By Nancy K. Matthis | Wednesday, March 1st, 2006 at 6:58 pm
Most of us in the western world did not pay much attention to the fanatical element of Islam until after the 9/11 tragedy. For most religions, and for most periods in history, we reasoned, there are moderates and there are extremists. As long as they do not intersect our own lives, we do not trouble ourselves about such matters. This is particularly true if they concern another culture and occur half a world away.
True, we have skeletons in our own Judeo-Christian closet. True, Christian Crusades were launched against Islamic territories that were minding their own business. True, the Christians tried to exterminate the Jewish merchants during the Spanish Inquisition. True, the Germanic Christians either participated or largely looked the other way during the Holocaust. But that was THEN. NOW we enjoy religious tolerance, peace, ecumenicism, and brotherhood. We have Councils of Churches.
Since our rude awakening on 9/11, we have been aghast at the Islamic teaching that apostates should be killed. Islamofascists interpret the Quran to justify the violent murder of those who intentionally leave the faith. If one is born into Islam, or accepts conversion to the faith, and subsequently leaves, these radicals believe it is their duty to Allah to exterminate the disloyal ones.
Our freedom-loving American psyches are repulsed by this attitude. It is so … so … so Arabic.
Think again. The following text is quoted from U.S. Senate Document 486; Endowment Oaths and Ceremonies, of the Mormon church, as reported in the Salt Lake Tribune, February 8, 1906:
Early Penalty of the First Token of the Aaronic Priesthood
We, and each of us, covenant and promise that we will not reveal any of the secrets of this, the First Token of the Aaronic Priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign, or penalty. Should we do so, we agree that our throats be cut from ear to ear and our tongues torn out by our roots.
Early Penalty of the Second Token of the Aaronic Priesthood
We, and each of us, covenant and promise that we will not reveal any of the secrets of this, the Seond Token of the Aaronic Priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign, or penalty. Should we do so, we agree to have our breasts cut open and our hearts and vitals torn out from our bodies and given to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field.
Early Penalty of the First Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood
We, and each of us, covenant and promise that we will not reveal any of the secrets of this, the First Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign, or penalty. Should we do so, we agree that our bodies be cut assunder in the midst and all our bowels gush out.
Pretty gruesome stuff, no? And pretty homegrown American.
In his book Mormonism: A Latter Day Deception, Martin Wishnatsky speculates on the horror of an initiate within the temple discovering for the first time what he has gotten himself into:
The truth is that not until one is in the Endowment Room of the temple, the doors closed and guarded, the spotters vigilantly watching every gesture, does the truth of total “consecration” on penalty of death come out. There is no aisle in the Endowment Room should one decide to run out; he would have to clamber over the bodies of the other experienced ritual throat-slitters, dodge past the spotters, and then race out of the building before anyone could react fast enough to stop him.
The worst is yet to come, dear readers. Most researchers agree that Joseph Smith lifted the ceremonies whole cloth from the rituals of Freemasonry, an organization to which he belonged. During the first half of the last century, most white Anglo-Saxon Protestant middle and upper-middle class American men regarded being a “Mason” as an essential social endorsement. That included Daughter’s father, uncle, father-in-law, and uncle-in-law — in short, all the important male adult figures in her immediate world.
They were intelligent, patriotic, honest, hard-working businessmen. Good husbands and fathers. When they donned their formal attire and went to their Masonic lodges, who knows?
Nancy Matthis is the publisher and executive editor of the weblog format news magazine and multimedia outlet American Daughter Media Center.
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