The Path of Cool

More than once in a debate where I have pointed out the false position of the believer the comeback has been something along the lines of “What have you got to offer??” Meaning I think, what does your path of belief do for me? Although I think this question is irrelevant to the truth of the matter. It is relevant to the value of a belief system. Let me explain.

One of the things a belief system does is it creates a mythos for the society to follow. A pattern to guide their lives. This is very important for a large swath of humanity that desires guidance in what they choose and do. There are lots of us that get quite anxious when things change. We call it being conservative. On the other hand we also have people with a progressive attitude towards change as well. If you dig a little deeper you soon realize that inside each of us these progressive and conservative principles often clash when we are faced with difficult decisions. We each are at some point on this spectrum and even at different points when it comes to different aspects of life. It is little wonder though that even our political parties end up polarizing about this ’embracing change’ or ‘fighting change’ mantra at the core of our very selves.

A belief system has more value to the typical person than just a raw indicator of truth and not truth. This is despite the fact that the belief system often anchors itself as a source of truth to the believer. It has value in that it is a model for desired behavior change. It is also a way to view the world that prevents your fears from debilitating you making you nonproductive and despondent. It often serves as a massive source of confirmation that helps a person feel comfortable with who they are at their core as well. Of course these can be both positive and negative in effect. Belief systems can encourage racism and homophobia, but they can also serve to remind you to love your neighbor and treat others the way you want to be treated. In fact most scriptures at the core of religions have a smorgasbord of ideas to chose from. So many that you can essentially tailor make a set of beliefs that fit you personally (good and bad ones) to the point that you feel like that religion is right for you, almost a perfect fit even. And since we humans are so good at not recognizing these biases we don’t even realize we are completely rejecting some scripture and doctrines outright that we just don’t believe in while hanging our hat on the stuff we like. It seems to fit so well who were are that we assure everyone ours is obviously the true path.

Now as a religion, the Church of the Fridge needs some stuff like this. But we are at a slight disadvantage as we have no claim whatsoever on what is true and what isn’t. In fact there is no enlightenment from the great tall cool one in your kitchen other than that which comes from inside your own head. For thus saith the Fridge. “Although the Fridge doth sustain you with food and drink therein, nothing comes out of the Fridge that wasn’t put in there by you.” It should be no surprise, that is core tenant number one on the path to cool. In that vein I felt inspired to layout 6 rules to being cool. Please enjoy what the Fridge has to offer!

1. Self reliance and responsibility. Finding the path to cool is up to you. Really, it’s all on you. There is no invisible magical being that is gonna help you to count on. But it will feel like there is if you dig deep and simply set aside your fears and try. If you were religious before coming to the light at truth of the Fridge you might already know this feeling. The divine you are looking for is in you. It always has been. If you need to ponder, or pray or meditate or any other other trick of focus to put you in this mindset. Well, do it. Prayer works just as well for a Frigidarian as any other believer! Tap into that divine in much the same way you did before the crisis in faith that brought you here. You will be happy to discover that it still works.

2. Pay it forward. Everyone can use a little help now and then. Although the premier tenant of cool is self reliance, a dose of reality quickly shows that we all have times in our life when we could use a hand. Be ready to offer that hand of fellowship to anyone in need (Fridgidarian or not!) And when you get a hand from someone else use it to get on your feet. And then when you have the chance pay it forward to help another. Properly executed this principle helps all society. There should be movie about it or something. 😉

3. Be kind. Treat others the way you would wish to be treated. It is called the golden rule because is it really that precious, just like gold. It’s not always perfect of course, because we humans are all different, meaning our wishes differ. If you get good at the golden rule, take a shot at the platinum rule. Treat others the way they wish they were treated. This happens when you are sensitive enough to their feelings that you strive to include that in your interactions as well.

4. Be honest and authentic. This tenant on the path to cool often seems to conflict with number 3. Because sometimes brutal honesty hurts. We can’t shy from it though. If it is important we need to be honest about it. This is the same with being authentic. Sometimes we feel we need to change ourselves to be accepted and loved. That leads to self hate, not because change is bad, on the contrary change is often a good thing. But the hate comes when you realize people love you for who you pretend to be not who you really are. That is what you need to avoid. Be yourself, be honest, be friends with people you like and more importantly don’t pretend to be friends with people you don’t. Be authentic.

