THE MORMON CURTAIN
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EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 13
The "Opinion" topic was created to separate out recovery from opinions on posts made in Ex-Mormonism. A large selection of posts made by Ex-Mormons that do not fit in "Recovery". These are more considered "Soap Box" posts. While they may be opinions, they are still very important in the steps to recovering from Mormonism.
| I grew up in a ward on the east coast in which most of the members were converts and still retained much of their individuality. My Priests Quorum advisor was a construction manager who used to tell stories of barfights and pranks during his wild and woolly days and laugh his ass off at our dirty jokes. I haven't seen him for years, but I still think he's one of the coolest people I've ever known. He was genuinely caring, and very tolerant compared to Corridor Mormons.
During my mission, I noticed that all missionaries tend to sound alike. We didn't just teach the same things- we used the same words, the same vocal inflections, and the same false humility that we learned from each other. I even caught myself dumbing down my speaking style to be more like the "aw-shucks" Udaho farm boys I served with. This excessive homogeneity got on my nerves a bit, but I figured it was just the mission environment and that we would all get our personalities back after the mission.
Post-mission, I moved to Utah and went to BYU. There, I noticed that the sameness persists among most RM's. I found this especially annoying among the returned sisters. Almost without exception, they all sounded like they were talking to 3 year olds. Even as a TBM, I never wanted to marry a girl who had served a mission, because they were all so damn annoying.
In BYU wards, I started to notice how everyone who gave a talk or lesson tried to sound like GA's, but most of them weren't articulate enough to pull it off, and their effort made them look pretentious and stupid. I loved it when these guys would try to gratuitously use 50 dollar words, but would either use them incorrectly or end up using a word that sounded kind of like the word they meant to use. ("Expand the scriptures" instead of "expound the scriptures," etc.) Very few seemed to have their own style, and very few seemed to have much of a sense of humor, at least at church.
I was always the guy in the back of the room trying not to snicker when some pompous GA-wannabe EQ instructor verbally stepped on his own dick, rolling my eyes when some weepy sister recycled the same tired inspirational story yet again in her SM talk, cringing at the uninspiring amateurism displayed in "musical" numbers, and trying like hell to keep my mouth shut when someone preached Pharisaic rules over the spirit of the law.
Eventually, I put the scriptures on my PDA, so I had an excuse to bring it to church and play Solitaire when things got boring or irritating.
Here's the ironic part: As much as I wish I had been smart enough to debunk the church before serving a mission or attending BYU, the time I spent in those environments was probably a critical part of my deconversion. If I had not spent so much time in the belly of the beast, wondering why I couldn't fit in with the clones, and why there were so damned many assinine rules to follow, I might never have thought deeply enough about my beliefs to question them.
| In order to make this post make sense, I'll start by explaining what I mean by positive choices and negative choices.
A positive choice is one in which you choose between two attractive alternatives. Crème Brule or flan? Coffee or espresso? The brunette or the blond? Vacation in Europe or South America? All positive choices. A negative choice is one in which you have to choose between two unhappy choices. Should I get divorced or should I stay in an unhappy relationship? Should I part with my money to fix my car or should I risk a future breakdown? Obviously, I am not addressing the easy choices in life. Besides, choosing between an unattractive choice (one that will bring unhappiness) and an attractive choice (one that will add to my happiness) does not really need to be discussed.
Here’s how leaving Mormonism started as a negative choice and turned into a positive choice. At first, when I still thought Mormonism might be true, the negative choice was whether to stay in a church where I was unhappy or risk going to hell. My wife hated church and the people treated us horribly. Not to mention, I was having doubts about whether or not we should even be in church. That was a negative choice, a choice between two perceived evils.
Fortunately, as time went on and I learned for myself that the LDS church was founded on lies, I became grateful I made the decision to leave. Today, I get to make positive choices. Should I go shopping or should I watch a movie this Sunday? Should I take my daughter to the park or should I take her to the mall next Sunday? And instead of deciding between unattractive alternatives for a vacation, 1) go on a church history tour 2) go to a temple 3) go see family members I don't like, I can choose between attractive alternatives for my next vacation 1) go to Japan 2) go to an amusement park 3) go see friends or family members that are fun to be around.
Being in the position to make positive choices really opens up a whole new world of possibilities. The energy it releases can be used to think of more attractive choices to make. It can open my eyes to choices I never saw before. Being free means I also don't have to worry about what others think. Now I can choose between the red car, the blue car, or the yellow car, the SUV, the sports car, or the mountain bike.
I also came to see that the decision to leave Mormonism or risk going to hell was a false choice. Today, that's an easy choice. Stay in a church where I was miserable and I no longer believed founding claims, or do things that add to my happiness. Simple. But at the time, the only choice I saw was a negative one.
Being a free man means I get to spend more time making positive decisions – choosing among attractive alternatives. I wouldn't have it any other way.
| Today I went to the dedication of the Draper temple, broadcast at my local stake center. Because I have very recently found out the true history of the church, even my bishop doesn't know that my testimony has completely collapsed. My spouse got signed tickets for our whole family to attend the dedication, no questions asked.
As I sat watching the films of the inside of the temple that played while we waited for it to start, I couldn't help noticing the amazing crystal chandelier that seemed to be a centerpiece of the Draper temple. It must have cost tens of thousands, if not a hundred thousand dollars. It's gorgeous. But my mind went back to a TV special I saw about how many children die in third world countries due to the lack of a proper tetnus shot. The cost: seven cents per vaccination. And then I got mad.
