Date: January 18, 2020 06:59PM
I was born a 5th Gen Mormon. I had the book to prove it, The Book of Remembrance, put together of all the stories collected by my Mormon Grandma, who was an epic story teller and wrote them all down and kept them her whole life in these books that she gave us all copies of before she died.
She put it all on the computer once they came along. That was my inheritance when she died.
She had all the heroic stories of all the Pioneer stock and, war heroes and grandma's grandparents, who were polygamists, who had multiple wives and lived communally on the Oxbow of the Jordan River in West Jordan.
This book has been both a blessing and a curse in my life.
It was a blessing because I knew who my family was, at least the Mormon side.
The other 3 sides didn't keep records so all we know is what we learned through oral tradition, which went back a couple of generations, then, nothing.
Growing up my Mom was the typical Leave it to Beaver, Mrs Cleever, Dad was Mr Cleever who wore a white shirt and a black tie down to the Boeing plant in the valley to engineer the planes we all fly on now, on his hands and knees, tracing full size templates in lead for wings of the 747, the trailing aileron of the 737, the nose cone of the 727, the door of the 777 and any other plane that flew with a 7 in front of it.
I was the Beave,Younger Brother to two older sisters and a twin.
Oldest Sister took to my Dad's Mormonism like a fish takes to water. The remaining three of us had our doubts about the old man's religion. He never went to church in the 57 years I spent with him, unless the consequences of NOT going were predictably worse than the consequences of going. He could fake it with the rest of the fakers. So he went along to get along, dragged mainly his Mom, who loved everything about Mormonism and was the definition of a saint.
If every Mormon were as kind and giving, charitable and of good character and report as my Mormon Grandma, this world would be a MUCH better place. The same could be said of my own Mother, who is still the most giving, charitable and good person I know or ever have known. She is a lovely person. And she has never identified with any particular religion her entire life. She's probably closest to an agnostic or a Pantheist. Dad was a Mormon in name only, who drank, smoked and never went to church. He was a Pantheist.
But ironically, Mom will still defended my Mormon Grandma if you say anything bad about the racist, sexist abusive doomsday cult we inherited. She'll say, "Yeah, but Mormon Grandma wasn't a racist. She didn't have a hateful bone in her body!"
I have to admit that was true.
She didn't have a hateful bone in her body.
Despite being born into a almost pure white society, with extremely naive and racist beliefs about the true nature of human beings on this planet and where race comes from.
Despite the racism that was VERY prevalent in Utah, she wouldn't discriminate against anybody based upon their skin color, if it killed her.
That's my Mom's defense of Mormonism, even though she never got baptized Mormon because she didn't buy into their justification for not allowing blacks in the Temple and not allowing women to have the priesthood. She was a Gloria Steinem feminist, 100% behind the ERA, at a time when that was not an opinion she shared with the MORmON Crutch or anybody in it.
Despite that fact, she decided, along with my Father, that the Mormon Church was the only way they could figure how to help instill morals and values into us that had served our family well in the past and they expected it'd work the same with us, despite the fact we were being raised in the midst of the Sexual Revolution.
As I grew up I went to church every Sunday, or whenever we didn't have something planned. As we got older my parents took on an all consuming hobby that thankfully took us away from church on Sundays. But we'd still do all the weekday things, like Mutual and Seminary. I went to about 1 or 2 seminary classes, mainly hoping to attract the attention of the foxy Mormon neighbor.
As I reached adulthood, I wanted to explore my roots, specifically my Mormon Roots and my roots in the old country. My Mormon grandmother was an amazing story teller and she wrote all of her stories down and put them together into this Book of Rememberance. So I had a lot of information to go on about where my family had come from in America and Europe, where I visited in my travels, but nothing about further back, where we actually came from, like Africa. I wanted to go connect with my African roots. I traveled around the US, Europe and Africa. As I did, I grew more and more interested in anthropology, culture. Religion plays a central role in culture. I explored all religions and since I was in North Africa, Morocco at the time, I took a real interest in Islamic Culture of North Africa, which was centered around Islam, which also permeated every day life.
Religion in North Africa is interwoven into every corner of society and the sound of Sufi prayer calls at sunrise stir your soul to a beautiful awakening. It is a beautiful, daily ablution that reminds you, even as you are hustling through a busy market in a bustling city, that you live in a mysterious cosmos that you resonate with through music and the dance of life.
I went to Africa to return to my roots and ended up resonating with the sun and the moon and the stars,
and the water beneath them.
And the consciousness that unites them all.
