Monday, June 16, 2014

Love and Respect

Last night Andrew decided to check his "other" messages folder in Facebook—the one where all the junk mail goes to (or where messages from unknown contacts goes to)—and he found a 900+ word diatribe from someone whose profile is quite anonymous (just a picture of a girl wearing—of all things—a tank top (as Andrew said, "Um, shouldn't she be all Molly-Mormon? She's wearing a tank top!")). I realize that this person is just trolling, but it was still a troubling letter to receive.

The full text of the letter is at the end of this post and I don't even really know what to say about it other than:

A) "Jesus said love everyone, treat them kindly, too. When your heart is full of love, others will love you." Someone should have paid more attention in primary...

B) Miss "Sarah Belnap" is much more a stumbling block to the church than Andrew is or ever will be. I simply don't think there's room for this kind of judgement in the church.

C) I had to stifle my laughter at: "You were never very popular growing up, not good at sports, and couldn't find many ways to get positive attention," so naturally you decided to enjoy homework in order to "stir the pot" because "nobody likes homework and you know that." Andrew really does enjoy homework. That's why he's in academia. Also, cyber-bully much?

D) We totally believe church doctrine, which is why we unequivocally believe that "regardless of your circumstances, your personal history, or the strength of your testimony, there is room for you in this Church."

E) We respect and admire Muslims. Guilty as charged. But "President Gordon B. Hinckley has consistently advocated dialogue and mutual respect in interfaith relations. He has admonished members of the church to cultivate 'a spirit of affirmative gratitude' for those of differing religious, political, and philosophical persuasions, adding that 'we do not in any way have to compromise our theology' in the process. He gave this counsel: 'Be respectful of the opinions and feelings of other people. Recognize their virtues; don't look for their faults. Look for their strengths and their virtues, and you will find strength and virtues that will be helpful in your own life.'" Studying Islam helps me be a better Mormon. And if you think that's bad, we also have the Catechism of the Catholic church on our bookshelf and a mezuzah on our front door.

F) Women in the church. This is a loaded topic lately, isn't it? I've never identified with the OW movement. In the words of a friend of a friend, "The ordination of women is the not the flag I carry. But I can say with certainty, however, that my experience as a woman in this church has improved since my brothers and sisters began advocating for greater measures of voice for women in the church." We rejoice that women now pray in general conference. Lowering the mission age for women from 21 to 19 was an awesome move. We fully support similar changes in church administration.

G) We'd love to move to a "crappy third world country." Thank you very much.

There is so much ridiculousness in this letter...

Conversation started March 7
3/7, 9:27am
Sarah Belnap

So my question is, have you ever studied our doctrine?  I mean, if you hate the way the church is run so much why are you still a member? With you recent posts [this and this?] you seem to question/hate the roles of women, the importance of motherhood, and want them to take on some other roles and responsibilities.  If you do not understand or care to understand the divine roles which God has appointed, and if you are so pro gay and pro drug legalization, even though it is against the law of chastity and word of wisdom, then why in the heck are you still here?   If the gospel is so bad and oppressive, and the world’s point of view is so progressive and right, why don’t you leave the church? I mean, I guess the bible and BOM and history don’t teach/prove to us anything about what happens to people when they start to think they know better them him.  You obviously know better than God and the prophets and what commandments are good/bad and how the church should be run.  You obviously don’t believe that this group of all men, the apostles, have been ordained by God or can receive revelation on how the church should be run.  

It just seem like you spend so much time on your facebook questioning and opposing the church, it’s laws, and it’s HORRIBLE treatment of women.  Why did you go to BYU twice if the church is so abusing and horrible to its people and has so many things wrong with it?  If our doctrine of gay people is totally wrong they why do you keep going?

What is even more perplexing though is while you claim the LDS church has so much to work on, you defend Islam with unwaivering or unquestioning devotion if anyone says anything about it.  On the whole, the Muslim world is MUCH MORE oppressive to women then the LDS church.  They do not preach a divine role for women and in way too many countries women are killed, tortured, and denied education/basic rights on a far too regular basis.  Yet when women are put in jail for being raped or attacked with acid (much worse than not getting to say a prayer in GC) you are silent on all fronts and say, “oh, well not all Muslims are like that.”  

But when these articles cherry pick obscure little things like a mom not getting to hold her baby during the blessing, you are all over it and promoting it.