How could Mormons possibly think that the Savior they worship would be pleased? I think he would walk into his so-called house and say "Nice chandelier - thanks for buying it for me. How many of my children did you have to let die to have the money for it?" The Jesus of the bible healed the sick, fed the hungry and put people first. One of the speakers at the temple dedication even talked about the Savior healing the blind, not even seeing the irony of the fact that if the good people of Draper had been willing to drive a few more miles to the Jordan River Temple, the church could have had the money to heal a few blind people themselves.
Finally, just a note. Two of the speakers stressed heavily how we are in the last days and the only peace that will soon be available, will be found in the temples. Fear tactics. And another claimed that anyone who came to the temple pure of heart will learn more about their Savior. Clever. If you don't learn about the Savior in our relatively Jesus-free Temple, it's your fault for not being pure of heart. What TBM would admit they hadn't felt anything now? The whole thing made me mad, from start to finish. I was one of the first to hit the door when it ended. My sweetheart gave me a kiss and thanked me for being willing to go with our family. I'm still trying to decompress, hours later.
| In practical terms, trying to be like jesus never worked for me. Despite trying to be a good person overall, even coming close to being like the son of god was a stretch.
Instead, I found that it was much more likely and possible that I could be like Joseph Smith. I heard just as many stories about Joseph as a youth as I did about Jesus. Afterall, no man save Jesus did as much for mankind, right? Or so he said himself.
I was one of those young boys who hoped for a divine visitation at the age of 14 just like Joseph had. When I went to the temple for the first time, I wondered if I too would see an angel (or maybe even Jesus himself). Of course none of those things ever happened, but I was still hoping to have those experiences like Joseph had--essentially wanting to be like him. Or, if not exactly like him, then at least just become a prophet. Afterall, how many mormon mothers hope that their sons will be a prophet just like Joseph of old? The Savior job is taken, but there can always be another prophet of the lord...
The point is, Joseph Smith is much more real to mormons than Jesus. Whether they espouse a belief in Jesus almost doesn't matter because there's so much more immediate information (read: propaganda) regarding Joseph. Plus, TSCC doesn't hinge on Jesus being the Savior of mankind...it hinges on Joseph Smith having told the truth.
| In "Bigotry against Mormons apparently acceptable in Utah" (Opinion, March 21), Dennis Clayson advocated a dangerous form of political correctness, sometimes called "religious correctness" -- that religious beliefs are exempt from criticism simply because they have a basis in faith.
Specifically, Clayson argues that we have "an obligation to treat the religious beliefs of well-meaning people with restraint and respect" (emphasis added). This is ridiculous.
Faith is a choice. It therefore makes no sense to insist that we respect silly, ignorant or dangerous religious beliefs. Should we respect religious beliefs or practices such as the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, honor killings or female genital mutilation? Those who endorse them are "well meaning" -- they believe they are doing the right thing -- even though we (may) disagree with them.
Religious beliefs are no different than any others in America's venerable "marketplace of ideas." It is my obligation to challenge and perhaps oppose ignorant, ridiculous and dangerous beliefs, no matter what their basis.
None of this is intended to condone disrespect or violence toward any individual. But pretending that someone else's beliefs are worthy of respect, when they're not, is a disservice to all.
| I have have enough of this LDS nonsense. They claim that every time a so-called prophet makes a grave error, he was just using the knowledge available at the time. For example, the whole mixup about where the BoM takes place, see http://shakenfaithsyndrome.com/chap4.pdf is a joke.
The author claims that "New light results in new knowledge."
Wait, so God only gives a little light at a time? And he lets so-called prophets fill in the gaps? Not only does he let them fill in the gaps, he lets them fill in the gaps with idiotic schemes that become part of the LDS pshyche, such as racism.
So they claim to know where we go after we die. They claim they know all about the 3 kingdoms. They claim to know how God made the earth. And they claim to know about the war in heaven and even who was more valiant. But they get mixed up when they talk about the location of events in BoM times.
So God tells them all kinds of secrets that cannot be known to any human being, but then lets them look like complete idiots about things that can be known, like the setting of a book.
I call BS. When so-called scholars could not find any evidence of BoM battles or events, they simply moved the target. Ummm... No member is going to go down to Panama and check any of this out. Only a few members have PhD's in ancient languages, we can tell them whatever we want them to think.
When so-called scholars are debunked with solid DNA evidence, they move the goal posts and add more groups to the mix.
It's intellectually dishonest. And it simply postpones the inevitable. When wishy-washy people read books like this, they are trying to find a way to hold on by their fingernails to something they have lost all faith in. They are trying to find arguments to throw at non-Mormons.
They are looking for thought-stopping slogans.
Not only do they want to stop people from thinking about whether or not Mormonism is true, they want to stop their own mind from figuring it out.
The human mind is an incredible machine. It will put two and two together. It will notice a pattern of intellectual dishonesty.
Granted, the people who write these books are intelligent people. A person with a Master's or PhD is in the top 2 or 3% of the educated elite in the world. And they know how to phrase something, using a little bit of truth and relying on a lot of hope on the part of the reader, that will convince the reader to put all those beliefs back on the shelf.
But like I said, they are simply postponing the inevitable. The shelf will fill up and come crashing down. And the member who reads stuff like this and convinces himself to stay in a little while longer comes crashing down even harder when he finally admits to himself that this can't possibly be true.
I don't relish the crash. Some members find it devastating. Some find it relieving. Personally, I was relieved when I asked myself the question, and I was finally honest enough with myself to answer it.
What's the question?
What if this were not true, wouldn't you want to know?
| Curious in Idaho's letter-to-the-editor thread got me thinking about this.
Spending ridiculous amounts of time at church ...
Spending most of the rest of your time thinking and talking about church, in what sounds like a second language to those who aren't members of your church ...
