Monday, June 4, 2007

To each their own

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I've really sort of skirted around my own attitude towards mormonism in this blog. Many of you know (as I mention in my description or IRL) that I was raised mormon. My parents remain active mormons. My extended family (grandparents) also remain mormon. The rest of my cousins remain mixed, some active, some no longer mormon. Some it's difficult to tell if they're mormon or not, and in the end, I find I don't care and don't feel like pressuring anyone to find out for sure.

I tend to agree with chanson's stance on mormonism "standing up for your former beliefs", for the most part I feel culturally mormon and I remain fascinated with mormon history and cover up. I suspect it's a little like people raised catholic or another faith who no longer practice the faith they were raised in.

It might sound like I'm being overly positive about the LDS religion and its adherents. I think there are many issues with ra_cism, se_xism, strict gender roles, discrimination and ho_mophobia. I won't get into any of my claims with these, I may write at some other point about some of these issues. I will just note that many other current religious and other organizations have a past which they are not proud of. The difference between the Utah LDS mormonism and these organizations is that many of these organizations admit to this discrimination, apologize for past wrongs and work towards change.

So, with that said, I have a laissez-faire approach to mormonism.

Obviously, I disagree with many tenets of mormonism. I do not feel that the LDS church is everything it claims to be (for example, family first). But I disagree with many of the tenets of other faiths and belief systems. I believe mormonism (and some other belief systems) can be incredibly harmful. But just because we disagree, doesn't mean we can't have a relationship or conversation. And how can anyone ever grow if we refuse to air our differences - to attempt to understand things from someone else's point of view?

I am not an evangelical exmormon. I know people who are evangelical (i.e., actively trying to convert people away from mormonism). And that is their choice. I am not personally one of them. While I might confront LDS missionaries who knock on my door (they are bothering me, after all), I see no reason to tell someone they can't believe something.

I know there are many people who leave mormonism and who are very angry. For the most part, I think their anger is justified. Specifically people who were in abusive relationships and
counseled to stay in them, people who struggled with mental illness and were encouraged not to seek help, people whose families basically disowned them for leavingmormonism. There are many other reasons for anger that I won't go into at the moment.

And that's what bothers me about mormonism and some belief systems in general. That there is a corner on truth. It seems to me that truth is in the eye of the beholder - that what might
be true or right for one person is not necessarily true or right for someone else. And the whole nature of right vs. wrong is difficult to define either - entirephilosophical textbooks and essays are devoted to the subject. And even for me, I don't feel comfortable saying that my way (without mormonism) is the right way for everyone.

My former seminary teacher (who I believe is still an active NOM, a.k.a. a new order mormon) joked that a new angel was walking through heaven with another angel (possibly st. Peter, I don't remember the exact nature of the joke) and noting everyone there. The presbyterians, methodists, baptists, jews (I don't think the atheists were there, but we'll add them for flavor). When they walked past a group the mormons, the angel turns and says "Shh! They think they're the only ones here".

I don't believe in complete utilitarianism either. There are some parts of mormonism that I think are harmful in a free society and I will continue to speak up about them (not researching anything for oneself, not questioning, not disobeying leadership/men, etc.) I will continue to note my disagreements aboutLDS Inc., here and elsewhere.

My dad seems to think that I should have remained mormon to work from within for change. I look at it as only having a certain amount of energy. I know for a fact I do not have the energy to spend even three hours a week inmormon services - as a woman, there is little to nothing I could change anyway. Obviously there are women who could stay and make changes (Think Margaret

I guess what I'm saying is, I know/knew a lot of really good people who happen(ed) to be mormon. I used to be mormon myself. I am related to lots of them. We disagree on many subjects, and in some cases, the nature of reality. But it seems to me that we are all on a different path - trying to make sense of life, and for the most part, trying to be good people.

It does bother me that mormonism is such an authoritarian religion. I am familiar with the definitions of a cult, and it's true that the Utah LDS variety meets many of them. And yes, there are many people who I personally feel would be happier if they were not active mormon.

But who am I to judge what would make one person happy or unhappy? I say, to each their own. Putting information or opinion out there is great, but it's up to the person themselves to choose what they want to believe.


C. L. Hanson said...

Great post!!! I'm planning to post about why I don't evangelize too.

Freckle Face Girl said...

Amen Sister! :) Well put!

Anonymous said...

Thanks chanson! I hate to sound like the theme song from Diff'rent strokes, but I do really feel this way.

I also wanted to address it because there have been a handful of friends (hi!) I know IRL (in real life) who have been reading this blog and had questions about mormonism, current mormons or my attitude towards the LDS church in general.

Thanks FFG! I felt it was important to speak up because those of us in the post-mormon community are very diverse in our opinions.

Anonymous said...

Hi Aerin, nice to find your blog. I said something similar to what you said in this post on my own blog recently. I like to uncover things about Mormon history, and just history in general, just because I like to learn things. But I don't try to force them on others.

Though sometimes I forget that particular people I know like to live in a bubble and don't know about a lot of things that I now consider basic knowledge. Then I end up mentioning something like it's common basic knowledge while trying to illustrate another point and they start replying with "what??!! what??!!"