I have chosen to follow the teachings and example of Jesus Christ. He got angry. I’m going to make an angry post. I’m not like Jesus. Just trying to emulate.
This morning I woke up at 3:30am and couldn’t get back to sleep. Maybe it was thinking about tonight’s Talkeria. Several wonderful people with fascinating and heart rending issues and stories plan to come.
Then, I opened up the internet and found this ARTICLE. It troubled me greatly. You’ll find two of the reasons below. But, first some background on my past.
Black People Are Inferior
Yep. That’s what I was taught. By my own church. In my own church. They were descendants of Cain. Cursed with a black skin. Denied the preeminent blessings of my church. The only true and living church, by the way. Those blessings being the priesthood, admittance to the temple and participation in the ordinances of exaltation.
Why had they been born into the accursed race? Why…because they had not been valiant in the preexistence during the war in heaven. I have a white skin…I was totally valiant.
In 1978, our racist practices were overturned by revelation. But, NOT our racist theories as to why the blacks were smitten with the inferior color. It wasn’t until December 8, 2013 that the church officially disavowed these teachings. It took the form a an internet essay entitled “Race and the Priesthood.” In it, the church CONDEMNS our past racist teachings and practices. Thank heavens! But, I wouldn’t hear about this essay until the latter part of 2014, at the ripe old age of 62.
I don’t think I’m racist. But I probably am. For 62 years, I KNEW that blacks were cursed and inferior. The church, that I KNEW to be the only true church, had given me that spiritual gift of knowledge. Sure…it’s a condemned gift now. But, a lifetime of belief is hard for the mind shake.
Homosexuals are Perverts
Now where would I get that idea? From the true church? You better believe it. Taught from my youth. Just as I was taught of the inferiority of black people.
We have been wrong about LGBT at every turn. The apostles haven’t condemned our homophobic practices, teachings and policies…yet. However, I give them great credit for having backed off many of the harsh and dead-wrong statements & practices of the past. But, we have a long, long way to go. Dreadfully harmful views are still heard at street level in our wards.
For my part, I’ve made a strong apology for having condoned the wrong and hurtful attitudes of the past. You can read it HERE.
Atheists are Evil
Well, of course, I grew up with that, too. I did not personally know any atheists until this past year. I have been very open about my faith transition. You can read it HERE. Since I have been open, people have opened up to me. Over the last 7 months, I have come to know many atheists. Both former and currently active members.
How about that? We have atheists who find enough good in the church to ‘stay in the boat.’ They serve in callings. They say prayers. They give great talks. They are great people. And…they all keep their mouths shut. Remember, atheists are evil.
And the atheists who have left the church? They are every bit as awesome as those who stay. Several months ago, at a Talkeria, I marveled as a resigned-Mormon atheist counseled a person struggling with doubts. The questioning member had a traditional testimony and was struggling to come to terms with historical issues. My new atheist friend gave great words of wisdom. I thought, “those words would fit perfectly in a General Conference.” Here’s a man who does not believe there’s a God, helping a believer maintain his faith in God.
So, within less than one year, I have come to know several atheists and find them to be normal, good, and moral human beings. However, the term ‘atheist’ still leaves an aftertaste in my head. Fortunately, I don’t have that same reticence towards my beloved black and gay brothers and sisters. Maybe in a year or two, I’ll be able to say the word ‘atheist’ and not think it’s pejorative by nature.
Now to the article. I have 2 gigantic issues. I’m going to label them #1 and #1.
Reason #1: I’ve Been Fooled Three Times…Already
“Atheism Is Paving the Way for a New and Destructive Moral Order.” Nope. You are painting a huge and growing group with a hateful brush. Shame on you. I’ll not be fooled again.
You (Dustinandbrittany), nor the church, nor the leadership, nor anybody are going to suck me back into racist, homophobic or bigoted viewpoints ever again. I know better. I was oh so carefully tutored as a child. I was oh so properly piloted as a young man. I ever so fondly followed…right to the edge of my golden years. Then…to find out I’d been led astray about people of color, about people’s gender, and now about people of no belief in God.
You basically equate a society of atheists to a society without morals. I recognize that representation as horrid and hateful. We should be reaching out to good people in all stages of faith including none. Instead you villainize and demonize. From your platform you reach a wide audience of faithful members. Your post has been shared 25,000 times. Certainly your views total in the 100’s of 1,000’s. It’s my prayer that your mean message is soundly rejected by the good Saints of my church. They should know better.
Reason #1: Family & Friends
Speaking about critics of the church, you say, “They want us to look at our friends and family members who are leaving the Church and feel alerted to the idea that there is something wrong with the Mormon Church.”
Oh my friend, right here you are pointing out a huge “something wrong with the Mormon Church.” It’s attitudes just like yours. For 2 years, I have tried to alert members and leaders that family and friends are leaving. People I love and care about. The response…a big fat yawn. Action? Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. In the past 2 years, I’ve witnessed my mother leave. All my siblings leave. Five families in my ward leave.
Yeah, I’m a critic, alright. My critique is that nobody gives a damn about friends and family leaving the church. Well…they’ll say they care. After 2 years of talking and no doing, it’s damning evidence that the church culture could care less.
And then your anti-atheist article comes along. How hypocritical that we don’t care if someone leaves. But, then bemoan the certainty that they’re destined to become an amoral atheist.