The Final post from my notes: Spaulding Rigdon Timeline and details

6 years in the making, and crosslinking to almost every other timeline I’ve made, this post comprises everything I have found that ties together Smith, Rigdon and Spaulding.  It includes quotes by Oliver Cowdery’s partner claiming he confessed to the Spaulding-Rigdon theory, as well as preachers saying that they saw Rigdon do it, back before anyone published the theory (Quoted by their daughters after the fact).

I include a list of eye witnesses and how non-connected they are compared to the 11 witnesses of the Book of Mormon.  Also in the timeline are the gaps in Rigdon’s history along with the key events of the Book of Mormon translation, that lines up to show that Rigdon had means, motive and opportunity.  This post is the summary but has a link to the timeline.

http://www.exploringmormonism.com/?p=1172

 

Where Does the Exmormon Community Go From Here?

I wanted to announce how happy I am to see the growth of the DAMU (Disaffected Mormon Underground) over the last 6 years I have been part of the discussion–starting out as a scared lurker hiding from his wife in a dark room with a laptop as if a discussion forum were some kind of porn, and moving on to become the perfected man whose countenance shines before you today:)

There is something for every doubter and dissident:



I posted an interview recently with Mithryn, the moderator of the Exmormon sub-reddit, about reaching the milestone of 8,000 members, up from 2,000 just a year or two ago:

VERY exciting to see this growth, and according to John Dehlin’s presentation somewhere sometime he projected that active Mormon membership can only decrease over time, which means MORE exmormons to join the discussion and MORE awesome comments and material to help you find support and move on to a more authentic life.

What else would you like to see happen within our community?

What needs are still not being met?

What did you wish were available when you left the church that is not here currently, or could be done better?

I’m interested in getting your thoughts, as there is much more work to be done. Let’s brainstorm some ideas in the comments below.

NoCoolNameTom’s 25 new scripture mastery verses

For the first three months of this year, NoCoolNameTom has been translating scriptures into Greek, and giving context around the 25 scripture mastery verses.  Beyond just being awesome to actually see the options for translation, and getting a good feel for which ones are twisted out of context, and which are fairly accurate, he has explored the ideas of “Why this verse” compared to others.

This week, he posted his own suggested list of 25 New Testament scripture mastery scriptures for teenagers struggling to go through Junior High/High school without specific Mormon rhetoric.  I think this list touches the TBM, the NOM, the agnostic and the atheist in illustrating what teenagers need to hear as well as illustrating how much damage the current seminary program does to teenagers already struggling.

Regardless it is thought provoking and worth reading.

Full list here: http://blog.nocoolnametom.com/2013/03/07/scripture-mastery-nt-end/

