Monday, March 27, 2006

Hook, Line and Sinker

As a ”Truly Believing Member” of the Mormon Church, I admit that I took every thing that the leaders of the church spewed out literally. They had already done the I didn’t need to... right? I literally believed everything without ever thinking the claims of the church out in my mine. I believe part of my loss of belief came about because I started to recognize blatant conflicts with the claims of the church and reality... here are a few examples of things that started to really bother me and eventually led to my leaving Mormonism. It is also why Thinking in Mormonism is part of the “Double Bind“.
  • The Mormon belief that the earth is 6,000 years old (see D&C sec 77)
  • The whole story of Adam and Eve being our first parents
  • The story of the Universal Flood (Mormon’s believe that this was a baptism of the earth).
  • The belief that Dinosaurs came from a different planet
  • The Garden of Eden being in the State of Missouri
  • The belief that there was no death before Adam and Eve (fossil remains have proven this to be a false doctrine)
  • The City of Enoch being a real city that was literally lifted into heaven from its sight where the Gulf of Mexico is currently situated.
  • That our Sun derives its energy from a planet called Kolob
  • That the pre-Columbus inhabitants of the America’s and Pacific Islands were descendants of Hebrew bloodlines.
  • That all languages somehow were changed from a pure Adamic language 4,000 years ago at the “Tower of Babel” to confuse and confound humanity. "Pay Lay Ale" in pure Adamic means "Oh God, hear the words of my mouth" ... Yeah right!
  • That God somehow showed Noah where to “drop off” the various animals species through out the world, after the flood so that they would conform perfectly with Darwin’s theory of Evolution i.e.: Kangaroos in Australia, Lion’s and Elephants in Africa, Horses and Cows in Mesopotamia etc.
Now that I am free to think and evaluate so many conflicting beliefs found in Mormonism...I am amazed that I ever believed so many silly and stupid doctrines. The only way that Mormonism makes any sense in reality... is to “Leave It”.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Close Encounters of The 5th Kind

Utah is a unique microcosm. Different from almost any other place in the world because of the overwhelming influence of the Mormon church in personal and public settings. Those who do move into Utah from elsewhere are often overwhelmed by the initial experience of encountering their new Mormon neighbors. While those of us who have left Mormonism continue to be bombarded by the long tentacles of Mormonism at every turn. As an aid to those of us living in Utah...I wanted to give guidance on how to handle these close encounters.

Close Encounters Of A 1st Kind: This is the most common category of close encounter. It involves sensing something from a Mormon while in a public place. It could be a quick turn of a head from someone who saw you drinking an adult beverage in a public restaurant. The avoidance of eye contact from someone you know who sees you drinking out of a Styrofoam cup. That subtle judgmental expression you may receive as you mow your lawn on a Sunday morning as your neighbors drive off to church. Encounters of this type are very slight but evident...more a feeling or a perception - anything like that fits into this section. If you experience this kind of is best to raise your adult beverage in the direction of the Mormon and give them a wink of your eye or a flip of your middle finger.

Close Encounters Of A 2nd Kind: A bit deeper than the 1st kind, to have a 2nd class encounter you must have experienced a personal invasion of your private space by a Mormon. You see Mormons are raised to believe that there is no such thing as personal boundaries. Their personal boundaries are violated so often by their own ecclesiastical leaders through invasive interviews through out their own lives that they see nothing wrong with invading others rights to enjoyment of public spaces. You have experienced a close encounter of the 2nd kind if you have been asked to alter your activity or behavior while in a public setting. This close encounter would come in a direct communication to you such as “Could you please refrain from using that kind of language in front of me” or “I saw you jogging without your garments on, What were you thinking?” This kind of encounter is generally best handled by telling the Mormon who wants to alter your behavior to “Fuck Off”.

