Friday, February 10, 2012

Are Mormons just naive and out of touch with the "real world?" (Friday Favorites)

With the recent press coverage of Mormonism, given Mitt Romney's presidential candidacy, has come some pretty interesting attacks on my faith. One recent column asserted that we are all just out of touch with the "real" world.

This blog post was a beautiful response to that:

Whose world is "realer?"

I loved the entire piece, but particularly these excerpts:

I get it, Ian. Your world is not my world. Fine. Your world is cooler than my world. OK. I'm not bothered by that.

But you seem to think that your world is the real world, and that the real world is something I'm impossibly distanced from. You say that missionaries, in particular, are immune to reality. "Mormons see the world," you say, "but they don't get it."

And that's when I get mad.

You know the world, I would guess, far better from how it looks on paper than from how it looks up close.

Because of my church, I've seen it up close. I've helped struggling people in two continents move out of apartments due to all sorts of crises, from crooked landlords to persistent gunshots at night to serious vandalism by drug-addicted friends. I've eaten in homes where the first language has been Spanish, Navajo, Telegu. Where it's been German, Turkish, Portuguese, Russian, Marathi, Farsi, French.

And no, I wasn't following the news when I was a missionary in the former East Germany, and I never went out clubbing or whatever people do in your world to get to know the locals on a European trip. But I've sat in an old woman's apartment and listened to her struggle to make sense of what she remembers feeling when she saw Hitler at a rally in her youth. "He was like a god to us then," she said, "like a god." And I've been cooked meals by women who served in that war, and who can never forget the hunger they felt as the war dragged on and ended with near chaos in its wake, some of whom walked for hundreds of miles from confiscated homes toward uncertain futures. I've learned by experience how to recognize someone who won't feel right unless you eat every last scrap on the plate. And learned deep respect for the endurance of the old.
Now go read the whole post.


Angie said...

I love love love James Goldberg! This idea that the cool people of the world have that to be real you need to be edgy, profane, vulgar, and all the others signs of the last days drives me nuts. But then I stop and wonder what sort of world they have come from that they may truly believe that ugly is the only truth, that kindness, beauty, unselfishness and virtue is not even possible, couldn't possibly be genuine. What a sad place for them, for anyone. I've been reading since her kairos post and yesterday she posted a plea to help out a family whose mom is likely dying from cancer to have a vacation. She required that no one contribute more than $25 per day and still, in less than one day more than $25,000 was raised by people who know neither Glendon of Momastery or the mom with cancer. That's the real world I want to be a part of!

The definition of truth in Jacob always makes me stop--things as they really are and really will be. That's what God is all about and what Satan wants to confuse us away from seeing, to believe what the cool people see is real. All I can do each day is stand up for myself and my family and my little circles of influence and say THIS is real. Goodness is real. Virtue is real. To be without guile is possible, it is desirable. Thanks for standing with me and helping me to stand taller.

swedemom said...

I thought the post was brilliant.

One thing that deeply bothers me about the so-called intellectual elite is how they portray this attitude of really knowing things and then they write articles in the NY Times that reveal how little they truly know. And all the other people, relying upon their expertise, feel like they've instructed in something.

Connie said...

What a great article. There have been many negative things said about the church with Mitt in the limelight. It's too bad so many people choose to believe the negative. Perhaps something good will come of all this.

I've read through some of your posts. Good luck with every thing on Tuesday. Have you signed up to do more marathons or halfs?

Had a good Sunday.


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