THE MORMON CURTAIN
Containing 5,709 Articles Spanning 365 Topics
Ex-Mormon News, Stories And Recovery
Archives From 2005 thru 2014
If you have reached this page from an outside source such as an
Internet Search or forum referral, please note that this page
(the one you just landed on)
is an archive containing articles on
"CHILDREN AND MORMONISM - SECTION 1".
The Mormon Curtain
- is a website that blogs the Ex-Mormon world. You can
The Mormon Curtain FAQ
to understand the purpose of this website.
CLICK HERE to visit the main page of The Mormon Curtain.
CHILDREN AND MORMONISM - SECTION 1
Indoctrination in Mormonism begins in early childhood. Mormon children are taught that they must obey all the commandments. They are taught that it may sometimes be difficult, but this life is a testing place. Temptations must be overcome, and a good Mormon will be able to overcome them. If you obey priesthood authority, attend church, study the scriptures, pay a full ten percent tithing, avoid people and places where you might find temptation, then you will be able to keep all the commandments. If you are not able to keep all the commandments, then it is because you have failed to protect yourself from temptation. You have done something wrong. You have allowed yourself to have a sinful thought. You have not prayed enough. You have not read the scriptures enough. You must repent and hope that you will not sin again.
| The excellent 'propaganda push' thread includes a discussion on costs and benefits of membership. From time to time a thread here includes the statement "and that is why the church is dangerous" or words to that effect. I would love to gather these together in one place. Any suggestions?
My reason for asking is that DW expressed a willingness to discuss why I don't believe. This is a small window of opportunity, and I want to choose my words carefully. DW does not care about doctrinal or historical issues, but she does care about our children. Hence the working title, "top ten reasons for protecting your children from Mormonism."
Here is my initial list. I am sure others can do better.
10. Getting less than the best. We agree that we can find many WORSE lifestyles. But we can also do much BETTER for our children. Whatever the Church offers, we can duplicate it elsewhere without such high costs.
9. Friends. (This mainly applies outside Utah.) By making our children Mormons, we make it harder for them to make friends. (Note: it is EASIER to make quick friends in the church, but quick and easy is seldom best.) This applies even worse when it comes to marriage.
8. Childhood. When we make them sit for hours in church and worry about sin, we steal their childhood. And when we stop them experimenting with normal urges and normal friends, we steal their adolescence.
7. Time away from family or schoolwork. Early morning seminary, separate meetings, and endless church activities take our children away from schoolwork or away from the home.
6. Criticism. Some of the things we condemn them for, like moderate arguing, breaking the sabbath or speaking like their peer group, may actually be healthy as a step in growing up. A related issue is self-criticism. For many people, righteousness is a constant internal struggle. Yet most of the things they battle about (like avoiding sexual thoughts or friends who swear) make them unhappy with no obvious benefit.
5. Morality. The church is always morally behind: racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.
4. Danger of emotional catastrophe. What happens in many years time when they study church history and find out that it is all a fraud? That can destroy their life.
3. and 2. - something about particular dangers. Not sure what to put here.
1. The church is not true. (DNA, Book of Abraham, Fanny Alger, etc., it is easy to prove.) I have tried to avoid historical and doctrinal argument, but we can't ignore it completely. However good the church may look, it s based on lies. Can this be healthy for our children?
FAQ: RAISING CHILDREN AS MORMONS
"I don't really agree with all the doctrine of the Mormon church, but they certainly have the right idea about raising children. Mormon kids are clean, honest, obedient, respectful, and they don't get mixed up with alcohol, drugs, and premarital sex. What could be a better way to raise kids?"
This comment is frequently made by Mormons who have come to have personal doubts about the truth of Mormon doctrine, but who are hesitant to separate themselves from the church "for the sake of the children." Non-Mormons frequently make this comment when they consider joining the Mormon church. Is this comment justified?
Mormonism does indeed emphasize the raising of children and teenagers according to very strict standards. Both in doctrine and in practice, it recommends or requires:
In addition, as a result of participation in the church's many programs for youth and young adults, young Mormons often become proficient in public speaking, athletics, music, crafts, and other skills, including - if they go through the training for serving a mission - sales techniques and foreign languages.
- Respect for parents
- Respect for authority
- Personal responsibility
- Weekly church attendance and activity
- Total abstinence from alcohol, tobacco, drugs, coffee and tea
- Total chastity until marriage, which is interpreted to mean no premarital sex, no petting, no masturbation, i.e., no sexual activity whatsoever
At first glance this program might look attractive, especially to parents who may feel relatively helpless in the face of the negative influences which make our modern society such a dangerous and tempting place for young people. However, as implemented by the Mormon church, their program can be just as harmful, or more harmful, than some of the evils from which parents want to protect their children. This article summarizes some of the possible negative effects of bringing up children as Mormons.
Perfection through Obedience
Mormons are taught that their happiness in this life and their salvation in the next life depend upon their strict obedience to the commandments of God. These commandments are found in the Mormon scriptures (Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price) and in the words of the modern prophets and leaders of the church, ranging from what is published in church periodicals, to what is preached in the semi-annual General Conferences, to what the local priesthood authorities say to church members in sermons, in classes or in private interviews and counseling sessions.
Obedience is an important concept in Mormonism. Obedience to the teachings and commands of church is one of the solemn oaths that a good Mormon takes during the sacred endowment ceremony in the temple, but the emphasis on obedience begins in kindergarten-age "Primary Association" classes and in Sunday School. Although in theory Mormons are told that they should not obey any leader blindly, in practice no good Mormon would question what he was told by someone in authority over him in the church. If you think that something is incorrect about what you have been told, you are urged to pray and study and examine yourself, but you are also supposed to keep in mind that God would not permit anyone in authority in the church to lead any member astray. Mormon Prophet Wilford Woodruff stated, when he was president of the church:
The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty. andnbsp;andnbsp;andnbsp; - from an 1890 sermon, in Doctrine and Covenants, Official Declaration 1.
One of the songs taught to young children is Follow the Prophet!, with nine verses, and the refrain, repeated after each verse, is:
(The "prophet," of course, refers to whoever is the current president of the Mormon church.)
Follow the prophet,
Follow the prophet,
Follow the prophet,
Don't go astray!
Follow the prophet,
Follow the prophet,
Follow the prophet,
He knows the way.
The emphasis on obedience to the prophet appears in this outline for a children's program to be presented in church before the entire congregation:
Theme: "Follow The Prophet"
One negative result of this kind of training is that it tends to prevent the development of self-reliance. Trying to solve your own life problems, using your own resources, is
unnecessary; just ask the bishop and do what he tells you to do (which will probably be to
pray and read the scriptures).
(Each item is presented with short speeches by the children, illustrated with posters and songs.)
- What is a prophet? - Song: "We Listen To A Prophet's Voice"
- Heavenly Father prepared the current prophet to be the prophet today - Song: 'Keep The Commandments"
- Heavenly Father teaches us through our prophet at general conference. - Song: "Called to Serve"
- We are blessed when we follow the prophet
- The TRUE church was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith - Song: "The Sacred Grove"
- Prophets prophesy of things to come - Song: "Follow the Prophet"
- We have learned the names of all 15 of the latter day prophets in order! -
Song: "Latter-day Prophets"
Mormon children are taught that they must obey all the commandments. They are taught that it may sometimes be difficult, but this life is a testing place. Temptations must be overcome, and a good Mormon will be able to overcome them. If you obey priesthood authority, attend church, study the scriptures, pay a full ten percent tithing, avoid people and places where you might find temptation, then you will be able to keep all the commandments. If you are not able to keep all the commandments, then it is because you have failed to protect yourself from temptation. You have done something wrong. You have allowed yourself to have a sinful thought. You have not prayed enough. You have not read the scriptures enough. You must repent and hope that you will not sin again.
In other words, if you are not perfect, it is your own fault. You are not trying hard enough.
Of course, it is impossible for anyone to be perfect. Adults, through experience, usually have come to realize that perfection is an impossible ideal. But children are still idealists, and setting them such an unrealistic goal is a
certain prescription for trouble. Guilt and self-doubt are inevitable. Or self-deception and rationalization. Or a feeling of alienation from a God who demands perfection.
One former Mormon recalled being baptized as a Mormon child at the age of eight: "For weeks I was terrified that I would sin and Satan would get his grip on me again."
Another former Mormon recalled:
I, too, was baptized at age eight. Did I want to? Did I understand
what the choice was? Did I know anything except my desperate fantasy
that the Holy Ghost was supposed to descend from heaven on the
morning I was confirmed and sit on my shoulder and whisper all the 'right'
answers to me for the rest of my life? Not likely. But I too, was
bitterly disappointed when a few days after my baptism I'd 'sinned'
and was once again wretched and stained and in need of God's forgiveness
or else I would never see the rest of my family again in the
The feelings of guilt, of being overpowered by "evil spirits" or "Satan" can be devastating for a child or teenager. One angry former Mormon missionary expressed it:
I had never heard much about evil spirits--until I started taking seminary
in 9th grade. Seminary is where they started drilling this idea into our
impressionable heads. It continued through all four years of seminary. It
was at this time, as I lay in my bed at night in my room in the basement,
trying to keep my hand off the monkey (but failing most of the time), that I
started to worry about evil spirits. I was convinced that, sooner or later,
I would get a visit by an evil spirit. I even practiced what I was going to
say to make it go away.
Moral (Sexual) Purity
I now see this for what it was / is.... a tool for manipulating young
Interestingly (or perhaps not), the evil spirit nonsense intensifies when
one goes to the MTC for mission training. The instructors had all kinds of
stories about missionaries who didn't follow all the goddamn mission rules
and who were then possessed by evil spirits. Guess what? I never saw an
evil spirit--not even during the time of my mission when I almost came home.
It is nothing but manipulation of young minds.
Sexuality is, of course, a fertile field for seeds of guilt and despair to grow into serious emotional problems. Mormon children are taught that any form of masturbation makes them "unworthy." A young Mormon who wants to go on a mission is told that he cannot go if he ever masturbates. For a young person who has homosexual leanings, Mormonism is pure hell. Young Mormons are taught that they would be better off dead than to have committed a sexual sin, or, in the case of a girl, even to have been raped. A rape victim (says Spencer W. Kimball in his book Miracle of Forgiveness - which has also been dubbed "It's A Miracle If You're Ever Forgiven!") is not as guilty of sin as if she had willingly participated in sex, but she is still burdened with the guilt of being considered now "unchaste":
Once given or taken, [chastity] can never be regained. ... If [a rape victim] has not cooperated and contributed to the foul deed, she is of course in a more favorable position. There is no condemnation where there is no voluntary participation. It is better to die in defending one's virtue than to live having lost it without a struggle. (p. 196)
Death is better than losing one's chastity in a rape?
