|Subject:||OK--Now all of a sudden I'm feeling really guilty|
|Date:||Dec 04 01:54|
|It's not like I've posted anything bad or something I wouldn't say
to my mom or anything, but I feel a major rush of guilt coming on.
I admit I found this site one day after a particularly long church activity. I'm one of these people who grew up in the church, (spent most of my growing up years in Utah), so I've never really questioned it, but my parents were never really super-Mormon either, so I guess I grew up fairly normal-ish.
But now I'm REALLY questioning stuff, and I'm all cynical and angry sometimes, but I don't know if that's coming from me or if it's a product of this board. I feel like maybe I need to just never look here again, but I know if I do that, I'll never figure things out in my mind.
I just had this image of myself laughing at some of the WAY too similar stories, and identifying with all of you, but then I guess I got scared. What shall I do? I guess I'm worried that I'll get hit by a car tomorrow, and I'll get to the Pearly Gates and God will be shaking his head very disapprovingly at me. I feel like I'm doomed either way I go. Ugh, depressing.
|Subject:||You're so lucky!|
|Date:||Dec 04 02:01|
|You sound young and if you figure out that the church is a big pile of craziness while you're young, you've just spared yourself your youth. God. Think about it babe. YOUR YOUTH! So many of us here blew our best years on a fable, a myth. Our twenties. Gone. God. I hate to think about it. I hope you don't do what so many of us did, which was convince ourselves just long enough that the church MIGHT be true that we wasted the time of our lives where we could have experienced the most freedom, the most liberation (this doesn't mean sex, drugs, and rock n' roll btw, it just means we could have had the freedom to do what we wanted, find out who we really are, instead of bowing in subordination to an organization that is based on one man's fantasies and other men's emotional and financial investments).|
|Subject:||You're OK Andrea.|
|Date:||Dec 04 02:06|
|It's a pretty normal reaction at first to feel all sorts of
And think of it this way: If you do get kicked out of the Celestial Kingdom you're going to have one hell of a party with the rest of us exmos. I've partied with some of the best of 'em and I can promise you, they know how to have a good time.
Go easy on yourself. You're just reading. Change is only going to happen if you want it to. Keep hanging out here and having a good time. We're all friends - we know what you're feeling because we've all been there.
|Subject:||No--you are experiencing a programmed response.|
|Date:||Dec 04 02:14|
|Andrea, reading and thinking are not activities that should make you
or anyone else feel any guilty. If your church or, possibly, even your family has
"trained" you to have such a feeling in response to reading and thinking, you
should understand that it's not really guilt you are feeling--it's just their attempt at
1. God doesn't cause people to be hit by cars, or cause any other sort of evil event. Especially for reading and thinking, which after all is the first two-thirds of "read, ponder, and pray."
2. It's okay to feel guilt over things that you, with good reason, feel are morally wrong, for example stealing, lying, or hurting someone for no reason.
3. We are all a product of our past and our childhood: family, friends, church, TV and movies, traumatic childhood events, and so on. If you feel "guilty" about something that isn't on your list of things that are morally wrong, ask yourself what, from your past experience, is causing you to feel that way. If you can figure that out, the "guilt" may be replaced by understanding.
With that in mind, keep reading!
|Subject:||Re: OK--Now all of a sudden I'm feeling really guilty|
|Date:||Dec 04 02:32|
|I have felt the same way a number of times over the last few years;
I feel so certain that things in the church can't be true, yet then I wake up at night
worrying about what if by some chance it is. All I can say is two things:
1. I cannot pretend that I am someone I am not. What I mean is that over the last few years I have tried a couple of times to really get back into activity in the church "just in case", but I have found over and over again that once the box of truth is opened I cannot shut it; after going to church a couple of times I inevitably get this feeling that I am pretending to be someone who really believes this stuff when deep inside I know I don't, and after a short time I start feeling hypocritical for that. So I quit going for awhile, and the cycle continues... it sucks, I agree, but at least I feel more honest with myself when I admit that I generally do not believe the historical basis that the church claims.
