My father’s oldest brother left the church when he was 18. Everyone hated him for a long time for that. They eventually brought him back to some family functions, but it was always awkward. I as a kid watched all the adults backbite my uncle and I figured he was a real piece of shit. Then I found out the only thing he ever did was thinking that Mormonism was stupid.
My father’s baby brother had a disability, ADHD I think. Safe bet. It runs on the family. He was a fuck up. He couldn’t do anything right. No one liked him. He fell into a depression and got fat and died of a heart attack at 38. I was at BYUI when he died, and since he had the forethought to die around Christmas break I came down to see the funeral. I think I skipped some school days anyway. Family comes before anything. I watched everyone talk about my some version of my uncle, my dad’s baby brother, who never existed. It was bizarre and chilling.
How did I feel at that time? Well, I had just gotten back from my mission within the last 3 or 4 years. I felt like a failure. I was struggling to keep a testimony, because I knew so much about the church I wasn’t supposed to know from fighting with so many critics of the church trying to safe souls. But I also knew that no one cared what my thoughts were on that, because the issue would immediately become about my worthiness and on that front I had nothing to hide from my father who was my bishop and I was afraid he’d mistake me for an irrational antiMormon and use it all against me — like they did my dad’s oldest brother. But if I pretended to be Mormon for the rest of my life and smiled through my depression, what was there to look forward to? Nothing but getting fatter and fatter until eventually I died prematurely and they slathered me with things they never would said to me while o alive and say something about I was too good for this world and then lower me into the ground and just fucking forget about me because I was a disappointment anyway.
I was 24 about to turn “menace to society” age. Those se the thoughts I had in my head. Someone more “high functioning” would read the writing on the wall and marry someone, anyone, and start playing the Mormon game for social brownie points. Temple marriage 10 points. 1st kid 20 points. Make sure they see how far you’re coming along with a Christmas card! Great job 50 points. Giving the Lord (the church) credit for all of it 100 points. suppressing your weeping inner child successfully another 100 points! It’s not manly to let people see you dying inside. Compensate by throwing yourself on the church. Don’t give yourself any time to think. Just like they did to your father. Pop out those kids and repeat the cycle unthinkingly on them too.
I was a little “less functioning,” but it doesn’t mean I’m not smart in my way. Why would I ever do any of this to myself? How do I avoid it? If I can’t play the Mormon game and win, that leaves me with two fates: my oldest paternal uncle (run away and let them talk shit about you to everyone you ever knew) or my youngest paternal uncle (stick around, try to argue with them within a believing framework, but I know there’s gonna be a lot of stress that comes from that). I decided to split the difference, because they’ll listen to me (I thought). I went full atheist but hung around to watch the shit show. Genius level move. Muah. Let’s get all the stress of the next fifty years out of the way in just seven. I hate my family now. Hmm. I guess it’s better than living an empty life while you wait around for acknowledgment and approval that’s never coming. I kinda prefer being loathed by them: it’s way better than the alternatives. This must be what my oldest paternal uncle figured out at a young age.
When my paternal grandfather died, my dad’s dad, my oldest paternal uncle came to help dress the body for the funeral. But since that involved sacred Masonic garments and temple clothes, his brothers told him to get lost. My dad reported that story to me before he knew I was apostate too. At least he regretted it. Idk if he would have done anything different if repeating it was an option. What kind of repentance is godly sorrow without change? Answer: none at all. Which means Mormons don’t get to be acknowledged as compassionate if they don’t show the compassion. Sayinf how sorry you are while you steamroll someone’s feelings in the name of the church is not sorrow. If you were sorry, you wouldn’t do it. Imagine the Spanish Inquisitors asking for forgiveness from the people they were torturing. They weren’t sorry. Or if they were, they were more afraid that it would be them next, but they’re still complicit in the act. They want you to forgive them because the church is making them do it. No, that doesn’t mean the church is a cult… well, actually it would.
Everyone’s mad at me because I’m the last year I’ve taken my gloves off and told everyone what I think about everything. Even the cousins from mom’s side who came home early from their missions because of stress and seeing hypocrisy or whatever are mad at me because I’ve messed up their long game trying to metamorphose the parents from a distance. It wasn’t happening. What a waste of life. There are about half dozen of us in the extended family now that don’t believe, but we can’t unionize for shit. They get a little approval and a tolerable place back in the parents’ hearts and suddenly they become the Jack Mormon equivalent of Uncle Tom. Even Chief joined in on the fun and gaslit me a little bit and called me crazy.
I learned one thing from the approach I took: Mormons are insane and they’re never going to change. They will always blame you. They will always demand that you compromise your reasonable positions with their batshit, because if they can get you to come down off of your pedestal that means you’re weak and you’re no longer a threat to them. Because one of their axioms is that of someone has the truth, they won’t compromise it. They’ll use every dirty gaslighty trick to make you come down. They’ll say you’re being unfair to family. They’ll say you’re hurting mother. Don’t do it. Burn their asses. Make it accurate. Be consistent. Don’t take it back. Then walk away. Fuck them. That’s the only way you win with some of your dignity intact. Get under their skin and make them think about you years after the fact and don’t look back.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/05/2021 01:18PM by Cold-Dodger.
