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August 01, 2007

Comments

Mayan Elephant

Eric,

that was amazing. i read this shortly after reading john hamers comments about the 96 theses. i sympathize with john and i get his point. how nice it would be to somehow capture the community feeling we had in the church and remain proud of our mormon heritage.

your post, in many ways, captures the thoughts i had about why the only option is to leave. there is value in mourning what could have been and what was, but i realize that morality forbids me from returning or allowing my kids to participate in any way.

well done.

Lunar Quaker

I sense an undercurrent of sorrow in your post that may not be apparent to those that haven't experienced a loss of faith. It isn't regret. I don't think any of us feel remorseful for the decision that we have made to dissociate ourselves from this organization. In almost all cases, we're satisfied with knowing the truth and living by it. It's just tragic on so many levels. This church betrays its members.

My wife and I will be resigning from this church eventually. Personally I don't know if I feel a moral obligation to do it, but I do agree with your objections to the modern church. If my sense of integrity doesn't give me the impetus that I need to resign, perhaps my sense of outrage will. Time will tell.

mel

Thank you, Equality.

I think that a believer could easily read your list of issues and see no incongruence with the church, so that the question becomes: why do you not see the virtue of the church where others do?

I suspect the answer lies in your unwillingness to ignore or modify certain facts and/or skew your view of the church in order to sustain a presumed virtue. It's as if you don't want the church to be true...at least not enough to subvert (a believer might prefer the word "submit" -- sick bastards) your own concience in favor of a sustained faith.

So how do folks like us get to this point where we are no longer willing to lie to ourselves? ...where we will no longer submit our minds to external authority?

Why do we no longer align the conscience with the Mormon god?

Perhaps I could just as well ask "why do we awake on any given morning?" Lots of different reasons but ultimately no better answer than that it's just what humans do.

Equality

Mel,

You may be right that with respect to some of the values I have articulated, a faithful Mormon might argue that the church does indeed share them. But in the main, I think that there ought to be little argument that the humanist values I have identified conflict with the values the church promotes. Take the first for example. I have stated that I value the worth and dignity of all human beings, including those of homosexual orientation. That is a humanist value: it affirmatively denies that humanity is “‘fallen,”‘ that there is something “‘wrong”‘ with homosexuals that can be “‘cured”‘ through application of the Mormon gospel. A faithful member of the church, I would think, would argue that my value is based on limited human reason and is in opposition to the revealed word of God contained in the scriptures and propounded by the latter-day inspired prophets. A faithful member would argue that God has, in every age, given laws regarding the proper expression of human sexuality and that these laws proscribe homosexuality. A faithful member’s values on this subject are influenced most strongly by the belief that the “‘law of chastity”‘ as taught in the church is immutable, comes from God himself, and is therefore good. In this view, homosexuals are, in God’s eyes, sinners in need of repentance. So, at the heart of the difference in views is the source of our respective value systems. And this goes back to the paradox I mention at the beginning of my post: that history is not the ultimate deciding factor in my decision about my continuing membership in the church, but it is important to the extent that it allowed me to accept the notion that the church’s leaders are not, in fact, any more inspired or enlightened than the rest of humanity and do not speak for God. Once I entertained that idea, I was free to jettison the values that are a necessary consequence of believing in the church’s foundational truth claims in favor of values I believe are informed by science, reason, and my personal observations and experiences.

Sister Mary Lisa

Equality, this is great writing again. Your values are admirable. It's difficult sometimes to face the facts and admit that it appears that the church does not jive with the most basic values we hold.

Jack Slate

This is a great post, Equality. It seems to be fashionable for members who are aware of many of the historical and factual problems with the Church to say that they prefer to think of the Church as being "good" rather than "true." As you articulately show here, though, the Church's goodness is at least as suspect as its trueness.

My problems with the Church began as concerns with its goodness long before I was fully aware of historical issues. And I'm an educated white straight male returned missionary. I can only imagine how I would be turned off if I were, say, a woman or gay!

Lunar Quaker

Yet the church conflates goodness and trueness to such a degree that the indoctrinated member does not see any difference between them.

Mahonri

Eric buddy,

The truth is not in you.

Who's tending hell when you are here blogging?

Lunar Quaker

Hey President [ed: Mahonri], don't you have your own stake of Zion to look after? You're out of your jurisdiction buddy.

mel

Where do these people get off calling the dark lord "Eric"? And don't they know that blogging the subject of Mormonism _is_ hell? Though I understand the confusion that must arise when ones concept of hell comes from the Bible.

Mayan Elephant

mahonri (stake president [ed:_____]),

humor is not in you.

who is killing senators while you are commenting on hell's blogs?

http://www.activeboard.com/forum.spark?forumID=92298&p=3&topicID=10808995

mel

Holy hell...they're either killing senators or asking for hand-jobs from undercover policewomen. Don't these guys know that anonymity only works for the devil's minions?

Equality

I've edited a couple of the recent comments to remove reference to Mahonri's real name. I've stated before that I would only delete spam and would only edit highly offensive language or comments that do not respect the anonymity of those who post under pseudonyms and have not exrpessed a willingness to have their real names divulged. I am not sure of the person who posted as Mahonri is the the person the commenters were identifying as a stake president in Arizona. Even if it is, and he has himself been guilty in the past of revealing the names of those who wished to remain anonymous, I'm still not comfortable revealing his identity here. Thanks.

