Ever since I can remember, I have always had a difficult time comprehending the church. There are a few topics, or concepts, that have stood out for me that seem contradictory in nature. I call them my hang ups. Here are a few of them.
Polygamy. Not just the law of polygamy. We all know that was a bunch of crap. Even the modern Mormons know it. They just can't find the best way to make it disappear AND justify it both legally, morally and spiritually. The hang up I have with it is the idea that it was illegal. At the origination, clear to the denouncing thereof, it was illegal. One of the main ideas, codes, creeds and even articles of faith for the LDS church (#12) is to follow and obey the laws of the land. This was clearly against the law, on several levels. Polygamy, as well as polyandry, were denounced. Marriage to a minor was illegal. How does one justify the idea of breaking the law for the sake of the religion, when the religion clearly states they do not believe in breaking the law? It's interesting to me that this idea never comes up. The attempt to justify it usually ends with the idea that their is a greater plan than we can comprehend and that we don't have all the answers for. Breaking the laws of the land is a topic that really arises quite often in early Mormon history. Joseph Smith married women that were currently married to other men, and committed adultry with many other women because polygamy was unlawful. Laws broken. Joseph Smith printed his own currency. Law broken. Joseph Smith resisted arrest several times. Law broken. Joseph Smith formed his own militia and used them to help him resist arrest. Law broken and law broken. Joseph Smith ordered people to go destroy a printing press and private property without due process of the law and against the federal and state constitutions. Law broken and law broken and law broken...and so on. So how does one preach to a congregation to obey the laws of the land, and at the same time support an organization that clearly has not? There were times when Mr. Smith would tell his followers, and the public, that he was not involved in any illegal activity; at the same time that he definitely and historically WAS involved heavily in illegal activity. That does not sound, to me, like the actions of a prophet and ear piece of God. I mean, these contradictions were so bold and hypocritical, that even today they scream foul; at least to those that aren't under the magic spell. If Joseph Smith were doing these things today, he would be on America's Most Wanted t.v. show: And if arrested, would be doing some seriously hard and long time. And prison is not the place you want to be doing anything that is hard and long. That was a little prison humor for anyone that likes that kind of thing. I certainly do not and am appalled that someone would write that. The saddest part for me is that members, even today with the presence of all the evidence, would still support him and cry foul at the government for it's horrible actions against an innocent and holy man.
Racism. Blacks and the Priesthood. I get hung up on this topic for many reasons that are obvious to people with logic and brains and love for equality and humans. But the religious justification for this has never made sense to me. My hang up with it is that it is not even in harmony with the religion and it's stated beliefs. The church states they believe men will be punished for their own sins and not for Adam's transgression. The historical rationalization made by the church to justify not allowing Blacks to have the priesthood is to say they are a cursed people because of the actions of others in the past. They have been marked with dark skin because of the sins of their ancestors long ago. How does that fall in line with the idea of punishing someone for their own sins and not the sins of others? And how does that work with the idea of obeying the laws of the land, when the constitution states that all men are created equal? Is it possible to interpret the phrase, "not for Adam's transgression", as meaning that no one person should be held responsible for the sins of others; including the sins of those that have lived here previous to us now? We all know the racially charged statements made by Brigham Young, Joseph Smith, Bruce McConkie and Joseph F. Smith. These are prophets of God, according to the LDS church. That means they are the full representatives of Jesus Christ; the prophet, seer and revelator. This brings us to a very sticky crossroads. On the one hand, if the church were to denounce the statements made by these men (which they have not), it would mean they are denying God. If they were to say they just made social mistakes, it would mean they were saying things, in the name of God, that just weren't true. That would open the door to say that if these statements, which were made in the name of God, are not true, then how do we differentiate these from all the other revelations and statements made from the prophets? They say you will know if they are true by personally asking God in prayer: Well I am sure many people did this at the time of making the statements and for years after, and they were told it was all true. If they were to make these comments, and they were not true, don't you think God (since they are on a very personal line of communication with him) would then afterward say, "Hey buddy, slow down. That crap that has been spilling out of your mouth about the colored folk? Not true. Take it back". It is also very difficult to argue the concept that they made this crap up without the consent of the Lord previous to speaking, because Brigham Young said that any time he speaks, it is as if it is coming out the mouth of God. Why would God, if this is truly his church, put in a prophet (or 4) that is not speaking his will. Wouldn't he have seen that coming? Doesn't God tell us in the scriptures that he (or his prophets because, you know, they talk to each other) would never lead us astray? It is so extremely, magnanimously bizarre to me that this situation alone does not bother more people. I can tell you it didn't bother me for years, because I didn't know anything about it. I can also tell you that this subject and this merry-go-round concept was the final straw for me. I just cannot, in all my attempts, find a way to possibly justify this reasoning and pure racism. And believe me when I tell you this: I am 100% satisfied with my solution.
Women in the church. This is a huge hang up for me. I know I have touched on this previously, but I just wanted to throw it in the mix here. Again, if all men (and women) are created equal, as is clearly noted in this wonderful land we live in, then why are women not allowed the same privileges as men? It is bizarre to me that we still live in a society that believes men and women should not be allowed the same privileges. What role a man, woman, or Chaz Bono wants play in this life, should not be limited by their sex. It definitely should not be limited by the idea that God wants it to be this way. If the sex of a person is so important as to whom they may be dictated by God to be, then why, when looking across different cultures and time lines, do we see that there have been changes that have clearly been made solely upon social construct? If you look back in time, and across different cultures, the role of women being the 'helpmate' to Adam, even in societies that are built around the bible, has changed in many different ways. This demonstrates that the role of sex in society is not a god-given role, but rather a social construct that dates back to times of pure survival and race-saving tactics.
Baptism. Really? Eight years old? You really think an eight year old is accountable for their sins? Really? Eight? Have you ever met an eight year old? Do you really think they are anywhere near the possibility of free agency, or ability to conceptualize an idea like this and the ramifications that come with it? Are you serious? You can't be serious. I personally have raised two eight year old kids, and I say nay. And they, of course, were even very mature for their age.
Church. What is the point? If you truly want to worship Christ, then shouldn't you be out serving others? Isn't that what he always said was the most important thing? Shouldn't church consist of 3 hours of community service instead of sitting on an uncomfortable bench with a weird name? This social construct is only around because people want to gather and feel good about what they are doing with others that believe similar to them. You know, like the KKK did.