Sunday, December 4, 2011

Shaking off the dust

Well it's been a while since I've posted. Looking around I see that Mormon leaders have not yet announced a press conference to concede that their truth claims really don't seem at all plausible and therefore members should consider their options for how to spend the remainder of their lives. So it seems I still need a place to vent about the strange world I inhabit and all the continual harm this church does to otherwise wonderful people and relationships.

Here's a recent sampling. On someone asks,

Why do mormons not give their children the right to choose religions?

My response:

Why don't you give your children the right to stand at the edge of a cliff? Mormons believe theirs is the one true church, and the only path to making their family "eternal." Nothing matters more to them, nothing else matters at all really if they're true believers. And yet at the same time they really need for these children to feel they own that choice to remain Mormon.

That's why you always see parents announcing that their 8-year-old has "chosen" to be baptized. Those always crack me up, like the kid has just completed a rigorous study of all possible belief systems, narrowed it down to either Mormonism or Jainism, tried each for a while, and Mormonism (the Brighamite version) finally won out.

Delusional? Yes. But within that framework the masked coercion makes perfect sense.
The fear of outside information runs deep in Mormonism. Mormons will read non-Mormon fiction, watch non-Mormon entertainment or whatever, but if a subject touches in any way on matters of faith, then only Mormon sources will do. And since Mormonism's correlated explanation of Jesus' life and mission is so unambiguous and clear, so is their understanding of it. There's no nuance, no curiosity about, say, the various interpretations of the different New Testament authors. No recognition of the contribution of Paul to Jesus' legacy. It all just boils down to how to give your life to the Mormon church from the earliest age until death, and then how to ensure your funeral is used as a conversion tool for others.

This church is a cancer. I want to see it dealt with, and I want to help people who are trying to figure out how to live outside of it. A woman who posted occasionally on ended her life recently, a closet nonbeliever in Boise who lost hope for any kind of happiness or acceptance. There are consequences to maintaining lies about the world we live in, even comforting ones.

Friday, February 25, 2011

What lies beneath

How to dismiss Mormon theology in a philosophical/intellectual way? —AR

What lies beneath every Mormon "testimony" is something called Moroni's promise: the idea that if you pray to know if Mormonism's truth claims are real, you will feel a positive reassurance in your heart that they are. Nevermind the fact that lots of people don't immediately feel any such thing, and kids raised Mormon actually work actively to gain this testimony (somehow without ever entertaining the possibility that the promise therefore failed).

So yeah, even ignoring the "heads I win, tails you lose" approach Mormons take to Moroni's promise, the real philosophical problem is the promise itself. WHO SAYS that a good feeling about the book means it's true? Well, the book itself says so. You'd think this would cause Mormons to doubt the source of these "divine" confirmations in their heads, but it never does. The whole basis of Mormons' faith is a simple confidence trick.