Thursday, December 4, 2014

Not all that wander are lost...

Not all that wonder are lost...Here are some YouTube videos that have helped me along my wanderings:

I left the Mormon church, not because I had discovered the Mormon church had lied to me about its history (the main reason most current members are leaving) but because I could not trust priesthood authority over my own thoughts, feelings, intuition, or spirituality.  Too many times the priesthood authority said was right contradicted my own moral compass and in the end, I chose to follow my own moral compass.  When I first left, I thought I would one day return, however, after watching this video, I knew I could never return:




This one asks how could it be possible to carry the gold plates when they would have weighed about 200 pounds:



I knew about the DNA and the Book of Mormon, so it was a pleasant surprise to find information about it on YouTube:


Hitchens is great and so are his videos about the origins of the beginning of the Mormon church:


I think it is natural that once a person questions their own dogma, to also question all dogma:

I can't get this one to embed, but it's still worth the watch:     What if?



I have tried on many occasions to try and talk to my Mormon family about my wanderings and about my research but they feel personally attacked and get defensive. Why do they take my criticism of their religion as a personal attack on them? Because of this:


So, this is a long video but well worth it. In fact, all the Ex-Mormon conference videos are well worth the time:


One of the things Mormons have misunderstood the most about their own church is the misappropriations of funds. Billions of funds spent on City Creek mall, for example:




For laughs, some of my favorite channels:
1. Mormon Ambassador:

2. Flackerman:
3. Mr. Deity:


4. Newnamenoah:




Sunday, November 23, 2014

Agency and Morality

I wonder and I wonder at the concept of agency...

What does it mean to choose? Are we free to choose or are we punished if we make a choice that is counter to the *right* choice?  According to the Mormon church, there is ONLY one choice, to do what they tell you:

"When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done. When they propose a plan--it is God's Plan. When they point the way, there is no other which is safe. When they give directions, it should mark the end of controversy, God works in no other way. To think otherwise, without immediate repentance, may cost one his faith, may destroy his testimony, and leave him a stranger to the kingdom of God."
Ward Teachers Message, Deseret News, Church Section p. 5, May 26, 1945
Also included in the Improvement Era, June 1945 (which was the official church magazine before the Ensign)


"Always keep your eye on the President of the church, and if he ever tells you to do anything, even if it is wrong, and you do it, the lord will bless you for it but you don't need to worry. The lord will never let his mouthpiece lead the people astray."
LDS President Marion G. Romney (of the first presidency), quoting LDS President (and prophet) Heber J. Grant "Conference Report" Oct. 1960 p. 78

"When the Prophet speaks the debate is over".
N. Eldon Tanner, August Ensign 1979, pages 2-3

"Follow your leaders who have been duly ordained and have been publicly sustained, and you will not be led astray."
Boyd K. Packer (General Conference, Oct. 1992; Ensign, Nov. 1992)


Yes, from the times of Brigham Young: "The Lord Almighty leads this Church, and he will never suffer you to be led astray if you are found doing your duty. You may go home and sleep as sweetly as a babe in its mother's arms, as to any danger of your leaders leading you astray, for if they should try to do so the Lord would quickly sweep them from the earth."
Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 9, p. 289, 1862.

To today, the leaders of the Mormon church have claimed that they speak for god  and will not lead us astray. There have been recent developments that have led many people to have a crisis of faith and to attempt to stem this, the leaders are once again telling the people to not trust in their own moral compass, but to trust in the leaders of the church. In the most recent Ensign article, the  LDS leaders want you to trust them even when they have lied to you 

I left the Mormon church BEFORE I knew that Joseph Smith took other men's wives from them (the church calls this polyandry, but since polygamy and all its various forms was illegal at the time, then these marriages were illegal so he was in fact just engaging in adultery. He also lied to Emma, his only legal wife. He also used manipulation to gain access to girls as young as 14 years old.  Link to LDS acknowledgments

I left because it isn't right to discriminate against people because their skin color is different than my own.
I left because it isn't right to discriminate against people because their sexuality is different than my own.
I left because it isn't right to discriminate against people because their gender is different than yours.
I left because it isn't right to pursue the impossible idea of perfection at the cost of being your best. I left because my moral compass compelled me to leave.


Why did I leave the Mormon church? I left because I could not trust priesthood authority over my own thoughts/feelings/intuition/spirituality.



Too many times the priesthood authority said what was right contradicted my moral compass and in the end, I must follow my own moral compass.





Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Power of Cognitive Dissonance

Can you ever imagine yourself defending something you despise? 
Would you defend adultery? 
Would you defend using manipulation to take another man's wife?
Would you defend coercion to get teenage girls to marry you?
Would you defend lying to your wife in order to take new wives?

I have been astonished for the last few weeks as the new Mormon church articles have come out on polygamy and I have watched good Mormons who are usually moral people defend these types of actions in Joseph Smith.