I believe that it’s accurate to say that the Mormon version of suppressing the natural man or mortifying the deeds of the flesh is to vilify and ignore “bad” emotions, because those are from Satan. Operating thus, you get an insular subculture full of people who aren’t emotionally literate enough to say what’s good or true for themselves or anyone else — although their doctrine compels them to try anyway. All that pent-up frustration gets channeled into the missionary effort and the retention effort and they become cruel and cold and desperate for you to tell them that they aren’t bad people at the same time.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/05/2021 01:22PM by Cold-Dodger.
and wondering how I got HERE. I'm 64 and still trying to figure so many things out. I was DEVOUT and I think I believed. I lived it. I wanted to have a forever family. I don't know how much about JS I believed as I look back. My idea of God was shattered when I found out my boyfriend was gay and the church leaders had the wrong answers. All I wanted was for them to say he would be fine, but they told me was damned.
So I've had some other things going on in my life recently and I also went through some major PTSD issues over my "husband" and when he left me and the kids some 25 years ago. I won't go into the whole story of what happened recently, but I'd slip in and out of PTSD and I was a MESS. Like I've said before, I've been in therapy for a long, long time. Just got a cancellation appt call so I get to see him Monday. He really has saved my life. I always knew I had a fragile personality and that THIS is not what I could handle in life and here I am.
I was thinking about all the people in the ward where I grew up and how all these families have kids all married in the temple and their lives look so perfect, but I actually do know some of the secrets and that their lives aren't perfect. My family we have how many divorces out of 6 kids? Only one long-time marriage. Two temple marriages, mine being one AT 27--so I was an old maid in the church. My daughter who is TBM didn't get married until 33 and she is very pretty and very successful. My son has mental health issues. That's been tough. He's almost too smart and he also has ADD and my sister, a teacher, thinks he has Asperger's. She and I also talked about the fact that we might have some autism as she and I are SO ANTISOCIAL. All of us are actually.
As for the family and their status. My younger brother had a stroke when born, drank paint thinner at age 18 months, and was hit by a pickup on his bike at age 5. He has always been disabled, but he actually had some really good normal friends who have been his friends ALL THESE YEARS. He is 56. He lives in our parents' house. Our older brother watches out for him mostly (he is disabled from a stroke at age 42). My parents were extremely devoted to our disabled brothers. It was very difficult on them both. My mother always questioned what she did wrong to have him be disabled. Her parents were both deaf, so she has dealt with disability from when she was born. Both my brothers are disability, though my most disabled one has had many jobs and I give a lot of credit to the people who hire him as he is a liability. Last job, he fell and cut the top of his head open--from front to back. He is bald so it was one horrible cut and he had staples. I'm amazed at the mormon guys who take care of him and their wives. There are some good ones out there.
As for my parents dying and dressing them. Nobody said a thing to me. I don't know if my sisters dressed my mom, if my one active BIL dressed my dad. Who knows. I do know what my mom was dressed in though, and it was mine. That goes a long way for me. Both my parents had their funerals at the funeral home, not at the lds church. I was lucky. I wasn't born into an extreme mormon family. My parents listened when I left. They were devastated by what happened to my life.
I have a lot of empathy for you. I wish you had ONE FAMILY MEMBER that was there for you. I come here and read and realize how lucky I am and was that I had a family who have been there for me (not as much as I needed), but that I also have SO MANY PEOPLE in my life that I can talk to about my loss of belief like my "husband" and some of his past boyfriends who are ex-mormon, all my siblings except one, MANY, MANY cousins. My aunt was very mormon or seemed so, but she was my biggest supporter when I left the church.
You don't need to be the oldest uncle or the youngest. You get to be YOU. I do trust you will find your way. You are very intelligent. Just be you. To hell with those people who expect you to be someone else. It has been very freeing for me to leave the church. I never fit in mormonism, though I tried very hard. I'm much better off on this side of things.
I have to say that I thought at age 64 I'd have it all figured out. FAR FROM IT. I just carry more baggage.
STICK Up for yourself (someone has to) STONE Them (unless they are already stoned)
Make no Bones about it!
They are living in an illusion, a fantasy land. MAKE Believe! Can't MAKE ME believe [B.S.].
While YOU might be living NOW. THEY prefer to wait... and wait! Until commanded to DO ANYTHING-
Go to 'church', the temple, the calling, the mission, the "service project', a baptism, missing, homecoming, visit preaching, ohm teaching, read the strictures, more missings, work for free (elder missings)...
All COMMANDS, never free to do as you please, while you can, WHILE ON EARTH...
"I kinda prefer being loathed by them: it’s way better than the alternatives."
You must be doing something right. My big realization when the blinders fell off is that it wasn't me, it was them. There are people in the church who still despise me - thank God. Proof it really is them.
The gossip and backbiting in the church is insane. It's practically baked in. Doesn't this indicate a fundamental problem? I mean, if it's a problem in every ward then the church's screwball doctrine is causing it.
It's a long long burn, not at all a short term thing, or plan.
I mean, this is about as much as completely shutting down the whole gosshhdurrn LDS church, ever imagined in their entire history. It's never ever been impacted like this before and parishioners are reeling and hurting and are confused and bewildered.
Sometimes somewhat completely bewildered!
They've been eyeing me slightly in a shy way thinking, "How Does That Former Member Do It?"
If you play their game, then there is winning or losing. So, don't play their game.
Try to emotionally distance yourself from Mormonism. Think of it, even refer to it, as "their church." Think of it as a quaint 19th century artifact to which your family still attaches a disproportionate amount of importance. In reality, the Mormon faith is of no more importance than worship of Jupiter, or Zeus, or Odin.
If you play their game, then you give this insignificant little sect a lot more importance than it deserves.