Friday, November 28, 2014

Corrupt Then, Corrupt Now (part 3)

FAIR justifies Brigham Young's Whiskey Distillery.

"Brigham Young built a whiskey distillery in Utah...The Word of Wisdom was not enforced as rigorously, or with the same requirements, in Brigham Young's day. Many speakers emphasized the Lord's patience in this matter, as applied to both leaders and members."

Bang a glass for Brigham.  And enjoy your holiday parties!  (But "not to excess" --Brigham)

Corrupt Then, Corrupt Now (part 2)

FAIR mormon has an article that speaks for itself.

"Since Brigham realized that a considerable sum ($60-80,000 in 1861 dollars) was being spent annually on tobacco (at least a small part of which was used for medicinal purposes in the 19th century) he preferred that these funds remain within the territory to foster further economic growth and self-sufficiency, rather than disappearing into eastern markets."

The $2M inflated value "fair" conclusion for our times is:

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Wishing you a Happy Angergiving!

I know it's traditional today to give thanks. And in a way, I am, but I think a little anger-giving or even a spank-giving might help shake up your family holiday.

Mormon members sometimes ask us ex-mormons:
  • Why do you keep venting against the church?
  • Why are you kicking against the pricks, when it fulfils prophecy!?
  • Your anger isn’t helping anyone.

It would be irrational of a person not to be angry at being defrauded. A financial con of six-figures alone would keep anyone upset for years. Add the robbing of my youth, philosophy, culture and emotional security…

It's not hard to predict people will "kick against the prick" or be horribly upset if you know you’re screwing them. If they find out, they’re gonna be pissed! To not be angry would be very abnormal. We are rational in our frustration. Those claiming otherwise lack empathy.

Besides, as David Burns points out, there is a lot of hypocrisy in the charge that ex-mormons can’t leave the LDS church alone--we aren’t the ones with 80,000 missionaries knocking on doors.  We don’t hold special family nights just to invite “ex-investigators” to hear our ex-mormon discussions.  We don’t throw special congregational activities attuned to our non-ex-mormon potential ex-converts.  

Are we really seething and angry all the time?  Not at all.  We may have lost the “new and everlasting covenant”, but have found that there is something much much better:  New and Everlasting Curiosity.

Leaving the LDS church is like becoming a child who is merging into adulthood again.  All the fascination of a whole world opens to your exploration, of choosing new directions, of seeking new friends, learning new insights—it’s the candy store that continues to give when you remove the abundant limits placed on you by Mormondom.

Yes, there is some anger at the lies that kept us from experiencing the New and Everlasting Curiosity sooner.  While some of you see "anger" in my activities, perhaps you might remember that Jesus is represented in the New Testament as being angry at the temple money changers and other merchants who turned religion into profit making.  His anger is viewed as justified by many of my critics.  I feel my anger is too.  I see the early Mormon leaders lied to get laid with teen girls and other married women (yes, the LDS church finally admitted to this after we have been told for years we were the liars and now proved correct all along).  I am angry that the LDS bishops are still required to determine sexual worthiness of minor children.

I find it unnerving that clergy in the LDS church routinely ask the youth to discuss sex, masturbation, pornography or other subjects that would be considered highly off limits for anyone other than parents or licensed professionals, all behind closed doors. Very troubling.
Let me put this into perspective: A non-related adult male more than twice the age of the child being interviewed, asking my thirteen or fifteen year-old child about her/his sexual activities in a closed office is inappropriate on many levels. This is not an acceptable community standard any where I know of, and even state-run schools are required to get permission for group discussions on these same topics. Discussing individually, behind closed doors, these topics with a child or teen is deplorable behavior to me.  It seems an outgrowth of long ago practice by LDS leaders to sexualize the youth at early ages (the prophets through Lorenzo Snow/Joseph F Smith all had teen brides when they were in their 40s to 50s).  They lied to their members for a time, to the government and to the world about these activities, only recently coming more clean (but still not entirely).

