THE MORMON CURTAIN
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EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 8
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.
| This is one of my “Five questions to ask any mormon.”
I think we all develop our own after a while. But one of mine is, “What are the last five revelations?...a follow-up question is ask them the reasons why the revelation came about, was it because of God or Man?
I’d be very surprised if you asked 20 mormons, if even one could name them for you. Isn’t that a little telling? I’ve had to search myself to find them out. But here is my list, and I would love if you could correct me. My sources for this list are pro-mormon sites that list church chronology.
First, if they try to pass off “The Proclamation on the Family” as a revelation, tell them to stick it in their hole. I am talking about the times when mormon leadership had the guts to say “This is straight from the Lord” This is as far as I could get.
1978 God tells SWK to give the priesthood to any worthy mormon with a penis. This comes about because of government pressure to withdraw tax-exempt status for the church and because the dedication of a temple in Brazil causes concern amongst locals there (“How black is too black?). God thought about doing this in the ‘50s or ‘60s when it may have been proactive, but he was too busy trying to keep the church as white and delightsome as possible.
1899 God tells Lorenzo Snow that he needs more money. Snow’s “revelation” is to put an emphasis on tithing. The “Windows of Heaven,” and all that shit. Can anyone else hear Oral Roberts pitching his flock for more cash or Jesus would take him home?
1890 This is “The Manifesto,” a “kind” of revelation at best. Where God tells Woodruff to forget about that polygamy thing on earth, or at least start to forget about it and if it takes 20 years to stop, Personally, I don’t count this as a revelation. It’s a legal document to allow statehood for Utah. Polygamy as a principle is not condemned and is just fine for the afterlife. Better hope your wife dies young so you can get another one.
1889 Taylor has a revelation on the organization of the Seventies. Thank goodness, God must have been waiting a while to spring that one on his children. Organizing the thousands of members at the time must have been fatiguing. But this was just for the first round of Seventies. What are they up to now, “The Fifth Quorum of Geezers,” or something like that? …no matter, it was only a revelation the first time around.
1841? Polygamy is on! Joseph Smith gets God’s green light on extramarital nookie, so long as you “marry” the maid that entices you, wink, wink. I believe this was Smith’s last revelation.
So…the best I can come up with is four plus the manifesto. Most of these revelations come from economic and social pressures that threaten the church at the time. The change never comes proactively, only after there is a crisis of some kind. That is not revelation, that is PR damage control.
Those of you still in contact with mormons, or going to church tomorrow, as members if they can name the last five revelations. I bet you won’t find anyone who can go much past 1978.
Continuing revelation?...yeah, right.
| All mormons are required to occasionally come up with little canned talks to present to other mormons in church. Some mormon speakers are pretty good. Most of them are embarrassingly shallow, unmemorable, or downright inane.
Priesthood high-rollers enjoy the most opportunities for practicing and perfecting their public speaking skills. GAs and fireside speakers are probably the tiptop speakers mormonism has to offer. Are they highly accomplished scintillating and insightful? Buy a tape at Beehive Books or turn on general conference and check them out.
Overall, they are plodding, self-important, and rather dull. Pomposity and pretended special God-powers are what they fall back on to maintain audience attention.
So what does this public speaking experience accomplish for mormons?
Three year olds are expected to memorize adult speeches about adult subjects. They're praised for pretending to understand incomprehensible words and ideas.
In reality, their own unique personalities and level of understanding are discounted and debased in favor of adult cult needs of validation. They're praised for standing up and spitting out whatever they're told to say.
"Et in Utah ego" said her mormon students exhibited no "great ability to talk, speak or even read aloud in class." I've only taught young children, but my experience mirrors hers.
That also goes for mormon teachers vs the general population of teachers and administrators. Mormon educators don't do any better or worse than non-mormons at speaking before groups.
I'm sure there are individual cases where a mormon was forced to speak and give testimonies, and as a result felt they developed into proficient public speakers.
I'm just as certain that there are also many mormons who were forced to speak in church, still hate it, and are about as good at speaking as a wind up toy.
I'd say those with interest and talent for public speaking have more opportunities to shine in the mormon church than they do walking in the park. But if they actually want to become proficient, they'd be better served taking a night class or joining a theater group than accepting assignments to speak at sacrament meetings.
| It's simple, natural actually. Any honest truth seeker having been lied to for decades about things they held so dear to their heart and sacrificed untold opportunities for will naturally look around at the roots of religion and shake these roots for all they are worth. Wouldn't they?
Once bitten twice shy.
They would or should look at the Old Testament creation myths and try to see how the newly formed tribesmen comprised of a new sect called Hebrews/Israelites heavily borrowed from their egyptian, sumerian, mesopotamian counterparts. Wouldn't they?
And they would find polytheistic egyptian mythology completely laced into the creation myths.
They would look at what these people believed about resurrection, see the obvious unrest in most Jews of Jesus' day about that. Many Jews were tired of Sheol... Sleep for eternity? Not fair. Why do the egyptians get to live forever in bliss? Wouldn't the fact that the jewish pharisees and saducees were hotly debating resurrection/ no resurrection chime the bells upstairs? Many Jews were pushing for a resurrection. Enter the rebel, Jesus. Jesus might have been a historical person, but why dismiss the link to revamp Judaism? Christianity is a cult of Judaism... Judaism is a cult of the egyptian world view.
There are so many dubious claims in the bible from the flood, to the walls of Jericho falling down. Why turn a blind eye to these claims? Why not challenge them? And when the claims come up empty, or obviously borrowed (I hesitate to use the word plagerize) ... on what basis can any further fealty be extracted?
faith? Wasn't your faith just shattered?
| I love Three-card Monte. Not to play, of course, 'cuz I don't enjoy being a mark. Not to run, of course, 'cuz it's dishonest. But to watch.
In its full glory, Three-card Monte is like an intricate ballet. One group of shills plays the game and wins. Others serve as hecklers. The key shill befriends the unsuspecting mark, pretending to conspire with him to beat the dealer, while serving him up as the lamb for the slaughter. The final curtain always falls like clockwork -- the mark loses, a shill yells to warn of the approaching police, and the game evaporates like dew on a summer morning.
I was with my two teenage sons in Las Vegas a few years ago. We came upon a Three-card Monte game taking place beside an overpass. Seeing an opportunity for a little practical education, we stopped and I told them just to watch everything carefully. Sure enough, it was the "full monte," with the blow off being the cry of police. As the crowd scattered, the mark was left confused -- realizing that his wallet was now lighter but not quite sure how it got that way.
Afterward, I asked my sons what they had seen. Then I explained the roles of the various people they had noticed. I also explained how the dealer cheats with the cards. The lesson, I said, was the mark was sucked into a game he could not win.
My older son got it pretty quickly. But the younger had more trouble. He kept insisting that the mark had a chance to win -- at least sometimes. He had a difficult time understanding how anyone could construct what appeared to be a fair game that was, in fact, impossible to win.
I used to argue with LDS apologists. More than I'd like to admit. Eventually, I came to see arguing with an apologist (not only of the LDS variety) as like the mark choosing to play three-card monte. The game is unwinnable, once you know the rules.
The apologist plays by a different set of rules than a person seeking to find truth. The rules are completely coherent and logical. The apologist starts out already knowing the truth. She has no need to prove anything. To win the apologists' game, all the apologist must do is show that the predetermined truth is possible. To beat the apologist at his own game, the mark must prove the apologist's position to be impossible.
Under these rules, we already have, of course, a loaded game. The burden on the mark is much more difficult to meet than that required of the apologist. But the game is not just difficult for the mark -- it is impossible. Because the apologist has an unbeatable hole card -- God. Any time the mark thinks he has finally forced the apologist into a box with no way out, the apologist throws his hole card on the table.
With God, you see, all things are possible. Or, if you will, nothing is impossible. So, the mark can never prove the apologists' truth to be impossible. The mark can't win.
Like I said at the start, I don't play Three-card Monte. I don't play apologetics anymore, either. I like a fair game.
| For me Mormonism was the first problem. Ok, I don't believe in Mormonism and I got out of it. Secondly, I honesty couldn't believe in Jesus Christ; even though, I like the golden rule and some of the ethics he taught but only begotten son of God? No!
Then I asked myself do I believe the Jews ever had the true gosphel? Some of my best friends are Jews. I have a lot of respect for how they took nothing in Israel and made something of it. I respect their work ethic and business sense. I once was madly in love with a jewish girl. But no, Judism is a religion based on old rules. Rules that are about controlling people more than they are about protecting the better good of society so nope, Judism is not true either according to me.
Then I thought about Islam. They claim to be the only true Abrihamic religion and the Jews missed the boat and if the Jews are wrong, well, Christ never had anything to stand on in the first place. Is Islam true? Nope.
Now I went to the source of much debate and bloodshed. Abraham himself. Does he have any significance for my salvation? No!
Genesis and Exodus read like fairy tales. I don't believe the bible has anything to do with bettering my life here or in the life to come. You can see what you want to see. Ethics, morals, or use it as an excuse to kill. The Koran and Book of Mormon are the same. You can justify whacking a head off by either text. Not my cup of tea.
So all the Muslims, Jews, and Christians rounding the numbers out is about 2 billion people. A third of the current world population on earth. A minority. In a world where the two biggest emerging economic superpowers are niether Christian, Jewish, or Islamic I wonder where we are going. People seem to like to join the religion of the money makers which in this case will be Budism and Hinduism.
