I took a few days off to head up to the mountains with family and friends, and boy, was it busy here at Trapped while I was gone.
There has been lots of discussion about whether or not I should have to write another letter to the bishop asking for my name to be removed from Church records.
My stance is: why bother?
Johnny the Mormon claims it is VERY necessary. He has posted many comments enforcing his claims that it is the BISHOP’S fault my name was not removed, and I obviously now have a new bishop.
But Johnny has not read my explanation close enough. I FORCED the bishop to honor my request, and the proper forms were filled out, and I received the confirmation from Church HQ that my name had been removed.
Now, if they don’t just move the names and the records from one file to another, HOW did that happen? Ward lists and ward rosters COME FROM CHURCH HQ. Obviously. Therefore, this cannot be an error. Yes, yes, Mormons, I am aware that they picked the WRONG person to put back on the records.
I’m sure they are cursing that little fact, probably even today. “Dagnabbit, Gordon, why did they put Natalie Collins back on? Anyone but her! ANYONE. Even Hitler! Oops. Did I just say that out loud?”
The bottom line is this. NO ONE IS EVER ALLOWED TO LEAVE. Living in Utah, it is especially difficult. I have made peace with this, in my own little way.
I don’t have time to fight this anymore. I would rather WRITE about it. It suits me and my occupation.
When Johnny insists that it is necessary, I choose to produce my information proving it is a HUGE WASTE OF TIME. Why fight it? I’m not going to win. But neither are they. Mormonism is my heritage, my background, and my upbringing. While I do not believe, I can see where it has colored and enriched my life, so I choose to step back and say, “okay.”
I spent the weekend with friends and family, all of whom were raised Mormon, with the exception of one. We discussed, again, how “cultlike” Mormonism is. This is a source of continual irritation among the Mormon set. I don’t know that I would consider Mormonism a cult, but I will admit it has many cultlike characteristics. My best friend has not been a faithful Mormon for years, but she has defended ardently what she sees as “good” coming out of the Church. In the past ten years, her position has changed DRASTICALLY.
The reason for this is NOT her friendship with me, despite what our Mormon friends might like to think.
It is not that important to me to try to prove other people wrong in their beliefs, despite what all the Mormons that visit here seem to believe. This blog, or online journal, is not about proving Mormonism wrong. It IS about proving what I believe to be true. Look people, if you are going to say you don’t believe something to be true, you should be prepared to back it up. I am prepared to do that.
And anyone who comes here, comes here of their own volition. Johnny, Shaniqua/Jason, Wayne…. You come because you WANT to come. I have never come to your doorstep and invited you, or told you that I have the only truth and you need to listen.
My best friend is no different. If she wants to talk about something, we do. But for the most part, it’s just not something we address. Her husband is the same way. But after YEARS of seeing the worst side of Mormonism, they have come to feel that Mormonism is a cult. Before my Mormon friends jump all over me, let me assure you, I had nothing to do with it.
It’s hard to explain how this happened, but one of the ways involves actually ATTENDING a Mormon Church. Sporty Boy’s baptism is an example of that. Some Primary President who had never even met Sporty Boy stood in front of the crowd and told everyone how they were sinning if they let their kids play soccer, or go to dance, or do other things on Monday evenings, because Monday is for Family Home Evening and for scriptures.
And then there was the meeting, a missionary farewell, where the bishop stood at the pulpit and pointed out young men of missionary age in the audience, and said, “…and YOU must go on a mission, and YOU must go on a mission, and YOU must go on a mission, because it is what God has commanded.” That time, both my friend, her husband, and another friend left feeling EXTREMELY uncomfortable with the brainwashing and cultlike-behavior.
Funerals that are little more than MORMON PRAISE MEETINGS are also firming up, for less active Mormons, that this Church is not what they have always been taught. At a time when people should be remembering the life of a loved one, they are instead listening to Church leaders proclaim how greatly the dead person believed in the Mormon gospel, and how important it was that everyone accept this fact. This is enforced with the constant reminder that this is the ONLY way to see this person again.
The bottom line is, Mormons are driving other Mormons away in droves. While you won’t hear it from Church HQ itself, most people know that baptism retention rates are HORRIFIC. By their actions, the Church itself is helping to enforce the belief that Mormonism is a cult. Not purposely, of course. But the methods are backfiring. I see it every day, and it has nothing to do with “anti-Mormons” or Jack-Mormons,” or any of those things. It has to do with what happens inside the Church, inside the walls, and what happens when Mormons who are not entirely BELIEVING really explore the Church they have always been told is true.
I thought I would recount what I see as the most common “cultlike” behaviors of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Again, this is JUST MY OPINION. You can take it or leave it.
1. One of the BIGGEST red flags, in regard to brainwashing behavior, is the emphasis on only reading Church-approved material. Considering a recent manual only spoke of Brigham Young’s ONE WIFE, I would say this isn’t the brightest idea. You aren’t going to get the whole, impartial story.
2. Like the manual mentioned above, the revisionist history employed by the Church is VERY troublesome. Likewise, troublesome past beliefs that are wholly ignored by today’s LDS leaders.
3. Funerals that emphasize the MORMON GOSPEL, and not the person who died. This is so wrong. A funeral should be a memorial service, not a podium for calling people to return to Mormonism, and yet that almost always happens. The emphasis on Mormonism being the only way to see those people again is tantamount to blackmail.
4. The constant brainwashing of youth: you must serve a mission; you must be married in the Mormon Temple; you must attend seminary. The indoctrination is huge. That, combined with a refusal to allow any outside sources of study or knowledge is frightening.
5. The refusal to allow anyone but Mormons inside the Mormon Temple. And only faithful, temple-recommend holding Mormons (read someone who pays tithing, among other things) are allowed in. Entire families face HUGE divides when someone decides to marry in the Mormon temple. Less faithful or non-Mormons are faced to wait outside the temple. This exclusionary practice alone is EXTREMELY cultlike. And I’m not even going to get started on the rituals that happen INSIDE the temple.
6. Okay, well, maybe I’ll get SLIGHTLY started. Mormons who go through the temple receive a secret name. Only a woman’s husband is allowed to know her secret name, so he can pull her through the veil. She, of course, does not get to know HIS name. What PEOPLE, Mormons and others, do not realize, is that EVERYONE who goes through the temple on a certain day receives the SAME NAME. I can see some huge problems with that.
7. The refusal to LET PEOPLE GO, even when people WANT TO GO!!
8. To be in the club, you gotta wear the magic underwear. Sorry folks, but this is VERY cultlike. To wear the magic underwear, you have to go to the temple, and speak the secret words, and do the sacred dance. Er, well, maybe not a dance, but you get the drift. Again, very cultlike. And the underwear? It ain’t cute. Maybe people
would be signing up in droves if Victoria’s Secret got the new Mormon contract, but until then, I just don’t see it as a big attraction to the Mormon way of life….
9. Drive-by Baptisms. Come on folks, it should take AT LEAST a year to learn about a religion, and decide if it’s what you want.
10. Milk before the meat. This practice involves missionaries only telling prospective members the WONDERFUL aspects of Mormonism, and not telling them about the more controversial aspects of it until after they are already hooked.
There are ten items. I know I can come up with more, but it’s late and I’m tired. I was going to post some pictures from my weekend, including the “When Crawdads Go Bad” pictures, but this seemed more pressing, given the activity on the blog. Feel free to add any reasons you think Mormonism IS or ISN’T a cult.