OUR MANIFESTO: THE TIME HAS COME

I Robin Lee Johnson and my boyfriend George Allen Circle have made a decision. We will no longer debate the issue of homosexuality in the Mormon Church or any Christian church with anyone. We will no longer engage the biblical ignorance that emanates from so many right-wing Christians about how the Bible condemns homosexuality, as if that point of view still has any credibility. We will no longer discuss with them or listen to them tell us how homosexuality is “an abomination to God,” about how homosexuality is a “chosen lifestyle,” or about how through prayer and “spiritual counseling” homosexual persons can be “cured.” Those arguments are no longer worthy of our time or energy. We will no longer dignify by listening to the thoughts of those who advocate “reparative therapy,” as if homosexual persons are somehow broken and need to be repaired. We will no longer talk to those who believe that the unity of the church can or should be achieved by rejecting the presence of, or at least at the expense of, gay and lesbian people. We will no longer take the time to refute the unlearned and undocumentable claims of certain world religious leaders such as Boyd K. Packer who call homosexuality “deviant.” We will no longer listen to that pious sentimentality that these same and certain other Christian leaders continue to employ, which suggests some version of that strange and overtly dishonest phrase that “we love the sinner but hate the sin.” That statement is, we have concluded, nothing more than a self-serving lie designed to cover the fact that these people hate homosexual persons and fear homosexuality itself, but somehow know that hatred is incompatible with the Christ they claim to profess, so they adopt this face-saving and absolutely false statement. We will no longer temper our understanding of truth in order to pretend that we have even a tiny smidgen of respect for the appalling negativity that continues to emanate from religious circles where the church has for centuries conveniently perfumed its ongoing prejudices against blacks, Jews, women and homosexual persons with what it assumes is “high-sounding, pious rhetoric.” The day for that mentality has quite simply come to an end for us. We will personally neither tolerate it nor listen to it any longer. The world has moved on, leaving these elements of the Christian Church that cannot adjust to new knowledge or a new consciousness lost in a sea of their own irrelevance. They no longer talk to anyone but themselves. We will no longer seek to slow down the witness to inclusiveness by pretending that there is some middle ground between prejudice and oppression. There isn’t. Justice postponed is justice denied. That can be a resting place no longer for anyone. An old civil rights song proclaimed that the only choice awaiting those who cannot adjust to a new understanding was to “Roll on over or we’ll roll on over you!” Time waits for no one.  That includes the Mormon Church and Bishop Robert W.
We will particularly ignore those members of the Episcopal Church who seek to break away from this body to form a “new church,” claiming that this new and bigoted instrument alone now represents the Anglican Communion. Such a new ecclesiastical body is designed to allow these pathetic human beings, who are so deeply locked into a world that no longer exists, to form a community in which they can continue to hate gay people, distort gay people with their hopeless rhetoric and to be part of a religious fellowship in which they can continue to feel justified in their homophobic prejudices for the rest of their tortured lives. Church unity can never be a virtue that is preserved by allowing injustice, oppression and psychological tyranny to go unchallenged.  We certainly have had enough of tyranny of all kinds due to the fact that we have not been challenging injustice and oppression in the past.

In our personal life, we will not listen to televised debates conducted by “fair-minded” channels that seek to give “both sides” of this issue “equal time.” We are aware that these stations no longer give equal time to the advocates of treating women as if they are the property of men or to the advocates of reinstating either segregation or slavery, despite the fact that when these evil institutions were coming to an end the Bible was still being quoted frequently on each of these subjects. It is time for the media to announce that there are no longer two sides to the issue of full humanity for gay and lesbian people. There is no way that justice for homosexual people can be compromised any longer.

We will never act as if the Papal office is to be respected if the present occupant of that office is either not willing or not able to inform and educate himself on public issues on which he dares to speak with embarrassing ineptitude. We will not be respectful of the leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who seems to believe that rude behavior, intolerance and even killing prejudice is somehow acceptable, so long as it comes from third-world religious leaders, who more than anything else reveal in themselves the price that colonial oppression has required of the minds and hearts of so many of our world’s population. We see no way that ignorance and truth can be placed side by side, nor do we believe that evil is somehow less evil if the Bible is quoted to justify it. We will dismiss as unworthy of any of our attention the wild, false and uninformed opinions of such would-be religious leaders as Pat Robertson (of the 700 Club), James Dobson (of “Focus On The Family”), Jerry Falwell (of Liberty University {Southern Baptist}), Jimmy Swaggart (Evangelist of The Family Worship Center) – who I quote here as saying: “If I meet a homosexual, I’ll just kill him and tell God he died.”, Albert Mohler (President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary), and Robert Duncan. Our country and our churches have all already spent too much time, energy and money trying to accommodate these backward points of view when they are no longer even tolerable.  My boyfriend and I will certainly not tolerate these ignorant views any longer.

