Stage 2-3 Agreement - Ambiguity
Prologue to Stage 2
The "Milk"Agreement - The "Yes" - Trust
In Mormonism the key factor is an agreement based on hidden facts, in short, a fraudulent contract. This black contract has a white label "Yes" attached to it, which they call milk. A member of the church, however, is never allowed to be weaned from milk. What they call the meat of its doctrine is hidden behind and below the milk which sinks deeper and deeper the more the member seeks to reach it. Without realizing it, the member is the meat ... that is being eaten; the individual's human Identity will eventually be absorbed piece-meal within the vast body of Mormonism. The first bite is taken in Stage 3.
Prologue to Stage 3
The Identity Crisis - Ambiguity - "Yes, ... But ..." - "If ..."
Stage 3 New members are caught with a psychological hook. It begins with the "Yes" agreement, which is then altered by a pre-positional "But," this is what you must do ... extra; the extra is part of the hidden meat contained in the agreement, which is now being demoted to an ambiguous promise ... with hidden strings of expectation and hope, instead of concrete assurance. The roles between the purchaser and the contractor are beginning to be reversed. The member is no longer the purchaser granted the rights of an agreement, but is becoming a supplicant who must say please, to which the Binder says, "Yes," if you do more work --- to become worthy to receive. This is a further demotion of what is to be received; instead of the concrete agreement, it has now subtly been changed into a promise. What is now to be received, is a "gift" given, "If" ... you become worthy to receive. A definite agreement has become an undefined worthiness in order to receive.
Unknown to you as a new member, in order to become worthy, eventually, you must take an oath that all you own, including yourself, belongs to the Church; this is the hidden part of the meat of the original contract. Once received, the Church promises to give back to you, as a gift, that which you had formerly owned ... if you become worthy ... at some point in the unknown future.
This is a crucial stage; it is the wedge that opens the door to a the final voluntary loss of Identity. It begins with an insertion into the agreement of a "But."
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Stage 2 and Stage 3
Posts by Women
"My husband and I visited the ward patriarch. ...... His blessing told of the many wondrous things he was to take part in and accomplish "HERE UPON THE EARTH."
"Eight months after that, my husband was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer. .....the first thing church elders tried to do when I brought up the question of why this promise was given then not fulfilled, was to say ("Yes, but") "perhaps the blessing speaks of his duties in the Spirit World."
Post #3. See: Stage 1, Post #3.
Moroni's promise of the manifestation of the Holy Ghost, the "burning in the bosom." ("Yes")
"I had never received a burning of the bosom of anything despite much prayer and study. ....Since I could never seem to achieve Moroni's promise of the burning in my bosom, I thought something was wrong with me and that God didn't love me anymore. I secretly thought that perhaps I had done something so horrible, God had already relegated me to outer darkness." (She was told) ... "that serving as relief society president would help my testimony grow stronger."
Post # 9 See: Stage 1, Post #9.
"I gave in, as they re-assured me that the content of the lessons was 'all that is needed for baptism.' (The "Yes" ... to the "milk.")
Identity crisis: Reversal
("But") "I was to soon find out that their theology was to be revealed in small installments, perhaps to make it digestible, and that all the priesthood holders believed they had authority over me."
Post #16 See: Stage 1, #16.
(The original agreement was gradually being modified, as well as the roles. Instead of being the "chooser," she was becoming the "chosen" by those who now claimed to have authority over her. The hidden "meat" is revealed only piece-meal.)
Agreement: To listen:
"However, I had the six discussions over and over again and argued all the way to my baptism. I joined the church for two reasons ... (one of which was) 2) as an insurance policy. When the missionaries taught about people being taught the gospel on the other side after they died I told them that I would wait and join the church on the other side rather than join now."
(She had been given the "milk" promise.)
"They told me that since they had already taught me the gospel I would never have another chance to hear it and therefore would not get to heaven. I was afraid not to join; I felt trapped. Now I call it manipulation."
Post #22-1 (#37) See: Stage 1, Post #22-1 (37).
(This is the "Yes," then the "but" as the hidden "meat" after the fact. The "but" in translation means "No." This is also a double-Bind. Damned if she did wait (intimidation from and against the Binder), and damned if she didn't wait (it would be against her Self.)
"I told the missionaries I followed the instructions of Moroni as suggested in Moroni 10:3-5 but I did not receive an answer one way or the other."
