Pure Morality is Beyond Belief 

A common defense of religious faith is that without it humanity wouldn’t be as moral as it is with it. This is a tune that is being increasingly sung in the battle to demean those that leave the faith. Thanks to the inspiration of the divine chiller in the kitchen I think I know why.

As the rise of the nones in the US, not to mention the world at large increases. Religion, particularly organized religion feels under attack. Churches in America are experiencing an exit of faithful believers unprecedented in its history. 

Non-belief is categorized as a religion as believers are so want to do it accounts for nearly 23% the people in the US. Here is some data from Pew Research


If you lump Protestant Christianity together as a whole that makes the secular nones the second largest religion in the US. 


This is creating an interesting phenomenon. Organized religions are cooperating like never before. They are banding together to dismiss the people that are vocal in thier non-belief. I have noticed that even the non religious who say they are spiritual and still believe in God but just not the Christian one thier parents do are demonized right along side the atheist and agnostics.  

Most of these organizations have cannonized scriptures that doctrinally assert thier faith is the only true one. Divine revelation saying all other churches are a pale imitation or even an abomination in the eyes of thier particular God. 

The worlds religions don’t have a history of getting along. Jihad, crusades and so on prove that. But these differences are being set aside to battle the biggest threat to thier existence yet. People losing thier faith in faith.  

To do battle though, the amalgamation of organized religion needs to create criticism from a position of common ground. You can’t look dumb calling out your  Muslim buddy for not believing in Jesus when you are both attacking the atheist.  

To me it’s no surprise that religion as a source of morality is held up as a major benefit of belief and a reason for organized faith.  And they do have a point. Moral instruction is a common theme in most churches. 

But why is that? Is it because God gave each faith a for the most part slightly different version of moral rules? Or is it possible that morality was a divinely human trait before religion came into the picture to sell it to us? 

Organized religion with its tithes and collection plate would have you believe without thier moral instruction the world would go to hell in a hand basket. So you need to belong and pay up to keep the faith viable.  

This is why the religious criticism is as equally focused on the spiritual but not religious as it is on the secular atheist. For all the rhetoric about needing to believe in God it’s really not. It’s about the loss of money cause you don’t believe in thier God.  

The idea you can’t be moral without faith is a smokescreen at best and a damnable lie at the worst. I have met person after person that feels more concerned about being kind, about loving thier fellow man, about truly treating others as you would like to be treated after they left thier religion. Something changes when you realize how good the world is is all on you.  You can’t wait for sky daddy to sort it all out later.  It’s up to you to do something now. You become more responsible for the part you play in the human race.  And I’d say that makes a pure morality something that happens after you move beyond religious belief. 

Leveling Up, The Power of Hope

First A Little Reminiscing

I looked back today to the beginning of COTF today. It surprised me. It’s been visited nearly 400,000 times, There are new likes on the FB page every day. I see it dropped in conversations all the time from people I don’t even know. Hell, there are even people wanting to vote for the Fridge as president!!

Ok, the Fridge for president idea honestly wasn’t mine, but it is a sign that the time of chill is nigh! The Fridge is coming into it’s own. My best friend keeps telling me I need to monetize this venture. “Especially now that you’ve lost your moral center!” he jokes. I can’t say I haven’t thought of it. It would be nice to not have it be a drain on my own time and resources. But part of me likes it being pure, no ads, no cash flow. Just a place for people to share truth as they see it. I even created Fridge magnets thinking about it but so far all I have done is give them away not even trying to recoup the cost to make them.

Someday, But Today Is Not That Day

If COTF ever gets crazy popular I realize that me funding it all isn’t a workable solution in the long term, especially if it has a chance of living on past my own mortality. But I figure we can jump off that bridge when we get to it. So if you really want a Fridge magnet, send me a message on the COTF FB page or comment on this post, I’ll hook you up till I run out. It’s on me. I value the fact that you think this whole stream of consciousness I write is even worth reading. Call it my thanks to you and an outward effort by me to keep this a donation free, ad free, product free zone as long as I can keep it up. It might the one bit of goodness I leave to the world as my legacy. At least that is my hope.