I just don’t understand why you are still here.  You are totally won over by the world and are bent on creating doubt and confusion about Gods kingdom.  You are basically a missionary for the adversary, have undone any good you possibly did in Italy, and don’t really care about doctrine.  And yet in a perplexing and hypocritical way, you regularly advocate and defend other groups whose women’s rights offenses are millions times worse like many Muslim groups. When you post articles like your latest one you routinely condemn or question leaders like the prophet and apostles, who are quite possibly some of the best men on earth regardless or your religious affiliation.   Yet when a mass murder like Bin Ladin was killed, you were angry and distraught.  If you love Islam so much, why don’t you practice that instead?  If you love terrorist groups and their causes so much, why don’t you move to Somalia?

I think your priorities are pretty mixed up.  I know people like you who, while you are intelligent, have always been a little bit socially awkward.  You were never very popular growing up, not good at sports, and couldn’t find many ways get positive attention.  Instead you found ways to get attention, like being controversial.  In Utah, that basically means being a liberal.  And so while you claim to be liberal for the promotion of certain rights or compassion, your hypocrisy with how other women are treated (like not promoting the denunciation or acid attacks) shows that you really don’t care about that at all.   You simply like to stir the pot.  Like when you post how much you LOVE to do homework all the time on facebook.  Nobody likes homework and you know that.  There are so many other things people would rather do with their time but you know if you post that, then people will react and give you attention.  Now since you aren’t in Utah and being liberal simply doesn’t get much attention anymore you need to join with anti gay and anti church forces to get the positive attention you crave and seek.   And the problem is you have been doing this stuff for so long, now you believe in your hypocritical causes and are going past a point of no return.

So figure out where you stand man.  Whose side are you on?  Do you really believe the church doctrine, that God has called a prophet and that the prophet tells us the will of an all knowing, all powerful being?  Or do you know better than God, the prophets, and the scriptures.  Are you so intelligent now that religion should reform and conform to how liberals see the world?  Or is Islam really the way to go.  Have your family move to some crappy third world country with car bombs, murders, and massacres every day and live under sharia law, see how your wife and daughters like that.


  1. I do not think that you guys should have bothered her letter, or to "keep" it here. She is just venting, and doesn't even know what she is talking about. (Andrew's wife and daughters have already lived in a crappy third world country, for one.) Is she even someone who knows Andrew at all? Why bother with her at all?

    1. bothered TO READ her letter, is what I meant to say...

    2. We keep it here to show that these types of judgements are ridiculous.

      We've seen people suggesting others leave the church quite frequently recently, especially with all the "discussion" regarding the role of women in the church.

      Asking anyone to leave the church is as ridiculous as asking us to leave the church. It sickens me when I see comments like that. So, we put it here to remind us, our friends, and the world, how ridiculous being so judgmental sounds.

      Andrew says, "It's a historical artifact."

  2. who. is. this. person.

    That letter is just THE WORST.

  3. Wow. Just wow. I have no words, but this does make me want to punch someone in the face (jk). No one attacks my little guy and gets away with it!

  4. I am rolling over with laughter inside... She can't be serious? Maybe all she was seeing was white hot anger because studying other religions has always helped my testimony grow. Silly girl.

  5. Well said, Nancy! "Crappy third world country" LOL. Clearly, this note was written by someone well traveled - not! Such a ridiculous note, I could do nothing but laugh. You and Andrew are probably the coolest Mormons I know, which I would think means you are doing a great job promoting your church and standing tall as Mormons... or maybe you are just "totally won over by the world" LOL - in this case, newsflash: We *live* in 'the world," all of us, together, and *my* world, for the record, includes the Mormon church and it's members, along with a lot of other cool things and people. So there.

  6. This represents the weakness of social media as a tool for dialogue. Anonymity and faceless conversations remove discussion and too often results in ill-mannered diatribes. The only redeeming value of this pointless letter from Ms. Belnap is its irrelevance. Those who know Andrew and Nancy have to refrain from laughter at such baseless accusations. Those who don't know Andrew and Nancy would be turned off by the tone of this e-mail. Social media has its place, but creating valuable dialogue between opposing viewpoints is not one of those places.

  7. Where is the like button for all of the comments? Like. Like. Like. Like. Like. Like. There.

  8. Hey Andrew and his family I have never met, my name is Ben and I served with Andrew on his mission, I just wanted to take this opportunity to say post away. I really like reading your posts, they give me something to ponder about and in the end I think they increase my faith. Sending my best wishes your way

  9. Who is this crazy person? You know I'm going to look her up right now! Sorry this happened to you...from someone who also has messed up priorities ;)