I’m thinking that possibly on Monday I will post more about Mormonism and racism, and throughout the time coming I’d like to start dealing with some key theological issues. I have a wonderful book, “When Mormons Call” (lol, yes its cheesy on the cover…but don’t judge a book by its cover!) that delves into a lot of the theological issues that separate Mormons and Christians, in particular Catholics. The reason is that a Catholic priest left the Church, became Mormon, and came back. I don’t think he’s allowed to name himself as a priest anymore due to his apostasy, but it seems he’s returned with a new purpose.
Heck, even my Maid of MuthaF**Awesomeness, a die-hard Lutheran, thought the book was pretty good, and she didn’t even agree with all of the points! (Duh…we’re all about the Rock of Peter and all that. Protestants? Not so much).
Just to reiterate why I’m writing about this, though, in a nutshell here is my schtick, to borrow a term from a good friend of mine:
Mormonism is not Christian, never has been, and never will be. It is harmful in two ways- 1 in that it is like an apostasy covered with extra cheesy heresy sauce, and 2 in that the well maintained image of Mormonism as a bunch of gee-golly-gosh-darn perfect people is not only false, its a lie. (For those of you who don’t know, false can just mean mistaken. In order for a false fact to become a lie, it needs to have the intent of decieving.)
This isn’t to say that Mormons are a bunch of lie-mongering creeps ready to devour your soul. Far from it- Mormons are people, and people, no matter what their religion, tend to do some good and some bad things. I have no problem with people, but I do have a problem with false ideas that end in tearing people apart.
Mormonism does that, and part of the way the religion of Mormonism does that is through claiming itself to be something that one can demonstrate it isn’t- that it isn’t Christian. I’d actually have less problems with Mormonism itself if it was not promoted as Christian, because at least then it would be honest in that it would not be pretending to exist as what it is claiming to be.
And yes, this is personal for me. I’ve seen what this set of beliefs has done to my family, and how instead of strengthening us it has divided us even further. I had once heard that Mormonism tends to isolate the family member opposed to Mormonism from the rest of the family, no matter how well reasoned the arguments, and I had thought that was just a paranoid rant.
Unfortunately, it is very true. The slightest doubt about the truth (or complete lie) that is Mormonism often leads to the family member expressing the doubt being edged out of the family, little by little. I’m not going to pretend that in my case, there were other factors involved, but there certainly was a greater push in the years after my Mother’s conversion, and it was no secret that part of that push was because I
- Would not accept Mormonism as even slightly true.
- Often questioned everything.
- Am strongly in love with my Catholic faith.
It didn’t matter that I question my own faith and beliefs just as vigorously. It didn’t matter that I did read the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants (and oddly enough I was told not to read that one), and everything else Mormon I could get my hands on. The very fact that I was strongly Catholic, and had severe reservations about any religion that expects you to start paying it a tithe after only a few meetings, and only after paying do you get to have the “baptism” was enough to help push me out.
Mormonism purports to promote happy, healthy families, but instead that only seems to apply to those who are at least somewhat Mormon. Even then, to my eyes, it seems more like the appearance of healthy, happy, whole families. I’ve seen some of these families, and it seems like a huge game of charades. There’s love, but its forced love. There’s cohesion, but its forced cohesion. The Mormon families I have seen tend to act more like the Borg than like a real family. Everyone smiles, but it never reaches their eyes. Occasionally, I see a glimmer of the real person underneath the polished mask, like the day that one woman said to me in the most cheery, sickly sweet voice you could imagine,
Of course, I’m pregnant. Again! People only pay attention to me when I’m pregnant anyway…”
And then she was back on track, extolling the exact same virtues and blessings that are given to pregnant women in the Mormon religion, sounding as canned as a Presidential speech.
There are families and people like this in any corner of the religious world, including Catholic families, but I have seen so much of the same thing in so many Mormon families that it seems to be less a failing of the people themselves and more as a part of the culture. Anyone not Mormon is not worth it, unless they’re willing to become Mormon themselves, or will at least look the other way when Mormons claim such utter BS as that there were horses and chariots in the United States (or Mexico, whichever one fits the story better) or that men may become gods. (Apparently the arch-angel Michael must not have been clear enough when his name means “who is like God?”)
I have to do something to stop it, or at least inform others who may be in the same position I once was in. The great thing about Christianity is that there are clear markers to determine what is Christian fact, and historical fact. For one, you have the Bible. For another, you have Sacred Tradition. For another, you have the Apostles going all the way back to Peter. For another, you have the sheer universality that is Christianity. For another, there is written, archeological evidence from outside sources that speak the truth of there having been cities where the Bible says there were cities. And lastly, Christianity doesn’t change the core values of itself every time it needs an upgrade and a new flooding of converts. How many times was the Nativity re-wrote (or re-oralized if that can be considered a word…) to reflect whatever religious fad was important at the time?
How many times was the “First Vision” of Joesph Smith re-visioned? Numerous times, and even once is too many.
Any belief that claims to be what it isn’t is from the Devil (aka Satan, Lucifer, or the Dumbest of them ALL), and while people are often good, bad, or in-between, the one thing that we as thinking rational beings can do is stop attacking others, and start attacking these false beliefs.
Nothing clears the air so much as a good theological debate. Ideas and beliefs are either correct, or incorrect- so why fear debating them? If I’m wrong, as a Catholic, I’ll find out, because eventually “even stones will cry out” at me- and if I ignore them, then it is my failing.
It is the same with any debate or delving into Mormonism and Catholicism. One is true, the other is false. I am not scared to question my deepest beliefs, because every time I question them I find the Truth, which exists outside of me, my thoughts, and my opinions. Other people question me concerning my beliefs, and while I might feel exasperated because of having to explain, for the umpteenth time, the difference between prayer and worship, I am not exasperated because some “weakness” of my faith is being revealed.
I often find that Mormons, as soon as they are “questioned” about anything which would require rational thought, tend to descend into the martyr mentality. Asking them to explain the idea of the “Godhead” somehow becomes a personal attack on them, because you must have ulterior motives to ask that question. Somehow, you are endeavoring to destroy Mormonism.
What is often not realized is that a cigar is just a cigar, and the immediate reaction of being unable to give a reasonable answer is what is causing the feelings of distress- not the questioner.
These things do need to be talked about, especially on blogs. My hope is that people will be able to see this, read this, and make their own judgements. People need to THINK!