Standing for Something

by Jordan Spencer Cunningham on

It’s been a month or two since my last hate-mail-producing post, and I’ve been somewhat silent. I happened across the blog of a somewhat well-known advocate for truth who just can’t keep his mouth shut– sort of like me. It was a little liberating and inspiring to see that the internet isn’t all trolls and angry people falling for anything flashy that the media says is fun.

It was also nice to see that he is like a cactus: very poky, but nice on the inside. Let me explain: today many people who attempt to attach themselves to something bigger than science or the government (or just themselves) still water down their beliefs so that they don’t incur the wrath of the Great Public– they pad it a little so they don’t get fingers pointed at them with shouts of “bigotry” and “intolerance” and “evil”. It’s tempting, isn’t it? “Maybe I can just, you know, live the way I want and never talk about it. The world can do what it wants– I’ll just sit alone over here and keep my mouth shut even if my neighbors start murdering my chickens. I mean, it’s not that bad I guess, and I really shouldn’t force my beliefs on anyone. That would be rude.”

Yes. There is a line a person can cross when he speaks out against something that’s popular in the world. There is a boundary that he can cross where he becomes a bigot– that he abandons love for hatred. That line is a lot further forward than most people think, though, especially when the line those supposedly tolerant masses say that we supposedly intolerant few have crossed has already been crossed miles and miles ago by those very same masses. Disagreeing with someone does not mean you hate that someone. Quite the opposite, actually, especially when it’s based in something solid like real truth (not the pseudo-truth that is so malleable and so popular these days). Because I say that extramarital sex or homosexuality are unhealthy, improper, and immoral does not mean I think the people who practice it are evil or scum in any way. But then no matter how much I say that, nobody believes it. I’m still the hateful, evil, terrible bad guy who thinks he’s better than everyone else– a scapegoat, more like it.

When I wrote the previous article, I knew it was a little pointed. I knew some people were going to disagree with me. I knew I would be labeled a backwards, intolerant, self-righteous snot– especially by all of those anti-Mormons who started flowing in and picking things apart like it was their duty to tell me how terrible a person I am for believing in Christ and what He has taught and does teach. What I didn’t expect was that there were some people who agreed with me but who later told me that they were afraid to “Like” the link on Facebook or something else that publicly showed their support.

We can’t do that. We simply can’t be afraid. Sometimes the world needs a kick in the pants, and if we stumble around wondering what other people are going to think of us if we come right out and say the truth, we’ll lose what little moral ground we have left. It isn’t hateful to question someone’s beliefs or even specifically say that those beliefs are toxic to the individual or society. Those who say I’m a hateful person for questioning them say that my beliefs are the most twisted, evil system they’ve ever heard of, and they say it in very, very hateful ways! So don’t listen one bit if someone thinks you’re hateful for standing up for the truth. What people call the truth these days is nothing more than an excuse to do whatever a person wants to do and not think about the implications. In fact, it’s gone beyond merely not thinking about the implications to outlawing the implications.

“What are you doing here, you filthy consequence?! You don’t exist anymore according to cultural and governmental laws! Get out before we kill you! You’re so inconvenient! You’re so rude and hateful to people who just want to be their own person! Why haven’t we slaughtered you yet?!”

Anyway. Noticing the heap of pointed, hateful, “you’re an intolerant idiot” comments he was getting on all of his posts, and knowing that his hate mail must be monumental, I decided to give him a thumbs-up, as it were. Oh, and for those who may come along thinking I think anyone who isn’t a Mormon is evil, think again– I’m fairly certain this fellow is of some other Christian denomination, and I find what he says more solid than the opinions of even some of my fellow LDS-ians. I emailed him, and since I felt that what I wrote needed to be publicized since it’s disruptive, I publicize it here, come what may.

My guess is that you get a lot of email. You’re a very popular person, it appears.
 
My guess is that you get more hate mail than you do kind mail. In my experience, people who stand up for something that’s proven the test of time are the ones who are crucified. People who fall for the Next New Thing are the crucifiers. It’s been that way since Adam, quite literally.
 
Here is a kind mail.
 
There are very few of us truth-seekers left. And I mean real ones; pseudo “truth-seekers” are a dime a dozen, and pseudo “truth-preachers” are even cheaper, yet they’re in constant demand since “after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears”. I live in the conservative, “backwards-thinking”, “prideful”, “self-righteous” pocket of Utah, though we have our own “I’ll preach tolerance while attacking anyone religious who questions my beliefs” bandwagons. Still, even with the people who live life amongst the Mormons simply because they enjoy attacking Mormons and our terrible, brainwashed virtues, I feel our community is much less toxic than most of the rest of the developed world.
 
I’ve written a few terrible, heinous things on my own blog– opinions that rile up those supposed forward thinkers of our day. You know– things akin to chivalry and morality and things that question the questioning of the former status quo. Things that have been labeled as not only outlandish but also outlaw-ish because these things might hurt the feelings of someone who has toxic ideals, or someone who hasn’t any ideals at all, and heaven forbid (excuse me– that was politically incorrect– science or government forbid, depending on your line of thought) someone being incorrect or less than he could be! Except, of course, if he is religious or even just holds on to something bigger than himself, science, culture, or the government.  Those people are always wrong– always bigoted– always evil– always narrow-minded.
 
