Recovery Board  : RfM
Recovery from Mormonism (RfM) discussion forum. 
Go to Topic: PreviousNext
Go to: Forum ListMessage ListNew TopicSearchLog In
Posted by: newbieguy ( )
Date: December 03, 2018 09:32PM

A few weeks back I posted asking for advice regarding an upcoming meeting I was to have with a GA regarding my concerns with the church. Here is a recap of the meeting.

I sat facing the GA, no desk between us, the SP was off to the side. The meeting lasted almost an hour. The first 20 or so minutes the conversation was 50/50 while the remainder was almost 100% GA doing the talking. The SP remained silent throughout. The GA was very polite and cordial throughout with no sense of arrogance or self-importance. Coming away from the meeting I don't get the feeling that he "knows the church is false" but rather that he chooses to believe and have faith.

After voicing my disappointment with some of the things I uncovered regarding church history he said that it was ok to have questions and that eventually all will be answered. He didn't attempt to go into much detail to defend any of the issues except for a couple remarks which was no different than what can be read in Fair. He said that back in the early days of the church things were very different with many strange beliefs and customs. The members and prophets included were learning about God's ways and it took time to adapt. He said its a miracle that the church survived and become as big as it is today.

He said that the church is very open and transparent today about all things. When asked why this was not the case 40 years ago he said that at the time the focus was on other things and these things were not essential in building the testimonies of the members.

We discussed the blacks and the priesthood briefly. He made a comment that in Africa they are we well aware of the church's ban of priesthood in the past but their response is that in the past racism was prevalent everywhere, so it doesn't bother them.
Although I didn't bring it up, he briefly mentioned the CES letter stating that it is very superficial and doesn't portray a complete and accurate picture of the facts. On the surface it seems very troubling, but when you delve in deeper you see that many of the issues raised can be explained.

We spoke about other religions and the fact their are many genuine and good people to be found everywhere to which he wholeheartedly agreed. At that point he gave a prolonged discourse on the saving ordinances that only our church has and is the only way back to God. While he was thus talking I was thinking to myself, all what you are saying about saving ordinances is entirely irrelevant for someone that has serious doubts of the authenticity of the church to begin with. That's only meaningful to a believer. Anyways that part kind of threw me off as in "doesn't he get it that if I doubt the church is true then why would I believe in the ordinances coming from the very same church". I noticed that the church uses that as its trump card.

Finally he said that the most important thing is to read the BOM every day. He said that the book has incredible power to bring one closer to God and to feel the spirit. He said that I'm very valuable and church needs me.

My take away from this experience is nothing I didn't already know. Everything he said is the same what we can hear in General Conference or read on the internet. When I read and listen to church's side of things, especially now that they are forced to be more open, I can't help but come away with the feeling that the church history is about nothing more than a bunch of men starting a new religion, fumbling and bumbling their way around, making changes here and there, no different than any corporation trying to grow and survive. And today it is the same, each prophet making his mark, revelations being nothing more than policy changes.

I think the GAs as with the TBMs come in all types. We can't paint them all with the same brush stroke. Some are more controlling and hardcore while others just want to be part of a feel good organization. The human mind is a wonderful and terrible thing all at once. Being a TBM or a member of any church for that matter is nothing more than a choice which is a very personal thing. Some people need to be a Mormon, others leave the church only to join another church, and others don't want to belong to any church. We could very well have another board discussing God vs No God and we would have exmormons defending their belief in God in much the same way Mormon apologists defend the church.

For me the meeting was fruitful, not so much to speak to the GA, but to let the SP know where I stand, kind of a coming out. For now I don't mind so much going to church especially with the 2 hour block coming up. I have my trump card firmly in place now, to avoid callings, tithing (for some time now actually), assignments, temple, etc. A very liberating feeling. I'll see where this journey takes me.

