|Subject:||Why all the bitterness from exmos?|
|Date:||Nov 13, 2007|
|Author:||not a mo|
|I've been spending some time researching experiences
of people leaving other religions, including other cults such as the
Scientologists and JW's. Although most of their experiences seem to be quite
similar to what exmormons go through, I am amazed at the level of bitterness
from the exmormons. The JW's seem to have suffered the harshest treatment
upon leaving through formal shunning, disowning of family members etc. In
addition the number of Mormons leaving their religion seems to far surpass
that of other groups. And, as evidenced in this board as well as other
exmormon boards, they are far more organized and active in their support in
the leaving process.
I am an exmormon myself, coming up on my five year anniversary of resigning. Although our families were quite supportive, I too feel much of the anger and bitterness. I think that some things that worsened this was the relentlessness of the church in tracking us down and continuing to send members to our door despite requests not to. Another thing I find quite aggravating is the arrogance of members who are still in, not only on a local level but in the media recently such as the Osmonds, Mitt Romney, tv specials such as "The Mormons" on PBS etc.
I would like to hear your opinions as to why you think that not only more Mormons are leaving their church, but they seem to be more angry about it. Surely they are not being treated much worse upon leaving than the others, or are they?
|Subject:||Re: Why all the bitterness from exmos?|
|Date:||Nov 13 22:38|
|I can only speak for myself. I am in the early stages
of anger and bitterness and healing. I have been trying to explain to my
nevermo friends/family why this is so difficult. I don't think they realize
how much more than a religion mormonism is.
I think for me, some of the bitterness and anger is in the stark and empty feeling I have inside now that I know that my cozy, wonderful image of an "eternal family" as I was taught to believe is gone. Now I'm faced with not having any idea as to what I believe about life after death. That's frightening.
I think another factor that I'm angry about is that attending a mormon church for 30 years has conditioned me to the point where I can't just go to another church without it seeming strange. I have a hard time feeling comfortable in any other church setting, even though I know my mormon religious upbringing was a major brainwashing. I'd like to be able to go to a different church and not feel uncomfortable when I see these big crosses and see the minister in robes and sing different songs, etc.
I think another factor making this extra difficult is that once outside of the mormon church, it all seems SUPER ridiculous and I feel a bit daft for having believed it. And I feel stupid that I never once looked any deeper than what I was spoon fed at church.
Those are a few of my thoughts. I'm sure others can put it better.
|Subject:||Christy, I may be wrong, but you don't seem all that bitter to me.|
|Date:||Nov 14 11:12|
|I'm hearing disillusioned, at loose ends, empty,
regretful, with short flare-ups of anger.
I think you're a lovely person who will rally and not be half as bitter as say, ummm, my older still Nazi TBM sister who lives on gruel and stale peanut butter because of having 12 kids and devoting herself to the morg for eternity. She hasn't smiled in ten or twenty years and is the picture of pure bitterness!!
|Subject:||Re: Christy, I may be wrong, but you don't seem all that bitter to me.|
|Date:||Nov 14 13:50|
|Well I feel a little bitter...of course, the news is
just starting to sink in around me. My family doesn't know a thing yet. I
may be feeling extra bitter in the months to come.
But thank you for your kind words. This is a little easier for me because I no longer live in mormon-ville Idaho. Now I live in the Bible belt and people are all happy and glad for me that I wised up. Of course, that's also a little insulting as well!
I am a little surprised at the amount of jokes that get told here at the expense of the mormons. I feel a little uneasy about that because I truly don't feel any need to belittle or poke fun at them. My family is still by and large a TBM family, and I respect them. As long as they are happy with the church, then I see no reason to find fault with their choice. I just feel bad for those who are unhappy and feel pressured to stay. Like the sister you mentioned. Those are the people I feel bad for. But I have no wish to attack them. That's my personality, though!
|Date:||Nov 13 23:30|
|That's really my problem, even more than my parents having subjected me to it.|
|Subject:||What is it about the Mormon church that does that?|
|Date:||Nov 13 23:33|
|This board is full of intelligent, creative, funny,
and articulate people. I spend my time here reading their posts.
Keep in mind that not everybody here is an exmo. There are also nevermos, active but disbelieving, and the occasional active and still-believing Mormon.
But if people are bitter on this board, isn't it time to ask what it is about the Mormon church that leaves such a bad taste in people's mouths?
|Date:||Nov 14 12:24|
|Author:||not a mo|
|That is what I am asking. What is it about the Mormon experience that leaves so much bitterness? In no way was it meant as an insult to those who post here.|
|Date:||Nov 14 14:33|
|I can't answer for everyone, but for me, a big part of
the initial "bitterness" comes from being angry at being lied to for so
long, about so much.
After an initial period of being angry, I moved into avoidance. I moved away from Utah, made a whole new life for myself, I don't have a single TBM in my life anymore and I try, as much as possible, to let the past live in the past and get on with my life.
