful some little Danish stonecutter and an immigrant geologist or two had the guts to straightened him out on just exactly how long that transformation would have taken and what geological conditions would be required to effect it.
Today, nobody would have the wherewithal to come up to “The Prophet” from the working, daily Mormon ranks and tell him his temple is designed like a piece of crap. You couldn’t get near him for one thing. And he’d be surrounded by a hundred glad-handing, back-slapping “professional church architects” who knew better right up until the foundation crumbled.
The concept of Papal Infallibility in respect to the Mormon “Prophet” hasn’t really been dealt with properly within the Mormon church. The Mormon desire to sell their program as a pure and God-directed institution is not served by intimating that their church, like all mortal operations, might still be susceptible to normal human screw-ups. In order to promote their leadership as just all that much more valid and divinely led than anyone else’s, they demand an infallible Prophet.
Let go of that “Infallible Pope” claim and you’re pretty much just like anyone else out there. You aren’t going to come off as quite as special as you’re trying to claim you are. People have to start making sense of your religious claims through normal human modes of reasoning. They’ll have to resolve questions through common principles of faith, scripture study, and pondering.
It’s just so much easier for the faithful to believe that Mormons are different from the rest of the Christian world because Jesus personally comes down to a breakfast club in the Salt Lake Temple every morning, sits down to a TV tray in the Holy of Holies with a stack of hotcakes across from the “Prophet,” and casually gives him his daily marching orders. It’s just so much more convenient to not have to worry about thinking and studying and discerning some overlying, unifying sense of logic and right or wrong in the canon and other teachings of the church like a normal human being first—and then trying for a spiritual confirmation. What a shortcut to Eternal Glory it is when all you have to do is pray and emote your baffled, elated soul into lighting up a “burning bosom” and convince yourself that you’re going to the highest of all the high heavens if you just obey, follow, do what you’re told and not worry, not even think about it any more.
What exactly is a Mormon? Recent national media coverage of yet another “Mormon Polygamist Cult” as usual, found the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints being lumped right in there with long-apostate, excommunicated, and mostly never-were “Mormons” as serial misogynists and child molesters. “They’re all Mormons” corrected one local talk-radio host when his morning crew tried to clarify his application of the term “Mormons” to the zany, funny Amish-hat and bonnet-wearing polygamist characters in the news at that time. He even claimed these crazy “Mormons” were all openly polygamizing just over his back fence when he lived in Salt Lake City and worked as a major TV station personality. But no, they aren’t all “Mormons.” These polygamist cults now so popular on TV aren’t “Mormon” any more than the ELCA convention that recently met locally to authorize openly homosexual pastors are just a bunch of Roman Catholics.
Is the IBM corporate uniform really God’s only acceptable look? Is the “white man’s noose,” the necktie, the outfit Jesus Christ is really coming back in?
If the Glory of God is Intelligence, why then has the LDS church spent going on 200 years hiding out from civilization in a desolate valley, denouncing the combined learning, wisdom, and invention of mankind until now even its own academics in its own universities openly mock intellectualism?
Why design a missionary program through a Madison Avenue advertising agency in which wet-behind-the-ears teenagers stutteringly urge prospective members in affected tones of sincerity, to stop trying to understand things and just pray hard enough that the Spirit overrides any normal curiosity or skepticism—a program targeted at young professional couples with high earning potential, no philosophical or intellectual proclivities, and no significant religious experience? Is it merely that the “target demographic” of the LDS missionary program just happen to be subjects perfect for modeling in your own image and a boost to the coffers? When Mormon scripture demands that a missionary take no thought what to say and instead be led by the spirit, why then has this commandment been ignored and systematically replaced with a memorized shtick that flip-charts and role-plays its way into putting off and turning off anyone with current religious faith and a normal, healthy, intuitive brain in their head?
Why torment the ears of investigators and new converts who might actually appreciate music, with the asinine notion that the mightiest pipe organ in the world must be castrated and half-heartedly noodled with like it was situated in an elevator or a medical waiting room to make it God’s only acceptable musical expression?
