Saturday, February 28, 2009

Gay Marriage

The following is a letter I just sent to a friend:

I just posted this video: to my FB profile with the following message.

"Is it right for the majority to oppress the minority? Not long ago it was the civil rights movement that was going to destroy America. Before that it was granting women the vote. As far as I can tell America is still standing and better than ever. These are REAL people, REAL families. Would people be so quick to take away their dreams if they had to face them in person?

I can no longer pretend that I don't feel strongly about this issue, because I do. I now live in Canada where people have the right to form families regardless of sexual orientation. It hasn't harmed my marriage in the slightest.

I'm aware of the arguments the other side espouses. Because I used to spout them off in an effort to convince myself that I agreed. But I didn't. And I don't. And I'm ashamed I ever pretended to. But I won't pretend anymore. And I won't sit silently by because I'm afraid to face those friends with which I disagree. I owe it to my gay friends and myself to be honest: I support gay marriage."

I was not as good a friend to you in high school as I should have been. The truth is that I was ashamed...not of you, of myself. I was embarrassed because I had made the decision to join a church that is very hetero sexist and homophobic. I tried so hard to rationalize it (along with a long list of other really messed up stuff in the Mormon church) but early this year couldn't do it anymore. My husband and I both left the church (for many, MANY reasons..though their hate/bigotry should have been reason enough). Now I'm trying to deal with the shame of having lent support to an organization that would seek to take away the rights of the minority. I should have listened to my conscience 8 years ago when it told me not to join the Mormon church. And I should have listened to it in November of last year when it told me Prop 8 wasn't right.

I feel lucky that I was uncomfortable enough to not have donated money to Yes on 8. But the fact is I payed tithing to the Mormon church for 8 years and THEY gave money to Yes on 8 (and lied about how much, to boot). And I regurgitated the very lame, very weak, very insidious arguments spewed by the Yes on 8 crowd to justify what the Yes on 8 Campaign and the Mormon church were doing. I did it partly because I was told I had to do what church leaders said if I wanted to be a good person and partly because I was trying to convince MYSELF of the crap we were peddling.

It didn't work.

My point is this: I will NEVER again support those who try to tell the world you don't have the right to be married to the one you love (and I hope you find the right guy someday :) - or maybe I should say the right "duck"). And I won't ever again silently stand by while bigots say and do that which is wrong. By being silent I give them more power and they already have far, FAR too much power as it is. For what it's worth, I'm sorry. I'm sorry it took me this long to make the right choice. I'm sorry I let fear and stupidity convince me to ignore my sense of right and wrong. And I'm sorry I didn't pursue friendship with you the way I would have if I hadn't been so damn ashamed of myself. I know now that I missed out. I hope you can forgive me for being a fool and a coward.
Here is the video:

"Fidelity": Don't Divorce... from Courage Campaign on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

We Interupt This Blog to Bring You Shameless Begging

March is fast approaching. You may not be aware of this but March is MS Education & Awareness Month. My amazing mother has lived with this disease (and a nasty progressive form of it) for about as long as I can remember. She has been facing it with strength and class and is an incredible inspiration to me. This will be my second year participating in the MS Walk to raise awareness and funds so that a cause and a cure may be found.

Please become an online donor and help me in the fight to end MS (donations are tax deductible).

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Dear Trolls,

Some have suggested that I allow TBM trolls to be un-moderated so they can show their "Christ-like love" and help prove that the church does not exclusively produce nice, happy people. But I'd rather just send trolls to the dungeon where they belong. A troll generally has one purpose: to harass me and attack me personally until I shut down the blog. Not going to happen.

So, if you're obnoxious you will be banned (often without warning). In fact, your fellow commenters can ban you. It only takes 5 votes for my readers to ban a troll. Once you're banned I'll add you to the dungeon list below. Ban worthy behavior includes, but is not limited to:
  • Personal attacks/insults
  • Really, really fallacious logic (because it pisses me off, and if you can't take the time to make sure your arguments are sound then you don't deserve my time)
  • Spamming (because everybody hates spam)
  • Testimonies (I use my brain, not warm fuzzies and ask that you do the same)
More examples can be found here.

Trolls In The Dungeon

Bill Bass
Mike Tebow

Saturday, February 21, 2009


I love babies, especially my baby. I think they're adorable, magical, and that they inspire love and hope in just about any decent human being. That said, I don't want eight of them. Nor do I want five, three, maybe not even two of them.

After my baby girl was born this past December I found myself struggling to make sense of a persistent feeling that had made itself at home within me: I didn't want a big family.

