Subject: Justified Abuse.
Date: Oct 16 18:29 2004
Author: Wag

In another thread, Cheryl wrote,

>. . . some exmormons see what I consider to [be] "abusive" as being "just fine."

One of the key reasons Mormonism is abusive, especially parents toward kids and spouses is the following,

"Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;

"That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death." (D&C 121:43-44)

A primary emotional and verbal abuse pattern which has been researched is that of flaming out at a person verbally and then afterward, either acting as if nothing had happened or showing increased affection, kindness and "love."

"Abuse typically alternates with declarations of love and statements that they will change, providing a 'hook' to keep the partner in the relationship." (From

"Emotional abuse is like brain washing in that it systematically wears away at the victim's self-confidence, sense of self-worth, trust in their own perceptions, and self-concept. Whether it is done by constant berating and belittling, by intimidation, or under the guise of "guidance," "teaching", or "advice," the results are similar. Eventually, the recipient of the abuse loses all sense of self and remnants of personal value. Emotional abuse cuts to the very core of a person, creating scars that may be far deeper and more lasting than physical ones." (From"

There are thousands of web sites which describe this pattern of emotional abuse.

Do you notice something familiar? Abusers show a pattern of abusing verbally and then afterward "making up." It's considered normal to the abuser and the abused but it isn't. But if you look closely at the Mormon doctrine on the subject, it literally advises it's followers to undertake this pattern of dealing with people. Sanctioned abuse. Preached from the pulpit. It's even considered the proper way to behave toward people and then it encourages additional manipulative behavior which brings the hurt soul back under the wing of the abuser as if he had a right to do so. And then asserts the claim that doing so is proof positive that the abuser is the most faithful of god's followers, thus, further idolizing him or her in the eyes of the victim of the abuse. I won't ever give Joseph Smith credit for being any kind of Satanic genius, however, he really stumbled on a great brainwashing/defense technique with this one.

"Moved upon by the Holy Ghost," flows easily along with the idea that the leaders of the church, or the father or mother of a household can utilize such a pattern toward their "subjects" without challenge. If a person in power is held upon a pedestal of being able to receive the guidance of god for the good of said "subjects," the poor followers have no room to complain. The so-called leader has ultimate authority to do as he or she will in order to subjugate the victim of the abuse due in large part to the fact that the victim will nearly always feel they must have done something to deserve it.

Abused women tell of thinking this way over and over again, that they provoked their abuser and they deserved to be treated thusly, or deserved their "punishment." As absurd as that is, I've even heard Mormon men in my past claim to recognize this abusive pattern and then, when "moved upon," they turn around and exert this exact same pattern of verbal and emotional abuse on various people around them.

The fact that abuse happens in Mormonism is bad enough, considering that Mormons claim to have the corner on the market for treating each other well and with love and kindness. But when the dogma and the preaching of the religion itself turns 180 degrees to endorse and promote the exact patterns of abuse they claim to prevent is entirely unconscionable.

It's no wonder that the effects of this kind of abuse will carry through for many years of a person's life, recovered or not. It's the self-esteem issue that is the most important to consider but it certainly isn't the only one. That people are brainwashed by such evil can't be overstated.

Part of a complete recovery will include the former Mormon recognizing this pattern of behavior in their own life and taking steps to change it. Recognizing that this is a fundamental flaw in a person's ability to relate to others is critical in learning to socialize, work, study, etc. with other people in the world and to do so with maturity and decency.

Yeah, the Mormon church is evil, but I believe it's teachings to it's followers and it's leaders on how to deal with other people is the worst of the travesties of the religion.

There is NO justification that is good enough for this or any other kind of abuse.


Subject: Thank you, Dear Wag...
Date: Oct 16 19:14
Author: Susan D.

I copied and saved this.

Funny thing, do you know the first time I suspected I was in an abusive marriage? When I heard a RS lesson on the cycle of abuse. I sat there, stunned, unable to believe I had been abused for so long without even realizing it!! I got sick to my stomach but knew I had to do something to change it since trying to reason with him had not worked for many years.

It took me reading many books and lots of therapy to learn what you have written here.

Many thanks and I hope this will help many others in their recovery from all kinds of abuse--both personal and institutional.

