This is not going to be politically correct….
My life is full of examples of times that I have said things without thinking. I have a friend who is always planning secret trips and parties and events for his wife, and sometimes these surprises involve other people’s cooperation. For some reason, I have a legitimate disability with NOT saying things that spoil a surprise or give away a secret. There will be three months’ worth of secretive deception, and I will walk up and be like, “So when are you guys leaving for Disney World again?” Followed by the horrified silence of the other people in the room. Which is followed shortly by me breaking into a cold sweat, and then babbling like an idiot about “another friend” I have who is going to Disney World, and then confessing that I accidentally drank some anti-freeze that afternoon which explains my erratic behavior…. I am the worst.
Most of these sorts of mistakes (as well as most of the other times I’ve put my foot in my mouth and regretted it) wouldn’t have happened if I would have just taken that brief moment between the thinking of something and the saying of something to ask myself a very important question: “Why am I saying this?” I’ve been thinking a lot about this question as I considered writing this post. All over the world right now, Muslims are freaking out because of a horribly and intentionally offensive film that was made to incite violence–A film which was, by the way, financially backed by a group ironically calling itself “Media For Christ.” The film (if you can call it that) is meant to defame and denigrate Islam’s founding prophet Mohammed in a way that is as inflammatory as possible. It was such a disgusting show of provocation…. and now here I sit typing a blog post about how Joseph Smith, the founding prophet of the Mormons, was completely full of crap. And I’m thinking, “Why am I saying this?”
I have been interested in Mormon theology for a while, but I guess I became more interested in it after so much of the “Christian Right” embraced Mitt Romney as their presidential candidate. It seems the Christian Right ran into a bit of a problem now that the democratic candidate is a professing Christian and the republican candidate is a Mormon. There seem to be two ways that Christian conservatives are handling this dilema: 1) Have a sudden change of heart about the importance they place on voting for the Christian candidate, or 2) Try to minimize (or even overlook) the significant differences between Mormons and Christians while focusing on “common values.” This process started as soon as it became clear that Mitt was going to be the republican candidate for president, and the Christian Right had to decide which was the more important part of their brand name: The “Christian,” or the “Right.” The choice they have made is clear….
A while ago I wrote about how I was troubled by this hypocrisy/sudden turn around in policy from Christian conservatives, and I also wrote very briefly about how Mormonism is closer to Islam than it is to Christianity, but I realized that I, like many Christians, knew very little about what Mormons actually believe. Part of the reason for this lack of knowledge is a lack of transparency–Mormon leadership tries very hard to keep some of their more unorthodox beliefs as secret as possible until the follower is “ready to hear them.” I had read a bit about some of the differences in their theology (Jesus and Satan are brothers, God used to be a man from another planet, we can be Gods some days and populate our own planet with our kids, etc….), but didn’t really know where these beliefs came from–Namely Joseph Smith. And I didn’t really know the historical evidence surrounding the dubious origins and story of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
This brings me to the reason for me writing this post, which is to tell you about a website that I have discovered that does an amazing job of explaining with factual and historical evidence how Mormonism is simply and empirically not true. The website is called www.20truths.info, and it is literally the whole reason I am writing this. It was written by a person named Jim Day. He is a former Mormon who has his Ph.D., and what he has written is so, so interesting to me–and I want you to read it too. He is fair (including the strongest responses to his concerns from Mormon apologists) and he is factual (citing just about everything he writes). In the introduction he says, “I believe the truths cited herein clearly show that the church has misled its members as to the character of its founding leaders, the veracity of its doctrines, and the divinity of its origin.” And that is exactly what he proves. And it is not about calling a different theology crazy–Who am I to tell someone that their sacred text is any less inspired by God than our sacred text? Christians have beliefs that people outside of the Church find just as crazy as Christians might find Mormons beliefs (i.e. Virgin birth and God being three persons but only one God). This website is about facts and evidence.
So why am I saying this?
I’m writing about this because the truth is more important than any institution. Whenever making an institution look good is more important than the truth, that’s when everything falls apart. That’s when it stops being a church and starts being a business. And that is so gross. I mean, when the Catholics found out about child abuse being committed by priests, the only appropriate response is shining a light on those acts of abuse and dealing with them by acknowledging those failings. Or if the protestant youth pastor gets caught sleeping with one of the girls from the youth group, you don’t try to cover it up. And yeah, I know every religion has its crazies–Islam has its Al Qaeda. Christianity has its Westboro Baptist Church. Buddhism has its Richard Gere…. Why should Mormons be any different, right? But this isn’t about some strange sect of Mormonism that is forcing 15 year old girls into polygamous marriages with 70 year old men–The difference with acknowledging the garbage in the Mormon church is that you don’t simply end up with PEOPLE who are deceptive, manipulative, philandering frauds, you discover a founding PROPHET who was a deceptive, manipulative, philandering fraud. And you discover a church that is not only based off of the teachings of a man with these kind of severe character flaws, but a church which also works very hard to deceptively try to conceal the many moral failings of the guy who claimed to hear from God and find the golden plates that only he could see or read.
So I hope that this doesn’t come across as being hateful. This is not about hate–It is about the truth. I am not trying to ruin anyone’s trip to Disney World…. I am critical of this just like I am critical of the belief by some Christians that the world is only 6000 years old. If my religion was based off a man whose plagiarized stories were proven to be genetically and linguistically and archeologically false, I would speak out against it. Because the truth is more important than faith in any institution. But most of all, I hope you go to www.20truths.info and take the time to actually read it. It’s very interesting. And it’s true.