I had been planning on a big family. "Good" Mormons don't place a limit on the number of spirits they'll provide bodies for unless there is a really good reason (i.e. mum will die if she has another pregnancy). I had been planning on letting nature take its course. I worked very hard to be enthusiastic about having lots and lots of babies.

But then my DD (dear daughter) was born. And suddenly I found myself not only wishing I could focus on just her but also feeling guilty for wishing thus. I wanted to be a "good" Mormon. But I didn't want to have lots of kids.

When we left the church and I realized that my family size, and my body were under my authority, and not that of fifteen men in Salt Lake (nor any of their predecessors) who had never, ever met me I literally heaved a sigh of relief. DD did not have to be first in a long line of children. In fact, if we so decided she could be our first and our last, our "alpha and omega" you might say.

Suddenly I realized that I wouldn't be spending the next ten to fifteen years pregnant and/or nursing. I wouldn't be spending the next two decades being a full time stay-at-home mom. When DD started school I could get a job, volunteer, etc. (unless DD ended up with a sibling after all, in which case it would be once he or she started school). "Heck," I thought, "I could even get a part time job before DD starts school if I really want to."

Suddenly the world was open to me.

Now, I don't know if DD will be our last. I think it'd be awfully nice for her to have a sibling. And I think I'd like to give birth again and have an opportunity to raise another baby. But the fact that I get to choose (guilt free) brings me great peace, as does the fact that I now know there is also nothing wrong with "postponing" any (possible) future babies until DH (dear husband) is done with medical school (if that's how we want to do it). Postponing is a no-no for "good" Mormons. In fact I had felt no end of guilt over not having my first baby until I had been married for three (*gasp* THREE!) years.

Leaving the church is about many things, not the least of which is freedom; not just freedom to watch what movies you want to watch, or freedom to drink what beverages you want to drink but freedom to determine what is best for our family sans guilt/judgment/fear/etc. Most days I find myself pausing just because the gratitude for that freedom overwhelms me.

Life is good.

ETA: Plus it's nice to not feel like I'm raping the planet by having a huge family.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Counselor: Return & Report

It was OK. It was nice to have someone to talk to though at times I wasn't sure what he was trying to say or if he understood what I was trying to say. I think the counselor makes a great sounding board off of which to bounce ideas. I've always been the type of person who needs to talk or write on and on and on to figure out what it is I'm really thinking and feeling. It's great when a counselor can ask probing questions to encourage that exploration. Plus it's a pleasure to talk to somebody who isn't Mormon. And it's helpful to talk to someone who is familiar with the town and can guide me to some resources for meeting new people.

It's strange. Based on his comment on my last post Bill Bass seems to think counselors are for telling people what is right and wrong. What an odd thing to think, no? Maybe Bill Bass had some experiences with a counselor who tried do to just that. If that happened to me I'd find a new counselor. Or maybe a counselor tried to give Bill advice and Bill didn't realize he gets to decide for himself if it's good advice or not. Then again, maybe Bill Bass is just a snarky troll.


My husband has access to a counselor (for him and for me) through his job. Today we have an appointment. I'm looking forward to having a professional to talk to and work with as I'm making this change. I have a lot of deprogramming to do. The support of others in similar situations online has been immensely helpful but I'm interested to see what difference a trained counselor can make. My biggest hope is that it will speed the healing process.

I'll return and report.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


As I'm typing one-handed because my other arm is buried under a sleeping baby this will be a very short post. But I am very pleased with this website created and run by members of the church. It seems honest, fair, balanced and non-threatening. I would encourage my TBM friends reading this blog to visit it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I didn't think I'd like beer. My parents had let me try sips of it as a kid and it was nasty. I knew beer is an acquired taste and that it would probably be a long time before I liked it if I decided to drink it. But I've been introduced to Big Rock Beer and have found that I do like beer. I look forward to trying the different Big Rock varieties over time. I like to play it extra safe and limit drinks to once or twice a week (or none at all) since I'm nursing. Though that may be overkill. So it may be a while before I get a chance to sample them all. I really want to give two of their seasonal varieties a try. One is called Winter Spice (has cinnamon, cloves, etc.) and the other is Espresso Stout (coffee and beer in one...a double "Word of Wisdom" whammy)!

We've decided to use our recycling deposit returns as our liquor store money. We collect discarded bottles and such and turn them in when our boxes get full (along with our own empty bottles and cans). I'd like to save up for several months so we can go tour the Big Rock Brewery (which is in Calgary, not too far from us). It's $25 per person so it may be a while. But I think it'd be a fun date. I really know nothing about how beer is made (other than it involves hops, barley, and fermentation). I think it would be interesting to see how it's done. Plus you get to try little mini samples of each beer and then pick your favorites to take home.

