On one hand, the Mormon faith is known for a deep sense of family values, with a great sense of members helping each other when in need. And many Mormon members are known for their kindness as well as good works. Outgoing Oregon Senator Gordon Smith was known for his support for Food Stamps for the poor and other compassion in the U.s. Senate. And Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic leader, is known for his support for many compassionate programs. And likely the two Udalls, both Democrats who have been elected to the Senate will continue in the same sense of compassion.
But the controversy over many Mormon conservatives supporting California's Proposition 8 with $22 million dollars in donations has shined an unwelcome spotlight on the right wing extremism of many members of the Mormon faith, as well as their controversial church teachings.
The fact of the matter is that during the early 1970's there were some experiments at Brigham Young University that sought homosexual volunteers to see if electroshock therapy could "cure" homosexuals of their sexual orientation, while others such as Kinsey and others had long accepted homosexuality as a common human sexual variation and most in the psychiatric community had abandoned beliefs that such behavior was a sign of mental illness.
There is also some criticism that the LDS faith seems to have a very repressed view of sexuality in general, that teaches among other things that normal adolescent behavior such as masturbation is sinful, and thereby may even encourage excessive guilt or even suicide among some members. Even in marriage, some LDS teachings believe that even oral sex among married persons is morally wrong, although there is no evidence from the Bible itself that married persons can sin by varied activity in their marriage bed. However there some others that will point out that the Roman Catholic faith as well as Islam, and a few other faiths often have embraced similar views on sexuality issues as well. What no doubt angered many in the Gay community was the efforts by some conservative Mormons to impose their own views on sexuality that are shaped by their religion on the general public by their support for opposition to Gay marriage, as officially the LDS church condemns all homosexual acts as sinful.
But while the Mormon faith has managed to anger those in the Gay community as well as their supporters for civil rights and civil liberties, it has most often been the strange teachings of the Mormon faith that have inspired attacks by others within the mainstream of the Christian faith.
Not everyone in the public understands that some strange and controversial teachings separate the Mormon faith from the mainstream of other Christian churches who generally share far more aspects in common. Most churches in Christendom share beliefs in a Trinity of God, or Baptism, or other aspects. However even in these areas the Mormon faiths takes on some strange departures from the mainstream of Christian beliefs.
While most Christians believe in the Bible only as the main authority for their faith, the Mormon faith believes in something known as THE BOOK OF MORMON, which it claims to be another testament of Jesus Christ. And it is here that some strange departures from mainstream Christian thought seem to develop.
The book of Mormon claims to be a history of some people from the Middle East that were of Hebrew background that emigrated to the United States region during a period of 2500BC until 600BC, despite a lack of archaeological evidence that Native American Indian tribes showed any evidence of such a Hebrew background or influence. If anything Native American religion had little in common with religion that developed in either the Mideast or Europe that believed in a God that resided from Heaven and acted as a creator. Native American religion tended to view the Earth as a creator of life, where there was a cycle of life, where even the dead complete the cycle of life because either their remains or ashes will eventually grow new life from the Earth. And there is not good evidence that Jesus Christ ever visited the Native Americans in the pre United States either as the Mormon faith also teaches.
Mormon teachings that Native american Indians were descendants of Hebrews from Jerusalem is also another unfounded Mormon belief. The fact of the matter is that the genetics of Native American Indians proves they are of an Asian background, and not Mideastern. Genetics is a definite science, and clearly disproves Mormon teachings such as this, while the Bible hasn't been proven to have scientific or archaeological mistakes by comparison. In fact the Bible gave a history of certain tribes from the Mideast that some in archaeology at one time doubted the existence of, however during Mid East excavations since the 1900's some of the most controversial histories of Mid Eastern tribes existence has been proven in the Mideast by archaeologists, while more and more evidence disproves more and more of the Mormon teachings by comparison.
