Does the Mormon Church bully people?

"Mormon Church & Bullying" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“Mormon Church & Bullying” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

I often get emails and messages from people who have left or are still in the Mormon Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I’m frequently reminded that, apparently, there are many Mormons, and many in Utah, who follow my blog, read my posts, and appreciate my cartoons. Anonymously.

Yes. Those who have the nerve to contact me tell me that they have to keep this a secret because if it was ever discovered that they were critical of the Mormon Church, they would suffer dearly for it. This is not uncommon for many Christians in many churches other than Mormon.

An ex-Mormon (which I’m learning is something very difficult to become) contacted me and asked if I could do yesterday’s cartoon but with the Angel of Moroni on the steeple, as well as an LGBTQ person and an elderly person with a cane. I’m sending her the original drawing today. (You can commission me for a cartoon or drawing too. Just email me with your request!)

Lots of people in lots of churches are being bullied and controlled by those churches. Including Mormon ones.

Are you a survivor of being bullied and controlled by the church? Join those who understand at The Lasting Supper.


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28 Responses

  1. Brigitte says:

    Joseph Smith was a fraud. Just read about him, for yourself from different sources. Don’t drop out of the Christian church though. Read the Bible for yourself. God’s salvation is a free gift, so that no one may boast. (St. Paul. Letter to the Ephesians, chapter 2).

  2. Scott Amundsen says:

    Let me tell you something: If there’s someone in the LDS out there grappling with his/her faith, the first five words of your post would be sufficient to shut that person down.

    I grew up ELCA and became a United Methodist nine years ago but even I could put myself in that person’s place and imagine what that single sentence would do. You may as well have driven a stake through their heart.

  3. Brigitte says:

    The word of truth is a doubled-edged sword. It cuts and it heals. Joseph Smith or Jesus Christ–you can’t actually have them both. We should check whom we choose to believe and follow. As the cartoon also shows. If the gospel is not a free gift, then it is not the gospel.

  4. Brigitte says:

    Scott, do you have a word for a Mormon who feels bullied?

  5. Scott Amundsen says:

    Anyone who feels bullied by his/her church, whatever denomination or sect the church may be, I would tell them that I do not believe that God puts people on this earth to give some other people someone to abuse. And if what you are getting every Sunday feels like abuse, it probably IS abuse, and you have the right to care enough about yourself to seek communion elsewhere.

  6. Brigitte says:

    True enough, even if a bit open to interpretation. With this cartoon, however, we are making a distinction particularly for the Mormon organization. How does that make this cartoon different from the one just prior?

    There is a legalism that goes beyond the common rules regarding human love and decency, a legalism that demands blind following of a leader and his rules, even if they go against common morality, or involve themselves in stupid things such as forbidding many natural human activities and joys, legislating clothing, conduct between spouses, foods, advocating polygamy so that old rich men can have young girls beating out their same age suitors who are not established, demanding money for sacraments, women not getting into heaven without a man, or alternatively, demanding celibacy to be more holy. To me all such thins are a kind of “abuse”.

    The Mormon friends that I have had, have been the kindest, sweetest, most helpful people I have known. But they have not been able to leave behind the “merit” that they felt that they had accumulated by following carefully all the many rules, and attending never-ending number of meetings. They were not polygamists, but we have that in Western Canada, too.

  7. Scott: I’m not sure what you mean by the first 5 words. “I often get emails and”.

    Plus, like I said, the ones I hear from are very grateful that they are being heard and understood. As much as is possible.

    Sometimes it has nothing to do with belief in God, but rather human complicity in dehumanizing systems.

  8. Caryn LeMur says:

    Brigitte: Love is not rude… I believe that is somewhere in I Cor 13. Saying “Martin Luther was a fraud, just read about him for yourself” – is rude.

    I offer that we can teach those that disagree with us, with gentleness. Or… put in the manner in which Paul may say it, “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth…. [II Tim].

    The word of God is living, powerful, and yes, sharper than a two-edged sword… it is hopefully helping to divide your soul and spirit now. After all, the teachings were to be first on us that believe in Jesus as son of God, not on those that do not believe.

    How about this series of statements:

    Joseph Smith was a seeker of truth. Just like Martin Luther. Joseph Smith saw the corrupt Christians and their corrupt churches…. just like Martin Luther.

    Joseph Smith then determined the Bible was corrupt… while Martin Luther determined the Bible was hidden from the common man.

    Joseph then ‘found’ the new scriptures. Martin then translated the existing bible into German.

    Joseph concluded that Jesus was not the ‘only begotten son of God’, and that we would become gods… rather literally.

    Martin stayed with the orthodox belief system that Jesus was indeed the ‘only begotten son of God’, and that we could be given eternal life through faith in Jesus.

    Mormonism and Lutheranism both practice exclusion upon those with whom they disagree. If a person is LGBT, and rejoices within that identification, then both belief systems will ‘place discipline upon’ that LGBT person.

    I think the above is a more gentle approach leading to discussion, rather than attacks.

  9. Brigitte says:

    Caryn, as nice as you are trying to be, which I appreciate, most of the analogies don’t work, at all. I would go into deep analysis of it, but not right this moment.

