Morality vs Obedience

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The sign says: “Morality is doing what is right regardless of what you’re told. Obedience is doing what is told regardless of what is right.” As Bristolian artist Banksy observes: “The greatest crimes in the world are not committed by people breaking the rules but by people following the rules. It’s people who follow orders that drop bombs and massacre villages.”

Authority & Worthiness

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I wrote this when I was trying to figure out of my own disaffection. It helped to see some of the problems more clearly:

Many organizations, primarily religious and political, tend to go through similar ‘authority’ cycles:

  • Some want to be seen as ultra-loyal and promote absolute obedience.
  • This leads to a more unwelcoming environment for questioning.
  • Then people are more likely to ignore or overlook problems.
  • Many dismiss truths because they are not faith promoting.
  • This opens up the possibility for abuses of position.
  • As well as unequal treatment based on family ties, extreme loyalty, etc.

There is also a cycle of ‘worthiness’ requirements that often seems to happen:

  • People earnestly and zealously want to meet all of the requirements.
  • Others look down on those who do not come up to their standard of worthiness.
  • Levels of perfection are promoted which few (if any) really live up to.
  • This leads to a lot of prying, guilt, pretense and dishonesty.
  • The pain, discomfort, and shame associated with repentance increases.
  • Cliques form of those who claim to be the chosen within the group.
  • People are excluded but often still want to be part of the group, but may not feel worthy.

To anyone who has read Animal Farm, 1984, Brave New World or Fahrenheit 451, these concepts are eerily familiar.

Mormonism in general suffers from a sort of Pharisaic legalism. White shirts seem to matter more than a good heart, [whereas men with questionable business morals (but financial success) are given local leadership]. Gnats are strained at and camels are swallowed. …

Yet for a while I made excuses because of the fallibility of people, probably because it didn’t impact me personally. When the day came that it did affect me I still made excuses and presumed they must know better than me. I’ve since realized that the foundations and beliefs of Mormonism encourage these problems – it practically relies on them to function (or dysfunction).

Plans Of Happiness

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What does “my religion makes me happy” and “the plan of happiness” really mean?

This is a question I explored in a book I wrote about a sheltered society in which people are expected to be seen as happy:

  • I am happy because that is what I want to be, and what I believe becomes reality (and this includes believing I am happy).
  • Happiness is the result of me doing right and appreciating all the good in my life.
  • My example of happiness helps others, and I feel and share the happiness of those around me.
  • I won’t do anything that detracts from my happiness, and won’t associate with the unhappy and discontent.
  • I won’t chose to be anything less than happiness, and I know greater happiness is yet to come from my devotion.

Another way to put this would be:

  • I tell myself I am happy because this is what I am expected to be and to be believe I am, and I do not want to not live up to that expectation.

  • I tell myself if I do right and am grateful then I will be happy, although I never live quite perfectly enough to fully achieve this.

  • I will show others a smile and tell them I am happy even if I am not, otherwise others may think that I am unhappy living my religion which would be wrong. When I see others looking happy (who may also be pretending) it reminds me how happy I should look too.

  • I will tell myself that if I have any private unseen moments of unhappiness that it is because of something I am not doing (although I cannot possibly do everything that is expected of me). If others do not follow my philosophy I must stay away from them, because they must be unhappy not following the same philosophy as me, and if I listen to or pay attention to their reasoning I may succumb to their influence and lose what happiness I have (or try to have).

  • I will tell myself that if I am not completely happy it is because I have chose not to be on some level and should maker better choices that will restore my happiness. But if I am not happy I can look forward to being happy at some future time.

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Religious Trauma

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“In the case of fundamentalist beliefs, people expect that choosing to leave a childhood faith is like giving up Santa Claus – a little sad but basically a matter of growing up. But religious indoctrination can be hugely damaging, and making the break from an authoritarian kind of religion can definitely be traumatic. It involves a complete upheaval of a person’s construction of reality, including the self, other people, life, the future, everything. People unfamiliar with it, including therapists, have trouble appreciating the sheer terror it can create and the recovery needed.” (Dr. Marlene Winell)

Mormon Women Equal?

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I’ve heard several LDS women say recently how they are equal with men in the church. They have a very different definition of equal than I do. Below is a list I’ve put together to point out the inequalities:

