Awarded to children when
baptized in the Mormon cult
A “Choice” People
Mark D Larsen
April 12, 2013
A fellow atheist from England whom I follow on Twitter, Lucy Wainwright, recently posted a poignant and pointed essay: “The dangers of unnecessary defence.” In essence, she asserts that, when homophobes claim sexual orientation is a “choice," and skeptics inevitably counter that it is a genetic proclivity, the debate unnecessarily deviates from what should be the central point. For argument’s sake, let’s just pretend that homosexuality really is a “choice”: how would that make it anybody else’s business anyway?
This matter of our “choices” in life is one of my prime pet peeves, precisely because it permeates practically every aspect of the Mormonism that I escaped, and thus Lucy’s essay got my pedantic juices flowing. I consequently posted the admittedly long-winded comment reproduced below.
Excellent points, Lucy. And I wholeheartedly agree. It's nobody else’s business.
I can provide a bit of insight into why the “choice” question rears its ugly head so often in my surroundings. In my ex-cult of Mormonism, one of the prime dogmas used to control believers is that everything in this world depends upon “free agency.” You will constantly hear parents say things like:“I am so grateful that Susie has chosen to be baptized.” (As if an 8-year old indoctrinated in the cult could choose otherwise!)
“Mikey has chosen to go on a mission.” (In reality, to opt to not serve a mission after high school would be a shameful scandal for all their Mormon family, friends, neighbors.)
In fact, Mormons will use this “choice” doctrine to justify practically anything, as sadly exemplified by the Mormon father in the horrific Sandy Hook massacre. He told the news media that god values free agency so much that he would not intervene when the gunman chose to murder his daughter. Wowza! Isn’t it odd that god would send an angel to save Nephi from his murderous brothers in the Book of Mormon, yet turn a blind eye when it came to those innocent children...? Does this mean that god also refuses to intervene because tsunamis and earthquakes also have a “choice”? Doh-oh!
I have long felt that the ultimate purpose of preaching “choice” for anything and everything in the Mormon cult is that then they can always blame you if you can't see the Emperor’s new clothes.What? You doubt that Native Americans are Jews? You are choosing to listen to scientists rather than the prophets.
You don't believe god works through a seer stone in a hat? You have chosen to question Joseph Smith's claims.
You don't see how you can afford to pay 10% of your income to the church? You choose to distrust god’s promise to bless you for obedience.
You feel attracted to your own sex rather than the opposite sex? You are choosing to rebel against god’s plan for you to multiply and replenish the earth.
And with all the above pressures to just “choose” you now feel depressed? Well... you simply need to choose to be happy and fulfilled.
In short, Mormonism purports that “choice” trumps all. As far as they’re concerned, sexual orientation is no different than choosing whether or not to drink —gasp! horror! sin!— a cup of tea. And they thus deem it their business because it is god’s business: they are the valiant, “noble and great’ spirits from the pre-mortal existence whom he chose to carry out his business in the latter-days. WTF?