Atheists and Mormons
by Brig Bagley
17 April 2014
A group of Mormons and Atheists gathered in a panel for what what hoped to be a amicable discussion on the misconceptions of both sides. Atheists have been growing in Utah, and have even purchased ads on prominent billboards in downtown Salt Lake. With history of Mormons teaching against atheism, even recently, this was an important discussion for understanding.
"At the same time, atheism, the secular religion, is admitted to class, and our youngsters are proselyted to a conduct without morality." - Boyd Packer
"As prophesied, we live in a time when the darkness of secularism is deepening around us. Belief in God is widely questioned and even attacked in the name of political, social, and even religious causes. Atheism, or the doctrine that there is no God, is fast spreading across the world." - Robert Hales
The Mormons claimed that the largest misconception by non-believers was being exclusionary. Mormons are taught to let others worship "how, where, or what they may." Although Mormons are taught to love everyone, even Boyd Packer warned against tolerance overruling morals. And in fact, members are regularly interviewed for "worthiness", which excludes unworthy members from participating in many church activities, including ceremonies like public prayer and temple worship. some are even denied or revoked membership when a church leader determines a person to be unworthy. Is that not the exclusionary nature of the church?
The Atheists believed they are often wrongly associated with immorality. Morality is chosen by the individual, instead of defined by a religion. Of course, the two will differ, but being an atheist does not make one a lawless, loveless criminal. That comes from imbalanced people that lack empathy.
Atheist's quest is to save the world from religious brainwashing, and often actively express their views in the forms of blogs, protests, and proselyting. Religious people say it is fine for people to not believe, as long as they don't shove atheism down their throat. But isn't one of the greatest callings among the religious to "spread the word" door to door? There's certainly a double standard there.
While neither party will fully grasp the other, the panel was seen as mostly good. Mormons believe to be the saviors to lost atheists, while Atheists believe to be the redemption from a suppressed, close-minded, and brain-washed community.