Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Home teaching....an inspired plan....

Today's post may be shorter than normal.  Lately, I haven't been as angry with,  or as focused on revealing the truth about the Mormon church.  I have been dealing with my faith issue for over 3 years--3 years of my own personal purgatory.   Although I would hardly classify myself as recovered from Mormonism, I have been able to find peace in a spiritual way.  No, I'm not going back to the Mormon church.  But I have found something better that has helped and allowed me to focus on more positive things in life.  I think we, as humans, are wired genetically to have purpose and believe in spiritual things.  It must be in our DNA.  With that,  I may be posting less frequently than I have in the past.   But don't worry, the Mormon church will continue to do irritating things that I must call foul, and trying to keep a mixed--faith marriage together will have its ups and downs.  So I will always be here, ready to post when things get ugly.

 Being in a mixed--faith marriage I have felt the bitter judgement of my wife.  I have seen the eyes of sorrow in the local ward members.  I am officially a project, now.  I'm on the radar and can feel the "love" coming from my fellow "Christians".  I have seen members go out of their way to talk to me.  I have been sought out and personally invited to attend a member's gospel doctrine lesson.  I was promised that I wouldn't have to answer any questions but that she really wanted me to be there, why?.  I have felt the "fatherly hand", of my local leaders, on my shoulder trying to feel my garment lines.  I have sensed the whisperings of church goers discussing if I have a porn habit. And I have sat through several home teaching lessons on trusting good sources, keeping faith, developing testimonies, etc...  Which leads into my post today, my latest experience with  home teaching.

I must be upfront and state that there is something very invalidating about having 2 neighbors, both men,  come into my home and proceed to lecture me about faith.  Not only because it is front of my kids,  but also because it was done in such a passive--aggressive manner.  It is offensive on many levels.  Of course my wife loves the lessons, she is silently praying that my issues will go away,  I can come back to the church, and lead my family to the celestial kingdom.  I have a suggestion, instead of ignoring my issues, how about talking about them directly?  How about actually asking my views and try to understand my perspective rather than lecturing me about "staying in the boat".   Only in Mormondom is it considered normal to go into a neighbor's home and begin lecturing an adult about their faith.  There are no boundaries in this organization. 

My wife and kids aren't stupid, these lessons are all directed at me, the apostate husband and father.   By teaching these lessons, it creates confusion in my kids minds about their father.  It is difficult  to keep the peace with my wife while keeping my dignity intact during this process.  I am undermined on all levels.  The Mormon  church and its teachings don't help in these situations--it only harms.  I get tired of members defending the church by saying its teachings are good and it fosters good morals.  I will admit that in easily defined topics such as whether or not a woman wears tank tops or drinks coffee, then yes it teaches those things.  Those topics are meaningless.  It doesn't make you moral if you only wear t shirts, drink diet Coke, or not drink alcohol.  On topics that really mean something, the church is failing badly--such as tolerance, understanding, and building relationships.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Whether it be by the voice of my servants...

With recent media exposure of some of the dark underside of the church, I feel the church must be worried about disgruntled members.  I can't show any data, but anecdotally  I personally know of many LDS members throwing up their hands and walking away.   They are fed up with the Mormon church.  Leaving is not easy, and many have lost family, friends,  and respect from their decision to leave the church.  To members, these people are broken and need fixed--queue up the "hastening the work" program. 

As mentioned in a previous post, part of the difficulty in leaving the Mormon church deals with destroying your self identity.   Nobody ever wants to attack themself. The unfortunate aspect of it all is that the member's self identity isn't really who they are, it is a pseudo identity dictated by others.  The leaders of the Mormon church seem to be trying to produce clones.  Where members all look the same and act the same.  Obviously they can't force change on the members race, but in areas that can be altered--the push it there.  Look at hairstyles, earrings, facial hair, modest clothing, even underwear.  There is an undeniable effort to make every member appear the same--almost like a dress code for a business. "I'm a Mormon, I know it, I live it, I love it", Ann Dibb.

