Wednesday, September 6, 2017

It is a Festivus for the rest of us...

I decided to dust off the lap top and post some of my thoughts. Recently, I  feel like I am in a decent spot, in relation to the Mormon church. Although I have resigned, my wife and kids are still active and believers. We make it work, although we went through hell to get here. I love my wife and we have kind of "agree to disagree" approach to faith and life. It works for us and I feel that we are in the best spot we have ever been, but that is my perspective. Although at times, the Mormon church, does feel like a third party in my marriage. It didn't before I left, maybe because I didn't recognize its presence. But now that the glasses are off, I see it more clearly.

Although, I have been somewhat content with my relationship with the church, I was recently triggered, leading me to pen another opinion of this so called "God's true chruch".   I jotted down a few ideas going through my head. It may be a rant, I don't know for sure. But I do know it is some bottled up frustration I've had with it. I know members feel like us "bitter" ex-mormons can't leave it alone. But what when the local LDS leaders keep trying to reach out and love bomb an ex-mormon, like myself? I guess they can't seem to leave us alone either.

The church machine continues to provide one PR disaster after another. It seems like about every few months, some policy comes out, something is said by a leader, or something else surfaces that really makes the church look bad.  Personally, I have come to the conclusion that the church has become focused on several issues, the hills they will die on I suppose. The first is homosexuality. I believe this will continue to drive a nail into the church's coffin. It is already causing faithful members to push back on church leadership and their backwards policy. There are many believing members who are experiencing pain because of this policy. It is destroying lives and the church leadership should be held accountable. Someday they may, since karma has a way to come back and bite you.

The second front is a double down on obeying leadership...if the general leadership is even worthy of that word. There is a push, it seems, to find and push those on the fence out  of the church. It is as if they only want the most fundamental members left.  If they keep going they may become the church Joseph originally started. There seems to be a "sifting of the wheat and tares" to get those on the fence to make a decision.  It's either the church or nothing. There is no middle ground.  This is just my opinion, no hard facts to support the conclusion, though. Just going off of trends I see on social media and the general media outlets. I feel that the church, with all the effort to make it more appealing to non members, has taken one step forward...three steps back.

The third is a push to be more transparent on their truth claims and history. I applaud the recent LDS essays on the history and foundational claims. However, it is a little too late. There is no excuse for not teaching this information in all of the approved manuals, missionary discussions, and lesson books in the past. The excuse,  apologists use, "the information was available, you just didn't do your research",  is insulting and gas lighting. I have debated a couple of LDS apologists online over the CES Letter. A compiled document  containing many of the problems of the LDS church's history and doctrinal claims. After the exchanges, I decided to not engage these "self proclaimed" philosophers and historians.  I became tired of the inability of them to see the how all these topics are related, and when looked at with an unbiased eye, the whole thing crumbles. From redefining terms like "translation", to "sex less marriages", it is mental gymnastics 101. One example comes to mind; the claim that Joseph Smith didn't have sex with  his plural wife Helen Mar Kimball. She was 14 at the time of the marriage. But what about Fanny Alger? She was 16 when he was caught having sex with her in the barn.  And this happened in 1831, years before the plural marriage "revelation" was given. So Joseph was having an affair with a teenager, years before plural marriage was even considered. The answer, "well Joseph knew of the plural marriage revelation as early as 1831". Well that's convenient. Let's just move the "goal post" retroactively to make our narrative fit.

Okay, to give the church a mulligan,  let's do what Neil Anderson, a so called "apostle" said, and "give Brother Joseph a break". What about the next in line Brigham Young? He certainly had sex with many women. He was not a good person, in my opinion. I would argue and say he was outright evil. The orders he gave to wipe out the Native Americans are appalling and disgusting. Just read the Journal of Discourses, some of what he preached will make the hair on the back of your neck stand. What about his cover up of the Mountain Meadow Massacre? These leaders weren't honest or good men by any stretch of the imagination. Why isn't he brought up? Out of all the good men and women in the world, I am suppose to accept that God chose that guy? A racist, theocratic thug who ruled the Utah territory with an iron fist. That is also insulting and just plain offensive. But he isn't brought up or any of the others after him, when discussing polygamy, only Joseph. I guess I need to put on my believing glasses. "We all knew Brigham was an asshole, so everything is just peachy.  But don't even think about calling Joseph a bastard". "If you just look at each thing individually, it is okay". "Don't think too hard about it". "Just stick to the basics".  Yeah, I did that for over 40 years, no thanks.

