Date: Apr 23, 2006
Author: Tal Bachman
There seems to be something strange in the way Mormon leaders treat the Sabbath day.
Keeping the Sabbath day holy is one of the ten commandments, and is stressed repeatedly by Mormon leaders, who only make exceptions for the performance of "essential services". And yet, those members who STOP GOING TO CHURCH so they can become rich and famous, and succeed, are lauded as heroes by Mormon brass, and held up as role models, despite the fact those rich and famous guys only got rich and famous because they IGNORED what the GA's have been saying for decades about how you're not supposed to go about trying to become rich and famous (like, by skipping church and profaning the Sabbath by making it "a day of commerce"). How odd.
Unfortunately, it appears I am not able to remark on this without people accusing me of envy that Steve Young got to do firesides. It may surprise those lurkers eager to believe that because I now know Joseph did not tell the truth, that I never believed he did, to know that I actually did do a couple of firesides, and was invited to do quite a number more, but declined on grounds of acute embarrassment at the flattery and attention I received at the first two, and presumed I would get at the others, which was far greater than my meager accomplishments should ever have warranted. I don't mean to insult the people - they were lovely; but I was really embarrassed. (Jarrod, who posts on here, can perhaps tell the story one day of that first fireside, right after my record came out).
All I mean to say is, it isn't envy. It is just that this Sabbath day thing doesn't seem to make a lot of sense.
So, knowing that if I say I was lax in Sabbath observance as a member, members will say that shows I "never really had a testimony", and that if I say I was strict in Sabbath observance, they will say I was a "fundamentalist" and "pharisaical", I will just tell the truth:
I was, I think, overall strict on Sabbath day observance. My wife and kids and I never watched anything other than church vids, read scriptures, no Super Bowl, always went to church, would never think of going shopping, tried to make it really a "holy" day, always looked with scorn at Utahns who watched Sunday Jazz games, etc. The only exception to this was early on in my married life, after my dad offered to hire me for his occasional tours as his drummer (to which I agreed). Every once in a while, he would have a gig on Sunday, and I would play it. This bothered me a lot, especially since before I had always managed to avoid Sunday work at my other jobs, and I can't really make any excuses, other than that I had no idea what else I might do to feed the family while I was working on my own material, and it was very infrequent, perhaps two or three Sundays a year (Dad didn't tour that much).
Still, this made me feel guilty. Dad once asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and I said, "What I'd really like for my birthday is for you to not ask me to play on Sunday anymore". He said that was part of the job and that it couldn't be avoided. I was disappointed in my dad that day; still, I suppose I could have quit. In the end, I just rededicated myself to becoming autonomous, since then I would never again be in a position where I couldn't figure out how to avoid breaking a commandment.
So, as soon as I got my own record deal, I immediately let the record company, as well as my lawyer and manager and publishing company, know that I wouldn't ever be doing anything on Sunday, and so to not even ask. It was forever out of the question. And in fact, I turned down opening for Bryan Adams on his European tour originally, because there was one Sunday show, and they wouldn't let me skip it if I agreed to the tour (Bryan eventually hired me anyway, agreeing to let me skip the Sunday show, which I did).
Around this time, eager to grow into a Mormon role model as per my duty, I corresponded with Dallin Oaks' secretary, and she gave me the name of a church PR guy named (I think) Dave something or other, who had been the bishop of the LDS country band SheDaisy (who, by the way, didn't seem very Mormony to me at all when I later met them). We chatted. And when a dilemma later came up, I called him again.
The dilemma was that I had been nominated for two Juno awards (Canadian grammys - insert joke here). Anyway, I was nominated for two Junos, but the televised awards ceremony was on Sunday. They wanted me to come and be on the show. But I resisted - it wasn't really working since I wasn't earning money, but then, I wouldn't have watched the show on Sunday, so how in good conscience could I really appear on it, in effect promoting it? Was the Juno Awards show "conducive to the spirit"? I couldn't see how it was. And I was deeply convinced that my efforts at trying to keep the Sabbath day holy would provoke God to give me many great blessings. And I'd already been so blessed...why would I start changing what I'd always tried to do, when it was clear the Lord was blessing me because of my past efforts?
