September 17, 2012

"Why I Love Mormonism."

An essay — in the philosophy column at the NYT by — Simon Critchley a philosophy professor at tthe New School for Social Research in New York.
But every now and then during one of those New York soirĂ©es, when anti-Mormon prejudice is persistently pressed and expressed, and I perhaps feel momentarily and un-Mormonly emboldened by wine, I begin to try and share my slim understanding of Joseph Smith and my fascination with the Latter-day Saints. After about 45 seconds, sometimes less, it becomes apparent that the prejudice is based on sheer ignorance of the peculiar splendors of Mormon theology. “They are all Republicans anyway,” they add in conclusion, “I mean, just look at that Mitbot Romney. He’s an alien.” As an alien myself, I find this thoughtless anti-Mormon sentiment a little bewildering.
I'm pretty sure Critchley has no intention of helping Mitt Romney. Read through the interesting twists and turns and you'll arrive at the line: "Of course, for Christians, this is the highest blasphemy." That's just peachy for Critchley, but maybe you Republicans — you Christianists — ought to flip out.



If there is to be a mainstream media assault on Mormons, one ought to expect to find it under a title like "Why I Love Mormonism." You know what I love? Blasphemy.
Mormonism is properly and powerfully post-Christian, as Islam is post-Christian.... And obviously, both Islam and Mormonism have a complex relation to the practice of plural marriage....

From the standpoint of Christianity, both Islam and Mormonism are heresies and — if one is genuine about one’s theology, and religion is not reduced to a set of banal moral platitudes — should be treated as such.

... I see Joseph Smith’s apostasy as strong poetry, a gloriously presumptive and delusional creation from the same climate as Whitman, if not enjoying quite the same air quality....
Critchley is saying: We intellectuals can pleasure ourselves with the delusional poetry of Mormonism, but if you are genuine about your Christianity — especially you Islamophobes — you'd better freak out.

94 comments:

Bender said...

if you are genuine about your Christianity — especially you Islamophobes — you'd better freak out

It is true: Islam and Mormonism are grounded in heresy, a corruption of dogma. But people who are genuine about their Christianity do not freak out, even if the heresy is vigorously opposed, because they know that truth will ultimately prevail.

karrde said...

One quick comment:

Have these people ever heard of Harry Reid's religion?

Mormons are all Republicans, eh?

(Second comment: there's a sci-fi author named Orson Scott Card. He has a column on his website where he discusses culture. He's also Mormon, and has been known to occasionally talk about national politics. He's not 100%-Republican...)

YoungHegelian said...

Most of us Christians in the 21st century have reconciled ourselves to the idea that, unlike in days of yore, you just can't call in the Dominicans and burn the bastards at the stake.

I mean, it's tough. But with the kids, the mortgage, and the car payments to think about, whatcha gonna do?

FWBuff said...

"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." Matthew 5:11-12

If you are genuine about your Christianity, then you take these words of Christ to heart and know that freaking out at criticism or persecution is not what Jesus taught us to do.

traditionalguy said...

The October surprize seems to always an irrelevant scandal aimed at the opponent's base hoping to get a knee jerk rejection of voting for their candidate. It's voter suppression.

But the Mormon freakout is yesterday's news. It won't work on vetted guys like the Mittster.

Shouting Thomas said...

If only those Tea Party crazies would actually go out there and assassinate somebody like the Democrats have been predicting they would...

What in the hell is wrong with those people?

Shouting Thomas said...

The difference between Islam and Christianity is that Christ preached forgiveness.

SteveR said...

Tom Udall, Mark Udall, Stewart Udall, Mo Udall

lemondog said...

I was reading the article and will need to reread it.

But if God himself was once as we are than who created him/us and does that argue for evolution?

Recently has a brief conversation with a neighbor who mentioned several peculiarities of the religion such as the rejection of the Trinity to which I replied that I thought the average American thinks of Mormonism in terms of advocating polygamy and not much beyond that.

The Drill SGT said...

Growing up out West, I know a bit more about LDS than the average American. (disclosure: had a LDS In-law, one of my best friends growing up was LDS). My basic sense of the average Westerner's view is: Nice polite, family centered, cummunity oriented folks who raise a lot of kids very well.

PS: bet he would not write the same article about Mohammed

Julie said...

I am a temple-going, fully participating Mormon, though to my amusement my co-workers insist that I must be a “bad” Mormon as I am a female with a PhD in Biochemistry (from UW-Madison) working in biotech. According to my colleagues, I am simply “not weird enough” to be a “good” Mormon. I have found that the prejudices carried by many people, both highly educated and not so educated, are often strong enough to blind them to the obvious. One obvious here is that Mormons, in general, should not be feared. It’s a shame to me that many people don’t trust their experiences with the one or two Mormons they have known, thinking that their experience must be an outlier because the Mormon they knew wasn’t the weirdo they would expect. I hope that the “I’m a Mormon” ad campaign is working, so that as I move forward in my career in the coming years, my faith becomes less of an issue to employers and colleagues. Thank you to many of you here in this forum who are so open minded and accepting, I always appreciate coming across people like you!

Maguro said...

Yeah, those Mormons are freaky, man.

Good thing for Obama he has such a typically American religious and cultural background. He's just a regular guy, and you know he's not a Muslim cause he brews his own beer!

kcom said...

"you'd better freak out."

Crack has that covered for everyone. So you can concentrate on something else. Something more important, for instance.

karrde said...