Wearing bulky underwear that limits your wardrobe choices ...
Being afraid of things like coffee, movies, and tank tops (and insisting you're not really afraid of these things but bad things will happen if you allow them to enter your airspace) ...
Paying 10 percent and more of your income for the, um, privilege of being "peculiar" ...
Taking direction from a bunch of very old men and average guys that most other people don't recognize ...
Thinking you have special powers (if you're a man) ...
Thinking the men around you have special powers (if you're a woman) ...
Thinking you're special, in general, because you were dipped in water and made a member of this group ...
Adhering to a set of beliefs and practices that either have to be explained or can't be discussed with others who don't share them ...
Avoiding those who don't share your weird little beliefs and practices, because you get a bad feeling ...
Operating on a set of assumptions and a version of history that are not only entirely different from those of most of the rest of the planet, but also at odds with science and known fact, and being okay with that ...
Periodically starving yourself ...
Severely restricting and/or denying your sexual urges ...
Actively recruiting new members of the group (and thinking it's cool to waste two years of your life doing it) ...
Thinking it highly desirable if not mandatory to pair off with someone who also does all of the above ...
Sounds like an alternative lifestyle to me!
| A certain man stood on a hillside and preached to a multitude, and verily, it came to pass that he spake these words:
I bought a box of microwaveable corndogs last week. I kept it in the fridge and ate one or two per day until they were gone. On the 4th day, I noticed that my corndog tasted funny. I thought to myself, "I've only had these corndogs for 4 days. There's no way they've gone bad." And it came to pass that I did eat the residue of the corndog. The next day, I noticed that my corndog not only tasted funny, but was less firm than I expected. I wondered briefly if it had gone bad, but told myself, "There's no way! We've only had the corndogs for 5 days. They couldn't possibly be spoiled that fast."
On the 6th day, the corndogs tasted even nastier. I microwaved the last 2, and ate most of one before my stomach rebelled and I couldn't eat any more. I expressed my confusion to my wife. The conversation went something like this:
Me: "We've only had these corndogs for 6 days, and they already taste funny. I don't understand how they could spoil that fast."
Wife: "Aren't you supposed to keep them in the freezer?"
Me: "I thought it was OK to keep them in the fridge."
Wife: "You should see what the box says."
Box: "Keep frozen before use."
Me: "That explains a lot."
He that hath ears, let him hear.
And it came to pass that the disciples of the man gathered round about him, and it came to pass that one of them said, "Master, wilt thou not reveal unto us the parable of the corndogs?" And the man said, "He that hath ears, let him hear. Behold the meaning of the parable of the corndogs:"
For much of my life, I was thoroughly convinced that Mormonism was The Lord's True Church and The Kingdom Of God On Earth. I was so convinced, and so innoculated against any dissenting opinion, that I thought all critics of the church must either be liars, or were deceived by Satan. No argument could penetrate my shields, because I Knew The Church Was True.
I made decisions based on what Mormonism taught me, instead of what I really wanted. I pressured my nonmember friends to join the church. I donated my time and money. I passed up opportunities to earn money or have fun because of The Sabbath. I did not watch R-rated movies. I rarely swore, and I felt guilty when I did. I did not masturbate because I didn't know how. Seriously. I rejected pleasurable experiences because They Were Sinful. I spent 2 years of my life Serving The Lord As A Missionary, then spent the next 2 years trying to get back on my feet financially so I could afford college.
Through it all, I was promised that if I did what the church taught that I Would Be Blessed, and that I would look back and be grateful that I Chose The Right.
Through it all, I wondered why the promised blessings never materialized. I wondered why every time I put the church ahead of my own desires, I felt like I had missed out on something. I wondered why my nonmember friends had begun to avoid me. I wondered why my parents, who paid their tithing and never said no to a church calling, struggled financially, and seemed stressed out and unhappy all the time. I wondered why a God who supposedly protects His servants and supports them in their callings didn't prevent the series of car accidents my dad had as a direct result of working long hours and serving as a bishop at the expense of his sleep schedule.
I attended BYU, and wondered why a God who created all the diverse peoples of the earth, who supposedly knows each of His children better than they know themselves and is aware of even the sparrow's fall, apparently requires His children to stifle their individuality and conform at all costs. I balked at the latter-day Phariseeism and struggled to reconcile it with the Jesus of the New Testament, who condemned the Pharisees for their assinine rules and outward displays of righteousness. While at BYU, I heard a card-carrying TBM biology professor tell us that evolution by natural selection is real, and I wondered how to fit that into my religious beliefs.
I got married, and wondered why a God who wants husbands and wives to cleave unto each other and become one flesh required my gorgeous, 23 year old wife to wear underwear that made her about as attractive as her 80 year old grandmother.
I noticed that my apostate sister and her nevermo husband seemed to be living life more fully and more happily than any other branch of the family, and that her kids were happier and better behaved than their cousins.
I wondered how I was supposed to reconcile religion and science when the two contradicted one another.
I questioned how my feelings, which had steered me wrong more often than not, could possibly be a reliable guide for discerning truth from falsehood. I questioned whether I really knew the church was true, because knowing was based on the assumption that certain feelings were God confirming truth.
Finally, while browsing at the library, I found a copy of "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins. I decided to read it. By the time I had finished, my belief in God had completely evaporated. My belief in Mormonism naturally followed, and for the first time in my life, things made sense.
I am unfortunately very good at disregarding immediate data in favor of previously held assumptions. My corndogs had started to spoil, and I had tried to explain away the resulting rancid taste, because I was convinced that it was OK to store corndogs in the fridge. I tried to explain away the rancid taste of Mormonism, because I was convinced that Joseph Smith saw God. In the end, however, the corndogs became unpalatable, and the church stank of bullsh*t, and Truth won out.
