When I moved to Salt Lake City I thought it was only right that I shed myself of some of my ignorance of Mormonism and got to know what they were really like. But the more I've learned about the Mormon religion the happier I have become with the fact that my wife came to a decision to no longer be a member of the church long before I came into the picture. These are my reasons:
- Spending 3 hours in church on a Sunday does not appeal. I've been in a Mormon church on 3 occasions each for an hour at a time (once to help clean it -how that happened when I'm not even a member I still do not know). That was long enough. Hopefully I don't have to repeat that experience too often.
- Tithing. I'm Scottish. The world expects me to be scrooge-like when it comes to my money. The very thought of giving 10% of my income to an already very rich Church makes me shudder. No matter how much I earn I just don't see me ever wanting to freely had over 10% of my wages to any religion, no matter how devine it may be. I can almost, I said almost, see the need for a tithing rate of 10% back in the day when Mormons were few in number and a church had to be built and paid for but now that Utah, the chosen land has so many churches and Temples in every direction I cannot see the need for such a a high burden to be paid by its followers. Especially now that there is so many more followers of the LDS faith than there was 160 years ago surely it is time to modernise the Tithing rate downwards to perhaps 2% or even 1% unless of course the church want to continue building its fortune and property portfolio in the heart of Downtown, Salt Lake City. All this whilst congregation is going through hard times just keeping a roof over their heads and paying the electricity bill. Of course each and every one of them has the option of not paying the tithing expected of them, but do that long enough and they aren't deemed worthy of going to the Temple - not a very Christian attitude.
- Fasting. I'm sorry but I'm a greedy bastard when it comes to food and so is something I wouldn't be willing to go through at the best of times, but then to make that thought worse by making along with the Fast a donation of yet more money to the Church for the privilege of fasting - what? Again I'm Scottish, come on! Ok so any such donations go to the needy, this I get and while I think it might be a good reason I can't help but think if the Church gets so much money from Tithing they might be in a better position to pay out than those who are fasting.
- Polygamy. I thought the LDS Church had reformed its views on polygamy, and to an extent it has. The LDS Church no longer approves of multiple marriages amongst its members. You would think that this might be an area I could agree with the LDS Church. I thought so too. Until I found out that it only believes that this law should only be applied on earth and not heaven. Although the LDS Church now believes that a man can only be married to one woman at a time on earth this doesn't apply in heaven. If a man remarries many times in his lifetime he gets to keep all his wives in heaven. This rule does not apply for women. A woman can only be tied to one man in heaven. Seems a tad unfair to me. If I was lucky enough to go to heaven after I died I might be a little upset to find my wife with her ex.
- Testimony Meetings. This is the only hour I have been a witness to in a Mormon church so I could not tell you what goes on during the rest of a Sunday meeting but that one hour is enough to make me cringe. During this hour a few songs are sung and the Elders say their words of wisdom to the ward and by on large I don't have much problem with this first half of the hour. But the latter half of the testimony meeting is made up of people standing up before the congregation giving Testimony. As a non member of the LDS Church its a chore to get through it, I suspect its a chore for believers too. As far as I can tell there are a few types of Testimony.
- The Crying Testimony. Some people seem to be so hormonally impacted by the LDS Church that they begin crying the moment they reach the stand and so you can barely understand what they are trying to say. Everyone that is watching then gets to sit uncomfortably through a 10 minute emotional break-down brought on by the truthfulness of the Book Of Mormon.
- The Trying Times Testimony. Anyone who has recently had surgery, an illness or just felt that they had a tough week will get up to tell you all about it. They will then go on to tell you how the Lord either blessed them to overcome the challenge or is showing his love to them by how much He is trying them. Such a testimony seems to often start with "This past (week, month, year) has been a really difficult for me . . . "
- The Gratitude Testimony. This seems to be the opportunity that some Mormons like to thank the Lord for finding the perfect partner or having the perfect family. It's a sweet idea when it sounds like its heartfelt but all too often like as with the other types of testimony its sounds rehearsed or worse like they are doing it because it is expected.
Disclaimer: This post was not at all influenced by the fact that I had to frame and assemble 200+ pieces of Mormon wall art a day in the 2 and half weeks before Christmas.