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October 17, 2011

Comments

This was really interesting for me as someone who really loved several of OSC's books but was never a full-on fan (every time I try to branch out into the rest of his work I get bored), and so didn't notice the trend. Thank you.

I haven't read the book, I'm going by the plot summary on Wikipedia -- and I hope for OSC's sake that the summary is making the ending sound more treacley than it actually is

I have read it. Summaries rarely capture what it's really like, reading the book; with that caveat, I say the summary is fairly accurate. It's missing some things, but it hasn't misrepresented.

That said, it captures the book roughly as well as Rita Wilson's tearful recap of An Affair To Remember in the movie Sleepless In Seattle.

Your 'reconstruction' of Card's upbringing recalls a dear friend of mine (sadly dead now), who aggressively defended the frequent beatings he received at the hands of his drunken, broken-hearted and abusive father, for no better reason than that his father was the one who did *not* leave. He too never became a survivor - only a victim.

You've put your finger on so much that has repelled me in Card's work - and shone a bit of light on those I've known who have been his most devoted fans. Thanks for this: hard to say I look forward to your continuation, but I do.

I enjoyed Ender's Game, but after reading several others I concluded that he was writing the same book over and over and I was no longer comfortable inhabiting his pathology. The children are so implausibly powerful it does suggest that the author felt helpless as a child.

Child abuse? An interesting perspective.

My recollection of Ender's Game is a bit different from yours, apparently. IIRC, Ender and his sibs, as well as the children trained with Ender, were specifically bred and selected to be the warriors the world believed it needed. The adults never ignored Ender being bullied - but they didn't intervene; his killing his tormentor was tracked and recorded as a test. So is that child abuse? More so than any other society which indoctrinates its children in violent ways? I suppose that's a matter of perspective. If you think that children are all supposed to be protected, then yes. If you think they need to be trained to protect themselves, probably not. The theme seems to be more about the ability of children to be independent, which is taken to extremes in the Ender's Shadow sequel.

In Songmaster, the protagonist was specifically kidnapped, and then purchased from a child market by the Songhouse. In this, his story is actually reasonably close to that of Thorby, in Heinlein's Citizen of the Galaxy. I seem to recall him being raised in a caring environment.

I don't recall any suggestions of abuse in the Alvin Maker or Homecoming series, either. My vague memories are of strong and nurturing parents in both, in fact. So possibly your analysis is more the result of selective reading. On the other hand, I've never read either Hart's Hope or Wyrms, so I cannot comment on how they would slant the sample.

If anything, I think the themes are generally of children growing up in challenging environments and succeeding, not abuse by adults.

A few comments from my perspective. Disclaimer: I am a Mormon.

1) I don't think the picture describes what you say it does. The tie is on a missionary (the person with the tie has what is obviously a name tag). That means it is a son. The parents are presumably the two on the left. So the father is not the only one distinguishable. The artist says he patterned it on an actual family. So maybe the son was on a mission, just about to go or just returned? But it is not the father.

2) I'm not saying that Mormonism inevitably leads to child abuse, but that the Church's beliefs and structure make abuse especially hard to detect and deal with.

I'm glad you're not saying the former, as there is absolutely no basis for that. Child abuse is so completely inapposite to what the Church stands for and teaches that no reasonable argument could be made otherwise. At the same time, when abuse does happen, because it is so against the teachings of the Church IMHO it is all the more traumatic.

As for detection, there may be some truth there, but due to the above. You don't WANT to be thinking those things of others as it is so awful. Couple that with the admonition to "judge not" and love others and so forth and you have a situation where the reality of abuse is harder to confront. That doesn't mean the Church doesn't actively try to deal with abuse.

The study linked above is somewhat suspect, IMO, because of the Martha Beck tie. She famously (at least in Church circles) left the Church claiming she was sexually abused by her well-respected theologian father. And her allegations are based upon repressed memories. So make of it what you will. From what I've read, I think there are substantial grounds to question Ms. Beck's motivations in researching that particular subject.

And the study itself contains many statements that I would say are not representative of the Church, although they may have happened to the individuals. I have personally witnessed the Church's response to abuse and it has been appropriate, proactive and forthright. That makes me question the statistics of perps being disciplined. They simply do not correlate at all to my experience.

But, as bishops are normal people like you and me, are not paid, work 20-60 hours outside of their normal job and are, well, MEN, no doubt the individual response to abuse, especially where the victim is a woman, may be lacking on a personal level. And this is not lost on most of us Mormons or the Church.

As for the OSC being affected by the death of his children and not thinking clearly because he believes that our family relationships continue after death, I think you are right that this probably affects his writing. And his "crazy talk."

