Trashing the Mormons -- via the book "Blood of the Prophets"

Jim Farmelant farmelantj at
Fri Aug 30 20:05:52 MDT 2002

As I see it, Hunter and Jim Craven are arguing at crosspurposes
at each other concerning the Mormons.  Jim Craven is absolutely
right concerning the ideological character of the Mormon Church.
And at the same time Hunter is correct in noting that there
have been a great many working class rank-and-file Mormons,
who hold progressive views, and have often acquited themselves
admirably in social struggles.  Much of the same sorts of
criticisms that Jim Craven directs at the Mormons
can be directed at the Roman Catholic Church,
which especially in its pre-Vatican II manifestations,
was and is very much a reactionary cult, which in the
past openly supported anti-Semitism and other
forms of racism, flirted with fascism, and which of course supported the
forcible conversion of American Indians.  And of course
even the contemporary Catholic Church continues to
manifest certain reactionary attitudes and practices,
including the privilaging of its all-male clergy, such that
the sexual abuse of children by them was openly accepted by
the Church's hierarchy.

Nevertheless, despite all that, it was and continues to
be the case that there have been a great many working
class and peasant Catholics who have participated in
all manner of progressive social struggles such as
the republican struggle in Ireland, the struggles by
working class Catholics in the US, and of course
the struggles by Latin American Catholics against
US imperialism.  It would be churlish for Marxists
to decline to support such struggles because so
many of their participants are members of a church
that is in so many ways reactionary, and even
anti-human.  But that is one of the contradictions
that we have to face.  Certainly, much of Mormon
theology is on the face of it, reactionary to the
core, racist, and sexist.  But the same can be said
for the theologies of many other Christian and
non-Christian sects, many of whose members
may well have quite honorable records of fighting
for social justice.

On Fri, 30 Aug 2002 13:32:30 -0700 (PDT) Adam Levenstein
<cleon42 at> writes:
> --- Hunter Gray <hunterbadbear at> wrote:
> > Blood of the Prophets -- and its flare-up media hype -- are
> > reminiscent of
> > the 1998 Christy Turner book, Man Corn: Cannibalism and Violence
> in
> > the
> > Prehistoric American Southwest and the big play it briefly got
> before
> > all
> > Indians and virtually all Anthros [among many others] shot it
> down.
> > Man
> > Corn claimed -- with no proof -- that the peaceful Anasazi of
> 800-900
> > years ago were practicing cannibals -- and Turner sought to link
> them
> > with
> > far away, alleged Toltec "witchcraft."
> What Turner claimed was that there was cannibalism practiced at one
> time in the Anasazi community. He never claimed that it was
> widespread
> or long-lived, and his evidence was fairly compelling--if memory
> serves, it consisted of human proteins found in coprolites (feces)
> that
> normally wouldn't be there--unless they arrived by consuming human
> flesh. Furthermore, he found cuts on human bones from the period
> that
> looked suspiciously like marks found on butchered animals.
> His theory (again, working from memory) was that a group of people
> from
> central Mexico arrived and took power, however briefly, and
> cannibalism
> was a ritual part of that power base. (Think about it--seeing a guy
> who
> a week ago was stirring rebellion cooked in a stew and served to the
> Guys in Charge would scare the hell out of anyone.) His evidence on
> the
> Central Mexico connection were the remains found of individuals with
> teeth filed to sharp points, similar to remains found in period
> Mexican
> cities.
> Personally, I don't think it implied any moral judgement upon the
> Anasazi, and tells a rather fascinating tale if true. I don't
> particularly care to judge an entire civilization as "warlike" or,
> for
> that matter, "peace-loving," as it is a broad generalization that
> doesn't take into account changing society attitudes over time. Even
> so, if Turner's theory is true, it shows the Anasazi as victims, not
> perpetrators.
> In any event, I have to agree with Jim on his characterization of
> the
> Mormon Church. For starters, this is a cult that is unquestionably
> founded on racist ideology, and only recently did someone have a
> "vision" telling him that racism wasn't such a hot idea after all.
> Second, how many Natives did these people exterminate in order to
> found
> their Deseret? Third, their entire ideal of polygamy (which, like
> their
> racism, was changed for practical rather than religious reasons)
> objectified women in the most extreme manner possible. Sure,
> individual
> Mormons might be decent enough--hell, I know a couple of decent
> Baptists--but this cult (and it is a cult) is reactionary in the
> extreme.
> Adam
> =====
> -----------------------------------------------------------
> Adam Levenstein                          cleon42 at
> ICQ: 17125158
> Microsoft will make something that doesn't suck when
> they start manufacturing vacuum cleaners.

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