Like the British, the United States is on it's downhill slope. Running huge trade deficites and losing it's technology base, the US is becomming a shadow of it's former glory like it or not.
The world is changing and the Muslims, Jews, and Christians have all had their times of glory. When Europe fell into the dark ages, the Islamic world thrived as the Islamic world diminished the Christian world thrived. The Jews thrived under king David and king Solomon.
I look at it all as Abrahamism and Abrahamism has empowered men over women and has kept religious leaders in control for sevral thousand years. With a war being fought over which Abrahamic religion is right, the rest of the world and non believers in Europe and North America are questioning the faith they were raised in. Have we been led astray? Is there something better?
Some of the Chi believes Bruce Lee exposed the world to in the 1970's seem to be extremely popular. I am part of a group of former Christians who have been looking into harnessing our inner power to better our lives. For me it has been the most spiritual mind blowing experience. In the end, I don't believe in prophets or saviors. There is only truth and perfection and we each have a gateway to it and there is no need for a middle man who wants your money and livelyhood.
For those looking to replace the Mormon faith with something, this is what has worked for me. I'm more spiritual now than ever.
| I grew up LDS in the 70s and 80s (that's *19*-70s and 80s, kiddies, not *18*-).
Three things that so exercise Latter-day Saints today didn't seem to bother us then:
1) Accusations that we weren't Christian;
2) The idea that we were saved by works; and,
3) Whether or not a belief constituted "official doctrine."
1) It wasn't that we agreed we were not Christian--quite the contrary. The idea that we weren't Christian was just too silly to take seriously. What, were the accusers hard of reading? Couldn't they see "Jesus Christ" in the name of our church? Rather than try to convince them that our church was Christian, we tried to convince them that, in a sense, theirs weren't: Ours was the church that emulated Christ's New Testament teaching, example, and church organization most perfectly, while theirs had fallen away from his example, his authority, and his present-day guidance.
2) We had been trained to respond to the notion of salvation by grace by appealing to the Epistle of James: "faith without works is dead." While Jesus' work was necessary to salvation, we had to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. We didn't spend our time trying to convince non-members that we believed in salvation by grace; rather, we confidently tried to bring them around to the vital role of works and ordinances.
3) No one talked about "official doctrine." Okay, maybe some handful of people--Mormon liberals and bleeding-edge revisionist scholars like John Sorenson. The question for the average saint was not "Is this official?" but "Do we believe this?" or "Is this true?" If something had the imprimatur of prophetic teaching, we believed it.
This all began to change around the mid-to-late 1980s, apparently under the influence of the evangelical propaganda film "The Godmakers."
The first I ever encountered the "that's not official doctrine" defense was in the book The Truth about the Godmakers by LDS Institute director Gilbert W. Schaarfs, around 1987. Schaarfs responded to the idea that God and his wife sexually procreated their spirit children with the assertion that this was not official doctrine. This was a puzzling response, since the idea of "children" who can only be created by a mother and a father suggests nothing but sexual procreation. Virtually all Latter-day Saints, except perhaps ill-informed recent converts, believed this idea--Gilbert W. Schaarfs almost centainly not excepted.
This brings out the most puzzling feature of this type of apologetic argument: the "official doctrine" distinction is a defense used by Latter-day Saints against their own beliefs. It is not a denial that this is what Latter-day Saints generally believe, or that they would traditionally have identified the "unofficial" doctrine as part and parcel of their faith. Rather, it is a refusal to be pinned down to what Latter-day Saints do believe or have believed to be integral to their faith. It is a way of asserting the right to change one's mind without acknowledging the significance or implications of such a change.
"The Godmakers," cleverly crafted as it was by one Ed D. Goebbels (or something like that), also put Latter-day Saints very much on the defensive about their Christianity. No longer was the rejection of Latter-day Saints as Christian rooted in mere ignorance; now it was rooted in ill-intended disinformation. In the face of claims that it was a devil-worshipping cult with "a different Jesus," the church initiated more strident efforts to be defined as Christian by traditional Christians. But this was a terrible misstep. Latter-day Saints had always known they were Christian on their own terms. But now they also had to meet someone else's definition of "Christian" as well. The natural result was a temptation to dumb-down or evade traditional LDS beliefs; and a particularly sturdy tool was available for this purpose: the official doctrine distinction. This game has been played at the highest levels, as when Gordon B. Hinckley repeatedly informed the Christian world, through the media, that the doctrine of God having once been a man was "just a couplet" and not something we necessarily "teach" or "know much about."
Even as the church and its associated subculture were Protestatizing their rhetoric in response to "The Godmakers," Mormondom, and particularly BYU, were being infiltrated by traditional Christian (especially Protestant) ideas through the influence of religion professors and philosophers trained in non-Mormon academia and steeped in traditional Christian thought. These professors, sensing too wide a divide between their Protestantized minds and their backwardly Mormon community, set out to narrow the gap by importing Protestant ideas and emphases into that community and restating--and even reformulating--LDS ideas in a way more palatable to Protestant Christians. Some of these new doctrinal thinkers have rejected the traditional LDS notion of God as immediate Father in a never-ending patriarchal chain of gods in favor of the traditional Christian idea of God as the Supreme, Unsurpassed Being. Others have revived the Protestant notions of grace embedded in the Book of Mormon. And some few have gone so far as to identify the LDS as scriptural inerrantists on the model of Evangelical Christians!
Gone are the days when a Latter-day Saint could respond to criticism with the confidence that how Christian a church was should be measured by the LDSstandard, rather than the Protestant standard; when a Latter-day Saint would match prooftexts for salvation by grace with prooftexts for salvation by works; and when a Latter-day Saint could be counted on to defend the beliefs handed down from Joseph Smith to the end of the 20th Century.
In shifting the focus of judgment from within the LDS community and tradition to without, the contemporary church has set itself on a course of increasing Protestantization that may successively sacrifice all the beliefs and practices that have made Mormons Mormon.
| One good lick deserves another. We've talked about licked cupcakes. Now let's discuss licked pickles.
Mormon girls, in my experience, aren't told licked pickles are gross. We never had a licked pickle or Twinkie or Ding Dong lesson. It was a given that young men were to serve missions and had to be worthy to do so. I assumed that meant they hadn't been licked. I was wrong.
Mormon missionaries may very well be licked pickles. As I mentioned, growing up I assumed they weren't. That they couldn't be. Such heavy emphasis was placed on helping young men keep pure for their mission that I assumed purity was a requirement.
For me, the pressure to say "no" to the boys was immense because I was taught the burden of chastity was mine to bear. Boys were more sexual because Heavenly Father made them that way and they weren't as able to control themselves as girls were. So, all the while I was feeling that pressure and guilt for such menial things as French kissing, some young men were out getting their pickles licked, then either lying to the Bishop or telling the truth and possibly only getting their hand slapped and then proceeding right on to their missions.
Did you men know that you'd likely only have your hand slapped for premarital sex and then be allowed to go on a mission anyway with little to no repercussions? Or did your leaders keep that from you, too? Were you ever surprised at what your companions had done before their missions and then felt disgusted that you worked so hard and denied yourself pleasures of the flesh only to achieve the same exact same RM status as your "licked" companions?
I know bishops have a lot of leeway when it comes to punishing sexual "sin". So, some young men may have had bishops who would have punished premarital sex severely. But from what I've read and heard, that wasn't the norm.
Also, because I assumed most RM's had little to no sexual activity prior to their missions, it never occurred to me to wonder whether or not they were virgins. Young women were told to marry RM's - not that licked pickles were gross. I never considered that sex made young men gross and I can honestly say that even though I thought most RM's were virgins, if one wasn't, I wouldn't have thought he was disgusting. It wouldn't have stopped me from dating or marrying him. That concept was never hammered into my head. I would, however, have considered myself gross if I were a licked cupcake. What a shameful double standard.
So, guys, did you know how much you could have gotten away with before your mission and still been able to serve? Were any of you dismayed by a mission companion who bragged about his pre-mission conquests? Were you disgusted with their lack of "morals" or were you jealous that you didn't have sexual experiences of your own? Or maybe YOU were the naughty missionary who was the licked pickle...
And girls, did you realize licked pickles could, in many cases, easily go on missions? I didn't.
Going to get a Claussen from the fridge.
| In this week’s Church News (which, of course, I read faithfully) there is an especially lame story about two LDS Management Consultants who are making a name for themselves (and a sizeable chunk of change, no doubt) training Corporate Execs (read – MEN) how to be better at “family”.
Yeah, pretty much what I thought....Oh Brother!
Well, the crux of the whole program is – yup, you guessed it – FAMILY HOME EVENING!!!! So, the simple solution to being a loving Dad and Husband is to schedule an appointment with the wife and kids for a couple of hours once each week to pretend to be a family. Apparently, this is supposed to make up for being completely absent(figuratively and literally) all the rest of the week. I wonder how many of these men go back to the office and have the secretary arrange the FHE appointments?
Their next great strategy is for Corporate Exec Dads to use a program called “Management 360” to assess how they are doing. For those of you who have been spared this load of business BS, Management 360 is a process in which you conduct structured surveying of everyone around an Executive – superiors, underlings and peers – to see what they have to say about the person as a leader. Great idea, guys! As if making appointments is not lame enough -now we are going to formally survey the wife and kids to see what they have to say about the head of the household. Better be careful – they are likely to say some pretty nasty things! Have these people lost their minds??
