My church is controversial. It always has been - because it was founded by a guy who said he saw God -- and no other person, ever, has claimed such a thing, so controversy and oh my the horror.
It's controversial because of the additional books of scripture. Because new words. No one has ever messed with the words in the entire history of the words being set on paper. Not once, nope. So those new words? If you read them, you'll sprout horns and tails, just watch.
It was controversial because of polygamy. Well, I guess it still is? Because history.
It was controversial because it didn't allow Blacks to have the priesthood. And then it was controversial because it did. People joined because of the first bit and people left because of the second bit. Bigotry happens, which sucks.
I could go on and on and on. Nearly every aspect of my church is controversial in one form or another.
Currently it's controversial because of its stand on same-sex marriage and the baptism of the children of those unions. Obviously no other church has an issue with this, so why in the world won't the LDS church become more open minded?
In that vein of thought, though, I'm feeling quite ranty at the members of my religious community. Instead of whacking them with a cast-iron frying pan, I'd just like to vent my spleen and maybe hit 'em with some duh.
First, I want to say that we believe that before any of us came down to earth, before Adam and Eve, that there was a war in heaven. MASSIVE war. Imagine every single soul that has lived and will live on earth. Then add in 1/3 more. All these folks had a fight, a HUGE fight, over the right to choose.
I am not kidding, we more than quibbled over the right to make a choice.
So people choosing to live a different lifestyle than me? i.e. those in the LGBT community? Dude, they fought for that right, they GET to choose how they live their lives. They might not want to choose my religion as theirs, though, all things considered.
Second, we believe that our prophet communicates with God. Therefore when a change happens, it's because God has said so. Yeah, that makes us strange, but we're ok with that. We've always been weird and different.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't the Catholics believe the same thing about the Pope? Somehow that's not weird, though. Maybe because it's been that way for a couple thousand years, and us LDS guys have only been around for 100+. I dunno. It doesn't really matter.
It's against my religion to swear, but oh, I'm gonna. Because choice. And because I am seriously annoyed.
WHY THE HELL ARE MEMBERS FREAKING OUT OVER THIS??
Take a xanex and get a grip, people. Just because we believe that kids from traditional families can choose to be baptized into the church at the age of 8, does not mean it's the f*cking end of the world if they don't.
Do folks even know how many young adults moan and groan and complain that they were baptized at the age of 8 because they felt their parents MADE them do it? They're upset and rebellious because they want to prove that they're mature enough to make their own damn choices about their spirituality once they hit 18 or 20 or whatever age they feel emancipated.
AND, we believe that once baptized, your every action is made as a representative of Christ. Every word said, every single action.
Obviously hypocrisy happens (see my swearing above? I am soooo not loving my neighbor right now.) LDS people are human and make all kinds of mistakes just like agnostic people or Evangelical people or that crazy lady next door who always smells like cat pee. But we also believe in the power of forgiveness.
Even with forgiveness in play, baptism is a fairly big responsibility from a spiritual standpoint. And in our religion, keeping those promises and covenants is kind of a big deal. I mean really really big deal.
Given all of that, what the hell, people? Why in the world would you insist that a child of a loving, caring, wonderful set of same-sex parents be baptized at the age of eight???
How freaking confused and spiritually messed up do you want a kid to be?
First they'd go to church where it's taught that their entire home life is wrong and sinful. Then they'd go home and know they have the greatest parents in the world. But wait, since they're also taught that God loves everyone, how come their parents' lifestyle isn't ok? How can one be right and the other wrong? And lets not even get into how mean kids are to other kids.
Can you imagine being a teenager with all that confusion? You're trying to figure out your identity, who you are, all angsty and crap because you don't fit in, or you fit in too well, or you're not seen at all. Not to mention the friend thing, the dating thing, the grade thing, the HEY! Don't forget about college! thing.
Teenage years suck, period, no matter who you are. Add in not fitting in at church because your home life is vastly different? That's even more sucking suck.
So when God says, "Hey, don't give that baby a name and a blessing," it's because he doesn't want well-meaning members to hunt for a kid whose name is on the books so they can drag that kid to primary and confuse the hell out of them.
