“Those who have taken upon them to lay down the law of nature as a thing already searched out and understood, whether they have spoken in simple assurance or professional affectation, have therein done philosophy and the sciences great injury. For as they have been successful in inducing belief, so they have been effective in quenching and stopping inquiry; and have done more harm by spoiling and putting an end to other men’s efforts than good by their own.”
In early Mormonism, it was supposed to fill gaps and open up the potential for an endless stream of divine knowledge. That was by far one of the most appealing aspects for me as a youth in the church. But it feels like now the leaders have willingly shut the windows and sat down in their content. And this without acknowledging the need for self examination of what we know and don't know about ourselves, of what we don't know about everything else.
Here's an analogy:
There is a rescued beaver "building dams" in his human rescuer's house. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DggHeuhpFvg He most likely does not know that no river flows there, maybe does not even know why he builds, but he obviously NEEDS to. We know he's built to build dams, brain and body. What if we lied and told him he's not supposed to build and it's just an evil temptation? What if we ourselves didn't know what wild beavers do and still called building an abomination?
But what if we found a place that could tolerate or better yet required a dam and brought the beaver there?
How many in the church are like a beaver without a forest and stream, with a church that cannot acknowledge it's own inadequacy, but keeps insisting and insisting that all the members' needs can be met in the institution?
What is the human cost of this loyalty-driven attitude that says, "When the prophet speaks, the thinking has been done"?
Here's one window into one kind of current human cost* of this dogma:
Grieving for The Invisibles Today
I find myself reeling from the death of a longtime acquaintance. She died prematurely, she was in a very large LDS family growing up in Mormon Central. Even way back twenty years ago, she was a black sheep of the family. I don't know all the details, to be clear, but she did things like not go to church and other Mormon-prohibited things that non-LDS people consider normal experience of healthy development. She eventually married and had children, but it was always within that Mormon paradigm of bouncing between worthiness and unworthiness. I know that we should not blame everything on the church, and I do not know how she died. Her family surely loved her, they grieve, and they express hope in eternal families.
But a part of me is so crushed for this woman. I could be way off on my analysis in her case, but I think that we can say there are cases like the one I describe, many times over: an individual does not fit into Mormonism for one reason or another, they retreat and rebel and are not consistently allowed a way to be a good, honorable person in the eyes of their community but also outside of the Mormon mindset dictating rigid rules and personal choices. So they suffer and struggle, not having a really safe place to heal and grow into a worldview that is healthier for them. And maybe they develop unhealthy coping mechanisms that serve to deteriorate their relationships and reinforce the black sheep stereotype, seen by others but most crucially themselves, that Mormonism teaches: be righteous and faithful and you will prosper, and if you struggle and dwindle, only repent and you will be happy.
I was not able to go to her funeral, but chances are the bishop or stake president preached the Plan of Salvation over her casket in the ward chapel. She will always be the one who "had her struggles." Dry heaves of tears and pain, guys, this is what I am feeling. It's for the invisible people who do not find a way to adapt within Mormonism but are also unable to thrive outside the safety of that group's full approval and support. Maybe this is one thing that drives us, this subreddit. Listening and speaking so that people can be seen, really seen, by others who understand. Helping each other find and create places where we can be in full honor and dignity in our own conscientious choices and journeys.
I grieve for those not seen in their full dignity. https://www.reddit.com/r/exmormon/comme ... les_today/
*But there are more.