Thanks for listening.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: December 03, 2018 09:51PM

Same old same old. All I kept thinking while reading is that religion is at the very least an unanswerable question that serves as a distraction and inhibits exploration in life.

All the wasted time. All the time sitting in church hearing the same thing over and over when you could be somewhere experiencing something new. How many lost hours?

All the wasted time. Sitting in the temple watching the same grade-school level play. Or Kindergarten? How much lost energy. How much lost opportunity?

All the wasted time. Turning down opportunities that don't align with your religion. Opportunities that expand the mind, that enable you to feel more, be more. Lost.

We get one life. Only so many hours. They are precious.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: LeftTheMorg ( )
Date: December 03, 2018 10:23PM

Thank you for the Update! Will be keeping positive thoughts for you. It's certainly tough going through this and I don't envy you. It was a very difficult time for me when I finally realized the church couldn't be true. Glad to hear they're actually talking to people about their doubts now instead of automatically condemning. I hope this will make your transition easier with your family members.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: babyloncansuckit ( )
Date: December 04, 2018 12:11AM

I was okay with the GA’s position, possibly with the allowance that the map is not the territory, up until he told you to read the BoM every day. Face palm.

That’s exactly why Mormonism can’t work for you anymore. You know what the BoA and BoM actually are. Going along to get along is one thing. Going along with idiocy is another. Getting an audience with a GA is quite a privilege. It’s awesome that he’s a decent guy outside of being trapped in the Mormon bubble. How was he to know he was asking you to be a pretentious doofus?

My advice is don’t give up on Christ. You are the Christ, we all are, and we are all Lucifer. As Solzhenitsyn put it, the line between good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either -- but right through every human heart. Worshiping Christ is a misinterpretation of the logos and the gospels. Be the Christ, your cross awaits. From this thread, it seems you have found it. The way and the light is inside you. You don’t need the external validation of the church. It may help you to have a church, but I can’t recommend the LDS one. It’s too psychologically debilitating.

Religion is what you make of it. It’s easier if you don’t start with a sow’s ear. Your tradition and language are Christian after the MLM culty stuff is wiped away. The alternative is Atheism, which I think is entirely acceptable. You can try it on and see if it fits. It didn’t fit me.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/04/2018 12:47AM by babyloncansuckit.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Anonymous Muser ( )
Date: December 04, 2018 12:23AM

"He said that the church is very open and transparent today about all things."

Excellent! If you can obtain a follow-up, ask him where you can obtain "open and transparent" church financial statements.

"it is very superficial and doesn't portray a complete and accurate picture of the facts. On the surface it seems very troubling, but when you delve in deeper you see that many of the issues raised can be explained"

And notice how Elder GA didn't actually provide any examples of how the CES letter is "very superficial" and inaccurate. He also didn't attempt to explain or answer the issues, instead he only generalized and made unfounded assertions without evidence. He doesn't really have any answers; if he did, he would have given them.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: ificouldhietokolob ( )
Date: December 04, 2018 10:29AM

newbieguy Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> He said that the church is very open and
> transparent today about all things.

A flat-out lie.
Take 15 minutes and read the church-published "essays."
You'll see clearly this GA is lying.

> He said...that eventually all will be answered.

Ah, yes, the old "we'll find out in the celestial kingdom" dodge. And, of course, he not only doesn't know the answers to the questions he uses that dodge on, he also doesn't know that "eventually all will be answered." He may HOPE that's the case, but he certainly doesn't know it. He lied again.

For me, if one of these GA-types would sit down and honestly say he doesn't know, admit the church covers some things up because they're embarrassing or just plain "weird," and honestly says that he has hope and faith, that would at least be honest. It wouldn't answer the questions or change the fact that much of church "history" is false, but it would at least be honest. Instead they sit there and lie, lie, lie. And feel "holy" while doing it.

