Subject: What are the steps in recovery from Mormonism?
Date: Jan 07 23:47
Has anyone here every posted the various steps or stages in recovery from Mormonism? I know all of our experiences and situations are slightly different. More than likely, we've experienced different phases too. But do you think there are some common threads in recovery from Mormonism?
In a rough outline of steps, how would you describe the steps you went through for recovery?
For example, here's my experience, in a nutshell:
1. The Itch
I started feeling like I didn't belong in the church anymore. I kept thinking to myself in church, "I don't belong here anymore." Something was bothering me, but I didn't know what and didn't think it was the church. I was still in denial
I began stufying church history, doctine and scripture and was shoked at what I discovered.
Inside, I was mad as hell at Joseph Smith and the leaders of the church for perpetuating the fraud
I didn't dare tell anyone what I had learned, not even my wife. I thought doubting could unravel my life.
I started teaching more in the Priesthood Quorum, attended the temple more and tried praying my doubts away. In some ways I became more fanatical than ever.
6. Closet Doubter
My doubts continued, so I just started playing along even though I had serious doubts.
I felt trapped. I dreaded church. I didn't know how long I could go on like this.
I finally shared my doubts with close friends and my wife, who joined me. I began to feel better as I felt their support. I still avoided telling my family because I knew how they would react.
I stopped feeling accepted by the church and lost interest in trying to keep up the facade.
9. The Break
We stopped going to church altogether, informed the bishop we wanted "no contact." He agreed.
10. The Siege
Church members started calling and visiting us. Some were blunt, others were subtle. We started geting upset at all the harrassment.
11. Standing Ground
We stopped wearing garments, did what we wanted on Sunday and began to shed our Mormon habits.
13. New Boundries
We told our families about our decision to leave the church and faced their reactions. Very painful, but healthy as we set adult relationship boundries with our parents and siblings.
We tried wine, coffee and tea for the first time and enjoyed trying many of the forbidden things of Mormonism. Some of them we liked, some of them we didn't. This was a fun time of exploring.
The real fruits of the whole process begin to blossom. We found a new community that shared our new values. We took what we felt was good about our Mormon past and kept it, and dumped the bad. We feel more self-confidence, self-awareness and family closeness than ever before in our lives.
Thats a rough overview of the steps in my journey. What steps did you go through?
Subject: My observations indicate that it is a very personal, do it yourself project that has
Date: Jan 08 01:00
different "steps" in different order for different people.
There are so many factors that play into the Exit Process. I would never call it a "recovery" process for me. I find the word one of thoes PC overworked words and changing your thinking is not an illness. But that is just me.
My emphasis is always on the intellectual, thinking process first and the emotional one second. That, again is me, and how mind works.I place the greatest value and reliance on the power of my mind over everything else.
I also know I can choose my "steps" or process by how I think about it and how I prefer to deal with it all.
The most painful parts of Mormonism have always been the result of my unfulfilled expectations. I expected the members and the leaders to be able to live what they taught, to be decent, honest and kind people. When they were not, they really could cut to the core. Those things were the emotional ones that thrust me into finding out what was wrong with their picture as the behavior did not even come close to the claims. I always knew something was not quite right..way too many red flags that were explained away with massive mental gymnastics excluding common sense and logic and good reasoning.
When I took a look at the actual history and realized how the sham was perpetrated, it struck me funny. Fortunately, I can think funny, and see the humor and that got me over the hump of the decpetion very fast. The mental imnages of these goofy people cracked me up. They still do! The deception was rampant in all belief systems and Mormonism was only unique in a few areas.
There are no rules in the exit process from Mormonism. We all take it as it comes, and with a lot of surprises on the way. The biggest surprises are the ones that are our biggest challenges but teach us the most as they have the most information for us that we did not have before.
I have come to the point where I cannot begin to get angry or worked up or upset with any of it anymore. It is just too funny and silly to take seriously. I learned that the faster I got to the humor the quicker the emotional bond was severed and I felt completly powerful again.
The humor bolstered my self respect, self esteem and I knew that I was OKAY all along. It was the whole premise of the church that was a lie, hoax, charade and it had nothing to do with me.
That was the most liberating part for me and it came very quickly! Somehow, I was ready to hear it and from there on, it became very simple. I was not bound by any of it! Wham, Bam, I was FREE!!! I felt like I had hit the delete key and erased a whole bunch of nonsense!
I recognized that Mormonism did not ruin my life, even though it was goofy and silly and I went along with it thinking it was just another Christian church.T hat led to more research and I realized that I had no need or desire to believe in any of it, Christianity included, so I abandoned those beliefs and changed my philosophy.
What great FUN it has been to allow my own philosophy to evolve and develop, accepting and rejectioning anything I chose with no fear.
Subject: I appreciate you insights
Date: Jan 08 14:04
I agree with what you say, the experience is different for everyone. We all start at a different place and we don't all follow the same phases. We also have out own ways of describing our experiences. I call recovery a process but I understand others would see it differently.
But I think there are distinct phases in recovery. We move from one experience to the next as events happen. The initial realization that the church was not true became a definite transition boundry for me. My perspective changed and that's when the anger and resentment started. Before that, I wasn't angry at the church.
For me, learning the church wasn't true filled me with resentment and it got worse the more people tried to maniuplate me to stay in. You see, I trusted the church and in many ways loved the church. And after I found out they were lying to me and playing headgames I felt hurt and betrayed, which led to anger. Those were definite phases in my recovery and the feelings I am still working out here.
I am reborn and am happier than ever. But I still feel like a good friend or lover has betrayed me. Perhaps my recovery will be complete when I can see Mormonism hurting my mother and siblings and not get upset.
Subject: Getting beyond anger
Date: Jan 08 03:32
I would say my steps are in a different order than yours, mostly because I was raised into the church, but never had a "testimony."
1.) closet doubter
A not-so-little part of me always doubted what I was being taught.
It's taboo to doubt openly, you bottle them up inside, you become depressed.
3.) the break
I left going to church, and left BYU.
Talk to other people who have left, feel good about the decision.
I am angry at: the church for lying to me for my whole life, my parents for lying to me my whole life, the top-down control, and the double standards.
I finally express my doubts about the church with family, old Mormon friends, anybody else who asks.
Finally allow myself to become more secular or mainstream. Develop my own philosophy and path in life.
One hard part for me is getting past the anger. Whenever I visit my all-Mormon family, I get angry at them for their lack of rational skepticism. I'll bring up an issue I have with the church, like blacks and the priesthood, polygamy, whether the holy ghost is emotion, etc. They don't listen to the message, they only really hear my anger. My Mom told me I need to examine my motives; and that maybe part of my "attacks" on the church is because I seek validation of other people. I admit that some part of me is angry, and some part of me would in fact like a little validation. However, I also think I have a valid and positive message about freethinking and epistemology that they don't want to listen to and it's very frustrating.
I've been away from the church for four years now, but just over the holidays I had a friend come back from a mission, (so I attending church to see his homecoming talk) and I visited my family who is of course still LDS. All the exposure brought back my old feelings of anger. So I guess instead of ignoring my anger I should find some way to move beyond it once and for all.
What are some constructive ways of getting past anger at the church, member relatives or friends, etc. Here's what I can think of:
1.) join another philosophical/religious organization
2.) ask my family to let me formally present my case, so I can feel like my voice has been heard
3.) don't do anything; just suck it up during those few times I ever have to be exposed to the church in the future
Any other ideas for getting past the anger? Just writing this out helps a little.