Occasionally, I'll check in on boards such as these, which I've been doing again as of a day or two ago. Partly just to reconnect with the "community" and see if anything has changed (it hasn't), but mostly, it's to see if I can add anything to the conversation that might help people who are just starting on their journey out. I was helped immensely in my early exmo days by people who had "been there, done that." I try to give back a little now and then. So often you feel like your life is over when you leave that church--especially if you live "in the corridor," you lose your friends, you get endless amounts of sh*t from your family and even from neighbors who don't even know you but think they're better than you now and all that. I wasn't sure if I'd ever be happy again--and now, I find I'm SO MUCH HAPPIER than I ever was in the church.
I come here to try to show people that there IS life after mormonism. Occasionally my posts may come across as a little bit bitter or angry, even still--I don't think it's because I am being especially angry, but to people who are not all used to hearing (or saying) anything negative about the(ir) church, even the mildest criticism sounds like caustic anger and bitterness to their ears. I'm no more angry or bitter about the mormon church than I am about the Bush presidency or my boss who I don't get along with--but when I don't sugarcoat my disdain for the church, people still in the church and still wrestling their demons think I sound angry. I'm not. I just refuse, now, to coddle people through their delusions. I say congratulations for daring to peek down the rabbit hole--now do yourself a favor and jump, you'll be glad you did.
TBMs *hate* that. ;)
|Subject:||Re: Why all the bitterness from exmos?|
|Date:||Nov 14 09:41|
|I think the consumers of Mormonism are angry and bitter that former Mormons no longer want to purchase their brand of religion which is BTW, the one and only true brand, and has mountains of evidence that it is a hoax, fraud and misrepresentation of what they are selling.|
|Subject:||Frankly, I don't agree that there is more bitterness among the exmos.|
|Date:||Nov 14 09:45|
|I think the reality is that there are just a LOT more exmos out there. The vast majority just shrug their shoulders and move on but the few that are bitter need a place to vent so they come here. But since so many people leave mormonism that "few" actually turns out to be a lot.|
|Subject:||These are my observations: 1) the most intense sustained anger comes from the Mormons|
|Date:||Nov 14 10:27|
|towards those who leave, which is displayed in many
forms and 2) former/post Mormons are often angry and bitter as a stage of
their "recovery" process -- or Exit Process from Mormonism. That's my term
that best describes my process.
Generally, people can't stay mad forever! It takes too much energy. It is not a pleasant happy way to live. They get past it, it's replaced by something else. So for Mormons and former/post Mormons most seem to get past the raw angry stage and learn to deal with people in a decent, civil manner, regardless of their change in religious beliefs.
There will always be a few folks who will hang onto that anger and refuse to give it up. They, for some reason, own it like a badge of honor. I do wonder though, what does it to to their state of health, mentally, and physically? Can't be that healthy.
The anger and bitterness from former/post Mormons seems to come in spurts when something triggers a negative response from them because of something the Mormons do to them personally.
I am not angry or bitter. I can't afford to stay in that state -- I don't like it personally,anyhow. It's too hard on me, and everyone around me. It colors my whole world. It's not pleasant or fun. It's ugly. I want to laugh and enjoy life. Negative energy is counterproductive. Nobody erases it completely, but I know that I can control it within myself.
Some level of anger can be used positively, however, as a motivating factor to make changes in one's life.
So, I am learning to "make peace with it" (have posted a four part series of posts on the subject) in my process changing my world view and dealing with three plus decades of living Mormonism and family members who are still members.
I was in my late 50's when I realized that Joseph Smith Jr told that whopper, and my natural personality is to see the humor, so I snickered then laughed and I have been doing that for several years now, intersperded with some days when I have been: "mad as hell"!
I may have had an easier time of transitioning out as I had had many experiences with betrayals and people who lied about me, and a lot of other ugly stuff! (Both in the LDS Church and in the work environment.)
I, like many others posting here, live with and love Mormons. I have many years invested into our family and I am not going to lose anything over a difference of belief in religions! It's just not that important to the relationships.
|Subject:||I don't agree about this bitterness accusation.|
|Date:||Nov 14 10:16|
|First off, there's nothing wrong with feeling a little
bitter if someone has been deeply wounded. I think for most people this
feeling wanes with time and isn't a problem.
That said, I think many people are not bitter when they leave the mormon church. I felt thrilled and deeply releaved to be free of it.
Others feel scared. Some feel grateful to those who sparked their inclination to question.
Others are grateful to mormonism for providing the temporary home and the structure they needed to work through other problems.
Some are embarrased for being a part of it in the first place.
A few feel guilty for their part in perpetuating the problems within it.
I think most who leave are not bitter toward the church. In fact they're still supportive of it to an extent. It takes time and perspective for many to see the destructive qualities in a dysfunctional family, community, or cult. All of us had to love and be subservient to our parents to survive childhood.
It can be the same with mormonism. Many, if they're like me, continued to justify and apologize for morg sexism, racism, and dictatorial practices even after freeing ourselves from them. We assumed incorrectly that the detrimental nature of our own mormon family situations or wards were much worse than the norm. From being here, I've been surprised that this assumpting was wrong. Mormonism is more destructive than I realized.