What does this mean about OSC? I don't know. I don't really like his fiction and have read little. You may be right about childhood sexual abuse and, IMHO, the juxtaposition of abuse in a society that so values children and who's teachings are so antithetical to child abuse could be hard to deal with on a personal level. That could obviously lead an author like Card to infuse his writings with an abuse narrative. That makes sense.

But as for him not being true to his characters, I guess I need to read more Card. From my recollection of Ender's Game, I'd say it is more showing the trauma that happens when what should be our greatest source of strength (the family) is twisted into something that harms us. Just sayin'.

Quick comment just to say that I don't think your recollection of Ender's Game is entirely accurate (at least as regards his parents).

To your larger point, I also have thought for a long time that there's a theme of abused children in his novels, and even Ender is harmed by (a) being bullied by his brother and other kids (b) killing some of the bullies in self-defense and (c) wiping out the Hive Queens and their entire race. As a sensitive child, (b) and (c) are probably more difficult for him than (a).

But it doesn't seem accurate to describe his parents as domineering-but-distant, manipulative, and non-existent. His parents don't play much of a role because Ender is taken away from them very young. In the subsequent books, their relationship with their other kids (Peter and Valentine) is more fully explored, and they clearly love their kids very much. As far as manipulation goes, they do 'manipulate' their kids to the extent that they don't reveal to their kids quite how intelligent they (the parents) are, so the genius kids think that they (the kids) are manipulating the parents. In fact, the parents are aware of the kids' activities, and choose to let them explore their abilities. Eventually, the kids realize that they haven't been fooling their parents, and they eventually grow closer.

One thing to consider about OSC: a friend of mine, who was studying writing books and workshops at the time, told me that Card likes manipulating readers' emotions by portraying the worst thing that could happen to the protagonist. It's not so much, then, that it's an obsession as he keeps going back to the same well as a cheap trick.

SF/Fantasy fandom likes its super-bright kids stunted by those around them (like fathers, family, society -- there are Slan hunters everywhere), so it doesn't surprise me that the one cheap trick is correlated to the other.

"I was no longer comfortable inhabiting his pathology" is a good way to put it, Doug. (Card is not the only person whose fiction I have stopped reading because I felt I was somehow being forced to participate in an unpleasant way -- as a therapist or voyeur, most often.)

What I find telling in Brian's comment is that the "worst thing that could happen to the protagonist", in Card's work, is often the same thing over and over. Lois McMaster Bujold likes that trick, too, but for her (and for a lot of other authors who enjoy that trick) "the worst thing" changes with the character, world, and circumstance. ("What's the worst thing that could happen to Miles Vorkosigan, at age 30, on Barrayar?" is a more useful novel-generating thought than "Sure is awful to be abused by your father, isn't it, Generic Magic and/or Super-Advanced Kid?")

There are quite a few abusive stepmothers in fairy tales: Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, etc. I'd reckon that there was a lot of child neglect or abuse going on around then. Seems like around every other children's book has an orphaned child, or a non-present parent. Thats how the stories develop around the child as protagonist. For example, "Home for a bunny", where can he find his home? "Under a rock? Under a stone?"

In the subsequent books, their relationship with their other kids (Peter and Valentine) is more fully explored, and they clearly love their kids very much

I'm wary to put much weight in this, at least if by "the subsequent books" you mean the Shadow books (of which I could only read the first two, as they ultimately proved to be the proverbial straw for me with OSC). The portrayal of the parents therein contrasted so harshly with their portrayal in Ender's Game that I'd call it revisionist. Back when I read it, still a fan of Card, I couldn't help but think that it was the difference between the author identifying with the child-hero in Ender's Game versus identifying with the parents in the Shadow books. It's hardly like the time elapsed in the author's life would run counter that. Did the parents figure into the original short story? He wrote that childless. The novel was published with his oldest six or seven years old and his third maybe a year; the first Shadow book gave parenthood 14 years to shift his sympathies...

bc:

Thank you for explaining the painting's iconograpy; I'll correct the post. Should I assume that the picture was commissioned for the start of the young man's mission, something for the family to have at home to remind them of him while he's gone?

FuzzyFace:

You ask:

The adults never ignored Ender being bullied - but they didn't intervene; his killing his tormentor was tracked and recorded as a test. So is that child abuse?

Yes. Small children -- six-year-olds, for crying out loud -- *do* need to be protected. *All* children need to be nurtured, to have the sense that they are loved. Without it, you get "failure to thrive" and other physical problems, as well as lifelong psychological problems.

The adults at Battle School are child abusers, who (as so many abusers do) say they're doing it "for your own good". They aren't (as I read the story) really doing this to make the children "stronger", they're doing it to make them more *obedient*. They want a genocide, so they raise children to be genocidal. And, you know, psychopaths.