5. Be cool. Take a deep breath and chill out when things get tough. Because they will get better more often than not. Most worries that eat at your day to day are over either things you can’t really affect or things that will likely resolve themselves. You are better off to spend less time worrying and more time doing something about it, even if the something you do is nothing at all. 🙂

6. Find a purpose. Everyone needs a purpose in life beyond simple survival to feel fully alive. Find yours. Volunteer at a homeless shelter, Race dirtbikes, build your own hand crafted furniture. Something, anything productive and soul serving to you personally. Find what you love and if you can’t make it your career, at least make it a great hobby. Remember thus saith the Fridge “life is meant to be lived, not just believed.”

Be the Good

Naked Shoulders And Sex In Heaven

“Today is the first day I’ve worn a tank top and not had my mother’s words in my head telling me I look like a “whore” or a “bitch in heat.” Actually, I feel kind of cute! Which is good, because I’m meeting up with my folks in Park City tonight and I’m wearing a tank top.”

This post was from a friend a couple weeks ago. Like many women I know she is moving on past the body shaming and modesty baloney her religion poured into her psyche as she grew up. Unfortunately that is easier said that done. The next post said this:

“Well shit. I’m about 45 miles from seeing my parents and now I’m feeling anxiety. Hot face, cold hands and short of breath. Ugh!”

In my past life I would have said that feeling of angst is the holy ghost telling her she was making some evil mistake revealing her shoulders for the world to see. Now days it is easy to see this is simply conditioning caused by hearing her mom call other women slutty and a whore for the way they were dressed. You see when we are children we naturally look up to our parents. We take in the example they set like a sponge. If our parents are prejudicial we end up filled with prejudice. This is not anything new, child abusers were often abused as children. Racists people raise racists kids. Just like good parenting begets good parents the opposite is also true.

So you see my friend angst over her dress is not uncommon at all after you leave a religion that controls even the way you dress. However it is also the first sign of finding true freedom. Just take a look at these women fleeing ISIS that have even a stricter drive for modesty in their faith than the Mormon one.

I find it no small coincidence that there are similar female only rules inherent to these two faiths. You see Joseph Smith knew well the religion of Muhammed when he said:

““I will be to this generation a second Mohammed, whose motto in treating for peace was ‘the Alcoran [Koran] or the Sword.’ So shall it eventually be with us — ‘Joseph Smith or the Sword!’ ”1

One major similarity between these religions involving women that I found in my studies is the type of afterlife sex one gets. Now I am the first to admit that I have a bias in this case. You see from ages 12 to 16 I had a bishop that went into all sorts of sexual territory in interviews to gauge my worthiness. At the end of those sessions he consistently told me that the number one reason I needed to remain pure and chaste till marriage was so I could have sex eternally in heaven after you die. He made sure I knew that only the top tier of the celestial kingdom got that privilege.2 If you didn’t make that goal, then no more sex for you…. forever.

So you see as a hormone drenched teen that was pretty important to me. So I set my sights on a chaste temple marriage and eventually attained it. Sex forever is worth a little postponement in this life right?

Personally I think the reason for sexual control in religion is simple. Sex is a driving behavior, right up there next to things like breathing and eating and sleeping. When you commit a person to give up that need you immediately trip a cognitive trap in their brain. Once a person gives up something they want badly they have to deal with the dissonance it creates. They must justify the reason. It serves the effect of driving the belief deeper because it must be true, otherwise you wouldn’t have made such a sacrifice….

So when it comes to deeply held beliefs is it any wonder you find so much zealotry in Islam a place that also promises eternal sex for one man with multiple wives in paradise for the faithful? Is it any wonder that the ‘porn shoulders’ my friend was sporting that day she expressed her freedom from oppression is actually a term you will hear in Utah? Bare shoulders are that suggestive? Guess what! They are to the guy that swore them off! Just like these ankles are worth a second look.

checking out the hotty

Eternal sex with lots of wives is not a dead LDS doctrine either. I’m sorry ladies if you think it is. Mormons still believe in polygamy, they just wait till you are dead to practice it.3 Don’t take my word for it. Listen to a general authority answer the question:

There really are lots of problems with polygamy when it comes to the LDS faith. Most women I know are sure it isn’t gonna happen ever again. And quite a few men I know have confessed they hope for it after they die. But what does the doctrine actually say? Here is a tidbit for you. Let me know if you find this has been rescinded anywhere.

“In the spirit world there is an increase of males and females, there are millions of them, and if I am faithful all the time, and continue right along with brother Brigham, we will go to brother Joseph [Smith] and say, ‘Here we are brother Joseph’…. He will say to us,…. ‘Where are you wives?’ ‘They are back yonder; they would not follow us.’ ‘Never mind,’ says Joseph, ‘here are thousands, have all you want.’”  – Apostle Heber C. Kimball4

Ask yourself now if Romney’s binders full of women comment is like looking up his freudian slip!

