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Posts Tagged ‘latter-day Saint’

Models for Conversation

Posted by nebula0 on November 1, 2009

There are several theological approaches to dealing with the problem of religious plurality, that is, how to deal with the fact that there are multiple truth claims made by others who seem very sincere.  These truth claims are often exclusive.  The evangelical and Mormon conversation typifies one response to the problem, that is, simply maintaining strict exclusivism.  The best that can be done in this model is attempting to understand the other position thoroughly while maintaining that the end of the day the other position is just not a path to God.  Though the other party may be sincere and well-meaning, there can only be one true path to God.  This position has several advantages, among which are that it is simple, straightforward, and in a not so obvious fashion perhaps more respectful than the other possible positions because it recognizes that the other side is trying to claim an absolute truth which isn’t the same as your own.  This model of conversation envisions an eventual total replacement of the other side by the one true way.

But there are other ways too.  In Roman Catholic theology it is common to think of other religions as containing ‘anonymous Christians’ who have access to real grace in their own religious traditions.  While Catholicism maintains that it has the clearest path to God and the most truth, it argues that there are sincere believers in other traditions that despite their traditions are, in a real sense, making their way to God.  So it is that Karl Rahner can argue that other religions are ways of salvation, if not as bright and well-marked as the Catholic way, and even if the individuals in question are in reality being saved by Christ even if they don’t agree.  This way has the advantage of approaching the other as possibly, in a true sense, approaching God and therefore listening closer, but all the while thinking that you are still most correct. 

In liberal Protestantism there are generally two approaches that can be taken.  One is that world religions are all mutually valid ways of approaching God- that is, different paths up the same mountain.  Some arguing that this position is too arrogant in assuming that someone has access to seeing the whole mountain while others do not (those who insist their way is truly exclusive, for instance) and that there is but one peak argue that there are multiple mountains with multiple peaks.  If a Buddhist expect nirvana and a Mormon the Celestial Kingdom, a good Buddhist will get nirvana and a good Mormon the Celestial Kingdom, exactly as they expect and desire.  Naturally this approach creates the greatest openness to hearing others speak and completely eliminates the desire to convert the other.

I argue that it is best to be clear and straightforward about what our biases are.  Obviously if we did not think we had the best way to worship God, we’d do it the way that we did think was best.  The danger is that conversations with those very jealous about the exclusiveness of their truth claims often quickly become frustrating as each side, rather than being able to have open conversation, is on constant guard against giving too much ground while attempting vigorously to convert the other.   I have seen too often conversations between evangelicals and Mormon degrade into a mutual play act, in which one side recalls ‘tips for evangelizing’ and the other resorts to bearing his testimony.  Both sides walk away frustrated and having gained nothing whatsoever.  Is there a way to engage in real conversation?  Only if there is a modicum of danger involved, that is, an allowance of the possibility of changing minds, if even a little bit.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Tracked Down! Families in Mormonism

Posted by nebula0 on October 29, 2009

So after having moved after having not been to church for over a year, I admit I had great hopes that we’d fly under the radar and never be tracked down by what is supposed to be our new local ward.  Most of our Mormon friends dropped out of the picture after we stopped showing up for sacrament meetings, so I reasoned that there would be no reason for our new address to enter the picture.  However it was only a week ago that an older gentleman came to our door and introduced himself as a neighbor ‘in our ward’ with, of course, an invitation to church.

What surprised me was not so much that our address eventually did get out, but my reaction to the visit.  I was deeply disturbed.  I realized that Mormonism threatened, at least in my own mind, our family harmony.  I am completely non-Mormon, I don’t even really think of myself as ‘ex’ Mormon.  I don’t feel related to Mormonism at all, good or bad.  However, my spouse considers himself a jack Mormon, even though he doesn’t accept its basic truth claims.  He feels some kind of cultural connection, as if he was born a Jew who disbelieves that Moses was a prophet.  It is for that reason I don’t want Mormonism an issue in our lives, I don’t want it brought up, I don’t want anyone thinking about it in our family.  We have such a happy, close family life and I am so pleased not to raise our children in the church, or any church for that matter, I don’t want this happy family ship perturbed.

