Sunday, May 31, 2009

His image in their countenance

My name comes from the Mormon religion, and I'm not Mormon anymore? —Ammon V

My name Ammon comes from the Book of Mormon which is a spiritual book that comes from the Mormon religion. I have recently converted away from being a Mormon but with this name that I feel now is completely fake for what it used to stand for. Also Mormons constantly just assume that I am Mormon also by recognizing my name. Opinions?

I think Ammon is a cool name, you should keep it. Yes, it'll throw Mormons off, but even if you changed it there are probably other aspects of your upbringing that will also trigger their "spiritual eye" and make them think you're Mormon. Just get accustomed when asked to saying, "I was raised Mormon." You don't have to be embarrassed about it and you don't have to explain any more than that unless you choose.

Being an ex-Mormon myself, I understand a bit of what you're feeling. People assume I'm Mormon all the time. A guy at the Fidelity Investments office last week asked me what ward I lived in. No biggie. I may no longer subscribe to the church's truth claims, but it's still my "tribe," know what I mean? It no doubt affects the way I talk, dress, and act and always will. Some ex-Mormons are bothered by this and feel they need to do something to signal their separation from the group. I get that. To each their own I guess.

What I find humorous about the whole thing is the way members of the faith sometimes misinterpret these Mormon cultural norms as being something more. They see a stranger at the grocery store and feel it's the spiritual glow about the person that tipped them off that this person is Mormon, when actually it was the sugary sweet voice and the knee-length shorts. :)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I am Sam, Sam I am

Have you ever read the entire Book of Mormon? —MaidservantX
If yes, what were your impressions or observations or any comment you'd like to make regarding your experience of reading the Book of Mormon?

I used to keep track of the number of times I read it cover to cover. I think the total was six, not that many considering I was a believing Mormon for over thirty years. I think if people believed Green Eggs and Ham was scripture, they'd find all sorts of inspiration in it, along with mounting evidence that it is true. It even has chiasmus!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Help, I'm being love bombed!

Inactive mormons, help me please!? —jjadee

i'm an inactive mormon now and i want to know how to get the other members to quit bothering me to come to church!!! this is not meant to be funny it is a serious question.

As you know, if you've been baptized into the Mormon church they will literally keep you on their records for life (or longer if they don't know you've passed away). And church leaders are always being pressured to do something about those "inactive" names on their ward lists. So there are really two problems here: the people who know you now and want to reactivate you, and the people who will seek you out over and over again every time there's a new leader put in place who feels responsible for you because your name's on their list.

Basically that means the solution will require two parts as well. The second part is the easy one: resign your membership. Just send a letter to church headquarters telling them you're not Mormon anymore. Legally they can't subject you to church discipline and have to honor your request. The link below is the best online resource for doing this part.

But dealing with your current Mormon neighbors and friends and family is much more difficult, especially if that's a large number of people where you live. You should probably join an online support group to get help on handling each individual situation.

The Mormons who are pushing you to come to church are doing so because they're fully convinced their church is "true" and therefore good for all people. So my general advice would be to deal with that underlying cause directly. What are the reasons you choose to be inactive? Whether it's issues with the culture or beliefs or whatever, the Mormons you're talking to have probably never heard anyone oppose their view, so it's easy for them to feel morally superior. Put them on the defensive and they'll learn to respect your boundaries.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The unwritten order of things

Who picks the Mormon prophets and gives them power to speak for God? —Sophie Tucker

Whoever's been in the longest gets it. Here's the quorum listed by tenure, with current age.

Boyd K. Packer, 84
L. Tom Perry, 86
Russell M. Nelson, 84
Dallin H. Oaks, 76
M. Russell Ballard, 80
Richard G. Scott, 80
Robert D. Hales, 76
Jeffrey R. Holland, 68
Henry B. Eyring, 75
Dieter F. Uchtdorf, 68
David A. Bednar, 56
Quentin L. Cook, 68
D. Todd Christofferson, 64
Neil L. Andersen, 57

Just looking at the numbers, those most likely to spend time as prophet are Oaks, Holland, and Bednar. But that's just speculation. In actuality God will pick the next prophet, Sopranos style.

