Thursday, July 22, 2010

Yeah.. but you were raised a Mormon

There are a lot of ideas and questions going around in my head about things that used to be settled and now are not. It’s like I started tugging at a loose thread on my shirt and now it is completely unravelling. Soon I’ll be shirtless!

I lost faith in the founder of my lifelong religion. Then I lost my god. Now I wonder… what do I know for sure? anything? Is there anything that I can look to for a sense of groundedness?

I have had to admit that my longing for a happily ever after in the next life may well be a pipe dream. I used to believe that if I continued to be the best Mormon I could be then I would get to spend eternity with my loved ones, creating worlds and spirits, becoming gods ourselves. I used to live every day ‘knowing’ that a kind heavenly being was only a prayer away. Now I have chosen to wake up and smell the coffee. AND… I have to do this alone. No one can hand me the answers. But… I’ll let you hold my hand along the way eh!

Not only do I have to figure out how to rein in my sanity in a world gone to pot (that is – the world as I experience it… as in, I feel like a newborn now that I am on the outside of the Mormon church) but it seems as though I may have to work even harder than I thought to have my opinions accepted. A new realisation that came to me recently is that no matter what I say, people will consider my opinion and weigh it against the fact that I was raised in a rather unusual and restrictive religion.

I guess I am wondering – “When will my opinion count just as much as someone’s who was lucky enough to be raised in a non-religious home?”

What am I talking about you ask? Well, when I had an in-depth discussion recently about monogamy, sex and marriage eventually it came out that the other person in the conversation considered my opinion to be tainted by my previous beliefs. To them my opinion simply did not yet hold enough weight for the world at large because I was still biased.

My basic opinion during the discussion was this:

I no longer believe in saving sex for marriage. I believe that sex ought to be a part of a healthy relationship between two people who love each other BUT I guess my conservative leaning is that I really feel that it serves individuals and society best if we have one sexual partner at a time. Having said that I also believe that people should have the freedom to choose who they have sex with and when they have it without any judgment from others. So I am just explaining my personal thoughts on sex not what I would want to impose upon others. Live and let live you know. Except that, well our choices in life do affect other people…… (think STIs and people not being upfront about that). Still, I cannot abide preaching, ew!

The reason that I have been trying to get my head around what I think is ‘healthy’ is that I have two young children who will be entering teenage-hood before long and I would like to have some idea of what to pass on as motherly (but with a twist of sisterly feel about it) wisdom in this area. I am concerned about STIs …. I am also very much thinking about my children’s emotional health. As a teenager I had a rather unhealthy relationship with sex (probably still do, I still need to post about Mormon sexuality but here is some info to get you started!). I would like to have the emotional and mental clarity to be a good advisor for my children.

I reject Mormonism’s dysfunctional attitude towards sex. But I am also a little afraid of the promiscuity I see in popular culture. Fear is never a good place to work from so I need to gain some further understanding.

In the meantime, is it too much to ask that my opinions be considered mine now and not an off-shoot of the Mormon dogma? I guess I could look into changing my name, moving country and thus hopefully cleansing myself from the stain of Mormonism altogether. Then maybe I could be heard without bias issues… but then I’d have to go incognito here… and well, I really do like some of you ;) And look, I know none of us ever get to be truly free of our past, we ARE all biased and prone to subjectivity, I just wonder whether the Mormon stain may be being perceived (by some) as brighter than it actually is?!


  1. Well I can only give you my own point of view, obviously.I have have a couple of thoughts, so please bear with me.

    My first instinct is to say "Balderdash! Baloney!" I know both you and your sister, who were both brought up the same way in the same home and I don't feel your opinions are any less valid because of you previous affiliation with the church. Or hers are any less valid because she was raised one way and chooses to live another. But obviously not all people can separate your past/current religion from the person you are.

