I read this tonight over at Mormon Curtain. It’s a “reprint” of a forum post made, I’m assuming, on the forum. Give it a quick read.

Mother’s Day resulted in a minor breakdown for my wife. We got a mini-lecture from my Father-in-law regarding a talk he gave that day in church on “Mothers in Israel.” He spoke about some of the important women in his life, and how each of them taught their children about the importance of sacrificing EVERYTHING for the church (those were his words). And then, looking at my wife, he talked about the importance of his own daughters carrying on that legacy, being mothers in Israel, teaching their own children that same virtue.

Of course, he knows full well that our children are not marrying in the temple, that we hold no callings, and that our sons are not going on missions.

The breakdown occurred later that evening, as my wife, through sobs, expressed the pain of knowing that she is a “disappointment” to her father. No matter what good she accomplishes; no matter how wonderful our children are; no matter how happy and strong our own marriage is, all that matters to her parents is that we couldn’t do it…we couldn’t endure to the end, sacrifice it all for the church, and in that regard, we are a disappointment. Not “bad”, just a failure.

I don’t know anyone who wants to be perceived as a disappointment to their parents.

This is the agony that faithful members of the church simply cannot understand. We have them visit us here periodically on the forum, challenging us on why it hurts to leave the church, and how everyone is free to believe whatever they want, the church doesn’t hold a gun to anyone’s head and make them attend or pay their tithing, blah, blah, blah. They have no idea what the real pain is. It’s not their fault—they have not had this experience, and from their perspective, it makes no sense. They simply cannot wrap their minds around that which is not real to them.

The real pain is in the knowledge that in the eyes of your faithful Mormon friends and family members, you have failed. You don’t measure up. They may continue to love you, but now you are the prodigal child. You have strayed from the fold, soiled the family name, and because they are good and righteous people, they will continue to extend their love to you, but now it is out of pity, not respect.

It no longer matters the quality of your character. It no longer matters the quality of family you raise, the quality of life you live, the love you extend to others, the accomplishments you achieve, the things you learn, the lives you touch…all that matters is that you failed. You are a disappointment to your parents, to the church, and ultimately to God.

A faithful Mormon can never understand that…

…but you can. That’s probably why you’re here.

It’s why I am

Doesn’t that infuriate you? It does me, especially since I know all too well that pain. The mental anguish not of leaving the church, but of the reaction of your loved ones. My own mother sees me as simply “not going to church” because I don’t have it in me to tell her my true beliefs. I completely empathise with that poor wife.

What a sad statement about a religion or belief that the parents of someone who is simply following their own reasoning and beliefs can take such a natural thing and turn it into a source of pain and nescient ridicule? Few things frustrate me more than the fact that making a change in my life can be taken by another as an affront to their success as a family-member/friend/mentor, or as some sign that I no longer love or appreciate them. What kind of organisation leads its members to believe that if their progeny decide not to join/remain a member, that they, as parents, have failed? It defies all logic.

I love my parents, and am largely the man I am now because of them. If my position in a religion is the only marker of their success in rearing me, I’m afraid they’ve closed their eyes to everything else I’ve accomplished in my life, and that is truly saddening.

PBS on Mormon Zealotry


There is a fantastic article on the underlying message behind the recent Frontline / American Experience piece about mormonism that broadcast recently on PBS. From Equality Time:

Toscano, Nielsen, Johnson, Fielding, Palmer, Quinn. And what crime did these folks commit? Church apostle Dallin Oaks summed it up nicely: “it is wrong to criticize your leaders even if the criticism is true.”

With that quote, the producers expose the one thread that ties 19th-century Mormonism to 21st-century Mormonism: the absolute authority the leaders seek to exert over the followers. All else has changed: ordinances, doctrines, practices, culture. The only thing that remains firmly ensconced in the Mormon experience is deference to authority, obedience to the Prophet and priesthood leaders, loyalty to the church as an institution.

The Message of “The Mormons”, emphasis is mine.

When I heard Oaks say those words, I instantly went for the rewind button on my DVR (ain’t TiVo grand?), not believing what he’d just admitted. Combined with Packer’s admission—with a reticent chuckle, that he had indeed cited homosexuals, feminists and intellectuals as the greatest threats to the church—I felt as though I should be buying copies of the DVD to send to my mormon friends and family, and exclaiming “SEE!?”

