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  EX-MORMONISM SECTION 3
Total Articles: 21
A very large selection of posts made by those in recovery from Mormonism. Culled from throughout the Ex-Mormon Communities.
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The Hall Of The Prophets
Tuesday, Oct 25, 2005, at 11:14 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 3   -Link To MC Article-
My wife and I took my mother through the new church building about a year ago. She is very devout, a widow, and needs family to take her to do things. I am glad I can get her out.

She wanted to see the new building, the Hinckley building, or whatever its called. So we picked her up and took her, even though she is nearly totally blind, and cannot really get much out of such things.

We were instantly caught by two lady missionaries. One was from South Africa, the other from the U.S. I was struck by the fact that they were obviously picked because of their looks. No sad looking elders here. No, these gals were hand picked because they were cuties.

I then looked around, and noticed some of the other guides. Bingo. Cuties again. To be in the glare of the lights under the big top, you had better be a stunner. These were not your average missionaries. The average missionaries go door knocking.

We went on a tour of the building, from the basement to the roof. The lady missionaries had a non- member couple from Pennsylvania to testify to, and testify they did. Every five minutes, we heard another testimony--testimonius maximus, I believe its called. They testified about the art, and the "art" we all walked by. They testified about the podium where the church leaders speak. They dragged a testimony out of my mother. I walked off, and found the restroom. Never was getting away so welcome.

We finally made it to the roof, but before we could go out there, we had to go through one last ordeal, the "Hall of the Prophets." In that hall were busts of all the church Presidents. The couple from Pennsylvania had to hear it all again. I tried to look at if from the Pennsylvania perspective. It was a room full of busts of old men few people had ever heard about. The missionaries waxed eloquent about the busts, and church, and the "Ensign.' I squirmed. I felt very uncomfortable. If these missionarie were trying to generate interest in the church, they were a flop. People do not need this stuff forced down their throats. It was embarrassing. I gather the "Hall of the Prophets" is supposed to be some sort of finale, some highlight. But it was just a room full of busts. That's all. I was glad to leave, and even more glad to have the missionaries leave.

The tour finally ended, and I cannot express my relief. I shall not forget the way the couple from Pennsylvania fled to their car, so very eager to be free of the hectoring of the missionaries. There was something sad about it all.
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Does The Church Just Get Worse And Worse As Time Goes On?
Tuesday, Nov 1, 2005, at 07:17 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 3   -Link To MC Article-
MoNoMo said this in a thread a few days ago that I'm just getting to because I haven't been on the Foyer for almost a week:

It took me over 20 years to figure out what my father figured out by the time he was 18, only I don't think that the church is mostly benign. I think it is mostly malignant. It's a cancer that needs radical, life threatening surgery to remove.

MoNoMo's statement reminded me for some reason of a portion of the Exmo Conference I listened to in which Richard Packham briefly described the church of his youth in the 1950s. Though the trappings of racism were openly displayed and the temple had its death oaths in all their glory, he seemed to be discussing a Mormon world that no longer existed. No pressure to serve a mission? Temple attendance not emphasized? And so on.

Packham went on to say that, for a long time, though he had left the church, he considered it fairly benign. It wasn't until he got involved in the exmo community in the 1990s that he began realizing what a terrible institution it was, how many lives it is destroying. It reminds me of statements made by those of you who grew up in the church in, say, the '70s, and remember a Mormonism which, for all its problems, had more social solidarity, local autonomy, and community spirit than today's correlated, soulless drudgery. Sure, some of that is probably nostalgia, but I'm definitely sensing a trend.

Could there actually have been a time when the church really was relatively benign? It seems like once polygamy had finally gsaped its last breath in the 1910s, down to the time when correlation began in the 1960s or so, Mormonism might actually have been a semi-decent place. This doesn't make the church any less of a fraud, of course. But it's very telling that the experience of more recent generations appears so different.

Is there a generational component in the apostate's experience of Mormonism? I can hardly imagine the world Packham described. The church I knew when I got involved in the 1990s (I'm 28) was nonstop conformism from top to bottom. Everything has a program and everyone has their place. Today there's no wiggle room. You do your duty and suffocate in the process. You serve a mission, you keep the WoW, you pay 10% on your gross, you read your scriptures, you do everything or you are made to shoulder a crippling burden of guilt. It's as though the church has been steadily squeezing out the "cultural Mormons," putting on more pressure to the point where people are drying up.

Am I mistaken in this view? Could even the Internet be propelling so many people out of the Morg if the experience of Mormonism in today's church weren't so bleak? Fewer and fewer people are concluding that the church is worth sticking around for because it's a good place to be (that's usually the argument of the TBM protesting the POV of the apostate). Nowadays it's painfully obvious to the apostate that the church is indeed a cancer on the body of humanity.

The church is squeezing the center to the bursting point. Wrapped in the self-righteousness of its own truth claims, it's creating the very conditions that are leading people to doubt those claims. And it's doing so much more rapidly than it ever could have done 50, 30, or even 10 years ago.
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The Family Oriented Church Took My Family Away From Me
Thursday, Nov 3, 2005, at 08:04 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 3   -Link To MC Article-
For a church which is family oriented, the LDS church does great harm--to families.

My father and I could have been close. We loved to bitch about the government, politicians, and the world in general. Normal American stuff.

But then the subject of the church would come up. That ended it. My father, a truly good man, could not get past the church. If that was the topic, it was party line only.

I recall bringing home a book on evolution from my elementary school library. I was in the third grade, and it looked pretty neat to me. I was eager to show it to my father. When I did, he went ballistic. It was as though I had carried a rattlesnake into the house. I did not understand it at all. Hell, I was eight years old. I learned that some things could not be talked about.

The years went by, and as long as church did not come up, it was fine. When the Book of Abraham stuff became common knowledge (now there was a revelation), I could not talk about it with my father. He could not tolerate any statement suggesting Joseph Smith was a phony. And the " Book of Abraham" could not be more phony. But I could not even talk about it.

He hated the PBS series--"Cosmos," "The Ascent of Man," and anything by James Burke. He would watch it, mind you, but it went against the "teachings of the Prophet Joseph." I recall that my wife and I went to the first "Superman" movie when it came out in 1978. When I told my father, just by way of conversation we had gone to the movie, he said "You should have studied the one true superman, Joseph Smith." What is it with this Smith guy? He keeps popping up everywhere, and he is such a bore.

I would have liked to have been able to talk to Dad. I really couldn't . Not about the things that really mattered. The church was always between us.

Always. I do miss him. I wish I had been allowed to get to know him. The church was just not going to allow it. They do not build families unless everyone is the same. You have to be the same. You cannot think, or work outside the system. Not with Joseph Smith around.
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Trusting The Whisperings Of The Spirit
Monday, Nov 7, 2005, at 09:07 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Lowther
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 3   -Link To MC Article-
In my own awakening from apologist to critic, one of the epiphanies I had was about trusting the "Whisperings of the Spirit". Missionaries encourage investigators to employ this technique to find out the truth.

What are these whisperings? As a new convert, I had remarkable, exhilarating experiences after long, fervent prayer. I set aside my doubt as best I could and struggled for that special witness. I got it in no small measure.