It has been suggested that this draconian doctrine may be a reason for the high teen-age
suicide rate in Utah, so high that the governor proposed a special commission to study it (see "Seminar Strives to Reach Suicidal Teens [in Utah]", Salt Lake Tribune, Nov 6, 1998).
Mormons subtly (and probably unintentionally) teach children to lie.
Mormons, including children, are interviewed by the bishop as to their "worthiness" for every step of their progress in the church, starting at the age of eight, when preparing for baptism into the church. In these interviews the Mormon child is faced with the choice of telling the truth "Yes, Bishop, I masturbate once in a while" and thus being declared unworthy for the next advancement, or of lying to the bishop. Many children thus learn to lie: "No, bishop, I do not masturbate." This is not a lesson, I think, that children should learn: you get punished (or at least scolded) for telling the truth, you get advancement (and praise for your "righteous obedience to the commandments") for lying.
As soon as they are able to talk, Mormon children are urged to "bear their testimony" in testimony meeting. They are usually just mouthing the words put into their ears by a parent: "I know that Joseph Smiff was a pwoffut and the Book Mommum is twoo. Nameofjesuschristamen!" They know nothing of the sort. But they are praised for saying something they do not even understand. They are being encouraged to lie. (This kind of repetition of meaningless mantras is, of course, one of the techniques in brainwashing.)
Education and Knowledge
A favorite Mormon scripture (Doctrine and Covenants 93:36) is: "The glory of God is intelligence, or in other words, light and truth.". Mormons put this idea into practice by emphasizing the importance of education, both individually and as an organization. The church has an extensive system of schools, teaching both religious and secular subjects, up through the university and college levels. Young Mormons, especially men, are encouraged to advance their educations as far as possible (young women get more pressure to marry and bear children).
However, Mormons are definitely not encouraged to apply the same rigorous analytical skills they acquired in becoming doctors, lawyers, accountants, physicists, geologists, etc., to the teachings or the history of their own church. To question is to indicate doubt, and to doubt is the first step to apostasy. Thus, to avoid possible apostasy, one should not question. In fact, one Mormon leader proclaimed that "scholars" were among the "evils" threatening the church's existence and the faith of its members (Apostle Boyd K. Packer's address to the All-Church Coordinating Council). As a result, Mormon scholars who publish material critical of the church or too revealing of its history often face excommunication.
One Mormon father reported:
A few years ago, one of the bishop's counselors approached me,
concerned with the questions my son was asking in primary. I was told to
keep him within the guidelines of the church manuals.
In other words, intellectual curiosity in a child is to be kept within manageable bounds.
Belonging and Being "Special"
Every child needs - and deserves - self-esteem and approval. Mormonism provides this by assuring the child that Mormons are special: God selected them, because they were so good in the "pre-existence" (the spirit world where we all lived - according to Mormonism - before being allowed to come to Earth to inhabit a body), to be born and to live as the best possible kind of human being: a Mormon.
Mormons are proud of being different (read: "better") than other human beings who have not been blessed with the Mormon gospel. Mormons used to say proudly, "We are a 'peculiar' people!" In the world, but not of the world.
One non-believing Mormon explained that the reason he is staying in the church is for the sake of his children. He explained how his membership in the church allowed him to feel "special".
when he studied at a very prestigious university and, realizing that he was a minnow
swimming there in shark infested waters, it helped him to believe that he was better than other
people. He wants that for his kids.
A sense of community, a supportive group, social relationships - all are important. But those can be found elsewhere than in a Mormon ward. Unless you are in a very small town, there should be other groups besides Mormons that could provide some sense of community involvement. My own community is essentially rural, and we are impressed with what a fine group of kids we have here that are involved in agriculture. Farm kids are hard-working, honest, cheerful, self-reliant... and religion has very little to do with it. Cities will offer even more opportunities.
Outward signs of belonging, and therefore of "righteousness" are thus very important to Mormons. Boys must wear a white shirt to church. Girls must wear modest dresses (no slacks) to church. Boys are not allowed to have body piercings; girls are allowed one earring per ear. There are many don'ts: don't play games on Sunday; don't play games using face cards; don't watch "R"-rated movies; don't date until you are at least sixteen; don't read anything that might not be uplifting; don't associate with people who might tempt you to break any commandment.
But it is easy to allow the outward appearances to become the only important thing. As one former Mormon commented:
Mormonism puts such a premium on outward appearance
(the temple recommend process being one example:
attend church, pay tithing, say the right thing) that
some people see the outward appearance as evidence of
their spirituality: i.e., if your geography is right
(your rear end is in the pew three hours a week) you
are a spiritual person. This is of course nonsense.
Some of these "don't"s may be appropriate, but they tend to emphasize outward behavior rather than true inner goodness.
One exmormon mother summed up the problem like this:
I saw mormonism condemning my little children for riding bicycles on Sunday,
for singing irreverent songs about God to the tune of Louie Louie. For
wearing shorts to church. For exploring their own bodies. Mormonism was
training my children to obey, to conform, and to fear.
Life is too short to live that way. I am a believer in the unseen, the
mystical and the magical -- but also in joy. Any god that I follow will
laugh, and will hope that I fly kites and attend birthday parties on Sunday.
Any god that I follow will like irreverent songs and irreverent children.
Any God that I follow will accept me the way I am.
Another former Mormon said:
I feel it is right for me and my family to leave the church. I asked my
daughter, who is almost eight, why she wanted to be baptized, and she said because
she has to or heavenly father won't love her. That just broke my
heart. Then she told me if she doesn't go to church she will go to hell. I
now am seeing the narrow-minded black-and-white judgemental thinking I had in
Perhaps the most damaging result of such strict rules of outward behavior as indication of "righteousness" is that Mormons often develop a sense of being an elite, and thus tend to look down on non-Mormons, especially non-Mormons of other races than white. Although the church officially lifted its ban against any black person holding the Mormon priesthood or participating in Mormon temple rituals (including marriage for eternity) in 1978, its scriptures (especially the Book of Mormon) still contain many passages in which a dark skin is said to be a curse placed by God on the unrighteous.
It is not uncommon for Mormon parents to discourage or even forbid their children from forming friendships with non-Mormons. Part of the reason is that they fear their Mormon children will pick up bad habits, such as swearing or masturbating. They also do not want their children to be exposed to other lifestyles, where the parents perhaps smoke, or drink coffee, or picnic on Sundays, or have crucifixes on the wall of their living room. The ultimate fear, of course, is that a friendship with a non-Mormon of the opposite sex might develop into a romantic involvement and a marriage outside the church - the ultimate tragedy in the eyes of Mormon parents (see below: Choosing What To Do In Life). Thus the Mormon child's world is often very narrow, limited to the safe uniformity of Mormons.
One Mormon child's comment is especially poignant: one Sunday morning the family was getting into the car to drive to the three hour Mormon church services. They were dressed in their Sunday best, carrying their scriptures and their lesson materials. The neighbors (non-Mormon) were also getting into their car, but they were in beach clothes, carrying balls, beach toys, and picnic baskets, and were laughing. The Mormon boy saw them, and, like a good Mormon boy, commented, "They're not really happy, are they, Dad?"
And if some members of the Mormon family are inactive, or have actually left the church, the children will probably see that those less-than-perfect family members are not fully accepted any longer in the family. This tends to teach children that the church is more important than the family.
One non-Mormon grandmother wrote:
What would my Mormon relatives think if I told their children that the reason they were Mormons was because of satan? But they do the reverse: My four-year-old Mormon granddaughter (who I think the sun rises and sets on) told me the reason I did not belong to their church was because satan wouldn't let me. To me, that is evil. But that's what she has been taught in Mormon sunday school.
It is especially sad and ironic when a non-believing parent allows the children to be raised as Mormons, thinking that it will help them to be better human beings, and they later come to see the parent (a non-believer) either as someone to be pitied, to be converted, or to be avoided as a tool of Satan. The non-believing parent's ultimate pay-back will be when the Mormon child marries in the temple, and the parent is not allowed to be present (the parent is "unworthy" to enter the temple).
Choosing What To Do In Life
In some respects, Mormonism limits individual choice in what a young Mormon does with life. Since every young man is pressured into spending two years on a mission for the church (financed by himself or his family) when he is about nineteen, Mormon boys who choose not to do so are often seen as second-rate Mormons, especially by marriageable Mormon women, who generally insist on a returned missionary as a husband. Serving such a mission begins with several weeks of intense indoctrination (some would say "brainwashing") at the Missionary Training Center (the MTC). Two years later the returning missionary is urged to marry as soon as he can find a good Mormon girl, and then to begin raising a family. And this is the ultimate goal prescribed for all young Mormons: marry a good Mormon and raise a Mormon family. Those who hesitate or procrastinate are urged to pray until God tells them to do so.
The reason that a Mormon is expected to marry only another Mormon is because of the Mormon doctrine that only those who have been married ("sealed") in the Mormon temple will attain the highest level of heaven. And only "worthy" Mormons, of course, can enter the temple for this ritual. Other Mormons (unmarried, or married to non-Mormons) will be eternally stuck at lower levels. (Non-Mormons, of course, will be at even lower levels.) Thus, one's eternal destiny is at stake in getting married. There is no other acceptable matrimonial option for Mormons, only marriage to another Mormon.
The result is many hasty marriages, often after only very brief courtships (a few weeks or months). Remember that these are young, healthy people in their early twenties, who have never been allowed any release at all for their sexuality. Such marriages have all the disadvantages, all the potential for disappointment and disillusionment, that so often follow major life decisions that are hastily made.
For Mormon women, not only are they expected to marry, they are also expected to have children, and not just one or two, but as many as possible, since it is only by having children that bodies can be provided for the spirits in the "Spirit World" (the "pre-existence") who are desperately waiting to come to Earth.
It makes no difference that a young woman may not feel the desire to have children, that she might prefer to become a doctor, a lawyer, an opera singer, a politician. The church tells her emphatically that it is her mission in life to be a mother, and that the greatest blessing for a women (even greater than holding the priesthood - which is forbidden to women anyway) is to raise children.
Mormon children are also trained to emphasize the difference between men and women. Only men (generally all men, including boys age twelve and up) hold the priesthood in the church, and thus only men are in positions of authority. Even where women act as leaders in the women's organization (the "Relief Society"), they are supervised by men. Women are trained to serve and obey their husbands (or fathers, if unmarried).
It is hardly surprising, then, that many Mormon women (as well as men) suffer terribly from depression. Utah residents are among the highest users of anti-depressant medication in the United States, as documented in a CBS news story June 3, 2002,"Unhappy In Utah" and in the article "Mormon Women, Prozac, and Therapy" by Dr. Kent Ponder. The frequency of child abuse and spousal abuse in Utah is also extremely high.