In his essay Creating the Innocent Killer: Ender's Game, Intention, and Morality, John Kessel argues that the book's appeal is that

Ender gets to strike out at his enemies and still remain morally clean. Nothing is his fault. Stilson already lies defeated on the ground, yet Ender can kick him in the face until he dies, and still remain the good guy. Ender can drive bone fragments into Bonzo’s brain and then kick his dying body in the crotch, yet the entire focus is on Ender’s suffering. For an adolescent ridden with rage and self-pity, who feels himself abused (and what adolescent doesn’t?), what’s not to like about this scenario? So we all want to be Ender. As Elaine Radford has said, "We would all like to believe that our suffering has made us special—especially if it gives us a righteous reason to destroy our enemies."
I disagree with Kessel in that I felt Card made it clear that the adults were *not* justified in their treatment of Ender (or the buggers), and that the way they were all exonerated for "just following orders" was meant to show the hypocrisy of the adult world. But it's quite possible I was reading that in.

This is a off topic, so skip if you wish.

I am thiking in response to bc's thoughtful post upthread.

Institutions have values. Institutions have ways of dealing with those who represent the institution but betray its values. There are lots and lots of examples of this "dealing with" amounting to covering up. The obvious example is the Catholic church and abuse of little boys. The bias toward protecgtig the institution rather than the victim can show up in institutions other than churches. Think of how whistle blowers are treated.

To err is human. If those who are responsible for enforcing the istitution's values idetify more with the instution than the victim, then cover ups are likely. In a patriarchial institution when the investigators are themselves members of the patriarcy and the victims aren't...well, there you go. I image it would work the same way if there was a matriarchial istituion where matriarchs were responsible for investigating incidents involving women accused by a child or a man.

Back to topic. I have only read on Card book: Ender's Game. I read it during the Bush part of the Iraq War and thought it was about the way political leaders lie and manipulate people throught the use of an exaggerated or imaginary enemy to get them to fight in unnecessary wars. I guess my perspective was off!

Should I assume that the picture was commissioned for the start of the young man's mission, something for the family to have at home to remind them of him while he's gone?

The artist explains it well at his blog. Sounds like he was staying with a particular family for a time and gave this as a thank you. His pattern was a talk (sermon) given regarding families and temples and the link in our doctrine between the two. Apparently the artist felt this particular family was a good family and was impressed by them. He did say the identification of the missionary was to emphasize the obligation to preach the gospel.

Although I've never seen it before, I think the painting is a good representation of the belief in the eternal nature of the family.

bc:

When I said Mormon beliefs and practices can make it extra-hard to acknowledge and deal with family abuse, I was thinking mostly about the doctrine of eternal, sealed families. When the doctrine says Heaven Is Family and Family Is Heaven, it may be extra-hard for adults to notice that for some children Family Is Hell.

For a Mormon, as I understand it, loving your father or husband is not just a natural human duty, it's your ticket to Heaven. So if you *don't* love him, or he does things that are abusive or evil, you risk losing Heaven itself. Recognizing and dealing with an abusive family is always difficult; for devout Mormons, it can become something like blasphemy.

An eye-opening example (for me, at least) is The Debasement of Saint Wanda, by a former Mormon about her mother. Wanda is a loving, dutiful, devout Mormon woman who married an unobservant (I don't know the technical term) Mormon man, the writer's father Ted. Ted turned out to be extremely physically and emotionally abusive to his wife and children. And that's not all.

she conceived my third brother but in the eighth month of pregnancy my father came home from work "in a mood" and was quite rough with her. She went into labor and delivered my third brother early. His lungs were not quite developed and he caught pneumonia. He lived six weeks but was in and out of the hospital and not doing well when he mysteriously died one night. My mother woke up early that morning to find my father near the crib with my brother stone cold grey dead. My mom screamed and my father apparently slapped her and told her to shut up because there was nothing that could be done. It was ruled a SIDS, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome death
Eventually, the violence became so bad that Wanda left him.
I was in 9th grade and I remember telling my group of sheltered LDS friends that my parents were getting a divorce. Not one of them had ever been through that. Not one. It was not only a novelty but a cultural shame, both on the parents and on the kids but my friends knew that my father was an abusive cruel man and were secretly glad for me, even though they dared not say so.
...
I recall asking the teacher if my own mother who was NOT married to my father any longer and had never been sealed in the temple was then denied the blessings of the Celestial Kingdom and would be relegated to serving as an administering angel for eternity. The teacher confirmed that YES, my mother was not allowed all the blessings of heaven nor would her family remain intact in the eternities unless she re-married someone or was sealed to a worthy priesthood holder for time and all eternity in an LDS temple ceremony.
Ted died 7 years ago, but recently Wanda began the process of getting the Church to recognize that he had "repented" in the afterlife, so that they could have a posthumous Temple wedding and be sealed to each other along with their children. Her desire for an eternal family, recognized in Heaven, is stronger than the fact that her actual earthly life with this man was Hell.

