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Total Articles: 25
A very large selection of posts made by those in recovery from Mormonism. Culled from throughout the Ex-Mormon Communities.
Healthy Emotional Expression And Anger
Monday, Jan 7, 2008, at 07:00 AM
Original Author(s): Loved
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 19   -Link To MC Article-
Growing up in a religious cult and cult society, I was encouraged to always be happy, sunny, and cheerful. I was told by my YM teachers, and by my own mother, that "boys do not like brooding girls." I was encouraged to shove any authentic emotion deep down inside, and cultivate an appearance of happiness, even if I was not authentically feeling happy. If per chance you meet a frown, do not let it stay. Quickly turn it upside down and smile that frown away. Smile it away -- not deal with what it is that is making me unhappy, but just keep smiling until my cheeks ache.

My Aunt Lynn, my mother's closest sister, had cultivated the appearance of happiness, to a professional degree. She could not talk about anything that wasn't happy and shiny. If I could sense she wasn't happy and I asked what was wrong, her immediate answer, without pause, was "Nothing." While repressing and not dealing with unpleasant emotions probably caused her to be even more unhappy, one of the side-effects of this was that she'd snap, and "lash out" for no reason. That pent-up anger, frustration, and sadness would spurt out occasionally, and at random. Aunt Lynn was my babysitter, and was in our house growing up a lot, so I'm sure I got to see it more than other relatives. She would suddenly cry, or someone would say something unrelated, and she'd get really angry, for what seemed to me like no reason.

This was an ingrained pattern with her, and with a lot of Mormons, and it's a pattern that I, in turn, learned. You stuff emotions down, and if you occasionally have an anger fit or sob for 24 hours for no reason, or if your response to everything was a burst of anger, that was all part of growing up. (Just don't let any boys know that you do it.)

It was only when I moved away to college at Boise State, and started interacting with a wide variety of women from a wide variety of backgrounds, that I realized my emotional training as a youth was severly flawed. It took several years of hard work, and assessing and addressing my behavior head-on, to get out of the rut I was in. I was responding to everything that wasn't happy, with anger. Flat tire on my 10-speed = anger. The movie I wanted at Blockbuster was out = anger. Someone played music I didn't like = anger. I realized that I was actually angry a lot, and that I didn't know what the correct emotional response to any of those situations was. If not anger, then what? Wasn't it okay to be angry if my movie was out? Couldn't I be furious that I got a flat tire? Why couldn't I yell over the stupid music that whoever liked it was an idiot? Well, because anger has its place, but dislike of music wasn't really that place. Besides, I wasn't actually angry that someone liked different music; I was angry at something (or a collection of things) that happened years ago, and that I never dealt with properly, just stuffed it inside and left it there to simmer, unhealthily, and then come out in a fireball at someone and something unrelated, something that wouldn't have spawned anger in an emotionally healthy person.

Getting over that type of emotional displacement can take years. Some people figure it out faster than others, but for the most part, our emotional responses get trained at a very, very early age. We develop these patterns as children and when they are reinforced as youth and finally as adults, they can become very, very difficult to change. Simply finding out that Joseph Smith was a con man, a pedophile, and a liar will not change decades of haywire emotional training.

I think it's important to look at your own responses to life's events. There's a lot of that mis-placed anger here on RfM. The anger itself is justified, from what we've been through emotionally, physically, and mentally. But the ways that anger is expressed sometimes is not healthy. Berating angrily someone who believes differently than you is an example. Jumping on the person who asked what a Jack Mormon is is another example. Expecting to get "flamed" for your ideas is another. Accussing people of being trolls is yet another.

"Rage" is not necessarily a healthy response to hearing words you disagree with.

But when some of use weren't taught what the healthy response is, sometimes rage is what we express. I feel lucky that I was able to co-mingle with emotionally healthy people and recognize my unhealthy pattern, and work to change it. I'm not saying I'm perfect, but I feel like my emotions are more inline with how I actually feel, and I feel much happier knowing that if something happens that I don't like, I'm not necessarily going to become angry and shouting. I can reserve anger for the times and reasons that it actually IS the healthy response.
Are You Still Giving Up "Everything" For "The Truth?"
Monday, Jan 7, 2008, at 07:26 AM
Original Author(s): Fairlight
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 19   -Link To MC Article-
At another site, a poster explained how one day she realized that despite so many years out of the cult, she was still giving up everything for "the truth". As I read through her post, I realized that I, too, am still giving "it all" up... but for what? Or perhaps more importantly, for whom am I being a doormat now??

Unawares, I'm still giving it all up to the "god" who takes and take and takes, and then, when you're about to break, he coldly tells you to stop shirking and start magnifying your duties. The "god" who is never satisfied, to the extent that he made us all promise to never stop giving everything up for the cult. The "god" who snarkily proclaims that any of us can have anything in this world for money... The "god" who would have us give up our time, talents, happines, joy, peace, prosperity, health, well-being, uniqueness, free will... all for his version of "the truth."

Despite being out of the cult, how many of us still carry some residule programming around in our heads, stuck there like a piece of gristle tightly wedged between our teeth?

How many of us find ourselves still giving up "everything" for "the truth"... because we've been conditioned to do no less? We'd give up our marriages, families, homes, jobs, friends, etc, all because we promised over and over again, Sunday after Sunday, temple session after temple session, to always put the morg truth before anything else... including before ourselves and our lives? Not only did we make these promises over and over again (and, being the decent honorable people we are, darn but we're still keeping some of those promises tho' we have no idea we're doing so)... we made these promises under duress.

We made these promises under threat of death.

Where's the free will in that??

The best brainwashing leaves "land mines" in our heads. Land mines that need to be found, identified, and diffused before we can move forward in our healing. Land mines that although we don't consciously realize they're there, our unconscious is well aware of them and thus afraid to mess with them because we all know what land mines are designed to do.

Fortunately these land mines can frequently be diffused by simply hearing and accepting real truth, like when I read those words and felt the weight of the world being lifted off my shoulders. No wonder I've felt so oppressed despite being out of the morg and seeing the truth about it. I swore under penalty of death to do whatever they told me... or else... they'd hurt my loved ones.

Where's the free will in that??

With all this oppression, it's easy to lose hope. Yet if I lose hope, I won't keep fighting back to heal and be completely FREE of the morg mind meld. Loss of hope means they win... and I don't ever want to give any bully an easy victory.
Healthy Emotional Expression And Anger
Wednesday, Jan 9, 2008, at 08:19 AM
Original Author(s): Loved
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 19   -Link To MC Article-
Growing up in a religious cult and cult society, I was encouraged to always be happy, sunny, and cheerful. I was told by my YM teachers, and by my own mother, that "boys do not like brooding girls." I was encouraged to shove any authentic emotion deep down inside, and cultivate an appearance of happiness, even if I was not authentically feeling happy. If per chance you meet a frown, do not let it stay. Quickly turn it upside down and smile that frown away. Smile it away -- not deal with what it is that is making me unhappy, but just keep smiling until my cheeks ache.

My Aunt Lynn, my mother's closest sister, had cultivated the appearance of happiness, to a professional degree. She could not talk about anything that wasn't happy and shiny. If I could sense she wasn't happy and I asked what was wrong, her immediate answer, without pause, was "Nothing." While repressing and not dealing with unpleasant emotions probably caused her to be even more unhappy, one of the side-effects of this was that she'd snap, and "lash out" for no reason. That pent-up anger, frustration, and sadness would spurt out occasionally, and at random. Aunt Lynn was my babysitter, and was in our house growing up a lot, so I'm sure I got to see it more than other relatives. She would suddenly cry, or someone would say something unrelated, and she'd get really angry, for what seemed to me like no reason.

This was an ingrained pattern with her, and with a lot of Mormons, and it's a pattern that I, in turn, learned. You stuff emotions down, and if you occasionally have an anger fit or sob for 24 hours for no reason, or if your response to everything was a burst of anger, that was all part of growing up. (Just don't let any boys know that you do it.)

It was only when I moved away to college at Boise State, and started interacting with a wide variety of women from a wide variety of backgrounds, that I realized my emotional training as a youth was severly flawed. It took several years of hard work, and assessing and addressing my behavior head-on, to get out of the rut I was in. I was responding to everything that wasn't happy, with anger. Flat tire on my 10-speed = anger. The movie I wanted at Blockbuster was out = anger. Someone played music I didn't like = anger. I realized that I was actually angry a lot, and that I didn't know what the correct emotional response to any of those situations was. If not anger, then what? Wasn't it okay to be angry if my movie was out? Couldn't I be furious that I got a flat tire? Why couldn't I yell over the stupid music that whoever liked it was an idiot? Well, because anger has its place, but dislike of music wasn't really that place. Besides, I wasn't actually angry that someone liked different music; I was angry at something (or a collection of things) that happened years ago, and that I never dealt with properly, just stuffed it inside and left it there to simmer, unhealthily, and then come out in a fireball at someone and something unrelated, something that wouldn't have spawned anger in an emotionally healthy person.

Getting over that type of emotional displacement can take years. Some people figure it out faster than others, but for the most part, our emotional responses get trained at a very, very early age. We develop these patterns as children and when they are reinforced as youth and finally as adults, they can become very, very difficult to change. Simply finding out that Joseph Smith was a con man, a pedophile, and a liar will not change decades of haywire emotional training.

I think it's important to look at your own responses to life's events. There's a lot of that mis-placed anger here on RfM. The anger itself is justified, from what we've been through emotionally, physically, and mentally. But the ways that anger is expressed sometimes is not healthy. Berating angrily someone who believes differently than you is an example. Jumping on the person who asked what a Jack Mormon is is another example. Expecting to get "flamed" for your ideas is another. Accussing people of being trolls is yet another.

"Rage" is not necessarily a healthy response to hearing words you disagree with.

But when some of use weren't taught what the healthy response is, sometimes rage is what we express. I feel lucky that I was able to co-mingle with emotionally healthy people and recognize my unhealthy pattern, and work to change it. I'm not saying I'm perfect, but I feel like my emotions are more inline with how I actually feel, and I feel much happier knowing that if something happens that I don't like, I'm not necessarily going to become angry and shouting. I can reserve anger for the times and reasons that it actually IS the healthy response.
Looking Back - Did I Really Tolerate This?
Monday, Jan 21, 2008, at 08:00 AM
Original Author(s): Lightfingerlouie
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 19   -Link To MC Article-
I have been out of the church for a long time. Time heals many wounds. When I look back now, and read the posts on this board, I realize how much I tolerated. Wow, talk about being a beast of burden.

I lived in a rather comfortable home in America. I had freedoms most people in history only dreamed of. Despite this, I gave up much----for what?

I let a neighbor from the house across the street ask me about masturbation It was not any of his goddam business, but I let him ask . It made me cringe, but I let him ask . And I was 14 years old. WTF?

I gave up two years of my life to "serve as a missionary." I was not paid; my family paid for it.

What did I get from this?

I was not treated at all well. Every minute had to be accounted for. I got up when I was told to, read what I was told , worked when I was told ate what I was told and slept when I was told . No extra sleep was allowed.

I worked about 70 hours each week. When I was sick, I worked anyway. When I had typhoid, I was told to get out of the hospital. If it was dark, and freezing and rain and snow were slashing my companion and me, I stayed out and knocked on doors, even though the people had no desire to open their door, much less hear "my message."

I could not even talk freely, or express doubt. I tried it a couple of times, and was smacked like a kitten being hit by an Abrams tank. I even had to perform, and get up in testimony meetings, and lie like the others. We were even instructed to "put more feeing" into our testimonies. Our acting needed significant improvement.

I went through the temple, and found, much to my horror, it was not what I expected. But come to think of it, what did I expect? It was so secretive, no-one would tell me what I was getting into. I had no realistic expectations at all.

I made blood oaths, and "slit my throat." I promised to be perfect under pain of death. I came out wearing the underwear I was told to wear. I could not even choose that.

When I married, I married in a short, ugly little ceremony, wearing clothes I would not dream of being photographed in. No real wedding for me. I did the required and expected, and I was supposed to say how "beautiful," or "uplifting" it was. It was not. It was one of the biggest letdowns I have ever had. This was a wedding day, for God's sake.

If I made money, ten percent was not mine. No matter what, it belonged to the church. If the car needed work, ten percent belonged to the church, and paying for the car was my problem. I had but one obligation----pay the church. What they did with it was none of my business. The money went into their bottomless coffers, and that was it.

