Subject: What Church do you go to now?
Date: Nov 17 18:29 2002
Author: Texas_Exxed

After leaving the MORG... what's next? I was LDS for 24 years (age 20-44) and I have been looking for a Church to provide my spiritual needs, but have been unsuccessful thus far.

I joined the Episcopal Church because I like their non-judgmental doctrine. Part of the Episcopal liturgy states: "Wherever you are in your journey of faith, all are welcome at our table." They have beautiful churches and wonderful professionally managed music programs. However, I am getting bored with the ritualized services. The whole congregation stands up, sits down, kneels, stands up, sits down, kneels... recites pre-written prayers in unison... I like the liturgy... but it is the same every week.

I have tried a lot of churches. Some have great music, and lame preaching... some have lame music and great preaching... some are too big... some are too small... they all have some things I like and some things I don't like.

I feel lost after leaving the lds church. Many of things that I hated about the lds church, such as poorly-run music programs, thinking they are the only ones that are right (and everyone else is going to hell), poor public speakers, etc... are red flags when I find them in other churches.

What advice can you guys give me? What churches do you go to... and why?

Subject: If you still believe in God
Date: Nov 17 18:33
Author: Matthew

then why go to any church? Since Christianity is a "personal" relationship with Christ can't you worship him in your own personal way?


Subject: Re: If you still believe in God
Date: Nov 17 18:40
Author: Texas_Exxed

Matthew wrote:
> then why go to any church? Since Christianity is a "personal" relationship with Christ can't you worship him in your own personal way?

I already do that, but I need the fellowship of fellow believers to feel fulfilled. BTW: I was a Christian before I joined the MORG in 1977, I was a Christain while I was a member of the church, and I am a Christian now.


Subject: Texas Exxie: I was a Christian before and while I was a Mormon I am
Date: Nov 17 19:09
Author: SusieQ#1

no longer a Christian because I cannot find enough value in being attached to old myths and legends to satisfy me. I am not interested in doing rituals-never was.

Having said that, I sometimes attend a church. I like the little Spiritualist Church not far from where I live for an occasional different experience, and I mean different? :-)

It might take you a long time to find a church congregation that is comfortable and a service that satisfies you.

I have friends who like the Unitarians and Unity. Most of them never actually join a church.


Subject: Re: If you still believe in God
Date: Nov 17 20:44
Author: kentish

You say you need the fellowship of other believers to be fulfilled yet your problem as you outlined it seems to be with the worhip service of the churches you attend. I would not minimise the fellowship inherent in the worship experience,the shared experience with other believers. However, Sunday worship services are only one part, perhaps the most obviously sensory part, of church life and fellowship. Real fellowship comes from involvement in the other activities that take place in a church family...Bible study, youth programs and such. If you are looking for a perfect church body you will fail in your doesn't exist...but then instead of looking for what you can take from your church experience you might concentrate on what you can give. I attend a Baptist it the music and preaching isn't always brilliant either but I do gain much from the wonderful friends I have made and their sincere efforts to walk the walk of christianity. I have heard many great singers in church services and I appreciate their talents but one person I know tops them all for me. He is not a great singer...he is often off key and has real problems hitting the high notes. He was a truck driver by trade and I enjoy his singing above all others because when he sings he lights up with sincerity and sings from the heart in a way that touches me deeply. Do you want perfection...or do you want heart Wile they are not necessarily mutually the christian environment as it applies to believers, I'll take the latter.


Subject: I highly recommend the First Church of Local Outdoor Natural Beauty. (nt)
Date: Nov 17 19:07
Author: Brian B.

Subject: Buy a Macintosh computer (and maybe some shares) and go to professional concerts?
Date: Nov 17 19:09
Author: Breeze

Seems like you're looking for inspiration and high quality professional musical experiences. Apple computer is enveloped in devotion and runs a strong belief system centered around Steve Jobs and his 'puters. Professional music orgs give consistent dependable product and all they ask is the price of the ticket and your consideration in making a contribution.

It sounds cynical, but I'm actually serious. You would have a better computer, OS 10 is stable and friendly to other platforms and operates more software than ever. It's worth believing in and you would have a lot of friends around the country/world that believed like you, but never bothered you.

I've not found a church musical experience that can reach the versatility, variety, and yeah, even quality that the pros give, even when the church is hiring professionals.