Consider this. Maybe the real reason that her ‘porn shoulders’ made my friend both cute and nervous has everything to do with the way sex is portrayed in the religion, and not even a smidgen to do with reality or modesty or any other reason that is tossed out by the believer. It is possible isn’t it that this standard of modesty that so pivotally affected my friends life only applies to women? Because otherwise how would you have heard all about the modesty uproar over the mormon on the left verses the mormon on the right. Think about that for a bit.


To wrap up this topic, I have a question for the females to whom this standard seems to unilaterally apply. As a woman do you really like the idea that other ladies are constantly judging you on your dress and your look for not conforming to the norm? Is that really the way the world works? Should it be the way it is? I don’t think so. From what I have discovered after leaving the culture of my religion it isn’t that way out there in the scary world at all. In fact after my friend disclosed both her joy and angst in the her new found freedom of expression another close friend piped up and told her to not fear because she would love her no matter how she dressed and that true friends didn’t treat each other that way. My porn shouldered friends reply…

“I completely agree. I love you too! And all of the women I’ve met since leaving the church. The friendships are so much more authentic. [The Profet] should write about it!”

And I did, because authentic is exactly the way it should be.

 

  1. read about that here and here.
  2. I don’t think this was his own idea mind you. There are several indicators in scripture and teachings of apostles and prophets to found this doctrine on. For example. “Eternal are the purposes of God; never-ending progression is provided for His children, worlds without end” (James E. Talmage, “The Eternity of Sex,” Young Woman’s Journal, Oct. 1914, 604)

    “Except a man and his wife enter into an everlasting covenant and be married for eternity, while in this probation, by the power and authority of the Holy Priesthood, they will cease to increase when they die; that is, they will not have any children after the resurrection. But those who are married by the power and authority of the priesthood in this life, and continue without committing the sin against the Holy Ghost, will continue to increase and have children in the celestial glory” (Joseph SmithTeachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 300–301).

  3. They can even be sealed to two women in the temple that are alive at the same time so long as they get a legal divorce. I personally know one post mormon that was still sealed to her husband in the temple after he divorced her and married again in the temple for a second sealing. You see for a woman to get a temple divorce takes special permission that goes all the way to the top tier of the faith. Women can’t be sealed to another man after a legal divorce without this. But the dude? No such limitation. Seal away!
  4. Journal of Discourses, v. 4, p. 209

Trust Your Feelings

I still remember it, the summer of 1977. As Luke’s x-wing sped toward destiny, Obi-Wan’s voice reminds him to ‘trust your feelings’ and to ‘use the force.’

That hit eight-year-old me pretty hard. As a soon to be baptized member of the LDS faith, feelings and this ‘force’ were things I really believed in. I left the theater like millions of others completely amazed at what I had just witnessed. As I grew older I received the force myself; in the LDS Church it is called the priesthood. All worthy males in the church get it in graduating levels starting at age 12.

I took the responsibility very seriously. In the Church the priesthood is believed to literally be the power of God and I got to hold it.1 Wielding the power of the priesthood was much like portrayed in the first (4th) Star Wars movie. You used your feelings to operate it. When you laid hands on a sick person to heal them, you let your feelings guide your words. This is known as listening to the spirit. I grew quite good at listening to this still small voice. On my mission I used to walk to an intersection and slowly turn till I felt the nudge of feelings the spirit would give me on what direction to go. I was sure it was the power of heaven and that it lead me without error in every way. For me, listening to my feelings and using the force of the priesthood was second nature by the time I was 21. I used this ability all the time, finding keys as well as healing the sick and afflicted. On my mission I had even given blessings on sick children that the spirit told me to bless them to die rather than live in their evil unbelieving family. I saw people healed and people die after I have given them blessings using this force that I held. I had unflinching confidence in the feelings of the spirit I was in tune with. 2

The first time I questioned the validity of these spiritual feelings was when my wife and I invited a really close family we were friends with over for a discussion with the missionaries in our home. We loved this family, our boys and their boys were best friends. Only a person that has felt the same deep beliefs will understand our desire to share the gospel we loved with others that we hoped could have it too. When the missionaries finished telling the story of Joseph Smith, they asked our friend how she felt about that. I will never forget her response. It hit me just as hard as that line in Star Wars so long ago. Likely because her answer was the last thing I expected.

She said, “I get this horrible sick feeling when I read about Joseph Smith.”

