|Posted by Olivia Lawrence on November 15, 2012 at 10:25 PM|
I’ve have many occasions in the last few weeks that I have heard absurd, incorrect, and offensive statements of the LDS faith, or Mormonism as it’s more commonly known. Being born and raised in the LDS church, I know the belief system of it pretty well. I am no longer LDS, some of my previous posts make it pretty obvious that I am now Pagan. While I did turn away from the LDS church for various reasons, and I do obviously have some issues with it, especially some of the things that the church as an organization does, I am unable to sit silent and listen to ridiculous lies about the religion. You can call it a residual defensiveness for what used to be my religion, but honestly I would get just as defensive to hear someone speak offensively about any religion. I simply do not find it appropriate.
There is room for an intellectual discussion about what people consider to be problems with any religion, or why they disagree with it. I am more than willing to enter into such a conversation and have on many occasions. However, a prerequisite for such a conversation is a factual understanding of the topic, in this case the religion, being discussed. If you want to have a discussion about the pro’s and con’s of a religion you need to know what that religion really is.
For example, you cannot have an intelligent and worth-while discussion on the LDS church when one of the parties involved believes that the Mormon church worships demons, prays to Satan, isn’t Christian, and doesn’t believe that Jesus died for their sins. The Mormon church recognizes the holy trinity(although they do not refer to it as such) of God(Heavenly Father as they refer to him), Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. They do not worship demons, and they do not pray to Satan. They pray to Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and occasionally Heavenly Mother(though that’s not a common thing). If you define a Christian as someone who accepts Jesus as the son of God and their Savior, then Mormons are indeed Christian. Mormons do believe that Jesus died for their sins. It is an integral aspect of the whole Jesus is the savior idea.
If anyone is wondering where these particular examples come from, these are a few of the statements that I had to listen to today. Of course I was offended, especially when they got their self-righteous attitude of ignoring everything I was saying. This left me in a state of outrage that had boiled to a head after dealing with weeks of intolerant and offensive comments about the LDS church. In my anger at the mass ignorance that I have been dealing with, I expressed my frustration on my facebook. Now before you start thinking, oh facebook everyone can see what you post there, my facebook is something that I tend to keep very private. I purposefully have a relatively low friend count, and I have an assumed trust with my friends that my posts will stay with those that are my friends on facebook. If I post something for friends only, I do not expect it to become a public forum issue outside of those friends.
I understand that this is probably starting to sound very high-school drama-ish, and unfortunately that is what happened. My post, which did not implicate any single individual as having been the one who said these ignorant comments(I'm not the type of person that would tag someone with this sort of thing), was then shared throughout an entire room of people whom would not have otherwise had access to this post. The person that had said the ignorant comments got extremely angry at my comments, and a mob-type mentality quickly developed with me being the monster that needed to be fought off. I don’t know exactly how this whole situation developed, only that by the time I got out of my history class only an hour and a half later, I discovered that it had been decided that I was to be ostracized from the group. I don’t know what all was said, as I wasn’t present, nor was I ever allowed to defend whatever allegations were ledged against me.
The anger that I am now experiencing comes from a couple of different places. Firstly I am extremely angry with the fact that something that I had posted as private was brought by someone I had considered a friend into the public forum, something that he had no right to do. Secondly I am amazed that in this situation the person that was spouting offensive lies about a religion has come off as the victim, while I, who was acting as the voice of religious tolerance and honest discourse, have been demonized so thoroughly. Apparently trying to defend a religion against vicious lies is a terrible offense now. The kicker is this entire thing played out with the Speech and Debate team, which is outrageous, because if there is anywhere that should be open for honest, intelligent, and tolerant discussion it should have been there.
So here I stand being demonized and punished for trying to defend the LDS church against mean-spirited lies. This is something that I would do for any religion, and will continue to do despite this situation. While there are now less people that I can call my friends, at least I know that I stood up for something that I believe in. It is not OK to degrade something that you do not understand simply because you do not like it or because it is different. Again, I am no longer Mormon, nor am I Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, or any other of a large number of religions, but I will always stand up to defend any religion from vicious lies, and I will always stand up to defend religious freedom. Those who don’t want to be around me because of that, well I probably am better off without them in my life anyways.