The Mutt’s Nuts

Where religion is about as attractive as a two week holiday in Afghanistan

Posts Tagged ‘culture

Resisting the Mormon melting pot

with 5 comments

cookie-cutter.jpgWhereas IslaSkye had spent much of her church life thoughtlessly acquiescing to the opinions of religious leaders who she believed knew better than her by virtue of their position within the Mormon church, I struggled a lot with the process of “melting” into Latter-day Saint society.

I’ve always been stubbornly independent, so I found the very concept of becoming one with the Saints utterly oppressive. Nevertheless, occasionally, I would make a concerted effort to homogenise into Mormon culture, believing that it was for the greater good – towards building a Zion society – but as soon as I felt my individuality slipping and literally being lost in religion, I would retreat and resist the attraction that the idea of utopia held. It was truly a battle.

I completely believed the claim that the LDS Church was the only church on the face of the earth with which the Lord was “well pleased”, so you’d think that that would be enough of a reason to relinquish the mental hold that I had on myself and fully give in to the truths of Mormonism, sacrificing all and anything that held me back, but no. I truly didn’t want to become another cookie-cutter Mormon, as I thought that I would be, individually, much the poorer for it, notwithstanding that I felt that I was going against an important tenet of the Church – becoming one with the Saints. Often I would tell myself that I could get by with a semblance of balance with other members of the Church, but I couldn’t. Without the real thing I would forever be conflicted within and faced with choices that I didn’t want to make. When I think back on my church life, it’s easy for me to see that it consisted of much going backwards and forwards between blind faith and reason.

It was never easy for me to submit to the so-called “inspiration” received by church leaders because my mind would automatically act as a sort of filter by weighing it up to determine the usefulness or importance of said communication from on high. I’ve never been comfortable with just plunging blindly into somebody else’s conceptualisation of how an individual should regulate his life and thereby gain an unimaginable reward in heaven, and it makes not an iota of difference whether the person claims to be God’s mouthpiece on earth or not, so it was actually a foregone conclusion that my becoming one with the Saints would never materialise – something that I wish I realised at the time, as I wouldn’t have suffered so much heartache when I lost my faith.

Nevertheless, against my better judgement, I did my damnedest to conform to religious instruction as much as possible, mainly because I thought that that would one day constitute my ticket into the highest echelon of Mormon heaven in the hereafter. Obedience to leaders is a big deal in the Church, so much so that you’re reminded of it over and over again from the pulpit – think Chinese water torture and you can well imagine the amount of stimulation such indoctrination held where I was concerned. A church member’s exaltation hangs on how well they’ve heeded the words of their prophets, or holy geriatrics in suits who live in Salt Lake City.

Anyway, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t put behind me the stumbling block that required me to become indistinguishable from the crowd. And as I thought more about the doctrine of having all things in common with the Saints, the more acute my feelings of opposition became.

Eventually, I caught onto the thought that the very thing that I had grown to hate would be fully realised in heaven and so I became unhappy with the idea of heaven – where everybody would be a perfect clone of everybody else. Perfection in heaven seemed to me to be nothing more than the discontinuation of challenges, learning, individuality, progress, fun, wonder and amazement, discovery, excitement, among many, many other things. Or, in short, being perfect would bring to an end everything that makes me feel truly alive. It’s ironic, really, that heaven itself appears to be a kind of permanent death.

Curmudgeonly Yours

Advertisements

Written by Curmudgeonly

October 29, 2007 at 7:12 pm

Sainsbury’s Muslim staff can refuse to handle alcohol

with 8 comments

So Sainsbury’s, one of Britains biggest supermarkets, is allowing its Muslim checkout staff to opt-out of picking up and scanning bottles and cans of alcohol because it offends their religious beliefs. This despite the fact that nowhere in the Koran does it say that touching alcohol is banned, although the consumption of alcohol is prohibited.

Sainsbury’s have explained that Muslim staff who object to handling alcohol when it appears at their checkout, are able to raise their hand and have another colleague come and scan the offending objects for them. Having experienced how busy the supermarket gets at peak shopping times, such as Friday evenings and weekends, I can’t help thinking that calling over another member of staff to scan a person’s alcoholic purchases might take more than a little time. Surely keeping people waiting even longer than necessary in an already lengthy queue can’t be considered good customer care? Exactly who are Sainsbury’s making their priority here?

To be fair, some prominent British Muslims have spoken out against this bizarre policy. Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, leader of the Muslim Parliament, said: “This is some kind of overenthusiasm. One expects professional behaviour from people working in a professional capacity and this shows a lack of maturity.”

To me, Sainsbury’s is setting a very foolish precedent. By seeking to accommodate the prejudices of one religious community, they are opening the door to requests from every other group of people with strongly-held beliefs. Before long they will be asked to exempt Jewish staff from touching pork chops and sausages, Hindus from selling beef, Buddhists from serving any food that has been killed and Catholics from handling condoms. Vegetarians could weigh in with a refusal to deal with meat products, vegans will stop serving dairy foods and animal rights activists will have nothing to do with the stock or sale of battery chickens and eggs. Where will it all end?

I think that this story is symptomatic of the constant pandering to minority religious groups in this country that is building up a lot of resentment among native Brits. Although the government appears to be back-peddling rather quickly on their determination to impose multi-culturalism at all costs and are now starting to make integration their big “cause”, it has come too late, in my opinion. By encouraging minority religious groups to insist on having their cultural differences not only respected but promoted, often at the expense of the prevailing national culture, the government and others have laid the foundation of more and more demands for special treatment on the one hand and a growing feeling of justifiable grievance on the other.

IslaSkye

Written by islaskye

October 7, 2007 at 9:04 am