Saturday, November 28, 2015

The evolution of my beliefs about Mormonism

The things I believe have gone through drastic changes over time. in another venue, I recently sketched out how my beliefs about 1) Joseph Smith. 2) the Book of Mormon, 3) Mormon leaders, and 4) God changed through the years. Those beliefs have gone through four broad stages: non-Mormon, true-believing Mormon (TBM), New Order Mormon (NOM), and post-Mormon (what I am now). (All dates -- except 1982 and "present" -- are approximate.) Since I wrote this anyway, I thought I'd publish it here on my own blog.

My beliefs as a non-Mormon (1962 - 1981):

  1. Joseph Smith was a guy who said an angel named Moroni appeared to him and gave him a book called the Book of Mormon, and he started a rather primitive and backward religion that's still around today, and he got himself a bunch of wives, and I suppose that's possible (just like it's possible that an angel named Gabriel appeared to Mohamed and gave him a book called the Koran, and the parallels continue...).
  2. The Book of Mormon? Whatever, never read it. I might read it someday. (It's not high on the list, but I might get to it after I read some Buddhist scriptures, Baha'i scriptures, the Koran, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Prose and Poetic Eddas; I've already read the Bible, the Tao Te Ching, and the Analects of Confucius, and various "New Age" works).
  3. I can't name a Mormon leader except Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, but in light of the church's racist history, I assume they're a bunch of uptight, primitive, racist fuckwads.
  4. I hate churches, and God probably does too.

My beliefs as a TBM (1982 - 2000):

  1. Joseph Smith was a prophet.
  2. The Book of Mormon is true.
  3. The leaders are inspired.
  4. God wants me in this church.

My beliefs as a NOM (2001 - 2006):

  1. Joseph Smith was a prophet, but he did some really bad things.
  2. The Book of Mormon is almost certainly not a literal history, but is probably true in some non-literal sense.
  3. The leaders are inspired sometimes.
  4. God wants me in this church.

My beliefs now (2007 - present):

  1. Joseph Smith was a conman and a sexual predator.
  2. The Book of Mormon is a transparent 19th-century fraud.
  3. The leaders are not inspired.
  4. God probably doesn't exist.

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