FuzzyFace:

About the Alvin Maker series: I've been told that OSC intends Alvin to be an AU version of Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism (who had an older brother named Alvin who died untimely). I think that constrained the kind of family OSC gave Alvin Maker into: he needed them to be fundamentally good, "strong and nurturing" as you say.

I read the series until somewhere around Alvin Journeyman IIRC, then I quit. Partly this was because I felt as though the writing was going downhill, but it was also because of the character of Calvin, Alvin's littler, eviller brother. It seemed to me that OSC *intended* to show that Calvin was Just Plain Bad from the beginning, sometimes these things happen. But what I saw was that the parents had too many children for everyone to get nurtured, and that Calvin was what we today would call a "high-need child" -- needs that were not being met because so much of the family caring went to Alvin. It reminded me of the way Ender's brother Peter was supposed to be the "special" one, and how Ender was neglected by comparison. To make Calvin the villain felt to me as though OSC had switched sides to be *against* the abused child, and I didn't want any more of it so I quit.

I only read one book of the Homecoming series, in part because I found the patriarch oppressive and even loathful, and the treatment of the gay and asexual characters creepy. How can you be that technologically sophisticated and yet have nothing like a turkey baster?

For a Mormon, as I understand it, loving your father or husband is not just a natural human duty, it's your ticket to Heaven. So if you *don't* love him, or he does things that are abusive or evil, you risk losing Heaven itself. Recognizing and dealing with an abusive family is always difficult; for devout Mormons, it can become something like blasphemy.

Completely untrue from a doctrinal perspective and from a practical "what is taught in church" perspective. Yes, from our Christian perspective we have an obligation to love even our enemies and pray for those that "despitefully use you." Does that mean stay in an abusive relationship as a ticket to heaven? Emphatically no! A man that physically abuses a woman or a child as you describe would be kicked out of the church plain and simple.

And by so doing, would you risk "losing heaven itself"? Again, emphatically no. That doesn't make sense. No loving God would require that. And blasphemy? Blasphemy would be abusing those you love. I can't say it any more straight than that. There is zero tolerance for physical abuse. Anybody engaging in such behavior is subject to church discipline and likely going to be excommunicated (I can safely say "for sure" for the actions you describe). Just because the ideal is to have a loving family and the goal to have "heaven on earth" doesn't mean that every family is going to be that way. Or that most families are.

This is amazing to me. Do people really think their Mormon friends and acquaintances think like this? I have to emphasize I am nothing special. I know of nobody that thinks in the way described in your excerpts.

It was not only a novelty but a cultural shame, both on the parents and on the kids but my friends knew that my father was an abusive cruel man and were secretly glad for me, even though they dared not say so.

Divorce is always embarrassing. I'd agree that it is more so in the Mormon culture. But it depends. Divorces of convenience where partners are too lazy or uncommitted to work through differences are one thing. Divorces due to abuse, infidelity etc. are entirely another. And while we are taught to avoid gossip and backbiting, I don't recognize the situation described where kids would "not dare" say they were happy a spouse was free from abuse.

The teacher confirmed that YES, my mother was not allowed all the blessings of heaven . . .

Simply put, we believe that all will be made right after this life. This statement is not correct. Sure, maybe a "teacher" (Sunday School teacher?) said that. Doesn't make it true. That would mean single people would not be able to go to heaven simply because maybe they didn't have the opportunity to marry. Everyone will have the opportunity to get to heaven. We believe that nobody will be denied blessings because of the wicked choices of another person. And we subscribe to the Biblical warning that it would be better to have a millstone hung around your neck than to offend a child.

As for Wanda wanting to be sealed to Ted, her abuser, that is an outlier if I've ever heard one. No, Wanda in no way would be expected to be sealed to her abuser.

Dr. Science, I appreciate your sharing of your understanding. It shows that you are a generous person. Had I been in your shoes looking outside in on the church and thought OSC held beliefs like you describe, I would not have been so charitable. Our belief in eternal families is a hopeful, positive belief. The irony for those who are not in loving families is again not lost on us. From the lines of one of my wife's favorite songs: "God will mend the broken branches of our family tree." And no, that doesn't mean keeping the abuser in there.


One of the best takes on child abuse that I've ever seen is Stuffed Friend.

I literally gasped when I read it.

Wow, Sebastian, that was like a kick in the throat. Having seen it, I'm sure you understand that saying thanks doesn't seem to be the right sentiment, but I recommend that everyone take a look at it. The artist is a guy named Jason Yungbluth and his webpage is http://www.whatisdeepfried.com/. Amazingly, that strip is not a one off, but a series, though that one is the most powerful by far.

That doesn't make sense. No loving God would require that....This is amazing to me. Do people really think their Mormon friends and acquaintances think like this?

