Thursday, January 20, 2011

"Abusive and S(Pammy)"

Is it the talk about boobs or beer that offends you most? I suspect you just feel attacked as a Mormon and hence have flagged my blog as "abusive or spammy' on Facebook. As I said before let's se what fb has to say about it.

I had a really fun beach walk and breakfast with a Mormon friend of mine recently and she did mention that some members think that I am "very mean to Mormons". For the umpteenth time I am anti-Mormon not anti-Mormons ... and there IS a difference as much as many Mormons like to argue that they and their religion are one, well that's nice for you but no-one else sees it that way. I can hate your religion but LOVE you. Do you still love me? - even though I am a sinner/apostate/fallen star etc etc - (those are pretty personal accusations!) remember you are required to love your enemies; I am not under this obligation but I do it anyway, funny that.


  1. I am very mean to Mormons. It isn't hard. All you have to do is tell the truth, and you're mean.

    "Your religion teaches things that are flatly contradicted by evidence, and it prevents you from questioning these things because you might lose friends and suffer eternal consequences."

    There I go again. Being mean. You know what I mean? Mean.

  2. Your quote still reads (to me) as a meanness directed at the religion though, not the people. But no, I still don't think that it is 'mean'. Hey, why is it so hard to get a definition for 'mean' online? maybe it is actually a really misunderstood word. I found "Causing or intending to cause intentional harm or to be angry". Alright I'll get off my butt and check out the Oxford...OK, that's better - "1. unwilling to give or share money. 2. unkind or unfair. 3 poor in quality or appearance. 4 (of a person's mental ability) inferior. 5 (informal) excellent.

    Yes I am very excellent!

    I'll concede on "be angry" - yes a have been angry about things here.

    I'll not agree to "cause intentional harm" certainly not to Mormon people anyway. If anything I wish to help them (I'm sure that will be taken well).

    "Unfair" - I disagree. I think that I have been very fair, in fact that is the point of this whole online, worldwide conversation amongst ex-Mo's... many people who find themselves ex-Mo tried sooo hard to stay, to explain, excuse. Unfair would be to ignorantly accuse and slander, that is not what is going on here.

    So I suppose if Mormons were to change their tune to "Why is M so angry?" then maybe we'd have a starting point for communication. Mean? No way.

    The church is not a person, be as mean to it as you like. If JS or BY were around I'd have a hard time not being mean to them!

    Haha, I told you I can talk. Anyway, yes it is far too easy to be accused of being mean to Mormons.

  3. Oh and "unkind". I think it could be argued that it would be very unkind of me hide my thoughts/experiences and self from Mormons. They deserve to see the change too. I think my blog is a kindness.

  4. Maureen, this post tries to draw a pretty fine distinction in my mind.

    Basically what you are claiming is that it's possible to hate my opinions, but not hate me. Is that really even possible?

    What if I walk up to you and tell you "I think your opinions suck"?

    You feeling the love yet?

    Funny thing is that I've had a couple ex-Mormons completely flip their lid and order me off their blogs because I disagreed with them. Quite angry about it they were.

    I hope you'll forgive me, but it really didn't feel like they were doing a great job distinguishing between hostility towards my beliefs, and just plain old hostility towards me.

    Even when I'm talking with Daniel (who just commented above me), he has a hard time having an exchange of more than a few comments with me before he starts resorting to personal insults and slurs (like brainwashing, religious tool, etc).

    So, the sentiment "I'm not 'anti-Mormon', just 'anti-MormonISM'" may be nice and all, but as a practical matter, I don't think it exists.

    Most of the most vocal online ex-Mormons I encounter make it pretty darn clear after merely a few exchanges that they don't just hate my beliefs - they REALLY don't like me much either.

  5. yeah, but it's one thing when people start trying to censor you because they don't like what you have to say. There's no reason why Maureen's blog should have been marked as spammy. That is just silly.

  6. Well, yes.

    It does smack a little bit of argument through mere labeling (or name-calling).

  7. I get that an attack on someone's beliefs may be interpreted as an attack on them personally, because it's a personal, emotional thing, period. My entire family is TBM and in respect for their feelings, I can't talk about how I feel. It's hard, I want to explode sometimes, but we still need to respect their feelings (and) beliefs because we were once there. If it's facebook, or your blog, or wherever that you're expressing your feelings, that's your right. They don't have to read it, or they can hide your comments on FB.