Asshats.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Brother Of Jerry ( )
Date: December 04, 2018 01:04PM

The only thing he said that I agree with is that it is a miracle the church survived and got as big as it did. It will also be a miracle if it stays this big, a point he failed to bring up.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: December 04, 2018 01:17PM

Right? My father in law is a former stake president and his hypothesis of faith is that God started it and has been developing it ever since.

I guess that works for him.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: exminion ( )
Date: December 04, 2018 01:38PM

Newbieguy, go back and read our replies to your previous thread: "Advice Needed" Part 1.

We told you so. You received just the same ambiguous, falsely soothing, evasive general replies, that are not really answers at all.

Right down to the same-old "Read the BOM."

It worked, though. You're still going to the Mormon church.

Done and Done, you are right. Now, go back, and apply all of that to each one of the children, who are being raised in that cult, and who are new, fresh minds, new life, new love, which will be wasted along with the wasted time.

Newbieguy, do you have children? What about them? Responsible parents owe their children The Truth! Oh, I know, I know, "What is True isn't necessarily useful."

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: December 04, 2018 01:40PM

And what is useful for a GA isn't necessarily true. That is the gist of what he got from a leader of LDS Corp.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: newbieguy ( )
Date: December 05, 2018 09:17PM

One thing you need to remember, this is my journey and not yours.

Was I expecting some sort of miraculous answer from him? Of course not. Was he capable of giving more in depth answers similar to what we might find online? I'm sure he could have, but I purposely didn't want to go there otherwise it would have just have been a live session of mormon essays.

So what was my purpose? As I stated before it was a great opportunity for me to state my concerns at the highest level both locally and church wide(I don't think the prophet will have the time to meet with me). There is power to boldly sit face to face before a GA and SP and unequivocally express my disappointment with the church all the while remaining perfectly calm and composed and allowing him to give me his reply. This is something I probably could not have done a few years ago.

While I am still attending church most Sundays, that is my choice and has nothing to do with my meeting. Unlike many on this board, I do not hold animosity towards the church and its members. I feel that hatred and anger is a cancer to the soul and I will not give anyone that kind of power over me, most certainly not the church or its leaders.

I have three adult children with one still at home. Two of the three are no longer active and this was entirely their own doing without them ever knowing about my doubts. The youngest isn't overly keen on church and I feel he will follow his brothers. I tell my wife that this is a clear sign we did a great job raising our kids because they have minds of their own. Our family relationships have always been strong and remain so to this day and are entirely independent of the church. I guess I'm one of the lucky ones.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: moremany ( )
Date: December 07, 2018 01:16AM

... have three adult children with one still at home. Two of the three are no longer active and this was entirely their own... The youngest isn't overly keen on church and I feel he will follow his brothers. I tell my wife that this is a clear sign we did a great job raising our kids because they have minds of their own. Our family relationships have always been strong and remain so to this day and are entirely independent of the church. I guess I'm one of the lucky ones.

You raise kids to have a mind of their own - and would rather tell your Mormon leaders than your children how you feel - but how about your parents? And do you?

Independent of tscc? Lucky? Who knows?

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: cl2 ( )
Date: December 06, 2018 11:46AM

Everyone leaves for their own reasons. Newbie guy has the right to do this his way. There is no right way or wrong way to leave the lds church.

I tried going back a few times. I'd sit on the sofa in the foyer so I wouldn't get callings or be love bombed. I'd go a few minutes after I knew SM was starting and then leave as soon as they started singing the closing song. I was SEARCHING for what I thought I had found there before.

I didn't have RfM or any other place to try to figure this out. This was all my own journey. You can't imagine my shock to have my therapist be an exmormon. He looks SO MORMON you wouldn't believe. He looks more mormon than I do. I'd been going to him over 6 years when I finally asked him his beliefs. I was on my way already. He sent me here some time later. I was so amazed that there were others who had figured it out, too.

