The following was written by my fellow ExMo and friend, Devin Z.
Have I ever told you about my experience with Telus (a Canadian phone company)? A couple of years ago we lived in Grande Prairie. We thought we were going to live there forever – most definitely a long time. So we went ahead and signed a long term contract for our Internet use, and in exchange we would receive a free computer. Telus had a deal with Dell, and we went through the motions to get our computer. However, after a month of waiting our computer never arrived. There was some error in the order. So again, we went through the motions to get a computer – another wait, and another failure. Three times is the charm? Not it case. We never received a computer.
It didn’t take us too long to realize Grande Prairie was a mistake for our family, and we started our preparations to move. I called Telus several times in this moving process and confirmed that we wouldn’t have to pay to get out of our contract because we were moving to an area without high speed Internet, and we had never received a computer. However, when the time came to move we were told that it was our fault for never getting the computer; Dell had charged Telus for the computer, and they were going to recover that charge through us.
I was pissed!
Try as I might, complain as I did, there was no way for us to avoid the charge, and I wasn’t about to have creditors chasing us down. It was money that we didn’t have. We were in the right unquestionably. If Telus didn’t have a virtual monopoly in rural Alberta, I wouldn’t drop a cent in their general direction. They have lost a customer forever.
It still makes me angry even though it has been a couple of years. It was only a few hundred dollars.
Now, imagine if you will that instead of being a few hundred dollars it was tens of thousands of dollars. And, instead of being just a business contract, it involved countless hours of all your time, talents, and energy. And then imagine how you must feel when you discover that that organization that you have freely given yourself to has lied, distorted the truth, manipulated you to believe in ideas that are provable falsehoods, and asked you to stake your personal integrity to witness for these “truths?”
My brother asks me: “Why is it that ex-Mormons seem to congregate to pull down their previous faith? I feel like you are included, but I thought you were above that?”
Here is the bind created by Mormon dogma: If I stay quiet, people will continue to fall prey to logical fallacies, emotional manipulation, and pseudoscience; if I take the time to speak the truth, Mormons believe that this is evidence that their church is true because “the wicked take the truth to be hard” or that obviously I have fallen prey to Satan’s influence.
Mormonism demands that its adherents are honest but then they are offended when we speak the truth. Mormonism stresses personal integrity but labels integrity a sin when a person leaves an organization that fraudulently misrepresented itself. Mormonism tells its followers to get an education but then silences those that learn something.
My own personal integrity says that I must speak out and warn those around me and maybe correct a problem that I contributed in perpetuating. It has nothing to do with spite or anger. And, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that I would speak the truth. I was raised with the injunction to speak the truth and be honest in my dealings with my fellowman. My actions today stem from my unabashed pronouncement of belief despite my parents’ embarrassment in inappropriate situations or yelling out the windows to warn passersby’s of the evils of smoking. I am exactly what I was supposed to be – a fearless champion of truth!
So much of this could have been written by me, Adam, or a thousand other ex-Mormons. A big thank you to Devin for writing it so clearly and letting me share it here.