But as I was uncovering for myself one embarrassing (for the Church) morally depraved event after another straight out of the Church's own publications, I asked myself how this huge number of non-faith promoting events could be reconciled with my testimony. After all I worked long and hard, and invested a great deal of mental and emotional energy into it.

After asking myself if Mormons could practice self-deception, I could only answer that, yes indeed it has happened innumerable times, repeatedly as with all members of the human race. After all, those religionists who disagreed with Mormons were proof of it, at least to Mormons.

Now the emotional products of a testimony are very satisfying. It never occurred to me that there could be deception involved. After all, one knew it was the truth because of the nature of the experience. When asked how I knew, my reply was the familiar "You won't understand unless you have had it happen to you." It simply was an experience that felt entirely right!

Yet, in the end I had to confront that these religious emotions were just that -- emotions. If God provided a unique gift to the human soul, it couldn't be the gift of emotions. Many members of the animal kingdom experienced most of the range of emotions I have felt over the years. So what set humans apart from the rest of the animal kingdom?

Intelligent reasoning. If God gave us anything to discern truth, it was what was learned thru the ideal of uncorrupted reasoning. Mormons are notoriously easy to dupe. They are by nature trusting and unsuspecting, and will develop 'testimonies' quite easily about things, whether it is multi-level marketing schemes, or 'promising' investments. So why should their religious perceptions be any different? Why should mine?

If a person were to apply careful observations, investigation and logic to these schemes, there would be little or no deception ultimately. But it takes courage to peer into the eyes of our sacred cows. It is not easy to admit to the fallacy of that which we have held sacred. Ironically it takes humility, the very principle taught as necessary for acquiring a religious testimony.

But with reasoning, you do not start off exercising enough faith to put doubts out of your mind. You do not preprogram yourself to suppress thinking about the contradictions that always make their appearance. You do not have to have blind obedience to the faith of someone else. In short you are not required to put your trust in the arm of flesh.
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"You Bet Your Life!! " Giving Up Now For An Unproven Future State
Tuesday, Nov 8, 2005, at 09:30 AM
Original Author(s): Noggin
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 3   -Link To MC Article-
Well, what is beyond this life anyway?

That is a loaded question. After all, no one has any tangible, scientific proof of anything beyond our mortal existence. Those groups who say otherwise (that indeed they do), will prove to the rest of the world that they are right based on how things feel. When it is all said and done, they do not "know". Oddly, every group contradicts the next.

Hence, the genesis of the hundreds of One and Only True Churches on this earth. I have found that the more forcefully someone tells me he "knows" what lies in the next life... the more reason I have to be skeptic and wary of his views.

For just about three cognicant decades of my life, I was asked to trade most of my free time, much of my money, and all of my ability to critically, rationally and logically think and respond to life as it presented itself to me for merely a promise of mansions in heaven in an unproven philosophical future state.

I was asked to bet my life on unprovable promises. The promises were given to me with much emotion, designed that I might also feel the weight of the promised currency.

Many are glad to sign you up to their creeds and views in exchange for your soul, your time, your money. Yet, these same proponents of specialized faith cry out shrilly if one chooses to give a hard look at the problematic portions of their doctrine. Paticularily if one's conclusions end up differing from theirs.

What is odd about religion is how each of the hundred streamlined variations of fundamental One and Only True Churches have their own specialized brand of eternal doom awaiting for the rejector. Isn't that odd to you? If not, why isn't it? Are you going to allow the god concept to run amuck in your life with:

"Believe in our interpretation of God... or else you will suffer our prescribed doom!"

Well, which doom will I suffer? Which ideology does one follow? And what makes theirs more "true" than the others? By singularily following any One and Only True Church, I automatically subject myself to suffer the doom spelled out by the others!

This breeds a snowball effect of polarization. If one is going to accept one brand as god's Truth, they must reject all the others.

Yet none can conclusively prove theirs holds the needed patent on God. They all rely on emotions as fuel for their faith. It is a hopeless cycle of frustration that ought not to be looked at too carefully if one really wants to be effective in following any one religion.

Hopefully, if you do take a critical look at the concept of betting your life for anothers prophetic declarationals as to what lies in a future state, such critical thought will help you place a more healthy balance in your life regarding the time and money you spend on this venture.

I believe it is good to contribute ones precious commodities of time and money, but I believe it should be qualified and balanced properly.

It is up to the individual to practice sound rational judgement before leaping into any of the frackus. Yet so often we are born into a religion and are taught X or Y or Z is absolute Truth. This leaves us little room for personal growth. Amazingly, I am 36 and this is the first time in my life I ever questioned the existance of God or ever sought out what lay at the roots of world religion!

Now, I begin to step aside and part the curtains of ambiguity with sanity, logic, reason and science. After dismissing emotion, these tools are all I have.

A good rule of thumb would be to use slightly more amounts of scrutiny than one does in buying a home before giving ones existence over to any religious institution.

Home buying is a process of accumulating facts to make a sound decision. Pest control reports, roof inspections, radon gas detections, lead based paint.

How odd would it be to buy a home based soley on how one felt inside after reading what the realtor wanted you to read and hearing the testimony of the realtor?

Absurd?

Think about what little research most give to their religion!

Most religious folk are not interested in deconstructing their religious world view. Why not, though? Probably, because humans do not know much for certain about the great beyond. We are a nervous species about things we know little or nothing about. We fear that which we do not understand.

Recall how you feel as you stand in an unfamiliar place, alone, in the dark. Spooked? Restless? Nervous? Flighty? Probably. These feelings result in our recognition that we are not in control of our environment. The darkness brings to us uncertainty. This uneasiness is at the root of the foundational core of world religion. Such uneasiness facilitated the genesis of speculations about the great beyond.

Early on when we humans crossed the mental Rubicon of cognitive self-awareness, we pushed outward for answers and found none. It did not take long for certain enlightened minds to figure out that they should come up with a reasonable explanation to life's tough questions.

Hence, the cultural and geographical religious differences found across the globe.

If there were a god in control of this world, would he not choose to be a little more consistent in revealing his identity and instructions for living life here?

Particluarily since many millions claim him/her/it to be a vastly superior and unchanging perfect god? Don't you think that makes sense?

Instead, we find a vast and confusing chaotic canyon miles wide and deep between the various cultures throughout the world time line and geography with respect to how a supreme being operates or reveals himself to us humans.

Today, we take for granted that our religious leaders who taught us from our childhood knew the answers... but they did not. They trusted their leaders... who, in turn, trusted the first leader.

With the first leader, the ball of faith started rolling forward. Oddly, the more distance gained from this original first leader via subsequent generations, the less likely we were/are to question why we must keep this particular ball of faith rolling. Until today, generations later, we do not question the first leader hardly at all. Is that not insanity?

We just.. dutifully do "it" that is required for us to do by those first leaders. And we roll right along... Betting our very lives that our first leader was, indeed, correct... or that he was more correct than the hundreds of other first leaders.

Who is to deny us of weighing the pros and cons for ouselves? Why shouldn't we question? Our lives are strung out in a spectacular Las Vegas card table, this life we are garenteed but ONE roll of the dice. Would we not want to check that the dealer at our table was honestly dealing us a square and fair chance in this bet... The Bet of ALL Bets?

