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EX-MORMONISM SECTION 14
A very large selection of posts made by those in recovery from Mormonism. Culled from throughout the Ex-Mormon Communities.
| I just learned that a young LDS mother who my wife and I used to teach in Institute when we were members, died in a car crash on Saturday. The irony is that they were on their way to the temple to witness another young friend going through for the first time. They were running late and her husband was speeding. The crash killed the young six months pregnant mother, leaving the husband and their other very young child alive. Much saddened by the event, it made me wonder what reasoning the strong LDS family will attach to it. Previously I have heard people witness that the spirit told them it was the persons "time" and the Lord had called them to a greater work, or if it was a leader, sometimes that Satan was trying to stop the work of the Lord going forward.
That happened to a good friend some years ago when her husband died a while after a heart transplant. She was devastated that someone told her the Lord wanted him and had called him to a greater work. I was on the High Council at the time and at the funeral she just wept in my arms and explained what had been said to her. With or without any spirit I told her categorically that the Lord would never do that. (For a believer), He has billions of spirits to choose and use for any greater work he has, many of a very high caliber and her husband had simply died. Medically his body was unable to continue to live, it was just his time according to the flesh, no more, no less. He had lived his life, which had been extended a few years through the wonders of medical science and he then just naturally died, just as the death certificate indicated. The Lord had nothing to do with it.
Sometimes members, in an effort to comfort, just bring more misery. My friend found comfort knowing the Lord had definitely NOT called her husband from her. As she said, what greater work is there than that of husband and father? Why would God take someone away for his own work in the spirit world like that? The answer of course is that He wouldn’t. When my own wife was dying from cancer, she was given blessings that told her repeatedly that the doctor’s time was not the Lord’s time and that she would yet live to complete her work on earth, including several projects she was working on, that I knew would take years to complete. She too wept in my arms on several occasions, a few weeks before she died, saying it was all a load of rubbish after all. She died of course on the very day the doctors predicted, as we sat with her and watched her go.
When I left the Church, I was in business and doing very well and one of my daughters said, if you don't believe in God any more, surely you don't think you achieved this all by yourself? Clearly she thought the Lord had blessed me with abundance. I was later misled in a business deal and actually lost everything and have now retired. My daughter of course thinks this is the Lord punishing me for abandoning my faith in Him. In reality, the abundance and the loss were both just results of business, good and bad, unrelated to any influence outside human.
However, in light of the way members think, I just wonder what or who the family will blame for the accident when it was simply the result of the bad judgment of a young father, speeding to get to the Temple. Things just happen and they can happen to anyone. A few weeks ago my eldest daughter, driving her people carrier (minivan) at the speed limit (70 mph) on a dual carriageway here in England, got distracted for a second, hit the offside barrier, spun out, bounced across three lanes and demolished the guard rail over a fifty foot drop, bounced back to the centre of the road and rolled and bounced three or four times before stopping amid rush hour traffic. The van was a complete flattened wreck. The road was closed off and she had to be cut out of the vehicle by the fire crew. She and my teenage granddaughter walked away with hardly a scratch, just bruises. Members will say how the Lord blessed them to live when in reality they were just lucky.
My view, which I also held as a member, may not be the view of everyone else here but I always felt, and asked, that if God was going to actually intervene in matters, would he please intervene in the lives of the kids who have to live in drains in certain countries or alter the weather enough, or slow the tectonic plates shifting so as to stop thousands of people being wiped out the day after Christmas etc. I would rather He did that than believe he would allow it and yet actually take notice of the fasting and prayers of a ward to save the life of some elderly person for no real reason other than the family being unable to let go just yet. Just my meandering thoughts today.
| Stages of Recovery
• Curiosity: It all starts with Curiosity...as TBM's we all knew there was material we shouldn't look at or study...we were warned...but curiosity gets the best of us...and we finally dare take a peek.
• Shock: Initially when the foundations of our beliefs are exposed to information that is contrary to what we have been taught we experience Shock. WTF ..Holy crap yeah they were right...I shouldn't have look at this stuff
• Denial: Next we start to second-guess or reevaluate the information we’ve discovered such as, "I don't believe it -- How can this be!"
• Shooting the Messenger: During this stage, many who have discovered difficult issues merely blame themselves for discovering this information. They often try to put these items on the back burner and fight through the Cognitive Dissonance. This phase is often a turning point between remaining TBM or moving on to apostasy. This is when the years of LDS programming kick in i.e. "I knew I shouldn’t have read that book“ or “I should have followed the Bretheren and not delved into this information“
• Guilt: Is a hard stage and difficult to deal with alone. This is a normal feeling characterized by statements such as, "If only I hadn’t questioned ... If only I had had more faith.
• Anger: Is another very difficult phase, but it may seem necessary in order to face reality that we have been taken advantage of by a fraudulent man made organization.
• Depression: As hard as it may be for some to accept...many who discover that the church is a fraud do feel depressed over the reality of this fact. For the first time in our lives we have to totally rediscover the meaning of life and our relationship with humanity...this can be both an exhilarating experience but also a very daunting depressing one also as we make this transition into real life for the very first time...only made more difficult because often this process of discovery is not shared with loved ones who remain TBM’s
• Resignation: Means you finally resign yourself to the reality that the Church is NOT what it claims to be.
• Acceptance and Hope: Come when you finally understand that you will never be the same, but you can go on to have meaning and purpose in your life.
THREE "TASKS" OF RECOVERY
Here are three steps toward surviving the discovery that the church is not true:
• Tell your story: Talk about what has happened with anyone who will listen to you. Talk to family and friends attend a support group, tell your story until you don't need to tell it anymore. Chances are, you will be close to acceptance at that point. this is obviously where RFM becomes so important in this process of recovery...because many here have no other outlet or place to turn to other than RFM.
• Express the Emotions: Loss of belief in Mormonism is filled with conflicting tidal waves of emotion. Just when you think you've accepted this new reality, disbelief may sweep over you again. You may feel intense anger along with equally intense feelings of loss. No matter what the range of emotions, all are to be expected during recovery. It is crucial to get the emotions outside of yourself. "Stuffed" feelings can build and build and become overwhelming. Scream, cry, write, draw, punch a punching bag, tell an empathetic someone, take a walk, exercise, do SOMETHING to express what you feel.
• Make Meaning, from the Discovery: Nothing can make discovering that your entire life was based on a lie “Okay”. Your life has been turned upside down and changed forever. However, you can determine that something good and reasonable can come out of the unreasonable reality of this discovery. Reaching out and helping others whom are only now learning the truth behind Mormonism or finding new meaning and focus in your life.
| In the spirit (whatever that is!) of Xmas, a little good cheer might be a nice idea! ;-)
One of the funniest things that always gets a chuckle out of me is remembering the times we went to the temple and watching the old guys pull their whole string out of their "robe" while changing it to the other side holding up the whole session while two other old guys put the string back!
I laugh at the importance of the green apron, the backwards veil, the oil in my hair for blessings, etc., hiding my regulation skivvies so they are not seen by others while drying outside, (towels on the outside lines, garmies on the inside), the Temple Grinch crabbing about tiny ear rings in pierced ears, chewing gum, (they chewed breath mints but we couldn't chew them!)
Just thinking about the lines of women in sheets (tunics) with the sides flapping (for the less modest!) or held shut, with keys rattling going into the washing and anointing room and coming out with the long garments hanging below the sheet when we got done!
Going behind a curtain where a woman whispered -- ya whispered.... a "new name" while chewing a breath mint.
Locking our street clothes in the lockers and pinning on the keys giggling through out the temple rituals.
Chuckling while the priests got all tongue tied trying to read the sacrament blessing on the bread and water and repeating it over and over while the bishop scowled, and the other boys stifled a laugh.
Stifling a laugh when a young woman was called on unexpectedly to give a closing prayer in Relief Society on BYU campus when she thanked Heavenly Father for the lesson on Jack Frost, completely unaware that she meant to say Robert Frost!
One of the funniest things I did while sitting on the stand where I conducted the congregational music was missing my mouth and pouring the sacrament water right down between my err..ahhh..breasts!
What are your funny, laughable experiences while a member?What makes you laugh when you think about the silly, goofy, weird things you used to do?
| This is a true story.
Three months before my 11th birthday we moved from Las Vegas to Yakima. It was in September and probably because of a revelation my mother received that Las Vegas was destroying her family (she had a lot of these "we-have-to-move" revelations over the years).
Totally broke, my parents took us out to an orchard where we were all allowed to pick apples so that my father would have enough money to buy a tank of gas for the car, truck and tractor. He had an aging 1950 2-1/2 ton Chevy flat-bed truck and a tiny backhoe, but no work -- and he had heard that a few cabin owners along the upper Naches River needed backhoe work -- so we needed him to make the contacts.
By this time in my life, my four older brothers were gone from home and there were only five of us living in the tiny two bedroom house on Yakima's upper West side. My two sisters got one of the bedrooms and I got the tiny, add-on, attached laundry room all to myself. The rhythmic hum of the ancient freezer sang me to sleep each night.
Other than having a warm house and food to eat, I really didn't expect that Santa was going to be very generous this year. Even though I was young, I knew how hard my parents were struggling to make ends meet and I think that I was still too young to live in a reality much beyond the books I read and the routine my parents set for me. By Christmas of that year, Dad had nurtured that apple-money into several jobs and things had improved enough that Mom and Dad were paying the family bills -- barely. We kids would finally be getting the much-needed school clothes as Christmas presents -- and maybe some simple games and books.
That was okay. Forty years later the memories are fond -- if a little foggy.
The week before Christmas the local Yakima ward we were in (I think there was only one) had a Christmas party. They were still trying to pay off the brand new "pink" stake center they had just completed and so there was a charge to attend. I have no idea what it was but somehow we either got it or were exempted from having to pay because I recall the evening now with -- what I'd like to think is -- incredible detail.
I remember my excitement when we arrived at the beautiful Christmas decorations, the TabChoir Chrismas records playing and the booths all around the cultural hall. They gave us a handful of tickets when we arrived so that we could go to the different booths and enjoy games, buy fudges and brownies, and throw balls at a Santa dunking booth. I don't remember who was playing wet-Santa, but I remember the booth was set up under one of the basketball hoops, on the unfinished cement floor and he was wearing red long johns, a Santa hat and a white beard. I used a few of my precious tickets to throw a few balls with no success and watched with pleasure as one of the teenage boys dunked Santa several times in succession.
In one of the corners of the gym they had a cake-walk set up. A long table was covered with cakes, pies and cookies donated by ward members and decorated in Christmas themes. I had used all but three of my tickets and watched for some time as they played the music, people walked around in a circle on numbers and then stopped when the music did. Then there was the dramatic drawing of the winner and cheers as the prize was awarded.
I think there must have been a couple of dozen numbered squares that the players walked around while the Christmas music played. And, even at eleven, I knew that my chance of winning with one of my last three tickets was pretty remote. But the chocolate cake with the “Merry Christmas” greeting above an icing-drawn Santa with reindeer was calling and my addiction to chocolate got the better of me – so I gave up the first ticket and stepped onto a number.
