THE MORMON CURTAIN
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EX-MORMONISM SECTION 12
A very large selection of posts made by those in recovery from Mormonism. Culled from throughout the Ex-Mormon Communities.
| It is my observation, that a good many of us accepted Mormonism's teachings, hook, line and sinker.
I chocked and sputtered at times, but I kept swallowing it, thinking I was the one with the eating disorder!
We went along with the religious teachings in our home or from the missionaries if we were a convert that JS was a prophet, the only true church was restored and the priesthood was on the earth and we were here to do the saving ordinances and strive for the Celestial Kingdom, and we needed Jesus as our savior to atone for our sins etc.
Religion as in:Christianity/Mormonism was based on the idea that God-Heavenly Father was all powerful and these accounts were true.
I sat in thousands of meetings and heard thousands of people bear witness bearing their testimony that the claims were true and they would even die for them. Why wouldn't I believe them?
I was programmed, ever so subtly over dozens of years living in Utah in the middle of the Mormon culture and on BYU married student campus housing, as a young convert, that to even doubt these claims was evil, of Satan and I risked my whole life and afterlife if I indulged in doubts, questions, negative speaking of the leaders, etc.
The all powerful Heavenly Father loved me as his child and I wanted to please him.
I believed that anything that Mormonism taught was the truth and anything against it was from Satan. Those ideas were repeated thousands of times and thousands of others attested and bore their testimonies that it was true. Why wouldn't I believe them?
It never occurred to me, at any point, that the whole thing was a mass of lies, a complete hoax, and sham from the get-go. Why would it?
I was fed the line that; "the church is perfect but the people are not" so often that, even though it did not make sense, and the leaders and members were often so "evil" and nasty, and just plain rude and ridiculous, outrageous, and my ideas, opinions disrespected and disregarded because I was a female, that I thought that was just how it was and I was the one missing something. I was told that I didn't understand. It had to be me that had the problem.
What a great relief it was to find out that Joseph Smith Jr had told a huge whopper! And what a whopper that is!
There were no golden plates from any angel, the Book of Mormon is total fiction about people that only existed in his imagination and plagiarized other works, (no Nephi, no Lamanites, Jeridites, no Moroni, no Alma, no Helaman, no Strippling Warriors, and on and on), no such language as Reformed Egyptian and I could toss the whole thing out as total bunk! Whoppty doo! It was nothing more than a bad fairy tale! I had spent a lot of my life living a fairy tale! :-)
Fortunately, I tend to "think funny" and when it finally sunk in, that there was no possible way that the claims of Mormonism could even be remotely true, I started to chuckle and then laugh and laugh and laugh.
I had been thrown for a loop for years and years by all the ridiculous nonsense in Mormonism, especially that temple stuff, and those regulation garments, but I went along to get along and bore a testimony like the rest of the thousands of members thinking that I just needed to work harder at it, read more of the scriptures, pray more, and live more righteously. That was the answer to everything, and of course, resist the temptation to question or doubt the claims!
But, it was all hog wash -- all of it! What a hoot!
Now, I knew that there was nothing wrong with me -- ever. I had it "right" from the get-go.
What a boost to my self respect, self esteem, and self confidence!!
For over thirty years, I had tried to make sense of Mormonism; so busy raising kids, doing dozens of "callings" going to the temple, reading, praying, etc. that I never had time to get off the merry-go-round and figure out what was really happening.
Did I waste my time as a Mormon? No, of course not. Nothing is a waste. I learned how religion worked and how people, caught up in it's quagmire behaved and it was not always pretty.
One of the greatest things I learned in the little epiphany in the spring of 1999 was that I could trust my own common sense, logic and reason after all and I learned what happened when I didn't!
I was proud to be a Mormon and I am proud to be an ExMormon.
I relish in the right to change my mind and I don't have to answer to someone's idea of their imaginary deity anymore; especially one with white hair, all dressed in a white robe walking in the air with the white clad Jesus accompanying him!
When I contemplate the time, effort, rewriting, sanitizing, hiding, clever dissembling of the Mormon leaders, I am struck by the huge effort that is expended to keep this hoax going and the money coming in!
I have concluded that Mormonism is really just: LDS INC and everything else is just a way to keep the money supporting it and pouring in! No money-no church!
I am so happy to be free of being expected to live those silly rules and laws and commandments; no more praying (unless I choose to), no more reading that silly BOM fairy tale nonsense, no more tithing , no more living that goofy, outdated, ridiculous Word of Wisdom (which is not lived as it is written in the DandC 89 anyhow), Book of Abraham is nothing but another imaginary story, and a sorry, embarrassing attempt to translate an old Egyptian papyrus, and no more invasive, cruel, probing interviews by men who ask me questions that are none of their business, no more regulation underwear from the God of Regulation Skivvies, no more fear, no more guilt, no more striving to be Mormonism's idea of "worthy."
What a great world it is outside the Mormon World View. It is a whole new world; everything is more colorful, people are much more interesting (when not seen as a possible convert), time is my own to spend as I choose with no fear of recriminations or answering for anything; no more time consuming tread-water meetings planning to plan a meeting, no more listening to emotionally driven testimonies, no more Mormon Sunday schedules, and on and on and on always lining up life to fit in columns of "right/wrong", "good/bad", "righteous,/unrighteous", etc.
All of life is enjoyable now. Nothing is exempt. I choose my food, my outfits, my underwear! What a concept! I had no idea what a big deal it was to choose my own underwear until I realized that there was no reason I needed to wear the Mormon garments! Imagine that -- nobody outside Mormonism quite "gets" the idea of how liberating it is to choose your own underwear!
It is quite funny, now, when I think about it!
I still have loved ones and friends who are controlled by their underwear and literally, afraid to take them off and wear anything different (except to go to the doctor, other times, of course). They refuse to admit they are afraid to take the regulation undies off! They are living a life planning a Celestial life with a Celestial family and have lost any idea of how to live in the present and love everyone unconditionally and not feel threatened.
I am so glad I am not caught up in the notion that underwear is sacred, that the temple (bastardized Masonic) rituals are sacred etc. How goofy is that anyhow?
When I look back, I don't know how I did it. How did I go along to get along for so long?
It was a long process, but I became so immersed I had buried so many red flags, that not until I was over whelmed by them was I able to detach from the emotional bond, read with a clear eye, and understanding and turn off the Mormon auto-pilot in my head.
Religion such as Mormonism gets away with telling fairy tales and lies because they said that God said they could! Anything can be attributed to a God.
I was not given full disclosure for informed choice and consent and it is no wonder that people still go along with it.
Then, they become so programmed by repeated mantras, living in the culture, isolating themselves from others, that their minds are stuck in some kind of rut and they can no longer get out of it and think differently.
Fortunately, the funny button in my head was still working and when presented with the true information of the beginnings of Mormonism I was able to see the humor! And, I am still chuckling!!
Living Mormonism has to be the funniest thing I ever did! But, I sure learned a lot about how humanity works and how much power that religion takes from people.
Now, I own my own power. I am not bullied or manipulated by Mormonism. What a great way to live!
I wrote and posted this a couple of years ago and it is still how I think and feel today!
| As I reflect back on my life, I’m reminded of several opportunities I had to see the church for what it is. I now view these moments as opportunities lost...opportunities I let pass...because I was afraid of what the results of a critical examination might bring.
The first missed circumstance occurred while I was serving my mission. An investigator family decided not to take my companions and my word on the historical claims of the church and did some additional research at the local library. The result of this research was the total rejection of the church by this family. Needless to say my comp and I were devastated. We had labored hard to teach this golden family only to have them discover lies about the church. When I pressed this family on their so-called research, they challenged me to read what they had discovered. I agreed to do so. I had a perfect knowledge that the church was all it claimed to be...nothing could dissway me of its truth...or so I naively thought. They presented me with a copy of the Tanner book “Mormonism: Shadow or Reality”.
Nothing in my years of seminary, institute and other church education had prepared me for what I found contained within the pages of this book. To be honest with you, its contents sent unbelievable chills of fear and pain up and down my spine. Every page I read presented me with information that caused my mind to react in a manner I had never experienced in my life. I felt my world literally collapsing in upon itself, literally imploding. Like a car quickly entering a dark black tunnel...yet there was no light at its exit, the foundational basis of my life had disappeared in a flash. I remember the room I was in literally spinning out of control around me. I closed my eyes to gain my balance; my world had turned to blackness in an instant. Looking back now I know that what I was experiencing was a major case of cognitive dissonance. My young Uber TBM mind could not even fathom the alternative truths contained in that book.
Within a split second my life had forever changed...my innocence was gone...despite my denials I knew in my heart that there was something very very ugly and very very secret at the core of Mormonism.
I was an extremely focused, Uber missionary at the top of my game. I was the senior zone leader and I had loved every moment of my mission up to this point. But dear God was it all a lie? How could this be? I turned to God for an answer. I fell to my knees and prayed with ever fiber of my being, demanding that God send me a sign that what I had discovered was not real...I demanded that God put my reality and life back together. At the very moment I was ready to accept the truth, pack my bags, return home and confront the people in SLC who had lied to me, my years of programming kicked into action. And God answered my demand for a sign. I told God that He must move the Tanner Book across the room from where I had placed it prior to my entering my prayer. Upon completion of my prayer...God had in fact answered my prayer...when I entered my bedroom the book was in fact across the room (in the hands of my companion) But holy shit God does work through natural means doesn’t He?
That experience didn’t answer any of the problems I discovered in the Tanner book, but it was enough for me to discard everything I had discovered. I dismissed all of it as anti-Mormon lies. It was my first missed opportunity to discover the truth behind Mormonism. But a seed had been planted.
The second missed opportunity came a few years later during the Mark Hoffman fiasco. Following my mission I had successfully placed all of the difficult discoveries in an airtight compartment in the back of my mind. I had effectively sealed it up with no intention of ever having to repeat that awful experience I had survived as a young missionary. But little did I know that there were microscopic fissures in my testimony and reality was about to make another major frontal attack on those weak spots.
