Hating Sin

‘Love the sinner hate the sin’.

It’s a common phrase, often attributed to Jesus who didn’t actually say it. It’s a phrase that I hear a lot these days. The way it comes up is usually in reference to a person being gay, or to a person leaving the church. It is often followed by another assertion along the lines of:

‘It’s not my place to judge’

Do these two sayings really go together? Does it make sense that they belong in the same paragraph? Open your fridge and ponder with me for a moment. What is sin? I hear it isn’t a sin to be gay, just to act on it. I hear it isn’t a sin to not believe in the church, just to tell others you don’t and proclaim why. Some would say it is a sin to be gay, some would say to fridge ponderingact on it is a sin, other don’t think it is sinful at all. Sin is subject to personal definition. You have to exercise judgment as to it fitting the definition.

Sin is basically doing something wrong by comparison to some standard. If you think a person is a sinner are you not judging them in your heart to not be up to your standard?

I guess you could always claim you aren’t the one calling them a sinner, God is. You can say he defines sin, but how do you know for sure? One church calls the same thing a sin that another church does not. Even within a single religion the definition of sin often varies at a personal level. Ergo the judgement is personal.

One can’t help but realize that if you think someone is a sinner deep inside, you are going to treat them differently. You are going to think they are sick and need treatment when they tell you they feel just fine. You are going to pray for them because you don’t want their sinful soul to be lost for all eternity. You really are judging them because your judgment affects your actions.

Personally I think it is disingenuous to say you aren’t judging a person when you think they are bitter for nothing more than telling you why they don’t believe the same as you anymore. If you assign motives to a person (especially if they are contrary to what that person says) then you are judging them.

So if you hate sin (however you define sin) that is fine with me, hate it all you want and love the sinner all you want. But realize that by stating that you are implicitly judging a person to be a sinner. Own it and admit to the judgment you just made in thinking that person a sinner.

Be responsible for those thoughts and actions that you take towards those sinners you claim to love. Don’t they deserve a little honesty?

Endless Loop

Skeptic,
Here is a bit of history or doctrine that doesn’t make sense to me.

Believer,
That can’t be true you are looking at lies or misunderstanding.

Skeptic,
Here is the documentation of what I am talking about.

Believer,
Well that doesn’t matter because I trust my feelings.

Skeptic,
Feelings can’t always be trusted. Here’s why.

Believer,
I just know what I know, and besides, even if I’m wrong its a good way to live.

Skeptic,
So you don’t know now?

Believer,
No not that, I know, but it is spiritual.

Skeptic,
Like the same type of spiritual that the other religion that isn’t yours ‘know’?

Believer,
No not that way, they are mistaken.

Skeptic,
How do you know you are not mistaken?

Believer,
I just know! And besides you are negative toward me, why would you fight with me if I wasn’t right, persecution proves I’m right.

Skeptic,
What? You are not making any sense.

Believer,
I just know.

Skeptic,
Contrary to this and this and this documented fact as well and contrary to this and this previous statements you just made.

Believer,
han fridgeI just know, and hey I’m fallible, prophets are fallible, we all make mistakes. Memory isn’t always right, people can be confused, but on this one thing I AM NOT fallible, because my feelings tell me this is true no matter what so called ‘facts’ you quote.

Skeptic,
How can I argue with that?

Believer,
Exactly!

The believer wins because the circle of logic is complete.

 

 

Slivers

 

sliver

As I was helping my daughter get a sliver out of her toe, I realized there is a life lesson in slivers. You can leave it in, enduring a small amount of pain for a long time, left there, it could fester and even make you sick after a while.

OR

 

You can deal with it, likely experiencing a lot more pain for a shorter time, but in the long run get it out and let things heal.

I think we often carry around emotional ‘slivers’ far far longer than physical ones. We could learn a lot from a sliver.

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It’s Not Her Fault

There is a girl I love very much, more than anything else in the world actually. She likes nice things, she is a bit of a perfectionist, a rule abider, outspoken and friendly. We are opposites in a lot of ways. In a crowd she is sure to make friends while I sit in a corner. I am not a perfectionist at all and pretty much think rules are for other people not me.

When I first lost my faith in the church for a long time I was afraid to tell her. I feared I might lose her when I explained why I thought it was a fraud. Eventually I could no longer keep it to myself. She was very perceptive and knew something was wrong, there was something I wasn’t telling her. One day I broke down and told her I didn’t believe. She was devastated. We were temple married after all, we were supposed to be together forever. The fact I didn’t believe anymore tore out her heart.