    Seth makes the point that it's hard to differentiate between being anti-Mormon and anti-Mormonism, but there IS a difference. Mormons don't understand our anger, based on the betrayal and disapointment we feel. Forums like this are theraputic, and I'm greatful we can express ourselves openly.

  8. I am glad you speak your mind. I admire you for your courage to acknowledge things that are troubling to you despite the repercussions that may come from it. I’m not that brave. You are awesome!

  9. Maureen, I like your blog. Don't change a thing. If somebody doesn't like it or wants to take exception to it, they can piss off. You have every right to your feelings and interpretations and your experience is your reality. If you want to talk about boobs or how stupid people follow stupid religions because they don't have the balls to to connect the dots, then why not? If it's offensive to some people then it's problem for them, not you. Hang in there.

  10. @ Seth R. So what is the difference between an ex-mormon saying they like you, just not your opinions and a mormon saying that they love the sinner and not the sin?

    I'll tell you the difference, the mormon believes they are right absolutely about the existence of the sin, while the ex-mormon will actually consider your opinions and then weigh them against the facts (at least those ex-mormons that are not blinded by anger - I'll admit to possibly still being blinded by anger, by the way).

    The only measurement the believing mormon applies to the truthfulness of a statement is whether the brethren have said so or if there is a burning in the bosom. Neither of those can be dis-proven for the individual who refuses to consider objective evidence. However, both tests of truth can be proven or dis-proven on the whole through an objective look at the evidence.

    For example, are the brethren always right about everything? Nope. Therefore a reliance on them for determining truth or falsehood is not 100% reliable. I know sometimes facts are painful things, but facts are facts and sometimes the truth is difficult to hear or accept. The only difference between people is what is given all the weight in determining reality.

    It's just like when LDS encounter christians who claim the bible to be the sole, inerrant word of God. I don't know if you are aware or not, but those people are extremely difficult to convert to mormonism. For some reason they seem to be impervious to the promptings of the spirit. I'm sorry you have felt that you have been put down, but you need to understand it really is not personal. You have just encountered people who are not able to express their reasons very well to you or you have taken offense due to your insistence that you are right and people have felt that they can't talk to you because you weren't really listening to, or giving adequate consideration to, what they were saying any way.

  11. Seth: When have I ever?

    If you think I've slurred or insulted you personally by mentioning the various ways that people can be wrong about religion, then this says more about your sensitivity than it does about my attitude.

    I've even refrained from blanket assertions that religious people are stupid, or anything like that. But I have said that people can be wrong, which is not very controversial.

  12. Daniel, you and I rarely exchange more than a few comments before you start breaking out the complimentary adjectives. You're not even remotely the worst example of this behavior. Talking to you is much more pleasant than a Mormon wandering onto Recovering from Mormonism for the first time (I won't even repeat the language they use on Mormons over there). But nonetheless, it's just hard to talk to a lot of Internet ex-Mormons without their sense of personal contempt for you bleeding through into the typed commentary.

    Facsimilogos,you wrote:

    "The only measurement the believing mormon applies to the truthfulness of a statement is whether the brethren have said so or if there is a burning in the bosom."

    I am a professed Mormon, and I disagree.

    Those are not the only measurements that I apply. I'm not sure much further response than that is really needed here.

  13. Well, I think this shows an interesting view of love -- that if you love someone, or if you're friends with someone, you never challenge each other, and you don't say anything if you think they're mistaken. I would disagree.

    I'm intensely critical of beliefs, but I try to be respectful to people. For example, I think Mormon beliefs are obscenely stupid -- I won't sugar coat it for you -- but this does not mean I think you are obscenely stupid even if you believe them. (I know that there are other factors that can trap smart people into dumb beliefs, having been there myself.)

    If you do think that is an unavoidable implication, and that I am insulting you when I insult your church, then you have mistaken yourself for your church. You should consider disentangling your identity and goals from those of the church. It could only help you to be a healthy person with your own thoughts.

  14. I think it's pretty hard to avoid the conclusion Daniel, that if the person themselves if fully of stupid beliefs, that they themselves are stupid.