I do. I mean, I know Christians who believe similar things even though those beliefs are pretty clearly antithetical to their beliefs about Christianity. For example, I've known people who were unwilling to say that a relative died of cancer because that proves God doesn't like them; that's an absurd idea in the context of their own faith tradition, but they believed it anyway. I've also known Christians who were convinced that their financial failure was proof that they were bad Christians because God would reward good Christians with wealth today; I don't know how to even begin reconciling this prosperity 'gospel' crap with actual Christianity.

The point is, real human beings don't practice faith traditions straight from the catechism. Instead, they integrate a whole host of cultural beliefs and intuitions about how the world should work into their faith tradition and declare that the whole mess comes straight from God Himself. The result is often full of obvious contradictions. Welcome to the world.

The fact that you, a smart attorney, can't reconcile obvious contradictions between some Mormons' understanding of Mormonism and Mormonism and you understand it and have been taught doesn't really tell us much about how Mormonism is practiced in the real world.

By the way, as someone who spent a bit of time studying the history of early Christianity, I still chuckle every time I see someone refer to Mormonism as a form of Christianity. Americans are so funny.

Turbulence:

doesn't really tell us much about how Mormonism is practiced in the real world.

I read ObWi because it generally has rational, thoughtful discussions by reasonable people. Yes, most people don't lean my political direction. That's fine because it challenges my own perceptions, thoughts and beliefs. I like that. I think I'm (mostly) rational as well.

So let me say that no rational person would say, after my experience, which is typical and representative of millions of members of my church, that Mormons practice "in the real world" what I have denounced above. What I am saying (although I'm not an official representative of the Church) is representative, IMH (and rational) opinion. I'd hope that my postings here would at least give me some credibility on this issue. There are wackos in ANY group. Fine. But I would at least hope that what I am saying would be taken by most at ObWi AS evidence of how Mormonism is practiced in the real world.

I still chuckle every time I see someone refer to Mormonism as a form of Christianity. Americans are so funny.

Why? I always think it is funny that most Christians don't know early church history. Probably the biggest source of doctrinal conflict is the Nicene Creed. Most Christians aren't even conversant about the homoousian vs. homoiousian issue and Arian controversy. I'm curious why you would think it funny that a people that profess to believe in Jesus Christ, that name their church after him (Mormon is a nickname, BTW) and strive to live their lives following Christ's example would be "funny" to call themselves Christians. What are we supposed to call ourselves?

I guess there are two meanings. One is the broad "We believe in Jesus Christ" sense. The other is the meaning given by some evangelicals (and others) which limits the term to those following the Nicene Creed.

With respect, it seems that not recognizing Mormons as Christian in the first sense shows a lack of knowledge of our beliefs.

Does anyone happen to know what the evangelicals who say that Mormons are not Christians think of Eastern Orthodox or Coptic Christians? Or does the determined ignorance of many of them concerning anything outside the continental US shield them from thinking about the question?

Yes, l_j, I fully understand that thanks isn't quite right. The bathtime one was also very sad. The complete set of them are here. I think the bedbugs one was the first try at what ultimately ended up being much more powerful in "Stuffed Friend". Both "Stuffed Friend" and "Bathtime Fun" seem to really distill some powerful essence of how the abuse twists the little girl in a way that survivors seem to identify with, and people who haven't experienced such abuse can get a hold of. The other comics seem to be the artist's earlier attempts at reaching for that theme--strong but not as powerful.

I'm hesitant to recommend them. If you think they may trigger you, you shouldn't. But if you know anyone who has been sexually abused as a child, they are as insightful as anything I've seen.

I don't consider Mormons Christians, in the same way that I don't consider Christians to be Jews. LDS is the fourth major Abrahamic religion, and just like Judaism, Christianity, and Islam is marked by having new scripture and revelations. I always figured that new prophet+new scripture=new (Abrahamic) religion, so I was surprised to learn that most Mormons classify themselves as Christians. But then, early Christians classified themselves as Jews, too. I've tended to assume than in another half a millennium or so these things will iron themselves out.

My assumption that LDS is "just" another Abrahamic religion dates from before I had ever encountered any Mormons or had any knowledge of Mormon doctrine and theology. Now that I've learned more, I'd say that theologically LDS is more different from conventional Christianity than Islam is from Judaism.

IMHO the kind of evangelicals who say loudly that LDS is a "cult" and "not Christian" are calling Roman Catholics "not really Christian, either" in a slightly softer voice.

The evangelical hatred for Mormonism has more IMHO to do with *competition* than with doctrine, because it doesn't take much for someone to become Not a Real True Christian as far as they're concerned. Mormons, though, are extremely "evangelical" in the general sense, always on a mission looking for converts, so they're the real competition for evangelizing Baptists, etc.

