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How about tolerance for all?
October 10, 2003 11:44 PM   Subscribe

How about tolerance for all? These regular protests in Utah (or other LDS-dense populations) don't seem to make much news, though they'd probably be scandalous if performed against other religious groups.
posted by oissubke (133 comments total)

 
MormonUnderwearFilter.

A news article on the incident.

Yah, I agree, the 'street preachers' behavior is appalling. And the same stuff does go on with other religious groups. And it is indeed scandalous. And it often doesn't get much notice outside the local papers.

suggestion: you'll get less grief if you post a news article rather than an op-ed as your main link
posted by Slithy_Tove at 11:58 PM on October 10, 2003


Waaaaaaaaaaa! Cry me a river, LDSers...

Try coming up an agnostic/atheist in the bible belt - where you can't walk out of a bar at 9pm on a Friday night without being confronted by a bunch of glassy eyed faith-pimps trying to whore out Jesus to ya.

Granted - my experience is extreme - I've lived with Bob Jones University (Remember? That's the CRAZY university where our fearless leader hung out back in 2000) in my backyard for nearly a year now... so I guess I'm a little jaded by the nutty antics of these idiot evangelicals.
posted by wfrgms at 12:30 AM on October 11, 2003


I've noticed it too that stories of people hassling LDS folks rarely get any coverage in the press.

Is it because most people in this country are "traditional" christians and don't acknowledge Mormonism as a "real" religion?

(ample airquotes used for discussion's sake, I don't agree nor disagree with the notion, just noticed it may be the root of it)
posted by mathowie at 12:42 AM on October 11, 2003


I hate LDSers because their boys are so hot and so conflicted. That's what you get for promoting a religion based on orgasm as a purely procreative and sanctified act. So, yeah, any chance I get to rend their sacred clothing ... I take it. With a will.
posted by WolfDaddy at 1:02 AM on October 11, 2003


This is coming from a guy (Lonsberry) who very recently lost his radio job back in Rochester for mentioning a mayoral candidate and orangutans escaping from the zoo in the same sentence. His only other audience for his show was in Utah . . . general conference in Utah this week... surely just a coincidence.
His dismissal was a big deal in Rochester. Lonsberry, of course, thought he was the victim and was being persecuted. He lost his job and told the papers he could end up working in a mall in no time. Hmm, not with Rochester's economy in such poor condition.
I wonder what his stance on burning flags or Crosses in urine might be?
(Oh Rochester, surely you deserve better than Lonsberry or The Wease...)
posted by TomSophieIvy at 1:15 AM on October 11, 2003


Magic underpants?!
posted by nicwolff at 1:30 AM on October 11, 2003


This is undoubtedly the work of Southern Baptists; who else would mimic asswiping in the name of proselytization? Having said that, I have to smile at the thought of two of the most benighted and intolerant groups in the nation attempting to "persuade" each other. Richly and truly, you deserve each other.

A P.S. to any future missionaries reading this: 8AM the morning after Thanksgiving is NOT a good time to knock on my door, and you damn well know it. Do it again and I go Mountain Meadows all over your ass.
posted by trondant at 3:49 AM on October 11, 2003


To think that crude protesters would stand outside a mosque or synagogue, or a cathedral or church, and harass worshippers and denounce a religion is just beyond the pale.

I guess this guy has been too busy documenting mistreatment of his religion to notice numerous incidents of synogogue and mosque arson.

Here are some great photos of the anti-Mormon protesters he appears to be referring to.
posted by rcade at 5:10 AM on October 11, 2003


I think the reason you don't see it in the media so much is because the Mormons are a christian group and on the whole america is pretty anti-christian.
posted by mcsweetie at 5:15 AM on October 11, 2003


I went looking for evidence these protesters are Baptist and found a hilarious story about how these anti-Mormon protesters take time out from harrassing Mormons to chit-chat with familiar police and a young guy who shows up to protest them.

Back at the Temple Square entrance, Bible Jim got into another verbal duel with Dlobies, who had tired of menacing the preachers across the street and returned to mimic Jim. "This is the type of young man we want to recruit for the Lord," Jim finally said, pointing at Dlobies. "He's got a big mouth and he's got guts. As long as he's not a homo."
posted by rcade at 5:17 AM on October 11, 2003


I think the reason you don't see it in the media so much is because the Mormons are a christian group and on the whole america is pretty anti-christian.

The Church of Latter-Day Saints has huge influence in Utah. They own every major newspaper in the state other than the Salt Lake Tribune, and they are even part of that paper's management under a joint-operating agreement. This is not a group that has trouble getting their message out.
posted by rcade at 5:31 AM on October 11, 2003


It takes a lot to make me empathize with Mormons, but those photos that rcade linked to do it.

Mormons should actually take solace in this. Any time they're accused of being nutty, they should point and say "oh, yeah?"
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:03 AM on October 11, 2003


To quote a line from The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas: "Sounds like the confused against the mistaken, with the well-meaning screwing things up on both sides."
posted by alumshubby at 6:24 AM on October 11, 2003


Well the actions of the preacher are indeed wrong and I don't support them. BUT....the mormons are a group that refuses to acknowledge the wall between church and state and have a tendency to run civic affairs by the dictates of the church. To me LDS are just a big cult, instead of some wacky 3rd word god being worshiped they worship christ. To me they are no better than other fundamentalist sects because if the federal government wasn't there to stop them do you doubt utah would be totally ruled by religious dictates?
posted by hoopyfrood at 6:24 AM on October 11, 2003


As an aside...don't forget Brigham young is from vermont! I can visit his homestead (jacksonville VT I believe) by heading off north through the woods....Believe me utah has no lock on the loonies!
posted by hoopyfrood at 6:32 AM on October 11, 2003


Every time I see the LDS church, I read it as LSD church and I think of poor ole Timothy Leary... Somewhere, in a parallel universe, Tim Leary had his LSD church and it became the most popular "religion" in the west at least.
posted by Fantt at 7:56 AM on October 11, 2003


Mad people holding weird beliefs attacked by even madder people with other weird beliefs. Film at 11.
posted by Freaky at 8:26 AM on October 11, 2003


Magic underpants?!

nicwolff, my wife's now sitting in the living room crying after having seen what you linked to, and I'm not real happy about it myself.

It's not secret. But it's sacred. It's personal. I wear those garments, and they mean a lot to me. The thought that someone is going around posting pictures of them on the internet literally makes me feel sick.

Please don't do that kind of thing. I know it doesn't make sense to you why that would be so upsetting. But it hurts me, and I'd ask you to respect that, regardless of how silly you think it is.
posted by oissubke at 8:57 AM on October 11, 2003


I'm sorry, oissubke, you don't have the right not to be offended. Next time don't click on the link.
posted by nyxxxx at 9:30 AM on October 11, 2003


I understand that. I've been offended before, and I'm sure I'll be offended again. Wouldn't be much of a life if that weren't the case.

I'm not saying he didn't have a right not to post it, I'm just asking him not to. I do have that right.
posted by oissubke at 9:32 AM on October 11, 2003


edit: "right to post it". All those negatives got me mixed up this early. :-)
posted by oissubke at 9:32 AM on October 11, 2003


Hi! I'm SPrintF. I wear Hanes cotton briefs and I am not ashamed.
posted by SPrintF at 9:39 AM on October 11, 2003


Please don't do that kind of thing. I know it doesn't make sense to you why that would be so upsetting. But it hurts me, and I'd ask you to respect that, regardless of how silly you think it is.

I'm just asking him not to.


oissubke, forgive me for focusing on this, but that's one of the oddest things I've heard on the site, and I suspect others would also notice it. I've never heard such a sentiment before, so it sticks out a bit. Photos of sacred garments are offensive? I know the way in which it was posted was half-mocking, but are you offended by the thought that someone took a photo of the sacred garments or the way in which it was presented here?

