THE MORMON CURTAIN
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EX-MORMONISM SECTION 5
A very large selection of posts made by those in recovery from Mormonism. Culled from throughout the Ex-Mormon Communities.
| One night in July of 1981 I was sitting wedged between 1,500 lbs. of jet fuel in synthetic tanks and a small navigation console in the back of a Blackhawk helicopter. It was about 2:00 a.m. and we had been flying for around six hours through the mountains of California and Nevada. Our flight profile had us maintaining an altitude between twenty-five and fifty feet above the ground as we maneuvered around valleys and up ravines at speeds ranging from a hover to 150 knots.
The uncomfortable jumpseat I was sitting on was made of canvas stretched across a thin aluminum frame. There was no “comfort” in its construction but since my ass fell asleep fairly quickly during these flights there was little pain. My legs, on the other hand, were jammed so close to the navigation console that the only relief they got during the twelve-plus hour missions was when I twisted them on one side or the other of the sheet metal console.
I was seething at the situation and I was more afraid than I'd ever been in my life.
I was a helicopter pilot and was supposed to be flying not pseudo-navigating a UH-60 while wearing a pair of 1st generation night-vision goggles; it was like looking through a couple of empty toilet-paper rolls with a terrible astigmatism.
At the time, I was a bishop and a member of the One True Church and yet, strangely, I was terrified that I was going to get killed. It had happened to several flight crews during this training when the pilots either fell asleep and augered their million dollar coffins into the ground or flew into powerlines that were invisible through the night vision goggles.
I would watch as the two pilots would take turns flying for about an hour each. The piloting requirements were fairly active since there was considerable low-level maneuvering required, but every now and then I would notice the head of the pilot at the controls bob as he started to doze off and I would nudge the shoulder of the other partially conscious pilot to have him do something to save our lives.
I had a lot of time to think during those missions in the three months we trained while I was sitting there scared. One of the questions that kept bugging me was “Why am I so very afraid of dying if I so very much believe in God?”
I thought about all the other men who had gone into battle and the fear they must have experienced. Was I somehow less faithful because of my fear? I thought about the famous headline in WWII about “No atheists in the foxholes.” I thought a lot about death and why I should be afraid of it. I was an endowed member of the One True Church; how could I be afraid? Why did I lack faith in Him?
Maybe this was the moment when I started sliding away. Maybe this was one of the seeds of my apostasy but whatever it was I remember thinking that there was something wrong with believing that God was in control when I could clearly see through my night-vision goggles the heads of two pilots peacefully nodding before me.
When I sent in my resignation in January of 2003 I was angry. I was completely astonished that I really could not point to a single “blessing” in my 48 years of activity in the Church. I hated my mission. I hated my marriage. I hated the many years of service and tithing I had given. I resented my children although I love them.
I had come to slowly realize that I had never had my own childhood. Like the country song, I kept waking up in someone else’s dream and I hated it.
When I selected the job between the two I had been offered, I felt like I’d been given a second chance at my career and my life. It was barely five miles from my house, it paid well and it was a IT management position.
My parents had moved in with us in the Fall of 2000 and my mother passed away in Jan of 2002 with my father going the summer of 2004. With both of them now gone, I now felt another kind of cultural relief that I had not previously experienced. My mother had suffered with serious mental problems most of her life, which had worsened in the last ten years. My father was a kindly, gentle man who endured her illness with patience and love. I never wanted to do anything to hurt them and my apostasy was a bitter pill for them to swallow.
By Thanksgiving I had proposed divorce several times to my wife on long drives through the mountains by Fish Lake, Starvation, and beyond. I’d talk. She’d cry. I’d feel terrible and so would she. We had gone to counseling several times over the years and the bottom line for me was that I did not want to be married to her. There was no amount of trying that would change that, although she could not accept how I felt.
When the holiday approached I decided I needed to get away and went to visit my brother in Winslow. We flew around the desert in his Tomahawk and talked about our lives growing up LDS. He had served his mission to Austria and I mine in Germany ten years later. He had always doubted and I had always believed but we both had felt terrible pressures to conform that brought us unhappiness.
After we had Thanksgiving dinner, we and his nevermo wife sat around and sipped whiskey and talked. She was amazed to hear about our lives as Mormons. She had never personally known a Mormon before meeting my brother and could not believe the things the Church had demanded of us.
I was relating to them my inability to get my wife to understand my unhappiness and agree to a divorce and how unhappy it would make her, etc., when his wife said, “You are not responsible for her happiness.”
I kind of stopped in shock at the comment.
“But I feel responsible,” I offered weakly. “It’s not her fault that I’ve changed my mind about the Church and our marriage. She’s not to blame.”
“That doesn’t matter,” she said firmly. “You’re not to blame, either.”
We drank and talked for hours. I smoked three or four really nice cigars that his wife had bought for me. He said several times that he felt really bad that I wasn’t happy and that everyone knew I wasn’t happy. It was obvious.
I felt at home. I felt welcome there. I felt accepted in my doubts and my feelings of on-going dissatisfaction with the outcomes of the deficient decision making. I also felt like the booze and the cigars were helping me merge into a little bit of peace about where I was and where I wanted to be.
I went back to Orem after the weekend and gave my notice to terminate our 30 year marriage. It was hard and she was in disbelief. I tried to explain again but there was nothing I could say that could explain why our marriage and the 40+ years of Mormonism hadn’t worked for me. I moved into the basement and started looking for an apartment. I moved out January of 2005.
My TBM children tried to have an intervention with me just shortly after I moved out and I refused to attend. I told them that I would be glad to discuss my decisions with each one of them individually but not in a forum like that. My exmo children represented me from the standpoint of “you guys don’t get it?!?!?!?” with their siblings. To them, it was completely obvious that the marriage was wrong and that I was just hanging on out of duty.
I eventually discussed the decision with all but one of my TBM children. The one who didn’t want to discuss it said she really didn’t care what my reasoning was.
The others seemed to slowly get it, although my wife did not. She delayed signing the divorce papers for over a year and got a hefty settlement because of my “transgressions.” (If you live in Utah county and you’re considering divorce, you might want to move to Nevada for a few months of residency to inoculate yourself.)
I met TOL a few months after I moved out and found someone with whom I have a lot of happiness. We both have very TBM backgrounds and enjoy families that tolerate, if not understand our decisions. She has one TBM child of her four and I still count four of my six as TBM.
My ex is TBM and I’m convinced that she will be so until she dies. She is the perfect Molly Mormon with no interest in figuring anything out and probably no cognitive dissonance.
As Grape Nephi put it in another post, I sometimes find myself in a very dark place. Sometimes its brighter than at other times, but the darkness still envelopes me like a shroud. I look at all religions as cut from the same cloth as Mormonism. Some of their histories are so distant that people just want to ignore the ignominious aspects as irrelevant in today’s world. I now look at them as cunning devices of men designed to trap the gullible.
I was trapped partly because of my upbringing and partly because of my ignorance and gullibility. I will always be a Mormon. It will always be a part of my thoughts and my decision-making and my life. I do now enjoy the present a lot more and I look to the future with hope that the deck will be done this week, and that TOL and I will be spending many happy evenings there with each other and with many of you.
I appreciate the many kind words you all have expressed in this thread and in the years of discourse on RfM. It has meant a lot to me to have your support and the love of those who’ve traveled many of the same roads I have to get out of the cult.
Here's hoping that many more make the journey safely.
| For the past few months my family has sporadically attended the LDS church, the Catholic church or just taken the Sunday off to be with ourselves. My spouse and I have had huge positions of leadership (high council for five years) at both the ward and stake levels so we have never been LDS in name only, but very active in doing what we thought was right.
We continue to do what is "right" now as well, now that we have discovered that church history is not necessarily only what the LDS church teaches but in many ways is completely opposite to what we had always thought. We now fully accept that there is not any such thing as "the one, true church" and have no problem at all with it. In fact, I am pretty sure there is some truth and some fiction in any man made church.
My oldest son is twelve and today he decided to stay home as he was not feeling well. My wife and other children decided to attend the Catholic church because I usually enjoy the priest and his message.
When we got home, I discovered my son was quite a bit upset. It seems that a while back he had mentioned to some of his neighborhood friends that he was attending other churches once and a while. We have not been to an LDS service in over a month. While we were gone, these "friends" paid him a visit and since he was not at the ward today, they assumed he went to the Catholic service. They really confused him when they came by and told him that he was "bad" if he attended the Catholic church or any other non-LDS church. They told him that he had better come to his ward meetings next week or that they were going to come over themselves and teach him. Such brats. While we were discussing this with him, he burst out into tears. He is very sensitive by nature and they have him confused.
This is one of my big gripes about many who are LDS in Utah. They love to speak of the evils of pride but think nothing of letting others know that they are wrong. These children did not form these ideas on their own, but they came from parents and teachers. If you are not LDS, you are bad. This is not usually spoken, but many fellow mormons like to think they are better than the gentiles around them because they have the "fullness" of the gospel. What a bunch of BS. So few members of the church don't even have a clue what the church really thinks on many issues. The LDS church just seems to flip-flop on points of doctrine when it suites their PR needs. Calling a non-mormon bad is no different in my book than a white saying you are bad if you are black. Both mindsets are evil and sick.
I am so looking forward to the day in about three years when my family leaves this place so that my kids won't have do deal with this crap.
I had to vent because I hate seeing my child hurt because of absolutely stupid church issues.
| At the beginning of this month, I visited my Mormon sister, BIL, and their five kids (they live far from where I do; I last saw them three years ago). My sister invited the missionaries (Elders) over for dinner (the title "Elder" is so inappropriate for such naοve young men!). Both were friendly, and had no doubt been forewarned by my sister that I had been an "Elder" and was no longer a member of the church.
