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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mormons & Materialism: Part 3 Out of Purgatory or Into Heaven

Mormons have always been contemptuous of the idea that buying indulgences could help someone in Purgatory or gain them some special status. For most Mormons the offensive part is that money can somehow gain you access to church privileges that others cannot obtain.


However, this condemnation is often accompanied by our own peculiar efforts to buy our way into Heaven. I've already touched on this given the religious kitsch we tend to acquire. A great deal of money gets spent on activities that we often feel will somehow gain us spirituality.


These activities are perfectly okay and even admirable. What I'm condemning is our using them to convince ourselves and others that we are more pious as a result of them. They feed the notion that spirituality can be purchased. It cannot.


Here's a partial list:


Especially for Youth
Education Week
Tim Out for Women
Women's Conference
Vacation packages to Church History sites.
Cruise ship vacation packages
Book of Mormon lands tour packages
Nauvoo trip tours
Palmyra trip tours


Don't misunderstand me. These are wonderful activities. What I'm condemning is how they are used by people. Religiosity cannot be gaged on how many of these activities you complete.


You are not going to be spiritually deprived if you never get to do any item on this list. It is possible to build your spiritual knowledge and behavior without ever attending an Especially for Youth program for example.


Some people catering to these events and proclivities of Mormons may indeed be intently marketing spirituality. What you make of these activities is based on your own intent. For some it can be an intensely spiritual experience. For others, it could simply be a thinly disguised recreational excursion. For yet others it is simply a vehicle on which to induce jealousy.


We should never use these activities to openly or discreetly brag about ourselves -- and that goes for fast and testimony meeting. Any effort to place yourselves above others because you have experienced these activities is wrong. It is prideful. It should have no place in Mormondom.


It is materialism because the emphasis is on physical experiences and things.


The poor cannot keep up with all this. They should not feel spiritually inadequate or made to feel spiritually inadequate because others have experienced them and they haven't.


So, if you engage in these activities, do it for the right reasons. And, make sure you avoid the pride traps they can result in.


Series: Mormons & Materialism Series
Part 1 We Can't Take it With Us or Even Use it Here
Part 2 Stuff & Nonsense
Part 3 Out of Purgatory or Into Heaven
Part 4 What We Consume Ends Up Consuming Us
Part 5 Affluence or the Appearance of It
Part 6 Titles, Labels and Lemon Juice
Part 7 Power and Other Addictions
Part 8 Summer Cottages in Babylon
Part 9 Valuing Based on Utility
Part 10 Get Rid of It!
Part 11: Consecration & Conclusion

1 comment:

  1. I have not personally been on a church guided tour, However I have heard the testimonies some of the young men and young women in our stake who have attended church guided tours, and have only experienced good spiritual uplifting testimony. I'm grateful that my experience has only been a positive one.

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