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The rise of a new generation of Mormons [non-gated] - Many of the most successful US professionals are also members of the world's youngest major religion, which is being embraced by the elite in spite of its reputation. (via mr)
posted by kliuless (189 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
I read that as a new generation of Morons.

.
posted by Balisong at 9:45 AM on July 18, 2010 [15 favorites]


i thought Scientology was younger and was way more successful at money laundering for the Hollywood elite ... in spite of its reputation.
posted by liza at 9:55 AM on July 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


A religion that says you will become a god over your own universe in the next life appeals to "successful US professionals" aka egotistical self centered people. Color me unsurprised.
posted by msbutah at 9:55 AM on July 18, 2010 [17 favorites]


Well they snagged Glenn Beck so they must be very important, intellectual, and caring.
posted by Postroad at 9:55 AM on July 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


The angel Moroni sayeth: This is not a cult.
posted by Xurando at 9:58 AM on July 18, 2010


Under the Banner of Heaven is heavily recommended for anyone wanting to know more about Mormons (or for people to spot bits that got lifted for Big Love), and yeah, it's a cult.
posted by Artw at 10:03 AM on July 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


My testimony is that Joseph Smith was a con artist.

(My husband used to be a Mormon. Don't even get him started on all the things wrong with Mormon theology.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 10:06 AM on July 18, 2010 [11 favorites]


A religion that says you will become a god over your own universe in the next life appeals to "successful US professionals" aka egotistical self centered people. Color me unsurprised.

Sure sure, but the article is about people who were born into the religion. So perhaps better to say "Religion and associated education system that emphasize obedience and hard work to the detriment of introspection and creativity is successful at creating corporate cogs"

BTW - Mormon guy I used to know mention one time that LDS members had the highest median SAT score. He was a bit chagrin when I pointed out that if you decreased the N required for the analysis Unitarian's crushed the Mormons. (lets not turn this into a discussion of why though)
posted by JPD at 10:08 AM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


mentioned and chagrined. Evidently unitarians don't do so well with proof reading
posted by JPD at 10:09 AM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just read it in at MormonTimes instead, for free.
posted by Brian B. at 10:09 AM on July 18, 2010


Mormon Times is like Medieval Times, except instead of jousting and giant chicken legs, there's genealogy and Jello salad.
posted by box at 10:17 AM on July 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Know why cynical leaders of industry would want Mormons? They're completely non-cynical. They're raised to not question a recent, demonstrably false holy text and not question directives from their superiors.

If you're looking for someone who's educated enough to be competent, and is trained to do your bidding, be wholly devoted to your objectives without full explanation, and never question the ethics or repercussions, you want a Mormon.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:17 AM on July 18, 2010 [42 favorites]


and no wonder: about half of BYU students are married when they graduate. A professor who asked not to be named says: “Being married, perhaps already having a family, makes you more serious about life. It’s OK to tell your parents your grades aren’t good, but try explaining it to your spouse.”

They don't drink, they don't smoke pot, they don't fuck until marriage and they get married right out of college? How the hell are we suppose to keep with this? If they want the boardrooms that bad they can keep it, they're not enjoying the benefits of it anyway.
posted by geoff. at 10:19 AM on July 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


You're being invaded by the 1800s via the 50s.
posted by Artw at 10:21 AM on July 18, 2010 [13 favorites]


How odd, I thought Mormons actively discouraged higher education in favor of starting young families and going on missions. Are these people forgoing sex altogether or geting married then going to law school?

I'm interested because in my ex religion I was considered totally old maid at 20. I thought Mormons were more or less the same, or is there a new liberal Mormon generation whose parents made money in physical labour then paid out for university? If so they're going way more mainstream than JWs have managed.
posted by shinybaum at 10:24 AM on July 18, 2010


That took me a long time to type, I see the answer above.

My testimony is that Joseph Smith was a con artist.

The bloke that started the JWs was a convicted scam artist. There's a million excuses for ignoring that and not a single active JW that cares. I'd imagine it's the same for mormons.
posted by shinybaum at 10:28 AM on July 18, 2010


Mormons are a diverse set of people with diverse personalities and are not all brainwashed freaks. Offensive, incorrect, negative stereotypes against groups of people are for idiots.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:28 AM on July 18, 2010 [24 favorites]


...which is being embraced by the elite in spite of its reputation.

You mean its reputation for having members who are clean-living, hard-working, charitable, and trustworthy?
posted by MarshallPoe at 10:33 AM on July 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


My testimony is that Joseph Smith was a con artist.

I'm just gonna quote from Paul.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
The man who founded the Christian Church never met Christ when he was alive. He claims he was visited by him after death only. I don't think anything Joseph Smith said was more absurd than this.
posted by empath at 10:34 AM on July 18, 2010 [24 favorites]


What I'm saying is that if you aren't a con artist, you're pretty unlikely to start a religion.
posted by empath at 10:34 AM on July 18, 2010 [44 favorites]


How odd, I thought Mormons actively discouraged higher education in favor of starting young families and going on missions. Are these people forgoing sex altogether or geting married then going to law school?

Every young Mormon I've ever known has gone to college (admittedly a relatively small sample, but definitely non-zero thanks to this nearby behemoth). Most of them went to BYU, but I knew a handful of practicing Mormons at Tufts. In the BYU subset, it seemed common to get married around age 20 (while still in college or immediately after graduation) for women, and a bit older (post-mission) for men. That meant that one partner-- the man-- was old enough to support his wife and any kids that happened along via his high-paying corporate job. Education definitely seemed to be a strong value for the Mormons I've known, although they were upper-middle-class, urban Mormons and maybe not representative of the entire US population.
posted by oinopaponton at 10:40 AM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Mormon religion isn't any more or less wacky than any of the other major religions, and their followers tend to be remarkably nice people. If you observe pretty much any religion and are giving Mormons a hard time about the legitimacy of their system of mythology, you should probably take a step back and take a good look at your own beliefs.
posted by mullingitover at 10:42 AM on July 18, 2010 [17 favorites]


Also, BYU's tuition is incredibly cheap if you're LDS, so it's not like families have to take out enormous loans to send their kids there, or like kids have to delay having families because of crushing debt after graduation.
posted by oinopaponton at 10:43 AM on July 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


The comments in this thread so far are disappointing. You guys talk like you don't know any Mormons.
posted by Nelson at 10:44 AM on July 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


One day I found a cute style blog run by a young, married woman who happened to be Mormon. Then I clicked on some of her links, and quickly realized that they were all successful style/design/mommy blogs written by mormons. That was a strange rabbit hole to fall down.
posted by pinky at 10:44 AM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


The man who founded the Christian Church never met Christ when he was alive. He claims he was visited by him after death only. I don't think anything Joseph Smith said was more absurd than this.

Yeah, but that was like, a long time ago, so whatever he had to say was probably true!
posted by King Bee at 10:45 AM on July 18, 2010 [9 favorites]


Also, BYU's tuition is incredibly cheap if you're LDS,
posted by shinybaum at 10:45 AM on July 18, 2010


I thought Mormons actively discouraged higher education in favor of starting young families and going on missions.

Well, they certainly are encouraged to start young families and go on missions; while I can't speak to the actual proclamations of their Prophets re: higher education, the fact that Bringham Young University exists would seem to suggest the opposite of what you'd thought.

Now, the Amish, on the other hand, will disown their children for registering at a community college. Maybe that's who you were thinking of?
posted by Sys Rq at 10:46 AM on July 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


You guys talk like you don't know any Mormons.

I know mathematicians who are Mormon. A mathematician who doesn't drink coffee? That's going to seem a bit weird to us non-Mormon mathematicians.
posted by King Bee at 10:47 AM on July 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oops, I quoted without the rest of it, sorry.

This explains a lot though, I had no idea they subsidised their own and I can definitely see how it works as a strategy, both financially and for the whole religion. Now I'm wondering if evangelical colleges do the same.
posted by shinybaum at 10:48 AM on July 18, 2010


Now, the Amish, on the other hand, will disown their children for registering at a community college. Maybe that's who you were thinking of?

No I was definitely thinking of Mormons. I didn't think higher education was banned so much as discouraged like it is in other religions. And I'm not disparaging anyone, JWs have their own school/bethels and I'd thought BYU might be like that. Obviously I was wrong.
posted by shinybaum at 10:51 AM on July 18, 2010


Mormons are a diverse set of people with diverse personalities and are not all brainwashed freaks. Offensive, incorrect, negative stereotypes against groups of people are for idiots.

nearly 20 comments deep before before a reminder of sensible discourse enters the picture.
When will mefi phase out knee-jerk hate?

I know many amazing people who happen to be Mormons. I also know a few crazies who are Mormon. My anecdotal evidence suggests the ratio to be nearly identical to the population at large. I have no particular love of Mormonism, but if one derives happiness from practicing this particular brand at no expense to their neighbor, what business is it of ours? None. Live and let live.
posted by archivist at 10:53 AM on July 18, 2010 [12 favorites]


I spent a few months one time working on a research project run by two BYU professors. About half or more of the crew were LDS, (though a couple were not in good standing).

Very nice people.

Very whacked out religion IMO.

See everyone in the town hated Joseph Smith, because he couldn't decide which denomination he wanted to join up with. And so, one day, he's out in the woods hunting for buried treasure, dwelling on how everyone in town is against him, and SPARKLE SPARKLE SPARKLE here comes the angel Moroni with the golden plates with the book of Mormon written on them. Written in a script no one but him can understand, AND, taken away and hidden once he "translated" them. Isn't that convenient? And not sounding like a clinical description of paranoid schizophrenia or anything...
posted by Windopaene at 10:54 AM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


The comments in this thread so far are disappointing. You guys talk like you don't know any Mormons.
I do - in my experience they're weird and mundane in pretty equal proportions to the rest of the population. One is an anti-premarital sex crusader. One is a backslidden indi music fan. Another screwed a client of mine over by lying to him for a few months and never delivering on a contract. Another bootstrapped a job placement assistance group that helped train my father-in-law after he fell on hard times.

There are a couple of different lines of thought that seem to be tangling in this post's discussion. One is the Mormon Church's theology and legitimacy, and one's own opinions about the church and its believers based on those factors. Another thread is the political aspect of the Mormon Church -- it's had a tumultuous relationship with the government for a long time, and it really isn't shocking that they see being part of government as important, but their presence in the conservative coalition is fascinating given the antagonism that other members of the coalition have always held towards them. Finally there's the purely social/sociological aspects of Mormon culture that many posters are fascinated and/or wigged out by.

When these different aspects of the conversation get tangled up or conflated, it seems to be a lot easier for things to turn flamey.
posted by verb at 10:55 AM on July 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


You mean its reputation for having members who are clean-living, hard-working, charitable, and trustworthy?

The last one is hotly disputed in the Western US.
posted by Brian B. at 10:55 AM on July 18, 2010


The Mormon religion isn't any more or less wacky than any of the other major religions

It's completely secretive. Secret rites (based on Smith's experience with Freemasonry), and non-Mormons aren't even allowed to attend basic functions like weddings of church members. This is more in line with a cult than a mainstream religion.

There's lots more evidence for "more wacky," but people get pissed off if you post the whole list. I'll leave it at that because I think it's egregious enough.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:56 AM on July 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


Mormans.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:58 AM on July 18, 2010


I have no particular love of Mormonism, but if one derives happiness from practicing this particular brand at no expense to their neighbor, what business is it of ours?

The Mormon hatred of gay people certainly affects others.
posted by andoatnp at 10:58 AM on July 18, 2010 [24 favorites]


weirdly strait-laced at best, cultish at worst

Having oddly spent my wild high schools with a (not remotely "wild") Mormon for a best friend, spending nights at her house and occasionally being dragged to her church activities, I couldn't agree with this more. After five years of having a second, Mormon family, she cut off all contact with me abruptly a year into her studies at BYU. I am no longer a great fan of Mormonism, and find that quote remarkably accurate.

While there are exceptions to every rule, the Mormons I met reminded me of strange, Stepford creatures: unceasingly perky beings with identical, perfect haircuts (she would joke about the "Mormon haircut"), an obsession with marriage and a complete lack of critical thinking. They're trained to never cross-examine the tenets of Mormonism, and that breeds a very scary lack of self-awareness.

Mormons are a diverse set of people with diverse personalities and are not all brainwashed freaks. Offensive, incorrect, negative stereotypes against groups of people are for idiots.

Sure. I met lovely Mormons, many of whom were intelligent, smart people, and not remotely brain-washed. But there is an undeniably strange set of beliefs and restrictions that create an odd culture that encourages a lack of critical thinking, and that culture fits in well with the corporate ethos.

How odd, I thought Mormons actively discouraged higher education in favor of starting young families and going on missions. Are these people forgoing sex altogether or geting married then going to law school?

