Anyone who has traveled and spent time in Utah or around Mormons for any extended time, as I have, might offer a similar view: They tend to be very nice people, especially the youth, and they are very deeply indoctrinated. Perhaps the message here is that religion makes people happy, offers them safety from uncertainty and comforting answers to life’s exasperating complexity. They look to their leaders, and while it appears ridiculous to the rest of us that their bishops tell them what to think each Sunday about everything, including world affairs and politics, to them it seems perfectly normal.
That is thought control done on a very large scale, and very effectively. The key, of course, is that they are immersed as youth and the system is reinforced at every turn. When they reach maturity, it is too late. Youthful indoctrination is extremely hard to overcome, and while “Jack Mormons,” who drink or smoke, are not uncommon, Mormons who dispute matters of faith and politics are. They are subject to all our outside influences, live among us as friends and neighbors, and are under complete domination by their higher authorities.
Joseph Smith spotted something in the human species, as there were a lot of people in around before he started, but no Mormons. He had to invent them. He seemed to know that a cult of leaders was necessary, as was reaching people in their youth. Once he succeeded, he used his powers as a path to panties and pocketbooks, not uncommon. A new religion was born.
My upbringing was similar in the Catholic Church at a time when they were much more severe in their teachings and methods. I was indoctrinated in grade school, and “confirmed” when I reached the “age of reason,” twelve. (Little did they know – I am 62 now and have still not gotten there.) In high school I went through a “Search,” similar to a movement still active called “Cursillo.” We gathered at the school, and stayed awake for two days while listening to talks and attending worship services, all the while maintaining silence. (Because I was with a kid named Nordlund, I had fits of giggling the entire weekend.) My brother, prior to his ordination, said that the object of a Search was to drain us, keeping us awake a whole weekend. In that sleep deprived state, he said, they could tell us anything and we would believe them. It seems that Catholics knew something about our species too.
In the early sixties, the Catholic Church under John XXIII went through many reforms, loosening up on the indoctrination, reaching out to other faiths, and setting free millions of people as a consequence. They are often called “recovering” Catholics. Comedian George Carlin went to a liberal Montessori school where they had the notion that kids would arrive at Catholicism on their own and due to its merits. When the kids were instead set free, they stopped doing that.
The Mormons never made that mistake, never let up, so that ex-Mormons are rare. Perhaps, due to social pressure, shunning and loss of business connections, many of them simply keep their heads down, but that is a hard way to live, in constant tension between outer expressions and inner beliefs. It is much easier just to believe.
Yes, you know where this is going. There is no “them,” not in Utah, The United States, Saudi Arabia, China or Zimbabwe. There is only “us.” Religion is a set of irrational beliefs that we accept in faith and without evidence. All religion beliefs are handed down by authority figures, and we believe because they believe, and aqainst evidence. We are introduced in youth, reinforced, and take great joy and comfort in these beliefs.
Americanism is such a religion. We believe ourselves to be an exceptional nation, against all evidence.