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Posted by: RPackham ( )
Date: September 08, 2022 08:58PM

I have two examples, from devout Mormons who know me well, that make me think that Mormon "repentance" isn't what it's supposed to be.

One, an older man and former bishop, committed adultery with his wife's friend. He confessed to his wife and his bishop, and was disfelowshipped for a year. He commented later to me that it was worth it - "she sure wasn't like my wife!"

Another man admitted to me that he and his future wife had had sex before marriage. They confessed, after they were married, and were disciplined for it. I asked him specifically if they had repented, and he said, "Of course we repented... but we're glad we did it that way."

It seems that "repentance" merely means doing the punishment, not necessarily feeling any remorse or regret (except for being punished).

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Posted by: GNPE ( )
Date: September 08, 2022 09:10PM

Not So, RP!

It makes Great LIP SERVICE & occasional talking points…

just sayin’

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Posted by: messygoop ( )
Date: September 08, 2022 11:39PM


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Posted by: dogbloggernli ( )
Date: September 09, 2022 12:06AM

Isn't all repentance as a religious practice similarly phony?

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Posted by: GNPE ( )
Date: September 09, 2022 12:13AM

Repentance certainly has a religious connotation but we should allow for sincere- contrite individuals who wish to reverse repudiate correct their mistakes irrespective of religion

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Posted by: blindguy ( )
Date: September 10, 2022 07:22AM

dogbloggernli Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Isn't all repentance as a religious practice
> similarly phony?

Case in point. When I was in 6th grade, I participated in the Roman Catholic sacrament of confession for the first time. The idea was that you were supposed to confess your sinful thoughts while kneeling behind a window in front of a priest who opened a curtain to see you. I said that I wanted to murder my family members (mother, father, and brother), and he told me to pray several Hail Mary prayers.

The problem was that none of my confession was true. I had absolutely no idea what I was going to confess to so I made up something to confess to--I figured it was better than the alternative. So yeah, my first confession was absolutely phony.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: September 10, 2022 07:59AM

The Catholic confession was always a bit of a mystery to me as a child. I was raised to be a good, obedient, child, so what was there to confess? I was expected to go to confession, so I used to comb over the list of sins, or sometimes "sins," looking rather desperately for something to confess. I would think, I must have thought a bad thought. Or, said something in anger or annoyance to my mom. That was all I had, so it would have to do. And in return, the priest would have me say so many Hail Mary's or Our Father's as a part of the repentance process. How was that supposed to solve anything? As I got older, I used to think that the priests must have been very bored, or even amused, by all of those childish confessions.

Later, as an adult, I had a conversation with the neighborhood priest. He urged me to "return to church, and make a good confession." Even then I thought, and confess what exactly? That I took a pen home from the office? That I was sleeping with my boyfriend? I didn't feel that I had done anything in particular that merited an apology to God.

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Posted by: Rubicon ( )
Date: September 09, 2022 06:22AM

Well if they didn’t feel bad about it why confess? Maybe these people have some sort of weird fetish. Some people love to get highly involved in a demanding religion and then corrupt the members of it. They get off on it. Maybe confessing, getting punished and then continuing doing it is a fun game.

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Posted by: blackcoatsdaughter ( )
Date: September 09, 2022 07:10AM

I have long wondered if other members did repentance different than me. Because I took it seriously that no unclean thing may enter into the house of the Lord and we were constantly visiting the temple. As an imaginative writer and artist with a lean towards salacious content, I often got into trouble with my errant thoughts. I mean, when you're at the point of obedience where you're not murdering, you're not drinking, you're not lying, you're not stealing, and you're not having sex with anyone, my religiosity made me focus in on the few things that I still did incorrectly. And so repentance to me meant a constant vigilance on my lewd fantasies, and then emotionally flagellating myself and promising the Lord fruitlessly that "I'll never do it again!" At least once a day.