During the dinner, the senior companion, a pleasant enough guy who had joined the church in 2003, started talking about the "truthfulness" of the Book of Mormon, how wonderful it was that God had led an ancient group of people from Israel to the Americas, how the Lamanites were the ancestors of Native Americans, and other standard LDS beliefs. He said what he did no doubt to "strengthen" the testimonies of my 15-year old niece and her four brothers, ages 4 to 13.
As visitors to this board know, what the Elder was saying about the Book of Mormon was not true. There is a veritable mountain of DNA, archeological, historical, and literary evidence that proves that the Book of Mormon is not what Joseph Smith claimed, or what the Mormon Church has claimed since 1830.
After speaking for a few minutes, the Elder asked me what I thought about the Lamanites in the Book of Mormon. Instead of explaining how DNA research, including work done at BYU, did not support the church's teaching that Native Americans descended from people who came from Israel, and that the DNA data conclusively showed that the ancestors of Native Americans came from northeast Asia, I simply said, "You don't want to go there, Elder, because scientific research does not support the Book of Mormon." My sister then quickly changed the topic to an upcoming ward event. I said nothing further.
As I lay in bed later that evening, I thought about my tepid response, and chastized myself for not "stepping up to the plate". Knowing that mentally beating up on myself accomplishes nothing, I began to reflect on why I'd behaved as I did. It came down to fear. I'd been afraid of causing a confrontation and creating tension. I'd been afraid of being asked by my sister and BIL to leave for "attacking" their religious beliefs and undermining the "faith" of their children. I feared their potential rejection. As I've posted before, fear is the great controller.
I'm grateful for the experience because it's made me aware that I have more personal growth work to do. It's not always easy to act bravely, yet the more we do so, the more comfortable we become acting with courage. People may negatively judge us and withdraw their approval, acceptance, and love. They may threaten us with rejection, separation, divorce, moving away with the children, violence or something else in an attempt to manipulate us to do what they want.
To what extent will we compromise our truth? To what degree will we give in to make our lives comfortable and/or avoid confrontation and conflict? How much of our authentic self will we bury to please people? Are we willing to act with courage, no matter what the believed or actual consequences? Will we empower ourselves by acting courageously? We each get to answer these questions for ourselves. And if today we act in a way that we know, at the core our being, is not congruent with who we really are and our highest vision for ourselves, we can resolve to behave differently when the next opporunity comes our way.
| Being away from the Church for 16 years I found these techniques to be so profound while attending a recent funeral for a family member.
Arriving at the church my TBM wife advised the bishop that she would like her ultra TBM son (who came from another state) to give the family prayer and dedicate the grave. Bishop states to TBM wife that he hates to bring this up, but asks if TBM wife’s ultra TBM son is WORTHY? TBM wife assures bishop ultra TBM son is worthy. Bishop then meets with ultra TBM son to verify his WORTHYNESS. (Ultra TBM son, happens to be in the bishopric in another state) Later I ask TBM wife if the Mormon Church thinks it owns the city cemetery.
Here’s the kicker, about 7 years ago ultra TBM stepson experienced an indiscretion which resulted in his being disfellowshiped. He confessed and repented to his local bishop, yet his records were annotated and followed him around to different wards. Finally his sins have been erased and he has been able to go through the temple again with his new wife.
The moral to the story is:
One has to be WORTHY to pray to the MORMON GOD.
The fear is that the prayer might not be valid.
The guilt is that you are not worthy.
The shame is that you were not worthy.
| I just read "they tell me I never really believed," and I felt great sympathy for him.
Its not just the way people treat you when you tell them you cannot believe it. Its the sudden shock to your system when it dawns on you that it was a huge FRAUD.
You spend years trying to make it fit, trying to put one square peg after another into round holes. You swallow common sense, ignore disbelief, avoid rational explanations. You force yourself to believe the most incredible nonsense---the "Lamanites," the Masonic temple ceremony, the life of Joseph Smith, the polygamy, the various ejaculations of Brigham Young, the examples set by many of the church "leaders." You go on a mission, and find its a twisted experience, ruined by fanaticism, intolerance, and stupidity.
But you keep trying.
Then, one day, you read some things, and the whole house of cards crashes down. But the pegs fit in the holes, and the puzzle pieces come together. You learn that the most obvious explanation was correct--it was all made up, a huge and bizarre hoax.
All those years of effort, shot to hell.
And then they tell you "you never had a testimony in the first place."
| So my wife and I met with our bishop yesterday (who I might add has been very good to me.) He finally gave the advice to us, that [in my case] "if there is a loving god, he wouldn't want you two to get a divorce over [mathyou's] non-belief." I thought that was the best thing my wife could hear. Then she got an e-mail this morning from her father.
Well [mathyou’s wife], how are you doing?
I'm sure all of you can feel his Christ-like love for me, huh?
I am upset because I just talked to Mother and I shouldn't be until I talk to you and get the scoop straight from your mouth. Forgive me if I don't have my facts straight but if what I have is true then I am compelled to write this letter. I can't sleep because my brain is on fire. If I hear correctly you are planning on having [mathyou] back into your home. You think he is such a good father. You say he is trying to do the things you asked of him. You say you want him to be successful. You hope he will change. Something that you said yesterday is setting off alarms in my head and has made my blood run cold. I have felt sick inside since I took you to the airport and sent you back to Utah. I told you the other day that I prayed to know what advice to give you in case you asked me for it. Well I am not waiting for you to ask for it. It is too critical and the stakes are too high. I will not have this on my conscience and I will not be telling you later that I wish I had......
You say that [mathyou] has been doing the things you have asked of him. Well I don't know exactly what you have asked of him but of all the things he needs to do there are priorities. Using the broken down car analogy what [mathyou] has been working on is getting the radio to work and the signal lights to flash. He is making sure the windshield wipers have good blades but he is doing nothing and intends to do nothing about the engine and the transmission. Which means the only direction that car is going is down hill unless it is pushed by something or towed by something that does have a workng engine. I want you to read again the letter that he sent out to broadcast to the world his beliefs. Read it. That letter reveals his thoughts on what I believe is your core values and beliefs. When he first presented this crock of crap to you the smell of it over powered you and your faith was shaken and you phoned me up and called me your rock. You wondered if your beliefs were true.
What you experienced was the tip of the ice berg. You are considering bringing up your children with a man who scoffs at your religion. Go to the temple and listen again to what is said about those who break their temple covenants. They are in Satan's power. You are contmeplating sleeping with that. You think that that person is a good father. You are being seduced by his whispy promises and foundationless courting gestures. He is reading the book of Mormon so he says. Well maybe he is. You read it. Read Jacob chapter 7 and Alma chapter 30 and read Moroni 10:3-5. Ponder on the meaning of the words real intent. Ask my sister [mathyou’s FIL’s sister] what she thinks about raising a family with someone who undermines her religious convictions. Go ahead and ask her. Make the call. Do you feel confident that your faith and devotion is enough to over ride his dereliction in the influence of your children.
[mathyou’s FIL’s sister]'s ex husband was a great father with his children as well. He loved to play with them and show them a good time. He was involved with all of their activities and coached them in sports, took them camping, boating, and everything fun that he could. He wound himself into their hearts and spread his insidious poison into their souls and subverted everything [mathyou’s FIL’s sister] was trying to do with them. I know [mathyou] isn't "Uncle [mathyou’s FIL’s sister’s ex-husband]" but mark my words, we teach what we are. If you persist in your marriage with a man who has invited Satan as his guiding light in life you are inviting the blackest spirit into what should be a spiritual haven and he will be exerting his influence on your children. He will be teaching what he is to them. I am dead serious about inviting Satan into his heart as his guiding light. Of course [mathyou] would mock at such a thing and say how ridiculous it is. It is the work of a frenzied mind to imagine some devil as the cause of his "enlightenment" and "difference of opinion". Read 2nd Nephi chapter 28 about Satan's tactics in the last days. [mathyou] is a viper. You are being lulled into his coils and will be exposed to his deadly venom drop by drop. The easy road is never the way to high ground it always leads down.
If you are able to hang on to your testimony and activity in the church will your children? Will they be able to, growing up in a home completely different from your own? Maybe. I wouldn't risk it. I could live in a snake infested environment because I know how to avoid them and I know how dangerous they are and how to watch out for them but McKenzie doesn't know any better. I may survive such hazards but I would have to keep her in my arms continually or she would stumble into fatal danger. [mathyou’s wife], I have prayed concerning the matter and have gotten clear and consistant answers. There is no doubt in my mind. Have you prayed? Have you received revelation? I believe you have but you have faced the answer with fear and the daunting task of following the direction causes you to hope to avoid such a course. You have worried about how to financially manage without [mathyou]. You look to [an autosurfing website] as an answer to that problem. Do not give such concerns a second thought. Only consider following the counsel of the Lord. Exercise your faith and trust in Him. Not only Him but me and the rest of the people who love you. You are not and never will be alone in the struggles of your life.