Whew, I am done. I have aired my grievances for today. It is interesting, although out of  Mormonism, I still feel it on my hands. Like oil, no matter how much I wash, it is still there. Hopefully, overtime I won't feel the need to post. But at the moment, a little ranting  helps.

Dave Johnson

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

I felt like adding a post about something that has been on my mind lately. After a discussion with a loved one, I have come to the conclusion that out of all living things on earth, we as humans, are the most messed up.  A simple cartoon, ScoobyDoo revealed the most shocking truth; the only monsters on earth, are humans.  I believe we, as humans, have become so blinded by the fast paced life, education, family traditions and beliefs that we have forgotten what is most important. Love....

There is so much hate and judging in the world.  Everyone has met someone they didn't like, it is human nature, I guess.  But deep down if we look at some of the reasons, I wonder if there is one underlining common theme? I think in my case, there was. I feel it is because someone is different than me.  Maybe they looked different--making me feel uncomfortable. Perhaps they have a tattoo, multiple piercings, drank alcohol, or a radical appearance. In the past, I do know that if someone had a different belief system than I did, I tended to judge them unfairly.  I apologize to everyone out there I may have judged and perhaps not have engaged with, although I doubt they are reading this small little blog. But at least it is out there.

Traveling down my path has brought a couple of ideas into my field of vision. I am not going to lie, I have been to my own personal hell.  It has been like coming back from a long hike under a scorching sun in the desert. I was tired, beaten down but grateful. I would never wish my path on anyone else, but I don't regret it. I learned how beautiful life is when there is variety and differences. When I look at anything in nature, whether an animal, fish, flowers, trees, etc...the most beautiful are the ones that are different and have many colors and patterns. I try to apply that same belief to humans now. I wish I could have seen the beauty in others earlier in my life. I missed out on possible friendships because I was only comfortable with those that looked and acted like me. Again I am sorry...

The second theme ties in with the last paragraph. I have finally become more empathetic with others who are different. I have learned to try to hold back judgement, because I haven't walked their path. We all have different roads we travel.  Some paths are wide, some are narrow, but they are each our own. All we have to judge is our own perspective, and that isn't enough, we need to try to understand others.

 I know I have been guilty of doing both of these. I have judged family members, loved ones, friends and complete strangers. I can only continue to try to love those around me.  Love really is the way for me now. Thanks for reading

Dave Johnson

Friday, November 20, 2015

I guess Elvis has returned from the grave....

Just a few more thoughts running around in my head...which I wanted to voice on virtual paper.  The recent "clarification" of the new policy of the church has done little to stop the criticism nor the pain created from their handbook change.  I have talked to several believing friends about their feelings of the change. Their response has been the church's reason; "the protection of the children".  I cannot fathom the pain this policy has caused to children of the LGBT community nor to the parents  themselves.  Even many believing members are struggling with this change.  This policy has been the final straw for many fence sitting members to resign.  I  understand the struggle to leave the church.  It is not easy nor would I wish it on anyone, but I am so happy I did it. 

I just wanted to vent about this policy and the new class of member it created.  As an apostate, it seems weird and surreal to think that my children can progress and move along in the church but a believing gay person, who is living with his/her spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend cannot.  If I didn't resign from the church, I should have been kicked out.  It would have been a matter of time. I came to the conclusion that it was all a lie. I ranted and posted things online. I was active on ex-Mormon chat groups and sites.  I debated my bishop in his office for over an hour toward the end of my belief.  I was becoming more outspoken and vocal about the church and its teachings/policies/doctrine.  Considering all this, my kids could still be baptized, ordained to the priesthood, and even be on the records of the church.   My gay neighbor, sorry you are out of luck.

I have since gotten to a better spot.  I don't feel the anger as I once had.  I have "moved on". But I don't think one can totally and completely "move on"....we all can slip back into the anger phase.  We are all human.  But to be honest I am not angry about this handbook change, only sad by this whole circus.  I am married to a beautiful wife who is a complete believer, my children are active and fully participate and believe in the church. We are doing the best we can to navigate my faith change.  We have grown as a family and are dancing around the elephant in the room. 

The point of this post is to show that if the church was really concerned about the children, they would apply the same policies to my children and their situation. They are hearing that their father, who is not perfect but a good person and father, is wrong, mistaken and lost.  I know it has and will continue to confuse them. But the church doesn't apply the same rules and restrictions to my family as it does to my neighbor who is gay.  The gay members are a new class of members.   The church has created a new caste system.  And I, in all my apostate "ness", is on a higher level than my gay friends.   I know it all comes down to perspective but the rules should apply to of us fellow apostates.

