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EX-MORMONISM SECTION 9
A very large selection of posts made by those in recovery from Mormonism. Culled from throughout the Ex-Mormon Communities.
| If you believe the church is true?
Give all of your time, talents and energies to the building of the kingdom.
Pledge everything which you have, or may have in the future, to the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints.
Give 10% of your income as tithes. Contribute a generous fast offering, give to the perpetual education fund, the ward missionary fund, the general missionary fund, the book of mormon fund, the temple construction fund.
Spend 2 years of your life away from your family on a mission, perhaps even to a foreign country, perhaps even to a developing country where sanitation, healthcare and physical safety are causes for concern.
Give up countless hours of your free time in callings and assignments, home and visiting teaching and going to firesides and conferences, taking kids to dances, seminary, youth activities, primary activities, doing family history research, preparing talks and lessons.
See each and every one of the people you know who are not members of the church as a potential member.
Spend your energies in cultivating friendships and relationships with others, not for its own sake you understand, but so you can be more effective at bringing them into the fold.
Spend countless hours at the temple, dressed in clothes that you can only purchase or rent from the church, covering underwear that you can only buy from the church.
Read magazines that are approved by the church which, naturally, you can only purchase from the church.
And if you discover at some point later that its actually not true?
Just walk away and never give it another thought.
Do people seriously think that people can just walk away from the scam of the century without feeling a little pissed off?
Nibley must have been on valium.
| I look back on my years as a Mormon, and chuckle about the great expectations I had. It was, in hindsight, utterly ludicrous to expect what I had been told to expect. Reality is a hard pill to swallow.
Expectation: The church will give you a deep and lasting happiness you cannot find anywhere else. Mormons have a corner on happiness, and no other people tingle with their relationship with the divine--only Mormons know that feeling.
Reality: Mormons are no more happy than anyone else. In fact, many are seriously depressed, and deeply unhappy. They need new underwear, a Sunday off, and a cold beer. Such things would work wonders. Mormons are put into a situation where they suffer serious guilt, anxiety, and misery. No church can outdo the Mormon church when it comes to sucking joy out of life.
Expectation: The temple is as close to God as you can get on this earth.
Reality: I never felt more removed from God that I did in the temple. I found myself caught up in a weird ceremony, wearing weird clothes, and being run through a cult indoctrination. Victorian furniture and Masonic ceremonies do not bring you close to God.
Expectation: If you marry in the temple, you will have a great marriage, and a "forever family."
Reality: My parents had a miserable marriage, and fought all the time. One of the things they argued about the most was the church. They would even argue over the words of Chauncey Riddle, and whether or not men or women did the most to pull us away from the divine. Their marriage was a tortured odyssey, and I recall all the nights I cried myself to sleep as they argued overhead.
My own marriage has lasted, and that of my orthodox sister and brother- in- law did not last. The marriages of my orthodox nephews did not last, even though they "walked in harmony with the gospel."
Expectation: A mission will be the best two years of your life.
Reality: I learned that Mormons are mean spirited fanatics, who do not care about each other. I learned that being a Mormons makes you a tiny part of a huge machine, which grinds people up, and turns them into low grade cat food.
The mission taught me I do not matter, people do not matter, and that the church has no interest in the individual at all. A good lesson to learn, but painful while you learn it.
Expectation: Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, a man of greatness, kindness, love, and unswerving righteousness.
Reality: Joseph Smith was one of the biggest frauds in American history. He wrote a lousy book, started a false religion, lied with great regularity, slept with numerous women--including 14 year old girls-- took the wives of other men, and died the death of a mountebank
Expectation: Mormons have the words of a prophet to help them through life.
Reality: Mormon prophets don't have a hell of a lot of useful information. They tell you how many earrings to wear, what to eat and drink, and where to send your money. They don't have much else to offer. If you want real answers, or are having real problems, about all you get is "live the gospel, and send us your money." Mormons don't have any corner on special knowledge.
This could go on forever. I am sure I am like everyone else here. We are in the same boat, and floating on the same ocean as the rest of humanity. None of us know where the hell we are, or where we are going . And that is the way it was meant to be. No special answers for anyone.
| When I was growing up I learned about blessings and priesthood power. These were the direct manifestation of God's power here on earth. For those of us with faith - this was how we accessed the heavens for miracles promised to the saints.
There was one little trick to the blessings and the priesthood and that was that Heavenly Father had veto power. If you were really righteous, you acknowledged that veto power. My father would always end his prayer with a priesthood command, “Through the power of the Melchezedek Priesthood, which I hold, I command you to get well,” and then add, but Heavenly Father, thy will be done. This meant, “unless, of course, you veto this blessing Heavenly Father.”
This always gave an explanation for the outcome. If the person got better, it was because of the blessing and Heavenly Father’s will. If the person did not get better, this outcome was also Heavenly Father’s will and we were to always accept his will. The key to healings, to understanding when a healing was denied, and accessing the power of the priesthood was faith.
Somehow everything got muddled around this concept of faith and the explanations became circular and confusing. Faith gave you access to healing powers. People who had enough faith could move mountains, cast out devils, be guided in every decision, convert people just through bearing their testimonies, perform miracles, have visions, see those who had crossed through the veil, have unusual wisdom, have angles appear to them, be protected, be healed, heal others, and be blessed daily with the companionship of the holy ghost.
Most of the time, none of these things happened and this also required faith. If you had enough faith you could accept that mountains did not move, no devils were cast out, the guidance seemed wrong, people did not get converted, there was no miracle, no visions, no visits from those who had passed through the veil, protection that failed, you weren’t healed, you couldn’t heal someone else, and that often you felt abandoned by the holy spirit.
It was hard to know if it was Heavenly Father’s will or if you did not have enough faith or maybe were arrogant or maybe this was the plan. Regardless, Heavenly Father was good, you needed faith, and you probably just needed to try harder.
If we did not question, but trusted wholly and completely then we would have the faith to not question, but to trust wholly and completely. If we were obedient, we would be blessed with faith and our faith would help us be obedient.
In the end faith was a convenient word. It seemed to mean being obedient no matter what, accepting any outcome as Heavenly Father’s will, but mostly it meant never questioning.
| Of all the things I never ever thought would happen, my grandma - a devout TBM who's been pleading and pleading with me to come back to church for years - has suddenly had a change of heart, and asked me NOT to come to church when I'm home visiting, unless I'm just going to sacrament meeting.
Why, you ask? Well, we were in Sunday School back in 2002, and I'd just gotten home from Okinawa with my 6-month old (born out of wedlock *GASP!!*) son. I'd already endured "Oh, I'm so sorry your baby doesn't have a father/real family," and was getting annoyed.
My grandparents have lived in their ward for about 26 years. ALL the old-timers in the ward knew my mom (vociferously anti-Mormon), and have known me since I was 2. Needless to say, my mom and I are ... let's see, what's the word they'd use ... "pitied" by all those who think we've lost our way.
Anyway, so we were in this room full of people (my grandparents live in North Ogden), and the lesson was about important things to teach your children. I, being a new mother, was actually looking forward to this. The sister was up there teaching the class and asked, "What's the most important thing to teach your children?"
My hand shoots up. She points at me, as my grandma smiles because I'm participating.
"To think for themselves."
... *cricket* ... *cricket* ....
People have swiveled around in their seats to look at me in astonishment. The room is dead silent.
"Uhh ... no, that's not it. It's to choose the right."
"Well, if all you teach is to 'choose the right', what are they supposed to do in a gray situation where you can't *see* what the supposed 'right' way is?"
... pause ...
"Then they should know to ask for Heavenly Father's help."
"What if they don't have time? What if it's a time-intensive situation?"
... pause ...
"Well .... "
"If you teach your children good morals, compassion, and how to think for themselves and put those tools to use, your children will be better able to deal with the curveballs that life sometimes throws you."
At this point, my son started to cry (my grandma'd been holding him). She psssssst's at me, thrusts my son at me, and asks me to take him out of class. That was the last time I ever went to church.
