Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Beginner’s Guide to Mormon Types

(Not to be taken entirely seriously)

When approaching an unfamiliar and new species, especially one that prides itself as being “peculiar” and “not of this world,” it can be confusing to the uninitiated. On the surface, Mormons, also known as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, appear to be a homogenous group of white-skinned drones who do not think for themselves, allowing their “prophet” to think for them. Not so. Spending time among this group will give you a sense of their organization and social pecking order.

For the merely curious, even one Sunday will reveal much about behavior or Mormons. However, the intrepid anthropologist will need years to learn the finer intricacies of Mormon social behavior. Whether one is seeking to join the Mormons, or just has the odd urge to comprehend these strange creatures from a distance, an important key to understanding Mormons is to know their basic types.

Although it was difficult, I have managed to spend years among them, living as one of them, learning their ways. For the most part, I was accepted, even married a native, but there were rocky times when I was nearly kicked out of the tribe. Not for breaking any of their “commandments,” but because I did not always fit into their social rules. Despite those rough moments, I am happy to present this short guide to Mormon types, for the edification of all humankind.

One will note, while reading this guide, that faith is the primary distinction between groups. Unlike other species, the Mormons do not distinguish so much between socio-economic status or skin color, although these can come into play. No, with Mormons, it is the varying levels and kinds of faith that distinguish one from another.

I could never hope to make a complete list of all types of Mormons; there is too much variation and subtlety in Mormon society, and sometimes even treachery. However the guide I present is a good, representative start. My sometimes dangerous travels through Mormon lands has been fruitful for me personally, and I hope what I share today can also be beneficial to you, the reader.

One final note to remember: individuals can and do slip from one type to another, and can even be multiple types at one time. Do not make the mistake of pigeon-holing others. To those who are Mormon, these categories are not all-inclusive. You may find yourself uncomfortably fitting into one or two of these groups. See what fits, and change yourself if you don’t like what does fit.

The True Believing Mormons – These are the Saints who have a simple but powerful belief in the restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith, Jr. These people believe Gordon B. Hinckley would never lead them astray and follow the admonitions of their local leaders without questions or complaints. These humble members would rather die than actually gossip or judge another person. Caffeine and contention are of the devil, and the phrase “Oh, my heck!” can often be heard. Remember: while their faith may be simple, the feelings and convictions are deeply held. Do not fear approaching the True Believer, but chances are, they will approach you first. Well-meaning, but sometimes blind.

The Ersatz Believer – These individuals are so expert at deceit, they even fool themselves. Deep down, they do not truly believe the gospel, but they fear the social repercussions of ever expressing doubt or personal imperfection. Cowards at heart, these members fear man more than God and are happy to tear down others in an attempt to take close attention off themselves. This usually works, and they tend to be viewed as the most spiritual members, even though it is all just surface appearance. These often end up in leadership positions, where they can perpetuate their brand of “faith” and appoint others of a similar mind. They often are the first to shake hands with a visitor or new member, but their friendliness usually ends there. Despite the wish of many that they do leave, usually, these members will stay in the church for the status of “holiness,” only leaving if called out for their self-righteous behavior. Approach with caution.

The Honest Doubters – An honest doubter believes the church is true, has faith in its veracity and hopes they will some day have a testimony. Often pitied or looked down upon, these are not considered strong members, because of their truthful expression of faith without knowledge. Always destined to have callings in the youth programs or the primary, these members will never be the leaders of the church. Some may not even want leadership positions. Despite their doubts they can find many good and worthwhile aspects to belonging to the church. They try to attend, despite their doubts, despite any gossiping, and despite their low status. This group faces a large risk of leaving if they are insulted and gossiped about enough. But at least they tend to be honest.

The Socialite Believer – This is a somewhat hybrid group, with elements of the Honest Doubters and the Faux Believers. They may have doubts, they may truly believe, but their primary reason for coming to church is the social structure. They honestly get something out of their social contacts at church, but may or may not actually “feel the spirit” or “have a testimony.” Theirs is a drive to be around their kind of people, and the church fills that need. They like the support; they like the activities, the talking after meetings, and sometimes indulge in the gossiping, as long as it is not about themselves. Often become inactive if their social needs are not being met in church anymore. On the surface, they are harmless, but can be sucked in the same judgmental behavior as the Faux Believers.

