Friday, April 13, 2012

Freedom of Religion?

I don't care what religion you are, or how you choose to worship, and unless your religion includes causing harm to others (physical, mental or otherwise) or unless it is a scam to rob others, go for it.

If you want to worship a silver pole a flying spaghetti creature, go for it. Worship trees, or worship the sun or worship henges standing on hills in Scotland. Go for it.

Go. For. It.

My question is why are some religions targeted or, rather, why are people that follow these religions targeted? This country was founded on freedoms that include freedom of religion. Any religion. There are a lot of different ones out there, choose which one you like and go for it.

Unless you are a politician.

Or, more sad, unless you are a Mormon.

I wasn't raised in any specific religion and chose the one I wanted to follow later. It was my decision and I made it for reasons I will tell you when I know you better. If you want to share yours, I don't mind. I like to discuss religion. I won't argue it - all I ask is that it's a civil discussion and not confrontation. What my religion is belongs to me.

My particular thistleprick this time is the political atmosphere and why it is that every time a Mormon hits the news someone slams them simply for what they believe. Someone please tell me what it is about them that is so wrong.

To my knowledge Mormons, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, are people who don't smoke or drink (as a rule) and who value clean living, staying home to raise their kids to be good and polite. They believe in getting out from under debt and managing their money.

They also (oh the horror!) believe in taking care of their fellow man and their charity efforts have benefited people all over the world. Their relief efforts are typically in motion before government agencies are able to get off the ground. Yeah, I hear they take care of their own too, but even if they do that first, they still help communities and nations all over the world.

As far as I know, they seem to be good citizens and members of society. And yeah, I know, there are some poor examples but you pick ANY group of people and you find that. I've worked in law enforcement for over 30 years (wow, I'm old...) and while cops and members of the criminal justice community are expected to live above reproach, I also know a few cops that have lied, stolen and worse. And please don't get me started on politicians.

So, again, someone please tell me exactly what is so wrong with being Mormon. Oh, I've heard that they go blindly into their religion and they don't think for themselves, but the majority that I've met don't act that way. I've also heard the comment that "they aren't Christians" but even their name includes His name and I have yet to have any of the Mormons I've known tell me anything otherwise.

I've lived in several cities and a couple different states and known Mormons both in and out of Utah. Basically, they all profess to the same tenets of their religion and share the same standards.

And while you are at it, since you are going to tell me what is so wrong with them, (oh, and please be prepared to provide proof, not just something you hear from someone who heard from someone...) tell me why being a member of this group precludes holding a political office. Revisit, if you will, my first paragraph. Unless your religion causes harm or loss to another, believe what you want.

I know that the Mormon church has been brought into the light a lot lately due to politics and even a Broadway production, but I'm still trying to see what is so wrong with that group of people. Having lived with them and among them, I'm just not seeing what is so wrong with their values nor why it should matter if someone wants to hold a political office and the belong to this religion.

And shame on anybody who defames this or any other religion without learning firsthand what the real practices or beliefs are of those people.

Tolerance my ass. Listening to political talking heads on TV one would think that the end of the world is here simply because someone who believes in these values wants to take their chance at making the world a better place.


  1. Well said. As a Mormon who has lived all over the US, in Europe and Australia I can say that Mormons are truly the same the world over. Ads a Mormon, I also thank you for you tolerance and kind words. Christ said love everyone and to not judge others ... how much simpler all our lives would be if everyone took this to heart as I have done. Again, thank you ....

  2. Most Mormons are awesome people, trying their best to live good lives.

    But... We need to look at things from a place of honesty, and not from a place of perceived persecution.

    If any other candidate belonged to a group that preaches dark skin is a (was a) curse from God for wickedness, still, in 2012, it would be examined, and would be legitimate cause for concern.

    If any other candidate belonged to a group that claimed they alone have the 'truth', and that all other religions are 'abominations', it would be examined, and would be legitimate cause for concern.

    If any other candidate belonged to a religion that claims polygamy is a divine covenant, and though on hold now it will be practiced in the afterlife, it would be examined, and would be legitimate cause for concern.

    Mormonism isn't targeted because of other people's bigotry. Mormonism is targeted because of the perceived bigotry inherent in its own doctrines, scriptures, and sermons from its prophets.

    When the LDS church once and for all disavows these kinds of teachings, strips them from their scriptures, and says unequivocally that their prophets were wrong, I believe the controversy surrounding LDS candidates will largely disappear.