    I mean, isn't that just a logical conclusion?

  15. Nuts.... that should read:

    "is full of stupid beliefs"

  16. Not at all. I know some really smart people who believe stupid things.

    I wasn't stupid when I dimly believed that the earth was 6,000 years old, that dinosaurs weren't totally real, or that the Garden of Eden was located in Missouri. (Just some examples, and I know not all Mormons think this, but many do.) I just hadn't taken the time to check it out, and I had a whole cheering section of people who upheld those beliefs. So I believed them too.

    There are lots of things that keep smart people believing in dumb things.

  17. Aaaargh I have not had time to blog.
    Thanks for all the comments... here goes.

  18. @Seth R. – I most certainly am claiming that it is possible to hate your opinions but not hate you. I’d compare it to telling my children that something they have done is not ok but that they themselves are wonderful. None of this “good boy/bad boy” but a focus on a beautiful piece of art and saying “What a beautiful painting” not “Good boy, that is a nice painting”.

    I’d actually really love for you to come up to me and tell me that my opinions suck. I’d love it. We could talk for hours like that. The main one with my TBM friends these days is that I think their opinion that gays should remain celibate for life or marry someone they’re unattracted to …that opinion SUCKS!

    Unless you threaten myself or someone here I will never order you off my blog.

    I honestly believe that I live up to living the people but hating the religion. If anyone has evidence to the contrary please speak up.

    @Kaylanamars - ☺

    @Fanny – Isn’t it tremendously hard being at family events and having to pretend that there isn’t a big elephant in the room. I hate it but I play along. As for fb and blogs, exactly, freedom of speech is protected for a reason and no-one should have to edit themselves on their own personal blogs. Oh, and ex-Mo bogs are so therapeutic for me too, sometimes I can read for hours (should I have admitted that!)

    @TGW – Thanks! I am a bit worried about the ‘Lost’ one now :P airing my dirty laundry like that! Well at least you can call me real.

    @Will – Hi ☺ and thanks! I wish I had been confronted w/someone like me when I was TBM just so I could see how I would have reacted. Just like Daniel says later on, I think that very smart people can believe very stupid things for all number of reasons. Not sure if balls play into it since I don’t own any, I know boobs better ;)

    @Facsimilogos – oooh that’s a good one. Yes TBMs do do that. They try to love us but hate our sins (and our opinions). I think that most ex-Mos are still open to other ideas as you say. I know if someone were to say that they could prove the existence of fairies to me then I would be very interested.

    @Daniel – I think you need to try harder to be more controversial ;)

    @Seth R. – Unfortunately I do know some TBMs who will end investigation/enquiry/conversation by reassuring themselves that the Brethren know best. You are not someone who does that and I am so glad of it. It is refreshing to find a Mormon who can keep up a dialogue with non-Mos/ex-Mos.

    @Daniel – this discussion has really got me thinking about the nature of the treatment that ex-Mos receive from Mo’s. I think that the tradition of demonising and telling ex-Mo’s to “just leave the church alone” needs to end. I believe that it is just another tactic of the church to keep the membership protected from alternate ideas. I think that it is an act of love (as you say) to NOT clam up upon leaving the LDS church but to talk about your experiences so that others may benefit if they wish to listen. Again, it’s not like we knock on doors and make people read our blogs! And I really do wish someone could have ripped me out of my delusions years ago but I know that we all grow in our own time.

    @Seth R. – I don’t think that my dad, MIL, BIL and SIL are stupid but they all believe in the {stupid (IMO)} church. I don’t berate my old TBM self and say “you were sooooo stupid” I say “you poor baby come here and have a vodka” :P

    Phew, made it.
    HUGS to all.

  19. While I'm thinking about it, let me say: Seth, I think you're a smart guy and I respect you and like hammering out issues with you. Sorry I never took the opportunity to say so before.

    I don't respect your religious ideas, but that's because I don't automatically respect religious ideas any more than other ideas. An idea has to earn my respect, and it can do so by being backed up by evidence.

    But I think you're a capital dude, and I'm always interested in what you have to say about things.

  20. Thanks Daniel. In a way, I suppose that merely being able to debate about such an emotionally charged issue says something. I picked on you specifically because you are not an obvious case. Not because I considered your actions to be decidedly bad.