This whole approach is just so...well, just so frikkin’ MORMON! It is completely pathetic! While the participants paying for these silly seminars are not all members of LDS, Inc. the whole approach comes entirely out of Mormon culture. Dpo these Management Consultant Brothers have no original ideas of their own to sell?
It occurs to me that there would be no need for FHE if Mormon males were not constantly pressured to be Mr. Businessman money-maker. Any time Mr. Priesthoodholder isn’t working, he is expected to be messing around with life-wasting callings at Church. Why don't we just work with Execs to create a healthy balance in their lives and to enforce boundaries that keep the expectations of others in check? Great heck, what am I thinking? We can't have people developing boundaries for crying out loud - they might turn down callings!!!
The article even goes on to talk about strategies for making sure the old wifey-poo gets some attention. I LOVE it that the assumption is that ALL successful business people are MEN – but that is another rant for another day! Their innovative approach to this terrible problem of spousal neglect is – yup, you it right again – DATE NIGHT. Although they do not specifically say it, you know that for the LDS businessmen that means a fun-filled evening at the Temple.
Sometimes Mormonism it is more than a person can bear…..
| Personally, I can respect the LDS belief system just fine, and am glad that many people find comfort in the knowledge that they will enjoy having families and eternal glory in the Celestial Kingdom if/when they make it there. They have every right to believe this for themselves.
Here is why it can easily seem kind of strange to others. If I were to become a Goddess and follow God's example (as described in Mormon theology), here's what it would entail:
I buy a new house. I have four children, and the house has four bedrooms. Two of the bedrooms (one being the master bedroom) are located on the top floor of the house. I decorate my bedroom and the bedroom beside it in totally lavish decorations, the best money can buy. Large and comfortable couches, chairs, silks, lights everywhere, and a king sized bed for each of these rooms. Solid gold fixtures and beauty abounds. Walk-in closets and plenty of light and space and beauty. A special intercom connects the two rooms for constant communication, and I include a big double door that swings open to connect the two rooms whenever necessary. Togetherness abounds.
The third bedroom is found on the main level, and I decorate it tastefully, but spend an eighth of what I spent on the bedroom upstairs when I decorate it. It is comfortable but not great. Single bed. Desk with one wooden chair. It is comfortably large but rather sparse in furnishings. No phone or intercom to connect to other parts of the house.
The fourth bedroom is in the basement, and the lighting is bad in there, but I don't mind. I spend about 1/20 of what I spend on the upstairs rooms, and I furnish it with a single bed but no desk, chair, or lamp. It is a small room, just large enough to fit the bed and dresser, but nothing else. I don't include any extra lamps for light, and the window is small and near the ceiling. No phone or intercom to connect to the other parts of the house.
Then I sit down and decide of my four children, which one has been most obedient and followed to the letter all the things I outlined on my posted fridge chart of rules to live by, including bathing in my special pool and believing in my Special Ghost. That one is the one who gets the nice room upstairs with me. We play, live, and have a good ol' time up there every day, all day.
My child who was also obedient, and honorable, and had a testimony of the truthfulness of my charted plan, but failed to be valiant that one time after having taken the required bath in my special pool...may only ever be visited by The Chosen Son but not by me. Ever. He will live separately and singly forever in the room on the main level. I have no intention of visiting him.
The third child is the one who did not receive the testimony of The Chosen Son at all, and who refused to even look at my posted fridge chart of rules to live by. This is he who is a liar, a sorcerer, an adulterer, a whoremonger, and he who loves and makes a lie. He will only be visited by the Special Ghost I send, but never by The Chosen Son and never by me. He is grounded in the basement in semi-darkness alone for a thousand years, after which I will allow him to emerge, and only then will he be allowed a second chance.
The fourth child is the one who once had a testimony of my Special Ghost and Chosen Son, and was once as obedient and faithful as the first child...but instead of constantly following the fridge chart rules, one day thought about it and decided that he didn't believe that a Special Ghost gave him the good feelings he felt sometimes. He felt them when he heard the national anthem, or when he watched Anne of Green Gables, or when he heard Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. I knew he must be following the Evil One when he told me this, and I can allow no forgiveness for him, for he denied the Special Ghost after having received it when he was eight. He will live in eternal darkness, torment, and misery with the Evil One and his angels forever.
And this is precisely how I want it to be for all of my children I love equally.
| Wouldn’t you know there would have to be someone out there in Mormon-dumb who makes a living out of telling Mormons how they are supposed to dress and groom themselves to meet the capricious fashion standards of the First Presidency?
Let me introduce you to Judith Rasband, image consultant and educator, director of the Conselle Institute of Image Management, former BYU faculty member and “popular” BYU Education Weekly speaker. Honestly, do you think there really are any “popular” speakers at these silly BYU talks? But I digress....
According to an article in the Church News dated June 23, 2007, Sister Rasband is not at all pleased with the slouchy casual style we Americans are adopting – especially in the workplace. She states, “As dress standards go down we get a relaxation of manners, morals, and productivity”. Uh......Okaaaayy. To support this rather ludicrous generalization she goes on to assert that companies with a “business casual” dress code often see a decline in effectiveness and ethics. She states, “Contrary to popular belief, dress-down days in the workplace bring a decrease in mannerly behavior and productivity, along with an increase in harassment litigation in corporate settings.”
It never ceases to amaze me how so-called “experts” quoted in the Church News make the most outrageous claims, yet never share one shred of evidence to support said claims. Apparently, in the Mormon world, just saying something makes it so. If casual dress really caused ineffectiveness and decreased workplace productivity, how does Sister Rasband explain the unqualified success and profitability of Southwest Airlines? In terms of lax manners, let me say that I have found Southwest Airlines employees (dressed in khaki shorts, golf shirts and tennis shoes) to be generally accommodating, polite and helpful - not the norm in that industry, I can tell you! And what about the notoriously liberal dress codes adopted by cutting edge technology firms such as Apple. That little IPhone thing certainly smacks of low productivity and slovenly ways to me!!!
Well, as you can imagine, the rest of the article goes down hill from here. There is the usual diatribe about modesty (groan) and dire warnings about people who are fully covered, yet still dressed immodestly. Then there is a vicious attack on demin – a fabric in harmony with physical labor, but NEVER appropriate for work, much less anything having even the remotest connection to Church! For her grand finale she assails the reader with a sweeping denunciation of all footwear of the “flip-flop” variety. Apparently, Sister Rasband has no use for flip-flops except at the beach or in the shower – and even then, she takes a very dim view of it! All other possible applications of this footwear are strictly verboten! I guess the Sister hasn’t been to an upscale shoe department in quite some time; otherwise she would realize that the old notion of “flip-flops” has been thoroughly modernized. Get with the millennium, Judith – geez!
You know – I understand that image is important and I am a believer in maintaining proper hygiene and dressing appropriately to suit the event/place. However, focusing so much on silly things like flip-flops merely trivializes the Mormon faith and makes Mormons appear shallow and judgmental. Any outsider who read that article would think Mormons have lost their collective minds!
Does Heavenly Father really get his nose out of joint if a woman shows up to worship him wearing a fitted Demin jacket over her blouse with a cute pair of high-heeled thong sandals ( i.e.: flip-flops)?
Heavenly Father needs to update his sense of style BIG TIME! Perhaps Heavenly Mother(s) could step in and straighten him out :-)
| According to Mormon scripture found in the Book of Mormon …
“faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith you hope for things which are not seen, which are true.”
Note the qualifying statement…Faith is a hope in things that eventually turn out to be true. Or in other words…faith fills the gap between ignorance and knowledge.
But does the Mormon method lead to a sure knowledge?
The B of M goes on to state…” concerning faith–that it was not a perfect knowledge…”
The B of M states that “Faith” in not perfect…it is flawed. Hmmm something I actually agree with...
According to this scripture, to make your faith “flawless” you must subject your faith to an experiment...
You must... “awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment… and exercise a particle of [that flawed] faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of [the Mormon truth claim].”
So you must some how conger up a desire to want to believe and let this desire to believe work up in you…until you start to believe…based on information and facts? NO! Based only on your desire to believe. Here in lies the problem...
If only aquiring knowledge WERE this easy...
So is this Mormon methodology trustworthy? Is this a “sure-fire” method of acquiring knowledge and truth? Can this Mormon method fill the gap between ignorance and knowledge?
Thomas Edison offered this test for faith:…” faith, as well intentioned as it may be, must be built on facts, not fiction - faith in fiction is a damnable false hope."
When you exercise faith there has to be the assumption that your faith will ultimately be rewarded with some future confirmation that your faith was in fact based in truth...not misplaced in lies.
But the Mormon God has stated that if we merely place faith in the words of an individual…and experiment on their words and exercise faith in them and desire or want these words be true hard enough...they magically become true because we want them to be so.… this is rediculous. We can NOT gain knowledge in this manner we can only delude ourselves. It does not make any sense. What if that faith is misplaced? What if we are placing faith in a scam artist or a fraud? How many snake oil salesmen or pyramid scheme promotors have said…”just buy my special elixir or trust me...then you’ll “know” for a surety that I speak the truth…trust me…experiment on my words” Isn’t this really how all scams and fraudulent schemes are run…on a misplaced leap of faith?