Dave Johnson
Salt Lake City, UT
AKA C.S.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

I had to dust off the keyboard to write one more entry....

I know this topic has been discussed multiple times over the last week. It has been picked up by the AP.  There are many blogs and podcasts that are far more articulate than mine.  But borrowing a Mormon phrase, " I would feel remiss if I didn't tell how I feel..".  In all seriousness, I am completely floored by the latest "disaster" created by the Mormon church.  Who is in charge of the Mormon church?  What the hell is going on downtown?  It is almost as if Jesus really isn't in charge..... mmmm, interesting thought.  This organization has shaken the bee's nest instituting this policy. People are upset, and rightly so. This decision is showing what the Mormon church really is; an out of date, uninspired, ethnocentric and bigoted "good old boys club".  Run by a group of men out of touch with what is really happening in people's lives.  They are surrounded by "yes" men that will roll out the red carpet and hang on every word spewed out of their mouths, as if God Himself has issued it.  And now look at the fallout.

I must be clear, the church has every right to decide who can stay and who must be kicked out.  But when innocent children are involved, the gloves come off.   The church, in an attempt to lessen the damage, has claimed it is for the children. The ironic thing is that many of the people affected by this policy  were created by the church. This occurred  when the church  pressured gay men and women to marry the opposite sex.  They claimed it would help them "overcome" their same sex attraction.   What a complete disaster.  I will state that 20 years ago, the LGBT movement wasn't well accepted or even completely understood. But if God really is charge, I'm sure he would have directed his spokesperson to  not push marriage for these people.  But I am only guessing because I am not a prophet.

To claim that children of gay parents will be protected by waiting to be baptized, or progress in the priesthood is an attempt to save face.  Why does  it only apply to children of a gay parent?  Or a polygamist child? (Again, started in Utah by the Mormons). What about the child of a rapist, an abuser, criminal, drug addict, prostitute, etc...the list is endless. If it is so important to have children wait, why not let all children wait until they are 18.  I don't know one 8 year old  being baptized, mature enough to really understand the commitment he/she is agreeing to.  They say they can still come and participate.  Yes as an outsider.  They are still hearing the anti-gay rhetoric.  Only they are now looking in from the outside.  It shows that they are not welcome.

In my opinion this policy will basically cause two things....1. Further isolate these children who were raised in the church and paint an even bigger Scarlet Letter on them.  2. Force closeted gays to stay in the closet because now their decisions impact the well being and church status of their children.  This policy is indefensible.  I also feel for the members who have to justify and support this policy.  This is a train wreck, pure and simple, and there will be extensive collateral damage.  Pray for the children.

Dave Johnson AKA C.S.
Salt Lake City

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Now Elvis aka Dave Johnson has left the building...

I decided to post one last time. I hope all are well in their battles with this organization called Mormonism.  The reason for this post is to be honest with myself and others.  I started this post under an alias, to protect myself and my family from possible fallout.  I chose the abbreviation of C.S. because C.S. Lewis was my favorite Christian author.  I feel that it is time to state my real name. I'm not worried about the consequences anymore.  The process of going public with a change in faith is not easy, especially in a fundamental religion such as Mormonism. I feel that it has less and less control over my lif-which means I'm healing.  My name is Dave Johnson, I live in the Salt Lake valley and this is my blog.

D.J.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Elvis has left the building....

I feel this is my last post....this blog has saved me, along with many of those on the different exmo boards.  I have been able to move on, mostly, from this organization called Mormonism.   I am slowly getting it cleaned off my hands.  Sometimes I still feel its residue on my fingers, but the majority of it is gone.  I don't want it in my life anymore.   I feel for those stuck within in grips.  It gives no mercy, and takes and takes.  Sure I will still frequent the boards, members will still say stupid comments, but I feel it doesn't have control over me anymore. I hope this blog may have helped others in some small way.  It was, from the beginning, about helping me.  I hope you all find peace and joy.   Keep up the good fight.

CS

Thursday, January 15, 2015

I've moved on from the last control method of Mormonism...

I was recently informed of some possible copyright violations with some of my posts.  I have always tried to give links and credit where it is due.   I wonder if once a blog or website reaches a certain level- it shows up on the radar.  I guess no more pictures--back to just words. 

I have gone through the stages of grief while exiting the Mormon church.  I have moved out of my angry phase, although the organization and its members can still do things to trigger me.  I just want to move on and be completely free of its reaches, unfortunately,  I still have family members under its control.   Today, I have found that it just doesn't get to me as before.  It is only a belief, just like any other pseudo science product.  The members believe in it.  That's great, just allow me the same right.  Have a great day.

CS