All this, while others in my country were free. They could choose their faith, give what they wanted, use their time as they wanted, and marry in a ceremony that actually made them look and feel married.

They could eat and drink what they chose. Some made "poor choices," but they had the choice. I did not.

I was told I had "free agency," and then my arm was twisted until I did exactly what I was told. In Mormonism, you are free to do exactly what you are told. Its a lovely thing, it really, really, is, and if you don't care to think, feel, question, or doubt, its just splendid.

Isn't it remarkable to see what we will give away for the reward of being chattel?
My Wedding Experience
Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008, at 08:20 AM
Original Author(s): Life Rocks
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 19   -Link To MC Article-
We stopped by to see my eldest daughter who lives in one of the "Church approved" apartments in Provo. Funny how I now look at BYU/Church approved housing in Provo as almost a joke. I don't know of anywhere in the entire country where a Church has that kind of power, to approve or disapprove of how a private landowner does with his property.

I don't know if it's because of my disposition now but I have my radar on for such goofy things about the Church but things almost scream at me for their attention.

In my daughter's apartment, the refrigerator was covered with wedding announcements. It was crazy. I don't know where else weddings are so important. The coup de gras was to discover a catalogue for diamond rings on the end table. Imagine the poor young man who makes it into that apartment and is sitting around waiting for his date, checking out the reading material on the end table and discovering a diamond ring catalogue?

We attended a dinner later that evening at the new parents home. Of course, he's the bishop of the ward. They're a typical LDS family. Very happy. Peachy keen. He works for a company creating graphics for flight simulators for military applications, specifically training pilots I guess. I never know what to think of that. Working for a company that has defense contracts with the government so they can go off and kill innocent people around the world in the name of American "national security". Maybe it's just me.

The next morning, I showed up to the Temple dressed in my tuxedo. My 4th daughter who got married last September and her husband drove. We drove around the Church office building and stopped at the crosswalk for some people to walk past and he noticed that one them was a general authority...."Hey, that's Elder.....................!!!" with all the enthusiasm of a fan seeing their favourite movie star. I now find it silly to think I was the same way meeting Spencer Kimball. Imagine feeling butterflies because someone has a title "elder" which says nothing about what they've done with their lives.

I couldn't help but notice the influence of the Church in Utaw. The whole downtown area...Temple Square...the new conferance center...the office building...ZCMI...Beneficial Life...Zions Bank...billboards --The church news as part of a newspaper...all over. Can you say "theocracy"? The Church's mission on the planet is to control everything about everything. I was watching a film on the documentary channel about consumption in America and how it's affecting the planet. Unbridled consumerism is what the Church believes is proof that Americans are God's people since we're so "blessed".

So I got sent to the waiting room as I watched my wife's sisters and their husbands go past the "worthy member" line. I still haven't quite figured out how my wife and eldest daughter qualify as "worthy" given they've left me with a lawsuit and judgement. Yet I didn't want to spoil the day for daughter #2 by informing their bishops of their lack of integrity.

That's a hard one for me too. I somehow believed in my heart of hearts, that 25 years of devoted parenting means something somewhere. Apparently it does not. I thought being kind and considerate would give me something, it does not. In fact there were people who got to attend who didn't even know my daughter. Yet there's no one who looks at the situation in the Church and can say, "there's something wrong with this." I can't tell you how many, but to a person, the idea of a loving father (most know that I've been akin to superdad) not being able to attend the wedding of his own children is so appalling and disgusting to them. Their faces contort. They almost gasp with incredulity. It's so mind boggling and foreign to the senses most believe that if I were to show up and expect to go in that they couldn't keep me from going in. I'm sure they'd have security muscle me off the property. That would be a question for the forum.

So in that time, I started noticing things to see if I could bi-pass the hurt so when it was time for pictures I'd not be all swollen eyed.

There was an over weight man in a wheelchair that was struggling to stand up even with the assistance of his wife and another woman. I went over to help him up.

I learned that on a "normal" Friday and Saturday, the SLC temple will do 30-35 weddings. When school lets out they'll do as many as 60-65. But the world record, that is almost said with a hushed reverence is 103. I wondered how "speshul" that many weddings could possibly be?

I caught a flight back to Los Angeles the next day and was parked on the runway in Phoenix and saw the planes lined up, waiting to take off and it reminded me of the couples at the temple, lined up to take off. All of the people at the temple all looked the same. So focused on the ceremony. All like lemmings. The door would open and a new couple would appear. The poor photographers have their same pictures, none of which are looking into the crowd since there are so many people from different wedding parties it's hard to tell who belongs to what.

I noticed the dozens of brides, often in bare arms freezing in the winter cold. One after the other.

I saw a bride with a young girl, probably a sister, carrying her train and when they got to the "members only" door, I couldn't help but wonder if they have laser beams to zap out someone who shouldn't be there. They had to stop and figure out what to do with the little girl.

There was one man outside, on a cell phone with his hand on the top of the trash receptical. It looked like he was giving a talk in Church and the squarish trash can was his podium. I laughed at that.

The older gentleman at the desk was offering advice to newly married couples as to how to keep their marriages eternal. I rolled my eyes at that.

I saw hundreds of men coming into the Temple all dressed the same...short hair...white if it were a missionary convention.

I didn't realize how the Temple has all of these steps that go up to a big door and was wondering if those doors go anywhere or were they set up for the purpose of handling more wedding parties. Families, brides and grooms scurried around the temple to find an open set of stairs for the family pictures. We had to halt the picture taking so that another group could make it past on their way to the next door portal and stairs.

I can't for the life of me thank the forum enough for the expression, "Mcwedding" "McMormon". It was like watching Church with incredible efficiency. Weddings were happening with the efficiency of a drive-thru window. Who knows, maybe someday they'll have weddings where you drive the temple wedding bus into a special ceiling room and no one has to leave their seats. Heck with a blue screen and modern technology, you could probably have your wedding pictures done in a studio and they could photoshop in the temple of your choice in the background.

As for me, my moment with my daughter was the night before. We stopped at an Albertsons grocery store to get my daughter some medicine and vitamins to ward off a cold that she felt was coming on. While she was in the store, I had the guy at the checkout page her using her first name and her married name. She came to the check out with a grin. Then after we were done with that, I stood in the cold and snow changing the bulb in her car headlight. There was something more human and fatherly and meaningful about that for me. I had 22 years of changing diapers, taking her to school, teaching her to ride a bicycle, comforting her, being in numerous community theater shows, daddy daughter dates. lunch with dad, we were on National television twice together, teaching her to drive, helping her with homework, drawing cartoons on her lunch bag, taking her fishing, building homes in Mexico, the Magic Castle, introducing her to Nicholas Cage and supporting her in a thousand ways. (somehow the story "The Giving Tree" popped into my head)

At the reception, I was determined not to get all teary eyed about it. I had a dance with my daughter and they picked some song I'd never heard of before. It had some line in it that went "I loved her first" and that did me in. I used to listen to the song, "Cat's in the Cradle" by Harry Chapin almost monthly for most of 20 years as a constant reminder to be a good dad.

It's been quite an education. I guess it depends on what you thing you're here on the planet for. I still believe I'm a spiritual being here for a human experience.

That there's a religious organization that's so clueless and blinded there own rules. I almost hope Romney wins because the Church would come under such scrutiny it would expose it for what it is.

What made it easier than the first one was the new son-in-law was more mature. He didn't come into my home and tell me "F-you, I'm marrying your daughter, that I've only been dating a month, like it or not" which is basically what the first one did. I could tell. I recognize it's an awkward situation for everyone. I hadn't expected that I'd learn to think for myself or challenge the veracity of the Church.

Another interesting thing was a conversation with both of my wifes' sister's husbands. We've had some pretty interesting talks over the years. Most of the time they'd been censored by wanting to maintain my flawless image. This time things were much different.

One of them must be close to 500 lbs. I was sharing with him some of the things I've been up to and he was amazed. There's something about being involved with the VA event, or house builds to Mexico, The Magic Castle, playing roller hockey (I missed a game to go to the wedding) among other things that really make organizing hymn books and listening to another talk on food storage seem rather empty.

The worst thing the Church does is occupy your time with stuff that doesn't matter under the guise that it's important. They would have you think being the hymn book co-ordinator is a meaningful way to spend your life. I asked him how life was and he talked about how wonderful it was because his brother came for a visit. They never talk of service, or trips, or risking or making a difference beyond what the Church allows them to do. There's no thinking for themselves. Because they're taught not to complain or judge, they don't. They accept things that boggle my mind.

The other shared that his marriage wasn't what it could be. His wife, like mine, didn't really learn to do anything either. They're couch potato molly mormon types. It's interesting when you get people outside of the auspices and influence of the Church, alone and with the permission to talk "off the record" just what they talk about.

The bankruptcy levels and use of prescription drugs for depression in Utah are evidence that all isn't well after all despite the good news reported in the Church News.

Well, 2 down and 6 more to go.

Lucky me. I sure have something wonderful to look forward to.
Mormon Programming Sublimates, Distorts And Perverts Normal Feelings
Monday, Feb 11, 2008, at 08:12 AM
Original Author(s): Cheryl
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 19   -Link To MC Article-
Mormonism teaches Mormons to discount their normal feelings. A recommended book on this process is called "The Gift of Fear," by Gavin De Becker. In it, he points out that humans have built-in warning systems to protect them from many dangers. Our brains can take in sights and sounds around us and alert us to danger, sometimes without our knowing what specifically triggered the feelings.

De Becker advises readers to listen to their feelings and not to discount them or rationalize them away.

Mormonism has built-in controls which tend to make members dismiss their natural worries over trusting authority over using their own intellect.

Mormonism teaches members to put aside normal logical doubts.

It teaches them to not expect proof for the assertions preached by Mormon leaders.

It programs members to blindly trust priesthood-holders, especially leaders.

The Mormon church trains members to allow other Mormons to cross uncomfortable personal boundaries of home, family, personal choice.

Any organization which can dictate underwear has too much power over the private lives and emotions of its adherents.

I think part of recovery is to train ourselves to actually start listening to our feelings. For a church that claims feelings are more important than intellect, the Mormon Church does a good job of controlling and distorting how members feel or at least how they pretend to feel.

I agree with the two posters who recommended the De Becker book. It has nothing to do with cultism or Mormonism. But it has everything to do with getting in touch with our authentic feelings and using them for safety sake and to recover from Mormonism.
Looking Glass: Words And Music For The Loneliness Of Separation And The Longing For Acceptance
Tuesday, Feb 12, 2008, at 08:23 AM
Original Author(s): Enigma
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 19   -Link To MC Article-
Each person’s exit from Mormonism can be fraught with pain, loneliness and heartache as much as it can be filled with freedom, exhilaration and the joy of thinking, feeling and living authentically for the first time. It is this loneliness that I face more often than not in recent days as I am surrounded by a sea of faces that see only a heretic, an aberration, a fallen son…

My recovery is by no means complete. I walk an often lonely road as I stand alone amidst a chorus of faithful family members. But, I can say with absolutely perfect certainty that it has been worth every tear-filled moment. I have had a chance to finally feel things that I didn’t think were possible in this life except in fiction and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. If loneliness and rejection are the price I must pay to finally come to peace and experience the emotions and impressions that I have experienced; the absolute exquisite joy and pain that have rushed upon my like a river – even for a moment; then it is more than worth it for me.

For many of us, exiting Mormonism presents the quintessential crossroad of life – possibly the most difficult one that any individual faces. I don’t claim to know what the answer is for others. I can only share what I have experienced as I have faced the tide of familial estrangement as I have exited the tribe. My heart aches for each of us that may be forced to walk this lonely road. This is a situation that no one should have to face. Though our situations may differ in particulars but they often have the common thread of rejection, disappointment and abandonment. A few months ago I wrote something that reflected this feeling of abandonment… and the attendant longing to find what I had lost: solace, timelessness, a place that I could call my own sacred sanctum… a sacred ground.

To set up a context, the second half of the lyric is a hopeful expression of what the ideal would be for those of us that need solace and comfort – addressing this ideal as if it is embodied in the form of an approachable entity.

