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Somehow, I understand anti-mormon and anti-theist thought

January 27, 2009

I know there are a lot of people who say things like, “Those exmormons — they leave the church but they can’t leave it alone!” and they’ll make a bunch of remarks about why that might be so. Perhaps it’s because these exmormons know the truthful nature of the church and just can’t handle it! So in their new-found sin it boils over and they try to resist, but they can never leave it alone.

…Or maybe it’s that people tend not to be able to leave things that have been central to most of their lives alone. Maybe? Nah, couldn’t be.

I have been usually able to agree with LDS members concerning one kind of exmormon — those who spend time distinctly trying to destroy the church, criticize it and its members. The anti-mormons. I guess that even if some might suggest that I’m the same, I’d at least like to put a happy face on it.

Really, I’d like to suggest that if people are happy, they should stick with it. I really don’t have any prerogative with trying to tear everything they believe down. But if we come into conflict on some critical matter, all bets are off.

So, I thought that anti-Mormons should cool it. Even if you disagree with the church, or don’t believe in the church, there’s no need for ranting. Especially since this is wholly ineffective — yelling has this tendency of making your side the unsympathetic one. The LDS church, if anything, is great at taking advantage of a persecution complex.

Sometimes, people will say my position is biased one way or another. Some will say that I should be anti if I don’t believe, or if I believe that the church isn’t true, and that it is my moral duty to prevent people from joining/get people out. These people may suggest that the only reason I don’t is because I’m still sympathetic to the church, a “spy” for it, or whatever. And the other side will suggest that I’m lukewarm…that I should be full out against or just be a good little member and be quiet.

Getting to my topic…someone at By Common Consent was writing about Scientology in Germany.

If I fear any human organization in this world, I think that the Church of Scientology places highly on the list. I mean, people talk about the government being in a conspiracy and the Illuminati or whatever, but I don’t really fear those. I kinda tune out whenever people talk about that…but for some reason, scientology is something that I try to stay far from. I honestly wonder if somehow I’m going to be put on a list of “suppressive people” and harassed off the internet or out of life.

Perhaps I’m overreacting. Or perhaps I can see this organization for how dangerous it actually appears to be because I have never been a member and so am not biased toward it, but whatever the case, whenever I read about it, its provenance, its actions, tactics and strategy, I am genuinely afraid.

So, coming back to this By Common Consent article. I don’t know about this john f and what he really means or what he stands for, but the fact that he appears to be defending scientology (or at the very least, opposing Germany in its attempts to keep the CoS under control), that is scary. The fact that he accepts the CoS as a genuine religion and is willing to use religious freedom as a valid defense is scary. The fact that he hints, even in the slightest way, that Scientology is no more, or in fact, much less readily dangerous and subversive than “the religion that arose from the Protestant Reformation” that did so much damage to Germany in the Thirty Years’ War is scary.

All of a sudden, I know what Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris and all the new atheists and vocal atheists and anti-theists and anti-Mormons mean. When they say that religion should not and cannot be allowed to hide from scrutiny because of its religious status, this is the kind of stuff they are talking about. If Scientology were not seen by anyone as a religion (or if we did not afford religion such a privileged position in the first place), then we wouldn’t have people claiming its dear religious freedom was being violated as it is investigated and monitored by national governments for serious stuff.

John F. talks about the fact that he doesn’t like that this could be a slippery slope applied to Mormonism and any other minority religion. Here, I have a bit more sympathy, but I can see two roads here. I know that politics of limitation come to bite you in the butt, so I can’t say, “Restrict, restrict, restrict!”

But Mormonism certainly shouldn’t have anything to hide even if it is under government. The US government of the past went after polygamy because it (among other things) was kinda suspicious. That stuff should be under scrutiny, regardless of our personal belief of sacredness.

Now I understand that for the ex-mormons who become anti, that’s the way they feel too. It’s not just a church that they disagree with: to them, it’s dangerous and subversive.

Don’t worry though, guys; I’m not going to go all anti on you.

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12 Comments
  1. Was First Century Christianity subversive and a “cult”?

    http://MormonsAreChristian.blogspot.com

  2. Look women in Germany are already denied custody of their kids in separation battles because they happen to be Mormon. I’ve read about what’s going on in Germany and other Western European nations vis a vis Mormonism and it’s frankly scary. Government social workers and psychologists over there actually consider Mormonism a sign of mental unfitness. Not sufficient proof of mental unfitness mind (thank goodness for that at least) but it is evidence.

    • Maybe it is

  3. Seth, can I get the links on happenings like that? I think that would be interesting to read (I admit I do love a good horror story occasionally).

  4. If I fear any human organization in this world, I think that the Church of Scientology places highly on the list.

    Not me. There are plenty of organizations that are at least as nutty but far more heavily armed. It’s the criminally insane people with the guns and bombs that I bother to fear.

