Monday, January 26, 2009

3 Categories of Sinners

I received this unsolicited categorization of sinners from my TBM brother.
I love and respect you as my brother for all the good memories I’ve had as a result of you, but I’d be willing to almost state that there are other life choices and habits that preceded your choice to actively distanced yourself from activity, service, and affiliation with the Church. Maybe you’re an exception and I’m wrong for being suspicious about your motives, but I’ve known too many people who have dipped deeply into pornography or other forms of addiction and gone through cycles of guilt-shame-repentance-relapse. To me I’ve been able to see people sort themselves into one of three groups.

Group 1: People who have battled patterns of behavior who fight until they conquer it
Group 2: People who go inactively quietly in an attempt to minimize feelings of shame or guilt because they have lost confidence in their ability to change
Group 3: Inactive people who actively seek to cover-up wrongdoings by justifying a choice to become inactive based solely upon scholarly merit.

From this, I gather that he believes or has been told that I'm some kind of an addict. I'll even concede that he may be right. So there you have it. People battling addictions and sins either conquer and remain believing, give up and go inactive, or seek intellectual rationalizations for giving up. I guess that in his world those that are successful never leave.

I'm not sure if it has ever occurred to my brother, but every single apostate is a sinner, so if you want to blame apostasy on sin then you can always do so. Of course, every believer is also a sinner so I could just as rationally blame belief on sin and a need to seek peace and say that the only reason believers don't apostasize is because they need the peace that belief gives them in order to live with their guilt. In fact, I'd never thought to turn it around like that, but I suspect that it explains belief a lot better than apostasy.


GuateMom said...

I hate hypocrites like him. He is so stinkin self righteous. Heaven forbid you point out any of his flaws and he takes it on himself to judge you and try to assume your hidden flaws.

Hope he sends me one of his emails :) I think he knows better.

sideon said...

I didn't see the first real option:

"I left the Church because it was not true and has never been right."

Nice offensive, bashing those who leave, but there's little room for introspection or truly caring for another's perspective.

Of you and your brother, you're the only saint in the equation, Bull.

Andrew S said...

oh sideon, you just can't escape the guilt of not being able to have a proper testimony. The agony and pain of not being able to *desire* to believe (despite the fact that if you use this mere criteria for anything...then you can't really reject anything.)

sideon said...

Andrew - I have a testimony - but it has nothing to do with Mormonism.

My gods are honesty, integrity, erotica, sexuality, and moderation in alcohol, to start.


Hey, Bull - when are you gonna be in the Bay area again?

Simian Scrolls said...

Hey Sideon,

I didn't realize we have a god in common, alcohol! Amen brother.


Family is crazy. What are you gonna do? My extended family and all of my close TBM friends have reacted this same way. You're either hiding your sin, want to sin, are too prideful to repent about past sin.

Pornography is usually always the answer though. TBM guys are so hung up on it that it instantly pops up as the answer to whatever your issue might be.

Having doubts about Mormon History? Pornography is to blame.

Having doubts about Mormon Doctrine? Again, it's pornography.

Trying to make sense of what past church leaders have said when it doesn't mesh with current teaching? Pornography must be it!

Oh well. It's crazy though how blinded they are. The fact that they choose to be blind is the frustrating part.

Bull said...

Sideon, not sure when I'll be back in that neck of the woods. I think I'm going to try to take a vacation out there in July.

Simian, I think that my family is crazier than average. The conditioning is so deep that it never even occurs to them that the problem might be with the church.