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Mormons, Inc. Part 2

To say that I feel vindicated in a way is an understatement. (See?! I've been telling y'all all along about this stuff! I wasn't making it up! You CAN'T make it up!) I've also been grinding my teeth and headachy, bah. Those roots run deep. Another long discussion, feel free to question, comment, disagree, make paper hats. (For those unable to watch it, it is online at PBS.org here.)

Right off the bat, let me quote the breathtakingly horrible Dallin H. Oaks, one of the members of the leadership of the LDS church who said he felt sympathy for those that participated in the Mt. Meadow Massacre (poor little murderers, unable to look at themselves in a mirror.) This is from the opener last night:

"It is wrong to criticize the leaders of the church. Even if the criticism is true."

And that, right there, is why Mitt Romney shouldn't be elected President of the United States. Oh, and why they either need new leadership in the LDS church (I utterly DESPISE Oaks) or why members should re-think their religion. (the sound of Martin Luther hammering away comes to mind)

Things I wished they talked more about:

  • The Church's stance on homosexuals. Sure, they said be gay but don't practice it. So Morrissey could be a member. Let's talk (floweringjudas, I miss you!) about how members treat gays. It's not kind. (there are acceptions, but they are rare.)

  • The inherent racism in the Church and how that is in DIRECT OPPOSITION to Joseph Smith's earlier teachings. (Interesting, no?) Smith was a HUGE abolitionist. (Remember, 1830-43 is the time frame.) He had NO PROBLEM with blacks, with them holding the Priesthood, with them being members. Fast forward to his death and Kimball taking over. No more "darkies." Not for well over 100 years. I remember CLEARLY when we were told in church (and I was 5 at the time) that blacks could have the Priesthood, and the grumblings. How the men were told to pray and search deep. God wanted it. How many people LEFT the church as a result. (Polygamists still deny black people/anyone not white the Priesthood, and believe specifically that blacks "bear the mark of Cain." Um... didn't everyone but God's elect die in the flood? *g*)

  • I wanted more insight into WHY Historians/anthropologists/thinking people decry the validity of the Book of Mormon. (Example: the Nephites/Lamanites - descendants of Hebrews - had horses, steel, highways, major cities. There is NO SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE to support this, in fact, that has been shown to be false again and again. STEEL?! In 200 BC. Yeeeeeeaaaaaaaah.)

  • The fact that Joseph Smith was a Mason (one of his plural marriages was held in a Masonic lodge, in fact) and that most of the "rituals" involved in the temple are taken from the Masons.

  • And lastly, the Pearl of Great Price and the "lost" books of Abraham and Moses that no one else knows about. And that scholars laugh about.

I felt the automatic knee-jerk reaction of "no, no, they're not getting it right!" that has been ingrained in me since I was a child. See, it's like this. You're told from infant-hood that People Are Going To Try And Sway You. That they are going to take you from the Straight And Narrow Path. So we need to Hold To The Rod! (The iron rod. <-- for the former Mormons reading *g* By the way, we always sang under our breath "Hold to my Rod," which was dangerous as my father was the choir director, so he could hear us. Haha!) Back to the indoctrination. Other churches teach about us at the pulpit. How bad we are. How they need to stop us. (Whether this is true, I've never found, and I've been to maaaaaaany churches. But in Mormon church, this is commonly spoken.)

So you have this mindset of Us against Them. And We Are A Peculiar People. And In The World, But Not Of It. A part of the world, but Apart. So anytime someone that is NOT a member begins any discourse, the immediate reaction is "here we go...." And you roll your eyes and wait for a break in the convo so you can break in With The Truth. And admonish them to search their hearts and pray deeply for God To Tell Them of the One True Church. (Please know that Mormons believe they have the ONLY church that is just what god wants. Either Mormon or cast aside, y'all.) And if you look at the letters on PBS.Org, you'll see how many people have that knee-jerk reaction "this is ALL LIES AND HATE!" *wipes spittle from cheek and blinks*

Let me put it this way: you should know by now my stance on the Mormon Faith. I thought this was almost a fluff piece. I was SINGING THE HYMNS in the background and getting nostalgic. Boy, when that father started reciting the prayer for baptisms of the dead, I was saying it, too. I practically yearned to dip my head back and get right back in there. Why? There was something very telling in the second half of last night: the author, Terry Givens, talked about how each ward (like a parish) was a family. And that's right! You know everyone, you see them almost every day of the week (church isn't only on Sunday) you go to socials, dances, dinners, etc. Mormons are encouraged to do business with other Mormons first. Don't date outside the church, etc. I was one of those devout girls dreaming of going to the MTC (mission training center) and going on a mission. When that little kid was singing "I Hope They Call Me On A Mission" I was singing along. Yep.