Think she remembered that when she was getting ready for us to come out there in July ... :D
| I made my own list of automatic scripts and thinking patterns and beliefs that I created to change my life. This might help.
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!
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 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.
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.
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!
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 grandma's old clothes!
19. The green apron and temple robes mean nothing. They are just silly outfits for the temple play and it has 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 what you have when you know something is not true". 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 arrogant priesthood holder with his halo askew 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.
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.
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 as the people are the church.)
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.
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!!
That's my two cents. Your mileage may vary!
| This Is My Handy-Dandy List Of Quotes To Counter The Tbm's Who Object To Our Rights To Change Our Mind And Leave The Mormon Church |
Thursday, May 25, 2006, at 07:45 AM
Original Author(s): Susieq#1
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 9 -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| Apparently, most of them do not know their own religion or follow their prophet! |
This is a repost -- from my files. Perhaps it will be useful to the newbies that are in the trows of dealing with TBM's.
Perhaps some of you will find these useful.
Thanks to Deconstructor and others who have posted some of this info that I have added to my growing list.
It appears that we as former Mormons need to teach (or remind) our TBM loved ones and friends what their church really teaches.
QUOTES for Mormons who object to our choice to leave Mormonism.
I like to start with the First Amendment, then follow with the 11th Article of Faith, then quote the living prophet and go on from there.
I have also included a reading list of original documented primary sources for reference from their own libraries.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Joseph Smith's 11th article of faith:
We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
From Gordon B Hinckley
Official statements from General Conference. There are older similar quotes, however,the power of the statement cannot be rejected because he is from the current living prophet/president.
"Each of us has to face the matter-either the Church is true, or it is a fraud. There is no middle ground. It is the Church and kingdom of God, or it is nothing."
- President Gordon B. Hinckley. "Loyalty
April Conference, 2003.
These three alone are sufficient, but if you need more, read on!
"We cannot be arrogant. We cannot be self-righteous. The very situation in which the Lord has placed us requires that we be humble as the beneficiaries of His direction. While we cannot agree with others on certain matters, we must never be disagreeable. We must always be friendly, soft-spoken, neighborly, and understanding."
- President Gordon B. Hinckley, Fall 2003 General Conference, Sunday Morning Session
"As I have said before, we must not be clannish. We must never adopt a holier-than-thou attitude. We must not be self-righteous. We must be magnanimous, and open, and friendly. We can keep our faith. We can practice our religion. We can cherish our method or worship without being offensive to others. I take this occasion to plead for a spirit of tolerance and neighborliness, of friendship and love toward those of other faiths."
- President Gordon B. Hinckley, July 2001
From The Book of Mormon:
"He that hath the spirit of contention is not of me [saith the Lord], but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another. Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away." (3 Ne. 11:29-30.)
From the Bible:
"With that call comes the commitment to emulate the patterns of the Prince of Peace. That goal is shared by worthy servants of the Master, who would not speak ill of others nor provoke contention over teachings declared by ancient or living prophets. Certainly no faithful follower of God would promote any cause even remotely related to religion if rooted in controversy, because contention is not of the Lord."
"To begin, show compassionate concern for others. Control the tongue, the pen, and the word processor. Whenever tempted to dispute, remember this proverb: "He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace." (Prov. 11:12; see also Prov. 17:28.)"
"Bridle the passion to speak or write contentiously for personal gain or glory. The Apostle Paul thus counseled the Philippians, "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves." (Philip. 2:3.)
- Apostle Russell M. Nelson, "The Canker of Contention," Ensign, May 1989, Page 68
"Another face of pride is contention. The scriptures tell us that 'only by pride cometh contention.' (Prov. 13:10; see also Prov. 28:25.)"
- Prophet Ezra Taft Benson, "Beware of Pride," Ensign, May 1989, page 4
READING LIST: (all LDS authors)
History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 7 Vol's by Joseph Smith Jr
[not in personal library]
A Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
6 Vol's by B H Roberts
Readings in L.D.S. Church History from Original Manuscripts
3 Vol's by William E. Berrett and Alma P Burton
[These were class manuals at BYU in the 50's own vol 1 only]
Journal of Discourses 26 vol's
[not in personal library]
An American Prophets Record:
The Diaries And Journals Of Joseph Smith
Editor: Faulring, Scott H.; Author: Smith, Joseph
In Sacred Loneliness The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith by Todd Compton
The First Mormon by Donna Hill
Early Mormonism and the Magic World View by D Michael Quinn (any other book by Quinn)
Joseph Smith Begins His Work Vol 1, 2 by Wilford C Wood
Contains the original:
The Book of Mormon,
[this is where the missing comma in DandC 89 is validated]
The Book of Commandments,
The Doctrine and Covenants,
The Lectures on Faith ,
The Fourteen Articles of Faith
[later changed to 13 Articles of Faith]
No Man Knows My History
by Fawn Brodie
(Brodie and Quinn were excommunicated so a TBM might reject them)
Other books for reference:
..by his own hand upon papyrus Charles M Larson
This is a short list and does not include everything from my own library.
"Each religion should be free to propagate itself among present and future generations, so long as it does not use coercive or fraudulent means. Its practices should not interfere with the peace of society. Each religion has a right to present its message in an orderly way to all who are interested. How can we have freedom of religion if we are not free to compare honestly, to choose wisely, and to worship according to the dictates of our own conscience? While searching for the truth, we must be free to change our mind-even to change our religion-in response to new information and inspiration. Freedom to change one's religion has been emphasized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. One's religion is not imposed by others. It is not predetermined. It is a very personal and sacred choice, nestled at the very core of human dignity."
(Freedom to Do and to Be, Russell M. Nelson, International Scientific and Practical Conference "Religious Freedom: Transition and Globalization", Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, 27 May 2004)
| For my first 27 years of life, I was a very faithful Mormon. I went to church every Sunday, I attended every day of early-morning seminary for four years (except when I was sick), I served a mission, I married in the temple, I was a Young Men's President, Executive Secretary, 1st Counselor in the Bishopric, and everything in between.
I defended the church, its history, and its teachings when the subject came up among non-members. I spoke in church when asked and offered my testimony. I taught lesson after lesson after lesson. I TRULY believed the church was true.
But looking back on that part of my life now, it seems like I was never really as "Mormon" as I should have been. I never got up in Fast and Testimony meeting to offer my testimony (except when I was conducting sacrament meeting). I never brought up gospel topics when talking to non-members. I often rolled my eyes at the faith-promoting stories offered up by the really spiritual types at meetings. I dreaded any meeting that was not part of the 3-hour Sunday block.
I believed it, yet I didn't completely buy into it all. Perhaps it was because subconsciously, it didn't add up in my head. Perhaps I had figured it all out before I realized it.
I don't think I was cut out for being brainwashed. It seems there are people that could lose all sense of individuality and immerse themselves completely in the church and allow it to run their lives. I could never allow the church to take that kind of control over me. I always thought for myself.
The same type of thing happened when I started college. I enrolled in ROTC and saw most other cadets turn their minds over to the military (I know this is a generalization, and there are lots of great people in the military, including my father and brother, I'm just saying that that's how it seemed, and it wasn't for me). I did not like the sense of individuality that I lost. I didn't like anyone else doing the thinking for me.
My sense of individuality eventually led to my escape from the church. When I encountered problems with church history that I hadn't seen before, I did not just accept the church's responses. I thought for myself. And the walls came tumbling down.
Now, looking back, it's hard to imagine I ever believed it. I know if I hadn't been born into it I never would have joined. I can also see why I didn't immerse myself in the church fully like so many others do. There was a small part of me that stayed out of the water. And like a baptism, if you don't go all in, they don't really have you.
| It's so hard to talk about anything with my TBM family members. Conversations have to be completely vanilla or else I offend them. Coffee, wine, tea - all off limits. No movies above a PG rating. They haven't seen any TV shows that regular adults watch. They are politically right-wing to the point of sliding off the planet, so news and current events are out, much less any philosophising about them. They don't have any money due to tithing, so talk about restaurants is insensitive. Books - they don't read anything except church books. "What did you do over the weekend? Oh yeah, go to church." *long slow sigh*
I've gotten to where the only thing I can talk about with my TBM parents is genealogy, and even then it's touch and go. I discovered that one of my ancestors was born out of wedlock and was likely not a daughter of the man her mother eventually married. I mentioned this discovery to my Dad, and he acted like I'd punched him in the stomach. I'm not sure why all lines of ancestry have to be beyond reproach of any kind, but apparently they do.
