Religious households have little mantras in them. Scriptural sayings that pop up explaining everything in religious terms. Like the other day a post of mine talking about how many planets had been found by astronomers in the last couple of years prompted a believing relative to comment: “Worlds without number I have created.” My brain must still trigger with this kind of thinking because when I first saw Savanna’s testimony what came to mind was: “Out of the mouth of babes comes truth.”
If you happened to have been connected to LDS things at all but living under a rock and missed this, here is a link to the video I’m talking about. It’s the version where you get to see the part that was cutoff by the leader that silenced her. I like it best because I don’t like to be left hanging.
This occurrence has attracted national media attention. The version on CNN is nearing 2 million views as I write this. It is obviously embarrassing to many LDS faithful as they willingly disparage the motivations of a 12 year old girl. Picking apart each little bit, skeptically questioning what she said. Honestly I wonder what would happen if members approached the founder Joseph Smith’s motivations with the same skeptical outlook. What would they make of his justifications for marrying two girls only two years older than Savannah by threatening their families with their eternal salvation? But I digress.
Contrary to what popular LDS bloggers say, this video is embarrassing to LDS people because it showcases exactly what the church teaches members to believe. Savanna doesn’t get to have a partner and experience that kind of love in this life. Not if she wants to be LDS. Not now anyway (I still suspect in a generation or two much like blacks being forbidden to marry whites this doctrine will be swept away as well.)
But this isn’t only getting LDS attention. Thanks to world awareness of LGBT issues looking to get treated fairly in communities all over the globe even non-mormon activists are taking note.
I believe this is because there is something distinctly Orwellian about trying to control the voice of its members that strikes right at the heart of this video.
Why does this young voice need such control? After all shouldn’t the truth stand the light of day?
And now, he imparteth his word by angels unto men, yea, not only men but women also. Now this is not all; little children do have words given unto them many times, which confound the wise and the learned. –Alma 32:23
I just got done reading the latest effort by the LDS faith to get people to doubt their doubts. It’s titled Overcoming the Danger of Doubt and comes from Elder Hugo Montoya. I don’t know if it was the Fridge inspiring me, but I kept hearing this line from Princess Bride as I read it.
Doubt is certainly the thing religions fear most. In fact you pretty much have to doubt you are in the right religion to convert to another one. I know as a missionary for the church I saw more than 100 people doubt their previous faith enough to be baptized into the Mormon one. I only realize that in hindsight now though. At the time I was 100% sure I had the truth that I was offering to them. Never once did I think that doubt was something to be feared. After all truth doesn’t fear doubt right?
In this article I noticed that as usual there are personal stories that illustrate the principle. In this case how you ‘shouldn’t doubt.’ But aren’t those kind of stories in all religions? If a scientologist gets help from sea org, does that really mean you should not doubt the commitment you made to scientology?
Doubt is a wonderful thing, it’s not dangerous at all. But it is scary. Truth doesn’t fear doubt, but humans do. I was afraid to doubt my faith because of the ramifications if those doubts were realized. To me it meant a loss of hope, a loss of community and potentially the loss of family. But I found new ways to hope and new communities to belong to. My family didn’t survive the faith crisis without scars though. It could have been better but it also could have been much worse. I count myself lucky for the most part.
So yeah, to be totally honest, doubts can cause some pain if realized. But they also serve a useful purpose. If you are investing with Bernie Madolf and you hear a story about him that causes you to doubt. Clealry in that case checking out that doubt is a good thing and it could prevent you from further losses. But do you think that you might feel some pain discovering you were bamboozled? I think so. That isn’t the fault of the doubter though right?
I think it’s having your doubts confirmed that hurt the most. How much, depends on how deeply you held the belief that crumbled under the spotlight of doubt. Especially when the community you doubt is legit helped you in a time of need like Elder Montoya. But I don’t think that means he should call anyone or anything that causes doubt ‘dangerous.’ It’s too easy to get the impression that the natural fear that comes with doubt is a sign. It’s too easy to blame the doubter for simply questioning. And far, far too often it drives a wedge between families that believe and those that don’t, just because they doubt. This whole Ensign article is filled with manipulation based on fear. I’d sum it up like this.
Hello, my name is Hugo Montoya, you doubted my religion… prepare to die.
As profet of the Fridge I’ve learned to recognize when the coolness of the Stainless Wonder in the corner of my kitchen is guiding my life. Some would think they are coincidences, but I know better. When in a matter of days I have multiple brushes with the search for meaning that we humans engage in. I realize it is a sign that the profet must post.
It started a few days ago when the leader of our American Republic fat fingered a tweet ending in covfefe. The nationwide furtive search for meaning in the word gave me a smile.
Then a little while later I responded on a friends post about meaning with the number 42. Knowing that the chosen ones of the Fridge (even if they don’t know it yet!) would understand that cryptic response.
Then this morning I stumbled onto a trailer for my favorite cartoon that constantly delves into this very topic.
Is this coincidence? I think not. This is clearly the Fridge inspiring me! Or rather as I have found many who despise my lack of belief in god would say. “I choose to believe it.”
When my own faith collapsed I balked at the abyss of lost meaning, it scared me. I feared this lost purpose when I began to doubt the script I’d been given. You see that is one of the more beneficial things religions produce. A sense of meaning, and to bolster it you also get a sense of belonging when you join in ceremonies with others that share the same sense of meaning.
I’m convinced there is some good in providing a sense of meaning in a universe so vast and unfeeling that looking up at the night sky can make you feel smaller than the ant you recently crushed because it bit your ankle. The belonging part helps with that too.
But is it possibly a notch better to come up with your own meaning? After all, if you get right down to the brass tacks maybe the real meaning of life is found in laughing at the butter robot. Or giggling at the reason for earth was because no one could figure out what the Fridge ’42’ was all about. Because on the other side of that abyss of lost meaning is a discovery.
The tiny moments do matter. They matter to me and to you and to those around you. Even more so because they happen in a vast universe that will toodle along just fine even when I’m gone. What meaning we assign to that is really up to each of us. Maybe the real purpose of life the Fridge is trying to tell us is that it’s all up to us. Sure it might help us find lost keys once in a while, but being part of the human dance called life is about what we are gonna do with it.
What will we choose to do with it? Will we take on that challenge to go off script and create? Or will we just mark our time in the paradigm we’ve been given by others? I suppose that is up to you. Right after you pass the butter.