Subject:

How has this changed you emotionally? - Leaving Mormonism

Date:

Jun 15, 2005 18:39

Author:

Tal Bachman


As a member, I often tended to think of people who had left the church as being characterized almost entirely by anger. But since I knew very few people who had left, and of those, only one that I can think of ever really seemed angry, I'm not really sure where this impression came from. Maybe it was from the dudes holding signs up in front of Temple Square at conference. But then, the evangelicals can seem angry about lots of things...

Anyway, I was just curious about how the realization we'd been had has affected others emotionally; in my own case, the biggest difference I feel is a huge LOSS of anger. I often felt really frustrated and angry as a member, angry at an entire world which "just didn't get it", or who were too wicked to obey even if they did. I even felt frustrated at all the church members who didn't seem to care what the living prophets had said, and were "doing things wrong".

I had opinions about things like I do; but now I see why people might have a different impression than I do, even if I think their arguments are defective, and I can't manage to summon feelings of personal bitterness toward those I might disagree with, on that basis. This is the first time in my whole life that is true.

Back then, when I "KNEW" that "the truth was OBVIOUS", I also consequently "knew" that the only explanations for others not seeing it were willful ignorance or wickedness. This really upset me. Even in university, I argued constantly with my professors. My professors ended up hating me so much that years after I'd left I'd still hear from friends that they had bumped into Prof. So and So, and he would mention something about me. Once, for example, years after I left, the late Preston Thomas, who taught constitutional law up there in the Poli Sci department and who I argued with incessantly, said out loud at a staff party that I had been "to the right of Louis the 14th". Apparently, the other profs thought that was too kind.

I've got loads of really insane stories about how I combated all the lefties in the holy name of Ezra Taft Benson! Now, I post on a board which appears to feature mostly left-leaning people, and in a way, I couldn't care less. I couldn't not care before; now, Jerry the Apousetate could tell me he was voting for Eleanor Holmes Norton for president - and while we might have a two minute discussion or debate or whatever, after that I'd probably just say, "Whatever bro. Have you seen the new Star Wars flick?". Ten years ago, it would have been jihad, with me lying in bed that night thinking, "What in the hell is wrong with Jerry's BRAIN? He's an idiot - screw him. Never again." I even once got in a huge row with Utah Senator Bennett in front of like thirty people - he just wasn't conservative enough! (I was a county GOP delegate).

I see sometimes the anger I once felt for those I disagreed with (i.e., posed a threat to what I wanted most in the world to believe about religion or politics) from those still in the church. It is odd now to feel it directed at me personally in some cases. And yet, I just can't summon any anger back. I feel at peace, really, for the first time in my whole life (this isn't to say I feel I have the whole world figured out). I don't really know how else to describe it; I just feel at peace. I don't feel the need to try to force everyone on the planet to see what I see anymore. I wonder if people that never labored under the burden of trying not to notice the innumerable inconsistencies of some ideology they had already committed to have always felt this way. I wonder if they even have anything to compare it to. I felt so much turmoil always, and even felt I was doing something wrong to acknowledge to myself I was feeling it, that the last 18 months have almost seemed like I was on a high of some kind.

I'm curious to know how realizing we'd been had might have affected others emotionally.

T.

 

Subject:

Well...

Date:

Jun 15 18:59

Author:

Grape Nephi


At first I was really depressed, as I didn't have anyone to talk to. Then I got angry. Now I want to talk out. Whop knows where I'll be in 6 months or a year. My family is still coming out so it is still hard. I hope by the end of summer we're completely done with the Mormon church.

 

Subject:

Wow.... I had VERY similar opinions of the "non-members"

Date:

Jun 15 19:14

Author:

MySongAngel


Your post really brought me back. At first, while I was reading your post, I would have said that I really WASN'T angry as a member, but as you started describing your experience, it was almost like reading a journal. I know exactly what you mean about being frustrated with people, like, "DUH! Can't you see the church is true? Are you just stupid?" I mean, honestly, if the church WAS true, and the holy spirit really DID testify of it, then people really WOULD have to be stupid or hard-hearted or evil to not want to be a part of it. So, if you truly believe, it's easy to fall into thinking that something is seriously wrong with people that just don't "get it".

I have to be honest, though, I definitely had a lot of anger afterwards. But, contrary to popular Mo-think, that is not what LEAD me to leave, but was an additional effect of what caused me to leave. How can some of us NOT be angry when we realize all the guilt and shame and money and time that we have given was for a lie? A lot of us were emotionally tortured with our "sins". I was emotionally tortured by always trying to guess God's will, and always trying to follow his plan, which was imaginary. Constantly trying to divine an imaginary path can drive you insane.


Of course, the big difference is that my anger is directed toward an organization, and not individual people. That's got to be better.

 

Subject:

I'm inside out.

Date:

Jun 15 19:15

Author:

Stray Mutt


When I was a Mormon all the anger was bottled up inside where no one could see it, so I looked like a nice guy. The church is filled with people exactly like that. Anger is a sin, so you have to suppress it. And smile, smile, smile.

Now I've learned to let it out as it comes. So, to those who aren't used to authentic expressions of negative emotions (Mormons), I seem angry. But inside I'm calm and happy to be free of all that crap.

 

Subject:

Funny You Should Ask...

Date:

Jun 15 19:28

Author:

Craig Paxton


I have yet to settle into an emotional comfort zone. I seem to run the gamut from emotional highs of great joy...to quiet moments of reflection when I wonder how I came to become an LDS apostate.

Just last night, I was up late doing some work on my laptop when totally out of the blue a tune popped into my head...it was an old seminary song I hadnĎt thought about or heard in some 20 years...yet there it was...just bouncing around in my head ... the tune was ĒLike Unto UsĒ Performed by Brett Raymond ... for those that care to have a refresher course, you can hear it at


http://www.inspirationalldsmusic.com/albums/seminary.shtml

Third one down on the left side.

Anyhow...just hearing that song again after so many years was an emotional deja vu. At that very moment if I could have returned to the Morg I would have in a second. The pieces of Mormonism seemed to fit together again in one seamless piece...but it was a passing phantom sensation...Part of me wishes it could have stayed around for a little longer...

 

Subject:

Re: How has this changed you emotionally?