The marathon and the mountain are metaphors for your life. Even if by some miraculous transition he becomes a "man" and physically supports you It is going to fall to others to provide a substitute for your spiritual support. [mathyou’s wife], I realize that I am writing from 2nd hand information and part of this is in response to my imagination so perhaps my fears for you which should be evident by reading this are ungrounded. If so I apologize for intruding. I will say this. DO NOT LET HIM BACK IN. PURSUE THE COURSE OF DIVORCE UNLESS MORONI VISITS HIM AND HE IS PREPARED TO TAKE YOU TO THE TEMPLE. IF MORONI VISITS HIM AND HE HAS A CHANGE OF HEART AND YOU HAVE ALREADY DIVORCED HIM THEN HE CAN PROPOSE ALL OVER AGAIN AND ASK ME FOR YOUR HAND IN MARRIAGE. HE IS NOT A GOOD FATHER. HE IS A DANGEROUS FATHER. KEEP [mathyou’s toddler son] AS FAR AWAY FROM HIM AS YOU CAN. THE CLOSER HE GETS TO [mathyou’s toddler son] TO MORE INFLUENCE HE WILL HAVE OVER HIM. I SEE NOTHING GOOD ABOUT THAT.
There. My feelings cannot be more clear than that. I love you. I would die before I left you on a mountain with one baby on your back and another in your womb. My counsel to you is born of that love and you can be sure that it is real. You are always in my prayers.
Love [mathyou’s FIL].
Note From Infymus: I posted this because it struck me so strongly. Generally matters of personal nature such as divorce or family issues I do not post in pure respect for the posters. However, this letter is an example of how ultra (level 5) Mormons behave. This is very dangerous thinking and is very close to radical Mormonism.
Mathyou, I experienced this exact same thing. When I first met my wife, her father demanded that his daughter was not to see me. He went to great lengths to prevent me from seeing his daughter. He cut her personal phone line, he slammed the door in my face and turned the porch light off. When I finally was able to get him to talk to me, he told me that he has received direct revelation from God himself that I was not the right person for his daughter. He told me that God told him that I would marry his daughter, have a child and I would destroy her life. He said he would do everything in his power to prevent us from being together. We even had to have the police appear at my house because he was on his way to stop us.
In the end, we married and we have two beautiful children. I adore and respect my wife and our friendship has never been better. My Father In Law and I do not talk about what happend those first two years, and he absolutely adores his grandchildren.
I hope and wish the very best for you. I hope that your wife can see through the absolute lunacy of this man.
| As Former TBM’s we have an advantage. We know how TBM’s think. Although when referring to ones faith and belief system one must allow for individuality, there is a common thread that runs through all Mormon faith. Faith precedes knowledge. An individual desiring knowledge must first exercise faith. The LDS faithful are taught to test each point of desired knowledge for its veracity. If the desired knowledge is a true principal the truth seeker will have truth authenticated to them by a confirmation of the spirit. If it turns out to be false knowledge the spirit will confirm that it is a false principle and the individual can then reject it. Much like the flashlight piercing the darkness... faith can only get the believer so far... but with each step into the darkness of the unknown the TBM takes, faith is converted to knowledge. Line upon line... precept upon precept. So to attain knowledge (within the LDS church) one must first exercise faith in the principle one is attempting to acquire.
So what is wrong with the Mormon procedure of truth acquisition? If this LDS mode of attaining knowledge/truth is correct the method of achieving truth itself must be a true procedure of attaining reality, should it not? Why then does it give the believer so many false confirmations? How can this be? How is it possible for so many individuals who use the Mormon method of attaining knowledge, have confirmed to them, that the LDS church is all it claims to be? From our perspective, the LDS method of attaining knowledge is grossly flawed.
So what are the flaws in the Mormon knowledge quest.
#1. Mormons are given the acceptable answer they must arrive at prior to their truth quest.
Rather than establishing a hypothesis and then testing that theory against all possible conclusions, Mormons are given only one correct acceptable outcome. If someone receives a conclusion different from the approved orthodox conclusion they are told (even if the individual had their conclusion confirmed by the so-called spirit) that they have arrived at a false conclusion and must begin again.
#2. Mormons in a truth quest are told to reject confirmed facts that might conflict with orthodox views.
Thomas Edison once said “For faith, as well intentioned as it may be, must be built on facts, not fiction - faith in fiction is a damnable false hope." or to put a Mormon spin on it... a testimony built on false information is a false testimony irrespective of whether the so called spirit confirmed its truth to you or not. Truth can not be built on a false foundation. Think Paul H. Dunn, BoA, Zelph...
#3. Mormonism dependence on Inductive Reasoning rather then Deductive Reasoning
Inductive reasoning moves from the particular to the general. It gathers together particular observations in the form of a premise, then it reasons from these particular premises to a general conclusion. The most common form of inductive reasoning is when we collect evidence of some observed phenomena.
Example of Mormon’s inductive reasoning:
“All people, who drink wine end up beating their wife’s and sleeping in the gutter, therefore drinking wine is evil.
All people who gamble end up losing their homes, their families, their jobs... therefore gambling is evil.
People only leave the LDS church because of sin or because someone offended them.
or my favorite...
Happiness is ONLY attained by living the Gospel of Jesus Christ
Inductive reasoning ignores the exception or builds an argument that the exception is in fact reality. Mormonism must build the exception into the norm to support its false claims.
As a TBM, I based my testimony on the premise that LDS authorities were honest, truthful and moral. I would have never even imagined that they would withhold valuable pertinent information from me that was important in evaluating the truth claims of Mormonism.
I based my testimony on the premise that the claims in the Book of Mormon were based in reality. That Native Americans were descended from Lehi. Those horses were horses. That steel swords meant steel swords.
I based my testimony on the premise that Joseph saw God with real physical eyes, that a mans personal witness meant something, that men’s hearts are good, that claiming to tell the truth actually means that you tell the truth.
I based my testimony on a false premise. I had a false testimony. One can not find truth by starting with a preconcluded answer. Truth can only be truth after it has been scrutinized and withstands every challenge and test... then and only then can something finally be claimed as being true...
Mormonism is true only if you use its false truth confirmation method but sadly Mormonism fails if it is put through a real rigorous test of its claims...
| I bit hard on Mormonism. I literally put all my belief and trust into the organization and truly tried to continually improve myself relative to what Mormonism purports to be "good". For the most part I did everything I was supposed to while moving into adulthood - 100% church attendance, seminary, honorable mission, attended BYU, married in the temple, starting having kids. So many of my decisions were made with Mormonism as the anchor - the grand scheme overseeing virtually all decisions in my life.
Four and a half years ago the paradigm fell. Everyone here is well familiar with the issues facing Mormonism, so I won't rehash those. But for me this wasn't a joyous event that released me into a "freedom" that I had always longed for. Instead, it was a thunderous blow to everything that I had based my whole life on. Suddenly, I was sitting there with a life where virtually all of my major decisions were predicated on the basis that Mormonism was true and finding myself believing that it is false!
There were and are many things about this situation that really bother me, but one of the reasons right at the top was this principle:
The majority of the information that caused me to lose my belief in Mormonism has been available and known to people within Mormon leadership my entire life, yet someone (or multiple people), somewhere decided it was their RIGHT to withhold that information from me. The people who were in a position ALLOWED me to make decisions based on BAD or highly incomplete information - even encouraged it!
I'm sorry, but that just pisses me off - and no matter how hard I try to get over it, it still pisses me off even today! I generally don't have a disposition to holding grudges - in fact, I have a tendency to let almost everything roll off my back and have a very high tolerance for people's shortcomings. But that tolerance is much shorter when I feel like the wrongdoing is intentional and blatant - two aspects that I feel definitely apply to this situation (obviously not in a direct sense where it is directed at me personally, but very much indirectly where the end result is obvious, yet ignored or rationalized away).
Now here I am in a life where I will always be rated "incomplete" no matter what I do. My disbelief is a wedge in my marriage relationship and has the potential to become a wedge in my relationship with my children - and it will have nothing to do with who I am as a person!! It's just because I don't believe in Mormonism. The people who decided it was their RIGHT to limit the information to which I was exposed have had an impact on me, my spouse, my kids, and probably their kids!
That's not what I chose! I'm married to one of the greatest people in the world and I can't even be who she wants me to be. Hell, I haven't even taken up drinking or smoking or anything else. I still pretty much live a "Mormon" lifestyle except that I don't believe. Unfortunately, for someone who is a tbm - that principle alone is enough to be a disruptive force in what would otherwise be a fantastic relationship. My wife has reacted as well as I could have expected her to, but it’s obvious that she has paid a heavy emotional toll as she has tried to deal with this situation from her tbm point of view.
Now I've found that I am much more jaded than I was before - less trusting (especially of organizations), more critical of life in general. It's not a trait that I would have used to describe myself before my massive paradigm shift, but now it's a part of me I can't shake loose. It's deep inside of me - as deep or deeper as my earlier heartfelt convictions that this whole thing was true!
I already know that the solution is not for me to return to Mormonism - I've opened Pandora's Box and there's no way I can go back to that and find anything but misery. But neither am I content with who I have become.
My life has become a conglomerate of forces with which I want nothing to do, but at the same time that I can't do anything to avoid! I am as angry as I've ever been and yet I wouldn't trade all that anger if it meant forsaking the understanding that I have today. I would rather live in this trap of conflicted reality than to live a life that I now know to be false.
What is the solution? After four and a half years of trying everything I know, I have no clue how to proceed. It all seems like a “lose-lose” scenario no matter which path I chose
| For those of you who have not seen the new movie "The Island", I would highly recommend it. It is full of symbolism that can be easily applied to Mormonism. If you haven't see it yet, watch it first and then read this article as I am going to give the general plot away.
