Date: March 19, 2023 04:00PM
My sister invited me to attend an interfaith gathering being held at a Mormon chapel in her neighbourhood last Sunday. It’s one of the various community groups she’s active with, although she’s not overtly religious. They try to work together on community projects, as women of different backgrounds and faiths with a common purpose. The co-leader of the interfaith group is a Mormon woman who often invites the ladies to hold their meetings and give their presentations in Mormon Land. My sister had been asked to give the opening prayer and she called to get my help editing it ahead of time, lol, and invited me to go to the meeting. I said I’d go, only to support her.
When she later gave me the address I realized it’s the very place the bishop sent me to see the church psychologist, his prescription for my unhappiness as a recent Mormon joiner. I had questions, you see, and that is apparently a bad sign, like you’re not faithful enough to magically receive inspiration from above but instead have to keep asking these pesky questions which to Mormon bishops are apparently “doubts” and doubts are not good. They reflect a darkness of your soul, or something. And having doubts apparently signifies sin.
I surprised myself in that even picturing the chapel in my head and its large front expanse of lawn evoked negative memories and feelings of that most unhelpful Mormon psychologist, an abrupt cold kind of guy who sat at his desk eating a meal while I was across from him and a little behind so could only see the side of his face. Somehow, without even much discussion and certainly no rapport, he concluded that I was a lost cause. Mercifully, I can’t recall the exact conversation now except that therapeutic it wasn’t. He seemed angry from the start for reasons I couldn’t fathom and it was very off-putting.
I’ve written here before how I left his office, went outside and without regard for rules or courtesy walked across their big lawn all the way out of Mormonism into a freer, fuller, more fun-filled and useful life.
I ended up telling my sister last week that I didn’t want to go to the interfaith meeting after all. However, to my surprise, that small dark cloud of my Mormon interlude hovered for a while just at the thought of being in that chapel again and its image kept flashing through my mind, one of a few dark memories of my ill-fated foray into Mormonism, my uninformed and stupid choice to join and the negative experiences there that at the time made me feel bad about myself.
I couldn’t write about it last Sunday because unexpectedly it was a downer for me, bringing back some of the negative memories of that time.
One of the biggest strains for me was having “made promises” from which I backtracked. I had the same issue with leaving the JWs – promises made but not kept. I was stuck for a while just on that part (the imperative to keep promises and especially oaths).
I had invested much more in the JWs (commitments, friendships, sacrifices, time) than with the Mormons. I always felt confused in Mormonism as none of the promised answers materialized, even in the temple, as advertised. When I think about it, that ancient song “What’s it all about, Alfie” pops into my head because that was my biggest question with Mormonism – what??? When they said all would be revealed in the temple and it wasn’t (because who answers questions in the temple) that was the beginning of the end for me with them.
Here’s that Alfie song, just for fun:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCZNzydsLzU
My biggest problem was thinking you cannot go back on sacred promises, as with the JWs. Certainly once you’ve made promises and sacrifices it can be difficult to backtrack.
It makes me think of another old song: ‘Dance with the one that brought you’
I kind of had that mindset when joining both groups – that I’ve made an unbreakable commitment – so going back on it was difficult to come to terms with, both times (but it was easier with Mormonism in which I was much less invested than with the JWs in my teen years when things are so intense anyway).
However, the next line in the dance song is ‘… stay with the one that wants you’
Neither group wanted *me* I came to see – but the number’s the thing with them. Forever counting numbers and undervaluing people.
Here’s a cute video of that song too:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcBplbfXgSY
Fortunately, I can’t now recall the exact conversation with the Mormon psychologist. The negative feelings still hover though when the memories return, as they did with the prompt from my sister’s invite.
So the Mormons can relax. Their grass is safe from me. I won’t be crossing it again.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/19/2023 04:02PM by Nightingale.