Saturday, August 28, 2010


Only those who have escaped an abusive relationship know how difficult it is getting out. Those who have never experienced it don't understand why those who stay defend the abuser. Partly why is because they are defending their own life choices. I left 2 abusive situations. My marriage and the church:

Defining Abuse

Using Isolation
- Controlling what she or he does, who she/he sees and talks to, what she/he reads, where she/he goes
- Limiting her/his outside involvement
- Using jealousy/guilt to justify actions

Minimizing Denying and Blaming
- Making light of the abuse and not taking her/his concerns about it seriously
- Saying the abuse didn't happen
- Shifting responsibility for abusive behavior
- Saying she/he caused it

Using Male/Female Privilege
- Treating her/him like a servant
- Making all the big decisions
- Acting like the "master of the castle"
- Being the one to define men's and women's roles

Using Economic Abuse
- Preventing her/him from getting or keeping a job
- Making her/him ask for money
- Giving her/him an allowance
- Taking her/his money
- Not letting her/him know about or have access to family income
 Using Intimidation

- Making her/him afraid by using looks, actions, gestures

Using Emotional Abuse
- Putting her/him down
- Making her/him feel bad about her- or himself
- Calling her/him names
- Making her/him think she's crazy
- Playing mind games
- Humiliating her/him
- Making her/him feel guilty

The words of leaders in the church condemn themselves:

Abuse in Mormonism

Using Isolation

- Controlling what she or he does, who she/he sees and talks to, what she/he reads, where she/he goes

o "Teaching some things that are true, prematurely or at the wrong time, can invite sorrow and heartbreak instead of the joy intended to accompany learning.... The scriptures teach emphatically that we must give milk before meat. The Lord made it very clear that some things are to be taught selectively and some things are to be given only to those who are worthy." Boyd K. Packer

 o "Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." Temple Recommend Question

 - Making all the big decisions

- Acting like the "master of the castle"

o Doctrine and Covenants 132: 52 "And let mine handmaid, Emma Smith, receive all those that have been given unto my servant Joseph, and who are virtuous and pure before me; and those who are not pure, and have said they were pure, shall be destroyed, saith the Lord God."

Using Economic Abuse

- Preventing her/him from getting or keeping a job

o "The Lord clearly defined the roles of mothers and fathers in providing for and rearing a righteous posterity. In the beginning, Adam--not Eve--was instructed to earn the bread by the sweat of his brow. Contrary to conventional wisdom, a mother's calling is in the home, not in the market place.

In a home where there is an able-bodied husband, he is expected to be the breadwinner. Sometimes we hear of husbands who, because of economic conditions, have lost their jobs and expect their wives to go out of the home and work even though the husband is still capable of providing for his family. In these cases, we urge the husband to do all in his power to allow his wife to remain in the home caring for the children while he continues to provide for his family the best he can, even though the job be is able secure may not be ideal and family budgeting will have to be tighter." Ezra Taft Benson

o "Women are to take care of the family--the Lord has so stated--to be an assistant to the husband, to work with him, but not to earn the living, except in unusual circumstances. Men ought to be men indeed and earn the living under normal circumstances" Spencer W. Kimball

- Giving her/him an allowance

- Taking her/his money
o "You and each of you covenant and promise before God, angels, and these witnesses at this altar, that you do accept the law of consecration as contained in this, the book of Doctrine and Covenants [he displays the book], in that you do consecrate yourselves, your time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the building up of the kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion." Endowment Ceremony

Using Emotional Abuse

- Putting her/him down
- Making her/him feel bad about her- or himself
- Calling her/him names
- Making her/him think she's crazy
- Playing mind games

- Humiliating her/him

- Making her/him feel guilty

o 2 Nephi 9: 46 "...that ye may not shrink with awful fear; that ye may not remember your awful guilt in perfectness, and be constrained to exclaim: Holy, holy are thy judgments, O Lord God Almighty-but I know my guilt; I transgressed thy law, and my transgressions are mine; and the devil hath obtained me, that I am a prey to his awful misery."

Why is it NOT ok for a spouse to act this way, but it is ok for a church to act this way?

I escaped, but I still suffer. Not often, but sometimes. Healing takes time.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Traditions of the Fathers

As I was talking to a friend the other day, she was telling me the one thing that bothers her about the Mormon church is how they think she is evil for not being Mormon. I told her she wasn't alone in her feelings. There is an attitude of superiority even within the Mormon church. It is evident every Sunday and practiced openly for everyone to see.