It's weird to be writing about beer. Even though I grew up in a home where moderate drinking was common (and never a big deal) I've been so surrounded by people who think that there is no such thing as responsible drinking for a long time. I always knew my parents were normal, healthy adults and weren't doing anything wrong (they didn't believe in the Word of Wisdom so they couldn't be faulted for having the occasional drink). But my social circle consisted of some individuals who would think if one has any alcohol at all he must be an alcoholic and a big ol' sinner. I never agreed with that attitude but I always kept my opinions to myself. So casually blogging about beer is a new and strange experience.

It's kind of nice to be exploring this new...I don't know what to call it, hobby? I mean, drinking beer (or any alcohol) isn't done like drinking water, or juice. It's about flavor and enjoying the experience (you drink like it's water and you'll only end up wasted which is not the point). It's especially nice because it's a chance to delve deeper into the Canadian way of life (especially since I'm drinking Canadian beer).

I think tonight I'm going to have some pizza and a beer while watching Strange Brew.

Food For Thought

I've come across some interesting items that have the wheels in my brain turning.

Leaving the church has caused to no end of paradigm shifts. Some are sad (finding what I cherished to be not at all what it appeared to be) and some have been joyous (finding that I don't have to feel guilty for being imperfect).

These items are of the former type of paradigm shift.

Anecdotes about sexual abuse. Be sure to read the quote from Richard G. Scott about victims needing to take some responsibility for abuse (disgusting).
Mormonism's Problem With Child Sexual Abuse (article in the Salt Lake Tribune in 1996).

Of course, this is a Church organized by a man who participated in "questionable" sexual conduct himself (here's a brief introduction).

The truth about Mormon divorce rates.

These things do not jive with the claims of the church.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Loss & Healing

When I no longer need to write on here and when I no longer think about the church and the damage it did each day, then I'll know I've healed (as much as possible).

In the meantime I'm grateful for the outlet this blog provides me. My brain is working overtime trying to make sense of it all and if I had no way to get the thoughts out of my head I'd go a little (more) crazy.

I do wish I had held on tighter to my non-Mormon friends when I converted because I desperately want to have meaningful relationships with non-members right now. I still value my genuine friendships with Mormons. But I need social time with those who don't remind me of that from which I'm trying to recover. But my non-Mormon friends weren't "a good influence" so I separated myself from them. What a terrible loss my religious arrogance caused me. One of many losses my membership in "God's One True Church" caused me.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Let It Be Known

I think I need point out that which may not be clear from previous posts:

Not all TBMs go crazy when one leaves the church.

Yes we are dealing with some really strange and hurtful behavior from some. But we also have a good number of friends and family members who are doing their best to understand and respect our decision (and some are doing an excellent job). And for that we are grateful.

I don't want to be found guilty of only ever portraying the facts that support my assertations and my worldview (after all, who wants to be a hypocrite?). To ignore the fact that there are TBMs who *are* being Christ-like in their dealings with us would be a great injustice, not only to the them, but to the cause of truth.

So here's to you, my faithful friends. Kudos.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Positives