    Leading on from that, people (society) judge about everything. My theory is that everything is so fast-paced in our world these days. Once upon a time you got a job because the business owner knew you and your family and knew you were an honest, hardworking person because they had watched you grow up. Now they have to make the same kind of judgements (will this person steal from me? will this person treat my business as their own? does this person care about the success of my business?) based on a couple of sheets of paper and a 10 minute interview. How do they do that? They have to make assumptions and judgements based on the very limited information they have on you and their interaction with the world up until that point. For example, If you had dated 10 men seriously, and 8 of those men abused you (either physically, verbally, emotionally etc) you would probably have some issues when it came to men. You might be out, at a friends party, and a man walks up to you and introduces himself and starts to make smalltalk- you immediately make assumptions. What do you know? You know he is a man and 8/10 times they are abusive (in your limited experience, but none the less)and you know his his name. Congratulations, all he has done is be friendly and you are suspicious. What am I trying to say? When people judge you, by discrediting your opinion based on a small part of your upbringing, that is THEIR hang-up, not yours. And we all know you can't change other people. So you can't change the fact that people will make unfair judgements and assumptions about us, all we can do is remember that it says more about the person they are than the person we are. Everyone's opinions should be respected. Mostly.

    Also, that this ?discrimination? goes both ways. My opinion sometimes "doesn't count" because I'm Atheist. It doesn't happen often, but I have heard the words "Yeah, but you don't even believe in God, so...". That, and people are afraid of what they don't know. Like people being afraid of Muslims since 9/11. I work with Muslim people and they are actually less scary than the Aussies. But people judge and fear them because they don't understand the Islam faith.

    Lastly, your friends, the people that matter, don't judge you. That's how you know they are your friends. What's the saying?

    Those who matter, don't mind, and those who mind, don't matter.

    So on behalf of those who don't mind, thanks for not changing your name and going into hiding, we appreciate your company and your integrity, your personality, sense of humour, creativity and even your opinions.


  2. I understand exactly what you are talking about. My thought is to wonder how closely that person has examined their own opinions. I have met very few people in my life that have examined their lives and opinions as carefully as many of the ex-mo/post -mos I have met.

    I think what you have stated in this post about your beliefs regarding sex are smart and well thought out.

  3. I agree with TGIAA. There is no way to get way from judgment, but I think it is helpful to try not to care what others think, which I know is very difficult. Those who truly know you and care about you will not judge you.

    I think the best thing to do, which it sounds like you are doing, is educate yourself. When you leave the church you really do have to kind of start from scratch and decide for yourself how you feel about all the issues you were told how to feel about in the past. This is scary, but also extremely rewarding because you can stand behind your decisions because they are yours.

    Good luck, and if your shirt does unravel just be sure to wear a cute bra! (:

  4. Or take it as an opportunity to go the Full Montessa.

    Everyone's got biases -- so what? But the good critical thinker tries to become aware of them and discard them. I think you've done a splendiferous job so far -- you've discarded a particularly insidious and tenacious form of bias -- and anyone who can't see that is probably operating from their biases.

    So there.

  5. Thanks everyone. Sorry I've been slow with responses, I'm a little snowed under as I'm sure all of you are familiar with.

    TGIAA: as you know from the catch up we had the other day I would say... what do you do when the person devaluing your opinion is someone who is integral to your life?

    Reina: sometimes I wonder if I'm examining my life too much ;D then I remember that this change is a bloody big one and worth some musing.

    Kaleidoscope Girl: I'm afraid my wardrobe is still full of daggy sports bras, I need to get some nice new ones since they'll probably end up peeking out from under my new shirts! (TMI?) haha.

    Daniel: I'm unfamiliar with the Full Montessa, I'm sure I've heard it before but what does it all mean?! Splendiferous eh! well I feel better about things already! Hey, we saw 'Collision' the other day in preparation for next Thurs night. See you there.

  6. Well, that would be the female equivalent of the Full Monty. An advanced move.

    Wow, so you'll be showing up to the 'Collision' event well-prepared. I guess it's one of films you can see more than once. SPOILER ALERT: They still don't agree at the end of the film.

    Want to be my tag team partner in case I get into trouble?

  7. Are you really expecting drama? don't worry, I'm bringing backup ;O)

    as for tag team partner all I'd be good for is a big toothy grin, I'm hoping to just take it all in! T says you can tag to him but he may not be predictable in his diplomacy...