Hello, I'm cm14159.
I'm trying to un-learn what I was taught; I was a Mormon.
I was born and raised in the church and made to be active throughout childhood. I never truly believed in god, but I believed in the church and the good they said it could do. At least, that's how I felt at the time when I heard nothing but what they wanted me to hear. I wanted to believe, but I never could. I would always think back to when I was baptized. I was given a book on what baptism is and means, and I realized that the notion of heaven is selfish and all of the promises made by the church are too good to be true. I could never just blindly believe, I could never ignore facts. That was when I realized the need to question everything.
I had a good relationship with the church, despite my doubts, until I met my teacher's quorum leader. He was extremely overbearing and had the quorum visit inactive members for mutual activities multiple times. It was too much, so I took a break. My leader's reaction was to bring the quorum to my family's home unannounced. He was unaware of my sensory issues and found that his visit was not well received. It was one bad experience, I know, but it was a turning point for me. I started to research and question everything. The more I learned, the more I resented the church for how they deceived me and tried to shepard me into a cookie-cutter life with nothing to look forward to but praying, paying, and hoping. I realized that, if there is a god, his church would not be run this way, and I need to get out. I was too scared of being non-religious out of fear of how the people around me might react. This was a fear totally manufactured by the church, but it was very real to me. I tried Buddhism, but ran into the same roadblock of unrealistic promises, particularly involving the afterlife. I wrote my resignation letter at this time, but it took me three years to work up the courage to send it. There were a lot of theology arguments between my TBM brother and I during that time. He embodies what the church could be if it wasn't corrupt, and I respect that. He helped me leave, because he could see the pain the church was causing me. I couldn't lie about who I was anymore, so I left.
Questions I've answered
Are Mormons Christian? More was mormon answers about 'Are Mormons Christian?'
Yes, it's in the name.
What do you feel or know about becoming like God? More was mormon answers about 'What do you feel or know about becoming like God?'
In its literal reading, this is a strategy the church uses to encourage conformity. In a looser reading, this is a way to become more god-like in your daily affairs. A good thing? Maybe. I think that the mormon god is far too self-righteous, hypocritical, and sadistic. So, one should not strive to become like god, they should strive to be a good person, plain and simple.
What do you feel or know about the Book of Mormon and DNA Studies? More was mormon answers about 'What do you feel or know about the Book of Mormon and DNA Studies?'
I've read the church letter on this, and the reasoning is terrible. No logical conclusions can be found: they present facts in a biased way, then say that the only way to really know the truth is though prayer. Not compelling to someone wanting an answer rooted in reality.
What do you feel or know about the Book of Mormon Translation process? More was mormon answers about 'What do you feel or know about the Book of Mormon Translation process?'
I never really understood what the BoM was until I did my own research on it. Turns out, it is a collection of borrowed scripture from the new testament and articles written by other self-proclaimed prophets from his area in his time.
Could you give us a brief overview of Mormonism? More was mormon answers about 'Could you give us a brief overview of Mormonism?'
At its best: a very tight-knit community that provides a rigid structure for someone's life that can bring them hope and a little happiness. For the right kind of people, mormonism can be a great experience. At its worst: a man-made cult designed to feed off of the hope and money of believers.
What do you feel or know about the doctrinal changes in the church over time? More was mormon answers about 'What do you feel or know about the doctrinal changes in the church over time?'
They say that the church is a boat, and people who leave it do so because they aren't content with what they have. In my experience, us "jumpers" see that the leadership is steering the boat constantly, and we don't like the direction it's headed. Doctrinal changes are necessary to keep people in the church, to convince them that god is active in the decisions of their church.
Does the Mormon church protect sexual predators? More was mormon answers about 'Does the Mormon church protect sexual predators?'
Yes, a thousand times yes. If you don't believe me, google the topic and convince yourself, based on the content and volume of the stories, that I'm wrong. I'll venture that you won't be able to though.
How did being Mormon affect your daily life? More was mormon answers about 'How did being Mormon affect your daily life?'
It controlled it. Everything in life revolved around the mormon worldview. My prescribed goals were centered around the church. It was too much. Each week after being involved in passing the sacrament, I felt guilty because I felt like I had lied to the congregation. I took it on personally, and that affected me deeply. I realize now that I was just part of the system, but that was how I felt for years.
How did you come to be Mormon? Were you raised in the church? More was mormon answers about 'How did you come to be Mormon? Were you raised in the church?'
I was born and raised in the church. My parents were raided in the church as well. They made me participate in church and scouts. I do not blame them for my negative experiences in the church: they were just doing what they believed to be right, what the church had told them was right. I blame the church for my negative experiences and the lasting effects the church has on a person after leaving it.
How do you currently feel about your church service? More was mormon answers about 'How do you currently feel about your church service?'
I was doing what I believed to be right, then I was doing it out of fear of the consequences for not doing it. I was doing what made sense at the time, even if it seems crazy now.
How long was your struggle? More was mormon answers about 'How long was your struggle?'
I struggled most of my childhood, starting when I was learning about baptism. Over the years, my shelf got heavier and heavier until it finally broke. I struggled so much and I dealt with so much fear and anxiety. The struggle is worth it once you're out.
What do you feel or know about Joseph Smith's Polygamy? More was mormon answers about 'What do you feel or know about Joseph Smith's Polygamy?'
This is an example of a leader using doctrine for personal gain.
What do you feel or know about the church's history/beliefs with race and the Priesthood? More was mormon answers about 'What do you feel or know about the church's history/beliefs with race and the Priesthood?'
This is an example of steering the boat. the mormon god is not racist and would never have kept men out of the priesthood based on their race. The leadership found that integration was inevitable, so they reversed the ban.
