Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Exmormon musings during a visit to church

When I watched several LDS members at a church social interact it kind of made me realize that they were all engaged in the suspension of disbelief; like an audience watching actors in the theater. They were all acting and engaging their imaginations and suspending doubt to keep the whole belief-system going: golden plates, magic rocks, good ol’ polygamy (etc), all unbelievable from an outsider's perspective. So what drives them?

I have come to realize that heck life is tough; life is darn right cruel and indifferent to your needs and desires. Not all of us have the mental muscle and strength and skill to overcome this and rise to heights of excellence. We have to make meaning and see the balance in life. Some of us fall down a lot and like a kid looking for sympathy when he scratches his knee, dogmatic religions are the ultimate buffer, for it cradles you in it's arms and tells you everything is going to be OK. Some people prefer the warmth of the barn to the cold of the forest. Some of us prefer the church corral to the borderless wild.

The church is a safety net, where others living the myth start to live in an alternate universe built on imagination and wishful thinking. They live in a bubble where happy shiny people are trustworthy and nice as long as you live in the same bubble with them and reinforce each other’s fantasies; the bubble is a shield from the "big bad scary world." It is a coping system, comforting like a mother’s breast to a child or a father’s strong arm, an engineered security system. I get a return glimpse of that feeling whenever I return to the Mormon Church after a long absence; a sort of regression to childhood dependence, the feeling of a puppy snuggled into the belly of it's mother before it has matured. The feeling is homey and familiar, yet I know it is manufactured by the mythology, music, ritual, and groupthink. I know it is like the movie The Matrix and it's not real. I also know that while the red pill is at first bitter sweet, you get used to reality. You adapt to the desert of the real and learn to find your way in the woods of uncertainty and bask in the glow of freedom after leaving the corral.

It makes sense to me why even highly intelligent people live in the bubble and why I don’t think less of them when they do, since it is part of human nature to seek comfort and security, especially for one’s children. So this is not to put it down, but to say I understand why so many use it, heck most who live it downright need it.

All in all I actually enjoyed the get together at the Mormon Church, the warm atmosphere, sense of familiarity, the shiny happy people and the friendliness of everyone was a pleasant experience. The experience did make me honestly miss the social environment of a church, any church or social group like it, for we are social animals (mammals to be exact) and whether we get that at a church or a secular group, or from our own family at baseball games and PTA meetings, it is important.

At the same time it actually reminded me how free I am beyond the mental shackles of LDS "put downs." I didn’t realize before just how positive my self-image has become since leaving Mormonism behind. For example, I no longer believe that my natural body is an enemy to God as Mormons believe. There are no demons lifting my penis up when I become aroused. I am a normal ethical human being with natural instincts and a good character. So they can keep the syringe full of dogma they wish to inject you with that poisons one’s self-esteem with self-doubt and self-deprecation; as they curse you with the Mormon meme-machine and name-calling (deeming you unworthy, un-elect, un-endowed) and then offering you the placebo pill of conformity and constant repeating of your "testimony" as the cure to the mental malady they infected you with through indoctrination. I’m not sick from lack of metaphysical absolutism so they can keep their placebo cure when I have reason, science, and self respect as a human being full of integrity.

I don't believe in a God that favors blind obedience and relying on feelings over facts and reason. If there is a deity it must be pleased with those of us who choose to use our brains rather than act like people from the book 1984, since he/she/it allowed our species to develop the intelligent brains we have.

I didn’t realize how free I’ve been after being emancipated from the burden of trying to believe in unjustifiable dogmatic assertions and how much I both sympathize with and pity the credulous; and in the same vein I envy them for the fantasias utopia they build for themselves by shutting down their brain and turning up the volume of their inner child and operating solely on emotion and sentimentality; then again, I worry that those who do decide to think outside the bubble of Mormonism will suffer mental conflict, and those who shut down their brain miss out on so many new and wonderful forms of knowledge. It is difficult to grow up and become mature but the rewards are plentiful.

