Why the “What have you done for me lately Church” is hard to leave

As soon as I was old enough to safely go to church my parents brought me before the congregation and I was given an official name and a blessing. A name which would be recorded in the records and make me an official unbaptized member of the LDS. I was about a month old! Hey, thanks for that. Of course I don’t remember this, but those blessings take place the first Sunday of each month just before Fast and Testimony Meeting, where the members share their beliefs with the audience. This was the beginning of the indoctrination of Jim, as for the next hour I would listen to many testimonies that day about how true the church was, and how god played a role in various members lives that week. “I know this church is true” was proclaimed from the pulpit and into every rooms intercom. Even while I was in the mothers lounge, i could hear the testimonies of those who would soon be raising me in the church. Hey! No second opinions allowed either. Whenever a stray Mormon would stand up to bear his soul, and offer how he really felt about the church he would be escorted out. No second opinions needed! This is the true church!

At home it would continue. Exposed to everything mormon. Pictures of jesus and prophets and primary songs. Family home evenings every Monday for twice weekly indoctrination. Family prayer morning and night along with personal prayer. They even taught me what to say. How thoughtful.

Progression of church member Jim

Baby blessing –check

Baptism at 8. -check

Priesthood at 12 -check

Early morning Seminary 4 years. Check

Higher priesthood at 19-check

Temple endowments -check

Mission -check

Marry in the temple- check

Children -check

Memorize countless scriptures and songs – check

Endure to the end– hmm. Not so fast.

Pay Pray and Obey

Keep paying

Questions. Not allowed

Endure to the end, endure to the end

Learn the things you weren’t supposed to learn.

Be bold enough to question

Church court and discipline

Attend in shame.

Fade away. Resign the church. Lose all your friends. All!

In the Mormon faith you are taught if you don’t endure to the end, keep the commandments and keep paying your tithes til the day you die you won’t be saved. You can lose your salvation. Everything done to the children is focused on member retention. Keep you engaged. Don’t give you time to think. Here is how they did it to me

Scoutmaster 15 years. That’s an extra day at the church every week

Early morning Seminary teacher entire school year 8 years total

Home teacher to multiple families each month 30 years

Young men’s presidency 6 years

Adult Sunday school teacher 4 years

Ward missionary 4 years

Finance clerk 2 years

Membership clerk 2 years

Elders quorum presidency 8 years

Multiple tours in some of these callings. Oh!, and work a full time job to support my family.

I was also a pretty good speaker so I would give talks frequently on Sunday.

Frequent temple attendance

Temple initiatory worker 4 years

Veil worker 4 years

By the time I was 50, I had done about 75 years of service callings in the church. This is fairly typical, but not good enough. Pray pay and obey til you die if it will account as nothing.

It’s no wonder it is so hard to see the fallacy of your ways when it is all you know. Variety makes things right.

Don’t forget to look around you. Be humble. You might be wrong

Author: jim-

One minute info blogs breaking the faith trap.

35 thoughts on “Why the “What have you done for me lately Church” is hard to leave”

  1. Get ’em young and keep working at it. (Soft wet clay is the easiest to mould, no?)

    So you broke away and out … big deal. Millions more, you won’t be missed; and more coming on-stream all the time.
    My own offering to the debate is simply The Law Of Contradictions—

    Contradictions can not exist—
    If you find an apparent contradiction
    check the premises
    one at least is false

    It works for me. Get the kids to at least consider it. (If you can, the priesthoods can get quite nasty about it.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was raised Catholic…It was my children who started asking the hard questions, particularly my son. In my effort to “keep it real” with him, we both discovered that some of the rhetoric didn’t make logical sense (he was about 12 years old at the time). I gave both of my children the religious “baseline” I had consumed, but encouraged them to think for themselves and make their own decisions. I practiced what I preached, and ended up where I am today…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s really all it takes is a little sense and clarity without someone telling you what everything is supposed to mean. I had a few weeks of down time a few years back. Wow that cleared my head. Glad you came by.

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  3. That certainly sounds like heavy indoctrination to me, and from my outsider’s view it indeed seems like your family was “all-in.” I had a similar, but catholic, version of all that.

    How funny (and sad) that some poor sucker would stand up and say what he really thought of the church, and then was promptly *escorted out.* Holy shit, that must have caused a scandal! Maybe this is why in catholicism there is no point where a parishioner would be allowed to stand up and speak…that helps us look superficially more “civil,” as then no one would have to be physically tossed out the door on their ass. I suppose my cult prefers the mental torture of being condemned to hell.

