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Posted by: blackcoatsdaughter ( )
Date: September 27, 2022 08:35AM

Sometimes I get sad thinking about my own cognitive dissonance as a Mormon and what eventually led to me simply not attending anymore yet clinging to belief. All that pressure to WORK at church. I used to think that was an example of it being true, because our church didn't get separated from daily life; church wasn't just an hour on Sunday event, and the members WERE the everything, the cogs that worked the organization. So, even as I suffered under that pressure, trying to juggle callings and bills, and decided I'd just rather focus on what I had the spoons for, it still was a point of faith to me that all that work was required from members. I couldn't cut it, personally, but it was just my own failings. This was definitely how an organization made by god was supposed to be.

But then lately I get sad thinking about those who suffer under the pressure in bigger amounts. Like, the bishop or SP called who is genuinely a good man. Flawed but he tries to do his best and believes in enriching people's lives in a leadership position. He's got a profession, something he works hard at and makes a lot of money. And he's got a family, a couple kids and a wife who is his partner. And now he's a bishop and he has to give MORE.

I reached the conclusion, with my little RS secretary and Ward Missionary Assistant (I forget the actual name of the called; I was one of the helpers to the Ward Missionary and we went out during Thanksgiving and Christmas to reach out to folks we hadn't heard from in a while to manipulate them back to activity during that lonely time of year). Anyway, I reached the conclusion that I just couldn't cut it and was content to give up on my callings and attendance altogether. Being a single woman without kids, I had that luxury.

But think of our good guy bishop carrying all that weight. He might also reach the conclusion that his stress and pressure is his own failings, without the privilege to just stop going until they release him from the calling and call someone else.

I dunno. We talk a lot about the abuse scandals and people in power in the church who someone else's magic discernment should have freaking caught but didn't. But I have these moments of empathy for those still in who are trying so hard and being made to feel not good enough.

I wondered if things might be better if the church had paid clergy, people who were actually trained in theology and social services and who had no other jobs or families. But that doesn't solve the bigger problems of abusive people finding their way to permanent positions that are too expensive to kick them out of(like, we spent all this money to train you in JS history and now you're accused of r**e by 5 people; we'll just move you to a different district, which is easy because you don't have any other job or family and you LIVE at our church building).

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: September 27, 2022 09:31AM

I think it's criminal how much time Mormonism extracts from people, and especially from parents with young children. That is time that you don't get back.

I don't understand why Mormons brag about not having a paid clergy. I read in the past that the average church donation in the U.S. ranges from 1-3% of income, not 10%. And for that money, most churches have not only paid pastors, but also paid assistant pastors, youth leaders, church secretaries, organists, etc. Normally about half of any church's budget goes to these paid postitions.

The Mormons, on the other hand, have (along with their exhaustion,) a $100 billion trust fund, extensive business holdings, and lots and lots of temples. I hope they think it's worth it.

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Posted by: bradley ( )
Date: September 27, 2022 10:10AM

That's why the church is a cult. It's a spiritual North Korea that's easier to physically defect from, but just as hard mentally. The door to your prison cell is unlocked but you won't get up and leave.

It wasn't you, it was them. You were always good enough. What kind of people teach that God plays worthiness games? Isn't that more than a little obscene? If you want to know how a religion is, look at the God it worships. Mormon God is an insecure control freak. If you were married to Mormon God, you'd file for divorce to protect your own sanity.

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: September 27, 2022 10:29AM

Such a lot of heart there, bcd.

Like you I got to a point where I just couldn't do it any more just before I lost my testimony. Well "lost" is the wrong word. I know exactly which olive green shag carpet it landed on.

Last time I went to church I was uncharacteristically late and just stood at the back listening until they broke for the Sunday School classes. Some how I saw everything in a different light and the words coming from the bishop at the podium were so hollow and I just could not be there another moment. Just couldn't do it. Tho I would have given my testimony still. I left that day after five minutes. Never to go back.

I'm sure mine was exacerbated by being in a BYU student ward where spiritual one-upmanship reigned supreme. Oddly I was good at that, haha.

I see so many like the ones you describe. All the wasted time. All the energy spent on a deception. If there were a reckoning in some afterlife, it is the Gerontocracy who would be shaking in their shoes begging for mercy.

My Dad was a wonderful man. He was Bishop for 11 years of my youth. He paid a heavy price for that as a father, always gone. That hurt our relationship immensely. When grandma died he gave her house next to the church to the church. Her sweet little cottage is now a parking lot. Sad metaphor.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: September 27, 2022 11:02AM

> When grandma died he gave her
> house next to the church to
> the church. Her sweet little
> cottage is now a parking lot.

Who took the tax deduction?

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Posted by: blackcoatsdaughter ( )
Date: September 27, 2022 01:16PM

Thanks. And thank you for sharing your experience. I really feel that in your story, that feeling of separation, watching, disconnected, walking away.

I'm in a transition period with my healing where I feel more attached to people again. Not like before where I thought I could save everybody (and it led to anger when I realized they can't be saved and they don't want to be). But understanding how motivated I was by fear while I was in and how little it felt like true fear. And realizing how hard it was/is for all of us who went through that. Especially the good faith actors who are just guys trying to do good or women trying to be wanted and loved. Just....thinking about those feelings. Thinking about members as people, everyone just trying, and everyone scared but not knowing that it's fear.

I don't think about church as often anymore but this is where I'm at in my process.

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: September 29, 2022 12:52PM

" . . .Thinking about members as people . . ."

