Sunday, April 04, 2004

No, I Will Not Apologize

Not that anybody's asked, but...

I just want to make it crystal clear that I will never apologize for posting about Mormon scriptures on my blog. I am aware that the vast majority of bloggers do not post scriptures of any kind on their blogs. I understand when some people want to keep the sacred separate from the profane. I am not one of those people. The sacred is a part of my life. This blog is a part of my life. They could only be arbitrarily separated. When I think about issues, my thoughts turn to scripture. And since when have I ever been part of the "vast majority" of people?

I am aware what others, particularly others on the internet, think of the Mormon church. To those who do not think highly of it, who think it is some kind of brainwash cult with wacky behavior, I can only say that they probably don't know anything about it but rumors, and should step off unless they're willing to learn. When they're all done deciding what I do and don't believe, they're welcome to find out for themselves. Mormons are NOT brainwashed. At some point in their lives, every Mormon (including those "born in the church") goes through a time when they have to choose whether or not they want to really be a Mormon, and I'm not talking about some intimidating moment in the Bishop's office when you're eight years old. For me that time was my first two years in college, before I got married.

I want to make it clear that the beliefs that I have are all beliefs that I have consciously chosen, mostly because I've seen the alternatives and I don't like them better. I've tried being a liberal. I've tried being a Democrat. I've tried not being a Mormon. None of it works for me. I am aware of the process of choosing your beliefs, and how my psychological and emotional state affects my choice. And I understand that your results may vary. All I ask is that if you expect me to respect your choices of beliefs, that you respect mine as well.

In that vein, and because it is General Conference time again, I am posting a link to FAIR's photo essays on the "street preachers" that station themselves outside General Conference every year for the express purpose of harassing Mormons just because they're Mormon. These are from last year's conference; this year, the street preachers and protestors were restricted by the city to a protest zone that is within sight of the Conference Center, but will not allow them to harass people directly as they're coming out of the building.

You must understand, these people go way beyond free expression of their religion. Imagine how a devout Catholic would feel about having "Piss Christ" displayed right outside the cathedral door, with protestors blowing their noses in the altar cloths, spitting in the chalices, rubbing statues of saints on their behinds, and yelling in the faces of the Catholics coming out of an Easter service that they are all deluded and going to hell. It may be legal, but it is coarse, offensive, and deliberately provocative. This is exactly what they do with our sacred symbols. These guys are so obnoxious that there's a group of ordinary and good evangelical Christians who have come to counter-protest them and to show us that not all Christians believe in desecrating other people's sacred symbols.

UPDATE: The FAIR site doesn't show some of the most offensive behavior of the street preachers. For that you'll have to go to the news. Unfortunately I couldn't find video clips from this year that showed their most offensive behavior, but I bet there will be some tomorrow, after the Sunday sessions are over. They blow their noses in, and wipe their rears with, sacred garments. Because the FAIR pictures are focused on their signs, they only show them waving garments around or with garments draped around their necks in between desecrations.