Behold the parable of the corndogs.
And the disciples kept their corndogs frozen before use, and behold the corndogs were delicious to the taste and were not rancid.
And the disciples were glad.
| And isn't this the problem we all face?
Whether you've been raised in the Church from birth and were shuffled through the primary program until you were an adult and all of your family is LDS including generations of polygamist of "good" Mormon stock.
Or maybe, and this includes me, you didn't grow up in the Church but were led to believe the Church was something it isn't by your friends who you trusted. You ended up going on a mission, and then to the Temple and BYU and now you have children who have grown up in the Church.
And here we are wondering what to do?
If the LDS Church isn't true, what do we do now? Where do we go? How do we handle the situation when there is so much to contend with and to confront?
Do you attend the blessing or baptism of the grandchild?
Do you go to the Temple to sit outside of your own childs wedding just to support them even though it about kills you off to do so?
When every family event is so full of one topic of conversation that is so nauseating and offensive, the thought that you would go to something and hold your tongue when you can see what the Church is doing to the children.
We all say it's ok what consenting adults do to eachother. That said, we find it offensive to be idle as we watch young children being brainwashed with catchy Primary songs that reinforce the idea "I hope they call me on a mission?" when Church leaders say every young man should go on a mission, why should they hope anything?
The polygamist families were created for almost a hundred years before they had to become something apart from the main Church. To them their beliefs are as important and real, they are just as committed to their faith that says "more than one wife is the norm" and none of us are bothered if several women want to be married to one guy and share him, who are we to care what another adult does?
It reminds me about my trip to Thailand and seeing the hill tribes with women who had elongated their necks by wrapping their necks with brass rings. They were part of a group of rotten toothed women who sat in traditional Thai costumes weaving their blankets while tourists by the thousands came to see them. I suppose if that's what they want to do, who's to tell them otherwise?
But it bothered me that they were already teaching and training the young girls to do it so that they would have a future generation of "long necked" women for the tourist industry. Secluded in the jungle villages with no education and little chance for a real future. To me that's not right or fair and it offends my senses.
It occurred to me recently that in Utah, and Idaho the Church can't afford to be lost any more than Buddhism can be shown to be a fraud in Thailand. There's just too much money in it. When the LDS Church represents so much money to both states, they just can't afford to let anything affect it.
And when money is involved, that much money, to hell with the children.
| A TBM accused me of never caring about anyone's needs but my own. That's because I don't usually favor enabling mormons who are determined to impose on my time and privacy.
Has this happened to you? Have you felt guilty because you don't sacrifice your own comfort to satisfy mormon hopes and expectations?
I think many of the assumptions mormons have for themselves and of us are unrealistic and unhealthy.
Here are some of them:
They'd like us to think our personal needs are petty compared to the goals of the morg. I say no to that.
They'd like us to think that we are selfish if we're realistic about what we need and want in life, like time with our families or money for our own fun, comfort, and security. If that's "selfish," I'm in favor of selfishness.
They'd like us to feel guilty because we're not perfect. We make mistakes in spite of trying hard. We're still recovering from a cult and need our own private space to find our authentic selves and to purge cult influences from our souls. There's nothing wrong with that.
Someone on the board the other day accused me of not being fully recovered. To many that's considered the worst insult anyone can suffer here. I think striving to recover is a badge of courage and I wear it proudly.
I hope everyone will stop for a minute and remember how they were before they first attempted to leave the morg. Compare that to progress made. In my case the difference is asounding. I hope everyone feels the same.
It's okay not to be perfect. It's fine not to be fully recovered. There's nothing wrong with us if mormons get upset because we are no longer mormons or if we choose to no longer enable hurtful morg behaviors.
Remember the old commercial, "You've come a long way, baby?"
I relate to that phrase and hope everyone here feels the same.
| Why should a church leader be allowed to evaluate a member? What gives them the right to do this? The priestood? Really? Let's consider that position.
Why should I be evaluated for worthiness by an imperfect person who may not understand my situation? How can this person fairly judge me and my behavior from a position of personal ignorance? Clearly, he can't. The power of the priestood isn't capable of bridging this gap because if it can, why then are we even here on the earth? (And where does this leave women?) The priestood could then carry us all through to exhaltation and immortality without the need for a test if you consider this logically following that line of reasoning. Wasn't that what Satan was intimating? Something here is fundamentally flawed that we allow mortal man to sit in judgement of us.
I can understand being judged by Jesus because he suffered the sins of everyone, so he has personal experience to draw upon and judge us fairly, but doesn't being judged by man seem preposterous in this light? How can this even hope to work successfully? And what does it say about a church that tries to equate mortal man's judgement as equivalent to Jesus' judgement? This seems very very wrong to me. What's really strange is that if we do sin on earth, the mortal men cast judgement upon us in a jurist manner (court of love), which shouldn't be necessary...why 10-12 voices instead of just 1 voice, eh? Why copy the court jury system for "fair and impartial" judgement? Why would god set up this type of system?
This kind of judgement also encourages corruption and abuse in man toward his fellow man. Leaders start seeing their superiority in the weaknesses of others. This person isn't good enough to do x or be x. This leads to a class system, which is what I think we have in the morg today. Which is a core reason why so many are falling away and retention is such a problem. Nobody wants to be a second class citizen.
It just seems to me to be another example of cult behavior.
| I was watching the film "Latter Days" again, and Christian asks Elder Davis his first name. He originally had thought all missionaries were named "Elmer".