We make these statements because it is time to move on. The battle is over. The victory has been won. There is no reasonable doubt as to what the final outcome of this struggle will be. Homosexual people will be accepted as equal, full human beings, who have a legitimate claim on every right that both church and society have to offer any of us. Homosexual marriages will become legal soon, recognized by every state and pronounced holy by the church. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” will be dismantled as the policy of our armed forces (thank you President Barac Obama). We will and we must learn that equality of citizenship is not something that should ever be submitted to a referendum. Equality under and before the law is a solemn promise conveyed to all our citizens in the Constitution itself. Can any of us imagine having a public referendum (the submission of a proposed public measure or actual statute to a popular majority vote) on whether slavery should continue, whether segregation should be dismantled, whether voting privileges should be offered to women? The time has come for politicians to stop hiding behind unjust laws that they themselves helped to enact, and to abandon that convenient shield of demanding a vote on the rights of full citizenship because they do not understand the difference between a constitutional democracy, which this nation has, and a “mobocracy,” which this nation rejected when it adopted its constitution. We do not put the civil rights of a minority to the vote of a plebiscite (a vote of an entire country for or against a proposal).

We will also no longer act as if we need a majority vote of some ecclesiastical body in order to bless, ordain, recognize and celebrate the lives and gifts of gay and lesbian people in the life of the church. No one should ever again be forced to submit the privilege of citizenship in this nation or membership in the Christian Church to the will of a majority vote or more especially the will of a few or even one man (i.e. my Bishop Robert “Bobby” W. excommunicated me from the Church with two counselors, almost single handedly because they are hateful, prejudiced and homophobic).   I have never had any prejudice against anyone except for “common sense prejudice,” for example, not letting a 3 year old kid drive my car for obvious reasons that anyone can understand.

The battle in both our culture and our church to rid our souls of this dying prejudice is finished. A new consciousness has arisen. A decision has quite clearly been made. Inequality for gay and lesbian people is no longer a debatable issue in either church or state. Therefore, my fiancé and I will from this moment on refuse to dignify the continued public expression of ignorant prejudice by engaging it. We do not tolerate racism or sexism any longer. From this moment on, we will no longer tolerate our culture’s various forms of homophobia. We do not care who it is who articulates these attitudes or who tries to make them sound holy with religious jargon or even by using scripture.  It is time to stop “beating a dead horse” and move on.

We have seen this debate for years, but things do get settled and this issue is now settled for us. We do not debate any longer with members of the “Flat Earth Society” either. We do not debate with people who think we should treat epilepsy by casting demons out of the epileptic person; we do not waste time engaging those medical opinions that suggest that bleeding the patient might release the infection. We do not converse with people who think that Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans as punishment for the sin of being the birthplace of Ellen DeGeneres or that the terrorists hit the United Sates on 9/11 because we tolerated homosexual people, abortions, feminism or the American Civil Liberties Union (protects civil rights of individuals). We are tired of being embarrassed by so much of our church’s participation in causes that are quite unworthy of the Christ we serve or the God whose mystery and wonder we appreciate more each day. Indeed we feel the Christian Church should not only apologize, but do public penance for the way we have treated people of color, women, adherents of other religions and those we designated heretics, as well as gay and lesbian people.
Life moves on. As the poet James Russell Lowell once put it more than a century ago: “New occasions teach new duties, Time makes ancient good uncouth” (strange, obsolete). We are ready now to claim the victory. We will from now on assume it and live into it. We are unwilling to argue about it or to discuss it as if there are two equally valid, competing positions any longer. The day for that mentality has simply gone forever.

This is our manifesto and our creed. We proclaim it today. We invite others to join us in this public declaration. We believe that such a public outpouring will help cleanse both the church and this nation of its own distorting past. It will restore integrity and honor to both church and state. It will signal that a new day has dawned and we are ready not just to embrace it, but also to rejoice in it and to celebrate it.

By: Robin Lee Johnson adapted from the work of John Shelby Spong for Robin and George “Cody” Allen Circle.  Thank you John for your inspiring words and allowing me to adapt and personalize this Manifesto to myself and my husband to be; I consider you John, my friend.