The Jack Mormon Believer – This refers to a long-time member of the church, usually born in the covenant, sometimes to an “inactive” family. These are people who have decided the “game” of church is not worth their time. Sometimes, they have problems with authority. Sometimes, there is a problem with the word of wisdom or swearing, or some other highly noticeable sin. Whatever it is, these are the visible rebels who have given up trying to appear holy, preferring to revel in their sin, or at least they have quit pretending they don’t have a problem. People make mistakes, and as far as the Faux Believers are concerned, the Jack Mormon’s biggest mistake is that they chose to sin in an evident way. Perhaps they would have returned back into full activity with the church, or even wanted to return to activity, but decided the blatant judging is not worth their time. Most of these are Mormons in name only. Despite commonly-held beliefs, these are often nice people, unless cornered about their lack of church activity.

The Rebel Believer – This group is relatively small and often overlooked or lumped in with the Jack Mormons. However, they have faith, like the True Believer. The main difference is that the Rebel Believers passively fight against the Faux Believers. These social mischief-makers like to wear clothing and have hair-dos that push the envelope of acceptable dress. They often say outrageous things during Sunday School and tell quirky stories during the bearing of their testimonies. This is often meant to annoy only those who superficially belong to the church, because True Believers will love the quirky Rebel despite annoyances and differences. Attention is often a goal, as well, but the Rebel Believer is sometimes just expressing an artistic soul. May have outlandish ideas, but generally considered harmless.

The Intellectual Believer – The intellectuals are considered a dangerous breed by many. They have gnosis gained by their education and superior intellect. They have pondered the many unanswerable questions of the gospel and found their answers on the web. To these members, doctrine is relative and changeable, something to be argued over, not prayed over. Speculative doctrine is their specialty. Sometimes, suppressed history or abuses of ecclesiastical power outrages the Intellectual. In an attempt to argue a reasonable viewpoint, the Intellectual often argues himself right out of the Kingdom. Some return to the fold, but there are many out there who wander aimlessly through the lone and dreary world. This breed of believer is sometimes hunted because they make easy prey in the attempt to keep the doctrine pure. Intellectuals who somehow do remain in the church are also known to hang out with Faux Believers and participate in the mocking of those who do not know the gospel as well as they do. This group fears the day that President Packer becomes president of the church, because of his hard-line stance on doctrine. Considered extremely dangerous and membership is sometimes terminated with extreme prejudice.

The Hard-Line Believer – This believer is often considered the foundation of the church, a foundation stone for the members, a pillar of the community, because there is nothing that will move them from their faith, even if said faith is erroneous. Hardliners believe that nothing any prophet has ever said is wrong. Even personal opinions and private statements. This form of belief operates on the assumption that there is only black and white, only one way of viewing something. As inflexible thinkers, the Hardliner cannot fathom being wrong and dismiss without examination any dissenting views. The champion of this group is Boyd K. Packer. Annoying, occasionally harmful when approached by non-mainstream questions, but generally good members, if not annoying.

The Speculative Believer – Very similar to the Intellectuals, the Speculator willingly delves into deeper doctrine. Unlike the Intellectuals, the Speculative Believer does not have the education to know everything. They do not have any scientific rationale to explain away DNA problems with the Book of Mormon, so they invent wild theories to bolster their faith. This group also favors the telling and retelling of Mormon folklore, perpetuating myths of the three Nephites and other dubious miraculous claims. That’s not to say they don’t also believe in true miracles. In fact, this group believes just about any speculative idea. Aliens on other worlds? Why not? Abraham talks about worlds without number. No matter that there is no modern prophet who talks about beings on other worlds. It must be true. Considered a dangerous group, but only to those who will listen to them.

Blind Following Believer – These interesting fellows are barely able to think for themselves. Not only do they follow any statement by any leader in the church, they also follow the social structures without questioning. Their loyalty is high and their vision is off. Hard working and generally agreeable, the Blind Follower, like the True Believers, can be found in any variety of unpleasant extra-curricular activities like service projects and doing their home teaching. Blind Followers are considered quite valuable to the local social unit, the “ward,” and Bishops and Elders Quorum Presidents love to utilize this breed. Generally pleasant to be around, unless their beliefs are challenged in any way.

