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Posted by: SLDrone ( )
Date: January 15, 2011 05:56PM

Buddha taught as one of the four eternal truths that “life is suffering”. But it is through that suffering that we grow and develop. We escape the traditions and dogma of our parents and their parents by virtue of that growth. It is through this process that we create our own unique spirituality.

The real answers to life do not come from a pulpit or from between two blue book covers. We are all born originals; unfortunately, too many of us die copies. We tend towards the path of least resistance.

If we are truly wise (and none of us are) we will welcome problems and work for the solution and in the process we will become more than we were. Most of us spend our time just avoiding the problems.

It is the nature of most people to decide the truth of all things at a very young age. From then on, life becomes a struggle to support and strengthen those “truths”. The paradigm must be preserved at all cost. Supporting evidence is exaggerated, detracting evidence is belittled, discounted or ignored. It is painful to shift a paradigm. It causes personal discomfort, even sometimes suffering, to redraw the map that guides our lives. It is even harder to disappoint those we love should they choose to not go with us on that journey of personal and painful growth.

It is a shattering and devastating event to alter core beliefs. For many of us our religion was not just a way of life, but a set of core defining values taught to us from our earliest memories. We have fought for our beliefs, and sacrificed greatly of our time, talents and money. We’ve put our families in second place as we devoted our all to the building up of a fantasy. We’ve followed leaders with the strength of conviction, only to find out they don’t really speak for deity, in fact they lie in the name of Jesus Christ.

Now a choice of integrity vs. personal comfort must be made. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, together with its doctrine, dogma and origins are exposed as fraudulent, modified and untrue. It’s hard to believe at first, and even harder to accept. As the clandestine search for truth begins the searcher is skeptical. Heretical thoughts are dismissed at first, then apologized for later. We do what we can to protect our paradigm, our life map, our personal definition of how we see the world. Then the evidence becomes overwhelming, factual and without need of interpretation. Things are what they are. A choice is made. Some bury their new knowledge in a panic and return to their life as usual. They reject the invitation to personal growth and pain. They follow the path of least resistance and the search for truth is over, buried, never to be reexamined. Others, dedicated to personal integrity and truth also must make a choice. Do they make their new knowledge known, do they keep it to themselves, how will they alter their lives? How will they alter the lives of those they love? These are personal and deeply difficult choices. There is no right pattern, we must not look to others for answers. We must search deep inside ourselves, weigh all consequences, then decide on a course of action that balances wisdom, pain, and integrity.

Common is the person who faced with that evidence will dismiss it. It is just too hard to face. Common is the person who will scorn, blame, ridicule and deride the truth. The truth to that person is an inconvenience. He or she would rather go on in his or her fantasy than face the hardship of truth. Anyone who would discount that hardship only need read the stories of those that have traveled that road.

Rare is the person who will look that monster in the face and say “I will change my life, my paradigm, my life map”. “I’ll admit I was wrong all those years and I’ll face the consequences of those that will scorn and ridicule me”.

Rare is that person.

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Posted by: Not the Girl You Used to Know ( )
Date: January 15, 2011 06:07PM

Just before I read this post I just finished typing these words in my FACEBOOK status...

"why didn't someone knock me up side the head when I was 16?
and again when I was 20
and again when I needed it?
they did.
I refused to listen cuz I always knew better.
I HAVE learned one thing....
I was wrong about A LOT of things."

Thank you SLDrone for giving me a definition for myself today...
I am not only "Not the girl you used to know"...I am "The rare person" and that feels GREAT!

All of here at RFM are rare people indeed!

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Posted by: ustlach ( )
Date: January 15, 2011 06:42PM

Thanks for your post. This is one of the best posts I have ever read. It speaks to me powerfully. I was a Mormon a long, long time, all of my life, really, but was never a believer. I went along with as much of it as was conveneient, to keep my family off my back and to please them, and I went along with as much of it as I could, as long as it did not require any effort, committment, or professing that I knew it was true, when I most definitely did not know any such thing. Only very, very late in life, after Prop 8 and learning how little the church does for the needy with the money it is given for that purpose, did I finally dig up the courage and conviction to leave the church, formally, resigning. I can now pat myself on the back and congratulate myself for my integrity. Not really! I feel sick that I did not have the intellectual curiosity to dig to the bottom of the farce many years ago.

