A post to Robin

I was perusing comments this morning, and I ran across this one from Robin, an active Saint.

It saddens me that no one thinks I know the history of my own religion, that you all think that you’re the first to give me all of the points you’ve all outlined, that you assume that I haven’t had the same questions and suspisions that arise in this very blog, that just because I call myself a “Saint,” that all of you lump me, an individual, into a most narrow category, and that you call my words incorherent diarrhea just because we disagree. I was wrong to think that anyone would be interested in hearing my insignificant opinion. I guess there’s no interest in hearing from any actual Latter-day Saints in this blog. And why should there be? You guys seem to already have every single one of us figured out. I don’t even see the need to contiue this website for that matter. I certainly won’t waste any more time here. I hope that you’ll each catch a glimor of the hipocrasy and narrow-mindedness that exists in your own hearts and words. I’m sorry we couldn’t all discuss our thoughts in a more humane manner, but if your intention was to drive me off your site, then you’ve succeeded.

High fives to all

First of all, Robin, this is MY blog and MY site, and I have not been one of the ones “driving you away.” In fact, I’ve been kind of busy with revisions, and pretty much missed your comments. So I went back and read them. And I see that you are what I think of as a “progressive” Mormon. There are many of these out there, who have REALLY thought these things through, and are bothered by them, and in many instances, would like change. However, at the end of the day, you are still very much believing, something that most here will simply not be able to comprehend.
While I don’t consider your comments verbal diarrhea, they still do not ring valid to me. You are not offering me ANY real reason to accept this doctrine, i.e. polygamy. You don’t even have a grasp on it yourself. You wrote:

I hope that as a Mormon, I can shed some light on this issue. YES, Latter-day Saints DID practice polygamy up until the 1890’s, when it was then outlawed by the LDS church. (Remember, “Mormon” is an umbrella word that can mean more that one existing church.) And YES, we do believe that the practice of polygamy will resureface after the second comming of Christ. BUT NOT FOR ALL!!!!! There is no definate doctrine on how all of this will work. But polygamy will not be meant for everybody. That is not to say that those who will practice it are better than those who don’t. Some say that because there are more women (and that women generally tend to me more faithful) that there will be some sort of need for polygamy. Again, that is not doctrine. Just a widely held belief. As for temple marriage. If a man is sealed to a woman and she dies, he may then be sealed to another woman without the first sealing being broken. YES that is a form of polygamy and that man will have two wives in the eternities. NO women cannot be sealed twice. ITS WEIRD. I know. I don’t have a good explanation for it. Or even a bad one for that matter.

Unfortunately, not having a good explanation for it does NOT shed any light at all upon the practice of polygamy. You just repeated what others have said in the past, which is probably why someone accused you of verbal diarrhea. You are spouting out what you have heard in the past, without any substance to SHED LIGHT on it.

And frankly, I get this. I understand why it happens. There IS NO VALID DEFENSE OF POLYGAMY. I keep asking for it, and no one gives it to me.

What I would like is for someone–anyone–to bring to me a VALID reason for polygamy. I don’t want to hear the history. I know the history, just like you do. I also know what I was told, just like you. But it doesn’t add up.

And if possible, I would like to keep the discussion calm and without name-calling. I TRULY want to know how believing Mormons can defend polygamy, when there is no basis for the practice, except perhaps, “Because God said so.” That one isn’t going to fly.

As for not being accepted here, Robin, I don’t think it’s personal. I think the people who comment are asking you to really think through what you are saying, and if it doesn’t mesh, they are going to tell you. This is not a “blind faith” blog. It never will be. That said, I encourage Mormons to visit and comment. However, it is entirely possible that your reception will be like the one ex-Mormons receive at the FAIR Boards. There, a person such as myself is POUNCED UPON immediately and treated like Joseph Smith at a cocktail reception for the last two women on the face of the earth. So it goes both ways. If you comment on an ex-Mormon blog, you should probably expect some static, especially if you are not offering up valid arguments.

That said, I took your comments this way. I think you really do want to have some dialogue with former Mormons, and you explained that not all of the beliefs are EASY for you to understand, either. You just believe the CHURCH is true, and thus, you have to find a way to dampen those doubts because the end product is what you want.

And that’s okay, I guess. As long as you aren’t going to try and defend it in public arenas, because that becomes a bit of a sticky wicket.

