I may choose to ignore anonymous comments. I consider this type of anonymity dishonest. Also, I don't post regularly. I post when I have something worth writing and something worth reading. I explain all this in: Don't Let Telling Tales Trip Up Your Truthfulness.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Pew Forum: A Portrait of Mormons in the U.S.

The Pew Forum did an extensive study of Mormons and published it on its site July 24, 2009, a rather significant day for Mormons I might add. It celebrates the day Mormons first entered what later became Utah in 1847.

Back to the Pew Forum study.

There are a few questions badly worded that skew the results -- such as the ones on eternal life -- but much of the study tells many of us what we already know, but what many don't know about us.

For example:

"Looking at religion's importance through the lens of education level, patterns among Mormons are the reverse of what is seen among the general population. . . Mormons with more formal education are more religiously committed, whereas in the general population the opposite is true."

With extensive formal education, I wondered why my fellow students seemed to think that all my good sense, intellectual skills and educational training had NOT been applied to my religion. I was perfectly capable of analyzing it as well as non-religious concepts. For some reason, they seemed to think that I didn't exert my skills in this area.

Now, there is substantial evidence that supports the fact that educated Mormons are more committed Mormons -- the only religion where this holds true. Some other conclusions are also suggested by these findings but they are not very complimentary to other religions or other educated people.

I'll watch with interest as Non-Mormon commentators, pundits and agitators try to reconcile these seemingly contradictory findings.

Leave but Can't Leave it Alone?

Today's New York Times had the following article:

All I Wanted Was a Hug

It is authored by Holly Welker who was formerly a Mormon. It describes her now as a writer who lives in Salt Lake City.

I find it puzzling for a couple of reasons. It is not overtly antagonistic. It does not place her firmly in the environs of former Mormons who "leave it but can't leave it alone" although it hints at just that.

Along with everyone else she knows the restrictions on any sort of intimacy when serving a mission. This is something everyone knows about and accepts ahead of time.

She finally reveals that she has left the church.

"If you leave, of course, it’s another matter entirely — you’re nothing, you’re no one, you’re on your own — as I would ultimately discover. But at the time, it provided comfort, such as it was."

Yes, you are on your own if you leave the Church. It is difficult to cope when left to your own strength, intelligence and skills. I don't think I would want to face the trials of life without the spiritual assistance available regular Church attendance and membership affords.

Welker claims she could not reconcile religion and art. She does not elaborate. But, it begs for elaboration. I see no conflict. Numerous artists in the Church apparently see no conflict.

If she is out of the Church and glad she's out of the Church why is she writing a memoir of her mission? Maybe she is one who "can't leave it alone."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Missionaries Rescue Samoan Children from Tsunami

This is a wonderful story about how two missionaries were able to save themselves and three small children from the tsunami that hit Samoa, with help from Heavenly Father of course:

FYI: Samoa and American Samoa are two separate entities. Samoa used to be called "Western Samoa" and is an independent country. American Samoa is a territory of the United States of America.

I don't believe it . . .

The precise day I decide to try and clarify the confusion in people's minds about who is and is not Mormon, the Church addresses this in it's own blog. See for yourself:

Misunderstanding over what is "Mormon."

"Mormon" was initially a label coined by our enemies as a pejorative term. It was hate speech. Now it seems to be more an identifying label with a more neutral connotation.

The Associated Press Stylebook notes: “The term Mormon is not properly applied to the other ... churches that resulted from the split after [Joseph] Smith’s death.”

Journalists don't always follow their own rules and that is usually where the confusion comes from.

To be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to have an actual membership record. It is NOT a vague feeling of identification or affiliation. You either have a membership record or you don't. You either are a member or you are not. There is no gray area.

Real Mormons are those who have an actual membership record with the Church. If your membership is cancelled either by yourself or the Church then you cease to be a Mormon.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Glenn Beck? What do I think of him . . .

As a 7th generation Mormon, conservative Republican with a Ph.D. in government, I would hope my opinion counts for something.

I had neutral feelings about Glenn Beck until it came out that he is a W. Cleon Skousen fan. Skousen was poised to sink into the obscurity he so richly deserves when Beck resurrected him by plugging one of Skousen's books.

I have read Skousen and we had some of his books at home when I was growing up. I have looked into his ideas and I can honestly say that I have never found a shred of evidence that supports them. In fact, the opposite is true.

What little interest or respect I had for Beck was obliterated when I discovered he is a Skousen fan. I do not think Beck will remain a Mormon if he continues as such. This is just a hunch. I do not think I would have remained in the church myself if I had not turned away from Skousen.

There is a simple way to discredit Skousen, all you have to do is look up his quotes and references. Doing this will convince you that his ideas have little or no basis in fact and that he twists facts to fit his ideas.

I have only heard Beck occasionally myself and have read a handful of articles and seen a few news snippets of him. Without Skousen I thought he was vaguely amusing and relatively harmless. Obviously that has changed.