 

Time To Get To The Point Already

So what is faith good for? What can it give us other things can’t? Relevant to that question I have been pondering the value of religion recently. Religions, pretty much all of them, have something in common with video games. They have a process in which you ‘level up’. A person moves on to great and greater achievements celebrated by the religious community.

Mormonism as one example is loaded with them. Boy’s move up through priesthood levels to greater and greater responsibilities. Granted, girls don’t get quite as much attention but their organization has steps of achievement as well. Ultimately a goal celebrated by all is a temple marriage and the endowment given to all that measure up to the tenets of the faith.1 Other religions have analogues, bar mitzvahs, confirmations, baptisms and so on. Scientology has tiers of awareness and the poor guys that rode that comet were just getting to the ‘next level’.

To Level Is Human

This is a lot like Pokemon go, not to mention every other video game I have played. Do what you need to and you level up. This idea of progression must feel good to us. It must satisfy some internal need. After all video games can be as addicting as porn or ice cream. The reason things are addicting is because they trigger deep emotional responses in us, overloading them even. To progress and level up feels good. It doesn’t need to be ‘real’ it just needs to impress your peers. I think this idea goes hand in with hope. By leveling up we make progress to what we hope for, what we want to achieve. So religions, even fake ones2 need a leveling system and something to hope for. I’d love your suggestions on how to level up in the COTF. They can be serious, sarcastic, funny or whatever all are welcome.

Hell, I will even give away free Fridge magnets3 (shipping included in the free part :)) for every idea! Tell us what you hope for, what you want to achieve and the steps you would like to celebrate while getting there. How are you gonna Level Up?

 

  1. There is even a more secret second anointing or endowment for the super duper faithful. Google that and Tom Phillips for some interesting reading
  2. Technically they are all fake, just some are willing to admit it!
  3. Did I mention these magnets double as bottle openers? Ironically awesome right?

Mormon… And Gay?

I get a lot of people who just don’t understand how a gay person could be Mormon. When I talk about the discrimination that members of the LGBT community face within the church, many are simply baffled. Why stay in a church that so obviously hates you? Why put up with the crap? So, here’s how this works:

While there are plenty of people who convert to Mormonism and join the church in their adult years, the vast majority of the membership numbers are coming from those “born in the covenant”. That means your parents are Mormons and you get the wonderful blessing of being born into a family already sealed in the temple. It means you get to grow up with Primary. Yes, Primary. A lovely little class where you sing songs like “I Am a Child of God”, “Follow the Prophet”, and “I Hope They Call Me On a Mission”. You get to practice giving talks and prayers, memorize the Articles of Faith, and learn all about how lucky you are to get to grow up with “The Truth” that nobody else has.

As you grow up with this Primary, you’re given a CTR Ring to remind you to always “choose the right”. You’re taught about how the world is in a fallen state and how as a member of the “One True Church”, you’ll be expected to be “in the world, but not of the world” and be a “light” to everyone around you. A wall is put in place early, as you are taught to distrust everything that doesn’t come from church sources. Only the prophets have the truth. Only by following the prophets will you be able to be happy. Only by staying on the “straight and narrow path” will you get into heaven and be able to be with your family for all eternity.

See, family is a very central theme to the Mormon faith. To Mormons, God is quite literally their Father in Heaven. We were all there with Him, His children, before coming to this earth. We even chose our earthly families, as spirits, before we were born. We were sent to earth to get a body and to complete a special earthly mission designed just for us, and our family was designed “perfectly” with a father, a mother, brothers, and sisters to help us along the way. This family is joined together through a sealing ceremony performed in the temples and it is only by remaining worthy of a temple recommend that the family remains together after death.

According to the Mormon faith, we were created MALE and FEMALE as spirits before receiving our bodies, and our gender is divinely connected to our earthly mission. The roles we were meant to play were determined by our gender, and the sacred bond of marriage between a MAN and a WOMAN is the key to the highest degree of glory in God’s heavenly kingdom.