One night in the garden of a Mosque in an oasis in the Sahara desert, I found myself alone by a stream that ran through the garden. As the African sun dipped below the horizon and day turned to dusk, the swallows dipping, singing and dancing over the stream turned to the silent muffled sound of the wings of bats.
As the moon rose in the East I picked up a big frog and I looked into his black and yellow eyes and could see that he saw me and was just sitting there in my hand perfectly content to just enjoy the moonlight and look at me.
I thought of how the moon that rises over our heads is the same moon as the moon over my loved ones heads back home, and the water flowing through the stream flowed out to the Mediterranean, which connected to the Atlantic, which connects to the Pacific, which connects to the Puget Sound, the Green River and the Soose creek, running through my fatherland on the other side of the world. And even though the continents are separated, they're all connected beneath the surface and connected by oceans without borders. The same is true of me and this toad, we're both alive because of this water, this earth, the sun and the moon and the whole galaxy and the cosmos.
We are all one.
One with nature, one with each other,
there's no difference between me and an African, except our skin color. Ultimately we are 99.9% biologically identical. It's just that superficial .01% that makes us 'different'. 1/10th of 1%. That's what we're fighting over?
Right then, the frog I was holding in my hand jumped over my shoulder into the hood of my desert robe and I went to sleep in a little shed of my new friends, happy as that frog in the warm stream flowing through the garden.
I woke up the next day, walked into the Mosque at prayer time and performed my ablutions in the same warm water, walked right into the mosque in my Jalaba. The Imam stopped and confronted me, telling me if I was not a Muslim I could not be in the Mosque for prayer. I told him I was no different from him. That I believed in the same god as him, Allah, that there was only one god, Allah. My Muslim friends vouched for me and begged the Imam to allow me to pray with them. The Imam asked if I believed that Mohamed a prophet. I told him I did and he allowed me to pray with them, that day and ever after. I felt acceptance and a oneness with my Muslim Brothers who had defended me.
When I came home, I missed that.
I wasn't allowed into the Mormon temple when my oldest Sister got married. My Sister's Bishop asked me if I believed the Jesus Christ was the only begotten Son of God. I asked what he meant by begotten? Are we not all 'begotten'? He said, "I mean born of God?" I said, "Are we not all god's children?"
He asked me if I believed Joseph Smith was a Prophet. I said I didn't know. He said, then until you can answer those questions, "Yes." you can't go into a Mormon Temple.
To me that was like telling me you can't go climb that mountain. The hell I can't!
I thought getting accepted into the temple would be nothing compared to getting accepted into a Muslim Mosque for prayer on the other side of the world. Little did I know, it took me a year of studying, praying, going to church, paying tithing and by that time I was ready to go serve a mission overseas. What made me interested in Mormonism was the family aspect of it. Our family was kind of fraying at the seams and it seemed like uniting us around the church would be a good thing for us and my future family and kids growing up. So I went along with the plan. Temple, mission, College, marriage, kids, career, in that order. And I did.
Then my kids grew up and started asking questions I should have asked at their age, like,
"Dad, if the whole Curse of Cain thing is wrong, then why does it still say in that God cursed Cain and his descendants with dark skin in the scriptures?" and
"If you don't believe God curses people with dark skin when they sin and turns them white again when they repent, then why does it still say that in the Book of Mormon?" and
"How did the Curse of Cain survive the flood?"
Instead of feeding them the same pablum I was fed and fed to gullible dupes on my mission, I decided to give them real answers, ones I had really researched. I decided that following the evidence to it's logical conclusion and being honest with my kids was the most important thing I could do.
So I searched it out, the internet had come along, thankfully, by this point and I did the research, which led me to what I believe is the only logical conclusion you can draw from the evidence, if you're honest, that Joseph's Myth is a fraud. There is no way to defend the blatant racism of Mormonism, not honestly. And I had a few friends who were both African American and Mormon. We spoke about this many times and as I researched and shared my research with them, they told me with tears in their eyes, "If I didn't have a strong testimony of this church and how it's helped me in my life, I'd walk away right now and never turn back."
Eventually they did.
We all did.
Walked away from the church.
Walked away from our marriages.
Walked away from our families.
Walked away from our community,
Walked away from our jobs, careers.
walked away from our homes.
the whole house of cards came tumbling down.
which set us free
free from the curse that held us bondage.
free from the mental slavery.
free from the chains of oppression.
free to be authentic
free to be who we were meant to be
free to self actualize and
free to resonate with music of the spheres and dance like a sufi under the moonlight
beside a stream
that connects us all
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/18/2020 07:13PM by schrodingerscat.