    What a credit to your character that you were able to quickly move into a new life and re-establish yourself, after decade upon decade of religious malarky. I’m so relieved and happy for you…it gives me hope that deconverts aren’t all forever fucked.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are some really subtle brainwashing techniques going on too. Every Sunday is fast and testimony meeting. Fast 24 hours then listen to others and yourself bear testimony of the true church. Fasting interrupts brain chemistry and sugar uptake and moves you to a brain faze where indoctrination is easier. Even little kids get up and parrot what their parents say. That is one of many things I learned after the fact. The duped are the new dupers and it just continues.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I had no idea mormons were into fasting so much. Catholics also did do fasting but only two days a year…we had other days we had to abstain from animal products, but this cannot be counted as fasting. I agree with you, fasting would only make indoctrination easier and is a horrid practice, especially for developing young minds. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Church discipline goes a couple different ways. They either excommunicate you or disfellowship you. When this happens you can’t take sacrament, hold any callings , pray or speak in church. And suspend temple attendance and blessings. I went to church a couple times during this disfellowshipping period but that was it. My questions were never answered, and even got blocked in Mormon blogs for asking questions. They don’t want you to ask anything outside of the prepacked manuals

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  4. Wow a very inspiring deconversion story. You were in deep. It is a wonder you and your wife reached the jumping off point together. I am happy for you.

    I regret that once you jump ship with the religion, whichever one it may be, you are suddenly an outcast. I think that fact alone is why so many stay regardless of how they feel. “The outcast” has been weaponized.

    Anyway good to have you on the other side, and for what its worth, friends that would drop you because you have left the faith, weren’t really friends in my opinion. Merely slaves on the same chain gang, resentful of your escape.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep. Thanks. They are all fair weather superficial. Where the hell does that come from? We can be friends as long as you believe my fairy tales.!

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      1. I think it is an inborn tribal response, futher enhanced by religious leaders who really know how to manipulate people.

        I’d rather be friendless, than be in a cult. Truth is as I get older my friend list gets shorter all the time. People fall by the wayside mostly because too many are too capable of letting me down. A trend since I was a young lad. And a sign of the times perhaps.

        I have more friends here on WP than I have managed to keep IRL. I think we sort of filter down to where our place is eventually. Apparently WP is the place 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I agree. And without 10 hours of church every week I actually enjoy my family more than any of them others anyway. WP is awesome. The people I’ve met here are better friends than any of the church people. Really something.

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        2. Also, I have a brother (we used to be the closest) has his head so far in the church’s ass he’ll never see his way out. He refuses to even look under the lid because he know what he knows. We never talk any more. Really grateful I wAs at least curios enough to peek.

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          1. It is regretful you lost a brother.

            Curiosity is one thing. Willingness to act on new insights is another.

            Interesting that they secretly videotape people. Oddly enough my first wife, many years ago, asked me to try out a Pentecostal church once. I was mostly an agnostic at the time and not the full fledged atheist I am today, so I said sure why not?

            We got there and sat down on a pew, and me being what I am I started taking in my surroundings. First thing I noticed is they had a band up there! Being a guitar slinger myself I though that was pretty neat. Then I saw that they mostly kept a monotonous drum beat rolling along with the sermon, with a very occaisional “snap!” ( a hard snare pop) mixed in. It was a form of body manipulation, hypnotism, whatever you want to call it.

            Then I noticed the two way surveillance mirror behind us. About halfway through I reckon, the wife asked me what I thought. I said “let’s get the hell out of here!” We abruptly left. I haven’t graced the doorway of any kind of church since except when I remarried. And I got the hell out of there as fast as I could then 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I’m probably too damned ornery to be hypnotized. I’m also ornery enough to put on a show if they tried lol.

              In a deep dark voice…

              “A pity you have worshipped the false god for so many millenia. I am your true master Satan! You will bow to me and me alone! You will follow my commands! You will comply or you will die! Hahhahahaha!”

              😉

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    1. Not sure about that. As long as ideas can be shared in a confined environment who knows what will happen. And yes, there are adult converts all the time. People looking to fit in somewhere. Or vulnerable. I am super glad for the internet or I’d be stuck with what I knew. You know doc sometimes it’s best to get a second opinion, but so often that came from another Mormon or some likeminded person. That’s not a good way to expand your knowledge.

