|Subject:||the Amazing ability of Mormonism to keep people isolated|
|Date:||Sep 30, 2007|
|When I look back on my years in Mormonism, I realize
how isolated I was.
Mormonism, by its nature, is able to "divide and conquer" its members.
In the first place, no-one really dares talk about their doubts, or fears, or disbelief. No-one dares tackle the thorny problem of not taking "the Prophet" seriously either. By nature, and by temple promise, Mormons dare not "speak ill of the Lord's anointed."
Every now and then, someone would be honest. But instead of having it open the floodgates, it was quickly stopped. It was very rare to have a critical conversation go anywhere. You looked over your shoulder, and wondered if someone was listening. You were not supposed to have doubts, feelings, or questions.
As a kid, I did not dare talk about masturbation. I was ashamed of it. I was doing wrong. I was sure I was the only kid in the church who had masturbated.
I remember a Stake President talking about it during a conference, and I was sure he was directing it at me alone. No-one else in that building could have masturbated. It was just me.
When I finally did try to talk to my father, he exploded, pulled out "Mormon Doctrine," and read me the words of Bruce. I never talked to him about anything personal again. He only had one source for answers---Bruce McConkie. How I hated Bruce McConkie. I still do.
When I went to the temple, and came away horrified, I could not talk to anyone. It was just dreadful. I felt I was part of a sick cult, but I could not tell anyone. I tried an indirect approach, and was told that I just needed to keep going. I did, and it got worse.
You just don't have anyone to talk to. Bishops are just neighbors. They have no training and no answers. To go to them for help, or counsel (as the church likes to call it) is useless. The Bishop can ask you about masturbation, but he can't help with anything important. He is just a schlulb like you. And I would bet he masturbated as well.
Missionaries are also very isolated. They have no-one to talk to. Every now and then, you would get a companion you liked, and could talk to, but most of the time, you clammed up. You were always with someone, but you were always alone. Missionaries are thousands of miles from home, surrounded by fellow Mormons, and unable to show any honesty at all. You are always on the Lord's stage, always "strong," always "free of doubt." What a laugh.
And what a church. They have the most lonely members on the planet. Doubt is weakness, and weakness can lead to questions, accusations, and trouble.
The family can't help, the Bishop can't help, and the church does not want to help. The Mercury astronauts were never more alone than Mormon church members. Mormons and astronauts know what its like to be alone in the dark.
|Subject:||This really strikes home.|
|Date:||Sep 30 08:36|
|There's seldom anyone to talk to who isn't either in a position to judge you or afraid to be thought unrighteous and weak.|
|Subject:||when I went to the temple|
|Date:||Sep 30 10:25|
|I wanted to ask questions - I wanted to ask if I was
seriously suppose to die before revealing my name - or if Peter, James, and
John really "came down."
But I couldn't. That would be a sign that I questioned (I did) or that I lacked faith (I did).
Silence in the Mormon church is crucial to survival. Real, open discussions would lead to truth - that would be a problem - so the group dynamics punish anyone who dares offer to the group anything that threatens the group.
Unfortunately - that code of silence extends to every aspect of our lives. I also did not discuss with my family my mother's drug addiction or my fears in my marriage that husband would never grow up.
Silence led to inaction and depression and in the end - we divorced, my mother was isolated and angry - and the pain was ignored but real.
