Saturday, 14 June 2014

The Youngest Bishop In England: Beneath The Surface Of Mormonism

Robert Bridgstock's book is in part a memoir of his religious life and in part a polemic against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Bridgstock's anger, and far be it from me to suggest it isn't justified, is a running thread throughout the narrative as he attempts to explain how he came to believe the LDS church was a fraud and how it came to find it completely unforgiving of any sort of independent thought.

The parts where he delves into the problems with church history and theology will be no surprise to any seasoned watchers of the LDS church but he still does a very good job of making some complicated topics easily digestible even to the uninitiated. Bridgstock manages to avoid getting too bogged down in the minutiae and his real strength is getting across his anger, upset and despair at his treatment by a church he gave many years of his life too. 

He is still a believer in some sort of God, but even there he didn't manage to lose this die-hard atheist because he is extremely clear that he might be wrong. A very refreshing change from your usual supernatural believer. 

He certainly finds polygamy far more repugnant than I do (I see it as a very grey area with much pain in some scenarios but joy in others) but overall I found him to be an extremely engaging and honest writer. He is extremely open about some very painful personal episodes in his life, especially towards the end of the book, and this makes him very easy to empathise with. 

One of the better personal narratives written about leaving the LDS church I've read, and I've read way too many. I'd recommend it for anyone wanting to understand a little more about the church and the current apostasy problems which are causing it quite a lot of difficulty right now. 

Monday, 2 June 2014

Roger Helmer Finally Says Something Pretty Clear On LGBT Stuff

Roger Helmer, a candidate for a party with the silliest policy on same-sex marriage, has finally stopped muddying the water on LGBT issues after the tweet below came back to haunt him...
3 and a bit years later, he has finally decided that (instead of asking silly unclear questions) to be a bit clearer about his position after an interview with the Mail on Sunday went a bit wrong.  His response to that interview is, I will admit, the very first thing I've EVER seen from Ukip that actually 1) appears to be a libertarian position and 2) sets out clearly that he doesn't seek to intrude on people's personal lives. He's on the same page as me on this one.

Now that he's articulated a libertarian position on ex-gay therapy, perhaps he might want to help David Coburn come up with a libertarian response to the equal marriage debate rather than the codswallop that is currently masquerading as Ukip party policy.

And then he can move on to perhaps suggesting to his fellow Ukippers about respecting actual religious and individual liberty.