Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Being Unmutual .. Continued

The LDS Church's historically smothering conservatism has been preserved by the power of Mormon groupthink that binds its members together in a culture completely given over to the exaltation of the church's authority, obedience to its dictates and a supreme control of member's behaviors by ritual, sexism and unbiblical doctrine. Beginning with its missionary zeal to bring the world out of a darkness that the light of the "restored Gospel", the LDS culture aims at coopting every cultural guidepost outside itself, bringing it under a completely well qualified authority of the Church itself.

There have always been malcontents, nonconformists and noted apostates who have left the church's fold out of conscience sake, having found it's hypocrisy, smothering of objective truth and exclusivism at odds with a more sober and humble view of reality. Millions more have stayed within it, swallowing their objections, and one ex-Mormon's views on the future of a cultic church movement filled with such vast tension with itself are more insight on what it costs to be unmutual .. this is from my friend Eric Kettunen's "Recovery From Mormonism" site":

I expect to see a polarization within Mormonism quickly develop. The vast majority of the old guard do not have the perspective to recognize that their worldview is deficient, and will not be prepared to absorb the information required to see that they may be a problem, so their behavior will not change. The real battle for hearts and minds will occur in the generation that is now under 30 years of age, and even more importantly, for their children. Some will stay with their parents’ paradigm and others will either leave Mormonism or radically redefine the role of religion in their lives. ...

The Mormon institutional structure should be expected to remain largely unchanged due to its paralyzingly conservative decision making mechanism. All significant changes must be unanimously approved by the 15 top leaders, all of whom are old and male. .. However, an increasing degree of individual flexibility will be permitted to members as a matter of practical necessity as Stake Presidents and Bishops are faced with more and more people like me.

As I was told, it does not matter what I believed as long as I keep my mouth shut and so didn’t disturb the orthodoxy of others. As long as I kept that rule, I was free to participate on whatever terms I choose. This approach has become common, and will lead increasing numbers of Mormons to lead double lives. They will attend at least some Mormon services and often hold responsible leadership positions while participating anonymously on Internet bulletin boards and email lists where they can express their real beliefs and develop a sense of community with others and clarity of self perception that can only be achieved within this mode of expression.

This will cause increasing numbers of Mormons to justifying lying (or such creative use of language that the difference between it and lying is immaterial) during temple recommend interviews when asked to confirm their beliefs. It will cause increasing number of Mormon young people to enter a baffling world of grey as they begin to understand their parents’ ambivalent position regarding religious belief, practise, what it means to keep a promise and answers questions honestly, etc. This should be expected to cause a continued erosion Mormon community’s moral fabric.

On a lighter note, these same forces will continue to cause ironies like currently serving Mormon Bishops who consult with people like me regarding how they should counsel faithful Mormons about issues related to sexual morality, sexual practises within marriage, masturbation, whether young people or mature couples should serve missions, etc. These Bishops tell me that they don’t dare discuss these questions with their Stake Presidents or other Mormon file leaders because they are out of touch with the reality related to these issues, and in any event discussions of that kind would require the revelation of the Bishop’s heterodox beliefs. Bishops of this kind are usually closet heretics who believe that they can do more good “from the inside” walking what one such man eloquently labeled the “path of inner darkness”, then they can from the outside.

Read more of a truly prophetic tale here.

There are untold millions of stories in the Cultworld; this has been just one of them.

At least a few more will follow ..