The movie mostly takes place inside a secret bunker underground where clones of celebrities and extremely rich people pay to have replacement parts grown and available when they are needed. The clones, themselves, have no idea of the outside world, and are brainwashed with the idea that there was a great contamination where most of mankind was destroyed. The lucky few survivors live in a highly monitored facility and their only hope is winning the lottery and going to live on "The Island", which they are told is the only place left on earth, outside of their underground home, which is safe to live. In all actuality, the lottery "winners" are actually those who's parts are needed by their sponsors and they are put on an operating table and their needed parts are removed. Keep in mind that the clones are not regarded as humans but instead, "products". One of these clones manages to escape and after being highly pursued, is determined to return and expose the lie to all the other clones. A highly recommended movie.
I recently had a discussion with my wife in which I told her that I felt like a clone who had finally had a glimpse of the outside world. I have removed the box from off my head and the world looks a lot different out here. She responded with, "You never really did have a testimony, did you?"
Ever since I quit going to church, I have heard this phrase several times. This has caused me to do some thinking on the subject. I told her, "Yes, of course I had a testimony. But let me explain a scenario which will show that a testimony is not a reliable way to judge the truth of something.
"Imagine that I told you I have a box. I keep something inside that box. I can't tell you what that something is, but I can tell you that it is pink. For years and years I keep reassuring you that it is pink. You tell others that you know it is pink. When they ask you how you know it's pink even though you've never seen it, you tell them that someone you trust has seen it and they have told you it's pink. Let's imagine that one day curiosity gets the best of you and you open the box when I am not around. You find that the item inside is actually gray. This immediately dissolves your entire testimony that the item is pink because you have seen it and you know that it is actually gray. Now does this mean that you never had a testimony that it was pink? Of course not. You had a testimony and you "knew" it was pink. But certain facts (actually seeing the item) forced you to abandon that false testimony. Now, you have a more reliable testimony that it is gray. Not only was your "pink" testimony abandoned, but also the trust you have in me is gone because I have deceived you for so many years."
When I shared this with my wife, she suddenly understood me a little better. She still doesn't fully understand all of my motives for leaving the church, but at least she can admit that I'm still a good person and am not surrounded by a cloud of darkness. Actually, instead of darkness it is quite light and I am very much enjoying my view from this new perspective. I truly feel like a clone who has lived all his life in a brainwashing facility and have finally had his first glimpse of the outside world.
| Just a few weeks ago a former friend of mine happened to be in the neighborhood and came to my door. We visited for a while and when the inevitable subject of church came up I informed her that I am no longer a member. She just tilted her head to the side a little and then avoided asking any real questions by saying "oh, then you never 'really' believed in it at all, did you?"
This is not the first time I have been told this. My sister and my mother (both TBM) have told me this plenty of times before.
Why is it that my sincerity is now questioned? I went through all the same rituals, attended all the same classes, married in the temple and wore the garmies, only to be told that I never 'really' believed.
The sad shame is that yes I REALLY believed all of it. JS the BoM, the temple ordinances, Yep I swallowed it all, and I truly believed SO MUCH that I actually WANTED to become an apologist for the morg. I proudly announced my intentions to do so, and let my bishop and stake president know that this was what I considered my LIFE'S AMBITION.
It took all of 3 days for my eyes to be fully opened, and as I sat at my computer screen, slackjawed, I was absolutely nauseated at the thought of my going back to that mind-numbing cult. I even got up in mid paragraph on one site, and immediately took off my garmies, never to be worn again. ( I had no other underwear, but that didn't stop me, hell, it hardly felt different anyway, damn uncomfortable things.) I was so distressed at many points I just cried uncontrollably and couldn't go on reading. My brain was in shock at what I was learning. I had been LIED to. That was the worst of it. I had invested my whole self in this, and I had been lied to.
How dare they say I never really believed? Would I be this mad if I never believed it in the first place? Stupid cult.
| As I was driving to a meeting today, I turned on the radio and listened to an interview with a man who had been a woman and had undergone a sex change. He was articulate about the science of how we end up with a particular gender, what it's like for a person who knows that they're in the "wrong" body gender-wise, and her/his own experience in transforming herself into a man.
As a Mormon, upon hearing this person's comments, I would've instantly judged him as "perverse" and "wicked". As a non-Mormon (of 10+ years), I simply listened to what he had to say, interested in learning more about a personal reality to which I cannot relate. The fact that I listened to the interview with an open, curious mind reminded me how much I've overcome Mormon indoctrination and psychological conditioning.
One of the things that the man said during the interview was, "If someone really loves you, they want you to be happy." In 25 years in the LDS Church, I'd never heard such wisdom. How ironic that it came from a "wicked" person!
In relation to Mormonism, to me, this simple-yet-profound truth means if LDS parents really love their children, they won't push their religion on them because Mormonism may not make them happy. It means that LDS priesthood leaders won't use fear- and guilt-inducing religious ideas to coerce people into becoming "active" or going on a mission because doing so would result in their unhappiness. It means that Mormon siblings show some interest in what their ex-Mormon brother or sister is doing with their life - the things that make them happy.
But such displays of mature love happen rarely in Mormon families, wards, and the church at large. The focus is not on individuals' happiness, but on their compliance, their submission to the will of the LDS collective. The Mormon church tells people what makes them happy (obedience, sacrifice, service), but never asks its members, "What would make you happy."
On a personal note, in the 10+ years that my Mormon mother took me to church, neither she nor any teacher or church leader ever asked me, "Do you like coming to church?". "Are you happy here?". In annual "worthiness" interviews during my teen years, no bishop ever asked, "So, are you happy as a Mormon?". After I returned from my mission, no leader or member ever asked me, "Were you happy on your mission? Did you like being a missionary?" They assumed that I was happy because I'd complied. In truth, as a Mormon, I was very unhappy.
I visit this board nearly every day, and so many times I've read about a Mormon spouse who has threatened to divorce her husband or his wife because she no longer believes or participates in Mormonism. The fact that the "non-believer" was unhappy in the church seems to be completely irrelevant to many Mormon spouses (and parents, grandparents, siblings, priesthood leaders, etc).
I left Mormonism in 1992 because I realized that if I didn't, I would never know my true self. Over time, I learned that to be happy, I needed to act with integrity to my vision for my life, not what other people thought was best for me, including the Mormons in my life. No doubt, the woman who became a man "obeyed" the same "principle".
| I Spoke With My Tbm Mother Tonight. She's In Full Melancholy / Victim-Mindset Mode. Even At 68, Self-Empowerment Is An Issue That She Hasn't Grasped |
Monday, Jan 30, 2006, at 07:45 AM
Original Author(s): Freeatlast
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 5 -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| I hadn't spoken with my mother since Christmas. I wished I hadn't called tonight, to be truthful. My mother is a manic-depressive, and when she's on the downswing, it's energy-draining to speak with her (or be in her presence).
The conversation triggered some unpleasant memories from 25+ years ago. During my formative years, my mother used Mormonism like a drug. Church on Sunday and Relief Society were her "spiritual" fixes each week. At home, she was barely functional as a wife and mother, and would spend hours and even days weeping in her bedroom, shut away from her family, while my sisters and I tried to cope the best we could.
My mother had joined the church four years after marrying my father, who was essentially an atheist and disliked organized religion. After doing some real investigating into Mormonism (not the missionary discussions!), he learned that Mormonism was based on a fraud, but my mother would not listen to any of the information he'd discovered. She was unconsciously looking for an escape from her unhappy marriage and having to deal with the psychological and emotional effects of the abuse she suffered, and Mormonism, with its concepts of a loving, personal "Heavenly Father" and "Saviour" to "spiritually" rescue people from the consequences of their "sinful" behaviour, appealed to her hugely. Having been raised in a generation in which the institutions of society were managed/controlled by men almost exclusively, Mormon patriarchy seemed "natural" to my mother.
Magical thinking, mentally fleeing from facts and personal realities/truths that conflict with church teachings and LDS beliefs, surrendering responsibilty to think for oneself, suppressing critical thinking, avoiding confronting church authority figures in light of evidence of their abuse of members' trust/faith, living unquestioningly by the values and judgements of the LDS group/collective, avoiding (at all costs) saying things that might "shake" other Mormons' religious beliefs, being unable to argue/debate in a semi-cogent manner why Mormonism is "true", believing in LDS superstitions, avoiding conflict at the price of one's personal truth, and so many other symptoms of the psychological dysfunction that is common among Mormons are aspects of my mother.
Such symptoms make having a normal/mature conversation with my mother difficult. I never know when some bit of Mormon irrationality is going to come out of her mouth and taint our discussion. Thankfully, I have no-Mo and ex-Mo friends with whom I can have truly meaningful conversations.
In my conversation tonight with my mother, I could see that she still doesn't "get it" that she needs to take action to empower herself every time she's confronted with a situation that upsets her, isn't working out as she wanted, or in some other way is negatively affecting her life. Her latest crisis has been regarding MS Word on her desktop. Instead of calling me, or asking around at church for a computer-saavy member, or calling the guy at the local computer shop where she's had work done before on her desktop, or taking some other sort of action to address her computer problem, she has endured (suffered) not having Word function on her computer for more than a month.
This situation reminded me of how often church lessons, magazines, and leaders would drive home the "spiritual truth" that Mormons must "endure to the end". The church's teaching about "Heavenly Father" giving people (particularly faithful church members) "trials and tribulations" was (is) disempowering and dysfunctional because it creates a mental lens through which Mormons interpret their experiences. It creates a type of fatalism not disimilar in basic nature to that of Muslims ("Alas, it was the will of Allah").