These concepts are taught very early. In Primary. Through songs, games, interactive roleplay activities, and through active participation in teaching peers these basic roles and concepts. At eight years old, children are “blessed” with the opportunity to “choose” baptism and commit themselves to the church. This is considered the “age of accountability”, where you are now entirely responsible for all your actions and all your “sins” starts counting against you.

Gender roles are further enforced once you turn twelve and separate into the Young Men and Young Women classes. The Young Men bear the Holy Priesthood, participate in the blessing and administering of the sacrament, get God’s power to bless and heal, attend Scout meetings, and are prepared for their roles as leaders and heads of households within the church. The Young Women are endowed with the blessing of… motherhood, and they are prepared to be housemakers, homemakers, and helpmeets to their future husbands.

And ALL the youth receive very explicit instructions concerning sexual activity. Chastity until marriage is the rule, and anything that causes even a hint of arousal is forbidden. Young men (AND women) who struggle with masturbation are counseled to meet with their bishops and discuss their sexual sins and seek help in bridling their passions and repenting of their sins. All youth activities in which young men and young women mingle are heavily supervised and regulated to prevent “temptations”. Despite the hard stamp of disapproval on tom-foolery, the youth are still known to transgress, as who can really expect perfection?

The young women bear the brunt of the responsibility for any youthful indiscretions. They are expected to maintain modesty so as to prevent their bodies from enticing the young men. They are taught that the loss of their virginity is comparable to becoming like a licked cupcake or a chewed piece of gum. Rape victims are expected to repent and forgive their rapists. And if a couple engages in sexual activity out of wedlock? The woman becomes pregnant? Abortion is off the table. Adoption? Maybe. But the standard advice is to hurry up and wed so that the baby can have a “healthy family” to grow up in and so that the couple can avoid continued sinful behavior.

And homosexuality? The Mormon church won’t even use the term. Instead, they prefer “same-sex attraction”.

They list it among the sexual temptations that “some” are challenged with, but God designed every individual’s temptations specifically for them. Such are hardships meant to aid in spiritual growth and learning, and the rejection of these temptations is what keeps an individual on course for eternal happiness. If you feel same-sex attraction, it is what God knew you needed for your own personal growth and He endowed you with the skills and attributes you would need to be able to overcome it.

A young child, growing up in this church, who finds themselves feeling attracted to members of the same sex will quickly bury and repress those feelings. Confessing it to peers would be a cultural death sentence. Confessing it to family often leads to getting disowned and tossed out onto the streets. Confessing it to a bishop leads to regular intrusive meetings where your sexual desires and preferences are discussed and attempted to be “cured”. Many will never tell anyone. They won’t even admit it to themselves. Instead they bury it. Deep, deep inside.

Now if you live outside Utah, you interact more with peers and individuals outside the church, maybe you have a more laid-back family and regular church attendance isn’t all that important, you likely aren’t getting the full blow of brainwashing and indoctrination. You aren’t feeling the brunt of the peer pressure and isolation. Maybe, rejecting the church teachings for personal happiness isn’t too difficult. Or perhaps you’re just naturally a rebellious sort. You’re somewhat immune to parental, peer, and community pressures to conform and fit in. You see through the bullshit easily and have little trouble letting it all go, leaving a ruckus in your wake.

For those who find themselves deeply entrenched, though, it’s a very different story. When you grow up in the Mormon church, being Mormon is a huge part of your personal identity. So when your personal identity also includes being gay… you are faced with a major internal conflict as these two pieces of your self war with one another. Many attempt to find consolidation, accepting that they are gay while still maintaining their faith in the Mormon church. These get hit the hardest, as they must constantly struggle with cognitive dissonance and their gay identity is attacked at every angle. If they opt to marry a member of the same sex, they get excommunicated and any children they have are barred from baptism. Other options are a heterosexual marriage, celibacy, or compartmentalization – having a secret gay life apart from their Mormon life.