When I was a believing Mormon, my believing Mormon friends and I would have many discussions on polygamy and I remember those discussions well. We didn't like it, we were offended by it. We hated D&C 132 that stated we would all live it in the Celestial Kingdom. Of all the things taught in the Mormon church, it was this doctrine that disturbed us the most. We despised the doctrine of polygamy.

Now, the Mormons who are defending it are coming out of the wood work. They not only defend it, but defend it in gory details none of us knew about growing up, such as taking teenage brides, lying to Emma and taking wives behind her back, and marrying women who were married to other men at the time. Joseph would also use strong arm tactics and manipulation to gain access to these women. Since this has all been verified through LDS.org and I love this article, I will only link to the sources as there is no reason to repeat it all again here.

None of  this is moral or can be justified, either by today's standards or standards from 200 years ago or 1,000 years ago. This is why; if God is in charge of his church and god is the same yesterday, today and forever, and these things are immoral today, then they were also immoral 150 years ago. If God would not tolerate Warren Jeffs taking child brides today, then he would not tolerate Joseph Smith doing it, nor would he tolerate Muhammad taking a nine year old bride in 600.  Immoral is immoral, no matter what generation.

So, my question is this...what leads good people to defend immoral behavior? Could it be cognitive dissonance?  

Cognitive dissonance is being in a mental state of having conflicting beliefs, behaviors or attitudes.When confronted with information that conflicts with their current state, they seeks to balance it. The more extreme the conflict is, the more the discomfort and people desire a state of equilibrium and will work to achieve this state, so they must change their beliefs, values, behavior or reject the new information.

With the acknowledgement that Joseph Smith practiced polygamy and in such an immoral way has come out, it has put Mormons in a state of cognitive dissonance. They must now find a way to rectify that. How can the church, the Book of Mormon and the prophet they have been told all their lives be god's true church, while also being immoral?  The only way they can rectify these two opposing states of mind is to embrace polygamy where they never did before. To reject polygamy is to reject their esteemed prophet and ultimately the church and everything they have come to believe is true.
It is a crisis of faith they did not expect and are not ready for.
I say if they are going to defend polygamy with such force, they need to embrace it fully and live the principle once again...let go of the cognitive dissonance once and for all and just live it!



"What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing adultery, and having seven wives, when I can only find one. I am the same man, and as innocent as I was fourteen years ago [when charged with polygamy shortly after his marriage to Emma Hale]; and I can prove them all perjurers. (LDS History of the Church 6:410–411)"
Joseph Smith, perjuring himself 1844

If you are a believing Mormon or a former Mormon, how many details of polygamy did you know about as a Mormon? Take this quiz and find out:






Saturday, November 1, 2014

How to Avoid DV

I am a survivor-- I have survived abuse from my childhood, marriage and the strangulation of a short term relationship. The number one question people ask is why women like me go back to the abuser. I had learned by the third man to walk away, but in my 20 year marriage, I separated from him seven times; yes, seven times before I learned to walk away for good. Instead of looking at this from the woman's point of view, I want to look at it from the man's point of view....how do they get the women to stay.

How do abusive men get the women to come back to them time and again when the women suffer such abuse?

From the time we are infants, we are programmed to attach to our caregivers...our very survival depends on it. Our food, shelter and even love are dependent on our caregivers providing that for us.

Abusers are able to capitalize on this basic survival need all humans have, to bond with those who provide for our every need, our shelter, our emotional needs, our physical needs, even our very lives. They slowly take away the ability for the person to independently take care of themselves or to think they can get their needs met through family or friends.

There are four elements or conditions the abuser must control in order to make his victim his domain:
1.  A perceived threat to the victim's existence, and the victim believes the the perpetrator will carry out the threats

2. The perpetrator gives small acts of kindness to the victim...these acts of kindness may be in the form of jewelry (known as apology jewelry) telling the victim they will not hit them tonight even though dinner is burned, or taking out to dinner for a rare night out on the town.  These acts of kindness are given in the context of terror (the victim knows the perpetrator may turn on them at any moment.)

3.  The perpetrator isolates the victim. This happens over time and by several means...the victim knows that if family or friends are part of their life, their lives are also in danger; that by telling family what is going on, the victim's life is in peril, and the victim comes to believe the perpetrator has complete control over life and death.

4.  The perpetrator is able to make the victim believe they do not have the capacity to escape.

When asked victims of abuse, 'Why did you stay so long?' Most will say something like, 'I know it doesn't make sense, I just loved him.'  Yet, it is in the perpetrator's behavior that we find the answer.  The perpetrator sets up the victim through a series of constant threats followed by acts of kindness. The perpetrator will then cycle through the threats (followed by actual violence or emotional abuse) then followed by more acts of kindness.

