|Subject:||Why I was never happy in mormonism.|
|Date:||Sep 30 06:48 2003|
|Today it became clear to me why mormonism has stood
the in the way of my happiness. It's because so many of the great
sources of happiness have been condemned or distorted.
Love for instance, one of the greatest sources for happiness, is not a natural response in mormonism. It is a commandment, what mormons seems to misunderstand is that a commandment to love is a contradiction in terms. There is no such thing as forced love. Either you choose to love because that is what you want to or it isn't love. To love because "you have to" or "you ought to" or because you'll somehow be punished if you don't. That isn't love. It cannot be, because what makes love the virtue it is is the fact that you love because that is what you want to.
Living in the moment is something I have found essential in experiencing any kind of happiness. But as a mormon, I was continually discouraged from that, my "eternal salvation" was the only thing that mattered. Mormons are encouraged to worry about their future constantly. That is no way of feeling happiness.
Pride. I have, to my surprise, found that pride is not a vice but a great virtue. It is one of the most essential things for a healthy self esteem to feel pride about oneself, and it is happiness to do so as well. Contrary to what I as a mormon was thought. My moments of pride haven't made me "evil". On the contrary, the moments of self esteem has made me a thousand times more capable of empathy and interest in others.
Pleasure. As a mormon I was constantly told that pleasure doesn't equal happiness. Doesn't it? What is life except an continous flow of pleasure and pain? Masturbating is discouraged, alcohol and drugs are discouraged. To actually enjoy any kind of pleasure was discouraged. And for no other reason than that doctrine that feeling any kind of pleasure except burnings in the bosom was evil.
To avoid alcohol because addictiveness and hangovers is one thing very much different from avoiding it because one think it's evil to feel any kind of pleasure.
Thinking back I realize that my only legetimit happiness was "burning in the bosoms". I was unable to love on commandment, I was told that pride is evil, I was encouraged to worry about my future instead of enjoying the moment and the only pleasure that was church-approved was to "feel the holy ghost". No wonder I was miserable. And this also makes it understandable why it was so hard for me to leave mormonism. My only "legitime" happiness was "spiritual feelings". The only happiness I could allow myself without guilt was church-approved. With that assumption unchallanged it was impossible to imagine that happiness actually do exist outside mormonism and that I have the right to feel it.
I don't claim to be extraordinary happy right now, in fact I'm overwhelmed with problems, but it's still such an improvement from where I've been. I know what happiness is, how to achieve it and I'm improving my ability to achieve it everyday that goes by. And all those little things that makes me happy, I'm allowing myself to appreciate them. I've learned more about happiness in my two years out of church than I learned in my twenty years in mormondom.
|Subject:||If there was an apostate Bible, your post could be Genesis.|
|Date:||Sep 30 08:15|
|You have described what I feel: my worst Sunday
morning working in my garden is still better than the best Sunday
morning in church.
|Subject:||Re: Why I was never happy in mormonism.|
|Date:||Sep 30 08:21|
|I can honestly say that the years I was in this
church and tried the hardest, were the most awful years of my life. In
fact ,it was a nightmare . Once I stepped back and truly investigated
what was going on, the perpetual cloud of doom started to lift. I still
believe in God/Christ but have very little use for organized religion.
|Date:||Sep 30 08:59|
|I was never more UNHAPPY than when I was practicing
mormonism to its fullest. A prayer constantly in the heart, reading the
scriptures throughout the day, paying tithing, and fulfilling my church
duties only made me distracted, narrowly focused, broke, and stressed
out. At least for me the illusion of "enduring to the end" was
a terrible curse on my life and my soul.
How so you might ask? Well, for one I couldn't relate to real people. I felt so out of touch from the thought processes of the everyman and every woman. For example, love songs I heard on the radio held no significant meaning to me. I could only snort out a response that if those singers were living the gospel they'd have no reason to be singing the songs they sing! Ha. Pathetic. Now, when I hear a song about passion, love, betrayal, heartache, or happiness I get it. I get it! I feel it to the core. Quite frankly it's more of a spiritual experience to connect with the words of an entertainer than those of a "prophet".
Masturbation is good. Alcohol and drug use strike me as benign as long as people maintain control. Interpersonal relationships are centered around people now rather than a mythical figure or an institution. I'm allowed to like or dislike those (and vice versa) based on instinct and interaction...and that's ok...it's natural. Politics are no longer driven by dogma. And yes, I keep a extra good chunk of change in my pocket every month that in all reality helps me make ends meet.
So, yes, life is better without the morg. It's still hard, but it's better. I'm a happier person than I've ever thought possible....though living sans eternal illusions make life a little threatening for me. I'll take that though...I'll take it over the Lie.
|Subject:||There was a time when I was happy to be Mormon|
|Date:||Sep 30 10:24|
|I enjoyed BYU, I met my wife, I had wonderful
friends all through graduate school, I had a social support system, I
had a loving family, and my brothers were my best friends.
I was content and happy being Mormon for about 35 years.
Then, I began to grow disillusioned. I began to travel the world and observe that Mormon theology was utterly incapable of explaining the world I saw. I began to think critically about my own beliefs. I began to be conscious of all the things I heard in church that I found I could no longer believe. My happiness turned to creeping discontent. My creeping discontent eventually turned into utter contempt.
I am now out of the church. My relationship with my wife is at times tenuous. I've lost my church friends, I've lost my social support system, I am now the pitied apostate in my family, I am not a full participating member of the family (my oldest brother did not invite me to his daughters wedding or reception), my other brothers, my best friends my entire life, now have little to do with me and talk about me behind my back. I am watching my children being indoctrinated in what I believe to be an authoritarian, soul destroying cult (although doing everything I can to deprogram them).
