Can Mormons Live in the Real World?
While I have been rather well informed about Mormon history and theology I never actually read the interview questions used by the church when they issue "temple recommends."
One thing people have to understand about the Mormon sect is precisely how the old fart that run the cult keep people under their control. In Mormon theology the rituals that are performed in the Temple are absolutely necessary in order for Mormons to evolve into gods. Yes, Mormons are not Christians in the classical sense of the word. They don't believe in one god, just one god for this planet. They believe in a multiplicity of gods and believe that the secret rituals, originally ripped off by the con man Smith from the Free Masons, will help the obedient Mormon become a god as well. By the way, contrary to the assumption that many have, the church did not abandon polygamy entirely. They still teach polygamy in the afterlife and will still "seal" Mormon men to multiple "spiritual" wives today.
I find the Mormon sect fascinating because it is one of the most well documented sects in history and the documentation proves it is one gigantic fraud. Joseph Smith was clearly a con man and philanderer. He invented plural marriage only after his wife caught him with other women, including young girls. Many people don't know that Smith's wife and children actually left the LDS cult and helped form a another version of Mormonism, one without polygamy. But the mainstream LDS church believes polygamy will be restored and that the new gods must have multiple wives in the afterlife.
For the Mormon believer the only way to become a god is through the temple rituals, which is where they get their magic underwear—really, I'm not making it up. They are called "endowment" garments, even though they don't do a particularly good job of actually showing off their endowments, if you know what I mean. One of the temple recommend questions is: "Do you wear the garment both night and day as instructed in the endowment and in accordance with the covenant you made in the temple?" A "no" answer is the wrong answer. Mormons are supposed to wear their magic underwear all the time.
Individuals who help Mormons escape the fundamentalist compounds have said that getting them to shower or bath was difficult as they refused to remove the magic underwear. To get them to change into clean underwear required them to keep part of the dirty garment while putting on part of the clean garment. Some would only bath one part of the body at a time, keeping the garments over the rest of the body.
This is the sort of wacky stuff that L. Ron Hubbard would later use to bilk fools out of their cash with his Scientology scam. Both cults are rather similar the way they control and bilk people.
A Mormon who can't get into the temple is thus condemned to an inferior status in the afterlife. He won't be a god at all. The local Mormon church issues temple recommends. Without these passes from the local church a Mormon is effectively denied godhood. I know it sounds like nonsense but these people are big on nonsense, which is one reason they are prime targets for con men in dodgy investment schemes and the like.
The temple recommend is not a lifetime pass. The church regularly reviews members to decide whether they can have the pass renewed. To get a pass one must, for instance, give a tenth of all one's income to the Mormon cult itself. Consider it another dodgy investment scheme that Mormons are notorious for. For just one tenth of your earthly wealth you too can become a god equal to Jehovah! That's a pretty good return on your money. They may as well offer money back guarantees. If you die and don't become a god the church will return your money. All you have to do is put in a claim. Wow! I'll promise naive people godhood for just 5% of their earthly income. Let the bidding commence!
Not only must the Mormon give their wealth to the church but their total loyalty. They are required to confirm that the president of the church is "the only person on earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys." See, the ancient fart that gets elected president of the church is god's representative on earth, so when the church issues orders Mormons are supposed to obey. When the cult leaders ran a secret campaign to fund the anti-gay proposition in California they used the authority of the church to "urge" members to send millions of dollars to California to finance the bigots. Of course they got caught, lied about what they were doing, and then got caught lying. Lying for the Lord is not an unknown practice among the "saints." Mormons are encourage to actively conceal many of their doctrines from "gentiles" until the gentile in question is hooked. Then the doctrines of the church are slowly revealed to them. Hiding the facts about Mormonism have been a long tradition. Smith lied publicly about the multiple wives he took and the church has been lying since then.
One of the more interesting scandals in the cult was the Salamander letter. A lot of evidence exists to show that Smith was a con man on multiple fronts. And it was believed that he dabbled in folk magic. A Mormon con man, Mark Hofmann, who ran a financial investment scam, was under pressure by Mormon investors to pay them the money he owed them. He didn't have it. But he knew enough Mormon history to forge fake documents that would embarrass the church if they made it into the media.
The Mormon hierarchy would then use wealth Mormon businessmen as fronts to buy the documents at very high prices. The documents would be "donated" to the church and then hidden away in the president's vault, hopefully to never see the light of day. Yes, the documents were fakes, but the church thought they were genuine when they had them purchased. Hoffman's financial woes were not solved by the infusions of cash from the church. And, to take the heat off, he started killing some of those people clamoring for money. Mormons in Salt Lake City were panicked by the killings, fearing that a Mormon breakaway sect was executing them as heretics—or that a version of the "Avenging Angels" had returned to kill Mormons not living up to the faith, as had been done in the past.
One of the bombs used by Hofmann exploded prematurely and the FBI originally thought he was another victim. But where the bomb was tipped them off that he was the bomber. Investigations showed his financial troubles, his investment scheme, and his "rare documents" business. Investigators wanted the documents the Mormon leadership was hiding away. At first they denied having any such documents but when the FBI wouldn't accept lying for the Lord, the church came clean and handed over the documents, which they still believed to be genuine. The FBI lab proved them forgeries. Suddenly the church was thrilled and publicized the documents as frauds. They never addressed the issue of how they hide them away, when they believed them genuine. And, if they were genuine, they conclusive proved that Joseph Smith, their prophet, was a lying scoundrel. Surely they had doubts about their faith but kept the scam going anyway.
Another question in the temple recommend process is: "Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?"
This is broader than the kind of questioning that got Joseph McCarthy in trouble. I have to wonder if a practicing libertarian could answer no to this question. Libertarians believe in marriage equality, Mormonism doesn't. They may get multiple spirit wives but gay people can't have just one partner. Libertarians believe in freedom, Mormons do not. Libertarians believe in equality before the law, Mormons do not.
Mormons were stripped of their temple recommends because they supported the Equal Rights Amendment and equality of rights for women.
On the other hand, what honest Mormon can answer that last question without saying "yes" to it? They line up in support of the Theopublican Party, which, as hard as it tries at imposing theocracy in America still falls short of Mormon doctrines. Virtually any civic organization or group they could possibly support will not cling to the silly doctrines of Joe Smith and the subsequent con men who followed in his footsteps. Is this question essentially meaningless? Or is it so broad as to be selectively used against virtually anyone, when the politics of the situation demands it?
One advantage of a "violation" that is so broadly written is that it gives immense powers to the church leadership to deny "temple recommends" and thus godhood, to the saints.
Photo: Brigham Young, Mormon Prophet, and some of his wives.