Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Most Hurtful Doctrine in Mormonism

....That God Loves One Type of Person More Than Another

or that one person is better than another because of their birth.

I grew up in the LDS Church in the 1970's and 80's.  I was a white, American, straight young man born into a wealthy home to 5th generation Mormon parents.

Literally hundreds of times in my youth I was taught that I was "A chosen generation", "Saved for the last days", "A Saturday's Warrior" and more.  I was hand-picked by God for the days when Jesus would return to Earth.  I was literally Mormon Royalty, and I believed it in every way.

The Romney's
Donny and Marie Osmond

Family trips around the world reinforced the narrative of how special I was.   I saw poverty and suffering.  I would put a few coins in the hat of a blind man begging in the streets of Istanbul or a crippled child in Mexico and feel so good about myself.

What had these poor people done to deserve this fate?  Were they like the Black People who almost followed Satan before we were born?  Were they like the American Indians who were cursed with a skin of darkness because of the sins of their forefathers?  Were they like those People of Jericho where God ordered "the destroying of all that lived in the city". to make room for the people of Israel?

I also remember learning about the "Great Apostasy".  This was the period of time between the death of Jesus' Apostles in the late 1st Century and the Restoration of the "One True Church" in 1830.  Those dark ages when God did not speak to his children and he watched the plagues, slavery, wars and immense suffering of humanity while gradually setting the stage for the young Joseph Smith to kneel in the forest to pray.

I wondered how bad those people must have been to live in that 1700 year period when Heavenly Father took his priesthood the Earth?

I would love to say that in college, or on my mission to South America, or during the years I was raising my children that I realized how painful, how racist, how dismissing and demeaning those doctrines are.  What it took was a perfect, beautiful child adopted by a friend.

Ashleigh is a mixed race child.  She's Black, Mexican and White.  She has perfect brown skin and dark thick hair.  The very first time I held Jessica it somehow came into my mind, "If She had been 12 years old in 1977, as her Bishop, what would I say to her when she asked, "Why can't I go to the temple with my friends?"

That one thought took my belief in the doctrines of pre-birth cursing, and valiant spirits and dark ages and chosen generations and brought them crashing down around me.

How could the same God that preaches about going after lost sheep, ignore the pleadings of generations of men, women and children because they belonged to the wrong Branch of the House of Israel?

The Mormon God has two very distinct personalities.  We see paintings in Mormon chapels of Jesus holding baby lambs or with small children sitting on his lap.  I doubt that paintings of the Old Testament wrath-of-God stuff would sell too well at Deseret Book.  How about a painting of all the bloated bodies of people and animals floating on the ocean as Noah is sailing away?  Wouldn't that look good on the walls of the Relief Society Room?

I apologize to the World for the self serving, racist, misogynistic, and homophobic things I have said and done in the past. I need a lot of catching up to do.

As I reconsider my belief in God, and what that God is like, I have to start from scratch.

As a member of the "chosen" race, gender, or church it is easy to dismiss in broad strokes the lives of people we don't know.  It is easy to believe that I'm special because God made me this way, and you have less value because you were evil....uh, sometime....or your parents were bad.  I'm embarrassed that I ever thought that way and acknowledge that I have a lot to do to make up for it.

Sadly I need to beginning by saying, "If it wasn't for one small child, I might still be convinced of my own unearned superiority."

Additional Reading:
LDS Church's Version of "Diversity"
Women in Mormonism
Birthplace of Every Apostle the past 100 Years
Africans and Mormons