THE MORMON CURTAIN
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EX-MORMONISM SECTION 6
A very large selection of posts made by those in recovery from Mormonism. Culled from throughout the Ex-Mormon Communities.
| I could not accept for a long time the possibility that some Mormons would be less than honest about the church's history, doctrines and practices. I have always thought that if you believed something to be true you stood behind it, no matter what others may think or believe. As an investigator, a convert, a member for three (long) years, I never heard of the Mormon practice of "lying for the Lord". When I first read about it here a lot of things fell into place to make more sense of my experiences in Mormonism.
As I detest lying and consider it contemptible, except for notable exceptions when it isn't even in the same category as lying for devious reasons, I couldn't for a long time bring myself to conclude that Mormon leaders and missionaries and members choose to lie about some things and even now have trouble making such a bald statement. I'd have to be certain it was true and wouldn't throw around that accusation lightly.
But you know, with even a minimal amount of research (which I admit I should have done before consenting to be baptized) I can trip across instances where I can see that at the very least we investigators, converts, new members are treated in a less than forthright way. My only hesitation now in just going ahead and saying there were many deliberate lies is the possibility that many members don't know their church's history or doctrine either. If they denied a certain doctrine because they didn't know it was actually a church teaching that is not lying, it's just not knowing. Because, after all, most of this stuff isn't taught in church classes is it?
As a new member, I did witness a few times where missionaries deflected an investigator's questions and even once, to avoid last minute cancellation of a baptism, did actually state a deliberate lie (which I suspected at the time and confirmed later). As I knew so little real doctrine and had trouble getting any straight answers (I barely knew about the Net and didn't own a computer) it took a while for me to realize what was going on. I felt that I was sometimes a party to it in that I didn't jump in and say "that's not true", mostly because I always doubted myself ("I must have got it wrong", "I just don't understand yet" etc) and not the missionaries and certainly not the leaders.
The ward mission leader at the time was, to put it kindly, a bit flaky. He and his wife had a passel of young kids. She was impossibly busy as Super Mom and Primary Prez and was massively pregnant for like the sixth time (quite a lot here in Canada). Her husband was very busy with his calling in a big ward and 8 or 10 mishies, all of whom had quite good success in at least getting investigators to talk to. There were enough to have an evening class to get all the investigators together with the missionaries and we had some good talks and enjoyed each other's company. I was newly baptized (and newly "reactivated", having gone inactive the instant my nose came up out of the font but that's another story). The missionaries were also giving me the new member discussions, a condition I requested for beginning to attend church again.
On one memorable occasion, this zealous WML decided to tell the mishies he was taking over. He was going to teach me and he was going to conduct the investigator class. He promptly recounted to the gathering a recurring dream of his that he met Jesus at the 7-11 and he described a bizarre appearance of Jesus, including green hair. As if this wasn't freaky enough to us for one night, he then decided to go off topic from the prepared lesson and told a collection of investigators and new members that JS was more important that Jesus Christ and that you had to get permission from JS to enter heaven. This, he explained, is what made JS more important than Jesus - because you don't need the OK from Jesus to enter, only from JS.
As the missionaries slumped in their chairs, covering their faces, one even groaning, one investigator promptly arose and left without saying a word. Another investigator and me, the new member that was "helping" to get her baptized sat there speechless. I can't really describe how extremely out there this kind of statement is to non-Mormons and especially Christians, even only nominal ones. You just can't say that JS is above JC and hope to get a Christian to convert to your church.
Anyway, the mishies went to the bishop and begged him to release the guy from his calling as he single-handedly had just wiped out three investigators and delayed or nuked a baptism. One investigator, my friend who was planning her baptism, and me, a teetering new member, did show up for SM that week but we were still gobsmacked. We sat there looking at all these Mormons who suddenly seemed so very strange to us. Between the mishies urging us to "fake it til you make it" and this WML talking about Jesus with green hair bellying up for a Slurpee we weren't listening to the prayers but rather were trying to stem the cog-diss (we both had a severe case of the well-I-made-a-commitment-and-now-I'm-stuck-with-it blues so it didn't occur to us to _just_leave_). We whispered what we thought was a really dumb idea, "What if everybody here is just 'faking it'"? What if nobody believes anything and they all think that everybody else believes but them so they're just going along with it til they get a testimony? Then welaughed hysterically at such an absurd idea. (!)
I felt frozen with shock - remember that for me, who had been a pretty devoted churchgoer in the evangelical tradition, a statement like the WML had made about JS being greater than Jesus was the height of absolute blasphemy. The mishies had been hasty to assure us it wasn't true and that they didn't know what had got into the WML. (Turned out much later that they actually just wondered why he had blurted out the "deep doctrine" to investigators because you know, it wasn't necessary for our salvation or anything).
After the SM when I was out in the hall, one of the bishop's counsellors approached me and told me he knew what had happened and he was sorry I had been upset. He assured me in no uncertain terms that there was no such doctrine in the Mormon Church and the WML had just misspoken. Thinking that as the bishop's counsellor (and having said the bishop had asked him to speak to me and set the record straight) he would know church doctrine and not having any clue about the lying for the Lord thing, I believed him and we all settled down, keeping a good distance away from the WML, who was soon thereafter released from his calling.
Fast forward to my RfM years and I then finally see that indeed, this appears to be church doctrine (the WML wasn't so wacky after all?) I must say I am still not certain of what constitutes doctrine and what is just something some guy said that doesn't matter and isn't true, even if he happened to be the Mormon Prophet when he uttered it.
But apparently BY did believe this and say it and at least the WML in the ward I attended believed that when a prophet speaks, that is doctrine. I am still not sure if all these guys deliberately lied (does the rank and file Mormon know about this teaching?) and did they consider it "lying for the Lord" and therefore justified? Or is every member as mystified and/or in the dark about the teachings as I always was?
I don't really think so, as evidenced by all the savvy BIC posters here who seem to know a lot of history and doctrine as well as the source material to back up their statements about it.
Here's what BY had to say about JS in heaven.
(Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p. 289):
"... no man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith.... Every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, junior, as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are ... I cannot go there without his consent.... He reigns there as supreme a being in his sphere, capacity, and calling, as God does in heaven."
If this is what the church teaches and therefore, you'd think, what leaders and members know and believe to be truth, why do they fail to teach it to newbies, indeed, deny it if backed into a corner?
Do they not know about it? Are they lying about it? Is it doctrine? If not, what was BY talking about?
Stuff like this reminds me of a *lot* of very strange goings on all the time I was trying to be a good member. It was like a comedy of errors. Except nobody was laughing. Especially not me.
| recently saw "Why We Fight", a BBC-sponsored documentary film about the U.S. military-industrial complex and the enormous influence it has developed in U.S. politics in the past 60 years. As I sat in the theatre, I wondered how many Americans have seen the film and had their illusions about their country knocked down, or at least shaken. As I was driving home, I reflected on the need to have our illusions destroyed in order for us to grow/evolve.
Last October, I sent my mother an e-mail in which I told her many hard truths about the LDS Church, Joseph Smith, early church history, my negative experience going through the temple for the first time in Aug./83 (complete with the simulated self-violence), having my mission president lie to me just to keep me in the field (I'd contracted a life-threatening disease 10 days after arriving in the country as a result of him assigning me to a filthy shantytown), and other aspects of Mormonism.
My mother couldn't tolerate the truth, even after I indicated that many of the hard facts come from church sources, which she could read, as well as the work of Mormons like Quinn and Palmer, who have spent much more time doing Mormon historical research than she has. Like a TBM, all my mother wanted was to reinforce her illusions about Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, the early church, etc.
In a discussion with another Latter-Day Saint who was verbally regurgitating the Mormon idea that God blesses and protects the "faithful", I pointed out that a High Priest we both know had not received any "divine" protection when a semi-trailer truck coming in the opposite direction on the highway blew a tire. A large chunk of it flew through his windshield and hit him in the head, severing his ear and doing a lot of facial damage. He spent the next few months in a lot of pain, and died prematurely. From his body language, I could see that the Mormon did NOT want to hear this true story. I'd shaken his faith about a protective, loving "Heavenly Father" by communicating facts that didn't support his illusion.
As a 15-year old young man/Mormon, I had a big crush on a 16-year old girl at school. She was non-Mormon, in one of my classes, pretty, friendly, and always well-dressed. Marnie, my sister's non-Mormon girlfriend from high school, mentioned to me one day that she'd seen Sandra at the local make-out park, throwing used condoms out the window of her boyfriend's car. I was stunned/shocked. As a naïve, young Mormon, I'd been psychologically conditioned to associate friendly, nice, and well-dressed with virtuous. In a second, the illusion that I'd built-up in my mind about Sandra was shattered by Marnie's words.
Twenty-six years have passed since that experience, and all my illusions about my LDS mother and stepfather, younger Mormon sister and her family, older ex-Mo sister, humanity, Life, "God", "divine intervention", religion, leaders, the country in which I live, etc. are gone. Comparing what I used to believe to what I have come to know is true and real by experience, observation, study, and rational/critical thinking, I would have it no other way. There is enormous value in fully acknowledging things as they are, instead of trying to psychologically reinforce one's illusions. Perhaps more than anything, there is great freedom.
One of the strongest illusions is that true security comes from externals: our family, marital status, church and religion, society, the nation's military and police forces, our physical appearance, career or job, academic and professional achievements, home, possessions, money, investments, etc. In the final analysis, none of these things provides true security, as experience and history has proven time and again. As we stop looking to externals to make us feel secure, we cultivate our inner sense of security. As that sense increases, so too does our inner peace.
