Subject: A lesson in a Mormon father's cruelty and manipulation
Date: Mar 05 14:54 2004
Author: Horatio

I’m new to the board, though I’ve been lurking long enough to learn the vernacular. I’m a BIC RM MIT TBM  (until recently).  [BIC=Born in the Covenant (born to parents married in the Mormon Temple),  RM = Returned Missionary (served a 2 year mission for the church), MIT =Married in the Mormon Temple, TBM = True Believing Mormon]   The past month has been agony as I have discovered the reality of my religion. Yesterday, I learned a lesson in cruelty and manipulation from my former Bishop and father.

Some background is needed. I grew up in an ultra TBM family. My father is a fanatic, a zealot. He has devoted his entire life to the Morg at the expense of everything else. To give you an idea where his mindset is, here’s a quick story: After returning from my mission, I sinned by viewing the movie, Shindler’s List. Somehow, my father found this out and angrily confronted me. I told him how strongly I felt the “spirit” while watching the film and he promptly responded that I was feeling a false spirit from Satan. He explained the holy ghost would never be present at an R-rated movie.

Growing up as a youth, saturated in Morg dogma, I wanted to be just as pious and valiant as my father. I was by anyone’s measure a straight arrow and agonized even at the thought of sin. When I was 18, I became involved with a girl I knew from high school. The relationship became quite intense, despite the efforts of my parents to thwart it. We spent quite a bit of time alone and eventually we messed up (short of intercourse). Prior to this, I had never gone beyond kissing. The burden of guilt and shame I was under absolutely crushed me. The only thing that prevented me from killing myself was the belief that God would only condemn me further. I had committed the worst sin next to murder. I was not only emotionally destroyed, but also physically ill – constant vomiting. I mustered up my courage and submitted myself to the authorities. My Bishop at the time was MY FATHER. I recall the utter devastation my confession had on him. He made me dictate to him all the lurid details. He told me I would have to submit myself to a court of love (keep in mind, I was not yet endowed). His emotions got out of control, tears turned into rage as he excoriated me for disobeying his orders to stay away from my harlot girlfriend. Despite his threats, I never attended that court of love. Instead I was sentenced to a few weeks of sacrament prohibition. The situation was potentially very embarrassing for my bishop father, to have his perfect son dishonor our perfect family (in reality our family was a model of dysfunction). I cannot explain just how seriously I took my transgression. Despite my contrition, I felt no sense of forgiveness or grace, just humiliation, torment and scorn. I know it may sound melodramatic, even silly to some, but as a product of an ultra TBM culture, this incident caused profound emotional damage.

Twelve years later, I am happily married and active (though becoming less so) in the church. I’ve given my father two beautiful grandchildren. My relationship with him has always been a bit strained in part because of that “incident” long ago. Yesterday during a visit to his home, the subject of church came up (as it always does). I mentioned my recent studies of early Mormon history. I asked for his thoughts on the BoA and JS’s marriages to other men’s wives. I admit I was stupid to bring it up. He responded harshly by denouncing everything as a filthy lie then resorted to the ultimate TBM retort by bearing his testimony in a loud but quivering voice. He became angry and started to give me an impromptu temple recommend interview. “Are you paying your tithing? Do you attend all your meetings? Do you obey the law of chastity?” I could honestly answer yes, but I didn’t respond. I was too upset. Upset that my intellectual curiosity meant that I was sinning. He warned me of the “road of great sorrow” I was headed down. In true manipulative form, he told me how I was destroying my wife and children. “I feel so bad for your dear wife and sweet children, that the priesthood has been torn from their lives.” Then he stooped to the lowest and sickest levels of manipulation by saying, “remember that time before your mission”. At first I didn’t know what he was referring to, but then he made it very clear. Apparently, my grievous sin from twelve years ago has allowed Satan to incubate in my soul all these years – so much for the atoning power of the Savior. So this must be why I’m questioning my faith. That he would bring up something like this and use it as a club to beat me with is truly despicable, not to mention it goes against the most fundamental precepts of his church’s doctrine (supposedly). I immediately left his house while telling him what little respect I had left for him.

Thank you Father. Thank you Bishop. Go to Hell!

Subject: Hooooo, boy, Horatio!
Date: Mar 05 15:04
Author: elee

That is just horrible! It's bad enough to have to confess your "sins" to a bishop, but I am sure it is so much worse when the bishop is your own father. I have no doubt the whole incident caused you a great deal of pain and anguish.