You may not be looking for god. You may be needing transcendence and the "higher" experience...both available through Macs and local paid musicians. It works for me!

Another thing on the concerts, there is a community of devotees that gathers round the organizations. Especially if you give $250-$500-$1000 a year.

Good luck in your searching!

Subject: Try Quakers (the Society of Friends), or, in the alternative, my own United Methodist Church...
Date: Nov 17 19:36
Author: D. Perkins

It's theology was aptly expressed by John Wesley, the founder of the early Methodist societies: "I refuse to be distinguished from other men by any but the common principles of Chritianity...I renounce and detest all other marks of distinction. But from real Christians, of whatever denomination, I earnestly desire not to be distinguished at all...Dost thou love and fear God? It is enough. I give thee the right hand of fellowship."

Subject: If you haven't already, try Belief-O-Matic
Date: Nov 17 19:44
Author: Cattle Mutilator

Many have found this helpful in looking for another church.

Subject: Go for aesthetics
Date: Nov 17 20:17
Author: estebanito

I think that aesthetics are what's important to me now since doctrine whomped my ass. I think the content is truly an aside. Since I realized that aesthetic beauty is most important to me, I enjoy Celtic Christianity. But blowing of church for any good reason is great too.

Subject: Church of the Beach.
Date: Nov 17 20:24
Author: TLC

Every sunday morning I get my self out of bed early and into my sunday best; a pair of board shorts, a sleevless t-shirt and my flip-flops.

Then I drive the ten minutes to Laguna Beach where I sit outside at the Heidelberg Cafe` and take the sacrament which consists of cappuccino and some scrambled eggs and toast.

Then I go for a walk on the beach where me and the celestial waters of the Pacific commune in blissful reverence.

I sit in the sand and listen to the distant voices of the surfers as they bob up and down on their boards. I'm not always sure what they're saying but their sermons make me happy. I think surfers have a better idea than most what god is all about.

The waves crashing against the rocks and the seagulls squalling along in three-part harmony are my sunday morning anthems. Sometimes lovers walk by holding hands and their quiet conversations become part of the music.

On occasion a pod of dolphins will stop by on their way to Baja. My friend Lisa tells me they have messages for us but I can't always tell what it is they're saying. I'm sure though, that it has something to do with taking care of our shared home better than we have been.

Sometimes I go into the water and rebaptize myself and come back out onto the warm sand feeling renewed and revived. I close my eyes and feel the sun warming my skin and think that if there is a god, surely this is where she's living.

And when my sunday service on the sand is over, I walk back up the cliffs to the sidewalk and drop a few bucks in the hands of the local shopkeepers. Sometimes it's more than 10% of my weekly earnings and sometimes it's a lot less. But whatever it is, it feels good to share my widow's mite with the Laguna Beach businesses, knowing that in doing so I help make sure they'll continue being there for my sunday outings.

Sometimes I come home from Sunday on the Beach services and crawl into bed with sand still all over me and take a nap. Then all throughout the week whenever I crawl into bed at night, I feel the sand there next to my body and am reminded of the beach and why this new religion works so well for me.

This is where my heart is.

This is my religion.

Subject: Re: Church of the Beach.
Date: Nov 17 23:01
Author: Saddlesore

I agree with most of what you say,I just replace the beach with a Horse and the Mountains. But forget the sand Man...

Subject: My serious reply . . .
Date: Nov 17 21:22
Author: Free

I don't go to any church at all for now because I was so screwed up by the LDS church. Seriously. It is going to take some time to go to any church.

In the meantime, I have gone to a Lutheran church, a Catholic church, a Wiccan-type church. For now, I just remain with a non-denominational prayer group on Wednesday nights because I believe in God and in prayer.

I don't think that you have to go to a church to please God. I think that it is important to be a good person. You can be in China and be a good person and they don't go to any "church."

As for my children, they are in Girl Scouts and active in sports. Their friends are Methodist, Lutheran, and Catholic. My son's best friend is Aethiest and he is real cool. We have no Mormon friends. Not that we would mind having Mormon friends, but they don't seem to want to play with our family.

I am real impressed at how the Catholic church and the Methodist church inter-mingle with the community and are not afraid of other faiths. Seems very open-minded and Christian to me.

I understand the need for a social life and community, but take your time and look around. Eventually you will probably find a group that you fit in with. Just stay away from contolling cults if you can.