Your post helps me to realize I did the right thing, for myself, if for no other reason. I am not one your "rare" ones. I wonder how common I might be. I wonder how many others there are like me. Not too many, I hope, for their sakes.

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Posted by: DebbiePA ( )
Date: January 16, 2011 12:15AM

Ustlach, don't put yourself down. In the end you did the right thing, and that's what matters. I was a convert who joined for all the right reasons, with all the right intentions, but never really believed the way I wanted, the way I was told I should. It took me nearly 20 years, and raising 4 kids in the church to finally leave. It took RfM and the people here to convince me I needed to be true to myself. You did the best you could, and so did I. You can be proud that in the end, you did do the right thing, and you and I can now help others make better choices.

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Posted by: mo2atheist ( )
Date: January 15, 2011 06:55PM

Such wise and true words. I left the church after 45 years of diligent conviction. Leaving was the hardest thing I've ever done.

After learning the true church history I resigned my membership. My Bishop was fairly cool. My SP told me that I had a devil in me. My father of 85 years told me he would kill me if I spoke against the church leaders and that I was no longer counted among his diligent children.

But I have remained true to myself, to my sweet wife of 21 years, and to my 3 kids. We left the church as a family and we're closer than ever.

Things have never been better and we've experienced the kind of new growth that you talk about that comes from suffering.

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Posted by: think4u ( )
Date: January 15, 2011 07:59PM

I cried all the way through your post. How beautifully you expressed exactly the path that so many of us have traveled. How frightening to learn the truth, what difficult choices to make, what terrible losses suffered. I knew from all I went through I had courage before unknown to even me, but I never once considered myself rare. Rare. Well just maybe so. Thank you for sharing these thoughts. I am printing out your post to save forever.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/15/2011 08:03PM by think4u.

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Posted by: Strykary ( )
Date: January 15, 2011 08:00PM

Rare indeed. Pursuing the route of integrity, rather than cowardice, takes quite a lot of energy.

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Posted by: Human ( )
Date: January 15, 2011 08:39PM

"We are all born originals; unfortunately, too many of us die copies."


That was very nice to read. I read it twice, the second time out loud. I read it aloud in a southern accent, like Faulkner. Something about it elicted the Faulkner residing somewhere inside me. Perhaps it is in your homage to suffering, integrity, and heroism on the small, personal scale.

Faulkner's Nobel Speech:

All writers should have this by heart in the same way all football players should have Knute Rockne by heart:


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Posted by: think4u ( )
Date: January 15, 2011 09:39PM

I so loved your post, I just sent 6 copies of it to 6 fellow exmo friends, and made 6 more copies, one for myself that I can read often when I feel low, and one for each of my 5 TBM kids to read after I am long gone. My hope is that someday their hearts may soften a bit, at least enough to understand why I did what I had to do, that there just was no other choice I could make, even considering all that it has cost me, most of all in my realtionships with them, which has never been and I am pretty sure will never, in this life, be the same. Thank you again. Are you a professional writer? You certainly could be.

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Posted by: ANON ( )
Date: January 15, 2011 10:08PM

A Short Topics Post basically puts it this way:

"If you were to take all the Mormon babies born in Salt Lake City and transport them to Rome, then take all the Catholic babies born in Rome and transport them to Salt Lake City, then raise all of these children in devout homes, the vast majority of these childen will eventually become dedicated to the respective religious societies that they grew up in.

When asked why they believe in their religion, they will swear that it was by choice, not social pressure...and they will be convienced of it.”

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Posted by: The Man in Black ( )
Date: January 15, 2011 10:33PM

There are few things I like so well as clearly-expressed thought. +1 to this post.

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Posted by: anagrammy ( )
Date: January 15, 2011 10:47PM

which offers the historical fact that a commitment to truth is often found as the object of ridicule, incarceration and even death.

We all have been baffled by the reaction of our Mormon loved ones to the facts which required REQUIRED us to leave and yet seem to be irrelevant to them.

Thank you so much SLDrone for posting the simple explanation and a way to view ourselves differently.


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Posted by: anagrammy ( )
Date: January 16, 2011 03:48AM

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Posted by: robertb ( )
Date: January 15, 2011 10:49PM

From Maya Angelou"

"She had indeed stepped from the road which seemed to have been chosen for her and cut herself a brand-new path.... Each of us has the right and the responsibility to assess the roads which lie ahead, and those over which we have traveled, and if the future road looms ominous or unpromising, and the roads back uninviting, then we need to gather our resolve and, carrying only the necessary baggage, stop off that road into another direction. If the new choice is also unpalatable, without embarrassment, we must be ready to change that as well."

