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.
"Many Mormons are suffering and they don't know what they don't know." YES!!!!!!!!!!!! THAT WAS ME, TOO!
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Expressing One's Views on Religion
My Dad who was LDS, from a long line of mormon pioneers, was a great example for me and my siblings. While he was an active mo, he disliked the missionary program in the church.
A common phrase of his in our house was "leave people alone and let them make their own decisions about thier own lives." (the actual phrasing was..."leave people the h**l alone, and let them make their own d**n decisions about their own d**n lives!)
He didn't like the church pressuring us as members to be missionaries. He enjoyed people for who they were. He did not spend his time trying to change other people, and he sure didn't care for those who did.
Once I talked to him about it all and he said, "People are adults and they have a right to live their own lives the way they see fit without someone coming up to them telling them how they ought to live!!!"
He was adamant about it. And he lived that. He worked hard, took care of his responsibilities and kept out of other's business. And expected other's to do the same. To him, that's what being an adult was.
I belong to a large extended mo family and we just don't go there. We just respect each other and let everyone live their own lives, complete with their own beliefs.
Also, having taken it upon myself to work myself out of the church, I fully understand the extreme pain that collapsing your belief system can be. For me it was like a huge structure of glass shattered to the floor around me, when I stepped out, cutting me. That structure had been my WHOLE life. And boy was I lost when that happened, but I was also found at the same time. And I had to go about building a new structure that worked for me. I didn't know where or how to start. But I did. I started trusting myself. And that was my foundation for my new structure.
The fear of crossing over to the other side, the side that ...what's that phrase for it???...denies the Holy Ghost or something?...that incurs some horrible punishment with it... I had a suspicion that it was not so, but had a HUGE, huge, huge, huge, huge, fear that it was. So basically, I accepted my very, real to me, possible punishment. And then I gathered everything in me and stepped out. I crossed that bridge. Now I look back from the other side. And the view is very, very almost unimaginably, unimaginable to my mo relatives.
I don't "push" my sisters...etc... because when you're not ready, you are JUST NOT READY. I used to see people like me (people who left the church) as, "under the influence of the evil one". And if I pushed them, I am sure they would see me that way.
When the student is ready, the teacher will come. Pushing things on people, eh? I don't think so.
We absolutely have an obligation to be honest with our children. This country has a bullying epidemic, often resulting in death, and to me, that's unacceptable. While my LDS parents never condoned homosexuality, the reasons given were that it was a harder way to live, which, back then it was horrible for gays, and that, children raised with gays often would get picked on, which they did. They never once told me not to befriend people of different behaviors, or to treat others unkindly because of skin color, any kind of impediments, and socio-economic status. My dad, 90, has a lesbian couple on his home teaching route, and always shovels their snow, checks for health problems, offers rides, and went to bat for them a couple of years ago when the bishop wanted to call a court. They never had the bishop's court, never lost their membership, and this is something they wish, not something anybody's pushing on them. Yes, all of us have an obligation. And for those of us who are still believers, not LDS, but in theocracy, prayer for our leaders, even when we get thrown into a hideous war. We still have an obligation for civil discourse.
In my enthusiasm at first finding out what a bunch of lies I had been led to believe I wanted to share with all and sundry (intolerance)..BIG mistake. I came to realize pretty quickly that for anyone to find out the real truth about mormonism it must be something they want to do and any display of intolerance about their beliefs will just make them dig their heels deeper into it. I also came to realize that there are many, many out there who KNOW it's all a bunch of hogwash...yet prefer to remain in it - reasons being varied for why they choose to do this.
Couldn't agree more. Most people who are TBM don't WANT to think differently.
Either they live of thinking for themselves, or they are so dependent on someone/something to create their reality because they don't have the strength of character to do it on their own.
I have siblings and in-law sibling that would never dream of leaving the church, it is their social circle, their network of fake friends, their instruction book on everything...the idea of thinking for themselves is simply UNthinkable...so hard to watch them be so dependent on such a lie.
I have a brother that KNOWS its a bunch of bologna but sticks with it for his wife who couldn't leave or she'd lose her mind, its everything to her. I feel for my brother but HE PLAYS ALONG WITH IT!! So hard to watch.....
If you think you don't have to be tolerant to people who are wrong, you're missing the point of tolerance imho.
To me this feels like the exact same mentality I see in the church. Mormons are every bit as convinced of their own rightness as you are. We may feel that we have more reliable or legitimate ways of discerning truth than the spirit, but the feeling of rightness is exactly the same. And I still expect my parents to treat me with love and respect and not bring up their religion every five minutes when they know I want nothing to do with it.
The fact is that human beings all see the world differently. Even amongst us, there are some that have accepted a new form of religion or spirituality and some that think that any of it as just as fraudulent and unprovable as any other. Despite our disagreements we're all human and deserve a certain level of respect.
Does that apply to the KKK? Well, not as much. I'm adamantly opposed to the damaging aspects of LDS belief while still being tolerant to the average member. With the KKK...the damaging stuff is kind of the whole point, not to mention the violence. The LDS people I know are no more racist than people of any other religion I know. This is like Glenn Beck's constant Nazi comparisons to me. It should go without saying that it's just not the same thing.
ALL THAT BEING SAID, I don't think that tolerance=silence. I think tolerance=respect, but I can respectfully disagree and respectfully argue with people all day long. When it comes to issues like treatment of women and gays and other policies that I think are damaging, I don't hesitate to voice my concerns when it comes up. It's about how you say it and at the end of the day valuing people you care about more than making them agree with you. Those are my thoughts anyway. :)