Saturday, August 18, 2012

Why Follow the Rules?

Many people view atheists as people with no morals, no guidelines, and no respect for authority. I will contend that this is not correct. Atheists do have morals and follow rules.

There are two types of rule followers:
  • Those that follow the rule because it is a rule
  • Those that follow the rule because it has a good purpose
Most Mormons follow a rule because it is a rule. The reason for the rule does not matter, other than it's a rule. A few years ago, the profit came up with a new earring commandment, which stated that all LDS girls should only wear one earring per ear. Now, anyone with a teaspoon of common sense knows that there is absolutely no harm in wearing more than one earring. However, the Mormons follow this rule and look down upon those who don't. There is no reason for it other than it came from a leader. Breaking this rule has no consequences other than the judgment of fellow Mormons and the guilt of breaking it.

The same is true of mission rules. Most of the rules make no difference other way. For example, the rule to "never be alone" will hurt nothing if it is broken. However, missionaries follow this rule as if their lives depended upon it. There is no real reason for following the rule, other than the rule itself. There is no harm and no sin by being alone for 10 seconds. The only consequence of this rule is getting in trouble with your MP for breaking it. Other than that, it has no consequences.

Mormons follow rules because they are there. Many of them have no additional purpose or reason, other than to just put more restriction on your life. So the sin becomes breaking the rule and not whatever the rule forbade.

There are some rules that are good to follow that are taught by Mormonism.

Rule: Don't steal.

This is a rule that should be followed because it has a good purpose. Stealing is wrong. It can get you into trouble. It can lead to worse things.

Other rules that are good to follow because they have a good reason or purpose:
  • No lying
  • No killing
  • Obey the law
  • Be honest
  • Live the Golden Rule
  • etc.

These are all good rules to follow that Mormonism teaches. However, these rules are generally taught by all religions and all cultures. One does not need to be Mormon - or even be a believer - in order to know that these are good moral guidelines to live your life by.

So, are you a person who follows rules for the sake of the rule? Or do you live a rule because it has a reason or purpose?

Mormons will try to argue that all rules should be followed because they are given by a true profit. Sometimes the rule has no reason other than to test the people. Are they willing to follow a rule because it was given even if there is no apparent reason? It is a test to see who is truly willing to follow the council of a living profit.

I say that a profit isn't needed if you have enough brains to figure out for yourself what you should and shouldn't be doing without being babysat all the time.

A good example is the Word of Wisdom. It is true that tobacco and alcohol can be very damaging and life destroying if used in excess. However, these things can be fun and enjoyable if used with self control and moderation. Maybe it is a good idea for some people to abstain from alcohol altogether because they easily become addicted to it. That is a personal choice.

I really enjoy a good drink sometimes, but I know my limits and I make sure I have either arranged a ride or just drink at home when I have nowhere to be the next day. I drink very seldom. This is a rule I have made for myself, and I follow it because it is a good guideline for keeping me out of trouble (or out of jail).

Do you follow rules just for the sake of the rule?

I read a comment from a TBM once that really sums it up. It was so revealing that I put it on my sidebar in the "Quotes" section.

"If Jesus told us to brush our teeth with mud, I would do it!"

This person is a moron, but not an atypical Mormon. This is the Mormon attitude. If the profit tells you to jump off a cliff, you'd better be the first one jumping! Don't stop to ask why! Asking leads to doubt. Doubt leads to questioning. Questioning leads to seeking. Seeking leads to apostasy.

This is a path Mormons are never supposed to follow. The only thing they need to follow...

...IS THE PROFIT (and the pointless rules)! I say, turn your brains to the "on" position and live the rules that are most beneficial for you! If you know something will harm you, avoid it because of that reason, NOT because someone else told you to.

No thanks. I prefer to do my own thinking. And guess what??? I am just fine! I have been without the "guidance of the spirit" and the "council of a living prophet" for over 7 years now and my life is just fine. I live by my own set of rules and life is great.

Mormons love to be babysat. They love having someone else direct every detail of their lives. If you ever sit in a fast and testimony meeting, somone, without fail, will get up and state how they don't know where they would be without the church to guide them. That's just sad. So they are basically saying that they are too stupid to make their own life decisions. That might work for them, but not for me!

The more blindly and obediently you follow, the more Jesus will love you!


Dan said...

Well said.

Rules can also be broken down by who they benefit--the rule maker or the rule follower.

A lot of the "rules" of Mormonism are designed to benefit the rulemakers. The church leadership can tell women to only wear one set of earrings because they want to maintain a wholesome, disciplined image to attract more converts desperate for some order in their lives.

It doesn't benefit the loyal rule followers at all, but it might help bring in a little more tithing money.

Meg said...

This post is perfect timing! I have been having a discussion with my 11 year old son about rules.

I remember reading somewhere how following rules in the church, going down the list of rules and checking them off, makes members feel more righteous. Like doing all the homework assignments to get an A in the class. An effective way to make people feel like they are on the right path. Of course if you aren't doing those things you are made to feel like a failure!

I tried smoking for the first time yesterday. It's not something I see myself doing on a regular basis, it's not that appealing to me. I had to laugh at how taboo smoking was all my life. It was no big deal at most rules I was taught to follow.

Brad said...

One thing about all of those rules, in that you end up having to lie to those in authority. When I was a teenager I told my bishop that I was masturbating. The humiliation was unbearable. I told myself that I would lie rather than have to go through that again.

Also, all of those rules prevent you from finding out who you are, what you like and don't like. Basically learning about yourself and how you want to treat others.

Religion is all about conformity and control

Thanks for the post!

Mormon411 said...

Dan, I couldn't agree more. Many things the LDS people are expected to do benefit the church. From earrings to cleaning toilets...

Meg, I strongly feel that so many "rules" are put in place to make the members feel that they are never truly worthy. This keeps them dependent on the system and paying tithing dollars in order to feel "forgiven". Smoking is something that I personally don't care to ever try.

Brad, in order to be LDS, one has to lie. One has to put a mask over who they truly are in order to fit into the LDS mold. If you can't fit into the mold, you are an outsider. So people lie. I have written in the past about how to be LDS is to lie.

Wonderful comments from all of you!