--Maya Angelou, Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey

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Posted by: Mårv Fråndsen ( )
Date: January 15, 2011 10:53PM

Anon's point about thinking we chose our religion rather than adopted it by social pressure is so true. I thought I was smart and independent and liberal but I did exactly that, and on reflection I was no smarter than anyone else who believes because they were socially conditioned to do so - and Mormon culture is nothing if not social conditioning.

The one small consolation to my ego is that I may be a slow learner, but I did learn. Maybe not at 16, 20, or 30, but eventually it happened.

Today I am proud to be a retard but one who learned something.

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Posted by: CL2 ( )
Date: January 15, 2011 11:00PM

Thanks for this post.

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Posted by: The Man in Black ( )
Date: January 15, 2011 11:03PM

I consider myself a good writer but this post is great. Too good to not frame and hang on the wall.

I'd like to see it added to the short topics when it's updated again. No I'm not a sock puppet or affiliated with SLDrone. I just like this post.

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Posted by: Strykary ( )
Date: January 16, 2011 12:29AM

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Posted by: Lesab96 ( )
Date: January 16, 2011 04:15AM

+1 for that idea. Thank you for the post SLDrone.

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Posted by: Human ( )
Date: January 16, 2011 12:48PM

This post should be archived, with a brief bio of SLDrone attached. It's clear and conscise, and would be useful to the questioning TBM lurker who wants to take the next step but is a little afraid (understandably so).

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Posted by: NormaRae ( )
Date: January 15, 2011 11:08PM

You hit the nail on the head that we all had to make that choice between integrity and personal comfort. That's why it's so infuriating when people spout off the cliche they've always heard that we leave because it was too hard for us to live the gospel. No. It was much easier to live the lie. Going without coffee and alcohol to play along is easy. Sitting through three hours of mind-numbing meetings every Sunday just really isn't that all that difficult. Facing the truth, having integrity, hurting people we love, changing our whole paradigm was damn hard.

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Posted by: robertb ( )
Date: January 16, 2011 03:51PM

It is foolish to be uncomfortable and struggle for something that won't lead to a better human life. But struggle that leads to that life is very worthwhile. Unfortunately, as Mormons we didn't know the difference until we took a lot of hurt.

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Posted by: SLDrone ( )
Date: January 16, 2011 11:01AM

I'm so glad that my words can sometimes find their intended target. It makes the effort more than worth while.

Many of us here have walked the same trails and taken the same solitary journey. When we find each other, when we learn that others' are on the path with us, souls connect and we find comfort that was there all along.

RfM is more than a bulletin board, it is a lifeline.

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Posted by: Ishmael ( )
Date: January 16, 2011 12:43PM

Carl Jung also writes about these difficult paradigm shifts (as archetypes).

In "Civilization in Transition," he says that the "hallmark" of being fully human is "adaptation." Our instincts, he says, are true to us, and they are socketed into our nature.

“Human knowledge consists essentially in the constant adaptation of the primordial patterns of ideas that were given us a priori. These need certain modifications, because, in their original form, they are suited to an archaic mode of life but not to the demands of a specifically differentiated environment. If the flow of instinctive dynamism into our life is to be maintained, as is absolutely necessary for our existence, then it is imperative that we should remould these archetypal forms into ideas which are adequate to the challenge of the present” (39).

“Only when conditions have altered so drastically that there is an unendurable rift between the outer situation and our ideas, now become antiquated, does the general problem of our Weltanschauung, or philosophy of life, arise, and with it the question of how the primordial images that maintain the flow of instinctive energy are to be reoriented or readapted.”

The original poster notes that we "inherited" truth as lie, and the realization of truth brings intense suffering. Our response to that suffering determines who we are, and if we are going to be true to our instincts and our knowledge, the adaptation is necessary.

The Buddha also notes that attachment to our present truths also spawns suffering, and learning to detach is part of adaptation. Consequently, I have had to learn that adaptation is one of the constants.

