Come Listen to a Profet’s Voice

Not long ago the Thinker of Thoughts asked me if I would do an online interview. I was a bit concerned as I crave the anonymity and mystique that the CTOF has given me, not just because I can speak my mind, but also because I see it a bit like the dread pirate Roberts

Someday the mantle of Fridge Profet will be passed onto another to carry the message into the future and a little mystique-ish awe adds to the fun! So I did the interview, but if you were hoping to see my face… as the pirate says… get used to disappointment :). Me, all I had to get used to was a sore arm after holding it to the square for an hour and a half. Hopefully like all things of the Fridge you find it a little silly but thought provoking, unbelievable yet full of truthiness. So without further ado, feel the chill my friends. May the Ice be with you.

go here for part 2

For The Love Of Turtles

– A memoir about leaving the turtle haters club.1

Jimmy hated turtles, he just wasn’t sure why. He knew hating turtles was the ‘right’ thing to do. He’d been taught that most of his life. In fact all his close friends and relatives were turtle haters. Seemed to him at an early age that turtle hating was just the way the world worked.

That was probably because in the place he was raised there were very few turtle lovers. Most people he knew growing up were turtle haters too. Everyone he knew went to turtle hater club each week. He was even taught to love turtle lovers but hate the fact they loved turtles. Jimmy internalized that teaching even though it seemed very confusing and illogical at the time.

Turtle haters club was a nice place to go. People were really nice to you there and always welcomed you and smiled. At the club you started learning about turtle hate at a very young age. You recited things about how turtles were slimy and gross and how they were ponderous and slow. It wasn’t all about turtle hating though. There were lots of other great messages there at the club, about helping others, being kind and generally teaching you to be a good person. Much of what was taught at turtle haters club Jimmy agreed with completely. Turtle hate though, that was what bound the club together. Love of turtles was not to be tolerated. You could tolerate people that loved turtles, fellowship them even, hoping maybe some day they would see the error in their ways and understand why turtles were meant to be hated.

Jimmy learned growing up that you could understand and develop a hate for turtles too. You just had to want it bad enough and try really hard. If you kept at it long enough you would eventually hate turtles. Others had done it. They said so every month at turtle haters club. Leaders in the club and parents and friends of Jimmy would stand up and declare their hate for turtles describing experiences that helped them develop that hate. It was very emotional, some would cry when they declared this turtle haters club to be true and right and that moved Jimmy because he could feel their emotion. Surely as the leaders said, this emotion was telling Jimmy about how it was right and true to hate turtles. Jimmy even developed his own hate of turtles, by focusing on it and fanning it into flames of disdain whenever he could.

Jimmy was a thinker though, a soul that loved to question and learn. One day he saw a link on the internet. “The truth about turtles” it said. He felt scared just to look at it, he had heard about these things at turtle haters club where they said there were so many false things on the internet about turtles. Jimmy wondered though, even though he hated turtles he wondered. He was even a teacher in turtle haters club, a respected position in a community where most people were turtle haters. People from the club had often told him how much they loved his lessons and how they felt so good when Jimmy declared his hate for turtles, how strong and moving it was.

So this link, “the truth about turtles” it was scary to Jimmy. Often times he had been taught (and he had taught others) that he could lose his hate of turtles. He had to protect that hate and reinforce it by only reading stuff from the turtles hater club about turtles. That was the place of truth about turtles and you could not be sure you were getting the right story about turtles from elsewhere. If you look up turtle love on the internet you would surely begin to doubt your turtle hate and that could lead to being cast out of the turtle haters club. Jimmy didn’t want to be cast out of turtle haters club because he believed that by being a turtle hater that one day after he died he would get a HUGE reward for being true to his covenant to hate turtles.

You see, when Jimmy was pretty young, he had promised to follow the club of turtle hate, it was  a choice he made when he was old enough, he remembered how pleased his parents where when he made that promise. Each week he would reinforce his promise to hate turtles. It was part of the ritual.

Turtle hater

Jimmy just kept staring at the link to the web page on his computer. He had been researching the history of turtle haters club when the link popped up. He could tell from the web address that the link wasn’t ‘club approved.’ Inside his need to learn and know was in combat with his fear of clicking on the link and all the things that might happen if he did so. In turtle haters club he had been taught this inner turmoil was a sure sign of something bad and that meant you shouldn’t be doing it. Jimmy felt bad just looking at the link. His mouse hovering over it, pausing, thinking, finally Jimmy forced himself to go to turtlehaters.com instead. Where he read stories of how wonderful it was to be part of the club and how right it was to hate those slimly slow things. Whew! The turmoil inside subsided and he felt right again.

Then one day Jimmy was looking at some old history books of the turtle haters club and researching about how it began (so he could teach his lessons in turtle haters class next week.) He stumbled on some information that surprised him. In turtle haters club there was always a bit of rumor about turtle lovers and the lies they would tell about turtle haters to make them not believe in turtle hate anymore. Turtle lovers seemed to focus on turtle hater history a lot. It was like they had nothing better to do than poke at people that hated turtles and all the errors of turtle haters in the world. The thing that struck Jimmy though was this bit of history he just found agreed with the evil turtle lovers, not what he was taught and had been teaching to turtle haters every week. For Jimmy this caused a bit of doubt in his mind about turtle hating. But instead of letting it take root, he did what all the leaders of turtles haters club told him to do. Put the doubt aside and focus on your hate of turtles.

Try as he might though.  Jimmy couldn’t set it completely aside. One reason was Jimmy had a really good friend that he knew was a turtle lover. Karen was her name. Jimmy had even invited Karen to turtle haters club with him, hoping to share what he knew about turtles and let her experience life as part of the club. Karen told him that it was a nice club full of great people, but turtle hating just wasn’t for her. This made Jimmy sad, but they stayed friends anyway and just didn’t talk much about turtles.