    I think this whole thing is pretty similar to the Mormon idea of "love the sinner - hate the sin."

    The problem comes up when the "sin" is thoroughly tied up in the personal identity of the person such that separating the two becomes impossible.

    Take homosexuality.

    How many gay bloggers out there are impressed with the Mormon reassurance that "I don't hate you - I just hate your homosexuality"?

    How many of them are likely to accept that happily, and how many of them are likely to take that as anything other than a personal attack?

  21. Maureen, I appreciate your even response.

    But also keep in mind that being pitied can be even more unwelcome to some people than being hated.

  22. Pity would be infuriating! Where did I do that? I probably did but just can't see it. Was it the vodka comment? I was being a bit lively there. I got a fair dose of pity from someone today and I just kind of had to shrug it off. I explained myself to them one more time as calmly as I could and then told myself to forget about it. I think that as you say sometimes our real thoughts about things creep through into the things we say. I do pity Mormons and am glad I am no longer there but I am sure that they don't care one little bit for my pity just as I don't wish for theirs. Can you point it out to me pls? I'll try to watch for that in the future.

  23. Some questions I received via fb over the last 2 days:

    Q: "(Have any of your friends) expressed offence at your trying to show them the error of their ways (?)" and "I wonder why, it is important to you to do so, and why you would not just walk away, do you get some sort of pleasure or high from your pursuit of exposing the church, from what you perceive as it's errors"

    A: "My blog was never written to show members 'the error of their ways' if people take it like that then they are mistaken. It is a dialogue about my experiences. It is not a missionary effort to deconvert (although I wouldn't be sad if people deconverted after reading my blog).
    I think that it is arrogant for people to say why don't you just walk away. I consider the church (not the people) to be abusive and I don't just walk away from abuse, I fight it.

    Quite the opposite to getting "a high", I have experienced much pain and anguish as a result of my log and I have questioned many times whether it is worth it. Then I get a comment from someone thanking me for sharing and how it has helped them and I know that it is worth it."

    Later I received this comment:

    "I have read through your blog, and only see unhappy confusion, and that time is not healing you but rather the opposite."

    My response:

    "I think that the recovery process will take some time. The problem w/a blog is that (unless you blog every day) people only get snippets of your life and thoughts. I'd say that 18 months after leaving I still feel angry at times, hurt, sad, confused etc. There are many things for me to work out. Marriage, career, identity etc and having to overhaul your entire belief system is no small feat. I wouldn't consider myself 'healed' in any real sense yet. I could never go back. I am so glad to be out and I am so much happier now than I was 18 months ago but you have to see it to believe it though. The blog has been a place for me to get things off my chest. But I just combined black and green bikini with the intention to lighten up over all and hopefully you will see more of the positive changes in my life than the negative ones that I have highlighted."

  24. No need to point it out further Maureen. You caught it yourself. It was the vodka comment, of course. Not a big deal in your case, but I have been privy to a lot of ex-Mormon conversations elsewhere that have turned into sessions full of remarks about how unfortunate it is that everyone still in Mormonism is so "victimized" and "deluded" and "brainwashed" - it goes on.

  25. To be honest sometimes I feel really mad (again towards the church as an institution and towards the man himself, JS) for the sake of current TBMs. I feel as though I was a victim; deluded and brainwashed and whilst use those words when talking to other ex-Mos I can't see myself saying it to a TBM. However, on an ex-Mo blog I think that when TBMs visit they would probably need to disassociate themselves a bit an remember that they already know that ex-Mo's think this about them and that when they (the TBM) reads it on ex-Mo blogs that it (once again) is just someone else's opinion and although not one the TBM would agree with at all, hardly reasonable to expect that ex-Mo's would refrain from saying it. I'd compare it to my TBM friend above saying that they think I am "unhappy" and "confused" and "not healing". Although it hurt to read it I knew there was no point getting pissed off at them. I just tried to explain how I disagreed with them.

  26. Pass me the vodka Maureen, I made it through all of the comments!

    I'm a bit fuzzy on the details of the FB drama, though I think the gist of it is that when you combined your two blogs that caused a bit of a stir? Meaning there were people that discovered your BLACK bikini? It seems from your comments here that you've taken it in stride.

