The Jews and the Gentiles
I have a Jewish boyfriend (named: "O." throughout...) that by the asinine appropriation of Mormon lexicon, would be considered a Gentile, or, one that is uninitiated in the customs and teachings of the One True Church (tm). While he is aware of some of the particulars of Mormon faith, he has a dearth of knowledge about the Book of Mormon or the countless hymns, which I consider an almost separate pillar of the faith itself; a hymn book could be added as another edition of the "Standard Works".
Anyways, we got to youtubing last night, and I had him watching the Living Scriptures version of the brother of Jared, Helaman and the 2,000 stripling warriors, Nephi builds a boat, etc. His mouth was pretty much on the floor the whole time. The poor kid has no idea how hard up it is! As if it's not hard enough already to deal with the King James Bible, the ridiculous fan-fiction that is the Book of Mormon is added upon it all, demonstrated quite simply with animation. I was hungry for more clips, because I couldn't get enough. I know, strange as it sounds, I wanted a full dose of the realness.
I went to their website where they were selling the 30 minute DVDs at the "discount" of $29.95. So crazy... the whole BoM costs $389.35, a sort of compulsory gift for a Mormon child. I sure had a few of the tapes growing up!
However, at piratebay.org, I found an 8gb collection of the things, which will certainly cause me to go into overdose on a bad joke. However, adventures await! Liahonas, Zarahemlas, white and delightsome, Jesus walking on the sky in North America. Oh my god...!
Oh, my poor Jewish/atheist boyfriend! Please understand: From his perspective, Christians have already taken their liberties by adding their own version on top of the Talmud. But the Mormons took fan-fiction and kicked it up a serious notch! I just don't know how to explain to him that people really believe human beings arrived in North America in windowless ships without sails, shaped like almonds, or that Native Americans are, indeed, Jews.
I remember a Mark Twain quote about how the greatest of insults is to mock another man's god. I have no god, but I suppose, but the absence of one is a cherished belief of sorts. But it can be summed up in my answer to my sister's question this holiday to the both of us. "So what do atheists do for Christmas?" half-mocking, maybe, but mostly inquisitive. O. responded in kind: "We take the joy in waking each day knowing that we do not have to believe myth or superstition and live our lives accordingly." I know that there are many religious people that read this, so at the risk of alienating you, let me amend that may as well have been addressing Mormonism in particular, instead of religion in general.
So, if my god is "free will", or "self determinism" or any other kind of secular humanist interpretation of reality, I do feel that my desires are placed directly at odds with Mormonism. I once foolishly believed that "live and let live" would be a moderating influence, a cause for peace and multi-culturalism amongst my immediate and extended family members. However, after Prop. 8 and the subsequent boost it gave the like of Mitt Romney, the insane crusadership of Glenn Beck, et. al., I cannot view Mormonism as anything but a belligerent force in my life. In my mind, they are clearly the enemy as surely as the European Kindred or any other kind of white power organization with fascist tendencies. They are tolerated only to a very, very, small degree. People have the right to believe garbage if they want, but they must be resisted at every step of the way, must be publicly demanded to justify their absurd beliefs. Mormonism, in my mind, deserves to be mocked for the rest of my life.
They have lost a friendly neighbor. I am filled with schadenfreude, and every time one falters in public, I relish their disgrace and humiliation. Every public disgrace gives me strength, every awkward fidget in the chair on national television, every lame apologetic mumbling in defense for institutional sexism, racism, homophobia, every joke made on their expense-- gives me strength to carry on. To wit, I am in the awkward position of hoping my family's dreams fail, just as they have pinned so much hope against mine ever being recognized (*cough*Prop 8*cough*). To say I bear a grudge is a gross understatement. The Living Scriptures are the perfect, if awkward abstract: an accurate and respected form of representation of the Mormon belief, not exactly meant for investigators, but strictly for the children born in the covenant. I am one, and I laugh at your petty lies, from Smith to Monson.
But laughter alone does not kill the pain: O. asks me: "I have met your parents. They are reasonable and intelligent people. How could they believe this?"
I don't know.
I don't know, I don't know, I don't know.
The frailties of human consciousness are showing in all of the fables we cling to, all of the hope we place on leaders, all of the trust we invest in the myths we are given as children when we shiver at the thought of stars and take anything, anything before us to shield our eyes from the power of their beauty.
It is an absurd thing to give ones life to, and it is a dangerous Master to serve. I will not tolerate a Manifest Destiny daydream to invoke legislation or control of my existence.
Their lies will be bitterly resisted and mocked for the rest of my life.