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I'm a single Mormon Democrat, an NPR & BBC news junkie, a dog lover, opera buff, bookavore, migraineur, knows just enough about technology to be a danger to myself, fan of James Bond and Godzilla. 

Micah 6:8; D&C 11:20 

"do justly, walk humbly, judge righteously."

Friday, March 15, 2013

Joseph Smith's View of Government

Reading Section 134 of the Doctrine & Covenants - which is dedicated to showing the early Church's dedication to certain liberal democratic standard - I was struck by how so many of the statements they make apply more to liberals than conservatives. At what point, did Mormons become such staunch conservatives (at least in considering government)? Why did so many stop believing and supporting the values set out in Section 134?

From verse 2, "unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others". Incredible, right? Yet, they spend a lot of money to stop others from having the same rights as they do based on their religious opinions (i.e, marriage equality). 

From verse 5, "We believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, while protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments; and that sedition and rebellion are unbecoming every citizen thus protected, and should be punished accordingly;" 

I really think that many of my friends need to reminded of this one. Way too many of them have no respect for our current government. Many of them spout reasons why shouldn't even be President. Some may even be supporting nearly seditious beliefs. 

Hugh Nibley, that great Latter Day Saint scholar, himself was a Democrat. He did not support Richard Nixon as he was running for office. But when he became President, he put all that behind him and supported him. (See Hugh Nibley, World's Worst Politician)

From verse 9, "We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government, whereby one religious society is fostered and another proscribed in its spiritual privileges, and the individual rights of its members, as citizens, denied." This shows how Joseph Smith realized that the separation of church and state was incredibly important. That if it weren't for that he would not have had the opportunities he had. Also, it was the influences of religion in government, that led to his martyrdom. Many members forget that. 

We need to remember this when people try to institute creationism into our schools, basing foreign policy on Biblical prophecy as in our support for Israel, social policy as in the fight against contraception and abortion, etc. Even the Prophet Joseph saw the danger in this in 1844. 

There are many other statements in the Section that I support. Many of the verses could be considered libertarian. Others could be considered liberal. I am very impressed that the Prophet Joseph considered it important enough to put down in writing for the benefit of posterity.

Monday, March 11, 2013

That's not salvation, that's prison!

Sometimes I just have to wonder at some of the members of my church. Do they not get the same message from the teachings of Jesus Christ that I do? That salvation is for all. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:28)

I participate in a Latter-Day Saints community on Google+. I left it before because of political reasons. But I'm just perverse enough to have them kick me out this time. The problem is just how right wing and fundamentalist it seems to me. (I should know better, really, the moderators are virulently anti-Obama and pro-Republican.) 

Now, you may say: "But, Kirsten, they're Mormons, aren't they?"

Yes, they are. But we should be a more diverse church. And I cannot look at Christ's teachings and say "Well, he's obviously a Republican."

Well, today, it's a little beyond the pale. This incredibly caveman of a poster actually told me that I could not be "fully faithful" since I am against the former Church practices - he called them doctrines - of polygamy and the priesthood ban for Blacks. Since then, we have been going back and forth. And, on top of that, the two moderators have decided to tell me they agree with everything he's said. No criticism for him at all. And I even got a private message from one saying my posts have been "too liberal". 

I read some of his comments and it made me think that if his version of the celestial kingdom is true, I may just ask to stay with the souls in prison. I just cannot believe that some of his statement are in line with what Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have in mind. 

The Lord revealed plural marriage to Joseph Smith as "the moral salvation of the world". It is clear that polygamy will be practiced in the New Jerusalem. It is clear that polygamy will stretch into the eternities. We were forced into a moratorium on the practice, but that doesn't mean we don't believe in it anymore, it just means that the practice has been suspended. 

What can I say? I testify that Joseph Smith was a Prophet. I testify that the Book of Mormon is true. But I just cannot accept polygamy as "the moral salvation of the world" if he really said that. Additionally, the idea that polygamy is still not just acceptable, but highly anticipated in the future is horrible. How anyone can think that it is not just morally acceptable but a "salvation" is beyond me. There is more than enough evidence out there of the poisonous effect it has not just on women, but on children. Also, in the Book of Jacob, there is a section where the Prophet Jacob is chastising the men for having plural wives and is given this advice: 

 "And I will not suffer, saith the Lord of Hosts, that the cries of the fair daughters of this people, which I have led out of the land of Jerusalem, shall come up unto me against the men of my people, saith the Lord of Hosts." (Jacob 2: 32)

Perhaps the so-called "doctrine" was changed due to the "cries of the fair daughters of this people". More from the same poster: 

The world hates us, because we are not of the world, but of God. Their doctrines of race and sex blindness are not acceptable to the God of Heaven, and He has graciously taught His people to avoid these pitfalls, though many choose not to accept those saving teachings.

Oh, dear, what can I say? "Not acceptable to the God of Heaven"? Really? 

I am so glad this man does not run the Church. But he did offer me this advice: 

I have no doubt that unless your perspective matures, you will leave the good ship Zion yourself when the president of the Church gets up and helps us move on to the next stage of the kingdom, which will include polygamy, or when other eternally true, controversial, non-world-approved practices or teachings are revived or magnified (next up: same-sex marriage/homosexual issues). No need for me to kick you off.
It is really appalling what kind of people are in my church. I will have to find another community - maybe - of less fundamentalist Mormons to commune with. In some ways, I have so much more in common with secularists and atheists than with the church members I meet on-line. The secularists and atheists are actually more in line with Christ's teachings than so-called devout servants of Christ are. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

February Reading

A short month and not as many books read. I am still on the reading challenge:

One more month -- hope I get more books off my TBR shelf. So, here's what I read this month:

Feel free to check me out at GoodReads