Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Mormonism as a tribe, Part 1: Introduction of tribalism

In order to understand what Mormonism is all about, you have to understand the basic social group that people form in this life. People belong to tribes. They see themselves as members of tribes, they work within the tribe to secure life, property, meaning, and peace through the tribe.

Human animals form tribes

We, as human animals, have existed in tribes much, much longer than any religion has existed. We may have skyscrapers, but we're still tribal people. We want to belong to a tribe; it feels natural, and we know instinctually that there is safety there.

A tribe has it's own values, culture, beliefs and ways of doing things. They separate themselves from other tribes through dress, language, rituals, and teachings.

Think about when you go to church on Sunday. You drive to the tribal meeting hall, you wear the same tribal clothes (shirt and tie) as the other members of your tribe, you say the same tribal language (heavenly father, plan of salvation, missions, etc.,) you eat the sacrament (which only members of the tribe can do), and you recite specific scriptures that are the tribal teachings past on from generation to generation.

If you can glimpse this at all, then you'll start to understand why Mormons do some of the things they do. I'm not saying this is bad or evil, I am saying that unless you understand mormons as a tribe, then the particular things they do will not make much sense.

Roles within the tribe

A very big part of the tribe is the tribal hierarchy (this is by no means an exact science, but I think it's vital to understand these underlying roles that we have in the tribe):

the Chief: he makes the decisions for the tribe, he protects the tribe through his strength.

the Wizard, healer, feeler, or emotional shaman: he operates by feelings, he can see deeply into people's souls, but he can't order reality like the chief (he can help the chief make decisions through understanding emotions)

the Warriors: they carry out the orders of the chief and they fight for the tribe when necessary

the Subjects: these are the people that don't know up from down, but they do know that if they follow the chief, they will be safe and protected.

the Women: these are the glue of the tribe, they keep it running and they give meaning to life, they give meaning to the warrior's battles.

I know there are still more basic roles to the tribe, but if you understand these roles, it will go a long way in explaining the reality that we live in.

Christ as tribal chief

Christ is the chief. Christ takes on the dark monsters in reality (death and sin) and he defeats them through his strength. It is this strength that so many are drawn to; there is safety there, especially if you are a simple subject and do not have the capacity to take on the dark monsters of reality yourself. Most people fit into this part of the tribe. Most importantly, they will do anything to get the favor of the chief. Because if you have his favor, you have life.

Most subjects in the tribe want to obey the chief and do what he says. That's a natural instinct we have; it's an ingrained instinct that has helped our ancestors survive many real dangers. It is such an old tendency within us that we will do it naturally. We want to obey, we want to be told what to do, and when we do obey the chief, we get a great feeling of satisfaction.

Most people make life decisions based upon this tribal mentality. They may make rational reasons why they do such and such after the fact, but the underlying motivations for their decisions can be traced to the tribal human instinct.

There are people that understand this aspect of our nature, and they will use this on us to do what they want, and those are the people you have to be aware of. There are emperors and there are fools. The emperor understands this fact about humans: we all want to be part of the tribe. The fools do not understand this, and so they are lead by the chief, even, at times, to their own destruction.


Blogger Jason King said...

I'll look into Emile's work; thanks.

12:09 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home