Date: February 20, 2012 01:35PM
Everyone has a very personal story to tell.
Coming up on June 27,2012, I celebrate my 10th year of my official resignation.
Here is some of my story that I reread from time to time as I have found that it is important to review how I recorded my epiphany. As time goes by, the memory tends to fade.
I have not attended the Mormon Church since April of 1998 --and do not plan to ever attend again. Because I have been away from the meetings for so long and not been subjected to the programming, the separation from the emotional bonding has been much easier.
This is how I briefly (OK, so I am not brief!)summed up some of my process.
Below are some of my initial steps in the exit process from Mormonism-while writing all the way.
This is how I wrote it at the time with... some updates . The feelings were raw! They spilled out in a multitude of emotions. I was ripe for the picking! I had many experiences particularly in the last year or so that I found extremely troubling, in the LDS Church so I was open to find out why.
1. THE FOG-DAZE STAGE!
What the hell happened? Saw WHAT???
This is what happened while reading on line (Dr. Shades --to be exact) in the spring of 1999, when I realized that there were no golden plates, no translations, the BOM was fiction, Joseph Smith Jr. told such a story (while plagiarizing everything in sight) that it was preposterous and totally ridiculous. This is the most amazing American God Myth ever created! And it's still working. I'm flabbergasted! The power of the spiritual witness to metaphysical, supernatural, visionary claims is alive and well!
OH MY GOSH! It was JOE! I couldn't get over how clever this whole thing was!
Joe-Joe-you conniving little stinker you! The whole premise was a supernatural, visionary claim. Not a fact to be found. No wonder when I worked with educators and arm chair historians in the church they would only teach: Faith Promoting history to ":protect the delicate testimonies" .
The epiphany -- light bulb went off!
This is where I jumped up off my computer chair punching the air saying: "YES! YES! YES!" It hit me like 4th of July fireworks going off and I started to snicker, the more I read, the more I laughed! I knew there was something wrong and I was right all along. It is them, not me! I could trust myself after all. Fortunately, I was home alone! :-)
For years, I kept thinking: "what is wrong with this picture." I thought it was just silly, pompous, sanctimonious, out of control, renegade leaders with a misplaced sense of responsibility acting like complete idiots, but no..no..that was not the real reason..nothing made sense.
Then, all of a sudden it made sense: Mormonism only makes sense in 19th century America before the Information Age, and the Internet! Wowza. I hit pay dirt! I had, rather recently experienced several situations with leaders that were so bizarre, they left me whirling - confused, wondering just what kind of a church I had joined and stuck with for decades. The Church is Perfect, the People are Not is all I heard as an explanation. Enough all ready!
This was followed very, very closely by....
2. THE STUNNED HUMOR STAGE!
Oh My Holy Garments!
Millions of Mormons are still believing this story Joseph Smith Jr. told and paying 10% (minimum) for the privilege, while wearing regulation sacred underwear, and going to the temple doing about half Masonic rituals. Again, the power of the generational heritage was alive and well. Amazing!
3. THIS IS NOT FUNNY STAGE!
What a cotton-picking minute here. This is not funny-funny; this is bizarre. How did he do it? Were his cohorts: Rigdon, and Cowdery in on it with him? Hmmm... something to think about.
4.THE SPONGE STAGE.
Constant reading, can't get enough, have to know every last thing I can learn about Mormonism's history and how it functions from their own sources. I have a whole shelf of just books on Mormonism, it's history, commentary, and many major events.
This is also the grateful stage for how they kept records. Those characters wrote everything down! Their own web site was a gold mine of information!
What a great find: those silly facsimiles in the Book of Abraham are very embarrassing! I wonder if they disappear in the next publication! There is an 1856 translation (from a Frenchman) of this piece of goofiness that shoots Joe's attempts at transation out of the water including many since.
One of the books I bought was the Donna Hill book "The First Mormon Prophet" which my TBM husband, in a fit of terror and fear, took to church to show to the Institute Director, without my knowledge, of course. Later, he returned it and said that the Institute Director told him the book "had a bad spirit" and he would not recommend reading it.
A few weeks later, I went to the Institute of Religion to look up some books in their library and was reading in the Reference Section which included:
"History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" 7 Vol's by Joseph Smith Jr
"A Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints"
6 Vol's by B H Roberts
"Readings in L.D.S. Church History from Original Manuscripts" 3 Vol's by William E. Berrett & Alma P Burton
"Journal of Discourses" 26 vol's
I had been there for awhile, table piled with books, when the Institute Director came in asking how I was doing, making a point to tell me he was looking for a D&C. I suspected he came in because he could hear me snickering in that little room! :-)
I made some remarks to him about the early history and he, (with furrowed brow, in hushed tones) talked about how hard it must have been for the early Saints to live the Gospel, etc. I made some remark about the Word of Wisdom and he could not recall which section it was in. I feigned that I had picked the wrong one, was one chapter off! It's D&C 89!
Then while looking at books to check out, I noticed the Donna Hill book right on the shelf of the Institute of Religion library. Guess the bad spirit was not so bad he could not have it right there to be checked out! I came home and told my husband that if he wanted to, he could check out that one and read it, apparently it had a better "spirit."
