Thursday, August 31, 2006

Mormon Milestones

I was talking to my sister the other night and she brought up a topic that can cause ex-Mormons grief. She is in the process of adopting a child and my parents have provided some assistance in the process. My father is already enquiring about when the child will be blessed in the Mormon church. Mormons have rituals or ordinances that start shortly after childbirth and continue throughout life. The first is the blessing of the child. Normally, I would think that this is a beautiful thing and wouldn't have any problem with it. The problem is that as soon as you bless a child in the Mormon church, that child becomes a "Member of Record." That means that TSCC creates a membership record for the child and that child will forever be in the church's membership database, even if they never set foot in a church again or if they later resign from the church to stop unwanted contact and harassment. Note that even after you resign, you are still in the church database, just as a former member. I guess that this is so they can detect former members who later repent and want to be re-baptized (I wonder how often that happens?) or so they can reject your application to a church school like BYU.

I'll have a similar situation in about a year when my daughter turns eight and is ready for Mormon baptism. I suspect that since she has been endoctrinated and her mother still supports the church that she will want to be baptized. One problem is that I don't think I'll be able to do the baptism since I haven't attended church for several years. The other problem is that I don't think that 8-year-old children has sufficient knowledge and experience to choose a church. My biggest problem is that I think that the church is a mind-controlling cult and I don't want my children joining. This is one that I'll have to discuss with my wife. If it happens I'll attend and celebrate it as a milestone that my child has chosen to be a Christian and to live a Christ-like life. That IS a good thing and praiseworthy as long as it isn't coerced into cult-like worship of TSCC.

Anyway, milestones like this force apostates like me into the open. Even before I was willing to really accept the truth about TSCC I stopped attending the temple. This became apparent to my family when I didn't go through the temple with my little brother before his mission. At that point I simply didn't believe in the divinity of the temple ordinance or its necessity. I also didn't go to his temple wedding. So, while these ordinances strengthen the bonds of the cult, they also serve to drive a wedge of separation between church members and non-members and cultivates an us vs. them mentality.

So, what would I do if it were my sister? I suggested that she tell my dad that the child can be blessed in the church as soon as the church allows the parent (my sister) to do the blessing. After all, she was blessed as a priestess in the temple, so why shouldn't she be allowed to act as such?

Barring that, I think that it would be beautiful to bless the child at home as long as it was clear that it wasn't a Mormon blessing and that no record of it should ever be made in TSCC. After all, I don't think that God would object to a blessing given by a loving mother just because she isn't male.

1 comment:

Sister Mary Lisa said...

This is a tough one. It's similar to the feeling I've always had being married to a non-member, and how my difference from the mainstream LDS culture was glaringly obvious each time an ordinance came up. Blessings, baptisms, priesthood for my son, temple attendance. Everything. I feel for your sis.

What a cute baby! I saw pics on her blog.