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EX-MORMONISM SECTION 24
A very large selection of posts made by those in recovery from Mormonism. Culled from throughout the Ex-Mormon Communities.
| I remember this clearly. My HT was giving a lesson about the glories of the fight against Lucifer in the pre existence and how we had all stood up for Jesus. He then told us the handicapped were those who had fought hardest and so we should respect them accordingly. Their disability was a badge of honor. Their place in the celestial kingdom was assured and so they were given a break from the responsibilities the rest of us face in this life.
Many years later I find myself working with the mentally ill/handicapped. What a load of crap that lesson was. These guys have it tougher than any of us can imagine. Even the ones who are happy miss out on so much. They will never get the opportunity to fall in love and live out that part of life. For the most part they won't go to prom, go skydiving, develop honest adult relationships, be able to decide the course of their own lives. That's some reward.
All the focus placed on an afterlife cripples people in this one. I believe this life is all we have and we need to make the most of it. That is my biggest moral argument against religion. Anything that convinces people not to take their chances for edification in this life is criminal.
| So, discovering this site in early April has started this really weird period in my life. I'm remembering things I'd long forgotten and in surprisingly good detail.
When I was in 6th grade there was another kid who sometimes sat near me who is notable for only two things in my memory. One is that he was non-mormon which was a big deal in the 80's in Alpine Utah. The other is that he died midway through the school year in a three wheeling accident.
I remember when it was announced to the class that John wouldn't be back and why. Everyone was devastated. The other kids were crying and acting as if their sibling was dead. I didn't know what to do because I didn't know John in any real sense. I'm pretty sure none of the others did as well. Nobody I knew had ever spent time with him. John was a real loner. So I just stood there probably looking confused.
I'm bringing it up because I was describing John to my wife the other day and I mentioned that he wasn't terribly bright. Problem is, I have no idea why I think that. He wasn't receiving special ed that I know of. I don't remember him saying anything, let alone saying something dumb. All I remember about him is that he was a non-mo, nobody liked him and then he died.
After this hit me I started thinking back to the only other non-mos I can remember from that period in my life and guess what? I remember ALL of them as not being very smart, or as being ugly, for no particular reason. They were all people I didn't want to associate with so I came up with reasons not to associate with them. Disturbing and weird.
| Many many things bother me about my lifetime in mormonism, but what I now find most bothersome, or to rephrase this, what has really harmed me the most about mormonism is how with many mormons, their brains or thought processes are cultified, black and white, and you have expected roles that can't be deviated from.
I harp about this soften, but having a relationship with an ultra tbm is well, like, very hard. The human is put aside for their performance. You as a person doesn't matter, only what you do for the church matters and then I will be "mormon" proud of you, not unconditionally, but only under certain conditions. If you don't meet my interpretation of those conditions, ie: if you don't live up to what I think your role should be, then a downward spiral of relationship hell occurs probably culminating in divorce, or you rebelling from your parents or being somewhat if not totally disowned.
A narcissist belonging to a narcissist religion like mormonism, is like giving them crack cocaine. They perform in the church and get admiration from others and they can feel good about themselves (pride) so they perform, advance in leadership, or brown nose the current leadership. The leaders suck up the ego gratification that the church brings. If you get counsel from a leader it probably is to do more for the church and everything will be better. No sorry, that is stupid advice. You might feel part of a group as you further entrench yourself in the fantasy world of mormonism, but fantasy solutions to real problems is irresponsible.
That seems to be the answer to any problem, do more for the church. The church offers no real solutions to relationship or financial problems, only pay your money to the church (tithing) and do more for the church and all be ok. I even attended a couples conference put on by the church that the guy said that the church's answer to relationship problems is just to do more for the church, and he was ok with that.
The church is so anti family, anti relationship, anti you as a human. There is nothing about being a good friend, loving other unconditionally, even loving your children unconditionally. When my son was leaving on his mission, and I was beginning to leave the church, four times I ran into our bishop he said 4 times that I must be soooo proud of my son because he is going on a mission. I never responded to statement in the postitive, because I was too busy thinking that I'm proud of my son, just because he is my son and I have love for him.
The complete cultification of members really damages thinking and relationships. The ideas of cooperation, respecting others opinions, compromising, even just listening and choosing to not necessarily agreeing, are human relationship skills. I've seen many members become enmeshed with their children or a friend, only to have that unhealthy relationship fall apart and then they hate each other. I've seen some children being type cast into a family role like the scapegoat, the favored child, the next prophet, the left out child. All of these are conditions that get frequently put on people living in a cult. I've seen members choose being a leader and always being gone from family. I've seen men being told that their role is to be the sole income provider. I've seen women believe that they should never ever work outside of the home, and that they need to get pregnant on their wedding night and never stop pumping out the kids. WTF with all the roles and one size fits all bulls**t?
What about helping members have some relationship and parenting and being a true friend skills. Love can augment a change way easier than control and conditions. I learned as a parent that if I played the nazi parent, that my kids might not learn to think for themselves or would probably rebel. However if you could see that they are stressed or overwhealmed, sometimes a hug will melt them and they become compliant, or offering to help them rather than rule over them works. Understanding that people have limits and some just can't do all that is expected by the church, and that's ok because you love them and give those you love some slack.
So many mormons believe the lie that if you marry in the temple and it is ok to rush into it, that all will work out. What a load of s**t. What about critical thinking, using logic and time to make decisions? The church is soooo full of irresponsible expectations, and many like myself, fell for it and are now suffering the consequenses of making life altering decisions with the cult twist.
The cult is only interested in the cult, not you. You as a unique person that is free to choose is anti mormon. You must comply, you must not say no, this is your role, some stupid prophet from the 1930's said it and it is as if Jesus himself said it, so if you deviate from it you are in open rebellion with God.
Enough of that mind warping bulls**t, but many of us have married someone that likes the mind warping bulls**t or have had parents that love the mindwarping bullsh*t, and it is either comply or leave.
I chose to leave, but the damage has been done. The consequenses of mormonism continue.
But back to the original question, what bothers you most about mormonism? Maybe you weren't affected by cult relationships like I have been.
| Mormons and those in other belief systems, both religious and political, often fall into the trap created by pluralistic ignorance.
"Pluralistic ignorance occurs where the majority of individuals in a group assume that most of their others are different in some way, whilst the truth is that they are more similar than they realize. They thus will conform with supposed norms. When most people do this, the supposed norm becomes the norm.
These situations typically occur when the norms are older than all members of the group or when one member or a small group is dominant and can force their attitudes on the rest of the group." http://changingminds.org/explanations...
Before finding online forums filled with thousands of others who questioned the history and tenets of Mormonism, I assumed I was alone. The accounts of numerous others on these forums indicate that this is a very widespread phenomenon in Mormonism and other religions. In Mormonism I believe there is a large element of design and engineered obfuscation. In other belief systems it seems to be more of an artifact of social interactions and human propensities.
Mormonism through the repeated warnings to avoid apostates and "anti-Mormon" materials further propagates pluralistic ignorance. This effectively creates a situation where they control the majority of communication channels, and thus they can affect behavior with misrepresentations, even ones that are in opposition with the target audience’s best interest.