To answer Mary's question about if there are things I've gained from the church that I still value I sat down and made a list. I was surprised because it actually ended up being more difficult then I expected (probably because I didn't include things that I most likely would still have gained had I never joined the church). But it wouldn't be fair to say that the church provides nothing valuable, in fact it would be a lie. Some things I'll continue to carry with me:
  • Journals - I have come to love chronicling my life and recording my thoughts and feelings (both on my blogs and in a private, written journal).
  • Emergency Preparedness - I may not feel the need to have a 1-2 year supply of wheat (as I no longer believe in the reality of a biblical Armageddon) but having a financial reserve, a well stocked pantry, and 72-hour kits are still important to us.
  • Gratitude - We may not pray before our meals, but we still like to take a moment to express our gratitude for the food on our plates. We still say something we're grateful for, and something we're grateful to each other for each night before we go to bed. Life is so much nicer when we take a moment to appreciate it.
  • Lucy - Had it not been for my membership in the church I probably would have postponed my family for quite some time. And while I can see the advantages to being childless while young I wouldn't change the fact that I had Lucy when I did. She brings so much joy and love into our lives. We love having her here and now. Besides, since I am a younger mother I don't have to worry about running out of energy chasing after her once she learns to walk. And I'll probably get to enjoy being a young grandmother as well. So that's cool.
  • Unique Fun - There's no denying that Mormons have to be creative when it comes to thinking up things to do for fun. The prohibitions on behavior mean that Mormon college students don't fall into the routine of partying every weekend that some (SOME) non-Mormon coeds do. I might not have learned to love games like "Killer Bunnies," "Bang," "Guillotine," etc.
  • Adam - I met Adam, and some very dear friends, at BYU. Had I never joined the church I certainly wouldn't have gone to BYU. Granted, I'd probably have made other friends and met someone I'd spend the rest of my life with. But I like Adam. And I like the friends I did make. So I'm including them in my list.
  • Some Great Art/Music - I was exposed to some beautiful hymns through the church. Granted, they'll never hold the same amount of meaning for me as they once did. But I'm not so disaffected that I can't enjoy religious music and art (who doesn't appreciate the Sistine Chapel, or the David for example?). And while I've always found most LDS art to be vapid, sickeningly sweet, and downright bad (hardly worth the canvas it's painted on) there are some very important exceptions (much of Walter Rane's work, and Minerva Teichert come to mind).
I'm sorry the list is so small. I would have liked to think I gained much more than that. But, while the list is short, there are some important items on it. I guess the question to ask now is, was it worth it? Are the things I gained worth the price I paid?

I think so. But honestly, I haven't given it much thought. What's the point? Determining whether it was worth it or not won't change that I did, in fact, pay that price. And I can't change that. So I'm certainly not going to spend the rest of my life wondering how much I should regret it.

"Angry Apostates"

A common theme touched upon by TBMs when discussing defectors is that we're angry/bitter/hateful/etc. It is, after all, easier to label those of us who leave than it is to face the critiques and questions we bring up. Additionally, TBMs are taught in Sunday School that we're wicked, under the influence of the devil, etc. (I'm not's in the 2009 lesson manual). But I'll let you in on a secret...

We are angry...

...And with good reason. We gave our "heart, might, minds, and strength" for years (in my case 8 years, in many cases 20, 30, 40+ years). We gave 10% of our income (even when we couldn't afford it). We gave our freedom to determine for ourselves right from wrong. We gave hours upon hours each week. We gave our all, only to discover it was for an organization built on secrets, untruths, and deceptions. And almost all of us then experienced the pain of learning the true feelings of some of our friends and family members (an experience I am still in the midst of). It can take a long time to recover from things like this, years even. And it's even harder for those whose church experience included abuse of some sort (yes, it does happen...the Catholic church is not alone in that scandal).* Add to this the frustration of dealing with TBMs constantly trying to bring us back into the fold. It's hard to recover and move on when people won't leave you alone.**

I'd like to take just a moment to point out that being angry does not mean being miserable. Yes I'm angry. No I am not in a constant state of anger. In fact, I'm enjoying a lot of peace, relief, hope, joy, and fun! My feelings about the church do not define me.

TBMs have a bit of a victim mentality. Most have a hard time telling the difference between being PERSecuted and being PROSecuted in the court of public opinion. Because there are ex-Mormons out telling the truth about the church and it's history, because there are people sharing why they left, the TBMs feel that they're being picked on. They like to lump ex-Mormons who publish the facts with anti-Mormons who stand outside the conference center and yell about how Mormons are going to burn in hell (a completely ridiculous association in my opinion). Believe me, I will never hold up a sign, or hand out pamphlets outside conference, or the Hill Cummorah Pageant. But I will write my thoughts and feelings on this blog. And I will speak up about the truth when it is relevant to current conversation.

TBMs also can't grasp why they aren't afforded the same respect as other, more mainstream, Churches. Well, first off, some people do view Mormonism on the same level as other religions (but it's usually people who find organized religion as a whole repugnant). Secondly, there are good answers to why people take issue with the LDS Church vs. most other churches. It's just that many TBMs can't accept the answers. The LDS church demands FAR more than other churches. The LDS church claims much (such as the authority to speak for God) but a thorough study of the history of the church and the life of Joseph Smith Jr. reveals that those claims have no basis in fact. The LDS church is too much like a cult to pretend otherwise (who wants to bet I'll get a nasty comment on this post for pointing that out?). The LDS church is far more controlling of its members. The LDS church likes to meddle in the lives of non-members. The LDS church frankly does more damage than most mainstream churches.

And the fact of the matter is that Mormons are not alone. But they'd rather not be associated with their bedfellows in the "persecuted religion club" such as radical Islam, Scientology, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc. (before you get your panties in a bunch let me make it clear that I do not think the LDS church is on the same level as jihadists, or Scientologists just the same category).