Elder Davis replies, "We're not allowed to use our first names." Not allowed??? Who has the right to take away your name, your very sense of identity?
A big part of the missionary experience is breaking down your personality and remolding you into what the church wants you to be. They prefer automatons who parrot pre-scripted dogma than people who speak for themselves.
Our first names are an important part of our identity, far more so than our last names. They try to compensate by giving you the fancy title "Elder", which is absurd for 19 yo to be called "Elder". By replacing your first name with the same name of everyone else around you, they further depersonalize you and homogenize you.
This goes along to everyone wearing the same shirt and pants. The only form of sartorial expression allowed is your tie, which even then should be conservative. I even recall the MTC Prez trying to ban red ties, until all the GAs showed up wearing them.
Even your roommates are not allowed to use your first name. You share a room with a guy and have to spend 24/7 with him, and you call him "Elder Smith" at breakfast in your underwear.
I think the church cares more about the programming of the missionary than any converts. It's a poor ROI for the cost per real converts. The real goal is to strip young LDS guys of their personalities and replace them with Mormon-molded thought processes so they can become the cogs that run the organization. Women are allowed to go as well, but their transformation is not nearly as important.
| Mormon men in authority, (not all, but in my experience, most), might understand what they do to women if they changed places with them for a week! Walk in the shoes of a Mormon female.
They would hear their condescending, arrogant, you are wrong and need to be corrected, put down, talk to her like a child attitude, you are just a sweet spirit who has the babies and we are the worthy Priesthood holders..... of GAWD...... and maybe they would GET IT!
Or maybe not!
I don't know about other women, but this attitude of so many Mormon men can set me off into a tirade!
This is the kind of attitude that reeks from the male Mo'pologists in particular;
you poor thing, you are just to stupid and prideful to understand the great power of knowledge through the Priesthood.
Am I just a teeny bit sensitive to being treated like a child and not an equal? Just a teeny bit sensitive to being questioned as if I don't understand? 'OK..so "teeny bit" is not correct. It's more like: furious, enraged at the audacity!
And it doesn't have to be a Mormon male --- any male who treats me with an attitude of: inferior, contempt,. scorn, disdain, primarily because I am a female, will get an ear full! And loose all credibility with me.
And if you get an apology, (which is rare) it goes something like this:
"I didn't mean that, I didn't do that, I didn't ..... you are wrong again, and again an again!
Any other females experience this kind of treatment from men in the LDS Church?
It's almost impossible to take your power back within the LDS Church, but I managed to do it when confronted with lying, fit throwing, angry Priesthood holders on a rant!
Ya. Sometimes, I can be caught off guard: I am a teeeeeny bit sensitive!
| From Sunday afternoon session, final talk.
Now, a word of caution to all, both young and old, both male and female. We live at a time when the adversary is using every means possible to ensare us in his web of deceit, trying desperately to take us down with him. There are many pathways along which he entices us to go, pathways that can lead to our destruction.
-- Pres. Thomas S. Monson, 179th Semiannual General Conference, Apr. 5, 2009
Advances in many areas that can be used for good can also be used to speed us along that heinous pathway. I feel to mention one in particular, and that is the Internet. On the one hand it provides almost limitless opportunities for acquiring useful and important information. Through it we could communicate with others around the world. The church itself has a wonderful web site filled with valuable and uplifting information and priceless resources. On the other hand, however, and extremely alarming, are the reports of the number of individuals who are utilizing the Internet for evil and degrading purposes.
He goes on to mostly talk about pornography. But I bet this will inspire TBMs to be extra cautious about the Internet (source of truth) as a whole. It's also interesting that such a forceful anti-porn warning comes on the heels of recent media reports of Utah topping the nation's list of most internet porn consumption. Guess God's direct line to the prophet now goes through New Scientist magazine.
| Instead they surmise, assume, manipulate, draw inappropriate conclusions, or mindread.
Do bishops quiz members about what callings they'd enjoy? No, they usually think they know where to place a person and try to force or manipulate them to accept whatever calling needs to be filled.
Do mormon parents try to find out why kids aren't happy if they don't want to go to church or pray or read scripture? No, they usually just assume the kids need closer supervision, more punishments or incentive to do those things.
Do mormons usually ask an exmo or inactive if they want visits and other contact? No, they usually assume the person will go along with it if offered. The result is that some inactives might feel neglected and others feel harassed. Even when they tell the mormon how they feel, mormons often assume they're lying or don't deserve to have their requests honored.
When someone at church makes a statement that others aren't sure about, what do they do? They don't usually ask for claification or for more information. Instead, they're likely to talk about the person behind their back, pray about them, or try to read their minds. It would be so much easier to say, "I'm not sure I understand where you're coming from. Could you expand on what you just said?"
I think it's a good idea for recovering mormons to get in the habit of asking for more details when they're not sure of someone's intent.
I see extreme confusion and many hurt feelings among mormons if someone assumes another person is offended when they might have a toothache.
I think this tendancy not to ask for additional information is why mormons think people leave the church because of offense. It's also why they think we are all bitter and/or like to sin. If they'd ask us, we'd tell them the truth.
| I had an interesting discussion with my TBM mother yesterday. She has been asking me a lot about my divorce which occurred last year, and I don't mind talking about it because I'm not really over it. My ex is in a lot of hot water financially due to some bad decisions she made after our divorce and is about to lose her home. It has to do with some music industry celebrity friends she made that she has spent most of her savings trying to keep up with. It's actually not as bad as it sounds, as she has a good business plan now and will pull out of it eventually. It's just really scary for her right now.