The atonement did not bring me peace the way it seemed to for other people and I often wondered how they could just walk around as if they didn't have things to constantly repent for. Turns out, I think my neurodivergence leads to a measure of scrupulous behavior that was not felt or warranted for others. Or maybe my aunt and uncle simply ARE that perfect, that they're simply empty vessels for Christ with no dirty or cruel thought crimes.

Or maybe they're like OP examples where confession offers freedom instead of regret. And they simply taught me to be absolutely pure and clean to screw with my head.

"You look like you need something to do..."

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Posted by: Rubicon ( )
Date: September 09, 2022 05:02PM

Because there are two kinds of Mormons. Social Mormons who stay in because it benefits them somehow or they don’t have the motivation to leave. The second kind are true believers. I think this is a rather small group to be honest with you.

All the world is a stage. People just play a part to get rewarded. What we really are is usually deeply hidden.

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: September 09, 2022 10:17AM

From a lawyer this is a surpassingly circumstantially pointed post. It is phoney but many Mormons are messed up with sincere attempts.

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Posted by: dagny ( )
Date: September 09, 2022 10:32AM

Yes, I think for many it is mostly a procedural and payment system.

For many, any guilt is assuaged by simply doing the procedure.

I find the process transactional, with the church middleman taking a cut. It's more about inducing guilt so the person keeps the church informed about what they have been doing, and paying money to boot.

Many people are conditioned to run to their church instead of being told to make it right with the people involved and their God. They learn if they do the church steps, there is no real consequence and feeling guilty is optional.

I'm reminded of the cartel character on the TV show Ozark who had a priest around all the time to absolve all the murders. Easy peasy.

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: September 09, 2022 10:59AM

We can always repent later!

That's the Mormon way because no matter what else they are, under neath it all they are human (barely). So they get the best of both worlds by erring and then getting that divine forgiveness as the old saying goes. Who says they are dumb?

Mormonism is all buy now and pay later. Well . . . except for getting in the CK which translate to buying the Brooklyn Bridge.

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Posted by: cl2notloggedin ( )
Date: September 09, 2022 11:08AM

if she had forgiven her husband when he cheated with her friend. Don't they have to make it right? How do you make it right?

I decided recently that forgiveness is bull. There are some things that have been done to me that I will never completely get over. And I decided the people who did these things to me are not deserving of me forgiving and I don't buy into the idea anymore that forgiveness is for myself. I think some things in life are just unforgiveable.

So the guy cheated on his wife with her friend and he was disfellowshipped????

In reality, I don't think I'll ever forgive the leaders I dealt with where the gay issue is concerned and one friend.

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Posted by: messygoop ( )
Date: September 09, 2022 12:00PM

I have also decided not to buy into forgiveness.

And my life was always half screwed up with the church and crappy leaders and their endless snide remarks directed at me.

The other half were school mates who bullied and taunted me at a time when I was trying to feel good about myself.

Some of us were tricked that the church was essential [it wasn't] and a good way to deal with life's problems [terrible outcomes].



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/09/2022 12:01PM by messygoop.

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Posted by: blindguy ( )
Date: September 10, 2022 07:34AM

...if it was a small misstep that was taken that didn't have large consequences over time. However, if the consequences over time are large for the victim, then forgiveness will not work--the costs are too high!

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: September 10, 2022 08:04AM

>> I decided recently that forgiveness is bull.

I understand where you're coming from. I've never understood religious leaders who immediately forgive very serious offenses, even against themselves. Perhaps they think they're setting a good example for the masses.

I think for forgiveness to even be a consideration, there needs to be an awareness on the part of the offender of the wrong committed, sincere contrition, and a desire to make it right. If all of those are in place, then forgiveness *can* be a very helpful thing to the one who has been victimized. But even then, sometimes it is just too much to ask.

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Posted by: Silence is Golden ( )
Date: September 09, 2022 11:55AM

I never viewed repentance as something between me and lets say a bishop to discuss or report. There is no way in he** I was going to ever going to tell some business manager with a title my omissions on Mormon righteousness.

