Responsibility

“It’s amazing how gullible people are,” DeLoy continues. “But you have to remember what a huge comfort the religion is. It provides all the answers. It makes life simple. Nothing makes you feel better than doing what the prophet commands you to do. If you have some controversial issue you’re dealing with — let’s say you owe a lot of money to somebody, and you don’t have the means to pay them — you go in and talk to the prophet, and he might tell you, ‘You don’t have to pay the money back. The Lord says it’s Okay.’ And if you just do what the prophet says, all the responsibility for your actions is now totally in his hands. You can refuse to pay the guy, or even kill somebody, or whatever, and feel completely good about it. And that’s a real big part of what holds this religion together: it’s not having to make those critical decisions than many of us have to make, and be responsible for your decisions.”

. . . . “If you want to know the truth,” he says, squinting against the glare, “I think people within the religion — people who live here in Colorado City — are probably happier, on the whole, than people on the outside.” He looks down at the red sand, scowls, and nudges a rock with the toe of one shoe. “But some things in life are more important than being happy. Like being free to think for yourself.”

— Jon Krakauer, Under the Banner of Heaven

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