"IMHO the kind of evangelicals who say loudly that LDS is a "cult" and "not Christian" are calling Roman Catholics "not really Christian, either" in a slightly softer voice."

Evangelical Christians don't consider Catholics Christians.

The Catholic church doesn't consider Protestants as Christians(go and try to take communion from a priest who knows you are a Protestant).

In fact, it is questionable whether the various Protestant sects consider each other Christians, certainly they don't consider each other saved and ready to meet their Lord.

None of them, of course, consider Mormons Christians. And vice versa.

By definition. Is this even a question?


Individuals believee a vast number of things, the churches themselves are pretty clear on the subject.

(go and try to take communion from a priest who knows you are a Protestant)

I attended a Christening at an Episcopal church last winter. They let anyone who wanted to take communion, announcing, "This is the Lord's table, not the Episcopal Church's." I'm not much for religion, but I thought that was cool, even (or especially) if it was a not-so-subtle swipe at the Catholic Church.

I don't consider Mormons Christians, in the same way that I don't consider Christians to be Jews

Wait, Jews don't believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ. So they aren't Christians. Mormons believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ, that he is the Son of God, that he atoned for the sins of all humankind, that we get to heaven through him, so Mormons don't believe in what, exactly? Logically this doesn't make any sense.

Now that I've learned more, I'd say that theologically LDS is more different from conventional Christianity than Islam is from Judaism.

Maybe Wikipedia Mormonism vs. Wikipedia Christianity vs. Wikipedia Islam vs. Wikipedia Judaism. What about Torah vs. Quuran? Mormons believe all the books of Moses--in fact the entire Old Testament and New Testament. I'd say Mormonism is more like Judaism than most Christian faiths. We've got the Jordan River, an inland body of salt water, our own Exodus, persecution, etc. Still working on how the Utah Jazz fits in.

None of them, of course, consider Mormons Christians. And vice versa.

The vice versa part is not true. Check out the new series on BYUtv regarding the King James Translation. Martin Luther was Christian. Both before and after his posting.

bc,

That's great, really reduces the number of people that the church needs to convert

CCDG:

The Catholic church doesn't consider Protestants as Christians(go and try to take communion from a priest who knows you are a Protestant).

These are actually two separate things. The Roman Catholic Church, as far as I know, has *never* considered (most) Protestants or Eastern Rite believers to be non-Christian, they are just *mistaken* or *estranged* Christians. Importantly, Protestant and Eastern baptisms are considered sacramental by Catholics, so a member of one of those churches that converts to Catholicism doesn't have to be baptized again. The Wikipedia article on Full communion gives a pretty good overview:

the Roman Catholic Church sees itself as in partial communion with Protestants, and as in much closer, but still incomplete, communion with the Orthodox Churches.
You can only take communion from a Catholic priest if you're from a church in "full communion" with the Catholic Church, but the RC Church *always* considers you to be *Christian*. I do no recall ever hearing a Catholic use "Christians" to mean "only Catholics, not Protestants or Orthodox"; I have frequently heard evangelical or fundamentalism Protestants use "Christian" to mean only "Christians like me".

Thats a lot of words. full communion, partial, you don't have to be rebaptized but you do have to be retrained (even to have your child christened) to say only Christians like me.

It is the assumption that you believe the right thing (or in some cases do the right thing) to achieve heaven that defines whether you are a true Christian in all of those sects.

I suppose Christians gone astray and not going to heaven may still get lip service.

Sorry, one more thing, Catholics don't talk about others not being Christian because it is adequately damning to define them as not Catholic.

In fact, it is questionable whether the various Protestant sects consider each other Christians, certainly they don't consider each other saved and ready to meet their Lord.

I belong to a very conservative Protestant sect, and we believe that pretty much all of conventional Christianity are Christians. Catholics, Baptists, Primitive Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians...don't get too upset if I left anyone out. On the question of Mormons, I'd have to do some research.

Personally I think that Mormons are fairly odd, but that doesn't mean I shun them or anything. Just that it's hard to grasp a set of Scriptures that takes place outside all of the rest of written history.

That probably doesn't put them in the top 10 for oddness. And I certainly don't want to get into a shouting match over this; it's just a show-stopper for me, personally.

Open vs. closed commmunion is a different subject entirely. Other churches are free to set policy as they see fit, of course, but mine holds that communing together implies a certain parity of beliefs. Ditto prayer, which is one reason I don't get too excited about elimination of public prayer before sporting events and the like.

I'm hesitant to recommend them. If you think they may trigger you, you shouldn't.

Want to thank Sebastian for noting that, it's something where my naivete had me not even think of that.

