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  EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26
Total Articles: 61
A very large selection of posts made by those in recovery from Mormonism. Culled from throughout the Ex-Mormon Communities.
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My Place In Mormon History
Thursday, Mar 31, 2011, at 07:56 AM
Original Author(s): Chanson
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
A lot of people – upon leaving the CoJCoL-dS – are amazed to discover how fascinating LDS church history really is. It’s not just that the whitewashed history in Sunday School is incomplete and inaccurate. It’s that you’re force-fed this watery-porridge version of church history that inoculates many people from even wanting to study more church history on their own. So when the leaders say, “Don’t go out and read a bunch of (non-or-marginally approved) books about church history!” one very natural response is “No problem!” Until you disobey that commandment and see how interesting those books can be, that is.

One such book I read recently is Todd Compton’s In Sacred Loneliness, a relatively faith-friendly series of short biographies of the plural wives of Joseph Smith. This book gives a good overview of what it was like to be a member of Joseph Smith’s inner circle. The thirty women profiled run the gamut from LDS leaders to people who kind of lost interest and wandered off, from women who embraced polygamy (going on to join another leader’s harem) to women who had close relationships with their pre/post-JS husbands, from women who died in the thick of the story to women who lived long enough to see the CoJCoLd-S give up polygamy.

Part of my motivation for buying this book was to learn more about Nancy Maria Winchester – my personal church-history connection – to help find my place in the grand Mormon adventure. There’s kind of a “pioneer day” sentiment of “Wouldn’t it have been exciting to have been there when all of these miracles were happening, and to have known Joseph Smith?”

Yet, reading the book made me feel almost more of an outsider than before. I was continually struck by the feeling that I would never have joined this organization. I would never even have considered it. Then I tell myself: It was the ‘Great Awakening’! This was an exciting new trend! They had a prophet who was presenting popular, modern ideas as revelations from God, improving on that dusty old Bible! Yet, I still feel like it’s not a trend that would have appealed to me. Perversely, I can’t imagine my Uber-Mormon mom converting to a wild new religion, either. But my Dad? Maybe…

But then I ask myself if that would have been enough to have gotten my family [fictionally transported more than a century into the past] involved in the grand Mormon adventure. Certainly there were cases where a woman was brought into the Mormon adventure more-or-less against her will by a husband or father (like Martin Harris’ wife Lucy, or Helen Mar Kimball’s first polygamous marriage). Yet, this book also has tales of women who converted whole-heartedly to Mormonism – and brought unwilling or half-willing husbands along for the ride. Overall, the book showcases a number of tales of women’s independence and autonomy. It illustrates the strange connection between polygamy and feminism. At a time when women essentially had the same legal status as children (with respect to their father or husband), the central matriarchs of early Utah society were functionally single moms. Their husbands were more like patrons “with privileges”. Of course the women relied on a great deal of material support from their brothers and other male relatives when their absentee (deadbeat?) shared patriarch “husbands” didn’t come through.

One other striking thing about the book is all of the death: specifically how many mothers lost many or all of their babies and children. This isn’t a specifically Mormon point, BTW. If you can find a collection of bios of ordinary women of centuries past, you’ll find a collection of tales of babies and children dying. Really – despite the trek west – the pioneers of the American frontier had a better survival rate than families in many countries of Europe that didn’t have plentiful farmland to invade.

One line in the book jumped out at me about how we can hardly imagine what it would be like to experience so much loss. That’s true, but it’s because we’re the strange ones. We modern people in wealthy countries have managed to separate ourselves so completely from the daily experience of death that we can hardly comprehend what it was like for ordinary parents and spouses for most of human history. Rather than having more children than you can effectively handle – and then watching many of them die – you can typically choose to have no more kids than you think you can raise well, and more importantly, you can expect that you will most likely see them all live to adulthood. As I’ve said before, this is the number one thing I appreciate about living here and now, over all other modern advances. And it’s a point to keep in mind when trying to understand the experiences of people in earlier eras.

Todd Compton’s In Sacred Loneliness is an excellent starting point for an adventure exploring your Mormon heritage!

http://latterdaymainstreet.com/2011/0...
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Why I Have Left The Mormon Church
Monday, Apr 4, 2011, at 07:54 AM
Original Author(s): Terry Brown
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
I am the bishop that Simon Southerton, (author of ‘Losing a Lost Tribe’ on the Book of Mormon DNA issues) was referring to in his exit story. Simon was the first person I contacted nearly three years ago when I found out for myself that the Mormon Church is a fraud. I’d like to thank him and his wife for their support since our exit from the church. I now need to share my story. [Story posted at exmormon.org April 3, 2011]

When I was introduced to Mormonism in England in 1963 I was taught the gospel by two young missionaries, who over a period of time presented a number of discussions outlining the story of Joseph Smith – his ‘first vision’; the coming forth of the Book of Mormon; the restoration of the priesthood and other ‘keys’. It all made sense and fit together perfectly, as far as I could see. And what sealed it for me was that if I prayed about it I would receive an answer for myself by the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I followed this direction and I did indeed, as far as I was concerned, receive the witness. Over time I learned more. Eventually I married in the temple, had four sons who were brought up in the church, who served missions and they too married in the temple, as all good Mormons do.

I served in a variety of callings over the years, including Branch President when I was only 25, later a Bishop for six years. I was a counsellor to five different bishops and served on a couple of high councils. We as a family had the usual store of ups and downs, trials and tribulations as we liked to call them, and although I had over time become somewhat cynical of some of the church leadership, I had managed to let that go and still maintain my faith. I had always adhered to the counsel of church leaders to ‘follow the brethren’ (they will never lead you astray), read the Book of Mormon and other standard works, church-authorised publications and magazines – (don’t look at anti-Mormon material as it is false and will only allow Satan into your life and destroy your testimony).

We went through some very difficult times in the last ten years of our membership. Our third son married a young LDS lady from Japan (he had served a mission in Japan) and there were all sorts of troubles from the start. As we were trying to deal with this, members of the church, including a bishop and his wife, acted most inappropriately and caused in our view the situation to be far worse than it ought to have been. Some of their actions bordered on the illegal with regard to not allowing our son the access to his son that he was entitled to. In the end his ex-wife managed to leave the country and abduct our grandson, aided and abetted by some of these church members. We have had no contact with our grandson now since June 2005. We are aware that some of these members have contact with my son’s ex wife, but because they are under the delusion that they know what is right in our family matters, they are justified in their actions. I was bitterly disappointed that our pleas to two stake presidents and an areaauthority, in trying to get them to understand the situation, went unheeded and nothing was done. They had the attitude that nothing much could be done about it so they ‘swept it under the carpet.’ But we maintained our faith and soldiered on.

Over time our son, as a result of all this, ‘lost his way’ and drifted into inactivity. A few years later our eldest son and his family stopped attending church. Finally our second son came to visit us (he lived interstate) to talk to us because he was having a great deal of trouble with some of the doctrines of the church, and with some of the things he had found out about the origins of the church and its early history. This greatly worried us as he had always been the most stalwart of our sons and a real spiritual rock. He had served on the bishopric in his own ward and had become increasingly disillusioned by his experience with that particular bishop. He was released and then called to serve on the High Council. This proved to be just as demoralising for him as he saw very little inspired leadership, and many things happened that really disturbed him. In an effort to raise his spirituality and get himself back on track, he started reading websites such as, ‘Dialogue – A Journal of Mormon Thought’ and ‘Sunstone,’ hoping to learn more and improve his testimony. Unfortunately the more he researched the more he found that the simple story of the restoration, as I have previously mentioned, (and that he had taught as a missionary), bears little resemblance to the actual facts. So by the time he talked to us he had many doubts and concerns. We spent a whole evening and into the early hours of the next day talking with him, and to my dismay I found that despite all of my 45 years of church experience I was unable to counter some of the things he was coming up with. Next morning I gave him a hug, bore my testimony and sent him on his way with the standard Mormon answer to everything – ‘Pray, read the Book of Mormon, have faith and it all will be made clear.’

From that time on my wife and I increased our prayers for our sons, attended the temple, put names on prayer roles and fought against the realization that out of our four missionary/temple sons, we had lost two, and a third (always our strongest) was certainly wavering. In the following New Year, 2008, we travelled down to Melbourne to visit him and his family. Over the intervening months since we last saw him he had continued to attend church, but had asked for a release from his high council calling. When he expressed his concerns to his bishop he had been told to keep it to himself or church discipline would be necessary. This wasn’t exactly the counsel he’d been looking for. I had talked to my wife on the journey to Melbourne, and said that we needed to be open-minded, and should read the documents/books etc that he’d been troubled by, otherwise how could we have any credibility in denouncing it. I felt that he had been confused by anti-Mormon literature and I was sure we would find it easy to refute andget him back on track. I should have remembered that my son has a Masters degree, is highly intelligent and would not be easily fooled by the usual anti-Mormon claptrap. Over the next few days we talked for many hours about the issues that bothered him, and I read extensively the materials that he had gathered. Much to my surprise I found the articles well-written and researched. These were scholarly works. Many of the writers were current members of the church, some of course were ex members, however, everything I read was backed by evidence, notes, thoroughly researched and documented. This was not what I expected to find! By the time we were on our journey home we had pretty much come to the awful conclusion that the church is a fraud. The sanitised story put out and taught to us is totally at odds with the real history. We were disturbed and upset. Our study of polygamy and in particular the intrigues, lies, deception and skull-duggery of Joseph Smith and his inner circle during the Nauvoo period, was an eye-opener. We knew nothing of this. Since that time we have studied almost feverishly every aspect of the Mormon Story and found that on every level it doesn’t stack up. We visited the church-sponsored FARMS and FAIR websites and read extensively the articles put out by Mormon apologists. Their attempts to justify and discredit the authors and articles we had read were in most cases inept and clearly flawed. This increased our knowledge that the whole thing is indeed untruthful. We came to the realisation that the church has from the very beginning changed, covered up, left out and indeed re-written its own history to make it all fit, and that as long as you read only the authorised books and materials, you will remain a faithful member, living in your own little cocoon. We have found to our dismay that when we finally came out and announced how we felt, we were shunned by church leaders and friends alike. The most frustrating line that we would get from church friends was one of sorrow that we had lost ‘thespirit’ and ‘lost our way.’ They couldn’t read what we have found because they knew it would never sway them. We realised that that was exactly the way we had been before we took our heads out of the sand. The whole experience has been bitter-sweet. We feel so enlightened and free of the dogmas, the restrictions that we now see as part and parcel of the church. We also face a sense of loss and bewilderment. At times we wish we were still in our safe little Mormon world, but at the same time we understand that we need to move on.

I have decided to detail my reasons for leaving the Mormon faith. I will try to put it as logically and succinctly as I can. I feel that since I was converted on the belief of a simple story, I need to follow that plan of salvation in my rebuttal.

1. The First Vision

Joseph’s story of the first vision – there are at least three versions, none of which fully agree with the other. I was amazed to find that in the early days of the church no mention was made of it. This astounded me. It’s the very first thing the missionaries teach! It wasn’t until 1832 that the first version was actually written down in Joseph’s own handwriting. It doesn’t mention the Father and the Son appearing to him, only that the Lord appeared. An 1835 version talked of an angel appearing. The 1838 version is the version that we now accept as the official version. In it he was told not to join any church, as they were all corrupt, yet we now know that he and Emma joined the Methodist Church in 1827! What?

The doctrine of the Father and the Son being two distinct and separate personages was therefore not taught until about 1838. If you study the Book of Mormon there is clearly a discrepancy with regards to the nature of God the Father and Jesus Christ (being three in one) because Joseph hadn’t come up with the concept until much later. This ties in with the New Testament concept of the Godhead with which Joseph Smith was familiar.

2. The Restoration of the Priesthood.

Again, this is a retrofit. The story of the appearance of John the Baptist to Joseph and Oliver Cowdery, and the subsequent visit by Peter, James and John was again unknown to early church members and wasn’t taught until well into the Kirtland period, and backdated, and then added to the then ‘Book of Commandments.’

3. The Book of Mormon and its translation.

Again, the true story is nothing like the sanitised version as taught by the church. The truth is much more intriguing. Looking into a hat through seer stones was never taught to me, nor is it taught today. Many people have used the same old line ‘How could an unlearned boy have come up with the Book of Mormon? It could only be by the gift and power of God.’ Not so! Joseph Smith knew the Bible backwards. He had been brought up on it. The idea of ancient Israelites peopling America was not new. Many believed the Indians came from the Lost Tribes. The ‘View of the Hebrews’ by Ethan Smith was widely available. Oliver Cowdery was conversant with it. The ideas that I had previously thought were Joseph’s Smiths, were not new. Joseph Smith was a brilliant mind. Yes, maybe limited in some sense by his circumstances, but he was quite capable of concocting the Biblically based Book of Mormon, so much of which can clearly be found to have been plaguerized from the Old and New Testaments. And again, when studied carefully, can consistently be found to have been the writings of a 19th Century man. There’s so much more you can discover if you wish, as there are so many in -depth studies of his work that we were told never to look at – stick to the script, listen to the brethren, don’t be deceived – how many times have we been taught that.

4. Polygamy

For my wife and I, this was the issue that above all convinced us that Joseph Smith was not a prophet of God, but was in fact a scoundrel. We read Todd Compton’s book, ‘In Sacred Loneliness’ and began to see how this doctrine (supposedly essential for our salvation) came about. We were aghast at the levels of deceit in his sermons from the pulpit denouncing the practice, while at the same time he and a small inner circle were enthusiastically practising polygamy. The general member ship of the church did not know, neither did his wife Emma until much later. To top it off, he not only married multiple single women, but also many who were still married to other men. Were these the actions of a prophet of God? In the end it proved to be his undoing and brought about his untimely death - much different to the authorised version of the events leading up to the martyrdom. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints practiced polygamy until 1904, not 1890 (the official version). If you look up plural marriage inthe current Joseph Smith priesthood/Relief Society Manual, you will find only a small paragraph stating that the practice was ceased by revelation in 1890, and since it is no longer a doctrine of the church it is no longer relevant. This is despite the numerous statements made by every prophet from Joseph Smith down to Joseph F Smith stating that polygamy was central to man’s salvation and would not be repealed before the Second Coming. If you study the previous manuals, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Lorenzo Snow, Wilford Woodruff, you will find no serious mention of the doctrine that these men so enthusiastically practised and proclaimed as God-given and essential to the salvation of mankind. Its as if it never happened. How could this be the workings of a true church led by living prophets.?

5. The Ancient Americas

Joseph Smith taught that the native Americans were a lost part of the House of Israel brought to the Americas by the hand of the Lord for His own purpose. The Book of Mormon was the record of this people and their dealings with God. Despite years of archaeological studies by both Mormon and non-Mormon scientists and archaeologists, no correlation exists between the Nephite/Lamanite nations and reality. There is no archaeological, anthropological, linguistic or historical evidence to support the claims of the Book of Mormon despite the best efforts of many good LDS scientists such as Thomas Ferguson. Nothing. On the contrary, scientific study has proven that the ancestors of the American Indian came across the Bering Straits from Mongolia over 10,000 years ago. In recent years DNA evidence has conclusively proved this origin to be correct. Mormon Apologists continue to pump out misinformation, faulty science, and all manner of theories to try to keep the myth alive. The fact remains that the Nephite/Lamanite people never existed, except in the fertile imagination of Joseph Smith.

6. Joseph Smith –Prophet of God

I’ve already spoken about the dubious history of the ‘first vision’ and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, both of which in the light of current knowledge are very hard to swallow, but if Joseph Smith was a prophet, how come so much of what he said and did has now been discredited. If Joseph Smith received direct revelation from God, how do you explain DandC 124 in relation to John C Bennett. John C Bennett was a scoundrel, both before and during the time he was at Nauvoo. Wouldn’t the Lord know that? So how come he told Joseph Smith the opposite? Either the Lord was wrong, or was he not telling the truth? Or Joseph Smith made up the revelation and was wrong, in which case, why didn’t the Lord put him straight? It’s not too hard to know the answer to that one. Some Mormon apologists suggest that Joseph Smith was a little gullible at times. Maybe so, but when he comes up with a revelation from God, he’s a prophet. They can’t have it both ways.

Then we have the Kinderhook Plates – blatant forgeries which Joseph Smith pronounced authentic and promised to translate; statements about bones he found belonging to Nephite warriors (eg Zelph), which all goes to prove that he had a vivid imagination but no gifts of revelation, or translation, which brings us to the so-called ‘Book of Abraham.’

7. The Book of Abraham

I’d always accepted the story of Joseph’s translation of the Book of Abraham from papyri that came into his possession during the Kirtland period. I had no idea that it had in fact proved to be false as far back as 1967.How can a church still continue to publish and print a document that has now no credibility, and keep it from the members. And this brings me to the conclusion of my story.

8. The Current Church Leadership

Perhaps the hardest pill for me to swallow through this whole process was that I’d always revered the prophets of the church from David O’McKay to Gordon B Hinckley. I read all the glowing stories about them. I trusted them. Can you imagine how I felt when I discovered the real truth of Mormonism, and it began to dawn on me that these men had deliberately kept many things hidden? They had changed, sanitised, and sugar-coated church history, not only to make it fit, but to enhance the feel-good, and keep members in the church. I read about the Hofmann murders that took place in the mid 1980’s. Church leaders (prophets, seers and revelators!) were completely fooled by this man and his forgeries, which is bad enough. But when the proverbial hit the fan, and two innocent members of the church lost their lives, Gordon B Hinckley, Dallin H Oaks, Hugh Pinnock, did everything that was possible to reduce the fall-out for them and the church, so much so that by withholding information and deliberately hindering the investigation, a murderer of innocent people could have gone free rather than hurt the church’s reputation. Here they were dealing with this man to obtain documents that they didn’t want to see the light of day. That’s deceitful and bad enough in itself. Isn’t one of the questions to be allowed to enter the temple, “Are you honest in all your dealings?” It seems this doesn’t apply to the church authorities, as they like to call it, ‘Lying for the Lord.’

Gordon B Hinckley denied that he knew or that he had any dealings with Mark Hofmann (see detectives interview records) despite the fact that Hofmann had direct access to him and his office any time.

Hinckley personally hired Steve Christiansen to seek out documents for the church, including the McLelland papers which Mark Hofmann supposedly had. When investigating police officers asked him if he knew the now murdered Steve Christiansen, he said that he’d never met him. Police detectives were pressured from the top to not pursue church leaders, and were denied access to evidence from FBI agents who also happened to be members of the church. Local church-owned newspapers and radio were discouraged from writing stories that could cause embarrassment to the church. Finally, when a magistrate decided that there was sufficient evidence to go to trial, and after prosecutors made it clear that Messrs Hinckley, Oaks and Pinnock would have to testify under oath about their involvement, a plea bargain was arranged due to pressure being put on the senior prosecutor (a church member). In return for a full confession, life imprisonment, not the death penalty (as is usual in UTAH) was accepted and the matter never wentto trial, so that these ‘good men of God’ would not have to testify under oath.

I was disgusted. I asked myself, ‘Is this true? How can this be?’ I’d always idolised Gordon Hinckley. I checked other sources to make sure that what I had read was true. It was, no mistake. Men of God? Prophets, seers and revelators don’t lie and cover up.

I now know that they do!

I believe in honesty and truth. Yet members of the church say to me, ‘Oh don’t worry about all that. Just have faith. It’s still true. They’re not always inspired.’ I’ve become totally disillusioned that people still want to believe it’s all true. It’s like a badge of courage for some church members. ‘Oh, I know all that stuff. It doesn’t bother me, my testimony is still strong.’ Of course, further questioning shows that they don’t really ‘know all about that stuff’ and just mentally sweep it under the carpet, never to be looked at too closely. ‘My witness is enough for me,’ they say. Well, I must confess I was that way too. I now know from study that the so-called witness from the Holy Ghost comes to anyone who wants to believe in any set of belief or dogma. Members of Muslim, Buddhist and other Christian faiths all have their own ‘witness’ of the truth. Of course, members of the church say that it is not the same, and that these other religions are a counterfeit experience. How arrogant is that? How can onepossibly know how someone else feels? People of other faiths have exactly the same feelings about their beliefs. The fact is, it is a psychologically explainable human emotional feeling that is common to us all. We all go to our various spiritually-charged meetings and come out with the same feelings.

Truth is truth. You don’t get truth from untruth. It’s like trying to mix oil and water. Something that can be so easily and comprehensively proved to be untrue, as is Mormonism, cannot be suddenly, miraculously true because ‘the spirit tells you.’ Although faith must be relied on in any religion, I believe that if God is a perfect being, he would not expect us to accept something on faith when all the evidence points to the contrary. According to Mormonism, God is a God of order, not confusion. Why would he expect us to believe when everything tells us, it can’t possibly be true? That would certainly not be a God of truth or order.

So where has this journey finally led me? Well, I along with my wife Brenda have relinquished our membership in the church. I’m unable to remain in an organisation that continues to preach to the world about its ‘truthfulness’ when that is obviously untrue, and its leaders know it. Why would they seek to continue to cover up and hide things? Our youngest son and his wife have been put under a great deal of emotional pressure from her LDS family. Our other three sons and their families have all left the church. We try to maintain a good relationship with our youngest son and his wife, and allow them to make their own choices, not those forced upon them by others. We have lost most of our former church friends. It’s not their fault really. I can remember being on the other side of the street when some good friends of ours left the church over ten years ago.

It’s sad that despite so much good, ultimately the church does far more harm and hurts so many families by its continuing refusal to accept its past, and the obsessive need to keep promoting the same sugar-coated story and life-style in the hope that members will stay. I know from my research that despite its boasts of increasing world-wide membership, and that one day it will fill the whole earth, the reality is that the church’s use of statistics is particularly dubious. Membership records are retained of many former LDS who no longer consider themselves members. Of the total membership of the church, less than one third could be considered in any way active, and if you compare the statistics provided at each annual general conference with those of previous years, the numbers don’t add up.

We have found that large numbers of long-time members like us are leaving the church. With the continued expansion of the internet and other sources, the church cannot keep the lid on things as it has done in the past. I am sad, I’ve had many wonderful experiences in the church, and been involved with many fine people, but that’s not enough to make it true or make me want to stay. Sometimes I feel like shouting out from the roof tops, ‘Hey you guys. Wake up. It’s a fraud.’ At other times I just feel like quietly slipping away and getting on with my life, which is basically what I’ve done. If our friends feel safe and comfortable in their little church cocoon, then I have no intention of spoiling things for them. One of the good things is that we have renewed our friendships with those people who left the church several years ago, and that has been wonderful, in particular Kevin and Romy Thomson, who have shown us how to move on, and Simon and Jane Southerton. Simon was my counsellor and good friend when I served as a bishop, and who presented me with a signed copy of his book, “Losing a Lost Tribe”, which I treasure. He has been falsely accused of bringing us out of the church. The truth is, we already knew before we renewed our acquaintance, to set the record straight.

To any out there who are currently going through their own journey, I hope that some of what I’ve said may help. It won’t be easy, but I know it will be worth it. Truth is all important. Thank you for taking the time to read.
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Born In The Church And Normal Development
Wednesday, Apr 6, 2011, at 07:48 AM
Original Author(s): Blindmag
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
This video has given me the inspiration to type up this post.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHwXlc...

How many of us have been told we have to look after younger siblings or shut up and sit int he corner because the rest of the family is busy? How many of us got told to shut up because the bishop was around or some such thing? Oh and my favorite to go read a book when the books are all to hard to read.

Large families and the extra influence of parents callings and primary activities plus the idea that the outside world is evil may keep BIC kids very isolated as young children. As they get a bit older, Early morning seminary keeping kids days early so they cant go out with friends and just be random and like kids, added pressure of young women/men, eagle scouts all this on top of school stuff, All the things your not supposed to think about or do or people your aloud to hang around with. Constant scripture reading.

Added complications the whole way though are possibly looking after younger siblings, possibly having to deal with resentful older siblings that have to look after you. Possible homeschooling with strict schedule and structured play, Depending on the bishop interviews that ether are on the line or cross it of abusive.

That's just some of the problems of growing up Mormon or possible problems.

In primary we all were taught that church was to take over the whole weekend. Remember that song 'Saturdays the day to get ready for Sunday'

It might not just be the brainwashing that BIC's and child converts are subject to but the fact there is no room for other types of thinking - like for real play where you can really use your imagination. This could be a major reason why many TBMs seem childlike in a way.
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Why Isn't Disbelief Sufficient Reason To Leave?
Wednesday, Apr 6, 2011, at 07:51 AM
Original Author(s): Stray Mutt
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
We talk over and over here about evidence the LDS church is bogus. It's how most of us justify abandoning Mormonism. But is all that justification necessary? If LDS belief is essentially grounded in feelings, and those feelings are reason enough for them, then why aren't our feelings of disbelief enough for us?

I think it's because we've fallen for the indoctrination. We get stuck in the false assumption Mormonism is the default reality and we have to prove it isn't, that we need really strong reasons not to agree.

But we see time and again how even the most powerful evidence and logic can't budge someone who isn't prepared to accept the possibility the church isn't true. And since they're convinced it's true, there can be no valid reason, to them, for rejecting the church. So why do we try? Is it just so we don't look weak or lost in sin? They're going to think that anyway.

Sure, some of us are logic-based people and facts are our touchstones. But religion isn't really about facts. It's about belief and faith. Mormons disbelieve all other religions. Why? Not because of facts, but because they believe something else.

"Why did you leave the church, Brother Jones?"

"Because I don't believe it."

"But it's the One True Church."

"I don't believe that."

"But it was restored by the Prophet Joseph Smith."

"I don't believe he was a prophet."

"But... but..."

"I don't believe any of it. Sorry."

"Why?"

"I just don't, the same way you don't believe Catholicism or Islam or any other religion."
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The Problem With "The Holy Ghost"
Thursday, Apr 7, 2011, at 08:00 AM
Original Author(s): Lord Of Darkness
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
According to the Bible Dictionary, the Holy Ghost (aka, the Spirit) "gives one a testimony of Jesus Christ and of his work and the work of his servants upon the earth." So how do we know when the Holy Ghost communicates with us?

Packer describes it as the following process, "That communication seldom comes audibly. Most of the time it comes through your feelings, as it did in this case." (Packer, "The Gift of of the Holy Ghost: What Every Member Should Know," June 24, 2003). Strangely, Packer suggests that it can be an audible VOICE, but then says it is usually through our feelings.

As humans, we have five methods of perception: hearing, sight, touch, smell and taste. We use these senses to get through our day, communicate with others, avoid danger, and make decisions.

Unfortunately, when it comes to our "feelings," we are no longer operating on these concrete methods of perception. And our "feelings" are a complex soup of mental/intellect, spiritual, and emotional stimuli. I don't know how you dissect one from the other.

If God created a system to communicate with us, it would have been much better to go through the methods of perception, which are much less susceptible to confusion, self-dilution, and manipulation.

Looking back upon my "spiritual experiences," I am convinced that I willed myself to have "feelings" in certain moments or was simply experiencing general emotion that I incorrectly attributed to "the Spirit."
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Threats Of Doom Are Everywhere
Friday, Apr 8, 2011, at 03:27 PM
Original Author(s): Atheistanarchist
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
When I was in junior high school, and starting to see through the false veil of religion, there was one thing I had a hard time letting go of: praying.

It wasn't because I valued prayer. It wasn't because I enjoyed it. It was because I deeply believed that if I did not pray -- if I went to bed even one single night without saying a prayer first -- that "harm would befall" my family and loved ones.

Night after night, I would try to climb into bed and not pray. I knew on one level that god was not listening, that he hadn't made any of my prayers come true -- hadn't gotten me that date to prom, hadn't swung me an A in chemistry, hadn't made my sister stop teasing me -- and that by that same token the liklihood of prayer having any affect on anything was small. But yet I was haunted, tortured, by the idea that my dutiful prayer-saying was the fragile last link keeping my family from dying in a horrific car crash or getting a fatal disease. If I did not pray, that would pull the Jenga peg that would "allow" all the nasty things the world had to throw to be thrown at the people I loved the most.

Eventually, I realized that the reason I thought that didn't have anything to do with prayer or the (non)existence of god. It had to do with the way I was raised by my parents and by the small/tight/Mormon society in which I lived. Threats of harm were used constantly to beget compliance. If you do not obey the Lord's commandments, those you love will be hurt. If you do not do what your parents say, you will be punished. If you don't do what you're told at school, you'll ruin everything for the whole class. Other people will judge you. Other people will hate you. Other people will have to pick up your slack, and it'll be all your fault.

Today while perusing the news, I came across an article about the budget stalemate. Obama was warning us all that:

an impending government shutdown could derail the economic recovery and harm small business owners and families, and accused Republicans of injecting politics into a "debate about how we pay our bills."

In other words, if obedience to the status quo isn't achieved, innocent people (families and small businesses) will be harmed.

The federal government shut down for four days during Snowmageddon, and nobody even remembers that now. No "harm" befell beloved families. No more small businessmen died in car crashes or were diagnosed with fatal diseases than they would have otherwise. Just like with my junior high school prayers, the threats are empty.

They're empty because they're all in our heads.

Obedience isn't a virtue -- it's a trap. Teaching a child to "obey or else" is far inferior to teaching a child to trust you enough to come to you with questions as he/she figures things out on his or her own. Thinking, reasoning, using logic are the ways forward, not threats, guilt, obedience, social bullying, and commandments from abusive authority figures.

These patterns that basically consist of

Threat from a scary-looking bully => hysteria => obedience at all costs

are so pervasive in society as to be nearly invisible. Society is so used to believing these threats of doom that the minute one passes, we forget it entirely and look to the next one -- even with 20/20 hindsight to show us that the threat was baseless. The world would not have ended if the crony capitalist TBTF banks would have had to file chapter 11 like every other broke businessperson. The country would not have exploded into a mushroom cloud if yet another country in the middle east wasn't violently attacked by US air strikes. And the world will not even recognize that the federal government has "shut down" this time, just like it didn't recognize it happening this past winter.

I wonder how easily Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were able to use these threats of doom, destruction, harm, and violence to get their way from the cowering, fearful victims they preyed upon. Did JS and BY threaten to harm the families and loved ones of the women they pressured into becoming their wives? When are people going to say enough is enough, and stop standing up to the bullies of the world?

My guess is that we won't be able to do so if we don't even recognize it as bullying. If we raise our children the way we were raised -- with fear, and threats, and violence -- then our children will come to accept that as the norm, accept that their "protectors" and their "masters" and their "authorities" in states and religions everywhere have their best interests at heart, and they should always obey.

