Monday, November 29, 2010

Kirk Bell: An Ex-Mormon Who Is Not An Anti-Mormon Explains His Opinions In The Arbiter Online

Despite the shrieking anti-Mormon hysteria on forums such as Recovery From Mormonism, not all ex-Mormons are anti-Mormons. In Boise State University's Arbiter Online, Kirk Bell describes himself as an ex-Mormon who has no issues against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Bell comes from a split family. While his mother is active LDS, his father is an Evangelical pastor (the two are now divorced). His grandfather was an LDS bishop, and some of his ancestors pulled handcarts across the Great Plains, so he was saturated with religious doctrine and history during his childhood. But it appears that Kirk simply lost interest in the practices and the lifestyle and left the Church. Here's how he describes it, in part:

I’m not your typical ex-Mormon. I don’t hate the religion or preach believers in the LDS faith are being led astray by a false history. I don’t slam the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price or the Doctrine and Covenants. They have built a history around me.

I fell away from the church at about 14 to question where my heart and mind were regarding God. But when you are raised Mormon, your lifestyle doesn’t simply walk away from it as a whole. The principles, such as loving your family above all other earthly possessions and a solidified value system focused on integrity and preparedness, carry with you for a lifetime.

The lessons of thriftiness and hard work have transferred into my adult life. I still love God and have the deepest affection for my family. The more I go forward, the more I choose to live the core principles of the Mormon faith. Good deeds and being neighborly have become actions that are priceless in a world where people are selfish.

I can’t stop cussing. I drink coffee and alcohol and have the occasional cigarette after a cocktail. I only attend church upon the request by my devout LDS mother or my father, who is an evangelical pastor. Needless to say, they are divorced. Religion has little interest in my life today as a result.

Regardless of my resistance to one organized belief system, the LDS values have carried me through countless trials. I often rely on my mother’s faith in the church and transmit it into my own life during trying times.

Geez, the guy actually sounds a lot like me, except I have maintained my formal membership, and I use this blog in part as a missionary tool. It appears Kirk Bell still cherishes Gospel values, even if he decided formal Church membership was too burdensome for him.

This is all we ask of ex-Mormons. If you can't handle it, walk away from it with your head held high and find your own belief system, whatever it might be. Don't waste your time crusading against a Church that will not be taken from the earth ever again. Yes, it might be tough, because some of your Mormon friends might reject you. But you can always find new friends.

One genuine anti-Mormon posted a typical hateful comment to the story:

Duwayne Anderson 2 hours ago
I always find it interesting when someone starts ****oring about how typical ex-Mormons "hate" the church. I've yet to see an ex-Mormon that "hates" Mormonism half as much as your typical Mormon "hates" ex Mormons.

Rather, it seems that the "hate" card is played by Mormons and their apologists as a strawman argument -- a diversion, if you will. In this Mormon universe it becomes an act of "hatred" to disagree with Mormon teachings. Thus, in the LDS universe it’s “hatred” to say that the Book of Mormon is a fraud or that Joseph Smith was an adulterer – thought both are statements of fact.


And if ex-Mormons are accused of “hatred” for disagreeing with LDS “prophets” then certainly those prophets must be filled with “hatred” for denying ex-Mormons the right to attend temple weddings with family members. After all, what could be more “hateful” than a church that strives to break up families simply because they don’t all subscribe to the church’s mythology and superstition?

But Mormons, of course, will argue that those things are sacred teachings of the church and in the ultimate irony Mormons and their defenders end up saying it's "hate" to call hate doctrines hate!

Go figure.

Personally I have my reservations about whether or not the guy that wrote this opinion piece is an “ex-Mormon” at all. He sounds more like a Mormon apologist in hiding, trying to spread your typical Mormon stereotypes about ex-Mormons. I’d call that an act of hate. Now, wouldn’t that be ironic?

Naturally, because Duwayne Anderson cannot understand how anyone can leave the LDS Church without hating the Church, he attempts to minimize and demean Kirk Bell by questioning his bonafides. This is a typical Saul Alinsky tactic -- project your hangups and limitations upon everyone else. It's not hatred merely to question the Book of Mormon, but it's hatred to employ the terminology used by Anderson, and Anderson's motive is clearly not to promote honest dialogue, but to tear down the Church. Like the rest of his ilk, he will not succeed.

It should be noted that Duwayne Anderson is the author of “Farewell to Eden: Coming to terms with Mormonism and science”. He publishes a brief summary of the book HERE, and a pro-LDS review of the book from FARMS is available HERE.

As Latter-day Saints, we must do a better job of discriminating between the Kirk Bells and the Duwayne Andersons. We owe our continued fellowship to Kirk Bell, regardless of whether or not he returns to the LDS Church. The Holy Spirit can still work with him. But to Duwayne Anderson, we owe nothing. The Holy Spirit fled from him long ago, as it cannot abide unclean temples.

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