Wednesday, September 15, 2010

One Year On

mid-Happy Birthday song...  cake decorated a la kids
(oh! do you love my hitchhiking dinosaur shirt? he's off to one of my favourite places - Vegas!) and uh, that's me dancing to the song btw.

It is my thirty-second birthday today but I am also marking another milestone; it has now been a whole year since I last paid tithing (10% of my income) to the Mormon Church. I noticed this when I went over my finances for the 2009/10 year and discovered a difference of about $700 between what the Church says I paid and what my records say I have paid. Hmmm, so I will look into that and I think I will go back further in my records to check that out. Besides that oddity it was quite satisfying to see such concrete evidence of my departure from the Church.

I have not as yet received anything official from the Church to acknowledge that I have removed my name. I am going to re-send my letter, along with the tithing query, along with, wait for it... a letter from Rockstar! He's decided that it's actually taking too long for them to excommunicate him and he wants out.

So, where am I one year on?

I had an amazing aromatherapy full body massage today at my local organic day spa and as soon as I laid down on the massage bed I just melted away. The music, the soft bed, the peace... and then the awesome massage. I felt very happy. A few thoughts flittered through my mind while I was there, one of them was how wonderful it is to feel free to think whatever I want. I can read about anything that I am interested in, talk to whomever I choose and make up my own mind about how this world works and what might be beyond it. Early on this idea freaked me out a bit but now I find it to be extremely liberating and calming. I am the one at the helm of my life and it feels great!

So I am 32 in earth years and 1 anno libertatis!      

(Daniel, dear linguist friend of mine, have I bastardised the latin or does it work? See Daniels comment below for the reasons I have changed anno liberta to anno libertatis! Thanks Daniel)

pizza faces

looks like Canaan thought I'd need some help 


  1. Great pics. Your family is just too damned cute! I wish we were not an ocean away. I'd love to hang out with you and your family. Glad you had a great birthday.

    Free thinking is great, eh?

  2. Congratulations! I get what you mean about the liberation to think. I love it, too.

    Happy Birthday with all that means.

  3. Happy birthday, dear one. Congratulations to Rockstar for finally losing patience. Wonder why they're sitting on your letter. How annoying.

    'Liberta' refers to a freedwoman, which is your case might be appropriate. However, for 'year of freedom', you might want to say "anno libertatis". "Libertas' is in the genitive.

  4. We will meet up for sure some day, where? maybe here maybe there maybe somewhere different altogether... and we'll all be freethinkers together :D

    Nice to 'meet' you Donnell! Thanks for the birthday wishes. Yay for freedom.

    Thanks Daniel, I've adopted your changes. Yes, it is rather annoying this delay, especially since I sent it off via registered post. Oh well, out is still out, they can play their litle games.

  5. Happy Birthday! You do all look fabulous.

    I have a question about removing your names (and sorry if you've already covered this)-- is it the principle of it? or is that you don't want the church keeping track of you? or is it something else all together? Just curious.

    MB always says if he left it would be the full deal- name off the record. I tend to think I would just walk away and never look back. But who knows right?

    Regardless, you must tell me what kind of cake that is because I've been licking my screen and it's not helping!

  6. Hey there AngryBaker :D

    It's a multifaceted issue for me. I would say that the number one reason that I wanted my name to be removed was the Proposition 8 debacle. I am incredibly angry about the role that the Church played there. Then as I read more and more about youth suicide in the LGBT Mormon community I just felt very strongly that needed to get my name off the record. I feel bad enough that I used to believe the position of the Church, that homosexuality is a learned behaviour and can be changed. I believed that because the Church seemed to be all or nothing to me. If I couldn't accept the LDS position then I could not have made it to the Celestial Kingdom.

    Then I feel pretty darned mad at Joseph Smith and anyone else who knew that he was either lying ar barkng mad (IMO!). I have felt so betrayed and hurt that I feel the need to make a statement I guess by removing my name.

