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Explaining why I post what I post
Posted: 17 December 2006 04:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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See, that’s the thing—if you never were in a cult, you have a hard time understanding the process of getting out. Processing issues takes time, and it is not always easy. For those who never were in one, just be glad that you do not have to go through all this crap yourself, and live and let live. 

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Posted: 18 December 2006 03:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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Noggin’ :
    With regard to reading books like The End of Faith, and so many other outstanding, insightful and informative works—one of the things I was most uncomfortable with when I studied with the Jehovah’s Witnesses was the fact that they consider books such as Sam Harris’ (and I would guess Carl Sagan’s too) “apostate” literature.  I didn’t know what I was missing until I started to investigate “apostate” literature. 
    It was once apostasy to consider that the earth revolved around the sun.
    Have you seen the movie “The God Who Wasn’t There”?  I’m sure it would get a five-star apostasy rating!  It was very thought provoking, and one of the sources of inspiration for my current quest for truth.

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Posted: 11 January 2007 11:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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I posted about forums in which former Muslims can share their stories and trauma in the Islam section.  I’m sure you could post in former Mormon forums if you don’t already.  You are probably closer to peace than you think— I think I read where you don’t mind that your children are being raised as Mormons.  Since most people tend to protect their children from any perceived harm, this might be a benchmark to indicate your progress that you don’t see the church as harmful.

Good luck.

annalise

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Posted: 11 January 2007 12:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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[quote author=“annalise”]I posted about forums in which former Muslims can share their stories and trauma in the Islam section.  I’m sure you could post in former Mormon forums if you don’t already.  You are probably closer to peace than you think— I think I read where you don’t mind that your children are being raised as Mormons.  Since most people tend to protect their children from any perceived harm, this might be a benchmark to indicate your progress that you don’t see the church as harmful.

Good luck.

annalise

Thanks annalise.  I really have mixed feelings about my kids.  My wife knows where I stand, and as they get older, they will no that I do not sign up for carte blanche theology.  It’s a riff waiting to happen perhaps.  Because kids are impressionable and I am a good father so it will be natural for what I believe to have an influence on them… and if one or both choose to quit going to church, I am in riff ville.

Of course, the teen years will be challenging.  Teens sometimes get a wild streak for a few years.  If that happens, how easy will it be for either of them to declare they no longer believe “just like dad” and use that as a reason to feed their rebellious streak.  If I were a believer, that excuse would not surface (another more independent variation would perhaps) and hence the riff would not surface.

I keep reverting back to the same old same old. 

1.  religion is just an opinion about who god is or is not
2.  teach your kids to be good people regardless of what kind of a god might breathe down their neck.  If they need a god in order to be good, you, the parent are failing.

Noggin

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Posted: 12 January 2007 04:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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[quote author=“Noggin”]It’s a riff waiting to happen perhaps.

Dear Noggin,

No perhaps about it I think, my friend.  You are in a catch-22 situation.  Damned if you do and damned if you don’t because if you are the odd one out, your family is going to feel sorrowful for you that you will not be in Heaven with them.  If your children follow your lack of religion (assuming you are not attending another kind of church) then you will have been the influence that took your children away from their mother for the rest of Eternity.

I truly don’t know what to say.  I feel for your situation.  It will be a very difficult tightrope to walk in order to keep the marriage harmonious if your wife feels your children have been cheated out of eternal life by you.  You indicate that they are young so she most likely feels they will be raised as she intends and will keep those beliefs throughout.  And odds are they will, because most studies show that people who are raised in a certain belief stay close to it.

That leaves you out in the cold.  I’m so sorry.

annalise

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Posted: 18 February 2007 03:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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Hi there Noggin. As an ex JW, I can only say there were times where I wondered if it wouldn’t have been better if I were Mormon… I can see I am glad just to be out of the religion business altogether.

I just got on board this board, but I enjoy your posts immensely. One thing I believe that people who leave religions and cults have trouble with in general is thinking in absolutes. Many still have an all or nothing type of mentality, and it is the rare person who is truly open minded. I am taking my time, and am comfortable in admitting that at the moment, I am educating myself, I don’t know everything, but am interested in learning the facts that are known! It’s a great place to be…..