We no longer need other people to approve of us or like us. We no longer need to live according to what other people think we should be doing with our life. We act with integrity to our inner vision for ourself. No one else may understand us, but we don't need their understanding. We understand ourselves and we live in accordance with our sense of purpose. We harbour no illusions about life, ourselves, or other people, and we would have it no other way. What's left is an understanding that we can think, become more aware, make decisions, and act.
Many people unconsciously buy into an illusion that they are not personally powerful. They get stuck in a self-perception that they are victims. Dismantling that illusion in one's psyche is an important part of healing/recovering from Mormonism. Is there an aspect of your life in which you've been stuck in an illusion for some time? Whether it's an individual, a family, a community, a nation, or this world, surely we would all benefit from getting rid of our illusions.
| In a recent episode of “Lost” The character Sawyer, a con man, introduces the viewing audience to the concept of “The Long Con“ A Confidence game that literally takes a long time for the ultimate pay off. The episode reminded me of the ultimate in religious confidence games, Mormonism. I have borrowed heavily from an online essay by Albert D. Warshauer, M.D for this RFM contribution. You can see his online essay at: |
Mormonism is the Ideal Confidence Game
For a confidence game to be ideal, it is essential that the victim not realize that he has been swindled. This can be accomplished by delaying the expected payoff until the mark (church member) can no longer return and complain. The promise of a posthumous payoff is nearly ideal since no deceased person has been known to come back and protest about anything. But suppose the victim wants help with an urgent problem. The con men (Church Leaders) can keep the details of the payoff vague and tell the mark in advance that he must have patience and hope (Obedience and Faith) for the payoff to occur.
How can the mark be persuaded to wait for a posthumous reward? A number of convincers can be used.
* First, the expected payoff, such as everlasting life in Heaven or Paradise, can be huge since there is no risk of later complaints.
*Second, an inerrant Sacred Book (The book of Mormon comes to mind) can guarantee the payoff.
*Third, many people (Converts) can play the game simultaneously. People tend to join the group; they want to share in the expected great bargain. The more they pay now, the more they anticipate a later wonderful reward.
Obviously, Mormonism has a big advantage over individual con men when it comes to having a sacred book and a congregation of members who fervently believe in this book.
Mormonism is the ideal religious con game because of the following attributes:
1. Mormonism’s confidence game promises that in exchange for payments (contributions/tithing and unquestioning obedience) now, the member/believer is promised a huge payoff (eternal life) later.
2. Disbelievers who do not support the confidence game will not receive this reward and instead will be punished later.
3. Any details or information that would expose the confidence game are changed, doctored, avoided, not mentioned or instructed against critical investigation by the con man.
4. The victims (the members themselves) advertise the con game to attract other marks.
5. The victims freely provide testimonials to the value of the game.
6. The mark can rationalize that the activity, although highly tilted in his favor, is basically honest, since other people have an equal opportunity to join the game and win.
7. The mark is not bothered by a sense of guilt since, to the best of his knowledge, his own participation does not harm anyone.
8. The victims cooperate in their own fleecing and support the game again and again.
9. The victims never realize that they have been swindled and therefore lodge no complaints.
10. If an occasional victim does realize that his money and resources are lost with no likely return, he can rationalize by believing he contributed to a worthy cause.
11. The underlying confidence game blends in with other activities. It is hidden by various personal and social benefits.
12. The remainder of society thinks that the activity is entirely legitimate and respectable.
13. The victim can acquire self-esteem, a feeling of importance, by believing he has joined an admired group. The community may give him more recognition.
14. The people who run the Mormon confidence game are not necessarily well-paid, but they are respected in the community. Their control of the group of participants gives them power and influence in the society.
15. The confidence games can be valuable to the rich and powerful people in the society by helping maintain the status quo and their privileges. The political and religious leaders do not object to the confidence games and may even promote them.
Because of the fore mentioned attributes the Mormon Confidence game can be employed continuously and successfully for centuries. It will remain popular until educated thinking people (us) gradually realize that the promised huge rewards were only part of a confidence game.
Starting the religious confidence games
Ordinarily, the first task in any confidence game is to win the confidence of the participants. In religious confidence games, this means that the religious leaders must convince the prospects that they (leaders and present members) have a special relationship to a personal God. As proof, Mormon’s religious leaders claim:
(a) that Mormonism possesses a Sacred Book from God, and
(b) many members believe in this relationship.
From the standpoint of a scientist, the claims are flawed because, first, there are no sacred books, and, second, although many members do believe in this special relationship, beliefs alone do not make something true. (yeah think?)
Before Columbus sailed west and reached America, many people believed that the world was flat, but it was round nevertheless. Facts and evidence are more important than the number of believers. There are no reliable facts and evidence which support the claimed special relationship with God.
Religious confidence games
By persuading the members of the church that their leaders can personally communicate with a supernatural God, Mormonism has laid the foundation for a nearly ideal confidence game. An excellent method of persuading the members that past leaders have had this ability is by praising the Book of Mormon, which can be shown as convincing evidence of communication with God. Even better, the Book of Mormon itself can present the proposed benefits of the confidence game. The benefits can consist of miracles in the past and rewards after death.
Briefly, the doctrine of a personal God supports: (a) perfect (infallible) leaders, (b) perfect (inerrant) sacred books, (c) perfect (marvelous) miracles, and (d) perfect (eternal happiness) posthumous rewards.
The first two beliefs link God to Mormonism exclusively. God employs the leaders of the church to transmit the sacred writings to the religious group.
The last two beliefs show interventions by God on behalf of the members during life and posthumously. Together, the four beliefs can be called the "religious confidence quad."
From the standpoint of a scientist, the confidence quad resembles pure bunk.
Religious institutions which have Sacred Books can claim that their members will receive posthumous rewards in Heaven. The religious leaders preach to the members:
"Contribute money and resources to the religious institution now and you later will receive eternal happiness and joy. God commands us to give generously. Sinners who fail to contribute will burn in everlasting Hell!" (sound familiar?)
Non Faith Promoting Details can expose a con game.
Accordingly, Details of the Con that do not promote faith are discounted or even worse discouraged for study. The posthumous rewards are claimed to be wonderful, but no details are given which can be checked in the present.
Since the rewards are not promised until after the person dies, there is no risk that the person will return and say: "The religious leaders are rascals. I trusted them and they swindled me."
Of course, no deceased person later complains. Natural information is what makes a person alive and conscious. Natural information is not a conserved property and is lost when he dies. When the brain cells die, the information which was learned during the person's life is lost. When someone's natural information is lost, there no longer is a person but only a collection of lower level molecules.
Examination shows that the religious confidence game of posthumous rewards comes remarkably close to being an ideal confidence game. A major flaw is that this confidence game, if true, would violate the law of non-conservation of natural information.
Scientists who are familiar with thermodynamics, physics and chemistry are unlikely to give credence to the stories of resurrection of dead people and other miracles which violate established physicochemical laws. However, for children and adults unfamiliar with science, the posthumous reward game has had enduring success over many centuries, including the present era.
There are various religious confidence games, such as posthumous rewards and punishments, the answering of prayers, the members being chosen by God, and the religious leader's intercessions with God on behalf of the members. Once the members believe in a personal God, they may request the religious leaders to ask for God's help. Among their requests might be: forgiving sins, healing disease, providing a safe journey for a traveller, aiding victory in battle, jobs for the unemployed, food for the hungry, rest for the weary, rain in times of drought, and so on.
All of these games have shifted money and resources from the members to the religious institution, its leaders, and perhaps to some needy members. The members by and large do not suspect that some of their cherished beliefs are part of a confidence game. So long as there are many gullible people who are ignorant of science, we can expect that the supernatural confidence games will continue to flourish. The supernatural games are by far the most effective confidence games invented by people.
Examination of proposed benefits
Some proposed benefits from the Mormon confidence games border on the fantastic. The more one examines them, the less substance one finds.
1. Communication with God; supplying food and other needs
Mormon leaders claim they can intercede with God. God can do miracles and provide unlimited resources. But when a famine occurs and children are starving in Africa, Asia and other places, the religious leaders seem unable to call upon God and obtain food from Heaven to feed them. There is no manna, nor multiplication of loaves of bread and fish. Perhaps, the personal God was busy elsewhere, listening to the praise and prayers from the well-fed faithful.
The miracles seem confined to stories in the Bible or Book of Mormon and do not help the hungry, starving children with their bloated bellies, sunken faces, and pneumonia. Apparently, the miracles are more useful for promoting the faith and religious confidence games than in actually helping people.
2. Overcoming natural laws
The miracle of "people walking on the water" has been reported in the Bible. Let us analyze this report. A few insects (water striders, Gerris remigis) actually can walk on water. Water striders weigh much less than a little mouse. They are so light that they can be supported by the surface tension of water. A person is much heavier than these insects and cannot be supported by this surface tension. For a person to walk on water would require a violation of the law of gravity or Archimedes' principle or both. People can swim in water, but not on top of it.
The Bible suggests the walking on water was accomplished by "faith." But since that time, thousands of people have drowned. Not one instance has been reported where a person was saved from drowning by his or her walking on the water. No one, not even religious fundamentalists who claim to have "faith," has been able to demonstrate this miracle again when it was needed. It does not rescue drowning people.
This supposed miracle was presented in the Bible. The story can amaze children, but otherwise its value seems confined to promoting the faith and religious confidence games.
