Abolition of Degrading Rules sign now

Persecution By Religious Bodies - dead? I don't think so.

My name is Sean Parrott, an almost 19-year-old resident of North Idaho, and now-peripheral member of the Mormon Church. I was born in Bremerton, Washington, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints from birth.

I lived in Washington until I was about seven or eight, when we moved to North Idaho, to a town called Priest River, not too far from the Canadian Border.

I began attending the Church closest to us - a small, rural communion of about 200+ members, consisting of all ages, although there were more elderly people than most congregations.

After a few years of not noticing the oppression that went on every day, my brain began to poke at me a little. Public school had an affect on me as well - awakening me to the *reality* of life, which the Church was not properly preparing me for. It was then that it hit me - the place I'd grown up in was slowly turning from a loving, caring, patriarchal institution to something only comparable to a fascist regime. I imagine you're asking for some evidence, and I won't shirk on you there.

First, I'll give the cheapest form of evidence on the planet - word of mouth. Kids are maturing quickly, rushing into their older-teen years, and are thus growing facial hair. They are constantly *badgered* for that, saying that it's unclean, and shouldn't be an image 'associated with the Church'. Well, I'm sorry, but the last time *I* checked, there wasn't any 'image of the Church' to be worried about. It used to be about the people.

Magic: The Gathering. A *simple card game*. It entails one thing - defeating your opponent. There's no witchcraft involved, while some of the terminology reflects things like 'Sorcery', and 'Enchantments'. If one has their brain firmly anchored to reality, they'll understand that this is a simple form of entertainment. Which only proves that the fundamentalist who confiscated my carefully constructed deck of cards was completely off his rocker, and convinced that a friend and I were dealing 'Tarot' cards in the Church. While I admit that it was neither the time, nor the place for a little friendly competition, the action taken by the administration, in my opinion, was completely overblown, and disproportionate to the 'offense'.

This is just a sample - just a small taste of what transpires on a bi-weekly basis at the Church I no longer attend, because of my overwhelming disgust with what I'm about to present. The following 'guidelines', ladies and gentlemen, are not sanctioned by the Prophet. It came directly from the Stake, and goes no further than that. These 'suggestions' don't exist anywhere else (at least nowhere anyone would look), only in the Sandpoint Stake, hence their name: The Sandpoint Sixteen Rules of Dating.

THE SANDPOINT SIXTEEN RULES OF SMART DATING

1. I understand that I will attract what I am. If I love Jesus Christ and His Gospel, I will be attracted to similar individuals, and they will be to me.
^So basically, what this is saying, is that you shouldn't date anyone who's different from you? This is so misleading it almost makes me ill. This could be construed to mean anything. And if you so much as misstep *once*, you don't love Jesus Christ, *or* His Gospel. This is almost heartbreaking for me.^

2. I do not date nonmembers nor unworthy Church members. Fellowshipping these individuals is always done in groups. When you begin dating, go in groups or on double dates. Avoid pairing off exclusively with one partner until after a mission for young men, and after High School for young women.
^Am I the only one who notices the blidingly obvious sexist element in this 'guideline'? The element which runs on *both* sides of the river, I might add. If they're so concerned about preventing teen pregnancy, why are they letting the young women out to 'pair off' after High School, and using a mission as an excuse to keep young men out of the picture? Now remember the first part, where it says not to date nonmembers(they won't go on missions), nor unworthy Church members(until they're worthy, they *can't* go on missions). It's very carefully designed to keep all forms of intimate relationship *within the Church organization*. Now, I don't know how you, the public feel about segregation, but I personally feel that it'll be the downfall of human civilization.^

3. I do not participate in "hugging-kissing" sessions, or "making out." President Kimball said to returned missionaries, (underlined"A kiss is an evidence of affection, not an evidence of lust.")
^Well that's special. Note he said that to *returned missionaries*. Read on.^

4. I do not French kiss.
^Note that it doesn't say 'until after my mission', or 'until after marriage', or 'until' anything. Evidently, you're not supposed to French kiss at any point in your entire lifetime. So the newly-wed couple can 'make love' but not French kiss? So what, then - a thousand small, perfunctory Aunty Em kisses ought to get the message across? Sometimes, you love someone so much that there are only a few methods strong enough to express it, and French kissing is one of them, no matter how 'unclean' it might look.^

