So I’m looking through my stats and come upon the search phrase, “is there a correlation between mormons and vampires.”
Short answer: Yes.
Long answer: Just like every other organized religion on the planet. And those who submit and bare their necks to the teeth do so willingly. Or not. Maybe. Kinda sorta.
Faith—any faith, one that takes into account the possibility of a higher being—requires something of you. It asks you to believe in something you can’t see, can’t feel, can’t touch. Then it sets down the philosophies that this faith’s higher being represents. Further, it asks that you take these philosophies upon yourself; whether it asks you to simply believe them or live them or proselytize them is yet another philosophy it asks you to take upon yourself. Then it sets forth boundaries of behavior that you agree to in order to function within that higher being’s philosophical boundaries. And last, it may ask you to present yourself accountable to a human functioning as the higher being’s representative; if not a human, then to the higher being itself at some time in your future.
I know quite a bit about evangelicals. You know, born-again Christians: Southern Baptists. Pentecostals. Those folks. I know quite a bit about Mormons. You know, ’cause I are one. I don’t know much about anybody else.
Christianity generally asks you to believe the following:
1. That a higher being (hereinafter referred to as God) created the world and humankind in 6 days (could be literal, could be metaphorical) with his hands.
2. That he set up a number of rules (also known as the Law of Moses) for the people to follow.
3. That he alternately rained death and destruction down on his chosen people or those who would slay his chosen people, depending on who pissed him off that day.
4. That he asked his chosen people to slay a lamb as sacrifice and atonement for their sins.
5. That he somehow magically impregnated a virgin with his divine baby-making matter so that the son she bore would be half-man, half-god (hereinafter referred to as Jesus) and therefore perfect.
6. That he wanted Jesus (aka his son) to take over the whole sacrificial lamb gig so his chosen people wouldn’t have to do it by hand with an actual lamb anymore. And oh, this has the added benefit of saving everyone else who believes in him (Jesus), too. No more raining death and destruction on anyone. Jesus’s atonement for everyone’s sins makes him the savior of mankind.
7. That God, Jesus, and a heretofore unmentioned wraith (hereinafter referred to as the Holy Spirit) form some sort of triad of purpose and/or existence.
Note: Evangelical Christianity (which is really what I’m talking about because that’s all I know outside my own faith) asks you to believe that these 3 entities are 1. Somehow. Like, a trichord in music, or an egg, or well, you know, anything with 3 distinct parts bundled up in 1 package. 3-in-1. This doctrine is hereinafter referred to as Trinitarianism.
8. That God/Jesus/Holy Spirit set forth a new set of rules to follow, the first of which is to believe that Jesus died to atone for everyone’s sins.
Note: Evangelical Christianity is particular on this point, because it doesn’t matter how much other good stuff you do in the world, if you don’t get this first point down, you’re going to burn in a lake of fire for eternity. If you never had the opportunity to hear the gospel of the atonement (hereinafter referred to as the Good News), you’re going to burn in a lake of fire for eternity. Sorry ’bout that. And oh, if you profess belief after a life of absolute assholery, you’re going to heaven, so good on ya!
And what is heaven, by the way? What do you do there? You sing praises to God. You live in a mansion (the one that Jesus prepared for you) that is built on a street of gold. You wear a crown. The jewels in your crown denote HOW good you were. Is there a ghetto in heaven, where people who were assholes live? And wear nickel-plated steel crowns set with cubic zirconia?
And how do you manifest there? Are you the gender you are? (I’m told no; that you become some androgynous person mingling at the Great Cocktail Party in the Sky™). Are you married to your honeybunny there?
9. To prove this measure of faith, you get dunked in some water to baptize you and cleanse you of all your sins. Metaphorically speaking.
10. And also, that God asks you to tithe 10% of your earnings, however you define that.
Mormonism asks you to believe points 1 through 10
Except for the side notes. We are generally silent on the subject of creation versus evolution. Quite frankly, I don’t know any Mormons who stress about this and I know quite a few (including me) who figure it could have been done any number of ways and in any number of combinations and are kind of scratching our heads over why creation and evolution seem to be mutually exclusive.
PLUS the following:
11. That some specially dispensed Jews were asked of God to build a boat and head west about 2000 years before Columbus did and settle in (but arithmetic isn’t my strong point, so check me on that).
12. That these people survived and thrived for a long long long long long time before being wiped out. But before they were wiped out, they scribed out their history on plates of gold.
13. That somewhere in the early 1800s a kid by the name of Joseph Smith was visited by God and Jesus (who were, by the way, NOT 2-in-1) and given instructions as to the nature and history of the specially dispensed Jews, instructed to be their spokesperson by translating the golden plates, was visited by the Angel Moroni on a regular basis, received continuing revelation from God, and pretty much spread all this information around.
Note: At the time in history that this was happening, there were a lot of crackpot religious theories going around that people believed and wanted to believe and subscribed to; it was just that this one had a better marketing team.