In other Christian churches when the Sacrament is offered to the congregation, everyone is given the opportunity to partake at the same time, or the pastor is offered the Sacrament at the same time, or after everyone else. Not in the Mormon church. the male bishop and counselors are offered the Sacrament before everyone else. The entire congregation must wait until they are served before anyone else is allowed to partake. Even then, there is a hierarchy. If a visiting leader who is a superior, he is offered the sacrament before the bishop.  This is the opposite of what Jesus taught when he washed the feet of his disciples and taught his apostles to serve others and put themselves last, not first or above those they serve.

The leadership has been sharply criticized for years for this practice.  The only explanation they give is that it is tradition; yet in their own teaching they say that the traditions of the fathers are evil and should not be carried forward to the new generations. They do not practice what they preach.  Why should they? They have all the power and privilege and not any motivation to give it up.

I used to believe that I, and people like me could affect change from within. I finally decided that as long as the leaders are pulling in 8 billion a year in tithing, there is no motivation for them to make significant changes.  Leaving and pulling tithing money out may be the only motivation for them to change their pharisaic ways.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Not Good for Women

When I left the Mormon church several years ago, I didn't give much explanation to my family and friends. I still do not  desire to have my life be open for debate for others, but I am willing to help others in the Mormon church and out of the church understand why I left.

One of the things I said is that the church is not a good place for women.  One thing I have not told many people is that I was raped as a teenager. I was raped by an active LDS teenage boy. I reported this to my bishop. As was standard practice 25 years ago, my bishop held me responsible for the actions of the young man. I was dis fellowshipped.

I only realize now, many years later and talking with other rape victims, that it was not my fault, I did not do anything wrong, I did resist and tell him to stop, and that was all that was required of me at the time. The Mormon church taught at the time that I was supposed to give up my life rather than allow the rape to continue and because I continue to live, I am partly responsible for his actions.

The Mormon church is Not Good for Women.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Every Mormon knows this story, it is drilled into our heads in Sunday School from our youth:

      A teenager is disrupting his church Sunday school class. The teacher tells him to leave and never come back. The boy does leave and never comes back. He goes on to get married, have 5 children, 15 grandchildren and so on. The moral of the story is that because of the actions of this one Sunday school teacher, generations are condemned to hell, since the only way to heaven is through the Mormon church. 

As I contemplated leaving the church, according to what I had been taught, the weight of my actions weighed very heavy on me because I knew that not only my salvation was in jeopardy, but also future generations since salvation comes only through the Mormon church and not through any other church. Salvation, according to Mormonism, does not come through Christ, per se, but through the Mormon church.

 When I was contemplating leaving the Mormon church, I knew in the eyes of the church, I was being held accountable for my children’s salvation since they were also on their way out (not due to my influence on them, but because they hated the social structure of the church. Their story is their own, however, and not for me to tell). 

The mental games the church plays with the members to keep them in line are tremendous; from an early age, they use fear to keep the membership in line. If I were born a Baptist and chose to become a Methodist, the change would have been a simple one. I would not have been taught my eternal salvation was in jeopardy to make the change. The church does not recognize salvation from any other Christian church.

Salvation is free, unless you are born a Mormon, then it comes at a tremendous cost.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


There is a wave of people leaving the Mormon church. It is being noticed by the bishops, stake presidents and the higher ups. People like me are leaving. The new mormon ads that are hitting the air waves are only one sign of how the church is trying to counter its image, both inside and outside its ranks. It tries to force all its members to fit square pegs, like myself, into round holes.

It tries to tell those who stay and those who leave that those of us who have left did so because there is something wrong with us, not something wrong with the church. If only we would have conformed. If only we would have stopped questioning why Joseph Smith had sex with 14 year old girls behind his wife's back, in secret; why he married other men's wives after he sent these men away to England on missions. If only we would stop questioning why Brigham Young believed Quaker's lived on the moon and that blacks were inferior to whites and would never be worthy of receiving the priesthood in the Mormon church until after the Millennium, or that Adam was God. If only we would stop questioning why Gordon B. Hinkley lied when he told Larry King, '"I don't think we teach that."

If only we would become cafeteria mormons and just learn to pick and choose what we believed and ignore the rest. After all, the mormon church does a lot of good, right? It recently announced that it has given 1 billion dollars to humanitarian efforts in the last 25 years. Thats a lot of money! Yeah for the church! But wait, what isn't the church telling us? Lets look at those numbers:

* 1 billion in 25 years, breaks down into
*500 million in 12.5 years, or
*.5 million in 1.56 years, or
 *roughly, every year and a half, they've given 62.5 million dollars

*they have 13 MILLION members on their books, so, 62.5 million dollars DIVIDED BY 13 million members: This comes out to $4.77 per member per year and a hallf!  Let’s be generous and round it up to $5 per member per year!

