What’s Wrong With Mormonism?

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-agaDonny-Marie-Postersin-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 fromjoseph-smith 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.

Utah.

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 toGod’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.

And how much of “Mormonism” or as they would say it, “The Gospel,” is really just provincial, HaafevaCleanCutMormonMissionariesUtah culture being hard-sold for adoption around the world as the only way to salvation? For example:

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 gladys knight 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.”

Mormon-Temple 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.

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About lrwhitney

American Saint but not Utah product.
This entry was posted in 1 What's Wrong With Mormonism and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to What’s Wrong With Mormonism?

  1. Justin says:

    This post is amazing. It took me longer than I was anticipating to read it, but it was worth it. I followed your link from ldsanarchy — really liked what you’ve written.

  2. This is a great post and I really enjoyed it apart from my ADD kicking in after about 5000 words.

    I look forward to reading more of your posts over time.

    “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.”

    I would say that what is really wrong is thinking we are better than others spiritually when all we do is claim celestial worthiness by simply “following the brethern”.

    • lrwhitney says:

      This last comment on reflection is very dear to my whole point. Joseph Smith had a vision of his brother Alvin in the Celestial Kingdom when he hadn’t obviously been baptized in the new church or had any chance to accept the Restored Gospel. This says a lot to those Latter-day Saints who think they can, like the Calvinists or other “Christians” say with total authority that those who are not already in the Church are not “Elect,” or that those who are not “Elect” are going to burn in hell. Mormons are going to have to live with the fact that they may indeed make all their bishops and stake presidents completely happy with their LDS performance, and some guy who turned down the missionaries decades ago, because they thought they were just a couple of poorly trained pitchmen, may die and still go to the Celestial Kingdom. And likewise, those who think they’ve got their calling and election made sure according to their quorum statistics, may just be cleaning toilets in the cosmos becase our Father in Heaven figures that’s about the level they’re most capable of understanding in the universal scheme of things.

  3. Jared T. says:

    Irwhitney, your blog belies you as a profoundly uninformed (historically as well as theologically) and self important person. Just thought you should know.

    • lrwhitney says:

      Please illuminate me. I see also that you only read one small portion of my monumental greatness, perhaps you should read the latest post, How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria, before you get too deeply committed to my error. You’re about 15 chapters short of hearing me out to date, and I believe my references are more than adequate to establish the general historical accuracy of any claims I might make. If not, I await your correction, and appreciate your further commentary. As it is, there is no direction or substance to your criticism. Please respond in a specific manner. Thanks.

  4. With havin so much content do you ever run into any
    problems of plagorism or copyright violation? My blog has a lot of unique content I’ve either written myself or outsourced but it looks like a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my authorization. Do you know any techniques to help reduce content from being stolen? I’d definitely appreciate it.

    • lrwhitney says:

      Like the backyard fence or the pub or beer hall or market square, what you blab on the internet is going to get quoted and paraphrased and hopefully indexed and credited and referred-to randomly and spontaneously without any hope of limiting, licensing or controlling any of it. If you’re intending later to package your wisdom into some sort of novel or web-book, best not upload any of it till it’s a complete product. Then list the copyright notice on everything. And then when people steal it, you’re still screwed because the cost of prosecuting a statutory intellectual property theft is only effective if Glenn Beck or MSNBC or the New York Times or some other big pocket outfit is obviously swiping your stuff verbatim. Otherwise, count on everyone stealing a good idea. If your mission is to get those good ideas out into the public, well, stop worrying about who’s stealing them and slinging them about. It would be courtesy of course to just include the link to the original article when you’re pirating, and eliminate any claim of wrongdoing up-front. But you can’t stop people from picking up all your clever prose and internalizing it so that it becomes a part of their own thought processes and phrasing–that would sort of be the point of what I do in any case. I actually encourage that.

