Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Still More Dogmatic Spoutings on Dutcher

This whole Dutcher-leaving-the-church situation is invigorating to discuss, I must say, and it's fun to spout conservative dogmatic feelings for once, since I'm usually kicking against those pricks in a culturally liberal way. I say dogmatic in the sense of "a point of view or tenet put forth as authoritative without adequate grounds"—I don't pretend to know how to really convince anyone logically or empirically. The last time I felt this somewhat-giddily out on a limb was when blogging against homosexuality a while back, which triggered vitriol from some people and led me to acknowledge that I am essentially homophobic.

Of course, this situation really boils down to what one believes about the nature of this particular church, whether the LDS faith truly is God's only authorized church on the planet or not. I believe that it is and that no other religion possesses the full gospel package or the prophetic authority like this one does. The way I see it, looking at any other faith or religion, whether institutionalized or individualized, from a converted Mormon perspective instantly reveals how it's only a portion of the truth and/or a counterfeit of the true faith. That is unavoidably our worldview, the way I understand it and have personally embraced it both spiritually and intellectually.

I see some potential latitude within Mormonism for different religious behaviors and attitudes and can even acknowledge some healthy benefits of downscaling one's involvement in certain ways for certain seasons, but I don't see a case for how leaving it altogether is a good or right decision under any circumstances. Like I said before, I fully believe that such a decision is a sign of spiritual illness that a person will be very fortunate to survive on the spiritual level, and if they do survive it's only through returning. That's because Mormonism is God's only true, authorized religion.

Evidently, creating independent-minded, boundary-pushing, exploratory art somehow tends to overstimulate the ego (or is the result of an overstimulated ego) in such a way that one becomes extra-susceptible to the spiritual disorder that would make it seem like a good, valid choice to leave. I hope it doesn't happen to too many more groundbreaking Mormon artists, but I'm afraid it will to some, just as it will continue happening to other kinds of academics and intellectuals unless they can somehow maintain the right balance.


jana said...

The way I see it is that you've just lived in Utah for too damn long, Chris. But that's just my flawed opinion (me being spiritually ill and all).

(FWIW, your homosexuality posts totally freaked me out, too)

Christopher Bigelow said...

Well, if I didn't know better, Jana, I would think you had joined some flower-worshipping cult. Seriously, those are some cool photos on your blog--I especially enjoy the ones that have bugs hiding in the flowers, if you look close.

Thanks for being patient with my dogmatic spoutings. Part of me is cringing for if and when Holly stumbles across this, but part of me secretly would relish another sound thrashing.

jana said...

I'm so flattered that you think of me as a flower-worshipper. A few years ago a group of my liberal Mo friends did a straw poll to decide which of us would leave the church first. I won the contest because they knew that I worshiped trees and sometimes skipped church to hang out in my garden. At the time I remember feeling quite offended, me being pretty active (I think I was even teaching seminary at that point). But I guess they knew me better than I knew myself.

I'm really a transcendentalist at heart, I think. But since there aren't any local transcendentalist groups meeting in the OC, I'm settling for Quakerism (with a splash of Mormon and a shake of freegan-hippie).

Yah, I have no doubt that Holly'd be pretty pissed by what you've written here. But she's not much around the blogworld these days so maybe you'll have to forward your stuff to her to provoke a reply.

Alb said...

I'm relieved to see you leaning more toward my way of thinking for a change. Sure do love you!