Friday, December 12, 2008

Silly Mormons

I could spend a week lecturing on the inherent idiocy of evangelicals and right-wing Christians who cherry-pick the Bible in their never-ending efforts to persecute one minority group after another. After all, I was raised -- and survived and escaped from -- a family of "Free Will Baptists." My aunt "speaks in tongues." I taught Sunday School in my teens until the day I finally saw the Light. And the source of that light? A bright, glowing sign flashing, "What the Fuck?"

But Mormons? Why the hell were they jumping on the anti-gay bandwagon when Proposition 8 became an issue in California? The easy answer, of course, is that just like the nerdy kid on the playground who longs to be accepted and popular, they were suddenly being invited into the fold by Catholics and Evangelicals who had previously kept Mormons at arms-length. (A cynic might say "used.) It behooved me then, conscientious guy that I am, to take a look at some Mormon beliefs about marriage and family.

What I learned was amusing. And worth sharing. And worth preserving for the time, sure to come, when I'll want to wave this under someone's nose.

What is the sexual/marriage/gender teaching of the Mormons who are raising money to stop two gay men or two lesbian women from marrying? Here's a taste:

A core Mormon belief is that men resurrect their wives. The Mormon man becomes a god on some uninhabited planet. As the god of his own world he will resurrect those wives who were obedient to him. They then become the goddesses of his planet.

Heaven for Mormon women is nonstop pregnancy. They produce the "spirit babies" who populate the world when human babies are born. Also... those Mormon women not "sealed to their husbands" for all time and eternity in the temple marriage will be the servants of those goddess wives...

How did the Mormon view of marriage start? Mormon member and historian Todd Compton writes: "In the group of Smith's well-documented wives, eleven (33 percent) were 14 to 20 years old when they married him. Nine wives (27 percent) were twenty-one to thirty years old. Eight wives (24 percent) were in Smith's own peer group, ages thirty-one to forty. In the group aged forty-one to fifty, there is a substantial drop off: two wives, or 6 percent, and three (9 percent) in the group aged fifty-one to sixty.

The teenage representation is the largest, though the twenty-year and thirty-year groups are comparable, which contradicts the Mormon folk-wisdom that sees the beginnings of polygamy was an attempt to care for older, unattached women. These data suggest that sexual attraction was an important part of the motivation for Smith's polygamy. In fact, the command to multiply and replenish the earth was part of the polygamy theology, so non-sexual marriage was generally not in the polygamous program, as Smith taught it."

So there it is. These are the people who are telling US that we're abnormal -- science fictional, planet-hopping would-be gods and goddesses who embraced polygamy and preferred their women in states of permanent pregnancy. And even if some of them don't embrace polygamy anymore, this is the religous -tradition- from which they sprang. Look at their so-called "prophet," Joseph Smith. Hardly an exemplar of traditional marriage and nuclear families!

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