I hope the federal government shuts down. Perhaps if it does, it'll make it through the week without bombing someone.

Now if only the Mormon church would shut down. Permanently.
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"Being Good Is Not Enough"
Monday, Apr 11, 2011, at 07:07 AM
Original Author(s): Stumbling
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
I took this phrase from the April conference talk of Paul Johnson (Seventy).

This one phrase sums up for me the Mormon Church's method of control.

Make the members feel guilty that they're not doing enough.

You hear it weekly during Sacrament Meeting, Sunday School and Priesthood. It has become a regular, once a week, guilt trip. You need to do more, you are not praying enough, read your scriptures more, do better at home teaching, go to the temple more, think better thoughts.

Isn't it strangely ironic that this mantra mimics the social norms that Church leaders rally against. It's not about needing a bigger house, a bigger car, more designer training shoes, bigger boobs, thinner waists. What you have should be good enough, don't seek after bigger and better things.

I don't see a Mormon Authority living in humble circumstances, driving around in a single humble vehicle, cleaning their own shoes, working for a living, wearing suits bought in a sale.

Ahhhh, the blessings of tithing...

Mormonism is all about making sure people believe that 'being good is not enough', at least for the minions...
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Gaslighting
Thursday, Apr 21, 2011, at 09:14 AM
Original Author(s): Tara
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
Your experience in Mormonism wasn't that bad according to many TBMs. Welcome to gaslighting.

Gaslighting. “I didn’t do that. I didn’t say that. I don’t know what you’re talking about. It wasn’t that bad. You’re imagining things. Stop making things up.”....

Result: Her or his gaslighting behavior may cause you to doubt your own sanity. It’s crazymaking behavior that leaves you feeling confused, bewildered, and helpless.

Here are the signs:

1. You are constantly second-guessing yourself

2. You ask yourself, "Am I too sensitive?" a dozen times a day.

3. You often feel confused and even crazy at work.

4. You're always apologizing to your mother, father, boyfriend,, boss.

5. You can't understand why, with so many apparently good things in your life, you aren't happier.

6. You frequently make excuses for your partner's behavior to friends and family.

7. You find yourself withholding information from friends and family so you don't have to explain or make excuses.

8. You know something is terribly wrong, but you can never quite express what it is, even to yourself.

9. You start lying to avoid the put downs and reality twists.

10. You have trouble making simple decisions.

11. You have the sense that you used to be a very different person - more confident, more fun-loving, more relaxed.

12. You feel hopeless and joyless.

13. You feel as though you can't do anything right.

14. You wonder if you are a "good enough" girlfriend/ wife/employee/ friend; daughter.

15. You find yourself withholding information from friends and family so you don't have to explain or make excuses.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/power-in-relationships/200905/are-you-being-gaslighted
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LDS Church = Emotional Purgatory
Monday, May 9, 2011, at 07:38 AM
Original Author(s): Rmw
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
While I was still TBM, one of the things that began to bother me about the church was that almost all of their teachings were conflicting with what modern psychology deems healthy. I was dutifully bearing children while my husband was in grad school to become a psychologist. I periodically read his textbooks so we'd have something to talk about. Plus we had lengthy discussions about it. I'm no expert, but I'm hardly what you would call ill-informed.

I joined the church when I was 17. I was amazed to find that when I left TSCC (12 1/2 years later with a mission a temple marriage and 2 kids under my belt) I felt like I picked up right where I left off. Like I was in emotional purgatory. It was impossible to identify and work out emotional glitches inside the context of the church where such things are NOT ALLOWED, because everyone knows they're caused by sin. If you're doing everything right, you're happy. That's the promise.

Since I've left I've had a chance to admit my weaknesses, accept my feelings, accept my past, learned how to empower myself, and basically heal in so many ways.

If I'm not being clear here would be some examples:

1) The grieving process: Doesn't exist in the Mo church. In fact my husband told me that one of their EQ lessons on death got so out of hand that people were saying that if you really had faith you wouldn't even be sad when those you love died.

2) The stance on homosexuals: you're a sinner, change it or ignore it. (No healing or emotional growth can take place there)

3) The general attitude towards depression: It's a sign of your sinfulness...righteous people are happy people (thanks Boyd)

4) That you can pray away serious emotional problems

5) That you are supposed to suppress unpleasant thoughts or feelings and just work work work.

6) That you are to fiercely control your thoughts (controlling your actions I agree is important) but thoughts come and go as they please, and the more you make a concerted effort to get rid of them the more they consume you.

7) This one really messed me up 3Nephi 11:29 "For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another."

I was sure that if I ever felt anger it was the devil's presence in me and I would not have it. If I ever felt even a twinge of anger no matter how justified I just squashed it...it turned to (you guessed it) depression. Not to mention the fact that I was a completely unempowered doormat.

Well, the list goes on and on. I feel like the Church was emotional purgatory for me until a was brave enough to deal with my life and my problems head on. Since I've left the church I have accomplished some real healing and live in a very emotionally healthy way.
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The Gospel Of Fear
Monday, May 9, 2011, at 07:56 AM
Original Author(s): Becca
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
The gospel of fear...

That's what that church preaches...

Fear.

Fear of not being good enough. Fear of not making it to the CK. Fear of not being allowed in the temple, fear of not being accepted into the group.

When I left the church at age 28 I went rebellious. I wanted to know what life outside the church was like. One of my best friends told me: "Listen to your heart... Follow your dreams.."

But I didn't even know what my dreams were... I didn't even know who I was. So I decided to find out.

The first time I went into a bar I was almost paralised with fear! I had been taught all my life that such a place was of the devil. that evil things happened in there. I was always told the story of a pretty girl in a white dress going into the coal shed and even though she didn't 'do' anything, she still came out dirty.... the: God is watching you... fear of sin, fear of the ultimate sin of turning against the holy ghost...

I was terrified!! Just walking into a bar.

I expected a bolt of lightning to come down and strike me dead... I expected to see people with horns on their heads trying to claw at me with fiery breaths...

But I HAD to find out. I HAD to see for myself...

What I found was a wonderful, lovely Irish musician, who played the most wonderful happy music. We ended up chatting for a bit and found we had things in common.. we have been friends now for 13 years... he is a wonderful fellow...

I found people who were just having a good time. Enjoying a drink and a chat with others. I found the delights of nonmo music, I found men who thought I was pretty and attractive and I found the odd idiot who needed to be set straight...

Over the course of time I went back, again and again. On some nights I'd find idiots whom I didn't want to talk to, and on other nights I'd find lovely people to chat with, dance with, get drunk with and take home for a one-night stand..

But I will never forget that fear I had the first time I went into a bar.

Why am I writing this? To give others hope.

If you are just leaving that church, no matter what you do,and no matter how lost and hurt and sad and alone you feel, please remember:

There is LIFE outside of mormonism. Wonderful, glorious, happy, fun LIFE!

Don't let the fear that was instilled in you stop you from figuring out who you are and what you want out of life. Go out and experience. Then you can eventually choose the lifestyle that suits you. And you will too, as I did, find that there is life after mormonism.
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Some Of My Thoughts On What Recovery Means To Me
Monday, May 16, 2011, at 08:03 AM
Original Author(s): Susieq#1
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
Some of my thoughts on what Recovery means to me or the Exit Process from Mormonism, as I define it - con't from Leaving Your Tribe.

This is a Recovery board, and as such, I have given a lot of thought to what that means in my life.

Recovery, is defined for my own situation as The Exit Process from Mormonism. My experience and observation is that it's a highly personalized, individualized process. No two people or families are the same. It requires dealing with a large number of variables, and family dynamics.

It's a Do It Yourself Project with no manual and no rules. We can read about other people's experiences, and learn from them, but ultimately, we do what will work for us.

We all make our own decisions about how to do it, which seems to be a trial and error process much of the time. What one person experiences or works for them, may not work for someone else.

This is how I do it. It works for me, but may not work for others.

There is no right or wrong way to deal with the process. It's not black and white. What is right for one won't work for another person as their situations are often quite different. We think differently as human beings.

Our backgrounds are very different also: BIC and convert most often, in my observation, will naturally approach the Exit Process differently. When members leave the LDS Church, (as in stop believing) it varies from a very young age to a much older age, sometimes in our senior years, like I did.

Part of that process is a variety of stages that are a direct result of changing our mind about our religious, familial, cultural belief system. Those stages may be similar to others or very different.

A few things helped me immensely. First of all, I needed to recognize that we are human beings, more alike than different: we put our pants on one leg at a time, we experience the same emotions that all humans experience.

Religion is only one defining part of our human experience. For some, it's more globally encompassing than others. Mormonism tends to be more globally encompassing because of it's strong generational traditions and rituals. That is particularly evident for BIC and generational members. Not so much, depending on the person, for adult converts as they have a couple decades of life that they bring with them.

This sums it up quite nicely: "The individual has always had to struggle to resist the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." --Nietzsche

It's comforting to know we are not alone. When we leave our "tribe" and become an outsider, it's a process that may be similar to others, or very different, no matter what group or religion is involved. The more strict and controlling and authoritative the religion, as in Mormonism, the harder it is, in my experience. Some can leave very easily. They can walk away with little change. For others, it's extremely difficult and has far reaching dynamic results.

Along the way I have concluded there are a few basics that worked for me: we all get the same thing: we live, we die, we do stuff in between. There are no wouldas, shouldas, couldas, or what if's. What is -- is. We play the cards we are dealt.

We make the best decisions we know how with the information we have at the time. It's OK to change our mind when we find/receive new, better information. Don't let the past mess up my present.

There are no fantasy parents, fantasy siblings, fantasy marriages, etc. Making major decisions that are far reaching, will, in the main, be difficult.

My mind tends to see the Big Picture. After reading The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell (a textbook for a local college religion course), it became easier to see Mormonism in the Big Picture as one of many God Myths through out the history of humanity that humans naturally gravitate to through their generational, familial, cultural, societal background. The geography of our birth plays a large role in our beliefs. Where we are born in the world very often determines our religious traditions and rituals for our entire life.

I found that it takes work, on our part, to give ourselves permission to be authentic and create a personalized, evolving new World View and be confident about it. It's natural, to have doubts and concerns along the way. It's an evolutionary process, in my experience and observation. Years after leaving the LDS Church, I am adding and subtracting notions from my new World View.

I realized I needed to take my power back and own it, early on. I needed to be in the drivers seat and trust myself! This was my life, and I was going to live true to myself.

Everyone is different: for some anger, resentment, distaste, disgust, etc. can last for years. For others, those kinds of emotions are quickly replaced by others that lead to making peace with all of it. Humor is very healing! I fall in the latter group.

The end result of this very personalized, Do It Yourself, Exit Process from Mormonism based on the dynamics of our individual lives and families, is that former members will very often develop very different World Views and different opinions. Ideas and opinions that were considered incorrect and abhorrent in the past, often become acceptable.

It's natural for human beings to see the world only through their eyes. Changing from a concrete religious World View with little to no deviation, as in Mormonism, to one that is open and evolving can be jarring and upsetting when confronted with different opinions. Learning the skills of a skeptic, using logic and reason in a new way can be difficult. It can all feel wrong at first. Eventually, we each find our niche, usually through experimentation. We find what works for us as a former Mormon.

I am a young adult convert, so my interpretation and experiences will be different than a generational BIC member, for instance. The dynamics of the home, and whether it's a: Spirit of the Law, or Letter of the Law (more fundamentalist in nature) makes a big difference in how we each internalized Mormonism also. My experience is predominately with a Spirit of the Law dynamic.

It's an exhilarating experience! Scary at times! Taking off the Mormon filter from our eyes and ears takes some getting used to. We often completely change our hair styles, and our wardrobe, discarding the regulation garments. The world looks much different. There are new ways of looking at everything. All of our thoughts and actions take on a new perspective.

For me, it was necessary to use humor (daily), write satire and parody, write about the process regularly, and not take it all too seriously. It was also necessary for my sense of well being to know I was OK, to keep my self confidence, self respect, self esteem cooking on high! I was going to change my mind and do it my way! And I could do that. I didn't need to be fixed by anyone or anything. I was not defective. I'd figure it out. I could do that. I also needed to learn how to set boundaries and how to protect myself. That is on-going.

This is my list of how I know I'm out -- or recovered as some say, or the Exit Process is about as done as it's going to get.:-) Like many, I live with and love Mormons and always will. They are some of my relatives and dear friends. It's important, for me, in my situation to maintain as many positive relationships as possible. (Not always continually possible, however.)

This is my check list. I read it from time to time to see how I'm doing. If you make a list, yours will naturally be different.

I know I'm really out when........ I've made peace with it. The emotional attachment has been replaced with love of all of life. (Recent post on The Power of Emotional Bonds/Attachments to Beliefs by Faith covers this subject.)

The following is how I made peace with it. The short version.

I know I'm really out when.....

...There are no more resentments, anger, regrets, or self recrimination, explosive responses, name calling, etc.

...I can live with and love Mormons and accept them like anyone else

...I can be kind to members, and maintain a rational relationship and friendship like everyone else.

...I understand that Mormonism is a religion like thousands of others and it's OK to change my mind, leave it, and know I am OK and was OK all along.

...I can respect all people's rights to choose their own religion (or none) as a valid choice and honor that right.

...I love my family and friends unconditionally, regardless of their religious choices.

...I own your own power, set healthy boundaries when necessary, and take charge of my own life, living it today, not for some reward after death.

...I choose my friends regardless of their religious choices.

...I can go to a church building, read their scriptures, articles, etc, attend functions associate with Mormons like anyone else.

I didn't start out with this list. It evolved naturally during my process. I have added to it from time to time as I check off those automatic thinking scripts from Mormonism. (Another list in another post - I'm a list maker!-)

I will always live with and love Mormons, especially my dear husband of 48 years, and some of my family that are members. This is now I maintain a healthy relationship with my family and friends. Every person teaches me something, and most often, enriches my life.

The result of this kind of thinking has given me the greatest freedom, joy and peace of mind.
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Bitter Is An Emotion, Not A Pidgeonhole
Thursday, Jun 2, 2011, at 08:37 AM
Original Author(s): Anagrammy
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
Our emotions are like kalaidoscopes. One turn and the same tiles that were mostly blue in a round design appear red and angular. The key to happiness is to observe them and realize that they are all part of being alive, equally worthy of expression.

The longer you are out of the church and your new life begins to pay its dividends, the more perspective you will have on the Mormon experience. I've been out since 1982 and could not see anything but the devastation it caused me since I raised my children in a cult. I felt terrible guilt and even thought they ruined my life. Especially after my son died a senseless death on Block 51 in Salt Lake City, I blamed myself joining the Mormon church in the first place. To make it worse, my son once said to me, "Everything was fine until I was ten." Which was the year I joined the church. Had I not had eight other children, I would have felt I did not deserve to live.

That was my "bottom" as they say. It was bitterness and anger that gave me the energy to go on, to be honest. The Mormon church had taken so much from me, sucked me dry and threw me away, and I would be damned if they would take away my children's mother and leave them with Mr. Walnut Heart, the Mormon to raise them.

I drove more safely because I knew that I was the only parent that really loved them, despite my mistakes. I promised myself I would throw my considerable energies to 1) getting back the unique self I was meant to be and finding peace and joy 2) healing those I had injured as best I could 3) getting my children out of Mormonism and 4) helping any one else I ever encountered to find themselves and leave the mind-control that is Mormonism.

This is a lifetime journey that starts with self-compassion and self-acceptance. This is the water your starved Being needs to bloom. It is not too late to become your best You and amazingly, people respond to that far more than the You the Mormons created - their sales person.

There's nothing wrong with being angry about what was taken from you. They had no right. That being said, what's more interesting to me is how as time went by, I began to see how the Mormon experience has gifted me in strange ways:

* Nobody loves Sunday like I do. I have a worship going on where I deliberately go out to the corner Peet's, get the Sunday paper and settle in to enjoy my morning coffee. I take a long leisurely walk back just feeling how wonderful it is to own my life and my time.

* Having been forced to individuate again after leaving Mormonism, I went back to college in my forties. That was an amazing experience and I enjoyed every single moment from the standpoint of a freshly opened mind. No ideas threaten me--I can hear everything and find it interesting. No territory to defend means the world is yours to accept as a human being amid other human beings. No longer are you forced to pose as a person with "more light" who has to try to change every person who sits beside you on an airplane.

* I can remain silent now. I tend to be talkative anyway, but now I can just listen to people instead of waiting for my turn to talk so I can invite them to a ward activity. I never realized that I viewed others as prospects, or prey. I can be there for people who are suffering or who are aging or who have new babies and I am just me, not someone bringing a message from Christ. Or worse yet, me always with an agenda.

* My relationships are better now (the ones I didn't lose completely) simply because of the arrogance that's gone. Yes, you are arrogant as a Mormon and then arrogant as an anti-Mormon. Hope this doesn't offend those of you needing to express bitterness or anger, but longterm this is just the truth: there is not much difference between:

YOU KNOW THE GOSPEL'S TRUE, I KNOW YOU DO, YOU BORE YOUR TESTIMONY! and

YOU KNOW THE CHURCH IS NOT TRUE, YOU SAW THE (DNA/BOM/POGP you name it), I KNOW YOU KNOW ITS CRAP, YOU ARE INTELLIGENT!

When you heal, and you will, you will say instead, "I know it seems true to you now and I respect that. The facts I've shared are available online any time you feel ready for more information than the church gives you. Peace."

*I now am a terrific saver finding it really easy to move that 10% into my own savings account, saying inside my head, "Not for you, Monster--I mean Monson."

*I know all the words to Saturday's Warrior and will karaoke anywhere anytime. Ridicule is a great healer and that's one of the reasons RfM is so successful.

*I would have never met any of my wonderful exmo friends. It's like going to the VFW and hanging out with vets. You see those old guys asking each other what platoon they were in and what theater of action--IT'S LIKE THAT AT EXMO CONFERENCE. "Oh, I was in the Pleasant Grove Stake, Second Ward..." We find many who can throw their arms over our shoulders and say in unison, lifting beercans "We will go down...."

It does get better, hang in there
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The Mormon Business Model
Monday, Jun 6, 2011, at 07:21 AM
Original Author(s): Anagrammy
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
Your treasure hunting days are over 'cause you been busted and are on probation... you turn to sage business advice, the key to success and wealth beyond measure (with no seed money):

Find a need and fill it...

begat

Create a need and fill it

begat

Find a fear and soothe it... the selling of not dying

begat

Create a fear and soothe it... the promise of eternal families

Before I ever saw a missionary, it never occurred to me that I could "lose" people in the afterlife. I assumed that heaven would not be heaven without my loved ones, so it was obvious that they would be there.

I don't know why I let those young men make me afraid and then capitalize on my love for my children by selling me a plastic card.
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Psychology Today Magazine Article: "Necessary Endings"
Monday, Jun 13, 2011, at 08:39 AM
Original Author(s): The 1st Freeatlast
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
I came across an article, "The Art of Endings", today by psychologist and bestselling author, Dr. Henry Cloud. The following are excerpts from the article:
"In both the personal and professional life, there are times when reality dictates that a person must stand up and 'end' something. Either it's time has passed, it's season is over, or worse, continuing it would be destructive in some way."

"But too many times, with clear evidence staring them in the face, people find it difficult to pull the trigger. Why is that?

"The reasons are varied, but understandable, especially in light of developmental psychology, our understanding of trauma, and cognitive mapping. Some people's developmental path has not equipped them to stand up and let go of something. For example, if they did not develop what psychologists refer to as secure attachment or emotional object constancy, the separation and loss that ending a relationship triggers for them is too much, so they avoid it. In addition, in their development they may not have been taught the skills to confront situations like these.

"Or, if they have had traumatic losses in life, another ending represents a replay of those, and they shy away or frantically try to mend whatever is wrong, way past reason. Or they have internal maps that tell them that ending something is 'mean' or will cause someone harm. In any case, fears dominate their functioning, and they find themselves unable to do a 'necessary ending.'"
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/t...

I left cultic Mormonism in 1992, a VERY needful personal ending, considering that the LDS Church had, from early childhood to adulthood, systematically abused not only my naïveté and trust, but also my mind and emotional 'soul' with its myriad of fear-, guilt- and shame-inducing 'true' doctrines and teachings (i.e., religious nonsense). Tragically, it's done the same with millions of people since 1830. Thankfully, in the past 17 years of the Internet 100's of 1,000's people have ended their membership in the patriarchal/abusive Mormon Church and gone on to create healthy and happy lives.

Perhaps more difficult, many individuals have been married to a TBM or had parents, siblings or friends who refused to look at the mountain of facts that prove that Mormonism is a fraud. Pulling away from or ending relationships with psychologically dysfunctional and emotionally immature people (who refuse to grow up) is another important part of life that we should not avoid.

Dr. Cloud's article is worth reading, IMO.
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Former TBM Stuggling To Learn Whether His Current Position In Life Was A Product Of Rational Choices Or Strongly Influenced By Brainwashing
Monday, Jun 20, 2011, at 08:04 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
I was a TBM. Got the Eagle. Served the mission. Did the Temple Marriage soon after. Had the children quickly. I was one of those 100%, do eveyrthing types. I made all my life decisions based on what I was taught was ideal by the church. Numbered for later reference: here are some things I was taught or learned:

1) I should avoid steady dating until after my mission. In this way, I could avoid temptation.

2) It would be difficult to find a mate if I didn't serve a mission.

3) Once I returned from my mission, I should avoid hanging out, but engage in courtship. If it didn't look like a relationship would lead to courtship, I should pull the plug sooner rather than later.

4) I should not date those that were not Mormons.

5) Kissing should be very limited.

6) I should never be in a bedroom of the opposite sex

7) I should never lie down next to a person of the opposite sex

8) Discussion of sex should be reserved until marriage if possible. If needed, things of a sexual nature might be discussed, but only by engaged couples immediately preceding the marriage.

9) Women that wore sleeveless shirts were immodest.

10) Two piece swimsuits were immodest. Girls who wear them are harlots and flaunt their flesh.

11) I should not delay marriage.

12) Two people that are committed to the gospel could have a happy marriage, no matter what.

13) If I waited too long to get married, I would not be blessed. It was my priesthood duty to find a righteous wife and get married.

14) Just find a righteous women and marry her. The details can be worked out later.

15) Once married, do not delay having children. That is self-ish. There is no reason to wait until college is done and you have a secure job to have children.

In response to these teachings, here is what I did (numbers correspond to the above):

1) I broke up with my first girlfriend in high school after our first makeout session because I thought we were getting too serious. Broke her heart and missed out on a lot of fun and experience in the romance sector.

2) I spent $10,000 and two years of my life in a foreign country because I worried if I didn't I would forever be a second-class citizen in Utah.

3) Upon returning from my mission, I immediately broke things off with a girl who was a long-time friend and who had written me, making her cry, because it did not appear that she was ready for marriage, and only marriage material could be dated.

4) Did not affect me much because I didn't know any non-Mormons. But did make me think that anyone dating a non-Mormon was bad and second-class.

5) My future wife wouldn't make out with me other than a few pecks. Should have recognized this as a warning sign, but during courtship thought this was just her being more faithful to the less is better before marriage teaching. Wife still not a fan of kissing.

6) Felt incredibly guilty or awkward in the vicinity of a bedroom. When I did enter my fiancee's bedroom in her parents home with her parents home, alarm bells constantly went off in my head so that all I could think about was how I shouldn't be in her bedroom. Still get uncomfortable when I am in the homes of others and they give me a tour of the house. Upon stepping foot in the bedroom, the alarm bells still go off. Alarm bells go off when I stop to pick up my kids at the home of a female babysitter. Alarm bells go off when the babysitter asks for a ride home.

7) Snuggled once before marriage on a couch with my fiancee in a semi-horizontal position. No sexual touching of any sort. A year after marriage, wife breaks down in front of bishop and confesses our grievous sin.

8) Learning on our honeymoon that my wife doesn't know anything about sex. Was never taught at home. Wife having a complete repulsion to sex due to guilt. Years later, wife still not being fully comfortable with my body. Finds basic sexual functions disgusting. Sadness and lack of fulfillment. Thought fireworks would start upon marriage. Told by fiancee just to wait and things would become really fun. Wrong.

9) Women wearing sleeveless shirts are modest and beautiful. Women wearing long sleeves or even short sleeves during humid, hundred degree temperatures look gross.

10) Two piece swimsuits look normal and fun. Find myself wishing my wife would wear one and kind of resenting the fact that my wife wont'. (Prepared for the backlash for this comment--but its true..guys like two pieces).

11) Got married after dating for less than a year. Did not sufficiently discuss parenting styles, sexual needs, etc.

12) Found that adherence to the gospel is a completely different world from female hormones, male sexual drive.

13) I married the most righteous girl I could find. Turned out not to be the funnest. Turned out to be old-fashioned. Turned out to be close-minded.

14) I'm working out the details now, and it sucks. There are certain things you cannot work out later.

15) Had two children during graduate school. Never got much sleep. Wife always needed help. Wanted me to be perfect supporting father and perfect student. Grades suffered. School debt. Lucky to secure a good job. Economy tanked. Lost job. Found lesser paying job.

Two kids, stay at home mom. Fortunate to have a job. But sexually frustrated, think completely different than my spouse. Reality has hit. Things aren't as easy as they make them appear.

Wouldn't things have been different had I made my own decisions rather than following the teachings I was fed as a TBM. Probaly.
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To Resign Or Not To Resign
Friday, Jun 24, 2011, at 08:02 AM
Original Author(s): Raptorjesus
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
To resign or not to resign
That is the question
Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The cookies and letters of outrageous lovebombers
Or to take arms against a sea of well wishers and gossipers,
And by opposing end them?
To "die" be "members" no more;
And by death to say we end the community
Of a thousand unnatural friendships that the church is heir to;
Its consummation devoutly to be served.
To die, to rest
To rest, perchance to be free - ay there's the rub
For in that resignation what members may come,
Even if we have shuffled off this oppressive cult must give us pause.
There's acknowledgement of the corporation's power
For we have borne the whips and scorns of authority,
The oppressor's wrong, the pangs of disprized love,
The insolence of priesthood office
And the spurns of judgment that we the "unworthy" took
Would resignation validate this?
Would it keep us from the remainder of "god's elect" who grunt and sweat under a weary life,
To delude themselves about the undiscovered country
From whose bourne no traveler returned,
To comfort their wills and make them bear their membership ills they have
Than fly off to others they know not of?
But conscious can make cowards of us all.
Resignation is a native hue of resolution
A finality over a pale cast of doubts
And enterprises of great pith and moment.
With this regard doubting currents turn awry,
And take the name of action.

To resign or not to resign nevertheless,
Within the church be all my sins remembered
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How Is Your Life Better, Since You Left The LDS Church? -- Here Are Some Of Mine
Monday, Jun 27, 2011, at 07:17 AM
Original Author(s): Susieq#1
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
What is better?

It's my life, I'm in charge.

Owning my own power. And being very careful about who I give my power to.

I choose what I eat, drink, wear, read, study, research, and how I spend/use my time and money, etc.

Living in a state of freedom and peace of mind.

A total disconnect from the code to the emotional attachment/bond to the religious beliefs that used to govern my life.

Creating my own World View.

No fear of recriminations from ecclesiastical leaders, LDS family, or LDS friends.

No concern for living a certain way for a reward in an after life.

Learning to live with the power of an Attitude of Gratitude.

Having made peace with all of my life.

I am very grateful that I have lived long enough to make the changes I have made in my life, and to continue to enjoy the freedoms I have, each day.

At my age, well past the middle mark, when I wake up and hurt someplace, I know I am alive! That reminds me to be grateful..... for another day!

An understanding that everything in life is temporary.

No concern about what others think of me. I'm OK to be me.
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The Bipolar Affect Of Mormonism
Tuesday, Jul 19, 2011, at 08:46 AM
Original Author(s): Chesslord1979
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
I see being a TBM as a mindset that's been programmed into you. It's ironic that many of the things my p-hood leaders taught me to be on guard for were the very mind tricks they were playing on me (without knowing it probably).

For example, have you ever been told how to boil a frog? My LDS mentors instructed me on the matter, emphasizing that you can't just throw a frog into boiling water. You have to put the frog into lukewarm water and then gradually increase the temperature.

My leaders taught me this to keep me away from anything that slightly resembled anything that contradicted Mormonism. Very clever and effective method.

The irony of the lesson is that this is precisely what Mormonism did to me as a convert. Gradually boiled me into submission. The six discussions we had back then focused on basic principles that would appeal to most people ("milk before meat").

An individual accepts the "outer core" of Mormonism and the process of gradually and ever so slowly increasing the temperature until the individual is paralyzed has begun.

Finding ones self in this predicament it feels to late to escape. The cords that seemed light and thin now have a binding hold. The temperature that was comfortable to the frog is now boiling hot. Any movement seems to increase the temperature.

The healing process for one who has been so severely burned is excruciating and unfathomable. It seems easier to give into the delusion of comfort rather than fight for your life. It would take something inside of you that lies dormant within the recesses of your mind and soul to break free from the cords that bind you and jump from the boiling pot toward a path of recovery.

At this point the Bipolar affect takes hold. You find your mind split in two. Arriving at the frightening conclusion that you must escape, and then relenting back into the boiling pot over and over again. Until somewhere in this life sucking process you finally decide, IT IS FINISHED! You mentally break free from the Bipolar affect and leave Mormonism for good. Did you experience this aweful back and forth? If so what was the decisive element in your life to break free from the horror?
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LDS, Inc. Needs "Self-Reliant" Members To Feed On
Monday, Oct 3, 2011, at 07:21 AM
Original Author(s): Axeldc
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
LDS, Inc. needs members to be self-reliant

A) So they can give lots of money to the church

B) So they don't expect much in exchange.

They have to be careful that self-reliant members don't become self-aware. Once you realize the church is more dependent on you than you are on them, you start refusing their demands and then it gets ugly until you finally leave them in the dust.

What did I get from the church:

-Faked history

-Pie crust friendships

-Repetitively dull meetings

-a social life conditional on my conformity

What did they expect from me:

-Half my weekend plus some evenings

-10% of my gross earnings, which is about 15% my take home pay or 90% of my post-expense earnings

-Conformity to their standards, including lying to myself about my sexuality

Once I figured out the deal, I decided that I could live without them a lot easier than they could leave without me.
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To Man In Black Who Was Deemed Unworthy To Bless His Son
Thursday, Nov 3, 2011, at 07:40 AM
Original Author(s): Anagrammy
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
To Man in Black who was deemed unworthy to bless his son.

