THE MORMON CURTAIN
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Ex-Mormon News, Stories And Recovery
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EX-MORMONISM SECTION 1
A very large selection of posts made by those in recovery from Mormonism. Culled from throughout the Ex-Mormon Communities.
| For the first 29+ years of my life, I was an ultra-tbm. I completely believed and accepted that Mormonism was, indeed, God's "true" church here on earth. Unfortunately, after I started taking a deeper look at the roots of Mormonism, it didn't take me long to realize I knew very little of the true story of Mormonism and it wasn't too long after that I lost all belief in Mormonism.
For quite some time, I couldn't understand how anyone who knew the whole story could believe in Mormonism. It was so obviously fraudulent! But, over time, I've come to understand that the determining factor of belief or unbelief is not information, but the underlying "rules" that a person embraces when interpreting information. In other words, what truly led me out of Mormonism is not the raw information in and of itself, but how I interpreted that information based on my personal set of "rules".
So, I boiled some of these rules down to my own personal "8 Simple Rules" that led me out of Mormonism…
Rule 1: Just because someone says something doesn't mean what he/she says is true
I apply this rule to everyone, regardless of intelligence, point of view, etc. Mormon apologists - many highly educated - have all kinds of explanations for seeming contradictions in Mormonism's history. Some people accept these at face value "Oh, see, there are reasonable explanations for all of these problems!" But for a person who is guided by Rule #1, explanations are only as good as the paper they are written on! A rule that leads nicely into Rule 2…
Rule 2: Just because someone intelligent believes something is true doesn't mean it is true
If a high level of intelligence were the most important factor of discovering religious truth, then all - or a majority of - highly intelligent people in the world would hold similar religious beliefs. As it is, the world of religious beliefs is fragmented into thousands of factions, each with its own set of apologists spinning a web of logic designed to entrap their perception of truth upon its strands. There are a lot of smart people in this world who are enlisted in the ranks of the defense of what are often conflicting religious beliefs - quite obviously, not all of them can be right!
Rule 3: Reality-based belief is better than theory-based belief
"Theory" can be used to support almost any belief because all one has to do is come up with an explanation that falls in the realm of plausibility in order for the breath of life to fill a theory's lungs - and plausibility is not all that tough of a standard to reach.
"Reality", on the other hand, is a different beast altogether. The path from "theory" into "reality" is strewn with the lifeless corpses of theories that couldn't withstand the intense scrutiny required for passage. It isn't easy to distinguish between the two because theory-based beliefs are often passed off as being reality-based, but there is value in being aware of when a belief is based in theory as opposed to fact - at the least it helps one avoid the pitfall of holding too tightly to a belief that ultimately ends up being an illusion.
Mormonism is a religion that is high on theory-based belief and short on reality-based belief. The following quote by Daniel Peterson last year in regards to the lack of evidence supporting the Book of Mormon highlights this principle as it relates to the Book of Mormon:
"There is, thus far, little in the way of specific archaeological evidence -- taking archaeological in the sense of artifactual -- for the Book of Mormon. The NHM altars in Yemen may be the best we've got, along with the general accuracy of 1 Nephi's portrayal of Lehi's route along the Arabian coast (via the Valley of Lemuel and the River of Laban, and then through Nahom) to Old World Bountiful. There is, however, considerable philological evidence within the Book of Mormon itself suggestive of its antiquity, and there is a great deal of ancient evidence, artifactual and otherwise, from both the Near East and Mesoamerica, that is consistent with the historical authenticity of the Book of Mormon in very specific and striking ways."
Put another way, there is, thus far, little (read: NOTHING) in terms of "reality-based" information to support the Book of Mormon, but there is considerable "theory-based" stuff out there - spun by none other than your friendly, neighborhood apologists.
Rule 4: The definition of "Faith" is NOT ignoring all evidence that is contrary to what you believe
"Faith" is perhaps the single most abused concept in Mormonism. All one has to do is have enough "faith" and the most serious issues facing Mormonism simply fade away into a backdrop of insignificance. The defect is placed with the person, not with the organization - more on that in Rule 5.
But first, for the Biblical definition of faith (this point is about faith as it is presented in Christianity, not on the validity of faith as a principle and the existence of God), let's turn to the oft-quoted standard, Hebrews 11:1 - "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." That definition, though, is incomplete without reading the rest of the chapter where faith is framed as an ACTION-BASED word. It gives many examples of people who were spurred to actions because of their faith: Abel offering a sacrifice, Noah preparing an ark, Moses refusing to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, etc.
Nowhere does it mention that faith is ignoring evidence that contradicts your point of view. Faith is belief that leads to action, not belief in something in spite of its contradictions.
Rule 5: Faith is only as good as the object in which it is placed
This rule ties closely with Rule 4 - if faith is belief that leads to action, that faith is only as good as the object in which it is placed. After all, if any issue can be dismissed with "faith", then misplaced faith simply becomes a license to believe in error. Scrutinizing information that has the potential to contradict your belief system does not represent a lack of faith; rather, it's a great way to keep "faith" from trapping you into a false paradigm.
If you ask a Mormon why there is "little in the way of specific archaeological evidence…for the Book of Mormon" as Dr. Peterson stated, some will say "it has to be that way - if not, there would be no need for faith!" Faith becomes an escape hatch for belief systems knee-deep in errors.
Rule 6: Spiritual experiences alone do not lead to religious truth
This rule strikes directly at the heart of why many people stay in Mormonism regardless of the issues. People have certain spiritual experiences that they take to mean the Church is "true" beyond a shadow of a doubt. It is not my place or my desire to tell people what God has or hasn't revealed to them, but one thing I strongly believe is that Mormons are not the only people who believe God has revealed the truth to them.
People in religions around the world don't go around dedicating their lives to their religion for trivial reasons - they believe it is for a higher cause. I'm willing to bet that if I went and talked to 10,000 leaders in various religious organizations around the world, a good number of them would give me a similar answer: "I'm only doing the will of God - He as led me here and He has revealed to me the truthfulness of this work. I see His hand in this work."
I'm not God, so I'm not going to pretend I know why this phenomenon exists. But it is apparent that spiritual experiences can result in many, many different interpretations of truth. And, no matter how much a person claims that their spiritual experiences have led them to know their path is the way to truth - and no matter how sincere they are in that belief - that doesn't automatically mean that they are right. And if that's the case, I believe one shouldn't base one's beliefs 100% on spiritual feelings.
Rule 7: Everyone's beliefs are grounded in logic
In the world of Mormonism, logic is often turned into the "bad guy", but the reality is no one can escape logic. People who rely solely on spiritual experiences for the basis of their testimony are relying on logic as well, regardless of whether or not they choose to see it that way. They still have to logically conclude that the spiritual experiences that they've had must mean that the Mormon church is "true". They are using logic to determine that there is NO other possible explanation for their experiences. They are using logic to decide they don't need to consider any other information (i.e. - DNA, archeology, etc) in determining the truthfulness of the Church. Everything that a person believes has to pass through his or her own personal firewall of logic!
Some people claim that "logic and reason will never discover truth." Although this might be true on some levels, I disagree with it as a rule that can be consistently applied to all situations. First, as it relates to Mormonism, I disagree with the unstated assumption that spiritual experiences ALONE are a better way to discover truth - see Rule #6. Second, because even the meaning of spiritual experiences must pass through one's personal system of logic. Finally, I disagree because sometimes (though certainly not always) logic does discover truth. One can use logic and reason to determine the truth about whether or not Joseph Smith married other men's wives, or whether or not he revised revelations, or that the American Indians are primarily (probably even entirely) descendants of Asians, or that the papyrus fragments in existence today were not written in Abraham's time. All of these are truths that have been determined through logic and reason! The real question isn't whether or not these things are true,but what will one do when determining the significance of this information?
