April 12th, 2010

Joseph Smith

The Hostage Situation

Someone you love has gone missing. Perhaps a child, sibling, parent, spouse, or friend. You are desperate to be reunited with them but it seems hopeless. Suddenly, a stranger contacts you with what sounds like good news. They know where your loved one is and can reunite you with that person! The thing is, they want something in return.

They can't prove they have access to the person. No evidence can be given. You can't speak to them on the phone or see a photo of them holding today's newspaper. All you have is this stranger's word. And, in your desperation, you ask what it will take to get your loved one back. What does this stranger want from you?

First, they want money. But not all of it up front. You will have to continuously make payments. 10% of everything you earn for the rest of your life. In addition to this, they also have a list of rules they want you to obey. Some of these rules are sensible but others are ridiculous. There are certain rituals you must preform and a great deal of time you will need to invest. They will be checking up on you and making sure that you are following the rules and making your payments. They say if you do these things you will get your loved one back. But not until after you are dead.

This will also act as an insurance policy for the future loss of loved ones but there are complications. Not only do you have to follow the rules and pay but so do your other family members and friends. If they don't start paying the ransom as well you might all end up separated from each other forever.

Some nicely dressed young men might show up to your door to happily tell you all about the ransom you need to pay for you dead loved ones and the important insurance policy that you and all of your friends must invest in to make sure you can see each other again in the next life. There is no solid proof they can give but, they say, that doesn't matter. The important thing is that you feel that they might be telling you the truth. As long as you feel some hopeful feeling about it, it must be true. Don't you want to see your loved ones again?

And however manipulative it is, however little proof you really have, maybe in your desperation, missing someone you love and wanting more than anything to see them again, you begin paying a ransom that will never end. You will pass it on to your children and as many others as you can convince to pay and hope that it will somehow be enough to insure you get to be with your loved ones again.

When someone you care about dies it is a devastating thing. The LDS church teaches that you can be with your family again in the next life but only if you live a faithful mormon life which includes a 10% tithe, participating in various rituals, and following a list of other demands. Families can be together forever ...if they all pay the ransom. What kind of church or god would place a ransom on the ones you love?