The good thing about tonight's conversation with my mother is that I caught myself about to rescue her from dealing with her problem (an old, dysfunctional behaviour pattern for me). I did suggest that she could buy a used copy of MS Office '97 on eBay for little money (less than $20), and I'd talk her through the installation. Her response was not much more than a sigh. I was glad to hang up, and SO glad to be out of the LDS Church and Mormonism, which reinforces people's self-perception as disempowered on a regular basis, and indoctrinates them to believe that they need God to rescue them and a Saviour to "save" them.
| I think most of us are all painfully aware of how deep emotions can run when it comes to people's belief in Mormonism. There are many "diehard" believers who truly believe that leaving Mormonism is leaving everything worth anything in this life and the life to come. I have read countless stories over the past four years by people on this board who have been impacted by the raw emotions that surface when one loses belief in Mormonism. Unfortunately, those emotions often tear at the fabric of relationships sometimes leaving holes too big to be repaired.
There’s no doubt that theoretically there’s a lot at stake with Mormon religion. I’ve come to believe that the principle of “forever families” is at the heart of Mormon fear and emotion when a loved one “falls away” (not to say this is the only principle, but if I had to pick what I believe to be the dominant principle, it would be this one). People are taught in no uncertain terms that the glue that binds families together (“sealing power”) is only available in Mormonism. Therefore, a person steps away from Mormonism and really everything becomes irrelevant one can lead the best life possible and it’s all for naught if one has knowingly and willingly rejected this “glue”. A person who has stepped away from Mormonism has, in essence, had their chance to “accept” truth and willingly rejected it. In the hearts and minds of most believers, Mormonism and its ordinances hold the saving power not Christ, not good works, not faith (not to say those things aren’t considered critical, but they all tie back to theMormon-specific perception of them i.e it won’t do you any good to accept Christ if you don’t also accept Mormonism at some point either in this life or the next).
So it’s no surprise that one’s loss of belief can have an enormous impact on a marriage relationship a relationship that in Mormonism continues in the exact same form into the next life, but, once again, only thanks to Mormonism’s own unique “glue”. TBM spouses suddenly face the reality of losing the person closest to them for what the phase of life that lasts forever! How do tbm spouses react to this news?
After reading hundreds of experiences as well as going through this on my own, I believe there are four common tbm spousal reactions to a spouse leaving Mormonism. This isn’t necessarily a comprehensive list of reactions, but I think at least one of these is present in some form in the dynamics of pretty much all tbm spousal reactions. These can happen in any order, time frame or in any combination or multiples of combinations (I’m sure they can apply to other relationships as well, but I’m just going to focus on the husband-wife relationship.) Some relationships may experience all four of them, some only one or two, but in every story I can recall, there is at least one of these spousal reactions present at some point and on some level.
The first possible reaction is Denial: “You don’t really not believe.” The tbm spouse doesn’t really accept that the issue is with Mormonism, it has to do with something else anything else! Instead of dealing with the issue as it relates to Mormonism, the tbm spouse makes everything else a focus. “It’s because you’re not praying enough”; “It’s because you’re sinning”; “It’s because you were offended by someone” take your pick. All of these reasons shift the focus from the issues facing Mormonism which are real and numerous to other things.
At some level, I believe this reaction helps the tbm spouse avoid facing his/her own paradigm. “Fact: Mormonism is true; therefore, it is impossible for the issue to be with Mormonism it HAS to be with the person.” The only way for a tbm spouse to move out of this phase is to accept the POSSIBILITY that Mormonism may not be “true”. A tbm’s thought process may change to something like this: “Fact: I believe Mormonism to be true, but I realize that is a belief based on my own personal experiences and interpretations of what those experiences mean; therefore, not everyone may interpret the significance and/or meaning of these things the same way that I do.”
Essentially, the tbm spouse must accept the uncertainty of certainty you may think you know something is true, but all you really “know” for sure is what assumptions and correlations you’re making to come to that conclusion. Those assumptions and correlations might just might be wrong and lead you to believe something is “true” (or false, for that matter) when in fact it isn’t. Ultimately, if the spouse never accepts the possible fallibility of his/her own perception, Denial will always be at least a part of how he/she perceives the spouse’s loss of belief.
The second potential reaction is Rejection, either of the person or of their newfound beliefs (or lack thereof). The most extreme example of this is divorce. In some marriages, the tbm spouse doesn’t have this reaction first, but sadly it is the final reaction. “If you don’t believe, then our marriage is over”; “You’re wrong!” (not for any stated reason, you’re just wrong); “How can I love someone who isn’t an active Priesthood holder?” Rejection shows itself in many shapes and forms, but the ultimate message is that the tbm spouse is not willing to accept opposing beliefs in any way, shape, or form. That may extend all the way to the termination of the relationship or it may just extend to those particular viewpoints. Either way, there is little or no room for negotiation.
The third potential reaction is Tolerance: “I will accept that you have a new worldview, but I won’t like it.” I believe the undercurrent of this reaction is hope the ever-present hope that someday, somehow their spouse will “see the light” and regain his/her former convictions. I can think of two sources for this hope. First, the countless stories that are told of people who were once “lost” who came back to the fold. “Johnny faithfully home taught Mr. Poor-and-Lonely-Soul for 26 years and, wouldn’t you know it, one day Mr. Poor-and-Lonely-Soul decided to come back to the Church!” Second, the notion that “Once someone has a testimony, that person knows somewhere in their soul that it really is true.” Someday, someone will say the correct thing that “touches” that nugget of truth deep in your soul and you will awaken and pull yourself from the depths of your self-deception.
If this is the reaction, then it’s likely that over time the ex-Mo spouse’s views could become something like a big elephant in the corner of the relationship both people know it’s there, but no one really wants to talk about it. The tbm spouse still loves the ex-Mo and will listen (to some extent) to the reasons for his/her unbelief, but the ex-Mo’s beliefs are still inferior to those of the still-believing spouse. “Hopefully, someday my ex-Mo will soften his/her heart and accept the ‘truth’ once again”.
This reaction can change quickly when the tbm spouse realizes that their hope may be misplaced “Maybe my ex-Mo spouse isn’t going to change after all!” Callings are turned down, habits are changes, garments are disposed of at some point (it might be a matter of weeks, or it might be after many years) the tbm spouse may come to the realization that it isn’t just a phase and may be something permanent. At that point in time, he/she may focus on Rejection and start looking for a divorce, or maybe over time they’ll move in the direction of the fourth reaction
Acceptance. I believe this is the holy grail from an ex-Mo’s perspective, yet sadly not a very common reaction in the life stories of those who are posting (maybe those whose tbm spouses reacted with Acceptance are less likely to be drawn to boards like RfM in the first place? Maybe they are able to move on with their lives outside the reach of Mormonism’s influence?). The foundation for Acceptance is equality. The tbm spouse understands that his/her perspective is one of many against a sea of religious beliefs. This doesn’t necessarily mean the tbm spouse rejects his/her belief in Mormonism, but it does mean that the ex-Mo’s beliefs are respected and given the same credence as the believers. “I believe I’m right, but I understand that you believe you’re right I believe my reasons are valid and you believe yours are valid. So, I’ll respect your beliefs and I expect you to respect my own beliefs as well” no strings attached. This reaction is not contingent on hope for future change and the ex-Mo’s beliefsaren’t relegated to those of a 2nd class citizen.
It’s obvious that this scenario is the ideal one when considering the best interests of all parties (assuming, of course, the ex-Mo is willing to have the same Acceptance reaction to the still-believing spouse’s beliefs). Why then, doesn’t Mormonism promote this type of thinking when a spouse loses belief? In fact, why is it that none of us have ever heard a story while growing up of someone who left Mormonism and went on to lead a healthy, productive life?
I believe it’s because this reaction is also the biggest threat to Mormonism’s growth and health. If a spouse is able and willing to look at Mormonism from a critical perspective and not feel threatened by this, then the odds increase dramatically that eventually they will accept the ex-Mo’s positions as MORE VALID than their own and leave Mormonism as well. Sadly, the reaction that is likely the healthiest for the individuals is most damaging to the organization (although I have to qualify that it wouldn’t necessarily be damaging to all religious organizations, but I think it presents a very real threat to Mormonism for many reasons); therefore, the organization does what it can to inoculate itself against the threat by perpetuating the thought processes that generate other, “negative” (meaning non-Acceptance) reactions to loss of belief and that inoculation surfaces in reactions by tbm spouses through out the world when faced with the prospect of dealing with a spouse who no longer believes.
And here we all are a community trying to deal with the ramifications of that inoculation in our daily lives!
Like I said before, I don’t necessarily take this as a complete list of reactions, but I do think these four reactions represent the common ground between those of us who are married and in the ex-Mo society
| The #1 most abusive aspect of the Mormon church for me . .is the emotional manipulation.
In the six years I've been out, I've thought a lot about my experience in the church. I've thought about the lies I was taught, the time I spent, the money I spent, the choices I made.
But the ONE thing that bothers me the MOST is the emotional manipulation and control:
1) The endless guilt and fear, no matter HOW obedient you are . . . because you are NEVER good enough to feel at ease. I've never met a faithful mormon woman who seemed to feel truly confident that they were living worthy to go to the celestial kingdom if they were to die tomorrow. Has anyone?
And what of the fear? Fear of the wicked influences of the world. Fear of temptation or deception. A 2-year's supply of food for the coming famine. The end of the world is coming.
Fear is just another control mechanism to keep people obedient. Here's how guilt and fear take people's power away:
Guilt + Fear = No confidence = obedience and submission
Geez, isn't that how abusers work?
2) Suppression of true feelings and free thought. Anger is not allowed (see guilt above). Doubts are not allowed. Trusting your own thoughts, perceptions and opinions is treated as a form of pride or arrogance. You are told to trust your feelings rather than facts, but ONLY if you get the right feelings. If you don't feel right, then you should just listen to your leaders until you DO feel right.
