Thursday, July 22, 2010

San Francisco Post-Mormons Critique 8: The Mormon Proposition

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward
From: Former Stake President Stan Taylor
Subject: My Evening with the post-Mormons

When faced with the choice of attending the post-Mormon gathering at the Ferry Building or the ward Break the Fast, I dutifully chose this:

Later, instead of joining the ex-Mormons at the Round-up Saloon in Lafayette, I opted for the inspired ward fashion show. The result? I missed meeting two of the three Nephites.

(Nephite #2 ended up bailing on the ward fashion show to join the ex-Mormons, and believe me, we still needed his help!)

So when I was invited to last Saturday's post-Mormon screening of 8: The Mormon Proposition, I said, "To Helena with the ward Mop the Meetinghouse Party, I'm hanging with the exmo's tonight!"

Ex-Mormon demonstrates "There's always room for Jell-O"
Have to admit, I was nervous when I knocked on the door. But the gang immediately showed me to a cushy chair, supplied me with a plate of food and a non-alcoholic beer, then resumed their lively exchange. Without going into too much detail, the course of conversation was irreverent, and probably offensive to even the thicker-skinned believing Mormons. Fortunately, I have the hide of an elephant, and enjoyed every minute. I can't remember the last time I felt free to discuss things like science, art, and ancient American history.

Much less engage in loud laughter.

The film was both well-done and heart breaking, enough so to penetrate my old elephant's hide. I confess, I participated in some evil speaking of the Lord's anointed.

Ex-Mormons salute President Monson

There are many infuriating aspects to the Mormon Church's campaign against gay marriage. But as a retired LDS Institute Director, I can't help but look at this from a historical perspective. In the nineteenth century, the Mormons fled to Utah so they could be free to pursue their own definition of marriage. Now the Utah-based LDS Church seeks to impose its current definition of marriage on the entire country, if not the world.

It is no wonder so many wards and stakes are shrinking. Nobody, not even the faithful, want to be associated with such hubris. As the film points out, during the weeks leading up to the 2008 election, backlash against the church was so intense that pro-Prop 8 campaign workers were told not to wear white shirts and ties while canvassing -- so as not to look like Mormons.

Perhaps recent negative reactions from the members and the press will inspire church leaders to alter their message. To emphasize agency rather than obedience, unconditional love rather than punishment. But I'm not betting on it. While I admire those who try, as a former church employee, I know the frustration of attempting to change the church from within.

If history is any guide, the LDS Church won't loosen its grip on the members. Paradoxically, as the Mormons have expanded their influence in the world, they've narrowed their definition of what it means to be one. First the church shunned people who opposed polygamy, later those who practiced it. Since then they have shunned blacks, intellectuals, feminists, and gays. Also people with tattoos, piercings, short skirts, and beards. Today being Mormon means not going to R-rated movies, not drinking a Coke, not masturbating, not having sex outside of marriage (as defined by the church,) and not minding one on one interrogations from church officials on these subjects. If the leaders in Salt Lake continue this trend, they'll have nothing left, except the white shirts and ties.

Lucky for us, there were plenty of left-overs to take home.
Back in the day, when a person left the church, he disappeared, never to be heard from again. That's no longer the case. Ex-Mormons are telling their stories on websites, bulletin boards and blogs. While thin-skinned Mormons continue to claim people who've left were offended or want to sin, the rest of the world sees people who want to think for themselves, live authentic lives, and occasionally have fun.

Today's Puzzle: How many sins is this man committing? Whoever names the most wins a pencil.

If you would like to stop receiving these e-mails, we'll send you Nephite #2's secret Jell-O recipe.

No comments:

Post a Comment