|Subject:||Changing the Rules (long)|
|Date:||Jun 09 17:45 2003|
|Changing the rules,
In early September of last year, the life I had known as a Mormon came to an abrupt end. When in my mind had finally accepted the truth. During this time my heart had sorted my head of thoughts of the previous weeks and placed them in some sort of order. The two sides, my head and my heart were on speaking terms and they set in place an inevitable sequence of conclusions. In the face of a mountain of evidence, my heart finally accepted what part of my head already knew. Polygamy was created in the lustful mind of Joseph Smith and it was not a commandment of God.
This all started May last year, my wife and I went on a date, and decided to visit a bookstore. We would find some comfortable chairs and scan some books of interest. I always like to look around and a book called “Mormon America” caught my eye. I found the book interesting and started to scan the book. My wife soon joined me and picked up a copy as well. I got to the part on polygamy and I was taken back be claims about Joseph Smith and his wives. I could not believe what I read. My wife looked at me and asked “does this bother you”? I said that indeed it did. That night and for several more I could not sleep. Our whole belief system was beginning to be in question. My wife and I would discuss for hours why did this happen. We questioned if Joseph was a fallen prophet, why did Oliver Cowdery leave, and did this really happen. My wife questioned as much as I did. I got the book “Mormon Enigma” and checked the references. We both we very upset about what we read.
Up until that time we rarely entertained doubts that Mormonism could be anything but true. Like most Mormons we may have had fleeting moments when I questioned Church teachings, but these were rare, soon chased away in the knowledge that these doubts originated with Satan. I was generally comfortable with the teachings of the Church.
It was time for my wife to renew her temple recommend. She asked for me to come with her to meet with Bishop We met with the bishop and we laid our concerns on the table. He was floored, and didn’t know what to say. I don’t know if he knew the extent of church history, but his family comes from a line of polygamist. I told him how we have been taught that polygamy was due to the shortage of woman etc. He said whoever said that was irresponsible. He then said that, he believed that polygamy was an eternal principle and that it was his firm belief that it was to return again. He told my wife tan he could not give her temple recommend.
My wife even went so far as calling the Seventh Day and requesting information on their beliefs. The bishop was pressuring both my wife and I to attend the Nauvoo Temple dedication. My wife later went to the bishop and received her recommend when he said that to obtain a recommend, one does not need to have a testimony of polygamy. As I studied the life of Joseph Smith I found it abhorrent than most of his dastardly deeds were committed in Nauvoo. I didn’t want to attend the dedication of a building that to me represented evil.
My wife however, went to the dedication with lots of pressure from our bishop. She took the children and I stayed home. When my wife came home she said that the dedication was great. She told be that she got a personal witness that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and if I only went, I would have had the same witness. I was in shock. I couldn’t believe what she was saying.
For many months it had been essentially pointless telling my wife of my concerns. Communication channels were completely choked with emotions and discussion of concerns about the Church is off limits. This has stifled conversation within my family where a favourite topic used to be talking over little things at Church. A year ago I was a respected member of my family and I still would be if I had lied to myself that there was no problem. Like many Mormons their testimonies of the Church are tied very close to their emotions. Most have never seriously looked at the Church’s history or doctrines, and if they have it has only been through approved Church sources. Some have probably never studied church history more that the approved lesson manuals. It is a strange irony that those with a superficial understanding of the church history generally won’t appreciate the theological basis for my concerns.
My wife was convinced that I must have been negatively influenced by some anti-Mormon literature. They can't understand how someone who held weekly family home evening, has daily family scripture study, attends the temple, pays a full tithe, is a faithful hometeacher, etc. etc. could possibly lose his testimony.
Well, the explanation is simple: I prayed for a specific understanding and confirmation of the principle of polygamy. Nothing. I prayed harder. Nothing. The non-response became my resounding answer. (Of course, my wife, the Bishop and family tell me I didn't pray hard or long enough).