Anyhow,

Making the ball roll along, requires our hands and our hearts, money and sacrifice.

Some of us step aside for a time to see if the ball has enough inertia to go forward on its own... and find that it does not. It requires our investments to keep going. But we who step aside are few and far between.

We who do step aside from this massive ball we have been so busy pushing see, globally, many hundreds of balls simultaneously rolling in a multitude of different directions. Behind our ball, we could not have seen these other balls rolling along because our view was obscurred or distracted by the round mass in front of us. And the task to push it taxed us to the core so there was little time to look elsewhere. Oddly, the mass we pushed seemed to be created by us in the first place. Built from countless hours of our willing indoctrinations.

But, somehow we step aside and there they are, all these other balls of faith rolling rolling rolling along... willy nilly... as if there really is no definitive final or common target destination that is sought after. Each ball of faith has it's own prescribed pathway for where they are headed off to. It makes no sense.

History shows us that all religious ideologies vary and contradict depending on culture, geographics, and historical timeline. (See Karen Armstrong's, History of God). Many posited answers claim to be a One and Only True version as to what a God wants humans to do. That is fine. It is not, however, fine to proselytize.

The moment one steps out to proselytize she takes a definitive stand that she holds all truth in her hands while everyone else is in grievous error. Because in the end of it all, her version of The Truth is merely an opinion stacked up neatly against two or three hundred or so just as rational current explanations as to what happens when we achieve room temperature.

The attempt to place one religious world view above another as the top pinnacle of Truth, (and they all try to do this dexterously), begets the need for dogma. For how shall we determine her version of Truth is THE True one? How does one prove it? Why do so many followers not require this hard proof?

The only proof religion can offer is mystical feelings and experiences. Yet, here again this standard of proof is found lacking. All religions have significant religious experiences and epiphanies. We humans are designed to be highly intuitive and emotionally responsive. Since many millions of religionists "feel" that they belong to The One and Only true church via their significant spiritual events happening in their lives, doesn't that tell you God is one confused being?

What is God doing leading all of these people to different religious waters?

Do they not all claim sovereign spirituality?

If there really was one true God approved church, wouldn't we witness it growing by leaps and bounds?

So again, I ask, why is God leading people to vastly different religious waters?

When all of the waters contradict each other and cast the others aside as "unenlightened" or 'mislead" or worse... they cast the other as "evil" and "corrupt". And if salvation is dependent upon reaching the correct "fountain", all that does is place God in a inescapable box.

Or, it dismisses god's presence altogether.

To soften this faulty standard of proof (feelings), most religions employ another faulty tactic. Circular logic. Circular logic is very useful because anything at all can be "proved" with it, including things that are obviously false. In the end, circular logic proves nothing and is completely fallacious.

Demonstration of circular logic:

How do you know the bible is the infallible word of God?

Because when I read the bible, I see that it speaks profoundly of God

How do you know that those words are Gods words?

Because ... God inspired Moses and others to write down his word

How do you know that Moses and others wrote it down?

Because... ? The bible is infallible and it speaks profoundly of God!

Or.

How do you know the Book of Mormon is a factual historiography of ancient Semitic people in South America?

Because I prayed about it and God revealed to me that it was through personal revelation (feelings).

Will you pray about the Quran to see if it is true?

No.

Why won't you? You do know that 2 billion Muslims know that their Quran is the infallible word of God (Allah) through personal revelation. The Muslim faith rejects your Book of Mormon as the infallible word of God, why won't you pray about the Quran?.

Because. I don't need to do that. The Quran is irrelevant to my purpose in life. Besides, God already told me that the Book of Mormon is true.

But 2 billion people who read the Quran also know that God told them that Mohamed conversed with the Angel Gabriel and told him to write his revelations down. How can God tell Muslims that the Quran is His word and also tell you that your Book of Mormon is God's word... and both books are extremely different in ideology, yet neither of you will pray about each other's books?

Because... (annoyed and impatient now) I know the Book of Mormon is true because God told me it was true!

Now. For me, the most troubling aspect about religion is the wide latitude religion will take in purporting that it does know the unknowables... and religion will do so to the point that religion will indoctrinate its youth so that they might never question the faulty premises they were taught.

(get the youth rolling their own big balls of faith early in life so that they have limited perspective from the get go)

Religion hardly recognizes that there is a tenuous gap between what we know for certain and what is presumed.

Religion arguably operates as if there is no gap at all.

For religion to function, the gap is bridged with the faith concept. The bridging of this cavernous gap via faith is where religion has began throughout time. Faith equates to blind trust much of the time. Faith is the key element upon which religion is made to operate, but, faith must and should be qualified on all levels for realistic life meaning.

Just what should one place their faith in anyways? I propose that one should do as much research and education as possible, balance what is found with reason, logic and sound judgement and only then forge ahead. This is the only right way to stand, morally, on principle as it pertains to truth.

Should we stand on unquestioned or unchallenged foundations? The idea makes me shudder. To ignore and mentally compartmentalize or leave dubious parts of key religious elements unchallenged is to place one in a precarious state.

Everything and everyone should be placed in the crucible of skepticism. Religion is quite demanding. Religion demands all of you in a whole souled commitment. Some religions even bind you up under strenuous, emotionally blockading death oaths and covenants.

What is wrong with taking your life back?

What is wrong with placing your existence back into a healthy perspective?

What is wrong with achieving a better balance where your family and your health and your time is not sacrificed for hollow, unproved promises?

If, in the end, your religion has a good chance at being nothing but a hollow promise, should you not be more careful?

At least by taking a closer look at the founding figurehead?

So the next time your religion asks you to donate large chunks of time and money to it's cause, put it into perspective. Take care of yourself and your family first. That is, after all, what you know is for real in the most certain epistemological terms. All else requires faith in a philosophy full of nebulous globally contradictory principles.


Why is it that one chooses to never challenge the dogmatic chapter and verse of his or her faith? Does a devout religious person choose to sit in the trenches, hunkered down from the artilleries of the scientific community... not giving an inch and "knowing" that science, logic and reason are wrong?

And if they do give an inch, they give an eternity.

There isn't an inch to give!

You see, they are either 100% right, or they are 100% in error. Yet they all cannot be 100% right! So, do they know their god is right with such errant certainty that outside sources (even inside sources!) of proof mean nothing to them?

The more factual "proof" shown to them that their faith is myth based or only another man's opinion... or the more unbelievable their faith's historicity is shown to be... The more miraculous and benevolent their god becomes to them.

Oddly, instead of waking up to obvious possibilities that their god is invented, the flawed oddities only feed their errant perceptions as to how great he/she/it must be.

Just a thought. And thanks for reading this essay, "You Bet Your Life".
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Are We Victims?
Tuesday, Nov 15, 2005, at 07:58 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 3   -Link To MC Article-
I've been thinking about this for a couple of reasons. When I got "outed" on FAIR, one of the kind souls sent me a message to ridicule me for being unstable enough to "collapse into a sobbing heap" at the first challenge to my testimony and castigate me for adopting a victim mentality.