Developing a Moral System
In the wake of all the school shootings recently, many people have called for a return to more vigorous religious training for children. But it is interesting that the issue of Newsweek Magazine that dealt with school shootings (the issue of March 13, 2000), also had a cover story: "How Kids Learn Right From Wrong" (pp 30-33). It was based on interviews with psychologists, summarizing the voluminous research in this area, and it appeared to be an up-to-date and authoritative overview. And there was no mention of religion or church!
The fact is that true morality is the ability to make judgments about right and wrong, not on the ability to follow a set of cut-and-dried rules without thinking. Sadly, too much of what passes for morality is merely a limited, black-or-white, unthinking knee-jerk reaction to complex moral issues. Mormonism encourages that kind of either-or approach to questions of right and wrong.
Children need to be guided to actually think about why things are right or wrong, rather than simply to know that something is a "sin" or forbidden by the church. Children also need good moral models, not just arbitrary rules. It is primarily parents that must provide those models, in themselves and in those whom they encourage their children to admire. Religion is not necessary for that.
For more comments on developing morality without religion, click here.
Mormonism, in fact, sometimes provides children with authority figures who are not the best models of kindness, forgiveness, humility, generosity, and honesty. Many former Mormons began to doubt the truth of Mormonism when they saw the un-Christlike behavior of those in authority over them in the Mormon church.
And sometimes the overly strict prohibitions backfire, by making what is forbidden even more attractive. For example, children who grow up among adults who use alcohol moderately, without making a fuss over it, tend to follow that example. Children who have grown up seeing alcohol (or coffee or sex) only as something extremely tempting (though evil) are probably more likely to abuse it, because they have never learned to use it in moderation.
Perhaps the best summary would be these words, from a former Mormon:
Yes, Mormon kids are perhaps less likely than others to get involved with
liquor, smoking, drugs, promiscuous sex. But many non-Mormon parents have
managed to raise good kids without having to pay the Mormon price. [emphasis added]
Mormonism cannot offer any guarantee that children who are raised as Mormons will be happier, better adjusted adults. In fact, thousands of people who were raised as Mormons by "good" Mormon families have testified that their Mormon upbringing is a major source of their emotional and social problems later in life.
Perhaps sometimes the children know best - one doubting Mormon mother finally found the courage to tell her Mormon parents that she no longer believed. She wrote:
After I had the conversation with my mom, my 17 year old
daughter said "Thanks for doing this for me, Mom". When I asked what she was thanking me for, she said it was for being the one to break the bad cycle, and for teaching her to think for herself. That made up for any amount of crap I'll have to take from my parents!
andcopy;andnbsp; 2002 Richard Packham andnbsp;andnbsp;
Permission granted to reproduce for non-commercial purposes, provided text is not changed and this copyright notice is included
| One would think that The Mormon Church would be interested in protecting their volunteer leaders from any kind of impropriety in a private interview. Instead, some bishops take the policies to the "letter of the law" and ignore the rights of the parent to be present in all interviews of their children.
Raising our own kids, I went along using blind faith in the leaders like Mormons generally do. I was so well programmed that it never occurred to me to insist on being in an interview! Imagine that! Now, it is an entirely different situation. Under no circumstances would I allow anyone to interview my children outside my presence!
I have no idea if the bishops interviews were improper or uncomfortable for our children but I suspect they were.And, I highly suspect that my own children were afraid to tell me they were uncomfortable!
The most egregious behavior of Mormon bishops, in particular is requiring a child, particularly males (12 on up) to confess their thoughts or actions regarding masturbation, including descriptions.
I have seen boys lined up outside bishop's offices in the "repentance" process regarding the so called sin of masturbation. It might not be obvious to the outsider, but knowing the level of questioning, their repeated interviews leaves nothing to the imagination.
I have seen the pain this causes young boys, especially teenagers. I highly suspect, also that this is one of the reasons why so many teenagers leave The Mormon Church.
If there is any "sin" involved in this, it is the abhorrent sin of the Mormon Church to put these children through the impropriety of an obvious privacy issue.
It is time that The Mormon Church stops invading, over riding and ignoring parental authority. This policy needs to be changed to protect the rights of privacy of our own Mormon children and grand children.
All interviews need to be attended by the parent, and a list of questions needs to be given to the parents before the interview.
A tiny window in the door of a bishop's office, or another leader sitting on a chair outside is not sufficient to protect children, or the rights and authority of a parent.
This is an issue that needs to be in the spot light for as long as it takes for The Mormon Church to make a change to protect children and stop taking parental rights away from their parents.
This is only the tip of the iceberg in how Mormonism takes away parental rights ! The other issue, is how Mormonism takes away spousal rights to privacy also.
| I want to teach my kids how to think for themselves without my wife's definition of "openly and intentionally trying to destroy their testimonies". I want to teach them how to use rational skepticism in a positive way to choose a path of progression and continuous improvement that feels right for them. I want to help them develop their brains to recognize, appreciate, and leverage symbolism and meaning without the often destructive and stunting effects of literalistic thinking and dogmatism.
I view Mormon theology and dogma as a huge barrier to these goals, and yet the woman I love and cherish embraces them as her center, and even above me. I believe there must be a win-win for both of us. I am fine with my kids choosing the Mormon lifestyle if it truly "works" for them, but I will consider myself a failure as their father if I allow the Mormon Church to condition them from birth like dogs using fear tactics and physiological control techniques. How can I destroy this cancer without destroying my wife and loved ones along with it?
I believe the Mormon Church is in error in their seeming philosophy from my perspective that the end justifies the means, milk before meat, and other self-serving and false analogies. They should have respected me enough and earned my trust by presenting all relevant information throughout my entire indoctrination and allowed me the human courtesy of making my own informed decision. I suspect greed, arrogance, and a perception of self-importance has blinded them and serves as rationalization for their continued growth strategy. Their impressive growth in my estimation is for all of the wrong reasons and I despise them for their immorality and unethical behavior in this regard. Their lawyer apostles and apologists are as wolves in sheep's clothing regarding this continued deception. Why can't they just sell their theology with full disclosure and let the buyers prove all things and hold fast that which is good? The irony is that this is the supposed plan they claim to support.
I will be pondering and calculating ways to achieve my win-win balance with my loved ones. Perhaps one of the ways to reduce inevitable long-term pain and suffering for my progeny would be to help the church leadership take a closer look at the real family damage they're causing within the loving relationships they purport to build and cherish. Maybe they could be open minded enough to consider potential solutions that included options more than merely cracking down tighter on control mechanisms designed to diminish the probability of deviation from their authoritarian certitude at the expense of individual freedom and agency. I don't believe it's ethical for them to create artificial fear based on their own delusions, regardless of their own sincere beliefs.
Based on their past and present behaviors, I'm not sure I would trust Church leaders with research information providing them with the potential for positive and empathetic human improvements. I believe their past and current reputation accurately judges their character to be untrustworthy and self serving at the expense of individual relationships. I hope they would do the right thing with such information. They have the money, power, and resources to collect this information regardless of my efforts and opinions. My hope is that they might have enough human compassion left to exercise some level of mercy on their often unsuspecting, mesmerized, hypnotic, and hopelessly willing subjects.
Why do they think they have a monopoly on every positive human emotion and experience, and a purported reason and warning for every unknown human suffering and fear? Why do they purposefully blind and detract their subjects away from information suggesting the realistic and unlikely probability of such claims? How can we humans overcome our natural traits and physiological tendencies that make us so gullible and such easy targets for this kind of psychological abuse? I will actively search for technology, research, and development in this area to combat the stranglehold and pied-piper effect of Mormon mind control and cult-like indoctrination techniques used on my loved ones.
I am very concerned about the lack of healthy checks and balances in the Mormon hierarchy. I have recently studied the story of Moses in Exodus and Deuteronomy coming down from the mountain and ordering the literal and physical execution of thousands of his people because they wouldn't recognize his authority. His faithful subjects happily carried out his orders without question.
Obviously, the Mormon hierarchy is nowhere near this extreme today. However, I believe the framework is set for this probability to become a reality in the future ... a future which will include my own highly influenced progeny. It's interesting to look at the parallels between the stories of initially supposed righteous kings in the Book of Mormon stories and how subsequent kings became wicked and subjugated their people because of the abuse of their perceived authority and in the absence of healthy checks and balances. It's ironic that even Book of Mormon theology seems to discourage kings for this very reason, and yet here we are today with full blown prophet kings, stake president kings, and bishop kings.
The hollow assurance that the Lord would never let the prophet lead the church astray is nothing but lip service. Our modern day prophets, seers, and revelators couldn't even see through the deception of a common forger of historical documents like Mark Hoffman, let alone their own perceived power and authority in all things. Joseph Smith cleverly explains how man's will can become God's will after the fact as I read his justifications for his secret polygamous and polyandrous relationships found in the Doctrine and Covenants. Smith claims that as long as you have made some impressive sacrifices for your God then he will surely justify you as a prophet in any bind you might get yourself into because of mortal and fallible behavior, including unrighteous dominion of all kinds, and sexual abuses stemming from submission to perceived power and authority.
I believe early church founders were counting on their hopes that they could become an independent nation and exercise their version of dictatorship without the restraints and freedoms allowed by the US government. If they hadn't escaped to the isolation of the Wild, Wild West, they may not be thriving as they are today. The whole polygamy fiasco nearly exterminated their existence but a last minute wake up call to reality preserved their existence. The only thing that continues to keep the Mormons in check today is the US Government. God forbid if the wishful thinking White Horse prophecy/myth ever randomly happened to the extent where the US Government lost its check on the Mormon Church and their ambitions to rule the world.
I hope for a better tomorrow. I choose to be proactive in my efforts for continuous improvements. I believe I can have a positive impact on my future and the futures of my loved ones for good. "If ye are prepared ye shall not fear". I want to prepare myself and my children to think for ourselves, and to develop the necessary skills to successfully participate in a productive collective of human beings within our current culture and society. I believe we are all interconnected to this world and this physical reality. I want to be a part of a healthy and productive solution aimed at continuous improvement and progression. I don't want to limit myself to the debilitating and stunting dogma of ancient foregone conclusions steeped in myth, superstition, and fear of the unknown.
How can I help my children build a better tomorrow?
| At least it is official in my stake. A high councilor went to each ward and announced the new policy that "priesthood holders"(ie. men)can no longer teach primary.
Some interesting quotes:
Of course they made no mention of the recent lawsuits that the church lost over the issue. Maybe this is the begining of the end for youth worthiness interviews.
- if you are asked to substitute for someone, you can only do so if your wife or another priesthood holder goes with you as a witness
- all four men who now teach in the primary in the ward are immediately released
- it is a sign of the times we all live in
- we don't want to be accused of things that have happened to that other religion.
- we want to avoid the appearance of evil
- we will from now on have an all female primary
In a way, this kind of pisses me off. This puts in the mind of the women and children (maybe just subconsiously) in the church that all men are inherently evil and potential child molesters. Are there not female child molesters? Haven't a few been in the news lately pulling a "joseph smith" in reverse.
| My oldest daughter came home from Primary Sunday with a special banner that she made. It said "When it's sick that I am feeling, I will let the priesthood do the healing."
