Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Advantage of Always Being Right... that if you are wrong, you're still right.

It is a pretty bold claim to be the only true church, lead by prophets and apostles who walk and talk with god.  They are the mouthpiece for the lord so anything they say is the lord's will.  In other words, continuing revelation.  But what if something that was taught is later shown to be wrong?  This would place the church in a dangerous position, thin ice so to speak.

If a teaching came from a prophet, then it is true.  Period.  Debate over.

However, if faced with the undeniable truth that something in the past was wrong, the church makes themselves look like asses no matter what they do..

If they admit they were wrong, then they discredit their own claim of infallibility.

If they won't admit they were wrong, then it makes them look like asshats who refuse to own up to their mistakes and take a little accountability.

Brigham Young was very clear and blunt in his teachings that black people were inferior.  He made very racist statements such as:
  • black people would never be free because god didn't want them to be.
  • anyone who married or had sex with a black person deserved to die.
  • black people would NEVER have the priesthood.
  • black people might make it to heaven, but would be servants to the whites.
  • black people were less valiant in the pre-existence.

Now, just recently, they have renounced all these teachings.  While this is good progress (something they take a while to get the hang of), they are basically admitting that all the prophets who taught these things were wrong.  That includes pretty much all of them.  That is a hard pill for the LDS church to swallow!

And just as in the past when the world was struggling to overcome the ugliness of racism and segregation, the world is now struggling with the gay rights issue.  If the church is just now joining the rest of the world in speaking out against racism, then that means in about 50 years, the church will renounce their viewpoint and will try to downplay their shameful behavior during the gay rights era.

I wonder...  Is their eliminating racist teachings a way to balance out the negative publicity they are getting on the gay rights issue?  It seems so to me.  The church is very self serving.  They will not make any changes unless it is in their own best interest.  In fact, the reason they gave the priesthood to blacks in 1978 was because they were threatened by the federal government of having their "tax exempt" status stripped.  This would cost them a fortune.

The LDS church will only change their stance on gay rights when either they receive so much negative publicity that they lose members by the thousands, or the federal government steps in and threatens them again with losing their tax exempt status if they don't respect the law.

This of itself is funny because the church arrogantly claims that since it is the kingdom of god, it is above the law.  The church DOES NOT change it's policies to conform to popular opinion.  But as we can see, they do.  I just find it funny that the more they claim to be lead by "the lord" the more they end up looking like foolish and arrogant pricks.

I wonder when their swarm of lies and mis-truths will all come crashing down on them.  It is their own arrogance that will be their undoing.  And yet, by letting go of their arrogance and admitting to fault, they are also shooting themselves in the foot.  No matter what they do, the day of reckoning is coming.  In fact, I think it is close.

LDS church members are very aware of the church changing policies and are already making up their little excuses to explain it away.  Please consider this article:

According to this article, god doesn't change... He modifies. Change the verb and there you have it! It's all still true! Praise Joseph Smith!  Consider this quote:

"When I hear that a certain number of changes have been made in the Book of Mormon, or to the temple endowment, or to whatever thing, that doesn’t bother me a bit."

Of course it doesn't, because you are operating on the premise that the church is ultimately true no matter what happens.  If TSM was arrested for hiring a prostitute, the members would justify it and explain it away.  If the Mormons were found to be building an atomic bomb under Temple Square, they would find some reason to explain why terrorism is okay with god.  No matter what happens, the Mormons will always have their explanations and loopholes.  And it doesn't matter what they are as long as it is some answer that somehow makes all the problems fit together.

