Subject: Girls Camp "Faith Promoting" Activity
Date: Dec 21 02:14 2002
Author: ORFinn

Last summer I volunteered to go to girls camp. I was questioning a lot of things and thought six days would strengthen my weakening testimony.

The highlight event was a secret. I was an adult leader, but I wasn't let in on the big secret. I was told it was going to be a faith promoting experience.

After dark, we were led to an area, and told to put on a blindfold. After a feeble argument, I complied.

Then my hand was placed on a round PVC pipe. I was told to not let go until I heard xxx's voice. As I was walking along the pipe, I heard voices telling me to let go, that all sorts of horrible things were going on around me, and that I had made it so I could let go.

Well, I made it to the end of the pipe trail because I remembered the instruction to not let go until I heard xxx's voice.

I took off the blindfold and there were several people wearing white robes all happy to tell me that I had "made it." There was a big tree all decorated in white lights. Then I was to sit and wait until all the adult unit leaders and the girls had made it to the end.

While I was sitting there I was glad I had made it.

As time went on though, I started to feel as though I had been manipulated. There were girls sitting near me who had made it, but they were wondering what had happened to their friends who were with them.

One girl was sobbing because she couldn't find her sister.

Later on I found out that the girls who let go of the PVC pipe before the end were taken to an area and given a lecture about what Jesus had done for them. Then they got another turn to hold on and go to the end of the PVC pipe.

Some of the girls had been tricked by their older sisters or friends who were trying to get them to let go.

This went on for hours in the dark and cold. By the time the whole ordeal was over I just wanted to get back to camp and go to sleep. I was feeling very manipulated and used.

The next night was testimony meeting. Girls got up and said how they thought it was fun at first to trick their friends and sisters. But, then they saw what they had done. More tears.

Then there were girls who got up and talked like they had actually done something wrong by letting go of the PVC pipe.

I didn't speak up to anyone about what I was really thinking until I got home and let loose to my husband.

I didn't go to F&T meeting the next day, but my husband did.
He got to hear girls get up and sob some more about their PVC pipe experience.

He was not impressed.
Now I have to live with the fact that I sent my 20+ year old daughter to six years of manipulation like that.

And, have those wonderful memories of sitting out in the dark and cold with sobbing pre-teen and teen-age girls thinking that they were so bad.

Anyone else have similar "faith-promoting" activities at camp?


Subject: Re: Girls Camp "Faith Promoting" Activity
Date: Dec 21 02:39
Author: Debbie

My experience was not so good, I was a Kit (counselor in training ) and we were led the same way in the dark but we had to trust our buddy and not let go. Some girls let go and got confused and started to cry. They were left there for 20 minutes to accept that if they stray, Life will be hard on them and they would be punished. Testimony was a lot of Boo oho this and boo hoo that, I went the next year as a counselor and I felt no spiritual guidance just a bunch of women who told me or should I say guided me to take care of my campers the way the woman wanted. We had speakers, who bashed immoral thoughts and actions. I had one camper come and ask me if she was a bad girl because she cussed sometimes.. What a joke girls camp. I was glad to go home at the end of that week, my senior year I didn't attend thank god my family went on vacation that week..


Subject: Re: Girls Camp "Faith Promoting" Activity
Date: Dec 21 02:49

I had a similar experience at girls camp, but not as a youth about object lessons gone sour...or maybe they just taught the opposite of what was intended, that the iron rod bit is manipulative bs.


Subject: "Faith Promoting" Handcart re-enactment trek
Date: Dec 21 02:56
Author: Kim

God, that stuff is sick!

It reminds me of the story my mom told me about going into Wyoming with the youth of her ward on one of those sick Martin Company Handcart re-enactment treks. The "trekkers" were each given a name of one of the actual pioneers in that fateful handcart company, many of whom perished in the bleak cold early winter of 1856. At the end of the trek, they had a solemn meeting. One by one, the participants were told to take a seat "here" or "over there." Once in place in the two groups, the leader announced that those in the one group were the ones that survived. So, you guessed it. The other group were the people who PERISHED!!! Then they had a testimony meeting so they could all bawl and blubber about their experiences, sickeningly playing on the emotions of the young.