More thoughtful comments, after skimming Critchley's article:

He obviously met some people who were well-versed in philosophy, history, and culture. These people were Mormon, and had the ability to discuss history and culture from a Mormon perspective.

From the article, it seems that the culture mavens of the NY-Times-reading secular world are apparently mostly ignorant of Mormon discussions of culture and history.

Do they assume that religious people are generally foolish?

Or are they too closed-minded to realize that religious thinkers can add to such discussions?

(I think that the Mormon example given in that article shows why that religion is incompatible with Christianity, at least as defined by this creed. But Christianity also has culture-critics who could expand the world-view of the secular culture-critics...)

netmarcos said...

@karrde As a Mormon, the only point of the Apostles Creed that I clearly disagree with is #9, but I still have a soft spot for the Beatles' treatment of the same.

netmarcos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alan said...

Like a couple people on here I am pretty familiar with the LDS faith. My only real beef would be with the writers assertation that, "Mormonism is properly and powerfully post-Christian, as Islam is post-Christian". As someone raised in a Catholic household I can understand and agree with the heresy point that the author and more than a few Christians make. I used to make the same point about other Christian groups myself. 'Protestantism? What were they smoking?"

What the author misses is that the LDS faith is a return to a more primitive, pre-Nicean, form of Christianity. Calling it post-Christian is like calling the new production of 'Much Ado About Nothing" by Joss Whedon an original new story without precedent or inspration. I'm sure Whedon will have some original and humorous takes on the material that some may enjoy and others diislike but the story itself goes back to Shakespeare and earlier.

Marshal said...

if you are genuine about your Christianity — especially you Islamophobes — you'd better freak out

This is one data point among thousands demonstrating why conversations between left and right are pointless. Those the left calls Islamophobes don't object to Islamic religious doctine, they object to the violence done in the religion's name. Since doctrinal differences don't create animosity between Christianity and Islam the author's assertion of hypocrisy in relation to Mormonism has no basis whatever.

The Drill SGT said...

Marshall said..Since doctrinal differences don't create animosity between Christianity and Islam the author's assertion of hypocrisy in relation to Mormonism has no basis whatever.

I agree that Christians are not bothered by the doctrinal religious parts of the Koran that come in to play. Angels, bodily to Heaven, last and best Prophet, etc.

The sticking point is that the Koran is also a political manifesto AND the perfect word of god. So those parts about the other "people of the book" being second class citizens and the need for ongoing war until the whole earth and all its people are part of the Ummah, causes more than a bit of stress for those of us that don't want to bend our necks...

AF said...

"Critchley is saying: We intellectuals can pleasure ourselves with the delusional poetry of Mormonism, but if you are genuine about your Christianity — especially you Islamophobes — you'd better freak out."

I think you're projecting your relentless partisanship on Critchley. He's writing on a NYT philosophy blog. No conservative Christians are paying attention to what he says. And I see no evidence that he is under the mistaken impression that they are.

The Crack Emcee said...

"Why I Love Mormonism."

Prophets: "My name is _______ and I'm an Ex Mormon."

Eugene said...

Critchley's referencing of Whitman is apropos. Joseph Smith was the apotheosis of mid-19th century transcendentalism, paralleling contemporary utopian movements such as Brook Farm. The big difference was, Joseph Smith's efforts--in large part thanks to Brigham Young--actually lasted.

Another big difference is Mormonism's embrace of the physical world. BYU biology courses teach evolution, not creationism. KBYU broadcasts all the NOVA and Nature programs on the subject. Growing up in New York, a good half of the congregation were Ph.D.s working for G.E. R&D.

Why, Critchley asks, "are Mormons so keen to conceal their pearl of the greatest price? Why is no one really talking about this?" Not a few Mormons wonder why too.

The Crack Emcee said...

karrde,

He obviously met some people who were well-versed in philosophy, history, and culture. These people were Mormon,...

Do they assume that religious people are generally foolish?


How can a Mormon be "well-versed in history" while claiming Native Americans are the lost tribes of Israel?

"Foolish" doesn't even begin to describe the pretzel logic at work,...

roesch/voltaire said...

I think what Mormons miss in this God was man who became a God etc., which accounts for the continual increase in prophets who populate Salt Lake City, is the mystic( Sufi and others)understanding that the Divine is the center of existence, and the heart is the center through which we connect with it. Thus looking inward for peace and light and working in the world with compassion yes, as enlightened humans, but not God.

caplight45 said...

In 1976 I voted for Jimmy Carter because he was an Evangelical Christian and it was supposed to be "our moment." I have never voted for a candidate for POTUS based on their religious views since then. Lesson learned.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

each of us has within us something uncreated, something that precedes God and that is itself divine.

Having accepted to be sent into the world, as Mormons sometimes put it, the task is to exalt ourselves such that we, too, can become Gods.


Interestingly, this sounds very similar to the some of the concepts of reincarnation and enlightenment (becoming a pure soul or God). I wonder if Joseph Smith was aware of those religious concepts or if he developed this idea on his own, independently?

"Souls are held to enter many different bodies through the course of their existence. In each of the lives they lead they develop spiritually. The ultimate goal of this spiritual development is the liberation from the system of earthly suffering."

The Crack Emcee said...

roesch/voltaire,

I think what Mormons miss in this God was man who became a God etc., which accounts for the continual increase in prophets who populate Salt Lake City, is the mystic( Sufi and others)understanding that the Divine is the center of existence, and the heart is the center through which we connect with it.