One of your comments regarding the history of the Mormons was filled with errors. You said:

And thirdly, as far as Mormons fleeing the country in the mid 1800s, it was not because we couldn’t do what we wanted. It’s because we were being KILLED. FACT: Up until the 1970’s it was legal in the state of Ohio to shoot a Mormon on sight!!! Sadly, those types of details were left out of the history books. Many Mormons, were slautered by their fellow countrymen. We were chased out of the country. If we didn’t leave, I don’t think there would be many left. I hope this was helpful. I’ll try to check back later if there are any questions.

The state in question was not Ohio, it was Missouri. And in truth, only about sixty Mormons were killed, and the MORMONS went on the offensive, not the Missourians. They were ordered to settle there, by Joseph Smith, and the Missourians were worried about the influx of Saints, who tended to vote in “blocs” as they were told. It’s all very well documented, and while I do not believe the Mormons who died SHOULD have died, it was not a mass persecution and execution like the Holocaust or other such black stains on humanity.

Again, I do not think the Mormons should have been killed, but likewise, I do not think the victims of the Mountain Meadows Massacre should have been killed by the Mormons either, for much the same reason.

Both, I believe, were killed out of fear and ignorance. Much of what happened MUST be attributed, also, to the ERA in which it happened.

At any rate, Robin, you appear to want a dialogue, but if so, you must be prepared to hear things you are not going to like. You are certainly welcome here. I’m sorry if the attacks seemed personal, but they are not. See, here’s the thing. Most ex-Mormons arrive at the place they are at with great cost to their personal lives. You lose family members, respect, community, friends, support systems. When you realize the Mormon Church could not POSSIBLY be true, suddenly you are accused of being tempted by Satan, or not listening to the whisperings of the spirit, or, worst of all, of HAVING BEEN OFFENDED and leaving because of that. Please. What kind of stupid excuse is that?

Those of us who find ourselves here have studied, researched, explored, and spent many, many hours pondering the very serious life decisions that come with leaving a religion behind.

Most of us leave behind family members, who spend the rest of their lives trying to lure us back in.

As a “born in the church” Mormon, I am here to tell you that walking away from a birth religion is probably one of the hardest things a person ever has to do. I know that the common Mormon party line is that it is just easier to not live the Mormon priniciples. This is not true. It’s MUCH easier to be a Mormon. Your every step on every path is already outlined for you.

For those reasons, and others, there are no easy answers for ex- Mormons. You cannot expect to show up and hand out the standard lame excuses, and expect them to be embraced.

That won’t fly in this community of people who have had to fight for their very right to exist peacefully as Ain’ts in a land of Saints. You believe. We don’t. If you don’t offer good reasons why WE should return to YOUR state, then your reasons will not be accepted.

It’s as simple as that.

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About Natalie R. Collins

Natalie has more than 30 years writing, editing, proofreading and design experience. She has written 20 books (and counting), has worked for the Sundance Film Festival, and as an investigative journalist, editor, and proofreader. She embraces her gypsy-heart and is following her new free-thinking journey through life. Follow her as she starts over and learns a bunch of life's lessons--some the hard way.
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16 Responses to A post to Robin

  1. Kane says:

    I was born into the church and am the only one in my immediate family to leave. I recall a time when I was a kid, our bishop’s wife had passed and he immediately found a single woman in our ward to marry. My mother thought this was delightful. I was confused about him being sealed for eternity to 2 women. My mother assured me this was not a problem and that it commonly happens. I just didn’t get how 2 women could share a husband for eternity. My mother explained that in the afterlife we feel a different kind of love for each other and that the (un)romantic aspect of sharing a spouse wouldn’t be a problem. On earth or in “heaven” I still don’t believe that it works or is normal. But what do I know? I am just a demonic apostate.

    Like

  2. JulieAnn says:

    Natalie,
    that was absolutely magnificent. Very well put; thank you for voicing the feelings of many, including myself. People have no idea or empathy for how difficult leaving the Church is, and the ramifications to our social, personal, familial and even professional lives.

    ja

    Like

  3. Cele says:

    I wonder why people don’t see walking away from your birth religion as hard. You are schooled all through child and teen hood to not give into peer pressure, and this is the hardest peer pressure of them all to fight, to stand true to your feelings, yourself, your beliefs. You give up so much when your family can not accept your spiritual choices.