Similarly, our friend Louis Midgley spoke of us as some angry and festering crowd of people united only in our hate and sense of victimhood.

I don't feel like a victim. And I'm more heartbroken than angry. Yes, I have had some real flashes of anger, and I have learned that I deal with anger best through humor. I find myself making fun of Boyd Packer a lot lately.

I'm heartbroken because I really gave everything I had to the church. In truth, I really denied "the natural man" because I was supposed to. I lived a life that I was told was what I should want. And it's a good life. I have a good family and a loving wife. I'm not sure what I would change if I had to do it over again. But I'm heartbroken that I did it all for a lie, especially since my wife does not see the lie at all. No matter what, I am the one at fault because I rejected "the truth."

I'm heartbroken because I can't begin to repair the damage done to my children, the guilt they've already been conditioned to feel, the phallocentric worldview that relegates women to being semen receptacles. And the strange mix of feeling superior and yet not good enough. How do I undo that? Someone said it's through example, and I am trying to do that.

But I am not a victim. And I don't hate anyone in the church. If nothing else, this board has exposed me to an entire community of heartbroken people who just want to help each other. Somebody said that we post to get attention. No, we post because we think that our posts can help others or that others can help us. Victims don't do that.
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Gems From My BYU Bishops And Religion Teachers
Wednesday, Nov 30, 2005, at 08:51 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 3   -Link To MC Article-
On a recent post regarding single women in the church I posted some of the things that bishops had said to me about my single status. Keep in mind I left at 24, so all this was said to me between the ages of 20-24. I have finally arrived at the point where I consider it funny (sometimes). I admit there are times when these things still make me feel guilty.

*Marriage will be the crowning achievement of your life. You could win the nobel peace prize and it would never be equal to a celestrial marriage.

*If you procrastinate marriage, you will regret it for eternity.

*Your children in heaven are praying for you to find their father. Their hearts ache in anticipation to be brought into this world under the covenant. Don't prolong their anticipation. (This was a quote from THE blessing that started my exodus)

*You need to humble yourself. Men see you as too proud, too independant to be a good wife. Being strong for your children is good, but practice being led by the priesthood.

*You are eternally obligated to bring forth children, not just in the next life, but here on Earth as well.

*Don't fight the essence of your very soul, which is to find solace in an eternal companionship.

*By not actively pursuing a husband you are denying HF the right to give you the blessings that you are working so hard for.

*HF is not pleased when we manipulate him by saying we are doing all we can and then so blantently disregarding his number 1 commandment.

*Are you doing all you can to make yourself spiritually, mentally, emotionally and PHYSICALLY attractive to the opposite sex? (I had just put on 20 lbs due to stress. Let me tell you, I went straight home and tried to make myself more physically attractive by beginning a new ritual - sticking my finger down my throat)

I used to wonder why these bishops were *inspired* to say these things when I thought I was trying my best to make myself available for dates. I felt it was because HF knew me so much better than I knew myself and he saw that I was to lazy, too proud, to whatever to find a husband. I felt like HF must have shuddered when he thought of me and my unmarriageableness (my new word for the day:))

It's funny how these statements used to affect me.

I used to cling to these statements because I thought my eternal salvation rested upon accepting and applying them. After leaving the church, I found many previously memorized scriptures and hymns kind of wiped themselves from my memory but these nuggets o'wisdom repeat in my mind like a broken record. Sad.
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My Pathway To Enlightenment
Wednesday, Nov 30, 2005, at 09:06 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 3   -Link To MC Article-
My pathway to enlightenment was a long difficult journey. Years of cognitive dissonance, mental gymnastics, bending my mind into pretzels to accommodate a religion that just didn’t seem to add up and didn’t offer plausible explanations for difficult questions.

One of the truly interesting experiences of coming into the light was the epiphany I had when I first realized that it was the church antagonists that had been telling the truth regarding Mormon foundational claims instead of the church. The knots in my brain disappeared as I came to this realization. Like the sun rising in the morning... everything just made sense. Sadly, it all made perfect sense.

So much of Mormonism’s claims had been a distortion, whitewash or out right lies all along... and I had been successfully programmed to believe that black was white and white black. I was a TBM, fully assimilated into the Mormon collective. But something funny happened on the way to the Celestial Kingdom. I started to ask difficult questions and I was prepared to accept difficult answers, even if they meant that the church was not what it claimed to be.

One of the hardest realities for me to accept was the fact that the answers to the difficult question had been there all along. But my fear of where those answers might take me kept me from looking. I had been successfully programmed NOT to look for those answers...hummm wonder why? Now I believe that truth can only be accepted as really being true only after it has been subjected to the most rigorous criticism and examination and testing available. NOTHING should ever be accepted as fact or truth without first undergoing a strenuous critical examination.

Bottom line... Mormonism is a fraud because it is built on a foundation of lies. If its claims had been real, I would still be a Mormon.
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Why Do TBM Friends And Loved Ones Think We Did Something Hurtful And Offensive To Them When We Left Mormonism?
Thursday, Dec 1, 2005, at 12:05 PM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 3   -Link To MC Article-
Why do they take it personally?

Why are they so often angry and critical of us?

After all, we just did what they do; use our constitutional rights to freedom of religion and speech, and the right to change our mind.

I have often heard TBM's talk about how "angry" former Mormons are but, the truth is that the TBM's are the ones that are much more angry and downright nasty and threatening.

I know that I was angry as a TBM, many times and didn't even know it. Putting people in a psychological, social, mental, religious box is so frustrating it can breed nothing but anger. No wonder TBM's are so angry!

Listen to the tone and attitude of the TBM's. Are your loved ones kind, accepting, loving, supportive? And if not, why not?

Why do they insist on bearing a testimony to us? Do they think we are stupid, have short term memory loss, have forgotten what we have heard hundreds of times? What is the matter with these people?

The most embarrassing, disgusting thing TBM's can do is be unsupportive of our rights. Shame on them!

It is unbelievable that TBM's are so fragile and so ugly and nasty that we have to ignore the whole subject of Mormonism for fear of upsetting them and feeling their wrath! ARGH!!! Mormonism! What a pathetic religion!
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"You Guys Are All Just Bitter" Something We Hear Once In A While
Monday, Dec 5, 2005, at 08:00 AM
Original Author(s): T-Bone
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 3   -Link To MC Article-
I started to put this on another thread, but I think it deserves its own thread because it's something we hear every once in a while.

When Mormons see that we are comfortable with our decision to leave the church, that we have no regrets, they start to get uncomfortable. They cannot imagine life without Mormonism and the stability that comes with knowing they have all the answers to life's more troubling questions. They expect us to be miserable because that's what they've always been told about us.

When they see that we are not miserable, they are further confused. After all, trusted servants of the Lord have told them that life outside the Church is laden with misery and pain. What they see is that we are doing just fine. But that causes confusion because there is no way a church leader could lie to them. Maybe that's the first lie they discover.

