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What I Dislike About the Church

I want to make it clear that I don’t believe my personal preferences necessarily have anything to do with the truth or falsehood of the church. For example, I may hate obeying a certain commandment but that doesn’t make it false.

Some of the gospel principles taught

  • I don’t believe in the same concept of God’s punishment that the church teaches.
  • I don’t believe simply praying in earnest about truth will guarantee a result.
  • I don’t believe our actions in some pre-existence determined our birth and standing in this life.
  • I don’t believe God mandates a set percentage tithe and I don’t believe His church would be extremely secretive about how that tithe is used.
  • I don’t believe marriage is required for “exaltation”.
  • I don’t believe that God was once a man like us.

Some of the eternal family doctrine

I find it odd that so many Mormon members believe theirs is the only religion that teaches about eternal families. Most Christian religions teach that you can be with your loved ones in heaven. The major differences are that Mormons believe:

  • Families will only really be together if they all make it to the very top, which only a very small percentage will
  • Men will have a lot of wives
  • People will have their own worlds and become Gods

Not only do I not believe in those concepts, the first two seem very much at odd with my concept of a loving Heavenly Father.

Some of the Word of Wisdom

Or more specifically, how the modern church has adapted it. I believe it was intended as a health code, a guideline rather than as a mandatory commandment. If the concept is about taking care of our bodies (Gospel Principles calls it the “Lord’s Law of Health“), think about this: An extremely healthy vegan who exercises daily and drinks a bit of coffee once in a while would not be eligible to teach Sunday School while an extremely unhealthy person who avoids coffee would be.

5% of what church leaders say

  • Racism (now mostly gone)
  • Forcing beliefs on others (same-sex marriage)
  • Lying about its history
  • Avoidance of tough questions regarding its policies and history
  • Attempting to brush over dark parts of its history and pretending they didn’t happen

The supposed infallibility of church leaders

They have at times admitted that they make mistakes. But the general teachings and feelings within the church are that members should do every single thing the leaders tell them. The strict obedience, almost to the point of lack of free choice, is cult-like. I know quite a few members who disagreed strongly with the church’s stance on Proposition 8, but didn’t question supporting it. They simply obeyed and didn’t even give thought to the possibility of going against church leaders, even to the point of doing something they felt was wrong.

The general culture of superiority

The teachings and culture in the church are that church members are a chosen people. That’s fine, except that it’s taken to the point of this general feeling of superiority over all other people. Church members force their belief on others, in and out of politics. They view anyone who doesn’t instantly open their minds to missionary efforts as lost souls who must be sinning. Church members block out and ignore relevant, insightful religious study and thought if it doesn’t originate from the church itself.

As a result of that culture, there is a palpable close-mindedness within the church.

Black or white

The church would have its members believe that it’s simply a black and white choice: that the church is 100% true. There is no wiggle room, no space for interpretation or personal revelation on matters the church leaders have already decided upon.

Treatment of sex

Studies have shown that Mormons, more than any other religion in the US, feel the most sexually guilt ridden.

In 1982 the First Presidency sent a letter to Stake, Mission, District, and Branch Presidents as well as Bishops. Page 1. Page 2. In the letter, those men are encouraged to interview anyone filling a position of responsibility in regards to their worthiness, educating married members that, “The First Presidency has interpreted oral sex as constituting an unnatural, impure or unholy practice.”

I don’t even want to get into the First Presidency sitting around discussing oral sex or praying for revelation regarding it.

The extent to which the church teaches things so negatively about sex can be very damaging in my opinion.  Up until the day of my marriage, I was assaulted constantly with information that sex was incredibly evil, wrong, and dangerous.  Then as soon as I was married, all communication about it ceased abruptly.  There was no positive reinforcement of it.  So the natural reaction is think of it shamefully.  Newly married couples are often embarrassed to discuss it even with each other, uncomfortable with a topic that was drilled into their head as sinful.  The one-sided treatment of sex encourages feelings of guilt, awkwardness, and general negativity towards what should be an exciting and fulfilling experience for young couples.

Although I am grateful that my wife and I were virgins before getting married to each other (the knowledge that we have only shared that intimacy with each other is comforting), I also realize that I dodged a bullet.  Having no idea of sexual compatibility is a huge risk when making such a commitment.

The temple experience

I can’t repeat enough how much my first experience in the temple bothers me, especially looking back on it. Read this again if you don’t understand what I mean.

The modern insistence on temple marriage

I understand that sealing is important to LDS members in terms of exaltation and such, but why does the modern church insist so heavily that marriages be performed there as well? It wasn’t so in Joseph Smith’s day. In fact, D&C 109 used to promote public weddings before it was changed by a later church leader.

“All marriages in this church of Christ of Latter Day Saints should be solemnized in a public meeting, or feast, prepared for this purpose…”

So why not marry in a public setting, like a chapel, where families are included rather than excluded on the basis of their “worthiness”? Then have a temple sealing afterwards if the couple so chooses! Frankly, temple marriage is a rather unromantic affair anyways.

Ignoring confirmation bias

There are countless stories given at all levels of the church that seem to be plain and simple confirmation bias. President Monson’s recent story about leaving a bill in his pockets, sending the pants to the cleaners, praying about it, getting the bill back in still in the pants, and suddenly having a testimony of prayer is a perfect example. It’s his personal story and he can believe whatever he wants, but I think it’s rather silly. He wanted it to be true. He was looking for confirmation. And if he hadn’t received the bill back in his pants, he would have continued praying in various situations until he had a story that would make him believe.

Public speaking

There is so much expectation in the church regarding public speaking. If you don’t care for it or are just plain bad at it, it’s like a handicap. I hate it. I was, on a number of occasions, given significant pressure to give a talk in Sacrament meeting when I was unwilling.

The saddest aspect of it is that members are judged by other members for not doing it. Assumptions are made that they just don’t have a strong testimony or aren’t confident. How about simply that they don’t like speaking in public? I have yet to find anywhere in Christ’s teachings or the scriptures the commandment to give orations in public.

Multiply and replenish the earth

Do I even need to explain this? The earth seems quite multiplied and replenished, thanks.

Strict Ward boundaries

For the last eight years, I have lived within a few miles of my two brothers, their wives and children, and my parents. Despite being active members of the same religion, how many times in those eight years did we all attend the same church service? Three times, only when a family baby blessing was taking place. A few years ago, my wife and I moved about a mile away from our previous residence. We had to attend a different Ward. The effect that kind of thing has on friendships and family is significant.

Marriage, marriage, marriage, marriage, marriage, marriage!

I have a number of single friends in their thirties. Some of them can shrug off the overwhelming, constant drone of “you have to be married for exaltation” pressure. Others cannot. What a terrible, soul-crushing thing it can be to someone who is unable to find their eternal companion and must constantly endure the pressure in the church and culture surrounding them. Even more soul-crushing if you are gay and want to marry, but are told it is an abominable sin to marry the person you love.

Beards

Seriously, what’s with the forced shaving? Why no facial hair at a university founded by a man with a giant beard? And why force almost all church leaders, from Bishoprics on up, to shave frequently? I thought church members were supposed to care more about the inner vessel than outward appearances?

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One Comment
  1. safakjsd akljdflak permalink

    Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life!

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