Dec 19, 2012
Zilpha, John, Brian and Dustin reflect about Joseph Cambell’s hero’s journey and its parallels to those who have left Mormonism.
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By Rich Rasmussen
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Good Stuff. One point to add is that when you have a bad job and or a bad relationship and you know you were supposed to have that bad experience because you prayed and God told you to do it then you don’t learn new decision making skills. You go back to the same old broken way of making a decision that got you the bad results.
Also in defense of some jack Mormons I think they just figured out that the shit doesn’t work and they don’t want to do it any more they just don’t want to admit that it doesn’t work so they can avoid taking the hero’s journey. So they are stuck at the brandywine bridge.
Joseph Smith nativity scene?!? I know you confirmed it was true in the podcast, but… really??? I didn’t think the church could shock me anymore.
If an observer were to stumble across a group of Mormons gathered at a Baby Joseph nativity scene, singing “Praise to the Man,” it would be a tough sell to deny that the church worships him.
I’m guessing it is just a coincidence that this episode happened to come out shortly after the Mormon Stories episode of Carol Lynn Pearson and the Hero’s Journey of the Gay and Lesbian Mormon? It’s like the liberal Mormon version of when two asteroid (or whatever) movies come out at the same time.
I’m so happy to hear Mormon Expression again. It is like a mash-up of The Mormon Expositor and the Reasonability Podcast.
In reference to what John was saying about how religion is like someone with a cure that needs to keep you sick. I remember shortly after I left the Church looking through the Ensign, feeling there were still good messages I could take from it and realizing how almost none of it could apply to me, because it was almost all about having to overcome the difficulties attached to being Mormon. If you take away the Mormon, most of the becomes irrelevant. For example, lots of advice about not feeling to much guilt from sins or not judging other people who aren’t as good at keeping the commandments etc. The burden of Mormonism is so great the most of Mormonism is about having to cope with the burden of being Mormon.
“I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be wo…oh wait, I did say it would be easy ‘For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Thank you so much for the time you’ve all put into these podcasts! I’ve never made a comment before, but have found them very validating, interesting, and comforting this last year as I’ve been transitioning out of the church. I’m a counselor/therapist and spend a great deal of time reflecting on the process of change. I have been thinking a lot about “mythology,” dreams, stories, etc. recently and their purpose in our experiences. I’m a 32 year old single female (never been married), and I’ve noticed how I’ve always been so drawn to fairy tales and stories about romance.
In the last few years it has somewhat distressed me (felt some shame about it) as, now knowing more from my own experiences of “deeper love,” and the experiences of clients, I believe that “those” kinds of expectations from relationships are not in line with reality. So…I’ve been practicing a kind of observation as I’ve watched my responses to these kinds of stories (it was either that or repressing the natural longing for them). I’ve come to notice that for me (I think for others it could be other kinds of myths & stories) there is really something that opens me up (I feel more expansive, creative, alive, etc.) when I connect with a good romantic love myth. I think the reason is around the symbolism of what it means for me in my inner world. I know I’ve been doing a lot of work to honor my own feminine side, and in a sense fall in love with her and protect her, since while growing up, “feminine” (or right brain) qualities were not valued as highly in my family as the “masculine” ones (and the feminine qualities are where I’ve come to find many of talents lie).
So, my comment is a thought in regards to what you said about “romantic” stories/movies. Now, having a little more clarity on what they mean for me, if I have a child that loves them, I wouldn’t encourage them to repress it, judge it, or feel guilty just like I wouldn’t encourage a child to repress their natural liking of “warrior” stories or something of the sort because I don’t agree with war (almost ever). I think that whatever myths/stories we’re drawn to have information for our personal evolution and development. In fact, it seems whether we’re averse to a certain kind of myth or whether we love a certain myth there’s some “emotional charge” that carries information for us about ourselves.
There’s my thought on myth for today
ps. Robert Johnson has some interesting books on his thoughts around feminine and masculine psychology and mythology (they’re called…”he,” “she,” and “we”). He is influenced by Jung who talks about whether we’re female or male, we also carry aspects of the opposite gender (much like the symbol of the yin & yang), and to feel more balanced, need to find a balance with our own opposite gender energy (and this will often show up symbolically in dreams, stories we feel emotional response to…whether pleasant or unpleasant, and just in the life patterns we play out). hmmm…I don’t know…not easy to bring unconscious conscious and such, but I have found that exploring my own reactions to things without guilt and judgement and being honest with myself has been a really helpful way to better understand where I’m trying to go with life.
It’s funny you guys used Lord of the Rings as an example and mention Aragorn, but not Gandolf’s transformation from Gandolf The Grey to Gandolf The White.
It’s interesting, the comment about not as many women are willing to take the hero’s journey as men. Being divorced and hanging out in the LDS Mid-singles scene for the last 3 years, I have dated a lot. The stories women tell about their bastard ex-husbands always fascinate me. The one constant is that a vast majority of men (80%+) go inactive after a marriage where they had once been very active, while the vast majority of divorced women stay very active and are likely to even increase their devotion. I think there are a lot of reasons for this, but women receive most, if not all the social and financial support from the Church after divorce, giving them a lot of reasons not to go on any hero’s journey. A hero’s journey into ex-Mormonism is vastly more expensive for a divorced single woman of for in her early 30′s, than a divorced man who may have his kids every other weekend and has been the sole bread winner all along, so does not face financial crisis like most of the divorced single woman who were told to put their education behind the baring of children.
The part where you said they want to turn Joseph Smith into a hero? They used to say he’s done more for mankind save Christ only. I have not heard that statement in general conference, in a manual or The Ensign in a long time. The TBM’s I’ve tried to get thinking, when I mention something less than favorable about Joseph Smith that can’t be disputed, they tell me “he was only a man.” I think the Church has inoculated against the J.S. worship of the past, very subtly over the last few years…possibly allowing books like Rough Stone Rolling to be sold in Deseret Book Store.
This was so awesome. I know for me I kept wanting something to happen to me. i wanted to get excommunicated or have someone else tell me it was okay to leave. I am so glad that that never happened–that I was able to “excommunicate myself” and find myself along the way of leaving religion–specifically Mormonism. One of my favorite movies ever is “Ever After”…why? Because the princess rescues herself!!!
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I loved hearing your voices again and working through the complex issues that leaving the church has created in my own life and the lives of people I love. It isn’t an easy path that’s for sure and you demonstrated that perfectly in the things you chose to discuss. Good dynamics and a great idea to bring Dustin on to share his thoughts from a former JW perspective.
One of my first new friends after leaving the church was a former JW and I was shocked at the amount of crazy we both had believed. It was so therapeutic to me to have him to talk to since he had long since worked the crazy out of his thinking. I think the most oft repeated phrase I have heard in the past 6 years is, “How could I have believed that?”
Great job – glad you are back.
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