Rule 8: I will not allow other people to dictate my life
This rule is what gives meaning to all the other rules - at least in regards to Mormonism. After all, what good is it to know something is false if you aren't willing to abandon the falsehood? Many here have felt the intense pressure applied by family and friends when they discover you no longer believe. Too often, in their eyes, "good" is defined relative to belief in Mormonism - it doesn't really matter what type of life you lead, if you don't believe in Mormonism, you are in the grips of evil!
This outside pressure can vary in intensity depending on one's personal situation and it causes some people to live a life that is not in harmony with their underlying beliefs - an "active" Mormon who doesn't believe in Mormonism's claims of truth. I will not fake belief to appease anyone because as soon as I do so, I have lost control of my life and, at that point, what good is that kind of life?
Each of us at some point must decide if we will live life on our own terms or if we will live it on someone else's terms. For some people, this rule is easy to live by, but for me it has been extremely difficult - and, after reading this board for quite some time now, I don't think I'm the only one who has struggled with this issue. Too many people feel their belief system is superior to your own, even when it is riddled with issues that contradict the "simple rules" that you live by…
Any other rules that you live by that caused you to lose you belief in Mormonism?
| An old roommate of mine at BYU called today out of the blue. It was great to talk to him since it's been many years since we've talked in any form, other than the annual Christmas card exchange. He was calling to confirm a rumor he'd heard concerning another mutual roommate's marital problems. I confirmed the marital problems, which in large part have been caused by this roommate's leaving the church.
Later in the course of the conversation, he told me how happy he was with his life and he bore his testimony to me, almost as though he wanted to save me from the same fate as our old roommate.
I have always really liked and admired this guy, not because he's been a bishop or is currently a High Councilman, but because he is such a genuinely nice guy. For the first time my respect and admiration for him turned to pity-pity that the happiness he feels in life is rooted in legend; pity that the most important thing to him, other than his family, is simply a huge fraud.
How do I tell a person who is so happy with his Mormon life that he's being lied to? How do I burst the Mormon bubble of someone for whom I really care? Proper etiquette tells me not to say anything-to be respectful of his beliefs. Friendship tells me to share with him what I know to be true-not unlike his testimony bearing to me.
Pity leaves me feeling empty.
| Last week I went to lunch with a friend who is very TBM. She's had a rough time the past few months, and I've shed a few tears myself over somethings so a lot of the time we get together just to "commiserate". Somehow the topic turned to religion and the temple changes came up. I made the comment that I probably knew about them before she did and she asked how. I told her about this board and she wanted to know how this board would know these things so fast. I told her there is an entire network of completely active, non-believing saints out there and many are in leadership positions so things get here fast. She made the comment in my topic line.
I told her that actually the opposite was true. People generally don't come here to harass or because they can't just leave it alone. I told her of the love bombing that goes on, I told her of the threats some peoples' families have received, kids being ostracized in school, etc., and that this was more of a place of healing and recovery than harassment to the church. It was like a light turned on in her thought process. To her credit, she did admit that she just realized what that all must feel like to someone who felt they had been lied to, deceived, given their complete trust over to something they later felt to be a fraud, and etc.
I just had to wonder how many "saints" are happily going around out there love bombing, getting superiority complexes when they remain "strong" and someone else doesn't, and etc. without realizing the effect they are having on people they called friends, neighbors, family members for years. I am ashamed to admit I did that once as well and at times can't hardly fathom the fact that I was so blind to what I was ACTUALLY doing.
| I wrote this a few years ago, and it has been helpful to some people. Thought I'd share it with you. I wrote a second essay on the same idea a few months ago; I'm including it here too.
Why I am a Better Mother (Now That I'm Not a Mormon) December 2002
- I can accept and value my children for who they really are, not who I want or need them to be. They can live their lives according to what they want---not according to someone else's one-size-fits-all "divine plan."
- I can teach my children to have confidence in themselves and their own thoughts, feelings, desires, and ideas---that they are inherently good and they can trust themselves.
- I can encourage my children to follow their own inner voice and do what is right for them.
- I can really listen to them without trying to convince them that my ideas---or any other "authority's"---are right, and I can offer them guidance because I have listened.
- I can model for my children the thoughtful development of my own understanding of God and a moral code, and encourage them to do the same.
- I can allow them to make their own choices and decisions---and also allow them to take the responsibility for them.
- I can allow them to make mistakes without shaming them for them. I can discuss the choices they have made, their results, and the reasons they may want to make a different choice in the future.
- I don't have to feel shame about the mistakes my children make---or worry about what others' will think of me.
- I can openly discuss sexuality with my children and talk about how to responsibly and joyfully express this essential element of their humanity-with emphasis on the joy.
- I can spend more relaxed time with my children doing things we all enjoy because I'm not rushing off to meetings, stressed out over my church calling, or trying to force them to go to church.
- I can teach my children to value the inherit dignity and worth of every human being, regardless of their race, religion, gender, or choice of partner.
- I can give my children an example of a strong, independent, woman who owns her personal authority and is learning to express her individuality, and who supports them in doing the same.
- I can enjoy my children for the unique, marvelous human beings they are, with reverence and gratitude for the opportunity to be their mother.
| There is several things that have struck me as i have read these articles , firstly everything i have read is totaly genuine , not one piece of propaganda rubbish have i found .
Second , there is a very high degree of intelligence to be found in certain places , post mormons are unique because they had to pick there way thru a maze of what could be described only as spiritual deceptions , all the time living under threat of hell , perdition , loss of all eternal family links ect, i do not think there can be any fear that can come upon a man that is greater than believing that he will spend the rest of eternity in hell because of his actions here , mormons who once believed in there church would have had to face this fear at some stage as they progressed to a true faith in living by there own conscience , it may be said that it took a lot of faith to be a mormon , then again , it took even more faith not to be one once you believed there was something wrong with it .
It has occured to me what real faith is , real faith is totaly believing in God according to the conscience of your own mind , carnal faith as i would call it requires all kinds of props , baptisms , priesthoods , endowments and so in , its carnal faith that is the root cause of all religeous fanaticism and wars of a religeuos nature .
if we are living by faith without the support props of a carnal religeon how can we know that we are progressing or that are sins are being forgiven as we move forward , i feel that the answer to this ls in human relationships , a sign that we are getting closer to God is that we are getting closer to each other , i actually belive that heaven begins when two or more people begin to entwine emotionaly to the point where feelings of total trust begin to ensue , the celestial kingdom begins with just you and I as it happens , there is one thing i am sure of , it has nothing to do with being married , altho i exspect you can be married there if you so want to be .
Another thing i have found reading these pages is fellowship , for the last 15 years i have sat thru mormon meetings in total boredom and decadence , simply because i had a totaly different philosophy on life than what was being preached , it got so bad that i had only to stand to speak before a few wrotten eggs where coming my way , that seething anger soon began to come out when they realized that i did not see God or heaven as they did , and how ugly it was , at least now i can say as i like and hopefully find some receptive ear , thanks for your enhancing web page.
| I was once JUST LIKE YOUR WIVES, so here's what my husband did that helped me get over Mormonism:
Bottomline: You've got to be the leader, the SANE one. Do not expect SANITY from your spouse, at least at first. They are not CAPABLE of sanity because of the brainwashing from the church.
- Don't buy into your wife's craziness by getting angry!
- Stay as CALM as you can.
- Realize that THEY'RE the crazy one, not you, but please don't call them CRAZY. (Use the "I" messages we were all taught in Communication 101 ... "You" messages are simply pouring gas on a fire.)