    But not until then.

    1. Proof texts on racism:

      "...the Lord shall curse the land with much heat...and there was a blackness (2) came upon all the children of Canaan, that they were despised among all people." (Moses 7:8)

      "And Enoch also beheld ...the sons of Adam; and they were a mixture of all the seed of Adam save it were the seed of Cain, for the seed of Cain were black, and had not a place among them." (Moses 7:22)

      "Now this king of Egypt was a descendant from the loins of Ham, and was a partaker of the blood of the Canaanites by birth. From this descent sprang all the Egyptians, and thus the blood of the Canaanites was preserved in the land. The land of Egypt being first discovered by a woman, who was the daughter of Ham, and the daughter of Egyptus, which in the Chaldean signifies Egypt, which signifies that which is forbidden. When this woman discovered the land it was under water, who afterward settled her sons in it; and thus, from Ham sprang that race which preserved the curse in the land..." (Pearl of Great Price, Abraham 1:21-24, 26c)

      "...he [God] said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou was chosen before thou wast born...And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate..." (Abraham 3:23, 26)

      "There is a reason why one man is born black and with other disadvantages, while another is born white with great advantages. The reason is that we once had an estate before we came here, and were obedient, more or less, to the laws that were given us there. Those who were faithful in all things there received greater blessings here, and those who were not faithful received less...There were no neutrals in the war in heaven. All took sides with either Christ or with Satan. Every man had his agency there, and men receive rewards here based upon their actions there...The Negro, evidently, is receivingthe reward he merits" (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation published 1954,1:61,65,66)

      "...after they had dwindled in unbelief they became a dark, and loathsome, and a filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations." (I Nephi 12:23)

      "...Behold, they had hardened their hearts against him...wherefore, as they were white, and exceeding fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticingunto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them. And thus saith the Lord God: I will cause that they shall be loathsome unto thy people, save they shall repent of their sins." (2 Nephi 5:21-22)

      "And the skins of the Lamanites(4) were dark...which was a curse upon them because of their transgression against their brethren...therefore they were cursed; and the Lord God set a mark upon them. And this was done that their seed might be distinguished from the seed of their brethren, that thereby the Lord God might preserve his people..." (Alma 3:6,8)

      "And then shall they [Lamanites] rejoice...and their scales of darkness shall begin to fall from their eyes; and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a white and delightsome people" (2 Nephi 30:6, 1830, 1920, and 1977 editions)

  3. Mr. Phillips, your response is exactly what I am talking about. Thank you for proving my point! To reply to some of your comments, I've listened to several people say the exact same thing about "their" church that you're saying the Mormons say about "true" churches. I've heard people from other churches preach the same thing about "dark skin". I've witnessed people who belong to other churches treat people not of their church exactly as you say the Mormons treat others. I can also find scripture references in the bible similar to the quotes you posted.

    Now, exactly how often do you attend LDS services? How often have you heard these "messages" being taught in Mormon services? Not heard from "someone" that this is what was taught but actually took the time to attend their services to hear for yourself?

    I've taken the time to attend services of several churches. I've attended Lutheran, Catholic, Baptist and other services. I challenge you to attend Mormon services for a period of time. Give it several weeks, maybe a month or two, before you can tell me what they "believe" or "preach" instead of simply inferring it from scripture quotes.

  4. Wow... Chuck... Are you honestly trying to say that your church doesn't believe what's PRINTED IN IT'S HOLY SCRIPTURES???

    Just wow... Denial ain't just a river in Egypt.

    Many people of different faiths can have opinions on many things. But your church, IN IT'S SCRIPTURE, says dark skin is a curse from God. Your prophets have publicly stated that people are born with dark skin because they were less worthy and less valiant in the pre-existence.

    You can't get around that.