They don't seem to want to talk about my son either, because they can't bear the thought that I'm not bringing him up in their church. So, any mention of the things he's doing results in "Well, it's time for dinner, so we're going to have to cut it short..." They don't like to talk about my wife either, because she is educated and successful and women like that make them uncomfortable.
They don't like sports, because it's a waste of time. They never go on vacation, because tithing saps all their money (same as restaurants), so it's insensitive for me to talk about the places I've seen. I sent my Mom flowers once for her birthday, and she actually cried. Nobody had ever sent her flowers before.
Yesterday, I made Cafe Bustelo coffee with sweetened condensed milk and poured it over ice. It was wonderful beyond words. Today, I made spaghetti and garlic bread for my family, and we opened a bottle of Francis Coppola Black Diamond. It was delicious. I guess that wouldn't be a good thing to tell a Mormon either.
I've come to savor those long, pregnant pauses...
| Why did we figure out the Big Lie while others remain TBM?
Here are some ideas -
1) Independence: I think many of us are uncomfortable with the idea of "shared beliefs". We tend to value independent thinking.
2) Intuition: before we began critically investigating the church, many of us experienced a vague anxiety. We sensed there was more to the church than what we were told. Once we learned some historical facts, we were better able to connect the dots and form a more realistic mental picture of the church. It's like a math problem with multiple steps. Some of us are better at sensing the right next step.
3) Isolation: on average, exmo's tend to have less of a need for social interaction. Certainly not in all cases, but perhaps more than half of us have a greater preference to be alone. Mormonism is the polar opposite of what we need. Exmo's tend to shun joining the group/herd.
4) Risk acceptance: On average, I believe we embrace risk more than our faithful mormon counterparts. Leaving the church is a leap into the unknown. This requires self-confidence and an acceptance of risk. Is there anything more risky than our "eternal salvation"? An exmo must choose to leave the comfortable safety of the nest (ward, friends, parents). It's a scary transition and fear of the unknown is what keeps many in the fold.
| They say that special "peace" comes from the Spirit of God/Holy Ghost/whatever you want to call it. And that "he" goes away when we "sin." I finally figured out what they really mean. |
What Mormons call "feeling the Spirit" is really just the peaceful feeling you get from "knowing" that you've found the answer to life, the universe, and everything. As long as they live according to the answer they think they've found, they know they're better than everyone else and are sure to be rewarded.
Consider the ways GAs say you can feel the spirit:
- Go to church and read LDS publications, including the Book of Mormon (reinforces "testimonies.")
- Go to the temple (you swear by oaths to live the "right answer")
- Pray to know the church is true (a good chance to remember every day that God blesses the Faithful)
- Pray for people who don't know the truth ('cause you're better off than them!)
- Listen to Mormon music (more propaganda)
- Read your patriarchal blessing (assurance of future blessings)
- Bear your testimony (i.e. brag about your knowledge of truth)
- Genealogy (so you can dead-dunk people who weren't as "lucky" as you)
- Wear Sunday clothes (they really do encourage this!)
And the things that take the spirit away:
- Reading anti-Mormon literature (oh, no! Maybe I wasn't right...)
- Sinning (doing things the Ultimate Answer forbids, loss of assured future blessings)
- Ill-speaking of the Lord's Anointed
- Asking questions. Here's what missionaries think about questions:
What a rip in the crotch. I can't believe I tried for 23 years to have Mormonesque spiritual experiences. I may have missed out on some real ones. How is this fake peace enough for some people?
| We shouldn't refer to ourselves as apostates or consider ourselves as "sons of perdition". We are victims of one of the cruellest hoax perpetrated on humanity, a scam on a grand scale.
Most of us joined for the simply reason that we were sincerely looking for connection with God, in our innocence we sought for the promise of peace and spirituality. We looked to Christ for salvation.
What we got instead was a crock of shit.
We sought for truth we were fed cunning lies, we yearned for grace we got legalism - rules and regulations to burden us with guilt. Useless works, three hour meetings, not for God's glory, but for the agrandisement of a man made organisation with a hunger for power and wealth, and a total disregard for its' members dignity and wellbeing.
What a load of horseshit. The simplicity and beauty of Christ's redeeming message exchanged for signs, tokens furtive handshakes, cutting of throats, disembowelling of guts, silly bakers hats and idiotic aprons. The tearing asunder of bodies and souls for the sake of a few secret oaths uttered in darkness.
Not a shred of sacredness to be found anywhere.
How can it be that having discovered the awful truth about "the one true church" we are labeled apostates. We are not apostates but survivors of an evil disease that eats away at all that is good and beautifull in this life - it destroys our trust, it kills our hopes, it quenches our faith and it silences our curiosity and thinking. If we are offended it is because of mormonism's affront to basic human decency and dignity.
| As I think back over my many decades of affiliation at one level or another with the LDS church I am struck with how many things are different doctrine wise. Certainly many things remain unchanged, or even more emphasized, but so many teachings have gone by the wayside. One consistent thing I have noted is that the church NEVER acknowledges a doctrinal or teaching screw-up. They just quietly discontinue one teaching and slowly transition to something entirely different, even contradicting at times that ‘eternal’ doctrine that came before.
I’m trying to compile a list of the things that are noticeably different. Perhaps you can add a few Then and Nows of your own.
1. The Three Nephites: Back in the 1950’s they were popping out everywhere like white-skinned Whack-a-Moles. Everywhere you turned there were stories of how they were appearing out of nowhere to hitchhike, or help someone with a flat tire, or to warn to get their two year’s supply which was going to be needed very shortly, and then vanishing into thin air. Now the 3 N’s seem to have gone into deep hibernation. Maybe they’re hanging out with the Lost Ten Tribes!
2. Coca-Cola: once seemingly as evil as heroin. Sunday school lessons, sacrament talks covered the evils of this pervasive beverage with warnings of how it would erode your stomach, etc. Now it seems Utah is awash in mega-mugs overflowing with an assortment of caffeinated beverages. Except for coffee, of course. Only in Mormonism is an Iced Mocha considered a “hot drink” still to be avoided.
3. Blatant racism: once alive and well. Whatever race you were born into, Chinese, Black, Indian, etc., was a direct reflection of your standing in the pre-existence. While the church would baptize most of these people it was with the understanding that we were doing them a big favor in doing so. The American Indian after baptism would start losing his brown skin like last year’s suntan and soon become “white and delightsome”, the obvious ultimate ideal. Racial intermarriage was strongly frowned upon. While much of this has diminished there is still a racial superiority undertow. How many long, cold days in Hades will pass before a non-white ever rises to GA status?
(George P. Lee was an obvious aberration.)
While discarding the blatant discrimination against Blacks was the obvious right thing to do why was such a doctrine, what with “inspired leadership”© ever there in the first place?
4. “The Day of the Lamanite”: Promises were coming right and left of how they Lamanites would rise to top church leadership, readily adopt the BoM, and prove themselves even more righteous than their white brethren. It has been over ten years since a conference talk has been given on Lamanites. What happened?
5. Lamanite Foster Program: In the 1970’s the church could proclaim it was putting 5,000 “Lamanite” children into church homes each year. About this program it was declared:
” The program is an inspired one. It changes for the better the lives of thousands of choice Indian youths.”
(“The Placement Program: How Interested Families Can Help,” Ensign, Aug. 1972, 7)
So what happened to this “inspired program”? Did all the Lamanites suddenly arrive at a point where they no longer needed assistance? Did all the Lamanites’ skin turn white to where they could no longer be distinguished from their Caucasian brethren?