According to Mitt Romney there are no prophets, so somebody's lying somewhere.

Even more curious is - even after he stated his religion is based on a lie - Mormons are still going along with the lie and him. Funny how THAT works, considering how good, wholesome, and up-right they supposedly are.

I'd get that shit straightened out if I were him,...

DADvocate said...

I find it quite intriguing that Eldredge Cleaver, once a black power radical, converted to Mormonism and was a member in good standing when he died.

Marshal said...

The Drill SGT said...

I agree that Christians are not bothered by the doctrinal religious parts of the Koran that come in to play. Angels, bodily to Heaven, last and best Prophet, etc.

The sticking point is that the Koran is also a political manifesto AND the perfect word of god


I don't disagree the political implementation is disliked. That isn't my point. The author is trying to drive a wedge between Mormons and other Christians. First by asserting that Christians dislike Islam because of feature X, and then pointing out that feature X exists in Mormonism as well.

The problem is that while many Christians disagree with Islam it isn't over feature X, but rather feature Z. Since Mormonism doesn't include feature Z the transferrence doesn't work.

The Crack Emcee said...

Dust Bunny Queen,

Interestingly, this sounds very similar to the some of the concepts of reincarnation and enlightenment (becoming a pure soul or God).

In cult-watching circles, Joseph Smith is known as a sleazy occult con man and nothing more - so it makes sense that those who follow his philosophy will now claim to be Christians:

Like him, they'll say anything.

Scientologists run the same game, too.

What you can't get any cult or cultist to do - outside of a court of law - is be consistent and deal with reality.

Get them in a setting where they have to do it, and then they're the ones to freak out,...

The Crack Emcee said...

DADvocate,

I find it quite intriguing that Eldredge Cleaver, once a black power radical, converted to Mormonism and was a member in good standing when he died.

Why? Did you ever listen to Eldredge Cleaver's speeches? The man was an idiot.

And it also goes to show the holier-than-thou Mormons will accept any ol' scumbag to burnish their image. Like the Democrats, thinking Barack Obama makes up for 200 years of racist bullshit, the Mormons could recruit Al Sharpton and I still wouldn't be impressed.

A cult is a cult is a cult is a cult,...

Alan said...

Dust Bunny Queen said...
Interestingly, this sounds very similar to the some of the concepts of reincarnation and enlightenment (becoming a pure soul or God). I wonder if Joseph Smith was aware of those religious concepts or if he developed this idea on his own, independently?

I wondered the same thing when I first heard the story of the Sikh founder Guru Nanak. It's an awful lot like Smith's Sacred Grove story. For some reason I doubt Smith had heard of Nanak as a 14 year old kid in the backwoods of New York.

chuck said...

We live in a world designed by a Mormon Republican, Mariner S. Eccles, the man responsible for formulating most of the ideas of the New Deal. The Mormons, for better or worse, are the most successful socialist movement the US has ever produced.

Mark O said...

“a corruption of dogma” Really. Is there anything creepier than imagining one is literally drinking the blood and eating the flesh of their God? I await your nominations.

tim in vermont said...

Trolling for cracky-one-note? Yeesh, I don't usually like twit screeners, but I wouldn't mind it for cracky. When is the last time he said anything interesting?

Earnest Prole said...

I regularly hear the same kind of naive bigotry toward Mormons in the Bay Area, supposedly the most tolerant place on earth, and my response is generally to say "I feel the same way about Negroes and Jews" and wait a beat before raising an ironic eyebrow.

The Crack Emcee said...

Mark O,

Is there anything creepier than imagining one is literally drinking the blood and eating the flesh of their God? I await your nominations.

Yeah, taking 14 year old girls as your "wives" (hell of a wedding night, huh?) while claiming God told you to do it.

Considering that, I'll eat a fucking Jesus cracker, any day.


The Crack Emcee said...

Earnest Prole,

I regularly hear the same kind of naive bigotry toward Mormons in the Bay Area, supposedly the most tolerant place on earth, and my response is generally to say "I feel the same way about Negroes and Jews" and wait a beat before raising an ironic eyebrow.

Gee, I didn't know "Negroes and Jews" follow the teachings of child rapists.

Now my eyebrow is raised,...

YoungHegelian said...

@mark,

Really. Is there anything creepier than imagining one is literally drinking the blood and eating the flesh of their God?

Umm, how about when your gods eat each other?

It's not like we're hurting Christ, you know? I mean, He asked for it.

karrde said...

@crack


How can a Mormon be "well-versed in history" while claiming Native Americans are the lost tribes of Israel?

"Foolish" doesn't even begin to describe the pretzel logic at work,...


I was referring more to the criticism of the cultural change (Romanticism in Europe) than the Mormon view of North American history before European exploration.

On that front, I'm told that the Book of Mormon contains many details which have little-to-no-connection with the history that archeologists find in North America.

For comparison, I'll pull a couple of details from Christian scriptures: archeologists have found the water-system under Jerusalem which was used by David to conquer Jerusalem, as well as the water-tunnel constructed by Hezekiah centuries later. Both are referenced in the historical section of the Old Testament. There's also a tale in the New Testament about Jesus healing a man at the Pool of Siloam. The remains of that pool can still be seen in Jerusalem.

