An Open Letter to Glenn Beck

Dear Glenn Beck,

I know it’s ludicrous to assume that you’ll read this, but really i’m just writing this for me. Sometimes it’s fun to yell into the abyss of the Internet. But I digress.

You’re a practicing Mormon, right? As a Mormon you believe that Joseph Smith restored the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth, correct?

See, that’s where I get tripped up. I’ve watched your show a few times, and it seems like you’re constantly drawing up communist conspiracy theories on your chalkboard. But never once have I seen the prophet Joseph Smith appear on your chalkboard.

I just finished reading Doctrine & Covenants section 42, which reads:

30 And behold, thou wilt remember the poor, and consecreate of thy properties for their support that which thou hast to impart unto them, with a covenant and a deed which cannot be broken.
31 ..impart of your substance unto the poor, ye will do it unto me; and they shall be laid before the bishop of my church and his counselors, …
  32 …after they are laid before the bishop of my church, and after that he has received these testimonies concerning the consecration of the properties of my church, that they cannot be taken from the church…
  34 …the residue shall be kept in my storehouse, to administer to the poor and the needy…
  35 And for the purpose of purchasing lands for the public benefit of the church, and building houses of worship, and building up of the New Jerusalem which is hereafter to be revealed—
  36 That my covenant people may be gathered in one in that day when I shall come to my temple. And this I do for the salvation of my people.

For my non-mormon friends, the above scriptures describes what is known as “The Law of Concecration.” I don’t know about you, but all that talk of consecrating my goods for the public benefit sounds vaguely…communist.

And there aren’t even any codewords here like social justice or economic justice – God via Joseph Smith commanded his people to give all their goods to the Bishop, who would administer to the believers.

Now you might say to yourself – Mormons don’t practice this vaguely communist practice today. But Mormons do believe that one day Jesus Christ will come back to the earth and rule everyone. And Mormon missionaries are currently serving in the tens of thousands to prepare the world for Jesus Christ to return to the earth.

And what law do you think Jesus will instill once he returns to earth? I’m betting most Mormons believe it will be some form of the Law of Consecration, as outlined in the Doctrine and Covenants.

So there you have it – Mormons have their own version of Communism and Sharia law in their scriptures.

Glenn – or any believing Mormon – please explain to me how this isn’t communism. Or how your prejudice against Muslims and other religions/lifestyles is acceptible.

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i stopped wearing my garments today

there’s really nothing else to say about this, other than what i’ve put in the title. for some reason i felt like documenting it.

i stopped believing about six years ago. despite my disbelief, i kept wearing my garments. i really have no idea why that is. habit i suppose.

but this weekend i finally took the step and purchased regular person underwear. it was a really weird experience, as i haven’t bought underwear in a department store since i was 18. the clerk probably thought i was some kind of pervert, since i was hovering around that area looking at the different varieties for an inordinate amount of time. to make matters worse, i got pretty nervous when he came over and asked if i needed help. i was probably being hypersensitive, but i don’t do well in situations where i feel out of place. that’s one thing you believing mormons got going for you – there is very little underwear variety, making it a lot easier to make a decision.

so i finally left with boxer briefs and symbol-free undershirts. last night i spent my first night shirtless since i was 18. it was everything i hoped and more.

the wife has been surprisingly supportive of all this. i think one of the main reasons is because i’ve been taking it slow. it’s been almost a year since i expressed my disbelief to her, and in retrospect i’m glad i didn’t immediately stop going through the motions. that might have driven her away from me for good. but having waited a while before officially casting aside the magic underpants, she was surprisingly OK with it.

thus far, everything’s going well. i’m happier and more comfortable with myself than ever.

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Blogging from church

A former bishop is speaking. He just used the story of nephi killing laban as an example of the holy ghost speaking to man. I expect home teaching rates and honor killing increasing dramatically this week.

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mormonism and moral absolutes

for the past year or so i’ve been carrying around a lot of anger about the mormon church, and i haven’t been able to put my finger on exactly why.

i never wanted to be one of those disgruntled ex-mormons with an ax to grind, belligerently pointing out doctrinal flaws at a moment’s notice. yet here i am – i leave church feeling angry, and i even can’t stand being around my wife’s family without feeling rage bubble up. (her family is extremely devout, and her father is well on the path to becoming a mission president or area authority).

today i think i had a moment of clarity as to why i feel this way – bear with me, this idea is just germinating.

mormons love to see things in terms of moral absolutes. this goes back to the whole “if you are lukewarm i will spew you from my mouth” idea. good vs. evil. believer vs. apostate. active vs. inactive. and this isn’t limited to their religious perspective – it colors their entire worldview.

this is what made prop 8 so difficult. it was no longer a political issue after the church got involved. it was a moral issue, with a good and evil side. this could be just me talking with a chip on my shoulder, but after prop 8 it seems like it became OK to moralize political issues outside of prop 8 – health care, taxes, immigration, etc.

I took to the Internet to validate my hypothesis, and came back with a grab bag of religious vitriol courtesy of my favorite mormon – mr. glenn beck. my favorites are the ones in which he repeatedly suggested that progressives and liberals are “enemies of God” and “enemies of Him,” and declared that they “don’t have [God] on their side.” (via mediamatters.org)

maybe i’m oversensitive, but i don’t like people thinking i’m evil just because we have a policy disagreement. and i’m not sure to what extent that these ideas are commonplace in general LDS attendance, i just checked and a good portion of my LDS facebook friends are fans of mr. beck (i know, hardly research).

in any case, after i made this realization i stopped feeling angry, since i was able to at least put a finger on why i was feeling this way. if anyone has any insight, let me know.

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Why Mormons are Normal

This cracked me up. I thought this was coming, but never to this extent. Balls of steel, this one has.

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mormon doctrine and make believe

mormon doctrine and make believe

a little boy invents his very own afterlife

my kids play make believe all the time. they play princess, they play pirates, they play jedi knights. it’s fantastic.

sometimes i overhear my kids arguing during their make believe play:

daughter 1: i want to marry the prince!
daughter 2: NO I want to marry the prince! if i don’t get to marry the prince, i’m not playing.

on occasion i’ll intervene and attempt to reason with them (if any of you are fathers of girls, you’ll know this is a mistake):

me: girls, you’re playing pretend. can’t you imagine that there are two princes, and you can each marry one?

daughter 1: NO DADDY. i want to marry the prince, or I’M NOT PLAYING.
daughter 2: *incomprehensible sobbing*

i see striking similarities when i hear mormons of all stripes discussing doctrinal points.

mormon 1: i don’t believe in the mormon stance on gay marriage, but i think the concept of eternal families is really beautiful. i also like the teaching that there is no hell.
mormon 2: LDS prophets teach that marriage is between a man and a woman. the prophet has spoken, and you can’t practice a la cart mormonism.
mormon 1: i’m being intellectually stifled. i’m going home.
mormon 2: i know the church is true. *incomprehensible sobbing*

bear in mind that this doctrinal conversation was made possible by a man who apparently received the text of a book of mormon through a vision he witnessed at the bottom of a top hat.

to me there is very little difference between my daughter’s playtime arguments and mormon doctrinal disagreements. the basic dynamic is the same, we just get louder and more emotional as we get older.

and it all boils down to who is controlling the fantasy.

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The Book of Mormon Quandary

It could be that i don’t know enough mormon apologetics, but i’ve never gotten a straight response to this criticism.

there is a ton of testimony-destroying stuff out there about joseph smith, but for some reason this criticism of the book of mormon is the most obvious and hilarious.

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