|Date:||Sep 30 20:41|
|I always had a problem with the lack of open agendas or discussion. When my husband was an investigator he asked many questions about the doctrine. They told him that in time he'd understand more but he never did. I feel bad because I feel that he joined more out of the pressure to join, he was never convinced that the church was true. It didn't take long for him to realize that he'd made a mistake.|
|Subject:||Thank you. You have articulated what I felt for years. Well said. n/t|
|Subject:||You told the story of my life as a Mormon and before joining. Great post. n/t|
|Subject:||Re: the Amazing ability of Mormonism to keep people isolated|
|Date:||Sep 30 12:05|
|I felt the same way growing up. How I wanted to share
with my mom/sunday school teachers or anyone my questions! but I was too
I remember going thru puberty was one of the most shameful processes of my life. Everything about my changing body was disgusting because it represented feminine parts/emotions that I was supposed to ignore until I was married - or even after. I didn't want to ask anyone questions about sex or dating because that would imply I had impure thoughts. I got the nerve (with a few other girls) one day to ask our older-than-dirt YW teacher about dating/kissing/holding hands. Things 14 year old girls should be in the know about. She was horrified. She told us all sorts of things about how french-kissing simulated sex, dating was a no-touching experience, and that you couldn't even have sex with your husband unless you had a "righteous desire" She didn't tell us what a righteous desire was, but she made it clear we didn't have it. I felt so dirty for going thru puberty.
And when questioning the church came later, I knew I couldn't share my questions with anyone. For years I did things that I didn't understand or questioned. I once asked my mother what she thought of the whole "multiple god/goddesses" in heaven thing. She said she believes it. I asked her where in the Bible it said we could become gods, and instead of answering me, she cried because I was "losing my faith."
It was really weird to go from a LDS sunday school to a protestant one. The first time my friend took me to her Bible study, people were discussing what certain verses meant to them, disagreeing, looking up greek translations and sharing other personal research about certain passages and stories. It was so overwhelming to think for myself and do my own research and come to my own conclusion about what something spiritual might mean. At the morg, it was just that damn SS book week after week - and nobody could argue with the book, for fear of being at worst and apostate and at best a "peace-breaker"
|Subject:||So True- Chinese Bind Feet, Mormons Bind Minds|
|Date:||Sep 30 12:20|
|Thanks for taking the time to note your experience
that the normal questions of a growing girl are viewed as evil and
dangerous. It's no wonder we here in Utah see these blank faces in the
grocery store, slightly harried, not meeting anyone's eyes, sort of "tuned
out." And, yes, can't carry on a meaningful conversation about ideas or
principles because they have no ability to synthesize, not even the ability
to draw a conclusion themselves. It is very hard to have a Mormon female
friendship that goes deeper than gossip and recipe exchange.
Whatever LDS women could have been, whatever original thoughts they may have had, they will never be the ones to "challenge conventional thinking" or open the door to an alternative solution to anything.
Just like the Chinese used to bind the feet to keep them small. Nevermind that they became useless stumps.
You sound like a woman who somehow recovered her mind-- how did you do that?
|Subject:||Thought I'd get answers at BYU|
|Date:||Sep 30 13:03|
|After converting, my father (nevermo) wouldn't let us go to church much because he saw how it was taking us away from him. So when I left for BYU I knew nearly nothing about the church and was looking forward to the intellectual discussions on politics, philosophy, social issues, etc. That was a hard blow when all people talked about at university was missions and marriage. By the time I was a senior I was about the only female in my classes. I nearly went mad. I should have transferred home but stuck it out because the tuition was affordable. I was socially and intellectually stunted. I can't help thinking where I'd be now if I'd left then.|
|Subject:||I have noticed this exact same thing!|
|Date:||Sep 30 13:03|
|I actually made a lengthy post about this a few years
Mormons babble on and on about what a wonderful "community" the LDS church provides its members. This is not a community its more like a prison.
|Subject:||It is not uncommon for religious communities to be isolated in one way or another.|
|Date:||Sep 30 13:09|
|The idea is if they are separate, they can band
together and remain strong and not loose their group to the outside world.
It is how they establish their power over the group and manage to survive.
It is not as common these days, but the Amish still isolate themselves.
Some religious groups these days intermingle better in the outside world than others.
|Subject:||Great post. I felt this way growing up and through my mission. n/t|
|Subject:||I have never felt as lonely|
|Date:||Sep 30 13:57|
|As I felt when I was a mormon. It may be different if you live in Utah. But I was born and raised in Ca. It was hard to choose to move in a different direction than my family but there where enough people to back up the loss of family members as my support system who knew nothing of Mormon dogma. How refreshing.|
|Subject:||Thank you for this post. I thought I was the only one who felt isolated.|
|Date:||Sep 30 15:30|
|Sort of an isolation within an isolation!
