Yes, there are several unreasonable — even unsavory — aspects to orthodox Christianity. On a regular basis, we eat a ritualistic meal that we pretend it flesh and blood. We venerate a symbol of torture and the death penalty. Maybe I’ve just been acclimated to those parts of my faith. I’m sure that to a non-believer, they seem just as weird as the weirdness of Mormonism.
But to me, Mormonism reaches a different level of weirdness, and it’s one that I just can’t abide.
I’ve written before about the sacred undergarments, which I find creepy and inexplicable. And I’ve written about my discomfort with Mormon history. I think that Mormon christology and eschatology are unorthodox. And I think that Joseph Smith was a mentally ill charlatan.
The most powerful Mormon apologist I know is Jana Reiss, who I count as a friend. Recently, on Rachel Held Evan’s blog, Jana answered some questions about being Mormon. Jana is an adult convert to the LDS church, and she explained it thusly,
Oddly, I converted to Mormonism when I was enrolled in a Protestant seminary studying to be a pastor. I was 23 years old. I would say that my conversion, like most other people’s, was a combination of push and pull factors. For me a major push factor was studying Protestant theology and coming to realize that I didn’t believe in the Trinity. This was a serious problem; how could I become a minister when I had no conviction about this key point of doctrine? I wished very much that I could believe in the Trinity, because I love the idea of God in relationship – that a relationship among equals is in fact the defining feature of God’s identity. However, the three-in-one concept never quite added up for me.
What I also know, because I’ve studied it at length, is that Mormon teenagers are the most faithful teenagers in America, by almost every measurement.
But, I guess there is a threshhold of weirdness for me when it comes to a religion. I can handle the weirdness and irrationality of orthodox Christianity, but the weirdness and irrationality of Mormonism is a bridge too far.
That’s inconsistent and unfair, I know. And I proffer my apologies to Jana and other Mormons for calling their beliefs “weird” — I’m just saying they’re somewhat more weird than my own. But I’m trying to be honest here, and, to be honest, the weirdness factor is what keeps me from being Mormon.