The other squares filled up quickly and the music began. Around and around we went in what now seems to be a fairly pointless ritual until the music stopped. Everyone was excited while the young MIA Maids running the show reached into the bucket and pulled out the winning number.
It was mine! I couldn’t believe it! I ran over to the table and quickly grabbed that prized chocolate cake! This was going to be a wonderful Christmas! We were going to have this beautiful cake and it was going to be MY contribution!
Since I had two more tickets – and the evening was young – I figured I would go ahead and use them for another round of cake-walking! The music started. We all walked, the music stopped and when the number was drawn – IT WAS MINE AGAIN!
How amazing! This was even MORE incredible than before! I now grabbed a plate of multi-colored Christmas cookies and a crowd had begun to form around the amazing boy who had defied all odds and won two cake-walks in a row!
Well...my mind was racing and I still had one more ticket and the people all around were encouraging me to try it again. Everyone was sure that I was going to win so I handed it over and grabbed a number. With my incredible luck, I knew that the rest of the people were just wasting their time. I knew that now it was going to be possible for me to make my mother happy when I won that plate of fudge, too!
Sure enough, the ritual began, proceeded and ended with Brian T. Christ coming away victorious! It was a tremendous evening for me and one I remember so very fondly these many years later.
How could it have happened? How could I have been so lucky – or so blessed, if you prefer? But that was not all. Not only did we enjoy those wonderful sweets that I “won” that evening, but we also had a mound of presents in addition to the school clothes underneath the tree on Christmas morning.
I would like to bear my testimony that this is a true Christmas story and that is one of the reasons why I have always loved Christmas. I like to think that the people of the Yakima ward helped make it so.
| FROM: “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”; Robert B. Cialdini; pgs 61 - 64 (BOLD Emphasis John Corrill)
. . . Sometimes it is not the effort of hard, cognitive work that makes us shirk thoughtful activity, but the harsh consequences of that activity. Sometimes it is the cursedly clear and unwelcome set of answers provided by straight thinking that makes us mental slackers. There are certain disturbing things we simply would rather not realize . . .
One night at an introductory lecture given by the transcendental meditation (TM) program, I witnessed a nice illustration of how people . . . protect themselves from the troublesome consequences of thought. The lecture itself was presided over by two earnest young men and was designed to recruit new members into the program. The program claimed it could teach a unique brand of meditation that would allow us to achieve all manner of desirable things . . .
I had decided to attend the meeting to observe the kind of compliance tactics used in recruitment lectures of this sort and had brought along an interested friend, a university professor whose areas of specialization were statistics and symbolic logic. As the meeting progressed and the lecturers explained the theory behind TM, I noticed my Logician friend becoming increasingly restless. Looking more and more pained and shifting about constantly in his seat, he was finally unable to resist. When the leaders called for questions at the completion of the lecture, he raised his hand and gently but surely demolished the presentation, we had just heard. In less than two minutes, he pointed out precisely where and why the lecturers' complex argument was contradictory, illogical, and unsupportable. The effect on the discussion leaders was devastating. After a confused silence, each attempted a weak reply only to halt midway to confer with his partner and finally to admit that my colleague's points were good ones "requiring further study.”
More interesting to me, though, was the effect upon the rest of the audience. At the end of the question period, the two recruiters were faced with a crush of audience members submitting their seventy-five-dollar down payments for admission to the TM program. Nudging, shrugging and chuckling to one another as they took in the payments, the recruiters betrayed signs of giddy bewilderment. After what appeared to have been an embarrassingly clear collapse of their presentation, the meeting had somehow turned into a great success, generating mystifyingly high levels of compliance from the audience. Although more than a bit puzzled, I chalked up the audience response to a failure to understand the logic of, my colleague's arguments. As it turned out, however, just the reverse was the case.
Outside the lecture room after the meeting, we were approached by three members of the audience, each of whom had given a down payment immediately after the lecture. They wanted to know why we had come to the session. We explained, and we asked the same question of them. One was an aspiring actor who wanted desperately to succeed at his craft and had come to the meeting to learn if TM would allow him to achieve the necessary self-control to master the art. The recruiters had assured him that it would. The second described herself as a severe insomniac who had hopes that TM would provide her with a way to relax and fall asleep easily at night. The third served as unofficial spokesman. He also had a sleep-related problem. He was failing college because there didn't seem to be enough time to study. He had come to the meeting to find out if TM could help by training him to need, fewer hours of sleep each night; the additional time could then be used for study . . .
Still thinking that the three must have signed up because they hadn't understood the points made by my logician friend, I began to question them about aspects of his argument. To my surprise, I found that they had understood his comments quite well; in fact, all too well. It was precisely the cogency of his argument that drove them to sign up for the program on the spot. The spokesman put it best: "Well, I wasn't going to put down any money tonight because I'm really quite broke right now; I was going to wait until the next meeting. But when your buddy started talking, I knew I'd better give them my money now, or I'd go home and start thinking about what he said and never sign-up."
All at once, things began to make sense. These were people with real problems; and they were somewhat desperately searching for a way to solve those problems. They were seekers who, if our discussion leaders were to be believed, had found a potential solution in TM. Driven by their needs, they very much wanted to believe that TM was their answer.
Now, in the form of my colleague, intrudes the voice of reason, showing the theory underlying their newfound solution to be unsound. Panic! Something must be done at once before logic takes its toll and leaves them without hope again. Quickly, quickly, walls against reason are needed; and it doesn't matter that the fortress to be erected is a foolish one. "Quick, a hiding place from thought! Here, take this money. Whew, safe in the nick of time. No need to think about the issues any longer. The decision has been made . . . 'TM? Certainly I think it will help me; certainly I expect to continue; certainly I believe in TM. I already put my money down for it, didn’t I?’ Ah, the comforts of mindless consistency. I’ll just rest right here for a while. It’s so much nicer than the worry and strain of that hard, hard search.”
The rules of disengagement are not arbitrary. Following them can help make the changes in your attitudes toward Mormonism less traumatic, for yourself and for the people you are close to.
#1. Put family relationships first. Family and other loved ones are more important than most other considerations. People are more important than things and maintaining family relationships is more important than many other things including emotional comfort with the institutional church.
#2. GO SLOW!!! A major paradigm shift can be taxing in ways we would not imagine. There is a strong temptation to bolt and run when we discover that the church isn't all it claims to be. Don't yield to it.
#3. Be very careful about who you talk to about your doubts. Don't talk about disbelief unless you are certain the people you are talking with empathize with you. The RfM forum is a safe place for such discussion.
#4. Don't burn any bridges. You never know when you may need to use them again or when you'll want others to be able to follow you.
Going slow, is probably the toughest one to guage.
It took me about 3 years to successfully disengage from Mormonism, from the time I concluded that the only real answer to my many questions about Mormonism was that it is a fraud.
The statistics I've seen show that 80% of the relationships founded upon a common faith end in divorce when one partner decides that faith no longer works for them. Reading through the numerous heartbreaking divorce court stories on this board would support that statistic.
Don't allow the Morg to claim one more marriage as another statistic!
If I had one piece of advice I'd say extricate the Morg from the middle of your marriage by transcending religion and you'll find that you're much closer than you ever were as TBM's because your relationship is based upon what's real, love and respect, instead of fear and obedience.
What finally made the NOM condition untennable for me, was having my oldest son, in tears, tell me, "Dad, if that's the way you really feel about the church, then why are you still a member?"
I had to tell him honestly, "You're right. I need to be more honest about how I feel."
After 3 years of "fake it till you make it" NOMness that was what I needed to finally decide to have the courage of my convictions to call my wife's bluff.
I basically got fed up with my wife issuing me ultimatums and told her, "What the hell is that about? I'm honest with you about how I feel and what I think and your response is to threaten me with divorce? That's not love, that's not respect.
If you came to me and said, "Hey Honny, you know I've had some pretty serious questions about our religion ever since we've been married and that I've exhausted all the official sources trying to find answers right? So I've been doing independent research on my own trying to find real answers to my questions. Now I've got even more disturbing questions and I'd like you to help me resolve them." I'd say, "If there are answers, we can find the answers, together. We'll get to the bottom of this."
But you tell me you want a divorce? I've never threatened you with divorce. I've never done anything but love and respect you. If you want out because I'm trying to find honest answers for our children, then there's the door. I'm not going to stop you. But don't blame me. Blame yourself. I hope your religion keeps you warm at night."
Then I empathized with her and tried to see things from her POV. That's the real key. Find out what your wife's concerns are and what her fears are and take them seriously. Some of them might turn out to be even more valid than your concerns, which are not neccessarily her concerns.
For instance my biggest concern with Mormonism has always been racism, mainly the way they discriminated against blacks for most of their history and without a renunciation of those racist doctrines, those racist myths still continue to be handed down from ignorant generation to ignorant generation.
She really didn't care that much about that. Her main concern with Mormonism had to do with Polygamy, which I really didn't see as a huge issue when I decided LDS Inc was a fraud, since they haven't practiced it in well over 100 years. But I decided to read up on it anyways. I got Todd Compton's book In Sacred Loneliness and all the pieces fell together. ISL, DandC 132, the FARMS criticism of ISL, the records of JS's polyanderous affairs the MOrg keeps on Familysearch.org and read between the lines of DandC 132. It's pretty undeniable. I broke it all down for my wife.
At first she was skeptical asking about ISL, "Is it anti-mormon literature? If so I'm not interested."
Fortunatly I was able to say, "No, It's written by a faithfull Mormon scholar and Professor of sociology named Todd Compton. It's extreamly well documented and not even the church's own paid appologists can refute the evidence he presents." I showed her all the teenagers, orphans, and wives of other men that JS had "married". Then I showed her DandC 132 where JS threatens Emma with destruction if she doesn't buy into his extra marital affairs. I show her verses 61 and 62 which condemn polyandry as adultery, which is precisely what JS practiced with 11 women. There's no refuting it. JS was an adulterer, even by his own definition, or worse yet, Gods and the church still maintains that definition as the word of God. How screwed up is that?"
Her response was, "That's it. I'm done." and she was.
The next day we were out driving around and she said, "Let's stop by the liquer store. I need a good stiff drink. Oh and let's stop by Nordstrom's too. I need some sexy underwear. I can't wait to get rid of these damned Garments. I've always hated them. I always hated the temple too. That place freaked me out!"
We quit going to church. Took our tithing money and bought some vacation property where we spend nearly every weekend. It's our escape.
I took her out for our 20th aniversary and thanked her fro sticking by me through thick and thin. And that we're lucky our marriage survived a really rocky spot.
She told me she finally had to admit to herself that issuing ultimatums wasn't any way to treat her husband, that wasn't love and respect.
Now whenever anybody tries to recruit her back into the church I hear her saying, "Yeah but JS married with other men's wives."
I ask her how people respond to that and she says, "They don't have any answers. None of them do."
That was one of her biggest fears, trying to explain to people why she was no longer mormon. Now she has an answer. And it's a pretty damned good one too.