As for me, to live in the land of Oz I would have to literally check my brain at the door of the church. Once you’ve peered behind the curtain to see it's only men running the Mormon Show, reality becomes a part of you that can’t be ignored without a load of denial and intellectual dishonesty. As I like to say, Ignorance isn’t bliss but slavery to denial. Over time the bitter facts of reality, like seeds give rise to the sweet nectar of reason and discovery; as the endorsement of the scientific method and the advancement of knowledge shared by all has the capacity to unite humanity. The bliss of discovery becomes contagious as we walk into the Mystery of Being with courage and integrity, conquering new frontiers with the scientific spirit of Einstein.


handmaiden said...

"Ignorance isn't bliss---YES, your right, it is Slavery. Good post!

handmaiden said...

IF you care to visit my blog on how I got out of Mormonism, the site is--

Daniel Swearingen said...

I really enjoyed your insightful post. I am an ex mormon and brand new blogger. Could we swap links? How does that work? Sincerely, Daniel Swearingen

Daniel Swearingen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Michelle said...

my girl has a blog. recovering it out

Alexandra Tiffany Tilbrook said...

You wrote:
So [the LDS Church] can keep the syringe full of dogma they wish to inject you with that poisons [you]

How so true! I was converted in February 2011... then eight months later, some members tried to, to use your analogy, made an "emergency administration" of the LDS dogma...

I had an adverse reaction to it. (To keep with the LDS "syringe" medicine analogy.) Instead of an allergic reaction, I had a quickly increasing sense of anger and quick hatred to LDS teachings and members.

I became inactive that next day. It wasn't until June 2017 when I found out about Attorney Naugle's pro bono service to fast track your resignation, thanks to Google. It's on my website (link is proudly declaring the freedom.

It's hard when you're drawn into it under such falsehoods, then as soon as when you get "the shot," most don't have the adverse reaction, or as quickly; but I did get the reaction to it nearly immediately.

Thanks for your blog from another post-Mormon herself.

William Kempton said...

Thanks for your thoughts Alexandra. The Mormon church is currently trying to inoculate its members with the Joseph Smith Project and the recent essays. I wrote about this in my latest blog post. The problem is this recent effort is not enough, they are still keeping a lot of things from their members and the apologies/excuses that the apologists make for Joseph Smith and his obvious con artistry is ridiculous in my opinion. If they had true Integrity these top LDS leaders and the leaders of the apologists would simply call a spade a spade and admit that Joseph Smith was at the very least a troubled narcissist who needed help (like some serious therapy for his inflated ego) and the power he gained through what Vogel calls as “pious fraud” simply went to his head as his church grew; until he went from pious fraud to sexual manipulator. They could remedy this by simply doing what the Seventh-day Adventists did with their religion and downplay their founder. That is what they would do if they were not so (many of them) egotistical themselves and drunk on power and acting like a corporation trying to defend it's status and power. I mean why didn't they come up with these recent changes long ago? Why did it take them so long to give blacks the priesthood? I'll tell you why, among many of the top leaders, it is about power and control and various degrees of narcissism in my opinion. They only budge and do things like give blacks the priesthood in 1978 or remove the temple penalties in 1990 when they're pressured to by the members or they fear losing money from lack of tithe dollars pouring in. It’s no coincidence that a leader in the church recently came out and said the church is losing massive amount of members, before the top leaders started to change their policy and come clean or “more transparent” in their new essays. So we’ll see how their inoculation program goes. I suspect it will cause some LDS to develop antibodies to fight the memetic shot of knowledge, but for others the memes will enter their bloodstream and change their psyche; and Smith marrying fourteen year old girls and the church admitting to racism in their former priesthood policy, will cause further skepticism and enlightenment and a spreading of curiosity and a wondering, “What else is there to learn?” The great Oz and his dogmatic-engineers will then be forced to slowly reveal, indirectly with each new change in doctrine and policy, that they are running the Mormon Show; and members will have to decide if they want to stay in Wonderland or get back to Reality.

A Short List of Reasons Why I am Not a New Order Mormon and Decided to Resign

Note: If you are a New Order Mormon for the sake of family and career, I respect your decision. This is just my subjective point of view. ...