  5. Shane says:

    I would disagree with your comment “If you still believe the church is true, that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God, etc.… But still you’re ticked off about a thing or two and wouldn’t mind venting, then: This is the Place.”

    I have a testimony of the church and am a card carrying Mormon. I am the first to poke fun of myself and can be a fairly self-depreciative – frequently. At the same time I don’t hold church leaders out to be infallible but realize they are imperfect, and frankly didn’t want (in most cases) or ask for their job/calling in the church but are really just trying their best to do what they feel is right and good. I do have to say though that the straw man you seem to hold out, and then so easily tear down, is just too good to be true for those who enjoy attacking the LDS church and who belittle its members, and the image is by no means the reality.

    I do believe that many of the anecdotes you provide exist among members of the church – yes there are highly offensive members, yes there are those that blindly believe and that should do more of their own independent research, yes some give too much value in having a certain type of haircut, certain clothes and the important white shirt, yes some like money and image too much…. Yes, there are “Nazi-mormons”, BUT you paint us all with way, and I mean waaay to wide of a brush. In fact, you seem to be trying to paint a detailed 8.5 x 11 painting with a 12 inch roller – with one colour. Not sure if you are exclusively surrounded by the “Utah mormons” you discuss, (I agree there seems to be a Utah style, although not as pervasively as you portray), but the fact that there is a lot of variety and divergence in culture, style, lifestyles, socio-economic status/position and life views among members around the world that seems to get lost on your blog.

    I’ll give you some examples on this page of what I’m talking about, then I’ll get back to work…

    “The concept that they have, or their church has anything to learn from you people isn’t even in their minds.” – not true of most members I know.

    “I know linking “Mormon” and “intellectual” in the same sentence means you’re inviting a lecture from your bishop concerning the dangers of “philosophizing.”” – not sure I have seen this first hand in my life although I’m sure it may happen. I think we value “philosophizing” and thinking about the deep meaning of life, and other issues, with religious implications or not. Note Elder Holland’s comments: “In this Church there is an enormous amount of room—and scriptural commandment—for studying and learning, for comparing and considering, for discussion and awaiting further revelation. We all learn “line upon line, precept upon precept,” 3 with the goal being authentic religious faith informing genuine Christlike living. In this there is no place for coercion or manipulation, no place for intimidation or hypocrisy.” (April 2003 GC)

    “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.” – again leaders are not infallible.

    “Mormons think they’re great Americans. Even the German and French and Italian ones. Even the Russian ones.” – I’m a Canadian, and although generally believe it’s better to strictly adhere to principles rather than to a sense of patriotism for a particular country, I still love my country and fill privileged to live here and don’t have any desires to move to or hold allegiance to the USA. I see the hand of God in the founding of the USA, and the constitution, etc, and I appreciate what the US has given the rest of the world in many ways, but I also think the US (and no offence) of late has been taking a major turn for the worse and in my personal view is circling the porcelain…

    “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.” – totally not true. Maybe some, but again, you’re trying to paint the 8.5 x 11 painting with a roller…

    Lastly I note, and I hope I’m not too offensive here or being hypocritical, that your site seems a little too Americanesque, that is, a la Laura Schlessinger, Bill Maher, John Stewart, Rush Limbaugh, etc. It’s the “you suck”, “their dumb”, “their idiots”, “you’re a moron” way of talking about a subject. I’m not a big fan of that style, especially when it’s tied to something I really do value – my religion. Hence, although I think I get where you’re coming from, and I think you’re actually a talented writer and communicator, I probably won’t return to your site.

    Cheers.

    • lrwhitney says:

      Thanks for the insight. You seem to have made some rather snap judgments. I consider the site to be essentially a work of opposition research. You can’t promote your religion if you can’t see its problems, and one of those is Utah Mormon culture. A big one. And those on the inside never see that as a problem.

      For example, you say I’m entirely US-centered, and oddly enough you missed the fact that my site is about American Religion and the Mormon experience in it. So the answer there is: Bang-on. Got it in one.