Like the sincere fool I was, I talked to Dave the church PR guy about this, and he offered to put me in touch with Dale Murphy so I could get some feedback from a real live Mormon celebrity. So, next thing I knew, I was on the phone with former Atlanta Braves star slugger Dale Murphy, who was then a mission president in Boston.
President Murphy was very nice. I doubt it has ever seriously crossed his mind that Joseph Smith did not tell the truth about his experiences; and I am sure that he would regard any claim to this effect as the result of the old anti-Mormon propaganda churned out by the born again Christians, etc., etc. I would bet he has not read many of the resources, written so often by members of the church themselves working out of the church's own archives, that to me establish beyond any question that Joseph Smith was an unreliable source of information about himself. Anyway, in short, Dale Murphy sounded very sincere and was very amiable.
Pres. Murphy said he thought it was admirable I was taking the Sabbath day thing so seriously (hmmm...I now think it was rather sad), but anyway, what could he say other than that I should just go with my gut, go with what I felt was right? (regarding attending the Sunday night Juno Awards show). It was during this conversation that Dale told me that his decision to play ball on Sunday had been a "compromise". He said it a few times: "I admit it - it was a compromise". He said he had justified it to himself on grounds that it was a contractual obligation. I wondered silently to myself why, when he got rich and famous, he didn't just write into the contract that he wouldn't play on Sundays anymore. After all, like Randy J. noted the other day, Sandy Koufax wouldn't pitch on Yom Kippur...But that thought dissipated into confusion as I remembered my own playing on Sunday with my dad.
Anyway, we had a nice chat and he wished me well, and I decided that if I wouldn't normally watch the Juno Awards show because I didn't feel it had anything to do with consecrating the Sabbath to the Lord, that I would stick by my principles and not attend the show, even though they were the first professional awards I'd ever been nominated for, and even though it would be something of an affront to the Juno committee. But what does that matter, I thought, when you've got commandments inscribed by the creator of the universe that you're obeying? In that moment, I didn't care what Dale Murphy or Steve Young or Danny Ainge had ever done - my best understanding was that I ought not to go. So I didn't go.
Turns out, I won both awards, Producer of the Year, and Best New Artist or something like that.
I don't really understand now why, given the behaviour of the GA's vis-a-vis Mormon sports heroes, it didn't occur to me that I was taking the Sabbath overly seriously. I thought it really was "the Lord's day". I knew, at the time, that the Steve Youngs of the world were Mormon heroes despite the Sunday thing; and yet, I just didn't piece it all together. Somehow I never acknowledged to myself that church leaders themselves seemed to have a rather elastic definition of what constituted role-model type behaviour, or that, like medieval Catholic priests selling indulgences, that they seemed to think nothing of waiving the requirement to obey the Third Commandment for anyone who could only become rich and famous by ignoring it.
I now have a different conception of the "holy" day. I feel, in every moment, a peace inside of myself that I never knew as a member, a kind of rootedness underneath any other mood or thought I might have, to something bigger and better than myself. The only problem is, I don't know what it is, or whether I'm even imagining it. But it feels like it's real, more so than anything I ever felt as a cult member. It feels like I am more able to feel and see the special and the sacred than ever.
Cult members can only imagine that outside of the cult, there is disenchantment, that the world becomes entirely mechanistic and humans all become machines, and wonder and awe and a sense of the divine vanish, to be replaced only with some sterile, bleak view of everything. I admit it may seem like that to some, but for what it's worth, it doesn't seem like that to me...For every moment now feels like the whole Sabbath day was always supposed to feel like, but never did. I bet Mujun knows what I'm talking about. I bet others do, too.
Every moment now seems sacred, in a way it never did before. And that is something that NO cult member will ever be able to understand; for to be a cult member is to have cut yourself off from the very depths and heights of your humanity and potential to think and feel and understand, and divinity, for lack of a better word - but all in the name of achieving all those things. Like a bird who has never flown across a meadow, but spent his entire life in a comfortable cage, but a cage nonetheless, there is just no way the cult member can know what it is like to soar and, you know...be a bird, or a human, if you know what I mean. So convinced are they that within their own "chosen" group and mental state, they are experiencing all that is finest and best in life, that they won't even want to hear you when you try to show them how that's not so. I wouldn't have believed it myself.
