We’ve gone inactive….

From the blog it seems, lol.  When we first left we had a lot of angst that needed worked through and we posted here more.  But as the years have passed (we’re almost to… 4?  seriously?) we’ve managed to work through a lot of the initial angst that led us to blog.

We’re keeping this blog because it means a lot to us.  We may still post from time to time.  We read all the comments posted here, even the ones that show how clueless the authors are.  And we allow them to be posted.

What we want people to know now is that we’re happy.  Not the happiness that will come eventually or when we’re dead, but NOW.  We’re happy now.  And I wouldn’t go back to before for ANYTHING.

Published in: on February 28, 2010 at 11:12 am  Leave a Comment  

My first temple experience

With all the talk of HBO and Big Love and the temple ceremony and how they are GOING to get it wrong and ridicule it, I thought I would write of my first time through the temple and how I felt about it.  I felt inspired after checking out MSP today.  I’m going to try and keep it as how I felt about it all back then.  TBM Mormon on the verge of getting married.  Shoot, I got married the same day, lol.

I went through the temple on a Tuesday morning.  Temples are closed on Sundays (it’s a day of rest) and Mondays (I assumed it was because the temple workers really shouldn’t have to work a 6 day work week.  It also gave time for cleaning and the like, which can’t happen when there are patrons.)  We (Fig, my family and I) had driven from Indiana to the Washington, D.C. temple in Keningston, Maryland for Fig and mine’s wedding.  I found out on the drive there that Fig’s dad would not be in the temple with us for our wedding.  Until that point I didn’t know he wasn’t a recommend holder.

Waiting outside was Fig’s little brother, my younger sister, and a plethora of family and friends of family (mainly Fig’s since he was from the area originally.)  Some of them, like my sister, were outside from the time we got to the temple that morning (7 am?) until we came out about noon.  (I should edit to add that I slept little to none the night before I got married.  I went to bed at midnight, was up before 6am, and out the door to get to the temple by 7-7:15 am.)

I was very excited, very nervous, and really stressed.  My mom and I got into it on the way to the temple.  Yay for happy peaceful feelings.  I also knew that I would be going through a washing and annointing, then the endowment, and then the sealing.  I also had to take my own unopened pair of garments to put on after the washing and annointing.  The garments would be my new underwear for the rest of my life.  It was basically like wearing a lightweight T-shirt and long shorts as undies.  The bottoms came down to the middle of my knees and I had to replace every pair of shorts I owned.  I made it through 2 years at BYU with those shorts, so they weren’t immodest AT ALL, but they still were too short for me to wear once I was wearing garments.  But now I’m getting ahead of myself.

We got to the temple, got all our paperwork squared away, and off I went.  I had never been through the temple before and while I had a vague idea of what would be going on, this was a totally new experience for me.  I’d never even been INSIDE a temple before except to do baptisms for the dead and that’s not done in the temple proper.  I also knew this was where my sister and my  parents had been sealed, so I was trying to soak it all in.  (As an aside, the sister who had been sealed there didn’t come to the wedding because she would have had to be with her kids and it would have been a major drive for her.) 

They took me into the bride’s room, which is a beautiful room with gorgeous lighting, and a large number of brides all packed in to get ready for their sealings, all of which are taking place in different rooms at the same time yours will be.  In other words, it was chaotic and not very private.

We, the brides, were taken in and given the speech about everything temple and garments and what was appropriate and what was not.  You should not wear any color but white in the temple.  You shouldn’t wear jewelry in the temple.  You have to wear a full slip in the temple.  You put your bra on OVER your garments.  You should wear running longs instead of running shorts.  Your garments should never touch the ground.  You should put your garments back on as quickly as possible after showering and sex so they spent as little time off of your body as possible.  Your garments should ALWAYS be the first thing next to your skin, unless you are on your period in which case you can wear underwear too.

Okay.  Now off to the washings and annointings.  I was given a large “shield” taken into a locker room booth, and told to strip everything off and put this shield on over my head.  I could then hold the sides while I walked so I wouldn’t be totally naked.  Because I actually was on my period, I got to wear my undies too.  And then off I went to the area set up for washings and annointings.

I actually didn’t find it too creepy at all.  At least not until they had to reach under and annoint my  breasts (which was done by touching the collar bone above my breasts.)  Then the lady put my new garments on me.  Yes, I did not put them on myself, they were put on me.  When that was done it was back to the locker room to change for the endowment session.

Before that though I had to go into a curtained area and receive my new name.  This new name would be needed to pass the angels who guard heaven so I could get in when I died.  Then I went to the endowment room.

The one nice thing about the D.C.  endowment room is that I got to sit next to Fig.  There is no aisle inbetween the men’s side and the women’s side (most temples have the women on one side of the room, the men on the other, and a large aisle inbetween.  There is no intermingling during the session.)  They did have extra large armrests to differentiate between the male/female side.  And then they started….. the movie?

Okay.  But this is the pinnacle of Mormon existance so I paid as much attention as I could for someone getting married later in the day.   (I checked my watch a lot.  The video was very long.)  The video though confused me.  Why was the creation the pinnacle of learning for the LDS?  Because that’s what the video was.  A story of the creation.  But there had to be something I was missing and I knew I’d try harder and harder everytime I went back to see what it was that I was supposed to learn from this.

There was a lot of up and down, a lot of promise making, a lot of covenant making, etc.  None of it I knew about beforehand as this part you don’t talk about outside of the temple at all.  In fact, I’ve been told you should only talk about it in the Celestial Room as Satan couldn’t listen in when you were in there.  Then there were the robes.

OMG.  I laughed hysterically.  My dad looked like the Pillsbury Dough Boy.  He had on this stupid white bakers hat (and I STILL don’t know why it had to be tied to his shoulder) and these robes and it was funny.  I tried so hard to be good and stifle the laugh but I couldn’t help it.  Fig was dressed the same way but he was shorter and skinnier.  My dad was 6’4″ and overweight.  It was a hilarious sight. 

