Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Off Topic Tuesday: I Am Intolerant

It has become increasingly clear to me that, even though a single primary vote has yet to be cast, the unseen “gods” of the GOP have decided that Mitt Romney will be the Republican candidate for president. There is no doubt in my mind that he is the choice of the “establishment” and if you don’t believe me just take some time to read the Wall Street Journal and watch the Fox News Channel. The WSJ has adopted the position that Republicans are “waking up” to the inevitability of success for Romney and are uniting behind him in the drive to defeat Obama. They completely discount Herman Cain who is now number two in most polls and they sure as hell will never mention Congressman Ron Paul who has snuck up to third place in some polls. They will continue to ignore Rick Santorum when they are not attacking him for his opposition to the homosexual lifestyle. Why is this the case? Mostly because the GOP elite never seriously considered anyone but Romney and Perry to begin with and the Bush family does not like Rick Perry and never have.

As for why that is, you will have to ask someone else. From where I sit a Perry presidency is one I would expect to be little different than George W. Bush ‘take two’. It doesn’t help that he’s not “society”. Observers will note that Sarah Palin was not, is not and never was popular with the Republican Party leadership either. Probably because she didn’t go to an Ivy League university and (more importantly) as Governor of Alaska she went after corrupt Republicans -and turning on members of your own party is the one unpardonable sin in their book. Now, none of this is to say I think Palin or Perry would be great presidential leaders but it bothers me because this is not how the system is supposed to work. Both parties do it but the Democrats (with their “Super Delegates”) are at least more honest in how they go about thwarting the will of the people. The Republicans are more subtle and, again, you can turn on the TV and see it right now. Turn on Fox News any night of the week (like tonight Oct.10) and you can see Ann Coulter explain how Perry is worse than Romney, you can see Laura Ingraham outraged by the fact that some Baptist preacher said Romney wasn’t a Christian (guess what Laura, the Catholic Church you belong to doesn’t either), you can see Dick Morris (I almost wrote dot com with that) and Sean Hannity agree on how Romney is being treated terribly unfairly. And, again, on Sunday you could have watched Chris Wallace basically call Rick Santorum a racist for saying he doesn’t think guys wearing neon-pink t-shirts that say “We’re Here, We’re Queer, Get Used To It” should be allowed in the military.

They are all blocking for Romney, with the occasional interview thrown to Herman Cain, everyone with the look in their eyes like, “Oh, it’s so cute how he thinks he has a chance just because a lot of people support him”. They are even doing what they lambasted Rick Perry for doing. They hated it when Perry said that if you didn’t support government help for the children of illegal aliens you didn’t have a heart. Now though they are saying that if you don’t think Mormons are Christians then you are … this is gonna hurt… INTOLERANT! Well, as this is “National Coming Out Day” I am officially going to ‘come out’ as an intolerant person. I do not think Mormons are Christians. If that offends you, well, tough because I’m not sorry, it is my honest opinion. If it makes you feel better you can think I belong to any religion you want, you won’t hurt my feelings at all. I don’t think Mormons are Christians, I think their religion is beyond bizarre and I think it was all started by a con artist. There are plenty of things I don’t like about Mitt Romney but if I’m going to be called intolerant because just one of things I have a problem with is his religion then so be it. I do have a problem with his religion and if more people knew just half of the mind-numbingly absurd things they believe they would have a problem with it too.

I know that to non-religious people, any religion seems a little crazy. I get that, but the Mormons are A LOT crazy. These are people who believe that their founding “prophet” found Egyptian tablets buried in his back yard -in the *United States*. These are people who believe that Native Americans are Jews, that Africans are some kind of cursed demon-people, that God is an American (they think the Garden of Eden was in Missouri), that Jesus and Satan are brothers, that God has a lot of wives, that one day all good Mormons will become gods of their own planets throughout the universe and, best of all, these are the people who believe they are protected by their magic underwear. I don’t know why, but in that whole litany of insanities there, the one most people I talk to always ask me to verify is the part about the magic underwear (like *that’s* the most crazy thing). I’m not making any of this up, you can look it up for yourself.

So, I am intolerant and you may all want to keep a safe distance from me until I can serve some time in “tolerance camp” with the South Park guys but, -just my opinion- I would be a little uncomfortable with someone who believes that Indians are Jews, dead people can be baptized, that an angel gave a guy from Vermont a golden book and magic glasses to learn the part God “left out” of the Bible, or pretty much anyone who believes they wear magic undies having control over the United States nuclear arsenal. I don’t care who you are -that stuff is crazy. Yet, it is not only the craziness. I can handle a great deal of craziness and there are people I admire who were probably certifiably insane (myself not included …I mean, I am certifiable, I’m just not terribly fond of myself). However, the Mormons cannot even be consistent with their craziness. Their ‘divinely revealed truth’ seems to keep changing and always at a time when, coincidentally I’m sure, it happens to benefit them politically. There are two glaring examples of this; the Mormon attitude toward polygamy and toward Black people.