It is much like Buffalo jumping over a cliff. "The principle of social proof acts like an automatic pilot in a plane and is usually quite useful for helping us navigate social interactions: we look around to see what others like us are doing, and we behave accordingly. We believe so we can belong. However, sometimes the data input into the automatic pilot is incorrect: sometimes the data has been purposely falsified, like canned laughter today or the use of claqueurs in the Paris opera of the early 19th century. To defend ourselves from the pressures of social proof, as soon as we find evidence of a false response, we are advised to take control away from the automatic pilot. The other common situation when social proof leads us astray is pluralistic ignorance, when a small error in judgment is magnified into something more profound, like a traffic accident that occurs because we are blindly following the actions of others. For Cialdini, the image of the buffalo jump serves as a fitting analogy to conclude the chapter on the powers of social proof as a weapon of influence." http://www.media-studies.ca/articles/...
Mormonism is by no means the only organization to exploit this phenomenon. However, in my walk through life I learned much of what I know about social influence through observing Mormonism at work in my own life and the lives of those around me. Since becoming aware of these methods it has become much easier to notice these same types of machinations in advertising, political campaigns, and other such efforts.
| I hate the word “truth”. That may sound like a strange word to dislike, but “truth” is the most bastardized word in the English language. People utter that word as a substitute for legitimate and real articulation. I do make an exception for “truth” being used as the equivalent for honesty.
There are those who to attempt to sound deep, philosophical and intelligent by using the word. For example, “I live my life as a constant search for truth”. Or, if you prefer, “I have an unquenchable thirst for truth”. The problem I have with this is that nothing is being said. No thought or idea is being communicated. The use of the word truth in this context has no meaning. Unless you define what “truth” you are seeking, then the statement is a said attempt at personal depth.
Another example is, “this is my truth”. However, truth by its very definition must be universal, not individually owned. You may have an individual belief system.
Then there is the religious bastardization of the word “truth”. The Mormons are not alone in this but they have certainly perfected it. They say things like, “I know the truth” or “I have the fullness of the truth” as if saying “truth” trumps any possible argument.
“I’ve said truth therefore I have won this argument. Your facts, logic, reason, and thinking are no match to my vocalizing this one word that proves my case. It is now time for you to concede this argument and accept Joseph Smith as a true prophet of God.”
Of course, truth must be demonstrated, otherwise it is a hallow word. Truth stands up to testing.
| OK, here goes. For me, leaving the church was a matter of conscience. I knew I had rationalized some things that really bothered my conscience, and I finally decided it was time to stop rationalizing.
When I went home that day, my wife immediately knew something was wrong. When she asked, I said, "I don't believe in the church anymore."
She tried to be supportive, and she took the approach that I had a chance to gain a testimony all over again. But from the beginning, the ultimatums started: Don't read anything she didn't like, don't talk to apostates, don't tell anyone I didn't believe. Being the "pleaser" that I am, I swallowed my feelings and caved in on every ultimatum. That, of course, ended up causing a great deal of resentment toward her. I wish I had been strong enough then to stand my ground and follow my conscience as I saw fit.
So, posted on RfM and elsewhere secretly. I read church history books when she wasn't around. In the end, hiding things did more damage than anything. I felt completely unable to be myself because I was so afraid of being alone without my family. And my wife felt that I was being deceitful and sneaky, which of course I was.
My parents, strangely enough, were a lot more tolerant and supportive. My father simply told me to do what I thought was right, though he clearly thought that would eventually lead me back to belief.
For two years my wife and I had a terrible cycle of ultimatums and deception, and it all came to a head one night in 2007. She had discovered something I'd posted here and was livid that I'd broken another promise to stay away. She demanded that I go to see the bishop with her, or our marriage would be over. After a couple of hours of being berated by both my wife and the bishop, I came home feeling very depressed. After my wife went to sleep, I lay there thinking that maybe she'd be better off without me.
The next day I told her I had tried to kill myself the night before but had stopped at the last moment. I ended up spending three days in a psychiatric hospital, but it ended up being a good thing for both of us. I realized that, despite my faults, my life was worth living, and my wife decided that it was doing no good to keep making demands of me: she told me that she realized that she had been just as much at fault as I had and that I am a good husband who deserves her love and respect.
After I got out of the hospital, I started therapy with a counselor who was quite familiar with exiting Mormonism. She said, "They don't make it easy to leave, do they?" She helped me see that I needed to stand up for my feelings and beliefs and not allow myself to be steamrollered. She asked me what my life would be like in ten years if I continued to cave to every ultimatum. I said I'd either be miserable or dead. She said, "You might as well be dead. Every time you fail to stand up for yourself, you kill a little bit of yourself." My wife and I had some pretty good fights after that, but they resolved issues rather than making them worse.
Another mistake I made was in trying to get my wife to "see the light." I wanted her to know what I knew, to understand the truth as I saw it. She wasn't interested. I then thought things would be OK if she could just know what I knew and at least know where I was coming from. Again, she wasn't interested, and every time I pushed, she got defensive. It took a long time for me to figure that I can't make someone else change their mind or even be open to new information. If she ever gets to that point, she has to do it herself. In short, I think we both learned to back off and respect our differing perspectives. We realized that it's OK to disagree, even on some major things.
The last thing both of us had to learn was that there are three entities in an LDS marriage: husband, wife, and church. Initially, both of us saw our marriage and its problems through that third entity. I blamed the tension on the church's demanding that she choose it over me; she blamed the tension on my lack of belief. One day, she said that it was so hard to see me lose faith because "the church is the center of our marriage." I said, "I thought our marriage was based on love, companionship, shared goals, and genuine affection." From that point on, we started focusing on the parts of our marriage that were good and worth fighting for, regardless of their connection to the church. I think it's impossible to have a real relationship when the relationship depends on adherence to something outside the marriage.
These days my wife and I get along pretty well, and religion honestly doesn't come up that much. I go to sacrament meetings with her sometimes, and I find myself fascinated by watching the people in the pews and how they respond to what comes over the pulpit. I used to really feel uncomfortable at church, but these days I just take the good from it and find the rest amusing. On days when I'm feeling particularly masochistic, I'll go to Sunday School. :-)
| I left the church as a teenager well before the 1978 decision-errr, revelation, and I had a pretty good grounding in many of the doctrines. Not just the Priesthood ban, but a lot of common knowledge- I would be a God if I obeyed all the laws, people were born into certain lands and circumstances according to pre-existence faithfulness, Mark of Cain, Lamanites even spread out into Japan and Polynesia. The bible was useless, and Mormons were the true Christianty. All the good stuff.
When I was reactivated almost 20 years later, it was after the temple changes (I had never been prior to the change) and after the big to-do over the Hofmann affair, about the same time as the September Six, and the clamping down on the doctrines that I knew from before.
There were things we just did not talk about anymore. There were reasons we did not do it, and I understood them to be for the missionary work, and for PR. ***They were still true, we just didn't talk about them.
I never knew a lot of stuff about the church history that I know now, and was very surprised and dismayed, repulsed, and even frightened.