My younger children made the transition like ducks take to water. My older son however was about 13 when I finally resigned from the church and quit attending. He was pretty deeply entrenched and thoroughly indoctrinated by that point unfortunately and felt like I pulled the rug out from under him. The Morg did a hell of lot of damange to our relationship. The upside is that he's now an adult and no longer Mormon. We both have time to repair our relationship and reconcile and resolve any issues we have, which we are doing. We're both in counselling together and it's helping immensely. He'll be fine. He's intelligent and kind hearted and talented, so I trust that he'll find his own inner compass to help guide his decisions in life. Fortunately on balance I got out of the Morg without having to pay too high of an exit fee. On balance I probably got more out of the Morg than they ever got out of me. I got a good family and I saved them by getting them all out of a manipulative cult.
Not a bad return on an investment of 20 years.
For the first time in our family's history one of us will stand up and face the reality that our family's religious history was based upon a fraud and instead of mindlessly devoting our lives to a fraudulent cult, out of loyalty to our forefathers, build upon their legacy of searching for a tennable world view that is usefull for future generations to build their lives upon and determine their destinies, and realize their true selves, independent from the ulterior motives of corrupt institutional hidden agendas.
I will for the first time in our family's history, leave behind a tennable world view that squares with the larger reality of scientific knowledge, reason, and more importantly, individual conscience.
The real legacy I want to build upon and leave behind for future generations is the progressive humanist legacy of the enlightenment, the age of reason and the democratic principles of freedom, and a religious devotion to preservation of the REAL source of our lives, the natural environment.
| If you are lucky, they will use correct English, whole sentences, capitals, and spell checker and punctuation!
Stuff TBM's write/email that is a sign they are on a testimony roll...and are going for the juggler. They all have the same script.
It all starts with their inspiration.....
I want you to know that I love you....
I have been praying about you ......
I have been meaning to write for so long, and tonight I felt HF inspired me to...
This is the first sign they are going to rake you over the coals... they are right, you are wrong, and they are going to write about ten long paragraphs, minimum, to make sure you are informed.
They will act like you never heard of the LDS Church. They will recount all the commandments that you all ready know and taught like you are ten years old.
They have the guilt tickets ready for guilt trips they expect you to take, call you to repentance by proclaiming that they know that you know what they know.
Then they top it off with the Satan card; you are just being tempted, your testimony is just being tested, they know you have a testimony.... and ..then the IF's....
IF you will pray, IF you will read the BOM,(you will know it is true!).... IF you will live the commandments, live the Word of Wisdom, swallow your pride, pay your tithing, follow the prophet, go back to the temple... put your garments back on....
bla bla bla bla...
Never once do they support your right to freedom of religion, your right of choice to believe anything you want, never support you, never compliment you. They are never, ever happy for you. No, they are extremely angry!
What is the matter with these people? Don't they understand that they are rude, condescending, pompous, invasive and totally inappropriate? That is not inspiration. That is Gross Stupiditis.If they were really inspired they would not write such foolish, outrageous, destructive nonsense!
The letters are so outrageous, they are the best reasons not to be a Mormon! Who would even want to associate with people like that? Not me!
My guess is that every single one of us posting that has left the LDS Church as received at least one of these letters from a family member, or been deluged with a bunch of them from hateful members.
These letters/emails from TBM's have to be the most bizarre thing the members do.
| Now many people will probably think I am crazy. I won't dispute this, but I have an area in my brain that makes no logical sense. It "transcends" rational thought and logical systematic, step-by-step, methodical thinking processes.
Simply put, I believe that we have a power or force of our own volition that rivals any personal god could have in our personal lives. I literally think that it is possible to unwittingly influence the outcomes of pivotal, stressful, and possibly highly-emotional events in our personal lives. The most basic example being the "finding the car keys" example.
Why would this be applicable to posting on RfM? Because simply put - I see no difference between being a "believer" in something and simply believing in myself and people around me. I have had Mormon miracles happen in my life and I dutifully gave all the glory to God. I have also had "post-Mormon" miracles happen in my life and let's say I attribute them to more "earth-bound" reasons, though by definition they are "miraculous" and not rationally explained away.
For instance, I have recently had a child with a very bad fever and a history this year of some serious sickness befall them. My wife prayed for them and I meditated and visualized them healthy and happy. Granted we did all medically possible as well and that may be the best explanation for their recovery. What the medical community can't explain is this one child's propesity in a short period of months of getting sick time and time again. This may not be the best example and it probably isn't miraculous but it has gotten me to thinking.
Does the Mormon church give people a license for good things to happen to them? Is what people are paying 10 percent of all their money to an organization really for, just an "okay" from the big guy himself to have "blessings?"
It seems to me that this is possible. If people can influence the outcomes (good or bad) of their own lifes as their own "personal Jesus" then people with dependency issues and a propesity to fulfilling their own dire predictions, would suffer the most in leaving the LDS Church.
Why? Because it would cut both ways. All of the sudden their "good" actions don't translate into allowing themselves to "will" good things for themselves. It would also rid them of the magical talismans that ward away their personal demons. This would be akin to destroying all their hopes and dreams and leaving them nothing with which to wish their bad luck away! That would be true Hell.
I wonder if people who believe in "prophecy" from the "Lord's Anointed" really just believe in running a race in life with a license from a corporation to immerse themselves in self-fulfilling prophecy. It gives them the curtain/veil to cover their own hand in the works of their god and thus hide their own will in wishing for and receiving miracles of their own making.
| || Leaving Mormonism Is About Being Strong And Courageous And Willing To Step Into The Real World Of Ideas |
Wednesday, Dec 13, 2006, at 07:48 AM
Original Author(s): Susieq#1
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 14 -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| Leaving Mormonism is about being strong and courageous and willing to step into the real world of ideas.
Leaving Mormonism, however one approaches the exit process, is never about being weak. It is about being strong enough to feel the fear and do it anyway.
Leaving Mormonism is about keeping your self confidence, self esteem, self respect cranked up on high and not allowing anyone to destroy any part of you.
Leaving Mormonism is about picking ourselves up after being beat down and programmed.
Leaving Mormonism is not just about having hurt feelings or being offended, or having a bad experience. Life for everyone is filled with those kinds of experiences. If it were true that people left because of those notions, there would be no Mormons left in the church!
Leaving Mormonism is about taking your power back and owning it and not being intimidated by the leaders who put their pants on one leg at a time, just like you do!
It is about choosing not to live by the doctrines/policies of a powerful, controlling, authoritative church that has something to say about every facet of one's life from what one eats, how one dresses-right down to the regulation 24/7 underwear, how one spends money, and their time.
It is about setting boundaries and not allowing any Mormon leader to intrude into their personal lives, especially asking if one masturbates and other questions of a sexual nature. This is particularly inappropriate when a bishop interviews 12 to 19 year olds (males and females) in the privacy of his office with no parent present. (My view is that will have to stop and the sooner the better!)
Leaving Mormonism is about recognizing that covenants and promises made on fraud at baptism, in the temple, marriage ceremony, etc. are not binding, never were and never will be.
A careful study of DandC 132 with a comparison of the temple marriage ceremony dialog and the endowments in the temple show that the policy of polygamy (New and Everlasting Covenant) has not stopped, only changed in how it is currently lived to comply with the laws that were in existence all along. Read carefully, recall what you said and did, the marriage ceremony is tucked into your covenant to give all you have (time, talents, money) to the church. Some wonder if they ever married each other, of if they married the church. Hard to tell!
Leaving Mormonism takes a huge dose of courage, tenacity and perseverance to withstand the onslaught of the Mormons who try to destroy your very essence. Their behavior at times, is deplorable. It is understood only by taking into account how well they have been imprinted and programmed by Mormonism.
These are the most dastardly Mormons who have preconceived ideas that those who leave must have sinned, not repented fully or enough or in the proper way, not tried hard enough, didn't read the scriptures enough or with sincere intent, did not pray enough or in the right way, did not have the right attitude, lost "the spirit," were adulterers, and apostates, labeling their prior friends and relatives as something less than acceptable. They operate out of a manufactured fear that they have lost their "Celestial Family."
Those who leave are often treated as an enemy -- the spawn of Satan, and as such are often shunned and ignored after being denigrated in the most despicable manner.
This is especially grievous behavior when it occurs in families and is used as a wedge.
They forget their own 11th Article of Faith in their zeal to denigrate and vilify anyone who leaves.
11th Article of Faith "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own heart, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may."
It is a breath of fresh air to meet a Mormon who is respectful and will honestly honor the choice to leave Mormonism. It might be a little bit of a side-ways acceptance as they maintain the Mormon World View, but at least, some do try!
Leaving Mormonism is knowing and never forgetting that you are OK, you were OK all along. You are not the one that lied and perpetrated a fraud. You did nothing "wrong."
Leaving Mormonism is also about being able to have a good healthy, healing laugh at ourselves and the goofy, funny things we used to do.
Leaving Mormonism is about knowing that it is OK to be an authentic adult and choose your own underwear! How funny is that anyhow?
Leaving Mormonism is also about getting a 10% + raise and Sunday's off and ditching the God of Regulation Skivvies!
Hello world! Here I come!
| I think the challenges a TBM woman face can be unique simply because their experiences are different in Mormonism. Some of the things that sent me a direct message that I was not well accepted before God as a woman came from specific church teachings. The perfectionist parental upbringing I had did not help either. Veiling my face in the temple made me think my female face was not acceptable. Modesty issues were also impressed on my mind that my body was "ugly" and elicited "unworthy" behavior from men. My whole out look twisted into this perfection I would grasp for to be acceptable equally to God as a PH holding man, that I was never able to obtain.
One day a wonderful thing happened that turned the light bulb on for me and began to help change my outlook. Although my complete change to exit the church was several years later, some small things helped to pave the way.
This day, I was watching "Oprah" and a therapist was telling someone something like this: Don't you know your life is already perfect, the whole package! The good, the bad, and the ugly, the ups and downs. Everyone's life is already perfect, you are perfect exactly as you are today. You are a complete perfect person NOW!
Something happened to me (call it inspiration if you want) but years of striving for something I felt I could never achieve melted away at that instant. I was my "light bulb" moment that would bring on some change because I began to see people as good and not less than good. My kids and DH, and everyone around me, even my negative feelings became acceptable to me.
I went to church and we went to SS class. The first thing the teacher said to introduce the lesson was, "Who is perfect?" My voice couldn't be contained as I shouted out, "We are! God doesn't create mistakes!"
SILENCE...you could hear a pin drop. "You are right, we can be perfected through Christ" the teacher lamely went on then continued his lesson. Another student in the adult class chimed in with his "I am not one to presume I am perfect in any way. I have a long way to go...blah blah blah" even though I had felt slighted, I had struggled many years with the notion that I was less than nobody in the spiritual realm of my existence and I knew I was on to a wonderful discovery that would eventually lead me to a healthy outlook of life and being.
| My moment of truth was more gradual but it started with reading a book I found in my Father in Laws library. It was a book about the Book of Abraham (a very pro-mormon book written by a BYU professor) and the papyrus and how it had been found in 1967.
I couldn't believe I had never heard about this in church and it immediately sparked my curiosity. I began to research further, checking out FARMS website and other books. Eventually, it became apparent that the reason I had never heard about this was because the papyrus proved the JS was a fraud. This really got me thinking hard... If he was fraudulent about this what else was I not being told.
