Atheist rant convinces devout Mormon

By Justin Adams

Joe Withers, a sophomore in sociology at the U, has recently announced his intention to become an atheist. He, like many Utes, was a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But that all changed when he was confronted with a classmate’s rant against religion.

The event took place last week during one of Withers’ classes. Witnesses say that a lively debate surrounding the influence of religion on society turned contentious when a fellow classmate began explaining why organized religion was the worst development in the history of mankind. It was this tirade that led Withers to decide to become an atheist.

“It was just so convincing,” Withers said. “I’d heard about things like the Crusades before, but I had never realized how many bad things have been done in the name of religion until today. This changes everything. I just don’t know how I could allow myself to share any common characteristic with anyone that ever did anything wrong.”

Despite his decision to leave the Mormon church, Withers says he still holds fond memories of his time as a believer. “I learned how to play basketball by playing ‘church ball’ with my friends,” Withers said. “I met my first girlfriend at a Tri-Stake dance. My decision to study sociology came from my experience of being a counselor for special needs individuals through a program run by the church. And I can never forget all the friends and memories I have from being a missionary in Brazil for two years. But all those great experiences are invalidated by the fact that 17th century Catholics and Protestants had a tendency to kill one another.”

The student who allegedly delivered the impassioned critique also targeted the LDS faith in particular. Students in the class say he cited a substantial list of grievances that he had with the religion ranging from historical to political and doctrinal. When asked how he came to know so much about an organization he clearly despises, the student (who wished to remain anonymous) said, “I spend several hours each day reading anti-religion blogs and such. It’s pretty much replaced all my other hobbies.”

One of the most eye-opening grievances for Withers was his classmate’s criticism of the City Creek shopping center.

“I always thought it was a great way for the church to invest in its local community and revitalize a city’s economy during a recession,” Withers said. “But now I’ve learned the whole thing was a money-grabbing scheme by the church’s greedy leaders.”

When asked if he thinks other Mormon students at the U will follow his decision to leave the Mormon church, Withers said he believes it’s quite possible.

“Anyone can have a lifetime of positive experiences,” Withers said, “but it’s hard to argue with what a stranger says he read on the Internet.”

This content is intended as fictionalized, satirical work. Events and ideas presented in this piece should be viewed as fictional.

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