It never gets old to hear someone discovering a “new” religion for the first time.
Mary Fons, a fantastic actress/writer living in Chicago, knew relatively little about Mormonism. But recently, she has been reading Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer, picking up quite a bit of information in the process. (The story tells the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and focuses on the more fundamental aspects to it.)
She learned, for example, that polygamy hasn’t actually been part of church doctrine since 1890.
But there are still a whole lot of strange beliefs that haven’t gone away…
And while I’m proud of the LDS Church for rejecting polygamy (because it’s just a big ol’ mess of crazy) I can’t say I can make much sense of the religion as a whole. I’m into industriousness, I’m into discipline, I’m all for the go-get-em attitude that the LDS folks seem to embrace, but I just cannot believe that Joseph Smith business.
The angel Moroni revealed these holy gold plates to Smith but never let him take them away from where they were unearthed, of course, so no one but Joe ever saw them. Smith couldn’t read the fancy angelic language on the plates until the angel supplied him with magic glasses. Thank goodness! (The glasses are nowhere to be found, either.) Joseph Smith was a troublemaker before he was a prophet, and though reinvention is real and people can be reformed, I treat “the word of God” that came out of the mouth of a convicted fraud with some reluctance.
I still haven’t gotten to the part about the underwear. I really want to know what’s up with the underwear.
As do we all.
This isn’t an atheist ripping on a religion, by the way. Mary is a theist.
I believe in things other people don’t. I believe in God and pray every day for faith and guidance. I believe that living by spiritual principles (i.e., honesty, willingness, open-mindedness) life can be more beautiful than not living by them. I believe in green tea and I believe in change.
I do not believe in magic glasses.
On a side note, after I read her posting, I honestly didn’t care that she believed in God. I know some atheists would have issue with it. But I knew her beliefs weren’t being used to denigrate other people, so they weren’t as much of a problem for me.
At the same time, another part of me wanted to scream out that the idea of magic glasses makes as much sense as believing in God in the first place…
You pick your battles. I pass on ones like this.
[tags]atheist, atheism, Mormon, Jesus, Christian[/tags]