How Far We’ve Come — The ExMormon Foundation Conference 2012

I first attended the ExMormon Conference in 2001. Back then it was held in Las Vegas. The event included two powerful open mic sessions, a couple of afternoon presentations that I admit I’ve forgotten, and a fantastic talk by Richard Packham. After Richard’s remarks came an insanely irreverent “talent” show that featured a belly dancer, an actor who gave a convincing performance of Brigham Young and various skits of dubious quality. (I landed the minor role of a drunken Primary chorister.) Oh yes, that reminds me. There was drinking — plenty of drinking, thanks to an overflowing cash bar staffed by a tireless bartender. After the show, Brigham and the belly dancer left to party together in the casino, while the rest of us retired upstairs to the Hospitality Room for … you guessed it … more drinking.

When I think of the 2001 ExMormon Conference in Las Vegas, two things stand out in my memory. First, the embarrassing spectacle of middle-aged people getting drunk for the first time in their lives; and second, the painful and emotional confessionals that dominated the two open mic sessions. People who had recently left the LDS Church came to the podium with stories of rejection, severe depression, suicide attempts, extreme ecclesiastical abuse, and most of all,fear. While there were a few who claimed to have moved beyond, the vast majority of those who “testified” before the convention were still very much victims. They feared discipline from church authorities and shunning from their family and friends, so much so, that many refused to be filmed or to use their real names. It may have been the ExMormon Conference, but The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints still seemed to quietly preside. But then, every movement has its early days. I suppose these were ours.

So how did 2001 measure up with 2012?Well, for starters the conference had been moved to Salt Lake City, just minutes away from Temple Square. Also the mood was decidedly different.

Half an hour into the Friday night’s opening program, David Twede of Mormon Thinkstrolled up to the podium of the open mic session and announced that he was resigning from the LDS Church. He then read his highly amusing exit letter that offered no apologies or explanations. — Only a request for the latest “temple hottie,” Eve’s, phone number and the hope that the Brethren will discipline the next Mormon Think editor so that the website’s popularity might be propelled “into orbit around Kolob.” Then he held his laptop up for the audience to see and pressed “send.”

On Saturday there were some presentations I will never forget.

Tom Donofrio delved into the origins of the language in the Book of Mormon, citing sources ranging from Solomon Spaulding to Shakespeare to Jonathan Swift. (Guess what Gulliver’s first name was. – snort –Lemuel.)

Sue Emmett spoke about the encroaching influence of religious extremism on our government, a topic she’s been researching since the author and investigative reporter, Jeff Sharlet, spoke at the conference a couple of years ago. (See, we’re branching out beyond Mormonism now.)

Grant Palmer’s fantastic talk, “My Ah-ha Moments While Researching Mormon History,” drew heavily on his excellent book, An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins.However he also spoke about the lack of vitality in today’s LDS Church and its borderline desperate attempts to regain ground by changing its approach to history and scripture (as shown by the firing of Daniel C. Peterson); also its efforts to reinvigorate the flagging missionary program (as shown by the Brethren’s recent change in the minimum age requirement for full time missionaries.) In what was perhaps the most powerful analogy of this year’s conference, Palmer compared today’s LDS Church to “a helium balloon that’s been hanging in the corner of the room for the past three days.”

I unfortunately had to miss Lori Fazzino’s presentation. (That’s the trouble with having family in Utah.) She spoke about “Becoming Unsaved: The Road to Deconversion and Beyond.” I heard it was fantastic.

Finally “Wade Wilson” – otherwise known as Raptor Jesus – gave a hilarious and poignant account of his mission experience and the post-traumatic stress disorder that followed. Unlike 2001, “Wade” was the only person that I met at this year’s conference who used an alias. It wasn’t because he was afraid of being shunned by his family, however. He just didn’t want to hurt their feelings.

People who were there at the beginning of San Francisco’s Gay Rights Movement say the population of the city’s famous Castro district began as a party heavy crowd of closeted gay revelers who clung to their anonymity for fear of being shunned by their loved ones. Today the Castro is a family friendly community of openly gay and lesbian citizens and activists.