Subject: Right on, Wag!
Date: Oct 17 03:42
Author: catnip

After nearly two decades in the marriage from Hell, I happened to be browsing in a bookshop one day and found a book called "Verbal Abuse Survivors Speak Out."

I started leafing through it, and was stunned to realize that others - thousands of others - had been through the same emotional brutalizing that I had! I didn't know that it was abuse. Heck, I didn't have any bruises, broken teeth or split lips to show for it, did I? (Broken hearts don't show up on x-rays.)

The real kicker about abuse is that the abuser twists things around to make the VICTIM believe that it is all HER fault, and that the perpetrator is just trying to "fix" the problem! So how can it possibly be abuse - I mean, doesn't he keep saying that he loves you??? That he wants the relationship to work?

If you would only. . .everything would be fine!

Yeah, RIGHT.

And to think, this pattern of crazy making has been institutionalized. 

Subject: Re: Justified Abuse.
Date: Oct 16 19:25
Author: Lost no more

I'm sure that D&C 121:43 has been the excuse and the instigation for many a mormon abuser. It makes me shudder when people do harm to each another in the name of god, whatever the religion.

Thank you, Wag!


Subject: unfortunate pattern of child abuse in too many LDS homes
Date: Oct 16 20:12
Author: lynn

Being a mormon parent (church demands, too many kids) can be very stressful. I think we all agree that Mormonism is a stressful way of life. Unfortunately, the demands of being perfect can make some mormon parents very impatient and intolerant of 'imperfect' behaviors from their kids.

My TBM husband is very critical of our teenagers. I'm not a perfect parent, but I'm much more relaxed about dress standards, etc., than he is. If I have a concern, I don't tear down the child, but deal with the behavior. If her jeans are too low, I tell her to pull them up higher - without belittling her character in the processs.
Just this week my husband really gave our 16 year old daughter a hard time about how "immorally" she was dressed (even though her clothes met school standards). He tore her down. She was so upset. I found out about this situation when I returned home.
Of coarse - very predictably - the next day her dad went to the other extreme and overdid his praise of her in another area. It didn't wash with my daughter.
I've told my husband several times since I left the church that the church never did anything to make him a better husband or parent.
I've seen this type of scenario so many times in LDS homes.

Subject: Right on target for me, Wag.
Date: Oct 16 20:05
Author: PhantomShadow

A couple of days ago I got an e-mail from someone close to me.

"My therapist took a very long time to understand what happened to me because the whole situation was so bizarre. The weirdest thing in living in SLC was that everyone else was equally bizarre and, in fact, I thought we had it pretty good. After she figured out the twists and turns of me and my upbringing, my therapist told me it was amongst the strangest upbringing she's seen. We had no sexual, physical abuse (well, maybe being smacked in the face or having to sit on the couch counts) but the emotional abuse was big and really weird. . . ."

This person grew up in what was supposed to be a perfect Mormon home in 1950's SLC.

Subject: Very nicely done.
Date: Oct 16 21:32
Author: been there

That is Mormonism from cradle to the grave. Spent time on the receiving and giving ends in addition to seeing this abuse meted out on others. It is no wonder that so many members are depressed.

What a waste of lives the church has caused.

Subject: Re: Justified Abuse.
Date: Oct 17 06:53
Author: The Black Sheep

Thank you Wag... my parents used this one on me a lot and I hated them for it. I'm so glad now I'm free to raise my children to be loving, secure people!

Subject: Thank you, Wag. Secrecy is part the the LDS abuse cycle.
Date: Oct 17 09:41
Author: Cheryl

When LDS parents or church leaders abuse, they impart an expectation of secrecy. "Don't tell and you might overcome the trauma."

Suppressing honest feelings about abuse is not healthy. It's nothing more than accepting more undeserved hurt by relieving the perpetrators of normal responsibility for their actions.

I include coercing money and unreasonable levels of labor from victims as abuse. There's clear abuse when members are derided for masturbation or for simply having sexual feelings. But as far as I can tell, every Mormon member is coerced to pay money and give service beyond levels most in society would consider reasonable.

