A Question from a Mormon reader:
Just my .02 but I have often wondered why so many of these ex-mormons spend so much of their time renouncing this faith. I’ve seen blogs, websites and fb pages devoted to this. I guess when I left my church for another, it didn’t bother me enough to devote my whole life to renouncing it. Of course I explained it to my friends and family. Of course my mother will NEVER get over it but I just kinda figured it was too bad for her, or “them”. I don’t want to rain on your parade, you have some funny posts, I truly am not bashing, fighting, ridiculing. Just more thinking out loud. I just wonder why all the angst and anger, instead of feeling released and free. Maybe it’s just the lack of mormon background but seriously, Jewish mothers NEVER forgive. Especially when the grandkids started coming. I just never thought about it again and didn’t feel guilty enough to devote so much time and anger to justifying my leaving. Good luck primal scream and may you truly find the peace you seem to still be searching for.
Before I answer your question, I’m going to call you out on your BS.
You already understand perfectly well the dynamics at play with ex-Mormons. What compelled you to visit my blog, to continue reading and then to comment? That’s the same impulse that leads ex-Mormons into a prolonged and sometimes public analysis of their change of faith.
Did you serve a mission? That’s also the same behavioral impulse that prevents ex-Mormons from keeping their mouths shut once they’ve encountered further light and knowledge. I find it odd that LDS members who support tens of thousands of missionaries at any given time with the message that “we’re more right than anything you believe in right now” somehow wonder, like yourself, why that same zeal is still apparent after friends or relatives find something better. I see LDS “blogs, websites and fb pages devoted” to the message of “the restoration”, which is at it’s very core a renunciation of every other religion.
The doctrine of the apostasy is a renunciation of every other religion.
If you’ve read or studied anything about human behavior it’s quite obvious that it’s rare that someone just “gets over it” when a major life shift has taken place. In fact I’d suggest that your never thinking about it again, and apparent disregard for your Jewish mother’s unforgiving feelings is far more pathological than what you find in the typical ex-Mormon desire to process and understand their new stage in life and how their loved ones fit into it. It says a lot more about YOU than it does about ex-Mormons.
Lastly, to use me or any other blogger as a legitimate representation of all ex-Mormons is a logical fallacy where you take the loudest and most vocal of a group and generalize those opinions or feelings of “angst and anger” to the population of ex-Mormons as a whole. Numerically, the quiet ones far outnumber us.
For example, the LDS faith claims 15 million followers, but only a 1/3 of those bother to have any significant interaction with the LDS faith. In fact, census reports from abroad indicate that those 2/3 that still remain on the books don’t even consider themselves LDS enough to self report it on their national census. They are the silent ex-Mormons, the ones you won’t read about or hear from. They are the ones who silently walked away and “just never thought about it again and didn’t feel guilty.” They are the majority. In my family alone, I have 3 siblings and a father who, for all intents and purposes, have left but who are still counted as part of that 15 million. You won’t read a Mormon-themed blog or FB post by them. There are more of them than there are of vocal ex-Mormons like myself or even faithful Mormons like yourself so neither one of us should be kidding ourselves.
Now, to briefly answer your question, not speaking for every ex-Mormon alive, but for myself. I continue to engage with Mormonism because it is still forced on me. My young children are still being indoctrinated by their mother and ward family. It is shoved down their throats and they are being manipulated with half-truths. I couldn’t walk away from it if I wanted to. I live in a community swarming with Mormonism. There are more LDS chapels than Starbucks if that gives you an idea. It permeates my surroundings in ways that it wouldn’t if I were fortunate to live outside the Jello Belt.
Lastly, I was a good, faithful, true believing Mormon for 38 years of my life. The kind that accepted every calling, held a temple recommend and actually did his home teaching. When you realize you’ve been bamboozled for much of your life, it takes some time to get over.
“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”
The fact is that most people would never allow themselves to admit it even to themselves. It’s far easier not to allow yourself the thought that you’ve been wrong in such a dramatic way and that you’ve testified of events you once believed but that you now know to be falsehoods. It’s rare. Those of us that have passed through that eye of the needle remain with bruises that take years to heal. And the angst and anger that you detect is as much at ourselves for being so bamboozled for so long as it is at the ones perpetuating the bamboozle even now.
There IS the feeling of being “released and free.” The other logical fallacy you’ve succumbed to is believing that my being vocal on this blog represents the entirety of my life. If you read my “About” page, you’ll see that this is the one place I come to vent. I have so much more to my life and to my relationships with my loved ones than is reflected in being ex-Mormon and gay. I just don’t feel the need to vent about that part of my life because it comes so easy. So, your question is like the physician wondering why everyone in the world is so sick. If you visit ex-Mormon blogs, you’re going to see angst.
I hope that helps you understand.