I remember sitting around the dinner table with my best friend, her father, and my best friend's (non-Mormon) boyfriend. Her father attended business school two years after graduation (from BYU, although he went to another, secular, prestigious business school). He was already married with one child at that point. He talked about how he didn't understand how people without families and children could get through law school. Higher education without a family seemed like a blatant sin to him, and his lack of respect for single adults seemed incredibly demeaning. He didn't want his wife to work while he was in school (she still doesn't work). The entire monologue seemed both misogynist and virulently opposed to non-Mormons I lost a lot of respect for him that night.

But it is important to see how those opinions and that culture can breed very, very good lawyers, businessmen and politicians. Having settled down that early, any typical post-college wild-child behaviors are quickly eliminated or hidden. They can climb the corporate ladder very quickly. And it's true, they are unfailingly polite — a good quality in business culture.

After preview, I'd like to add that some things about their religion are weird but irrelevant. Not drinking caffeine? I'm not going to judge them for that, although visiting BYU and having the college kids go out and buy cases of Mountain Dew and drink it like it was alcohol (and act like it had been afterwards) was a strange experience, as were the looks I received in the SLC airport after ordering a triple-shot cappuccino. I'd like to emphasize that I don't dislike Mormons, and I really like a lot of them — but there are a lot of odd qualities to their religion that encourage a culture that, to me, seems very Stepford and whitewashed. For some Mormons, I feel like you have to get to know them much better before you can understand what really makes them an individual — other people are more likely to wear that on their shoulder.

The Mormon religion isn't any more or less wacky than any of the other major religions.

Yes, the Mormon religion is far, far more wacky than most of the mainstream religions, especially the "big three." I'm not religious myself, but having studied various ones extensively in college, Mormonism is out there with Jehovah's Witnesses and Scientology. However, being LDS is mainstream, and the others aren't as much (well, JW is to an extent).
posted by good day merlock at 11:00 AM on July 18, 2010 [25 favorites]


Know why cynical leaders of industry would want Mormons? They're completely non-cynical. They're raised to not question a recent, demonstrably false holy text and not question directives from their superiors.

If you're looking for someone who's educated enough to be competent, and is trained to do your bidding, be wholly devoted to your objectives without full explanation, and never question the ethics or repercussions, you want a Mormon.
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:17 PM on July 18 [6 favorites +] [!]



If you're looking for someone who's educated enough to be competent, and is trained to do your bidding, be wholly devoted to your objectives without full explanation, and never question the ethics or repercussions, you want a Roman Catholic. There, fixed that for you.
posted by Gungho at 11:01 AM on July 18, 2010


Yes, the Mormon religion is far, far more wacky than most of the mainstream religions, especially the "big three."

I'm sorry, but the Bible is full of ridiculous, fantastical easily disprovable nonsense from beginning to end. If you're going to allow that as your baseline, then I think anything goes.
posted by empath at 11:04 AM on July 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


I'm sorry, but the Bible is full of ridiculous, fantastical easily disprovable nonsense from beginning to end. If you're going to allow that as your baseline, then I think anything goes.

Never said Christianity didn't have fucked-up beliefs — but Mormonism believes these and adds extensively to them. So, saying they're wackier is perfectly excused.
posted by good day merlock at 11:08 AM on July 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


In the case of Mormons, I DON'T hate the players, but I do hate the game.

UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVEN by John Krakauer and Martha Beck's LEAVING THE SAINTS both examine the LDS church (and Krakauer goes into the FLDS sects) from the inside out. Krakauer retells Joesph Smith's shady history, and Beck gives the behind the scenes look at one of the LDS' chief apologists, her father.

I have a Mormon cousin (converted as an adult) and have had Mormon friends. I feel equally as bad for them as I do for anyone deluded by religion, modern or ancient. You have to admire their organizational skillz, though, even if the do believe some wack shit.

They have a lot of money and have political muscle -- see 8: The Mormon Proposition (SLYT) to witness some of the devastation they can cause.
posted by kidelo at 11:10 AM on July 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


If you're looking for someone who's educated enough to be competent, and is trained to do your bidding, be wholly devoted to your objectives without full explanation, and never question the ethics or repercussions, you want a Roman Catholic. There, fixed that for you.

cute - but actually - no. The Roman Catholic church and the LDS have very different approaches to policing their flock's behavior. LDS are much more principles based while the RC church has a set of rules, and as long as you follow those rules they really don't care.

Come find me when your local catholic parish starts telling people what sort of underwear to wear and telling families to start stocking up on food to prepare for end of times. Or encouraging parishioners to rat one another out for eating meat on Fridays.

Look I actually like the LDS members I know personally but you can't debate the fact that most non-lapsed LDS are pretty similar to what Mayor Curley said. I mean I admire people who are able to live without cynicism the same way I admire and almost envy the faith of my observant RC friends. But I think you are barking up the wrong tree here.
posted by JPD at 11:11 AM on July 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


I have no particular love of Mormonism, but if one derives happiness from practicing this particular brand at no expense to their neighbor, what business is it of ours?

The Mormon hatred of gay people certainly affects others.


Heavily seconded. The LDS was a huge proponent of Prop 8. Whether the individual Mormons you know are great people or not, their tithes support acts like this.
posted by ODiV at 11:11 AM on July 18, 2010 [12 favorites]


The possible fictions that we base our lives on are more valid than the possible fictions that you base yours on, especially if it involves money, women, and us having them.

Religion is pretty simple.
posted by hanoixan at 11:11 AM on July 18, 2010


My babysitter took me to a Mormon service once. I remember everyone being sorta shocked when I made a fuss at Communion ecause I wasn't old enough to receive it yet (from a Catholic POV).
posted by sciurus at 11:17 AM on July 18, 2010


I have no particular love of Mormonism, but if one derives happiness from practicing this particular brand at no expense to their neighbor, what business is it of ours?

The Mormon hatred of gay people certainly affects others.


I didn't know all Mormons hate all gays.

I think it is ok to not like something, such as a belief system, but to crucify each and every individual with sweeping generalities is totally not ok. The official line of Catholicism is anti-gay, but my parents have told me there are gay couples at their church, so go figure. In my experience there is always dissonance between the official line of large organizations and the real practice from individuals.
posted by archivist at 11:18 AM on July 18, 2010


I'm sorry, but the Bible is full of ridiculous, fantastical easily disprovable nonsense from beginning to end. If you're going to allow that as your baseline, then I think anything goes.

I don't believe in the fantastical aspects of the Bible either, but I do believe in history, and the vast majority of the people, places, and things mentioned in the New Testament did really exist. As a non-believer, you can look at the New Testament as an incredibly biased and exaggerated account of actual history. If you are a believer, then actual history is often used as proof that your beliefs are justified. Christianity and history have always had a sort of symbiotic relationship. On the other hand, The Book of Mormon contends that there were Judeo-Christians in North America in like 600 BC, something that has absolutely no basis in written or material history, so if you are someone who values and likes to think critically about history, Mormonism is kind of an enormous "You believe WHAT?!", no matter how nice and responsible its adherents are.
posted by oinopaponton at 11:21 AM on July 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


Come find me when your local catholic parish starts telling people what sort of underwear to wear and telling families to start stocking up on food to prepare for end of times. Or encouraging parishioners to rat one another out for eating meat on Fridays.

Wait till you read about Catholic theocracies and Islamic theocracies, some of which still exist today! Wacky as hell.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:21 AM on July 18, 2010


I think it is ok to not like something, such as a belief system, but to crucify each and every individual with sweeping generalities is totally not ok.

Crucify? Seriously?

Is it an unfair "sweeping generality" to say that 10% of a Mormon's income goes to an organization which is trying to keep rights away from gay people?

I don't think it's unfair to try to get people to own up to the impacts of their actions.
posted by ODiV at 11:27 AM on July 18, 2010 [17 favorites]


I didn't think higher education was banned so much as discouraged like it is in other religions.

What other religions? I can't think of any besides the aforementioned Amish. Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists all have a long history of supporting education.
posted by nestor_makhno at 11:28 AM on July 18, 2010


What Catholic theocracy is there today? The past behavior of one group doesn't explain current behavior of another.
posted by JPD at 11:28 AM on July 18, 2010




What Catholic theocracy is there today? The past behavior of one group doesn't explain current behavior of another.


That was referring to Islam, but I think if you willingly join a group that has committed previous atrocities in the name of God you do own them to a small degree.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:33 AM on July 18, 2010


The official line of Catholicism is anti-gay, but my parents have told me there are gay couples at their church, so go figure. In my experience there is always dissonance between the official line of large organizations and the real practice from individuals.

The official LDS position on homosexuality is that they have "inclinations" that are "powerful" and "difficult to control" -- "inclinations" that they should not act upon if they are members of the church and want to remain members of the church.

A total of 59,000 LDS families spent almost $18 million in California in 2008 to support Prop 8 and $6.9 million in Arizona to support Prop 102.

It may not be that some individual Mormons are okay with gays, but their church isn't, and lots of Mormons with lots of money are not okay with gays, and they have shown it by supporting political causes which seek to limit the lives of gay people.
posted by blucevalo at 11:37 AM on July 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


As a non-believer, you can look at the New Testament as an incredibly biased and exaggerated account of actual history.

Oh boy, we've already been over this...it actually isn't any kind of account of actual history, and there is significant debate about what and who really existed, in historical terms.

The Mormon version of history is on no less solid historical foundation.

This kind of thinking is actually what I fear: that Christianity gets a free pass to be a bit crazy because it's "historically" accurate. It's not.
posted by Hildegarde at 11:39 AM on July 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


Our Ethics professor in Business School was a Mormon.

It was surreal.

One day he told one of our Mainland Chinese classmates that it didn't matter if it was Beijing or no, he had learnt to say Peking and that was what he'd say.

Among other things.
posted by infini at 11:40 AM on July 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


It may not be that some individual Mormons are okay with gays
posted by blucevalo at 11:41 AM on July 18, 2010


What other religions? I can't think of any besides the aforementioned Amish.

I'd already mentioned JWs - although thinking about it, that is more to do with the end of the world than not wanting to live in the world. Mormons don't count for either of those reasons but I wrongly conflated large families/starting families young (which they do count for) with not getting an education.

Which is clearly dim because bigger religions like education but still have large families, and a lot get secular educations rather than becoming religious scholars.
posted by shinybaum at 11:41 AM on July 18, 2010


> That was referring to Islam, but I think if you willingly join a group that has committed previous atrocities in the name of God you do own them to a small degree.

This statement is, of course, bullshit. A person can be drawn to the core tenets, artwork, and liturgical or literary history of a religion and not have "own" any of the atrocities committed by people who presumed to carry the same banner. This is a failure of analysis on your part. It's like blaming a healthy fruit tree scion for the root rot that someone else's scion contracted in different soil/climate.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:43 AM on July 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Mormon hatred of gay people certainly affects others.

I didn't know all Mormons hate all gays.


All Mormons probably don't. I dare say there are gay Mormons, probably gay practicing Mormons (although I do not envy them at all). All religions contain a wide range of people, some more moral than others. But you cannot deny that the Mormon Church hates gays, and that that church (supported actively or passively by its members, even the "non-gay-hating" ones) has aggressively worked in the secular political arena to spread its biases.

Of course, you can also say this about other religions, but this seems to be a Mormon thread.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:43 AM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I didn't know all Mormons hate all gays. I think it is ok to not like something, such as a belief system, but to crucify each and every individual with sweeping generalities is totally not ok.

I'm ok with sweeping generalities if they are true enough. I think it's perfectly fair to say something like "members of the modern KKK hate black people." I realize that some might be joining for the close knit social group, opportunities for career advancement (Byrd, Robert), or the chance to go on the Jerry Springer show, but even if these KKK members aren't individually racist they belong to and support a fundamentally racist organization. The same is true for Mormons and the Mormon church's hatred of gays.

I realize that a comparison to the KKK might seem Godwinesque, but I think in modern times the Mormon Church does more harm to gays than the KKK does to black people.
posted by andoatnp at 11:44 AM on July 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


That was referring to Islam, but I think if you willingly join a group that has committed previous atrocities in the name of God you do own them to a small degree.

This statement is, of course, bullshit.


Hey, did you hear Al Qaeda swore off violence? Sounds like a good group to join now. Ok, that is of course bullshit, but maybe in a hundred years.

The institutional continuity of the Church is one of its main features, that comes with the good and the bad. I can see how you would not apply it in some cases, but for the RC church it seems fair to me.