Some of us do have hatred and animosity, Newbieguy. Look up my story as I sit here in the house I saved after my gay husband left me and abandoned my children, and he shares the house now, lives downstairs. I never took child support or spousal support because I was too broken to divorce him. I had to concentrate on working my 2 jobs and raising my kids alone. Now, after they are raised, he is in their lives. He is working on earning our trust, but he has had sex with over a thousand men, whose names he doesn't know. He wants a long-term relationship, but he is damaged by his upbringing as a gay mormon. He had to live a double life. The leaders told me he had to change or he was damned, and it was up to me to save him.

In January, I will be standing outside the temple while my daughter gets married. Who raised her? Who sacrificed everything I am for her, for my "ex," and for my son? Because of them.

I'm lucky. I was able to reconnect with the nonmormon guy I wanted to marry at age 20 and he has been in my life for 14 years now. He is 65 and I am 61.

NOW TELL ME AGAIN--why would I have animosity? It took me 23 years to figure it out.

One day, I predict, that you, newbieguy, will no longer be mormon. You are just on the journey. It might take you 23 years, too. It might take you longer.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: moremany ( )
Date: December 06, 2018 07:31PM

Please tell us again why advice is needed [again].

newbieguy Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> A few weeks back I posted asking for advice
> regarding an upcoming meeting I was to have with a
> GA regarding my concerns with the church. Here is
> a recap of the meeting.
>
> I sat facing the GA, no desk between us, the SP
> was off to the side. The meeting lasted almost an
> hour. The first 20 or so minutes the conversation
> was 50/50 while the remainder was almost 100% GA
> doing the talking. The SP remained silent
> throughout. The GA was very polite and cordial
> throughout with no sense of arrogance or
> self-importance. Coming away from the meeting I
> don't get the feeling that he "knows the church is
> false" but rather that he chooses to believe and
> have faith.
>
> After voicing my disappointment with some of the
> things I uncovered regarding church history he
> said that it was ok to have questions and that
> eventually all will be answered. He didn't attempt
> to go into much detail to defend any of the issues
> except for a couple remarks which was no different
> than what can be read in Fair. He said that back
> in the early days of the church things were very
> different with many strange beliefs and customs.
> The members and prophets included were learning
> about God's ways and it took time to adapt. He
> said its a miracle that the church survived and
> become as big as it is today.
>
> He said that the church is very open and
> transparent today about all things. When asked
> why this was not the case 40 years ago he said
> that at the time the focus was on other things and
> these things were not essential in building the
> testimonies of the members.
>
> We discussed the blacks and the priesthood
> briefly. He made a comment that in Africa they
> are we well aware of the church's ban of
> priesthood in the past but their response is that
> in the past racism was prevalent everywhere, so it
> doesn't bother them.
> Although I didn't bring it up, he briefly
> mentioned the CES letter stating that it is very
> superficial and doesn't portray a complete and
> accurate picture of the facts. On the surface it
> seems very troubling, but when you delve in deeper
> you see that many of the issues raised can be
> explained.
>
> We spoke about other religions and the fact their
> are many genuine and good people to be found
> everywhere to which he wholeheartedly agreed. At
> that point he gave a prolonged discourse on the
> saving ordinances that only our church has and is
> the only way back to God. While he was thus
> talking I was thinking to myself, all what you are
> saying about saving ordinances is entirely
> irrelevant for someone that has serious doubts of
> the authenticity of the church to begin with.
> That's only meaningful to a believer. Anyways that
> part kind of threw me off as in "doesn't he get it
> that if I doubt the church is true then why would
> I believe in the ordinances coming from the very
> same church". I noticed that the church uses that
> as its trump card.
>
> Finally he said that the most important thing is
> to read the BOM every day. He said that the book
> has incredible power to bring one closer to God
> and to feel the spirit. He said that I'm very
> valuable and church needs me.
>
> My take away from this experience is nothing I
> didn't already know. Everything he said is the
> same what we can hear in General Conference or
> read on the internet. When I read and listen to
> church's side of things, especially now that they
> are forced to be more open, I can't help but come
> away with the feeling that the church history is
> about nothing more than a bunch of men starting a
> new religion, fumbling and bumbling their way
> around, making changes here and there, no
> different than any corporation trying to grow and
> survive. And today it is the same, each prophet
> making his mark, revelations being nothing more
> than policy changes.
>
> I think the GAs as with the TBMs come in all
> types. We can't paint them all with the same
> brush stroke. Some are more controlling and
> hardcore while others just want to be part of a
> feel good organization. The human mind is a
> wonderful and terrible thing all at once. Being a
> TBM or a member of any church for that matter is
> nothing more than a choice which is a very
> personal thing. Some people need to be a Mormon,
> others leave the church only to join another
> church, and others don't want to belong to any
> church. We could very well have another board
> discussing God vs No God and we would have
> exmormons defending their belief in God in much
> the same way Mormon apologists defend the church.
>
>
> For me the meeting was fruitful, not so much to
> speak to the GA, but to let the SP know where I
> stand, kind of a coming out. For now I don't mind
> so much going to church especially with the 2 hour
> block coming up. I have my trump card firmly in
> place now, to avoid callings, tithing (for some
> time now actually), assignments, temple, etc. A
> very liberating feeling. I'll see where this
> journey takes me.
>
> Thanks for listening.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: December 06, 2018 09:23PM