Subject: I attend the Church of 'ME', and it's truly
Date: Nov 17 21:44
Author: wonderful! nt

Subject: I attend the "our lady of perpetual fun and Leisure " church. :-)
Date: Nov 17 22:48

Subject: Have you tried Unitarian Universalist?
Date: Nov 17 23:05
Author: jolimont

That's where I go (sometimes) on Sunday and I like it quite a lot. Worth a try if you're into non dogmatic, stimulating sermons, good music, and not too much ritual. There is nothing wrong with church or the beach or church of the mountains, or even shopping or the movies, but I think you're looking for a community, so I'd try UU.

Subject: Christ Evangelical Church in Orem
Date: Nov 17 23:31
Author: Deet
Mail Address:

I have 3 boys 11,8,and 6 they have a good childrens ministry, the pastor gives good sermons and we like the music. They also have cub and boy scouts-not the mormon way either.

Subject: Congregational (United Church of Christ) N/T
Date: Nov 18 00:32
Author: Marisa
Subject: spiritualisim
Date: Nov 18 11:30
Author: geekpimp

i still beleive in a god and life after death. this philosphy fits my own best at the moment.

and you get to talk to the angels, just like joe!

Subject: Re: What Church do you go to now?
Date: Nov 18 12:14
Author: kristinela

I asked the same question when I first came to this board. In Utah county it is very difficult, there is not the variety of churches there is in other places. My advise is to keep doing what you are doing by checking out as many churches as you can. You can always get involved to make the church experience better for you.

Subject: my advice
Date: Nov 18 14:59
Author: smo

Before you decide on any particular church, think carefully about what you need and want from a faith community. When I was "church-shopping," I actually made a list. The list had three sections:

1. what I'd prefer, but not necessary
2. what I'd prefer a great deal, but is negotiable
3. what are my deal-breakers

You already seem to have a generally good idea about what you want. I'd suggest prioritizing the items on your mental list.

Once I was clear about my own needs and wants, I was better able to find a faith community that could address them. About a year or so after I started attending my UU church, I figured out that I needed another list. This time I wrote down what I had to offer my faith community.

I had been frustrated by some things I didn't like about this particular community. I seriously considered relying solely on my own personal faith practices. If I had chosen to do so, I believe I would have been happy.

I chose not to leave. I am happy this way too. I got involved in my faith community. I got to know people. I offered my talents and time. As with my extended family, my faith community harbors many great, talented people. It also harbors some people who annoy me to no end. (No doubt I annoy them also. LOL) I've helped make some changes at my church and I've learn to live with other things that bother me a little.

I think it is too much to expect that any church will meet all of your needs. But maybe, if you find one that meets your dearest needs, you can help it become more like your ideal church. Or maybe you will find that a more personal spirituality suits you at this time.

Be willing to think outside the box (pardon the cliche). Some people at my church only attend worship services. Others only attend a class or a book club or a potluck. Some are members. Some are friends. Some like working with kids and youth programs. Others organize musical concerts. It is possible to connect with others in a faith community without having to participate in everything.

I wish you well on your search.


Subject: Sigh...
Date: Nov 18 19:51
Author: Texas_Exxed

I appreciate all the advice... but now I'm more confused than I was!


Subject: I feel for ya, Tex.
Date: Nov 18 20:53
Author: Breeze

It's a tough place to be. Leaving something behind and trying to fill the gap isn't easy.

Maybe just look at it as some sort of roller-coaster ride and just see where the journey takes you? Go with the ups and downs and maybe it will level off some day.

All the Best!
Subject: Musings on faith, science and the meaning of life (long. Maybe too long)
Date: Nov 21 21:04
Author: sonoflds

These musings are really nothing new for any of us. I don’t promise any great revelation. And while "they" say, never start your thoughts with a negative, this all just kind of congealed (Jell-O reference hehe) for me today:

For this sake of these thoughts, assume that there is a god who created the universe. Most religions (and this does have a Mormon/Christian slant for, perhaps, obvious reasons) want me to believe in god and in his "son" Jesus Christ. Now there is some difference among these groups as to the nature of the Trinity, but that doesn't make much difference in this discussion.

The is the foundation of these religions (and many non-Christian religions as well so substitute something for “Jesus”): "I am supposed to believe/accept Jesus (the true Church) or I will go to something less than "heaven". That "less than heaven" can be anything from Outer Darkness to the no sex telestial kingdom to George Carlin's "hell is a million Christmas trees on fire and you jump right in the middle".