Date:

Jun 15 19:30

Author:

Gatpomb


I don't think I ever really felt angry at the church in general. I felt embarrassed that I had fallen for something that didn't stand the test of logic (which I had thought was one of my strengths). I was impatient at the attempts to "love us back to the fold." However, the byproducts of me leaving has caused lots of anger and anguish.

My father found nothing weighing on his conscience by pulling aside my wife and children, when I was not there, and let them know they would go to hell if they did not straighten me out. He asked my wife, "You don't really buy into all that crap he is saying, do you?" And, just recently, said he hopes he dies soon, because he is sure his funeral will touch me into coming back to church. I have not seen one of my sisters (her choice) since I decided to vocalize my disbelief.

Back on topic... I think my emotions went something like this;
Surprise
Embarrassment
Anger, yes, but not exactly at the church, but at the reaction of my family.
Acceptance
Apathy
Peace
Happiness - my wife and immediate family (all of my children), not only support me, but agree with the conclusion I came to.

Finally, I agree with you Tal. Now, after my father leaves, my family and I do not have an "angry" discussion about what just happened. No, we feel bad for him that he cannot embrace everyone with different beliefs, likes and dislikes. His is a much smaller world, than mine.

 

Subject:

between leaving and counseling....

Date:

Jun 15 20:47

Author:

lost girl


Iím getting there ... but Iíve got a ways to go yet.

Going to church left me paranoid, deeply depressed, seriously bummed, and on the edge of thinking that maybe life really wasn't worth living. yes, at least some of that was because of the abuse I endured growing up ... but the Morg fed right into all that abuse, with it's extreme control issues, it's pitting of "us" against "them", it's pettiness and gossipiness directed against anyone (member or not) who didn't measure up to some vague "standard", it's incredible ability to say one thing and then do exactly the other, then tell us we had to pray for a witness while we had to obey or be cast out of the eternities ....

CRAZYMAKING to the extreme!!!!

I felt great despair upon attending, and upon not attending. there was also shame, feelings of failure, and a near-overwhelming sense of loss (and being lost) when I stopped all attendance.

now when people who used to call me "friend" be sooo cool and distant towards me ... I feel the sadness, but mostly for them, wondering how they will feel someday when they get "eyes that see". I feel VERY sorry for them as they attempt to discuss any topic and see that they CANNOT do so without bringing scriptures or "teachings" into their discussions ... because they cannot NOT religiousize everything. finally, I feel so FREE! yes, there are still very hard days and times, but no more do I have this sense of never ever being good enough, ever, period. Iím not completely past that, but where I am is the best it's ever been. peace ... peace and tranquility and feeling safe and ... feeling FREE! =)

 

Subject:

Well, I've been through lots of different phases . . . .

Date:

Jun 16 00:34

Author:

imaworkinonit


but after 5.5 years out, the net result is that I feel more calm and more confident. I feel like I'm finally an adult. I don't crave constant approval like I used to. and I don't fear making decisions or the smallest mistake. And I'm not racked with guilt over my imperfections (it sure is easier to be HUMAN than it was to be a Goddess in embryo).

Some of that self-assurance could be age (I just turned 40, and as you know, life begins at forty :-)

But I think leaving the church was the force that led to overhauling my life. I felt the winds of change transforming me shortly after I found peace about leaving the church. That was when I started reading a lot of self-help books about leading a rich and rewarding life and being the person you want to be.

I think sometimes it takes a big change to shake you up a bit and get you to honestly look at your life. For some people it's a divorce or a death of a loved one. For me it was leaving the church.

 

Subject:

Re: Well, I've been through lots of different phases . . . .

Date:

Jun 16 03:13

Author:

mirage59


There have been many me's in my 60 years. I say if I just had my 30-year-old body and my 60-year-old mind. I was always liberal and would vote democrat but still the church had too much control over me. Or was that the TMB DH. My anger is now all bottled up in my DH's tithing. I went to work last week with pneumonia so the grandchildren would have a place to live for another month and he has to pay the Lord $200. Actually I have enough anger if it turned into some sci-fi power the dh would be blown up and he would be Happy Valley Fallout. Mirage60

 

Subject:

The peace that I have now consistently seems to

Date:

Jun 16 01:36

Author:

I'vebeenthinking . . .


overwhelm any feelings of anger when they try to emerge. I just don't have it in me anymore to walk around angry. The difference between the way I felt then and the way I feel now is remarkable. Maybe it's because I was almost always experiencing a high level of anxiety and anger (interspersed with sadness and some depression)when I was trying to do it all---because it was impossible. Having experienced something like that--especially for an extended period of time---I really noticed how I felt when I was no longer dealing with those emotions on a daily basis---they have been replaced with a calming feeling of peace, joy and love for myself and others. Consequently, I am more optimistic about life and a much happier person than I was ten years ago.

 

Subject:

I was ultra-right wing too

Date:

Jun 16 02:20

Author:

Squid


At one point I was stock-piling weapons, planning my fall-out shelter, and meeting with some of the ultra-right-winger Skousens. Even the John Birch Society was not right-wing enough for me.

I now realize that my neuroticism was brought on by trying to make sense of the LDS world-view, and being unfulfilled by the pat answers provided by the LDS leadership. I really think I took the LDS religion more seriously than a lot of TBM'ers.

Since I left 2 years ago, I've mellowed out. I'm a borderline-agnostic-deist, politically moderate. I have a lot less stress now. I find myself feeling more gratitude for life, and more compassion and understanding for people. If I keeled over tomorrow, I would feel like I had a pretty good run.

 

Subject:

As a semi-zealot...

Date:

Jun 16 08:10

Author:

Juanita G


...I lived a life that was no life at all. Perhaps that is why the religious extremists seem so one-dimensional; they have forfeited the life of a true human being for the ever-vigilant sentry who must tilt at a never-ending parade of windmills.

When your belief about anything is so extreme that it precludes normalcy the battles are constant and personal. I have no experience with early feminists in the trenches nor top-level PETA folks, but I imagine, like religious zealotry, it is very similar in texture.

Every commercial, holiday, brand name, friendship, political speech, comedian's monologue, pop song lyric, best-selling novel, co-workers' water cooler chatter must be scrutinized, antennae fully extended. Is my faith being "disrespected"? (An American felony). Are they making fun of a man I find omniscient? Do they think that's funny? How could they? Omigosh, the thundering marauders with whom I must associate. How can they not only reject the truth but be so content with their cud-chewing lives while the truth is ignored...