I was serving as a fanatical Elders Quorum President when Mark Hoffman's story erupted or should I say exploded into my life. But this time I was somewhat prepared for the assault to my faith. Those who remember these short but difficult months will remember that we as members of the church had to redefine just about everything we had believed about the foundational claims of the church. Thanks to Mark Hoffman, church members now had to adjust our understanding of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. It was my first exposure to the folklore, back woods occult and magical worldview of the Joseph Smith Sr family. As members we had to somehow find a way to assimilate and accommodate a new worldview, the “White Salamander” changing into the Angel Moroni. All of the “Cog Dis” I thought I had safely placed in the far distant back recesses of my mind were starting to bubble and ooze forth and rumble in the pit of my stomach like a bad Mexican dinner with each new Hoffman discovery. I decided then and there that Ihad to know the truth, church be damned. I started on a new mission to discover and examine the foundational claims of the church. I bought and started to read Michael Quinn’s “Early Mormonism and the Magic World View” and I booked tickets to Nauvoo so that I could explore and see first hand what the historical claims of the church were.
My wife and I arrived in Nauvoo on a beautiful October afternoon. The fall colors were at their peak and as fate would have it...the local newspapers were awash with a major breaking news story. Mark Hoffman had just blown himself up in Salt Lake City. Police where pointing their finger at him as the perpetrator of other bombings that had plagued Salt Lake City throughout the preceding months. With this revelation his whole fraud/forgery scheme was exposed...my testimony dodged another bullet and lived to testify another day. The seed, unbeknownst to me, had sprouted roots, but would take another 18 years to bare fruit.
I often wonder what might have been had I focused then on church claims and started my discovery of truth. Maybe I could have had a greater influence on people I love...maybe I could have lived a more fuller life...but there is no way I can ever know what might have been.
I now live my life as true as I can... with the heartfelt desire to face reality, enjoy this earth and humanity, be sensitive to others in need and show true compassion and understanding to those who are seeking the truth about Mormonism.
The transition out of Mormonism has not been with out its trials...but by “standing for something” (as Gordon B. Hinckley has stated) I hope to set an example for generations to come...that sometimes being “true” is more important then caving into social and cultural norms.
| Yesterday I posted on opportunities I passed on that could have led me out of the church at a much younger age. I detailed some of the difficult feelings I had when I first confronted evidence that conflicted with official foundational stories I had been taught at church. Several others also expressed the same feelings of darkness they felt when they were first exposed to conflicting information. We now know that these feeling were nothing more than our brains reacting, trying to accommodate incompatible information that was at variance with other seemingly true church claims. Black can not be both black and white at the same exact time. The earth can not be both 6 billion years old and 6,000 years old at the same time...sorry folks but I’m just not smart enough to accept this. There can’t both be "no death" prior to Adam and "death" prior to Adam it has to be one or the other. I can't see where the Mormon God, being all-perfect, would use a tool of fraud to translate his so-called sacred scripture and then hide this fact from the general church membership. Yet these are examples of exactly what we were supposed to believe. It was obvious that these claims can not both be true at the same time. Much like two objects can not occupy the same space at the same time...two opposing truth claims can not both be true at the same time. Either one is true or the other is false. or both are false...but both can not both be true. Our minds are incapable of holding two conflicting notions as being true at the same time...we either embrace one or reject the other or merely ignore the reality of the conflicting claim. There is no middle ground.
As TBM’s most of us gave the church the benefit of doubt, at least at first. For me it was just unfathomable that this so-called organization that claimed to be the vessel of all moral, ethical and religious authority on the face of the earth could be anything other than what it claimed. Yet here I was as a young missionary being exposed to information that was 180 degrees opposite from what I had been taught...and to make matters worse the information seemed so credible...how could this be? Thus the cognitive dissonance and the swing into darkness.
In my own experience, it took years for me to accumulate enough inconsistent information for the scales to finally tip against the church. I fought hard for this not to happen. I compartmentalized, ignored, rationalized and excused everything that conflicted with the official church claim. And even then, I didn’t want to believe that the organization I had given my life to was based on a fraud.
I fought hard NOT to accept the truth. I’ve risked practically everything I value in this life...but in the end the accumulation of knowledge was so overwhelming that I had to finally accept it.
Those who have gone through a near death drowning experience say that once they accepted the reality of death, they found an unbelievable peace. In that place just between consciousness and darkness they found peace. Acceptance of their reality that life was over. They fight like hell NOT to die...yet in the end they find peace through acceptance. This is were I am with my loss of belief in Mormonism. I have fought like hell to maintain a belief in unbelievable things... I gave Mormonism over 40 years of my life... I NEVER wanted the church NOT to be everything that it claims to be, yet to my utter surprise it was only after I accepted my reality that I was able to find the light at the end of the tunnel and find peace with my life.
To all of you still fighting to maintain belief...take your time...fight like hell if you must ...but you will only find peace with acceptance of reality.
| On a previous thread posted by Tal, he stated that it was imperative that we teach our children about the realities of the Morg. I could not agree more with this position, however on that same thread the question of “How” we do this was posed by several posters.
I am no expert in this area, but I do know what has worked for me. First let me emphasize that there must be three things to make this situation possible.
1. LOVE. There must be an increase of love toward the TBM spouse and children. They must understand that your love for them is unshakable and in no way tied to your former belief system. This must be real folks. There is no fake it till you make it, where love is concerned. They have to know that this is real, your future relationship depends on it. If your relationship has not been the best over the years with these people, now is the time to make this important and permanent change. Unfortunately for many, the avoidance of real emotional connection and the problems that are created will be exacerbated and will require an emotional purge before a new foundation can be started. Only real love from your true self will pull them through this damnable mess.
2. HONESTY. This is crucial for any close relationship to survive the crisis of unbelief. I believe that the unbeliever has an obligation to those he or she loves, to be honest with their thoughts and feelings about the new state of belief. By so doing, I believe that this is a two way street where both points of view are open for discussion. For example, on Easter weekend, I sat my children down and told them that I no longer believed in Mormonism. I told them that I believe the Book of Mormon was made up, and that Joseph Smith was not a prophet of God. I told them that I believed in God, just not Joseph Smith’s church. My children range from 7mos to 10, so I obviously tailored this discussion to their present understanding. I told them that they were free to continue to go to church with their Mother, but I would not force them. I also told them to ask their Mother what her thoughts and feelings were about the LDS church. I then listened to their concerns and hugged them through some of their tears. Children are not stupid, and they deserve our honesty.
A few weeks later when my 7 year old daughter asked me about her baptism, I told her that I would not be baptizing her and that she would have to wait until she was 18 to make that decision. This was difficult for my wife to hear as she stood by listening to our conversation, but my response was direct, honest and informative. I then took this as another opportunity to re-clarify my position about Joseph Smith and Mormonism in general. Little events like this have over time cleared their thinking on this matter. They still struggle as they try to find their place in this new post Mormon world, but they are making progress. I believe similar situations would prove helpful for teenage children as well.
Part of being honest is letting them know that there is no chance for your belief to ever return. No amount of reading scriptures, praying or spinning around in a circle while chanting “the Book of Mormon is true,” is going to make you a believer again.
Through this new honesty, a consistent theme of encouragement for them to seek out the truth must be maintained. I don’t mean demanding they “see it your way” but giving them encouragement for asking questions and personal study. By asking questions and explaining doctrinal and historical conundrums, seeds for further inquiry are planted. If a spouse or child refuses to listen to these questions and receive encouragement, they are not interested in having an open and honest relationship with you. They want you to be someone or something you are not. Take that as a heads-up to building more trust and love in your relationship. Consistency, consistency, consistency. They must understand that you are not going to go away. They must understand you love them too much for them to ignore you and your new position. Can one compromise on this? Yes, but at the price of deeper intimacy and honesty.
3. BOUNDARIES. Too often I have read on this board where a TBM spouse will control and lead the unbelieving spouse around by the nose if they do not submit to their demands concerning Mormonism. This is a clear example of the TBM spouse setting the boundaries for both parties without the consent of the other spouse. This is not an acceptable way for a healthy, loving and honest relationship to exist. There must be a setting of boundaries by the newly awoken party. I believe that the newly awoken spouse feels shame, fear and worry to the extent that they submit to whatever demands the TBM spouse requires. This is not healthy for both parties. It retards love, honesty, intimacy and growth. For example, After coming out with my disbelief, my wife demanded that our children continue to attend church. I told her that was fine, but they would be staying home with me every other Sunday. Her views were heard, and between us, a new boundary was set. I did not cave to her demand without my new boundary being established. We were working together to define our new relationship dynamic, I was not simply submitting to her demands.
If one is firm on the setting of healthy boundaries, then the TBM spouse and or children will soon learn that coercion, guilt, manipulation and other cult tactics to bring conformity and submission simply have no power or influence over you. You, whether you like it or not, are now the adult, and adults have to set boundaries. You may experience screaming, pouting, yelling, insults and other childish behavior, but boundaries must be set and continually enforced by the adult in the relationship. If you don’t do this, you will be back here at the board telling us all how your spouse and or children just do not respect you and your position for the hundredth time. In other words, this is going to take courage and commitment, things we all find hard to muster from time to time.
Are these three points a cure to the mind control of Mormonism? For me and my family the answer is a resounding YES. It also appears that these three elements were present in the relationship dynamics of many who successfully freed their loved ones from Mormonism. In the end it is a gamble and the odds are not in your favor. But Love, Honesty and Boundaries are a great start to beating those odds.
I don't want this post to sound like these are the definitive answers, but they were crucial to our leaving Mormonism together as a family.
| How many of us suffered from depression?
As a young mother I suffered from depression. I was active in the church, babysat other kids during the day, and read as much as I could. I had always loved reading, but it now became an obsession. I wanted to read all day every day. I did not want to do anything but read. My house was a mess, my kids were demanding, and I would sit there and read. It was my drug of choice.
Most people including my family did not realize I was depressed. I was very functional. I could clean up if someone was coming over and I managed to go to church and hold my callings.
But I was so unhappy. I was in so much pain and everything seemed wrong, but no one was listening to me. It would not have mattered anyway. I could not have articulated what I was feeling, because I was not allowed to feel what I was feeling. I had to ignore it, deny it, and fight it. I had to be obedient.
One day a woman in my ward came over to visit. Later that night she called me. She wanted to talk to me about something. She told me she thought I was suffering from depression. I knew something was wrong but I had never voiced that I had depression. She told me about other women in our ward that had been depressed. She said it was not my fault and it would be OK to get help. She would help me get help.