Perhaps that’s the direction the ExMormon Movement will take. At any rate, at the ExMormon Foundation Conference 2012 the LDS Church hung in the corner of the room like a three day old helium balloon. Meanwhile, the ExMormons stepped forward to preside with confidence, good humor and much hope for the future. But there were no skits or belly dancers. And, Bo, who tended Friday and Saturday night’s cash bar, found himself with long stretches of time on his hands.

 

Mormon Intra-faith Dialogue Under Controlled Circumstances

Picket Fence

A week ago, a number of bloggers from across the Mormon belief map joined together answer the following question- do good online fences make good LDS neighbors? My co-panelistchanson has posted some remarks here, andRachel Whipple has posted her remarks at Times and Seasons, andyou can also readHolly’s post herefor thoughts from a non-panelist.

I have written frequently on the topic, but I wanted to address things again here. For our panel, we had wanted to have members of the orthodox, believing Mormon blog aggregator Nothing Wavering. However, both Bruce Nielson and J. Max Wilson declined our invitation, but they did provide reasons for why they declined our invitations to Sunstone (Bruce’s reasons for declining Sunstone detail this idea that the different blogs are “safe zones” for different communities, whereas J. Max Wilson’s reasons for declining talk about the need not to give Sunstone or the Bloggernacle any legitimacy.)

With J. Max’s and Bruce’s posts publicly available on their blogs, I thought that I could present their pointson their behalf — kinda like a devil’s advocate (can you taste the irony?) I don’t know how J. Max feels about this, but Bruce, at the very least, had said explicitly in his comments:

…if you wanted to express my views of boundary maintenance at Sunstone on my behalf just for kicks and giggles and then let your panel shoot it down, I really wouldnt mind. (Not being present, I can hardly be socially rejected now can I?) I might even take this email and post it on M* one of these days and see if it generates any discussion while Im in my safe zone so to speak. But this is up to you.

So I guess his post was fair game. But there was a funny thing that happened after I presented both of their positions.

Continue reading “Mormon Intra-faith Dialogue Under Controlled Circumstances”

Reclaiming Our Stories

This is the presentation I gave for the panel Who gets to say what former Mormons are like? which I organized at the 2012 Sunstone Symposium.

I could see that she didn’t know what she was talking about just by the description of this book!

Author needs to do her research first!

I have only read the description of this book and I realize that I might not really understand the content, but the Mormon church is not like what is being described.

The author does not have the least bit of correct knowledge of the Mormon religion. Her portrayal could not have been more grossly inaccurate.

If you would like to know what the Mormon church, (correctly named The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints*) believes in and stands for, this book is NOT the source to choose. Visit Mormon.org or talk to a Mormon you may know.

All of these are quotes from online reviews of someone’s personal memoirs. The book is not billed as anything other than one person’s life experiences — certainly not as a source-book on Mormonism.

I know, you can find anything on the Internet. But still, it’s interesting to see several people confidently post that they are more qualified than the author judge the accuracy of her recounting of her own life, simply because her experience with Mormonism was largely (but not entirely) negative.

The advice to “talk to a Mormon you may know” is perhaps the most poignant part because of the unspoken assumptions it carries: That obviously the author can’t be considered “Mormon” if she’s no longer a believing, practicing member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and that if she’s not “Mormon” by the CoJCoL-dS’s standards, then she has no business talking about Mormonism at all. Even experiences from her own life — it’s as though she has no right to claim them anymore.

If you dont want anything to do with the LDS faith, then why allocate so much of your time talking about it??

That’s our “Frequently Asked Question” on the community blog Main Street Plaza. No other question comes close in frequency.

I try to be patient with this question because — no matter how many times I’ve answered it — it’s new to each new person who comes by to ask.