    I just had a couple of thoughts about a few things said. About hanging out with your family - I think time might change all of that, though I know all families function differently. I say this because this doesn't seem to be an issue for my brothers and I. I don't expect them to censor their life, nor do I censor myself in regards to church talk. They don't talk religion at all, and they get vague when I try to ask what exactly they believe. For you the wounds are all fresh for everybody. So maybe in a few years? Or maybe you should just start identifying all awkward moments/exchanges? I always find that kind of funny.

    As for pity, it is indeed infuriating. I can say with certainty I've never pitied you. I strive for empathy with all of my friends. I don't feel victimized but I can see how a TBM would look from your side. I get that.

    I agree with you on the dissociation. I think that's exactly how I approach looking at your blog and I know what type of content will be here and it is my decision to come and read(and what naughty naughty fun I have). I'm not much of a debater though, so I'm not much fun.

    I think it's the members themselves that promote the "leave the church alone" attitude. Defense mechanism? Yeah, probably. I'd agree with Daniel that we need to do some separating of our identities from the church. It is a very hard thing to do though.

  27. I think my new green layout attracted everyone, soooo pretty. Nothing to do w/the content of the posts at all ;)

    Nah, the fb thing happened before I combined blogs. What happened was I tried to post a link to 'One Love' on fb but a window kept popping up telling me that my blog had been flagged as 'abusive or spammy'. I was able to click on some kind of 'disagree' link and then explain why I think I had been unfairly/incorrectly labelled as 'a&s'. I should receive an email from them but looks like this might take a while. I'll try again in a few days. Not a huge problem anyway as I was still able to type the link into a comment box and people got to it from there. (Got 167 hits on my blog that day! that was fun and a little bit addictive to watch on my stats page).

    Regarding family, I hope so! My dad is already really cool about things. He accepts our decision(s) to leave and I don't feel awkward around him. My MIL has taken it very hard and she refuses to talk about it so the unspoken resentments are driving me nuts!! BIL and SIL seem to have chosen to keep us at an arms length. As you say, time will tell. I hope family will trump religion. See, you are an exception to the rule I think AB. If you were part of my extended family then I think family functions would go veeeery differently. I don't know. It's like a discussion Rockstar and I had about how many good/bad people there are in the world. RS thinks the bad outweigh the good and I think the other. I don't know if most TBMs shun family members who leave the church or if most TBMs are more like you but from my experience and from others online it looks less favourable.

    I have a feeling that even if you were to leave the church someday that you would possibly not feel that you were ever a victim. I think that you already live your life very consciously and thoughtfully and with gusto that the transition would be more smooth. I had kind of lost myself in the religion and leaving felt more like a rupture.

    Wow, I've spent my whole life thinking dissociate was spelled and pronounced disassociate. Me so smart.

    Yay! for naughty naughty fun! (p.s. I think you crack the ex-Mos up plenty)

    I think the members promote the "leave the church alone" mentality as well but I don't feel that I could blame any one member for it. It seems to be such an ingrained attitude w/ was certainly not made any better through the odd(hateful?) words of BY-

    “I say, rather than that apostates should flourish here, I will unsheath [sic] my bowie knife, and conquer or die [Great commotion in the congregation, and a simultaneous burst of feeling, assenting to the declaration.]. Now, you nasty apostates, clear out, or judgment will be put to the line, and righteousness to the plummet [Voices, generally, ‘go it, go it.’]. If you say it is right, raise your hands [All hands up.]. Let us call upon the Lord to assist us in this, and every good work.”

    - Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 1, p. 83

    and others

    It's actually something that I have recently come to view as one of the most damaging aspects of the Mormon religion. Damaging to family unity, completely antithetical to the church's professed mission. I've been quite lucky and am so glad I live in quiet little Perth, Western Australia rather than say SLC, Utah! Some of the stories out there of ostracism are really sad.

    Blah, need to end positively... um, oh packed lunches are very cool and if you don't sit next to me then I will sulk for the rest of eternity ;)

  28. Well, I suppose some exMos might feel a bit sorry for Mormons, and that might come out in the things they say.

    But at least they don't engage in routine and systematic defamation on anywhere the scale that Latter-day Saints do. Atheists don't hold it as a point of doctrine that people who don't think like we do are lost and in a fallen state, and that at the last day they will be made to kneel before their deity.