It wasn’t easy for me to tell her either, lots of tears were shed, we even considered divorce. Eventually she considered the things I was telling her about the history of the church and how I had felt deceived and how I came to my conclusions.

She listed to me, for that I am eternally grateful. She didn’t just tell me to stop talking or put her fingers in her ears wishing I would go away. Nope she listened, really listened. She also heard where I was coming from and knew I was sincere. We decided to stick together. For a while I went to church with her. I kept going whenever she wanted me to even though at times I had to sit and bite my tongue in Sunday school so as to not make a scene that would embarrass her.  Over time she came to see and understand the things I had learned and eventually came to the same conclusion in regards to the church.

I was so happy, during my discovery of the truth I had met many people who’s families were torn apart due to learning the things I had and the conflict that can bring into a marriage. I feared that would be us. It wasn’t though, in fact after this great trial our marriage came out the other side far far stronger that before. We reached a point where we could tell each other exactly how we felt no matter how bad it got. We faced the worst and came out together on the other side.  Instead of being torn apart, thanks to a beautiful woman willing to open her mind and consider the facts we were together! Better yet I realized there was NOTHING that we couldn’t discuss with each other. Sure it might cause us grief, but we had known grief and found that our union meant more than anything else on the planet. Unless you have experienced this there is no way I can explain it. It is a bond beyond words.

shun

All this reminiscing is to give you background, I need you to understand who my wife is to me so you can understand my pain. Sometimes I feel that she is treated poorly, sometimes I feel like she is ‘blamed’ for my ‘falling away’ as it is called. Why do I think this? Probably because I have watched others avoid speaking to her, they recognize everyone else in the room, but it’s as if she were invisible. Not everyone does it, but there are those that do and it makes me sad when it happens. I am sure it is due to our leaving the church. I am fairly confident that those doing the shunning would justify it and say we brought this on ourselves and there are consequences to actions. (thinking in their mind that makes it ok to treat people as if they weren’t there). To those that justify avoiding people because they don’t believe like you do, remember that next time we aren’t there. If you treat a person like they are invisible, soon they will be.

Seeing my wife treated like this pains me. She is the more social one. I’m the one that likes to be alone. It hurts me because it hurts her. I can’t keep putting her in this situation because it’s not her fault. If it’s anyone’s fault that my wife and kids don’t believe in the church anymore, it’s mine. I was the one that did the research, I was the one that looked behind the curtain and saw Oz for who he was. I’m the one that didn’t keep my conclusions to myself. Not her. Don’t blame her and shun her and treat her badly. Blame me, because it’s not her fault.

shun meme

Good in spite of the church not because of it.

A friend of mine recently went through a faith crisis much like my own, she mentioned something that happened to me as well as many others I have talked to. She said she was going to miss the good things she experienced in the church.

Well I was pondering this while staring into the fridge late last night when inspiration struck and these words fell out over a late night snack.

The point of this website for me (Other than a place just to type stuff and share it with the world) is exactly what she was talking about. Thus the tag line making myth work for humanity not against it.

Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths.
Joseph Campbell

JC, the one in the quote above, (not the other guy with the same initials that also said some profound stuff) was an expert in the field of mythology and how it helps the human psyche. If you haven’t heard of him and wonder if he knows his stuff or not you might have heard of a little moving that he helped put together the mythology for. It was called Star Wars.

Campbell is well known for describing the hero’s journey, a pattern for the stories that we like to tell each other, stories that inspire us to be better people, stories that help us overcome adversity and find meaning in life. I don’t think it is at all coincidental that religions are founded on stories that have many elements in common with the hero’s journey. The religions form because of the way those stories strike cords in us. Don’t believe me? just google how many people follow the Jedi religion!

Han-Solo-in-a-Foxhole-small

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If you did the google search you have found that followers of the Jedi religion far exceed the Fridgidarians  (or Freons as people sometimes jokingly call us) I think in our last census there were six of us,,, hmmm maybe a little missionary work is in order, but I digress.

Point is mythology works for us humans, things don’t have to be literally true to give us hope and help us focus on opportunities. For my friend I would tell her that you don’t have to lose anything. Why? Because like Dumbo’s feather and the ability to fly, it was inside you all along.