When, exactly, does one find the time to slip out of the here and now, lay down the tattered rhetoric, delve into a novel, lie quietly and watch the stars, and find the many hours that living and loving Rilke's "questions" require. Six billion people teeming and lurching around on this blue marble and I felt my job in that massive pile was to aid God in tech support?

I can tell you what zealotry is. It is pure, relentless exhaustion, broken up by moments of sheer terror when your own tentative voice pipes up with,"And maybe, it's simply not true."

 

Subject:

Tal, I hope I can get to the same point as you

Date:

Jun 16 09:43

Author:

Shane


Yesterday the missionaries stopped by (uninvited, of course). After they left, I realized how much anger I still have toward the church. My anger has been increasing since the recent gay bashing episodes of the church and other religions.

Anger is not always a bad thing. It can lead to action. However, I do hope that I can move past this.

 

Subject:

Change is good.

Date:

Jun 16 10:37

Author:

cheeseburger


Leaving a religion is a paradigm shift; you begin to re-evaluate everything in life. I found myself trying all kinds of new things as a result, things that had nothing to do with religion. Like ice cream. "The old me liked chocolate. Maybe the new me should try a few other flavours and see if chocolate really IS better." I'm beginning to think that questioning your faith, going on that journey, is the most healthy thing you can do.

I think that when you are a zealot, it is because in part you are seeking external validation. If other people believe as you do, the world is orderly, and your God must BE God. If other people think differently, that challenges YOUR personal reality. They are undermining your comfort zone.

Maybe you, Tal, are at peace now, because that need for external validation is no longer important? You know what you believe, and other people can believe differently; it's not a threat to you.

I wish everyone in the world could find that place; I really don't think there would ever be another war if they did.

 

Subject:

Senator Bennett wasn't conservative enough?!?!...

Date:

Jun 16 10:42

Author:

Bryan Is As Zelph Once Was...


...that's pretty extreme to the right. and I suppose Antonin Scalia seemed like a Communist hippie?

I don't know if I feel more at peace... I used to "feel the Spirit" frequently from singing hymns, praying, or going to the temple. I was really awed by the promises of the gospel. Given the option I'd rather choose an existence that really was governed by a God who lived up to, and guided his prophets by, the best of the ideals of the Church (as I would define them anyway).

I also really don't feel at peace with the Church because of... what was it again... oh yeah, this whole thing where my wife is on the fence between the Church or me as an either/or decision, and the bishop encouraged her to leave me if she decided I would not be repenting of my unbelief.

On the other hand I feel a lot more sense of connectedness and commitment to this world and to my fellow humanity. The Church really nurtured in me the sense that the world was on its last legs, we were gathering the last remaining elect into the gospel tent and removing ourselves into our homes and temples to take refuge from the raging moral collapse among the blighted masses. It's amazing how no longer believing that someone having a beer is a sign that they are deep in Satan's grasp improves your ability to appreciate and feel fellowship with the decent people all around you. Loss of faith in the Church was quickly followed by loss of belief that the Democrats were doing the work of Satan (as a youngun I read and took to heart some of that stuff Ezra T.B. went around saying)... and not long after that, to starting to believe that maybe there is a Satan after all that is guiding the Republican party (heehee...).

 

Subject:

Well, peace isn't exactly......

Date:

Jun 16 10:51

Author:

Jane


the word I most associate with leaving Mormonism. I actually am a bit angrier and less patient. I donít know if that is because this is still a fresh wound or if I would just oppress it when people would annoy me before. I do feel a lot better about accepting me for me though. Not this I am not good enough stuff. I yam who I yam.

 

Subject:

Humble

Date:

Jun 16 11:21

Author:

Alan Hansen


In the church we were taught that we were leaders in God's army, saved to be born and live in the latter days, where we would help establish God's kingdom on earth.

Pretty powerful stuff to young impressionable believers.

Itís really nice to know that I'm just like everybody else. I can still strive for excellence, but itís healthy to know that the playing field is level. Whatever I achieve or fail to achieve is my own.

Itís nice to know that I'm not better than everyone else just because I was BIC.

Alan

 

Subject:

Sorry, but...

Date:

Jun 16 12:28

Author:

anon.apostate


I am one of the angry ones. I was not angry when I was active, because I felt it would have been a sin if I were to display such negative emotions. Now I feel free to be angry that my parents neglected us in favor of church callings, and that they had more children then they could afford. I'm angry that they always gave 10+% to the church when I didn't even have socks to wear, or shoes that fit, or a house warm enough to keep my hair from freezing during the night while I slept. (One bathroom + tons of kids, means some of us HAD to have our showers at night.) Add to it church teachings about intimate relationships...it was years before I could make love to my husband and not feel shame and guilt for it. And having to wear uncomfortable garments...!

I could go on and on, but those are the highlights. So yes, I'm sorry, but I have a lot of anger.

 

Subject:

Don't apologize...

Date:

Jun 16 13:12

Author:

Tal Bachman


Everyone is different - some of us were loons as TBM's, some of us were more temperate or were always skeptical. Some of us feel more anger at the thought we were had, while others are just glad they know now, and want to move on. I don't know if there is a right answer; and it is true that some kind of "anger", perhaps moral outrage might be a better way of saying it, really can have salutary effects.

I do feel a kind of moral outrage over some things, not just Mormon but others. But, that terrible, furious turmoil I once felt inside myself is gone; that's all I meant. "A" no longer has to equal "not A". I no longer have to participate vicariously in a FARMS planning committee, discussing how to get from "A" to "Z" without passing "L" or "M" or "N" or "O" or "P", etc. "Since we already know that white is the right answer....how can it be that black can equal white? Let's think about this...What about this?!", etc. The truth is: black just doesn't equal white. The end.

I don't know how to describe that turmoil. I feel like I see it sometimes in the writings of church apologists. We remain members not particularly because it makes us "happy", but just because "it - is - true". If we sometimes feel empty inside, it is because we are flawed. That makes us even feel more dependent on the church. And so we redouble our efforts, and that leaves us feeling even emptier, and so on. In the end, we are consumed with a kind of bitter hollowness, frustration, feel spent or exhausted in a way.

