Real Life Halloween Horrors: Mormons
Let me start off this update by admitting I'm not exactly the biggest fan of formal, organized religion. My parents tried for years to infuse me with the values and deep-seated feelings of guilt that can only be achieved by attending Catholic masses or perhaps by getting drunk and murdering a family of seven. This fulfilling religious and moral upbringing began sliding off my back and into the reservoir of apathy the moment I realized my parents weren't religious at all, but were simply carting me off to chop lumber for an elderly Catholic priest so I wouldn't grow up to be the Antichrist or, worse yet, a homosexual Carol Channing impersonator. Oh, and before you can make the obvious joke that is just the absolute rage with late night stand-up comedians and mental halfwits across the globe, no, I was not sexually abused by a Catholic priest, although I did pee in one's pool once. I later went on to attend the prestigious males-only Rockhurst High School in Kansas City, Missouri, where I learned such important Jesuit traditions as "drinking a lot" and "cursing." I think they decided to exempt females from attending Rockhurst because scientific studies have proven they simply can't drink and curse as good as us men. Also I've never seen a single woman scratch her balls as well as I can.
The only thing that these years of superficial, shallow religious training taught me was that Jesus may be utterly swell, but his followers are boring as hell. I despised attending church every weekend because not only did it have the excitement appeal of watching a garden slug crawl over a bag of coal for half a day, but my knees couldn't withstand the constant pressure from the traditional Catholic mass ritual of standing, kneeling, sitting, kneeling, standing, kneeling, sitting, standing, and then eating a chunk of Christ's body. I'm firmly convinced that Catholic masses require you to stand and sit and kneel so many times simply so members won't fall asleep and have their leg muscles atrophy during the sermon, thus leaving the church a prime lawsuit target. I suppose I'm just inherently not the type of person who enjoys walking into a gigantic building, listening to somebody lecture to me in a monotone voice for an hour, and then giving somebody else a check to support a guy who is 2,000 years old. If I wanted to do that, I'd attend a Republican Congressional fundraiser.
No matter how much I poke fun at Catholicism and vocally despise Scientology, I will always have a warm place in my heart for Mormonism and our very special Mormon buddies. I'm simply amazed at how a wacky bunch of goofballs like the Mormons were not only able to become a $30 billion-a-year industry, but also somehow become socially accepted to the point where claiming you're Mormon in a public location does not directly result in laughter. Mormon Fever has thoroughly penetrated the icy gills of Salt Lake City and most of Utah, leading religious scholars like myself to ask society, "what the hell are 'icy gills' anyway?" Mormons make up over 70% of the population of Utah and this statistic would've undoubtedly been around 100% if some of the more devout Mormons weren't afraid that God would send them straight to hell if they used an unholy ink pen to check the "YES" box next to the question, "Are you a Mormon?" Now I'm sure that a good percentage of Mormonites are not crazy; if you're Mormon and you've somehow discovered a loophole in your nutty religion that allows you to read this website, than I can assure you that you're in that category and I don't really want to read your eloquent, long-winded email extolling the virtues of not drinking Pepsi. Some of you may not be familiar with the Mormon lifestyle and their beliefs, so I would like to take this moment to summarize a few of Mormonism's high points so you will have actually read something semi-interesting on this website which doesn't consist of nine paragraphs about my cats:
Mormonism, which is known as "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" to insomniacs and drunks who are awake and blindly staring at the various Mormon advertisements on public television at 3:40 AM Tuesday morning, was created in 1830 by Joseph Smith Jr. Like all stable and mentally competent individuals, Smith was convinced God spoke to him and regularly visited him at the age of 15. I'm not sure if God traveled all the way to Earth just so He could speak with Smith or if it was merely just a layover on his way to Venus or the sun or something, but that's the mystery of faith I suppose. Joseph was born in Sharon, Vermont, as the third son of Joseph and Lucy Smith. His father was a self-proclaimed "treasure hunter" who I can only assume suffered from chronic unemployment because, honestly, what kind of treasure is there in Vermont? I just looked at a couple photographs supposedly of Vermont and all they showed was a bunch of fields, a tulip, and some kind of building with a dome on the top. I didn't see any giant diamonds, bags of gold, or sunken riches anywhere, and trust me, I looked at the photos for at least a good 10 seconds or less. Joseph Sr. luckily had a backup plan to provide for his family, an intriguing and exciting idea which the authorities unfortunately dubbed "counterfeiting." As a child, Joseph Jr. would stick a magic rock on his forehead so he could find "hidden treasure." I am not making this up; he called it a "peek stone" and it was supposedly powered by his magical "third eye." You know who else had a third eye? That kid from the hit 1987 horror movie "The Gate" after the devil rose up out of his basement and started flailing around like a wet noodle covered in turds. Ol' Scratch just touched the kid and bam, an eyeball grew on his hand. I don't remember exactly why that happened or what potential useful service it would supposedly give Satan, but then again the Prince of Darkness was killed by a bottle rocket in the end of that movie, so I didn't really expect too many grandiose plans from him.
One day an angel named "Moroni" visited Joseph and told him the following exciting things:
1) His name would be known "all over with good and bad connotations," just like George Steinbrenner.
2) Jesus recently visited North America and buried a couple magic golden plates in the ground. This hyperdimensional dinnerware held all the recorded history of the Native Americans. I'm not quite sure Jesus would bother spending his time transcribing family trees of Indians on dinner plates just so he could bury them in the ground, but maybe my failure to understand this can be linked to my third eye needing a new set of contact lens.
3) There was a set of magic glasses named "Urim and Thummin" made of stone and attached to a breastplate. The only way to locate and translate the aforementioned magic plates would be to put on the magic glasses and, I assume, just start walking around while asking the glasses "are we there yet?" Ooh, or maybe they had one of those embedded transparent LED screens like car windshields have in all those futuristic movies. Was Joseph Smith given magic glasses by a time-traveling Bladerunner? Only time will tell!
Moroni also informed young Joseph that all Christian denominations were "corrupt" and he should not join them, which partially explains why he decided to create his own corrupt religion instead of using somebody else's. After his little meeting with The Great Moroni, Smith was just itching to head out and dig himself up some magic plates by using his magic glasses but Moroni forbid him from doing so for the next four years. To make him happy, Smith was allowed to visit the place where the plates were buried every year for the following four years, but he wasn't allowed to actually dig into it and retrieve the coveted religious dining set. Think of it as a really long, anti-climatic version of Christmas. Joseph finally grabbed the plates in September of 1827, at which point he and his two dopey brothers begin deciphering them. Their possession of magic dinner plates, magic glasses, magic rocks, and regular visits by God convinced them that they were priests and apostles who could predict the future. I hope one of them predicted that they would go to jail and be stoned to death for burning down a printing press, because that's what happened to them shortly afterwards. While the angry mob was throwing non-magical rocks at them, Joseph Smith managed to shoot a few of them with a gun that was snuck into his jail cell, which is just an absolutely great foundation many religions should be built upon. I think more religions should be created by gun-toting murderer prison inmates who were killed by an angry mob for burning down printing presses. That and child molestors.
So what do Mormons believe in? Well hold on to your holy underwear, because here it comes. Mormons kind of believe in the Bible, but they don't believe the Bible is a finished book. According to them, the Bible is still in progress and they have taken the liberty of revising it over 4,000 times into a series of books named The Book Of Mormon 2, Doctrine and Covenants, The Pearl of Great Price, and Prophecize, Don't Supersize: The Guide to Being a SuperGreat 21st Century Mormon. You can buy any one of these wonderful books wherever fictional novels are sold. Mormons believe in polytheism, that the universe in inhabited by multiple gods who give birth to multiple "spirit children" just like how the guests on The Ricki Lake Show give birth to multiple "welfare children." According to Mormons, the Earth's particular god was once a man on another planet, possibly the sun, who was appointed to the counsel of gods through his intense lobbying and bribes. Devout Mormons believe that if we're good enough Mormons, one day we'll become gods and have our own planets which we'll get to populate by having sex with various "goddess wives." They claim the real and true God is some guy who inhabits a star called "Kolob" and has a wife and children. They do not explain what job God has or what his rush-hour commute is like every day, but I've seen pictures of Kolob and it ain't pretty. Once again, I would like to remind you that I'm really not making this up. If you don't believe me, here's an actual quote from Brigham Young, one of the big wigs of Mormonism fame and fortune, talking about how he feels the sun has been colonized:
"Who can tell us of the inhabitants of this little planet that shines of an evening, called the Moon? ... So it is with regard to the inhabitants of the Sun. Do you not think it is inhabited? I rather think it is. Do you think there is any life there? No Question of it; it was not made in vain." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p. 219)
Now this information is all swell and good, but what about the actual Mormonic people? Well here's a little story from Marie Peccia, a person who lives in an unfortunate area of the country surrounded by Mormons:
I have a group of friends that mainly consist of the Mormon religion. Now, don't get me wrong, I have nothing against the Mormon religion. I have one friend in particular, let's call her Ruth. Now Ruth and I have been friends for a few years and one day I was over her house. She took me into her parent's bedroom and sat me down on an armchair. She looked at me very seriously and said, "Marie I have to show you something." I agreed, wondering what in the hell she could possibly want to show me. She walked over to a safe in the corner of her parent's bedroom and unlocked it and pulled out what looked like a white wash rag. She lifted it up to reveal it was a pair of white, cotton underwear.
I was speechless, I mean what are you supposed to say when one of your best friends leads you into your parent's bedroom and takes a pair of white underwear out of a safe? I told her that they were nice and she laughed, "Don't be silly, these are my temple underwear! I wear them every time we go to the temple!" Once again, I was speechless. I suppose Ruth was ready that our friendship was close enough for her to show me these. I was touched, to say the least.
Mormonism: a legacy of magic underwear, magic glasses, magic rocks, magic plates, and a founder who became famous from his pastime activities of arson and manslaughter. Yet despite all these hurdles, the Mormon "religion" is able to raise tens of billions of dollars each year and somehow inhabit entire states like a slowly spreading cheese fungus inside your refrigerator. How is this possible? Who willingly joins a "religion" which teaches its members that God lives on a star named "Kolob"? I would imagine that they don't really advertise this aspect of their religious foundations, as not too many people would be swayed over by this particular angle. Oh well, maybe my frustration with organized religion and the Catholic church in general has led me to such a negative attitude regarding Mormonism. I wonder how much of their mass consists of sitting, standing, and then kneeling.
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