Monday, July 9, 2007

Lest ye be Judged...

I was recently reading a story on Main Street Plaza originally posted at Ravings of a Mad Woman. I cringe every time I read a story such as this. I look back on the indoctrination and see exactly how this could come to be. It saddens me to think that a religion can have such a strong-hold on peoples attitudes and ultimately on their actions.

As most churches do, the LDS church teaches that people should love one another and "do as Jesus would do". Well, in all of the lessons on such topics, when it comes right down to it, many supposedly TBM people seem to know exactly how to judge another right back into TBM status. Little comments such as "your countenance has changed" and "the Lord gives us these trials to test us" are provided as proof that we are off the straight and narrow. These comments are designed to "teach" us that we need to be more righteous.

In my personal life, I have been taught from my youth that tithing heals all. My faithful father, currently a Stake President and former Bishop, has told me on several occasions that tithing, if paid faithfully, keeps everyone on the straight and narrow. Of all of the people he has counseled, those who had problems with pornography, having problems with their spouse or having problems living the word of wisdom, the one thing that these sinners didn't do was pay their tithing.

I'm confident that most of the problems in the world come from personal decisions, not based on your obedience to giving 10% of your hard earned cash to the church. I've reviewed my life up this point and have come to the realization that I have made a lot of good decisions. Many people who have a hard time in life can usually track their bad experiences back to a bad decision they made, or at least to a bad decision that someone else made that came to effect them adversely.

There are things taught in the church in a round-about way that ends up causing many TBMs to be very judgmental and self righteous. Here's what I have come up with so far:

  • If anything bad happens to you, it's because of your unfaithfulness. The Lord is testing you.
  • All Priesthood holders are perfect, without blemish, and every word they utter should be believed and acted upon without delay.
  • Any negative thoughts regarding any church doctrine were placed there by the devil and should be counteracted by much prayer, scripture study and possibly even a trip to the Bishops office to confess your sins.
  • All callings come directly from the Lord, through his steadfast priesthood holders, and should never be declined. If declined a prompt inquiry into your obvious sins is warranted.
  • You must give all of your time to the church. Even if you have a family who needs you, you must attend to the church first. Especially if you are male because the women should be taking care of the house.
  • Women don't need the priesthood because they are more spiritual than men.
  • Every 19 year old male is capable of serving a mission. Even if they have not had sufficient experiences to convince them that the church is true, a mission will take care of that.
  • All 8 year olds are capable of deciding for themselves what church is true and if they want to formally join the LDS church.
  • Unmarried 22 year old females are unrighteous. For if they weren't, the would be married and had 3 kids already.
  • Unmarried 22 year old males are unrighteous. For if they weren't, the would be married and 1 kid already with another on the way.
  • Families that don't pray together at 6 a.m. and read scriptures for half an hour in the morning and in the evening will not stay together.
  • If you have any problem in life, just open your scriptures to a random page and you will instantly be provided with the answer to your problem.
  • Every righteous couple should have at least ten children. The more children you have, the more righteous you are.
  • You are selfish if you don't have at least ten children.

As all of you are significantly smarter than I, please add your ideas to the list...

My last thought is this... that most people are "scared" into being, or appearing, righteous. If it weren't for the perceived judgment of others, most people would not stay so righteous. I think this is one of the crafty underlying purposes of a church, to use the TBM's into keeping everyone else in check.



JulieAnn said...

Thanks for the link back. This is a great post.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

If SML is married to a non-member, she must "not have been in the right place spiritually when she decided to do so."

When SML questions why Brigham Young taught many times that he had received revelation that Adam was in fact God the Father, yet Spencer W. Kimball discounted it as false doctrine...she must be under the influence of Satan, and she should say to the voices in her head "Stop it! Stop it! Stop it! all the day long."

If you're unhappy, it's obviously because there is some way you aren't following God's Plan of Happiness.

paranoidfr33k said...

sml, thanks for the additions. Also, thanks for providing a link to your post on being under the influence of Satan. My brother just recently went through the temple with his wife of several years. He almost went on a mission and had gone through the temple before. She comes from a really messed up family and never wanted to go to the temple because of her parents. They were temple recommend holders, but should not have been. There is a whole topic in and of itself... regarding the gift of discernment that priesthood leaders are supposed to have... Anyway, I was talking to my brother about a week before their temple date and we were talking about her family being able to make it and he told me that they just wanted to do it now, even though her family wouldn't be able to go, because Satan is working to stop it all from happening. There are all sorts of faith promoting stories about how Satan has power over everyone around you so you have to be very careful. I would think that if Satan wanted to stop their sealing, all he had to do was get them into a car accident during their 12 hour drive from Wyoming down the St. George, UT.

Anyway, I think the "influence of Satan" bit is a function of explaining that which believers don't want to beleive, and that is that things happen, peoples beliefs change, and other peoples decisions do, in fact, effect our lives even though they can seem so coincidental. They don't want to understand what is going on in reality, so they use the Satan card so that they don't have to.

I'm rambling, but thank you for the comments...