Re: leaving religion and changing beliefs (I share my own experiences)

From: John M Grigg (
Date: Sun Jun 18 2000 - 17:02:56 MDT

On Sun, 18 Jun 2000 00:25:48
zeb haradon wrote:
>(this is a reply to "RE: ", about whether people leave religion suddenly or

>Never having been religious, I can't provide much personal insight, but
>among people I know who have told me, it always seems to have been a
>situation where there were gradual components, but then there was one even
>or instance when they *really* gave it up.
>- A friend of mine was raped, went to her bishop (Mormon) to confess about
>it, he said things like "you knew what was going to happen when you let him
>into your room when your parents were on vacation and now you're just trying
>to say it wasn't your fault because you feel guilty", she never went to
>church again and had a lot less respect for the religion after that, but it
>was only after studying it for a while that she came to the more ontological
>conclusion that was false.

Her bishop really let her down. People must realize that Mormon bishop's and other clergy are first and foremost human beings who are capable of letting others down. That poor woman! Mormon Bishops are not fulltime, paid clergy(not to say that is the answer) and despite attempts by the general authorities(Mormon top leaders) to educate them in counseling, some of them are just not very compassionate or understanding. I have known many in my own life who were wonderful and caring men. I wish your friend had one of them as her bishop.

The mormon church has come a long way in realizing the existance and damage done by spouse and child abuse in mormon families. They used to(in some cases) try to turn a blind eye to it in the past. Now, I hear top church leaders saying if you are an abuser, your church membership is in grave danger. It took them awhile to get there....

While away on my mission to Louisiana, my mother was brutally beaten up by my Mormon stepfather who had recently married her. Before that happened he also bullied and humiliated my teenage brother. He did seem a little odd but overall people thought how nice he was. The guy was arrested by the cops and his wealthy family got managed to see that he got just nine days in jail for it.

My mormon stake president did not support my mother as well as I would have wanted... Just the appearance of the bastard who had beaten her made my mom so scared and frustrated and so she did not want him attending the same ward(congregation) that she did. When Bob did that I appealled to the stake president but he responded like the lawyer he was(no insult meant to you Greg).

I wish I could go back in time and not be so respectful. I would have gone up during fast and testimony meeting(members take turns speaking) and told the ward about it!! I wonder what would have happened to me than! lol But, I had just come back from my mission and didn't want to make waves.

>From my stake president's perspective maybe he did do the best thing by not excommunicating my than stepfather or ordering him not to attend his home ward. He was/is the rebellious type who might simply have left the church outright if he were disciplined to harshly. Perhaps a soft touch with the discipline was needed.

Than again, maybe I'm making excuses for the stake president and my ex-stepfather. A man or woman who has an affair in the church often gets excommunicated. I would say brutally beating one's wife is FAR worse than that!

The man who was stake president is no longer in that position, the man we have now I believe would have done the right thing. Oh well...

My mother divorced the man who was so rotten and he has since gone down a slow road to self-destruction with failing health(extreme obesity). I think he is even (very mildly) mentally ill but that is no excuse for him.

>- Another friend was born outside Utah, and then moved here to go to
>college. I'm not sure how pervasive the Mormon religion is in everyday life
>if you're a minority, but she said that it was definitely different here.
>She had a mental breakdown (she didn't give me any details on this), and
>then one day was just sitting and thinking about it, went out and bought a
>coffee maker (Mormons cannot drink coffee), and never went to church again.

Mormons put a emphasis on achieving perfection, this can lead some women who are too hard on themselves into a psychiatric hospital. It sounds like she is did not have a close circle of friends to be with her when she needed it most.

Even Mormons who are not used to the Utah Mormon subculture are in for a big shock!! It is not just your faith down there, but everything else. A totally inclusive subculture that can intentionally or at least unintentionally leave nonmembers or those not "gung-ho" out in the cold.

Remember Becky folks?, the gorgeous aussie gal I still pine for, she went to Utah and married a future doctor from a huge mormon family. The last time we talked(right before her wedding) she told me how the family was getting to her! Maybe she is happier now, wedding preparation can be hectic.

Becky wanted the full mormon experience and she sure got it!! I hope she is happy. I probably would have lost her to some other guy had I gone down there. The uncertainty of that thought eats me alive like a mental cancer gone out of control.

>- My dad was Catholic and went to Catholic school. One day a priest came to
>talk to his class (it was in elementary school) about foul language. The
>priest had a chart which detailed how long you will spend in purgatory for
>each bad word you say. For example, it said something like "S--- 60
>days", "F--- 120 days". My dad remembers thinking that that's pretty
>steep for a God who is supposed to be forgiving, and also wondering how the
>priest came to know this information, since it doesn't seem to be mentioned
>anyplace in the Bible. He came to the conclusion that it was pretty much all
>a bunch of bullshit.

I started out Catholic till age nine(family than went Mormon). I remember Cathechism too. My priest just had us draw scenes from the Bible and talk about them later while drinking all the soda pop we wanted. I hated the idea of confession, in the Mormon church it is voluntary unless the leadership find evidence of wrongdoing on your part. As a kid and teen I found confession terrifying in either faith, not so much anymore.

When it comes to my church still believe much more than I doubt. I stay in the Mormon church also because I feel it is my "tribe" and I get such a sense of community from it. I also see the extropians and cryonicists as my "tribe" and I realize the contradictions which do torment me.

Also, I feel my best chance of getting a good mate is within the Mormon church. I know some think, "you attend to meet women!" I partially do, but feel it is the best place for me to look for a good women. To the Mormon mind and heart being "married in the temple" is their fondest wish if it is to the right person. Again, more contradictions.

I would recommend to all of you the film now in theaters called "God's Army." It shows in a surprising candid way the type of experiences young, flesh and blood mormon missionaries have. It brought back so many memories... I can see how the church response to it was from what I hear a little cool.

Sometimes I feel ahead of my time. It may take forty years or more for other Mormons to see things as I do. I do not reject the existance of God or an afterlife but I want to be living down here in a much improved way for a long time because I do not have a sure knowledge of spiritual things.

>I imagine that people who come into religion have similar experiences, they
>have something going bad in their lives, they want someone to tell them that
>it's all ok, they ponder religion for a few moments then reject it, and one
>day, maybe after something particularly painful, or maybe after having a
>very emotional experience with a religious person, they "know" that God is
>watching them and they drop all their resistances.
>Come to think of it, I bet that most serious changes in beliefs are this
>way: a sudden paradigm shift, accompanied by small changes in the details of
>your beliefs before and after the shift. I remember being in flux about gun
>control (but more for it then against it) until reading an essay which
>framed the debate in a way I had not considered before.

There is a great book I have always meant to purchase and read entitled "Snapping" which is said to be THE book to read on what you just discussed. My soc prof. at UAA had never even heard of it! Maybe it should be a new addition to the Extropian book club selection of the month. lol!

Same with quantum
>physics, I used to be fairly certain that the evidence for psychological
>effects in determining a quantum state were very solid, and that this said
>something profound about the relationship between mind and matter. There
>were certain things that needed to be accounted for, but overall the
>evidence for this seemed so strong that there could be no other explanation,
>then I read about something called "the transactional approach" which
>explained it without mental effects, and since then I've found myself losing
>beliefs which relied on mental effects as a premise.

One reason I look forward to being cryosuspended and than reanimated, is so I have better sources of information on the true nature of reality and our own biology. Of course, even in the year 2050 or even later, while they will know so much more, there will still be many unanswered questions.


John Grigg

>Zeb Haradon (
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