Back when I first started reading more about religion and atheism, approximately 4 years ago when I was a junior in college, I happened upon a blog called Letters From A Broad, tag lined: “The Adventures of a Friendly American ExMormon Atheist Mom Living in Switzerland!!!” (except she lived in France back then). It’s a great blog about Mormonism, atheism, and what it’s like to live abroad.
Ever since then, I’ve been fascinated by Mormonism. It’s not so much an I-might-convert fascination as it is a look-how-kooky-and-interesting-they-are type of fascination. Really, what more could you hope for than a religion that believes a lost tribe of Israel sailed to America, the Garden of Eden was in Missouri, you have the potential to become a god when you die, and that wearing special undergarments can protect you from poison? Minus the fact that I dislike proselytizing in general, I think it’s awesome that they send their young adults on missions. I wish someone had packed me up and shipped me off to see the world when I was 19. Of course… as a female, I probably wouldn’t have gone on a mission, since my place would be in the home. The Mormon church was also a huge backer of the anti-gay-marriage Prop 8 in California, so they definitely aren’t just a harmless kooky religion, but you can’t deny that they’re interesting.
They have 4 important books in their religion: the Bible, the Book of Mormon (BoM), Doctrines and Covenants (D&C), and The Pearl of Great Price (PoGP). I got a copy of the Book of Mormon about 6 months ago and attempted to read it, but just couldn’t make it very far. The language is very New King James Bible-esque, and while I have 25 years of experience with the bible and can generally follow what a NKJV bible is saying, trying to read the BoM while having no familiar background with the stories is tough. While at my local used book store this weekend, I found a nice leather bound copy of the BoM, D&C, and PoGP all in one book, and had to have it. I’ve been wanting to try and read the other 2 books for a while now, but they aren’t as easy to procure as the BoM. Since then I’ve been skimming over the Doctrines and Covenants, and it’s pretty interesting.
I got excited last night when I read D&C 74. It basically says that the tradition of circumcision should be done away with. Wow, how cool, I didn’t know Mormon’s don’t circumcise their sons! Then this morning I was thinking about it some more and realized that would be like reading Leviticus 19 in the bible and assuming that no Christians or Jews ever get tattoos. It really isn’t safe to read a scripture then assume that’s what the believers actually practice.
So I Googled it. Turns out there is another Mormon verse that is anti-circumcision, Moroni 8:8
Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them; and the law of circumcision is done away in me.
But, it seems that many Mormons are unawares that those verses even exist in their scripture, and those who are aware can’t agree if it means circumcision is not allowed, or if it just means it’s now optional- a personal decision of the parents, not a religious decision. If you get bored sometime, google “Mormon circumcision” and read some of the conflicting results; it’s pretty humorous.
So I’ve decided that I need a Mormon. Preferably not one that’s intent on converting me, just one who would be willing to discuss with me what Mormons really believe so I can compare what the scriptures say versus what real Mormons actually practice. Any takers? I promise to be civil, but be prepared for a lot of questions about Kolob, temple rituals, polygamy, etc.