Of course I am biased because you are my adopted grandson; HOWEVER,

what do you think would happen if you just stood up and came up to the front and stood in the circle, basically rejecting the Bishops evil-eye judgment?

Can you imagine what a stir that would cause? Would they ask you nicely to leave the circle, under their breath, and would you turn to the audience and say,

"No one has more right to bless this child than his own father, because Families are Forever."

And two suits come forward and ask you to come peacefully with them. And you reply, evenly and audiby, "If I am judged to be unworthy of fatherhood, I demand to face my accuser."

You will get to bless the baby or just tell them you are taking the baby home for his blessing. This may be just a fantasy for family reasons, but it's a good one, doncha think?
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Mormonism And Manipulation
Friday, Nov 18, 2011, at 08:11 AM
Original Author(s): Eddie
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
From KickBully.com: http://www.kickbully.com/master.html
Healthy human interactions are not dominated by manipulation. instead, you find genuine concern for others and a sense of cooperation. Even when people have their own self-interest in mind, the principle of fair exchange is followed.

Now compare these honorable behaviors with a manipulator. rather than the simplicity of straightforward, mutually respectful relationships, he or she finds clever and indirect means to control others. He or she deceives and seduces, or he creates a chaotic, complex situation within an emotionally supercharged...environment, allowing him or her to stealthily exploit the naivete and character flaws of others. To a skilled [manipulator], human interaction is all about manipulation.

At the root of these manipulative behaviors is a pervasive lack of respect for others. A [manipulator] holds himself or herself in high esteem, but views others as deeply flawed. He or she is blind to the serious defects in his or her character, but keenly aware of the slightest weakness or imperfection in others. He is convinced that most people are inferior to him or her.

Because he or she doesn’t respect you as an individual, he or she doesn’t respect your right to make your own choices. From his or her perspective, “live and let live” has no meaning; either you are with him or against him.

If you are with him or her, he or she attempts to thoroughly dominate you. And if you are against him or her, he or she feels no pangs of conscience as he or she undermines you or [shuns you]. It never occurs to him or her that you possess an equal right to pursue success and happiness.

Len Bowers, author of Dangerous and Severe Personality Disorder describes manipulation as the use of deception, coercion or trickery to achieve a desired result, without regard for the needs or interests of others. As Bowers and others who have written on manipulation note, the deception, coercion and trickery may take varied forms, but the goal is always the same: the manipulative member of the relationship seeks to maintain control to get what he wants at the expense of others.
After decades of dealing with the manipulation within Mormonism it has been very challenging learning how to set boundaries and keep manipulators at bay. One of the first steps was realizing that ALL forms of manipulation are unhealthy and reflect a profound lack of respect for others. Manipulation in all of its forms is inherently arrogant and condescending. To manipulate another person you must feel that you are superior and that the other person is somehow less capable.

Given the lack of respect, undermining, incessant questioning of worth, nonexistent boundaries, and pervasive manipulation it is a miracle that antidepressant use among Mormons is not even more pervasive. The feeling of true, lasting success is virtually impossible in Mormonism.
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A Broken Window In The Recreation Hall
Tuesday, Dec 6, 2011, at 11:17 AM
Original Author(s): Muscogean
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
There were several families of Democrats. A middle aged man claimed to be a Communist. The bishop was a mortician, who sometimes had the ward youth come to his family business for interviews (groan). There were Jewish converts and an elderly man who spoke only German. He came ever Sunday and sat on a bench, not understanding a word. There was a wonderful old sister in the choir who often sang, "I come to the garden alone." Her husband was a polygamist, who you never saw in church. The bishop would eventually give her a temple recommend to get her endowments (based of her faithfulness). There was the family who owned the local grocery store and hired ward youth. There were Nephi's, Alma's and one loud memorable Brigham. There was an "untouchable" route in ward teaching, twenty some families who never let you past the front screen, and often slammed the door on you (but you still went back).

The building had been dedicated by a prophet, a polygamist. It was California Mission style, with blue and white tile. There were huge beams across the tall ceiling and beautiful dark wood across the stage and in the pulpit and choir seats. A stained glass window above showed Jesus ascending toward Heaven. Six heavy wooden doors opened to the street to catch the ocean breezes. The church sat right on the corner, three steps up from the street. The next church down the street was a tiny "Church of the Firstborn and Kingdom of God." Folks wondered if it had a Mormon connection. MIA consisted of M-Men and Gleaners and Mormon dances were never to be missed (also road shows, dance festivals and ward dinners).

The year was 1958 and I was baptized (a college guy) into Jesus and the church (in those days it was a church, not a corporation). The church financial stats were still given at conference time. Many weddings were held in the chapel, as only perhaps half the youth opted for temple marriage. Numerous sailors came for services and hopefully an invitation to dinner (we were a Naval shipyard town). Baptisms were in a recessed area next to the kitchen, funerals were always crowded. There was only a tiny parking lot, everyone just parked on the streets nearby.

That was the Latter-day Saints world over fifty years ago. I almost cried when I heard the old building caught fire during Sacrament meeting and burnt to the ground a few years ago. It was never rebuilt. Perhaps because that church no longer exists, only in memories. Who stole the quirky old Mormon church? I suspect someone in Salt Lake... An empire builder.
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The Offended Or The Offender?
Friday, Dec 16, 2011, at 01:28 PM
Original Author(s): Londonuk
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
Re: "YOU CHOOSE TO BE OFFENDED" - "I think far too many use it as a scapegoat for their offensive behavior, never taking responsibility for their own errors..."

I sent this to a bishop recently who wants me to 'return' to the church (despite the fact that it was the church who excommunicated me from their membership and religion and that I have attended many times since with my wife and family). I decided to see if they had anything against me and if this statement was in fact open arms waiting to welcome me into 'fellowship'. It wasn't - so I turned the situation around in adapting the words of 'authorities'.

Adapted from a talk by Roderick J. Linton:

In refusing to accept an individual, the church, in effect, attempts to deny the blessings of the atonement to that person. Despite a Bishop or Stake President's expectation of receiving forgiveness for their own sins they turn and say on behalf of the church: "But not you! We're not going to forgive you, you don't deserve it." This seeks to nullify the effects of the atonement on that individual. By doing so the greater condemnation is on that individual and organisation (DandC 64:9-10).

Adapted from a talk by David A. Bednar:

Let me make sure I understand what has happened to me. Because the church was offended, I have not been blessed by the ordinance of the sacrament. I have been withdrawn from the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. Because the church was offended, I have been cut off from priesthood ordinances and the holy temple. My opportunity to serve others and to learn and grow has been discontinued. The church has created barriers that will impede the spiritual progress of myself, my family and children, my children’s children, and the generations that will follow. Maybe the church or those in authority have never thought about it that way.

I have extended the invitation to the church, that the time to stop being offended is now; an invitation that has been refused. Even though I have been told "we need you" and "you need the blessings of the restored gospel", those words are empty in the proclamation "We don't want you-- not now.”
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It's Always Wrong To Touch Someone When They've Said "No Touching."
Tuesday, Feb 7, 2012, at 12:08 PM
Original Author(s): Cheryl
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
It's always wrong to touch someone when they've said "no touching."

This is a continuation of the thread about the church leader forcing someone to endure unwanted shoulder caresses at a church meeting.

Someone in that thread lambasted the guy for objecting to the intrusion and causing a small commotion.

I want to lend support to anyone who stands up to mormons who invade private space and refuse to abide by normal boundaries.

In the nonmo world people don't usually aggressively insist on manhandling or caressing casual aquaintances. In the mormon world leaders sometimes overstep by using force. That's always inappropriate.

Other inappropriate boundary violations:

Going to homes where the residents have requested NO contact. Our homes are our castles. We have a 100% absolute right to determine who is welcome and who is not.

Asking about underwear is inappropriate especially if someone has said they're not willing to discuss it.

Telling people they must to believe or participate in a certain religion is inappropriate.

Even talking about religion can be wrong unless those in the conversation agree to cross this line.

Leaving anonymous treats on a doorstep as a comeon to attend a church is not normal behavior and is an invasion of personal space.

Mormons don't often see anything wrong with these things because they're programmed to blame victims for having boundaries.

So often on this board and among mormons I see people ridiculed for not submitting to boundary violations. Mormons and unrecovered exmos stick up for those who pull these stunts because they don't want to face the fact that they are part of the problem. Their mindset is stuck in a place of respecting church authority over self determination. If something doesn't bother *them,* they attribute weakness of character to anyone with different personal boundaries.

I'll be frank. Individuals don't owe mormons leeway on this issue. It isn't taking the highroad to put up with garmie checks, shoulder messaging, home invasions, or unannounced mormon spies if those things are bothersome or repulsive.

We all own our bodies. We own our time. We own our home space. We own our inner thoughts and feelings.

Anyone is dead wrong to claim we must undergo therapy and feel guilt over having boundaries.

What other boundary issues are minimized in the mormon culture?

Does anyone have examples to share?

Has anyone blown up over a boundary violation and felt guilty about it?

Did anyone used to be part of the problem?
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My Daughter Is Getting Married This Weekend
Thursday, Apr 26, 2012, at 01:19 PM
Original Author(s): Eric K
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
It certainly will not be a Temple wedding. :-)

She is a beautiful young woman who is marrying someone she has known for over 3 years. The marriage will be in a small non-denominational church in downtown Chattanooga on Saturday with a nice reception at a hall in a renovated part of downtown. My little jazz band (12 pc.) will play for an hour then there will be a DJ for a few hours at the reception. There will be loud laughter and plenty of beer and wine.

I was really touched this week as the majority of the people from the band said they would play for free as it was my daughter. I am still planning on paying them. The drummer, who just had a baby yesterday, said there is no way she is going to miss playing on Saturday. I mentioned this to my daughter and she started to cry. Another band member changed his schedule and is driving up from Alabama to play. He teaches music in Alabama and cancelled another gig he had for Saturday (2 months ago) to attend this event instead. A couple of the members offered on their own to arrive early to play some quiet background music for the guests as the arrive from the wedding to the reception. I did not have friends like that in Mormonism.

My mom, age 82, flew here yesterday. My son, who has served in Afghanistan and Iraq and has spent 5 1/2 years in the Mid-East and Africa will arrive this afternoon. This will be the first time in years that my little family will be all together.

There will be nearly 200 people at the wedding. It has been stressful with all the details for my wife and daughter and her future in-laws helping, but will be a memorable event. I could not imagine facing the dreadfulness of a temple ceremony versus what will be a fun and joyous weekend.
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Being An Ex-Mormon Has Made Me A Better Husband And Father
Friday, Apr 27, 2012, at 09:33 AM
Original Author(s): Faithnomore
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
I just wanted to share some of my observations on how leaving the church has made me a better parent. Here are some of the ways that leaving the church has made me a better Husband and Father:

- I Have Waaayyy More Time For My Family. For years I was resentful of the fact that although claiming to be, TSCC is not a family oriented church. As church duties and callings encroached on more and more on my limited time (Both Weekdays and Weekends), this issue became my main, driving reason for looking for the truth. Instead of dreading Sundays and the stress they brought, I now cherish them. I get to spend them with the people I love doing positive family-oriented activities.

- No Topics Are Taboo or Off-Limits. My kids are free to ask questions on any topic and I am free to answer them. Honesty, Integrity and Truth. I have the privilege of driving my kids to school on my way to work in the morning and I have better, more stimulating conversation with them than the adults I work with. I am free to raise truth-seekers!

-I Am Better Equipped to Handle Normal Kid Problems. I am free from judgmental propaganda and unrealistic, perfection-based expectations. I no longer project unhealthy requirements onto my kids. This is not to say that I don't set healthy expectations and follow through with consequences when needed. I just do it in a more loving, less crazy way. :)

-I Can Be Myself. My kids and I have developed deep, personal relationships over the last year. I no longer feel the need to be a strict, judgmental, authority figure. We can now laugh together, play together, work together and enjoy every second of it. My kids know the real me, and they think I'm pretty cool. Our new religion is family.

-We Have Extra Money. I hate tithing! Hate it with a passion. We had always paid even when paying meant going into debt. That greedy, uninspired policy has created tremendous hardship for my family. We are still paying off debt that was accumulated in no small part due to tithing. Now that we do not have to give away 10% of our income, we are slowly working our way out of debt and have the resources to go on family trips, buy the kids clothes when they need them, etc.

Life is great out of the Church!
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Mormonism And Obedience
Monday, Apr 30, 2012, at 09:14 AM
Original Author(s): Notanymore
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
If I were to use one word that sums up what Mormonism is all about that word would be obedience.

In my case, while on my mission and without knowing it consciously, the gospel how I came to understand it was never about obedience but more about adding something positive to mankind's experience. I saw obedience as a means to an end but not a be all end all.

But the futher I distance myself from Mormonism and study family members, friends and acquaintances, I can truly see how the Mormon dogma surrounding obedience is deeply intertwined into members psyche.

For Mormons, obedience has 2 objectives. The first objective is since this life is a test, obedience is the key to getting back to your heavenly father. And secondly, obedience in Mormonism has a direct correlation with success. If you are not successful, it is generally because you are not being obedient enough.

In other words, obedience in Mormonism is just about everything. It determines not only your temporal well-being but also your eternal salavation as well. Thus, there is rarely a question of whether what I am doing is right for me, my family, children, etc but rather the real question in Mormonism is am I being obedient enough to God and the church to receive God's blessings.

This is such a simple concept but it has taken me years to really understand it. The church never asks you to do what's best for yourself but only what the church wants you to do. Unfortunately, even if the church were "inspired" I would still have a problem with this kind of thinking.

As a missionary I always taught obedience using the example of a child playing will a ball that rolls in the street. Unfortunately, this example has little to do with the church's version of the what obedience means. In my example, the obedient child does not run into the street to fetch the ball and the end result is he doesn't get hurt. Mormonism's version has nothing to do with the child staying safe but rather a test to see if the child is being obedient. The child's safety in the end has nothing to do with it. It is all about the test of obedience.

Just another reason why I am no longer a member of the Mormon church.
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The False Stories We Buy Into As TBMs
Tuesday, May 15, 2012, at 07:32 AM
Original Author(s): Lost
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
I was cleaning today and came upon a couple weeks old postcard addressed to my kids about Stake Youth Conference. The postcard has a picture of the 2,000 stripling warriors with Helaman on a white horse. Apparently, I had neglected to throw it away and when I saw it while cleaning, it rekindled my anger at the years I wasted as a mormon, buying into false stories.

Of all the faith promoting stories, one of the worst and most abused, is the 2,000 stripling warrior story from the BOM. If you set aside the problems with the BOM (DNA, Archeological Evidence, Etc) and focus just on this story, it is a horrible image to put on a post card promoting a *youth* meeting, isn't it?

Here are some of the issues I have with the story of the 2,000 stripling warriors.

Very Simple Background:

We have a group of people who are disturbed by their current and past warlike behavior in the BOM who covenant with god to put down the sword and never raise their hand in battle, even in the defense of themselves.

So of course, their enemies start slaughtering them.

Their sons, who happen to number about 2,000, didn't make this covenant, so they go to war defendinng their parents/families. Supposedly, their faith (thanks to their mother's teachings) was so strong that even though all were wounded, none die of their wounds.

My Problems with this story:

1) It's a terrible tragedy that it was necessary to send CHILDREN off to war. So let's use this example on a postcard to invite modern day children to a conference, hmm? Maybe a nonmember will see the card, ask about it and a faith promoting moment can occur. *gag*

2) It's a lie. I find it very hard to believe that the parents of these 2,000 stripling warriors would have been happy with their son's decision to go to war so their parents wouldn't have to break their covenants. This is the stupdity of the story that I can't accept. If the parents were so strongly opposed to war (and its effects) that they THEMSELVES were willing to take on convenants not to fight even if they had to die at the hands of their enemies, why in the world would they accept their children doing so? Wouldn't it put their children in the same position they themselves had been in? The is a totally ridiculous concept to buy into which you have to in order to accept this story. I would never accept this were it me.

3) Wouldn't it be a more powerful faith promoting statement if the sons followed the example of their parents and died along with them, sending the message that war is wrong period? Horrible as it is, why isn't this ever mentioned or considered? This should be the correct message, not gathering up arms, etc, otherwise what is the point of the covenant in the first place???

This whole story is convoluted when you use logic to unravel it. It doesn't make sense. It is counter to what should have happened. Instead, it has become a touchstone to what good mothering yields. Can't get past Mother's Day without this idotic story being referenced. To me, it is a touchstone of everything that is wrong with the mormon church.

I see this story as a failure message. What became of these 2,000 stripling warriors after their battles were over? Did they and their progeny survive or were they all eventually wiped out by the enemies later on? If so, why? Hmmm.

Gosh, I'm just so sick that I accepted this garbage without really thinking about what I was supporting all those years.
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A "Cup Of Tea" From My First-Grader For Mother's Day (1999 Vs. 2012)
Tuesday, May 15, 2012, at 08:01 AM
Original Author(s): Shannon
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
I live in the South. Sweet tea is mainlined during the summertime. Hot tea in the winter is part of Christmas Celebrations (with peppermint) and part of any good home remedy for the flu.

Southern women have sipped tea (both hot and cold) and relaxed with friends and loved ones on front porches and around kitchen tables for generations.

When I was a rabid TBM, my oldest biological daughter, a little first-grader then, came home with a lovely handcrafted package that included a tea bag and a poem:

"A cup of tea to say thank you
For all the things you've done,
And wishes that the day will bring
You happiness and fun."

Her gift was lovingly made and a tiny paper tea cup was colored by her expert 6-year-old hand. A handwritten message from the teacher encouraged us moms to take a break on Mother's day and relax with a wonderful cup of tea, courtesy of our children.

I promptly threw the gift in the trash . . . like my little girl had brought home heroin. Then I gave her a stern lecture on the Word of Wisdom (offered in that instructional, Mormon-Mommy voice).

Today, my youngest (adopted and also a first-grader) brought home the exact same gift from the exact same elementary school. Instead of bashing his gift with Mormon superiority, we had a tea party!

I pulled out a tea kettle and we shined it up. He helped me pour the water and gather the supplies (fancy napkins, saucers and tea cups, peppermints, tea bag). Little man had never heard a tea pot whistle before - old Mormon habits die hard! I still don't drink much tea or coffee!! ;o)

We talked about the health benefits of tea. We talked about the British and their proper afternoon teas with "biscuits" (Cookies?! Whaaaat?). We used Briish accents and pinkies to really get into character. We each had a bit of chocolate and Mother's Day Cake to go with our tea.

I even taught my small son about the Boston Tea Party and why Americans drink mostly coffee now. ha! You should have seen his big eyes when his dad and I described the colonists throwing shiploads of tea into the harbor.

Then we finished our peppermint tea and I gave him a big hug and a kiss and told him how much I had enjoyed his Mother's Day Gift. (He still can't believe all the British loaf off for an hour or so in the afternoon just to drink tea and eat cookies).

Best. Mother's. Day. Ever.

Sometimes, I think I'm a much better exmo Mom than a Mormon Mom.

;o)

P.S. So, when my oldest daughter was in early elementary school, she went out to dinner one summer with her best friend's family (non-Mormon). The mom asked her if she wanted Sweet Tea with her meal. She snottily replied, "I'm not ALLOWED to drink tea." The mother looked at her like she was an alien. Sigh . . . she still doesn't drink tea to this day. I guess I did my job well.
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The Doctrine Of Eternal Family Is A Powerful Tool Of Manipulation
Tuesday, May 15, 2012, at 08:11 AM
Original Author(s): Ex-Lamanite
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
In honor of Mother's Day, I am celebrating my freedom from the church.

Earlier today, I wrote a longer post about the way Mother's Day helped me to see the absurdity of Mormonism. Along those same lines, I also wanted to highlight how the Mormon hierarchy manipulates one's natural love of family to achieve its own selfish ends.

The manipulation begins in primary.

We all remember the classic primary hymn, "I Am a Child of God." It is a well-loved conmposition within Mormon circles, and yet the lyrics plant the first seeds of misery for members who may eventually fall outside the Mormon ideal. Consider:

I am a child of God
And he has sent me here.
Has given me an earthly home
With parents kind and dear.

Lead me, guide me,
Walk beside me,
Help me find the way.
Teach me all that I MUST do
To live with him some day.

The song first calls to mind the love one feels for his or her family, but then immediately leads into all the obligations one MUST fulfill in order to live with God and one's family "some day." On the face, the song would seem hopeful, but in reality, it places the first speck of doubt into the minds of children. It teaches them that they can only enjoy the security of their parents and families IF they comply with the demands of the Gospel. The unspoken correlary is that disobedience leads to eternal separation from everyone the child knows and loves, even one's mother and father.

The second and third verses continue the veiled threat of eternal separation:

I am a child of God
And so my needs are great.
Help me to understand his words
Before it GROWS TOO LATE.

I am a child of God,
Rich blessings are in store
IF I but learn to do his will
I'll live with him once more.

From the perspective of developmental psychology, a child's most basic emotional need is to be protected and loved by his or her parents. But this song and other teachings in primary make that most fundamental security CONTIGENT upon obedience to Mormonism.

The manipulation begins in primary and continues throughout one's life. We are told that only by attending the temple can we live forever as eternal families. Of course, that means that we have to submit to authority, pay 10% of our incomes, donate our time and talents as the church may demand, refrain from questions or criticism, and accept whatever bizarre doctrine they may feel inclined to inflict upon us. Why? Because we were conditioned to fear eternal separation from our families.

Then they hijack sacred family events like baby blessings and weddings to enforce submission to their policies and so-called commandments. If the internal pressure isn't enough to secure obedience, they know that many will bend when faced with being excluded from the wedding of a beloved daughter or son.

Is it any wonder that so many of us agonized over our decision to leave the church? And is it any wonder that our family members who remain in the church agonize over US and use whatever manipulation they can to get us back?

Like I said before, my "eternal family" is HERE and NOW. We don't need the temple or a make-believe priesthood to affirm or "seal" our love for family.
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The Painful Irony Of Mother's Day
Tuesday, May 15, 2012, at 08:17 AM
Original Author(s): Ex-Lamanite
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
Within the LDS tradition, Mother's Day plays well into the whole "families are forever" theme, but for me, the irony was that Mother's Day eventually helped me to see the absurdity of Mormonism.

A lifetime ago, I was a young teenage convert who believed the Mormon message with all sincerity, but my parents remained unconverted. They respected my religious choices, but they themselves did not believe my new-found religion. Oh, I was a valiant little missionary who took every opportunity to preach the Gospel to my parents and to bear fervent testimony that our family could be eternal, if only they would accept the "truth." But sadly for me, my parents never joined the church. In fact, each of my parents told me in their own ways that they would never become Mormons, even if it were offered to them in the next life.

My parents' decision created a painful paradox. Every Sunday I sat in church and listened to the members, teachers, and priesthood leaders as they gushed on and on regarding the blessings of eternal family. Most of them came from multi-generational LDS families and would never know the pain of eternal separation from their loved ones, and more presently, they would never know that their words might create a miserable experience for the one lone boy in the congregation from the non-member family. But then again, most Mormons I knew cared precious little about the feelings of those who fall outside their narrow experience.

But I was still a young man, and I didn't see the church as the problem - I blamed myself. I thought perhaps that I had not been faithful enough, or that I had not prayed or fasted enough to be worthy of an eternal family. Even my patriarchal blessing said that if I was faithful, my parents would see my shining example and gain a testimony of the Gospel. When my parents remained steadfast in their denial of Mormonism, what other conclusion could I reach? In my young, I was the problem.

And this brings me back to Mother's Day.

Every Mother's Day, I sat alone at the back of the chapel and wept. While everyone else sang praises to their eternal families, I knew that I would be alone - I knew that my parents would never accept. The so-called blessings of the temple became a death sentence, an insurmountable wall that would one day separate me from everyone who ever mattered to me.

Eventually I went on a mission and married in the temple, still hoping that my faithfulness would convince my parents, but at some point, my eyes were opened and the absurdity of Mormonism became apparent. I realized that the whole "eternal family" doctrine was really a curse, not a blessing. It only works if EVERYONE agrees and submits to Mormon authority. But if one family member disagrees or "falls away," then even the faithful are punished and eternally separated from the ones they love. Suddenly I became deeply aware that I didn't want to inherit ANY kingdom, celestial or otherwise, where I would be forever deprived of my mother and father.

To borrow a Mormon phrase, the scales of darkness fell from my eyes, and suddenly I saw misery all around me within the Mormon Church. I saw faithful LDS mothers weeping when their daughters marry outside the temple. I saw parents in agony when a child chose to not serve a mission. I saw wives in misery when their husbands leave the church, and young people feeling isolated and alone when one parent doesn't believe. I saw gay and lesbian family members ostracized and shunned. I saw divorced women in terror that they would spend all eternity ALONE. The Gospel is supposed to mean "Good News," but instead I saw that the teachings of the church bring pain and unhappiness to anyone who falls outside the Mormon ideal.

Worse yet, I realized that my obsession with converting my parents actually prevented me from having a close relationship with them. The church prides itself with being the champions of the pro-family movement, but for so many of us, they actually drive a wedge between families, in this life and in the next.

Once the illusion dissipated, I finally saw just how amazing and beautiful my parents ARE - and how deeply they always loved me. My "eternal family" is HERE and NOW.
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Making It Work With A Believing Spouse -- Part Of My Personal Recovery From Mormonism
Wednesday, May 16, 2012, at 07:23 AM
Original Author(s): Susieq#1
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
Our situations, ages, home environment, etc. are very different.

This is how I do it - now!

That has been my situation for several years now.

I found I needed to accept that we both have rights. And learn to make peace with that.

There is a right that we often forget. :-)

The right to believe in Mormonism. That comes into play when one partner changes their mind about the LDS Church.

I was a Mormon for over three decades, certainly, if anyone understood that I would! As a young adult convert, it was my "adopted tribe" ! I adjusted to the culture shock ! It wasn't easy, but I made it work. Besides, I am a bulldog - I have a tenacious personality, I will do the work to find a way for the best outcome!

Just because I changed my mind, that is no guarantee my spouse will. And why would he? Initially, I had the expectation that if I changed my mind, everyone else would. Ahh...not so fast, it does not work that way.

I am 100% certain that there is no way my believing hubby of over seven decades will change his mind about his beliefs in Mormonism. I used to think it was just a matter of some information, or hey, look what I found, but I did not take into consideration the immense power of the spiritual witness and the power of the belief by faith. That is part of human beings that is ancient and no different today, in my view.

Well. What to do? Hmmm..... I needed to set some priorities and make a decision that would have the best possible outcome and pay attention to some basic facts of life. 1. Nobody can change anybody else.. I had to sit with that for a long time to finally "get it." I had to do the work to let go of the emotional attachment to the expectation that I had the power to change another person. That was a biggie!

Then I needed to ask myself: Can I make peace with that? Can I let it go? Can I leave it alone and not make it an issue?

Then I learned something that took me a lot of years to finally "get" -- it's only an issue if I make it one! Ahh... I had options -- and lots of them.

Maybe, sometimes, people just give in. They can't out-talk or out-fight their partner, they are worn down, so they acquiesce and go along to get along! But did I want that? Clearly -- no.

Maybe, just maybe, the marriage and that investment of love, time, family, financial, emotional issues is much, much, much more important that a difference of opinion about some beliefs ! Could I make peace with that? You bet I could! I have over 47 years invested in this marriage. I am going to preserve it.

I realized early on that I needed to give myself permission to do the work to find my own path to inner happiness and peace. That meant that I needed to find a way to make peace with my life. .All of it.

That include making peace with my life as a Mormon and making peace with my life as a former Mormon.

It required that I do the work .I was the one to change my attitude and change my focus. Just thinking about it was overwhelming. So, I had to practice some skills. They were new ones. I did some study, research, read a bunch of books, took classes and found out what I needed to do.

My conclusions: Some things are just not worth fighting or arguing about for or against. We can't all be the same. We can't all believe the same things.

What did I want for myself and my family: I wanted everything that was within my power.

I am not going to give up anything; not one iota of my investment in my family, home, marriage because I changed my mind about my beliefs in Mormonism. We are people first. Beliefs second. Once I set that priority and kept it firmly planted in my mind, life started to flow peacefully. It was like opening up a damn that I had constructed within myself. When I let go, things began to flow much more smoothly.

The result: we have a peaceful co-existence built on love and respect; he is a believer and I am not. He has his beliefs, and I have mine. Do they agree all the time. Absolutely not. Why would we? Is it OK to argue, and make a fuss? Sure it is. We can do that. We can be passionate about our differences and always respect each other. We have agreed to disagree. And, why not? It's OK. We can do that, no matter what the issue is.

I hope to get to 50 plus years of marriage and not let something as insignificant as a difference of opinion about religiously based claims and belief by faith divide us or our family! Do we have to work on it? Of course we do!

So.... life goes on and on and on. We make the best with what we have. The older we get, the more changes and health issues we face, the more we face just how short life is.. It's a struggle, but it's always worth it We play the cards we are dealt. I chose well. My spouse is a good man. And, I am told, those are hard to find! :-)

It is not always easy, or smooth sailing, but with a little effort and an attitude of gratitude it is so much easier! Resentments and anger melt away in the face of a positive attitude and laughter. Wow. How did I miss that?

There was no room for negative self talk either. I knew I was OK. I knew I could do anything I set my mind to. I have to slap myself around some times and knock some sense into my head...again, and again....and admit my errors, take responsibility, make amends, and start over, dozens of times, but the more I stay on course, stay focused on what I really wanted for myself and my family, the easier it becomes.

Appreciation is an amazing power supply. It's like magic. Practically nobody can resist it! :-) It's surprising how far a simple compliment will go! A -- thank you! Just walk down the street or drive your car with a smile on your face ! Say something to get a laugh from someone. They won't forget you. It will break down barriers and open doors.

I have a "fix it" personality which I have learned is not always needed! ;-)

My conclusion: life is best lived with a sense of humor. A lot of laughter every day.

With what years I have left, I have given myself permission to get to the laughter, find the fun and enjoy it. A smile and laughter is contagious! Practically nobody can resist that either!

Difference of opinions, in the long run of a very long life with good people are really not that important! ahh... what a relief to know it's OK to let go, let it be and just ....enjoy!

