Date: November 26, 2012 08:42PM
So, when I was a missionary (1998 to 2000), I was introduced to the book "Drawing on the Powers of Heaven". After applying this book's principles to missionary work, I was convinced that the same methods would work in post-mission life as well, let me explain:
-I learned that anything I wanted/needed would be provided given sufficient faith and obedience.
-If I didn't have what I needed/wanted (righteous desires only) then it was because I was either being tested or wasn't be sufficiently obedient
-If I combined this book's teachings with the Book of Mormon's "prosper in the land" teachings, then I would become wealthy.
Product of this "new-age" belief system:
Armed with these "new age" beleifs, and after returning home from my mission, I did everything in my power to control my environment through "steadfast faith and obedience"; for example:
-I believed in these principles so much that from just minor disobdience, I ended up homeless twice (each time for about a year), addicted to heroin, methamphetamines, alcohol, etc. ... you name it, I've injected it, snorted it, inhaled it, or swallowed it.
-I convinced myself that if I was disobedient, even slightly disobedient (i.e., forgot to read the scriptures), then "God would withdraw the Holy Spirit" from my life thereby causing me to falter ... and I proved this to myself by allowing my life to go into a dark and bleek abyss each time I forgot to read the scriptures, pray, pay tithing, etc.
-During this time, I had also dropped out of BYU ... my grades were extremely poor because I felt that I "couldn't do well on tests because I had forgotten to read my scriptures" so I didn't study for the tests, given that I was convinced that I would do poorly no matter what because I was "disobedient" to God's commandments.
-My disobedience was nothing more than forgetting to pay tithing, or forgetting to read the scriptures and pray. During this time I never sinned in a "sexual manner", however, because of my self-defeating belief system of perfection I did fall into severe drug addiction, as explained above.
I've only explained some of the details of my experiences with this flawed belief system. I remember that after being homeless and explaining my situation to doctors, I was diagnosed with "bi-polar mania". However, after living through a horrible marriage, being forced to give a child up for adoption, and being considered an "outcast". I finally cleaned up my life and got back into BYU. In fact, and while I won't go into specifics, I did so well at BYU and I was accepted into a prestigious graduate program at BYU. During this time, I still had the idea of Mormonism, bipolar-mania, and my past hovering over my head.
After living this way for about three years, the ideas from "Drawing on the Power's of Heaven" came back to bite me in the ass. Fortunately, however, this it was different. While my life did fall into disarray once again, and I nearly become homeless and addicted to drugs once again, I decided to question my belief system that I held to strongly for the last 9+ years of my life. I studied everything I could find about the orgins of Mormonism, faith, religion, Jesus Christ, God, etc. Because my brain was so tightly alligned with the ideas from "prosper in this land" and "Drawing on the Powers of Heaven", I became physically ill when I started to "deprogram" myself from Mormonism and the self-validating "faith experiences" that I previously held onto as validation factors for my faulty belief system. I remember that I had bronchitis and pneumonia as well as leisions on my skin for nearly entire year while I tried to weed out the horrific and unfounded beliefs that I had formed while I missionary.
Well, to make a long story short, it's been about two years since the beginning of my "self-deprogramming", and through this process I've learned quite a bit about myself and how the world works:
-I now believe that I can accomplish things without being obedient to a "religion". Because of this "new-to-me" belief system, I've been able to keep a job, I've not even been close to becoming homeless, and I don't have even the slightest desire to use drugs of any sort, except for of course, perscriptions from my doctor.
-A 18 months ago, I went to a "non-BYU" doctor who diagnosed my "mental condition" as ADHD, and since being on the "correct medication" I've finally been able to change my belief system even more. The interesting thing about "BYU" doctor's diagnosis of my past "mental states" was that I was never depressed, I was merely "off my rocker" so to speak with the belief system that I was following. BYU doctors misdiagnosed my "mental state" due to their own undiagnosed bias toward Mormon belief and it's "truthfulness." I am now working with a lawyer to have my medical record expunge as was recorded at BYU's health center.
-I am finally very happy when I want to be happy ... knowing that Mormonism is bullshit was very hard at the begginning, but now after having both successes and failures as a non-believer, I am able to show myself each and every day that I am worthwhile and that I can accomplish whatever the hell I want to accomplish despite a religion or a God. Granted, I still have days where my brain tries very hard to divert to my previous "mormon methodology", but this is happening much less frequently that before.
-I still have quite a bit of "life fixing" to do. The last two years have been a whirlwind of learning and new experiences that I quite literally dropped everything, both school, church, family, job, etc. to sort out my mind and deprogram myself. It's only been six months since I stopped living off of unemployment and started working again.
-While I have a very long road ahead of me in life, I am more confident than ever before that I can now logically manuver through life without having to rely on a crazy set of beliefs like reading the scriptures or paying tithing--I now believe that I deserve to live in a house and feel good about myself despite "being obedient" to a set of ridiculous Mormon beliefs.
I've tried to keep this post as short as possible so as to not bore anyone here on the board, and hopefully I've accomplished this task. I've not shared this experience with anyone as of yet, so my mind is still very much jumbled and unorganized when it comes to explaining my "disbelief" in a faulty "beleif system". Anyway, I figured I'd share my experience with others. I'll end with this:
I believed that I could do anything, I mean ANYTHING, by following a ridiculous belief system that included praying to imaginary beings, reading imaginary scriptures about imaginary beings, attending sacrament meeting, devoting my life to Mormonism and an imaginary Christ and God, attending the temple regularly, and doing my home teaching. Because of Mormonism, that is because I could never have enough "faith" in Mormonism or "obedience" to Mormon principles, I ended up homeless, addicted to drugs, divorced, misdiagnosed as bipolar by Mormon doctors, and scored poorly on exams and homework assignments in college, all the while believing that these "side-effects" were products of faithlessness and disobedience. I gave Mormonism 100% of my heart, time, and soul, and in return for my efforts, Mormonism stole 100% of my life.