6. Food Storage: Talks regularly stressed the absolute necessity of every family, regardless of living circumstances, having their 2 year’s supply. Ways were contrived to help apartment dwellers store a ton of wheat under their bed. Untold millions of dollars were wasted on bulk food items few ever used and which were later discarded. A very rare passing reference might be made to it today, but it’s largely ignored.
7. Missouri: Many of my elders were given very specific promises in their Patriarchal Blessings that they personally would be amongst those called to go back and build up Missouri. Missouri was still spoken of in derogatory terms as an evil place. Since then the church has made peace with Missouri, my elders have all passed on without ever seeing Missouri, and the church no longer even mentions returning to Missouri. How come?
8. Apocalyptic teachings: It was once very common to constantly reference any event on the world scene as part of “Signs of the Times”, a sure sign the Second Coming would be any day now. Smith’s book of the same title, along other ominous tomes from ET Benson, Peterson, et al, prophesied all kinds of calamities to those not cowering under the umbrella of the church. The 1967 Israeli war with it’s neighbors had Mormons positively giddy that the End Times® were upon us. Now Hinckley is now much more likely to confess he “doesn’t know” about these things. What happened?
9. Becoming Gods: We’re all well aware of that cute little “couplet” that promised that “. . . as God is man may become”, etc. Worlds and wives and offspring beyond numbering would be our glorious reward for obedience. (Mormon Elders got wives without number, while the poor Muslim martyrs only get 72 virgins, and have to kill themselves besides.) How about it – do we still teach Godhood, or has Hinckley canceled that blessing? Do we still get to be Gods someday, or are we too late?
10. Jesus was married: Any number of church apostles and presidents preached from the tabernacle pulpit that Jesus was not only married, but polygamous, and the marriage at Cana where he turned water into wine (or was it grape juice?) was, in fact, his own.
Now the church issues a statement that such things were never doctrine. Even apologists are chiming in to deny that which was once commonly taught.
So which carries more doctrinal weight, which is more correct: numerous direct, unambiguous statements from former church prophets, or a current announcement from the church’s publicity department?
11. Temple Ceremony: gone are those endearing naked touchy-feely moments, the Satan slithering, the Pope and protestant bashing, the knee in the groin hugging, the group hug “True Order of Prayer”, and the decapitating and disemboweling thrills that made the Endowment such a soft spiritual experience. Now we’re left with a sterile movie and a hokey-pokey shuffle of awkward costume changes. No chance now for a “6th point of fellowship”. I miss the old days!
12. Book of Mormon: Where to begin? In 1975 Marion G. Romney could give a conference address about Cumorah and state:
” On July twenty-fifth of this year, as I stood on the crest of that hill admiring with awe the breathtaking panorama which stretched out before me on every hand, my mind reverted to the events which occurred in that vicinity some twenty-five centuries ago–events which brought to an end the great Jaredite nation.”
(Marion G. Romney, “America’s Destiny,” Ensign, Nov. 1975, 35)
In those days there was not an ounce of doubt or misconception about the location of the “real” Hill Cumorah, or the great battles that supposedly took place there.
Today you will look in vain for any current specific reference by a GA specifically placing any event at the Hill Cumorah other than the burial location of the gold plates. It’s not like they’ve bought into the FARMS apologetic BS, but they are clearly keeping their options open. I can readily see them making the same transitions away from teaching the New World universality of the supposed Nephite/Lamanite populations, just like they’ve backed away from any number of other formerly absolute teachings.
These former teachings were rendered as the revealed words of God through the “Living Prophets”©, which with time have devolved to become the mere “opinions” of men. How many of the current teachings, rendered with such solemnity from the Conference Center pulpit will become mere detritus on the trash heap of other discarded Mormon doctrines – right up there with Adam-God?
| It's been several months now since I announced to TBM DM, DW, children and siblings that I was leaving the morg due to changed beliefs. It's been a struggle for all TBM family members. Some are dealing with it better than others. The bottom line for all is this: do they remain true to their relationship and commitment to me or to the morg. They can't reconcile maintaining a high level of commitment to both.
If they remain true to their feelings for and commitment to me, they have to accept that I believe much of what they believe is patently false. I have been careful to be considerate and not hostile toward their beliefs, but at the same time I'm unapologetic and frank in expressing my own beliefs and understanding of facts regarding morg history and teachings. And that alone makes them frequently uncomfortable.
If they remain true to their feelings for and commitment to the morg, they have to believe (it is as black and white as it can be) that I'm an apostate and have no hope of eternal salvation, and therefore no chance at remaining with them as part of an eternal family unit. I may as well be dead to them. Actually, I'm worse than dead--I'm lost forever.
If they remain true to me, they are at risk of losing their own salvation. Showing empathy toward one who believes as I do and who obviously is in Satan's grasp (my TBM DM's own words) can only increase the risk to them of also coming under the influence of the nefarious one. They may begin to doubt and question their own testimonies. And that would mean they, as well as I, would be damned.
They deal with this by claiming I've changed and no longer have the spirit with me. I believe their projecting onto me their own doubts and pain. I know it is difficult for them to know I no longer believe as they do. They have to believe that I'm deceived and under the influence of a dark spirit. According to morg doctrine, no one can be under the influence of the Holy Ghost and not believe that JS is a prophet, the BoM is true, LDS church is only true and living church of Jesus Christ, etc.
I explained to my wife that any organization that puts its members in such a state that they are unable to continue loving and accepting someone as dear to them as a husband, son, and father is an unhealthy organization and is creating in its adherents an emotionally and psychologically unhealthy condition.
"Perfectionistic attitudes set in motion a vicious cycle. First, perfectionists set unreachable goals. Second, they fail to meet these goals because the goals were impossible to begin with. Failure to reach them was thus inevitable. Third, the constant pressure to achieve perfection and the inevitable chronic failure reduce productivity and effectiveness. Fourth, this cycle leads perfectionists to be self-critical and self-blaming which results in lower self-esteem. It may also lead to anxiety and depression."
That nicely sums up the destructive culture of Mormonism.
Perfectionism can also cause:
Isn't it wonderful, isn't it marvelous. Just imagine the the pain and suffering that the LDS missionaries bring to those who will hear their message.
| I know that I had a lot of fears about leaving the Mormon Church.
I have often wondered if there would be about 100 times more people posting here if they could get past the fear.
What did you fear about leaving the church and posting here?
What were your fears, and were they realistic?
And, what got you past the fears?
For myself, I think it was time;
time to teach myself that I was OK all along, that there was nothing to fear, that I had to learn some new "tricks" -to take my power back, not to be afraid of leaders, family, my own choices "hurting" someone else and on and on.
And by taking my power back, I mean that I had to learn to think differently to change my life.
I needed to rewrite those automatic scripts that were imprinted into my thinking process; those thousands of thoughts about how Mormonism micromanaged my whole life from what I ate, drank, how I dressed, garments, church attendance, how to think about other people, how to be a missionary, how to pray always, read the scriptures, fulfill callings and "magnify" them, payment of tithes and offerings, fasting, and a thousand other things!
People outside Mormonism do not often understand the level of thought control that is programmed/imprinted into the members, many from birth.
In the Exit Process, I determined that I would be kind to myself.
I understood that I would be angry and that was not a "sin." I understood (this is a change in the thinking process) that anger was a normal, human response to being betrayed and lied to!
And, formost, I could change my life by changing my thoughts! Oh..is Mormonism clever: it takes your whole life and breaks all the human boundaries (including the naked touching in the temple, which is now changed, thanks to us here, I am sure!) and enforces obedience by blackmail (with the threat of witholding a temple recommend if you do not answer all the questions correctly in two intervies) even enforcing questioning and thinking outside the box.
My personal experience is that it takes practice to think differently.A lot of it! It doesn't happen over night. Just making the decision to not believe is only the first step.
The best way for me, anyhow, to preserve my own sanity and emotional stability was to go easy on myself and never ever forget that I did nothing "wrong"! In fact, I had rights that had been slowly desolved that I was going to take back! Including my right to change my mind!