    Robin, I believe that each religion out there, whether I believe in their practices and dogma or not, has something that answers a need in specific people. The Rites and incantations speak specifically to these needs; physical cleansing, annoinment, middle man help because they feel unworthy or unable to converse with God thenselves. Some people hold on to the laws handed down in Leviticus to the rabbis to justify their hatreds, some hold on to their prayer books because they haven’t been taught how to pray by themselves, some hold on to new books because it’s all they know, some leave them all behind to commune with God themselves in the only way they can, some rever “holy” men here on earth despite what is laid down in the New Testement.

    I do not believe in Mormonism, I don’t believe in polygamy, I don’t believe I have to have a priesthood bearing man in my life to make me whole and worthy of the promise of Jesus Christ. But you apparently do, good luck to you, I wish you the best. But I wholely hope for you to see what is, and what isn’t necessary in your personal relationship with God.

    Like

  4. Robin says:

    I think I left everyone a bit confused as to my intentions. I DO NOT support the idea of polygamy. I was not arguing for it. I was not defending it. I was just saying what I know, just like everyone else. Personally, I think polygamy is atrocious. I am getting married this summer for the first and only time and when judgement day finally comes, if God tells my husband that he must take another wife then I’m packing my bags and leaving for outer darkness. I’d honestly rather not exist than to have to share him. Maybe there are Mormons out there who would call me selfish, but that is not the kind of eternity that I signed up for.

    Also, I want to make clear that I DO NOT intend to convert anyone on this site. Perhaps that is why I received so much scrutiny for my comments. I was afraid of this, and I even implemented light-mindedness into my comments because I don’t want any pressure to be felt because I do subscribe to the religion that we’re all picking apart.

    I left my birth religion as well. I joined the LDS church when I was 17 years old and I joined it alone as a street contact. I KNOW how it feels to be shunned by your family, to lose friends, to feel like no one understands. I face scrutiny within the church as well. I am a student at New York University (NYU NOT BYU!!!) and I am studying to be a doctor. Many “Saints” have made remarks to me on my insufficiencies should I ever have children. I’ve been told by members that I won’t make a good mother or that my children will feel neglected because I have chosen to do something that I’ve always dreamed about and worked for instead of staying at home. IT HURTS. I know that they are wrong.

    The only circumstance that has really offended me on this blog is the categorizing. Not that I feel personally attacked, but that it actually causes me to lose a sense of person. There are many flavors of Saints. Most of them make me gag.

    Sigh
    I feel better now
    Thanks for listening

    Like

  5. Hellmut says:

    What a great discussion and what a great blog! I almost feel like one of those positive attitude guys in fast and testimony or the Amway sales meeting.

    Seriously, it’s great to find a place where believers and post-Mormons can figure it out together. I will have to find Natalie’s polygamy post now that started all this.

    JulieAnn, by the way, has written a great essay about this topic herself and there has been an impressive series of posts about sex and gender on Feminist Mormon Housewies. May be, there is hope for Mormon society after all.

    Like

  6. Cele says:

    Robin, do not ever let anyone take away your dreams, or try to make you feel lesser in their eyes because you do not live up to their imagined standards. To be a doctor is a noble goal, many doctors are very good mothers.

    Like

  7. Robin,

    Glad you came back and posted. I hope you can understand some of the vitriol and bitterness, but I also hope you can feel like you can be honest here.

    Cele, Thanks for being the cheermeister. Girl, you warm my heart.

    Hellmut, I would LOVE to see the joining of ex-Mormon, post-Mormon, non-Mormon, etc., but I am not terribly hopeful. But there are ALWAYS good Saints. That’s the bottom line.

    JulieAnn, I just blogged about you on Murdershewrites. http://www.murdershewrites.com. Make sure you check it out. ALL OF YOU. LOL. THUS SAYS THE ALMIGHTY NATALIE.

    Kane,
    You don’t seem all that demonic to me. But MAYBE that’s because I am regarded in the same light as you… Who knows.

    Like

  8. JulieAnn says:

    Thanks for the plug, Natalie!

    Like

  9. Also says:

    Natalie,

    Excellent post. Thanks!

    Like

  10. Cele says:

    Don’t give me kudos too fast Natalie, you know I am a cold heartless bitch 🙂

    well okay according to some people – you I love – so thank you

    Like

  11. Debbie says:

    As an ex or post or whatever mormon, I have to say that polygamy was the least of the issues that bothered me. If someone wants to have more than one spouse… have at it!!! Of course it should work both ways. The thing is, I don’t like that fact that polygamy is in a way mandated by the church (after death if not now) — and of course only applies to men.

    I recently returned to SLC and went to hear the mo-tabs Sunday morning broadcast as a favor to someone I love. It is so funny how you can distinquish the Mormon families from the others. They were like automotans!! And they really gave me the willies!

