What Mormons are like. . .

Jack inspired me to get off my butt and write some jokes about what Mormons are like:

Like Punks, Mormons are  lower-class people that don’t want to conform to traditions.

Like Rastafarians, Mormons are lower-class people that use religion as a way to get higher in life.

Like Catholics, Mormons are lower-class people that respect priesthood authority.

Like charismatics, Mormons are lower-class people that are not ashamed of whatever comes out of their mouths when they are feeling the spirit.

Like Democrats, Mormons are lower-class people that think that one can win in the world through will and intelligence.

Like Republicans, Mormons are lower-class people that think that charisma is more imporant than coherance.

Like Americans, Mormons are lower-class people that think that their holy documents are somehow superior to everything ever written.

Like Hindus, Mormons are lower-class people who believe that their pathetic lives fit in with some cosmic order of things.

Lke Muslims, Mormons are people who swear by prophets.

Like the Insane Clown Posse, Mormons are chaotically creative lower-class people who believe in God.

Like New Agers, Mormons are people who think they they are in constantly in touch with extra-terrestrials.

Like wrestlers, Mormons are lower-class people who torture themselves for an imagined glory only they can understand.

Like Christians, Mormons are lower-class people that condemn themselves under the law.

Like ranchers, Mormons are lower-class people who spend their time herding livestock stamped with their own brand.

Like police officers, Mormon are lower-class people who think that special rules apply to them because they enforce the law.

Like soldiers, Mormons are lower-class believe you receive more glory if you die in the line of duty.

 

 

Making peace between Joseph Smith and Saint Paul

I came to the conclusion years ago that the difference between Mormons and Evangelicals was the difference between taking Paul’s philosophy and taking Joseph Smith’s seriously. If the LDS Church wants to be what it claims to be, I think it behooves them to think though and reconcile these differences in a way to keep the theology of both men intact, even if they have to be viewed within different metaphysical paradigms. My view currently is that the failure to reconcile these differences without discrediting what Paul said is a grave mistake. I think that the historical antagonism between the LDS and Paul’s theology has been as unhelpful as the LDS policy of denying the priesthood to people of African descent.

In my mind, Paul and Joseph Smith are very similar figures. Both assumed authority within their Christian communities because of supernatural experiences with Christ, and claims that they spoke and wrote under the authority of the Holy Spirit.  Both were religious geniuses, able to bring the patterns of ancient scripture to spectacular effect in promoting their new worldviews.  They both claimed to bring to light hidden knowledge from God that was hidden in the past due to false traditions perpetuated by the hard-headed, and hard-hearted.  Both claimed to speak the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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A meditation on religious conflict

[This is a prose poem that came out after I finished up writing brief about a particularly gnarly run in with original sin and the law that punishes it. Enjoy!]

“Religious War has signified the greatest advance of the masses so far, for it proves that the masses have begun to treat concepts with respect.  Religious War start only after more refined quarrels between sects have refined reason in general to the point where even the mob becomes subtle and takes trifles seriously and actually considers it possible that the “eternal salvation of the soul” might depend on small differences between concepts.” – F. Nietzsche

“But if all religious teachers were honest enough to renounce their pretensions to godliness when their ignorance of the knowledge of God is made manifest, they will all be as badly off as I am, at any rate; and you might just as well take the lives of other false teachers as that of mine. If any man is authorized to take away my life because he thinks and says I am a false teacher, then, upon the same principle, we should be justified in taking away the life of every false teacher, and where would be the end of blood? And who would not be the sufferer?” – J. Smith

Science tells us that our universe began as a single point, and that human beings are super-developed animals with incredible imaginations that in their limitless symbolizing and shaping of the world with their art spawned religion, civilization, and consciousness of our unfathomable beginning and becoming.

The orthodox catholic tells us that God is the unknowable Father that is the source of this point, but that he is nothing within it, that God is the substance of the man Jesus the Christ that became part of the created world, and the substance of the Holy Spirit that fills creation and the strange human souls that take on the the image of this substance but are condemned to be separated from it.

Mohammed tells us that man is nothing like God, and absolute and unknowable, who has no child and wills all that happens and all that exists, God is the final arbiter of this created reality and should be feared and loved.

