Marginalized Mormons in “Extreme Slavery”

slavery

At the age of 63, I have finally selected a path that is built on a rock solid foundation.  I’ve decided to place my faith in Jesus Christ, specifically in His teachings and example.  Furthermore, I have also chosen to follow Christ as a member of the Mormon Church.

The Least

One of His most beautiful instructions is that we are to be vitally concerned with “the least of these.”  The marginalized.  The vulnerable.  The undefended, the unguarded, and the unprotected.  Not just concerned.  Rather, Jesus made it clear that entry into heaven will ONLY be granted to those who actively take care of “the least.”

Frequently, we pass them by.  Often, we don’t even see them. Never-the-less, “the least of these” are all around us in society.  For the purpose of this article, they also surround us in our very own LDS Church.

 Who Are the Marginalized Mormons?

To follow Christ’s mandate, it’s certainly appropriate that we start with our own ‘fellow citizens in the household of God.’  We, as Saints, should minister to marginalized members.  Various categories of ‘the least’ are listed below.  Of course, this is not a comprehensive compilation.  It includes those who many of us are concerned about at present.

  1. Those in Extreme Slavery. Details below.
  1. Our LGBT brothers and sisters.
  1. Children of LGBT married couples.
  1. Families headed by single parents, especially by single mothers.
  1. Members with questions, doubts and transitioned faith.

Are LDS Men Marginalized?

Let me ask 2 questions.

Would you consider those in SLAVERY to be marginalized?

Would you consider those in EXTREME SLAVERY to be marginalized?

Hopefully, most would answer YES to both queries.

SLAVERY?  I don’t know anyone in this condition.  But, I would put them squarely in the category of “the least of these.”

SLAVERY in the EXTREME?  What is that?  Who are they?  It turns out that I know many, many men in this unfortunate state.  Today, I view them as marginalized in the EXTREME.

So, who among us are bound by the fetters of EXTREME SLAVERY?

Consider this citation from an early and official church publication—The Millennial Star.  Many ascribe this quote directly to Joseph Smith.

“We have heard men who hold the priesthood remark that they would do anything they were told to do by those who preside over them — even if they knew it was wrong.  But such obedience as this is worse than folly to us.  It is slavery in the extreme.  The man who would thus willingly degrade himself should not claim a rank among intelligent beings until he turns from his folly.  A man of God would despise this idea.”

Do you know anyone in Extreme Slavery?  Members who would do anything their leaders tell them to do—even if they knew it was wrong?

Early church doctrine designated such obedience as degrading.  IT IS!!!

“A man of God would despise this idea.”  I don’t qualify as a ‘man of God.’  But, I do despise the idea of doing anything I am told, even if it’s wrong.  Thus, I claim my rank among intelligent beings.

Based on this early church definition of “slavery in the extreme” there are myriad members who are marginalized by being in this ‘degraded’ condition.

Good Samaritan

Ministering to the Marginalized

The list of “the least of these” within the church continues to grow.  Many of us have been actively speaking and looking out for those in categories 2-5.  Now, I add category #1—those in EXTREME slavery.  Likely the biggest marginalized group that surrounds us at church.  One more parcel of people to stand up for with our votes of disapproval.

8 thoughts on “Marginalized Mormons in “Extreme Slavery”

  1. Very insightful, Sam! You hit the nail squarely on the head. The Brethren promulgate the mind-control brainwash that it’s a good thing for Mormon men to hold the Priesthood and command their subordinate women to acquiesce to their righteous dominion … which means, of course, to blindly obey the top down commands issued by Church leadership. Men are slaves of The Brethren, as you have pointed out. Women are therefore slaves of slaves. How much lower in the pecking order is even possible? A slave of a slave?

    Sam, I object to your self-description that you are not a Man of God. Lemme speak frankly. The Mormon Church would be immeasurably healthier and Mormons far, far better off if YOU were running the Church. You are doing your level best to not only understand, but to also internalize the core values of Jesus Christ wherein His teachings automatically inform not only your thoughts, but also your heart and your actions.