13a. That polygamy was commanded of God and that the stoppage of polygamy was commanded by God. That blacks weren’t eligible to hold leadership positions in the church because of some holdover Victorian bullshit, but then they were. Yay! But we don’t talk about those, not really, no. It makes us uncomfortable, you see. Move along. Nothing to see here.
14. That we make certain covenants with God (in our temples) that include things like giving your time and your talent and your resources to the building of the kingdom of God on earth, and well, chastity (meaning, if you’re single, don’t do it and if you’re married, only do it with your spouse). Okay. Well, that’s certainly groundbreaking. Welcome to Christianity 101.
15. That when you get married in the temple (or re-married, which term is “sealed”), your marriage is for eternity as long as you obey God’s commandments and don’t break the covenants you made in #14. Also, any children you have are yours for eternity also (but there are THOSE days with the Tax Deductions when that’s not the most attractive thing in the world).
16. That it is possible to become a god, with your own world(s).
Yeah, we’re not encouraged to talk about that in public, either, but hell, everybody BUT US talks about it and to me, this is THE selling point of the whole deal. Criminy! Can you imagine being imbued with all that knowledge and skill—and having a workshop big enough to create worlds and creatures? I’m so jumping through whatever hoops for the possibility of that kind of an eternity.
Mormons didn’t come up with this idea by a long shot; we simply actively, quietly really believe it. But really, I’m going to believe this is a possibility whether hoops are involved or not—because it suits my nature to believe this.
17. That God has asked you to obey certain rules as a token of your faith.
18. More rules.
19. More rules.
20. More rules.
Technically, we believe in salvation by grace. In practice… Not so much. The party line is: You are saved by grace after all you can do. But the “all you better do or else” starts adding up really fast.
The “or else” isn’t couched in terms of punishment because the concept of “hell” (the burning lake of fire kind) is a non-starter for us. It’s always couched in terms of rewards you will not have earned.
21. That “every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the prophet” is actually God’s words and not the prophet’s because heaven forbid a prophet remain fallible after he becomes the prophet. See 13a.
Christianity in general asks you to believe a lot of weird shit.
Evangelical Christianity asks you to swallow the idea that there’s some kind of 3-in-1 thing going on with God; it also asks you to swallow that people who’ve never heard its doctrine are going to hell by default.
Mormonism (a Christian denomination, as noted by the words “Jesus Christ” in our official church name) asks you to swallow a whole boatload of other weirdness beyond what Christianity in general asks you to believe.
But the thing is, if you can swallow mere Christianity, if you buy into any belief system with a higher being who demands something of you, you’ve already tendered your neck to the fangs of religion. Religion is a vampire.
Which vampire bit you is kind of irrelevant once you’ve decided to submit.
But ours sparkle.
19 thoughts on “Mormons and vampires”
This is a very interesting post. And I love your snark. I know Mormons get a lot of crap from other Christians. And I also know that there have been SOME Mormon groups that have hurt a lot of people, women and children in particular BUT, I also know there have been a lot of OTHER Christian groups that have hurt people, and one’s religion generally has little to do with their level of assholery.
What I don’t get, and you point this out very well is how anyone can laugh at Mormon beliefs, while being all “Yep, my god totally made a magic botanical garden in which a talking snake convinced a naked chick to eat some magic fruit that got her and her naked boy toy kicked out of the garden. And that’s why we all need saved.”
Um yeah… alrighty then.
I was raised pentecostal, so I totally know what you’re talking about. Now I don’t identify as any religion. I’ve got a few metaphysical beliefs that make sense to me, and I lean more philosophically Buddhist than anything. (Though really, I’m WAY too anal retentive to be a real Buddhist, hahaha.)
But I LOVE what you say about religion and vampires. And also, something I’ve thought about that goes even deeper linking Christianity in particular with vampires is this:
Traditional vamp lore: You get bitten, you drink vampire blood, you get eternal life. But first you die and stay in the ground for 3 days, then you rise.
Christianity: Jesus dies on the cross. He’s in the tomb for three days, then he rises. This risen dude (henceforth very eerily similar to a vampire), tells people that if they believe in him and drink his blood (communion/eucharist, wine and wafer), then they’ll live forever too.
There also is no aging when you are resurrected, just like vampires.
I find the vampire stories fascinating though, because clearly there is both religious and sexual subtext involved.
I don’t know if Stoker intended that. I’ve never read that he had any religious subtext motivation he may have had in writing Dracula, but he most certainly did mean to shine a bright, nasty light on Victorian sexual politics. Also, I have never gone seeking any Stoker criticism that claimed this, so I probably simply missed it.
But that point is AWESOME, Zoe!
Re the snark: Yes, Christianity itself is just downright unbelievable, so what’s a few added idiosyncrasies? And yes, I do know that it’s ridiculous, but I believe it anyway.