You can see sacred garments of other religions online fairly easily. I never really considered any of it could be offensive.
posted by mathowie at 9:44 AM on October 11, 2003


People who attack other religions because they think theirs is better are assholes who haven't really been listening to what their religion has to say about treating people. But I think the counterprotestors had the right idea--from the sltrib link:Josh Peters, who describes himself as agnostic, said he spent the weekend in front of the conference center with friends Adam Welling, Sean Johnsen and Ryan Roylance because he doesn't like the street preachers insulting Mormons. "It's just plain disrespectful," he said. "So I came out to protest them by making fun of them. That's pretty much my plan."

It's disrespectful, but the protestors are allowed to protest too...Mormons get off easy in my view, especially compared to muslims, or us jews. We all live together in a country where a sikh was killed because he was thought to be muslim, and jewish tombstones and synagogues and homes are defaced with swastikas and anti-semitic writings every year. Sadly, none of these things are considered scandalous.

As for those sacred garments--why aren't pictures allowed to be shown online? why so secretive? (you can buy all sorts of bibles and crosses and yarmulkes and tefillin and tzitzit online, and i bet you can buy muslim prayer rugs too--they're just tools. One of the ways to stop misconceptions and/or worse toward various religions is to have ways for people to learn all about it, from the tools and garments to the rituals and beliefs. (on preview--matt beat me to the garment thing) : >
posted by amberglow at 9:50 AM on October 11, 2003


To me LDS are just a big cult, instead of some wacky 3rd word god being worshiped they worship christ.

I am not mormon, but I am a bit bothered by the willingness of people here to throw out simple-minded characterizations of the religion, or to simply make joke suggesting that 'both groups are wacky, so what of it?'

First of all, we might work a little harder to seperate the church from its members, who are spread all over the country (and the world), and who are likely to take this seriously as a religious affront (which it obviously is). The church is somewhat dubious, but its long arm of control hardly extends to all members at all times. This constitutes strong evdence against it being considered at all cult-like. Or, hoopy, is it just because you think they are somehow an easy target that you can get away with such oversimplistic attributions?
posted by amauck at 9:54 AM on October 11, 2003


oissubke: What were you expecting to see from a link labelled "magic underpants" in a discussion of Mormons on this site? Mocking those clothes is on par with mocking Muslim women for dressing in hijab style, but you've been around here long enough to know what that link was likely to contain. I respect the general sentiment you're trying to express, but serving up heaping spoonfuls of guilt because MetaFilter made your wife cry is a bit much.
posted by rcade at 9:57 AM on October 11, 2003


These sacred underpants look suspiciously like the ones baseball players wear to prevent raspberries on their butt cheeks when they slide into second base. I'm just sayin'.
posted by reidfleming at 10:16 AM on October 11, 2003


Maybe this is the wrong thread to step into after a nice, long, bitter-sniping-and-Miguel-free holiday from posting here, but I kind of feel like oissubke, and the other devout of all faiths, are just going to have to learn that just because they hold something "sacred" doesn't mean anyone else is under any obligation whatsoever to agree with them.

I mean, aside from being like a red flag to a bull to those who get their jollies by mocking heartfelt belief. Religion, belief, faith: it's a *consensual* fiction, and there are always going to be those outside the consensus to whom it might be useful to accomodate. Your request is way, way out of line.
posted by adamgreenfield at 10:27 AM on October 11, 2003


'Plarify that:
He has the right to link to whatever he likes.
You have the right to not click on it, as had already been pointed out.
You do not have the right to police content you find offensive, or to create an atmosphere in which those viewpoints alternative to your own are suppressed.

The best remedy for bad speech - defined as you please - is still more speech.
posted by adamgreenfield at 10:31 AM on October 11, 2003


My first reaction to oissubke's wife's cry
was disdain, since I find the whole 'god' thing a sham.
But as on MeFi he's been a pretty decent guy,
I feel for him, and hope they soon move past this slam.
posted by troybob at 11:13 AM on October 11, 2003


Oh, come now. I'm going to be the most complete asshole who ever walked the face of the earth by doing this, but the Mormon religion is absurd.

Oissube, please don't read any further. What I'm saying is not faith-promoting.

We can all point fingers at the Heaven's Gaters and state that they were unequivocally nuts, and no one would ever think to be offended by it.

The Mormons are just as nutty. It takes literally no effort to uncover the lies and absurdities that the religion is founded upon.

F'rinstance, the detailed history and descriptions in the Book have NO archealogical evidence to support them whatsoever. There are all sorts of claims about ships and steel and agriculture and civilizations and common languages -- all of it either disproven or undemonstrated in all our knowledge of pre-Columbus America.

Analysis of the Book and several other contemporary publications shows that far from being "the word of God," the Book is mostly compiled from ideas and writings by other authors. Further, these "eternally true" writings have been subjected to numerous revisions over the years: it seems the true words of God weren't true after all.

Indeed, a whole lot of Smith's doctrines have been changed over the years. It used to be that one needed to be a polygamist to get into the highest orders of heaven. Word up from God himself, that. But no more: God's changed his mind, or at least that's what the leaders of the church are saying. Likewise the curse of the Black race, and the need for blood atonement. Once again, the eternally true isn't.

The only reason Mormonism is tolerated is because (A) its members don't seem very intent on killing themselves or others en masse; (B) there are enough members that it's discomforting to point out how loony they are.

Anyone with half a brain and a bit of curiousity must inevitably conclude that Mormonism, despite whatever good it does in providing a moral compass for its members, is based on the lies of a conman, and requires a dedicated effort to not think very hard about the truth.

The Mormons I've known have been among the nicest, kindest people. Whatever else the church is about, it sure does create some good people.

But you can't be much of a thinker and still keep the faith. The problems are just insurmountable.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:22 AM on October 11, 2003


but are you offended by the thought that someone took a photo of the sacred garments or the way in which it was presented here?

It's actually a bit of both. That's not just wimpy sensitivity on my part, but it's how most Mormons regard the garments. They're not supposed to be public, not because we have something to hide, but because it's sacred to us in a private way.

For lack of a better comparison (please take this with a grain of salt), it's sort of like having sex with your spouse. You shouldn't be ashamed of it, and it's no secret, but you wouldn't want people posting photos of it on the internet.

It's private to us as a group, and it's something that we generally believe isn't supposed to be shared with the world at large. Again, it's not a matter of trying to be secretive. It's just how we show our reverence. It's not water-cooler conversation, it's not something we chat about with co-passengers on an airplane, and it's something we wouldn't want posted around on the internet.

I know how offputting that principle of privacy can be to people who believe everything should be open and public. But to take something we consider private and make it public makes us feel roughly the same as if someone were to defile something that a Jew or Muslim considers ritually clean, just for the sake of defiling it.

I don't think anyone has ever posted about the things we consider private for purely informational purposes. If they did, I wouldn't feel quite as bad about that (though I wouldn't necessarily encourage it either.) Part of what hurts is that they do it because they have a specific grudge against us. They want to offend us, and they want to mock our beliefs and practices.

I don't encourage censorship. I don't think it should be illegal, or even against the rules of this site to post these sorts of things. The internet is, and should be, free. I'm just saying that it's very offensive to people of a certain religion, and it'd be grateful if some people who do that would respect that and maybe not do it. It was a request, not a demand.
posted by oissubke at 11:37 AM on October 11, 2003


I'm going to be the most complete asshole who ever walked the face of the earth by doing this, but the Mormon religion is absurd.

...and other religions aren't?

Agnostic, and unsure of it!
posted by inpHilltr8r at 11:45 AM on October 11, 2003


But you can't be much of a thinker and still keep the faith.

Five fresh fish,

I'd say I can out-think a good percentage of the population. :-)

I read your post, and I don't have a single problem with it. You stated your case in a well-reasoned way, and I have a lot of respect for that (particularly here!) ;-)

I don't get offended when people disagree with me, or with the church. There are several billion people in this world who disagree, and I'd go nuts if that bothered me.

This definitely isn't an issue of whether or not my beliefs are silly. I acknowledge that most people think they are.