      Also note that the LDS church is indeed, the product of American culture and religion. It is headquartered still within the bowels of the US Great Basin. I’m not likely to base any general observations of Mormon culture upon what’s happening in Moosejaw or Halifax. They don’t write the manuals there, and the missionary program is run out of Provo and Salt Lake City, not Selkirk and Winnipeg.

      A couple of questions however: You say you’re from Canada, it’s a big country and frankly, if you mean BC it’s not the same Canada as Toronto, or PEI, or say, Vancouver is not the same Canada even as Kamloops or Nanaimo. Likewise, Mormonism fostered and bred in those various areas would not take upon itself a universal social or cultural character, they would be very regional, even micro-cultures, and none of them would take upon themselves the particular social or enthnic characteristics I’m very clearly ascribing to Utah Mormons. Contrary to your suggestion I make a very clear distinction between Utah Hillbilly Mormon culture and the LDS canonical organization, doctrine, and overall “Gospel” message. The brush you note is very broad indeed because it easily and accurately slaps down a coat of blatant problems with the “official” LDS recruitment and expansion message over some 150-160 years now. You have apparently only read my introduction, which by design outlines in a broad way the phenomenon or phenomena to be dealt with later. Unfortunately, you elect to bail out and not read the actual main body of my work, which in fairness takes far more gutting swipes at “orthodox” Christianity and Mormon persecutors than anything you may have read thus far.

      Now, I submit however, if you can’t concede that Utah Mormonism’s exile to “the Valley” isn’t pervasive in the LDS church’s official message to the world, and certainly as represented by the Mormon corporate gypsies and full-time missionaries it sends out from “Zion,” it’s because you have not spent sufficient time in either the Salt Lake or Utah Valleys, and particularly did not come from the “Mission Field” to attend BYU and encounter the sort of culture shock rather a large number of even the most faithful Mormon youth do. You likewise have never been on joint-teaching with Utah-born missionaries sitting down in front of recent Liberian immigrants to the upper midwest of the USA, and watch them fall all over themselves in a cultural stupor. You have not had any extended conversations with these selfsame elders, trained specifically to deliver the official message, when encountering actual Christians who actually know Christian history and “traditional” or “orthodox” doctrine, and seen them sputter ignorantly when first encountering such topics as Trinitarianism, or Luther’s concept of the “Universal Priesthood.” Or for that matter, fall back to the King James Version when an investigator is already quoting far better translations that totally support LDS contentions out of the NIV or other translations. But your greater point is true, I’ve been there, I’ve done that, Even in Provo I found others less uptight, more intellectual and creative than the average Mormon. We’re not all alike, but this does nothing to negate any claims I make about the overall effect of the culture and Utah-based message. You say you don’t see it, but then that’s you. And that’s my point. Mormons never see it. Those who do see it, either leave or don’t become Mormons in the first place. That’s self-selection. In a substantial way, you’ve proven my thesis and failed the first test by being put off by an introduction designed to weed out the casual dabblers in truth, and totally put off the mindless zealot.

      It’s not imcumbent upon the investigator to magically and insightfully ignore the massive assault of Mormon media, culture and popular images, and try to dig down into, through, inside, and grope all around to find some personally justifying sense of comfort in that sea of irrelevant fluff. That’s our job, I’ve made it my job, but in reality, and more importantly, it’s the Church leadership’s job to turn this endangered, paranoid little Intermountain cult into a major world religion. As you note, current leadership has even come to accept this challenge openly, but it’s only one of many hurdles to overcome from a closed and xenophobic history of hiding and persecution. I’ve been in the church for some 55 years, and I assure you, this new, more accepting world view is a very recent phenomenon, and I only wish it had something to do with folks like me at least posing the hard questions and making the nakedly honest inquiries.