3. Creation of plant and animal species
Mormons and some other religious fundamentalists do not accept the theory of evolution. This theory claims that different species were produced by the natural variation of offspring and gradual selection of the fittest. Instead they claim that God created all of the species of plants and animals during a few days. God, if He so desired, could create a species, such as elephants and giraffes, almost at the snap of a person's finger.
The passenger pigeon and Carolina parakeet were abundant in the U.S.A. two centuries ago, but are now extinct. If the religious fundamentalists can communicate with God as some indicate, why do they not request God to recreate these species? Such a demonstration might provide a reason to include their religious ideas in school textbooks. In the absence of this demonstration, it would be helpful if the religious fundamentalists would stop interfering with the education of children in science.
Incidentally, the Mormon church which opposes the teaching of evolution is itself an examples of an evolving system.
4. Conquering death of people
Mormonism’s religious leaders tell their members that people can live forever in Heaven. For some members, the prospect of eternal happiness can be an irresistible lure. They can be caught almost as easily as fish which has swallowed a baited fishhook.
Let us examine the subject of longevity. Studies by actuaries indicate that the odds are more than one billion to one against a person surviving to the age of 140 years. No human has been known to live to the age of two hundred years.
We sometimes can retard, but not stop the aging process. Our hair eventually turns white or is lost. In old age, our skin acquires wrinkles. Visual and auditory acuity are gradually diminished.
We can lessen the incidence and treat some forms of cancer, and we can sometimes slow the development of arteriosclerosis by anti-hypertensive drugs, but we cannot stop these processes. Nor can we stop endocrine deficiencies, such as diabetes mellitus, from becoming more common with advancing age.
Despite all the evidence to the contrary, Mormon’s religious leaders talk of everlasting life and eternal happiness in Heaven. The promise of eternal life is a swindle which no one comes back to debunk.
Mormonism’s leaders tell us that posthumous rewards are obtained in Heaven . Yet when we ask them for the location of this marvelous place, they tell is that it is near Kolob a make believe location somewhere in the sky. They do not know where Heaven is - is it inside the solar system or outside, inside the Milky Way or outside?
The members are supposed to believe that they posthumously are going to a place without a known location. If Mormon’s leaders can communicate with God, why don't they ask God for the location of Heaven so they can tell the curious members?
The advantage of the confidence games with posthumous promises, of course, is that no deceased person is going to return and ask why he did not receive his reward. No dead member is going to complain that death was not conquered, or he did not go to Heaven, or did not enter into a state of existence with God.
Details of Heaven:
The beauty of the Mormon Confidence game is found in its unprovable details. Joseph Smith was able to give answers to many of the religious questions of his day....yet still delay the supposed payoff until after death has occurred. Knowing that curiosity about the details could bring the whole idea of posthumous rewards into doubt. Joseph gave answers to such questions as: What happens after resurrection? Does a baby who goes to Heaven grow up, or remain an infant forever? Does a child in Heaven continue to progress? Do the "souls" continue to learn there?
Let us examine other questions. Do trees and birds go to Heaven? If present in Heaven, how did they get there? Do institutions go to Heaven? Why is there evidence of death prior to Adam? What about dinosaurs? any detail that conflicts with church doctrines are discounted and investigation or real answer seeking is discouraged as not supporting the confidence game. The more details we examine, the more problems arise and become NOT important to your salvation. This whole idea seems ridiculous.
The success of religious confidence games can depend on avoiding too much curiosity by the members. Mormonism can use its Sacred Books to support the existence of posthumous rewards and stop unwanted questioning by stating that those questions are not important or vital to your salvation.
6. The posthumous reward parlay
People at horse races sometimes wager on the combined outcome of several races. This type of bet is called a parlay. The odds against winning a parlay usually are much worse than picking the winner of a single race. For instance, if the odds against the selected horse in each of three races are 3 to 1, 20 to 1, and 8 to 1, the odds against all three horses winning is 480 to 1. Accordingly, the anticipated payoff must be much greater if the players are to be persuaded to bet on a parlay.
Suppose people are interested in receiving a posthumous reward. This reward depends on a several step parlay:
The restoration of a deceased person or the continuation of his "soul" (whatever that is).
God is presumed to have instilled a "soul" into the person. This "soul" has no known properties which can be tested by science. Since the natural information of a person is lost by dying, one wonders what information the "soul" has.
The "soul" goes to Heaven, a place without a known location.
The "soul" is transported to Heaven by unknown means.
Unlike people on earth, the inhabitants of Heaven do not age and die.
Unlike the situation on earth where some people are hungry and ill, everyone in Heaven is happy and receives abundant food and drink.
The religious leaders think an omnipotent God so desires their praise and prayers that He favors their members over disbelievers.
Believers are eligible to enter Heaven whereas disbelievers may be denied entry or sent to Hell.
Members of the LDS Church think they are worth being eternally rewarded by God.
LDS leaders want the members to contribute time and money to the religious institution. So they encourage the members to bet on receiving a posthumous reward. However, the odds against winning a parlay with several improbable steps seems huge.
Can the odds be made to appear more favorable? One way of hiding the several steps of the parlay is by employing the single step of a Sacred Book. This substitution seems to reduce the odds of the several step parlay to that of a single step.
Once the members accept the divinity of the Book of Mormon, LDS leaders can use it to deflect the members' doubts and curiosity. The improbability of the several step parlay can be ignored. The religious leaders can claim that the Book of Mormon is more reliable than science. If the Book of Mormon says that members of the LDS church are favored over outsiders in receiving the marvelous posthumous reward of Heaven, it must be so. That ends the discussion.
LDS leaders have been remarkably successful in using the Book of Mormon to support the idea of posthumous rewards. Millions of people believe in the book of Mormon and its claimed posthumous rewards.
7. The religious confidence game parlay
Posthumous rewards are not the only religious confidence games. The other games likewise involve a several step parlay. A view of the early steps follows:
A personal God communicates with people. God has the supernatural ability to simultaneously listen to prayers and requests from thousands of people in many different places on the globe.
God favors humans over other species of plants and animals. If elephants or dolphins had invented the idea of God, their God might prefer elephants or dolphins over humans.
God favors Mormonism over other churches. The opposite, of course, would be a big surprise. Would it not be amazing if Mormonism claimed that God preferred other religions over its own? In the absence of force and torture of the members of persecuted religions, no such instance is known to have happened.
God wants members of the church to generously support the religious institution. General Authorities can claim that everything we have comes from God. In return for God's bountiful gifts, the members are asked to contribute money, time, talents and other and resources to the church. Interestingly enough, it is then up to the church authorities to decide how these funds are used.
God likes prayers and praise. Despite claims LDS standard works, there is no specific proof that God desires prayers and praise. (We ourselves, of course, might like praise from other people, but would we want to be exalted by grasshoppers, ants, or other animals on the other side of this world?)
God can suspend or violate physicochemical laws for the benefit of believers. God can and sometimes does fulfill one's prayers and requests.
Bottom line, Mormonism is a “Long Con” a confidence game started by a con man... sustained and maintained by con men. The proof is in the details.
| I read the home teaching message for February was "Refined in Our Trials" which, of course, deals with how we can grow from tragedy, especially the pioneer stories. I am all for learning and improving. However, I don't see how the god induced cold and snow, the ill planning of their priesthood leaders, and the subsequent pain were factors of loving father who really wants the best. I wish to address the topic of natural disaster in relation to te nature of faith.
In sunday school, they talked of the flood and how God needed to start over. I think I was the only person who sat horrified about the description of Noah. The sins of many adults made God angry. So, he tells Noah to pack his things and they get on a boat. God then proceeds to flood the earth.
Honestly, did anyone ever consider how many small children, babies, mentally handicapped, and elderly drowned panfully and slowly? Of course, my member friends protest that it less painful or painless and that the children sit on the right hand of God. I guess that makes it "better"?!?!?
How often does the LDS church ascribe natural disasters as sign of God's love - he desire to bolster waning faith. I remember sitting in on a December testimony meeting and how many people bore testimony of miracles and how much love God showed after the destruction. None of them wish to admit that God provided no means for the elderly to avoid drowning in bed, for children choking on water in their cribs, and the remnants of a wasted city. Worse yet, many saw the destruction as God's wrath for "sin" and that it was necessary to "make great things come to pass." So, God, in is anger, drowned kids because of, say, Mardi Gras?
I remember, back in that Sunday School class last week (I went purely to support a roomate), how disgusted I felt. People sitting around nodding and praising the actions of Abraham and how he was "courageous enough" to follow the commandments and rely on the spirit. When asked how I felt by the instructor, I said, point-blank, "I think my father was insane or under an influence and stop him." People laughed and merely saw it as a joke. It went further to describe that Abraham prepared that very morning (without much consideration apaarently).
Frankly, I can't laugh off something so disgusting, that a loving God would "call Abraham's bluff." If God suggested that we rape and individual and we arrive at that proverbial altar, do God and us not stand condemned for the terrible fear struck to our "Issacs"?
We need a strong dose of skepticism.
I often wonder what goes through the mind of a man who decides to walk into a bus in Palestine and detonate a bomb into families, inviduals, and animals. Does this man not pray? Doesn't he feel justified by the feelings he has and the years of religious indoctrination?
Isn't his faith tantamount to the faith of those people in sacrament who literally belief that what a prophet says -"while" acting as a prophet- in inerrant?
When the saints crossed the plains for cause we know to be false, the blame is shared by the leaders and to an extent by the members.