After all that was done they had a prayer circle, which all the couples getting married were invited to be in.  When I say invited, I mean told. I don’t recall really having an option to not go up.   We all stood in a circle around the padded, doily covered temple alter, and made all the new signs and tokens we had just been told about.  Then we joined hands and rested our other hands on the arms of the people next to us to have a continuously touching circle and the old guy in the middle prayed.  And prayed.  And prayed.  And prayed some more.  (Prayer circle prayers were always too long.)  The circle repeated the words of the prayer.  The women, all of them in the room, had their faces veiled.  Which was kind of nice because it meant I didn’t have to close my eyes to appear reverent so I’ve watched every single prayer circle.

Then we were presented at the veil where someone pretends to be God and we give him all the signs and tokens and their names and are admitted into heaven.  Fig, because we were getting married, got to be my God.  He got to learn my new name so he could call me forth in the first resurrection and take me to heaven with him.  He’s the only one who knows his name.  Fortunately the temple workers will walk you through the names, some of which are VERY long, so it’s not a “you must remember it!” type of thing.  Except I was terrified I’d forget my new name and then what?!?!  They couldn’t remind me of it because how would them know?!?! (I learned later that every female who went through the temple that day for their own endowments received the same new name I did, so yes, they could have reminded me.)  The veil and during the endowment are the ONLY times you are ever to give the signs and tokens and their names or you will be under condemnation.

I walked into the Celestial Room, after hugging Fig, and got a hug from my dad.  He told me I had made it.  Then, literally instantaneously, a temple worker showed up to shuttle us away.  I spent less than 1 minute in the Celestial Room and the only thing I remembered of it was that it was yellowish.

I went out to change into my wedding dress.  We had altered the neckline of the dress but our understanding was that I had to have long sleeves.  I was getting married in August in DC.  My mom made me a satin shirt to wear under the dress.  And then, after I was in my beautiful gown, I covered it in the temple robes and green apron.  And put their veil on instead of my gorgeous and beautiful one.

Then I went and sat and waited for our sealer to come and let us get married.  Since our sealer turned out to be the temple president, it took awhile.  Then he took us into the room where my sister was sealed (my mom asked for that room) and after a lot of talking, we knelt across the altar and LOOKED AT THE SEALER.  He told us to.  We had to look at him as we had forever to look at each other.  Then we said, “Yes.”  (You do not say “I do” you say “yes”) and were allowed to kiss across the altar.  Then we got up, moved away from the altar, and were allowed to exchange wedding rings.  (We had been told we could do a ring ceremony later for everyone who couldn’t come to the temple (but that was just about everyone.  Seriously.  My mom and dad were the only people in the temple to see me get married.  And I had 1 of my 4 sisters outside.  Everyone else was there for Fig.))

Then it was back to the bride’s room for me to take off the extra top, remove the robes, and then out to the room that wasn’t technically in the dedicated part of the temple (all temples have an annex that isn’t considered “the temple proper”) to get MY veil, my bouquet, and it was outside for pictures.

After that we went out to lunch with my family (Fig’s family bailed on lunch with us and went to a baseball game instead) and then my family went off to sightsee, I guess.  And Fig and I were left alone to do what newlyweds do the most, lol.

Published in: on March 15, 2009 at 10:50 am  Comments (4)  

A response to Big Love

This was linked on a website I visit and explains how I feel.  So much. 

The Church controls everything.  They own the temple recommends.  You can’t even keep your first or the one you used for your wedding because it’s their property.  The garments that I paid for are their property.  The temple robes I spent A LOT of money on are their property.  What goes on in the temple is their property.  Not only do they try and control what the members talk about, they are going so far as to try and control what everyone else can and cannot talk about.

I WAS A MORMON.  It was my life.  It was more than my life.  It was my existance.  My resigning from the church didn’t cease to make that true.  I have a lot I have to work through and overcome because I was SUCH a Mormon for so long.  And yet the church spouts out “They can leave the church but can’t leave it alone.” and members get all appalled when the people who have left and aren’t Mormon anymore, talk about their experiences and the temple.

Well, guess what?  Leaving didn’t take away those experiences!  I went to the temple more often than most people.  I loved the church more than a lot of people I knew.  So saying I must shut up about the first three plus decades of my life is just another attempt to control me and I won’t do it!  I won’t be controlled and manipulated anymore by a system that is more concerned about itself than it is about the people it supposedly serves.

Sacred my ass.



What the LDS Church leadership fails to understand is that it does not own my Temple experience. The leadership has done a very good job of cowing members into not discussing the most sacred experience in their lives outside the walls of the Temple (and not very much within). The Church seeks to extend this silence to those of us who used to be members. What the leadership and membership fails to understand is that for those of us who used to be members, the Temple is as much a part of our psyche as it is yours.

I have a very clear statement for President Monson, the General Authorities and LDS Church Public Relations:

You do not own my Temple experience.

I left your church. I am no longer bound by your oaths and covenants. If I choose not to discuss what goes on in the Temple, that’s my choice. It’s also my choice if I want to discuss it. But stop trying to silence us by your alternately sad and outraged statements.

If former members who write for “Big Love” want to write about their Temple experience through the fictional Barb Henrickson, that is their right. I’m sure they’ll give your ceremonies their proper deference, probably far more deference than those ceremonies deserve. (As a former lawyer, the phrase “unconscionable contract” comes to mind when I think of the oaths and covenants of the Temple.) And it is their right to do so.

But stop trying to browbeat us former members into not discussing the experiences we had within your Temple walls. They are part of us and we can talk about them if we want. You do not own our experiences. You do not own US.

— Mirele

Published in: on March 12, 2009 at 12:27 pm  Comments (6)  

Doubt and the Mormon prescription for it

By Figaro

An excerpt from Erich Fromm’s Escape from Freedom (page 77-78):

[Luther’s] was not the rational doubt which is rooted in the freedom of thinking and which dares to question established views. It was the irrational doubt that springs from the isolation and powerlessness of an individual whose attitude towards the world is one of anxiety and hatred. This irrational doubt can never be cured by rational answers; it can only disappear if the individual becomes an integral part of a meaningful world. If this does not happen…the doubt can only be silenced, driven underground, so to speak, and this can be done by some formula which promises absolute certainty. The compulsive quest for certainty, as we find with Luther, is not the expression of genuine faith but is rooted in the need to conquer the unbearable doubt. Luther’s solution is one which we find present in many individuals today, who do not think in theological terms; namely to find certainty by elimination of the isolated individual self, by becoming an instrument in the hands of an overwhelmingly strong power outside of the individual……

Psychologically, faith has two entirely different meanings. It can be the expression of an inner relatedness to mankind and an affirmation of life; or it can be a reaction formation against a fundamental feeling of doubt, rooted in the isolation of the individual and his negative attitude toward life….