      Too bad you won’t come back, having read one fraction of probably a million words that had you read, had you been as interested in your religion and learning about it as you suggest, would have prompted you to write quite a different response. And that my friend, is the problem with Mormons. They already have the answers. You slogged through the introduction to begrudgingly admit you essentially agree the Church needs to deal with a few things. I credit you with that much. But you haven’t the patience or interest to move a single page forward to examine the whole picture. You’re not even curious enough to think, well, he had a point there, let’s see what else he has to say, and what he has to say it about. I presume you think I’m going to piss and moan about the Osmonds for two million words.

      No, it’s more like 7-8,000.

      In any case, and I mean this in a loving and caring way, you confess I’m talking mostly sense, but deliberately cut short of actually reading anything substantive beyond a requisitely broad introduction to my thought processes and mission. Therefore, you knowingly choose to make all future judgements about your treasured religion in ignorance. Yes, you say I have a point, but you don’t like my attitude. In fact, you don’t like me saying it even, you’re uncomfortable reading it, (and that much shows) even if you concede I’m on the right track. It’s almost as if by reading more you would be afraid of agreeing with me any more than you’ve already had to submit to.

      You bring up Limbaugh, Beck, and so forth for instance. Oddly enough those guys are at this very moment, practically writng the curriculum for High Priest groups all over the US, and exporting it worldwide. Beck singlehandedly resurrected Klingon Skousen as an apolcalyptic Mormon conspiracy-nut icon just when the John Burch generation had died out into obscurity. So far, present LDS leadership have turned their backs on both Skousen and his Epiphanic minion Glen Beck, officially disclaimed and de-published Mormon Doctrine, and learned a great lesson about how allowing personal political or gospel hobbies to weedle some measure of approval, even if unofficial, from the First Presidency, can poison four generations of Mormonism with demented doctrinal rubbish and spawn unending cult-followings that will forever keep attaching themselves to the Kingdom of God and the Lord’s actual work here. I have whole chapters on that, but you can’t be bothered to read that far I suppose. And that’s your choice, but I think you’d find we agree on rather a lot more that you are prepared to admit if you read in sequence from start to finish. You’d probably love what I have to say about Protestantism in the US.

      It’s an online novel basically. Didn’t plan it that way, just the way it came out. And as you mention it, it’s very much designed to prepare the LDS idiot to deal with characters like Bill Mahr in or out of the public sphere, and emerge confident and looking cool and collected. It’s opposition research. Dig it.

      Now concerning the notion that Mormons only see non-Mormons as potential converts, this is simply the fundamental basis of all the church’s programs and is in all the manuals. This is precisely the topic of every Ward council or Ward Missionary meeting. Names are demanded from every single member of the ward or of each member or officer of the various councils and organizations, upon whom to sic the missionaries. Actual lessons are taught out of actual manuals about annoying and annoying every single co-worker and neighbor in this regard, with the express intent of getting a foot in the door, or getting them over to your own house, to hear a lesson and get the pitch to join up. When that wave passes, the next month or quarter, or year, the same program is regurgitated and the same members are cajoled to cough up yet the same names of the same neighbors and co-workers. This is only one concrete and universal example of the phenomenon. I don’t know how old your are, what your calling is, but it amazes me that you can not have sat through these efforts over and over and still not get the message that the official point of it all is to guilt and practically browbeat every member into practically browbeating their friends, neighbors, relatives, and co-workers into accepting a “meeting,” and this goes on nonstop, constantly, without relenting until the day either they or their friends, relatives, neighbors and co-workers die.