  • Women cannot have the priesthood – only male leaders can make religious decisions for women. A woman can never preside over a man in any capacity.
  • All women’s organizations (relief Society and Young Women) have their leaders selected by men, their funding decided by men, and their manuals written and approved by men.
  • Women cannot organize or hold events without the permission of male leaders who have to preside.
  • Women have no say on the disposition of their tithing (The Council on the Disposition of Tithes does not contain the Relief Society presidency).
  • Women (as young as 12) are interviewed about private sexual matters in private by men.
  • Only 9 women can see the Handbook of Instructions that governs all women – Over 122,000 male leaders have access to it.
  • Women promise to follow the counsel of their husbands in the temple, but a man does not have to take counsel from his wife.
  • Women can be arbitrarily excommunicated by their bishopric, they have no advocate, and they cannot appeal to the presidency of the church. (Whereas men require a 15 man court, have 6 advocates, and can appeal to the presidency)
  • Women are taught that their primary role is motherhood. But some women cannot or do not have children and even those that do only do so for about 20-30 years of their life.
  • Fathers with young children can be temple workers. Their wives cannot.
  • If a woman is raped and becomes pregnant she must leave BYU university until after the child is born and adopted. Whereas a repentant male rapist can often stay.
  • Women are discouraged from working outside of the home.
  • Contraception is strongly discouraged – so a woman doesn’t have control over her own fertility (if a woman follows this).
  • Women are blamed for men’s sinful thoughts.
  • Men can still be sealed to more than one spouse – this will lead to an unequal polygamous relationship in eternity.
  • Women can’t be president over the Sunday School or an executive secretary, neither of which are priesthood callings.
  • Mention of heavenly mother is discouraged and praying to heavenly mother is forbidden.
  • There were prophetesses in the Old and New Testament but none acknowledged in Mormon history.
  • “Men are punished for their own sins and not for Adam’s transgression” – but women are punished for Eve’s sin.
  • Women cannot know their husband’s temple name, but a man knows his wife’s new name.
  • Women require a man to be resurrected and lead them into the celestial kingdom.
  • Men are taught that they can become gods, while there is no mention of the word “goddess” anywhere in doctrine.

So in summary:

But, at least some things have changed over time:

  • Prior to 1978 the only black woman sealed to a man was one sealed as a servant to Joseph Smith.
  • Prior to 1978 women couldn’t speak in sacrament meetings. Prior to 2013 women couldn’t pray in General Conference.
  • Prior to the 1980 the general presidents of the Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary didn’t sit on the stand with the male general authorities during general conference.
  • Prior to 1984 women didn’t speak in General Conference.
  • Prior to 2011 women had to wear pantyhose to work for the church.
  • Prior to 2013 women couldn’t pray in General Conference.
  • Prior to 2014 women with children couldn’t be full time Seminary teachers.

Question: “Where does it say in Mormon doctrine that women can’t hold the Priesthood?” Answer: “It doesn’t” – Official LDS Church representative, 17 June 2014, Radio West.

What Don’t LDS Women Get:

  • Any say on decisions made regarding them.
  • Any female voice to speak on their behalf for the church.
  • Equally treated in church disciplinary courts.
  • Equally financed young women’s programs.
  • Any say on their Relief Society manuals.
  • A chance to go to heaven without a man.
  • The chance to have private worthiness interviews with a woman.

Another thought on Feminism which is often thought of as a dirty word in the LDS Church:

  • Feminism does not mean being treated as a man, it means not being treated as less than one.
  • Feminism doesn’t mean giving up the feminine qualities you like, it means being taken seriously whether you have long hair or painted nails or wear a dress.
  • Feminism isn’t a fight against men, but it can be a fight against male superiority or privilege, and a fight for equal treatment.
  • Feminism isn’t about a woman not needing a man, it is about a woman choosing how much she wants a man in her life and expecting equal respect and responsibility within a relationship.
  • Feminism isn’t a threat to men or women – it is women asserting their rights in a way that helps them and men. It can lead to more constructive, fulfilling friendships and relationships in every area.

Thats how I see it.

Discrimination vs Words

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If you believe it is right to treat a specific group of people differently in any way IT IS DISCRIMINATION. You can try to argue that it is good or sensible, but it is still discrimination. You don’t get to redefine the English language and pretend it means anything else because you are worried about sounding offensive.

I Once Belonged to a Sexist Church and I’m Sorry.

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The Book of Mormon only barely mentions women, tells us that they can be responsible for men going astray (Alma 39:4), that rapists can steal women’s virtue (Moroni 9:9), and refers to abominable and unclean things as female (3 Ne 20:41 etc.). It also approves a very old man marrying a very young woman (Ether 9:23-24).

In early Mormonism there were polygamous marriages of teen women to church leaders (such as a Joseph Smith, 38 to Helen Kimball, 14). In the Mormon marriage ceremony a woman is married to a man but not vice-versa, and women are considered property (D&C 132:62). Mormonism has also often blamed women for rape (as the recent BYU case and several talks by leaders show).

Although I never personally condoned the abuse of women I supported an organization which did. I encourage all my Mormon family and friends to reject these teachings and find the greater happiness that comes through doing so.

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The Spirit GPS

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What if people used the “Spirit” to guide them while driving?

  • Tired of making excuses of why you can’t stop to ask directions when lost?
  • Fed up of family or friends complaining when you take the scenic route?
  • Annoyed by back seat drivers who claim they know the way better than you?

From the organization who brought you “Heart Sell” comes a new product for all of those who want to drive on a higher level than their non-inspired neighbors.

The Spirit GPS TM – The Liahona Based Driving Decider

  • It’s not a map-based directional system.
  • It’s not a turn-by-turn digital dictator.
  • It is a spiritual guide to for your driving decisions.