But the thing that I could not accept was the injustice of being told that those things I knew from my youth were now supposedly never taught, or were the opinions of lesser ranking men. Teachings that were vital to my understanding of Gods plan for me to return to His presence.
The church not only lied to me about stuff I did not know, but it tried to deny the things I learned from my years in Seminary, Priesthood, General Conferences, and Sacrament Meeting as well as Primary and FHE. My Bishop and I went to Seminary and Priesthood at the same time. The SP is two years older than us.
After being called to repentance by my Bishop and Stake President, it was clear I was under condemnation for believing the same teachings that these men MY AGE had also learned as youths.
The point as I came to see it was that either the church was true but isn't any more, or it never was. And no nostalgic memory of how I felt when I believed completely can ever change the fact that in order for the church to appear true to newer generations, our generations eternal truths must be discarded.
| It took me a long time to "get it" -- religion does not require "facts" only beliefs that are well established faith promoting miracles, and the like.
The beliefs in Mormonism are established and cemented not by reading reliable factual information but by listening with "the spirit" and "knowing" it is true. Like many others, I assumed I was given actual facts: real Golden Plates of ancient records, for instance. Who knew they didn't exist? I didn't!
There is a basic principle of religion that works for all of them:
Emotional bonding to traditional beliefs, even if they are weird superstitions, overrides logic and reason if one is constantly immersed in talk that is "truth."
Ignorance (lack of information) and superstition require one ignore the questions of an honest skeptic.
Human beings in general, have for millions of years gravitated to the supernatural, the superstitious and given them more power to convince and inform than facts and evidences. Polls show that more people than not believe in angels, ghosts, and the like.
The power of the emotion bond to the belief is so strong and well established and the thinking so well programmed (sometimes from birth) that it will almost always over ride any challenge.
Why have so many left Mormonism? What is the difference? Why are some folks able to disconnect from the superstitious, metaphysical thinking?
That is the question that has haunted me for years.
The emotional bond to the thinking is so strong, that we observe, over and over, that when a person leaves the Mormon church, they will very often be rejected, personally by members; a response that is almost always emotional, not intellectual.
Mormonism, like all religion is predominately a very powerful emotional bond to a belief that is not easily disconnected.
That disconnect process is why this board is so helpful.
The code to the disconnect snapped when I found the truth: no ancient records, no translations, Book of Mormon is about imaginary people, places and things.
Then the laborious Exit Process began: rewriting automatic scripts from Mormon teachings--- sprinkled with a lot of chuckles and laughter, especially laughing at myself and all the goofy things I did in the name of pleasing Heavenly Father.
Regulation skivvies and that silly dress-up temple garb come to mind! :-)
The idea that someone they love can assault their "testimony" can only be dealt with by exclusion is scary to contemplate .True believers do not have the capacity, in my view, to understand it on any significant level. That is why they often take their business elsewhere, denigrate and belittle their friends and loved ones, cut off family members, institute divorce and on and on. Suddenly, it's OK to treat loved ones with disdain and lie about them. That will always baffle me.
As a young woman convert, I have a different personal experience, of course , but even the belief in God is so well imprinted in the mind of most humans that disconnecting from that emotional bond/attachment is very often not even considered a reasonable notion.
Believers in general are more apt to accept someone claiming to be agnostic than atheist. To many, the idea there is no god is unimaginable.
Once that disconnect is complete, there is no going back.
| I remember feeling guilty about...
I spent most of my childhood in fear that I was surely going to burn during the Second Coming.
- "wasting time" watching any television, movie, etc.
- that I was lucky enough to be BIC and some many other unfortunate souls were not
- that I loathed FandT meetings and would regularly take a long "bathroom" break. (I was elated once my oldest was born to have and excuse to stay in the foyer or mother's room.)
- having sexual thoughts
- liking the smell of coffee
- not praying constantly or neglecting to read the BoM every night
| First, let me welcome you to look all you want. We know you are here.
Second, I realize that we vent a lot. We are in recovery, and this is one of our very few outlets. Don't pretend you don't vent your frustrations about people in your ward, etc. Remember, most of us here USED TO BE MORMON. We are very familiar with your side of the story.
Third, I want to state a few personal things about myself:
I actually had great leaders growing up in the church, with the exception of two whacked-out YWPs. Although I did get irritated a lot, I personally was never "offended." I still respect my childhood bishop. He was and is a great man. I still have a lot of Mormon friends whom I adore. My TBM parents are awesome and I am very close to all of my TBM brothers.
My decision to leave the Mormon church was unrelated to my experience with any of the members. It had everything to do with its doctrine, history, dogma and, well to be honest, its foundation is build on fraud, lies and deceit. I will not commit myself to something that is a lie. Period.
After spending my entire life up to that point "putting things on the shelf" I finally woke-up. I studied things for YEARS before I found the courage to leave. It was not an easy thing. It broke my heart. If I believed the church was true, I would still be going and still rolling my eyes concerning certain weird, pompous, delusional ward members, just like you do. ; )
And finally, fourth, keep in mind that the same amount of energy you put into praying we will see the light and repent, we spend hoping you will free yourself. When you are ready, we will be here to help you.
| Last night as Brian-the-Christ and I attempted to spot the fleeting meteorites amidst the glories of inebriation, we concluded that if the Mormon Church or the "True Church" were truly true, it would have always done the right thing, always; weaknesses of "men" notwithstanding. There would never have been any lies, there would never have been anything underhanded or even remotely shady, and everything would have always been done in the open, honestly and in the light of truth and full disclosure which it supposedly represented.
There never would have been a Hoffman scandal because they would have turned Hoffman away because the letters he wanted to sell them were not the truth. There never would have been a Mountain Meadows Massacre, or if there had been, it truly would have been renegade Mormons and Brigham Young would have done everything in his power to see that the men responsible would have been brought to trial and a full measure of compensation would have been sought for the families and loved ones of the victims who remained. The true church simply would have done everything to make things right.
There would never have been a Kirtland Bank scandal or a destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor because none of those things would have ever happened or would have been necessary if the true church always did the right thing. There never would have been a system such a polygamy, polyandry, and sending men off on missions so the church's true prophet could bang their wives. It would simply never have happened in the true church.
There would be no hungry, no poor, and no needs unmet, no coercion to give your property, time, talents, and everything to the true church. Home and visiting teaching would be wonderful ways to really love and serve others, there would be no obligation or guilt, and it would be done willingly and with love because it was a part of the true church and you would receive the same from others who just liked being and doing things for others for no other reason than because it was right.
Guilt, coercion, secrets and secret ceremonies as well as priesthood would all be unnecessary. There would be no FAIR or FARMs or any other form of apologetics as everything would be open, honest and real and such would require no excuses, dissembling, obfuscating and lies to keep the true church "true." Reality would simply confirm the claims of the true church. As further discoveries in science and understanding were made, such would only re-enforce the claims of the true church, not discredit them.
There would be no misleading advertising, or attempts to trick people into accepting the truth. None of that would be necessary if the church were truly "true." Missionaries would not be necessary as everyone would see just how true, good, caring, kind, loving, supporting, compassionate, service oriented, generous and wonderful the true church was that they would want to be a part of it and there would be no obligations, commitments or special ceremonies to make you a part of it all.