Another consideration as to why ex-Mormons "attack" just the LDS church and not others is that the LDS church is what we have personal experience with and intimate knowledge of. A quick spin on Google will reveal plenty of similar groups for other religions run, not by ex-Mormons of course, but by the disaffected of those religions (though you might have a hard time finding anti-Scientology and Islam groups since that kind of thing can get one killed). I don't have a blog about the Jehovah's Witnesses because I'm not qualified to critique their religion in depth.

Another reason ex-Mormons "can't leave the church alone" after leaving is because while one is deprogramming it is awfully hard to not be reminded of the church at every turn. We were trained to think about the "Gospel" all day, every day. We can't even sit down to a meal without feeling a compulsion to bless the food. To be constantly reminded of the Church is to be constantly reminded that we've been had. You're a very strong individual indeed if you can withstand such frequent reminders of the betrayal you've experienced, and your own feelings of stupidity at having believed the nonsense without getting angry, or at least somewhat annoyed.

My personal humiliation, as a convert, of having been sucked into all this, of having been duped into believing every word that was fed to me without ever giving the other side a chance to have their say is sometimes infuriating; infuriating enough to make anyone angry (with, perhaps, the exception of the Dalai Lama - I hear he's a pretty level-headed guy).

Also, ex-Mormons are sometimes quite vocal because we're looking for support, looking for others who understand us, to counter all the negativity we face upon announcing our decision to leave the church. And some are vocal because they simply want to protect others from the same fate.

Then there's the issue of the "apostate" label. defines an apostate simply as "one who forsakes his religion, cause, party, etc." But within Mormon culture the word is associated with much more. Here's a sampling of the attitudes with which "apostates" are viewed:

If there is a despicable character on the face of the earth, it is an apostate from this Church. He is a traitor who has deceived his best friends, betrayed his trust, and forfeited every principle of honor that God placed within him. They are disgraced in their own eyes. There is not much honesty [within] them. They have forfeited their heaven, sold their birthright, and betrayed their friends. [Even Satan despises apostates] That is all I wish to say on that point. Let apostates go. (Brigham Young JOD 12:94)
I would say, let [apostates] alone severely. The man who will apostatize from the truth, forsake his God and his religion, is a traitor to everything there is in heaven, earth, and hell. There is no soundness, goodness, truth, or virtue in him; nothing but darkness and corruption, and down to hell he will go. This may grate on the delicate ears of some, and they may think it is a pretty hard sentence, still it is true. (Brigham Young JOD 12:58)

And thus we can plainly discern, that after a people have been once enlightened by the Spirit of God, and have had great knowledge of things pertaining to righteousness, and then have fallen away into sin and transgression, they become more hardened, and thus their state becomes worse than though they had never known these things. (Alma 24:30)
There you have it. Apostates are hardened, treacherous, dishonest, despised, corrupt, and completely lacking goodness and virtue. I for one, feel all kinds of warm fuzzies to know how highly I am thought of.

What it comes down to is this, TBMs can't understand why ex-Mormons are angry because they can't see their beloved church as a cult, a fraud, or anything but the "One True Church." If you believe your church is God's one established church and that all others are an abomination, if you believe that wickedness and misery await anyone outside your church, if you believe that only someone under the influence of Satan would fight against or even dare to question or critique your church then of course you won't, can't understand ex-Mormons. Of course you won't, can't sympathize with our hurt and anger. To admit that you understand our frustration is to admit you understand the reason for it. And if that's the case then it may be that you too doubt; a road of thought most are too frightened to travel.

Yes, too frightened. It's not about smarts. There are plenty of extremely intelligent TBMs (and we ex-Mormons have our share of dunces, make no mistakes). It's about fear. Quite a few TBMs fall into two categories:
  1. Those who are not blind to the problems in the history and doctrines of the church but who continue to "fake faith" for fear of losing friends, family, their support circle, etc.
  2. Those who are too afraid that they won't like they find if they really study church history, ask tough questions, etc. and so choose to remain ignorant.
Those are just two categories. There are of course others (including those who have so successfully been deluded/deluded themselves that they can mentally weasel themselves out of any cognitive dissonance). And it must be said, I can't blame those who are scared. I do understand what that is like because I have been there. I understand, even if others can't understand me.

Of course, in the end I suppose I don't really need Mormons to understand me. There are plenty of caring and wonderful people out here in reality who feel for me, who "get it" so to speak. I am not alone. And I suppose, even if I were, that it still wouldn't matter. I'm done worrying about what others think of me. I approve of who I am and that is enough.