To tie this to something else I've wanted to say on this thread, but have been a bit hesitant to because it is hard to tell if it is a squick factor (and I may be using that word wrong, I thought it was feeling uncomfortable about something but attaching no moral presumptions on it) or something that one should be careful about, it is that this suggests a lot about OSC which, when coupled with the information about the loss of two children, seems a bit too much. I know Dr. Science wrote

includes analysis and speculation about the psychological makeup of a living person, verging on Real Person Fic. May contain trace Freudian concepts.

but by the time I got to the end of the post, it was squick city. Since I don't have a handle on this for myself, this should not reflect anything on the good Doctor, but more on my own weaknesses and shortcomings. However, if child abuse is in the mix here, when the Doc writes

And IMHO it *is* a betrayal, the worst kind an author can commit: he is lying about his own creations, which is also denying the truth of his own soul.

perhaps this is my naivete speaking, but how someone deals with something like the loss of 2(!) children or the possibility of having some experience with child abuse, so far beyond what I feel competent to judge that even mulling it over produces squick.

It's ironic that before I knew a lot of the details here (and as I mentioned earlier, I only knew Ender's Game as a short story, and while I was familiar with OSC's rantings, I didn't know anything about his religion or children) , I thought that what he said should be ridiculed on the public stage and he should be held up as an object of contempt, now I see him much more like the crazy guy on the street corner expositing on his abduction by aliens and the like.

Obviously, as I've now lived more than half my life in places where my native language is not the one everyone else speaks, learning about this sort of thing thru direct interpersonal communication is pretty unlikely, so I may be missing something terribly, and if so, my apologies. but am I wrong in thinking that if the original injury is so painful, you can't really judge a person's response to it?

Probably the biggest source of doctrinal conflict is the Nicene Creed. Most Christians aren't even conversant about the homoousian vs. homoiousian issue and Arian controversy.

The discrepencies between the Mormon theology and the main-line Christianism go much deeper than the Arian heresy, homousian vs. homoiousian schism or the Nestorian heresy.

First of all, Mormonism does not accept the creation ex nihilo. Instead, the eternal existence of matter and souls is assumed. Second, Jesus is considered to be a created being, which is something even Arians would not say. Third, the whole spiritual world is occupied with a large number of invisible things (e.g. Heavenly Mother) that are unknown to any form of Christianity. Fourth, the physical world was created by Jesus. (Instead of having been created by God through His Word, Jesus.)

I'd say Mormonism no closer to Christianity than Manicheanism. The cosmology is rather similar.

I just glanced at the turn this thread has taken and have not read it in depth, but I know this to be true:

Jews don't recognize Jesus.

Protestants don't recognize the Pope.

Baptists don't recognize each other at Hooters and the liquor store.

"The cosmology is rather similar."

...and I get all of my cosmological view from The Urantia Book

Utah, jftr, buys and downloads more internet pornography than any other state. This is the same place that has companies that will bowdlerize your R-rated DVDs to take out all the boobies and swears.

Slarti:

I get the extra scripture issue. And we think we're odd, too. Just not as odd as other seem to think. It's the "you're not thinking about the same Jesus" at Christmas that bugs me. I'm not saying we're a mainline Protestant church. But we're not closer to Islam, IMHO, either. Not by a long shot. People would be surprised to see that our Sunday services aren't all that different (communion, sermons on Christ, etc.).

I've attended Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, Anglican, Assembly of God, charismatic and Catholic services, off the top of my head. And I sing along and participate when I go. My point is the similarities, as in central doctrine of Christ and the Gospel.

ccdg: lol.

Lurker: I don't dispute there are differences, but your examples lack context and are not exactly correct. Too much to go into here. None of that, however, denies that we believe in Christ as divine and the literal Son of God and our Savior.

Phil:

Give me a break. You don't strike me as a regular reader of Desnews. I am. I read this article. But please put it in context. Utah is also the state with the "highest rate of hard liquor not purchased in a Safeway." The red light industry is nowhere near what it is in other states and hence availability is an issue. The author says as much. He didn't adjust for that. Nor did he adjust for church membership. Your attempted association is plain wrong.


You don't strike me as a regular reader of Desnews.

No, I provided that link because I thought it was interesting to see how they covered a news story which portrays the state less than admirably. And they did so quite nicely.

The red light industry is nowhere near what it is in other states and hence availability is an issue. The author says as much. He didn't adjust for that.

One assumes that Montana, noted for having the lowest rate, doesn't exactly have a thriving red light industry either.

Your attempted association is plain wrong.

What attempted association is that?

bc:

Wait, Jews don't believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ. So they aren't Christians. Mormons believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ, that he is the Son of God, that he atoned for the sins of all humankind, that we get to heaven through him, so Mormons don't believe in what, exactly? Logically this doesn't make any sense.

Of course it makes sense: your argument assumes that since Christianity and LDS are different from Judaism in the same way, they are the same religion. But LDS has many other aspects that diverge very strongly from all other Christian groups, and the most important IMHO is following a new prophet with a new revelation and scripture.

