Life as a Mormon
Excerpts of Ex-Mormon newsgroup Part 3

A continuing series of short topics from our discussion groups on Mormon life.

  1. Not letting go of Mormonism
  2. A woman giving up dreams as written by her father
  3. Mormon Royalty

Not letting go of Mormonism

Sometime last week someone posted a comment from a TBM [True Believing Mormon] who taunted us as a group for being "unable" to let the church go. The implication I read into the comment was that he accused us of still believing in Mormonism in our heart of hearts and that our on-going participation in exmo/postmo was evidence of that.

I've given that some thought and wanted to post a few reasons why I stay, why Mormonism still interests me and am interested if any of you feel the same as I do, or may have other reasons.

1) SELF-DISCOVERY. I spent over 30 years in the church. I want to know how and why I was so duped. The study of the methodology of how the church recruits and retains its members fascinates me. I consider myself a pretty open minded person and am interested in the process in which I was sold this miserable bill of goods.

2) IT'S PART OF MY HISTORY. Before me, 5 generations of "cradle to grave" Mormons were a part of the history of the church. I felt as much a Mormon as a Jew might feel Jewish, or a native American might feel native American. To objectively study the history of the church through the early writings such as JOD, HC, and the D&C is just plain interesting to me. I find it entertaining reading and had never questioned the material I read.

3) NEW FRIENDSHIPS - I was telling Robin the other night at dinner that if I had to name my twenty closest friends in the world, the majority of them would be from this list. Good friends are hard to find and I feel like I have hit the mother load. It still hurts just a bit to realize that my belief in the church was the basis for some of my old "friendships".

4) VALIDATION - Remember what we used to do every fast Sunday? We would stand in front of a crowd, our lips would quiver and we would tell everyone we knew the church was true. We watched others do the same and it gave us strength. Without the support of this group I would probably be living the lie, going to church, pretending to believe just to keep my family and culture intact. The web of the church is very strong and seeing such bright, caring, wonderful people such as yourselves come to the same conclusions I have, independent of each other, validates how I feel every day.

5) PAY BACK TIME - As I was first leaving the church, I was weak and timid. Several of you reached out and offered me support and encouragement. I feel like I owe that same kind of encouragement to the many others who are just now leaving as well as the ongoing support of those of you who are firmly out.

I guess that about does it. I don't stay because I think the church might be true underneath it all and anyone who thinks that is waaaaaay out to lunch.

A young woman Mormon convert giving up her dreams

Eric K wrote:
I allowed it to happen. I believed others, church leaders, had more knowledge about what was good for me than what I did. I gave up my dreams.
The father comments: Ouch! This hurts. This is EXACTLY what millions of LDS children are doing to their lives. My daughter did the same. We are totally NON-Mormon, never were, and our daughter is totally Nazi-TBM. We sent her through 6 years of one of the best medical schools in the country. And she let Mormons convince her to take one calling after another at the "Institute", until her grades dropped so far she had to change majors. They didn't know what she was sacrificing (and we sacrificed) to be at all their meetings, play piano at all the sacraments, spend 6 hours in church on Sunday, etc. etc. etc. She even gave 10% of the money we gave her for school and living expenses to the church. When we found out and cut the allowance, she stopped eating.

She still got out with two degrees despite her own attempts to "not succeed". We put her through 2 more years of graduate school (still not done) and got her a teaching credential, too. But she still believes that these "Brethren" know what is best for her. She is excelling as a school teacher even though the church has dumped multiple callings on her and she is busy every night with home teaching and one meeting after another. She also teaches Primary.

She was in love with a brilliant man who was on his way to a successful life. The church told her to dump him for a more worthy priesthood holder. She did. Now, she has been married 4 months and is pregnant. Her husband left college this week to take a job his dad set up for him. He makes less than she does. He said he will not let her work after the baby is born, and that his parents will always have work for him. He said his dad will either promote him or get him a better job with one of his friends later this year. They don't see anything wrong with this picture. He has no work experience except with dad.

We want to be happy for her and the baby, but all we see are crushed dreams. She hasn't even been married long enough to know if the marriage is right and now she is trapped in it with a pregnancy. She tries to tell us that since his job was there when they "needed it", the time is right to be pregnant. "It's a sign from Heavenly Father." But, she is not happy about losing her career. She has dropped from the Master Degree program she was in, and has already turned down assignments at school that would have gotten her more money. She only told the principal about it three weeks ago and is already being treated like dead wood.

The impact of it all on her is starting to sink in. She stopped as she was leaving last week and cried on my shoulder. She is worried that her child won't have all the nice things in life she always dreamed of providing. Her husband didn't know what to do. He has been under pressure by his family to have a child right away, because his brother and sisters are all expecting at the same time. They were leaning on him to demonstrate his commitment. Well, they got it.