As cult members, we at once recognize the necessity of Adam and Eve leaving Eden in order to understand joy and truly progress, but never recognize that we ourselves have trapped ourselves into a mental Eden, whose defining characteristic, like that of mythical Eden, is the vice of ignorance masquerading as the virtue of innocence. Eden in fact never was a paradise, because it never afforded even the slightest opportunity to feel real joy, real love, real longing, or to grow emotionally or intellectually or spiritually in ANY meaningful way. Edenic "happiness" was only ever the pseudo "happiness" of the village idiot, the default mood of the most severely restricted consciousness. Eden, like all utopias, (and like the Mormon mental state) was itself a fraud. It was not what it was supposed to be, and could not produce what it was supposed to.
Whenever now I think of the words, "Keep the Sabbath day holy", I think, "no...I should keep every moment holy, and feel gratitude for all things I have in my life to be grateful for, and try to remember to do right by others...", and I feel that stir again.
And I feel embarrassed that I ever had so strange and narrow a view of what "holy" meant.
Subject: What they say vs. what they do: GBH's shocking hypocrisy on Sabbath observance
Date: Apr 24, 2006
Author: Tal Bachman
(All I ask is that if you're going to start this one, you finish it [it's long]. Here goes).
Prepare to vomit, my friends.
I'm not exactly certain anymore what the Mormon argument is for the claim that Jesus - who appeared to have exactly ZERO interest in the business world - founded the Mormon church 2000 years ago over in Galilee...or what the argument is for distinguishing Mormon GA's from the Pharisees Jesus hated so much for being "hypocrites", but I guess that's not really my problem anymore, is it?
All I know is that Mormon prophets say one thing about how to serve one "master", but then appear to do quite another in the service of the other (Mammon, i.e., wealth). (For his own part, Jesus thought it was quite impossible to serve both God and Mammon, see Matt: 6:24). I know also it is very hard for many people, even increasingly people in the church, to imagine that the Jesus of Nazareth they meet and listen to in the New Testament, could ever have anything to do with the behaviour of Mormon church leaders, and the blatant hypocrisy they exemplify. They make a mockery of almost everything Jesus of Nazareth stood for, using his very name to do it.
Speaking of hypocrisy, take, for example, Gordon B. Hinckley. Here he is on Sabbath day observance in his General Conference talk "Look to the Future", Oct. '97:
"...There are what some may regard as the lesser commandments but which are also of such tremendous importance.
"I mention the Sabbath day. The Sabbath of the Lord is becoming the play day of the people. It is a day of golf and football on television, of buying and selling in our stores and markets. Are we moving to mainstream America as some observers believe? In this I fear we are. What a telling thing it is to see the parking lots of the markets filled on Sunday in communities that are predominately LDS.
"Our strength for the future, our resolution to grow the Church across the world, will be weakened if we violate the will of the Lord in this important matter. He has so very clearly spoken anciently and again in modern revelation. We cannot disregard with impunity that which He has said". (For full talk, go to www.lds.org and look up "Look to the Future". See also Faust's talk, "The Lord's Day", from the October 1991 Gen. Conference.)
Perhaps in recalling ancient and modern revelation, Hinckley was thinking of these scriptures:
"But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates." (Exodus 20:10)
(It's worth mentioning here that Exodus reports that Yahweh thought this commandment was so important, that he himself ventured down in person from heaven to Mount Sinai, to inscribe those very words into Moses' stone tablets, a story which Hinckley would no doubt claim [publicly, at least] to believe.)
Or maybe Hinckley was thinking of this scripture, from D&C 68:29:
"And the inhabitants of Zion shall also observe the Sabbath day to keep it holy".
Since Gordon B. Hinckley has just chastized members of the church for not keeping the Sabbath day holy, and has admitted he is aware of ancient and modern scriptures which quote JESUS as insisting that the Sabbath be kept "holy"/a day consecrated to God, I think it is fair to ask...
