I was a bit out of touch with the world this weekend, as I was just having too much damn fun! Me and Ms. Smarty Pants actually met yesterday and we are having a blast!
Last night, as I was getting her settled in for the night on my couch (trust me, it’s way more comfortable than my son’s bed), she asked me to come check something out on the computer. As we went through the steps of getting out of Yahoo onto YouTube a headline caught my eye:
Whoa! What? Are the Mayans right? Is the world coming to an end? Mormons, in Salt Lake City, are actually quitting the church?
I didn’t read the article at that time, but the implications for these folks ran through my head. Ostracization from their communities. Cutting of business ties. Loss of friends and/or family. To willingly leave the Mormon church in a state that is full of Mormons, and doing it so publicly, will cause a backlash for these folks of, forgive me, biblical proportions.
The Mormon church has always fascinated me. Mormonism is truly an American religion. It was created here by Joseph Smith and it was carried on by his followers over the next hundred or so years. It’s a very young religion, compared to the other major religions of the world. And, yes, Mormonism is a major religion. It is very powerful (witness their defeat of Prop 8 in California) and it is very rich. Like, Vatican rich.
Mormons, or The Church of Latter Day Saints, has taken the idea of conversion to an extreme. Their missionaries, which is every able bodied person at some point in their life, go out for 2 years to the country of their church’s choosing. They are prepared before they go with intense language courses and missionary training courses, making sure that they can answer questions about the religion in the native language.
Their one and only goal is to bring converts to the church. I admire their tenacity. I also admire how Mormons are so committed to their church, which does stress the imporatance of family. I appreciate that, too.
But I could never be a Mormon. I don’t agree with their stance on homosexuality and the latent racism that stayed in the Church for far too long. I also don’t believe that Joseph Smith had some kind of magic glasses.
However, this is my own personal belief. I also have very, very nasty things to say about the Catholic Church, but that’s another post 🙂
Knowing what the fallout for these Mormons that so publicly left the Mormon church, even going so far as to be asked to be taken off the rolls, I am even more impressed with their bravery.
The article from Reuters (reprinted online at the Chicago Tribune News) that I found states, “Among the reasons cited by those resigning are the church’s political activism against gay marriage; doctrinal teachings that conflict with scientific findings or are perceived as racist or sexist; and inconsistencies in the church’s explanation of its own history, including the practice of polygamy.”
Now, I can’t argue with any of these reasons. Among the reading I did on the Church, I found out some nuggets of information that were interesting. Joseph Smith got the “revelation” about polygamy after he got his 16 year old maid pregnant. (Interesting, no?) He then presented it as a truth or revelation from God, and the inner circle of the church agreed wholeheartedly (sometimes, men confound me). However, when Utah was looking for admittance to the United States, one of the sticking points was the polygamy that was practiced. All of the sudden, the “revelation” of polygamy was considered to be a “mistaken” revelation and was repealed from the main church’s practices (how does someone with a link to God have a mistaken revelation?).
These 130 people stood up to their church, their community, and many of their family members to do what they felt was right. I cannot fault any of them for their actions and I applaud their bravery. It is very hard to spit in the face of all that you have been raised to believe is right and tied to your eternal salvation, for what you believe is the right thing to do.
I’m thinking that more people should be like these folks and stand up to what they feel is right, even in the face of great adversity.
What do you think? Are these people strong or just spitting in the wind?