Deep down, Jimmy knew that Karen was a good person, he also believed all good people would eventually hate turtles because that is what the leaders of the turtle haters club taught and they were the experts in turtology, else why were they the leaders? So this began to bother Jimmy. He knew he hated turtles, it was part of who he was, it had been so his whole life, but why he kept asking himself. Why were there good nice people that loved turtles? It just didn’t make sense.

Jimmy loved the internet, there was so much to learn there. He knew that it wasn’t always right but had found that he could often search out multiple opinions different viewpoints of a topic and eventually determine if he was getting an accurate picture or not. While jimmy avoided the evil turtle lover sites and things that were not good on the internet he did go there often. Simply because he loved to learn. Then it happened again, after doing a search up popped a link to “the truth about turtles” He was scared again, but he wondered, maybe just maybe he didn’t know all about turtle history like he thought he did… This time curiosity overcame fear and Jimmy clicked.

For a while it was as if Jimmy was being flooded with information. Turtles do this and turtles do that. So much that was so different that he had been taught in turtle haters club. Sure Jimmy knew it wasn’t all true information, for example there was that guy that talked about flying turtles, now that was pretty far fetched. But there was a lot Jimmy found in the history of turtle haters club wasn’t as clean and straight forward as he had previously thought. He knew the people that started the club were human and expected some mistakes, but some of these things he learned, well they just weren’t nice people. Jimmy didn’t take everything he learned about turtle love as gospel though. He did what he always did, checking multiple sources and comparing results.

Jimmy began to worry because the more he studied the more he began to doubt the turtle haters club. In fact Jimmy was beginning to realize that he might even …. love …. turtles. This was so bad, if he loved turtles he knew that his mom and dad would be heart broken. They had been turtle haters their whole lives and the loved being in that club. Plus Jimmy worried about life after death too. He would lose his reward if he doubted and began loving turtles. It was so confusing, Jimmy didn’t know what to do. The turtle lovers club had a place on the internet, a place the called recovery from turtle hate, you didn’t have to say who you were there and that made it less scary to discuss the love of turtles and how hating turtles just didn’t seem right. Jimmy began going there. After a while a life of turtle loving didn’t seem too bad. But the fear, the fear of how his parents would take it petrified Jimmy. He realized he no longer hated turtles in fact he loved them, but to tell his parents and family and community that scared him.

Another thing began to eat at Jimmy, that was the history. Now that Jimmy had become very well read on the subject of turtles he realized that much of the information that the turtle haters club said about turtles was simple propaganda, it was half true information that kept people believing in turtle hate. That bothered Jimmy a lot because he was sure he now knew the truth about turtles and he wanted others to know too. For him to say it publicly though, well Jimmy knew he would be branded a ‘turtle lover’ by the turtle haters club. All turtle lovers hated turtle haters, according to the books of the turtle hater club. This was another thing that bugged Jimmy, he didn’t hate turtle haters at all, he just wanted to share information about turtles in general. It was still all so confusing.

One day Jimmy was talking to Karen and he told her about his research on turtles. Karen smiled and listened, nodding as he spoke. Eventually Jimmy spilled his guts to his friend. As he did so he began to realize that Karen already knew the truth about turtles and finally asked her why she didn’t say something, especially when Jimmy had invited her to turtle haters club. Karen smiled and said, I knew it wasn’t right to hate turtles, but you seemed so happy in that club and I didn’t want to upset that. Wow thought Jimmy, what a good friend.

Jimmy had been going to turtle haters club all during this time that he was finding out these things, he kept telling himself that he wanted to be part of the club and not let it go, but eventually he realized that he couldn’t deny the fact any longer, he no longer hated turtles and that was that. It wasn’t honest to keep pretending he did. So Jimmy made a decision, he was going to be public about his love of turtles and let the chips fall where they may. He was scared, but he knew he had at least one friend that understood.

Jimmy told everyone he no longer hated turtles and why. He put it out there for everyone to see. At first many turtle haters challenged him, told him they knew they were right to hate turtles and he was wrong to love turtles but was welcome back the the club any time.  Jimmy felt a need to get the truth about turtles out there so others could see that the history of the turtle haters club was full of propaganda. For this he was derided as an evil turtle lover.

Eventually things began to settle down, Jimmy was right about his parents they were devastated. They felt like they had screwed up and not raised Jimmy properly but they still professed to love him anyway. Jimmy felt like they did love him even though he didn’t hate turtles anymore. But they couldn’t have deep talks about turtle hate now because Jimmy just didn’t agree with that point of view.

It was kinda rough on Jimmy to not talk about his new love of turtles when he visited family, but that was the only way to keep things civil. For the house he was raised in was a house of turtle hate no doubt about it and Jimmy was expected to respect that belief while there. Bringing up turtle love was NOT welcome when Jimmy visited his parents home.

Since Jimmy loved turtles he began looking for others that did as well, he felt accepted there amongst peers that had found a love of turtles, especially from those that had once been turtle haters too. They understood his journey and had experienced similar things.

Jimmy realized that people group together around common things and turtle loving was just as good a reason for any for a group to form. He couldn’t be a turtle hater anymore and go back to his old life. Since turtle hate was so important to his family he just didn’t feel so welcome there anymore, not that he didn’t love his family or they love him. They were simply on different paths. Jimmy wished his family would one day look up the truth about turtles so they would understand why he felt the need to speak out against turtle hate and the club that promoted it, but he knew that he couldn’t force that to happen. He’d had to discover it on his own. So he had to be like his friend Karen had been to him. Be happy that they were happy in their club even if he knew better.

On the plus side Jimmy had found a whole new set of friends and they brought him much happiness and joy because he didn’t have to pretend around them. He could think and be himself, no need to conform and promote the hate of turtles anymore. It was great being true to himself and not having to be someone he was not. Jimmy found out that there were many different types of people when it came to turtle hating, some just went to be part of the club and didn’t really hate like you were supposed to. Some went just for family and some were true turtle haters deep down inside. For the most part only the true turtle haters made Jimmy feel uncomfortable around them. (probably because they didn’t pass up a a chance to declare their hate of turtles openly) and that just kind of bothered Jimmy but the others weren’t so desirous to hate turtles and even made the occasional comment about how turtle loving had its good points. Jimmy didn’t feel rejected by them at all.