The victim goes through cycles of having their self-esteem shredded followed by feeling loved.  This causes an imbalance of power called Trauma Bonding. This causes a hostile environment emotionally, physically and mentally, or a constant state of survival mode known as cognitive dissonance is set up to help the victim to survive.

When a person is in a trauma situation they have three options, fight, flight or freeze. The victims in these situations have learned to freeze out of fear. Fear is the number one weapon of the perpetrators.  When we are faced with fear, we often regress and the perpetrator uses this regression to his advantage and the victim is often seen as infantile, she takes her perpetrator back, and is immobilized to inaction, and becomes powerless. The perpetrator is then in the position of parent and the victim in the role of child.

It is important to know the patterns of perpetrators, so that women can recognize them early on and escape and family and friends can better understand why it is so difficult for victims to escape.




Narcissist and Stockholm syndrome


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Don't Believe Everything you Hear About Apostates

Don't Believe Everything
 you hear about
 Apostates

Don't believe everything you hear about apostates, odds are, it probably isn't true.

When my boyfriend and I were dating, we did the dorkiest things, we would go to the Deseret Book store and look at the apologist books. After awhile, we noticed that all of them seemed to have a common theme, they seemed to be plagued with anti-apostate  literature. The workers didn't have a response, and I wondered, 'if they were comfortable with their doctrines, wouldn't they just leave us alone? Maybe they should follow the counsel of  the 5th Chapter of Acts., Gamaliel told the Jews that were preoccupied with proving them wrong to “let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.” (Acts 5:41)

The things I found in those books weren't fair and they definitely weren't accurate.  They took things out of context and misquoted things from us apostates.  

So here's the thing... a bunch of good hearted people go to the Mormon bookstores or innocently attend the Mormon church and BOOM!  They hit them with a bunch of stuff that makes us apostates look like a bunch of freaks.  Remember, just because a guy publishes a blog doesn't make him an expert on Apostates!  Remember, he's bashing people who have sincerely researched and studied out and come to a thoughtful conclusion that should be respected. He's too busy with the rigor of his self absorption to realize he is tearing down the apostates for their beliefs. 

Even if you never join the apostates, just don't believe everything you hear about them. Keep an open mind,  and find out for yourself.  Invite one over for dinner and ask them why they believe what they believe.  It won't hurt you to ask them, they aren't contagious after all.  Even if you decide to not become an apostate, it won't hurt you to be friends with them, there's no need to declare a theological war on them.  Even Christ said in Luke 9:50 that “he that is not against us is for us.” No apostate is against you, and if they don't want to be your friend, they shouldn't be an apostate.

So let's flip this around, if you're already an apostate, you shouldn't just believe what others tell you, you should study it out, find out for yourself...read lots of information,  in fact a good place to get both sides of the story is here;  http://mormonthink

You shouldn't become an apostate just because it's a cool thing to do or because Amy Adams  or Aaron Eckhart are famous exmormons.  Don't just believe in being an apostate because your Mom and Dad says you should, yes, these are great reasons, but you need to study it out in your mind when you get a stupid of thought that means you have stumbled into apologetics and you need to leave as quickly as you can.

You are not an apostate just because 
you like Amy Adam's tits

Do you remember when Carl Sagan made one of the most incredible statements in human history? "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."  Remember that Carl Sagan is telling us that the only way to get to truth is through studying and seeking knowledge.

So, if you're not an apostate, don't believe what you are told about apostates.  People err because they blindly follow without studying it out for themselves. 


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Mormon God, where are you?

Today, the Mormon church pulled its missionaries out of Africa, afraid its missionaries are going to get Ebola.

Shouldn't the Mormon church be leaving its missionaries IN Africa to place a healing blessing on all those victims with Ebola?

I thought the priesthood healed sickness? Where are all those healing blessings? Isn't this a time for the Mormon church to show its true colors? Isn't this a time to show the world the great powers of the priesthood? Isn't this the time to heal the world?

Maybe the church is showing us their true colors by running away?


Saturday, August 2, 2014

12 Reasons Religion Belongs at Church

I get links to articles all the time that show fallacies and I just ignore them, but sometimes, the articles are so bad and they must be answered. This article is one of them:  10 Reasons why religion should be in schools

FIRST:
For any U.S Citizen who understands the constitution they should immediately have bells going off in their head when they read that headline because they should know and understand the Constitution which reads:

Amendment Text 
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

"The First Amendment also includes the right to freely express one’s religion. It does so by guaranteeing every person the right to express any religious belief, or none at all, while at the same time prohibiting the government from favoring any particular religion over another. The government cannot dictate how we should act or what we should believe, especially when it comes to religion" (highlighting is my own addition). freedom of religion

The purpose of the First Amendment is to protect religious freedom, so that one religion is not forced upon the people, it protects the freedom of all people to practice their religion of choice, so when this article assumes that ONLY Christianity will be taught in schools, this is illegal, as it would force one belief system onto all the American citizens, thus invalidating the U.S. constitution.

