Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Any Opposed?

I know I am late to the party on this one, but I wanted to make sure I got all my thoughts right on this one.

For those of you not aware of the situation I will give a brief description of what is going on in Mormonwold, Utah.

Over the weekend there was General Conference where twice a year the Prophets and Apostles give their biannual speeches the Mormon masses. It's a huge deal in SLC as the Conference Center gets packed five different times in two days by 22,000 attendees each session. This is where the Prophets and Apostles are to give their instruction to the common man directly from God. (We won't touch that subject. That's a can of worms for a different blog.) During one of the sessions the Mormons sustain their leaders. They ask who sustains the leaders and ask if any are opposed. This is where it got hairy this time around. Five people stood up raised their right hand in opposition and yelled "opposed" for all to hear.

Now the Mormons act as if this has never happened before, but it has. The last time it happened was back in the 80's and it was also very common when Joseph Smith founded the religion. It's as if they're surprised that someone would actually oppose their beloved leaders. My question is, why ask if any opposed when you're not supposed to oppose the leaders?

Hell, if I would have thought of this I would have done this seven to eight years ago. I understand how the members feel it was irreverent to yell out "opposed," because they ask if any are opposed to just raise their right hand in opposition. The problem with this is that once they see all the hands go up to sustain the leaders they immediately look down to note that it was unanimous while asking if anyone is opposed. This was their way of making sure their voice was heard.

Another argument I have heard is that if they really are opposed they should talk to the bishops and stake presidents. What if they have? What if they weren't being listened to? What if their issues were pushed aside? Why the hell ask if you aren't supposed to oppose the leaders? Why not just ask for a sustaining vote and call it good?

These people are far braver than most. They went into the lion's den and said to its face "something is wrong with you." And why not? They asked  for it. One of the many reasons I left was because concerns are not taken seriously. Every time I had  an issue with doctrine, leadership, or policy I was told to pray and study the scriptures and I would get the answer from God that the leaders are correct without question.

They act as if they are so infallible they can't make a mistake, but they have and will continue to do so. (I wrote about this before in my blog titled, "Speaking as man or maybe as God.") If people have issues with the leaders the leaders need to address the issues, especially when they publicly ask for it.

The leaders claim the church listens to its people. They claim to care about the people of their faith and others, but we have seen time and time again that the only thing they care about is blind obedience. Yes, their PR Campaign says that Mormons can question their faith they just have to keep it between them and their bishop, but what good is that? If you want your religion to stand the test of time you have to listen to your people. You have to listen to the world around you. There has to be compassion. Leading through fear and excommunicating anyone who questions your leaders does not make you strong, it makes you weak.

You preach love and acceptance from the pulpit, but it is love with a condition and not a true, genuine love that should come from what is preached.

Monday, March 2, 2015

10 Years

10 years is a very long time for a 31 year old. It's essentially a third of one's life. So what's with the title and why is 10 years so important today? Let me take you back in time...

10 years ago, to this very day, I was on a plane on my way back to America. I had fulfilled my 2 year mission and I was scared. I had no plan. I had no idea what I was going to do with my life. I didn't know what I was going to do next. It was on this day that I realized I was lost. I had never been more lost and I don't believe I have been as lost as I was on that day since.

Sure I had an idea (the same one every other RM has): come home from my mission, spend some time with family and friends, find a job, look at starting college, find a woman to marry in the temple, and have kids. But why? I was struggling with my belief, or lack thereof for a better perspective. It was in high school that I came to a realization that the faith was a lie, but due to familial and social pressure I trudged on through the muck.

I was a 21 year old who missed out on things young adults did for the last two years. I spent two years spreading an idea I didn't believe myself. I was told my mission would be the best two years of my life. While some of it was, a lot of it was the worst two years of my life. I was miserable. I wanted to come home, but only to get away from the smothering environment of a Mormon mission. My whole life I was told The Gospel will make you happy, but it never did. I was told a mission will make you happy, but it didn't in the sense my family and church leaders said it would.

I was depressed, to my family I was a success, to myself I was a liar. I kept thinking to myself, where should I go from here? What do I do? The only thing I could think to do was put the mask back on that was sliding off. I couldn't imagine just walking away from the faith just like that after coming home from a mission. So that's exactly what I did.

10 years ago I put my mask back on and trudged forward thinking maybe one day The Gospel would make me happy...

Now come back to the present. I have left the LDS Faith. My journey has been laid out over my previous 32 blog posts. I am happier than I have ever been. I have an amazing fiancee and the best dog anyone could ever ask for. What would the 21 year old me say about who I am today? I know what he would have said, "I wish I was as strong now as I will be in 10 years," but then I would reply to my 21 year old self with, "you are, you just don't know it yet. The journey you forged was what made us as strong as we are today."

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

It's ok to discriminate as long as it's for Jesus.

I just finished the LDS press conference that was released this morning and I have a few things to ask. First of all, how is it ok to discriminate against someone who happens to differ from your religious beliefs? Do you, Marriott, Holland, Oaks, and Christofferson, really want to open up that can of worms?

How would you feel if you could not live somewhere because of your beliefs? How would it feel to be turned down for a wedding cake because someone didn't like you for who you are? What I really would like to know is this really what Jesus would do?

You claim to be guided by God and Jesus and preach love and acceptance, but then you spout this vile filth while hiding behind the wall of religious freedom. You are forgetting a few things about the past and the scripture of your own faith.

Let's take a look at D&C 134:9 - We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government, whereby one religious society is fostered and another proscribed in its spiritual privileges, and the individual rights of its members, as citizens, denied.

You are using your majority influence to discriminate against others. This is not taking away your right to practice religion how you wish.

Holland, you, mentioned that it should be ok for a Catholic pharmacist to not sell certain drugs because it is against his beliefs and he should not fear retaliation. This would not be the case if it was you who was being discriminated against. You better believe people would boycott that pharmacy. You can't serve the public and not expect to reap the consequences.

Sure the CEO of a large company had to give up his position for speaking out against LGBT rights, he represents the company. If I were to do the same thing as a representative of the company I work for I should expect to lose my position as well. Because it would, in the end, hurt the company and there would be a loss of profit.

When you open up to the public you serve all. If I were to open a business in Utah how long do you think it  would last if I refused business to anyone wearing garments? How many Mormons would lash out at me and boycott and bully my business?

This is a two way street and this kind of talk is taking a bulldozer down the wrong side. You want compromise, but only if you get your way.

It's sad to see a church named after Jesus taking the love and respect out of their teachings in the name of religious freedom. Giving a group of people rights that should be afforded to all people is not taking away yours. You can still preach what you want from the pulpit, but you will lose followers.You will see retaliation. You should expect people to speak out against your beliefs as long as they don't carry the message of love.

Just remember, contradiction is not persecution. You want the two way street of equality and freedom of speech? Then put the bulldozers away. Embrace difference. Learn to love those who are different and maybe you will learn something that has since been lost from the teachings of Jesus. Remember to be the Good Samaritan, to lift up the down trodden, and above all love thy neighbor.