I feel such guilt for knowingly going into the mission as an atheist and feeding people the "gospel"? I feel as though I will bite my fist when I hear that these people died believing a lie that I knew was false. What is worse is that untold generations will spread this to families starving, who pay tithing at the expense of their children suffering or even dying. I stand accountable for so much suffering for not being vocal, for not telling the truth.
Naively, I thought maybe everything I knew was wrong and the church could somehow be true. I tried putting my mind to sleep and now I fear I permitted (or encouraged) irrationality, hostility, poverty, and human suffering.
I was wrong.
I couldn't "unlearn" it. I studied too hard and too deep and now regret the dishonesty of my position. I so desperatley want to correct myself and tell people that I was wrong, yet I hold back because I don't want to rain on their parade. It is dishonesty and a moral failing for me not to share the truth and yet I find myself so incapable of spreading it.
And so, I find church guilty of lying and dishonesty of the mind, a people ingrained in ignorance and hostility to truth, and me, a raison d'entre for a few to sacrifice their minds.
Does anyone else feel similarly? Did anyone goes as far, dishonestly living a double-life?
"Each of us has to face the matter-either the Church is true, or it is a fraud. There is no middle ground. It is the Church and kingdom of God, or it is nothing." - President Gordon B. Hinckley. "Loyalty" April Conference, 2003.
Believers take the position that Mormonism is true and of God.
Former Mormons take the position that it is a fraud, not true, and is nothing.
As the statement says: "there is no middle ground."
It is so easy to debunk Mormonism, to show that Joseph Smith Jr was not honest or trustworthy, it is a wonder there are still so many believers in the fraud.
Just plain old common sense says that angels and visions do not hold up to scrutiny and validate a claim. Add DNA, archeology, and Mormonism and it's BOM is just more fiction about imaginary people.
Faith is all there is left. And that is not open to debate.
Faith only works if you have it.
If the believers want to rely on their faith in the claims, they are free to do that. Former Mormons are free not to do that also.
The great thing about being a former Mormonism is not that faith is lost, it is just placed in a different place; somewhere reliable and sufficient to hold up to scrutiny.
It really is too bad that the believers are so difficult to deal with.
It is apparent, by the hate mail, the intrusive phone calls, the visits that are unwanted, making complete pests of themselves that they don't even know their own religion nor can they live it!
I doubt you can find a dozen TBM's that can revite the 1st Amendment of their own 11th Article of Faith or have any idea what they own scriptures say, or what the leaders teach.
In an effort to inform and educate TBM's, here are a few things they need to remember before firing off that hate email, that nasty phone call, that intrusion into marriages, the threats, that spouse (generally a female) that threatens divorce:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
Joseph Smith's 11th article of faith:
"We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may. "
| When I was a kid back in the late 70s, they started showing Leave It To Beaver reruns in the afternoon. The program was like a glimpse into a strange and forgotten world of smiling moms vacuuming in party dresses and pearls, pipe-smoking dads dispensing sage advice, and innocent kids whose worst transgression was smuggling a frog into the house.
But then there was Eddie Haskell. When adults were around, Eddie affected a deferent, almost obsequious front, acting the part of the perfect child. As soon as Ward and June left the room, Eddie was a scheming, dishonest, smug troublemaker, always looking for ways to get away with things. Little did Eddie know that everyone was on to him. They saw right through the phoniness.
That's the church for me. On the surface, it tries to project a hyper-wholesome family image, all Osmondesque grins and "Homefront" sentiment. But in private, it's a sterile corporation with one goal: growth. It seeks outside approval hungrily, but secretly craves the freedom to do what it pleases.
The funny thing is that most people see right through it. Nonmembers I talk to find the church's projected image to be more than a little creepy, as if Ward and June were made into animatronic figures and thrust into the 21st century.
Seems the only people who don't see through the facade are the believers themselves.
| On the battle front between science and religion – a soldier’s view
Here I am on the battle front of a great war. No, not the battle between good and evil (although some may choose to characterize it as such), but the battle between science and religion, knowledge and faith, understanding and superstition.
I suspect that the battle has been waging since a primitive man looked at his dead wife or child and wondered what had happened. Why? Perhaps it began when a women looked into the stars and saw more than points of light. Whenever it began, it is still waging today and will be waging as long as there remain questions without answers.
In some Incan room, a father cried as his wife took their child to an altar for sacrifice. Blood must be spelt or their crops would fail. God could only provide maize if he became satisfied with the blood of such a child. Was their faith sufficient? Soon such sacrifices became unnecessary. An understanding of crop rotation, soil depletion and weather patterns overtook such faith. Knowledge pushed fear aside. Did the Incan father or mother suspect that there was more to crop failure than the blood of their child? Did the farmer in Europe begin to question his priest regarding the need to satisfy Rome’s directive in order to ensure a bountiful harvest?
One man looked into the sky and understood that the earth revolved around the sun. Others saw the same. At first, their voices were quiet and subversive. Over time their voices rose in a sonic crescendo and left the voices of superstition inaudible. A proper understanding ended a chariot ride through the sky. Men where imprisoned, threatened, but knowledge flooded a thirty people, slowly at first, followed by the flood waters of education.
Here I am, sitting on a very tiny part of a battle field largely ignored by the great generals fighting this Constant War. The battle surrounds three letters, DNA. No, it is not the battle regarding the evolution of mankind. It is the insignificant battle of the claims of a fourteen year-old boy who lived in rural New York. What an unlikely corporal in this war he would become. His troops see him as a “General” a term he used to describe himself, but in reality he is just a corporal, if that. But thousands, maybe millions, are affected by his struggle.
The outcome is already known, just the casualties remain uncounted. The corporal’s strategy was ruined without him even knowing or understanding his predetermined demise. The General’s battle (and reputation) was established in the telling of the origins of native Americans. In that same unknown world which required child sacrifice, a New York teenager voiced an answer, many answers, to life’s great unknowns. Soldiers fell behind the self-proclaimed General. And they marched, few noticed. And in the end, their great war became a small, almost unnoticed Civil War in that Constant Battle. One day the rising water of science will eradicate nearly every claim Corporal Joseph made. One day peace will come to this battlefield. Not soon enough for the dying, but eventually, needless sacrifice will end and truth will emerge victorious as it always has emerged.
The flood waters will be from the same source that eradicate the battle of all extremes and the voice of all fanatics. “Education” is the drum beat, “Understanding” the battle cry.
Will the war ever end? Not likely. As long as man fears death, religion will survive. Science will never disapprove a negative – the bastion of hope. So in the end, religion will survive, but this small battle will be forgotten by all except its warriors.
Today, this sad soldier watches as his child is pulled toward the altar of sacrifice. I will stand up and be counted. I will fight back. I will not watch my child be sacrificed to meet the needs of blood thirsty, soul thirsty gods in Gucci suits who followed the Corporal.
I declare CIVIL WAR, INSURRECTION!!!
| A look into what the church does to a mother.
I find posting here to be very therapeutic. As some may realize, in my course from the church, my family is being ripped apart. A little background may help. I am forty years old and come from a very devout LDS family as does my wife. We have been very active and happy members. Currently I am still a first counselor in the bishopric awaiting a long promised released. We have four beautiful children. My wife has been a reluctant traveler with me. She did not ask to discover the fraud behind the curtain, but was only made aware of it by me. We have been wobbling down the road the best we can for the last year and a half. My exit has been slowed by concern for my wife. I believe if I am patient, my wife will join me in a continual search for the meaning of life. As you may understand from previous posts, my parents and my wife’s parents have gone to great lengths to coerce us into not leaving.
Specifically, my mother encouraged my wife that divorce from me was a better alternative than my wife joining with me in leaving the church. This was done behind my back and my wife was asked not to mention it to me. My mother in law said the same to me directly in a telephone conversation.
Obviously, my relationships with my parents and in-laws have been damaged. I have tried to establish firm boundaries with both families as to appropriate relationships if we are to have continued relationships at all. In the past I have valued my parents and would like to have them as part of my life in the future. I expect others to forgive me and I need to be willing to give forgiveness. But my mother doesn’t get it!
In a telephone conversation I told her that it is a sad commentary that a church has produced a parent that would condone/encourage divorce for their son’s wife. I said: “Mom, it’s as if you chose your church and faith over your own son.” To my surprise, she said she had done that and that she loved the church more than her own offspring! Where do you do from there?
Really! What do you do? Sure, she could go talk to a therapist/friend/bishop/stake president/any random person from the phonebook/Hugo Chavez and that person would hopefully tell her that such a mentality is messed up. But she really said that and believes it. And I was the good kid.
I asked her if my daughter stopped believing in the church would she ask me to adopt her out if those beliefs began to adversely affect my “testimony.” She answered in the negative. However, that is exactly what she advocated to my own wife - for her to leave me to preserve her faith and the faith of her children.
As I expressed some disgust with her, she used my anger as a sign that I am nothing more than an angry ex-Mormon! Piss down a man’s throat and when he complains tell him something’s wrong with him. The Mormon mentality.
She asked me to continue to talk to people to change my mind. I told her I would take to anyone she recommended if she would read any book I suggested. She refused, so I did too. I am an optimist and believe that my relationships will improve. But they will have to change. I am standing firm.
| Joseph |
Joseph, who were you? What were you?
Innocent, maligned prophet? Gifted seer and translator?
God’s chosen prophet of the latter days,
He who was sent to restore all truth? Treasure seeker,
Fabricator of scripture, predator of other men’s wives,
Coveter of fresh, young girls untouched by time,
Self-proclaimed ruler of the earth?