SECOND:
A set of bells continues to go off, that there is an assumption that there is only one religion in America, that of Christianity, and that Americans are united in what Christianity is! For example, the Catholic church alone is composed of 23 different church branches alone.

How about the Protestants? Well, you have the Lutherans, the Pietisms who branched off the Lutherans; then there are the Anglicanisms, and the Puritan branch and the Methodist branch or the Congregationalists: From the Continental Reformed Church, there are branches named Presbyterians, Calvinism, Baptists; then there were the Ana Baptists  (but they died out because they didn't believe in sexual intercourse), Pentecosts, Holiness Movement, and Adventist Movement.  American Christian Denominations

Of course there are the Scientology, Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons.  So, which one? Which type of Christianity would be taught? All of them? How about other religions? There are over 310 religions in the USA alone.  Here is a list of them:  310 Religions in USA

THIRD:
"It improves brain development".  He makes a non-sequitur fallacy in his first point: Herb Scribner points to a recent study that found that children raised to believe that fictional tales are real have a more difficult time telling the difference between reality and fantasy, and I quote from him, 'Believing in fiction and having a creative mind can be beneficial in brain development.'  fantasy 
Yes, I completely agree with this, but what does this have to do with teaching religion in the schools? There is no connection between being creative and teaching religion.

He goes on to point to an article on pretend play.  A non sequitur fallacy is one that does not follow logic, and that is what Herb does here. Children know the difference between fantasy and reality in pretend play. In the article he links to in pretend play, at no point do the children think they are really firefighters and try to really put out real fires. At no point do the children really try to cook on real stoves with real food. At no point do the children do the children try to drive real cars. They understand they are pretending...that is the point of their play! This is why it is called pretend play.

Pretend play improved brain development, religion doesn't, according to the articles he sites.

FOURTH
"It keeps kids out of trouble." Herb sites a study that shows a correlation between people in their 20's who live 7 years longer if they attend a religious organization than those who do not. The problem with this study, however, is it shows a correlation and not a causation, and as anybody who knows about research, there is a big difference between the two.

Correlation is not causation, as anyone in research will tell you. Here are a few examples of things that are correlated but there is no causation:

The more films Nicolas Cage appears in, the fewer people who die in helicopter accidents: correlation



Or how about this one, The More money the U.S spends on Science and technology, the more deaths there are by suicide:



FIFTH:
 "Religious schools do better than public schools." Again he makes a non sequitur fallacy and makes the leap that it must be religion that is making the difference and just because religious schools are faring better, THEN we must teach religion in public schools. He sites this study to back up his claim: Religious schools So lets look at this study and look at WHY religious schools may fare better than public schools:

1. Parental involvement. I agree. In any school, public or private where parents have a higher rate of involvement, students are going to have a higher rate of success. But what does that have to do with teaching religion in public schools? Again a fallacy, teaching religion in schools has nothing to do with parental involvement and has nothing to do with getting parents to get involved with their children's education.

2. Private, religious schools get to 'choose' their student body and it is expensive, therefore the students are socio-economically-racially not diverse. Again, what does this have to do with teaching religion in public schools, who take every student and teaching religion is NOT a factor in the success of these students.


3. There was a behavioral difference between the students in the private sector and the public sector. The private sector students tended to be more respectful to the teachers, less likely to express opinions. The public sector teachers were more likely to allow expression of opinions, the class sizes tended to be larger, and teachers tended to move on to a different subject before the subject had been mastered.  Again, all things that have nothing to do with teaching religion.


SIXTH:

"It helps kids learn more about themselves" The article he sites states that children are often too self interested. 

I agree that children need to be taught humility, openness, a sense of spirituality, self-discipline, self love, a sense of community. However, I disagree that there is only one way to teach this. I think there are many ways to teach these concepts and teaching religion in schools in not one of them. PTA, Kiwanis, community centers, are just a few of them, and yes, even churches teach these.


"It helps students learn more about themselves". The opening abstract of the article he quotes states: 
Currently, religious education at primary schools in Western Europe has evolved into a subject that seeks to support students to develop their religious identity. Religious Identity
In other words, the primary purpose of this study is to teach a religious identity, not a core identity. Religions have Sunday services to do this, this is not the purpose of schools.


SEVENTH:

"It helps Americans read more."
We are talking about children in schools, right? Then why is Herb quoting data about adults? The article he quotes from is taking data that states 41% of adults had not read a book....it is not taking data about children. So how does putting bibles in schools going to increase the reading habits of adults? Again, he makes a non sequitur fallacy.


EIGHTH:

"It helps kids develop psychologically."  Once again, Herb makes another Non Sequitur fallacy, that kids need to believe in something greater than themselves in order to excel, therefore the only way to do that is through teaching religion in schools. He then goes on to link an article that talks about the entitlement trap and the ONLY way to avoid allowing our children to fall into it is to not neglect our children's spiritual development.