This is what the Mormon church brags about. What it doesn't brag about is that it is spending $3.3 billion on a mall in downtown SLC. They have spent 3 times as much on a mall than on humanitarian efforts. Yeah for the corporation/church!

 What these new fangled ads aren't telling are the stories of people who are leaving the mormon church. People like him:

And him:

People like me.

Group conformity:

Friday, August 13, 2010

High Moral Ground

This is what I learned from my exit out of Mormonism. I wish I had said it myself but it is a quote from someone else:

1) The concept of the "One True Church" is extremely damaging from a psychological perspective.  A person who does everything exactly according to what the "One true church" teaches then has the capacity to take the "high moral ground."  In owning the high moral ground, it is impossible to come to a workable compromise because there is no acceptable compromise in that person's eyes.

2) Judgment and condemnation help no one.  It creates strife, stress, anxiety, fear, and depression.  Acceptance and love help people far more because most people try to become more like the people they admire. (excluding sociopaths.) --Max

As I have attempted to make certain situations win-win's, then failed at that; then attempted to make those situations compromises, then failed at that; this is the lesson that I have learned. That there are some people who think they are so morally superior to others that they will not listen to others, they will not compromise to others, they truly think they are above learning from others and compromising with others.

What they fail to learn is that their High Moral Ground that they stand on is a very lonely place and they are not even sharing their lonely position with god.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Perfection and Secrecy

I became good at keeping one secret. For the 20 years that I was married I kept it a secret that the marriage was unhappy and miserable. We went through at least 6 separations without even our children knowing about all but the last 2 of them. It wasn't until the last separation and the divorce was imminent that my extended family found out.

It was a huge surprise and shock to them because they didn't even know there were problems, let alone years of problems.  When friends found out I was divorced they were shocked as well since they were my neighbors and friends for years and I hadn't even given hints that something was off.

Why is it this way? Because the Mormon church has a belief system that we are to put on a persona of perfection. Nobody is perfect, but we better look perfect. Have you ever visited a Mormon church service? It looks very different than other Christian church services. Everyone is dressed to the 'T'. The girls and women are in dresses and have their hair done like they are going to high tea with the queen of England. the boys wear white shirts and suits. No pants for the girls and certainly no jeans or casual shirts for the boys and no evil flip flops.

 The Mormon's compete with other Mormon's with how their yards look, how their homes look, with how good their kids are.  If something bad happens, they are told it is because they did something bad to deserve it; if something good happens, they are told they did something good to deserve it (on fast Sundays during fast and testimony meeting, its interesting to listen to the wealthy people talk about how they are rich because they are righteous). They are always told they brought it on themselves. It is too much, too hard, too everything to try and be perfect. In Christian churches you are saved by Christ's love and sacrifice.  In the Mormon church, you are saved by all that you do: attending church (in the right attire), making bread, doing your church calling, paying tithing, attending the temple, being a good parent and having a good marriage. If you are failing at any one of these things, then at least look like you are being successful by keeping the truth a secret.

I have accepted that I am not perfect and never will be. Life just happens. I do not bring all bad things on myself by what I do and I do not bring all good things on myself by what I do-this is just life. Living an authentic life is a peaceful life.


The Mormon church encourages the loosening of boundaries. Home teachers ask personal questions that are none of their business, visiting teachers ask questions that are none of their business. Temple questions ask if you are having sex with someone, if you are paying a full 10% tithe, if you are keeping the word of wisdom. These are all things that in Protestant religions are only between an individual and their god; not between an individual, their bishop, their HT, their VT, the relief society president and the entire ward  council.

When my marriage was obviously falling apart, I kept it completely to myself, I just couldn't share any details with anyone; I didn't know how; I didn't know what to share; I didn't know what went wrong other than I was deeply unhappy and frustrated and had been for the entire marriage. The husband, however, did share. He went to the bishop. The bishop shared with the RS president. She showed up at my door-unannounced and uninvited, demanding to know what I had done wrong to ruin my marriage. I did not know her and I had no intention of sharing with this woman who would then share with the bishop and then share with god knows who else and the husband who I could not trust. I sent her away with no information. She was angry with me. She said I was responsible for the break-up of my marriage (what did she know?). I received a call from the bishop telling me it was my duty to verbally throw-up on her (my words). I told him they were social voyeurs and no way in hell was I going to share personal and intimate details with people I didn't know and trust and I didn't owe them anything.