[These are my observations and conclusions. They are subject to change as I receive "further light and knowledge"!-]
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From Fog To Enlightenment: Some Of My Steps In The Exit Process From Mormonism-While Writing All The Way.
Thursday, May 17, 2012, at 07:46 AM
Original Author(s): Susieq#1
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
From the very beginning, I found an outlet for my process and this board was one of them.

Updated --

1. THE FOG-DAZE STAGE!

What happened? Saw WHAT???

This is what happened while reading on line (Dr. Shades --to be exact) in the spring of 1999, when I realized that there were no golden plates, no translations, the BOM was fiction, Joseph Smith Jr. told such amazing claims (while plagiarizing everything in sight) that no wonder it didn't always make sense. He created a believable (to some) God Myth, something that had not been done for a very long time.

OH MY GOSH! It was JOE! I couldn't get over how clever this whole thing was!

Joe-Joe-it was YOU! The core was the problem,that's what was wrong with the picture! The whole premise could be considered a sham, magic trick all rolled into a fantastic God Myth! No wonder when I worked with educators and arm chair historians in the church they would only teach: Faith Promoting history to protect the delicate testimonies"...... and keep the tithing coming in!

The epiphany -- light bulb went off!

This is where I jumped up off my computer chair punching the air saying: "YES! YES! YES!"

It hit me like 4th of July fireworks going off and I started to snicker, the more I read, the more I laughed! I knew there was something wrong and I was right all along. It is them, not me! I could trust myself after all. What a boost to my self confidence and self respect!

For years, I kept thinking: "what is wrong with this picture." I thought it was just a few silly, pompous, sanctimonious, out of control, renegade leaders with a misplaced sense of responsibility acting like they had a little kingdom going, but no..no..that was not the real reason..nothing made sense. And it didn't make sense because it was sold as factually true when it was not.

Then, all of a sudden it made sense: Mormonism only makes sense in 19th century America before the Information Age, and the Internet! It worked because of the times. It was cemented by faith and belief into the core original believers who handed it down from generation to generation creating their very own unique religious tribe part of American history.

This was followed very, very closely by....

2. THE STUNNED HUMOR STAGE!

Oh My Holy Garments!

Millions of Mormons are still believing what Joseph Smith Jr. claimed and paying 10% (minimum) for the privilege, while wearing regulation skivvies, and going to the temple doing what could be called: bastardized Masonic rituals. Even the markings are the same. That was new to me!

3. THIS IS NOT FUNNY STAGE!

What a cotton-picking minute here. This is not funny-funny; this is just a bit... well... bizarre. What did I miss?

Every one of those characters, ( original family and friends), led by Joseph Smith Jr went along with him from the get-go! What an amazing character! He had those people believing everything he said (had some nasty arguments at times though), but he prevailed and the church membership grew. He even managed to institute polygamy and got away with it even though it was illegal in every state. Then there was Brigham Young and his creative abilities and how he,acting as a dictator, predominately, shaped the religion for decades in the 1800's in Utah. His influence is still felt there and other areas.

4.THE SPONGE STAGE.

Constant reading, can't get enough, have to know every last thing I can learn about Mormonism's history and how it functions from their own sources.

This is also the grateful stage for how they kept records. The members wrote everything down! Their own web site was a gold mine of information!

What a great find: those silly facsimiles in the Book of Abraham are very embarrassing, if you ask me. Some think they will disappear in the next publication. I doubt it. There is even an 1856 translation (from a Frenchman) of this piece of so called translation that shoots Joseph Smith Jr out of the water, including many since. But he had what it took to make claims and have people believe him. They still do, by the hundreds of thousands, even millions. That's the power of his God Myth.

The official site, (note: now they are removed!) had BH Roberts Comprehensive History - all 6 vol's of it, and the Journal of Discourses , all 26 vol's of it too.

They can be read in hard copy. Go to any ward/stake library or Institute of Religion library. They usually have them in their 'REFERENCE' section which, means, of course, that you have to read them in their tiny little libraries!

One of the many books I bought was the Donna Hill book "The First Mormon Prophet" which my TBM husband, in a fit of terror and fear, took to church to show to the Institute Director, without my knowledge, of course. Later, he returned it and said that the Institute Director told him the book "had a bad spirit" and he would not recommend reading it.

The story gets better! A few weeks later, I went to the Institute of Religion to look up some books in their library and was reading in the Reference Section which included: "History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" 7 Vol's by Joseph Smith Jr

"A Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" 6 Vol's by B H Roberts

"Readings in L.D.S. Church History from Original Manuscripts" 3 Vol's by William E. Berrett and Alma P Burton

"Journal of Discourses" 26 vol's

I had been there for awhile, table piled with books, when the Institute Director came in asking how I was doing, making a point to tell me he was looking for a DandC. I suspected he came in because he could hear me snickering in that little room! (Some of their original history is really quite funny!)

I made some remarks to him about the early history and he, (with furrowed brow, in hushed tones) talked about how hard it must have been for the early Saints to live the Gospel, etc. I made some remark about the Word of Wisdom and he could not recall which section it was in. I feigned that I had picked the wrong one, was one chapter off!

I told him that I had received a huge sheet of my probably genealogical history (did not know my biological father) and he asked if I had "done the work for them." I told him that I would never do that as I did not have permission from them. I think that caught him so off guard, he had nothing more to say!

Then while looking at books to check out, I noticed the Donna Hill book right on the shelf of the Institute of Religion library. Guess the bad spirit was not so bad he could not have it right there to be checked out! I came home and told my husband that if he wanted to, he could check out that one and read it, apparently it had a better "spirit." :-)

Also, I noticed a complete paper back edition of the BH Roberts "The Comprehensive History of the Church of Latter-day Saints," and picked it up to see if it was the same as the hard back editions. It appeared to have never been opened. I checked them out, making up a new library card, and leaving it with the elderly Institute Missionaries and went home.

While thumbing through them I noticed my own address label in the back of one of the books. Holy Cow! I had purchased those back in about 1978 and left them somewhere and they ended up in the library! Those were my books!! What a find!!

Then I went home and hauled out our whole Mormon Church library and found that we owned a 1953 first edition of the Berrett and Burton text books: "Readings in L.D.S. Church History From Original Manuscripts" 3 vol's by Willian E. Berrett and Alma P. Burton, Published by Deseret Book SLC 1953! It was a text book by TBM husband has used at BYU in the late 50's and the set was in the Reference Section of the library. It has some of the most interesting LDS Church history not found anywhere else, including thousands of quotes from early members.

This is where I also sought out Internet support and found dozens of people who were leaving Mormonism. What a great relief!

Hallelujah, pass the potatoes, I read while eating and went to bed and dreamed about it.

5. The HOLY COW STAGE!

This is amazingly intrusive stuff. I didn't realize it at the time, as it all happened so gradual. But, they trampled on my personal rights, my privacy, my naked body (in the temple under that shield), and told me it was what Heavenly Father wanted. Hmmm... I don't think so. Didn't make sense at the time. What was I thinking? Time to revamp that thinking! And I did. I changed my mind! I did not need Mormonism. I was done.



6. THE SECOND "ONLY TRUE" HUMOR STAGE!

Mormonism is just too funny, goofy, outrageous to take seriously, at times, except when they are killing people, of course. I needed to be in that place where I could have a good laugh at myself and what I though was so important at one time and experience how healing that is!

7. THE SEPARATION STAGE!

This is where I examined my life, all of it; before Mormonism, as a convert, and as a totally immersed, believing Mormon and figured out what happened on a mental, psychological, and emotional level and took apart the layers of it's impact, both the negative and the positive. I had been concerned for years about what I witnessed: too many leaders with too little or no expertise advising people about things that basically, are none of their business much of the time. More that didn't make sense.

8. THE NEW WORLD VIEW STAGE: ENLIGHTENMENT!!

This is the point where I researched for hours, and hours; read books--a couple dozen books, and read about other people's beliefs and decided what I wanted for myself, knowing it was an evolutionary process, and I could change my mind at any point. How delicious! I could change my mind and there was no one-true-way -- I had been bamboozled in my naivety and I was not going to let that happen again!

Now, I call myself an Eccentric Eclectic because I like a little bit of a lot of beliefs, notions, ideas. Perhaps a lot of you are a lot like me.

I am part: AGNOSTIC: This is safe and the most accurate. To say you are atheist is so politically incorrect, and unacceptable in this day and age that it is suicide to try to run for office, for instance, also, so many people believe that atheism is of the devil that many relationships are cut off before they begin because of this prejudice.

I find that calling myself an agnostic is preferable and works best for my own survival on many levels. Because I live in a predominant Judeo-Christian society (like most of us posting here) to be too far out of it causes more problems that it solves.

I am also part ATHEIST:

I have been known to say I am a "soft" atheist - taking the default position of non-belief in the unsupported theist claim of a God - which is not the same thing as taking the position of no gods. I reserve the term: God for that which is currently unexplainable and use it as a metaphor, figure of speech.

I am part SKEPTIC I want a lot of verifiable information from state of the art sources before I add my allegiance. I do not automatically believe someone because of who they are, what they believe or just because they said so.

I am part HUMANIST American Humanist - "Humanism is a progressive lifestance, free of supernaturalism, which affirms our ability and responsibility to lead meaningful, ethical lives that add to the greater good of humanity." Again, I am not sure about the "supernaturalism" part, because I allow for all possibilities. Again, I want verifiable evidences.

I like a few BUDDHIST ideas also, and I stir all this up with a good dose of humor, satire, and just plain fun!

At this point, I have been on the outside of Mormonism since 1998. My official resignation date from the Mormon Church is (get this -- could not have planned it) JUNE 27, 2002! What a way to celebrate the shoot-out at Carthage Jail: June 27, 1844!

Coincidently, I had titled my "Story" -- written in pieces a few years before I officially resigned: "From Mormonism to Eccentric Eclectic--From Saint to Ain't. My Love Affair with Joseph Smith Jr. and How It Ended." (Latest draft - I am never quite "done." with it)

In the exit process from Mormonism, I have become passionate about freedom of religion, full disclosure and informed consent and informed choice.

I have been shaped by some of the prevailing values in my prior beliefs in Spiritualism, Christianity and Mormonism, however, I can find no reason to believe that those values are exclusive to those beliefs alone. Humanity has always been a borrower -- taking from older ideas and revamping them. Mormonism is not really that unique. It follows the same patterns of most religions.

A little study and research showed clearly that there are thousands of gods, female ones long predate male ones and how would one choose? So many gods, so little time, so many heavens, so little time, so many myths, so little time.

It became apparent that we are mostly a product of the geography of our birth.

The closer I get to the end of my life, the more I realize that I do not need answers to where I came from and where I am going.

There are thousands of answers to those questions and not a one of them has any real evidences that satisfy the skeptic in me and I am not interested in just relying on faith. Been there done that, and it is unsatisfactory.

I prefer to place my faith in all things, just not in a supreme being, a God, (personalized or otherwise) or creator. I demand something substantial, something supported by evidence to place my faith in.

It is not necessary to my sense of well being, my self confidence, my self esteem, my self respect, or how I treat other people, or how I view my place in the world to subscribe to the God Myths-beliefs.

It is, however, extremely liberating and freeing to know I am not bound by those old myths, teachings, beliefs and am free to think and believe anything I wish without fear of recrimination from some outside source.

I am very grateful that I figured that out with enough years left to totally enjoy it!
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The People Who Decided I Would Be Mormon
Tuesday, May 29, 2012, at 08:06 AM
Original Author(s): Mia
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
Who decided I would be born into mormonism? Who decided my mother would be born into it? And her mother?

I didn't become mormon by choice. I was born into it. My mother was born into it.

I didn't know any of my relatives before my grandparents time. So, i'll start with them.

My grandfather was raised rlds and converted into mormonism when he came west at 14. My grandmother was born into it. Before and after they married they always lived out in the country,hundreds of miles from any major cities. They lived the farm/ranch life. They both had no more than an 8th grade education. They went to a branch that had 20 or 30 people in it. It's still that way to this day.

When my mother was born they lived in a sheep camp in a tent. They had a total of 8 children. All of those children were raised to be mormon. None of those children had more than a high school education. They grew up in a very small town out in the middle of nowhere. They knew almost nothing of the outside world.

All of these people were literate. However, none of them owned a BoM or ever read one. They were devout mormons in spite of that.

These are the people who decided that I would be a mormon. People who had never read the Bom or Bible. Never read anything that would educate them about religious beliefs and studies. People who were mormons by birth, certainly not by educated conversion or religious knowledge. They simply did what the Mormon leaders told them to do.

My parents, especially my mother, were devout hardline mormons. They NEVER questioned. They taught their children it was a sin to question. They never missed a meeting. My father was a bishop at the age of 29. They lived the religion to the letter. No allowances were made to ever live anything other than mormonism. The predominate emotion or should I say atmosphere was of fear.

My parents finally bought a BoM when I was about 17. I don't know if they read it or not. These were the people who decided I would be mormon if I liked it or not.

Given this history, how could anyone fault me for looking into the mormon religion? How could they hold it against me for having a lifetime of questions, doubts, and concerns? Generations of people who never questioned, never read, never considered for a moment the church wasn't what it claimed. People who lived a devout life and demanded the same of their children. People who hadn't been exposed to education, or much anything else going on in the world. They feared anyone or anything that wasn't mormon. Mormonism was their safety zone. It's where you were either right or wrong. Nothing in between. Every problem they had was solved by the bishop. They were like little children.

I've had the good fortune to be alive in a time when information about anything can be had. How can any reasonable person be angry and vindictive because I want/need to know exactly how and why I became a mormon, and more importantly, why I should stay one?

How can Mormon leadership expect my generation to keep marching in lockstep, looking neither right nor left while in a state of total ignorance of past events that brought us to this religion? Times have changed. It's no longer considered a good thing to live life without questioning, without learning, studying, and researching. It's no longer considered good, or even healthy to keep secrets and make up glossy histories to make people feel better about who they are and where they came from.

The prophet and general authorities are from my parents generation for the most part. They lived a life of prestige and advantage compared to my parents. They are college educated. In many ways they are still stuck in the thinking of the past though. They have taken great advantage of the people of my parents generation that didn't have the connections and education the leaders have.

They are fearful of my generation and terrified of our children. The members are becoming aware that the church is being run like a dysfunctional family by dysfunctional leaders. The religion has been so controlled that it's almost impossible to find God or any kind of reason in the mix.

The new generation doesn't go along with ask no questions and live in fear. They have learned to question everything. As a result they study, read, and research before they sign on the dotted line. They have access to information that their parents are only just finding out about. The secrets are out. The skeletons are being drug out of the closet kicking and screaming.

Hopefully the skeletons will be given their rightful burial and be put to rest. Silenced once and for all, only to be looked at as a curiosity by the future generations.
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I Never Would Have Made A Good Mormon
Tuesday, May 29, 2012, at 08:09 AM
Original Author(s): Strykary
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
Today I was looking back on some of my childhood experiences, both pleasant an unpleasant, when I remembered a lie I told at church. I was about six or seven years old at the time when I told this lie, but looking back now I realize that it was a pivotal moment in my development.

I was at the church with my Mother and younger sister. My Mother was either in the relief society presidency or was the primary president. I can't remember which exactly, because she was always involved with some ward leadership position. Anyways, she had left my younger sister and I, who was two or three at the time, in the nursery to watch movies while she took care of her responsibilities with the presidency. My Mother told me that they would be in the relief society room and that we could find them there if we needed anything.

A couple of hours pass and my sister and I start to get restless. Our movie had finished and we were ready to go home. Plus, the weather outside was nasty and the church was dark. I've always found dark empty churches to be quite creepy, so I was a bit nervous as well. We wandered over to the relief society room only to find a dark empty room. So we decided to check the primary room to see if they were there. No luck, just another empty room.

We headed back to the nursery and my sister started crying when we got back. She thought our mom had left us. I told her to wait in the room and that I would continue searching the building for our mom. I eventually found them in the clerk's office. They had just finished their meeting and needed some information regarding their budget.

What happened next I don't quite understand. Perhaps I just wanted to test a boundary. I told them we were scared because we couldn't find them. They then asked how I found them and a lie came out of nowhere. "We were scared so I thought we should pray for help to find you." They were impressed with this answer. "He's so spiritually in tune!" "Wow, he must have really felt the spirit!" "You have a special son, Strykary's Mom!"

At first I was pleased with their answers. I was showered with admiration and kudos. But then this lie started to spread. As soon as we returned home, my Mom called my Grandma to tell her about the wonderful experience we just had. The following Sunday was fast Sunday and my Mom and the others from the presidency bore their testimonies about the truthfulness of the gospel using my story as supporting evidence.

My stomach knotted.

I knew I had deceived them. I never expected my lie to be so powerful. I don't know why I told it, maybe I wanted the admiration at first, or maybe I was trying to test a boundary. I quickly realized the consequences of that lie. Apparently, for someone my age to exhibit such a great sense of Mormon spirituality is a big deal. I never expected to get attention for something that, to me, seemed relatively miniscule. My Grandma, who lives in Utah, had also shared this story with my extended family and her ward.

When I saw what happened on Sunday and when I heard my Grandma sharing this story, I knew I had to tell my Mom the truth. I told her that I never prayed for guidance and that I just went from room to room looking for them on that rainy day. Her eyes got big and she became very angry. "Do you know how many people I told? How many people your Grandma told? Never do something like that again. We told your lie and are liars too." The truth about what happened remained between her and I.

I never did do it again. I could have never revealed the truth. I could have spiritualized nonspiritual events so I would receive validation and adoration from the people around me. I could have continued fabricating spiritual stories for superficial kudos, but I didn't. I never told a spiritual story again because I never had one to tell. I kept looking for an impressive experience like the exaggerated tales shared over the pulpit on fast Sundays, but I never once found one.

Not once.
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Shunned For Disbelief
Tuesday, Jun 5, 2012, at 10:44 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
Left home just last year. My parents had made it clear that they wouldn't accept me if I wasn't a Mormon. I told them about my lack of belief in 2009 and they issued an ultimatum "be a Mormon or else we won't love you." As a male, I could only toe the line for so long until they started telling me to go on a mission. That's when I knew I had to leave before the pressure got worse. I was having panic attacks on a regular basis and I knew that I would attempt suicide if they put me under any more pressure.

Now that I've left we no longer speak to each other, and my siblings think I'm the most monstrous thing in existence. My parents slandered me when I left and my Father threatened everyone I knew with legal action if they had anything to do with me. This caused me to lose most of my non-Mormon friends. They did everything in their power to make sure that I failed and had to come crawling home to them. I lost everything when I left.

Thankfully I was fortunate enough to find someone willing to take me in until I can set out on my own.
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It Really Is Okay To Say "No" To Bishops And Other Church Leaders
Tuesday, Aug 14, 2012, at 06:12 AM
Original Author(s): Jod3:360
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
It took me a long time to get up the guts to say NO when commanded to visit or to meet. Since childhood I was told that the Bp was the father of the ward and Jesus' personal servant. To disobey the Bishop is to offend Christ Himself, to lie to the bp is to lie to the Lord.

When the Bishop last came to my home I went outside. We had to speak in my front yard in view and earshot of the neighbors. The conversation on *my* property where everyone could hear was very liberating, and very different from having to sit across the desk on his turf.

If you are called to go and visit for a discussion, remember- it is to reign you in. You are a wayward employee called on the bosses carpet. The best thing and the most liberating is to simply say No. It's hard to get up the courage because he is your boss according to the rules.

But, here is the deal- if you no longer believe, then he is no longer your boss. He has no authority over you other than to administer church justice, but isn't that the same as if you quit your job and a month later the department manager demands you return to work or you are fired?

Bishops and Auxilliary leaders thrive on being able to command and people jump to attention. Saying NO leaves them speechless. Yea, even deflated.

Sometimes it is tempting to go and to let him have an earful, and many of us have done it, but in the end, it matter little what you know. All that the Bp is interested in is hauling you in. When you go to these meetings, no matter your intentions, you show that you are still able to be pushed around and the Bishop or Stake Pres or whoever will continue to push and prod, call and knock, hassle and torment. Like the persistent ex-boyfriend, they won't get the message until you take that boquet of flowers and throw it on the ground.

In the end, the church is false. His authority extends only as far as you let it. Once we learn that he does not have the power to call down the consuming fire from the heavens, its really just a matter of ignoring some guy called Bishop whats-his-face.
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Mormon Spiritual Experiences
Monday, Sep 17, 2012, at 07:44 AM
Original Author(s): Henry Bemis
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
After discovering that Mormonism was false, many of us were left to reinterpret the “spiritual experiences” we had as Mormons, some of which were quite profound–at least that is how we viewed them at the time. Mormon friends and relatives might still insist that such experiences were literally from the “Holy Ghost,” and would have us believe that such experiences should trump both the negative facts about Mormonism, and the doubts that spring from such facts. An extreme extension of such a view provides for our eternal condemnation for turning away from such experiences, and thereby “denying the Holy Ghost.”

The typical ex-Mormon response to prior Mormon “spiritual experiences” is to call upon psychology and neuroscience to explain away such experiences. There is perhaps a hurried temptation to chalk them up to simple garden variety “feelings” and “emotions,” and equate such experiences with the feelings generated by art, music, the universe, love, or whatever. In any event, “spiritual experiences” are conveniently categorized as nothing more than a natural emotion, emerging from an oppressive religious context, and having no metaphysical implications. In this way, our spiritual experiences in the context of Mormonism are explained, and we can move on to adopt a worldview that is at last free of Mormonism, and free of any metaphysical commitments associated with such experiences. This fallback position is supported by psychology and neuroscience, which confirms that ordinary human emotions arise out of complex processes in the brain. So-called “spiritual experiences” by extension are also nothing but such processes. This position is cavalierly adopted in the skeptical literature without much thought or discussion, which makes it even more satisfying and acceptable.

My problem with the above view is that I think it is simply wrong, and sometimes disingenuous. Put simply, it is not a fair analysis of the nature of such experiences, as those having such experiences should know and admit. Of course, there is no doubt that Mormonism is false, and no amount of “spiritual confirmation” can change this empirical fact. Moreover, there is no doubt that much, if not most, of the “spiritual experiences” associated with Mormonism are nothing more than self-induced, purely emotional responses, to powerful external suggestion and manipulation. But certainly not all of such experiences–both in Mormonism and in other contexts, religious or otherwise–can be so explained. The central problem is that many of such experiences occur in a context where no such suggestion or manipulation is manifest; a context where the mind is not pre-focused on spiritual or religious questions, and where such experiences simply happen “out of the blue” so to speak. Sometimes the phenomenal quality of such experiences is very profound, and occasionally they encompass empirical facts that are subsequently verified.

Let’s be clear, I am not suggesting that there is a God that is speaking to a soul here. All I am pointing out in this post is that simplistic explanations of spiritual experiences as simply emotions or feelings, is both wrong by definition, and explanatorily inadequate.

It might be helpful at this point to cite a general example, taken from William James:

“But as I turned and was about to take a seat by the fire, I received a mighty baptism of the Holy Ghost. Without any expectation of it, without ever having the thought in my mind that there was any such thing for me, without any recollection that I had ever heard the thing mentioned by any person in the world, the Holy Spirit descended upon me in a manner that seemed to go through me, body and soul. I could feel the impression, like a wave of electricity, going through and through me. Indeed, it seemed to come in waves and waves of liquid love; for I could not express it in any other way.” (James, “The Varieties of Religious Experience.” Page 250)

Such accounts are common, and certainly cannot be explained as an emotional response to an external pressure or stimulus. Accounts like this occur in the context of Mormonism as well as in a variety of other contexts, religious and otherwise, and have been assigned multiple interpretations by those having them. Many of us, including myself, have had similar experiences. What do they mean, if anything?

No doubt, if the person having such an experience were hooked up to any number of brain imaging devices (e.g. EEG, PET, MRI, fMRI), a token-token correlation would be apparent between the phenomenal experience and brain state or function. In some contexts this has already been done, and such experiences have been loosely type-type correlated with neurological disorders, such as epilepsy, or other emotional states. But this correlative effect does NOT explain the experience, simply because the source, or ultimate cause, of the experience is not explained. Even assuming that the brain played a causal role in the experience, it is not at all obvious what triggered the underlying brain state in examples such as the one above. Although I am very much aware of the materialist explanations for such events, and am in general sympathetic to such explanations, I am personally dissatisfied with such explanations when attempting to address my own experiences. For me, they fall woefully short.

I wish I had an explanation for my own Mormon “spiritual experiences.” Some, of course, can be explained by sheer psychological manipulation. But others cannot. Notwithstanding, I am very confident in hindsight that they did not have anything to do with the truth of Mormonism, for the simple reason that overwhelming evidence confirms that Mormonism is false. I do not believe–God or no God–that information about the universe comes by revelation, irrespective of contrary empirical facts. Moreover, however powerful such experiences might be, there is no logical connection between the experiences of themselves, and any facts about the world, most especially Mormon doctrine or history. Though perhaps related in some way, “spiritual experiences” never seem to be a matter of specific, testable insight, as when a scientist has a eureka moment when struggling with a scientific problem, and later confirms that the insight was correct.

I suppose the lesson in all this is two-fold. First, I don’t think we need to feel that we have to explain away our Mormon spiritual experiences by simplistic references to psychology and neuroscience. Second, our “spiritual experiences” in whatever context they might be in, MAY–and I emphasize MAY–be a window to a reality that transcends scientific explanation. I find it intriguing that such experiences by their nature seem to encompass and direct us to the latter interpretation. When such experiences occur, we seem to be left feeling that there is something more going on than the complex firing of neurons in the brain.

(Recommended reading: William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience; William Alston, Perceiving God: The Epistomology of Religious Experience; Caroline Davis, The Evidential Force of Religious Experience; Anthony O’Hear, Experience, Explanation, and Faith; Johannes Ungar, On Religious Experience: A Psychological Study; R. Douglas Geivett (ed), Contemporary Perspectives on Religious Epistemology (particularly Part IV))
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Some Of My Steps In The Exit Process From Mormonism - While Writing All The Way
Friday, Oct 5, 2012, at 07:32 AM
Original Author(s): Susieq#1
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
This account was written probably in late 1999 early 2000. It was my initial raw response to realizing there was "something wrong with this picture" and my need to continue believing in the claims of Mormonism. (If I write it today, it would read much differently, of course.)

From the very beginning, I found an outlet for my process and this board was one of them.

Updated --

1. THE FOG-DAZE STAGE!

What happened? Saw WHAT???

This is what happened while reading on line (Dr. Shades --to be exact) in the spring of 1999, when I realized that there were no golden plates, no translations, the BOM was fiction, Joseph Smith Jr. told such amazing claims (while plagiarizing everything in sight) that no wonder it didn't always make sense. He created a believable (to some) God Myth, something that had not been done for a very long time.

OH MY GOSH! It was JOE! I couldn't get over how clever this whole thing was!

Joe-Joe-it was YOU! The core was the problem,that's what was wrong with the picture! The whole premise could be considered a sham, magic trick all rolled into a fantastic God Myth! No wonder when I worked with educators and arm chair historians in the church they would only teach: Faith Promoting history to protect the delicate testimonies"...... and keep the tithing coming in!

The epiphany -- light bulb went off!

This is where I jumped up off my computer chair punching the air saying: "YES! YES! YES!"

It hit me like 4th of July fireworks going off and I started to snicker, the more I read, the more I laughed! I knew there was something wrong and I was right all along. It is them, not me! I could trust myself after all. What a boost to my self confidence and self respect!

For years, I kept thinking: "what is wrong with this picture." I thought it was just a few silly, pompous, sanctimonious, out of control, renegade leaders with a misplaced sense of responsibility acting like they had a little kingdom going, but no..no..that was not the real reason..nothing made sense. And it didn't make sense because it was sold as factually true when it was not.

Then, all of a sudden it made sense: Mormonism only makes sense in 19th century America before the Information Age, and the Internet! It worked because of the times. It was cemented by faith and belief into the core original believers who handed it down from generation to generation creating their very own unique religious tribe part of American history.

This was followed very, very closely by....

2. THE STUNNED HUMOR STAGE!

Oh My Holy Garments!

Millions of Mormons are still believing what Joseph Smith Jr. claimed and paying 10% (minimum) for the privilege, while wearing regulation skivvies, and going to the temple doing what could be called: bastardized Masonic rituals. Even the markings are the same. That was new to me!

3. THIS IS NOT FUNNY STAGE!

What a cotton-picking minute here. This is not funny-funny; this is just a bit... well... bizarre. What did I miss?

Every one of those characters, ( original family and friends), led by Joseph Smith Jr went along with him from the get-go! What an amazing character! He had those people believing everything he said (had some nasty arguments at times though), but he prevailed and the church membership grew. He even managed to institute polygamy and got away with it even though it was illegal in every state. Then there was Brigham Young and his creative abilities and how he,acting as a dictator, predominately, shaped the religion for decades in the 1800's in Utah. His influence is still felt there and other areas.

4.THE SPONGE STAGE.

Constant reading, can't get enough, have to know every last thing I can learn about Mormonism's history and how it functions from their own sources.

This is also the grateful stage for how they kept records. The members wrote everything down! Their own web site was a gold mine of information!

What a great find: those silly facsimiles in the Book of Abraham are very embarrassing, if you ask me. Some think they will disappear in the next publication. I doubt it. There is even an 1856 translation (from a Frenchman) of this piece of so called translation that shoots Joseph Smith Jr out of the water, including many since. But he had what it took to make claims and have people believe him. They still do, by the hundreds of thousands, even millions. That's the power of his God Myth.

The official site, (note: now they are removed!) had BH Roberts Comprehensive History - all 6 vol's of it, and the Journal of Discourses , all 26 vol's of it too.

They can be read in hard copy. Go to any ward/stake library or Institute of Religion library. They usually have them in their 'REFERENCE' section which, means, of course, that you have to read them in their tiny little libraries!

One of the many books I bought was the Donna Hill book "The First Mormon Prophet" which my TBM husband, in a fit of terror and fear, took to church to show to the Institute Director, without my knowledge, of course. Later, he returned it and said that the Institute Director told him the book "had a bad spirit" and he would not recommend reading it.