My wife didn't like my version, "When it's cancer I've got, the priesthood won't do squat."
The church is trying to teach my kids that doctors are irrelevant, that all you need is a "worthy priesthood holder" and all your ills will be cured. No wonder some people see the church as a cult like the scientologists.
| The church is separating me from my daughter.
And I did nothing wrong except find out that the church isn’t true. And suddenly, my precious 15 year old daughter, who has always looked up to me, has to cry in church because her dad no long believes; he has lost faith.
She is my own flesh and blood. I raised her, I changed her messy diapers. I picked her up when she fell. I taught her how to jump on the trampoline, play chess. And I taught her how to tell the truth and be good person. And now, because I will no longer live a lie, I am the bad guy. Since I refuse to say that I believe in racist and immoral doctrine as taught by (insert name of early church president here), I have to watch my beautiful and bright daughter cry when she is persuaded by her “leaders” that I am being controlled by Satan.
How dare they? Who the hell do they think they are? They better be awful sure that they are right and that I am going to hell; or otherwise they are ruining one of the most beautiful things in this life.
I can live with having friends, coworkers, even my adult siblings thinking I am wrong. But why take away my own children? Every week she gets letters of invitation, calls to come to mutual, invitations to sing in church. (How perverse, they take a wonderful talent she has and manipulate my family with it.)
They all are well intentioned. They only want what is “best” for her. But it is their “best” not mine. They are arrogant, ignorant and completely duped. The amazing thing is, as I realized when I would talk with a few of them, they are clueless. Most of them don’t really know what the church teaches; let alone what the church has to hide. Most of these do-gooders haven’t even read the Book of Mormon. Yet they are willing to make my daughter feel bad about me. And put a wedge between us.
Most of the time my kids still understand and respect me, and often, I am sure they may have a deep feeling that I am right. But the emotional impact of teary eyed sacrament meetings, emotional music, brain washing EFY sessions, etc. put them back again and again. And sometimes I feel I am fighting an up hill battle.
And I did nothing wrong, except love their mother, provide them food, shelter, love and self esteem.
And find out that Joseph Smith lied. It isn’t that hard. Why can’t they see it?
| Systematic Indoctrination In Mormonism Starts Very Early. Here's An Example From The 2006 Primary 1 Manual, Used To Teach Children Who Are 18 Months To 3 Years Old |
Wednesday, Jun 21, 2006, at 08:11 AM
Original Author(s): Freeatlast
Topic: CHILDREN AND MORMONISM - SECTION 1 -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| "How could I have ever believed in Mormonism?!" is a question often asked by people on this board. The answer is: Through systematic indoctrination in the LDS religion and psychological conditioning in Mormonism (which is more than the religion). For people raised in the church, the 'programming' began at birth and continued to the end of their teen years and beyond.
A person raised in a 'faithful' LDS family/home received about 5,000 hours of formal indoctrination in Mormonism from birth to the end of their 18th year. Added to those hours were the many hundreds of hours of experiences that reinforced church doctrines and teachings, and Mormon beliefs and values. For example, if an LDS family read the scriptures every day, from infancy to age 18 a young person sat through/participated in more than 6,000 sessions of scripture reading.
So, exactly what happened to our minds/psyches to cause us to believe in Mormonism? Well, for starters, it's a psychological fact that when children are born, they have no sense of self, no perception/inner experience of themselves as separate from their parents and siblings, crib and toys, or anything else. Infants are psychologically 'fused' with everything in their world for about the first six months of life. Their psyches have not developed sufficiently for them to realize that they are distinct.
Because we started life with no self-concept/-identity, we were completely vulnerable psychologically. We had no guard, so to speak, to scrutinize the ideas that other people were planting in the garden of our psyche. Those people included our parent(s), siblings, other relatives, teachers at church and school, priesthood authority figures, friends, and other individuals. We were particularly susceptible to unquestioningly accepting whatever our parent(s) told us was 'good' and 'bad', 'true' and 'false', etc. because our physical survival depended on them. We also needed them for whatever measure of love, acceptance, and approval they were mature enough to give us.
In most cases, unhealthy psychological 'building blocks' were used in the 'construction' of our psyches during our formative years. Mindless/unquestioning obedience to LDS authority figures was one such 'block' (and it still is) for people raised in Mormonism. Systematic indoctrination in the cultish Mormon idea that Latter-Day Saints are 'blessed' when they 'follow the prophet' began (and still begins) at a very early age, as the following text from Primary Lesson Manual 1 indicates:
"Lesson # 43: We Have a Living Prophet
Purpose: To help each child understand that we are blessed when we follow the prophet.
Attention Activity: One at a time, show the pictures of Noah (picture 1-29), Moses (picture 1-66), and Joseph Smith (picture 1-4). Invite the children to tell what they know about what is happening in each picture. After discussing what the children know about the pictures, briefly explain that Jesus told Noah to build an ark so his family would be saved from a flood. Jesus told Moses to free the Israelites from slavery. Jesus told Joseph Smith that he should not join any of the churches then on the earth.
Explain that Noah, Moses, and Joseph Smith were all prophets. A prophet is a man who talks with Heavenly Father and Jesus. Since Heavenly Father and Jesus are not on the earth to teach us, they have prophets to help them. Heavenly Father and Jesus teach the prophet, and the prophet teaches us what we should do so that we can be blessed and happy.
We have a prophet on the earth today
Display the picture of the living prophet. Tell the children something you know about the prophet.
Have the children stand and say, “(Name of the living prophet) is a prophet of God.”
Activity: Have each child select a piece of paper from the bowl or basket you prepared. Read the message on each piece of paper and discuss it briefly with the children. Tell the children that these messages are all things that the living prophet has asked us to do.
Activity: Ask the children to think of ways they can follow the prophet. Toss or hand a beanbag or soft object to each child and say, “I will follow our prophet by ______.” Have each child finish the sentence with a way he or she can follow the prophet.
We are blessed when we follow the prophet
Refer again to the pictures of Noah, Moses, Joseph Smith, and the living prophet. Explain that because Noah’s family followed him, they were saved from a flood. Because the Israelites followed Moses, they were led out of Egypt into a better land. Because people followed Joseph Smith, they became members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Song: Help the children sing or say the words to the chorus of “Follow the Prophet” (Children’s Songbook, p. 110). Explain that to go astray means to do wrong things. Have a child hold up the picture of the living prophet while you sing.
Follow the prophet, follow the prophet, follow the prophet; don’t go astray.
Follow the prophet, follow the prophet, follow the prophet; he knows the way.
Follow the prophet, follow the prophet, follow the prophet; don't go astray.
Follow the prophet, follow the prophet, follow the prophet; he knows the way.
Sing or say the words to “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet” (Hymns, no. 19) for the children.
Think of some situations where the children could follow the prophet’s teachings. Describe each situation to the class, and have the children tell or act out what they would do in each situation to follow the prophet. For example: “You see some money in the kitchen. You would like to have it, but you know it belongs to your mother. What will you do to follow the prophet’s teaching to be honest?”
1. Display a picture of the living prophet during the entire class time. Take time to tell the children who he is. Explain that he loves them and wants to help them return to Heavenly Father and Jesus. Repeat this two or three times during the class.
2. Play “Follow the Leader” with the children. Have the children stand in a line. The first child in line runs, hops, skips, or does some other action to the other side of the room. The other children follow the first child, doing what he or she did. Then the first child goes to the end of the line, and the next child becomes the new leader.
Continue until each child has had a turn to be the leader.
After the game, explain that the prophet is the leader of the Church. If we follow the things he tells us to do, he will lead us back to Heavenly Father and Jesus.
Infymus Editor Note: Feel free to throw up now.
| My teen son's came home from a youth activity and they could see through the "holes" of the church. As a TBM mom at that time I didn't understand too much, but this was the activity, maybe some wards did the same thing:
They had the building set up in a world/3 degrees of glory. The kids played games and won prizes in the "world" setting, and then were "tagged" by messengers one by one, to leave the gym/world and their prizes in a box to go to judgement and then their assigned room for one of the degrees of glory.
Kids who played the "chance games" got sent to the lower kingdom room. They had to sit in seats and be taught by someone teaching a boring lesson. Those who chose to do the "churchie" games, got to go to the higher kingdom room. It was decorated with flowers and they got a better experience (I can't really remember what they said). Those who participated in mini church classes and scripture chases without prizes but lots of winning points for answering questions correctly, got to go to the celestial kingdom room where there was a beautiful cake and refreshments, lovely decorations, and music.
My kids got the "lowest" kingdom judgement and said the ones who made it to the CK room were the pious girls of the ward, there were no boys there. That is when it clicked that they knew it was all a fraud! Thanks, youth leaders for helping my sons out.
| When I was in my teens, my brothers wanted to go to EFY. They heard all the other mormon kids talk about it and thought for sure it would be so much fun to go. My parents eventually agreed to pay for half of the cost if they would cover the other half working for a man at church, who owned an apartment complex.
There was no way I was going. I was on my way to resignation, but still hadn't come out about my non-beleif to my family. I didn't want them to know why I didn't wish to go. When they asked, I told them I didn't have a particular reason, it just didn't appeal to me. To my luck, they bought tickets anyway. I guess they thought it was a money issue, because they didn't make me or my brothers pay for it. They should have thanked me, I saved them gobs of money.
At this point, I was stuck. To refuse the tickets they already bought would take alot of explaining. I didn't want to tell them how I felt, because I was too afraid of the ridicule that would follow. At this point in my life, I believe I already had my mind made up about resignation, but knew that it would be best to wait until I turned eighteen, so that legally there would be nothing my parents could do to stop me. Until then, I had to play the game and that meant going to EFY.
One thing I was sure to do before I left was create a new email address. It was then that I came up with rogue_guitarist. Rogue is the brand name of the guitar I just bought, so that would make me the rogue guitarist. I printed it up on business cards to hand out to friends I met. I figured I would try to look for the unfaithful ones, the ones who didn't have a testimony and weren't looking for one either. I didn't think this would be hard, alot of the guys at EFY are just in it for the girls. I figured I would be one of those guys. I got lots of ladies phone numbers.
I remember standing in line to sign up and get my room keys. There were all kinds of people waiting. Most looked like Molly Mormon or Peter Priesthood type. A few were punk looking, and a whole lot of them had guitars. Most people had acoustics. I must have looked like a bad ass with my electric. I got so many comments on what a nice guitar it was. There was one guy playing around with a manican head. He turned out to be in my group. I remember his name was Matt. If it weren't for him, EFY would have sucked alot worse. I'll talk more about him later.