She did. She called and made an appointment for me to see a counselor and she baby-sat my kids so I could go. So I went. Three times. I had requested a Mormon counselor, but got a non-Mormon. I did not trust her and I knew that counseling could be dangerous. It could make you question your faith, it could make you leave the church, it could cost you eternal salvation.
My counselor suggested I take medication for my depression, but I refused. I would overcome my depression through righteous living and faith. She suggested I not have such strict rules for myself and others, but I knew she had no idea about perfection and that I would be blessed through my obedience. She then suggested that maybe my church was contributing to my depression.
After three sessions I never went back. I prayed about it and felt that I should not return. I would not risk my eternal salvation.
Though I knew something was not quite right, I had no way of getting help that did not seem to be going against everything I had been taught.
Admitting that I had a problem had helped, but refusing to do anything to get better made everything worse. I went back to escaping through reading. I ignored my children and disappeared from myself in the pages of a book.
10 years later - after I had left the church I got real help for my depression - counseling and giving up Mormonism.
| When I was a devout member of the LDS Church I sincerely tried to respect the beliefs of other faiths. But I could not appreciate or even tolerate Christian Rock and even some traditional Christian hymns. They really bothered me. I chuckled when I saw commercials with teenagers lifting their “Jesus antennas” high in the sky as they swayed back and forth to the beat of the pseudo-rock music glorifying the Son of God.
I really didn’t care for hearing my Christian friends go on and on about Jesus Christ. I have never liked the Ichthus symbol (Christian fish symbol) on cars or public displays of Christian belief – It seemed and still seems so, well, fake and gross. For me, it’s akin to public displays of affection – please get a room.
Last night, I was thinking of why Mormons felt such animosity (or distaste) towards this type of Christian worship. “As I was pondering this matter, the eyes of my understanding were opened” and I came to the conclusion that Mormons are uncomfortable with the concept of a personal Christ. In my opinion, most Mormons view Christ as a detached stake president or young kindly prophet, or the guy in that picture with the soft eyes, red robe and debonair beard. Yeah, he is there, the head of the Church, somehow he paid mankind’s debts, but as a Mormon I didn’t really want (or have time) to know him. (I still don’t.)
I was surprised of how quickly I went from being a devout Mormon to becoming an indifferent atheist/agnostic.
I have asked myself: “Why was the journey from Mormon to Agnostic such a quick one?” I think it is because we, as Mormons, never identified much with Christ. Sure we believed in him, but we had a bunch of other things to believe in too; gold plates, Joseph Smith, modern prophets, new scripture, Word of Wisdom, being the Only True Church on the Face of the Earth, two year missions, the spirit world, the Celestial Kingdom, food storage, temple attendance, family history, Lamanites, John the Baptist, Priesthood, etc. Frankly, we didn’t have much time for Christ in our life, we had way too many assignments.
For me, and I suspect many of you, Christ was the guy who appeared to Joseph Smith, he helped make the earth – but with the help of Michael (Adam), he was a messenger boy between Elohim and Peter, James and John (apparently heaven doesn’t have phones or e-mail); his name was the beginning part of the church’s name (which made us Christians); and did I mention he appeared to Joseph Smith and maybe a couple of other prophets and apostles? At Christmas time we celebrated his birth, but the important part was that we knew it really happened on April 6 – those other ignorant Christians didn’t even know that – thanks Joseph Smith for setting us right on that bit. We celebrated Easter and remembered his Crucifixion and Resurrection, but the most important part was the Garden of Gethsemane (again, thanks Joseph for that tidbit) and then we hurried home for ham, funeral potatoes, pie and seconds. And then there’s the Sacrament, the time to really focus on Christ and his atonement, but, we all know the most important thing was whether the young priest could get the words out correctly, or would he have to repeat them? And of course, the anticipated assessment of how soft was the bread.
So maybe I have the LDS Church to thank for not getting me hung up on Christianity once I lost my faith and confidence in Smith. I was able to make a quick transition. Otherwise, I might have spent years throwing myself into a more ancient myth. See, something good did come from my Mormon upbringing.
| The signs were there, and I should have been smarter. From the time I was very young, it was there to figure out. But I kept at it, kept trying to put the round peg in the square hole. God, it was pathetic.
I recall my father explaining polygamy to me. It made no sense. Why, if it was so godlike, did the church give it up? And if the church gave it up, why were there so many polygamists around?
Then there was the matter of Mountain Meadows. My father took us there in 1961. It was almost impossible to reach the site of the massacre. The river ran over the road, and our car stalled in the water. It was a nightmare.
It was obvious the church and state (the same thing in Utah) wanted it that way. They wanted no-one even thinking about it, much less going.
I recall Bruce McConkie's weird sister losing her cool in an MIA class when a girl asked about Mountain Meadows. "We do not talk about it in this church" she hissed. Oh really. Why might that have been the case?
I asked my mother where God lives. She told me "near Kolob." It struck me as odd then. God living "near a planet named Kolob?" WTF? Where did the name "Kolob" come from?
I used to look at the "Book of Abraham," and read Joseph's explanation of the illustrations. Those "interpretations" could not have been more absurd. Even as a kid who "believed," they seemed incredibly stupid.
Then there was seminary. If anything should have tipped me off, it was seminary. How could I even listen to the idiocy I was taught?
Still, I believed, or tried to.
- Cain stalks the earth--and he probably looks like Bigfoot.
- The "blacks" were "fence sitters in the pre-existence, and "deserved" their skin color.
- Blood atonement is a practice that God loves and approves of.
- Animal sacrifice will come back.
- People live under the polar ice cap.
- The streets of the Celestial Kingdom are solid gold (Las Vegas influence).
- People in the Celestial Kingdom wear white, seamless smocks.
- No sex for those who are not "exalted."
- Joseph's brother Alvin looked just like Adam.
- The Chinese will not be able to go to the Celestial Kingdom (lucky fellows).
I went through the temple, and found out I was in a CULT. It frightened me. I slit my own throat, had my weenie blessed, wore weird clothes, learned the "true order of prayer," and promised to be perfect under pain of death.
I struggled to believe. I really struggled. Something was terribly WRONG. The God who made the earth, birds, dinosaurs, and all the rest needs this ceremony? Huh?
I went on a mission, and learned that the church views its members as chattel. I was bullied, lied to, forced to lie, ridiculed, and told where I could sleep, when I could sit down, and what I must think. It was not "religion" as I thought of it. It was stupid, fanatical and cult-like. Normal people do not act like this. Normal people are smarter than that. Normal people laugh at that nonsense.
It all ended. But why did I believe, or try to believe, for so long? One might as well believe the "Wizard of Oz," and the man behind the curtain.
| On my mission, I learned the power of repetition and memorization, but only as a specialized tool to build and maintain a testimony. It wasn't seen at that time as a key to my entire "conscious belief." I memorized the missionary discussions word for word, line for line. (1978) How many times did I repeat the official message while memorizing? .... while teaching? And as for testimonies, I look back now and try to estimate how many times I had repeated things that began with, "I know ..." but which would sound silly if they included things which I really knew:
"I know that I am held to the earth by gravity."
"I know that I am held to the earth by gravity."
"I know that I am held to the earth by gravity."
MesMORMONizing is not really different in effect from chanting. Since my earliest memories in front of Sunday School, when repeating what was whispered to me, I calculate the number of testimonies, hymns, and relationship-hostaged responses to be in the thousands.
However, during my mission I culled bits and pieces of non-Mormon literature from Mormon speeches and *approved* books. I didn't do this to skirt the rules, at least that wasn't my intention; this was only the result of an unconscious need, ironically, to have a testimony ... and the Book of Mormon was evidently not enough to keep me inspired and at a level of dedication high enough to avoid questioning myself back down into depression.
I compiled these phrases into a notebook and by the time I finished my mission I had unconsciously built my own scripture. I developed, without knowing it, my own sub-Mormonism (or super-Mormonism?). I read these passages over and over again during my mission, in English, to "orient" myself in a positive but acceptably Mormon way.
At the same time I began reading the Mormon works in Portuguese, which as a second-language had a weaker effect, ironically, *on my doubts.* The book of Mormon had always existed as a danger to my relationships (the unconscious aim of my testimony was the survival of my relationships). I was angry with disappointment and wished I hadn't read the New Testament first. I winced when I read the story of Laban. In short, I was intuitively suspicious of the official story -- which was why I ended up binding together my own monster-religion, from bits and pieces of unknown, non-Mormon sources (I only knew their names).
My notebook kept me where I "needed" to be and within my own private comfort zone in relation to the church. My "integrity" grew more and more difficult to maintain, and so I had to play tricks on myself. In my notebook, when I had a choice between a Biblical passage and its copy in the Book of Mormon, I often used the Book of Mormon citation ... funny how I tried to hoodwink myself just to keep things together.
Then at BYU I locked onto the poem, "London," by William Blake. It was an assigned poem. Pathetically, I still waited for "permission" to insert new information. But I took hold of the power of "mesMORMONizing," without really putting it all together, and dug deep into that poem, and let it "grip" me .... a kind of "self-debriefing," although I didn't recognize that that was what I was doing. I emphasized the phrase "mind-forged manacles". I memorized the poem to get under its surface, which I didn't see then as *my* surface. I wasn't fully conscious of the fact that I was using repetition as a counter-tool, drilling a hole, so to speak, to let a few original thoughts find their way back out: "mind-forged manacles."
I finally cracked open a book of Ralph Waldo Emerson during my last summer of church activity, reading the essay "self-reliance" over and over again for the entire summer, and reading nothing else. Once a fanatic, .... Perhaps I should have been locked up at that point ... but was anyone ever really paying attention to anyone's testimony anyway?..., I mean to their *sanity*? Any "concern" for my lack of a testimony, I later discovered, was more connected to the insecurity of theirs. A testimony needs numbers and repetition, and a 100,000 iterations for the church it seems cannot withstand a single contradiction.
With Emerson, I never had to set a stopwatch, or goal, or copy out passages .. I needed no gimmicks to get through it like I did the Book of Mormon. I read it over and over again, because I was compelled to: it was liberating me. I pounded my thoughts with it as if I were a prisoner with a hammer, and where the only thing between myself and freedom were these mind-forged manacles.