2. The other conclusion I have come to is that I do still believe in God, and I really thinks He knows and loves me. I strongly feel that if I am honestly confused about what ultimate truth really is, He is the one person who will know that is actually what is in my heart. In other words, if I die tonight, I honestly believe God will make allowances for my sincere, lifelong questioning of organized religion in general. Call it a relic of my mormon life, but I believe there is some purpose to this life, and that purpose is being generally a good person. I truly believe that if I do that, in the end that is all that will matter to God, even in the off chance that I should have been doing it inside the mormon church. I think He will recognize that I did what I did because I thought it was right (ie- choosing to not be active in the church because it is the only intellectually honest approach that I could live with myself taking), and that my doubts/concerns were real, and in the end that's all that really matters to me.
I don't know if this will help, but it might. It sounds like you might be in a similar situation to me.
|Subject:||Pray for truth. Pray for knowledge. Pray for understanding.|
|Date:||Dec 04 02:54|
|I did and I found this board. And I've been getting daily
revelations (of sorts) ever since.
God isn't going to punish you for honestly seeking truth and following your heart. And you can never find truth if you only listen to one side of the story (I learned that sitting on a jury).
You're in for a very interesting and exciting journey.
|Subject:||Is god so vindicative?|
|Date:||Dec 04 03:28|
|When I think about it, I'm amazed at how people laud this great
loving, kind, father-figure god, but then when you go off and start thinking for yourself,
and wondering if maybe you haven't taken too much for granted, all of sudden this god
turns into a vindicative figure with a penchant for vengeance.
And it's not even like you're going out raping, killing, and stealing, or stuff like that. The horrible sin that god is coming down on you for is just basically that you're searching for knowledge, and it's led you in unexpected directions.
Does that really make sense?
Or is it that nothing frightens people in a cult mentality more than the prospect that one of their own might learn something contrary to their teachings, and [gasp] even leave. The horror.
So, that's why they instill such fear and angst over the mere act of questioning your beliefs. Even sexual immorality doesn't drive them as crazy as this, go figure.
But think about it, if there is a god (I haven't yet found any reason to think there is, but who knows?), either this god loves you and wants you to grow and learn and good stuff like that, which means that even if you question, and heck, even if you end up believing the wrong thing, as long as you did your best, with good intentions, this god will be happy with your efforts. Or, this god is capricious and vindicative, and basically you've got to become a drone doing exactly what he wants. And if you really think about that, that's really a worse kind of hell than any Satan-based version I've ever heard of--Satan, at least, is supposed to be consistent. So why would you want to end up with that kind of being?
So, assuming your heart is in the right place, you're really making an honest effort, etc, why is god going to be upset and go around making your life miserable over that?
Relax, it doesn't happen like that. Life goes on, with the usual ups and downs, but there's no mystical punishment waiting overhead if you happen to make a misstep...
|Subject:||Mormonism programs you to expect something bad to happen|
|Date:||Dec 04 03:43|
|if you give in to your doubts (i.e., give in to the voice of reason)
and stop blindly following the rules of Mormonism. But actually you have just as much or
more reason to expect something good to happen.
Reason is actually a better and more reliable guide for your life than the Mormon prophets and other priesthood "authorities." Do you need the Word of Wisdom to keep you safe from substance abuse? Reason tells non-Mormon people all over the world that binge drinking and chain smoking are bad for their health. They don't need the Mormon Word of Wisdom to teach them to avoid such self-destructive habits. And they certainly don't need the fanatical ideas of Mormonism that make drinking a cup of tea into such a serious sin as to bar a mother from attending her own daughter's (temple) wedding.