And think about how insidious that is. (Oh, they don't see it that way AT ALL.) You go to "Primary" after the sacrament service. Primary is 2 (is it 2? Or 3? I can't remember) through 11. You sing songs, you have a lesson about the church, and then you sing more songs. This is two hours long. Now, some of the songs are silly and fun like "Popcorn Tree." I still sing that to my kids. And some of them are teaching you how to be a Mormon, and what's required of you. A LOT of indoctrination is done through song. (And I should know, my father wrote hymns for the church, and exposed us girls to the Business of Indoctrination that way.)

Examples: "An Angel Came to Joseph Smith"
"We'll Bring The World his Truth"
"Book of Mormon Stories" (that my teacher tells to me...) Man, I can hear the piano of Sister Broadbent just LOOKING at this title. It has fun hand movements, whole body twirls... And loads of Mormon dogma. Like "Families Can Be Together Forever." (I can garan-damn-tee you than any Mormon or former Mormon is singing everyone of those songs under their breath right now.)

But that's their right, right? They have a church, why not sing songs that celebrate that? It's because the songs have an exclusionary element to them. (Except, and seriously now, there's not much sweeter in this world than when the Primary sings in sacrament meeting on Mother's Day and sings, "Mother, I love you" and I'm TOTALLY TEARING UP THINKING ABOUT IT, AUUUGH. Little four year olds?! And then they walk to mom and give her a flower. Gaaaah.)

So enough with the singing, Laura, get to a point about something. Okay... Did anyone see that woman that had been converted, that had come from a life of drugs and pain? And she was singing a gospel-type song? (I'm talking about the black woman.) Ooh, Laws. That does NOT happen in the Mormon church. It is calm, ever peaceful. No applause EVER. You murmur "amen" when someone sings a magnificent (or terrible) solo, plays a piece of music, etc. I bet that sounds really weird to a lot of you church-going types. The first time I went to a black church, I was blown away. That is NOT how it's done in the LDS church. And this is significant.

I hope you noticed how the Mormon leaders spoke. How the devout Mormons had a special cadence to their voice - they ALL adopt it. (As well as a middle initial. you can search high and low to find a male member that doesn't aspire to a higher office of the church that doesn't use an initial. I used to tease my dad about how he needed one to move up the ranks. ...because it's true.) Hinckley, the current president, closes his eyes and speaks with a lulling cadence that he got from the previous president, Hunter. Who got it from Ezra Taft Benson. Who ... You get my point. It goes back to David O. McKay, the first clean-shaven prophet of the 50s that was buddies with Eisenhower. All Mormon males - who want to move higher in the offices, and they all do - adopt this weird "blessed and peaceful" tone of voice, this weird lilting of speech, and it's like a sleeping pill. (Ask anyone who had to sit through General Conference.)

So they, in a way, anesthetize you with their speech patterns. And then get to say things like Boyd K. (see the initial? hee!) Packer in 1993:

"The greatest dangers to the Church are gays, feminists, and intellectuals."

Keep in mind that this was a GENERAL ADDRESS to the ENTIRE population of Mormons. (And an upstanding Mormon reaffirms his beliefs in everything the prophet has said, as well as the Priesthood, at a general Conference. Right hand raised and everything.)

So that crap squeaks by in a quiet tone, and gets planted in the subconscious, then we all sing "We Thank Thee O God For A Prophet" and everyone goes home.

Baptisms for the Dead

Boy, that's a controversy, isn't it? I felt utter shame last night at a) remembering my times doing it with fondness (because you're taught that you're fulfilling God's mission on earth, and He Loves You for it) and b) wanting to rant and rail at the church for doing Holocaust names. That man broke my heart last night. "My family was killed for being JEWS. I want them to remain on the record as JEW." And he has every right to expect them to comply.