Ensign article on succession in the church:

Monday, May 4, 2009

Survival of the richest

Letter to a female friend. —NoLongerASheeple

I'm posting this up in hopes that it will be helpful to those of you who are new to Postmormon. None of this is new information but I hope it will give those of you who are considering leaving the church a view that may help you in your journey.

XXXXX, there is no need to apologize, I'm not in the slightest upset. I'd be more concerned if you didn't challenge the things I'm telling you. I have nothing to hide here, no reason to try to sway you regarding the church (other than wanting to see you reclaim your own personal power and shed a belief system that I think is personally very harmful.) The Church really doesn't want you to examine the factual evidence critically because as soon as you do, it becomes very evident that it is entirely made up.

The Church has a vested interest in keeping you in, and involved, in terms of tithing receipts. Ten percent of your (and everyone else) income adds up to a tidy chunk of income for the church, especially when it is tax free. The Church is totally unwilling to let the general membership know what it is doing with the money. That indicates to me, that the church couldn't withstand the backlash if the members truly knew where they were spending the money, (For example, 2 billion dollar malls and million dollar condos.) If they were truly using the money for humanitarian purposes, there wouldn't be any problem.

The Church has controlled so many things in our lives that even as aged adults we really are still the emotional age of children. We are told what our schedule is, what we can eat, what we can wear, what kind of recreation is okay, whom we can have sex with, what is acceptable sex, even what words we are allowed to say, and told who we can and cannot criticize. That is pretty damned invasive control!

Women are treated as second class citizens only good for having and raising children. The Church, as an organization, is homophobic, racist, misogynistic, controlling, psychologically damaging, and dishonest. It sucks you in with the promise of eternal families and then holds your family hostage when you see through the lies. Your time is no longer your own, hundreds of hours each year are spent serving the church teaching and spreading it's propaganda, indoctrinating your children, missionary work, temple work, etc. You are set an impossible standard (perfection) and then made to feel guilty for not achieving it. You don't even get to define what "perfection" is. Instead, someone tells you what perfection means, and then you are expected to fit yourself into that mold. You are expected to do this regardless of your own nature and whether or not you are even capable of doing it. (You aren't, and nobody is. It is simply a control technique.) Even the social organization of the church is designed to control members with home teachers and visiting teachers expected to visit and report (tattle) on you as assigned "friends." If you do leave the church, you are labeled as "Sinner", "Apostate", "Offended" or some other negative pejorative, and shunned, not only by members but by family as well.

Leaving the Church requires a few essential abilities, 1) the ability to critically analyze factual information, 2) the ability to accept criticism and condemnation from others, including family, 3) The ability to rationally and without heat discuss the obviously false doctrines and whitewashed history of the church and 4) the ability to stand alone for a period of time until you are able to develop new friends.

It is not an easy path, but it is a rewarding one.


Just a thought I'd add to this. As I try to look at these types of issues from the eyes of a believer, I think it's easy to dismiss statements like the above because the believer knows that there are good people at the head of the church who would not perpetuate a fraud just to scam people out of 10% of their income. And yet that's exactly what's happening, whether those at the top recognize it or not.

The point that I think is not so obvious is that the church operates the way it does because those are the traits that survived. We don't necessarily have to impugn sinister motives to the church's present-day leaders to accept that the institution itself is ultimately self-serving. It—the church, and not necessarily those who lead it—really does have "a vested interest in keeping you in, and involved, in terms of tithing receipts."

By the way I'm not saying all church leaders are naive nor that they should all be given a free pass, just pointing out that the institution is the engine behind it all and like a living organism all the parts have an intricate symbiotic relationship that keeps things working. Or to make a long story short, it's more complicated than the church being led by a bunch of scammers, but the end result is the same.