      So let’s be blunt here: the ultimate mission in essentially all official LDS pastoral programs, whether reactivation or investigation and conversion, however well-meant, in practice and almost universally, is not merely to do your best to interest these prospective investigators or inactive members in coming home or checking us out at least once to see what we’re all about. (Uh, we have to call them “less active,” even if we haven’t seen them in ten years.) These various sorts of pastoral meetings almost invariably demand a fixed number of names from each member to be submitted. Usually 5 names, written down, with contact info. When a fixed number is demanded it does not take into account that all your friends, relatives, neighbors, and co-workers may have been through this “committment” process a dozen times in as many years or more, and frankly wish you would just piss off and leave them alone. Many may have said it in those very terms. And yet, under this repeated official pressure, every time they are demanded, the names are coughed up again and again. Because that is the whole point of most of the LDS programs and culture. You can’t have missed that. And I could make the same observations about the other major LDS pastoral program, Home Teaching. (Visiting Teaching is far less organized and missioned toward browbeating and harranging people who are clearly not interested any more.)

      While some very recent improvements in the LDS pastoral mission attitude and approach have been made, the belief that though a thousand may be irritated all to hell and become enemies and detractors of the LDS church forever, the hope that one or two in the bunch selected to be thus pestered who are “chosen” or “ready” and accept the “challenge” to be baptized, make the loss of the rest worth it. Well, yes and no–baptism should never be a “challenge,” you should never dare people to join the church. And of say a thousand who accept this “challenge,” perhaps less than a hundred will remain active, while 900 will join the 10,000 you pissed off getting to these “chosen ones,” adding to the ranks of the permanently disgruntled Mormon detractors forever. And this, not often for any doctrinal reasons or major dislike of Mormons in general. But for the same reason that, when your friend takes up with Shaklee or Amway, they cease to be your friend, and become “that damned Amway salesman.”

      But then, I’m not writing for you. You’re already happy with your church as is and that’s fine. You got yours. Let the world join up and conform or find a happy place in it somehow, or shut up and go away. You may not mean that, and I’m sure you don’t. But perception is reality, and however politely you put it, that’s how you come off when taking that tact–not to me, because I’m not writing for me either. I’ve found my spot in the church. But there’s a whole world out there of people who aren’t even from as culturally a compatible place as Canada who come into it with an entirely new and truly foreign perspective. People who don’t even celebrate “Pioneer Day,” and wouldn’t know what to do on it if they did. People who don’t even know who Glen Beck or Rush Limbaugh is, and I don’t want my church educating them along those lines as a matter of course any more than I want my church educating the world’s masses about the brilliance of Donny and Marie as a principle element of their LDS mastery.

      The 21st Century Mormon has yet to evolve. That’s who I’m writing for. Whatever they are and whatever that church eventually looks like when the New Morman Man arrives is my target demographic.

      Don’t be afraid to either read more or comment. I appreciate your input. It inspires me to think.

  6. Shane says:

    Hi again,
    Was curious to see if there was a response to my comment.

    A few additional comments. First, Donny and Marie are not part of my generation so I have never seen their “brilliance” as a principle of LDS mastery. Not sure I can say I have seen their “brilliance” in any other regard either, although I’m sure they are professionally good at what they do based on their success.

    Second, Limbaugh & Beck are not writing “the curriculum for High Priest groups all over the US, and exporting it worldwide”. Not a follower of either of them, and I like my priesthood lessons, which I believe are actually Christ centred with some good discussion. Maybe I live in a bubble, and/or maybe you do too, so that might explain why I don’t feel compelled to set the church right, and maybe why you do. I don’t know.

    Third, I disagree with your comment “In a substantial way, you’ve proven my thesis and failed the first test by being put off by an introduction designed to weed out the casual dabblers in truth, and totally put off the mindless zealot.” Ouch – If I understand this statement, you’re telling me that your first article “What’s wrong with Mormonism” is meant to be a litmus test to determine whether you are, on the one hand, either a casual dabbler in truth or a mindless zealot, or on the other hand…what, an intellectual giant and fighter of truth and freedom? Come on, you really believe that?