Why Gordon B. Hinckley then feels it is okay for HIM - the president of the Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - to require church-owned businesses, and church business employees, to conduct business every single Sunday? Sitting as he does atop the Mormon church and corporate pyramids, he could stop church business operations on Sunday instantly - yet he does not do so. Why not? Can any member lurker answer that for me? I'm certain admin would allow a post on that, if for no other reason than the entertainment value it would surely provide.
And speaking of entertainment, let's take a specific example. Every single Sunday, KSL, the Salt Lake City television station owned by the Mormon church, is in operation, its employees working. And not only that, but every single Sunday, with Hinckley's approval, this church-owned television station plays the very sports shows that Hinckley publicly insists no one anywhere should be watching on the Sabbath! Can you believe it? Take yesterday, for example, Sunday, April 23, 2006. KSL offered SIX FULL HOURS of sports programming! Look for yourselves: http://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=42 .
In his General Conference talks, Hinckley complains about people watching "golf and football" on television on Sunday. But yesterday (Sunday), the church-owned television station he controls as the corporation president aired "Goodtime Golf" at 4:00 PM. (I have to wonder if Hinckley himself might have been watching). And the only reason no football was aired yesterday, was because it isn't football season anymore. Instead, they aired bullriding and the NHL playoffs, plus a weekend sports wrap-up called "Sportsbeat". (So much for the "essential services" exemption - when's the last time someone died because they didn't see a hockey game on KSL?).
And let's not forget the reason why the church's television station is airing sports shows on Sunday, despite the church's president saying no one should watch them: because sports shows draw lots of viewers, and the greater the viewership, the higher the advertising rates KSL can charge, and so the more money KSL, or to speak frankly, the church, makes.
I can already imagine members claiming that this isn't hypocrisy at all, since Pres. Hinckley isn't involved directly with KSL or its parent company Bonneville, and that the Bonneville Board of Directors has final say on programming and work schedules, etc. No, they don't have "final say" as the board of a company within The Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Only ONE man has final say on what happens within that corporation, and that man is Gordon B. Hinckley. All Hinckley would have to do is show up at a Bonneville board meeting and say, "I feel strongly impressed that we should cease broadcasting television show X", or even, "I feel we should stop conducting business/selling advertising on the Sabbath - and the only way to do that is to stop airing altogether on Sundays", and as the man who has ultimate control over "the corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" and everything therein, he would be deferred to. And that he has never said such a thing, tells us far more about him and the church he runs, than all the Sunday sermonizing wherein he criticizes everyone else for "violating" the Sabbath day (by watching the very shows his own station is running!). Imagine the Pope running a condom factory - that's Gordon B. Hinckley on this issue.
No, Gordon B. Hinckley has never insisted that the church's TV stations stop broadcasting (that is, selling advertising) on Sundays. And not only has he not, but he has for years been at the forefront of trying to make this church-owned business as profitable as possible, manifestly without any regard whatsoever for the Sabbath day-keeping he likes to pretend in General Conference he's a big fan of. And for those who think this is an anti-Mormon slur rather than cold, hard fact, I ask what it would take for you to believe that in fact this was the case? Would you believe, perhaps, the Bonneville people themselves upon giving their "Bonneville's Best" award to none other than Gordon B. Hinckley himself? Read this: http://www.bonnint.com/docs/bonnevilles_best_2005/hinckley.pdf (Here is the Bonneville website link: http://www.bonnint.com/section-e.php?p=1-3)
Hinckley's Bonneville employees, in presenting their highest award to him, put it this way: "No one has been involved longer and more intimately in the history of Bonneville International"...
"Both his experience and his instincts about the importance of the modern media have served not only Bonneville, but the church he leads extraordinarily well"...
"His counsel on people and business issues has always been wise and current; one is almost as likely to hear today's Wall Street Journal editorial page quoted as scripture".
