Laura and I watched this series over the past few days. It was an intense depiction of a true-life story. At times it was hard to watch as it brought up memories of the past.
The natural defense is that not all LDS saints are like this, just like all Catholic priests and Southern Baptist youth pastors don’t molest children. The “our church is not like that” defense causes us to bypass the issues. First of all, we all have these inclinations. And we can’t just not care just because OUR problems are not as severe.
There are systemic issues, inherent to most organized religion. Watching this series brought back memories and pain from my experience which was much different than the LDS church. Just because our issues weren’t identical doesn’t mean the issues don’t exist.
Extreme situations highlight the common issues that are present in religion.
1. Organizations preserve the organization first. It’s likely our “petty” emotional needs will be overlooked because the organization has bigger concerns.
2. Any elements of the religion that are based on fear only foster abuse. When we are worried about hell or not getting rewards, pastors, leaders, spouses and politicians can sell us just about anything.
3. When leaders or organizations are afraid, of being embarrassed or diminished, they use control in many different ways, despite what it could do to the individuals.
4. The single leader, or special person, whether it is that one pastor, the one prophet, the one leader of the home, etc. Also promotes abuse and stifles, creativity, collective input, wisdom, etc.
5. What one generation does in moderation, the next does to excess.
I don’t know if I even recommend you watching this series. It’s very painful to watch. You will definitely see similarities in your religion even though your creeds and practices may be quite different.
The main character, Detective Pyre, was LDS and investigating the murders. Eventually he had to step outside his religion so that he could see it clearly. We experienced the same thing in our tradition.
Keep in mind, religion is something man invented. Just because we’ve been experimenting with it for a long time doesn’t mean it needs to continue, especially in the 21st century.
Be where you are,
Be who you are,
The new book, Out into the Desert releases 8/15.