Last month my wife had enough, she served me with court orders the she wanted a separation and wanted out of the relationship. I had to move out of my home. My two older children practically ignore me.
Last night the TBM that introduced me to the church called and we had a long discussion. In effect, he told me that I deserved what I got because I changed the rules when I left the church. I told him that I made a marriage convent to my wife and not to the church. He told me that because I married in the temple, I had an obligation to my wife, and by leaving the church I broke the rules. He said that he could understand why my children would not want anything to do with me anymore.
The question I have is; does one leaving the church change the rules. We have changed several rules in our marriage since we got married. Does leaving the church really change the rules?
|Subject:||No, THEY are the ones changing the rules (edit)|
|Date:||Jun 09 18:00|
|Nice to see you again, Tie. I'm so sorry this has
happened to you.
The Church claims that families are forever, but tries to break up your earthly marriage if one of you leaves the Church. That's the Church changing their own rules, not you.
|Subject:||I feel for you...|
|Date:||Jun 09 18:04|
|I too was for a long time convinced that the church
must be true and that if I studied hard enough and prayed hard enough
the doubts I had about certain doctrines (for instance blacks couldn't
hold the p'hood when I joined) would eventually be answered. People I
talked to inc. various bishops and stake presidents, etc. couldn't
understand how someone could be sincere and not get the
"right" answer. After much soul searching and study I decided
I had to follow my conscience. Thankfully my wife felt the same way I
did (actually she had doubts before I did) and was supportive.
What I find astounding in your case is that your wife is willing to put ideas before her relationship with you. I don't know if its the shock of finding out about your doubts or some fear that you'll stop her from the CK... Maybe it's different here in the UK, because we don't have so many BIC members but it seems that people are more willing to accept differences in beliefs. I think your wife should admire you for having the integrity of going with your feelings and respect that. What I find disturbing is that for all the talk of religious toleration in the AoF, it seems to be a one way street i.e TBM expect non member spouses to respect their beliefs and support them but don't always afford the same courtesy to their non-believing or non-LDS spouses.
I hope it was a temporary "bleep" and your wife will come to realize that it is not the end of the world if you hold different beliefs from her. Unfortunately too many TBMs believe that loyalty to an organization is more important that a Christ-like life.
As I said I feel for you (I've had friends in the same situation) and I hope you and your wife will be able to talk it over and overcome religious differences.
All the best,
|Date:||Jun 09 18:09|
|I thought that when you described finding this
information together with your wife, there was going to be a happy
ending to this story.
I don't like this kind of thing at all. The church obfuscates and lies about Joseph Smith, and the person who discovers it and becomes concerned is made the bad guy. This kind of shit needs to end.
|Subject:||Re: Changing the Rules (long)|
|Date:||Jun 09 18:10|
|Remember, you have friends here. Hope you can hang
in there, boss.
Best wishes to you and please call on us if you need moral support or anything.
|Subject:||IMO, one of the fundamental problems...|
|Date:||Jun 09 18:12|
|... with our traditional western view (not just
Mormon, but it is arguably most pervasive in Mormon culture) of marriage
is that we view the vows as promises which fix a particular future in
stone, rather than as declarations about the relationship, which we will
use to guide our actions in a changing world (i.e. one without a known
future). It's a subtle but critical difference. In the former
interpretation, when the once-anticipated future is derailed by the
actions of a spouse, it is cataclysmic: the dreamed-of future is
fractured, and it is very difficult (if not impossible) to restore it.
However, in the latter interpretation, we are saying (in effect):
"From this moment forward, we are a couple, and our futures are
bound together. We don't know what those futures will be, but we commit
to move with the futures that do come, recognizing that our actions are
always the actions of human beings, to continue as a couple."
In my opinion, the second interpretation allows for a much more robust, flexible, and forgiving relationship.
In your case, your wife (and probably you as well) entered your marriage with a certain future in mind. That future was an integral part of the constitution of your marriage; Mormons who marry in the temple almost always do so with the "celestial plan" very much in mind. In your wife's mind, you made that future impossible through your words and actions. In her view, you definitely changed the rules.