*Fortunately this is not the case for me.
**Why is that anyway? According to church doctrine we "apostates" are destined for outer darkness so why waste your time (more on this in a post to come)?

I Love Coffee, Get Over It :)

I love coffee. My dad loves it too. He can somehow have a cup of the stuff every night without it keeping him up. So I grew up with the aroma wafting through the house. Frankly, I think I love the smell of the stuff even more than the actual drink (though I do love that). When I was little it was a treat when Jay (my dad) would let me push the button on the coffee grinder. And some times he'd bring me along with him when he went to the local gourmet coffee shop. It was a cozy, heavenly smelling place. I remember that Jay used to try the small free samples of whatever the special was that day. The memories are all hazy though...because when I hit fourteen and got involved with the church my coffee days ended and I lost that bonding opportunity with my dad.

I gave up coffee 100% to obey the "Word of Wisdom." But I never stopped loving it. Whenever I would come across a coffee candy or ice cream I would check the ingredient list, desperately hoping it was made with artificial flavor (the only candies I found that were WoW kosher were Jelly Belly Beans and Jelly Belly candy canes). Eventually I started drinking Pero and Postum (roasted barley drinks). But they're not the same.

Now I live nearly 3,000 miles away from my dad. Every time I brew a cup of coffee (decaf, for Lucy's sake) I find myself wishing I were at home sharing a pot of coffee with Jay and making up for lost time.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Good for Families?

The LDS church loves to paint itself as family friendly. I used to believe it was because I chose to ignore what was right in front of me. The church tore apart my family.

Through the "every member a missionary" practice I was introduced to the church. Against my parents wishes I (a minor) was given the missionary discussions (my parents never knew). I was encouraged to disobey and deceive my parents (isn't there a commandment or something about honoring one's parents somewhere?). And even though it caused no end of conflict, broke my mother's heart, and strained my relationship with all my other family members I joined the Church because "God's will was more important than my family."

Much of the blame rests on me, of course. I was being a selfish, bratty teenager.

Over time my parents mellowed. Even though it was hard for them they acknowledged that it was my choice. But that didn't help me grow closer to them again. They weren't members. They didn't have the "Gospel" in their lives. They did things they shouldn't (coffee, occasional drink, *gasp*) because they didn't know better. [insert eye roll here] I was seeing them through different lenses now. And though I loved them...I couldn't appreciate them as much as I should have because I could only see them as "Mom, who isn't a member" or "Grandpa, who thinks the Church is a sham" (and, boy was he right).

And of course, it was my duty to try to convert them to the "One True Church." So my interactions with them (and with my inactive BIL and SIL) were always tainted with an element of missionary work. Gotta pray for them. Gotta be a good example for them. Gotta be extra nice to them (what? Shouldn't I be nice because it's, I dunno...nice to be nice?).

Now, after leaving the Church I'm seeing a whole new side to the "family friendliness." Certain family members are so threatened by our choice they have resorted to behavior that is insulting, juvenile, and somewhat frightening (even threatening us). Basically, they are not being at all "Christ-like." It seems in the eyes of some that not only are we not adults, and individuals with free agency but we are wicked and an evil influence.

Is it any surprise? When one believes that God will only allow a family to be together if everybody in it is perfect (or close to perfect) then of course he or she will feel threatened when someone in that family breaks that circle. His or her eternal life is being changed by the actions of someone they have no control over (what kind of God would allow that?). It isn't surprising then, when he or she then tries to exercise control over the "apostate" any way they can: guilt, fear, power-trips, faulty logical reasoning, etc. When "no success can compensate for failure in the home" and failure = not raising a large brood of children to marry in the temple, follow the church no matter what and raise another group of children to do the same that makes for a lot of miserable families who mistakenly think they've failed simply because a family member does not believe what they believe.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


I have been asked "why?" Why am I leaving the church?

Well, first, let me make things perfectly clear. I am not leaving the church. I have already left the church.

And the why of it all is an answer so long I felt I needed to create a blog devoted solely to answering it. So one mere post can never be enough. But here I go anyway...


When I joined the church in the first place I had some issues. I was not comfortable with polygamy, the stance on gays, or the history of blacks and the priesthood. But they had to have explanations right?* Someday God would explain why things were the way they were. So I put my concerns on the proverbial shelf and forged ahead, silencing my conscience along the way. Incidentally (or maybe not) it was by ignoring my own sense of right and wrong that made me even more susceptible to the thought-training of the church. The less I trusted my own conscience the more reliant I became on the patriarchy of the church to tell me what to do, think, and feel. How I ever could have thought that was healthy I don't know. Chalk it up to being a dumb teenager?


