Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Black skin, Mormonism, LDS Missionaries, and The Temple Before 1978

I was reading through the excellent article called Blacks and the Priesthood (at http://www.mormonthink.com/blackweb.htm) and I learned something I hadn't heard before. At the end of the article it states:

African Americans banned from the temple.

Some members try to explain that the priesthood ban on black men was just something unique to the priesthood. But if that's the case, why were not black women allowed to receive their endowments in the temples until 1978? It's bad enough to exclude black men from holding the priesthood but to deny both black men and black women the sealing ordinances and other ordinances required for exaltation is clearly racist. Why on earth wouldn't black families be allowed to be sealed to each other before 1978? [End Quote].

I already knew that LDS missionaries were trained to avoid proselytizing to blacks before 1978 but banning black women from the temple endowment is especially alarming.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Movies & Documentries I Recommend With Themes Related To Mormonism

• Margin Call (2011): I liked this movie as a former Mormon as it showed how those in power often rationalize what they do. I found that the LDS leaders being oblivious to or insensitive to the harm they cause to former-Mormons similar to the CEOs in the movie. 

• Concussion (2015): This movie is about a scientist who reveals scientific evidence of the dangers of football and how the NFL as a corporation (see the documentary The Corporation below!) dealt with the science the scientist who just wanted the truth to be told. 

• The Insider (1999): from imdb.com: "A research chemist comes under personal and professional attack when he decides to appear in a '60 Minutes' expose on Big Tobacco." Similar to Margin Call and Concussion (above) this movie shows how challenging it is for the truth to get out when a Corporate Empire doesn't want the truth out.

The Hoax: Richard Gere plays a con man who pretends to write the autobiography of Howard Hughes. It reminded me of Joseph Smith pretending to write a history of the American Indians; and when he claimed to write the Book of Abraham based on Egyptian funeral scrolls. Be sure to watch the Bonus Features on the DVD.

• 1984: This movie also reminds me of my experience as a Mormon, especially Thought Crimes, Double Speak, and distorting history.

•  Music Box (1989): spoiler alert. In this movie a woman lawyer defends her father in court against racist war crimes and she wins the case. Only to find out later when new evidence emerges that he was guilty after all. The desire to deny reality and defend what you want to be true is similar to the lives of many former Mormons. The turmoil one goes through when their entire paradigm is turned upside down when they decide to know the truth at all costs is also familiar to former Mormons; and thus the film is cathartic to watch.

The Truman Show: This movie is an excellent drama that reminds me of my experience as a Mormon. The end is great for the the former Mormon dealing with leaving the "Mormon Show."

Pleasantville: This is a must see for all former Mormons. The last scene is great for the former Mormon dealing with leaving Mormonville.

• The Village (2004): I won't say anything about the movie so I don't spoil it.

The Witch (2015): For me this movie was a way to get into the mind of one living in the 1600s when the Devil was really real and witches were real. The movie reminds me of just how delusional such beliefs are and how harmful they can be. Whenever I hear a Mormon speak of the devil and evil spirits I am saddened that they are perpetuating a delusion that we should have overcome by now in the modern age. Yet Mormonism perpetuates the "devil delusion" with gusto. This is one of many reasons I am no longer a Mormon.

Regression (2016): Spoiler Alert: I liked this movie because it showed how the "devil delusion" can affect even a detective. The best line in the movie comes at the end when the detective realizes that true evil is humans spreading a delusion that harms others. 

The Matrix: the theme of awakening to reality is what every former Mormon has to go through.

V for Vendetta: the theme of fear and control versus freedom and love is great for the former Mormon therapeutically.

Chocolat’: the authentic nature of the chocolate loving and humble characters offers a contrast to the uptight self-righteous ones, which every former Mormon can probably relate to.

The Mist: this isn’t your typical scary movie. There is a rich reservoir of philosophical topics in the film; from religious cultism to irrationality in much of human nature. One of the best films I have seen on how irrational beliefs can spiral into chaos and harm.

The Sculls: This is an excellent movie about a secret "in-group." The main character is immediately forced to deal with his non-member friend who has now become part of the "out-group" since he's joined. The movie documents the struggle between the pull of the powerful group and the need for independence and self actualization outside any group.

The Beach: This movie shows the power of group dynamics. When Leonardo DiCaprio’s character finds a hidden beach where a group of people live in secret he thinks he’s found paradise. What he finds is a group of people living as a village community that will stop at nothing to keep the beach's scarce resources to themselves. When one of the group members gets bitten by a shark, instead of listening to him scream in pain they remove him to an isolated spot to recover or die in a tent. “Out of sight out of mine” says Dicaprio. This reminded of Mormon society that ostracizes doubts, questions, and dissidents (Mormons who doubt) from the paradise of Mormonville. The man in the movie (in the tent) that suffers is a good analogy for all the former Mormons who suffer; while the LDS leaders essentially ignore their suffering and continue to produce false information in LDS literature. The leader of the group, Sal, even chooses to try and kill another member of the group in order to stay at the secret beach. Sal says to DiCaprio’s character at the end of the film that she would never leave the beach because “she believed in it too much.” This fanatical True Believer mentality and territorial aspect of human nature that clings to ideologies explains a lot of Mormonism today.

In the Line of Duty: Ambush in Waco: this movie tells the story of David Koresh and many former LDS members will see parallels to early Mormonism and Joseph Smith.

Guyana Tragedy: the story of Jim Jones will remind former Mormons (who know their history) about early Mormonism.

The Outsider: a movie about the result of Us vs. Them thinking.

A Stranger Among Us: another movie about the result of Us vs. Them thinking.

The Crucible: a movie that shows what can happen when science and critical thinking is abandoned and replaced with hearsay and superstition.

Scarlet Letter: this movie about shaming will remind many former Mormons of life in Mormonism.


• The Corporation (2003): This is a must see for understanding what the Mormon Church has become today, in that it is a corporation.

The Fairy Faith: This fascinating documentary on some real people’s actual belief in fairies includes testimonies from true believers in Ireland and Canada. This is an excellent human study on the psychology of belief. The movie showcases the problem with beliefs that are non-falsifiable. We also see how even the belief in leprechauns as a type of fairy is believed in literally by a grown man. This movie will help one understand how Mormons can believe in an invisible people in the Book of Mormon. For more information on the movie see amazon.com or try www.winstarvideo.com/dvdform.asp

Devil's Playground: This is an excellent documentary on the Amish. The movie follows the life of three Amish teens, who from the ages of 16 to 21 are let loose into the world to decide if they want to get baptized and join the Amish Church. It reminded me of young Mormon teens being pressured to go on missions. I learned a great deal about the Amish including how the Amish began as a sect that did not believe in infant baptism. I found a lot of similarities between the Amish and Mormons:

1. Polarized Thinking: Amish vs. the World.
2. The man is above the woman.
3. You must dress plain.
4. When you marry you grow a beard similar to Mormons wearing special underwear.
5. Having large families is encouraged.
6. Amish members are coerced to be obedient to the church through fear of excommunication and shunning: where you are placed in the "bann" and friends and family are not to speak to you. Mormons have no official "bann" but skeptics and dissidents are ostracized socially.

Major Difference:
1. Amish are anti-materialism and Mormons are pro-wealth.

Strong City: The End of the World Cult: This documentary is available on the web as I write this. The movie reminds me of Joseph Smith, see my blog post here: http://postmormon.blogspot.com/2010/03/wayne-bent-and-joseph-smith.html

A Current Change of Heart and Mind about Mormonism

I am writing to let my readers know that I will most likely, very soon, be dismantling this blog and taking it offline. So I felt like infor...