This creates a no-way-out scenario if followed: You can't study your way out (and if you do study, you are told to only study faith-promoting materials), and you can't leave if it doesn't feel right. So I guess you have to stay no matter what you know or feel, because neither is an acceptable reason for leaving.
3) The church plays on your emotions. the church uses people's normal emotions to convince people they are "feeling the spirit". I don't think this is a deliberate plot, but it gets used because it works so well. Think of seminary movies and missionary films. They try to make you cry with touching emotional events, then tie it in to the church and claim it was the SPIRIT you felt, so the church is true. Anyone remember "I'll Send you a Rainbow" from seminary? The kids' dying mother tells him she'll send him a rainbow so he'll know she's watching over him from heaven? And it's all okay that she dies because . . . . you must have guessed it "families are forever".
By the same logic, patriotism is true (but probably only if you live in the USA, lol), emotionally moving music is true, the movie "Beaches" is true (NOOOOOOOOOOOO, not that). The sad thing is, I really did experience most of those things as manifestations of the spirit. The church hijacked those feelings.
Kids are set up with emotional meetings, such as youth conference testimony meetings, girls camp testimony meeting, where everyone gets up and cries and says how much they love each other, and then their friends cry, and next thing you know . . . they feel the SPIRIT.
And never forget that once you've felt the spirit, you can't deny it or you'll be in BIG trouble (see guilt and fear above). NOW you're really hooked.
Ultimately, emotional manipulation is what makes it SO hard to leave. Emotional manipulation is the trap. Most people could think their way out if they had access to the necessary information and were allowed to think without fear, without threats of eternal punishment and loss of community here in this life.
| Last week, I held my grandpa's hand as he passed away. It was a heartbreaking experience that I will never forget. He was 82 and had enjoyed fairly good health until the last few years. However, he developed an infection a few weeks ago that eventually led to acute kidney failure. When his doctors diagnosed the kidney failure, and informed my family that Grandpa had only 36 hours left, I immediately booked an airplane ticket and flew across the country to try to say goodbye to him before he died. He passed away about twenty minutes after I arrived at his hospital room.
I was extremely close to my grandpa. When I decided to leave the church three years ago, my relationship with Grandpa was one of the few that survived relatively unscathed. I will miss him dearly now.
His death and subsequent Mormon funeral upset me for several reasons. First, I had never experienced the death of a loved one before his. As I watched his body fight for air and eventually give up, I saw nothing spiritual or beautiful in the process. Instead, I saw a brutal struggle. It was terrifying for me, and I was relieved, but of course saddened, when it was finally over.
Second, his death brought up questions I have long had about death and how much control a person has over its timing. When my grandma died a few years ago, my mother swore that Grandma held off death until Grandpa was at her bedside (despite the fact she had Alzheimer’s and had not recognized Grandpa in months). She had struggled all night and finally died soon after Grandpa arrived in the morning. My mother now believes that the same thing happened at Grandpa’s death, only this time he waited for me. Earlier in the day, my mother told Grandpa that I was on my way to see him. However, while I was en route, Grandpa experienced severe pain and was subsequently given morphine every hour until his death. After the morphine was administered, he was no longer alert. In addition to the morphine, his doctors had predicted that Grandpa would slip into a coma, caused by the kidney failure, before his death. As a result of the morphine and possible coma, it was difficult to tell how aware he was of his surroundings whenI finally arrived. I’d like to believe that Grandpa had some control over the timing of his death and did wait to die until I had said my goodbyes to him in person. However, the only physical indication that this may have been true was that his body and breathing became notably more relaxed soon after I arrived. Also, after days of struggling, he died within an hour of my arrival. Were these coincidences? Being atheist, I no longer believe in life after death, but I do believe the mind can have a powerful effect over the body. Powerful enough to have some control over death, though? I’m not sure.
Third, at his funeral, the former stake president who spoke insisted that Grandpa’s death was a magnificent and glorifying experience. That is, he insisted that in the brief time he wasn’t rambling on about the Plan of Salvation and how wonderful President Hinckley is. The man was never present at my grandpa’s deathbed. I sat in my little pew resisting the urge to walk up to the podium and confront him. I wanted to say two things to this man. One, I don’t want to hear how wonderful he thinks President Hinckley is. I want to hear how wonderful he thought Grandpa was. Two, he has no right telling me that Grandpa’s death was a good thing. He didn’t watch him die like I did.
Now I am back at my home, away from my parents and siblings, attempting to come to terms with what I experienced last week. I have realized that religions are, in large part, an outgrowth of peoples’ struggles to cope with death. No one wants to believe that a loved one is gone for good, or that they too will someday cease to exist. I watched as my family members turned Grandpa’s death into a spiritual experience that confirms their beliefs in the Mormon Plan of Salvation. Even though we watched the same death, it was not a spiritual experience for me. I want to be with Grandpa again just as badly as anyone, but I’m not willing to delude myself into believing that anything about his death suggested that there is an afterlife. However, now I can more easily understand why so many people cling to religion.
Last week, death became a very real and scary event to me. I don’t want to die, but of course I will. I just hope the happiness I will have experienced throughout my life will outweigh the pain I experience at death, and that I can face my death as bravely as Grandpa faced his.
| From Pity Party To Angst To "Rapture Of Being Alive " Some Of The "Recovery" Process... What About Yours? |
Friday, Feb 10, 2006, at 10:41 AM
Original Author(s): Susieq#1
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 5 -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| Confucius says: "It's all right to sit on your pity pot every now and again. Just be sure to flush when you're done."
OK, so Confucius didn't say that, but it is a decent reminder when we are feeling that Mormonism got the better of us and we feel sorry for ourselves and are wallowing in our own self pity and angst.
Someone asked me for my definition of "angst" and I said:
I used the word to define --unsettled anxiety about a situation that is not resolved which can result in a "rut" of perpetual analysis and review of expectations, wrongs, anger, etc... spinning wheels but not getting anywhere...
It is the mental/emotional state before "letting go" and letting it be.
"Rapture of being alive" is a quote from Joseph Campbell who wrote "The Power of Myth".
There is such a grand, glorious, beautiful world out there that as Mormons, most of us missed completely while trying to live the teaching: " Be in the world, but not of the world".
Because life is uncertain. Life is short my goal especially since leaving Mormonism:
Minimize pain (of any kind) and find pleasure and joy in life now that I am free and have taken my power back.
For today, I thought I would make a list of the things that I missed as a Mormon (or changed) that are now part of my life that make it better, more enjoyable, and empower me.
Here are a few of my changes/additions/stuff I missed. It took a little practice, but I found I could live my life on my own terms with no fear of recriminations, punishments, rewards from some outside source, no intrusions from religious leaders, and absolutely no guilt of any kind.
These will probably sound really quite odd and strange to someone who has never been a Mormon.
Most of these are things I do now that I didn't do as a Mormon.
1. I start the day with fresh ground coffee and cream.
2. I wear underwear that is my choice that is always comfortable. I also buy my own clothes to fit my own style.
3. I spend my time as I choose. All of it.
4. I read what I want, when I want.
5. I have a glass of wine if I want.
6. I go where I want, when I want.
7. I laugh out loud a lot.
8. I live day by day as a fully actualized adult, (not a "child of God").
9. I own my own power.
10. I live in the world and love all of it.
| I have been looking back at my years as a Mormon, and recalling my feelings toward the church leaders. They were never very good.
I recall telling my mother and sister that Joseph Fielding Smith was "an old bigot," which was about right. How anyone could take him seriously is beyond me. Was then, is now. And he didn't like the members.
I recall going to the dedication of the Provo temple lot, and a friend of mine asking "Will the prophet be there?" "The prophet" was Joseph Fielding Smith, and he was there, looking as dour and unloving as ever. He was a dreadful old fraud.
I recall when he died, the "Ensign" did a piece on him, including his "sense of humor." It was a small section, and it should have been smaller. I tell you, this guy was a cut-up. Wow, the knee-slappers he told over the years. They brought tears to the eyes, yes indeed. And to think I never knew how funny he was.
"Love humanity, but hate people" seems to be the basic method used by the leaders of the church. They visit, and come across as Prince Charles, looking with ill-concealed disdain at a bunch of Welsh coal miners.
I recall the story of Prince Phillip, riding in a car in India. The driver turned on the car's siren, and Phillip, in a fit of anger, hit the driver on the head, and said "Turn that bloody siren off, you silly fuck." I guess we should be thankful the church leaders would be a bit nicer than that.
Friendly? Some maybe. Caring? Perhaps a couple are, but they prefer to be "caring " from a distance. They have their own world to live in, and its pretty carefully set up to avoid close contact with those who give their ten percent.Those tunnels under Salt Lake serve a great purpose.
And the members sound like people living in the Soviet Union. "Our leaders are stern, but they care about us." That was the old Soviet Union line. How is it different from the Mormon attitude? The members grovel, hoping for a few crumbs of basic kindness or courtesy. Its pathetic to watch.
| The following negative personal realities have been experienced by Latter-Day Saints and are completely (in some cases) or partly (in other cases) the result of Mormon psychological conditioning. In the list below, "you" does not refer to you, the RfM visitor/reader, but to Mormons who may encounter this list, which will be put on my website (currently under construction):
- Chronic depression.
- Wondering who you really are and what the real you is like.
- Sensing that something is wrong with the LDS Church and religion but not knowing what because of the Mormon belief that the church is perfect".
- Trying to suppress your doubts about the LDS Church/Mormonism.