My group turned out to be OK. Our counselors were alright, but I still thought that I should lay low. I didn't want to give them anything that would make me a target. Staying under that radar would definetly be a wise choice. The girls in our group were nice and very hot, though on the molly mormon side. The guys were cool to hang with. None of them were really the Peter Preisthood type. Matt definetly was the life of the group. He was absolutely crazy. At one of the dances, for instance, he used his manican head in a routine and almost won a dance contest. If if weren't for that prick who took off his shoe and played it as a phone, he would have won. Also, just crazy things like jumping down a whole set of stairs in one leap. Once he did it, we all had to. He was honest about everything, he even told all guys in our group that he didn't have a testimony and that he was going on a mission. I thought that was cool that he would admit to that, and even better that the other guys didn't look down on him afterwards. At least I knew I was safe around the guys.
When we actually broke out for classes, I started to feel sick to my stomach. I couldn't stand to be in that environment. I felt like nonstop manipulation. Every session was just another attempt to induce a spirit high, play with their emotions and they will simply beleive. This was even what they titled the camp that year, "Believe". And that dumb them song makes me gag to this day.
After a while, I came up with a way to help me feel better during sessions. I remembered the story about how Elizibeth Smart spoke out against her abductors in her journal, but in french. They gave us these journals that we were supposed to take notes with and maybe write a single passage a day about our experience. I decided to use it in a similar way as elizibeth, I would write in my journal every reason why I disagreed with the speaker. By the end of the camp, I had all seventy pages full. My counselor commented on how faithful I was for writing so much in my journal. If he only knew. I wish I still had that journal. I'm not sure what happened to it. Maybe, my parents took it away, or one of my brothers found it. Either way, I'm not sure it's still in tact today. Later, I ditched some of the sessions with Matt and we ended up walking all around the college campus, just goofing around. That was fun.
Our group won the cheering contest. We must have had alot of talent in our group or something. Most of the girls we were cheerleaders or on a dance team, so we had that part covered. I helped write lyrics to a song, sung to the tune of "We are the Champions" by Queen. Our theme was modesty. The most simple direct slogan we could come up with was, "Modest is the Hottest." Some college students walked by when we were making our sign. They offhandedly made that comment, "I think raging femenists are the hottest." I have to agree. Femenazis are the hottest women alive.
By the end of camp, I think I learned alot of valuable lessons. One of them is that I shouldn't be afraid of what I beleive, or more specific don't beleive. Eventually, I told all of the other kids in my group that I what I really thought about Mormonism. They took it really well. Some of the girls were surprised. They wrote me funny sayings on a goodbye note like, "The book is blue, the church is true". I knew they didn't get it, but it didn't matter to me. I survived EFY, and had learned alot about the Mormon mind game. I had lot's of fun, more than I was willing to admit at the time. But I still thought it was a manipulation camp. I have to confess, though, coming out of the camp I felt really bitter and angry. I felt like I was used, and my parents set me up. I felt like they didn't care what I thought, they just want to make my descisions for me. To this day, I don't think that attidtude has completely disappeared.
The week after I got out of camp, I wrote up my resignation letter. It would still be a year before I turned eighteen, but I couldn't wait to write it. There was too much going through my mind to put it off. Today, I have a copy of that same letter hanging on my wall, next to the Greg Dodge reply... This letter is to inform you that you are no longer a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
| We middle aged and older folks can probably remember back to the '50s when "I Am a Child of God" was a new song. Our Primary learned it as part of a special sacrament meeting program. It was an instant hit.
Originally the chorus said, "Teach me all that I must know to live with Him someday." But somewhere along the line -- during the Kimball years, I think -- it was changed to "Teach me all that I must DO..."
Ah, a subtle shift in emphasis. It's not what you know that matters, it's what you do. The church became a taskmaster rather than a teacher of enlightening, ennobling, eternal principles. Don't worry about contemplating or even understanding the Gospel, just do the work.
| Is this one still drilled into every three year old child?
"Jesus wants me for a SunBEAM to shine for him each day. In every way try to please HIM at home at school at play. A Sunbeam, a Sunbeam, Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam. A Sunbeam, a Sunbeam, I'll be a Sunbeam for him!"
Remember your first day as a Sunbeam, how you learned this song, and then the teacher pinned a nametag to you that was in the shape of a sun?
Then the next year you got to be a Star A (age 4), and the following year you moved up to Star B (age 5)...with star shaped name tags, of course, and even better, a gold star stuck onto your forehead whenever you were "reverent" all through class. I loved getting my gold stars. They made me feel superior to my less submissive classmates.
"I am like a Star shining brightly, shining for the whole world to see. I can do and say, happy things each day, for I know Heavenly Father loves me!"
Then CTR A (age 7)and CTR B (age 8), where you are given that junk metal CTR ring that turned your finger green before the following Sunday, yet they told you it was so special and you were never to take it off.
"Choose the Right, when the choice is placed before you. In his might, the Holy Spirit guides. When his light is forever shining over you, then in the right your heart confides. Choose the right, choose the right, let wisdom mark the way before. In his light, choose the right, and God will bless you forever more."
Just a few tidbits showing how Mormon kids are indoctrinated from age three on up. I have not been to church in 20 years, am almost 40 years old, yet I still remember these cult songs (and many others) almost word for word as though I learned them just yesterday.
Other brainwashing songs for children:
"I hope they call me on a mission, when I have grown a foot or two....I hope by then I will be ready to teach and preach and work as missionaries do!"
"I love to see the temple, I'm going there someday, to feel the Holy Spirit, to listen and to pray, for the temple is a holy place where we are sealed together....I'll prepare myself while I am young. This is my sacred duty."
| When I left the Mormon Church, I was not sure I had done the right thing, I was not sure this was fair to my children, so I let them go and hoped that the people in my Ward would take them in and make them feel apart. I did not want to interrupt their lives.
I knew that the church was wrong for me but I was not sure it was wrong for them. I knew what it was like to be on the outside of my family and my culture. I had an idea of the ostracism they would experience.
My girls continued to attend. They were both still in primary. The boys happily stayed home with me.
I did not tell anyone in my family that I had quit going. I did not want to go but I also did not want to face the judgment and condemnation I feared when my parents and siblings would find out.
I am not sure how long I thought I could hide that fact that I was no longer active. I had stopped wearing the sacred under garment. Soon people would notice even though I continued to dress in the conservative style of Mormon women.
One Sunday Michelle came home and told me that she would be giving a talk in primary and wondered if I would help her prepare and come and hear her give her talk. That week I wrote out a talk and practice it with her just like I had done many times before for her or a sibling.
On Sunday I got up and put on a dress. I immediately started to feel uncomfortable. The girls went ahead and I waited for the time when I knew Primary would be starting.
I walked over to the church. It was a beautiful spring day. I wondered what I would feel. Would I want to come back, would I feel like I could come back? Maybe the church was a good place to raise a family.
As I walked into the building I started to feel a little light headed and then I started to feel like I was having trouble breathing. It felt like my neck was swelling and cutting off my air passage. I checked. I was OK. I was breathing, I was not going to pass out.
I went into the primary room and sat down. The sisters I knew all smiled and acknowledged me. The children started to sing songs and I felt more and more uncomfortable. I had been the music leader in Primary and I knew all the songs and all the words. I had always loved the beautiful melodies and simple versus.
Today the songs enraged me. I now recognized the simple words as part of the indoctrination process. The same message was given over and over to these children at their most vulnerable and suggestible age. The message was obey and be saved. Conform and be lovable. Think and risk losing your salvation.
Michelle gave her talk and then the children sang Jesus Once Was a Little Child. The song was about how loving, meek and mild Jesus was. It admonished the children to be like him, to try to show kindness, be gentle and pure.
I was overcome with anger.
The Jesus I had read about was strong, bold, sarcastic, and opinionated. When he confronted the Pharisees he was combative and angry. When he cleaned the temple he was forceful and adamant. When he reached out to the Samarian woman he was brave and going against convention and tradition.
The story of Jesus had many facets and lessons, but the songs and talks carefully portrayed him as obedient, compliant, and conforming. I cringed. How did these songs and sermons make my strong willed opinionated daughter feel? How did the other children feel? Everything about the primary program was designed to mold and shape the children into a narrow, limited caricature of a real person.
I did not want my daughters to think that it was wrong to feel human emotions. I did not want them being forced into the being and doing of what I had been forced into. I started to feel like I could not breath and that I had to get out of the building. I started to feel dizzy and sick. I thought I might throw up. I got up and almost ran for the door.
Once outside, the quiet, the sun, and the fresh air started to calm me. I walked home and never wanted to go back. When Michelle and Erin came home I emphatically told them that what they had learned was misleading and that I wanted them to embrace their emotions, thinking, desires. I talked about Jesus and the other side of the story. I talked to my girls about being true to themselves and that the first person a young girl should honor in her life was herself. I did not want my girls to be me. I am sure they thought I was a little crazy and wished I could just be a normal mom; pretty, spiritual, and ordinary.
Just a few weeks later, it was Mother’s Day and the younger children had prepared a special song for Sacrament meeting. Once again Michelle wanted me to come and hear her sing. Once again I got up and put on a dress. I walked over with my girls and was greeted nicely by the many people that I knew. I sat down in the back of the chapel and many of the people I had gone to church with for years acknowledge me with smiles and welcoming comments.
I sat by myself. I felt uncomfortable and vulnerable. I could almost here the thoughts as people wondered what had happened to me. What had gone wrong that I had left the church? What sin had I committed? A few months earlier I was welcomed as an insider, today I was an anomaly, a bit of a curiosity, to some I was already a pariah. I had been measured and found lacking first as a Mormon and now as an apostate.
I refused the Sacrament and waited for the children to sing their primary song. The talks were focused on the role of the Mormon Woman. Obedient, kind, long suffering, faithful, prayful, worthy, virtuous, modest, soft, quiet, behind the scenes, self-sacrificing, a good homemaker, a wife, a mother, spiritual, sensitive, guided by the spirit, pure, gentle, lovely, gracious, soft-spoken, long-suffering, friendly, sweet and mostly nice.
Mormon women are nice all the time. They are nice while they lie, deny, criticize, complain, are victimized, unhappy, overwhelmed, frightened, angry, sad, depressed, unfulfilled, mad, powerless, and always obedient.
I started to feel the pressure, the force of a lifetime of Mormon indoctrination start to scream in my head. You are not righteous, you are different, you are too loud, too opinionated, too strong. You are weak, lazy, not good enough. It was these perfectionist, unrealistic teachings that had engulfed my life and made me feel unworthy and incapable. I had learned my whole life about this Mormon woman I was to become. This portrayal was a silhouette, a paper cut-out of what it was to be a woman. It was limiting, defining, and confining.
