I read this quote from an ex-mormon. I’m just looking for active LDS reaction to it. Is his experience the same or radically different from your own? Does anything resonate for you or did he completely miss the point of Mormonism? At the time of his resignation he was the Bishop’s First Counselor in an Oklahoma City Ward.
When I was a devout member of the LDS Church I sincerely tried to respect the beliefs of other faiths. But I could not appreciate or even tolerate Christian Rock and even some traditional Christian hymns. They really bothered me. I chuckled when I saw commercials with teenagers lifting their “Jesus antennas” high in the sky as they swayed back and forth to the beat of the pseudo-rock music glorifying the Son of God.
I really didn’t care for hearing my Christian friends go on and on about Jesus Christ. I have never liked the Ichthus symbol (Christian fish symbol) on cars or public displays of Christian belief – It seemed and still seems so, well, fake and gross. For me, it’s akin to public displays of affection – please get a room.
Last night, I was thinking of why Mormons felt such animosity (or distaste) towards this type of Christian worship. “As I was pondering this matter, the eyes of my understanding were opened” and I came to the conclusion that Mormons are uncomfortable with the concept of a personal Christ. In my opinion, most Mormons view Christ as a detached stake president or young kindly prophet, or the guy in that picture with the soft eyes, red robe and debonair beard. Yeah, he is there, the head of the Church, somehow he paid mankind’s debts, but as a Mormon I didn’t really want (or have time) to know him. (I still don’t.)
I was surprised of how quickly I went from being a devout Mormon to becoming an indifferent atheist/agnostic.
I have asked myself: “Why was the journey from Mormon to Agnostic such a quick one?” I think it is because we, as Mormons, never identified much with Christ. Sure we believed in him, but we had a bunch of other things to believe in too; gold plates, Joseph Smith, modern prophets, new scripture, Word of Wisdom, being the Only True Church on the Face of the Earth, two year missions, the spirit world, the Celestial Kingdom, food storage, temple attendance, family history, Lamanites, John the Baptist, Priesthood, etc. Frankly, we didn’t have much time for Christ in our life, we had way too many assignments.
For me, and I suspect many of you, Christ was the guy who appeared to Joseph Smith, he helped make the earth – but with the help of Michael (Adam), he was a messenger boy between Elohim and Peter, James and John (apparently heaven doesn’t have phones or e-mail); his name was the beginning part of the church’s name (which made us Christians); and did I mention he appeared to Joseph Smith and maybe a couple of other prophets and apostles? At Christmas time we celebrated his birth, but the important part was that we knew it really happened on April 6 – those other ignorant Christians didn’t even know that – thanks Joseph Smith for setting us right on that bit. We celebrated Easter and remembered his Crucifixion and Resurrection, but the most important part was the Garden of Gethsemane (again, thanks Joseph for that tidbit) and then we hurried home for ham, funeral potatoes, pie and seconds. And then there’s the Sacrament, the time to really focus on Christ and his atonement, but, we all know the most important thing was whether the young priest could get the words out correctly, or would he have to repeat them? And of course, the anticipated assessment of how soft was the bread.
So maybe I have the LDS Church to thank for not getting me hung up on Christianity once I lost my faith and confidence in Smith. I was able to make a quick transition. Otherwise, I might have spent years throwing myself into a more ancient myth. See, something good did come from my Mormon upbringing.