And the church leader they asked about that seemed like such a nice guy, right? So polished and quiet and thoughtful... All that was missing was an initial. *g* But listen to what he said: (paraphrasing) we have stopped this since 1995, and have complied with the requests of this group." (The group of Holocaust survivors and the Orthodox Jews.) But here's the thing that he said that maybe went past your radar:


How can you be Jewish and Mormon? Ask my Uncle Jerry, born and raised Heeb from Jersey. Converted in his 20s to Mormonism, devout as they come. Still goes to temple on Saturday, Mormon church on Sunday. (Mormons believe they are a Lost Tribe of Israel, and also the Elect.) SO, if my Uncle Jerry gives names of Holocaust survivors to the temple workers, they'll continue on. THIS IS WRONG. And the man had a point: 200 years down the road, the church has legal documents (church documents of marriage, birth, death and baptism are legal historical docs) showing that Moeshe Rosenbaum was baptised Mormon. EVEN THOUGH IT WAS DONE POST DEATH. Wrong wrong wrong.

A Mormon would argue that the person is in the next life (the Spirit World) and has the presence of mind to accept or reject that baptism. And... who on earth is recording the yeas or the nays? EXACTLY. This isn't something they think about, because they are entrenched in the idea that They Are The Truth, and it's a Gift they're offering. (I'm thinking of Seinfeld's parents being aggravated and upset by the Fruit of the Month club. Hahaha.)

For those who have read my other posts on Mormon church history, did you nod when they mentioned how the church reprinted the Book Of Mormon and changed the logo? I've been saying it for years: the fact that they constantly change their image is upsetting and wrong. Be who you are - a bunch of wackadoos. Hahaha. The current church has very little resemblance to the church Joseph founded, aside from the beliefs in the Book of Mormon and the temple rites. (And those have been changed, too.)

Joseph spoke with passion (and acted out on his passions, AHEM.) The current trend is mild, passive, peaceful, calm. *falls asleep* But that's a great way to keep your populace in order, something Joseph had EXTREME difficulties doing. He claimed to get revelations (very convenient ones, coming up btw) so his membership did, too. And then, all of a sudden! God spoke to Joseph and said that no one has the power of revelation that will affect the Church aside from Joseph. You can only get PERSONAL revelation. (Like, what job to take, who to marry, which business venture will be successful. God is now your personal Magic 8 Ball! ...ask me again later. *g*)

So this 13 year old girl shows up in Kirtland, Ohio, and boy, is she a looker. And Joseph tells her that God commanded they wed. (This will be spiritual wife #8) And this girl says Nuh Uh. And Joseph comes back to her with a revelation just for them! (In her words)

"[God commanded he take me for a wife] He (Joseph) got afraid. The angel came to him three times, the last time with a drawn sword and threatened his life. I did not believe. (good girl) If God told him so, why did he not come and tell me? The angel told him I should have a witness. ... I was afraid. Joseph said he came with more revelation and knowledge than Joseph ever dare reveal. Joseph said I was his before I came here and he said all the Devils in Hell should never get me from him. I was sealed to him in the Masonic Hall...."

~Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner, in her biography printed by the Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine. This is also in an account in the Navoo Temple record.

Surely the insidiousness of Joseph is apparent. But Mormons are taught that this is proof! This is proof of Christ's Hand in everything, and how important it is to Obey. Boy, do they love obedience.

Fact: you will go on a mission if you are a boy, or you will have a hard time getting married, getting further in the priesthood, and having respect of your peers. (Did anyone else notice the missionaries ignoring that homeless guy on the street? Uh huh. He has no tithe to pay.)

If you do not have children (or even get married by 30) you are pitited. Or if you're a man, suspect. I had a cartoon on my desk at work (I worked at the University's Arts & Letters dept.) that had a young BYU coed and some women clucking sadly over her. "23 and not married? Poor thing. They'll find you a mate in the next life." And some girls - those that are either closeted or unattractive by the Mormon Male Paradigm (assholes) - resign themselves to spinsterhood because Mohonry Moriancumer, the hot guy in the ward with everything going for him, won't have them, and they won't marry outside their faith. And besides, there are all those slain men (like Joseph Smith's brother Alvin!) that died before being sealed in the temple, so you can be sealed like baptisms for the dead! NICE.