The only thing they neglected to mention was that the people perished largely because Brigham Young was more concerned about saving money than about the welfare of the human beings who trusted him. This of course was Brigham Young's experiment to save money and make the people drag their own belongings on simpler handcarts rather than use actual wagons.


Subject: Not a happy camper
Date: Dec 21 02:57
Author: coveygirl

I'm happy to say I don't remember all the details of the faith promoting manipulation techniques but I do recall how I felt. We did some kind of POW camp simulation where we were not fed for a long time and we had to learn to trust each other and figure out how to escape.

I remember one exercise where we had to walk on a log over a precarious ravine. I was scared to death and didn't want to do it but if I talked, then my whole group would be "captured" and would have to start all over again. I have no idea what point it was supposed to prove but as a young teenager I was traumatized by it.

I dislike camping to this day and don't understand why people think girl's camp is fun. When I told my parents I didn't want to go the next year, they said if I didn't go, I would be grounded for the duration of the camp and that they would make life miserable for me. I finally went just to get them off my back about it but frankly, any punishment they could have dished out would have been better than that boring, dirty, manipulative boo-hoo fest.


Subject: the church should have realized after the sad play of events at ZIONS CAMP that camping wasn't its thing.

Subject: Being blindfolded and falling backward into trusted arms
Date: Dec 21 03:01
Author: Kim

I also heard about a girl's camp at Brighton (Big Cottonwood Canyon) where the girls had to be blindfolded and fall backward off of a ledge or balcony of some sort into the arms of others. The point of the exercise was to put ones trust in others to protect them.


Subject: Camping on the edge of insanity
Date: Dec 21 03:18
Author: Satan's little helper for some reason I was involved in a lot of weird 'mo camping.

I was at BYU when the survival program started to go psychotic. Larry Dean Olson had started a pretty kewl program. You went out into the desert and actually learned to survive. The last week was a solo and it was a good experience...tough but good. At the end of the month they had a big bar-b-que. They brought in a live sheep (easier to let your dinner walk in by itself) and then slaughtered the sheep and ate it. Larry made the comment that we often take our food for granted. Well after a while the program started going nuts. The people in charge were further and further away from the founders and they were kinda bonkers. They had a nasty habit of dropping people during trust falls. And the best part was when people had to wash their hands in the "blood of the lamb" before the bar-b-que. The admin pulled the plug on the month long program after some gal died.

I was the Stake YM pres, when the wackos at BYU tried to get our kids on a youth conference handcart thingy. They told us the kids (the boys) had to wear wool pants cause that was what they wore "back then". I thought that was insane. Hiking in wool pants was an invitation to understand that other terror of the pioneers....CHAFING. SO I told the guys that people also died of cholera and that unless they were gonna do that too, they weren't genuine enough for us. We went to Lake Powell water skiing instead.

NOW...the reason I got the job as the YM pres.....cause I freaked out at young men's activity in which the poor kids had to spend all day making the "Banners of Israel" and then marching around the campfire in the order of the 12 tribes....they had some crazy interview to determine how righteous each kid was to assign him to the right tribe....I really did go nuts. I took my ward's kids and we had an alternative activity.

I found the ultimate trump card in the mo' was always the same....I used it a lot. "IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT...RELEASE ME". In this case it didn't work...they called to replace the nut job who came up with the Tribes of Israel thingy.


Subject: Thank all of you for pointing out these demeaning exercises. It is something I need to be aware of. n/t

Subject: So, the sorting hat thing
Date: Dec 21 12:20
Author: something blue

in Harry Potter is a Morg invention? Wow, that's pretty cool! I would have been in Slitherin as a teen!

I think the youth summer activities (camp and Youth Conference) are pretty much a waste of time. It just gets the kids out of the parent's hair for a week or two. YW camp was like a military installation and youth conference was lacking in supervision, so it was pretty much a free-for-all weekend--COED!!!