My uncle played trumpet for Fabian in the 1960's, and my mother went to a lot of Hollywood parties and hung out with famous people when she was young and beautiful and developed some negative opinions about that crowd. I think it's also the reason why she is such a Mormon zealot now. She started making veiled statements that if my ex had any "values" she wouldn't be in the position she's in. I was offended by that on a couple of levels. Before she finished that sentence I said "You mean if she went to the Mormon church she would have values, right?" Silence. "And hence people who don't go to the Mormon church don't have any values, right?" Mom said that no, that many non-Mormons have values obviously, but that we've been pretty outspoken atheists/agnostics for years and now it's come home to roost. So, I asked if she is saying that atheists and agnostics can't have any values, and she said we would have better values if we had stayed in the Church.
There. She said it.
I said that I don't think Mormons have values. She was stunned by that statement. "What do you mean?" I said I mean that Mormons just do what they're told. Obedience isn't values. Values, ethics, morality - these are standards of behavior that come from within. Mormonism just gives you rules to follow - not actual values. Why do you obey the Word of Wisdom, the law of tithing, no sex before marriage, etc.? It's not because of any values you have. You do it because a prophet told you to. It's obedience. I even used the word "obey," because it was the best word for it. In fact, I see Mormons using their rules to circumvent real values, like when Mormons rush to get into bad marriages so they can have sex...
She saw where I was going with this and changed the subject. La la la... happy are we.
I'm still pissed off about it, and it was yesterday. I think she has been asking me about my divorce as research for a tearful testimony she's planning where she will discuss all our failures and conclude it's all because we don't go to the Mormon church. There's a Mormon value - throwing your own children under the bus to promote your cult.
I think Mormonism is method of defeating a person's values to make them do things that they wouldn't normally do - a kind of anti-values. Mormonism is on the wrong side of every issue.
| As an intelligent TBM I was not intellectually honest, though I didn't really know fully how much so until I allowed myself to question.
I did not apply the same rigors of REASON and LOGIC to questions of religion that I did to other areas of intellectual pursuit or even to other people's religions. In a way, I am ashamed at how I surrendered the reason of my inellect to unquestioning faith.
I always had doubts, since I was 12 or so, but because of how I was raised and what I was taught, I corraled those doubts into a dark, seldom-visited corner of my mind. That corner got pretty cramped as I matured and my life's experiences increased.
A watershed moment allowed me to open up the flood gates of my mind and I revisited all the doubts that I was afraid to explore. It was an invigorating feeling of freedom. One's mind can be a very unforgiving prison.
I see this proces in myself, and I see so many people who are very intelligent sacrifice their intellectual integrity and honesty to cling to the MORG, and it saddens me. I can see things so clearly now...it's as if my mind had been in a "stupor of thought". I have hope for some, but others are just too darn prideful to take the leap.
| For as many years as I can remember, certainly since the days of my mission almost thirty years ago, I just couldn't figure out why the so-called "only true and living church on the whole earth" was so pre-occupied, possessed and obsessed by numbers, statistics and goals.
As a missionary, I was always utterly bewildered, at any of the meetings, whether distrcit, zone or other mission-wide gatherings, when I watched the absolute obsession with numbers.
This bemusement continued after my mission. Instead of goals for numbers of people baptised, it changed to goals and actuals vs. forecast, for home teaching, sacrament meeting attendance, or the number of sessions performed at the temple.
I remember one time a bishop was as pleased as punch because he got a letter from the church headquarters at Solihull congratulating him of his wards 100% home teaching for the month. He was tickled pink, and for months after this flash-in-the-pan event, he went about telling people that this type of dedication helped to boost sacrament meeting attendance. Well, as the clerk or exec sec, I dug the records up for the previous year, and confirmed that there was no difference whatsoever in sacrament meeting attendance between the years. If anything, it was slightly down. All this busy work, and self pleasure and back-slapping was of little consequence, so far as promoting activity levels. They were low, just like every ward up and down the UK.
I used to think, is this how Jesus does it in heaven? Does the Saviour stand next to a white board, presenting to his disciples and collection of second annointeds, and does he show them a chart giving the number of calling and elections made sure from the previous month, and asking for projections and goals for the comming month? Is that how it's done?
And does he berate them, or mentally abuse them, or beat the hell up out of them when they fail to meet their goals or target numbers?
What a crock of shit.
What a crock of shit this whole numbers game is.
The thought of the Creator of the universe being compulsively obsessed by numbers and statistics is just vile.
If God exists, this whole thing must surely be just another aspect of mormonism that he finds utterly repugnant.
Fankly, as a devoted member, I was disgusted by it. I still am.
It's just a sign and symptom of a Cult. A very sick Cult. And, as we all know, one that lies about it's statistics.
Goodbye to all of that lunacy. Thank God, or Southerton and Palmer, Bagley or Quinn, and most of all to myself, for my own curiosity and open mind and heart, it's all gone.
Good riddance to bad rubbish, incliding the freakish fixation with fabricated 'facts' and numbers.
| So, one of the herd of anons has been suggesting that s/he had a "supernatural" experience of "the devil." And, on that same thread, posted by Mad Viking, others have suggested that this was probably not a supernatural experience, but likely the result of a common sleep disorder called sleep paralysis, or a related phenomenon.
That anon claim to have "considered every possible factor" and has decided that *drumroll please* it can only be a supernatural event. This personal also claims to have a "scientific background."
Which, btw, is *not* the same as demonstrating a scientific approach to diagnostic problem-solving.
I remember, as a mormon, bastardizing scientfic findings as part of an attempt to give my supernatural explanations the cache of scientific findings.
But you can't do that. If you accurately apply a scientific methodology to arrive at an explanation of a phenomena...well, then you wind up with a natural (and not a supernatural) explanation. You can't have it both ways.
