Sunday, October 10, 2010

Some Boyd K. Packer gems on Church history

Emphasis mine.

"There is a temptation for the writer or teacher of Church history to want to tell everything, whether it is worthy or faith promoting or not. Some things that are true are not very useful."

"Some things are to be taught selectively and some things are to be given only to those who are worthy."

On LDS historians: "One who chooses to follow the tenets of his profession, regardless of how they may injure the Church or destroy the faith of those not ready for 'advanced history', is himself in spiritual jeopardy. If that one is a member of the Church, he has broken his covenants and will be held accountable."

I suppose truth might not always be faith-promoting or useful for keeping the members in line and in the dark. But still:

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?