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Posted by: kimball ( )
Date: October 04, 2011 07:05PM

First off, I think I've had a relatively pleasant exit from TSCC considering how engulfed my entire life has been in it, and continues to be. I think I learned some really good things from being mormon (mostly through observing what NOT to do and such) and it has made me into the person who I am today, and I like myself. Those responsible for entrenching me in the cult for most of my life were well-meaning victims themselves. But through education and even through church source I learned open-mindedness, and learned many things about life and the world that are still true and good that still are and have nothing to do with the church. Now I have a whole new set of things to learn that were kept from me, and it's exciting and fulfilling.

But of course I have had to take some flak from family members, whose opinion of me has suddenly and unexpectedly dropped from being one of the smartest and most level-headed of the family, to the most prideful and deluded (perhaps not the most accurate words, but you get the idea). And of course, my wife, who is determinedly a TBM, has had a very rough time with it. I went from being the single greatest person she has ever known in her life (even after nearly 4 years of marriage) to someone that she has to work hard to maintain love for (and she is doing a wonderful job by the way, but the change is there).

During this process I have lost my patience with many of these people as they keep insisting to me that the church is true, and for the few who have actually been willing to look at my reasons semi-objectively, I have caused a massive amount of stress, to the point that none of them have been capable of continuing any kind of study with me (basically, I point them to some sources, and they never respond until enough time passes that they can change the subject). I feel pretty bad every time I set them straight on the facts, because not only does it raise the stress level on their already-hectic lives, but all the other family members who aren't part of the discussion rally to their aid, indicentally seeing me as a negative influence without actually looking at what I've been saying.

But I can't bring myself to be dishonest or subversive, it makes me feel rotten inside. If someone asks me questions I have to give it to them straight. I do my best to keep emotion out of the discussion. I just want to look at the facts, but I can't help it if the facts and reason are damning against almost everything mormon. In fact, it was me overcoming my (positive) feelings about the church that enabled me to leave it, and overcoming my subsequent negative feelings that have allowed me to maintain a good relationship with my wife. You get the picture.

So here's my point. In my discussions with my family members I seem to hear a lot about how a few of my family members (all of which are TBM) have gone to counsellors and seen remarkable improvements in their lives from what they've realized. They are so much happier now. Only my mom has outright encouraged me to do the same. The others have hinted at it. My brother, who works as a public official of sorts, told me, after describing the benefits of counselling, that he was going to try to get our dad to do it (which is a good idea) and wanted my help. So he didn't even outright recommend it for me, which I found to be a pretty cool approach, if that even was his intention, and lent him my support.

Well, my mom offered to at least pay for marriage counseling. So I did that and went to a few sessions with my wife. It wasn't life changing or anything. I was already as respectful of my wife's cherished beliefs as I possibly could be, and knew how important they were to her. But I felt that she was taking advantage of my respect by silencing and oppressing me. Every time I opened up a little I made the marriage worse, and every time I opened up a lot I almost destroyed it. Being silent only amplified the effect when I did open up. I might have learned to be more careful when I did open up with her, I don't know, but after seeing the counsellor things got better. I don't know if it's me or her, but her love doesn't seem to be dependent on my view of the church any more, so if that came from the counsellor, then props.

I'm totally open to meeting with a counsellor personally to see if I'm doing anything unhealthy or am being hampered by any harmful or hidden emotions, even with regards to my views of the church. I know I've had emotional things in the past that I feel that I've made peace with. Perhaps I'm still peeved by being screwed up by my mission, which I will admit was instrumental in my leaving the church - mostly due to what I learned, though, and not what I felt. I actually harbor much less ill-sentiment toward the people involved, if any, than I did for a few year afterwards while I was TBM. Perhaps I'm still fuming that my family judged me about my views without giving my reasons for them a hard look, and that I have nobody besides you digital folk to turn to about it. I don't think I care about it any more, but I'd be okay with a shrink probing to see if that's actually true.