@netmarcos,

If the belief described in the article (about God being an ascended human) is true, then the Creed diverges at the very first statement. ("...the Lord God Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth.")

This is explained (in Genesis and The Gospel of John) as God pre-existing the Universe that we know, and that the Universe was created by His Word. (Note that the first sentence of Genesis is a general statement; the details in the following chapters can be read either allegorically or historically.)

I can't claim to be a student of the Book of Mormon (or the teachings of the Church of Latter-Day Saints), but this difference of belief appears to be foundational.

The Crack Emcee said...

karrde,

I'm told that the Book of Mormon contains many details which have little-to-no-connection with the history that archeologists find in North America.

I know, which is why I find the whole current supposed-discussion of Mormons and Mormonism creepy and disgusting:

Here's a group of people and beliefs, with logical holes anyone can drive a Mack truck through, and everyone's pretending they're carrying on an intelligent discussion, by either avoiding them, hiding them, or insisting others do so, because they want to put one of these fruitcakes in a position of power over us.

It's Rosemary's Baby on a mass scale - minus the kid,...

edutcher said...

As Sarge notes, Westerners seem to do better with the Saints than easterners who move to Utah, but I've noticed people commenting here who know Mormons regard them highly.

The only Mormon I've known was a jerk, but that was his personality.

Michael said...

I've had nothing but good experiences in business with Mormons. Tough, principled and often annoying but good outcomes. A bit smug for my taste but that just might have been the guys I was dealing with. BTW have dealt with observant and Jack Mormons and find no difference.

Earnest Prole said...

@crack

Maybe if you cracked the Bible you'd know that multiple child brides were the Old Testament norm, along with plenty of other unsavory stuff. There's a word for condemning one religion while giving another a pass: bigotry.

David R. Graham said...

Mormonism is a recent iteration of Arianism. Arianism is/was, as Crack says of several recent moronicisms, a cult. Mormonism is not a religion. It is akin to a self-help movement, for self-salvation, thus its "successful socialism," as one commentor puts it.

Christians do not freak out at or over Arianism, Mormonism or Islam. Nor do Christians freak out over Mohammedanism, the idolatry of a book and a man which has gripped Islam and bent it over prostrate. Christians fight Arianism, Mormonism and Mohammedanism. Islam they would abide if it ever stood up again.

We're in a post-religious world, and that includes the religions of socialism and environmentalism. The "post" condition of the religion of multiculturalism was just illustrated by the picture of an ambassador's body being paraded, trophy-like, in a public street.

Referring to Christianity in the "post" condition, Bonhoeffer famously used the phrase "religionless Christianity." He did not live to see its concretations extend and expand.

Mohammedans are not alone in fighting this post-religious reality. Nor are they alone in feeling adrift in uncertainty caused by the disappearance and irrelevance of religion, including all the "secular" ones. Their reaction is typically violent and demogogic, but the phenomenon is felt and faced by all, equally.

It is frightening. Nothing to stand on. Double-down on the at-hand and known? Doesn't work, not really solid. Yell, scream, demand something be done? Go ahead.

Tillich's last lecture - at U Chicago - discussed "religion of the concrete Spirit." I take that to be a premonition of an incarnation, and not of a being, i.e., not of a creation.

Methadras said...

Manhattanites, well, at least the upper crust douche bag high-risers think republicans and conservatives are on the level of seeing a UFO.

UNTRIBALIST said...

One huge difference in Mormon and Christian theology is that in Mormonism an individual's “blood atonement” is sometimes required. It denies the Christian doctrine that Christ’s atonement will cover the sins of all who truly repent.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_atonement

Ambrose said...

It's the pagan robber baron strategy. One week it's Mormon, Mormon, Mormon, look at their wives; aren't they racist. Then the next week, it is Bain, Bain Bain, firing people, making too much money. Then, the next week, we're back to Mormons. Repeat until November.

The Crack Emcee said...

Earnest Prole,

@crack

Maybe if you cracked the Bible you'd know that multiple child brides were the Old Testament norm, along with plenty of other unsavory stuff. There's a word for condemning one religion while giving another a pass: bigotry.


I'm not "condemning one religion while giving another a pass" - I shit on all of them - so your bigotry charge is bogus. As is your claim about the Bible:

Jesus wasn't the horndog pedophile - your leader was.

Nice try, though, even if such a blatant disregard for the truth doesn't fit the good, clean, wholesome, and honest image you freaks try to portray,...

Smilin' Jack said...

Is there anything creepier than imagining one is literally drinking the blood and eating the flesh of their God? I await your nominations.

Yeah, taking 14 year old girls as your "wives" (hell of a wedding night, huh?) while claiming God told you to do it.


Most Biblical exegesis estimates that Mary was about 15 when Jesus was born. How can it be wrong to follow the example of God Himself?

The Crack Emcee said...

Earnest Prole,

And just because I know you're both slow AND weasely, let me be clear:

My comments were about Joseph Smith - the convicted con man, occultist, child abuser, and founder of the Mormon "church" - not the history of the Bangerter family.

The Crack Emcee said...

Smilin' Jack,

Most Biblical exegesis estimates that Mary was about 15 when Jesus was born. How can it be wrong to follow the example of God Himself?

A better question to ask is who would follow such a god?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Most Biblical exegesis estimates that Mary was about 15 when Jesus was born.

And so? At that time, it was entirely normal for young men and women to marry, have children and to take adult responsibilities. They had to do so because by the age of 45 most of them would be dead of illness and old age. Better start early at the most biologically advantageous stage if you want to reproduce.