So how can someone be Mormon AND gay? Because they were raised Mormon. Just picture, if you will, going through this Primary, going through this youth program, being surrounded by your Mormon peers who are competing amongst one another to be the most faithful, being surrounded by Mormon family. And if you live in Utah, add in Mormon controlled media outlets and businesses, Mormon newspapers, Mormon television channels… Church is your life – there are church activities every DAY. If you’re in Salt Lake, you have a massive temple in your backyard to remind you of the expectations. And in the layer of isolation and distrust for any information coming from non-Mormon sources… Now you have a cult. And that can be very… very hard to escape.

Dear Believer, Why Does God Only Help You? 

The Promise

As a preacher/missionary/believer you promise that your God will answer my prayers. You assure me that is why you believe. Because God answered your prayers, you promise that your God will help me in my times of need as well. It’s for that reason you tell me I should believe the same as you do.

As a natural preacher and a person that devoted two years to a mission for my own faith I think I know where you are coming from. When you are talking about your experiences and how you see the world it feels good. It feels emotionally satisfying. You ‘feel the spirit’ when you share your own experiences and ideas about God. When you are talk to another person and they emotionally respond to your testimony it like gas on fire and multiplies what you feel many, many fold.

Sharing Emotional Experiences

If you study religious practices you’ll find it’s a common practice that communal beliefs are reinforced by sharing them.

Muslims have their group prayer, Christians their healing sessions, Mormons have testimony meetings, Catholics commune, Pentecostals dance and sing being consumed by the spirit. In all these cases the common thread is an act, an outward physical expression of their belief and a sympathetic response from their community.

Invariably you leave such a meeting uplifted, filled with an experience that confirms your faith is the ‘right one.’ Feeling a desire to share it more. Willing to enter the realm of the heathen to share this gospel that gives you so much joy.

Hidden Fears

I wonder though if deep down you realize you are envisioning a world that you hope for but don’t see. One where all wrongs are righted, things are fair and good people don’t suffer. Maybe that’s why you bristle when asked for evidence or are shown information that shakes your faith. Maybe deep down you know it’s all an illusion created and sustained via a community willing to reinforce that belief. A community in which each individual is on just as shaky ground internally while they too publicly profess confident belief in what their heart desires.

Hmmm… maybe the reason I preach the kindness of the Fridge is in an effort to capture that same sense of oneness among my new community of heathens and apostates.

Maybe I think my goal of faith in the improbable is one where religions no longer impose tribalism and hypocrisy on their followers. Maybe my insane hope that humanity will be able to just get along is shared by others no matter how crazy it sounds.

Feels are Reals

Even now as I write this that familiar feeling in my chest swells, burning with confirmation. A feeling that in the past I invariably took as a sign God was telling me I was on the right path. The inward realization of an outpouring of love by community, friends and family. A hope of shared purpose and common ideals. When I see some bit of wisdom from the Fridge shared on Facebook or Reddit, it warms my heart. When I see that hundreds of thousands of times these words have been read and touched someone’s life it makes me feel good. In short, as a heathen and lost soul by definition of my previous faith I still feel the same spirit and passion in a totally new, albeit completely fake one.

In this new world I have met many people who didn’t have such a positive experience in religion as I did. One such was abused as a little girl, raped and beaten by priesthood holders as she prayed with the faith of a 7 year old to be saved. She told church leaders of her plight and they ignored her pleas for help instead thinking their power of discernment worked because they believed the adult perpetrator over her. Her prayers went unanswered, yet for those that have felt an answer it’s as if they can’t believe she had been ignored. I have seen church members preach to her about how if only she’d have faith their God would come through. Thier God would make it all better because thier God fixes everything… For them.

Why is it your God is always there for you? Why is it your God lets others down but still answers your prayers? Are you special? Do you deserve help finding keys or paying the rent while a little girl is left on her own pleading to not be raped and beaten? Can you feel the spirit of the Fridge right now, pricking your heart, signaling a deep truth is about to unfold?

The Power is Within

I have hope that you might realize your God was you all along. You helped you and the moment you realize that you will realize that you helping others is exactly how your God helps others. It’s not by preaching about your better belief. It’s not by converting others to your faith. Do you want to prove your God helps others and doesn’t ignore their prayers? I’d suggest hold out your hand to help. The Fridge would say; Bend your ear in sympathy to another’s plight. Be there for your fellow being. Don’t take the lazy way out by sending a prayer begging someone else to do what needs to be done. Reach for the improbable, hope for the impossible and do something.