I would never say "anger is not justified". It may very well be. I am not certain where the dividing line is between "anger" or "moral outrage", and I am not certain at what point the latter ceases to be a virtue and the former begins to ruin your life (as a former Mormon). All I really know is that even if there were every reason to believe that Joseph had always, always told the truth about everything, that I would still be left with the puzzling question as to why, if the church is all it claims, I feel more peace and joy and awe outside of it, than I ever did while inside, though I was as strict as I knew how to be. The "gospelís claims on this point are categorical and universal; there are no exceptions. So how could I be an exception, and the church still be all it claims?

Thanks for your comments,

T.

 

Subject:

Re: Don't apologize...

Date:

Jun 16 18:33

Author:

o my lord what a mess


I am angry and depressed often. Not because the church lies, I can deal with that. I am angry because my DW and all my kids are still IN IT, and I can't do a dam thing about it. My wife and I have been thru everything together for 42 years, and now I have to witness her lack of reason, and cult addiction, with diamond-clear understanding. I have always had some doubts or questions, even when I had a strong testimony. But for more than twelve years I only stayed in the church for her, and a desire to please God by sustaining my family. The strain got to me, and I left, and now I am more disturbed than ever, because I see her addiction to cult behavior as a sign of her essential character weaknesses, that are destructive to our family and relationship. I begin to despair that she will ever wake up. I fear I must leave her, or I will never know freedom or happiness. And that breaks my heart.

The church--can't cope with it, can't cope without it...

 

Subject:

O/T but can't help myself...to Tal

Date:

Jun 16 18:47

Author:

Jessica Truax


Tal, I promised myself I would never set foot in SLC again, not even for a exmormon conference. Now, upon reading the itinerary I am being tempted beyond what I can endure! Damn it, I might just have to hop a plane and go to that dreaded city!

Sorry for the hijack, just had to get that off my chest since I read the announcement a few days ago ;)

Jessica

 

Subject:

Re: How has this changed you emotionally?

Date:

Jun 16 18:55

Author:

Jessica Truax


I like many have gone through phases. I am past most of the hurt and anger, but I don't feel like my life will ever be completely free from Mormonism. It will be in my life by choice now as an anti-mormon championing anti-mormon causes. I haven't figured out where niche will be, but I am sure my path with it will cross at the right time when I am ready for it.

Jessica

 

Subject:

Re: How has this changed you emotionally?

Date:

Jun 16 22:51

Author:

Alee


At first I was very angry. And scared of telling my mom what I had began to conclude. After I felt sure in my decisions (at that time), I faced her. The outcome was, she accepts me and still loves me. I don't know if she told my father, and I know my grandfather doesn't know, so I still have this slight fear of facing that reality one day.

However, the peace I feel is wonderful. I don't hate myself or my decisions anymore. I'm less depressed, and a lot less hard on myself. I feel more confident. I am more of a friend and a much nicer person to those who are totally different from me, even in their major POV (like Mormon vs. Nonmormon). I never really had anger as a TBM. Just mostly fear and guilt. Now, my eyes are open, and my mind is free to think totally for itself. I am more tolerant, more compassionate, and more friendly with others. I don't see the "us" vs "them" anymore. I thought I was tolerant as a TBM, but I was still very judgmental.

This transition out of the church might have started with "sin" in the eyes of the church, but the final transition was out of love for my daughter, and wondering why a true and loving Deity would not allow her to be with me in the afterlife. I am grateful that my husband is a nevermo, never converted (though I never put the stress on him to do so), and grateful for the birth of my daughter.

I think I still have a long ways to go. Learning more is a very important thing to me. I'm sure I will experience "moral indignation" on occasion (especially reading about polygamy and such). I know I've actually been very lucky to not have a big backlash so far, but only my mom really knows (that I am aware of--even though my parents are happily married). So, I have decided to do without any anger, and thank the deities that be that I got out, plain and simple :)

 

Subject:

Everything feels more genuine

Date:

Jun 18 01:07

Author:

Jazzy


This is a great topic. Thanks for posting it and to everyone who has answered.

I joined the church as a young adult I was a dutiful member. I always thought that, even though I was always encouraged as a member to "study things out in my mind", if I really questioned anything I wasn't being obedient and showing the right amount of faith. (Ironically it was during a prayer dealing with just this that I felt strongly that I'm supposed to question things and find my own way... but that's a whole other story.)

When I started questioning things and really deciding things for myself - not just blindly being obedient - I realized that this was NOT the path I wanted and I left the church. It was as painful and difficult as it was empowering. But there was also something I hadn't really felt before - a feeling of being really honest for the first time. Being true to myself. And even though that honesty lost me some friends and a husband, I gained a sense of myself that helped all of my connections - including the one I have with God - feel more genuine than they ever had. Because it wasn't coming from a place of duty or needing acceptance - it was coming from my heart, my true self. Everything feels more real rather than forced. And that has been an amazing gift.

It's still hard and I still grieve the loss I feel. Sometimes I get angry at the church or myself. Sometimes I long for the community I instantly felt as a part of the church. But I wouldn't trade the discoveries I've made for anything.

 

Subject:

Haven't tried to off myself since I made the decision to leave

Date:

Jun 19 02:23

Author:

bayleetoo


There is a lot to that, it would be too long of a story, but it's true. It's been 2 years, and I have just continued to get better.

 

Subject:

Re: How has this changed you emotionally?

Date:

Jun 19 04:20

Author:

Sad


After reading some one of the posts, I looked up a song from my mission. The songs from Kenneth Cope were played during a hot, long summer while I was having a hard time as a missionary, but the fond memories of being in the church still exist. Everything was much simplier; life seemed to be set up for me, as long as I beleived with all my heart and followed, I would be happy. Well, that turned out to be not right. HOWEVER, the feelings of longing are still here; I long for the feeling of knowing the truth, the instant friends at church... that makes me sad just thinking about it.

I also was an angry member. Angry at the unworthy people who just didn't get it. I remember just a little less than a year ago, teaching a discussion with the missionaries to my sis-in-law, and thinking, what a stupid girl... she just doesn't get it, or must be too evil to get the correct church or message from god. I even made her cry as I yelled at her for not wanting to "do what was right".... what a joke... I feel bad. I'm not sure if the church made me life this, or if I just have no patients with those who I think are dumb... Iím sure the church had its effects.