- Think of this situation as if you are dealing with an alcoholic who is in denial. You can't tell them they're wrong. You can't shout at them. They won't listen.
- You can INTERVENE with the drug called Mormonism. You need to recognize it for what it is -- an addiction that is threatening your marriage. (Don't TELL this to your spouse -- just KNOW this is how it is).
- Be patient and tolerant.
- Constantly reiterate your desire to work things out. ("I" messages. I care. I want to work things out. How can we work things out? What do we need to do? I love you.)
- Show extra love and support. (Your normal level of love and support might not be enough now. Be SUPER SPOUSE.)
- Talk about finding ways to compromise. (See #7)
- Acknowledge that you know how difficult this must be for them, the "death" of all their dreams and plans.
- Show empathy, not anger.("I" feel for you.)
- Remind them of other things in life that came as a surprise and turned out OK. (I'm sure you can think of examples.)
- Tell them you BELIEVE this is going to be OK, and that over time it will work out if you both stick together and don't do anything rash. (It WILL take time to work out the emotions).
- Continue to pray for guidance together (Ask your "higher power" for help even if you don't believe in a higher power.)
- Tell them if it ever came down to an "ultimatum" you would choose them vs. leaving the church. And mean it. (My husband did this and it led me out of the church. His graciousness and commitment to our marriage showed me how petty I was being by placing the CHURCH above him!!! I never issued the ultimatum.)
Do not argue with them or try to PROVE the church wrong. Be an example of patience and tolerance. My experience is proof that if shown a better, more positive way to live your wives will find the exit door of Mormonism.
| I've been told this a few times by TBMs that I've dealt with. This is one of the things that pushes my buttons the most.
If I never truly had a testimony, then I put myself through Hell on Earth for years for NOTHING. It's unfortunate that TBMs can't realize how denigrating this statement is.
What are some of your favorite things TBMs have said to be able to reconcile how you could possibly have left The One True Church©?
I know it's supposed to be some way to dismiss a disbeliever, but think about it a second. If you never really had a witness to the truthfulness of the Mormon gospel, even though you gave it the best you had, then what are you supposed to do? Go on pretending? Well, yeah, that would make them happy, wouldn't it, even though it's dishonest. Because then they wouldn't have to deal with the possibility you're right.
Imagine bishops opening every FandT meeting with, "Look, if you don't really believe, if the Spirit hasn't witnessed to you, it's wrong to pretend otherwise. This church works for some people but not others. It's best if we stop wasting each other's time." That would go over big with the brethren.
You have felt felt the Spirit testify the truth to you. You know that you have. You still have a testimony. It's in there somewhere, deep down, under layers of sin/pride/intellectualism/hedonism... Feed the mustard seed. Let it free. You know the church is true! You know!
They know better than me what I think and feel and why! I think this is the legacy of black and white thinking. If the morg is 100% right then anything else is wrong if it isn't the same (logical enough).
I hate being stereotyped by those who have no idea what I am like.
The sacrifices we make for REAL truth (or at least rejecting the lies).
| From The Mail Tribune Online:
Citing what they describe as their difficult and emotionally painful journey away from the Mormon church, a group of people have
started a "former Mormon" support group to share stories, provide friendship and talk about their new faith, which for most is
"I lost every friend I had, and my husband was the only person I could turn to in this area," said the group’s founder, Melissa
Thiring, 25, of Medford. "I started this group to raise awareness and bring healing for people who may be going through the same
The support group meets at 2 p.m. on the first Saturday of each month at the Upper Room Café at Ashland Christian Fellowship, at
Hersey and Oak streets in Ashland. The next meeting is Saturday.
Mormons believe the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is "the only true church on the face of the Earth," said Thiring,
and those who leave are "deceived."
Said Thiring, "one is very often faced with being disowned or divorced."
Another group member, Robert Kiser, 48, of Medford, left 15 years ago and is now a fundamentalist Christian. His family "wrote me off," though they would still speak to him, just not about religion. It was painful, he said, but he’s "grown accustomed to it."
| There's always duty. And it gets in the way of happy times.
For instance, instead of going in an evening walk with the family, there's home teaching to do.
Instead of family vacations to far away places, there's tithing to pay.
Instead of having all of your family and friends attend your wedding, there are only spaces for temple recommend holders. And children are not allowed.
Instead of treating the natural world with care and respect, there is the notion that Jesus is coming soon anyway and he'll clean everything up. So why worry about conservation?
Instead of cherishing extended family time together, there are temple visits, planning meetings, interviews, and more.
Instead of a few years of single adulthood during your 20s; time to explore, get an education, travel, meet new people, and forge an independent identity, there is heavy pressure to marry young and have children right away, even before you can afford them.
Instead of time for community volunteering, following a passion, or always having time to learn new things, there are assignments, callings, and more meetings.
In a nutshell, the greatest cost of Mormonism is the lifetime of lost opportunities.
| I was a BIC Mormon for decades. From early childhood until my apostasy, I endured hearing to the end, "I know the Church is true". This refrain was so commonplace that it became boring and lost meaning. I grew up "knowing", because my parents loved me, I loved them, and they said the Church was true. I had no reason to think otherwise. If the church were true, and all Mormons knew it, then why was it necessary to repeat the obvious so often? Was there a problem?
At the Language Training Mission (now MTC), missionaries, including myself, were admonished to testify, "I know the Church is true", even if all we had was belief. "I believe..." was not good enough. Perhaps the pretense of "knowing" is more persuasive than just honestly believing.
Of what do millions of "knowing" Mormons bear witness each month? Do the words of Moroni (Moroni 10:3-5) and Jesus Christ (DandC 9:8,9) really work? Furthermore, what is meant by another refrain, "I know that President Gordon B. Hinkley is a true prophet of God"? Just how many divine, new prophecies does President Hinkley announce anyway? If the answer is zero, then what makes him a true prophet of God?
My "Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary" offers twenty-five definitions for the word "true". I like the archaic version, meaning "truthful". With a little revision, our refrains become, "I know the Church is a truthful church" and "I know that President Gordon B. Hinkley is a truthful prophet of God".
I hereby offer another refrain, ready for adoption into the true church (inspired by myself), "I know God is truthful". God must be truthful, or He could not be real. Would a truthful god, (God), direct any church whose prophets were less than truthful? Additionally, if God knows all, even before all happens, then His published prophecies must happen without prior- or post-event emendation.
God, according to the current Mormon version has a resurrected, physical, Celestial body of flesh and bone. God is not Jesus Christ and never was. God was a man, like some men today, and some men may become gods like Him. Through His literal, begotten son, Jesus Christ, God directs the L.D.S. Church, and none other, through latter-day prophets. According to Mormon doctrine, God's revelations to mankind, through true, ancient and latter-day prophets, are what we must believe, know and live if we want to become gods ourselves, well...almost.
Now comes the hard part, knowing the truth. Starting with President Ezra Taft Benson, and perhaps earlier, we have been told to follow the teachings of the living prophet, as if certain divine revelations proclaimed by expired prophets were outdated, perhaps embarassing.
The abundance of emended, unfulfilled, erstwhile faith-promoting Mormon prophesy is plethoric. Does God issue imperfect scripture with expiration dates? Does true scripture become invalid when God discovers that He got it wrong in the first place? In my mind, God must be perfect and all-knowing; He would not "bless" us with false revelations, nor require that we believe lies.
A FEW MORMON "TRUTHS"
* David and Solomon had many wives and concubines which
was both abominable to and justified by God. In fact
God Himself gave to David his women, except in the
case of Uriah....(Compare Jacob 2:24 with DandC 132:1,39)
* "The only men who become gods, even Sons of God, are
those who enter into Polygamy" ("Journal of Disc..."