In the long run Jimmy realized that the most important thing was to be himself, if he loved turtles that was ok. Those around him could accept or reject that. If he was honest though his brain didn’t hurt trying to make himself be something he was not. It was a better way to live. Sure it meant that there would be people, family even, in his life that would hate his love of turtles, but that was that. Turtle lovers and turtle haters he realized could get along. They just couldn’t be close friends that talked about turtles. It wasn’t turtle love that was the problem. It was turtle hate.

So for Jimmy the end of the journey was bittersweet, happy to find true friendship, sad to find that what he’d thought was friendship was contingent on his membership in the turtle haters club. It was the most heart wrenching, thought provoking journey of his life, filled with tears of sadness and joy. All for the love of turtles.

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  1. This was written early on in Fridge lore, it has been updated and grammar corrected and republished in a new and improved meme’d format to help those that love the Fridge also know it is ok to love turtles as well 🙂

Not that kind of Marriage, This will always be so

Years ago I read a book called Who Moved My Cheese. It is an allegory about accepting and dealing with change in the world. After reading it I remember thinking, “duh, isn’t this obvious?”  For the life of me I couldn’t figure out why this tiny book was so popular. In hindsight I now realize I was exhibiting a false-consensus bias. I assumed everyone wasn’t afraid of change and would move on in search of new cheese once theirs had been moved. Years later after having managed a group of people everyday at work I realized the fear of change is fundamental to human nature and the reason for this allegorical teaching being so popular was because it actually dealt with a common thing in society.

Today I am beginning to draw the conclusion that some religions are an institutionalized version of fearing change. Anything that is feared is held up as doctrine declared by God and thus unchangeable. This is readily apparent in the debate over gay marriage. The fear of change along these lines runs so deep that some are moved to shouting God hates anyone that would be this way. Is it no surprise that others might even celebrate the death of a man that was so caustic towards people that didn’t agree with his idea of how it should be?

Now while I do not think the stance of my previous religion is quite as homophobic as the Westboro’s, it does fear change in much the same way. Case in point, this recent release to the church website in regards to same sex marriage.

The primary reason for denying our brothers and sisters that have slightly different DNA than ourselves the happiness of calling their bond as valid and real as any other on the planet is simple. God said so. According to the prophet seers and revelators:

“Regardless of what civil legislation may be enacted, the doctrine of the Lord regarding marriage and morality cannot be changed. Remember: sin, even if legalized by man, is still sin in the eyes of God! While we are to emulate our Savior’s kindness and compassion, while we are to value the rights and feelings of all of God’s children, WE CANNOT CHANGE HIS DOCTRINE. IT IS NOT OURS TO CHANGE. His doctrine is ours to study, understand, and uphold.” – Elder Nelson,1

Now this certainly seems like a reasonable argument doesn’t it? After all these guys are called of God, heck2 they can even marry you forever, so they ought to be the foremost authority on marriage right? But here’s the rub. You see this isn’t the first time church leaders have declared God’s word in regards to marriage. In fact not that long ago God decreed via his prophets, seers and revelators that marriage between a white person and a black person was not a good thing:

“Had I anything to do with the negro, I would confine them by strict law to their own species…” – Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. 3

“Your ideas, as we understand them, appear to contemplate the intermarriage of the Negro and white races, a concept which has heretofore been most repugnant to most normal-minded people from the ancient patriarchs until now…. there is a growing tendency, particularly among some educators, as it manifests itself in this area, toward the breaking down of race barriers in the matter of intermarriage between whites and blacks, but it does not have the sanction of the Church and is contrary to Church doctrine.” – LDS First Presidency (George Albert Smith), 4

“We must not inter-marry with the Negro. Why? If I were to marry a Negro woman and have children by her, my children would all be cursed as to the priesthood. Do I want my children cursed as to the priesthood? If there is one drop of Negro blood in my children, as I have read to you, they receive the curse. There isn’t any argument, therefore, as to inter-marriage with the Negro, is there?” – Apostle Mark E. Peterson 5

“Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so” -Brigham Young6

One can easily imagine a person 50 or 100 years ago referring to statements like those above and condemning a young white girl for marrying a black man. Of course now all those attitudes of the past have been disavowed as if they never occurred and most certainly weren’t considered unchangeable doctrine, because here in the future we now know when Brigham said “…this will always be so” he was just making shit up. You know mingling his man philosophy with scripture n’ all. The reason? Well like the rest of society he feared change and was a product of that day and age.

I have noticed that I am often accused of twisting words and facts7 to prove my point. But aren’t the facts themselves twisted? I mean which is right? The leader now that assures us this type of marriage is condemned or the leader in the past that assured us a different type of marriage was condemned but now it’s ok? How do we know the guy speaking right now isn’t making it up like we are told the guy in the past was? What is the difference?