I was a "good Mormon." I was practically obsessive compulsive about "choosing the right." Of course...I never felt like I was good enough. Yet, I also thought I was better than most everyone else (including many other Mormons). That's the double whammy. Members find themselves thinking they are somehow better than those "of the world" but also find themselves struggling with intense guilt of never being good enough (especially the women). Add to those feelings an intense underlying fear that if one is not perfect she will never make it to the highest degree of heaven and will not be with her family eternally and you end up with an individual who, no matter how happy she looks on the outside, is miserable deep down. How I ever could have thought that was healthy I don't know. Chalk it up to not knowing there was a better way?


I hated the temple. I had looked forward to a temple wedding because I had been taught how wonderful and ultimately important temple weddings are. My wedding was a huge disappointment. Not only was my family automatically excluded because they weren't Mormon, the wedding itself was not special. The only thing special about it was the man I was marrying. But even worse than my wedding was the endowment ceremony. It was a huge let down. I felt like it was contrary to the things taught on Sundays. I didn't "feel the spirit." In fact I felt a bad feeling when I went. And I felt so guilty because of it. I tried to go more often (as instructed) thinking it was my fault I didn't like it. But the more I went the more I hated it. I didn't dare tell anyone how I felt because obviously there had to be something wrong with me, or my testimony, if I didn't like the temple.

There was something wrong, but with the temple, not with me. I was being asked to make some very serious promises (without being given any indication of what they would be beforehand) and I was being put under oath to never, ever tell anyone. Looking back it was very much like an abuser telling his victim that if she tells anyone he'll hurt her or her loved ones. The temple wasn't just weird. It wasn't just exclusive. It wasn't just freaking boring. It was a place of control through fear.

The worst part was learning about the changes the ceremony has gone through. I had been led to believe that the temple ordinances were sacred and revealed to Joseph Smith by God himself. I had been told that sure, the temple ritual was similar to Masonic temple rites but that was because the Masons had a version that had been handed down for centuries so it had some truth but had been changed. Change is a big deal to Mormons. The Bible had been changed, the church Christ supposedly organized had been changed, etc. It was the reason for the "restoration of the Gospel." The Mormon church had the real deal. The Mormon church had it straight from God. Or, so I was told.

Yet, the temple ceremonies, the ultimate sacraments of the church had been changed. I guess I can understand why. Had I been asked to perform the ordinances as they were when they included promises to seek revenge for the death of Joseph Smith, or when they involved blood oaths, or when they required women to promise to obey their husbands, or when they implied that all other Christian churches were in league with the devil, or when they asked patrons to strip down completely and don a single poncho of fabric for the washings and annointings I would have been even more freaked out. Even with the changes I didn't feel good about the temple rites. But I again ignored my intuition and reason. How I ever could have thought that was healthy I don't know. Chalk it up to being scared?


I might have left the church over any number of issues (there were plenty besides those already listed). But I didn't. I kept trying to be a "good Mormon." In fact, as my "testimony" weakened I redoubled my efforts to do things right (say personal and family prayers daily, do personal and family scripture study daily, have "Family Home Evening" weekly, attend church, attend the temple, etc.). Nothing helped. So I did what Mormons (and those thinking about becoming Mormon) are always told to do. I asked God. I prayed. I prayed over and over and over again for him to tell me it was true.

I got my answer (or non-answer to be more accurate).

And that is why I have left the church.

For the first time in approximately eight years I feel a sense of peace, freedom, safety, and self-worth that transcends anything I ever felt in the church. I was led to believe that anyone who left the church would be miserable, that they did it because they were offended by something petty, because they wanted to sin, because they weren't committed enough, etc. I know now that's a load of bull. Breaking free from the fear, guilt, control, self-righteousness, etc. isn't as easy as I'd like. But I am already reaping the rewards. Leaving the church is one of the best things I've ever done. How I ever could have thought the church was healthy I don't know. Chalk it up to being being brain-washed?

For Adam's explanation of why see here.

*There are explanations, but they're not pretty and they're certainly not divine.