I could go on and on and on. About my friends on their missions being held at gunpoint by guerrilla soldiers in Columbia and Chile. Contracting life-threatening diseases, almost dying, and trying to go back on their mission so God Isn't Disappointed. About families that hold conferences to discuss whether Mother and Father should go to a hotel room for the night and Make a Baby so their spirit children can come forth. (!!!!) About how Margaret Toscano, excommunicated for asking too many questions, should have shut those men up with D&C 121 (men wielding unrighteous dominion) but they wouldn't listen to her. About how I remember CLEARLY the blue posters on the bulletin boards at my church growing up telling women and men to fight ERA. (Oh, they didn't say it in sacrament meeting, but it was in the Sunday school classes after, and discussed with the Visiting Teachers that came once a month to your house.)

About how they claim to be all about the family, but ask ANY member where their dad/husband is on Sunday, his one "day of rest." He's at the church in a meeting, or with another family teaching them. He sure isn't home.

Gah, I'm getting an ulcer. Or maybe it's that I haven't had breakfast yet... Probably that last one. :D

Let me say this in closing: the Mormons are tight familial units. Sometimes that' s a bad thing. Sometimes it's something amazing. They care about their community. They have the BEST welfare system in the world, and I don't say that lightly. They are organized, they believe fervently in doing what they think the Lord has commanded them, and for the most part, they make excellent employees because they tend to be honest to a fault.

But if you look at what their church has hidden, what their church prevents THEM from knowing... It's not worth it, imo.

For further discussion/reading, hit the tags on this post. There's several posts about this, and great discussion in the comments.


( 85 comments — Leave a comment )
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May. 2nd, 2007 03:19 pm (UTC)
I taped last night's conclusion (unfortunately, I missed the first night as I set my VCR wrong.) and was absolutely captivated by the special. It worked very well to highlight the Church's strengths in such a way (particularly the act on family) to downplay the more negative, secretive aspects. Honestly, if I wasn't familiar with Mormonism, I'd come away from this documentary thinking, "They have their problems, sure, but look at the good they do and how nice they are." Which is scary because there is just so much I don't agree with in the Mormon church on a fundamental level.

One thing that really struck me, and contradicts everything I believe, was during the discussion on Baptisms for the Dead and Betty Stevenson, the gospel-singing LDS convert, stated something along the lines of not realizing that her personal salvation is tied into the salvation of her ancestors. That is so unfathomable to me, I can't even tell you.
May. 2nd, 2007 03:25 pm (UTC)
Dangit, I actually had a note to talk about that. (Yes, I took notes.) One scripture that is taken to great importance is: the hearts of the children shall turn to the fathers.

Joseph was pretty obsessed with family, for reasons given in the show.

one thing that is WEIRD (and wrong) is that if I grew up to be a bad seed, my FATHER would have to answer for me to Jesus. In a way, that makes sense. (Like if he had abused/neglected me, etc.) But what about personal choice?

This adds to the religious zeal of keeping everyone in your family on the Straight And Narrow. (So everyone knows your bidness.) NO.
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May. 2nd, 2007 03:26 pm (UTC)
I'd like to ask a very personal question, if I may. Feel free not to answer it if you like, or to point me to a place where you may have already answered it.
How did you get *out*, as in, I know you were born and raised Mormon obviously, but what "led you astray" as it were? I hope that made sense?
Did you wake up one morning and go "dude, this is f*cked" or was there an incident...?
May. 2nd, 2007 03:33 pm (UTC)
No, no, don't worry about it. I'm very open about my former religious self.

I'd say that I've always had questions that were never answered in a satisfactory way. As I got older and thought more on my own, read more information, allowed myself to listen to people NOT in the church, I realized that the whole religion was based on lies. I tried to reconcile myself with just participating for the community and family aspects, but felt like a hypocrit.

I wrote a letter to the Church Offices saying that a) I didn't believe the BoM to be truth, b) I didn't believe in the priesthood, the story of Joseph finding the plates and c) I no longer wished to be a member of the church. (I did this after talking to my dad, because I would have left my name in the records if it would save him embarassment. He said it had no affect on him, which is why he's awesome.)

After I left officially, I did more thinking and realized that I didn't even believe in a God of any kind. For me, it just makes no sense, period. I get why people do, mind, I just don't.
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May. 2nd, 2007 03:26 pm (UTC)
I always wish that I could write as eloquently and straightforward as you do about my religious past.