So, am I happier now than when I was TBM. Truth be told, probably not. Would I ever want to go back to what I was. Not in a million years.
Thus sometimes is the price of freedom.
|Subject:||I can somewhat relate Mojo Jojo|
|Date:||Sep 30 13:16|
|I too had a wonderful upbringing in a very
supportive family and Ward. There are a lot of good reasons for my
remaining a TBM, but unfortunately, the truth isn't one of them.
I didn't recognize how stifling the Morg was until I started pursuing a different path, but I still value to the friendships I had from my years of being active. People who contributed to my life I still value very much and I've had a hard time with publicly exposing the church for what it is because of those relationships.
And for whatever reasons, how some of these people feel about me is still important to me. I praise your courage for making a clean break and certainly understand that it hasn't been clear sailing, for I know my troubles breaking away from the Morg are just beginning.
|Subject:||real human emotions are wonderful|
|Date:||Sep 30 10:36|
|As a Mormon I spent all my time thinking about how I
should act, what I should think, and how I should feel. It was like
living life in the 3rd person. Since leaving, I can actually live my own
life rather than trying to live some idealized life to put on the cover
of the Ensign. I can look at my actions and not think about what I
'should' be doing, but instead just do things. I make decisions based on
my personality, my circumstances, and my reality instead of some
arbitrary rules and some idealized reality that the church tries to
create. Life is so much more real, so much more honest, and so much more
fulfilling when I don't have to live it through the filter of the
gospel. Thanks for a great post.
|Subject:||I truly believe the reason Mormons are discouraged from socializing with gentiles...|
|Date:||Sep 30 11:04|
|...is NOT the fear of picking up bad habits or false
beliefs, it's the fear of learning what real happiness is. So
they keep members focused on the church, soaking up as much of their
free time as possible, so they have no time or energy to hang with
nonmembers. And all the while the church pumps the message "You are
happy, they are not" into the brains of the believers.
|Subject:||I was happy...|
|Date:||Sep 30 12:43|
|...but I think I have this overly annoying tendency
to look on the bright side of things no matter where I am. :-)
So I was never particularly unhappy in mormonism. It just turns out that I'm even happier out of mormonism. Who would have imagined it?
Indeed, I was a classic TBM, feeling sorry for all those poor souls who didn't live the gospel and know the "true" happiness that I felt. I simply couldn't imagine being happier, or even happy at all outside of mormonism, given that I was indoctrinated with the idea that mormonism held the key to real happiness.
So it was quite a surprise to find out that mormonism had nothing to do with it all, except to drag it down.
|Subject:||What about greed? Is that not a virtue?|
|Date:||Sep 30 12:58|
|I've been reading Ayn Rand. Is not greed what has
led to our comfortable standard of living? Inventors and businesspeople
are after money and fame. When the ocean rises, all boats rise with it.
So I believe that greed is a virtue. I think it is similar to pride - given an evil connotation whilst we benefit from those who practice it.
|Subject:||Thanks for those thoughts Breffie.|
|Date:||Sep 30 13:18|
|I wasn't happy either in mormonism - not at all,
ever. As a young adult I don't think I had any idea what happiness even
meant. Mormonism isn't happiness - it's slavery to someone else's need
for control, someone else's plan for their sexual gratification that
went awry and accidentally became a religion/cult.
Look around at the mormons you know. Do they look even remotely happy to you? I get depressed just thinking about them. I'm going back to thinking about sex.
|Subject:||Brefots, you said . . .|
|Date:||Sep 30 13:32|
|Brefots, you stated, "Mormons are encouraged to
worry about their future constantly. That is no way of feeling
You are so right! In Mormonism the emphasis is on the future (living with God someday, etc.) and the past, i.e. things to remember or to repent of. However, the reality of it seems to be that the past is memories and the future does not exist.
It is so typical of Mormonism to keep people out of the present, and they do this in order to exert control. If you can keep people off-balanced and dependent by making them think that they have to work at something, either in the past (repentance), or in the future (salvation), then you are able to control their actions as well. You can make people give you money, labor, and devotion because they fear not getting what you have to offer, i.e. eternal sex, living with God, being in control of others who are not as good as you are, etc.
Authentic happiness, in my opinion, comes from living in the present because that's what is real. Goals are one thing, but living in fear of not obtaining a celestial reward is enervating and rots the fabric of personal freedom and discovery.
|Subject:||The Gospel doesn't care about your happiness in this life.|
|Date:||Sep 30 14:12|
|The purpose of the Gospel is to prepare your soul
So if God's Plan for You causes you to be depressed, anxious, and bankrupt, go ahead and be upset about it. It's not God's fault you're unhappy, it's yours. If you must be dragged kicking and screaming to Church by your home teachers and your TBM relatives and your devout neighborhood gossips, too bad. You'll be on your knees thanking Jesus and Joseph in the CK someday. How great will be your joy.
(Boy oh boy... I used to believe that stuff!)
I've learned more about happiness in my two years out of church than I learned in my twenty years in mormondom.
Well said! Same here.
|Subject:||Re: Why I was never happy in mormonism.|
|Date:||Sep 30 23:34|
|I really enjoyed reading your thoughts. Especially
the perspective on being "commanded to love". Hmmm... :)) I
find it much easier to love people I'm not afraid of; I find it easier
to not be afraid of people who are different now that I don't have to
walk around as one of the frozen chosen. It was pretty boring up on that