Later, during my last separation, I had a VT repeatedly come into my house and snoop.  She would go through the cupboards in my bathroom (I could hear the cupboard doors banging-she wasn't even quiet about it). Then when she would leave the bathroom she would then go through my kitchen cupboards while I watched; she would just open them up and go through them. On later visits, she would bend over and look under my couch-what she thought she would find, I don't know-- I had a few dust bunnies; by this time, I had had enough and told her to leave. I eventually confronted her and accused her snooping for the estranged husband and/or bishop and told her to never come back.

 By the time I was divorced, I no longer attended the Mormon church but one of my children attended the weekly activities and I continued to allow the HTers to come by for awhile. I had a HT tell me I was neglecting my children's spiritual well being because I was not taking them to the Mormon church (I take them to another Christian church, but that is not good enough in their eyes) and I had another HT tell my that because I have only girls I must have an emotional household. These are all things that are none of anybodies business, but Mormon people make it their business and they pass judgement and criticize.  The result is that you never feel good enough or loved, you feel in a no-win situation no matter what.

At one point, I was financially struggling. The Mormon church offered to help. In other Christian churches, they just help anyone who just asks for help; not in the Mormon church. I had to take in a copy of all my finances, the bishop went over every item and I had to justify each and every expense as being necessary. Then the RS Pres.  came to my house and went through my kitchen cupboards and snooped (why? I'm not sure, I think to make sure the food they gave me was what I needed) she made a list of the things I needed and I was then only given the things necessary and not anything more. I was then only allowed a two weeks supply and to get more food, I had to go through the same qualifying process again.

Then there are the Bishops interviews. Gotta love those. A woman sits in a room alone with a middle-aged man, he then asks very personal questions that makes you feel very uncomfortable. When I was a teen, I didn't even know the definition of what I was being asked; what was fornication, petting, heavy petting, necking, and why did I have to answer these embarrassing questions to this man? Even after I was married, I was asked if I was indulging in porn.

 My 14 year old daughter was asked if she was having anal sex (The boys are asked if they masturbate). When she told me this, I finally put a stop to this and wrote a letter to the current bishop stating that he would not have any personal interviews with my daughters without me present. If a school teacher or principal asked a student these questions, they would be sued and/or fired; so how the Mormon church is continuing to get away with this, what I consider a form of sexual abuse, is beyond me.

In the Mormon church, it is acceptable to have these boundaries crossed. In real life this is not acceptable. I like living in real life.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Why does the Mormon church allow Indulgences?

One of the things that drove me out of the Mormon church is that there are 9 questions the Mormon bishops and stake presidents ask people in order to be allowed to attend the temple. In their belief system, a person must pass through the temple in order to make it into heaven, so answering those questions is tantamount to getting into heaven. Here are a few of those questions:
1. They must have sex only with their spouse.
2. They must sustain all the leaders in the Mormon church.
3. They must be current on their child support.
4. They must pay 10 percent of their income to the Mormon church (not to another charity or good cause).
5. They are not allowed to drink coffee, tea, alcohol or smoke.

My ex husband was 3 years behind in a portion of his child support but current on his tithing, so his bishop gave him a temple recommend. This is common practice in the Mormon church. As long as the tithing is being paid, many of the other 'sins' are overlooked.

I taught Sunday School for a long time in the Mormon Church. I was also an avid amateur learner/studier of other religions. As I read about other churches, one thing that struck me was how similar the Mormon church was to the Catholic Church in many ways. One of these ways was in indulgences in the medieval Catholic church and tithing in the modern Mormon Church; "Abuses in selling and granting indulgences[3] were a major point of contention when Martin Luther initiated the Protestant Reformation (1517)". (Wikipedia reference). The Mormon Church allows men to go through the Mormon temple even though they are not current on child support, or when they have child abuse charges against them, or when they have charges of adultery against them; as long as they are paying tithing. As I studied the true Mormon history, I discovered this link between the Mormon church and the Catholic church (this link comes through an organization known as the Campbellites):

There are smarter people than I who have done even more research into this link as well:

This is long, about an hour and 9 videos, but worth the time for those who want to know the truth, the real truth about the early beginnings of the Mormon church and how it really began.