I was taken aback. Our friend was totally serious and you could see by the look in her eyes she was telling the truth. At that moment, for the life of me I couldn’t understand why her feelings weren’t the expected result. The Holy Ghost that I was so in tune with was clearly there in the room, I had felt touched. And yet what she felt wasn’t the same, in fact it was quite the opposite. I sat back and thought for a moment. Then suddenly I had it. I read the story of the first vision to her. Specifically the part where Satan tries to overcome Joseph Smith before God and Jesus show up. I testified to her that her negative feelings were just the evil one trying to keep her out of the true church.

We had a few more discussions, but our friend and her family never did convert. It didn’t diminish our friendship though.  And I never forgot that moment. Because I even though I had come up with an explanation for her wrong feelings at the time, I knew deep in my heart while I had a slick answer for her. That was it, just a slick answer. “If she could be wrong about her feelings,” I pondered, “what made me so sure I was right about mine?” Over the following years, that experience went on my metaphorical shelf and I didn’t think much about it for a while.

obi wan

Some time later I ran into that same issue again while studying Church history. I was a Sunday school teacher in our ward and we were into Church history at the time. A book I picked up to gain further light and knowledge on the topic was called Rough Stone Rolling, a biography of Joseph Smith by Richard Bushman. I chose this one because, well because I’d been warned about all the anti-Mormon stuff out there.3 As members you are consistently told to be careful about all the lies that were told about the prophet, and I didn’t want lies tainting my testimony. RSR was a gripping read for me.4 I think it was because I was getting a perspective on the founding prophet that I’d not even remotely expected. Things that I thought were always lies and propaganda about him were actually historically accurate. Bushman did a good job in his apologetic approach though. Justifying and humanizing the man in a way that my shelf didn’t collapse at that point. One thing I discovered was a bit of history around Joseph and the Book of Mormon copyright. You see, the prophet received a revelation to take the copyright to Canada to sell it to make some money. It didn’t sell. Later, David Whitmer 5 tells us that Joe said sometimes some revelations are from the devil. Indicating that was why this prophesy never came true.

“Wait a minute?!!! A prophet can get messed up on which revelations are legit and whaich aren’t!” I thought.

Please remember at this time I implicitly trusted my feelings like I’d been taught to. I was very much attuned to this stream of personal revelation in my life. So this was very disconcerting. It seemed even the original leader of the Church that was the most awesome source of truth on the planet sometimes got it wrong. I remembered again the missionary discussion with my close friend and how her feelings had entirely disagreed with mine. “Why was I so sure I was right about the feelings I trusted?” was the thought that ran over and over through my head. It all went on my shelf though and I continued to believe. Little did I know then how hard my next experience on this topic would hit me.

Han-Solo-in-a-Foxhole-small

It was the morning of September 11th, the day before my second son’s birthday, 2001. I had the TV on morning news as I was getting ready for work. like millions of others I watched in horror as people who were so sure about their feelings from God, that they flew jet airplanes full of innocent people into the Twin Towers.

I just sat on the edge of my bed that morning and watched, forgetting about going to work, emotionally distraught as I watched the towers fall. That experience stuck with me. Because these terrorist were religious, they believed Allah had revealed to them truth, and their faith was so strong they were willing to die for it. There are a lot of similarities between Islam and Mormonism. Neither drink alcohol, both believe God reveals his truth to prophets. Both are 100% sure their religion is the right one. Both tell believers to submit and pray until they too know the truth. Both tell their followers if they don’t get the right answer (that the religion is true) they simply aren’t trying hard enough. It is no surprise to the student of religious history that Joseph Smith6 proclaimed the following:


“If the people let us alone, we will preach the gospel in peace. But if they come on us to molest us, we will establish our religion with the sword. We will trample down our enemies and make it one gore of blood…from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. I will be to this generation a 2nd Muhammad, whose motto in treating for peace was ‘the Al-Qur’an or the sword.’ So shall it be with us — ‘Joseph Smith or the sword!’ “7.

You see, I had studied Islam a bit in a college LDS institute course on comparative religions. So this attack caused me yet again to ponder what made me so sure I was right in trusting my feelings about the Church being true. Here were people who clearly had more faith than I. I would never do something so drastic for my beliefs. So having more faith surely wasn’t the answer to this question that sat ever heavier on my doubt-laden shelf. But heavy though it was, my shelf was still up, I was still sure my feelings were the right about this.