    None of this is complicated. All The Brethren need to do is treat and respect others as they would appreciate being treated and respected if their roles with the membership were reversed. They individually and collectively simply REFUSE to align their behaviors with the Golden Rule.

    Sam, I see that you have a generous embodiment of natural, intrinsic leadership gifts and talents. Maybe someday you will start your own Church. You are getting closer and closer to eliciting a personal invitation from The Brethren to stop ruffling the feathers of the flock they have worked so hard and so long to lobotomize into pay-pray-obey compliance.

    How do you spell i-r-r-e-c-o-n-c-i-l-a-b-l-e d-i-f-f-e-r-e-n-c-e-s ??

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  2. Hi Gary,

    I love the way YOU write. It took me about 3 hours to compose my piece. And then you respond in about 3 minutes with a long, well thought out, flowing comment. Not to mention your illustrious vocabulary.

    Lobotomize? Until this past couple of years, I didn’t realize that a lobotomy was reversible.

    Thanks for your kind and encouraging words.

    BTW, I’m no longer alone in my quest. There are now 280 members who have openly declared their disapproval.

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  3. Self-imposed slavery of one’s own decision to not think for one’s own self is what you are speaking of and I do not see how a self-inflicted wound compares to the marginalization of LGBT people, and women in general. This “extreme slavery” is a matter of not following one’s intuition. According to Merriam-Webster the meaning of marginalize is ” to put or keep (someone) in a powerless or unimportant position within a society or group”, which this “extreme slavery” condition does not fit into. The entire membership of actively participating members of the church fall into this category of “extreme slavery” if they are not listening to their own inner voice. I agree that it is a situation that needs attention. That is what waking up and becoming conscious is all about. There is actual marginalization going on. Were you feeling left out Sam?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi LD,
      First…thanks for reading my blog!!! And then leaving a GREAT comment.

      I realize that “extreme slavery” is a different type of marginalization. BTW, I didn’t coin this phrase. Joseph Smith did. My point is to bring attention to the church culture of following the prophets even if they are wrong. I love the Webster definition that you quote regarding marginalize, “to put or keep (someone) in a powerless or unimportant position within a society or group.” I think that’s exactly where the membership is today. We have no say, no voice, no power. We have been put here by our tradition and the teachings of those who have power. But, we do have the power to escape this slavery by simply changing our attitude. Although the change is simple, it’s extremely difficult and gut-wrenching. You have to overcome fear, culture, tradition, your own belief and the beliefs of family and friends.

      Fortunately, millions of people have overcome this extreme slavery. The vast majority by leaving the church. There are a few who have emerged from this slavery within the church. That number is growing. In my opinion, it is the only hope for the LDS church to be sustainable.

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  4. Very good article , Sam. I agree with you 100%. The only thing I have a problem with is this new buzz word “marginalized “. The word sounds harsh to me. I guess because we have heard the word so much during the last year used by the politicians. Everyone has something within their being that makes them different from the person next to them. To choose any group of people and call them marginalized is by and of itself, putting them in a classification that is unnecessary. If we are to become more Christlike, we don’t label. We love them all equally. I would like to belong to a congregation where any one can walk through the door and there is no assumption of difference. One where the person feels accepted for who they are as a member of the church first and foremost, and don’t wear whatever differences they might have as a sign around their neck. Your differences are not who you are…who you are is a child of God.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Interesting thoughts, Sam. I’m not sure where I stand on them.

    Well, I do know where I stand on “qualify as a man of God”? I don’t know you very well. I’ve only seen a small part of who you are, and only you know your heart. Furthermore, as an atheist perhaps I’m not qualified to say. But, I do know you have set an example that is inspiring, and for my part I’d certainly count you a “man of God”.

    At first I had a harder time seeing those who turn their decision making over to “the brethren” as marginalized. After all, I thought, they make that choice themselves. They can change any time they want. The other groups you mention don’t have that luxury. How can we even compare those who have control and choose as they do to those who are trapped and have no way to avoid their position?