If there was any previous doubt of Hinckley's role and influence in running church businesses, this little presentation should have dispelled it. I feel ill - when Gordon Hinckley plays the Mormon prophet on TV, he preaches against watching sports on TV on Sundays; but offscreen, as a media company CEO, he broadcasts sports on TV on Sunday, and happily collects the advertising revenue this generates. Perhaps only within Mormon could this duplicitous behaviour ever be considered "standing for something".
And let's keep this in perspective: I have only mentioned ONE business here, KSL TV in Salt Lake City. Gordon Hinckley's church owns DOZENS of businesses: insurance companies, radio stations, cattle ranches, banks, food distribution companies, etc., etc., and I am sure that most, if not all of them, do business on Sunday with as little thought as any other business does. Just through Bonneville alone, the church owns two dozen radio stations (see http://www.bonnint.com/section-e.php?p=2-0). How many of them do you think the church shuts down on Sundays, out of respect for the Sabbath day? If you guessed "NONE", they you're right. The church keeps them running, just as they do KSL, throughout every Sunday, in order to make money.
Perhaps it is no wonder, then, that Hinckley regards as Mormon role models, Mormon athletes like Steve Young, who have made their millions only because of their willingness to ignore the same scriptures Hinckley ignores (except for his strategic, passing references to them while he's playing "prophet" at General Conference), and why he is just fine with them being invited around to Mormon stakes to give firesides. Why, even now Steve Young's breaking Hinckley's "important" commandment by spending every Sunday on TV talking football as an analyst. He was probably doing play-by-play at the very moment Hinckley was telling everyone in GC to stop watching sports on Sunday. But, in the incoherent world of Mormonism, that's no problem.
And let me put that fireside thing in perspective. When Valeen Tippets Avery and Linda King Newell published their biography of Emma Hale Smith, "Mormon Enigma", it was hailed as a fantastic piece of historical scholarship by virtually every scholar who read it. That even included the church's official church historian, Leonard J. Arrington, who endorses it on the flyleaf. It won the Mormon History Association's Book of the Year Award. Even the RLDS guys lauded it, notwithstanding the fact it pretty much proved their entire religion to be a total fraud.
Yet, when Avery and Newell set about to give firesides at Mormon chapels to talk about Emma and Joseph, Mormon leaders banned them from speaking on church property - not because there was anything erroneous in their book, but because there wasn't. There would have been no problem if old Francis Gibbons had churned out yet another semi-fictionalized hagiography, with the unwritten subtitle "All is Well in Zion". But because Sisters Avery and Newell had the unmitigated gall to put in print what they understood happened according to the best evidence available, they were banned from speaking. Banned from speaking the truth, that is.
But Steve Young and the others haven't been banned. Oh no. Hinckley said in his GC talk that the commandment to keep the Sabbath day holy was "very important", but obviously, it's not so important that any rich or famous people need obey it. Why, that would be ridiculous, wouldn't it? It's like a Hinckley-ized version of Leona Helmsley's famous comment: "Commandments are for little people".
It is revealing of the Mormon apologetic psychological state, that apologists continue to accuse former Mormons of experiencing cognitive dissonance, when in fact it is their religion which is so shot through with the most blatant contradictions and logical impossibilities, that attempting to believe in it is nearly enough to turn anyone partially insane (as evidenced perhaps best by Mormon apologetic writing). The church's own scriptures say one thing, its apologists say another; its own prophets say one thing, but then do another; its own heroes, according to the General Conference version of their prophets, are in fact breakers of important commandments, and yet are lauded not just in spite of that, but because of it; the church's own scholars do the finest historical work, yet are shunned...It is madness.
But where the rubber really hits the road for me on this, is here. I spent two years of my life in Argentina watching members making the most extreme sacrifices to obey the commandments, including refusing to work on Sundays so they could "guardarlo sagrado" (keep it holy). And I'm talking about single breadwinner guys trying to feed their kids on the most meager incomes. Meanwhile, back in Salt Lake City, church businesses themselves, with Hinckley's full approval, are requiring their employees to work every Sunday. Church businesses sell advertising space on their radio and TV stations every Sunday. And church leaders hold up as true Mormon heroes, men who made millions only because they ignored a commandment my Argentine friends thought was real. They never saw the Hinckley winks to the Steve Youngs of the world. They thought it was real.