Subject: The pattern is clear.
Date: Oct 17 10:05
Author: Wag

For a long time, I was one of those abusers. Poor Ms. Wag dealt with me patiently and tolerantly and finally, when we went to a counseling session with a non-LDS counselor (who literally saved our marriage), I was able to make some very significant changes.

Still, it took me leaving the Morg to see the abusive, manipulative (read that, "guilt-tripping"), and inconsiderate way I had been treating her and others. And I was rather devastated to realize that but made the necessary changes without hesitation.

What is painfully ironic is that this is just one of those many many areas wherein the Morg claims to be the all-knowing and all-wise. But it took me kicking the Morg to the curb to finally make the positive changes I needed to make in my life.


Subject: Am I the only one who thinks this?
Date: Oct 17 10:40
Author: t-bone

We hear a lot about abusive leaders and abusive husbands.

I think when the leadership is corrupt, it breeds corruption and abuse through the whole organization. Many who find themselves in a leadership position recognize the chance for a payback - even if it's getting back at your parents by abusing unsuspecting others.

I think abuse goes both ways. Anybody who is married knows it's the wife who lays down the law. So why do we only hear about husbands being abusive?

I've seen wives publicly humiliate their husbands, stop them from spending time with pre-marriage friends, and basically reduce them to snivelling little pansies.

I've seen guys get henpecked so badly that they can't even make a decision between apple juice and orange juice. And even after their wife tells them what they want to drink, she warns them that if they spill again there will be hell to pay. Is that any way for a 30 year old man to live?

Am I the only one who sees this?

Subject: Re: Am I the only one who thinks this?
Date: Oct 17 10:50
Author: Wag

You're implying that the men are p-whipped and while there are plenty of them who are, it's generally just a cover up. Whenever I heard those comments, they were with a mocking tone. I didn't believe then or now that the man would just do what he wanted regardless of his wife's input.

I also know/knew plenty of Mormon men who would leave their wives with 6 kids, mountains of dirty laundry, unmowed lawns, stacks of dirty dishes, etc. etc. ad creepsicum and would call up his buddies and go deer hunting for the weekend. Asking his wife never entered his mind and he'd be rather thoughtful to even tell her where he was off to.

To get more to your implication, yes, there are plenty of women who don't mind "reproving betimes with sharpness" and abusing their kids and their husbands. My mother was and still is an expert guilt-tripper. At least, she is toward her BIC kids. It doesn't work on me any more and I suspect that is one primary reason I never hear from her any more.

Good points t-bone.


Subject: I toned down my post a bit... and edited this one...
Date: Oct 17 10:53
Author: t-bone

Wag, you are so right.

I've seen that happen to my sister in fact.

She has 6 kids and they all need new clothes, not to mention food. I've seen her husband get in his new truck, pulling his new snowmobiles, and leave her with the children and a mountain of housework. As soon as he gets around the corner, he'll stop at 7-11 and buy a bunch of junk food. He can spend 10 to 15 bucks on junk food every day. And if she dares to call and ask him to pick up a gallon of milk, he'll tell her he doesn't have any money.

She's the only TBM among my siblings. She married a TBM RM, and she went to BYU.

He's borrowed money from me before, and when I got it back from her, not him, I later had a sick feeling it was coming out of her grocery money. Needless to say, I don't lend him anything anymore.

Fortunately, after she got all of her kids in school (from 1st grade to high school) she went back to school and got a great job. She can now get clothes for the kids, get her teeth fixed, and buy groceries.

I think there are all types of abuse, and I focused on the verbal. I had uncles who were abused horribly by their wives, so that colors my experience a bit.

Subject: Is that just a mormon thing?
Date: Oct 17 10:53
Author: married guy

Maybe this shows the state of relationships in my life, but I can't think of *any* married couple I know where the wife you describe isn't the wife in the marriage. I thought wives were just like that- I put up with it from my own wife. Is there any man here who has a wife who isn't the boss in the end? I've always believed that if the wife doesn't get the final word, and if the husband doesn't do things the way she wants, she has ways to make the husband miserable and will use them. My marriage is really good compared to others around me- me sister in law for example rips into her husband and humiliates him in front of people. My marriage isn't like that but even in my marriage my wife has the final word.
I'm just wondering if any marriage isn't like that. And I'm totally serious.