I had my sense of self, my self respect, and my self confidence that I would use to protect myself as I gravitated to free thinking, freedom of thought, and the right to change my mind about where I placed my faith.
I had to combat the lies that Mormonism tells. They tried to make me believe I lost my faith. How absurd can you get? I didn't do any such thing. I just changed where I placed it. I resolved to place my faith in that which was factual, and held up to scrutiny.
They tried to make me believe that I hurt my family. How absurd! I didn't do anything to them! One TBM adult child even commanded me not to speak to their siblings. How absurd. I will talk to anyone about anything at anytime, if I choose to. My parent -- you child, keep that order in your mind and learn some respect!
They tried to tell me that I would not be with my family in the Celestial Kingdom. How absurd! Why would anyone believe there was an imaginary CK anyhow? Where is your evidence?
How did y'all get over the fear? Or does it still crop up?
How do you handle the fear that is exhibited from the friends, relatives, and leadership?
In a nut shell, what does it mean, to you to take your power back from Mormonism and own it? How did you do it?Where are you in that process?
| I became deathly sick of the condescending tone of Mormonism while struggling to stay with the fold. In fact, it became annoying and offensive as time went by. I grew weary of being talked down to.
I recall the attitude toward teenagers. "My young friends," "Aaronic Priesthood youths," "My young brothers and sisters," were common. You were always treated as a kid with no brain at all. Big Brother was there to make all decisions, and to ensure no-one left the path.
All youth activities were monitored, regulated, and overseen --no stone was left unturned in the effort to kill fun. You could not play softball without some fine brother looking after you. And just think about how fun church dances were. Oh boy, was that ever exciting! Something to die for.
I recall the endless firesides, and lectures about sex, or "God's gift of procreation." Yes indeed, sex was explained to us endlessly. Every aspect of sex was checked and monitored--masturbation to fornication. The church wanted to intrude, look down on you, and regulate. Got sex? They had guilt to go with it.
If you went on a mission, that too was regulated to death. Again, you were spoken down to--"my young friends," or "you fine young Elders." You could not walk ten feet without some regulation . I once got a chance to sleep alone for a few days, until my nitwit companion complained to the Mission President that I would not sleep in the same room with him. My freedom came to an abrupt end. The Mission President did not want to place me in a situation where I "might masturbate." Oh my. I didn't masturbate. I just savored and relished the sheer joy of being alone. Words cannot describe the pleasure of it.
When you got home from your juvenile mission experience, you were a 'Young Adult," and put in the program with the same name. Again, regulation, oversight, and mind killing programming. The church would just not let you grow up. They could not stand the thought of it. To them, you were always too young, too stupid to think for yourself. The brethren were there for the thinking. All you had to do was shut up and obey.
If you had gone on a mission, and you met a "fine young woman," and were ready to have the church marry you, the Stake President would reach in his drawer, and give you your balls. You could try them on for size, bounce them until it hurt, and even put them to "procreative use.' A heady feeling, if you will forgive the pun . Wow, I am 25, and I get to have balls! I thought the day would never arrive! I get balls!
In truth, being a Mormon means being kept as a child. You are NEVER allowed to think for yourself, act for yourself, or grow up. You can't do "grown up" things, like take a drink, or spend your money the way you want. Your "time and talents," are handed over to the church. And you had damned well better use them as directed. None of this wandering off the reservation stuff.
Mormonism is cradle to grave condescension.
| When I was a teen ager taking the drivers'-ed class the teacher taught us how to properly adjust our side mirrors and our rear view mirrors. He taught us that we should be able to see down the side of the car when we look in the side mirrors. The instructor explained that this would give you something called "blind spots". These "blind spots" are areas that are not covered by any of the mirrors. So, as you drive down the road a car can be situated in one of these blind spots and you may not even know it is there. To remedy, this problem we were told to quickly turn our head and look over our shoulder to make sure our blind spot was clear. This however presents a problem. To do so, requires you to take your eyes off the road. This is very dangerous as well. Some people have the bad habit of NEVER checking their blind spots. This is even worse.
I never gave this much thought until I got married. My wife had been given the same instruction as I had as how to deal with "blind spots". Every time I would get in the car after my wife had driven the car I would have to adjust the side mirrors back to where I could see down the side of the car. We would play a back and forth game of adjusting the mirrors so that we were both getting the same view through the side mirrors. This is OK since we were both getting the same view through the mirrors when they were slightly adjusted.
A while back a gentleman at work pointed out that most people were getting "blind spots" because they were adjusting their mirrors incorrectly. He explained that it was not necessary to have "blind spots" if the view through the side mirrors was adjusted correctly. He explained that you should not adjust your mirrors so that you could just see down the side of the car. The side mirros should be adjusted out so that the respective next lane line over was in the view of the respective side mirror. He went on to explain that when one does this one has a full view of the cars around them. I was skeptical. I mean, this way of thinking went against everything I had been taught about mirror adjustment. Sure, "blind spots" were dangerous and a pain, and turning your head to check them was also dangerous, but it was a system that had worked for me for many years. Besides, everybody I knew adjusted their mirrors this way. How could all those people be wrong?
In spite of my skepticism, I adjusted my mirrors as I had been instructed by the guy from work. At first it was very strange to not be able to see down the side of my vehicle in my side mirrors. I quickly noticed however that before a vehicle disappeared from my view in the rear view mirror I was already picking it up in the respective side mirror. This system appeared to work. It still felt akward though. I had to force myself to not look over my should to check the "blind spots" that I was pretty sure were not there anymore. Occaisionally, I was adjust my mirrors the old way out of habit. Then I would adjust them the new way, remember that it seemed to be a superior system of seeing things. After a while I adjusted my mirrors the new way every time. I stopped looking over my should because I knew through experience that the blind spots were gone. I no longer had to accept that I had blind spots or the risk of constantly checking them. I could look straight ahead, check my mirrors, and know where all the vehicles around me were. I could now see things for what they really were.
When I was satisfied that this method of adjusting mirrors worked, I told my wife about it. She rebuffed me by stating that the system she had used her whole driving career had worked for her up to this point and she didn't see any point in changing now. I pointed out the flaws of the old system. She again protested by telling me that there may be a few flaws with the system but that for her it was the best one. I again explained the benefits of adjusting her mirrors with this method. The chief benefit being that she would be able to see everything clearly. She wouldn't hear of it. She said she was fine with adjusting my mirrors how I wanted, but she was sticking with the old system.
I went over to a friends house tonight. My wife had driven that vehicle earlier in the day, so I had to adjust my mirrors. When I drove home I caught myself looking over my should once to check a "blind spot" that didn't really exist since I now use the new system exclusively. I do this now only on a rare occassion out of habit. They die hard you know. For the most part I see things as there are with the new set up.
I thought my little relapse was humorous, so I asked my wife if she was still using her old and ineffective method of seeing things in her mirrors. She answered in the affirmative. I told her that she really should try the better method. "Why bother, the old way works for me," she replied.
| Respect for Exmormons Self-Test
If you answer "yes" to any of the following questions, then, despite what you claim verbally, deep down inside, you really don't respect Exmormons, and shouldn't be surprised if the Exmormon in your life no longer communicates with you:
1. Do you put an Exmormon's name on the temple prayer roll with the intent that the Exmormon will be "touched by the spirit" to see the error of their ways, and return to the Mormon Church?
2. If the Exmormon in question is a provider of goods or services, did you stop buying from him, or using his services once you heard he left the Mormon Church?
3. When you hear people at church say things like "people leave the Mormon Church because they want to sin, or they were too weak," do you keep your mouth shut, and let those disrepectful comments go unchallenged? Worse, do you actually say those things yourself?
4. If you once did, do you no longer see the Exmormon in question as a source wisdom, or as an honest person?
5. Do you spread false rumors that the Exmormon left the church because he has/wants to commit adultery, or view Internet porn?