In my book, hypocrites aren't heroes. They are, rather, contemptible. And that includes Hinckley and Steve Young and all the rest of them. Real heroes live by principles, and they take responsibility for their actions. They don't stand up on television and say one thing, and then back at the boardroom, quietly do the exact opposite. They don't show up at stake centers, basking in the fanfare, and tell members to live a gospel that they don't live themselves. Yet, that is just what Gordon B. Hinckley and Steve Young do.
No, the real Mormon heroes, though the likes of Hinckley and Monson et al are congenitally incapable of ever recognizing them as such, are the poor members all around this planet who are doing their best, at incredible personal sacrifice, to do what they sincerely believe God wants them to do. They would gladly go to bed hungry, rather than profane the Sabbath by working on it. How shocked and hurt they would be, if they knew how little their sacrifices meant to the men whose photos, torn from church magazines, they have pegged to their stick-and-mud walls? If they knew how casually those "prophets" disregard the Sabbath? If they knew that the men they think Jesus so warmly approves of, have in fact turned themselves into just the hypocrites Jesus loathed so much?
What a sick farce.
Subject: Hypocritical Double Standard, Indeed
Date: Apr 23 08:02
Author: Boydian Slip
It is interesting how the "famous Mormons" get the free pass from the G.A.'s and TBMs. Couple that with the treatment that TBM offensive lineman that was drafted by the K.C. Chiefs from YBU a few years ago and turned them down because it meant playing on Sundays -- he was mocked and criticized by so-called TBM's..?
By the way, Tal, just wondering why SheDaisy "didn't seem all that Mormony" to you? Throw us a bone here...
Subject: Re: Now I have a better idea about your sabbath day blues....
Date: Apr 23 09:51
To be honest w you, I couldn't bring myself to read the whole post, it made feel sad and angry, especially when you had so much success and couldn't enjoy to the max because of the CULT.
Man...How could you miss all that good stuff. I guess even in my active years I didn't have good testimony enough to miss a single Super Bowl and watched most of the sporting events.
Subject: sigh... Excessive zeal - its acceptance in Mormonism
Date: Apr 23 10:28
Author: Eric K
Excessive zeal is culturally unacceptable behavior in Mormonism to the brethren. A great post Tal.
There are appropriate times for zeal in Mormonism. Failure to work on Sunday, when one has the ability to make millions of dollars, is frowned upon as excessive zeal, as it would reduce tithes to SLC and lose one who could be a poster child for Mormonism. If you are an ordinary mortal in the church, you are reprimanded or held in lower esteem for working on Sundays. I remember a general conference priesthood session where Hinckley had Murphy and Young stand by the podium and praised both of them. I felt a slight pain in my gut as I served a mission and sacrificed for the church. Young had done nothing except play football. He had not even married to start producing a brood of future Morgbots at that time. Cults love celebrities. To use Young as a model Mormon was one of a number of catalysts for me that the church truly had no interest in me as an individual nor appreciated the service I had given due to my belief in following the brethren. I began having the feeling that following the the brethren was only for schmucks, of which, I was one.
Subject: Re: Me, Dale Murphy, and the Sabbath day: A Personal Experience
Date: Apr 23 10:32
That's a lot of serious thinking for so early in the morning. You did the right thing, though. Winning multiple Juno awards...very cool indeed. Having the integrity to live what you believed at the time--priceless! This is a big plus for those eight kids...not everyone gets to have a dad who lives what he believes.
Being blessed with the opportunity to exercise that integrity while seeing that others have profited by not doing so and thereby getting a firsthand view of one more crack in the foundation of Mormonism--also priceless.
Awakening comes at a cost...and it hurts...but none of us would prefer to still be asleep.
Subject: Very cool and very eloquent, Tal.
Date: Apr 23 10:57
I do envy your way with words. And I relate so well to your feelings concerning the freedom and joy that comes from self-determination. I choose to do things because they feel right to me, rather than what feels right to someone else who is supposedly much wiser and more enlightened than me. It's not that I ignore the counsel of others. I am constantly seeking truth and wisdom through the experiences of myself and others. It's just that I use my own good judgment as to whom I should listen and what is worthy.