Sadly, though these admissions are rather powerful and definitely quote-worthy, it’s easy to see how most members of the lds faith will take them… for the most part, they probably won’t even notice them. If they do, they’ll most likely respond with “well, of course! These men are the Lord’s Anointed! It’s like criticising the Lord!” But of course, they are just men, and any person stating things of this sort, despite their position in society, religion or politics, should be criticised for such positions. It’s this kind of unquestioning deference to leaders that leads to trouble in nations, religions, organisations, what have you. The United States have checks and balances for a good reason… unchecked power leads to corruption. This works just the same in a religion. If people can’t call bullshit on something morally repugnant that a leader says, what kind of future are you setting yourself up for? Why on earth would you follow that leader?

Kathy Worthington


The exmormon, gay and breast cancer communities were dealt a huge loss on 22 February 2007 as Kathy Worthington passed away. Not being a part of the later two communities, I can’t comment aside from echoing the words of others that she was a wonderful asset their respective causes. However, being among the masses of the first camp (exmormonism), I can’t overstate what a tremendous role Kathy played in helping people to leave the Mormon church. Her site,, has helped countless people through the needlessly tedious steps the church puts people through to have their names removed from the records. If you would like to read more about the life of this wonderful, giving woman, a touching online bio (updated since original obit is no more) has been placed on her website. My condolences go out to Kathy’s loved ones.

As for the MormonNoMore site, it appears that the reigns have been handed over and it will go on, which is good to hear. And to assure that such wonderful information does not vanish from the internet, I’ve archived the pages and will be sure to include the content in the [project] database when it is completed, and I’ve also read that “Infymus” over at The Mormon Curtain is poised to do the same should anything happen to the site. It does my heart good to see such important information being saved, and events like these are exactly why I’m undertaking such a huge project with [redacted].



Re: Stupid question: Is it bear or bare your testimony?
To solve the problem, I always think of it as parroting your testimony. Like monkey see – monkey do.
—wisedup, from the RfM boards.

I cannot stop laughing at this one!

Step One


Editor’s note: I’ve redacted some details in resurrecting these posts from the archives, since the details, names, etc., may not remain accurate. I had big plans and was overly-ambitious, but luckily social media and other technologies would prove far more successful in bringing these things into common knowledge.

I was a bit vague in the last entry, so I’ll take a minute or so to explain what we have going on here. This, as I mentioned, is the official blog for [redacted], which site is still in the very early stages of planning. I won’t go into too much detail, as I haven’t even begun to think about the design, let alone touch the code, but here is the gist of what is to come…

The idea is a modern, easily searchable, friendly mormon information archive… something someone could stumble upon, type in a question or topic, and be able to access a wealth of information. The impetus has been that I’ve gone to several good links sections of ex-mormon sites and discovered that what looked like a great resource was no longer online, or was hard to access (ie, they were built using web development techniques popular in the mid90s). I’d hate to see great information fall along the wayside because someone stopped updating a site, or a harddrive crashed, or whatever. Hopefully it would also be a place that some of the prolific people on RFM could post articles as well, since I’ve seen wonderfully eloquent entries on the boards that are gone and buried 100+ pages back in only a few days.
—Me, in an email, explaining the idea

I know there are a lot of repositories of great information, but if we’re honest with ourselves, it could be done in a better, more efficient manner. Let’s use the technology that is out there to make sure we don’t lose great information and analysis. And let’s do it in a way that we don’t scare off the people who are really searching for answers, and not the latest joke about mormonism (though I know we ex-mos really enjoy them, they could be something off-putting to someone just starting to question).

I guess it all comes down to the fact that I hate to think about people going through the torment that is “your beliefs vs. what the church tells you.” I went through it largely alone. I’m certain there are scores of people, right now, who are scared and confused and they want answers, but they won’t allow themselves to “those anti-mormon sites.” I want the site to be open and welcoming. I want it to be clear-headed and reasonable. I want it to be the site that I wanted to find when I started to wonder about what happens to eternal families when members are kicked out. I want it to help people realise what is really going on.

This is not going to be a small task. I plan on asking some developers I know to donate their time to the project. I may make calls for volunteers to help out (php developers, editors, data entry, moderators of content, etc). I don’t expect to see a finished site before the end of the year, but I do hope to get things rolling before too long.