Then when they see that we can openly discuss difficulties we had with Mormonism or Mormons, that we can even laugh at the ridiculous stolen rituals that are actually not sacred or even necessary, they start to become even more uncomfortable. That is something they are just not allowed to do. No matter how bad your bishop rubs you the wrong way, no matter how poorly your kids are treated in primary, you don't complain. Mormons are supposed to sustain church leaders and "never speak ill of the Lord's annointed," so we learn in the endowment session. But that sinking feeling that they have been lied to is so unbearable that they lash out, and it is at that point that they accuse us of being bitter.

That's just cognitive dissonance and projection. It's the same type of denial that takes place in hospital waiting rooms when the doctor comes in and says a loved one didn't make it. One of the stages of grief is denial, another is anger. So it is perfectly natural that Mormons feel sick when they start to realize they have been lied to. Nobody wants to admit that they have lived a life invested wholeheartedly in a carefully orchestrated series of brainwashing activities. I've had that feeling, and it is a horrible feeling. Nobody wants to admit that they spent 2 years of their life trying to bring others into a religion that is going to lie to them. Nobody wants to admit that they came so close to realizing the church was a lie, only to shut out that feeling and dive back into church with renewed vigor. "Gosh, I could have saved myself so much trouble if I had just listened to my gut feeling!"

When we first start to realize that Mormonism is a lie, it's the same horrible feeling we'd feel if we found out that our spouse has committed adultery, and not only that, they brought something cheap into our bedroom that used to be so safe and tender. "How could you treat me like that? I gave you everything I could possibly give and more. I trusted you. I gave you the best years of my life and this is how you repay me? How could you?" Yes, we feel cheated. We feel ashamed. We feel as if there was something we could have done different to somehow prevent it. "How could I be so stupid?" is a commonly heard phrase of wives whose husbands have cheated. It's the same for Mormons who are just starting to find out that the church has lied to them.

Why the comparison to adultery? Betrayal is the same whether it's sexual, emotional, or spiritual. In the case of Mormonism, the betrayal is on every possible human level.

Then the pieces start to come together. All along there were little clues. The late hours. The wrong numbers. The 4000 changes to the Book of Mormon that we were told were just grammatical. The strange perfume. The scriptures that just don't add up. And all along we're thinking, "How could you do this to me? Why me? I haven't done anything wrong."

Then we get angry. Anger is a God-given emotion that aids our memory in making sure we don't get taken advantage of again. Anger is a natural reaction when we find out that we have been betrayed. Thus, the tendency to shoot the messenger. We regularly get attacked for pointing out that Mormonism is a lie. It doesn't scare me any more. I know the pain behind finding out the Mormon church is not true. I also know the bitter frustration that comes with finding out that I've been lied to, that I've wasted money - giving it to people who lied to me and treated me with disdain. So I feel closer to those who are going through the pain of discovering Mormonism is a lie.

It's OK. It gets better. But don't take that on faith. Try it, and if those of us who have left the church are wrong, you can go back to church. Whatever it takes.
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Learning To Think Is A Lot Of Work
Monday, Dec 5, 2005, at 08:18 AM
Original Author(s): T-Bone
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 3   -Link To MC Article-
I remember being a Mormon. I had a canned answer for everything. Today, I have to search my own feelings and ask myself how I feel. That requires looking into important issues and doing my own research. It also means that I can change my mind when new information becomes available.

I tend to go with my own feelings on life's important questions. I don't have a book to consult. I don't have an invisible friend. I actually have to ask myself how I feel in my heart. That takes work, but it's worth it.

As a Mormon, I was able to sit back with a smug smile, knowing that I had the answer to everything, or that I could find the answer to anything I wanted if I had the right church manual. Certainly, there was a conference talk to answer any question I had.

If you ever talk to somebody who is deep into Mormonism, it is very difficult to find out how they feel on certain things. They usually answer your questions with memorized answers that inevitably start with, "We believe..." If you ask them how they feel in their heart, they will either say, "The church teaches..." or "The prophet says..."

Press a bit further, and they start to panic. Their breathing accelerates. Their eyes start to dart around. They might even start to get choked up. Ask "So how do you feel?" Point to your heart and say, "In here." An amazing thing happens. They are not able to answer. Let me make it clear right now.

I am not giving this illustration as a guide to picking on Mormons. I find out that we have a lot more in common with our Mormon friends than we think sometimes. I am simply pointing out that Mormons are not able to tell you how they feel without appealing to church doctrine, the prophet, or their "testimony." Simply put, they do not know how they feel. They have never exercised that muscle yet.

The tragedy (among many) in Mormonism is not only that its beliefs are potentially fatal (people have died for this thing) but it retards (for lack of a better word) the human spirit. It stifles the human ability to ponder our own lives and come up with answers to life's difficult questions.

Having an answer to everything handed to you is like cheating on a test. You might get a good grade (read: appear to have convictions) but you're only cheating yourself.

Today, I don't feel like I have to have an answer for everything. And that's very liberating. I've started to ponder life's more difficult questions. I've also stopped relying on magic to solve life's problems. I've become a much stronger person for it, too. I was so afraid that if I ever left the church, I'd feel lonely and lost. Actually, I feel so much stronger and grounded today than ever.
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There Is One, And Only One Simple Problem With Mormonism
Monday, Dec 12, 2005, at 07:16 AM
Original Author(s): Cheryl
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 3   -Link To MC Article-
I don't mind that Mormons believe in magic underwear or in a Ghost who talks to them in their heads. It doesn't bother me that they think there are veils and kingdoms in the sky or a special place of eternal darkness where I'll exist forever.

I think the one and only serious sticking point with Mormons is that they think they have a right to dictate to and control non-believers. They have their missionary program, which would be fine, if they invited every person to be Mormon only once or twice. No problem, we could just answer no.

But that isn't the end of it. Mormons never give up.

Our families contain their coercive actions only as long as we keep up our guards. They pray that we'll come around and, they believe that every touch of indigestion is a prompting from the HG. He's constantly telling them to harass us with ultimatums and another set of Mormon scripture for our bulging bookcases.

As far as I'm concerned, the only problem with Mormons is their aversion to living their religion and letting others do the same.

Mormonism has nothing of substance to sell it. It must rest on a foundation of coercion and fanaticism.
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You Can't Give A Gift Without A Hidden Message
Tuesday, Dec 13, 2005, at 07:25 AM
Original Author(s): The Doc
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 3   -Link To MC Article-
Yesterday at Church all members were urged to give the DVD of James Stewart and his tear making Christmas story to our friends. We were asked to give them to our friends or have a missionary give it too them. Now I have no problem with the story, it's the other things they have put on the disk!!! Some gift.

The Stake President is behind this plus the 2 70's who attended our stake conference last week.

If the church would spend as much effort at correcting their history as they are for missionary work they might be able to get some and keep some real quality people and leaders.

Imagine giving my non-member friends this DVD knowing it's a missionary tool and not a gift.
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Post Cult Fear Of Retribution
Tuesday, Dec 13, 2005, at 07:31 AM
Original Author(s): T-Bone
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 3   -Link To MC Article-
"Some former members fear that zealous current members will harm them or their families to show the leader how devoted the current members are." - From Cults in our Midst by Margaret Thaler Singer (with Janja Lalich)

I have sometimes thought about why some of our Mormon friends come down so harshly on exmos:
  • You guys are all bitter
  • You sinned by doubting your bishop
  • You lacked charity in your heart, that's why you were so shocked to learn about Mormonism's dirty laundry from non-mos
  • You're too proud, and you're being deceived
  • You have a hardened heart, I call you to repentance
In the interest of trying to understand them, and not just dismiss them as sociopaths, I did a little digging. This quote from Margaret Singer explained why we see such harsh behavior from Mormons.

