I have been taken to task by two TEOF posters now about the level of obsession I have with my former faith. I have benefitted from the scrutiny and words of encouragement from one of the posters. There seems to be an underlying annoyance with my posts. But several posters have also told me that while the contents are bizarre, some of what I post is helpful and even half way intriguing.
I was in a cult for three decades, from birth—I was so deeply interred that I still grapple with the fear of "what if I left god's only true church" from time to time. It can be a wild ride. One month I am truly strong in my convictions, then there are those wacky moments of wicked doubt. Which are, arguably, becoming less invasive. Part of reason I was posting, pretty solidly, for the last few months with reference to my former cult allegiance was to get purposefully pinged from those who never had to grapple with any cult mindset. See, the cult mindset is unfathomable to those who do not know it. It invades the deepest part of you and controls what you eat, drink, smoke, and do down to what clothing you will wear (even your underwear in some cases), what kind of and how much sex you will have, movies you will watch, books you will read, what charities to give to, what college you will attend, people you will associate with and eventually marry.
It is completely and utterly fascinating for me to see how easily most if not all of you will dismiss any and all religions. There are a few of you who have had to grapple with leaving Catholicism or fundie christianity. In my opinion, those are cults too—very much so. But seeing how flippantly Joseph Smith is called out as a huckster etc is amazing to me. I still have to support a wife who deeply believes in Mormonism, which means I still rub shoulders with her congregation. This means I am exposed to frequent statements of assurance that these people "know" that Joseph Smith was god's prophet for our day. Polar opposites.
People who leave a cult physically, as I have learned from studies done on people like this, rarely ever completely shed that "cultural accent". This is more true for those who participate in the cult from birth. And since I choose to remain married to my wife for some very excellent reasons, It is likely that I will never really "recover".
So I have decided to continue to post from time to time with reference to my former cult life. I will be more judicious in what I say and describe, I will answer questions that are given to me in order to assist perspective. And I will try to keep my references posted here in this part of TEOF (cults). I feel this is an appropriate location to do this.
If there are posters who have a problem with that, please use the "ignore" function and you'll never have to read any of my posts. It's all good. Or please, do take me to task privately or publicly. I don't mind.
You write very well.
I don’t think you are in any danger of winding up on any ignore list here.
You postings are most excellent.
Religion is very closely tied to personal identity.
But it is not the only thing. You should read some posts here where Libertarians and pinko-tree-hugging-lefties like me get into.
They are somewhat similar to discussions between Xian and heretics.
I heard a guy say once that people pick their political affiliation early in life, around adolescence and very, very few ever change them.
It is the same with religion. These are our orientation points in a world that we really don’t understand. Abandoning or changing these I find a courageous act.
By the way, Monterey is in my sales territory. If you ever want to hook up for coffee or a pint, let me know.
Don’t worry, I am not a serial killer, I gave that up years ago :D
[quote author=“Noggin”]I have been taken to task by two TEOF posters now about the level of obsession I have with my former faith. . .
Ironic, isn’t it, that the very thing that this board sprang from is the need to address the ludicrous message in religion, yet some do not want to know what that actually entails, and how messy the process can be. Someone who has escaped a religion that had them literally wrapped up down to the underwear is perhaps the most interesting case study they might hope to run across, so it surprises me that you’ve been taken to task in any way, and I would only remind you that your posts are riveting and thought-provoking to the vast majority here. As you say, those who don’t want to see what some ex-theists have been through, are still going through, and how deeply these beliefs invaded every aspect of your daily life. . . can choose to ignore. Screw ‘em. Squelching your real history in the cult would be to deny what really goes on out there in Religiousfundamentalistland.
How do they suppose extremist Islamists are created? They were only fed a slightly different brand of BS, that’s all. Your tales are filled with incredibly pertinent information, and I read every one with empathy. I think lifelong atheists must think it’s a simple “snap out of it and move on” sort of deal. Not the case. Good to see you, Nogs .
[quote author=“Noggin”] ......Part of reason I was posting, pretty solidly, for the last few months with reference to my former cult allegiance was to get purposefully pinged from those who never had to grapple with any cult mindset. See, the cult mindset is unfathomable to those who do not know it…............It is completely and utterly fascinating for me to see how easily most if not all of you will dismiss any and all religions. There are a few of you who have had to grapple with leaving Catholicism or fundie christianity. In my opinion, those are cults too—very much so. But seeing how flippantly Joseph Smith is called out as a huckster etc is amazing to me.
Noggin, you are quite right.
As a life-long atheist, I frankly cannot imagine believing in the God myth or of being part of a religious cult.
Because of this, it is “utterly fascinating” to me to see how you, and others who have been saddled with such irrational belief burdens, have had the courage to take the steps to break the spell and to know how hard you continue to struggle every day to shed it for good.
I guess that I am hopeful that in reading your posts and those of others in similar situations I will begin to gain some understanding of the grip that religion has on so many of my friends and relatives and therefore may be better able to help them to make the break if and when the opportunity arises.
So, I for one hope that you keep posting your thoughts, doubts, struggles, stumbles and triumphs.
Oh, and BTW, Joseph Smith WAS a huckster and a charlatan! :wink:
Yes, Noggin, thank you for your posts, I enjoy reading them. Like CA above, I have no personal experience with cults and therefore felt I had nothing to contribute to your various threads. I have, however, read every word of them.
[quote author=“Noggin”]I have been taken to task by two TEOF posters now about the level of obsession I have with my former faith. I have benefitted from the scrutiny and words of encouragement from one of the posters. There seems to be an underlying annoyance with my posts. But several posters have also told me that while the contents are bizarre, some of what I post is helpful and even half way intriguing.