Phouchg

Based on the email address he offered, it was the stake president in Arizona. He is on the B-Board gloating about his incredibly cutting knockout blow he gave your blog.

Equality

Well, I'll let him gloat. I thought his wisecrack was pretty funny. Besides, the B-board banned me after just two posts, so I can't really fight him over there anyway. I think he may hold a grudge against me for the way I went after him when he tried to post at NOM a couple weeks ago.

Jake

Let's suppose that the Church did change its position on homosexuality. Would that put it on a slippery slope? For example, the day after the Church announces that homosexuals can marry each other and have temple recommends, I might begin acting on my attraction to nubile young women to whom I am not married. My wife might generously allow me to indulge in satisfying my urges. Furthermore, I might allow her to engage in similar behavior. If the Church calls our behavior sinful, we can argue that there is a genetic, biological basis for having the desires that we do and that we did not choose to feel this way. Science backs our claim that humans are naturally inclined to seek multiple sexual partners. Having yielded to science regarding homosexual behavior, would the Church be hypocritical not to yield to science in the area of having multiple sexual partners?

mel

Don't forget the natural inclination for farm animals. The slippery-slope is such an asinine argument.

Mayan Elephant

jake, that was so funny. so damn funny. slippery slope? are you kidding me? why dont we come up with some better names than that, because the slippery slope argument is too stupid to merit further debate, its been exhausted. why dont we try the 'snowball in hell' argument? or how about these arguments - man walks into a bar, knock knock, tree falls in a forest, coin lands on its edge, dog shit in your dessert, already chewed gum, lost keys, sasquatch is satan, and finally, perhaps the most relevant argument, the emporer has no clothes.

mel

But here's the real problem...Jake's comment reveals his basic assumption: that homosexuality is all about sexual appetite and drive. IOW, that those poor people have simply failed to crucify the natural man ... that they've essentially succumbed that animal magnetism that threatens the salvation of saintly men each time the nubile pass within gaze.

Equality

Jake,

Welcome! hank you for commenting at Equality Time. I hope you enjoy my blog.

When I read your comment, it was almost as if I had been transported back in time. I could almost envision Orson Pratt making the argument you make circa 1870. Yes, I suppose at some level, the Church's prior practices and attitudes toward sexual mores might be restored to a certain degree. Is this something you would look forward to, Jake?

Sister Mary Lisa

Jake ~ you wrote, "For example, the day after the Church announces that homosexuals can marry each other and have temple recommends, I might begin acting on my attraction to nubile young women to whom I am not married."

You are comparing a committed married couple to a lecherous old horndog who wants to boink women other than his wife. No comparison whatsoever.

Your argument is just as strange as if you had said, "The day after a man and woman marry each other and have temple recommends, I might begin acting on my attraction to nubile young women to whom I am not married."

Your words DO give us a glimpse into your possible fantasies, however.

Interesting stuff.

Randy

Jake, you seem to overlook that the church already sanctions your heterosexual urges, by sanctioning your marriage to a woman. So you already have exactly what some gay couples are asking for. I haven't heard anybody advocate for gay polygamy thus far, so your analogy breaks down when it comes to seeking church sanction for people having multiple partners. Those nubile young women do sound interesting, however; would you care to elaborate?

Mayan Elephant

Randy,

thats it. you nailed it. if the CHURCH changes its position on morality, then those that base ALL their behavior on what the church declares will be completely powerless. after all, morality (real morality, not the co opted mormon use of morality where morality=sexuality), for the faithful mormon, is not a personal decision or conviction of what is right or equitable, its a personal decision to obey and believe a few men. i sympathize with jake. if his only conviction is what a mormon man said is right, and that mormon man changes his mind or is proven to be out of touch, jake probably will be on a slope of some kind. sounds to me like he is already harboring some inner hope for a slip down that slope.

Mayan Elephant

oh, and one more thing jake, if you decide to act on that attraction, you should do so with fear, cuz some of those young women may not appreciate it and you could find yourself in jail or in an emergency room.

Hello, Your site is great. Regards, Valintino Guxxi

DV

Great post Equality. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I understand those concerns that have nothing to do with the historical inaccuracies or the whitewash version of church history. I don't think that there is a good solution for the church, other than re-inventing itself as an organization where people are treated equally regardless of their color, creed, or sexual orientation. This sounds like a progressive idea, one that couldn't possibly work in a rigid hierarchy like mormonism. However, the Reorganized Church has done it, and they've been able to stay in business. I would dare say that they have improved their client base, errr, membership. If the LDS church made drastic changes, you may lose a few guilt-mongers and fear-mongers such as Mahonri, but it would be for the greater good of the membership. I don't know that the church has any leaders left with enough spunk or leadership skills to actually pull it off. And thus we see that the Mahonris of the church will continue to judge and belittle others in the pride of their hearts. Its sad, but true. Thanks again for your inspirational thoughts Equality.

-DV

from the ashes

Great post, E. I, too, didn't feel the need to leave the church based on the false truth-claims alone. Once I decided it wasn't The One True Church, I still had to evaluate whether or not it was good, and good for me.

The church failed on that count, too.

Equality

Thanks, fta! A compliment from you means a lot to me. I love your blog (even if I don't comment there frequently). Keep up the good work.

hd

Fantastic post, Equality. Thank you for eloquently describing the conflict between personal values and faith that I've been feeling, too.

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