As most probably know, the Mormons used to practice polygamy (and many still do, just not the “official” church). Not only did they think it was acceptable, they thought it was the best way to do things, in fact, it would help you on the way to becoming a god yourself. The founding “prophet” of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, had 44 “wives”. His successor as leader of the Mormon religion, Brigham Young, had 55 wives and fathered 56 children. Yet, we all know that the Mormons take great offense today if you bring this up and they will stress that it is wrong to have more than one wife and that they no longer practice polygamy. What changed? How did it go from being the short-cut to divinity one day and totally wrong the next day? Well, the U.S. was not going to let Utah join the Union if they continued to allow polygamy, and the Mormons were in a tight spot and really needed to join the union, and as luck would have it their supreme leader received a new, divine revelation that “god” was, I guess, just kidding about what he had said before and that polygamy was wrong. So, they repudiated the practice and were able to join the United States.

Then there is the case of the Africans. Black people were allowed to become Mormons but could never join the priesthood, could never enter the Temple and even after death would continue to be slaves in Heaven. This was because, in the mind of Brigham Young, all Black people were the cursed offspring of human-demon hybrids that lived before the Flood of Noah (however that was supposed to have worked). So, I cannot imagine many Black people feeling very welcome in the Mormon religion. But, yet again, this time-honored article of Mormon faith was finally cast aside when it became politically expedient to do so. The ban on Blacks in the priesthood lasted until 1978, by which time the Civil Rights struggle had ended for the most part, everyone tended to look down on racist policies and the Mormons were left being the odd man out. They had also, by this time, become powerful enough and accepted enough to start wanting to run candidates for office and no one would vote for a member of a “church” that basically said “Blacks need not apply”. So, once again, the leaders said to forget all about everything everyone had said about race up until 1978, that was all wrong but what they were saying now was right and that was that all races are equal and Blacks can be priests and all the rest. Nothing to see here, move along people.

Each of these things are terrible, but their awfulness is compounded by their inconsistency. It was okay to have a lot of wives (in fact you couldn’t gain the highest place in heaven without being married) until it was not. It was okay to discriminate against Blacks -until it was not. I would say their god doesn’t seem all that omniscient to me but, they do believe Adam was god, that god wasn’t always god but that god started out as a man just like us and one day became god and if we are all good Mormons we can become gods too. Given that, perhaps we should expect the god of the Mormons to be a little imperfect.

So, that is my objection to the Mormons and why I am officially deemed “intolerant” by the Mitt Romney camp. Again, there are plenty of other problems that I have with Romney but if they want to make an issue out of religion, so be it. If they want to call me intolerant because I won’t call Mormons Christians there isn’t one thing I can do about it. That is how I feel. I don’t know any Mormons personally, but I know people of various religions that are perfectly nice, decent folks with whom I agree on many things. I’m sure it would be the same with Mormons, I just don’t agree that they are Christians. So according to Mitt Romney and Fox News I am “intolerant”. If any of you would like to join me in the realm of the intolerant, simply re-read this post (keeping in mind I made none of this stuff up -my imagination is not that good) and then ask yourself if the religion described here bears any resemblance whatever to Christianity. Do that, and you just might find yourself to be “intolerant” as well.


  1. I am also intolerant. But I've always known that.

  2. The only educated and intellectually honest Mormon I have dealt with agrees that what they mean by Christian and what we mean is completely different. It is not intolerant to say so, it is a simple fact.

  3. Intolerance is a virtue, some may say. It really depends on how it's applied.
    You pretty much sum up my views on Mormonism as well. I see them as more strategic allies than true friends to Christians, if we can use that terminology.

  4. I have some sympathy for Mormons, partly because the same born again evangelical Protestants that seem to dislike them so vehemently are the same people that often demean Catholics, so we have a common enemy to speak.

    Part of it is because I live in an area with a sizable Mormon minority, and therefore work with a number of them. I have to say I don't regard or interact with them any differently than my Catholic or Protestant colleagues, they're perfectly pleasant, normal people that don't exactly wear their religion on the sleeve.