Close Encounters Of A 3rd Kind: Violation of your most personal private space is involved in this class of encounter. You’ll know that you have had a close encounter of the third kind if you’ve been sitting in the privacy of your own home enjoying a quiet moment reading Carl Sagan’s book “ A Demon Haunted World” or watching an HBO “R” rated movie while enjoying a cold beer, when the door bell rings. This unannounced invasion of your personal space by members of the local bishopric or home teachers is the most common encounter of the third kind. If you do encounter this kind of is best dealt with by merely shutting your door in the faces of these unannounced intruders and kindly telling them to stay the Fuck out of your life.

Close Encounters Of A 4th Kind: The rarest of Close Encounters, a class 4 encounter relates to an experience involving personal contact or communication with a Mormon priesthood leader or apologist. These Clashe of the Titan moments are rare because the only thing those who have left Mormonism want is to be left alone. However, members of the Mormon Church can not get this reality through their thick white and delightsome heads. So after having experienced close encounters of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd kind repeatedly, the non-believer generally seeks out an encounter of the 4th kind. These types of encounters are usually an errand in futility... but damn they sure make you feel great after finally being able to kick some major Mormon ass. Just being able to articulate all the reasons to a Mormon of authority as to why Mormonism is NOT what it claims to be can be exhilarating.

Close Encounters Of A 5th Kind: This class of encounter is sometimes used to define Abduction cases involving Mormons. This is perhaps the most insidious encounter. You will know that you have experienced an encounter of the 5th kind if the minds and souls of your family no longer respond to logic, facts and reality when Mormonism is being discussed. In these sad situations your family has been abducted by Mormonism.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Ummmmm... Smell That Aroma...

Ok time for true confessions... I’ve been addicted to Coffee for as long as I can remember. Now I never actually consumed any until about 2 years ago, AFTER I left the church. But as a pre teen my never mo grand pa (he may have been necro dunked by now, but I’m sure he’s still resisting) used to give me that yummy coffee candy. It was the perfect mix of a cup o coffee with cream and sugar...yummy. If my TBM mom caught me eating one, she would make me spit it out. Oh that evil vile candy. On the same level as candy cigarettes...

As a teen, I’d linger alittle too long in the grocery store coffee isle as well...especially if someone was grinding some freshly roasted coffee beans. (Yeah they use to sell that at the store even in Utah). I loved the smell of freshly ground coffee, still do. It smelled so good to me...yet I KNEW it was one of the most evil substances on earth. One of the BIG three...after tabacco and alcohol.

Then something happened when I went into my chosen career... I had a weak moment one day and I consumed a caffeinated beverage... not a hard core cola drink mind you...but a carbonated "entry level" caffeinated root beer. The kind of drink those evil manufactures of caffeinated beverages make to hook the weak and unsuspecting. Well that did it... I was on the quick road to hell after that... I soon migrated to stronger caffeine drinks such as Shasta Cola, Mr. Pib and finally the mother of all caffeine drinks.... OH God help me, I consumed a Coca-Cola. Well that eventually led me to much stronger caffeinated drinks such as Dr. Pepper and Mountain Dew and my ultimate drug of choice, Diet-Pepsi. I was consuming more and more caffeine drinks...I even did it in public settings...selecting the caffeine brand even when the caffeine free variety was available.

I had a problem... I knew I had a problem... I was a consumer of COLD caffeine. Not to be confused with that evil damned generation who drank their caffeine HOT. Thank God, there was nothing wrong with cold caffeine consumption. I could still get a temple recommend. I could still practice my religion with a clear conscience knowing I was one of God's chosen few because I drank my caffeine COLD. I could still pat myself on my back KNOWING that I was a worthy Mormon...since I had NEVER consumed HOT caffeine. I could keep that chip securly on my shoulder KOWING that I was better than my fellow man because I only consumed my caffeine COLD, never HOT. In fact it quickly became clear to me that THE TEMPERATURE OF THE CAFFEINE CONSUMED COULD DETECT PURE UNADULTERATED EVIL. People who drank HOT caffeine...were clearly the spawn of Satan.