Now they've gone from lying to get laid in that first century to in this century lying to get paid more tithing and profits.  They maintain huge financial secrets, and they spend billions on real estate speculations, ventures, malls, ranches, condo complexes, hunting preserves, theme parks and more.  We've dug up the records, and we found their encouragement in their "secret" handbooks to avoid taxes in foreign lands.  

When Jesus is depicted angrily overturning the tables at the temple, it is righteousness.  When I highlight the profit making corporation of the LDS leaders, is it really so wrong of me?  I try to live with integrity.  I know deep down inside most members even get this, but I know they have unquestioned loyalty to their leaders, and fear even looking down the same rabbit hole I have. 

As it turns out, our information on the plural marriages, the history and more has been ahead of church admissions.  The financial digging is also ahead of future LDS leader confessions.  It does require sacrifice for us "angry" ones to do this.  Someone has to.  Not because we are angry all the time (sure I have some anger for spending six-figures and thousands and thousands of free hours to that corporation), but because I feel it is a worthwhile effort to help clear the temple so-to-speak.  

Jonathan Haidt said, “Prophets challenge the status quo, often earning the hatred of those in power.”  The power is in their hand, and they are the status quo we challenge now.  There will have to be change in the future and there is a call to repentance out to the money changers and profiteers.

So this Angergiving is thankfully about a promising future of New and Everlasting Curiosity and change in the power structures that hold onto many lives around us.

Let's cleanse the temple!  Every ex-mormon a janitor!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Devil's Sneeze: New Logical Fallacies Defined

The International Society of Master Debaters has released two new logical fallacies.  Here is the press release.

 “Recent media attention to the polygamy of Mormon founder Joseph Smith and the LDS church essay on his plural marriages has spawned voluminous debate in commentary on dozens of news articles and countless replies on hundreds of forum threads.  The debate has developed two new logical fallacies which are not quite like any others already in definition.

 Devil’s Ventriloquist Fallacy:  an appeal to dismiss the opponent's argument by appealing to a third being in the discussion.

 Not to be confused with playing Devil’s Advocate in debate, a master debater will sometimes fall into using this fallacy when his opponent uses a large number of facts which contradict the debater’s traditionally held beliefs.  Examples of Devil’s Ventriloquist often uses phrases such as those found in Mormon scripture: “The spirit of contention is of the devil.” (see 3 Nephi 11:29).  Here the fallacious master debater will dismiss his opponent and leave the debate with an apparent win by claiming his opponent’s facts are contentious and of the devil, implying the opponent speaks vicariously through or for the devil.  

The implied ventriloquism also comes in words such as “You carry an evil spirit about you” or “This discussion offends the spirit.”  Upon using the DV fallacy, the master debater will leave the argument and declare a holier-than-thou victory. Meeting in the upper debate rooms of Constitutional Hall, the International Society of Master Debaters considered that this fallacy is already covered by the “Appeal to Motive” red herring fallacy, by the “Ad Hominem” fallacy, or by the “Appeal to Emotion” fallacy.  However, by calling on a supernatural being and dismissing the opponent’s argument on the basis of a third party (spirit) it appears to be a new fallacy not hitherto seen.

 From now on, a call to Devil’s Ventriloquist in debate will be assessed by both those who fear oppressive spirits and by those who know the devil as just a regular (albeit misjudged) guy with great bar conversation game.

 A second fallacy which is very similar, was also newly defined.

 Gesundheit Fallacy: dismissing an argument by invoking a positive affirmation or apparent blessing on an opponent in a backhanded manner.

 Like Devil’s Ventriloquist, the master debater calls on a third being to “bless” the opponent when he sneezes a stream of facts, spewed out in an unanswerable blast.  The master debater apparently having no argument or understanding of the factual sneeze invokes a positive affirmation or blessing in the form of “Well, God bless you and good luck!” just before leaving the argument.  Upon using the Gesundheit Fallacy, the master debater will imply a holier-than-thou victory and even appear magnanimous in blessing his opponent, while seemingly grabbing the upper hand as he exits the discussion.

 From now on, a call to the Gesundheit Fallacy in debate will be assessed by a tribunal of a medical general practitioner, a shaman and a representative of the Kleenex corporation.”

PS- In case you missed it: the above is satire.