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Posted by: robertb ( )
Date: January 16, 2011 03:37PM

I read Jung as I was considering leaving Mormonism. My reading had an important influence on me by giving me a larger and different context from which to see and consider Mormonism and I felt much more free to take decisions that felt much more in line with who I am. I haven't read more Jung for a long while and, while my thinking is not explicitly Jungian, Jung still influences how I approach things. I think that Jungian influence is part of my continued willingness to be friendly toward religion in a general sense, although I there are specific religious traditions and practices I abhor.

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Posted by: SVO ( )
Date: February 19, 2011 05:55PM

Okay so I am sort of a new convert to having doubts about Mormonism. I grew up around my mother's extended family always conveying that the Church of Mormon is a good thing and in a sense they are right at least when I was younger I thought it good because of all the missionary work and such. I even attended the church a little bit when I was five, but my family stopped going after I just turned 5-6. I know it was before the baptism at 8. My mom right now is a non practicing Mormon who still considers herself Mormon, I also have an Aunt and Uncle who have stopped going because of either marriage/sin/personal reasons. Recently, I had a feeling screaming at me to reexamine my roots and I started looking at LDS and what I found really has shaken what little faith I had in it as a religion. I have read about 1976 Priesthood for Blacks in the church and such and the Adam God doctrine along with the Pre Mortal Doctrine of Michael being Adam has always confused me now that I am older. But due to this recent research I have been having a recent crisis of Heart and Mind. Basically, what it is is that my mother has never openly said that we are going to practice I felt that she was kind of steering us toward it just a little or at least values of it and hoped that we would decide to become Mormon ourselves. Also, because of the interfaith war our family has caused due to my dad being raised catholic they decided to let us choose are own religion whether we wanted to be Mormon or Catholic or whatever. Well, right now I consider myself to be a Non Denominational Christian but Mormonism and Catholicism still shape how my life is. The problem I have is due to this recent research I feel that if I tell my mother I don't really have faith in the religion you were raised in. My problem is that if I tell her this I am afraid that she is a going to hate me for my personal choice, b she will disown me I don't know it could happen and c. That my Grandparents will hate me and disown me or my mom because of this. D,That my mom's side of the family will blame the other side of my family and my dad for this decision, The other problem I have is I don't know if I am making the right decision to do this or not. I have prayed about but something just doesn't feel right to me about saying this to my mom's side of the family. So right now I am conflicted. Please help.

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Posted by: danboyle ( )
Date: January 16, 2011 12:56PM

Too bad all mission presidents (ex-MPs) don't share your integrity and respect for the truth.

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Posted by: rodolfo ( )
Date: January 16, 2011 01:08PM

Terrific expression SLDrone, I relate so well. As others have noted it took me many years to make the change by removing my robe. I suppose that makes me medium rare ha ha.

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Posted by: BeenThereDunnThatExMo ( )
Date: January 17, 2011 03:38PM

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Posted by: SL Cabbie ( )
Date: January 17, 2011 03:57PM

Too profusely "on our own rarity." I know in my case it usually took a 2x4 or a Louisville slugger between the eyes to get me to look at some evidence...

Cabbie Prayer: Thank you, oh Universe, for the same thick head you gave me that also protected me from more serious injuries... That's strictly metaphorical, folks; I'm non-violent everywhere except occasionally between my ears...

That doesn't stop me from swinging my own ball bats, but I do try to be able to look at the bruises caused and trust nature to do the healing...

And some of that healing involves learning to be grateful for the adversity (and the @**holes) because of lessons that can't be learned otherwise.

I think for most, it takes external circumstances, in addition to the evidence, to re-shape our paradigms...

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Posted by: robertb ( )
Date: January 17, 2011 04:27PM

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Posted by: CL2 ( )
Date: February 19, 2011 06:11PM

I didn't want this post to go unnoticed so I'm topping.

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Posted by: Dave the Atheist ( )
Date: February 19, 2011 06:14PM

Enquiring minds like mine want to know.

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Posted by: Brother Of Jerry ( )
Date: February 19, 2011 06:23PM

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Posted by: Don Bagley ( )
Date: February 19, 2011 06:46PM

I repudiated "the church" at age twelve. I was the first in my large family to so. The scorn and ridicule I endured pushed me toward suicidal thoughts. Later, some of my siblings followed me out of the darkness. Thanks for making me feel better about myself.

P.S. If something is true, why does it have to be re-enforced with punishment?

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