 

Subject:

You know, I did end up feeling a bit "peppy" writing that GBH's birthday party thing lol n/t

Date:

Jun 19 04:55

Author:

Tal Bachman


 

 

Subject:

Tal Bachman: Yes, Cheryl and I have seen the latest Star Wars movie, Sith Happens. Eleanor Holmes who?

Date:

Jun 19 23:00

Author:

Jerry the Aspousetate


And we plan to see it again before it gets out of the theatres. I heard there will be a TV series next year.
Eleanor who???
Never mind. If Eleanor isn't sealed to you for time and the postlestial kingdom, I don't care who she is.
See you in SLC in Oct.
Pay Lay ale

 

Subject:

Re: Ex-Mormon Life: Why do I feel what I never did?

Date:

Aug 12 05:50

Author:

Tal Bachman


I went to the Dodgers game tonight, and I don't know what's happening to me, but like...(what the hell is happening?)...I - like...it's...like...

I was there, and it was just so much fun - 40,000 people, everyone there rooting for the Dodgers and chatting with strangers, people from all different walks of life, all together...and like, this is kind of embarrassing, but I swear, I kind of felt moved during the seventh-inning stretch when everyone stood up and sang "Take Me Out To The Ballgame"...it was kinda like...just...really moving. What a schlub!

I don't know what's happening to me. I keep feeling these things. I think non-Mormons call them "emotions" or something. Can one of those nevermo lurkers get back to me on this one?

One of the most shocking things I've experienced, and I can't really explain why other than my completely unproveable theory, is just how much I *feel* since waking up. I feel a bit embarrassed even mentioning it, because if I'd read this post a few years while I was still a member, I would have snorted with disdain. I certainly would never have taken it seriously.

But the weird truth is, jokes seem funnier, the opinions of others seem more meaningful and worthy of consideration, sad scenes on movies seem sadder, beautiful vistas seem more beautiful, good food tastes more delicious than ever, the love I feel for people is more intense, and underneath it all, I feel a kind of peaceful acceptance of things I'd never felt before, I suppose because the world is no longer irredeemably wrong. I keep waiting for this all to wear off, but it hasn't, and I am beginning to wonder if this is maybe how normal people experience life.

In short, it is as though a whole new range of sensory and emotional experience has opened up to me, almost like how smokers describe their new sense of taste and smell once they quit, except times 100.

Now that I think about it, my first manager once said to me, "What's the matter with you? Aren't you excited? You're like an automaton!". I took offense at this and said, "Hey, just because I'm not out of control like you are, doesn't mean I'm an automaton". Now I can acknowledge he was right. Even at the time I was aware that I didn't seem to feel things that others (strangely, they were all non-Mormons) felt, but pride got the best of me that time, and I wouldn't admit it.

Like, one example of the non-feeling thing is, I would often hear (gentile) guys around my age talk about the intense love they felt for their newly born child, and how it had completely changed their lives and their outlook, etc. And the way they would describe that intense, joyous love would always leave me wondering why I didn't feel that way. My feelings seemed different; they didn't seem as full. Love for them seemed to have a different intensity or texture or something.

I thought therefore (in moments when out of pride I wasn't defending myself against automaton charges) that there probably was something wrong with me. Paradoxically, that sense of my defectiveness made me feel even more dependent on the church. I used to think, "I often feel so hollow and cold inside - what would I do without the church to help keep me in line?" I used to say pretty often that without the church, I thought I might be in jail. There was something wrong with me.

Now, by contrast, I choked up talking to siog at the barbecue, felt really moved singing "Take Me Out To The Ballgame", laugh more often, feel more grateful, enjoy eating more, playing catch - actually, enjoy everything more. I even sing to myself a lot more often than I used to.

Why is this happening? Did it happen to others? Does this wear off, or is this what normal human life is like?

T.

 

Subject:

I agree new emotions

Date:

Aug 12 06:34

Author:

Brendan The Anglican


Dear Tal,
I really agree. I joined mormonism knowing full well it was BS.
I joined because of a Girl I liked was Mormon.
Well Long story short I married the Girl and got her out of mormonism.

But Mormonism really impaired me after being a member for 2 years.
Suddenly I donít know what parts of the bible in my head are mormon added and which are the real bible etc and other Christian stuff.

But as to feelings. My feelings of awe and appreciation of mankind have greatly intensified. Just watching the Hotel Rwanda the other night made me feel emotionally sad for all the Good men can do.

I also had ecstatic feelings watching Malcolm x, during the part where he mobilizes a group of protesting Muslims.

As Steven Hassan says being a member of a cult is not about the doctrines but about the feelings of inside.

So assume some how Mormonism Toys with our emotions turning them down like a volume when you are a mormon, so that they can Turn up the emotion at their will. Once we have left Mormonism they are no longer in charge of our emotional volume and we are left will Real emotions but with added appreciation.

 

Subject:

Re: Ex-Mormon Life: Why do I feel what I never did?

Date:

Aug 12 07:11

Author:

I hear you


Man, Tal! You must have been on a really short leash, before! hahahah

I felt all those things WHILE I was TBM!

But, I had normal, loving, non-judgmental [non-Mormon] family (in-laws, actually) who helped create a very loving, honest, and open environment...

I guess that old "Pavlov principle" works pretty good--even in humans!
(Salivating laboratory dogs, and all!)
(viz, conditioning)

PS: It also seems to indicate that "bad conditioning" can be "overwritten"....like with computer discs, etc.
(And, just plain taking the leash off, altogether, seems to work wonders, too!)

:>)

 

Subject:

Re: Ex-Mormon Life: Why do I feel what I never did?

Date:

Aug 12 08:29

Author:

PtLoma


Wow, never thought of it from that perspective. As you now know, I'm a never-Mo with way more than my share of contact with LDS culture and beliefs, due to my best friend being LDS, as well as having lived in Utah and later helping several missionary applicants avoid a mission call.