There was no insight into how to live life, how to love, how to think, how to decide. There was no room for difference, tolerance, creativity, growth, humanness, fallibility, and fragility. Just a paint by numbers portrait of womanhood. This ideal had been my model for how to live. A model that was impossible, ridiculous, and unyielding. I recognized this as the source of my emotional instability and mental illnesses.
I started to feel angry and once again my head started to feel light. I could not breathe. My air passages grew tight. I felt like I needed to throw-up. I was not even sure if I stood up I could get out of the building. My daughter sang her song and I bolted for the door. Once outside I started to feel better and slowly my head cleared.
I went home furious at what they were teaching my girls about what it meant to be a human and more importantly a woman. I did not want them to learn that their only choice was to get married and have children. I did not want my children to feel that they had no say in their lives, that any difference was wrong and caused through disobedience. I did not want them to learn that perfection was a worthy goal, that they needed to be sweet and kind all the time. I did not want them to live with a veneer of nice covering their unacceptable humanness, because who they were, was not, would never be, and could never be good enough.
I felt like Scarlett in Gone With the Wind as she held the dirt in her hand and swore with all her courage and determination. With all my courage and determination I committed that this church would not claim my children. This church and their lies about life and living would not addict my girls to a cycle of personal rejection and ceaselessly seeking approval from others. There was no longer any indecision. I did not want my children to be Mormon.
I realized that I not only thought the Mormon Church was not true I thought what they taught was wrong and dangerous. I did not the church was a great place to raise a family. I thought it was a terrible place to raise a family. There were no profound utterances, spiritual insights, or significant life lessons offered except those cloaked in the constant, persistent message of obedience and conformity.
The church offered only the voices of the church leaders, all others including my children’s own voices were condemned as unworthy. I wanted my children to have real say in their lives. I wanted my children to not battle depression daily, feel worthless and flawed. I wanted them to embrace who they were, embrace life and be joyously, amazingly happy. I wanted them to think critically, make decisions that were right for them, get married and have children if and when they wanted, and to contribute to worthy causes they believed in not because some man told them they had to in order to gain eternal life.
I wanted them to pierce their ears or get a tattoo or take a drink or laugh loudly or wear a bikini or make love or go to some foreign country or be nice if and when they decided to. I wanted them to get angry when they were angry, to say no to something they did not believe, and to live their lives according to the dictates of their conscience. I did not want them to turn their lives over to old, selfish, bitter men teaching hate and fear.
I had left hoping that maybe I would see things differently one day and be able to return. I had hoped I might find a kind of truce and could at least attend the way Bishop Forbes did. I now knew that would never happen. The church was not innocent or innocuous in my life. It had played an active role in my self destruction and it would continue to destroy people like me. People who were different. People who were thinkers, creative, and free-spirits. People who did not fit their perfect and rigid prescription for life and could not make themselves submit. We were the refuse of the church, the throw always, the rejected. They only wanted the nice and pliant.
The next day I sent a letter to the Church Office building and told them to remove my name from their records. From that day on I actively resisted my children going to church or participating. I told them how I felt and hoped that they would never choose to be Mormon. I now told my family my decision.
About a month after I sent my letter I was contacted by my new bishop. For the last time I would submit to an ecclesiastical leader. We met briefly and he attempted to determine if I was leaving because I no longer believed or to avoid a church court because I had committed some wrongdoing.
He thought he still had the right to determine my worthiness. He did not realize that he and the whole host of the Mormon Church would never again be given the right to judge me. I guess I answered his questions to his satisfaction. He made it official. I was no longer a Mormon woman.
| Attended Church today and it was Primary day. First let me say it was one of the best I have seen. Lots of music and kids knowing their lines. Why then am I sad?
As a primary child I too participated in many of these. I sat reflecting on those years. Back then it was singing, "Give Said the Little Stream." "Pop Corn Popping on the Pop Corn Tree." It was about being a good person.
Today from my notes.
"We are blessed to listen to a prophet twice a year in general conference."
"Follow the prophet and you will be blessed."
"God through his prophet GBH promises us that if we will read the BoM we will ..... (could not hear)
"Jonah was a prophet and did not follow the Lord" (Really, and then the child went on to say how he sat in a whale because he did not follow the Lord. He even had a whale doll)
THE BEST "Follow the prophet and he will lead me to God and Jesus Christ."
The whole presentation was based on promises.
Nothing about "I am a child of God."
Nothing about "Being good" like we sang when I was a kid. It was all adult stuff. Kids saying adult stuff, kids being programmed with adult stuff.
Okay maybe I am a wicked person and missed the spirit of it. I do swear and use the F word. I do sometimes think lustful thoughts. So not a great priesthood holder but wait I have been disfellowshipped so I don't have access to the Priesthood. BUT who will speak for these children?
I grew up and was told JS translated BoM behind curtain.
I grew up and was told only of one version of first vision, not 8 different ones.
I grew up and was told JS only had one wife.
I grew up and was taught second coming was around 2000 AD.
I grew up and was told I would be going to Zion (Missouri)
I grew up and was told God was man like us at one time
I grew up and was told BoM witnesses were honest to their testimonies on death bed.
I grew up and was told BoA was real records
I grew up and was told I was of the chosen generation.
I grew up and was told prophets spoke with God directly.
I grew up and told if I do the "M" thing I was in Satan power.
I grew up and was told if I drank coke I was sinning.
I grew up bearing testimony as a child the Church and gospel was true.
I could go on. Today after much study, pondering and prayer I have a different view.
Again I ask who speaks for these children? GBH has convinced me in the last 10 years that the foundations I recited and learned to believe in my primary presentations were not correct.
Note the focus from centering on the child (when I was a kid) to follow the prophet (2006). I shall be sending a letter to my Bishop and SP noting that even thought it was agreat presentation and "everyone felt the spirit" except me, it centers on child abuse. I felt abused as I think back to what I was told to say only to be told years later "we don't teach that" or "I don't know we teach that."
One child got up and showed the picture of the strippling warriors on horses with all sorts of metal. I am sure he is going to believe that this was the way it was as I did, until I started to study the gospel with an intent to prove it is true.
The worst part and stats show this, is how many kids are coming from one parent families, yet get up and talk about "families are forever" and "we can be sealed forever as a family." Yet in their minds they are going, "I don't have a daddy or a mummy." As a doctor of psychology it sickens me to have children exposed to this by having other kids, their friends say this stuff.
Sorry folks I'll never get over this abuse of kids. My wife does not agree with me. She thinks it was great and what a spirit.
| I moved to Sandy, Utah in 1979, at age 5 when my father got a job transfer. My parents are not Mormon and never identified with the Mormon culture. Nothing stands out in my young childhood other than all the Mormon kids weren't allowed to come out and play on Sundays - which was fun sometimes when I got the whole community swimming pool to myself on summer Sunday afternoons.
A lot changed when I was around 12 or 13 years old in 1987-88. Suddenly, all the girls who had been my friends for many years started asking me to go to church with them, and moreso to the Wednesday night Young Women's meetings. I attended as a very prominent guest here and there, but I just wasn't into the whole religious aspect of it. For a brief time, the mother of one of these girls would drive several miles to my house on Sunday mornings to pick me up just to go to church with her daughter - strange. I finally had to tell them I just didn't want to go to their church anymore. When it became apparent that I just wasn't too keen with the church, everybody drifted away from me, including girls who had been my friends for many years. All the girls were wearing either a CTR (Choose the Right) ring on their finger or a necklace from the Young Women's group, but since I didn't have one I really stood out at school as a non-Mormon.
I remember a girl moving into my neighborhood around this time and it was quickly learned that she wasn't Mormon. I was excited about maybe having a new friend who wasn't part of the church. Within a matter of weeks I saw the Mormon girls swarming in on her and inviting her to the meetings - I saw less and less of her. Not too long after, I saw her at the bus stop one morning talking about how beautiful her baptism was and wearing one of those Young Women's necklaces. A 13 year old girl being baptised to a new religion? How disappointing.
Many months later, a girl who had been my best friend all throughout childhood suddenly started talking to me again and inviting me over to her house after school. Soon after, she asked me to come to her Young Women's meetings, but I declined most of the time. One day she casually mentioned to me that "I should come to her party". It was just weird to hear from your "friend" that she's having a party and casually invited me as an afterthought (likely at the persistence of people at her church). I did go to her party, but then a few weeks later during lunchtime in the cafeteria at school all the girls at my lunch table were handed invitations to yet another one of these parties, but not me. Right - I was just sitting there embarrassed amongst 20 girls with special invitations in their hands. Talk about exclusion.
After so many years in the same elementary and junior high schools with the same kids, it was well known that I wasn't LDS and wasn't particularly interested in the church, and so nobody was overly friendly to me. Finally, when I was 15 I moved to a new neighborhood closer to SLC with a more mixed student body and quickly met other kids who became my friends. But there was still the majority who would ask within 10 minutes of meeting me, "Are you LDS?" or "What ward are you in?". I became ashamed to say I wasn't LDS because they would just never talk to me again.
My parents went through the same nonsense - perpetually being asked to join church meetings. After enough refusals they were simply outcast from the community. We never had neighbors coming over just to visit or have barbecues or otherwise get together - that just didn't happen in suburban SLC. This was in the 1980s, but I read now that it's still the same.
This is not to say that the Mormons are unfriendly, because they are actually extremely friendly and kind. But it seems like some kind of front only to get you to visit their church rather than to genuinely be a real friend.
| Last night I attended the ironically named "Young Women in Excellence" program at our local ward. You kind of have to do that when you have children singing and participating in a "reader's theater."
This year's theme is DandC 115:5: "Verily I say unto you all: Arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a standard for the nations;"
So, what, pray tell, did they advise these beautiful, intelligent young girls? How were they to arise and shine forth? Become leaders in the community? Get an education? Help other people by using their talents?
Of course not. It was all about how everyone is watching you (jeez, that's been around forever), so you have to be your best example. They talked about modesty and about how grateful one girl's nonmember prom date was that she wore a modest dress. And of course this is important because the reason we are to be good examples is to bring people into the church.
The featured speaker was the stake YW president, who told the story of a young girl who decided to be "just a little rebellious." Of course, she ended up doing drugs and getting pregnant and being abused. And one of this girl's children had a daughter out of wedlock, which the YW president ended up adopting. So, what was the point? That they wouldn't have been able to adopt a baby had someone not been rebellious?
Finally, the reader's theater consisted of quotes from GBH and Joseph Smith, interspersed with some ridiculous stories. The most ludicrous was a story about a girl whose friends found her For the Strength of Youth pamphlet. Rather than mocking her, they were impressed and asked if they could have copies. So, now the girl carries extra pamphlets to give away. Can you ever imagine anyone requesting a copy of that pamphlet?
As usual, the emphasis was not on developing these girls' potentials, but rather on being living advertisements for the church.