You could just be, and if the time came that you no longer wanted to be a part of it all, they would cut you a check for the time and effort and money you spent with them along with a warm and heartfelt "thank you" for being a part of it all. No anger, no disparagement, no condemnation and separation. It would be nothing but love, openness and understanding. It would be true it would truly be from the divine.
Unfortunately we got stuck with the other version.
| Knowing the Church is false does not come automatically. You have to know the reasons why it is false. You need to follow the arguments and really think about them before you can confidently take your position. This takes a great deal of time. Sometimes many years. You need to read things like "Mormonism: Shadow or Reality", "Wife No. 19", and "No Man Knows My History". You need to read them more than once and you need to do a very thorough job of studying them in depth and thinking hard about what they say. Just learning a few arguments about the Church is not enough. You need to be familiar with many arguments, very, very familiar. In short, you need to be somewhat of an authority on why Mormonism is false.
Doing this is like earning a college degree. Most Mormons don't have the patience or the determination to study the dark side of the Church for such a long time. Consequently, they fail to know the truth, and they remain active Mormons.
If you want to learn that the Church is false, you have to be determined to know the truth, whatever the cost. Ironically, such determination is routinely taught by the Church. Mormonism teaches a lot of values such as perseverance and determination. People who research the Church and learn it is false are being good Mormons, to the extent that they are following these virtues. Missionaries are taught to sacrifice two years of their lives and focus on one thing. People who learn the dark side of the Church are sacrificing their time to focus on one thing.
It took me a lot of time to learn exactly why the Church was false. After graduating from BYU in April 1993, I went to the Special Collections room in the BYU library all the time, day after day, and read and read and read. I read books such as the ones metioned above. (BYU has these books, but they are carefully guarded and you have to leave your belongings at the entrance of the Special Collections room to be allowed to read them. You have to read them in full view of the librarians and you can't check them out.
Even though I read and read and read, it took a long time for me to learn the truth. One day, it dawned on me that the Church was not true, and I could not deny that knowledge. But that flash of insight did not come without painstaking reading, day after day after day.
| I was sexually abused by a member in the church when I was five. It happened at the church.
I was physically abused by my father (an active member of the church) and I watched him nearly kill my brother. When I talked to the bishop about it (because who else could a little girl talk to? a bishop is supposed to help!), he told me I needed to honor my father and respect and obey him.
When I stood up for my siblings against my father, he sternly reminded me that I would never be happy as long as I was being a wicked child and disobeying him. (God will never answer your prayers as long as you are not being obedient to me!)
I went to BYU where I was raped by the EQ Pres. When I talked to the bishop about it, he told me it wasn't my fault... I had committed no sin, but the dude stayed the EQ president and my hometeacher. People got upset with me for not letting him come over to teach me.
I got married in the temple only to be emotionally, physically, and sexually abused. He raped me. Threatened to kill me. Beat me. Told me I was worthless. Then quoted scriptures and ensign articles to prove his point.
I talked to a bishop (again, who else does a little mormon girl talk to?). The first time he told me it was because I wasn't being a good enough woman: pray more, study scriptures, and do more service for him... Make him happy, and he will treat you better. In what world does doing service for a man make him stop beating and raping you?? If it worked for all of the other mormon woman, I'd like to know what was wrong with me...
When I finally decided to divorce, the bishop told me to give it more time and gave me a book on communication... As if to say, if you just learn to communicate better, he'll stop abusing you. I left the marriage. Went through a divorce.
Recently a friend of mine left his wife, because she was abusing him. The bishop told him he needed to learn to take it, because that is what Christ would do. He didn't even tell the abusive bitch she needed to change... after all, she goes to church, prays, reads her scriptures, and attends the temple... there's nothing wrong with her.
It seems to me the church is an excellent place to be if you are an abuser: it teaches people that they have to take abuse in order to be good. So, if you want to beat your wife, join the church... they love people like you and hate women (and men) who know how to stand up and think for themselves.
I have never told anyone these things before.
The church taught me to stand by my husband and be a good wife and keep secrets.
So glad to finally be free from all the lies and secrecy.
| Recent online conversations, with current Mormons, have made me realise that I have no idea what I was taught.
For example, I thought that I was called "a Liar", during a sunday school lesson for suggesting that Joseph Smith had a gun and shot 2 or 3 people, in Carthage jail.
However, some random on-line Mormon (not from my stake) tells me I could not have been called a liar, and that every single Mormon knows that JS had a gun at Carthage Jail.
I suggested that the "History of the Church" was not read by more than a few people in my Stake, and only 2 people, to my knowledge, had a copy.
A different random on-line Mormon tells me that most people have read HotC and most Members own a copy.
In fact - whenever I use examples from my own 15 (or so) years as a member... as a stake missionary.... as an elder... as a ward clerk... then I am wrong.
And finally - this is a direct quote - [I] "have no idea of what" [members] "think about fast and testimony Meetings"
Apparently I have no idea of anything that was ever taught at a chapel.... No idea of what was taught at EQ or SS lessons..... No idea of what went on at Ward council or bishopric meetings.
I am glad there are random unknown on-line Mormons to tell me exactly what I know, because I guess I must have been hallucinating for ~15 years.
| Well, yes we do feel angry about the various factors of church membership and discovering the con, but I wonder about something more. |
I never really felt angry as much as I felt duped, swindled, lied to, scared, disappointed, confused, and extremely sad. Lots of people here have expressed a great deal of anger and I fully understand that. It's just that I never really did (at least about mormonism itself).
But now when I see these mormon ads, and hear them attacking those of us who leave, or hear them talking about how grateful they are for the faithful members, and when I hear how normal they should be seen, I just feel so angry! It's almost as if they were spitting on me personally when they try to lure unsuspecting people to their church. Grrrr!!!
So I look in the mirror and ask what the heck is going on here? Nobody even cares about mormons, I have no reason or desire whatsoever to go there, and so why do I care what they say about thenselves?
| When we step outside of our traditional family, generational tribe, so to speak, there will be consequences. Some will be mild, some will be extreme.
We know, ahead of time many of those consequences.
We may not be invited or accepted as before. That's to be expected as we stepped outside of the the family traditional rituals.
We will need to be find a way to make peace with that. Not everyone is going to support our decisions and choices in our lives. We will not be given what we expect much of the time.
Some people are more open minded and accepting than others. There is a wide variety of responses to how we step outside of Mormonism and leave it.
The more we step outside the general acceptable society, the more resistance and nonacceptance we will receive by some to many. Leave Mormonism, leave religion completely, and the group of rejection gets larger.
It's wise to recognize that others will respond to our choice (and sometimes it's a surprise) as they have been taught, in the culturally accepted manner, some to extremes. They often take a defensive, protective stance, peppered by fear that we will, somehow contaminate the society of the family.
So, we take it step at a time. It's about trial and error. It's about checking to see who is able to accept our decisions and which ones are not.
We will likely be challenged, demeaned, and not taken seriously.
But, by experience and observation, generally, people adjust to some extent, eventually. Nobody can stay mad for ever! :-)
These principles of making major changes and how other feel entitled to respond are not exclusive to Mormonism.
