Monday, June 29, 2009

Christ would never be a Mormon

An interesting little thing popped up on the internet earlier this month. It's a response from the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission (CADC) regarding the results of a survey conducted by the Gallop Poll on the public's view of gay marriage: "Are You Safe? How Moral Corruption Can Be Prevented"

I wonder why that poll or its results would be something that the CADC would bother with. It wasn't attacking or defaming any Christians. I guess for Christianists, just placing the word 'gay' next to the word 'marriage' is provocation enough to be considered an attack.

As expected, the little CADC's article was quickly addressed on many other blogging sights that I follow. My favorite addressed the CADC's misuse of the bible: "Don't be deceived by teh gays!!"

That crap in the CADC's article and what I endured in Mormon Sunday school every week, up until I resigned last winter, is essentially the same damned thing. It's interesting that even though the Mormons have fundamentally different doctrines and ways of interpreting the bible, they will come up with the exact same un-Christian like ideas that the evangelical fundamentalists have, but still claim to be the only source of truth.

No matter how soft the Mormons' think their rhetoric on homosexuality as become, it will never undo the hell-fire-damnation-pulpit-pounding of decades past. The religious culture is too ingrained. Frankly, I believe the new "softer" rhetoric from the church is just a rebranding of the same old shit from the past, making it much worse. For hell's sakes, they refuse to acknowledge the clinical word 'homosexual' and instead prefer the term 'same-gender attraction (SGA)'! It's usually paired with the word 'problem' or 'struggle' or 'suffer' and equated to a handicap or a drug and alcohol addiction. There is no concept of self-acceptance in the gospel if you're gay. Those with SGA are not to accept that part of themselves. It is to be hidden deep down inside and NEVER TALKED ABOUT, EVER! Doing otherwise would lead to temptation, sin and eternal damnation. So, no matter what they say, being gay is a stigma, a stigma that will always be to your condemnation in the church.

It's a typical example of spiritual manipulation and abuse. Invent a moral dilemma and then promise salvation from it. For some it results in an extreme loyalty to the church and its gospel, for others, severe depression, schizophrenia and suicide.

Mormons are not bad people. There is no such thing as bad people. They are good people who are motivated by fear to do what they think is right. Sometimes what they do is actually bad but believe it's for the greater good. It's in God's hands. His will be done. And often, as seen in the bible, God's will was death and destruction. To give oneself over to an "authority" is noble to them. But it's also justification for absolving oneself of personal responsibility when dishing out what they believe to be God's judgment. It's not just Mormons. Insert any fanatical belief system that motivates adherence through fear. Bad things start to happen.

We homos are just another thing in the Mormon bucket of things to fear. But, again, this is more about a culture that stems from people who, out of fear, isolate themselves and paint their own version of reality to immune themselves from new and threatening information. A culture so ignorant and anathema to sanity, it's no wonder why suicide rates are high amongst the Mormons.

During my time growing up as a confused Gayish-Mormon-Boi in Utah, all I understood about the outside world came from television and movies. I was an overly sensitive and highly impressionable kid and took it all at face value. I didn't know what was going on "in between the lines" so to speak. But thanks to my loving, authoritarian, dogmatic, ecclesiastical authority figures, the "truth" of it was all explained to me on a weekly basis in lurid and sometimes disturbing detail. Was any of it true? No, but I wouldn't find out for another 20 odd years.

That steady stream of misinformation and demonization from those trusted "authorities" had really twisted my ability to correctly perceive people. (Hell, I could probably write a whole book on misperception.) So naturally, I developed an unhealthy fear of people, especially the gay ones, which is why I'm going to be in therapy for awhile.

The cultural climate was essentially that most non-Mormons were evil and did nothing all day but do the evil doing. We Mormons were, at all costs, to stay clear of anyone that does do the evil doing. Especially if they looked like they might possibly be a doer of evil, as even the appearance of evil must be avoided. And we needed to be extra vigilant as Mormons because evil doers often presented themselves with a pleasant and friendly appearance to deceive us so they could corrupt us in subtly enticing ways.