Why send a prophet of God out to dedicate the commercial entertainment empire of the Osmond family as if their bland, mop-headed dorkiness was sanctioned by our Lord and Savior Himself? Why assign a personal General Authority to promote, chronicle and market the Osmonds, to present them to the world as if their teen-warblings were officially considered by the LDS church to be virtuous above the lyrical offerings of any other commercial act from any dusty little valley in the world? And why then, having taken Gladys Knight under your wing, a bona fide musical legend and genius, by all counts a major coup, would you then abuse her, or more likely, affront God with the notion that she’s just going to have to dumb-down and sing like all the white folk now because that’s the way Mormon Jesus, Wasatch Whitey Jesus demands it?
But you’re not supposed to ask these sorts of questions when you’re a Mormon. You’re not even supposed to have the wits or insight or intuition, or God forbid, the normal healthy cynicism, to come up with questions like this. Just the fact that these thoughts cross your mind suggests that you’re on your way to apostasy. Then one day you’ll actually disagree with somebody in some minor leadership position in the church and whammo—now you’re contending with the “Lord’s anointed.”
It’s going to be a long time before some twelve-year-old kid wanders out of the woods again and tells the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that they’ve got a few things wrong, and God has paid him a visit to help straighten it out.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is run just like Henry Ford ran his first operation: Any color you want, so long as its black. We’re making Model T’s. We’re selling Model T’s. It’s good enough for most people. We can make them cheap, take a good profit, and everyone can afford it. Mormonism is the MacDonald’s of religions—a million franchises and a Big Mac is a Big Mac anywhere you go. The Lord said: “My house is an house of order,” and the order is up in five minutes or less.
If you don’t want to drive a Model T and you don’t like hamburgers, you’re just out of luck. Adjust.
Don’t get me wrong. Many Mormons and even Mormon authorities might even encourage you to explore your doubts or seek answers to your odd questions that nobody else seems to see a problem with. You’re free to pray and ponder and read all the best books of man and God. Take the “gospel” around the block, kick her tires a bit, see how she holds up, so long as you buy the ride at the end of it. Then you have a “testimony,” which means a cute story you can tell one Sunday a month in front of the whole congregation about how you overcame your adversity and found the “Truth.” You can also throw in an update on your gallbladder surgery.
What’s wrong with Mormonism? They’ve been in that damned valley way too long for one thing. Most of the problems arising from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can be explained by that alone. They’re under the delusion that they live in Zion. The facts, even their own facts if you can get hold of them, suggest they actually got chased out of Zion because they couldn’t play well with others. Utah is not a reward for Mormonism’s Saintly behavior. It’s their punishment. It’s a bivouac. It’s a big time-out room to which they got sent to calm down and get their act together before they could go back out to the large playground we call planet earth and get along with God’s other children.
Because Mormons fail to see what is clearly written in their own history and scriptures, they continue to nation-build their little intermountain utopia long beyond its usefulness. They expand their desert ethos, invent and propagate faith-promoting cultural stories that tie light, truth, and knowledge inextricably to their exclusive little patch of dirt. Instead of spreading the real gospel, instead of converting the world to the Church of Jesus Christ, they exert most of their efforts selling the world on the virtues of their own personal bunker mentality, or as they pitch it, their “pioneer heritage.”