So, we figure it out, one way or another, we rely on our own experience, the experience of others and learn new ways to view our world.
It's an evolutionary process requiring patience and tolerance.
| As a Mormon did you get enough "laugh therapy" or did you feel hampered by the admonition from the temple covenant to "avoid all light laughter"?
The Readers Digest has a monthly section called: "Laughter, the Best Medicine" that is the first part I read! Sometimes the only part I read are the humorous stories, jokes, quips, etc on the various pages!
This month they did a whole section called "Laugh Riot Our Funniest Issue Ever"!
I don't know if it is really "the funniest" but they clearly made the point! More jokes, more cartoons!
I don't know about the rest of you,but when I began breaking away from Mormonism, I noticed that I was starved for laugher. Not just any kind of laughter, but the belly-laugh that often brings tears to your eyes.
I started my day reading; "Did you hear about he dyslexic devil worshiper? He sold his soul to Santa."
And: "Headline News, Energerizer Bunny in jail, charged with battery. And dozen more just like it!
There is another section called: "The Comedy Cure" which highlights the fact you are "healthier now, having chuckled your way through this issue of Reader's Digest than when you started."
"Laughter reduces stress, improves memory and helps keep our hearts healthy."
It "eases pain", burns calories, etc.
A little "lightheartedness" can lead to a more positive approach in everyday situations"...
People are teaching classes in laugher, humor, and one says: " All the efforts we put into reducing stress, we ought to put into laughing." (Kelly McGonigal, PhD Stanford University psychologist.)
Sept Issue Readers Digest Pg 210
I am convinced that the temple covenant to "avoid all light mindedness" is unhealthy. When combined with giving all we have to the church (worked to death!), too often equals: depression, unhappy people with pasted smiles on their faces! Not all, of course.
It is my view and observation that: "If you chance to meet a frown, turn it upside down" -- is a commandment of sorts to appear joyful, however, it does not come from a real inner sense of joy and fun and laughter.
One of the best things we can do for ourselves is to laugh our way out of Mormonism. Yup. It's the most healthy! It is very funny stuff (except when they are killing people, of course.) Eventually, it is my experience, that the craziest, invasive behavior of Mormons and their leaders almost always has an element of humor when seen as an outsider.
When the past nonsense from my life as a Mormon gets me down, I have created some humorous visuals to keep me from falling into their trap of taking they seriously!
When the memory of the times that the Mormon leaders, with their halo askew wanted to chew me out, chastise me, call me to repentance pops in my mind (rare now!) I would change their attire in my memory: I would see them droning on in that GA voice about this and that -- standing there in the green temple apron -- only! I would mentally strip them (literally) of all of their power which immediately gave me my power back!
Want more info on the health benefits of laughter: pray to the Google God , answers prayer immediately!
Here is one place to start:
Humor and Laughter: Health Benefits and Online Sources
"The art of medicine consists of keeping the patient amused while nature heals the disease."
I am convinced that Mormonism's admonition to avoid all light mindedness and light laughter is detrimental to your health! A few lightly in-house humorous stories in talks, etc., and some mild laughter is just not enough to sustain me!
What do you think?
| Recovery, is defined for my own situation as The Exit Process from Mormonism.
It's a Do It Yourself Project with no manual and no rules.
We all make our own decisions about how to do it. We each post about how we do it.
This is how I do it. It works for me, but may not work for others.
There is no right or wrong way to deal with the process. It's not black and white.What is right for one won't work for another person as their situations are often quite different. Our backgrounds are very different also: BIC and convert most often, in my observation, will naturally approach the Exit Process differently. When members leave the LDS Church, (as in stop believing) it varies from a very young age to a much older age, sometimes in our senior years, like I did.
Part of that process is a variety of stages. We all go through stages that are a direct result of changing our mind about our religious, cultural belief system. Those stages may be similar to others or very different.
A few things helped me immensely.
First of all, it was important to understand that we are human beings; we put our pants on one leg at a time, we experience the same emotions that all humans experience. We are more alike than different. Religion is only one defining part of our human experience. For some, it's more globally encompassing than others. Mormonism tends to be more globally encompassing because of it's strong generational traditions and rituals.
It's comforting to know we are not alone. When we leave our "tribe" and become an outsider, it's a very similar process no matter what group or religion is involved. Some can leave very easily. For others, it's extremely difficult and has far reaching dynamic results. Sometimes loosing almost everything.
The animal kingdom, in general, doesn't look kindly on those that leave their "tribe." Often they are left to fend for themselves, which can be disastrous.
Along the way I have concluded there are a few basics: we all get the same thing: we live, we die, we do stuff in between. There are no wouldas, shouldas, couldas, or what if's. What is -- is. We play the cards we are dealt. We make the best decisions we know how with the information we have at the time. It's OK to change our mind when we find/receive new, better information. Don't let the past mess up my present.
There are no fantasy parents, fantasy siblings, fantasy marriages, etc.
My mind tends to see the Big Picture. After reading The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell (a textbook for a local college religion course), it became easy to see Mormonism in the Big Picture as one of many God Myths through out the history of humanity that humans naturally gravitate to through their generational, familial, cultural, societal background. The geography of our birth plays a large role in our beliefs. Where we are born in the world very often determines our religious traditions and rituals for our entire life.
I found that it takes a long time to give ourselves permission to create a personalized, evolving new World View and be confident about it. It's natural, to have doubts and concerns along the way.
I realized I needed to take my power back and own it, early on. I needed to be in the drivers seat and trust myself!
Everyone is different: for some anger, resentment, distaste, disgust, etc. can last for years. For others, those kinds of emotions are quickly replaced by others that lead to making peace with all of it. Humor is very healing! I fall in the latter group.
The end result of this very personalized, Do It Yourself, Exit Process from Mormonism based on the dynamics of our individual lives and families is that former members will very often develop very different World Views and different opinions.
It's natural for human beings to see the world only through their eyes. Changing from a concrete World View with little to no deviation, to one that is open and evolving can be jarring and upsetting when confronted with different opinions. Learning the skills of a skeptic, using logic and reason in a new way can be difficult. It can all: feel wrong at first. Eventually, we each find our niche, usually through experimentation. We find what works for us as a former Mormon.
It's an exhilarating experience! Scary at times! Taking off the Mormon filter from our eyes and ears takes some getting used to. We often completely change our hair styles, and our wardrobe, discarding the regulation garments. The world looks much different. There are new ways of looking at everything. All of our thoughts and actions take on a new perspective.
For me, it was necessary to use humor (daily), write satire and parody, write about the process regularly, and not take it all too seriously. It was also necessary for my sense of well being to know I was OK, to keep my self confidence, self respect, self esteem cooking on high! I was going to change my mind and do it my way! And I could do that. I didn't need to be fixed by anyone or anything. I was not defective. I'd figure it out. I could do that. I also needed to learn how to set boundaries and how to protect myself. That is on-going.
This is my list of how I know I'm out -- or recovered as some say, or the Exit Process is about as done as it's going to get. Like many, I live with and love Mormons and always will. They are some of my relatives and dear friends.
