thread: 2006-12-28 : Society and the heart of religion

On 2007-01-03, Dave Younce wrote:

(I think you know that) I'm LDS, same as your father, same as Brand, (I don't think you self-identify as LDS, but maybe I'm wrong). I lived in Utah for about a year - started my college career at BYU and decided it wasn't the place for me. One of the reasons I said to myself was that people were 'too homogenous'.  I think what I probably meant was that (having grown up in a place with relatively few church members) I was used to the fact that my beliefs stood out a little, and I liked that. The problem (or a problem, anyway) with living there was that anybody who was a jerk to you or stole your girlfriend or whatever was probably LDS, too, and so if you wanted to, you could easily find examples of people being hypocritical or not living up to their beliefs.

On the other hand, people as a whole were exceedingly polite, helpful, courteous, and accommodating. At least that was my experience. I guess what I'm getting at is that when you go someplace with the most Mormons, you'll see the best Mormons and the worst ones. You may even see enough of the worst ones to feel like the populace as a whole is corrupt, but I doubt that's really the case. I'm guessing that all your neighbors in Utah are human beings with faults and issues, same as anyone, but that in general they'd be pretty decent neighbors.

That's the general case I'm getting to. That in a concentration of people, any people, if you're looking for hypocrisy, you'll find it. Even in religious communities. Even in religious communities with good ideas (whether or not you believe the LDS church is such a case). That "what happens when society eclipses religion" is that people are people, in or out of religion, and the 'heart of our religion' is full of imperfect people who are no more (and possibly no less) corrupt than any other society.

As for the grand tradition of declaring the church and its populace to be corrupt, I've always just chalked that up to the Jeremiad tradition of preaching. It's a common and popular way to preach, in and out of the LDS church. Deuteronomy 28; Lamentations; Alma 5; Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God; Jesus himself cleansing the temple and preaching against the Pharisees in Matthew 6, and so forth. When you want to inspire a change, its generally pretty common practice to demonstrate that the population you're talking to is in need of change.  Also, I don't see all much of that from the Church or its leaders these days, but maybe that's not a shared perception.

I could go on a whole page or two about what I understood from your story about your what your father said - but that's best for a non-internet discussion. Maybe at Camp Nerdly.


This makes...
short response
optional explanation (be brief!):

if you're human, not a spambot, type "human":