Vol. 11, Page 269). However, plural marriage
(polygamy) is not essential to salvation or
exaltation. (See "Mormon Doctrine" by Bruce R.
McConkie, former Mormon Apostle)
* "True does not mean "truthful". For instance,
President Gordon B. Hinkley told Time magazine, in
August 1997, that he did not know if God was once a man
like men today. Nor did he know if this teaching was
emphasized. He said he did not know much about it.
At the ensuing L.D.S. General Conference, obviously in
reference to this interview, President Hinkley said he
thought he understood this doctrine thoroughly.
By example, we learn that "truth" need not be truthful.
At times, the "truth" is a lie, but still true, if
spoken by a true (truthful) prophet of God.
* "Now hear it, O inhabitants of the earth, Jew and
Gentile, Saint and Sinner! When our father Adam came
into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a
celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with
him. He helped make and organize this world. He is
Michael, the Arch-angel, the Ancient of Days! about
whom holy men have written and spoken - HE IS OUR
FATHER AND OUR GOD WITH WHOM WE HAVE TO DO...."
(Brigham Young, former Mormon Prophet--See "Journal
Discourses", Vol. 1, Pages 50, 51)
From this we "learn that Adam is God; that God
entered the Garden of Eden as a resurrected god; and
that God was a polygamist. Is this Mormon "truth"
* "There is not one historical instance of so-called blood
atonement in this dispensation, nor has there been one
event or occurrence whatever, of any nature, from which
the slightest inference arises that any such practice
either existed or was taught." (Bruce R. McConkie,
former Mormon Apostle from his book, "Mormon Doctrine")
"And if any man mingles his seed with the seed of Cain
(a black woman) the only way he could get rid of it or
have salvation would be to come forward and have his head
Cut off and spill his Blood upon the ground" (Brigham
Young, former Mormon Prophet as quoted from the journal
of Wilford Woodruff, 1833-1898, Vol. 4)
Perhaps Elder McConkie missed this quote.
* "When all the other children of Adam have had the
privelege of receiving the Priesthood, and of coming
into the kingdom of God, and of being redeemed from the
four quarters or the earth, and have received their
resurrection from the dead, then it will be time enough
to remove the curse from Cain and his posterity
(black people)"...("Journal of Discourses, Vol, 2, Page
"All worhy male members of the Church may be ordained
to the priesthood without regard to race or color..."
(First Presidency, 1978)
Are any newborns today the offspring of "gentile",
white people who know nothing about Mormonism? Has
anyone recently encountered any resurrected white
* The "Book of Abraham" was translated from ancient
Egyptian papyri, by Joseph Smith Jr., by the gift
and power of God, which originally was authored by
Abraham, by his own hand. Was it really?
The papyri found have been a nuisance to the Church
and non-Mormon Egyptologists a long time. Acceptance
of interpretations from non-Mormon Egyptologists, who
claim that the papyri have nothing to do with Abraham
or his religion, fosters apostasy. This stuff is
XXX-Mormon rated. Don't look!
Just what would happen if non-Mormon Egyptologists
agreed with Joseph Smith's "interpretation"? Would
the BofA become another "keystone" of Mormonism? But
of course,... it already is.
The BofA must still be "true" because "the Church is
true (truthful)", and the "true" (truthful) prophet
has not yet declared this Mormon scripture to be of
dubious origin. We must believe (know), read the Book
of Mormon and pray harder.
* "But before the great day of the Lord shall come, Jacob
shall flourish in the wilderness, and the Lamanites
shall blossom as the rose." (DandC 49:24)
If molecular geneologies prove, with other sciences,
that American Indians descend from northern Asia,
then where are the blossoming Lamanites? The living
prophet is still saying that the American Indians
descend from Lehi, an ancient Isrealite. This must
be"true". Because the prophet is truthful, he
would tell us if the Book of Mormon were false.
* We must keep the faith that faith-promoting evidences
(more "parallels") will be revealed by F.A.R.M.S., even
though some of these incipient "truths" may disagree
with what is "true" today. Remember, Mormon truth need
not be true. After our faith (credulity) is thoroughly
tested (tortured) we will no longer need truth. We
For fifty-six well-documented Mormon "truths", read "False Prophecies of Joseph Smith", by Richard Baer, available for sale at www.utlm.org. No, I do not profit from this publication or from anything else published by the so-called "antis". Speaking about profits, how would these titles be for a new book -- "True Profits of the L.D.S. Church", and "A Prophet's Profit"?
OBSERVATIONS AND A FEW ANTI-MORMON "LIES"
* The true God must be truthful.
* The true church must be truthful.
* The true church, claimed by God as His own, must be
truthful, or it cannot be the church of Jesus Christ.
* Numerous are the divine claims made by the L.D.S.
Church and its prophets, both past and present, that
are mortally wounded.
* The only true church had better be truthful because
God is honest; He is truthful.
In the future, when someone, except my mother, tells me, "I know the Church is true", I will have more questions. Betcha he/she will get a "burning in his/her bosom" and say again, "I Know the Church is true!".
| Unfortunately, most mormon sinning isn't the fun kind.
Lying for the Lord is a requirment. Most mormons are good at that one.
Anther required mormon sin is worshipping idols, meaning temples. Then there's avarice and coveting, clear when mormons brag about their paltry worldly goods and seek to outdo their neighbors. There's bearing false witness when they gossip in the RS room or hold courts of love in the priiesthood bastions.
Mormons are required to bother, trespass on, and harass their inactive neighbors because they secretly sense that no one would want to participate willingly in a church like theirs. No, encouraging compliance requires bullying, rudeness, and spiriting cheap bribes of parishable food items onto stranger's doorsteps.
All in all, I think the church helps only the weakest, most immature adults to lead better lives. That's those who don't have the sense to come in out of the rain. More often than not, the mormon influence encourages insensitivity and out and out cruel behavior.
| I know they're glad to be rid of me. I was trouble from the get go. I used to behave so badly in Primary that they made me a hall monitor (official calling).
I think they're glad to be rid of a person who believes in evolution, feminism, relativism, and the right to free speech.
I think they're glad to be rid of a person who thinks about and talks about good ways to change the temple ceremony.
I think they're glad to be rid of a person who doesn't kowtow to higher authorities. Once I nearly refused to shake BKPs hand. Shoulda......
They're pleased as punch to be rid of someone who didn't pay a red cent of tithing for the last decade of her membership.
They're happy to be rid of a tea and coffee drinker, and occasional imbiber of spirits, mostly because I thought they were all healthy and I said so.
They're pleased to be rid of a lady who wouldn't wear the middle aged Mormon uniform of lace collars and white pantihose every Sunday, who now would probably never wear a skirt to church again. I hate them!
I'm sure you all can think of better ones than I can.
| It begins in the first section of the Doctrine and Covenants and resounds throughout: a voice of warning to all people. Those
who will not hear the voice of the Apostles and prophets will be cut off." |
"The metaphor is that of pruning, the
removal of dead wood from the living, fruitful tree. When one considers the difference between a withered branch and a fruitful
bough, the comparison is apt. Those receiving the restored gospel must make a choice: to hear or not to hear the voice of his
servants; to live as a part of the tree or be cast off to wither alone. As this warning unfolds in the revelations, an
interesting counterpoint develops in the lives of those little-known Saints who were there to receive first the words of the
Lord. Many heard and continued, and bore fruit; many did not, and were cut off. There is much instruction in their
"The lives of some 129 people referred to in the Doctrine and Covenants are fascinating, both for their
human interest and for the way they illustrate the importance of heeding the voice of the prophets."