Doubt and the attempts to silence it….has remained one of the basic problems of modern man…..Modern attempts to silence it, whether they consist in the compulsive striving for success….or in the submission to a leader who assumes the responsibility for “certainty“–these solutions can only eliminate the awareness of doubt. The doubt itself will not disappear as long as man does not overcome his isolation and as long as his place in the world has not become a meaningful one.

I was struck by this passage, and especially the bolded portions, in terms of Mormonism. What else is the admonition to “follow the prophet” but a call to submit yourself to someone else, who supposedly has a certain witness, so that you can be spared the awareness of the awful questions of your existence? And what else is the search for a mormon testimony but a compulsion to find a certainty one can cling to, so as to escape the unbearable, fundamental doubt that plagues each isolated individual?

Published in: on February 6, 2009 at 3:00 pm  Comments (2)  

Personal Truth

Recent comments on this blog have led me to think a lot about truth and what role truth plays in my ditching  Christianity.

I am not saying that there is not a historical figure on whom Christ was based.  I’m not saying that Christianity doesn’t have some good and useful things in it.  My issue really comes down to the “truth” of Christianity.  Or the “truth” of anything.

I do not believe that Christianity is the one divine truth.  I don’t think it’s a better truth than any other truth out there.  I don’t think it’s universal, meaning that every person everywhere would live an absolute better life if they were Christian (or the LDS version of Christian.)

I have a personal truth.  I use my personal truth to live my life and guide my actions and decisions.  A good deal of that truth is based in the Judeo-Christian ethic as that was and is what I was brought up in.  I’ve added very liberal amounts of Eastern thought to that and I’ve removed certain parts of the Judeo-Christian ethic that don’t work for me.  In short, I’ve taken what I’ve wanted and I’ve left the rest.  Part of what I’ve left is the label of Christian.  I am not Christian.  I don’t want to be Christian.  I want to be spiritual– but my definition of spiritual.  Not anyone else’s.  After all, this is my life and I need to be the one who is okay with it.

Fig still considers himself Christian.  We have a large amount of shared truth in spite of him being Christian and my not being Christian.  We both grew up in the same religious culture.  We grew up in similar socio-economic backgrounds.  We share similar education levels.  All of this contributes to us having similar truths.  But Fig’s personal truth varies greatly from mine.  There are many things that exist for him, are true for him, that do not work for me.  They don’t fit what I need or who I am.  The same is true in reverse.  Quite a bit of my truth doesn’t work for him either.  Our paths, though shared and similar, are not identical and in some ways are drastically different.  Yet we get along and respect each other for the most part.  Why?  Because we both acknowledge that just because something is “true” for one of us, that does not make it true for the other.

I don’t feel that that freedom is allowed in many organized religions.  There are certain “truths” that HAVE to be the same for everyone, no matter what, in order for it to be accepted that other people have “the truth.”  And that’s the problem, the little article “the.”

There is no “The Truth.”  There is truth and truth is subjective.  There is not and will never be “objective” truth where religion is concerned.  And as long as one religious gathering insists that they are better than another, I cannot abide them.  I want to the freedom to have my own truth and not just be humored.

I am more than willing to give any and every Christian, Mormon, whomever, the right to have their personal truth.  I draw the line when they tell me that mine is wrong and I need to have theirs in order to live truly correct.

Published in: on January 5, 2009 at 1:38 pm  Comments (10)  


Fig and I went to a UU Winter Solstice Service yesterday.  I won’t lie and say it was spectacular or that it was an awesome service, but it was very interesting.  I enjoyed learning something new.  I enjoyed aspects of the service A LOT.  I’m very much a comfort zone person, so I get that a one time visit would not be the most comfortable experience for me.

Anyway, on the way home we got to talking.  Fig said that he thought that people needed a base to learn from.  Make Christ the base and then build from there.  My opinion is that the basic messages and principles are found in ALL cultures, through ALL history, and making Christ’s version supreme is doing a disservice.  His stories are just more fables designed to teach the same truths that exist everywhere.  Not because those truths come from a single supreme being, but because it just exists.  I’m very inclusive… I have issues with Christmas because it sets Christ up as the supreme figure.  That doesn’t work for me.  I’m willing to allow Christ to be a teacher and I’m willing to let my children learn his message, but not to the exclusion of others.  Or to the point where his message was any better than any other message.  Buddha, Lao Tzu, Confuscious, the Pope, Hinudism, fables etc all have just as good of messages.  Sure, there is crap to sort through, but there is with ANY religious leader.

I feel that Mormonism was inclusive at the beginning too.  All good learning from all good books was considered.  They were religious rebels who married a whole host of ideas from one religious sect together.  They took what worked for them from each religion and made their own religion.  People were encouraged to think, expand, and create for themselves.  And now, if the information comes from anything other than a church approved source, it’s “anti” material or historical proof that the church really is true because look, everything has some form of it’s truth!  And it just goes to show you how the devil will lead you astray….

Wasn’t it Aristotle who said that there are constants?  Things that every society has in common?  Like don’t screw another man’s wife, don’t steal, don’t kill? 

And now my mind is wondering off…….. 😉

Published in: on December 22, 2008 at 12:47 pm  Comments (5)  

“They can leave the church, but they can’t be left alone.”

Anyone remember the ageless quote about being able to “leave the church but they can’t leave the church alone?”  It’s held up as proof positive that The Church is the one true church.  After all, look at all these people who leave the church but CAN’T let go of it!  It just PROVES that there IS something to the church’s claims.  (Instead of proof that the church can be really fucked up and that it can take years to get over and work through the issues that it leaves you with.)

Well, I’d like to take this blog post space to let you all know that Fig and I are true.  We have to be.  According to the same logic as the quote above, Fig and I have to be True.

Because evidentally the church cannot leave us alone.

