Friday, January 11, 2013

The Chlorox of Christianity

When I was a senior in High School in 1977, an admittedly extremely cute, young female Mormon missionary perhaps a year or two older than me knocked on my door while I was alone after school and asked if I would like to talk. Are you kidding me? Come right in! I have always been on kind of a spiritual quest (perhaps like you) and always enjoyed, as I enjoy, talking about theology, philosophy, etc. Remember, I got jailed for discussing the Garden of Eden with 6th graders. I love teaching comparative religions.

I was extremely impressed by the Mormon's high regard for family. She constantly asked me if my parents minded us talking as she would not want to do anything to disrupt our family life. She would rather us cease our discussions than reap family discord. I liked and respected that. I also liked (and like) the fact that one day a week is set aside totally for the family. Our society is on the verge of complete collapse largely because we have allowed families to disintegrate. The talks were very interesting and many of "her" ideas on God were similar to mine at the time. Personified, in other words. Hey, I was barely 18. Cut me some slack. Of course the Massacre never came up.

I liked (and still like, though don't necessarily believe) the idea that we are spirits living in a spirit world separate from Heaven before we are born and that we choose our parents because of a particular experience our spirits seek here on earth so they can better appreciate some particular benefit or benefits of Heaven. This is why we should never do anything against our parents, they believe. They believe we, in fact, chose them rather than they choosing (or happening) to have us.
Cool idea.
A couple of red flags went up at some point. Don't remember which order. But she started to lose me when the whole idea of baptizing dead people came up. All those suffering souls that unfortunately were born before Jesus. Those out of earshot. What about cave people whose names we no longer knew, I wondered. Also, I was a helluva basketball player. And the Mormon Church loves nothing more than to have a good basketball team. Their churches come with extremely high quality gymnasiums. I led the way, but pretty soon, virtually our entire varsity basketball team (including four starters) was playing for the Mormon Church in their church(?) leagues. None of us were Mormon, but we made great Mormon hoopsters. The only problem was none of us could dunk. Well I could, as a matter of fact. But I didn't do it often. There were also quite a number of extremely gorgeous Mormon high school daughters and this added greatly to the allure of their religion. Mormon daughters in Utah are often not so fortunate. But in Arcadia? Unbelievable.
My spiritual quest went on for quite some time. I scared the beejesus out of the parents of my sister's best friend. They were having nightmares thinking about all the demented things I was probably listening to. I think they were Lutherans, but can't remember. Whatever they were, they got some books to my mother for me to read: Mormonism: Doctrines of Devils was one. This was kind of cool as I was also very interested in the Occult at the time. The Exorcist (novel, not the movie) got me reading everything related to the Occult for a long time.
But the final straw, other than my cute missionary being ultimately replaced by a much less adorable (male) missionary, was one day when she explained to me with utter sincerity that the mark God put on Caine for killing Abel was dark skin. And from that moment forward, anyone with dark skin was therefore cursed by God as they are all descendents of Caine. I'll never forget it and I remind every Mormon missionary that knocks on my door to this day. She looked at me with utter innocence and sincerity and told me that all was not lost for dark-skinned people. They have actual documented cases where black people converted to Mormonism, lived a paragon of Mormon life, became high-ranking Mormons within their community. And I kid you not, these magnificent dark-skinned paragons of Mormon virtue turned white. They have documented cases. 

Joseph Smith's many real estate swindles. His creditors trying to crash the jailhouse gates to either get their money back or kill him. The failed businesses he started much to the chagrin of his investors. The 1857 Massacre (which I think was mentioned in Doctrines of Devils actually) came later.
But I'll never forget that. "They turned white. We have actual documented cases." Now THAT's a cool religion!

Mormonism: the Chlorox of Christianity.

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