Sure it might feel impossible to help, overwhelming even. But don’t let that stop you from the smallest action. Remember this universal truth found even in fake religions:

The Fridge helps those that help themselves. Those that bless others will be blessed in return.

Don’t believe me? I promise you it’s true. Try it for yourself. 🙂

“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

Fabricating War, a Mormon Conspiracy Theory 

War makes money

War profiteering has an old history, it goes way back, so far back that I think you’d struggle to find the first war profiteer. In fact I would dare bet that war profiteering and religion were pretty much invented at the same time. In my own life time I have witnessed two great wars touted all over the media. The war on drugs and the war on terror. Both wars that have lasted indefinitely and pretty much not accomplished anything.

Well that’s not entirely true, the war on drugs seems to have created massive criminal syndicates in Mexico and other countries that ship banned drugs to the black markets of America. Pretty much the same way the war on alcohol did in the days of prohibition. But ‘winning‘ this war? Eh, not so much. People still use drugs.

The war on drugs was the first war I learned of as a youth. But then came the war on terror. Launched after people doing what their god told them to took down a couple of office buildings full of people like you and me. Is the war on terror really a war that can be won? Or will we poor endless money into chasing shadows? You can even find conspiracy theories that the entire 9-11 incident was fabricated just to keep the populace looking at that enemy out there while the rich and powerful adjust society to their liking right here at home. War makes money, a lot of it. That can’t be argued. Did anyone invest in Halliburton before Sept 2001?

War is a distraction

Which leads me to a more recent war that has been declared in my home state. The war on porn. All over the state places have been popping up to combat this ‘new drug’ to treat people for an affliction that must be the leading cause of losing their faith and families. Save your family now! Only 12,000$ for our proven porn detox method!

Here in Utah the war on porn is in full swing. But the conspiracy theorist in me wonders why? Could this war be getting pumped for reasons only being talked about in back rooms?

Maybe there are people starting up these treatment centers and cashing in… Or maybe, just maybe this is a good distraction from what all the apostates are saying are the real reasons they are leaving the faith.

Reasons like finding out that the founding prophet is a convicted fraud that pretended to find treasure for money by looking at magic rocks in a hat. That the same guy told 14 year old girls if they didn’t marry him it would be their fault the angel God sent with the sword was gonna take the prophet from the earth. Oh and yeah that same magic rock? He used it to produce the Book of Mormon. No that couldn’t possibly be why all these men, women and families are leaving the church. It couldn’t possibly be the new information available on the internet exposing facts about the origins of the faith that had been carefully white washed until now. No, it must be the porn, we need to declare war on it!

War gets attention

Is this war on porn a conspiracy by the church to distract from the real problem that is causing the biggest apostasy the faith has experienced since the collapse of a bank with a 3 dollar bill that Joseph prophesied would make them all wealthy if they invested? (yes this really happened).

Who knows? But I do know this. If you want to focus attention on something. Declare war on it. Hmmm that might explain the war on christmas… Maybe the Fridge should declare war on the Flying Spaghetti Monster since that fake religion is clearly in a-pasta-cy. A war on pasta! Isn’t that basically a war on carbs? Given my diet centered news feed that appears to already be well underway. It never fails that I discover the signs of the Fridge are everywhere if you only have the faith to look.

May you all chill in the blessings of the Fridge, Cheese and Ice, Amen.

Who Does God Obey?

Who does God obey? To answer that question I’d like to start with a personal observation. The LDS religion isn’t what it used to be. Over the course of my life I have noticed an effort by the church to become more mainstream. PR responses if you will, to make the doctrine more palatable to the world at large. In many cases it’s a good thing. For example, the Book of Mormon declares skin color to be a sign of a curse that God put on those who were wicked specifically to make them loathsome to the good guys. In 1978, realizing the growth opportunities in countries with dark skin as well as facing some serious tax repercussions due to racist policies at BYU. God ‘revealed’ that all men no matter the color of their skin were now worthy to get the priesthood. An old doctrine went away and a new one of equality was ushered in.