Earlier in the week we had the sister missionaries show up, escorted by a woman from the ward whose boundaries we live in.  The woman from the ward wanted to introduce us to the sister missionaries, as this area finally had sister missionaries again.  She also wanted to see if we still lived in our house.

Amazingly, this is the same woman who called over a year ago to see if we still lived here.  She was redoing the RS phone directory and asked me if I wanted to be included.  I told her “No, thank you so much for asking!  I really appreciate it!”  (I believe I blogged about it at the time but I can’t find it right now, lol.)  So here she is, over a year later, stopping by with the SAME excuse.  :insert eyeroll here:  Fig had been out working on digging post holes for our fence we’re building and had come in for a drink when they came by.  He didn’t even let them in the door.

So this morning Fig and I head outside to work on cementing in the posts.  We’re working away when lo-and-behold a car pulls up and out steps two well dressed young men.  :insert yet another eye roll:  The elders walked back to us, said hello and asked if we were the FigNuts.   At this point, since they knew our name, I asked them who had sent them.  That seemed to take them aback a bit, but they answered honestly.  I give them their first kudos for that.

They asked if they could help with the fence, as they had been told we might need help with the project.  I asked if they knew anything about our history and they said they did not.  I informed them that we had resigned a year ago and had absolutely no intention of going back.  They asked again if they could help with the fence.  And I thought, Sure!  Why the hell not?

Fig’s been sore for days from digging all those post holes and doing all the work.  (I’ve been working my job and covering part of his while he’s been on vacation.)  So I gave them the ground rules.  If they talked with our kids, they were to introduce themselves by their first or their last name, whichever they felt more comfortable with using.  No “elder” title.  Then I walked them over to the area that Fig calls “root-a-pooloza” and let them have at. 😀

They showed up about 11:30 and hadn’t had any lunch, so about an hour and a half later I went out and got lunch for all of us.  They told me I didn’t have to but get real.  They had shown up at lunchtime and had no plans on actually getting lunch.  And I used their free labor, so I sure as hell was going to feed them.

They did a lot of work for us.  They never once mentioned religion.  They never asked why we left or what our issues were or anything.  We had conversations about yoga, Wii, video games, politics, Prop 8 since they were both from California, etc.  Before they left and after we thanked them profusely for their help, we also thanked them for NOT making this visit about reactivation and religion.  It’s the first time we’ve been around Mormons since we quit going where it wasn’t some sort of effort to fix our concerns and bring us back.  We talked a few minutes about that and one of the elders remarked that there were some “really anal Mormons.”  They seemed to both accept that we were happy with what we had chosen and that in some respects, we were a lot happier out of the church than in it.  And if they didn’t accept it, they at least didn’t try to argue with us and seemed sincere in listening.

So, while I’m NOT happy that we’ve become a project, again, I really enjoyed the two boys who came to help us today.  It was refreshing have missionaries who didn’t think they were …. to declare repentance to everyone.

And I learned that Fig and I are True.  In the name of cheeseandriceamen.

Published in: on October 18, 2008 at 8:20 pm  Comments (5)  

I’m getting angry again.

I tend to go through phases.  At times I don’t really care about the Mormon church or what it’s done/doing.  Other times I just get downright pissed off.  Right now I’m in a downright pissed off mood.

Part of this stems from a couple of threads I’ve read recently.  Leaving your estate to the church and the “successes” of Gordon Bitner Hinckley.  I really, truly can’t believe some of the shit that gets perpetuated by “the church.”  When I was a member I viewed it, and the 12, as so close to god and under so much inspiration…. Since leaving and losing the constant companion of the spirit, I realize that it’s nothing but a major private corporation that found its way around most accountability laws by declaring itself a religion.  And it makes me so angry!

I know people wonder why I can’t leave it alone.  Or rather why I won’t.  A big part of that is when my family members will use doctrine as reasoning on why we can’t do something when they talk to my kids.  I then have to take that apart.  Or how my dad couldn’t even look at me, literally, when he came to visit most recently.  He’s so upset and so distraught that he can’t look at his child.  Or start a conversation with me.  All because of the fear and angst that the freakin’ ass church put into him.

It also occurred to me recently that the church IS “Satan’s plan,” at least according to Mormon doctrine.  There is one way and one path to follow and by god, if you don’t do it, you’ll be thrust to hell and cut off from anything and everything you hold dear for ETERNITY.  Who the hell is the “author of fear?”  At least according to Mormon doctrine?  I had more fear put into me by the freakin’ ass church then I ever did anywhere else.  They have one path, one way you can be and you HAVE to do it.  You were given agency so you could choose the one path they say you have to follow….

And so many people buy their shit.  They think that they are following god.  They really do.  They live lives of good and do the best they can, and they have fears and anxieties that they needn’t have, all in the name of getting them to go the “right” way.

Published in: on September 17, 2008 at 9:51 am  Leave a Comment  

No other success blah blah blah

You all know the line, as it is probably one of the most quoted in the church:  “No other success can compensate for failure in the home.”  David McKay is credited as being the source of this little platitude, and a search of LDS.org for the quote gives 60 hits.  It is repeated often, as being “inspired” words from the “prophet” and everyone assumes they know what it means, and that it is true.
But is it true?  Is there no other success that is more important than “failure at home?”  Is there no higher calling that a man or woman can have?  Is there never an occasion when a person has to put some other purpose above their family?  For instance, is the father who goes off to war and dies in the service of his country a “failure at home” because he is not there to provide and raise his children?

Let me take a specific example.  Ronald Reagan was arguably the most influential, most transformative, and most beloved President of the USA of the last 40 years.  He restored American confidence, stared down the Soviet Union–one of the major players in the peaceful and victorious resolution of the Cold War, and he inspired and aligned American politics in a conservative direction to such a degree that his influence and example is still cited.  Even if you disagree with his ideology, I feel that you have to agree that Ronald Reagan was a great success as a statesman and as a President.

However, Reagan’s first marriage ended in divorce.  Three of his children wrote books describing the traumas of their childhoods, and the emotional pain of divorce, loneliness, and grievance.  I don’t wish to get into all the details, but it is my impression that Reagan can be considered somewhat of a failure at home.