It certainly all becomes very twisted and confusing when you start comparing one written thing to another. Maybe that is why upper tier church leaders like Hans Mattsson has mentioned are being told to not keep journals. Can’t have any contradictory evidence floating around out there to suggest all the leaders of the church might not be united in what they think is the right thing. I will say this, if you don’t want to lose your testimony, don’t cross reference the new essays of the church at all. For you will see more of this twisting of the truth their than any other place if you start fact checking it. Consider the essay on DNA asserts a migration of people 10,000 years ago mixed up the data and makes it hard to detect any of that in the blood of the Lamanites today. If you don’t want to lose faith in the honesty of the church don’t compare that to the new essay on Noah. Where we learn that the flood about 4000 years ago was global and wiped out all but 8 people on the planet because you know, God needed to start with a clean slate. Don’t look at these things closely if you want to keep your testimony because it is really hard to figure out how DNA from 10,000 years ago was completely wiped out 4000 years ago and yet somehow managed to spoof all the DNA evidence that would otherwise prove the Book of Mormon to be absolutely true. So for the sake of belief, its better to just not go there. 8

But I digress, the topic is marriage, gayness, and learning to accept change. An important one I think if our goal is to save lives. Far too many gay youth and adults die because they feel like they will never fit in. And the only reason people are telling them they don’t fit in is because they fear change. Sure religion is used to justify that fear, God said so is the refrain. But before you totally accept the idea that is it wrong today because God said so, look at the past and consider what God said was wrong then. Maybe, just maybe these guys are as wrong about what God wants today as they were in the past. They certainly missed the boat on interracial marriage, seems possible that they are a product of their generation now just like we are told today earlier leaders were of theirs. If you consider the idea that these guys could be wrong, then hopefully you might open up to a different way of looking at things and then accept that change isn’t always bad, even if your first inclination says otherwise. Then you might also see the writing on the wall.

“When you move beyond fear you feel free”
– Haw

  1. General Conference in October 2013 as quoted by this guy, I think the capital letters are his
  2. Yeah I know, I still can’t swear like a proper apostate, but old habits die hard!
  3. January 2, 1845, History of the Church, v. 5, pp. 21-218
  4. letter to Virgil H. Sponberg (critic of the anti-black ban), May 5, 1947, quoted in Lester E. Bush, Mormonism’s Negro Doctrine: An Historical Overview, p. 42
  5. “Race Problems – As They Effect the Church,” Address given at the Convention of Teachers of Religion on the College Level, delivered at BYU, August 27, 1954
  6. Journal of Discourses, 10:110
  7. This comment actually inspired this article, so thank you random stranger and your ad hominem attack for making me think about this topic! 🙂
  8. You see Apolgetics answer only one particular point at a time, that way they can be faith promoting! They were never designed to allow comparison across apologetic topics, that is why they never make sense if you do that, so don’t even try!

It ALL Hinges On The Temple

This last 72 hours I feel I have had an epiphany, ideas that have been circulating around in my head have finally congealed into a whole and a new understanding has burst forth. Not at all unlike what I would have called in the past a revelatory experience or gaining a new flash of insight. If I still believed in the holy ghost, he would certainly get credit for this because it feels very much the same as times on my mission when I would pray for a new road to go down or a new door to knock and seemingly run into that golden contact that was totally prepared for the message I was about to bring.

Joseph Smith was brilliant, a genius if you will. Because when it comes to human psychology he was far, far ahead of his time. It seems as though he understood intuitively the way the mind works and was able to tap into that as he gave the world the Book of Mormon and America its first corporate religion.1 The peak of his brilliance was the temple and its rituals. Let me explain why I feel this way. 2 The temple ceremony is a hazing ritual. It is a rite of passage. Some say Joseph copied it from the masons, primarily because it was instigated shortly after he gained the highest level of freemasonry himself and because of similarities to things such as the Masonic five points of fellowship that have since been removed from the experience. Some say he was restoring lost ceremonies that date clear back to Solomon.3 I personally do not think he copied the masonic rituals outright, because if you look over the works he produced he never copied whole heartily, he amalgamated things, taking a section from here and there and putting them together to make something new. He was great at merging  popular ideas in a way to create new philosophies, he took chapters of Isaiah, combined them with a dream his father had and some cool war scenes from the book the late war that was used to teach school children about the war of 1812 when he was a kid and voila! You have the Book of Mormon.4 Researching the Book of Abraham shows similar signs of amalgamation. So given the idea that just possibly the self-proclaimed prophet was very good at pulling different content together and making something new it would make sense that the temple rituals were a combination of washing and anointing rituals that were being practiced by other religions in that day and age and a version of the masonic rites that he had just learned.

How much truly divine inspiration 5 went into the beginnings of these rituals and how much was just a copy we may never really know. For Joseph was right about one thing, his name is surely had for both good and evil in the world.6

My point today has nothing to do with how the temple and its rituals came to be; instead it has to do with its effects on those that enter it. You see I really do think the original prophet of the LDS church was a natural genius when it comes to human psychology, so good at it that I wonder if he didn’t even realize it. It comes out in things he said like this:

A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary [to lead] unto life and salvation…

This quote is from the Lectures on Faith that Joseph gave at the school of the prophets way back in the day. The lectures on faith have the distinguished honor of being removed from LDS canon and taken out of the original publishings of the Doctrine and Covenants of the church. This is most likely because these teaches from the prophet then don’t line up with the teachings of what the godhead is today. I learned about the lectures on faith from a leader in the MTC when he told us that the Missionary Training Center was in fact the school of the prophets 7 from way back then and suggested we read them.8 The lectures make it pretty evident that Joe 9 was good at motivating people. It is also readily apparent that he intuitively understood how to form an immediate bond with people and ask them to do something for him. I think this is evident in his well documented arrival in Kirkland after which he stayed in the home of the Whiteny’s for several weeks. Whether prophetic or an affinity con, the reader will have to decide on her own. What is important to this discussion is the psychology involved.

We now understand the Benjamin Franklin Effect. This is a trick of the mind which in essence it means you grow to like people for whom you do nice things. It is a lot like the Sunk Cost Fallacy where our decisions are tainted by the emotional investments we accumulate, and the more we invest in something the harder it becomes to abandon it. 10

They both can be summed up in the idea, you love what you sacrifice for, and the larger the sacrifice the deeper the love. This is not that farfetched if you think about it from a personal perspective. Consider your family, your children, how much do you love them? I’d bet quite a bit for the most part. These days the average investment to raise a child from birth to 18 years old is well over a million dollars and that is just the monetary investment. As any parent will attest to the effort goes much further than that. When it comes to personal time, worry and anguish we put a lot in more in the Bank of Kids than money alone. Our investment in our children is likely the biggest one we make in our lives, and how much do we love them? Yep, now you get my point.