- Mentally fleeing from or trivializing facts that do not agree with LDS Church doctrines and teachings and Mormon beliefs.
- Undermining your rational mind and suffering the negative psychological consequences (e.g., cognitive dissonance, suppressed intellect, feeling stupid).
- Unquestioning obedience to church teachings and rules, and the expectations of the LDS community.
- Fear of questioning/thinking critically about what you have been taught by the LDS Church, Mormon parents, etc.
- Fear of thinking for yourself and living fully by your mind/judgments.
- Fear of exploring life to have different experiences and develop your own set of values.
- Fear of reading books, visiting websites, etc. that contain information (e.g., historical, scientific) that does not support LDS Church teachings and Mormon beliefs.
- Fear of questioning Mormon priesthood authority.
- Fear of God (the Mormon version) and "His" punishments.
- Fear that if your obedience to church teachings is lacking in any way (i.e., is not "perfect"), you will be judged as "unworthy" after you die and spend "Eternity" separated from your Mormon family members, relatives, friends, etc.
- Fear that "Satan" and his "army" of "evil spirits" are trying very hard to cause you to commit "sins".
- Nightmares or negative metaphysical experiences involving "Satan", "evil" powers, etc.
- A chronic feeling that you are "spiritually unclean"/"impure".
- Black-and-white, simplistic thinking.
- Hyper-vigilance of your thoughts and behavior, and the resulting mental fatigue.
- Magical thinking; believing that God will fix you and whatever's wrong in your life.
- Feeling driven to be "perfect" and guilty when you are not busy.
- Scrupulosity (rigid, obsessive adherence to church rules and "God's commandments", as defined by Mormonism).
- Perfectionism, rigidity, fear of losing control.
- Chronic anxiety and stress related to your "spiritual" performance (i.e., obedience to church teachings).
- Chronic guilt/shame.
- Low self-esteem (self-esteem is the reputation that we acquire with ourselves over time, particularly with our mind).
- Feeling disempowered (a common reality for LDS women, who must always answer to LDS men in Mormonism's patriarchal structure).
- Feeling that you're capable of achieving so much more than Mormonism will allow.
- Harsh judgments of yourself/lack of self-acceptance.
- Uncompromising, judgmental attitudes/religious ego.
- Chronic judgments of other people as "less valiant", "unrighteous", etc.
- Psychological immaturity/feeling naοve.
- Victim-mindset/believing that you need a savior to rescue you/avoidance of responsibility.
- Compulsive praying, scripture reading, fasting, church attendance, etc.
- Feeling that without Mormonism in your life, you wouldn't know who you'd be or what you'd do with your life.
- Always feeling burdened and drained/lack of joy.
- Obsessive ritualizing.
- Basing your self-concept/identity on your achievements in the church, level of obedience/compliance, and your status in the LDS community.
- Psychological and emotional enmeshment with your Mormon parents, siblings, spouse, etc.
- Addiction to approval-seeking in relation to LDS parents, other Mormon relatives, church leaders, the Mormon community, God (the Mormon version), etc.
- Fear of Mormons' disapproval and the disapproval of God (the Mormon version).
- Addiction to always being "nice" and "pleasing", and afraid to be real.
- Fear of speaking your personal truth, including doubts about Mormonism and negative personal realities that will be negatively judged by Mormons if expressed.
- Repressed anger/rage (resulting from being abused by Mormon parents, disempowered by LDS patriarchy, having the real you smothered over the years by Mormonism, etc.).
- Fear of confrontation, particularly with Mormon authority figures such as parents, church leaders, etc.
- Repression of your sexuality and the resulting secret, "immoral" sexual behaviors such as masturbation. Sex addictions (e.g., addiction to pornography) resulting from Mormon religious shame.
- Feeling/believing that you're "wicked" because your sexual feelings are homosexual.
- Unrepressed grief/sadness because of priesthood abuse at home, Mormon parents who always criticized you, etc.
- Being trapped in the Mormon illusion of separation in relation to humanity (i.e., LDS or non-LDS; "active"/"faithful", "less active"/"slothful", "inactive"/"unrighteous", etc.).
- Apocalyptic mindset and fear of living in "the Last Days".
| Recently I came upon a group of christians who extole the spiritual benefits of extended fasting, namely, a 40 day food fast. This concept alarms me and simultaneously fascinates me so I did a small amount of research to find out more. From "Campus Crusade" web site: |
"In my desire to be absolutely faithful to my first 40-day fast, I stopped taking my usual vitamins and minerals. However during subsequent fasts, I have felt strongly impressed to continue my vitamin and herbal therapy and also using psyllium. I do this to keep my "temple" healthy while continuing to deny myself the pleasure of eating solid food.
During your fast, you may have your struggles, discomforts, spiritual victories, and failures. In the morning you may feel like you are on top of the world, but by evening you may be wrestling with the flesh-sorely tempted to raid the refrigerator and counting how many more days are left in your fast. This is especially true if you are new at fasting. To counteract temptations like these, take extra time with the Lord to spend with God. Step outside for fresh air and a moderate walk of a mile or two, and talk to the Lord as you walk along. And in the process always keep on sipping water or juice frequently during your waking hours."
I am amazed that Christianity has taken to extreme trends such as a 40 day food fast. I have discovered the reason for this length of time is to model what Jesus supposedly did when he was alive. Make no mistake, this is a growing trend. As Christianity further polarizes to the end of times POV, more extreme fashions or displays of "faith" in the name of requesting higher levels of spirituality will become common place.
Some other links:
A website promoting unchecked (as far as I can tell, unsubstantiated) medical benefits and claims that fasting fights diseases in the body (I do not know if this is true):
Effects Of Fasting On The Immune System
"Here are various effects on the immune system that have been observed during fasting.
Elevated Macrophage Activity
Increased Cell-Mediated Immunity
Increased Immunoglobulin Levels
Increased Neutrophil Bactericidal Activity
Heightened Monocyte Killing and Bacterial Function
Enhanced Natural Killer Cell Activity
Basically, you get to laze around while your immune system and cleansing organs do all the work. Billions of tiny employees working 24 hours per day, cleaning up your mess and working for free without any appreciation. You should feel guilty."
A holistic type web link that declares fasting to be an anti aging tactic:
"Periodic fasting and caloric restriction for life extension, treatment of desease, and enhanced creativity (clinical and experimental data)"
AND Judeo-Christians are not alone in the fasting technique/quest for spirituality, Muslims extole its virtues also. This website declares, among many other things that science supports the benefits of fasting:
The Death of Passion Purifies the Human Soul
"It is for this reason that the arrival of the blessed month of Ramadan is greeted with happiness. For in this month the doors of heaven are opened to the faithful and Divine Compassion plunges upon those who seek it. Those who complete the fast of Ramadan feel rejuvenated and are prepared to face another year with firmness to live and act according to the Divine Will."
Science Favors Fasting
"What are the benefits of fasting? ....
In some studies performed on fasting Muslims, it was observed that there was a slight loss of weight both in males and females. Their blood glucose levels increased significantly. Other parameters such as blood levels of cortisol, testosterone, sodium, potassium, urea, total cholesterol, HDL (high density lipoprotein), TG (triglycerides), and serum osmolatity did not show notable variations.
Another study performed about a decade ago in Iran showed that sporadic restraint from food and drink for about 17 hours a day for 30 days does not alter male reproductive hormones, HPTA (hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid-axis) or peripheral metabolism of thyroid hormones. Any changes noticed return to normal four weeks after fasting."
Here is a Muslim web link that declares Fasting makes you sleep better:
Fasting Positively Affects Sleep
"During the first few hours of an Islamic fast, the EEG is normal. However, the frequency of the alpha rhythm is decreased by a low blood glucose level. This may happen at the end of the fasting day towards evening when the blood sugar is low.
Fasting improves the quality and intensifies the depth of sleep, a matter of particular importance to the aged who have much less stage three and four sleep (deep sleep). The processes of repair of the body and of the brain take place during sleep. Two hours of sleep during the month of Ramadan are more satisfying and refreshing than more hours of sleep otherwise!"
But, as I observe, Muslims must find this research so as to promote their customs and cultural fasting requirements. I suspect a biased skew in the data.
At this point in my research I began to feel like a believer.
I was hard pressed to find any bad press about fasting. What I did find was that fasting definately weakens the mind body connection via the lowering of blood sugar levels in the body. I will not go as far as the religious promoters do to declare spirituality when said experience appears to be merely a typical biological response.
Apparently religions are hijacking the physiological response from fasting and incorporating this feeling as a mystical sign or proof for spiritual sustainment.
This is not necessarily a bad thing if it brings peace or perspective to one's life. My observation is, as an agnostic man, I have fasted off and on over the last year for non spiritual reasons and have also experienced the mind body connection weakening. This observation points out that fasting is not a spiritual experience but in the mind of someone who needs it to be.
Fasting is nothing more than a creation of spirituality that can be seen as an over reaching attempt to bring god closer to the faithful religious mind.
| The huge time requirements preclude time for much else. When I began adding it all up, I realized how massive the time drain was.
1. All day Sunday because it is the Sabbath and the only things allowed were church related. There goes 14% of a person’s total time for the year right there. If that is viewed as free time for the average person it would be something more akin to 22% (4 hours of free awake time per weekday subtracting commuting, eating, etc. Eight hours a day on the weekend after subtracting shopping, errands, cleaning, etc. = 36 available hours of free time per week. I will compute based on 4-week months rather than 4.33 to factor in putting on the suit and tie, arranging babysitters, extra trips to the gas station, etc.).
