Mormonism's lack of "Formal Cooperation in Evil" concept


#1

In my RCIA class we’re going over moral discernment and were introduced to the Catholic concept of material vs. formal cooperation in the sinful acts of others. It dawned on me that this concept is entirely absent in Mormonism, or at least, the concept is conveniently ignored when a profit is to be made!

It’s interesting that Catholic organizations will be true to their principles in refusing to provide or cooperate in acts the Catholic Church has deemed sinful (e.g. no abortion in Catholic hospitals, no birth control in Catholic pharmacies, etc.), and this extends into the economic life of even lay Catholics. As I understand it, you are equally culpable in the sin of another if you’ve provided the means necessary to commit that sin when there’s no other possible intention. For example, I couldn’t be a Catholic in good standing while doling out condoms even if I myself don’t use condoms. The same cannot be said about Mormons.

The LDS deem drinking alcohol and watching pornography a sin, yet LDS restaurant owners provide coffee and liquor to their patrons and are thus formally cooperating in those patrons’ sin even if the LDS themselves are not consuming the beverages. Similarly, LDS hotel owners provide pornography to their patrons. Let’s not even get started on the cases of the ACTUAL LDS CHURCH owning businesses which go against the LDS Church’s teachings (e.g. owning stock in companies which produce caffeinated beverages, owning stock in casinos, etc.)

Now there is this concept individually in Mormonism. As a Mormon, if I were to go out and purchase alcohol for another individual, most Mormons would agree that I participated in their sin… but if I’m a wealthy LDS business owner (and am thus providing quite a bit of tithing dollars to the church), the LDS make excuses for me, and the church conveniently looks the other way.

I guess that’s LDS inc. for ya.


#2

It goes along with Catholic moral teaching, which does not allow for the end justifying the means. Mormons believe evil ends can be used if the end can be justified as “good”. Catholic morality is against this teaching, clearly stating that an evil act cannot be made good by good intentions.

This can then be applied to the moral teaching of “scandal”. From the CCC:

II. Respect for the Dignity of Persons

Respect for the souls of others: scandal

2284 Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. the person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor’s tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense.

2285 Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it or the weakness of those who are scandalized. It prompted our Lord to utter this curse: "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea."85 Scandal is grave when given by those who by nature or office are obliged to teach and educate others. Jesus reproaches the scribes and Pharisees on this account: he likens them to wolves in sheep’s clothing.86

2286 Scandal can be provoked by laws or institutions, by fashion or opinion.

Therefore, they are guilty of scandal who establish laws or social structures leading to the decline of morals and the corruption of religious practice, or to "social conditions that, intentionally or not, make Christian conduct and obedience to the Commandments difficult and practically impossible."87 This is also true of business leaders who make rules encouraging fraud, teachers who provoke their children to anger,88 or manipulators of public opinion who turn it away from moral values.

2287 Anyone who uses the power at his disposal in such a way that it leads others to do wrong becomes guilty of scandal and responsible for the evil that he has directly or indirectly encouraged. "Temptations to sin are sure to come; but woe to him by whom they come!9

I am in agreement with you on the LDS side of things.


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