Now I need not convince most of you how utterly vehement people are to get me to believe this. For all recorded time people have been merely harassed to tortured to death for not accepting these beliefs.

Back to god. These religions generally believe that god created the universe and all within. These would include universal laws; i.e., the speed of light, Heisenberg uncertainty principle, gravity, physics, etc. It is important (at least to my thoughts) that we accept (for the purposes of this discussion) that god created these laws. Of course there must be exceptions due to our errors in observation and conclusion. For instance, it was once believed that: the fastest man could travel was 60 miles an hour; that the world was flat; that the Earth was the center of the universe . . . you get the idea. But there has NEVER been any doubt that the universe follows certain laws. The only real debate, aside from what they are, are how did they come into being; was it God or did it just "happen". I will, for the purposes of my analysis, accept that they came into existence by god.

So I am left with the fact that I am to believe in an almighty that created the universe, its laws, heaven, hell, is all powerful, loving, etc. Quite an impressive and powerful guy.

There is also no dispute that these religions claim that god wants the best for me and wants me to return to heaven. Now this is the tricky part. How? I think the "how" is perhaps the most important issue for anyone in their lives. How can we go to "heaven"? (Again, I am assuming for purposes of this analysis that god exists. To argue his existence is just a different discussion).

Again, I need not tell you that religions totally disagree on this one. We have: various versions of the Bible, the Loran, the Bagva Gita, the Book of Mormon, the Ten Commandments, the Dead Sea Scrolls, "inspiration and revelation" from Mohammed, Jesus, Jerry Fallwell, Joseph Smith, Krishna, Pat Robertson, Gordon Hinckley . . . and the list goes on.

So there it is, in as few a number of words as I can manage to this point, religion and instruction by the volumes about what to do in my “relationship” with the creator of all things. Lifetimes can be spent studying religion. My graduate studies of religion certainly seemed like a lifetime.

So what do I do? This is what Jell-oed =) in my mind today. ALL of these religions do agree on ONE thing. In so many words, I will know the truth (that they are true) if I listen to my heart, feelings, etc. I will know it is true because the “spirit” will tell me. Now . . . that is another way of saying that god has such an interest in me that, in some way, if I want to know, he will tell me what is true. I will discuss that in one second because what I want to know is . . . god, religion, somebody, which feeling do I listen to?

As to “feelings” each of us can only speak for ourselves so I will only speak for mine. In NO particular order, I have gotten that same deep, special, spiritual, I will cry feeling (within little degree of variance) for the following:

making love with my current wife (ok, well, no particular order after this one lol)

watching Red walk along the beach to reunite with “his friend” Andy Dufresne at the end of Shawshank Redemption

seeing the rings of Saturn for the first time through my telescope when I was 12

the birth of my children

various scenes in Amadeus

listening to Mozart’s Requiem and Beethoven’s 6th symphony

portions of a psychic reading I obtained from a Psychic some years ago

winning the State basketball championship in high school

Ray Kinsella having “a catch” with his Dad in Field of Dreams

Realizing that I was watching a comet in that same telescope in which I discovered Saturn

The scene in Franco Zefferelli’s “Jesus of Nazareth” where Jesus is telling the story of the prodigal son

Watching my brother win (with his team of course) the State football championship in high school

My first real kiss with Laura in 8th grade (last name left out to protect the innocent hehe)

Bart Starr winning the Ice Bowl against Dallas in 1966

The heroic scenes which emanated from 9/11

The heroic scenes which emanated from the Oklahoma City bombing

The heroic scenes that emanated from the War in Vietnam

Jesus giving Juda Ben-Hur water

More school plays than I can remember

Angie (again no last name) in her cheerleader uniform (YES I was in high school and NO this was not a recent event. LoL)

Speaking at my mother’s funeral service

Sharing stories like this with the 2nd neatest little old woman I have ever met in the Washington DC Temple

Listening to stories like this from my great-grandmother (THE neatest little old lady in the world)

Spock dying in Star Trek II

Poetry that gives us, “I would dial the numbers just to listen to your breath; I would step inside my Hell to hold the hand of death”; Melissa Ethridge – “Come to My Window.”