If nothing else, I'm glad my family knows where I stand toward the church. I don't think I could ever pretend to swallow that stuff.
| I have wanted to be a Dad ever since I was a teenager and place a high value on my family. So, a few years ago I spent considerable time studying the biographies of several latter-day prophets such as Gordon B. Hinckley, Ezra Taft Benson, Howard W. Hunter, Spencer W. Kimball, etc. to see how to be a better father. I wanted to find out more about these men and what made them tick. Hopefully, so I could become a better man of God, more like them. What I found, however, was very little of what I wanted to emulate. Here were men I am supposed to admire but who spent very little time with their families. Most of them fully admit, almost in a bragging way, that their wives single-handedly raised their children as they were constantly away on church assignments. Basically I was shocked that I was letting men who were lousy parents counsel me on good parenting practices. They offer excellent lip service to families in talks and meetings but in actual practice they don’t measure up in my opinion.
In the August 2001 Ensign, Russell M. Nelson proudly echoed this sentiment that in the church fathers are dispensable:
“I remember when I was a resident in a large hospital in Boston. I was off duty every other night and every other weekend. On nights off, I arrived home to my wife and our four children after the babies’ bedtime. I departed in the morning before they were all awake. In order for me to attend sacrament meeting, I had to trade hours of duty with some of my Jewish or Seventh-day Adventist colleagues. They were willing to cover for me temporarily on my Sabbath as I covered for them on theirs. Incidentally, I enjoyed some of my very most successful home teaching experiences on those highly prized nights off.”
Frankly I don’t see his familial neglect as anything admirable. And why wasn’t he with his wife on his “highly prized nights off” rather than off home teaching? It is true that in the church wives shouldn’t expect much from their husbands but is it really “selfish” for the wives to want it? As I looked around at local leaders I saw the same practices. Time spent in church service is time away from their families and I don’t think it is a stretch of the imagination to see that their families suffer. They would consider their family blessed, I know, but the horror for me was that I could see the writing on the wall even then. I was headed in that direction and I didn’t want to go there. I loved my family too much.
“I pay tribute to Sister Nelson, this magnificent wife and mother who has always been supportive. When people have asked her how she managed with 10 children with so little time available from her husband, she has responded with a twinkle in her eye, saying, “When I married him, I didn’t expect much, so I was never disappointed.”
You young women can learn much from Sister Nelson’s example. Sustain your husbands in their important work, and don’t be selfish in your expectations.” (Russell M. Nelson, “Identity, Priority, and Blessings,” Ensign, Aug. 2001, 6)
When I say I could see the writing on the wall, I mean I was already spending a couple of nights away from home or on the phone for my church calling. As a Seminary Teacher I spent every night preparing a lesson. Later as an Executive Secretary to the bishop I was spending about two nights a week and all day Sunday on the calling. One of my patriarchal blessings (yeah, I’ve had two, but that’s another story) promises I’ll have even more leadership callings. This is all time that I would rather have been spending with my family. I find it interesting that the church criticizes mothers who work outside the home, but praises and requires fathers and mothers to work outside the home on church callings to such a great extent and claims it actually blesses their families when they do.
At one time my wife was Relief Society President while I was Executive Secretary. We were rarely at home with our kids at the same time. Yet in the church, positions like these are badges of honor, callings from God and we’re counseled heavily not to refuse them. I didn’t like my callings and I didn’t like the time they took away from my family. It certainly is at odds with a system of belief that claims to be so “family oriented.”
The irony is that I know many other people also secretly resent the huge time demands church callings place on their families. They plain and simple don’t like their callings. They know they’re supposed to be grateful for them but the time burden is taxing. Back when I was teaching Seminary, I was too afraid to stop teaching for fear of what calling I’d get next. I know others have expressed the same feelings. I shelved those thoughts but I remained determined that the church would not swallow up my family away from me as I have seen happen.
Now I'm a divorced, gay, exmormon man...and a better father than any man I've ever met in priesthood meeting. Their formula doesn't work. When I met my partner and his 2 teenage sons I was (I'm ashamed to admit) surprised at what an awesome father he is. I'd rather my son turn out like his sons than any of the teenage boys I used to teach in Seminary. Their formula doesn't work when it comes to fatherhood.
| One of my TBM relatives last week was in the car with my two kids (both under 7 yrs old) and I. She pointed out the temple saying that's where your mommy and daddy got married, blah,blah blah. So what do we do in the temple, marry, blah, blah bla. Then she asked them, "who's that on top of the temple?" The kids responded. The angel Moroni. She said how proud she was of them. Before she could go much further with indoctrinating my kids knowing that we haven't been to the morg in over a year I decided to have fun. I then proceeded to teach.
That's right! His name was Moroni. He was the last white Jewish American Indian who died in New York shortly after a war where millions of White Jewish American Indians fought on horseback with shields, steel swords and armor against the cursed dark skinned armor-less Indians who defeated Moroni's white and delightsome people. White Jewish Moroni read and wrote in Reformed Egytian and so did all of the White Jewish Prophets in America.
The TBM relative said to stop it and that I was being a jerk. I think the cognitive dissonance was overwhelming her.
I asked her if I said anything that wasn't true. She said that she didn't want to talk to me anymore. I then said that I was simply telling mormon doctrine from the churches perspective. I got the silent treatment for about fifteen minutes afterwords.
In the future I think she will chill out when it comes to trying to indoctrinate my kids into the cult.
What's the best one liner when people ask, "who's that on top of the temple?"
I like: "He is Moroni the last White Jewish North American Indian who wrote books in Reformed Egyptian."
| Befree has had mormons pursuing her kids and telling them she is sick for not sending them to the mormon church. These morgites did this in spite of knowing they weren't welcome and once, when the parents were not at home.
Does anyone have specific ideas for curbing this practice? I'd phone the bishop and follow up with a letter to document the call.
If this didn't stop the unwanted attention, I'd consider going to the police for advice. I think it's also a good idea to remind kids and babysitters to get parent permission before inviting anyone who isn't expected into the home.
It might help to role play what to say to anyone wanting to come inside.
Perhaps practice this dialogue, "Sorry, this isn't a good time for visitors. My mom expects everyone to talk to her before they come to the house. Goodbye." Then practice closing the door. If anyone pushes their way in, the oldest child or sitter should phone mom, dad, or a specified neighbor immediately.
Does anyone remember "Fly" who used to post here? Her mother used to covertly teach primary lessons to her preschoolers. Others have said here how the grandparents agree to babysit regularly and always take the inactive or exmo children to their ward on Sundays.
For parents who would prefer not to have their children indoctrinated, I suggest being frank with the grandparents Tell them not to take the kids to church and not to teach them mormon lessons. Some parents are also bothered by having their kids participate in family prayer and blessing the food. If so, the parents and grandparents would need to agree on how to handle these rituals when grandkids visit.
I'm a grandparent. I would never try to indoctrinate children into a belief system without first getting parent approval. I see nothing wrong with exposing children to different ideas, but I have a big problem with anyone who tells children not to trust their own parents because of a relgious difference of opinion. I also have a problem with anyone who tells someone else's child that they have to be mormon to be "in the one true church." It's also bad to tell kids that they'll never see their parents in heaven unless they all convert and pay tithing.
Grandparents who countermand parental wishes should have limited contact until they're willing to comply.
Children with caring parents need to feel protected from having to justify their mom and dad to outsiders or extended family.
Strife over confusing religious opinions is not healthy for kids. It more than destroys any benefits that some children gain from involvement with a church.
I've also read of many cases where mormon missionaries teach kids after knowing the parents disapprove. This is another problem which needs swift intervention. Parents need to talk to the bishop and/or MP to stop this sneaky mishie practice.
Many here might not be aware that there are cases where mishies and/or extended family have baptized children in secret, and parents only find out after the fact. This isn't the norm, but it does occasionally happen.
I also talked to one mother who said a primary president bought church clothes for her children and secretly helped them dress and attend services while the mom worked on Sundays.
If anyone gives or mails church materials directly to a minor child, the parent needs to confiscate it and return it to the sender. Then, follow up with a call or visit directing them not to do this again. It might work to remind TBMs that exmos don't sneak around trying to influence their children and that the same level of respect from them is only fair and expected.
| I can be a wonderful dad, spend time with my kids, love them to pieces but since I don't believe in Mormonism, I am not really all that great of a dad.
The way I see it, I am a decent guy who loves his kids to death... a guy who actually wants to be with them more than I want to be with other adults planning church things or supervising other parent's kids. However, being there all the time with my kids.. as a dad... is not enough to qualify me as a "good dad". I should be absent more. I should be gone doing things for god.
In order to be a good dad, I must rob money that would be going to their college funds, allowing them to expand their world of opportunity, and divert that money into the church tithing coffers to expand the church. I don't do this, so I am a bad dad.
In order to be a good dad, I will allow another man to break down my children's personal privacy barriers starting when they turn 12. If I am a good dad at all, I will have no problem whatsoever in allowing another man I hardly know to repeatedly quiz my children about whether or not they masturbate. As a good dad, I must find this absolutely necessary for my child's personal progress in life.
In order to be a good dad, I will not question whether or not the adult involved with my children when they attend church youth functions is there because they volunteered willingly, or because they are qualified for child/youth counseling or life coaching experiences, or because they are commanded never to turn down a church calling. I am not to question how they got called. I must ignore that they are there largely because another man had a hunch that this adult would do for awhile until he got burned out of having to be with my child's age group every week.
In order to be a good dad, I have to buy into the fact that adults in charge of the successful spiritual welfare of my wife and kids believe that they are prompted and inspired by some external force to guide their dealings with them. Even if the dealings turn disasterous. If they turn disasterous, worst case scenario: my child dies from the neglect or incompetence of another adult supervisor called on nothing but a hunch to be in charge of my child's welfare, I am to say that this is but a rare teaching opportunity from god... but that's only if I am a really really good dad.
In order to be a good dad, I have to give my children formal oracle like blessings of comfort as their personal spokesman from god. Nevermind that one can have no idea what a god actually wants... can a human ever know what a god wants? If I am a good dad, I am supposed to just guess and play "what would god do or say here" as I act as their spokesman for god. If I can hardly discern my own trials and what a god means to teach me with them, how am I supposed to know what god means to teach my child with their trials. BUT. If I am to be a good dad, I should pretend I can speak the mind of god on a regular basis.
If I am to be a good dad, I will attempt to heal my kids of disease and other health afflictions by virtue of speaking words that I think god wants me to say over their heads. If the child does not get better, I should delicately explain that they did not have enough faith but maybe daddy also did not have enough faith or maybe, we just don't know what god wants to have happen with their illness until later. I have to say this somehow so delicately so that the child will not question why I bothered to put my hands on her head in the first place... if, you know, I am truly a good dad.
In order to be a good dad, I have to say that I know things that cannot be known in general epistemic applications of the concept of what can be known.
If I am to be a good dad, I must pretend that the Mormon prescription of knowing what god wants is more and most accurate than the other 1,000 current religious ways, means and methods of knowing what any god wants.