You are a mystery as deep and twisted as history.
What is fact, Joseph? Some say you are imposter and fraud;
And they say it with footnotes and quote scriptures.
Some say you were the Prophet who has done more for
Mankind, more than any man save Jesus himself;
And they say it with footnotes and quote scriptures.
Some say you are nothing more and nothing less a man;
And they say it with footnotes, but no scriptures,
They say it through the eyes of those who loathed you,
They say it through the eyes of those who loved you.
So many followed you from Europe, from the Pacific Islands,
From Vermont to Ohio to Missouri and Nauvoo.
They believed in gold plates they never saw.
They died for you in the muddy, malaria invested encampments in Iowa.
They died for you in the cold and the snow of the Wyoming prairie.
They died of hypothermia crossing the Sweetwater.
They swore at alters to atone for your blood.
They hauled and carved stones to build temples for you.
They dug irrigation ditches, they planted, they harvested for you,
Sent their men to preach the gospel for you.
It is a faith deep as blood that I once had in you.
You are dead now 170 years, but I still feel you looming there,
Gazing into the eternities it would seem, benevolence in those eyes
As you hold the Book of Mormon in your hands. I watch adults
And young children saying how much they love you and believe in you, even now.
Your religion touches everything I have done and committed to.
I too left my family to come to Zion, swore covenants in front of alters.
I did not die for you, but I have lived for you and what you taught,
What you wove, what you built up, what you envisioned.
Joseph, I cannot see you clearly now. The veil descends, the five points of fellowship
Grow cold, feel insubstantial as the fingers of ghosts upon my shoulders.
Some would say Satan has planted dark doubts in my soul.
Some would say the world has seduced me.
Some would say I have searched beyond what I should have.
Did you not say, Joseph, or did not the Lord, that we should think it out first
And then pray? Did you not teach that spirit and flesh are inseparably connected,
That we must search out and learn the things of the world?
I have searched out the things of this world, Joseph.
And in the dark, lonely stretches of night, with my children sleeping near,
I have prayed to know about you, prayed to know about those gold plates.
Where faith and the longing to believe once burned inside,
Faith and reason now weigh against each other
I move weights from side to side, trying to think, to pray, to ponder
How I might make them balance.
Joseph, I grow weary from the game. Yet you and your story
Are hard, so hard to walk away from. Where are you now, Joseph?
What accounting have you had to make with God?
Perhaps, Joseph, I must just walk away from your gold plates
From your temples and your alters and your oaths,
Your secret wives, your talismans, your seer stones,
Away from your twisted, deep history, for you said
That no man knows your history.
I leave you to the ages, Joseph,
For others to make a life out of showing you for a fraud
For others to make a life out of loving you blindly.
| What's the most effective, humane response to being shunned by family members who are offended that you no longer believe? What have been your experiences? |
a) ignore, act normal and be kind, if possible
b) confront, and try to resolve the problem
c) shun right back!
My previously very warm and compassionate step-MIL has been shunning me, my husband, and our two children ever since she found out we don't believe as she does anymore.
The sad part is, it took me a year to figure out what was going on: why she suddenly started forgetting the kids' birthdays, why she abruptly tries to end phone conversations or pass the phone to my father-in-law when I call, why she never calls or asks about the kids anymore, why she acts so strange and labored when we visit (about a four-hour drive), why she never says thank you anymore for gifts.
I kept thinking she must be having marital problems. Then, it dawned on me. This is classic shunning. I looked up "shunning" on wikipedia ... I guess I'm just naive and idealistic. I've never been shunned before.
"Shunning is the act of deliberately avoiding association with, and habitually keeping away from an individual or group. It is a sanction against association commonly associated with religious groups following excommunication or dismembership. In some cases, the shunned person or group is considered anathema, abominable, or spiritually diseased by shunning group.
Shunning aims to exclude, punish, and shame a member who commits acts seen as harmful to the group, who violates the group's norms, or flees the group. Usually, shunning is done after formal excommunication or disfellowship and not before. Shunning is often intended to teach obedience, discipline disobedience/nonconformance by the shunned and to punish defiance from the shunned. Shunning can also be intended to shame such members, to compel them back into conforming membership, and to punish those who persist in violating the group's norms.
The effect of shunning can be very dramatic or even devastating on the shunnee, as it can damage or destroy the shunned member's closest familial, spousal, and social bonds. The extent to which the shunned member's larger social rights in a society are affected by such shunning can also make a dramatic difference in the effect of shunning, beyond the aforementioned costs. In cases where a group or religion is state-sanctioned, a key power, or in the majority, a shunned former member may face especially severe social, political, and/or financial costs. Some, especially researchers of mind control, brainwashing and menticide groups, identify the practice with "cult-like" or totalitarian behaviour.
Shunning contains aspects of what is known as relational aggression in the psychological literature. When used by church members and member-spouse parents against excommunicant parents it contains elements of what pyschologists call parental alienation. Extreme shunning often causes traumas to the shunned (and to their innocent dependents) similar to what is studied in the psychology of torture."
| I posted yesterday that almost everyone here seems to have been a true believer in Mormonism. It's probably fair to say that people who did not invest much time and effort and passion into the church would not bother seeking out a place like RfM. They would, as so many church members have reminded us, just move on.
But we did invest all that. We believed. Sometimes I wake up and still can't believe that it all turned out to be nothing. How does it feel? Why are people like me the way we are? Why can't we just let it go?
Let me try to explain what it's like.
Most people I know don't say it was a gradual process, but rather the weight of the evidence finally was too much, and it all fell suddenly. That's what happened to me. One day you're safe and secure in your faith, and suddenly a lightbulb goes off, and it's over.
We experience some really mixed feelings. First and foremost is terror. We have lost out grounding, the "anchor to our soul." I felt like Wile E. Coyote, having overshot a cliff and suddenly realizing that he had no ground beneath him and nothing to hold on to.
In this panic, we seek comfort in our church leaders, our families and friends. Surprisingly, most react by dismissing our findings or acting with hostility. We just "intellectualized the gospel," they tell us. Or they ask what sin we're hiding, or who offended us.
We feel betrayed and angry, and a little stupid. It's hard not to be angry when you realize that you've been taught to build your life around a hoax. And you feel a little stupid when you realize just how obvious it is.
So, feeling, lost, betrayed, angry, and stupid, and finding that no one really wants to understand why we feel that way, we look for people who do understand, and we find this place. Here we meet people who know exactly how we feel. We share our stories and our hurt and our anger, and some of us even find humor in our experiences.
And people point their fingers and tell us what a cesspool of bile it is and how unhealthy and unreasonable it is to be angry and hurt by an inanimate, corporate entity.
But then a funny thing happens. Most of us get over it. Sure, there are some people who have been venting for years, but most people post for a few months and then find that they're tired of talking about it. Life goes on.
You know what? I'm almost there.
| Thinking of my former time in Mormonism (40 years), I realized that me, my wife and our kids did NOTHING for our communities in the form of service. In fact, this selfishness extended to charitable giving as well. I am not promoting or endorsing any charitable organization here, I am just relating my experiences with this topic. I also realize that not everyone had the same attitude as we did as mormons. |
As a busy mormon, I attended Sunday services, additional church meetings, YM/YW activities (weeknights and often weekends), did HT, attended the temple regularly (whatever that meant?), prepared lessons etc... When all of that was done, coupled with a demanding professional life, I found little time and/or energy left to help with community service opportunities. I would see needs to volunteer with various school, community and kids sporting events but I would "quietly" avoid volunteering. Why? Because I felt I was doing my part with all of my "church service".
This cog-dis has been apparent more since we left the morg and have had conversations about this topic with my FIL. FIL and MIL are very active TBM temple workers. As we talk to them about community service, my FIL feels that he is providing a "spiritual service" to his community by doing temple work (huh?). Of course I disagree because I think he's simply wasting away his prime retirement energy on useless work but I regress!
Since we have left the church we have attempted to correct the error of our ways. We have encouraged our kids and actively sought ways to serve our fellow community friends. Being in the morg eliminated the need for us as parents to find "community service" projects for either ourselves or our kids. Now we have to find them ourselves and it takes a hell of a lot of work. However, it does get easier as we get more experience finding those opportunities.
This also segways into the next area.
Of course any faithful, practicing TBM is a "full" tithe payer. What this means to a community is that "mormons" don't contribute to anything else. In my case we felt that after a 10% tithe, an additional ~1% fast offering, church magazine subscriptions, various donations of items for the "church humanitarian aid projects" or should we say the "church members humanitarian aid projects", potlucks and youth activities etc. we didn't have anything left in our budget. The result is we would snub any other "charitable" giving as much as possible. Often we would get "forced" to donate something but it was done begrudgingly. I know it was a bad thing and we are attempting to right our wrongs with both our kids and our community. Again our logic was based on the false premise that we were already doing our part. Looking back I regret donating so much to one organization. We are now teaching our kids that it is okay to drop a $1 into the red salvation army container at Christmas time or to send $10-$20 into the school for some charity or even to buy GS cookies sometimes. It is really not big deal, but we made it a big deal as morgbots.
Of course I acknowledge that there are exceptions to the rule. However, my personal experience was one of selfishness towards my community in the form of my time and money. No wonder mormons are looked at as "peculiar", we were!
| One of the (many) things that pushed me around the bend with the church was the method, content, and frequency of prayer.
