Monday, April 26, 2010

Heroes vs. Hypocrites: Mormon Rugby Girls vs. Mormon Leaders

So, let's see.

The BYU women's rugby team drills for hundreds of hours: wind sprints, push-ups, burpees, tackles, line-outs, scrums, rucks, passes, the whole deal. As they are not an official university team, they scramble for financing, holding fund raisers, relying on any source of money they can find. They pull together and make it to the national finals in Florida, where, due to a scheduling error, their second-round game against Penn State is scheduled for Sunday, rather than for Saturday. The BYU girls are then confronted with the heartbreaking choice of either pursuing the dream they have worked so hard to realize, or living up to their religious commitment to keep the Sabbath day holy. Devastated, they finally decide to live their religion. They forfeit the game. And with that, their shot at the title disappears.

But at the same time, the men who run the church they believe in so deeply feel quite happy to require that church-owned businesses - of which there are many dozens - operate every single Sunday. Why? For the same reason those leaders require them to operate the other six days of the week: profit.

This isn't right. Mormon church leaders never tire of telling church members to keep the Sabbath day holy. As an example, consider the words of the late Mormon president Gordon Hinckley in an LDS General Conference talk called "Look to the Future":

"...There are what some may regard as the lesser commandments but which are also of such tremendous importance.

"I mention the Sabbath day. The Sabbath of the Lord is becoming the play day of the people. It is a day of golf and football on television, of buying and selling in our stores and markets. Are we moving to mainstream America as some observers believe? In this I fear we are. What a telling thing it is to see the parking lots of the markets filled on Sunday in communities that are predominately LDS.

"Our strength for the future, our resolution to grow the Church across the world, will be weakened if we violate the will of the Lord in this important matter. He has so very clearly spoken anciently and again in modern revelation. We cannot disregard with impunity that which He has said".

But "disregard with impunity" is exactly what Hinckley did throughout his tenure when it came to the fourth commandment. As the man at the top of the Mormon pyramid, he could have stopped the operation of the church's for-profit businesses on Sunday at any moment. Instead, he authorized it, just as his successor, current church president Thomas Monson, does. To take just one example of this shockingly open hypocrisy, the church's Salt Lake City NBC affiliate, KSL-TV, as a rule broadcasts six hours of sports each Sunday, the watching of which is the very thing that Hinckley, in the talk quoted above, told Mormons was bad. So while the BYU girls refuse to play a game on Sunday for which they will not be paid, on grounds that doing so is incompatible with the Sabbath, the very church leaders who in effect told them not to, are making money off of broadcasting sports every single Sunday of the year!

The BYU girls walk the walk. Why don't Mormon leaders? How can they preach against the very thing they are doing? Easy - the same way Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker, Jesse Jackson, and dozens of Catholic priests have all preached chastity while having sex with prostitutes, mistresses, or children; the same way conservative writer Bill Bennett preached a return to old-time virtues while blowing millions in gambling casinos; the same way radio host Rush Limbaugh preached against soft-on-crime liberals while he was illegally buying Oxycontin off of drug dealers in Denny's parking lots; the same way Idaho senator Larry Craig preached family values while cruising for anonymous gay sex in airport restrooms; the same way California senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer preach the evils of guns while both possessing concealed weapons permits...they just say one thing, and then do another. They just exempt themselves from the rules they tell everyone else to live by. It's easy.

Some people might think the BYU girls are stupid. I don't. I think they have demonstrated what character is all about, and I admire them: they sacrificed their own pleasure for the sake of their principles. It's too bad their religious leaders are too busy counting up the profits from the Sunday sports shows they tell everyone are sinful, but happily broadcast anyway, to do the same.

Final score:

BYU women's rugby team: heroes.

Mormon leaders: hypocrites.

16 comments:

CodyAnne. said...

Agreed Tal - it's unfortunate that such hypocrisy exists throughout all of society - not just in religion. "Do as I say and not as I do" simply just makes one look stupid.

Tal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pop Champagne said...

Hypocrisy was the main reason I quit the Mormon church. It was full of it and noooo thanks.

Barry said...

I am new to this blog, but would like to start here. Finally,I find someone is willing to speak up. Finally...
Hypocrisy is a word we dare not mention in front of our Mormon families, friends, etc...

Keeping the Sabbath day holy is something I struggled with since I was a very young boy. I couldn't even go outside. Then came fasting...

jeesh...

Thanks Tal. I look forward to reading more of your work.

Kaitlyn said...

It's one thing Tal no longer be apart of the church. it's another to down the church. Is it the church you don't like or the people. I use to know you Tal. When you were a believer. Now I read in sadness on the web that you blast the church for this and for that.

I still care about you. Hope you are doing ok.

Tal said...

Kaitlyn

I'm not sure who you are. I don't remember knowing anyone with your name...

The Mormon church, like most churches, helps meet the important social, psychological, emotional, and spiritual needs of its members. I have good Mormon friends and I find much to admire in their dedication and sincerity, as I do with other religious believers. As you may recall, I specifically praised the dedication of the BYU women's rugby to their religious principles.