I began researching the history of the church more thoroughly, trying to keep a balanced approach of reading both pro and anti material. I couldn't find much neutral material on the subject matter even though that is what I would have preferred.
After spending about 8 months (Feb. 2005 - Sept. 2005)reading everything I could get my hands on (approx. 20 books) I concluded that polgamy was JS's invention soley to satisfy either his megalomaniac tendencies or his high libito. I also concluded that the archeological evidence for the BoM was severly lacking and of course there was a lot of additional problems with that.
Initially my reaction was that JS was simply a man or maybe a fallen prophet at some point, and he had a few faults and made some mistakes... who doesn't. Regardless he still maintained his prophetic mantle in my mind. However, after reading a few biographies it began to dawn on me that his pattern of behavior was consistently irregular and not at all like what is preached in Sunday School.
At this point I began to question everything, temple ceremonies, three degrees of glory, Danites, Mountain Meadow Massacre, Brigham Young, Word of Wisdom's origin, etc... with each of these I found information that was even more suspect.
Eventually, I began to realize the whole thing was a house of cards.
| From Bible Questions:
"A large percentage of people in the first century were tillers of the soil. Oxen were used to work the soil.
Biblical teaching that humans are dumber than an ox and must be subjected to severe violence to make them suffer to force them to obey and comply.
The prick or goad was a necessary devise. The prick was usually a wooden shaft with a pointed spike (prick) at one end. The man working the ox would position the goad in such a way as to exert influence and control over the ox. You see, if the ox refused the command indicated by the farmer, the goad would be used to jab or prick the ox.
Sometimes the ox would refuse this incentive by kicking out at the prick. As result, the prick would be driven deeper into the flesh of the rebellious animal.
The more the animal rebelled, the more the animal suffered. Hence, the statement to Saul: "It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks." (Saul was rebelling against God.)" http://www.biblequestions.org/Archive...
Mormons do not know what the phrase really means or where it came from.
They are just bent on making sure that you have to suffer intolerable pain until you obey!
Sick, sick sick.
| My grandfather (my father’s father) was born and raised in the Mormon culture of Utah a century ago. He flourished in that culture as his life spanned two different worlds. He was born in 1865 just after the formal end of the Civil War and before the building of the transcontinental railroad. He died in 1968 just one year shy of the United States placing a man on the moon.
He was one month short of 103 years old at the time of his death. He had a full life by all outward respects. He was mayor of a small Utah town for 20 years and the local Bishop for another 20 years. He was the town banker his entire adult life. He knew everyone in the community and was beloved by most.
During the summer of 1967 while I was still in high school, my mother packed up the family car and drove the family from the East Coast where we lived to Utah to visit relatives. While there, my grandfather, who was 102 years of age at the time, insisted on taking my younger brother and me to Temple Square to show us our heritage. While there, I vividly remember the following scene unfold. We were standing on the grass outside the Temple with 20 or 30 other people as part of a guided tour of Temple Square. Our guide, a middle-age man in a dark suit and white tie, was speaking at some length about the construction of the Temple and the sacrifice endured by the Saints in rearing that building. He was waxing poetic about how the early Saints had ground up their best porcelain china because Brigham Young had instructed the Saints the foundations of the Temple must endure the rages of a millennium or more.
At that moment, my grandfather turned to me and said, in a loud voice, as some old people unwittingly do, “I remember my mother taking me here to Temple Square when I was a young lad and the Temple walls were only this high.” At this point, he motioned with his hand to a height about equal to his knees.
The tour guide, who couldn’t help hear what my grandfather said, stopped his presentation mid-sentence and asked incredulously, “What did you say?” The tour never resumed. The guide and others on the tour gathered around my grandfather asking him question after question.
This is the heritage of my youth. It was a rich heritage compared to many subcultures within the United States. Unfortunately, the foundations of Mormonism were not as well constructed as the physical foundations of the Salt Lake Temple. And unlike most Mormons, I cared enough about my religious heritage to learn the history and theology underlying that heritage--a quest that took the better part of two decades. It was the undoing of my faith. I formally resigned from the Mormon Church early last year after having languished in unbelief for almost a decade before that.
If I find myself face to face with my grandfather in the next life, I believe we will have a lot in common. His life was characterized by hard work, love for others, and integrity. These characteristics reinforce his Mormon belief system. Likewise, my life is characterized by hard work, love for others, and integrity. In an Internet age my grandfather never knew, these characteristics now require that I abandon the heritage of my youth.
| Part of my personal internal process, leaving the LDS Church was declaring my own entitlement and ownership to my mind/brain,emotions/feelings, etc.
The greatest power I have is to own my own thinking. Change my thinking, I changed my life.
Owning my own power means:
I think for myself and do not defer to others.
I choose who and how I wish to please others in my life.
I choose my attitudes and how I wish to express them.
I make my own decisions without interference from others, especially ecclesiastical leaders and religiously bonded family members.
I give myself permission to like myself exactly the way I am.
My choices are mine and not to be put in categories as: right/wrong, good/bad according to some religious notions.
I do not give others the power to "make" me angry. I refuse to give them power to force me to "take" offense.
Owning my own power means that I determine my attitudes. Being positive and grateful is not always easy, but it is the best thing I can do for me. It keeps me feeling good about myself when I do not abdicate my power over my feelings to someone else.
I own the only entitlement to my life. They are my decisions, my thinking and how I do every single thing in my life from what I eat, how I dress, where I go, what I read, what movies I see , how I spend my money, how I use leisure time, who I spend time with and on and on.
Owning my own power means I am the only one qualified to determine my world view. Nobody else can do that for me.
It also means that I analyze, sift, and cull information to determine what I wish to accept. I determine the basis for accepting information.
It means that I put Mormonism in a whole life perspective: it is just one of many small to large religions with some influence that no longer had any real hold over me and has no power to determine how I live my life.
How do you define owning your own power since leaving the LDS Church?
| I was afraid of leaving the LDS church. In fact, even after being inactive for a few years, I thought in the back of my mind that I would go back at a future date. First of all, there were immediate consequences that I was afraid of. None of them happened.
Next, there are the so-called eternal consequences that I will not know about until I die. In fact, my best guess is that once I die that's it.
- Losing the spirit - I am actually more in tune with my fellows than when I was a member. I enjoyed a beautiful sunset yesterday.
- Losing blessings - that's rather vague, but I got in to my school of choice after leaving
- Drug addiction - nope
- Alcoholism - nope
- Adultery - nope
- Sadness - nope
- Social stigma - I had plenty of non-LDS friends
- Family stress - I live over 1500 miles away
- Marital strife - wife is a nevermo, she was actually pleased I left
I have noticed how none of the so-called consequences of leaving are actually specific. They are just vague fears that are designed to keep members in church.
- Eternal life - won't know 'til I die
- Eternal family - I'd rather be with friends
- Thumbing my nose at those who wouldn't convert - my beliefs no longer require that others agree with me
So what were you afraid of? Did it happen?
| Your mileage may vary!
I learned, early on, that members leave the LDS Church for about as many reasons as there are members. There was no limit. They are often highly personalized, and often fall in some general categories, however, I have heard hundreds of reasons why people leave. Some of those reasons have to do with the teachings, lack of full disclosure, surprises in the temple, uncomfortable settings, some have to do with the general members and their behavior, invasive interviews, temple shock , some have to do with the leaders, some have to do with the distance, the buildings, etc.
I have learned a few important things about my own very personal exit process from Mormonism: aka The LDS Church.
It meant that I could change my mind for any reason whatsoever. In fact, I didn't even have to have a reason or state one. I could give myself permission to not consider myself a Mormon, and I did.
I could choose not to believe their claims, which I did. Found them quite humorous, actually, right from the get-go.
I could see the humor in the belief system realizing the claims were nothing more than common garden variety religious teachings just like the cult of Christianity or any other religious cult (they are all cults, of course.).Also learned the standard meaning of cult and how it has been distorted to be exclusionary in a the war for converts : my god is better than your god, you are in a cult and I am not, nenernener.
The only difference I could find was that the stories in Mormonism from the BOM were a little more creative, and more recent, which struck me as humorous, also, especially some of the names of people, places and things. The level of magical thinking came right out of the cult of Christianity and Spiritualism, which I grew up in.
I could choose to recreate a whole new world view, different than the Mormon world view, deleting, rewriting all of the automatic thinking scripts (dozens of them!) I had adopted by being immersed in Mormonism, which I did, little by little, which was a really fun, empowering process.
I could choose to be honest with my right to live Mormonism (or any other religion or belief system) and honest with my right to leave Mormonism, again, for whatever reason I chose. There are many. reasons, but one of the main ones is that their claims do not stand up to scrutiny. Also, their ability to respect personal, individual boundaries is non existent (generally), the level of "gross stupiditis" (social and intellectual) is often over the top, their designation of the roles for men and women are too restrictive, the temple rituals are ridiculous and unnecessary, the official regulation underwear is also Mosaic nonsense, and on and on and on .Basically, I realized, very quickly that Mormonism is totally and completely unnecessary and became a hindrance to being a fully actualized adult female.
I soon considered the Book of Mormon stories a nothing more than Biblical type stories in different settings. They are acceptable only on a faith-based level. I could choose to discard religious faith based claims as a core reason for living my life, and I did.
I could be angry, upset, hurt, and recognize that I had been betrayed and not given full disclosure, in any order for as long as I choice to., and I did, for as long as it took to adopt a different attitude, which resulted, very quickly in my new passion for full disclosure for informed choice and consent re: Mormonism and a much brighter outlook on life as a whole.
I could recognize that I was OK all along and I did.
I could laugh at myself, and the goofy, silly things that I used to do as a Mormon, and I did. I could discard the restrictive skivvies, and I did.
I could talk about any part of the temple ceremony/rituals/new name and I did with no fear of recrimination or chastisement. I could ignore all of the temple endowments as irrelevant, and I did.
I could also decide that my self worth, self respect, self confidence and general well being did not have to be destroyed in the process of leaving Mormonism. And I did. Nor was any of it destroyed by living Mormonism. It was all part of the package of my life, all valuable.
I could recognize that there was "the good, the bad, the ugly" as well as the positive, the love, and all the rest during my years as a believing Mormon and in other areas of my life, and I did.
I could recognize that I was the only one that could change my mind, change my attitudes, and choose how I would respect myself leaving Mormonism behind and changing my world view, and I did.
I could refuse to give Mormonism, (or any member) any power to upset me or to offend me, even if they were critical and accusatory. Took a bit of practice, but I got the hang of it and now it is much easier to do.
I could recognize that there were important teachings in the LDS Church that worked in my life like: love one another, make a decision once, and dozens of other teachings that I picked up along the way, including the "Golden Rule".. And I did.
I could recognize that the LDS Church, it's teachings, it's members no longer had any authority in my life, no longer had any power to make me upset anymore, and definitely, never allow them to cause me to feel bad about myself, or to question myself, think less of myself, denigrate myself, and my right to change my mind about my choice of religion, and I did.
I could recognize that all that I learned, living several decades as a Mormon was part of what made me who I am, gave me my family, my home, my adopted heritage, and I could adopt an attitude of gratitude for all of it, with no regrets as nothing in life is ever a waste. That attitude alone taught me to be appreciative.