But I think most enlightened thinkers here would agree that we shouldn't make a mockery of people just because we think their beliefs are stupid.
posted by oissubke at 11:45 AM on October 11, 2003


mcsweetie: "...on the whole america is pretty anti-christian--"

*buzzer*
posted by ZachsMind at 11:59 AM on October 11, 2003


I don't think anyone has ever posted about the things we consider private for purely informational purposes. If they did, I wouldn't feel quite as bad about that (though I wouldn't necessarily encourage it either.)

How does that reconcile with all the missionary stuff mormons do? I'd think that if you want more members you should be as open as possible about every aspect of the religion. You could counter the misinformation that's out there too.
posted by amberglow at 12:05 PM on October 11, 2003


No? I daresay we should make a mockery of some people's beliefs.

Starting with Heaven's Gate's idea that supersekrit spacealiens were calling us all to an asteriod.

Followed by Scientologist's belief that we're all inundated with sticky little thetans, and who gobble up a hokey space drama as a theology.

And the Raelians belief that other space aliens created humans by cloning, and that we should all have great sex with Claude Vorilhon. Ugh.

In my opinion, Mormonism doesn't follow very far behind in the schedule of beliefs to mock. Everything written and said by Smith is so transparently bullshit, and there is such an overwhelming pile of evidence of it, that it just can't be taken at all seriously.

There are some great things about Mormonism: action behind words, for instance, leading to people who actively engage in positive change, who actually try to be nice, who are genuinely good in most aspects of their lives. A lot of Mormons seem a whole lot more dedicated to living their faith than most traditional religions, that's for sure.

But the guy that started it all was a liar, a conman, and a lunatic. The best thing the Mormon church could do for itself is eviscerate its core structure -- from the Books to the shady characters who are highest up the church hierarchy -- and create a rational religion based on what's actually a good way to live, and leave the mystical Smithian lies to another century.

Time to discard the chaff and take the kernel.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:10 PM on October 11, 2003


The best remedy for bad speech - defined as you please - is still more speech.

Well, then, more speech...

I think the underlying issue here is (1) the concept of the "sacred" and "reverence" and (2) how you treat what other people hold sacred/revere when you don't share it.

(1) My observations lead me to believe reverence is something of a lost quality in popular/modern culture. There's probably some good reasons for that, and some bad ones as well, which I don't want to spend too much time on, other than to say that I think some elements of modern culture encourage more independent thought which will inevitably feret out imperfections in ideas, institutions, and individuals which are revered. In combination with this, you have an idea which some people are bound by: something must be perfect to be worth revering. We're also not shy about mocking most anything. Especially things we don't understand.

I like doing my own thinking, and I have a morbid and mocking sense of humor that I probably employ too frequently, but I've also come to understand that there's a quality to reverence for something (even, sometimes, something imperfect!), a quality to holding something sacred, that seems to make room for certain high-quality experiences, contact with a sense of the divine. It might be nature, it might be sacred texts, it might be animal life, it might be a person, it might be a God you believe in, it might be clothing, religious or something you received from a relative, and reverence for any of the above can be taken too far, but I think there's something about fixing a value to these things and acting with internal integrity towards them (which is a large part of what reverance is) that's good for people. Conversely, there's probably something personally corrosive about complete irreverence.

(2) Possibly socially, too. And that's the big problem here -- and maybe THE big problem in general, at least as far as human coexistance goes. If you have reverence for nothing, you will have a harder time mustering a kind of empathy for neighbors who do, and that will make relations with them dicey. That's also true, however, for people who have reverence for some things but no empathy anyway, no ability to see any commonality between the act of holding something sacred, even if they are different things. Which brings us to adamgreenfield's comment:

I kind of feel like oissubke, and the other devout of all faiths, are just going to have to learn that just because they hold something "sacred" doesn't mean anyone else is under any obligation whatsoever to agree with them.

Of course not. No obligation at all. Our anti-mormon friends weren't under any such obligation, and did the equivalent of walking into an orthodox hassidim neighborhood and defecating on a Torah. Quite a statement. Legal? Yep. Wise?

What are such actors hoping to accomplish? It's certainly not winning about winning people over. It's certainly not trying to understand anybody else. The only conclusion I can come to is that it's all about declaring war: with yourself to be in a certain location on an ideological chart, firmly opposed to whatever it is you oppose, ready to hate it out and disrespect whatever it is you disrespect by any means necessary. You don't care that it brings you into conflict with your neighbor.

Probably some things outweight the values of trying understand and peacefully coexist with others. But my guess is that most people just don't think about it enough.

And while I don't think that anyone here on MeFi is quite in the same boat as the demonstrating anti-mormons, to say that "I'm under no obligation to hold anything you hold sacred as well" is true, but begging the question. If your only goal is to be able to speak your mind freely, congratulations, you're there. If your goal is to persuade or form a positive relationship with others, win their minds and/or hearts, learn something, make the world a better place, then that answer to the question of what you do when someone else holds something sacred is sorely lacking.

Disclaimer: I'm a Mormon too.
posted by weston at 12:11 PM on October 11, 2003


Er, kernal. As in wheat, not OSes.

What I say about Mormonism ultimately applies to all religions, IMO. The whole idea of God isn't to blindly fall on our knees in praise of some spirit-in-the-sky, but to create/provide guidelines that enable our societies to thrive. Back in simple days, when the world was all magic, it was necessary to have a Big Guy lay down the laws. These days I should hope we're all intelligent enough -- or commonsense enough -- to be able to accept those laws as just the right thing to do. But then I'm a hopeful sort of guy...
posted by five fresh fish at 12:14 PM on October 11, 2003


Our anti-mormon friends weren't under any such obligation, and did the equivalent of walking into an orthodox hassidim neighborhood and defecating on a Torah.

Conversely, it may be they did the equivalent of walking into a Jim Jones commune and shitting in their koolaid.

Come on, there must be some limit as to what you can tolerate in a religion. You don't honestly think the Heaven's Gaters, Jim Jonesers, AUM sarin-sprayers, and others of that ilk should be given the courtesy of polite acceptance of their beliefs!
posted by five fresh fish at 12:17 PM on October 11, 2003


To be respectful of anyone is not strict obligation,
but it makes for much more constructive conversation.
Pointless mockery might bring a laugh or two, but
it's no more useful than callling someone's mom a slut.
posted by troybob at 12:31 PM on October 11, 2003


oissubke: Thank you very much for the information regarding the sacred garments for us non-LDS people. I appreciate your reasonable and well-thought out explanation (as opposed to some of the knee-jerk reactions we see on here), particularly while being under fire for the beliefs you hold.

On the other hand, I also appreciate nicwolff's link to the picture (although not the comment) because I am curious and do want to try understand others' beliefs. Perhaps, as an American, I am lacking the reverence that weston is talking about.
posted by j at 12:32 PM on October 11, 2003


Had a mormon for a Theater teacher back in my college days. Seems so long ago now. It was a methodist college. I was still vaguely Baptist with SubGenius tendencies. My fellow students were agnostics and aetheists and pagans and noncommitals. I think our teacher was the first mormon many of us had ever met.

She was the sweetest soul you'd ever care to know. She was prim and proper and honest and passionate about her work and dependable and hard working and kind and patient and delightful and energetic and we sophomoric, sinful, heathenous, indignant, rebellious, uncouth, mischievious, disingenuine, profane, tardy, dysfunctional, uproarious, malcontentious, unwavering in our stupidity, youthful, arrogant braggarts of students just wore that poor woman down.

I can still remember that day we drove her so far to the brink that she actually used the word "fuck" in our presence. She was directing us for the spring play. I can't remember the details but everyone on cast and crew were each doing something that was driving her crazy. Not getting the lines right, or being late to rehearsal, or forgetting the blocking or not understanding their motivation or saying yes to her direction and then doing whatever they felt like doing. Little things like snowballs that turned into an avalanche.