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Posted: 19 February 2007 08:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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[quote author=“alltimejeff”]Hi there Noggin. As an ex JW, I can only say there were times where I wondered if it wouldn’t have been better if I were Mormon… I can see I am glad just to be out of the religion business altogether.

I just got on board this board, but I enjoy your posts immensely.

Hey thanks!

I just shot you an earful of questions on your thread you started and just saw this post you did here.  If you have a second over the next few days, I’d be very interested in seeing your responses.  No rush.

It’s a kick in the pants to leave the religion business.  It’s exciting to finally feel like you truly can govern your own life the way it makes sense to you… and also it is terrifying at times to consider that you alone figured out something (that the church is not what it claims to be) that the rest of your entire family and friends and in many scenarios your professional environment cannot in any way shape or format see.

My family thinks that I am completely nuts for leaving Mormonism.  They look after me, tsk tsking as they watch me reject what they believe.  I try not to be overt, you know, I still need family ties and all.. but I offend them in the oddest ways.  I no longer wear the sacred Mormon underwear or partake in any covenant rituals.  My Dad is getting married again is very pained that I will not set foot inside the Temple to witness his wedding… that sort of stuff.

I know you have your JW equivelance.  Have you been shunned by your family and congregation yet?

Noggin

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Posted: 26 February 2007 06:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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[quote author=“Noggin”]I no longer wear the sacred Mormon underwear or partake in any covenant rituals. 
Noggin

Pardon my asking, and you may have addressed this before, but I’m curious, what is sacred Mormon underwear?
If you’ve addressed this before, I beg your pardon, but I’ve seen you mention it a couple of times, and I have never heard of it before.

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“We have it recorded in a book called the Bible.”

To be blunt, the Bible records all manner of silly shit.

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Posted: 26 February 2007 08:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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Oh… uh…..

I could tell you dlsmith, but you wouldn’t believe me.  I recommend that you insert “sacred mormon garments” into the search engine of your choice.  You might want to fasten zip ties around your ankles because the information just might blow your socks off.

wink

Noggin

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Posted: 26 February 2007 09:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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[quote author=“Noggin”]Oh… uh…..

I could tell you dlsmith, but you wouldn’t believe me.  I recommend that you insert “sacred mormon garments” into the search engine of your choice.  You might want to fasten zip ties around your ankles because the information just might blow your socks off.

wink

Noggin

I did a Google search and read a couple of pages and all I can say is that after I finally stopped laughing, two sayings come to mind: “A fool and his money are soon parted” and “Some people will believe anything.” This is proof beyond reproach.

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“We have it recorded in a book called the Bible.”

To be blunt, the Bible records all manner of silly shit.

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Posted: 26 February 2007 09:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
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Noggin, you tease, making us hunt data on sacred undies wink.

But of course I did just that. . . and lo and behold—a Wikipedia page on “Temple Garments”!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_garment

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<—- This way to the Unquestioned Answers

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Posted: 26 February 2007 09:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
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[quote author=“dlsmith”][quote author=“Noggin”]Oh… uh…..

I could tell you dlsmith, but you wouldn’t believe me.  I recommend that you insert “sacred mormon garments” into the search engine of your choice.  You might want to fasten zip ties around your ankles because the information just might blow your socks off.

wink

Noggin

I did a Google search and read a couple of pages and all I can say is that after I finally stopped laughing, two sayings come to mind: “A fool and his money are soon parted” and “Some people will believe anything.” This is proof beyond reproach.

dlsmith. . . do you realize how insidious straight-from-the-womb indoctrination can be, or do you think only stupid people can be trained up to believe in gods?

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Posted: 27 February 2007 02:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
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Disclaimer:
This is a long post, if you are irritated by explanations of a former uber religious lifestyle, and an attempt to describe how said lifestyle is made to feel “normal”, this post is not for you.

[quote author=“dlsmith”]I did a Google search and read a couple of pages and all I can say is that after I finally stopped laughing, two sayings come to mind: “A fool and his money are soon parted” and “Some people will believe anything.” This is proof beyond reproach.

dlsmith, if you’d like to plumb deeper into that world, consider that each person who chooses to don the underwear first must strip down naked in a 4’x4’ screened booth in a segregated by sex bathroom environment, there is carpet and wallpaper so it’s not like it’s a lockerroom per se. 

