15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Josua 24:15.
This teaching causes many abhorrent behavioral traits to surface in a faithful member. Lets look at some of the rhetoric taught in the Mormon church about the dangers and evils of the world.
In the Mormon gospel doctrine manual we read;
Lesson 8: Living Righteously in a Wicked World
Old Testament: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, (2001), 32–35
To strengthen each class member’s resolve to hold fast to righteous standards during times of increasing wickedness.
Here the lesson, in the gospel doctrine manual, creates an "us vs. them" mentality in the average member. The world is a wicked and perverse place. In fact it is getting more wicked everyday, so obey us and you will get through life relatively unscathed.
Thomas Monson stated in general conference in 1987;
Recently there moved over the wires of Associated Press a catalog of crime as the daily happenings around the world were relayed to the media and thence to the homes on every continent.
The headlines were brief. They highlighted murder, rape, robbery, molestation, fraud, deceit, and corruption. I made note of several: “Man Slays Wife and Children, Then Turns Gun on Self”; “Child Identifies Molester”; “Hundreds Lose All As Multimillion-Dollar Scam Is Exposed.” The sordid list continued. Shades of Sodom, glimpses of Gomorrah.
President Ezra Taft Benson has often stated, “We live in a wicked world.” The Apostle Paul warned, “Men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholyJacob taught that the Lord delights “in the chastity of women” (Jacob 2:28). I delight in the chastity and purity of all women and men. How it must grieve the Lord to see virtue violated and modesty mocked on every side in this wicked world. The Lord has provided for His children great joy through intimate, loving relationships, as my grandchildren were learning. I delight in the clarity of the proclamation to the world on the family, which warns that “individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God.”. … lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (2 Tim. 3:2–4).
Susan Tanner (2008);
Jacob taught that the Lord delights “in the chastity of women” (Jacob 2:28). I delight in the chastity and purity of all women and men. How it must grieve the Lord to see virtue violated and modesty mocked on every side in this wicked world. The Lord has provided for His children great joy through intimate, loving relationships, as my grandchildren were learning. I delight in the clarity of the proclamation to the world on the family, which warns that “individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God.”
Ezra Benson (1971);
We live in a wicked world. Never in our memory have the forces of evil been arrayed in such deadly formation. The devil is well organized. Never in our day has he had so many emissaries working for him. Through his many agents, his satanic majesty has proclaimed his intentions to destroy one whole generation of our choice young people.
Evidence of the dastardly work of evil forces is increasingly evident. On every side we see the sad and heart-rending results. The devil-inspired destructive forces are present in our literature, in our art, in the movies, on the radio, in our dress, in our dances, on the TV screen, and even in our modern, so-called popular music. Satan uses many tools to weaken and destroy the home and family and especially our young people. Today, as never before, it seems the devil’s thrust is directed at our youth.
A letter from a concerned father about the evil effects of some popular music is one of many. I quote from this well-informed teacher of youth:
“Music creates atmosphere. Atmosphere creates environment. Environment influences behavior. What are the mechanics of this process?
“Rhythm is the most physical element in music. It is the only element in music that can exist in bodily movement without benefit of sound. A mind dulled by drugs or alcohol can still respond to the beat.
“Loudness adds to muddling the mind. Sound magnified to the threshold of pain is of such physical violence as to block the higher processes of thought and reason. (And turning down the volume of this destructive music does not remove the other evils.) …
“Repetition to the extreme is another primitive rock device. …
“Gyrations, a twin to rock rhythm, are such that even clean hands and a pure heart cannot misinterpret their insinuations …
“Darkness [and dimmed lights] is another facet of the rock scene. It is a black mass that deadens the conscience in a mask of anonymity. Identity lost in darkness shrinks from the normal feelings of responsibility.
“Strobe lights split the darkness in blinding shafts that reduce resistance like the lights of an interrogator’s third degree or the swinging pendulum of the hypnotist who would control your behavior. …
“The whole psychedelic design [this father continues] is a swinging door to drugs, sex, rebellion, and Godlessness. Combined with the screaming obscenities of the lyrics, this mesmerizing music has borne the fruit of filth. Leaders of the rock society readily proclaim their degeneracy. …
“And the most diabolical deceit of this infamy is that it denies evil to be an absolute. Our religion is one of absolutes and cannot be rationalized into a relativistic philosophy of the ‘liberal Mormons.’ We cannot safely rationalize away righteousness.
“What could be more misguided than fear that ‘if rock music were not endorsed by our leaders, we may lose many young people.’ (MIA music committee.) Even now we are losing them to the songs of Satan, drugs, sex, riot, and apostasy. We could be well reminded by a message from the Mormon Miracle pageant: ‘Moroni knew that you cannot compromise with evil. If you do, evil always wins.’” (Richard Nibley, excerpts from letter.)
This great and momentous responsibility and challenge comes at a most difficult time. Never have the forces of evil been so insidious, widespread, and enticing. Everywhere there seems to be a cheapening, weakening, downgrading of all that is fine, good, and uplifting—all aimed at our youth while many of their parents are lulled away into a false security as they enjoy their comfortable complacency.
All is not well in Zion. The inspired Book of Mormon prophets saw this day and, as watchmen on the towers, issued grave warnings. I quote:
“For behold, at that day shall he [the devil] rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good.
“And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.
“And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance. …
“Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion!
“Wo be unto him that crieth: All is well!
“Yea, wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost!” (2 Ne. 28:20–22, 24–26.)
I could go on, but it is clear to see how the church creates this environment. I feel the black and white paradigm is the cause of the "persecution complex" seen in many members. Oxford dictionary defines persecution complex as;
persecution complexSyllabification: per·se·cu·tion com·plex
nounAn irrational and obsessive feeling or fear that one is the object of collective hostility or ill-treatment on the part of others.
This fear, in my opinion, is responsible for the attitudes of racism, bigotry, self righteousness, judging and all other un-Christian behavior seen by members of the Mormon church. Their offensive behavioral traits, whether shunning, judging, passive agressive behavior, unannounced visits, toxic affections, etc.. can be linked back to this mindset.
This ethos is the driving force behind the church's stance on same sex marriage. Heaven forbid, we have same sex marriages. "Gay marriage is taking away my rights", is a common statement made by Mormons. In what way has your marriage been impacted? How does someone else's marriage impact yours? Why stop at gay marriage, it can be applied to a myriad of normal human behaviors. Why is the person who drinks alcohol less noble in the eyes of a member? Why is the woman wearing a tank top considered a whore?
This view of the world creates problems that really shouldn't exist. An example of this, is the policy of not allowing one man to ride in a car with one woman (unless married/related/dating/engaged). This policy is to prevent the man and woman from hooking up. Apparently, a man is so untrustworthy, that he cannot give a woman a ride in his car. In what universe is this normal?
The black vs white mentality basically invalidates members of the church as humans. Because Satan and the world are out to get me, I can't even trust myself to look at a computer screen by myself because I'll probably look at porn. This mindset is destructive to a person's well being and maturity. It causes the member to become more isolated in their neighborhood (unless their are lots of members) and communities. It causes members to "double down" on their faith and become more believing and more committed. Which leads to more insolent behavior. Life is not black and white, it has so many other colors. And everything is better in color.