Then the B of M goes on to state how to fill the gap between ignorance and knowledge…the Mormon way…
“Now behold, [If you want to believe and let this desire to believe work up in you…until you start to believe] would not this increase your faith? I say unto you, Yea; [and I say hell yes, if you want something to be true...but is this method trustworthy and failsafe…Hell NO!!] nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge.
But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good;[ and why must we assume that it is good?] for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow.[cancer also swelleth and sprouteth and also grows...in like manner but I would hardly call it good] And now, behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow. [hell how did we buy this shit?]
And now, behold, is your knowledge perfect? Yea, your knowledge is perfect [because I wanted something soooo bad its now perfect knowledge? WTF???] in that thing, and your faith is dormant; and this because you know, [so if you want a thing to be true hard enough…poof…according to Mormonism …it is] for ye know that the word hath swelled your souls, and ye also know that it hath sprouted up, that your understanding doth begin to be enlightened, and your mind doth begin to expand.”
In other words…your faith has been replaced with Knowledge and faith is no longer needed in that thing which you have experimented on….but is it really? Is this a sure way to replace faith with knowledge?
In another post Silvergirl stated: “Faith is a belief in the absence of evidence, not in a *contradiction* to evidence. And I might add….faith can not make a truth false or a false hood true…it can not change a fact unless you suspend disbelief. No matter how much faith I might exercise that Ireland is an arid desert sand filled void…it just won’t ever become a truth no matter how much faith I exercise…because it is NOT built on a foundation of fact or reality and no matter how much faith I exercise that Mormonism is all it claims to be...it just won't happen because Mormonism is built on a foundation of lies.
The only exercise of faith that will result in the reward of knowledge…is the faith that is built on a foundation of facts…facts that can be tested, scrutinized and subjected to rigorous examination…
The Mormon knowledge quest does not pass this test…and thus fails to qualify as a real method to discover knowledge and ultimately truth.
| What always struck me as odd, was the way God used "revelation" to play games with members, and their "testimonies."
God had Joseph Smith "translating" old "plates," or papyri attached to smelly mummies, to learn doctrine. Why such a Rube Goldberg approach? Why did Joseph have to spend hours "translating," when God gave other"revelations" that became the "Doctrine and Covenants?" It made no sense. Sometimes, it came directly, other times it involved "translating." Do prophets "translate?" Seems strange they would have to spend their time that way.
And why do members always have to"be in tune with the spirit" to keep their "testimony?" It seems to me that if said "testimony" is real, you will get it, and never lose it. Why would God make you keep up a constant game ?
Why do members have to "fast and pray" to get help from above? Why the constant shell game? My experience was that people prayed and prayed until they got the answer they wanted in the first place. It was all a huge, time consuming effort. Why no "revelation?" Why no clear answers?
I recall a missionary companion of mine telling me that I "did not have the spirit." After a two day switch with two other missionaries, he came back beaming. The missionary he had been with "had the spirit," and they had "taught and walked with the spirit."
Oddly, the spiritual missionary he had been with had pronged a young member girl, and was excommunicated shortly after. I did not prong any member girls, but I did not "have the spirit." How did that work? Seems to me he could not have had so much spirituality when he had committed a sin that would get him excommunicated.
If you mention a "loss of faith" to a Bishop, you are usually told to "fast, pray, read the scriptures, and keep in tune with the spirit." Why does "truth" have to come through agonizing effort? If its real, if its true, it should not require constant self-indoctrination. And a "sure knowledge" of the "truth" should not be able to vanish like dew before the sun.
None of it made sense. It was much too complicated, and full of pitfalls. It was a strange way to practice "knowledge." Funny, because it never seemed like 'knowledge" at all.
| I recently attended an experiential workshop on healing from spiritual/religious abuse. I have not believed in the church for several years now and have had a lot of time to work through the good and the bad in the LDS church While I do not always like the situation I am in, things have been moving for the better in the last few years. My wife and several family members have been able to accept me for who I am without shaming me, and some have even come to share my concerns about the truthfulness of the LDS Church.
I was motivated to attend the workshop because I was concerned about my wife who is newer in her discovery of the duplicity of the LDS leaders and actually had been planning to attend the workshop primarily for her benefit. I was more than a little surprised while attending the workshop to discover just how deep the well of pain is that I feel myself. I have had years to work through the pain of the spiritual and mental manipulation I suffered as a believing member and it was a shock to find out just how much I was still hurting.
Since then I have been reading a lot about spiritual abuse and have noticed again and again how even after several years of non belief the spiritual and emotional abuse I underwent as a believing member continues to color my thinking. Coming out of Mormonism for me was like lifting my head out of the fog and into a brilliant light with a glorious view of the world. It has been disturbing for me that even this new light is still in some ways colored and obscured by the fog of false paradigms inculcated in me by the church.
In searching the literature on spiritual abuse (and here I must admit that I am talking about days rather than weeks, months, or years of research) it seems to me that much of the writing has been done from an evangelical Christian perspective and is often aimed at groups who are more openly and clearly abusive than the LDS Church. Although many of the concepts are easily translatable into Mormonism, others are not. Adding to my frustration is that I sometimes feel that many of those writing on this subject are not willing to shine the same light of logic on their own irrational religious beliefs as they do on the controlling groups they are examining.
Mormonism also has some unique doctrines that enable a more subtle use of coercion than some controlling groups (here I must add that perhaps I only think this because I have difficulty seeing clearly in the church what seems obvious in other controlling groups). I have wondered if this makes abuse within Mormonism harder to validate and discuss. I find myself wishing for a work on this that speaks specifically about coercion and religious abuse in Mormonism. An added benefit would be a work that compared LDS religious abuse with that of other controlling organizations and discussed in depth the damage that can be done to individuals in the LDS church.
Adding to the complexity of the issue is the fact that members experience the LDS church in radically different ways. I have met those who find their LDS faith and participation empowering and ennobling. I personally found it ultimately degrading and abusive. I believe that the doctrines of the church are harmful to the integrity of individuals even in their best and least coercive form, but this is often hard for me to demonstrate due to my own blindness from having grown up in the religion.
Does anyone know of a comprehensive work that addresses Spiritual abuse in the context of Mormonism or of a resource that has been helpful to you in addressing this issue?
I am also curious as to how many of us view ourselves as having been religiously, psychologically or emotionally abused by the church as an institution (rather than just by an individual in the church acting on their own initiative).
| Having recently gone through this whole ordeal, I have a few recommendations from a legal perspective.
First, I am not a lawyer. But I have learned the hard way.
1. Use a lawyer as your arbitrator. Do not use some second rate mediation company to handle your divorce. An actual lawyer who handles divorce mediation is in my opinion the best course of action and the cost is not substantially more.
2. What you agree to in mediation and the things that are stated in the divorce decree are binding unless you have the resources and the mental and emotional strength to go to battle. The courts will review if there is a substantial change in circumstances, but mediation is the forced first option, and if that doesn't work, than costs you thought you originally avoided by not going to court become real.
3. Talk to people who have gone through your situation in detail. What you think is workable now and concessions you make now to be able to just move on and make things amicable, may work against you in the future. If things don't start out bitter and you think you can work through them because you are still friends, think again. The emotional wounds that may appear as a scratch now may fester and turn your ex-spouse into someone you hardly recognize.
4. Make sure both parties have legal representation during the original mediation. You need to have somebody who is on your side that has the knowledge to interpret what is going to happen after the divorce decree is stamped by a judge. Know the difference between custodial terms not only in definition but also in application. The cost up front will be more, but it will be worth it. There is a big difference in cost when you have a lawyer simple advise you verses going to battle in court for you. Having a Lawyer advise you during mediation will prevent the costly mistake of having to have a lawyer go to battle for you latter.
5. The mediator is suppose to be impartial. This isn't always the case and if you go with the second rate mediation company, you will not get some one who is truly knowledgeable regarding divorce law.
6. I understood this, but didn't expect the emotional roller coaster it would cause me. If you are divorcing a TBM and it is your decision to divorce, know that you are automatically the bad guy or gal. You're the one who changed and they are the victim (at least that is how they and their supporting cast will see it.) Before you go through this process find a group of friends (like us at RfM and Post-Mormon) that you can rant and release to, or get a good therapist. Even if you think you are strong enough to face this mostly by yourself, there are people here you will be their for you when you need them.
I just want to say good luck to you. I hope whatever tough decisions you have to make, you will have peace of mind knowing that you made them while still being true to yourself.
| I have been amazed at the ability of the church to keep a hold on its members. My father, who died three years ago, was an educated, and rational man. But when it came to Mormonism, he was willing to believe the most amazing things.
He took the temple ceremony seriously, including the little game played at "the veil," the rapping of the mallet, the secret name, and all the rest. He seemed to believe God needed such a ludicrous ceremony.
He believed the story of the treasure room in the Hill Cumorah. Somehow, he read that story again, and was willing to go along. It is such nonsense, but he believed.
I am not knocking him--with a mallet or anything else. I was pretty damn gullible myself.
I had a seminary teacher who taught me:
There was more, much more. Any rational person would have asked him what planet he came from, but no-one did. I spent years trying to believe that kind of idiocy.
- The streets of the "celestial kingdom" are paved with gold.
- Those in the "celestial kingdom" wear white, seamless smocks.
- The ten tribes live in the "hollow earth" under the North Pole.