In light of some of these responses I went back to see what advice newbieguy asked for. He clearly explains it in the following excerpts from his first post.


“So the advice I need is pretty basic. When I meet with the GA and I am assuming the SP will also be present, and assuming the interview lasts no more than an hour, maybe even just 30 minutes, what should I do or say? Obviously, time is limited and even if I had a couple hours, I don’t think it would change a thing, so what would be the best way to sum up my concerns with the church? I don’t want emotions to play a part. I want to be very calm, respectful, and factual. Should I bring up one or two issues or just make a very general statement?
“I understand there are many opinions on this, in the end I will choose the one that fits my experience and personality.



“I will go as it will be a good opportunity for me to make my position clear. I admire that ex bishop from Texas who recently stood up to voice his concerns about bishop youth interviews and was subsequently exed. Likewise, I think it is my duty too to take a stand.



“Unfortunately my life is too intertwined with the church at this point to simply walk away as my wife is still active although not your typical TBM, and most of our friends are LDS. I don't want a total breakaway as there are many good people in our ward and I don't mind associating with some of them. In addition I get a feeling of empowerment when I go to church knowing that I don't have to accept any callings or assignments to clean the temple or make visits. I will continue to be honest and candid in my thinking and comments and who knows maybe snatch a few souls away from the chains of cojcolds. They may be jealous of my freedom from all the rules and want to join me.

“If anyone is interested I will post how it went although we can pretty well predict the outcome. That's the thing about this church, everything is so damn scripted, no room for thought or questioning or honest discussion. That more than anything is what drives me away.



“Personally I feel I have to go through with this meeting and not coward away. I need to let them know how terribly disappointed I am with the way the church and its leadership let me down by hiding all these truths from us for so many years. I need to tell them that my Integrity no longer permits me to continue as I have in the past. I can't pray this away anymore.


Azsteve replied to a post that suggested newbieguy just skip going to the meeting with the GA:

“You are correct but only for someone who has completely healed up from their mormon experience. There can be a great healing power when you face a high-level representative of the organization that brought you harm, and when the meeting is over, you walk away with your own empowerment and integrity in-tact after letting them know that they did you wrong and that you're not buying it anymore. If you do well enough, you might even see a crack in his testimony/lie that he can't hide and you both know that he is wrong, and that he knows that you know he is wrong, just by observing his own doubt in his facial expressions (micro-expressions are a wonderful thing after you get good at reading them. It gets very difficult for others to lie to you without your knowing it). Facing these guys sure beats hiding like a coward. After you've won a few battles like that, boredom may set in and then maybe there is no need to meet with them. At the time I resigned, it felt more like escaping from East Germany than tendering a resignation, although I did meet with my Bishop to resign and to tell him why. After a few decades of healing and learning to feel empowered again, it was too late to easily get an audience with a GA.”