If you are familiar with Mormonism you might find my sentiments ironic.  After all, isn’t Mormonism a bastion of happy, close families?  It really only works if all the members of the family are also active Mormons.  Only active Mormon couples can be sealed for ‘time and all eternity’ in the temples, and thus have their children ‘born in the covenant’ and thus sealed to them for ‘time and all eternity’.  And those promises are bound up with individual obedience to Mormonism’s gospel message.  So it is having one spouse an active Mormon and another not, or even worse, one who is non Mormon, is bound to cause stress on the marriage. 

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t just a Mormon issue- interreligious marriages in general cause stress if one member of the marriage is committed to a religion.  But, Mormonism creates a unique stressor by stressing so much family unity, in the church.  In fact, a defective spouse can threaten the eternal possibility of the other.  It is a couple that is exalted to godhood through obedience to the (Mormon) gospel, not individuals.

Since nothing has come of the visit of the well intentioned older gentleman to our house, I have relaxed again.  But the episode has reaffirmed to me how far I have come in the matter of a couple of years in how I understand the very core of my identity.

Posted in My Experiences, Reflections | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Philosophies of Men in Mormon Theology

Posted by nebula0 on March 24, 2009

I wouldn’t take delight in pointing out striking similarities between Platonic and Mormon thought it if weren’t for the fact that a persistent tactic in Mormon apologetics is to accuse orthodox Christianity of being nearly hopelessly infused with these ‘philosophies of men’ corrupting the purity of the gospel.  As that is the case, I want to point out a couple of places in which Mormonism fits better with Platonic philosophy than does orthodox Christianity (see Plato’s Timaeus). 

First of all: creation ex nihilo.  In orthodox Christianity, God creates the cosmos out of nothing and according to his own rules, this is creation ex nihilo.  According to Mormonism God created the universe out of pre-existent materials and according to pre-existent laws of the cosmos, the creation was more of an organization or building.  Now your immediate inclination may be to suppose that the Mormon view is closer to an authentic ancient Hebrew belief and that the orthodox Christian creation is a Greek notion- and that would be wrong.  According to Platonism, the  universe was created by a being called the demiurge who created it out of pre-existing materials and according to pre-existing rules.  Sound familiar? 

Another thing that I would point out is the Platonic notion that as the universe was being put together, there was a sort of life force or soul present in the things created, that this life-ness was present in the things put together before they were materialized.  Now if you know Mormon theology, you know that God formed all things spiritually before they were formed physically.  Compare that to the Platonic concept I just described and now compare that to the orthodox Christian notion that God infused life into the world in a single instant after physical creation.

I’m just saying, maybe the pot shouldn’t call the kettle black too quickly here…

Posted in Theological Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Heavenly Mother: the Silent Goddess

Posted by nebula0 on August 28, 2008

One of the lesser known facts about Mormon theology is that there exists a heavenly mother, alongside the more traditionally known heavenly father (see the Mormon “Proclamation on the Family” an official proclamation given by the First Presidency, it reaffirms that we are sons and daughters of heavenly parents).  As heavenly father is the father of our spirits, and a god, heavenly mother is the mother of our spirits, and a goddess.  This fact is significant for a couple of reasons, one because it emphasizes the non-traditional nature of Mormon theology (it is quite radical, no matter how much ‘normative/historical/traditional’ Christian garb is thrown over it)- it does in fact posit the existence of at least four gods (heavenly father, the son, holy ghost and heavenly mother, and second because it reveals why the family is such an important part of Mormon rhetoric.

The ultimate possible destiny of every human person in Mormonism is exaltation, and that means becoming a god or a goddess, as heavenly father or heavenly mother is.  The heavenly parents that we have sets the pattern that we are to follow if we are to be what they are.  Since they are eternally married, we must be eternally married, if we are to be gods.  That means that ‘the family’ (traditional nuclear family) is actually a structure that is implemented and practiced by our deities, not just a human institution.  That’s why when ‘the traditional family’ is ‘under attack’ by propositions like gay marriage Mormons tend to react so quickly and vociferously- quite literally in Mormonism their conception of family is divine.  Any suggestion that the nuclear family with a man and woman (or women) as the married couple as an arbitrary societal construction also threatens the deepest structure of Mormon theology.

