Blind Obedience and Mitt Romney

Joseph Smith and Mitt Romney

Mormon blind obedience

Since the days of the founding “prophet” of Mormonism, Joseph Smith Jr., presiding officers of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) have mandated obedience to Church officials. The LDS Church is a patriarchal religion rooted in the traditions of the Old Testament. Unquestioning loyalty to LDS leaders is an immutable demand placed on Church members — and a fundamental characteristic of Mormonism.

LDS authorities believe they have a divine right to impose their will upon others.

Mormon culture emphasizes the need for members to be obedient to the authoritarian control of Church leadership. LDS authorities believe they have a divine right to impose their will upon others. A member cannot be considered a good Mormon unless he or she is subservient to LDS leaders and demonstrates compliance with Mormon teachings. Mormons may insist they sustain Church officials on a voluntary basis, but if they do not conform to the directives of their leaders, they may be judged to be in a state of apostasy.

Blind obedience compels the subordination of individual LDS Church members to the hierarchical superstructure. It is the invisible glue that binds the LDS Church and the principal ingredient that fuels the wealthy and powerful Mormon machine. Questioning the edicts of LDS authorities is viewed as subversive behavior that undermines religious faith. Blind obedience keeps Church members in check, via an uncomplicated, orderly world, where dissent is largely prohibited and Mormons obediently do as they are told — a psychological pattern generally valued above critical thinking by faithful Mormons.

The oppressive Mormon system

Mormon officials who preside over local LDS congregations, known as wards and stakes, or branches and districts for smaller congregations, are required to exercise strict control over their flocks. They are taskmasters who must ensure members abide by the rules.

A Church member who has violated Church rules is generally subjected to a Church disciplinary council — known as a Church court — an ecclesiastical trial during which the member is tried for violations of Church standards. Serious violations of civil law, spouse or child abuse, adultery, fornication, rape, and incest, usually generate Church discipline. Depending on the gravity of the charge, a disciplined member may be given “cautionary counsel,” or put on formal probation, or disfellowshipped, or excommunicated.

Formal probation involves restrictions of Church privileges for the offender as specified by the Church council. A disfellowshipped Mormon remains a member of the LDS Church, but is no longer in good standing. Disfellowshipped members are not entitled to hold a temple recommend, exercise the (exclusively male) priesthood, partake of the “sacrament” in Church, serve in any Church position, offer public prayer, give a sermon, or teach a lesson at Church. Excommunication is the most severe judgment a Church court can impose. Excommunicated parties are no longer considered members of the LDS Church and are denied all privileges of membership, including the payment of tithes.

Apostasy ranks high on the list of reasons for excommunication from the LDS Church. An apostate is a member who deserts the faith, a renegade dissenter who once embraced Mormonism, but now rejects it. Turning or falling away from Mormon gospel teachings, especially teaching or following “anti-Mormon” doctrines, and acting in opposition to the Church or its leaders, is perceived as apostasy — spiritual death — alienation from God.

Mormon apostates are “axed” to protect the interests of the LDS Church. When dissidents are labelled with “excommunicated” status, it creates the impression they have sinned. Expelled parties are likely to be discredited, stigmatized, and shunned by other Mormons, thus reducing the “anti-Mormon” influence of ousted members within Mormon ranks.

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