So Joseph Smith knew this concept that sacrifice creates love (or at least intuitively understood it), but I think his genius 11 for understanding human nature went a whole step further. This is evident in the Book of Mormon as well as the temple and its rituals. First the Book of Mormon, in this book there is a story of a group called the Gadianton Robbers who formed secret combinations, just what is a secret combination? It is a group where you take on an oath of death that you will always support the goals of the group. In Ether 8:22 we find out that secret combinations are all about getting power and gain. Sounds a bit like the illuminati doesn’t it? Or maybe the stone cutters.

The fact is these are all fraternal organizations, secret societies if you will. But what is secret about them that are so bad? It’s the oaths. The oaths gives these groups power. This is because as we now know that initiation ceremonies such as these oaths psychologically affect our view of the group we become part of. Tests showed that people who suffered disturbing initiation rites to become part of a group found the group to be extremely interesting, the people that didn’t go through those rites found the group to be worthless once they joined. Doing things that are strange or uncomfortable don’t ultimately make you want to leave the group, they make you want to stay more because you passed the test.

This is how fraternities have worked for eons, the hazing rituals, often very demeaning and bothersome bonds the brotherhood together, it is simply human nature, part of the cognitive dissonance that occurs when you go through the initiation doesn’t make you run from it, but causes your brain to resolve the difference by deciding it is a good thing you went through that. Ironically this effect just might be the secret to happiness if you realize how to use it.

sign.here

Now given the loads of information on secret societies in the Book of Mormon we can be assured that Joseph Smith understood them. Flash forward a few years from the publishing of that book and we see that Joseph is introduced to freemasonry by one John Bennet, both scoundrel and friend of the prophet. Not long after rising to the highest most level in masonry, similar ceremonies are introduced into the religion he founded. I think he intuitively realized the power of a bonding people to the cause via these secret oaths. The temple became the core of a sacred society (cause it’s sacred not secret) where oaths were taken to never speak ill of leaders and to give everything you own to the cause; these oaths where much stronger in the early church, in terms of penalties for disobeying them, than they are now. Long ago there was even a 5th oath to avenge the blood of the prophets that was put in place by Brigham young and has been long since removed. Consider the power of these oaths though, John D Lee, infamous leader of the mountain meadows massacre felt it was his duty to do such a horrific act due to the oath that he had made in the temple.

The recent endowment of my niece brought again into stark relief the part the temple plays in deceiving the members of the church. Consider this example, you are not told beforehand what is on a contract you are about to sign. You have no idea what it is about at all.  You are given a chance to back out if you want to. You aren’t forced to sign. But you have no for knowledge of what is about to happen or what you are signing up for. You are surrounded by people you love encouraging you to sign it though. People that have gone through the same initiation rite you are now part of. You sign the contract and only then are you allowed to see what you committed to. How is that not deceptive? Can you see the psychological pressure I am talking about?

After you make the commitment to participate in essence signing the contract, you are exposed to things that seem really, really odd. Your initiation begins, once you get through it all you are now part of the clubs inner circle. You passed through the same strange rituals as everyone else has. There is psychology at work on the people that are part of the rituals as well. They feel good about others going through the same thing because it happened to them too. I think that it was an internal realization of this fact that ultimately led me to this blog and me need to warn others about what they are getting into. So we have learned that secret rituals bond people together. Consider the ramifications though, the more difficult the ritual, the stronger the bond. That means the weaker the ceremonies in the temple get in terms of making people uncomfortable, the weaker the psychological hold is on the members that pass through that rite.

This alone might be the biggest reason that the church is seeing women demand to be treated equally and so many members demanding that things like allowing gay marriage and fiscal transparency from the religion they follow. They are not as duty bound to the covenants made as I was because they didn’t promise to die with some fairly gruesome pantomimes if they did otherwise. I can personally feel the hold on my brain even now as I type this I remember making those actions for the first time and how I couldn’t stop thinking of this scripture in Ether 8:19

For the Lord worketh not in secret combinations, neither doth he will that man should shed blood, but in all things hath forbidden it, from the beginning of man…

It didn’t make sense to me then, it was very uncomfortable but I plunged forward anyways. I felt the switch flip in my own brain as cognitive dissonance asserted itself and I came to believe in the brotherhood just like every other initiate has in similar situations since the beginning of time. For decades I loved going to the temple, even when the ceremonies changed, I welcomed that as well. Ultimately though I came to understand the deceptive psychology of it and now I am the worst of all offenders. The reason being, because I talk about the secrets and the combinations of oaths that are taken inside the club, nothing is worse to someone in the inside circle than that. That is how deep this psychology runs. Talk about a way to form a cohesive core of followers! Now do you see why I think Joseph was a genius?

As I write this there is a fraud case in England that both current and post mormon’s are watching, I dare say the outcome of this case hinges on the temple and the fact you have to pay to play when it comes to going there. Already church lawyers have argued that tithing is optional, really? Can someone point me to the doctrine in that says that? because my understanding is if you wanted an eternal family and not didn’t want to be burned at the last days you’d better pay your tithing fire insurance! Now chances are the case will get dismissed, but would it have even gotten to that point if there wasn’t at least an appearance of fraud?

Without the temple and the sacrifices you make to get there, the additional sacrifices you make inside that you do without for knowledge of it all lend to the dissonance in your mind that creates the new belief that it must be right, else why would you have made the commitment. It is this need to believe because of the sacrifices made that is so strong that causes a rational, reasonable, intelligent person to overlook the similarities between Joseph Smith and Warren Jeffs or to invent wild convoluted theories about how the Book of Abraham came to be when the simplest explanation is he made it up. It is the same dissonance that will cause my own relatives to feel sad for my children because their father has left the church.