But there's a side of me too that wants to say "I feel fine. I'm happy, the church is a lie, and leaving it is not a product of some unknown raging inner-turmoil. In fact it has helped me conquer more demons than I knew I had and brought me to a state of remarkable inner peace, coupled with a huge thirst for knowledge. My only demon is all you folk who insist that I'm the one that there's something wrong with and won't rest until I admit it."

But maybe that would be too much an expression of my real feelings, which could be clouding my rational judgment. After all, what do I have to lose? Well, besides a lot of my hard-earned money, of which I don't have much at my disposal at the moment.

Still, I find it interesting that they would make such a push.

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Posted by: cl2 ( )
Date: October 04, 2011 07:12PM

but I just went to see my therapist again this morning--who I've seen off and on for 13 years--who is an exmo. He is in Cache Valley.

He did a podcast for John Dehlin that is on one of John's web sites, but I can't tell you for sure which. I think his podcast would help you right now and talking to him if you live anywhere near here would probably help, too.

I've just been dealing with a long-time friend who is giving me hell for resigning. He has A LOT of family who are high-level mormons and he handles them all so well.

Anyway--see if you can find David Christian with John Dehlin on google. He did the presentation when he and John went to see BofM the Musical some months back with other NOMs and exmos.

**I put in those 2 names on google and it came up as the top subject. It is I believe #254 of the podcasts. I think this is the link, but not sure.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/04/2011 07:15PM by cl2.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: October 04, 2011 07:14PM

Honestly, I would just stick with, "I don't believe in it anymore." If people want your sources, just tell them that it's all out on the internet if they're truly interested. If they're not, fine. It's not your job to convince them.

Counseling might come in handy if you run into additonal problems communicating with your wife and/or family. Or, if you are feeling angst about your Mormon experience or leaving the church. Other than that, I wouldn't bother. It sounds like your family thinks that counseling will "cure" you of your disaffection from Mormonism.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/04/2011 07:15PM by summer.

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Posted by: JoD3:360 ( )
Date: October 04, 2011 07:54PM

To them you are so unhappy and in need of therapy because you left the church, and yet they are totally into the church and apparently just as unhappy.

If I had any thought to share it would be this- you can't expect them to just drop their church just because you say it is false and show them pictures of false statements. They have to be ready to hear. At this point they are on the defensive because they perceive you to be attacking them and trying to destroy their Eternal Family.

They have already heard the issues that you have presented. At some point in the future something will prompt them to ponder those points and the seed will begin to grow. Until then, it might be better to simply not talk about church stuff and focus on being the same good person you have always been. Be happy and let them see that leaving the church does not make you miserable.

It is a hard and lonely road, but since we can't talk to our loved ones about this journey we can always come to RfM where likeminded folks care about and share each others burdens.

Seeing a counsellor can be a good idea. I went to one because this whole ordeal of leaving the church was making me a nervous cranky wreck. If nothing else it allowed me to let off steam to an impartial but living entity and get some ideas for coping with the stress of leaving and losing the love of my parents, friends and relatives. RfM is a wonderful asset, but sometimes it takes personal contact with a trained therapist to set things in order.

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Posted by: SusieQ#1 ( )
Date: October 04, 2011 07:56PM

I'll be blunt: protect your privacy and shut up about the church.
There. That's it. Your personal beliefs are not any of their business, really. Ever think of that? I think your privacy is more important than any angst! Make religion a non-issue in your life. There is so much more to life!!

Just live your life -- laugh and smile a lot, and enjoy every single moment of it and don't bother anyone about religion. Be a joy to be around!

You might benefit from some counseling, but not for the reasons the Mormons say.

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Posted by: dogzilla ( )
Date: October 05, 2011 08:46AM

This. +1

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Posted by: Outcast ( )
Date: October 05, 2011 11:39AM


My relationship between me and my God is a private matter not up for public debate or vote.

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Posted by: Greyfort ( )
Date: October 04, 2011 08:08PM

Are they suggesting a Mormon counsellor?

