Not to convert you or justify me. Just to explain. The views expressed represent no one but me. Great Zamboni already has practiced and perfected his own brand of Zoroasterian Zen Krav Maganism, see his previous post. -jordan
1. It’s very Old Testament. The Book of Mormon starts with Lehi and his brood tracing their geneology to Abraham. It’s all about the prophets, Noah, Moses, and the ones with crazy names, Zebikiah et al. Most other Christian sects and crews I’ve encountered give the old testament, “Jewy” stuff, short shrift. In those churches they see my people as the bearded and somewhat kooky distant ancestors. Your quirky grandfather from the old country who sold rags. The first God (Heavenly Father, the Saints call him), is very much important in the LDS church. If Judaism were a branch of Christianity- it’d be Mormon.
2. The Mormons I’ve met. I kept waiting for them to talk about people going to hell or “the end of days” and they never did. I kept waiting for them all to fall into little boxes. Elder Mike had other children with a first wife who left him for a career in music. And they are all so damned nice. Not phony nice, actually nice. Another Elder told me his sister is a lesbian. I told him two of the best parents I know are a same sex couple and I could never believe they shouldn’t be together.
“Would you disown your sister then?” I asked.
“Of course not, she’s family. ” I don’t expect em all to be like that.
I kept waiting for the pressure to join. Never came. The Elders ( a few years older than my daughter, at 18!) just kept talking about “agency” and “personal choice.” Obviously I will be having to speak up about objections I have to church doctrine. Oh well.
3. They’re pioneers, and very damn American. They were driven west, from New York, to Missouri, run out of there by angry mobs who killed a lot of them. They were exiled and wandering in the desert -or the midwest- until they got to the promised land -Utah. Many were early abolitionists, and Joseph Smith ordained a black man around 1840. Brigham Young?- don’t go there.
4. Love and Service to others. They’re big on that.
5. Adam and Eve didn’t just “fall” with their “original sin” (cue thunder and smoke!) They made a choice to become like God. Life is not meant to be suffering. It’s meant to be wonderful.
6. God Still Talks to People The church doesn’t see ye olde Biblical times as the only ones where God spoke to us. We can still hear his still small voice. Are extremist nutballs going to use “visions” to justify insanity? Sure. But nutballs will always be nutballs for their own reasons. Or rather just one reason- they’re fucking crazy. The Unabomber was very non-religious. Like Annie Dillard wrote, ” There never was a holier age than ours, and never a less.” When I pray, God often uses Coach Taylor’s voice from Friday Night Lights. It’s effective. In my limited experience so far, prayer feels like meditation with intent. Like asking for help .
7. Joseph Smith Receiving the Plates from The Angel Moroni on which was written The Book of Mormon is pretty hard to believe, and Where are Theses “plates” Now? And Moses receiving the commandments is too. And The Red Sea. Raining frogs, also a stretch. But faith in these things is also powerful.
8. Mormon Church doesn’t have priests who lead services. People in the congregation get up and speak, do things, have callings. This is not to say it’s unorganized- oh no. No plate passing either.
9. A Calling. Ultimately this is all a personal direction, a pull.
* * *
“So are you ready to commit to living the Words of Wisdom?”
“……………………………………coffee and tea? Really?”
“…………………………………….I’ll get back to you.”