A little history lesson

To better understand where I am coming from you might need a little education on this blacks getting the priesthood thing. Look here at the critics position and here for the apologists. You might notice that the apologetic response doesn’t mention the fact that other universities were feeling tax exemption pressure when all this went down. When I dug back into it, I also noticed that FAIR mentions a letter from Kimball to Carter, but neglects to point out “U.S. President Jimmy Carter commended President Spencer W. Kimball for “compassionate prayerfulness and courage.” In a telegram right after the ‘revelation’ was announced. I think the full text of that commendation is relevant so I took some time to find it for you. President Carter specifically mentions the courage of president Kimball to get a revelation. Does it really take a lot of courage to talk to God and ask him if he really, really wants to keep banning black people even if it means loosing BYU’s tax exempt status?


To add insult to injury why would FAIR neglect to mention this telegram in their rebuttal? Could it be because in hindsight it adds weight to the idea that the revelation was contrived due to pressure from the president of the United States? I leave that up to you to decide.

Changing doctrine isn’t new

The idea that the church changes policies and doctrine dependent on society isn’t something new. In fact exactly that situation is part of the LDS cannon. The faith was under fire for its polygamous doctrine (D&C 132) long before the black priesthood thing came up. Polygamy was preached and practiced openly once the faith moved the Utah territory, (before that it was a secret practice in Nauvoo.) Slavery and Polygamy were hot topics of the time when Utah was applying to become a state. The church was even in danger of losing a lot of church property due to the Morrill anti bigamy act of 1862. Then president Wilford Woodruff took the matter to the Lord and got the revelation to stop marrying multiple wives. This is canonized in D&C, official declaration 1 of LDS scripture. What I find interesting is the commentary on this revelation that is also canonized. Church President Woodruff declared:

“The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty”

He says this:

“The Lord showed me by vision and revelation exactly what would take place if we did not stop this practice. If we had not stopped it, you would have had no use for … any of the men in this temple at Logan; for all ordinances would be stopped throughout the land of Zion. Confusion would reign throughout Israel, and many men would be made prisoners. This trouble would have come upon the whole Church, and we should have been compelled to stop the practice.

And thus, the new and everlasting covenant of marriage, the one where most of the revelation is dedication to justifying lots of wives for one man well stopped… lasting, sorta. It’s still there for eternity if you dig a bit, just not while people are alive well… kinda. It must be hard for God to give a command and then rescind it. Sure takes away from his ‘never changing modus operandi’ that he’d like to propagate don’t you think? This has to make you wonder though. Why did God have to change because of the threats of little ‘ol mankind?

Who Does God Obey?

To me this is a very relevant question for a lot of reasons, one of them is the idea that we need to obey God is core to nearly all religions. In fact it is often considered by the faithful the only way we can be morally good people. But, if these two examples are carefully considered doesn’t it look like God obeys man’s will rather than the other way around? That seems kinda whack for an all powerful being though doesn’t it? Almost like man invented God to do his will rather than the story we have all been told.

Up till now, I have used examples of God’s changing but not changing doctrine due to societal pressures that were a good thing. But what if good ideas lose out to popular opinion thanks to man pushing his will on God?

Man Can Become God

This is or at least was a core doctrine of the LDS faith. Man can become God. It’s right there in the same revelation as the polygamy stuff section 132 verse 20:

“Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.”

Joseph Smith declared this concept just days before his death in the King Follett Sermon. Men get to be Gods. Just like the God before him became God. Blasphemy cried the rest of the Christian world! The response of the church to this public defamation? Well, I first noticed it when one of my favorite prophets President Hinkley when interviewed said regarding this topic.

“I don’t know that we teach it. I don’t know that we emphasize it. I haven’t heard it discussed for a long time in public discourse. I don’t know. I don’t know all the circumstances under which that statement was made. I understand the philosophical background behind it. But I don’t know a lot about it and I don’t know that others know a lot about it.” 