So, do we toss out all the accomplishments of Reagan the President, the Governor, the Statesman?  Does the good he accomplished on behalf of millions of people, all over the world, have any counter in the scales to the failures of fatherhood to his own family? I argue that his other successes do compensate.

Secondly, just what is it that latter-day saints mean by “failure in the home” anyway?  What is the that a mormon means when he uses this oft-repeated phrase?  The failure that is being warned against is the failure to transmit mormonism to the next generation. This is always the context of this quote.  Nothing else one does professionally or in any other aspect is as important as following the mormon plan and making sure that your children continue in the mormon tradition.  Family prayer, church attendance, home evenings, callings, etc. etc.  it all serves this purpose.  What the church leaders are saying is this:  don’t you dare place anything else in life as a higher priority than seeing your children go on missions, marry in the temple, and carry the faith into another generation.  This is how they define “success” in the home.  Why else would so many mormon parents, whose kids don’t follow this path, feel like they have failed?  If the son didn’t go on a mission, or if the daughter marries outside the faith, then in mormon terms, they have.

So for me this quote has gone from being part of the “great mormon focus on families” to being another example of the insidious and self-serving doctrine that the church uses to perpetuate itself from generation to generation.

Published in: on September 3, 2008 at 10:50 pm  Comments (11)  
Tags: ,

My brother’s big fat wedding

by Figaro

This past weekend we drove up to St. Louis for my brother’s wedding.  He is 12 years younger than I, a recently returned-missionary, and attending BYU-Idaho.  His bride is a lovely young lady who he knew from high school there in Missouri, and who joined the church a year ago today.  This is important, because they managed to have a non-temple ceremony on Friday, and still get to go to the temple this week, because of the timing of her baptism anniversary and their wedding.  We were grateful that we were able to participate in the wedding because of this timing, and it was also good for most of the happy couple’s family:  neither of the bride’s parents are LDS (indeed they are not very happy about her conversion), and my father has not been to an LDS church in years, divorced my TBM mother a few years ago, and has now happily returned to his Catholic roots.

So my brother and his bride got the best of both worlds:  a very nice outdoor wedding with all their friends and family and all the traditions, plus a private, small temple ceremony.  I am happy for them that they get to do it this way.  I think this is the way that all mormons in the USA should be able to do it.

There were some interesting exmo moments along the way.  I was the Best Man in the wedding, so I spent a bit of time with his groomsmen and friends, all of whom were LDS.  They asked me while we were getting ready where I had been married and where I had served my mission, and I shared that with them.  Later, when we were seated for the reception dinner, the groomsman nearest to me, I’ll call him S., felt he needed to check my glass before I gave my toast–he sniffed it and said, “it’s okay–not alcoholic.”  This amused me, especially as moments later I asked the waiter for a vodka tonic!  I am pretty sure I saw S. do a double-take at that.

Before the wedding an aunt and uncle of mine visited at my father’s house where we were saying.  My aunt asked me whether it was true that I had quit the mormon church, and I said it was.  She responded by saying “so you’re not a tight-ass anymore?”  I laughed at that.  Later in the weekend as we visited with them and with my father and his wife, Sillynut noticed and said something very interesting to me.  She said that we seemed to be accepted as adults now–equals who could handle difficult discussions, who you could relax and have fun with, and who had valid things to say.  It made me wonder how hard it had been for my relatives to deal with us as “tight-ass” mormons.  Had we come off that judgmental?  Had we come off as that deluded?  It makes me sad for the lost opportunities of the past, but eager for better things in the future.

My father also expressed some of his frustration and anger at the past–specifically at the weddings of myself and my sister, when he had been left outside of the temple.  Silly and I apologized to him for that, and I think he knows we didn’t do that out of spite.  I am very grateful that he was there for my brother’s wedding.  And this is another thing from my mormon past that I regret and feel angry at the church for.

Ironically my Dad said that one reason he put up with the mormon bullshit for years was because of the focus on family.  Though the LDS church may talk a good game about family, in reality the mindfuck of mormonism is highly damaging to families.  How is it pro-family to deny people the opportunity to share in the wedding day of their children/nieces/nephews/grandchildren/siblings?  How is it pro-family to keep the father busy with church callings 30 hours a week and the mother stuck at home with the kids?  Even Family Home Evening, the pro-family program par excellence, is really about continuing the church indoctrination in the home, and not about the family per se.

These were some of the observations and experiences that I found interesting in an ex-mormon context.  It was a great four days, and I wish the bride and groom the best of luck–I think they are going to need it!

Published in: on August 18, 2008 at 12:38 pm  Comments (5)  

Average church attendance

I received a call tonight asking me to participate in a survey about politics and abortion.  At the end of the survey the caller asked, for statistical purposes, what my average church attendance in a year was.  I responded with once a year as I’ve only been to a church service once in the last year.  (Fig wanted to go to a Christmas service.  It tanked, lol.  He didn’t want to go at Easter. 😉 )

Afterwards I was talking to Fig about the survey and the question at the end and he asked, “Did they want a lifetime average?”  I laughed and joked about how I could claim weekly attendance if I lived til 110…. and then I stopped and wondered if that was the case.  WAS I exaggerating?

My parents joined the church not quite 2 years before I was born.  They were sealed 6 months before I was born.  I have memories of attending church back before I turned 3.  I remember my first talk in Primary with my oldest sister helping me.  Since she is 7 years older than I am, that gives a very limited time frame that could have happened in.

So, I’ll pick age 3 as a starting point.  I’ve forgive the first 3 years of my life (though I do remember my baby sister being blessed when she was born and she’s only 2 years younger than I am.) and just use the last 29 years as a guide.

Oh wait, nope, I quit going right before my 31st birthday, so I have to take another year off of that.  So I’m down to 28 years.

I’m also going to give myself 4 weeks off a year for vacations and illnesses, which is being very liberal.  I was a very healthy child AND we didn’t do many vacations.  And when we did we went to church. 

So that’s 28 years, 48 weeks in my “year.”  I’m not going to count EFY’s, Youth Conferences, etc.  I can’t easily count the hours I spent in those and that should offset any errors in calculations anyway.  I’m not wanting to superinflate the numbers.  (I’m doing this as I go along, sorry for the stream on consciousness.)

