With all the recent news about the Mormon church's stance against the children of gay couples, I thought I'd finally write a blog entry I've been contemplating for months. Earlier this year I had my church membership records removed. It took several attempts. First they wanted me to meet with church officials. I said I had no interest in doing so. I finally had to threaten legal action. A few weeks later I finally got a confirmation letter in the mail. Of course they sent me a letter telling me that I had eternally damned myself. I guess I'll deal with that IF the time comes, but I don't believe in a God that would do that. He/she/it knows my heart. And if all we do is rot in the ground and get eaten by worms, then I'm safe.
I chose not to advertise this to anyone. I spoke with my parents before I took action to make sure it wouldn't upset them. They were very loving, understanding, and supportive. I talked with a good friend of mine, who had years earlier gone through the same process. He too had not been active for decades before deciding to take action. I hadn't been active in the church for over 25 years, but everywhere I moved the home teachers or missionaries tracked me down. My wife even told them I died at one point. That kept them at bay for a few years. I just got tired of the game and decided enough was enough, since they weren't honoring my wishes.
There have been 108 billion people that have lived on this planet up to this point. I'm gonna take a guess and assume there have been about 30 million Mormons. That's 0.0003% of the people that have lived on this earth that have been Mormon. Mormon's believe you must be baptized into the church to obtain the highest level of heaven. To account for the other 99.9997% of people that didn't have the opportunity to accept the "true" church, Mormons baptize for the dead. That's right. When you die, Mormons will key off your death record and have you baptized by proxy so that you can accept the church in the afterlife. I have to assume that the conversion rate will be pretty low. My iPhone games only see about a 1% conversion rate for in-app purchases. I don't believe in a God that would allow only 1.0003% of all humans to enter into the highest level of heaven. I have no testimony of Joseph Smith. From my perspective he was a cult leader that founded a religion that became mainstream.
I don't say any of this to upset my family or friends who are still Mormon. I totally respect anyone's perogative to practice any religion they want. I also respect those who choose to practice no religion at all. Only 1/3rd of the planet bases their religion on Jesus Christ. I won't discount the other 2/3rds or profess that they are wrong in their beliefs. I only have issue with religion when it causes harm to others, represses women, turns a blind eye to abuse, or causes it's members to be intolerant. I don't think the Mormon church actively does any of the above, although I think there are members who might. I was always told the church is "perfect", the members are not. I'll at least accept the later part of that sentence.
I don't agree with a lot of the policies the church has come out publicly against (I don't think churches should get involved politically). I disrespect everything they did against Proposition 8. I don't agree with the recent decision either. But here's my advice... there are PLENTY of religions that tolerate whatever lifestyle you choose. If you need religion in your life, find the one that best suits you, be loving and God-like in your dealings with others, and don't push your beliefs on anyone else (unless it's about a crazy-ass person running for president). The "pushiness" of the church is one of the reasons I left.
God/Allah/Buddha Bless You!