The Buddha tells us that we are not separate souls, and God is irrelevant to our enlightenment to this fact; only in our giving up ourselves and our souls can we awake to the reality of God.

Paul tell us that man is a debased spirit separated from God, clothed in corrupt flesh but redeemed to God’s image through assent and capitulation to the reality of the single Christ, the God who submitted to death and suffering to save the world from it.

Moses tells us that there is a law from heaven that all must follow and that one people were chosen to proclaim it.

Joseph Smith tells us that God is the same as us: a single eternal soul living within the uncreated universe who discovered intelligence and then glory though the laws of reality that fill the immensity of space and makes all things as they are.

The Hindu tells us that we are all the shifting faces of God, the absolute reality that sits behind all appearances, and that only those whose intelligence has been stolen by material desires surrender themselves to other gods and follow the particular rules and regulations of worship according to their own many natures.

Pilate tells us that truth is an illusion and then spilled the blood of the man the Christians call God by the power of the law and might of Rome.

Jesus tells us that God’s law and all other truth is swallowed in Christ, the mystery and promise of God’s love, that God’s kingdom has nothing to do with Rome that killed him, but is in midst of the love and joy that springs from His blood and suffering and ours.

The Evangelical tells us that we should proclaim this last Word above all others, and attests that there is no end to this blood that saves us.

It seems that in this blood there should be an end to the blood Nietzsche and Joseph Smith spoke of, but how remains its mystery.

 

The terrible reality of God = The terrible God of reality

 A meditation on the fear of God: 

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“There are those who rebel against the light, who do not know its ways, or stay in its paths. “

armen1

Armenian Christian Women Crucified by Ottomans in 1916

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The Message of Sin to a Mormon Missionary

I spent quite a bit of time as a missionary seeking out Evangelicals to talk with.  (I spent 8 months of my mission within a mile of Azusa Pacific University, and I would tract through the student housing for fun.)  Most of the Evangelicals that I met approached me with one of two attitudes: (1) ridicule, and (2 ) fear. I have never felt anyone fear me like I have felt in the presence of some true-believing Evangelicals when I was a missionary. I can chalk some of this up to pure physical presence (I was 6″2, and built a sort of like a skinny orangutan) but I am not a particularly hostile person, and I had made it clear that I was there to learn from them if they were.

It seemed that most of the fear came when I expressed my faith with both confidence and demonstrated knowledge of the Bible.  I seemed to be able to explain my faith better than they could, and in a more confident spirit. Because they “knew” I was wrong, this made them fear that they did not have the prowess or ability to correct me, so they simply wanted escape.  They saw me as a representative of the devil, when I knew I was a representative of God. I knew I was not from the devil, I knew I was there to save them, and they seemed to fear the salvation on offer.  Their fear made me think that the Gospel they believed in must be deeply confused.

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Jesus Was a Pimp?

This blog owes a lot to Del Parsons and a very awkward painting of Jesus (if you’re curious about the title of this post you have to check out that link).  So in effort to honor that legacy we must point out the glory of perhaps the most awkward painting of Jesus of all time.

Everything about this painting is awesome. I’m not sure what my favorite part is but let me point a few of them out in no particular order

  1. The hole Jesus is apparently standing in
  2. The baby orangutan
  3. The inconsistent light sources
  4. Adam’s dislocated hips and birthing posture
  5. Is that the sun or the moon?
  6. A miniature giraffe AND a dwarf tiger symbolizing male virility

awkward jesus paintingThere seem to be a few hints to me in the painting that the artist might have some Mormon influences but wasn’t for sure (Eve in particular). My suspicions were a bit confirmed by this painting of Mitt Romney welcoming a new child’s birth.  But the artist’s resume seems to indicate that he has many Evangelical connections.  Sorry Mormon friends, the brilliance of this painting appears to belong entirely to the Evangelical subculture.

September Dawn

September Dawn opens today. By all critical points, this seems to be a pretty bad movie. Which is too bad. I think it’s a story with enough drama and controversy to make a pretty good movie. I don’t think the historical inspiration is at fault, it just sounds like the execution (pardon the pun) of screenwriting, directing and acting all failed.