In the Abrahamic tradition, having a new scripture is the defining characteristic of a new religion: we are all Peoples of the Book, but the Books differ. So it always seemed obvious to me that LDS is a new Abrahamic religion based on or growing out of Christianity, just as Christianity grew out of Second Temple Judaism and Islam grew out of Rabbinic-era Judaism. We all say we believe in the same God, after all, but we follow different religions, so why can't Mormons believe in the same Jesus as Christians but follow a different religion?

I don't know, though, if you (or most Mormons) realize how *extremely* divergent LDS views of the divine nature, the nature of the soul, and the nature of the afterlife are from the Christian mainstream. Perhaps with another century or two of hard work on the part of Mormon theologians and apologists you-all will be able to come up with a way to reconcile Mormon teachings with those of (other) Christians -- but the effort would be of Talmudic complexity and require an intellect on the order of Maimonides or Thomas Aquinas.

There are quite a few abusive stepmothers in fairy tales: Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, etc. I'd reckon that there was a lot of child neglect or abuse going on around then

Grimm's tales were published in what, the early 19th century, and collected folk stories that had been in circulation long before. I'm fairly sure OSC is an author of more recent vintage.

Dr. Science:

On divergence, we get it. I don't know, though, that most of the Christian world is aware of the similarities. Or the similarities with early Christian teachings and thought pre-Hellenistic influx. No, I'm not saying the same. But I don't think it is as simple as categorizing religions in a Dewey Decimal sort of way. When I say we are Christian, this is essentially what I am saying.

I'd also say your assertion that "new scripture" and "new prophet" equals "new religion" is overly simplistic, especially as it relates to the Mormon belief in a restoration and in your comparison to Islam. The centrality of Christ to our worship is what distinguishes us from Islam (indeed, isn't it an unpardonable sin under Islam to consider Christ divine?) and makes us Christians.

Dr. Science: While you make a good case for the other books you cite, I think you are misreading Speaker for the Dead.

First, about your comment about birth control solving various characters' problems: Lusitania is presented as an explicitly Roman Catholic colony (of Portuguese ethnic descent), where the church is shown as a co-equal power center to the civil government (and which seems to have preserved most of its positions on human sexuality over the centuries). Pretty much every human on the planet, except for Ender and the governor, who come from off-world, is either Catholic or lapsed Catholic. Given that, and the fact that the colony is still trying to rebuild its population years after a devastating plague, where would you expect the characters to find artificial birth control? Given the setup, I would expect birth control to be at best a contraband item of dubious availability, smuggled in on the occasional supply ship and only available erratically through whatever black market exists, if that.

Second, I think you are misreading Novinha's motivation. While she was traumatized as a child by being orphaned, far from being abused, she was idolized by the rest of the population as the child who could do no wrong. As an adult she married Marcos, who became abusive, but his abuse was directed at her, not the children (except for one power struggle involving one son). The children were affected in various ways by the family dynamic, but they weren't directly targeted.

(Mild spoiler ahead, much milder than the detailed info in the Wikipedia article on the book):

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As for Novinha's motivation, Ender reveals at the conclusion of his Speaking Marcos' life and death, and in a subsequent scene, that nearly everything Novinha did, including putting up with the abuse, was motivated by trying to protect people she loved from secrets that she was convinced could lead them to their deaths, if discovered.

Here locally, a hospital administrator and Mormon Bishop was approached by a hospital employee and Mormon who confessed to sexually abuse of children.

The Bishop admonished the fellow Mormon to go forth and sin no more, which was singularly unhelpful to the children, who continued to be abused, as saying "No, No" to a pedophile is as unlikely to help stop the behavior as shouting "Out, Out, Demons" is to cure cancer.

Eventually a non-Mormon discovered the abuse, and then the Bishop/employer's role was uncovered. A large financial settlement by both the hospital and the Mormon Church followed the conviction of both the Bishop and his follower. The abuse, as shown in court, was particularly ugly, but I suppose most all of child sexual abuse is.

Not a pretty story. It is anecdotal evidence, not scientific or legal evidence, but it is what it is.

I have served on grand jury in my county, and the majority of non-drug-related crimes were sexual abuse of children or mentally disabled young girls. It was one day's service, and was far more disturbing than a 2-week murder trial I was on another petit jury for.

It is hard to believe that a perfectly ordinary looking person next to you could house that much evil, but it is quite possible. The photos don't lie, although I am amazed at the propensity of these monsters to make and keep photos of their crimes.

Orson Scott Card's work isn't as uniformly about child abuse as the article makes it out to be, but the theme is strong enough to make me wonder what brings about his hatred of people with different sexual desires than his.

I no longer buy his work as it feels to me like financial approval of his hatred of people who are my friends or relatives.

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