Question: So when I was growing up, I went to a lot of different Christian denominations(and branches thereof) and I only ran across one church that considered Mormonism to be an entirely different religion, like they would consider Islam or Judaism or Buddhism. Most of them considered Mormons to be "kind of Christian" and with believing in Jesus to be okay. Is there a specific reason for that? Or is it just the general how they present themselves to outsiders?
May. 2nd, 2007 03:35 pm (UTC)
What a nice thing to say.

Well, mostly because the Mormon church isn't Protestant. Lutherans, Methodists, etc. all branched off from Catholicism. Mormonism is an evangelical belief system that sprouted out of nothing, and there was a LOT of focus on things NOT Christ. Couple that with their belief that they can become like Gods (with planets and religion and belief systems and a Jesus and Satan of their own) and you have most of the Christian world crying foul.
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May. 2nd, 2007 03:27 pm (UTC)
*makes a paper hat*
Incredibly interested, as you know, but being killed by the essay that's due tomorrow (which is basically "Why the Romantics Should Never Have Been Allowed To Reproduce, Wankers") and want to watch the programme myself. However - is it really 4 hours long? And going to get taken down at (my) 2 a.m. tonight? OH GOD. *weeps* So, er, is that which you linked to all one programme?

...something tells me I need to go buy coffee for tonight.

Yours, about to go blinking into the Natural Daylight. *loves*
May. 2nd, 2007 03:36 pm (UTC)
DARLING!! *kisses you up* You poor thing. I wish you had a Self Writing Quill to do it for you!

It *is* 4 hours long, but I'm dl'ing it and will eventually put it up for others to share, so don't fret. Also, you KNOW I'm wishing your Girl were here so we could boggle together, right?

Go eat some fruit! Have some fresh air! *worries*
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May. 2nd, 2007 03:36 pm (UTC)
::shrug:: I don't know that it's any crazier than the Screaming-Church-of-the-Epileptic-Jesus that was on every other street corner in the podunk town where I grew up. (Yeah, ask me about the time I attended a Pentecostal service with some high school friends. Big laughs.)

Though the baptizing-after-death thing pisses me right the hell off, and always has. (There again, though...I can't count the number of obnoxious Christians who said - after the sad death of our coven's high priest - "I'm sure he came to Jesus as he lay dying." ::narrowed eyes:: It's the same damn sentiment, and it still makes me madder than a hornet.)

There are intolerant assholes everywhere (I had a bunch of Pagan women in an e-list I was on in 1995 remonstrate with me for allowing Little Tree to play with the Muslim girls from next door. You know, because "those people" teach girls to hate themselves. ::rolls eyes:: I quit the list-serve over it, after letting them know exactly what I thought about their attitude.)
May. 2nd, 2007 03:40 pm (UTC)
That sentiment that's bothering you? That's what bothers me. In the previous post I referred to it as "Ignorant Superiority."

Any time any one says they have The Way, I'm suspect. And yeah, I've been to some Pentecostal meetings that were SHOCKING. Wow! And I used to say this to myself: "spiritual things are emotional. But not all emotional things are spiritual." I think a lot of "believers" of many faiths would do well to remember that.
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May. 2nd, 2007 03:58 pm (UTC)
I thought the picture presented last night was pretty horrifying, but that could be because of the whole "if you're not with us, you're against us" mindset that was clearly on display for most of the episode.

I mean, yeah, it's great you had one convert who turned her life around after joining the church.

On the other hand, that guy who lost his wife because she wanted her "spirit child" on earth? (Excuse me, but, Spirit child? That concept was completely new to me.) Made. Me. Cry.

And then when they asked him if, given the choice, would he do it all over again. There's his face going, "Oh, fuck no" for something like a solid two minutes before he tentatively admits that "on some days, the answer is no." Jesus. Now here's a guy that got fucked seven ways to Sunday and knows it, but he's so afraid to break away because he honestly thinks that this is the only way he can see his wife again after he dies. Talk about having someone by the spiritual balls, hunh?

The excommunications were another thing that stood out for me, too. Here are these women (and it seems to me that the intellectuals last night were almost all women — even though I know men have been excommunicated as well) putting out important scholarly work, and then they're tossed out on their ears. And the whole set up for the "court" or ecclesiastical hearing — not to mention the description of it — put me immediately in mind of the Salem Witch Trials. Because you know what? That's exactly what those hearings are: witch trials for the evil feminists, gays, and intellectuals. Hell, even the way the empty chairs were set up and the way the hearing struck me as a flashing neon sign pointing right to Salem.