I always knew that it was between me and my creator (assuming there is one), any intelligent force or being who created the universe is not going to worry about you stealing a candy bar and never doing it again, since you personally repented.

When I divorced, I got all the looks and suggestions that I was going to burn, or my life was going to tank, or that I had forfeited being a God. But I never regretted my decision for divorce and will never apologize for it, my former wife and I were miserable, and it was time to end it.

So in all reality, what was there to repent for, and besides that it was between me and my ex-wife and nobody else's business. And I am sure an all powerful, omnipotent being would just say, "OK I understand" if the subject (although slim) ever came up in an afterlife.

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Posted by: subeamnotlogedin ( )
Date: September 09, 2022 02:40PM

That breaking the law of chastity is a sin next to murder lol.

It all depends on the bishop. People to the same thing for example have sex. One person gets excommunicated for it the other disfellowshiped and yet another might gets told to read the Book of Mormon or the miracle of forgiveness. Hmmm Joseph Smith cheated left and right on Emma. But Joseph Smith had to do it because an angel with a flaming sword had commanded it.


The bishop is a regular person and if a bishop serves for example at a singles ward should he really excommunicate everyone who is sexually active? The church is loosing young members so my guess is that the bishops will get more lenient over time.

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Posted by: want2bx ( )
Date: September 09, 2022 03:14PM

Maybe this is why Mormonism works for so many Mormons. They don't actually feel the guilt that so many of us felt in the church.

I never actually did anything that the Mormon church would require that I confess to a bishop, but every time repentance was discussed at church, I would wonder if the lesson or talk was actually directed at me. Was there something that I had just forgotten about and I was supposed to confess to the bishop or maybe I wasn't repenting the right way?

I remember multiple prayers where I just asked Heavenly Father to help me remember everything that I had ever done wrong so that I could properly repent. I just always felt guilty.

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Posted by: Cold-Dodger ( )
Date: September 09, 2022 04:05PM

Mormonism is an incomplete, self-contradictory narrative about how the world works that a certain small group of human beings is desperate to keep alive to justify why they historically in the past and metaphorically in the present fled into the wilderness to be alone to be with the lousy company they keep to this day. They say they prefer it this way, but really they never felt at liberty to have it any other way.

The religious narrative doesn't withstand the barest scrutiny, but instead of owning this fact, the culture -- at the self-serving behest of a powerful and influential and well-connected elite who benefit from this culture -- has instead made a habit of forbidding too much critical thought. It tears into anybody or anything that threatens its religious feelings with overtly desperate viciousness. Mormons can gaslight you while blaming you while morally begging their own case while inviting you to church with them next Sunday while pleading with you to keep any inconvenient truths to yourself while seeming oblivious of how pitifully they come across to others all at the same time in the same interaction. It's a window into their collective mental state if you wish to untangle it.

I'm obsessed with understanding this stupid behavior, since I can't have a relationship with anybody I've known since childhood without being able to put up with it. The Mormon mind is generally a brain yearning to understand things while also chastising itself for being even that curious, because it risks upsetting their entire social life. It tends to devolve into self-blame for everything they feel is wrong but aren't at liberty to properly explore, because when they articulate their feelings and questions and ask what's wrong they're always told it's them. It's a very lonely existence hungry for human authenticity and human connection but unable to see beyond its self-depriving dogmatism for fear that socially everything will just get worse than it already is.

Or, that's if you actually listened to the narrative and tried to live it authentically like I did. I'm beginning to understand that there are other ways of tackling the Mormon conundrum but without making people validate your subjective reality or leaving the church. Some people just lie, and they know they lie. The lie eats some people up; but for others the lying is routine and it means nothing to them, because their rites of passage into the only society they were allowed to have depended on them telling certain authorities certain things at the time appointed. Perhaps this is what you're noticing in some people. It's very potent in Utah of all places. Idaho too.