Your story makes me very sad. Had there been a little more time for you and your wife to come to terms with your doubts, and recognize that the envisioned future was a 19th-century fantasy (which did not deserve to have a place of power in your marriage), then you might have come to a new, more flexible understanding at the heart of your marriage.
Make no mistake: events like the Nauvoo Temple dedication are used as powerful reinforcement in the control game played by the Mormon church. Local leaders are ordered to get the members to attend, and particular attention is usually paid to those members who seem to be on the fence.
|Subject:||I feel your pain.......|
|Date:||Jun 09 18:32|
|I left the church almost four years ago. When I
left, I was just released as a Bishop. I was faithful to the church and
really believed the whole story of the gospel. Tensions were enough that
my wife and I started having problems when I began to doubt. She
understood the problems but felt that the "Mormon culture" was
still honorable and good. Our marriage declined to the point that I
thought divorce was the ultimate outcome.
Today things are a lot better. My wife still attends church (once every six-eight weeks) and wears garments and listens to LDS/Christian music. However, she is aware that Joseph Smith was no prophet and only used people for his own purposes.
The only thing that worked for our marriage was I backed off my wife completely about religion. I even attended church for about a year to give her support. I even taught gospel doctrine. Yet, I was very neutral with my emotional commitment to the LDS church. Finally, my wife for whatever reason saw how inconsistent the church was compared to it's nineteenth century teachings. Although she is still somewhat TBM, I have to give her credit for trying. Spending your whole life in one religion that claims to be the total truth and then learning it is a fraud is too much for many people. It takes time for some people. Others never can see the truth.
I hope things work out for you.
|Subject:||Let's see...60,000 missionaries trying to change the rules...|
|Date:||Jun 09 18:19|
|for everyone they meet, yet a mormon who changes beliefs is ostracized as a satan follower....if the morg sends out missionaries by the thousands to change and disrupt other peoples lives, then the morg should allow the same. Too bad it acts like a cult, talks like a cult and looks like a cult...from the inside at least.|
|Subject:||Adieu, I think your wife was made from the same mold as mine|
|Date:||Jun 09 18:43|
|and that tbm friend as well. His statements came word for word out of my wife's mouth while I was expressing my concerns. I keep faking it week by week until I have enough guts to take the next step. There is no easy way out I have decided when your spouse is completely brainwashed ... My wife said she will definitely leave. I know what you are going through. Hang in there and take it slowly, step by step. Stay here at the board. It really helps. Good luck!|
|Subject:||I think we're in the same boat.|
|Date:||Jun 09 18:49|
|I have also been accused of "changing the
rules" on my wife. She says, "that means that everything that
you promised to me in the Temple is meaningless to you."
The fact of the matter is, we didn't change the rules, we were lied to. It isn't our fault that we were deceived.
Damn I hate the church
|Subject:||Reading your story was particularly painful....|
|Date:||Jun 09 18:50|
|I never like reading about marriages that break up
because of the Morg, but your story was even worse because your wife
started exiting with you, only to turn her back on you in the end--and
because of a Mormon PR event! You must have felt safe exploring Mormon
history because she was there with you. Perhaps others could learn from
this to do whatever they can to keep their fence-straddling spouses away
from such emotionally manipulative events. You must have been shocked to
find out that she had "regained her testimony" at the
When I left the Morg, my husband and I spent a weekend talking about leaving, during which we discussed all the doctrinal and historical problem we had found, and he actually convinced me that there was life outside Mormonism (having been raised in "Zion," I wasn't quite sure about this, lol). The next Monday, when I told him that I'd told some fellow grad students that I was leaving Mormonism, he said, "Oh, really? Well, I'm not." I was devastated and close to killing myself. I felt extremely betrayed. A year later, he left the Morg himself, though.
