This evening, I learned on Facebook that four people have decided to leave the unofficial church Facebook page partly due to a joke I had made that they found "offensive." One guy claimed my joke was "the icing on the cake" but there were other reasons too. Some people are bothered by the back and forth dialogue between a few of us and claimed that we were dominating the dialogue. Others feel too intimidated to jump in with their comments. Whose fault is that? Discussion boards aren't for the timid. I've been doing this for 13 years now. No big deal. You get to learn different personalities and their writing style.
You're probably wondering what the joke was, right? I'm the master at saying jokes that get me in trouble. That's probably because I am not afraid to go places that other people are, for whatever reason. The church member who blocked me suddenly un-blocked me in the past week, which surprised me. I'm not able to unblock the person I accidentally blocked because her name doesn't show up at all. Weird. I supposed that someone got word to him that his blocking me meant that I would offer his name the next time the FBI agent I know asked for it. Now that he un-blocked me, I'm back to my "I won't divulge the name of a fellow church member and friend" policy. Or it could be that he missed reading my comments. He's a bright guy and finds it difficult to relate to people on an intellectual level because his thinking is so different from most people. He is an outside of the box thinker, a true non-conformist, even if I don't happen to agree with his anti-government, anti-tax views.
Anyhow, in one conversational thread, he mentioned something about seeing a vision of Jesus in the Sauna and hoped that Jesus was wearing a towel. Of course, when someone makes a statement like that, my mischievious streak cannot be denied. So, I posted: "Why, are you jealous that Jesus is well hung?" His response was, "Was that a pun?" I said, "Yes, that was a crucifiction joke."
Soon came comments about how inappropriate and offensive my joke was. However, was it "offensive"? I served on two all-male ships in the Navy and this kind of humour is typical. Also, I doubt quite seriously that any man would ever be offended if someone joked about them being "well hung". Granted, the joke was double-entendre, which makes it particularly brilliant. Anytime you mix the sacred with the profane, you're going to get some really funny but offensive jokes. I've read somewhere that many of the best jokes are the ones that touch upon the sacred. If we can't laugh about it, then how humourless are we?
Did the joke make light of Jesus' crucifiction? Well, considering that he was nailed to a cross and withstood the pain of being up there for hours upon hours until death took him, I am not lying when I say that Jesus was "well hung." If he wasn't well hung, he would have fallen off the cross.
Do I think the crucifiction is a laughing matter? No. I think it is an absolutely horrific way to die. It is always emotionally difficult for me to watch any movie about Jesus, most especially Mel Gibson's torture porn one. I'm not a fan of violence and wish that Jesus did not die that way. It's simply a reminder of how cruel and sadistic we humans can be.
This joke brought to mind an example I used at BYU to make a point. In my English composition class during my first semester in the fall of 1997, the instructor asked students to bring one example of good writing and one example of bad writing to share with the class. For my example of bad writing, I opened my Bible and started reading from Genesis the part with all the begats (the genealogy list) until the teacher said, "Okay, you made your point." I remember the wide-eyed looks of those naive Mormon kids (they were 18 and I was 25, so I had a lot of life experience over them). In their minds, I'm sure that they thought God might send lightning bolts. What I did was considered "blasphemous" but in my view, I know it wasn't. The point I wanted to make was that the Bible was just a collection of writings by ancient men. Some of them couldn't write very well (the Bible is a snooze-fest for the most part). The sacredness with which we hold it is undeserving. If God really wrote the Bible, then why would it not have been the most exciting, well-written book ever? Whenever I try to make an effort to read the Bible from Genesis to Revelations, I always end up falling asleep during the genealogy list in Genesis. I'll skip around and read different stories, but to this day, I still have not read the entire way through the Bible. I really would like to someday.
Anyhow, I just thought it was lame that some overly-sensitive folks were going to blame me for leaving the church page. It's just an attention seeking way to shame people into feeling guilty and it worked on some people. One lady had posted that people on the page needed to "behave" so that others wouldn't leave the site, too. Okay, School marm! I thought that was a hilarious suggestion because these people who are so worried about the few Facebookers who might leave the church's Facebook discussion page are also the same people who don't seem to care that the actual church faces a potential mass exodus next year if delegates to the National Conference vote to allow gay church members the right to receive priesthood callings and to get married in church ceremonies. The absurdity is hilarious! I'm a fan of absurdities because they tell us so much about life and human nature. Sometimes, you just want to slap sense into people. This is why I love telling jokes that can be taken in multiple ways. Sometimes a well-placed joke can reveal hypocrisies.
Then I posted a few video clips on the church site (one of a tweaked out young guy on a manic episode talking about the opening of a new mall in Salt Lake City; another of a cartoon that was made about what Mormons really believe; and the third was a clip of the Temple Endowment ceremony from the show Big Love). To each of those clips, a gay guy in the church asked, "What does this have to do with the Community of Christ?" He got on my case about posting non-church stuff, even though everyone posts non-church stuff. Why single me out? Even more galling, the same day, he had posted a few links of his own that had nothing to do with the Community of Christ (a link to Bruce Springsteen's song "The Land of Hope and Dreams" and a video link about some gay Mormon teen who committed suicide). When I brought up these points, he tried to spin it around to why his were in line with the Community of Christ while mine were not. What a hypocrite! I called him out on it and I was close to de-friending him. Unfortunately, with the timeline design for Facebook, it has made finding the de-friending button much harder.