Subject: Re: Is that just a mormon thing?
Date: Oct 17 10:59
Author: t-bone

No, I think all marriages are like that. I have friends from Japan, Iran, China, Germany, and all over Europe.

I'm just saying that when we talk about abusive husbands, we are in a way implying that abuse in marriage is a one-way street.

I wanted to bring up the other half.

I'm pretty lucky. We don't abuse each other. It took a lot of work because there was plenty of wife-abuse and husband-abuse going on in my extended family. I had to learn from scratch. I'm still a work in progress.

Subject: I think I'm pretty lucky too
Date: Oct 17 11:13
Author: married guy

I'm very happy with my marriage and our relationship overall. But when I have to choose apple or orange juice (and I do dread situations like that) I always choose the wrong one and hear about it, you can be sure. On the other hand if I don't choose, I hear about that too, so those kinds of things are always loose loose situations for me. But my marriage is so much better than those around me, that I do consider myself very lucky, and other areas of our relationship are very good, so I let the momentary stuff slide. But I see many women in marriages around me that I would not live with if my life depended on it. The sister in law I mentioned for example- has a husband who works very long hours, has a long commute, makes a six figure income, provides her with a big house in a nice neighborhood while she sits on her butt "caring" for her school age girl and pre-school son, naps every day, and she treats him like he's an idiot and a little boy. I swear I think it's a modern form of slavery and I don't know how he stands it, but he is very calm and quiet and takes it that way. I guess the other thing is that most of the marriages I have around me are "strong" "solid" marriages where it's pretty clear divorce is unlikely. The husbands are committed to the marriage and they love their wives in spite of the treatment, and aren't going anywhere, and the wives take advantage of that.
I wonder if a marriage where both partners are equal exists. That's all.

Subject: Re: I think I'm pretty lucky too
Date: Oct 17 11:15
Author: Wag

married guy wrote:
> I wonder if a marriage where both partners are equal exists. That's all.

What's your definition of "equal" in a marriage? I believe my wife and I have that and I see various other marriages which have that. It makes me wonder what you mean by "equal."


Subject: Re: Oh and how about this?
Date: Oct 17 11:46
Author: Wag

I guess the really tricky thing is to determine what changes you want to have in your relationship and then take steps to accomplish those same changes.

That's the hard part. It often means rocking the boat. If something doesn't matter, say so. See what her reaction is. You may already know what it's going to be. Do you want to walk on pins and needles all the time?

I made my poor wife walk on pins and needles for years. She did something about it, though, and now she doesn't have to deal with that any more. Kudos to her for point it out to me and kudos to me for making the difficult changes necessary to free my beloved of my own a-hole behavior.

Still, equality exists between us. I pay the bills in our home but if she ever wishes to do so, I'm not going to stop her. She mows the lawn, not because I'm making her do it or because I'm too lazy. She sneaks in to do it before I can get home from whereever and do it. No skin off my nose!

The idea is, both individuals in a relationship are partners and while there may very well be roles better filled by one of the two than the other, there are no real exclusive territorial boundaries when it comes to the relationship itself.

Sounds like you and yours have issues with your decision-making processes. I don't know enough about your specifics to make any recommendations but I think there is the very good likelihood that they can be solved. The kick is, you're getting naked together regularly, you can solve this problem and many others! ;-)


Subject: Re: Oh and how about this?
Date: Oct 17 12:20
Author: Doxigrafix

married guy wrote...

>>Where inconsequential things like which juice is right or whatever there is no wrong choice.<<

I guess we really ARE weird.

We don't give a flying fig- or something- about stuff like that. Life's too damn short.

Subject: Re: Oh and how about this?
Date: Oct 17 12:25
Author: t-bone


The example was thrown out there because I have actually seen husbands that were so henpecked that their wives wouldn't even let them order their own juice at a restaurant.

They knew if they dared make a decision without consulting her first, they'd never hear the end of it.

That is all.


Subject: Re: Oh and how about this?
Date: Oct 17 12:31
Author: Wag

I think you're referring more to individuality and independence more than equality, necessarily. It seems that people are scared and worried about the independence of their mate and it causes them insecurity when they think differently than themselves.