She'd managed a year and a half with us, but little by little she had changed over time, in such a way that we hadn't noticed. Then she said "fuck." Real loud. And everyone in the auditorium stopped breathing, and we all looked at her. She was no longer prim or proper or kind or patient or delightful or energetic, but she was still passionate about her work and dependable and hard working. She was also tired.

The emotion I think we all felt in the silence that followed was some sick twisted combination of witnessing our success at her breaking, with the realization that something very small but significant died in that moment. Our Mormon Theater Teacher had said the word "fuck." In fact she had almost taken her Lord's name in vain, but stopped short, and fought back tears in that silence. Then she laughed nervously and so did we. All was forgiven in that instant and miraculously, we all cleaned up our act. The realization of driving her of all people to use that word. It was... It had been unfathomable until that moment, and things were never quite the same after that.

I don't care that someone's mormon. I care that someone's human.
posted by ZachsMind at 12:35 PM on October 11, 2003


I have to say that while I'm certainly no friend of his religion, oissubke's behavior is really quite exemplary (in this thread and others). You may not like his request, but it and his following comments are practically the definition of civil discussion. If we had more contributors who were able to maintain that level of discourse during the debate of sensitive issues, we'd be better off. (God knows it's not something I'm good at.)

oissubke, based on my own religious experience, I'd say you're doing a bang-up job of setting the kind of example that christians are encouraged to set. So, uh, good jorb.

On preview, what j said.
posted by blissbat at 12:47 PM on October 11, 2003


Why is it always the Christians who are so rude? I was (again) accosted in the supermarket parking lot by a "pastor" (again) who wanted me to take some literature and listen to his spiel (again).

I said "No thank you." Twice. He kept talking. The third time I shouted over him and pointed out that that was the third time. He looked at me like I'd just grown a second head. Or horns.

Probably horns.

What I don't understand is why every evangelist assumes that I haven't heard their nonsense before.
posted by Cerebus at 12:51 PM on October 11, 2003


rcade: Maybe oissubke should have known what to expect
(though I didn't) by clicking on the underwear link,
but then you'd have to admit nicwolff could predict the effect
of his post on a believer--a nasty slight, I think.
posted by troybob at 12:56 PM on October 11, 2003


This is not a group that has trouble getting their message out.

*buzzer*

I was makin' a silly, y'all.
posted by mcsweetie at 12:58 PM on October 11, 2003


Five Fresh Fish:
You express your point by comparing Mormonism with well established (and popularly recognized) cults, but avoid comparing it to religions that are not commonly held to be cults. This is a common rhetorical strategy, but not one that holds much weight. I would like to see you contrast Mormonism to, say, Evangelical Christianity, Islam, and Judaism on the basis of something besides its illegitimacy in the archaeological record or the fact that the 'word' is compiled from other sources. If you can prove that Moses IN FACT received the ten commandments from God, then I will accept you point in this regard. Until such proof, I don't believe that you can delegitimate someone's religious belief on such a basis.
posted by amauck at 1:01 PM on October 11, 2003


Conversely, it may be they did the equivalent of walking into a Jim Jones commune and shitting in their koolaid.

Come on, there must be some limit as to what you can tolerate in a religion.You don't honestly think the Heaven's Gaters, Jim Jonesers, AUM sarin-sprayers, and others of that ilk should be given the courtesy of polite acceptance of their beliefs!


Of course. When religious beliefs demand practices that are direct threats to the life of others people. If you believe you need to kill or hurt Jews (or Muslims or Mormons or atheists or doctors who perform abortions) in order to be right before God, then you're outside the bounds.

For me, suicide cults are over the line, too -- pretty much believing that you have to kill yourself to be right with God. Although there's a bit of a gray area. How is this different from "right to die" advocates? Or from my rock climbing friends who've begun to revere the experience of "free climbing"?

But really, that's about it. The Torah doesn't compare well to cyanide laced kool-aid, a bomb strapped to a fanatic, or a musket in the hand of one of Smith's murderers, for that matter.
posted by weston at 1:12 PM on October 11, 2003


oissubke, I usually don't agree with much of anything you say. On this, however, I'm with you. Their behavior was atrocious, hateful and seemed to be more about abusing people than educating them about an alternative to the LDS faith. I've received anti-catholic literature in the mail before, not to mention those lovely Chick booklets. That's bad enough, but to stand outside a religious service and harass people? Vile.

Whether or not we agree about the Mormon religion, it's clear to me that these assholes were only there to harass and abuse people on the basis of their religon. Consitutional? Yes. Moral? No.
posted by echolalia67 at 1:26 PM on October 11, 2003


Our Mormon Theater Teacher had said the word "fuck."

Among other things, this proves that profanity is much more effective when it is rarely used. A lesson perhaps to be taken to heart by those who use it as punctuation....
posted by kindall at 1:37 PM on October 11, 2003


Amauck: Sorry, I'll be square with you. It is all bullshit. The Torah is chock-a-bloc full of make-believe, distortion, and falsehoods. Likewise the New Testament and the Koran, too.

The biggest difference, though, is that those three books are not contemporary with our culture. Joseph Smith created his religion a mere 173 years ago. We have easy access to the history of the religion, the character of the man himself, and even some of the documents he claims to have translated.

In this regard, Mormonism as a modern religion can be compared to other modern religions like Scientology, Urantia, the Unification Church, and Heaven's Gate. This comparison is even more apropos when you start looking at the Mormon splinter groups, like my province's own "Bountiful" community, where very young teenagers are being married to middle-aged polygamists, to spend the rest of their lives as breed cows.

(this child abuse, being labeled "religious," is of course untouchable: the police and the government won't touch it with a ten foot pole.)

Like I said, the Mormons I know are among the sweetest people. But they have an enormous ability to deceive themselves about their church, their founder, and their elders.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:48 PM on October 11, 2003


Well, obviously there is a link between the secrecy of these garments and the protesters use of them. People don't like secrets, when people don't like your whole belief structure, they like your secrets even less. As oissubke himself says, he is not alone in his preference that these things not be talked about. The mormons I know would not even verify the existence of these garments.

So, I'm not coming out against the idea of group-secrets, but when a group does things that people disapprove of, which the mormon church has unquestionably done, and they have secrets one shouldn't be surprised when those secrets are outed. In addition to this, there is the motivation that I think mathowie feels, not distaste for the religion necessarily, but just curiosity. People that don't buy into the supernatural reasons not to talk about these underwear will talk about them out of intellectual curiosity only.

How does that reconcile with all the missionary stuff mormons do? I'd think that if you want more members you should be as open as possible about every aspect of the religion.

Well, some religions may be like this, but many religions rely on levels of knowledge, this makes it more attractive to the initiate. And yes, more cults do this than major world religions. You don't start out getting to know all their secrets, it makes it more interesting.

And no, I will not respect a belief system that puts my gay friend on the floor crying, believing he is going to hell, or to make another friend look up all her dead ancestors and be baptized in their name so they don't burn in hell for eternity. I don't think it's silly at all, I think it is evil.
posted by rhyax at 2:21 PM on October 11, 2003


Our anti-mormon friends weren't under any such obligation, and did the equivalent of walking into an orthodox hassidim neighborhood and defecating on a Torah.

Well, no. It's hard to imagine anyone defecating on anything with any non-malicious intent. There could be no other possible intent to defecating on Torah than to piss off the local Jews -- it couldn't even be reasonably said to be mixed with any other nonmalicious intent.

But displaying a photo of temple garments? There's plenty of nonmalicious intent in showing the idly curious (me) what the things actually look like. Even if nicwolff was being derisive, temple garments -- and the secretiveness about them -- are one of the more well-known idiosyncracies of the Mormon church, and it's understandable that people would be curious about them.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:34 PM on October 11, 2003


Their behavior was atrocious, hateful and seemed to be more about abusing people than educating them about an alternative to the LDS faith.

