Saturday, June 14, 2014

Declaration of Apostasy

Recently there has been an uproar of sorts over the possible (probable, actually) excommunication from the LDS Church of John Dehlin and Kate Kelly, two people who apparently have websites and use those websites to disseminate their opinions about stuff. Church headquarters seems to have an issue with this kind of activity, and for obvious reasons. I mean, talking about stuff and having opinions and saying stuff—that's bad. So you can see where they're coming from down there in Salt Lake. But isn't excommunication a pretty serious deal? I always thought that was reserved for worst-case scenarios, things like becoming a polygamist, becoming a polygamist without your wife knowing about it, using church buildings on Monday after 6PM, or not being an Eagle Scout. Apostasy and other "crimes involving moral turpitude" also make the list (according to Bruce McConkie in Mormon Doctrine).

So what is apostasy? A total desertion of or departure from one's religion, principles, party, cause, etc, that's what. So really, someone who gets excommunicated from The Church for apostasy shouldn't care, because they've already deserted or departed from it, right? Congratulations all around for a big accomplishment, getting rid of someone who is already gone! But according to Dehlin and Kelly, they haven't left The Church and don't want to, although Dehlin has stated the he loves The Church but doesn't believe some of the doctrines associated with the restoration. To me, that doesn't make him apostate as much as it makes him an idiot. Seriously, he'll keep the hellishly boring three hour block on Sunday, the Pharisaical culture that measures the sleeves on girls' prom dresses and assigns social standing based on the results, and assumes grievous sin if guys show up to church in a non-white shirt, but he's willing to abandon doctrines that clarify Christianity and the nature of God? He's exactly backwards as far as I can tell. But whatever. If that's what he likes, fine. So how is Church headquarters defining apostasy if Dehlin and Kelly are apostate? And why did Rock Waterman, a blogger who had definitely not deserted or departed from his "religion, principles, party, cause, etc," get notice of a disciplinary hearing that will likely lead to his excommunication? Is disagreeing with a certain level of the Church hierarchy the new definition of apostasy? Are these guys infallible and not to be questioned ever on anything? Before we pick a favorite baseball team should we wait to see what President Tomassissmonson (Uchtdorf pronunciation) says is his favorite team? Because that would be important, no? If that's the new definition—disagreeing with anything anyone at Church headquarters says or does or decides—then I suppose I'm apostate for wondering why there exists a committee dedicated solely to collecting information on members and using that information against them should the opportunity arise. That's the Strengthening Church Members Committee, and why in the world does it exist? There must be something better to do. Maybe hometeaching, maybe printing up bright yellow Mormon Helping Hands shirts, maybe almost anything else. That's a real committee, sadly, and that's how Dehlin, Kelly, Waterman, and many others, including the already exed Denver Snuffer, have come to the attention of Church headquarters. There is a network of people who tattle on those who might have an opinion that puts them outside of what the rat perceives as normal. That sounds like a great organization, and exactly what Jesus would do. Are they getting rid of these people because it's bad PR? Guess what, it's worse PR than letting them have their causes and just simply ignoring them. How's this article on Daily Beast for PR? Good luck in the LDS press room guys. You're probably winning!

Well, time for a list of apostate opinions. Let's see if if I can be declared Officially Apostate.
·The presiding high priest, colloquially known as The Prophet (even though there is no such office), should not be dedicating banks and malls as if they are temples. What would Abinidi do? Not that, I hope.
·Speaking of malls, City Creek Mall is a multi-billion dollar embarrassment of a boondoggle. Why a Church related corporation is involved in wasting so much money is beyond me. O Baylon, O Babylon.
·Church is boring. I blame this on the correlated curriculum, and the tradition of guilting people into speaking when they have no desire to speak at all. And also on the fact that Sunday school seems to be mistaken for a babysitting operation.
·Scouts is not an inspired program. If I wanted to send my kids to military school I would do that. I didn't. So The Prophet (there it is again) chose it to be the de facto Young Men's program in 1492 or whatever. So what. That doesn't mean six years of nationalist brainwashing is inspired, and anyway, church units DON'T EVEN DO SCOUTING THE WAY SCOUTING SAYS TO DO IT. So it's inspired, but not enough that we'll actually follow the program. I see.
·Everything every General Authority says is not scripture/doctrine/gospel truth. This is just a matter of logic, because any point can be reinforced by a quote from someone at some point in history. Pro-war, anti-war, pro-Coke, anti-Coke, racist, non-racist, etc forever. To prove my point, here's a quote from Harold B Lee:
"It is not to be thought that every word spoken by the General Authorities is inspired, or that they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost in everything they speak and write. Now you keep that in mind. I don't care what his position is, if he writes something or speaks something that goes beyond anything that you can find in the standard works, unless that one be the prophet, seer, and revelator—please note that one exception—you may immediately say, "Well, that is his own idea!" And if he says something that contradicts what is found in the standard works (I think that is why we call them "standard"—it is the standard measure of all that men teach), you may know by that same token that it is false; regardless of the position of the man who says it."
·Also on that note, I disagree with this talk  from Gordon Hinckley. I disagree with nearly everything in it, but especially this statement: "I believe that God will not hold men and women in uniform responsible as agents of their government in carrying forward that which they are legally obligated to do." I am also disturbed that someone who claimed to be a seer and revelator would defer to national intelligence agencies on the matter of what was true and what was not. "Gosh, I don't know. We should ask someone… who should we ask… I know, the CIA! They'll tell the truth!"
·And then there's this one from Thomas Monson in 1991. Yikes. Count me out.
·I didn't vote for Mitt Romney. Hey, if you want to investigate someone who is publicly departing from doctrine, there's your guy. What an embarrassment. And everyone was saying what great publicity it would be for The Church. Yeah, if being used as a patsy pawn in a joke of an election is good publicity, then it was great. Did anyone even look at his platform? Holy cow, excommunicate him.
·The existence of the Strengthening the Members of the Church Committee is disturbing. Why do we have a snitch network? Why do we have dossiers on members, even if they are rabble rousers? The best thing to do with attention seekers is ignore them if you don't like them. That's pretty basic. Or at least I thought. But a committee like this is straight out of Stalin's playbook. What's next, disappearing undesirables and erasing them from pictures? Oh, wait, that already happened. Original. Stalinized version. Let this soak in: The LDS Church has a secret committee dedicated to collecting information on member who may be dissenting on some issue.
·The New Coolest Thing is to be gay. Suddenly society is ultra-tolerant, to the point that it has become intolerant to any opinion other than the prevailing one. So Church HQ makes a website, mormonsandgays.com, to make sure everyone knows we're not intolerant. Fine. And then when a few members have an opinion about it, they're on the chopping block. Seems contradictory to me, and bad PR as well.
·I don't like the primary song Follow the Prophet. It's annoying.
·White shirts and ties are not doctrinally mandated attire. There. I said it.

Have I totally departed from or deserted my religion, principles, party, cause, etc? Or have I merely formed my own opinions? If Rock Waterman is apostate, then I'm apostate too. So what?