Likewise as an American living off the wealth and land previous Americans stole from natives and built on slavery, you have ownership in an even more literal sense.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:50 AM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


My opinion of Mormons is colored by the fact that A) I've lived in Utah my entire life and B) 75% of my extended family is Mormon. I know this religion in and out. People I work with and friends of mine use the religion purely for business networking. I had a friend who is quite a lefty liberal turn down an invite to a Sunday party because he had a priesthood meeting with someone he was trying to start up a business relationship with. More than half of my salary is indirectly paid for from providing services to MLM companies that generate their income from exploiting the friendly nature of the Mormon community. (Can't say no to a friend.) As with all groups of people, there are different people inside of the group. However, there's a reason Utah has the highest prescription Prozac use, and the highest use of online porn. People here are brainwashed to repress their feelings and their true selves and only express what their great leaders deem acceptable. This makes them perfect business candidates. You need someone safe who will stay inside the box and do what you want. You want someone who has deep connections to the business community around you and has an in to talking and working with them.
The state of Utah is a theocracy, with SLC being a pain in their side. I am sure that were it feasible the LDS church would move their first temple to Provo and forever sever ties with SLC. Instead they bought all of the downtown property with their massive reserves of money and are building what I lovingly refer to as Mormon Vatican City. The life of a once viable downtown area has been sucked out and will be replaced with a bland corporate LDS vision, a place I will refuse to shop or support.
After the Prop 8 debacle the LDS church has really pulled back into their shell. Last week they even said that a bishop in Argentina who was organizing opposition to same sex marriage was not a representative of them nor was he acting officially. They even gave their acceptance to, to the shock of everyone, same sex benefits being passed in Salt Lake City. They got their asses burned with funding and pushing Prop 8.
Anyways, tl;dr past the ranting, the community has earned it's stereotype. All stereotypes are not applicable to all members, but I can assure you there is a reason people see the Mormon church for the cult it is.
posted by msbutah at 11:52 AM on July 18, 2010 [18 favorites]


I realize that a comparison to the KKK might seem Godwinesque, but I think in modern times the Mormon Church does more harm to gays than the KKK does to black people.

"in modern times" should be "today," as going back 40 or 50 years this is not the case and that is still probably considered modern times, just to be clear.
posted by andoatnp at 11:54 AM on July 18, 2010


One day he told one of our Mainland Chinese classmates that it didn't matter if it was Beijing or no, he had learnt to say Peking and that was what he'd say.

This is probably the most genetic observation in the entire discussion and contains all of the native Mormon elements anyone could hope to find in one place. The proud heritage. The unquestioning attitude. The cultural superiority. The lack of sensitivity. The authoritative decree. The willful ignorance. The clinging to the past.
posted by Brian B. at 11:57 AM on July 18, 2010 [9 favorites]


You guys talk like you don't know any Mormons.

If you say so. I grew up surrounded by Mormons, and the first thing I learned about them is that they do not have much public tolerance for non-Mormon thought. Sure, they are "a diverse set of people with diverse personalities and are not all brainwashed freaks", and I did have a few Mormon friends growing up... but as a group, good day murlock's post is a reasonably fair description of their collective behavior. The Mormons act as much more of a unified group than most churches do, also, which is where the worse-than-mainstream-religions thing comes in. And I have absolutely no love for mainstream religions.

The "clean-living, hard-working, charitable, and trustworthy" thing is for Mormons, by Mormons -- the church actively encourages them to close ranks against others. The idea that they are "practicing this particular brand at no expense to their neighbor" is laughable to me; I've seen too many non-Mormon kids live miserable lives and too many towns get more-or-less swallowed whole by the LDS Church to buy that one. The West (to say nothing of Utah) has plenty of folks whose neighbors' Mormonism turned out to be a very heavy expense.
posted by vorfeed at 12:00 PM on July 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


If you want to discuss the cynicism-inducing and self-contradictory nature of Mormonism, the best place to do it is Salt Lake City. There are many Mormons who keep library-sized clipping files, cross indexed to link official church documents and statements to devastating effect. They may have been excommunicated, or whatever word they use for that, or they may just be marginalized, (ie. the church has got the word out not to have your children study piano with this guy anymore.) They may still be believers.

I'm prepared to hold forth on some of their strange practices and beliefs, another time. I will say this, if you're eating at a restaurant in NYC, and a waitress on the other side of the room trips on her high heel, the Mormon salesman will be the one that bolts over to help her.
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:07 PM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Joseph Smith he was a prophet dum dum dum dum dum.

Watch it until the end. A lampoon of Mormonism turns into a condemnation of a lot of the anti-mormon opinions expressed in this thread. Personally I think Mormonism, along with every so-called "revealed" religion, is a crock of shit.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:18 PM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think the most telling negative aspect of Mormonism, to me at least, is the experiences of those who have left the church. I know a large number of ex-mo folks, all of whom are suffering from some degree of genuine PTSD about their former lives. I know far fewer full-on apostates from other religions, so I don't really have an adequate control group. However, it seems to me that people who have left the LDS church are more likely to compare their experiences with those of people who have escaped from cults, as opposed to your average run of the mill religious apostate.

Tangentially relatedly, the one time I was in Provo/SLC, everyone was so alarmingly pleasant and kind and thoughtful that I, a lifelong suspicious New Yorker, was halfway convinced that they were all serial killing cannibals plotting to hungrily devour me.
posted by elizardbits at 12:20 PM on July 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


The comments in this thread so far are disappointing. You guys talk like you don't know any Mormons.

I've lurked around the metafilterworld for many years now, and this finally got me to cough up five bucks.

I was raised within the church-- and as someone who has experience with actual believers (including myself at a very young age I suppose) as well as experience researching and uncovering the doctrine and organization of my past, I would like to say this:

You don't have to "know any mormons" to see the cultish religion is clearly batshitinsane. One thing that is important to know about mormonism is that you can learn very little about it from its members. The reason being is that most of them don't know anything! I've learned far more church history and doctrine from outside the church than I have from within. I'm probably going overboard but I'd like to explain why that is.

As most of us know, the mainstream LDS church is unique from other religions in a lot of ways, but the most important is that their leader is considered to be a modern day prophet who communes with God. It's also their biggest problem. Over time, old prophets die and new prophets come. It shouldn't surprise you that this has led to an ever-evolving church. What should surprise you is that the church doesn't change because of what the prophets say, but because of what they don't say. A lot of the original doctrine "prophesied" by Joseph Smith and some of the earlier prophets such as Joseph Smith has largely been forgotten. There are a lot of mormons that don't even know what they believe. Doctrine has been forgotten, rituals have been dumbed down to seem more "normal", and history has been mormonwashed.

Many of these things are likely unknown to even the church leadership. I doubt every single member of the quorum of the seventy or even twelve are evil brainwashing overlords. They don't need to know their own history-- just listen to the things they say to the worldwide church during their general conference biannually.

Everything I've said may seem like an argument for why mormonism is potentially less harmful than it could have been, which is probably true, but it also speaks volumes about how the cult maintains members and tithing income. Members usually assume that their ten percent tithing is going to be spent somewhere charitable, but when you consider the total number of active members and the amount of cash that must be pouring in, the church is clearly sitting on a lot of that. Some is spent internally to build temples, and a little is spent in charitable ways, but for it's size the organization has a lot more monetary power than others which is a little bit scary in my opinion. It's widely taught that mormon leadership are not paid (that's priestcraft), but what isn't told is that the leader of the church not only receives the keys to commune with God, but also inherits many business positions that the church has acquired over the years. While technically not paid by the church, they do get paid handsomely by the church's business ventures.

This isn't quite the post I'd like it to have been since my mind wandered from both my original intent and halfway through I realized I should probably try and make this somewhat relevant to the FPP. But hopefully something was learned by someone, yes?

whatever. read this this website.

most websites that are critical of the mormon church are funded by evangelical churches and are just as ridiculous as the mormons, but this one is fair and intellectually minded (no "WELL THE BIBLE SAYS THIS, THEREFORE MORMONISM IS DEVILCHURCH) and also explains what is taught within the church far better than I have. Very interesting reading.
posted by heyethan at 12:22 PM on July 18, 2010 [34 favorites]


Every self-aware Mormon deserves complete and unfettered ridicule. Those other religions do too. Sitting on the fence and wagging your "tsk tsk" finger only facilitates their political influence, with Prop 8 being a prime example.
posted by Brocktoon at 12:25 PM on July 18, 2010


> Those other religions do too.

What does this even mean?
posted by Burhanistan at 12:26 PM on July 18, 2010


what i get for taking a lunchbreak halfway through typing a far-too-long first post:

-a lot of other posters saying the same things only better

-scattershot thoughts and inconsistent paragraph breaks

-just noticed i left out a quotation mark

-the realization that "well, I got a nazi comparison out of the way, but at least someone else mentioned the KKK, so I'm probably going to be okay"
posted by heyethan at 12:28 PM on July 18, 2010 [3 favorites]



What does this even mean?


He is saying that in his opinion other religions also deserve the same treatment he has outlined for the Mormons.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:28 PM on July 18, 2010


> He is saying that in his opinion other religions also deserve the same treatment he has outlined for the Mormons.

What does that entail? It's not really ballsy to go around condemning everyone you disagree with on the internet.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:29 PM on July 18, 2010




How odd, I thought Mormons actively discouraged higher education in favor of starting young families and going on missions. Are these people forgoing sex altogether or geting married then going to law school?

Men are encouraged to dream big. Their wives they marry at 20 are a different story. The couple I knew married right after (a prestigious) undergrad. He went on to an Ivy League PhD program, while she went on (immediately) to having and parenting twins at 22. As always, it doesn't seem to be men who are affected by the, "marry and reproduce immediately" dictates in the professional world.
posted by availablelight at 12:34 PM on July 18, 2010 [5 favorites]



What does that entail?


In his opinion they should be subjected to active, complete and unfettered ridicule.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:35 PM on July 18, 2010


What does that entail?

Are we reading the same thread?

It's not really ballsy to go around condemning everyone you disagree with on the internet.

What does machismo have to do with it? And I guess you're right. The internet is not a very powerful political or social entity. /sarcasm
posted by Brocktoon at 12:42 PM on July 18, 2010


Sitting on the fence and wagging your "tsk tsk" finger only facilitates their political influence, with Prop 8 being a prime example.

Having seen your "Suck it Mormons!" comment in a totally unrelated thread (about the BYU library), I sort of have an idea of what you're getting at, but I'm still not sure what a "tsk tsk" finger is and why wagging it is a bad thing.
posted by blucevalo at 12:49 PM on July 18, 2010


Live and let live.

It isn't hard to admire many things that the Mormons believe; it would be nice to 'live and let live'.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to admire Mormons when they carry out their beliefs by infringing on the rights of people around them. Their most profane devotion is to meddle in others' lives. I don't care if they are batshit insane themselves -- but their insanity bleeds into government, education and the very freedom of (from) religion which is basic to being American.

I don't shun Mormons, but I never trust them. I've watched them amass their crusaders every few years - like cockroaches coming out of the woodwork.

Mormons are not unlike many other evangelist crusader hordes, only the Mormons are better funded, better organized and they will rally to the cry of their leaders with a bitchin sense of entitlement.

Until ALL christians give up evangelism, the rest of us will never be able to appreciate Christ teachings.
posted by Surfurrus at 1:00 PM on July 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Book of Mormon contends that there were Judeo-Christians in North America in like 600 BC, something that has absolutely no basis in written or material history, so if you are someone who values and likes to think critically about history, Mormonism is kind of an enormous "You believe WHAT?!", no matter how nice and responsible its adherents are.

The Book of Exodus is almost entirely fabricated you know. Moses, Exodus, Joshua, the walls of Jericho. Almost none of it happened. It's not an exaggerated account of history, it's a fable. And yet millions and millions of Christians and Jews believe that it is an account of real history.

I'm totally fine with calling out Mormons for having ridiculous beliefs. I'm not fine with comparing their beliefs unfavorably to Christians, Jews and Muslims, who only have the benefit of having been around longer.
posted by empath at 1:12 PM on July 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


It should be noted that the voters of California ultimately were responsible for Prop 8, LDS ad campaigns notwithstanding. It's convenient to blame the religion, though.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:15 PM on July 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


And I'm having a hard time understanding how a tribe of Jews in North America is somehow more hard to believe that the Son of God dying on a Cross and being resurrected to absolve humanity from the original sin of Adam and Eve. Or turning water into wine. Or the existence of angels and Satan and heaven and hell.
posted by empath at 1:17 PM on July 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


The rise of a new generation of Mormons...

RAWR.
Sexy Mormon Men.

God Created Man in His Own Image.

Mormons Exposed.
posted by ericb at 1:19 PM on July 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


I mean, at least the existence of a tribe of Jews in North America isn't completely offensive to the laws of physics and biology as we understand them.