What did and do you feel about the Mormon Temple Ceremony? More was mormon answers about 'What did and do you feel about the Mormon Temple Ceremony?'
Cultish. I do not understand how anyone follows the church after that. Also, the original ceremony was very masonic -- JS joined the masons and introduced the first endowment ceremony a few months later. The ceremony has been watered down over the years to be less scary to members. The underlying meaning, however, is still there. True believing mormons: compare notes on the first endowment of friends or family of different ages. I am confident that your accounts of the endowment will be different. Also: check your celestial name against this list: fullerconsideration.com/…
Was it The Only True and Living Church to you? More was mormon answers about 'Was it The Only True and Living Church to you?'
This is what every church says. There are plenty of well-to-do theists out there that have different beliefs and believe that their church is the only right one. It doesn't add up when your church says they're the only true church. Either every other church is lying to their believers, or your church is lying to you.
What do you feel or know about tithing? More was mormon answers about 'What do you feel or know about tithing?'
Tithing is how the church is funded. My parents made the decision to not pay tithing, because they'd rather provide for my bother and me than pay into the church and rely on the church for help. I applaud that decision. However, it kept my parents out of the temple. It kept my father, a return missionary and life-long believer, from being in the room when my brother got set apart as a missionary. This hurt my father deeply, and my brother defended his bishop's decision. Not paying tithing is going to keep my parents from seeing my brother's wedding; he refuses to have two services. In my experience, tithing is a wedge used against families to either encourage conformity or cause exclusion.
What advice would you give to someone interested in joining the Mormon Church? Or for that matter, someone interested in leaving the Mormon Church? More was mormon answers about 'What advice would you give to someone interested in joining the Mormon Church? Or for that matter, someone interested in leaving the Mormon Church?'
Do not join the church; leave the church! Do not get involved in this cult! I know that the promises of the church can be enticing. Giving up the community was the hardest part of leaving for me, and it was the only thing that could make me consider returning. Once you're in the community, they expect so much of you. They expect you to give your time and money to them, and if you refuse, they chastise you. Leaders pretend to care about you, but they're just doing their jobs. This is very damaging to children and teens. The church appears helpful, but is actually toxic. Don't (keep) do(ing) this to yourself. Get out and see that there is so much more to experience than this.
What are the biggest misconceptions about Mormons? More was mormon answers about 'What are the biggest misconceptions about Mormons?'
Mormons are not evil. They do what they do because they believe that they're doing the right thing.
What are the blessings of your faith transition? More was mormon answers about 'What are the blessings of your faith transition?'
I was mentally out for three years before I resigned, and I have found amazing things since I've been out. I've found life, love, and happiness. I drink caffeine, I have a tattoo and a piercing. I don't worry so much about what others think, I don't have the herd mentality anymore. I do what I do for my benefit. It's easy to be a good person outside of the church: just be a good person because it feels good, that's all there is to it. I feel freed from the chains of the church and I am so much happier now than when I was in the church. It was a night and day difference.
What broke your shelf? More was mormon answers about 'What broke your shelf?'
The church is man-made. In my experience, it was harder and harder to ignore as time went on. The BoM was complied by a "prophet," one of many in his area in his time, the church is led by men who are constantly changing its course, the promises of the church are so selfish, and the tactics used to keep people in are such that no god would ever employ them. The mormon church is not ran by the god the scriptures describe, it is run by men who only care about membership and tithing.
What did the Mormon religion bring to your life? More was mormon answers about 'What did the Mormon religion bring to your life?'
The church did bring me a tight-knit community. I moved wards several times growing up, and I never had to worry about finding friends. It also brought extreme expectations of conformity and severe social consequences when the expectations were not met. Leaders "care" about you and are "interested" in your well-being, but they only care about keeping you in the church. This was very damaging to me, and I am trying to unlearn this fact; I am trying to learn that people can be nice just because they are nice people. Growing up in the church gave me a frame through which to see the world. Now, I'm having to dismantle that frame and see it from a more objective point of view. The church has brought challenges into my life, and I wish I had never been involved in it.
What does the church do with tithing? More was mormon answers about 'What does the church do with tithing?'
The church builds buildings, pays GA salaries, funds the CES system, and buys stock with tithing.
What resources have helped you through ths process of leaving? More was mormon answers about 'What resources have helped you through ths process of leaving?'
cesletter.org/ reddit.com/r/exmormon/ other sources found within these. Talking though issues with others is extremely valuable. Look at mormon news objectively. See what others are saying. Get samples from all sides. Remember that your faith is your business and your business alone.
What was the response from your family when you left? More was mormon answers about 'What was the response from your family when you left?'
When I told my father I was mentally out at 17 y/o, his reaction was very negative. I sent my letter, started drinking coffee, and lived my life with little resistance from the mormon point of view. When my brother started to prepare for a mission, I got more defensive about my beliefs, since they were coming up more. Finally, I had a fight with my parents where I explained to them what effect the church has had on my life. They felt sorry and didn't realize that that was my experience. It's not their fault, they were just doing what they believed was right. I am free to be non-religious around them now, and things are okay. I am VERY, VERY lucky, I know this.
You’re not Mormon anymore. Why? What’s your relationship with faith now? More was mormon answers about 'You’re not Mormon anymore. Why? What’s your relationship with faith now?'
I don't believe in God or any gods, not until evidence can be produced. The burden of evidence is on the believer. I understand that faith can play a positive role in peoples' lives, so I am indifferent to individiuals who practice religion. However, I am against organizations who claim moral authority and do immoral things. Having been involved in the church woke me up and made me realize how common this problem is. People believe in the supernatural, and that's okay. It's people that take advantage of that that I have a problem with. Organized religion can be a source of good, but is too commonly a source of evil.