Looking Glass

Eyes surround me
Staring pointedly inside of me;
A sea of faces mirroring
My fears become reality.
I rush to hide myself in shame
From their contemptuous stare – I can’t
Endure such painful judgment
This verdict is my cross to bear
(So long as I accept it)

Where is solace? Where is Timelessness?
Where is my sacred ground?
Where’s my hallowed sanctuary
Where I’ll feel safe and loved?

A darkened Looking Glass reflects
A someone I can’t see in me
These eyes and faces that surround me
Will not love who stands before them…
(Can’t they see?)
When will being who I am
Be good enough for anyone?
When dark Looking Glasses shatter,
Maybe then I will be loved…

A face emerges from the crowd
A healing hand touches my face.
A question: Could this be someone
Who shares my secret judgment?
A friend, a confidant, a lover;
One who’ll hold me in embrace?
We find through tears of understanding
Our mirror image free from shame…
(You are my soul reflected)

You’re my solace, you’re my timelessness,
You are my sacred ground.
You are my hallowed sanctuary;
With you I know I’m safe and loved…

You are my Looking Glass reflecting
All that I can see in me.
Through you the faces that surround me
Become distant memories…
(I see so clearly…)
Through you I have found myself.
Now I know I’m good enough.
Darkened Looking Glasses shattered;
I’ve found freedom in your love…

You’re my solace, you’re my timelessness,
You are my sacred ground.
You are my hallowed sanctuary;
I’ve found freedom in your love…

It is my deep and sincere hope that each of us can find that solace – that sacred ground where the safety and security of absolute acceptance of the beautiful totality of the divine individual will envelope each of us in its protective peace and contentment.

Your fellow sojourner;
Does Anyone Here Still Seek Forgiveness?
Tuesday, Feb 12, 2008, at 08:29 AM
Original Author(s): Duder
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 19   -Link To MC Article-
My main gripe with raising my kids in the church is that they will be taught to feel more guilt and shame than I think they should. In my youth, I was taught to feel guilty for hundreds of innocent, essentially harmless things.

In fact, yesterday I was exposed to another lesson about how we're all sinners in the hands of an angry God, but that Christ offers us forgiveness. Everyone in the class seemed to agree that we all "deserved" hellfire - except that Christ loved us enough to die for our sins.

Then there's the part of the lesson that separates mormons from most other christians: "so we have to do our part". Instead of rejoicing in forgiveness from God, the mormons routinely celebrate their ability to feel guilty for their imperfections.

A few years ago, I began to shed the part of me that believed I had to "do my part" by feeling guilty every other minute of the day. I began to reject guilt over occasional cups of coffee, sundays at the beach, unedited movies. I finally realized that I was killing myself with my drive to be perfect - especially when that meant doing what other people told me was perfect.

As I fed this guilt-free attitude, I began to find more joy in life. I stopped beating myself up and I started enjoying myself.

In order to square my new attitude with my religion, I began to emphasize Christ. I reasoned that most mormons were far too hung up on the law. I compared them to Pharisees who did not really understand the spirit of the law, and did not really recognize things like how Christ was the Lord of the Sabbath - so his servants could live the higher law while seemingly breaking the old standards.

If I made mistakes, I was forgiven - so long as my heart was in the right place. As long as I was loving my neighbor and my Creator, I had nothing to worry about. I was glorifying God all the time. I still felt the occasional pang of guilt, but I felt that Christ was powerful enough to forgive me when I made the wrong choice. I felt free, and I owed it to my Savior.

Slowly, I've come to a new idea: I had nothing to worry about anyway. I only felt like I needed to be forgiven because some jerk-off made me feel guilty for being me. Was I so bad?

Of course I made mistakes. Mistakes are part of life. Whenever possible, I could correct those mistakes or ask those I hurt to forgive me. But I didn't need the Creator of the Universe to forgive me for my every impure thought. I only needed to forgive myself.

Well, I decided to forgive myself. I am forgiven. Where did I get the power to forgive myself? I had it all along. If I am powerful enough to sin my way to hell, then I am powerful enough to forgive my way to heaven. My own power to be good is equal to my power to be evil.

No offense, Jehova. Maybe you bled and died for some sinners, but that aint me no more. I'm not a sinner. I'm just a dude who makes mistakes every now and then. I think I can clean them up myself. And if I can't? Well, I'll just accept that life is messy.

For those who still seek forgiveness for sins: I hope you find it. If you don't find forgiveness, I suggest you take another look at the "sin" itself.
You Can Leave The Church, But You Can't Leave It Alone
Friday, Feb 22, 2008, at 10:56 AM
Original Author(s): Incubus
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 19   -Link To MC Article-
Falling into the general category of apostates, I have been confronted with the annoying term "you can leave the church, but you can't leave it alone" (the phrase). This term or some variation of it is spouted by TBMs almost as much as the term "I know Joseph Smith blah blah blah......". Lately, I have been discussing the process of leaving (we resigned almost a year ago) with my spouse and how that has affected our lives. I thought I would be able to get to a point were I would not talk about Mormonism and be able to couch it in the back of my mind, hence my hiatus in posting. As we have sorted out our ideas, the phrase keeps coming to my mind.

Here is why I think the phrase does in fact have an element of truth. For us and for the past 20 years we, like others in the forum, were TBMs. My DW and I have held most of the callings possible in the ward and a few stake callings. Sunday church attendance was mandatory for our family, no TV on Sundays unless it had a religious theme, Temple attendance, WoW, scripture study, family prayer, FHE, hopefully you get the idea, but this is important. The church was an all encompassing aspect of our lives, we ate, breathed, slept, Mormonism to its fullest. Our perception of our place on this planet was influenced by these behaviors and rituals.

Inevitably during the course of our lives, we will perform some stupid maneuver and leave a divot in our hide. Eventually, the pain of the injury is forgotten, but a scar will remain and will be constant source of conversation while hunting, fishing, and/or drinking (For those old enough remember Jaws?). All of the Mormon indoctrination does leave a mark that will forever be referenced as I go through my life, kind of like the aforementioned scar. I will discuss my life in terms of being in the church or being out of it. I will express my life in terms of liberation as I left the confines of the dogma. I will say things like, "We would have never done that while we were momos", or "Aren't you glad we got to sleep in today (Sunday)".

But where would we be without individuals like Jeff Ricks, Richard Packam, Ken Clark, Bob McCue who could leave the church but not leave it alone? How would we cope without support from Crime Dog, Peter_Mary, Hypatia, Dogzilla, Hueffenhardt (sp?), Born Free, and so many others who left but could not leave it alone? We definitely would find other ways to cope, but don't those individuals make it a lot easier?

So with regard to "the phrase", I guess it is true. I can leave the church but not leave it alone.
Vicious Cycles In Mormonism - Creating Dependence And Leverage
Monday, Feb 25, 2008, at 09:08 AM
Original Author(s): T-Bone
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 19   -Link To MC Article-
We all have unique experiences in Mormonism, and we all felt different things. I spent 3 years studying law, specifically negotiation strategies, so that's the filter and lens I see Mormonism through.

In every negotiation, each party is trying to create leverage. The superior party intimidates the other party, creates more leverage, or holds the hammer. Mormonism is no different than any other business negotiation. Leverage doesn't have to be real, just perceived. Parties can create false leverage. For example, many clients are shocked to find out that they can negotiate better terms with financial institutions because the bank needs them more then they need the bank. But banks are good at intimidating people, therefore making the customer feel lucky to get a loan. I only say that to introduce the concept of leverage and how it relates to Mormonism, because I am not in the business of giving advice on internet forums about how to deal with banks.

One thing I have recognized in Mormonism in retrospect is the creation of the sin myth. It creates leverage - giving "the" church the hammer. If we are trained to think we are weak and sinful, and every time we 'fall down' we need to go to God for forgiveness through an advocate such as Jesus or, in the worst case, the bishop, we will always be the weaker party. We learn to seek approval from a source that cannot give it. And we will always need "the" church. We are trained to be grateful that Jesus is so forgiving. And we become dependent on forgiveness.

The trouble is, nobody really knows if we are every really forgiven. So if there is ever any twinge of guilt, our training has instilled a voice that says, "You must be doing something wrong." People who are in abusive situations eventually learn to abuse themselves, even when their abuser is not around. Mormons are no different. If we ever felt any guilt over something in the past, we conclude that we must have done a poor job repenting. We become more dependent on 'forgiveness,' the other side of the sin myth coin. Since sin is a myth, extrinsic forgiveness is also a myth.

NOTE: I'm not saying that once we decide we no longer believe in the 'plan of salvation' that anything goes, that we can murder and lie and rape. Quite the opposite. We are no longer held to extrinsic standards. We our now held to our own moral compass, and some of us find that when we live by our own compass, minus the oppression of Mormonism, we are better equipped to live up to ideals that we hold.

As long as we accept the myth of the atonement, we will always be the weaker party. We will always be trying to make up for our sins. We will always be backpedalling. And we will always be seeking approval. Not every exmo is a people-pleaser. Some of us are exmos precisely because we refused to be doormats. Some of us are here because we got tired of being doormats, and we are learning a new way to deal with life.

Those of us who took Mormonism literally were likely constantly seeking approval. We knew that we had sinned in some way. Even if we didn't rob or kill somebody, and even if we lived our sex lives so that we could truly say we were temple worthy, we still might have an evil thought. We might get offended. We might get angry at somebody in traffic. In fact, chances are the more oppressed we were in our daily lives, the more likely we were to have little blow-ups, temper tantrums that make us feel just as guilty as if we had been smoking crack with hookers, selling drugs under the bridge, and causing pile-ups by throwing bricks off a bridge over the freeway. An unkind word, an impure thought. Oh, how horrible it could make us feel.

We might miss a day of scripture reading. We might fall asleep before reading our Book of Mormon, or we might have neglected magnifying our calling. No matter how careful we were, we were trained to believe that deep down, we would never really be able to live up to the ideals we were taught. And for some of us, it was devastating.

So we became dependent on the Mormon church, our bishop, daily scripture study, priesthood blessings to help us be more obedient, and magnifying our callings. We paid, prayed, and obeyed. We became more giving. We made another batch of cookies.

Of course, we could never get over the fact that we were human. And sooner or later, we knew we'd fall short.

The false leverage that Mormonism (and in a much wider spectrum, Christianity) created made us dependent on the LDS church - forever. Once we start to see how it was all a myth, and once we start living up to ideals that we can live with (whatever that means to the individual) we start to see that we are not constantly weighed down by guilt.

Here's an example of what it's like to live without guilt for those of us who are still in the process of discarding Mormon myths. My wife and I eat a lot of Asian food. We go to the Asian market and buy rice about once a month. When I carry the 20 lb bag up the stairs to our home, it gets heavy those last few steps. Once I set it down, I feel instantly better. Now, if I were wearing a backpack of 20 pounds all the time, I would be almost ineffective. I would tire easily, be cranky for no apparent reason, and most of all, the insidious nature of the backpack would mean I'd get used to having it there. After a while, I wouldn't even notice it.

What if somebody told me I could take that backpack off? Hey, it's my backpack. Back off, buddy! That might be my initial reaction. I've been told by my church that I need this backpack.

But what if I took it off? I would suddenly realize how I had been weighed down for years by something that was completely unnecessary. Suddenly, I have more energy. Suddenly, I don't get cranky for no apparent reason. I don't have those unexplained aches and pains.

That's what it's like when we go through the shedding process of leaving Mormonism. It's mirrored everywhere in nature. Caterpillars become butterflies. Trees turn brown and lose their leaves. But in the spring, they sprout flowers and they are beautiful.

In the Autumn of our Mormonism, things can look ugly. We might lose a friend and in the most extreme cases some of us have faced divorce. We might not be able to imagine life with 'the' church, and we certainly cannot imagine life without it. But if we know that in the spring, the flowers are going to bloom - without any effort of our own - we would be able to let the old leaves go. We'd be able to step outside of the comfort of the cocoon. We'd be able to take off those god-awful garments and put on some sexy panties (or boxers in my case).

And just as the old, dead leaves get raked up in the fall and new flowers bloom in the spring, we find that we have new friends who are actually making contributions to our lives.

I know that got a little longer than I planned.
Another Exodus
Monday, Mar 3, 2008, at 07:17 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 19   -Link To MC Article-
This has been therapeutic for me to write, maybe someone out their will take solace from it.