6. Do you feel sorry for people who aren't Mormon?
7. Do you wish everyone in the world would humble themselves and accept Mormonism?
8. Do you encourage your children to not associate with the children of the Exmormon?
9. Do you feel that Exmormons are breaking the commandments, and are therefore, very bad?
10. Do you tell other Mormons that the Exmormon in your life is in for hard times because you feel he has rejected God?
| I remember the day that I first discovered RFM through a Google search ... I had only recently been excommunicated by the Mormon Church a few short months. The pain of that humiliating experience was still very fresh in my mind. The church leaders that had kicked my ass out...had totally abandoned me. I had become a leper in their eyes. I was left alone to deal with the mess that had become my life. To complicate my situation, I had also started to have serious doubts regarding many of the claims of the church. Namely, that the church was the only true church on the face of the earth, that the Book of Mormon was a real history and that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I had laid my entire life open for their examination and judgment ... they sifted through it all and then discarded me like some soiled piece of toilet paper. As a TBM I had put total and complete faith in these so called men of God, only to be cast off and abandoned. I felt betrayed, both physically and spiritually abused.
Although I never broke my temple covenants, I never questioned why I was excommunicated. I was that trusting and naive. The anguish I felt was do to their total abandonment of both my family and me. I felt that if they were going to participate in my massacre...then they should have the balls to clean up the mess they had created. None was ever offered
When they told me in my so-called court of love that I was no longer a member...I knew that I could never again rejoin the church unless I KNEW that the church was all it claimed to be. I knew I had to delve into and resolve the difficult doubts I had been harboring since my mission. Since that time I had been accumulating many questions that the church couldn’t answer to my satisfaction, as directed I placed them on the back burner of my mind...to stew and simmer. I was told that these things were not essential to my salvation. But now as a non-member I had to address these things in order to move forward and be rebaptised into the church.
Little did I know at the time... but the depth of my pain was about to get much worse...
As I began to delve into the difficult historical questions that had been at the root of my many shelved questions... I soon came to the painful conclusion that I had willingly subjected myself to a disciplinary system run by men posing as men of god ...I was totally broken and devastated at this final straw.
It was while in this state of mind that I discovered RFM...
I didn’t know it at the time but RFM was a godsend (its a term I use loosely as an agnostic). I was in deep agony and pain do the experience I had gone through and I needed a place where I could vent and express my pain. The RFM community didn‘t judge me, but offered understanding and compassion.
As I was trying to salvage my marriage with my extreme TBM wife, you offered sage advice and insight that I believe, saved my marriage (so far). You also helped me purge many of my Mormon demons and helped open up a window of understanding and enlightenment.
Thank You RFM for putting up with all of my shit... as a still recovering Mormon... I sincerely appreciate all of you...
| Today marks 159 years since the Mormons entered the Salt Lake Valley and Brigham Young uttered the famous phrase, "Well, why not?" I've never quite understood why we Mormons celebrated Pioneer Day (as July 24 has been named) more than other days. Why not "First Vision Day" or "Restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood Day"? Oh, that's right. Even if these events had taken place, no one bothered to write down the dates.
My earliest memory of a Pioneer Day celebration is of being 5 years old and proudly marching along, with my face poking through a purple construction paper flower, as we sang "Little Purple Pansies" (I'm sure I was psychologically scarred for life). Even in South America, when I was a missionary, the local Mormons dutifully marked the arrival of a group of people in a remote location removed in time and in cultural relevance from these hardy Bolivian Saints.
But maybe they weren't so far removed, after all. We were all pioneers, or at least so we thought. Those who defied family and friends to join God's kingdom were indeed on a par with those early Saints who had sacrificed so much. Even those of us who had been born in the church were pioneers, if we chose to take up the mantle of missionary and share the gospel with our friends and neighbors.
Saturday, my wife talked me into attending our ward's Pioneer Day barbecue. It was miserably hot (101 and humid), and as we got out of the car, my youngest son informed me that he had no shoes. A 45-minute trip to Wal-Mart remedied that while the rest of the family made candles and climbed on the fence overlooking the Brazos River, heedless of the sign that read, "Danger! Stay off fence!" Just before the food was served, all present joined in singing "Come, Come, Ye Saints" (well, all except me). Maybe it was the heat, but I just couldn't do it. I walked away and looked over the river, thinking of all those who died on the journey to Utah. If they obtained their rest, it was at a bitter price. But the brisket was excellent.
I wonder if leaving the church requires a bit of the same pioneer spirit. Many of us have endured shunning, isolation, family discord, and even divorce for the sole crime of acknowledging the truth. Bob McCue once said that he felt like he was the one who need to "take the bullet" for his family; his accepting the pain of leaving the church would spare his children so much future heartache. I feel that bullet every day in the still-wide gulf that separates me from my wife. I feel it when my daughter sings, "Blessed Joseph, chosen seer!" I feel it when my son asks me why I don't take the sacrament. I know there isn't a promised valley waiting at the end of my journey, but I'll take it over illusion any day.
| The Main Obstacles That Prevent TBMs From Drawing The Logical Conclusion, That The Mormon Church Is A Fraud |
Monday, Jul 24, 2006, at 08:48 AM
Original Author(s): Koriwhore
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 9 -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| In the waning years of my faith in Mormonism, it amazed me that Gordon B. Hinkley could get away with saying, "It all boils down to the First Vision. It either happened the way JS said it happened, or it's a total fraud."
After learning there were at least 8 different versions of the first vision, that false dichotomy sort of struck me as really odd.
When I heard him say it again the following year, in a priesthood session, I said aloud, "It's a fraud." Since it obviously couldn't have happened the way JS said, since he gave so many widely different accounts over the years, it was impossible for me to believe any of them.
I recently went back and read a letter I had drafted to the 1st Presidency back in my TBM days. I've always had a problem with Blacks and the priesthood and never got a straight or satisfying answer out of my local leaders, so I decided to write to the 1st presidency to get it straight from the horses mouth. I never sent it, since we were told soon after I wrote the letter, in no uncertain terms, that we were not to bother the 1st Pres with personal letters and requests for answers. So I just sat on the letter. But the interesting thing in the letter is the lengths to which I went to justify believing in a church that I knew taught immoral and racist doctrines that totally contradicted the golden rule and Christ's main commandment to us to love our fellow men as ourselves. To me that was a huuuuuge contradiction, but I was willing to put that aside in the interest of preserving my "eternal family."
I'd been told that pursuing that line of questioning was a slippery slope and that if I wanted to maintain my family, then I should just forget about trying to find real answers to my serious questions.
I knew that if I left the church over my concerns about racism, or bigotry, that I would face divorce, loss of my home and family, and everything most precious to me.
So I had no choice but to try to articulate my concerns to my wife in such a way that she would listen. She didn't. Finally after push came to shove and she feared losing me if she didn't listen, she listened to me and I listened to her. her concerns were not my concerns, nor were mine hers. She was more concerned with polygamy in the CK and with the caste system that relegated women to 2nd class status. As a member of the privilaged class, I never really had a problem with either of those things. It wasn't until I started looking into them seriously that I had a serious problem with them. Now Polygamy and the subjugation of women is just as big of an issue to me as Mormon racism.
But really what it boiled down to for my wife was that she needed community. She identified with Mormonism deeply. She was very emotionally tied to Mormonism and couldn't imagine a life outside of Mormonism.
For me it was purely intellectual and moral. I really didn't care nearly as much about the social aspects of apostacy as I did the intellectual and moral aspects. Once I figured out it was a fraud, nothing else even compared, except my family, which I valued above my own intellectual concerns.
Once I was able to articulate myself to my family, then we were able to deal with the social implications of our departure from the tribe, which in the end, did not turn out to be nearly as ominous as we had imagined.
Bottom line I think fear of the unknown really is what keeps most TBM's from drawing the logical conclusion from the facts and history.
| Susan D. mentioned Codependents Anonymous (CODA) on another thread. While reading the list of behaviors that can indicate codependency on the CODA site it became apparent that the Mormon Church encourages and trains codependent behavior. My comments are embedded and my apologies if anyone has addressed this list in the past.