Upset that my intellectual curiosity meant that I was sinning.

Yeah, this is utterly insidious, isn't it? I faced this myself on numerous occasions from my oh so loving ward members. Still raises the hackles on my neck just thinking about it.

Welcome to the board (as a poster!). I hope you can find some peace of mind, or at least some support, here.

Subject: Read my post in the biography section...for my experience with a court of love....
Date: Mar 05 15:06
Author: Johnnie Cake

Honestly my heart breaks for you my friend...Don't blame your father...he is only doing what he has been programmed to do by the MORG. Its a very sad reality. Families are forever? Forgiveness is one of the greatest gifts one person can offer another....unfortunately this is not a lesson your father has learned....However Christ taught it and practiced it...and although I don't have a great believe in god or Christ...I have a hope that He's true...and feel confident that if he does exist...then he has certainly forgiven you...

Never give up on your search for truth.....

Subject: The stories I read here are often
Date: Mar 05 15:25
Author: billy budd

so incredible that if they were intended as fiction, no one would believe them. But I believe you. In fact the whole thing sounds all too familiar.

It's almost as if the religious belief has taken over your father's identity and colored his love. Your only survival strategy is to live a life that would force him to doubt, and that is, a successful, well adjusted, financially stable and happy exmormon - someone who in his mind should not exist.

Subject: Sounds all too familiar to me too
Date: Mar 05 15:30
Author: mikemgc

Only difference is that I was shunned more than railed at...

Subject: Your reality check (cussing)
Date: Mar 05 15:57
Author: AFNO

Your father is a f**kING ASSHOLE!

And he has completely f**kED YOU UP. I feel sorry for you that you had such a disgusting, pathetic, asinine, stupid, ridiculous, f**khead for a Dad. He did a huge disservice to you, he SCREWED you over, my friend.

Of ALL the people who need to run AWAY from the cult, it's you. Get the f**k away from your Dad, from the MoCult and regain your own gawdam life! Come here, regain your brain, decompress for everything your sick bastard Dad did to you and learn to live in a truly happy way. You can be free of it all.


Subject: Agreed. Don't let this spread to YOUR kids
Date: Mar 05 16:03
Author: nonmemberfriend

Whether or not you believe in any part of the Mormon church, your dad's extreme positions can only hurt your kids.

Subject: Re: A lesson in cruelty and manipulation
Date: Mar 05 16:10
Author: flyer

I had a TBM parent like this: was extreme in keeping al the rules, and very authoritarian to the point of abusing family.

When I decided to leave Mormonism and began explaining it, after gently letting this parent see my non-interest over two years, he exploded. I think it was more a case of his "denial" that all his best efforts still didn't make me a brainwashed sheep like the other siblings.

Then I detected a certain amount of anger that this parent felt because I had several conversations with him in which he admitted serious doubts about Mormon doctrines. But he was very much an "appearances man" and had to try to show me and others that he chose correctly, even if it was breaking him up inside.

In the end, I felt great sorrow, rather than anger, for this parent, realizing that he had felt he could not leave it and was trapped.

Still, I understand and empathize with the pain of having such a parent. I think it can do great damage and but it is possible to heal with time and patience.

Subject: thanks for sharing your story Horatio (language)
Date: Mar 05 16:14
Author: msmom

Warmest good wishes.

If there were an after life where people get what they deserve - your father would have to spend 12 years watching a video of himself being a consummate asshole. And if, after 12 years, he could not come crawling on his knees to beg your forgiveness he can watch the thing for eternity!

I wonder what HIS upbringing was like. What a sick cult that institution is!

Subject: Re: A lesson in cruelty and manipulation
Date: Mar 05 16:35
Author: Gaea
Mail Address:

I hope your wife is on your side so you and your little family can fade out of this horror masquerading as a church. You would be well served to break of all relations with your fanatical father because I doubt he will let up on you. The less communication the better. Who needs this crap from toxic parents. I am glad you clearly see the manipulation.  Carefully plan your exit strategy. I wish you the best.

Subject: The Morg really clouds family relationships
Date: Mar 05 17:12
Author: Spunky

My heart goes out to you. If there was ever a dysfunctional father, I think yours qualifies.

I hate what the Morg does to family relationships. You can never "really" be forgiven, and the true blessings of having children is totally outweighed by calling children to repentance. I would think your father would be enjoying his grandchildren, and feel good that you were raising them.