So, why haven’t we heard more about this goddess, after all, isn’t she our mother?  The answer you are likely to hear for this question is that she is so sacred we aren’t to talk about her.  That’s right.  She’s too sacred.  See, if we talk about her, some people might make fun of her or take her name in vain.  That’s why although we know the father’s name (Elohim) we don’t know the mother’s name.  Heavenly father has decided that he needs to protect his goddess wife.  Now, why does a goddess require protection?  Why wouldn’t a deity be able to stick up for herself?  And what does it mean that she’s too ‘sacred’ to talk about or talk to?  Don’t mothers want to hear from their children?

That’s what one BYU feminist professor thought, and, not surprisingly, got canned for sharing those thoughts.  Apparently the Mormon men at the head of the church decided that they’d better protect poor, fragile heavenly mother from those nasty women who might want to pray to her and thus expose her to being dragged in the mud.   Does this really make any sense?  If heavenly mother does exist, and she’s a goddess equally divine as heavenly father, she ought to be worshiped.  End of story.  That’s what you do to deity, you acknowledge and worship them, especially if she is your mother and helped you come into existence.

Furthermore, since the heavenly parents represent the ultimate destiny of good Mormons, what kind of great role model is a silent, passive goddess for young Mormon women anyway?

Posted in Basic Background, Controversial Topics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Theosis vs Exaltation

Posted by nebula0 on August 26, 2008

If you run around in Mormon circles enough and especially if you get to the stage of looking at Mormon apologetics, you are bound to run into the following argument: Did you know that the church fathers taught that we can become gods??  Yes that’s right!  That implies that becoming gods isn’t a new Mormon invention, but rather a restored doctrine lost from the early church.

It’s true, several early church fathers did teach that we can become divine.  But, it wasn’t at all what Mormonism teaches.  Why not?  Let’s do a comparison of these two ideas.  The Mormon notion of becoming gods is called exaltation, and the early church fathers we’ll call it theosis.

Exaltation:  Gods are not different kinds of beings from us humans.  They are people all grown up into their full potential.  Hence, Heavenly Father was once a man on an earth, and became exalted to his position as a god (see the “King Follet Discourse Excerpt” I posted under “The Basics” and for confirmation that this doctrine is still taught in the LDS church day check out the Gospel Principles manual used to teach new converts during Sunday School, the exaltation section).  So that we can become gods as Heavenly Father is a god is like a seed growing into an apple tree, as long as we provide it the right conditions, and nurture it properly, it’ll become an apple tree.  Given the right conditions (righteous living, activity in the LDS church) it will become a tree (a god) because it’s in the nature of the seed (person) to do so.  After all, we are the spirit children of Heavenly Father, and as Heavenly Father as an eternal intelligence (core of being, not a god) so do we, we are co-eternal beings with God.

Theosis: God is a different kind of being altogether than we humans are.  God is not created, infinite, eternal, immutable, we are all the opposites of those things, created, finite, changeable.  We depend on God from moment to moment for our very existence, and He created us out of nothing at all.  God is a loving and wonderful God however, and desires for us to live forever with Him in His direct presence.  He desires to encircle us with His divinity, and as the Eastern Orthodox teach, invite us even in the Holy Trinity.  We as finite beings made out of nothing do not have it in our natures to be like God, if He shares with us any divinity, it’s because He has to infuse it into us, and we are always dependent on Him, utterly, for our very existence.  This is what the early church fathers meant about us becoming gods, they meant always little case ‘g’, they never intended to teach that we have the same nature as God, or the same potential.  We are dust, we are nothing- literally, and God is everything and out of His divine goodness may He infuse us with His divine nature.

Posted in Basic Background, Theological Thoughts | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 53 Comments »

My Temple Experience, part 2

Posted by nebula0 on August 24, 2008

I noticed hits and searches about the endowment ceremony (understandably so too) so I figured I’d better continue on with my story and not leave people hanging for too long.  Part one is filed under ‘My Experiences’ if you need to access it.  Also, I explained at the start of Part one what my purpose and intent is in relating this experience.