"There are other
stories of those who, for pride, chose to stray rather than stay. Simonds Ryder, mentioned in section 52 [DandC 52], joined the
Church soon after its organization. Shortly thereafter, he apostatized and eventually led the mob that wrenched Joseph Smith and
Sydney Rigdon from their homes in winter for a brutal beating and tarring. His excuse for leaving the Church was the
misspelling of his name in Church documents; he questioned the authenticity of inspired materials with typographical errors."
"Joseph Wakefield, mentioned in sections 50 and 52, [DandC 50; DandC 52] found a like excuse for turning a deaf ear to
the Prophet. He observed Joseph Smith playing with children soon after working on the translation of the Bible and concluded
such was not the behavior of a prophet. Like Ryder, he was cut off, and his name has faded."
"If we hear and
obey, our fruit will continue as has that of the faithful of the past; if we hear not, then we shall be cut off to wither,
without root. But we must choose, and much depends on our choice, for ours is the opportunity to be part of the fruitful tree
of the kingdom."
- Elder Dale S. Cox, “To Hear or Not to Hear,” Ensign, Jan. 1993, page 44
How many of you
have "withered" since you left the church?
| A lot of Mormons (and religious believers in general) cite "spiritual knowledge" as the foundation of their belief/testimony. Mine was based on two things. The first was that the LDS lifestyle is a Good Way to LiveTM. I considered family values, Christian morals, and community to be the major "fruits" in support of the church. The second factor was the perceived logic and consistency of the doctrine. I liked being the resident gospel scholar. I made a list the other day of the LDS books I've read, and it was surprisingly long. Everything seemed to "make sense" within the paradigm of Christian theism. If Jesus was the Son of God, then of course he established his one true church. Naturally, only a church established by God has the authority to provide the knowledge and rituals necessary for salvation. There was a clear falling away, and the restoration put everything back together. Every person will have the chance to hear the gospel and be saved. We can live forever as families with God. It all seemed logicalenough, and I probably would have remained in that mode all my life, except...
The undoing of my "intellectual" testimony was the church's constant push toward a spiritual testimony, which is supposed to be the end-all and be-all of spirituality. Only when you've received a witness directly from the Holy Ghost will you have a deep, abiding testimony. It totally backfired in my case. When it seemed obvious that God was never going to answer my prayers and that no special witness was forthcoming, I began to re-examine the intellectual side of the gospel from a more critical viewpoint and the rest is history. Maybe the church is on to something, because it seems very few people apostatize if they honestly feel like at some point God answered their prayers about Joseph Smith, the BoM, or the church. A spiritual witness seems to cover a multitude of sins.
What was the foundation of your testimony? Did you have spiritual witness? If so, how do you explain it now? If you never experienced something like that, do you think a nice fuzzy feeling about the church would have prevented your eventual apostasy?
| From The Church News, January 4 1997:
"An inspired Joseph Smith further explained: 'Cursed are all those that shall lift up the heel against mine anointed, saith the Lord, and cry they have sinned when they have not sinned before me, saith the Lord, but have done that which was meet in mine eyes, and which I commanded them. But those who cry transgression do it because they are the servants of sin, and are the children of disobedience themselves.' (DandC 121:16-17.) Why is it, then, that the apostates will not leave the Church alone? Because they are the servants of sin and have another master whose bidding they now do."
Hugh Nibley explains why apostates can't leave the church alone:
"People who lose their testimonies and renounce the Church or drop out of it, if they are convinced of their position, should be totally indifferent to the folly of their deluded one-time brethren and sisters: if they want to make fools of themselves, that is up to them, but we are intellectually and socially above all that. Well and good, that is how it is in other churches; but here it does not work that way."
"Apostates usually become sometimes feverishly active, determined to prove to the world and themselves that it is a fraud after all. What is that to them? Apparently it is everything--it will not let them alone. At the other end of the scale are those who hold no rancor and even retain a sentimental affection for the Church--they just don't believe the gospel. I know quite a few of them. But how many of them can leave it alone? It haunts them all the days of their life. No one who has ever had a testimony ever forgets or denies that he once did have it--that it was something that really happened to him. Even for such people who do not have it anymore, a testimony cannot be reduced to an illusion.
-Hugh Nibley, "Approaching Zion", page 155
So why can't TBMs leave ex-Mormons alone?
| In the mail today I got a wedding announcement for a young girl in the ward. Though my dh and I don't know the family very well, they must have just send one to everyone on the ward list. This girl became inactive shortly after HS. In my attending days, I would see her in RS and she looked bored as a rock. She would just sit there staring straight ahead with not an ounce of emotion on her face. I remember feeling sorry for her, having to be among us women who liked to pass around our babies and share kid stories and talk about how we could support the PH. Then I stopped attending church for good, and never heard about this girl until about 3 months ago when someone told me she had just had a baby out of wedlock. From my TBM friend I learned that she had become totally inactive and had obviously done the evil deed at least once with a guy who she described as very homely and not very motivated. At the time of the baby's birth, they were not involved with each other very much, certainly not to the point of discussing marriage.
Apparently in 3 months time, lots of things have changed. She is marrying the guy, in the LDS chapel, with a reception following in the cultural. The announcement I received didn't invite us to the wedding, only the reception, which I assume means that the wedding will be in some sorry place like the RS room. (You know, to avoid the 'real church' wedding feel.)
In any case, the photo they sent with the announcement is the worst part of all. Though they are both smiling and look content enough, she is wearing a cute shirt with one inch straps over the shoulder and I kid you not it looks like she has material underneath the straps that looks like garment cap sleeves. I'm not in the loop enough to know if some lenient bishop/SP allowed her to go thru the temple, but everything I know about the church would say that she hasn't.... but why would she do something so gawd-awful as to wear something like that? If it weren't invading her privacy, I'd post a pic so you could see what I was talking about.
In any case, this whole situation has made me think what a sorry mess this church's 'values' have inflicted on what would otherwise probably be a very productive young girl. I doubt she'd be getting married right now if she didn't have that 'eternal companion' bell ringing in her head all of the time. And I'd be willing to be money she wouldn't be a young mom right now if she had been given other options than preparing to be a mother her whole life. (Her mom is the ultimate SAHM molly mo.)
Anyway, I know this is just a vent to people I know will understand my frustration with seeing yet another young couple's lives together begin in such a guilt-induced environment.
| Just a word of advice to you TBM lurkers...get out of the cult while you are still young. I'm pushing 50, TBM wife, TBM kids, TBM family, TBM friends. I know it is hogwash but I suck it up for my wife's sake.
Listen to me. If you wait no better time will ever come. You'll get older and the cult will suck you in deeper like the borg.
Get out now. It may cost you your marriage but better now than 25 years later. Your spouse will be young enough to find happiness with another TBM if desired. You'll be young enough to find happiness with a real person. Do it before you have kids or at least do it before you have the typical mormon litter.
Do it. Take the hit now. Take the disappointed sighs from your folks, family and friends. They'll get over it after 10 years and quit bugging you. You'll still be young enough to enjoy life.
Think it is too hard to do now? Trust me, you don't want to wait. You think it is hard now you can't even imagine how hard it will be later.
No point in going on is there?
- Spend the rest of your life faking prayers and testimonies, listening to goofy talks about ghosts, locked up every Sunday like a death row inmate.
- Cut short that really fascinating movie because your TBM wife comes home and you can't let her catch you watching an R movie.
- Get your straight laced "proper" sex once a month, since anything other than missionary position is evil.
- Say goodbye to your co-workers and head for home as they go out for a celebratory drink, or go with them and look like a little kid holding your sprite and telling your stupid little story about how you don't drink. Enjoy the thinly veiled looks of feigned interest while they say in their heads, "I never would have guessed that he was such a sucker and a wack job."