I'm not troubled by faith. I'm not troubled by religion. But I *am* troubled by religious people who have science envy. If they want to firmly believe in something that is extra-rational, that's fine with me. But you can't do that, and claim to be as "scientific" as the next atheist. It doesn't work that way.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Religion and science don't mix. You end up with either sloppy science, or whackdoodle religion.
I think this is one reason why apologists are more irritating than rank-and-rile mormons to me. They try to force an extra-rational, extra-logical world-view to play by the rules of science, logical, and rationality.
It just doesn't work.
| Since leaving the church, I have generally taken the approach that I would discuss the church in depth with those who came to me asking questions. It has worked well for me. The people that are ready to ask questions are also ready to hear the answers, they know something is not quite right and they are ready for a real explanation. They are not defensive and therefore they do not feel the need to argue or be offended when I tell them something that they have believed for so long is, in fact, not true.
Now, don't think that I just wait for lonely broken souls. On the contrary, I let people around me know that I love them even if our spiritual ideas are not the same. That is definately a factor in the lives of the people who have dared to ask me the hard questions.
I have a friend who has been mentally out since she was ready to ask me the hard questions and hear the honest answers. Now, someone else has confided her loss of faith in the church and I am able to be there to help her as she redefines herself and her life and what is important to her. In a conversation with the first friend, we made joke that I am "the closer". It was a joke, but in reality, it is the blatant truth. I don't push, but I am sure as hell there for those who are ready to walk out on their own. So, I am the closer, and damn proud of it.
| The Mormon church likes to believe they invented "The Family".
But they did not. They only invented "The Mormon Family"®.
If they really honored "Families" than they would not program TBM parents to be cold, and uncaring to their family members who choose not to be members of the Church.
The Mormon church likes to believe they invented "Marriage".
But they did not. They only invented "Mormon Marriage".
Other wise they would honor other marriages, and in my opinion they do not. If you are not married in the correct Mormon way...your marriage isn't as valid.
I want to talk about the FAMILY in my little bitchy rant today.
A couple of years ago I was at the beach with eleven other TBM women.
This subject came up for discussion among us: "If you found out that one of your children was gay.....what would you do about it?"
TEN OUT OF THE TWELVE WOMEN SAID THEY WOULD DISOWN THAT CHILD!
Me and one other gal disagreed.....all the others said they would cut them off.
I stated that I think I would even love that child more, because I think being gay must be very difficult. I would worry about their safety in society and would want to pull them even closer to us.
I than went on to say that I believe that if the gay child hooked up with a mate, that we would invite the mate to all our family get together too
You would have thought that I had told these gals that I wanted to have sex with a dead horse on the table in front of them!!!
They could not believe that I would be willing to still love my child, but that I would even try to make their life easier by inviting their partner to our family functions!!
They told me that that would be putting the stamp of approval on the gay child.
SIDE NOTE HERE: This was not a group of women from Utah/Idaho...this was a group of women from OREGON (aren't Oregonians suppose to be more liberal in their thinking?)
The Mormon church teaches " IT IS ALL ABOUT THE FAMILY"® I call bullshit.
They program parents to be cold and calculating. They teach their members to use any tool available to keep their children in check.....the hammer of guilt is one of the first ones pulled out of the tool chest. Fear is another great tool.
"If you don't do what we say, and live your life the way we think you should...we will kick you to the curb."
Does that sound like it is "ALL ABOUT THE FAMILY"® to you?
| The term "unrighteous dominion" used in the morg tends to indicate that mormons have a problem with abuse of power. I assume it's at about the same level as other equally male dominated autocratic societies.
Contributing factors within mormonism:
1. Early marriage before males reach emotional maturity and women gain a sense of self and personal worth.
2. Money pressures due to tithing, missions, too many children and marrying before achieving job security.
3. Males who actually believe they're entitled to wield "priesthood power" in their homes.
4. Sexual frustration due to bad advice from morg church leaders, church mindsets, and scripture.
5. Unreasonable expectations of "mormon perfection" in mates in marriage.
6. No trained clergy to offer professional counseling.
7. An unwillingness among church leadership to hold priesthood guys accountable to for bad behavior in this area.
8. Gullibility within the morg. Members and leaders tend to think these kinds of problems will dissipate with prayer only and if the victims try harder to placate the abusers.
9. Frustration and lack of "togetherness" due to the pressures of callings, too many children, extra jobs to make ends meet, too many church requirements, meetings, and expectations. The morg way of life tends to be stressful.
| “Lying for the Lord” is often associated with prevarications in Mormon leadership, but is not unique to them. It might be fruitful to consider just a few of the numerous instances of religious liars over the centuries.
“Wherefore we have decided to relate nothing concerning them except things in which we can vindicate the Divine judgment. ... But we shall introduce into this history in general only those events which may be useful first to ourselves and afterwards to posterity.
“It may be Lawful and Fitting to use Falsehood as a Medicine, and for the Benefit of those who Want to be Deceived . . .”
“an untruth need not be a lie. ..”
"There is nothing so easy as by sheer volubility to deceive a common crowd or an uneducated congregation."
"It is lawful, then, either to him that discourses, disputes, and preaches of things eternal,? or to him that narrates or speaks of things temporal pertaining to edification of religion or piety, to conceal at fitting times whatever seems fit to be concealed . . ."
