Catholics, Mormons, and Stephen Crane

My Organized Response to an LDS Missionary

Chapter 4 - God's Voice

July 2001


XIII

The wayfarer,
Perceiving the pathway to truth,
Was struck with astonishment.
It was thickly grown with weeds.
"Ha," he said,
"I see that none has passed here
In a long time."
Later he saw that each weed
Was a singular knife.
"Well," he mumbled at last,
"Doubtless there are other roads."

Stephen Crane:War is Kind #13

So was Joseph Smith moved by the "holy spirit" to transcribe (some say compose) his sacred books? I rather doubt it, but my opinion is beside the point. Is John Paul II, moved by the same Spirit? What about Stephen Crane? Mark Twain? What about the Koran and the Torah and the I Ching? Does Kahlil Gibran speak Gods words? Do Robert Frost and Walt Whitman? Can you not find the literal spirit of God's love in the words of Arlo Guthrie or John Lennon or Simon and Garfunkle? Or do you believe that God is selective about which telephones He calls?

Why do you deny the notion that Atheists and Naturists do "God's work"? Just because they are not listening, doesn't mean God isn't talking. Do you read much about atheistic theology (other than to find biblical conflicts to expound and exploit)? I rather doubt it. Isaac Asimov did a wonderful lecture on how man's innate nature can lead him to do good works (help the poor, feed the hungry) as a societal celebration instead of a divine directive. He couched it all in Darwinian terms. Did the Holy Spirit inspire Charles Darwin like he did Moses and King David? Do you believe in evolution and natural selection? I personally don't think that God cares one way or the other how His will gets done on earth. Will an atheist be allowed into heaven? If not, why not? Will a baptized sinner be forgiven by the all-loving? Which sins? How can you be sure?

Jesus never told people to keep His stories secret. Nor did he place bizarre roadblocks in their way to salvation. Praise God, love thy neighbor, do not murder or covet. These were all pretty simple lessons and the very heart of the lesson He tried to teach to us.

Do you believe that God spoke through Joseph Smith but not Langston Hughes? Why? It would certainly be easier for me to accept that He spoke equally through both, and easier yet to believe that both were simply "good people" of "good character" with "good morals" and "good motives", but neither was a "living prophet". Does that mean they shouldn't be followed? Does it mean they should be stoned, or burned at the stake, or shot in cold blood? Of course not. God has given us a conscience, and an intellect, and a spirit. He has dictated a way, and taught simple lessons about life on this earth. Who is it that has tried so hard to make the concept of eternal salvation so difficult to achieve? It was certainly not Jesus.

I will tell you who has made it difficult: mankind. With the temporal men who fancy themselves to be "living prophets" marching at the front of that noisy parade. Those men that enjoy the perks and privileges of being recognized as "chosen", but mere men just the same.

It is these self-aggrandized, temporal men that have delineated for the rest of us what is and is not in heaven, how many floors and rooms are in the celestial mansions, which prayers and rituals must be performed to achieve access to which particular eternal riches. These are the same men that have invented and manipulated for their own purpose the institution of a practical "Satan", (an industry with a more astounding growth curve than Microsoft). Whether or not there were fallen angels and ancient wars of souls with swords (with an amazing resemblance to Norse mythology), the "seeing" of Satan's power on each street corner, the hearing of Satan's words in the voice of each naysayer is beyond the wildest stretch of any biblical reference and an extremely convenient method for the leaders of religious institutions to consolidate their power. Of course, these pronouncers will swear that it was not their voice, but the very word of God, that is spoken through their larynx.

It was a delight to read the account of Christian residents organizing to oppose the construction of a Mormon temple in their neighborhood. The "decent people" that worshipped Jesus at Protestant churches stood about "casting out Satan and the temple of his secret rites" while the "decent people" that worshipped Jesus at Mormon wards and stake centers voiced the opinion that "Satan was present and at work opposing their progress". That is one hell of a neat trick, but well within the prophetic pronouncements of what Satan is capable of achieving (and all of it is nonsense). Choosing to believe or discard that claim is something that each man must do within the privacy of their own heart, but I say it is utter and complete balderdash invented to exploit man's basest fears. And the men that invoke it should be ashamed of themselves.

 

Copyright, 2001, All rights reserved

Chapter 3 Return to Main Page Chapter 5

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