Now that I'm on my way out of the Mormon church, I am being pretty much shunned, so it is a triple isolation!
Also, the description of the blank faces at the grocery store really hit home. I thought it was my fault that these people would just pass me by, and not make eye contact, and never smile. When I first moved to Utah, from another state, I continued to smile and say "hello" to people, open the door for them, wink at their kids, talk to the cashiers and service people, as I had always done. The ward members gossiped about me, thinking I was flirting with the husbands, that I was a frivolous and light-hearted divorcee. Now, I am so sad to say, I am one of those repressed women at the grocery store, afraid to smile or talk, for fear of judgment.
Maybe it is time to openly rebel.
Thank you to everyone on this message board. You have been where I am now, and you understand. More than anything lately, I've needed understanding.
|Subject:||so true. i marvel....|
|Date:||Sep 30 15:46|
|i marvel at the church's ability to keep members in the dark. to keep people afraid of information. to keep people in their bubble when the world is full of information, cultural influences from around the word, academic facts....its amazing and sickening at the same time.|
|Subject:||That's probably why|
|Date:||Sep 30 16:05|
|once you stop going, you feel so alone, isolated, and
don't know what to do about it. They don't have anything that teaches
members how to get out there and do. It's all about keeping inside the group
at church. So, once you're outside of it, you're "stuck."
I'm talking from my own experience. After being ingrained with it all for so long, I was stuck, literally. It took a long time and a lot of work to figure out how to think outside that box, get out there and do things in the community of the world.
Can you be considered productive members of society if you only do things inside your own group?
|Subject:||Thank you for putting into words what so many of us felt|
|Date:||Sep 30 16:35|
|Now that I am finally well out of cult mind-set and
culture I realize just how isolated I was as a mormon. I had many of the
same experiences and felt very alone most of the time. Now I have a lot of
really great friends. We talk about religion, politics, philosophy, art,
literature, and whatever else is on our minds. We don't always agree, but we
respect each other's opinions. No one looks down on me if I ask questions.
We are all truly trying to understand each other.
That never happened to me with anyone from the church. Relationships were always very superficial and conversations were superficial and/or gossipy. Even as primary pres, yw pres, and bishop's wife I never really fit the mormon mold. I was too quick to question authority, so I was always viewed with suspicion.
Now I have friends and relationships where an active, questioning mind is acceptable, and even desirable. And being different is a GOOD thing. I realize now that all the things about me that I tried to change because I thought they were wrong are the things that make me unique and interesting.
|Subject:||Re: Thank you for putting into words what so many of us felt|
|Date:||Sep 30 17:10|
|yes in the "outside" world an open questioning mind is often considered an asset. In the mormon church it is a the largest threat. Members walk the fine line these days between combatting that threat and not admitting that it is a threat.|
|Subject:||Yes! We're not "sealed" as one "forever church", but divided out and conquered!|
|Date:||Sep 30 17:16|
|And they wonder why we are here, online, pouring out
our hearts in a huge effort to make sense of the chaotic insanity that is
You're exactly right - they falsely claim we are all brotherns and sisterns SEALED together forever when in fact, we are divided out and conquered, one precious soul at a time.
God forbid anyone dare to speak that truth, or any other real truths, for that matter!! Even when young children accidentally speak those truths during F&T, they are quickly shushed while everyone who heard them twitters nervously, scared because Real Truth has been spoken.