The story gets better! A few weeks later, I went to the Institute of Religion to look up some books in their library and was reading in the Reference Section which included: "History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" 7 Vol's by Joseph Smith Jr

"A Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" 6 Vol's by B H Roberts

"Readings in L.D.S. Church History from Original Manuscripts" 3 Vol's by William E. Berrett and Alma P Burton

"Journal of Discourses" 26 vol's

I had been there for awhile, table piled with books, when the Institute Director came in asking how I was doing, making a point to tell me he was looking for a DandC. I suspected he came in because he could hear me snickering in that little room! (Some of their original history is really quite funny!)

I made some remarks to him about the early history and he, (with furrowed brow, in hushed tones) talked about how hard it must have been for the early Saints to live the Gospel, etc. I made some remark about the Word of Wisdom and he could not recall which section it was in. I feigned that I had picked the wrong one, was one chapter off!

I told him that I had received a huge sheet of my probably genealogical history (did not know my biological father) and he asked if I had "done the work for them." I told him that I would never do that as I did not have permission from them. I think that caught him so off guard, he had nothing more to say!

Then while looking at books to check out, I noticed the Donna Hill book right on the shelf of the Institute of Religion library. Guess the bad spirit was not so bad he could not have it right there to be checked out! I came home and told my husband that if he wanted to, he could check out that one and read it, apparently it had a better "spirit." :-)

Also, I noticed a complete paper back edition of the BH Roberts "The Comprehensive History of the Church of Latter-day Saints," and picked it up to see if it was the same as the hard back editions. It appeared to have never been opened. I checked them out, making up a new library card, and leaving it with the elderly Institute Missionaries and went home.

While thumbing through them I noticed my own address label in the back of one of the books. Holy Cow! I had purchased those back in about 1978 and left them somewhere and they ended up in the library! Those were my books!! What a find!!

Then I went home and hauled out our whole Mormon Church library and found that we owned a 1953 first edition of the Berrett and Burton text books: "Readings in L.D.S. Church History From Original Manuscripts" 3 vol's by Willian E. Berrett and Alma P. Burton, Published by Deseret Book SLC 1953! It was a text book by TBM husband has used at BYU in the late 50's and the set was in the Reference Section of the library. It has some of the most interesting LDS Church history not found anywhere else, including thousands of quotes from early members.

This is where I also sought out Internet support and found dozens of people who were leaving Mormonism. What a great relief!

Hallelujah, pass the potatoes, I read while eating and went to bed and dreamed about it.

5. The HOLY COW STAGE!

This is amazingly intrusive stuff. I didn't realize it at the time, as it all happened so gradual. But, they trampled on my personal rights, my privacy, my naked body (in the temple under that shield), and told me it was what Heavenly Father wanted. Hmmm... I don't think so. Didn't make sense at the time. What was I thinking? Time to revamp that thinking! And I did. I changed my mind! I did not need Mormonism. I was done.

6. THE SECOND "ONLY TRUE" HUMOR STAGE!

Mormonism is just too funny, goofy, outrageous to take seriously, at times, except when they are killing people, of course. I needed to be in that place where I could have a good laugh at myself and what I though was so important at one time and experience how healing that is!

7. THE SEPARATION STAGE!

This is where I examined my life, all of it; before Mormonism, as a convert, and as a totally immersed, believing Mormon and figured out what happened on a mental, psychological, and emotional level and took apart the layers of it's impact, both the negative and the positive. I had been concerned for years about what I witnessed: too many leaders with too little or no expertise advising people about things that basically, are none of their business much of the time. More that didn't make sense.

8. THE NEW WORLD VIEW STAGE: ENLIGHTENMENT!!

This is the point where I researched for hours, and hours; read books--a couple dozen books, and read about other people's beliefs and decided what I wanted for myself, knowing it was an evolutionary process, and I could change my mind at any point. How delicious! I could change my mind and there was no one-true-way -- I had been bamboozled in my naivety and I was not going to let that happen again!

Now, I call myself an Eccentric Eclectic because I like a little bit of a lot of beliefs, notions, ideas. Perhaps a lot of you are a lot like me.

I am part: AGNOSTIC:

This is safe and the most accurate. To say you are atheist is so politically incorrect, and unacceptable in this day and age that it is suicide to try to run for office, for instance, also, so many people believe that atheism is of the devil that many relationships are cut off before they begin because of this prejudice.

I find that calling myself an agnostic is preferable and works best for my own survival on many levels. Because I live in a predominant Judeo-Christian society (like most of us posting here) to be too far out of it causes more problems that it solves.

I am also part ATHEIST:

I have been known to say I am a "soft" atheist - taking the default position of non-belief in the unsupported theist claim of a God - which is not the same thing as taking the position of no gods. I reserve the term: God for that which is currently unexplainable and use it as a metaphor, figure of speech.

I am part SKEPTIC

I want a lot of verifiable information from state of the art sources before I add my allegiance. I do not automatically believe someone because of who they are, what they believe or just because they said so.

I am part HUMANIST

American Humanist - "Humanism is a progressive lifestance, free of supernaturalism, which affirms our ability and responsibility to lead meaningful, ethical lives that add to the greater good of humanity." Again, I am not sure about the "supernaturalism" part, because I allow for all possibilities. Again, I want verifiable evidences.

I like a few BUDDHIST ideas also, and I stir all this up with a good dose of humor, satire, and just plain fun!

At this point, I have been on the outside of Mormonism since 1998. My official resignation date from the Mormon Church is (get this -- could not have planned it) JUNE 27, 2002! What a way to celebrate the shoot-out at Carthage Jail: June 27, 1844!

Coincidently, I had titled my "Story" -- written in pieces a few years before I officially resigned: "From Mormonism to Eccentric Eclectic--From Saint to Ain't. My Love Affair with Joseph Smith Jr. and How It Ended." (Latest draft - I am never quite "done." with it)

In the exit process from Mormonism, I have become passionate about freedom of religion, full disclosure and informed consent and informed choice.

I have been shaped by some of the prevailing values in my prior beliefs in Spiritualism, Christianity and Mormonism, however, I can find no reason to believe that those values are exclusive to those beliefs alone. Humanity has always been a borrower -- taking from older ideas and revamping them. Mormonism is not really that unique. It follows the same patterns of most religions.

A little study and research showed clearly that there are thousands of gods, female ones long predate male ones and how would one choose? So many gods, so little time, so many heavens, so little time, so many myths, so little time.

It became apparent that we are mostly a product of the geography of our birth.

The closer I get to the end of my life, the more I realize that I do not need answers to where I came from and where I am going.

There are thousands of answers to those questions and not a one of them has any real evidences that satisfy the skeptic in me and I am not interested in just relying on faith. Been there done that, and it is unsatisfactory.

I prefer to place my faith in all things, just not in a supreme being, a God, (personalized or otherwise) or creator. I demand something substantial, something supported by evidence to place my faith in.

It is not necessary to my sense of well being, my self confidence, my self esteem, my self respect, or how I treat other people, or how I view my place in the world to subscribe to the God Myths-beliefs.

It is, however, extremely liberating and freeing to know I am not bound by those old myths, teachings, beliefs and am free to think and believe anything I wish without fear of recrimination from some outside source.

I am very grateful that I figured that out with enough years left to totally enjoy it!
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Mormonism - It Was Never Not A Cult
Saturday, Oct 6, 2012, at 08:30 AM
Original Author(s): Forestpal
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
My aunts and uncles say that church was much more fun, before correlation. They remember hayrides, the ward summer picnic at a local dude ranch, beach parties, a ward Halloween party, with old horror movies. The RS Bazaar was much anticipated, and I remember my mother working on it, and the fun Christmas things they would make. The RS was allowed to keep every dime they made, and to decide on how to spend it as a group--usually to help the needy families, who lived across the freeway. One year, they used the money to renovate the ladies' room in the ward house. Then the priesthood took over the relief society, and the sisters were hired out to do inventory in the large department stores--not fun, especially the night shift--and the church pocketed the money.

I remember wearing sleeveless dresses, when I was young. I remember when Sunday school was in the morning, and sacrament meeting in the evening. I came from a GA family, and we had to stay dressed up all day Sunday, and we were not allowed to play outside or to have friends over. I hated Sundays, and usually retreated to my room and read. We weren't allowed to do homework or housework or yard work--while my mother slaved in the kitchen to make her elaborate Sunday dinner. She wore high heels and a dress all day, and put on an apron to cook and do the dishes. My father slept on the couch, and read his work publications and the Sunday paper. I was discouraged from playing with the Jewish kids in our neighborhood, and from dating anyone who wasn't a Mormon. If I disobeyed, I was slapped by my mother, and got a formal, scheduled beating from my father when he got home. My parents did not believe in psychology or in the newer child-raising techniques.

No, the Mormon cult hasn't changed. It is the same oppressive, misogynic, judgmental, authoritarian cult it always was. The polygamy is still alive and well, in the doctrines of temple marriages and the Celestial Kingdom, where they believe that Mormon men will have many wives.

I talked to my bishop about the temple and Joseph Smith stuff, a couple of years after I resigned. I also said it was too bad that people weren't allowed to come and go, in the spirit of neighborly fellowship, and to switch wards and meeting times, or for the handicapped, the elderly, and sick people to skip meetings, as other religions allowed. My bishop's answer was, "Well, then it wouldn't be the Mormon Church anymore, but just an ordinary church."

If it ceased to be a cult, it wouldn't be the Mormon Church anymore.
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Exmormons Aren't Required To Be Forever Nice
Thursday, Oct 11, 2012, at 07:28 AM
Original Author(s): Cheryl
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
We left a cult which required members to be NICE. By that, I mean talk quietly, earnestly, and smile while constantly worrying about what observers are thinking and what they might say to their friends at church about our pleasant voices and facial expressions.

Exmormons no longer need to follow that formula. We all love being nice and cooperative, but we do it because we're social or because we care, not because we're out to impress others or represent a cult in a friendly way.

Problems happen when our good natures are trampled and our boundaries are wrecked. Do we still HAVE to be NICE?

Only if pleasing others is more important than protecting our inner sanctidy. In fact sometimes it's a kindness to explain what our boundaries are and ask others half way cooperate.

"I feel anxious and embarrassed when you walk into my home without knocking. Please wait for me to answer the door and invite you in or you might find me with my pants down or my hair uncombed and I wouldn't like that."

I told local mormon strangers for 25 years that I didn't want them to come to my home or call me because I would never participate in their church. Did they listen? No.

Their intrusions caused post traumatic shock symptoms and marital distress in my home. When they violated a police order to stay away, I warned them and then sprayed them with the garden hose to make a point.

At least half the exmos on this board called me mean, rude, crazy, erratic, and weird.

That's right. They believed I should sacrifice the rest of my life to pleasing mormons who were trespassing and violating my living space and personal family life.

I say no to that.

We don't owe mormons access to our private time, thoughts, or living space. If they overstep our boundaries, we don't have to accomodate their rudeness.

But what will they think????

That's not MY problem.

But what will they say????

I can't control their mouths.

But what if they think all exmos are rude and mean because I tell them to stay off my porch?

That isn't my problem. They are in a cult. Whatever one of them does reflects on the whole cult.

WE are not in a cult. We are all different. Whatever one of us does, reflects on that one person only.

Some of us care what they think, so those exmos can be forever nice.

Some of us want to have private space and time. We want to think our own thoughts and choose our own activities and friends without being interrupted by mormon strangers and near-strangers who expect us to take time from our lives to accomodate their mishie work or their need to report back what we say or do.

There's no need to justify liking music lovers as friends over motor cycle racers. Same thing goes for mormons. Some exmos love to invite them in to discuss the MofM and whatever some priesthood guy said at confurnz. But some of us would rather chew glass.

Those who don't want mormons preaching at them or friendshipping them have a right to say so if they're willing to be called angry, rude, or unfriendly. It's a bad deal to devote a lifetime to pleasing strangers who happen to go to a former church that is based on lies and arrogance.
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Difficulty Deprogramming
Monday, Oct 15, 2012, at 07:21 AM
Original Author(s): Forestpal
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
I did go overboard on the deprogramming, because it helped me deal with my PTSD. Yes, in a way, the Mormons were still running my life, but it felt good to consciously break free in the many little ways you-all mentioned in this thread.

I had studied a little psychology, and figured out that, for me, the process of extinguishing my thoughts helped the most in my own "unbrainwashing." A good example is, as someone mentioned, to replace the bedside BOM with another book. My favorite is Robert Frost's poems about nature, many of which I have memorized. They are simple, rhythmical, and lull me to sleep. In order to forget the old primary songs, I memorized newer songs that were also simple and "catchy" (White Rabbit, Already Gone, Blackbird, Have You Seen The North, Hotel California, all the songs about California). I like songs that tell of my journey. I have not touched an organ (the musical instrument--what dirty minds you have!) since I left TSCC. I can not tolerate the sound of the MoTab Choir. I like all other music, including some heavy metal, now.

New knowledge replaces the old, fake facts of church history and scriptures. Science, real history, philosophy, and even fiction are so much more interesting than the Mormon drivel we were forced to like.

New habits can be formed by aggregating tiny habits. I have made a point of doing as many things differently, as possible. For example, having breakfast on the patio, bringing a thermos of coffee (my own brew is best) to work, throwing out the old day planner and getting an i-phone, texting, not giving out my number to Mormons, never answering the door after 9:00 PM, going to R movies, wearing more fashionable, creative clothes, wearing pants and shorts, eating health foods, throwing out the Mormon recipes and trying new "ethnic" recipes, letting my hair be naturally curly--little things--and hope to find my true self somewhere in there.

The hardest part of deprogramming:

Getting over the fear. Stopping my belief that the Mormon threats might come true. Realizing that the "curses" are just superstition. An apostate will not be cursed to outer darkness. Loving non-Mormon families are not cursed to "pass by each other as strangers" in the Hereafter. There are hundreds of curses and threats that I had to throw out of my mind. Some of these haunt me, still.

It takes time, and you must never give up! I am so happy! I don't have nightmares anymore. I'm almost to the point that I don't care what other people think. I feel normal, except when I'm with a group of Mormons. I feel that I'm as valuable as a man. A huge stigma I had to get over, was being ashamed of not having a husband. I always had to apologize and make excuses for it. Now, I feel proud that I raised such good children all alone, and supported them financially, too. This growing self-acceptance is a side effect of deprogramming.
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The Power Of Forgiveness - Important Part Of My Process
Tuesday, Oct 23, 2012, at 07:24 AM
Original Author(s): Susieq#1
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
This article from the Mayo Clinic on the Power of Forgiveness, (link below) applies directly to how I live my daily life, and specifically to some of my process in leaving Mormonism as initially, when I left I had some unresolved emotional angst over how unfairly I was treated at times, including some experiences that were very difficult. (To be clear, it was not only negative feelings about some situations/ people in the LDS Church, it was people in my family and in my work situations.) I often say: human behavior is consistent, just the faces change.

From the article:
"When someone you care about hurts you, you can hold on to anger, resentment and thoughts of revenge or embrace forgiveness and move forward.

What are the benefits of forgiving someone?

Researchers have recently become interested in studying the effects of being unforgiving and being forgiving. Evidence is mounting that holding on to grudges and bitterness results in long-term health problems. Forgiveness, on the other hand, offers numerous benefits, including:
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Stress reduction
  • Less hostility
  • Better anger management skills
  • Lower heart rate
  • Lower risk of alcohol or substance abuse
  • Fewer depression symptoms
  • Fewer anxiety symptoms
  • Reduction in chronic pain
  • More friendships
  • Healthier relationships
  • Greater religious or spiritual well-being
  • Improved psychological well-being
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/forg...
Simply put:
Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. - Buddha
It's interesting what pops in your head in a crisis situation. I spent my life as a believing Christian, Mormon convert, learning, among other things concepts from scriptures in the Bible, some I have concluded are universal. Love one another is one of them.

One that popped into my head when confronted with invasive, disturbing behavior was: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34) These are Jesus' words from the cross, asking forgiveness for those who put him to death. More widely, of course, the plea was for all humanity. That was a religious reference that I found to be universal.

I don't know why that came to my mind, except it was a concept that was drilled into my psyche from a young age and came bubbling to the top when I needed an answer to how to handle a very difficult situation, one never confronted before.

That led me to focus on forgiveness and I came upon the article from the Mayo Clinic Staff and ...bingo! I had my answer!

Once I embraced the concept of forgiveness, any negativity, (angst, confusion, anger) etc,left almost immediately.

The situation became a learning lesson. Why.... didn't matter. Only that I understand the power of forgiveness as that alone was the salve that would sooth me.

We are what we think.
All that we are arises from our thoughts With our thoughts we make our world. Buddha
It's my view that forgiveness is a very important principle to learn to use as it is a stepping stone to attaining peace of mind, happiness and contentment in our lives.
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I Could No Longer Take It. I Stood Up, Walked Out And Have Never Returned
Thursday, Oct 25, 2012, at 08:02 AM
Original Author(s): Rockslider
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
A man named Wayne Phelps (the great-great-great grandson of WW) lived in my ward. Wayne was a hermit. He lived in an old beater Mormon Church that was put out of commission many years before. He drove an old beater car. He always wore a suit which appeared to have been purchased in the 1940's. He was a brilliant thinker and a much studied Mormon mystic. Wayne was not liked, well not liked is strong ... just not accepted and definitely unknown to the members. Like mentioned Wayne appeared to be a poor hermit. I spent a lot of time with Wayne in the relief society room of that old beater church where he lived. He invited me to go with him to a basketball game one night (turns out he is an honored member of the Benson Institute if that means anything to anyone ... but that's a whole other story).

The last church meeting I ever attended was a High Priest group meeting where Wayne made a comment on a simple scripture. He said something like "It just so happens I spent 10 hours yesterday pondering this exact scripture ... he then proceeded to give an incredible interpretation of the scripture.

The quorum burst out in laughter. The high priest group leader went to the board and drew a bulls' eye, and explained ... if you confine your study to what is in the instruction manual you are right here (pointing at the center of the bulls' eye). If you speculate on what has been written in the manual then you are right here (pointing at the next outer ring), and if you speculate on material outside of the manual, like Wayne has done then you are way out here (pointing way off target). Ironic thing was, Wayne's "outside material" was the scripture.

I could no longer take it. I stood up, walked out and have never returned.

That was about 2002.

What a shame that we silence those that could share with us those pearls that should not be cast before swine.
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My Journey Out
Tuesday, Oct 30, 2012, at 07:58 AM
Original Author(s): Joesmithsleftteste
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
I spent years lamenting over how doctrines didn't add up and didn't actually learn about the horrifying nature of church history until recently. I want to tell my story and hopefully offer some encouragement to others.

I was raised in Oregon in a very strict family, the second oldest of seven children, in which everyone had enormous egos. My parents didn't like me very much and would hand out cruelly severe, vindictive punishments (I was grounded for a month once because I called my dad a jerk) and then would justify their actions by saying that God had charged them with raising us in righteousness. They would also tell us that when children in ancient Israel were as disrespectful as we were, they would be stoned to death. In reality, they were harsh only to satisfy their own vanity and to show that it was by divine right that they could control their children's lives. Despite their use of religion to justify extreme behaviors, I was a good kid. I went to church, I went to seminary, I read my scriptures and prayed daily, and I did well in school. Being the first of my siblings to go on my mission, I worked my butt off to save over $10,000 for my mission and I was called to Italy.

Just before going, my parents' behaviors as well as some things about Joseph Smith (specifically the lost 116 pages) had caused me to begin to seriously doubt the church, but I wanted to go to Italy, so I went on my mission. Within two weeks of being in the MTC, I was completely brainwashed and believed as firmly as anyone could.

However, the MTC was where I got my first taste ever of Utah culture. My companion was as Utanic as a person can get and had absolutely no understanding of people who thought differently than him. Another elder in our district once said that he was thinking of going home, and instead of trying to convince that elder that he could do so much good for people out in the field, my companion told him that he would be mocked and everyone would think he was a loser if he went home early. I didn't have and didn't understand the Utah mentality and my companion soon had little tolerance for me either.

As I mentioned, I was raised in a family of egotists and I was unfortunately no exception. I would argue with people about things that I knew nothing of and I really felt that I knew more than everyone else, so I know it was irritating to everyone else (I had become aware of the fact that I did this a few months before getting my mission call, but it was an extremely difficult habit to break). My companion and I had promised that if either of us did anything that annoyed the other, we would tell each other, but I would tell him when he annoyed me and he never told me (although I did hear him complaining to others about it behind my back). By the end of our stay in the MTC, he refused to talk to me and would go around humming all day long (which he knew annoyed me). I would speak to him and he would hum over the top of it, and wouldn't respond.

We flew out of SLC and got to the Denver airport and he decided that then was the time to tell me how much he hated me. I got sick of listening to him and decided to leave and join the other missionaries, but he grabbed my arm roughly and yanked me back. I turned and gave him a severe look and I think he noticed that I balled up my hand in a fist, so he let me go. I don't think he has any idea how close he came to getting punched (and if I hadn't improved my temper while in the MTC, he would have been). But he convinced me to stay and told me all of the reasons that he despise me - most of which were things that I would have gladly stopped if he had let me know they were annoying him. I didn't have anything to tell him since I had, as I had promised when we were told we were companions, been telling him when he was annoying me - but that annoyed him since he didn't understand why I found certain things irritating and he didn't actually plan on following through with our promise.

I had a very difficult time getting over that, but I was trying so hard to swallow my pride that by the next time I saw him, I had gotten past it. That was huge for me since my family was big on holding grudges.

Once out in the field, I was determined to spread the word and the help others come to feel God's love. I had a little culture shock, but came to truly love the Italians and honestly wanted to help them find their salvation. I worked tirelessly, but I did have a very hard time learning the language (I didn't fully pick up the more difficult aspects of the grammar until I'd been there 8 months) and, being the egotist I was, I was still a bit difficult to get along with, but I got mostly over that by the time I had been out a year. And my first year was pretty pleasant. I was serving in ugly, boring cities, but I was working hard and most of my companions were pretty easy to get along with. (Although I did have one who refused to work and would lie about our numbers. I'm pretty sure that he ditched me once so he could sneak over to flirt with the dry cleaning attendant, which I had little tolerance for).

During that first year, I met a couple that had very similar interests to me (they were fantasy nuts and loved Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter - they even promised to kidnap me, tie me up, and force me to watch The Two Towers when they found out I wasn't allowed to watch movies as a missionary) and they took the discussions very seriously. They hadn't responded well to the discussions being presented to them and we began structuring our discussions around what they wanted to know and we ended up discussing the sons of perdition. They couldn't understand how a patient and loving God could vindictively cast out 1/3 of His children to be forever tormented. I was never able to explain that either, but I put it in the back of my mind, although it would resurface occasionally.

Also during that first year, I was given my first anti-Mormon pamphlet from an Evangelical couple. It was full of the usual lies - Mormons wear green underwear, etc, and it had some particularly outrageous ones - for example it said that the Book of Mormon taught that God was a spirit and then it quoted the Zoramites saying their abominable prayer as proof. Having seen that, we completely dismissed all of the claims about Joseph Smith marrying other men's wives and swindling people out of their money with the Kirtland safety society as lies too. I determined that anti-Mormon literature was not to be trusted.

I got a reputation for being the hardest working missionary in the mission (that's what three or four of my companions told me my mission president said about me) and the president would use me to send lazy missionaries home with a good last transfer or two. I actually spent 1/3 of my time in the field as the last companion of other missionaries. And yet, despite this reputation I had, I wasn't made senior companion until after I'd been on my mission for over a year. And then it was to a missionary who was going home, but he was a hard worker and a good missionary who followed the rules, so I didn't understand why I would be paired up with him as his senior companion. He was the district leader, so I hadn't really been given any trust or additional responsibility. And the situation was extremely awkward in many ways because he didn't need me to reform him and I couldn't understand what the mission president thought he was accomplishing by using me to straighten things out.

It was there - in Genova - that I really began to see an ugly side to Mormonism. My companion and I got along great (we're friends to this day and he played a very important part in my departure from the church 9 years later) and we worked hard. We became very good friends with a family that he had reactivated and they introduced us to a cousin named Vanessa who was our age and decided to get baptized. She also became a good friend and we both wrote to her after we finished our missions. But while we were doing this good work, our zone leaders were harping on us to do better. Our numbers weren't great, but we were out working and we were following the rules precisely - Italy is just a hard mission to have good numbers in. So the zone leaders decided to do splits with us to see what we were doing wrong. I had the flu at this time and my voice was so hoarse that I couldn't do any better than whisper. I should have been home in bed, but I was so determined not to waste any of my precious time on my mission thatI went out with the z.l. and work anyway. He decided that we needed to try to talk to people on the bus. I tried to talk to several people, but buses are noisy and my voice was gone, so I eventually stopped trying because people were just telling me that they couldn't hear a word I said. The zl saw this and told me to go back and keep talking to people. I made a few more attempts, but no one could hear me, so I stopped and sat down. The zone leader observed this (he was at the other end of the bus, trying to talk to people) and we got off the bus and he began to chew me out for not talking to people. I tried to respond, but he couldn't hear my whisper-like voice over the top of the traffic and we had to go a block down to discuss it. He told me that if I had faith, then others would hear my voice. I was dismayed by the fact that he would accuse me of not wanting to spread the gospel or not having faith, but even as fanatical as I was, I knew that no one could hear me and the more I spoke, the worse my voice got. But he was my leader and it was an inspired choice, so I couldn't understand how he could be so obtuse. We had the only baptism in the zone the next transfer and one of 160 for the entire mission that year, so we weren't doing poorly by the numbers that mattered in the end, and yet, we got repeatedly criticized and belittled for not meeting up to the imaginary standards that the zone leaders had made up. That was hard on both of us, but I think my companion had it worse since I suspect that being on his last two transfers and yet getting assigned a senior companion was demeaning to him. Especially since he was probably the best companion I had - particularly when it came to working hard and following the rules, but not being fanatically unreasonable about it (I later had companions for whom following the rules was just not enough). And to make the whole thing worse, when the transfer ended, despite our hard work and Vanessa's baptism, they closed our companionship - my companion went home and I was sent North.

I was finally made senior companion and district leader and I was sent to Lecco on Lake Como, where I was given a companion whose ego made the ego I had when I started the mission (I was much less proud by this time) look extremely humble. He and I got along well enough, but I had to endure the embarrassment of hearing him belittle Italians in front of them. His ethnocentrism made him incapable of feeling any compassion toward the people he was supposed to be loving. It took several times of chastising him to convince him to quit it and I almost never chastised my junior companions (I believed in leading by example).

After two transfers with him, I was sent a young missionary who wasn't very good at following the rules and had some chip on his shoulder and decided to take it out on me. No matter what I did, he insisted it was wrong. He would speak to me in English if I spoke to him in Italian, and then vice versa. He hated the way I was systematically knocking on doors, and recording which ones we'd been to. However, I had already tapped the small branch (maybe 20 active members) for any referrals, and we were in a small city, so there was little better to do than knock on doors and my previous experience in small towns was that if you didn't keep track of which doors you knocked on, the next set of missionaries went right back to where you had just barely been before. He would tell everyone about how much he hated me and it completely killed the work. My mission president grew concerned about the situation and told me that I had to be strict with my companion and exercise firm leadership over him. He promised me that ifI did, my companion would straighten out. I did exactly what I was told to do. I wasn't mean, but I was very firm and made executive decisions and told him he had to follow. Things got much worse. We were so prone to arguing that I dreaded going to church because he would argue in front of the members (I now suspect he did it to embarrass me) and he would speak English in front of them (it's incredibly rude to go to speak a language someone doesn't understand in front of them - especially in Italy at church). Finally, on the last week of the transfer, I asked him to take the role of senior companion so I could see what he thought we should be doing. He did exactly what I'd been doing the first week of the transfer. I had changed what we were doing repeatedly for him only to find out that what I'd started with was exactly how he felt things should be done. I had been so stressed in dealing with him, and I felt very confused because I had been promised (PROMISED!) by my mission president that he would respond well to me taking a firm stance with him and I couldn't understand how my inspired president could make a promise that failed so completely to come true.

As though the stress of dealing with that companion (who I now understand was emotionally disturbed) wasn't enough, that prep day, I received an email from my Genova companion (who I'll remind you had returned home) that informed me that Vanessa was feeling suicidal. Her family was extremely opposed to he joining the church and since joining, things had gone from bad to extremely bad. I didn't find this out until later, but her family had made things very hard on her and then her best friend, a homosexual man, had been killed (I don't know the details about that) and she had stopped going to church. The branch president, a man who I had found to be rather racist, went to talk to her and was very compassionate to begin with and tried to help her, but as soon as he found out that the friend who died was gay, he lost all empathy and said that if the friend was gay, then he deserved to die. She went into depression and I knew that I had played a role in that. What I had expected would make her happy had destroyedher life.

I had a nervous breakdown after that and I got transferred to Torino. I kept trying to work - I was up on time, I studied just like I was supposed to, but for about a month, I couldn't bring myself to talk to anyone about the gospel. We would go out and look for people to talk to about the gospel, but I let my companion do the talking. I couldn't even focus on what he was saying. I felt so inadequate and I feared that I lacked faith or otherwise I would have succeeded in getting along with my previous companion and I would have been able to find the strength to keep talking about the gospel. It was a very difficult time for me, but my new companion was a compassionate and understanding person. I was so stressed that I had a hard time being patient with him and I seriously regret that. I've tried finding him online so I could apologize to him, but haven't been able to.

After three or four weeks, I began to return to my previous mental strength and I was once again talking to everyone who was willing to listen and help bring them the happiness of the gospel. I worked hard and was beginning to enjoy being a missionary again. It was around this time that I had another experience that would eventually change my view on my religion forever. It was a very brief exchange with an Evangelical (we rarely encountered Evangelicals, so even though two of them had an effect on me, don't get the impression that they were common - Catholics simply rarely made any impression on me). He simply said that he knew his church was true because he had prayed about it and the Holy Spirit had answered that it was his religion. I was flabbergasted - only people in the LDS faith could ever have such and experience. No one else. It was impossible. I told him he was a liar and he politely ended the conversation. I regret having been so rude to him, but at the time I honestly thought he was lying to mockus.