It's important, for me, in my situation to maintain as many positive relationships as possible. (Not always possible, however.)
This is my check list. I read it from time to time to see how I'm doing.
You know you're really out when........ You're made peace with it.
The emotional attachment has been replaced with love of all of life.
The following is how I made peace with it. The short version.
You know you are really out when.....
there are no more resentments, anger, regrets, or self recrimination, explosive responses, name calling, etc.
You know you are really out when....
you can live with and love Mormons and accept them like anyone else.
You know you are really out when.....
you are kind to the missionaries and other members, and maintain a rational relationship and friendship like everyone else.
You know you are really out when...
you understand that Mormonism is a religion like thousands of others and it's OK to change your mind, leave it, and know you are OK and were OK all along.
You know you are really out when .....
you respect all people's rights to choose their own religion (or none) as a valid choice and honor that right.
You know you are really out when....
you love your friends and family regardless of their religious choices.
You know you are really out when...
you own your own power, set healthy boundaries when necessary, and take charge of your own life, living it today, not for some reward after death.
You know you are really out when...
you choose your friends regardless of their religious choices.
You know you are really out when....
you can go to a church building, read their scriptures, articles, etc, attend functions associate with Mormons and remain respectful.
I didn't start out with those goals, but they evolved naturally during my process.
I will always live with and love Mormons. Every person teaches me something, and most often, enriches my life.
| The process of leaving Mormonism has taught me about how to use the power of gratitude.
Sometimes posters have been surprised or baffled, or do not understand my gratitude, optimism, and generosity towards Mormons and Mormonism.
Gratitude, is the key to how I make peace with it.
It is now being studied as the science of gratitude. "The Psychology of Gratitude."
This best sums up why. (See the link for the entire article,)
" I think it’s important to stress that gratitude is really a choice. It doesn’t depend upon circumstances or genetic wiring or something that we don’t have control over. It really becomes an attitude that we can choose that makes life better for ourselves and for other people. I think about it as the best approach to life and I gave a talk this past summer where the title was, “Gratitude Is the Best Approach To Life.” At the time it seemed a little presumptuous, but the more I think about it, I really think the title is true. When things go well gratitude enables us to savor things going well. When things go poorly gratitude enables us to get over those situations and to realize they are temporary."
Cultivating Gratitude: An Interview with Robert Emmons, Ph.D.
The more I use gratitude, the more I can take my power back and own it. It sets the tone for my associations with others also.
Life is very, very, very short. At my age, I am grateful for every single day I wake up as I have another day to enjoy and learn from.
Ahh.... life is good!
| How much power and control are you/we going to give the LDS family and friends that behave in a negative manner toward us?
when we leave our traditional, generational, familial, religious tribe aka The LDS Church/Mormonism? And it will be different for BIC or converts.
If we are centered in our own happiness and love of our fellow human beings how will that manifest when we are confronted with rude, negative, critical, out of order behavior that is not centered in love and compassion? Will we be able to show tolerance, love, and patience just as we would like shown to us? Will we be able to understand how they are feeling -- maybe rejected, hurt, offended, etc?
Are we going to resort to name calling and refer to our friends and loved ones as brainwashed, stupid, gullible, cultist (and worse), or are we going to be respectful, kind, polite and tolerant and show the same respect for them we want for ourselves?
Are we going to prove to them that we are nasty, horrible people just as they expected, or are we going to be filled with love and happiness and show it?
Can we rejoice in the joy of others? Or are we filled with so much hatred and anger that shows them what they have been told when people leave the LDS church is true.
Do we manifest that joy, inner peace, happiness that we claim we have since leaving the LDS Church? Or do we respond in kind, upping the ante with more and more negativity, anger, rage, and hatred? I believe that "thoughts are things" and even though we may be holding our tongue, we are putting out vibes as strong and stinky as an ugly perfume.
It's my observation and conclusion that we have an important choice to make in dealing with anyone who is not accepting, or rejects us, attacks us, makes accusations, etc. for any reason.
Do we know how to empower ourselves and make a choice to not engage?
In my case, I know I handled it differently at different times, depending on the person. Now, over 10 years later, I rarely say anything about how I used to be LDS. It just never comes up. Nobody really cares! :-)
| Since I was a child, I've always just wanted everyone to get along and be happy. The downside of this was that I always changed my personality just enough around whomever I was with so they would like me and be happy with me. This was probably learned dealing with my parents, who tended to only pay attention to me "as far as I was translated correctly." In other words, if they liked what I was saying, doing, being, they paid attention to me. Otherwise, they pretty much ignored me.
The funny thing is that after the collapse of all my fake Mormon friendships, I realized that I don't care if people I don't respect don't like me. I thought of this today especially, when one of the counselors in the Primary presidency dropped by with my daughter's role in the Primary program next month. She is a nice enough girl - ex-BYU student, mid 20s, young, married, two kids and just got pregnant with #3. Very, very Molly Mormon. I told her, nicely but firmly, that my daughter wouldn't be participating. She looked surprised, then rushed to tell me it was OK...like she was scared to offend me.
I know my evil bishop has been telling people I stopped attending because I was offended. He's an idiot but other people have been soooo cautious not to offend me again. It cracks me up because I'm not used to people bending over for ME. Usually, I feel it's the other way around. And I realized I don't care if any of these people talk about me, if they don't like it when I set boundaries, if they think bad things about me because... THEY AREN'T MY REAL FRIENDS. And I don't respect them, well, the ones that believed the gossip without even asking me about it. I haven't been rude or obnoxious to anyone so my conscience is clean. They don't have to like me and I really don't care. And that's a long overdue first.
| If I remember correctly Tal recently stated that his family hardly remembers their membership as anything other than a faint memory, a past memory that no longer has relevance to their current lives.
For me personally I have researched until my eyes are ready to fall out. I needed to do this for one very big reason. I needed to be able to answer the ten thousand reasons why the Church is not true. When one runs to ground the supposed reasons that make the church true any reasonable thinking person finds that unless you inject supernatural intervention, then ignore the evidence so you can be comfortable with the delusion, the reasons simply cannot be sustained.
Personally I have not found one single thing that prove the church “true” or that can withstand logical scrutiny. Not one. Hinckley said the church is true or it is a fraud. He probably should not have said that because those with integrity are going to prove it true one way or the other, sooner or later. Those with integrity then wind up with some very, very hard decisions to make depending on family, job, social status as to how to act upon the new information learned.
It has been two and a half years and I have yet to find anything that shows the church in a truly good light. My original intent was to vindicate the mormon apologists. (I just knew they had answers for the BOA) The apologists failed me. I was shocked that they had no supportable answers. The shinning amour against Satan and the world that I thought they wore was nothing more that self righteous arrogance.
So I will get to my point.
I wanted to sure that self righteous arrogance could not BS me ever again.
Thanks to disciplining myself to research what I was told over the pulpit, and thanks to the many articulate and informative information I learned here (thank friggin Snoopy for RFM and Post-mormon!) and elsewhere, I can now see the BS accumulating on the hairs around ones mouth before the lips ever move.