After a summer obsession with this single Emerson essay, I had completely rebuilt myself and was no longer compatible with Mormon culture. Just after going inactive, someone asked me that standard question: Could an ordinary farm boy like Joseph Smith have written the Book of Mormon? I answered, "Yes, there are much better books out there." Without really knowing it, I had always felt that way, which was why I *needed* supplemental material, but I had never let the idea formulate itself within consciousness. Ironically, due to the inherent weakness of Mormonism, the survival of my "testimony" required a very non-Mormon solution. My "faith" was a hybrid of human needs and non-Mormon insight.
I was a sub-Mormon without ever really having been a Mormon ... and to this day I do not believe that it is possible for anyone to be or become what the official doctrine claims. Mormonism is not a system, but a surviving culture. It is junkyard of doctrinal fragments resulting from historically recorded wrong turns, head-on cultural collisions, and personal breakdowns that satisfy *institutional* needs. To make it a workable Faith, we have to fill in the blanks. We pick up the pieces here and there and try to salvage our relationships as best we can; we lie to ourselves; we haywire a few "historical" parts together, "normalizing" everything with unrelenting repetition, and call the result, a "testimony."
| I feel like an infant, taking the first steps of my own volition.
Leaving the church for me actually felt more like a "graduation" than a "leaving." The process of realizing that I had participated in my own brainwashing has been very profound and meaningful to me because it is my own. If anyone else wishes to share with me, I would be honored in the sharing. I realized that in order to use my mind I could no longer submit to its subversion. It feels good to feel alive and to just exist without fear of offending someone or of going to hell! And if my very existence is offensive - I'm okay with that. We can't please everyone.
Leaving the church - I can't even tell you about the process because it is long and painful and I consider it a lifelong journey of recovery and damage control. I can say that for me it was a death - awareness, shock, grieving, anger, chagrine at being duped for so long and my duplicity in it, pity for those still sucking from the teat of ignorance and calling it eternal nutrition - and embarrassment for not taking charge of myself earlier.j
But now, as in all adult operations - I own it. At least my part in it. And I am trying to suck and squeeze the poison out and move on.
My sister claims that I have "lost all my blessings of the Gospel" and can't believe that I have "thrown all my spiritual experiences" away. How do you help someone get it if they refuse to see? You can't. I told her I deny that I have lost anything, and that the Gospel is free for everyone. Spiritual experiences are spiritual experiences. It doesn't have to have "Mormon" attached to it to make it valid. And what is a spiritual experience anyway but a strong, almost overwhelming experience of lightness and being, and being in the "NOW"? Maybe I digress. I told her I'd pray for her. I bet that got her shackles of appropriateness hackled.
The church was smothering my very soul. Every sunday for years I'd come home angry and upset and wonder what the hell was wrong with me. Everyone else seemed to fit in and be just perfectly fine. What was my problem? I insisted on thinking, that's what. Oh, and adult discussion? Forget it. Would you like to hear about the time I mention healthy sexual (and yes I used that actual word) relationships are important in a marriage in Sunday school? Everyone just sits like the empty shells they are- waiting to be filled with the spewing regurgitations of mind numbing conformity and smiling through it while their souls vacate and their identities are absorbed by the morg. I finally decided that my soul was worth saving and in order to save it I needed to cut that cord of fear and intimidation.
I was depressed, as so many mormon women are - and living in the heart of good old Sandy-draper. We actually had a lecture from the pulpit because there was trouble at the old Tree-house (work out club and center)on the dangers of excessive exercise, and learning to love your body the way it is. I found out later that apparently some mormon couples decided to swap - and the cause was obviously excessive exercise, displaying your nice plastic surgery additions in provocative manners, and not wearing your g's at all times...like they weren't adults and could make their own decisions-Satan obviously took over their decision-making processes at the first sight of nice firm sweaty skin... just typical sandy crap. I digress.
To make a long, 12 year story short - we got the hell out of there and moved. It's been a little over a year now.
It has been interesting to witness the reaction of tbm's treating me like some freak creature - like I'm broken, and I need to be examined and fixed and put back in line. They don't quite know how to react to me because I don't show any animosity or anger towards them - However, the next time the whole young men's presidency, a future missionary and two young men stand on my doorway and ask, after I reported to them that we don't really do the Church Thing anymore "why, were you offended?" I think I'll ask the questioner -" does your wife give you blow jobs? Because that question is just as personal and offensive to me as my question is for you." Why do they assume that I've been offended to the point of leaving the church? If offense was the reason, I'd have left long ago. What minute minds they have, not to even conceive that someone might actually study and discover some things called facts and reason. I vent. I will tell you that I was pleased with myself for being able to handle so many brethren on my doorstep by myself - me being an intellectually inferior species-female-and all. The fact that we had moved and I didn't know these people from anyone was also a big help-but still-I'm pretty proud of myself. All that authority - and no intimidation!
Well, I found the book The Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore and I tenderly examined my soul and nurtured it and I'm happy to say that the days I've woken up happy for no apparent reason are more and more frequent and I feel free to explore and just be. So much more to tell - but for another time. Thanks. It's nice to know so many people can gather and help us poor wounded (but no longer walking dead) I'm not only out of the church, but out of Sandy! Hurray!
| Living with Mormon induced self incrimination, guilt and fear left most of us learning a few new tricks about how to approach our new non-Mormon life!
The automatic scripts just keep playing over and over until we delete them and/or replace them with different thinking.
Many times, we read about how people take on guilt and blame when we didn't do anything "wrong" it was the Mormon Church that mislead us.
I for one, do not take on any personal feelings of being duped or guilty for believing the Mormon American God Myth! After all, most of us had some Christian teachings in our lives (by the geography of our birth) in our environment whether it was Mormon or not.
Why would anyone suspect that the Mormon Church could be this successful in white washing, rewriting for "faith promoting" and misrepresenting the truth about Joseph Smith's actual claims.Who knew the depth of the shenanigans!
Who would think that so called righteous people would be able to sell such a story with absolutely not one iota of evidence! Seems unbelievable, doesn't it?
Leaving Mormonism teaches us to develop a new kind of BS detector, new thinking that is more skeptical, less trusting, and how to protect ourselves from being personally drawn in to scams and hoaxes.
Great information that works in many different areas of our lives, not just religion.
What many non-Mormons do not realize is that Mormonism is a whole life culture. For many, leaving it means you leave your "tribe," your family as you know it.
It is a whole new concept to think for ourselves, make our own decisions with never any need to ask a bishop or any church leader anything.
We do not have to double check our thinking and line it up with the imprinted/programmed Mormon World View! Not any more.
I still remember the initial thrill upon leaving the Mormon Church and declaring that I was no longer a Mormon, of knowing that I didn't have any need to wear regulation official underwear, go to any meetings, read any church authorized books, pray over the food, or any other time, take on any "callings," report to anyone, attend the temple ever again, wear the silly dress up costumes in the temple, keep any temple covenants, (none of which are binding anyhow as they are all based on fraud and lied!), I could eat and drink anything I wanted, go to any movie, watch any play, read any book,I could laugh all I wanted, at anything I wanted, and there was no fear of reprisals! None!
I never was really proficient at the guilt trip thing, so I got over that really fast! My rule of thumb is: don't buy any guilt tickets for any guilt trips you don't want to take!
The fear that any part of Mormonism might be true/right, and I was doing something terrible, left immediately also!
I have observed, reading this board for years, that many of us notice the same things when living in total freedom: colors are brighter, time is more precious, today is more important and enjoyable, laughter is more enjoyable, the world has expanded to unknown levels, our sense of connection to the world is increased, tolerance, acceptance, appreciation for all people increases to great new heights, and on and on.
What have you noticed is different about you, your outlook, your world view, since leaving the Mormon Church?
| One of the things that I enjoy about our Arizona winters is that my grandparents come down from Minnesota and winter here. This past Tuesday they flew from Minnesota to Arizona to begin their winter and tradition is the first Sunday they are here they drive down to my parents for Sunday dinner and then my family joins them.
Yesterday being the first Sunday they were here the usual plans were made,and with my wife having church now until 2:30 in the afternoon dinner time was set at 4:00, and this also accommodated my hockey schedule for the day. When my wife woke-up yesterday morning she decided she would go to Sacrament Meeting at 8:00 so she could get to my parent's house earlier and allow for my daughter to have more play time with her great-grandma.
By the time I arrived at my parents it was 3:00, and my wife was in the living room reading the newspaper while everyone else was in the kitchen area talking and watching the Arizona Cardinals game on the television. I gave my wife a quick kiss and went to the kitchen to greet my parents, grandparents, and daughter. From there I grabbed an ice pack out of the freezer and headed for the recliner in front of the T.V. to ice down my knee as I twisted it during one of my games.
Dinner was served at 4:00 as planned and by 5:00 the dishes were done, my grandparents were heading home because grandpa is 80 now and he prefers not to drive at night, and we were packing to head back to our house. By this
point I could tell my wife was upset and she had already given me one "look" when I let a bit of profanity around the dinner table. Since we had driven up separately at least I had another 30 minutes by myself before getting
home to hear it from my wife on what was bothering her.
When she got home I asked point blank, "What is bothering you so much?"
She is mad because she changed her Sunday plans for the sake of my family, just to get over there to listen to the Vikings game on the radio, and then to go inside and to be subjected to the Cardinals game on the T.V. Not only that but you do know your family uses bad language, and when you get around them you do the same thing. So now daughter and I were not able to get our spiritual charge because we did not go to our ward, and I had to deal with your family and when you did get there you went for the ice and sat your
butt in front of the T.V.
Well I did not realize my wife hated being around my family so much. Just the day prior we went to the Tempe Oktoberfest with my parents and she was smiling and having a good old time with them. Not only that dinner plans
were made with my wife's church time in mind so my parents made the accommodation for her and not vice versa. So for her to be upset about her missing church yesterday is a load of crap it was her choice to go to an earlier ward and not my parents.
Of course when I brought these things up to my wife she backed off and fast, but this is one of the reasons I find the church to be exclusionary and not inclusive. It sets up artificial divides between member family members and non-member family. The biggest illustration of this when we got married in the temple and my family was not allowed in nor her family since we were both converts. Then to feel guilt or anger because of spending time with non-member family on Sunday and football was enjoyed or bad language was
used, heaven help us.