Okay, when I left off with part 1, I had garments and recommend in hand and was approaching the temple.  If you’ve never seen a Mormon temple up close, now is a good time to do a search on them and get a look at a few (take a look at http://www.mormon-temple-ceremony.com/ if you want).  Alright, so I got hrough the door and right as you go in the doors there is a reception desk manned usually with older folks.  They looked at my temple recommend, by now just a little sheet of paper that they folded up for me and put in a little plastic card holder.  I am ushered into a waiting area.  Now if you’ve never been in a Mormon temple you should know that it isn’t what you’d expect.  It’s not like a cathedral, with a grand worship hall inside.  Temples are divided into a bunch of smaller rooms, usually ornately decked, sometimes tastefully, usually not, with what I think are rather corny paintings of Christ all over the place.  So I’m waiting in a smaller room, carpeted, no windows with my companion.  A lady comes to take me to process my paperwork.  Like all temple workers, she’s dressed in all white, she’s wearing a nearly floor length white skirt, white stocking and white shoes.  I discover that hidden away in a corner are a bunch of desks with computers all keeping track of the records.  Mormons love their records, really love them.  She sticks a label to my shirt to indentify me as a newbie.

Next I am taken to a counter where I rent temple garments.  I forget how much it costs me, but they cover it this time, since I this is my first time and all.  I get a floor length dress, stockings, white slippers and a little white sack full of mystery presents.  Through the sack I can make out something green.  The next step involves going up the escalators and up to the dressing room floor.  When I get up there a new set of ladies take over to help me out and they lead me to a special dressing room off of the main locker room area.  I’m given something called an shield which is basically a big piece of white cloth with a hole cut out in the center- that’s for my head.  These days the sides are sewn up, but not then.  I then get butt naked, put on the shield, try to keep the sides closed with my hands and am led to a new little area to wait.  Here I encounter another newbie, a middle aged woman, with a startled look on her face.  I give her a goofy grin, and we both wait, trying to hold our shields shut.  I’m led to a new area which involves four little rooms constructed out of white cloth dividers each with a temple worker inside.  As I go through each little room, a different blessing is said while the workers (all females) touch different parts of my body with a little bit of oil.  It is often wondered if the workers actually touch, you know, down there, but they didn’t on me.  They touched a little below the navel to represent my ‘loins’.  By the time I get to the last station, the lady helps me into a pair of onesie garments used just for this part of the ceremony.  I had officially received my garments and had been anointed and blessed.  I am instructed to take off these onesie garments, too big for me, and put on the garments I just bought.

Here is what garments are like.   I got a sort of silky type of material, and they were actually really comfy.  They go down to right above your knee, and the top is capped sleeved with different kinds of neck cuts, depending on the kind you got.  There are two marks right on the nipples, a little square and compass, Masonic style (little symbols sewn into the fabric with white thread), a little slit mark (again, sewn in with white thread) about where the navel is, and a little slit mark right at the bottom of the garments on the right leg, supposed to represent hitting the knee.  I am then instructed to dress in my white dress, white stockings and white slippers.  I get my little sack of goodies and am led somewhere new.


part 3 to come

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Coffee is Good for You

Posted by nebula0 on August 24, 2008

Yes, it’s true.  Congratulations coffee drinkers of the world, it turns out that coffee is good for the average person.  It reduces the risk of Parkinson’s, colon cancer, diabetes, cavities, dementia, increase short term memory, increases cardiovascular health and more (check out http://men.webmd.com/features/coffee-new-health-food for an example, one of many articles on the topic).  What does that have to do with Mormonism?  Well I imagine one of the better known things about Mormonism is that Mormons do not drink coffee or tea.  Many Mormons will use this commandment, actually first received by Joseph Smith as a ‘word of wisdom’, hence the Word of Wisdom revelation, as evidence of medical foresight a century ahead of his time.  This is because it has been commonly assumed that coffee must be bad for us.  I figure this is because coffee is good, cultures all over the world like it, and it enhances mood and energy, and you know how some of those medical researchers are such killjoys, if it seems too good to be true, by God, it is!  The result was many studies on coffee all trying to look for coffee’s seriously damaging effects.  They found some for certain people, for instance, pregnant women should really cut back and those with high chloresterol need to be careful.  Also if you are loading up your coffee with sugar and cream all bets are off.  But other than, imagine their disappointment when they found astounding health benefits.

Okay, so what does this mean for Mormonism?  Does it mean that the Word of Wisdom isn’t so wise after all?  Maybe, it all depends on how you want to look at it.  If you are attached to the notion that the Word of Wisdom is an astounding medical document showing a health plan far ahead of Joseph’s time you run into two troubles.  The first is that the Word of Wisdom is not unique for Joseph’s time, at all.  The idea that ‘hot drinks’ or coffee and tea might be bad for the health was popular in 19th C America, as was promoting a vegetarian diet.  After all, look at the Seventh-day Adventists’ health code coming out of the same century.  The second difficulty is that modern science doesn’t agree.  We all know the health benefits of a glass of red wine and green tea by now, well, throw coffee into the mix too.  So if Mormons want the Word of Wisdom to be meaningful, they need to switch focus from the health issue, which opens itself up for the critiques of modern science, to the idea that it is simply a commandment and that is that.

