Bill the Bad Atheist has suggested here that we are all born theists and need to be taught to be atheists. I commented my feeling on his blog, I would love to see what you more experienced non believers have to say about his hypothesis. I think this is worthy of a discussion.
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
Marry in the temple- check
Memorize countless scriptures and songs – check
Endure to the end– hmm. Not so fast.
Pay Pray and Obey
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
Once in a while you stumble across something so contrary to the main views of the world that is so compelling, so convincing, that you really have to evaluate what you think you believe. As a fairly new deconvert, I found this a compelling and contrary view of good and evil, and it presented itself very plausible and convincing. A work that is very hard to counter without interjecting words like “belief” and “faith”. Another reviewer on Amazon put it well–“The research and supporting argumentation is frighteningly persuasive and would pass any Doctorate board of review.” Thank you John for the excellent work. Much appreciated! You can find the book here. On the Problem of Good (The Owner of All Infernal Names) https://www.amazon.com/dp/154247793X/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_t4wkAbD9VC5W1
Because the “four corners of the earth” are mentioned in the Bible, pseudo-scholars driven by faith have set out to prove the earth is flat. They will cleverly word every point to show that the Bible is right, and dupe many faithful followers to dig in their heels on this non topic to make Christianity even more silly than it already is. As if the 6 day creation wasn’t silly enough, they continue to believe this nonsense rather than look outside and see with their own eyes what the world is.
As I was walking in the canyons with my seven year old looking at the rock formations and fossils, I mentioned that some people believe all of this was created and formed in 1 day. She looked at me like I was crazy. I know she trusts me, and if I had sat down with her and read the “official” book on this (the Bible) and explained in detail that this was true, and god said so, she would have started a path of contradictory self doubt about the real world and what she is actually seeing, and myth. For now we don’t really talk about the mythical being in the sky. It’s an irrelevant distraction that keeps some of the best minds from real progress in reality.