Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Anger, Symantics, and Criticism of Religion (specifically Mormonism)

Anger. Good? Bad? Maybe I feel guilty about being angry only because I was told that "angry apostates" are bad and one should never converse with them. Alternatively or additionally, maybe it's because society tells us that religious belief is not to be questioned or insulted.  It is "sacred" and therefore above reproach. (Uhhh, it isn't sacred to me.  It's sick.)  To criticize someones religion is to personally insult them. Criticizing a religion is somehow a bigoted, hateful, prejudicial, discriminatory, and "persecuting" exercise.  It can't be a simple form of healthy skepticism, trusting ones intellect, relying on reason and logic, or trusting ones own conscience when it differs from scripture or the word of a self-declared string of "prophets". I mean, it's one thing to question religion personally and privately, but one simply cannot be permitted to share their discoveries or interpretations with others in hopes of helping a friend or family member, or curious and searching stranger, to see the light. So, a blog critical of ones former religion is labeled as "anti-Mormon" when in fact it is merely an examination of how significant time spent in the LDS Church has affected or still affects us after leaving said church. It isn't "anti-Mormon" it is just ex- or former-Mormon in nature.  At worst, most of the blogs I have read are anti-LDS church, anti-LDS policies, anti-unhealthy LDS social behaviors, or anti-LDS gospel and "revelation." I have rarely seen a blog directly critical of Mormons as a group or individual Mormons (other than those anointed uber-leaders who are clearly representatives of the church).

Am I angry?  Hell yeah! But, I am sick of feeling guilty about it and being labeled as anti-Mormon or an angry apostate. I am merely a critical, disapproving "apostate" who happens to be quite angry about some things.  I have plenty of really good reasons to be angry at the LDS Church.  But, the LDS Church isn't just its people.  It is an organization, an entity, a business.  Can one be bigoted and hateful for being critical, not of a group of people or individuals within that group, but of an organization or business and its mandates, methods and policies? Are you a bigot because you criticize a Church for being bigoted and repressive?

I hate Walmart.  I hate shopping there because it is not a pleasant place to shop and I prefer its best competition (Target) for its greater cleanliness and stock of better items.  Even when Target is more expensive, I still prefer to pay a bit more in order to have a shopping experience that doesn't creep me out.  But mostly, I hate the Walmart business model.  I hate that they don't treat their employees well or support their right to unionize. I don't want to give a company with a disgraceful business model my money so that it can stay in business. Does that make me bigoted, hateful, prejudicial, or spiteful?  I don't think so.

I don't hate Mormons. (Other than a few I went to high school with, but that wasn't because they were Mormon, it was because they were bitchy or assholey and I would have hated them if they were atheists as well). I don't disregard Mormon opinions, beliefs or values.  I don't oppose the right of Mormons to be heard in the market of ideas. Everyone has equal right to explain their point of view. I just hate Mormonism as a way of life and system of shared beliefs and values that I find reprehensible.  I hate the LDS church as an entity and business because it is discriminatory and preaches hate from the pulpit and spends members tithes (or interest on accounts that contain those funds) to build multi-billion dollar malls and resorts without asking the members to vote on it.  I hate it because although it is part of one of its Articles of Faith and a temple recommend question, the LDS Church is not "honest in its dealings with its fellow man" and instead behaves poorly and then does its best to cover it up, then deny it, then attempt to put a positive spin on it.

I guess I am angry and former-Mormon (which I think is more honest and fair than labeling those who leave as "apostates" in order to impart the negative connotations of the word and stir up caution and fear). But I don't think these are logical reasons to discount my point-of-view or refuse to even hear or acknowledge it. 

Side note: Can anyone think of another group better than Mormons at playing the martyr?


  1. I've decided that I'm fine with being anti-Mormon and anti-religion in general. Free my anger to actually discuss WHY I'm anti rather than self-censer to protect the sensitive hearts of the willfully ignorant.

    That sounds harsh but no harsher that the shit some Apostles say in conference.

    Hypocrisy abounds and I'm not innocent. But at least I KNOW when I'm being a hypocrite.