Pray before bed, and then upon waking in the morning? Is it like brushing your teeth? Something scummy happened overnight that needs to be set right through prayer? Is there no event so small or inconsequential that we can't spend ten minutes with our heads bowed, reviewing the Fall of Adam, the miracle of the Atonement, the mercy and generosity of God, our need for protection and guidance, blah, blah, blah.
Prayer before sporting events? At BYU or ward basketball games, it never seemed right. As the heartfelt desire of both fans and athletes was the total domination and humiliation of the opponents, prayer beforehand seemed hypocritical. If they want to be honest, something like, "To stomp their twitching corpses and hear the weeping of their women," should be requested in a pre-game prayer.
Is God forgetful? Why do we need to keep reminding him that we want to get home safely? Don't we trust Him to be on the ball with these things?
Prayer for a break in a drought? Come on, is God sitting there saying, "You want rain? Do you really, really want rain? Well, let's see you beg. Come on, beg. That's right, down on your knees. I'm not sure I'm seeing enough contrition..."
Can we talk God into doing things that he'd rather not do? Or hasn't thought about?
I have a pretty high opinion of God and figure that He/She/It doesn't need my advice. Everything has been accounted for in the grand equation. God knows me better than I know myself, so my pitiful whinings just annoy us both. Prayer for me is an attitude of thanksgiving for the gift of life, and reverence for the wonder of it. In fact, speaking just seems to cheapen the whole mood. But declining to participate in a group or family prayer is seen as a personal insult of the vilest sorts.
Mormon prayer demeans God and contradicts what they claim to understand of the relationship between Him and us. While Mormon prayer may serve as a sentimental group affirmation, it did not do me any theological favors.
| She married a Mormon and has been exposed to the church at an intimate level. I am encouraged by letters like these as clear thinking individuals are not being duped by the Mormon church's mass marketing and pr campaigns.
---------- The letter ------------
I married my high school sweet heart and it was a major deal because I am the first person that has not converted to Mormonism in his family, he is the first that has strayed, and our daughter is the first to be baptized Catholic. My husband abandoned his beliefs with this religion a long time ago, but his family is still very persistent. In fact, his father is the bishop. I have had many years of being made to feel not worthy by this church. It came as a big shock to me that we were not included in their weddings. Weddings have always been such a big deal in my family and I was shocked to learn that only Mormon members could witness this ceremony. I think that not having family there takes a special piece out of the picture.
There have been many issues that have really hurt me and angered me through the years like being told I couldn’t be trusted b/c I was not mormon to missionaries harassing us from each residency. The one thing that is standing out, though, happened just today. We went to his niece’s blessing. We did this in support of his brother b/c this is how they choose to raise their children and b/c they came to our daughter’s baptism. Despite the history of our issues with the church, we decided to be the bigger person and show support for our niece. And boy, did that backfire.
Every time I have been to the church it has been testimony day, which basically consists of people crying saying that they know that church is true over and over again. It is actually quite scary from an outsider’s point of view b/c it resembles mind control. When I found out that today wasn’t testimony day, I thought that maybe they would actually talk about passages from the Bible and it would not be so bad. Well, today we got to hear about how only temple marriages that were sealed really meant anything. We were in a nutshell told that our marriage was not valid.
After that, we got to hear another speaker talk about how your “ticket to heaven” was not an individual effort. That if you let a son, daughter, etc. stray from the church you would not get the highest level of heaven. God would ask you when you approach the gates, “Where is your son, daughter, etc. ?” My husband is the most religious person that I know and he lives his life very honorable. It broke my heart to hear the words that I heard today. That he is being judged because he does not agree with the teachings of the mormon church. He did a lot of research to come to this decision to part ways with the church and it was not taken lightly. And for parents to believe that they will not get to heaven b/c of their children is disgusting. This is a characteristic of a cult.
As an outsider looking in, this church is a very scary thing. I have yet to attend a service where God and Christ were the subjects. It is always about being Mormon and about Joseph Smith. Ironically, a polygamist. Christ was a symbol of love and this church has done everything it can to tarnish that. God is supposed to bring families together, not tear them apart and pressure them into believing. I have never in my life felt more offended and belittled then when I am in the presence of this religion.
Today, I looked around and saw all of the children listening to the service and was very saddened. I hope that they somehow get a mind of their own and realize that they do not have to feel guilty or pressured. That they can make a stand that their parents could not and stop the brainwashing.
I am in awe of what I have heard and what I have witnessed. I only hope that people will realize how awful and cultish this “true” religion is.
| I haven't attended TSCC in 13 years. I married a nevermo 10 years ago in a Baptist church with all my TBM family in attendance.
My TBM family hasn't pressured us about church, but my 2 sisters have basically refused to talk to us and my parents are so distant when they see or talk to us, they might as well not even be there.
My family has moved around the country over the past few years and we ended up in FL 3 years ago. Of course the church always seems to find us.
I have not received any calls from bishops or HT or PH leaders, but the singles activity director hasn't left me alone in 3 years. I have told this man many times that I am married and have children and my wife wouldn't be too happy with me attending singles events.
Finally, this guy tells me that since I was married in a Baptist church that I'm not considered married in the eyes of the church. If I was married in a mormon church or in a civil ceremony, that was okay. Guess we should have gone to a wedding chapel in Vegas like I wanted to originally.
Anyway, after telling him to f*and^ off I received a call from the bishop who told me that my rudeness to this kind, gentle, old man was unforgivable and that he wasn't aware that TSCC didn't recognize marriages performed in Baptist churches but since the old man had been in the church for so long, he must know what he is talking about.
Our conversation then turned to children. For some reason, I mentioned that I had a vasectomy and wouldn't be having anymore children, he told me that I had committed an unforgivable sin and was a deplorable human being.
After another go f*and^ yourself conversation, the bishop informed me that he would have to convene a church court and notify my entire TBM family of my "condition". I told him to knock himself out.
Now after reading this board and many other sights, I am going to resign.
Thanks to all for their stories and help in these matters.
| We opened a bottle of 2001 Jerry Garcia Zinfandel this weekend. It was fantastic! This was one of the wines we bought from the big warehouse sale the company I used to work for held last year. I had tasted this wine when we first bought it, and it seemed too thin and the tannins way to tart. Boy what a difference one year can make with wine! It was delicious! It tasted of black cherry, vanilla and spice, and the tannins were smooth as silk.
I was thinking of the movie “Sideways,” when Maya talks about wine and how it “continues to evolve and how every time a bottle is opened, it's going to taste different than if it had been opened on any other day.” She then encourages Miles to go home and drink his 61 Cheval Blanc that he was saving for a special occasion. She says “The day you open a '61 Cheval Blanc, that's the special occasion.”
It’s funny how mormonism tries to save us for a “special occasion” by keeping us from experiencing the world and by promising the rewards of heaven, someday. We humans are constantly evolving and gaining complexity, and experience our peaks and declines just like a bottle of wine. How sad it is to waste a life by not living it; by waiting for it to “peak” in a make-believe place called heaven. With mormonism, we are trapped inside the bottle, until we turn to vinegar.
| I was helped out of Mormonism by the vicious nature of the beast--before I read the Tanners, and all the stuff which followed. I was out before my real reading, because I could not tolerate any more Mormonism.
I think of the things that really got me:
My experience on my mission, where I found out it was just politics, threats, lies, bullies, and bullshit. Nothing remarkable happened--I slogged along for two years, took abuse, became very ill, kept going, took more abuse, and came home. Wow, I was sure sorry those two happiest years of my life ended.
Watching my parents nearly destroy their marriage and each other arguing over the Mormonism--it became sickening. My mother screamed constantly about "honoring the Priesthood," and what the neighbors thought. My parents even argued about whether or not Chauncey Riddle had said men were more righteous than women, or women more righteous than men. It was so important after all.
The social pressure. I dated a girl of a different race, and could not believe the assault on me from people who barely knew me. It became a neighborhood scandal, with gossip, rumors, and my mother sobbing because those wonderful Mormons made comments about it. I was stunned. Gee, Mormons are really racists. The "gospel of love" was not about love at all.
Seminary classes filled me with some of the most ludicrous doctrine one could imagine, a cross between "Lord of the Rings" and "The Wizard of Oz." Just incredible--and it finally dawned on me this was Mormonism, in all its glory.
The example of the leaders, from Joseph Fielding Smith to G.B. Hinckley and the Hoffman fiasco. They were not "men of god," they were slimy opportunists, open bigots, and manipulators of the meanest stripe. What a lousy example they set then, and set now.
The Blacks and the Priesthood Revelation (so-called). Talk about easy to see through. What a bogus bunch of bullshit that was. One day in June, out of the blue, God decides he is lagging behind the Supreme Court. God, the creator of the universe , finally decides to pull his head out of his ass. I guess that god decided, contrary to Joseph Fielding Smith, that "darkies" are more than just "good singers."
The end of Sir Paul Dunn. Actually, I was already out, but this one stole the show. What a hoot. The great war hero, master of the baseball diamond, storyteller supreme, gets caught in all his lies. All those people who loved him, loved his talks, loved the "sweet inspiration" he had to offer found out he was just a snake- oil selling mountebank. Dunn lied when he didn't have to. That was the real killer. His minions would have liked him anyway.
The temple--a real belief killer. I went in expecting truth, beauty, joy, happiness--and came out with a sore throat and a bad stomach ache. I could almost feel my throat being slit, and my guts being spilled. What a lovely experience. Just fabulous.
Then came the books, and the story of Mormonism hit me pretty hard. I did not believe it by then, but I could not believe it was THIS BAD.