The other aspect that adds to the difficulty in leaving,  is the blurred idea of God and the church/leaders.  The modern day Mormon church and its leaders has become God to the members.  In the Mormon paradigm, members cannot have a relationship with God outside of the church.  It is not possible.  In fact ask a member if you can be close to God without Mormonism,  you will get a cryptic answer.  They will claim that God does touch people's lives but if you want His influence everyday then you must be a Mormon.  So without the church/leaders, a person cannot truly be spiritual. This is emphasized in a talk by Henry Eyring in Oct, 2010;

I saw in that moment that he was one of the honest in heart placed by God in power among His children. We are a tiny minority among the citizens of that great city and nation. The mayor knew little of our doctrine and few of our people. Yet God had sent him the message that Latter-day Saints, under covenant to trust God and His authorized servants, would become a light to his people.

I know the servants of God who will speak to you during this conference. They are called of God to give messages to His children. The Lord has said of them: “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same. 

This reveals the mindset of the leaders of the Mormon church.  They are speaking for God.  In other words, they are God.  Eyring continues;

 You show your trust in Him when you listen with the intent to learn and repent and then you go and do whatever He asks. If you trust God enough to listen for His message in every sermon, song, and prayer in this conference, you will find it. And if you then go and do what He would have you do, your power to trust Him will grow, and in time you will be overwhelmed with gratitude to find that He has come to trust you.

I feel it is fair to replace the word God in his statements and put leaders or church.  Let's try that experiment;

 You show your trust in Him the leaders when you listen with the intent to learn and repent and then you go and do whatever He the leader asks. If you trust God your leaders enough to listen for His  their message in every sermon, song, and prayer in this conference, you will find it. And if you then go and do what they  He would have you do, your power to trust Him them will grow, and in time you will be overwhelmed with gratitude to find that He they has come to trust you.

 Interesting perspective, another little nugget from 1995 by Robert Hales;

There has always been a desperate need for the steady and reassuring voice of a living prophet of God: one who will speak the mind and will of God in showing the way to spiritual safety and personal peace and happiness.

Is it any wonder that there is hero worship in the Mormon church?  These men put themselves up on a pedestal blurring the line between  deity and themselves.  I feel this is done on purpose.  When members learn about the unsavory behavior of past and present day leaders, in essence it causes confusion, because in their mind, these leaders are God.  That is why it is so difficult to turn your back on the church.  When you turn your back on the church and its leaders you are turning your back on God.  This compounds the issue by 10 fold.  Fear of leaving God is the ultimate trump card.  


Friday, November 7, 2014

"We are not a cult..."

The recent interview of Jeff Holland on the BBC was an eye opening experience.  The interview by John Sweeney exposes the attitude these "holy prophets" have  toward the membership and those outside the faith--a total disregard for revealing factual and true information.   He looked extremely uncomfortable during the interview.  John Sweeney wasn't even openly challenging him, he was simply asking legitimate questions.  The most disturbing part of the piece was the blatant deception that was used, not only by Jeff Holland but by Michael Purdy.  It is a case of "lying for Lord",  that  unfortunately most members probably missed.

Why do these men lie, not only directly, but also through omission by not ever telling the whole story?  They duck and weave like the best boxer when faced with difficult questions.

I feel it is deeply programmed into the member's mind.  It starts out in primary with songs and lessons about obeying church leaders.  A popular song is "We thank thee oh God for a prophet".  Most every adult member can at least sing the first verse from memory.  I have seen this song create an up swell of fervor for the President of the church in various meetings.  The mentality is to protect the church and its leaders above all else, even before protecting  loved ones. If that means lying, covering up, giving partial truth, etc.., so be it.  But where does this control come from?  To answer that,  I pulled one article from the youth section on lds.org.  The title is Five Ways to Follow the Counsel of Priesthood Leaders.

When it is driven home to youth to follow leaders, then they will defend their leaders, and defending the leaders means protecting the church.  This unrecognized control is taught by the church, but begins to be internalized--leading to the member reinforcing the behavior on his/her own. 

Right away the article reinforces the concept of others controlling you.   That is--your leaders receive direction from for you.

Who can receive revelation that applies to me?

Revelation can come to you personally through the Spirit, and it can also come through priesthood leaders set apart for specific callings to help them receive guidance for those entrusted to their care.

The prophet receives revelation for the entire Church; your Area Presidency receives it for your area; your stake president for your stake; and your bishop for your ward. Revelation comes to these individuals in their callings, but it all comes from the same source: Heavenly Father.