    But, then, on reflection I wonder, how much choice *do* those who follow blindly really have? If one is taught from early on that obedience is the key to salvation, that God directly talks to leaders, that God knows better and sees further than we do, that God won’t let the leaders lead the church astray, (in other words that the leaders are infallible), that we’re entitled to personal revelation but only insofar as we are absolutely and completely pure (and who among us is perfect) that obedience is more important than our own conscience because leaders are led by inspiration while we are susceptible to the wiles of the devil, that our eternal happiness hangs in the balance based on our fealty to the work as led by the priesthood…. I could go on for hours!

    Heck, it is even hard for a man to pick what color shirt to wear to church without censure that they might have the spirit of contention. They are in danger like a mill stone around their neck for fear such dissention might offend the primary kids! (Maybe it’s changed in the years since I left the church… but I still see an awful lot of white shirts and ties when I attend sac. meeting.)

    They may be there, but I would have a much harder time digging up teachings like the one you quote above than I would teachings to “follow the brethren”. Consequently, I can see how many members of the LDS faith, if they have a testimony that the church is true and holds the keys to their eternal happiness *do* feel they have no choice but blind obedience.

    I also fully agree with your claim that those who feel this way are in spiritual bondage. Bless you for saying so!

    However, I still have a hard time seeing that as marginalized in the same way as LGBT individuals, or the children of gay parents, (or even single mothers). Blinded, cowed, taken advantage of,,,, those are harsh terms, but maybe I could go along with all those descriptions. But somehow I find outright rejection, ostracization, and being denied the opportunity to participate in the saving ordinances of the gospel (if you believe in such) for things beyond you control somehow just feels on a different level to me.

    So, like I said, I’m not sure where I stand. I agree with your sentiments, but I quibble with the comparison.

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  6. I agree completely with Gary. I loved his response. As a woman I am thinking of leaving the church. Actually leaving religion in general! Jesus Christ was the only religious individual to give women any weight and well, it didn’t stick. Religion in general seems oppressive to women.
    I do wish there were more Mormons like you! Maybe I would stay! I think you are a modern day prophet! You are calling the people to repentance in a way and I respect you for that. I have been going through your blog and I love it. You make sense. I’ve wondered about everything and I’m not getting clear answers. Thanks for sharing your voice. I’ll be reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Greetings CJ,

      Welcome to my blog. Thanks for reading and especially for your comments. You mention Gary. I really love his responses, too. Often he really challenges where I’m at. But, he sure get me thinking.

      Your short comment is filled with great content. You ought to start a blog. It takes me a thousand words to address as as many issues as you did in your 2 little paragraphs. That’s a talent, my friend.

      Considering leaving the church, huh. That is one of the main reasons that I started my blog. And, right this minute is the first time I’m putting this in writing. So hopefully it will make sense.

      Two years ago, after studying countless hours, I discovered disturbing history and doctrine. I was angry that it had been hidden from me. In effect, my free agency had been stolen by the very organization which touts the importance of free agency. For another year and a half, I continued to study and ponder. I eventually found a way forward and am staying in the church. I now have many friends who have left the church. They are dear friends. That friendship is not tarnished in the least that I am in and they are out. I cheer for and walk beside them. They cheer for and walk beside me.

      But, here’s the deal. I feel like many left the church without a full set of options before them. Many, like me, spent long hours studying and thinking about all the problems. Then made the decision to leave. Which I applaud. However, for many their free agency was impaired by not knowing of all the options. This blog is meant to highlight real options to consider. Not, weird, apologetic options, filled with mental gymnastics. I don’t tolerate that anymore. I want truth. I want reality. I want things that make sense. Not things that will make sense only after I’m dead and gone. And talking about making sense, I hope this makes sense.

      Free agency is enhanced by having as many options on the table as possible. Both when one contemplates entering or exiting the church.

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