This blog is currently passing through the constellation of talking about Mormonism. So for those of you who are bored of Mormonism, I'll ask you to kindly bear with me until it passes. ;-)
I want to make it clear, however, that this is not a proselyting blog. I'm not shy about stating my conclusions and beliefs, but I'm not here to tell you that you need to agree with me.
Well, that's not quite accurate...
There's one idea I am promoting, which is that people of different belief systems should try to understand each other and get along. Since we all have to live together in this lovable, mixed-up world, why not live and let live? So I warn you in advance that I'll be trying to convince you of that philosophy. ;-)
You may have noticed that I'm also actively working to build up and encourage a network of exmormon blogs, which I like to call "Outer Blogness." You might think that this is inconsistent with my insistence that this isn't a proselyting blog since some (not many, but a couple) blogs on the list are written with the express purpose of challenging Mormons' faith in hopes that they will leave Mormonism.
My excuse is that I feel that in order to understand people, it's valuable to look at things from all different perspectives, including perspectives different from your own. That's one of the reasons why I've included some of my favorite LDS blogs in my sidebar as well.
The LDS blogs are kind of fun -- I find a lot of their conversations intriguing. And it's not as though the day you conclude Mormonism isn't all it's cracked up to be you suddenly no longer have anything in common with your LDS friends or anyone else in that familiar culture.
Of course I have to watch my step over on that side of blog space. Here on the exmo blogs, I figure I can post whatever the hell I please as a comment (you guys have maybe picked up on this), but over there, I'm a little like the wicked witch of the West (or East?) -- outside of my realm I have to be careful that nobody drops a house on me. ;-)
I'm actually kind of curious as to what Mormons think of this blog. I'm pretty sure I have a few LDS readers although they hardly ever comment. Of course the worst offenders in terms of not commenting are the Estonians! Ever since I posted here about wanting to go to Estonia and then write a book about my hilarious adventures there, I periodically get visits from IP addresses in Estonia, clicking through blog searches on the word "Estonia." I've gotten quite a number of them, but they never comment! So I have no idea what they think of my amusing plan to hang out with them and visit and, y'know, stay at their house and everything.
Hey you, Estonian reading this! Yes, I mean you! Please leave a comment! Thank you.
Anyway, back to "Outer Blogness": I like grouping people who have followed all different paths after leaving Mormonism because there are so many different possibilities, and it's clear that those who have chosen one path often understand followers of other paths as little if not less than they understand the Mormons. So there's some work to be done even within this motley little blog network.
As an example, in the comments of this post, "Fie to Kolob" offers a dismissive theory for why so many exmos are atheists. (Remember that Fie is the guy whose attitude towards Mormons was -- to my taste -- a little too close for comfort with the Mormon "love the sinner, hate the sin", attitude towards homosexuals, and he responded by assuring me that the way to show love for Mormons and homosexuals alike is to break them of their foolish misguidedness and save them for Jesus.)
Similarly, every now and then I hear the lament of how tragic it is that all of these nonreligious exmos were raised Mormon because the fact that this bad religion (Mormonism) is the only religion they know has prejudiced them against good religions! Personally I find this claim to fall at about the same point on the respectful-vs-insulting scale as the LDS claim that I just want the church to be false so I can have lots of sex and booze.
Fortunately, all of these misunderstandings can be easily cleared up by the miracle of the Internet. Around here, you're never more than a click away from quite a lot of nonreligious exmos, so if there's any confusion about why they left organized religion completely, you can just ask them directly.
From my perspective, once you have the idea to turn the eye of scrutiny on religion, no organized religion can stand up to it. For myself, I can't see saying "Joseph Smith meeting an angel? Impossible!!! But Jesus walking on water? That totally happened."
However, I know that many people see the evidence for Jesus' supernatural claims to be very different from the evidence for Joseph Smith's, and I recognize that there is evidence in support of this position. Also, many people of faith believe that God has confirmed to them that Jesus was truly divine and Joseph Smith was a fraud, and I really can't judge that claim because I'm not in on anyone else's conversations with God.
And remember that Christian and atheist/agnostic are not the only choices out there!!! The Freeway Overpass contains some beautiful insights about Wicca and other spiritual paths.
So I'm not going to be sitting any of you down on my virtual psychiatrist's couch to explain what's wrong with you that makes you not agree with me. ;-)
As far as I'm concerned, we've all looked at the evidence and came to different conclusions. And that's okay. You can't expect to agree with everyone or even completely agree with anyone 100% on all points. And that's why I think it's important to try to live together in peace and harmony.
A good example of cooperating to increase mutual understanding is Gunner's "Carnival of the Veil" (latest installment here). This carnival leans a little bit towards the religious end of the exmo spectrum, but Gunner -- with his characteristic wit and wisdom -- is careful to link not only to examples of exmos who have found fulfillment and happiness in their new religion but also to exmos who have found fulfillment and happiness in having no religion as well.
So happy Sunday to everyone, whatever your plans for the day may be!!! :D