    Like

  12. Robyn ~
    Interesting writing from you here. Especially the comment that you’ll pack your bags yourself and head for Outer Darkness if your husband tries polygamy on you. But….what will you say to him when you discuss the possibility that you may die before he does? Is he only allowed to marry a non-member after your death in this life? Or if he marries an LDS woman, will he only be allowed to marry her until death do they part? You will in essence be expecting him to take on the role WOMEN are expected to follow when faced with the same situation in the church. Interesting dynamic. I wonder if he’d agree to it as we women in the church must. I’d love to know what his thoughts are on that. And what YOUR thoughts on that are.

    I think that it’s easy to explain polygamy when you’re out of the church…Joe Smith made it up to fulfil his dreams of being a God with countless women.

    But if you’re in the church, the ONLY way you can explain it is God said so. So do it.

    Like

  13. Stacey Pokorney says:

    What I have never understood is how the Mormon Church gets around that sticky little New Testament scripture in which Jesus teaches that in heaven, we neither marry nor are we given in marriage. What’s up with that?

    Like

  14. Sandra says:

    I tell you a valid reason for polygamy, I figured it out when I was about 19 living in the land of Zion. If polygamy exists in the “hereafter” then I can marry my best friends husband so I can spend eternity with her. Simple solution for a lesbian.

    well I finally grew up but it made sense at the time.

    Like

  15. Robin says:

    It’s Robin with an “i”

    I think that the mistake Sister Mary Lisa made here was to project her marriage and relationship with her husband onto mine. I said just a few posts up that there were Mormons out there who would call me selfish for my desires and I can now rest my case on that.

    I read to my fiance the things that you wrote Sister, and we were saddened by the restrictions you placed upon our hopes for eternity and upon our duties within the church and our relationship. We have already discussed the issues you addressed and we share the same sentiments. We are not interested in sharing our lives OR our eternities with anyone but each other. He is ALLOWED to do as he wishes but he will not marry again if I happen to pass on before him. That is his choice and we are in agreement on this issue.

    Of course I expect him to take on the same role as I would. We are equals. I know this view may be different than that of many Saints, but thus is our relationship. I am so glad to be paired with a man who is so in love with me that if I died, he would wait in solitude until his own death so as not to pollute the sanctity of our relationship, as I did for him through out his two years as a full time missionary in South America.

    My Heavenly Father would never ask me to spend my eternity in a manner that is uncomfortable for me. That would seem to defeat the whole purpose of the Plan of “HAPPYNESS.” I know that he is aware of my husband’s unwillingness to accept another partner and I don’t think that Heavenly Father would force him into an eternal situation that was disagreeable to him after a lifetime of obedience, faith, and fervent living.

    I hope no one finds this hard to believe. That would be sad.

    Like

  16. Robin ~

    I apologize profusely for accidentally spelling your name wrong, the same way my best friend in high school spelled hers.

    I think from what you replied to me that you misunderstood my questions and my intentions in asking you what I did….You wrote, “I think that the mistake Sister Mary Lisa made here was to project her marriage and relationship with her husband onto mine.” I never once thought you were being selfish in your comments.

    I am not projecting anything from my relationship onto yours. I am just fascinated about what you said about packing your bags if your husband ever tried to engage in polygamy with you. I have never once heard an active LDS woman say that so it fascinated me…especially since it’s interesting to me to think about the fact that women in the church have no choice but to marry their second spouse only “until death do they part” if they were sealed once in the temple. They have no choice at all in that. That is all I was saying.

    I don’t see where my comments placed any restrictions upon your hopes for eternity, your duties in the church, or your relationship. I am actually sincerely happy that you and your man are able to discuss this issue and agree. It’s tragic that the church isn’t set up to be more equal in the beginning for women, but the nature of polygamy is hardly one of equality. In fact, women are encouraged to embrace polygamy in the next life. We are not taught that it is shocking or distasteful when our fathers, brothers, peers, or even General Authorities get sealed to a second woman in the temple. We are expected to openly support it. That is why your comment was surprising to me and why I posed the question to you that I did. I’m not looking to fight with you at all.

    I’m simply fascinated by the difference I find in your statements from what I experienced my whole life growing up, including when my dad married his second wife in the temple, creating for me an interesting possible celestial family life with my divorced parents AND stepmother as one big, happy family.

    I appreciate very much your taking the time to share what your fiance thinks and what you think.

    Like

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