The Hypoxia of Mormonism


Jun 12, 2010



As an AFROTC cadet I had the opportunity to attend flight physiological training.

At high density altitudes there is not enough pressure to push the oxygen found in your lungs into your bloodstream (plus there is not as many molecules in the volume).

Without the oxygen your brain starts suffering some side effects as it moves toward dying (hypoxia). Judgment is impaired and a sense of euphoria develops. In an effort to make you aware of the sighs of this condition they allow you to experience it in a controlled environment, with the goal that you will be able to detect it in a real world situation.

For the experience, they put you into a pressurized chamber and they apply a vacuum until they reached the desired simulated altitude. You then are instructed to remove your oxygen mask, and to start on the activity pages they gave you. These activities included simple multi-column math problems, writing your name three times, logic problems, etc.

I remember concentrating very hard on writing my name exactly the same, and at the time I thought I had done an exact job (but later saw each one was more sloppy than the previous). I also remember thinking, while in the math section, that "I don't like math today" and I skipped to the next section. It was only addition.

Finally the Tech Sgt pointed to me and told me to put my mask on. I just looked at him, and thought, "Why, I feel fine." He smacked my helmet with his hand and repeated himself, and I complied.

It was an amazing experience. As I took the next three breaths, I felt my head clear, and I could actually feel it as the cognitive functions returned to my brain (hearing and vision also improved). I thought things were all well and good during the experiment, but because I did not have an experienced point of reference, I was completely wrong. Without the intervention, I would have slumped into unconsciousness and in turn died.

As I contemplate the past three years, I can see an identical experience. Having the "epiphany" moment, when your brain figures out that Mormonism is a fraud, and with my whole world view suddenly being invalidated, it was of course very disruptive. But it was also like putting on my oxygen mask.

As I lived life in the aftermath, I could feel all of my perceptions and understandings, focus and clear. I had no idea I had been living in the equivalent of an oxygen deprived state. That my soul was slowly dieing, just as the brain does when it suffers from hypoxia.

The truth setting you free is more than just words. I now understand it is an axiom.

Interestingly enough, the TSgt who conducted our training, told us of the session the day before ours. Some people get very combative and refuse to put on their mask because they feel fine. They can get very combative and violent. Well this one guy would not put his mask on, and decided he was in danger when they tried to help him, and it took four people to get him to the ground. They had to wait until he went unconscious before they could get his mask on. I find it kind of scary how that parallel fits as well.



Re: The hypoxia of mormonism


Jun 12 10:40



Interesting comparison and I can see how you tie the two together.



Re: The hypoxia of mormonism


Jun 12 12:42


Stray Mutt

The church is set up so that if you focus your whole life on being a good Mormon you lose all external frames of reference as you slowly suffocate and your brain dies. Instead of having some one monitoring you with your well being in mind, the LDS leaders are there to keep you from reaching for the oxygen.



Re: The hypoxia of mormonism


Jun 12 18:55



Excellent way of saying this. I know my personal experience was that it was not until after I had stopped attending church for about a month that the 'fog began to lift' and I was able to start seeing Mormonism for what it truly is. That time away for me was the 'oxygen to my brain' to help me think clear again.



Re: The hypoxia of mormonism, quoted on Pharyngula


Jun 12 13:50



Beautifully phrased, Stray Mutt.

I hope you don't mind that you were quoted, verbatim, on the Endless Thread at Pharyngula.




Thanks for such an excellent really is just like that. n/t



Wow! Greatest analogy since the Matrix!



Leaving Mormonism was like feeling normal again . . . for the first time . . .


Jun 13 02:25



but yes, it did take some fresh air to get to that point.

Wonderful analogy.



fascinating to learn about the hypoxia exercise, and an apt analogy-thanks! (nt)



An excellent way to describe it.


Jun 13 05:51



Intellectually, I knew that Mormonism was a hoax cult, pretty quick, but I didn't know I was being suffocated by it, until I started breathing oxygen again.

The Mormon cult is very insidious. The leaders know that the members are apt to leave, if they get too much of that oxygen. That's why the members are indoctinated to continue to attend church on vacations, and never miss any meetings, even if they have the flu or surgery. The sacrament is brought to them at home or in the hospital, and the Ht's come and give them a lesson. Mormons are given callings--some of them ridiculous--all of them invented--so thier peers and leaders will DEMAND that they be there every Sunday without fail. They make it almost impossible to turn down a calling, by saying it is God's will for them. It is very difficult to find a substitute, if you can't attend.

I am so sure of your "breath of oxygen/fresh air" theory, that in the past I've asked friends and family to take the challenge, and stay away from church and Mormon activities altogether for a whole month straight, as an experiment, to see if they are happier in general. The ones who take that break can see how much more positive their outlook is, see how much better they feel about themselves, see how much more unified their family becomes, see how the stress and dread go away. Most Mormons are afraid to do it! They've been warned against it! They fight it, just like that violent guy who didn't want to put his mask on.

When they do breathe that oxygen, they are brainwashed into thinking it is bad--that Satan is tempting them with worldly pleasure, or something. Oxygen-mask wearers are evil!



Excellent post! This is a great way to describe coming out of a cult.


Jun 13 07:56



You should try to have this piece of writing published somewhere. It's really good.



As a TBM, I was kind of an anti-apologist ...


Jun 13 19:35



I really, in my TBM arrogance, wanted to write a true scholarly Systematic Theology of Mormonism. Over the years I tried to put this together several times, but I would always get stuck. The problem is, the doctrines and theology have been in constant flux, and not in a linear way, like the "line upon line" cop-out we always used to give. There was also several holes in the continuity story, that I now understand to be the remanufacture of events and what really happened, making contrived folklore experiences alive (1st vision, bestowal of priesthood by heavenly beings, institutionalization of the 2nd hidden church and the secret practices of polyandry, and the insider's club of special garment wearing endowed elites, etc.).

As a software architect, I model and design systematic equivalents to real world processes every day. I was convinced that mormonism, as the restored church of Jesus would model out ultimately to match the models distilled from studying early Christianity and pre-Deuteronomist Judaism. Modeling is nice because it allows me to see the system and the components, and the nature of similarities that really exist, and ones that exist due to happenstance. Apologetics can look at every problem individually, and they never have to worry about continuity or the cohesiveness of the whole.

Maybe it is time to start such a project, but maybe with a different twist. There just may be a story to tell in how the models really don't match.



a superb analogy:


Jun 13 10:10



but is it more than an analogy? Do people gripped by religious frenzy exhibit a learned hypoxia in select areas of the brain? And for hypoxic mormons, is anoxia far away?

Particularly telling is the association between hypoxia and euphoria: that has mormon 'testimony' written all over it.



I experienced hypoxia due to small blood clots in the brain as a result of a reaction


Jun 14 08:13


Quoth the raven "Nevermo"

to a plastic catheter. Great description of the actual physiological process. It was a very odd bad experience for me because no one understood at the time what was happening to me.

Very apt comparison not just for the morg but for all sudden revelations.

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