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.