The Eagles – “Take it to the Limit”

John Lennon – “Imagine”

Being an acolyte in the Episcopal Church as a boy (especially on Easter Sunday)

Listening to the Reverend Burgess speak at that same Church

Having “feelings” that come true in spite of all evidence that they could never happen

Seeing certain photos from the Hubble Space telescope.

Watching Neil Armstrong step foot on the moon

More scenes from Tombstone than I can count

Listening to J. S Bach on a pipe organ played by a grandmaster organist

I stop here as I could have gone on for page after page and I didn’t want to lose my reader, if I haven’t done so already.

My point is that I have had these poignant feelings in thousands upon thousands of events in my life. WHICH ONE DO I LISTEN TO and suppose they conflict? These are the “feelings” that god has supposedly given me so that I can find the “truth”. For the record, god, I appreciate it. The feelings generated from the above vary only slightly in degree usually depending upon circumstance. So has god left me only with these feelings as a roadmap? Maybe but one would expect he would help me differentiate a bit more. So where does that leave me? Well, as I said, he gave me more than feelings. I’ve got an entire universe. And here is the great disconnect that is not only true with Mormonism but with so many religions: I am supposed to ignore that which they fight so hard to claim is from god . . . science, experience and universal laws and trust these “feelings”. That’s it. That’s all they preach. They preach that I am to ignore god, or at least what he created.

God created the universe and I am to ignore it? I am to ignore what I see and experience? Not only am I to ignore it, I am to fly in the face of it. That which god has given us, science, is to be TOTALLY set aside and I am to rely on feelings instead. Don’t misunderstand . . . I am NOT Ellie Arroway. There is a large place for faith in my personality. But there is no place for ignoring and completely turning off portions of existence based on some feeling. And, tell me oh wise one, just which feelings am I supposed to decide are telling me the truth? And you are telling me that these amorphous sometimes wrong feelings are good and that those amorphous universal laws and science are bad? How does that make any sense?

As for myself, I will rely on the totality of experience in this life that god seems to have given in order to find my way. I will remain open-minded and will discard nothing at face value . . . but there is much that I will discard after time. (As an aside, I prefer “open minded” to “skeptical” as the latter makes me think of an approach where the goal is to prove something wrong).

So some of you out there are telling me that God is going to punish us for thinking and reasoning with all he has given us instead of throwing our hands up in the air, screaming “hallelujah” and ripping the pages out of Harry Potter books or blowing up Buddhist statues carved into a mountain? As for me, this lifetime has taught me to cut off none of that which god has, supposedly, given us. We have laws and faith; art and science; and I embrace it all. I will not insult the Almighty, the universe and myself by going, “Oh, I felt that. I realize that I have these other parts of my experience that tell me otherwise but I felt good for a moment so there ya go.” I am reminded of the line from “To Sir With Love” and I paraphrase: those “feelings” are like masturbation, they feel good for a moment but don’t produce life.”

As for me, I will continue to soak it all in and discard that which the totality of my humanity tells me I should discard. And if I am wrong, and this great, wonderful, all powerful being has asked me to fly in the face of everything that he has set up and ignore it based on just a few feelings that are IMPOSSIBLE to determine from whence they came . . . then just throw me in with the Christmas trees.

Subject: My 2 cents
Date: Nov 21 23:54
Author: wondering

agreed, you come from a christianity/God viewpoint. That being the case, let's throw out Mormonism and just do what christianity says we must do to make it to heaven, which is believe in Christ and follow the golden rule. Simple enough. But what if that ISN'T the way to heaven or nirvana? We don't really have the road map given to us by the other versions of God and the requirements for heaven. That's one of the things that totally bugs me. It is different for everyone who has ever lived on the earth. For me, the entrance to heaven was everything from believing in the BOM, doing my visiting teaching, going to the temple, etc.

To someone only introduced to christianity, it is merely accepting Christ as your savior and living a clean life.

For someone born thousands of years ago, NOTHING was required. They probably worshipped the sun or whatever and had their own tribal rules and regulations to follow.

Of course there are some people now who believe in the holy Jihad war and think that is a requirement for exhaltation.

We are sent here with no clear guidelines, no similar set of circumstances or opportunities, all with different brain maps and different emotions and are expected to somehow all discover and come to the same true conclusion about something? So many people claiming to know the truth. Who is more convincing? Who is more intimidating? How could we possibly expect to choose the 1 correct god and 1 correct road back? It's mind boggling and it's crazy to even think it's possible.