  10. Brigitte says:

    Oops, that was G mail. What a nasty picture…

  11. Brigitte says:

    Mormonism stands or falls based on whether Joseph Smith was the last and true prophet for all people. If you don’t consider him a fraud, Caryn, you should really join the movement. This is the thing about prophets: they are either true or false. And yes, since we could argue forever, Mormons might Google different articles for themselves and makeup their own mind. If Joseph Smith is wrong, Mormons have worn themselves out for nothing, have taught wrongly about God, and ostracized those who dare to critique. It is a serious matter and one might as well say so.

    It is a powerful worldwide organization. When my Mormon friends came into my life, some very dedicated Mormons, they had already heard about me from their organization because I had tried to deter another neighbor from converting, some time before that, which they did anyways, and my name must be in some database. And as David says, quitting is not easy. They were probably trying to convert me. Nevertheless, we are very dear to each other, even now that we have all moved.

  12. Scott Amundsen says:

    David: I apologize for the confusion I caused: my remark was directed at Brigitte. The five words in question were “Joseph Smith was a fraud.”

    Even if I agree with Brigitte’s statement, which in my opinion opens up a whole can filled with shades of grey, the bald statement is basically a slamming of the door in the face of a person who may be desperate for compassion and counsel.

  13. Oh I see Scott. And I think Caryn addressed that very well.

  14. A Different Michelle says:

    I believe Scott was referring to Brigitte’s fist five words–“Joseph Smith was a fraud”

  15. Yes that was clarified. Thanks ADM.

  16. Scott Amundsen says:

    “Mormonism and Lutheranism both practice exclusion upon those with whom they disagree. If a person is LGBT, and rejoices within that identification, then both belief systems will ‘place discipline upon’ that LGBT person.”

    Umm, Caryn, that depends on which Lutheran Synod you are talking about. I was raised Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and they were calling us “liberals” as far back as the Sixties. And ELCA has lived up to that moniker: It took them a while, but they finally declared themselves completely open and affirming to LGBTQ persons up to and including marriage and ordination of clergy.

    Missouri and Wisconsin Synods have not got there yet, unfortunately.

  17. Caryn LeMur says:

    Scott: Thank you. Again, you remind me, and the other readers, of the need to be accurate.

    Again, I apologize to the open and affirming ELCA. You (and they) rock! 🙂

  18. Brigitte says:

    Looks like the ship has been brought back into the safe harbor, and nobody actually had to say anything about problems with Mormonism.

  19. So many people are under the illusion that if only the church’s theology and praxis was up to snuff there wouldn’t be any abuses. But I know that to be false. It doesn’t matter how perfect your theology is. It doesn’t matter how perfect your liturgy is. Or your church’s political practice or organizational structure. There can still be abuses. I know this for a fact because I’ve been through a lot of different denominations and saw the same dynamic at work: human complicity in systems that default to the dehumanization of its people. That goes for Mormons and Lutherans and everyone else.

  20. Caryn LeMur says:

    David: I agree with your last statement.

    There is a human dynamic is to consolidate power and control, and place ‘the final say so’ with a pastor, or a board, or an unofficial network of deacons that undermine the official ‘leader’s decision’.

    It does not matter if we are discussing a particular theology, or philosophy… it is very difficult to teach people to share power, share decisions, and to strongly support individual philosophical journeys… while still banding together for community, honesty, and support.

  21. Caryn LeMur says:

    Bullying, then, and to me is a form of ‘power confirmation’ when used among adults.

    Teasing, being ‘so insulted’, focusing on the enemy’s ‘bad doctrine’, creating us vs. them atmospheres, insisting on being the ‘only way to understand the Bible’, degrading the ‘other party’ (be they Samaritan, LGBT, or a foreigner)… and on and on… are all the ways of reinforcing ‘power confirmation’…. and ensuring the placement of the real power does not change hands.

    I think that many churches will be empty in the First World countries. They may gather for worship or a party or communion…. but the minds will not be engaged, because they resent that they have no real power.

    And their drive for independent thinking will keep them emotionally (and ultimately physically) away.

  22. Brigitte says:

    Here in the end, Caryn comes around to what she is really saying: “They” are all empty shells, dehumanized, unthinking, unfeeling, controlled minions subjected to power confirming structures. –Frauds.–Luther. Joseph Smith. All the same. Except for the ELCA. Give up the search for truth and go on your individual philosophical journey, but do band together with some (who won’t have any power-issues), preferably at the Lasting Supper.

  23. Scott Amundsen says:

    Brigitte really. Is it necessary for you to be so vicious?

  24. Brigitte says:

    Scott, I don’t call you any adjectives. I have been called several adjectives in this thread.

  25. Scott: I trashed your comment which included calling Brigette “little girl”. I’ve addressed this tendency in you before when you called her “sweetie”… that you tend to use sexist and demeaning names against this woman when you get frustrated in a discussion.

  26. Scott Amundsen says:

    Fine. But if you think I believe for one SECOND that you would have taken the same action if I had addressed a male with the term “little boy” (which I most certainly would have done), you better think again because I know a double standard when I smell one and yours stinks to high heaven.

    Do us both a favor and take all my posts and shove them where the sun doesn’t shine.

  27. Ya. I think we’re done Scott. You’re very abusive with your speech. It’s one thing to argue points and even seriously challenge the points of the other. But to use the kind of language you use is totally inappropriate. And, by the way, I have trashed similar comments from men against men.

  28. Brigitte says:

    I think you are trying to bully me into silence, Scott. Seems like abuse.