    The Church uses its numbers to show how it is growing etc but they include less active and inactive members in their numbers and I don't want to be counted in their cause.

    I don't mind if they keep track of me. In fact I'm looking forward to the next missionary door knock, I'm hoping they'll be talkative. I'd like to feed them and lighten their day if they'll let me.

    I don't like the idea of the Church tracking my childrens' whereabout though. However, they will most likely always have LDS people in their lives so I anticipateinvites to Young Womens and Young Mens at some point.

    I think that covers it. I'll let you know if I think of more reasons. Oh, just did! If I remove my own name then they can't excommunicate me! which , to be honest I don't really mind if they do because it doesn't mean that much here, I'm sure in Utah with eberyone you know as a member it could possibly sting but here it would be a non event.

    Cake! oh it's veeery complicated. Sponge from the supermarket, fresh whipped cream amd strawberries in the middle. Chocolate icing, 100s and 1000s and fresh strawberries on top. I usually get Princess cake for my birthday (from Miss Maud - sponge with jam, cream and custard, then covered in green marzipan) but we were keeping costs down so we made our ow version. It tasted a bit like a lamington, yum.

  7. "feel free to think whatever I want. I can read about anything that I am interested in, talk to whomever I choose and make up my own mind about how this world works and what might be beyond it."

    Great to feel free. I do have to say that I've been a member for a long time and have never in my adult life felt like I couldn't talk to whoever, read whatever, or make up my own mind.

  8. Hi Retief,

    I'm very glad to hear that you feel to choose who you talk to, what you read and even what you think. The sad fact is that many Mormons do not experience what you do. My last post about feminist Mormons talks about how I am very glad to see new branches of Mormons who refuse to accept that everything about the religion is set in stone. You are lucky to be on the more liberal end of Mormonism. I was raised in a more fundamental or at least conservative type of Mormonism. I was told that there were things that I should not read. Members here have been explicitly told not to read my blog. In temple recommend interviews you are asked if you are affiliated with people or organisations who are opposed to the Church in any way.

    As far as making up ones own mind about the inner workings of the pre-existence, this life and the next... I grew up thinking the gospel had all those answers and I just had to find a way to accept them. Now I am free to say bollocks to that! especially since I now discover all the time just how fluid the LDS 'doctrine' is.

    All that said, I really am glad that you feel free of those constraints. I hope more and more LDS will.

  9. My experience has been the same as yours, Maureen. Just sayin'.

  10. Thanks very much for your thoughtful reply to my comment. It sounds like you have some major primary family issues you're working through. It is unfortunate that the church and the gospel is a hindrance and not a help to you in that effort. I suppose that is inevitable if your family-of-origin's problems were justified by appeals to misunderstood doctrines. Good luck on your path.

  11. Retief, I appreciate that you are being so kind spirited about this. I just feel that I need to say that not everyone who gets to the point Maureen is at gets there because of their family of origin. I am a convert to the church. It was the decades in which I read every Ensign cover to cover and attended all meetings faithfully and held leadership positions at both the ward and stake levels that I learned to think, read, and speak within proscribed boundaries.

    Good for you for reading this blog. I would not have dared to a few years ago.

  12. I must have missed this earlier, but I love the pictures, so cute! Sounds like you had a great birthday.

    I do know what you mean about feeling that you weren't able to really think for yourself. There are absolutely things the church discourages reading/thinking/talking about. I don't think most members realize it because they are used to it. Only after you have left do you realize the control they had over you. It feels so good to be the one in control of your own life.

    I'm glad Rockstar has decided to have his name removed too. Get it done and move on to bigger and better things. It's just the beginning.