I did forget to mention the Heavenly Mother, but we aren’t encouraged to talk about her, either. I simply can’t imagine buying into a religion that doesn’t have a goddess tucked away somewhere back there.
I’ll tell you what: I’d worship Shiva if I thought I’d get an eternal workshop and a thorough understanding of thermodynamics and quantum physics out of the deal.
Well Vampires existed before Stoker, so a lot of the religious subtext may have already been there, then the Victorianism added the sexual subtext. Maybe?
I believe in Reincarnation and plenty of people, at least in the Western world, think that’s ridiculous. And think I’m some new age twit (which I’m not. I have very few “new agey” beliefs. I just feel very strongly that I’ve been here before.)
As for the goddess aspect, one thing the Catholic church did right, IMO was the way they elevated Mary.
Bwahahahaha @ the Shiva comment.
Believe it or not, I’ve lately run across some Mormon speculation about that and not in an anti way.
Yeah, but I’d rather she be the full consort of the Supreme God as opposed to a conduit by which the Supreme God did his work.
Very true, haha about the Mary needs to be elevated to full consort. The way it is, it’s sort of like “holy rape.” Since there is no previous consent before impregnation, and no relationship.
On the reincarnation thing, there were also some early Christian sects that believed in it. Many believed Jesus’ talk with Nicodemus about “You must be born again” was a reference to reincarnation. I think it’s an interesting premise.
And I’m not all “anti-mormon” I just don’t know enough about it or have the background like I do with Christianity (of the more mainstream variety.) About my only experience with Mormonism has been hearing about a few wacky polygamist compounds, juxtaposed against the very nice woman (who didn’t have several sister wives), and her husband who lived down the street from us growing up, who were Mormon.
For those who say Mormonism is a cult, well, no more so than Christianity to begin with. I mean fundamentalist Christianity is FULL of threat if you leave. What bigger threat can their be than eternal damnation?
I want to know more about number 16. I should have let those boys on their mission in three months ago…
Number 16, becoming a god and having the Great Craftsman Tool Chest in the Sky™?
Whoa. Nuthin like a little lite reading on a Sunday.
This is why I don’t beling to a “church” anymore, but go aong more with the homechurch movement. And I refuse to tithe. This way I actually have $ to feed the poor and give stuff away. You know, BE a Christain. (You see why they thought me a troubled parishoner?)
And I actually believe in the trinity, but in that they are three seperate-but work as one. You and your husband become one (not just through sex) and I think it’s the same with the three of them. Didn’t you read The Shack? 😉
For us the trinity isn’t literal. That’s to say, the three are totally separate beings, but ABSOLUTELY ONE in purpose, which I think ties in more with the husband-and-wife-bond. Distinct individuals with one goal, who are in total harmony. Dude and I have yet to reach total harmony, but we aren’t perfect. 😉
And no, I haven’t read The Shack yet. LOL
Honestly, if you homechurch, I simply can’t see any other way you COULD tithe. After all, that’s kind of what tithes and offerings are supposed to go toward.
Ya know…that dumb song “Ebony and Ivory” went thru my head..whaddaya mean we aren’t in harmony? I can’t help it if I sing a little off key.
After all, it’s only been 6 years!
Trinity-I think we see it the same, just use a different lexicon.
And you hafta read The Shack! I passed it by and passed it by and could NOT bring myself to buy it. (It’s an defiant thing I have-if the crowd says, “Oh! Shiny!” I RUN in the opposite direction. So when it hit the NYT, I went “meh”. But eventually I picked it up. Then it sat on my side table forever. 🙂 When I finally read it I couldn’t put it down. Then I bought three and gave them away. 😉
I’m leaving you messages via Google search, to see what you’ll post.
How does that work?
Not sure yet. I’m googling you using strange search terms, trying to pollute your site statistics 🙂
Added: Just thought I’d fess up beforehand, in case I created another Jell-O Nation incident. (Honestly, I never knew there was such a thing as a Jell-O Belt.)
K, that’s as much obnoxiousness as I can muster tonight. (Intentionally, anyway.) If it doesn’t show up in your search stats, at least I amused myself.
No, I went straightaway to see my search stats and DAMN if it doesn’t come up “Mormons” and “vampires,” usually together, more often than not. I don’t think it’s just you.
The whole Twilight/Mormons/vampire thing just amuses the hell out of me, really.
Aside: Right now I’m engrossed in turning my book into an iPhone/iTouch application that’ll show up in the iTunes store. Neat, eh???
Hmm. I didn’t search for “vampire”. That’s an angle I missed….
All righty, I tried adding “fangs” to the search, but it didn’t find much. Your site doesn’t have nearly enough vampiric content.
Ah well, I might be doing this all wrong. If your stats turn up some obscurely insulting stuff over the next 24 hours, though, keep me in mind 😉
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