Sure there's absolutely no proof that it's true, but where's the archeological proof that Jesus existed?
posted by empath at 1:23 PM on July 18, 2010


8: The Mormon Proposition -- A documentary film about the Mormon Church's campaign to strip the rights of California gays and lesbians with Proposition 8.
posted by ericb at 1:27 PM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Re Mormons and education: Interestingly enough the Air Force Academy allows Mormon cadets to do their first two years of school then leave to do their "mission." They are then readmitted to the Academy for their final two years.

As someone who used to sit in as an assistant for a friend of mine who did a lot of Christian counselling, there are a lot of exMormons out there that have suffered a lot from being in a religion that insists on outward perfection at all times. There's a reason there's so much Prozac consumption in Utah.....


When I would have the Mormon missionaries come to my door, I would mention my husband was a former Mormon...they would usually look surprised. If I felt especially snarky I would tell them he'd been excommunicated and watch their eyes get GREAT big. (He did get kicked out, but not sure if it was formal.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:29 PM on July 18, 2010


In related news: Faith Still Sticky Issue as Romney Mulls Run -- "Mormonism remains hard sell for evangelicals."

More to the point: many are skeptical of 'Flip Romney.' On the issues where, Flip, do you really stand?
posted by ericb at 1:32 PM on July 18, 2010


Empath, the apostle Paul did not have to plagiarize Masonry to write the New Testament. ;-)

(An aside about Paul-you have to admit SOMETHING dramatic had to have happened to him for him to become a follower of Jesus. He was an original and very fervent persecutor of early Christianity. )
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:33 PM on July 18, 2010


So I'm gonna throw this out there because I haven't seen anyone mention this, but is it possible the Mormon hierarchy are so anti gay marriage is that they are concerned about setting a precedent that would pave the way to legalized plural marriage. There are a lot of fundamentalist mormons in California and I'm sure they'd challenge plural marriage laws on the basis of any gay marriage ruling or legislation.

I'm not saying it's a good reason, but it's the only reason I can think of besides gay hatred to spend so much money on it.
posted by empath at 1:37 PM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


> I'm not saying it's a good reason, but it's the only reason I can think of besides gay hatred to spend so much money on it.

1) The LDS has scads of cash to throw at something they think will rally the faithful
2) You're thinking logically about this, which might be a mistake considering...
posted by Burhanistan at 1:39 PM on July 18, 2010


And I'm having a hard time understanding how a tribe of Jews in North America is somehow more hard to believe that the Son of God dying on a Cross and being resurrected to absolve humanity from the original sin of Adam and Eve. Or turning water into wine. Or the existence of angels and Satan and heaven and hell.

I partially agree. It's all ridiculous. I'm about as anti-religious as they come. However, that's really a poor summation of mormon beliefs and the Jews in the americas bit is one of the least outrageous among them. Mormonism is like Christianity Plus. You have to accept a lot of weird things and then Joseph Smith comes along and makes some of them weirder and tacks a lot of new weird things.

More importantly a lot of Mormon beliefs are easily countered by concrete scientific evidence. Whereas you take ancient religions such as Christianity and you simply have a lack of evidence for their truth. Christianity is harder to dismiss because its devout followers will skirt opponents criticism. A modern religion ridden with holes and falsehoods is easier to dismantle. For example, historians can tell you a lot about Joseph Smith and his actions/writings, whereas a figure like Jesus is subject to debate over whether or not he even ever existed as a human being.
posted by heyethan at 1:39 PM on July 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


And I'm having a hard time understanding how a tribe of Jews in North America is somehow more hard to believe that the Son of God dying on a Cross and being resurrected to absolve humanity from the original sin of Adam and Eve. Or turning water into wine. Or the existence of angels and Satan and heaven and hell.

I never said it was? When you take out the supernatural elements of the New Testament and the Book of Mormon, you have on the one hand a small group of Jews running around existing cities in the Roman Empire, and on the other hand a larger group of Jews managing to sail halfway around the world during the time of Jewish captivity in Babylon. It would require far more faith than I have to believe the metaphysics of either text, but at least you can learn something (however skewed) about the perceived experiences of certain groups in the Roman Empire around the 2nd century AD by reading the New Testament.
posted by oinopaponton at 1:42 PM on July 18, 2010




October 2005: Mormons Rising In Government, Business, Schools.
posted by ericb at 1:50 PM on July 18, 2010


Mormonism is the worst Masonic devilsatanry since the Illuminati fabricated Jesus.
posted by fleetmouse at 2:10 PM on July 18, 2010


When the Mormons decided it was a good idea to posthumously "convert" my family who died in the Holocaust to Mormonism, and then agreed to stop doing it, and THEN kept doing it anyway? Yeah, that's when I decided the lot of them can go to hell, or whatever alien planet they think bad pilgrims go to after death.
posted by 1adam12 at 2:16 PM on July 18, 2010 [12 favorites]


Most LDS i know are incredibly hard working but don't see anything wrong with being preferential to other LDSers. That aspect of it bothers me and reminds me of the cult aspects of it (magic underwear).
posted by SirOmega at 2:23 PM on July 18, 2010


It should be noted that the voters of California ultimately were responsible for Prop 8, LDS ad campaigns notwithstanding. It's convenient to blame the religion, though.

To be fair, it's not the religion, it's the gobs and gobs of money.

But yeah, to blithely and vaguely lump together all religions as deserving of scorn is kinda shitty. And I'm saying this as a devout agnostic.
posted by desuetude at 2:59 PM on July 18, 2010


[few comments removed - chill out or go to metatalk please.]
posted by jessamyn at 3:45 PM on July 18, 2010


In other words, Mormons are pretty much like everyone else.
posted by Xoebe at 3:50 PM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't shun Mormons, but I never trust them. I've watched them amass their crusaders every few years - like cockroaches coming out of the woodwork.

Have you ever worked at a Rwandan radio station, sometime around 1994?
posted by Falconetti at 4:29 PM on July 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Religion is kooky by design. LDS HAVE to have magic underwear. That's how they are closer to God and more special than everyone else. That stuff is cool to me if it works for them.

They only bug me when they mess with the real lives of the rest of us...like Prop 8 here in California. Everyone I know who voted anti-gay did so because the LDS, via tv and radio ads, told them that elementary schools were going to teach "gay culture and lifestyle". Whargarble!!!!!!

On the other hand, my late wife was from a small branch of Jack Mormons directly related to a very prominent Mormon family. They were the literal center for their community. They ran the church and schools. That said, when my wife passed away the Mormans, her family, really did a lot to get me back on my feet, helping with funeral arrangements etc.

They must have contacted the Mormon House in my neighborhood...I lived in a totally different area, because missionaries showed up at my house with a very specific purpose.

Me, "Ah, so you guys know I'm grieving and think this is a good time to convert me."

Missionary, fresh from American Samoa, first time travelling, "Well, we can talk about God if you want, but we came to see if you needed a home cooked meal."

They spent about an hour a day with me for the next two weeks, talking about motorcycles and guitars but never once about God or religion.
posted by snsranch at 4:29 PM on July 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


(An aside about Paul-you have to admit SOMETHING dramatic had to have happened to him for him to become a follower of Jesus. He was an original and very fervent persecutor of early Christianity. )

Sure, the most logical thing is that the Son of God spoke to him personally, not temporal lobe epilepsy or you know, something that actually happens to real people.
posted by empath at 4:59 PM on July 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


They spent about an hour a day with me for the next two weeks, talking about motorcycles and guitars but never once about God or religion.

Wonder what would have happened if you hadn't taken that shot across their bow about your grief being a conversion opportunity.
posted by fleetmouse at 5:32 PM on July 18, 2010


Christianity and history have always had a sort of symbiotic relationship. On the other hand, The Book of Mormon contends that there were Judeo-Christians in North America in like 600 BC, something that has absolutely no basis in written or material history

I'm sorry, the Bible contends that there were over 2 million Jews in ancient Egypt, "something that has absolutely no basis in written or material history."
posted by callmejay at 5:57 PM on July 18, 2010


Funny that you mention that fleetmouse. While I had lots of fun with those guys, I kept waiting for the hard sell and it never came. I was really surprised by that.
posted by snsranch at 6:13 PM on July 18, 2010


The man who founded the Christian Church never met Christ when he was alive. He claims he was visited by him after death only.

You've missed the point...
posted by Jahaza at 6:16 PM on July 18, 2010



Sure, the most logical thing is that the Son of God spoke to him personally, not temporal lobe epilepsy or you know, something that actually happens to real people


Epilepsy could have knocked him off his high horse but I fail to see how an epileptic seizure would cause him to stop dragging men and women to prison for proclaiming Christ and instead becoming a fervent believer himself. Believe what you want, but that one's a stretch. Paul was a Pharisee of Pharisees. Dude would not have turned on a dime without something being incredibly.....significant.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:21 PM on July 18, 2010



Epilepsy could have knocked him off his high horse but I fail to see how an epileptic seizure would cause him to stop dragging men and women to prison for proclaiming Christ and instead becoming a fervent believer himself. Believe what you want, but that one's a stretch. Paul was a Pharisee of Pharisees. Dude would not have turned on a dime without something being incredibly.....significant.


He probably wanted to marry a Christian chick.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:25 PM on July 18, 2010


Dude would not have turned on a dime without something being incredibly.....significant.

Seriously, you're a hardcore conservative Christian and you've never met a convert in your life? I've an atheist and I've met drug addicted Christian hating atheists who 'found Jesus', and they didn't need a personal visit.
posted by empath at 6:30 PM on July 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


He probably wanted to marry a Christian chick.

That's how my dad converted form Mormonism to Catholicism, actually. Well he wasn't really a mormon, but his parents were.
posted by empath at 6:31 PM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


St. Alia, temporal lobe epilepsy is associated with visitations and conversion-style experiences - UFO contactees are contemporary examples of this.

I personally know someone who had a UFO contact experience which completely changed his life, made him cast off his job, eschew money, and start a business to explain his beliefs... his business did not do so well as Paul's but it's only a matter of degree.

Interestingly enough, I was with this very nice and intelligent man on 9/12 and he told me that this had clearly all been done by George W. Bush, and then proceeded to make a series of wild predictions - I argued strenuously against them (he was actually very open to reason and I convinced him on several health-related issues like immunization so we had a lot of great arguments).

Two or three years later, I wrote him an email where I said, "I still don't believe that George Bush did 9/11, but I have to concede that you were almost 100% right and I was 100% wrong."

His predictions? He predicted that the US would respond by invading Iraq; that they would almost immediately suspend a lot of the Bill of Rights; that they would never catch Bin Laden; and that in general this was the start of a completely new era in the US, where the threat of "terrorism" would replace the old threat of "the Soviet Union".

So clearly this temporal lobe stuff is good for some things...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:37 PM on July 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


So wearing underwear with weird symbols embroidered into it is weirder than eating Jesus?
posted by jessssse at 6:55 PM on July 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


So, pointing out that Mormons have organized over the years to campaign (crusade) to force their religious beliefs on everyone else, is the same as spewing hate language that causes genocide?

Is that a drama-queen faint to get sympathy, Falconetti ?

I repeat: Mormons are not unlike many other evangelist crusader hordes, only the Mormons are better funded, better organized and they will rally to the cry of their leaders with a bitchin sense of entitlement.

If you have ever stood in a Woman's Conference and watched the Mormon male elders signal orders to their women delegates and if you have been to an anti-gay rally to watch the organizing in person, you might not be so cavalier about the 'good intentions' of this religion.
posted by Surfurrus at 7:05 PM on July 18, 2010


I know mathematicians who are Mormon. A mathematician who doesn't drink coffee?

Hint: Go to any regular local supermarket in Salt Lake, and not some Costo wholesaler. Most products will be recognizable, but check the sugar aisle. You'll find 5lb, 10lb, 20lb, and I've seen even hevier ones. Canned apple pie filling is considered a vegetable, and served on the dinner plate.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:17 PM on July 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


Mayor Curley: If you're looking for someone who's educated enough to be competent, and is trained to do your bidding, be wholly devoted to your objectives without full explanation, and never question the ethics or repercussions, you want a Mormon.