So basically, you as a human being, can ask God for direction in your life.  The funny thing is that a stranger down the street, who is a bishop or stake president, can also get instruction for you in your life.  Members begin to turn over their free will to the organization.  They begin to stopping critically thinking, becoming a sheep and going along with what their shepard/leader says.  What if what your leader says is wrong?  Elder Delbert Stapley stated in General conference 1977; 

The Lord has also provided local authorities—stake and district presidents, bishops and branch presidents. In a letter from the First Presidency, dated January 29, 1973, Church members were admonished:
“The Lord has so organized His Church that there is accessible to every member—man, woman, and child—a spiritual advisor, and a temporal counselor as well, who knows them intimately and who knows the circumstances and conditions out of which their problems come, and who, by reason of his ordination, is entitled to an endowment from our Heavenly Father of the necessary discernment and inspiration of the Lord to enable him to give the advice which the one in trouble so much needs. We refer to the Bishop or Branch President. If the Bishop or Branch President needs assistance, he may go to the Stake or Mission President. These brethren may in turn seek counsel from one of the General Authorities, should such be necessary.”
If a matter cannot be satisfactorily resolved by the first steps of this process, we should be obedient and supportive of those who preside over us until further counsel is received.

Basically he is saying, so even if we, as church leaders,  don't know an answer or have taught something controversial, just obey until it is corrected.  Remember, there is no morality in simply following orders. 

What if their counsel is wrong?  What is the moral thing to do?   I have personally experienced this myself.  My bishop asked my spouse and I to follow his counsel and do a relationship experiment.  Now I must be clear, he is a nice and caring individual who no doubt wanted the best for us.  He asked us to write down the "spiritual things" that we had in common.  This was during a tumultuous time in our marriage--things were very rocky.  His recommendation was in direct conflict with what our marriage counselor suggested. I brought this to the attention of the bishop--who still felt strongly about his counsel.  Following his "inspired" counsel,  set us back months of progress.  Because members are conditioned to trust and obey their leaders--they take advice of an untrained bishop, who sells insurance, finance investor, etc., over an actual trained and licensed clinician. 

Every time a member sustains a leader, the concept of obedience is reinforced.  From lds.org;

Raising our right arm to the square when we sustain people is a physical demonstration that we promise to honor, respect, and support them as they seek to magnify their callings. Following the counsel of our leaders is one way we can sustain them. Leaders have wisdom and perspective, and their instruction is meant to help us live the gospel. By being obedient to their counsel, we will increase in faith and strengthen our testimony.

The church so often engages in double speak.  I honestly don't know how I missed it all these years.  The conflicting messages really messes with your mind.   Again from the church's website;

The principle whereby Church members sustain those called to serve in the Church, as well as other Church decisions requiring their support, usually shown by raising the right hand.
Jesus Christ stands at the head of his Church. Through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, he directs Church leaders in important actions and decisions. However, all Church members have the right and privilege of sustaining or not sustaining the actions and decisions of their leaders.

This is the defense a member would tell an ex Mormon.  You don't have to agree with your leaders, you have a choice.  But then the rhetoric is always sustain and follow your leaders.  This approach by the church creates confusion.  Timothy Conway, PhD states from his website www.enlightened-spirituality.org

 * Orwellian double-speak (Deikman: “manipulating language to suggest a meaning and value opposite to the real situation”). Codewords or buzzwords. Excessive use of slogans to bypass critical thinking. Manipulative rhetoric based on cunning or emotionalism. Reinvention of language—e.g., excessive amount of jargon—to widen gulf between insiders and outsiders and exert mind-control. Adopting new names and titles for members can also be suspect, especially when it is done to create insider group-dynamics. However, we must be aware that, in a positive vein, changing members’ names can facilitate a new sense of identity, less conditioned by former ego tendencies; monastics in major religions, for instance, undergo name changes to help effect a psychological “death” to the old ego-persona. 

The poor members of this church are so busy doing what they are told.  Temple work, home/visiting teaching, callings, family home evening, scripture study, etc... they don't recognize who is really pulling the strings in their lives.  They will defend the church and its leaders above all else.  The most telling concept is the promise made in the temple of giving everything they have to the Mormon church, even their own lives.  They are not giving all to God, but to the church.  With promises made in their "holiest" edifice, is it a wonder that members will cheat, lie and steal for the church and its leaders.  The parable of the lost sheep drives home my point.   Notice the story is about sheep not cats, that is done on purpose,  because sheep just follow orders.