Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Parallel Time Dimension? Fuck Yeah!

I read a piece by Kiley a few weeks ago titled Would You Really Change the Past? and it brought up so many things for me that I thought I would like to post my response here. Kiley wrote her piece in response to a post that she had read at N.O.M (New Order Mormon), which asked If you could have all the things and people you love in life and erase Mormonism from your past present and future would you do it?”. Kiley answered “no”, I answer YES!

I side more with another viewpoint I read this week. Eliza R. Snitch talks about her experiences at BYU (Brigham Young University) -

“I felt that I’d been cheated out of the college experience that I’d always dreamed of, and I was pissed off about it– and rightly so!.......So there you have it. How to get through BYU without going crazy. But really, the best way to survive BYU? LEAVE. As soon as possible.”

I hear you Eliza!!!

Although I cannot attribute all of my faults/weaknesses to Mormonism (wouldn’t that be somethin’!) I do feel that I was shaped in a very big way by my religion. From where I stand right now I do not like what I see. I know that if I had grown up without religion that I would most likely have chosen some very different directions in my life. I would also have grown up minus a shitload of guilt and shame. Now that is a Maureen that I would like to see! Bring on the Star Trek type parallel time dimension!

Even without the guarantee offered by N.O.Ms scenario (that of keeping the same people in your life etc) Rockstar and I both agreed that we would still do it. I guess that might be because we don’t believe in destiny or soul mates. We figure that we each would have found people we love just as much as we love each other and that we would have had happy, fulfilling lives.

Kiley said “I don’t think that different decisions would necessarily result in a better life”. I disagree. I believe very strongly that my life would have been markedly better had I been raised non-religious. I feel jealous of my friends who were raised this way.

Now, I do acknowledge that I gained good things from Mormonism (In fact I’ve been thinking of writing a piece about that and I think it had better be the next one I do eh) however I would much rather have learned my life skills elsewhere, you know, minus the baggage.

I agree with Kiley that I need to “…get over it, get past it, learn from it…” and I agree that I have grown a lot in the last year, II can also use my experience to help others through the tough ‘coming out’ process. I see these things as the silver lining of a very dark cloud. I find it very easy to identify with Kileys description of feeling like a survivor. Kiley, that does not sound pretentious to me, it sounds real. It feels real. I don’t want to downplay the scars that religion left on me. I feel like a survivor. That’s why I like to thrash it out in my spin classes, sweat off that anger.

Then I get to the end of Kileys piece and she says - 

Truth be told, there are few people put in a position to have experienced such sweeping changes in their lives and ways of thinking, than people who believed and lost. As painful as such an experience is going through such things provides a point of view and perspective of the world that few others will ever earn.”

I do feel like I’ve been through the fire and I feel damned lucky to have made it to the other side. I even think, Kiley, that you may have convinced me. I surely would never choose it again (being born in the covenant) but for this life, the one that I am living now, I think I can live with it and possibly be somewhat proud of the journey and the tremendous opportunity for growth. As Christopher Hitchens says, I am glad I grew up. 


  1. It's always kind of a tough call, since if you didn't have the Church, would you appreciate not having the Church as much...?

    Sometimes I wish we had do-overs... But if everyone had that, all the variables would throw everything out of wack, and who knows where things would end up.

  2. After I wrote the post I realized that hands down some people would be better off having never known the church. Over the year or so since I started lurking on forums there have been sooooo many heartbreaking stories. I have read a lot posts about suicide attempts, families destroyed, and people who just suffer so much as a result of losing the belief. I realized that my post was true for me, but I am single. I am not living in a marriage and trying to renegotiate a relationship with a still believing spouse. My family no longer understands me but they still talk to me.

    I can honestly see it both ways. It is just hard for me to imagine HOW life would be different right now if I had not grown up Mormon... Maybe if we could set things up so that we got to preview the parallel universe before deciding... ;)

  3. I can totally understand what you are saying Maureen. I thought something very similar when I read Kiley’s post. I don’t think I’m better for having been raised in the church, but it’s hard to say. There is some good in the church, but it’s not good for everyone. It wasn’t good for me.

  4. I guess it's because the do-over is not actually available that I can so easily say I'd like one. If someone offered me one now I would have a hard time choosing. If I could keep Rockstar and the kids then yes, I would love a do-over. If I had to give them up and try my luck in a new dimension then No, I'd rather work with the past that I've got and keep my family.

    Kiley and TGW - I think there are people for whom Mormonism fits manageably into their past. I even think that there are people for whom Mormonism fits well into their present. I know Mormons who have read extensively about the Church's history but choose to stay. For them, something must be working. I read somewhere this week that being a member of an organisation such as the PTA, church, Atheist society etc increases your life expectancy. Humans like to be connected. I do miss some of the connectedness from church but lucky for me I have other places that I can get that.

    Pretty soon after making the shift in my own mind that the church is a fake I felt a great desire to rid myself of any old beliefs and habits from the religion. I've still got a way to go and I suppose that might be why I see an alternate dimension as a good way to go.

    You know, I think what pisses me off the most is that I was Mormon in the first 30 years of my life. How about if I could put this current life on hold, then redo the last 30 years minus Mormonism. Actually, no, redo birth to 18 years old in a nanosecond and then I'd like to experience 18-31 in real time minus the Mormonism and then land back here at 32 with Rockstar and the kids and see what has changed (Rockstar and the kids would be a non-negotiable though!).

  5. Those are some tough thoughts there, but very valid ones.

  6. Agreed Facsimilogos, the brain is doing some gymnastics these days :D

  7. I would choose to live my life over minus mormonism in a nanosecond.
    The "good" things I got from the religion, I think are available everywhere anyway. I don't believe religion "makes" good people. People are just good or not. The ones who are seeking for further growth and enlightenment in their lives will find a religion, or Deepak Chopra, or go and volunteer with sick kids or something. So I think the good people in religions were good to start with, and the religion is just the focus that they chose. So on that basis, i would be just as good a person. Mormonism has taught me less about being a good person than watching Oprah has. And it taught me a lot of hypocrisy that I didn't learn elsewhere.
    So yes, I would drop that from my past in a nanosecond. I think I would have benefited on every level (financial, health, emotional, mental, educational) from not being Mormon.
    Don't I wish.
    Bikini Guru

  8. Oh Bikini Guru I am so with you on this. At least we got the next best thing... getting out!!! As Daniel has been reminding me lately we are alive, right now, right here, let's live :) and I am very grateful to get to enjoy this post-mo' life with so many wicked post-mo's