2. Family home evening takes care of Monday night. (Down to 32 hours a week available).
3. Home teaching and visiting teaching at least one night a month. If your families need you at different times, this would go up. Then when the spouse HTs or VTs that takes out another night or two. (Averaged over the month minimally down to 31 hours available).
4. Daily scripture study both as a family and individually. (Even if only 15 minutes/day for each down to 27.5 hours a week of free time).
5. Daily journal writing. (15 minutes/day again 25.75)
6. Weekly preparation for lessons or other callings. (Another hour 24.75)
7. Temple attendance at least once a month. Where I lived, that took out an entire day. (Even if only four hours that drops the weekly average to 23.75)
8. Week night activities; scouts, mutual. (Another evening: 19.75)
9. Monthly scout campouts. (A Friday evening and all day Saturday average over the month: (16.75)
10. Then what of the time they expect you to devote to exercise (dressing out, showering etc. another hour shot at least 3 times a week: 13.75)
10. The weeklong scout camp or girls’ camp in the summer. That takes up a significant amount of vacation time.
11. General conference takes two Saturdays a year plus the two Sundays that were a total loss regardless.
12. Running kids to early morning seminary or teaching early morning seminary. Losing an hour of real class time for those in the corridor.
13. The two years lost for a mission when others may be volunteering for real causes during breaks from college.
The average Mormon is likely giving in excess of 50% of their free time to the church. In reality, many members are devoting much more time than this and are actually accruing a sleep deficit because the only thing that can give is sleep. The truth of the matter is, there is no time for Mormons to devote to service for other causes.
The Mormon Church is a leach sucking the members dry financially and temporally to shore up a failing dike of lies.
| Is Someone Really Lying If They Don't Know The Truth? I Have Wrestled With This Concept Since I Left Mormonism |
Wednesday, Feb 22, 2006, at 07:47 AM
Original Author(s): Susieq#1
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 5 -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| Is someone really lying if they don't know the truth? I have wrestled with this concept since I left Mormonism.
At what point does the Mormon church take responsibility for lying about the BOM and other claims? When do they admit their claims are metaphysical, supernatural, and not ever literal?
Somehow, they seem to think it is OK to claim they are spiritual and metaphysical? But, does that excuse the fraud, scam, lie?
It is clear, absolutely no doubt, that Joseph Smith lied about all his claims of old records and translations.
Those are total fabrications.
No golden plates, not from the ground, or from an angel.
But, because people have a right to believe anything by some kind of personal spiritual witness, are they still lying and to be held accountable for the betrayal?
If they really believe that their claim is the truth, can they still be held accountable for lying?
Or are TBM's in general so will programmed that they cannot even consider that what they claim is a lie from the get-go?
What boggles the mind is that there are Mormon apologists who continue to perpetrate the lie. They have to know that they are promoting something that is nothing more than fiction. In fact, if you read their comments carefully, it is clear that they are just playing around with a plethora of verbiage. I doubt that they even take themselves seriously. But, they still lambaste anything and anyone who challenges the information like it is some kind of game. Where or where is the integrity in that?
I suppose it is an ego thing for the apologists. They can look in the mirror and say: "Look how smart I am. I can convince thousands of people what I say is important and the members love me for it."
They are considered the "big guns"-the know-it-all so-called "intellectuals" with a degrees in obscure silliness. They are actually believed and respected and have a following of TBM's who are duped into believing that what these people say is actually credible. Unbelievable!
Each of their articles and comments needs to come with the following warning: Check your brain at the door before reading further!
Many times we wonder if the GA's, for instance, know it is all a sham, a fraud, and a fabrication from the beginning. I am sure that they do, but they do not care. The benefits outweigh upsetting the apple cart. They are so well ensconced in the Mormon bubble they do not see any reason to change anything. They must promote the testimony of faith with not one ounce of credible evidence. Nothing. Zero. Zip.
The most pathetic thing the TBM's do (GA's Apologists, etc)is promote the fiction as fact. I thought these people were trustworthy and were telling me the truth. We all did.
Oh well. That is at the core of almost all religiosity--faith in the imagination of others! Mormonism is just another organization with it's fingers in the political and economic pie and it makes no difference if it truthful or not!
Somehow, lying, false claims and betrayal gets a pass where religion is concerned. It is OK to claim the most ridiculous, impossible, bizarre nonsense in the name of Mormonism.
And, no they are not lying. They could not possibly be lying, or could they?
Maybe they just do not know any better and they deserve our pity.
No TBM or apologist will ever get my trust again. They are not worthy or trustworthy. Nice, maybe, but not trustworthy, not reliable, not credible.
What a relief to be out of that murky mess of goo!
I suppose the best that can be said, giving them the benefit of the doubt is that they are lying but they don't know they are lying. That is, in the case of the apologists. I am sure they know they are just playing a game!
| I discovered the RfM board in September of 2003 and it was a godsend. I'd heard some unsettling facts about JS's polygamy, the Mountain Meadow's Massacre and blood atonement in BY's time. Within 1-2 months of reading there and investigating a variety of sources, I became convinced that the church is not true.
I went through the gamut of emotions and RfM became a major sounding board for me. It was a rocky road but people at RfM supported me through my transition out of mormonism (special thanks to Cheryl and Jerry the Aspousetate).
Within one year, I sent in my resignation. It was the right time for me. I simply couldn't reconcile myself with knowing that I didn't believe all the while the church was counting me as a member.
You know, anything can happen in relationships in or out of the church. There is always the potential for people's attitudes and relations to change, but to me, imagined fears are worse than facing them. Even as an introvert, I would rather be up front and speak my mind to the best of my ability.
First fear: would my TBM wife divorce me? We're still together. Second fear: how would my immediate and extended family react? No major, discernible changes in parent/sibling/children relations. Third fear: would they excommunicate for apostasy? It was clearly threatened but ultimately the decision to leave was mine.
Final fear: would I become a bitter apostate? You won't find me out campaigning for people to leave the church and I don't spend near the amount of time on RfM as I did at my peak. I stop in from time to time, but I no longer feel a need to read every thread. I'm not driven to study mormon issues with my former intensity, but I read and participate as time permits.
Mormons like to say that ex-mormons can't leave the church alone. Easy for a believer to say! Try walking in the shoes of an open-minded thinker for a month, a week, or even a day and then we'll talk.
I know TBMs. Those blinders are so difficult to set aside. Their life doesn't need fixing. Tradition. Generations of Mormonism. I heard the same argument from non-members on my LDS mission. Do they really think that tradtion and emotional bonding make one church truer than another?
| This just occurred to me today, although the general thoughts have been stewing in my head for years.
I haven't been in the church for years, although family connections keep me from becoming totally free, but many of the mental habits I formed way back then still make me uncomfortable in my own skin. Genetics and parental influence probably account for a lot of this, but I still hold the church and its teachings responsible for the challenge I face every day in finding contentment.
I don't know of any other religion that puts so much stress on being perfect, and of assuming responsibility for the welfare of others. The goal of perfection is held out as a seemingly achievable goal, but no matter how much one does in the church, it can never be enough. The goal, as an endpoint destination, is never made fully real or comprehensible. The process of perfection, on the other hand, is discussed at great length and detail. But while it gets so much attention, it is nevertheless seen merely as a means to an end (nebulous though that may be), and the value inherent in the process and the potential to find satisfaction in the process is discounted. The result (for me) has been constant disappointment in myself for not being perfect, while deriving no satisfaction in the struggles and steps in ordinary life.
When I went on a mission, I didn't feel any different than I did before I put on the suit. I wanted to be a good missionary, but I really had no idea what that meant. I got told often, however, about how badly I and the other missionaries were performing, and how, because of my inadequacies, the eternal salvation of others was in jeopardy. I could work 14 hours a day and still feel (and be told) that I hadn't done enough. I racked my brain with questions. Was I praying correctly, or for the right things? Was I reading the scriptures with the right intent? Was I truly listening to the people I was teaching, or was I missing the promptings of the spirit? There was always an infinite number of ways to do things wrong, and no feedback if I was getting things right.
I noticed that I still feel like I need to be a junior jesus when I'm around other people. If they're not happy, or their lives aren't working out for them, I still feel responsible. When I meet a person, I still have the impulse that I should be an inspiration and a help, that somehow that person's future is dependent on me, and I feel inadequate when I can't make it better.
Now that I'm realizing that this isn't my job, I can relax and not worry about failing at it. Ironically, that might actually make it more likely for me to be successful at being a human being.
Funny how after years, things still leap out at you.
| I was just thinking the other day that one of the things I am glad I left behind with Mormonism, is the belief that Satan is behind everything that isn't "right" with the world.
As a Mo, it is easy to just to subscribe to the cultural norm of those around you and decide that you and those like you are doing God's will and therefore are superior. Those who do things you wouldn't, are being ruled by Satan, and are inferior. Therefore you don't have to respect their life choices, or beliefs.
If I have made up my mind to subscribe to a particular political party's position, that position, if it is "in harmony" with what the LDS church teaches is good. The other parties, are being controled by Satan, and I don't have to listen to, or consider their position.
I am glad that I am free from thinking of others as sinners, if I disagree with their ideas, or if I wouldn't necessarily live my life the way they choose to. They are just different. That's all.
R rated movies are not made because Satan wants to plant bad thought in our minds. Alcohol is not made so that Satan can make us do bad things. Unlike so many in the Gret Stet of EW-tah seem to think, the Democrats are not the tools of Satan, to enable sinners to reign supreme in the land.
etc. etc. etc.
I feel so much freer to love my fellow man (and woman) without the need to judge everything they do. Yay!!
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