Wednesday, September 6, 2017

It is a Festivus for the rest of us...

I decided to dust off the lap top and post some of my thoughts. Recently, I  feel like I am in a decent spot, in relation to the Mormon church. Although I have resigned, my wife and kids are still active and believers. We make it work, although we went through hell to get here. I love my wife and we have kind of "agree to disagree" approach to faith and life. It works for us and I feel that we are in the best spot we have ever been, but that is my perspective. Although at times, the Mormon church, does feel like a third party in my marriage. It didn't before I left, maybe because I didn't recognize its presence. But now that the glasses are off, I see it more clearly.

Although, I have been somewhat content with my relationship with the church, I was recently triggered, leading me to pen another opinion of this so called "God's true chruch".   I jotted down a few ideas going through my head. It may be a rant, I don't know for sure. But I do know it is some bottled up frustration I've had with it. I know members feel like us "bitter" ex-mormons can't leave it alone. But what when the local LDS leaders keep trying to reach out and love bomb an ex-mormon, like myself? I guess they can't seem to leave us alone either.

The church machine continues to provide one PR disaster after another. It seems like about every few months, some policy comes out, something is said by a leader, or something else surfaces that really makes the church look bad.  Personally, I have come to the conclusion that the church has become focused on several issues, the hills they will die on I suppose. The first is homosexuality. I believe this will continue to drive a nail into the church's coffin. It is already causing faithful members to push back on church leadership and their backwards policy. There are many believing members who are experiencing pain because of this policy. It is destroying lives and the church leadership should be held accountable. Someday they may, since karma has a way to come back and bite you.

The second front is a double down on obeying leadership...if the general leadership is even worthy of that word. There is a push, it seems, to find and push those on the fence out  of the church. It is as if they only want the most fundamental members left.  If they keep going they may become the church Joseph originally started. There seems to be a "sifting of the wheat and tares" to get those on the fence to make a decision.  It's either the church or nothing. There is no middle ground.  This is just my opinion, no hard facts to support the conclusion, though. Just going off of trends I see on social media and the general media outlets. I feel that the church, with all the effort to make it more appealing to non members, has taken one step forward...three steps back.

The third is a push to be more transparent on their truth claims and history. I applaud the recent LDS essays on the history and foundational claims. However, it is a little too late. There is no excuse for not teaching this information in all of the approved manuals, missionary discussions, and lesson books in the past. The excuse,  apologists use, "the information was available, you just didn't do your research",  is insulting and gas lighting. I have debated a couple of LDS apologists online over the CES Letter. A compiled document  containing many of the problems of the LDS church's history and doctrinal claims. After the exchanges, I decided to not engage these "self proclaimed" philosophers and historians.  I became tired of the inability of them to see the how all these topics are related, and when looked at with an unbiased eye, the whole thing crumbles. From redefining terms like "translation", to "sex less marriages", it is mental gymnastics 101. One example comes to mind; the claim that Joseph Smith didn't have sex with  his plural wife Helen Mar Kimball. She was 14 at the time of the marriage. But what about Fanny Alger? She was 16 when he was caught having sex with her in the barn.  And this happened in 1831, years before the plural marriage "revelation" was given. So Joseph was having an affair with a teenager, years before plural marriage was even considered. The answer, "well Joseph knew of the plural marriage revelation as early as 1831". Well that's convenient. Let's just move the "goal post" retroactively to make our narrative fit.

Okay, to give the church a mulligan,  let's do what Neil Anderson, a so called "apostle" said, and "give Brother Joseph a break". What about the next in line Brigham Young? He certainly had sex with many women. He was not a good person, in my opinion. I would argue and say he was outright evil. The orders he gave to wipe out the Native Americans are appalling and disgusting. Just read the Journal of Discourses, some of what he preached will make the hair on the back of your neck stand. What about his cover up of the Mountain Meadow Massacre? These leaders weren't honest or good men by any stretch of the imagination. Why isn't he brought up? Out of all the good men and women in the world, I am suppose to accept that God chose that guy? A racist, theocratic thug who ruled the Utah territory with an iron fist. That is also insulting and just plain offensive. But he isn't brought up or any of the others after him, when discussing polygamy, only Joseph. I guess I need to put on my believing glasses. "We all knew Brigham was an asshole, so everything is just peachy.  But don't even think about calling Joseph a bastard". "If you just look at each thing individually, it is okay". "Don't think too hard about it". "Just stick to the basics".  Yeah, I did that for over 40 years, no thanks.

Whew, I am done. I have aired my grievances for today. It is interesting, although out of  Mormonism, I still feel it on my hands. Like oil, no matter how much I wash, it is still there. Hopefully, overtime I won't feel the need to post. But at the moment, a little ranting  helps.

Dave Johnson