I have also realized that how people treat me is most often dependent on my attitude, and how I treat them. It is up to me to determine the consequences I want by the behavior I choose. The only person I can change is me, I have no power to change anyone else, I can inform, I can explain, I can go on and on, but if they do not want to accept my position or what I say, they won't.
I recognized, early on that I needed to find a way to live in harmony and compatibly with Mormons in my family and be respectful of their choice to stay in the church, to serve missions, and to always affirm my love and acceptance of them, whether I believed in their belief system or not.
Everybody does it their way. There are no rules about reasons for leaving the LDS Church, or how to do it. You do it your way. I have done it my way.
Slowly over the years (since 1989 when I stopped attending the LDS Church), I have, little by little gained greater insight into why some of our friends and loved ones are Mormons and why their "love of the gospel" is like any love affair: it is blind! When they tell me they love their savior, Jesus Christ, love the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I understand that their love.... is blind. Their love does not see the imperfections, the problems. Their belief by faith and often a "spiritual witness," based claims is solid.And, that is OK.
That's my two cents. Your mileage may vary.
| On Christmas, I called the home of my Mormon sister, husband, and their five children, and had the opportunity to speak at length with my 16-year old niece, Cassandra, who has been raised in Mormonism from birth. Our conversation gave me a chance to provide her with a non-LDS perspective about a number of things, including the importance of not basing one's sense of worth on one's performance.
As many ex-Mormons on this board know from personal experience, Latter-day Saints are psychologically conditioned to link their self-esteem to their performance as a church member. Mormon thinking is that the more a Latter-day Saint does for the church, the more sacrifices he/she makes, the more money they give, etc., the greater their 'spirituality' and 'worthiness'.
Outside of Mormonism, there is the issue of societal 'programming' about performance and worth. For example, most people believe that it's 'better' to be an A student than a B student, or to make a 6-figure income than a 5-figure one. Many people in and outside of the LDS Church spend a significant amount of mental time 'measuring' themselves according to someone else's 'yardstick'. In the final analysis, the only judgment that really matters is the one that we make about ourselves.
In the case of my niece, she's a solid, B+ student. Cassandra plays the flute and piccolo wonderfully, and she does well at computers, math, and other subjects. However, according to her, she doesn't have the minimum 3.7 gradepoint average needed to apply to BYU (Utah) where she's "wanted to go for years" (a wish that is due to Mormon 'programming', no doubt).
Cassandra told me that she's struggled with science, French, history, and some other subjects, despite her best efforts. To relieve her worry about her academic performance, I told her that it's the experience of most people to naturally do well in some subject and not in others. Also, I shared a personal 'secret' - the fact that her uncle got 53% in his last year of French in high school. Cassandra was a bit shocked to hear this, but also relieved in her own mind, I hope. My reason for disclosing this bit of info. was to help her to see that if I could make it in the adult world having gotten such a 'horrible' mark in high school French, then she could make it as well.
We talked about what Cassandra is naturally good at, where her interests lie, and the importance of doing something for a vocation/profession that's satisfying to her. Because my sister has been a stay-at-home mother since age 20 (she's 36) and Cassandra (the first-born) has been indoctrinated in the Mormon concept of 'wife and mother in Zion' since childhood, over the past couple of years, I've made a point of telling my niece about women who have followed their passion in life and done well, professionally and in their personal lives.
I told Cassandra that her place in life will reveal itself as long as she follows her heart and pays attention to her inner truth. She doesn't need to stress out about obtaining a 3.7 gradepoint average to get into BYU. If she works diligently as a student, whether she makes 3.7 or not, she'll know that she's done her best.
Slowly, Cassandra's thinking is changing. Her self-concept, worldview, and attitudes are evolving little by little as she gains more exposure to the world beyond the small 'universe' of Mormonism. I think that it'd be great if she doesn't go to BYU, and attends a local college/university in metro Detroit (where she lives) instead, but it's her life, not mine.
As her uncle (who's an ex-Mormon), I hope that Cassandra will develop a strong enough sense of self to realize that she doesn't have to unquestioningly do with her life what her Mormon parents, the LDS Church, and the Mormon 'tribe' think is best for her. Like each of us, she has the right to live as she deems best.
| I like many of the posters on this forum have been a lifetime member of the Church, served an honorable mission, and gone through the temple. I have served in many callings in the church including in the Bishopric. I considered myself a fairly strong member.
Reality hit me one day when I was driving home having tuned in to one of several popular radio stations in the area that I know are owned by the Church just to hear a commercial come on for wine, followed shortly by another ad for an R-rated movie. These are things the Church preaches so vehemently against and then goes around and profits from advertising on! For the longest time, I had been proud that the church was so well organized and so financially saavy. It struck me that day that operating commercial radio stations has absolutely nothing to do with the Church's stated mission of guiding men to eternal life and neither does the hypocricy of advertising products that it preaches against.
Deeper investigation into other business ventures that I knew the Church was involved in confirmed my initial fears that Mormonism is actually a very large corporation that happens to operate a church in the front. Granted every church probably has investments to keep themselves financially viable to carry out their missions, their investments are an ancillary part of their being and not such a dominant part of their missions. Research shows that the church directly or indirectly operates scores of businesses that most of its members never even knows about. When was the last time that the Church's many enterprises (besides Deseret Industries or Welfare Square and Bishops Storehouses) were brought up in Sunday School or in Elders Quorum?
The frequent emphasis of the leadership on tithing and and tithing settlement, stake and ward financial audits, fast offering reports, etc. all have a strictly financial bent despite awkward efforts by leadership to tie them to spiritual explanations. Even topics that appear on the surface to have very little to do with financial matters have deeper financial effects: early marriage and large numbers of offspring = large number of future tithe-payers, missionaries, and better membership growth statistics; nonpaid lay clergy (bishops, ward leaders,etc.)=labor cost savings, volunteer member building cleanup crews=labor cost savings, couple missionaries with expertise in various professions=labor cost savings, temple ordinances stressing obedience and consecration of time and material goods=an increase in willing contributors, temple worthiness interview questions involve tithing status=again an increase in contributors, missionary service=commission free sales agents, geneology=tedious research that keeps the membership occupied while ignoring more practical and pragmatic matters like the operations of the church. The list goes on and on. However it's sliced and diced, the whole church part of Mormonism seems to be merely the revenue intake piece of the machine.
Such a large operation that demands 10% from its members before bills are paid and food is put on the table is extremely secretive about how it uses its cash. Aside from a few rote comments from the church auditor during General Conference which is nothing more than a rubber stamp the members of the church have no accounting of how the money is used. There are no financial statements. Every once in a while, the Church News publicizes that the Church has donated some amount to aid in a disaster in some area. This is very well-timed PR and only a small fraction of its revenue each year. However, the Church is very deficient as far as running any real social help programs. Unlike the Catholics and the Salvation Army, there are very few if any soup kitchens, literacy programs, schools, hospitals, or anything that remotely smacks of being a legitimate whole-hearted charitable endeavour outside of Utah and in a few Pacific island nations. So the big question is if the members' contributions aren't going to fund charitable endeavors or to fund missionary work (missionaries are asked to fund their own mission living expenses and missionaries are not paid) then where does the money go? Well the only logical answer can be to buy investments in companies and real estate (temples and church buildings included, but also hotels, malls, and thousands of acres of farmland that have very little ecclesiastical purpose)
I was very shocked to learn the extent of this operation but have since overcome the shock and am merely just dismayed at this point. As uncomfortable as the truth can be, it appears that there is ALOT that the general membership is in the dark about.
| || What It Means To Change Your Mind About Mormonism. Part Of My Exit Process: Recognizing / Deleting / Rewriting Automatic Thinking Scripts. |
Tuesday, Jan 2, 2007, at 06:23 AM
Original Author(s): Susieq#1
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 14 -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| This is what it means to change your mind about Mormonism and build a new paradigm for yourself - the only true way for me; my way!
This is from prior posts from several years dealing with how I changed my mind, about Mormonism and what it meant to be a an individual, female actualized adult. This is how I took my power back....or...How I got myself un-Mormonized! Or: You've been given a new world, darlin'.....!
I celebrate my official resignation (June 27, 2002-month/day Joseph Smith and Hyrum were killed in the shootout at Carthage Jail-how fitting!).
Periodically, I take a long look at how my life has changed as I have changed my thinking, behavior, actions, use of time, money etc. Change your thinking, change your life has been one of my motto's.
This is from prior posts from several years dealing with how I changed my mind about Mormonism and what it meant to be a an individual, female ,actualized adult. This is how I took my power back....or...how I got myself un-Mormonized! Or: you've been given a new world, darlin'.....!
I celebrate my official resignation (June 27, 2002-month/day Joseph Smith and Hyrum were killed in the shootout at Carthage Jail-how fitting!) and look at how my life has changed as I have changed my thinking, behavior, actions, use of time, money etc
My personal story was entitled: From Mormonism to Eccentric Eclectic, or from Saint to Faint, My Love Affair with Joseph Smith and How It Ended."
This was titled long before I send in my resignation letter. Seeing the date on that letter was a kind of closure, and final statement from the LDS Church that the love affair (Mormonism is predominately about love of the gospel, Joseph Smith Jr, etc.) had ended, officially, and irrevocably and they had no more claim on me, or me on therm.
Here are a few things I discarded; scripts the I rewrote in the process of purging Mormonism from my brain.
It took months and months, to even identify all of these rote automatic thinking scripts, but eventually, I found the authentic me -- that was there all along! What an epiphany! I was OK all along.
When I woke up from the subtlety scripted programming of 30 plus years of Mormonism, in the spring of 1999, I realized that I could rewrite the scripts that ran automatically in my mind. I could change my mind about all of it. What a concept! :-)
I knew I could change my mind all along, but something (a bunch of "somethings") had to get my attention, big time, for me to pay attention to what was going on with me before I could begin to disconnect from the emotional code to the bonding and attachment to the belief system.
I had to break the code and I had to know I would be OK with that and reject the temptation to feel fear or guilt or shame.
I realized that humor was my friend; the healthy ability to laugh at myself took on a completely new meaning! It was OK to enjoy "Lightmidedness, and loud laughter" and I could finally feel free from those imposing temple covenants made on fraud that were not binding in the first place!
What I soon realized was that my self esteem, self confidence, and self respect took a huge leap when I took charge of me!
Little by little, I began the laborious process of recognizing (some are so well ingrained they just kept repeating!) the thousands of Mormon Scripts running in my mind and found a way to hit a delete button and rewrite all of them.
It was fun! I was in charge. I owned my own power over my mind, my thinking, behavior, choices. I owned me --completely and I was going to take charge. I was in the drivers seat, no longer a passenger in that Mormon Mini Van hauling arse down the road on the way to the Celestial Kingdom following that crazy map!
I started ticking those scripts off and releasing myself from their imagined power. They had absolutely no power unless I gave it to them. That notion had to run over and over until I "got it."
I gave myself permission to take power over my thinking, behavior, and attitudes. That was important.
No longer was any teaching in Mormonism, any requirement, any commandment, any covenant,any scripture, any counsel going to override and over rule my own good sense,logic, reasoning and self respect.