And when he says, "Hey, don't baptize that eight year old!!" It's suddenly the end of the world?? Why are people saying that means God doesn't love that child??? That means he loves that child so much that he is trying to save them from a freaktastically awful spiritual upbringing.
And here's another thing, oh ye righteously offended finger pointers: The core thing about our church is temple work. We believe that families are forever. We chase down our family history like a chihuahua after a retriever. We do baptisms and sealings so we can be with our entire families in the hereafter. -- obviously the dead folks have the right to say, "Oh HELL no," and stay whatever their religion was/wasn't when they died, but we believe we're giving them the choice.
You're the child of two dads or two moms. Guess what? You cannot be sealed to them. Ever. Not in our church at any rate. And in our church, given our belief system, that is a HUGELY GINORMOUS big deal. We talk about temple work and families are forever ALL the time. It's one of the steel threads running through our faith.
Don't you think - doesn't anyone think?? - that a person who loves their parents should be old enough and mature enough to say, "I believe this church is true. I do. I prayed, and I felt God's presence witness to me, and I want to live this religion." A lot of the people who join our church say exactly that. BUT, there's far more to it than that.
They ALSO have to say something to the effect of, "By joining, I recognize that some of the blessings aren't going to happen for me. At least not in this lifetime. That part sucks, but I'm willing to sit through church to feel the spirit and hear the lessons, even if it's sometimes painful."
Do any of you members recognize the magnitude of the choices that this individual will have to make?? They will have to acknowledge from a spiritual standpoint that while they love and accept their parents, they recognize the lifestyle being lived is a choice that goes against God's commandments regarding morality. And they would have to accept that because of their parent's choice, the option to be sealed to their parents is simply not available.
I think it would take a very strong adult to make a choice like that. Don't be asking a child the age of eight to live with that kind of burden on their shoulders. I'm not even sure an 18 year old would want to tackle that one. Or me at the age of 42.
Those of you saying, "I just don't understand why they can't be baptized when they want to be, no matter how young," What are you people? Sadists??? Where are your brains? Are you sitting on them??
(It was that very comment that lit the fire for me to write this whole ranty rant of religious finger pointing rantness. Idiots!!!)
AND, oh ye holy roller ack-they're-changing-my-traditions-about-the-age-of-baptism folks: we not only believe that the prophet gets revelation from God, but if you're paying attention, we believe that YOU, individually, get revelation, too.
Remember that bit?? YOU get to pray and say, "Hey, Heavenly Father? I don't get this change. Why are you saying one thing for one set of people and one thing for another? Ok, so you may not tell me *why* but I need to know if this is from you. Can you at least let me know that?" - or whatever it is you say in your prayers.
So, yeah, I just don't get why members are freaking out. Is it just because ohmygosh a change! A change! You can't change the way things have always been! aAAAAAAHHHH!
The only not surprising bit about this whole thing is the non-members who are freaking out. Words like apostate and no tend to freak everyone out if they don't understand the context and/or the why's. Although why people freak out over someone else's religion is beyond me.
In our case, unless you can understand all the firmly held beliefs, I'm sure most of our life choices make zero sense to an outsider looking in. We're waaay strange compared to most everyone.
People have always freaked out about our wacky and crazy weirdness. I don't expect that to ever change.
I do, however, hope that the current mob mentality of LDS members will stop. Sheesh. Quit expecting our church to be socially acceptable! It never will be! It's never going to be politically correct. It's certainly not going to change with the newest fads or swings in public opinion.
Me, I am a member because I believe it. I love my relationship with God. I love the feeling I get from reading my scriptures. I love the service and the family and the whole shebang. It's obviously not for everyone.
I'd like to note that there are over 30,000 organized religions out there. If a member is offended that our volunteer clergy won't perform same-sex marriages, or that we won't allow those weddings in our buildings -- and definitely not in our temples -- or any of the other myriad of things we do/don't do, guess what? THERE ARE OPTIONS!!!
There are churches on nearly every other street that offer all that stuff and a bucket of chicken.
Exercise that right to choose!!! For the love of Helvetica stop complaining about where you're standing and move already!