On a related note, I realise that this is going to be an effective “shit or get off the pot” moment for me. If I don’t resign my church membership, one can reasonably expect they’ll kick me out. It’s with that purpose that I am also developing the site [redacted] to chronicle my exit, in the guise of a how-to guide. This is a very touchy subject, for obvious reasons, so I’ll be keeping a journal until near the end of the process, and then editing and releasing my guide. Look for it.



It is very late, and I honestly have no energy to explain everything and all the nuances of what is going on here, but suffice it to say that this is the official blog of [redacted]. That might not mean very much right now, but check back in on occasion to see what is going on. Very big things will be happening, and I plan on giving sneak peaks as the development progresses.

Until then, peace and love.

Bless This Spam


I won’t get really in depth here (I’ve got too many festivities to attend to), but I read an article on The Mormon Curtain about some project to “create a business plan to help LDS church” involving fundraising and using spammy SEO techniques to overwhelm the “anti” mormon search results. Read the MC article for more insight on the shenanigans, especially how the content was quickly replaced once the ex-mormon community got hold of it.
Ah, but once something is online, it’s very hard to get it offline. Case in point: The author of the MC article said content was replaced. That got my mind cranking… judging by the relatively new nature of the content, it wouldn’t likely be in the Internet Archive (it wasn’t); However, it is cached by Google. Yet another reason I love Google:

Read the original article in all its glory

Well, Google only caches webpages for so long, and that one has vanished… luckily, I saved the text of the article in PDF format. If you need something to read PDFs (you shouldn’t, really…), you can download Adobe Reader.

Choose your words wisely


I wrote recently about the tendency toward rote prayer in Mormon society, and the roots of such tendencies. This got me thinking about how the average Mormon’s choices in speech can be bizarre, ignorant, and painful to others.

I recently received a holiday note from an old church leader of mine, who—unaware of my current beliefs—wrote to me as though I were still a believing Mormon. I was amazed when he started quoting scriptural passages (not that surprising, given the season), but never once quoted the biblical account of Jesus Christ. Every quote was from the Book of Mormon or a recent LDS Church leader. What’s more, the tone shifted quickly from the birth of Jesus and the wonderful example he set to Jesus died for you, so you we’d better feel bad about that and do our best to make it up to him! What started out as a nice message quickly turned into a generic Christian guilt-trip. It felt like someone called up, said “Hey, Happy Birthday, let me buy you a drink!” and then once at the bar, they belittled you and said “This is what you get for walking on my lawn!” before they punched you in the stomach. Okay, that may be a bit extreme, but hopefully you get the idea.

It’s amazing to me how often things like this happen in conversation with active mormons. I’ve mentioned conversations with my sister-in-law before, and I reflect back to the days when I would sit in sacrament meetings and cringe at the things people would say. For example: Church and politics. I would be made to feel out of place in the days surrounding an election because, while I wasn’t a democrat, I most certainly was not a republican. Hearing not only fellow church members but teachers and speakers mock candidates and those who would vote for them would send chills down my spine and cause me to clench my fists. Here are two examples (one is mine, another a friend of mine who is trapped in mormonism by family obligations):

I was sitting in church on the sunday after elections, when an older gentleman approached the pulpit to give the closing prayer to end the meeting. Democrats had just had a large victory in the recent vote, and the largely Republican percentage of the church seemed none to happy about it. The gentleman expressed this disheartened feeling in his prayer, asking the Lord to “bless this country, despite recent misguided choices and misguided individuals recently chosen to help lead it.”

—Anonymous friend

The quote might not be dead on to what he said, but my friend informed me that it was very evident that he was talking about the recent elections and that dark force that is the Democratic Party.

Now, that may resemble hearsay to you, so how about another example, ripped from the pages of my life?

I was helping my mother throw a party at her house a few years ago. She was trying to regain her social life after over a year of real struggles. She’d invited her close friends and a few couples in the neighbourhood. I was there for support and because it meant free food. Plus, I’d known these people all my life, so I figured things wouldn’t be too bad.

I was wrong.