NINTH:
"Religious majors are more likely to be unemployed".  Again, his line of reasoning is flawed. First, children go to school to get an education in core classes and not to choose a major. They choose a major most of the time in their twenties. Second, if we start to teach to children according to what jobs are available, we will flood those job markets and actually increase the unemployment rate in those areas. We can't all be ministers, now, can we? Who would we preach to?

Also, there are many jobs that have a lower unemployment rate than religious areas...telemarketing for example has a 0% unemployment rate...should we teach telemarketing skills to all our kids in public schools? By Herbs reasoning, we should.


TENTH:
"It can further your education". The premise of this article has no basis in fact, there is no data to back this up, however, studying knowledge of all kinds opens the mind, and for college students, taking a college course that studies all religions, I do agree with this article on this topic: " Students who concentrate in Religious Studies gain skills in reading analytically, thinking critically, and writing fluently. Because classes are often smaller than in other disciplines"   Taking college religion classes

ELEVENTH:
"It helps American business". Once again, he makes a non sequitur fallacy. The happier employers are, the better business does, and what makes employers happy? Religion, and of course, Christian religion. The problem is, both Herb AND the Washington Post make one of the biggest mistakes made when they look at research...they come to conclusions the research doesn't come to in the original data.

The research the Washington Post and Herb quote states that what makes people happy is a 'sense of meaning' and 'a sense of well being and comfort'  Both The Washington Post and Herb conclude that religion gives us both of those things, therefore religion is the meaning of happiness. What they fail to realize  is that many things in life can give us a sense of meaning and well being and comfort in life and it can be different for different people. It may be religion for some people, but it may not for others. It may be serving in the Kiwanis for some, it may be relaxing at home for others, it may be vacationing with family for some. You see, seeking happiness is so vast and different, it cannot possibly be the same for every person.

Allowing people the freedom to seek their own path is what is best for business.

TWELFTH:
"It can knock down depression". There is a link to having social connections and lowering depression. However, there are many studies that show religion increases depression:  religious people more depressed

The state of Utah, which has the highest rate of church attendance, also has the highest rate of anti-depressant use:  Utah leads nation in anti-depressants

There are many ways to get social needs met, and kids in school get lots of social time at recess, so again it is a fallacy to assume teaching religion in schools will increase social connections.

Kids are often exposed to girls scouts, boy scouts, karate, gymnastics, and many other classes where they have the opportunity to connect socially.

Teaching religion in schools is just illegal. I hope we keep religion where it belongs, in churches.


seeks to support students to develop their religious identity.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Works vs. Morals

I had a Mormon take me on, on my Facebook page. It was the typical tripe I've become used to from Mormons....all problems can be solved by praying, paying tithing, attending the temple. If a person does these things, God will bless them, if a person fails to do these things, God will instill horrible consequences and in my case, I had a case of writers block...

You heard me...God was giving me a case of writer's block because I haven't paid tithing or attended the
Mormon church in 10 years. I'm trying to think of something that sounds more ridiculous, but I'm have a hard time.

As the conversation with this Mormon continued, he repeatedly said that he couldn't comprehend people living without Mormon Jesus in their life and how did I even make decisions or find happiness. I repeatedly told him that God didn't make me a moral person, I was born moral.

As I thought about this concept, it occurred to me that many Mormons grow up being so busy doing their works to get into heaven, they have confused works with morality. Morals consists of being honest, kind, loving, caring, having empathy, respecting life and the choices of others.

Works that get a Mormon into heaven include paying tithing, attending church and the temple, serving the church through a church calling, doing home teaching. It occurred to me that all this busy work is considered morality by Mormons. A good Mormon is one who does the busy work, not necessarily the Moral work. Mormons are asked about their busy work in order to get into the temple and therefore heaven, but they are not asked about how moral they are.

The world is full of  people who are moral, yet they do not fill their lives with the busy work of being a Mormon. Since Mormons have defined morality by doing busy work, they do not view the world as moral.

The question remains, how am I a moral person without the Mormon church? Easy, I have time to be kind because I'm not busy preparing a lesson. I have time to serve the local community because I'm not busy with only my church calling. I have time to spend loving time with my family because I'm not busy spending 2 hours in the temple.

I don't need busy work to be Moral.


Friday, July 11, 2014

Happiness, you pesky emotion, you

Happiness
A person can read all day long about happiness, how to get it, how to keep it. Funny thing, when I was Mormon, there were so many lessons that told us the only people in the world who are happy, are Mormons. We were told the way to be happy, is to pay tithing to the Mormon church, attend the Mormon church, pray to the Mormon god and attend the Mormon temple.

