Thursday, May 14, 2015

The defensiveness of Mormons



I was born and raised Mormon, but I am not your typical Mormon. About a decade ago, I started re-thinking all the platitudes, stories, and assumptions I'd heard my entire life. Call it Lizzy's Critical Thinking Stage. And much of the time, I'd hear things that I thought were nuts. I've stopped being silent-- if I think something sounds crazy, I say something. If I have questions, regardless of how atypical it is in Mormonville, I speak up.

One of the Facebook groups I joined is called Mormon Friendships. One woman mentioned that she was feeling really annoyed because her bishop was asking intrusive questions. What should she do, she asked? I answered that she's an adult and if she didn't want to answer something, or attend a one-on one meeting with her bishop, don't. Duh. Then I got all the typical responses from more traditional Mormons. Bishops are there to help you. Thanks to a bishop, you can be forgiven for big sins, like sex outside of marriage, speaking out against the church (apostasy), and murder. The Lord speaks directly to the bishop and stake presidents (stake presidents are a step above a bishop and oversee several different congregations). And if you must go through a church court (where a panel of men vote to ex communicate members), it's because it's a path for forgiveness and all meant in love.

I wanted to scratch my eyeballs out.

I asked one very specific question about five times. It went something like this (I can't copy and paste my original comment because after this fiasco, I exited the group): Is there any scripture from The Gospels where Jesus said that he was dying on the cross for our sins but the only people who really got to participate in the atonement were those that went before a panel of men and asked first?

Oh the answers I got! Actually, there were no answers. Instead I got personal attacks:

-Are you Mormon?
-You are a troll!
-Anti
-Apostate!
-Are you a FEMINIST?
-Are you part of the Ordained Women movement?
-I feel like I'm back in the mission field and have encountered a hostile investigator
-You must not like men very much. Are you divorced? Probably has to do with that
-Did you see what she's wearing

Geez, that's the best answer you've got? Call me names and make wild accusations that have nothing to do with the question?

(Back to my original question: I'm not a fan of ex communication from a faith pretty much EVER. I think it's super un-Christlike. After all, we are all Big Time Sinners and the whole purpose of Jesus and the cross is to forgive us of our sins so we can live in God's presence on the other side. If church isn't a comfy place for sinners, well, it SHOULD BE! I do believe that having a spiritual advisor can be tremendously helpful. But when the whole purpose is potentially punitive if you've sinned too big, how open and honest can that relationship with a Bishop be? Not so much.)

And this is my total disgust today of the faith of my ancestors. Fear. If you're going to say a single thing against The Faith, you are to be ignored, ridiculed, dismissed. I sort of get it, I suppose. If someone started verbally questioning the character of, say, my child, true or not, I'll probably want to rip your throat out. But if we can't have deep, open and honest discussions about the church, then that is really sad.

So I left that private group. It was just one more reminder that I don't like a lot of Mormons. I mean, there are a gajillion amazing people in Mormonism that are so amazing, kind, honest, hard working, and Christlike. But there are those that are mean, judgmental, pious and awful. Who will defend the faith above ALL ELSE. It is a "if you're not totally with us, you are Satan incarnate." I do not share that opinion. And I'm done being silent with how I process things. If that makes people around me uncomfortable, too bad.