When I heard this I felt kind of taken aback. I loved this doctrine. As Joseph Smith stated, it was sweet to me. It made sense with the idea of free agency that the purpose of this life was to learn how to responsibly handle the power one would get when they became well… god of their own universe. But that doctrine seems to be getting down played more and more. Even to the point of selectively editing prophetic statements to make it go away. Most recently becoming a god is now describe as becoming like god in the LDS essays. The faith seems to be embarrasses of the entire concept of human’s following the same path as God from man to Godhood. That’s where this obedience question comes in.

Who Do You Obey?

If we do get to become Gods, who will we obey then? For myself and my family I have always felt the right thing for a parent to do for his kids was to teach them to think for themselves. Strict obedience for obedience’s sake makes no sense in this paradigm. As our children matured we decided to let them make choices on their own only suggesting how some of the consequences might turn out badly but letting them try it out anyway if they chose to. (Free agency right?)

Ultimately our goal was that our kids would be making their own decisions by the time they left the house. If they weren’t making nearly all of their own rules by age 16 to 17 then in my opinion they were totally unprepared for going it alone at 18. For this reason hard curfews in our home were replaced with mutual respect for each other. We didn’t say, ‘you must be home by 11:30.’ We asked the 16 year old when he planned to be home and then expected him to abide by his promise.

Can you see the difference from a ‘strict obedience’ style of parenthood to our apparently uber-liberal ‘fostering personal growth’ way of approaching it? Now of course this method isn’t without its bumps in the road, and I found more than once my gut just wanted to scream, ‘because I said so!’ when my own children questioned my judgement. But overall, so far with two kids out of the house and three more on their way I’d say the results are far, far more positive than negative.

Don’t Be A Dictator

Who do my kids obey? Certainly not me, I’m not a dictator. Maybe that is why I respect so much the ideas of Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris when it comes to the terrible concepts of unflinching obedience demanded by so may religions. In fact 10 years ago when I was still a true believer I’d probably said people like Hitchens and Harris just didn’t understand Mormon doctrine well enough to realize there is a religion out there that isn’t just obey, obey, obey. Looking back maybe it was some of the recent focus on obedience to the leaders of the faith no matter what that helped me realize that my own faith was every bit as flawed as all those other abominations as God called them.

Obedience without question is lauded as the best thing to do in Mormonism, that’s what Abraham did with Issac, it’s what Nephi did when he killed Laban. It’s what Joseph taught the women he wanted to marry to increase his harem when they balked at the idea. If God says so, that makes it right. Especially if God sends an angel with a sword to make sure you are listening. It seems to me that a path like this only leads to subservient soldiers that can’t think for themselves.

Think For Yourself

Contrary to the idea that men are here to think for themselves the core tenant of the faith really is “when the prophet speaks the thinking is done.” First taught here. Of course the response from then church president George Albert Smith says God won’t ‘force anyone to heaven’... He will just deny you access to your family for all eternity if you don’t do exactly what he says, which means becoming LDS, and pledging 10% of all your income to the church so you can be eternally sealed in the temple. Because that’s the ONLY way you get an eternal family according to LDS doctrine.


The Mormon faith teaches obedience is core, thinking for yourself not so much. Don’t believe me? Try this experiment, go to LDS.org search for ‘obedience’ see the hundreds of links that popup. Now search for ‘thinking for yourself’ and notice there is only one link with that phrase in it from 1971. Don’t fool yourself like I did that the Mormon religion encourages you to not be anything but a blind and obedient sheep.

If you feel mankind is more than obedient sheep to be lead merrily to the slaughter without defiance. You will soon discover as I did the people that think like you have a hard time with this jealous Yahweh/Allah/Jesus guy. A guy that is ready to damn anyone that isn’t gonna worship him and can’t let people think for themselves runs counter to the concept of free agency and responsibility. If you think that our destiny is truly divine you might want to stick with the Fridge, after all you can’t prove it didn’t inspire Rick to dispense this wise council. 🙂