This week’s reading included this charming analogy:
So imagine that you get to know one of your co-workers and eventually find out that she was raised LDS, but left the church because she moved to a new ward with an epically terrible organist, which resulted in a major faith crisis for her, because how could a church possibly be true if it had an organist that bad?
It is no exaggeration to say that expectations and assumptions can matter more than facts. None of us would leave the church over a bad organist because we were not raised with the expectation that a decent organist was a requirement of the true church. But a lot of Mormons were raised under other assumptions which are now causing a world of hurt.
As usual, this question is posed backwards. So many people who choose to stick with religion want to pose the question as, “Are things like the Book of Abraham or cover-ups of multiple first vision accounts issues that are really worth leaving the church over?” A more reasonable question is: “Given that my reason for participating in the church was that I thought it was teaching me things that are real and important about my life and the universe, and given that, in fact, that’s not true at all — why should I stay?” A lot of people discover that they still have reasons they want to stay, despite the issues and despite problems with it being “true” in the sense of conforming with reality. But a lot don’t. Period, end of story.
Of course, I think this week’s best self-serving analogy misrepresenting someone else’s religious journey has got to be this gem:
Julie: This is getting ridiculous. â€œLiberalâ€ and â€œconservativeâ€ have nothing to do with it. If veganism doesnâ€™t mean abstaining from animal products, then it doesnâ€™t mean much at all. Veganism is veganism.
Ross: Spoken like a true conservative vegan.
Julie: All right Ross, but I really hope you donâ€™t succeed in starting a movement for us to give up our stance on dairy and eggs. Like I said, a lot of us really care about veganism. Thereâ€™s really nowhere else for us to go.
Ross: Maybe thatâ€™s for the best. There shouldnâ€™t be a comfortable place for judgmentalism and close-mindedness.
Sorry to belabor, but, yes, that’s comparing liberal Mormons who want to be considered Mormon with “liberal vegans” who want to be considered vegan while eating eggs and dairy. Can you spot the flaws in that logic?
Now that the FAIR Mormon conference is over, the responses to Daniel C. Peterson’s talk on the CES Letter are in! Also, there was a big leak of old versions of the Church Handbook of Instruction — I’m looking forward to all the interesting info trickling out over the next few months.
Anti-polygamy statutes in Utah took another beating, which Christopher Bigelow and the International Business Times saw as bad for the CoJCoL-dS. Weirdly, Bigelow claimed that this might lead to legal challenges requiring LDS temples to perform polygamous marriages (when multiple spouses are simultaneously alive) without mentioning the key point that conformance to the law is explicitly mentioned in the LDS scriptures as the reason for discontinuing the practice of polygamy. On the other hand, the IBT nailed one key point that I’ve never seen a general-audience piece point out before:
â€œBut such a statement is likely to sustain the ongoing confusion about Mormon polygamy,â€ Mason told IBTimes. â€œWhat keeps alive the confusion over polygamy in Utah and as a Mormon practice is, largely, the LDS churchâ€™s efforts to represent itself as the only Mormonism.â€
Right. The CoJCoL-dS keeps repeating that they are the Mormons, and they don’t (currently) practice polygamy, yet the papers report stuff about some Mormons practicing polygamy. Result? Random bystanders are confused, and the members of the CoJCoL-dS are frustrated that people won’t just accept the idea that “Mormons don’t practice polygamy.” If they’d just stop it with the misleading message, and not complain when people point out that there are multiple sects of Mormonism, some of which currently practice polygamy, the confusion would disappear.
In church life, we have a response to that odd porn-addiction video released by the CoJCoL-dS, a horrible portrait of conditional love, a funny experience with the spirit of discernment, missionaries who are in it for the hot-lovin’ reward, and real problems from belief in prophets.
There were tons of fun stories from random life this past week! Personally, I finally wrote about the fun I had volunteering at Camp Quest Switzerland! Uomo Nuovo is continuing a beautiful voyage in France, and Brandon Pearce and family enjoyed a gorgeous time in England. So Says Me is starting equine assisted psychotherapy. And it’s time for back to school!
There you have it — another fantastic week in Mormonism!! See you next week!