The thing is, I did all that...the more I did it, the more unhappy I became. I was so confused. Why was I increasingly unhappy when I was doing everything I was told to do?

The answer is quite simple, so simple in fact I'm a bit embarrassed that I could not see it as a Mormon. You see, happiness is generated internally. You can't be happy while sacrificing your identity, you can't be happy while living a life someone else sets up for you, you can't be happy when you are not living your authentic self.

I was told that god reserves happiness for ONLY Mormons. Why would any god do that? Would he/she really with hold happiness from 99% of the world, only to allow access to it to .1%? Percent of Mormons in world

I was told that you can't be happy and angry at the same time, so what do Mormons do? They stuff their emotions down, they are only allowed to express happiness, even though there are a plethora of emotions that we experience everyday.  I have learned that people actually can vacillate between multiple emotions in a short amount of time.

I have been told that to express passion about any given subject, it is the same as being angry. I have been told to stop being angry when all I am doing is expressing passion for a certain subject.  Passion is not allowed, either.

The word compassion has another word embedded in it, PASSION. To be happy, a person can have compassion, passion and happiness results.  It is a world wide emotion, Mormons; and people the world over encompass it.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The universe does not work the way we were told it does


The Book of Mormon musical probably didn't intend to be rich with meaning, but it was for me.  I’ll try warn about spoil alerts.

There are two young men who are called to Uganda, Africa on their Mormon missions. One is full of himself and ready to change the world through the Mormon gospel.  The other one knows his weaknesses and one of them is he loves to make up stories to fit in.

As they are confronted with a culture and environment that is starkly different than their own, they must face the realization that their naïve background has not prepared them for such realities they are facing in the world.


One of the things they must face is that we all have myths in our culture. Myths can work for us or against us. In the African culture, many of their myths work against them. In America, many of our myths work against us. One of these is a modern myth. The myth of the anti-vaccers. The myth that vaccines cause Autism, therefore it causes more harm to vaccine than it does good. This myth has worked against the herd immunity where those who are vaccinated protect those who cannot get immunized for health reasons.

Many cultures have myths that do good, for example; myths can teach children the danger of strangers, to love over hate, to forgive, etc. Many of these lessons are taught in such stories as Brothers Grimm or nursery rhymes, etc. Societies run into trouble when myth is taken for reality, such as the flood story or talking snakes, or Greek and Roman mythology.

How does taking these myth-stories as literal turn our lives upside down? Because we are told the Universe works one way, but when we begin to live life, it turns out to work another way. We become disillusioned, we lose hope in life.

If we believe them to be myths, we can seek out a different myth that works with our situation to help find an answer, rather than trying to fit our life situation with the myth/belief.

For example, when we are told that if we follow one path and do X, Y, and Z, then A,B and C will inevitably follow. What happens when A,B, and C do NOT follow? Our world is shattered,  We do what we are told but the pieces to not fall into place. The problem isn't with us, its with the myth…we were following the wrong myth.

Take this for example. Let’s say that our life’s plan is to follow Hansel and Gretel.  We go along the path, we eat the house, our brother eats the house, gets put in the oven, but rather than getting saved, he dies! That wasn't in the story! He was supposed to live! What happened? You followed the plot, you did what you were supposed to, but the end didn't turn out right. So you end up with a faith crisis. Nobody told you it wasn't REAL! Nobody told you to switch myths and to switch to the fairy tale about the infertile Queen and snake: Grief and the Snake  and learn from her how to grieve loss.

Myths aren't real, but they are supposed to teach us life lessons. If we take them literally, then we get lost in life.

Some of my favorite myths are Winnie the Pooh. The author wrote them specifically to teach life lessons. We learn of friendship, love, acceptance and that life just doesn't work out the way we expect, but we move on anyway, we love people when they are cranky and depressed and make bad choices.


If the myth isn't fitting your life, change myths, don’t stick with the one that isn't working for you; that is how the Universe works.




Monday, July 7, 2014

I'm now a Lamanite

I’m now a Lamanite. Yep, that’s right.  You see, the Book of Mormon teaches that there are two groups of people, the Nephites and the Lamanites. The Nephites are a righteous people who are white and delightsome. They follow the prophets, they are an industrious people, they till the earth and build cities. Their form of government is like a democracy, where they elect judges to rule over them.

The Lamanites, on the other hand, are dark and evil. They don’t listen to the prophets and therefore they have a dark skin. They tend to flocks and hunt beasts, but they don’t till the earth.  They are loathsome, lazy.  The Lamanites were always held up as a consequence of what would happen to the people who apostatized from the Mormon church.

Many Mormon prophets said that the Native Americans would have their skins turn white and delightsome as they became god’s people.

In the last ten years, Marlin K. Jenson, the church’s historian has said the church is experiencing the largest apostasy since the days of the Kirkland bank collapse. Jenson admitting people are leaving in drovesI am one of those apostates. I have been out of the church for about 10 years. While I am doing fine financially, my skin is not getting any darker over the years, and I have not turned into a lazy beast hunter, I wonder where my curse from god is.

