A young woman talk about how a typical convert is made
Eric, I just wanted you to know how much your web site has really helped me. I am originally from N. Ireland and my parents converted to the Mormon church when I was seven. We migrated to "Zion" when I was thirteen. I served a Mormon mission in Idaho and I am currently attending Southern Utah University.
When I returned home from my mission, about a year and a half ago, I was deeply troubled by some of the "Early" doctrines of the Mormon church. I found the rules and regulations of my mission and to be cumbersome and even an obstacle to my growth as a spiritual being. I collected many books on my mission from Joseph Campbell to "Liberal" LDS publications like Dialogue and Sunstone. What I found both disturbed and exhilarated me. About a third of the way through my mission I took off my garments and decided to return home. I felt a new found strength in my determination to find not only the validity of the Mormon church, but also to find myself.
I returned home to a small LDS town that my parents had moved to one year before my mission. I was not prepared for the reaction and hardships that I would face from this "well meaning" community. I could not get a job to save money to return to college. The manager of Lin's even spent an hour trying to figure out how I could doubt the church while on a mission. He even bore his testimony to me and when I told him I respected his opinions but I simply did not share his beliefs he warned me that satan would have me as his, and to remember the sacred covenants I made in the temple. I was shocked to say the least. My Dad felt that he had failed as the "Patriarch" of the home and even resorted to pounding my face on one occasion.
About four months ago I felt very alone and decided to try to please my parents and friends by coming back to the "church." But I could never accept the doctrine like I did in the past. I am an intellectual and according to Boyd K. Packer I am one of the greatest threats to the church( along with Michael Quinn and other intellectuals.)
With a lot of stuggle and pain I have decided this very night to leave Mormonism behind once and for all. I have no doubt it is destructive to my spiritual growth and also my intergrity. To remain in Mormonism is to stagnate.
I would appreciate any e-mail with those who share or have shared the pain I am currently feeling. Eric, If this could be of any help to those who are facing "Cognitive Dissonance" or the like please feel free to post this with my e- mail address....
I was really glad to find your web site and to realize that there are others out there who have similiar feelings and/or experiences with "the Church". I joined in July '90 and finally just last Dec. '95 had my name officially removed from the records.
When I was 21, I met a young man who befriended and comforted me after my Dad's passing, and while my Mom was dying. I was EXTREMELY vunerable at that time as I felt my whole world was being erased. He and his family took me in, and made me feel that they would always be there for me. I should've realized at that time I was nothing more than a number in their quest to reach 100 converts. I was #4.
Hindsight being 20-20...I should never have joined that Church when so much of it goes against my grain. They hide the truth (as they are so fond of saying..over and over and over again) behind a well thought out and developed marketing and advertising plan. The TRUTH is that they take their children from day one and ingrain in them the idea that they are the only true Church, and that if they don't do everything that is expected...they'll never achieve that celestial planet.
My biggest faults with Mormonism: Con Artist extraordinaire:Joe Smith *Their refusal to come to terms that there are anti-Mormonism sentiments out there...they are [told] to just look the other way.
*"I know this Church is true". I heard that more than one more time coming from a 4 year old. She doesn't know! She only knows what her family wants her to say.
*"So and so isn't a member, but she is a really nice person" Putting qualifications on people via member or not.
*HYPOCRISY with the capital H there! I knew many Mormons and Elders who spoke and taught one thing, then turned around and did the other. This was one of the main things that really turned my stomach.
*Taking role in Church to [use to] verify your worthiness. I owe nothing to some man or woman to verify how worthy I am in the presence of God!
*The constant checking up on you, under the guise of social welfare. Hey, wouldn't want to lose a tither now would we??
*As you can see, I could literally go on for days and be more specific in my examples. It is just so nice to be off their roles, and have that closure to that part of my life. That church really soured me on much of the religion concept. Definitely left a mark on me.
Thanks for the oppurtunity to read your web site and for me to vent!!
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org