How sad, really, it goes on and on.
| "Her Soul Chose Her Life Path That Ended In Her Murder": Interpreting Reality To Fit The "Spiritual" Belief System |
Monday, Mar 27, 2006, at 08:47 AM
Original Author(s): Freeatlast
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 6 -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| I was recently channel-surfing and came across a presentation by a well-known New Age speaker who has a background as a psychologist. Thirteen years ago, I listened to a recorded talk given by him. Some of the psychological ideas presented in that talk helped me to extricate myself from Mormonism. I thought I'd watch his presentation to see if he had any new psychological insights to share. There were few.
One of the things he did during his presentation was read a letter from the parents of a girl who was murdered. He told the audience that her soul had chosen her life's circumstances, including those that led to her murder. He told the audience New Age "truths" such as "The universe is perfect", "Everything unfolds as it's meant to", and so on.
As I listened to him, I thought, "This man (who was a practicing psychologist) does not understand that people interpret reality to fit their beliefs." He presented an interpretation of a traumatic event as though it was the truth. It was not. With his mind, he created "spiritual" meaning about the girl's murder, then presented his belief on national TV as though it was a universal truth.
Mormons frequently interpret things that happen in their lives and other people's lives through a spiritualistic lens. Creating meaning and significance for events, circumstances, etc. is a psychological process, and often has psychological survival value. It also frequently keeps people from acknowledging in their minds facts that conflict with what they believe.
A Mormon woman I know was physically and sexually abused by her father. She's convinced herself that in the "Pre-Existence", her spirit chose to be born into the family created by her parents so that the "sins of the father" wouldn't go past her generation. Creating this "spiritual" meaning (an interpretation) for her traumatic experiences shields her from an awful realization: "Heavenly Father" did nothing to protect her from her abusive father.
Other examples of how Mormons interpret reality are:
1. A car full of members breaks down on the way to the temple. Interpretation: Satan used his power to keep them from going to the "House of the Lord".
2. A young, tithe-paying family in the ward has been struggling financially for several months. A relative who is unaware of their circumstances sends money to the father. Interpretation: God blessed the family for paying tithing.
People's interpretations of reality are usually the result of how they've been psychologically conditioned. The conditioning is like a "filter" on their psyche/mind, but they're not even consciously aware of it, or lines of programming code. When a certain condition is met, the psychological "code" generates an interpretation that seems to fit the condition (i.e., the experienced or observed reality).
To fully recover/heal from Mormonism, we need to understand the ways in which it conditioned us psychologically. The same is true for our family-of-origin. Through increased self-awareness, particularly of our thoughts, we "catch" ourselves interpreting situations, events, etc. according to old, unconscious, unquestioned perspectives (the way we were psychologically conditioned). As we become more aware of our conditioning, we become increasingly free to consciously choose what meaning and significance, if any, we'll give to things that happen to us and other people. As a result of this process, we mature psychologically.
| I was in an important meeting with some very wealthy investors earlier this week. It was a surreal moment for me, as all of the members of the meeting were older and more experienced than I, and all had come to learn about something I was doing. As is the case in this kind of meeting, a certain attention is paid to one's business acumen and another attention is paid to one's personal characteristics, as investors decide whether one is for real or honest or aligned with their goals.
I've been told by many business associates that I appear to be very honest, even pure, in my business dealings. I work hard to be that way.
Anyway, the meeting took place in another country and in another language. I was asked how I had learned to speak so eloquently in that foreign tongue, and I answered that I had been a missionary but was no longer with the church. I used to be nervous about saying I had left the church in this kind of setting because, a) I don't think religion is an appropriate topic for a business meeting, and b) I didn't want to be judged a quitter.
I told a couple of funny mission stories, and then explained that I left the church after DNA proved that the BoM was wrong. One of the guys came back to the subject of my having left the church, and asked why I would leave the church based on such "logical" reasons. He said that religion isn't "logical" so logic might not be a good reason to leave. Then he asked me what kind of belief structure dictated my life now. We had a couple of laughs at the fact that we were discussing such things, but eventually I said that I had thought deeply about my own life philosophy. Basically, I told him that if I could get out of bed every day and make a living while contributing something to the world around me, that was enough to allow me to be satisfied with myself every day. He was impressed.
However, as I got on the plane to come home, I really thought through my reasons for leaving the church. Simply put, I left because the God I learned about in Mormonism failed to keep his promise.
The church promises that if you live by its teachings, you'll live a life of peace and happiness. It promises that faith will give you comfort and strength during difficult times.
In the end, the church fails to do that. As people put mormonism to the test, mormonism consistently fails the people.
I began to feel internal conflicts about the church when I was 14. For the next 16 years, I put the church and the gospel to the test. I served a mission and worked hard in every calling I ever had. I repented, constantly, and gained solace through my efforts. However, something always gnawed at my soul. Then, during the California election of 2000, where the church was working against gay marriage, I finally learned what had been gnawing at me. It was that the church's promise wasn't one made by God.
For years, I couldn't understand why the BoM didn't really have any unique doctrines. I didn't know why the word of wisdom wasn't as good as the school lunch program in terms of diet. I didn't know why the elders quorum would have a lesson about lying, where the main topic when it was ok to your wife in order to not hurt her feelings if she put on an ugly dress. Surely, God could do better.
Those kinds of things made me feel that something was wrong with me, because I was living the gospel but wasn't happy, as promised. During the 2000 elections, it becam clear that the church was more interested in its doctrines than in the truth. They would rather see gay people not allowed to marry, even if it meant their children would suffer. I began to wonder if God would absolve me of responsibility for hurting kids if I did so as a result of going along with what the church taught. I concluded that I was responsible for myself. More importantly, I concluded that I couldn't be happy knowing that I was hurting the children of gay couples. God obviously didn't want me to hurt anyone, but the church taught that he did. God promised I'd be happy if I followed the church, but with all of the internal conflicts I felt, I wasn't happy.
So, it was God (the mormon version of God) who failed to keep his promise of peace and happiness.
What a relief that I figured it out. Now, I live a peaceful godless life. I live honestly, and that is what brings real peace, and that is a promise I feel able to make to myself.
| Back in 1999-2000 I was called as a Stake Missionary. Today I was going through some stuff and found a folder with some training materials they gave me at the time. They're all in the garbage now and I have one more spare three ring binder if I need one. |
In addition to the New Member discussions and some other booklets on missionary work I was struck by the 10 step program we were supposed to present to members in the ward at the time to encourage missionary work. It was organized like a classic missionary 'flipchart' with pictures on one side and text on the other. Essentially we were to meet with members, give the presentation and then follow-up to see that they helped by doing as asked. The members were being encouraged to select "1" person or family they knew to 'work on', we were to challenge them to make it the topic of a family home evening and pray specifically about this person/family two or three times during the week. Then we were supposed to go back and help them set 'goals' with specific timelines and dates for moving through the 'program' to hopefully convert them. Thinking back on it, I remember meeting with a few member families, and presenting the part about picking a specific person to work on, but I don't think we ever followed through and got any specific dates or goals out of anyone. (I then took the chance to move to Japan and got out of the calling!! :)
Anyways ... the thing that really hit me today, before throwing it all in the trash was .... tell them you're Mormon. was step five out of ten, and invite them to a church meeting. wasn't even until number eight or nine.
Don't let them know they're a target too early ... they might get away. Other things that really drove home the nature of 'true' missionary work were suggestions like:
- leave out a copy of the Ensign or church books when you invite your new friend over. Don't talk about them unless the friend asks and it specifically said about church books to pick one that's not too deep
- Select a person, pray about them, set goals leading towards baptism such as inviting them to your house, inviting them to a church social function, inviting them to a church meeting, asking them if they'd like to hear the missionary discussions (at your house) and such. Then set specific dates for those goals and so forth ... all before even introducing yourself if you don't know them that well yet.
- Specific suggestions were made for things like helping the neighbor in the yard, getting together if you find you have a similar hobby, etc. But all with the underlying intent of converting them. (there goes any true friendship and sincerity, doesn't it?)
By the time I finished looking at each page as I took them out of the binder and into the trash ... the sense of how structured and manipulative the whole thing was was just overwhelming. No wonder I moved! I couldn't do this with a clear conscience (it brought bad memories of being a full time missionary flooding back too)... and I wasn't yet in a position to just say "NO" and move away like I am now.
Just another one of those things that make you go hmmmm.
| How Crazy Is It To Claim You Know Something Is True When It Is Not Even Remotely Factual? How Does Mormonism Get Away With It? |
Wednesday, Mar 29, 2006, at 07:20 AM
Original Author(s): Susieq#1
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 6 -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| How nutty is it to claim a spiritual witness of people that do not exist???
Mormonism does a number on people's minds by convincing them that there is something reasonable about being unreasonable! I know, I know, I fell for it too!
But, who knew that the whole thing, right from the very beginning was a total, complete lie, and bogus as a three dollar bill?
Golden plates from an angel and totally made up silly translations (no such language as Reformed Egyptian!)that were nothing more than plagiarized other works!
Who knew that someone could get away with that! Who knew that a gazillion people would still be believing in those BOM imaginary people like they really lived!
I thought, silly me, that there must be some validity for the claims. Nobody, surely, not a huge religion and church would have the audacity to make up that kind of nonsense and get away with selling it to people for generations. Surely there must be some truth to it's claims. Nope. Not one bit!
