Having gone through my faith transition, I feel that I'm more understanding of ex/non believing Mormons as well as non members. There are so many good people in the world. Wonderful, enlightened and nice people everywhere. It does not matter if the person is covered in tattoos, drinks coffee, alcohol or even smokes.
These habits do not affect the goodness of that individual. My eyes have been opened to the fact that Mormonism creates a false sense of reality in members. This reality harms relationships and severs friendships. Members feel that only they hold the corner on goodness and truth and everyone else is lost. But their reality is far from the truth.
A friend of mine has been questioning the church lately. She has seen the inconsistencies and problems in the history of the church as well the decisions of church leaders, local and general. Lately, she hasn't been as "committed" to church policies and counsel and her mother has taken note. My friend has posted pictures on Facebook with shorts that don't go to the knees and sleeveless tops. This caused her mother concern and to write a letter. Her mother stated she was prompted by the spirit to write my friend about her lack of obedience to church counsel. She even called out her own daughter's honesty in a recent temple recommend interview. This judging is a common practice experienced by many ex Mormons and/or nonbelievers. This shows the ignorance of the TBM response. They really have no understanding of the mindset of the disaffected member. I only ask to not judge me or anyone until you walk in my shoes. I have worn the Mormon shoe for 40+ years. I know and understand the mentality--now show me a little respect.
In the Articles of Faith, it states;
11 We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
Also in the Book of Mormon (Alma 30:9);
9 Now if a man desired to serve God, it was his privilege; or rather, if he believed in God it was his privilege to serve him; but if he did not believe in him there was no law to punish him.
In a recent BBC interview, Elder Jeff Holland stated;
"I'm not an idiot--ya know I've read a couple of books and I've been to a pretty good school. And I have chosen to be in this church. Because of the faith that I feel and the inspiration that comes".
I do find it telling that he stated he chooses to be in the Mormon church. He didn't say he chooses to believe in the church or that he knows it is true. He is making it sound as if the Mormon church is a club like the Elks or Free Masons.
What exactly is faith? Faith is defined as one of the following;
faithUse Faith in a sentence
faith[feyth] Show IPA
confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability.
belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.
belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.
a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.
I like the definition that Professor Peter Boghossian uses in his book, A Manual for Creating Atheists. Faith is pretending to know something you don't really know. Faith is all there is to religion. One can choose to "buy into" the group or not. Except with Mormonism--their way is the only way.
Why can't ex Mormons leave the church alone? Because we are judged and seen as broken by loved ones and friends. Why do members act this way? I feel one of the main reasons is that TBMs cannot accept someone would leave the Mormon church. It is incomprehensible to them. The church drills in the programming from nursery to adulthood. Being a TBM once, I understand her mother's reaction. I would have had the same response. Who in their right mind would leave such a good and helpful organization? According to an email by a friend, maybe I'm not mentally stable or have a mental illness. Now my friend is going through the same experience I have had.
Welcome to the club. The judging has begun.