Quite frankly, since you’re not trolling at all (and even then I’d still say the following is just about as valid), if anyone is for whatever reason annoyed by reading your posts . . . well, the solution is pretty obvious for anyone over, say, three or four . . . no?
Complaining like that is akin to walking up to a conversation and telling the participants you’re not interested, so they need to change the subject. In person that would be obviously narcissistic, but it’s less obvious online.
[Lewis Black Mode]
It’s really not very tough not to fucking read what you don’t want to fucking read. Jesus H. Fucking Christ people! Do you need others to dress and feed you as well!?
If you’re annoyed by reading posts I have to say you’ve worked through it, so your annoyance is well earned, so you may as well enjoy it.
I think I’ll go and poke myself in the eye now so I can complain about how much it hurts to get poked in the eye.[/Lewis Black Mode]
PS: a great example just presented itself. Panopeia just posted a new topic “Contradictions in the Bible, one by one by one…” I’m sure a number of forum participants will actually delve into that one and get into it with her, but all I need to see is the heading and who posted it to know I have precisely zero interest in that thread. If I were forced to read it I would be bored and possibly even annoyed, so since I’m not forced to read it I’ll opt out, thank you. On the other hand I have no problem at all with those who do want to participate, and I’m certainly not so infantile as to expect my own sentiments to have any bearing what-so-ever on them. I don’t get it, but that really doesn’t matter in the slightest, does it. By all means dig in and enjoy—sincerely.
[quote author=“Ellecram”]Noggin - I am new to this forum and in the process of shedding a rather heavy garb of tenacious Catholicism.
Reading your posts is helping me to understand the strength of my own cult “death grip”.
I appreciate the difficulty you might be facing. One of the biggest eye openers for me was allowing myself to shake hands and rub shoulders with other faiths that claimed they were the ones with God’s only Truth and Mormonism was a joke… Truly bizarre to see them scoff at how obviously false Mormonism was. I just shake my head. I mean, I ran around Europe for 2 years as a missionary telling all who would listen that they were in error and they needed (desperately) to convert to Mormonism, but I was full tilt brainwashed back then. Totally different now to bump into people now and hear them dismiss my former faith. And then examine where they are coming from… as far as how THEY really, actually, truly know that they are the sole possessors of Gods one and only Truth capable of saving a human soul.
Is it strange for you to look at me sitting here typing a post to you, and know that I have not even one shred of worry that I am going to some Catholic hell? While there you sit, perfectly comfortable in your knowledge that, of all the fates out there, the fear of a Mormon hell fate is not one of them?
Religion is a virus given, in many cases, to the young by their parents and family/social peers. The only antedote is knowledge. As you indicated, Elle, it can be a slow and twisted process extricating ones self from the effects. I am thankful that it is possible to do it.
[quote author=“Mia”] I would only remind you that your posts are riveting and thought-provoking to the vast majority here.
That would include me. I always check the cults forum when I visit to see if you, Noggin, posted anything new. I have not heard a more personal, indepth account of the inner workings of scientology. Just fascinating.
I find the posts about your experiences particularly helpful to me because I was in a similar boat. I studied with the Jehovah’s Witnesses for more than ten years, and though I never got baptized, I was pretty wrapped up. I spent my early years, birth to about 18 years old, as a practicing Catholic, church every Sunday, never thought to question. Then I went to college in Chicago. College was a real challenge to my religious beliefs. I thought maybe I just had the wrong religion. So when the JWs came to my door, I started a study. One thing I have to say about the Witnesses—they really do know their bibles. I studied and prayed and asked the Holy Spirit to make the scriptures clear to me. I gave it a long time, but it didn’t click. I saw the movie “The God Who Wasn’t There” and it clicked. I read Earl Doherty’s ‘The Jesus Puzzle’ and ‘Challenging the Verdict’ and it clicked. I read End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation and books by Dennett and Dawkins and E.O. Wilson. Next on my night table is Carl Sagan’s The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. Right now, I’m in the middle of Michael Shermer’s ‘Why Darwin Matters’. I suppose you get my point. They’re all clicking. It took me 43 years of earnest scholarship to arrive at the point where I can be honest with myself, and with those around me and say that I don’t believe the Bible is the inspired word of God. I believe it is a work which originated in man’s imagination. I still read it. I am still fascinated by it.
I read a few comments by people who post on this forum, declaring that it is an Atheist site and lamenting the input of those who are still religious, or those, like us, who are in transition. I guess if you’re an atheist, then you see this site as an atheist site. But if you’re not an atheist, then you see it from a different perspective. For me, this is a site where people come to discuss the points brought up by Sam Harris in his books, and related topics. I would expect that other points of view, in addition to atheist ones, allow for a more thorough analysis of the problems.
Other than that, all I really want to say is peace, brother Noggin’. I look forward to your continued posts.
[quote author=“woofy”]Hi Noggin—
Other than that, all I really want to say is peace, brother Noggin’. I look forward to your continued posts.
Hi woofy and thanks for the added perspective. You know, one of the religions I studied post Mormonism was Jehovah’s Witnesses. I agree with you that they know the bible. They have their own interpretation of it, don’t they.
Hats off to you for your reading list. Those are some really great books. Demon Haunted World, imo, should be a reading requirement for every young person before they get their driver’s license.
After I read many of those books something really wonderful happened to me. I became acutely interested in history. I am insatiable. I kind of understand why, but I kind of don’t. I mean, so many civilizations have come and gone, each one seemingly convinced that they have the world all figured out and I am just fascinated with what each one of them came up with as they painted their cultural tapestry for us to see later. And we all are doing just that aren’t we. My painting of what life interprets itself to me is so different than what I originally started out. I think that is kind of rare. Too many times I see people continuing to paint their life’s work within the confines and parameters of what their parents and peers told them it should be. Sure many leave that all behind and paint outside the lines, but many many do not.