I was raised in the church by my mom. She dutifully and painstakingly took the children to church, and did her best to give us the opportunity to learn the values and doctrine she believed to be true. She was an incredible example of compassion, charity, humility, and patience. Dad was not a member. He almost never attended church, and on occasion, would challenge the “knowledge” that was asserted and disseminated there at home with his kids. He did his best to try to make us use our critical thinking skills. I was confident that with the traits she possessed, my mom was the one who had made the right choice.

Although my dad would make me think, his style was confrontational and looking back on it, it is clear that there was some emotional baggage that he brought to the discussion. I admired his logic and intellect, but rationalized that he was being deceived and that he was simply a lost cause in terms of conversion.

I attended church regularly, didn’t particularly enjoy it, but figured it was the thing to do since all my friends and neighbors were there. Most services came and went without much incident. Boring and slow were usually the orders of the day. Occasionally I felt like there was something fun, worthwhile or interesting. At church services there would be comments or ideas brought up that did not sit right in my young mind. As became my practice, I tried not to worry about it too much and went back about the routine. As I got older these concerns began to evolve into definite problems. “Why don’t prayers/blessings always work? Why should we pray for things when God knows what it best? Why would God help someone find their mitten, but allow innocent people to die in accidents, murders or wars? Why can’t women hold the priesthood?” Soon I was in seminary and the questions/doubts continued to mount. “Why does the policy that Blacks can receive the priesthood so conveniently coincide with the civil rights movement?What about all these wild statements that Brigham Young made that church seems to turn a blind eye toward? Why are our patriarchal blessings almost exactly the same/ Why are they so vague? Why must we bear a testimony to gain a testimony?”. Every time these problem issues were mentioned I began to cringe and try to stuff the uncertainty and doubts further back, and rationalized that the answers would make sense in an eternal perspective, but that our mortal minds cannot comprehend the explanation.

I was enmeshed in Mormon culture all my young life. I lived in a Mormon neighborhood, It was all I knew. Most of the concepts and teachings they emphasized seem like good advice; Do good to your neighbor, don’t use harmful/addictive substances, wait until your married for sex, forever families. Surely all of these good people couldn’t be wrong? I reasoned that it was impossible to know for sure. In the end I would comfort myself with thoughts like; It’s a good way to live, nobody can “know” anything for sure, science has been wrong before, etc. I figured that I could continue to live as a member by trying to exercise faith and hoping for the best.

I met my wife in high-school and soon we were young and in love. We were virtually inseparable for the next few years. I wanted to spend every waking moment with her and she returned the sentiment. We went hiking, fishing, and camping together. If we weren’t outdoors, we were at her parents’ house or mine. She came from a highly active LDS family. We often went to church together, we read scriptures together, we went to firesides and conference together. For the most part I didn’t share many of my deepest concerns about the church with her. I figured that we all had issues and problems with the church and that if I ignored them long enough they would simply vanish, and we could live our lives as we planned to and as the church expected us to.

Soon I was missionary age, but I wasn’t willing to serve a mission. I simply wasn’t dedicated enough to give up two years of my life. The idea of giving up the out-of-doors and my girlfriend to spend two years knocking on unreceptive doors was simply not attractive enough. When I decided not to go, my girlfriend was disappointed and relieved at the same time I think. I saw myself as being too selfish and worldly. I was ribbed a bit here and there by some member friends and family, but nothing that I couldn’t handle. We continued to have a close relationship and she was soon ready for marriage, while I needed another year or two to be ready. Ready I was at the tender age of 21 and she at 22.

I had prepared myself for the highest level of spirituality on this earth. I was worthy. I was ready for the temple. Soon the endowment began. It was the strangest event of my life, the clothes, the vows, the chanting. This was the spiritual event I had waited my whole life for? Nobody else seemed surprised. Nobody else thought this was ridiculous. I couldn’t believe it. I kept waiting for them to bring out the goat, place it on the alter and pass out the daggers. I looked around the room and said to myself “Are they all hypnotized?”. The rational part of my mind realized, “No wonder they bring your family and friends along, they want to pressure you into doing something you would never stick around for on your own”. I felt tricked. I was ashamed. I wanted to run out of that room forever and tear off the ridiculous clothes, but realized that I would be walking away from the love of my life forever, as she sat across the aisle from me.

Years passed and I did as I had become accustomed, and stuffed the doubts and concerns deep. I simply did not allow myself to think about them. This was the life I have chosen, I couldn’t let my wife and my family down. I just had to face the music and try not to let it bother me. We started having children soon, and our family continued to go to church. Narrow minded comments and doctrinal issues caused me to wince in my meetings each week. The cognitive dissonance continued to take its toll. There were days when I was physically ill when I was teaching about subjects that deep down I simply could not subscribe to.

It’s amazing to me that I as able to function and force the “negative” thoughts and questions from my mind perpetually. For so long I had been afraid of the consequences of really searching and questioning that I hadn’t allowed myself the opportunity. As my oldest child approached the age of baptism I found myself drifting into these thoughts more and more. Perhaps it was that I was forced to ride the bus for several months and there was simply nothing I could do to distract myself. No radio, no television, no conversation. Perhaps it was a mind at the breaking point, faced with the reality that “I” would be bringing my daughter into this mindset officially. Whatever the cause, I couldn’t handle the doubts anymore. I knew it was time to finally let my wife in on the depth of my problems with the church. One cold,gray day in January 2007, I stood at the bus stop and cried knowing that I was going home to tell my wife, and my marriage might soon be over.

I told her everything that night and we both cried. I knew I was breaking her heart. Our family might never be the same. We agreed that I would study the Book of Mormon. This time when I read it though I would do so neutrally. I would evaluate it as I would any other document. I was never really convinced that I could trust feelings and emotions, but I tried to pray for an answer anyway, hoping for something so certain it could not be doubted. Nothing. As I read the book I was only struck with the fact that it was repetitive and boring. I finished. Nothing.

I was getting nowhere and felt that I needed to examine evidence for, and against the church. I reasoned that the truth can stand up to scrutiny. What I soon discovered after checking reference after reference of the dreaded “anti” material is that a very high percentage of it was… factual. Why were we instructed not to look at this material? Because it was damaging to testimonies? Church History, especially about Joseph Smith was shocking. Why were we supposed to look up to this man? The version of events I had been taught in church and seminary left out so much information that it barely resembled the full disclosure I was learning. The evidence kept piling up. The book of Abraham, Polygamy, Polyandry, Kirtland Bank, it all began to register. The problems I had with the church all along weren’t mine, they were the church’s. It was a fabrication.

I was done with the dissonance. I was relieved, exuberant, and angry. I basked in the beauty of newly found freedoms and thoughts. No more fear, no more guilt.

Life at home continues to be tenuous. My wife and I struggle for closeness and intimacy. I have made it clear that I would like to indulge in an occasional drink away from home. My wife has drawn a line in the sand and indicated she might leave if that's what I do (But of course she's not forcing me not to drink). We continue to have disagreements about the way the children should be raised. For now we have settled on one week at church with mom, one at home with dad. At home we do science activities/experiments and nature hikes. The kids as I expected, are doing just fine.

Unfortunately for me, I cannot leave TSCC in the rear-view as my wife is terminally mired in it. I can only hope she derives some comfort and happiness from it.

It's been over a year, and what a journey it has been. I look forward to thoroughly enjoying my turn on this little oasis of life called earth. There truly is so much to experience and learn, and so little time.
The "Shelf" Finally Broke
Tuesday, Mar 4, 2008, at 09:11 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 19   -Link To MC Article-
I was born in southern Utah in an active LDS family, I am in my early thirties, married (in the temple) with currently 2 kids, and served a stateside mission. I currently live in Utah County and I have recently become inactive with the purpose of eventually leaving the church all together.

I have served in many callings, EQP, Exe Sec, High Council, and many others. I did fit the TBM stereotype quite well. That is until 2007 when my so-called "shelf" of questions and doubts finally broke under the strain. I have been told from many past church leaders that many of my questions were unanswerable right now, that I just needed to put them on a "shelf" and God would answer them in His due time. Well that worked, for a while, until more and more questions kept coming with no end in site.

Then in early 2007 when I became obsessed with the Mountain Meadows Massacre and I began to study it at length I soon began to feel the strongest question bother me so much that my very own shelf eventually broke me in two. I did as many of you did, I turned to the apologitics, FAIR and FARMS. That brought me a great deal of temporary satisfaction, with an empasis on temporary. I quickly began to see that many of the apologitcs were using any means possible to justify their beliefs, even if it meant to be dishonest.

I have moved on. This experence has, at times, been one of the most horrible experiences I have ever been through. But through it all, I haven't missed a single day and took in a peaceful quiet moment to myself and thought, "Whew...I'm glad I learned it now rather than much later." Even though I do wish that someone would have brought this to my attention much earlier (like before I went on a mission or went through the temple!). But I'm not really sure if I would have listened anyway.

Anyway, long story short, I haven't offically left the church yet. My wife and my oldest are still attending church all the time and I need to keep my family together as best I can for now. My marriage is still in great shape. My relationship with my immediate family is shaky at best. I do wish that was different. Oh well.
How I Conduct Myself And Why I Don't Use "Cult" As Hate Speach
Thursday, Mar 6, 2008, at 07:22 AM
Original Author(s): Susieq#1
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 19   -Link To MC Article-
My personal Exit Process from Mormonism. How do I conduct myself now that I am no longer a Mormon?

How do others conduct themselves and what kinds of choices do I make? My personality and my initial reactions fall in the laugh and enjoy life category. That was my first reaction to the real story of the claims of Mormonism. Snickering, laughing, and then patting myself on the back for knowing that I really was OK all along. It was not me. It was the religion that was a little "kooky."

In my process I have made some observations: cult used re: LDS Church as hate speech, bigoted term, name calling, insulting offensive terms like TSSC, Morgbots, vulgarity, loved ones called body parts, etc.etc.etc.

My "Exit Process from Mormonism" required that I ask myself some important questions and make some clear definitions and decisions about what kind of a person I am going to be now that I am no longer a Mormon. Just because some religious rules were eliminated, can I govern myself in a civil, rational, reasonable, adult fashion?

I realized early on that if I used insulting terms it would be very hurtful to the very people I love the most. I have had a hard enough time trying to show the difference between being "anti Mormon" and being for Freedom of Religion, and Full Disclosure for Informed Consent.

We have a legal right to our religious choices in this country. Everyone does. No matter how odd the religion might sound to one person, it is an integral, important part of someone else. I know, I lived it. How am I now going to honor that?

It is always easier to be negative, nasty, hateful, (the list is endless) and "line up and smell arm pits. ! Getting the "dirt" on someone is a national sport. The gang mentality of "you dissed me so I dissed you back"' is taking the place of civility and decency. Making "nice-nice" rarely even makes the newspaper as news!

In my "exit process from Mormonism" I determined, early on that I needed to be cognizant of how what I say (especially on the Internet - that sticks like super glue), takes a tole and effects me and my family, loved ones, and friends. Does it contribute positively to my process? Is my behavior honorable?

What kind of a human being, as a Former Mormon, Post Mormon, ExMormon do I want to be? Do I want to be honorable, respectful, and show civility and decency toward my fellow humans?

If leaving Mormonism is a "Good Thing" - how has it made me a better person? Have do I use my sense of humor, sense of honor, self respect, self confidence, self esteem and build and support myself and others?

Would using the Internet to indulge in referring to Mormonism and Mormons with hate speech, bigoted terms, (using the word cult in that manner), denigrating them personally, or as a group, using gross, brash filthy vulgarity, name calling, build strong, healthy lasting relationships with my loved ones and friends?

As my teacher in high school Social Studies used to say: "These are thinking questions, you don't have to raise your hand and answer."

I only have this life. That is all any of us get. (Other beliefs aside, I am sticking to that notion). There are no "do overs" or some balancing out of the scales in some other life. This is it. I am so thankful that I understand that. It makes this life so much more valuable and important!

Another question I had: How am I going to deal with all of my life before Mormonism, during Mormonism after Mormonism?

I learned very quickly, that I cannot hate, or denigrate myself or others who took the same path. That would destroy me. I am not going take a detrimental course that would use my experiences to denigrate and sabotage myself or my friends and loved ones.

With whatever time I have left, over six decades now, I am going to be grateful for all of it. I am going to adopt an attitude of gratitude with a sense of humor, to the best of my ability. I will take a course of thinking, behaving, acting that contributes to my well being. I am going to take care of myself. Call it selfish, but I like feeling as good as I can! I am going to ditch the notion of regrets. I am going to make peace with all of it - long, arduous ongoing -difficult process but imperative for my own personal health, mentally, emotionally, physically.