- Grin and take the constant reminders that you're not good enough, righteous enough, faithful enough.
- Pay 10% of that money you worked your ass off for and hand it over to a mass marketing scam so they can suck in more suckers.
- Spend your precious time attending dull, useless meetings listening to people who like the sound of their own voice.
- Keep bugging those people, who care nothing for you and for whom you have no real interest, to let you come visit once a month. Try putting on your "gee I love you so much face" for 20 years.
- Sweat like a pig on those hot summer days dressing like a puritan to hide your holy underpants
- Get up every morning at 5:30 and drag your tired kids out of bed so they can get their daily dose of seminary indoctrination
| This is in response to my earlier thread about the temple open house as well as in response to this most excellent statement by Mr. Wright.
"I'm not telling him that the LDS church is a complete and provable fraud. I'm not encouraging him to choose my church instead. I'm aiding and abetting his indoctrination into a cult and it's making me feel sick. Why? Because if I don't, it could cost him his parents' marriage and I feel that is the greater of the evils so I'm choosing the lesser."
I can totally relate to this Mr. Wright. Like every Sunday I fix my girl's hair, help them put on dresses, and often put my 3 year old in the car while she is crying "I don't want to go to chooch". Other things that make me sick: observing my son get baptized last summer, hearing my little girls sing indoctrination songs when they get home from church. I especially cringe when I hear them sing things like "I belong to the COJCOLDS" or last Sunday the 5 year old was singing "My life is a gift, my life has a plan..." Luckily we have a CD player near the kitchen that has such non-churchy stuff like The Wiggles, Raffi, and other assorted kiddy songs. This helps re-direct the singing.
But I do have those sad frustrated feelings when I realize that I am not just allowing things to happen but I am actually in some cases making things easier. But I, like you have a marriage to think about and my dh is about as devout as they come. His position is, we started in the LDS church and that is where they are going to stay. To fight this out would be very detrimental to the children.
SO.......... then my question is: when do I tell the children I think it is all bogus? My oldest is 8 and he wants to please his dad and so is very compliant with church stuff. Then I have a 5 and a 3 year old.
I suppose I see it somewhat like teaching your children about sex: tell them what is age appropriate. But what is age appropriate to tell an 8 year old about the temple. I'm sure if I told him they taught you secret handshakes and wore funny robes he'd probably envision some 'star wars' type situation and think that's cool. He so wouldn't get it.
What kind of things have you told your younger children that haven't turned them off to listening to you about any church stuff? I worry that if I say too much, their defenses will go up and they'll not listen to much of what I say. Hope that makes sense.
| Has anybody in your extended TBM family ever thought this about you? Ever since we left the cult of mormonism, my DW's family almost seem uncomfortable in our presence or in our home now.
DW's TBM sister said that her brother felt the presence of the adversary in our home. This was on a Sunday and I guess we all just seemed a little too happy because we were ordering a pizza and watching a movie that night. The kids were running around the house and participating in loud laughter. We even invited her bro to stay over and enjoy the movie and pizza with us. He seemed so uncomfortable, almost as if he had seen the devil himself. How dare we be so happy, shop on Sunday, and watch a movie. Apparently we are supposed to be reverent in our house on Sunday and act like a bunch of straight faced emotionless morgbots. When her brother comes over now, he is sure to have the book of mormon in hand. Is this to protect him from the adversary?
In a letter that somebody in her family sent us, it indicated that we are now under the influence of satan and his power. Because in their eyes, it is not possible to be happy outside of the church. I think it give them some sort of brain cramp or something when they realize that things are actually going better for us since leaving. How can we possibly be receiving blessings since we no longer believe in the lords "true church"? Well, this just can't happen. We might be happy now, but it WILL NOT LAST!! According to the letter, we will certainly be DESTROYED.
You know the longer I have been out of the church, the more crazy all of this sounds. It really is a wacky cult and I am sure glad I got me and my family out of it.
| I've been thinking a lot lately about how those two sentences helped keep me imprisioned for a very long time.
As a BIC I was raised speaking English, attended public schools taught in English and interacted with members of my family, friends and business people in English. But I learned early to experience some amount of confusion about the words "know" and "truth".
For example, if I told my mother that I was home from school the truth would be that I really was home from school whereas the converse of the truth, or a lie, would be to tell her I was home when I was not. SHE would not "know" if I was telling the truth; I would.
It was simple for me to understand what "the truth" was about things of the world because I could use my senses to establish simple facts and then determine if they were true or not.
The indoctrination I received in the church gave me a different set of rules for determining truth. Pilate's rhetorical question "What is truth?" was spoken as Jesus rambled a little about coming into the world "...to bear witness unto the truth." (John 18:37, 38)
Certainly, that response constitutes part of the origins of the confusion about truth because except for those of us who intend to express their opinions about the truth Jesus is referring to we don't really "know" what that is.
Jump forward to what many of us learned in our lives about testimonies offered by church leaders and members and there is real cause for confusion about giving the same credibility to the church's definition of "truth".
The church's definition of "knowing the church, gospel, JS calling, etc." is/are true is based upon hearing the claim and then getting a "feeling" from the holy ghost that what you have been told is "true".
To try to use the same criteria in a court of law would just not work.
I could not sit on a jury, listen to the evidence and trust my feelings that the evidence was true. That's not to say people don't but they're supposed to apply reason to the testimony. They're supposed to discount unreasonable allegations like the testimony that a two year-old child killed a man with a blow to the head, then dragged the 200 lb. body to the cliff, then hoisted it over the Jersey barricade and launched it into the sea, for example. If one of the jurors were to say during deliberations, "You know...I know it doesn't make any sense and defies everything I have experienced in my life but I just feel it's true," there would be serious doubt about the person's ability to be a juror...or even lick a postage stamp.
But as I was going to say before I got caught up in all the matter of fact about the jurors, I was coerced into accepting LDS definitions as correct. I expected worldly truths to require some amount of objective proof to be true but allowed the church to tell me that feelings constituted proof.
It kept me in prison for 40+ years. It extracted large sums of money from me. It was a sham. It was not true by any objective standard. But it was used to coerce me into "offering" money to the church.
If you're being deceived by someone about facts and you believe their assertions, like a testimony, is it any less fraud? Wouldn't the law consider that I was defrauded by these assertions posing as "truths".
Couldn't I sue them for fraud and demand that the law stop them from perpetuating this fraud? Couldn't I show that all other churches talk about believing their allegations while Mormon leaders declares that they KNOW the church is true. However, in a court of law they couldn't prove that based upon the generally accepted understanding of "know" and "truth".
It's different for the Mormon leaders because they told us they knew and told us to pay tithing or we couldn't reap the blessings.
It's late and I'm annoyed at the wasted years and I think the liars owe me something; I think I might have a case.
| This is great advice and addresses what is the best approach to help Morg cultists:
The exit-counselor is careful to support his client, rather than to tear him down. He is not accused of being "brainwashed" or stupid, neither of which is true.
Furthermore, victims of cults are not characteristically less intelligent than other people. If anything they are often the "cream of the crop," so to speak--the young, the intelligent, the idealistic, yet all too often naive ones. They are likely recruited during a transition time in their life, when they are more vulnerable to outside coercion and manipulation.
The intervention will consist almost entirely of dialogue and questions, as the exit-counselor attempts to get the cult member to think through the reasons why he became involved in the organization, and whether or not there were sound reasons for doing so without having made a full investigation of the group. The conviction of the exit-counselor is that once the member is aware of the logical flaws in his belief structure and his allegiance, as well as the emotional factors binding him to the cult, he will not feel comfortable remaining in the organization.