I'm thinking that those who ask this bitterness question might be the ones suffering from bitterness. They might need to face the fact that they can't let go of the idea that their former church has problems. Also, that there is no one right way to feel about those problems. And that it isn't ever fair to blame the victims of abuse for feeling bad about it. Feeling bad about being mistreated is normal.
What isn't normal is to poke at and rail against those who are working to recover from any bad situation.
|Subject:||I didn't mean this as an accusation or a judgment.|
|Date:||Nov 14 12:28|
|Author:||not a mo|
|I think most have a right to feel bitter, and I don't think bitterness is always bad or destructive, only if a person continues to hang on to it. I am just trying to figure out what it is about the Mormon cult that leaves people with these feelings.|
|Subject:||Sounds like the old, "Why do you beat your wife question."|
|Date:||Nov 14 16:21|
|What's the basis for your assumption?|
|Date:||Nov 14 10:21|
|I'm 3.5 years into my separation from the church (or
something close to that). Looking back on my experiences I have to conclude
that my bitterness is real. However, it isn't the fact that the church was a
fraud that is causing most of it. I would have drifted away a long time ago
except for the fact that my wife is still TBM and my children all go to
church with her every week.
And every week they are taught "lessons" that undermine me as a parent.
I'm not quite good enough because I am inactive.
I don't wear the sacred underwear so I'm disobedient.
I'm obviously a small minded person because I must have been offended and that's why I don't go to church.
I don't love my children enough to want to have an eternal family.
The list goes on and on. The faithful just don't see how divisive their teachings are. They don't even have to look because God is on their side and you never have to apologize for God.
So yeah, I'm bitter. How else should I feel? It's like I have an open wound and the church is constantly rubbing salt and lemon juice into it. My options are 1. Put up with it and try to open my wifes eyes. 2. Divorce her and go broke paying alimony and child support. 3. Do the best I can and vent here on RFM when things get bad.
I'm living a combo of options 1 and 3. It isn't all that bad though. The issue of "the church" is becoming less and less of an issue. Life is going on and most of the time it isn't too bad.
|Subject:||You don't let TSSC be the only word on your parenting abilities?|
|Date:||Nov 14 10:49|
|In case you're not doing this already for some reason,
be sure to counteract the attempts TSSC makes at making you seem
ineffective, not good enough, or whatever as a parent. You know differently.
If you talk to them about it and make sure they know how much you love and
care for them, hopefully your wife will realize what kind of organization it
must be to run down her children's father.
I'm the kind of person who, after hearing how they tried to ruin me in my children's eyes, would storm in there and give them all kinds of hell. But then I'm a never mo...
I wish you much strength and all good things, "stunted".
|Subject:||As a child I experienced these lessons|
|Date:||Nov 14 11:00|
|My father was a nevermo. As I grew up I experienced
all of the lessons and teachings you described.
Also as I grew up I never saw my father treat a neighbor poorly. If a neighbor needed help my father was always wiling to help. My father taught me sound principles about life that worked when applied. My father always required me to respect my mother.
By my fathers actions and treatement of my mother I knew that he loved my mother. I saw my father take a lot of rejection from my mother but he never faltered in his devotion to her. My father was a man of integrity.
Both of my parents have been dead for several years now. I truly miss my father. I loved and respected my mother but I have never shed a tear for her.
|Subject:||Re: Why all the bitterness from exmos?|
|Date:||Nov 14 10:37|
|Author:||Antonio Carlos Jobim|
|I'm a nevermo from a foreign country, but you can bet I'd be very bitter if I had suffered half the abuse some people here have had to endure. Since I'm an incurable optimist, it would surely heal rather quickly, I guess, but before that, I would vent like crazy on this board, especially if I lived surrounded by mos and had no one else to talk to. People are people everywhere, and I see no more bitterness here than in real life.|
|Subject:||Re: Why all the bitterness from exmos?|
|Date:||Nov 14 10:43|
|I think anger is an appropriate response to the realization that people you trusted have purposefully deceived you.|
|Date:||Nov 14 11:29|
|Most of the mormons I've personally come into contact
with (not a large sample, to be sure) are simply not sufficiently aware to
truly be deceitful.
Having been trained, warned, and cajoled to avoid subjecting faith to scrutiny, they follow suite - babbling the most preposterous nonsense, convinced the church is "true".
I'm sure that deceit occurs - but I think the real danger of the mormon syndrome is to render thoughtful examination of doctrine, history, and faith itself, is characterized as "aiding the adversary".
|Subject:||Mormons know that deceit is required in the morg.|
|Date:||Nov 14 11:54|
|They don't call "meat before milk" deceit, but unless
they're stupid they know that's what it is. They lie to the world when they
put on a false front and call it "setting and example." They lie to
investigators when they give incomplete and disingenuous answers to their
They continue to lie to new members when they won't tell them what to expect in the temple and aren't upfront about church expectations.