Even those from the science of linguistics have discounted THE BOOK OF MORMON as merely a spiritual counterfeit document written by church founder Joseph Smith rather than being divinely inspired due to hundreds of grammatical errors that had to be corrected by later church scholars. Compared to the far better authority of the Bible which has held up to centuries of Jewish and Christian scholars scrutiny, THE BOOK OF MORMON, is a faulty document that seems to borrow heavily from two other books written by other authors in 1823 and 1925, before the 1830 publication of THE BOOK OF MORMON by Joseph Smith. Rather than being divinely inspired and copied from the Golden Plates as Joseph Smith claims, real proof is that THE BOOK OF MORMON was heavily plagiarized from the 1823 book, VIEW OF THE HEBREWS, by author Ethan Smith, and the 1825 book, THE WONDERS OF NATURE, by Josiah Priest.
There is also heavily criticism that the founder of the Mormon faith, Joesph Smith, merely invented the faith for reasons of personal enrichment or to get women. His teachings that supported polygamy are good examples of this. Further Smith was known for using his church publications to attack the character of women who refused to become one of his wives, as well allowing abortions among his multiple wives.
And unlike books of the Bible such as the Old testament prophet Ezekiel, who wrote what would become the complete and so far fully accurate history of the Jewish people of the Mideast, accurately predicting the destruction and loss of a Jewish state in the MidEast such as Judea and Samaria, and then the 1948 reestablishment of a Jewish Mideast state, the claimed prophecies of Joseph Smith simply have not turned out in most cases.
Mormonism even departs from the established mysterious Trinity of God concept that most Christians share in that Mormonism views God, the Son, and Holy Spirit as three separate persons, while mainstream Christian thought views the Trinity of God being in one personage. God is even viewed as being a former man who became God according to Mormonism, and at one time later Mormon church leader Brigham Young even taught that Adam and God were the same, however the church did not adopt this strange teaching officially.
In recent years the Jewish community has become angered at a strange Mormon ritual in which thousands of Holocaust victims were baptised in a strange ritual known as Baptism Of The Dead. As late as just this year, Jewish faith leaders were still having conflict with the LDS church for continued Baptisms Of The Dead of more Jews, despite a 1995 agreement with Jewish leaders to stop this practice. There is no sign that thousands of Jewish victims of the Holocaust wanted to convert to either Mormonism or Christian religion, yet strangely the LDS has done this against the will of the Jewish community.
There are also some strange Mormon rituals that seem to be founded in Freemasonry such as secret handshakes that must be known so that members can get into Heaven. And strangely there is a belief practiced by some Mormons that wearing a "sacred garment" that has been called Mormon underwear by critics must be worn to a temple rituals known as the Endowment Ceremony. While the Mormon faith is known to actively seek out new members, there is a high level of secrecy held by most members of the faith of their strange beliefs and rituals, as when members become fully part of the faith, then more is revealed to them.
Other strange Mormon teachings of multiple Heavens, that one will not see their Earthly parents in Heaven, or that forgiveness of sin has limits, also do not follow mainstream Christian thinking either. And some LDS legislators such as Orrin Hatch of Utah is known for writing some extreme political views on topics in the Moonie cult owned right wing WASHINGTON TIMES newspaper. Hatch has been disappointed not to be named to the U.S. Supreme Court as a justice by Republican administrations going back to Ronald Reagan.
While most Mormons are indeed very nice people and good neighbors by all means, it is the new controversy by many of them getting so actively involved in the effort to bankroll Proposition 8 in California that has only helped to focus some new attention on this church as being cultist in nature and holding some strange beliefs and rituals that are far from mainstream Christian thinking. In fact, Catholics and Protestants can find far more common ground on many issues of faith than either can with Mormons. And the very weird conduct of some breakaway Mormons such as the cult of Warren Jeffs has only recently given the public a bad taste of some religious extremism and cultist behavior among some of this controversial religious community as well.
If anything, it seems that when members of a religion that is held suspect by many in the public gets involved in controversial political matters, then it only opens up a new public critique of that faith. If anything, this might prove to be another valuable lesson why politics and religion should never meet in the public arena. The Roman Catholic church also suffered some backlash over the years for their teachings and beliefs when they entered the public arena in some attempts to force non-Catholics to abide by some of their beliefs. And likewise when some Mormons seek to impose their views on the general public, then their church teachings come into public examination as well.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!