The next time I ran full force into the question of trusting my feelings was when I understood the breadth of the polygamy and polyandry of Nauvoo. You see, I already knew that Joe had extra wives. And to be honest, the whole idea of more than one wife kind of appealed to me.8 But when I started into that area of research in LDS history, I came away again shell-shocked by what I learned. It wasn’t consensual interpersonal relationships like I had assumed. Turns out Joe would often tell women they had to marry him or God was gonna kill him. 14 year old girls felt like they went as a sacrifice to God like Isaac of old in becoming his wife. He married women in complete secrecy telling them to not tell his first wife Emma about the tryst. In short, although I had no issues with polygamy the way it was defined in D&C, it turned out that was not at all like it was actually practiced. Emma didn’t want any of those extra wives and for that the Lord (via Joe, go figure) condemned her for not doing it. This background of threats and secrecy was revolting to me. It FELT wrong. I have since heard this expressed verbally in much the same way it hit me then. Listen to the end of this video to hear the Swedish member express his feelings about it.

My spiritual feelings and sensitivities also screamed wrong, wrong, wrong! I totally understood how that Swedish LDS brother felt when I heard that because I felt the same way. And his question is exactly what I’d faced so long ago when my friend had a completely different feeling about Joseph Smith than I did. In fact, in that mysterious way the Fridge seems to act, here I was overwhelmed with negative feelings about a person I had so tried to emulate my whole life. All along I trusted my feelings and clung to the faith, but what now? Should I now, out of the blue, start ignoring them? Because just like my friend, my gut reaction to the angel enforced pedophilia was very negative. I’d told her then that negativity was the influence of Satan. Was I now under the influence of the devil because I felt the same feeling about Joseph Smith that I’d felt about Warren Jeffs?

It is not easy to accept that you might be wrong. Especially when you have invested so much into your beliefs that you were so sure about. But I finally realized I couldn’t have it both ways: Either my feelings were always from God and the spirit always told me the truth, or I was wrong about them. Somehow assigning validity where there was none. Exactly like I was sure a fellow Muslim or another person might be when they attributed an experience to the validity of their particular faith. I came to realize that attribution was completely arbitrary. My feelings were not a guaranteed stamp of reality. No matter how much I wanted them to be. Eventually my shelf collapsed and I discovered the light of the Fridge. I realized that feelings shouldn’t replace honest inquiry and brutal truth. Not that you should ignore them. Instead, listen to them and realize what they actually mean, not what you want them to mean.

Think about that wonderful spiritual enlightenment you feel when you are reading scripture. Is that because the moral of the story is something you agree with? When you feel this spirit, is it because you feel empathy and compassion for your fellow being? Are leaders asking you to shelve your own internal moral compass because God said so? Are they using your previous feelings as leverage over your decision now? Do you feel like you are being manipulated and marketed to? Because if you do, maybe that is when you should trust your feelings. Maybe you should think a bit more more about it when somebody told you a really good story and then assured you those feelings you had meant the story was true. Because guess what. I to this day I still feel inspired and spiritually moved when I watch Star Wars. Does that mean Luke really existed and Obi-wan is a talking ghost? You see, after all these years I still feel.

I still feel the strong spiritual experiences when I look up at the night sky. I still feel deep emotional connection during a moving song or a stroll though the forest. I do trust my feelings even now. I just know what they are actually testifying about, not what someone else tells you they mean. That, my friends, is how I know the Fridge is true. And if you smiled, even laughed… that means you know the Fridge is true too.

In the name of Frozen Ice,

Amen

  1. Girls get to hold it if they hug you. Seriously that was a common phrase in in the Church when I was younger. Oh how my perspective on that has changed!
  2. I have since found out that many, if not most, people don’t have such intense spiritual feelings as I did. Turns out many people don’t feel it at all.
  3. I still haven’t read No Man Knows My History by Fawn Brodie, if that means anything to you 🙂
  4. I am not into biographies either, I have read 3 in my whole life, one on Joe Smith, one on Nikola Tesla and one on Steve Jobs.
  5. Yeah, one of those three witness guys. If you happen to follow the link to FAIR and read their apologetic take on this, they tell you the whole deal was years after the fact and basically say Whitmer made up a false memory about the event. Here is the rub about that though, the First Vision is recorded 12 years after the fact, and that version doesn’t remotely agree with the one canonized over 18 years after the fact. Why randomly pull out the false memory card and stick it wherever you want? Even the discourse Whitmer gave in which this ‘false memory’ happened is also the same one where he says the BOM is true even though he thinks Joe is no longer a prophet. Why is one memory in that statement challenged and the other accepted as truth? FAIR doesn’t play fair, remember that and check all their sources!
  6. He was not only a self-proclaimed prophet, Joe was also the mayor of Nauvoo and the general of the local militia, the Nauvoo Legion.
  7. See History of the Church, Vol. 3, p. 167
  8. Not to mention becoming a God as well. But we will save the personal narcissistic tendencies for a topic on another day. Until then read this if you can’t wait for the way I see that bit of doctrine!