    Mormons continually and habitually defame those not of their faith (or 'the world', as it is said), and by constantly warning each other to avoid it and not be spotted from it. Mormons also consider the way non-believers live to be so fallen and depraved that they need to coordinate an army of missionaries to save them from their sinful state.

    It seems to me that Mormons have very little room to complain about the discourse.

  29. See Richard Dawkins' "the brights."

  30. Daniel,

    Touché. I would point out though that Mormons believe that we're all in a fallen state (ourselves included) and that we we all face judgment. I think I do a lot more worrying about myself than I do about anyone else in that regard.

    I didn't think I complained about the discourse.


    BY said some crazy things for sure. I think religious people back in the day all did their fair share of hell and damnation. I'm not going to defend him, but I'm just saying we're all products of the time in which we live.

    Have I told you that we bought our house from a Spalding? A descendant of Solomon Spalding? There were some claims that JS copied one of his books for the BOM. Anyway, I met his (the guy we bought the house from) father and had a very interesting conversation with him. I'll have to send you an email about it, too long for a comment.

    And yes, definitely packed lunches - just don't put root beer in the thermos:)

  31. AB: More a general comment, not to you. Don't worry! Just me fulminating.

  32. Baahahahaha! THAT was classic. I was just about to comment on Marijuana Boys' post. Be there in a sec. Seems like I am chasing you around the blogosphere atm.

    I'd love to hear about your Spalding character.

    As for being products of our time, I can agree with you on that... it sure makes me wonder though how he could be considered a man of God? why would an all-loving, all-knowing God tell him to say those things?

  33. One of the reasons I had doubts initially about the church was the things said by BY. And the activities of JS. How could they truly be men of God? Seeds of doubt planted, but put on the shelf for many years.

  34. why would an all-loving, all-knowing God tell him to say those things?
    Mormons are not required to believe that every word from a prophet's lips is straight from the mind of God. Some may fall into that trap but it is absolutely not doctrine. Can a man with an imperfect understanding yet be a man of God? I sure hope so.

  35. I know that is not doctrine but the membership sure clings to the idea that our current prophet knows how to handle the LGBT question because he speaks to God. Which he doesn't. Ask him, he won't be able to say that he actually speaks to God. He'll tell you something about feelings and impressions instead, hmmmm subjective? To me it doesn't matter that Mormons don't believe that every word out of the prophets mouth is from God. Brigham Young said enough nasty stuff in his time as prophet for me to know without any question that he was not in any kind of communication with any kind of benevolent god.

  36. Many people are raised in the church to expect, or come to the church looking for, rules and certainty - answers from God that they don't have to think about. And those looking for rules will find them. Some pretty good ones, which we'd all be better off following. But eventually, if one is to grow, one will find that God asks us to live principles, not follow rules. And similarly one may realize that Prophets' communication with Him is mediated by those men's experiences and histories and interests just like it is for the rest of us. We are thrown back onto our own resources to think things out for ourselves and seek our own confirmations and personal relationships with Him. We won't go wrong by listening to the prophet but we can go even farther by finding our own answers and truly believing that there are many great and wonderful things yet to be revealed. But yes, lots of members cling to certainty.

    On Brigham Young we'll just have to disagree. If prophets struggle with their history in communicating with God like the rest of us do, I don't find his struggles incompatible with his calling.

  37. I totally disagree that Mormonism holds (m)any rules/principles that we'd all be better off following. Name me one? In fact I'm going to start a new post on this now. Would you feel comfortable posting some suggestions there. I think you have raised a very interesting topic indeed!!

    As for prophets, they just don't seem to be very useful to me. They don't seem to be able to get any info from God in time to spare the religion all kinds of ridicule. I am pretty sure we will see many changes in the churches stance on homosexuality over the coming years, may take a while but I just can't help but think that if god were actually running the show then he would help the Mormons out a bit better than this.

    I think the prophets most certainly have led the church and the people into dangerous paths. Paths of racism, sexism and prejudice. Shouldn't a church that claims to be led by god lead the way in social justice and equality?