We cannot judge other cultures and peoples of other times based on our OWN experiences.

The Crack Emcee said...

Dust Bunny Queen,

We cannot judge other cultures and peoples of other times based on our OWN experiences.

I still ask:

What kind of "loving god" impregnates a man's wife?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

What kind of "loving god" impregnates a man's wife?

I would have to believe that was literally, instead of figuratively, true to be able to answer something like that.

The Crack Emcee said...

Dust Bunny Queen,

I would have to believe that was literally, instead of figuratively, true to be able to answer something like that.

O.K., you'll have to indulge the poor atheist:

How does a god "figuratively" impregnate a man's wife?

gadfly said...

There are 41,000 separate Christian sects in the world today - which means there are many criticisms of just how the Christian God should be worshiped - starting with the all powerful Catholic church and moving on down to the "cults" such as the LDS.

However, Critchley's specious discussion of the "beliefs" of 19th century "prophet" Joseph Smith cannot stand an honest assessment of the sadly comical beginnings of a religious sect.

I like Christopher Hitchen's short history of the Book of Mormon.

In March 1826 a court in Bainbridge, New York, convicted a twenty-one-year-old man of being "a disorderly person and an impostor." That ought to have been all we ever heard of Joseph Smith, who at trial admitted to defrauding citizens by organizing mad gold-digging expeditions and also to claiming to possess dark or "necromantic" powers. However, within four years he was back in the local newspapers (all of which one may still read) as the discoverer of the "Book of Mormon."

The actual story of the imposture is almost embarrassing to read, and almost embarrassingly easy to uncover. In brief, Joseph Smith announced that he had been visited (three times, as is customary) by an angel named Moroni. The said angel informed him of a book, "written upon gold plates," which explained the origins of those living on the North American continent as well as the truths of the gospel. There were, further, two magic stones, set in the twin breastplates Urim and Thummim of the Old Testament, that would enable Smith himself to translate the aforesaid book. After many wrestlings, he brought this buried apparatus home with him on September 21, 1827, about eighteen months after his conviction for fraud. He then set about producing a translation.

Subsequently, a disbeliever, the the wife of Smith's corroborator in the ruse, tested Smith's interface with God by stealing 16 pages of the "translations", then challenging Smith to duplicate them - which he could not do.

What we have today is the great wealth of the Church of Jesus Christ being used to obfuscate the dependence of a fraudulent "bible" to support a profitable enterprise represented to be a Christian religion. Before someone goes there, yes indeed, the Catholic Church is much richer than the Mormons.

Smilin' Jack said...

Most Biblical exegesis estimates that Mary was about 15 when Jesus was born.

And so? At that time, it was entirely normal for young men and women to marry....


But I thought God was supposed to be pretty old. I mean, really, seriously old. As for Mary, isn't she supposed to still be alive? If I recall my stained glass windows aright, she never died, but rode some kind of magic carpet straight up to heaven. I don't think ancient actuarial tables really had much influence on God's decision to screw a hot high school chick.

What kind of "loving god" impregnates a man's wife?

I don't think she and Joseph were actually married at the time. It does seem Mary was a bit of a slut, though.

Mark O said...

Good thing those wacky Mormons aren't going to kill us for what's on the page today. Shall we do Mammatans? Blood run cold on that one? What if?

Easy to see the difference, or feel it when you won't say certain things in a public forum where you might be found.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

How does a god "figuratively" impregnate a man's wife?

IMHO: It is a figurative story. Not a literal action. An allegorical telling. "having hidden spiritual meaning that transcends the literal sense of a sacred text"

You don't have to believe everything in the Bible as a literal, actual, factual event to have some faith.

I'm not atheist. More like agnostic would be the term.

Earnest Prole said...

Crack,

I beg your pardon -- “Bangerher” is a needlessly vulgar way to refer to the beautiful and deeply religious experience I had with your mother.

Smilin' Jack said...

What kind of "loving god" impregnates a man's wife?

The Greek and Roman gods did that all the time. As I recall they usually took the form of a bull for their "loving", which must have really hurt. For Mary's sake, I hope the Christian God came as something smaller, like a dog or something.

paul a'barge said...

@Bender, comment number 1. Nails it. +1.

Nothing is more wearisome than someone who is not Christian or who is a weakly thinking Christian attempting to tell us what is blasphemy. And how we should react to it. I don't listen to these people anymore. I'm busy listening to the Holy Spirit.

The Crack Emcee said...

Earnest Prole,

Crack,

I beg your pardon -- “Bangerher” is a needlessly vulgar way to refer to the beautiful and deeply religious experience I had with your mother.


Ahh, from slandering "Negroes and Jews" to this:

Boy, you are proving to be the ideal person to defend Mormonism,...

Smilin' Jack said...

How does a god "figuratively" impregnate a man's wife?

IMHO: It is a figurative story. Not a literal action. An allegorical telling. "having hidden spiritual meaning that transcends the literal sense of a sacred text"


That reeks of the foul stench of heresy. Lucky for you today's Christians are too wussy to burn people at the stake any more. But you'll get your comeuppance in due time. When you're burning forever in a literal lake of fire, keep telling yourself, "hey, it's just an allegory!"

Dust Bunny Queen said...

But you'll get your comeuppance in due time. When you're burning forever in a literal lake of fire, keep telling yourself, "hey, it's just an allegory!"