At first they say, "callings are optional, a chance to serve and grow." Later, they change their story, "The Lord does the calling, only a slackard refuses a call."
Few if any mormons would have temple recommend if they did not lie at bishop interviews. Males claim they've never maturbated. Women claim they don't mind being second class citizens. Bishops lie about their own reasons for doing what they do. Kids are taught to lie about having a testimony. This lie sometimes lasts into adulthood if they never do fully "know" what they claim.
Mormonism is a tower of lies. It would fall if even a few believers quit lying. Unless they're telling themselves the biggest whoppers of all, every single TBM must lie every single day to keep the tower from toppling.
|Subject:||I'm not clear how you concluded that exmos were more bitter or angry than others...|
|Date:||Nov 14 12:06|
|What is your evidence for this?|
|Subject:||The Temple. Key To Exmormon Anger|
|Date:||Nov 14 12:09|
|Author:||Chad (Swedeboy) Spjut|
|Over the past year and a half in my post-Mormon
journey, I have spoken with many fellow travelers on the road of post-Mormon
discovery. In my conversations, the subject of the temple has often been
raised as part of the experience we all shared as active Mormons. Through
theses conversations many have expressed how seriously they took the
experience, even though some found it utterly distasteful and disturbing. In
the end, the temple was real, it was something that the Mormon god required,
and it was taken dead serious.
In my conversational journey, I have also spoken with many others who never attended the temple, and in some of those conversations a slight deference to Mormonism remains, despite their personal discovery of the fraud of Smith and his cohorts. The veneer that has been so carefully crafted to present Mormonism as a beacon of goodness and virtue, still colors their thoughts and appears to leave them on better terms with their former faith than those of us who found ourselves donning the apron, sash, veil or cap.
As someone who took the temple experience very seriously, I find that this is yet another layer in how someone views their Mormon experience through post-Mormon lenses. There were times in my active Mormon life that I refused to attend the temple as I felt unworthy to soil those “hallowed” halls with my presence as I did not feel worthy to attend. I took it very seriously, and because of this I believe it is one of the major keys to understanding and processing my anger.
I now know that the temple is nothing more than a bastardized Masonic farce, but as a Mormon its spell held me bound and anchored me to my former faith even firmer than before. This is why I believe that those of us who experienced the temple feel such betrayal and pain regardless of the individual experience, which I do believe surpasses that of the former Mormon who never attended.
I am not trying to place myself or other former temple patrons on a higher level because of our shared experience, but I believe that it was the level of commitment to Mormonism which landed us in the theater seating which hurt us most. We were not Sunday Mormons. We were not in it for the ward dinners with corn and Jell-O. We were temple worthy, sacrificing time, talent, income and life for the building of the “kingdom of god on earth.” That betrayal cuts deeper than any blood atonement blade ever could.
|Subject:||Re: The Temple. Key To Exmormon Anger|
|Date:||Nov 14 14:27|
|Chad that was beautifully written and I connected to
it so I wanted to register and respond. The temple--the promises made, the
hope engendered--then to find out it is only a "bastardized" Masonic
ceremony. Of all the lies, those lies are the most difficult for me to
Live moves on, I am much happier now that I am out of the church. I just wanted to second what you are saying about the temple.
|Subject:||Re: The Temple. Key To Exmormon Anger|
|Date:||Nov 14 14:56|
|> We were temple worthy, sacrificing time, talent,
income and life for the building of the “kingdom of god on earth.” That
betrayal cuts deeper than any blood atonement blade ever could.
Your comments on the temple really resonate with me. I must admit to being completely freaked out by the temple the first time I went; but, as with many in my situation, I was headed on my mission, mom and dad were standing tall and proud, and I kept my freak-out all on the inside. I was uncomfortable with the jesus jammies from day one and I left the temple that day wondering, "Am I in a weird cult?"
Strangely enough, flash forward six or seven years, the temple was my only connection to the church. I to meetings in a "ward", but I did get myself to the temple about once a month because I appreciated the peace and quiet and the chance to cut myself off from the world and "think."
I remember the last time I went to any church facility as a "member." It was the Salt Lake Temple, on a rainy Friday afternoon. I was basically alone in the session, along with the requisite coterie of sleepy septuagenarians, and in the celestial room I said goodbye to that part of my life. I wept with joy. Everyone around me thought I was feeling the spirit. Inside I was just bursting with newfound feelings of empowerment and freedom. On the way home that evening I stopped in Nordstrom and bought two dozen pair of underwear in varying styles and colors. I went home and took a shower--as if washing off the past, and put on a new pair of Calvins. Free at last, free at last, thank god almighty, I'm free at last.
I flew to Germany that weekend for my last semester abroad. I chucked my still-valid temple recommend in a trash can at JFK, and the circle was complete.
|Subject:||For me, it comes down to lost dreams, lost experiences, lost adventures...etc.|
|Date:||Nov 14 17:18|
|I have worked very hard (and it's still a process) to
get to a place of peace over the life I have and the life I feel like I
could have had were I not raised LDS or if I'd figured it out sooner.