- Bigfoot could be Cain.
- Animal sacrifice will make a comeback during the thousand years of peace during the millennium.
- Peter cut the throat of Judas, as an act of "blood atonement."
- Some sins require the shedding of blood--the sacrifice of Jesus is not enough to cover the cost.
- Eating a large meal at Thanksgiving is a sin.
- Those who take the sacrament unworthily become ill.
- Adam looked just like Joseph Smith's brother Alvin.
- Adam built an altar in Missouri.
When people told me the Danites did not exist, I believed it. I believed that Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were righteous men.
I went to the temple, and it filled me with "fear and loathing." I knew it was cult material, utterly mad nonsense. But I kept going back, trying to make myself believe, trying to force a round peg in a square hole. I never could pull it off.
I went to BYU, and kept telling myself the repression was all necessary, all part of a true and loving church. But anyone with a brain could tell it was a mini police state, the fiefdom of small, petty, and often vicious men who loved to force their will on others.
My God, you have to give the church credit. They can make the "iron rod" you "cling to" red hot, and you keep trying to hold on.
| I have been haunted by a post by tol about six months ago where she related her first temple experience and her father’s reaction of ‘beaming with pride as she slit her throat’ while covenanting with God. It has made me think even more often about a girl from my youth. I have felt a need to relate this and decided that today was the proper time to do so.
Her name was Brenda and we grew up together even though she was a bit younger than me. Although it seemed that she and her family had always been around, I distinctly remember the first time I became fully aware of her as a person.
We were in Primary/Junior Sunday School together when assigned to participate in the Christmas Nativity Pageant. It seemed that I always destined to be Joseph and had played the part the year previous with her older sister Betty playing the part of Mary. This year it was Brenda who would play Mary.
While we were silently acting out our parts I remember looking down and being fascinated at how her curly strawberry-blond hair seemed almost red in contrast to the blue towel she wore as a scarf. The blue also made the freckles on her face more prominent. I concluded that this is what the real Mary must have looked like. I also concluded that this must be what the original Mary must have been like–sweet with a girl-next-door attractiveness which even at this young age was obvious and a magnetic personality that drew you towards her.
Her attractiveness would later serve to win beauty contests. But it was her personality kept her on my radar screen. More than once I recall sitting in the high school library and would notice her coming up the sidewalk toward the school. As she got closer to the door other students would run to catch up with her and those going in the opposite direction would change course just to walk with her into the school. By the time she came down the hall to the foyer she had an entourage. She seemed to be friends with everyone.
However, being the pretend parents of a plastic baby Jesus was the closest I would ever come to having any kind of personal relationship with Brenda. Although we were always close we were worlds apart. She and her family were TBM and ward leaders. My family were less than fully active and laid back in regards to church, never holding high callings. Her family was educated with her mom LaRae having been to university and her dad Jim holding a doctorate and a job as a research scientist. My family was blue caller lumberjacks, farmers, ranchers and warehouse managers. In short, her family was adored and mine was ignored when it came to matters Mormon. If there was such a thing as Mormon royalty on a ward basis then she would be its princess and she was out of my league.
They were fine people with her mom looking the part of the quintessential matronly Relief Society President and her dad having the perpetual smile and easy going personality of a used car salesman. Her dad became the Bishop when we were in High School and it was his job to call me in for an interview when I turned 18 to ask about my plans to go on a mission.
I told him I didn’t have any plans to go on a mission because I hadn’t made plans or prepared to go. He didn’t seem surprised and didn’t use pressure to try to get me to reconsider. He just wished me well and said that if I changed my mind to let him know and he would arrange it. We chatted for a bit and shook hands and I left his office knowing that I had sealed my fate in regards to prospects with any TBM girls, including his daughters.
Brenda’s life was headed on a trajectory that everyone expected of her. She won beauty contests, earned her degree and launched a successful career in broadcasting becoming the anchor of a news program. While at BYU she even found herself a husband.
He had all the credentials. Return missionary, ultraTBM and prominent mormon family with several members who were professionals, and more importantly held positions in the church. She had a worthy priesthood holder who could take her to the temple where she could make covenants with God and her husband and seal her prospective family together forever.
I imagine that in the temple her parents (particularly her dad Jim who’s emotions were always close to the surface) shed tears and ‘beamed with pride’ as she made covenants to obey God and her husband and sealed the oath by acting out the slitting of her throat. All those in attendance would have rejoiced at the moment. It would have been a particularly joyous moment for Jim and LaRae to witness their second -oldest and first-married daughter set a worthy example for the rest of their family to follow.
Her husband disapproved of her pursuit of a career in broadcasting and insisted that she fulfill her calling at home. She gave up her job as anchor and immediately started a family having a baby girl.
Looking back it seems ironic that I assumed that because of my background I was automatically disqualified from pursuing someone like Brenda. It is even more ironic that I went on to marry someone who was just as TBM as she was and had a similar background. It is ironic that I went on to become an active member and held many positions in the church including 5 years in the bishopric. It is ironic that I eventually had six children who were all raised in the church, three of whom served missions.
It is even more ironic that after such a promising start, Brenda’s life did not go so well. In fact while I was in the bishopric the Bishop asked me fill in for missing speakers one Sunday and give an impromptu talk on ‘Why Bad Things Happen to Good People’. I used Brenda’s life as an example of how terrible things can happen to people who lead exemplary lives. And how such things can be perpetrated even by church members themselves. Sometimes even by those who have held leadership positions.
At the end of my talk I spoke her name, Brenda Wright Lafferty, just to see if there was any recognition. With about a 125 people in the chapel, most of them long time members, there was not a single flicker of recognition registered. I despaired that not only had her life been taken in the most horrific way imaginable, but that nothing would be learned from the experience.
A few days later I learned of the release of John Krakauer’s book “Under the Banner of Heaven: The Story of a Violent Faith”. Now everyone knows her. I will forever be indebted to him for telling her story and forcing them to remember her and understand what happened on that day.
Remembering Brenda Wright Lafferty on the anniversary of her murder and the murder of her daughter Erica on July 24, 1984.
| But first, some things to think about, or stew over, depending on your boiling point.
How many people post here on RfM regularly, repeatedly, voicing their frustration, bitterness, and vexation over the horrible situation they find themselves in as a result of enlightenment, and yet refuse to make changes, no matter how awful the situation at home is, no matter how bent over backward and twisted up inside they must become? Recently, I'd say it was A LOT.
I have deep, profound sympathy for everyone who, figuratively speaking, wakes up one day realizing that they are in the middle of a mess. If you have discovered that you no longer believe what the Mormons believe, and you are married to someone who is still TBM, fully intends to stay that way, and demands that you allow the kids, the dog, the cat, and the backyard flowers to stay that way, then this is where you're at: you're stuck in an unpleasant place I haven't seen since I was twenty-two – the inside of a closet. Here's where you, the married-with-children-heterosexual enlightened-and-no-longer-believing Mormon might be able to take a lesson from the life of an out of the closet, out of the cult gay man. Cr@ig P@xton, Ticked, substrate, and everyone else whose feet are still mired in that sludge, I'm here, and you're still there, and with as much respect and sympathy as I can give to you as fellow humans, this is for you. I just can't keep it to myself anymore...
You think you are the only one in the entire world who feels the way you do. PLEASE BELIEVE ME: you aren't. You aren't the first, and unfortunately, you aren't the last.
You think you're now a pariah, unloveable and undeserving of love. PLEASE BELIEVE ME: you aren't. You have NEVER been unworthy of love from another human being.
You fear that if you act on what you know that terrible, horrible things will happen to you. OK, the truth is maybe they will, in the short term. But all your life you've been trained to be either motivated or paralyzed by fear, thanks to the Mormons. Do you really want to spend the rest of your life continuing that path?
You fear that if you act on what you know that you will be alone and lonely for the rest of your life, and then die that way. PLEASE BELIEVE ME: you won't, unless that's the way you want it.
These four things are what every gay person in the world grows up thinking at one time or another. Welcome to my world at the age of twenty. Here is what I have to tell you: Do not believe those things. They are lies. NO ONE – NO ONE! – EVER NEEDS TO LIVE THEIR LIFE FEELING THAT WAY.
I've wondered what kind of thoughts are going through your heads as, for years and decades, you kowtow to your spouses' and families' Mormo-fascist demands and knowingly send your innocent children into the belly of the beast...do you imagine any good is coming from this? And yet you continue to act as if the Mormon church is the greatest force in the universe and you are completely powerless to act against it – even to the point of delivering yourselves into the nightmares of mental illness, depression, low self-esteem, loss of identity, destruction of relationships, physical abuse, mental abuse, emotional abuse, bitterness, or worse. You name it, you are going there with a full head of steam.
And what has it bought you? Peace? Contentment? Happiness? No, not really, in fact, not at all: otherwise I wouldn't be reading what I've been reading on RfM these past few days, months, years.What you've been doing is practicing appeasement. What you've bought is what Neville Chamberlain bought from Adolph Hitler in 1938: a whole boatload of nothing. You've been treating with Evil and deluding yourself into thinking that you're negotiating for goodness.
