Monday, June 25, 2012

Why I Try Not To Take It Personally When A Mormon Acts Rude or Shuns Me

Note: the LDS church has no official policy of shunning, except one of the temple questions that asks basically if you affiliate with any critics of the church or sympathize with them. So when I speak of shunning I am not meaning the kind of institutionalized shunning that exists in certain other religions. When Mormons shun they usually do so of their own volition without direction from their leaders.

As a former Mormon I can still remember how the Mormon ideas spread brain to brain via communication and would enter my brain and rewire my thinking; causing me to think and do things I don’t think I would have chosen to do if I were totally free of the cultural conditioning imposed on me as a Mormon.

How much constant reinforcement and social conformity -- via singing hymns, making temple oaths, wearing secret garments with subliminal markings, and performing constant demonstrations of your “testimony” to show total submissive loyalty and conformity -- before you are taken over by the LDS Mind Control

Think about it, how many times does it take repeating the LDS mantra “I know the church is true” before your entire mind and nervous system actually starts to believe it? As for me, when I was a full blown card carrying, garment wearing, temple Mormon; performing regular testimony bearing sessions with pride. I was not my true authentic self. I am not saying that all other Mormons are not their true authentic selves, I am just speaking from my own experience. As a Mormon I was washed clean of my individuality, rinsed and tossed with dogma, and folded nicely into a Mormonized clone-like persona. All my own dreams and personality and individuality was stripped from me as I put on the Mormon mask. This was my experience. I was not myself; I became a Mormonized version of myself.

My point in sharing my opinion of my own experience is that after I went through it I can understand why some (not all) Mormons are sometimes rude to those who are no longer Mormon, and often outright shun you. You see I believe that these Mormons who are rude and shun are often not themselves either, but products of their environment and social conditioning. That's my perspective.

The main reason they are rude and shun is fear. Do you expect someone with a lifelong phobia of elevators to just get on the elevator with you one day? Would you get offended if they didn't get on the elevator? Would you expect them to go against their entire physiology and consuming fear in one instant just to appease you? Consider how people with anxiety disorders who see a therapist go through a program that takes time to overcome fears and phobias.

The fact is, Mormons have been trained and conditioned to have a phobia of anything that puts their religion in a negative light. They very often CAN’T be interested in the opposing viewpoint or a fair and impartial examination of the other side, because they will experience an amygdala hjack if they do!

Over the years I have come to expect some form of rudeness or shunning from a  Mormon friend or acquaintance who finds out I am no longer a Mormon. Usually, the shunning is mild: in the form of ignoring you, not returning your emails or phone calls, and basically acting like you don’t exist. Other times you will learn that they are spreading lies and gossip about you. Whenever this has happened to me I have reminded myself of my own mindset (explained above) when I was Mormon. How I was not my true authentic self and was programmed by the Mormon system of mental control and emotional manipulation. I was just a cog in the wheel of a massive Mormon Machine that replicates LDS dogma into humans by programming new human brains with the proper religious software downloaded into their mind as they come off the assembly line ready to speak the Mormon Creed when you pull the string. This Mormon Business cannot care about the individual as a corporation for profit trumps compassion and honesty. This lack of compassion for that which threatens the survival of the system, trickled down into my own attitudes toward outsiders.

For every long term friend that stopped wanting to be my friend when they learned I’m not a Mormon anymore, I also reminded myself that they have been saturated with the Horns versus Halos mentality.

I also remind myself that the LDS temple question where they promise not to affiliate with or sympathize with critics, has probably had an affect on their psyche.

For every rude or snide comment in an email I remind myself of how their entire psychology is wrapped up in Mormonism and they feel threatened and insecure and thus they lash out in immature ways.

I try to put myself in their shoes, walking with their genes, upbringing, social conditioning, and experiences. I view them as victims of the system and try to feel compassion toward them and forgive them for they know not what they do.


jewelfox said...

Thank you for writing this. After dealing with my Mormon family today, I needed to read it.

William Kempton said...

You're welcome. As a former Mormon, I've given a lot of thought to communication with LDS members. In the topical guide link on this blog I have a blog post titled: How to better communicate with Family and Friends about the problems with Mormonism and your disbelief in Mormon doctrines.

postmormon girl said...

So very familiar. And I do try and remember where they are coming from but it's not easy.

William Kempton said...

I empathize.

Olive Ashworth said...

This is exactly what I needed to hear today. I will definitely remember this article and its wonderful advice. I am in the process of "coming out" to people in the LDS Church that I have in fact become a United Methodist. For a long time I have identified with Protestant Christianity and have found all things Mormon very creepy, unholy, and just plain weird. My Mormon husband is okay my decision, but some missionaries that recently visited were very, very rude and arrogant and pushy when I admitted I had not been at church the last couple of months because I have been attending a United Methodist Church. I could see they were in melt-down mode. But I stayed kind and friendly. I see that they are just young and brainwashed. Even at the time I wasn't angry but rather felt pity for them. Thank you for this article.

William Kempton said...

Glad my post was helpful to you Olive,

By the way you may find the post below of interest if you have not already ran across it:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this article online. It gives me some comfort and understanding surrounding my feelings of being on the outside of the circle of my family. It's been a struggle especially on holidays and conference weekends. I'm still trying to find a way to have healthy family ties without subjecting myself to lack of compassion and quiet judgements they don't address with me but talk amongst themselves about. It's causing me intense grief, depression and making me feel like I no longer am respected, celebrated and included equally although I left the church. At 39 years old... this silent shunning is causing me to feel isolated. I'm chronically ill and my husband and I get no support from family in our lives. They say nice words but they don't make efforts to spend time with us or be a part of our lives. I wish they would embrace my husband more since he gives up so much to be my caretaker and he needs phone calls, visits and to know that someone is there to help us if he can't do everything alone. Unfortunately now we realize that we are alone although we have family living nearby. We feel hurt, undervalued and unappreciated... which eventually turns to anger and resentment.

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