Quick clarifier.  One must be at least 18 years old and wait one year after their baptism before they can “qualify” to put the underwear on and make the more serious (read: hard core) temple covenants.  Some say this is because a year of basic church attendance is needed to condition the new convert’s mind.  Others (read: the faithful) will say that the covenants are so sacred that the new convert must really be sure he wants to live as a mormon for life prior to the temple experience.  Being mormon can be demanding and difficult.

Anyways, so you strip down inside the temple basement and they have you wear a loose flowing cotton fiber smock with the sides completely open.  Why are the sides open with your jibblies hanging out?  Yes, the jibblies hang out.  I kept having to pull the sides in as I walked towards the ritual booth (modesty demanded it).  The loose flowing smock is wide open so that prior to receiving the underwear, one can be washed clean from the blood and sins of this generations… and then each part of the body consecrated with oil out of a ram’s horn to do the work of god (serve in his kingdom, bear up righteous children, and donate one’s time talents and everything else he may be blessed with to building up “Zion”).

There is usually an older fellow for the guys and a female for the women who reaches in to the smock and touches shoulders, mouth, eyes, ears, heart, chest, bowels, loins, legs, hands and pronounces a blessing on each part.  The loins part.  I don’t recall anyone fondling me or my jibblies.  The touch was, for me, more on my thigh than my jibblies.  But you can easily see a more reserved (paranoid…) person freaking out at this point.

sidebar note:  nobody told me that I would be waltzing naked through the men’s portion of the temple basement prior to me entering the temple that day.  It was a complete shock to me.  But my dad, my best friend’s dad, my bishop, my grandfather, my uncle were all there to witness my special day and I trusted them completely and explicitly.  None of it made sense to me, but they all did it and in time, perhaps, it would jive with my brain one day.

So.  Exactly after this washing and annointing happens, the old codger who just got done touching nearly every part of you opens up the underwear and basically dresses you in them.  He asks you to step into the bottom parts and slip into the tops.  Then you are free to go.

That is the ritual, as it happened to me nearly 20 years ago.  I wore them for 18 years every day and every night, even while I played sports, rode my bike.  The garments were pronounced and ingrained into me as a protection from physical harm and a spiritual haven of safety… as they would remind me of the sacred nature of my covenants with my god.

To be fair, this church has since excised the naked touching part of this ritual.  I am told that now they just touch your body over your clothes and then privately you go and put your own underwear on.  That is a vast improvement and will seriously decrease the pegged redlinings found on the creep-out-o-meter for many new Mormons converting into that religion.  I gather that is why they changed it.  Newbies could not hang with this level of hard core more often than not.

The problem I have with changing the ceremony, is that Joseph Smith, after he instituted this ritual and a dozen others in 1835, declared or claimed that Jesus Christ himself declared that the rituals were perfect and would never change.  Then 175 years later, when converts started complaining and baptismal rates began to decline or I should say… attrition rates began to escalate among those members who eventually decided to go and get the underwear put on them… the church did a survey about what bothered these people the most and this is one response they received.

Changing that ritual is a clear indication that this church is not what it claims it to be.  In 1990 they changed other parts of the more external covenant making ritual by eliminating the gruesome pantomiming of ones own three way suicide.  We used to have to, in a group setting being led by church authorities, make promises to serve the mormon god and if we revealed the nature of this covenant we would suffer our lives to be taken.  This was emphasized by us mock slitting our throats by drawing our thumbs across it—palm extended flat out and downward, likewise would we mock slit our bellies and our chest as part of the penalty we would exact if we revealed our covenants with god with the wrong people.  That was removed.  Among other things.