("Yes," she tried, "but"...) "They told me I needed to pray more and to be sincere. I felt embarrassed that they were telling me I was not sincere in my prayers because the Book of Mormon was true and I could know. I prayed some more and still nothing."
Post #37. See: Stage 1, Post #37.
".... wearing the garments made me feel special and just a cut above people who weren't "worthy" to wear them. I felt protected from the sins of the world and Satan." ("Yes")
("But") "I was always struggling with some sin or other though and always felt "unworthy". I can't remember a time when I really felt that I was living up to the standards and expectations of the church."
Post # 53. See: Stage 1, #53.
The Promise: 1.
"The following January 1, I received my patriarchal blessings and was overwhelmed by the promises. Wow, it even said that my mother was very much aware of what I had been doing and she had accepted the gospel in the spirit world...." ("Yes,")
("But") "...waited upon me to do her work here."
The Promise: 2.
"While in the mission home, we were able to attend another temple session and then be addressed by Pres. Harold B. Lee in the Solemn Assembly Room in the temple. We had a question and answer session with Pres. Lee." ("Yes")
"Being shy, I felt doubly intimidated when we were admonished that since Pres. Lee was giving up time in his busy schedule to be there that our questions needed to be important enough for him to spend his time on. Well, either many others were scared also or they already knew it all because there were not many questions asked during that session."
Post #68. See: Stage 1, Post #68.
("Yes, but"... don't. Don't be "selfish;" there are others who need him more than you do.)
The Promise: (This is one of the most common "Yes, Buts;"
("Yes.") "And when ye receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are NOT true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost."
(The word "manifest" means (1) readily perceived by the senses and esp. by the sight (2) easily understood or recognized by the mind: obvious syn evident. Webster's Dictionary.)
"It got to the point where just reading the BoM again for the required religion class made me sit in the middle of my bed and cry because I kept thinking, "I've read this on Sundays, I've read this in Seminary, I'm reading this now, I'll read parts of it again this Sunday, and hear parts at endless firesides and meetings until doomsday, ....
"But WHERE IS MY TESTIMONY!!!" I'd said I'd had one for years, said the same to get into BYU, but I didn't. I wanted one, but the Spirit never visited me. I followed all the rules and read that little book endless times, but I never got any burning anywhere."
The reason given for the failure to receive the manifestation is always something the suppliant has failed to comply with. It says "Yes," you can receive confirmation "But," somehow you didn't do something right, try again. This is a subtle reversal of claimed responsibility and roles. Instead of the leaders of the church with the supposed manifestation of the "spirit" knowing that the suppliant was sincere, they obscure the facts and blame the suppliant. They find a "red herring," a chastisement ... a "flaw," that obscures the suppliant's innocence, and instead instills more feelings of unworthiness, guilt, failure and fear.
Posts by Men
The Promise: Of the Spirit.
"Religious instruction starts early with constant reinforcement. Everyone around me was so sure Mormonism was the right religion.
"I felt that I was just a bad person who wasn't getting it. These feelings continued to grow as I did. I tried to believe. I read the Book of Mormon and prayed about it. I never received the 'burning in the bosom' talked about by Mormons. This was suppose to be a signal from God that the individual had found the true Church. This made me feel even worse."
(Impossible promises beget impossible compliances in the real world.)
Ambiguity - Mind-Bind - Identity Crisis
"I view the years I spent as a Mormon as a kind of mindrape. Mormonism gave me a terrible self-image (I could not live up to the impossible, "perfect" expectations) that I am only recently recovering from."
"I never sought proof that the mormon church was true, and for the first 23 years of my life, I tried with all of my heart to believe. To the reader who might say that I simply did not have the faith, or that my faith was not true, I have this as an answer: Since my ambiguous feelings about the church have always been with me, does that mean I was faithless as a child? And if so, where does that leave the teachings of your god in regards to little children? Throughout my life I wanted it to be true, I hoped it would be true, ..... ("Yes")
Identity Crisis - Ambiguity:
.....but the promises made by my teachers, church leaders, parents, and general authorities were all empty as far as they related to my own life."