Why would I de-friend this guy? Well, the more I get to know him, the less I like. Though he is a liberal and a former LDS who joined the Community of Christ, his morality is questionable. We had a few clashes. Since he is on my friends list, whatever he posts appears on my Facebook wall as I scroll down to see what people posted. He signed up for some app with AussieBum underwear, which sends him each day a new picture of some guy wearing nothing but AussieBum underwear. Who wants to see that on their screen? I found it interesting that of my nearly 340 people on my Facebook friends list, he is the only one who gets a model picture every day. It shows how shallow he is. I even told him that if he were a member of my congregation and the church allowed gay people to be called to the priesthood, I would have no hesitation to vocally object to his calling.
That's only one incident. We also had a flare up when the news that two different male teachers lost their teaching careers when someone exposed their gay porn star past. This gay church member doesn't see anything wrong with a gay porn star becoming an elementary or high school teacher. In all our back and forth debates, he doesn't understand that children look up to adults as role models and it would be hard for a teacher to maintain the respect and authority he has over the children he teaches once they discover his past. That's just the way it is. Not only do parents don't want their children taught by a former porn star, even the American Civil Liberties Union declined to represent one of the teachers. The ACLU lawyers said that had he picked any other career, they'd represent him in a wrongful termination suit, but because his new career involved teaching children, they wouldn't touch that case.
We had another flare up regarding the Occupy Wall Street movement. This guy is in his mid-to-late 50s and has been chronically unemployed and underemployed (he only seems to be able to get seasonal jobs with the IRS). He often posts his woes on Facebook and someone who knows him personally apparently said that this guy suffers from manic-depression or something. Perhaps he has a hard time keeping a job. I don't know his work history, but you'd think that he'd be a little more sympathetic to the movement that is trying to change our economic system (or at least raise awareness and keep the pressure on). However, he is so hostile towards this movement and appears to support the very people who won't employ a person like him. It's pretty sad when a person supports their continual economic disenfranchisement. On one hand, he posts his struggles with money and paying the bills, on the other, he rips on anyone who supports the Occupy Wall Street movement.
As one more example of this guy's warped morals, he had posted on an ex-Mormon Facebook page a comment to a picture that has disturbed everyone else. The picture showed a family of five completely naked on top of one another. On the bottom of the pyramid is the naked father laying on his stomach. On top of him is his naked wife. On top of her is their naked son whose male body part appears to be lined up perfectly with mom's derriere. On top of him is his naked brother. The boys appear to be ages 8 and 6. On top of the younger brother is the naked sister, who might be 5 or 4. Now, what is wrong with a person who is unable to see why such a photo is inappropriate?!? Every other person who commented on that photo were shocked and felt sickened by the photo. It is disturbing on so many levels. There is a huge difference between a family of nudists, and a family photo with a naked pyramid in which certain body parts are touching other certain body parts. When I saw the guy's comments that he doesn't understand what the big deal is, that told me that something is not right in his mind. Especially on top of the not understanding the controversy over the ex-porn star teachers and his seeming to be okay with all of his Facebook friends seeing his daily AussieBum photo. Based on what I've seen of him on the site, if the church does allow gay people to hold the priesthood, I hope to God that he doesn't get called. I'd lose a lot of respect for the church. He is someone who should not serve in the priesthood.
For me, the last straw was when he kept asking me "What does this have to do with the Community of Christ" on the three links I had posted on the site. Also, he had shared on his own wall that he decided to leave the church page because too many people were "obsessed" talking about the gay issue. I wasn't one of those people because I honestly don't care one way or the other what the church decides, though I am concerned about the number of people who say they will leave the church if there is a change in policy. I know too many good people in the church who happen to be conservative but I don't want to see them leave. Especially when a change of policy is likely not going to lead to an influx of new members. I don't read every post on the church's page. Only the ones that interest me, but it is galling to read that this gay guy is going to criticize other people for focusing too much on gay issues while he posts links about homosexuality all the time, including one about a gay Mormon teen who committed suicide.
I posted a comment on his wall that he lives in a glass house and yet he's throwing stones (I meant that figuratively) at people. Before he criticizes people, he better make sure that he's not guilty of doing the same thing that he accuses other people of doing. What he showed me this weekend is that he is nothing but a hypocrite and as soon as I figure out how the de-friending works on the new design for Facebook, I'm going to make the rare exception to de-friend this guy. I'm tired of his objectification of people (oh, he also openly lusts after American Idol David Archuletta and asked that the guy "come out of the closet" even though the guy is an active Mormon and has not said anything about his sexuality). I'm tired of his woe is me posts. I'm tired of the superficial way he tries to use the Universal Law of Attraction. I'm tired of his support of sexual immorality. But most of all, I'm tired of his hypocrisy. I think those are perfectly justifiable reasons for de-friending someone. He is simply someone I do not care to know nor do I want to hear about his pathetic life anymore. His views and posts also give a bad example for me, because based on his views and behaviour, if I was a delegate to the National Conference next year, I would be inclined to vote against allowing gay people the right to be called to priesthood offices. I would support the marriage rites, though. I just don't believe that someone who objectifies people the way he does on a consistent basis has any right to act on behalf of the church in spiritual matters. I would have this same view regarding any straight guy who receives a daily picture of a woman in a bikini on his Facebook page every day. Its not proper conduct for someone who aspires to be a spiritual leader in the church.
A part of me almost wants to send the guy a copy of the Billy Joel CD below. I remember seeing that cover photo when I was a kid and it made an impression on me. I despise hypocrisy so much that I strive to make sure that I am not one. I think I do make an effort to self-examine before I criticize someone else. The worst thing in the world to be is a hypocrite. This is why Newt Gingrich leaves such a bitter impression on people, whereas Rick Santorum is far easier to like, even though I don't agree with any of his views. Rick at least lives his values. I may not agree with them, but I do admire people who live their values. Wish that the gay church guy would've looked in the mirror first before he flamed people for doing the same things that he has done. Hopefully, the church board will be better off without his posts.