My first daughter became pregnant when she was planning to have a "temporal" marriage. Since I have never been ultra TBM, I was happy for her, helped her get married, enjoyed the experience of having a grandson. I worried a little because I thought she might be a little selfish, not wanting to get up in the middle of the night to take of her son. But I realized I had raised her right when she never complained about loving and taking care of her son. I knew that she would never hurt or neglect him, and was so happy to have a grandson.

If I had been ultra TBM, I would have been shameful that she
didn't have a temple marriage, and all that. Your father is really missing out on the important things in life. and
that what the church does to you if you allow it.

Love your family, take care and pride in your children, stay away from your Dad, and find loving people out there.

You don't deserve the cruelty and manipulation you got.
Be glad you are getting away from your Dad.

Subject: Messed Up?
Date: Mar 05 18:42
Author: SL Cabbie

Stopping short of intercourse is messing up? Not in my book, particularly when teen age hormones are way past the boiling point in a pressure cooker that's been clamped shut for years . . . no, if an old fart like yours truly held back it would be no big deal, but teenagers? Hey the Bishop's Daughter and I had our moments thirty-odd ago, but let me tell you I carry my restraint as a badge of honor even if I did cop a feel once or twice . . . I think she felt bad about the French kissing, but I tell you . . .

I'm always re-thinking my values on teen-age sexuality--haven't come to any conclusions, though--and it seems to me it's a situation where the old geezers who've forgotten what it was like to be young are making the rules.

You did just fine and probably learned something as well. Welcome, and if this place seems like purgatory, it's just because you're walking out of hell and this is a way station on your journey.

Lovely set of perspectives your old man left you with about women, of course; you'll probably want to leave them somewhere by the roadside . . . girlfriend a harlot, huh? Couldn't be that she was a nice girl who liked his decent, well-mannered son and wanted to share something precious with him . . .

Subject: thank you all for your thoughts, but just to CLARIFY...
Date: Mar 05 18:54
Author: Horatio

harlot was his word, NOT mine. The way I wrote that was perhaps confusing.

Subject: Re: thank you all for your thoughts, but just to CLARIFY...
Date: Mar 05 19:06
Author: Gaea

Horatio, you should have married her and let your folks deal with THAT.

Subject: What a messed up father--he rejects his son and all his son wants is to be loved and accepted
Date: Mar 05 19:02
Author: SusieQ#1

like all children.

This kind of fanatical Mormon has turned his religion into a mental illness and destroys everything in his path.

Running his mouth will cost him everything he so desperately wants; love of his children and grandchildren. Unfortunately, he will never have it.

The man is not fit to be around his family !

I don't know how you deal with such evil. Ignore it, cut off contact, refuse to deal with him? You would certainly be well within your rights to do just that.

Mormonism produces some very sick people.

Subject: I hate to tell you this.
Date: Mar 05 19:04
Author: Cheryl

If that was my dad, I'd distance myself from him.

Can you move? Can you tell him you need a few months away from him after such an outburst? You are the adult here, not him.

What about your wife? Is she supportive of you? Is she TBM?

My heart breaks for you. But the truth is that your church, your bishop, and your father are all dictatorial, malfunctioning, and unloving influences in your life. No one needs that kind of continuous negativity.

I hope you can create space for yourself and a happier future. Try to keep us posted. Good luck.

Subject: It makes me wonder what your dad is covering up.
Date: Mar 05 19:04
Author: MySongAngel

You don't really believe that he is as perfect as he expects you to be, do you? This makes me sick. What an a-hole.

Subject: Your father is mentally ill . . .
Date: Mar 05 20:56
Author: Eddie

and the church both masks and magnifies his pathology. Healthy, well-adjusted adults (Mormon or not) do not behave that way toward their children.

Remove yourself and your family from your father's influence regardless of whether you remain in the church.

I am sorry your father is a monster, but you are a grown man and must now chart your own course. Steer clear of that man.

Handling with extreme caution, I am


Subject: Re: sounds like a plague,
Date: Mar 05 21:15
Author: cienfuegos

unwholesome, noxious, pestilent, infectious, VENOMOUS....indigestible.
go away with your family, save your life......