I was enraged when I learned about the Second Anointing, because the smugness and fake certainty and duplicity and self-exculpatory attitude of the Q15 finally made sense to me. There is a kind of personality that tends to radiate from some of the higher-ups where they know, they genuinely feel in their bones, that they can do no wrong as long as ultimately do everything they do for the furtherance of the church's ends. They are explicitly told to think in secret holy ordinances that the means justify the ends. The only way they won't be saved and exalted is if they turn against the church.

People like you and I, and others on this board, well, we were made examples of to discourage anybody else from entertaining our modes of thought or following our paths. We had crud thrown at our faces because when we tried to make our cases to our friends and family, they were faced with either the existentialism of empathizing with us which they were purposely culturally ill-equipped to figure out or the sadness of categorizing a loved one as fallen and apostate for purposes of easy dismal. The peer pressure is massively in favor of the latter, and their every conditioning screams to go that way, so it's no surprise that most do.

Mostly, I think, everybody does whatever is best for themselves. In Mormon culture, that takes the form of allowing the church consensus to subsume everything they would otherwise think and feel. It's only so many people who martyr themselves socially for an idea of truth that runs contrary to the received one, even though every Mormon would imagine themselves to be that person. That is the narrative Mormons think they're living in the context of the broader world, but they usually don't have enough multi-cultural exposure for this narrative not to be based on straw-men. We're all the heroes of our own stories or else the victims of our living tragedies. It takes a lot of mental work to think in other terms and be self-critical on principle.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/09/2022 04:17PM by Cold-Dodger.

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Posted by: GNPE ( )
Date: September 09, 2022 11:45PM

I made semi-serious mistakes which my now-former DW (I still love her ~ 22 yrs after a vicious divorce that she did)used as a wedge against me…

I view most of the posts in this thread to be rather arrogant bc they seem to dis-allow sincere, heart-felt desires to make things right / repudiate & reverse, correct past actions… with those involved.

btw, Have we read, heard, or learned that we each & all have & do make mistakes?

etadd: Only 1 individual knows the sincerity - contrition- sorrow of a person who wishes to made things Right with others, ChurchCo does an excellent job of muddying matters with rituals - procedures & protocols.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/10/2022 12:33AM by GNPE.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 10, 2022 12:00AM

Nice post. Important.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: September 10, 2022 12:31AM

With heartfelt sincerity and intense focus, I announce my findings: A bit less than 86% of humans who ask for forgiveness do so with the perspective you would fault. They/I ask for the most, in exchange for the least. Cuz that's what humans do.

You being the one person who really meant it is nice, but those 85+% of us who claimed to mormon-repent just wanted to get through another brief trial, using the tools made available to us by a loving ghawd.

Mormon repentance is no repentance at all, it's just a two-step shuffle-shuffle, first to the right, then to the left, then to the temple.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: September 10, 2022 08:11AM

I think that's what repentance should be -- a recognition of wrongdoing, along with a sincere, heart-felt desire to apologize and to make things right, if possible. Having said that, it doesn't necessarily mean that the person you offended wants to be anywhere near you again. Sometimes people need to walk away in order to protect themselves.

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: September 10, 2022 10:39AM

I find the assigning of blame to be a rather complicated process that rarely ever arrives at a true and proper conclusion as a perceived wrong incident gets all the press and what lead up to the incident is often ignored if not MIA.

We can all get our buttons pushed. How often does the button pushing count for nothing?

You are right about the muddying of the waters. True repentance and forgiveness are devoid of religion.

Myself, I prize understanding more than forgiveness. Nothing takes the past away. I only want someone to understand I am not who I was twenty years ago. By remembering who I was then, not forgetting, they should be able to see the arc of growth--the whole picture. That is what matters in the end.


But we have a society now that will drag up something someone said twenty years ago and they will lose everything when they are no longer that person. I don't want to hear "I am sorry". I want to hear "I have learned, I have grown, I get it now." But that's just me and where I am in my arc.

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Posted by: Soft Machine ( )
Date: September 10, 2022 01:05PM


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