If we have any fear when we leave the LDS church that we will be attacked, it is well-founded. Mormons will attack us just so they have good stories to tell their friends.

When we are attacked by a Mormon, we feel like we are in a lose-lose situation. If we back down, they think they have confounded us and put us in a stupor of thought. If we tell them to get lost, we are being bitter and un-Christlike. But that only works if we are still under the spell of Mormonism.

What they don't realize is that we are no longer subject to church discipline, including threats from Mormon mean who believe they have priesthood authority to decide the fate of our souls. The truth is, if we do not believe in Mormonism, we are in a win-win situation from the beginning. When Mormons attack, we can tell them to get lost or we can let them burn themselves out. I routinely call Mormons on their un-Christlike behavior. They are being judgmental as they judge us of being sinful. How comical.

By the way, Mormons have gotten the idea that Margaret Singer has been discredited. I wonder why...
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Our Shared Humanity And The Positive Power Of Conscious Choice
Monday, Dec 19, 2005, at 08:28 AM
Original Author(s): Freeatlast
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 3   -Link To MC Article-
During my formative years, I attended public schools in which I was either the only Mormon (Grades 1 to 4), one of two Mormons (Grades 5 to 8), or one of a few Mormons (high school, which had nearly 2,000 students). Having been systematically indoctrinated by Mormonism to divide humanity in my mind into one of two categories (Mormon and non-Mormon), I felt a sense of separation from my contemporaries, which felt wrong and made me sad.

The reality of those feelings caused me to feel confused because I'd been repeatedly told by Mormon "prophets" and local church leaders and teachers that I was of "a royal generation", saved by "Heavenly Father" in the "Pre-Existence" to come into the world at this "crucial" period in history to move "the Kingdom of God on Earth" forward prior to the "Second Coming of Jesus Christ".

I was taught that it was my solemn responsibility to share "the Gospel" with non-Mormons, who existed in "spiritual darkness". Despite being taught this "truth" repeatedly, my gut feeling (based on my interactions with and observations of non-Mormons) was that they were somehow "better" than Mormons. After I left the church, I realized that my intuitive knowning had been correct. I'd perceived that the non-Mormons in my young life were more psychologically healthy than the Mormons I knew.

Since leaving the church 13 years ago, one of the greatest pleasures I've had has been to connect with all kinds of people, and not allocate them in my mind (in an unconscious, knee-jerk fashion) into the Mormon/Those Who Have God's Truth and non-Mormon/Those Who Are In Spiritual Darkness categories. In the metropolitan area where I live (a port city) there are people from 100+ countries, and a smorgasbord of religions and cultures. Within 20 minutes, I can drive through a neighbourhood of homes owned by multi-millionaires, or in another direction, an area of people who live on the streets and regularly use illicit drugs and/or work as prostitutes. The full spectrum of humanity is not far away.

This past week, I met a homeless man in his 50's who spends much of his time going from recycle bin to recycle bin, looking for bottles and cans to take to the store for the deposit money. I had some bottles for him, and inquired about where he came from. His story was that he'd been a truck driver for 20 years in another part of the country, was badly injured, had to go on a disability pension, and ended up on the street. He also mentioned that his 16-year old daughter had recently died, and from the tears brimming in his eyes, I could tell that he really missed her. Clearly, he was no stranger to tragedy, and I felt for him.

As a Mormon, I would have regarded the man's great personal loss as a way to "share the Gospel" with him. As an ex-Mormon, I wasn't interested in converting him to anything. I simply wanted to connect with him and to (hopefully) help him feel that although he lives on the street, there are people in the community who care about him.

The other night, as I was walking down one of the main streets in this area, I saw a homeless man sitting in front of a store, staring at a package of Ferrer Rocher chocolates that he was holding. An attractive young woman in her early 20's and her boyfriend were standing close by, smiling at him. I wondered if they'd bought the package on a whim - a random act of kindness. The Ferrer Rocher TV commercial went through my mind, with the good-looking actors in their dresses and tuxedos, the stack of chocolates wrapped in gold-coloured foil, and the close-up of a woman sensuously biting into one of the chocolates. I imagined that the homeless man had probably experienced a lot living on the street (Had he ever been robbed or beat up? Quite possibly). But from the look of complete surprise on his face, an expression of wonder, really, it was clear that no one had ever given him a package of gourmet chocolates.

The couple's example was what caused me to decide to collect bottles and cans, and to reach out to individuals who live on the street. I'm grateful for their example of the power that we each possess to positively affect other people's lives.
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The Absolute Greatest Happiness And Joy Without Fear Or Guilt And Cognitive Dissonance Came From Leaving Mormonism!
Thursday, Dec 22, 2005, at 08:24 AM
Original Author(s): Susieq#1
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 3   -Link To MC Article-
Just because we are discussing it, talking about it, complaining about it, proclaiming the truth about it, and on and on and on, including supporting others in the process of leaving it does not mean that we aren't happy -- as that is often what brings great joy to those who care about our fellow human beings.

Posting and talking about Mormonism on a Recovery Board is evidence that people are finding their way to a new kind of happiness, joy, peace and freedom that they did not know before.

It does not mean they are hanging onto something that is making them miserable, unhappy, and they have not moved on with their lives.

In fact, I would guess that talking about the experiences as a Mormon is what contributes to an inner peace.

It is apparent, generally, that those who have left Mormonism are much happier than when they were members - as that so-called happiness was based on fraud, and impossible expectations.

They may have believed they were happy, but -- surprise, it was not real happiness. It was a counterfeit. Just because we were told we would find "joy in serving the Lord" does not mean that it happened. What we did find, for the most part, is that once we were able to get out of Mormonism, we learned what true freedom, joy, and peace really were!

If Mormons were honest (and many are) they would admit that living Mormonism is not making them happy and they do not really enjoy or like going to church, living the Word of Wisdom, paying tithing, wearing regulation skivvies, or serving in "callings" or going to the temple all that much.

They put on the happy-face when it is expected, but underneath, if any of them are like most of us here, we did not find "joy" in being a Mormon.

Most of the things that were filled with happiness and joy were common to all humanity - like giving birth, or enjoying our children's accomplishments, etc. Not something specific to Mormonism.

What about the rest of you? Did you find greater joy, peace and freedom after leaving Mormonism?

That's my mileage, yours may vary!
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I've Often Pondered The Myth-Making Potential Of Religion
Tuesday, Dec 27, 2005, at 08:14 AM
Original Author(s): Peter_mary
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 3   -Link To MC Article-
I've often pondered the myth-making potential of religion, Mormonism being being no different in that regard than any other, and have tried hard to look at the times in my life when I was participating in the making of myths. But there was a particular incident in my life that really helped me look at the process and understand it. It wasn't a biggy. In fact, the whole point of the story is that under ordinary circumstances and myth-making, this would go completely unnoticed.

