Monday, January 28, 2013

Walking Through a Mormon Mine Field

Can you imagine the reaction a non-believer might receive were they to tell an ardent believer…”I would hope that by the time your son reaches the age of 12 that you too will be able to sit quietly on the sidelines with me and respectfully maintain your composure as all the other men in the room place their hands on your son’s head and act as if they are really conferring some super human magical power on your son”

Yet something similar to this recently happened to me as my grandson was ordained a deacon in the Mormon Aaronic Priesthood.

Being a non-believer in Utah and trying to navigate an authentic life among zealous adherents of Mormonism has its challenges…one of which is having to perform our high wire act and navigate the mine field that is require if we wish to maintain mutual respect with these Uber- TBM’s.  

Yet it seems that these rules of mutual respect are actually a one way street where  firm believers  feel they can ignore boundaries because they perceive that they have a God given right to disrespect us whenever they get a tingly feeling in their bosom.

Some back ground:  I’ve been out of the church for over 10 years.  After years of hard work my wife and I have reached a place where we mutually respect each other…despite the fact that we fervently disagree with the other’s beliefs.  We’ve agreed to disagree and still love each other for who we are.  We find the good in each other.  And I consider myself fortunate to have found this balance in my marriage.

Despite my personal feeling towards the church…part of being mutually respectful to my family means that I attend church functions of this type in a supportive role despite my personal feeling on the subject.  It’s part of being respectful of their beliefs.

During the ordination I sat with the women as the other men in the room collectively ordained my grandson to the office of a deacon.  As soon as the prayer had concluded…my grandson’s “other grandfather”, a good, well meaning, former Stake President approached me, put his arm around my shoulder and said. “Cr@ig, I would hope that by the time our grandson becomes an Elder in 4 years, I will be able to place my hand on your shoulder in the circle as we both confer upon him the Melchizedek Priesthood”.

As if sitting quietly with the woman as a non-participant while my grandson is sucked further into Mormonism’s lies isn’t enough…now I have to be completely disrespected and bite my tongue to avoid publically embarrassing my wife  as this well-meaning yet delusional man offends me by completely disregarding my non-belief.

I smiled and thanked him for his thoughtfulness…and said “that’s not going to happen” and turned and walked away.

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