Episode 247: The Ex-Mormon Struggle for Identity

14 comments on “Episode 247: The Ex-Mormon Struggle for Identity”

  1. icebreaker Reply

    It has been introspectively interesting as I have recently made decisions in opposition to church teachings that I have felt the comfort of “the spirit” in the process “testifying” that my actions are right. So for me, not only do the prophets contradict past prophets, but the “spirit” contradicts past promptings from the “spirit”. I will also have conversations in my head with “god” verifying that there is no “god”. So, yeah kind of messed up – but I’m so used to processing sincere decisions in this manner that it is kind of funny. It’s like praying to “god” with the sincere question of “Do you exist?” and he answers me “No”.

    And of course this is proof positive that I have been making up the feelings of the “spirit” and what I account as my revelation from god. Or at least attributing the source of these feelings to entities that do no exist – (i felt the “spirit” as I typed that).

    I thought of this in response to the talking about how an ex-mormon will act like a mormon, but just the opposite. I have heard many strong testimonies from others about how untrue the church is – when really I just don’t want to hear any kind of testimony. But, at the same time – wow! is it deeply engrained into every little thought I have. Or, you might say that it is without a shadow of a doubt attached to every fiber of my being.

  2. Justin Carlson Reply

    Clearly those feelings are Satan’s counterfeit, right? So speaking of my new boss at the crutch factory, I wonder how people who leave Mormonism AND remain theist deal with the Satan thing.

  3. icebreaker Reply

    let’s see what the possibilities for my situation could be

    1) Sometimes it’s god and sometimes it’s satan

    If this is the case, there is NO WAY for me to tell the difference so I don’t care anyway

    2) It has always been satan and he is messing with me.

    Well, then where is god – I must suck so bad that god doesn’t know how to communicate with me – so I also don’t care. But, satan is warped, but a little funny.

    3) The spirit reveals what is best for me at the time – like, it testified that mormonism was true in the past because that was best for my life at the time, but now it is not, so the spirit testifies that I should leave

    This model introduces relative truth at an individual level and sounds more like a dangerous mental disease.

    4) I just made stuff up in my head to try to be a good boy, because good boys feel the spirit

    This seems to make the most sense – although, also sounds a little mental.

    5) Feelings like these are natural and I was conditioned at a young age to associate them with all things Mormony and truthy. Kind of like someone saying “If ice cream tastes good, you should eat a lot of it every day” and so I got fat.

    I’m not sure on this one. If you’ve never been churchy is feeling the “spirit” natural?

    Did I miss any plausible explanations? – I am open to non-plausible too, as long as they are funny.

  4. aerin64 Reply

    Great cast as always.

    I wanted to take exception to the idea that sticking around former mormon circles is unhealthy. A handful of third way former mormons do stick around and continue to post on various fora. I think that can be proper and healthy – both as a model of someone who has left mormonism (but still remained sane) and as someone who isn’t consumed by anger. I think it’s a great message of hope for people currently in the throes of leaving and searching for a new identity. The idea that it is possible and people have done it.

    Of course, each person decides where to spend their time, and how much time to spend. There is quite a lot to life outside of the internets. But, particularly as someone outside of Utah, it’s nice to know that there are other people who understand what being raised mormon was like, and what might be frustrating in dealing with family members/friends who remain mormon. Many people grow, change and spend their time in other places, and that’s fine as well.

  5. Nat Reply

    John, great episode. I just stumbled onto your podcasts about 2 months ago and have enjoyed hearing the snark in my head about the church come out of others mouths. My husband and I are on our way out of the church and of course navagating that has been no easy task. At the end of the podcast you asked for Ideas about ways to provide support in moving on. I soooo want to move on but our biggest hang up has to do with our kids. Both of my children have special needs. My oldest has high functioning autism and the younger has bratty child syndrome, I mean ADHD with Impulse control issues and other assorted loveliness. I have spent so much time and effort bringing awareness and training in our wards about special needs and the thought of trying to do this elsewhere is exhausting. My Oldest son struggles to make friends and I feel so selfish saying sorry big guy we aren’t going to church anymore. They both need a social network but living in the south leaves few options except joining another church. The UU’s here are nice but are so liberal that my husband and I groan whenever we sporatically attend. Though not nice to say, they are the rejects from all the other church’s around here.

    I know I am not alone in feeling a little trapped as a special needs parent. The doctorine that the church teaches makes us feel all warm and fuzzy about our children. If you try to start to think about the bum deal our kids get and us to some extent without the warm fuzzies of the after life it can get downright depressing. Now that this is a novel, I’m not quite sure what the solution is or how you can help. I’m still trying to figure it out myself. But there has to be something that could help. Like a therapy group for parents of Special needs kids who need support but are wanting to get out of the church.

  6. Maysie Reply

    Are you donating swear jar revenue to the Church? Might be more effective if you did.

  7. Pingback: My General Conference | Reflections

  8. Chrissy Dunaway Reply

    John, I love this that you said in the podcast: “The universe became self-aware in us….We’re able to see things and contemplate the universe itself, that we’re part and parcel of, that hasn’t happened maybe ever.”

    After over 15 years out of the Church, I’ve come to the same conclusion, that we are the universe observing itself. There’s a quote attributed to Edward R. Harrison that articulates the same thing: “Given enough time, hydrogen starts to wonder where it came from and where it is going.”

  9. Steve Reply

    I thought this was a great podcast, however it seemed targeted to those who are either single or whose families have left the church together. For those of us with spouses who for whatever reason want to continue believing, many of the suggestions aren’t practical. If maintaining the peace means attending Sunday meetings, even just Sacrament meeting, doing something else on Sunday may not be practical or advisable. Also, while I agree that the DAMU forums are often echo chambers that can stoke anger at the church, they can also provide a much needed stress release valve. I’m grateful that Laura still maintains a great relationship with her extended family. But sadly, many of us have experienced the kinds of abuse and alienation she described, and the DAMU forums can sometimes be our only outlet or therapy.

    I’m grateful that White Fields is putting together a conference for those in mixed faith marriages. For those of us who can’t attend, I’m hoping the proceedings will be recorded and made available later.

  10. Leslie Reply

    I have a love/hate relationship with Mormon Expressions, and this episode reinforces the love. The last half of this broadcast was touching and inspiring and transformative. Thank you. My understanding of my own identity has been greatly helped. My understanding of the practice of continually asking, “Who am I?” has also been greatly enhanced.

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