That's my two cents, your mileage may vary.
The Things People Believed, Or Didn't Believe, When I Grew Up
Monday, Mar 10, 2008, at 07:54 AM
Original Author(s): Lightfingerlouie
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 19   -Link To MC Article-
My grandfather believed that the Kaiser survived World War One, and his banishment to Belgium, because he was a Mason, and the Masons got their incorrect--but spiritual--- ceremony from Solomon's temple. Only Mormons could understand the vital truth about the Kaiser's survival.

My father, who had a degree in engineering, and some patents to go with it, believed that the "angel Moroni" was assigned by God to look after America. He felt Moroni had turned up in various places throughout American history, and pulled the proverbial chestnuts from the fires of history. If it hadn't been for Moroni's timely interventions, we really would have been screwed.

Dad also told me about the "treasure room " in the Hll Cumorah. He believed the story, and told it to me the year he passed away. He could not understand why I thought it was absurd.

But they are were not alone.

I had a seminary teacher who believed Cain is Bigfoot, or Bigfoot is Cain (I forget the exact order). He believed in ten lost tribes living under the North Pole. He also believed in gold streets in the Celestial Kingdom, white seamless smocks, and the "fact" that Adam looked just like Joseph Smith's brother Alvin. I know he also believed in the "Adam/God theory," but he dared not bring it up. You could only go so far---publically---with the "Journal of Discourses" stuff. A bit too much, and you faced a "court of love." Mormons, after all, believe that a church court is a "court of love."

A girl I liked in my school years believed that anyone who dated a person from a different race was committing sin. She believed that the blacks were a cursed race, due to their poor showing in the "war in heaven." She was not alone. Every orthodox Mormon I knew believed that. Provo was not too crazy about different races.

I had a BYU "religion" professor tell my class that "the Chinese are cursed, and because of that, they will not attain Celestial glory." WTF? What did the Chinese do do deserve that? My girlfriend, at the time, was Chinese. She cried when she heard him say that. She was , after all, a church member.

My parents had neighbors who believed that the end of the world was very near, and because of that, they bought farms in Levan, and prepared to meet Jesus by stocking up on rifles, bullets, and canned beans.

One of the survivalists was Reid Bankhead. He did not believe in dinosaurs. He refused to look at a fossilized dinosaur bone, because it was "the work of the devil." I am not sure how he explained dinosaurs, but he did ejaculate a lot of nonsense. He taught "religion" at BYU.

Old Reid was kind of a scary guy. He always reminded me of a sinister figure, someone who was inclined to want to practice blood atonement. I never thought it would take much to push him over the edge.

When you grow up a Mormon, you hear some pretty astonishing things. It was its own weird little bubble, a place where reality was suspended, rational thought eliminated, and common sense eradicated.

Just think what a comic novel it would make.
Setting Yourself Free From Mormon Induced Fear, Guilt And Cultural Standards
Tuesday, Mar 11, 2008, at 07:01 AM
Original Author(s): Cr@ig P@xton
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 19   -Link To MC Article-
As a TBM, I envied other TBM’s who claimed to live the gospel because they loved it. Although I put on a good face, I rarely found being Mormon easy or comfortable, even as a member of the Bishopric or High Council, I found being an active Mormon hard and demanding. Living up to the peter priesthood model by being an example to the world 24/7, the requirement of being on constant guard lest I give someone a negative impression of Mormonism was always difficult, even though I lived it to exacting standards. I knew in my heart that I never measured up to the perfection that was required of me. I knew that my best efforts were never quite good enough for the Lord or his church. No, Mormonism was never easy for me. I felt weird, different, and peculiar…particularly when associating with Non-Mormon’s. I hated being pigeon holed by non-members as being Different…once my church affiliation was disclosed.

In my youth, I resented my non-member friends (all 2 of them) being able to play outside every Sunday without having to go to church. Although I often attended the high school keg parties, I was always the driver…never the partier. I was the sounding board for my non-member and TBM friends sexual antic’s…but never the participant. They all knew I had standards, that I was a rock…and despite their best effort to break me…I always stood strong to their every attempt.

As a TBM, I believed that I loved the gospel…but the truth is that I lived the principles of the church out of fear, guilt and cultural expectations NOT because I LOVED doing so. I keep the commandments because I didn’t want the consequences of not doing so… eternal damnation and separation from my family in the hereafter. I admit that my motivation was fear, guilt and cultural expectations. But don't mistake... I did Love the church...but it was an unhealthy love....because Mormonism was taking more than it was giving.

Since leaving the church, I have come to embrace life. I no longer fear living. I no longer feel that I must live up to someone else’s standards or expectations.

Yesterday I attended sacrament meeting with my wife (an occasional concession I make for marital peace). The sermon topic was “Having enough faith in Christ, to believe in the power of the atonement.” The speaker spoke of freeing ourselves from guilt and fear through submitting ourselves to the atonement of Jesus Christ…he described how literally free we become once we submit to Him. As a TBM I would have eaten this stuff up and rededicated myself by once again trying to measure up to the Mormon standard by attempting to be a better person, father, husband and yes Mormon. But in my Post-Mormon state…I had an epiphany… With a smile on my face, I realized that true happiness comes by NOT having to meet someone else’s standards. I only have to meet my own standards. I love who I am, I never feel or experience guilt and I believe that I am a better person today than I ever was as a TBM. True freedom and happiness come from being and loving who you are…not being what someone else says you should be. Another Mormonlie.

Freeing myself from Mormon expectations has been the most mentally healthy thing I have done in my adult life. I no longer fear death, I no longer fear living, I no longer fear being me…and the most powerful realization was that I didn’t need to have faith in Christ to be free…I just needed to have faith in myself to gain an appreciation for life.
The Mormon Church Makes The Individual Responsible For The Failure And Success Of The Mormon Cult
Tuesday, Mar 11, 2008, at 07:05 AM
Original Author(s): Chat Spjut
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 19   -Link To MC Article-
The entire program is nothing but hammering into the heads and hearts of its membership that the very salvation of their families, neighbors, nations of the world, and even their dead ancestors are depending upon their worthiness and loyalty in keeping the dream of Mormonism alive and converting others unto it.

The temple ceremony enforces this mentality through the covenant of the law of consecration:

You and each of you covenant and promise before God, angels, and these witnesses at this altar, that you do accept the Law of Consecration as contained in the Doctrine and Covenants, in that you do 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, for the building up of the Kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion.

EVERYTHING YOU HAVE OR WILL HAVE is to go toward the Mormon church. If you hold anything back, too tired, not enough money for offerings and tithes, not enough time to fulfill your callings, not doing your genealogy, temple work, family scripture study, home/visiting teaching, etc. etc. causes this guilt, and the only way the average Mormon gets any internal relief from this insanity is to make sure that all of those boxes are checked off each day, week, month and year.

The guilty burden of a Mormon life is absolutely insane. I can't believe I survived as long as I did.

GUILT, FEAR, COERCION, EMOTIONAL MANIPULATION are the means by which the Mormon cult functions.
The Things That Never Made Sense, Or Added Up
Tuesday, Mar 25, 2008, at 08:02 AM
Original Author(s): Lightfingerlouie
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 19   -Link To MC Article-
Before my discovery of the real history of Mormonism, things did not add up. They did not add up, but I kept going. Eventually, there would have been enough to push me out, One can only ignore that sort of thing for so long.

The temple was the first thing to make me wonder and worry. And it made me worry in a big way. My discomfort was so intense, it frightened me. I was afraid to go to the temple, because it was, to me, a contradiction of what I thought my religion was. It was too strange, too threatening, and too frightening. I felt it was wrong. I never could shake that feeling.

The mission was much the same. Instead of building my faith, it pulled it down. I saw that Mormons, when isolated from the rest of society, become bullies and fanatics. I had not seen this kind of fanatacism before. I learned that the church uses threats, pressure, and harsh methods to keep its missionaries in line. It was the flip side of religion. Religions do not treat their members that way. Cults do.

I first learned of the questions about the "Book of Abraham" in 1974. A friend had the basic information on the covered up fiasco, and I read it. It haunted me. What was Joseph Smith doing? It just could not be right. Surely, there had to be an explanation. And there was. Joseph lied.

During the orgy of excommunications which took place in the 70s, I saw several people I knew thrown out of the church. They had gone to the church seeking forgiveness, and found humiliation and harsh punishment instead. A church forgives, a cult humiliates and punishes. I learned that Mormons use those seeking forgiveness as pawns----they are useful for maintaing group fear and pressure. Who wants to forgive when there is such a useful tool of group control? They even had a great spin on it----they called church courts "Courts of Love." Wow.

I went to my first temple marriages in the 70s. I guess I did not know what to expect, but they did not strike me as a marriage. In fact, they seemed to rob the participants of the experience of getting married. The ceremony was not beautiful, and neither were the clothes. This was the temple marriage I had heard so much about? I could not see any joy, beauty, or ceremony in it. It was a huge let down. My friends left their weddings saying they were not even sure they were married.

Another thing that always bothered me was the persecution of the early Mormons. I heard the endless litany of grievances. And the church could produce quite a list. The Mormons were always the injured party---never the non-Mormons. I began to wonder why other religions had escaped the treatment the Mormons got. Why were the Jehovah's Witnesses left alone? They were weird, but they did not have all the violence in their past that the Mormons had. And there was no Jehovah's Witness version of Mountain Meadows. It did not add up. There had to be two sides to this, and I knew I was only getting one side.

And, of course, no-one could explain polygamy. It was always there, always talked about,---the huge polar bear in the parlor. It could not be ignored, and it could not be explained. Every girl I knew hated the very thought of it. And I could hardly blame them. Additionally, the belief that it was part of the Celestial Kingdom made no sense. Did I really want to run a harem? How do people with physical bodies have sex all day,---and have spirit children? It was laughable. It could not have been more ludicrous.

And, the hardest part---for me at least---was the fact that I got no joy from participation in the church. The meetings were dull, boring, and endless. I never went to a church meeting that was not a waste of time. I did not find the spiritual joy I was told I would find. None of it was spiritual. I got demands for money, lots of rules, and no sense of joy. There was no joy, Mormonism could not be more joyless.

It would not have lasted. I could not have kept it up. Even if I had not learned the history, I would have left. Its too one sided---all give, no take. One has to have something to take from a belief system, or it loses its value. Mormonism never gives anything.
Magical Worldview
Tuesday, Mar 25, 2008, at 08:04 AM
Original Author(s): Substrate
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 19   -Link To MC Article-
Over the weekend I went with my son on a Scout campout; it was a combined activity with three LDS wards, as none of the wards had enough Scouts to make for a decent activity. That meant that there were about as many adult leaders and parents as there were boys.

Friday night was the usual campfire program, when boys tell fart jokes and do silly skits, burn marshmallows and gummi bears in the fire, and see who can get the highest flames out of the fire. After the silliness subsided, one of the adult leaders gave a “spiritual thought,” which is pretty much mandatory at an LDS Scout activity. (I think the church’s new motto should be “Every activity a sacrament meeting.”)

The man who gave the spiritual thought was some kind of scientist doing research at BYU. He spoke of Nephi in the Book of Mormon and how he was instructed to build a “state of the art” ship, even though he had never done so before. He said that it would be like God coming to one of the Scouts present and commanding them to build a 757 airliner from scratch. But, with God nothing is impossible, and Nephi built that ship, despite the derision of his brothers.

He then gave a personal example of how God helped him do the impossible. Apparently, he had been working on a computer code routine for several months without success. Finally, he decided that he and his research assistant should pray for help. He said that they worked for ten hours straight and finally came up with the solution. Obviously, God had a hand in it (or it could just be that they worked hard for ten hours).

At this point I was thinking about how I used to think that everything that happened was part of God’s plan. If I gave a blessing and someone was healed, it was God’s doing; if they didn’t get better, then it must be that God had some other purpose in mind. It was an almost-mystical worldview, which I think most Mormons have. If you believe in angels and gold plates, it’s not a huge stretch to think that God helped you with your math homework.

After the spiritual thought was over, the same guy was standing next to me by the fire, and he said, “It makes you wonder how Adam must have felt when God showed him how to make fire. Wouldn’t that have been cool to be there when that happened?” I didn’t know how to respond to such an absurd question, so I just sipped my cocoa and watched the boys burn more cardboard.