Who would even imagine that a big old church that claims 12 million members could get away with such a total fraud and scam for over 150 years! How do they get away with sending missionaries (ya, we sent out two) to the world and get people to believe it with not one ounce of factual evidence?
How does Mormonism get away with getting people to believe the BOM is some kind of truth when it is total fiction and plagiarized from dozens of other places?
How do they do that?
And why do we fall for it?
How can some Mormons admit it is fiction but still claim it is spiritual truth that must be lived, and believed?
Is it fear? Is it the way we are hard wired?
Are people leaving Mormonism and religion in general in many places because they are smarter, more educated and no longer willing to be fed a steady diet of metaphysical, supernatural, superstitious nonsense?
I still can't get over the power of that imaginary testimony of imaginary people that keeps TBM's completely oblivious of how outrageous they sound.
Come on, people. Wake up. You TBM's are testifying of nothing more than the Easter Bunny - laying colored eggs!
Sometimes, it is difficult to keep a sense of humor when TBM's are so closed minded, so hateful, so nasty, and so threatening and so willing to destroy their own flesh and blood for imaginary characters!
It reminds me of the typical two/ three year old that insists on a piece of candy from the cupboard, and when told there is none, throws a fit, even when shown the cupboard has no candy, they still cry and demand candy! I wand candy, they say over and over, as if yelling and demanding will make it magically appear.
Are some TBM's still stuck in that two/three age stage of expecting something to magically appear?
I think some are!
| TBM's Not Following The Prophet... Again... "Cherish Our Method Or Worship Without Being Offensive To Others. " Do They Know Their Religion Or Not? |
Wednesday, Mar 29, 2006, at 07:40 AM
Original Author(s): Susieq#1
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 6 -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| We cannot be arrogant. We cannot be self-righteous. The very situation in which the Lord has placed us requires that we be humble as the beneficiaries of His direction. While we cannot agree with others on certain matters, we must never be disagreeable. We must always be friendly, soft-spoken, neighborly, and understanding." |
- President Gordon B. Hinckley, Fall 2003 General Conference, Sunday Morning Session
"As I have said before, we must not be clannish. We must never adopt a holier-than-thou attitude. We must not be self-righteous. We must be magnanimous, and open, and friendly. We can keep our faith. We can practice our religion. We can cherish our method or worship without being offensive to others. I take this occasion to plead for a spirit of tolerance and neighborliness, of friendship and love toward those of other faiths."
- President Gordon B. Hinckley, July 2001
Apparently a lot of TBM's don't think their prophet is speaking to them, considering how they often behave!
How many TBM's you have encountered (family, friends, leaders) have been: arrogant, self righteous, disagreeable, holier than thou, self righteous?
How many have been: humble,friendly, soft spoken, neighborly, understanding, magnanimous, open, without being offensive, have the spirit of tolerance, friendship and love?
On a scale of one to ten, ten being the best definition of following the prophet, what kind of grade would you give the TBM's you know?
Sadly, I have to give most of them a one or a two. It is despicable behavior. Even the Mo'pologists do not set a decent example with their name calling, slamming, childish, sophomoric behavior.
I can only conclude that TBM's in general and Mo'pologists specifically don't have a clue about what "follow the prophet" means and they apparently have no inclination to find out what it is or live it.
OK, maybe there is some valid excuse. Satan is in the Internet and has corrupted the spirit of Mormonism and they can't help themselves! They get behind a keyboard and have a memory lapse, or that wily character Satan tempts them and they rant and rave like lunatics, thinking they are being prompted by the spirit! Tolerance, love, decency, understanding goes right out the window. Yup. Satan is doing it. Those poor TBM's. Maybe we ought to feel sorry for them!
Or maybe the drone of the speakers in conference puts them to sleep and they don't remember what was said? That it?
Or maybe they are just looking for love in all the wrong places? ;-)
Ahh, well, if that's not it? What is it?
| Go ahead and ask most Mormon parents whether they think the church's youth activites have taken a mighty fall in substance and quality and you may be amazed at the answers you get.
I had such a conversation with my Mormon aunt who raised six children and was highly involved in the church Young Womens program for many years. My aunt in frustration sighed and went into all the fun trips and activities the youth did in the church. The dances, the trips to amusement parks, road shows, campouts, bon fires, youth conferences that actually had fun activities.
My aunt then mentioned how the local Methodist Church sent some of it's youth and leaders to Central America on a service project. They built some buildings for people to use. My aunt said, raising money for such a large trip and then organizing it teaches responsible skills and what a learning experience such a trip provides.
I mentioned how some of the more forward thinking Christian churches have invested in skate board parks and recreational centers for the youth. They know they can gain some converts and keep their young members by mingling a good time with Christian teachings. Such programs have been very successful.
My aunt said the church use to focus on the youth and use to have an open door to the non-member kids. That has changed she said and it frustrates her to no end. She had a huge complaint on how Salt Lake has taken all the decision making out of the ward level and could care less what the members in individual wards have as far as ideas.
I said in other words the church has become cold and corporate. Exactly she said. I then asked, why are the church leaders doing this? Her answer was CONTROL. They seem to have to have all the CONTROL.
I could have not said it better myself. The church is more about CONTROL than it is about making sure it's members are having an enjoyable experience in the organization.
My aunt would never leave the church. Like many TBM's they blast how incompetant the church is ran and voice their frustration but still odly say, "The church is true."
I can't help but think the church is more concerned about showing itself off in the form of expensive buildings than providing anything fun and satisfying to it's membership.
In a day and age where other churches are building state of the art skateboarding parks and other fun stuff for their youth to use, Mormon Inc. looks pretty empty and cold.
Salt Lake seems to continually become more and more detatched from the members who make up the church. It seems more interested in impressing the international press and media. The church seems to be more interested in building more buildings than anything else. Meanwhile the individuals who pay the tithing and donations get left behind and get less for their money than they have in the past.
| Approximately six years ago, the Troy MI ward boundaries were redrawn. The size of the ward dropped to essentially a skeleton crew. The Stake Pres told us that we would regrow our size through convert baptisms.
The moment this happened, I told my wife that regrowth through conversion in the ward was nothing more than wishful thinking. Middle class America wants nothing to do with mormonism, period.
We were primed, prepped, pumped, and prodded about doing member missionary work. We fasted. Every four months the missionaries came up with a new conversion scheme for member referrals, or at least ways to wring member referrals from the members. We fasted. The missionaries had us pray, in their presence, over a list of our friends names. We played pin the tail on the investigator. Did I mention we fasted?
After a couple of years, the ward had only grown smaller with a few of the established families moving out. The stake chastised the ward. They promised the boundaries would not be redrawn, so we had better get off our butts and shoulder our responsibilities in sharing the gospel!
The Troy ward dropped to about 210 members with only a portion of those in actual attendance.
Just recently the stake submitted boundary changes for the expansion of the Troy ward to Salt Lake for approval. Hmmm.....they promised us we were going to "grow" the ward through baptisms, not by redrawing boundary lines. We were expressly told that boundary changes were not an option. I don't think we had any real baptisms.
In truth, I must admit that I recognized the folly of the fasts from the onset 6 years ago, and did not participate. Perhaps I was the weak link that prevented this great work from making itself manifest in our area. I will put myself on a self imposed "time out" for my irreverence, after which I shall dance an "I told you so jig".
| I've had the good luck to live in a number of different countries and a variety of cultures. At the moment I am living in Hong Kong. It is unlike any other place I have ever been. It is the most densely populated place on earth, a place driven by commerce where shopping is sport, entertainment, and lifestyle. Still, there is an underlying culture here that serves as a foundation for the individual as well as for the society as a whole. Folk beliefs, even in this most modern of communities, are a major part of the foundation and serve to cultivate a shared, social identity. A wide variety of practices, feng shui, weddings, births, graduations, deaths, are recognized or are celebrated, to some degree, as community events.
Even in secular, "godless" Europe, people expect their churches to provide context for the milestones in life. People who may scoff at the notion of prayer, or pre-marital celibacy, turn to the church at Christmas and Easter, and for the framing of events such as births and deaths. The churches may no longer be dictators of behavior, but they serve the people and provide comfort and social cohesion, and not too infrequently, as the conscience of the people.
The Mormon church, on the other hand, which began as a close knit community, has done everything possible to dissemble social bonds. From very early on, it avoided celebrating seasonal events except for July 24. Christmas has no special service unless it happens to fall on a Sunday. Easter at least gets its own Sunday. But every other milestone in life is skated over just as quickly. Even funerals are not for the benefit of the families, but according to BKP, are just another opportunity to preach the orthodoxy. Recently, missionary farewells were done away with. The reason given is that they were becoming too elaborate. Isn't that in itself an indication that the members are searching for something that the church doesn't provide?
The worst case, of course, is marriage. In most societies, marriages are one of the most public of events. They combine the union of individuals, of families, of material goods. They are moments when we express our greatest of hopes. Accordingly, they are celebrations for whole communities and all generations, regardless of religious activity. In Mormondom, this ceremony has been set on its head, secreted away to protect the practice of polygamy while it erodes the basis for society and family life.
I grew up a Mormon, and at this stage in my life it is unlikely that I will ever integrate into another culture. I expect a church to do more than be a doctrinal warehouse, struggling to protect its image. A good church measures our days and helps us to remember where we are and what we mean to each other. The Mormon heritage, however, has left a void in the weave of life that is diligently filled by other churches. In the effort to avoid "empty" ritual, we have ended up instead with a tough minded corporate attitude that sees our petty human needs for warmth and togetherness as an unwelcome distraction.
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