Hopefully as time progresses we will be able to see as a family the division the church has created in our life. Not only does it now divide us as husband and wife, and that is by my choice, but how it divides us from our other family members. "Families are Forever" when it means they do it the way of the LDS Church otherwise you are supposed to forget your family and live the Gospel because you are a modern day pioneer and by your example your non-member family will want you have. Well, now I know what they knew all along. The church was founded on lies, and it only serves to separate families.
| Understanding underlying religious concepts while changing our mind about our choices. Getting out with as little damage as possible and the importance of this board.
Comparing Mormonism, or some other religion/church with another one to prove it is "true or false" is not a reasonable exercise. Why? Because,
they are all "true" religious concepts. They are "true" metaphysical, supernatural, mystical claims, most of which are centered around a deity concept, some with a savior concept included.
Religious concepts are generally taught from birth. The God concepts that we are taught personally is predominately determined by the geography of our birth; our home environment, parental beliefs, societal and cultural influences. Young minds are imprinted with general God concepts from birth almost everywhere at any time in history on this earth. Parents take religious training on as a sacred responsibility, in most cases. Is that "brainwashing"? No, of course not. It is the way that religions take a predominate role in the generations of mankind. It is how societies create their own generational culture which includes music, art, sacred writings, clothing styles, etc.
Generally, most folks stick to the faith based beliefs of their home (whether literally or figuratively) for the majority of their lives. It is the minority that breaks away and rejects the common beliefs of their "tribe."
I do not agree with the LDS Church's claim they are "only true church of Jesus Christ" restored by Joseph Smith Jr with the only authority to act in Jesus Christ's name, nor do I recognize that "authority," however, they can, as a religion, legitimately make that claim and any other one they want because it is a faith based religion created out of metaphysical claims, just like almost all the others. (Some exceptions, of course.)
Because Mormonism was my adopted "tribe" for several decades, it puts me in the minority to chart a new world view for myself. This is where many of us find ourselves; on the outside looking in, trying to figure how to understand our prior lives, the emotional attachment to the religious code, how we got to where we are and how we are going to make changes while diminishing, or removing well imprinted religious fear and guilt and recriminations.
The LDS Church's teachings/doctrine present some unique difficulties when leaving, some are similar to other religions in difficulty. It is a particularly exclusive family oriented closed group. How we deal with that depends on the highly individualized dynamics of each family.
There are, however, a lot of individual differences in how the members function in dealing with those who leave. Shunning, for instance, is a more subtle concept with Mormons, (non existent with some members) and more dynamic and dramatic in other religious groups.
Some of our unique challenges in what I often refer to as "The Exit Process from Mormonism" have to do with giving ourselves permission to change our mind. Learning to recognize how to empower ourselves in all facets of our lives. Also, learning to protect ourselves from our own negative self talk beating ourselves up, and not believing what others say about us that is not true.
Somewhere in this process are a few tricks that seem to work best.
Number one, is maintaining a healthy sense of humor. Laughing, out loud--hearty laughter every day cannot be replaced with anything else! The benefits are both physical, emotional and mental.
I am continually surprised and amazed at the level of humor former Mormons express here and other places as it relates specifically to Mormonism!
Learning to protect our right to our self respect, self confidence and self esteem while change our mind about our religious beliefs/training, experience is key also. Dealing with the betrayal is always difficult. We, as humans will deal with betrayal hundreds of times in our lives, but when it hits the core and center of our whole being, it is traumatic, to say the least!
One of the most therapeutic methods to deal with anything in our lives is to write about it. This is known to be a very healthy way to organize our thoughts and feelings and make sense of our experiences.
That is probably why this board is so successful. It fulfills a great need.
| Analysis of my former TBM thought processes is something I've been engaging in lately. I ran across a copy of a talk I gave in sacrament meeting a few years ago and I was kind of embarrassed at the things it contained. Actually I'm very ashamed of it. So I'm trying to right things somewhat with this post. Hopefully there will be more people who read this post than actually listened to me give the original talk.
Homosexuality was one of the things I made reference to in the talk. I made a point of acknowledging that current scientific research had found some potential biological links/causes for same sex attraction. With that information some were making the claim that, for gay people, being gay is completely natural. Then with all the self righteousness that Mormonism provides I declared “So What?!”
I proceeded to quote from the BofM that the “natural man is indeed and enemy to God” so it just doesn't matter if same sex attraction is natural or not. God says it's a no-no, End of Story. The Thinking Has Already Been Done.
I was willing to completely invalidate the feelings/desires/nature of a huge segment of the general population and it didn't bother me at all because...
You just don't have to apologize for God.
I remember having a conversation with a woman in New Jersey and discussing the patriarchal nature of the church. I agreed with her that women might do a much better job than men in many of the leadership positions within wards and stakes. I couldn't argue that women might be wonderful at giving priesthood blessings to the sick. I personally didn't have a problem knowing and liking women who were much smarter and better educated than I was. Sure there were some very talented female doctors, lawyers, chemists, writers, artist, politicians............... None of that mattered though, because God said “Men Are In Charge of My Kingdom”. He also said “Women Should Stay Home And Make Babies”
You just don't apologize for God.
Sometimes God allows bad things to happen to good people. Sometimes people who are entitled to inspiration might not be worthy of it. Maybe a bishop counsels a young bride to stick with an abusive husband. Maybe she gets beaten to death, but you don't apologize for God.
Maybe a pedophile is allowed to molest 3 generations of girls because men of God keep covering it up hoping the problem will go away without causing any embarrassment to the church, but you don't apologize for God.
Maybe Joseph Smith did have sex with teen-aged girls using the promise of salvation for their families to pressure them to submit to his carnal desires, but You Don't Apologize For God.
Maybe it is stupid to make church-wide policies against multiple ear piercings and tattoos. Perhaps forbidding facial hair at BYU is just a bit silly. Requiring white shirts for deacons to pass the sacrament while at the same time declaring that there is no uniform might seem odd. Expecting women to wear dresses with pantyhose in the chapel is a bit heavy handed. Requiring special underwear and then having annual chats with the leadership to verify that you are wearing it might be considered by some an invasion of privacy, but You Don't Apologize For God.
Home teaching may suck and you absolutely hate doing it as well as having it done to you. Your life may be filled with endless committee meetings that accomplish nothing but to rob you of personal time. You may be expected to clean toilets at the church, bake brownies for the cub scouts, give a generous fast offering, feed the missionaries, teach Sunday School and attend the temple. But if you begin to feel the least bit oppressed and over taxed you will probably subject yourself to all kinds of guilt because you just don't QUESTION OR APOLOGIZE FOR GOD!
I'm amazed and flabbergasted at the complete strangle hold the church had over my thoughts and feelings. Every thought was filtered by the church. Every desire and ambition was measured on the scale of the Mormon church. Even common sense was subjected to a committee for approval.
I see it now and I hang my head in shame. Hopefully I have learned something from it all. Trusting men just because they claim to speak for God is never a good idea.
If I say anything against the church my wife gives me a look that seems to say: “The church is true! None of that stuff matters. Don't bother me with facts and logic. I don't have to think about this stuff because God is in charge. If something bad happens it's because the members aren't perfect even though the church is. God must have wanted it to happen and I just don't need to apologize for God!”
I do apologize for not seeing the light sooner. The church turned me into a bigot and a pig and I didn't stop it soon enough.
I'm so very sorry.
| Looking back at my awakening, my thoughts were jumbled. I was confused. And this all makes perfect sense now.
My thoughts were only as scattered as the Mormon fragments I had inherited. Mormonism has survived by the careful selection of facts from an unorganized, historical pile -- not to preserve the history, but to protect the institution from that history. The facts presented to members have been constantly interchanged to support the institution -- and along with those changes, came changes in the doctrine. The church cannot, for example, present the origins to that heart-warming doctrine, "Families can be Forever," without also presenting a history of sexual abuse.
We inherited fragments, because the "whole truth" was very unflattering to the church. Why shouldn't our thoughts then be as scattered as the cut-in-paste "doctrine" that enveloped our minds? Ironically, the moment I saw that my thoughts were scattered, I had already taken the first step to putting things together. It was an honest moment: I was clear-headed enough in one sense to admit that I was confused in another. It felt like going backwards, but only because I had previously kept my back to what honesty had demanded.
Blaming myself for my scattered thoughts:
"My" mind did not belong to me, but to an institution. It was a consequence of having been raised within a bubble of carefully controlled facts, complete with instructions on how to cultivate institutional thinking and with scarecrows to frighten away "my mind's poor birds."* ... "I" was the consequence of an engineered condition. There is and was nothing I could do about that. No one can choose the conditions into which they are born, and so no one can choose the consequences of those conditions.
I would never blame the consequence for the cause ... the patient for the disease. So why should I then have blamed myself (as a twenty-year-old consequence) for the culture that existed as the cause? But I did. Upon awakening, I was ashamed both of the church and of myself. I can only see now that this point in time was a beginning and not an ending. I was confused, but at least I knew it. I blamed myself, but at least I was waking up. In Mormon-land, the rollercoaster ride has never failed to provide yet another loop-the-loop, even at the last stretch. I am glad that I blamed myself. It was a way of taking responsibility for my predicament, and in doing so, I found in the end that I was not to blame.
*"my mind's poor birds" - from the Poem by Trumbull Stickney
SIR, say no more.
Within me 't is as if
The green and climbing eyesight of a cat
Crawled near my mind's poor birds.
| What if the church is true, and in breaking with it, I am cast into Outer Darkness forever? What if I am socially demoted? What if this? What if that? Every "what if" backs me into a corner of fear. But am I afraid of losing everlasting salvation -- or righteousness? If only the former, of what value is a God that does not care for my righteousness?
Which is the horse and which the cart? The fear of consequences or the courage for the principle.
To ask the question -- "What if honesty sends me to Hell?" -- is still morally equivalent to, "What if choosing the right, actually does let the consequence follow?" Were we only bluffing?
Careful scrutiny of church history reveals that institutional unity has been the desired consequence, a goal for which every shift in prevailing conditions demanded a new revision of history, which in turn resulted in a revision of what constituted "righteousness." Joseph Smith's and Brigham Young's imitators are promptly excommunicated. That was that, and this is this. There is a solid wall between what was and what is. And it is a wall of fear. We are so afraid of our own history that we have contorted the moral standard we are so fond of singing into its opposite, "Choose the institutional consequence and let the current version of righteousness follow."
