I’ve lost track of how many articles lately, and how very many comments on articles, claim to reveal to the world the secret, sinister beliefs of the LDS Church. Their attempts at scandalous revelations tend to revolve around the same few topics, and they’ve all been squarely addressed (I covered the whole “Mormons want to become gods who rule their own planets” trope last summer), so I don’t want to analyze them one by one here.
What most strikes me about these alleged controversies, though, is how deep into obscure arcana the critics have to dig in order to find objectionable stuff. If the worst dirt you can find on an organization is based on a handful of rumors, gossip, and secondhand quotes from 19th century figures, how bad can the organization really be?
Imagine a make and model of a car that someone wants to take down. So they write some snarky blurbs about it online that show the world the truth: the company logo on the rear end is kind of derivative. And the antenna is a bit hard to unscrew. And don’t even get me started on the horrors of the rubber coating under the front passenger floor mat.
“Trust me,” says our automotive Internet muckraker, “I know all about the dark, seedy underbelly of this scam.”
But, of course, if this vehicle were really that bad, the critics could crow on about its engine, mileage, safety, etc. The fact that they don’t can only mean that those major things aren’t bad at all.
And so it is with those who seek to undermine the LDS Church. The usual roster of supposedly secret abominations are so trivial, so irrelevant, that one must think of them as an implied compliment to the 99% of Mormonism that is far more common.
Here’s a radical concept: what Mormons “really” believe are the things they say they believe, the things they preach to each other in their meetings, the things they teach their children at home, the things printed in all their Sunday School manuals, the things their missionaries share with people.
If you can’t make an argument against Mormon beliefs based on what they actually say they believe, then you can’t make much of an argument at all.