  2. Amen! I've also been angry with those believers who want so badly to have an "authority" tell them what to think that they will willfully disregard and even run away from the truth. Therefore, they choose the organization and their delusional perception of reality over relationships with "apostates," whether they are family or whomever.

    I will always have some anger and disgust for LDS Inc. because of its policies of deception and hypocrisy. As much as I blame the evil and deceptive organization for brainwashing them, I still blame the individuals for making the choices. But I'm not so angry with the individuals anymore. Some people prefer to be sheep than decent human beings. Life is too short to spend anymore time banging my head against a brick wall.

  3. To answer your question: Israel is perhaps the only other group that does more to play the martyr despite the fact they're clearly turning into what they claim to hate (the Nazis).

    I'm still a member of the church but fully believe in asking questions, deciding on things for myself, and coming to know the Savior on a personal level without being told every week that I'm not good enough. This is especially because I recently realized that the gospel and the church are NOT the same thing (though many Mormons will try to dispute that) and the church "leaders" are imperfect and just as infallible as you and me.

  4. Here here! Well said, you angry apostate, you! I hate the labels and illogical reasoning members slap us with after we leave. It bugged me sooooo much at first. Now i let it roll off. The only "BIG" point of anger for me regarding that church is their take on homosexuality. Wanna see an angry apostate? Tell me homosexuality is a "choice" or that that church has a "program" that can help homosexuals live a "normal" life (by going against their nature and forcing themselves to do things that are repulsive and feel abnormal). Fuck me! I could spit nails just thinking about it.

    Dave P., good for you for thinking for yourself; your numbers are growing. If you don't mind my asking, since this was a HUGE issue for me: how does the proof that the Book of Abraham is really The Book of Breathings affect you as a member? If you don't mind sharing your thoughts on that, i would love to hear them.

  5. Great blog. I mean being religious is a choice right? Kinda sounds like LDS attitudes towards another group of people I can think of.

  6. Becky, I had never thought of religion being a choice before. Odd since I CHOSE to resign from mine. You make an excellent point! Thanks!

  7. Being religious is a choice, no doubt. But unfortunately, many (most) members of the LDS church have forgotten that. They try to force their beliefs on the world and hound those who try to leave the hive. They shun those who do have the courage to leave. There's a big difference between that and having an OPINION of religion. "Mormons" SAY everyone has agency (freedom to make their own choices), but they don't treat people as if they have agency. Being a member of that church turned me off to the idea of religion altogether. I felt constantly watched and controlled (because i was). And having left, I'm still being watched and they are still attempting to control me (mostly with fear, which doesn't work).

    I'm afraid the day Brigham Young referred to in the following quote has arrived:

    ‎"If there ever comes a day when the Saints interfere with the rights of others to live as they see fit, you can know with assurance that the Church is no longer led by a Prophet, but a mere man." - Brigham Young

  8. I have never heard that Brigham Young quote. That is great. I will use that constantly. Thanks!

  9. "If there ever comes a day when the Saints interfere with the rights of others to live as they see fit, you can know with assurance that the Church is no longer led by a Prophet, but a mere man."

    I'm having one of those, "I can't believe it's real" moments.

  10. I see there is some dispute as to whether the quote is legitimate. Perhaps you might want to check this out. I wonder who is right, here? Any idea?

  11. Shoot. Maybe I just wanted it to be true so badly that I convinced myself it was. Ironic, I think.

  12. Hmmm, interesting. How about the 11th Article of Faith, then, just for fun?

    We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

    It would such a different church if they actually followed this AofF!

  13. Hi Amy, I'd like to invite you to attend the religious transition group where a group of us former mormons gather to have these types of discussions. Anger is an important topic and perhaps a necessary by product of deconstructing our mormon lense and identity. I once wrote a paper where I identified anger as a step in the process of finding an identity outside of the one given to us by our parents.

    Anyhow, we meet on December 5th for the last time this year at 12:30 pm at the South Valley Unitarian Universalist Society on 6800 s highland drive area (next to the KFC). You have a keen mind and interesting story and it would be enjoyable to share it with others.

    cheers, Derek

  14. Thank you for the kind words and invite Derek. I would love to attend a religious transition group. But, that address is in somewhere in Utah, no? I am living quite far from there. I wonder if there is something similar in my area.