Many of my friends are also apostates. They too have not had a curse of loathsome laziness, of becoming beast hunters, or having their skin darkened. They seem to be financially where they were when they left the church and often better off.  Where is this curse the Book of Mormon speaks of? Certainly 10 years is long enough for god to place his curse on us.

Certainly god is the same yesterday, today and forever. If he is going to curse one generation, he will curse another one.  What does this mean if we aren’t cursed? Could it mean the curse was the musings of man?


Could it mean that? 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The need for Exclusivity

The women in the Mormon church will never be given the opportunity to be ordained to the priesthood. When it really comes down to it, in order for the priesthood to be something special, exclusive, unique; it must be withheld from a group and given to only another.

In all other Christian religions, only a select few receive the special privilege of being ordained. Even in many religions, such as the Community of Christ church, that ordains women, a person must still seek out ordination then go through years of training to be a clergy.  It is held for only a select few and other religions are able to keep the clergy club selective by requiring years of study in theology, family therapy, etc. before they are called to serve.

The big mistake the Mormon church made was in making their exclusive club open to all males over the age of 13. This provided no foresight for women one day wanting to be let into the club.

There are some major changes the church can make to revamp the system to one of exclusivity while at the same time, allowing women in. Some possibilities include raising the age of the Aaronic priesthood to 18 (historically, the age of 12 wasn't set until 1908, so there is historical precedent to changing the age limit.) historical age of aaronic priesthood

The church can make the ordination to the Melchizedek priesthood a temporary ordination, for example only for those who are called as bishops or other callings, and then when they are released from the calling, they are released from the Melchizedek priesthood, also.

The church can follow the lead of other Christian churches and abolish the lay priesthood and have people ordained who have a degree in theology and counseling.

I'm certain there are other possibilities, these are just a few off the top of my head.  The point is, the church can include women while at the same time keeping the mormon priesthood exclusive. Just my .02


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Blog Wars

Over the last several weeks, there has been a blog war over Kate Kelly. The Mormon women have been vocal about all the reasons Kate and other feminists are wrong and the feminists will fire back, point for point. I'm exhausted trying to keep up with all of it. As someone who left the Mormon church in part because I could find no place for me, a woman inside the church, I cannot be exactly objective. As a woman who has suffered from domestic abuse, I have no desire to be objective. I do believe I have a unique perspective and wish my Mormon family and friends would stop the vitriol long enough to listen; drop their defenses and just listen.

Benevolent Sexism

The Mormon church as well as the bloggers have been very clear about the roles that women should play; its written right there for all the world to read in the Proclamation on the Family:  
      By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are   primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. proclamation

The issue then becomes one of Benevolent sexism. Both men and women are guilty of this. This is the belief that women are kinder, gentler, more moral, better nurturers than men and as such deserve to be put on pedestals.  People who believe in benevolent sexism think highly of women, but only as long as women conform to the expectations imposed upon them. Once women step outside the roles expected of them, wrath comes down on them (just like the Mormon women bloggers saying Kate *deserved* to be excommunicated). It reminds me of crabs in a pot, pulling down the crabs who try to climb out.
Notice all the crab legs pulled off by other crabs who tried to climb out? That's how vicious the crabs are; and not too far off from how vicious the women are that are attacking Kate for wanting something so humanly basic as equality.

Benevolent sexism rewards women when they conform and punishes women when they step outside their assigned roles or expectations. benevolent sexism

Stockholm Syndrome

At the same time that I have been processing my experience with domestic abuse (I was strangled by the man who proclaimed his love for me), this movement has been gaining momentum within the Mormon church, called ‘Ordain Women’ to change the all male priesthood within the Mormon church  to include women. As I watch and marvel at this, I also wonder at the war of words. I wonder, why do so many women not only stay in abuse, but defend it?

I have often wondered about my sisters; I have chosen to distance myself from my father as he continues to abuse my mother and my sisters. My sisters stay and take the abuse, calling the abuse such things as ornery, or mean spirited, ass hole, grumpy, crotchety, rather than what it really is…abuse. He was so abusive to the hospital staff at his last stay; they refused to keep him and sent him home before he was well.

Why…why do so many people stay in abuse?  As we look at all the situations mentioned and see if Stockholm syndrome could be an explanation, there must be four conditions at play:

1. There is a perceived threat to the physical or physiological well being of the individual.
As to my sisters, they believe that families are forever, and that the father is the leader of the family and will become a god…therefore showing him the same respect that is due god is paramount to respecting god, no matter how abusive he is. If that respect isn’t shown, their eternal reward is at risk. This is a real physiological threat to their eternal well being.

