With their support for Proposition 8 the Mormons have more or less done what someone might do who — in an incredibly dumb moment — decides to call up the local IRS office and start asking the kind of questions that inevitably leads to getting audited.
Frank Schaeffer has an opinion piece on Huffington Post entitled Perspectives on Marriage: Score 1 For Gay America — 0 To The Mormons. I think it would help for Mormons to read this article–with an open mind–just for the purpose of understanding how the rest of the world views them.
I happen to have just been thinking about how Mormons make a big deal about celebrity Mormons (athletes, movie stars, professional singers, etc.), and how they probably do that because it makes them feel more normal and mainstream. But it’s delusional. As Frank says,
It seems that the Mormons have begun to believe their own propaganda when it comes to seeing themselves as “just another” evangelical group. They aren’t.
The evangelicals may be plenty crazy, as they have manifested themselves to be through the late great Religious Right (that is now crashing in flames following the Obama victory), but the Mormons are exponentially crazier when it comes to marriage, and gender roles. [snip]
New religions, where their founders are not shrouded by the merciful mists of time — for instance L. Ron Hubbard of the Scientologists or Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormons — seem stranger than the founders of older religions. Maybe that’s unfair, but there it is. That is because the newcomers lived recently enough so that truth claims and character are easier to check out.
Here is just two of many quaint bits of Mormon “teaching” ( this first on race is no longer the official position of the church, but still…)
“And if any man mingles his seed with the seed of Cane [i.e black people] the only way he could get rid of it or have salvation would be to come forward & have his head cut off & spill his blood upon the ground. It would also take the life of his Children.”
(Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 1852, Brigham Young’s address before the legislative assembly of the Territory of Utah upon slavery)
“Nearly all the great discoveries of man in the last half century have, in one way or another, either directly or indirectly, contributed to prove Joseph Smith to be a Prophet… I know that he said the moon was inhabited by men and women the same as this earth, and that they lived to be a greater age than we do, that they lived generally to near the age of 1000 years. He described the men as averaging near six feet in height, and dressing quite uniformly in something near the Quaker style. In my Patriarchal blessing, given by the father of Joseph the Prophet, in Kirtland, 1837, I was told that I should preach the gospel to the inhabitants of the sea — to the inhabitants of the moon, even the planet you can now behold with your eyes.”
(Oliver B. Huntington, Young Woman’s Journal, Vol. 3, p. 263-264)
So, okay, enough already of the “seed of Cain,” moon men, on to marriage, California’s Proposition 8 and the Mormons…
As most in this community know, that’s just the tip of the iceberg of crazy Mormon quotes. But Frank’s entire piece is a pretty interesting read as he quotes a church histories who tallies up Joseph Smith’s wives by age and shows that “The teenage representation is the largest, though the twenty-year and thirty-year groups are comparable, which contradicts the Mormon folk-wisdom that sees the beginnings of polygamy was an attempt to care for older, unattached women. These data suggest that sexual attraction was an important part of the motivation for Smith’s polygamy.”
. . . for the Mormons to grandstand on marriage is just nuts, given their history and beliefs.
I don’t care one way or the other whether Mormons ever become mainstream. But I do care when they meddle in the rights of others in order to promote their own agenda. I think this time the widespread attention to Prop. 8 will be a net negative for the church’s purposes. And Mormons will eventually come to understand that, and being the survivors they are, will make adjustments.