As a gentile, it's easier to focus on the objective stuff, like all the rules LDS must follow and all the hoops through which they must jump. Much easier to notice seminary, missions, WoW rules, frumpy/modest clothing (or as you succinctly put it at the party on Sunday, "an overweight RS sister in a muumuu holding a tray of cookies"), three-hour blocks on Sunday, and so on.

As far as experiencing what you seem to describe as a range of emotions with muffled amplitudes....never thought of it that way, but you may be right. Though that would be harder for an outsider to notice unless one had extensive personal contact with a member. Statistics exist to suggest that Utah has the highest rate of antidepressant use (exceeding the US average by more than a factor of two). For each LDS person who becomes sufficiently depressed to require antidepressant therapy, perhaps there are many others who still function well but who walk around with a "numbed-down" range of emotions. They never come to medical attention (and probably don't need any), but when they escape the constricted LDS life, they start to thrive in a way they've never done before.

Now that you mention it, I have noticed a few TBM friends, originally from Utah and now in CA, who seem to "bloom" somewhat after a few years here. Of course, they're still active members, but they can still lead a life in CA where TSCC doesn't dominate every waking minute of their lives (no nosy LDS neighbors, etc....they just show up for three hours on Sundays and otherwise live more or less like their gentile neighbors). Perhaps you're experiencing the same phenomenon, only more so since you went from Łber-Mo to Ex-Mo.

Regardless of how it's explained, I'm glad to read that you enjoy this new heightened sense of emotional awareness. Welcome back to the land of the living, man. (normally I would write "bro" to a friend, but "bro" in this case might sound too much like "Brother Bachman").

 

Subject:

Like being the Boy in the Bubble.

Date:

Aug 12 08:51

Author:

Stray Mutt


I didn't realize how cut off and insulated I was from life. Everything was experienced through the thick numbing layer of Mormonism, and I could only express myself within the narrow confines of the church and culture.

 

Subject:

Excellent post as usual Tal n/t

Date:

Aug 12 09:17

Author:

The Still Deluding Voice


 

 

Subject:

Congrats, your Mormon filter is dissipating!

Date:

Aug 12 09:58

Author:

ThinkingMan


I experienced many of the things you described. The sheer joy of being an "ordinary" member of the human race, as opposed to being an outsider with that "special knowledge" and the overwhelming responsibility to tell everyone else about it! The newness has worn off a little, but yes it lasts.

 

Subject:

I'd say now you have become a part of humanity,

Date:

Aug 12 11:21

Author:

Randy Sampson


not someone who thought he was above humanity, as a mormon. All of those filters essentially blocked your humanity.

Now, you fit in, you are taking part.

It's always been beautiful & being a part of it always a joy. You just never let yourself feel it.

It was the same for me.

Welcome to the real world, Tal...

Randy

 

Subject:

Amazingly enough ...

Date:

Aug 12 11:36

Author:

Giants fan


I totally agree. Another emotion that I've learned to experience in full-color since I left the Morg is hatred and angerÖ

 

Subject:

In my experience, no, it doesn't pass, . . .

Date:

Aug 12 11:51

Author:

winter


but it does become less surprising over time. When you are forced to block out the feeling that TSCC is total BS, you end up blocking out a lot of other stuff too.

A major part of the frustration of trying to communicate with TBMs is that they truly don't have a clue what we are talking about. And to those contemplating jumping ship, the downside of leaving Mormonism is unrealistically large, to the point of being overwhelming. The upside, which we later discover is huge, doesn't even show up on the radar screen when we are trying to get up the courage to leave. ..

winter

 

Subject:

My definition is probably way off but I call it spirituality, true spirituality n/t

Date:

Aug 12 12:24

Author:

Fred


 

 

Subject:

Thinking about other new things

Date:

Aug 12 12:38

Author:

HTBO


Another thing that changes when you leave the Morg is your concern for new and different things.

Now, instead of what tie I'll wear, what meeting I have to get to, whether or not I've done all my home teaching, thinking that I was one of the chosen, who's leaving on a mission, activating the inactive, whether I was offended when I saw someone smoking, feeling like nonmembers couldn't be trusted, thinking someone ought to get a haircut, who will give the closing prayer, feeling guilty because I hadn't read enough scriptures lately, how many miles the pioneers walked, how great Joseph was, avoiding the appearance of evil, thinking that all nonmembers just don't get it, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on..........

Now, I'm more concerned with war, the environment, seeing *everyone* as chosen, helping the sick and elderly (no matter what their religion), politics, the economy, being around people who dress or think differently, lifestyle moderation, philosophy, finding truth in different viewpoints, etc., not because I have been told to, but because I want to; because they're meaningful to *me*.

Interestingly, when I try to discuss these kinds of things with morgbots, they glaze over and don't see them as very important. Perhaps I'm generalizing, but that has been my experience.

 

Subject:

It's relief from the guilt

Date:

Aug 12 13:07

Author:

Recovering convert


I feel and appreciate everything so much more these days. When I was a TBM, I spent a lot of time worrying about everything I wasn't doing. I wasn't reading my scriptures everyday, studying church stuff, doing genealogy, or getting my year's supply. I was the YW prez and felt that I didn't spend enough time helping the girls.

I try to explain it to my nevermo boyfriend by saying that if the mos spent every waking hour taking care of church stuff, they would still not be able to do everything TSCC wanted them to do. I always felt that I wasn't doing enough.

The feelings of guilt are a powerful tool abused by the leaders. Once I got out from under the feelings of guilt and inadequacy - I felt wonderful and was more appreciative of life.

 

Subject:

Yes!

Date:

Aug 12 13:10

Author:

Fubeca


Absolutely! Here's how I describe it:

My final acceptance of my situation had the most unpredictable results. Rather than become a dark and depraved individual that most LDS believe apostates to be, I found incredible joy in learning the truth and in being free to question everything. There is incomprehensible pleasure in learning, challenging and being challenged Ė something that I never explored in the church. After all, who needs to learn when you already have all the answers?

I also felt incredible loneliness that I couldnít share any of this with anyone I knew.

Still, much more of the world has made sense to me than ever before. As I mentioned earlier, anything in the world that conflicts with LDS beliefs is taught to be shelved or submitted to the more powerful knowledge of a testimony to be answered sometime in the afterlife. If a prophet didnít say it, you donít need to worry about it. It was binding.

