Out of the Mouth of Babes

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

The Context of Doubt

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 article1 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.

 

 

  1. Warning! easter egg, not intended to be read as part of this post 🙂

    Ok so I wanted to talk more about context since one of the claims in the article was about how important context is. But the ending just flowed and I really liked it. So if you are still reading, enjoy this easter egg.

    Context IS important, I’d like to see church apologetics use legit context! But typically what you get is careful wording. Like when they say a girl was ‘almost 15’ to make the context of a 14 year old marrying a 37 year old under threat of eternal damnation more palatable.

    My suggestion? If you want to know the context. Don’t count on anyone else to give it to you. Go find the history and read it yourself. The essay admitting the polygamy of Joe Smith endeavors to say the 14 year old marriages were legal. Um well sorta, it was legal to marry a 14 year old, but it wasn’t legal to marry two of them, which he in fact did… to put in context.

    Context does matter, but don’t take my word for it. Go see for yourself.

The Meaning of Life, 42 and Covfefe

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.1 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.

 

 

  1. True story, happened yesterday, the signs of the Fridge never cease! If you are but willing to look for them.

Illogical Fallacies 

Do you understand what a logical fallacy is and why it prevents discovering the truth? 

Simply put, it’s a kind of reasoning that sounds good on the surface but upon investigation is baseless. 

That means anything founded on a logical fallacy isn’t legitimately reasoned out. It’s just a feel good pat on your own back. 

The easiest way to figure this out is to flip it, apply the same idea to a known falsehood. If you can’t reason it away without just saying ‘that’s stupid’ then chances are you are using a logical fallacy

This is a crucial part of figuring out truth… if you actually want to know it.

As a profet of the Fridge I have ran into many that don’t get the reason the Fridge is true. It just seems ‘silly’ to them that worship of an appliance just because there is a Book of Freon with sublime truths in it.  

It’s like they get how motivating a truism can be but don’t grasp how that makes something true! 

Alas, many are cold but few are frozen. If only all could open the door and see the light therein. 

If Mormons are Christian…

If Mormons are Christian, then FLDS polygamists are Mormon.

That’s really all the longer this article needs to be. But I’m pretty sure it’s guaranteed to cause the typical LDS member stress and elicit denials. How do I know this? Because I have made such a statement many times after hearing a member of the largest branch of believers in Joseph and his book insist that they are Christian.

Why do such denials occur? I think its because members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would rather distance themselves from the likes of Warren Jeff’s. The typical LDS believer will declare their belief is most definitely not at all like the FLDS polygamist variant and they are prepared to detail all the reasons that off shoot doesn’t represent real Mormonism.

But ask what it is that makes them Christian. The answer? Because the church is focused on Jesus Christ, heck its even in the name right? Kind of like how it’s in the name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Fundamentalist Latter-day Saints?

You see it’s all in definition. Much like Christianity can represent a bunch of people that generally accept most or some of the Bible and the divinity of Jesus. It’s pretty easy to see that Mormonism can equally represent a group of people that believe in the divine mission of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon he produced.

If you are not gonna allow the Christian to say you aren’t really Christian because of differences in doctrinal assertions and beliefs other than those two basic reasons. Then if you are playing fair, rejecting Warren Jeff’s Mormonism on the same premise, well… isn’t fair.

So to you all the mainstream LDS believers out there that don’t like to be associated with other branches of the religion that Joseph Smith started. Maybe next time you hear an Evangelical  Christian say you aren’t Christian like them…

Maybe you should think for a minute about just how Mormon Warren Jeff’s is before you reply.

 

Licking Games and Controlling Behavior

I licked my first game cartridge last night. I know given the title you were probably hoping for something a little more salacious than that.  It tasted pretty bad, but I tried a second time just to be sure! 


Have you ever done something just because someone told you not to? What is it about denying people something that immediately draws their attention to it? 

In case you haven’t heard. Nintendo announced a week ago that it had coated its new cartridges with a bittering agent. They did it to keep kids from sticking it in their mouths. The end result? Thousands of people have been sticking them in their mouths.  

For some reason it’s human nature to be attracted to the forbidden. To be enticed by the  taboo. To be drawn to the verboten. 

So why is it religions continue to create rules about what we should wear, what we watch and what we do? Isn’t it counter productive to forbid the sin thus causing their patrons to desire it? 

I have a theory. Dopamine addiction. Religions do this because it keeps people coming to church. Stick with me for a second on this. 

When we undergo stress, our body releases all sorts of chemicals. It helps us cope with that stress. Follow that high up with a calm period and it’s a pleasant overall result. Game designers have understood this is a great way to make games super popular. You can’t make the game too easy or it’s totally boring and no one will play it. Or to put the concept in religious terms: 

“A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary [to lead] unto life and salvation.” –  Joseph Smith, Lectures on Faith, p. 58.

Make up a bunch of fake rules (no whacking it to porn!!), get people to join your imaginary world and try to win in that world. Kind of makes it obvious that religion is the oldest RPG game we’ve ever come up with.  

Social media i.e. Facebook from this perspective is sort of an augmented reality game where we get high on the conflict of who has the coolest vacation post. Or who wins the latest argument in a debate. It’s all about the conflict and the need to resolve it. 

The best way to create conflict? Try to control behavior. Implement rules that have to be followed or you lose! But don’t permanently kick them out of the game if they fail. Allow them to respawn/repent and start over.  

Maybe the real reasons religions are losing adherents at the highest rate in human history has nothing to do with reasonable rational thought prevailing… Maybe thier UI sucks and it isn’t keeping up with other options we now have for imaginary worlds to live in.  

My point? I don’t really have one this post. Just some random thoughts to chew on that fit a pretty awesome clickbait (lickbait??!!) title. I gotta run now, no more time for pontification. There is an idiot on Reddit that needs to understand how wrong he is.