Churches and religions are made up of people, simple as that. People trying to make the world a better place typically. All religions start out as a rebellion against the status quo and end up as an orthodoxy. The rebellion is to make things better, thats why they get followers, but the orthodoxy they become, what causes that? Taking the myth as fact. Once that myth becomes fact, then humans get all too caught up in defending their truth against some other guys truth and we end up with religions battling it out with each other because clearly God is on both their sides…

So here is my point, if it can be just facetious enough, just silly enough to not ever be taken as fact can it still be a mythology of ‘good stuff’ that doesn’t take a turn for the orthodoxy? I think the answer is yes. Why? because over and over again I see some really good people in religions doing really good things while completely ignoring the crappy racist, me vs them doctrine that is at the core of a mythology that is taken as fact. People are often good in spite of their church, not because of it.

This is the good news of the Fridge, you don’t have to leave the good things of your religion behind when you find out it is founded on a myth. You don’t have to lose the good things of your religion because it didn’t bring them to you. You brought the good things to it.

For thus saith the fridge all the good things therein of that you partake when you open the door and light spilleth forth. They were put there by another like you given in hopes of future nourishment . For nothing comes out to bless one that wasn’t put in by another!

 

 

 

 

The church is perfect, people in it aren’t

This is a saying I heard a lot growing up. It was typically used to excuse leaders and their mistakes. As a believer I found comfort it in it too, I figured I wasn’t perfect and that is ok.

These days I see this meme crop up and I consider it from a new perspective. I realized that the first half of the statement is a subtle insinuation that I hadn’t ever questioned before. I still agree with the second half, every institution ever conceived of by man is full of imperfect people making their way through life as best they can. My reasons for leaving the church were not because it is filled with imperfect leaders that make mistakes. Its the first part of the saying I have issue with.

The assumption that the church is perfect is what I no longer believe. Why do we have this saying in the church to begin with? It’s because of a doctrine of infallibility when prophets speak as prophets. Sure when they are speaking as a man we can ignore them but if they are speaking as a Prophet, then it’s God’s words and we’d better obey. Of course there are times when we aren’t really sure, like the number of earrings we should have or if we should play poker or not. Those might be opinions or commandments so play it safe and just do what they say. This is infallibility it stated in another saying I heard a lot, ‘when the prophet speaks, the thinking is done.’ There is a problem with this idea that when the prophet speaks the thinking is done though. It means you have to stop thinking. Which is true because if you keep on thinking about it, you will soon see conflicts and things that don’t make sense.

For example:

We have assurances by prophets that people will never be led astray because God is at the head and guides the church the way he wants it to go. Yet from Brigham Young to Spencer Kimball black people couldn’t have the priesthood. They had it before and after, but not in the middle. Did God really want decent men to not have the priesthood? Is he racist? or did those prophets in the middle lead us astray?

Or first prophets taught that polygamy and polyandry was A-OK even a good thing for a nation. Yet we walked away from that doctrine so we could be a state in the union and not fight a war. God has been willing to go to war before, like when Israel took over cannon, so why not this time? Why do we look in disgust at prophets like Warren Jeffs spending time in jail for breaking the law and when we look at our founding prophet who spent time in jail for breaking the law and give him a free pass? Why is polygamy A-ok once you die, but not before then? That is what the church actually teaches and practices right now. Is that perfect?

Joseph Smith lied directly to 300 saints about his polygamy, this is well documented in the churches own history books. Was that because he was an imperfect man? Does it make sense that God would tell him to start this religion to marry other mens wives and then tell him to lie about it?

One could go on and one with examples like this. Either God is telling the leaders to behave dishonestly with their followers, or the church itself isn’t perfect. I never expected men and leaders of the church to be perfect. We all make mistakes. I did however expect them to not be conmen. I did expect them to respect truth and strive for it rather than hide it. I did expect them to come clean with troubling facts rather than create web search engines so members could avoid them.

Yeah they people in the church aren’t perfect. Neither are the people out of it. Maybe you need a scary being up in the sky putting the fear go god into you so you act like a decent person. Maybe you need a hope of eternal reward to keep you from being an evil degenerate in society. Maybe to make all that work you need to believe the church you go to is true and perfect, even if the people in it are not. Consider this. Maybe there there are people that do not need all the same beliefs you do to be good decent people. You might even recognize the fact that for them to be good and helpful without threat of damnation or hope of reward in the next life makes them even more altruistic than you.

Most people that I have met that lost their faith in what they believed didn’t do so because the people in the church weren’t perfect. They did because the figured out the first half of that saying was a lie. The church itself is not perfect.