I once worked for a largish "think tank" that was federally contracted to oversee and advise on defense contracts. A surprising number of people who worked there including executives were Morman, while the number of Jews (outside of a few research oriented groups) were much lower then their presence in comparable academia. In general the impression I got was that Mormons were considered team players and had "the right stuff" while Jews didn't and were almost considered foreigners. I've heard that this Morman/Jew disparity is present in the defense industry at large, though it is rather hard to tell someone is Morman from a casual meeting. Likewise I've heard that the FBI, CIA, and Secret Service are disproportionately full of Mormons.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 7:39 PM on July 18, 2010


But yeah, to blithely and vaguely lump together all religions as deserving of scorn is kinda shitty

Oh please. Do we really need a history lesson about organized religion's devastating effect on humanity?
posted by Brocktoon at 8:32 PM on July 18, 2010


I appreciate the admonishment not to knee-jerk bile when one reads the word 'mormon' or the letters 'LDS', but I do believe the urge for some sort of knee-jerk is warranted. And an urge to knee-jerk is warranted, I believe, at the mention of any religion or of the followers of any religion qua followers of that religion. The urge to deride seems to me to stem, ultimately, from fear. Here's how: I believe rational, skeptical people -- the ones from whom derision for religion often comes -- are deeply afraid of serious adherents because those adherents, if they're serious, must be in deep, deep denial of the basic mechanisms of cause and effect or irrational or both. Set aside the LDS church, just think about Christianity. Virgin birth, resurrection, walking on water, multiplying loaves and fishes? Someone who's lived only a short life and who acknowledges the regularity of the physical world and biology and can think rationally must surely realize that these things are impossible or at least highly unlikely if possible (and in that case capable of being explanation with recourse to only the obvious physical and biological causal mechanisms). But if an adherent of a religion -- any religion in which supernatural occurrences feature -- avows all those supernatural occurrences, then a rational person must surely see reasonable communication in which both parties mostly agree about things like the state of the shared environment, the principles of cause and effect, etc. as impossible. And once a rational, reasonable person spots this sort of irrationality, he or she must wonder something like, "how far down does this sort of irrationality go?" If it's really pervasive, is it even safe to interact with an adherent? What else would an adherent be willing to do if push come to shove given that they must be, at the root, fundamentally irrational. Such adherents might very well be, at a minimum, easily commanded by authority (to do who knows what).
posted by Wash Jones at 8:38 PM on July 18, 2010


Oh please. Do we really need a history lesson about organized religion's devastating effect on humanity?

I'm okay with acknowledging that power corrupts, certainly, and that major religions, like wealthy countries, provide many, many examples of this principle.

I also don't think that this has much of anything to do with the value of religion for individual people, and as such am okay with being a little careful not to be a jerk about that.
posted by desuetude at 8:51 PM on July 18, 2010


But you cannot deny that the Mormon Church hates gays

As a Mormon, I can (and do) deny this. It's hard to to imagine a corporate body like a church having feelings like hate, so on that level "Mormon Church hates gays" makes as much sense as "Catholic Church hates Brussels sprouts." But I imagine you mean the Mormon church teaches hate for gays or has an anti-gay agenda.

The simple fact we gladly welcome and baptize just about anyone (and you know we try to), including gay people, shows we teach inclusion, not hate. We do ask all members to live by the same standard: sexual desire is only to be acted on between husband and wife. We realize that's a lot harder for, say, a gay man who'd rather have a husband than a wife, but I think this generates more sympathy than hate, and it's a uniform standard, not an anti-gay agenda. Nor was the Prop. 8 thing based on an anti-gay agenda; the actual reasons the church opposed Prop. 8 are well documented (here is a good starting place).

Yeah, I've seen homophobes in the church, same as anywhere, and I never went to any prop-8 rallies, so maybe some terrible things happened at those -- but please don't attribute the actions of hateful people to the rest of us or to the church.
posted by rossmik at 10:15 PM on July 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Epilepsy could have knocked him off his high horse but I fail to see how an epileptic seizure would cause him to stop dragging men and women to prison for proclaiming Christ and instead becoming a fervent believer himself. Believe what you want, but that one's a stretch. Paul was a Pharisee of Pharisees. Dude would not have turned on a dime without something being incredibly.....significant.

There's forms of epilepsy which basically disable the bits in your brain that exist to tell the difference between you and all of the things in this world which are not you. People with these forms of epilepsy tend to either have fits of feeling like they're one with everything and God is talking directly to them or to bypass the lucid moments and feel like that all the time.

This generally results in sufferers becoming intensely religious, and if you believe that a) the prophets of history were likely not making up the visions they claimed and that b) it's highly unlikely that they really were talking to God, well, the conclusion's pretty obvious.

Interestingly enough, when you medicate the epilepsy, the religiosity tends to completely vanish. How fascinating that we have the ability to treat religious experiences with medication.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:42 PM on July 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Rossmik, thank you for sharing your perspective on MeFi. That said, mainstream Mormons can take their "sympathy" for gay men and fuck themselves. I have a lot of respect and curiosity for LDS and it's uniquely American religion. But funding Prop 8 was a hateful, dangerous thing.
posted by Nelson at 10:44 PM on July 18, 2010


Interestingly enough, when you medicate the epilepsy, the religiosity tends to completely vanish. How fascinating that we have the ability to treat religious experiences with medication.

Aside from being an amazing writer, Philip K Dick, I think, is an important case study on the relationship between brain malfunction and religiosity. I don't think anybody disputes that he was mentally ill in the last years of his life, but his symptoms are remarkably similar to Paul's and other religious geniuses, and I think if he had been so inclined, and I think if he had more human empathy he could have created a religion.

I think his exegesis, while clearly unhinged, is unhinged in the same way that all religious revelation seems to be.

People like PKD are not uncommon. We usually ignore them. For some reason the Roman Empire didn't. Paul was by all accounts a remarkable man, but he was still quite mad. He was not, by far, the most insane author in the Bible, though -- I think that honor goes to John of Patmos.

here's forms of epilepsy which basically disable the bits in your brain that exist to tell the difference between you and all of the things in this world which are not you. People with these forms of epilepsy tend to either have fits of feeling like they're one with everything and God is talking directly to them or to bypass the lucid moments and feel like that all the time.

For as pure an example of someone who is having temporal lobe epilepsy as I can imagine, read the Gnostic Poem: "Thunder - Perfect Mind"
For I am the first and the last.
I am the honored one and the scorned one.
I am the whore and the holy one.
I am the wife and the virgin.
I am and the daughter.
I am the members of my mother.
I am the barren one
and many are her sons.
I am she whose wedding is great,
and I have not taken a husband.
I am the midwife and she who does not bear.
I am the solace of my labor pains.
I am the bride and the bridegroom,
and it is my husband who begot me.
I am the mother of my father
and the sister of my husband
and he is my offspring.
I am the slave of him who prepared me.
I am the ruler of my offspring.
But he is the one who begot me before the time on a birthday.
And he is my offspring in (due) time,
and my power is from him.
I am the staff of his power in his youth,
and he is the rod of my old age.
And whatever he wills happens to me.
I am the silence that is incomprehensible
and the idea whose remembrance is frequent.
I am the voice whose sound is manifold
and the word whose appearance is multiple.
I am the utterance of my name.
This is kinda getting far afield from the topic of the front page post. But still, saying that Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were con-men or liars or madmen does not make them any worse than the founder of any major religion. They are generally some combination of madman and con artist.
posted by empath at 10:58 PM on July 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


That said, mainstream Mormons can take their "sympathy" for gay men and fuck themselves.

but wait, what about these guys?
posted by heyethan at 11:16 PM on July 18, 2010


Nelson: I would genuinely like to know why you say it was hateful. If you mean hateful as in "motivated by hate" I can't find that motivation in any of the church statements I could find, and I would like to know where you see it. If you mean hateful as in "a thing to be hated," I would like to know how this relates to your views on free speech.

Because as far as I can see, we thought same sex marriage would be bad for society and the church, and we exercised our rights of free speech, peaceable assembly, and religion. People and organizations who disagreed spoke up too, and when it didn't degenerate (as politics tends to do), there was good political debate. Now, if people voted based on their closely held beliefs, religious or not, but the religious beliefs were kept out of the political discourse, I would call that a failure of free speech. Of course, a law attempting only to enforce a religious belief, or a church forcing laws on a society would also be a thing to be hated, and the reason we have an establishment clause, but in the end, this was decided by voters, not by churches.

And that's sympathy for gay _Mormons_. Or, you know, anyone who thinks their path to eternal happiness depends on never having a fulfilling sexual relationship. 'Cause I can't even _imagine_ how hard that would be.
posted by rossmik at 11:39 PM on July 18, 2010


rossmik, I don't see what free speech being questioned anywhere. I haven't heard a single critic of the church oppose members' rights to oppose. (I have however heard, and tend to agree, with the motion to strip the LDS church of it's tax exemption status for their involvement and clear attempt to sway legislation. But then again I'm one of those silly folks that think religious institutions shouldn't be exempt from taxes in the first place-- looking at you megachurches and televangelists.)

Naturally people are going to vote based on any belief. For people of absolute faith there should be virtually no difference between a religious belief and any other belief. Reality is reality, and if reality to you is that God says so-and-so then thats just as real as the keyboard you type on. I think it's a bit odd to deny that religious beliefs were kept out of the political discourse (feel free to correct me if you meant the opposite. I was a little confused by your wording). The motivation for the Yes on 8 campaign, mormon or otherwise, was almost exclusively motivated by religious beliefs. I think it goes without saying, but if you want I'm sure I, or any other user, can dig up a myriad of examples both within your church and others. Sure the yardsigns didn't say "Remember Sodom and Gomorrah?" or "Just ask my prophet!", but it's a very thin layer you have to peel back to find motivations. I promise you its not social reasons (or at least not legitimate ones)... "Oh remember when canada legalized the gay marriage? man that place really went down the shitter."
posted by heyethan at 12:06 AM on July 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


or you know... like... california... when it was legal...


...


but then again I wasn't there. can anyone tell me, has it improved since the Yes folks "fixed" it? I hear they have some sort of marijuana self-hate personality disorder.
posted by heyethan at 12:16 AM on July 19, 2010


heyethan, sorry if I was unclear -- it's late, and I'm getting sloppy. I didn't mean to imply religious beliefs were kept out of public discourse, and they were clearly there right alongside the social concerns (which, based on the church's communications like the one I linked to above, I have to believe were legitimate, despite Canada's apparent success). But, if a church funding Prop 8 is "hateful", then I was guessing the non-hateful option is for churches to stay out of political discourse. This guess is partly based on the fact that "churches should stay out of politics" is something I've heard a lot of since Prop. 8 passed, and that's where I have a freedom of speech concern. If this is not what Nelson was suggesting, than I withdraw my question.
posted by rossmik at 3:14 AM on July 19, 2010


This is kinda getting far afield from the topic of the front page post. But still, saying that Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were con-men or liars or madmen does not make them any worse than the founder of any major religion.

actually that's one of the things i like about mormonism (or scientology, for that matter) because you kinda get to see what it might've been like for early-christianity or how other religions got their starts among a crowded and more established field. myself whenever i come across 'religion' i like to mentally replace it with 'mythology' to help maintain proper perspective (or distance!) -- no one, i don't think, talks seriously about zeus and hephaestus or whatever as objects of worship and yet, at one time, they strongly shaped cultural belief and individual behaviour for an entire civilisation, defining its 'character' even.

another thing i find interesting/fascinating about mormonism is that it doesn't seem to have gone thru its inevitable 'reformation' as i think most major religions have where there's a split between an orthodox and reformed movement in how or whether to reconcile itself with the 'outside' world (or, some would say, reality ;) but it seems to me the pressures are building and there's at least an internal dialogue as to how to manage it or whether they even can -- witness the episcopalians! -- which is why ben mcadams in some respects is a test case, "he's a moderate Democrat who won his district – and his reputation – by helping to broker a deal over gay rights." like if he attracts more 'mainstream' appeal and success, he could be the face of a new, more progressive, modern mormonism ... and what might that mean for its conservative wing?

the one time I was in Provo/SLC, everyone was so alarmingly pleasant and kind and thoughtful that I, a lifelong suspicious New Yorker, was halfway convinced that they were all serial killing cannibals plotting to hungrily devour me

that's how i felt in ottawa :P
posted by kliuless at 4:48 AM on July 19, 2010


also re: mormons/jews in defence, i think another interesting thing about religions are the network externalities they provide for their members. like from the article:
Smith argues that church membership smooths out other hassles, too. During his time at Goldman Sachs, he was asked to move to Tokyo, "a completely alien culture". But, he says, "I was made to feel part of the LDS community within days. Because I felt comfortable, and my family felt comfortable, and I was more effective at work." McAdams tells a similar story, of first arriving in New York for graduate school: "My wife and I packed up a van and drove our stuff across country. When we showed up at our place, there were 15 people there to help us unload. We'd never met any of them before, but they moved us in and invited us over for dinner. We had an instant social network." He found that this same church network also provided helpful connections, both within his own law firm and to other people in the same industry.
how many people (mefites excluded! ;) could pick up and relocate to another part of the world and find an instant community/social network to plug into?
posted by kliuless at 5:55 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


We do ask all members to live by the same standard: sexual desire is only to be acted on between husband and wife.

