I can't say that any one large issue made me decide to leave my church. Mostly it was the little things, building up over time until I couldn't possibly count them all. But this one time...

I was a teenager and I needed a new car. I had a wonderful, reliable car for two years before my eldest brother borrowed it and then snapped part of the frame by locking the brakes over a curb in winter. He was (and still is, I think) a lousy driver. So I purchased another.

It wasn't exactly new. It was a used model, about 7 years older than myself at the time but with only 70,000 miles on it. The reason it was in pretty good shape was that it had been a church vehicle; owned by a monastery and driven by priests to reach their Sunday masses in rural counties. Well, my uncle happened to be one of those priests and managed to arrange to sell one of the autos to me for a very reasonable price. 

I had just driven it home for the first time with my dad and my uncle the priest came along to visit with my parents a little longer. Somehow the conversation came around to blessing the car. This is a real thing, the Catholic Church does bless objects. Sometimes big ships, sometimes strings of beads. I recalled some years earlier that my parents didn't seem to think it strange, so I didn't think it strange... at first. "That's fine," I said. "How do we get my car blessed?" My parents chuckled and said "Well that's easy, your uncle can walk outside with you and do the blessing right now." So he did.

It started feeling weird, then. Like, I knew he hadn't brought any holy water or, like, anointing oil (would you need motor oil for a car blessing? Does synthetic count?), but I held my tongue and went along with it, partly curious, partly afraid to offend my uncle with questions.

So there we were, standing at the curb next to my car. He raised his hands over the hood and said a little more than 'bless this vehicle', but not much more. It wasn't the ritualized prayer I was expecting, certainly. And then it was done and he looked mighty pleased with himself so I thanked him. But that day began to bug the hell out of me.

I could have waved my hands over the car and said a prayer; it didn't make it blessed. Why did he think he had that power? Or was he expecting me to believe that he did? It was like asking me to believe in magic without even the effort of a proper incantation. I was acutely disappointed, and felt like my family expected me to be a grateful fool.

The car wasn't any different, wasn't any safer than it had been. It turned out to be less reliable than I would have liked and I gave it to my dad a year later. I was definitely grateful to have a car to drive at that time. But I would have passed on the blessing.

Please, share any stories of 'blessed' objects in the comments. Thank you.

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Comment by Idaho Spud on January 26, 2017 at 10:04am

Oh, the sacramental bread and wine is blessed every Sunday.  Of course the wine was changed to grape juice, then to water, like so many things the church changed over the years.  

Every time I'm reminded of some BS the church teaches, I marvel at how brainwashed I was in thinking it was just a normal and reasonable thing.

Comment by Idaho Spud on January 26, 2017 at 9:50am

In my 45 years in the Mormon church, I don't remember anyone blessing an object, or anything like that.  However, I just looked on the official church site, and found this:

20.11 Dedicating Homes

Church members may dedicate their homes as sacred edifices where the Holy Spirit can reside and where family members can worship, find safety from the world, grow spiritually, and prepare for eternal family relationships. Homes need not be free of debt to be dedicated. Unlike Church buildings, homes are not consecrated to the Lord.

A Melchizedek Priesthood holder may dedicate a home by the power of the priesthood. If there is not a Melchizedek Priesthood holder in the home, a family might invite a close relative, a home teacher, or another Melchizedek Priesthood holder to dedicate the home. Or a family might gather and offer a prayer that includes the elements mentioned in the preceding paragraph and other words as the Spirit directs.

A grave can also be dedicated.  I did remember that after I read about it.

Comment by Michael Penn on January 26, 2017 at 9:32am

I once knew a church member who played guitar in the services and he had his guitar "blessed and sanctified" for the service of the lord. Somebody borrowed it once and played music in a honky tonk and when the owner found out he claimed he could never play that guitar in church again.

Comment by Loren Miller on January 26, 2017 at 9:16am

Well, there's always Dago Red blessing the jeep in which Hawkeye leaves the 4077th MASH unit at the end of the movie.  On the other end of the spectrum, of course, is Christine, though that machine started out seriously evil and just got worse from there.  Somehow, I don't see a sprinkling of holy water or 10W40 making any difference there.

Side note: a blessing correlates to Aron Ra's definitions of magic / miracle: "The evocation of supernatural powers or entities to control or forecast natural events."  Such powers wind up being about as evident as the deities they are attributed to ... :-P~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Comment by Michael Penn on January 26, 2017 at 7:09am

In the Buybull many things were blessed by praying over them after putting a little oil on them. I suppose this was olive oil or some sort of cooking oil. Objects would be "santified" or put aside for a certain use by god, and this practice extended on into people as well. In this way you could "bless" things or pray for the sick to get well. In the book of Acts we find that the practice of praying for the sick went so far as to pray over scarves or "handkerchiefs" which had been anointed and these could be placed on the person later. Apparently this was effective because such hotshots as Saul of Tarsus could not be everywhere at the same time and some just knew that he had the power of god.

Yes, it will work for cars too, and some in modern times even do this with their houses as well. I was Pentecostal and witnessed this sort of magic all the time. God works in hysterical ways.



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