Saturday, August 27, 2005

Sites for Jackmormons

Recently I discovered a website, Zarahelma City Limits, devoted to the Jack Mormon (or as one sensitive essay put it, "faithful unbeliever") point of view. Most of the people contributing work to the site have a much greater personal attachment to the church than I do: many served missions, raised Mormon families, and held leadership callings. It's an interesting place for former Mormons to poke around in.

And just today, I discovered a rather more tartly ex-mormon site, the Salamander Society, a newer site whose rhetorical tactics tend more towards blowing poisoned darts behind trees. Hey, no harm done! I enjoyed very much Joseph's vision of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I would really have liked to have received my automatic Patriachal Blessing, as I'd loaded the jave script with some really silly responses, but I repeatedly got an error page. Alas.

Across the post, some unfinished thoughts on Zarahelma's Onion-esque treatment of testimony.

So far, my favorite essay on the site is Michael Felix's Onion-inspired satire, "Area Man's Spiritual Experience Leads to Converts Worldwide," which magnifies into absurdity the value of testimony-bearing. Just a fair-use taste:
Giacomo Padovani, a Catholic priest in Milan, Italy, has informed his parish that he will be stepping down to join the Church of Jesus Christ. "I was very sure the Catholic church was the true church," he stated from his home Thursday evening. "I was priest for twenty-five years, then this! I wish I could reconcile it in my heart, but this evidence, it is too strong. I cannot deny what Mister Harris has seen!"
For those not in the know, every fourth Sunday, regular church services are suspended so that random church members can stand up and bear their testimony as to the truthfulness of everything that the church stands for. Also, bearing one's testimony is encouraged during missionary-work, at the end of community events, and in family prayer sessions. Even as a child, I was always hideously embarrassed on behalf of those who bore their testimonies, all of which seemed to follow a certain generic conventions.

Still, in church doctrine, the power of testimony is understood as overwhelming. As the expression of the sincere conviction of an upstanding man or woman, how could it fail to persuade even a hardened heart? The Book of Mormon opens with no fewer than three affidavits. Oh, the entire Whitmer family signed on to this? Well then, despite Mr. Cowdery's later apostasy, this book must surely be a third testament! It is surely a sign of how far I have fallen that I can find this sort of thing charmingly old-fashioned.


Post a Comment

<< Home