Many post here that you yourselves and your children are on this medication and that medication, as if a pill is going to solve a problem as complex as you've created for yourselves. Can a pill fix an intelligent child watching, frustrated, as his/her parents fuck up everybody's lives over a cult? Can a pill solve a problem – any problem? Can a pill do anything but make you not feel that horrible sinking twisting sensation in the pit of your stomach as you turn yourself into a Gordian Knot of internalized pain? Do you ever stop and think that your child knows instinctively that there is a problem here, and is reacting the only way s/he can, only to be rewarded with a dose of Ritalin or whatever every day? A child will act out ballistically when presented with these kind of bizarre, illogical challenges we as adults construct for them, because that is the only way they can react. Do you honestly believe that you are fooling anybody but yourselves, all the while pretending that everything is "OK" and hoping your kids will turn out "normal" in the end? Do you ever stop to think that a significant percentage of you and your children could be healthy and happy and prescription drug-free if you would stop trying so desperately to live that lie of deluded appeasement?
I have some big news for you: Unless they are complete blithering idiots, your kids have you and your appeasement policy all figured out in many more ways than you think, and in the only way their subconscious knows how they are trying to tell you there is something deadly wrong going on here. The real joke here, the total irony here, is that YOU'RE so busy trying to stay on your own treadmill of Acquiescence to Cult Rule for THEM that YOU don't even know how much THEY really see. You're not fooling them. Not at all. They know something is fishy in Denmark, even if they can't identify it just yet. And trust me, you're fucking up your kids' lives as well as your own by not giving fealty to your own integrity and standing up to that cult. You're teaching them that NO MATTER WHAT, there is only one way to do things – The Mormon Way. You're teaching them that to compromise their personal integrity is perfectly acceptable – even desirable. You're teaching them that it's OK to subvert their own unique identities toa bland, useless, illogical, insensitive, greedy, corrupt corporation...and that, my friends, is sick.
Is that what you really want? Do you really care about your own or your children's well-being? Because if you did, wouldn't you use any excuse to move your family out of Utah just so you could get a divorce in a non-Mormon, unsympathetic state and be able to maintain visiting rights or custody of your children? Why wouldn't you do anything within your power to fight against cult indoctrination of their immature minds? Why wouldn't you stand up and fight back against fascist TBM families with every resource at your fingertips? Why wouldn't you find ways of forming coalitions with others in your situation and use the strength generated by numbers? Why don't you take advantage of the resources available to you? You have the internet – use it! People move across the country all the time – pack up your home and your family and find a less Mormon place to live! People change jobs and careers all the time – use the internet, the telephone, whatever, and do it if you need to! Utah is the bastion and stronghold of theMormon cult: a One-Way Rabbit-Hole to Nowheresville – get the hell out of there if the divorce court is against you! Everywhere else in the world the Mormon cult is considered a powerless freak-show – go anywhere else! There are SIX BILLION people in the world: if you have to give up your whole family for the sake of your sanity – you can make a whole new family!
But you don't. You're trying to sugar-coat your slippery slide into a bitter, insensate, wrapped-in-cotton, self-created oblivion by justifying your inaction; by describing it as "staying together for the children." Or "my family would never speak to me again." Or "I'll lose everything I've worked for." Or "I'll lose everything I have." Or "I'll be disinherited." Or "I don't want to kill my father/mother." Or some other equally-as-lame excuse. Gentlemen, isn't the real truth that you WANT your balls in that vise? Ladies, isn't the real truth that you WANT your tit in that wringer? I know all those excuses. I've been through it. I've used them on myself. You are no more self-deluded than I was: at least you haven't wasted any time trying to convince yourself that you aren't gay in addition to trying to convince yourself that you can fake being a believer for those around you. You cannot possibly supply a reason compelling enough to convince me that you are accomplishing anything constructive by staying where you're at for ten, twenty, thirty years. Twenty-six years ago, there was NO thing and NO one in my twenty-two year old life that was worth numbing my mind permanently with antidepressants over, or going insane over, or shooting myself in the head over. And there still isn't. Is any amount of appeasement worth the compromises you're making? Is any relationship worth the price you're paying? Is any amount of money worth what you are suffering?
Here is a simple truth: sometimes, to get where you really want to go, you have to give up almost everything. Sometimes you have to give up absolutely everything. I've done that. I've done it more than once. I'm doing it right now, as a matter of fact. Sometimes tough, painful decisions have to be made, using the strength of one's own integrity – or what's left of it – to support them. Otherwise, you CAN NOT get here from there.
Here is the terrible tragedy of what you are doing by not completing your journey to freedom. Consider the following terms: Spirit. Intuition. Instinct. You don't really know these words, not if you grew up Mormon. These words have far deeper meanings than any so-called true blue Mormon could possibly teach you about. The last time you felt the truest, most profound emanations of these entities was probably when you were about three, or five, or maybe if you were extra-special sensitive, then seven or eight. Ever since then, you have been very carefully trained to completely and utterly ignore these things. That is how you got into the sticky mess you're in today: Mormons trained you long ago to stop listening to your true inner self and let them tell you what to do. These entities, in a last-ditch effort to save you, have somehow already managed to connect to your conscious self by finally breaking through the wall your Mormon indoctrination built against them, and screaming at you so loud you finally heardthem through all that Celestial Mormon White Noise. They are what got you to this point. From here, you can ignore them again, but it is at your own peril; remember that by continuing to refuse to act, what you are doing is choosing to help the Mormon cult in it's goal to kill off these entities within yourself. Why would you want to limit yourself to only one degree of life, when you could have all three hundred and sixty degrees?
Is the problem that you don't want to make that tough decision to damn the torpedoes and go full steam ahead into a new, honest, peaceful, integrity-filled, out-of-the-closet, I-don't-care-what-the-fuck-you-think existence? Or, as I'd like to think: are you close, but you're not ready to make that decision YET?
Please realize that all you need to be able to make that decision is to give yourself the permission to do so. I guarantee you that when you do, you will see your life begin to smooth out and sail right. You no longer will feel as if the weight of the entire world is bearing down on you. All those things you've heard about your heart being lifted and your soul being unburdened will actually begin to happen to you. You will, to take back and correct a Christian metaphor, feel like you've been born again. You'll feel like you've gained a new life to live. I hope for your own sakes that you don't wait too long...because if you do, you'll start thinking the only alternative to the way you've become is a bullet in your head. And that, my friends, is no alternative at all.
So how do you go about untying this Gordian Knot you've gotten yourself all bound up in? It's simple: try the Alexandrian Solution. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordian_Knot
Best wishes, and the best of luck. I'm rooting for YOU.
p.s.: If I'm being an impatient, insensitive jerk, please spell that one out for me...thanks.
| I am currently reading the Kessenger reprint of William Linn's "The Story of the Mormons: From the Date of Their Origin to the Year 1901."
The title is a bit cumbersome, but the book is pretty good.
Every time I read about the early "Apostles," I start to laugh. A bigger collection of dopes, tooth suckers, frauds and scoundrels you would not find.
I marvel at their ignorance and stupidity. Most of them would not have made it had they not attached themselves to Joseph Smith and his weird religious movement.
Reptiles like Heber C. Kimball, Parley Pratt, J.M Grant, Wilford Woodruff and Brigham Young all owed their "status" to the church. No other organization would have taken them seriously--then, or now.
They were, in many cases, barely literate; but it never stopped them from pontificating on scriptures, the nature of God, the "marriage of Jesus," and life in "Book of Mormon" America. They always had something to say, and you could count on it being stupid. Its still there, preserved in the demented "Journal of Discourses." What a testament to Mormon history that sorry collecton of books is.
On a darker note, some of them were, basically, evil, and ready to kill anyone who did not meet their expectations. George Albert Smith and Jedidiah Grant did a great deal to bring about "blood atonement." And Brigham Young did not mind.
Parley Pratt was killed after stealing another man's wife, and Orson Pratt left a young wife of his to die after she ran out of her cabin in a snowstorm. He could not have cared less. He had to be begged to visit her grave, or show any feeling at all.
These were not righteous men. They were thugs, opportunists, liars, frauds, and mountebanks. And that on their good days.
People followed these scoundrels out of fear. Nothing else would have gained them any real respect. They were like the leaders in any other thugocracy. They ruled by fear, deserved no respect, and should have been thrown in prison.
| You'll find as you go through life that there are few world views more provincial, self serving and narcicistic than Mormonism.
I asked this question often in church when I was still TBM. "So are you saying that only Mormons have access to the promptings of the holy ghost?" (basically that's what JS claimed, that what made Mormons different from others is that we had the holy ghost.) "So you're saying that concientious people who've improved the world we live in through their humanity, like Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandella, Ghandi, Luther, MLK, Ellie Weisel, none of them had access to the holy ghost because they weren't Mormon? Give me a break!"
I've had many such experiences. One time I was on a business trip in Ft. Worth Texas. I decided to stop by the Kimball Museum because it was designed by one of my architectural hero's, who's work I'd never seen in person, Lois Kahn. There was an exhibit of one of my other hero's there, Leonardo daVinci. There was going to be a performance in the auditorium by the Texas Boys Choir and I decided to attend. They were performing Renaissance music, writtten by a boy who's voice was so beautiful that he was kidnapped by a neighboring town to sing in their choir. The music was so pure, the architecture so beautiful, the accoustics of that space so perfect, all combined with angelic voices of the young boys, I sat there I was moved to tears by that experience, all alone in the middle of the auditorium. It was really one of the most beautiful experiences I've ever had and one I'll always cherish. It was one of those moments where I knew I was fully alive and gratefull for that realization of how wonderful life can bewhen one stops to really pay attention.
