Episode 3x: The Ex-Mormon Struggle for Identity

In this episode John is joined by 3 amazing ex-Mormons to talk about their own experiences and the struggle for identity for post Mormon individuals. On the panel are the therapist Jenny Marrow, Thayne Forbes who runs the New Order Mormon website and Laura, an all around wonderful person.

Notable quotes from the podcast:
“Mormons may not be kind, but they are nice.” Lindsay Hansen Park

“The Church invades all of the personal elements of your life and makes sure you are always thinking about your relationship to the Church.” –John

“You don’t know how to escape from your [Mormon] identity, but you sure as hell know how to reverse it.” –John

“The ex-Mormon identity really becomes a function of Mormon identity and trying to figure out what the boundaries are. There is a healthiness to this that doesn’t appear to be so. After watching a lot of people go through this second adolescence. I think it looks worse than it is. Because these are people who for the most part keep their day job and keep being good parents.” –John

“I don’t like hanging out with ex-Mormons, but I like hanging out with people who are former ex-Mormons.” –John

“Everyone in the world has cultural identity. The problem with fundamentalist cultural identity is you loose yourself in it.” –John

“What’s the difference between an ex-Mormon and a Jack Mormon? The ex-Mormons took [Mormonism] seriously.” –John

“One of the most beautify things I learned in my journey was the sacredness of consequence. Which is realizing that actions have consequence which are often intrinsic. Sometimes they are arbitrary but usually they are predictable. And those consequences are not because someone in the sky hates you or loves you but are implicit in the action. Once you understand that you realize you can do A, B, or C and these will be the outcomes. And then you can own that.”– John

“The reason church and religion is so useful to a lot of people is it reduces ambiguity. The world is a really ambiguous place. And most of the time the outcomes are not clear. And what Church does is give you a way of ignoring a lot of complex things.” –John

“I think Identity really is a function of meaning. What our lives mean and what they mean to us and how we interact with the world. We have two options. You can have that meaning and identity given to you. Which is what most people in the world opt for. They want someone to say: ‘this is your meaning.’ And when people talk about the search for meaning they are searching through all of these models to find one they gel with. Or you can take the enlightened approach. Which is there is no fucking meaning out there so I have to make it. I have to supply my own meaning in this world. That is a very wonderful way to live. But it is turbulent. It is hard. Because when you fail there is no safety net. There is no redemption there is no Jesus guy who is going to come make everything right at the end. That thought is too hard for most people to swallow.” –John

“Religion really gets in the deep corners of your psyche. It takes a long time, i.e. the rest of your life, to pull that stuff out. And having [faith transition groups] and doing some of this deprogramming can be healthy but you have to realize with yourself when you are going too far. It’s like alcohol. Alcohol can be great. What does alcohol do? It loosens you up so you are more likely to say what you are thinking. When you are 20 that isn’t a good thing but when you are 40 that’s a really good thing because you are kind of locked in. So it serves a purpose. But if you use alcohol to start self medicating when you are lonely or angry or you start to notice it is taking over your life or you are putting on a lot of weight, well then you have got a problem. The same thing goes with deprogramming and processing outside of the Church. I think the processing is very important. It is important to not just walk away and not deal with things. You have to deal with it. But you have to measure you self to see if it is crossing into an unhealthy boundary.” –John