A few years back, while I was contemplating asking for a release from the Bishopric, I happened to be running to the grocery store late in the evening near the end of the Christmas holidays. It was cold outside, snow on the ground, the wind blowing...typical for the time of year. As I stepped up to the line at the cash register, I noticed a young man talking to the clerk, and asking if he could simply cash a check so he could buy some milk. But since he was from out of town, and it was a two-party check, the clerk said she couldn't do it. He left and I quickly forgot him.

After I had finally paid for my handful of groceries, I bundled up against the wind and headed for my car. As I unlocked the door, I glanced in the window of the car next to me and was startled to see the young man sitting in the front seat...with his young wife, and an obviously distressed baby sitting beside him. "Huh," I said to myself. "Wonder what's up with them?" Being a cretin, I climbed in my car and pulled away. As I did so, I noticed that their plates were from Latah county in Idaho, and putting two and two together, I figured they were probably college students heading back to the University of Idaho (my alma mater), and had stopped here on their way back after the Christmas vacation.

As I pulled out of the parking lot, I reflected on the times we had done the same thing, with one, then two, and eventualy with three babies in the car, making that dangerous winter trek through Idaho, then Montana, and eventually back into the panhandle of North Idaho. It was exhausting. As my mind drifted, I began to feel a tug, an urgency about the situation of that couple in their car that was rapidly becoming an anoyance. I tried to put it out of my mind, but the further I drove, the more I really began to struggle with some other-worldly impulse to turn around and go offer assistance. Again I resisted, but the insistence persisted until I couldn't take it any longer, and in exasperation, I threw my hands in the air, and cried right out loud in the car, "All right! I get the message! I'll go back!" As I turned the car around, I made a deal with "God."

"If they're still there when I get back to the Albertson's parking lot, then I'll offer my assistance. But if they're not, You gotta leave me alone for the rest of the night!" I bargained.

By the time I pulled back into that parking lot, I had been gone for nearly ten minutes, and you can imagine my surprise when I saw that they were still sitting there. "Okay," I muttered out loud. "You were right. I'll go and do the right thing." Without really knowing what to expect, I pulled up along side their car, hopped out, and walked around to tap on the young dad's window.

It must have been more than a little threatening, to have a strange man (which I am! ) tapping on your window at 11:00 at night, but to his credit, he rolled it down enough to ask me what I wanted.

"I just couldn't help but notice there in the store a few minutes ago that you needed some cash to buy milk, and, well, I wondered if maybe I could be of some assistance," I offered, trying for all my might to be as non-threatening as humanly possible without actually groveling in the snow.

"Oh, no, we're alright," he assured me with a smile.

"No, really," I replied, "I'd be more than happy to help out. I can give you a couple of bucks, fill your gas tank, buy you some milk, whatever. I remember being in your shoes, and I know it can be tough at times. I'd really like to help."

"No, sir, thank you all the same, but we've got everything we need," he said with a smile.

"You sure?" I asked. After all, I had been guided here for this moment, and he's screwing it up.

"I'm sure," he said, producing a full baby's bottle of milk. "We're good. I just thought I'd be safe with a little extra, but we've got plenty to get us home. But thanks." And with that he rolled his window back up.

Perplexed, I bid them good night, walked back to my car and drove home.

Do you have to wonder if I got up in Fast and Testimony the next month and talked about the still small voice that guided me to help some needy person? Of course you don't. Ordinarily, those events are not retold because they are not even remembered. It is, once again, a function of our paradigms. See, the paradigm that feeds the myth-making only has the ability to see that which supports the myth, and is utterly and completely blind (and deaf) to that which doesn't. This was the first time in my life that I had confronted a "non-event" and evaluated it for its myth-making potential had it turned out differently. The potential is obviously great, and yet I became painfully aware in that moment that MY myth was dependent on THEIR cooperation, and this time, they didn't play.

How many times have we turned ordinary events into mythology, because we longed to imbue it with mystical, spiritual meaning? "Why do we do that?" he asked rhetorically. Because deep down inside, I believe we were all fragile in our confidence regarding our acceptability to God. We knew that He demanded perfection...and that we were not perfect. We knew that He could not tolerate the least degree of uncleaness...and we were spotted. We repented, we strove for perfection, we did our duty and upheld our standards, but because of our doubt, we sought hungrily for some degree of assurance that we were indeed acceptable in the eyes of the Lord. So on occassion, when you or I happened upon a moment or circumstance that could possibly, even remotely, be understood in the context of the great mystery, rather than attempt to understand it rationally, we CHOSE to understand it mystically, and thereby assure ourselves, and others around us, that God found us acceptable.

The spirit craves acceptance, because the alternative is terrifying. But since God is either all-accepting (because He is all loving) or He isn't there at all (you pick), that assurance is not forthcoming from on high, and therefore we have no alternative but to manufacture it ourselves. The Church, and all religion, helps us do that. It provides a context whereby we can frame our experiences, and interpret them according to the projections we wish to cast upon them. In so doing, it provides a hope, albeit ONLY a hope, that we will forever be okay. That we will return with honor, a faithul son or daughter who endured to the end.

Sigh...

I learned that night in an Albertsons parking lot that I was the myth-maker. And I was never really the same.
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Mormon Myth: Setting A Good Example Means Others Will Follow
Tuesday, Jan 3, 2006, at 07:45 AM
Original Author(s): Cheryl
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 3   -Link To MC Article-
We can't change others by how we portray ourselves, unless they are moved from within to look to us as leaders.

It's unhealthy to run our lives with the intention of impressing members of a cult we once followed. If we're living authentically and mormons happen to notice, that's fine. But trying to change them by putting on a show is a futile exercise.

It was drummed into us that no one leaves mormonism, except to sin or from minor offense. We "knew" at some level that leaving might mean we'd turn into drunks or perverts. Our mindset was to measure our worth by the image we projected to fellow members. Their approval, not our self-satisfaction, was how we knew we were acceptable human beings.

I think that may be why we strive to portay ourselves well to insiders even after we have left. We know they're looking at us critically, hoping to detect signs of crankiness or debauchery. We still crave their approval because we're used to looking to them for validation. And we're still operating under the false assumption that our example to them somehow trumps their inner motivation.

We can choose to recover from that flawed thinking.

There's no need to ever drink coffee or wine. No need to use colorful expletives. There is a need to make those decisions based on ourselves, not on what members of a bogus cult might be thinking of us.

Avoiding those things to impress on mormons that exmos aren't the stereotypes that members expect them to be is a silly exercise.

Being "nice" to offensive mormons doesn't teach them a lesson so much as it keeps us operating within their cultish mind control.

Living to prove something to mormons? Or just plain living life? It's a choice.
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Stake President Meddles In Marriage Plans
Wednesday, Jan 4, 2006, at 08:12 AM
Original Author(s): Joshua J Terry
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 3   -Link To MC Article-
The more time passes the more enraged I become at the decisions that were made by priesthood leaders who believed they had a divine right to pass their personal opinions off as inspired counsel. I recognize as a former priesthood leader myself, the beliefs that support the internal justification for providing such counsel; however, considering the many conflicting beliefs within Mormonism, there is a certain amount of creative interpretation which tends to change depending on the circumstances. With that in mind I don't think there's any excuse for what one Stake President once told me.