In a nutshell:
  1. The church is true no matter what
  2. If the church is not true, see #1
  3. The prophet is never wrong
  4. If the prophet is wrong, see #3
  5. The church never changes
  6. If the church changes, see #5
  7. If we're wrong, we're not wrong.
Changes made in the church (although the church is eternal and unchanging):
  1. Polygamy renounced in 1890
  2. Priesthood given to blacks in 1978
  3. All past racist teachings officially eliminated in 2013
  4. Temple ceremonies changed many times, most recently in 2005
  5. Hundreds of changes made to scriptures (BoM, D&C, PoGP, Bible)
  6. Conference talks edited and sometimes completely removed
  7. Doctrine changes (Catholic church is the church of the devil, etc.)
They scream persecution every chance they get, but they are surely active in persecuting others who differ from them.  Very shameful, not to mention hypocritical.  You'd think for a religion that wants so badly to be "left alone", they sure can't wait to point out how wrong everyone else is!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

How A Patriarchal Blessing Destroyed My Marriage

For my readers who might not know, a Patriarchal Blessing is a guide for LDS people.  It sometimes predicts the future and is supposed to give guidance.

Every worthy member is encouraged to get their blessing.  It is usually given to people shortly before they leave on a mission or get married.

In every stake, there is a man called a patriarch.  He is the person who gives the blessings.  Upon being determined worthy (there is a lot of that in Mormonism) the candidate will usually go right to the patriarch's home.  There, he will give them a special blessing.  This blessing is recorded and transcribed.  They are kept on record and a copy is sent to the recipient. 

Members are encouraged to read their blessing often for guidance in making life decisions.  They are told to not share their blessing freely with others.  Many Mormons take this advice very seriously and really do expect that the promises and predictions that are made will someday come to pass.

It can give general advice like, obey the commandments and you will be blessed.  They will often state that the person will serve an honorable mission or will get married in the temple and have lots of babies.  Or it can give very specific advice, like advice on personal issues, finance, career, etc.

This is why it ruined my marriage.

My ex-wife received her patriarchal blessing.  One of the things it promised her was that, as she progressed through life, she would acquire many physical belongings, ie, wealth.

When we were married, we always had enough.  We were never behind on the bills and even had money to go on occasional vacations.  We weren't rich but had all our needs met with extra left over.  However, my ex-wife could not get over the fact that her blessing had promised her riches.  She became resentful of me when it didn't happen, as if it was my fault.  She referred to this promise many times and always looked forward to the day when we would be swimming in money.

Naturally, there were other factors to consider as well, but I do think that this is one of the reasons why my marriage is over.  She wanted her blessing fulfilled, and obviously I was holding her back from her destiny of wealth and glamour.

She is now married to her rich prince charming (who is not a member of the church).

The church must be true because her blessing came to pass!  It only took a destroyed family to make it happen, but it was all part of the plan!

I find it interesting that when people receive these blessings, they actively set out to make them happen.  So, would it have happened if it hadn't been predicted?  In my case, I can't say for sure, but I do believe she wouldn't have been so focused on what we didn't have.  Maybe she would have been able to see all that we DID have!

Thank you, LDS church, for destroying my marriage!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

How A Snowflake Might Disprove the Theory of Intelligent Design

Please enjoy these highly magnified images of actual snowflakes.
Beautiful, are they not?  Nearly perfect symmetry.  No two alike.  Truly, these little ice crystals are magnificent!

How these little wonders of nature are formed could almost be called miraculous.  They are breathtakingly beautiful.

Surely, something this complex must have been designed.  Otherwise, how could they possibly have such detail, symmetry, and organization?

This one is my personal favorite.  This link talks about the science of snowflake formation.

Intelligent design (ID) is the argument that the universe, as it exists, is far too complex to have happened naturally; therefore, it must have had a designer. The proponents of intelligent design claim that it is an actual accredited branch of science, which may or may not be true. The fact is, the scientific community largely recognizes Darwin's Theory of Evolution, although there are certainly some scientists who do not.  This is a link to a pro-ID website.  This link appears to discuss ID quite thoroughly, sharing both sides of the argument.

I have provided these links so that I do not have to go into great detail about ID.

Intelligent design focuses primarily on living things.  Since snowflakes are not living, those who support ID would immediately dismiss the arguments I am about to make.  Take it as you will.  This post is not meant to be a full scale rebuttal of ID, but simply to take an angle that perhaps has not yet been addressed.