If that makes any sense. It's a way of gaining their own security by controlling the detailed actions of the other person, micromanaging their decisions and desires.


Subject: Re: I think I'm pretty lucky too
Date: Oct 17 12:17
Author: Doxigrafix

Married Guy wrote...

>>I wonder if a marriage where both partners are equal exists. That's all.<<

:::::::tentatively raising hand::::::::::::

I don't want to be the boss. And I don't want to be the submissive little missus, who says, yes, dear and talks about how holier she is than someone like me because she obeys her husband, while in reality she is cunning and manipulative and puts him down.

And my husband says he does not want to be Mister Biggity-Big-Bossman-Head-Of-The-Family- hang-on-a-sec-while-I-pound-my-chest, and he does not to be Casper Milquetoast "Yes, dear, no dear, please don't hit me with the rolling pin, dear" either.

My husband says we are partners and that makes us weird and that he likes that. Me, too.

Subject: Re: Is that just a mormon thing?
Date: Oct 17 11:04
Author: Wag

My marriage isn't like that but I'll be the first to say that we have a unique relationship. Most marriages ARE in fact ruled by one spouse or the other. The problem with Mormonism is that they encourage such behavior and even suggest that it's the right way to do things. What they don't do is promote the healthy delineation of roles, etc. etc. Typically, one of the two partners in any marriage is inevitably going to be better at some decision-making roles than the other. Whether it's money, child-rearing, work, vacation planning, house-cleaning, cooking, etc. etc.

We joke around her about my wife not being allowed in the kitchen. I do all the cooking when we eat at home and I do a passably good job of it without being gourmet. But when it comes to various other things in the home, she does them far better than I. I don't mess with her domain, she doesn't mess with mine. Neither of us wants to, to be real frank about it! ;-)

So no, my wife isn't the boss. Neither am I. We've each taken on responsibilities in our marriage which we're good at and we leave it at that.

However, cutting people down in an effort to manipulate them and control them is, as discussed above, abusive and inconsiderate, to say the least. The marriages you describe are not completely healthy but I concur with you in that many or most marriages are not especially healthy.


Subject: Re: Am I the only one who thinks this?-- Nope, you're not!
Date: Oct 17 12:06
Author: Doxigrafix

I have seen this kind of appalling behavior too, and women can be VERY abusive. They talk to their husbands in ways that they would never talk to a friend! I'm sure that it does not occur to them that they are abusive! "Who, ME??"

To be fair, men do the same thing... equal opportunity and all that.

I vowed that, knowing abuse in the past (of every kind) both in childhood and in adult relationships, I would not be that way. Not to sound like I think I'm so smart or have all the answers, but I wanted my husband to be my friend. I know too many couples who are "in love" but NOT friends. They act like they have this wonderful passionate sex life, whoopie, but one wonders how they survive all the time when they're not in bed!

My husband is my best friend. We both somehow found each other and realized that our goals were the same... we both wanted to be loved and respected as people, as well as being husband and wife. We wanted to be Best Friends.

A girlfriend of mine could not believe that I do not "get after" my husband for leaving the toilet seat up. Why the hell should I? It's HIS toilet too. He leaves it up, I put it down, then he has to put it back up. Big hairy deal. Life is too damn short.

I've worked in many places as a nurse. As a female-dominated profession, there's a lot of male-bashing in break rooms in hospitals and nursing homes.

A gal with whom I worked said to me in a disgusted voice, "You know, you're the only one who doesn't bitch about your husband at lunch when we all talk."

"No, I don't," I replied, "I don't talk about my friends behind their backs. Besides, I've got nothing to bitch about. He's the greatest." Her jaw dropped.

What does that say... that it is so very appallingly unusual that a woman does not put down her husband in public, that in fact she brags on him?


Subject: "When moved upon by the Holy Goat"...
Date: Oct 17 11:35
Author: anomormynous

justifies an emotionally based response, rather than a thought through and logical response. Don't count to ten! No, when the Holy Coast says reprove, Do it!

Recovery from Mormonism - The Mormon Church

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