In order to be a good dad, I am required to stand up in front of my children and wife and tell the world that I know Mormonism is the only way a human soul can be saved and by default, everyone else on the planet is in grievous error. I will declare this often on the verge of tears, accompanied with some version of the phrase "without a shadow of any doubt". I will ignore that crying while speaking cannot make any statement any more true that speaking stoically does.
If I am to be a good dad, I will not find any problems with the problems of church history. In fact, I will refuse to read the problems. Also in fact, I will accuse the people who wish to reveal the problems as being most probably problematic themselves.
In order to be a good dad, I am required to constantly carry with me an overall idea, comprised in some concept called humility, that I am less than the dust and forever in debt to an unseen entity for the air that I breathe. I will teach my children to think this way.
If I am to be a good dad, I have to teach my kids that everything good that happens to them is not because they stood up and made something of themselves but because god exists and decided to bless them because they kept a commandment. I also must ignore and teach my children to ignore how god quite often woefully neglects many millions of people on this planet no matter how many commandments they obey.
In order to be a good dad, I have to know that god exists. I must coach my kids to say that they know god exists. But I will not tell them this is impossible to know. I will buy into the notion that Mormons, and humans generally are not allowed to doubt the existence of a god. In fact I must declare to a Mormon authority every other year that I solemnly know god exists. If I do not repeatedly indoctrinate my children into believing that a god exists, I must accept that I am in grievous error and in danger of hellfire upon my head. Nevermind that a god cannot be proven, else if it could be proven, why are there hundreds of conflicting opinions about who he/she/it is and what it wants with us?
I am not a good dad if I question or if I allow myself to become paralyzed with respect to religion on account of the variety of swirling conflicting chaotic religious dogma.
If I am a good dad, I just, you know, know what cannot be known. And if anyone else I know does not know what I know.. then they just don't know the unknowable things that I know... but they can know and coming to know does not come from any textbook either. It comes quietly from out of thin air. Allow me to testify to them about what I know and if they try very hard, they too can feel what I know is true and then we'll all know what cannot be known. If I am a good dad, I will teach my kids that this is how one can know the answer to the most important question a human could ever ask.
| I really had a good laugh when they told me that since I was eight, I'd be able to make life-altering decisions. Not just life-altering, eternally significant decision.
Somehow, I understood intuitively how stupid that sounded. My parents had a favorite answer for anything they didn't feel like explaining. "You'll understand when you're older." But somehow at 8, even though they made all my major decisions for me, including bed time and whether or not I got ice cream, I was called upon to make a decision that would affect me for time and all eternity.
Somehow, this just did not make sense. But I was way too afraid to tell everybody I didn't want to get baptized. Now that I'm older, I understand. Usually, the jokes that they would not explain were something off color. I had to have a bed time and they had to control my diet because little kids do not have the discipline to make those types of decisions.
And I understand why the Mormon Church wants kids to get baptized at 8. Kids are still young enough to be under their parents' control. They are not quite yet subject to peer pressure at school to "be cool." And they are still overly concerned about making Mom and Dad happy. So they'll make the safest "decision." Don't piss off Mom and Dad, don't make Grandma and Grandpa stop bringing candy, and just be a good little boy/girl. Get baptized and nothing will upset your nice, safe little kid world.
At 8 years old, I was in no way to accept the consequences of deciding not to get baptized. And besides, all the kids around me had "made the decision" to get baptized. I didn't want to appear wishy-washy or under the influence of Satan.
I was in my mid-20s before I even knew how to make good decisions. And in my 30s, I've since looked back and wondered, "What the hell was I thinking?" But I still don't know everything I need to know in order to make life-altering decisions. What would make anybody think I was ready at 8? That's ridiculous.
| Here is something somethings I found in a "Primary Sharing time booklet which I found quite disturbing to say the least.
One was an activity for "positives and negatives' about the faith. Eg there were things in the centre column and on the right positives and left negatives for each item in the middle column. One of the middle columns was "Tithing" the kiddies needed to select from the list positive for paying the 1/10 and negative for not paying an honest tithe. In the positive the answer was: "receive blessings from Heavenly father" The correct answer for the "negative" was : "Be burnt at the second coming". Would this frighten and scare kids into obedience??? A "loving" god??
Another activity was a scenario for "The sabbath day". It told a story about "Jenny" staying at a friends house and the friends family wanting to go boating on a Sunday. What should she do?:
a) Go boating with the family and enjoy the day but feel a sense of guilt (in dark print and underlined)about not keeping the day holy.
b) should she call her aprents to pick her up so she can go to church and feel peace (again bold and underlined word peace).
This stuff is scary. Kids are essentially being manipulated and scared into following a belief system that is psychologically harmful.
The next time a TBM tells me that TSCC is a fantastic way to raise kids, I might have to give them a piece of my mind.
Maybe we should give them a piece of our mind, when it comes to our precious CHILDREN.
I quit the Primary, when I read lessons like this, and sang songs like "I hope they call me on a mission," and "We are as the Armies of Helaman."
People don't realize that lessons like your example of the tithing lesson teaches ERRONEOUS thinking? Weighing the positives and negatives is a great technique in decision-making. You do not alter the premise, though! A real argument would be, "The positives if you do pay tithing vs the negatives if you do pay tithing." "The positives if you don't pay tithing vs the negatives if you don't pay tithing." The lesson manual is full of this type of thinking. TBM fools don't realize that this leaves NO ROOM FOR ARGUMENT. Kiddies are allowed to say only positive statements FOR paying tithing, and negative statements AGAINST not paying tithing, and there is no room for the other kinds of statements. It gives the APPEARANCE that kids are getting both sides of the picture, but they are only getting one side. I think this is lying, or at the very least, "intellectually corrupt." I'm sure philosophers or lawyers have a term for this. It is so wrong!
I'm so glad someone else caught the error of this thinking. I call it one-sided thinking.
Maybe a poster will define this for us.
| Where I live, most folks have quite a drive to get to church, so the parking lot is a necessity, but---
I see TONS of churches with small outdoor play yards; the church where our folk music group meets has a swing set and small climber for the kids to use while parents have meetings, etc.
I put in a short stint as the Sunbeam teacher--long, long ago! I know that the three-hour meeting block was miserably long for the Sunbeams, and I used to take them for walks around the outside of the building, etc., when the weather was nice. Fifteen minutes in a little playground would have been wonderful for them!
("Stupid-but-true" story: Since church was so long, the Primary President's solution was to FORBID the Sunbeams from attending Sharing Time...Yeah, let's see: The meetings are too long and boring, so we'll incarcerate the 3-year-olds in a tiny room, and refuse to let them come to the part where we sing and have activities. Thank heaven, I could bring my autoharp and sing with them in the classroom...Then, too, they were forbidden to join the SM Primary Program. I just waited 'till the others were all up there, and then sent my kids up, where they sang right along... Of course, the next thing was when the Primary Pres. handed out cookies to all the kids, for being in the SM program. No cookies for the Sunbeams, of course; they had to sit there and watch the others eat, so I brought them cookies, myself, the next Sunday. Yeah, it wasn't too long before I was released as Sunbeam teacher. Wonder why? ;^)
The other ridiculous thing was the "nursery." What was a "nursery" about it? *IF* there were toys, they were old and dirty and broken. *IF* there were graham crackers, the "nursery leaders" brought them. Generally, it was just a pile of crying kids, jammed into a room with whomever they could get to take the job. I was in several wards where the "nursery" was completely bare--not a toy in sight. Contrast this with other churches, where the "nursery" room has brightly painted wall murals, shelves of toys (not a ripped cardboard box full of broken McDonald's prizes), books, a boom box to play music...
Parking lots, indeed. Why doesn't the church provide the necessities for the children who attend? (Reminds me of the post someone referenced from the 'Babycenter' site, a few weeks ago, where the woman was lamenting that her child had already turned ONE, and they were STILL having to lug toys and books to church. She wanted to stop all that, and have the child sit "attentively watching and listening to the speaker." Family-centered church, my eyeball...Even the most minimal BASICS of child development are never, ever addressed!)
| The words "religious right to choose" sound lovely and beyond reproach. However, I don't think they apply equally to adults and to minor children.
I think if I had a child who wanted to attend the mormon church with a friend, I'd say no. I might agree to attend once or twice WITH my child to answer their questions and help them work through the implications of the service. But I would not let a child of mine go off to the morg with a true believer, be it friend, loved one, or grandparent.
Yes, I know that when parents aren't on the same page with each other, spouses must compromise for family reasons. Kids will eventually make their own decisions in life. They'll remember what a non-custodial parent says and does. That parent probably influences them more than they realize.
Still, I think if both parents are non-mormon or exmormon, they have a right to do what they can to protect their children from cults. I don't think most of us would feel comfortable having our kids attend church in a polygamy cult or at People's Temple. The morg is less dangerous, but is still a cult which preaches family divisiveness. Kids who attend without their parents learn that their parents are officially *unworthy* people who will not go to the best heaven and who cannot attend their children's weddings. The mormon church has evolved and is fine tuned at brainwashing participants, particularly those who are emotionally vulnerable. That usually includes kids.
Parents do ought to consider their children's ages, individual needs, and mindsets in working out if kids should go to a church, be baptized, or participate in church socials. I think it's a good idea to look at cult participation as something responsible adults should directly oversee since the results are longlasting and kids tend to make decisions based on peer pressure and the here and now.
Parents have a hard job. They have to sometimes force kids to get shots or take medicine they hate. They have to insist that kids follow safely rules when they're no fun. Sometimes parents must order surgeries kids are scared to face. Or they must prevent their children from joining gangs or signing up for clubs which are dangerous or don't suit their needs or the family's budget.
My point is that parents do have a right to limit cult participation. They need to be sensitive and wise, but they also don't need to shy away from their jobs as parents.
The mormon church flagrantly abuses family boundaries at times. Its goal is to attract or coerce any and all possible participants into its ranks. It sometimes enlists other kids to befriend non-member schoolmates and bring them to church, usually starting with invitations to social activities.
Mormon primary teachers and others do sometimes give gifts and invitations directly to kids, occasionally, covertly behind the backs of parents.
Missionaries sometimes teach the discussions without parental approval or knowledge. They've even been known to violate church policy and baptize without parental permission. Last time I mentioned this here, two parents spoke up to say this had happened to their children.
So I'd like to warn parents to be involved with what their kids are doing. Keep communication open. Don't give the mormon church or minor children a complete free hand when it comes to cult rites and activities.
How to navigate:
- Click the subject below to go directly to the article.
- Click the blue arrow on the article to return to the top.
- Right-Click and copy the "-Guid-" (the Link Location URL) for a direct link to the page and article.
|Articles posted here are © by their respective owners when designated. |
Website © 2005-2021
Compiled With: Caligra 1.119