August 8, 2010

The Blame Game

I am constantly amazed at members' reactions to my concerns. More often than not, I am met with accusations of varying degrees. For example,
  • When I first presented the outline of my concerns (the largest of which is Joseph Smith's sexual infidelity) to a bishop, he asked me if I was having an affair.
  • When I spoke with the Stake President about the same things, expressing my concern that Joseph Smith's actions appear to be motivated by sex more than spirituality, he wondered aloud if I had a pornography addiction.
  • When I expressed my feeling that the Church has treated minority groups more like intolerant elitists would than like a people led by God Himself, an anonymous commenter openly suggested I am a closet homosexual.
  • In almost every case where I express my suspicion that the Church is led by men, not Christ, I am accused of lacking spirituality.
In brief, whenever I suggest there is something out of place within the Church, I am accused of having the same thing out of place in my own life.

What amazes me is the inconsistency of the blame; I present evidence that Joseph Smith, Jr. was unfaithful to his wife, lied to her and the entire Church about it, that he threatened teenagers with familial damnation if they did not marry him, that he took women from their living husbands, and that he did all of this without reason. Church members quickly disregard my concerns, or forgive Smith for his flaws. If I dare to suggest he be held accountable for his dishonesty, lust, deception, and worldliness, I am very quickly accused of being dishonest, lustful, deceptive, and worldly!

In other words, many members assume - without cause - that I am guilty of doing exactly what Joseph Smith did! They disregard Smith's documented infidelity and suspect without reason that I am guilty of far lesser crimes. It's as if I report to the fire department that I just saw a man set a building on fire, and that there may be people trapped inside, but the fireman on the other end says, "Even if that is true, we'll sort it out in good time. But the real issue here is that I'm concerned you may play with matches."

When guilty men are praised as heroes and innocent men are distrusted and accused, it is a very disturbing and troubled world in which we live. It is unfortunate that it appears truth and accountability have no place in such a world.

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