Episode 186: Live Cruise Recording: Apostates

18 comments on “Episode 186: Live Cruise Recording: Apostates”

  1. Anonymous Reply

    This really was a great podcast.  Some people’s comments nearly brought me to tears. Nice hearing the sea in the background.  Re- the going slow vs. going fast conundrum, my wife and I went from being active to going to the exmormon conference (looking over our shoulders all the while) and telling kids, parents, and siblings within a week.  This sucked for everyone involved, although there were some moments that felt very powerful and real at the same time.

    However, my wife was very slow in breaking the news to me about her unbelief.  She tried to get me to listen to John Dehlin’s “Why People Leave” and she was patient with me for 17 months.  She had been skeptical much sooner than I even knew, although I knew she didn’t like some of the policies and doctrines.

    I think there’s no question that my wife’s patience was very important for me.  There was simply too much baggage to unload, too much guilt to overcome, too much to deprogram. I still don’t know how I got out–the church was my entire identity.  The only thing that made me feel special.

    On the other hand, for some people, especially my parents, no amount of gradual exposure would have really lessened the impact.

  2. Elder Vader Reply

    – On going slow.  I’ve de-joined all the facebook groups like the VIP lounge because it makes it difficult for me to disentangle at a pace that works for me.  I end up mentally getting ahead of myself. 

    – On promiscuous disclosure.  I have a really hard time feeling like I have to answer any question asked of me.  I like being an open person.  But I’ve made progress here by choosing not to answer every question.  I’m usually open with the reasons for not answering people’s questions.  I liked the comment that suggested the phrase “I’m choosing not to attend right now.” 

    – On raising your kids outside the church (or even if one spouse is out and one is in and the kids still go).  I don’t think we have to yield the territory to the church.  At all.  Pick what values are important to you, and make an effort to instill them.  The website ‘deciding to be better’ has an interesting approach.  The typical holidays get a value and you celebrate those values during those holidays.  Other opportunities arise to speak to those values using the calendar.  I’ve been contemplating, for example, getting a special notebook for each of my kids, and on Sunday, sitting down privately with each of them and kind of making a journal with them.  What was your favorite part of the week?  If you could go back in time and change one thing that you did, what would you change?  (sort of a repentance thing… kind of)  Jot it down.  Turn the page and talk about how this next week is a fresh start.  At the end of the year they can go through it as they make their new years resolutions.  —- I’m just saying, no need to yield the positives to any other organization.  Its your family.  You’re the one who wants good things for your family. 

    • Megan von Ackermann Reply

      The promiscuous disclosure thing is interesting – do you think it’s because of the emphasis of lies of OMISSION as well as COMMISSION? I remember when I first encountered that and that feeling of, DANG, there goes that useful loop-hole!

      It certainly makes me feel that I have to answer any question put to me, and combine that with the desire not to make waves or be difficult and it’s really, really hard for me to ‘choose not to answer.’ It’s caused problems for me in non church-related ways when I’ve felt I have to answer personal questions I really don’t want to – or even shouldn’t.

      • Elder Vader Reply

        Yeah, SWK harps on sins of omission pretty hard in miracle of forgiveness.  I think the antidote here is the handy quote from Boyd K. Packer.  “Some things that are true are not very useful.”  I plan on bringing that quote up in totally unintended contexts until its repudiated by the church.  I’ve brought up before that it should be invoked any time someone is telling their kid not to confess to the bishop about masturbation.  But the comparison-ad-absurdum should be propagated everywhere.  

        In fact… earlier this week, my Dad asked me a totally manipulative / game playing question to draw out just how apostate I am.  I composed a thoughtful email telling him exactly where I was, with more information than he asked for.  Right before I hit ‘send’ my wife came up, and read the email.  She said to me “He’s playing games.  You don’t owe him anything like what you’ve written here.”   I concluded that she was totally right (I had been promiscuously disclosing again :)) but I hit ‘send’ anyway.  Because I’ve decided to own it.  

  3. Wes Cauthers Reply

    So bummed I wasn’t able to make this…maybe next year.

    John said the following:  “The way I understand Christianity when I read the New Testament is that we are supposed to be forgiving and accepting, but my personal experience, and this is my experience, is that often times the Christians tend to be the opposite…and there are a lot of great Christians out there.  But there is this idea that you have to conform to A, B, and C and then we will love you.”

    That’s the way I understand the New Testament too and unfortunately, much of my experience has been similar to John’s, both growing up as a Mormon, and as a post-mormon follower of Jesus.  This is an epic fail if there ever was one.

    Thankfully, I have also met those who do embody what the NT says about forgiveness and acceptance.  Sometimes they claim to be Jesus followers and sometimes they do not.  From what I could gather listening to this episode, it sounded like forgiveness and acceptance were both present on the cruise.

  4. Anonymous Reply

    Just wanted to say thanks for your podcast. Just when I’m really starting to get down, and really disappointed in my family’s response to my wife and I leaving, you all remind me that there are reliable people out there. 

  5. Jean Bodie Reply

    Sharing the issues we face as apostates is a very bonding experience. It was a bit like a great AA meeting. Many of us WERE in tears as we shared one anothers painful experiences.
    Church should be a warm, comfy nest for ‘everyone’ and it is very obvious that the Mormon Church is not that place for many.
    According to the Marlin K Jensen interview there are only 5 million active church members. Given the high numbers of children born to Mormon couples, that likely means only 2 million adults. How many of that number are older members who cannot quite let go of the whitewashed image that the church has created about its past?