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Posted by: cludgie ( )
Date: October 04, 2011 09:01PM

But if you see an LDS counselor, he or she will be an apologist or at least a shill for the LDS church, and the goal will be to factor the church into your relationship and make you look like a goober.

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Posted by: emmasforever ( )
Date: October 05, 2011 09:12AM

Based on your post, it sounds like they are trying to make it out to be you that has the problem, not them. IMO the couseling suggestion is manipulative.

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Posted by: robertb ( )
Date: October 05, 2011 12:32PM

In family systems therapy IP is the Identified Patient--the person who is identified by the family as the one needing help and who serves as an explanation for the family's problems and often functions as a scapegoat.

Often when the IP feels better, the family finds a new one if it hasn't resolved the problem in the family system.

It does sound some more social support would help you. The way your wife treats you is dehumanizing. I imagine you're functioning as the IP in your relationship with her, too. She can attribute the difficulties you have as a couple to your relationship with the church rather than her refusal to have a respectful and caring conversation with you.

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Posted by: kimball ( )
Date: October 05, 2011 01:15PM

She has gotten a lot better since counselling, but it's not so much a matter of whether she's willing to have such a conversation, because I'm convinced she is. The question is whether or not she is capable of having such a conversation, and still maintain a state of mental/emotional well-being. If I'm demonstrably wrong, it wouldn't be a problem, but her faith is rooted into her core and very purpose of life, and I willing try to steer clear of damaging that, which is what I do whenever I have an honest conversation about why I believe and thus act the way I do. I'm aware that she feels there is no solution (you can't be honest with facts and believe in the church at the same time - sorry, but the more I explore that, the more true it appears. You can be dishonest with them, though, which is the shell she's built to protect herself, ie. church apologetics). She wants to be open and fully honest, but she also realized that she's dependent on faith (kind of like heroine, but I would never present that analogy to her) and that she can't have both. I see that same pattern in most of my family members.

The problem is, unlike drugs, religion is kind of protected territory. You can't outlaw it, and you can't even point out all of its evils without becoming the insensitive jerk. Parker and Stone took it about as far as society will allow. So I know that the best course of action would be to wean these people off the drug, but I can't do it if I'm not allowed to be honest with them about its effects. The may say "hey, look at much happier I am with this heroine than you are without it. Measure my dopamine levels, look at my face, look at my level of productivity. Can't you see that heroine is the only way to find real happiness?" Then I'm supposed to say "I'm glad you're happy. Keep doing it. I disagree, but I love you."

That's hard.

But I can accept that it may be best to let them find the courage and understanding to conquer the addiction on their own. Besides, I AM glad when they're happy, and I can accept that talking about these things isn't necessary for my OWN personal benefit, thus I can refrain.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/05/2011 01:17PM by kimball.

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Posted by: Raptor Jesus ( )
Date: October 05, 2011 01:23PM

Religion gets to say, claim, believe, WHATEVER IT WANTS. EVEN IF IT's OFFENSIVE AND DESTRUCTIVE.


Duh!!! Religion gets a free pass.

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Posted by: robertb ( )
Date: October 05, 2011 01:24PM

You're right. It is hard. It sounds like the best you can do is go very slow in regard to the church, focus on common interests and values, and building your life on those. The problem is your wife's anxiety about the church, which you already seem to understand. It's huge that you get it. If you and she can work on the values underlying her attachment to the church and slowly find additional ways to support those, she may eventually loosen her hold on the church. Mormons tend to believe there is only "the Church way" to do things and other ways are wrong or will fail. Seems like a core group of supportive friends would be a big help.

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Posted by: LordBritish ( )
Date: October 05, 2011 12:40PM

I am definitely vocal about my stance in terms of theology but I will not go into it unless asked. Then I even preface it with, "Are you happy where you are at?"

If they say "Yes, I am." Then I just say, "Fantastic, keep doing what you are doing if you've got your happiness. I have nothing to go into then."

If they are happy, and I believe there are those who are completely content with their lives in the LDS business system, then good on them.

In the world of pretend, their happiness is just as valid as mine.

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