Well then, I guess I'll be toasting along with the surprised Muslims who were expecting a bunch of virgins and atheists who don't believe in anything at all.

Michael said...

Reading Crack's posts remind me of high school. We had a guy who tried to dominate our philosophy class with the same redundant sophomoric ramblings. We get it, dude. Now relax.

The Crack Emcee said...

gadfly,

Thanks for the Hitchens reminder - I read God Is Not Great years ago and forgot his chapter on Mormonism:

The followers of the prophet Muhammad,...did not foresee (how could they, mammals as they were?) that the prophet of this ridiculous cult would model himself on theirs. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—hereafter known as the Mormons—was founded by a gifted opportunist who, despite couching his text in openly plagiarized Christian terms, announced that "I shall be to this generation a new Muhammad" and adopted as his fighting slogan the words, which he thought he had learned from Islam, "Either the Al-Koran or the sword."

So what do we learn from the great man of letters?

1) Mormonism is a cult.

2) It's modeled on Islam - not Christianity.

3) Joseph Smith merely "plagiarized Christian terms."

4) Joseph Smith was a "gifted opportunist."

5) He adopted a "fighting slogan" - which every religious person waiting to be our president needs, because he cares so damned much about we outsiders, right?

Why?

Because this is his cult's play for domination over us and nothing more.

I can hear people out there, right now, gearing up to ask, "How's he going to do it?" to which I will answer that's not the point.

The point is - in their mind - that's what they're doing and we shouldn't give them the opportunity because it's just inviting trouble.

Mormons have a long history of causing trouble in this country. They claim to be persecuted, but any clear reading of their history shows it is THEY who either start problems or otherwise bring it upon themselves - and always in defiance of the rest of us.

They are not a people - they are a cult - and not given to responding to reason,...

The Crack Emcee said...

Michael,

Reading Crack's posts remind me of high school. We had a guy who tried to dominate our philosophy class with the same redundant sophomoric ramblings. We get it, dude. Now relax.

Yeah, and you remind me of those kids who never got the hang of social skills, so they hated anyone who possessed them and did everything in their power to undermine them.

You get it? I don't think so:

Shut-the-fuck-up.

BarryD said...

"When you're burning forever in a literal lake of fire"

Why does the fire stay in the lake? Is there gravity in, well, whatever dimension that is? Does fire sink to the low spots?

This ain't Biden, here. "Literal" has a meaning.

Michael said...

Crack: No, I don't think I will. Instead, I think I will say that you are boring in addition to being redundant and not particularly good at attracting believers to your cult theory. Further, I think your musicianship and your thoughts on music are not particularly original or interesting and that your presence on this blog is outsized relative to your contribution. Next, if you subtracted the number of hits attained from your links to your own site on this blog you would be disappointed. Finally, social skills are not demonstrated by telling someone to "fuck off" as you so sourly put it. I could recommend a number of books on social skills for you but I am afraid they would interfere with your finalizing your universal theory of cults.

jr565 said...

Crack wrote:

O.K., you'll have to indulge the poor atheist:

How does a god "figuratively" impregnate a man's wife?

now you're getting somewhere. Off of the cult/ Mormon kick and into the anti Christian kick. So I ask you, shouldn't any Christian have to stevens such a CRAZY belief before he can set foot in the halls of power? So unless a president is an atheist like
Yourself I don't see why you wouldn't similarly invalidate their ability to serve.

jr565 said...

Crack wrote:
Yeah, and you remind me of those kids who never got the hang of social skills, so they hated anyone who possessed them and did everything in their power to undermine them.

and YOU posess social skills?

Quayle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jr565 said...

Julie:
Thank you to many of you here in this forum who are so open minded and accepting, I always appreciate coming across people like you!


You obviously havent met Crack yet

The Crack Emcee said...

Michael,

I think your presence on this blog is outsized relative to your contribution.

Like I said, that's what eats you up, drives you crazy, makes you mad:

Because it's not you - it's like I'm America and you're France and you just don't understand what's wrong.

What's wrong? You're nobody, Michael. Nothing. You're less than nothing. You're one of those empty French pastries filled mostly with air.

You don't like what I write? Don't read it. Don't care for my music? I won't lose any sleep over it. As a matter of fact, you've cheered me up by letting me know how under your skin I get. Why?

BECAUSE I DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT YOU.

I've got certain critics here who annoy me by following me around - jr565 comes to mind - but Michael? Who-the-fuck-is-Michael? Don't know and don't care. You make no criticisms worthy of my time. You say nothing interesting. You're a blank. I'm as affected by you as a light breeze on a windless day. As a fart without sound or smell. As a bite from a toothless child. As a moth landing on my head.

So, please, carry on. Hate me. Despise me. Clinch your fists and type that way. See if I care. You have affected me in one way and in one way only:

You have sincerely made my day,...

Quayle said...

It really is very simple:

1. God(s), having given birth to our spirits, created a plan whereby we could all continue to progress and grow.

2. The key things we needed to grow were a) to get a physical body, and (b) to have a rich and full experience with a very wide spectrum of events and principals (i.e. good and evil.) As Mormon scripture puts it, "That they may learn by their own experience how to distinguish good from evil."

3. So here we are. Problem is, and always was, that we'd get down here and the shock and utter horror of it (and the strong passionate characteristics of our new body) would cause us to wilfully choose to sin sometimes.