It’s not a malicious question. It’s that the CoJCoL-dS teaches that “apostates” are miserable and bitter, and have no further connection with anything Mormon — except to angrily try to tear the church down. And if you’re surrounded by people who believe that, it’s not unusual to have simply never questioned that claim. I’m glad to have the opportunity to expose people to a new and unfamiliar perspective.

The truth is that if you were raised Mormon or have practiced Mormonism for a significant amount of time, that experience is part of what shapes the person you are. That component of your life doesn’t suddenly become invalid or irrelevant the day you stop believing in the truth claims of the CoJCoL-dS. That’s why our book distribution co-op is called the “Mormon Alumni Association” (see here for the origin of the name).

Former Mormons typically have strong mixed feelings about Mormonism. Some negative opinions, naturally, but also lots of positive associations and memories as well. Rarely indifference.

It’s normal for former Mormons to want to join in discussions about Mormonism. It’s normal that those who feel inspired to write stories include Mormon characters and Mormon themes, as I did in my novel ExMormon. You write what you know. And if you look at our book collection, you’ll see that our portraits of Mormonism are complex and varied — not one-note diatribes. For some of our stories Mormonism isn’t even the central point at all, it’s more background scenery.

In his March 15 Washington Post column Michael Otterson argued that journalists are not really qualified to cover Mormon-related stories unless they:

Drop into our services, talk to our people**, have dinner with a local leader, spend a family home evening with a family, be present when a young soon-to-be missionary opens his or her call letter and learns where they will be spending the next couple of years. Join with us on a service project. And then, when you have scratched the surface in this way, closely observe the transformation of peoples lives outside the church as missionaries teach them and they go through the conversion process. Watch those who transition from attitudes of hopelessness to lives of purpose and meaning and learn new ways to follow Jesus Christ. Talk to a Mormon bishop –our version of the local pastor, but who is unpaid for their volunteer work –as he helps people grapple with problems of addiction or shaky marriages or unemployment.

He also gives a list of publications that are extremely laudatory towards the CoJCoL-dS as examples of good journalism.

Michael Otterson (the managing director of Public Affairs for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) is the intellectual leader behind the new mantra “If you have any questions, go to lds.org!” Any time a news story diverges one iota from the party line found on lds.org and the LDS Newsroom website, the church PR machine exclaims that the journalists didn’t do their research properly. This includes interviewing faithful Mormons like BYU Professor Randy Bott.

I wish faithful Mormons would be willing to apply the same standards to themselves, and realize that Sunday School lessons like Beware the Bitter Fruits of Apostasy represent tearing other people down — real live people like you and me — whose lives the faithful Mormons aren’t qualified to describe.

One positive aspect of the “Mormon Moment” is that it might help people like Otterson get the message that it’s not reasonable to expect journalists to quote exclusively from your company’s official spokespeople and press releases, and not seek any other sources. But even if it doesn’t, we former Mormons can find our own voices through blogs and books, etc., and reclaim our own stories.

* Unless the reviewer mistakenly thought the memoir was about growing up in the Strangite branch, the correct name is “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” not “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”.

** I imagine Otterson means to exclude people like me in the category “our people.”

The Happiness Factor

Over the years, I’ve watched former mormon blogs come and go. And posters on various former mormon boards join and leave. (Kiley recently talked about it here). From what I can discern, there appears to be a cycle that some former mormons run through. At first there can be a lot of emotions; hurt, betrayal, anger or fear. But generally, after some time, people stop posting. In the least, they stop posting about mormon culture, leadership, history, etc.

Why is that?

My theory can’t be sustained by fact. After all, most people will say they are happy or content with their lives. Both mormons and former mormons have a vested interest. Most people (mo and non mo) have a strong inclination towards denial “it’s not that bad”.

Seth studied ex-mormon narratives some years back. I suspect that ex-mormon narratives are quite a bit like conversion narratives (I agree with runtu here). A person holds one belief (or hasn’t thought about it) and then revisits that belief (sometimes with severe personal consequences). Parents disown children; children disown parents. Couples divorce. Lifelong friends stop speaking to one another.