Having such a deeply spiritual experience that had nothing to do with religion, was one of the things that made me realize that I was paying far too much for spiritual experiences, that were not nearly as profoundly beautiful.
I've found the more I simplify my life the happier I am.
I have a sister, who by all outward appearances is fabulously successfull. Has her own business out of her fabulous, resort like island home, raises her wonder child, while her studly husband runs his fabulous succesful business, they've got all the toys your heart could desire, just did a custom $100,000 remodel on their kitchen, have the ultimate party house with a killer view, fabulous cars, surrounded by friends and miserable as hell.
I've never seen anybody as sad as my sister unfortunately. They rarely sleep. He's rarely home and when he is they treat each other like shit.
I wouldn't trade them places for the world, even though they're much more successful by all outward, material appearances, they're really miserable if you spend much time with them and see their defenses down. I end up being her marriage counselor until the wee hours of the morning and advising her to go get some counseling and learn to deal with her resentment more appropriately, for the sake of their child, if not for themselves and the sake of their marriage.
Life's too short to be chasing the allmighty dollar and shit on the people who love you the most because you're too damned busy amassing your fortune, which all vanishes the second you die of a heart attack from all the stress, alone, having managed to alienate yourself from your loved ones.
My daughter tells me that my TBM MIL plays MoTab songs in her car all the time when she's in the car because she wants her grandchildren to hear the songs that she wants played at her funeral. (despite the fact that none of her grandchildren are Mormon.)
When we left the church and MIL finally faced the reality that we were actually gone for good she told DW, "Well, I guess I'll just have to get my (evil) DIL to dress me in my temple clothes since you'll be unworthy."
DW said, "Good! I wouldn't want to do that even if I were still Mormon. Who wants to dress their parents dead body in a rediculous costume when they're grieving their parents loss? That's just sick!"
MIL says, "Well, it's just a very spiritual experience if you've never done it before."
DW says, "Not for me it wouldn't be! It'd be like a horror movie for me! And I never will experience that!"
I get the feeling that TBM widow MIL is just killing time here until "her time" when she gets to go live in Pairo'dice with her eternal companion. She's in massive denial since her "eternal companion" admitted on his death bed that he didn't really believe in Mormonism and only pretended like he did to appease her, since he knew she'd divorce him if he admitted it.
People are too GD busy dying to really live this life, which is why they have to numb themselves to reality, instead of really experiencing it.
No wonder religion has been aptly termed "the opiate of the masses".
Religious faith is no different than crack and just as addictive and abusive.
| I heard it constantly--"the gospel is simple," or "the simplicity of the gospel," or, my favorite, "the gospel in all its simpleness."
That "simple gospel" could "transform the world," or "change the world."
But Mormonism is not simple. Its a Rube Goldberg affair, and too complex for any "simple" explanation.
Look at the "pre-existence," where God had to deal with a "war in heaven." His two sons were at odds, and one had to be thrown out on his ass. He took "one- third of the host of heaven" with him. The other son was sacrificed, to atone for all the world's sins.
But then we learn that the atonement did not cover everything, and "blood atonement" became necessary. How does that work? You are covered for your sins, but if the sins are too severe, you must, if the gospel is being practiced in "its fullness," have your throat cut. Very appealing, that thought.
Then there is the "plan of salvation." We come here as spirits, and get bodies. Our memories are taken in a "veil of forgetfulness." Only a few are born into the "everlasting covenant." The rest have to hope the missionaries are not too tired or, in these days, too hungry to find them. That food allowance is too low.
Of course, many can be given the chance to join the church after they die--in "the spirit world." Others can have their baptism done "by proxy" by those who are living, and go to the temple. Huh? This is simple?
And then there are the three Swedenborg "degrees of glory," with various "levels" in each degree, or "kingdom."
If you reach the top, you will have polygamy to practice, and children to, er, make. You will be "a god" and have a physical body. But you will have "spirit children." How does that work?
The different parts of the gospel have been given out in various "dispensations." I gather we are in "the last dispensation of the fullness of times." That is both good, and bad. Its good because we have the "full gospel," but bad because we are going to be destroyed if we stray, or don't pay our tithing. If you pay your tithing, you will not be burned.
We have the "fullness of the gospel," but we can't practice that wonderful "blood atonement," because some people connected with the law think it smacks of murder. And we can't practice polygamy anymore. So how do we have "the fullness of the gospel?" How do you keep up with all of this?
My hell, where is that "simple" gospel we heard so much about? It is about as unwieldy, complex, and inane as anything I have ever seen. Did God really come up with all of this?
I am sure I got parts of this wrong. No-one really understands how the whole mouse trap works. Its too complicated. Oh, that it were simple.
| Somewhere between the truth and a lie, there is "spin." We hear about politicians spinning bad news in their favor. We see journalists and pundits spin news stories to reflect a certain point of view. It’s commonplace and we’ve come to expect it from these people. But what most of us, who have discovered the truth behind Mormonism just weren’t prepared for, was discovering that the Mormon Church is also a master at spinning the truth..
Church Authorities have taken church history, filtered it through their biases, and taught this new and improved church history not as it actually happened but rather how they wish it had happened. The rationale behind this “Wishful History” was that the raw truth just wasn’t faith promoting enough.
The church has sold its soul on this conclusion; that it isn’t really lying… it’s just putting it’s bias, it’s spin on how these historical events should have happened… and besides that, would anybody really want to join the church if the church were honest and told the raw truth? After all the church does make bad men good and good men better right? So don't these end results justify the spinning of the truth? So what's wrong with that?
Here’s what’s wrong. The Mormon Church hold’s itself up as “The” one true church on the face of the earth…the only church that God is pleased with…the only means by which we humans can return to live with God. The Church claims to be the moral authority for the entire earth.
One of the most difficult aspects of my discovery of the unspun history of the church was having to conclude that my moral ethical church, was immoral and unethical. It was the realization that the church placed a greater value on control, manipulation and self preservation than on being honest and truthful.
The ends DO NOT justify this unethical communication with its membership…and it is because of this reality that I have concluded that the Mormon Church is morally bankrupt despite it claims to the contrary.
At one time in my life I would have given my life for this church.
The Mormon church taught me that I should be truthful and honest in all my dealings with my fellow man. Yet the Spinning done by the church, is like any other kind of dishonesty, it is wrong. It makes good old fashioned lying sound clever and trendy and it sends a mixed message to the enlightened member that lying is ok…when it is done for the Lord.
By accepting this ethical gray areas as "normal" the Mormon church is asking for trouble. Honesty is always the best policy. When a Church member is taught a lesson at church they have the reasonalbe expectation that they are being taught the truth and not spin. An orderly society needs to operate on the premise of truth and honesty. Without some standard of truth, people will tend to satisfy their own interests, desires, and feelings. Who wants to live in a world where everyone sets their own behavioral standards? Yet this is exactly the world of Mormonism.
Each of us have a universal expectation that people tell the truth.. Fortunately, we don't have to worry about getting ripped off every time we buy something. We can generally trust that when we shake hands on a deal, the other person is being straightforward with us. Of course, wisdom and good judgment still mandate a healthy amount of caution, but you can go through life with a fair amount of trust in your fellow man.
But by Spinning its history the Mormon church has thrown its moral authority out the window. Through accepting that a little spin is justified, it has sacrificed it’s precariously balanced moral trust and thrown it out of whack.
The urge to spin the truth has worked its way very subtly into the very fabric of Mormonism. The truth is no longer valued…it’s value is now placed in its new and improved faith promoting stories…that are loosly based on the truth or complete fabrications of how they wish things would have happened. It started with Joseph Smith when he stretched the facts or just plain out and out lied about his experiences. He was quick to rationalize and weasel out of jams with his spinning and lies. He became a master at shifting responsibility or leaving out undesirable facts. Before we knew it, spin becomes a regular part of Mormonisms communication practice with others.
Ethical communication is not only about what IS said, but what is NOT said. Rule #1 in spinning is to only tell people what they need to know. The LDS Church is a master at this. Some very important parts of the truth always seem to get conveniently left out when telling their foundational stories. Withholding information has become so easy to do without guilt or effort because all it requires them to do is to do nothing. No fibbing, no stories, no sweat, just a closed lip and the hope that no one reads between the lines.
But make no mistake, lies by omission are still lies and are still wrong. The church fell to the temptation and left out undesirable details that would hinder the conversion of some prospective investigator. They feel their spin and lies are justified.
The moral of this story: Let the words that come out of our mouths be honest and devoid of spin. There should be no higher compliment than to have other people say that they can, "count on you for the truth." You will be believable, trusted, and respected. Ethical communication is an obligation. People expect it from you. In the world of Mormonism, where the spin-doctors operate, keep ourselves in good ethical health. Now that IS a lesson we can learn from our Mormon Experience
In the spirit of honesty and ethics, this post was heavily adopted/altered from an original article written by Mark S. Putnam , Ethical Communications: Spinning the Truth.
| Every week my Catholic grandmother drives 20 miles to the next county in order to go to Saturday mass with her sister. Both are elderly widows, and the routine has been ongoing for over twenty years. I think their little tradition is really sweet, and it means a lot to them. Whenever I go to visit I go along with them because it’s such an important part of their lives and I like to be a part of it, even if it is only once or twice every few years.