Posted in Controversial Topics, Reflections | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Excerpt from the King Follet Discourse

Posted by nebula0 on August 23, 2008

Excerpt from the King Follet Discourse

Given by Joseph Smith on the occasion of King Follet’s death.

I want to ask this congregation, every man, woman and child, to answer the question in their own hearts, what kind of a being God is? Ask yourselves; turn your thoughts into your hearts, and say if any of you have seen, heard, or communed with Him? This is a question that may occupy your attention for a long time. I again repeat the question – What kind of a being is God? Does any man or woman know? Have any of you seen Him, heard Him, or communed with Him? Here is the question that will, peradventure, from this time henceforth occupy your attention. The scriptures inform us that “This is life eternal that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.”

If any man does not know God, and inquires what kind of a being He is, – if he will search diligently his own heart – if the declaration of Jesus and the apostles be true, he will realize that he has not eternal life; for there can be eternal life on no other principle.

My first object is to find out the character of the only wise and true, God, and what kind of a being He is; and if I am so fortunate as to be the man to comprehend God, and explain or convey the principles to your hearts, so that the Spirit seals them upon you, then let every man and woman henceforth sit in silence, put their hands on their mouths, and never lift their hands or voices, or say anything against the man of God or the servants of God again. But if I fail to do it, it becomes my duty to renounce all further pretensions to revelations and inspirations, or to be a prophet; and I should be like the rest of the world – a false teacher, be hailed as a friend, and no man would seek my life. But if all religious teachers were honest enough to renounce their pretensions to godliness when their ignorance of the knowledge of God is made manifest, they will all be as badly off as I am, at any rate; and you might just as well take the lives of other false teachers as that of mine.  If any man is authorized to take away my life because he thinks and says I am a false teacher, then, upon the same principle, we should he justified in taking away the life of every false teacher, and where would be the end of blood? And who would not be the sufferer?

But meddle not with any man for his religion: all governments ought to permit every man to enjoy his religion unmolested. No man is authorized to take away life in consequence of difference of religion, which all laws and governments ought to tolerate and protect, right or wrong. Every man has a natural, and, in our country, a constitutional right to be a false prophet, as well as a true prophet. If I show, verily, that I have the truth of God, and show that ninety nine out of every hundred professing religious ministers are false teachers, having no authority, while they pretend to hold the keys of God’s kingdom on earth, and was to kill them because they are false teachers, it would deluge the whole world with blood.

I will prove that the world is wrong, by showing what God is. I am going to inquire after God; for I want you all to know Him, and to be familiar with Him; and if I am bringing you to a knowledge of Him, all persecutions against me ought to cease. You will then know that I am His servant; for I speak as one having authority.

I will go back to the beginning before the world was, to show what kind of a being God is. What sort of a being was God in the beginning? Open your ears and hear, all ye ends of the earth, for I am going to prove it to you by the Bible, and to tell you the designs of God in relation to the human race, and why He interferes with the affairs of man.

God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by His power, was to make himself visible, I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion, image and likeness of God, and received instruction from, and walked, talked and conversed with Him, as one man talks and communes with another.

In order to understand the subject of the dead, for consolation of those who mourn for the loss of their friends, it is necessary we should understand the character and being of God and how He came to be so; for I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see.

These are incomprehensible ideas to some, but they are simple. It is the first principle of the gospel to know for a certainty the character of God, and to know that we may converse with Him as one man converses with another, and that He was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ Himself did; and I will show it from the Bible.

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Definition of Common Mormon Terms

Posted by nebula0 on August 23, 2008

Since my Mormon Theology 101 is a tad long, I thought I’d make a shorter, easy to use version by defining common Mormon terms.  Notice how they tend to be different from normative/historic Christianity’s usage of the same terms.

God: A god is a person who is exalted, that is, a person who has reached his full potential (there are goddesses, too).  We all have the potential to become gods/goddesses.  There is no qualitative (different in kind) between us and God, it is all a matter of quantity (or degree).  There are potentially an innumerable number of gods in existence.