Also, I noticed a complete paper back edition of the BH Roberts "The Comprehensive History of the Church of Latter-day Saints," and picked it up to see if it was the same as the hard back editions. It appeared to have never been opened. I checked them out, making up a new library card, and leaving it with the elderly Institute Missionaries and went home.
While thumbing through them I noticed my own address label in the back of one of the books. Holy Cow! I had purchased those back in about 1978 and left them somewhere and they ended up in the library! Those were my books!! What a find!!
Then I went home and hauled out our whole Mormon Church library and found that we owned a 1953 first edition of the Berrett and Burton text books: "Readings in L.D.S. Church History From Original Manuscripts" 3 vol's by Willian E. Berrett and Alma P. Burton, Published by Deseret Book SLC 1953! It was a text book by TBM husband has used at BYU in the late 50's and the set was in the Reference Section of the library.
5. The HOLY COW STAGE!
This is amazingly intrusive stuff. They have trampled on my personal rights, my privacy, my naked body and told me it was what Heavenly Father wanted.
What was I thinking? Time to revamp that thinking! No more of that. If the believers think that's OK, fine. But it's not OK with me. Not anymore.
6. THE SEPARATION STAGE!
This is where I examined my life, all of it; before Mormonism, as a convert, and as a totally immersed, believing Mormon and figured out what happened on a mental, psychological, and emotional level and took apart the layers of it's impact, both the negative and the positive.
Mormonism does (through it's leaders and members) what they do out of ignorance, (and a bad case of Gross Stupiditis) and for my own emotional well being, I extend compassion to them because they have no idea what they are doing. Of course, compassion comes after some frustration,angst, annoyance, head banging ! That is, after I have talked and written about their nonsense ad nauseam! I realized I had no obligation to be subjected to them anymore.
8. THE NEW WORLD VIEW STAGE: ENLIGHTENMENT!!
This is the point where I researched for hours, and hours; read books--a couple dozen books, and read about other people's beliefs and decided what I wanted for myself, knowing it was an evolutionary process, and I could change my mind at any point. How delicious! I could change my mind and there was no one-true-way -- I had been bamboozled and I was not going to let that happen again!
Now, I call myself an Eccentric Eclectic because I like a little bit of a lot of beliefs, notions, ideas. Perhaps a lot of you are a lot like me.
I am part: AGNOSTIC:
This is safe and the most accurate. To say you are atheist is so politically incorrect, and unacceptable in this day and age that it is suicide to try to run for office, for instance, also, so many people believe that atheism is of the devil that many relationships are cut off before they begin because of this prejudice.
I find that calling myself an agnostic is preferable and works best for my own survival on many levels. Because I live in a predominant Judeo-Christian society (like most of us posting here) to be too far out of it causes more problems that it solves.
I am also part ATHEIST:
I have been known to say I am a "soft" atheist - taking the default position of non-belief in the unsupported theist claim of a God - which is not the same thing as taking the position of no gods.
I reserve the term: God for that which is currently unexplainable and use it as a metaphor, figure of speech.
I am part SKEPTIC
I want a lot of verifiable information from state of the art sources before I add my allegiance. I do not automatically believe someone because of who they are, what they believe or just because they said so.
I am part HUMANIST
American Humanist - "Humanism is a progressive lifestance, free of supernaturalism, which affirms our ability and responsibility to lead meaningful, ethical lives that add to the greater good of humanity."
Again, I am not sure about the "supernaturalism" part, because I allow for all possibilities. Again, I want verifiable evidences.
I like a few BUDDHIST ideas also, and I stir all this up with a good dose of humor, satire, and just plain fun!
At this point, I have been on the outside of Mormonism for about 13 to 14 years.
My official resignation date from the Mormon Church is (get this -- could not have planned it) JUNE 27, 2002! What a way to celebrate the shoot-out at Carthage Jail: June 27, 1844!
Coincidently, I had titled my "Story" -- written in pieces a few years before I officially resigned: "From Mormonism to Eccentric Eclectic--From Saint to Ain't. My Love Affair with Joseph Smith Jr. and How It Ended."
In the exit process from Mormonism, I have become passionate about freedom of religion, full disclosure and informed consent and informed choice.
I have been shaped by some of the prevailing values in my prior beliefs in Spiritualism, Christianity and Mormonism, however, I can find no reason to believe that those values are exclusive to those beliefs alone. Humanity has always been a borrower -- taking from older ideas and revamping them.
A little study and research showed clearly that there are thousands of gods, female ones long predate male ones and how would one choose? So many gods, so little time, so many heavens, so little time, so many myths, so little time.
It became apparent that we are mostly a product of the geography of our birth.
The closer I get to the end of my life, the more I realize that I do not need answers to where I came from and where I am going.
There are thousands of answers to those questions and not a one of them has any real evidences that satisfy the skeptic in me and I am not interested in just relying on faith. Been there done that, and it is unsatisfactory.
I prefer to place my faith in all things, just not in a supreme being, a God, (personalized or otherwise) or creator. I demand something substantial, something supported by evidence to place my faith in.
It is not necessary to my sense of well being, my self confidence, my self esteem, my self respect, or how I treat other people, or how I view my place in the world to subscribe to the God Myths-beliefs.
It is, however, extremely liberating and freeing to know I am not bound by those old myths, teachings, beliefs and am free to think and believe anything I wish without fear of recrimination from some outside source.
I am thrilled that I figured that out with enough years left to totally enjoy it!