Too Willing to Doubt Believer – This group can be difficult to spot, because when they are in the church, they are camouflaged as some other group, normally the Blind Follower. However, once out of the church, they are much easier to identify, by their written testimonials online and in so-called “anti” material. Such statements, like the call of the bluebird, are unmistakable to those who recognize it. For those hoping to catch a glimpse, be on the lookout for such phrases as “I never doubted the church until I read . . .” Another favorite phrase is “I grew up in the church and never questioned until my friend’s pastor . . .” While in the church, these are generally considered harmless, like the Blind Followers. However, once out of the church, the Too Willing to Doubters appoint themselves the champions of ex-Mormons and try to lure others to doubt, as they do. Difficult to discuss with them, because by this point, they have usually swallowed everything their new “pastor” has told them.

The Fault-Finding Believer – The Fault-Finders can be a nasty little group. Although they claim to have a great deal of faith, their interest lies in tearing down others. Seen primarily in the company of the Socialites, these individuals often choose to tear down a “ward member” with low social skills or one who does not fit in. More frequently, however, is the attacks on local and world-wide leadership. Although no one is human, the Fault-Finder is happy to belittle and mock any leader who dares to be less than perfect. They can always do a better job than those called to lead them. Highly unpleasant to be around, only tolerated by the Socialites.

The Lost Believer – These are a sad lot. Perhaps once True Believers, the Lost Believer has made some mistake that led to their being ousted by the clan or “ward.” Sometimes, ousting is by ostracization, when deemed socially repugnant, but not too bad an offense. More often, the offender is cut off through a process called “disfellowship,” a temporary cutting off of religious privileges. More serious still is “excommunication,” which is another way of saying “Get lost!” No matter what the punishment, the Lost Believer truly had belief in the church teachings, but mistakes, called “sin,” are against the moral code of the group, and Mormons place the needs of the group above the needs of the individual. Some of these lost souls make their way back, but a good majority remain without the spiritual guidance provided by the Church. Sadly, in some cases, these individuals could have been rescued before the more severe punishments kick in, but what usually happens is when they are ostracized, they begin to feel little need to go through the “repentance” process. Usually not approached or even talked about by those actively in the church, regardless of the group to which they belong.

True but Prideful Believer – Ah, the Proud! These are normally, although not always, wealthy and well-to-do. Over-privileged and natural influence flowing from their good breeding and money, the Proud are often called upon to leadership positions. This is because they make better leaders than they do backseat drivers, and they have a tendency to join in with the Fault-Finders unless they are themselves leading. Although their faith and belief may be strong, they honestly believe they are better and more perfect than those around them. Their mighty houses might go against the warnings of the prophets, their large families might be more than they can handle emotionally, but they sure look righteous. They can afford this image, as they can afford the monster SUV’s to cart around their gaggle of children. Large and expensive framed pictures of temples and the “First Presidency” often greet the visitor. Statues and expensive paintings of the Savior adorn the house. Much attention is paid to the image of good breeding and righteous living, and yet, the Proud normally cannot spare more than $5.00 for fast offerings. Approach with caution, unless you are wealthy yourself. Otherwise, they will not even notice you exist and could walk all over you.

The Seeking Believer – This group has a healthy balance of faith and questioning. They are characterized by a thirst for additional knowledge while avoiding the temptation to intellectualize the gospel. Speculation can be fine, in moderation, but the written documents of the living and past prophets, coupled by the teachings of the spirit, is where the true knowledge can come. The Seeker is one who accepts the imperfections of the church leadership, and yet who still clings to their faith. These are ones who realize that not all questions have answers, who understand that they lack complete knowledge, are willing to seek more, and are aware that some knowledge will always be out of their grasp in this life. These are they who attend church for a variety of reasons, for the fellowship, for their callings, and yes, to even learn something. These are they who, while not seeking out the so-called “anti-Mormon” literature, are not afraid of it, can confront it and not lose their testimony. Why? Because their faith is not so fragile that the tinkling of brass can shatter it. These can be socially active or rather quiet individuals, but they are characterized by their love of learning the gospel and discussing it with others. Generally, these are easy to approach, but even these can have their elements of fanaticism.

I hope this little guide has been helpful. It is nowhere close to comprehensive, but has some of the major groupings of Mormons. Please remember that this is not an entirely serious piece, and should not be taken without a prescription. Ask your doctor if this guide is for you. Take only as directed, with a sense of humor and self introspection.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

That Men May Be

In a recent Sunday school class, we had an interesting lesson on the Fall of Mankind. A number of things were brought up that interested me. One was the difference between sin and transgression.