So from age 3 through age 11 (9 years as I need to include all of age 11), I give myself a flat three hours a week at church.  I did conferences but I didn’t have to do all conferences, so I don’t need to take any additional hours into account. 

So 3 hours x 48 weeks x 9 years= 1296 hours at church.  Gah.

Next step will be shorter.  I’m taking ages 12 and 13 solely.  Using the same year length but adding in 2 hours a week for Young Women activities and that’s it.

5 hours x 48 weeks x 2 years= 480 hours at church for those 2 years.

Next I’ll take the 4 years of high school.  I was 14 when I started and I’ll take through age 17 (I turned 18 right after I graduated.)  School was 36 weeks long (180 days required divided by 5 equals 36.)  Seminary started a week or two into school and ended a week or two before school was out.  So I’ll whack off an extra month when I calculate that in.  God, this is going to require more thought.  Ick.  I never liked math.

Okay, I’m going to calculate seminary independent from the rest of the year.

Seminary is being calculated at 32 weeks a year (these weeks are 5 days long, not 7 days.)  1 hour a day.

5 days a week x 1 hour a day x 32 “weeks” x 4 years= 640 seminary hours.

In that same 4 year time I had the same 5 hours of church a week (3 hour block and 2 hour Young Women activity), plus I am going to add in stake dance (monthly, I went to them all.)  So I am going to add in another hour a week (4 hour dance is a little long  but should cover any other activities and such that I am missing.  Including that I was attending multiple sessions of General Conference and the General Young Women’s conference at this time.)

6 hours a week x 48 weeks x 4 years= 1152 hours of church for those 4 years not including the seminary time.

Now comes the uber-tricky calculations.  BYU.  How the HELL do I calculate 3 years at BYU?  Tuesday Marriott Center devotionals, religion classes, all sessions of conference, 3 hours of church a week, tunnel sing, ward prayer … Gah!  Then count the 3 months of lesser attendance due to summer breaks at home.  But then I have to add in the last year and temple attendance, which was weekly.  Hell, I went to the temple and did baptisms weekly for a year and a half prior to getting married and then going to do endowments.  Crap.  I hate math.  Why the hell did I think of calculating this up?  And now I need paper…..

Okay, once again I had to break it all up.

Religion classes I am going to assume I had 1 per semester (I think I may have taken 2 one semester but I can’t remember anymore.  This seems safe.)  I’m counting a semester as 12 weeks long and I was at BYU for 6 semesters.

3 hours a week x 12 weeks x 6 semesters=216 hours of religion class at BYU.

Weekly devotional…. I’m only going to count going to three a month because I know I skipped a few.  So three hours a month, 3 months (since I’m counting semesters as 12 weeks) and I’m taking off a semester for the ones I skipped after getting married, lol.

3 hours a month x 3 months x 5 semesters= 45 hours of devotionals.

Temple is the only other one I’m going to worry about.  Once again I’m going strictly under semesters and I’m only counting 5 semesters since I didn’t go much my first one out there.  I’m also counting 2 hours a temple visit.

2 hours a week x 12 weeks/semester x 5 semesters= 120 hours of temple attendance.

Now church for those three years.

3 hours a week x 48 weeks x 3 years= 432 hours of church for those three years.

The next 10 years I’m once again going back to basics.  I’m not going to count any Visiting Teaching, any extra calling meetings, any extra activities including Enrichment Meetings, Activity Days, Primary Activities, etc.  Just straight church time.  Not even counting temple attendance after leaving YBU.

3 hours a week x 48 weeks x 10 years= 1440 hours of church, which is an EXTREMELY lowball number.  But like I said, I’m not wanting to overinflate.

So, as long as I didn’t miss a calculation, I came up with 5821 hours of church and church instruction for 28 years.  That’s like 3.99 hours a week, counting 52 weeks a year, for those 28 years.  If I lived til 110 years old and just used THAT number of 5821 hours, I have a reserve of an hour a week of church for each and every week of those 110 years.

Which means I’ve gone to church more than most every Christian out there in my short 32 years.

I’m sure those numbers can be extrapolated out further (how many years or days or whatever did I sit in church over the course of my lifetime?)  Amazingly less than 1 year.  Like 242 days based on my numbers.  Which isn’t as depressing as I thought but then again, I’m not counting FHE’s, callings, etc.  But that is every second of those 242 days.  You want to just count waking time and it would be 363 days, so basically a year of my life.

13 days a year of my life (well, 28 years worth) I spent doing NOTHING but receiving direction from the church.

Just for comparison sake…. If I went to a different Christian church for 1.5 hours (long sermon but I don’t know….) 48 times a year (remember sick Sundays and vacations), I’d spend 4.5 days a year (16 hour days, same as I gave myself once I calculated in sleeping time) receiving direction from the minister.  Only thing is, I’m giving them half the amount of time we spent in church yet my number is 3xs bigger than theirs….

Wait, let me refigure something……  Have I mentioned I hate math?

If I refigure….. Using the 5821 hours, divided by 28 years, divided by 48 weeks (since that’s the number I used to figure out how much church “normal” Christians went to a year), I spent 4.3 hours a week in church compared to their 1.5 hours.

Like I said, I can extrapolate out til the cows come home.  Like if I had worked that same amount of time per year for $6.50 an hour, I could have made an additional $1341.60 (before taxes.)  Over 28 years (which won’t count because I was underage for almost half of it), I missed out on $37, 564.80

But yeah, I guess I can answer that I attend church weekly, since it appears that I have weekly church attendance credits built in until I’m 110.  At which point I will have to stop answering survey questions or admit to now being a part of the godless majority.  *Snerk*

Published in: on July 21, 2008 at 6:38 pm  Comments (5)  


Recently on my SIL’s blog, she asked for help on a talk she was giving about sacrifice.

sacrifices that we make that help build out character and our talents. Any thoughts on this? Ideas? Suggestions? Personal Experience in making sacrifices that have helped to build you character/talents????

It really got me thinking on the whole idea of sacrifice and I will admit to taking over the comments in her blog with my responses, lol.

I get the feeling that anytime something is hard nor not what we WANT to do, it becomes a “sacrifice.”  I really, really did not like the idea that sacrifices can be made to help build our character.  I think it’s a load of shit.  I don’t think people make sacrifices unless they already HAVE the character.  Otherwise they tend to do whatever the hell they want to in the moment.