Without this testimony, I could actually consider concepts and see things that either I was told were false or I was told donít matter. I canít accurately describe the feeling of freedom that it produced. Itís like a clamp was removed from my brain. Thereís no longer a narrow range of options for considering truth and I donít have to know all the answers! Not knowing actually feels better!

Iím sure some people in the church will feel like Iíve done something wrong that caused me to ďfall.Ē Quite the contrary, though, I felt cleaner and more alive than I ever have! I feel like Iíve risen rather than fallen. It didnít change my innate character or make me feel like I had lost something. According to church doctrine, I should have felt a loss of the spirit but I felt no such thing. I felt an increase in love for the members of my family and for mankind. I felt and continue to feel a greater awe for nature, the universe, mankind, human thought, and the human condition than I ever have before.

No longer do I have to believe, for example, that the world is an evil place and getting worse and that Christ is coming soon to destroy everything. I can actually believe modern statistics that say every year there is less poverty, less crime and less human suffering than ever before. I donít have to believe that humans nature is depraved and getting worse and that I need to protect myself and my family from it (incidentally, this was the subject of my Stake Presidentís last ward conference Sunday School lesson. It came one week after I watched an ABC news special that proposed that life is actually getting better). Better or worseÖ either way may not really matter to me in the long run, but I find that giving myself the freedom to explore ideas and thoughts that may directly contradict the LDS world-view to be both liberating and likely to bring myself more happiness and peace. I would never have believed it had someone tried to convince me of it earlier.

I also noticed a glaring difference between Mormons and so-called ďapostates.Ē My former world-view would have had me believe the latter to be angry, hateful, vengeful people insistent on persecuting righteousness. I was surprised to find the opposite to be true. While non-Mormon and former Mormonsí writings were filled with emotions and personal opinion, they most often described data, facts and information plainly without the hysteria that Mormons display when someone disagrees with them. LDS writers more often than not resort to personal attacks on scholars whose conclusions vary from theirs and they avoid mentioning the facts at hand. The Mormon writers, scholars, leaders and members that Iíve read and know personally seem to be incapable of listening to facts and truth and discussing them without crying persecution or wickedness and leaving in a fit. In short, those outside the church seem more honest and humble than those inside the church.

I was also shocked to find out that the general gentile feeling towards Mormonism isnít the glowing admiration that we in the church tell ourselves. I found that people are basically polite. Theyíll tell us what we want to hear.

As a believing Mormon, I would receive compliments and kudos on my religious beliefs. Recently, as I have expressed my religious doubts to outsiders I have been shocked to get a reaction that shows their less than glowing opinion of the church. Sure, theyíll say they like the focus on families but then go on to say how odd the Mormon families they know are. People will talk like this only when they think itís safe to do so and not to a Mormonís face. So, how would a Mormon know what the world thinks of them? Still, ask any Latter-day Saint and theyíll give the standard church PR prose that theyíre the most admired community in the world and that people all secretly want to be like them.

To the contrary, people have expressed their feelings to me on the weirdness of Mormonism and tend to lump them together with Jehovahís Witnesses and other such groups that they try to avoid. Mormons arenít the admired populace that they think they are. Out of courtesy, others merely tell them what they want to hear.

 

Subject:

Yes, I noticed that too...

Date:

Aug 12 13:12

Author:

Ladybug


One of the first things I noticed was that certain TV shows were funnier. Then did noticed jokes were funnier. My relationship with my co-workers was different. I always got along great with them, but I found myself laughing with them more over silly things. We bonded in a different way. I

I think taking down the mormon filters (as someone put it) is true. I really was seeing the world from a different view.

 

Subject:

Possibly because the burden of appearing PERFECT had been lifted? )

 

Subject:

It's really amazing...

Date:

Aug 12 13:36

Author:

Civilian


I used to hear about people who got disfellowshipped or became inactive and how "dark" they felt until they returned to their TBM ways.

I have felt the exact opposite after leaving the church and, like you Tal, am totally amazed by it. People seem more interesting. I feel a deeper bond with my friends. I am moved more often and deeply by human kindness. I even enjoy hanging out with my dog more.

The LDS church is in the business of not only telling us what to do, but also telling us how to feel. The latter being a very subtle thing. By teaching us we are God's chosen and that we must bring the rest of the world to the "gospel", they essentially train us to de-legitimize all the joy in the world that is un-related to being mormon. Once we leave this influence, we encounter a whole world of experiences that are no longer fed thru a conditional filter.

I have actually felt the same thing as you at a Dodger game. Looking around at all the friends and families there united in cheering the home team made me so happy. I even mentioned how cool this was to my TBM girlfriend and she didn't really get me.

I work at a rehab clinic. The clientele is usually rich and famous. Watching them come in looking pretty haggard - nothing like they do on television or the movies - and then seeing them leave after a month looking happy again reminds of my own transformation out of the church. I wonder if other people can see it in me the way I see it in these similarly recovered souls.

Good to meet you at BBQ, Tal...

 

Subject:

Fubeca is right.

Date:

Aug 12 14:57

Author:

Latter Daze


Despite all its problems, the world IS becoming a better place. That was the fundamental switch-around in my post-Mormon thinking. I used to believe all of the doomsday stuff, that the earth was growing increasingly wicked. The truth is, all of the bad stuff that goes on now has always been going on. Now that my head is clear of all of the ethical conundrums that Mormonism presents, I feel like I am no longer viewing the world cross-eyed. Yes, jokes are funnier and emotions become more brilliant. I no longer feel that it is sinful to enjoy these things.

I used to be constantly (often subconsciously) monitoring myself and my environment to make sure that I was not associated in any way with things that I thought were spiritually unclean. I took For the Strength of Youth to heart. I could not allow myself to enjoy a conversation with a person who did not fully live by The Rules. I had to keep my distance from all things not Morgified because the Spirit would not be there. It's a suffocating, dehumanizing place to be.

The good news is, you and I and all of us are out of it for good. Life is beautiful! And what is more, we can now allow ourselves to completely enjoy it. We are now subject only to our own selves and are fully responsible for our own identities. I will never again submit to the ideas that a loving God (if he/she/it exists) would ever promote blatant lying, racism, sexism, or murder, or give a hoot about what kind of underwear I have on.