It hit me right then that I don’t have any of that magical worldview left. I can no more imagine God teaching Adam to make fire than I can imagine Joseph Smith learning Abrahamic astrology from Hor’s funeral documents. That part of my life is over, and I’m glad it is.
They Have To Keep Repeating It Because It Isn't Coming True
Thursday, Mar 27, 2008, at 07:29 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 19   -Link To MC Article-
You're supposed to be the "chosen generation", meaning that you are on the front lines when Jesus arrives. Except, he just doesn't show up. So, time goes by, and it must mean that the NEXT generation is the "chosen" one, since nothing manifested in the last generation.

The first real seeds of doubt were placed in my head by my own mother -- quite unintentionally, I'm sure. I came home, full of self-importance in believing what they had just told our class in Sunday school, that we were chosen, and she very flippantly said, "OH, they told that to me when I was growing up too!"

I think I was about eleven years old, and I remember wondering..."Why would they say that to everybody? Only one generation can be "chosen"....."

The Second Coming is always just around the corner. Members of this generation will live to see it.

Of course it's just a form of self-flattery and flattery as manipulation. Like awarding cheap ribbons and prizes, or granting people pretentious titles in the hope of manipulating them into doing things that sensible people would otherwise refuse to do.

I guess it's sort of like Garrison Keiler's observation of small town life to the effect that, according to most people in the town, all of the kids in the town are above average.
Utah, My Utah
Friday, Mar 28, 2008, at 10:18 AM
Original Author(s): Stunted
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 19   -Link To MC Article-
Land of the ubiquitous, White, Under-Burka.

Zion, Land of the Pseudo Saints and the willingly duped. Where theocracy is denied but oh-so-obvious.

I thought I was ready to move back to Utah. I thought I was emotionally prepared to return to the land of my birth and stand in opposition to the oppression of my youth. I over-estimated my ability and underestimated the strangle hold the church has over the entire culture of this police state.

Whether you are a member of the church or not. Whether active or not, everyone in Utah is forced to deal with the church in several far reaching ways. It is simply impossible to avoid the church or escape it's influence.

When I was an active Mormon and I heard people disagreeing with the way the church ran the state I was shocked. I would fill with righteous indignation and boldly declare that if someone doesn't like Utah and the way “us Mormons” were running it then they were certainly free to leave. After all, Utah was founded by Mormons and we have the right to do things the way we want to do them. The laws of the United States of America be damned! Those laws were easily superseded by the declarations of the church anyway. After all, God himself was telling the church what to declare.

Of course my thinking had been controlled my entire life. My sheltered upbringing prevented me from recognizing that the church was in fact a dictatorial, oppressive organization that really wasn't looking out for my best interests. What exquisite and ironic torture to now be on the other end of my former self righteousness. I feel like I'm doing penance for my former actions and I have to say, Karma can be a real bitch.
How I Got Myself "Unmormonized" The Essence Of Taking My Power Back
Monday, Mar 31, 2008, at 08:00 AM
Original Author(s): Susieq#1
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 19   -Link To MC Article-
Identifying and rewriting automatic thinking scripts from Mormonism.

The emphasis from the get-go in my Exit Process from Mormonism was to take my power back and own it. It has been a long evolutionary process to change my thinking about almost everything in my life and world. And, I was going to have doing it. And laugh a lot along the way!

In the initial stages, I realized I needed to recognize the specific automatic thinking scripts from Mormonism that were unnecessary, goofy, outrageous, ridiculous, controlling, unfair, and on and on.....and then either: accept, delete, or replace them with other ideas, notions, keeping the controls in my personal possession and never again abdicating them to anyone else!

This has been updated from time to time. This is the last version.

Here are a few things I discarded; scripts the I rewrote in the process of purging Mormonism from my brain.

It took awhile, probably months and months, to even identify all of these rote automatic thinking scripts, but eventually, I found the authentic me -- that was there all along!

It is my observation, from living Mormonism for well over three decades as an adult, that Mormonism takes away much of the best parts of what makes us human. One I particularly find the most damaging is the covenant to avoid all: lightmidedness and loud laughter. Loud laughter - a good belly laugh is one of the healthiest things we can do for ourselves. Looking back and having a good laugh at myself was part of my process that kept me from taking myself too seriously and avoiding being sick and depressed.

When I woke up from the subtlety scripted programming of 30 years of Mormonism, back in the spring of 1999, I realized that I could rewrite the scripts that ran automatically in my mind. I could change my mind. What a concept! :-) I had to take my power back. I had to find the authentic me that was there all along!

I knew I could change my mind all along, but something (a bunch of "somethings") had to get my attention, big time, for me to pay attention to what was going on with me before I could begin to disconnect from the emotional code to the bonding and attachment to the belief system. I had to break the code and I had to know I would be OK with that. What I realized was that my self esteem, self confidence, and self respect took a huge leap when I took charge of me!

Little, by little, I began the laborious process of recognizing (some are so well ingrained they just kept repeating!) the thousands of Mormon scripts and found a way to hit a delete button and rewrite all of them. I had to change my "self talk" also from Mormonism to -- something else that was a confirmation of my self respect, self confidence and self esteem! And I was determined to do it!

It was fun! I was in charge. I owned my own power over my mind, my thinking, behavior, choices. I owned me --completely and I was going to take charge. I was in the drivers seat, no longer a passenger in that Mormon Mini Van hauling arse down the road on the way to the Celestial Kingdom!

I started ticking those scripts off and releasing myself from their imagined power. They had absolutely no power unless I gave it to them. What empowerment!

I gave myself permission to take power over my thinking, behavior, and attitudes. No longer was any teaching in Mormonism, any requirement, any commandment, any counsel going to override and over rule my own good sense ,logic, reasoning and self respect. Then, I determined I was going to do it with a sense of humor. There was no way I was going to take Mormonism so seriously that leaving it would take anything away from me!

Here are just a few of the Mormon Scripts I changed my thinking about:

1. I could shop and buy anything and go anywhere on Sunday. No one cared and I did not care who saw me.

2. There was no requirement to say another prayer in the proper form again; no need to bless the food, or pray in secret either. I could pray or meditate if I wanted-- anywhere and anytime I wanted , but it was my choice, on my terms and in my own private way. My experiments with prayer were dismally disappointing, so I decided to rely on my own good sense and research instead!

3. I did not have to read, study, ponder, pray about the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Bible or any of the Mormon books ever again. There was no such thing as "anti-Mormon" literature that I must avoid. The whole Internet and libraries were open to me. I could read anything with no fear. No book had a "bad spirit" -- that was just plain ridiculous and silly!

4. Prayer does not establish fact. Praying about the Book of Mormon to determine it is true is just plain silly.

5. I did not need to take the Ensign (or any other church magazine) and read it.

6. I did not have to attend church at any time for anything. Sacrament meetings were not of any interest to me anymore or anything else. Besides, I found the whole idea of so many people (long time friends and relatives) repeating their mantra's (IKNOWTHECHURCHISTRUE) so funny, I would not be able to keep a straight face !

7. There was no such thing as "feeling the spirit" that was anything but warm fuzzies because people want to fit in and be accepted. I could "feel the spirit" of anything, or anywhere. It was not an exclusive Mormon thing. It was just part of human nature. Gosh, everyone "feels the spirit" when the national anthem is sung, or a flag goes by or I see my kids do some kind of performance in school, I see a sunset that is gorgeous, and on and on and on.

8. I did not have to have "callings". No more visiting teaching, or any other assignments. Whew! Done with that merry-go-round of busy work!

9. I did not have to report to anyone about anything. How nice! No more phone calls checking up on me!

10. I was not bound by some belief there were prophets or specially inspired leaders. These Mormon leaders put their pants on one leg at a time just like I did, and they sure did not know me, neither did most of them even pay attention to what I said, let along respect my wishes, so I was not about to give in to their imagined discerning powers or any other powers or authority over me! Done with that!

11. I could eat anything or drink anything I wanted. The Word of Wisdom was pointless nonsense that was not about health (scientific evidence shows other wise!) but only a rule for "obedience" as a programming technique to get people to pay tithing to go to the temple! Besides, it has never been lived by the Mormons as written in DandC 89 anyhow.

12. I could wear anything I wanted. No more regulation underwear. What was I thinking? I still laugh at myself prancing around in those goofy skivvies thinking they were necessary! No more obedience to the God of Regulation Skivvies! What kind of a God controls by underwear anyhow!

13. Now to the specifics about that ridiculous control by underwear nonsense: I was not bound by the outrageous idea that underwear was sacred and could not touch the floor. In fact, I could stomp on it and throw it around and feel good about it. Wow, what a concept! Geez. I was a little bit nuts in those days,wasn't I! Time to have a good laugh at myself!

14. I did not have to wear underwear under my bra anymore. OK. I know this is nuts, but I thought it was important at the time!

15. I did not have to wear my underwear 24/7 - including to bed- never could do that one anyhow. Ya, ya, I know. This is totally off-the-wall nutzo and non-LDS crack up when I tell them this! YOU WHAT???

16. I could throw out the temple underwear and feel good about it - that FEELS GREAT!!!And I did. Hauled the whole plastic bag of those #$%# things out to the garbage can, threw them in with the stinky trash knowing they would go in the land fill with the most disgusting mess you could imagine! Ahh, now that feels -- wonderful!! I laughed for days about that!

17 All of the temple ceremonies were bastardized Masonic rituals and not binding. Not binding. Yup. That's it. They have no power. What a relief!

18. I was not required to go to the temple regularly and play dress-ups. That is exactly how I felt. Just like a little girl wearing my great grandma's old clothes!

19. The green apron and temple robes mean nothing. They are just silly costumes for the temple play that have no more importance to me! Done with that nonsense too!

20. Prayer circles in the temple with women's faces veiled are silly nonsense.

21. I was no longer subjected to that invasive, washing and anointing rituals in the temple. Fortunately, that has been changed, and I would hope that our exposure here on this board writing about that abusive, inappropriate, demeaning rituals (and I did my share many times!) was the impetus for them to change it and not subject another person to that programming ever again!

22. I did not need to do genealogy and have my dead relatives baptized and have temple rituals done for them. No more postmortem conversions!

23. I no longer had to compartmentalize a "testimony" from the rest of my life. This was an important door that opened. I was now in charge of all of my thinking -- Mormonism no longer shut the door on how I thought about anything!

24. I did not need to use faith to believe in the Book of Mormon and the Joseph Smith story - Mark Twain said: "Faith is believing what you know ain't so." I wanted something factual, substantial, something that held up to scrutiny to place my faith in and I would never gain believe something on faith alone!

25. I was no longer subjected to those intrusive, out of order, interviews by bishops and the stake presidency to get a temple recommend. Done with that nonsense too! Those men have no authority over me anyhow!

26 I no longer needed to pay "an honest tithe." No more money down the Mormon drain! I was done with giving them money to support their silly hoax!

27. There was no priesthood power that I was required to follow or submit to. This was great. I was no longer subjected to some priesthood holder with his halo askew (arrogant and condescending) telling me what was best for me! They could go pester someone else who cared!

28. I was no longer subjected to demeaning attitudes and treated like a child. Mormonism kept me thinking I was a "child of God" and subjected to a "Heavenly Father" etc. and I realized I was not behaving as an adult. Geez, even most of the TBM females I knew talked like little girls in wispy, sweet, soft syrupy voices. Time to grow up!

29. There was no need for guilt over anything. There was no need to buy any guilt tickets for any guilt trips I didn't want to take! Done with that too!

30. I could spend my money anyway I wanted. Wow. I didn't have to budget tithing, building fund donations, fast offerings, missionary fund (or get a job to pay for two missions for two of my kids) ever again! Done with that too! Of course, there were some "blessings" as all that $$$$ to the Mormon church was considered a charitable contribution on our tax returns and we got hefty refunds which I called: Tithing Refunds!

31. I could think anything I wanted. Imagine that. I didn't have to think a certain way, fearful of some evil influences getting in my brain and tempting me. Done with that silly notion too!

32. A little research into the history of gods showed that the Bible was figurative myth and legends, parables, etc around some still standing places - Thank you Joseph Campbell and others.

