Mourning with France and 100 Other Nations

While I mourn with France today, I have been reminded that I selectively express my mourning for grievous events in Western civilization. I tend to be more emotionally affected by tragedies in Western cultures.

This does nothing to lessen the tragedy of Paris. However, it does help me put into perspective the magnitude. 122 people is a lot of people. But it is small compared to tragedies we see unfold before us in so many non-Western countries. In the last week, how many thousands have been slaughtered by those devoted to religious or other ideologies? In the last week, how many millions (billions?) of women and children have endured a living hell of suppression created by devotion to religious and other ideologies?

My wife and I watched the movie Timbuktu two nights ago. It tells the story of Timbuktu and the surrounding area under the power of religious extremists. That film and my wife’s statement to me last night are powerful reminders to me that while I need to continue to fight oppression and bigotry at home, I need to listen more closely to the stories that come from far away, both geographically and culturally.

The prematurely ended lives, stunted lives, and damaged souls as a result of ideological devotion are everywhere.

I have been thinking locally (speaking culturally) and acting locally. I need to remember to think globally and act globally where I can while I continue to act locally.

I know both major and minor holocausts of ideology are currently occurring in Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Israel, Iran, Afghanistan, Somalia, Chad, Sudan, Nigeria, Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, North Korea, Russia, Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, and I’m sure a few countries whose mention in the news have not perked my ears. And how much of that has ideologically-driven U.S. foreign policy contributed to?

I also know that people are living their own “personal holocausts” of ideology all across the globe, including the U.S. because people are so devoted to ideology.

In the U.S., the continued effects of racism are so much more apparent now that so many have given themselves permission to eschew compassion in the name of ideology. Pay gaps are large, opportunity is clearly unequal, illegal immigrants are being demonized, voting rights are being restricted, and racist statements are being made by serious candidates for President, for crying out loud.

In the U.S., oppression of women appears to be getting worse. The gender pay gap is horrendous, access to reproductive healthcare is being restricted, and representation in leadership positions is atrocious. And that same permission to to eschew kindness in the name of ideology has both a good portion of the populace and serious presidential candidates making sexist statements and getting away with it.

In the U.S., oppression of LGBTQ people is considered OK by so many people on ideological grounds. The permission people have given themselves to be brutal in this arena is just astounding.

And though it makes none of the U.S. problems any less damaging, it is so much worse elsewhere in the world. Can we evolve as a species to accept that oppression and violence in the name of ideology is wrong? Maybe it will take rejection of ideology altogether.

I’m trying to do my part. I reject ideology. I don’t care how much my personal positions agree with a religion, political platform, personal following, or group, I refuse to label myself as a member. I am a non-member of any ideological group. I reserve the right to judge whether my positions need adjustment with new information without regard to what any group says I should believe. I claim and I own that responsibility.

Will you join me?

More Problems with Polygamy and Children of Homosexuals

Joseph Smith once said:

“Our Heavenly Father is more liberal in His views, and boundless in His mercies and blessings, than we are ready to believe or receive…”1

Of course these days gay peoples kids don’t seem to get the same liberal considerations that the prophet Joe was talking about when he penned the above words in a letter to Nancy Rigdon in his effort to convince her to be his plural wife after she refused. I have seen a part of this same letter quoted by believers in the wake of this policy to restrict children from joining the church.

“That which is wrong under one circumstance, may be, and often is, right under another.”

Continuing to Nancy in an effort to explain why polygamy is a good thing and not at all as bad as she thinks it is. Joseph wrote:

“…even things which might be considered abominable to all who understand the order of heaven only in part, but which in reality were right because God gave and sanctioned by special revelation.”

This to me is where it gets interesting in regards to the latest policy this church Joseph founded has taken towards gay marriage.2   The main theme in the wake of this exposure of internal bigotry towards people that are attracted the same sex is that the limits placed on children are for the good of the kids. To protect them and all. Even in the latest clarification they have doubled down on this excuse. The reason I call it an excuse is because the only other children that are treated that way are the kids of polygamists. Specifically those apostate polygamists that are awful because they are following the teachings of the original prophet of the church.3 It’s like they are saying:

‘We need to protect those kids from conflicts about religious beliefs, not from atheists or Jehovah’s witnesses, or ever even scientologists. That isn’t enough of a conflict, but polygamy and gay marriage that is pretty bad and requires kids to condemn the lifestyles of their own parents before they are good enough for the LDS faith.’

Don’t take my word for it, look at the policy yourself. 
To me that screams excuse. Especially when the kids are required to disavow their parents gay lifestyle to even be considered for admission into God’s only church. Maybe they really believe in this idea that is it for the kids. Who knows, maybe God did come talk to these guys about the gays just like he told Joe to marry Nancy even though she didn’t want it. I’m sure that kids in general don’t want to disavow their parents love and happiness right? I guess in a way it is like the problem with polygamy that to this day plagues the LDS faith.

You see the fact that no leader ever, ever mentions is they never really stopped believing in polygamy. Not from an eternal perspective anyway. Listen to Elder Oaks describe the relationship he has with his second wife. (And yes, he did get sealed to his first wife in the temple as well.)

Two wives? Eternally? Yep polygamy even if it is not ok while you are alive in the LDS faith is totally ok after you die. Hopefully this brings some perspective to the excuse about protecting the children from gay parents being a parallel to protecting them from polygamous parents. It never was about the polygamy. It is only about the apostate religion that still practices it… um when all the wives are alive as the same time that is. Does this make any sense at all? Is this a big crisis for the current leadership? Yeah it is. Fortunately Dallin has advice for them too.

Does all this dancing around making excuses make sense to you? Is this really how illogical and confusing God’s one true church is? Personally I don’t think so.
And if you are one of the believers that had your shelf seriously rocked by this whole situation. Maybe, just maybe you are beginning to suspect that too.

The real question if you believe that children should not be held accountable for their own choices by a just and loving father in heaven is this. What are you going to do about it? Quietly submit and let the bigotry fester? Or are you going to speak up and take action?

It was interesting for me listing to this talk from Elder Oaks from a totally different perspective than I used to have. He proclaims it is all about timing. I kept thinking about the timing of blacks getting the priesthood and how the entire equal rights moment happened in the LDS faith some twenty years after the fact. Twenty years after rest of the world realized discriminating against people based on the color of their skin was NOT a good thing the leaders of the LDS faith had a revelation to end this demeaning practice. 4 Timing in hindsight it is obvious isn’t it? Too bad there aren’t people that can tell us the future in situations like this right?

Either way I did find a part of the talk in which I agreed 100% with Elder Oaks.

The most important thing in our lives is to do the right thing. Personally I think the golden rule is a good way to figure out what the right thing is. Don’t you?

 

  1.  Official History of the Church, Vol. 5, p.134-136, See also “The Letter of the Prophet, Joseph Smith to Miss Nancy Rigdon,” Joseph Smith Collection, LDS archives
  2. What do you think Joseph would have done about the whole gay thing? My bet is he would have rolled with it and brought it into the faith were he the one at the helm today. It is his nature to absorb the common themes of the day and make them part of the faith.
  3. Yeah I know its confusing, but what are ya gonna do right? Just believe and don’t ask any questions, do as you are told and all will be fine!
  4. Technically the church took till 2013 to actually say that the racist teachings of past church leaders was nothing more than their own bigotry shining through.