However, as the quotes and facts in my piece show, Mormonism - again, like most other churches - has its own ironies and contradictions. One of them is that church leaders, who are the stewards of church businesses, run those businesses on Sunday - even when those businesses provide absolutely no "necessary service" - while they tell members that keeping the Sabbath day holy means not working or patronizing businesses. In specific, church presidents authorize the broadcast of sports on Sunday on church-owned TV station KSL, while specifically telling members not to watch sports on Sunday. If you have some explanation as to how that is not a blatant contradiction, I would love to hear it.

I have no doubt you are as capable of seeing these sorts of contradictions in other religions, Kaitlyn. Even if we assume that Mormonism is really "God's only true religion", how can you not see those contradictions in Mormonism?

shawn said...

A spade is a spade and seemingly no Mormon leader will address such issues. Sweep it under the rug not talk about. Great points by the author here.

Anonymous said...

whether the church owns or promotes television stations which broadcast sports, why would something so unimportant distress you? you may think it's hypocritical, and a double-standard, and that's your opinion; but honestly, the world is full of hypocrites. why is the lds church usually the only religion that is claimed to be full of hypocrites? a religion may state what they do and do not support, but it's really up to you and your personal values. the prophets' words have always been a guideline-words of advice to make life easier and more enjoyable, a source of comfort, a way to find peace. it's very unfortunate to read posts such as these because of the bitterness. i'm sorry you, and any others, have left the church due to feelings of hypocrisy-i know the motives were never to demonstrate this characteristic. i have heard far too many unfortunate stories of individuals who have left the church because of similar reasons...please reevaluate and reconsider-we would love to have you back!

Tal said...

Joseph Smith didn't tell the truth about his experiences, so why would I go back to a religion that isn't what it claims?

Anonymous said...

i don't know what led you to think that, and i'm sorry that you feel that way. joseph smith was a great man and was a prime example of a Christ.

Tal said...

By the way, not to puncture the victim complex, but I think I can confidently state that there is no human being on the planet who thinks that the only organization in existence which has hypocrites is the LDS church. Pretty ridiculous.

In any case, "we're just as bad as everyone else!" is hardly an inspiring defence, so not sure really where you're going with that...

Last thing is, instead of writing letters of complaint about my post, why don't you write a letter of complaint to Monson asking him why he preaches against something that he authorizes at the very same time? I suggest that *that* should be the thing that bothers you, not someone pointing it out.

Tal said...

Anonymous, if you'd like to know why I think that and would like to discuss further, feel free to email me in private, at tcrbachman at gmail dot com.

Ra said...

Ah mormons. So self-absorbed, and immature.

Anonymous said...

I know this wont get printed but I do actually agree about the hypocrisy. I contunually ask LDS friends in Utah about LDS stores opening on Sunday and they don't know what I am talking about.The malls should stay closed and I remember Pres. Kimball asking people not to open or shop at places that are open on Sunday. He said it upset the bretheran to see malls open when they are going to meetings. I think they should close down all sorts of things on Sunday ,as they used to do. I know you will laugh at contractual obligations and shareholder problems but they are a real aspect of this controversy. However, there is MUCH room for improvement from the GA's.

The Mormon church WILL go on without you and I am sure that, other than sadness at losing a child of God, they will just have to accept that you are never coming back and will just ignore your writings about the church. It's been going on so long now and the church still goes onward. I am curious as to who or what would convince you to follow Jesus and /or the church again? What circumstances would there have to be... seeing an angel, talking to a deceased relative, an alien interview, a near death experience....what would it take? After all you have said about the imperfect Mormon church leaders by now, would you have the balls to admit it if you did get your requirements met? Just curious.

Anonymous said...

Anon,
I read your post, and mine probably won't be printed either.

I live in Utah now, and have noticed that lots of stores and businesses are closed on Sunday. If you go to the stores that are open, the parking lots don't have that many cars and the people inside don't really look LDS.

So my question to you is - do you really think that everyone in Utah needs to follow an LDS lifestyle by decree? What about stores that aren't LDS owned, such as many of the chain stores? Do they need to close too? Should Utah change its laws to accomodate whatever else the prophet asks us to do at General Conferences?

Can you see how it gets kinds of tricky. Utah isn't 100% LDS.

Some towns, such as Alpine, close just about every single business. However, I believe Alpine is also 90% LDS, so that makes sense. So maybe that's a solution...where there is a high concentration of mormons it would be natural for businesses to not open. There wouldn't be much profit in doing so anyway.

I wondered about church owned businesses that could be closed on Sundays that aren't. I emailed one and asked and wasn't too terribly surprised that they did not respond. But I'm new here...what do I know?

Cammy

Lisa said...

I had a question for you.. I have asked mormons and others from other churches.. Why did they changed the Sabath to going to church on sunday..? Which if you look it up the Sabath is Sat . In the commandments that is one of the commandents. Which he asked not to brake. So why would they change the day? I have been given differen't answers from all of the churches. What they had showed me in the bible. It didn't say anything about changeing the day. I would like to know what you got to say about it. Lisa