Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Ex-Mormons - would you let your children be Mormon? If not - why? —Lola

Not if I could help it, for lots of reasons. Obviously I don't believe Joseph Smith is credible, so that's one reason. But on a purely social level, I want more for my kids. I don't want my kids, especially my girls, to feel like their life's path has been preselected. I don't want them to feel limited in the roles they can fill based purely on their sex.

Also, I want my kids to learn to make tough decisions and accept responsibility for the consequences. I don't think magical thinking or feelings-based decision making is the best approach to life. Too often LDS kids (and some adults!) want to abdicate responsibility for deciding where to go to school, whom to marry, what career to pursue. They'll ask church leaders, fast and pray, and choose based on feelings and an attempt to please the most people. And then when things don't work out as hoped they can fall back on, "I know this is where the Lord wants me to be." "I don't know why I needed to experience this trial right now." It's never, "I made a mistake, and I need to fix it."

Next, I have a strong aversion to the LDS church's approach to "worthiness." First of all any parent who allows their minor children to be interviewed behind closed doors and asked by a priesthood leader about inappropriate topics like masturbation and sexual purity would have to be crazy. And yet this happens every week in every LDS ward. I would never let my kid go into an interview without me. Better yet, don't let them go at all. Their self worth should come from inside, not from a bishop's "recommend."

Guilt is a huge part of LDS membership, often exploiting kids' developing sexuality. What city ranks highest in google searches about masturbation? That's right, SLC. (See link.) Same for the term "pornography." The church is obsessed with it. What state has the highest male teen suicide rate? Again, the award goes to Utah. (The Des News did a big series on this in May 2007.) In Nov. 2007 the same church-owned paper reported "Utah leads the nation in rates of depression." What's wrong with this picture?

It's also a very image-conscious and judgmental religion. It takes everything it can from members. Missionaries fund their own missions, and the church recently reduced the monthly stipend they receive. They laid off their janitors a few years ago and ask the members to clean the toilets. They've now started asking members to house missionaries to save more. Not to mention you tithe 10% and have to appear to be receiving material blessings, or everyone will know it's your own fault. I don't want my kids seeing the world that way.

Now ask me how I really feel. ;)


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