I’ve revealed it now.  Others have too.  Do you see me running out to slit my own throat?  Very bizarre as to why that needed to be part of the ceremony.  My research on the subject lead me to discover that much of this ritual and other parts of it were plagerized from Free Masonry.  The masonic parallels cannot be overlooked (but apparently, they are indeed overlooked and no amount of showing devout mormons this link has hardly any affect on their level of commitment).  History shows us that Joseph Smith became a Free Mason as did his brother and father.  Many of his cadre also were Free masons.  Freemasonry fraternal groups and lodges were a relatively big deal back then.  History also shows us that not even a year later, the mormon temple ritual was institued.  Smith explained that Freemasonry held much of the lost art of covenant making with god that god instituted way back in the day of Adam and Eve.  Of course, throughout the ages and with the lack of revelation, that art had become corrupted and Smith, through revelation, restored the art of covenant making to it’s full and proper methodology.  Hmmm… indeed.

But if you tell people Jesus revealed this ceremony…

I digress. 

So.  I know you can see it from the get go… how over the top it all is, dlsmith, but you lack the conditioning and the struggle to gain a mormon testimony all of your young life.  You lack the influence of all of your peers ever preparing you to one day enter the temple and make covenants with god.  I was conditioned from age 5 to believe that the temple was the holiest location on earth—a place where jesus walked the halls today—and I should do everything in my power to qualify to go there (and thus put on the underwear and make other serious covenants of fealty to the mormon god).  It took little observations like this to erode my confidence in the Mormon exclusivity claim.  Ironically, if the church had not changed parts of it’s past that had already been decreed “unmovable, fixed and forevermore” by Jesus Christ himself, I’d probably still be a devotee.

This little note might help you see the power of conditioning.  You laugh, and that is fine… actually a failry normal response.  I am hopeful that you will discover that it is actually quite easy for someone to join mormonism or any other extreme religious group and find all of it “holy” and/ or “sacred”.  Once you buy into the fact that god is behind it all… very easy indeed.

A lengthy post, but truly the reader’s digest version of it.

Noggin

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Posted: 28 February 2007 12:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]  
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Hey Noggin’ 
    That was a very interesting post.  Not often a non-Mormon gets to peek inside the temple.  That’s one powerful ceremony!  I can imagine it must have been a very moving, and maybe somewhat frightening experience.  For some reason, it reminded me of a story that Joseph Campbell related in one of his lectures about a tribe in some part of the world that has an initiation ceremony for young men which includes, I think, fasting, and spending a night alone in a dark cave, and then, at the end, getting a front tooth knocked out!  It seems so strange at first, but when you think about it… all these young boys go through this intense experience, with all its attendant fear and mystery, and they survive, and come out on the other side as “men”—as survivors of this experience, and the scar that they bear is born right in the middle of their face.  And every time one man greets another in this tribe, with a big gap-tooth smile, he sees a brother who has shared the same experience.  Pretty powerful.  So, in some ways, I don’t think temple garments are funny at all.  They are a bond, for a group of brothers and sisters, who are trying to survive, and who, by sharing this experience, are sharing their strength and their unity and their purpose.  It’s kind of beautiful in a way.  I miss the ritual of my church sometimes… the Catholic mass, with all the standing and kneeling and crossing oneself, etc…  I like doing things in a group.  At least, sometimes.  So now, instead of going to mass… I play hockey.  On Sundays, ironically enough.  I go into a large building with a high ceiling and a beautiful, shiny sheet of ice in the center.  I carry my bag of implements and enter the inner sanctum of the locker room, where only the initiated may go.  I even have ‘temple garments’ of a sort—shiny black UnderArmour, with sleeves that go to the wrist and legs to the ankle.  I get to put on a helmet and carry a club, and wear blades on my feet.  It really is exquisite.  It’s like the best of religion and war!  grin  We get to suit up and do battle with the other tribes, without anybody getting killed (minor injuries sometimes, but usually no fatalities!)  We get to have group rituals… banging our sticks in unison on the ice, tapping the goalies’ pads after the game, shaking hands with the opposing team at the end of the contest…  It’s all very glorious.  I, for one, am in favor of having sports replace both religion and war.

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Posted: 01 March 2007 09:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]  
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Whew, being raised a Mormon up until about now (I finally convinced my parents that after nearly 18 years, enough was enough and i could stop going to church with them) I am glad i wont make it to that part of the temple smile

The biggest proof for me is the DNA proof.  Mormons believe that the Native Americans are descendants from Israelites (at least that was what I was taught… I better not be accused of building a straw man) which is of course ridiculous and DNA studies have proved what scientists have been saying all along.

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