The Shame & Tame Cycle in a nutshell:
2 My friends, if you have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, you won’t treat some people better than others. 2 Suppose a rich person wearing fancy clothes and a gold ring comes to one of your meetings. And suppose a poor person dressed in worn-out clothes also comes. 3 You must not give the best seat to the one in fancy clothes and tell the one who is poor to stand at the side or sit on the floor. 4 That is the same as saying that some people are better than others, and you would be acting like a crooked judge. 5 My dear friends, pay attention. God has given a lot of faith to the poor people in this world. He has also promised them a share in his kingdom that he will give to everyone who loves him. 6 You mistreat the poor. But isn’t it the rich who boss you around and drag you off to court? 7 Aren’t they the ones who make fun of your Lord? 8 You will do all right, if you obey the most important law[a] in the Scriptures. It is the law that commands us to love others as much as we love ourselves.
Of course Mormons who ascribe wealth to blessings based on Mormon loyalty and obedience often ignore the cases where those who leave the church or go inactive sometimes actually increase their financial success and wealth. I've found that this data is ignored by these Mormons.
The Perfectionistic Hamster Wheel and The Shame & Tame Cycle:
This chronic approval seeking and the promise of happiness only through loyalty, perfection, and submission to the LDS system keeps the Mormon in a dependent mental state. They often become addicted to the relief seeking (from shame) they get within the institution. In some cases, in my opinion, this results in a form of Stockholm syndrome, wherein as they remain psychologically hostage to Mormonism they begin to show signs of loyalty to the dogma that is acting as the hostage-taker. The LDS religion causes them constant, on and off again, shame and fear and they relieve their anxiety by submitting to the all-powerful group of "mini gods" played by fallible Mormon men who are themselves slaves to the shame and tame cycle and the heavy demands of the Mormon institution.
What we have here is a very manipulative system that seeks total control over the individual. While reading the LDS Church Handbook of Instructions I kept thinking how the whole LDS system is about power and control as if the members were cattle that needed to be prodded into their cages. In fact, by analogy it is the equivalent of imagining that there were a Mormon Rancher’s Handbook of Instructions where the Ranchers were the judge, jury, and owner of the cattle. If one animal got out of its pin, instructions would be given as to how to keep it in its cage, through rewards and punishments.
There is also the Common English Bible (CEB) that renders Matthew 5:48, "Therefore, just as your heavenly Father is complete in showing love to everyone, so also you must be complete."
This is also corroborated in The Jewish Annotated New Testament that contains a footnote to Mathew 5: 48 that reads:
Be perfect (Gk “teleios”), the word in this sense appears in the NT only in Mat hew’s Gospel (19.21) and the Le er of James (1.4; 3.2); it implies
maturity or wisdom (19.21; cf. Lev 19.2; Deut 18.13 [and Targumic commentaries]; 1QS 1.8–9,13; 2.1–2; 8.9–10; Midr. Tehillim 119:3; Lk 6.36 demands disciples be merciful). In Jewish tradition, Heb “tamim” (“complete, sound”; see Gen 6.9, where Noah is “blameless”) could indicate “completeness” with God, though not necessarily in a moral sense (e. g. Deut 18.13; 32.4).
The shame and tame cycle allows leaders of the LDS system to intrude into member's personal lives and manipulate them accordingly. A few examples of the controlling intrusiveness and lack of respect for privacy are demonstrated through just a few examples:
> Boys as young as twelve years old are asked by male leaders if they masturbate, which often damages their psychology.
> Church leaders often shame young married couples for wanting to wait to have children until they think they are more ready.
> Church leaders often manipulate members to take “callings” they dislike if they want "blessings."
Later on in life, I learned that many of my friends were told that they had to stop masturbating before they could go on their Mormon mission. When I was in the MTC (Missionary Training Center) in the 1990s many missionaries were afraid of being sent home because they masturbated. This is all part of the control and power the system seeks. It is the beginning of the manipulation. See the articles at the end of this blog post for more information on Mormonism and masturbation.
- When I Say No I Feel Guilty by Manuel J. Smith. This book is good for a Mormon that is questioning the LDS “authority structure,” as the book helps one be more assertive and avoid being manipulated by others.
- The Six Pillars of Self Esteem by Nathaniel Branden. This is a good book about forming a healthy self-esteem.
- Mormonism Controls and Affects People's Self-Esteem through manipulation and fear: see http://members.shaw.ca/blair_watson. See the list of Mormon fears from the same site: http://members.shaw.ca/blair_watson/fears.htm.
- My blog post: Shame, Perfectionism, and Vulnerability.
- The Infantilisation of Young Single Adults by lds bishop (Wednesday, May 8, 2013). This article describes the regression to childish behavior of many LDS members in their 20s and even 30s, which I believe is tied to the Shame & Tame cycle.
- A critique of the LDS pamphlet called "For Young Men Only" by www.i4m.com.
- My Official Stance on Masturbation by Natasha Helfer Parker [a mental health practitioner]
- Historical Development of New Masturbation Attitudes in Mormon Culture: Silence, Secular Conformity, Counterrevolution, and Emerging Reform by Mark Kim Malan
- Email to Christian ministers regarding bishop interviews. Posted: 31, May 2013 at postmormon.org. In this interesting message board post a Mormon decides to write several Christian ministers and ask what they think about the intrusive nature of Mormon interviews and how LDS leaders ask kids as young as 12 if they masturbate.
- Mormon Chastity Lessons: Elizabeth Smart. In this blog post the author discusses a talk given by Elizabeth Smart who talked about the story that those who lose their virginity are like a used piece of gum and how this is detrimental to a young woman’s self-esteem.
- In Episode 3 of Mormon Sexual Repression (Alone with the Bishop & Masturbation in Marriage), we get a glimpse into the Shame & Tame cycle in Mormonism.
- Shame and Guilt: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly by June Tangney. This video discusses the difference between healthy guilt feelings compared to feelings of shame and worthlessness.
- Podcast 229-230 on Mormon Stories: Understanding Scrupulosity Within the LDS Church. This is a very interesting podcast about a Mormon who has Scrupulosity which was likely caused by, or at least greatly influenced by, the perfection culture of Mormonism and the Shame & Tame cycle.
- “Utility vs. Validity: A Practical Approach to Faith-Related Psychological Problems" by mormonstories.org. At about 40 minutes into the presentation, Dr. David Christian discusses in his own words, what I call the shame and tame cycle in Mormonism, and it’s disastrous affects and a better alternative to moral living.