To the women who wish to have equality within the Mormon church, they stay rather than leave because they believe their eternal salvation is tied to staying. Mormons believe that in order to be together as families in the eternities, they must pay tithing, they must be married in the Mormon temples, they must submit to Mormon authorities. There is no admission into the eternities without these conditions, these are the questions asked to get into the temple, and temple attendance is required in order to make it into Mormon heaven. There is no questioning the leaders within the Mormon church, even if there is contradiction within the self with what the leaders say and do....compliance is paramount to entering heaven.  temple recommend questions

Women who are abused by their significant others are made to believe that their very existence depends on obeying him. He has supreme power over life and death. They are made aware of this every time he beats them, every time he threatens them, every time he rapes them.

2. Small Act of kindness extended interpreted as change:
I see my sisters give my Dad so many excuses, he had a hard childhood, he is softening in his old age, life has been hard on him; they try and minimize his abuse when he is kind to the grandkids but overlook the physical fight he had with his wife the night before where he pushed her to the floor.

The women in the Mormon church do this when they are happy that the church leadership finally allows women to say prayers at the general assembly for the first time in history, or they put pictures of the women leaders next to the male leaders. This is like throwing crumbs to the dogs, yet the women are so happy to have the smallest bit of kindness thrown their way, they can’t see it for what it is; scraps thrown to them to keep them quiet and compliant. No real change and still no equality.

Women who are abused are happy when the abuser doesn't hit them when they are late from work one night and they see this as real change. They are happy when he buys them earrings; but fail to realize this is apology jewelry for the bruise he left on her thigh the night before when he kicked her.

3. The Abuser will isolate the abused from outside help:
My family has done a good job of this with me. I am considered a black sheep, a thorn in their side, and a pebble in their shoe. My brothers have done a great job in making me an example of how others in the family will be treated if they too, leave the Mormon church or exercise their freedom to choose a different path. I have been completely isolated from having any influence on the family. I have been told by my patriarchal brothers to stop writing my blog, as it may have a negative influence on my family.

With the Ordain Women movement, the ex-Mormon community has been vilified so we won’t have any influence over them or the members of the church. We have been called evil, that we are going to outer darkness, that to even wear pants to church will lead to going to hell. In this way, Mormon family will not seek us out when they have concerns about doctrine, women's issues, or when leadership matters come up because we have been deemed untrustworthy.

Women who are abused are isolated from family and friends because the abuser will punish her any time she seeks help or guidance. The beatings will increase any time she confides in family. It is easier on her if she isolates herself from concerned family. The abusers says the family members are interfering and causing problems through their nosiness; so it is easier for the abused to distance themselves rather than be harassed by the abuser.

4. Perceived inability to escape:
With my sisters, there is no way of escape. This is life; this is the way god intended it to be. They are told to ‘Endure to the End’ that life will be better in the eternities; their reward awaits them for their suffering in this life. There is no escaping the pain and sorrow of this life. They are told they chose their pains and sorrows and they should happily endure them to the end of their life. How does a person escape what they are told they chose?

With the women in the Mormon church, they, too feel they must endure to the end. They believe the Mormon church is god’s church, if only misguided temporarily. If they only endure, they will get their reward, a reward that can only come if they stay within the Mormon church. If they leave, they will suffer losing their family in the eternities.

With women who are in domestic violence, they too feel as though there is no escape. With me, J*** made attempts to make me financially dependent on him by talking me into a home I couldn't afford on my own. When I left him after the strangulation, he made me suffer by forcing me to lose the house in foreclosure. I payed a heavy financial price for standing up for myself.  Many women are stay at home Mom’s who have little or no job skills. Many women feel if they leave, he will kill them or take away their children. My ex husband had threatened suicide if I went through with divorce. Depression is common and having the strength to leave is difficult.

The more I have learned, the more frustrated I have become at the institutions that support the perpetuation of Stockholm syndrome and benevolent sexism.





Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Equality and Apostasy

a·pos·ta·sy
əˈpästəsē/
noun
  1. the abandonment or renunciation of a religious or political belief.

Kate Kelly is facing Mormon church discipline for apostasy. The person in the Mormon church who apparently is leading this is William Clayton of the Quorum of the Seventy in the Mormon church.  Here is a quote from a news source, "Clayton reportedly said that public advocacy of ordination is an act of apostasy."  apostasy

What I find interesting, is for Kate to be accused of apostasy for espousing a belief that women should be ordained to the priesthood, there needs to first be a doctrine against women having the priesthood.

I have read the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants, which makes up the doctrines of the Mormon church. In neither book does it state that women cannot seek equality or ordination to the priesthood. I would like to know what the movement, Ordain Women are apostatizing against. 

Where in Mormon church doctrine does is specifically state that women cannot be ordained to the priesthood? 

I want to know specifically what they are being accused of? If they are being accused of apostasy, where does church doctrine state they they cannot seek equality?