My best to you, Tal. You're special.
Subject: This post is why I keep returning to RFM
Date: Apr 23 11:35
Author: Dark Sparks
Somehow Tal is very good at writing in words EXACTLY the things that I sense now after discovering that "Mormon truth" was only an imaginary truth.
Finding the real truth was the most spiritual experience of my life. Tal explains the conditon of my still believing brothers. They have loved the comfort of the "nest" and therefore have never known what it was like to leave the nest, and soar.
Thank you Tal for expressing what some of us are not so good at.
By the way, were you the BTO drummer who came to Salt Lake City in about 1995 and played in an outdoors concert called "Livestock?" (I think that it may have been your brother) Anyway, that was the best money I ever spent. Even "Iron Butterfly" was there that day.
Subject: Now the conundrum
Date: Apr 23 12:32
Would I read Tal's posts even if he weren't famous?
I really enjoyed your post. I realize that there are some who accuse those who leave of never taking the LDS church seriously.
I think part of what leads us out is that we take it more seriously than those around us. We really do tried to love our neighbor and turn the other cheek. We really did try to keep the Sabbath holy. And we really did try to magnify our callings.
But when we saw that those around us, who were claiming with conviction to be partaking of the blessings of eternal marriage, eternal life, and temporal blessings here on earth - blessings that we are told are the direct results of strict obedience to the principles of the gospel - are actually slackers who do not live the gospel, guys like me can't keep quiet.
I think our problem is that we took it too seriously. After all, if I am getting eternal life with my family, I am not going to give it a half-hearted effort. I can't see how anybody else could think they could do otherwise.
We frequently hear that we are to measure ourselves by our own efforts, and not worry about what others are doing. But when we see those that really don't take the gospel seriously, or in my case the biggest back-stabbers and liars at my office becoming EQ presidents and bishops, I really had to doubt the validity of the claims of discernment in the priesthood.
This was just one piece of the puzzle that came together for me on my way out.
Here's to enjoying every day, making every moment sacred, and enjoying the precious time with our families - TODAY!
Subject: Very well written, Tal.... but it seems to me,
Date: Apr 23 12:56
Author: wine country girl
as it does to others on this thread that Mormon Guilt kept you from enjoying success! Not just enjoying it, but kept you from generating more!
Subject: Thanks, Tal ...and my two cents on the Morg's ambivalence to the 3rd commandment
Date: Apr 23 13:36
I had just read your post this morning re: sabbath day, when I left to go get some gardening supplies at the nearby home center. I turned on the car radio and what do you think I heard? A sappy morgbot commercial on their own radio station here in the Phoenix area.
What would GBH's answer be to critics that question the Morg's business interests that require employees to work in deference to the 3rd commandment as well as making a buck off of their labor on the Sabbath? I don't know but would love to hear it.
This is just another instance that details the Morg's main focus is the Morg's health and well being and all else be damned even their own most basic principles and teachings.
Why o why can't my wife allow herself to see this fraud for what it is!!!!!!
Date: Apr 23 14:32
Author: Tal Bachman
Thank you to everyone who posted here...Sometimes I sit around thinking over my life up to that moment when I put it all together, and thinking over some of the residual effects my wife and I are still coping with now, and I think, "What happened to me?". And I don't know who else to talk to but everyone on here...
AG, to respond to you, I find the Garden of Eden story as it is presented in the Bible and in Mormon scripture and theology very difficult to believe. Though you would never know it since it is rarely made explicit anymore in church manuals or talks, members of the LDS church are required to believe that the Garden of Eden was a real place - a real earthly paradise, that this earthly paradise was in the state of Missouri, that Joseph Smith found the very rocks that Adam used to build an altar still lying around in a pile there, that there were no humans on earth prior to Adam and Eve who arrived a mere 5700 years ago, that there was no death of any kind prior to "the fall" (throw out all the dinosaur and plant fossils), etc.