    I didn’t respond to that BCC post, but I noticed it too — if only because it points out the danger of discriminating against a minority when you’re a minority. I’ve pointed this out to Mormons many times, but somehow they’re more likely to listen to the guys at BCC…

  5. ^good point chanson; I guess even I have been numbed to realistic and true danger. Guns and bombs don’t seem to affect me so much these days.

  6. Well… guns are cool. Just ask Sylvester Stallone.

    Bang! Bang!

    Boom!

    I’ve heard the stories about Western Europe before, but the most recent source I can think of is Armand Mauss’ recent article in the Winter 2008 issue of Dialogue. He analyzes barriers to entry in the Mormon Church in Western Europe. Interesting article and disturbing about Europe in several ways.

    Atheists always talk about Europe as some sort of secular paradise, but I think it comes with some real costs.

  7. I’ll have to check that one out then; Mauss is usually a good read.

  8. Just found your site. Enjoying it.

    I’m one of those guys that left and can’t leave it alone.

    Part of it is that I found out the truth and feel no need to shut up about it. The other part is that my wife, kids and much of my extended family are still members.

    My stance is that if you live in a home where you have to pass by a picture of the mormon jesus everyday as you leave the house you’re given free range to be as bitter of an apostate as you like!

  9. Thanks for the comments, Simeon.

    I guess I’ve never had the experience of not believing while still living with serious TBMs. I mean, my family are still members, but 1) my dad has weird beliefs that are syncretic with the church’s, 2) my mom is a classic case of someone who hasn’t gone to church in forever because of an offense made at church, 3) my closest brother is kinda meh on church and 4) I’m pretty sure my other brother and sister have been to church less than 20 times in their lives (it’s actually getting kinda sad since they don’t know basic Bible stuff…I kinda feel bad since you actually need that to just survive culturally in the Bible Belt here).

    And instead of having a picture of the Mormon Jesus every day, we have a picture of the Seoul Korea Temple and black Jesus side by side. Take THAT, visiting members!

    hmm…come to think of it, I guess that’s why I’m not so bitter at all…the next time I’m at my house for break, I’ll have to take a picture of the uncanny neighbors: the Temple and black Jesus.

  10. Diriye Barre permalink

    Answer to Andrew.

    I am an African. and I was been ashamed of your comment. you are talking about morality. and at sametime
    you are critizing the state of marriage. you forget. that you
    yourself is product of marriage between women and man.
    not between two men or wome or even pet and person or
    car or its owner. do not forget that there is right and wrong. And shame and honor.
    I can understand your rejection to Republican. but, do not
    forget that Abraham Lincon was Republic he was one who
    libarate your race. and let me teach you this: that Mormons
    suffered persecution the sametime black people was
    suffering slavery. and there was number black people who
    immigrated with Mormon when they fled to Utah.
    Please learn before you decide.

  11. Diriye:

    I don’t really get your comment, but here goes nothing:

    Allowing for gay marriage doesn’t change straight marriage, so it doesn’t change the fact that straight marriages will still bear children.

    Heck, straight *non-marriages* will still produce children, if we don’t have proper education, contraceptives, etc.,

    So, when straight marriage or non-marriages have these children…and then they decide they don’t want them, there are only a few options. I take it you would NOT enjoy the abortion option, so let’s take that off the table. But where do these children go from there? They can go languish through the foster care system. They can go from home to home, or stay stuck in an orphanage.

    Or!

    Loving gay couples who are committed to each other and who would *like* to marry and who would *like* to adopt can take in these children. We can eliminate the need for orphanages and shelters and match children with couples who are willing and able to raise children.

    Let’s talk about right and wrong. Let’s talk about shame and honor. It is shameful that two committed people, male and male, female and female, whatever, cannot marry and adopt children who otherwise would waste in an abysmal orphanage or shelter. It is shameful that the system is so poor. This is shamefulness.

    Let’s talk about the Republican party, since perhaps you need a history lesson. Let’s go back to the “bases” of the parties in general back in Abraham Lincoln’s day. If you recall, back in those days the Republican party was the party of the “North” and the Democrat party was the party of the “South.” If you will recall today’s Republican party and Democrat party, you will see that the alliances have basically reversed…the Republican party maintains its greatest strongholds in the South and the Democrats are comfortable in the Northeast.

    Suffice it to say, the history is a bit more complicated than that, but the party alliances — and what they stand for — has changed dramatically in the past 140~ years.

    So now, let’s talk about the history of Mormons and blacks…both groups have faced monumental persecution, I agree. But this is why I say it is shameful (to use your word) to see either of these groups now persecuting others. It is shameful for either of these groups not to recognize the legitimate plights of other groups (like, say, homosexuals).

    Think about it.

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