Are there any hopes for your marriage? Does your wife realize that being a divorced woman in Mormonism is stigmatized? Could you talk to her about propaganda and get her to think about how one can ascertain truth--that perhaps going by one's feelings isn't the best way to determine it?
|Subject:||your post made me cringe|
|Date:||Jun 09 19:06|
|I remember during my TBM days, that I used the exact
same argument against a friend who had fallen inactive. "When you
dated, when you engaged, when you married you presented your wife with
the person she married. You are no longer that person if you reject your
temple covenants. You have an obligation to maintain yourself and your
covenants as you presented them to her."
HMMMMMM, my exmo friend to whom I said that often has a good laugh at my expense, fortunately usually over a beer paid for by me.
Welcome Adieu, to the world of Mormon Castration! Your manhood and your fatherhood have been effectively wrapped up in your priesthood. Say Adieu.
|Subject:||Can I ever relate!|
|Date:||Jun 09 19:14|
|I am in a similar predicament. My wife and I are
trying to figure out what to do with my disaffection from the Church.
I totally disagree with your wife and friend. You married her, not the Church. I understand how the two may be hard to separate in her mind. I am sad that your kids don't realize that relationships between people, especially family members, are far more important than relationship with organizations, even supposedly divine ones. Has your bishop advised your wife? My bishop has encouraged my wife to stay in the marriage.
|Subject:||A few questions on whether YOU are the guilty party|
|Date:||Jun 09 19:38|
|(1) Were you baptized after 1969? If so then at what
level of honest accuracy did the CoJCoLdS try to disclose to you the
Book of Abraham problems?
(2) Were you baptized after 1998? If so then at what level of honest accuracy did the CoJCoLdS try to disclose to you the Lamanite/DNA problems?
(3) At what level of honest accuracy did the CoJCoLdS try to disclose to you the facts on Masonry & Temple endowment?
(4) At what level of honest accuracy did the CoJCoLdS try to disclose to you the known facts on Mormonism and polygamy?
If the CoJCoLdS was indeed very honest with you then you have indeed been the rulebreaker and shame on you buddy for destroying your marriage. However if they weren't honest with you (as I suspect) then SHAME ON THE CHURCH.
I feel SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO sorry for you buddy in how your marriage has been hurt and father-child relations hurt by all this. I feel very lucky that my wife and I see Mormonism the same now.
|Subject:||A contract is only as valid as the HONESTY of the information it contains...|
|Date:||Jun 09 20:44|
|... the church lied from the outset! You and your
wife trusted them. The Morg intentionally misrepresented and hid vital
details at the time you entered the agreement. Now the Morg is saying
that YOU are the one at fault by "changing". You didn't
change, you just reacted to being LIED to. It's because of THEIR deceit
that all deals are off now. That's fully understandable in any
agreement. What's left now is the love you and your wife have - minus
the church. That's what she has to face. The fault is completely with
Good luck friend.
|Subject:||If they 'd been honest from the start, you'd do the same thing you're doing now. You HAVEN'T changed!|
|Subject:||THEY lie, but YOU'RE guilty. Slick work. n/t|
|Subject:||This is kind of a rant, so beware!|
|Date:||Jun 09 20:57|
|This "changing the rules" bit comes from
Dr. Laura almost every other day. I have heard her use this line on
people who are in clearly abusive relationships due to religious
fanatacism and she always insists that the person made a deal on their
wedding day and they stick with it unalterably. When religion is
involved, no rational growth is permitted.
Apart from the issues of mormonism, have you told your wife that in your heart you don't believe that Jesus Christ authored eternal polygamy? I mean, let's look at Jesus all alone since this is supposedly a Christian church, and after clearing the mind of mormon peculiarities, how can she possibly believe that Christ prepared a heaven for her that looks like this?
This is what I don't understand, although when I was a TBM I never calmed down enough to ask myself whether I truly believed in my deepest heart, that Jesus Christ would prepare such a depressing and punishing "heaven" for me. Why would God treat me this way?