So here I am, divorcing my dead beat higher-than-thou TBM husband, going to school full time so that I can be independent (which I should have done instead of sacrificing my own education to put my hubby through school and then staying home to pop out 3 kids in 4 years).
I think of the trip to France I could have gone on in college, but decided not to as I knew my TBM boyfriend would be proposing soon and I would need extra money to pay for the wedding that summer. Ugh!
Ultimately I hope to get to a place where I can embrace my experience for what it is; experience. I hope I can honor it as what has made me who I am, stronger, wiser, more interesting, lol. But it is a process and I'm still going through it as a lot of us are.
|Subject:||Re: For me, it comes down to lost dreams, lost experiences, lost adventures...etc.|
|Date:||Nov 14 17:24|
All the best with going to school and handling all of life's challenges.
As a recent exmo, I've found going back to school to be very enjoyable and therapeutic.
|Subject:||Why all the bitterness from Mormons? . . .|
|Date:||Nov 14 14:34|
|. . . who are so angry, judgmental and harsh toward
those of us who leave their cult, er, faith?
A fair question, it would seem, given the previous question raised on this board, "Why all the bitterness from exmos?":
|Subject:||Well, It's Like This, Son . . .|
|Date:||Nov 14 14:55|
|Faithful Latter Day Saints who strive diligently, if
imperfectly to adhere to the church's admittedly difficult standards look at
you unbelievers with a degree of envy.
Course they're not admitting it like they should, but they see you apostate types engaging in fornications, drinkin' (have to admit I tasted that crap once when I was young on the football team), and not turning your extra money over to the church for tithing and fast offerings, and hey, they get a little resentful from time to time. We try to keep 'em busy with church callings and ward socials and such, aiming to help them keep their darksides in check, but it still spills out from time to time . . .
Plus they see all those silly lies about evil-loo-shun, the age of the Earth, and other crapola garbage, some of it even about our beloved church forebearers, and well, they can a little hot-in-the-garmies from time to time. Speaking of that subject, are boxers . . . ah, never mind . . .
We do admonish the faithful to reign in their bitterness and extend the full Fellowship of the Gospel to waywards sorts, but it's an imperfect world.
|Date:||Nov 14 15:00|
|Jealousy. My family of momos, which includes three
ex-bishops and a SP, is jealous that my ex-mo sister and I can actually do
and say things that we want to and not feel guilty.
They also deep down realize now that their lives are based on a fraud that none of them will admit to each other. So they use passive-aggressive behavior to try and make us (sis and myself) feel as miserable as they now realize they are. It is amazing how brainwashed and afraid grown adults can become in a cult.
|Subject:||Re: Why all the bitterness from Mormons? . . .|
|Date:||Nov 14 15:09|
|My guess: we make them subconsciously fear that we are
right, and they are wrong. They are afraid of our lack of testimony
affecting their own.
And I think it's a very fair question, with or without the other thread!
|Subject:||In a nutshell, we're getting a nice life for free when they pay dearly.|
|Date:||Nov 14 15:27|
|They pay with time, money, and commitment. In return,
they expect to have a better life and rewards for the obedience.
When they see that people are happy without the huge investment in Mormonism, the bitterness really stems from the feeling that people should have to pay like they are doing.
|Subject:||Re: Why all the bitterness from Mormons? . . .|
|Date:||Nov 14 15:37|
|I think the bitterness is on both sides as evidenced
from many of the postings seen on this site.
I find it helpful to view this whole experience from the family therapy model.
The Mormon group as a whole could be viewed as one large dysfunctional family with different levels of health and function among the various members. Leaving the family unit threatens the "myth" of family solidarity -- and it is a myth.
People who leave also seek validation from the very place they can't stay -- the more one is rejected for being an individual, the greater the temptation to seek validation from the rejector. And it hurts deeply to be rejected by those you love. It is very difficult to just walk away -- even harder to walk away without hurt and bitterness.
There are wounds on both sides and both sides are convinced they are right. The one who leaves has a greater opportunity to do the necessary frame shifts that lead to healing and wholeness.
I can best explain it by a story told me by an African American friend. He grew up in the ghettos of New Orleans in a very broken family. His only way out was the Army which led to Viet Nam. He has had deep real life experiences. He now has graduate degrees in counseling and works as a PTS counselor for returning veterans of the Iraq war at a VA hospital.
When he was younger he was bothered by the stares he received when he walked into a gathering of white people. (He is very black.) He came to the understanding that his was a position of power -- that who he was made people look. (Their looks were not affirming, but they did look)
So, people who leave Mormonism are making others look -- sometimes in overt ways. It takes courage to leave -- which doesn't mean you won't be afraid, have regrets, or suffer for your choice.
And the people who see you leave will be exposed to all kinds of emotions that make them uncomfortable, emotions they have been taught are taboo -- envy, resentment, abandonment, rejection, fear for and of you, and fear of the unknown.
There might be some who are secretly glad but unable to fully support you.