Indeed. That's sadly common though -- some evangelical Christians seem to think that evangelizing is something that you do to show El Queso Grande that you're doing it, so you'd want to be as loud and obnoxious about it as possible (so he can see you better, I guess), and do it all the time (hence the What Would Jar-Jar Jesus Do? bracelets). You can also see this in some of the clumsy evangelizing that goes on on college campuses, where the goal seems to be to show God that you're telling Correct Doctrine to people.

It presents a good opportunity for witnessing to the Mormons though. Come out of church, or out of the convention meetings, and tell them "Thanks for caring, brother. Have you eaten?" And do it again and again and again. Not that it would change the mind of the particular neandertal, but it could have a noticeable effect on local nonmormons.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:42 PM on October 11, 2003


oissubke man, i got some pictures of people in underwear that would REALLY make your wife cry.
posted by quonsar at 2:57 PM on October 11, 2003


there's some pretty interesting essays on mormonism on the now infamous undies site. check it, ladies!
posted by mcsweetie at 2:59 PM on October 11, 2003


Full disclosure -- I grew up LDS. I left when one of the apostles said that the three enemies of the church were homosexuals, intellectuals, and feminists. That includes me -- twice.

Yes, the LDS church is undoubtedly weird. God used to be a person on the planet Kolob, the sacred underwear thing, polygamy, lots and lots and lots of embarrassing things that past (and current) prophets have said, etc. However, that does not make it right to harass them, which really happens a lot. I agree that it would be right to intervene if everyone were about to drink cyanide punch, but that's not what's going on here. There's no imminent threat to be diffused, so what these people are doing is pretty far south of anything right.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 3:13 PM on October 11, 2003


Metafilter: it made oissubke's wife cry.

And, like....wow. Deja vu. The "high signal posse" (led by sheriff oissubke) flip-flops yet again on tolerating some op-ed pieces on the front page of MetaFilter. Looks like (~shudder~), it's all about that pesky but amazingly consistent H-thing thing again.

But you say it's about tolerance.

For a church that professes to be the One True Church, it's members are sure strangely thin-skinned and insecure and *intolerant* of any criticism of the church. For a church that refused full membership of African Americans until 1978...for a church that equates a biological trait like homosexuality with mortal sin...for a church that once taught that death was the proper punishment for horrible crimes like adultery and miscegenation...for a church in which some members routinely mock and decry other faiths (religion teachers at Brigham Young University taught for years that Catholicism was "the great and abominable church" and routinely joked about and mocked icons and shrines to Mary as part of some hellish worship of "graven images")...for a paternalistic church that treats women as second class citizens...with all that, it's really strange to hear LDS members have become so very (suddenly and conveniently and self-servingly) caring about "tolerance".

For LDS members who get all suddenly private and intolerant of any discussion of some aspect of their beliefs (like garments...or LDS polygamy...or insitutionalized LDS racism...or anything not approved by the male Mormon hierarchy), it's odd that they have no trouble whatsoever coming into *our* neighborhoods, expecting *our* tolerance as they peddle sugarcoated Mormon beliefs door-to-door like glorified Avon salespersons. For a poster like oissubke, who gets all whiny and intolerant on us about somebody posting LDS church details of which he doesn't approve to the Internet, it's sure odd he doesn't mind propagandizing right here on the Internet's Metafilter about the Mormon church (including posting about garments), expecting *our* tolerance for his own rosy-colored and distorted view of that same church. Oissubke, you make a front page post and want to talk about somebody's disrespect and intolerance for your "sacred" underwear, but then you expect people NOT to be able to discuss them except in whatever dumb, self-serving, milky-warm context YOU choose?

Uh uh. Kinda seems like that pesky H-thing keeps rearing up.

Now, oissubke, if we can get you to come out from behind your poor wife's pathetic tears... yeah...how ABOUT tolerance for all? This is America, in case you hadn't heard. Those protesters are free to say whatever they want right in front of your very eyes. You want the right to proseletyze and preach your own silly Mormon swill door to door and here on the Internet? Fine. I'll support your right to the death. But guess what: in America, folks get to camp outside your wardhouses and stakehouses and Temple Squares and proseletyze their silly swill and bullshit, and bring up all those deep dark skeletons about the Mormon church that you and the church leadership don't want anyone to know about....and to post details like temple ceremonies, or even (oh, horrors!) post pictures of your "sacred" underwear here on the Internet.

You can't have it both ways - otherwise you're into that pesky H-thing again.

If you do not doubt your own beliefs, what do you have to fear? If your underwear is really "sacred", some buffoon messing with it...or somebody merely posting a simple photo of it...ain't gonna affect any amazing magical qualities of your underwear, or anything it represents to you or anyone else. If your church is "true", what does it or you have to fear from dissent? Where does all that fear come from?

It is that very intolerance and fear of dissent...of openness...of inquiry....of truth itself...which so very clearly reveals the LDS church, and so many of its members.

Really, oissubke. This isn't another Nauvoo, where the brave founder of your religion (Joseph Smith) once bravely "tolerated" dissent by having his militia throw a newspaper's printing press in the river because that newspaper accurately reported his numerous little sexual escapades. This isn't 19th century Utah, where a wagon train of non-Mormons was "tolerated" into their graves (or where Mormons in Missouri were "tolerated" into similar graves). America isn't as narrow as the modern LDS church, where historians who publish anything that doesn't toe the official LDS party line are "tolerated" by being excommunicated and slandered, and where even Mormon scholars are denied access to (probably embarassing) LDS historical resources.

Yeah. That H-thing.

These anti-Mormon protesters are bigoted and ill-behaved and disrespectful.

And Mormons are reaping exactly what they themselves have sown.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 5:22 PM on October 11, 2003


Launching into all that personal invective
makes an otherwise good argument much less effective.
Because he has a certain faith doesn't make its history his fault,
so can't we just drop the personal assault?
posted by troybob at 5:42 PM on October 11, 2003


I think I just fell in love with f&m.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:59 PM on October 11, 2003


Geez foldy, next you're going to try and tell me that the Garden of Eden isn't REALLY in Jackson County, Missouri!
posted by reidfleming at 6:09 PM on October 11, 2003


This isn't 19th century Utah, where a wagon train of non-Mormons was "tolerated" into their graves

There's more background on this event in this article.
posted by homunculus at 6:26 PM on October 11, 2003


Why is it always the Christians who are so rude?

Good lord, man, have you been reading this thread, or any other where religion is discussed? Smug anti-religious loudmouths are as rude as they come, and they're common as dirt here on good old godless MeFi. I am not religious myself, but I wouldn't dream of deliberately mocking someone's beliefs because I find them ill-founded. I also wouldn't dream of forbidding such mocking; I'm free-speech to the bone. But mocking things doesn't make people sound nearly as cool, or as intelligent, as they seem to think it does.
posted by languagehat at 6:53 PM on October 11, 2003


I am not religious myself, but I wouldn't dream of deliberately mocking someone's beliefs because I find them ill-founded.

whose beliefs, specifically, do you find to be ill-founded?

But mocking things doesn't make people sound nearly as cool, or as intelligent, as they seem to think it does.

yes, that is the reason people criticize religion. meanwhile, you never hear religious types pin the blame of the eventual and inevitable downfall of mankind to secularism. (hey, you said I could berate you!)
posted by mcsweetie at 7:17 PM on October 11, 2003


I find it kind of amazing that it was a group of christians who mocked these mormons... I mean, the whole christian religion is based on martyrdom; it's weird that they'd want to taunt and victimize a different group. You'd think they'd notice the possible analogy.

Anyway, the protesters were obviously jerks. People believe weird and stupid things, and I don't think there's anything wrong with arguing, disagreeing, or even making sweeping judgments about those things when beliefs are professed, but there's no need to be the one to bring up the issue, and there's certainly no need to go stand in front of their church (or home or wherever) to make your point.

I've met a few people who were brought up mormons, one of whom lost her parents to AIDS because her father was in the closet while with the church and never protected himself or subsequently his wife... that was pretty sad. But people have those beliefs outside mormonism too.

