...what the Mormons actually are in my opinion is the most offensively bad bunch of archaeologists on the planet. :) I hang out with a few people who believe they're elves and dragons, and their beliefs stillhave more support in reality than the Book of Mormon's history of pre-Columbian America.
I figure most Mormons are decent people on a person-to-person level, but dammit, if you're gonna go messing around with the way that other people live, you had better have a MUCH sounder reason than "some 19th century con artist ASSURED us he found magic tablets in the desert, among a Native American civilization that we have plenty of good evidence was NOTHING like our holy book describes, so um, yeah, we can't let you visit your dying boyfriend in the hospital, sorry. Our magic seer stones told us you couldn't." It just... makes me want to say, "Oh, yeah? Well my MAGIC KANGAROO FRIEND said God wants me to take your wallet," because it feels just about as valid and fair. :)
In my response, I didn't address her factual errors, of which there are many, but I did talk about the issue of validity, one unprovable faith to another. I wrote:
Frankly, people from almost every religious tradition believe some odd, unprovable things and things that are flat out wrong--and are still very sure of themselves. Rick Perry, for example, believes the earth is only a few thousand years old, serpents and burning bushes can talk, humans have physically wrestled with angels (and won!), and that a virgin gave birth, among other things. And his ONLY proof? "My book says so." In my opinion, for someone to believe all that but say Mormons' beliefs are just too far out there is totally ridiculous. Either it's all ridiculous and invalid, or every faith is equally valid on its own terms. But no one, no matter how well founded their beliefs, should prescribe morality for anyone else, ever.
Back in the founding days of the church, Mormons were very hardcore polytheists and vocal about this fact along with vehemently opposing any church's involvement in politics. In the past fifty years or so, however, there has been a decided shift toward stumping for "moral" causes, perhaps to curry favor with evangelicals or appear more right-wing mainstream. Personally, I prefer the out loud and proud polytheist pioneer, "leave us alone to pursue our weird beliefs and we'll leave you alone to pursue yours" types. But then, no one asked me in what direction the church should go, so there you have it. :)
The reason I bring this up is I am utterly galled by anyone, let alone one of my Pagan own, attacking someone else's right to believe whatever whacked out thing they want and, in the process, claiming that their odd beliefs are more valid. Don't get me wrong, LDSers are certainly guilty of this too--my mother, for example, assuming that as a Pagan I believe things like trees and rocks are God--but as a good deal of Pagans have supposedly liberated themselves from this sort of dogmatic thinking, I am nonplussed that such vitriol still exists. Isn't tolerance supposed to be one of the unifying principles within the Pagan community?
Tolerance means tolerance and, if it hold any integrity at all, must be extended equitably, even to the intolerant. If we, as a community, only extend our tolerance to fellow Pagans and members of other minority religions, we are no better than the oppressors we claim to have spiritually and intellectually escaped.
Blessed by the Mystery,
Boy oh boy, it was down to the wire--I got distracted tonight making dinner for my stepson then watching Jackass 3D with him, 'cause that's just how spiritual I am ;)--but this makes day five of consecutive posting for National Blog Writing Month. Ahem--pardon me while I break my arm patting myself on the back.