(a) Sometimes we sin because we mistakenly think sin is good (on one carnel level it feels good, anyway), sometimes we sin because we think it will be beneficial, sometimes because we want to get rid of the pain, sometimes because we think we have to save ourselves, so we strike out at others.

4. Not to worry, says God(s). For your progress you absolute need to go through this experience and have this body. I already know you'll all sin. It isn't even a question of if, but when. So let me put in place a method whereby you can learn and grow through trial and error, but still escape from the effects and consequences of your sins.

5. Here is Christ. He'll provide anything you need to get around your sids.

Now the issue of sin is off the table (if you'll take advantage of His sacrifice for you by repenting - constantly.)

So, we are free to learn through trial and error, and grow and make mistakes, and learn. And your sins don't have to frustrate the whole experience.

Everybody always focuses on the rules of Mormonism, but hardly anyone ever talks about how the entire thing turns on God having taken the issue of sin off the table from the very start.

All this from an ignorant hick farm boy from the outskirts of the US.

The Crack Emcee said...

jr565,

You obviously havent met Crack yet

And, right on time, there he is:

How's the puppy, nipping at my heels, today?

Quayle said...

By the way, Critchley missed a very important part of Mormon theology when he said,

"And the word “man” has to be understood literally here. Women cannot be priests or prophets or aspire to an exclusively masculine divinity, which seems petty, a pity and rather silly to me. But there we are."

He's got it exactly wrong.

The Mormon theology is that both genders get the same exaulting result in the hereafter.

There is no difference in the outcome for men or women, even if there are differences in administrative roles and responsibilities in this life.

And, the Mormon concept of Heaven and the hereafter is, as articulated in teh Book of Mormon, is that everyone will get exactly what they want in the hereafter - will get their heart's true desires.

And to contrast that stunning doctrine, Mormons also believe that hell is only filled with those that knew from revelation the truth of Mormonism (or the God's pure truth in their day) and turned from it.

Therefore, so to speak, the Mormon concept of hell is that it will only be filled with Mormons, and only those that had a very high degree of pure knowledge from revelation, and then turned from it anyway.

The Crack Emcee said...

Quayle,

Everyone will get exactly what they want in the hereafter - will get their heart's true desires.

Must,...resist,..comment,....

Michael said...

Crack. Those all caps are a sure sign that you are unfazed. As the fool Shiloh might type. Lol.

David said...

I read the essay this afternoon. It's really excellent, way better than the average piece on Mormonism or on religion generally. It's good enough and difficult enough to read twice. Finally something on the subject that is not crap.

The Crack Emcee said...

Michael,

Crack. Those all caps are a sure sign that you are unfazed. As the fool Shiloh might type. Lol.

I know, I've heard:

Hitting the CAPS LOCK key on my computer is proof - PROOF - I'm upset, violent, a bully, whatever you morons imagine it means.

Let me clue you in to something:

You take this medium waaay too seriously.

This is NOT real life, Michael. Watch:

I TYPED THIS CALMLY.

So your LOL is just further evidence you're the moron I imagine you to be. Get that? "Imagine." Because I know - KNOW - I'm only interacting with your idiotic words, not the real person on the other end of them.

Live and learn, Michael, if you're capable of learning,...

David said...

Religion has always seemed to me something you can't embrace--or maybe it's just I can't--unless you can instinctively accept its premises. The idea of Latter Day Saints--a concept central to Moromonism--is just as difficult to grasp as an infinite and innately divine God responsible for all of creation. In Mormon as described in the essay, creation comes first and then God, who is neither infinite nor responsible for all creation. Indeed God is just a part of a string of deities who may pop up from time to time.

That may be why Crack sees the Mormons as another cult (as opposed to the Christians? I'm not sure?). Their book and beliefs come so recently, from humans who are so clearly flawed and who had much to profit from personally through the religion, that it's inherently more suspect. The idea that another Saint or Diety can pop up at any time (not just a single magnificent Second Coming) is fraught with the danger of fraud and manipulation. Plus in its sometime exploitation of women through polygamy, there is a specific history of cultish behavior.

I have never looked at Mormonism this way. My prism is entirely the individual Mormons I have known, fine people with strong families and a generous spirit. Since all religious beliefs seem strange to me in one way or another, I do not view people through the window of their beliefs unless the beliefs appear to distort their secular actions. I suspect Crack would say this is a very foolish and wrongheaded approach. So be it. It has worked for me. So far.

Michael said...

Crack. You dont much like criticism do you? You might find some of it to be helpful and view your current circumstances as the result of your own making and not that of some vast plot against you by cultists. You might, in other words, relax the cult theme a bit as the audience that hasnt left is asleep.

Harold said...

My working definition of a cult- A religion or movement you join after reaching the age of reason, or a movement less then one generation old.

And established religion- A religion you are born into that your parents practiced.

Under those definitions, Scientology is most definitely a cult. Even though it is just slightly more then a generation old- adherrents all seem to be new. There don't seem to be a whole lot of second generation Scientologists- incliding L- Ron Hubbard's kids.

Mormonism, either LDS or Reformed Church of LDS, which claims to be the true LDS church, is no longer a cult. People are born into it and stick around.