The bizarre supernatural claims are less instantiated in our culture than those of christianity, and some of them seem a little more random / particular, but when it comes down to it, all religions are pretty strange leaps in the post-enlightenment / post-darwin world. But that's merely cause for civil discussion, if the believer is open for such discussions; making fun of people isn't going to make them employ reason more consistently.

And sometimes people just want to believe stuff, and you have to just get over it and let them. I totally understand the urge to get people to confront the inconsistencies in their beliefs, but just attacking belief structures is a bad way of doing it; teach critical thinking or philosophy or science or something, and get people to reflect on what they think, and pull themselves out.
posted by mdn at 8:07 PM on October 11, 2003


Er... what's "The 'H' Thing"?
posted by five fresh fish at 11:11 PM on October 11, 2003


hypocrisy, fff
posted by amberglow at 11:32 PM on October 11, 2003


... you'd have to admit nicwolff could predict the effect
of his post on a believer--a nasty slight, I think ...


Perhaps nicwolff thought that a person who used MetaFilter to pimp his religion might be open to opposing views, however disrespectful they might be. Turnabout is fair play.
posted by rcade at 7:33 AM on October 12, 2003


mcsweetie: Absolutely, you have continuing berating rights!

whose beliefs, specifically, do you find to be ill-founded?

All religious beliefs that depend on some omnipotent deity. Those that simply have a code of morality, not so much, but you could say those are more philosophies than religions. At any rate, my point is that most people have beliefs or attitudes that I don't think are solidly based or deserve to be taken seriously for their own sake—but I don't consider myself the final arbiter of all that is right and good, I'm fully aware that other people consider some of my own beliefs ill founded (anarchism, anyone?), and I was brought up not to make fun of the way people look or the things they believe. (I do, however, feel free to mock people for making bad posts on MeFi, since nobody's forcing them to post at all and it seems to be one way of helping people make better posts.)

you never hear religious types pin the blame of the eventual and inevitable downfall of mankind to secularism

Ah, the famous "But Johnny did it first!" argument. C'mon, mcsweetie, if Johnny Religious jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?
posted by languagehat at 8:00 AM on October 12, 2003


Good lord, man, have you been reading this thread, or any other where religion is discussed? Smug anti-religious loudmouths are as rude as they come, and they're common as dirt here on good old godless MeFi.

I wasn't talking about MeFi, I was talking about Real Life™ in the Big Blue Room™.

I have never -- never -- been accosted in a public place by a Hindu (despite the Hare Krishna stereotype), a Jew (Jews4Jesus don't count), a Buddhist, follower of Shinto, Wiccan, Taoist, Sikh, or Muslim.

Nor have I ever -- ever -- had any of the above knock on my door during dinner (ignoring the "No Soliciting" sign) to try to "save" me from my heathen ways.

In face-to-face conversation, these folks have been, generally, polite and circumspect about their beliefs even when questioned or mildly challenged.

Christians in general and some denominations in particular (which I include Mormons in) however -- they come to my door, they accost me in public, they have been rude in conversation, and they tend to react poorly when questioned or mildly challenged in face-to-face conversation.

That's my experience. My question has been, and is, what is it about Christianity that makes people this way (or attracts them)?
posted by Cerebus at 8:23 AM on October 12, 2003


I have never -- never -- been accosted in a public place by a Hindu (despite the Hare Krishna stereotype), a Jew (Jews4Jesus don't count), a Buddhist, follower of Shinto, Wiccan, Taoist, Sikh, or Muslim.
Since your profile says you live in Texas, Cerebus, I doubt all those groups combined make up even 10% of the people you interact with, with much of the remainder being christians. This doesn't necessarily invalidate your point, since some religions are more evangelical and in-your-face than others, but it does somewhat weaken it.
posted by kickingtheground at 9:48 AM on October 12, 2003


C'mon, mcsweetie, if Johnny Religious jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?

it depends on whether or not there was a river of orange jello beneath me. but the point is, I'm sure many folks would love to live and let-live but the loudest shit-stirrerers aren't the anti-religious types.
posted by mcsweetie at 10:16 AM on October 12, 2003


well, i can second Cerebus' statement--I live in NYC and have my whole life--I have never been accosted by any members of those religions either. (and we have plenty of all religions represented here)

mcsweet: orange jello?
posted by amberglow at 10:20 AM on October 12, 2003


Well, off the top of my head, the Jewish Lubavitcher Chasidic does, err, recruit fairly heavily, but largely only among non-Lubavitch Jews (conversion to Judaism is quite complex and difficult, but switching affiliations within Judaism is pretty trivial). They do tend to be fairly polite and reasonable about it, however, and I've never heard of them going door-to-door. They do, however, pass out pamphlets at Ben-Gurion airport and the like.

And, of course, the Hara-Krishnas (although I've never run into them personally).
posted by kickingtheground at 10:33 AM on October 12, 2003


We Jews certainly have been known to proselytize to each other, which is just as irritating as Christian evangelism, but bear in mind that we still tend to discourage rather than encourage converts. Besides, quite a few observant Jews believe that it's easier to achieve salvation in another religion--that "Chosen People" thing is all about God choosing to make our lives harder :)
posted by thomas j wise at 10:39 AM on October 12, 2003


I've never had any other Jewish person try to make me more or differently Jewish...I see those Lubavitcher RVs on the street a lot, too, but no one is accosting people that i've ever seen. I always thought they just parked somewhere and waited for someone curious to walk in.

I feel kinda left out--maybe i don't look Jewish? ; >
posted by amberglow at 10:51 AM on October 12, 2003


I'm seeing the word "Christian" used here as if it had something to do with the Mormon religion. It certainly does not.

The Mormon religion is wholly non-Christian. It postulates multiple gods, with no trinity. They do believe Christ was the child of God, and did die for salvation.

In other words, Mormonism is about as Christian as Islam. They draw from much of the same historical texts, but with a completely different and incompatible interpretation.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:53 AM on October 12, 2003


I feel kinda left out--maybe i don't look Jewish?
Maybe you should stop wandering around dressed like this.
posted by kickingtheground at 10:56 AM on October 12, 2003


The Mormon religion is wholly non-Christian. It postulates multiple gods, with no trinity.
so Mormons are pagan? who are the other gods?

(you caught me, kicking, but forgot the horse)
posted by amberglow at 11:13 AM on October 12, 2003


oissbuke doesn't seem opposed to opposition;
I've seen him debate rather than just preach and run.
But the garment picture wasn't posted to state a position;
it's intention was clearly to point and make fun.

As for being accosted, I'm with amberglow.
In SF, they never even stop to tell me 'hello.'
(And I don't think I've ever had orange jello.)
posted by troybob at 11:19 AM on October 12, 2003


When I saw the pictures that nicwolff posted, my first thought was "Man, that guy did some serious crotch-padding."
posted by nath at 11:29 AM on October 12, 2003


quite a sight;
rhyming in every post.
Troybob, I delight!
you are the most! : >

posted by amberglow at 11:32 AM on October 12, 2003


I hope the rhyming doesn't become banal,
but thanks for being sweet--aren't you a doll!
LOL!

posted by troybob at 11:44 AM on October 12, 2003


so Mormons are pagan? who are the other gods?

I believe the theory is that we're "non-Christian" because we regard the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost as three separate individuals, rather than as a single entity.

We do believe, though, that they act with a shared will and intent. An elder once explained it to me by saying that it was kind of like the A-Team -- Different skills, talents, and abilities working together seamlessly to achieve a common goal. :-)

So we don't make any claims about being monotheistic. That tends to rub monotheistic Christians the wrong way, of course, and most aren't willing to share the title of "Christian" with us for that reason.
posted by oissubke at 11:58 AM on October 12, 2003


oissbuke doesn't seem opposed to opposition;

Curse of being LDS with Discordian tendencies. :-)
posted by oissubke at 11:59 AM on October 12, 2003


thanks, oissubke...(i never got that whole 3-in-1 thing anyway) : >
posted by amberglow at 12:14 PM on October 12, 2003


I'm sorry the picture to which I linked upset your wife, oissuibke. I wasn't trying to be mean, and I really didn't understand the degree to which Mormons consider the underwear private.

