Apparently inspired by my inspired defense of online anonymity, I received a rambling piece of anonymous hate mail yesterday, that amongst other things accused me of cowardice for failing to attack the Mormon religion.
This has been a relatively common theme in comment threads and emails since 710-KIRO was acquired by Bonneville International — a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Church of Latter Day Saints. In the same way that my righty critics smirked that I wouldn’t last ten minutes on the air without blurting out the word “fuck” or some other FCC-banned profanity, there also seems to be this expectation (hope?) that I simply will not be able to restrain myself from using the airwaves to attack the religion of those who sign my paycheck.
So I thought it time to finally address this thorny theological issue.
As a non-Christian — a self-described Jewish Atheist — I do not find the Mormon religion to be any more ridiculous than “mainstream” Christian denominations. So Mormons believe that Joseph Smith found some golden plates and translated them by looking at a seer stone through a hat. So what? Catholics believe that the bread and wine of the Eucharist is the actual body and blood of Christ. Yuck. You tell me, objectively, that one is weirder or more or less likely than the other.
And yeah, Smith preached plural marriage (though the church later rejected it.) But the Vatican mandates clerical celibacy. I didn’t do so well with one wife, but given the choice, I’m going with Smith on this one.
My point is, to nonbelievers, the specifics of all religions come across as unbelievably fantastical, even Judaism — though the reformed rabbi at the synagogue in which I was educated and bar mitzvahed taught the Torah as allegory rather than literal truth. What is important are the ethical and moral lessons these stories teach you, not whether or not Adam and Eve really were the progenitors of all humanity. (And the icky incest issues a literal reading of Genesis inevitably raises.)
Me make fun of Mormons? Why? To me they’re just another Christian sect. Indeed, in some ways, Mormons have more in common with us Jews than they do with their fellow Christians, in that historically, we’ve both been persecuted, feared, ridiculed and despised by many in “mainstream” Christianity.
So enough with this goading me on to go after the Mormons. To be honest, all you Christians just kinda look alike to me.