And by the way, I notice that the guy who said the whole evil of feminists, gays, and intellecutuals, when directly asked did not back off from saying it. We got a non-answer that was no freakin' answer at all.

Like you, I was sad that we had no Pearl of Great Price and the whole fake histories stories (although on the upside, they did provide an overview of the basics and called bullshit on it). I was also sad that there were no details on the Masonic stuff.

Actually, what I found kind of funny last night is how the church leadership claimed how the rituals in the temple have managed to stay secret for lo these many years...except not so much. I remember reading a book about the Mormon temple rights, and how they related to Masonic rituals. I dug up the information after I found out about the whole Baptism of the Dead thing because when you hear something like that, you just have to find out more. And know what? It's not that hard to find this shit out if you're really interested. So why the hell were these church leaders going on and on about how "the secret has never really gotten out" when that is demonstratively false?

*shakes head*

Based on what I saw in the documentary, if I knew nothing about Mormonism, I'd probably think that the religion itself had it's good points, but I certainly wouldn't have missed the basic message: "Toe the line in the way we tell you to toe the line, or we will make your life suck." I thought that scenario played out several different times during the documentary.

(And by the way...is it me? Or did that musician who was a walk away from the Mormon church basically compare it to a suicide bombing cult waiting to happen, because...wow! That's pretty...scary.)

I did find it interesting that Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev) was a native Utahan that converted. (Wow! He's like a hen's tooth in more than one sense...) Although I had to restrain myself from throwing shit at the screen when Romney was on-screen (*ptui*). Given the number of minutes that was dedicated to Romney (as opposed to Reid, who, y'know, actually has subpoena power), I think I called this one when I said that documentary was sparked by Romney's run for president.

Okay. I have to get back to work. But my head is full of think-y thoughts.

And thank you for your commentary. It definitely adds an extra dimension to the documentary.

May. 2nd, 2007 04:11 pm (UTC)
They had three men that were ex'd, they just didn't go into details. (One because he was gay - they grey-beard with the awesome log cabin?) and two that were intellectuals/professors at BYU. Toscano was just more interesting, I suppose, because she was ex'd for a VERY hush-hush topic: that Mormons believe God the Father is married and has a wife, and they made the spirit babies that became you and me and Jesus and Satan, etc.

I'll give you a minute to digest that.

The man who lost his wife? I can't TELL you how many families I've known that it's happened to. My cousin, for one, although she ALMOST died. Praise His Name. (wha?)

And I'll totally give you points on the Salem witch trial feel. I've been in a court myself (youthful indiscretions) but it wasn't as serious as Toscano's. Four men, they were very kind and nice, listened to me, then only disfellowshipped me for a period of time, didn't Ex me. But still. And it's interesting, because that women can't have the priesthood, they are very rarely excommunicated and "cast into Outer Darkness" (read: hell.) Because, and here's the kicker, they don't have the Fullness of the Gospel, so they can't trangress against God like men can.

We can't even SIN like the men!

As for the temple stuff, honestly, a LOT of that stuff WASN'T out for the public. There's a LOT that goes on in the temple, and until that woman wrote The Book detailing the pantomimed suicides, the green aprons and hats, the elderly women annointing a bride's body with oil (her breasts, her thighs, her belly) and detailing the special stitching on temple garments, a lot of that wasn't easy to come by, or the Church would just denounce the person as a rumor-mongerer.

I'm glad that an outside got the message you mentioned. I'm unable to be unbiased, because I['ve been on both sides, so I'm glad to hear that.

(And yes, I think you hit the nail on the head with the former missionary/musician. That's... that's about right. O_O)

I concur: this doc is to shed light to the public in the shadow of Romney's pres. run. HE WON'T WIN, LIZ. He won't. Believe me. The south won't support him, first off.
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May. 2nd, 2007 04:00 pm (UTC)
You want Theses, well I got Theses . Mind you, nailing this list anywhere in Salt Lake City probably won't get you anywhere judging by your remarks.

Buffy was right, Memo to self : religion freaky.
May. 2nd, 2007 04:26 pm (UTC)
Religion IS freaky! IMO, of course. *g*
May. 2nd, 2007 04:23 pm (UTC)
I took a wonderful course a few years ago - The History of Religion. Mormon was not mentioned at all. I never realized it until just now.