At least we can hold on to what our own common sense and feelings are telling us. No can take that from us and no TBM can argue with us on that. How can a TBM begin to say that what he is feeling is more true and correct than what someone else is feeling. In that regard, I'm glad it's so subjective now. I would HATE for there to be one true church and only possible way to live your life. I would REALLY HATE it if it was possible that the Mormons were correct. I'm kinda glad it can't be proved one way or another.

Subject: Well there goes Pasqual's Wager right out the door
Date: Nov 22 00:08
Author: Mystery Mike

Well put, and worth reading. You would think that a god who supposedly loves us so much would at least provide a more clear cut guidance system before sending us off to hell for making the wrong choice. By the way, its not a bad or negative thing to be skeptical. Skeptics aren't trying to disprove anything. They simply look at the evidence before deciding. Think of a skeptic as being the opposite of a dupe.

Subject: Agree with you on "skeptic"
Date: Nov 22 00:19
Author: sonoflds

I just think that the word has been so mis-used that it dredges up negative connotations . . . at least for me. I like your definition and find it the more accurate one

Subject: Beautiful sonoflds!!!
Date: Nov 22 00:39
Author: TLC

For a lawyer you really are a sensitive guy. :-)

This universe and the planet we live on are far too rich to limit ourselves to one tiny, narrow way of thinking or being.

Like you, I've learned to take it all in and keep what works for me and let go of what doesn't.

When I look up at the night sky and see all of those stars up there, I realize that mormonism is but one of them - infintely tinier than any one of them. A dot in a galaxy with infinite possibilites and infinite ways of being.

There's no such thing as a "one true way" that's universally right for everybody. But there is such a thing as a way that's right for me.

And I'm following it.

It mostly has to do with responding from moment to moment to what I know in my heart is right for me and right for the people I love.

Subject: Thanks for sharing that . . . .
Date: Nov 22 01:05
Author: imaworkinonit

I think as we start to recognize what brings us those wonderful feelings, we learn what we need in our lives. Most of the things you mentioned involved close relationships (or depictions of them in media), beauty, and sense of wonder or awe.

Religion doesn't have a corner on those feelings (although sometimes they try to).

Subject: Feelings?
Date: Nov 22 01:44
Author: DeafGuy

At times on this board, some have taken my complete disregard for feelings as a means of determining truth as indication that I completely disregard feelings altogether.

That would hardly be the case--I get rather passionate about any number of things. I get intense feelings from seeing a beautiful sunset--a regular occurrence, as the college is set on a hill and I finish my classes late, just in time to walk down the hill and see a beautiful sunset framed by rows of swaying palm trees, with the S.F. Bay glittering in the distance. Or the feelings I have for my wife, especially when I consider how generous she's been with all the challenges we've faced together. Or the excitement over learning a new concept and its application to life. And that sort of thing.

But since it was one of the things that held me in mormonism, as I had a lot of good feelings in mormonism at all the expected times, I took a good look at the whole issue of relating feelings to external truth.

The primary example, of course, is why do feelings have anything to do with whether the Book of Mormon is true? I get intense feelings from some movies, but I don't take that to mean that those movies are true (and indeed, they don't claim to be).

But even in the broader sense of things, why do we insist on applying external significance to internal feelings? I've yet to see any demonstrable relationship.

For that matter, the corporate marketing world knows of our susceptibility to feelings, and this is why they invoke powerful images to market their products, including sex, patriotism, family, etc. The whole idea is to get you to associate good feelings to the target product, and then you'll be more likely to purchase it when you see it in the store.

But there isn't anything inherent in feelings that give us any guide to what's true elsewhere. So, I just enjoy my feelings for what they are, a manifestation of my own emotions, passions, fears, etc, but I don't attribute any mystical truth-determining value to them.

sonoflds wrote:
> As an aside, I prefer ?open minded? to ?skeptical? as the latter makes me think of an approach where the goal is to prove something wrong.

Personally, I see being both open-minded and skeptical as complementary things. You want to be open to new ideas, but you don't want to fall for every scam that comes along (and I think we should know by now that there's an extreme excess of ready scams out there...). So, you maintain a reasonable state of being open-minded, but you also maintain a reasonable state of skepticism so as to weed out the incorrect ideas that will inevitably come your way.

