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 faith 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:
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. 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?”