Then, my first transfer in Torino ended. Up to that point, all of the missionaries in my district (which included myself, my companion, and the zone leaders) had gotten along well. We were all sensible people who worked hard and followed the rules, but understood that missionary life was tough. The one of the Zone leaders transferred out and we got Anziano Bingham (Anziano means elder). Bingham decided that, despite the fact I had respectable numbers, and despite the fact that when I had been at the same point in my mission as he was at that time I had had taught more people who had gotten baptized than him, he needed to somehow fix how I proselytized. He immediately told me that I was doing things wrong and that I had to do things his way. (I was uncomfortable talking to people about other things and weaseling my way from that into religion, preferring to ask people if they wanted to talk about religion and if they did, I'd talk to them - since my numbers worked out the same as everyone else's why not?) He then decided that, despite the fact that I rose on time and did my studying without sleeping, he had to make me get out of bed to study, but he would sleep with the window open, so it was freezing in the house (often as low as 50 degrees F when we woke up) and I was never warm. He refused to do anything to make the house warmer, and still complained when I got out of bed, but took all of the blankets with me (I should note that at this point in my life, I was six feet tall and weighed only 135 pounds, so I had a terrible time keeping warm. He told me that I had to leave my blankets on the bed, but I told him I would fight that one all the way to the mission president and he backed off. Then, he started making the entire zone get up 10 minutes earlier because he felt that when I prayed for the entire district first thing in the morning, I wasn't praying very well and I needed a few minutes to wake up before prayer. I was suffering from insomnia (and had been since my mid teen years) and needed every second of sleep I could get. Unfortunately, I was averaging between 4 and 6 hours per night for the previous 2 years and I never slept in (except when power outages knocked our alarm clocks out), but he didn't care. Everything I did was wrong even though it didn't break any rules and he kept making up new ones until I was breaking a rul. His hypocrisy extended so far that he would spend a week singing a song that wasn't allowed by mission rules, and then chastise me for, as district leader, not telling him to stop. There have been few times when I have felt as though I was being vindictively targeted for doing nothing. It was as bad as living with my parents. I put up with that for six weeks, then my companion got transferred out and I got Anziano Bean, who was a Utah brat in the worst way. He idolized Anziano Bingham and they became fast friends. My last transfer was hell. At least before, I only had to deal with Anziano Bingham when I was at home. Anziano Bean was a like the puppy dog version of Anziano Bingham - he followed me everywhere (as he was supposed to) and made up new rules that never existed before. Bean insisted on being no more than ten feet away from me (until even Bingham told him that we could talk to people about the church on opposite sides of the bus) and criticized my actions that were by the book because I didn't try to take them one step further.

We had an appointment at a member's house with an investigator who had had a baptism date set, but never showed up. The conversation was pleasant and we made progress. I thought I was feeling the spirit. However, he refused every invitation we made to him to come to church. He was embarrassed by not showing up for his baptism and he thought that the word of wisdom was stupid because he drank green tea and knew that it was healthy. He couldn't believe that anything with the health benefits of green tea would be banned by a commandment promoting good health. The investigator was speaking mostly with our host, so Bean slipped me a note saying he felt the spirit and we should invite him to be baptized. I said no. He slipped me another note saying that we should and I slipped him one back explaining that there would be no point in baptizing him so long as he continued to refuse to go to church. After we got out of the member's house, Bean began screaming at me that I was lucky that he hadn't invited him to be baptized anyway. It didn't matter to him that he would have been breaking a rule by going against his senior companion's judgment on that, or that the guy was clear that he refused to go to church - he had felt the spirit and therefor all logic and all other rules were void because the handbook says that if you feel the spirit, you invite them to be baptized. He barely talked to me for a week after that and I was shocked to see that the other missionaries in the group agreed with him.

I got so stressed out, and was suffering from being constantly too cold and I ended up getting sick. I lost one day of work, but I was so determined to be a good missionary that I took my second to last prep day and worked it and I worked through lunches (Bean was cool with that because it was exactly the kind of thing that he felt we should be doing anyway) to make up the hours I lost and I was able to go home saying that I never lost a single hour of work while I was a missionary. That's how fanatical I was and the others in my district were treating me like I wasn't dedicated enough.

It took me a while to get over my mission and aspects of it still make me mad. I was trying so hard to respect those who I thought were chosen by God to lead me that I failed to stand up for my rights and others really took advantage of it. My mission experiences fractured my testimony and I never got over it. I still believed, but I understood that there were things about the church that were didn't quite work. 1) some of the doctrines didn't add up. 2) Even if the church was perfect, it failed to inspire good behavior out of the people in it and 80% of the people in the church used it as a way of controlling others or looking down on people. 3) There were other religions that claimed to have divine inspiration and its members might believe that they were told by God through the Holy Ghost that their church was the true faith. 4) With the pervasive nudity in advertising and on beaches in Italy (we weren't supposed to go near beaches, but sometimes we had appointments near them and it couldn't be avoided), the Mormon missionaries were the perverted ones. The Italians looked on the nudity as though it was normal, thinking nothing of it (even the members frequently were completely okay with it), but the missionaries always added a sexual meaning to it even when there was none intended.

While a missionary, I had changed enormously. I no longer contradicted people, I had learned to swallow my pride, and I had learned to love others and not just myself. These changes made me a better person and I felt that, despite my difficulties in the mission field, the mission had been a very good experience for me.

I got home and I wasn't arguing with my parents, but I found myself the target of their extremism and realized for the first time that it hadn't only been my ego and my pride that kept us from getting along, but theirs as well. I received a condescending chastisement for not wanting to attend institute after working a 16 hour shift for the second day straight with only 8 hours to go before the next shift (I got a very good job after returning from my mission).

I worked through the summer and went to BYU-I, where I met a young woman who I quickly fell in love with. We prayed about it and, a little over three months after we met, we were married, but not without a scandal first. One of the people in my apartment was 35 years old and single. He had no respect for women and didn't deserve a romantic relationship until he could view them as being worth more than just sexual playthings. So he got super jealous after I got engaged and reported to the dean that we were breaking rules. We were - but not the ones he claimed. I would come home 5 minutes to 10 minutes after curfew on a regular basis and I wouldn't kick my future wife out into the cold if I was cooking a meal and everyone else in the apartment left, so we were occasionally in the apartment by ourselves. But he told the dean that we were lying on top of each other and I was fondling her, which simply wasn't true. We were very careful about our physical interaction. We kissed a lot - and sometimes passionately, but that was the extent of it. And I realized at that point that even though I wasn't a missionary, people in the church still had the ability to exercise control over me to satisfy their vindictive urges.

The summer after we were married, we went to work for a company run and owned by LDS people, selling home security systems. They lied to us about the work schedule and I was disgusted by the lies that they encouraged us to tell at the doors. We did this in Boise, where there is a reasonably high LDS population, and I was shocked by how often some of the most viciously hateful people would have pictures of temples on their walls. Then, my LDS boss began mistreating my wife and we quit.

Roughly a year after we were married, I came to discover that I was able to manipulate the way I feel to convince myself that I was getting warm and fuzzy feelings from the spirit. So I couldn't be sure that I had ever felt the spirit and was just convincing myself of what I wanted to think. I still thought that the church was true, but I couldn't any longer deny some of the doubts that I had had regarding the church. My mission experiences had left me feeling like I had done something wrong as a missionary, but I couldn't figure out what. But if I had been doing what God wanted, I wouldn't have conflicted with the people he'd chosen to lead me - unless he didn't really choose those people to lead me.

My doubts grew and grew and I soon told my wife, but I was afraid to tell her why in case I was wrong, I didn't want to risk her salvation. She was as supportive as someone under the mind control of the church can be expected to be, but we still argued over it on occasions. Despite this, she agreed with me on many of my criticisms of the church that I was willing to share, but didn't think that they meant that the church wasn't true. Up until 9 months ago, I still thought that there might be 5% chance that the church was true and, despite the fact that I had found many serious flaws in the "perfect" doctrines by this time, I still didn't want to risk her salvation in case I was wrong. However, because of the lies that I had seen in the anti-Mormon pamphlet, and the church's insistence that Satan will lie to destroy God's work, I was resistant to reading anything that was opposed to the church since I believed that it would be just as full of lies. So I spent 6-7 years in a state of doubt, but was unable to come to any conclusions because of how I limited my research to LDS friendly sources only.

I was saved by Game of Thrones. Sort of. I ended up discussing HBO's Game of Thrones with my companion from Genova, who remained an avid fan of fantasy and science fiction, but I thought was still devoutly LDS. I said that the series was brilliant, but graphic and, even though you could probably get around the sex scenes, you couldn't avoid the nudity and he responded by informing me that even though he was no longer LDS his wife would disapprove, so he couldn't watch it. I was shocked. I had felt very alone in doubting the church, so I carefully approached him about the reasons he was no longer LDS (and in case he had been excommunicated) I was very delicate, explaining that unless he had joined a Neo Nazi group, or slaughtered children, I was very unlikely to be judgmental. He responded by saying that he had been slaughtering children, but they were Jewish, so it should be alright. (Forgive the dark humor - if you view that as inappropriate, I'm sorry, but the joke actually loosened things up). He explainedhow he had researched into church history and found out the truth and he guided me to a few sources that we published by LDS sources or pro LDS sources and indicated that what he had discovered was true.

I immediately gobbled it up. I was cautious at first, but after finding an apologetic site that admitted that Joseph Smith married other men's wives, and after finding out about the Book of Abraham Papyri, that was more than enough to make the remaining 5% of my faith vanish. I read everything I could find and, with all of the important things (polyandry, Smith marrying teenagers, the fact that the Book of Mormon HAS been changed, the fact that every one of Smith's book of scripture either contradicts another book of scripture or ended up getting changed from one publication to the next) were confirmed by FAIRLDS or the Maxwell institute, or by looking at scans of original documents (many of which were on the Joseph Smith Papers). Thank you LDS church and apologetic sites for confirming my years-long suspicion that the church is, in fact, false.

My next issue now that I was absolutely convinced that the church was false was to try to explain what I had learned to my wife, so I began writing an essay explaining the doctrinal flaws and the church history. However she seemed just a step ahead of me, because just as I was starting the essay, she found a book on secret societies in the checkout aisle in the grocery store and began flipping through it. She saw a picture of Joseph Smith and put it back, saying, "well that's obviously not true." I asked her what and she told me what she saw and I told her that it probably listed him as a famous Freemason, so she went back and looked at it and found that I was right (I had known about Joseph Smith's freemasonry since early in my mission, and aspects relating to that fact had been a small part of my doubting). She didn't like the thought of that since she didn't have a very good view of Freemasons (in part due to the Book of Mormon's teachings about secret societies - way to go Smith, shooting yourself in thefoot with that BoM doctrine) and she began asking me a lot of questions about it. I told her everything and she seemed very disturbed, but then I told her that that was nothing compared to some of the things that had happened in church history and she wanted to know more and I told her everything. She had a panic attack. Literally.

Over the next few weeks, we discussed the church and she checked my sources. At first, she was as skeptical about anything critical of the church as I had been (and in part because of me - I had told her about all of my mission experiences), but as she saw that the sources for the serious stuff were all pro LDS or officially LDS, she began to slowly realize that she had been duped. Within two weeks, she knew that the church wasn't true, and after a month, she decided to help me finish the essay about why the church isn't true.

I had already done most of the research, so all we had to do was write it. Two months later, it was done and, formatted for publishing (which we don't intend to do, but that indicates a standard to help you understand how long it really is), it was 140 pages long! With that, we were ready. We both told the bishop that we didn't want our callings anymore and then we told our families. My family reacted much better than I expected, but I had expected some pretty awful stuff, but they have so far been respectful about it (at least to our faces). My wife's parents, however, flew off the handle and immediately began blaming me (they've always thought I was a bad influence because they didn't see their daughter for the individual she had become until after she met me, but they blamed her occasional choice to skip church on me despite the fact that at that point, I was keen on being to church on time, and they blamed her watching R rated movies on me, despite the fact she owned R rated movies before we met and I hadnever watched one unedited - you know, mostly petty stuff that Mormons love to make a big deal about). They refused to read our essay about why we believe the church is a lie, calling it a manifesto. Ironically, the essay is very respectful and simply justifies our current beliefs while stating that we understand why others continue to believe. Now, my wife is in a sticky situation with them, not sure if they're shunning her, or if she is welcome by her parents (most of her siblings have either officially left the church or are deliberately completely inactive so there's not much concern with how they'll accept it - in fact one of my sisters-in-law has been very supportive through the whole ordeal and it's helped my wife reconnect with her).

So there it is. Much of my unhappiness was caused by the church and my wife now realizes that much of hers was too. We are grateful for the few benefits we found in the church, but we're glad to be free of it. Free of people trying to judge us by standards that they invented, but still feel we should follow. Free of people trying to use their interpretations of the doctrines to try to force us to do things that we don't want to do. Free from a huge financial burden (we were appalled to learn how little of our tithing went to humanitarian aid - even though I was seriously doubting the church, I paid tithing to keep peace with my wife and because I believed that a good portion of it would go to humanitarian aid - boy was I WRONG).

It's been two months since we announced our departure from the church to our families and we finally feel at peace with our beliefs. My wife and I are closer than we have been in a long time and she doesn't have to deal with people at church treating her poorly because she doesn't fit in (she's too intellectual for them). I am no longer tormented over fears that I may lead my family to damnation if I'm wrong because I am now more certain that the church is not true than I ever was that is might be - and I used to tell everyone that I met "I know this church is true."

That's it for now. I hope I may have said something that inspired hope in any of you struggling with Mormonism or wanting to leave Mormonism despite family opposition. I've read enough on this board and spoken with enough exMormons to know that it may not get better for many of you, but there is hope for some.
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The Christmas Tree Fiasco
Wednesday, Dec 5, 2012, at 01:06 PM
Original Author(s): Stray Mutt
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
Back in junior high, on the East Coast, I had a very cool gym teacher. He drove a sports car. He told funny stories. He looked a little like Steve McQueen. All the guys idolized him.

He announced in class one day that he and some other teachers had a Christmas tree lot and he would appreciate any business our families could give them.

I shared the word with my parents. "One of my teachers is selling Christmas trees. Can we buy from him this year?"

They agreed, even though the stake had a tree lot for fundraising purposes. (This was back in the '60s when local units did a lot of their own fundraising, particularly for the building fund.)

I went with Mom after school and picked out a very nice tree. I was disappointed that my gym teacher wasn't there so I could bask in his wonderfulness without having to do jumping jacks and squat thrusts.

We got the tree home and erected it in the living room. We would decorate it after dinner.

At dinner, Dad asked, "So, which teacher is it that sells trees? Sunday school or teachers quorum?"

"My gym teacher."

"What? I thought you meant one of your teachers from church. I don't know how I feel about that."

My parents exchanged looks. Mom suddenly decided she didn't like the shape of the tree, that we could find a better one.

When I came home the next day, the gym teacher's tree was erected by the front porch and a new tree, from the stake lot, was in the living room. Mom already had lights strung on it.

Thus I learned that gentile trees were not fit for Mormon homes.
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Mormon Nightmares That Still Haunt Me
Tuesday, Dec 18, 2012, at 09:35 AM
Original Author(s): Free Rosko
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
An early memory of the brutal life in mormonism was when I was 8 years old. My parents took me to tithing settlement because now I am 8 years old and accountable to the lord for my actions. They asked me how much money I had because I had to pay tithing. I had almost a dollar in coins. They recanted how much I had earned during the year including Birthday money and allowance. I needed around $2 to come clean with the lord but was short by about .75 cents. I was brow beaten by them for not setting ten percent aside. I WAS EIGHT FOR HELL'S SAKE! All the way there I was berated and just before those great doors on the bishop's office opened my Mom handed me .75 cents and told me I would have to pay her back. Inside, the bishop, a towering farmer with huge hands, took my coins and asked me if this was a full tithing. I nodded still scared to death about being in this room with a huge desk and other men giving me the eyeball. This experience is forever burned into my brain and still haunts me to this day.

Another haunting experience in that same bishop's office is Primary graduation. I was told he would ask me to recite by memory an article of faith and if I couldn't do it I couldn't graduate. By now the bishop was a younger man, but had henchmen on either side of him as he interrogated me. I had studied, practiced, and tried oh so hard to memorize those articles of faith and hoped he would ask for the easy one. Somehow I passed, but still remember the anxiety and pressure.

Back in the day when it was still called ward teaching, an older guy would come around with a younger guy and us kids all had to sit still and not make a sound. The older guy would have the younger guy read a short message. What haunts me still is the the younger guy had a speech impediment and stuttered. He really struggled with reading and talking and I could tell he hated doing it. One time the older guy came alone and my Dad asked him why me made the younger one talk when it was so hard. He said he was helping the younger guy learn to talk and forcing him was a very good way of doing that.

I'm going too long here, but the temple experience for the first time was also a horrifying experience as many of you have already expressed. And the whole mission thing was equally terrorizing.

Glad some of those early memories are just memories now.
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Demonization Is An Important Part Of The System
Monday, Dec 24, 2012, at 01:14 PM
Original Author(s): Oliver
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
My church experience for the last several years has been dominated by leadership meetings. We meet early, we meet late, we meet during church and in the middle of the week. During these sessions I have maintained an archive of detailed and verbatim notes. I've kept a record hoping that somewhere in it I might find a pattern of goodness, a reason for optomism,or any sign of change.

The year is about to end and as I look back on my work, it is difficult not to recognize the emptiness of what we do, and the cyclical nature of the wards and stake as callings and releases churn the people like currents of convection. There is no doubt that callings are significant to those who recieve them, and that the actual work performed is meaningful to those who receive the service, but the whole system is ran more like a system of merits and demerits, punishment and reward. People care about the extending of callings because it means the Lord thinks they are worth while. We build up esteem and then crush it according to schedule.

It is not difficult to advance in the church. Show up, do what you are told, provide a good report, and be friendly never cross. Do these things and you will be recognized as having a good spirit. However, if you complain, show up late, forget assignments, or are in any way unpleaseant, then you will be seen as one having spiritual problems. People who opt out of the system all together are demonized and there is no way, none, to escape this because its an important part of the system. For merits to mean anything at all the punishments must be obvious, and if someone isn't around to serve as a bad example then they must be demonized in absentia.

My notes are a witness of my experience. Our meetings are devoted to discussing the specific names of individuals in the wards and stake, and almost all that discussion is focused on their sins, short comings, and unfitness for their callings. We praise our leaders, and we regularly praise one another, but the people under our stewardship are never worthy enough, never beyond the need of our correction and guidance.

Anyone leaving or lessening their activity should be aware of this. You will not be understood no matter your efforts. You will be used to further the system whether you give your assent or not. You may gain some acceptance from family, but please do not ever put hope into finding that same kind of love from the lord's appointed servants. They are there to safe guard the system. They are there to care for the church. You are only a tool that is either useful to building the kingdom or useful for providing a warning or cautionary tale for others.
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The Cult Robbed Me Of My Grief
Friday, Jan 11, 2013, at 06:51 AM
Original Author(s): Resipsaloquitur
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
My first wife died after a year of marriage. I don't talk about it much because I still don't really know what to think, or how I feel about it. And it was almost 13 years ago.

I was a good little Kolobian. I went on a mission at 19, BYU at 21, marriage at 21 and--you guessed it--baby at 22. Our little girl was 2 months old when my wife's heart stopped without warning. The baby had just finished nursing in the early morning twilight when her mother, still with baby in arms, stopped breathing.

Paramedics rushed her to the hospital, my brother drove me in my panic and shock shortly behind the ambulance. I knew things were bad, but I was incapable of accepting the possibility of the worst. So when the doctor came into the little waiting room designated for telling families that their loved ones had died, I was not prepared for that news. Who could be prepared? I let out a gutteral, primal scream. And even as I did it, I was embarrassed for behaving so undignified and with so little acceptance of God's will.

My brother and I, along with another priesthood holder, asked to see the body in private. Our wishes were respected, and I begged my brother--whose faith and righteousness were beyond question--to raise her from the dead with his Godly magic. He gave the usual fortune-teller's line: be healed, or at least do what God wants. She remained forever quiet.

The cult held a Church rally with her body in front. We endured several hours of isn't The Church great? and you should all join! Then we put her in the ground. I used my powers to dedicate the grave. I cast a spell that whoever visited there would want to join The Church. But I really don't know if anyone understood my incantation, because the gutteral, primal voice came back.

Then, that night, my dead wife's brother took me on a moonlit walk in the wilderness. He told me that her entire family had decided that I was to remarry, and quickly. That was God's will, and she wants that for me too. My baby needs a mother, after all. Over the next few days and weeks, this command grew and grew in my mind. I was lonely, and horny, and helplessly ignorant about how to care for an small infant. My bishop confirmed for me that this was God's will for me, for my baby. And after all, how could I remain temple worthy if I succumbed (succame?) to temptation.

It all seemed right. The priesthood leaders and patriarchs in my life, whose stewardships ruled over me, had all confirmed what I wanted anyway, which is that God wanted me to find someone to have sex with, and soon. So I was married within a few short months, before the year was out, to the first girl who came along. That disaster is a story for another post. But suffice it to say that I quickly discovered that the marriage was not, in fact, God's will.

The effect of all this was that, out of duty to Mormon, Inc., I willingly sublimated my own mental health and needs to the corporate need for more assets. I should have grieved, but I didn't. Instead, I followed the Spirit and the counsel of my priesthood leaders to advance the corporate interests, and I remarried. It was the worst mistake of my life.

I should have struggled through the loss and the loneliness and the questions why. But I didn't. Instead, I found a willing woman, and I convinced us both that Jesus had sorted all of that out for me. I spouted Atonement this and Atonement that and isn't it wonderful. And she bought it. And I bought it. And it was bullshit. And then the marriage was over as soon as it began, although it took 8 years to die.

I never grieved my wife's death. Not really. I moved on with an artificial, contrived life before I even got over the initial shock. And it seems silly and pointless to grieve now, like the moment has passed. Like that awkward moment after you've already passed a coworker in the hall and you realize you should have smiled and said hello. It's too late, and if you tried now, you would just feel like an idiot.

My dead wife doesn't exist anymore, and I don't even miss her. That's what makes me mad. Would I miss her if I had grieved, if I had come to a natural peace with it? I don't know, but the cult had no right to take that from me.
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Deconstructing Mormonism
Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013, at 07:20 AM
Original Author(s): Bc
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
Fairly often people on this board ask the question - what's the best evidence that the church is false? Occasionally they are asking for themselves in working through their faith. Other times they are asking for information in talking to someone else.

I also suspect there are a number of lurkers who are here that are interested in an answer to this question - for themselves or for others.

So here's my answer to this question:

1) Logically - the Book of Abraham has no outs. There is no reasonable counter argument to "Joseph Smith fraudulently invented this." None. (I've read the apologetic arguments by Nibley, Rhodes, Lindsey, etc - they are all just grasping at straws.)

http://www.mormonhandbook.com/home/book-of-abraham.html

http://www.bookofabraham.com/boamathie/BOA_TOC.html

2) Emotionally - reading about Joseph Smith and his wives. It's not just that he has them - it was reading the actual journal entries of the angst he caused the girls, their parents, and their husbands that made it real. This is what emotionally made me feel like: "Joseph Smith was a true scumbag and I want to have nothing to do with his church."

http://www.wivesofjosephsmith.org/

Top 4:

http://www.wivesofjosephsmith.org/05-...

http://www.wivesofjosephsmith.org/23-...

http://www.wivesofjosephsmith.org/26-...

http://www.wivesofjosephsmith.org/202...

3) Top 10 Mormon problems explained video. For some reason this simple, straightforward video presentation is the most effective thing I've seen at going through the major issues and just completely putting my mind at ease that it's all made up. (Note: the narrator of this video is a regular poster here on rfm - he used to post as "stunted" but changed his rfm name because he doesn't want it too directly tied this video - Dear awesome narrator: I hope you are OK with me disclosing that.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ac_f...

Honorable mentions:

4) Mormon think - the site is almost overwhelming in the breadth and depth of information - Unfortunately it's also almost as overwhelming in it's poor navigability ;) But wow, it's excellent!

http://www.mormonthink.com/

5) I find the links about Utah statistics and wacky things church leaders have said to be VERY telling:

http://www.mormonprobe.com/index.php?...

6) This article does a fantastic job of exposing the approaches Mormon apologists take and helps clarify things:

http://www.exmormon.org/mormon/mormon...

6a) Along these lines, this helps explain why some really smart people still believe Mormonism:

http://www.michaelshermer.com/weird-t...
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No One Is Required To Answer Questions Just Because Someone Asks
Wednesday, Jan 30, 2013, at 08:47 AM
Original Author(s): Cheryl
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
Once when I was conducting a parent teacher conference, the dad asked me my religion. This was none of his business, so I said, "We have to come up with a plan to help your son with his math and reading in the next 15 minutes. I want to hear what you think of these ideas . . ."

Another time my mother asked DH to tell his salary, and he said "That's private and I never tell it to anyone."

"But I'm family, you can tell me."

"No, that's another reason to keep it confidential."

The point? No one must answer questions unless they're on a witness stand or police interrogation room with a lawyer present.

I learned this in my teacher union training. I'd caution teachers about this when we had to file grievances or deal with overly aggressive abraisive administrators. Once a principal asked what the teacher's truck was doing parked in front of a strip joint. I grabbed the guy's arm and gave him a "do not comment look."

Seriously, there's no need to play along with anyone who wants to incriminate or manipulate you unfairly.

Mormons like to have material to feed their member missionary discussions and if you don't want to participate, tell them so.

There's no need to tell a bishop why you weren't in church.

Don't give excuses for why you're quitting a calling or refusing one.

Don't get into long discussions about why you resigned or why you have problems with morg doctrine or practices.

Here are some non-revealing answers to inappropriate questions:

I'm here to discuss the subject at hand.

My time is limited and here's what I hope to accomplish.

That's personal.

Why do you ask such a thing?

I'm still pondering the reasons and I'm not inclined to overstate them now.

You tell me *your* answer to that question.

Simply ignore the question and move on to a different topic.

Say you have to leave, then go away or hang up the phone.

There's nothing wrong with answering questions, having long discussions or planting seeds with mormons if that's your choice. But my point is there's no need to jump in the middle of answering inappropriate questions or any question if you object.
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Mormonism Creates People Who Are Ill Prepared
Friday, Mar 1, 2013, at 07:32 AM
Original Author(s): Kori
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
I grew up mormon.

I was taught so many doctrinal things that were not true. However I was also taught to filter my life experiences with an imcomplete set of tools...

I was taught not to value facts
I was taught not to value money in every aspect
I was taught to focus on the way I felt at the time to make terribly important decisions
I was limited in the choices of friends I could have
I was taught skewed values and given limited choices for marriage partners
I was taught that education was secondary, almost evil
I was taught to not prepare economically for life, but to rush to make important decisions and that magic would take care of the rest.
I was taught that consequences for bad decisions were optional, if I meant well
I was taught that other people who ran my life, spoke to God
I was taught that the only financial skill I should develop was to give up my income, at least 10 percent and then hope for the rest to go well
I was taught to live by a narrow worldview, based entirely on confirmation bias
I was taught that gay people were perverted evil monsters
I was taught that people who were not of my church, were evil, or at least not as important
I was taught that no meaningful truth could be found outside of a church that lied to me about everything
I was robbed of 10k and 2 years on my youth
I was robbed of a normal sexual development
I was robbed of normal relationships with girls
I was taught that girls were less than boys
I was robbed for tens of thousands of dollars
I was controlled and taught to control others thru guilt and fear, the only ways mormons interact
I was told that I must not think when people with a supervisory calling spoke to me
I was taugth that truth was relative
I was taught to speak in half truths and that crying while you talk makes everything you are saying into God's word
I was taught that my life should be dictated by the never changing principles of god, which changed all the time
I was taught that this world was evil and that I was contantly on stage, waiting for my big trial and eventual death, becuase then, only only then, I could enjoy myself and rest.

All of these things put us Mormons and Exmormons at a disadvantage over average folks. I have had to jump thru so many mental hoops, I have spent years deprogramming my brain, bringing my ambition to enjoy life back from the evil pile. I have had to learn to be happy with reality. I have learned to put aside fairy tales, religious fantasies, delusions of gradeur, sexist and racist views, I have had to detangle truth and ethics from mormonism, I have had to extricate Jesus Christ from the mormon dogma. I was taught to be a good mormon and a terrible human being...and at the end, looking back I realize that mormonism is a cult that lies to you in order to get you to behave like someone you are not, so others will join and bring along their wallets, hearts and minds.
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The Mormon Axiom: I Know The Church Is True
Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013, at 07:40 AM
Original Author(s): Dan Burton
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
I'd like to bear my testimony, I know the church is true.

I wonder how old I was when I first uttered these words. Any Mormon who regularly attends church has certainly heard this staple opening line numerous times, most often from Mormon children. On the first Sunday of every month, instead of the typical pre-assigned talks and musical numbersandnbsp;-andnbsp;but not eliding the usual reverent distribution of bread and water symbolic of Christ's atonementandnbsp;-andnbsp;the hour known as "sacrament meeting" is taken instead by "testimony meeting," a time when the pulpit is open to anyone in the congregation who wishes to share their testimony, as moved upon by the holy spirit, or in some cases, as moved upon by the pious parent.

This particular time also coincides with the church's monthly fast, where most members forego food and drink for 24 hours, symbolically placing themselves further from the physical realm, and closer to the spiritual. Most members also follow the church's suggestion to donate money to the church's welfare system equivalent to or greater than the value of the skipped meals. This donation is not to be confused with tithing; instead it is used to directly benefit the needy. "Fast and testimony meeting" is therefore a spiritual time when the congregation is joined in fasting and sharing of testimonies. Everyone is encouraged to participate: just walk up to the pulpit (sit down in "line," if there is one, waiting for your turn) and share your sincerest beliefs. There is usually a stepping stool, and the podium's height is adjustable, so even children may participate.

I know the church is true.

To ease a child's nervousness towards public speaking, they seem to pick upandnbsp;-andnbsp;or are directly taught to reciteandnbsp;-andnbsp;the standard icebreaker: "I['d] like to bear my testimony, I know [this|the] church is true." A child's simple testimony usually continues by expressing love for their family, and similarly proclaiming to know that Joseph Smith is a prophet, and Jesus is the Savior. All testimonies conventionally conclude, "In the name of Jesus Christ, amen," at which point the congregation echoes "amen," expressing their agreement with what was said. The same closing phrase and echoed "amen" similarly occur for prayers.

Mormons do not recite standard prayers such as the Ave Maria or the Lord's Prayer, but children's testimonies are nevertheless rather formulaic. Group prayers over food, being potentially given with much frequency, also tend to follow standard formulas, such as "Dear Heavenly Father, we thank thee for this food ... please bless this food ... in the name of Jesus Christ, amen." While such food-prayer formulas are more frequent, they are of less consequence by far than the proclamation of absolute surety.