That is very easy to do when I visit my Mom who still lives in the old pioneer mountain town I grew up in and though they are all Mormons they are lovely. Well, at least from what I can see. Who really knows what with the Mormon facade and all.

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Posted by: Silence is Golden ( )
Date: September 27, 2022 12:26PM

It comes down to community. Up until about the age of 35, I would walk into my ward and I was treated as if I mattered. As an executive secretary, my bishop would sit down with me and unloaded his burden (without sharing details), and we would talk. We had each others back.

But that has changed, now it is about blind faith. Statements like "when the prophet speaks, the thinking is done", has ruined, if not eliminated the community. The doctrine has always been weak when put under the microscope, but it was the community that held it together.

On occasion you get a bishop who does care, but now days its all about management, authority, control, and blind faith. No more thinking is allowed. And that is what bishops, SP, and other leadership positions are becoming.

I am more inclined to be understanding of bishops and such in the past, and less of the now. In my thirties if I did not show up to church, I would have had a visit in less that two weeks. Now in my sixties, not a peep, except for the threat of a bishop who was only interested in why I was not paying tithing.

People do things for two main reasons, it gives them value, or they do it out of guilt. The main driver of LDS Corp. now, is guilt.

I no longer feel sorry for them, they jumped on the bandwagon of no return, and are reaping the rewards of their decisions.

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Posted by: blackcoatsdaughter ( )
Date: September 27, 2022 01:05PM

"I no longer feel sorry for them, they jumped on the bandwagon of no return, and are reaping the rewards of their decisions."

That's an interesting take. And most days, I get it. They're still plugged into the Matrix and until they've unplugged themselves, they are agents, a part of that system.

Today I was just sad, that's all. Sad thinking about the hardworking dad who loves Jesus and loves his kids, who works 9-5 then has to come home to bishopric meetings about people's struggles. Their struggles with faith, their struggles with sin. Somewhere inside him, he's gotta dig forth a vast amount of emotional fortitude to offer up his spiritual resilience to others, to give them advice, to punish them, to direct them, and while he's fried from his job, he's gotta be the wise leader and authority to these people, these mostly strangers, he has to be father of his ward. And then meetings with his counselors to organize all the myriad things to run that ward, dictating who gets what jobs, who needs what help, and all this praying, all this contemplation, trying to get direction from his higher power on what the best choices are. And how often does he feel alone? Does he ever kneel by his bed or sit in his church office, hands clasped, and feel an empty echoey hollowness as he tries to feel his answers? Because it IS just him in there. It's his head, his burdens, yet he's gotta resist those acknowledgements, even though there is so much about praying that you don't realize is self-hype and emotional priming. Sometimes if you don't prep right, it can feel like the phone just empty ringing in your ear forever as you wait for pickup.

How often is he able to burden his counselors or his SP about how hard everything is? And he comes home and his son is having trouble in school, maybe being naughty with friends, getting bad grades, and his wife has already tried, has done what she can, and expects him to lay down the law, be the firm voice, the presence of authority in their home. Or maybe their daughter, being a bit too rebellious, acting out because he's just not there. And he makes a brief show of effort because he's got work tomorrow. How inadequate he must feel. The choices and sacrifices he is forced to make. Preaching from the pulpit or hearing GC talks about how he's expected to lead his family too with family home evenings, family scripture study, family ministering, etc. Does he wonder why god would task him with so much, expect so much, and hate himself for not being good enough to get it all done?

I just have great empathy for those who are being crushed under the weight of the church, that's all. And I just wanted to share.

I wasn't smarter or more righteous for leaving and I didn't "get it" because of being better than those who are still trapped.

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Posted by: Chicken N. Backpacks ( )
Date: September 27, 2022 01:45PM

There's that huge disconnect between "The Churchâ„¢ is perfect, the people are not" and "The people are The Churchâ„¢" and "Be ye therefore perfect..."

A mind eff for sure...

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Posted by: heartbroken ( )
Date: September 27, 2022 03:22PM

I didn't see the connection between members spending so much time with church/church callings as a means of control till I saw a documentary about Jim Jones and the Peoples temple. Survivors talked about how they were kept really busy with church tasks so that they were always occupied and exhausted and didn't have the time or energy to do much else. Jim Jones and LDS Inc. know that it is imperative to keep members engaged so that they will feel like they are a necessary component of the church and won't have time for a life outside of church.

I sometimes think about all the time I wasted in church and church callings - especially my mission. None of my callings helped to make my life or anyone else's life any better. All those hours wasted in early morning seminary, Sunday meetings, meetings after Sunday meetings, Saturday leadership meetings, and about 3,500 hours of tracting on my mission, all just to keep me occupied with church related make-work nonsense so I would stay engaged and not stray.

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Posted by: bradley ( )
Date: September 27, 2022 04:16PM

There does seem to be a lot of bodies to step over.

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Posted by: Cold-Dodger ( )
Date: September 29, 2022 12:31PM

Most bishops are just average guys in way over their heads with no ability to back down from the Lord's calling but no clue how to help an abused child when the abuser confesses in the bishop's office. What does he do? He has a telephone line, and the Lord's lawyers will tell him what to do, so that's what he does. Meanwhile, the abuser settles his mind enough to lie about the rest of what's going on and the abusee is too frightened to know what's going on or to know that this isn't normal or to know she/he has the right to escape this situation by any means. The lack of a professional clergy, or at least a legitimately trained clergy, is a huge burden on the whole church, especially the abused.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/29/2022 12:31PM by Cold-Dodger.

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: September 29, 2022 12:39PM

Or . . . the Holy Ghost is actually guiding the Bishops.

Hahahahahahahahahaha ha ha ha

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