Once the party dwindled down to about 4 main couples, sitting on the patio, eating pie, the conversation turned from the usual chit chat to the dreaded upcoming elections. The usual overarching Republican tone took control, and I started feeling rather uncomfortable, so I went inside to have some more pie and to get away from the conversation. After I didn’t return, someone asked where I’d gone and my mother, knowing my liberal political leanings, realised that I might have felt uncomfortable, and in true style, mentioned this to everyone by stating “Oh, he’s not a real big fan of the president.” They continued their conversation for a bit, then she came inside and invited me back out, saying the conversation has shifted gears. I came back out and slowly, but surely, the talk turned back to politics. One person mentioned a Democratic candidate for some position, and how the man had “spent several year in Europe,” as though such a thing would be degrading to one’s character. I started getting fidgety again. A few more ignorant remarks were made before the grand coup de grâce came.

“Well, I think that anyone who votes for a Democrat shouldn’t be allowed a temple recommend.”

I was floored. I immediately stood up and went back inside, and waited for everyone to leave before I exploded. For those of you who aren’t familiar, a temple recommend is a slip of paper given by the mormon church that states that the bearer has been deemed worthy to enter the mormon temples and perform the ordinances therein. But more so, a temple recommend is very much a status symbol in mormonism. To put it bluntly, if you don’t have a temple recommend (and assuming you are of the right age and situation to have one), you are presumed to be some sort of sinner, deviant or to be “struggling.” Essentially, you’re looked down upon and thought of as something of an outcast, unless of course you change your ways and “make it back” and get a temple recommend, at which point the people who were looking down upon you pat themselves on the back for a job well done in “activating you.” Now, generally speaking, the main reasons for someone not having a recommend are either tithing related (you aren’t paying up!), sexual in nature (are you touching yourself again, brother? are you touching her again, sister?), or food related (are you drinking again while smoking and… DRINKING COFFEE!!?!!). Now, for someone to say that they think all mormon democrats should be outcast members of the fold, for being a democrat in a church that states publicly that church members should make up their own minds about politics and candidates (despite the fact that they rarely do)… well, that’s like stating that black people are somehow inferior to whites and should thus be denied access to the temple. OH. WAIT.

Back to the story, I exploded after they all left. I nearly screamed when I questioned the sanity of the owner of the comment. After calming me down, my mother said “Well, yes, she can be very bold in her opinions, but she doesn’t mean any harm by them…” Wow. Talk about giving someone the benefit of the doubt. She had just essentially said that I shouldn’t be allowed to enter what was considered the holiest place in mormondom, and that I was a deviant on par with sex offenders and alcoholics. And my own mother was taking her side. Now, I love my mother absolutely, but it is clear that in this instance, she’d rather side with a nutball republican church member than her own son who just happened to be voting for a democrat.

The social expectations of mormonism are staggering. If you are not perfectly in line with the unspoken undercurrent of social mormonism, expect to feel abjection from the words of people you are supposed to respect. You are expected to feel bad if you miss church, you are obviously misunderstanding the doctrine if you have problems with mormon scripture, you must be subversive if you believe in evolution, and you MUST be a deviant if you vote for anyone but a Republican.

One or the other


Each of us has to face the matter—either the Church is true, or it is a fraud. There is no middle ground. It is the Church and kingdom of God, or it is nothing.

—President Gordon B. Hinckley. “Loyalty,” April Conference, 2003.

Good words to keep in mind as you read about things like the Book of Abraham, etc.

Missions, Part One


I plan much more in-depth commentary on Mormon missions and the mission program in future posts, but for now, I want to share a quote that perfectly encapsulates what being a Mormon missionary feels like:

Here Elder Simeon, Let’s put the weight of the world on your shoulders. Forget about the Savior fixing things, you’re a Savior on Mt. Zion to these people. If you don’t baptize, it’s your fault. You’re just not working hard enough. And, If you feel that you are working hard but still are not baptizing, you must not be teaching effectively. And, If you are teaching effectively and still not baptizing, you must not be following all of the Mission Rules like you should be. The Lord blesses us according to our faithfulness and exactness in following the commandments. Forget about the individuals you are teaching, they have nothing to do with this. Just because they are Godless and happy in their Godless state doesn’t mean a thing. If you fail to baptize these Godless sinners, It’s your salvation that’s on the line.

Simeon’s Peepstone

More on this later.