Wednesday, February 16, 2011
In the Face of the Mormon Church Silence Brigade
First, read the story about this woman whom the Mormon church threatened into silence.
When I was a teenager, growing up as a Mormon, I remember a story being told of a group of women who met with the leadership of the Mormon church. At the time, the Mormon church was against the Equal Rights Amendment (and still is), and these women were in favor.
Both sides laid out their arguments, and the Mormon church leaders put out the "Well, this is the position of the church, and we expect you to follow the direction of the prophet."
As the ladies left, one stayed and said "But - my conscience completely goes against what you've just said."
This leader then called back in the group, and gave them these instructions: "Above all else, we expect you to vote and act via your conscience above what anyone, even the Mormon church leaders say."
I realize this story is apocryphal, but it's a story as a young Mormon I grew up with, and it measured what I felt made "my faith" true compared to the others: the ability to let people vote their conscience.
Even when I admitted to myself that I was an atheist, that I did not believe in anything supernatural, I stayed within the church because it seemed benign. It wasn't forcing people to do what they said.
And then came along the gay marriage issue, the DNA for native Americans issue (long story there I won't relate right here), and I left the church. The faith that used to be about "everyone worship how where and what they may" and "we encourage members to seek the truth and do what they think is right above all else" is now like nearly every other religious group:
Do what we say, don't ever question.
I spit on their memory. They had the chance to just stand up, speak their minds, and leave it at that. Now they're spending money to oppose groups because it doesn't fit with their view of the world, and using strong arm tactics to threaten their own members to silence.
From the teenage boy inside my mind that used to look upon my faith with such admiration and faith, and sees what the Mormon church does for the sake of power: