Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Fundamentalist Mormonism = Worse than Fundamentalist Christianity?

(From Flickr user paulsid, via CC)

Sorry for the lack of updates recently folks. Work has been destroying me, but I had a window tonight to write some, so here I am.

Several stories have surfaced in the news recently that paint a disturbing portrait of fundamentalist Mormonism. In the New York Times, there was a heartbreaking story of boys cast out of Warren Jeffs' polygamist camp:
When his parents discovered his secret stash of DVDs, including the “Die Hard” series and comedies, they burned them and gave him an ultimatum. Stop watching movies, they said, or leave the family and church for good. With television and the Internet also banned as wicked, along with short-sleeve shirts — a sign of immodesty — and staring at girls, let alone dating them, Woodrow made the wrenching decision to go. And so 10 months ago, with only a seventh-grade education and a suitcase of clothes, he was thrown into an unfamiliar world he had been taught to fear.
Then, on CNN today, this story from the flipside, of a girl who fled because she feared being promised to a stranger:
Sara Hammon saw some of her sisters pulled out of school to be married to men they didn't know. She dreaded a similar fate. And so, she ran away from home before she was old enough to drive legally. She left behind 19 mothers, 74 siblings, and a father she says could never remember her name, even though he repeatedly molested her. And, she left behind a culture she says was oppressive for young women.
Fundamentalism presents a great challenge to modernity. It claims to know the truth in a world of relativism. It insists on separating itself from the rest of society. And ultimately, it is viewed with disdain by mass-culture as oppressive and backwards. What's interesting is that this is true of Fundamentalist Christianity as well as Fundamentalist Mormonism.

I think it's too easy for Christians to read these stories and look down on Mormons. It's easy for Christians to think to ourselves, "Well, they obviously have no idea what the hell they're talking about." But in reality, Fundamentalist Christianity also takes the Christian message and basically destroys it, stripping away grace and putting in its place wrath. That's not the message of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said we should be in and not of the world. Too many people forget the first part.

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