My wife and I met with the Stake President as part of a series of pre-marriage interviews. Of course, these interviews provided very little in terms of marital advice, but were heavily saturated with warnings against fornication. After the interview this man whom I had great respect for as one of the Lord’s anointed and as a decent and respectable man, called me back into his office while my wife waited outside. I was bewildered by this unusual change in expected protocol.

I couldn’t believe my ears as I was sitting across from this supposed representative of God himself. He began by questioning my certitude in selecting an eternal companion. Then he started into this overly transparent anecdote of a young mother counseling her daughter on mormon dress standards and dating protocol when she hasn’t lived by them herself. He then queried me again, “Are you certain about this young lady you intend to marry?”

I’m not a believer in fate, nor was I then. I believed that there was some deep spiritual connection between my then fiance and I. I had prayed about our plans and I felt confident in them regardless of whatever might have happened in her past. What bothers me the most about this is the Stake Pres.’s assumption that I was the saint and she was the sinner. I had definitely made my share of mistakes (according to Mormon standards) prior to my repentance and mission. It burned me that this man who professed to be a Christian spiritual leader, would essentially deny the Atonement!

I realized in reflecting on my reaction to this that it was my belief in the permissibility of immorality in the guise of saintly imperfection on the part of church leaders that is what caused me to question the Stake President’s guidance. Now that I have left I am often critical of TBM’s for their liberal acceptance of off-the wall statements and failed prophecies made by priesthood leaders in the name of “speaking only as a man.”

I suppose it’s ironic that the same cop-out strategy I used to forgive my leaders in order to maintain faith in what appeared to be true statements was the same belief that helped me to recognize poor counsel and to trump it with my own decision. I used to think that phenomenon had something to do with maintaining beliefs no matter what, but now I suspect it’s more about just making sense of the rat’s nest of conflicting doctrines. For example, that Stake Pres. Could have just as easily counseled me to forgive and forget the past and rely on the Atonement when it came to my wife.

I could have just as easily taken the path of blind faith and followed the teaching that we are to follow the counsel of our priesthood leaders no matter whether it is right or wrong, for God would justify us.

I need to make an important confession here. While I was active I kept what was said in that private interview from my wife. I didn’t tell her what the Stake Pres. said until after we had left. I don’t know, I guess I was trying to protect the integrity of the Morg. I’m so ashamed. I now find it hard to believe that I was so committed to the church that I would think that keeping things from my wife meant protecting her faith in the church and therefore maintaining the strength of the church. I feel like I cheated on her or something.
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Is Is Bad To Believe In Something You Know Isn't True If It Makes You Feel Better?
Thursday, Jan 5, 2006, at 07:45 AM
Original Author(s): Ewt717
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 3   -Link To MC Article-
When I was a kid--my stuffed animals were very real to me. In a Velveteen rabbit way, I KNEW they were real and had feelings and loved me. I think that some part of me that KNEW this couldn't be possible because they were made in a factory, but it really brought me a lot of comfort to believe this way and I was very attached to them. Their love for me was a real as anything else, even though it was simple my imagination.

SO now, I realize the concept of GOD and Jesus, is well--unlikely to be what I understood it to be. Yet, I find it comforting to think I have a personal relationship with GOD, and I still think of him as a father figure, and it comforts me to pray to him. Is that such a bad thing to continue doing that if it makes me feel good, even though deep in your conscience you really don't know if there is a GOD? Can we just hold onto a few magical ideas and still be a rational person in general?

One thing that has changed is that I longer talk about the "spirit" telling me what to do, but I do say, "I felt the intuition, or I listened to my heart (meaning my innermost desires, etc.) ". I don't think listening to our own hearts is a bad way to make decisions, because we often know what we really want to do or try, and have interpreted these inner feelings as an answer to prayer. Not all decisions can be made logically or SHOULD be made logically, anyway. SOyou do have to go by how you feel, which usually is motivated by your wants and willingness to take risks. If a decision goes wrong after listening to my "heart", I can just say that that is what I felt I should do and look at the bad a good that came from it the same way people who use prayer do--the difference is I might learn from it, as opposed to some TBMs that just say, "the Lord wanted me to go through this trial".

But I like to talk to God because it makes me feel good, even if I know he might not exist and I acknowledge that, so maybe that makes me less dillusional because I know why I do it.
topic image
My Personal Moral Code I Wrote And Try To Live By
Friday, Mar 18, 2011, at 07:42 AM
Original Author(s): Think4u
Topic: EX-MORMONISM SECTION 3   -Link To MC Article-
When we leave the mormon church, other LDS that know us assume that we no longer have any morals or values, that we automatically become evil and morally corrupt. I know that for me it became even more important to try and be the person I truly want to be.

Not just to know myself, but to actually create my own life from real values as opposed to what others had always told me I should be doing, and for the first time I found myself in an environment where I felt free to do so.

Things became clearer after leaving the church, and no longer were black and white the only colors I could see. I saw the world in all it's beauty, for the first time, rich with color as well as all shades of grey.

I began to think for myself and ask "Who do I choose to be, what do I want my life to reflect?" I came up with some guidelines of what I believe a moral person to be, just my thoughts, and of how I want to live my life.

These are things I certainly do NOT do perfectly, but continue to strive for and I thought I might share my ideas with you here. I actually got the idea for writing down this list of my own thoughts from something someone (don't know who) wrote long ago called " An Educated Man". I remember being impressed by it at the time I read it.

Anyway, these are only thoughts for me, no one else. I would never try to tell another how they should choose to live their life. I wrote this about a year ago and entitled it:

A MORAL PERSON

They respect differences in all people, a kind of respect that has nothing whatsoever to do with admiration, and all to do with tolerance.

They are genuine and value their personal integrity above all else. They are honest, and first of all true to themselves. They do not tell big or little lies of any shade or color. They also realize that not every truth must be spoken or shared.

They listen closely to others, to their words and to the spaces between them, as they are more concerned about understanding than being understood.

They forgive easily and have long since learned the burden of continuing to carry a grudge. They are never to proud to apologize when they have wronged or hurt another, be it intentional or not.

They are compassionate and step up to be of help whenever they can, and when there is nothing whatsoever they can do, their tears wet their pillow at night.

They live with courage and know when to stand up or speak out, yet they have learned as well when to be still. They understand important, unspoken feelings that are able to cross back and forth freely within the silences of conversation.

They seek truth always and are acutely aware of injustices around them. Another's pain may be felt nearly as their own.

They watch closely for directional signs in all their days. No other must coerce or force them to look closely, and carefully consider these warnings, because introspection and personal growth have become a habit of daily living.

They are patient and calm, even in crisis. They feel no need to raise their voice or swear to feel heard or understood. They recognize their true insignificance in light of a bigger picture.

They consistently choose to live their lives from a place of love and acceptance, rather than fear.

They do not judge or gossip and can keep a confidence perfectly.

They have learned to let go of what cannot be changed, and direct their efforts toward what can.
 
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