Hi, My name is Mike.
I am a husband, father, teacher, reader, questioner, thinker, traveler and I am living my best life. I was a mormon.
I was raised in a half-mormon household. This somewhat unique circumstance (particularly in that era of the late 60's and 70's) exacerbated the negative effects of mormonism upon my psyche, yet may have allowed for an easier departure when that event occurred.
My mother was a full in mormon, at least to the extent that she thought she was, having herself been raised in a poor mormon household. My father was not a member, not a participant, not interested, generally did not openly express an opinion about how my mother was raising us "in the church," but on occasion said "do what your mother tells you." Due to the fundamentals of the nuclear family requirement within the mormon "plan of salvation," my siblings and I could not fit the mormon mold. At every Ward event, as children and then more so during our adolescence and regardless of our behavior, level of activity, or our outward appearance, it was my sense that my siblings and I were regarded as if each of us had three heads. However, per my mother's edict, our attendance and participation was a fundamental requirement of our existence.
In addition to the other damaging elements of a "high demand religion" that act to dissolve or prevent the formation of a person's individual identity, my experience in mormonism also included a state of chronic alienation from those of the same age who were supposed to be my peers. My social existence was this: At school, I was the quiet, skinny little Mormon kid. At "church," to my supposed peers, I was the quiet, skinny little kid who either didn't have a father, or even worse, whose father "wasn't a member!" To the adult mormons, I was the quiet, skinny little kid who was to be pitied.
I left Mormonism at age 19. One might think that my exposure to the cult was therefore very limited, and, yes I am fortunate to have left when I did. However, I left still bearing many scars, wounds, confusions and emotional difficulties that were mostly hidden and not recognized nor understood by me. These things I sorted out over several phases of healing and genuine spiritual discovery throughout life, but not without trouble and tragedy in the interim. My family dynamics certainly contributed to those dysfunctions, but Mormonism acted to cement those dysfunctions and also prevented or greatly impeded other potential moderating or positive mentoring influences that would have otherwise been available from outside my family situation.
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Why I left More answers about 'Why I left' the mormon church
In my youth, before I physically left, I never really developed a "testimony" of the truthfulness of Mormonism and all of the blah, blah, blah that goes with that. However, within the dynamics of my growing up home environment, I did not develop the personal sovereignty, nor the courage, nor even the idea, to say to my Mormon parent, "I don't believe in this, therefor, I am no longer going to pretend by doing the things I am 'supposed' to do there."
Approaching that important male age of 19, I had other plans, big plans, productive plans, ambitious plans, plans of achievement and adventure. Going on a Mission certainly did not align with those plans. More importantly, going on a Mission did not align with the sense of truth and integrity that I had begun to develop. I knew it would be the moment of "separation" from my over-controlling mother, but going on a Mission was absent from my plans. There was no way that I would participate in preparing for and then inflicting the Mormon sales pitch on fellow human beings. To do so would have been trying to sell them on a view of the universe that I did not believe (even to the incomplete extent of what I knew Mormon beliefs were) and in fact a view that I was sick of being force-fed to me.
Another important feature of my awareness was that my Mormon peers were already well into their careers of hypocrisy -- outwardly being the "worthy," upstanding favorite Mormon sons of their full-in, "perfect" Mormon, temple-attending parents, and the favorite sons of the Ward. Yet in reality they were conniving, selfish, cussing, alcohol-sneaking, spoiled assholes. For instance, the church ladies glowed about them, but me, mostly a quiet, good kid, I was generally ignored and not appreciated. The reality of the social structure was apparent to me. It was grace-less, God-less and crass under a thin veneer.
I was attending community college full-time and also working second-shift full-time at a manufacturing job -- both in preparation for my impending departure to a four - year University five hours away when these two events occurred, (I don't recall in which order, but they were within several weeks of each other):
1. One evening when I was at the factory entrance punching the time clock beginning my 2nd shift work, I encountered Brother P______ as he was leaving the building (he might have been the Ward Clerk at the time). I was vaguely aware that Brother P______ worked at the same place in a white collar job. It was odd that he would be exiting the very large building at the same entrance where us hourlies punched the time clock. Regardless, he saw me there and engaged me in conversation. He asked, "Mike, are you going to go on a Mission?" I said, "No, I am not. I am making preparations to go to University ____ in the Fall, study Aerospace Engineering, enter the Air Force through ROTC and go on to fly jets." Brother P______ replied, with a mix of disgust and disappointment, "Well, that's too bad!" The context of my Mormon peers at the time is important. The more socially preferred boys in the local Mormon society had no plans for their future. They had no self-designed or self-determined ambitions. They were merely on the Mormon conveyor belt awaiting their processing into their servitude and then a continued infantilism of outwardly only doing what they were told to do, while inwardly, doing whatever they could get away with.