Of course if they were mormon this wouldn’t be allowed. As a missionary I spent almost a year in our mission office. One of the other elders was responsible for transmitting all the baptismal data to SLC every week. One of the things he told me was that the church has the whole world mapped out, and every inch of it is in one ward or another. When we needed maps of every unit in the mission Salt Lake was more than happy to oblige.
As mormons we were assigned a ward and we had to go to it. No excuses no exceptions. Indeed if we had dared to attend somewhere else we would have been barred from holding any callings. So why when most churches allow parishioners to choose their congregation are the mormons different? Why don’t they allow you to choose?
Well, what if you want to attend a different ward, not for social or familial reasons, but because the new bishop is really cool? Or there’s a great sunday school teacher? The fact is that different church leaders tend to have slightly different views and pet topics.
When I lived in UT I had an Institute teacher who’d been a Presbyterian minister for 30 years. Unsurprisingly he taught from the bible more than any other book. If mormons could choose which congregations to attend there would be movement according to belief. Where there was a socially liberal bishop, socially liberal members would follow, and where there was a hardcore über TBM bishop, the über TBMs would follow.
Over time congregations with a distinct take on doctrine would develop just as they have within Anglicanism for example, with its’ high church/low church split. Such a move would deal a fatal blow to the last 30 years of top down correlation of materials and teachings. There are different and distinct brands of mormonism, the mormonism of Spencer W. Kimball and the mormonism of Hugh B. Brown are different. Congregations of brand adherents would start to campaign for their beliefs to hold overall ascendancy within the hierarchy.
Wards would become more vibrant and the members more passionate, but the church would cease to be homogeneous and cease to speak as one with the same cultish manner that they do now, and there could rise a congregational style movement. The brethren realise this would lead to democratisation and a loss of power and control. Instead of General Conference there would be a General Synod.
What seems like a small and innocuous little rule buried within the Church Handbook belies the the controlling nature of the church. It exposes their authoritarian tendencies and desire to protect members from themselves. The limitations of freedom to associate within the group may seem innocuous, but in reality it is a key indicator of some of the cultish and controlling practices of the LDS Church.
| I think we all come across things where we would say "Even when i was TBM this would/did set my BS meter going" but when i read this it sent me apoplectic (adj. Extremely angry; furious).
Forgive me if this has been posted but a quick search didn't find it and i need to vent because for me this goes to the absolute core of what i have come to detest about the church.
This is a recent article in the Deseret News about a guy called William "Bert" Wilson who is apparently a retired professor and has been doing some seminars for the faithful based on what he calls "Folklore" but which could be characterised as "Urban Legends" or "Myths" or as i like to terms them - "Lies" and even "Bullshit".
Lets take a look at some of his 'folklore'. http://deseretnews.com/article/1,5143...
"""Two missionaries who are spreading the gospel in an area hostile to Mormons find a house in which to spend the night. Before long, a mob carrying lanterns and pitchforks shows up, marches the elders to a wooded area and puts nooses around their necks.
This guy makes FARMS look open minded. Shall i run that quote again? Even though the stories may not be historically accurate, they are true in the sense that they describe the values and beliefs of LDS culture.
Just as the mob is ready to string up the missionaries, the lanterns mysteriously go out. The missionaries throw off the nooses and hide in the forest.
Despite almost stepping on them, the mob members do not find them and the missionaries survive to carry on their work.
Then Wilson tells a modern version of the same story. Two missionaries are going door-to-door in a bad neighborhood when gang members with knives and chains accost them.
The elders jump in their car to escape, but the car won't start. They say a quick prayer as the gang members close in, and then they're able to start the car.
After they get away, the missionaries look under the hood to see if they can figure out why the car wouldn't start. To their surprise, they find the car's battery is missing.
Even though the stories may not be historically accurate, they are true in the sense that they describe the values and beliefs of LDS culture, said Wilson, a professor emeritus from Utah State and Brigham Young universities who specializes in folklore.
Speaking recently to an estimated 800 people at the Logan LDS Tabernacle, Wilson said such folktales affirm beliefs that people doing the Lord's work receive divine protection."""
Even though these things never happened at all and have no basis in reality, they are true. True how? In the sense that they describe beliefs and values we want to promote. Specifically? That people doing the Lord's work receive divine protection. They do? How do we know that? Because remember that story about those 2 missionaries who drove with no car battery....
It's circular logic!!!! Or to put it another way """It's a rhetorical strategy designed to persuade the audience to accept a certain point of view or to follow a certain course of action," Wilson said.""" A rhetorical strategy??? Its propoganda!!!!
Instead of the folklore how about the 2 sister missionaries shot, robbed and raped in SA last year? Or who knows how many missionaries (i think we are up to about 20) killed in accidents and assaults over the last few years? What can their experiences teach us about the protection given to the lord's servants? When we balance 'folklore' with 'reality' where do you think the 'truth' is to be found?
Think you can stomache another example? Try this one...
"""In another tale, a husband and wife leave their 4-year-old daughter with a baby sitter while they are being baptized for the dead at a temple. (Latter-day Saints perform vicarious baptisms for the dead in their temples with the belief that such ordinances are required for exaltation in heaven after death.)
It 'testifies to the valdity of temple ordinances??? How does it do that??? By making up a total lie.
The wife has a bad feeling, and she and her husband rush home to find an ambulance and police car in their driveway. The crying baby sitter tells them their daughter disappeared and her doll was found next to a nearby stream. But the mother notices wet footprints on the stairs, follows them to the girl's bedroom and finds the child asleep in a closet.
The girl says she was pulled from the stream by an elderly lady dressed in white who gave her a note with her name on it. The name on the note is the name of a dead woman for whom her mother had performed a proxy baptism.
Wilson said the story not only fortifies the belief that the Lord will protect the righteous, but it also emphasizes the LDS belief in strong families and inspires members to perform genealogical research.
"It encourages them to persist in the search for their ancestral roots," Wilson said. "It testifies to the validity of temple ordinances. It suggests God is a caring God who will assist them in a time of need." """
People like this could find out that Joseph saw nothing in the grove but that doesn't matter. Even though the first vision is not historically accurate its used as a rhetorical device that is useful in getting people to believe certain things and behave in a certain way, and as such it is 'true'.
Am in a rough part of town, pretty sure i can score some valium and have a lie down, will be fine in no time.
| The label "atheist" is a straw man. It is not a class, but a non-class. The ONLY (and I truly do mean ONLY) characteristic of atheists is that they are not in the class of theists (believers in a god or gods). There is NOTHING you can truthfully say that applies to all atheists except: atheists lack a belief in any god or gods.
Anything beyond that belongs to the straw man that theists have set up to allow them to say bad things about atheists, such as:
It is not a question of religion. It is a question of logic. Atheists are a non-class, just like other non-classes, about which you cannot postulate anything except their non-membership in the class. For any class, there is its non-class. Consider:
- Atheists have no reason to be moral.
- Atheists hate God.
- Atheists are afraid of death.
- Atheists don't believe in life after death.
- Atheists are selfish.
- Atheists cannot appreciate the "higher" ("spiritual") things.
- Atheists are miserable because they have nothing to believe in.
- Atheists' belief that there is no god is simply an act of faith.
- Atheists make a voluntary choice NOT to believe.
- Etc. etc.
Hindus - anyone who is not a Hindu is a non-Hindu. What do all non-Hindus have in common? What can you say about them? Nothing beyond the fact that they are not Hindus.
Friends of Jack Green - the members of the non-class (people who are NOT friends of Jack Green) have nothing in common, not even the reasons why they do not belong to the class. Some may know Jack, but not well enough to be his "friend." Some may know him and hate his guts. Most non-class-members may not even know that Jack exists.
Any generalization about atheists (beyond the statement that they lack a belief in a god or gods) is therefore faulty. There are all kinds of atheists, and all kinds of reasons for their non-belief. Some may not even have thought about the question. Some may want to assert positively that there is no god. Some may be unsure, but have not seen enough convincing evidence on which to base a belief in god (these atheists often call themselves "agnostics"). For whatever reason, these people are not in the class "theists." They are a-theists (the 'a-' being the Greek negative prefix, meaning 'non-' or 'without' ).
Since there is no all-encompassing creed for atheists, and no organizational authority to which all (or even many) atheists subscribe, no atheist can be held responsible for the statements or acts of any other atheist, any more than any non-Hindu can be held responsible for the acts of any other non-Hindu.
The atheist is under no obligation (moral or rational) to prove anything to anybody, unless he makes a positive assertion about the existence of gods. It is the theist - asserting that God exists - who is morally bound to back up the assertion. The atheist, of course, is generally accused of being nasty and belligerent when he simply says, "Prove it! Prove it and I will believe in God."
If theists (including theists on this board) feel that some atheists are "raking them over the coals" or "pushing their atheist agenda" then I suggest that they confront the specific atheists who are doing that. Personally, I only start talking atheism when I am confronted with theistic nonsense and irrationality by theists who are trying to convince me that yes, there is a god, and unless I believe, I am going to their hell.
I am actually glad that so many people are believers in a god who will punish wrongdoing, because those believers usually tell me that if it weren't for their belief in a god of judgment, they would be kicking the dog, knocking over convenience stores, getting drunk every night, and trying to seduce my wife. I thank God (figuratively speaking) for their devout belief, because it obviously (by their own admission) protects the rest of us.
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