Monday, June 05, 2006

Mormon Readings

This weekend I finished Martha Beck's Leaving the Saints. (Let me know if you want to borrow it Mom.) I thought that it was rather good, but it is a book swirled in controversy.....and I have read both sides of the arguement on her book and I think that both sides have valid points. If you would like to read an in-depth and wonderful commentary on the events surrounding this book, see here.

What I found interesting about this book was that really for the first time in the eighteen years (wow, that seems like forever) that I have been in Utah...I have really become interested in looking into the history of the LDS church. Now wait, before anyone starts to worry about me converting.....I have already been through all of the missionary discussions, the temple ground stuff...and bunches of movies. While I have found it interesting there is no way that I would ever become Mormon. Growing up here has shown me that the people are not open-minded and I should have never been treated like I, my brother, or my family have been, as "outsiders" by this community.

The dogma of the LDS church I find freaking fascinating. And I am partly envious of people who are so firm in their belief that their church and everything about it as "true". I question too much (that is why I am Sufi)...and so I must learn to be content with my spirituality and learn to deal that I will probably not ever find myself comfortable in a religious community.

In response to this book (and an exceedingly interesting Episcopalian ceremony that I went to on Saturday) I have been back to studying different religions: which includes lots of internet research that Mr.3 has thought to be pretty funny. I have often thought about going to RCIA classes---which is the Catholic conversion classes--- because I am interested in the more obscure practices of the Catholic church, but I would feel bad about taking them because I would not convert at the end and that is really the expectation.

So I am beginning my quest into more info....right now the focus is on the LDS church. After I read the anti-Mormon book I decided to read a pro-Mormon I read Charly by Jack Weyland. I see why it makes everyone cry but ugh! the sentimentality in it made me want to double-over. Here is the synopsis: Mormon boy takes out non-Mormon girl as a request from Mormon boy's Dad. After a rocky beginning they became friends....he introduces her to "the one true faith" after reading the Book of Mormon and finding it all "to be true". She converts much to the dismay of her family. She wants to marry him, he says no, they fight, she leaves to go to school in New York. He pines for his mistake, goes to get girl and fails horribly at it. Girl returns with potential husband to meet her family. Both boys fight over girl. Girl decides to marry Mormon boy. They marry (in the temple!), live very poorly but happily. Boy finishes school, gets job, they move, decide to buy a house, then just buy land in which they camp on until the finally build their house. Girls gets pregnant, has a baby. Both happy and productive members in the church community (happy happy happy). Girl becomes diagnosised with un-named cancer (which I was really disappointed in because I was looking for a way to use my Cancer book). Girl sick and dying and the church community rallies around them (she even let one of the other Mormon ladies nurse her child which, I'm sorry we are no longer in the days of wet-nurses....not a line to be crossed!) Girl dies but not before she tells her husband the following about wanting him to find another wife after she dies:
"Now, about your next wife, Sam....Find someone that I can get along with. You're not only looking for a wife for you, but you're looking for a sister for me. I understand I'll have to share you in heaven, and we don't want any violent agruements between me and her there would we?"
See I found out this weekend that Mormons may not believe in polygamy in this life (well, it is illegal you see) but believe that polygamy will be practiced in the afterlife. Now I understand the woman wanting her husband to find an alternate wife...but having to figure out the living arrangements in heaven? Geez...people, can't you just wait until you get there? Additionally, unless you are having an agruement about religious doctrine, an acceptable end to a fight is never "I'm right because I hold the priesthood in this family". In Mormonisn, only men can hold the priesthood, and this was actually an agruement illustrated in this book....AND THE WOMAN WAS OK WITH IT! AAARRRGGGHH!!! Ok, breathe, breathe. Sappy doctrine aside..the book was ok, a lot of things happened in its short 120 pages....I would have liked to see more fleshing out of the story. Glad I can now say that I read it, but will never read it again. Yes, I cried a little at the end but I felt nauseous about it at the same time. I had to go and read Dan Brown's Angels and Demons to cleanse my head. I've read a few more chapters and will probably start another Mormon type book later tonight or tomorrow....I am going to try and be even handed in the books I read (one positive, one negative and so on) and yes, I plan on reading at least the first volume of The Work and the Glory.

I'll let you know how this goes.


Rob said...


Rob said...

One more thing, I have been blogging a lot about the church I rarely attend, as well. I maintain an intellectual fascination with the subject. It is a shame I am unwelcome at church for having such a view.

rob said...

One MORE thing.

There is still some doctrinal debate over whether there is celestial polygamy or not. More liberal, thinking Mormons, like myself, who believe polygamy was a) a mistake and b) never really inspired, tend to be on the other side of this.

Aaron Shafovaloff said...

Y'all might be interested in: