Monday, July 30, 2012

Intolerance: Who Is to Blame in the Case of Mormonism?

I think intolerance generally is subject most powerfully to three things:

1) Individual personality, including genetics - I know some members of the same families who are at about every point on the tolerance scale, so it's not just upbringing.

2) Upbringing - Visiting the sins of the fathers upon the heads of the children to three or four generations is a practical statement, imo, of how long upbringing generally can and does affect children.

3) Cultural domination and/or isolation - When both are combined, it is very easy to slip into an us vs. them mentality - ESPECIALLY when there actually is a real history of persecution and reviling.
Mormons really are "hated and/or condemned" broadly in some places. Some of it is brought on by our own beliefs and actions; some of it is fueled purely by bigotry; some is taught and inculcated from the earliest ages.

I'm saddened by that, but I'm more saddened when Mormons hate and/or condemn others - and I've seen that, as well.

Finally, defensiveness almost never helps. A good sense of humor has worked best for me.


MDearest said...

I just wanted to tell you that I admire your tolerance. And your stamina and good will when engaging with trolls of all persuasions. I notice that, and try to follow such an example. But sometimes I just don't have your energy.

Glenn Thigpen said...

Intolerance exists in just about all cultures and regions of this world. The bigots can and will point out acts or characteristics of those towards whom their intolerance is aimed to justify their positions, but it is just that, and attempt to defend the indefensible.

Go back and read some of the justifications for slavery, by Christian ministers, for example.

Papa D said...

Thank you, MDearest.

Glen, I've been a history teacher; I understand historical intolerance and how deeply ingrained it is within the natural (wo)man. That wasn't the point of the post.

Glenn Thigpen said...

PaPa D. The point I was trying to make is that bigots are to blame for intolerance. It is true that actions by the object(s) of intolerance can fan the flames, but by and large, the targets are not normally to be blamed. Of course, there are cases where two intolerant societies tee off on one another and war is often the result.

I do not think that Mormonism is a bigoted society in general, although there has been any number of Mormons through the ages that have been bigots. I do not think that mormonism itself was to blame for the intolerance that was generated against it.


Papa D said...

I agree with that, Glen, as a general statement - even as I understand reactive rhetoric that fanned the flames in the early days.

The final point of the post was a lament of the instances I still see, especially in blog and article threads, where members are just as inappropriate as those they are addresssing. I see too much of that, and it saddens me.

Glenn Thigpen said...

PaPa D I agree with that lament. Sometimes one needs to fight fire with fire, but just fanning the flames does no one any good. It especially shows members in a negative light, which is probably the real goal of the original match in the first place.