Videotapes about other religious, political, or psychological mind control groups are viewed often. As the member hears the testimony of other people who believed that they alone had the truth, who were following God's chosen prophet and were in the only true organization on earth, he will experience internal dissonance. The exit-counselor is careful not to overstress the cult member. He will pace his client, to avoid alienation.
After observing the testimony of ex-members of other groups, questions are asked about whether or not those interviewed appeared to be "abnormal" people or whether they were normal people who just happened to be deceived. "How did they feel about their organization and/or leader?" "What were their motives for getting involved?" and "Why did they finally get out?" are common questions asked by the exit-counselor. Eventually the member may come to see that in spite of superficial differences in doctrine or appearance, most cults use the same techniques of mind control, fear and guilt to retain their members. All too often he will see evidence of this in his own organization simultaneously, and may be questioned about that as well by the exit-counselor.
The Second Day.
This day may include taking a closer look at the member's organization and leadership. Rather than using character assassination, the history of the leader and organization are examined quite objectively, using their own literature and other historical sources, and perhaps any good journalism on the subject (newspaper or magazine articles, books, film documentaries, etc.). The exit-counselor allows the member to challenge the validity of the critical evidence, and is already prepared to further demonstrate the truthfulness of what has been said (they carry a large briefcase!). Careful not to be dogmatic, the exit-counselor or the attendant ex-member of the organization allow the member full expression, yet calmly challenging the reasons given by the member for not believing what is being presented. The subject matter is not changed until the matter at hand is resolved to some extent, nor does the counselor allow the member to divert the discussion to avoid facing the facts.
Sometimes by the end of the second day, the cult member may be showing signs of doubt in his organization, making statements such as, "Well, if I were to leave..." This is a sign that the intervention is successful thus far.
The Third Day.
This day might center on a discussion of what the member may feel is right and wrong according to his conscience. If all is going well, curiosity develops and the member will have questions. If he is in a Bible-based cult (such as Jehovah's Witnesses), then the Bible is discussed. This is where the expertise of the former cult member who has been present is useful. Often he/she is a Christian, and has had extensive background in Biblical interpretation and Bible history. He may present Christianity as a historical religion, with doctrines that are to be understood in their original historical context, not according to some modern-day prophet. It is explained that interpretation is no mystery, nor is it exclusive to a chosen few. The exit-counselor also points out that there is life outside of the organization, and the ex-member present is proof of that; he is living a happy and fulfilled life.
By the end of the third day, enough information will have been discussed and enough dialogue will have ensued that the member will recognize many errors in his own perception of the organization. He is now asked what he is going to do about it. Can he conscientiously remain in the organization, when he has not been told the truth or has discovered blatant lies or other embarrassing matters? Could he honestly evangelize others into the organization, knowing that it is at least partially a lie? Such pointed questions often produce a decision to separate from the group, at least for a time. An absolute commitment to leave may not be necessary, as long as proper follow-up is done. The member has already drawn his conclusions, he just needs some time to collect his thoughts. He is asked to stay away from the cult for a while, which will help him to clear his thoughts. If the member has made it through the three days or so, he will not likely return to the organization except in attempt to enlighten others of whathe has learned.
It is necessary to follow up for several reasons:
The emotional ties in the organization (friends) are still very strong at this stage
Loneliness and disillusionment are strong factors causing a desire to go back to the cult
Lingering doubts about their new decision remain for awhile
Confusion and disorientation about the future haunts them
Follow-up should consist of ongoing contact with the exit-counselor as well as the ex-member, to answer questions, provide moral support and an understanding ear, and to encourage him to face the rest of his life as a new challenge. Activities can be arranged to lessen the stress incurred during the intervention, such as sports and recreation, and time with the family. It is important that he associates with normal people. Eventually, he should be encouraged to share his testimony, an effective therapy in itself. Let him know that he is not alone; introduce him to a support group. Recovery takes time as well, and the family or friends should be instructed not to rush the recovery. Any emotional or psychological problems that pre-existed his cult involvement often have to be dealt with as well, perhaps through counseling.
| I posted a little while ago about my older sister, who has been making some excellent strides toward detachment from the church. I recently had another chat with her, and she explained more about her on-going awakening. A lot of it has to do with a psychological technique called "cognitive therapy." The basic premise is that you can manage the way you feel by understanding and controlling your thought processes. It helps you learn to identify and if necessary, correct any irrational thought patterns. It can be useful in treating anxiety, depression, anger, shame, and guilt--often without the need for prescription drugs.
An example might be:
1. Identify a specific moment when you felt a negative emotion. Example: I felt guilty on Sunday after I left church early.
2. Identify the thoughts you were having at that time. Example: I shouldn't be skipping church. My leaders will disapprove of me. I'm not fulfilling my obligations/covenants. I'm a failure and God doesn't love me.
3. Analyze the "hot thought," i.e., the one that seems to be most responsible for the negative feeling. These are often automatic reactions, not necessarily grounded in reality. Ask yourself questions such as, Is there evidence that would contradict this conclusion? What's the worst that could happen if this is true? Is this always true in all cases? What would I tell my best friend if she were having the same thought?
4. Consider the evidence both for and against your thought. Does it still seem warranted? Are you blaming yourself for things over which you have no control? Does your mood change when you put your thoughts into perspective and consider all the available evidence?
That's the basic idea, anyway. I have never tried it myself, at least not in a formal way, but my sister says it's working wonders for her. Like many LDS women, she has struggled for years (especially since YW, surprise surprise) with feelings of guilt, inadequacy, and depression. Eventually she wound up taking anti-depressants, but she never felt like she was suffering from the kind of depression that results from chemical imbalance. She was generally happy with her life, but every once in a while she'd feel overwhelmed with the demands placed upon her, perceived expectations of others, guilt, etc. She never knew exactly what was driving those negative perceptions. Unconsciously, I think she suspected the church was playing a role, but that's one of those things you usually just don't admit outright. After all, the church teaches the plan of happiness; if you're not happy, you must not be following the plan, ergo, the blame is entirely yours.
With cognitive therapy, she's learned to approach her feelings and thoughts rationally and take control of her moods. It has empowered her, given her more confidence, and helped her realize that the teachings of the church are behind much of her negative thinking. She also has that flaw most fatal to Mormonism--thinking too much. Apparently it runs in the family. The interesting thing is, she probably knows little to nothing about the faith-demoting history of the church. As far as I know, she's never read a single anti-Mormon book, and probably not even many church-approved books. Church history hasn't been a big factor in my or my siblings' awakening. Maybe we were raised with a more honest view than most Mormons. The main factor for each of us seems to be the desire to think, to bring our worldview in line with the world we observe and experience, to be free of irrational and magical thinking. Anything that smacks of manipulation, coercion, spiritual abuse, parochialism, muddled thinking, mental compartmentalization and so on, is a like having a pebble in your shoe. You're just never quite comfortable until you get rid of it, let the wound heal, and make the determination to walk properly from here on out.
| Out of lurkerdom for a bit to post this short missive.
I find Mormons who come here and post, apologetics who assail LDS critics, and members in general discussing apostates hilarious. Really, I do. If I were a psychologist I would have a field day examining people with such strong co-existing superiority and persecution complexes (in other words, "We're better than you, and for that reason you attack us relentlessly," etc.).
But there's an oft-repeated axiom that TBMs from the top on down can't stop repeating about people who leave the Church: "They leave the Church, but they can't leave it alone." The people who say this say it invariably with a sniggering, self-satisfied air. They do this because they are trained from younglings to believe that a mark of the "true Church" is the level of persecution levied against it (which has always bothered me, because if that's so then President Hinckley shouldn't be kissing the media's butt or being so two-faced with other religions by schmoozing them in public and criticizing them in private).