One has to be careful when calling someone a cultist. De-programmers have been sued for attempting to deprogram nice Espicopalian girls who have run off and joined cloistered Roman Catholic communinities. By my definition, the new convert has become a cultist- and de-programmers readily agree. Corts not so much. Failure in the deprogramming process can and does lead to criminal and civil charges. Including kidnapping. Off the top of my head, I can't think of an instance where succesful deprogramming has resulted in charges being brought against deprogrammers.

I also have a test for false relgions. If a relgion recruits by teh sword (convert of die), or pronoinces and enforces the death penalty on people who leave it, or on people wjho insult it, the religion is false. There is today in the world only one relgion I'm aware of that meets that definition- Islam.

The last case of Christian blaphemy resulting in a death sentence (that I'm aware of) was in Scotland in the 1700's. Under ny definition, the Kirk was, at the time, a false religion. So be it. Religions and cultures can and do change. All the orginal Mormons were cultists, no questions about it. Many of the Mormons today are not. Converts to the LDS Church are, but their children are not.

I get a along well with a lot of religious people I know from several different Christian faiths. And they all have something in common- they are religious, but not overly so. IT seems to me that people who practice their religion on the cafeteria plan, but more seriously then those on the holiday plan, are usually pretty good people to hang out with. Oh, the holiday plan? That would be the people who are present at church (or temple) only on holidays.

Anyone who takes their religion too seriously, and this includes militant atheists, are royal pains in the neck. I've known quite a few bible thumpers in my time. They learned after a bit that I was ignoring their sales pitch, and was putting up with them only because they had some other redeeming qualities that allowed me to. And they learned to stop bible thumping around me.

The Crack Emcee said...

Michael,

Crack. You dont much like criticism do you?

Wrong again, Grasshopper - I welcome it - always have, though I prefer intelligent criticism, as opposed to the BS someone like you delivers. Consider:

Here you say "the audience that hasnt left is asleep" but, in your previous comment, you said "your presence on this blog is outsized relative to your contribution."

My presence is based on people talking to or about me - my name was brought up early in this post - so you can't be correct, both, the audience is asleep and I'm merely indulging my ego.

You, on the other hand, appear to serve no purpose and are acknowledged by no one for anything.

Look up "projection," Michael, it should serve you well,...

The Crack Emcee said...

Harold,

My working definition of a cult,...

...Is no more valid than anyone else's. Since I spend a lot of time on the subject - and am respected in cult-watching circles - I'd say your definition is completely wrong and, at the very least, vastly outdated.

There are all kinds of cults today, infiltrating almost every aspect of society and at almost every level of endeavor. As you have correctly noticed, we are now in generations of cultism, but that doesn't mean they're any less cults:

The artist Beck was born into Scientology - does that make it any less of a cult?

Joaquin Phoenix, the actor and star of the new Scientology-based movie, The Master, was born into the notorious Children of God, does that make it any less of a cult?

You require more study of the subject,...

Harold said...

No definition of a subject like religion is perfect- nor can it be. And my definition of a cult is not only no more valid than anyone else's, it is also no less valid. And is a fairly commonly used definition.

I generally avoid talking about religion, especially my own beliefs, for a simple reason. One that was expressed best by the great RAH.

"It is impossible for any two people to have a rational discussion about religion." Referring, of course, to the fact that all religion is based on faith and revelation, not verifiable fact.

I probably know much more about cults then you, the respected cult watcher. I was a prime target for recruitment by David Berg's children of God back in my teenage years. Approached several times by various cult recruiters on late night subway and SIRT rides. The most annoting were Hare Krishna. (Remember them?) Liberal exposure to science fiction made me immune to the cult disease. The initial recruitment technique at the time for Children of God was interesting. Approach the lonely mark with a male/female team, and the female would get physically firendly, very friendly, and offer to put the mark up for the night. Sex would be involved. I never took them up on shelter- I was always actually travelling somewhere and not just riding the trains for shelter, as many do. Didn't know about the sex part at the time- might have taken them up on it.

Nah, probably not. I was more a prude back then.

Been studying cults, on and off, since I was a teen. In my 50's now. Cults, con men, CIA, KGB, gangs, etc, all use the same basic recruiting techniques. Set the bait out, draw the mark in and get him (or her) involved a little at the time, and eventually, entrap them in the web. You should read a book called Games Inmates Play- you'll find inmates use the same techniques that cults do.

I agree that Scientolgy remains a cult today even with a handful of second generation scientologists. If it's still around in 100 years, it won't be. Although it will still have cultlike charactersitics. Sort of like some versions of Kabballah today. Kabballah has been around for a while, but what Madonna practices...

The Crack Emcee said...

Harold,

No definition of a subject like religion is perfect

No, but a discussion of cults involves more than religion. There are political cults, medical cults, corporate cults - to focus on religious cults is to miss the phenomena.

nonrandom set said...

and apparently atheistic cults. am I the only one that thinks it weird that an avowed atheist is so into cult-watching and identifying religions as cults?

Harold said...

"There are political cults, medical cults, corporate cults - to focus on religious cults is to miss the phenomena."

Couldn't agree with you more, with biggest cult in America being the Democrat Party.

cathy said...

I suppose the question was what did God have in mind when everything was created. Was there an idea, an image, a desire, a blueprint? These weren't enough, instead there had to be matter, all ready. It seems that the idea of an invisible God was a major step forward in history.

ken in sc said...

Some of Orson Scott Cards books contain whole sections of the Book of Mormon, without attribution. The one I remember was about mole people and bat people. One of the mole people had a vision that came right out of the Book of Mormon.