That said, you have to accept that non-believers are going to find the magic-underwear thing notably ridiculous. The Christian evangelists who mock Mormons are horrifying hypocrites and I will mock them in turn and in time; but I posted the link to the underwear photo to express this sentiment: "You believe what?!"

Certainly, it's not my responsibility to research all the world's religions so I know just what will hurtfully offend someone out there; neither should I be asked to avoid posting in discussions of religion. The onus, then, must fall on the religious to be careful not to see more than they can bear, and to steel themselves when they discourse with the worldly.
posted by nicwolff at 12:50 PM on October 12, 2003


I see those Lubavitcher RVs on the street a lot, too, but no one is accosting people that i've ever seen. I always thought they just parked somewhere and waited for someone curious to walk in. I feel kinda left out--maybe i don't look Jewish?

Maybe not. I don't "look Jewish," but I do go around in hat and beard, which I guess makes me enough of a possibility that the MitzvahMobile types occasionally holler "Excuse me, are you Jewish?" at me as I pass. If you stop, they urge upon you the use of tfillin. Which I have no problem with—tfillin are cool, and if I were Jewish I might wear them—but they definitely do accost people.
posted by languagehat at 1:00 PM on October 12, 2003


Since your profile says you live in Texas, Cerebus, I doubt all those groups combined make up even 10% of the people you interact with, with much of the remainder being christians.

Don't assume. I grew up in Upstate NY, and have lived there, Maine, Boston, Cincinnati, and Chicago. I've also travelled around a goodly part of the rest of the US.

Well, off the top of my head, the Jewish Lubavitcher Chasidic does, err, recruit fairly heavily, but largely only among non-Lubavitch Jews [...]

I can state without qualification that Chabad Lubavitch (by far the more aggressive Hasidic sect) recruits only among Jews. My experience of the Lubavitchers is generally positive in that regard also; I've never known one be actually rude.

Which brings me back to my original question-- What is it about Christianity that creates (or attracts) people with fewer manners than other religions?

I wonder if perhaps ROU_Xenophobe isn't correct: it doesn't matter to them if they are successful or not-- all that matters is that they be seen doing it. In other words, it's an ego stroke, mental (or spiritual) masturbation, a way to raise their status amongst their brethren. A kind of a holy roller cold-calling contest, if you will.
posted by Cerebus at 1:45 PM on October 12, 2003


I can state without qualification that Chabad Lubavitch (by far the more aggressive Hasidic sect) recruits only among Jews.
Well, they're trying to grab languagehat, aren't they? Seriously, they are definitely aimed at other jews, although they're not above explaining their faith to th passing christian who's curious, or giving them a pamphlet (they're not, however, actively trying to convert him).
What is it about Christianity that creates (or attracts) people with fewer manners than other religions?
I had an Evangelical teacher in HS once, who explained it along these lines: they, apparently, honestly believe that they don't convert us, we will go to eternal hellfire. Further, they believe this is obvious, and if they point this out enough, we'll snap into out senses, realize the obvoius truth, and be saved. From their point of view then, aggressive proselyting is an act of mercy. Other religions, on the other hand, tend to have less of a do-or-die view of things.
posted by kickingtheground at 2:14 PM on October 12, 2003


Which brings me back to my original question-- What is it about Christianity that creates (or attracts) people with fewer manners than other religions?

"Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age." (Matthew 28:19–20).

However, is there a religion whose adherents behave mannerly when are the overwhelming majority? I think I'd prefer to be harrassed by pushy evangelical dolts than to deal with, say, sharia.
posted by rcade at 3:24 PM on October 12, 2003


From their point of view then, aggressive proselyting is an act of mercy.

But isn't it obviously counter-productive to be aggressive to the point of being rude? I can state pretty confidently that no matter what the message is, if it's delivered rudely it's not going to be heard. People are just like that.

That leaves us with the idea that proselytizing is more about masturbation than conversion.

However, is there a religion whose adherents behave mannerly when are the overwhelming majority?

An argument for polytheism; no-one is in the majority then. 8)
posted by Cerebus at 5:56 PM on October 12, 2003


An elder once explained it to me by saying that it was kind of like the A-Team

I worship Murdoch.
posted by nyxxxx at 6:39 PM on October 12, 2003


Certainly, it's not my responsibility to research all the world's religions so I know just what will hurtfully offend someone out there; neither should I be asked to avoid posting in discussions of religion. The onus, then, must fall on the religious to be careful not to see more than they can bear, and to steel themselves when they discourse with the worldly.

Well said, and point taken. :-)
posted by oissubke at 7:52 PM on October 12, 2003


It should be noted that these heckling street preachers are few and far between. They are just really, really loud. I know plenty of Christians who regularly preach/witness/share in a manner far different. It would be an inappropriate overgeneralization to caricature Baptists or Christians this way.

While it is certainly Christ-like to be loving, respectful, and considerate, it is Christ-like on Biblical terms, not the world's. Love for God and love for man does not entirely preclude the mocking of false gods.

I love Mormons dearly in my heart, and pray for their salvation (Romans 9:30-10:4), and it would be only proper to communicate the seriousness of the matter: All others gods than Jehovah-Yahweh-Adonai-Jesus-Christ are fake, including the weak god of Mormonism. Only the Almighty Creator is worthy of worship!

And they took the bull that was given them, and they prepared it and called upon the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, "O Baal, answer us!" But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they limped around the altar that they had made. And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, "Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened." 1 Kings 18:26-17


Take care,

Aaron
posted by aaronshaf at 9:26 AM on October 13, 2003


What is it about Christianity that creates (or attracts) people with fewer manners than other religions?

Because Christianity has a terribly powerful meme that ensures its viral spread: you must actively save/convert others to ensure your place in heaven.

Do a google for "christianity conversion meme." It brings up some great thesis works on the first page.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:08 AM on October 13, 2003


All others gods than Jehovah-Yahweh-Adonai-Jesus-Christ are fake, including the weak god of Mormonism. Only the Almighty Creator is worthy of worship!

See, this is exactly what I was talking about. Condescending, insulting and rude, all in one go.
posted by Cerebus at 10:19 AM on October 13, 2003


I assumed he was being facetious...
posted by five fresh fish at 10:49 AM on October 13, 2003


If only.
posted by soyjoy at 11:30 AM on October 13, 2003


Aaron seems pretty genuine to me, Fish.
posted by rcade at 11:31 AM on October 13, 2003


I worship Murdoch.

Rupert doesn't need any more followers...
posted by inpHilltr8r at 12:01 PM on October 13, 2003


All others gods than Jehovah-Yahweh-Adonai-Jesus-Christ are fake, including the weak god of Mormonism.

how do you know?
posted by mcsweetie at 1:10 PM on October 13, 2003


Silly. Jehovah-Yahweh-Adonai-Jesus-Christ told him so.
posted by soyjoy at 1:23 PM on October 13, 2003


Whaddya know. I wonder how often his religious fervour is mistaken as mocking of religious extremists.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:22 PM on October 13, 2003


I love that he tries to use the old testament to justify abusive behavior by Christians.

Besides, shouldn't that be "the weak gods of Mormonism?"
posted by NortonDC at 3:55 PM on October 13, 2003


oissubke: these Mormon posts of yours often feel like viral marketing to me, and I sense that others feel this way also. I don't know that you're really promoting the church all that much by doing this.

note: I am an active member of the lds church.

addendum: the first rule of the LDS temple is, "don't talk about the LDS temple." Hence the offensiveness of the garment pictures. I realize that doesn't seem normal or fair to anyone, but think of a private, personal conversation with a loved one being secretly taped and stuck on Kazaa.

