I'm reading about Watson Lafferty and the following things struck me because of the parallels with my own father and some other Mormons I've known.
He was extremely conservative and was impressed with the ideas of Ezra Taft Benson including the John Birch Society and the pervasive infiltration of communists.
He was very pious, individualistic, and strict. He beat his wife and children and once beat the family dog to death with a baseball bat while the children watched.
He was very distrustful of conventional medicine. He was a chiropractor and once tried to treat a daughter's appendicitis at home with prayers and homeopathy and refused to take her to the hospital until her appendix burst and she was on the verge of death.
Despite the periodic violence his son remember him as a loving father and great role model who raised a very special and happy family.
In comparison my father belongs to the Birchers and subscribes to their beliefs in worldwide communist conspiracies. Those that disagree are pinko commies or fools that are under their sway. He's a birther who thinks Obama is an illegitimate president because he isn't a natural born citizen.
He was very strict and didn't have qualms about using the belt and was known to enforce his will with violence.
He is also very distrustful of mainstream medicine. He believes that laetrile is the cure for cancer but that the establishment has refused to research it because it is free and so they can't make money off of it. He regularly ignores medical advice and is prone to trying crackpot cures.
I wonder if these types of rigidly unconventional individuals are at the core of most religions. I know not all or even most religious people are this way. But I'm thinking of those that are the core; those that are most active, most pious, and who inevitably rise to positions of leadership.
-- Sent from my Palm Pre