Catholics, Mormons, and Stephen Crane

My Organized Response to an LDS Missionary

Chapter 2 - Damning Hypocrisy

July 2001


XLVII

"Think as I think," said a man,
"Or you are abominably wicked;
You are a toad."

And after I had thought of it,
I said, "I will, then, be a toad."

Stephen Crane:Black Riders #47

An interesting piece of literature that I was required to read in junior high (that is now nearly a banned book) was Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn. In a discussion with Becky about life in the hereafter, he made statements that I found hilarious as a child, insightful as a young man, and are now part of my basic spiritual tenet as an adult.

I would have to dig the book out to quote it exactly, but this is the essence of the lesson I received from Mark Twain, as I recall it today:

Becky was explaining to Huck how you need to lead a good life so that after you die you go to a place of great delight and joy and happiness and that if you did not live a good life, you would go to a different place of constant pain and suffering for eternity. Huck's pointed question was simple: would Becky and her disagreeable and spiteful Aunt Polly be expected to go to this place of eternal bliss. Becky chimed in of course, as they both lead good lives (parroting the illusion of grace, not the true hypocrisy that Huck clearly perceived). His simple response was that if the two of them were going to be there and it was going to last for ever and ever, he would just as soon take his chances on the other place. Becky was aghast that Huck could not understand the fallacy, the naiveté, the sheer audacity of calling down eternal damnation upon himself just to avoid hanging out with two sniveling sniping backstabbing busybodies.

But Huck saw Becky pursuing the horizon. He saw the hypocrisy that people that are petty and hurtful, exclusionary and derisive, are more than willing to call down eternal damnation upon another but will ridicule them for calling it on themselves. But personally, I'm with Huck. If that's what it takes to get into "Heaven", I'll take my chances on the other place, too. But more about the land beyond the veil later on.

To Becky, Huck was a man that could not be controlled through fear and emotional terrorism. He was supposed to cower and fear and beg to be more to her liking that she might judge him to be acceptable in God's eyes. Huck must have laughed his head off. Becky and her Aunt and the single threaded broken record provided by preachers and missionaries are the last place one should look to find out where you are to spend eternity. I agree with Joseph Smith when he says that the judgment of right and wrong is to be found within your own conscience. (I only disagree with his method and his conclusion).

Actual Excerpt from "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain

After supper she got out her book and learned me about Moses and the Bulrushers, and I was in a sweat to find out all about him; but by and by she let it out that Moses had been dead a considerable long time; so then I didn't care no more about him, because I don't take no stock in dead people. . . .

Then she told me all about the bad place, and I said I wished I was there. She got mad then, but I didn't mean no harm. All I wanted was to go somewheres; all I wanted was a change, I warn't particular. She said it was wicked to say what I said; said she wouldn't say it for the whole world; she was going to live so as to go to the good place. Well, I couldn't see no advantage in going where she was going, so I made up my mind I wouldn't try for it. But I never said so, because it would only make trouble, and wouldn't do no good.

     Now she had got a start, and she went on and told me all about the good place. She said all a body would have to do there was to go around all day long with a harp and sing, forever and ever. So I didn't think much of it. But I never said so. I asked her if she reckoned Tom Sawyer would go there, and she said not by a considerable sight. I was glad about that, because I wanted him and me to be together

Public Domain text of Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Finn" from Univ of VA internet library

Copyright, 2001, All rights reserved

Chapter 1 Return to Main Page Chapter 3

Introduction & Background

7.

I'm Right and They're Wrong

1.

Serene Futility

8.

Under Duress

2.

Damning Hypocrisy

9.

Money in the Bank

3.

Institutional Corruption

10.

The Carrot and the Stick

4.

God's Voice

11.

Heaven Must Be Laughing

5.

"All Religions are Corrupt"

12.

God the Bouncer

6.

Sealed with Chains

13.

Unlock the Temple Doors

Catholic & Mormon Links Page




Originally Written: April 2001
First Upload: July 2001
Last Update: November 4, 2001