Then, I determined I was going to do it with a sense of humor. There was no way I was going to take Mormonism so seriously that leaving it would take anything away from me! I would keep what I learned that still worked, and discard the rest. That took a lot of testing on my part.
Here are just a few of the Mormon Scripts I changed my thinking about:
1. I could shop and buy anything and go anywhere on Sunday. No one cared and I did not care who saw me. Not explanations, no guilt, no shame. Gone!
2. There was no requirement to say another prayer in the proper form again; no need to bless the food, or pray in secret either. I could pray or meditate if I wanted-- anywhere and anytime I wanted , but it was my choice, on my terms and in my own private way. My experiments with prayer were dismally disappointing, so I decided to rely on my own good sense and research instead!
3. I did not have to read, study, ponder, pray about the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Bible or any of the Mormon books ever again. There was no such thing as "anti-Mormon" literature that I must avoid. The whole Internet and libraries were suddenly 100% open to me. I could read anything with no fear. No book had a "bad spirit" -- that was just plain ridiculous and silly!
4. Prayer does not establish fact. Praying about the Book of Mormon to determine it is true is just plain silly. It wouldn't work, no matter how many times someone prayed. It was still just stories with no factual evidence. It might be true God Myth, but that was it.
5. I did not need to take the Ensign (or any other church magazine) and read it. I let all the subscriptions lapse and never renewed them! No more pressure to read church magazines! Gone!
6. I did not have to attend church at any time for anything. Sacrament meetings were not of any interest to me anymore or anything else. Besides, I found the whole idea of so many people (long time friends and relatives) repeating their mantra's (IKNOWTHECHURCHISTRUE) so funny, I would not be able to keep a straight face !
7. There was no such thing as "feeling the spirit" that was anything but warm fuzzies because people want to fit in and be accepted. I could "feel the spirit" of anything, or anywhere. It was not an exclusive Mormon thing. It was just part of human nature; an emotional response that was natural.. Gosh, everyone "feels the spirit" when the national anthem is sung, or a flag goes by or I see my kids do some kind of performance in school, I see a sunset that is gorgeous, and on and on and on.
8. I did not have to have "callings". No more visiting teaching, or any other assignments. Whew! Done with that merry-go-round of busy work!
9. I did not have to report to anyone about anything. How nice! No more phone calls checking up on me! Nobody would call me again (nor would I make an appointment) for a "worthiness" interview for a temple recommend either! Done with that! What a relief!
10. I was not bound by some belief there were prophets or specially inspired leaders. These Mormon leaders put their pants on one leg at a time just like I did, and they sure did not know me, neither did most of them even pay attention to what I said, let along respect my wishes, so I was not about to give in to their imagined discerning powers or any other powers or any other powers or authority over me! Done with that!
11. I could eat anything or drink anything I wanted. The Word of Wisdom was pointless nonsense that was not about health (scientific evidence shows other wise!) but only a rule for "obedience" as a programming technique to get people to pay tithing to go to the temple! No more obedience tests either! DONE!
12. I could wear anything I wanted. No more official 24/7 regulation underwear. What was I thinking? I still laugh at myself prancing around in those goofy skivvies thinking they were necessary! No more obedience to the God of Regulation Skivvies! What kind of a God controls by underwear anyhow!
13. Now to the specifics about that ridiculous control by underwear nonsense: I was not bound by the outrageous idea that underwear was sacred and could not touch the floor. In fact, I could stomp on it and throw it around and feel good about it. Wow, what a concept! Geez. I was a little bit nuts in those days,wasn't I! Time to have a good laugh at myself!
14. I did not have to wear underwear under my bra anymore. OK. I know this is nuts, but I thought it was important at the time!
15. I did not have to wear my underwear 24/7 - including to bed- never could do that one anyhow. Ya, ya, I know. This is totally off-the-wall nutzo and non-LDS crack up when I tell them this! YOU WHAT???
16. I could throw out the temple underwear and feel good about it - that FEELS GREAT!!! And I did. Hauled the whole plastic bag of those #$%# things out to the garbage can, threw them in with the stinky trash knowing they would go in the land fill with the most disgusting mess you could imagine! Ahh, now that feels -- wonderful!! I laughed for days about that! Everytime I would see the trash truck, I would snicker...again!
17 All of the temple ceremonies were bastardized Masonic rituals and not binding. Not binding. Yup. That's it. They have no power. What a relief! DONE!!
18. I was not required to go to the temple regularly and play dress-ups. That is exactly how I felt. Just like a little girl wearing my grandma's old clothes!
19. The green apron and temple robes mean nothing. They are just silly outfits for the temple play and it has no more importance to me! Done with that nonsense too!
20. Prayer circles in the temple with women's faces veiled are silly nonsense.
21. I was no longer subjected to that invasive, washing and anointing rituals in the temple. Fortunately, that has been changed, and I would hope that our exposure here on this board writing about that abusive, inappropriate, demeaning rituals (and I did my share many times!) was the impetus for them to change it and not subject another person to that programming ever again! (I did a search under my handle and that essay I wrote came up as #1 on Google!)
22. I did not need to do genealogy and have my dead relatives baptized and have temple rituals done for them by proxy. No more postmortem conversions! DONE!
23. I no longer had to compartmentalize a "testimony" from the rest of my life. This was an important door that opened. I was now in charge of all of my thinking -- Mormonism no longer shut the door on how I thought about anything! No more mental gymnastics to make the unreasonable fit in some area of my midn that fight with the rest of my thinking. No more mental battles! DONE!
24. I did not need to use faith to believe in the Book of Mormon and the Joseph Smith story - Mark Twain said: "Faith is believing what you know ain't so." I wanted something factual, substantial, something that held up to scrutiny to place my faith in and I would never gain believe religious concenpts on faith alone! DONE!
25. I was no longer subjected to those intrusive, out of order, interviews by bishops and the stake presidency to get a temple recommend. Done with that nonsense too! Those men have no authority over me anyhow! I was no longer a subject of their weird questioning and demands while their inspiration went wild as they wondered off the required list of questions.
26 I no longer needed to pay "an honest tithe." No more money down the Mormon drain! I was done with giving them money to support their silly hoax!
27. There was no priesthood power that I was required to follow or submit to. This was great. I was no longer subjected to some arrogant (or just plain stupid) priesthood holder with his halo askew telling me what was best for me! They could go pester someone else who cared!
28. I was no longer subjected to demeaning attitudes and treated like a child. Mormonism kept me thinking I was a "child of God" and subjected to a "Heavenly Father" etc. and I realized I was not behaving as an adult. Geez, even most of the TBM females I knew talked like little girls in wispy, sweet, soft syrupy voices. Time to grow up! And, I did!
29. There was no need for guilt over anything. There was no need to buy any guilt tickets for any guilt trips I didn't want to take! Done with that too!
30. I could spend my money anyway I wanted. Wow. I didn't have to budget tithing, building fund donations, fast offerings, missionary fund (or get a job to pay for two missions for two of my kids) ever again! Done with that too! Of course, there were some "blessings" as all that $$$$ to the Mormon church was considered a charitable contribution on our tax returns and we got hefty refunds which I called: Tithing Refunds!
31. I could THINK anything I wanted. Imagine that. I didn't have to think a certain way, fearful of some evil influences from Satan, Lucifer, the father of all lies, and his minions getting in my brain and tempting me. Done with that silly notion too!
32. A little research into the history of gods showed that the Bible was figurative myth and legends, parables, etc around some still standing places - Thank you Joseph Campbell and others. I didn't have to accept any of it on inspiration from God. Done with that too.
33. There was no judgment bar that I needed to be concerned about in an after life. In fact, there was no evidence for an after-life at all. The Celestial Kingdom etc.(along with all others) was imaginary! I could live this life to the fullest and not be concerned about what would happen next. I could live in the here and now. What a glorious concept. No more fear, guilt, shame. That placed the greatest importance on me finding a way to make this life the best I could imagine! I didn't need a hope of an after life. I had this one!
34. There was no Heavenly Father watching over me or angels recording my attendance in church - no more feeling paranoid!!
35. Heavenly Father was not a resurrected man with a body like the white haired actors in white clothes with Jesus floating in the air, in the temple movie!
36. I could discard the "testimony" as it was based on fraud, a hoax and scam around some warm fuzzy feelings!
37. I did not need a savior for anything. Done with that notion also.
38. There is no need to believe in the promise of a place in the three major Mormon kingdoms after I was deas. I am free to live in the present. Always.
39. Faith and works or grace were not necessary to believe either.
40. I could discard the notion that "the church is perfect, but the people aren't."
(Silly notion anyhow as there would be no church without people as the people are the church.)
41. There is no such thing as a book having a "bad spirit" and I can read anything I choose.
42. I could read anything at any time I wanted, and I did.
43.. The terms Apostate and Anti-Mormon are emotionally charged words to discourage dissent from Mormonism by members with their persecution complex set on high!
44. I no longer needed a "testimony" by faith of things that made no sense in the first place.
45. I was no longer a second class citizen to be dismissed by the priesthood. That was a big one. I was just as important as any male. I was not relegated to being a mother as the greatest "calling" and given rules and parameters for my life as a female. Done with that too!
46. I was no longer bound by the restrictive role placed on me as a Mormon female
47. I could say out loud that Joseph Smith lied, and Mormonism is a total fraud and they do not tell the truth. At first, my lips quivered, I was so well programmed that I had a strange reaction to claiming JS was a lying little snot nosed brat and Mormonism was BS! I actually thought that Satan was making me say such things, at first, but I got over that one in a hurry. Discarded the notion of that imaginary Satan and I had no more problem with what I said about Joseph Smith Jr. or Mormonism !
48. I am not bound by some temple covenant that says I am to "avoid all loud laughter" and can laugh all I want, as loud as I want at anything, and especially at Mormonism! And laugh I do!
49. Mormonism is not necessary for my happiness. Neither is any "ISM" or Christianity or any other God belief. I realized that I don't need some outside influence directing my life. I am perfectly qualified to do that myself and that is how I will proceed!
50.. I am free at last.
51 . I can resign my membership and know I am OK. and I did!
52. Life outside the Mormon World View Box is beautiful, full, and joyful.
53. There were no commandments -- and I can ignore any inference that I need to be doing this or that to please some imaginary deity in a robe in the sky!
54. I will laugh my way out of these beliefs. They are just too funny to take seriously.
Besides, it sure beats the hell out of being depressed! I won't even give that bunch of nuts the power to make me depressed. I refuse!
When I wanted a good laugh, I would visualize all those leaders and the congregation dressed in their temple green fig leaf aprons -- only in their Sacrament meetings! This is a depression breaker! I guarantee!!
Getting out of the Mormon Church doesn't take very long usually, but getting Mormonism out of you takes much longer!
Part of my process was writing a parody on the traditional Mormon Christmas Letters.
Scroll down (near the top of the page) to:
A Mormon style series of Christmas newsletters and updates
12/18/2004- from SusieQ#1
That's my two cents. Your mileage may vary!