After some time, this social upheaval stabilizes. Relatives and friends accept that the original person hasn’t fully changed, although some of their outward beliefs may have changed. There’s an acceptance that they are no longer are true believers (if they ever were). They come to terms with the divorce (if one happened). Both sides either come to an uneasy truce or end the relationship (even a familial relationship).

Personally, I strongly suspect that it’s the social upheaval that creates the majority of the angst (if angst is the right word). It’s the feelings of betrayal (on both sides). One side thought love was unconditional (beyond faith). The other side thought a family member would be strong enough to remain in the faith, would overlook truth claims or political controversies.

So it becomes an interpersonal conflict, the personal becoming the political. And after a few years, everyone basically accepts the new reality (ex. aerin is no longer officially mormon, not married to a mormon, not going to raise her children mormon). While both sides may challenge the status quo, things stabilize.

And some of this prediction take into account mormons who return and mormons who leave and never write anything on the internet.

And despite all the protest to the contrary, most former mormons (who’ve gone through this process) appear to be doing just fine. They live different lives. They make different choices in relationships. They may go to a church, they may not. But just like mormons they find themselves content with their lives.

For me, it was hard at first to watch some of the bloggers that I have loved reading over the years stop posting as much. But then I realized that this appears to be a cycle of sorts. And that it’s healthy, in fact, for people of all backgrounds to grow and change. Sometimes that growth means not posting as much on the internet. What was fascinating is not as consuming as it once was.

The Emotional Apostate: The Case for Leaving to Sin and Offense.

loose thread sweaterWithin the ex-Mormon community…or at least, the ex-Mormon community as it thrives online, on websites, blogs throughout Outer Blogness, forums, etc., there seems to be this common exit narrative. (Daymon Smith has a post deconstructing the synthesis of this new identity, but I couldn’t decipher his blog post well enough to summarize the findings for you.) Here’s my attempt at a summary:We were (collectively or generally speaking) righteous, serious folk, who lived our religion to the best we could. Mormonism, at least for many of us, was a sweater made especially for us, handed down in many cases from generation to generation, across miles that our pioneer ancestors trekked. And even if we were converts, we dived into it fully.

We were proud of the snugness of Mormonism, and many times proud as well of this homemade sweater that was so distinct from what most others in the world were wearing. Maybe others were draped in inferior materials. Maybe others had good material but poor handiwork. Maybe they lacked the guidance, the ultimate revealed truth that we had to weaving it all together.

But no matter. We, as those who bore the truth, would share it with others, so they could bear it too. And so we did.

But then, one day, under some circumstance or another, we stumbled upon a loose strand. It was something out of order in perfection, and so we sought to pull out that loose strand to restore our previous perfection. But following that loose strand, we could not find solace. For instead of finding the end to the strand, we perpetuated the end to our sweater. In the end, with our once-snug sweater unraveled all around us, we found ourselves cold, naked, and vulnerable.

What was the sweater? And what was its doom? Continue reading “The Emotional Apostate: The Case for Leaving to Sin and Offense.”

Why are Ex-Mormons So Angry (and other questions)? Part II

This is the second part of what has turned out to be a surprisingly lengthy two-part series on the perception of ex-Mormons as being angry and causes and reasons for anger that may exist, originally posted at Irresistible (Dis)Grace here and here. Please read part I (if you haven’t already) here.

3. Why do ex-Mormons appear to be angrier than we are?

If you’ll notice my phrasing of the previous question (in the first part), I wrote thatsomeex-Mormons will be angrysomeof the time. But what outsiders generally see is a perpetually angry mass of people.

So what explains the difference between appearance and reality?

It’s a matter of an unrepresentative sample along with the vocal minority/silent majority dynamic. Continue reading “Why are Ex-Mormons So Angry (and other questions)? Part II”