Subject: You've started down a difficult road, Horatio. Many of us....
Date: Mar 05 22:50
Author: Observer 2

have traveled it before you. You'll have to take things slowly and carefully. Hopefully, the end result will be that your integrity is intact and that you have been true to yourself. Hopefully, and most importantly, your wife and kids will be able to travel that road with you. The doubts you have mentioned are but the tiniest tip of the iceberg. The more you study, the more obvious the truth becomes and the harder it is to remain an active LDS. The lack of Christ-like love displayed by church leaders was/is a warning light to me - and you too, I suspect. Good luck; we're here to support you.

Subject: This is a father trying to "break the will" of his son...
Date: Mar 05 23:13
Author: Once There Too

It's a power struggle. Read #316 in the Short Topics section. It's part of the Mormon mentality.

Subject: It sounds to me like it's all about "image", to Horatio's father
Date: Mar 05 23:39
Author: Q&A

: if it were about "money" then it would be "keeping up with the Joneses".

It's about the "image" of a "perfect family": and that, on the very face of it, is a great big sham of a lie.

Horatio should have said to his Bishop Father,
"Can you be angry and sin not, Father?"
(Nope. I guess NOT!)

Subject: It is alike your interest, and mine,
Date: Mar 05 23:50
Author: SLDrone

"O father, O mother, O wife, O brother, O friend, I have lived with you after appearances hitherto. Henceforward I am the truth's. Be it known unto you that henceforward I obey no law less than the eternal law. I will have no covenants but proximities. I shall endeavor to nourish my parents, to support my family, to be the chaste husband of one wife, — but these relations I must fill after a new and unprecedented way. I appeal from your customs. I must be myself. I cannot break myself any longer for you, or you. If you can love me for what I am, we shall be the happier. If you cannot, I will still seek to deserve that you should. I will not hide my tastes or aversions. I will so trust that what is deep is holy, that I will do strongly before the sun and moon whatever inly rejoices me, and the heart appoints. If you are noble, I will love you; if you are not, I will not hurt you and myself by hypocritical attentions. If you are true, but not in the same truth with me, cleave to your companions; I will seek my own. I do this not selfishly, but humbly and truly. It is alike your interest, and mine, and all men's, however long we have dwelt in lies, to live in truth."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Subject: A great step.
Date: Mar 06 00:20
Author: CTRNoMO

Congratulations! Your father will never have the control to manipulate you again. Like all bullies they back down when they don't get the response they are after.
Print out a copy of the genealogy from the churches web site on JS to give to your dad and list who was currently married to another man.
Good luck on your journey.

Subject: Welcome Horatio
Date: Mar 06 00:32
Author: Tyler

I have to admit, upon reading the ultimate in conditional love, guilt and shame heaped upon you by your father, my first impulse was a desire to remove all of his teeth from his mouth and hand them to him with a smile.

I knew your father in other people but never had to live with such fanatical, hypocritical people in my personal life.

I hope you resolve the many issues that are sure to arise as you contemplate your spiritual path. I also hope that you either start a life without your father anywhere in it, or get counseling to heal the relationship and have your father hear from a trained professional to his face what a f**king turd he has been.

Good luck,

Subject: Life is weird
Date: Mar 06 01:43
Author: mikemgc

I'm not sure how old you are but I've been down this road. If your experience is like mine, eventually there will be a day where you are the adult and your father is the child. It's nature's way. The parent ages, becomes feeble, and relies on their child for encouragement, assistance, and assurance as they approach death. They become nothing more than children in an old person's body as their dependence on others increases.

I had a mother like your father. I watched cancer gradually suck the life out of her. I think as she approached death her life played out before her and the guilt and shame and fear of the hell that she threw at me became her companion instead of mine. The father that I had become in raising my own children pitied her and the fear she had. I saw nothing more than a frightened child and I spent my last few months with her trying to calm her fears of death and letting her know that the hell she created in her mind was not there for either of us. I think in the end, she saw she was wrong and saw what I had become her equal...maybe even her better. God knows she never treated me with the compassion I treated her with at that time.

I'm not always an adult. I still have a pretty angry kid in me for the way I was treated. I'll probably be angry till the day I die. There was no excuse for the way I was raised.

The best way to handle your father is to not be your father. He throws anger and fear and shame at you. Don't accept that shame and to set your boundaries with him in an adult way. Not acting childish and not returning his childishness is what will shame him in the end. That's what I believe anyway. His day will come where he will have to face the hell he has created and believes in. You can decide then if he's worth receiving your acceptance when he gave none to you.

Recovery from Mormonism - The Mormon Church

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