I know the church is true.

Those like myself who were raised in a Mormon family have heard this simple sentence many, many times. We have probably also uttered it many times. Sometimes a testimony, even when focusing on a particular topic such as tithing, just doesn't feel like a testimony without delivering the coup de grace: the catch all, cover all axiom that motivates it all in the first place. While adult testimonies are less scripted than that of a child, they nevertheless very commonly include the solemn avowal, "I know the church is true," usually near the end. Though the sentence itself communicates very little, its implications are enormous.

For example, the reason I gave tithing to the Mormon church, instead of putting that money towards any other church, charity, or investment, was because I knew the church was true. Had I instead known that the Seventh Day Adventists' was the true church, or Scientology, or Catholicism, I would have given tithing to them. But I knew that the Mormon church was true, therefore, I knew that all others were at best "mostly true."

I know the church is true.

As a youth, I never would have dreamed of taking even one sip of coffee. Seeing an R-rated movie was absolutely out of the question. I was the one among my childhood friends that would perhaps snicker at a dirty joke, but then quickly regain my composure, and punch the friend that told the joke repeatedly in the arm (not very hard), chanting "nasty, nasty, nasty," in rhythm with each blow. I vividly recall one occasion, where I made a comment while a friend was using the TV remote to flip through the channels. He misheard whatever I had said, and perplexed, he asked, "Did you just say 'bastard'?" I was flabbergasted. Of course not! I would never. "No," I responded. But he insisted, it sounded like I had said 'bastard.' With my pristine reputation on the line, I exclaimed in exasperation, "I did not say 'bastard'!" But in claiming to not have said it, I said it. I was at once deeply embarrassed and furious; I'm sure I blushed redder than I ever have before or since. The two friends present cracked up laughing in amazement and amusement. I began punching the offending friend's arm and chanting, "nasty, nasty, nasty, nasty," and continued to do so for quite a long time, appalled that he somehow got me to use a swear word.

This may seem a bit extreme, but to me it was the only reasonable way to behave. I recall in our teenage years, one of my (Mormon) friends noted that I was "very churchy," and that I seemed to always have the church present in my mind, my thoughts and actions consistently based on church teachings and doctrine. Well, of course. This seemed only natural to me. After all, I knew the church was true; all of that behavior simply stemmed from this singular knowledge and certainty, this one fundamental axiom. When it came time to decide if I wanted to serve an LDS mission, as was expected of all worthy 19-year-old boys, the choice was obvious.

S, que la iglesia es verdadera.

This is one of the very first phrases I learned in the Missionary Training Center in Provo. Aside from the rudimentary Spanish I already knew from high school, the only thing I might have learned before the Spanish equivalent of "I know the church is true" was standard prayer phrases, since we began praying in Spanish on day one: "Querido Padre Celestial ... te damos gracias ... te pedimos ... en el nombre de Jesucristo, am,n."

After a few weeks of language and proselyting training, off I went to the grand province of Buenos Aires to share my testimony with the Argentines. And share I did. For two years, I attempted to find and enlighten the Lord's elect: those people that would be willing to accept my testimony and ignite their own, joining themselves with the church that they, too, would come to know is true. There was one woman I met, who affirmed that "the church is true," and yet she no longer attended church meetings. This behavior utterly baffled me; clearly there was a hole in her testimony, for if she really knew the church to be true, this would motivate her to attend church meetings.

I know the church is true?

What happens when a missionary doesn't have a testimony? What is he to do? Or what if the potential convert isn't quite sure, hasn't yet gained a testimony? While this wasn't personally the case for me at the time, I often heard the following quip:

A testimony is found in the bearing of it.

Unsure missionaries are encouraged to bear testimony, even if they do not feel they have one, for this is the way one's testimony is built. Unsure potential converts are encouraged to take a leap of faith and are promised that they will not be disappointed. Unsure members are encouraged to have patience and extrapolate a testimony out of that which they will surely soon come to know. The Book of Mormon prophet Alma advises, "Even if ye can no more than desireandnbsp;to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe." Based on Alma's subsequent sermon, the children's hymn confirms, "Faith is like a little seed, if planted it will grow."

In my teenage years, I was often the first among my peers to take advantage of testimony-sharing opportunities. These arise not only during fast and testimony meeting, but also periodically occur at weekly youth activities, summer retreats, and weekday seminary instruction. I wonder at what point, if any, I transitioned from bearing testimony while unsure to bearing testimony while sure. I don't remember ever being unsure about what I believed or claimed to know.

I know the church is true.

This is why it is impossible to argue with a Mormon about religion. While there may be conclusions on which you agree, there is one fundamental axiom from which the Mormon mentality derives all else. "I know the church is true." Not just, "the church is true." It's, "I knowandnbsp;the church is true." Emotionally, this is a much more powerful statement, because it links "the church is true" directly to a person's very ability to perceive truth. That person's knowledge system, the way his or her brain works, now stands or falls with the truthfulness of the church, for the Mormon axiom asserts, "I know the church is true."

It is impossible to get a Mormon to admit any proposition which implies that the church is in some way untrue, for this is inconsistent with their most basic axiom. According to logic based on "I know the church is true," there is no method for me to determine that the church is not true, no way to perform an experiment and conclude the falsehood of the church. According to this mindset, there is no embarrassment or evil the church can commit that would demonstrate it to be defective, no existing evidence to elide its exactitude.

I know the church is true.

Another memory I remember vividly was in high school. I was bearing my testimony in seminary to several dozen peers. I've always loved logic and science. However, I told them, science gives me no purpose. Science tells me that I am the extremely unlikely product of the randomized results of an arbitrary explosion, that I'm just a bundle of atoms that happen to move just so. But the church gives me so much more than that. Because I know the church is true, I therefore also know that I am a child of God, with the potential to become like him. A prince destined to become a king. A God in embryo. What could be more grand? What could be more meaningful?

Contradicting the Mormon axiom was unthinkable. My whole world, as I perceived it, was built around that one base assumption. Everything I knew, everything I was, everything I would be, revolved around the simplest of propositions.

I know the church is true.

And yet, I somehow managed to think the unthinkable. Somehow, in my mid twenties, I finally allowed myself to seriously consider that which was contrary to what I had believed my whole life. Contrary to what I had heard over the pulpit every month at fast and testimony meeting. Contrary to what I had boldly proclaimed. Contrary to the simplest, most fundamental axiom that had been so deeply ingrained in my mind, my worldview, my actions, my purpose, my life, my very reason for being. Contrary to what I had recited so many times before, more times than I can remember, since before I can remember.

Maybe the church isn't true.

http://lovepridereason.blogspot.com/2...
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Take Your Power Back And Own It. What That Means To Me In My Process
Monday, Aug 12, 2013, at 07:42 AM
Original Author(s): Susieq#1
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
Part of my process dealing with my life in the LDS Church and leaving it, has been dealing with unexpected, unfair, unconscionable behavior like lying to me and spreading false rumors, treating me like a second class citizen because I am a female. I had no power. Trying to get some understanding was impossible. It was like talking to a brick wall, sometimes. All very difficult experiences for me, especially when it was the LDS Priesthood doing these things. Lying? What was with that? Then admitting he lied. Later his behavior got worse. I was aghast. I've shared many of my experiences.

Also, at one time, some of the women were being catty and rude, making snotty, sarcastic comments about my wardrobe, unaware that I could afford a new outfit each week as I got it at a Thrift Store for a few bucks. They could do the same, I explained!I I left these encounters wondering what was going on.

I was frustrated, annoyed, surprised, disappointed by the treatment of some of the members, (not all!). And, most importantly, I was stymied. I didn't have the power to change it. Didn't happen often, but when it did, I was confused and discussed it ad nauseum with my husband who had the amazing ability to just ignore the nonsense! I couldn't figure it out. I couldn't "fix it" - I couldn't get past it. It was bugging me ... off and on .. and I didn't know why,. I'm a talker, and I talked and talked about it with my husband.

Eventually, I discovered a principle of human behavior (in Buddism) that I was using: emotional attachments to unfulfilled expectations. Oh yes. I had them. Lots of them. I expected Mormons and their leadership, for instance, to live what I considered, well, simply put: higher religious values. Behave better than the average person off the street!

For years, in my naivety,I struggled to understand what was going on. Then I discovered, it was not just me, it was not just the Church, the same human behavior occurred in other places like my employment. Hmmm. Very interesting. People were pretty much the same, doing the same things, just the faces changed.

Then I hit on a principle that turned my life around. I could take my power back and own it. Wow. What a concept. I did not have any obligation to allow others to disturb my peace of mind. I didn't have any reason to give them permission to force me to "take" offense either. I could turn that into an impossibility. And I did. No longer did anyone have the power to upset me in anyway. I could refuse. I could let go of any emotional bond to expectations. I had no need to acquiesce to ecclesiastical authority either. Whew. What a relief.

No more: woulda, shoulda, coulda, what if's. It became a fun experiment. I could learn to Let Go of anything I had taken on myself that was really, very often, not about me in the first place. If I had contributed in anyway, to some problem, tiff or another, I could apologize, make amends and more on.

The more I practiced the principle, (and it took a lot of practice), of owning my own power over my life, the easier it became to hold onto my own sense of well being and self confidence, self respect and control of my emotions and responses. I could use my natural positive, upbeat, optimistic sense of my world, and sense of humor to refuse to wallow in resentment or bitterness, or any other negative emotion. I didn't like how those meddled with my life, or my health anyhow. Yes. I had the power to do that. That was a new concept.

I wasn't sure I could do it, I tried and failed many times, but I set my mind to try it. And it worked. There is a lot more that goes into practicing using my own power to conduct my life - but the essence is: I have found a new kind of joy and happiness.

I learned early on, that when I was experiencing powerful negative emotions like resentment, bitterness, etc, they seemed to permeate my whole being and others picked up on it. I might have been wearing some strong, nasty perfume! My family responded, in negative ways also.

That process of owning my own power, alone, was instrumental in dealing with my decades of life as a Mormon female. Writing about it, and sharing my experiences also helped. It also carried over into all facets of my life, some very difficult experiences that I wouldn't wish on anyone. I began to understand a lot more about why people do what they do.

I have released myself from becoming emotionally attached to expectations (most of the time!) and give myself permission to enjoy every minute of every day. At this point, that includes no requirement to subscribe to any concrete religious view. I have found what I call: "Universal Truths" that keep me on a tract that ....well...is difficult to explain. I've posted this before: Love one another, love is something you do, Forgive everyone, everything, every time, Treat others the way you want to be treated. That's a big order, but the more attempts I make to live those simple principles, the easier my life is, the more peace of mind and inner peace I experience. The easier it is to maintain long standing relationships. I add an Attitude of Gratitude also.

Each of us, in our process leaving the LDS Church run into many problems and confusing situations. Some are a total shock, all of which happened to me. So, we find what works for us. What brings us to a point of being content with our lives, at least on some level.

I have often said that living Mormonism as a convert, married in the temple, raising a family in the Church for over three plus decades was: "The Good, The Bad, The Ugly" ! That is true for almost everything in my life. We each struggle through it and push on!

I have taken an overall perspective of refusing to have regrets, and Letting Go of the negativity I experienced - little by little. And I love the result. The sense of freedom is beyond words to explain it.

I wish the best for everyone in their personal, sometimes, long, lonely, confusing process leaving the LDS Church. There are so many variables, differences in how we were raised, our current lives, convert, BIC, and on and on and on. There is no one way that works for everyone.
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Prayer Bomb
Wednesday, Aug 21, 2013, at 09:07 AM
Original Author(s): Judyblue
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
Years ago, my family bought a board game. It must not have been very fun, because I don't think we played it more than once or twice, but it had one very fun part - instead of a traditional timer, it had a little plastic "bomb" that went off at random intervals, so you never knew how long your turn was going to last.

My family wasn't the most orthodox, as I've explained before, but in my teenage years my mom did implement one family prayer every week, on Sunday nights. To make it more fun, we used the bomb from the game to determine who had to say it. We'd toss it to each other, like hot potato, and whoever had their hands on it when it went off had to say the prayer. Because we are all very creative and wordsmithy-type folks, we called it... Prayer Bomb.

I. HATED. Prayer Bomb. Prayer aloud in front of other people, even my immediate family, was absolute TORTURE. I'm a classic introvert, which the rest of my family has never fully understood. I am, and have always been, completely incapable of expressing my emotions verbally. To me, prayer was such a personal, private, emotional thing that the idea of doing it publicly was bordering on blaspheme.

This was compounded by the fact that I felt completely unworthy to represent the rest of my family in a conversation with God. From the age of 12 or so I had been in constant struggle with my relationship with the church, and always felt like I was simply not good enough. Whenever I had to pray in front of other people, at home or at church or at seminary, I felt like a fraud. I would sputter out a few rehearsed lines, just to get it over with, my heart pounding and my hands shaking and my stomach rolling like a stormy sea.

I asked my mom once or twice if I could be excused from Prayer Bomb. I told her I would still kneel with them in the circle and listen, but I didn't want to ever have to actually *say* the prayer. She didn't understand why, and when she asked me to explain I couldn't express myself. I ended up just giving up and saying never mind, because it was that hard to explain to her how praying in front of other people made me feel.

So for years I suffered through it. There were five of us in my family, so sometimes I would get a long break between having to say the prayer. Other times I would get Prayer Bombed three or four weeks in a row. Every Sunday my heart would be in my throat as I listened to the tick-tick-tick of the bomb as we tossed it around the room.

At some point, the little plastic bomb broke or got lost or something. We converted into a jan-ken-pon method of determining the loser (winner?) each week, but still called the game Prayer Bomb.

A few years later, when I was in college, I was at some kind of small group meeting for church. I don't remember if it was a Relief Society activity, or an FHE, or an Institute class, or what, but someone mentioned that we needed a volunteer to say the prayer and the whole room grew silent. Suddenly, some stranger in the group stuck up both thumbs, stuck her fists together in front of her chin and shouted "PRAYER BOMB!" She then explained that in her home ward, this is how the YW/YM decided who had to say prayer. The last person to stick up their thumbs was it - and they called the game Prayer Bomb. Apparently, some of my siblings' friends who had witnessed and/or heard about our actual Prayer Bomb started using the term in their seminary classes or wards, and the name of the game managed to spread over a small area of the S L Valley for a short time.

Sometimes I wonder if there's still some iteration of Prayer Bomb out there today, and if there's some poor introvert kid like me whose real prayer is the silent plea that it won't go off in their face.
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Sitting Bishop Leaves The Mormon Church
Monday, Oct 28, 2013, at 09:53 AM
Original Author(s): Bishopatheist
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
In early September, my wife and I visited with our stake president and told him that we no longer believed that the church was true, and that our family of seven would be leaving the church. Because I would like to control the message of our exit, I would like to share my story. I also do so because so many other de-conversion stories have given me strength and courage.

JOINING THE CHURCH

Twenty years ago, I joined the church when I was a college freshman in Southern California. My high school sweetheart, a beautiful girl from a mormon family, was off to BYU. I was coping with a new peer group in college - not fitting in well with a bunch of partying athletes. I was also struggling to make the jump from high school to college in my sport. Most significantly, I missed my girlfriend. I had always had positive feelings about the church and its members; and even though mormonism was a little odd, I figured that its supernatural claims were just as believable as any other religion's. I took the missionary discussions, had a spiritual experience, told my girlfriend that I wanted to be baptized, and that I wanted to marry her.

BUILDING OUR FAMILY and SERVING IN THE CHURCH

She left BYU. We married at 20 (young, but best thing I ever did). We finished college in Southern California. Then, we started building our family. We have five children, ranging from 7 to 16 years old. Our family was extremely committed to the church and we were devoted to personal and family worship. We were zealous and had very responsible callings. She was in a few RS/YW presidencies. I was in the bishopric at 25, taught early morning seminary for four years (while working and going to business school at night), served as a high councilor, and for the past four years was the bishop of our ward in a beach community in Southern California.

WILLING TO LEARN

When I joined the church many years ago, I experienced personal issues that humbled me to learn and accept new ideas. Ironically, 20 years later, important life events had the same result. I was approaching 40 years old and although the mid-life crisis can be such a clich‚, it was sort of true for me. I was also starting a new business, struggling financially, praying fervently, and with time to study issues. Lastly, a friend of mine began to confide in me as a friend and a bishop, that he was doubting and trying to distance himself from the church. All of these important changes helped me consider other points of view, but my friend was the catalyst.

QUESTIONING

At about the same time that my friend shared his doubts with me, we had a priesthood leadership meeting for bishops with one of the Q12. This was the second of these meetings during my tenure as bishop. There would be a QandA session. The first meeting's QandA session with Robert Hales was uninteresting, not a single thought-provoking question. I was determined to ask a good one this time (but not too good, because I was aware that a real tough question might brand me a doubter). I asked Dallin Oaks something about continuing revelation, and why we do not have any more recorded prophecies, visions, or revelations. He mentioned that we pretty much have all that we need - made me think of the "A bible! A bible! We have already got a bible" passage in the BOM. Steven Snow, the new church historian, said that every general conference is filled with revelation. The failure of our prophets, seers, and revelators to produce prophecies, visions, and revelations probably was my first serious issue with the truth claims ofthe church.

I discovered Rock Waterman's Pure Mormonism, which always left me scratching my head. Then I moved onto Mormon Stories, learning things about the history and doctrines of the church that made me feel like I had been kicked in the stomach. I continued to adapt my beliefs to this new information. I started focusing on jesus, and the basic principles of the gospel. I became a very liberal bishop - and a much better one too. I stopped trying to represent the church, and focused more on healing individuals.

I continued to doubt my doubts, but it was not until I listened to a Mormon Stories podcast about ex-mormon atheists that I seriously considered the possibility that mormonism was not true. The agnostic/atheist perspective was imperative to me because I had always thought that mormonism's miracles were just as likely as any other religion's - and I was right! I started reading the Four Horsemen, Carl Sagan, studying philosophy, and listening to religious debates. When I decided that mormonism was not true, I also decided that I was an agnostic/atheist. Then, all of the contradictions and absurdities in mormonism started making a lot of sense.

Of course, I kept all of this to myself because we're not supposed to share our doubts - especially as a sitting bishop in the fourth year of his calling. I devoured Mormon Think, and visited RFM occasionally. Then I told my wife.

MY WIFE

Whenever I shared elements of my conversion story, I usually remarked how I was first converted to my wife, then to the gospel. We have had a very happy marriage. Even though I had read some horror stories about coming out to a spouse, I expected her to react well.

She cried, felt like she got kicked in the stomach. But she was loving and kind, just like I expected. I think many of us experienced that sick feeling when we first learned that the church may not be what we thought it was. She was no different. Her biggest fear was that I would not feel the same way about her and our marriage. I reassured her and reminded her that I was first converted to her. I told her that I would much rather sit beside her at church than watch football or go surfing. I told her that I would pretend until and unless we could do something together. To her credit, this was not an acceptable solution. My wife insisted that she needed some time to figure it out, then I could leave the church or we could leave together. She has always been my number one priority, and always will be (a value that did not come from the church).

Our relationship did have one important difference that she recognized right away - namely, that I no longer believed that God required me to be faithful to her and never divorce. However, the other side of this coin was that I did not believe she would stay with me merely because god commanded it. We love each other and I realized that god's commandments are completely irrelevant to our commitment. To me, this is very empowering, and I expect it to strengthen our marriage.

For some time, I had been sharing Rock Waterman's blog with her, and discussing some of the oddities. She had a familiarity with some of the major issues. But the first heavy issue I asked her to study seriously was the Book of Abraham - we studied Kevin Mathie's essay on the BoA together. She believed that the BoA was probably fraudulent, but it did not necessarily disqualify JS as a prophet.

We continued to discuss the major issues without any urgency. Then, my wife realized that our son would be turning sixteen soon, become a priest, and start preparing for a mission. She was also uncomfortable with me "pretending" and ordaining him - a breach of trust with my son. Several weeks before his birthday, she started to study Mormon Think. Just before his birthday, she confessed to her bishop that she no longer believed the church was true (though she still has some faith, wants to believe in god and an afterlife, and has kept praying each night). Although I had been resolved in my beliefs for several months, and had fantasized about getting my wife to come along, I was surprisingly nervous when she said, "Let's go talk to our stake president." On one day in September, we told her family, our children, and our stake president.

WIFE'S FAMILY

My wife's family is sad and disappointed, but also loving and kind. Some want to understand why we made this decision. Some don't want to talk about it at all. We see each other as much as we ever have. I don't think this will negatively impact our relationship with her family one bit. It's a good family and I'm glad to be part of it.

Her family is the main reason we have not yet resigned from the church.

OUR CHILDREN

We told all five of them at once, and they had varied reactions. One of my children cried all night, and was angry with us for weeks. The two youngest were surprised, but wanted to go back to the television show they had been watching before we called them together. The other two had more moderate reactions.

My wife and I kept attending church for months after learning about the issues, giving us time to adjust and think about our relationship with the church and our friends there. I feel badly that the children have not had this same opportunity. A couple of them wanted to visit church the next two Sundays, but we told them that it would not be appropriate. The first Sunday after our announcement, our stake president told the ward that our family was leaving the church. The next Sunday, I would be officially released. It would not have been fair to anybody for us to be there on those days. Since then, we've told them that they can go back. But I hope we never return.

Within a couple weeks, I started talking to them about issues. I shared just a little bit of the historical and doctrinal issues, but focused more on why we believe, whom we should trust, and the unreliable nature of the holy ghost. None of the children appear eager to talk about religion. I think they are growing indifferent at this point and getting used to the idea of not going to church anymore. I think they are all content to be doing something else on Sundays. We are optimistic about our children and their progress so far, but we know we need to have ongoing discussions.

A common question we've heard is, "but isn't the church really good for your kids?" No. Being groomed to covenant with the church to sacrifice everything for it, and to place it above everything else is NOT good. Learning to give your money to the church before paying the rent and feeding your family is NOT good. The way the church makes it difficult to leave and alienates some from their families is NOT good. Mindless chanting of "follow the prophet, follow the prophet" is NOT good. Going away for two years as a missionary unwittingly sharing less than the whole truth is NOT a good thing. The primary reason we left the church is for our children. If not for them, we may have been tempted to stay for the social aspect.

STAKE PRESIDENT

He has been a good church friend over the years. We expected him to react well, and he did. He mostly listened, told us that he loved us and that it wouldn't change how he feels about us. He remarked, "I don't have a testimony of church history." This is peculiar to me. The BOM is a history, says so right in the beginning where it explains the plates. In 2013, we are even studying "Church History" in sunday school - seems funny not to have a testimony about that. He also said that he has heard all of the issues. I think a lot of people say this, but I don't believe anybody can seriously ponder these issues without having some sort of faith crisis. At the very least, it alters how one views the church and its leaders, and results in much more empathy with doubters. I did not sense this.

TELLING OTHERS

I told my counselors in the bishopric the next day. They were surprised and sad. I spoke with a few close friends. My wife spoke with more than a few (spending at least an hour in several emotionally draining conversations, she was beat for a few days). Almost without exception, they were kind and affirmed our friendships. This did not surprise me very much. Our ward has long been a friendly, non-judgmental ward. I think a lot of our church friends believe in the preeminence of friendship. But the reality is that the church does not leave a lot of time for outside friendships and interests. I suspect that some (but not all) of these friendships will fade over time - but hope they won't.

There have been a couple of message-board worthy responses to our leaving the church. One couple that we were fairly close to has been saying some hurtful things about our character. One interesting rumor they've helped spread is that we would share our new feelings about the church with all the "zeal and fervor" that we ever had. We have both been very respectful in speaking with everybody. We are willing to talk with anybody, but are also satisfied to live and let live. I do hope that someday I can be a friend to somebody during a potentially lonely faith crisis.

I sent about twenty individual emails to other people in the ward and stake that I admire. I mostly thanked them for the privilege of working with them, and told them that I would always be there for them. One person responded that he would always be true to the church (I was puzzled until I found out about the false rumors of our preaching and converting others).

One important leader in the ward sent a funny and sad response: "My heart goes out to your children for the decision that you and [your wife] have made. This will not only negatively impact their lives, but the lives of your future generations. You know very well that once one stops doing the basics, one will forget their [sic] testimony. Unfortunately, this was personified by you. [Brother], I implore that you practice faith and repentance. I don't know what caused you to pursue this path, whether it was for justification of some sin or self pride, but do not succumb to the philosophies and vanities of man." Although incredibly ignorant, judgmental, and condescending, it's really not his fault - he was "inspired" to write this to me. I believe he is a genuinely good person.

I heard that the stake president wrote a letter about our family that was read in all the sacrament meetings of our stake. I don't know what it said, but I'm flattered. I did hear of one bishop who, after reading the letter, went on to say that it shows that how failing to read your scriptures and pray could lead anybody to apostasy. Perhaps people who fall away due to indifference may have this experience, but I think that most who reject the church do not. I prayed and studied more during my faith crisis.

Interestingly, telling my non-mormon family was one of the worst experiences. My father is catholic, not practicing or religious, but spiritual. He was kind and tolerant, but was confused by my agnosticism/atheism. My mother is a "born-again christian," who has been praying for our family for a long time. She told me that I could finally get to know "the real jesus." I knew she would be pleased about our leaving mormonism, but I wanted her to know my feelings about christianity before she got too excited. I probably said too much. Although I am as confident about mormonism/christianity as I am about unicorns or celestial teapots, I think I will usually just say, "I don't know." It's true and much easier.

VISIT WITH A GENERAL AUTHORITY - "Special Witness" Shayne Bowen.

My original coming out plan was for stake conference weekend in October. I had wanted to spare my friend, the outgoing stake president, this difficulty. I did not think I would care as much to trouble the new stake president. The bishops, high councilors, and stake presidency had received letters that indicated an interview time with the visiting general authority, along with a survey in which we were asked to describe our family, job, affirm certain worthiness standards, disclose whether we had ever been divorced or subject to church discipline, and what we believe needs to be emphasized in the stake. We were also asked to recommend three men who would serve well as stake president. My plan was to go out of town that weekend, unannounced, then let the new guy know.

When Shayne Bowen of the 1Q70 came to our stake, he visited our home for about an hour with the outgoing stake president. I was not sure whether to expect a kindly man who wanted to have a conversation, or a condescending priesthood holder who knew everything about us because the spirit had already told him everything. The amateur anthropologist in me would not be disappointed either way. I later found out that his career was as an insurance salesman, and he was true to that form. The first thing he told me was, "I want you to know that I love you." Inauthenticity was not the best way to start our meeting.

After "establishing trust", he asked us what he could do to have us return to church. I paused and did not know how to respond. His question is very telling. Maybe he believes in the whole "offended" excuse (I don't think anybody who believes in the truth claims of the church would leave it for such a comparatively trivial reason). Or maybe he believes that the church is just a social institution and that he could actually do something to get us back.

Eventually, I told him that although there were some true and good principles that the church taught, there were also false and harmful principles. I told him that although I believed that the people were true, I had a strong conviction that the church was not. He asked what principles we appreciated. I responded "love, kindness, friendship, service, and forgiveness." He then asked what principles were false. I did not discuss them for two reasons: one, I was trying to have a pleasant meeting; and two, I did not want to give him an easy excuse for my disaffection.

Next, he tried to persuade us and find some common ground. He asked how we know right from wrong. I recognize this as the Argument from Morality, which is that if there is objective morality, then god must exist. I explained that we do not need god to tell us right from wrong. And just because the idea of subjective morality scares somebody, it doesn't mean god exists. He had no idea what the terms "objective morality" and "subjective morality" even meant. He asked, "who gets to decide right from wrong?" I said, "I do." He seemed puzzled and offended by this personal responsibility.

We also spent some time discussing eternal families. My wife wants to believe in a personal god and an afterlife. He seized on this common ground. He testified that we could not be together forever as a family unless we stayed with the church. I told him that I thought mormons had over-simplified this issue. I said that even the telestial kingdom is supposed to be a kingdom of glory, not a prison. I asked if he thought god would suspend free agency, and physically prevent me and my wife from being together (never mind Joseph Fielding Smith's crazy teaching that lower kingdom inhabitants would not have their private parts). I asserted that within mormon theology, celestial marriage means something more than just being together. He did not respond, other than to testify that families could be together forever only through priesthood ordinances.

More juvenile discussion proved that everything this man knew about religion and philosophy, he learned in primary. He questioned whether we had been lazy in our praying and scripture study (I certainly became so at some point). He suggested that we were hasty in our decision (took me almost a year of doubting). He appealed to the significant investment we've made in mormonism as a reason for us to stay (I wouldn't expect an insurance salesman to understand the important financial concept of sunk costs). He said that everybody gets exactly what they want in the afterlife, and since mormonism is the only religion to promise eternal families, we should believe in it (apparently, he never heard a non-mormon talk about being reunited with loved ones after death).

He bore testimony, starting with "as a special witness," then mentioned the usual items. I asked, "What makes your witness so special?" He said that it was because a prophet had laid hands on his head and set him apart as a special witness. I asked if his witness were stronger or better than the stake president's. He said, "no, it's a special witness." After some more questions, he admitted that he doesn't HAVE a special witness, but that he IS a special witness. This was the only thing he taught me during our meeting. I did not realize that "special witness" was just the name (a misleading one) of a calling like "sunday school president" or "Saturday morning toilet washing committee member."

He also asked us what our biggest issues were, guessing polygamy and the BoA. I mentioned something about the BoA being a literal translation of Abraham's own writings upon papyrus. He incredulously asked, "Have you really been taught that?" I explained that it said so right in the scriptures and JS affirmed it in his journals, to which the stake president nodded.

The meeting then hit a low point. Instead of discussing specific issues like the BoA, my wife mentioned that during the process we had really wished to speak with somebody who understood the issues and still remained faithful. He looked my wife right in the eye and said, "You're looking at him. I'm that man. I know the issues. Any issue that you've studied, I know about it." I responded, "Okay, then, how about a simple test?" I asked why god would mention smashed windows to the brother of Jared while building the barges, when windows would not be invented until thousands of years later. He looked at my wife, and said, "You don't have the faith to hear the answers." She was upset and remarked how disappointed her mother would be. Her mother had prayed that a general authority would answer our questions, and even though he had "all the answers," my wife lacked sufficient faith for him to tell her. Of course, if we had enough faith for him to answer us, we never would have asked the question in the first place -catch 22!

