To preface I would just like to add that this is a difficult topic to articulate so I will do my best.
As I have many friends and family members still in the Church I am finding it very frustrating to keep their wish of remaining silent and supportive of their decisions. Said silence is supposedly the quintessential display of "tolerance" in our society, a permission of religion.
If you look up the definition of tolerance you can actually find many widely varying definitions. Most are as follows:
nationality, etc.,differ from one's own; freedom from bigotry."
Notice how the definition here assumes that the two parties differ by opinion, not fact. To me, the Church is more than harmless opinions. It is mobile, it hurts, it steals, it deceives, it knocks on doors and judges. In this case it is not a difference of opinion but of fact. Facts which one party (mormons) refuse to acknowledge. Tolerance in this case and by such a definition cannot be defined. What then is tolerance?
To further illustrate imagine a kkk headquarters next to a mormon church. It may be socially acceptable for the surrounding community to oust the kkk but not the mormon church. Both are racist by definition (a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement). If you need more info on the topic read 2nd Nephi and many other church publications. Yet in the end the mormon church remains as it is more cunning and less physical about its racism then the kkk.
I personally don't feel there are shades of gray to racism. Racism is racism no matter how you view it.
So in this context are we supposed to remain tolerant until the point which racism becomes physical and violent?
I realize that there is nothing I can say, nor any fact I can present to change anyones views. What I have come to realize, because that church has the capacity to hurt and deceive people outside its doors, it is wrong to remain silent.
I've lived long enough to be witness to the south's indifference to hanging blacks from front yard trees, and doing nothing about it. Churches in the south banned blacks from attending services, yet, pronounced Christianity. While we have come a very long way from those times, I do say that racism is alive and well, physical violence is alive and well, and because employers can give a variety of reasons for not hiring someone, it's alive and well in the work place. I had a good friend, who graduated with a Master's in teaching in Chicago in the late 60's. Her room mate was a black woman with a Master's in business administration. The black woman spent two years traversing the country looking for work in her field, and wound up spending the next 10 years as a house keeper. First, she was black, and second, she was a woman.
I had a thought: the next time an elder tries to proselytize to me I will respond thusly: "I find you are arrogant and judgmental with a distinct lack of tolerance toward other religions. To me, this is repugnant and racist. Be gone will you!"
Ready your reasoning about the Mormons, I agree; they teach racism.
I realize I'm a couple of months or so behind this post, but my feelings on racism are huge. First, I have two biracial children who, in these times, have been the recipients of racial slurs at the mormon church. Secondly, it is never okay to teach your children to be silent about this issue. You know the families. Just be quiet and mind your own business type. This is a subject I was repeatedly called out on at church, because just because back in the 70'd they gave the blacks the priesthood, doesn't mean they have a clue as to how most of the members react to it. The real test is this: Would you accept your daughter marrying a black man? Or, as a teen, dating one? Because once they opened the door for the priesthood, all other issues were off the table. Period. Temple marriages, brown, yes, I mean brown colored babies, oh my God, can you imagine such horror, and just think about the work sheets for genealogy? Wow.
Tolerance is a frustrating and sometimes ridiculous topic for me when it comes to the Mormons, for the simple reason that I find them to be some of the most heavily indocrinated and intolerant people that I have ever encountered in my life. A perfect example of this would be to go to a local sacrament in downtown Provo Utah and smoke a cigarette just outside the front door. As you toke away (25 feet from the building, as per the Utah Clean Air Act) say hello to the members as they enter the church. If you were to actually do this, you would be given the most incredible series of incredulous and angry stares, as well as a continually varies sequence of muttered judgements and general condemnation. Feel free to enter the meeting, but don't expect any of the members to actually sit near you, or allow you to be seated near them. I have often wondered what Christ himself would say to his many, Utah followers who behave more like a ridiculous adolscent self righteous klik, than actual followers of Jesus of Nazareth.
This is merely scratching the surface of what it is like to attempt to leave the church, especially if you have been born into its ranks. You can fully expect to sacrifice both friends and family in your new search for free thinking and moral truth.
I do not mean to paint a picture of fear and despair, there is also a lot of happiness, community, and love on the outside of the church, but I would be a fool not to acknowledge the difficulty of that transition.
So, my conclusion is this. I tolerate the members of the church, meaning I allow them to believe and practice with no interference from me. I do my utmost to be moral in my friendship and acceptance of them and their faith.
What I do not tolerate is descrimination or bullying of any kind. I do not allow them to judge me or my family. I will never let them teach my children or try to sway them before they are old enough to decide their own path. I do not tolerate their arrogant letters and conversations designed to "call me to repentence". I do not allow them to pray with me, or to try and get me to pray.
Above all, I resist their attempts to re-unite church and state with all of my focus and effort. I fight them on Proposition 8. I fight them on the teaching of abstinence in schools, or the removal of school sex education programs all together. I fight them when they try to teach Creationism in school and call it science.
I believe in tolerance, but I also believe in my own personal integrity, and standing up for my beliefs.
There is just no denying that the Mormon Church has an incredible amount of money and man power and they are doing their utmost to influence the laws and politics of America. When it comes down to that, my tolerance goes right out the window.
Christopher, You hit the nail exactly where it belongs, on the head, but it's not just mormonism. It's alot of issues, places, people, judgements, and evangelism is actually worse in many aspects than mormonism. You know, the ones holding up signs on the side of the road meant to cause accidents, meant to make women who've had abortions want to kill themselves, meant to create havoc in the minds of those who have never had a thought concerning hell, and the fact that these people can judge for themselves that A., there is one, and B., they know exactly who's going there. They also know for a fact that all disasters, natural or otherwise, are caused by homosexuality in our country. And now, they have emptied the gun stores with the latest events in Washington, so that they can mow you down if you look at them wrong. Now don't everybody on the list jump on my middle aged ass about that remark, because I have no qualms with the NRA, or people's rights to own guns. It was interesting when my husband took a concealed weapons class that the instructor spent at least half the class doing mock dancing of homosexuals, talking in silly voices to portray them, making point after point at their expence. I called the store, Cabela's the next day to ask if homosexuals were allowed to own guns in my town, and they were blown away by his behavior. We all have our issues with tolerance that we need to work on, and I need to give this man his due respect for his knowledge, and 30 years badgering people while working on the police force.
I always enjoy reading your remarks. I think if you didn't dislike me so much, we might be good friends :).
My view of tis is basic. Most of my life is centered in things boiled down to their basic least complicated components. Life is simple.
Tolerance is what you feel when Salt Lake is using a guilt trip on you to get your money, your actions or your family. Tolerance is what we do when they place theological arguments that we know deep down in our mind (note i said ~mind) as they shove it in our shorts. Tolerance is what you do when you tolerate. Tolerate others but you have to take it and be tolerant. Nope, take your damned tolerance and pray about it. I will be a leader in my own life and they can keep their damned tolerance..