2. My mother told me that the Bishop would like to have a meeting with me, but told me that she was not aware of the topic of the meeting. Merely out of cordiality, I agreed to the meeting. By this time, I had recognized that the Bishop no longer had any sway of authority over me, as I had previously perceived him to have. At the meeting, after opening chit-chat, the Bishop informed me that he had in front of him, on his desk, my Mission Calling paperwork. This was a bit of a surprise to me, (perhaps that was intended) because, even though I had not stated it, I thought it would have been clear that I had no intention of going on a Mission. At the time, my attendance and participation was approaching zero. I had never really completed Seminary. Today my recollections of that pretense of education or learning is quite spotty, but I certainly was not qualified in that way. However, I figured out that, despite all of the propaganda about preparation, all that was really required was a body temp near 98.6F. Today, I wish that I had somehow already developed some swagger with which to respond to the Bishop. However, "No thank you. I have other plans..." might be all that I could muster.
Mini-Epilogue: Subsequently I earned a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and two advanced degrees later, and I earned the titles "Colonel" and "Captain" in military and civilian aviation careers respectively.
Questions about Mormons My Answers to Questions about Mormonism
Have you had any profound spiritual moments in your life? See more answers about 'Have you had any profound spiritual moments in your life?'
Yes, but none of them were when I was Mormon.
Are Mormons Christian? See more answers about 'Are Mormons Christian?'
No. Mormonism, LDS, TSCC, TCOJCOLDS, or whatever the title, is a fraudulent rip-off and perverted imposter of orthodox (small "o") Christian ideas, practice and history.
When viewed academically, Christianity is categorized as one of the three great Abrahamic mono-theistic religions. However, inside its veiled theology, that is not admitted to publicly, moronism certainly must be categorized as a polytheistic religion - a religion with multiple gods. Therefore, Mormonism does not even fit within the basic definition of an Abrahamic religion.
In its practice, morality and social structure, Mormonism holds to opposites of Christianity. Instead of grace and forgiveness, Mormonism offers a system of shame. Instead of freedom, Mormonism offers the chains of rules upon rules and ever changing rules that a necessary for CK entrance, some of which are actually emotionally and relationally harmful, and for which complete attainment is beyond any human. Instead of knowledge of irrevocable salvation, Mormonism offers only that one must always question if they have done enough and they might make a mis-step that will forever condemn themselves and their families to separation from the CK.
Are you happy? See more answers about 'Are you happy?'
Yes. Exceedingly! More importantly, I am available to experience and embrace joy, grace, wisdom and truth through open seeking of it.
Do you consider yourself a Christian? See more answers about 'Do you consider yourself a Christian?'
Well, yes, but not "still." I converted to Christianity after much de-programming and de-learning of LDS "teachings."
What advice would you give folks who are transitioning? See more answers about 'What advice would you give folks who are transitioning?'
1. Beware of what I term as the pendulum effect. Imagine that you may be at an extreme, in many ways, that is not of your doing. I have observed, to some degree in myself, that when released from that extreme, one tends to fly off to opposite extremes. Those may not be the genuine "you" any more than the Mormon version was.
2. When you think you are healed, de-programmed, free, or fully awakened... you probably aren't, yet.
Is the Mormon church a cult? See more answers about 'Is the Mormon church a cult?'
Yes. Mormonism (LDS) exhibits the characteristics of a cult and/or "high demand religion" as defined by those who have significantly studied cult phenomena.
Why don't you leave the mormon church alone? See more answers about 'Why don't you leave the mormon church alone?'
The authoritarian leaders inside of Mormonism are the ones most frequently asking this question. It is in their interest to tamp down any and all criticism or exposure of origins of and the real beliefs propagated within LDS/Mormonism. Their demands that we "leave the church alone" is like a bank robber telling the witnesses to be quiet, and not complain about or expose the heist. Of course having such an expectation is absurd in a world where one human being should be concerned with the well-being of any another human being and where all should want truth and justice to be the norm.