" So I told him (the bishop) that, although I had never had that feeling that somehow I had always known it was true. What I was really saying was that I had always accepted that it was true, for no other reason than I had always been taught that it was true and that I couldn't conceive of such a large organization being false and nobody in the Mormon church knowing about it. ......I'd stood up in Testimony meetings and borne "my" testimony, hoping that somehow I'd get one--always having been told that bearing your testimony made it stronger --
"--but I never did."
"...I was escorted to a chair in front of the assembled congregation for the "laying on of hands"; the part in which newly baptized Mormons receive the Holy Spirit. Previously, I was told by many of the missionaries that I would feel a "burning in my bosom". A "baptism of fire"....The missionaries made it clear to me that I would actually feel the Holy Spirit enter my body. They wanted to prepare me for what to expect.
"It was during the laying on of hands that I first noticed an emptiness in my new religion. I felt nothing. I cried in anticipation of an overwhelming experience of a holy being entering my newly cleansed body, but as hands were placed on my head, I felt absolutely nothing. "Here it comes...here it comes..." Then suddenly the prayer ended, the hands were removed, and there I sat with a big line of snot hanging from my chin. NOTHING. Where was the cymbal crash? Where was the Holy Spirit? ....Afterwards, I told some of the missionaries about what had happened during the "laying on of hands". .....I then was told that the Holy Spirit sometimes manifests himself in a gentle, quiet way, and that this peaceful silence is certainly much more beautiful than any kind of burning in my bosom, or any other "sign" or "feeling" from God. Besides, "signs", they said, are not necesssary for true believers. Since I was truly converted, I didn't need a trumpet blast. I was even told that during the "laying on of hands" the Holy Spirit does not necessarily enter one's body at that time, but may enter only when necessary. That sounded odd to me. After all, "..receive the Holly (sic holy) Spirit..." was said during the blessing. .....I was even told that though I might not feel the Holy Spirit enter my body, I will certainly feel it leave when I commit sin. (Does anyone sense a cult tactic here?) This was a blatant flip-flop by the missionaries. ...But, I wanted to believe it. I had come so far and wanted to believe so much. I accepted their explanation."
Post # 28. See: Stage 1, Post #28.
"I had been taught those who prayed sincerely and in righteousness would receive a testimony ..
....and if they did not, one chief reason would be that they were not recognizing the answer God was giving. ... I had been praying to know whether or not the Church was true .... I continued to pray, but God said nothing to me.."
"Prior to my mission, I had been given blessings by Brad Thompson .... prophecies were given to me of great success that I would have as a missionary. ....He said I would have such success that other missionaries would see it and come to me to learn how to copy it."
"...I put my heart into seeing these prophecies fulfilled, but they were not. ....At this time, it seemed to me that if I earnestly desired these blessings, that I would weep about my not having received them. So I began to weep much during the last year or so of my mission. For prayer, I would weep about God's not talking to me. As I wept to hear God's voice, Brad continued to prophecy blessings upon my mission. Yet, none of these prophecies were fulfilled. .....Brad .... gave several different possible explanations: 1) the prophecies would suddenly, dramatically be fulfilled in the last few months or weeks of my mission, 2) the prophecies were fulfilled, but I did not perceive it: 3) I had planted many seeds in many hearts, fulfilling the prophecies: 4) the prophecies would yet be fulfilled; & 5) he may have added to the prophecies out of his own mind. ....None of Brad's prophecies were fulfilled."
"After I left the LDS Church, I have told my story to other LDS. Generally, I do not get far before they are explaining to me my spiritual mistakes. My various spiritual mistakes, according to them, run as follows, though each LDS has a slightly different list:
1) it was your first mistake to pray for angels to teach you, when you had bishops and other church leaders to teach you;
2) it was a mistake to give much credence to Brad, George Pace and Chauncey Riddle, if at any point they taught ideas not taught by the general authorities. Since each of them taught "strange doctrines," you should have disregarded their teachings;
3) it was a mistake to believe that an elders' quorum president could prophesy about your life in matters outside his jurisdiction as EQ president, specifically, about your mission and the rest of your life;
4) it was a mistake to insist about being absolutely certain about whether or not the Church is true, when in fact, one must have some degree of faith;
5) it was a mistake to believe, based on Brad's teachings, that God might give you doctrinal information He had not given a priesthood leader of yours.
6) it was a mistake to believe that God would use you in a special way, above the way he was using your priesthood leaders.