I also think that “sacrifice” gets thrown around too easily, especially in the church.  It becomes yet another reason to feel good about ourselves.  It was mentioned that having kids is a sacrifice and that REALLY perturbed me.  My kids didn’t ask me to have them and take care of them.  They aren’t a sacrifice.  They are a joy.  It may be a pain in the ass to have kids a lot of days, but they aren’t something I have to endure (usually.) 

I get the idea that having priorities is viewed as sacrifice.  Giving up eating a candy bar because you want to be slimmer is a sacrifice.  Not buying the new toy at the store because you want to get a new car is a sacrifice.  Skipping the movies so you can afford to go to a concert is a sacrifice.  Making dinner for someone is a sacrifice.  Anything and everything that takes work or requires some thought, is a sacrifice.

Has the word lost meaning?  Has sacrifice become a shell of what it was before?

In the Biblical sense, sacrifice was taking the best of your flock (which was your lifeline and livelihood).  You took it to the temple, you gave it to the priest, and it was gone.  You didn’t get anything from it except maybe a connection to your god and your religion.  Maybe they did it hoping god would look down on them and bless them with worldly riches because they were so pure or whatever… Then again, is that sacrifice or gambling?

What do you all think?

Published in: on July 18, 2008 at 12:49 pm  Comments (3)  

My kids and Mormonism

About a week ago rmpmom asked if I would write about my kids and leaving Mormonism.

Many of you know that the reason I left to begin with was I did not like what my kids were being taught.  I didn’t like the manner in which they were being taught.  Doctrinal issues came later for me.  First and foremost was “You will listen and do what we want because we are the leaders and what we say goes.  We don’t care if you don’t like it because I am the leader and that is all that matters.”  Um, I think not.

I sat in Primary every week.  I know what my kids were learning. I realized that I did not think they would have the best chance in life if they kept hearing that week after week.  I wanted more for my kids.

So we quit going.

At this point I was spotty on my attendance at best.  I worked some Sundays so I didn’t have to always be there.  We rarely were making it to sacrament meeting ontime.  In fact, I think that became intentional.  The kids couldn’t handle it.  In order to get a pew you had to be there 40-45 minutes BEFORE church started.  And even then it wasn’t guaranteed.  If we got there at all beforehand we were still in plastic chairs in the gym.  It was hard to see and it was NOT comfortable at all.  The baby was JUST hitting nursery age when we stopped going.  I think she had been in about a month, tops.  We couldn’t keep her in a seat.  She’d wander around and she just LOVED thumping up and down the wood floors in the gym.  Or beating her toys on the chairs or the floor.  Stomping her shoes so they’d make noise.  And if she cried, her voice would echo through out the entire “chapel.”  It was a nightmare and we hated it.  Fortunately she was in nursery the last two hours because prior to that we never sat through a class anyway.  We were always walking her around.  It seemed so pointless.

So our attendance in SM had become spotty.  We’d arrive late, if we made it to sacrament at all.  We’d show up for the last two hours of church.  Ironic seeing as how it was usually the reverse.  People would go to sacrament and skip the rest.

I had started skipping Activity Days.  One, it’s stupid.  Two, they set it to end at 8:15 pm on a school night when elementary school STARTS at 7:15 am.  Three, when I refused to let my daughter stay later, they refused to let my DD have the snack since the snack was for the end.  Even though it had sat out on the table in full view.  It wasn’t her fault I made her get a good night’s sleep.  So, I was skipping that as much as DD would let me get away with.

When we stopped going the kids were actually pretty okay with it.  The younger two couldn’t have cared less.  The baby was oblivious and the next one up was a sunbeam.  Too young to care.  DS was a little older and he missed his friends.  However, once school started he was more than fine.  Every now and again, as a joke, I’d ask if they wanted to go to sacrament meeting or go hiking/swimming/have a big breakfast and play games.  Funny, they never ever picked church.  Huh.

Our oldest DD was and is more problematic.  She’d been baptised already, so she was into more than the others.  She’s also extremely intelligent for her age and had really taken the teachings literally and to heart.  She missed the friends too.  It’s hard for her to make friends at school and church filled that gap for her.  (Social awkwardness tends to go along with gifted children.  Not always though.)

She was also the one who wasn’t satisified with my vague answers when they asked why we weren’t going to church anymore.  I was very honest with her and told her that I did not like what she was being taught.  She argued it with me too, lol.  I finally told her that I did not think church was healthy and that if she wanted to go back when she was a grown up, she could.  She accepted that.

I still get our oldest DD and DS asking if they can see their church friends from time to time.  They miss them.  That makes my heart ache.  They’ve also asked if we can go to another church so they can have mroe friends.  We live in The South and that is the way socializing is done here.  Which complicated matters as I’m agnostic at best, lol.  Though Fig is more than allowed to find a church to take the kids to, if he desires.  And if they want to go with him.

We’ve slowly, slowly worked on deprogramming our children too.  Once again, the youngest two won’t have any issues.  DS wasn’t in too much and he’s very laid back so he’s going fine.  DD…. she was just in deeper.  She and I talk a lot and argue a lot over religion and views.  She has come to accept that she can believe one way and I can believe another and that’s fine.  She’s even quoted that back to me a time or two we’ve disagreed.  She knows I do not believe in Jesus.  She does.  She knows I’m not so sure about God, she believes in God.  She knows I think Joseph Smith was a very deluded, creative individual.  She’s not so sure.  But that’s okay too.  She doesn’t have to know.  I’ve been very careful to let her know that no matter what she believes, I think she’s wonderful, smart, and beautiful and I will always love her.  I just want her to have tolerance and the ability to make her own choices.

We did resign her membership in the church also.  She doesn’t know that.  I felt at the time that it was too sensitive an issue and she did not have a choice in it anyway, so I kept it from her.  I’ll let her know at some point.  When she’s an adult she can join the church again if that’s what she wants.  I will take the intervening years to work on teaching more tolerance, self-confidence, independence, etc.  I will do my best to arm her with what she needs not just in religion, but in life.