The core of the church hinges on the temple, the big promise the church makes an eternal family, and you only get that by going to the temple, the only way we can do that is to pay up and give 10% of all you make and believe that the church is the one true one restored by God in these latter days. The temple movie really is the highest grossing film of all time when you think about it. Once you go there, you pass the initiation rites, you become part of the sacred combination, you do promise to some good things, but you also promise to give everything you have to the church and never ever to speak badly of the leaders. That is a promise I felt I had to break, because it is secret, not sacred. It is a psychological trick and a false promise that is simply made up no different than the way essential oils will heal all your ills and make you rich at the same time. If only I had looked at this with the simple common sense approach my father taught me years and years ago. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

 

  1. Read up on what a corporate sole is, basically it means one man owns and directs all the property and wealth of the corporation. The LDS church is a corporate sole even today
  2. Warning, what you are about to read might bother you, I will try to tread lightly, but it is nigh impossible to discuss this topic with a valiant Mormon because of the sacredness the temple hold for them. Oh wait, did I put that warning in a foot note you only read after you read the article? Does it bother you that a person would withhold pertinent information until after you were committed to that course of action? If it does then you just might be seeing my point.
  3. Which with a little research you can find simply wasn’t the case because the masons and their ceremonies only date back to about the 15th century, but don’t take my word for it go find out on your own.
  4. The biblical style of the late war was a bonus!
  5. Here is a question; if it was all divine inspiration, then why did it need to change so much over the years?
  6. Given some of the debates I have had recently I am beginning to wonder if I am destined for the same thing, such is the nature of being a profet I suppose :/
  7. Ironic isn’t it? :), maybe they should have called it the school of the profets!
  8. I obtained a copy and to be honest I never really picked up on the 3 in 1 trinity teaching about God in them back then, but they are surely there. Looking back I was pretty enamored by the power of faith concepts and focused mostly on that. Well some things never change, I am still a believer in the power of faith even after all that has passed, but that is another topic for another post.
  9. Have you ever noticed how believers bristle if you shorten the prophets name to Joe? It’s like it makes him less honorable. I know in my youth it was looked down on to do this, and to this day I still have a hard time not writing his name full length. I suppose Mormonism will never fully let go of me.
  10. These are both specific counterintuitive tricks your brain does without you even realizing it. They are part of a bigger picture of what psychologists call cognitive dissonance. Once you understand them, it helps you see how con men, MLMs, and even world leaders can use things like the big lie to gain your trust and support. The prevalence of this psychology being used in the doctrine of the LDS church can surely explain why Utah is the MLM capital of the world, and maybe even why the game bunko is so popular. I personally think the most successful snake oil salesman is the one that believes his own lie.
  11. Some may read this and say how could Joseph be a genius, he hardly even had an education! Well Einstein failed math, and rumors of Joe’s education or lack thereof have been a bit exaggerated, his father was a school teacher by trade and home schooled his family. Besides, geniuses often understand things that others don’t without even knowing why. Bill Cosby was a genius and comedy ushering in a whole new style that had never been seen before his time.

On Leaving Things Alone

The quip you can leave the church but can’t leave it alone has been on my mind a lot lately. Today I realized one reason why. I have a niece who is going through the temple today, lets call her Name Redacted .1

I love Name Redacted a lot, she is a bubbly person and tons of fun to be around. She is also my sisters daughter. Of all the diehard believers in my family my sister really tries to make all this not believing the same way stuff work. I feel welcome in her home and not like I have to go out of my way to get family to talk to me and help them realize I’m not contagious.

Name Redacted like I said is a sweetheart, she is very very trusting, almost to a fault. Here a while back she got sucked into an MLM that cost her hundreds of dollars. I tried to help her see the con game it was at the time, but I was too late she had already paid for the ‘starter kit’ that all theses MLM’s seem to have. It made me sad to see her lose that money when she didn’t need to. I was talking about this with her mom once and I found out it was a church leader that had gotten this 17 year old girl into the scam and how mad she was at the leader for it. She also quipped at how gullible her daughter was and she wished she could correct that. I so wanted to tell her to teach Name Redacted to think critically and not always trust her feelings. I wanted to tell her that the church is the one that teaches her to be this gullible and I could prove it. But I did not, I left it alone. I left it alone because it would have bothered her for me to bring it up, you see people just don’t like it when their long held beliefs are challenged by reality. It is called cognitive dissonance and it feels exactly the same as a stupor of thought or spirit of contention depending on the circumstances you are in and the last thing the church wants is critical thinkers, as evidenced by this talk where Glenn Pace has this to say:

The last category of criticism I will address comes from within the Church itself. This criticism is more lethal than that coming from nonmembers and former members…One activity which often leads a member to be critical is engaging in inappropriate intellectualism.

The last part of this talk seems to be saying think enough to believe in the church and its leaders but then stop thinking.  Why would the one true church fountain of all truth advise you to stop thinking and searching for more knowledge? Does that really make sense? Isn’t there always something more to learn? shouldn’t we be adding more light and knowledge to our little old noodles? In sunday school I am sure the answer would be yes with a but, a so long as it is correlated and church approved but.

orwellianThe church has an Orwellian feel too it that you don’t realize when you are a prole. Criticism of the leaders is equivalent to a sin, and once you go through the temple it equates to breaking an oath.2 You see my wonderful niece Name Redacted is going to make that oath today and she has no idea what she is about to promise. She has no clue that she is going to promise to not laugh too loud anymore or that she will give everything she owns, does or ever will do to the church. 3 It pains me to know that she will be sucked into the believe-or-go-to-hell loop today via what I now see as a kind of hazing ritual common to all secret societies. I desperately want to tell her about it, but I leave it alone and support her instead.

I realize that even though it is founded on false pretenses it has become a right of passage in her community. It will feel on one hand like a big step, and on the other hand really weird to her. Since all of her family will be there in the celestial room she will fill a great outpouring of love as she takes this step which will damp out her natural reaction that it just doesn’t feel right. If I try to tell her what is about to happen it will only drive a wedge further down between our families.