Users of “The Spirit” report a greater feeling of indefinable certainty, a reassuring comfort from it’s ethereal presence, and give many ambiguous testimonies of it’s usefulness.

Our patent-pending technology sets you on a course to well-being through it’s exclusive conduit to a higher other-worldly plane of existence.

Only we can offer you this service. We hold the patents and have a direct link to the source, despite what other manufacturers might argue. Don’t accept any counterfeits!

Testimonies

Listen to these heart warming testimonials:

“Since using ‘The Spirit’ I have found myself led to many places I never expected to go, some far off the route I expected to take. It’s amazing how many dangers it must have guided me away from by doing this, and how many things I have learned while lost trying to figure out the lessons it was trying to teach me.”

“‘The Spirit’ knows where I meant to go ever before I did. In the past I trusted my own physical senses and intelligence, but now I’m on a journey from one end of the world to the other, seeing how lucky I am to be safe in my vehicle.”

“With ‘The Spirit’ I know I’ll get there eventually in this life or the next. All I have to do is keep following it’s quiet promptings wherever they lead me, and avoid any distractions or pedestrians that get in the way.”

“I used to be distracted by street signs, road markings, and other traffic, but now I just have to focus on ‘The Spirit’ and I can forget all about that. Sometimes my vehicle doesn’t have to go anywhere at all for me to travel in my mind to all the places it wants me to go.”

How To Use The Spirit

The process of using “The Spirit” is simple:

  • You must really believe in the power of “The Spirit” – this is the energy it runs off of and doubts, distractions, and the company of unbelievers can all lead to spiritual battery depletion.
  • You must focus single-mindedly and simplemindedly on the purpose of “The Spirit” – this is it’s wiring, and if you question it’s intentions or abilities then it won’t be able to work as effectively for you.
  • You must listen carefully and exclusively to the promptings of “The Spirit” – this is it’s speaker, it’s not a literal one, instead it speaks to your emotions and feelings on a wavelength that can only be received if you are open to it.
  • You must accept what “The Spirit” tells you, this is the divine road map it’s giving you, no-matter how counter-intuitive or how much it contradicts with the evidence of your eyes or limited understanding.

It’s not about where you want to go or need to go but about where “The Spirit” will take you. Can your fallible judgment really take you any place better than that?

For those whose concentration or reception falters “The Spirit” now comes with a “Follow The Prophet” TM override button. Now wherever you are it will lead you to your local chapel, and why would you ever need to go anywhere else? Note: to use this you must always ensure you are using the latest GPS version, because following old ones will lead to contradictions and you being led astray.

Although our device is perfect it can have some challenges when used by imperfect people, such as:

  • Mistaking the warmth of the car heater for the warmth of “The Spirit”. Other counterfeits include the rise in temperature outside or the heat from a car full of people breathing together.
  • Mistaking the seeing a beautiful sunset while driving as an emotionally formed confirmation from “The Spirit”. This can also occur when passing a familiar place such as a childhood home or an ice cream parlor.
  • Mistaking the radio playing your favorite song as the still small voice of “The Spirit”. The hum of your engine or wishful thinking can also have similar effects.

Beware Of Doubts & Doubters – Avoid Them:

You may also encounter discouragement and naysayers: the chronically dissatisfied malcontents who bring up unreasonable issues, ask annoying questions and are never content.

We ask you to avoid the surveyors, street planners, map makers and others who claim to know the way better through evidence based research. They are sent by the adversary and our competitors to confuse you. You’ll gain nothing we consider of value by following them.

Remember that your family, friends and associates have been using variations of this system for generations. Don’t let them down. Are you smarter than your parents or peers? We don’t think so.

Are you sure you keep your children safe out there in the world of street signs and traffic lights without this system? Just think of the dangers they might encounter if you left them alone without it?

What would your spouse think of you if you didn’t use “The Spirit”? Surely it would be better if she went on without you in another vehicle rather than follow someone who only relies on satellite images to guide them? Some people argue you should drive by sight, but sight is subject to darkness and tricks of the light, it has so many distractions, and look at how badly the rest of the world has done with it.

Please Remember – Whatever Happens It’s A Blessing:

  • If you crash and die you are released to serve a driving mission on the other side, which is a beautiful blessing to you and your family.
  • If you crash and are injured it is a wonderful reminder of the blessing those limbs you still have are and how lucky you were not to be hurt more.
  • If you crash and are unscathed it’s a miracle and further proof of the effectiveness of “The Spirit”.

And don’t forget to regularly pay your connection costs or you may risk losing service and becoming lost. Non-subscribers, may, on a trial basis have some access, but if they don’t join the program and pay regularly they will lose it.

Disclaimer:

We do not guarantee any specific results in this life beyond uncertain blessings, unless you discern and act on all promptings of “The Spirit” perfectly without any mistake, lapses, or any variations. However, we do promise that in the next life you will be rewarded beyond measure, despite whatever inconveniences you suffer here.

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