    A faithful member from another country complains about the American Church trying to ‘colonize’ the other countries, turning the people into not just Mormons, but defacto Americans. The members in that country just don’t accept this colonization and continue to do it their own way. What is wrong with that? Why does a church need its members to buy into EVERYTHING that it teaches – not doctrinal issues but dogma and policy?

    When any group thinks that it is the only way to eternal life, pain and betrayal are bound to happen when people find out the truth. I would not go back though – even if the fully disclosed the truth. I am happier in the former Mormon community than I was in the church.

  6. Anonymous Reply

    Thanks to all for the podcast.

    At one point some very salient comments were made about how post-Mormon functions were voluntary (non-obligatory) and how this led to friendships that were more authentic than many experienced in church.

    I agree.  And a life without authentic relationships is hardly worth living.

    But I think it is worth mentioning how obligatory associations can bring a person into contact with people he or she might otherwise have little to do with but, once engaged, can lead to life- and attitude-changing relationships.

    Just as important, there are people who live on the margins for whom any contact, obligatory or otherwise, helps alleviate their suffering and loneliness.  I’m thinking of those who are physically unattractive, socially awkward (e.g high functioning autistics), ashamed of their circumstances, struggling with emotional problems, disabilities, elderly shut-ins, etc.  

    It seems to me churches do serve these people, obligatory as such relationships might be.  Personally I wish our society did not lean so heavily on religions to meet these needs.  But it does seem that religion, at its best, provides strong motivation for this service, which, as I said, can enrich the lives of both parties.

    Knowing people in such circumstances seems reason enough to tread softly about one’s own apostasy – though I understand as well that it is often the apostate who is suffering from marginalization.  This is, obviously, religion not at its best.

    I didn’t sense that the panelists would disagree with this.  Indeed, I think I can infer this from most of what was said.  I just wanted to add this.


    • Nathan R Kennard Reply

      It is worth mentioning how obligatory associations can bring a person into contact with people he or she might otherwise have little to do with but, once engaged, can lead to life- and attitude-changing relationships.This has largely been my experience. Upon reflection, I am not sure I had obligatgory associations outside missionary service. People can be so diverse and they all bring stuff that is so interesting. My experience probably comes from my upbringing.
      That being said, I am happy to have so many friends who share the experience of having once been engaged in their various religions but no longer. There has been an outpouring of love and friendship.

  7. David Dickson Reply

    I especially enjoyed hearing how everyone felt as though they were a friend. Imagine that happening with no one called to be THE GREETER, from my experience attending a Mormon meeting was anything but friendly.

    As a dear friend mentioned to me, it is sad that most Mormons will never know the joy and pleasure of having a wonderful conversation with a friend over a great slice of pie and an incredible cup of coffee.

    Being honest about who they really are and not confessing everyone’s sins.

  8. Anonymous Reply

    This was amazing!  I left the church about five years ago, but haven’t ever really talked to other ex-mormons until recently.  It is sooooooo nice to know that I am not alone in my feelings and experiences with leaving.  Thank you all for sharing so openly!

  9. Elder Vader Reply

    Well.  Own it… sort of.  I still don’t post using my real name here, although I am friends with you on facebook Megan.  

  10. Anonymous Reply

    *delurking alert*

    Thanks for this podcast. It’s so reassuring to hear that there’s light and richness on the other side of a faith crisis. Right now, all I see is blackness. So thanks to all of you for being open, compassionate, and hilarious.

  11. Michelle Chandler Reply

    Couldn’t wait to finish listening to the ep because someone triggered a comment for me: when I said something supportive of my young children as possible homosexual adults, my husband’s mother said, “I will pray even harder that the Second Coming arrives before they go down any road like that.”

  12. cobble26 Reply

    Sounds like an ex mormon testimony meeting.  Obviously, there is a lot of pain there.  Much of that pain is a result of ignoring or suppressing what you know deep down is the real truth about Mormonism for years.  I’m a firm believer that most Mormons know deep down that Mormonism is a delusion but they delude themselves and let others delude them. That is a big reason why they don’t want to hear the truth.  When they finally face the truth, they have alot of pain involved in breaking the addiction.

    • Nathan R Kennard Reply

      Some of the pain expressed may result from ‘ignoring or suppressing what you know deep down’, but this idea strikes me as blaming the victim.

      Often people who stop being mormon experience separation from close family members and friends. This separation can be painful. Also, sometimes a person feels pain when their feeling of a close connection with a god goes away. My experience points to these separations as the primary source of pain.

      • cobble26 Reply

        I’m sure that Separation from family and loss of a feeling of a close connection with God are sources of great pain and I don’t mean to minimize that pain.  My point is that ex mormons could have avoided much of the pain they feel when they leave the church if they would have been more honest with themselves through the years and been open to the truth about how really silly Mormonism is rather than deluding themselves into believing in Mormonism and centering their life around it. In other words, Ex Mormons who left the church in their teenage or early adult years because they knew it was ridiculous did not suffer  much pain.  It is the Ex Mormons who kept being deluded during their adult years that suffer a great deal of pain.

         At some level, the vast majority of Mormons know that the claims of Joseph Smith and Mormonism are fantastical.  That is why Mormons have to shield themselves from people who try to talk common sense and reason to them and why Mormons have testimony meetings once a month.  You don’t need testimony meetings to convince yourself of things that are really true.  You need testimony meetings to delude yourself and others.  Ex Mormons are victims in a sense, but most of them were also perhaps unknowingly victimizers of others because they were more interested in comfort than a real search for truth.

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