I've always found religion facinating. And mysterious.

Thanks for posting this. From the inside...
May. 2nd, 2007 04:26 pm (UTC)
I'm sure they designed the course to be the Judeo/Christian origins, yes? Which is why Mormonism wouldn't really fit in, as they didn't branch off from Catholicism (and aren't a Protestant religion.)

And for the record, no longer Mormon, haven't been for over a decade now. I'm glad you found this enlightening! That's gratifying to hear.
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May. 2nd, 2007 04:30 pm (UTC)
the Mt. Meadow Massacre There's a movie about that event coming out this summer; I foresee a great wanking.

I'm old enough to have grown up when people did not talk about being Mormon when they were in the gentile world. I've recently (like, since PBS started promos for the show) found out that two of the guys who were making courtship gestures at me in high school and my first two years in college are Mormon- and that fun subset of Mormon guys who look to convert their wives. My (perfectly normal midcentury Western Washington) unchurched family, with land and cattle, two daughters, no sons, was apparently a source of discussion.

Julia, finding this a source for some much delayed freakage.
May. 2nd, 2007 04:48 pm (UTC)
I was fascinated by this special last night. I actually visited Salt Lake City some time ago with my father; I think we were there for some tax thing? At any rate, I got to visit the temple and this was really prior to my understanding of Mormonism to any degree. My father just insisted this was something I should see and I remember asking about the significance of the symbols on some of the towers and the host gave me a horrible look and ignored me. What! I didn't know!

But now I do.
May. 2nd, 2007 04:52 pm (UTC)
Ahahaha! And my husband (not Mormon) was kicked out of the public tour at the Visitor's Center there (with the big statue of Jesus? And the universe mural?) because he thought the docent said something about praying on the toilet, and laughed.


For the record: I don't believe they require prayer on the toilet. *g*
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May. 2nd, 2007 06:50 pm (UTC)
There were interesting things presented in the doc that I think warrant a watch, honestly. For someone like me, there wasn't much new that I didn't know. For someone with a passing interest, I think it's worth it. Mostly, it raises a lot of questions, and fortunately, PBS has some excellent resources and FAQ page on their site that I thought were well organized/created.

...and I don't think this will help Mitt in any way. WHOOO!
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May. 2nd, 2007 06:55 pm (UTC)
Mexican food fixes almost EVERYTHING, imo!! *sends quesadillas and salsa, STAT!* I hope your day ends better than it started!
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May. 2nd, 2007 06:58 pm (UTC)
I have tons and tons to say about this, not about Mormonism itself but how the whole religious fervor feels so familiar to me, and on and on and on about THAT aspect of this. But I think I will make a post in my journal about it, as it has less to do with the program and more to do with my personal experiences with religion.

I do want to say something about this:

Other churches teach about us at the pulpit. How bad we are. How they need to stop us. (Whether this is true, I've never found, and I've been to maaaaaaany churches. But in Mormon church, this is commonly spoken.)

Firstly, this is a very good way to cement belief and fire for God in the listeners. Tell someone 'we are right, and we all know we're right, but there are others actively working against us!' is a wonderful way to make them suspicious of anyone Outside and to make the bond between others with the same beliefs that much stronger. It's pretty basic psychology. And, sadly, not unique to the LDS church.

Secondly, which kinda makes some of those suspicions seem warranted, I want to tell you what I've encountered in the Southern Baptists in regard to views on Mormons. My mom's "They aren't real Christians" was pretty much all I ever heard when I was really young, but then when I was older and more included in adult conversations, I heard much more on the topic from my (former, thank god) father-in-law (Southern Baptist minister, now the owner of a Christian school). When my FIL was going for his doctorate, I frequently read his 'textbooks' -- one of his courses was on the subject of cults, and Mormons (and just about every single denomination NOT Full Gospel Christian) was in there. I wasn't extremely interested in Mormonism at the time, but I remember some of the conversation about adding to the Word, and how that was against What God Says, and some minor discussion about 'how can anyone possibly believe this crap about Jesus coming to America?' What most stands out in my mind is my FIL's half-joking, half-serious call of 'Turn or Burn!' whenever we'd pass the LDS church that was on the corner of the street where our church was. I was already having serious doubts about Eternal Salvation at that time, so it really stuck in my mind. I'm sure my FIL would be thrilled to hear all about how he (and his church) were instrumental in my finally giving up in disgust and leaving organized religion. :)