That is all.
posted by mecran01 at 4:25 PM on October 13, 2003


I really wanna know though! one thing that's always bothered me about religion is how do you know the one you're in to is the only true one? did you try different ones until one fit or what? do you ever get worried that maybe you've picked the wrong one?

addendum: the first rule of the LDS temple is, "don't talk about the LDS temple."

why?
posted by mcsweetie at 4:37 PM on October 13, 2003


What's the second rule?
posted by homunculus at 5:11 PM on October 13, 2003


I really wanna know though! one thing that's always bothered me about religion is how do you know the one you're in to is the only true one?

You don't know, mcsweet, until you die, i think--but some people need to believe that they're in the only "true one" to be happy. Others of us realize that it's a big world, with all different sorts of people believing all different sorts of things, or no things at all, and like weston said above, it's all good unless it hurts people. : >
posted by amberglow at 6:01 PM on October 13, 2003


Well, you can dig up the whole darn ceremony on the net if you want. Talking about it outside the temple is like taking a starfish home from the beach. Something gets lost out of context.

The second rule is: never tell outsiders the second rule.

One of the principles of the LDS faith is that not all truth is found within the church. How you interpret that is up to you. I've learned a lot from Buddhism and lit theory, some of it "true."

I can't imagine God punishing anyone who is honestly searching for the truth, regardless of their formal or informal belief system.
posted by mecran01 at 6:23 PM on October 13, 2003


You don't know, mcsweet, until you die, i think-

and since you're probably dead after you die, you probably never get to actually "know" what the deal is... I sometimes wonder though, if someone was a baptist and they died and ended up in some kind of supernature (say, outside the matrix) and the greeter there told them, well, the mormons were right, would they just acquiesce and go along with it because the god seemed powerful, or would they stick to their faith and assume that this was the devil, or a test, or something? I could imagine that people in heaven (or whatever you want to call it) would have religions just as partisan and absolute as those on earth, regarding what the third level of reality would be.

If I were god, and by god, I just mean some kind of hyperintelligent alien who created a simulation world a la ACClarke, I would probably play some games like that on people who seemed overly self-righteous. Just for kicks. I guess it'd get pretty boring especially if I were hyperintelligent and all, but...

I thought aaron was joking the first few times I came across his posts, too, but he's pretty consistent, so I've come to accept that he actually believes what he claims.
posted by mdn at 6:25 PM on October 13, 2003


If I were god, and by god, I just mean some kind of hyperintelligent alien who created a simulation world a la ACClarke, I would probably play some games like that on people who seemed overly self-righteous. Just for kicks. I guess it'd get pretty boring especially if I were hyperintelligent and all, but...
That would be hysterical! (except not for the person being played, of course)

I was reminded of how South Park portrays heaven--it's only Mormons doing crafts and things ; >
posted by amberglow at 7:49 PM on October 13, 2003


One of the principles of the LDS faith is that not all truth is found within the church.
That's very cool, mecran--is that the second rule?
posted by amberglow at 7:54 PM on October 13, 2003


That's very cool, mecran--is that the second rule?

It's not a "rule" as such, but I agree with mecran about that principle.

To the casual outside observer, the LDS church appears to be rule-based. It's not. In fact, the church often specifically goes out of its way not to set rules, but to give guidelines and leave specific interpretations up to personal revelation. If you want answers, pray about it and get them, don't just ask the church what you should do. It's very much based on personal interpretation of principles rather than on mindless regulations.

Re: that Aaron guy -- If I recall correctly, he's put quite a bit of effort into protesting (he'd call it "helping") Mormons himself. I think he talks about it on his website (his old one, at least).

Re: A post I made some time ago with various LDS links in it. See MeTa discussion here. In a nutshell, I was still learning what was considered a proper post here, and I missed the mark on that one.
posted by oissubke at 10:44 PM on October 13, 2003


but what about what's-her-name from Real World in New Orleans? Julie?
posted by amberglow at 10:52 PM on October 13, 2003


Julie has been put in a special scrapbooking re-education camp. She seems much happier now.

Ouijasubke, you need to tell them about the iron-rodder/liahona debate. Or not.

But seriously, what it comes down to is

--how do you know what is true?

If that question can only be answered on purely empirical/materialist grounds, then the argument is over.

I am starting to sound like Ouijasubke, so I will stop now.
posted by mecran01 at 9:24 AM on October 14, 2003


If that question can only be answered on purely empirical/materialist grounds, then the argument is over.

what other grounds are there? it seems counter-intuitive to base something like "truth" on anything else.

but my question wasn't whether or not any one religion is verifiable, it was how do you know you've chosen the right one? why is Mormonism true, but Buddhism isn't?
posted by mcsweetie at 10:27 AM on October 14, 2003


anybody?
posted by mcsweetie at 5:34 PM on October 15, 2003


because they said so? ; >
posted by amberglow at 5:48 PM on October 15, 2003


Hey, keep Buddhism out of it. That's the one religion that doesn't claim to have the truth. We just do it 'cause it feels good.
posted by dness2 at 6:15 PM on October 15, 2003


I'll cut to the chase.

I suspect that the "choice" of faith many of you have is mostly the result of chance and other faiths are rejected not because you had a bad personal experience with them or your study of their doctrine did not appeal to your sensibilities or because in the practice therefore you didn't feel a closeness to whatever deity, but because they weren't the slimiest doctrine you were hit with first (or coerced into by your relatives). over time you've managed to secure your positions with the benefit of false positives and the cajoling of your religious brotherhood.
posted by mcsweetie at 7:01 AM on October 16, 2003


but mcsweet, a lot of people do change faiths, sometimes more than once, for all sorts of reasons. Also, many faiths have more leeway and flexibility built into it than someone outside it may realize.
posted by amberglow at 8:19 AM on October 16, 2003


I know, I'm not raggin' on all religious folks.
posted by mcsweetie at 10:02 AM on October 16, 2003


Very few people change faiths. Few people go from Christian to Jew, Jew to Buddhist, Buddhist to Raelian.

Most of the "faith-changing" is just finessing of the same faith: from Catholic to United to Evangel to Lutheran.

IMO.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:05 AM on October 16, 2003


I know at least a dozen people who have gone either Catholic-Jewish or vice-versa, (usually for love) and Jewish-Buddhist, and tons of people who went from everything to Unitarian.
I don't think it's that rare...this says that up to 1/3 of americans switch.

and is Catholic and Evangelical or Fundamentalist (or Mormon) really the same faith? It seems like jesus is the only thing in common. I think if they don't think of each other as the same faith, they aren't.
posted by amberglow at 10:21 AM on October 16, 2003


Here's a (nominal) Jew who went Buddhist bigtime, for all the good it's done me.

I may be alone amongst my fellow practitioners, in that I'm a bad Buddhist. Normally, you have to be raised in a faith to be as bad at it as I am at Buddhism, but there you go. (Maybe that's the Jew in me.)
posted by adamgreenfield at 2:03 PM on October 17, 2003


adam : >
But can you be a bad Buddhist? what do you have to do--or not do--wrong?
posted by amberglow at 2:34 PM on October 17, 2003


I have a hard time restraining myself from expressing opinions like, "Mormonism is among the most absurd and transparently stupid of all Earth's already quite sufficiently stupid religions," and like that.

This is what makes me a piss-poor poster child for such a lovely tradition as Buddhism, which should be held blameless for my conduct.
posted by adamgreenfield at 3:11 PM on October 17, 2003


ahh... (i see, said the blind man)
posted by amberglow at 4:24 PM on October 17, 2003


I know at least a dozen people who have gone either Catholic-Jewish or vice-versa, (usually for love) and Jewish-Buddhist, and tons of people who went from everything to Unitarian.

well, you probably run with a more enlightened crowd than most!
posted by mcsweetie at 5:00 PM on October 17, 2003


of course! I run with you! : >
posted by amberglow at 9:16 PM on October 17, 2003


shoot, I'm runnin' with amberglow 'til my legs give out!
posted by mcsweetie at 9:51 PM on October 17, 2003


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