I realized that Mormonism was phony many years ago, but like you I was troubled with occasional guilt for the first couple of years. A good example is how I first felt about not wearing temple garments. All my life as a TBM kid I had heard about how the temple garments provide physical and other protection based on our temple covenants. Anecdotes are circulated among TBMs about the miraculous protective powers of the temple garments. So I was really a bit worried when I stopped wearing the garments, even though reason told me that Mormon temple worship was the most ridiculous, transparently false system of worship imaginable. I still had that voice programmed into my head by Mormonism that was telling me that I would now be unprotected and on my own without the garmies. The voice of Mormonism told me that God wouldn't do anything to protect me after showing such disrespect for his sacred garmies.
Well, that was more than 15 years ago and nothing bad has happened in that time. I've had close calls. And I'm pretty sure that if I were still an irrational garment-wearing TBM, I would have given credit to my garmies for helping me come out of it okay. But since I wasn't wearing my garmies, I could only say that I was lucky or blessed in a way that has no connection to Mormon temples. Something bad could still happen tomorrow, but I think it would now be too late for Mormons to point their fingers and say "see, we told you something bad would happen."
"Something bad" has happened to a lot of TBMs who were doing everything right. Think about the naive handcart companies who put faith in their Mormon leaders and perished or became crippled in the bitter cold of the high plains.
Trust the voice of reason. It's a more reliable guide than the programmed voices of guilt that we get from Mormonism. Nothing can be relied upon 100% to always protect us from something bad happening. But I feel safer relying on reason than I do relying on Mormon garmies and priesthood leaders.
|Subject:||Now do some honest research.|
|Date:||Dec 04 04:12|
|Subject:||Guilt. The most unnecessary feeling there is.|
|Date:||Dec 04 10:34|
|You cannot rewrite history, you probably had no better knowledge or
better options to do what you did then what you did. The feeling will not make you change,
it will only make you feel unworthy too change. Guilt over doubts wont take away the
doubts. As with doubts, the only cure against guilt is reason.
Guilt is a consequence from thinking that one doesn't live up to a specific standard. It doesn't matter what the standard may be as long it's violated. If I believed eating choklate was a terrible sin I would feel horrible every time I even think of eating it. Still my feelings haven't made choklate to a universal "sin". Luckily I have discarded most of those kind of silly beliefs and moved on. In all your life you have been indoctrinated to consider independent thinking as wrong. The only solution is to discover your own inner "rights" and "wrongs", the mormon church have no more authority then you have in deciding what is right and what is wrong. No one has monopoly on neither ethics nor spirituality, you are free not only to follow or ignore morality but also to decide what morality is for you. In every issue you face you can use reason to make your own conclusions about what behavior is best for you and your fellow humans. (and god, if he exist, can take care of himself).
|Subject:||Fear is the bread and butter of mormonism. Fear of the outside world.|
|Date:||Dec 04 10:36|
|Fear of any "un-authorized" information, fear of people or
ideas that don't fit with what you've been taught your whole life. Its this fear that
keeps most people active in the Church. They stay away from anything that scares them
particularly new ideas and information.
But what do we really have to be afraid of? If the Church is true won't we be able to see it? If this new information is false won't we be able to see that too? Can't truth stand on it's own? What are we afraid of?
Once I realized that I could think for myself and I could determine truth and there was nothing really to be afraid of, I became like that Thomas Paine guy on Field of Dreams when he gets invited into the corn field. He was afraid at first but once he overcame the fear he laughed about it all and went on in.
You only get one shot at this live. Why devote it to fear?
|Subject:||God never shakes his head in disapproval at you.|
|Date:||Dec 04 10:40|
|That's part of what makes him God.
The disapproving people who taught you that were projecting themselves onto God.
|Subject:||Be kind to yourself, it takes time to heal from spiritual abuse.|
|Date:||Dec 04 10:43|
|You will feel many things over time like you have been deceived, you
have been hurt, you have been betrayed by Mormonism.
In response, you will feel shame, guilt, anger, despair, depression.
This is very hard for most Mormons, but we have come out of a mind controlling cult.