Now, just imagine for a moment waking up one morning and realizing that you might be gay, thus automatically making you evil. Hey, that's what the "authorities" warned me would happen if I ever felt the evil gayness inside of me. And the "authorities" spared no expense to proclaim, with their absolute God given authority, all the different evil doings that that the evil gay evil doers would do. They told us in detail what these gays looked and acted like, and about all the horrendous, deprived, evil, activities they engaged in and committed on unsuspecting adults and children. And now, I somehow become one of them, either by committing an evil gay act on myself or allowing some evil gay to act his evil gay acts on me. One particular "authority" also made it clear that it was my own fault if I didn't violently protect myself.

Now, I was never sexually molested but, because an "authority" said so, I used to believe that my gayness was because I was molested as a small child. And because I believed that I was molested -- albeit lost in some repressed memory I'm sure -- I believed that I would become a molester. After all, according to the "authorities", I was "molesting" myself all the time whenever I masturbated. It was only a matter of time, given the opportunity, before I would be tempted to pass it along. I was so scared of having my life ruined by even an accusation of molestation that I went out of my way to avoid children for decades.

Well, the next stage was the inevitable isolation, loneliness, repression, depression and suicidal longings. The "authorities" also were quick to teach that all that misery was because of my depraved self-molestation and evil thoughts of doing the evil gay doings. To them it was God's way of helping us understand what we were doing wrong so we could repent. What more could you want for a 13 year old kid than to ensure he understands his guilt so that he can repent?

Moral dilemma!

Now the "authorities" begin to school me on the ways of "righteousness" so that I would be free of the evil gayness. Making sure I paid my tithing was number one priority. Tithing didn't bother me; I didn't have any money so it didn't apply. The rest of it was all just simplistic promises and lip service. Be vigilant in controlling all "bad" thoughts. Pray to God like you really mean it, because if you REALLY mean it you will be "cured". If you weren't cured, then you were being selfish.

I guess I was a selfish pervert who didn't mean it because it never went away. More guilt. More, isolation. More, repression, depression and suicidal thoughts. And I mustn't forget that there were a few "authorities" back then who instructed that suicide was an instant go-to-hell card. Do not pass redemption, do not collect salvation. So, more guilt for thinking about suicide.

And I thought religion was supposed to foster spiritual awareness and enlightenment.

Yes, moral dilemma indeed.

Thankfully, out of much desperation, I got wise to the ignorance of the "authorities". And out of that desperation, I finally allowed myself to question all of it to see for myself what it really was.

Complete bullshit! Obviously.

Within less than a year, my faith in ecclesiastical "authorities", religion and even god, were smashed into oblivion. I tried in vain to hold on to what shred of faith I thought I had left but I kept grasping at nothing. It was all an illusion. I no longer had any belief left in me. I had become.... AN APOSTATE! It's not surprising as I had resisted much of the doctrine because it never made any sense to me. But the culture wouldn't allow me to question any of it. Questioning was BAD, BAD, BAD, EVIL BAD! That scared me more than my internal evil bad gayness.

Ironically, I quickly discovered just how spiritually empowering apostasy was. And it was AWESOME!

Unfortunately, I had just added "Son of Perdition" to my ongoing list of evil doings. Not that I really cared anymore but, ecclesiastical "authorities" and their authoritarian followers perceive apostasy to be so serious it warrants active endorsement of some rather ignominious un-Christian actions -- just like the ones in the CADC article. All performed in the name of Christ of course.

Another moral dilemma! Not for me, for them. A dilemma that many of them will never realize they have. Oh, the bitter taste of irony.

