Posts Tagged ‘Mormonism’

2016 was a good year for us  (if not for U.S. democracy, the rest of the world, and the environment).

In our first half-year, in 2013, this blog received 2,500 hits; in our first full year, 2014, it received 8,000; in 2015, 9,800; and in 2016 the number jumped to 14,900.

We also hit 400 subscribers in December; had our best month ever in that same month, with over 2,100 hits; and had our best week ever, last week, with just under 1,000 hits.

Our 10 most popular posts in 2016 were:

  1. Anarchist Science Fiction: Essential Novels
  2. Alcoholics Anonymous Does More Harm than Good
  3. A very brief History of Calypso and Soca Music
  4. Back to the Terrifying Future: Sci-Fi E-book Giveaway
  5. A very brief History of Country Music
  6. God’s Thug: Brigham Young
  7. A very brief History of Funk Music
  8. Alt-Country Player Al Perry
  9. Review: The Martian, by Andy Weir
  10. Homecoming for Mormon Missionaries

During the coming year we’ll continue to post daily (well, we’ll try) on music, politics, science fiction, religion, atheism, cults, science, skepticism, humor, and anything else we think is interesting and that our readers might enjoy.

Over the coming month, we’ll post an excerpt from our upcoming title, Venezuelan Anarchism: The History of a Movement, by Rodolof Montes de Oca, reviews of two new sci-fi novels, Ken Macleod’s Insurgence and Robert Charles Wilson’s Last Year, more on the “Russian hacking” affair, more interesting and marginally useful Internet crap, and a good old fashioned Religion Roundup.

Be on the lookout for another e-book giveaway sometime reasonably soon.


"The Mormon Cult" front cover(The following is an excerpt from Jack B. Worthy’s The Mormon Cult: A Former Missionary Reveals the Secrets of Mormon Mind Control. Near the end of his mission, former Elder Worthy fell into unworthiness. Here, he describes the Mormon attitude toward sexual “sin.” We’ll run further excerpts from the book over the next few days.)


Better Dead and Clean than Alive and Unclean

It may be hard for nonmembers to comprehend just how serious Mormons consider my sin [sex outside of marriage] to be. Former prophet Spencer W. Kimball said that “[e]ven mortal life itself, when placed upon the balance scales, weighs less than chastity.” In his 1969 book, Miracle of Forgiveness, President Kimball quoted two other Mormon prophets: David O. McKay said, “Your virtue is worth more than your life. Please, young folk, preserve your virtue even if you lose your lives” (not at all a pleasant thing to believe for rape victims who are overpowered but not killed); and Heber J. Grant said, “There is no true Latter-day Saint who would not rather bury a son or a daughter than to have him or her lose his or her chastity” (both quotes on p. 63). Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, in the 1966 version of his classic Mormon Doctrine, put it bluntly: “Better dead clean, than alive unclean. Many is the faithful Latter-day Saint parent who has sent a son or daughter on a mission or otherwise out into the world with the direction, ‘I would rather have you come back home in a pine box with your virtue than return alive without it.’” (p. 124)

Many members take all this very seriously. One example is the story mentioned in this book’s preface about Brother Borden’s reaction to his son Bradley having been stabbed while serving a mission in Russia. Bradley suffered knife wounds to his upper intestines, liver and pancreas. An article in The Arizona Republic (October 19, 1998) reported the incident. It describes the reaction of Bradley’s mother, Myrna Borden, as follows:

[W]hen the 20-year-old recovers from the stabbing, his mother said Sunday, “I know he’ll want to go back to Russia” . . . “Being a missionary is the best thing a young man can do,” Myrna Borden said. “It’s what the prophet of our church has asked our young men to do.

The article said this about Brother Borden’s reaction:

[T]he young man’s father added that there are worse things for a Mormon missionary than wounds or even death.

That must have put a tremendous amount of pressure on Bradley to overcome any fear he may have had of returning to Russia after his recovery. Then the article said this about the family’s reaction:

[Mr. Borden] said that when their church president came to their home Saturday and said, “There has been a problem with Bradley,” the family was “worried that he’d done something unworthy.”

They were apparently relieved to find out that Bradley hadn’t done what I had done, but had instead merely been stabbed by drunken Russians. Quoting from Apostle Bruce R. McConkie’s Mormon Doctrine, Brother Borden explained why they were so glad to hear this:

You see, we’d rather have him come home in a pine box than do something unworthy,” Dale Borden said, battling to hold back tears.

Tears coursed down Borden’s cheeks as he explained the importance of his missionary son “choos[ing] the right, do[ing] what is right, return[ing] with honor.”

[Bradley’s brother] Christopher said he recently had come home from a mission in New Zealand.

[Christopher] related how he and fellow missionaries were told that in ancient Greece, Spartan mothers told their sons to come home carrying their shields or carried on their shields—to have fought well or to have died fighting well.

“We want Bradley to return with his shield, or on it,” Christopher said.

That’s pressure. If Bradley was frightened enough by his experience to not want to continue his missionary work in Russia, his family would probably not have been supportive, especially after having gone public with their views. And if, instead, Bradley had succumbed to the tempting invitation of a pretty Russian girl who fell madly in love with him, and he with her, his family might have actually preferred that he were dead.

Quoting from the article again, we learn:

Bradley Borden was stabbed once in the stomach, and his fellow Mormon missionary, José Manuel Mackintosh of Nevada, was killed.

We are left wondering what the Mackintosh family thought of the Borden family’s preference that Bradley come home in a pine box rather than “do something unworthy.” Perhaps the Mackintoshes would rather have seen their son come home outside of a pine box, even if he had done something so human as to commit a “sin” as defined by the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

My closest friend died nine years ago today. Randy Oliver–a huge (6’4″, 240) Apache bassist I played music with for many years–died of a broken heart. Back when such horrors were still common, he’d been given up at birth and was raised by Catholic parents in Phoenix.

He later converted to Mormonism when he married a Mormon woman.

When I met him, via a drummer we played with for years and years, and who’s still a friend, Randy had just left Mormonism and had become a born-again Christian. Surprisingly, we got along well. According to him, I was a “left-wing wacko,” and he was a “right-wing wacko.” He was so far to the right, and I was so far to the left, that we agreed about politics 90% of the time.

During the entire time I knew him, he was suffering from the shunning entailed in giving up Mormonism; it scarred him for the rest of his life. (His ex is a wonderful woman; almost alone among his kinfolk, I have nothing but good things to say about her–she’s kind. His daughter, as religious fanatics tend to be, was cruel and unforgiving–the loathsome treatment she meted out to Randy contributed to his death.)

Nine years ago, Randy had been staying in a trailer on my property. We’d rehearsed that night with our new band, felt good about how it had sounded, and were ready to go out the next day and start booking gigs. So, we celebrated–stayed up drinking and smoking while listening to blues and country music until maybe 1:00 a.m. Then, after I crashed–he knew I didn’t want that crap on my property–he decided to ride his bike down to South Tucson to score some dope.

I got a hysterical call the next day around noon from Randy’s girlfriend: he was in intensive care. He’d had a heart attack, had plowed into the curb with his head, and was brain dead.

And that was it.

I still miss him.

* * *
Zeke Teflon is the author of Free Radicals: A Novel of Utopia and Dystopia.

Free Radicals front cover