The way I see it, a transgression is the breaking of a law, while sin is knowingly breaking the law and therefore willfully disobeying God. By this definition, a sin is a transgression, but a transgression isn’t necessarily a sin. This fits nicely with 1 John 3:4, which I’ve heard numerous times from those unfriendly to the Church to make out the Fall to be a horrible thing. We as a Church generally try to explain it as something necessary and beautiful. Adam and Eve were innocent (2 Nephi 2:23, Genesis 2:25), and therefore their transgression wasn’t a sin. They were as children.

From certain scriptures (Moses 4:14, and others that seem to imply such), we know that children can trangress the law. If you punish your 3-year old child for coloring on the wall, you know this. They break the law, and there may be temporal consequences, like a spanking or a time-out. Nevertheless, they are innocent, and are therefore not eternally accountable for their decisions. Adam and Eve’s innocence allowed them to remain unstained from sin. See Moroni 8:8, 20, 22 where it teaches that Christ's atonement was still required to pay for the transgressions of children. The law can still be broken, but because are unaccountable before God for their transgressions, Christ paid the price for them.

But my real question isn’t the degree to which Adam transgressed. My question is the same cliche' that has been asked so many times before: Why did God make the path to a necessary mortality through a transgression of the commandments of God?

Some have theorized that God was testing them to see if they would be obedient for a period of time, and that later he would command them to partake of the fruit. This doesn’t make sense to me for a few of reasons: 1) Such a test wouldn’t seem to have any bearing on anything else in God's plan, temporal or spiritual. They still would have been required to enter the lone and dreary world where they would be subject to sin and temptation, whether they passed or failed the test. Their future's and the future of humanity would still have been the same. 2) I don’t believe God would command someone to do something that would result in separation from him. All of his commandments are designed to bring us closer. If they were later commanded to take the fruit and leave the Garden, it would almost be as if God were commanding us to take part in sin, or something that would draw us away from him. 3) The scriptures will always offer a stronger argument than anything I ever could. Read Nephi 2:22, where it seems to clearly teach that if there had been no transgression, Adam and Eve would still be innocent nudes in the Garden of Eden.

I offer what I believe is the truer answer. God knew that the experiences we needed to grow and become gods ourselves required a test of mortality and separation from God. But by his own laws, he can’t simply remove himself from us. We have to transgress to part from him. So he chose to set up a law that could be broken in order for them to separate from him on their own. He allowed them to make a decision that put them in the fallen state necessary for growth via transgression. Then they were required to pay a temporal consequence, namely mortality and expulsion from Paradise, just like the child in time-out. They also were given knowledge, and became accountable, like a chid reaching the age of eight. Along with these changes came a cutting off from the presence of God. Yet, this was not an eternal damnation. This was merely a more distant relationship. They would not suffer in Hell for their mistake, but they were required to grow up a bit, and spend their newly found mortal lives learning for themselves and making further mistakes. Yet, a Savior was provided, and they, with all of us, were given the opportunity to return to our Heavenly Father.

Some may believe my theory to be borderline blasphemous. I knew a missionary who put it this way: “It sounds like God set them up to fail.” I don’t see it that way. You see, God knows the beginning from the end. He doesn’t ever command someone to sin, but he knows they’re going to do it. So he uses others’ choices to further his own ends. Take the crucifixion of Christ for example. In 2 Nephi 10:3 it explains that it was necessary for Christ to live among the Jews, because they were the only ones wicked enough to crucify their Messiah. He used the bad choices of others to complete his Son’s atonement. So he similarly used Adam's and Eve's weakness of succumbing to temptation to bring to pass his righteous ends.

Adam and Eve were innocent, and therfore incapable of sin. They fulfilled God’s plan by transgressing the law, and were thereby given the opportunity for growth. Yet through it all, God did not cause them to sin.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Circumcision, Debates and Covenants

First posted on Sunday, November 13, 2005

This essay is a rewrite of the Great Circumcision Debate essay. While I like the original, it really was too light and full of fluff. I had more I wanted to say, and this topic really needed to be treated in a more serious tone. This time, I touch on a great deal more doctrine, while briefly discussing the medical and social implications of this practice.-Matt 02/12/2006

The reason for this topic

Reading over a past post on Splendid Sun, I'm reminded of the controversy surrounding my own son's birth. At the time, we did not know what we would have, boy or girl. The ultrasound gave us no clue whatsoever, because our child actively hid himself. So, we had to speculate. Part of that speculation was over the delicate decision to lop off a bit of our child, if it was a boy. This generated a fair amount of conversation.