This part here, where you demand that homosexuals lead either an entirely sexless existence or engage in fundamentally contrary-to-self sexual acts?

That's what people colloquially mean by "hating gays." Because that demand is so over-the-top unreasonable that it is understood to be hateful, because it is difficult to square with any motivation other than hate (in the colloquial sense).

Also, the apologia you linked to isn't even internally consistent:

Even more, the Church does not object to rights for same-sex couples regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches.

Since same-sex marriage consists entirely of those legal rights, and since it cannot infringe on the integrity of traditional families (unless you admit concerns that are so counter to fact that they are hateful distortions), and since it doesn't infringe on the constitutional rights of any church, the LDS church should not have opposed it.

another thing i find interesting/fascinating about mormonism is that it doesn't seem to have gone thru its inevitable 'reformation' as i think most major religions have where there's a split between an orthodox and reformed movement in how or whether to reconcile itself with the 'outside' world

Huh? The church split when they abandoned polygamy, though the splinter groups are AFAIK quite small. I suspect, without evidence, that one could probably find at least one splinter group that left the church when they changed their position on black people.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:31 AM on July 19, 2010 [8 favorites]


i wouldn't call that a reformation tho :P

also fwiw, from acb, the real-life social network as saecular religion/community of interest?
Now, however, this is likely to change. There are rumours afoot that Google have made social software a strategic priority, establishing teams to work on the problem of social as part of their regular 80% job, and that a social platform, possibly named Google Me, is in the works...

Which brings us to this slide presentation from Google user-experience researcher Paul Adams. The presentation rigorously examines the social uses of software, and the natures of social connections (Adams mentions strong ties and weak ties, and adds a third category, temporary ties, or pairs of people involved in once-off interactions; think someone you buy something from on eBay) and pinpoints possible shortcomings of simple models such as Facebook's (the fact that people have different social circles and needs to expose different facets of their identities to different circles, and that tools such as Facebook's privacy filters have a high overhead to use satisfactorily in this way), not to mention unresolved mismatches between the way human beings intuitively perceive social interaction working and the way it does in the age of social software (for example, we are not intuitively prepared for the idea of our conversations being recorded and made searchable). All in all, it looks like a pretty rigorous survey of social software, condensed down to 216 slides.
cheers!
posted by kliuless at 6:54 AM on July 19, 2010


I was just going to say what ROU did about Polygamy. There are fundamentalist and 'mainstream' mormons.
posted by empath at 6:54 AM on July 19, 2010


Really, the Mormons are absolutely fascinating to me. Because Brigham Young was basically the equivalent of Paul/Mohammed/Moses, but the first prophet on that scale who ever existed in modern history, and I don't think it's likely to happen again for a very long time. There aren't a lot of unpopulated 'promised lands' left to take people to. If it weren't for the fact that Brigham Young had built his empire on a manifestly absurd foundation in an era of rationality, he probably could have conquered the world.
posted by empath at 7:01 AM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


c'mon! steve jobs :P
posted by kliuless at 7:04 AM on July 19, 2010


Mormon boys enter the priesthood at age 12, taking the title of deacon. At 14 they become a “teacher”, then a full priest at 16.

What hasn't been mentioned yet, although it has been hinted at, is the patriarchal aspect. The church has not yet softened its stance on women unlike many of the protestant religions. The Mormon church is one big Boy's Club, no women allowed, which must affect those Mormon women in business. Women in the LDS are supposed to be good mommies, good wives, and cheerful home makers and there isn't a lot of wriggle room to blaze one's own path in life. To be a good Mormon woman is to be submissive.


another thing i find interesting/fascinating about mormonism is that it doesn't seem to have gone thru its inevitable 'reformation' as i think most major religions have where there's a split between an orthodox and reformed movement in how or whether to reconcile itself with the 'outside' world

It has happened-- the FLDS still believes that the church leaders erred by caving into the US Government's demands to discontinue polygamy. Fundamentalists hold that polygamy is the only true way to practice Mormonism as established by Joseph Smith. The modern LDS church is the reformed church having accepted some changes to their original practices in order to gain wider acceptance:

Discontinuing the practice of Polygamy
Allowing black men to become priests
Removing the blood oath which required the slitting of the throat of any one revealing their secrets
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:13 AM on July 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


Ah, sympathy for gay Mormons. I have sympathy for them too. Fortunately with therapy and the support of a loving community, the Mormon part can be overcome. Probably not cured entirely.

Part of what's fascinating about LDS is how flexible it is about doctrine. Until 120 years ago it had polygamy, now we have LDS proclaiming with a straight face "this issue for the Church has always been about the sacred and divine institution of marriage — a union between a man and a woman". Until 40 years ago we had institutionalized racism, now LDS says "Allegations of bigotry or persecution made against the Church were and are simply wrong." Maybe we'll see the same change some day in its anti-gay stance.
posted by Nelson at 7:43 AM on July 19, 2010


how many people (mefites excluded! ;) could pick up and relocate to another part of the world and find an instant community/social network to plug into?
I know people in Christian circles who can. it's not universal, but there are a lot of circles inside the Christian church -- often tending towards the less mainstream -- where membership in the club of believers is enough to get you all the help you need. Moved to a new city? We'll help you move in. Can't find a job yet? Don't worry. We'll get your groceries for you and help you find something temporary.

Leaving the church was very difficult precisely because of the isolation that I experienced when I stepped out of that.
posted by verb at 7:58 AM on July 19, 2010


nothing about having same sex marriages in the US changes the fact that gays can't get married in the LDS church. so all of the money and time and energy that the church and its members put into prop 8 was about denying *non* mormon gays the right to marry. this seems doubly hateful because for mormons, marriage is the most precious thing there is. they already believe that non-mormon gays (and mormon gays who don't marry) will be forever denied access to the higher levels of heaven but that's not enough, they have to persecute them in this life too. (and if you think gays within the mormon community are treated with sympathy, you're an idiot). the church and its members maintain that same sex marriage even for non mormons would be harmful to society but they never explain what the harm would be. the opposite is true, accepting homosexuals as 100% equals, removing sexual choice as a moral issue, and encouraging marriage and commitment and love would all be great advances for our society.
posted by sineater at 8:46 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


how many people (mefites excluded! ;) could pick up and relocate to another part of the world and find an instant community/social network to plug into?

But that community inclusion comes with a huge price, the intrusion into your private life by any "concerned" Mormon. The church is great at organizational hierarchy and keeping records. Anyone can find out if you attend meetings, if you are a Mormon in good standing, if you tithe appropriately. Fail to measure up in some way and you will get Mormon elders showing up at your door. Get excommunicated and it will have an impact on your social standing and business dealings, not to mention relationships within your own family.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:06 AM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


It has happened-- the FLDS still believes that the church leaders erred by caving into the US Government's demands to discontinue polygamy.

Isn't it funny, in many religions, how the fundamentalists-- as crazy as they may get-- tend to have things more right* than their mainstream cousins. I mean, hell, at least they're consistent, y'know?

of course the descendants of Cain with their cursed black skin are finally ready to receive the priesthood at the same time when the LDS church is just coincidentally realizing "oh wait, this whole civil rights thing isn't just a fad and its probably gonna stick! we better fix this thing hella fast before, god forbid, it actually sticks out as something that is socially unacceptable!". Hmph, well what do I know. Maybe that's called progress, but I'd rather see a church embrace its hateful roots and die out with time.

*within the context of the religion. in their interpretation of doctrine, etc.
posted by heyethan at 9:33 AM on July 19, 2010


how many people (mefites excluded! ;) could pick up and relocate to another part of the world and find an instant community/social network to plug into?

I think I'll test the waters on Metatalk before I buy the plane ticket.
posted by StickyCarpet at 9:52 AM on July 19, 2010


of course the descendants of Cain with their cursed black skin are finally ready to receive the priesthood at the same time when the LDS church is just coincidentally realizing "oh wait, this whole civil rights thing isn't just a fad and its probably gonna stick! we better fix this thing hella fast before, god forbid, it actually sticks out as something that is socially unacceptable!". Hmph, well what do I know. Maybe that's called progress, but I'd rather see a church embrace its hateful roots and die out with time.

The truth is actually far more venal and pathetic. The NCAA threatened to disqualify BYU from playing basketball unless BYU abandoned the Mormon church's racist doctrines. Lo and behold, suddenly the revelation comes.

I am not someone who is new the idea that the religious tend to believe whatever they feel like believing and come up with a justification for it, but between that and the whole "God decides polygamy is wrong at the same time the US is making the abandoning of polygamy a condition of Utah statehood" thing, the LDS church is almost offensively bald-faced about it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:16 AM on July 19, 2010 [6 favorites]


I think it's also important to acknowledge that the racism isn't just in the scripture and revelations. Most mormons are aware of the priesthood issue and think that's the only "racist" bit that people are critical of. It's easy to dismiss for a believer because to them it's not really viewed as racist-- it's just the way it is.

The Priesthood issue, however, isn't the only thing. Brigham Young, considered by mormons to be a great man and prophet (easily the second most oft-praised following Joseph Smith), has plenty of gems that can be taken to the books. for example:

“..Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so.”

Young was a loud mouth and said a lot of regrettable things that most LDS aren't aware of (including many prophesies that have blatantly proven false).
posted by heyethan at 11:33 AM on July 19, 2010


But, if a church funding Prop 8 is "hateful", then I was guessing the non-hateful option is for churches to stay out of political discourse. This guess is partly based on the fact that "churches should stay out of politics" is something I've heard a lot of since Prop. 8 passed, and that's where I have a freedom of speech concern.

You "exercised your rights of free speech, peaceable assembly, and religion" to suggest that gay people should not be able to marry because you "thought same sex marriage would be bad for society and the church", so you shouldn't be surprised when others exercise their rights of free speech, peaceable assembly, and religion to suggest that churches should stay out of politics, because their involvement is bad for society and the church.

Freedom of speech cuts both ways -- it's not there to allow you to say whatever you want about religion, and then turn around and silence critics of religion. Freedom of religion is the same: it's hypocritical to hide behind it while supporting a law which prevents other religions from having their marriages recognized by the state.

In short: if you're allowed to suggest that the United Church of Christ is "bad for society", then guess what? I'm allowed to suggest that the Mormons are.
posted by vorfeed at 11:39 AM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Speaking of crazy mormons.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:16 PM on July 19, 2010


The rise of a new generation of Mormons

Great. Another Twilight thread.
posted by quin at 12:16 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]



“..Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so.”


And the founding fathers owned slaves. People were idiots back in the day.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:26 PM on July 19, 2010


And the founding fathers owned slaves. People were idiots back in the day.

yeah, but the founding fathers weren't talking to God on a regular basis and preaching absolute goodness and truth!



... actually, Wilford Woodruff does say that the founding fathers appeared to him in the St. George temple, so maybe there's something to this.
posted by heyethan at 12:38 PM on July 19, 2010


Young was a loud mouth and said a lot of regrettable things that most LDS aren't aware of (including many prophesies that have blatantly proven false).

Most Mormons I know are well aware of that.
posted by The World Famous at 4:59 PM on July 19, 2010


You get into conversations about this with all the Mormons you know!?
posted by ODiV at 6:07 PM on July 19, 2010


You get into conversations about this with all the Mormons you know!?

Yes, I regularly get into conversations about this with all the Mormons I know who are more than passing acquaintances (and with those a lot of the time, too).

Why the exclamation/questionmark?
posted by The World Famous at 6:15 PM on July 19, 2010


Young was a loud mouth and said a lot of regrettable things that most LDS aren't aware of (including many prophesies that have blatantly proven false).

You don't say. I guess that makes mormons entirely unlike Christianity or Islam.
posted by empath at 6:18 PM on July 19, 2010


I'm surprised, that's all. I tend to stay well away from topics involving the questionable ethics of a prophet of someone's religion. Especially when they are not friends. More power to you for being able to.

I'm being completely non-sarcastic here. It might not come across that well in text.
posted by ODiV at 6:23 PM on July 19, 2010


TWF is Mormon, I think.
posted by empath at 6:26 PM on July 19, 2010


Yes, I'm Mormon, and that's why I discuss Mormonism with all of the Mormons I know, all of whom are aware that Brigham Young was a loudmouth that said a lot of regrettable things. So much so that, when I was in grad school, I and several other LDS grad students of various disciplines used to sit around the conference table of the CES building pulling volumes of Journal of Discourses from the shelf, picking the most outrageous quotes we could find, and then guessing who said them (the safest guess is Brigham Young).
posted by The World Famous at 6:51 PM on July 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yes, I'm Mormon, and that's why I discuss Mormonism with all of the Mormons I know, all of whom are aware that Brigham Young was a loudmouth that said a lot of regrettable things. So much so that, when I was in grad school, I and several other LDS grad students of various disciplines used to sit around the conference table of the CES building pulling volumes of Journal of Discourses from the shelf, picking the most outrageous quotes we could find, and then guessing who said them (the safest guess is Brigham Young).