No, I'm not talking about the board game.*

I'm talking about the monopoly on morality, service, and marital/familial love TBMs think they have. I'll explain further, but first I think I need to address this:

Since removing my Mormon blinders I've realized what a bitch I was. Oh, outwardly I was "really nice." And by "really nice" I mean that
  • I was non confrontational
  • I pretended to like everybody I had to deal with at church
  • I spewed platitudes and "warm-fuzzies" instead of what I really thought
  • etc.
But in the privacy of my own mind and confidentially to my husband I was thinking/saying some really mean, judgmental things. I suppose on some level everybody is opinionated, but I hope that most people have the decency to not pretend they aren't.

I say this now because I want to make this perfectly clear: When I complain about Mormon behavior nine times out of ten it will be behavior that I took part in. Mormonopoly thinking being no exception. Anyhow, moving on...

It has been suggested that if Adam and I did not marry because God told us to then our relationship must be based solely on hormones and that at the first sign of trouble we'll bail on each other.

I'll give you a moment to let that sink in.
Besides being a completely illogical deduction it is an incredibly insulting thing to say. TBMs do not have a monopoly on love, commitment and strong marriages. In fact, LDS divorce rates are quickly catching up to the rest of society (and considering the extra-strong stigma divorce carries within Mormon society that is saying a lot). Additionally life within the culture of the Church can actually be damaging to a marriage. I wonder what my parents would have to say about this. Goodness knows they've had more than their fair share of trouble (my mom has severe progressive MS). They haven't bailed on each other. But, clearly since God didn't tell them to get married their relationship is a sham, built solely on hormones. [insert massive eye roll here]

Of course, the irony of Mormons lecturing anyone about marriage will not be lost on other "apostates**" like me.

The fact of the matter is that I married Adam because I love him. I love him, we get along very well, and he's a good man (with or without Mormonism thank you very much). And when we committed to each other we committed. We determined before our wedding that divorce is not an option. Other than abuse or adultery there is no reason we will tolerate for splitting up (and even in those cases we wouldn't necessarily consider it).

But it doesn't stop with marriage. It's not uncommon for TBMs to think that without the "Gospel" they would be horrible people, that those outside the "One True Church" are caught up in lives of sin. Though, I suppose when you think coffee is a sin then yes...almost everyone is a big 'ol sinner. But I digress. My point is this: Mormons do not have a monopoly on morality.

I can offer service to others (which I have) without having to have a Bishop or Relief Society President ask me to. I can be a good person without secret handshakes, a huge (and probably unhealthy) number of meetings/committments, daily reading of questionalble "sacred texts" and without a "prophet" to tell me what to do. It's as simple as offering others the same kindness and respect I would want them to offer me.

And being a good person does not mean I have to sacrifice the health and happiness of myself, my friends, or my family in an effort to "be nice" or "do what's right." I can say "no" without it meaning I'm "letting down the Lord" or that I'm not being Christ-like. Frankly...I don't know that I want to be like Christ. I no longer want to be like so-and-so in Relief Society. In fact I don't want to be like anybody else. I want to be like me.

For years I've suppressed my thoughts, feelings, likes, dislikes, etc. all in an effort to be the perfect Mormon woman. I've been conforming to somebody else's ideal. I've foolishly believed it was the only way to be worthy, the only way to be good. What a load of hooey. Since leaving the church I haven't suddenly started being a bad person (well...unless you include things like the occasional morning cup of "sin"). In fact I've found myself starting to be a better person. For one thing I'm not nearly as judgmental as I once was. You might say I stopped obsessing over the "letter of the law" long enough to actually remember to live the "spirit of the law."

I'll say it again. I do not need the church to keep me in line. I am an adult, and quite capable of telling right from wrong and acting accordingly. I don't need to slave away trying to be like someone else or how someone says I should be. I can be me because, believe it or not, she's a good woman.

*Yes, there really is a board game.
**Somebody remind me to write a post about the use of the term "apostate" some day.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What's In A Name?

I wanted to take a moment to explain how I chose the title for this blog.

A Marvelous Work And A Wonder is a book by LeGrand Richards "designed to assist missionaries in their study and presentation of Mormonism." It is filled with arguments to use to defend and support Mormonism. Well, A Marvelous Work & A Blunder is designed to pretty much do the opposite. Actually, that's not quite true. My intention is really to express my feelings and my own personal issues with the church as a way of deprogramming the thought training the church used on me. While I certainly won't hesitate to tell it like it is I'll leave the nitty gritty detailed arguments to those with more time and more desire to use them.

I chose the word "blunder" because that is what my decision to join the church in the first place really was, a big blunder. Since sending in my resignation letter I often find myself marveling at how I ever could have fallen for such a fraud. For approximately eight years I sacrificed and worked to be a "good Mormon." Now I get to undertake the marvelous work of undoing the damage, however long that may take.