I have difficulty identifying what I am feeling.
I minimize, alter or deny how I truly feel.
The Mormon Church’s emphasis on being happy forces people to put on a happy face and deny when feeling something else. There is also the pervasive pressure to deny the feelings of uneasiness with the temple, illogical doctrine, an abusive god, etc.
I perceive myself as completely unselfish and dedicated to the well being of others.
This is at the core of Mormonism. Giving up two years in missionary service for the church, spending time on church callings when already exhausted, etc.
Low Self Esteem Patterns:
I have difficulty making decisions.
Pray and fast when logic would be better. Go to the bishop for advice, patriarchal blessings to aid in decision making…
I judge everything I think, say or do harshly, as never "good enough."
This is pounded into Mormons through multiple conference talks and Primary, Sunday School, and Seminary lessons. We need to work our way to heaven but we always fall short thus needing a Savior.
I am embarrassed to receive recognition and praise or gifts.
The teachings to remain “humble” often take on an unhealthy tone within the Mormon Church.
I do not ask others to meet my needs or desires.
Mormons are supposed to give and never ask for anything in return. Those who pay generous tithes and fast offerings are looked upon favorably but those who need to use the Church welfare system are looked down on.
I value others' approval of my thinking, feelings and behavior over my own.
Approval by others is institutionalized in the Mormon Church. There are the frequent interviews that are required to gain the approval of the bishop, stake president, and the “Lord” over the member’s behavior. This approval is required for so many things; callings, missionary service, and temple attendance for example.
I do not perceive myself as a lovable or worthwhile person.
Mormon culture seems to do this to people. It is reflected in the high anti-depressant use in the Mormon Church.
I compromise my own values and integrity to avoid rejection or others' anger.
Within Mormonism it is either their way or the highway. No deviation from the structured behavior and belief patterns is tolerated.
I am very sensitive to how others are feeling and feel the same.
The emotionally manipulative nature of the Mormon Church reinforces this. The missionary program also trains people to pay attention to others emotions and empathize. Not a bad thing in moderation but it is taken to extremes in the Mormon Church.
I am extremely loyal, remaining in harmful situations too long.
As indicated by the experience of many on this board, the Mormon culture itself is harmful and it is very difficult for members to leave. Even though many members are in pain the refuse to leave.
I value others' opinions and feelings more than my own and am afraid to express differing opinions and feelings of my own.
Expressing opinions and feelings that run counter to the dogma is not only discouraged it is punished.
I put aside my own interests and hobbies in order to do what others want.
Mormons give up so much and often do not have interests and hobbies outside the Church. A Mormon’s time is filled with lesson preparation, prayer, study, genealogy, meetings, and missionary service/manipulation.
I accept sex when I want love.
Mormon views on sex are often warped beyond this. Sex is treated as an immoral act and some Mormon women, and perhaps men, have difficulty ever developing a healthy sex life.
I believe most other people are incapable of taking care of themselves.
Mormon culture wraps people in a cocoon because of this belief. Checking with others to see if they need help is an institutionalized process in the Mormon Church. They must be incapable of taking care of themselves or asking for help if needed because someone comes by at least once a month to check on them.
I attempt to convince others of what they "should" think and how they "truly" feel.
This is the whole focus of the all three missions of the church; perfect the saints, proclaim the gospel, and in a bizarre twist, redeeming the dead. Even the dead need to be convinced of how they should think and feel. The Missionary Training Center trains this to varying degrees of success.
I become resentful when others will not let me help them.
Missionaries and members becoming angry when their love bombing is rejected.
I freely offer others advice and directions without being asked.
Missionaries, bishops, stake presidents, home teachers, visiting teachers…
I lavish gifts and favors on those I care about.
Love bombing; cookies, brownies, breads, cakes, lawn mowing, snow shoveling, and other service projects.
I use sex to gain approval and acceptance.
Addressed above. The Church creates an even more unhealthy problem with sex.
I have to be "needed" in order to have a relationship with others.
Mormons often seem incapable of having a relationship where just enjoying the other person’s company is the objective. Relationships are often based on strengthening the other member or bringing the non-member into the church.
| Mormonism is not a nice system of belief. It seemed to bring out the worst in people , due to its authoritarian nature, and the fact questioning was never tolerated.
Recall the famous rejoinder "You never had a testimony." Aside from the fact that a testimony represents the ability for a person to tell himself its true, the "You never had a testimony" stuff was just mean. If a testimony is so real, why is it always so elusive? Why is the truth so hard to learn, and hard to believe?
I was threatened with excommunication for admitting I questioned the authority of the church, and the belief that God had any role in it. Rather than talk to me, I was threatened. Thats all, just told "We can excommunicate you if you persist in these doubts."
In my mission, anyone who was ill was weak, and told to get back to work. I ended up hospitalized, and when I called the Mission President, I was told to get out of the hospital, and get back to work. Turned out the disease was serious, and I needed to be in the goddam hospital. Threats helped nothing.
I was berated by the Mission President once for feeling down, and not being upbeat about the work. He did it in front of the other missionaries. My companion got the same treatment. We were guilty of not speaking the language well yet, and having a tough time dealing with it. It was supposed to be kept quiet, and not complained about. If you were not happy, you were in trouble. And who could not be happy doing such a fun job?
Looking at the teachings and pronouncements of the leaders is another shock. Spencer Kimball wrote that is was better for a woman to die resisting a rapist than live. Gee, that makes sense--particularly if you are not the one who has been raped. I would imagine some women who have been raped might not agree with Spencer. Maybe, just maybe, it was one of the meanest bits of doctrine ever dreamed up.
McConkie sent a nasty letter to Eugene England for asking about the Adam/God theory. The letter, which many on the board have read, is the pinnacle of condescending arrogance. Its laughable to read it now--particularly the part where McConkie told England "this could well be the most important letter you ever receive." The average tax audit letter would be much more important. The IRS is real, after all.
What an ass McConkie was. He was such an ass that he destroyed George Pace--in public--for writing a book he disagreed with. It was a memorable performance, and dispelled any doubt that McConkie was a vicious person. I heard it while it went on, and I was stunned at the vicious petty nature of the attack.
How do they do it? How do Mormons take the endless abuse, and pay ten percent of their income for the privilege? I could not keep it up. I eventually asked myself why I was such a sucker for abuse. Americans are supposed to be free, and free to choose their religion. I never had that freedom until I reclaimed it. Its a tough thing when an organization has to bully and abuse people into heaven.
| New Song About Learning To Accept The Loss Of Family Sealing Ordinances. "Say Goodbye To Emily" |
Monday, Jul 31, 2006, at 08:27 AM
Original Author(s): Rogue_guitarist
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 9 -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| This could very well be the best and most important song I've ever written. It sums up everything I wish I could tell my parents, but know that if I ever did I'd probably be lynched. It's about my oldest sister, Emily, who died tragically before I was born. |
At some point I came to the realization of why my parents can't accept me for leaving the morg. They are so heartbroken by the loss of their daughter, that they need the morg to tell them that they will be with her again. My parents were devastated by my decision because they feel that by me resigning my membership, I've turned my back on them and Emily forever. I feel that I've been isolated from the family because of this. I just think that they need to accept that they will never see their child again, but need to learn to love and accept the one they still have. I don't mean to offend them. I just would like them to see things through my point of view.
Say Goodbye to Emily
I was born in wake of death, and was told to understand,
that death is not the end of all. That for our lives is laid a plan.
but now I can't accept that this is what life's for
So I say goodbye to Emily, she's not forever anymore.
