This is the first in a new series about the connection of Fundamentalist Christianity and what is going on in our culture today.
There is this mythical creature floating around the internet. This creature has risen to the level of urban legend. There is even a hashtag in its honor. This creature is the regretful Trump voter. In fact, in many conversations people insist they are around, maybe even living next door. They claim to have seen the Tweets of these illusive people. Yet, despite all our best efforts, no one that I talked to has seen the regretful Trump voter. Does he or she exist? Maybe in some remote corner of a University, but I posit that meeting this creature is as rare as a Californian encountering a rhino on I-5.
Today is probably one of the most sad days of my life. All this talk I have done about moral uncovering finally came full circle. Let me explain. As I am sure many of you know and probably deal with yourself, I have family…close family, in fact, my entire family of origin, that voted for Trump. Of course, I wasn’t in the voting booth with them, so I don’t actually know who they voted for but they vocally support Trump. They are also white and Mormon (which doesn’t seem like an important part of the puzzle, but is). 2 out of the 3 do not have a college degree and the third was educated at BYU. They are at minimum, middle income….the typical Trump supporter, you might guess.
So, about four months ago, I was having a conversation with my mother about her vote for the douche. Let’s also contextualize this by saying that my mother lied to me for many, many years about her political leanings. I always thought, and bragged that she was much more liberal than the average LDS woman. I was shocked to find out that no….she is every bit as conservative as my father but decided it was easier to….lie (note this…another important piece to the puzzle). When I caught on with what was happening I was, obviously, totally embarrassed and disturbed that I had believed her lies all this time. So anyway, four months ago she adamantly told me that she didn’t believe that Trump was going to build a wall or that he was going to ban or deport anybody. She said, “we have checks and balances in America.” I was upset and that is why I remember the conversation so well. In fact, I was so upset that while on the phone, in heated argument, I hit my leg on an open cabinet and caused a HUGE bruise that took ages to dissipate.
Fast forward to today. I am thinking if there is anyone who may be upset by this joker, it would be my mother. Of course, stupid Rachael, ever naive and hopeful of human goodness. I believed that this human hurt that will come about if his Executive Orders are followed would be too much for my mother. I believed that the out and out lies about the size of the crowd and voter fraud would have loosened her ties to Trump. I believed that the vocal call by religious leaders everywhere to stop his assault on Muslims and refugees and Mexicans would ring true, especially when they point out, time and time again, that Jesus’ message stands in stark contrast to these orders. I thought I knew exactly where the regretful Trump voter resided. I thought….in my mother. Boy, was I mistaken. I was not prepared for what it boiled down to. We have different facts.
What? Alternative Facts? There are no such thing as alternative facts.
One of us has the facts and the other doesn’t. Which is it? Now I am going to get really mean, so if you are a Mormon or a Mormon sympathizer, I suggest you stop now. Turn around. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. The reason why my family can get behind “alternative facts” is easy. The Pearl of Great Price. It is the linchpin of why I cannot be Mormon. Whenever I get sucked in by the smiles and kindness to your face, I always have the Pearl of Great Price to remind me that it is all smoke and mirrors.
So what is so big about the Pearl of Great Price, you ask? Go find yourself some Mormon scriptures. You will find, it is one of the 4 scriptures used by the LDS church. It debunks the entirety of Joseph Smith being a prophet, seer, and revelator. This is the story. Joseph and his growing group bought themselves a mummy. That used to be a big thing in early America. People would go around touring mummies they pilfered from Egypt. Well, Joseph bought one. What he found with the mummy was papyrus. He took rubbings of the papyrus and included it in the scripture. Then, he translated the Egyptian hieroglyphics into what you have in the Pearl of Great Price. Problem was, at the time the mummy was purchased, the Rosetta Stone had just been decoded. (ok..I didn’t go and reread church history, quibble about small details…this is the basic idea)
Joseph Smith said that the papyri were the words of Abraham…yes that Abraham, of the Bible, not Hicks. Well…we now can translate the hieroglyphics and we have some problems.
- The papyri do not say anything that is in the Pearl of Great Price. It is a funerary guide…pretty standard stuff.
- They date 2000 years later than they should have if they were from the time of Abraham.
All of this wasn’t to rip them apart…but to show how a person can hold two totally contradictory beliefs at once and how that leads to the debacle I got into this morning. My mother knows that Egyptian hieroglyphics have been translated. She may have even heard the true fact that the Pearl of Great Price facsimiles and even the entire Egyptian hieroglyphic manual Joseph Smith wrote bear no resemblance to what they really say in Egyptian. Those are “alternative facts.” Her true facts are that Abraham actually wrote those words. The words are filled with “deep doctrine” like the name of planet where God lives, Kolob.
On a side note, the same is true with Evangelical Christians who believe in a literal translation of the Bible. The big bang theory, evolution, science are all “alternative facts.” The real facts are found in the Bible.
Today, when she told my daughter that our argument stemmed around the notion that she believes “other facts,” it was like a bolt of lightning. Of course you do. It is willful stupidity. It is a well-worn path in your brain. Why should I expect her to be rational? She can’t be. It would destroy her world order. She must maintain this super highway in her head, else her life would crumble. She drives down it every day of her life. Does she know she is lying? I don’t know her level of conscious awareness. I think for this tactic to work, it must operate at a level just below conscious awareness. These folks really must believe their alternative facts so much that it keeps a certain part of their brain silent.
What is this silent part of their brain? It is the observer. It is the larger perspective. It is God’s (Goddess/Godhead) perspective. The super highway of “alternative facts” is such a well-worn rut that they cannot escape it without a conscious decision. They cannot escape these lies without considering their sources of information. The scriptures…The Bible….These are their authoritative sources. Therein lies the problem and the solution. The problem, the Bible is contextually not readily applicable. The Bible gives a lot of what and not a lot of explanation or direction. If someone strikes you on the cheek, what are you to do? Turn the other, right? How easy is this in real life? No way…what if someone strikes my friend? What if someone is striking my enemy? How do I resist striking back if I am hurt? See? However, Christs words give us something real to hang onto. What we need is a re contextualization of what he says for our circumstances. What we need is what Jesus gave to the Pharisees and Sadducees. He took the writings of the old testament and said…wait a second, you are looking at these laws all wrong. You are really harsh about your application and you are missing the deep meaning of what is supposed to be going on.
The next blog(s) in this series will explore just this idea and the possibility that the fundamentalist Christians….Mormons, Evangelical Christians, and really any Christianity that demands you drive the suspension of disbelief superhighway, have become exactly the antagonists they consciously know are opponents of Christ. If I believe in the mythical “regretful Trump voter” without actual evidence, I am walking down that highway. In fact, what I see is exactly the reason why they are not regretful.