First, let me just apologize for getting this post out a day late. After spending five hours yesterday morning for my VA appointment, I had little energy. After a nap, I then got to work on my NaNoWriMo project, running word sprints until I hit the 50,000 word mark last night. So on to the topic at hand…
A couple months ago, a friend of mine, Ris, encountered a group at her university that was protesting on the campus. They were the Westboro-style of protesters, with their leader shaming the students walking past who were just trying to get to their classes, and he was upsetting some of them quite a lot.
That’s when Ris stepped in. As someone who is older than most of the other students due to returning to school after a few years out, she knew that she could take the preacher’s barbs more than the students that were fresh from their parents’ houses.
One thing this preacher was doing was “judging” people on a scale of 1 to 10 on how much of a sinner they were. “Do you drink alcohol? Oh you’re a drunkard! Did you have sex before marriage? You’re a womanizer!” Etc etc, I’m sure you get the picture of what type of charming man this preacher was. My friend stood toe to toe with him, shooting back answers for everything this hateful man had to say. One thing was of particular amusement to me.
In response to something that Ris said to him, he declared that he no longer sins. That just made me shake my head, as everything he was doing would fall under some form of sin, at least by Mormon standards. You’re supposed to be kind, not make girls cry because you think they shouldn’t be wearing tank tops. You’re supposed to be tolerant and show love to your fellow men, not tell the girl in a hajib that she’s going to hell for worshipping the wrong god.
Now I know that the Mormon church, with their white-shirt-and-tied missionaries are basically telling everyone they meet that they’re doing things wrong because “this is the only way to return to God,” isn’t the picture of tolerance to other religions. And they can lay a guilt trip about showing an inch of shoulder. But one thing they don’t do is be so arrogant to claim that they never sin.
The concept of sin doesn’t sit well with me anymore. What is it except a form of control to keep the sheep of the congregation in line? (There’s another amusing analogy…the members often call themselves sheep. What better way to admit that you don’t think on your own? The Lord is my shepherd, right?)
In the Mormon church, we’re always sinning. We take the sacrament (similar to the Catholic communion, except we use bread and water because….alcohol is the devil) every week as a symbolic renewal of our baptismal covenants. But even after we’re again “washed clean” by the sacrament, no matter what we do or don’t do, we’re immediately sinners again. What sense does that make?
You’re sitting there, in church, and you’re already sinning again. Somehow, simply by being you’re sinning. You don’t have to be actively sinning by stealing the neighbor kid’s bike or lying to your mom about if you took a cookie when you hadn’t yet finished your homework. It could be simple thought crimes. You weren’t concentrating on Jesus enough while the sacrament was being passed. You were thinking about the cute boy from school. You watched TV on Sunday.
The Mormons love having the little catch-all for when you’re not actively sinning by throwing the “sins of omission” card into play. The entire thing is ridiculous, and that’s no way to live. It’s sad that there are people so full of hate that they proclaim themselves above sin but then want to tell everyone else that they’re going to hell for living a full, healthy life. But, in my opinion, as long as there are people like Ris who are willing to take the heat for those who can’t and willing to stand up to the bigots, there’s still hope for humanity.