Remember To Have Tolerance And Love For Our Mormon Neighbors

I just read this announcement from the LDS church in regards to the gay marriage stuff. I’d been thinking about an appropriate response when I stumbled onto this nearly perfectly made point on social media.1 The Fridge works in mysterious ways and we are often inspired unexpectedly so enjoy the light of the open door and feast on the sustenance therein:2

I just need to clear something up. I don’t hate Mormons nor am I bigoted. I love all living creatures and believe that Mormons should be treated with kindness and compassion. I do not support violence against Mormons or discrimination of any kind. However, I also believe in science and as such I cannot support Mormons’ “rights” to marry and raise children. Science has shown us that this is detrimental to both the children involved and society at large and I cannot pick and choose which scientific evidence to believe.

Science has shown us that Mormon children are much more likely than average to be depressed in their lifetime. Utah boasts the highest suicide rate in the nation among 18-24 year old men and has one of the highest rates of overall depression. LGBT youth raised in Mormon homes tend to fare especially poorly and often bear lifelong psychological scars. Also, girls raised in Mormon homes are far less likely to complete college or achieve financial independence than their non-Mormon counterparts.

Conversely, there is empirical evidence that other demographic groups tend to raise children who fare better than average- same sex couples, secularists, Asians, etc. Because I support science, I believe that such groups are the only people who should be permitted to parent in America.

Plus there’s the fact that the Mormon temple ceremony is degrading to women and that the sealing was created with the specific purpose of propagating polygamy, polyandry, and even child marriage for Mormon church leaders. Pioneer journals show us that these marriages were often coerced and that the girls and women who entered them suffered horribly. While Mormons are not currently advocating for the reinstatement of these practices, by allowing Mormon marriages, we are embarking on a slippery slope that opens the door to this possibility. How can we in good conscience allow this?

Again, I have absolutely nothing against Mormons and am not judging them for their lifestyle. I understand that many of them were born into their faith and did not totally choose it. And I am very accepting of Mormons provided they commit to lifelong celibacy as that is the only way to guarantee they will not reproduce. There’s nothing hateful or bigoted about supporting what science has declared is best for society.

SmithNauvoo marriage

  1. Sarcasmness is next to godliness, thus saith the Fridge
  2. Shared with permission and desired anonymity. I added the links and did a little formatting is all.

What Jesus Said

If you follow my blog, you know that I often am inspired by a certain Mr. Trimble to respond to the stuff he posts. “Why?” You ask. Because I know for a fact my parents and many members of my previous faith1 hang on every word he types. They love him. He is a decent writer and he writes a very pro Mormon, pro religion blog. I dare bet that my own mother once thought, even hoped, I’d gone the same route with my writing. Alas, I did not and here’s why. I am addicted to truth. Honesty, truth, no matter how painful, is a thing to strive for. Truth even if, especially if, it is not what you want to hear is exactly what you need to hear.

Here is the thing I have found about writing what I do: Telling people what they don’t want to hear is not very popular. Often times this blog touches on truths about the Mormon religion that most Mormons do not want to hear. That means it doesn’t get a lot of believer traffic. And as in any society, those who initially buck the status quo are far less popular than those who accept it. At least until the first followers show up and a movement is born.

It is a repeated pattern in human history that a few speak out, stand up and say, “What we have now is not good enough.” All while the masses point and laugh and say they are silly until others see what they are doing and join in. Eventually leaving the few sitting on the grass too afraid to dance, complaining how terrible it all is and how wonderful the good old days were.

Such is the case with the gay marriage movement. A couple of decades ago the rainbow flag was just a silly meaningless voice among millions. Today a majority of Americans realize the issue is no different than that of interracial marriage a few decades ago and deserves the same acceptance for the same reasons. If my Facebook feed is any indication, that rainbow has gone from a symbol of a few to the sign of support by many. And that leads me to Mr. Trimble. You see, I saw a post of his pop up in a feed and I had to read it. Here is the link:

http://www.gregtrimble.com/quit-acting-like-christ-was-accepting-of-everyone-and-everything/

It caught my eye because of the title. It is actually a point I agree with. We don’t agree very often as you can see here, here and here. I even just realized that I have talked about the opening line in this specific article once before. So I got sucked in by the title again and reread it. (I really hope my title is just as catchy!)

The main premise is that you don’t get to pick and choose from what is in the bible. Like Greg says:

“Too often we read a few scriptures that make us feel good and then omit everything else that we know about Jesus that might make us feel bad.”