As an example of where I’m at post-momon, I was at work two months ago and I had finally become able to articulate (in my mind and verbally) with the issues and historical facts of Mormonism and had opportunity to talk to a member that was just an acquaintance. I talked for about fifteen minutes as I was doing other work in the room. I could have talked for a week. He had asked me about how my doubts were going. The words came out as smooth and easy as cool running brook.
At the end he was an emotional wreck. I could see that he was in distress so I ended with “but hey, I highly recommend that if it’s working for you then by all means stick with it”. Mind you he was a 58yr old professional working for an aerospace company in a high position. Not an “unintelligent” man.
I did not care one whit what he got out of my explanations. I was calm as a summer breeze after.
I want to be where Tal Bachman is now and I want to take as many of my family members with me as I can get. I have hope for this because I am emotionally and educationally ready (I was too angry at first like many others who had a serious bout with lack of “informed consent”) for the task, but now I have the determined resolve and patience.
It’s a lonely thankless task. I’ll get no heavenly reward and no angels will have my back.
It is still the right thing to do.
It is “Standing for something “more”” then doing something about it.
| One of the most striking things I have observed, is how that emotionally based love of the gospel very often turns to hate, rage, bitterness, and anger, sometimes lasting for years and years, when a member stops believing (for whatever reason.)
In my case, I knew that those powerful negative emotions would sabotage my ability to protect my self respect, self confidence and would not promote my personal well being: physically, emotionally, psychologically, mentally. I chose to do my best to avoid them as much as possible. The real power I could rely on was: love. Sure, I was annoyed, upset, baffled, confused, mad, etc. at times, but it never lasted very long. I experienced those emotions as a member and as a former member.
I loved the gospel, loved being LDS, loved being involved, living the life style, got so I didn't mind the garments after I had them made to fit, with no lace, or going to the temple (that 8 to 10 hour excursion was a quiet escape- playing my part in the costumed audience performance, figurative play), loved my family, enjoy my "callings." At least, as much as anyone else who lived a familial, societal, traditional, cultural, religious life-style. I often call it: The Good, The Bad,The Ugly; just like every other human being.
I have the kind of personality that sees the humor very quickly, in many or most of my experiences. Growing up with Depression Era family, who had a wonderful sense of humor, must have rubbed off on me. Apparently, that was evident even when I was in grade school, or so I am told! :-) This ability to see the humor and engage in laughter has been very beneficial in my life. It accounts for how and why I responded to new information about the LDS Church and it's claims.
As a consequence, when I was pulling back, (shocked to the core by some of the treatment I received over the years, (wasn't even Christian - I would often say), wondering "what is wrong with this picture" (my initial period of examining Mormonism after thirty years of active service and belief), giving myself permission to stand up to inappropriate treatment, (the old Brethren's Halo is Askew Syndrome!), I noticed that my emotional connection of "love of the gospel" was wearing very thin. I was hanging on by a shoe string. Many times, I was spent. I didn't want to be involved, didn't want to attend. I was exhausted, worn out, cramped. I couldn't find inner peace, or joy as promised, or the freedom that went with it.
The adage: "The church/gospel is perfect, the people are not," quickly became one of the most ridiculous things I had ever heard. Good Grief, people. There would be no church without the people!
Rote answers of "Why did we come to earth: To gain a body and be tested" and dozens more like that, lost all meaning and were empty silliness that would appeal to a five year old.
Little by little my eyes were opened and I realized ( reading on line, Dr. Shades to be exact and dozens of other web sites recommended by a family member): Holy Cow, the Book of Mormon and Bible are not literal history. Myths, legends, parables, teachings, etc, around still standing places didn't make the Bible literal history.The Book of Mormon didn't even have that.
Then it hit me: the Book of Mormon is fiction about imaginary people, places and things. Very clever! And I snickered, and laughed --quietly, for days and days. Joseph Smith Jr didn't have any golden plates from any angel or any visions. It was all claimed visionary, treasure digging with nothing but "spiritual eyes' witnesses, which mean they believed what they were told existed.
Wow. That is powerful stuff. The incredible thing, that got a chuckle out of me, is that thousands and thousands (millions) of people still believe in the long established traditional beliefs of Joseph Smith Jr and his claims, and there is not an iota of truth/factual evidence to back up any of it, no matter how imaginary and clever the Mormon apologists are or how fervent the testimonies are.
That, I realized is the amazing power of the "Spiritual Witness." Hmmm. I didn't think I had that. I think I just believed what I was told as who would even imagine that anyone was telling "stories" and making it up as they went along. Nah. that couldn't be happening. But it did and it does.
Now, the question became: was I going to choose to hate my life, hate the church, hate Mormons, fill my mind with bitterness, anger, rage, now that I realized that I had bought into an excellently fabricated God Myth? Nope. I couldn't deny my prior life. Was I going to engage in regrets? Nope.
There was value to all of my life, not a bit was wasted, nothing was destroyed, it all taught me something, and I was not going to diminish any of it by turning against it. I had a lot to be grateful for: a wonderful family, a good husband and father for my children, (I got one of the good ones! :-). and hundreds of fun, terrific memories, including the pictures to prove it!
The church I left was not the church I joined in the 60's when we had fantastic lessons, open discussions, lots of fun and laughter, and dozens of events for the adults and kids.
The church I left had become narrow, overly restrictive and authoritative,little to no creativity, dumbed-down manuals, with nothing but lack-luster repetitive robotic meetings, leaders with no ability to manage anything, many of which were clearly emotionally unstable.
The church I loved had changed, dramatically. It was empty. It offered me nothing of substance. My creativity was stifled also, beat down by the opinions of others.
That started my Exit Process from Mormonism -- a Do It Yourself Project -- with no manual, flying by the seat of my pants, hitting all kinds of turbulence: snags, rough spots, tears, angry family members, lack of understanding, false accusations, and on and on, relying on the power of repeating their own teachings, particularly the 11th Article of Faith to make some inroads. Eventually, people adjusted and accepted the notion that I could and did change my mind and that was going to be OK.
I have learned more and more, every day about the value of living in the present, enjoying every day, living with inner peace and love, and freedom to govern my own life. And what a wonderful gift that is.
I continue to live with and love many Mormon friends and relatives. It works for them, and I am fine with that.
Differences in religious beliefs are not an issue as we continue our positive, fun, filled with love and laughter, relationships. And that is exactly how I want my life to continue. Each of us have the freedom to live our lives as we choose, for which I am very grateful and appreciative!
And so it goes, one day at a time.:-)
| I know that when I was a young father, I worked two jobs and gave much of my money and time to Mormon church. I know I didn't play a football, baseball, soccer with you, and today asI am an old man I regret that. I had so many meetings, lessons to teach, dance festivals, Temples sessions, working in the temple, serving in presidencies, home teaching, chaperoning dances, and every Sunday a nightmare trying to get dressed and get the whole family to the meetings. I'm sorry we had the old cars, sometimes they wouldn't a start, and many times they were embarrassing to drive. I'm sorry that you're clothes were not the best, and that you had very little medical and dental attention. I am sorry that at times I was short with you as a father. I was literally a crazy man trying to prepare my own talks, and 2 1/2 minute talks for each of you. It taught the Elders quorum, seminary, primary,, and served in the temple, and in the Elders presidency. Your dance lessons, baseball practice, the garage sales as christmas, notbeing able to buy extra things like yearbooks, rings, pictures, ETC. I am sorry for that but I believed so strongly that I wanted my family to be together forever, then I gave not only in money but in time, in time, in time. I Neglected you I was not a very good father, I am sorry.