You are leaving one system and entering another that will have it's own dynamics -- not always positive. Bitterness is never positive no matter which side it is on, no matter the justifications.
Those who leave are challenged to not be eaten alive by their own bitterness, to feel compassion for those who are left behind. Those who are left behind are captive in a system that allows them limited ways to view "leaving." Since being an individual, seeking independent world views is the biggest threat to the system that represents safety to them, their choice -- which is an unconscious one -- prescribes a negative response.
|Subject:||In response to thread "Why all the bitterness from exmos?".|
|Date:||Nov 15 01:08|
|I thought it was a good and thoughtful post, BTW.
In response, I don't know that ex-mormons are more upset that people from other religions (cults) who have realized they've been had. I did some reading on some JW recovery boards when I first left the church, and I found it striking how similar the reactions were. I certainly can't say that I was exposed to a representative sample of reactions, though.
I DO take exception to using the typical Mormon lingo of "bitter" to define that anger and sense of betrayal, even outrage that exmos feel. Bitterness in the thesaurus is comparable to words such as "stinging, cutting, malignant, spiteful, acrid".
Mormons have taken that word and used it to paint anyone who has negative feelings towards the church as a hateful and mean. A common Mormon use of the word is use it to discount what a person says because they are obviously suffering from unjustified sour grapes. Saying someone is bitter after leaving the church is a form of writing them off because THEY are toxic, rather than the church. It's also a way of proving how you can't be happy after you leave the church.
Exmos are not generally malignant or spiteful people. They are just hurting from being decieved and then blamed for discovering the deception. Any normal person would be mad about that.
Bitter is a word I won't use in relationship to that perfectly justifiable outrage or anger. I won't use it because it's part of the loaded language of the church, and it doesn't even apply.
Another is the word "apostate". I won't use it because it's used to condemn someone as loathsome and horrible, rather than just describe someone who sees things differently.
The whole purpose of "loading the language" as cult experts call it, is to have key phrases or words that trigger a particular reaction in the members. It's a sermon in a word. Think about your own reactions when you hear a word like "bitter" or "apostate". Isn't there a whole world of meaning in them?
|Subject:||Re: In response to thread "Why all the bitterness from exmos?".|
|Date:||Nov 15 04:16|
|"Apostate" is a technical term with an objective
meaning. Is there a better term in the English language to describe one who
abandons their faith?
My feeling is that most "apostates" are ambivalent about the church, but that the posters here are far from representative of most apostates. "Bitter" perfectly describes the tone towards the church on RfM and I thinks that's because it is a phase in the recovery process that entices people to raise their voices lash out using words. Some people probably never get through it. Does pretending that bitter doesn't describe us help us to move on from it? Is "bitterness" good if the church is bad? Is it a healthy state? I don't think so.
|Subject:||Actually, you're wrong to imagine you can mind read how strangers feel|
|Date:||Nov 15 05:42|
|and to judge their feelings as uncalled for,
stinging,cutting, malignant, spiteful, and accrid."
Is this a reflection of how you feel as an exmormon? Is that why you think every stranger posting here is coming from that same dark hideous place? If so, try to move beyond this nightmare. It can't be doing you any good.
|Subject:||Not surprising to see you come to the defence of bitterness.|
|Date:||Nov 15 05:55|
|I confess I had you in mind when I wrote that "some people will probably never get through it." Bitterness is an observable condition Cheryl. Not necessarily observable by those experiencing I guess.|
|Subject:||Markos thinks he's above being bitter.|
|Date:||Nov 15 10:48|
|According to Markos bitterness is somehow "unhealthy."
He can't seem to fathom a reason why it would be a healthy and appropriate
And, according to Markos, bitterness is observable and the people who authentically express bitterness have a problem.
Of course if you feel it internally but are in denial...well then by Markos's standard you're a healthy person.
My guess is that Markos is uncomfortable with emotions in general, and his own in specific. That's why he's got to come here to harass other people about how they express their feelings. I don't know how he concluded that this was a compassionate or appropriate thing to do. But I'm guessing that his motivations aren't clear to him, either.
|Subject:||Excellent post. Thank you.|
|Date:||Nov 15 05:59|
|Lashing out at the entire world of exmos with the word
"bitter" is how mormons discount them as human beings. Mormons don't just
paint those with negative feeling with that word, they extend it to anyone
who doesn't participate in their program and openly admire their efforts.
You're right "bitter" is one of the "mind stoppers" mormons are programmed to use to keep those doubts on the shelf.
The word "offend" is another mormon mind stopper. What are some others?
Apostate? Yes, maybe so. I get a kick out of that one because it sounds so high and mighty to describe a simple person who has changed their mind about attending church meetings. Wonder why mormons say apostate and Jews and others say heratic?