I suppose I should clarify.

There are certain circles of apologists that are aware of these things (in christianity you have the same thing... believing "intellectuals" who are aware of the countless flaws of the bible and yet still believe. usually the ones who debate and rationalize on behalf of millions of followers who haven't the slightest clue), but if you walk into a church building and pick someone out from a pew, chances are they're unaware of 90% of the things on the website I posted previously. Reason being that critical views of mormonism are generally dismissed as "anti-mormon propaganda" and it is discouraged that such materials are read.

If you click the link that I've posted you'll see that it is not uncommon for members and historians to be excommunicated for writing about or spreading this type of information. Not unlike scientology, the church is very sensitive about both its history as well as its doctrine (and former doctrine), and while they won't sue you for criticism, if you're a believing member there's always the threat of excommunication. While you won't be excommunicated for reading materials, it is frowned upon. I recall when I was younger once hearing another kid at school talking about Joseph Smith's wives. I asked about it and I was told that it was simply a lie made up by "anti-mormons"*.

*note that anti-mormon is the magic blanket word within the church to dismiss any harmful information.
posted by heyethan at 8:32 PM on July 19, 2010


There are certain circles of apologists that are aware of these things

When I say all of the Mormons I know who are more than passing acquaintances know those things, I'm not talking about certain circles of apologists. I'm sorry that your experience in the Mormon church apparently didn't expose you to many of the well-informed, intellectual, self-critical and highly educated people that I know (and who, for the most part, are not within the certain circles of apologists that I think you're referring to).

There are certainly plenty of closed-minded idiots in the church, bless their hearts. Based on your comment above, you appear to have mostly noticed those people and assumed that, other than certain circles of apologists, they were the norm. And I agree that the voices of the idiots and the apologists tend to be the loudest, so you can hardly be blamed. My experience, however, has been very different than yours, and I am somewhat insulted by your assertion that people like me don't even know the things that you purport to about the church.

It has been my observation, particularly as I have had more and more experience in the church, that staying active in the church as a youth generally involves a lot of starry-eyed emotional posturing (which always bothered me), while staying active in the church as an adult (i.e. beyond, say, the age of 30) generally involves learning about and coming to terms on a personal level with the many things that you, in your comment above, assert are unknown to the church members generally. I also have observed that adults who have learned about and come to terms with the various things that you assert are unknown to them talk about those things with each other quite a lot but don't talk about them in specific terms very often with younger people in the church. Maybe they're just trying not to interrupt the starry-eyed emotional posturing. I don't know. I suspect they think that it's important for people to cross that divide on a personal level. It's a divide that you apparently didn't cross.

I may be outside the norm, since I don't think I really ever had the starry-eyed emotional thing in any noticeable way. But I and many others like me are educated, intelligent people who have examined the things that you claim we don't even know about and either concluded that they are irrelevant to our faith or that they are false or misrepresented claims that stand on shaky factual footing. You certainly disagree with that conclusion, as is your right.

But your statement above that even the church leadership doesn't know the actual doctrines of the church, its history, etc. is utterly ridiculous. While they are, with some exceptions, not history scholars, these are people who have dedicated their entire lives to the church and who do so on a full-time basis. They are accomplished scholars with advanced degrees in medicine, law, education, and other fields. One of the apostles is a former university president, state Supreme Court justice, and professor of law at one of the top law schools in the country. To suggest that these people are unaware of some list of scandalous allegations freely available to the public on a website - rather than accepting that they are aware of the church's history and historic doctrines but that they are presiding over a modern church and do so in a manner they see as prudent - isn't exactly applying Occam's Razor, is it? Isn't it more plausible that they know these "secrets" but either think them irrelevant or incorrect?

There are secrets that not even the leaders of the church know about, but that you can learn by clicking a link? That doesn't pass the laugh test.

There are a lot of mormons that don't even know what they believe.

Look, if they don't know they believe something, they don't believe it. What you're saying, it appears, is that there are a lot of mormons who don't know the full history of what mormons in the past believed and who do not, therefore, believe those things now. Fine. Mormons in the past certainly believed many things that Mormons now do not believe. This is a feature - not a bug. Mormons in the 1800s, including many church leaders, believed many things that I don't believe. I respectfully contend that they were mistaken. Likewise, many members and leaders of the church in the 1960s, 1970s, and even now believe lots of things that I don't believe. That's fine. I respectfully contend that they're mistaken. And somehow, I was able to learn about what people in the church used to believe without getting kicked out of the church in the process of learning it. Journal of Discourses - in all its volumes - was not placed on the bookshelf of the CES building by my graduate school by some subversive rebel seeking to show clueless Mormons the light. And none of us were disciplined by the church because we plumbed its depths for the most preposterous proclamations we could find in the transcripts of conferences from the 1800s and beyond. If you didn't learn about the history of the church until you were on your way out, that's all you. Call me crazy all you want, but don't call me uninformed.

and while they won't sue you for criticism, if you're a believing member there's always the threat of excommunication.

This is preposterous. How many people alive today even claim that they have been excommunicated for criticizing the church? 5? 10? I am critical of the church All. The. Time. without fear of reprisal. I don't doubt that there have been some dumb decisions by bishops, stake presidents, etc. with regard to some high-profile situations where people dug their heels in about various things. And I'm the first to be critical of those situations - on both sides. But, in addition to the muddy issues surrounding even the allegations in those cases, they are such remote outliers from the norm as to be totally insignificant in any discussion of the way that the church operates. And even in those cases, they are not people who started studying the history of the church and were promptly booted for it. If what it takes to be kicked out of the church is getting a Ph.D in a subject first and then getting published, I'm not sure I would be so quick to say that the church stifles all intellectual examination of the subject matter.

The characterization of the general Mormon populace as being either uninformed, clueless dolts without any critical thought or knowledge of Mormon history or members of "certain circles of apologists" is, frankly, insulting to those of us who are highly-educated members of the church who travel not in apologist circles, but in circles of hard-working, good people who are extremely well informed and who hold our faith and beliefs through a thorough - and ongoing - examination of the sort of information that you claim is unknown to us. Again, call me crazy all you want, but don't call me uninformed.
posted by The World Famous at 10:03 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Again, call me crazy all you want, but don't call me uninformed.

Why don't you list some of the criticisms of Mormonism that you think are irrelevant and/or incorrect. Then we would have a clearer idea of whether your are crazy and misinformed, or just crazy.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:54 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Then we would have a clearer idea of whether your are crazy and misinformed, or just crazy.

This is unkind. At the point at which a thread devolves into one person being interrogated about their belief system, it's often better to take things to email or MetaTalk.
posted by jessamyn at 12:06 PM on July 20, 2010


Sorry I guess I should have thought about it a bit before I hit post. Sorry I apologize; I shouldn't be personalizing it.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:44 PM on July 20, 2010


That being said my opinion of "revealed" religions is most eloquently expressed by one Thomas Paine:

The most detestable wickedness, the most horrid cruelties, and the greatest miseries, that have afflicted the human race have had their origin in this thing called revelation, or revealed religion. It has been the most dishonourable belief against the character of the divinity, the most destructive to morality, and the peace and happiness of man, that ever was propagated since man began to exist. It is better, far better, that we admitted, if it were possible, a thousand devils to roam at large, and to preach publicly the doctrine of devils, if there were any such, than that we permitted one such impostor and monster as Moses, Joshua, Samuel, and the Bible prophets, to come with the pretended word of God in his mouth, and have credit among us.

As to the fragments of morality that are irregularly and thinly scattered in those books, they make no part of this pretended thing, revealed religion. They are the natural dictates of conscience, and the bonds by which society is held together, and without which it cannot exist; and are nearly the same in all religions, and in all societies.

posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 1:00 PM on July 20, 2010


Let me get this straight. Thomas Paine railed - understandably and not without good reason - against impostors posing as prophets, and contended that all alleged prophets are impostors. But he based that opinion at least in part on his belief that Moses, Joshua, Samuel, and the other Bible prophets were real people who actually said and did the things that the Bible alleges, and he thought that all religions in all societies mirror the Judeo-Christian tenets of ethics and morality? I've got a lot of respect for Paine, and I actually agree with the general point he's making there. But that quote makes my brain hurt.
posted by The World Famous at 2:16 PM on July 20, 2010


TWF: "and he thought that all religions in all societies mirror the Judeo-Christian tenets of ethics and morality?"

I don't exactly read it as Judeo-Christian tenets...

They are the natural dictates of conscience, and the bonds by which society is held together, and without which it cannot exist; and are nearly the same in all religions, and in all societies.

I think we can agree that societies existed for millenia before Judeo-Christian religion came along, and they followed the same basic set of rules that Judeo-Christian religions follow. Don't murder, don't steal, etc. It doesn't take an act of god to make a person figure out that these are the basic rules that you need to make society function.
posted by mullingitover at 8:49 PM on July 20, 2010


Paine was an Enlightenment writer, and a staunch anti-Christian, to the point that he made the Deists very uncomfortable. The morality and ethics he speaks of are not things that he sees as having any connection whatsoever to any god or spirit, but simply are, just as is gravity, or the weak force.

Nontheistic moral objectivism has its problems, but it does have the advantage of being substantially more coherent than theistic moral objectivism.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:25 PM on July 20, 2010


I agree, Pope Guilty.
posted by The World Famous at 9:36 PM on July 20, 2010


This is unkind. At the point at which a thread devolves into one person being interrogated about their belief system, it's often better to take things to email or MetaTalk.

In AElfwine's defense, The World Famous responded repeatedly to standard criticism about Mormon self-knowledge by holding up himself, and many others like him, as informed believers with no examples to reference. That's all fine, unless it was the case that pro- and con- are talking past each other here, where one may be referring to internal criticism about fallible leadership, while another is talking about something far more serious. Regardless, I would still prefer to call them uninformed instead of crazy.
posted by Brian B. at 9:52 PM on July 20, 2010


I don't understand. What did I give no examples of?
posted by The World Famous at 11:28 PM on July 20, 2010


I don't understand. What did I give no examples of?

Refer to AElfwine's question of you.
posted by Brian B. at 7:02 AM on July 21, 2010


I still don't understand, Brian B. I have given numerous examples of criticisms of Mormonism that I find to be incorrect, irrelevant to my personal faith, or some combination of those two.

You claim that I "responded repeatedly to standard criticism about Mormon self-knowledge by holding up [my]self, and many others like him, as informed believers with no examples to reference." Examples of what? Examples of criticisms of Mormonism that I find to be incorrect or irrelevant? I've given some of those. Examples of informed believers? You're asking me for a list of the names of some of the smart Mormons I know? I don't understand what you are saying I have given no examples of.

I and all of the Mormons I know who are more than acquaintances are well aware of the criticisms against our faith. By definition, those of us who are still in the faith deem all of those criticisms to be incorrect and/or irrelevant to our remaining in the faith.

If you're asking me to go through some unidentified list of criticisms against Mormonism line by line and check a box marked irrelevant, incorrect, or both, that seems more harassing than productive. However, because I enjoy examining my faith and discussing it privately, if you want to send me a MeFiMail with a list of criticisms of Mormonism, I will check boxes off for you to the extent that I have time over the next week or so (a full list of every criticism of Mormonism would take a lot longer than a week, but I'm not willing to spend the time for you - sorry). Keep in mind that my opinions are just that - my own personal opinions based on my own experience, research, etc. And keep in mind that I, like any thinking person, am engaged in a life-long search for truth and perspective on my existence, so my opinions and analysis are guaranteed to change over time, as they always have.

Frankly, I don't see the point in such an exercise. So maybe a better way to start, assuming that you're capable of critical thought and analysis, is for you to go through the list first, analyzing and looking at the source information for each item, and identifying those criticisms that you, a non-Mormon, can determine to be questionable, incorrect or irrelevant to one's faith. Surely you can find some. Maybe start with Under The Banner Of Heaven. If you can get through that book without even once identifying an assertion about Mormonism that you, a critical thinker, think is questionable, incorrect or would be irrelevant to an individual's faith in the central tenets of the religion, then let me know via MeFiMail and we can have a discussion about the themes of Krakauer's book.
posted by The World Famous at 10:16 AM on July 21, 2010


I still don't understand, Brian B. I have given numerous examples of criticisms of Mormonism that I find to be incorrect, irrelevant to my personal faith, or some combination of those two. ...

I and all of the Mormons I know who are more than acquaintances are well aware of the criticisms against our faith. By definition, those of us who are still in the faith deem all of those criticisms to be incorrect and/or irrelevant to our remaining in the faith.