Then something happened... a Never Mo cousin of mine asked me to explain why I could drink cold caffeinated beverages as a Mormon...but would not join him for a cup of hot tea or hot coffee. God Damn him.... How dare he use logic and reason against my God given Mormon rationalizations. I wanted to yell at him and tell him that Hot Caffeine was against the word of wisdom... but as a Never Mo, child of Satan, he would never understand the intricacies of God's plan. Clearly, God made a distinction between being good and being evil based on the temperature of ones caffeine consumption... but how was I going to help him understand God’s convoluted, nonsensical law’s of Love.

I filed this conflict in the back of my mind as a good Mormon always does with all the other stupid conflicting nonsense Mormonism had conflicted me with over the years.

Jump ahead a few years... I now just shake my head and laugh at how totally absurd this Mormon measuring stick for goodness really is. And to think it took my Never-Mo Cousin to point it out to me. Yeah, I was that brainwashed.

So this morning, as I was driving to work with a hot cup ‘o coffee, enjoying the delicious aroma of that HOT caffeine drink... I had a moment of pure joy come across my face as I reflected back on my Mormon upbringing and the absolutely absurd teachings that the worth of an individual can be detected through the temperature of the caffeine in their drink...

Monday, March 06, 2006

Miracles DO Happen

Since leaving the church, Sundays have been the worst day of the week. I stay at home, relax, and watch TV, read the Sunday paper while my family goes off to do their duty by attending faithfully all 3 hours of their Sunday meetings. Then, they all return with a chip on their shoulder because their apostate husband/father didn’t attend church. The #$%& always seemed to hit the to speak. Sundays were just plain awful.

Well I’m here to testify that there are still miracles, that there is such a thing as Recovery from Mormonism, that a TBM and an apostate CAN remain married and get along through compromise.

I can’t honestly tell you what it was that created this thawing of feelings and emotions...(but stopping posting on RFM helped) but Sundays have become more relaxed and the #$%& hasn’t hit the fan in three weeks. My wife returns from church happy and somewhat comfortable with my non-attendance. She's Found a Happy Place. We’re actually becoming a normal family again... and rediscovering that we do in fact love each other. Oh there are still some peculiarities... but dogs and cats can get along, the lion and the lamb can lay down with each other...and a TBM and an Apostate can love each other and respect each others perspective. Life is Good.

I haven’t been to a church meeting in four weeks and I have no cause to attend in the future...

Oh Yeah I believe in Miracles!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

I've Cancelled my Mormon Prescription

A few year ago I discovered during a routine medical check up that I had elevated cholesterol. The doctor prescribed one 10 mg of Lipitor on a daily basis along with diet and exercise to bring my reading back within an acceptable level. With the medication, proper diet and daily exercise, my cholesterol quickly dropped to a reading of about 130. Anything under 190 is considered good.

Since I take a pill each morning, I need a steady supply, so I buy my prescription in 3 months refills. 2 weeks ago I sent in my refill request as I was getting low on pills. This morning as part of my daily routine, I brushed my teeth, shaved, then reached over to get my pill. Sitting next to my bottle of pills was another similar looking pill bottle. Not having put my glasses on, I just assumed that my refill had arrived and that my wife had placed it alongside my other pill bottle. I didn’t even give it a second thought as I took a pill from the new bottle and swallowed.

I didn’t need to read the new pill bottle, I KNEW that it was my refill. There was neither doubt nor reason to question my assumption. Only after I had showered, dressed and put on my eyeglasses did I notice a slight difference in the shape of the two bottles. An alarm went off in my head. Upon further examination I discovered to my horror that I had ingested one of my wife’s medications, which she assured me should have no effect on a guy. Whew!

Through out my life I was so sure that Mormonism was all that it claimed to be. I was so sure, that I refrained from even subjecting the faith of my birth to a critical examination. Then I started to pick up on some anomalies. First, during my mission then later through out my life, I’d hear of some bizarre historical events that didn’t seem to fit into my picture of the church that I had been raised in. Things just didn’t add up. Alarms started to go off. Cognitive Dissonance set in. I knew that I needed to subject my faith to an examination. I started using critical eyes and began scrutinizing Mormonisms claims. To my horror, I discovered that the church of my birth had failed to disclose all of the important pertinent information necessary to make an informed honest decision. I had been lied to, misinformed and given false information. But unlike my wife’s pills... this lack of disclosure was not had serious side effects. As a result I've cancelled my Mormon prescription.

