Monday, July 14, 2014

Works vs. Morals

I had a Mormon take me on, on my Facebook page. It was the typical tripe I've become used to from Mormons....all problems can be solved by praying, paying tithing, attending the temple. If a person does these things, God will bless them, if a person fails to do these things, God will instill horrible consequences and in my case, I had a case of writers block...

You heard me...God was giving me a case of writer's block because I haven't paid tithing or attended the
Mormon church in 10 years. I'm trying to think of something that sounds more ridiculous, but I'm have a hard time.

As the conversation with this Mormon continued, he repeatedly said that he couldn't comprehend people living without Mormon Jesus in their life and how did I even make decisions or find happiness. I repeatedly told him that God didn't make me a moral person, I was born moral.

As I thought about this concept, it occurred to me that many Mormons grow up being so busy doing their works to get into heaven, they have confused works with morality. Morals consists of being honest, kind, loving, caring, having empathy, respecting life and the choices of others.

Works that get a Mormon into heaven include paying tithing, attending church and the temple, serving the church through a church calling, doing home teaching. It occurred to me that all this busy work is considered morality by Mormons. A good Mormon is one who does the busy work, not necessarily the Moral work. Mormons are asked about their busy work in order to get into the temple and therefore heaven, but they are not asked about how moral they are.

The world is full of  people who are moral, yet they do not fill their lives with the busy work of being a Mormon. Since Mormons have defined morality by doing busy work, they do not view the world as moral.

The question remains, how am I a moral person without the Mormon church? Easy, I have time to be kind because I'm not busy preparing a lesson. I have time to serve the local community because I'm not busy with only my church calling. I have time to spend loving time with my family because I'm not busy spending 2 hours in the temple.

I don't need busy work to be Moral.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Happiness, you pesky emotion, you

A person can read all day long about happiness, how to get it, how to keep it. Funny thing, when I was Mormon, there were so many lessons that told us the only people in the world who are happy, are Mormons. We were told the way to be happy, is to pay tithing to the Mormon church, attend the Mormon church, pray to the Mormon god and attend the Mormon temple.

The thing is, I did all that...the more I did it, the more unhappy I became. I was so confused. Why was I increasingly unhappy when I was doing everything I was told to do?

The answer is quite simple, so simple in fact I'm a bit embarrassed that I could not see it as a Mormon. You see, happiness is generated internally. You can't be happy while sacrificing your identity, you can't be happy while living a life someone else sets up for you, you can't be happy when you are not living your authentic self.

I was told that god reserves happiness for ONLY Mormons. Why would any god do that? Would he/she really with hold happiness from 99% of the world, only to allow access to it to .1%? Percent of Mormons in world

I was told that you can't be happy and angry at the same time, so what do Mormons do? They stuff their emotions down, they are only allowed to express happiness, even though there are a plethora of emotions that we experience everyday.  I have learned that people actually can vacillate between multiple emotions in a short amount of time.

I have been told that to express passion about any given subject, it is the same as being angry. I have been told to stop being angry when all I am doing is expressing passion for a certain subject.  Passion is not allowed, either.

The word compassion has another word embedded in it, PASSION. To be happy, a person can have compassion, passion and happiness results.  It is a world wide emotion, Mormons; and people the world over encompass it.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The universe does not work the way we were told it does

The Book of Mormon musical probably didn't intend to be rich with meaning, but it was for me.  I’ll try warn about spoil alerts.

There are two young men who are called to Uganda, Africa on their Mormon missions. One is full of himself and ready to change the world through the Mormon gospel.  The other one knows his weaknesses and one of them is he loves to make up stories to fit in.

As they are confronted with a culture and environment that is starkly different than their own, they must face the realization that their naïve background has not prepared them for such realities they are facing in the world.

One of the things they must face is that we all have myths in our culture. Myths can work for us or against us. In the African culture, many of their myths work against them. In America, many of our myths work against us. One of these is a modern myth. The myth of the anti-vaccers. The myth that vaccines cause Autism, therefore it causes more harm to vaccine than it does good. This myth has worked against the herd immunity where those who are vaccinated protect those who cannot get immunized for health reasons.

Many cultures have myths that do good, for example; myths can teach children the danger of strangers, to love over hate, to forgive, etc. Many of these lessons are taught in such stories as Brothers Grimm or nursery rhymes, etc. Societies run into trouble when myth is taken for reality, such as the flood story or talking snakes, or Greek and Roman mythology.

How does taking these myth-stories as literal turn our lives upside down? Because we are told the Universe works one way, but when we begin to live life, it turns out to work another way. We become disillusioned, we lose hope in life.

If we believe them to be myths, we can seek out a different myth that works with our situation to help find an answer, rather than trying to fit our life situation with the myth/belief.

For example, when we are told that if we follow one path and do X, Y, and Z, then A,B and C will inevitably follow. What happens when A,B, and C do NOT follow? Our world is shattered,  We do what we are told but the pieces to not fall into place. The problem isn't with us, its with the myth…we were following the wrong myth.

Take this for example. Let’s say that our life’s plan is to follow Hansel and Gretel.  We go along the path, we eat the house, our brother eats the house, gets put in the oven, but rather than getting saved, he dies! That wasn't in the story! He was supposed to live! What happened? You followed the plot, you did what you were supposed to, but the end didn't turn out right. So you end up with a faith crisis. Nobody told you it wasn't REAL! Nobody told you to switch myths and to switch to the fairy tale about the infertile Queen and snake: Grief and the Snake  and learn from her how to grieve loss.

Myths aren't real, but they are supposed to teach us life lessons. If we take them literally, then we get lost in life.

Some of my favorite myths are Winnie the Pooh. The author wrote them specifically to teach life lessons. We learn of friendship, love, acceptance and that life just doesn't work out the way we expect, but we move on anyway, we love people when they are cranky and depressed and make bad choices.

If the myth isn't fitting your life, change myths, don’t stick with the one that isn't working for you; that is how the Universe works.

Monday, July 7, 2014

I'm now a Lamanite

I’m now a Lamanite. Yep, that’s right.  You see, the Book of Mormon teaches that there are two groups of people, the Nephites and the Lamanites. The Nephites are a righteous people who are white and delightsome. They follow the prophets, they are an industrious people, they till the earth and build cities. Their form of government is like a democracy, where they elect judges to rule over them.

The Lamanites, on the other hand, are dark and evil. They don’t listen to the prophets and therefore they have a dark skin. They tend to flocks and hunt beasts, but they don’t till the earth.  They are loathsome, lazy.  The Lamanites were always held up as a consequence of what would happen to the people who apostatized from the Mormon church.

Many Mormon prophets said that the Native Americans would have their skins turn white and delightsome as they became god’s people.

In the last ten years, Marlin K. Jenson, the church’s historian has said the church is experiencing the largest apostasy since the days of the Kirkland bank collapse. Jenson admitting people are leaving in drovesI am one of those apostates. I have been out of the church for about 10 years. While I am doing fine financially, my skin is not getting any darker over the years, and I have not turned into a lazy beast hunter, I wonder where my curse from god is.

Many of my friends are also apostates. They too have not had a curse of loathsome laziness, of becoming beast hunters, or having their skin darkened. They seem to be financially where they were when they left the church and often better off.  Where is this curse the Book of Mormon speaks of? Certainly 10 years is long enough for god to place his curse on us.

Certainly god is the same yesterday, today and forever. If he is going to curse one generation, he will curse another one.  What does this mean if we aren’t cursed? Could it mean the curse was the musings of man?

Could it mean that?