He quotes Isaiah 30:10, “Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things,” as a sign that people don’t want to hear the hard truths. He’s right about that. I agree with him. My question for Greg, though, is this: “Why did you stop there?” You complain that people pick and choose what they want from the bible and other scriptures only taking note of the ones they like and tossing aside the rest. And then you proceed to do the same thing! There are dozens, if not hundreds, of scriptures that you completely ignore every day of your life.  I haven’t met a single religious person who doesn’t do the same. Not one.

Let’s just cite a few of these scriptures for the record:

Matt. 12:32, 
And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

No forgiveness ever? Because you didn’t trust your feelings?

Luke 14:26, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

You must hate your family to follow him? Seriously? Why ignore that teaching? Why take that ‘metaphorically’ and then try to say the few things written about gays should be taken literally. Think about that! One other point that I would like to make (since Trimble and I come from the same religious backdrop) is that Mormons believe Jesus is the same person as Jehovah. Yep, the Old Testament God. So it is only right that we should include some of those things Greg says we ‘omit’ because they make us feel bad.

Jeremiah 11:22-23: Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, Behold, I will punish them: the young men shall die by the sword; their sons and their daughters shall die by famine and there shall be no remnant of them: for I will bring evil upon the men of Anathoth, even the year of their visitation.

Jesus kills people when he doesn’t like them.

Leviticus 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

If you put your money where your mouth is Greg you should be out killing gay people to follow your Lord, not just whining about it on a blog post.

Exodus 21:15 And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death.

If you take a swing at your dad? Yep, Jesus wants you dead.

The list of crazy commandments in the bible goes on and on. In fact, you find these despicable commands in all scriptures of all faiths. Every single decent believer I know ignores the crappy stuff in the Bible. They wouldn’t strap their kid on an alter to kill him because they thought God told them to. They would doubt and question that voice in their head.

So to get on a high horse and point out that Jesus wasn’t always a nice guy and we should do everything he said is, in short, very hypocritical of any Bible-believing person. The Bible is chock full of commands that you already ignore. So when you lecture for 20 minutes on why slavery was just a sociopolitical economic situation of the culture and times as a reason the Bible condoned it, but then 10 seconds later use that Leviticus bullshit on killing gay people as something that should be taken literally as a denouncement of homosexuals… I hope you will excuse me for getting the impression you have an issue with critical thinking.

The last thing I’d like to point out is in the end of this article Trimble is speaking very ‘smooth things’ to the average Mormon. They have been raised with a persecution complex about how the whole world is against them and only they will stand for goodness. It is pandering of the highest order.2 The reality is most of the world finds Mormons a silly bunch because they believe in a guy who said he found some plates, translated them and then ‘God took them back so they couldn’t be checked.’ The way the world sees Mormons is pretty close to South Park’s take on it.

To understand that hard truth even more. The founder of Mormonism not only claimed to translate disappearing gold plates by looking at a stone in a hat, he also claimed to translate Egyptian papyri. Like the gold plates, the papyri also disappeared, but unfortunately for Mormonism’s claims, it later turned up and can now be checked against Joseph Smith’s “translation.” Which turned out to be complete bunk! That’s right, we have clear proof that the man who claimed he could translate ancient records was making shit up. That is the hard truth. No matter how smoothly you coat it with ideas that the word “translate” doesn’t mean translate. If you check the facts, it is overwhelmingly a bullshit story. Don’t take my word for it. Do your own investigation. Put on the same skeptical hat you would about Muhammed or the claims of Warren Jeff’s and see if you buy the idea that God gave a guy a book made of gold, which he never actually looked at to translate (looked in a hat instead) then took the book away so his skills could never be tested. He started a fraudulent bank that milked his investors out of life savings. He started preaching a ‘celestial’ marriage that forced other men to give him their wives and daughters as his own wives who “afforded him much pleasure.” He put the church he started into huge debt for his own benefit, and then translated some old common funeral papyri into the Book of Abraham leaving us proof that he was good at making shit up. That is the hard truth that Greg’s audience doesn’t want to hear. It is the same truth that makes my blog so unpopular among LDS people that cling more to the way they want things to be than searching for the way things really are.

So I agree with Greg, a person who picks and chooses his ‘truth’ is not a person in search of truth. It is a person who just wants her bias confirmed. If you want real truth, painful, honest, veracity, the first thing you need to do is look at what you are biased to believe and make the effort to overcome that bias. Then evaluate the facts with the same skepticism you reserve for any other bullshit story you come across. Or, as Jesus said:

“You wouldn’t buy the same bullshit story if it were sold to you from a different religion, so why do you buy it when you are selling it to yourself?”

honest man

 

 

  1. These days I trust the Fridge, it never lets me down! 🙂
  2. don’t forget I was one of these Mormons being pandered to like this once; I do have a clue as to how smooth these words sound to a true believer.