One review I read said that it made 1950’s Western TV shows look authentic. I don’t see movies in the theater unless they get at least a 75 on Rotten Tomatoes. “September Dawn” is getting a 12 right now. That’s Gigli-Land, so that means I’m probably out.

But I did find this interesting interview by Hugh Hewitt with the director Christopher Cain and star of the movie Jon Voight. They come off pretty well in regards to their intentions and motivations for making the movie.

Jesus Was A Polygamist?

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This painting screams at me that LDS view Jesus as a polygamist. Is that its intention? As a non-Mormon I find this image a little disturbing and creepy. What is the general LDS opinion on it? Hat Tip to az10

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DISCLAIMER: ( 12/29/08 ) Due to a high search ranking this post earns on Google many pass by without reading the comments or the general context of this discussion.  All comments remain welcomed. If you’re a Mormon teenager in Utah, then your comments are doubly welcomed (based on their comedic value alone).

Before you post, please recognize that the history of Mormon polygamy is often not fully understood or known (particularly by Mormon teenagers in Utah).  Joseph Smith began the practice by taking his first polygamous wife in 1833 (a 16 year old girl). Subsequent LDS Prophets and General Authorities indeed taught that Jesus was a polygamist as well.

The author understands that the intention of the artist was perhaps not to further propagate this teaching. Given the previous LDS teachings and the inappropriate way some of the girls are postured (how many teenage girls touch a teacher/minister/adult/mentor in this manner?) I feel the painting’s intended meaning remains somewhat obscured.

More From Dutcher on His Departure

http://www.bycommonconsent.com/2007/04/richard-dutcher-vehicle-of-gods-grace/#comment-129821

I’ve decided to address a few of the statements that have been made about me and my decision to leave the Church. I’d appreciate it if those who read this message would send it along to other internet sites. I’d like it to be read.

Also, the ghost of Thomas Marsh keeps pestering me. He’s been following me around for the past few days saying, “Don’t let them do to you what they did to me!”

What did they do to him? They turned him into a Sunday school lesson. (A note for all the literalists out there: No, Marsh’s ghost has not actually been visiting me. I’m just trying to make a point.) . . . .Read more

Richard Dutcher Hates Mediocre Art

Walking into Christian bookstores sometimes makes me want to puke. What we’ve decided to settle for makes me sick.

As a Christian artist one of the things that frustrates me the most about the Christian culture is the acceptance of mediocre art. More often than not Christians accept bad art just because there’s a Bible verse attached to it. What it says is that people are more interested in propoganda than beauty. Quality artwork expresses both beauty (perhaps “craft” is a better word) and truth. Sometimes a piece of art will more strongly represent one of these than the other. But it seems that to enter into our Christian ghetto the most important feature of art is that it express only things which are safe and uncontroversial. Such a representation is not only a false view of life, its a false view of Christianity and the Bible.

I have never seen any of Richard Dutcher’s films. I have no idea if what he produces has any quality. But he wrote an editorial which I think is powerful and accurate for many reasons. He wrote it to the Mormon media community, but I think what he has to say has a larger audeince than just Latter Day Saints.

Dutcher says:
In my experience, those who wave the flag of “family films” are usually those who have discovered that they lack anything valuable to say, the talent to say it, and the ability to compete in the marketplace. They are looking for a popular cause to compensate for (and to excuse) their lack of ability.

Concentrate on the presence of positives in your films, not merely the absence of negatives. Focus more on the presence of good acting, writing and cinematography and less on the absence of profanity, women’s breasts and gunfights. Passionately adhere to the guideline that it is better to tell an R-rated truth than a G-rated lie.

Stop trying to make movies that you think the General Authorities would like. General Authorities buy very few movie tickets. Make films that the rest of the human family will enjoy. Stop being afraid that if you put something “edgy” in your films then maybe you won’t get any important callings. Who cares? Someone else can be in the bishopric or the Relief Society presidency, but no one else can make those films, those very personal films, that only you can make.

http://www.heraldextra.com/content/view/217694/

At the end of his article Mr. Dutcher makes it sound like he is leaving the LDS community. This makes me sad. I think someone with his perspective is desperately needed to communicate Mormon stories and values. I hope more like him arise in the Evangelical world.