Episode 284: What I learned being a Mormon and why it wasn’t all Bad

3 comments on “Episode 284: What I learned being a Mormon and why it wasn’t all Bad”

  1. Jan in Gilbert, AZ Reply

    I just listened to this podcast and want to say thank you. I really
    appreciate having the need to find ways to build a sense of community
    and caring for our neighbors given as a challenge. I have naturally been
    sorting through the positive and gems of truth I learned as a Mormon
    and seeking to find ways to keep the good. Bottom line for me is
    developing unconditional love for my fellowman including being able to
    retain the ability to relate to and enjoy my Mormon neighbors and family
    members. I have been pretty successful. One thing my husband and I do
    is invite neighbors over for conversation around our outdoor fire. Our
    acre lot provides a bit of country in the midst of the city and we find
    value in just getting to know others better in the way John mentioned he
    did at ward campouts. It is amazing what we can learn from others that
    is helpful to us and also enables us to give needed support. I also
    enjoy studying material that assists me in changing my perceptions and
    world view. Books by Eckhart Tolle, Neale Donald Walsch & his
    Conversations with God books, A Course in Miracles and related books
    such as “Return to Love, Reflections on the Principles of A Course in
    Miracles” by Marianne Williamson are very helpful. I am learning to
    respect everyone’s life journey, to appreciate the diversity and find my
    own sense of peace. Love to all – may you enjoy the season!

  2. Gabriel von Himmel Reply

    “Some things that are useful are not very true.”

    John, being sanguine about the Mormon Tribe(s) can be measured by understanding testimony. Through The Law of Witnesses, and the Mormon Bible there is founded Mormon Exceptionalism; Mormon Scripture is at best ambiguous allowing Mormons to do most anything in the name of “Our Heavenly Father.”

    The sense of Community is, of course, tribal in nature; an acquired taste in cultural norms, BUT, insistence on being “Chosen” tips the balance of any Mormon Good generated by the Tribe. The Moral Hazard is compounded moment by the moment as we move forward in time.

    The social and environmental costs are mounting to vacate any Mormon Good by the tribe; the rest of the world rotates ignorant of the blessings conveyed by “The Chosen.”

    Recent traces of this superiority is displayed by the Mormon designers of our national torture protocols. Evil is anything un-American, what better way to draw attention away from the Mormon Covenant. From Dick and Lynn Cheney to Jay Bybee and on to James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, the moral deficiencies compound by mormon standards, it’s business as usual in “The Religion Making Business.”

    Mormon Wet Work
    Beyond the Mormon Wars and the Mountain Meadows Massacre: 12/08/08
    The Recent Surrender of Blackwater Mercenaries in Salt Lake City reveals the level of moral hazard Mormons will stoop to. The Blackwater killers believed they would receive favorable prejudice in any court proceeding coming from charges of crimes in the Iraqi blood bath if they surrendered in Utah.

    Mormons Say “some things that are true are not very useful.”
    That simple statement, religious tradition holds, “Some things that are useful are not very true.” In the Religion Making Business, some things that are useful are not very true.


  3. WritinLeft Reply

    In general, a great episode. John expresses obvious, heart-felt pain as one who in leaving the church, also lost a sense of community offered to him in the top-down, assignment-giving church. In essence, being ‘forced’ to be part of a ward whose members are as disparate as they are numerous gave him a perspective on humanity (albeit deep within a Mormon enclave of Roy, Utah) that he feels his children are lacking. Having nearly identical sentiments, I’ll make a couple points:
    1. I believe it difficult, and maybe impossible, to decouple aspects of ones upbringing that one finds joyous or awe-inspiring, from something she or he considers ‘right’ (who’s to say that we even should?). For John, and me as well, our only experience with the ‘true church’ was as inexperienced, hopeful yet naive youth. Having taught the principle of honesty our entire life, we left because we could no longer teach or be apart something that was/is demonstrably and logically false (among others). Now, we search (possibly in-vain) to de-tangle this Gordian Knot and not throw the baby out with the bath water. Tough job indeed.
    It’ll sound crazily-cliche’, but a simple, low-hanging example is Santa Claus. Why do so many of us perpetuate this ridiculous tradition? To answer: It was fun. We ancedotally ascribe some sort of rightfulness to it because we either feel/felt it not harmful and/or for us it was joyous and magical. Yet, my mother-in-law, for example, still spits at the name of the then-fourth-grader who told her he (Santa) doesn’t exist. Somehow the pain of removing the blinders is overshadowed with the joys; and yet the pain is ever-present. Another, why is there such a Utah-Mormon need for a Hajj to Disneyland? It’s evocative of things we enjoyed as children, and therefore traditionally ‘correct’ -a type of self-perpetuating rut, although a seemingly-harmless one. So, because it was fun, is it right or worth continuing? Can other areas be even-more fun and worth seeking at the risk of giving up the tradition and possibly being worse-off? Shit, I don’t know. It’s probably why I find myself eating the same food at restaurants. Fulfilling, but safe.
    2. It’d be well-worth looking into whether or not people who converted as adults, and sequentially left, have or experience some/any/all of the same pangs we do (born-in-churchers), because they experienced the world outside, prior to joining. In other words, they knew and understood life differently prior to understanding in the Mormon sense. I wonder if the forced nature of associations were/are off-putting for many converts and so upon learning of the untruthfulness of the church, it was easier to walk away. Where as we bic-ers, knew no different and therefore cling to the elements we saw and learned as more ‘right’. I’m not saying they weren’t all-in, but just that they were in differently.
    At any rate, I too hope we can find places or associations where we are challenged, supported and loved, to the same degree, sans all the extra lies and baggage.
    And John, who’s to say that maybe your kids won’t reflect on their lives and upbringing with the same feelings of love and gratitude, if only in a different, yet still-meaningful way?

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