At this point, I started getting a little more aggressive. I asserted that if mormonism were true, then the holy ghost is a poor witness that only leads 0.1% to the truth. He countered that it's because everybody has their agency - as if 99.9% willfully reject the obviously true message. He said that we would never find happiness on our current path. We had already told him that we lived many of the best principles that mormonism teaches. I guess he thinks that living the major principles of "the gospel" only results in happiness if you also go to the mormon church. Or could it be that the spirit told him that we were lying, and that we really just wanted to pursue a life of sin?

Next, he tried to teach us something about faith, but it was a confusing and bizarre lesson. He asked, "If I took you to SLC and put the windows from the barges on a table, would that help you?" My wife said that it wouldn't help because there were no windows on those barges. He agreed, "You're right. There weren't. What if I put the plates on the table?" We told him if we could see the true plates, of course we would believe. I think we must lack the faith to understand this lesson.

As we finished our meeting, I bore a powerful "testimony" to him. I promised him that if he would apply the same skepticism to mormonism that he applies to all other religions, it would not take him five minutes to discover that mormonism is false. He disagreed, but I'd bet quite a lot that he hasn't spent more than five minutes studying any of the non-christian religions that he has already rejected.

As he left, he asked my wife to pray for one thing, "If you pray, pray to father tonight and ask if he sent a special witness to you today." I found it odd that he did not ask us to pray about something more meaningful, but I guess this request gives us a glimpse into his self-importance.

In case you wonder, the stake president just sat and nodded occasionally. I'm sure he knew his place as a junior companion. I haven't spoken with him since, but would be interested to hear his perceptions. He is a very good people person who should not have been pleased with the meeting, but he also believes this guy is a "special witness" - so who knows?

NOW WHAT?

Our marriage is stronger than ever. My kids are good, talented, and healthy. Business is growing. We still have the same values, except for the church-related ones. Who really needs god to inform right from wrong? We have more money, a bit less underwear, and a lot more time. Life is good.

My wife still maintains some kind of faith, but not the kind that requires any investment in time or money. Although I wouldn't call her religious at this point (perhaps deist, with a desire to believe in something more personal), I can't help but want her to come a little farther along the path. Why? I think it's because I never want us to get bamboozled again. I want our children to apply skepticism to all religions. I think that reality is better and happier than delusion.

We do have a big gap in our lives now that needs to be filled. We hope it will not be filled with the mundane, but that we can spend meaningful time together. This can be difficult with five children, but feasible with some careful planning. My favorite teaching from the bible is "he that findeth his life shall lose it; he that loseth his life shall find it." To me, it means that we can only find true happiness by helping those we love to be happy. I hope we will make new friendships. I will coach the kids' athletic teams. My wife will probably be more active in the community. In the past, I would occasionally ask myself whether I loved god/church more than my family (thinking that I was supposed to put god first), and I always justified my contrary feelings by concluding that it was a dumb question - why would god ask me to choose? Now, I do not doubt the answer.
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How The LDS Church Has Betrayed "A Chosen Generation"
Tuesday, Nov 19, 2013, at 07:52 AM
Original Author(s): Secular Priest
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
I was a teenager in the 60's. I grew up in the Church starting in the early 50's. In those years Church was fun, primary was fun so was young men's and women's programs. Sunday school lessons were interesting and Sacrament meeting were interesting because you never knew who was going to talk about what subject. We had firesides, plays, dances once a month for all ages, dinners, etc. As a ward we were a family and everyone had time to get to know everyone as we attended ward events. Everyone young and old.

We were taught the deep things of the gospel. 10 tribes, second coming, signs of the times (my favourite back then), Jesus the Christ. Reguired reading before converts got baptised. BoM, Jesus the Christ, Marvelous Work and a Wonder. Each year we had new exciting colorful Sunday school and priesthood manuals.

We were told we were a "chosen generation." We felt special.

Now as I near 70, I am ashamed of what I told people outside the Church about the Church. I told people back then it was doctrine that Blacks not have the priesthood. I told people back then the church looks after poor people. I told people we could become Gods and have a world of our own. I told people that temple marriage is forever and we don't get temple divorce. I told people the Indians here from Isreal and they were a chosen people. The BoM was true and JS had a vision of 2 people. The catholic church was thew whore of the earth and that no Church was correct. Back then this was doctrine.

It makes my face red thinking about what I said to people and what the Church is saying today. Anyone else feel the same way?
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Personal Boundaries
Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013, at 08:11 AM
Original Author(s): Gay Philosopher
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
I've been thinking about what people mean when they refer to "personal boundaries." What's the etymology of that term? I never heard anything like it growing up.

I think that personal boundaries are to an individual what laws are to a state. The state legislates what it believes to be fair, encodes this into laws, and then--this is important--uses coercion, by means of the police and military, to enforce the laws. Similarly, personal boundaries are self-chosen (and culturally influenced) laws governing what an individual will or will not tolerate from others. If a "boundary" (law) is violated, the person will react with coercion (from shunning, to calling the police, or physically assaulting the transgressor). To have meaningful boundaries, it is essential that the individual be able to back them up. Maintaining boundaries requires their enforcement.

What is the purpose of "personal" (which really means interpersonal) boundaries? It's to prevent others from taking advantage of, or otherwise harming, one. Of course, this includes preventing physical assault, but most often, it means interpersonal defense against emotional abuse.

Why do people violate an individual's boundaries? Sometimes, it happens because the others aren't aware of the individual's boundaries (also known as "limits"). It's true that an individual both consciously and unconsciously teaches others how to treat him or her. Unless boundaries are explicitly declared, there is always room for misinterpretation, and offenses may be unintended. At other times, it's to test the individual, such as when a child in seventh grade dares to call his teacher by her first name in a classroom. The teacher must defend her boundaries to maintain her authority over the class, or she will lose control and the purpose of teaching will be thwarted.

Generally, most people will seek their advantage, and not the interest of another. Therefore, one who does not have healthy personal boundaries is called a "pushover," among other labels. It is easy for others to get their way over the individual in such a case. The difficulty, here, is that such an individual fails to stand up for themselves, and is likely to lose out on job promotions, a place in line, respectful treatment as a customer, or being treated seriously as an equal contributor in a business meeting. A failure to maintain personal boundaries shows weakness, timidity, and fear, and suggests either low self-esteem or low social standing, thus requiring the individual to show submissive gestures toward others (namely deference, which is to say people-pleasing, smiling, and speaking in warm tones). It's generally true, as the expression goes, that "If you don't stand up for yourself, nobody else will." It seems plausible that someone who lacks personal boundaries could have dependent personality disorder.

On the opposite side of the spectrum are those with extreme personal boundaries. If one of these is a manager in an insurance company that you work for, coworkers would know him as an "asshole," or her as a "bitch." The manager will behave as a dictator, proactively "teaching you a lesson" to prevent you from daring to assert yourself, under threat of being fired, yelled at (emotionally abused), and other measures.

How people behave in relation to one another depends on where they fit in the social dominance hierarchy, just like baboons. There is a pecking order. If you challenge any individual above you in the social ranking, you will incur an attack. This is a form of boundary defense, for any fall from one's position would bring with it the loss of access to resources, and the respect of others. One would be treated with less deference, or ignored altogether. Think of how we (for the most part) treat the homeless. We avoid and ignore them.

What my little meditation shows is that we begin with an idea that's socially constructed, that appears as an abstract label within a culture, "personal boundaries," and when we dig deeply enough to truly understand what this means, we're reminded that we're Darwinian animals, and that boundary violations amount to aggressive challenges from others in order to climb the dominance hierarchy, thus securing greater access to resources (money, power, sex, respect from others) for oneself. You can think of it as a form of biological capitalism.

All of this amounts to a game of "King of the Hill." Eventually, whoever is atop the hill will be deposed, if by no other force, then by death.

Morality is encoded in a human-invented legal system that seeks to protect property, primarily, and partly to address imbalances unfairly won. As such, it's culture's way of attempting to curtail biologically driven Darwinian impulses, to create a kinder, and more just, society.

How do you think that that's working out, on the whole? By my count, it's a rather more pleasant experience to walk in downtown Salt Lake City than it is to do so in Chicago.

Either way, even though engaging in coercive behavior (staring, criticizing, verbally threatening, jostling, calling the police, or punching) is stressful and brings with it a variety of unpleasant emotions, not the least of which is fear, and some individuals are far more biologically endowed to defend their boundaries than others with minimal duress, unless we defend our personal boundaries, we won't fare well.

For the "nice" person, life generally is unfair, *unless* culture succeeds in curtailing the abuses of nature. Maybe this is one of the reasons that I like Mormon culture. A lot of times, it seems to succeed in doing that, but that's an arguable point.

Defend your boundaries. Seek to become more assertive, if you're a people-pleaser. The quality of your life and your success in Western capitalistic society depends on it.
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The Delicate Mormon Testimony
Tuesday, Nov 26, 2013, at 09:36 AM
Original Author(s): Erictheex
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
Mormons spend a large amount of time and effort on building strong "witnesses" or "Testimonies "that the church is "true". By this they mean that they are convinced that certain facts about their founding, leadership and doctrine are actual facts.

The problem with this practice is that most of what mormons based this feeling of certainty are feelings about things that are demonstratively, factually, not true.

Naturally, this develops a cult-like thought pattern and a dependency on flawed logical, the most evident being confirmation-bias.

Mormons are then tasked with walking a very life-long line: forced to live in an artificial and confining environment that includes:

Believing myths and stories without ever researching facts (BOM, POGP).

An eager willingness to ignore and erase treasured "eternal" doctrines (Blood atonement)

Living by a set of rules, whose purpose is always determined too sacred to explain or understand (polygamy, Word of Wisdom).

Mixing odd practices as required for salvation in one hand and willingly believing urban myths in order to explain these practices (bullet-proof cotton underwear?).

This willingness to be an idiot-for-jesus, makes mormons abhor facts, history, doctrine, making friends outside their religion, reading independent sources, research or logic, as these things "weaken" their testimony.

The very solid testimony that they have spent generations treasuring, crafting, refining, "pondering" and sharing, can vanish with a mere 4 minute exposure to Wikipedia or a trip to their LDS library.

This fragile anchor, that wills their allegiance and blind obedience to their leaders' every whim has to be creepily reinforced multiple times a day by the repetition of credos, weekly family and community affirmations, 30 minute daily reading sessions, and constant prayer, all while walking 24/7 looking to take any event in their life as proof that they are in the right path.

How can something you know so well and are so certain of being factual be at the risk of not being a fact if you don't do something as mundane as clean your house of worship or give your leaders a significant part of your income? How can facts change? Could it be that they are just feelings? Because feelings change and that is all they seem to go on and share. I know, I did it blindly for 30+ years.

With the internet crashing their testimony glass houses, mormonism is doomed to be yet another religion whose golden age of ignorance has come to an end.

So, real truth, factual truth, is not afraid of daylight or challenges. It is true no matter what, it certainly does not avoid facts or exploration. From your question, you would never let anything (including facts?) get in the way of your testimony, I say put it to the test to see if it is real or just heartfelt emotion.
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24 Year Circle Baptism To Resignation
Tuesday, Jan 14, 2014, at 07:16 AM
Original Author(s): Crookedletter
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
I've been disaffected from TSCC for about a year and half now. I was considering resigning on New Year's, but didn't get it taken care of. Then I realized, my baptismal anniversary was close by, and what better time to resign than on that date?

So, here we are. Jan. 13, 1990, I was an 8 year old being baptized. I grew up in a small branch with a very small building and no font. Our baptisms were batched and held at the stake center an hour away. I had to wait a few months before another girl turned 8 and a family decided to convert to Mormonism. Then we headed to the stake center to take care of business.

I remember it was a very cold day. I don't remember much about the actual event, other than after coming out of the water, I was laughing happily about it. It must not have been loud laughter, cause, you know, that would have offended the spirit. ;)

I remember my nevermo grandmother was present. At the time I don't think I realized how significant that was. She lived several hours away and wasn't big on traveling. So it was a big thing for her to come to my baptism.

I also didn't realize until later in my life that Jan. 13 was my grandmom's birthday. For the longest time I felt special that I had shared my special day with her birthday. It certainly has helped me remember the event date, which came in handy when I had to sign up for the lds.org account a few years ago.

As has often been discussed, Mormonism trains its victims to think of the world only through the Mormon lenses. It is an extremely narrow and self-centered view. Everything around is reflected back to you in terms of how it affects you and your beliefs. I had a good relationship with my grandmom growing up. But I'm sure I viewed our relationship through those same lenses as I did everything else.

Although never openly discussed, I grew up understanding that converting my grandparents in this lifetime wasn't going to happen. My dad was the only convert in his family. I have no idea what, if any conversations, may have taken place between his parents and him. I wish I could know now what my grandparents felt about their only son (they had a daughter too, but this was a very patriarchal family) joining the Mormon faith. Did they feel like they had lost him to a cult? Did they try to tell him this was a bad idea? Did they even know anything about the church? We are in the so-called mission field, where Mormons aren't terribly prevalent. Maybe they didn't quite know what to think.

I'm sure they weren't happy with some of the outer expressions of Mormonism. When I think of my grandparents' home, I smell fresh coffee. I think of my granddad pouring his drink in the evening and knew it was some kind of alcohol (now I'm thinking the smell may have been whiskey, probably because our visits stressed him out...haha). I don't recall ever calling my grandparents out for not following the same standards I had, but who knows. Kids can say some pretty harsh things unknowingly. Anyway, when my dad became LDS in his 20s and suddenly wouldn't drink coffee and refused sweet iced tea, did my grandmom think, "what have they done to my son?"

I really have no idea what their inner thoughts were about us kids as we grew up LDS. It kills me knowing that I had conversations with my siblings about who would get to do the temple work for grandmom and granddad when they were dead. My granddad died when I was still in elementary school. We haven't done his temple work.

My grandmom died 8 years ago. I felt lucky to have one-on-one time with her a few weeks during her last year. I was nearly finished with college. My grandmom's health was starting to deteriorate and I stayed at her house to dog sit and visit her in the hospital. I remember having a couple of conversations with her about what Mormons believe about the afterlife. I don't know how much she knew of LDS beliefs. But I remember her saying she was ok with us baptizing her posthumously. I wish I knew now if she was just humoring us and trying to make us feel at peace.

She has been gone for 8 years. I don't think anyone has done her work, either. My dad always skirted around the issue when we would ask him why he hadn't arranged to have their temple work done. Maybe deep down he knew it would be against their wishes and wasn't about to disrespect them after their deaths.

The first time we made coffee in my house last year, I took a deep breath and thought instantly of my grandmom's house. I wish I could have shared some coffee with her on her screened-in porch in the mornings. I wish I could have known her as a person without the bias of Mormonism clouding my view. I wonder if she ever wanted to tell us to get out of the church and be normal. If she felt that way, she certainly put on the most gracious southern demeanor and loved us in spite of our beliefs and attitudes.

Anyway, here we are on what would have been her birthday. Maybe the best present I have ever given her was done today. I resigned from COJCOLDS, and took my kids off the list with me. My DH is already in the clear. So our whole family is officially out now. I will have no part in her temple work if the rest of the family ever decides they should do it.

I hope she would have been proud and excited to know I had left TSCC and that some of her great-grandkids will grow up without that Mormon perspective.
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What's In It For A Convert?
Thursday, Jan 23, 2014, at 07:27 AM
Original Author(s): Icedtea
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26   -Link To MC Article-
IMHO, many converts are the socially inept, disenfranchised, poor, or otherwise marginalized folk who don't feel good about themselves, have crappy lives, or don't have a strong social network. Some come from dysfunctional backgrounds and are looking for a way -- any way -- to do life better.

Along comes Mormonism: instant friends and support group (ward), lots of activities and church jobs to keep one busy and create a sense of importance, a smug, elitist culture that breeds self-superiority, and the promise of how to live a clean, happy, successful life.

I was lured by the promise of normalcy, social network, and the implication that they could teach me how to prosper and be successful. I saw many of my friends marrying RMs in the temple and going on to live the fairy tale.

Once I got in, I realized I'd always be second-class by virtue of being a convert. I found that the ward "friends" were fake and would gossip and tattle behind my back. I discovered that giving 10% of one's gross income makes it really hard to prosper financially and that Mormons constantly fleece and scam each other as each new MLM or "business opportunity" makes the rounds (plus, in Utah, companies exploit their hard-working, squeaky-clean workforce with a vengeance). No RM would even date me because I was a convert (can't have heathen grandparents for the future kiddies, and my breadmaking and canning skills were nonexistent). It sucked.

Still, it took me years and years to get out because I was convinced that if I just tried harder, I could make it work.
 
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Mormonism And Obedience
The False Stories We Buy Into As TBMs
A "Cup Of Tea" From My First-Grader For Mother's Day (1999 Vs. 2012)
The Doctrine Of Eternal Family Is A Powerful Tool Of Manipulation
The Painful Irony Of Mother's Day
Making It Work With A Believing Spouse -- Part Of My Personal Recovery From Mormonism
From Fog To Enlightenment: Some Of My Steps In The Exit Process From Mormonism-While Writing All The Way.
The People Who Decided I Would Be Mormon
I Never Would Have Made A Good Mormon
Shunned For Disbelief
It Really Is Okay To Say "No" To Bishops And Other Church Leaders
Mormon Spiritual Experiences
Some Of My Steps In The Exit Process From Mormonism - While Writing All The Way
Mormonism - It Was Never Not A Cult
Exmormons Aren't Required To Be Forever Nice
Difficulty Deprogramming
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I Could No Longer Take It. I Stood Up, Walked Out And Have Never Returned
My Journey Out
The Christmas Tree Fiasco
Mormon Nightmares That Still Haunt Me
Demonization Is An Important Part Of The System
The Cult Robbed Me Of My Grief
Deconstructing Mormonism
No One Is Required To Answer Questions Just Because Someone Asks
Mormonism Creates People Who Are Ill Prepared
The Mormon Axiom: I Know The Church Is True
Take Your Power Back And Own It. What That Means To Me In My Process
Prayer Bomb
Sitting Bishop Leaves The Mormon Church
How The LDS Church Has Betrayed "A Chosen Generation"
Personal Boundaries
The Delicate Mormon Testimony
24 Year Circle Baptism To Resignation
What's In It For A Convert?
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  · ADAM GOD DOCTRINE (4)
  · APOLOGISTS (53)
  · ARTICLES OF FAITH (1)
  · BAPTISM FOR THE DEAD (31)
  · BAPTISM FOR THE DEAD - PEOPLE (16)
  · BLACKS AND MORMONISM (12)
  · BLACKS AND THE PRIESTHOOD (11)
  · BLOOD ATONEMENT (4)
  · BOB BENNETT (1)
  · BOB MCCUE (144)
  · BONNEVILLE COMMUNICATIONS (2)
  · BOOK OF ABRAHAM (50)
  · BOOK OF MORMON (66)
  · BOOK OF MORMON EVIDENCES (18)
  · BOOK OF MORMON GEOGRAPHY (24)
  · BOOK OF MORMON WITNESSES (5)
  · BOOK REVIEW - ROUGH STONE ROLLING (28)
  · BOOKS - AUTHORS AND DESCRIPTIONS (12)
  · BOOKS - COMMENTS AND REVIEWS (44)
  · BOY SCOUTS (22)
  · BOYD K. PACKER (33)
  · BRIAN C. HALES (1)
  · BRIGHAM YOUNG (24)
  · BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY (54)
  · BRUCE C. HAFEN (4)
  · BRUCE D. PORTER (1)
  · BRUCE R. MCCONKIE (10)
  · CALLINGS (11)
  · CATHOLIC CHURCH (5)
  · CHANGING DOCTRINE (12)
  · CHILDREN AND MORMONISM (48)
  · CHRIS BUTTARS (1)
  · CHURCH LEADERSHIP (3)
  · CHURCH PUBLISHED MAGAZINES (51)
  · CHURCH TEACHING MANUALS (10)
  · CHURCH VAULTS (4)
  · CITY CREEK CENTER (23)
  · CIVIL UNIONS (14)
  · CLEON SKOUSEN (3)
  · COGNITIVE DISSONANCE (2)
  · COMEDY (128)
  · CONCISE DICTIONARY OF MORMONISM (14)
  · D. MICHAEL QUINN (1)
  · D. TODD CHRISTOFFERSON (6)
  · DALLIN H. OAKS (101)
  · DANIEL C. PETERSON (88)
  · DANITES (4)
  · DAVID A. BEDNAR (23)
  · DAVID O. MCKAY (8)
  · DAVID R. STONE (1)
  · DAVID WHITMER (1)
  · DELBERT L. STAPLEY (1)
  · DESERET NEWS (3)
  · DIETER F. UCHTDORF (13)
  · DNA (23)
  · DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS (8)
  · DON JESSE (2)
  · ELAINE S. DALTON (5)
  · EMMA SMITH (5)
  · ENSIGN PEAK (1)
  · ERICH W. KOPISCHKE (1)
  · EX-MORMON FOUNDATION (33)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 1 (35)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 10 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 11 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 12 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 13 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 14 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 15 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 16 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 17 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 18 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 19 (26)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 2 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 20 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 21 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 22 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 23 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 24 (28)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 3 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 4 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 5 (23)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 6 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 7 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 8 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 9 (26)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 1 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 10 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 11 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 12 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 13 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 14 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 15 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 16 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 17 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 18 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 19 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 2 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 20 (24)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 21 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 22 (24)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 23 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 24 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 25 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26 (61)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 3 (21)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 4 (22)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 5 (24)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 6 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 7 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 8 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 9 (26)
  · EXCOMMUNICATION AND COURTS OF LOVE (19)
  · EZRA TAFT BENSON (30)
  · FACIAL HAIR (6)
  · FAIR / MADD - APOLOGETICS (70)
  · FAITH PROMOTING RUMORS (11)
  · FARMS (30)
  · FIRST VISION (23)
  · FOOD STORAGE (3)
  · FUNDAMENTALIST LDS (17)
  · GENERAL AUTHORITIES (29)
  · GENERAL CONFERENCE (14)
  · GENERAL NEWS (5)
  · GEORGE P. LEE (1)
  · GORDON B. HINCKLEY (68)
  · GRANT PALMER (8)
  · GREGORY L. SMITH (9)
  · GUNNISON MASSACRE (1)
  · H. DAVID BURTON (2)
  · HAROLD B. LEE (1)
  · HATE MAIL I RECEIVE (23)
  · HAUNS MILL (2)
  · HBO BIG LOVE (12)
  · HEBER C. KIMBALL (4)
  · HELEN RADKEY (17)
  · HELLEN MAR KIMBALL (4)
  · HENRY B. EYRING (5)
  · HOLIDAYS (13)
  · HOME AND VISITING TEACHING (9)
  · HOWARD W. HUNTER (1)
  · HUGH NIBLEY (13)
  · HYMNS (7)
  · INTERVIEWS IN MORMONISM (18)
  · J REUBEN CLARK (1)
  · JAMES E. FAUST (7)
  · JEFF LINDSAY (6)
  · JEFFREY MELDRUM (1)
  · JEFFREY R. HOLLAND (32)
  · JEFFREY S. NIELSEN (11)
  · JOHN GEE (3)
  · JOHN L. LUND (3)
  · JOHN L. SORENSON (4)
  · JOHN TAYLOR (1)
  · JOSEPH B. WIRTHLIN (1)
  · JOSEPH F. SMITH (1)
  · JOSEPH FIELDING SMITH (8)
  · JOSEPH SITATI (1)
  · JOSEPH SMITH (101)
  · JOSEPH SMITH - POLYGAMY (43)
  · JOSEPH SMITH - PROPHECY (8)
  · JOSEPH SMITH - SEER STONES (7)
  · JOSEPH SMITH - WORSHIP (13)
  · JUDAISM (3)
  · JULIE B. BECK (6)
  · KEITH B. MCMULLIN (1)
  · KERRY MUHLESTEIN (9)
  · KERRY SHIRTS (6)
  · KINDERHOOK PLATES (6)
  · KIRTLAND BANK (6)
  · KIRTLAND EGYPTIAN PAPERS (17)
  · L. TOM PERRY (5)
  · LAMANITE PLACEMENT PROGRAM (3)
  · LAMANITES (36)
  · LANCE B. WICKMAN (1)
  · LARRY ECHO HAWK (1)
  · LDS CHURCH (19)
  · LDS CHURCH OFFICE BUILDING (9)
  · LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS (22)
  · LDS SOCIAL SERVICES (3)
  · LGBT - AND MORMONISM (44)
  · LORENZO SNOW (1)
  · LOUIS C. MIDGLEY (6)
  · LYNN A. MICKELSEN (2)
  · LYNN G. ROBBINS (1)
  · M. RUSSELL BALLARD (13)
  · MARK E. PETERSON (7)
  · MARK HOFFMAN (12)
  · MARLIN K. JENSEN (3)
  · MARRIOTT (2)
  · MARTIN HARRIS (5)
  · MASONS (16)
  · MELCHIZEDEK/AARONIC PRIESTHOOD (9)
  · MERRILL J. BATEMAN (3)
  · MICHAEL D. WILLIAMS (1)
  · MICHAEL OTTERSON (1)
  · MICHAEL R. ASH (26)
  · MITT ROMNEY (71)
  · MORE GOOD FOUNDATION (4)
  · MORMON CELEBRITIES (14)
  · MORMON CHURCH HISTORY (8)
  · MORMON CHURCH PR (13)
  · MORMON CHURCH PROPAGANDA (5)
  · MORMON CLASSES (1)
  · MORMON DOCTRINE (35)
  · MORMON FUNERALS (12)
  · MORMON GARMENTS (20)
  · MORMON HANDCARTS (12)
  · MORMON INTERPRETER (4)
  · MORMON MARRIAGE EXCLUSIONS (1)
  · MORMON MEMBERSHIP (38)
  · MORMON MISSIONARIES (142)
  · MORMON MONEY (73)
  · MORMON NEWSROOM (5)
  · MORMON POLITICAL ISSUES (5)
  · MORMON RACISM (18)
  · MORMON TEMPLE CEREMONIES (38)
  · MORMON TEMPLE CHANGES (15)
  · MORMON TEMPLES (116)
  · MORMON VISITOR CENTERS (10)
  · MORMON WARDS AND STAKE CENTERS (1)
  · MORMONTHINK (13)
  · MOUNTAIN MEADOWS MASSACRE (21)
  · MURPHY TRANSCRIPT (1)
  · NATALIE R. COLLINS (11)
  · NAUVOO (3)
  · NAUVOO EXPOSITOR (2)
  · NEAL A. MAXWELL (1)
  · NEAL A. MAXWELL INSTITUTE (1)
  · NEIL L. ANDERSEN - SECTION 1 (3)
  · NEW ORDER MORMON (8)
  · OBEDIENCE - PAY, PRAY, OBEY (15)
  · OBJECT LESSONS (15)
  · OLIVER COWDREY (6)
  · ORRIN HATCH (10)
  · PARLEY P. PRATT (11)
  · PATRIARCHAL BLESSING (5)
  · PAUL H. DUNN (5)
  · PBS DOCUMENTARY THE MORMONS (20)
  · PERSECUTION (9)
  · PIONEER DAY (3)
  · PLAN OF SALVATION (5)
  · POLYGAMY (60)
  · PRIESTHOOD BLESSINGS (1)
  · PRIESTHOOD EXECUTIVE MEETING (0)
  · PRIMARY (1)
  · PROCLAMATIONS (1)
  · PROPOSITION 8 (21)
  · PROPOSITION 8 COMMENTS (11)
  · QUENTIN L. COOK (11)
  · RELIEF SOCIETY (14)
  · RESIGNATION PROCESS (31)
  · RICHARD E. TURLEY, JR. (6)
  · RICHARD G. HINCKLEY (2)
  · RICHARD G. SCOTT (7)
  · RICHARD LYMAN BUSHMAN (11)
  · ROBERT D. HALES (5)
  · ROBERT L. MILLET (7)
  · RODNEY L. MELDRUM (15)
  · ROYAL SKOUSEN (2)
  · RUNTU'S RINCON (78)
  · RUSSELL M. NELSON (14)
  · SACRAMENT MEETING (11)
  · SALT LAKE TRIBUNE (1)
  · SCOTT D. WHITING (1)
  · SCOTT GORDON (5)
  · SEMINARY (5)
  · SERVICE AND CHARITY (24)
  · SHERI L. DEW (3)
  · SHIELDS RESEARCH - MORMON APOLOGETICS (4)
  · SIDNEY RIGDON (7)
  · SIMON SOUTHERTON (34)
  · SPAULDING MANUSCRIPT (8)
  · SPENCER W. KIMBALL (12)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 1 (18)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 10 (17)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 11 (15)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 12 (19)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 13 (21)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 14 (17)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 15 (12)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 2 (21)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 3 (18)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 4 (25)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 5 (22)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 6 (19)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 7 (15)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 8 (13)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 9 (19)
  · STORIES (1)
  · SUNSTONE FOUNDATION (2)
  · SURVEILLANCE (SCMC) (12)
  · TAD R. CALLISTER (3)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 1 (25)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 2 (25)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 3 (25)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 4 (25)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 5 (25)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 6 (25)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 7 (9)
  · TALKS - SECTION 1 (1)
  · TEMPLE WEDDINGS (6)
  · TEMPLES - NAMES (1)
  · TERRYL GIVENS (1)
  · THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE (1)
  · THE SINGLE WARDS (5)
  · THE WORLD TABLE (3)
  · THOMAS PHILLIPS (18)
  · THOMAS S. MONSON (33)
  · TIME (4)
  · TITHING (63)
  · UGO PEREGO (5)
  · UK COURTS (7)
  · UNNANOUNCED, UNINVITED AND UNWELCOME (36)
  · UTAH LIGHTHOUSE MINISTRY (3)
  · VALERIE HUDSON (3)
  · VAN HALE (16)
  · VAUGHN J. FEATHERSTONE (1)
  · VIDEOS (30)
  · WARD CLEANING (4)
  · WARREN SNOW (1)
  · WELFARE (0)
  · WENDY L. WATSON (7)
  · WHITE AND DELIGHTSOME (11)
  · WILFORD WOODRUFF (6)
  · WILLIAM HAMBLIN (11)
  · WILLIAM LAW (1)
  · WILLIAM SCHRYVER (5)
  · WILLIAM WINES PHELPS (3)
  · WOMEN AND MORMONISM (86)
  · WORD OF WISDOM (7)
  · WORLD CONGRESS OF FAMILIES (1)
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