7) it was a mistake to not know and believe that God honors His priesthood authority, by His telling His prophets, and by extension, all priesthood leaders, all that would be helpful. Thus, there was no need for me to expect any special revelation from God to me during my mission. There was, in fact, no further need of God to speak to me even after my mission, about doctrinal matters. My sole duty was to believe and obey what He had already revealed in and through the LDS Church."
"Further, some suggest that I was emotionally ill. There is no doubt that I was. The only question is what was the cause and the exact nature of my "mental illness." They suggest that, in a mild form, I was suffering delusions of grandeur, caused by my close association with that other fellow, Brad Thompson, who happened to be my EQ president when I first came to BYU. He also, in his own way, suffered delusions of grandeur. In a way, this suggestion is no doubt true. The only question is as to whether Mormonism itself feeds such delusions."
(This also contains a Double-Bind; see Stage 4, #38.)
"In any case, there is a short answer to the charge that I made a series of spiritual mistakes that led me out of the LDS Church. The patriarch, in my patriarchal blessing, had promised, "When you serve your mission, you will have a correct understanding of the gospel." When I served my mission, I believed in full form, or in seed form, all the spiritual errors that the LDS later held to be responsible, first for my spiritual despair in l981, and later, for my leaving the LDS Church in 1985. The only matter left unknown in 1981, was how my "spiritual errors" would resolve themselves."
"... I had questions, specifically regarding Joseph Smith and the spirit world; pre- and after. I was told, "if this part is true, and you believe it, then the rest of it will come to you in the future. Just have faith, and it will be 'born' to you."
"Somewhere in here, the Seventies told stories of people who went their entire lives before they learned the completeness of the gospel. All I had to do was be patient. The Seventies were mature men and seemed very credible."
Post #49. See: Stage 1, Post #49.
Promise: If he prayed, his doubts about the church would disappear.
"Towards the beginning of this search I had a temple recommend interview with a member of my ward bishopric. .... I frankly discussed my feelings regarding the church. ....I explained that I had prayed and fasted regarding these issues....
" .... (I) still felt that God was telling me that certain doctrines were incorrect. He simply told me that I needed to pray about it more. .....So, I guess my question is, why should a Mormon even bother to pray ? They already have all the answers in the handy dandy lesson books. And if you should choose to pray about an issue, and find that your answer is not in line with what the church teaches, you can rest assured that it is you who is wrong. And that your answer was from Satan and not from God. So again I ask, WHY BOTHER TO PRAY ABOUT ANYTHING??? Remember ... "when the brethren speak the thinking has been done."
"But, I can't ignore those gnawing questions in my gut. When I start to think about them I (at least) start to feel some peace about being true to myself. Is that the spirit talking to me?"
"The spirit of the devil masquerading as an angel of light some would say. God is trying my faith others would say. I'm sick of those pat criticisms that aim to discredit the validity of what I am feeling."
"Patriarchal Blessings: My mother makes a big deal out of patriarchal blessings--especially the blessings of family members that seem to be so insightful and prophetic of great works to come. Maybe it was my own spectacular blessing that got her on the kick.
" I, however, grew uncomfortable with the subject. I couldn't help but ask myself, What if these things don't happen? Nobody in the church believes that if their blessing says they will live to do some great work, that they are guaranteed to live long enough to achieve it. Sure it is Gods own promise to you, but you could still get hit by a bus next week. So how do we faithful members explain that? There are a whole heap of excuses that try to let God keep his integrity, but when you add them all up the blessing is unreliable, even meaningless. Try these on for size:
"The blessings' promises will be fulfilled in the spirit world.
We just misinterpreted the blessing--Gods ways are not our ways.
The recipient of the blessing was a sinner, so God took back his promises."
"These loopholes, when combined with the inherent vagueness of the patriarchal blessing, are enough to explain away any discrepancy. And usually, with retrospect and faith, you can dream up some kind of correlation between the blessing and real events--enough to keep or even build your faith. Astrologers and palm readers rely on the same things: vagueness, built-in excuses, and faith of the recipient--plus, the patriarch gets an intimate interview with the subject and is very familiar with the LDS background that has shaped the subjects life."
(If Stage 3 of The Pattern is the wedge into the brain, Stage 4 shatters it into two opposite sides, severing connections ... the very functions that are necessary for the reasoning process.)
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See Next: Stage 4
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Next Page: Stage 4 Double-Bind - Reversal - Guilt/Fear
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