Lamanites and Scrapbooking

My mom, bless her heart, was raised in a time when Mormonism was easy to believe in. Oh sure it still had its detractors, but by god, at least intelligent minds could still point to all those ancient civilizations in Central America and at least debate the question. Facts still mattered. The Mormon Church was so sure of this reality, that it spent millions of dollars on archeological digs and studies to find evidence to support the claims of the Book of Mormon as an ancient historical document. They never doubted for an instant that their investment would not return spectacular evidence to support their claims.

My mom never even had to doubt, with all that proof supporting the claims of the Book of Mormon, who in their right mind would doubt. Mormonism was a fact, a reality, it was testable and supportable...hallelujah the church is true!

Yesterday I visited my parents. In retirement my mom has occupied her time with what she calls doing genealogy. In reality she isn’t searching for family lines to extend our family tree, what in fact she is doing is compiling bits and bobs of pictures and cards, a trip down memory lane, and putting them in a scrapbook...but we all refer to her activity, in her words, as her genealogy.

So yesterday as I made a visit, my mom pulls out her latest compilation of memories (genealogy) and places it front of me. It was a large thick book consisting of about 50 thickly filled pages of family recollections.

As I leafed through the pictures and post cards I came to one page in particular. Mom had cut out a few pictures of American Indians dress in full-feathered headdresses and war regalia and pasted them on a page. I turned to my mother and asked... Ah what are these pictures in here for? “Oh those“, said mom, “those are to remind me of our Jewish ancestry? Your great great great grand mother was Jewish.” “But mom these are American Indians...not Jews.” Her reply was one for the Mormon Hall of Fame. “But Craig, Your great great great grand mother was Lamanite and Lamanites are Jewish.

Yeah got to love that hemispheric Book of Mormon setting taught for over 175 years... Oh how I long for the good old days...

And So It Begins...

Last Month I had my balls spiritually removed by my Beautiful-Uber-Mormo-Nazi-TBM wife (whom I love with every fiber of my being). She had discovered that I had been posting my thoughts on a sight infamously known to all TBM’s as the spawn of Satan, the evil anti-Mormon sight better known to all free thinkers as “Recovery From Mormonism or RFM for short, In my desire to find common ground I agreed to stop posting my thoughts on RFM. But walking around with a tinfoil hat duct taped over my mind is not very comfortable.

So knowing that I am far from being recovered of my Mormon experience I have decided to establish this blog aptly named “Cr@ig In The Middle” as a safe place where I can come to vent and download my random thoughts from time to time.

My “Cr@ig In The Middle” blog will be about anything my mind congers up, but I suspect that it will dwell mostly on my continued experience of living with my feet planted in two opposing worldviews. One foot is begrudgingly planted in the magic worldview of Mormonism where anything is possible. Up is down, black is white, 2+2 = 5, where reality is suspended to accommodate mind bending belief, where answers to questions are known before questions are asked. This is the world my wife and family still reside within. My other foot is securely planted in the real world. The skeptics world where facts and reality matter. Where truth claims can be questioned and tested and discarded if found lacking or embraced based on testable supporting evidence. It is the world were faith is still valued but is built on a foundation of reality. In this world, to make that leap of faith, one is not required to disregard the laws of nature or the laws of the universe in order to accommodate it. An exercise in Faith is rewarded in additional truth...not the absolute unmoveable, untestable truth of Mormonism, but the honest, real kind of truth that is literally built line upon line, precept upon precept and based in authenticity. That welcomes critical examination and is not afraid of the skeptical mind.

My life in the “Middle” of these two contrasting, conflicting worldviews is a delicate balancing act that I am glad to endure for the sake of my family, whom I continue to love.