It's nice to've never known you, never lost or felt the pain
But true it would be nice to have grown with you and played
It doesn't make much sense to me, to live my life in mourn
So say goodbye to Emily, she's not forever anymore
I have seen what's makebeleive, and truth I have discerned
I won't tell you what you want to hear, I teach you what you need to learn
But you make me feel that I am lost, alone and rotten to the core
Because I say goodbye to Emily, I'm not forever anymore
So hold on, hold on, hold on to everything you've got
Let go, let go, let go of everything that's lost
feel the rain, feel the rain- let the cleansing pour.
and say goodbye to everything, that's not forever anymore
There's still so much to hold on to, still so much to love
So why must we waste our lives, for hopes laid up above
I feel so great that I'm alive, and life is to explore
So say goodbye to tragedy, it's not forever anymore
and say goodbye to Emily, she's not forever anymore
| Finally, after a year of ignoring the elephant in the room, all hell broke loose at my in-laws' house Sunday night. One year ago my husband told his TBM family that he no longer believes. Shortly after that, he was asked (threatened) by his father to never discuss his disbelief with his four adult siblings.
On Sundays we typically go to my in-laws' house for a visit. Usually, there is at least one of my husband's siblings there with their children. Last night my husband and I with our children were the only ones to show up. Had any of his siblings been there, then I am sure the following would not have happened.
My son is having a birthday and we invited the family to his birthday party. We picked Saturday afternoon to accommodate most people's schedules. Well, my TBM in-laws are volunteering at the great and spacious building (a.k.a. conference center) on Saturday evenings. When we issued the invitation to the party a week ago, they said they could not make it. Sunday night, they asked us if we had changed the time so that they could come. They wanted us to change our schedule to accommodate their schedule. When my husband asked if they could find substitutes, they said that it was really difficult to find people to volunteer on Saturday evenings. I said that if the church wanted to get people to fill that time slot, they should pay them. My MIL then said that the church could not afford to pay all their volunteers. I responded with a comment about a 1.5 billion dollar shopping mall.
After that, my father-in-law lost his temper. It was actually a great moment to see this "righteous" former bishop show his true colors. I had always thought he was a jerk, but now I got to see it first hand.
During his ensuing tirade, where my husband tried to explain why we left the church, my FIL said he and my MIL were afraid for our children. Because we had left the church, we were bad parents. They actually told my husband that he had to prove that we could still raise good children outside the cult. (As I see it, we don't have to prove anything.)
What bothers me about all this is that because we now think differently, we have suddenly become some horrible parents. We are ruining our children. We are no longer any type of success.
My husband is more successful than any of his siblings. He spends more time with his children than any of his siblings. As a couple, he and I have been more flexible in attending family activities than any of his siblings, including church-oriented events. Yet, because we left the church, he is the failure. What is wrong with this picture? What is wrong with these people?
One answer -- The LDS Church.
| It has been almost five years since I last attended church. It has been a little over six years since I began examining carefully the church’s historical claims and doctrinal imperatives. It was not a hasty decision, and it’s not because someone offended me, or because I had a guilty conscience or anything. It was not for any of the reasons I would have ascribed to an inactive Mormon when I was a believer. As a believer, I assumed people who left were sinners: they didn't live the commandments, and they certainly didn't live the Mormon standards. I assumed people left because someone had offended them, because they were too sensitive to the truth of the gospel and its believers. I believed people left because they never had a "testimony" of the truth of the gospel. Anyone who had received a witness would never leave the church.
I'm still not sure if there is only one event that served as a catalyst to un-shelving my doubts. Several things happened over a number of years (some even way back on my mission!) that sat quietly in the back of my mind until I made a sort of accidental discovery. Together, these created the perfect storm, flooding me with information I could no longer ignore.
One of my good friends (a colleague who taught American Studies at the same school where I taught English) had read Under the Banner of Heaven. She asked me a question about Joseph Smith and all his wives, and I sort of nodded and chuckled "I think you mean Brigham Young". Brigham Young is famous for having 27 wives, but Joseph Smith didn’t take any plural wives, or so I thought. The look on her face when I said that intrigued me enough to read the book myself, to see what kind of foolish misinformation was being printed. I believed what I had long been taught: that anything critical of the Church was considered "anti-Mormon", and could not be trusted. So I bought Under the Banner of Heaven from a church bookstore, just to cover my bases. I also bought Mormon Enigma, which chronicles the life of Emma Smith. What I read shocked me. I felt like someone had kicked me in the stomach: Mountain Meadows. Kinderhook Plates. Eliza R. Snow. Helen Kimball. Polyandry. The stone in the hat. I started reading church apologists to try to quell the cognitive dissonance, but ended up amplifying it instead. I read a lot of other books, too. Several that I purchased at Deseret Book in fact. All of it was pretty damning. Much of what I read was news to me - things that had been covered up, or white washed. I never knew Joseph Smith married 33 women (at least), some of whom were married to other men, and some of whom were a mere 15 years old. I verified this information on the Church's own family history website. Yikes.
Once I began studying the historical foundations of the church, the doctrinal part just sort of crumbled. The doctrine and history are so intertwined, that I couldn't really separate one from the other. The concerns I had shelved, the doubts I had ignored, began to resolve themselves as I started really looking at the facts. There was no longer any reason for me question my own political leanings regarding racism, plural marriage, same-sex marriage, abortion, health-care, etc.. I've always found myself leaning to the left politically, and mentally massaging church teachings to fit with my beliefs and perceptions. When I realized that the church might possibly not be true, many other truths fell into place. Before then, I believed the church was true, but all of the other things that felt “true” to me had to be shelved because they didn't mesh with the cultural or doctrinal Mormon teachings. It was easy to shelve those concerns as long as I believed the church was fundamentally true, and that my eternal salvation depended on my believing the church’s claims, which is deeply enmeshed with its history. For nearly a year, I struggled with my newfound knowledge. I wanted to believe the church was still true, that it was everything I was taught. I tried to maintain my activity and fellowship because I wanted to believe the church provided so many positive effects, even if the history was a bit spotty.
About the same time that I was processing all of this information, and trying to come to terms with my beliefs, I had an illuminating experience. Up until that point, one of my biggest concerns was "If I leave, what will I teach my kids?", as if the church is the only place to teach children to become decent human beings. A brief interchange I had with *dd* was all it took for me to see everything clearly.
DD was in kindergarten and joined brownies/daisies, so we went to the bridging ceremony which was being held at a Baptist church in ***. It was a huge, lovely building - very different from the cookie-cutter building where we went to church. DD was fascinated. On the way home, she asked me what kind of people went to such a pretty church, and then she asked why they wouldn't go to heaven like our family. My first thought was, Holy Crap. That just sounds so wrong. My daughter was starting to believe that these perfectly lovely people, with a perfectly lovely church (who were friendlier to us than most people in our "own" wards had ever, by the way) were not going to heaven? She was too young to do all the mental gymnastics I was used to doing to make the doctrine palatable. Why should she have to? Why should anyone have to? That was a major Aha! moment. My concern was no longer "What will I teach my kids?", but "How will I undo the damage that has already been done?".
Leaving the church has not been easy for me. This decision was not hasty by any stretch of the imagination. Much of the indoctrination is cultural, so my whole life view was through the lens of Mormonism. Even my ex-Mormonness passes through that lens. I remember how I talked about people who left. I remember being on the other side. My family members are deeply saddened by my 'apostasy', but to their credit have not made me a project. Even though I feel bad that I've disappointed my parents, I can't say it's enough to counteract the positive changes in my life. Since leaving, I’ve found that I laugh more. I can laugh at situations that before would have caused me to think God was trying to punish me because I was unrighteous. Since leaving, I enjoy my children more – being in the moment with them. My marriage is stronger and happier. I no longer have unrealistic expectations of what my husband should be or do – I accept and respect him for who he is, and I love him for it. I also feel a little more patient with myself. It would be a lie to claim that I no longer have unrealistic expectations of myself, but now I am more forgiving with myself. I am able to laugh at myself more often. I still struggle with depression, but I no longer believe it’s a result of my sinfulness or mistakes I have made, the same way my nearsightedness is not a result of unrighteousness. There's a certain freedom and exhilaration in making decisions based on critical thought and intuition, instead of dogma, guilt, and doctrine. The ultimate paradox is that I've found the peace and serenity since leaving I always thought the church would give me, but never did.
This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.~ Dalai Lama
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