They can go on and on about how we don't understand everything right now, but what part of goodness and divinity and heavenliness is apparent in such a teaching? Why would we be tested in this way to believe such a belief that is so denigrating to the subconscious if not the conscious mind of a woman?
This world has enough trials in it that we should be comforted in our beliefs of heaven. Isn't that what a concept of heaven is for, literal or not, in order to envision divine perfection as a hope and respite from our earthly cares?
I hope I am understood here. I am not talking about whether Christ is real or heaven is real. I am talking about a concept that holds great meaning in our subconscious life and health. If our beliefs are so skewed that we warp our imaginations enough to call ugliness beauty and sin divine, then we do damage to our ability to conceptualize possibilities in healthy ways.
I guess what I am saying is, that whether our beliefs turn out to be literally accurate is not as important as the artful concepts behind the beliefs. Mormons believe such ugly things that disturb and warp the inner life. That is why cognitive dissonance creates such problems on a deep deep level.
The damage that I sustained growing up female in the mormon church and believing fervently in things that caused me great distress is the legacy that I am left with for the remainder of my days, for I cannot root out the warping of my inner life that occured while I was young and innocent and developing a self-concept that included such pain. When the Elizabeth Smart recovery broke in the news, all of my pent-up outrage spilled forth, and I had not attended church in a dozen years!
Try the polygamy angle with her once more. She is in denial right now. She is afraid of changing so she throws all of her fear of evolving onto you and sees you as the only one who has changed. She has changed too for she has developed more and increasing levels of denial due to her exposure to these issues last year. She has abandoned the marriage, not you. She is the one doing all of the changing. Your change is small and rational and open in comparison to the havoc she is wreaking.
My heart goes out to you.
I hate what has evolved from the lies and lusts of J.S.
Look at the outcomes in people's marriages! We call a polygamous marriage sacred and a monogamous one evil. Behold the warping of love and marriage! We all dream of a soul mate who fulfills our every need. Obviously real life falls short and we learn to love realistically, but it is important to hold these concepts in our imaginations.
As we age and our beauty fades, it is a lovely thing to be able to hold in our mind's eye the vision of our beloved as they were alongside what they now are. Our inner life feeds our outer life and keeps us whole. When we look at our children we see them on a spectrum, don't we? They may be 30 now, but we still see in them every age we have witnessed. They are whole. If that child becomes broken in some way, we hold in our memory or imaginative faculties the unbroken image too.
I'm being too crazy and abstract now. What has happened to you is a tragedy. Hang in there.
|Subject:||Your rant makes sense to me, Amelia....|
|Date:||Jun 09 21:14|
|I think that your idea about how one's conceptions of heaven are important to one's emotional state are very interesting. I think a lot of exmormon women can relate to your feelings about polygamy and sexism in "the church." Thanks for sharing.|
|Subject:||Rules? What rules? It's a marriage, not a personal services contract.|
|Date:||Jun 09 22:25|
|Furthermore, the marriage takes place under the laws
of the state wherein you are married, performed by officers of the state
or those to whom that power is delegated (such as ministers or ship
captains at sea). THERE ARE NO EXTRA MORMON RULES ABOUT YOUR MARRIAGE.
"Mormon marriage" is not some special type of marriage where the spouses pledge eternal loyalty to the Church. Hell, JOSEPH'S WIFE EMMA left the Church when she got the chance--she didn't want to follow a bunch of polygamists. Who would? Sounds like your closet polyg Bishop is about a hundred years behind the times. Buy him a copy of Krakauer's book when it comes out later this summer, and sign it "to my polygamist Bishop."
There is of course your marriage itself, which is a flexible institution like any other. You make your own rules. If a TBM spouse is under the illusion that a marriage is doomed simply because their spouse develops different religious convictions, from whom are they getting this idea? Not from the Bible (Paul counseled otherwise). Not from the official Church. It must be from their Bishop under the table, or from TBM family members, or from their own mistaken TBM myths. Or from Satan (throw that one out on the table sometime).