Guilt and Shame for Being Normal

Many Mormons believe they have been told by God, through His modern prophets and apostles, what things they should and should not do. Deviation from these tings is considered sin. What Mormons often fail to realize is that those of us who no longer follow the tenants of Mormonism typically reject their concept of sin. However, the years of conditioning and subsequent guilt and shame associated with anything once thought of as sin, often remains.

Mom took it hard when my sister, at the age of 22, rejected the religion they raised her in. 26 years later, when I rejected the same religion, it wasn’t so bad. At least, not that I observed. Mom is pretty passive aggressive about my sister’s lifestyle and the lifestyle of my two nieces who were raised mostly agnostic and have lived a life of what mom thinks of as “sin.” At least behind their backs she is, never to their faces. So maybe mom took it harder than I thought and I just don’t know.

As is typical with many Mormons, I was always wary about letting my parents know about anything I did that was not “in harmony” with the teachings of the LDS Church. I was fearful of the guilt and shame that would come with such revelations. Nor did I want her talking disapprovingly of me to somebody behind my back.

Many Mormons believe that a major reason people leave Mormonism is because they think that person wants to “sin” – that person wants to do all the forbidden things. The reason they think this is because many who leave often quickly begin to try those things that were formally out of bounds. However, since they are no longer under beholden to the religious entity that formerly restricted them, they are free to have new experiences.

Not surprisingly, when I left Mormonism, I had not had much experience with alcohol. It took over a year after leaving Mormonism for me to unshackle myself enough from the concept of sin to think about trying alcohol. I had sampled several beers from a good friend who brought them to me. One I liked was Wasatch Brewing’s “The Devastator.” It has 8% alcohol, so, in the state of Utah, it can only be bought in the state liquor store.

My city has only one state liquor store. I had thought about swinging in there but had been a little worried about people I know seeing me pull into the parking lot. Drinking alcohol in Utah is perfectly legal. I was not contemplating an illegal act, yet I was worried about the guilt, shame and gossiping my actions might cause. After quite a bit of inner turmoil I eventually built up the courage to do the dirty deed.

I drove in to the packed parking lot and luckily found a place front and center. I turned off the truck and set the key on the seat. I was a little nervous, so I sat there for a moment. It looked pretty harmless in there and I didn’t seen anyone around I knew. So I crawled out of the truck and went inside.

There was a nice array of beverages but I couldn’t see the beer. Mostly hard liquor. I remembered as a teenager going to a friend’s house whose parents had some brandy in the basement (“for medicinal purposes”) and I had some. I loved it! So I looked for some brandy. I found it and continued wandering the aisles, furtively looking around every so often. I eventually found the Devastator. I grabbed a six pack and went to the checkout.

As I stood in line I checked my front pocket and noticed my keys were not in my pocket. Well, most of the time in town I don’t lock my door, so it wasn’t a big deal. I paid for the alcohol and went out to the truck. Sitting on the seat were the keys. But the doors were locked!

Ugh!

I had recently divorced and walked away with a motorcycle, some books and woodworking tools. Being late winter I was borrowing my parents’ truck. It just so happened that I was living in my parents’ basement apartment. At home, in that apartment, were not one, but two extra set of keys to that truck. Right on top of the fridge. A simple phone call to my parents and they would have brought me the keys – no problem. But there I was, in the parking lot of the state liquor store.

Less than half a block away was a locksmith. But that would cost $40 and my parents could be there in less time time than the locksmith would and it would be free.

But how would I explain where the truck was, I wondered. There was only one reason for that truck to be parked in front of the only building attached to that parking lot. How could I experience the shame I would feel if my parents found out that their son was purchasing and consuming alcohol?

I jogged over to the locksmith. $40 and 15 minutes later I, a 48 year old man who was doing something perfectly legal, drove out of the lot.

I successfully avoided the guilt and shame of disappointing my parents. Instead, I felt shame for having lived in a religion for 47 years that would impel me to hide the real me from those I loved most. Mormonism values conformity and uniformity in their attempt to make cookie-cutter clones and they use guilt and shame to achieve it.
It has taken two years to begin to live an authentic life of freedom and individuality. I have shed most of the guilt and shame. And one day I will laugh with my parents as I share this story with them. But not today.