"If it's a girl, we can name her Allison. But if it's a boy, I don't like the names you've chosen."
"I don't want the names you want either."
"Well, if it's a boy, I think we should circumcise him, because you are."
"I don't want my son to be cut up. My son won't have any spare parts."

Remember that. No spare parts.

What is circumcision and why is it done?

It is the surgical removal of part or all of the fold of skin covering the tip of the penis. But that does not explain the emotional impact this procedure can have. From Biblical times on, circumcision was performed on an adult male (see Genesis 17:23-27) at the time they covenanted with the Lord. The Lord also commanded that children aged 8 days were to also have this done (see Genesis 17:12) . This was to be a token of the covenant made between him and the Lord (see Genesis 17:11-14). This covenant is so personal, it is in his flesh.

That thought catches me. In his flesh. Interesting. It is now known that a circumcised man does not have the same sexual feeling as an uncircumcised man. To men who were circumcised as adults, it has been likened to sight without color. If a man doesn’t know what he is missing, he cannot appreciate what he lost. To those who know what they are missing, it is never the same.

In a priesthood lesson I recently heard on covenants, the teacher was talking about casting away sin. The imagery was eerily similar to the image of cutting off the foreskin. When Abraham cut off his foreskin as a token of his covenant with the Lord, he was covenanting to obey the commandments and (among other things) not have sexual relations outside of marriage. He was literally sacrificing his sexual feeling for this covenant with the Lord. Some would call this too steep a price, but Abraham was nothing of not obedient. He made the covenant, lost a portion of his pleasure, but bound himself closely to his god. This was the same covenant he passed on to his children, the Abrahamic covenant. Isn’t it interesting that he is promised that through his sacrifice and seed, the world would be blessed (see 3 Nephi 20:27)?

Our son and his extra piece of skin
My wife and I attended a parenting/birthing class, which was a good preparation for us. The teacher had an approach I appreciated. She didn't tell us one way of doing things was good or bad. She just informed us and let us make up our own minds. One night, we watched a video of a newborn boy getting clipped, and I tell you what. My decision was confirmed, and Kari's mind was changed. No to any circumcision, full or partial. I think it cruel and unnecessary.

A while later, our son is actually born. We keep our resolve. When the nurse asked us if we planned to have a circumcision, we looked at each other, turned back to the nurse, and in unison said “no.” His little member is safe. Sure, we have to keep it clean and have to avoid any infections, but you have to be careful if he is clipped, too. No big deal.

The reaction of others
Except we found that everyone had an opinion about my son's penis. People were excited to hear I was a father, to hear I had a boy. And nine out of ten times, they felt it was their business to ask if he was circumcised. "No," I would tell them.

"Are you crazy? He could get infected (get cancer, lose his sex drive, whatever) if you don't."

What I want to know is, why do people think this is any of their business? Do I ask if a woman has had a hysterectomy? Do I ask a man if he has prostate problems? For that matter, do you ask if anyone still has their tonsils or appendix? This is a rather personal decision, yet everyone felt they had the right to know, and tell me why I was wrong.

I got pretty good at avoiding debates. It really isn’t worth it. I won’t change their minds, they won’t change mind. But the fact of the matter is, with all the research I put into it, I saw no good reason to clip the little guy. The health reasons cited were all maybe's. Sure, he might get infected. So keep it clean. Duh! Or he might get cancer. Well *cue the sarcasm* cut it all off, then! I mean, maybe I'll get appendicitis, so let's go ahead and do an appendectomy on me. Or let's push this to the extreme. Maybe, I'll get lung cancer, so let's just remove my left lung now, as a preemptive strike. I could get gangrene! Let’s cut off both feet, to prevent it from happening! But what if we removed the wrong appendage? That’s OK, there is a growing proficiency in our medical community in prosthetics. *end the sarcasm*

Uh, yeah. People! You keep it clean and things will be OK. If there is a medical reason to remove it later, do it later. It will be OK.