    As to whether they are Christians, I would say the most basic definition of a Christian is a person that believes Jesus Christ is the son of God and the Messiah, and as Mormons do at least believe that, then I would say they are Christians, albeit Christians that are very, very far out of the mainstream of Christianity.

    As you've pointed out, they believe in some really weird stuff that's bizarre enough to give even Scientology a run for the money.

    What makes it even more incomprehensible is that the religion is only about 180 years old, so its not like its origins are buried in the distant past. Joseph Smith made really dubious claims that were easily refuted and ridiculed in his own day and the same situation is true today, yet people still follow.

    As I've said though, the Mormons I know are all otherwise normal, rational people that don't seem to have any trouble drawing a line between their religious and business lives.

    Given what we've seen over the years with many Catholic politicians flat out ignoring their faith, I don't see any reason to doubt that a Mormon politician will act, first and foremost, as a politician.

    Would I vote for a Mormon? Probably, if he/she was otherwise the best candidate for the job. Of course, I really fail to see how anyone could say Mitt Romney is anywhere close to the best candidate running. I've got big problems with the guy, and his religion is beside the point.

  5. I know or have known perfectly wonderful Jews, Muslims and Buddhists but I would not consider honest any of them who tried to portray themselves as Christians. Mormons may say they are followers of Christ, but it is not the Christ I know. They do not believe Christ and God the Father are one, they believe "Jehova" was Jesus and that he created the world under God's direction and that Jesus is basically like us but farther along the road to godhood. I'm sure they are wonderful people, so are those of other religions (some I am related to) but I do not consider them Christians and I will not be intimidated by threats of being called "intolerant" to say that they are.

  6. Intolerance? Ha, I am proud of that very trait I possess!

    And yes, I would be one of those Protestants who doesn't believe Mormonism is anything like Christianity. If anything, their Christ is a different Christ from the Judeo-Christian Christ that he ought to be addressed with a different name. I want to say one of the leaders of the Latter Day Saints did admit this but I cannot seem to find that quote at the moment. Simply put; the Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints is a completely different religion from mainstream Christianity. Borrowed elements? Sure... but only by names. Their ideas, however, deny the core ideas of Christian and therefore aberrant from mainstream.

    Many of these 1800s religion coincides with the Spiritualist and Theosophist movement that started to become more popular at that time period. Later on we see more of these wacky religions spring out with all the same fundamental message; do as thou wilt; you are your own god. No need to take a second guess who is behind all this.

    Then comes the same faith relativist message that Hinduism of India has; we are all traveling to the same peak of the same mountain, but just from different paths. Unfortunately, truth is not that simple; truth is by nature, narrow, and therefore, intolerant. There can only be one. BUT... this is not a blog about faith, so I think I will leave it at that as I do not think I am allowed to go deeper.

  7. True and I want all monarchists and traditional authority supporters to be cooperative no matter their religion. For Hindus, that attitude could be true (I don't know any Hindus) but I can say that for Christianity (and others) if it is true then it cannot be subjective. There is what is true and all else must, necessarily, be error.

  8. I was a Mormon, but I chose to officially leave them,. They have weirder beliefs than you know. They believe that all Mormon men will be resurrected first to call their wives out of the grave using their secret "Temple names". And Romney believes this load of crap! Do you really want someone so sponge minded running your country. The man is run by a mind game cult, and yes, they are a cult. No apologies,as they are. I'll vote for a package of frozen chicken first.

    Don, Las Vegas, WAS a Mormon, served a Mission and went through the Temple on MANY occasions.