In this current follow up thread (after the meeting with the GA) cl2 says:

“Everyone leaves for their own reasons. Newbie guy has the right to do this his way. There is no right way or wrong way to leave the lds church.”

That makes a lot of sense. Religions like Mormonism emphasize obedience as a high virtue. They expect adherents to believe every doctrine wholeheartedly, to obey the appointed leaders, to squelch doubts and disagreements, to avoid discussing concerns or questions with other members, to limit exposure to outside knowledge and to non-members. For BICs in particular it may be a long journey towards awareness of issues within the faith, taking steps to resolve questions, living with a new reality, coping with how deeply entrenched they are inside the religion and choosing how to exit or whether to stay in, with considerations about their most precious assets (spouse, children, relatives, friends) in the forefront of the difficult choices they must make. Depending on one’s experiences inside the faith and the effect of the newfound information and one’s reactions to such an earthshaking event inside the bubble of their existence the journey is different for each of us. Some can hang on inside until their children are grown or until their spouse wants to leave too. Others eagerly run immediately for the exit.

Because, as we say so often that it should be a subtitle on the RfM board: We are all different. Our upbringing, attitudes, feelings, thoughts, entanglements, closeness or otherwise to family members and spouse, etc. We are not the same. But similar enough that we can understand the process. Some run. Some stay. Some leave alone, others with their families. Some can stick around and ease off slowly, others can’t stand another minute, no matter what the consequences of leaving may be. There is anger, relief, sadness, joy, depending on many factors, including our personality and life situation.
That’s why it’s so helpful for posters to write about their own experiences and certainly advice found here has helped countless others through the years.

But there’s no right way to think or feel and no one way to leave.

The advice newbieguy asked for (seen in his first post, excerpted above) relates to which questions to ask or topics to go over with the GA. He went on to explain why he wanted to attend the meeting. He wasn’t asking whether he should go or not. It’s perfectly fine to ask each other for advice. But it’s for info only, not compulsory, obviously.

It’s easy to overlay on another’s situation our own reactions and feelings but not always that helpful to them.
New posters often express appreciation for the replies they receive. It’s helpful and kind to respond to each other, especially to new posters. But, as cl2 says (much more succinctly than I have managed) it’s up to each individual to make their own best choices but if we can provide them with helpful info that’s a bonus. I’m sure that most posters weigh our words and appreciate the input but in the end the best thing for them is to make their own decisions as they know themselves and their situation best.

It makes perfect sense to me that newbieguy already knew he wanted to see the GA but wished to get some input re which topics to bring up. Again, he wasn’t asking whether he should go to the meeting or not.

He wants to stay a member for now, which is common as we have seen through the years. As I said, some people run out of the building (me included) when that eureka moment comes for them and others are on a slower train. Newbieguy sounds pretty level-headed and it sounds like things will work out for him and his family. It would be great to read updates if available. He sounds content for now and seems to know his path forward.

That is not a bad place to be in life.

Even if it's inside the (former)Mormon Church.

For now.


Good luck newbieguy.

Options: ReplyQuote
Go to Topic: PreviousNext
Go to: Forum ListMessage ListNew TopicSearchLog In


Screen Name: 
Your Email (optional): 
Subject: 
Spam prevention:
Please, enter the code that you see below in the input field. This is for blocking bots that try to post this form automatically.
 **     **        **  ********  **     **  **     ** 
 ***   ***        **     **     **     **  **     ** 
 **** ****        **     **     **     **  **     ** 
 ** *** **        **     **     *********  **     ** 
 **     **  **    **     **     **     **   **   **  
 **     **  **    **     **     **     **    ** **   
 **     **   ******      **     **     **     ***