It's too bad the parents aren't let in ahead of time on the damaging activities and abuse and neglect that goes on. But, anything spiritual must be good, right? By the end of the activities, I got a greater appreciation for being home.

Subject: My TBM 27 year old daughter had horrible experiences.
Date: Dec 21 08:40
Author: Carolsue

They endured being forced to get up extremely early, very inferior food, and having to wear long pants in 100 plus degree heat of Eastern Washington. There was no place to swim, either. According to the stake president's rules, they weren't even allowed to wear shorts in the tents, but even some of the women leaders stripped to their garments. Insane!!

Subject: Here's two particularly sickening ones - Apache Tears and adoption
Date: Dec 21 12:11
Author: Harbinger

Here's an archived post of mine from 1999.

And here's a snippet from another post. To set the scene, I was raped by an RM at BYU, and to my horror, found myself pregnant afterward. LDS Social Services "handled" the adoption, and here's how my baby was "delivered" to her adoptive mom at Girls Camp and used as a morality lesson.

Two days after she was born, my daughter was taken and placed with a couple who was not expecting her, and were not prepared - no baby clothes, no crib, no diapers, and NO CAR SEAT to take her home in! (They're excellent people, but you don't drop a newborn on someone without notice!) She was away directing Girls' Camp, and he was at work. Yes, they drove the baby out to Girls' Camp and told the prospective A-mom to "please come over here to this tent - there's a little girl who's crying and needs you". Then they called the A-dad at work and told him to drop everything and come out to Camp immediately - there was an "emergency" with his wife. He spent the entire drive with his heart in his throat, afraid she was dead or something. Sick.

And yes, the whole thing was used as a "lesson" to all the campers. Sick again.

~ Harbinger

Subject: Getting Kicked out of Camp
Date: Dec 21 12:25
Author: Strangerer

Thanks for sharing that story. I had goose bumps of indignation as I read it. Horrible.

When I was 14 I went to camp somewhere in AZ. I was new to the area and didn't know any of the other girls very well. I didn't want to go, but went because family wanted me to. The first day, after getting our stuff lugged into camp and making our beds, everybody went out of the cabin to look for firewood. There was an older girl, a Laurel who stayed in the cabin with me. She was sitting on my bed talking to me (I felt bad, and alone) and I...kissed her. I don't know why, I just wanted to so I did. Well, she kissed me back and I felt better. These were sweet kisses, not sexy kisses, just kind gentle lip kisses.

I went along with the camp activities of the day. Everything was fine. I even had fun and participated with the girls my age in some things. That night one of the young women leaders pulled me aside, told me to pack my bags, and somebody drove me home. The Laurel girl had "confessed" to kissing me. I was so broken hearted and shamed. Nobody in the cabin said anything to me as I got my stuff together, nobody would even look at me.

I never went to camp again.

Subject: Thank you for all the responses.
Date: Dec 21 13:12
Author: ORFinn

I have been feeling pretty much alone with no one to talk to who understands about what a fiasco girls camp was.

Unfortunately, I don't have any friends who aren't LDS. And, since leaving the Morg in October I've pretty much lost any friends I thought I had. Of course, they all thought girls camp was great. So, couldn't have talked to them in the first place.

I was a convert at 18, so I missed out on girls camp. In retrospect, lucky me! I wanted my kids to have all the opportunities to do LDS activities that I had missed out on.

Now I have to wonder what kind of spiritual and psychological abuse they've had to endure. Only one of my children will even half-way answer my questions. She says she doesn't remember, and acts like it's no big deal. The other two get very defensive, and start arguing with me.

All the people who have been raised in the Morg have my sympathy. You didn't have any choice.

Subject: Fear of crosses
Date: Dec 21 13:06
Author: Harbinger

ORFinn's thread about Girls Camp FPR's reminded me....

Girls Camp was held at a BSA campground. Inside the tents, almost all the cots had large crosses lashed to the head and foot of the beds, made out of branches from the woods. The leaders were horrified, and wouldn't let us enter the tents until they had cut the offending crosses down and thrown them into the woods. They considered having someone from the priesthood come and bless the tents to get rid of any lingering contamination, but I don't remember if they actually did or not.