Every fear appears within consciousness as if so many snakes in a garden. They should be respected, investigated, and not ignored -- a little danger, a little alertness, a little nervous energy can bring out the best in us. It is important at some point however to call up a degree of courage in order to balance ourselves and to convert the sense of danger into a healthy fear. It is not the fear that is cowardly; it is our letting the fear alter our conclusions. At some point we must subordinate the "What if?" to the courage of "Even if!"
Even if [fill-in any "What-if?"], I will hold to fearless honesty.
What if I really am damned forever for my fearless honesty? There is a difference between a spirituality that finds a warm comfort in the collective security of frightened thinkers and the fearless spirit of holding to honest thoughts. What am I really afraid of? Am I afraid of losing salvation -- or honesty? If I give up honesty for salvation, how can I know that my "salvation" is not a product of self-deceit? If I put honesty first, as the horse that pulls the cart, I do not necessarily give up -- nor secure -- salvation. I simply gamble that a just God would demand my honesty, courage, and hard work … or would be so far beneath me that I should see *this deceiver* as a wolf in sheep's clothing.
And if self-deceit were what Righteousness required, what would be the difference between Heaven and Hell? Why would I prefer eternal befuddlement to the struggle for clarity? It is all just another conceptual shell game. I prefer the name of "Hell" to the real one, even if it bears the name of "Heaven". What kind of God would harvest only dishonest cowards? Am I more worried about God's integrity than my own? Even if I saw with my own eyes, God the Father, I would reject him, as a matter of *righteousness*, if he were as superficial, dishonest, and downright silly as the "history" of the church claims He is.
This would be the ultimate ethic in respect to God: Choose honesty, let the consequence follow. I cannot imagine a just God choosing a dishonest believer over a sincere doubter. If I believe that honesty is not the way to God, then I am either following the devil or putting on an eye patch. I don't blink the world into and out of existence with my eyes -- and neither does the existence or nonexistence of God depend upon my self-deceit. My moments of clarity and befuddlement however are entirely dependent upon my fearless honesty. Clarity first, let the conclusions follow. If there is a God, this is way. If there is not, then seeing my predicament clearly is imperative.
Even if … how to shake off the fears and move forward toward a stronger ethic.
| BTC and I go and visit my father and his wife (85/84 respectively) most Sunday Mornings before they go to church. Often we reminise about my family's years in the Fresno area and our friends there.
Today we talked about the Fresno East Stake's Welfare project. The Church owned about 60 acres of grape farm. The grapes were picked, dried, and packaged (raisins).
Once every year in September we would have Stake Grape Picking Day. We would get up about 5 a.m. and arrive at the farm by 6 a.m. Everyone would be there - all of the people in our ward, through-out the stake, children included.
Each row would have about 3 families assigned and we would work together to pick the row. Wwe would cut a cluster of grapes and put it on the paper mats to dry in the heat of the San Joaquin Valley. If you got done with one row, you would go and help on another row. It was fun and I loved helping, being with everyone, the practicle jokes, laughter and friendship that I experienced picking grapes on a hot September morning in California.
As my father and I remembered that time, I found myself fighting back tears. This surprised me. I have long ago let go of the church and I feel quite negative about it now. But I remembered how I felt back then. In those days, before I went to highschool, rebelled, repented, married in the temple, left the church, left my marriage and finally found peace - I was innocent and safe. This day was the promise of the Mormon church that would never be fulfilled. One day each year we would come together in fellowship and friendship. We would all be equal on that day - there were no bishops, Relief Society Presidents, no doctors, no bus drivers - just the Saints working side-by-side in a worthy cause.
It was not enough of course to sustain any real connection. All would be lost in the separation of callings, incomes, and LDS worth. As the year would move on there would be courts, hurt feelings, new people coverted, current members disaffected, marriages that would break up, children that would rebel and the judgment of people seeking for perfection as if it was a million dollar competition that rewarded - not perfection - just the appearance.
So today I remembered that brief time when the church seemed not only true, but good. I remembered the feel of the dusty heat, the smell of grapes and hearing the laughter and friendly banter of my people. I belonged back then and today it made me cry.
| Have you ever wondered what mormonism is selling? And what the purchase price is?
One of the things on sale is answers. Mormonism sells answers to the following questions:
1. Who am I?
2. Where did I come from?
3. What is the purpose of life?
The fact that nobody can rely on the mormon church's answers to these questions is of little consequence to the seller. The seller is only interested in getting it's money.
It's a bit like a Nigerian internet scam, where pretty soon you are handing over your own money, or giving power of attorney over your assets, as a preliminary for the vault of treasure that never materialises.
Also, the missionary dudes don't tell that there are reams of small print and hundreds of clauses that you'll get whacked with, and whacked-out with, at a later date.
And what does the mormon church charge its customers for the answers? What is the selling price?
Well, the buyer must pay the following:
1. 10% of all his or her income, for life.
2. Married females "...will each observe and keep the law of your husbands, and abide by his counsel..."
3. Males "... will obey the law of God, and keep his commandants..."
4. "... sacrifice all that we possess, even our own lives if necessary, in sustaining and defending the Kingdom of God [i.e., the Mormon church]"
5. "... avoid all lightmindedness, loud laughter, evil speaking of the Lord's anointed (i.e., the leaders of the Mormon church), the taking of the name of God in vain, and every other unholy and impure practice."
6. "... consecrate yourselves, your time, talents and everything with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints..."
7. Wear magic underwear and go participate in Joe's pantomime, in the (reverent hush) House of the mormon bloke-God, exchanging secret handshakes and throat slitting gestures, in preparation for getting into heaven.
8. You must avoid the foods the mormon church tells you to avoid, and eat the foods you are told to eat.
9. You must stock pile a food store. It used to be for 2 years, then it became for 1 year, now it's for a few months.
10. You must swear blind obedience to the church and it's leaders. For example, this means that if Gordon B. Hinckley took you aside, and said God or an angel with a flaming sword commanded the prophet that your 12 year old or 14 year old daughter was to be his wife, and that he wanted to have sex with her, but that it was all to be a secret, and that your daughter and all her household would be saved if you consented, then you would have to accept it as a blessing from the mormon god.
When the smooth smiles and suites persaude the buyer to buy, little does the buyer know, about what Lies ahead. Aside from being willing to take an oath to kill themselves in the name of mormonism if required, something which they share with extreme Islamists, mormons must be willing to give every last breath to the church.
[Sorry for boring those of you who may have reqad this before]
Let’s look at the ways in which the church sucks the time and life out of you.
1. 3 hour cult meeting - Sunday
2. PEC meeting - Sunday
3. Bishopric meeting - Sunday
4. Bishop youth committee meeting - Sunday
5. Brain numbing firesides - Sunday
6. General conferences - Saturdays and Sundays
7. Stake conference - Saturdays and Sundays
8. Utard firesides - Sundays
9. Relief Society conferences - week-ends
10. Other *special* broadcasts from Utardland - Sundays
11. Young mens - evenings
12. Young womens - evenings
13. Relief Society - non-Sunday
14. Seminary "indocrination" (quoting kimball)
15. Personal priesthood interviews
16. Home teaching - evenings
17. Visiting teaching - evenings
18. Young men's camp - holidays
19. Young womens camp - holidays
20. Chapel cleanups - Saturdays
21. Stake Sports - Saturdays
22. Seminary - super Saturday
23. Seminay - graduation
24. Temple interview bishop - any time
25. Temple interview stake - any time
26. Genealogy research - any time
27. Temple attendance - any time (even week-long trips)
28. Service projects - any days, but mostly Saturdays
29. Ward committee meetings - whenever
30. Letter writing to missionaries - any time
31. Lesson and callings preparation time - any time
32. Scripture reading - every day
33. Road shows - evenings and Saturday
34. Missionary service cult conversion - 2 years
35. Missionary service Temple - 2 years ?
36. Church courts prosecuting and judging - any time
37. Official curriculam study and absorbtion - every day
38. Stake presidency meeting - any day
39. Stake high council meeting - evening
40. Stake bishops meeting - evening
41. Ward welfare meeting - evening
42. Stake welfare meeting - evening
43. Priesthood leadership meeting - evening
44. Stake training meetings - evening or Saturday
45. Church Employment courses - any day
46. Christmas (Smithmas) concerts - evenings and Saturday
47. Genealogy open house - Saturday
48. Ward correlation meeting - any evening or day
49. Ward Choir - Sunday
50. Stake Choir - can be multiple evenings in a week
51. Journal keeping
point # 51 is the killer. After you have done all that you can do with points # 1 to 49, at the end of the day, when you are knackered and ready to die, you must complete your journal entry for the day, because "angels may wish to quote from it" (source: Spencer Wooley Kimball).
The gospel of Joseph Smith is beautifully simple, and simply beautiful, isn't it?
| Let me first commend Linda and Flora’s crusade of fighting for abused women and children within the polygamist cults. I’ve read Flora’s story and she certainly has walked in these woman’s shoes. I am appalled to learn of how young girls and women are treated. For example consider the following definitions in the study of polygamy. "Poofers": A slang term for girls who suddenly disappear from their community in order to take part in an arranged marriage. The girls are either kept hidden or moved to another state or country. This is most often used by the FLDS Church. Another definition: "Reassignment of Wives": Some fundamentalists interpret Doctrine and Covenants 132:44 to show that a wife does not belong to the husband, but to the priesthood. If the husband is out of favor with priesthood leaders or his wife/wives, his family may be reassigned to another man. If I were a young woman wanting to escape polygamy I would surely hope someone like Flora would be fighting for my freedom.
What troubled me was a part of Linda’s lecture where she talked about all of the people she interviewed implying satanic ritual abuse in Utah was occurring and then naming various people who were participating. Afterward she told me of alters in the woods that were being used as part of the ritual. During the question and answer period of her lecture I had to ask her since extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence what evidence does she have other than hearsay. She could not come up with any. I found this disturbing as her talk to me appeared to be embracing the kind of evidence that was gathered for the Salem Witch Hunts. In my humble opinion "hearsay" can harm the innocent and destroy families. Linda’s claims were starting to remind me of the stories I’ve heard from temple workers of seeing spirits doing endowment work in the temple at night.