And it takes time to recover and heal from the wounds of spiritual abuse. So be as kind to yourself as you can. Don't take on too much and try to enjoy life as you endeavor to find a new life after Mormonism.
God bless you in your recovery.
|Subject:||Andrea! I totally feel ya, girlfriend..|
|Date:||Dec 04 13:55|
|After finding this site and feeling myself become more angry and sad because of what I was learning about the church, I was always waiting to be struck by lightning or something horrible! But let me tell you, it's been almost a year since I've been "out" and I'm still doing just fine! I've even found the courage to talk with my parents about my feelings toward the church and my findings about it's history that don't sit well with me. I don't think this site it making you an angry person, I think this site is helping you to see that there ARE other possibilities, and that there are so many of us who feel the same way you do! Isn't it nice to know you're not the only one? :)|
|Subject:||Re: OK--Now all of a sudden I'm feeling really guilty|
|Date:||Dec 04 14:37|
|The truth can be a hard reality... if you don't seek it out, you
could live like the other TBM's and get married in the temple and obey your husband,
church and every single (impossible) commandment. You will probably feel guilty about that
too, because you never will be perfect as you are expected. But at least you would not
feel guilty about learning the truth.
On the other hand, if you appreciate truth, don't like deception, and want to be independant of an oppresive organization... your in the right spot. Take your time, it took me months to change my thinking and accept the truth and how it impacted me. I had a wide range of emotions as I learbned the truth... its to be expected. But worth it in the end...
You do have choices... so pick a result you can live with...
|Subject:||It's okay, Andrea...|
|Date:||Dec 04 14:51|
|I'd be willing to bet that every exmo on this board felt the same
way at one time or another. Second-guessing yourself and the "what-ifs" will
disappear as you begin to trust yourself and your instinct.
Instinct and logical/critical thinking are two very import aspects of your quest, and they're two things that lifetime mormons don't have. Have you ever thought about that? The church says "the thinking has been done" by the prophet, so you don't need to question. Lifetime mormons are like robots; obeying without question, and believing without thinking. It boggles my mind to think I was one of them once.
The fact that you even recognize this emotion in yourself shows that you're on the right path! Keep on going...you're almost there!
Come visit us often,
PS: My name is Andrea too!
|Subject:||Well, God didn't strike me down.|
|Date:||Dec 04 15:39|
|Author:||girl in the box|
|In fact, my life keeps getting better!
Putting that aside, I felt lots of guilt over not going to church, not liking it, having doubts, etc. But I was going to therapy, so I figured out that the guilt is programmed. It's like a tape recording that's triggered to go off when given the right cues; it means NOTHING, it is only meaningless jumbo that you yourself recorded because you were told to record it when you were young and it just does what it was programmed to do -- go off like an alarm whenever you don't do what other people want you to. You've been raised to follow orders and you've probably been chastised or punished whenever you didn't follow the rules, so now any time you don't do what you're supposed to, the auto-guilt-alarm trips.
You put it there. You set it. With patience and understanding, you can turn it off.
One way to deal with it is to listen to it. Whenever you feel guilt, sit down and listen to what you're feeling. Talk yourself through it. Find out exactly what it's about. Then let it be okay to have guilt, to feel it. Accepting a feeling can help to process it. Then think about what you're doing, about whether or not you honestly believe that you should be feeling guilt for whatever you're doing. Look at it like it's someone else (your best friend, your spouse, a sibling) -- if they did this thing, would you as a God condemn them for it? Would you feel justified accusing them of "wrongdoing", would you feel you were knowledgeable, wise, experienced enough to condemn them for it? Are you worthy of judging them?
Treat *yourself* the same way. If you wouldn't belittle someone else for it, don't belittle yourself. Don't hold yourself to ridiculous standards that don't apply to real human beings, like the people you love -- and yourself.
The short version of my long-winded advice: THINK about what you're feeling and why you're feeling it. Thinking leads to understanding, and understanding leads to power over one's own life. If a God exists who gave you a brain, he could hardly disapprove of your using it.