You know I never smoked, drank, ran around on your mother. You know that none of you were molested, and our family tried very hard to live high moral standards. Most of you got jobs when you are 14 or 15 years old. I helped you buy your first cars, your first, dresses, your first tuxedos, I baptized you, confirmed you, protected you, and I did give you at least the necessities of life. More than half of you now are college graduates, All of you own your own busineesses. David, you have an MBA. I was the one that kept you out of jail, when you kick the University of Oklahoma's doors to the ground. I was the one that helped you get out of 30 tickets on your motorcycle one summer, rather than going to jail. I was the one they gave you the multimillion dollar idea, that now is making you a millionaire. As my oldest son, you placed in the face book, a picture of me and dark vader. That hurt my feelings. I was also one who discovered your bipolar, and found psychiatrist, and medications, that allowed you to graduate from high school and obtain a marriage and an MBA. I was also one that helped to council you on your little boy Porter, my grandson, who is now normal in school because of the medications in the psychiatric help he recieved. You're my oldest son, and many times your shunning, is most hurting.
Monica, my first adopted daughter. When I found you, you were malnourished, no diapers, and little hope for a bright future. Do you remember the summer I work so hard with you to get enough money to send you to Europe on a foreign exchange program? Do you remember that when the program fell through, I was the one that called Switzerland and got you a place to live so that you could complete your exchange program. Do you remember you graduated from high school in Italy at 16. They would not give you a graduation Depolma until you were age 18. You a member that I was the one that called Brigham young university, TAalked for hour into allowing them to accept you as a freshman at BYU at 16 with no high school certificate. Remember you met your husband Dan in your French class, you helped him graduate from duke university, as an attorney, and now you and your family are one of the richest families in texas.
This is only two of the 14 that I have raised. Both of these 30th plus do not call, do not right, have never had a father's day greeting, will not speak with me, and have your children also shun me. You are very active members of the mormon church. I was not invited to your weddings, and basically the church has taught you to shun me the rest of your lives. As a continuation of my recovery I need open letters to you all. You are only two.
I am the same human being, with the same sense of humor, likes and dislikes,opinions, and love you both with all of my heart. I am the same human being a protected and taught and supported and raised you. The only difference is I do not belong anymore to your church. Does your church teach that you should hate me, ignore me, and pretend that I am no longer your father. I'm hurt with all of my heart, for you and the seven or eight grandchildren that you withhold from me daily.
I am the same man, you as children have changed, you were nottaught to hate. No organization on this earth would make me or teach me to hate or shun you and your kids. I have to admit it is one of the most hurtful things in my life, I've learned to live with it. My heart, my arms, my resources are always available to you. I know that you will never see this letter, it's all very important for me to write it and to know that the hatred is from you, and you have been taught that by the mormon church, never by me. Others may see this letter and know they are not alone, and that they can recover and learn to deal with the same hurt and still recover from such a hateful cult.
| It was the first week in January 2009. It was cold and it was dark and gray, and there was ice over the water. I had come to my favorite place to think and to ponder my life. I walked down the hill and was stood by the edge. It was terrifying and it was exhiliarating as I stood there, and it seemed like the most natural thing in the world to walk into the water and drown- I knew the ice would fold and break around me and I would lose my strength and it would be the end. Witnesses would probably later say that the man had been standing there and just walked out onto the thin ice and disappeared without a struggle...
What brought me to this terrible point? It was a letter from my Bishop. Leading up to that letter was May or June of 2007 when I watched the tape of PBS' The Mormons that my wife had taped while I was at work. I did not know who the Islamic Studies Professor was on the show, but he was telling the old antimormon lie about Joseph Smith using a seerstone to translate the Golden Plates. I saw the whole show over the next few nights and saw the antimormon lies, But wait! they were being admitted by church people- Mountain Meadows, Temple Blood Oaths, Polygamy...After a few days I saw the Islamic Professor was actually a head spokesman for FAIRLDS, a proLDS explanation (apologetics) organization. So I watched that tape again-stone in a hat again and again Multiple vision stories- stone in a hat. So when nobody was home one morning I googled 'seerstones' and the floodgates of information burst open. The first thing I rermember was coming across the evidence of the Book of Abraham. It was undeniable that the papyrusand the facsimiles had absolutely nothing to do with LDS theology. Everything in that book was a complete and total fabrication. Before noon I had discovered also the truth about Post-Manifesto Polygamy, Zina Huntingtons tragic story and seerstones. I vomited over and over again.
Several months of obsessive study and long sleepless nights would follow. My house of cards had fallen flat and I was frantically trying to put it back together again.
The fear and confusion were terrible. Bitter pain and fear of damnation were in my every waking moment. I desperately wanted the church to be true, but every true documented account pointed away from the church. It would be nine months of solitary despair before telling my wife and four more of attending different churches while attending to my calling at church. I did it out of duty. My Bishop and I went the rounds many times. At first he was understanding and very supportive. As my faith dwindled and my assertiveness in standing by the truth grew, our relationship deteriorated until he was yelling at me, and at my wife. Finally, I and my wife resigned our callings and stopped going for good. The shunning began, former friends would avoid me on the street, and my wifes friends would belittle her in the store.
Now, in the last week of December the Bishopric Christmas card arrived in the mailbox. It contained a letter- a form letter obviously ordered from a company in Philadelphia. It called on us to hear the words of the living prophet Thomas Monson to come back (actually he used Pres.Hunters talk) . The letter invited me to cast aside whatever sin or offense afflicted me, and come to the Bishop who would make for my easy transition into full fellowship with the saints. I was heartbroken. My Bishop, who was also a personal friend had slapped me in the face with this letter, which intimated that I left due to laziness, fear, sin, and indifference. None of these were true, and he knew it. I left the church because of the things the prophets wrote and did.
So here I was, standing at the edge of freezing water with no reason to live. My only regret was that I should have brought the card and letter in a ziplok baggie taped to my chest. The news and police would be all over the church and I would be vindicated. It was so inevitable, I even began to run my toe over the exposed water. It was ice cold. Suddenly I snapped out of it and walked very rapidly up the hill to the car. I was shaking, and I was terrified- what had happened? Should I go to the hospital? I could barely drive.
That night I told my dear wife what had happened. She was furious. She cursed the church with a vehemence that frankly scared me. But she was right- the church had driven me, a faithful saint to the edge of suicide, and there could be no further allowance for its influence in our lives.
It has been a full year now since that day, and a year and a half since I last set foot in a Mormon building, and in that time I have discovered that despite all my fears, all that I was taught from childhood, and have proclaimed to others, and despite that I would never give another blessing, or teach from the pulpit, or be sustained by my peers, that truly the pathway to happiness lies in the opposite direction of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
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