So I am leaving it alone, I am not telling her to go to newnamenoahs videos on youtube, I’m not telling her about all the changes to the ceremony that she will think is an unchanging ordnance of god after today. I am leaving alone the desire to point out to her that she is just the latest in a long line of marks dupped by a brilliant conman from the 1800’s. You see I regularly leave the church alone to try and keep family together. It is true that I do not want to though. If you felt your grandma was being swindled wouldn’t you feel a desire  to point it out? Wouldn’t you feel a responsibility to tell someone you love if you knew they were being lied to? The whole can’t leave it alone comment was a brilliant stroke of truthiness4 because it predicts exactly what a person that loves his fellow being would do if he found out he had been conned. He’d try and tell everyone to watch out for the conman. Talk about a great prophetic warning for a prophet conman to make. It is a guaranteed hit.

One reason I leave it alone in this situation is because my goal isn’t to bash the church, it is to help people to see the light. Helping others recognize that they have been deceived is not an easy thing. This is because of something called the backfire effect. It basically means the stronger the held belief the more likely the person is to discount and disregard facts that prove otherwise, in fact showing them these facts will actually make them believe even more deeply in their assertions. This is evidenced by people still believing in guys that predict the end of the world even after the day comes and passes.

If your goal is to expose the deception like mine is, I suggest that we realize first and foremost people don’t make decisions logically, we are emotional beings much more than rational ones and inside the church members are literally trained to make decisions emotionally, it is the very foundation of how you ‘know’ the church is true. Now to those that have left it is obvious that emotions can be misleading. As a prole however it isn’t so obvious. That means when you keep picking at a topic or pointing out leaders mistakes or doctrinal errors, it will often have little effect on the person that you will hope someday will come to their senses. Remember when it seems like you are talking to a brick, you used to be that brick.5  To borrow a little from the conversion techniques I was taught as a missionary, you first need to build a relationship of trust. You have to seek common ground, and then express your opinion. It is a far more successful approach than screaming liar from the mountain tops. The more often we can remember what if felt like to be a believer the more easily we can connect with those that still believe and help them have a chance to learn something new. I know that every fiber of your being telling you to help your brother or sister or niece see the deception and that is hard to set aside, but please consider the best chance you have on influencing others is by remaining friends that can eventually talk about these touchy issues, that is why I think that once in a while it actually helps to leave it alone.


Addition and slight edit 3/9/14:
My sister contacted me today and asked me to change this article out of respect to her and her family. It is anonymous to begin with for that very reason, family would often be bothered by some of the things I point out. In this case she felt like I was mocking something she held sacred. Kind of like eating meat in front of a Hindu.

It is incredible how religions want respect for their own and yet are totally oblivious to what offends others, in the very scriptures of the church all religions but their own are decried as abominations, as it says in the PoGP, JS history 1:19:

I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me…

How you can think that isn’t offensive to other religions I do not know. I personally wouldn’t like being called an abomination, although I am sure there are people that think I am exactly that for my willingness to simply tell the truth. Thinking about it some more I do know how that can seem like a non-issue, I used to think that scripture wasn’t offensive in the slightest when I was on the inside looking out, I mean no one is forced to read it (not unlike this blog).

It is a trick of human psychology that we all succumb to, it is an illusion that we are willing to celebrate diversity. (Read the link this time, its very worth it!) Once you realize that it is in your nature to feel offended in this way you can start to see things from a different point of view. I only hope to encourage different points of view.

What that all means is this, even though I can point out the hypocrisy in the request for censorship, even though I can point out how the church censors information from its members repeatedly, it doesn’t matter. Because like indicated in the meat of this article we are emotional beings. We are wired for it. If hard pressed my sister wouldn’t be able to describe legitimately why this bothers her and eating meat in front of a hindu wouldn’t in the slightest, it just does.

So this post from her perspective made light of a thing sacred to her because it predicted the name my niece would get in the temple yesterday, It bothered her, not because it is logical but because it is emotional. Of course if the church hadn’t set all this up to seem like some magical mysterious prophetic thing that wouldn’t be the case, if the church didn’t make sure you were emotionally invested at every level this wouldn’t be the case.

Now I personally detest censorship of all kinds, but I also realize that her feelings are very real, and as I have mentioned before feelings matter. By letting my niece know what would happen I made the whole experience less magical (like Dorothy discovering Oz behind the curtain)

On top of that when you get this name you swear never to reveal it as part of the ceremony and that makes it feel like an affront to something sacred which can cause bad feelings.

For those bad feelings I apologize and out of respect to the feelings of my sister I have redacted the name that bothered her. Even though I felt like I was doing nothing wrong or saying anything untruthful I realize that feelings were hurt. The truth is I wouldn’t care in the least if it were a stranger that was bothered, but it was my family and my sister who has been very accepting of my position that felt offended.

I hope to never feel the need to redact anything I post in the future, this was a very difficult thing for me to do I felt like I was being asked to choose between my integrity to the thousands of readers 6 of the things we post on the Fridge door and the feelings of my family. I hold my integrity dear, I also hold my family dear. This is my attempt to balance both. Thank you all who help put this blog together and all the readers that have given me so much support and feedback I hope you understand why I do this. 7 

  1. I picked this Name Redacted because it is the one she will get in the temple today on march 8th, profet need to be profetic you know 🙂
  2. a blood oath if you went through pre 1990 as I did where you promised to die in a gruesome way if you ever criticized your leaders or laughed really loud
  3. It’s like signing a non compete agreement at work where the place that pays your salary has rights to every business idea you have or ever will have in exchange for a pay check. Only you don’t get paid. Good thing they don’t enforce it all that much.
  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truthiness
  5. The Book of Freon, Chill, 3:1
  6. yeah I knoooow, crazy isn’t it? a stupid little blog about a Fridge gets thousands of readers, it still flabbergasts me when I look at the stats!
  7. On the plus side while this whole thing did cause some strain on family relationships, I am happy to find out that my family does in fact know I write this blog and they read it. Maybe one day they will truly understand where I am coming from and look into these things deeply and think critically about them. That is one of my greatest hopes!