This is what it means to change your mind about Mormonism and build a new paradigm for yourself.
| I have been trying to give my kids some foundational framework with which to operate in this confusing world. My wife is a cautious non pushy TBM who sometimes lets the guilt set in and resolves to do "better". I don't have to really explain to most of you what this entails but the quick version is--We're not doing good enough as a family. We must work harder, pray more, attend more, wear whiter shirts etc.
Of course most of us know the result is more confusion, guilt and cognitive dissonance for the kids.
Here are a few points of emphasis that I am trying to arm my kids with while trying to keep the whole family tight and avoid a situation where the parents are using the kids as a religious battlefield. My wife is really not too bad, we just have slight differences of opinion. She basically wants to at least keep one foot in the door of the church while I would probably be glad to make a clean break. Anyway here are my points. Please suggest others that you think I should include while realizing that I want to keep it simple. I don't want to focus on myself but rather my role as their father, our relationship, and their individual development. My kids range from high schoolers to kindergarten.
I have had rather lengthy historical and doctrinal discussions with the older kids and they know full well where their dad is coming from but as I mentioned, I want to give them a simple and basic foundation to work with.
- Dad loves them.
- Dad is trying to be the best man, husband, father he can be.
- Dad doesn't claim to have all the answers.
- Many things are not exactly as they seem.
- Many people are not all that they claim they are.
- Dad doesn't believe those who do claim to have all the answers really know all that they claim to know.
- Dad is not a dummy.
- If kids feel pressured by those who claim to have all the answers they can come to Dad for understanding.
- Trust yourself. If something just doesn't make sense to you it is probably because it just doesn't make sense.
| One of the biggest questions that so many of us have after we've left the church is "Where do I go from here?". I officially left the church in the middle of 2005, though I was in the process of leaving it by degrees for a very long time. That proverbial shelf in the back of my mind was very, very full to overloaded. When it came crashing down, I could no longer pretend that I belonged in the church. I guess, in a way, I was already asking myself "now what" even before I officially left. Living in the Mormon Corridor (Utah County) and not seeing any good way to leave it, I new that whatever path I chose, it would be challenging. If you search for "Explorer" in the biography section of this board, you can get more of my story.
I've spent a lot of time reading, and thinking about the question previously mentioned. One of the conclusions that I arrived at much earlier in this quest is that God is the creation of man, not the other way around. I don't feel any hostility towards those who choose to continue to believe in a supernatural being, but I cannot do so. I cannot find any sound evidence that compels me to believe in such a being. Because I cannot do so, I'm an atheist. Some who would see that statement would ask, "if you don't believe in God, what do you base your morals on?". My reply is that they're generally based on the idea of "do onto others only that which you would have them do unto you". Yes, that sounds like it came out of the Bible. Yes, it does, but it's also found in one form or another in other religious and philosophical belief systems. It's a good guideline. If someone wants to put forward the notion that our morality comes from the scriptures, I suggest that they tell me which scriptures and which parts. The Bible, among others, is filled with many instances of murder, genocide and other such behaviors that are not acceptable to any good moral person. So we would be left with the necessity to "cherry pick" those parts that we think are good and ignore those that are not. So much for the Bible being the inerrant word of God.
A little off the subject at hand, but not entirely, last night I viewed a debate on TV that pitted 3 prominent religious individuals, in this case Christians, against 3 atheists. Part of the issue delt with the question of religion in schools and government. The Christians suggested that they were unfairly being picked on by the secularists in this country. They complained about religion/prayer not being allowed in the classroom and about government not allowing religious displays on government property, etc. That's a very general summary of that issue. The atheists, in defending the government, stated that the Christians wanted to create a theocracy. Of course the Christians denied it. What the atheists didn't mention, but should have, is that you can create a defacto theocracy simply by mustering enough political power to consistantly out vote the minorities. In that climate, you have a virtual theocracy. That's the reason that we have the Bill of Rights, to protect the minority from the majority. Those of uswho live here in Utah understand what defacto theocracy is. I'm sure that others in some other places in the country also understand as well. Any place where you have a strong religious majority is prone to have that kind of problem.
One thing that I've learned from my "mormon experience" is not to accept anything on "faith". I've learned that I need to consider any and all things in the light of reason, and that I need to exercise caution when it comes to things that appeal to my emotions. I spent some time beating myself up for not seeing the problems with the LDS church 30 years ago, but I realized that, at that time in my life, I was vulnerable to that kind of siren song. I also got down on myself some for not leaving earlier, but again, I realized that it didn't just involve me alone. A lot of family issues were rolled up in it. So I continued to try to make it work. I've forgiven myself for all of that. I was only one of many that were sucked into the mormon/religion trap. I also realized that many people in the church don't know any better. The church is all that they know and so have no reference outside of it. I'm sad for them. They don't have any idea just how fascinating life can be. When I left the church, I decided to let reason be my guide insofar as I possibly could. In that light, I realized that all religions have serious problems with truth. They all have myths and stories to prop them up and give themselves legitimacy. Once I accepted that observation, religion no longer presented any kind of hold on me.
Back to the question, "what now?" Within that question lies another question. What should I be doing? If I see a problem, especially one that has much larger ramifications for our country, and potentially for the world, should I try to provide any kind of movement (my two bits worth) towards a solution? Should I enter the public arena in any way and inject my thoughts in an effort to try to rectify that problem wherever and whenever I can? I've never been a public person in any way before. I don't like confrontation and I don't think fast as many others do so I do poorly at any kind of debate. Can I contribute, constructively, to the issues at hand?...........I think that I'm beginning to see what individuals like Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagan, Charles Kimball and others are saying in regards to the dangers of religion (and history bears witness to religious excess). As a citizen of this country and of this world, I think that I need to find ways to speak up and try, in my own small way, to voice myconcerns and ideas. If enough of us do so, perhaps others will start to listen. I have no allusions about me saving the world, but perhaps if we all band together, if we all speak up, perhaps we can have a positive effect that will, at least, lessen the severity of the problem. I don't propose any sort of militant (angry) approach as this rarely yields positive results. What I see is a steady push to make our voices heard in every way possible and to reach as many people as possible with the positive message that there is a better way. We need to take a lesson from the evangelists in some ways. We need to become missionaries of our ideas, but without the pressure tactics, representatives of a better way to live with one another. The best way to beat an idea or ideas is with a better one. We have to find ways to present these better ideas and show that they are, indeed, better.
My heart goes out to those who are still in the midst of the pain and anguish of breaking away from the church. I suggest that one of the ways that we all can help ourselves and others to heal is by resolving to do what we can to help others in the same situation and try to provide some input, where possible, to move the world, however large or small that world is at the moment, towards one of reason and peace.
I don't have all of the answers, in fact maybe only one or two. In this rambling document, I'm trying, as we all are trying, to put into words the quest to find purpose and direction outside of the belief system (ie, LDS church, Other churches, etc.) that have been imposed upon us. Whatever purpose that we focus upon, I hope that it will have been arrived at by reason and wisdom and not by "faith".
I have not set out, with intent, to bring offense to anyone. I have simply set out my ideas as to what I see as the truth in these matters and let the chips fall where they may. I wish you all well in this new year and hope that we all can continue to communicate with one another in friendship and with the common interest of helping one another and each of us trying to make this world a little better than when we first entered upon lifes' stage.
| I was watching an old Simpsons rerun, and Marge said something that really stuck with me:
"It doesn't matter how you feel inside, you know. It's what shows up on the surface that counts. Take all your bad feelings and push them down, all the way down, past your knees, until you're almost walking on them. And then you'll fit in, and you'll be invited to parties, and boys will like you ... and happiness will follow."
I was thinking that in Mormonism, that's pretty much what we were taught: on the surface, everything must be in order, neatly presented in a modest and "appropriate" manner, without drawing attention to yourself. There's this gem from "For the Strength of Youth":
"Prophets of God have always counseled His children to dress modestly. The way you dress is a reflection of what you are on the inside. Your dress and grooming send messages about you to others and influence the way you and others act. When you are well groomed and modestly dressed, you invite the companionship of the Spirit and can exercise a good influence on those around you."
Did you catch that? If how you dress reflects what you are on the inside, then what they are really saying that they want you, both inside and out, to be bland, inoffensive--in short, a conformist who does what he or she is told. They want to put a dark, conservative suit or a maternity jumper on your soul. Here's President Hinckley's take on it:
"People think in a very critical way before they come into this Church. When they come into this Church they’re expected to conform. And they find happiness in that conformity."
[As an aside, notice that he says that people think critically before they come into the church; apparently, they abandon critical thinking skills along with their immodest dress after baptism. LOL]
It really is kind of frightening that the leader of somewhere around 4 million believers thinks that true happiness is achieved in the denial of self in favor of an uncritical acceptance of some rather arbitrary rules. Suddenly, Bednar's use of a young woman's "nonresponsiveness" to prophetic counsel makes sense.
So we went around trying really hard to be examples, and examples don't have problems. We didn't permit ourselves to admit to failure, unless we were failing to be as good as we should have been. Many people here have recounted homes that on the surface seemed the perfect embodiment of Mormon bliss but were whited sepulchres of abuse and neglect. It was miserable enough without having to pretend it wasn't.
Ironically, the one time we were encouraged to bare our souls was in the sharing of our testimonies. But even in this we were told what was appropriate and not. I recall that not long ago, James Faust spoke in conference about what the proper elements of a testimony were (I'm pretty sure it was Faust). But people have an innate desire to express what is inside, and for many Mormons, testimony meeting is the time it comes spilling out.
It seems to me that it's no wonder that testimony meeting can be such a surreal experience. I've heard a farmer talk about "lambing," a woman in my home ward speak of saving spiders from certain death in a shower drain, and one demented old soul talk about a woman who drowned because she kept repeating the word "scissors" (that's worth another thread). But only in testimony sharing were we allowed to share a glimmer of what was beneath the surface.
But the one thing that was never allowed was for the negative to be shared in testimony meeting. No, this was the time for the useful and uplifting, not the real. So, somewhere in the deep recesses of our souls, we kept our hurts, our sadness, our frustrations, our grief hidden away in a locked box.
I like so many here have finally found out what it is like to let my feelings out, and it really is exhilarating. Interestingly enough, Mormon reaction to a lot of it has been quite critical. When I expressed hurt for the loss of my faith, I was told I suffered from a cognitive distortion. And when I expressed anger at having spent 40 years of my life on a fraud, I was told that Satan had gotten hold of my heart.
But I know better. Despite the predictions of misery and decline upon leaving the church, I'm happy and in touch with my feelings, good and bad. And it's wonderful.
The truth shall set you free. And not just the uplifting truth.
| It's amazing how leaving Mormonism has helped me clear up my thinking. Mind you, I'm not perfect, and as I purge some junk from the basement, I've come up with some stuff that would even confound a hardcore apologist. But overall, my thinking has cleared up.
Gone are the days when I used to think that reading a book, praying, and going to meetings for 3 hours every week would solve all of life's challenges. I used to think that I was buying a place in heaven, not to mention a successful career here on earth, with 10% of my income. And I was expecting a guy who was way past his prime to give direction for this generation, when his last big revelation was “don't be gay.” I also thought that if I could get my wife to go under water while I said a certain prayer, we would be able to have babies.
