When asked what it was like to grow up in Zion amongst members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (as a non- member) I often use a phrase stolen from a friend who spent a few weeks on my couch years ago: “Nicest people, weirdest religion.”
Of course, I mean that in the kindest possible way.
But, how else would one describe a faith that prohibits alcohol, coffee, tobacco, R-rated movies, shopping on Sunday, all forms of premarital sex, and then requires members to wear magic underwear and give 10% of their income in tithing? That said – it ain’t really any of my damn business. Now, I know that (what we Utahrens like to call) The Church has come under fire for their position on marriage equality, and anyone who follows my … knows where I stand on the issue. I believe The Supreme Court said it best in Plessy v. Ferguson when they stated that separate but equal is inherently unequal. But, the people who are most ignorant, inflammatory, and hateful in their speech toward Latter Day Saints often belong to the religious right – aka Bible Thumping Anti-gay hatemongers.
Anti-Mormon bias is one of the few forms of religious prejudice that is still tolerated in this country. As reported during Obama/Romney 2012 many people in this country still refuse to vote for a person of LDS faith:
“Hostility seems entrenched across the political spectrum. Liberals cast Mormons as weird God-botherers who are constrained by abstinence. Conservatives take issue with their theology.” — Jerome Taylor, The Independent, Friday October 12, 2012
We see examples of religious bigotry toward “Members” all over in the media and our daily lives. Yet somehow, it’s considered okay when directed at a denomination of 10,000,000 members because a few right-wingers have identified the church as “a cult.” Or, for organized media outlets to continue to make jokes about “Mormon Polygamists” even though the practice has been outlawed for well over 100 years.
In fact, even the word “Mormon” is pejorative, first directed at my ancestors (this girl is proud handcart stock) as religious intolerants persecuted, murdered, and chased early Saints out of their homes in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. Too many people forget the trail of blood and sacrifice that the very word “Mormon” left in its wake, and they now use it with careless indifference.
In November 2011, a Baptist minister in Texas, Robert Jeffress, was quoted in the USA Today urging Christians not to vote for Romney because of his faith. “Do we prefer somebody who is truly a believer in Jesus Christ,” Jeffress asked, “or somebody who is a good moral person but he’s a part of a cult?”
As a proud Utahn who has more than once been served a lovely slice of ham and funeral potatoes, I’ve had enough of the open bias toward a rather humble faith – and yes, I would like a serving of green jello salad with this rant.
- The Four R’s in sharing God’s Word with Mormon missionaries (witnesswell.wordpress.com)
- Contrasting the Easter messages between Mormonism and Biblical Christianity (witnesswell.wordpress.com)
- I’m A Mormon. Pop Culture Often Mocks My Faith, But Fallout Treated It Right (kotaku.com)