The First Gods

As man now is, God once was, as God now is, man may become 1

This is my favorite doctrine of the LDS church, let me explain why. In one swoop it resolves all the quandaries of where God came from, it implies limits to his powers. In many ways it makes a lot more logical sense than an all loving/all powerful being that condemns his imperfect creations for not being what he wanted after he made them. At the same time it gives us the hope that we too one day be just as awesome as we think he is.

The concept is based on the King Follett sermon given by Joseph Smith Jr. not long before he was killed. The founder of mormonism over time adjusted his views on God and landed on this very new concept which he spoke of at brother Follett’s funeral. It was so new that Christianity at large cried foul and has been reiterating it ever since.

This is likely at least one of the reasons the church recently released this article as part of the answering-all-the-internet-questions essays that have been slipped onto the church website over the past several months. It appears that the church is quietly backing away from this once very unique teaching. It used to be taught that one day we would inherit worlds without end, just like our dad in heaven. Now in this latest release that idea is downplayed as a cartoonish characterization by the church’s detractors.

planet nazi

 

As a person brought up in the religion very much being taught one day I’d be god over my own world or worlds (not to mention the eternal sex) This does feel a bit like getting the soup nazi treatment.

 

 

So much like the blossoming rose of the Lamanites and the color cursing of skins yet another of the unique LDS doctrines is being quietly modified to make the church seem more mainstream and a little less crazy to the world at large. Just compare this snap shot

create worlds

of an article on the topic in 2002 to this  2009 article with the same topic now. (Here is a second snapshot to make the comparison a bit easier) *please see edit below, who would have expected these guys self plagiarize!

now its gone jpg

Now you see the quote from prophet, seer and revelator Spencer W. Kimball, and now you don’t, just like magic it never happened. Quietly erased from existence the church now pretends the teachings of the prophet of my youth never happened.

To be honest this makes me sad. Why? Because like I said, it’s my favorite doctrine! 2. The reason I think so is because I am very hopeful and enamored by the idea of eternally learning, progressing and one day achieving something transcendent. Personally I would often think about having my own universe or planet one day and how different I would design it to be. Certainly I wouldn’t set up such a confusing methodology of discovering truth that you see amongst the religions of today. Also on my world there wouldn’t be any need to worship me. I mean really, why would I command people to adore me? That petulant behavior seems more like Q from Star Trek than the type of loving guiding father I try to be. I believe a father wants to help his children exceed any achievement he ever made and cheer them on while they do so. No need for worship in my universe.

It strikes me as I write this that it is human nature to reach for the stars, maybe this is the reason religion will never disappear from our society no matter how irrational it may seem. For just maybe it is because of our irrationality that we are so successful. We are just crazy enough to believe things can be done that are seemingly impossible. crazy chance Rather than condemn this very nature and the zealots of all types it produces, maybe we should celebrate it. Because if we believe there is a chance and we take that big bet it might just payoff. The only thing that assures we won’t win against the odds is refusing to play.

Joseph Smith imagined an eternal string of exalted beings going forever back in time, con man or pious nutcase that he was, it is still a pretty cool idea. These days science has shown us there is a definite beginning to the universe. Was there a dude that started it all? Did all of the cold in space spring forth from the Fridge? We really can’t know, at least not yet. If it is a grand design there are some really big questions on my mind for the creator. If we are all just lucky to be here on the roll of some cosmic dice, then I say lets take advantage of it. If we don’t it is a mighty big waste of space. If there isn’t a string of gods going back in time, so what! Nothing is saying we can’t be The First Gods and start our own eternal string of universes.

Do I think I have a chance of being one of them? I hope so, but if not, Fridge knows I am going to instill in my posterity the indomitable will to go for that crazy thing that others say can’t be done. So even if it is just a trace of my DNA a thousand years from now that controls godlike powers in a future that I can hardly even imagine a piece of who I am will live on. That is a bit of immortally that I am positive I can affect immediately. I believe that mankind as a whole will one day achieve immortality through its own efforts. I predict when when we reach the singularity in the next few decades some very amazing things will happen, I hope personally that I will hold out till then because I just might partake of eternity in ways never expected when I was born. Our technology advances as quickly as it does because we combine our scientific approach with wild and crazy ideas that capture our imagination and drive our innovation.

So for all the rational logical thinking that surely help mankind progress, it is the council of the Fridge that while you are reasoning and figuring things out don’t forget to embrace a little crazy. It might lead to Godhood one day.

“Let’s think the unthinkable, let’s do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.” ~ Douglas Adams

EDIT:
So the Exmormons that follow the Fridge are some pretty astute fact checkers and caught a mistake I made unintentionally in this post. After a friend sent me the photo with the quote from SWK and I searched for that topic on LDS org to find the source and found the 2009 article that I took a screen shot of, didn’t notice the hit from 2002 in my search.  Turns out they are from two different articles. I had no idea that these guys reused and modified their own talks. Here are the two items.

where the first pic comes from.
https://www.lds.org/ensign/2002/10/education-for-real-life?lang=eng

where the second pic comes from
https://www.lds.org/new-era/2009/04/real-life-education?lang=eng&query=real+life+is+eternal+life

my search used to find it on the LDS site
https://www.lds.org/search?q=real+life+is+eternal+life&domains=all&lang=eng

I think it is fair to say that the topics are being modified as the church progresses forward as show by the change from 2002 to 2009 as well as the release on the topic recently posted. In this case however the original article was not modified. It was my unintentional mistake to make that implication in my first release of this piece. I have made a slight modification to the article to remove that implication.

  1. Lorenzo Snow
  2. I’m already used to the church changing things while at the same pretending they didn’t and it was that way all along