> So some of you out there are telling me that God is going to punish us for thinking and reasoning with all he has given us instead of throwing our hands up in the air, screaming ?hallelujah? and ripping the pages out of Harry Potter books or blowing up Buddhist statues carved into a mountain?

Good way of putting it. When I was questioning mormonism, the TBMs around me were making it seem like that even daring to question was a sin of the worse kind. I simply couldn't see it that way--does god really value blind, arbitrary faith more than reasoned judgment?

I mean, which is better, the person who has an ignorant belief based on logical fallacies or the one who carefully thinks things through, analyzes all the options, and picks that which seems most likely to be true? The whole faith thing is glorified, of course, but why? You can have faith in mormonism, Scientology, that Elvis lives, etc, but of what value is that?

I always figured that god, when I assumed there was a god, would have given us our brains with the intent of using them, so I can't really see that we'd be punished for using them in a sincere, honest way.

But hey, maybe I'm wrong--maybe the real test is that god wants us to engage in logical fallacies, and all the rational people are going to be tossed down to hell. My former TBM associates would get a real kick out of that... :-)

(msmom, J., et al, don't forget to save me a seat, too...)

Subject: I think you have found a worthwhile philosophy to follow
Date: Nov 22 02:08
Author: JayT

I believe one of the most energizing aspects to life is to follow ones passions and instincts and to try to make a positive contribution somewhere. We are all unique individuals. I do not believe in “one size fits all” or that there are very many absolutes in this life.

No one likes to be controlled. Organized religion can be stifling and counterproductive. On the other hand, some people seem to genuine love the mythology and sense of belonging that religion offers. I say let them have it.

It’s the fanatically minded control freaks that preach some form of absolutism that concern me. I think a lot of human conflict revolves around people who believe they are absolutely right and other person is absolutely wrong.

Subject: Emotions, Science and Religion
Date: Nov 22 09:11
Author: LM

These are some great thoughts, thanks for offering them.

Sonoflds wrote:
> . . . assume that there is a god who created the universe.

It is well to remember that all religions are an ASSUMPTION. They -assume- certain 'truths' to exist based on a very superficial understanding of selected evidences, confirmed by an emotion of the moment.

The thing is: the more science reveals about cosmology the more evident it becomes that God did not create the universe or its laws. Rather the laws created the universe, and man then created God in his own distorted image. The universe came into existence as a natural consequence of laws (of which we are still seeking a full understanding) and did not require the initiation or intervention of any God along the way.

Another thing: if God created all things, then he would also have created Hell. To what purpose would God create a home for Satan and his minions?

Deafguy wrote:
> . . . why do we insist on applying external significance to internal feelings?

Why indeed?! This habit must be the bane of mankind. We falsely assume that an internal feeling is predictive, or indicative, of outside events or truths.

The Aug 31, 2002 special edition of Scientific American "The Hidden Mind" is devoted to the mysteries of consciousness, the origin of dreams and emotions, etc. The neural synaptic routes that underlie our formation of memories, our primitive emotions, our intuitive reactions, have been laid down over countless millenia. How a person presently feels is a result of neuronal firings in the amygdala, the thalamus, the hippcampus, and perhaps other regions of the brain.

The article notes: "Emotion is not just unconscious memory: it exerts a powerful influence on declarative memory and other thought processes."

To rely on emotions as a measure of what is "true" about religion is to rely on the most primitive, and unreliable, of human responses. Our emotions are a reflection of our genetic and environmental past - not a predictor of religious "truth".

Subject: Here's some sources...
Date: Nov 24 23:07
Author: Deconstructor

You ask a deep philosophical question that deserves a better answer than I can give in a forum post. There are a few books I would recommend for the sincere person searching for answers:

Phantoms in the Brain
by Doctor V.S. Ramachandran, M.D., PH.D.
Great primer on how your brain really works.

The Meme Machine by Susan Blackmore and Richard Dawkins
You'll never see your mind or consciousness the same again.

Coercion by Douglas Rushkoff
How and why the social world is constructed. Includes a great chapter on cults.

Global Brain by Howard Bloom
Probably the greatest book of our time. Talk about a true and healthy world view!

Secular Wholeness : A Skeptic's Paths to a Richer Life by David E. Cortesi
How to live a real life and be happy when you know what you know about reality. Life can and is better without a belief in God.

Check these books out from your local library, read them in the order listed and your life will make beautiful sense.

Recovery from Mormonism -   

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