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.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.
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!
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.