We later found out the "crosses" were for hanging mosquito netting over the cots. Turns out we had vandalized the place. ;-P

~ Harbinger


Subject: Manipulative church activities
Date: Dec 21 22:30
Author: Logiko

I just read ORFinn's post about manipulative Girls camp activities, and it made me think of some of the crazy stuff I've had to do in the past. I enjoyed reading some of the girls camp experiences, but I want to pose a question with an expanded scope--What are some of the strangest or most manipulative activities you were involved in (as a youth or an adult)?

Here's one of mine:

We had a tri-ward activity that was supposed to be a game night. There were lots of activities to participate in, and you could win prize tickets from these games. They had a big list of prizes posted with corresponding ticket values. I was trying to get enough tickets to win movie tickets or something (hey it was a while ago, I can't remember...).

Some of the activities were semi-spiritual (throwing darts at balloons with scripture quotes inside), and they gave away blue tickets. Other activities weren't spiritual (remote control car racing), and they gave away red tickets. I failed to notice this difference, and I simply played the games that gave the most tickets. I assumed they didn't have enough tickets of a single color. Slowly, the room started thinning out. People were being escorted out of the room by adult leaders. Eventually, one came up to me and told me that I had to go see the bishop.

When we got to the bishop, he told me that I had died, and the tickets were a reflection on how well I lived my life. I didn't have enough blue tickets, so I was sent to the lowest of the three kingdoms (telestial?). This kingdom was a dark room with a couple of dim red light bulbs and adults guarding the doors. Before taking us there, they showed us the celestial kingdom--it was well lit, and there was tons of food, candy, drinks, soft chairs, etc... After waiting in the telestial kingdom for about 20 minutes, we were all escorted to the chapel where everyone's parents were waiting in their temple clothes. The stake president then talked for almost an hour about whatever it was he felt like talking about. After this, the activity was over. There really weren't any prizes. We only got to participate in the semi-fun activities for about 20 minutes before being killed by the leaders.

I felt horrible after the activity. I had been lied to. It was supposed to be spiritual. It made me sick. How could these adults lie to the kids and then act like they were teaching them a lesson? The only lesson I learned was that I could never trust church leaders.

I can't really explain it clearly here, but the whole night was so surreal and disturbing that it was almost unbelievable while it was happening. I even had disturbing dreams (nightmares?) about it a few days after the event.

There's my story... anyone else have bad/strange/manipulative experiences with church activities? Post them here.


Subject: During a home evening (in church with the missionaries)...
Date: Dec 22 08:59
Author: brefots

we played a game that was supposed to symbolize our earthly existence. We covered the floor on a room with unpleasant things, to avoid trample in and then we got close our eyes and listen to others telling us how to get trough this maze. One of them was telling the truth and all the others was lying. The manipulating message in this is obvious. They teach that we are spiritually blind and therefore are subject to others lies or truths. They also claim to have the true spiritual guidance (the holy ghost - the person telling the truth). In reality if we really are blind, then there still isn't anything telling us that Mormonism is true. Because anything that tells us so is either a lie or a truth and we can't tell the difference if we are blind. In order to recognize a lie or a truth we must rely on our own judgement anyway, no matter how blind we are, there is no escape from this no matter how hard one tries. Because other sects and cult obviously has just as much divine guidance as Mormons do, their claim on the on the holy ghost is meaningless. If there is no way to tell difference between the "real" holy ghost or the false holy ghosts, then the reliance in this holy ghost is nonsense.

I think this game is actually a good example of Mormonism: A member is supposed to listen to several contradicting messages on how to move forward. (the difference is that in reality no one is more reliable than yourself). A member goes around with closed eyes and listens to others advice instead of opening their eyes and walk trough the dangers according to their own judgment. That is so incredibly stupid. In order to impose their stupid cult Mormons have to picture the world as evil and themselves as good. They have to make members closing their own eyes and rely on someone else, or something else, without knowing what the outcome may be. And this stupidity is considered a virtue.

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