All along we let her know that she had no choice when it came to leaving the church, that we were doing what we believed to be best for her.  It’s been rough at times, but she knows we love her and she knows we’re doing this because we love her.  Had she been any older it could have been very ugly.  I’m so glad I got out when my kids were young enough to go with me.

I do think that the transition was easier because we made Sundays into family time.  We made a HUGE breakfast with the kids (they still ask what is for our “brunch” on Sundays, lol.) and we did fun activities.  That helped ease things a lot.

Published in: on July 8, 2008 at 10:54 pm  Comments (6)  

Mormons and Monsters….

Today the kids were watching Disney and Pixar’s Monsters, Inc.  I’ve seen this movie several times but this time struck me differently.

In case you haven’t seen the movie, I will try to summarize.

It takes place in a world of monsters.  The monsters are having an energy crisis.  They get their energy from the “screams” of human children.  The main monster characters, Mike and Sully, work at Monsters, Inc as “scare-ers”.  They have doors that they use to go into the closets of children everywhere, then they scare the kids to make them scream and the energy is used to power the monster world.

It is also well known in the monster world that children are toxic.  Any contact with a human child or any item from the human world results in massive decontamination efforts.  “If you aren’t decontaminated then you will die” is the message that you get.

Sorry it’s in Spanish but you’ll get the idea I think:



They cut off right before the guys in yellow shave the furry guy who had the sock on him.

Anyway, I was watching this today and the reaction “Boo” (she’s the human child who gets into Monster world) gets, and I thought, that’s so what I see and hear about with regards to Mormons and former Mormons!  Exmos are feared.  We’re tainted and toxic and any contact with us could lead to intense suffering.  We’re good if the Church needs us for something, but otherwise, we’re evil and feared.

Who knew Disney could be so deep?

Published in: on July 5, 2008 at 9:24 pm  Comments (1)  

Fear of the Forever Family

Fig and I have been talking a little about this topic recently.  We have some family things going on that have lent to this discussion. 

The only thing I’ve really heard from any of my family on leaving the church has been the hurt, pain, and betrayal that they’ve felt about their belief that I don’t want to be a forever family with them.  I understand, truly understand, where they are coming from on this.  I don’t share their thoughts or beliefs at all, but I know where their fear and pain are coming from.

My mom died a little over 5 years ago.  It was something that was very hard for me to handle.  I had just started becoming good friends with my mother, after a lifetime of clashing because I didn’t think she was as good as I deserved.  My solace on that has been that by the time she died, I didn’t feel or think that way anymore.  And she knew it.  She knew there had been a change and that I loved her and was there for her.

When she died we got a lot of “she’s in a better place”, “aren’t you glad you have the gospel?”, and “you’ll see her again someday…”  At the time I said that having the gospel did NOT make me feel any better.  One, I was mourning her presence in the here and now, not in the eternities.  Two, if the gospel were true, I’d have her regardless, if not, I wouldn’t.  Didn’t matter whether or not I had it. 

Not only that but now, 5 years later, I realize that the gospel actually made the whole situation worse, at least for me.

I know a lot of people take comfort in the fact that there have been ordinances done binding people together.  That allows them to relax and feel confident that they will be together.  It scared the shit out of me.  After all, it is ALL predicated on our obedience.

So after my mom died I realized that I HAD to be good enough or I wouldn’t be allowed to be with her again.  It put an exorbiant amount of pressure on me.  I no longer had to be good because being good was, well good.  I had to be good so I could feel my mother’s arms around me one more time.  It drove home the point that if I wasn’t good enough, I’d lose her and my husband and my kids.  There was no peace in that.  There was a lot of anxiety and stress beyond measure.  Suddenly everything in my life had deeper and more urgent meanings.  Every choice I made carried that much more weight.  Looking back it explains a lot about why I reached a point where I was terrified of making the WRONG choice.  So much so that I stopped being able to make choices.  It paralyzed me.  I truly and honestly believed (and still do to some extent though I realize logically how fucked up it is) that there is one RIGHT choice, a couple of okay to mediocre choices, and a whole slew of selfish, fucked beyond reason choices. 

I became obsessed with being able to make the RIGHT choice.  I had to make the RIGHT choice.  There was so much riding on each and every choice.  I stopped being able to feel that one choice was better than another.  If I did feel a certain way, I was almost inevitably told I was making the wrong choice by someone with more insight and purity than me.  It was a difficult thing to live through.  Especially when all you want is to have your family with you forever.  Something so small, so pure, so simple and it had become so awful.  Not only did I have to be good enough, I had to raise my children well enough so they never went astray.  I had to make my marriage work.  I had to hope that my mom was good enough too.  That her thinking Joseph Smith was a fallen prophet wouldn’t keep her out the CK.  That she wouldn’t be denied the CK if she didn’t accept my dad’s 2nd wife since they were sealed together.  So many variables.  So few things I could control.

I realized something amazing last night.  I don’t fear the forever family anymore.

Since leaving the church, and getting healthier along the way, I’m doing a lot better in just being able to live and enjoy life.  I don’t miss my mom as desperately as before, even though I have now lost the “assurance” that I had before that we’d be together forever.  I’ve come to realize that the ONLY thing I have an assurance on is the now.

I have my kids NOW.  I can enjoy the NOW with them, love them, spend time with them NOW, or I can spend my life focused on the forever.  For me, focusing on the forever sucked.  I lost so many nows because I was too wrapped up in whether or not I’d have the forever.

If I don’t see my mother again, I’m okay with that.  I loved her.  Her spirit, who she was, is always with me.  I want to see her again and if there is a hereafter then I will.  I don’t have to be perfectly obedient enough.  It’s not like Survivor where you have to win the contest to get to spend that day with your family member.  I don’t have to perform well enough in order to get the prize.

I don’t have to worry about my kids being perfect enough either.  I mean, face it.  Statistically speaking ONE of my close family members was going to mess up bad enough to not make it.  That would be hell.  There is NOTHING that would ever make that NOT hell.  Now, now I don’t fear the mistakes.  They’ll come.  But when all is said and done, it doesn’t matter anymore.  Because I don’t fear a judgement. I don’t fear the “loving punishment” that would accompany it.

I can just be.  My kids can just be.  My husband can just be.

And my mom can truly rest in peace.

Published in: on July 2, 2008 at 9:53 am  Leave a Comment