It's a really surreal and frustrating feeling coming out to a "True Believing Mormon" (TBM). They go from respecting you as an equal human being, in the eyes of God, to suddenly thinking of you as a morally depraved, lower-class, sub-human with a mental illness who is no longer worthy of love, respect or even association.... in the eyes of God. But they will be quick to say to your face that they love you and that God loves you and that is why we have the Atonement. Really? The Atonement? It's as if being gay was a sin. Oh, wait.... I forgot, I have sinned because I no longer see it as a struggle. I've accepted it. I'm now "living in sin". Wow! Sin is such an incredibly misused word.

One TBM friend in particular was outwardly disgusted by the gay part. His way of expressing it was to make rude jokes in front of my co-workers or other people. His tone was sharply underscored with a high level of disdain. Many people noticed it and wondered what was up his ass. Incidentally, he is also the Elders Quorum president and the only other Mormon at the company. When he noticed that my church records were removed, he went out of his way to avoid me. Obviously not setting a good example of Mormonism but who am I to judge? I was such a horrible "example" I felt the need to resign.

Some other TBM friends expressed collective suspicion of my motives as a gay Mormon and some were even concerned that I was going to start demanding that the Mormon church perform gay temple marriages or "sealings". It was easily dispelled through a bit of common sense but it didn't do much to restore their opinion of me.

Right now, I'm giving them some time. I'm letting them see that after all of these years I have not molested their children, ruined their marriages, infected their families with my gay cooties or destroyed their faith in god. Although, I wouldn't mind destroying their faith in God and freeing their minds of the clutches of magical thinking; but alas, I don't have that power.

Thankfully, I don't have to associate with them. I prefer to spend my time around positive and affirming people rather than those who think they can live by the paradox of 'Love the sinner, hate the sin', or the even more insidious, 'we're not anti-gay, we're pro-family'.

As hard as it has been to get to this point in my life, I'm willing to cut them off at any moment if the vitriol becomes too nasty. But, for the most part, I really won't need to do that. Their religious culture will warrant it for me with such wonderfully un-Christian ideas like:
  • Never associate with bad people.
  • Bad people are enemies to the church which include, but not limited to: non-Mormons, drinkers, smokers, fornicators, intellectuals, feminists, gays, etc.
  • Never empathize with, sympathize with or even tolerate the enemies.
  • Never talk to the enemy unless you are calling them to repentance.
  • When in doubt about how to recognize any of the above, consult the General Authorities.
  • Ad nauseam
  • Ad infinitum
Those lessons are absolutely the face of Christian hypocrisy. And, like I mentioned before, it's a moral dilemma that many of them will never recognize they have.

Some would say I'm the one being hypocritical. In a manner of perception I can understand that. After all, I'm spewing my own self-righteousness and pointing out other people's hypocrisy. And though I'm not really claiming any specific code of ethic, I am being condescending in my tone. But at least I'm talking responsibility for it.

Whereas the Christianists are "shouting from the rooftops" with much arrogance and certainty that Christ has given them absolute "truth". And that "truth" dictates that all must obey a specific, dogmatically narrow, philosophy or face terrible consequences. Those who reject their "truth" are looked down upon with fear, disdain and hatred. They say and believe they have tolerance, respect, and love for all people as their dogma dictates they should, but their words and actions say otherwise. After all, they believe they are only performing the will of God.

It really feels weird to say this but, I agree with the other fundamental evangelical Christianists out there who say Mormons are not Christians, although we differ as to why. Besides, it takes one to know one doesn't it? Yes it does. And it just so happens, by their standards, I'm not a Christian either.

Christ was trying to teach people to live without fear. Christianists are just trying to scare the hell out of people.

1 comment :

  1. Wow. This article is FANTASTIC. Thanks TGD. People often ask me why I wasn't able to come out at college, where there were no Mormons, homosexuals were totally welcomed and normal--because the fear and hatred the church instilled in my towards myself was so powerful that I chose to blow through college in the closet. :(

    Thanks for sharing this.

    ReplyDelete

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