Godhead: The Godhead in Mormonism refers to three particular gods, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  These are separate, exalted beings who act as one in their intentions.  The Father became a god first, helping the Son and Holy Ghost achieve their godhood.

Christ: Christ is the Son in the flesh who was literally crucified and risen from the dead in three days.  Without him Mormons do not believe it is possible to achieve salvation.  He doesn’t have a dual nature as in trinitarianism, he has only the divine (as defined above under ‘God’).  It is also a traditional belief in Mormonism, going out of style, that Christ was conceived by Mary through intercourse with the Father.

Ordinance: rituals which require the LDS priesthood to be considered binding in Mormon theology.  Some which are essential to go to the CelestialKingdom are: baptism, confirmation and reception of the gift of the Holy Ghost through the laying on of hands, the temple endowment, eternal marriage/sealing/temple marriage.  Some which are not essential for salvation include: blessings for healing or comfort through anointing with oil and laying on of hands.

Callings: since the LDS church is run on the local level by unpaid lay members, every lay member is giving a ‘calling’ or job within the church.

Word of Wisdom: the dietary law set forth in the Doctrine and Covenants prohibiting the intake of alcohol, tobacco, coffee or tea.

Ward/Stake: parallels parish/diocese in the Catholic setting.  A ward is presided over by a bishop, and a stake by a stake president.

Celestial, Terrestial, Telestial Kingdom: the 3 kingdoms of heaven in which almost every single person will go to.  The Celestial kingdom is reserved for those who have participated in LDS ordinances and upheld the covenants they made.

Pre-mortal realm: before humans came to earth they lived as spirits in the presence of Heavenly Father.  This is referred to as the pre-mortal realm or life.

 Spirit world: the place where spirits of the dead await the resurrection.

 Exaltation: Deification, being made a god or goddess. This is the divine potential of every human.

Temple: unlike chapels, only Mormons may enter these.  In them, ordinance work such as baptisms for the dead is done, as well as endowments and sealing of spouses and families for eternity.

Eternal marriage/temple marriage: marriages which are performed in an LDS temple and considered binding throughout eternity.  This is a requirement for exaltation.

Temple endowment: a series of blessings and covenant making made within an LDS temple.

Garments: the infamous underwear.  These are received in the process of the temple endowment, and are worn throughout life under clothing.  They are white, and resemble long underpants and a t-shirt, meant to remind one of covenants made within the temple.

Posted in Basic Background | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Are Mormons Persecuted?

Posted by nebula0 on August 23, 2008

Okay, so I’ve already complained about certain ex Mormons (oh I’m sorry, ‘recovering’ Mormons, too much jello I guess) so it’s only fair that I alienate more people by complaining about certain Mormons in a like way.  Certain Mormons, many of them, need to grow a thicker skin, really.  Here’s an example of what I mean.  Back when I went to the university, I used to love to watch street preachers coming onto campus, and my absolute favorites were these guys with giant signs condemning all kinds of people to hell.  They condemned homosexuals, people who love plants more than God, creators of motherboards (yup, odd huh?) and so forth.  Not surprisingly, Mormons were on the sign.  Now it would seem like with many people condemned to hell on the boards, that Mormons would be on the sign too wouldn’t be the biggest shocker.  Yet, I saw more than one Mormon girl walk away in tears, her sensitive feelers all hurt because the mean street preacher didn’t think she was a Christian.  Naturally she expected the other Mormons to feel sorry for her.  I say: duh.  Next, she would claim that she’s being persecuted, and the strong manly men who gathered around to pat her back would agree, those street preachers are persecuting them!  I hope you agree with me: that is NOT persecution.  Persecution involves getting killed, tortured, or at least discriminated against legally for your beliefs.  Mormons, in their past, had periods of persecution, but even then, hey, they fought back, and you know what?  The way Joseph Smith liked to conflate civil, ecclesiastical and military power, he was kinda asking for it (not that innocent Mormons caught in the cross fire were asking for it, they weren’t).

So I say, even if a street preacher is such a meany as to get garments and even if he were to stomp on them, or drag around a Book of Mormon, in protest of a temple dedication, or General Conference, or the Manti pageant, it’s not persecution.  If you think it is, grow a thicker hide and grow up.  Expressing disagreement, even if it is expressing strong disagreement, does not qualify for true, feel sorry for me, persecution.

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