Emotions are not bad in themselves. They happen. They're natual and appropriate. They're only bad if someone expresses them in destructive ways which damage property or people. Aside from that, it's unfair to assume to know how another person is feeling, unless they express it. And it's unfair to claim their feelings are bad or evil.
|Subject:||"EMOTIONAL"...there's another loaded word|
|Date:||Nov 15 09:07|
|Author:||charles, buddhist punk|
|Try saying: emotional, bitter, apostate; stop being so
emotional about this whole thing
why and how has emotions been tagged as negative? hell, everyone's got them, why pretend we don't? the Kubler-Ross stages of dealing with grief: denial - anger - bargaining - depression - acceptance....most of these words are "loaded" many go through them as they leave the Mormon church, and are sometimes seen as oddly "overly emotional" (why can't you just leave it alone)
|Subject:||Thanks. I need to reread the Kubler-Ross materials.|
|Date:||Nov 15 11:16|
|I think the stages are spot on for recovering
exmormons. I recall that she said the worst way of dealing with extreme loss
was to go into denial and try to skip a stage or be guilted for staying at a
stage long enough to work through it before moving to the next.
Exmormons don't need to feel shamed into denying their true feelings. It's luxury they've earned and it will help them recover to a greater extent than submitting to more mormon-type shame and self blame.
|Subject:||That being said, does this board encourage PASSING through all the stages?|
|Date:||Nov 15 17:23|
|Author:||Nameless in Cyberspace|
|Just picking up that the first poster may have noticed
a prolonged dwelling on the Anger stage. Is this aspect of seething,
venting, ridiculing, blaming, undercutting, and other behaviors that express
anger the main tenor of the RfM board? Not for everyone--there are wonderful
hints and references for further growth coming from some regular
posters--but just looking at the subject lines of posts, on many days it's
easy to see the hurt, negative thrust.
As you implied, by posting the Kubler-Ross stages, this is a NATURAL and NORMAL reaction, but it's certainly not the end of the line. Does this board facilitate "getting through" Denial...but not necessarily getting through Anger? Some posts seem to fan the embers, even though the particular causes of personal anger may be decades past, almost as if they don't want to leave this stage. Perhaps there is the feeling that "After this, what...?" and so wish to prolong the process, maintaining a 'resistance identity' that relies on the old hurt for contrast. That identity as well would be left behind as ALL the stages were passed through.
If Acceptance signals the end of such a 'resistance identity,' then that too might be feared as a kind of death. But passing through the K-R stages is really the START of a new life, not just the end of the old one.
|Subject:||Pressuring people to pass through all the stages would be a BAD thing.|
|Date:||Nov 17 05:27|
|In fact there is encouragement to move through the
stages, to stretch and learn to set boundaries and try to grow to be more
authentic and stop being controlled by past church programming.
But this board can't be consistent or individualized to meet every need.
Why? Because the system is hit and miss. Different people are here on different days and at various times. Few here know anyone else in real life. It's inappropriate to assume that someone has been in a stage TOO LONG or isn't passing through the stages as efficiently as possible. Those assumptions are baseless at a forum like this one. Individuals must make these decisions for themselves.
Personal decision making is an important part of recovery. Most of us have had enough of being pressured by impersonal nameless "leaders" and faceless decision makers who don't know or care about us as much as they care about PR or getting on with a program, even a good one like KR's stages of recovery.
SHE does not lay out rules for when and how to move along because she respects those in pain. She points out that times vary depending on the individual and the situation. I think we would do well to follow her example.
Anyone is foolish to think that few posters are passing through stages fast enough or moving on with efficiency. This assumption shouldn't be constantly touted simply because there are often rants and complaints about the morg here.
There are rants because recoverers can be frustrated. There are complaints about the morg because it's a mindless and often hurtful orgaization. If someone speaks of it based on mindless hatred or without facts to back them up, these assertions are ALWAYS shot down. If someone has a different take on this, I'd need to see the eveidence. I've read here for years and haven't seen it yet.
I've watched 1000s of posters progress through these stages over the years. I've seen just as many move on because they don't need to be here. I assume that there are lurkers doing this who have never posted.
And I've read 100s of complainers who harp on this silly issue of claiming people are not recovering fast enough. They're too negative? They're too angry? They're mean and bitter?
If some are staying here TOO long, perhaps we should look at Erik and Susan I/S. Is their effort in vain? Are they negative to be trying to help by providing this board? Are they angy? Mean? Bitter?
No. They're kind gentle, brave and generous to stay so long and give so much. Staying here is a good thing for those who are able and willing.
I suggest the board critics might consider putting on their thinking caps and looking in their mirrors if they want to see negativity.
|Subject:||I'm not sure that RfM has the power to keep people indefinitely angry.|
|Date:||Nov 17 07:48|
|Anger is one of those emotions that is hard to
maintain due to the intense amount of energy it requires.
It would be more likely, in my mind, to keep someone in the depressive stages of grieving a loss, than to keep them in anger.
I marvel at the impressions some people post that some RfMers are too angry for too long here.
I see plenty of people engage in Denial, Bargaining, Depression, and acceptance here. But for some reason it's the angry posts that seem to get the most criticism.