Other issues debunked
Social reasons . . . what a horrible reason to mutilate one's genitalia. I don't plan on raising my son in Utah for much longer, especially not in Utah valley, where everyone damages their sons. But even if we stayed here (God forbid), my son would just have to deal with the fact that his penis was different from the mutilated boys around him. And what is up with Mormons doing this to their baby boys? Mormons do believe the law of Moses was done away, right? I mean, there was a big debate about this very topic in the period of the apostles, some time after Christ's resurrection (see the Acts 15:1-31). As I recall, the decision was to not continue the barbaric practice. The law was and is fulfilled in Christ. It's over, through! We are now to be circumcised of heart. Why, oh why do Mormons keep hurting their sons in this cruel manner?

Making him match his father? Why do I want him to match me? That's a dumb reason if I've ever heard one. If he asks, I will have a discussion with him about it.

I’ve heard it said that newborns don't have developed pain sensors. What kind of idiotic statement is that? At the very least, they don't like being strapped down. It puts them in a panic. But let’s look at this in a different light: this little boy just came out of a nice, warm, safe womb. He’s ready to face the world! He’s got a loving mother and father right there to watch over him (idealistic, I know). But wait! What’s this? Why are we subjecting him to legalized torture? I will grant that just maybe, their sensors are different from an older baby. Fine. I feel that he still doesn't deserve that kind of treatment. What’s worse, they used to do this without any anesthetic. How cruel is that?

Reasons to not do it
As already stated, it is mean. They don't like having it done. It diminishes sexual feeling. A lot. It is unnecessary. God doesn't even expect us to do it. People, let us stop hurting our little boys!

Thankfully, I don't get the questions about my son's penis any more. People I didn't know made it their business. But what gave these perfect strangers the right to ask (and force their opinions upon me) in the first place? This is a rather personal matter. If my son later decides he wants his penis mutilated, he can do it himself (and I don’t want to hear about it).

I do not resent having had this done to me. My parents did not know any different, and it was the social practice of most of Christian America at the time. It was also what Mormons did. It was not a question of if they should it or not. People just did it back then. I cannot be angry about that. Of course, a part of me wonders what might have been. What am I really missing out on? I’ll never know in this life. Do I just have vision without color?

This also makes me think about the covenants I have made. None of those covenants require cutting a part of me and casting it away. But the Lord does ask of me to cast away my selfish, base, natural desires and come follow him. He wants us to be circumcised in our hearts (see Deut 10:15-16). Note that the idea of cutting male flesh and seed are linked in the scriptures

As I’ve studied this topic, I have developed a doctrinal theory. A man who gains mastery over his flesh, denies himself of the lusts of the heart and overcomes the natural man is blessed for his sacrifice, whether a physical loss of feeling or other sacrifice. How is he blessed? In his seed, and in fatherhood. What was Abraham’s blessing and covenant? That through him, his seed and the whole world should be blessed. We know Abraham did not have many children, yet he was promised his seed would be as numberless as the stars in the sky. Latter-day Saints believe this referred to his future exalted state upon achieving godhood. This is the fullest expression of fatherhood, and even manhood. Put in that perspective, the loss of a little flesh and feeling could seem pretty trivial. But even in this life, the man who controls himself and becomes circumcised in his heart will be a better father than the man who is lost to his lusts.

While the brutal symbol of circumcision and casting away physical desire is a powerful teaching tool and reminder of covenants made, I am so glad to live in a dispensation where the need has been done away through the atonement of Christ. A physical token does not create the covenant, anyway. Covenants should rest inside a person’s heart and mind, or else it is not worth entering.


Judaism 101 has a nice little introduction to the practice of circumcision of boys, including the religious implications for the practice. Has a pretty neutral tone, but very informative.

Circumcision Choices - This site talks about only performing partial circumcision, reducing the damage done while still allowing those who have moral or religious obligations to do their duty as they see fit. It also discusses some of the myths surrounding circumcision and offers explanations. This site is all about choice.

Why Circumcised Men Seem Satisfied - This site explain what is lost when a man has this procedure on his manhood and why most do not know what they are missing. Definite bias, but makes a few good points.

Jewish Circumcision Resource Center - This site is written by Jews in an attempt to do away with the practice of circumcision. Has a definite agenda, but is up front about their goals.