I cannot belong to an organization that allows a person to buy their way into heaven.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


I sit on the couch, surrounded by 4 men; the estranged husband and 3 church leaders. I thought that one of these men were on my side. Was I wrong. I had been struggling with what to believe about the Mormon Church.; I was having a crisis of faith. I had found out things. Terrible things and am struggling because of what I have learned. I had bishops admit to me that they do not make church callings based on being directed by the Holy Ghost as they tell everyone they do; but in fact what is easy, practical, logical, popular. I had told the estranged husband I wanted to attend some other Christian church. He told me he wouldn't follow me there. I had already decided that the Mormon Church could not be true but was keeping these thoughts to myself. I was not attending church. I was not raising my hand and sustaining these church men as my leaders. I had not renewed my temple recommend. I find out later that these men sitting in my house are not here to help me and support me through my crisis of faith, but to apply pressure. I found out later that the estranged husband has been in private communication with these men, turning them against me. Something he would continue to do with future bishops.

The one with the most power, the one who I thought was on my side, speaks. He tells me that I must submit to the husband and the bishop. I am shocked. He had previously told me that he was in my corner. I feel humiliated and horrified. I have been feeling lost and completely alone and have felt I have nowhere to turn and now the one man I thought would support me has turned on me. I tell him "No." I stand up and walk out. I am shattered. My sister once said that what others perceived as a breakdown was in fact a breakthrough. That is what this moment was for me. I got in my car and drove. I didn't know what I was going to do. My marriage was in a shambles. I didn't know where my faith was going to go from this point. I didn't have anyone to turn to; I felt I had no path to walk, I felt lost and all alone. This was the loneliest and lowest point in my life. In that car ride; I began to forge a new path. I turn around and drive back home.

Nobody likes to be forced into a corner with no options but to submit to another person's will. These men think they can use fear to get me to do what they want when love and acceptance would be the wiser choice. I decide from that moment on that I would not submit to fear; fear of losing my eternal reward (what god would have us follow him based on fear?); fear of losing my family; fear of losing everything unless I submitted to fallible men?

The definition of submit is:
 –verb (used with object)
1. to give over or yield to the power or authority of another.
2. to subject to some kind of treatment or influence.
3. to present for the approval, consideration, or decision of another or others: to submit a  plan; to submit anapplication.
4. to state or urge with deference; suggest or propose (usuallyfol. by a clause): I submit  that full proof should be required.

Why is a man’s opinion, power or authority of any more value than mine? A man is as fallible as I am. Does being male make him more intelligent, his opinion, his power any better than mine?  I cannot understand submitting to another man who is as fallible as I am, who is as easily prone to mistakes as I am.  I cannot understand submitting to someone who is prone to controlling and manipulating.  We can teach each other and learn from each other, but we should not be required to submit to another.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Measurement of a Relationship

Why does society measure the success or failure of a relationship by the longevity of that relationship rather than by the quality of that relationship?
Many relationships will eventually fail but there were many years of fun and happiness. Why would that relationship be judged by the fact that it ended rather than how great it was while it lasted?
My marriage, on the other hand, was a failure while it lasted and that it ended. It therefore doesn’t matter that lasted for 20 years.


Accepting where one is in life is often very difficult. When a person has gone through years of rejection or pain or suffering or loss; then often some resolution happens.

Either the person accepts the place they are at, they make choices to change where they are going, or circumstances change to ease the pain. This, however, does not necessarily mean that the person moves on from the pain.

People sometimes choose to wallow in their suffering for years to come. They have to tell others about the great pain they have been through as if this makes them better than others (note to self, all people suffer, one person's pain does not elevate you above another person). Or perhaps they have to make themselves a martyr/victim by not accepting responsibility for any actions that might have took them to that place of pain or prolong the pain. Or they may stay in that place, deluding themselves that the pain is still there, or they have to continue to make themselves suffer and they don't deserve happiness or peace and the suffering is necessary for some imagined punishment for a crime they have never paid the price for. They may also lash out at others who they perceive as causing them their pain or sorrow and cause years of abuse onto them through what would be described as stalking, abuse, threats, harassment, or even filing frivolous lawsuits to make them 'pay'.

I once heard a woman evangelist talk about this moving on from pain as she was quoting the Biblical scripture, "though you pass through the valley of death, you will fear no evil..."  her remark was that you walk through the valley of death (or pain, sorrow and loss) you do not pull up a chair and stay a while. That really hit a chord with me. I have used that to remind myself to get past the pain that comes into my life. To remember that what I am suffering at that moment is temporary. I remind myself that my actions can prolong my suffering or shorten it.

 Peace is my choice.