"The endowment has never changed. It is the same one we had 15 years ago, 50 years ago and 150 years ago. “
(by ‘TBM eavesdropper’ on RFM)
"There is a temptation for the writer or the teacher of Church history to want to tell everything, whether it is worthy or faith promoting or not. Some things that are true are not very useful…”
(Boyd K. Packer)
“Official Mormon histories have omitted references to Joseph Smith's drinking and use of tobacco in order to create a more inspiring impression of their prophet, who if living today (2007) would be unable to pass a worthiness interview and earn a temple recommend in the church he founded.”
(Ken Clark on MormonThink:
Taylor says, in 1850: "We are accused here of polygamy, and actions the most indelicate, obscene, and disgusting, such than [sic] none but a corrupt and depraved heart could have contrived. These things are too outrageous to admit of belief; therefore ... I shall content myself by reading our views of chastity and marriage, from a work published by us, containing some of the articles of our Faith. 'Doctrine and Coventants,' page 330. [1850 version] ... Inasmuch as this Church of Jesus Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy, we declare that we believe that one man should have one wife, and one woman but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again..."
(John Taylor was married to at least 12 women at the time he made this statement. See “LDS Leaders, Their Ethics and Lying for the Lord” http://www.exmormon.org/lying.htm)
“What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing adultery, and having seven wives, when I can only find one."
(Joseph Smith History of the Church, vol. 6, pg. 411 (May 1844).
(Smith began his adulterous polygamy practices with Fannie Alger before 1838. See ‘JOSEPH SMITH DENIES and PRACTICES POLYGAMY’,
The above is only a very brief sampling. Innumerable more examples are readily available showing the prevarications of both former and current LDS church leaders. I frequently hear the assertion that we need religion as a source of moral teaching and example. I suggest that rational atheism produces a much higher level of social compassion, integrity, and accountability than is produced in any religion - especially Mormonism.
| While reading John Dean's book, "Conservatives Without Conscience," he mentions the research of social psychologist Bob Altemeyer of the University of Manitoba. Throughout the past several decades Altemeyer has gathered data on what he calls "right-wing authoritarians" (don't worry, I'm not going to get political here) and there are striking parallels between Altemeyer's data and my own personal experience with LDS Inc.
In listing some characteristics, Dean notes that "[t]hese have not been deliberately isolated as negative characteristics; rather, they are traits that authoritarians believe to be positive."
Those traits are:
"They travel in tight circles of like-minded people."
"Their thinking is more likely based on what authorities have told them rather than on their own critical judgment, which results in their beliefs being filled with inconsistencies."
"They harbor numerous double standards and hypocrisies."
"They are hostile toward so many minorities they seem to be equal opportunity bigots, yet they are generally unaware of their prejudices."
"They see the world as a dangerous place, with society teetering on the brink of self-destruction from evil and violence, and when their fear conflates with their self-righteousness, they appoint themselves guardians of public morality, or God's Designated Hitters."
"They think of themselves as far more moral and upstanding than others--a self deception aided by their religiosity (many are 'born again') and their ability to 'evaporate guilt' (such as by going to confession)."
Dean divides the groups of authoritarians into two categories; essentially those who want to lead ("social dominators") and those who want to follow.
Here are just a few of the authoritarian leader attributes that certainly seem to apply to more than a few I've known in the morg with positions of authority:
-desirous of personal power
-intimidating and bullying
-cheats to win
-highly prejudiced (racists, sexist, homophobic)
-tells others what they want to hear
-takes advantage of "suckers"
-specializes in creating false images to sell self (BIG one in LDS inc.!)
And finally, just some general attributes of authoritarian followers (low ranking morg bots, if you will):
-submissive to authority
-aggressive on behalf of authority
-moderate to little education
-trust unworthy authorities
-uncritical toward chosen authority
-inconsistent and contradictory
-prone to panic easily
It seems to me like those who are able to truly devote themselves, heart and soul, to LDS Inc. have quite a bit of an authoritarian streak. Some wish to dominate (the ladder climbers), while a great deal simply wish to blindly follow.
As a final note, it's amazing how I was completely unaware of virtually ALL of those tendencies while in the morg (cognitive dissonance) and how it only took a few months at college while away from their influence for me to finally gain a composite picture of how TSCC operates.
| Isn't it funny how we always heard (and unfortunately believed) that no man, besides Jesus himself, has done more for humankind than Joseph Smith?
Now that we are all aware of what a complete fraud he was, it is utterly astounding just how insanely ridiculous this assertion really is. Not only is JS far from the greatest mortal man to have ever graced the earth, but he is perhaps among the worst to have ever lived, probably in the "top" one percent.
How many men have so shamelessly exploited the faith and goodwill in others? How many have fabricated religions to take advantage of the vulnerable around them? How many have claimed to speak for god in fleecing followers out of all their money and even their wives and daughters? How many have robbed young girls out of a chance for true love and romance? How many have used every tool in the manipulator's toolkit to sleep with teenage girls? How many have unwisely marched followers from one pitfall to the another, resulting in frequent yet unnecessary tragedy and death? How many have systematically lied and cheated to slander those with the moral courage to oppose their diabolical ways?
The audacity of adorning this pervert fraud with such praise makes me ill. If I am in a large, crowded restaurant (even if it is a Denny's), chances are, nearly every person I lay my eyes upon as I scan the packed dining and waiting areas are more honorable than JS. Very few have attempted even just one of these reprehensible acts stated above, much less most or all.
Then there is the succession of profits since, each one knowing damn well that neither jesus nor god nor any other mystical characters are visiting them in the magic closet in the temple. They all misrepresent church history, intentionally deceiving the public, they speak with thinly-veiled (or open) contempt towards various groups of people (typically those already most vulnerable to the intolerances of society), and they keep the finances under a cloak of secrecy in order to continue living the good life on the hard-earned donations of the wealthy and impovershed alike.
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