What do Mormons believe? Seems like nobody really knows. I could swear they were once the church of modern-prophets-filling-in-the-Bible-gaps-with-concrete-answers. Then “correlation” came along and stamped out all of those (controversial!) specifics, and replaced them with a short list of vague warm-fuzzies like “faith” and “tithing”. But that hasn’t stopped the folks of Outer Blogness and beyond from tackling a whole bunch of theological and doctrinal issues this past week!
Do certain utterances have quasi-magical properties? God: Is He all-powerful or bound by pre-existing natural laws? Is He Omniscient? My guess is that — in Mormon theology — God is not omnipotent, but the Mormons hate to emphasize the ways that Mormon doctrine differs from other Christians (regardless of whether the typical Christian belief makes sense or not). They get into enough trouble with the Christians over quibbling points like whether Muhammad was a true prophet. Faith: What is it anyway? Is is make believe & hope? Can you just choose what to believe? Does the actual truth matter at all? Of course, the practical-doctrinal questions are about sex: who can have it, who can’t, and what are the consequences (like the challenges of parenting).
To answer these questions and more, let’s consult the sacred texts! You might analyze some of the original versions of the revelations that came to be the Doctrine & Covenants. Then there’s that semi-secret/sacred book we discussed last week, the CHI. Outer Blogness has practically turned into an online Rabinnical school, with all the Talmudic-style texual analysis this book has been subjected to! Here‘s the line-by-line analysis of what it says about masturbation and pornography. Naturally the parts on homosexuality were scrutinized, backwards and forwards. Of course, if poring over the details of actual texts is too boring, you can speculate about promised or rumored sacred texts instead!
But, hey, let’s not just pick on the Mormons. The big Catholic news is that the Pope has OK’d condoms!! (For non-procreative sex such as male prostitutes — no specific word, though, on whether they’re recommended for pedophile priests). And don’t forget the Unitarians, the Humanists, and the Jedis!
In addition to the discussion and debate, there were — as always — fascinating personal stories! Invictus Pilgrim has a whole series on growing up gay and Mormon! Paul has a fascinating tale of the one (Mormon) friend he had while growing up as an outcast in a small town. LittleMissAttitude had a weird week (including mishies and Christmas carols). Tracy M. got a taste of what it’s like to have her life treated as “an object lesson in failure.” And Insana D. tells a real-life tale of “Sandy and Danny from Grease only Danny in this case did not have a sweet bone in his body.”
(Also note some great political discussions: how analysis of countries’ actions in war can get you branded an Islamophobe or Anti-Semite. The CoJCoL-dS and Prop. 8: are they proud of their own actions or ashamed? And don’t miss the new G. W. Bush library!!!)
I’d like to close with the one discussion question that wraps it all up: Are young people leaving the LDS church in droves, and, if so, why? I started to compose a response on that thread a bunch of times, and couldn’t. I thought I knew when I started typing, but trying to put words to paper… It hit me that it defies any one simple explanation. What do you think?