    Fourth, you say “Unfortunately, you elect to bail out and not read the actual main body of my work, which in fairness takes far more gutting swipes at “orthodox” Christianity and Mormon persecutors than anything you may have read thus far.” – I did read/scan a number of your other articles before my initial comment, and I still find the articles’ overall style, if not offensive, at least negative to the point where I wasn’t sure where you were coming from. At first I thought you were anti-mormon (“Religion for Mormons and other idiots”, numerous references to “magic undies” have that classic anti-M ring to them….) and I don’t generally find anti-mormon reading exercises either insightful, worthwhile or positive in anyway, although I try to at least understand where people are coming from. Sure you trash other religions too, but I’m not really into that either, so because I don’t dig your style, I’m either a mindless zealot or a casual dabbler in truth?

    Fifth, it’s comments like “it’s the Church leadership’s job to turn this endangered, paranoid little Intermountain cult into a major world religion” that I don’t dig. Really? Do you think the church is a paranoid little Intermountain cult? If so, then why would I be interested in reading on? If not, then why would you use that sort of language and why would I consider reading on?

    Sixth, you say “In any case, and I mean this in a loving and caring way, you confess I’m talking mostly sense, but deliberately cut short of actually reading anything substantive beyond a requisitely broad introduction to my thought processes and mission. Therefore, you knowingly choose to make all future judgements about your treasured religion in ignorance. Yes, you say I have a point, but you don’t like my attitude. In fact, you don’t like me saying it even, you’re uncomfortable reading it, (and that much shows) even if you concede I’m on the right track. It’s almost as if by reading more you would be afraid of agreeing with me any more than you’ve already had to submit to.” – Not really. See my comment above. I read some of your other work but just not interested in the “magic-undie”, mormon idiot, etc. style of discussion.

    I don’t mean to sound holier-than-thou, but you have to be selective when consuming media, as you know there is an endless supply of it in a day and age when time limitations are very real. So if I have spare time outside of my current responsibilities I feel obliged to make it productive, or uplifting. So if I have extra time I’ll try reading the scriptures, general conference talks or some other good books (currently into “1776”). I cancelled my subscription to the Economist a few years back because I felt it was too negative and I wasn’t really getting any value out of it, so I guess you’re in somewhat good company. (how many times do you have to read about political corruption, economic melt-down in some other part of the world or some other ridiculous happening in the Middle East – I read The Haj and I think I got a lifetime dose of that kind of hopelessness)

    Anyway, if you feel compelled to change the church’s culture (or at least the Utah Mormon culture), or the way it rolls out various programs globally, I just think there must be a more positive way to accomplish that task. Could you be making a mountain out of a mole hill? Is the whole Utah culture problem going to bring down the church, or have THAT negative of an effect on both the church or non-members?

    I remember a story of a mission president at a zone conference, who wheeled in a giant delicious looking cake, and when he went to serve one elder, he grabbed a bunch of cake with his hands and then threw it on the missionary’s lap. He then cleaned up, and then proceeded to dish out a piece of cake the way it would be done in a fancy restaurant, white gloves, proper utensils, etc. His point was that sometimes the way we deliver the message will determine how it is received. Same great cake in each instance, however completely different reactions to the subject matter because of the way it was delivered. I believe this may be part of your beef with the church – why do they have to dish it a la Mormon Utah style? Likewise, this is part of my issue with your general message – it could be delivered in a substantially different way, minus the grunge and Bill Maher mormons-are-idiots style. I would still have a problem with trash-talking programs like Home Teaching (which I think is an inspired program) or calling garments “magic-undies”, however I believe there is room for intelligent discussions about the difference between “the Church” and “the Gospel”, and how some cultural church components (a la Utah style) are not essential (and are in fact dangerously distracting, similar to how in Jesus’ time Jewish culture/tradition/religion had in some instances burned out the meaning of the law (punished for accidentally letting an egg cook on the sabbath, etc.))

    That should be enough rambling for a while – I’m sorry. I don’t want to offend or insult so hopefully I haven’t done so with my comments.

    Peace.

  7. Aisha says:

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