Kokaubeam voices

Thursday, October 26, 2006

What is Doctrine?

I hate to engage in absolutes (when a nice relative statement will do), but I think I can safely say that the aspect of Mormonism that most frustrates me is the inability to nail down any particular teaching or doctrine. In fact, even the things that are clearly and uniquely Mormon, say polygamy or the Word of Wisdom, change status and boundaries all the time. There are probably hundreds or perhaps dozens of examples, depending on your definitions. Let’s take an example.

Joseph started practicing polygamy in 1838 (or was it 1833? It’s so hard to tell.), revealed it as doctrine in 1843, Brigham spread the fun to about 20% of the boys in the club. John Taylor said it was so important that it would never be taken from the earth. Less than 10 years later, under new management, Wilford Woodruff changes his mind and does just that. For the next 70 years or so the church proudly teaches that it’s a principle that will come back someday. Then when ‘correlation’ became the fashion, they swept it under the rug, with the rest of the uncomfortable and confusing doctrine. Today, when the church produces lesson material about the life of Brigham Young, they not only fail to mention polygamy, they even go so far as to edit any reference to multiple wives out of his words.

Another quick example. Every president of the church up to Gordon B. Hinckley has said that worthy members can become Gods of their own worlds when they die. So isn’t it interesting that Hinckley now denies that this is doctrine, and you cannot find it in the lesson manuals.

Now to the dilemma. When you ask a devout Mormon about any particular lost doctrine, they will claim that it was never a doctrine of the church. They will say that it is nothing more than a rumor or a tradition. That it was never taught. That it was taught, but not by a prophet. Or if you really pin them down, as in the case of the ridiculous pronouncements of Brigham Young or Orson Pratt that appear in the Journal of Discourses, they will say “It was never canonized, so it doesn’t count”.

As I contemplate this more, I realize this could easily be 3 or 4 blog posts, so I will stop here and get this one posted. As a parting thought, consider the last excuse. “It’s only doctrine if it is canonized, and if the body of the church sustains it in General Conference”. I will grant you that I was never a church scholar, but I can think of only a single doctrine that was accepted in this manner. That being the Official Declaration 2. Did I miss something?

Monday, October 16, 2006

Church of Scientology vs. Mormons

I read an article recently on whether Tom Cruise could rehabilitate his image and career after so vocally espousing his silly religion. It got me to thinking about how silly it all is.

Consider the following:

Scientology excersizes control over initmate aspects of members lives. For example, demanding silence during birthing. Mormons tell members what kind of underwear to wear, and how to make love.

Scientologists believe that drugs are bad, regardless of medical evidence to the contrary. Mormons believe that green tea and wine are bad, regardless of medical evidence to the contrary.

Scientologists expect you to give increasing amounts of money to the Church, in order to learn more and grow. Mormons expect you to give 10% of all your income to the church, in order to get to heaven.

Scientologists have a book of scripture, that is repetitive and useless to anyone but members. Mormons have a book of scripture that is not only repetitive, but poorly written and useless to anyone but members.

Scientologists cover up all of their financial dealings. Mormons, same thing.
Scientologists have yachts that they claim are essential parts of the religion, yet most members have never been aboard. Mormons have temples.

Scientology was founded by a megalomaniac drug adict. Mormonism was founded by a megalomaniac sex addict. Scientology's second leader was vengeful despot who tried to silence critics by threatening and killing them. Mormonism's second leader was Brigham Young.

Scientologists are taking over downtown Clearwater Fl. Mormons are taking over downtown Salt Lake City.

Scientologists love to parade their celebrity members, and make concessions to the rules for them. Mormons... Same thing.

Scientologists expel member critics and sue non members. Mormons excommunicate members who question policy. They sue the Tanners for publishing their policy manual.

Suddenly I'm not sure which religion is which. I remember one of them was founded by a chain smoker who's grave no one can find, and one of them was founded by a serial pederast who's death no one can agree on...

Not to sound cliche, but how did I ever believe all that?

Monday, October 09, 2006

In Memorium, Jerald Tanner

Jerald Tanner

How could this man be such a threat to the church? He was a quiet man. Gentle. He wasn’t rich or powerful. In fact he was a bit goofy. What was it that made him such a threat to the LDS church? His relentless search for truth, and his integrity.

Like so many other exmormons, he had heard a slightly disturbing fact about the early days of the church and he went on a quest to find the truth. In his case, the quest was a literal trip to Missouri. He came back with documents and questions. Ultimately he discovered what we know now. That the church has hidden it’s warts from us. Asked us to ignore that philandering, money grubbing man behind the curtain and just pay, prey and obey.

I attended Jerald’s memorial service on Saturday. I have to tell you, I was impressed again by what a gracious woman is Sandra. Dignified, and genuine. She greeted friends and family warmly, in the isle of the church. When we got underway, the pastor sang a lovely song about Christ’s love. Then spoke about his loving relationship with Jerald. Next there was a heartwarming photo montage, and then Bill McKeever spoke at length about Jeralds mission. Jerald and Sandra’s son Dennis spoke about the simple man who raised three kids, and built a business in the heart of Salt Lake City. Finally the wonderful Chris Tomlin song ‘How great is our God’. That’s when I finally broke into tears. I don’t know if a mormon hymn has ever done that to me.

I never met Jerald. I had only met Sandra once. And yet, their conservative approach to systematically documenting the problems with Mormonism, and the modern church that it has become were responsible for me seeing the truth. (With a little push from Mark Hofmann).

Thank you, Jerald. Enjoy your eternal reward.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Welcome, Kolobians

I'll keep the introduction simple, so that we can get to the posting.

Some friends over on FLAK were complaining that they liked blogging, but didn't have time to keep up, and thus had rather sparse blogs. Others bemoaned the fact that so many good DAMU blogs had gone away.

My solution was to create a group blog where everyone could contribute as much as they were comfortable with and everyone could read every day. Let's hope this works.

- Nom de Cypher

If you want to be added to the team, drop me a line at nom.d.cypher@gmail.com