Sunday, November 09, 2008

Brace Yourself, Mormons

Well, I got irritated from Prop 8 passing in California, and it seems funding from Mormons played a part in that. Since my cynical side agrees the IRS won't likely revoke the fundraisers' tax exempt status, I'm going with PZ's suggestion to crank up the criticism of Mormonism.

The first place I learned about the origin story of their church was South Park. They're well-known spoofers who put humor above strict accuracy, but I haven't seen anything contest the gist of the story, yet. I think I'll be focusing on the golden plates in this post. Before I begin, I'll say a few things, including one annoyance about the South Park episode: Yes, Mormons are perfectly capable of being nice people, even if they're silly. My complaint is that despite what the Mormon kid said at the end of the episode, I don't think Mormonism had anything to do with his family being nice. Many of us atheists manage to be good, decent people without supernatural beliefs. Religion just likes to take social values and claim they're supernatural.

So, onto the golden plates. According to the story, they were buried and protected by an angel named Moroni when John Smith found them. One thing I tend to find in several "mysterious" artifact tales are people who claim to have found them while out on their own. Granted, if you wanted to hide some magical artifact for someone destined to find it, putting it in the middle of nowhere would make sense. Unfortunately, we don't live in a world that operates on fantasy tropes. The fact that we don't have these plates to examine doesn't help, either.

Next point of suspicion is the fact that John Smith didn't let anyone look at the plates. I'd think any normal person would wonder about that. Then again, I guess fantasy tropes dominate some people's thinking, along the lines of 'too sacred to look at', maybe expecting head melting or something, like Indiana Jones. One point that gets ridiculous for me to imagine is the translation in the hat with the 'seer stones'. It's just funny to imagine.

Since I'm currently distracted, I'll go ahead and post. There's apparently a bit more to the story than I know, given the length of the Wikipedia entry on them. Food for comment.

1 comment:

Clint Bourgeois said...

I've got to say, I went to SLC a few years back and went on a tour of the Mormon Compound. All the tour guides are hot chicks. Not a mistake, I'm sure.