33. There was no judgment bar that I needed to be concerned about in an after life. In fact, there was no evidence for an after-life at all. The Celestial Kingdom etc.(along with all others) was imaginary! I could live this life to the fullest and not be concerned about what would happen next. I could live in the here and now. What a glorious concept. No more fear. That placed the greatest importance on me finding a way to make this life the best I could imagine! I didn't need a hope of an after life. I had this one!

34. There was no Heavenly Father watching over me or angels recording my attendance in church - no more feeling paranoid!!

35. Heavenly Father was not a resurrected man with a body. (Click-delete!)

36. I could discard the "testimony" as it was based on fraud, a hoax and scam around some warm fuzzy feelings!

37. I did not need a savior for anything. (Click-delete!)

38. There is no need to believe in any "here after." I am free to live in the present.

39. Faith and works or grace were not necessary to believe either.

40. I could discard the notion that "the church is perfect, but the people aren't." (Silly notion anyhow as there would be no church without people.)

41. There is no such thing as a book having a "bad spirit" and I can read anything I choose.

42. I could read anything at any time I wanted

43.. The terms Apostate and Anti-Mormon are emotionally charged words to discourage dissent from Mormonism by members with their persecution complex set on high!

44. I no longer needed a "testimony" by faith of things that made no sense in the first place.Done placing faith in magical thinking, and supernatural, metaphysical claims.

45. I was no longer a second class citizen to be dismissed by the priesthood. That was a big one. I was just as important as any male. I was not relegated to being a mother as the greatest "calling" and given rules and parameters for my life as a female. Done with that too!

46. I was no longer bound by the restrictive role placed on me as a Mormon female.

47. I could say out loud that Joseph Smith lied, and Mormonism is a total fraud and they do not tell the truth. At first, my lips quivered, I was so well programmed that I had a strange reaction to claiming JS was a lying little snot nosed brat and Mormonism was BS! I actually thought that Satan was making me say such things, at first, but I got over that one in a hurry. Discarded the notion of that imaginary Satan and I had no more problem with what I said about Joseph Smith Jr. or Mormonism !

48. I am not bound by some temple covenant that says I am to "avoid all loud laughter" and can laugh all I want, as loud as I want at anything, and especially at Mormonism! And laugh I do!

49. Mormonism is not necessary for my happiness. Neither is any "ISM" or Christianity or any other God belief. I realized that I don't need some outside influence directing my life. I am perfectly qualified to do that myself and that is how I will proceed!

50.. I am free at last.

51 . I can resign my membership and know I am OK. and I did!

52. Life outside the Mormon World View Box is beautiful, full, and joyful.

53. There were no commandments -- and I can ignore any inference that I need to be doing this or that to please some imaginary deity in a robe in the sky!

54. I will laugh my way out of these beliefs. They are just too funny to take seriously. Besides, it sure beats the hell out of being depressed! I won't even give that bunch of nuts the power to make me depressed. I refuse!

When I wanted a good laugh, I would visualize all those leaders and the congregation dressed in their temple green fig leaf aprons -- only in their Sacrament meetings! This is a depression breaker! I guarantee!!
Mission Impossible
Wednesday, Apr 2, 2008, at 06:54 AM
Original Author(s): Chat Spjut
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 19   -Link To MC Article-
The other day I stopped by a local gas station to fill up my car before heading off to an exmormon function. As I turned to run my credit card for approval, I heard a timid, “Hey, how are you today?” I ignored the inquiry and continued with the task at hand. As I took the nozzle from the pump and proceeded to fill my gas tank, out of the corner of my eye I saw two fresh faced young men approaching me in suits and black name tags. That’s right; it was those pesky Lutherans again, well not quite.

I said, “Hello Elders, how are you both today?” They smiled and told me that they were fine. I noticed that they too were filling up their tank, and had decided to do a little proselyting, never a wasted minute and all that. They asked where I lived, and I told them not far from here, just a few blocks north. “It must be hard out there finding folks to teach,” I said.

I then said, “I once did what you did, as a missionary in Germany.” Their demeanor relaxed as they assumed that they had found someone “safe.” They then asked me what I did in the church, to which I replied, “Well, in 2006 I resigned my membership in the Mormon church and eventually took my wife and five children with me.” The look on their faces was one of utter confusion. They could not comprehend what I had just told them. One of the elders asked, “Well, do you still have a testimony?” to which I replied, “No, that is why I left. The church is not what it claims to be, it is not true.”

Then the testimony started, “I know the church is true, and you can too if you only read and pray about the Book of…” I cut him off and said, “I know you know it’s true. I too believed the exact same way as you did. I was fully active, I brought people into the Mormon Church during my mission, I was absolutely and utterly convinced that is was true.” They stood in silence just looking at me with that missionary smirk of self-righteousness and arrogant certainty, the same look that came over my face when I confronted people on my mission who refuted my claims.

At this point, the older one parted from our conversation to seek out other customers filling their tanks, while the testimony bearer continued with me in friendly discussion. “You see, I was just like you. I was fully active, I was a young mens president, gospel doctrine teacher twice, a member of my highschool seminary council, the bishop’s golden boy in my ward, everything. I was in it 100%. But then during my mission I discovered that there were many disturbing things which I had never been taught, and those discoveries continued throughout my post mission activity, until I concluded that it could not be what it claims. That is what made it so hard. I wanted it to be true, but it just wasn’t.”

“Well do you still believe in Jesus?” he asked. “No, I do not, following my exit from Mormonism I continued to study into all aspects of my faith, and I discovered that there is very sketchy information regarding Jesus with very little to back up the claims. This is why I believe Smith and Rigdon wrote the Book of Mormon, it was a means of convincing the folks of their day that they had the complete answers to the questions of their day, including the validity of Jesus.” “Well, where did the book come from then?” he asked. “He wrote it, he made it up. There are so many issues surrounding the book, where are the Nephites? The lamanites? The remnants of their civilizations? On the march of Zion’s camp, Smith identified the ancient city of Manti here in North America, where as now the apologists say everything took place in central or South America. What about all of the anachronisms? The people in the Book of Mormon were an Iron age civilization, whereas the actual civilizations in the ancient Americas were upper stone age. They just don’t match.” “Well, I know that it is true. I know the Book of…” I cut him off again. Smiling I replied, “I know you know. Remember, I was once just like you?” “Well do you still believe in God?” he asked. “I really don’t know anything about that anymore. I am an agnostic now, and I really don’t see any compelling evidence that there is a god the way Mormonism or even Christianity describes him. Even you do not really know if there is a God, nor do you really know that the church is true. You only believe.” “Well, knowledge comes following a trial of our faith, precept upon precept..” “I know this remember? But in the end you only believe this, you do not know it. Otherwise why would you need faith?” He stood their silently stroking his chin with a subtle grin.

By this time, the other one had tired of his other rejections and he returned to our discussion. “Look elders it is very simple. If this is the truth, than the facts should reflect that. What kind of god would require that our feelings trump fact? Why would he give us the ability to recognize fact, and then require us to ignore them? That just does not make any sense. Any god I would believe in would most certainly allow fact and reason to work in concert with our emotions, to do otherwise is absurd. Let me give you an example, does the sun get it’s light from Kolob?” The grinning elder chuckled and then said, “I have no idea.” To which I replied, “Well, the Book of Abraham says it does. We know through observation and science that the sun does not get its light from an external source. It produces its own light through a continual chain of nuclear reactions. We know this through observations of fact. Why would a god tell Joseph Smith something the opposite?” The other elder chimed, in “Well, we have to go now. By the way do you know of anyone who would be interested in hearing our message?” “No, I help get people out of Mormonism now, I most certainly don’t want them to become involved with it,” I replied with a smile.

“Well, I promise you if you let your faith grow as a little seed, it will grow if your nurture it..” the smiler said. “I know, I know, remember? I used to be just like you.” “Well, we know it’s true, and we still love you!” he replied. “I wish it was true, but it is not. Keep studying guys. Keep studying, it’s all there. Mormons are great record keepers, and everything I learned which led me out of the church was from Mormon sources. Keep studying.” We said our good byes, and they climbed in their car as I went inside the station to buy a drink.

It was absolutely amazing to me to watch the completely brainwashed responses to my questions and retorts to theirs. I too was once that stupid, that blind, that naïve. I hope that something from that conversation will stick within the minds of those fresh faced young men, but I don’t have any illusions about my influence on them that afternoon at the local gas station.

The Mormon mission in today’s America, truly is a Mission Impossible.
Meditation On The 6th Of April
Sunday, Apr 6, 2008, at 11:33 AM
Original Author(s): A. Nielsen
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 19   -Link To MC Article-
Having been brought up in the LDS church, I was taught to expect simple answers, to see the world in black in white. One of the clearest examples of this type of thinking was my belief that Jesus of Nazareth was born on April 6th. On what evidence did I base this belief? Only on the fact that certain books I trusted told me that a man who died long before I was born, Joseph Smith, Jr., had received a revelation from God that told him this fact. I accepted what these books said about Joseph Smith just like I accepted what other books said about the moon or the sun. From my acceptance of Joseph Smith as prophet and of a continuous succession of living prophets, I accepted that any question that was important for this life had already been answered by God in revelations to his living prophets. Any question that God had not answered, well, there would be time for those later. There was no room in my mind for an unanswerable question. Although we might have uncertainty about particular questions in this life, that uncertainty would always be resolved. Those questions that we might not have answers to in this life, we would be given answers to in the next, our curiosity fulfilled. Science had certainly done wonderful things, but it was far better to live in such a way that I would be in the presence of God to have my questions answered, than to spend a lifetime exploring my questions but lose the opportunity to reach the presence of God. "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" (Mark 8:36).

I was intensely interested in big questions. I knew that there was life on other planets because the scriptures said so, and they must look like us, since they were also created in the image of God. But would we ever find them before the end of the world? What was our Heavenly Father like when he was a man? Was he an ordinary someone like me, or was he the Only Begotten, the Savior, on his world? What were our Heavenly Father's brother gods, sister gods, parent gods, and grandparent gods all like? Did each of them rule their own universe, or did they each rule over distant worlds in our own universe? Would I ever be good enough to qualify for the celestial kingdom, to become a god for myself, to create my own worlds? I would have to study hard, mastering physics and chemistry and biology as well as the gifts of righteousness and spirituality. But I didn't have to worry about physics now, because I would have millions and millions of years of time of preparation for becoming a crea tor of worlds. I needed to focus on following the straight and narrow path that would get me into the celestial kingdom. All the rest would follow from there, and there would be nothing but time. So although I was intensely interested in finding out the answers to my questions about the universe, answering those questions in this life seemed rather trivial compared to the greater task of learning the gospel and following the commandments. But ultimately, I knew that all my questions would be answered. There was no room for doubt. There was no such thing as an unanswerable question. There would come a day when we could look back at a movie of history, look back at the birth of Jesus, look back at the flood of Noah, look back at the Garden of Eden, and then I would know how these things took place. Trying to answer them now seemed meaningless, since I had only 70 or 80 years in this life, but an eternity in the hereafter.

But certain things I knew beyond question. One was that Jesus was born on April 6th. I knew this because according to a few books I trusted, Joseph Smith said that Jesus was born on April 6th. Sometimes I would think about this. Occasionally on April 6th I would stop and think, "Today is the day that we really ought to celebrate Christmas, since this is the actual day that Jesus was born." I was aware that some people were trying to guess the time of year that Jesus was born based on clues in the Gospels. I learned that some people have tried to guess the exact date by assuming that the new star that is mentioned in the Bible refers to an actual astronomical event that can be discovered even now, and they have suggested exact dates for the birth of Jesus. But whenever I was aware of all this guesswork, I thought that if only they would accept that Joseph Smith was a true prophet, they would have a sure answer, and they wouldn't have to guess any more. To accept the LDS church is t o let go of uncertainty anddoubt, to accept that we can know the truth, not by reason, but by divine revelation. If our questions are not all answered in this life, we just need to wait. They will all be answered in the next.