When Mormons bring their church to you they aren’t gaining anything from you. Except maybe a trophy baptism, another dramatic mission story about how great it felt to save you from yourself, and tithing income. They’re doing you a big favor. They’re giving selfless service to others. What the hell could you possibly have to add to that? You’re not even a Mormon! The concept that they have, or their church has anything to learn from you people isn’t even in their minds. They don’t need to learn anything from you or absorb and assimilate anything about your personal genius or culture or personality. They don’t need your stinking traditions, your wisdom of the ages. They’re giving you theirs–and you’ll damned-well like it. Those are the terms. What’s wrong with you? Why wouldn’t you just drop everything and become an adopted Utahan? I mean Mormon. I mean Latter-day Saint. Eh, what’s the difference anyway? What do you have that’s so great? We’re Called to Serve God Almighty dammit—now shut up and learn! I challenge you to baptism! I dare you! You just pray and get the right answer and we’ll flop all the cards over this very minute and go right to the font with you…
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a good hundred years and several generations beyond knowing anything about Christianity. All the early Saints of course, were primarily concerned with making all the same sort of deep and detailed observations and criticisms of historical Christian orthodoxy that I’ve made previously. When they wrote “Church” with a capital “C,” it still meant “The Body of Christ,” and not just their church. Not so today. Mormons think they are Christianity. They have so-called seminaries throughout the state of Utah, across the street from every junior and senior high school where Mormon teens on release time from school spend an hour a day learning about everything but the history of the Christianity. In the “mission field” (anyplace outside the valley) they hold daily early morning seminary training at their meetinghouses for youth before school. And while these eager-to-learn (mostly) bright-eyed youth are told they are learning all about “Church history,” and the “fullness of the restored gospel and the true Church of Jesus Christ,” with a few passing references to the emperor Constantine, a half-hearted back-patting of Martin Luther and a general “hurrah” for the Reformation, it’s all Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, sagebrush, seagulls, and crickets. Many many generations have passed since even most of the Mormon church’s high leadership had or felt it important to have a general knowledge about the Church—the history of Christianity. It’s irrelevant to what they do in Utah, and is openly dismissed as a waste of time even in college-level BYU religion classes. As your BYU professor will point out, you already have the “restored gospel” and a “living Prophet.”
The Mormon church has spent the last two centuries spitting at the world from behind the Wasatch Front. For all their bragging and prophesying and boasting how they’ll preach from every mountain top and convert the world—they only vaguely have any sense that they’re going to have to crawl out from the rocks under which they’ve been hiding these two centuries to do that. Because the world doesn’t look like the bottom of a rock they have no idea how to relate to it. What they’ve decided to do instead is figure out how to sell a really great American western success story to some little guy in Liberia who wouldn’t know Brigham Young from Bill Clinton but wants to be an American in either case. In the past they would have then dragged them back down into the valley with them. Now, when the point of the exercise has been admitted openly to be to not get all their converts to immediately pick up and just emigrate back to Utah with the missionaries who baptized them, the fact is, the Utah church simply doesn’t trust converts in the “mission field” (again, anyplace outside the Wasatch Front) to run the Utah program the Utah way—unless there are a few Mormon corporate gypsies recently graduated from the BYU School of Management around who can be called to leadership positions to insure it.
Most Christian churches struggle with the daily question of whether or not the Church is a hotel for saints, or a hospital for sinners. Mormons have decided that a mere hotel is too dowdy for the Saints and have built and continually expand and glorify an exclusive country club that takes a temple recommend to join and demands 10% of your gross income to maintain just as a base of entry. The purpose of this club is to call out and weed out a world full of equally elite fellows, who in turn call out and weed out more and better candidates, who go on to increase the requirements for membership and narrow the eligibility of potential candidates again and again until only the highest, top-tier of all the most righteous have any place in it.
The question driving LDS recruitment efforts today is not, will this person make a good follower of Jesus Christ–is this a good person? The question driving LDS expansion priorities is, will this person drop everything and become a good Utahan? Will they dress like us? Will they talk like us? Will they learn all our folklore and abandon their own? Will they sing like us? Will they memorize our sacrament talk cliché’s and stop answering back when someone says “good morning brothers and sisters” from the pulpit? Will they promise to not bring foreign musical instruments into sacrament meeting? Are they going to assure us they’ll never wear funny native costumes to church? Will they set aside their two-thousand years of Saints and Prophets and ancestor Martyrs and adopt our two centuries of Mormon anti-Christian, anti-government folk heroes instead? Will they be 100% home teachers? Will they be full tithe payers? Will they keep a current temple recommend? If not, well, then why waste time on them?
What’s wrong with Mormonism?
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can no longer distinguish the difference between bringing the world to Christ, and exporting Utah to the world.