Wednesday, March 28, 2007

We All Have a Long Way to Go

I was disheartened today when I read in a Utah Newspaper about another campaign to discredit Mormonism. Sadly, this campaign violates several of the above rules. But we must be patient: They don't read my blog!
To be honest, the campaign is well-timed. This Saturday and Sunday is the 177th Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

General Conference is when the leaders of our Church with world-wide authority address members of the Church and the whole world. And if you ever wondered what an Apostle or a Prophet looks and sounds like in real life, you can watch along with us with live video streaming on www.byu.tv.
This is the schedule (Texas Time):
Saturday
11:00am to 1:00pm
3:00pm to 5:00pm
Sunday
11:00am to 1:00pm
3:00pm to 5:00pm

17 comments:

OsoDelSol said...

I think it's kind of sad that a group of people who put themselves forward as Christians are behind it.

I disagree with their premises, and although I could kind of see what motivates their perceptions, this isn't really a "innocent as doves" way to go about things. Seems to me that no matter what they are saying, there must be nicer ways to go about it. Whether a message is right or wrong, you'll gather more bees with honey than vinegar, and the marketplace of ideas tends to favor those who dialogue over those who whack people over the heads.

Furthermore, I guess, at the base of it, I can't see Jesus dropping DVDs on people's doors when there are plenty of "widows and orphans" types out there who could use that kind of effort.

None of this is really well strung together, but that's my two cents.
Moot court has snatched my brain and played rugby with it. Everyone will just have to make do with my heartfelt incoherence.

OsoDelSol said...

That last bit is tongue-in-cheek. I'm not really daring anyone to be miffed by my incoherence.

Craig Pankratz said...

Oso,

No incoherency detected in your comment. And I hope that Moot Court goes well for you and your partner.

You're right on the money. I don't doubt their motivations either: They believe that Mormonism is wrong, and out of sincere concern for our salvation, they want us to see our error.

I have no problem with people who disagree with me and my faith. And I'd be glad to let people into my home so they could share their beliefs with me. In fact, I would love that. But as you said, come to me with honey, not vinegar.

Anonymous said...

The marketplace of ideas does not tend to favor those who dialogue over those who whack people over the heads. See 24-hour Cable News.

OsoDelSol said...

Haha!

Craig Pankratz said...

But do 24 hour Cable News Shows ever convince anyone of anything? It just seems like Republicans are screaming about how stupid Democrats are to other Republicans and vice versa while the listeners go "um hmm."

There is a lot that could be accomplished if people actually listened to each other.

Mark Osler said...

I'm with Oso. I think for certain groups, self-definition comes through rejecting others. I can't believe that think many Mormons are going to watch the video, go "Gee whiz!" and rush off to Mt. Snow College to repent of their ways. Probably, they do it as much as anything because their rejection of their LDS neighbors gives them some cohesion.

We are all unified and humbled by the presence of God in our midsts. I would rather celebrate that with those who share that sense than pick apart our differences.

Anonymous said...

of course self-definition comes through rejecting others; that is the basis of organized religion.

what is more self-gratifying/other-rejecting than the heaven/hell dichotomy.

the masses love comparisons because they facially make sense: dog/cat; tall/short; good/evil; protestant/catholic; god/devil etc.

nothing is that simple.

the anti-mormons are hopeless cowards who can only affirm their own faith by attacking that of the mormons; they are afraid of their own shadow, and it is a shadow of self-doubt cast by the sun of reason.

that is not to say that mormons or baptists as a collective are any different. individually we are all afraid but collectively we can assuage those fears if not from the shear mass of support then from the very often militant "defense of the faith"- i.e. the "put on the armor of god" bs. i mean for christ sake wars are fought because of god, each side unified amongst themselves in the midst of their own version of god.

the shear amount of "unknown" knowledge pertaining to god should make any absolute claim about the nature of god suspect.

Anonymous said...

of course self-definition comes through rejecting others; that is the basis of organized religion.

what is more self-gratifying/other-rejecting than the heaven/hell dichotomy.

the masses love comparisons because they facially make sense: dog/cat; tall/short; good/evil; protestant/catholic; god/devil etc.

nothing is that simple.

the anti-mormons are hopeless cowards who can only affirm their own faith by attacking that of the mormons; they are afraid of their own shadow, and it is a shadow of self-doubt cast by the sun of reason.

that is not to say that mormons or baptists as a collective are any different. individually we are all afraid but collectively we can assuage those fears if not from the shear mass of support then from the very often militant "defense of the faith"- i.e. the "put on the armor of god" bs. i mean for christ sake wars are fought because of god, each side unified amongst themselves in the midst of their own version of god.

the shear amount of "unknown" knowledge pertaining to god should make any absolute claim about the nature of god suspect.

Lulucarrot said...