  13. I was wondering when someone would point to my childhood as a reason for apostacising. Whilst my parents had/have their issues and I could tell a few tales; acknowledgement of my less than perfect childhood won't make the Church true. I wavered a bit as a teenager but since I got married I had been 100% there. If my parents were going to have any influence on me leaving the church it would have been when I was a teenager. Neither of them knew the gospel very well. They both went inactive for a while. Meanwhile I completed 4 years of Seminary and 4+ years of Institute and I'm not too shy to say that I was a good pupil. My leaving the Church was due to MY OWN investigation and my own decision. You cannot point to a persons background as some kind of way to satisfy yourself that had that person been raised better surely they would have stayed. For a child, you possibly could use that excuse, for an adult, no. I know what it means to be a Mormon, a fully-fledged one. I know what they believe and now, thankfully, I know the background, the history and I choose to reject Mormonism as a giant fraud.

    As Donnell and TGW have stated they too have experienced what I did. I think that TGW explains it well by saying that it really does seem to be a case of when you're in it you think that you are free, then you get out and realise how much of a puppet you were. Hard stuff to read Retief for sure and it is still just my opinion but still a tough one to wade through from where you stand so, yeah, like Donnell said, good on you for being so open to other peoples views.

    Thanks for the birthday wishes TGW xox

  14. Maureen, I didn't mean to touch a nerve with the family of origin talk. I was responding to your comment "I was raised in a more fundamental or at least conservative type of Mormonism. I was told that there were things that I should not read."

    I would not presume to point to anything in your, or in anyone's, experience as "the flaw" that caused your leaving. I do think, though, that our childhood does stay with us our whole life long. Speaking generally, integrating a fundamentalist upbringing, one that discourages questions, into an adult personality is a challenge for anyone.

  15. Donnell Allan, thanks for your kind words. I hope I wasn't suggesting that I have any answers to anybody else's life experiences. 'Cuz I don't. :)

  16. If you're not trying to touch nerves then I wonder why when you read that I said I was raised in a more fundamental/conservative type of Mormonism that you assume that there are "major primary family issues" and then that my "family-of-origin's problems were justified by appeals to misunderstood doctrines" I find these to be massive leaps from me saying that I was raised in a more fundamental/conservative type of Mormonism. You assume A LOT there. I acknowledged that my childhood was less than perfect but again if that is your reason for making the leap to "major issues and problems" then I believe that you are jumping to conclusions. When I say I was raised in a certain type of Mormon environment I am not just talking about my parents but also my Primary teachers, Young Womens leaders, bishops, etc etc who in my experience were all 'down the line' Mormons who saw many things as black and white. I don't believe that these people "misunderstood" the doctines either, the doctrines are in and of themselves the problem (for me and, it would seem, many other people too).

  17. Of course I did assume a lot. And I'd have to some kind of much more obnoxious person than I hope I am to argue with you about whether your own family had issues. I'm not trying to do that. Clearly I jumped to conclusions when you said you felt less than free and attributed it to the way you were raised. I hope you'll forgive me. I am an american and our national pastime is amateur psychoanalysis. At any rate I'm glad you feel freer and will only add that half the point of Mormonism, as I understand it, is to get us to be at the helm of our lives.

  18. Sure thing :) I'll keep that in mind next time I get into a debate with an American ;)

    I'm just fairly concerned about which life Mormonism gets you to plug in to. As I see it the religion encourages you to focus your efforts on the next life, a life that is not guaranteed (although many people do of course believe that it exists). Once I was out I realised just how disengaged I had really been from the life that I currently live. This is the only life that I know anything about and I am going to make sure that I make the most of it and as you say, that I am at the helm of it. I have felt such a sense of self and such an increase in confidence and happiness since leaving the church which signals to me that I am on the right track. When I first left I wondered if I just had the wrong religion but now I think that all religion is false. It may work for some people but it didn't for me. I hope that the people who stick with religion are there out of real conscious choice and not because they think they have to. Ramble, ramble. In the end I just want to see everyone given the freedom to make informed choices.

  19. What a great and refreshing post! Thanks for sharing!

  20. You're so welcome Facsimilogos! Leaving has certainly been tough at times (not made any easier with comments by TBM's about this being the 'easy road') but it sure does feel good to look back and see how far I've come in just one year. I love this online post-mo' community, wish it were a simple matter to all catch up eh :)