Hindsight is always 20-20, or so they say. Of course, "they" also say quite a few far-fetched things, don't "they." But in this case, they're right, because looking back on my conversation with my new Mormon friend Christopher (cross-posted here), I've noticed a few new things. Christopher said:
Well, the Church started from the ground up and didn't have a lot of resources and if they did, they wouldn't have photographed the plates anyway.His assertion that Smith and his followers started with nothing is kind of silly in its own right: Having moved out west towards Utah, they would have had to have the money for such a journey to begin with. The Oregon Trail and inflation can teach us that. What gets me here is his clam that Smith and his followers wouldn't have photographed the plates.
Wait, what? You have a chance at actual, physical proof of the existence of such a find, and you think they wouldn't have photographed it, given the technology available at the time? Golden Tablets inscribed with the words of a man who was never known to have otherwise even known of the EXISTANCE of North America, let alone visited it - forget the spiritual importance of something like that for a moment, and ponder alone the archaeological value of something like this! Why WOULDN'T you want proof of its existance?
Probably because it was all bullshit. But I missed my chance to open that line of questioning with poor Christopher, and may never know how he intended to reason declining to photograph something obviously central to their whole core belief system.
And I wouldn't honestly be able to go back and criticize if I weren't able to do so of myself, so here's a bit of history behind this mean-spirited zinger that I hit him with:
So, when I sign up for the LDS church, do I get three wives straight off? Or do I have to work at that...Truth be told, this is my proven, 100% effective method for getting Mormon Missionaries off of my front porch and ensuring that they never return. You see, whether they like it or not, The Fundamentalist LDS Church - which does indeed practice polygamy, those true pimps and playas, holla! - is forever linked with them. And in the court of public opinion, that link won't ever, ever go away. Mentioning it instantly makes the conversation both uncomfortable and undesirable for them, so they make the most graceful exit they can, get on their bikes, and go bother someone else.
If you think that's mean, you should see my method for the door-to-door Baptists. It involves nudity and a very, very, VERY upbeat and chipper me...
But the real do-over I'd like to touch on is the contradiction that is him being a Black man in what is quite clearly a majority-white religion. Without coming out and saying he was Black, he made it very easy for him to identify himself as such:
It's kind of hard to be a biggot when you're a minority race and everyone jokes about lynching you. :)Not hard to tell what he's talking about, is it. But the problem here is obvious: Everyone jokes about lynching you?!? And you put a smiley emote next to that statement?!?
On what planet is this not only OK, but not worthy of complaint or action?
Either Christopher is retarded, or he has overridden his tolerance of blatant racial bigotry with the insane notion that, somehow, because the people mocking him are of the same faith as he is, that this is perfectly fine and not worth any further attention.
What. The. Fuck?!?
As an American of purely Irish descent, I really don't know what it's like to be Black in this country. But given the stories I've heard, it's not a very easy thing to do, especially when you have people being complete assholes to you just because your skin color is different. In my world, that's just fucked up.
And yet, because this man is obviously fooled into thinking that these people actually consider him an equal on a faith-based level, he ignores the obvious wrong being done to him.
In a business environment, there'd be lawsuits flying by now. Why not within the Mormon church?
Well, because Bigotry is their forte, really. It was the LDS church that was behind the abhorrent piece of ballot legislation that was Proposition 8 in California, taking away the rights that the LGBT community had fought long and hard to win for themselves.
Why would a person from a minority that has experienced so much hatred and bigotry themselves willfully join an organization so dedicated to similar hatred and bigotry?
Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., and countless thousands of Black Americans didn't stand up against bigotry because they wanted their shot at being bigots themselves. They stood up because they saw something wrong and fought to correct it, so that no future generations would have to suffer under it.
That wrong? Racial Hatred and Bigotry.
Christopher's attitude towards and involvement in the LDS church stands out, at least to me, as a direct contradiction of what Dr. King, Ms. Parks stood for. Just because it's Sexual Orientation-based Hatred and Bigotry doesn't make it any less wrong. And nobody's God can justify it, either.
And of course, at the end of this conversation, the seed of doubt was clearly planted in his mind. His infallible faith in God quickly degraded to uncertainty. Now, he was seeing things from a human perspective, instead of an immortal soul perspective. And while I can't claim any sort of victory for "our side," I'm fairly certain he's going to be thinking long and hard about his situation.
This has probably created a problem for him. Oops.
Well, what's one life inconvenienced temporarily compared to the millions of lives that Prop. 8 inconvenienced on a greater scale?
It's not about revenge for me, even though that last sentence may indeed sound like I'm gloating. It's about the same basic idea that Rosa Parks and MLK stood for: righting a wrong. What was done in California to the LGBT community was wrong, and if winning back a soul from the Mormon ranks does anything, it'll guarantee one less voice in favor of hatred and bigotry like that. And the fewer voices there are for wrong, the closer we get to right.