It’s been a busy semester, but know summer is upon us and I have all the time in the world to be productive, unwind or whatever I feel like doing. In this case that means repeatedly going down the Mormon Twitter rabbit hole.
Folks, it’s a weird place down there. I’m not going to try and explain all of it because I think it wouldn’t be possible to cover the whole thing in a blog. That’s much more of a topic for a book… or several. Also I’m not equipped right now to write that book, maybe someone else is though and they really should, because I guarantee it’d be a fascinating read. It’s such a weird place, theres like an alt-right section of Mormon twitter, a far left section, influencers who are trying to parlay their faith into a career and endless memes, it’s so bizarre and fascinating.
Again, not going to try and deconstruct all that, rather I wanted to take a specific look at one take I saw whilst roaming the wilds of Mormon twitter.
I’m not trying to bash the guy, but I see this take not just from him but from people all over the church and it’s always bothered me a little bit. I’ve cleaned up his grammar a bit for the sake of readability, but haven’t changed any of the words written.
I want to break this up into two parts, first that bit towards the end where he mentions how uncontroversial it is to be evangelical, catholic, agnostic, or atheist, but it is controversial to be a member of The Church.
First off, no. That’s not true. Depending on where you live, and who you speak with and a whole bunch of other factors it’s totally possible that it is controversial to be Evangelical, Catholic, Agnostic, or Atheist. If someone was a devout evangelical and lived in an ultra secular and liberal neighborhood here in the states you don’t think they would get bashed at all? What about someone very open and vocal about their atheism at BYU? Do you think in some Evangelical or Baptist circles Catholics get bashed on?
That’s just taking into account the religions the tweet brought up, I’m sure some of you are like me and noticed that there was no mention of eastern religions like Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. How about being Muslim? You don’t have to look far these days to figure out that being Muslim is pretty controversial in a lot of circles. How about those of the Jewish faith? Jehovah’s witnesses? Scientology?
The list goes on and on, whatever faith a person might have you can pretty much guarantee that somewhere there’s a group of people who will ridicule them for their belief, and thanks to the internet it’s super easy for those that hate you to let you know that they hate you and just how much they hate you. Isn’t it wonderful?
Seriously though, insinuating at any level that faith in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only controversial one is either dangerously naive, downright stupid, or deliberately misleading thinking. Any of which is deeply concerning for someone with any amount of public influence. This was a thread of tweets so you can’t hide behind the limited number of characters thing. You had the space to put many different religions into your tweets and you opted to only mention a couple sects of Christianity, the denial of the existence of God, and those who just don’t know for sure.
Ok, now that I’ve got that out of my system allow me to move onto the bigger point of these tweets. The point Thekwakue is trying to get across (at least what I read) is that people shouldn’t give up hope and faith when they face discrimination as Latter-Day Saints, that because of the mocking, ridicule, bashing, and other various forms of discrimination they face they can know that their faith is real and their religion true. The world fears this truth and that is why they seek to tear it down.
This point makes way more sense if you honestly believe members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are the only people facing religious discrimination. We’re not though, so this doesn’t make any sense. Should everyone who is ridiculed for their belief take it as a sign that they are on the right path? If you apply this logic to the extreme then members of groups like ISIS can take heart in the fact the rest of the world hates them, because they must really be on the right path. Same for a group like the Westboro Baptist Church. Opposition doesn’t prove true faith.
This narrative that because members of the Church are ridiculed that The Church must be true is one that is very common in the LDS faith. I’ve never been a big fan of it. I’ve always felt that it was horribly divorced from a greater context of world religion. Every faith is mocked, every belief is mocked, that doesn’t make any of them any more valid or true necessarily. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are not special in this regard. It sounds like I’m just bashing really hard on my own religion, but I think it’s important to be able to be critical of those within your own “group” so to speak, otherwise the discourse will inevitably become an echo chamber and you’ll be left with a bunch of morons patting each other on the back. No one wants that.