Wednesday, May 21, 2008

the only mormons who have horns are those who haven't been disbudded

I had to turn off Radio West today because I found myself getting worked up. They were having a discussion about the whole kerfuffle with the Catholic Church no longer allowing the LDS Church access to their parish records. Lemme sum up:

Doug Fabrizio: "So the Catholic Church has said that they won't let the LDS Church see their parish records anymore, which is a huge deal to the Mormons, what with the genealogy and the proxy baptisms."

First guest, some guy who works for a religious think tank (I think, I didn't hear his title very well because my children WOULD talk): "Yeah, I don't know why they chose this time to do it, perhaps because the pope is about to visit the US, and he wants people to pay attention. Also they used very direct language and basically said that the Mormons are disrespectful and crazy."

Doug Fabrizio: "I wonder why the LDS Church isn't reacting to this?"

First guest: "Probably because they want people to stop paying attention to it."

Doug Fabrizio: "Let's talk to our second guest. What do you think about this?"

Second guest, a Catholic fellow whom we were given to understand represents at least a representative point of view: "It's disrespectful for the Mormons to be doing this, because they are implying that the individuals' previous baptisms aren't valid, and forcing these baptisms on people who would object strongly."

Doug Fabrizio: "Let's take some calls."

Caller A: "I have friends who are both practicing Mormons and former Mormons. If someone wants to pray for me, that's fine, but once they start questioning my faith? That's not okay."

Caller B: "Why are we even having this discussion? If their religion is so great and so wonderful, why aren't they offering it to people before they die?"

Caller C: "I'm mad because some distant Mormon relatives did proxy baptisms for family members they didn't even know, people who really, really didn't want to be Mormons. But they didn't care. They just wanted another notch on the gun barrel so they could continue feeling superior." (That last sentence is almost word-for-word what she really said.)

Here's what I have to say. I totally get that people would be upset about proxy baptisms, for example in the case of Jews who were killed in the Holocaust. When your religion is such a focal part of your identity, you're going to get a little wiggety about people wanting you to switch to Geico and save 15%. So I can't blame them for that. And yeah, we are questioning the validity of their religion, because . . . to us, it isn't really valid. But what I do have a problem with is this:
1. We're forcing people to be baptized into our faith.
This, as no doubt all of my readers know, is not true. A rejected baptism doesn't take. So be offended, I understand, but we're not coercing people into church membership.
2. Why aren't we offering it to the living?
Umm. Yeah, why don't we, I don't know, send out a bunch of missionaries or something?
3. Notches on the gun barrel to maintain a feeling of superiority.
Wow. That is offensive. I haven't met any Mormons like this, but I know they're out there, because people get really weird about doing work for the dead, specifically the famous dead, e.g. Anne Frank, C.S. Lewis, Princess Diana. Gross. Also gross are people who think their religion makes them superior. That call just made me mad, mad that she was so hostile and was putting forth as fact an opinion based on a non-representative (I hope, I REALLY hope) experience, and mad that someone gave her that impression of the church.

It illustrated to me that people are still confused about what exactly we believe, thanks, MITT, and of course they don't bother to research before they harangue.

Anyway, that is when I started getting upset and too invested in a debate that has raged on since the Gospel was restored, and will continue to rage until the Rapture, so I'm not likely to be able to do anything about it. So I'm glad that the Church hasn't made an official statement in response to the Catholic edict, because it would be a waste of breath anyway. Focus on the swing group, and forget the hate group, because they aren't going to change. Just keep on doing your job and trying to be a decent human being--that's enough to keep us all busy.

Chucking it!


All8 said...

I've learned that it just doesn't pay to argue with stupid. They choose to be stupid and you just can't change it. I try not to get too worked up about it too.

Cleansing breaths.

highdeekay said...

I caught parts of it. I heard the guy from NY (I think he is the religious writer for the NY times or something) and he basically made the same point as you. He said, "some of my distant relatives' work was done and it was a little weird, but as I understand it they still get the choice so it doesn't bother me. I've done geneology through the LDS church and it would be a big bummer if I didn't have that resource any more because the Catholics made it impossible." I appreciated his view point. I didn't hear the beginning - I probably would have gotten too ticked too. btw: do you know if good ole Doug is LDS? just wondering.

Layne said...

Hmm. Gun to my head, I'd say not LDS, because he gives off that air sometimes. But I've been surprised before. I think he loses his objectivity frequently, and it seems to come through in his interviews, but his show is often interesting.

Claire said...

I heard that individual families can still access their records, but the church can't access huge databases of their parishes. Why does it bother people if they don't believe in our religion? If they don't believe in it, I think it would be irrelevant to them.

Amy said...

Actually, it costs 10% more (instead of saving you 15%). You save 10% when you switch back to the other guys.