How does that add up? It doesn't. My Mormon friends would contend that I was expecting too much out of Mormonism or that I am not humble enough. Only God knows that. 'nuff said on that.
But now that I know my success in life (family, career, social, etc.) will depend on my efforts and not on celestial wagers, I have started to get my head on straight. I am working toward goals for myself and my family. I am making friends based on mutual interests and companionship rather than sitting uncomfortably with assigned friends.
I am less susceptible to emotional manipulation. First of all, the triggers that used to work aren't even in place any more. I’m not worried about eternal salvation, losing my wife to another man who was more worthy, or (please don't laugh) inviting evil spirits into my home.
I am actually fun to be around. I like to laugh and joke. I am a good friend. I work hard. And I am a good husband. I had to learn to tell myself these things because I never got them in Mormonism.
In church, my kind of fun was not allowed. R-rated movies are bad, no matter how educational or funny. Comedians who say the f-word are even worse, and jokes about sex or anything to do with the body were taboo. I couldn't be around the people I like to be around because some of them drink and smoke. Mormonism actually deprived me of the friendship and company of wonderful human beings based on a phony revelation called the Word of Wisdom. Finally, I was told that if I was not getting the results I wanted, it was my fault. I was not a good husband because my wife did not want to get baptized.
Think of that. My wife made a choice and that made me a bad person? And because of that, God decided that we couldn’t have children? That goes against all teachings on free agency, another concept that is poorly understood and poorly taught in Mormonism. Not to mention, it confuses those who dare to believe in Mormonism deeply enough. When God intervenes in His divine fickleness, whatever you were taught in Biology 101 no longer applies. Neither do math (the basis of logic) or law. That pretty much makes critical thinking the first casualty of Mormonism.
With Mormonism out of the way, I am able to think clearly. It's really nice.
| In Oct. 1992, after reading "The Mormon Murders" and becoming aware of some very disturbing facts about the LDS Church independent of the info. in the book, I decided to terminate my membership as a Latter-day Saint. I was 28, and as I've reflected on that decision during the past 14+ years, the evidence of my personal life has confirmed to me time and again how right/good it was that I left. Of course, the perspective of Mormons was that I was jeopardizing my 'eternal salvation'. I made the choice to leave because I'd awakened to the fact that unless I did, I'd never know my true self.
I recently read in Steven Hassan's book, "Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves" about a man in the Jehovah Witnesses who rose to a senior leadership position after decades of 'faithfulness', hard work, and sacrificing his time and other personal resources. After 60 years in the organization, the man chose to leave because he'd become aware that it was (and still is) a cult.
Almost four years ago, I turned down a good-paying position in the Caribbean after finding out that managers in the company, which was owned by the most powerful and wealthy family on the island nation, resorted to character assassination, bribery, and other unethical means to get things done their way. Because I declined the position, I didn't make the extra $200,000+ that I would've made had I taken it (and put up with their BS). As I've reflected on that decision, I'm glad that I made the choice I did. Some things in life are not worth any amount of money.
More recently, I turned down another position (with a great salary and benefits) because during the interview, it became apparent to me that my 'brain-wiring' is not really the type required for the position. The organization (a growing municipality) had made it clear that they were looking for someone who would move to the community and stay there, working their way up in the organization.
I was recently talking with a long-time friend (an ex-Mormon) who has been in a common-law relationship for a number of years. He doesn't love the woman, but does feel affection for her and appreciates her talents (she's artistic). He feels a sense of obligation to remain in the relationship, partly because of financial reasons (they're both contributing to the mortgage on their home).
Every day people make choices, some with a high degree of awareness/consciousness, and others for reasons that they're not consciously aware of because circumstances in their lives really seem to force them to make those decisions. Such circumstances can be financial or of a relationship nature. Sometimes, it's a matter of survival.
Although many Mormons would disagree, in truth, they're not free to choose many things in life. For example, boys raised in Mormonism are not given the psychological freedom to choose or pass on going on a mission. Years of indoctrination in the church's teaching that young men have an important 'spiritual' mission to fulfill by doing full-time missionary service erodes their psychological freedom to say "Yes" or "No" to a mission (without feeling guilty if they express the latter).
LDS females also have their freedom taken from them by the church's systematic indoctrination and Mormonism's psychological conditioning. They've been 'programmed' to base so much of their sense of worth on being a 'wife and mother in Zion' that if that doesn't happen (because there aren't enough 'worthy' Mormon men), many LDS women don't 'step outside' of the Mormon psychological box and explore a relationship with a nice, hard-working, non-LDS guy.
Fear more than any other emotion keeps people from choosing. Fear of scarcity. Fear of success. Fear of God. Fear of disapproval from parents, relatives, friends and leaders. Fear of being looked over for a work promotion. Etc. Fear is the great controller; it undermines the quality of so many people's lives.
Regarding the lastest position that I turned down, it was interesting what was going on in my psyche/mind as I approached the deadline to give the organization my answer. The position is in the city where my Mormon mother and stepfather live (she's 68 and he'll be 82 later this month). My mother had told me that they'd love to have me live in the community. Interestingly, a situation developed involving my short-term accommodation there that reminded me (thankfully) of my mother's decades-old narcissism.
Was I considering taking the position because the 'dutiful Mormon boy' at some deep level of my psyche believed that I needed to please my Mormon mother by doing so? After considerable introspection, I concluded that, yes, that 'Mormon boy' was still operating in my psyche. As a boy, I'd been thoroughly enmeshed psychologically and emotionally with my mother. I needed to not make a decision regarding the position that was influenced by old 'programming'.
The other inescapable reality was the issue of 'brain-wiring' and the fact that I didn't want to be in the industry longer-term, which was contrary to what the organization wanted. While I could've taken the job and managed to function OK in it, I couldn't deny to myself that it wouldn't have been a particularly good fit.
Two days before the deadline to give my answer I had a dream (some of my dreams in years past have been great sources of insight and wisdom). I won't go into details, but the message of the dream was clear: Choose what you want to do. Waking up with those words in my mind caused me to think of the many things that I'd done in my life out of real or perceived necessity as opposed to heartfelt desire. Another inescapable truth about the position was that while the work would've been fairly interesting, I wasn't passionate about it. After more introspection and thinking, it became clearer to me that in my value system, I really need to feel 'on purpose'. I need to be using my time, 'brainpower' and energy to do things that feel 'soulful' to me.
Interestingly, thinking about declining the position (and the subsequent loss of income) triggered an old, powerful fear in me that goes back a long way. It's an inner 'dragon' that I'd faced before and wounded, but it wasn't slain yet. It was time to finish the job; declining the position would accomplish that for me. I then informed my Mormon mother and stepfather, who expressed their disappointment.
In the wake of my experience, I've felt greater inner peace, happiness, and a 'lightness of being' than I've felt in a very long time. Turning down the position was one of the most consciously-made decisions of my life. Perceived necessity, fears, and wishes of family members had been unconsciously pushing me toward accepting it. I'm currently working on some personal projects, and things may work out very well, 'fail' miserably, or fall somewhere in between. Life is filled with risks. And there is always a choice.
| “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48.)
When I first was learning about Mormonism I ran headlong into the old striving for perfection thing. I asked DH, “Surely they don’t REALLY mean perfection – right, honey? They mean be as good as you can be, don’t they? I mean, perfection as a goal is just sort of off the charts, ya know??” But you all DO know. DH looked me in the eyes and in all seriousness assured me that perfection was in fact what Mormons were told to work toward – in this life and in the next.
Whoa – perfection. What a concept. So, to Mormons, the ultimate goal of human achievement on this earth and for eternity in the spirit world is pure unadulterated “perfection”. Not just goodness, not just living up to your potential, not just being the best you can be, but absolute and nothing less that PERFECTION!
Just to make sure I was not being unreasonable I looked the blasted word up. Webster’s says that perfection means 1. freedom from fault or defect – flawlessness; 2. the quality or state of being saintly; 3. an exemplification of supreme excellence – an unsurpassable degree of accuracy or excellence.
Of course, the problem with having PERFECTION as a goal is that by definition it is unattainable. Nothing in the physical universe is “perfect” – everything in nature has flaws or imperfections. Perfection is an abstract concept like infinity. It has no practical meaning – it cannot be conceptualized in terms of real human experience. It is not REAL and therefore cannot be realized.
What the hell did it mean to try to be perfect in a Mormon context? A quick Google and here is a small sampling of what I found:
“But our Father in Heaven and our Savior expect us to begin the process of perfection while we are on the earth and to make a sincere daily effort toward becoming perfect...There clearly are some things in which you can be perfect. The payment of tithing and the behavioral aspects of the law of chastity are examples. There are other things, however, that most of us will need to work on throughout our entire lives and yet not reach the perfection that is eventually promised until the eternities if we are true and faithful. Matters such as having absolute faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, a complete understanding of the scriptures, always controlling our thoughts and our tongues are all issues that require persistence and patience."
This nonsense comes from a devotional given on March 19, 2002, at the Provo Missionary Training Center by a Cecil O. Samuelson, “What Does It Mean to Be Perfect?” New Era, Jan. 2006, 10. I won’t bore you with the rest of this silly talk/article. He degenerates into a horrible comparison of trying to be perfect a la Mormonism and how terrible “perfectionism” is because it is “self-centered” and unhealthy. Uh....Hello - Cecil – Mormon doctrine is unhealthy, Dude!!
As if that “gem” were not enough – how about this doozie by Russell M. Nelson, “Perfection Pending,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 86.
“When comparing one’s personal performance with the supreme standard of the Lord’s expectation, the reality of imperfection can at times be depressing. My heart goes out to conscientious Saints who, because of their shortcomings, allow feelings of depression to rob them of happiness in life.
“We all need to remember: men are that they might have joy–not guilt trips! We also need to remember that the Lord gives no commandments that are impossible to obey. But sometimes we fail to comprehend them fully.”
I LOVE the way old Russ says not to feel badly that you are not perfect – not to be guilty, then slaps you in the face by “reminding” you that the Lard never commands something which is not possible. Jeez – you loser! If you would only try harder, you could be LOTS more perfect!!!
I won’t even try to summarize the horrific (but plentiful) poetry I read in the New Era on the topic of perfection and striving to be perfect. Most of this bilge was penned by tortured young LDS women who were Prozac cases waiting to happen. It was painful to read this stuff on about 10 different levels – Zounds!
Let’s just call a spade a spade here. When perfection is the goal, the end result is and always will be failure. Holding the myth of perfection up as the standard of thought and action means that one can NEVER measure up – EVER! Nothing one does will ever be good enough, no matter what it is. Every little mistake, every minute oversight, every perceived misstep weighs heavily on the mind of a person who demands perfection of themselves and who feels that others (such as GOD) expect it of him/her.
The guilt of being consistently imperfect leads to an incessant cycle of confession, repentance, and misery. This is psychological toture! While the intent of this belief may be to motivate people to reach higher and achieve more, it also creates feelings of bitter disappointment and self-recrimination. Over time as the expectation of perfection is repeatedly reinforced these feelings of inadequacy become deeply entrenched and a pattern of self-loathing emerges.
Striving for perfection is a form of poison. It is strychnine for self-esteem.
Amazing how many of you survived with some shred of sanity intact, really.
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