Sunday, February 23, 2014

Railway to Heaven

I have struggled for some time now over the LDS Church.  Since it is/was the primary church of the Restoration, I have some bittersweet feelings about it.  I had more of an association with it during my childhood, and it was quite different then.  I often wonder what all of its members will do when the tribulations commence, and they discover that their leaders have been quite fallible.

You often meet people who have given up on organized religion.  Often it is because the parish priest was a jerk or he molested the little girl down the street.  Sometimes it is because the church solicits money, and doesn't necessarily give much in return.  One problem with organized religion is that the organizers thereof are men, and men are often greedy, lecherous and vicious.  I met a guy once whose landlady was asked to evict him and his family by a bishop who had discovered that the guy was a polygamist.  Big corporate religions often have fangs and will brutalize anyone who stands in their way or who voices dissent.

What makes me the most nervous about the Mormon Church now is the self-preservation-at-all-costs approach.  In the early days, the Church bore revolutionary doctrines to the world.  Joseph Smith seemed to many to be a lunatic.  His polygamy must have contributed to his assassination.  He preached utopia, blood atonement, sanctification and a pre-existence.  He produced an ancient book of scripture.  He changed the world.

Nowadays the Church teaches people to build families, to be good, honest and chaste, and not to drink coffee.  It teaches people to embrace all races and creeds (except Fundamentalist Mormons).  It sends 80,000 missionaries into the world to spread the same message - a message that THIS is the church of the restoration, and that 75% of the original doctrines of that restoration were a mistake on the part of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.  Don't let that worry you - those old, obscure, mysterious doctrines were a fleeting aberration, a product of colonial times when men were barbaric.  It teaches the Taiwanese, the Argentines and the Finns to build Zion in their own homelands - to board a train that is going straight to the Celestial Kingdom.

Yes, get baptized, pay your tithing, answer the temple recommend interview questions the right way, get a mortgage and a three-bedroom, two-bath house, send your kids on missions and train them to marry only in the temple, and follow "the Prophet" at all costs and you will go directly to the Celestial Kingdom.

I read an article once that imagined the words of a Soviet-era Russian official.  He insisted that the Soviet Union erred in banishing all religions.  The Soviet Union should have welcomed the Mormon Church - after all, it taught its members to be unquestioningly obedient; to trust in the organization and not so much in God; to turn over their goods to the collective without question; to shun and tattle on defectors in their midst; to scramble for position and favor among the leading elite.  Yes, the Mormon Church fits well in a totalitarian environment.

The Church wants you to think that membership in it is a virtual guarantee of divine glory.  Jump aboard this train and you are on your way.  Stay on this railway to heaven at any cost and you will become a god, despite whatever may happen to others on the outside.  You will be given seven hot wives in the hereafter, so keep your mouth shut, pay your tithing, and comply with everything you are instructed, and all will be well in Zion.

Look out!




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