The thinking behind the axiom is that, once divested of the insanity that allows them to believe that LDS doctrine makes perfect sense (i.e. the presence of the Spirit), people are then automatically prompted by Satan and his minions (who can't read minds but can control behavior and somehow generate dinosaur bones from nothing) to leap with bared fangs upon the faithful and make it their lives' work to destroy and bring down God's kingdom. In other words, punching their Magog membership cards.
Now, in reality, the number of these Magogian anti-Mormons is relatively microscopic in the greater scheme of ex-Mormonism. For every Mike Norton or Ed Decker or the like, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of people that just want to put their Church experience behind them. The huge numbers of inactives on every ward roster attest to this -- they do not come to Church every Sunday with placards and tracts and such because they just don't care enough about the Church to bother.
But the existence of this board and other ex-Mormon sites and groups has less to do with a desire to raze the Church to the ground than they do to let us vent our frustration about the Church and its predilection towards keeping their hooks dug deeply into everyone they possibly can. They also allow us to tell our stories truthfully and without spin or censorship, which brings us to the real foundation behind "Leave the Church, but can't leave it alone."
Once the Church believes a person lost irretrievably to apostasy, they (from the lowest dregs of membership to the highest levels of leadership) make it their business to dehumanize and smear the apostate person to the greatest extent possible. Sometimes the methods are overt, other times they are subversive. But the truism about war -- "Dehumanizing the enemy makes it easier to kill them" -- applies with equal force in matters of religious doctrine. To allow an apostate to retain any level of humanity -- i.e. for him or her to appear to be a loving parent or successful businessperson or intelligent citizen -- makes it more difficult for the Church to wrest any influence an apostate may have over the believing masses.
Thus, the Church and its members go about building a case that the apostate is a sinner, a loser, an unhappy wretch, etc., and then take pains to make their exit stories appear in the worst possible light. It's as if they are waging a political campaign, except that the mudslinging and character assassination is done in the name of protecting God's Gospel and sheltering the faithful from evil.
Naturally, apostates wish to fight back and clear their names. The simple fact that we no longer buy into the Paradisiacal Placebo that is Mormonism does not fundamentally change us. If we are loser/bad parent/adulterous scoundrel apostates, it's because we were loser/bad parent/adulterous scoundrel Mormons. Our religious status does nothing to change who we are -- it simply provides a pretext and rationale for our behavior for others. In other words, if I'm a loser and a Mormon, LDS members will do everything in their power to think the best of me and help me. If I am a loser and an apostate, they will do all in their power to make me look as bad as possible so that they will remain aloof and distanced and I will not appear human and fallible and worthy of anything but self-righteous pity or outright dismissal.
If the Mormon Church could ever wish people well when they choose to no longer participate or to resign, then apostates would likely pay them no more thought once they are out. But the plaintive "Why can't you leave us alone and live your lives?" whining from TBMs that lurk here or post on apologetic boards or whatnot is disingenuous, because as much as we can't leave the Church alone, the Church and those selfsame TBMs won't do us the same courtesy.
To make a long and rambling point concise and simple, it's the Church's own fault that ex-members exhibit such vitriol towards their former religious home. We are defensive because we are treated as enemies and portrayed as subhuman. We are vocal because the Church blithely lies about its doctrine and its history as well as about those of us who no longer believe.
So, TBMs, if you want us to leave you alone, we'd be happy to. But not at the expense of the truth. Do not begrudge us our right to defend our honor, our honesty, our intellect, or our integrity -- for we possess these things, no matter what lies are spread about us by your institution.
| I know this has been hashed out before. But I was reading over on FAIR where some guy wants to define 'anti-mormon'. The resultant discussion was quite interesting.
Personally, I hate with a passion, the term 'anti-mormon'. If used against me, I would find it insulting and would see it as a defamation of character.
I wondered why my own feelings are so strong on the subject.
I think that it is because I personally relate it to the term anti-semite, as well as remembering the great hatred that most members have for people they regard as 'anti-mormon' and the belief they have that these anti's are getting what's due to them (I remember infiltrator being quite a good example of that particular mind-set)
An 'anti-semite' was someone who, as far as I can tell, hated the Jewish Race as a people. Hitler was focused not on iradicating the Jewish Religion per say, but on exterminating anyone who was a Jew. He made it personal, and he didn't spare women or children.
I bear no hatred to the mormons as a people, nor do I wish their extermination. I find some of the doctrines and philosophies, some of the cultish techniques reprehensible. But there is a big difference between disliking what the doctrines, history, culture can do to a person (which may be good or bad) and disliking the people themselves to the point of hatred.
To me a true 'anti-mormon' is an individual who wishes all mormons as people were dead. Not someone who criticised the religion, often for well-founded reasons. Therefore, in no-way would I call Gerald and Sandra Tanner 'anti-mormons'. They don't hate the people. They dislike the falsity that they believe they have found, but they don't wish the extermination of all mormon people. They don't wish them ill.
I wonder how one would define the LDS members who told me I was going to Satan and hell if I left. To forsee the death not only of my person but also of my spirit is judgement indeed (even if done in love). Could I call them 'anti-anti-mormons'.
| For those of you who don't know much about me, I manage a restaurant. Today after a particularly busy period I took a break to eat my lunch in peace and quiet, and happened to overhear something that nearly made me lose that selfsame lunch.
Two tables away from me a pair of ladies were talking quietly. I didn't mean to eavesdrop. I didn't! But I did.
At first I thought my mind was playing tricks on me. I've been pretty fixated on my discoveries about Mormonism since my April enlightenment, and that can play nasty tricks on the brain. For example, lots of old songs now have a new meaning related to my feelings about leaving TSCC. I interpret certain pieces of poetry a different way. And one of these mental special effects is that I read between the lines when people are talking. I wonder if this person is Mormon or if that person is harboring certain feelings about the cult. And that's pretty paranoid of me, considering that I don't live in the corridor.
Lady A was talking to Lady B about a man she knew. She was going on and on about what an intelligent, intriguing gentleman he was and how amazingly passionate he was about his "mission". She was enchanted by this man and his devotion to his "church", although she knew very little about it.
Then I started to hear, ever so softly, the word "Mormon" creep into the conversation. I wasn't hallucinating after all. But I wish I was.
The conversation swiftly turned to lady B's recent trip to Utah and how foreign the place seemed to someone like her, hailing from New York. Yet, she said, she felt strangely drawn in by the beauty of the place and the warmth of the people. Lady A agreed.
I was sitting on the edge of my chair, leaning forward as close as I could get to them but not looking in their direction. I don't think my weight was on the chair at all. I was transfixed like a cat about to pounce.
Lady A's voice was sounding more and more dreamlike. She essentially stated that because of this man's charismatic testimony, she was starting to feel drawn toward the church. Lady B, empathizing, said that she too felt that there was a "world out there" just waiting to be experienced. Lady B said she had read some of "the book" and found it interesting. Lady A said she had only read a little but planned to read more of it now.
The last thing I heard Lady A say before they left the table was that she probably couldn't trust her instincts because she had been wrong many times in the past. And then she promptly dismissed this idea because she was so hopeful. She wanted it to be true.
I felt like I was witnessing the birth of something horrible.
And there I sat, still poised to pounce on an empty table in a nearly empty restaurant, for the next minute or two. I had given up my chance to say something. And I really would have said something, I told myself, had I not been in uniform and risking an embarassment to my establishment by barging in on their obviously private conversation.
Now, several hours later, I still feel like screaming at these ladies:
"Take a step beck and evaluate before it's too late!"
"Don't let your emotions cloud your judgment!"
"Try before you buy!"
"Here, read ANOTHER book!"
"Wake up, DAMN YOU!!!"
I wish someone had done the same for me.
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