For example, I never read a post that says, "Why are exmos always trying to bargain their tithing back?" Or, "Why are the exmos here trying to talk their families out of the church?" Or, "Why are there so many soon to be exmo trolls coming here to act out their TBMish denial?" I never read, "Does RfM keep people in the bargaining stages of grief with their family/friends/faith longer than is healthy?"
I never read, "Does RfM encourage people to feel sad and depressed about their loss of belief longer than is healthy?"
Nope. It's only the anger. For some reason no one seems to be troubled enough to start threads about the other stages. Anger is the emotion that worries some people the most.
That's no coincidence. Anger makes *other* people uncomfortable. So expressions of people going through that stage are uncomfortable for some *others* to read. And I think some people project their inner discomfort onto exmos who experience anger. "Your anger makes me uncomfortable, so it must be inappropriate. *You* are the one that has to move on so *I* don't have to deal with why this might be bothering me."
Just because Anger is louder and easier to see, is not necessarily conclusive evidence that it is out of proportion to what may be going on, internally, for the exmos that post here.
Another possibility is that Anger is one of those emotions that is less easy to express in our daily lives. There are more rules and boundaries about it. So you may have amplified expressions of anger here because those emotions don't have a voice elsewhere. You may feel denial, but not post about it (just avoid it). You may feel sad and depressed, but be able to safely say that elsewhere. Or in your depression you might not feel the energy to post much at all. As for bargaining...well, I think I read a ton of bargaining threads. And I think that for some, acceptance may mean less posting.
I think it's hasty to say that just because one *senses* more anger that the anger is inappropriate or out of proportion. That may be an overly subjective way to come to conclusions about what is wrong. And then jumping to explanations for why it is so, before you really confirm that your perceptions are accurate, and not due to bias, is perhaps a bit rash.
|Subject:||It is part of the healing process - but just part.|
|Date:||Nov 15 11:36|
|Is a parent whose child is abducted and killed bitter?
Is a woman who is raped bitter? Is a man who is swindled in business by a
good friend bitter? Is a person who has dedicated his life to a certain
philosophy only to find that it doesn’t work in the real word bitter?
As was pointed out by charles, buddhist punk, the Kubler-Ross stages of dealing with grief (or loss) are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Discovering the truth about the religion that you have dedicated your life to and thought would give you what it promised is a shattering lose. Of course we need to go through these stages, anger being one of them. So, yes, you will feel a lot of anger, or bitterness, on this site. However, it is part of the healing process. I know that you can move on after you deal with the anger (bitterness) and that life becomes very good after you drop all of the baggage of mormonism. If you have been on this site very long you know that people do move on – they heal and get on with their lives, presumable, in a much better way.
I, for one, am very thankful that there was such a site for me to come to and vent when I needed it. It was a god-send to me and, apparently, to many, many others. May it continue for many years is my hope (and prayer, BTW).
|Subject:||Other loaded words?|
|Date:||Nov 15 12:05|
|Cheryl mentioned "offended". Yep, that's one. Anyone
who gets offended must have a problem. And if we don't know why someone
stopped going to church, why NOT assume they got offended? After all, there
couldn't be any REAL reason why someone might leave the church, so they must
just be overly sensitive.
Sarcasm aside, how about "pride"? I thought it was prideful or "trusting in the arm of flesh" to think for myself, to trust my own brain to discover truth, especially if that lead me away from the counsel of church leaders.
Is that pride? The underlying idea is that it's willful and arrogant to think you know better than your leaders or than God. Yet they can't prove they represent God, they just expect us to accept it. I'm not the one claiming to speak for God and expecting everyone to take my word for HIS word. If you ask me, THAT is the height of arrogance.
|Subject:||Are apostates (former Mormons) generally ambivalent or indifferent?|
|Date:||Nov 15 12:24|
|Some may be ambivalent:
1 : simultaneous and contradictory attitudes or feelings (as attraction and repulsion) toward an object, person, or action
It is one of the first stages, in my view.
Indifference falls in the category of "making peace with it, in my experience.
Bitterness re: Mormonism -- is the definition that is being tossed about here:
being relentlessly determined : VEHEMENT c : exhibiting intense animosity d (1) : harshly reproachful (2) : marked by cynicism and rancor
As we know, Mormonism has it's "in house" definitions, some are fabricated and don't come close to standard usage.
Much of the language towards those who leave the Mormon Church by the members is emotionally charged and calculated to discredit the prior believer. It's used to discourage dissent. Words like: apostate, disaffected, offended, bitter, hateful have specific meanings in Mormon language.
If you leave the Mormon Church the members have been programmed to believe you were: offended, wanted to sin, bitter, hateful, have a problem with authority, and on and on.
They will believe those reasons, whether they are factually correct or not. It has to be believed so they won't "fall away" into those categories and sacrifice their eternal life! Heavy stuff!!
|Subject:||Re: Are apostates (former Mormons) generally ambivalent or indifferent?|
|Date:||Nov 15 16:32|
|This is essentially true. They don't like that you've figured out the ruse, so they blame the messenger. And they won't shut up--my parents kept sending me nonsense until I threatened to visit them for a discussion. Now I have blissful silence.|