Date: September 21, 2022 01:03AM
How does a testimony meeting that is absent Joseph Smith, his succeeding prophets, his doctrines and specific Mormon teachings (temple worship, the celestial kingdom, the ‘baptism and redemption of the dead’, Man’s ascent into Godhood, conferring priesthood authority on boys, etc.) remotely resemble a Mormon testimony meeting? I understand the churches desire to seem less alien and strange from other Christian faiths (which to me seems a basically inconsistent and at heart a cynical and faithless effort). After all, Mormons are God’s ‘peculiar people’, saved for the latter days that have seemed to persist for several generations now without any evidence of a second coming, evidence of end times or any gathering of Zion or whatever the hell is supposed to happen before the great events that supposedly define the end of all mortal existence.
I think these issues, in addition to the utter disgusting perversions Joseph Smith undeniably participated in, has lead to local Mormons, including Stake Presidents, Bishops, and all adults to follow the lead of the big 15 and slowly begin to be move away from strange and alienating teachings that could detract from potential converts, or maybe just as important, help retain members. No emphasizing the ‘martyrdom’ of Joseph Smith -a gun battle where he shot several people with a little pepperbox pistol. What an example to martyrdom, to violently protect your life to the last second with every hope of avoiding having to die for your faith, but dying anyway in the false notion that those after you will write a selective history, omit certain details (a destroyed printing press, a combative movement within Mormonism they vehemently disagreed and resented polygamy, and those that probably did not appreciate Joseph’s iron grip on the town of Nuavoo and his megalomaniacal aspirations to run for president.)
It’s past hoping that the average run of the mill Mormon (in the Us or Europe) is not aware of these facts. All one can do now is devalue them, and create a bland, Christ centered church based on the atonement and Christ and all sorts of more or less normal Protestant ideals. Of course, the doctrine of Mormonism is rife within even these Christian ideals- that one cannot atone for sins without a total reconciliation with the church’s beliefs including their steadfastness in the testimony of JS Jr. as a prophet, a belief in tithing, that one must be worthy to and eventually attend a bizarre temple ceremony pantomiming various disquieting acts (or maybe that’s discontinued), and afterward demonstrate faithfulness by wearing a hideous garment that shames many men and women into making choices in clothing that are essentially foisted upon them- and disobedience or inconsistency with the temple garb considered an act to jeopardize your salvation. A firm testimony is required of the 15 serving even if it’s not broadcast at a testimony meeting at much, because ultimately nothing is different. All must testify of the churches current retinue of men living into their 80’s and 90’s (mostly), and despite wits failing them or poor health, they are sworn as mouthpieces for God on this earth, regardless of their mental acuity, Reading about Ezra Taft Benson near the end did as much to disillusion me as anything else, spending his last months out of touch with reality
So yea, nothing is different. Emphasis is placed on Christ, and that could only be an improvement, since he sought to expose hypocrisies, ensure that the law of Moses was fulfilled and arbitrary measure were no longer required to demonstrate faithfulness, and mostly that the greatest commandment was love one another. He had (if he did exist) some other things I didn’t get on board with, but a man who tended to the lowest, scorned the highest, and and made clear that loving your neighbor was the expression of Gods love is something I can pretty much get on board with, since those things are important to me, regardless of the reality of God and Christ. So Mormons coming to the pulpit to send these messages home over the past 10 years or so instead of asinine horseshit about mens earrings, Talks about the temple and temple marriage, talk after talk about the Evils of pornography, and a hagiographic and completely flattering (to the omission of any fault) of Joseph Smith- like his 34 wives and affairs and sending men away and his failed bank and his treasure digging, stone-looking,and his in-laws more or less revulsion of him as a slacker…
I guess my point is the church can emphasize Christ, the atonement, more generic church topics but the real Mormon doctrines will always flow to through or even supersede these messages. I haven’t listened to much by the way of church talks, local or otherwise in the past decade, but it seems that the church can put on a public face only so much before it becomes obvious that this is not a typical Christian religion. It’s extremely rule oriented, domineering, holds the threat of wrath and salvation over peoples head when they’ve done wrong or don’t pay tithing (this was done to me as a small teenager…) and in many other ways acts with secret, self-important groups of adults to determine anything from ward activities and budgets to intimate discussions of the sins of ‘wayward’ members. I can’t think of anything more counterproductive than
having your private mistake or issue or predilection with 12 people at a church discipline hearing. Maybe that’s the point, to scare, browbeat, and intimidate into submission.
Testimonies ring false today. They just seem scripted and repetitive. At the they use to be spontaneous and sometimes had an interesting story. It’s all just a prop show. It’s all been about Joseph and his church, now they just use subtle bywords to say so. Maybe in 50 years if the church has divested its 100 billion dollars into a tithing rebate or a charity truly devoted to helping those they’ve hurt through abuses in the ecclesiastical interview system or maybe just giving the money away to good causes! (Profoundly unlikely) it could turn into just a regular church. I’m all for that, but a Mormon church has a massive financial windfall that probably self-perpetuates through interest in tithing and private donations.
The best I can hope for is my generations and younger generations en-masse disinterest and lack of attendance. Of course if that happens it’ll just be a super wealthy religious group with a fraction of the members it had in the last 90’s- at least real active ones.
Sorry, that was long, but I had a lot to say about it.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/21/2022 01:11AM by midwestanon.