For what it is worth I have been a member of the LDS church since I was 8 years old in Columbus GA where it is not popular AT ALL to be LDS. I sat in church for 10 years and never ONCE did I hear a disparraging comment of another religion come accross our pulpit. Not once. I was encouraged to love all people and above all be "like Jesus, to live as he did in all that I do and say." However, I went to school and I told other children I was Mormon and suddenly was not invited back to their homes. I wrote my religion on a card when I visited a friends church, his youth pastor quickly counseled this friend to not be around me at all because I was tainted, a member of a cult and "going to hell." Self-definition comes through excluding people only when one does not truly know who they are and what they believe in. I know that my Father in Heaven loves every single child on this earth and following him means I make this same committment.

Anonymous said...

that's a touching individual story, and there should be more like that. i think you hit the nail on the head with the love hammer. if we are to wield any instrument of god's it should be that of love. love without conditions.

unfortunately one story is usually never representative of the whole. a few religions can be very inclusive and accepting, for example the united church of christ (you might remember their controversial television ads that showed homosexuals being welcome into the church). would that same add run for every Christian denomination? of course not.

ultimately religious folk are concerned with who goes to heaven(s) and who goes to hell. even hindu's have a concept called moksha which is a final liberation from the continuing cycle of rebirth. and so on those inevitable journeys to death we can profess love individually but the institutions seem to demand discipline; and perhaps they must in order to keep structure and make their devotees feel like they are getting their money's worth.

think of it this way- the most disciplined religions are the most populous, for example christians(including lds) and muslims, they might exclaim love and social justice in their respective relationship to the world but they demand discipline from their members: pray a certain amount of times a day, get baptised (for yourself and for others), don't eat certain things.

discipline may bring devotion, but what confuses me is how that discipline helps to bring love to the "other." I can concede that in individual cases it does, but as a whole I find it hard to believe.

Lulucarrot said...

I can see your point about disciplines but if I may play devil's advocate I would say that Love itself is a discipline. It is easier to judge someone and write them off than to open yourself up to them and their personal struggles and as you do this you do get stronger at it. I think the discipline that keeps me praying, going to church, serving the children in that church and even eating what I should feeds into the discilpline I use when I try to help the random woman in target parking lot who is out of gas even the discipline I use when recycling:) I only know my individual story and that is that I have never had a sunday school class on who's going to "heaven and who isn't" but rather what I need to do to get myself there and 100% of the time that includes the magic word: LOVE.

Craig Pankratz said...

Anonymous and Lulucarrot,

Thank you for your ongoing discussion. You've both given me my topic for tomorrow's posting: LOVE.

Anonymous said...

mr./ms. carrot,

i am right with you that love can be a discipline. if it was something that we just naturally did then we wouldn't need examples on how to do it, i.e. the christ dying for the sins of the world and proclaiming that the greatest commandment is to love god and to love your neighbors.

i have posted a lot of anonymous comments on craig's site over the past few weeks and most of the time i am playing devil's advocate too.

there is a lot i don't understand about what it means to love like Christ, but i think i do understand better what isn't the love of Christ.

i don't think christ's love is acted out by sending out videos attacking others, or by building massive high-tec buildings. i don't think christ's love is acted out by not allowing people into your place of worship or by encouraging followers to believe in certain "divine" doctrines and covenants that are subject to amendedment. BUT most importantly I surely don't think christ's love is shown by allowing these potential non-loving areas to hinder my own love to the people who do those things.

ultimately what i am getting at is that religions inherently do more to divide than bring together.

sure individuals can overcome inherent division, but they still have to overcome something.

the more law that infects religion the less room there is for love. what two words make more sense together: law/discipline or love/discipline?

understandably a healthy dose of both law and love will perfect a healthy spiritual discipline. so the question is what is that balance, should the weight be equal?

i tend to think that leaning toward love more and less toward law is what the gospel gets at.

so the more law i see in religion, especially the more fundamental religions the less love i expect to thrive.

again i reiterate that i am the devil's advocate ;)

Lulucarrot said...

I really appreciate how thoughtfull you are anonymous, and I see your frustration with the deviseveness (sp?) of religion. I really do, it frustrates me too. If you have read "The Screwtape Letters" by C.S. Lewis it is a real weapon of Satans to get us to hurt one another with these differences. Where much is given much is required and we don't always live up to the requirement do we? You are obviously a very spiritual and kind person and I believe truly that when we are in Heaven we will be judged by what we were given. We didn't live the same life. I was given this gospel, I have struggled with it, prayed about it and ultimately found that I do have a testimony of the Book of Mormon and other aspects of my religion. Most importantly I have a deep love and testimony of Christs love and ulitmate sacrifice for us. Isn't that the main point anyway? I think at this point in our discussion there are reasons you see our religion as harmful and I would be lying if I said I was happy about that but in the end don't we have to live up to what we were given the best we possibly can. That is what I am trying to do.

Anonymous said...

ultimately yes

Praise the Highlander said...

I agree that this is not going to be a persuasive method of carrying out the groups desired ends. It may manage to ruffle some feathers, but other than that I don't see much happening.