That the story of our first parents, however, may have some basis in reality, or is a legend passed down and changed over generations, is of course a possibility. I personally have no idea how humans originated and can't quite make myself believe that all creation is the result of pure chance.
But what I do feel rather certain about is that any happiness which depends on almost complete ignorance, and almost complete insulation from reality, is a very hollow happiness indeed, perhaps not even worthy of the name. It is the "happiness" of a cockroach or a Manchurian candidate, compared to the happiness of, say, a person who has tasted life's fruits both sweet and bitter, who has explored and tried and wondered and worked and strove and examined ideas without fear, and who has come to a place where he feels true peace and joy, is able to give to others more than he can receive, etc. I don't know if one can really be compared to the other.
In his interesting little Book of Moses, even J. Smith has Eve say in Chapter 5 that if she and Adam had never left Eden, that they never would have known joy ("the joy of our redemption" she says), and in a way I still believe that. How would you know what sweet was, if all you'd ever eaten was sugar? To rephrase C.S. Lewis, how could a fish ever have any conception of "wet", or a race of blind men on a dark planet have any conception of what "darkness" really meant?
German wingnut Friedrich Nietzsche always said that to see through myth, to grow in awareness and understanding of truth and see one's "horizons" for what they were, was lethal and would leave everyone despairing. Strangely (and notwithstanding Moses 5:11), you can sense a bit of this in a lot of apologetic writings, where the benefits of Mormon belief per se is so often mentioned - but I can't make myself believe it. And anyway, even if it was true that omniscience conferred nothing but misery, while ignorance and delusion conferred nothing but joy, I would still pick omniscience. But the truth is, I doubt very much whether a man drugged into permanent semi-consciousness has as much ability to know as much peace and happiness as, say, you or the Dalai Lama could know.
You asked by what authority I could say such a thing. I don't really know what "authority" I have to do or say anything anymore, but I think this is the way it is because all of my experience suggests it.
Subject: Here's another example of Mormon hypocrisy re: Sunday work.....
Date: Apr 23 16:06
Author: Randy J.
I'm sure that I'm not the only person here who could tell this story. I was the clerk in three different wards while a Mormon. Although I was never specifically the financial clerk, I helped count the weekly donations, make the bank deposit, etc., many times.
Every Sunday, in the mid-to-late '80s, as soon as the money was counted and the bank deposit slips etc. were filled out, we had to fill out another church form on which we listed the total deposit to be put in the bank's night depository that day (and the deposit *had* to be made on Sunday---we were instructed to not let anyone, either clerks, bishop's counselors, etc., personally hold onto the money until Monday.)
Anyhoo, on this church form was a 1-800 number in SLC which we had to call and tell an operator the amount of the deposit which we were making that day. On the form were the instructions for making the call, and at the end was a disclaimer which read "The operator is not a church employee." The operator was surely an employee of the church-owned bank, Zion's National, since that's where all of our accounts were held; and the only reason the employee was working on Sundays was to benefit the church's interests by making sure that the amount of money we called in matched the bank deposit we made, so that no clerk or bishop's counselor etc. could steal any money.
And it's highly likely that virtually all of those phone operators were Mormons, as were their bosses. Because thousands of wards all over the USA would call in their numbers at all hours of the day, that means that those operators most likely had to work regular 8-hour shifts on Sundays, which of course would keep them from attending church.
Even back then as a TBM, I remember being a little disturbed that church bureaucrats would put that disclaimer on their form. It was as though they included it as a pre-emptive strike in case any of us lowly unpaid ward personnel ever thought that having church-employed people working on the Sabbath was hypocritical. And of course, it IS hypocritical, and the disclaimer didn't make it any less so, because even if the operators weren't employed and paid directly by the church, the ONLY reason they had to work on Sundays was to benefit the church's financial interests.
And this doesn't even address the hypocrisy, or at least, the "un-holiness" of us clerks and bishop's counselors who had to had to spend a half-hour to an hour or more every Sunday taking care of the church's money end, rather than worshipping or being with our families.
My long experience serving in those jobs helped me to realize that the church is ALL ABOUT M-O-N-E-Y.