We asked why they weren't using birth control. She said "he would not accept" any control except the rhythm method. Duh! That's like none at all. He made some lame comment and she stunned him by shouting that it was "his fault", she said she told him it was the wrong day. Well now she has what she wanted all her LDS life. Her dreams are lost. Every minute of every day of her life demands more and deeper commitment to HIS Mormon family and the church.

Any last remaining hopes we had for her to reach some professional milestone, a rewarding career and independence are gone. Oh, we're still proud of her, just terribly disappointed and disheartened. Not at the baby, but the total control the Mormons have of her life. We'll be happy grandparents, and love the child. But, it is just another way the Mormons let us know they have won and we have lost ... that is what saddens us.

I know my daughter will do well in any situation. Because you see, before they brainwashed her, she _was_ my daughter. She has my determination and resiliency in her soul. Inside, she is too smart for them. She just has to realize it and recover her self esteem before they drain all life out of her. It is that fire that I still see in her eyes that she will give her child. Every time I think they have sucked all the spirit from her, I see a gleam. We are ALL victims in this trap. The only enemy is the church and its leaders.

Sorry for the long rant. It's this "follow the commandments", "listen to the Prophet", "safety in the church" crap that blocks out logic and reason. Allowing it to happen, to control their lives, that is the sad part.

The sun will come up again tomorrow, just like it did today. Life goes on.

--BT ("Turn your face to the sun, and the shadows fall behind you."-Proverb)

"Life is what happens while you make other plans." --John Lennon

Mormon Royalty

Our family has moved a fair amount as a result of job promotions involving relocations to other cities. One of the things that we have noticed is that each ward and stake has it's own royalty as well as a middle class and of course the "less fortunate fringe". When you move into a strange ward, you are quickly classified into one of the groups and there is little chance of ever being elevated to another group although downgrading is possible. Any outward indication or confession of a personal or family problem justifies immediate downgrading. To achieve royalty status, one needs to have at least several of the following traits in their favor:

1. Personal Wealth (tithing numbered in minimum 5 digits preferred)
2. Pedigree (Descendants of polygamous ancestors)
3. University Education (BYU grads score top points here)
4. Professional status (Doctors, dentists, lawyers, or Church Education System...CES types can be forgiven their lack of wealth)
5. Utah like grooming and accent
6. Large gregarious family
7. Evidence of embarrassing fully Mormon culture...language, tardiness, music, dress standards, FHE
8. Relatives or at least friends in high places
9. An LDS Track record: Mission, temple marriage, etc.
10.Absolutely no hint of being a real person with real problems
11.the ability to sound incredibly sincere and to bring tears to your eyes almost at will

The Mormon Middle class may have some of the traits of Mormon Royalty, but are marred with such horrible defects as:

1. Witnessed drinking cola in public
2. Rooted for the University of Utah over BYU
3. Once received Church welfare or worse still public welfare
4. Stayed home to watch the Superbowl instead of attending Church meeting
5. Wife works outside the home
6. Kids don't attend seminary
7. Too many non member friends
8. Failure in a church calling
9. Unglamorous employment (factory worker, tradesman, sales clerk, etc.)
10.Convert of less than 10 years
11.Loud laughter

Then of course we have the fringe element, the poor bastards that everyone else can look down on thank God that they are so much better than the they are. The following are some qualifying traits:

1. Low economic status regardless of reason
2. Lack of formal education
3. Too much formal education coupled with independent thinking thus qualifying as a hated intellectual
3. Facial hair, unconventional hair cut, or the dreaded tattoo
4. A foreign accent
5. any hint of homosexuality
6. Mormon Fundamentalist views or sympathies
7. Read the SL Tribune instead of Deseret News
8. Non traditional modes of dress, men with ear rings or women with piercing in nose, eyelid, etc.
9. Buy lottery tickets
10.Question authority or ask embarrassing questions in a church class

It's interesting that as you move around that you can be perceived and categorized differently but there is almost no chance of any elevation if you stay in one place.

Royalty usually serve as Stake Presidents, Relief Society Presidents, Bishops, etc. The Middle Class are the ward clerks and Primary teachers, while the fringe are entrusted with such Holy responsibilities as Ushering. Occasionally a sincere Church leaders experiments with calling persons to positions above their class level and usually discover that they do just fine. However, the royalty types are generally very uncomfortable with the practice so it is seldom resorted to by those in authority.

A former Bishop from Canada

Continue to Excerpts of Ex-Mormon newsgroup Part 4

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