Sometimes I’m sure I sound like I’m looking down my nose at people, and I know that, honestly, sometimes I am. I am labeled a hypocrite– an unloving, uncaring, self-righteous wretch. Though the hate mail I get is from people who have no idea how I treat others in real life, they feel justified in telling me how off-course and terrible and worthless I am since I said something they disagree with, and it said it in a way that cuts them deep.
 
And this is how I know that what I’m saying is working and that it’s true. Well, I actually know it’s true for other reasons; this is merely a reinforcement.
 
“The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it.”
 
–George Orwell
 

“And it came to pass that I said unto them that I knew that I had spoken hard things against the wicked, according to the truth; and the righteous have I justified, and testified that they should be lifted up at the last day; wherefore, the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center.”

 
–1 Nephi 16:2, The Book of Mormon
 
While I am all for being kind, loving, tolerant, patient, and accepting, that doesn’t mean I’ll stand idly by and say that everything everyone does is all right because I just love them so much that I just can’t imagine suggesting that there’s a better way– better for themselves and better for everyone else around them. Sugarcoating things only leads to further stupidity. Coddling people only leads them like sheep over a precipice. Giving people a binky doesn’t show love: it either shows fear or indifference. 
 
There’s nothing loving about it. That’s something I really like about what you write; you make the truth as painful for those who hate it as possible, yet you say it not because you hate them but because you love them and you love humanity and, most of all, you love the truth enough to keep it alive.
 
That’s another lie spread like so much toxic goop over the populace today: if you question people’s beliefs or even say that there are better, more positive, more productive beliefs available– well, you’re as evil as they get. Except, of course, if those beliefs are either religious or have to do with absolute truth and morals– you can nearly kill people with morals and who don’t keep quiet about those morals since they’re so toxic to humanity. 
 
In reality, we can’t keep quiet about this truth that is all but buried not because we want to cover the earth in bigoted religion that shoves itself down everyone’s throats but because we actually want to attempt in some small way to save the world and its people from its own self-destruction. If that means some people get their feelings hurt along the way, well, so be it. I’d rather people be miffed and angry at me while trying to maintain a safe environment for myself and my family and those who are sticking to something real rather than curl up in a corner while the world plunges deeper into the acid of something fake and plastic and mass-produced.
 
If this email gets out to the public, though, I’ll be further labeled as a traitor to tolerance– a heretic to humanity– and then, to make it easier on themselves, they’ll probably write me off as a freak who drank the Mormon Kool-Aid– so how can any of what I say have any merit?
 
Hm… well, if that’s the case, I hope it happens. The more boat-rocking we do, the better. We might not be able to make much of a difference for a rotting world aching for the truth it has already turned away, but it will be enough. 
 
Speak the truth, invite people to change, and try to change ourselves. No matter how hard or impossible it gets. “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” just doesn’t apply here.
 
We may be labeled as self-righteous freaks of a Victorian era gone by, and maybe sometimes we do tread in the acidic waters of self-righteousness– I’m afraid I’ve gone there several times myself (though not as often as I’m accused of it in my own hate mail)– but at least we’re fighting for the lost causes the world has tried to kill for millennia.
 
There’s a good old classic movie out there that is among my favorites. You know it’s good because when it was premiered in 1939 for an audience of 4,000 among whom were 40 senators, the senators hated it and decried it as as attack on the liberties our country rests on. It was banned in Germany, Italy, Spain, and the USSR, and other European countries dubbed it to change some of the ideas presented. Some of the people who had their feelings hurt said it presented Communist ideals and that it should be banned. On the other hand, it had great reviews amongst the people (not that that means much of anything anymore) and was the last movie secretly shown in many French theaters when Germany took over and banned American-made films. I quote a great few minutes of the film now, Mister Smith Goes to Washington:
 

“I guess this is just another lost cause, Mr. Paine. All you people don’t know about lost causes. Mr. Paine does. He said once they were the only causes worth fighting for– and he fought for them once. For the only reason any man ever fights for them. Because of just one plain simple rule. Love thy neighbor. And in this world today of great hatred a man who knows that rule has a great trust. You know that rule, Mr. Paine, and I loved you for it just as my father did. And you know that you fight harder for the lost causes than for any others. Yes, you’d even die for them. Like a man we both knew, Mr. Paine. You think I’m licked. You all think I’m licked. Well, I’m not licked. And I’m gonna stay right here and fight for this lost cause. Even if this room gets filled with lies like these. And the Taylors and all their armies come marching into this place. Somebody will listen to me.”

 
Love thy nieghbor. That used to mean something in the world. Now the finger-pointers use it against us to say that if we truly loved people, we’d agree with their ideals no matter what. Love has become a cheap word. Not so, world. Not so.
 
At any rate, I commend you. Please keep up your good work, as terrible as you are in the eyes of most of the world.