Posted: May 11, 2016 4:33 pm
by ScholasticSpastic
NamelessFaceless wrote: I honestly have a hard time understanding why its adherents don't see that.

Mormons are obviously strange and wrong to Baptists and vice versa. They're both obviously wrong and strange to Catholics and vice versa. Christianity is wrong and strange to Islam and vice versa. Same with all the religions, and same with none of the religions. From what I can tell observing my wife's response to the splinter Joseph Smith Sects when they appear in the news, they are obviously wrong, and embarrassing for her, too.

It's cognitive bias and turtles all the way down, I think. We tend to more critically examine ideas and belief systems that we're less emotionally attached to. Mostly when I see a new convert, it's usually someone who was vulnerable: Whether developmentally vulnerable (children, mentally disabled) or emotionally vulnerable (addicts, divorcees, impoverished, relocated, etc.). People who feel secure in themselves and how their lives are going don't tend to shop around for new churches, and, if they're a member of a church, will tend to project that stability onto their faith.

I imagine that Joseph Smith's success came from his peculiar mix of charisma, chicanery (he got busted a few times for using magic rocks for treasure hunting prior to founding a religion- so he was kind of an early version of L. Ron Hubbard), and the social instability of his time. I also suspect that, since his intelligence had some demonstrable boundaries, his martyrdom was probably the best thing for his church. If he hadn't been killed by angry people suspicious of his nascent religion, he probably would have slipped up and undermined his own church at some point down the road. It's not so much that he managed to keep track of his stories particularly well. I think he just got killed before he could get caught in too big a contradiction.