It doesn't concern me. It was your argument to settle, and I only chimed in because AElfwine asked what I am still wondering. Fair question. So nevermind then.
posted by Brian B. at 3:38 PM on July 21, 2010


Whatever. I'm happy to exchange MeFiMail on the subject with AElfwine, heyethan, or anyone else.

I'm still curious what you meant when you said that I "gave no examples to reference." But I guess it doesn't matter.
posted by The World Famous at 3:47 PM on July 21, 2010


I'm still curious what you meant when you said that I "gave no examples to reference." But I guess it doesn't matter.

Specifically, your "examples" don't rise to "informed" status; that is to say, informed of the salient controversies such as the lack of DNA, linguistic or archaeological evidence for bold New World claims, for one example only. I won't venture further into this because the mods have ruled, but you weren't very convincing of your status, is all.
posted by Brian B. at 4:03 PM on July 21, 2010


In light of that response, I propose the following to anyone here who reads this, including, but not limited to, Brian B., AElfwine Evenstar, heyethan, and anyone else.

While I have no interest in "convincing" you or anyone else of my "'informed' status," I am very, very curious to know what super secret and mysterious "salient controversies" you and others think are so thoroughly hidden that you assume I don't know about them unless I affirmatively prove otherwise.

Since I am an educated person, an active member of MetaFilter, an avid reader, and I do devote substantial time to learning about my religion, I truly would appreciate anyone who can point me to some "salient controversy" of which I am not yet aware. Let's make this an opportunity for me to learn what it is that you and others think I must not have discovered yet.

And let's do it by MeFiMail or e-mail, so that we can have a better discussion. I promise not to try to convince anyone that Mormonism is not crazy, and to restrict the discussion solely to whether or not I am aware of the "salient controversies" that you think I probably don't know about yet for some reason. After all, the point is for me to become more educated about my religion. If there is some allegation or fact that has somehow remained hidden from me all these years.

To save time in your MeFiMail, it's probably a good idea to assume that I'm already aware of anything that is regularly in the mainstream media, in MetaFilter threads or posts about Mormonism, in bestseller books, or on high-traffic websites about Mormonism. For example, Brian B.'s assumption that I'm not aware of "the lack of DNA, linguistic or archaeological evidence for bold New World claims" because I didn't mention it is incorrect, and could have been avoided simply by giving me an credit as someone who has read a newspaper on a regular basis. Nevertheless, if there's something that you think might have escaped my attention, then by all means mention it.

I look forward to hearing from you.

P.S. I do realize that I offered no examples to convince you that I really am an educated person, an active member of MetaFilter, an avid reader, and that I devote substantial time to learning about my religion. So you're just going to have to take my word for it.
posted by The World Famous at 5:42 PM on July 21, 2010


For example, Brian B.'s assumption that I'm not aware of "the lack of DNA, linguistic or archaeological evidence for bold New World claims" because I didn't mention it is incorrect, and could have been avoided simply by giving me an credit as someone who has read a newspaper on a regular basis.

I made no such assumption, you just chose to read it that way. My only assumption is that you are committed to the fantastic promises made to loyalists, perhaps from youth. Big deal, it's your life. I never swallowed the part about education validating or hedging religion in any way, it only seems to work the other way around through falsification. The strange part in this exchange is how much knowledge you would need in order to dismiss the counter-claims in question, not to mention finding some objectivity too. I'll pass on the email, I don't entertain spin or re-education on scientific matters from apologetic sources. Yeah, I'm done.
posted by Brian B. at 8:15 PM on July 21, 2010


This is preposterous. How many people alive today even claim that they have been excommunicated for criticizing the church? 5? 10? I am critical of the church All. The. Time. without fear of reprisal. I don't doubt that there have been some dumb decisions by bishops, stake presidents, etc. with regard to some high-profile situations where people dug their heels in about various things. And I'm the first to be critical of those situations - on both sides. But, in addition to the muddy issues surrounding even the allegations in those cases, they are such remote outliers from the norm as to be totally insignificant in any discussion of the way that the church operates. And even in those cases, they are not people who started studying the history of the church and were promptly booted for it. If what it takes to be kicked out of the church is getting a Ph.D in a subject first and then getting published, I'm not sure I would be so quick to say that the church stifles all intellectual examination of the subject matter.


What is preposterous is your contention that Mormonism is a hotbed of intellectual freedom. I commend your attempt to tiptoe around this issue but the fact of the matter is that it only takes a few examples to show everybody what the consequences are when one "digs in their heels" about church history. If you want me to link the examples I can but why when they are so easily found only a click away. Here one is from a Frontline report on Mormonism:

"Lavina Anderson, another of the September Six, who published in and edited the free-thinking Mormon publications Dialogue and Sunstone, accused church leaders of keeping tabs on Mormon scholars, a practice the church later confirmed."

I bolded the important part.

I have given numerous examples of criticisms of Mormonism that I find to be incorrect, irrelevant to my personal faith, or some combination of those two.

Really have you? Because I'm having trouble finding them in this thread.

what it is that you and others think I must not have discovered yet.

That Joseph Smith was a charlatan just like Jesus and Mohamed before him. This is pretty basic stuff. Actually, Mr. Smith did all of us that study religion a service and gave us the ability to analyze a "new" religion in its infancy. Really interesting stuff and also a good opportunity for all those Christians out there to take notes and maybe engage in some introspective study on how their religion might have been formed without any supernatural events.

While I have no interest in "convincing" you or anyone else of my "'informed' status," I am very, very curious to know what super secret and mysterious "salient controversies" you and others think are so thoroughly hidden that you assume I don't know about them unless I affirmatively prove otherwise.

This isn't about whether you are informed or not. This is about the bullshit claims in the Book of Mormon and the cult that has formed around these claims. I know one of the previous comments mentioned that you and most Mormons are unaware of the demonstrably false claims made in the book of Mormon. You quickly moved to make this the centerpoint of a long drawn out apology for Mormonism and your awareness of it. This is irrelevant to the issue of why you believe what you believe when so much of what Mormonism is based on is a lie. Just as all revealed religions are based on the lie and fallacy of revelation. If your religion is helpful to you in your daily life than good for you just don't be surprised when you are called on the BS that comprises your religion. If you haven't noticed that happens quite often on the blue, with Christianity usually being the main target.

So my question to all believers in a revealed truth is this: what do you know that the rest of us don't? What is contained in your "revealed" book that can't be found in every other culture and every other religion? What makes you so needful of a god? And what makes your god THE one god above all others? I am personally Agnostic and have no horse in the race so to speak. I think god is a nice idea but I neither see nor feel any necessity or urgency to pray or worship anything. The fact that many people believe in what are basically a bronze age deities makes their "informed" status suspect in my eyes. Furthermore, and most importantly, it calls in to question their ability to judge truth from falsehood.

To be clear this is not an attack against you personally or Mormonism in general. My comments reflect my opinion of all revealed religions.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:53 PM on July 21, 2010


Hey, I realize the atheist inquisition is fun and all, but let's not do this please.
posted by empath at 11:59 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


just don't be surprised when you are called on the BS that comprises your religion.

Seriously, knock it off and take one-on-one interrogation crap to MetaTalk or email. Critical discussions of religion are welcome here, but being a jerk to other commenters just because they adhere to a religion that you have issues with does not give you license to monopolize an entire thread with a list of questions they need to answer for you.
posted by jessamyn at 7:13 AM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hey, I realize the atheist inquisition is fun and all, but let's not do this please.

God may exist. I am positive, though, that he/she/it hasn't revealed him/her/itself the through written word. So more like the Agnostic Inquisition.

Seriously, knock it off and take one-on-one interrogation crap to MetaTalk or email.

Knock what off? I am not interrogating anyone. The BS I am referencing is BS that he has admitted to and claims to be aware of. I am merely questioning why he is so surprised that non-believers may have problems with it when in his own words he admits to having to struggle with it himself as a believer. He admits to identifying and rationalizing inconsistencies in the Book of Mormon. I don't see how I am attacking him by referencing things he has already identified as problems in his religion. As I said if he finds his religion helps him in daily life then it is a good thing BS or no. If he can personally get past the logical problems inherent in revealed religion and construct a worldview that allows him to live a moral and happy life than I am happy for him in return. I am not arguing whether he is a good person or not. I am arguing about the literal truthfulness of revealed religion not it's value as a social control mechanism. It seems from his comments that The World Famous is not a literalist. If my assertion is correct than he should have no problem engaging in this discussion. If I am offending you, The World Famous, by all means tell me and I will apologize.

does not give you license to monopolize an entire thread with a list of questions they need to answer for you.

I was under the impression that people reading metafilter could choose to ignore my questions and move on, and weren't under any compulsion to answer any questions I pose. No one needs to do anything they don't want to. I hardly think that what I am doing is monopolizing the thread. I know you are a mod, but who are you to set parameters for a debate?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:43 AM on July 22, 2010


I know you are a question mark, but who are you to end an interrogative sentence?

I know you are a duck, but who are you to quack and fly south for the winter?

I know you are a cheese sandwich, but who are you to be a slice of cheese between two slices of bread?
posted by box at 9:55 AM on July 22, 2010


Interrogation. So no not really interrogating anyone here just asking questions. That's allowed on the blue is it not?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:38 AM on July 22, 2010


Aelfwine Evenstar, both I and jessamyn have invited you multiple times to take it to e-mail (I prefer MeFiMail, as I stated).

You're not offending me. You appear to be intentionally insulting me, but I am not offended.

If you want to ask me questions I'm happy to have that conversation via MeFiMail. Send me a message telling me what questions you want me to answer first.

I already know you think my beliefs are wrong (though I haven't told you what I, personally, believe). So as a starting point, why don't we just stipulate that I am, in fact, wrong, so we can avoid any argument on that front.
posted by The World Famous at 10:53 AM on July 22, 2010


I know you are a mod, but who are you to set parameters for a debate?

Hi, welcome to Metafilter. One of the practical facts of life here is that it's mine and jessamyn's and mathowie's job, actual, you know, job, to keep this place running reasonably well. One of the things we do is try to keep threads from getting overly weird and keep individual users from overly mucking things up with their behavior.

Your behavior here has sucked. You need to knock it off. If you find this is something you can't manage, you are welcome to go elsewhere; it's a great big internet. But on this little slice of it, we are specifically the folks who "set the parameters for a debate" insofar as those parameters include basic stuff like "not letting one guy go on a crappy spree that fucks things up".

If you want to talk about moderation or some other general site issue, go to Metatalk and start a thread about it. If you want to have a one-on-one debate with someone, write them an email or mefimail and hope they write you back. But leave this alone.
posted by cortex at 11:03 AM on July 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


If my behavior has sucked so much than feel free to remove my comments. So far you haven't. Why is that? I am really curious. Is there some invisible line I haven't crossed? It seems to me that as a mod you should remove the comments instead of making it personal as you are now doing. That's kind of ironic don't you think. But I am not a mod so do as you will; no skin off my back. I also fail to see how I have gone "on a crappy spree that fucks things up." I apologize for asking questions and broadening the debate to include not only Mormonism but all "revealed" religion.

If you want to ask me questions I'm happy to have that conversation via MeFiMail.

Will do but am curious why this must be hidden behind closed doors? Are religious beliefs held to a different standard than other topics? And I guess since no one wants to continue in the light of day I am done.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:04 PM on July 22, 2010


If my behavior has sucked so much than feel free to remove my comments. So far you haven't. Why is that? I am really curious. Is there some invisible line I haven't crossed? It seems to me that as a mod you should remove the comments instead of making it personal as you are now doing.

We'd prefer that you handled this on your own. We try to lightly moderate the site which means less comment removal and more discussion with actual users. There is a place on the site for talking about site policy and it's MetaTalk and here is a link to it. You can start a thread there if you'd like to discuss how moderation on the site works. This thread is really not the place for it. I appreciate that you may not know how stuff works here entirely, but contentious religious threads have a long history here on MetaFilter that you may be unaware of that have led to some of the moderation and policies that we now have. Feel free to email us if you'd like more information.
posted by jessamyn at 12:35 PM on July 22, 2010


If my behavior has sucked so much than feel free to remove my comments. So far you haven't. Why is that? I am really curious.

Because we take a pretty light hand to deletions on the blue in general. Because we were hoping it was a short-term thing and that you'd self-correct. That didn't happen, we've said something. If you're letting this go, great. If you start doing the same sort of thing in future threads, that'll be an issue.

Again: if you want to talk about this, either take it to Metatalk (though if you're relatively unfamiliar with the site you may want to proceed carefully there and make sure you have an understand of what does and doesn't work well) or write me an email.
posted by cortex at 12:39 PM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


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