Who says dumb ideas can't hurt people? But Mormons are notoriously incapable of self-correcting their own dumb ideas. Think of people who tithe themselves into poverty. Think of Mormons who scoff at Catholics who believe in transubstantiation or purgatory, while Mormons swallow the Liahona, seeing stones, wooden Jaredite submarines, baptism for dead people, Joseph's secret polygamy, Brigham's public polygamy, blood atonement, Mountain Meadows, . . . the list is endless.
Your TBM friend is a typical Mormon vulture, exulting in your misfortune. A moral coward, ignore him. If your wife saw the light once upon a time, there is hope for her. Get a good attorney and play for time. In the meantime, stay on the high road and keep good documentation. Good luck. It's not your fault--bad things happen to good people.
Geez, you would think the Big 15 of the Family Church would have put a footnote in the Proclamation on the Family telling TBM spouses to love their marriage partners.
|Subject:||It's been a year and ten days since our divorce|
|Date:||Jun 10 00:16|
|and my wife's argument was practically the same as
We were married under Mormon temple covenant. To her my disbelief and resignation from the church also meant the rejection and breaking of that covenant.
When she announced she wanted a legal separation and would be moving across the country with the children for a year in order to compell my repentance and reconversion, I filed for divorce.
Sometimes our choices are not between what will make us happy or unhappy, but between the kinds of pain we must live with.
|Subject:||What rules? n/t|
|Date:||Jun 10 00:22|
|Author:||girl in the box|
|Subject:||Re: Changing the Rules (long)|
|Date:||Jun 10 00:42|
|You will never get validation from them. They live
in a flawed system. Flawed results is all you can expect. Don't
cloud your mind trying to understand it. Their rules change as needed. Doctrines (or lack thereof) are at the whim of he who interprets it.
You can't win on this playing field of shifting sand. They play with the end result in mind, the end result being you are wrong. Playing with them only emboldens their minds.
Playing with them endorses their superior stance. Arguing makes you look defensive.
|Subject:||Re: Changing the Rules (long)|
|Date:||Jun 10 01:31|
Wow, I was floored myself, just reading your posting. It has been a traumatic and painful time for you. A long, and as it sounds, happy marriage, didn't stand the test of truth. How painful, how sad. What can another person say to you to be of comfort?? I don't think there are enough words in the world to be able to pick the right ones for something like this. I admire your strength, your dedication to your children, and your belief in the sanctity of truth. Yes, you will endure a great sadness, but just think how much more great the sadness would be to go through your whole life and not live in truth. Your children will come to you one day, and I hope that your relationships will heal and be strong again. Your wife?, well I pray that she too will have an epiphany, and accept truth in this matter.
Because of this cult, I too, had great trauma in my life, and though there has been no resolve on the issues, I can blame some of that on a dysfunctional life beforhand. I still have hope that I may one day embrace my son again, but it does not control my life, and I face each day convinced that truth, love, and humility will guide me. I have a great personal faith, but I do not attend any religious services by choice.
|Subject:||Re: Changing the Rules (long)|
|Date:||Jun 10 10:10|
|Author:||Been there, Got the T-Shirt|
|Within all relationships rules change all the time.
Some changes are agreeed upon, others are not.
As my parents told me may times "Life's Not Fair"
|Subject:||Your wife needs to learn how dangerous "warm feelings" can be!|
|Date:||Jun 10 10:42|
|People can talk themselves into a state of blissful
euphoria. I've seen it happen. In a group they can feed each others'
desperations or hopes in such an increasing spiral that they jointly
lose contact with reality. I've watched mass marketing and pyramid sales
groups pull this stuff off. It's frightening. It's so effective that
people make appointments to take out second mortgages in the foyers
after the presentations. I've seen people eventually lose their homes!
Religion can do it too. Beautiful music and surroundings, enthusiastic crowds, wondrous promises, being told exactly what you're dying to hear--yet it's all masterful deceit!
|Subject:||This is precisely why I keep my questions/doubts hidden; I fear the exact same thing happening to me. nt|