Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Mr. Bishop responded.

He requested that I not publish his response to my apology, and I will honor that request. I'm not going to bother to reply, because I have homework and two kids, and it was all the same excuses that I've heard before: rationalizations, defensiveness, and an insistence that deep down, I must really still believe it. (No, I promise, I really don't.) Now that I know that you're reading, Mr. Bishop, I just have one thing to say: "Oh, sky cake. Why are you so delicious?!"


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  1. I have found the entire "Mr. Bishop Incident" rather interesting. I'm disappointed that he didn't grant you permission to post his reply. You have shown strength of character and a willingness to dialogue. If I were Mr. Bishop, I'd want the world to read it, but I'm not him and he must have his own reasons.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing.

  2. Ah, yes, the 'ol sky-cake dodge.

    And of course he's convinced himself that deep, deep down everyone believes in the "Mormon" God. If he hadn't, consider how his conscious would suffer knowing that he was dedicating his life to the peddling of this bunk.

  3. But twenty times I rather would be. An atheist clean,. Than under gospel colours hid be. Just for a screen. (Epistle to the Rev. John M'math, 1785)

    Mr. Bishop should stop hiding behind his screen and enter the arena. Maybe stretch his mind a little, open himself to cultured ways of thinking. Or he can board up the windows and remain in blinkered-ville, where everyone is in denial.

    Peace out!

  4. What would we do without the religious to make fun of?

  5. This is a note from someone who attended Leah's presentation. To preface this, I am an agnostic (by default, since epistemically atheism is not a very realistic attitude because of a lack of evdence either way. I certainly am not a "Christian."). I study religion and philosophy at NDSU, and weekly witness these sorts of debates at the SRLS meetings. But this one was a little different

    I did see Mr. Bishop, and his attitude was less than kind towards Leah. But the two of them did have differing views toward the LDS church. Leah, although this is the first and only time I've met her, seems lke her upbringing in the church was very literal. That's a king of sick religion.

    In defense of Mr. Bishop, his understanding wasn't strictly literal; he also had a symbolic understanding of some of the LDS teachings. (I'll argue symbolism is the only way to truly understand religion, rather than repeating doctrines and the like) This, however, did not promote a loving attitude (which was Jesus' approach to religion), from what I saw. My understanding of the LDS church is that those who reject Mormon teaching are outcasted, and Leah's testimony certainly confirmed this. The behavior I saw from Mr. Bishop, although in a calm tone, was unloving and certainly not welcoming. But an important thing to remember is that Leah and Mr. Bishop have had different experiences with the church. I don't know Mr. B's experience, but since he is a bishop, I imagine he's heard many different perspectives on some of the Mormon teachings. (I just imagine this; I don't know for sure.) And Leah, as a member, is restricted to the perspective of her immediate community, at least until she reached adulthood.

    I do not defend Mr. B completely, because what I saw was a callous man belittling the claims of a woman who had been very honest and vulnerable to a room of strangers about an incredibly destructive event in her life, and then about the aftermath. It was a bit like a Phoenix, now that I type it.

    But just like the commenters are praising Leah for her spiritual growth, other people grow, too. And they don't need to be belittle for it.

    I'm responding to Xuxana's comment: "What would we do without the religious to make fun of?" (A lot of text to preface a response, huh?)

    Why, if you can see how Leah, when she was religious, was so hurt by the church because of it, would you want to make fun of the religious? Especially if you have the view that the religious are misguided, bad people, then you must admit you believe they are wrong.

    If they are wrong, why is it that they should be made fun of (if you know the type of indoctrination Mormons receive and the threats that exist when they doubt the church), rather than trying to do something that might be helpful? Making fun of religious people either 1) degrades them as a person, and something is wrong with you if you get off on that, or 2) strengthens their religion. And if that strong religious view ultimately turns out to be volatile, the stronger it was the more harm it will do. If you think what happened to Leah in the LDS church was wrong, why on earth would you set up other people for similar experiences? Either they'll experience a dissent from the church, or they wont. If they do, then the experience will be all the more debilitating. If they don't, well, if their identity is only their religion, they have already suffered and been dehumanized. Why make that worse?

    Making fun of a person for being religious only promotes suffering, and why would you want to do that?

  6. Strangers contradicting me about what I do or do not believe is extremely frustrating and happens all too often where I live.

    "There's no way you're an atheist! You're too intelligent for that."

  7. "by default, since epistemically atheism is not a very realistic attitude because of a lack of evdence either way"

    I'm afraid you don't understand what atheism is then.

  8. @ entropywasfun, I very much appreciate your comment. I am of the opinion that a symbolic interpretation is the only way to get anything of value out of religious traditions. From my experience with Mormons (and I've lived in several places and known many Mormons), most of them take most things literally. Even Mr. Bishop in his private response to me indicated a more literal view than he let on to at the SRLS meeting. If the intent of Mormonism is really to take a more nuanced, symbolic approach as he claims it is, then he needs to be writing to Salt Lake and tell the to fix the problem, because my experience with Mormonism is not at all isolated or unique. Though my guess is that in a few more generations, this young religion will mellow out quite a bit on its own. As I said in my letter to him, I recognize Mormonism as a legitimate way to be religious, but not as The One True Church that it claims to be.

    I also agree that making fun of religious people is not helpful, although I can't help but feel frustrated at their seeming inability of some of them to hear opposing viewpoints, or to even consider the possibility that they could be wrong. And that's when I have to just say, "Oh, sky cake." :-)

    @ Craig, I agree that atheism isn't claiming to have conclusive evidence of no god, but I have no problem with people defining themselves with whatever labels they're most comfortable with.


Religion, skepticism, and carving out a spiritual life post-Mormonism