When I let go of the LDS church, I let go of my entire way of thinking about the world. I let go of Jesus of Nazareth. I let go of God. Perhaps most importantly, I let go of the idea that it is possible to know anything beyond doubt. But the sure knowledge that I lost was replaced by something far greater. I can live with doubt. I don't know what will happen to me when I die. I believe that when I die, I die. That's it. But I don't know. I could die tomorrow. I could die in fifty years. But I can live each day to be happy now rather than to be happy in eternity. My father died last year, and I believe I will never see him again. He's buried in the ground, and he's gone from me forever. And yes, that is sad. But I have perhaps forty or fifty years left to live, if I am not eaten by a bear or run over by a car before then. I have forty or fifty years without my father. If there were a celestial kingdom, and either my father or I were not good enough, if we didn't pass the test, then I would have an eternity without my father. Which of these situations is worse? To face loneliness and grief in this life only, or to endure an eternity of loneliness and grief? And yet according to LDS doctrine, this eternity of grief, of wishing to go back and live a better life, will be the reward of the vast majority of God's children. Those who are united with their loved ones for eternity are the few who are called and chosen, the few who live righteously and become gods.

When I let go of the LDS church, I let go of my certainty about the universe, and I became insatiably curious. I no longer had an eternity to learn physics and biology. If I wanted to learn it, I had to learn it in this life. As I entered the world of Carl Sagan and Richard Dawkins, I found such a wealth of knowledge, such a treasure trove of beauty and wisdom, that I felt spiritually fulfilled in a way that I had never thought could exist outside of the LDS church. Certainty was replaced with skepticism, revelation was replaced with reason, and reverence was replaced with wonder. We humans are able to apply our reason to learn about the composition of distant stars, the origin and eventual fate of the universe, and the history of the earth, even long before there were any humans to record its history. We now know that there are planets orbiting other stars, and someday in the distant future we may send a messenger to make contact with another world and another form of life. Quest ions that I had always expected to receive an answer to in the next life may indeed be answerable in this one. This is a sense of wonder that I had never even imagined when I thought that perfect knowledge would be a heavenly reward for righteousness. But this knowledge that we have gained in this life is also not free of charge. It requires extraordinary dedication on the part of those who spend their lives studying a small piece of rock that the rest of us would pass by without giving a second glance. It requires extraordinary bravery on the part of those who venture into the unknown in search of knowledge.

This knowledge also requires us to put aside our need for certainty. In the world of science, we must settle for the most reasonable answer. Deciding which answer is most reasonable can be tricky, but we cannot expect to establish the truth beyond all doubt. Certain questions may never be answered. When did the universe form? 13.7 billion years ago, more or less. Or so the current theory suggests. It could be wrong. But why did the universe form? We may never know. And I can be content not knowing, because I believe that the scientific method is the only way we have to establish an objective truth. I agree with the philosopher Bertrand Russell when he said, "Whatever knowledge is attainable, must be attainable by scientific methods; and what science cannot discover, mankind cannot know." There is an end to our ability to know, but I do not believe that we are close to that end.

So I have let go of my need for certainty, and as a result of this letting go, I am now more certain than ever that I live in a wonderful world that is plagued with problems, a world that is full of wonderful people and a few bad apples, a world that is a tiny paradise in the middle of a hostile universe. Alan Bean was an astronaut on Apollo 12, the second mission to land on the moon. In his closing comments to the excellent documentary "In the Shadow of the Moon", he remarked, "Since [returning from the moon], I have not complained about the weather one single time. I am glad there is weather. I've not complained about traffic. I'm glad there's people around. One of the things that I did when I got home - I went down to shopping centers, and I'd just go around there, get an ice cream cone or something, and just watch the people go by, and think, 'Boy, we're lucky to be here. Why do people complain about the earth? We are living in the Garden of Eden.'" As a member of the LDS chur ch, I thought that we livedon a cursed world, a world plagued by sin and death, where we had to live righteously so we could be restored to a better place. This world is the best place in the universe. No matter how much we search, we will never find another place better suited for us than right here. The Garden of Eden was not lost 6,000 years ago. The Garden of Eden is being lost right now. And we are the ones who are losing it. So letting go of a promise of a better life in the hereafter has allowed me to awaken to the need to improve this life here and now. So I don't know what, if anything, may await me when I die. But this earth will continue to exist for a few billion more years. Nature may decide to eliminate our species soon, or perhaps we may exist still for many millions of years. But we must ensure that we do not cause our own demise. Of this I am sure.

Today is the 6th of April, a day that reminds me that I don't know exactly what day Jesus was born. Some people suggest that he didn't even exist; most scholars, even atheist scholars, believe that he did. The evidence is very scanty: a few verses written long after his death, written by firm believers in the divine calling of Jesus, each author contradicting the other. They tell of great events: wise men travelling from the east, following a new star in the sky; angels appearing to announce the birth of the Savior; a virgin giving birth to the Son of God. I don't believe that these wondrous events occurred. I believe that Jesus was the child of Joseph and Mary, born in Nazareth (not Bethlehem), and became a great teacher, moralist, and revolutionary thinker. He was far ahead of the religious leaders of his time. He was persecuted and eventually executed by the religious and political status quo. It is not surprising that he attracted great followings, and that people thought he w as something special. A branch of Judaism developed that followed the teachings of Jesus, and some of these followers decided to write down the history of the life of Jesus before the oral histories of his life were lost forever. But the events around his birth were long forgotten, and they assumed that his birth must have been marked by miraculous events: a star in the sky, wise men from the east, a virgin birth. They assumed that he must have been born in Bethlehem to fulfill old prophecies. They assumed that he must have been descended from King David. These are the assumptions that they made, and perhaps they were right; I believe they were not. But the real events of his birth, including the date and the year, are completely lost to us. There will never be an opportunity to watch the movie of the Earth, to discover the exact circumstances of his birth. I will not meet Jesus in the hereafter to be able to ask him. We must be content to simply accept our lack of certainty, and a ccept that we will never know. There is much that we can know. But in order to know what we are able to know, we must set aside this desire for perfect knowledge. We must set aside the hope of divine revelation. We must seek the answers for ourselves. We must use our reason, and use the evidence in the ground and in the heavens. We must ask the right questions, and always keep asking new questions and accepting the answers that best fit the evidence. Faith is not a way of knowing. Faith is, as Mark Twain wisely wrote, "believing what we know just ain't so." We should never accept the easy answer because it is comfortable. We should search for the truth. And the truth, according to Jesus of Nazareth, will set us free.
They So Badly Wanted It To Be True
Friday, Apr 11, 2008, at 08:03 AM
Original Author(s): Lightfingerlouie
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 19   -Link To MC Article-
I recall a friend of mine talking to me about the Mormon experience, and the hardships the early settlers faced. They had the handcarts, the miserable cabins, the years of nearly starving, and the heavy hand of Brigham Young. They had polygamy, and all the lame excuses given for it. My friend said "They went through all of this, because they so badly wanted it to be true."

That has not changed. So many Mormons are still wiling to put up with incredible nonsense, because they want it to be true.

They attend endless hours of boring meetings. They pay ten percent of their money to the church--- and money is getting tight these days.

They go to the temple, put on ludicrous outfits, and and promise to be perfect under pain of death.

They ignore the real history of their religion, and put their faith in the lies of Joseph Smith. They ignore the ugly sermons preached by the early leaders, and claim "blood atonement" did not exist. And "Adam/God?" What was that?

The watch in horror as the vile cult in Texas has their temple invaded, and the truth of polygamy made available to the world press. They claim sympathy for the kids, and express a strange sort of support for the dirty men who ran the hideous cult. It is, after all, a mirror of their own past, and they don't want it made so public. Looking at polygamy in practice makes you feel dirty. You need to take a shower every time you hear more.

They put on the Olympics, and watched, in sadness, as the greedy men who planned the games were caught in incredibly dishonest practices. They felt the games were good for the Mormon image. They wanted to "welcome the world." The world came, and left. It was all over in a heartbeat, and Mormonism did not get much positive attention. It did get a lot of negative attention. People never forgot the "Salt Lake Olympic scandal."

They watched Mitt Romney run for President, and saw how the public rejected the idea of a Mormon President. It was just not to be. Mitt could not put it together, and if he couldn't, no other Mormon could. Mitt was educated, handsome, rich, and quick on his feet. He had financial skill. And he was rejected rapidly. Mitt is a Mormon. The members were shocked at the incredibly negative press Mitt and the Mormons got. They thought they were, somehow, "mainstream."

The members watched Gordon Hinckley on television, and saw him deny one sacred doctrine after another. "I don't know that we teach that." "We abhor polygamy." "Revelation is a feeling.' Indeed.

And so they endure. They cough up money, attend, and tolerate. They know they are laughed at, or, at best, put up with. They have learned that after all these years, people don't like them. But they send their kids on missions, and get ready for the next miserable Sunday.

They so badly want it to be true.
Losing Your Identity
Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008, at 08:34 AM
Original Author(s): Substrate
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 19   -Link To MC Article-
One of the worst things about Mormonism is that it attempts to make you part of an entity instead of an individual. It wants to control what you look like and how you think and feel and live.

Church members are always reminded that "people are watching you." You have to be an example at all times because you never know who will be sparked by your example to join the church.

The example is really a set of behavior rules: how many earrings, how long the hair, keeping the Word of Wisdom, not doing anything remotely sexual before marriage. We all know the drill.

But being an example is really playing a part: the straightlaced "happy" Mormon. And we lived our lives as if we were playing a role; it wasn't a real life. It was a part in a play, and if you performed well enough, there would be a reward in the afterlife.

But somewhere deep inside most of us realized that the part wasn't really us. Of course, a lot of us believed that the real us was "the natural man," the enemy to God, and something that needed to be avoided and suppressed at all times.

I hope it's not hyperbole to say that in this respect Mormonism resembles fascism. I don't mean the antisemitic murderous kind of fascism, but the fascism that subordinates the individual to the corporate entity. It's the political organization that matters, not the individual. It's the same way in Mormonism: it's the church that matters, its growth and prosperity, not the individual members.

Just like fascism had its brown shirts, Mormonism has white shirts and ties, "modest" dresses, and appropriate hairstyles that don't draw too much attention to people. But these are the uniforms of the corporation, and we were mere tools of the corporation.

When you finally wake up and emerge from Mormonism, the hardest thing (at least for me) is to figure out how much of you is that corporate tool and how much is really you. I'm still trying to figure that out.

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5,709 Articles In 365 Topics
TopicImage TOPIC INDEX (365 Topics)

  · BOB MCCUE - SECTION 1 (25)
  · BOB MCCUE - SECTION 2 (25)
  · BOB MCCUE - SECTION 3 (25)
  · BOB MCCUE - SECTION 4 (25)
  · BOB MCCUE - SECTION 5 (25)
  · BOB MCCUE - SECTION 6 (19)
  · BOY SCOUTS (22)
  · BOYD K. PACKER (33)
  · BRIAN C. HALES (1)
  · BRUCE C. HAFEN (4)
  · CALLINGS (11)
  · COMEDY - SECTION 1 (24)
  · COMEDY - SECTION 2 (21)
  · COMEDY - SECTION 3 (24)
  · COMEDY - SECTION 4 (22)
  · COMEDY - SECTION 5 (37)
  · DALLIN H. OAKS (100)
  · DANITES (4)
  · DAVID A. BEDNAR (23)
  · DAVID O. MCKAY (8)
  · DAVID R. STONE (1)
  · DNA (23)
  · DON JESSE (2)
  · EMMA SMITH (5)
  · FARMS (30)
  · GEORGE P. LEE (1)
  · HAROLD B. LEE (1)
  · HAUNS MILL (2)
  · HBO BIG LOVE (12)
  · HOLIDAYS (13)
  · HUGH NIBLEY (13)
  · HYMNS (7)
  · JAMES E. FAUST (7)
  · JOHN GEE (3)
  · JOHN L. LUND (3)
  · JUDAISM (3)
  · JULIE B. BECK (6)
  · L. TOM PERRY (5)
  · LAMANITES (36)
  · MARRIOTT (2)
  · MASONS (16)
  · MICHAEL R. ASH (26)
  · MITT ROMNEY (71)
  · NAUVOO (3)
  · ORRIN HATCH (10)
  · PARLEY P. PRATT (11)
  · PAUL H. DUNN (5)
  · PRIMARY (1)
  · PROPOSITION 8 (21)
  · QUENTIN L. COOK (11)
  · SEMINARY (5)
  · SHERI L. DEW (3)
  · TALKS - SECTION 1 (1)
  · TIME (4)
  · TITHING - SECTION 1 (25)
  · TITHING - SECTION 2 (25)
  · TITHING - SECTION 3 (13)
  · UGO PEREGO (5)
  · UK COURTS (7)
  · VAN HALE (16)
  · VIDEOS (30)
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