Fear Factor

Today Birdman and I were discussing an old high school friend. At B’s 30-year reunion, this friend, a popular cheerleader in high school, spent her time drinking and partying with B and the other heretics. Her husband was there as well, smoking up a storm, drinking, and having a great time.

So imagine his shock when a few months later this friend posted on her Facebook status that she and her husband of more than 20 years were headed to the LDS Temple to be “sealed” for time and all eternity.

B’s question, for the most part, is “why?” Why would someone live the majority of their adult life one way, and suddenly do a turn-around. Furthermore, why would a person LIVE a lifestyle that goes against all the tenets of Mormonism, and then one day just turn back to it, and say “I’ve always wanted to do this. It’s a life-long dream.”

You were dreaming of this while you were guzzling down drinks at your high school reunion?

I don’t understand how this happens. If you REALLY TRULY BELIEVE something, why the hell aren’t you living it??

A friend of mine and I once had a discussion about what was easier believing and practicing, or being non-believing. We BOTH agreed that it is harder to be an ex-Mormon than it could ever be to be a Mormon. And she’s a church-going Mormon. But she knows it’s true.

The Church tells you how to live, how to spend your money, what to eat and drink, where you should be on what day. Sure, there’s temptation, but there is always something holding you back.

When you leave, unless you join another religion, you must create your own belief system and that is not always easy. Ex-Mormons have been known to do all kinds of crazy things, just because they no longer had the moral ties. And usually they reach the point of being Ex-Mormon because they DON’T BELIEVE. It’s rare, despite what active Mormons think, that someone leaves the LDS Church because someone hurt their feelings or they have an axe to grind, or want to live a completely different lifestyle.

When a person leaves the Mormon Church, it’s most often because they don’t believe it. Period. And everyone around them is saying, “What the heck? How can you not believe this?” (Yeah, the heck is in there for emphasis.)

Mormonism has so many dos and don’ts, and Birdman was telling me about this friends’ line of work, which involves holistic medicine and healing, energies, etc. Uh, that ain’t gonna play with the Mormons. First of all, she’s female, and the only Hoo Doo Voo Doo gets to be performed by men with the “priesthood.” You know consecrated oil, blessings, etc.

I actually have heard of people returning to Mormonism as they neared death, and I guess I can understand the fear factor, especially if you know it is close. What if it’s true? What if they were wrong? QUICK, JUST IN CASE….

Heh. I don’t share that fear. But I do understand societal and family pressure.

Is this choice going to make her happy? I don’t know. I don’t understand it, that’s for sure.

Our culture is permeated with LDSisms.

I mean, Dancing Daughter just had her drill Night to Remember, and more than one of the senior girl’s wrote they dreamed of a temple marriage. That was a GOAL we were all supposed to reach. To attain. I spent more than one Young Women’s class with my butt stuck on a metal folding chair, being chided to stay pure and chaste in order to get through the temple, a goal that was THE NTH.

Of course, never you mind that going through the temple was the LAST thing on my to-do last. I did it once, in one of those exciting “baptism for the dead” experiences. Teenage years for Mormon youth are punctuated by temple visits to do baptisms for the dead. You know, when they dunk you under a million times or so and baptize Hitler, Cher, and possibly Benji, the wonder dog.

I remember being led into a white room, and changing into a white robe thingie, and then standing in line while we all waited to be dunked in this pretty ornate huge bathtub, in lukewarm water. And then dunked you under, and under, and under again. And said lots of names.

That was my temple experience, and it wasn’t all that great. It was a little odd, and a little weird, and I really didn’t want to know more about what went on in there.

See, to me, secret and sacred just aren’t all that different. And there wasn’t a soul willing to tell me just what I was in for should I step through those doors to get married.

Now this was a serious red flag for me. I mean, GIVE ME A BREAK, my parents spent years making sure that every step I took was well-thought out and explained. I didn’t get to leave the house without a detailed plan and escape route, along with emergency numbers and from time to time a bodyguard. They made sure everything I did was accounted for. And now, suddenly, I was supposed to just take their word that this was cool, and good, and awesome, and in addition I got to wear an ugly, modest dress that I would REALLY only wear at my reception. Over it would be an ugly apron and some other weird things, and I was supposed to be HAPPY about this.

Yeah, sure, folks, that sounds like a plan.

So I said, “Thanks, but I think I’ll pass.”

And so did more than a few other of my high school classmates, but what makes someone suddenly decide, at nearly 50, that it is time to go to the Temple.

I’m confuzzled.

And hey, come on over to FB and check out my Fan Page! When the new book comes out, there will be prizes and giveaways. I tried the newsletter route, but too many email addresses bounce or my newsletters got marked as spam.

Sooooo, come on over!



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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6 Responses to Fear Factor

  1. worm says:

    Great Blog…and great FB page.
    I don’t follow the Temple Marriage after 25 years…and a lifelong dream…what have you been living? A nightmare? Anyone out there got the answers as to WHY?
    Natalie, good luck on the new book…when can we expect to read it?


  2. Elaine says:

    Yeah. I did the baptism for the dead thing once. Creeped me out so much that I never had any desire to go to the temple again. For anything.



  3. Crystal says:

    Haha! Love your blog! I along with a FEW of my family members have left the church, man what a weird experiance that is!! Living in a small farming townin Weber County!! I was in the RS presidency and had my second missionary out when I came to my senses after 25 yrs of being a card carrying member! People just dont get it! Even inactive members…it’s like…huh?? what made you do THAT!! Holy crap people!! Do the MATH!! Anywho…love your blog, glad to know I’m not alone!!

    Crystal 🙂


  4. Jaycey says:

    I’ve done baptisms for the dead many times. Go in there with the right attitude and it will be an amazing spiritual experience. And the Church isn’t here to tell how to live your life, it’s to help make your life easier by I don’t know, making sure you’re not addicted to cocaine and having children out of wedlock…what a devilish church. Bet you’re so glad you’re not part of an organization where you’re cared for and looked after. 🙂


  5. Carl says:

    So let me get this straight, Jaycey; You need a church to teach you not to be addicted to cocaine and to not have kids out of wedlock??

    So – lies about God, hell and Satan help you with those things?

    This is too easy of a target. Go back to sucking your thumb and believing in the tooth fairy, and Santa Clause – it will keep you out of trouble.



  6. worm says:

    Thanks Carl…fingers are sore from responding to Hannnah…


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