Flora presented a picture of a cemetery in the Colorado City/Hilldale area and implied child deaths were being covered up and demanded an explanation. Flora and Linda presented this evidence to the FBI who found their claims laughable. SoUtSkeptic has an inside connection with a prominent Colorado City apostate of many years. I ran Flora’s claims past him. While being very fond of Flora and her cause he tells me the claims hiding child deaths are nonsense.
Flora also stated to me the LDS church was financing Warren Jeffs and the FLDS Church and she just needed more time to prove it.
I would strongly suggest that if we as Exmormon’s can not back up our claims, we are no better than the church. That it’s a good personal quality to sometimes question our own conclusions.
All of us have emotional baggage that comes from our Mormon experience. Hopefully as we come out of Mormonism working on straightening up our trees we can leave with higher ethical values.
Under Utah law for hearsay testimony to be admitted in court it has to be scrutinized by the judge: Yet Linda without providing evidence has become accuser, judge and jury.
Even Utah law requires skeptical scrutiny of hearsay.
c) the statement qualifies for admission under Rule 15.5 (1), Utah Rules of Criminal Procedure.
(2) Prior to admission of any statement into evidence under this section, the judge shall determine whether the interest of justice will best be served by admission of that statement. In making this determination the judge shall consider the age and maturity of the child, the nature and duration of the abuse, the relationship of the child to the offender, and the reliability of the assertion and of the child.
Granted, sexual abuse is more difficult to prove. Evidence such as a doctor’s physical examination, pregnancy, DNA should play a more major role in determining sexual abuse.
Using emotion, sensationalism and extraordinary claims to promote your cause tends to bring your credibility into question. The news media picked up on this with a questionable aspect of a letter presented in support of Laurice Jessop’s story attempting to reclaim custody of her children.
“The school district's copy of the principal's letter does not include the paragraph on the kids' emotions.
Randy Ripplinger: "That statement was not in the letter that the principal sent."
Laurice Jessop: "I know for a fact that statement is true because my daughter repeats it all the time."
The question remains unanswered: Did the principal write the paragraph and remove it later? Or did someone else add it for its emotional fireworks?
The Utah light House Ministry presents a balanced article on the so called Satanic Ritual abuse in Utah.
At this point we do not feel prepared to take any strong position as to the conclusions Bishop Pace has reached with regard to his interviews. We are, in fact, caught on the horns of a dilemma. On the one hand, it is very hard to believe that such an evil conspiracy has been going on for so long without detection. We try to be very cautious about accepting stories concerning conspiracies unless strong evidence can be marshaled to support the accusations. We have seen too many people make the mistake of leveling serious accusations against individuals and organizations without carefully considering all of the facts.
(Salt Lake Tribune, Jan. 13, 1988) In the same newspaper, under the date of Dec. 16, 1987, we find the following:
"PROVO–As many as 40 people in the same Lehi neighborhood were implicated as child sex abusers by their own offspring and other children in the area, a therapist testified Tuesday.
"Dr. Barbara Snow, the principal therapist who broke an alleged widespread pattern of child sexual abuse centered in one ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spent nearly six hours on the stand during the second day of the trial of Alan B. Hadfield."
Many people felt that Dr. Snow planted ideas of sexual abuse in the minds of the children. A psychiatrist we discussed the situation with said that although he had questions about Dr. Snow's methods, he talked about the matter with another psychiatrist who had interviewed the children. He was surprised to learn that this man had reached similar conclusions–i.e., that there were probably many people involved in the scandal. Since he has a great deal of respect for this man's work, he feels there may have been something to the statement that there was an organized sex-abuse ring functioning in Lehi. However this may be, although officials indicated that additional charges might be filed, no one else has been prosecuted for the purported abuse. Many people in Utah still feel that Mr. Hadfield was innocent of the charges and that the accusations made by the children against him and other members of the Mormon ward in which he lived were without foundation in fact. This was certainly a very difficult case and it is very hard to know who was telling the truth.
On the other hand, however, we have to ask ourselves this question: Can the testimony of so many individuals, that seems to agree on some key points, be totally disregarded? Psychiatrists, of course, would point out that we cannot blindly accept the statements of those who are mentally ill because they sometimes have a difficult time separating reality from fantasy. Since Glenn Pace presents only a general overview of the problem in his report to the Committee, it is difficult to really evaluate his conclusions. It is reported that there is a 40-page report which would throw more light on the issue. Unfortunately, however, it is not available to the public. In any case, if Pace has correctly read the situation and a satanic group like he envisions is functioning within the Mormon Church, it would have to be one of the most diabolical conspiracies in existence today.
SoUtSkeptic speculates that if there really was something to the so called ritual abuse the news media would have had a hay day much like what we are seeing with Warren Jeffs.
The American Psychological Association has not yet taken a stand on this controversial topic. APA president Philip G. Zimbardo conclusions are much the same as the Tanners. “The still-hot debate in psychology about the validity of those reports should not detract from the twin phenomena that to me are remarkable feats of mind power. Some people who have been sexually abused or suffered other deeply traumatic early-life experiences are able to put them out of conscious awareness for years. It is similarly fascinating that others who have not had these experiences come to believe that they really did happen and are causing their current distress”. (See: http://www.apa.org/monitor/julaug02/p...)
SoUtSkeptic believes we should be open to all possibilities but it is EVIDENCE that decides.
Our famous SL Cabbie (and I love his posts) stated the following. “And yes, Linda and Flora rocked . . . I'm still processing the information they presented . . . Fair warning to the False Memory zealots, Linda provided some powerful evidence on that one, and I've got a blood atonement permit from ADMIN for anyone who takes a shot at either of those two . . .” Just so happens the Cabbie and I have talked about a visit to the MMM site where much blood atonement has occurred.
However SoUtSkeptic would like to see the “powerful evidence” Linda speaks of. Perhaps I can find out if Bugs Bunny really made appearances at Disney Land. See: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/...
| I am pissed. Not just a little pissed. A whole lot pisssed.
I work in commission sales and have been in my line of work for 15+ years. I make a very good living doing what I do and have a customer retention of almost 95%. My company loves me and knows that no matter what I'll always be at 100% of plan every month, quarter, and year. This year, with 2+ months to go, I'm at 225% of plan. I have great products and a great company.
I have a long term LDS client who, without fail, always buys from me. I know each of his office staff by name, treat them to Christmas lunch each year, drop off donuts randomly, remember birthdays, etc. They have always done business with me since I first started this business. Until today.
I stopped by, as is customery, to check up on their account. I noticed the office staff seemed to avert their eyes when I walked in and to an experienced salesperson this is a sign that something is wrong. Nobody wanted to talk and I wasn't allowed to check on my product like I usually do. I was asked to sit in the waiting room until I could see the owner.
Usually, he greets me in the lobby and we go back to his office to conduct business or chat. Not this morning. He told his staff to take me to the conference room. On the way to the room I passed the room where my products usually are and I saw my competitor's product instead.
When he walked in it was strictly business. He told me that he has decided to go a different direction. Although he has no complaints with my products or service he just doesn't feel comfortable giving his money to a non-tithe paying person. He said that my competitor is LDS and that since I left the church he didn't feel the need to support my lifestyle anymore. My competitor has similar products although at a higher price, almost 50% higher. But my customer felt that he could justify this increase in price by knowing that some of his money was going back to the church.
Talk about being blindsided. I asked why he didn't call me and discuss it with me before he switched and he said that there was nothing he could have done because I decided to leave the church. As long as he was going to be spending the money he may as well spend it with people who believed the same way he does. Then came the bombshell: "Besides, we have seen an increase in business since we made the change. I know we are being blessed for our decision."
I stood up, shook his hand, and thanked him for his past business, told him I wished him success in the future, and walked out.
I'll miss the few hundred dollars a year his account brought me in income. I'll miss his employees. But my integrity means more than that. And I'll never go back to the Morg just so I can make a few extra dollars.
| I've been pretty busy lately and have found myself spending less and less time here. Although I am a peripheral part of this community, it has been an important part of my life the last couple of years. It’s important to me to maintain a link here, so I figure I should post something here every now and then to keep in touch.
I'm passing my 2 year anniversary since I realized that I had spent my whole life devoted to the lie that is Mormonism. I don't remember the exact day, but it was late in October a couple of years ago when I was digging into information on the Book of Abraham and finally put the pieces together.
The swinger for me was when I looked at the pictures of the torn Egyptian papyri that had missing sections conveniently filled in by Joseph Smith with incontrovertible bogus material (random characters, including some Hebrew characters in the midst of Egyptian characters that matched up perfectly with the torn sections). If ever there was a smoking gun that Joseph Smith lacked the ability to translate ancient scriptures, this was it. When I realized that he lied about translating scripture, it made it a lot easier to understand why “God” would command him to have sex with married women and young teenage girls… Joseph Smith was anything but the second most righteous person to ever have lived, in his own humble words.
For those of you who don't know me, I have an ultra TBM wife and 4 wonderful children. My marriage has been on eggshells since I left. We seem to have avoided a divorce for now, but our marriage has been horribly damaged and disfigured by the effects of "the one true church" on our family.
There is an upside to all of this. I have never been happier. I feel literally as if my mind has been released from a lifetime in prison.
There is another thing that has happened in my life that I am tremendously excited about. I recently switched jobs and am at my third startup. In my new endeavor, I'm working diligently to build gear that can cost-effectively sequence the entire human genome. I've been working crazy hard doing what I love, both professionally and personally. I love devoting myself to a difficult technical problem; knocking myself out trying to change the world in whatever small way I can. This is my new religion…
The nice thing about being out of “the church” is that I can now focus my time at home 100% on my family. Each week, I've managed to spend time with each of my kids individually instead of wasting it on church. In spite of all the hours at work, I’ve spent more time than ever with my kids. Just this last week, I was been able to watch two of my daughter's soccer games, take another daughter to the bookstore (our favorite daddy-daughter date), and spend a Sunday afternoon with my son. It's nice to be able to use my time where it belongs.
It amazes me how Mormonism purports itself to be sole proprietor of all truth when it is so full of lies. If it really cherished the truth so much, then why does it contain nothing but falsehoods about its past? And don’t feed me this malarkey about how “That was a long time ago.” Isn't God supposed to be eternal?
I now see the old men that lead the Mormon church as living, breathing anachronisms. The Mormon church is 50 years behind the times, but at least it’s a steady 50 years – there is progress being made. The geriatrics that lead the church may feel like they’re on the cutting edge of truth, but the real truth is that the major changes they introduce into the Mormon church are ideas that were introduced into their minds when they were younger and more malleable, like, say 4 or 5 decades ago.