This is definitely one of the Sure Signs of a Cult.
|Subject:||This is so true. Thanks for sharing.|
|Date:||Sep 30 17:34|
|I almost never dared to share my doubts and unanswered questions. I guess that's a good way to make people bond with imaginary friends. It worked on me. As I had no one I felt I could talk to but god, I needed god more than ever. Loneliness became the rope that held me chained to the mormon god.|
|Subject:||Re: the Amazing ability of Mormonism to keep people isolated|
|Date:||Sep 30 19:25|
|This is so true, and one sign of a cult is to isolate the members from the outside world, including non-member family and friends.|
|Subject:||Re: the Amazing ability of Mormonism to keep people isolated|
|Date:||Oct 02 19:23|
|This thread has some really good comments. I felt so
alone growing up in a small town with only a few members. I was really
lonely on my mission because I also didn't dare to express myself for fear
of being betrayed.
(I did get really rowdy and outgoing with one companion and we had a great time...he was transferred to the furthest area away and I was sentenced to the office for a half a year)
I was lonely after that until I met my wife (nevermo) and things have been slowly changing. I have been conditioned to avoid and ignore people who have alternative view points and religions.
Mormonism proclaims to be a religion of families and togetherness but they are all isolated, fearful and inwardly unhappy individuals. You are never allowed to express anger, unhappiness, doubt, etc so of course everybody is fooled into a false sense of spiritual security and well being.
The only path to freedom is to tear yourself away from the cold grip of Mormonism and re-connect to yourself, friends and society.
|Subject:||See Skeptical's (Odell Campbell's) re: the lonely man at the middle school football game.|
|Date:||Oct 02 19:33|
About a member out in public.
I always thought I had "ready-made" friends wherever we went, but in the end, once I did start truly questioning and accepting my own answers, I found myself more and more alone with NO ONE to talk to. Not my "friends" in the church and certainly none of my friends or family on the outside. Just me, rattling around inside my own head in a bad marriage.
Suicide hotline volunteer training helped me see the manipulation in both the church and my marriage. I left both within 6 months of completing the course. The church would be wise to discourage members from doing hotline volunteer work!
|Subject:||Dito: I would add to the list|
|Date:||Oct 02 19:39|
|not only isolation but intimidation, fear, and
All get well used in the TSCC. You can't even say how boring meetings are without someone coming down your throat saying if you were spiritual enough you would get something out of the meeting.
|Subject:||I agree, allowing members free discussion of questions and doubts is damaging to the church|
|Date:||Oct 02 20:35|
|I credit my participation in an online LDS parenting
forum (read: a place where there was less isolation and more freedom to
discuss) as being a key part of my starting to have serious doubts about the
It was there that people, feeling safer with their relative anonymity, would discuss things once and a while that you would not hear discussed in your typical sunday school or relief society. I loved the opportunity to have more in depth discussions with other members about church issues and church doctrine. It was there that I realized how vastly different people's interpretations of the doctrine were, and how difficult it was to pin down the actual doctrine when you tried to look into it further to resolve the discrepencies that were surfacing. It was quite fascinating actually, and I can see how "faith" in the church is better served by the type of isolation being described in this thread, where true exploration of thought and belief is restrained.
|Subject:||Don't forget, Mormonism isolated it's members from the rest of the world, when it moved to Utah...|
|Date:||Oct 02 20:48|
|in effect, allowing the likes of BY, and the church
itself to get away with the practice of polygamy, and be in effect a
"Theocracy". The isolation itself allowed the church to grow into a huge
empire, because there was no resistance as there was in the US. The
isolation kept members from questioning their religion, kept polygamous
women from getting the hell out of there if they didn't agree with it, and
kept information away from it's members, that proved their religion wrong.
I personally believe had the church NOT isolated itself for so many years, in the Utah territory, it would have fizzled out into nothing. Isolation I believe is the ONLY reason why this religion exists today, the same way isolation is the only reason the polygamist sects in So. Utah are able to continue to flourish.
BY must have known it was a great plan.....isolate your members from anyone who questions you....tell them that whatever you say is from god.....and make it really difficult to leave, and you have the makings of a destructive cult like the morg is. The perfect cult "Petrie-dish" if you will!
Recovery from Mormonism - The Mormon Church www.exmormon.org