5. I observe the (underlined+bold"Two Second Rule") when kissing (after my mission) and the (underlined+bold"No Kissing Rule") before my mission.
^I have never once heard anything about either of those rules, although I have no valid argument for either, as I'm fighting for the kids *inside* the Church. I have absolutely nothing to gain from writing this, I'm just tired of seeing it.^

6. I do not "park" with a date. (underlined+bold EVER)
^What about when you're parked at an intersection? Or what if you get pulled over, should you start arguing with the police officer about your dating standards? This 'guideline' is completely unnecessary.^

7. I never, ever remain in a home, or in a room in a home, alone with my date.
^So you should have more people in the room? What would *that* constitute? I can understand the reasoning behind this, but it can't be applied. What if your date had something fall on their head, and they're laying on the floor bleeding to death? Should you just go dial 911 and then leave them there?^

8. I never, ever go into a bedroom with my date. Bedrooms are not for entertaining friends of the opposite gender.
^So they're for entertaining friends of the *same* gender? What is *that* saying? This piece of paper in front of me is so flawed - I can't believe it's supposed to be supporting perfection.^

9. I do not give or receive "back rubs" with my dates.
^Date*s*? Problem 1. Problem 2 - that is just overzealous. I thought this was the Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints, not the Church of Jesus Christ Of Billy Graham. Back to problem 1. I've asked about this, and they say it's to give the young men/women a 'broader perspective', or 'more experience'. Unfortunately, if the youth adheres to *these* rules, it'll be like dating the same person, over and over again. Moot.^

10. I do not lie on the ground or on top of my date. When we watch TV, we sit up. We believe in the (underlined+bold "Two Feet On The Ground At All Time Rule;") which is, when we are together at picnics, or the beach, or anywhere else together, we sit up. We don't sit on each other's lap.
^Yet another rule which seems to have appeared from nowhere at all. I asked about this, and the individual I spoke to sort of trailed off and got distracted. That really scares me.^

11. I only attend wholesome activities with my dates -- no television or movies or videos with crudity, sex, violence, profanity, or nudity. If I find that any of this kind of material does not offend me, then this is a sure sign that I am not living as close to the Spirit as I should be and that I need to do something about it.
^The only thing that needs to be done about any of this is to deal with the run-on sentence. Plus, it's a clue as to why Mormons are on the most anti-depressants, in comparison to the other profound religions.^

12. I dress modestly and avoid dating individuals who flaunt their bodies by wearing form-fitting, or figure-revealing, or immodest, or "message" clothing.
^Wow. It's almost as if they're worried that kids will try to lawyer their way out of the oppression. I'm sorry, but basic colors send a message. They got all pissed when I'd show up wearing black, but it was just jeans and a turtleneck. You can't get much more modest than that.^

13. I do not keep late hours when dating. I return home by midnight. I understand that most instances of immorality occur when we are tired and our resistance is down. Satan never "gets tired."
^Goodness, they're just pulling out all the stops on this one, but they're still being perfectly within the bounds of political correctivity(if that's not a word, it is now). They didn't say "rape" or even "date rape", but "immorality". That doesn't send a message of steadfastness to me. To me, it sends a message of cowardice. Hiding from the truth, and hoping that since it can't be seen, it'll disappear. And now they're placing curfews? Where are the street patrols? Come on, let's see some armed Jesus guards. Actually, I don't think Jesus has anything to do with any of this...^

14. I always discuss the "Sandpoint Sixteen" with any person I begin dating seriously so they will always know what my standards are.
15. I stop dating a person whenever they think the "Sandpoint Sixteen" are too strict.
16. I never thnk that I am an exception to the "Sandpoint Sixteen" Rules, that they don't apply to me, that nothing immoral could ever happen to me. I am much too smart to think what Satan would have me think.

^These last three are the ones that particularly annoy me. They're the icing on the cake. These three rules guarantee the success of the entire process. We have social exclusion, self-dehumanization, and insurance that the message will be delivered to anyone who their 'children' will come into contact with. And these are also for returned missionaries, don't forget. Those are 20+ year-old men. Think about that. Think about what these rules entail. What kind of mental damage are these rules doing, by completely separating the Church youth from the outside world?^

It's unhealthy, almost as unhealthy as what ----^*could*^---- happen, should someone accidentally realize that they're human. This, however, is a guaranteed downfall. Personally, I think the young men/women would be smarter to take their chances in the world. Anything is better than *LETTING SOMEONE ELSE DOOM YOU INTO SOCIAL DEGREDATION FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE*.

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