They proudly proclaim themselves as the vanguard of the world, champions of a higher morality of a past golden age while blindly ignoring the reality that the world has passed them by, progressing forward, not backward. The real truth is that they are far behind in the rearguard, facing backward, in the wake of progress, being inexorably towed into the future, kicking and screaming, condemning, criticizing, and standing in judgment of a world that has left them behind. While claiming to be the guardians of the truth, they are blind to it.
How did I not see this all of those years?
I guess I’m rambling, but like McCue says, these posts are really more for ourselves than for others. As we work through the deprogramming process to free ourselves and our minds we are able to find ourselves; our authentic selves; our true selves … for the first time. What an exciting adventure! As the fictional character Ammon once said, I can’t even begin to express the hundredth part of what is in my heart!
It’s been an amazing two years. Thanks to all of you out there who have given so much, you’ve been an important part of my life. What a joy it has been to be free, to live life, and to rejoin the human race (many of you out there know exactly what I mean by this)!
| I've read them by the hundreds here.
If you don't pay tithing, you'll lose fall into finacial ruin.
If you leave the church, your health will fail and your familylife will turn to disaster.
If you lose your testimony, your your mother will die of a broken heart.
While I was mormon, I didn't realize how superstitious mormons were are. It can be hard to see it until we've gained the perspective of recovery.
Much mormon hocus pocus isn't the lighthearted kind that's easy to laugh off like magic charms and funny underwear. It often turns dark and ugly, like when they curse apostates to suffer and die in eteral outer darkess or warn them that they and their families will suffer devistating tragedy if they leave the church. Or when they necrodunk kids who stand in as holocaust victim cadavers.
Evil curses only work if they are believed. Laughing them into oblivion is the best anticdote. That's why loud laughter and mocking are so eschewed in mormonism, a religion which feeds on dark evil raw fear, which can't exist where there's jocularity and lightmindedness.
| How has your outlook changed since leaving that church?
Are you a more spiritual person?
Do you feel more charitable?
I have to say - I heard over and over again that people who left would be "dark" and unhappy. I think it's a myth and stereotype. It doesn't hold with my experiences (not that my experience is typical).
I am much happier and feel more fulfilled since leaving that church.
I don't feel guilty all the time that I'm doing something wrong or that I'm not doing more (journaling, baptisms for the dead, geneology, reading the BOM, etc.).
I don't feel like I have to be everything to everyone. I try to stay within limits that I set for myself. I don't try to drag my kids to a boring SM service where they would be off the wall (literally).
I can choose what causes I want to donate too. I can choose when and how I want to help others.
I don't feel like I have to lie to family members - or be ashamed for the way I live my life.
I was able to get a great education and I'm continuing to learn more every day. Can't say I would have been able be exposed to such different points of view had I remained mormon. Can't say I would have been able to read such fascinating books or watch such amazing films otherwise.
I feel like a whole person. I am at peace with my spirituality - yet I'm continuously learning and searching. I don't have all the answers and I don't need all the answers.
Everyone is at a different place and has different experiences. But the majority of exmos I've spoken with (relatives and friends) seem to be content and just fine without that church. They are not dark and unhappy.
Obviously, there are some people who are very angry and continue to be angry (for good reason). There are others who have lost their families and are understandably hurt and saddened. For some, this point may take years and may never happen.
| The thread about tracing roots back to Adam reminded me how guilty I felt about geneaology. (P.S. we had the list of names back to Adam, I'm sure it's all completely accurate (sarcasm))
For me, genealogy was just another reason to feel guilty.
My parents had done some basic genealogy, so theoretically, I didn't need to do any at all. I am sure that my parents made sure that all the dead relatives they found were properly dunked and endowed.
But I still felt that it was my duty to devote a certain amount of time to genealogical research. Just as it was my duty to grow a garden inside a 1 bedroom apartment, and store a year's supply inside my college dorm room, and write spiritual things in a journal every day. So I felt guilty about not extending the genealogical work that had already been done, and I felt guilty about not growing a garden in small flower pots on my windowsill, and I felt guilty about not having a years supply while living in a college dorm, and I felt guilty about not writing enough in my journal.
What a waste to spend all that time and energy feeling guilty for stupid things.
It is also a waste because I was never able to enjoy any of it. When I did try my hand at gardening (and I wasn't very good at it) I did because I thought it was the morally correct thing to do, but I never took any pleasure in it. Gardening was about as much fun as scrubbing toilets. I took no pleasure in writing in the journal, I did it simply out of duty. I took no pleasure in any stories of my ancestors. It was duty, nothing more, just like scrubbing toilets.
I understand there are people in this world who engage in activities because they are fun and interesting. I understand there are people who garden for fun, and research family history for fun, and who keep diaries for fun. By turning these things into duties, all the fun was removed from them.
And what a messed up moral code. Why is writing in a journal and planting vegetables "good".
I remember back in YW we were suppossed to make goals to achieve, we had little books to help us. We had goals like "do some cross-stitch" or something like that. So I diligently, out of a sense of duty and wanting to be a good girl, did some very bad embroidery. I did not enjoy it, it was a job, just like scrubbing toilets. And I did it because it was part of YW, and I had to do these little goals and fill up my little goal book. This is just sick and twisted and wrong. Embroidery and cross-stich can be a very pleasant diversion. It should NOT be a duty. No hobby should be undertaken out of a sense of duty. And what useful skills did I learn from these little embroidery goals/projects? YW was all about teaching us to be future wifes and mothers. Did I learn anything that would make me a better wife and mother? I can think of many more important wifely/motherly skills than the ability to do a little bit of cross-stitch. In fact, I think it might be possible to have a happy marriage and raise healthy emotionally sound children, without ever employing the use of needle-work at all. And in addition, one more possible hobby is ruined. How can I enjoy a hobby after having it forced down my throat as a duty which must be done because it was IMPORTANT to fill up the spaces in the little book.
| Mormonism is like a house with no steel reinforcements. It looks beautiful, looks strong, but if it gets hit by high winds, an earthquake, a tornado, the walls and the floors crack and it comes tumbling down.
One of the biggest problems dealing with leaving Mormonism is building a new foundation/home that just crumbled under our feet.
Some years ago, our brick wall in the back of our house needed to be repaired. Several bricks had broken, needed to be replaced and a few more rows were added at the same time. One of our teenage sons volunteered to do the work. He and his dad got the materials, a book of instructions and he went to work.
When it was done, it was beautiful. We were proud of our son for the fine workmanship.
Several years later, we needed to move a large skate board ramp out of the yard and in the process, it rested on the brick wall and the wall began to crumble. I drove around the corner of the house just as part of the wall came down and a large piece of the ramp was stuck between two huge trees while several teenage boys stood in bewilderment at the huge mess cussing and shaking their heads! I laughed. It was the funniest thing I had seen in a long time!
Various parents were called to help with this situation. In the process we noticed that there was a lot of newspaper in the bricks. Hmmm. Our son admitted that at some point, he ran out of mortar to reinforce the bricks, so he just stuffed newspaper in some of the bricks and finished the job. It looked find. He thought no one would know. He thought it would hold up fine.
One of the boys called his dad who was a brick layer and he came up and taught the boys how to do the job right and it was repaired correctly. It is still standing strong, many years later.
Now when I look at a brick wall, I wonder if it has newspaper stuffed in the bricks !
Mormonism is a little like that brick wall, looks OK, but it has newspaper instead of mortar in just enough of the bricks to make it unstable!
The teaching from Mormonism that if something does not fit, just keep building that brick wall, it will all work out just fine in the end, is indeed, faulty!
Rebuilding our world view, our method for understanding our world after leaving Mormonism requires that we use the correct materials to make it stand strong.
| I have to admit I was always embarrassed by the church, even when I struggled to believe. There were so many things that could not be explained by a sane person. I always thought I was comparatively sane, and coming up with explanations was agonizing. How do you explain the weird, the occult, the stupid, and the racist?
Some of the issues I heard about--including as a missionary in Korea---puzzled the hell out of me. I did not know how to respond.
How does one explain polygamy? Talk about a stupid practice. There are no good reasons for it. The sopping up of unmarried women argument was a lie, and everyone knew it. What a crock that was. I knew missionaries who used that line, but it was always incredibly dishonest. There was only one real reason for polygamy, and that was the desire for lots of sex with different women. No other explanation flies. And non-Mormons are not stupid. They do not believe the twisted answers that come from idiotic missionaries. Hell, people understand sex, and the fact that some would go to great lengths to have it.
Then there was the "blacks and the Priesthood issue" as it was called. I heard about that many places. Why did the church do it?
Again, we got endlessly lame explanations. My favorite was "The blacks are ready, but the members are not." Oh, really? I knew a lot of members who were past being "ready." The doctrine sucked, and everyone was mystified by it. It went beyond Mark Peterson wanting to "allow every black who can afford it the chance to drive a Cadillac."
It went on and on. When the "revelation" finally came, I was out of the church, and smoking a cigar when I heard the news. It made me put out the cigar--at least for a few minutes. I mulled it over, chuckled, and lit up again.
The issue of revelation also annoyed me. I could not see any indication it was real. The brethren waited for God to tell them to stop being racists, and the answer did not come. They had to seek it out.
World events were terrible, and a prophet should be able to let you know what is going on. There should be more to "revelation" than divine word on how many earrings a woman should wear.
Many non-members snickered at the idea of revelation. And for good reason. There was no answer to the question "Where is it?"
The "Book of Abraham" also rubbed against my previously free-turning wheels. I had often wondered what had happened to the famous fragments discovered in Chicago. But no word ever came. Eventually, I found out from a friend, who had the first translation of the papyri. It was not what Joseph Smith said it was. Oh my God, what a revelation that was. But how did you explain that one away? You cannot.
The underwear thing always embarrassed me. I would go to a non-Mormon doctor, and the eyebrows would shoot up. I even went to a Presbyterian doctor in Korea, and he asked "Are you wearing your jump suit?" He did not mean it maliciously. He did not know what to call the damned things.
Each religion has its eccentricities. I can accept that. But Mormonism was way over the top. From underwear to temples, from race to earrings, it makes no sense. It embarrassed me then, and it would embarrass me now.
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