 

Subject:

I know how you feel

Date:

Aug 12 15:25

Author:

Yse


Today it's a bit cooler here in California and after going outside to water a few spots I sat on the deck, enjoying the breeze and listening to the birds.

What a great way to start the weekend, no worries about damn talks or lessons on Sunday, or concern about keeping some little tyrant in the demanding cult happy.

A huge weight has been lifted off our family these last few years, both financially and emotionally.

I have steaks and cold beer in fridge, DH and I will have another pleasant weekend. Life is wonderful.

 

Subject:

Not to mention, sex is better too...

Date:

Aug 12 15:48

Author:

Bubba


Tal, congratulations on your move out of Stepford!

(Have you seen the movie, The Stepford Wives? I'm talking about the original, NOT the recent remake. If not, you MUST watch it!)

 

Subject:

Most definitely sex is better!!! N/T

Date:

Aug 12 16:48

Author:

Ladybug


 

 

Subject:

TBM's are Comfortably Numb...

Date:

Aug 12 16:41

Author:

Alison_is_free


I, too, feel more alive than when I was a member. I feel more in-tune with the human race and the way other people think and feel. I am interacting with humanity. I guess the "whole armor of God" has a way of numbing those who wear it. TBM's are literally in the world but not of the world. That's a sad state. It feels good to be in the world with my whole body and my whole brain...

 

 

Subject:

I almost can't get over...

Date:

Aug 12 16:42

Author:

Tal Bachman


I almost can't get over how completely, 180 degrees wrong I was, at the very time I was so certain I was correct. I totally understand what everyone is saying on this thread.

One thing I get from these replies is that it isn't only me whose experienced a huge change in how I identified myself, consciously and unconsciously, vis-a-vis others.

It's hard to explain, but after figuring the church thing out (after the initial fear wore off), I began to see that, rather than having been in this one elite, special, divinely-favoured bubble, I had been in a kind of consciousness-diminishing, emotion-depressing chamber isolating me from this great mass of humanity and life, and even isolating those parts of myself, FROM the other parts of myself, which would have allowed me to be everything I was by nature, and which were the great connecting psychic or emotional chords to the rest of humanity. In the name of my full potential, I diligently chipped away at that full potential, with no idea I was doing so, with scorn for people who would ever have suggested I was acting counterproductively.

I don't know how to explain it. When it all first clicked, and I realized I'd been in a bubble, all I wanted to do was get back in, like a bird who's always spent his life in a cage and is absolutely freaked when he accidentally flies out, and only wants to get back in. I wonder if neverMo's will ever know how terrifying that feeling is...but once I began to get a sense of that cage as a cage, and non-cage reality as non-cage reality, I felt like I was on some sort of fantastic high. It felt, actually, like "the spirit" is supposed to. Even once I knew that Joseph had invented his stories, I still couldn't get over how intense all those feelings and perceptions were. I literally had never, ever imagined that that could be the case. All I knew at first was that I had, in the effort to understand the gospel more fully, accidentally found out it was a fraud. Such an overwhelming change after that realization shocked me, and still shocks me.

I would only have laughed comments like this to scorn a few years ago. I would have "known" that these were the things which people, who inside were miserable, told themselves to try to numb the terrible "loss of the spirit" and deaden their guilt at having rejected the Lord's one true church or whatever. It seems so egomaniacal and deluded now...I just never would have believed it, though. I almost still can't believe it now.

Pt. Loma, you're a doctor down there not far from UC San Diego and Ramachandran's brain lab and all that. Do you have any specific theories about all this?

T.

 

Subject:

100% exactly how I felt, and I'll never get back in the cage...nt

 

Subject:

Re: I almost can't get over...

Date:

Aug 12 18:36

Author:

Latter Daze


I'm not a doctor, but you are describing something Plato wrote about: the famous Allegory of the Cave.

For anyone unfamiliar with this allegory, this is what it basically is:

Imagine some people that have lived in a cave their whole lives, chained on their stomachs so that their heads can only see the wall opposite the cave's opening. The only light that they see is that which comes from the entrance behind them projected onto the wall. The world as they know it is only shadows, but they think that these shadows are the real thing. They think that the shadow of a bird flying past the cave entrance is a real bird and so on.

One of the prisoners is released, his shackles removed, and he is allowed to turn around for the first time and see outside the cave. At first the light is blinding and he is afraid of it. He wants to stay back where he was in the comfort of the surroundings he knows and the reality he believes in. But eventually his curiosity gets the better of him and he ventures out of the cave.

For the first time, he sees reality for what it really is and he is a bundle of emotions. Overall, he is elated to see what a beautiful world exists beyond the cave. Every sense is heightened and he can see color and touch physical objects that he knew before only as silhouettes. Excited and still concerned about his fellow companions, he runs back inside and tries to convince them that the shadows they see are not real; that reality lies just behind them and all they have to do is come with him and see. His statements are met with contempt and his sanity is questioned by the others.

You get the gist.

This has never-ending parallels for me in regards to leaving the Morg. Anyone who has not read Plato will be in for a real treat.

 

Subject:

Re: Ex-Mormon Life: Why do I feel what I never did?

Date:

Aug 12 17:48

Author:

butch cassidy


Yes. Exactly. Where once I was dead, now I am alive - not in Christ or the gospel or any dogma; but in life, truth, reason, and the present moment.

I notice my family mentally scratching their heads on occasion. I'm actually happier, more fun, more interesting...more alive...than I was when I believed in the stuff they think makes people happy.

Life is a positive, uplifting journey without the fear and the need for magical solutions to everything.

 

Subject:

Now you can use all the crayons in the box

Date:

Aug 12 18:34

Author:

NWislander


I think it's like the church only giving us 5 colors to draw our lives with (some might say they only give us black and white). Remember how disappointing it was to get the really small box of crayons and how exciting it was to get the jumbo box (with the sharpener)? How there were so many more colors of purple than you could even imagine? How every drawing you made could be so much different than the previous?

Ride the rainbow that's a million colors wide!

 

Subject:

Tal -- your discovery plus the responses to this post would make...

Date:

Aug 12 18:39

Author:

Mee Again


...good subject matter for a chapter in your upcoming book (hint, hint). Most Mormons wouldn't believe it, but need to know just how much joy there really is outside the box. Do us a favor, put it in a BOOK!

 

 

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