    Your prophets, alleged to speak TO AND FOR GOD, have stated PUBLICLY, IN THE TABERNACLE ADDRESSING THE SAINTS, that other religions are abominations, and works of the devil:

    "What is it that inspires professors of Christianity generally with a hope of salvation? It is that smooth, sophisticated influence of the devil, by which he deceives the whole world"
    - Prophet Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.270

    "...all the priests who adhere to the sectarian religions of the day with all their followers, without one exception, receive their portion with the devil and his angels."
    - Prophet Joseph Smith , The Elders Journal, Joseph Smith Jr., editor, vol.1, no.4, p.60

    "This is not just another Church. This is not just one of a family of Christian churches. This is the Church and kingdom of God, the only true Church upon the face of the earth..."
    - Prophet Ezra Taft Benson, Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p.164-165

    " a perfect pack of nonsense...the devil could not invent a better engine to spread his work than the Christianity of the nineteenth century." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p.167); "Where shall we look for the true order or authority of God? It cannot be found in any nation of Christendom."
    - Prophet John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 10:127

    "Brother Taylor has just said that the religions of the day were hatched in hell. The eggs were laid in hell, hatched on its borders, and then kicked on to the earth."
    - Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 6:176

    "Both Catholics and Protestants are nothing less than the 'whore of Babylon' whom the Lord denounces by the mouth of John the Revelator as having corrupted all the earth by their fornications and wickedness. Any person who shall be so corrupt as to receive a holy ordinance of the Gospel from the ministers of any of these apostate churches will be sent down to hell with them, unless they repent"
    - Apostle Orson Pratt proclaimed, The Seer, p. 255

    "After the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized, there were only two churches upon the earth. They were known respectively as the Church of the Lamb of God and Babylon. The various organizations which are called churches throughout Christendom, though differing in their creeds and organizations, have one common origin. They all belong to Babylon"
    - George Q. Cannon said, Gospel Truth, p.324

    "When the light came to me I saw that all the so-called Christian world was grovelling in darkness."
    - Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 5:73


    1. (continued from above)

      "With a regard to true theology, a more ignorant people never lived than the present so-called Christian world."
      - Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 8:199

      "The Christian world, so-called, are heathens as to the knowledge of the salvation of God"
      - Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 8:171

      "Christians—those poor, miserable priests brother Brigham was speaking about—some of them are the biggest whoremasters there are on the earth, and at the same time preaching righteousness to the children of men. The poor devils, they could not get up here and preach an oral discourse, to save themselves from hell; they are preaching their fathers' sermons —preaching sermons that were written a hundred years before they were born. ...You may get a Methodist priest to pour water on you, or sprinkle it on you, and baptize you face foremost, or lay you down the other way, and whatever mode you please, and you will be damned with your priest.
      - Apostle Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, 5:89

      "The Gospel of modern Christendom shuts up the Lord, and stops all communication with Him. I want nothing to do with such a Gospel, I would rather prefer the Gospel of the dark ages, so called"
      - Prophet Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, vol. 2, p.196

      "But as there has been no Christian Church on the earth for a great many centuries past, until the present century, the people have lost sight of the pattern that God has given according to which the Christian Church should be established, and they have denominated a great variety of Christian Churches ... But there has been a long apostasy, during which the nations have been cursed with apostate churches in great abundance"
      - Apostle Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, 18:172

      "What! Are Christians ignorant? Yes, as ignorant of the things of God as the brute best."
      - Prophet John Taylor, Journal of Discourses 13:225

      "What does the Christian world know about God? Nothing... Why so far as the things of God are concerned, they are the veriest fools; they know neither God nor the things of God."
      - John Taylor, Journal of Discourses 13:225

      "Doctrines were corrupted, authority lost, and a false order of religion took the place of the gospel of Jesus Christ, just as it had been the case in former dispensations, and the people were left in spiritual darkness." (p. 266). "For hundreds of years the world was wrapped in a veil of spiritual darkness, until there was not one fundamental truth belonging to the place of salvation ...Joseph Smith declared that in the year 1820 the Lord revealed to him that all the 'Christian' churches were in error, teaching for commandments the doctrines of men."
      - Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 3, p.282

      "...the Book of Mormon remains secure, unchanged and unchangeable, ...But with the Bible it was not and is not was once in the sole and exclusive care and custody of an abominable organization (Christianity), founded by the devil himself, likened prophetically unto a great whore, whose great aim and purpose was to destroy the souls of men in the name of religion. In these hands it ceased to be the book it once was."
      - Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, The Joseph Smith Translation, pp. 12, 13

      "And also those to whom these commandments were given, might have power to lay the foudation of this (Mormon) church, and to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth..."
      - Supposedly Jesus Christ Himself, Doctrine and Covenants 1:30

      I attended the LDS Church up until I was about 16 years old. I KNOW what was taught there about other religions, and about other races. Today, those teachings are hidden, but they are STILL THERE, PART OF THE CANON.

      Why would God need to hide his teachings?