Date: April 29, 2021 07:56PM
Wow, Soft Machine, you so rarely start a thread I just had to take a peek. (I'd like you to do it more often). :)
Re the article (thanks for posting the excerpt):
Done& Done says: "Seems to know nothing of the Theocracy that is actually Utah as the author makes Mormons seem flawless and everything THEY say they are."
Good point. An outsider can think they've gathered accurate information but it's easy to go away with only the impression the church reps want to give and not a more informed and comprehensive analysis. Too, it's easy to miss details and nuances of a religion's doctrines and practices. The author writing "everything THEY say they are" can be the result.
Too, I can see why SC (in a post above) says the author could be Mormon, due to this most positive write-up, except for an erroneous reference he made, that an outsider can be excused for misunderstanding. He said that "senior Mormons" are "prophets, seers and revelators". Unless I, as a short term "convert", have it wrong, that phrase refers only to the top-3 guys (unless it's only a reference to the top-most guy?). Also, enlightened non-Mormon readers may assume the phrase "senior Mormons" to include females which we know that, of course, it does not. (So the phrase should be "senior male members").
As for the article, some thoughts:
Re the "Utah Compromise": It's difficult to understand how a government can legislate employment and housing rights for the LGBTQ2 community yet allow churches to discriminate against them, and this being considered a successful compromise. Just the word 'compromise' indicates that the rights acknowledged are not comprehensive. I can somewhat understand how the leaders and members of a church think they should be free to exercise their own beliefs, even if they are discriminatory (although perhaps church adherents would not consider them so) and people are free to choose not to attend or join if they don't like it. But maintaining practices that are considered discriminatory in the outside world is obviously unfair and regressive. However, I also can't see how an outside body, even a government, can force a church to change its foundational beliefs.
The article states "The results of Utah’s functional conservatism are impressive. The state is as welcoming to immigrants as it is to investors — and one of the fastest-growing in both population and output. The main explanation for it is signified by the needle-like spires that pierce the Salt Lake City skyline."
1. Is it true that Utah is welcoming to immigrants? (If so, immigrants from all areas or is there a strong preference for certain ones?)
2. The explanation is the spires? (i.e. Mormonism, I guess) The temples? This is the sentence that could cause a reader to think the author of the article is Mormon. Mormonism is welcoming? I have the opposite impression. The missionaries can act like instant best friends unless you're not interested in their message, or until after you get baptized, when they move on, and members are so committed to their busy-work they don't want new people to have to deal with who take up more of their time, an already rare commodity for members in that church. I also found their message dark and the temple strange and oppressive. My lingering impression from my few visits is of dark rooms, annoyingly repetitive get-up/get-down instructions during the ceremony, as well as the stupid and pointless changing of the temple gown ties from one shoulder to another (am I remembering that correctly?) - what in the good hell IS that? - as well as the rush through the celestial room (no chance to sit down, ponder, catch your breath, have a chat, gotta keep moving through and out) and the massively, incredibly, unbelievably boring film (or even the live session) and especially the "go down" phrases repeated endlessly by the temple characters. So it's a Just No Thanks from me.
Article: "Founded in upstate New York in 1830, by a 24-year-old visionary called Joseph Smith, their religion is one of the world’s richest and fastest-growing."
Another example of why a reader could think the author is Mormon - calling Joseph Smith a "visionary". Ha!
Also, being one of the world's richest religions isn't necessarily a positive attribute or one that makes it special or different or indicative of anything except their well-honed ability to get money out of people who believe it will be of benefit to themselves and others. (Having the bulk of the wealth sitting in a vault doesn't endear church leaders to me. Although I read a post here that said they had recently donated some of the money for vaccines or other COVID relief, iirc).
Article excerpt: "The church, to which most Utah Republicans belong, is deeply conservative yet sometimes adaptable. It was behind the Utah compromise, a concession that ended up reaffirming some of its architects’ Mormon faith. “If you’re a true Christian, you want to love your neighbour.” concluded the leader of Utah’s Senate, Stuart Adams, who had previously opposed gay rights."
Misleading. The Mormon Church made a concession towards gay rights? They apparently endorsed the Utah Compromise, an agreement which continues to allow churches to promote their anti-LGBTQ2 beliefs. I'm unclear too on how this agreement affirmed anybody's Mormon faith, as the author states. Because they think the church has done a good thing?? We read here often how the church's stance on this issue deeply wounds LGBTQ2 folks, some to the point of suicide (and we know of beloved RfM posters who have endured the pain of this Mormon belief and practice, some of whom are tragically no longer with us). If you want to love your neighbour you don't abhor their very existence.
"...Mormons’ centralised institutions underpin their greater pragmatism and openness to diversity."
Openness to diversity? I'm actually speechless on that point.
"This [tithes/donations] helps explain why Utah has the lowest wealth inequality of any state."
As an aside, why are church leaders well off while many members are not? Pay your tithe FIRST is an oft-repeated refrain in Mormonism. I certainly heard it often enough from the bishop who advised me to tithe first, before paying bills. What terrible advice! Only if you're well off can you even think that makes any kind of sense. Some people pay their mandatory tithing and go short on all of life's essentials because of it. Not the leaders though!
"It also promotes empathy over righteousness; the church’s missionary tradition does the same. To that end, Mr Cox did a stint in Mexico; Mitt Romney in France. And this structure is overseen by one of America’s tightest, and more enlightened, church hierarchies."
The church's missionary tradition promotes empathy? You have to shake your head. Maybe this guy IS Mormon?
I know I've told the story countless times of the debacle of my baptism. I know it's ridiculous from an outsider's perspective to even care but for me it hurt and humiliated me for a long time. My friend who got me into the church in the first place (and who baptized me) ended up telling me "It's your fault". Oh yeah. Empathy indeed. My fault for caring. Or something. I don't even know.
And Mormons have one of the "more enlightened church hierarchies"? God help us all.
"Their [big-3] example in getting promptly inoculated against covid-19 helps explain why Mormons, who tend to be more observant than white evangelicals, are also likelier to get vaccinated."
Mormons are more observant than evangelicals? Is this correct?
True enough, it's a good thing that Mormon leaders are setting the example of being vaccinated.
So. That's what I think.
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/29/2021 08:04PM by Nightingale.