May. 2nd, 2007 07:06 pm (UTC)
I absolutely and 100% consider the Mormon Church to be a cult. No question. I mean, Joseph changed the BIBLE to suit his dogma. So.. yeah. "Not real Christians?" I can support that. It's a new religion with basis on some Christian tenets, then goes off on it's own wacky ride. *cough* Like Scientology. (L Ron Hubbard was an admirer of Smith's, btw.)

And yes, I know that many small churches preach the "Us or the highway!" mentality (I'm from the south, after all) but what's unique about the LDS church is that it's the predominant religion in Utah. And this is spoken there. And EVERY CHURCH across the globe has the same service on Sunday. It's the same lesson, the same topic... From Ghana to Russia to Utah. It's just... well, it's like a business meeting. Crazy.
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May. 2nd, 2007 11:57 pm (UTC)
I grew up just outside of Salt Lake, in the West Valley area. Even though I wasn't a baptized mormon (my dad was jack-mormon) it was still a major part of my life. I went to Sacrament with family friends, Primary every Sunday and attended several Young Women's events during the summers. The DI was an important facet to my life, there were days we wouldn't have been able to eat without it, years I wouldn't have had clothes for school without it, and because of the religious aspect, it was more socially acceptable to shop at the DI than it was to go to Smiths and use food stamps! When my dad was dying, the Mormon church even footed a major portion of his medical bills, hundreds of thousands of dollars in cancer treatments.

That being said...

When I came of age, and under the ever-so-watchful eye of the bishop and was set on the path to baptism, I had some issues. Growing up in Utah, it was near impossible to get a truthful version of state history. The books had to be approved via the church, and anything that went against current doctorine was struck out, but I had been very lucky. The year I took state history in school, our teacher was a Protestant out of Mass. and pretty much didn't teach out of the state approved text. He came in one morning and literally started screaming at us girls, calling us filthy names, hurling accusations at us. We didn't understand until he put it into the context of what happened to girls during the early years of Utah's history, he then brought out examples of diary's that had been secretly passed down through the generations and taken out of the state when those descendants moved. We read passages from daughters who had seen their mothers almost beaten to death because they couldn't produce a male heir or who refused to be passed around as a temporary wife or who just simply stood up and said 'no'.

Anyway, when I told the bishop that I wasn't ready to be baptized, he about blew a gasket! Turned red in the face and puffed up like a lionfish and started yelling at me. Said that this was my one chance and if I didn't take it, no matter what I did the rest of my life, I was doomed to hell. I was in my early teens at the time, 12 or 13, and this really scared me.

My dad threw him out the window and that was the last time I stepped foot in a mormon church.

I love that you are posting these commentaries, what I've seen of the documentaries so far are really from the church's prospective, and while I respect their right to their opinion, it's really nice to 'see' the other side. It's an easy faith to fall in love with, the face they put on is so very beautiful, but it's so very rotton under that face.
May. 3rd, 2007 12:03 am (UTC)
*squishes you to bits*

I couldn't have said anything as eloquently as your "the face they put on is so very beautiful, but it's so very rotten under that face"

Yes. My best friend wasn't Mormon (lived first in SLC, then St. George) and her brother wanted to be a Mormon. Was baptised. Went through all the hoops, but his bishop wouldn't give him the Priesthood (he was 18, had been going since 10) because his mother wasn't Mormon, and Casey hadn't brought his sister and mother "to the truth."

Nice way to hold his "eternal salvation" for ransom. The church's treatment of women is so far removed from what they claim it to be, it's not even funny. I'm so glad you commented. Thank you so much.
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Are You Actually

Reading this? I'm just curious. Because that's really detail-oriented of you. Feel free to stop reading. But you can see that there's more here, so are you going to keep reading? Really? That's pretty dedicated. I'm impressed. No, really. I'm not being sarcastic, why do you get like that? See, this is the problem I have with your mother - yes. YES. I'm going there. It's time we put all of our cards on the table.

I love you, why are you doing this? After all we've been through? You don't have to be like this. You know, still reading. You could be baking a pie. And then sharing it with me.

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