Sunday, May 14, 2006

What? I'm not an apostate???

I guess it depends on who gets to define the word, but it would appear there are some conflicting definitions floating around.

I always thought that because I grew up believing in Mormonism and don't believe it's true anymore, that alone would be sufficient for me to qualify. But already when I posted this guest post on fMh I discovered there was some confusion as to who's really an apostate and who isn't.

Now somebody called "Mad Viking" posted over on RfM a definition of "apostate" from the Church Handbook of Instruction that makes it look like Seth R was right after all. (see the comments on the above-mentioned guest post.)

Now I don't have the CHI in front of me to verify this quote, so take it with a grain of salt. Remember folks, don't believe everything you read on the Internet. Except you can believe with confidence everything that I post to my blog -- unless I preface it with "this is just something I read somewhere on the Internet" or other qualifier -- because I'm generally pretty careful.

So anyway, what was I talking about again?

Oh yeah, so am I an apostate or what?

According to this quote, maybe I'm not:


As used here, apostasy refers to members who:

1. Repeatedly act in clear, open, and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its leaders.
2. Persist in teaching as Church doctrine information that is not Church doctrine after they have been corrected by their bishops or higher authority
3. Continue to follow the teachings of apostate sects (such as those that advocate plural marriage) after being corrected by their bishop or higher authority.

In such cases, excommunication may be necessary if repentance is not evident after counseling and encouragement.

Priesthood leaders must take disciplinary action against apostates to protect Church members. The Savior taught the Nephites that they should continue to minister to a transgressor, but "if he repent not he shall not be numbered among my people, that he may not destroy my people" (3 Nephi 18:31; see also Mosiah 26:36).

Total inactivity in the Church or attending or holding membership in another church does not constitute apostasy.

So for (1), even though I talk publicly about the LDS church in my blog and novel, it's not so much "opposition" as it is random snide comments and amusing anecdotes. For (2), if people ask me questions about what Mormons believe I'll answer them, and if any of my responses are inaccurate, at least no "bishop or higher authority" has told me to cut it out. For (3) I'm guessing that neither "Outer Blogness" nor Exmo-Social count as "apostate sects" because they sure as hell haven't encouraged me to practice polygamy...

I haven't even joined another church -- not that that would make me qualify!!

See, I would have thought that not believing that Joseph Smith or Jesus or any of those guys really had any supernatural powers would count for something. Guess not.

Not that it really makes any difference, it's just kind of interesting...


Joseph's Left One said...

Heh. Maybe I'm not an apostate, either. Who knew?

That was an excellent piece, and it was good to see the mostly positive response from the believers.

Anonymous said...

Sheesh, by this definition, I'm not apostate either, even though I was first called one when I was thirteen or fourteen years old, by some Sunday school teacher I had the temerity to disagree with!

I really am disappointed.... I always prefered the term "apostate" to "jack Mormon." Oh well.

C. L. Hanson said...

I think what happened was that they had to "raise the bar" for apostates -- otherwise there'd be just too many of them!!! ;-)

Cyn Bagley said...

LOL... oh I like to use the word "Jack Mormon." The unMormons want to know what it means and the real Mormons shudder. ;-)

Cyn Bagley said...

I used to know the story of Jack Mormon... mmmm I think it came from a person in the 19th century... but really I don't remember the story at all.. I guess it didn't impress me when I was young.

Rebecca said...

(on soapbox, throwing pamphlets at peoples' heads) They don't define us! If you think you're an apostate, then you are one, and definitions be damned!

Anyway, I've found that anything that hints that Mormonism isn't the greatest thing ever - when written by a non-member it's labelled as anti-Mormon. So you might be an apostate after all.

C. L. Hanson said...

Good points.

So maybe I'm an apostate after all... :D

Anonymous said...

Yes, but who gets to define the word "apostate?" The religion or those outside it?

As far as I'm concerned the Catholics can call whomever they want "apostate."

It's their church after all. Not mine.

Nice to see that there's at least a possibility that I'm occasionally right.

Seth R.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Seth R!!!

Nice to see you over here. I like your comments over on the Bloggernacle because -- as far as I've seen -- you tend to be polite and civil even when you disagree with people. That's very important for constructive dialog. :D

I'm mostly kidding here worrying about the definition of "apostate." People can call me an apostate or not -- whichever they prefer -- as long as the intended meaning is clear.