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    2. I know the Mormon church has reached critical mass. There are enough births in the church to keep it growing. Converts are down, but that doesn’t matter any more

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  5. I’m glad my time with indoctrination was shorter than yours Jim. I joined because those gosh darned Mormons were such a happy people that were always smiling and looking at the blessings no matter what. I told myself to give it a try. The missionaries were so full of the spirit and that’s what made them full of light. I hind sight I’m pretty sure they were trying to convince themselves more than me.
    I didn’t believe Joseph Smith was the prophet but I wanted to see the inside of the Mormon machine. I dressed up in my white spacesuit for my baptism. I must say it was just silly to wear that thing. I felt like it was a better baptism when I had gone catholic years before. The brown sackcloth felt authentic.
    I went to my classes and attended church. Tithe was faithfully collected from me each month and I felt like a paying member of the upper crust of Christianity.
    Ignoring the fact that I knew who was having affairs, who was “addicted” to porn, and all the other dirty little secrets that were shared with me. Finally, over time I made it to the temple. Oh, that sweet temple where I would get the answers. What a joke! I find myself moving my hands around like a Christian gangster flashing my tokens and keys. Chanting in a circle and doing the wavy hands all the time doing my best not to start laughing. I had to hold tight because I had made it this far and I wanted to see what was behind door #3, the veil. It looked like a very white, cream and gold sitting room. Where people were wondering what the on earth had just happened the same as I was.
    After that I was more outspoken. I was given a calling and had the nerve to decline. I found out that they do video tape everything you say and do. I was able to find a out what was in that one room where the door was always locked. I guess it’s not hidden, just not shared with members that they do that. Man, that was a busy two years. I’m glad you made a clean break. Mine was pretty easy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Shortly before our end my wife stumbled into “the room” where all the meetings were videoed and the bishop looked like he’d seen a ghost. Stuttering and whatnot when my wife confronted it. She never holds back and is very direct. She never fit the obedient Mormon woman mold and would decline callings too. Lol. They didn’t know what to do with her half the time. Anyway, we were quite uncomfortable with the secret taping thing too. The temple is another thing “you just needed to more to receive that revelation” My wife was like “wtf is this”. Funny now. I should have followed her lead long ago

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Also, the friendliest people in the world are all laden with guilt, sin, antidepressants and porn. They just look good on Sunday and hide their real lives.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They sure do look great on Sunday as they complain about the riffraff in the other wards that share the same building. I would love how when I moved from one ward to the other I was treated differently. My “friends” would suggest I do activities within my own ward since the boundary lines created a barrier to any interaction.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Love that you all made it. Took me three years of research before I would even tell my husband. Didn’t want to derail the priesthood holder who was doing everything he could to be perfect. Once I did tell him it was the same as you, we all left. Kids were happy too which surprised me! Very very liberating. Though we suddenly had very few friends. Nice to know who loves us though. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is awesome. And lucky. So many spouses will never even consider it. Your husband was probably relieved he could finally let down his priesthood mantle for a minute. Nice job you two. So rare

      Liked by 1 person

  7. “….if you don’t endure to the end…” This resonated so much with me. Except while it was important to me before kids, once I had kids it was mandatory. The pressure I put on both myself and my husband. So intense, all because my children’s salvation was basically held ransom. If I didn’t their lives would fall apart, and we wouldn’t be together in the next life. Very systematic – the indoctrination.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They kept me pretty busy. I finally had a few weeks to myself while the wife and kids were gone. I figured it all out. My wife did too while she was gone. She came home and we burned all out LDS crap and bam! We were gone. Kids were so happy when we told them what we were doing. It was pretty liberating.

      Liked by 2 people

          1. I wish I could get my wife out. I do have hope and patience, though. My kids (5 from my first marriage, no kids with current wife, one daughter from between marriage relationship who has never been Mormon – I’ll be getting to that story on my blog sometime). But my story follows yours and many others’ in many ways. I am 64. It took me 61 years and two excommunications to finally figure it out!

            Engineering that second excommunication was the best thing I have ever done!

            Liked by 1 person

  8. Always knew that Mormons were wacked, but I never really knew how wacked they are till your post. Us old school Southern Baptists are wacked, but Damn!!!! Glad to have discovered your blog.

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    1. Thank you. I am very familiar with hard core baptist in my extended family. Just a different nutty and not so calculated as mormonism

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