Sunday, March 19, 2006

Googling self, looking for perfection

::dan lewis:: still gets me nowhere. Too many incredible Dan Lewises out there, I guess. No wonder, since we are so fabulous as a group. However, my USU site and Blogger profile are hits 3 and 4 on ::dan lewis utah:: so I must be doing something right.

Anyway, getting beyond that self-important stuff, I found an unexpected item at Google hit number 2, which is the story of another Dan Lewis who also lived in Logan, Utah, and was also white (okay, so the probabilities of living in Logan and being white are not exactly independent).

Dan Lewis the Second is a former Mormon who became a Protestant minister, now a missionary serving in Mongolia. This page talks about the event that shook his religion up and down: his divorce at 32. Some of it is polemical and may not interest you, but there are a few personal notes about failure in Mormon culture that are kind of interesting.

Here is another picture of perfection from the inside, by an LDS churchmember.

I shouldn't put this subject down without noting that Mormons can't go to the temple to participate in the religion's sacred rituals without a current temple recommend. It is a certificate which is only given out on fulfillment of certain standards of worthiness. These include "obeying the laws of tithing and the Word of Wisdom, fulfilling family responsibilities and avoiding affiliation with dissident groups."

I find that last item the most disturbing of all. Some kinds of dissent are not tolerated; I am not current on which groups will derange your temple recommend. Dissent can disqualify you from doing holy work for God. The implicit message, I think, is that there are loyalty tests in Mormonism. I favor a very squishy orthodoxy, so this would be a deal breaker for me, but I'm sure many satisfied Mormons would disagree.

I hope I haven't portrayed Mormonism unfairly here and I invite correction and disagreement from people in the know.

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