  9. I know this is an old post now, but I feel the need to respond.
    I came across your blog via a link to your August 5th post on tolerance and gay marriage. Thank you for that post - you did a fine job of expressing things I've struggled to articulate, and then some.
    I came to this post while further perusing your blog out of curiosity about monarchism.
    But regarding Mormonism: I'm a member of the Mormon church, and was quite disappointed with what you wrote, as most of what you said about Mormonism is incorrect.
    We don't believe that Africans are a cursed demon-people. We don't believe God is American. (He has been around far longer than any man-made geopolitical unit.) We do believe that the Garden of Eden was in the vicinity of what is now northern Missouri, but aren't really concerned about it, as it's not pertinent to faith in Christ. Regarding Jesus and Satan being brothers, what we believe is that God created both, along with the rest of us. Satan rebelled against God, and so will never have a body. Christ was the most righteous, and became our Savior. We don't believe that God has a lot of wives, or that we will get our own planets. We do believe that we can one day be like God (Matthew 5:48; Philippians 3:12). We don't believe the garments we wear are "magic underwear". They are a reminder of covenants to obey the commandments of God. Any physical protection gained thereby is a result of faith, as protection from God is generally. We don't baptized dead people, but rather perform vicarious baptisms (see 1 Corinthians 15:29).
    Your statements about Joseph Smith and the golden plates (tablets), are not so much incorrect as inaccurate. They weren't Egyptian, though the writing was derived from Egyptian, by a group of people who left Jerusalem just prior to the Babylonian captivity and their descendants. This same group of people, who were Israelites/Jews (though not descendants of Judah) are who we believe are the ancestors of many of today's Native Americans. God brought Noah and family through the flood, He brought the Israelites out of Egypt; He can certainly have a group build a boat and sail to another continent.
    Polygamy was never a short-cut to divinity. Religious reasons for the practice were to build up the kingdom of God. On a more practical side, there were many widows in the early days of the Church, a result of violent persecutions heaped upon the members then. They and their children needed to be taken care of. The patriarchs of old were polygamist; God can command it if he so chooses. The practice was halted because it was no longer needed, and because we believe in obeying the laws of the land.
    Black people have been members of our Church since the early days. Men were given the priesthood, though there was a long period where they mostly weren't. We do not believe they will be slaves in Heaven, or that anybody will be. This would be ridiculous, considering the Church's abolitionist stance. That was one of the reasons we weren't popular in Missouri and the South. I don't know where you got the human-demon thing; whoever came up with that idea is nuts.
    The "magic glasses" you refer to are a Urim and Thummim; Hebrew for "lights" and "perfections"; sometimes called seer stones. In: Ex. 28:30, Lev. 8:8, Num. 27:21, Deut. 33:8, 1 Sam. 28:6, Ezra 2:63 (and Neh. 7:65 repeats it). We also believe that that is the "white stone" referred to in Revelation 2:17.
    I think that's the lot. If I have said anything rudely, I apologize. I have no desire to offend you; I only wish to clarify things that are misunderstood. If you want reliable information on our beliefs, may I suggest going to the source? and There's a book out there called "Mormonism for Dummies", or something similar.
    Thank you for taking the time to read all this - I tried to make it as brief as I could!

    1. That may be so, it may not. A Protestant will tell you that Catholics worship idols and think the Pope is God. They can cite evidence to "prove" this. A Catholic will tell you that a Protestant thinks every man is his own god and thinks going to Heaven is just a matter of believing hard enough and, again, can cite evidence to "prove" this. I would expect a Protestant to say that they don't really think you can will yourself into heaven just as a Catholic would certainly say they don't worship idols, and certainly a Mormon would say you don't really believe what people say you believe. That's not the point. I could never be a Mormon and any effort on my part to learn more about it would simply be a waste of time. I've met Mormon missionaries and they've always been perfectly friendly people (as most missionaries are) as I hope I was in return. However, even face to face hearing their counter to every point, it was pretty obvious pretty quickly that we were coming from two different worlds.

      And that is the point I was trying to make here. As I said, all religions believe things that, taken on their own, sound pretty crazy. Christians included. But the bottom line is that I don't consider Mormons Christians and even some Mormons I have talked to have said essentially the same thing. What I consider Christianity is certainly not what they consider Christianity. But, here's the good news: you, as a good Mormon, can say you don't consider me to be a Christian and I won't accuse you of being intolerant. Given where Mormons are coming from, I'd even agree with you.

      My opinions are what they are, and when it comes to religion, unlike most other things, they are not subject to change. You may think these opinions make me wrong but I don't think they make me intolerant. If I were, I could have deleted your comment rather than posting it. But here it will remain, though this is not the place for religious debate, so others who read it from now on will see your side of things as well.

    2. I'm sorry if I came off as preachy. My intention wasn't to engage in debate, nor was it to convert; I only meant to explain. How anyone believes, or chooses to interpret the beliefs of others, is up to them. When talking about any religion, I think it is very difficult to separate that religion's doctrine from one's own interpretation thereof. It can be equally difficult to know how much interpretation has been included in the statements of another person. I couldn't tell with your post, and so I offered a different perspective.

      You're right - we don't fit the most usual definition of Christianity. No worries.

      I don't think you're intolerant. Having opinions doesn't make one intolerant; denying others the right to their opinion does. And you are most certainly not doing that.

      Thanks for leaving my post up.

  10. I agree with your criticism, but there is one exception: the Strangite Mormons are not at all like the others: the embrace the truth of monotheism, they don't wear magic underwear, and they are also monarchists, or at least, there founder was. I don't consider most Mormons Christian, but I would a Strangite.


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