Consider this quote from the second ID link above:

"Intelligent design cannot be inferred from complexity alone, since complex patterns often happen by chance."

I find this quote very interesting.  Those who argue against evolution often love to state (in ignorance) how evolution is nothing but mere chance.  While chance is a part of it, it is certainly just a part of it.  Chance, it seems, is dismissed by the believers of ID when they are arguing for their cause, but it is their main argument against evolution!  If "complex patterns often happen by chance," isn't that a great argument IN FAVOR of evolution?

Sorry, but you can't have it both ways.  Chance is either part of the whole argument or it isn't.

Look at the intricate design of the snowflakes above.  Those are some pretty complex patterns that have happened by complete chance.  But they don't happen rarely.  They happen trillions of times whenever it snows!  They were not designed.  They just happened.  There is no DNA to guide their creation.  It is completely random.  Yet this randomness leads to something beautiful.  Something organized.  Something complex.  This snowflake did not have a designer and yet there it is in all it's complexity, symmetry, and beauty.

If this random chance happens so frequently in nature, it is not much of a stretch to theorize that this could have also happened in biological systems.  And even if the first living molecule only had a minuscule chance of randomly forming, it only had to happen once.  It is not unreasonable to suggest that, in a 4 billion-year time period, it could have happened, if only just once.

It is clear that complex structures can and do form naturally without the guidance of a designer.  There might be those who argue that each snowflake is orchestrated by some deity.  Well, that designer certainly has a lot of spare time on his hands, not to mention some pretty confusing priorities!

Besides, it goes back to that old argument, if there was a designer, where did it come from?  Did the designer also have a designer?  A living, intelligent being capable of designing the universe must have come from somewhere.  If it designed the universe, where did it live before that?

Intelligent design raises more questions than it answers.  Typically, the believers in ID are also religious (although it is not a requirement) and, in my opinion, it is merely their attempt to reconcile their held superstitions against known scientific fact; in other words, take religion and call it science.  And since it is science, it must have some credibility especially since a few real scientists believe in it!

Complex structures do form randomly in nature with no designer.  This is an undisputed fact.  While this doesn't completely disprove the ID theory, it certainly does not help their cause. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

I Am Not Responsible For Your Hurt Feelings

For those of us who have left the church, we know there are people who do not approve.  They will try to guilt you back by saying things like, "We are so disappointed in you."

I had one family member actually say to me, "You used to be my hero."  The only thing that changed... I no longer attend church.

When my father left the church years ago, it nearly killed his parents.  They expressed so much anguish and sadness over their fallen son.  They urged us, as his children, to do anything we could to set an example so that he would come back.  They were heartbroken.

If our LDS family and friends have hurt feelings over our leaving the church, that is their problem.  It is not your duty to conform to their superstitions so that they can feel better about themselves.  You can love them and be there for them.  But you do not have to conform so that they can feel better.

If they have hurt feelings or a lowered opinion of you, simply because you no longer believe as they do, that's just too darn bad!  Yes, they believe in the church; they believe you have turned your back on truth; they are concerned for your eternal well being; they have good intentions by trying to get you back.

BUT it's your life.  Your choice.  They can respect that.  The LDS gospel is supposed to be all about free agency.  Those who choose not to follow it are simply taking advantage of that right (the right guaranteed by the Constitution, NOT the church).

You do not have to feel bad that they are disappointed in you.  If they are disappointed, it is because they choose to judge your worth against their expectations of you.  LDS life is all about living up to endless demands and expectations.  Well, it's okay for you to make your own decisions.  It's okay to disappoint them.  You only get one life and you can either spend it living up to someone else's expectations, or you can live it on your own terms.

I too have struggled with the fear of what other people think.  But I have slowly come to realize that the only thing that really matters, in terms of my life, is what I think.  What they think doesn't matter.  Let me say that again.

What they think doesn't matter.  It has no bearing upon your life unless you let it.

They can judge and gossip; but they CAN'T blame you for their hurt feelings.

Take charge of your own life and make it a good one!