Wishing you well…

Christmas ex-Mormon post-Mormon Traditions

I was reading somewhere on the internets (not linked to protect the innocent) where someone wrote that they were surprised to find out recently how happy some former mormon friends of theirs are. They were a little shocked (and embarassed of themselves) for realizing that former mormons’ lives aren’t that bad.

Surprisingly, for many former mormons, we’re actually not all that jaded, dark and morose. (For the record, I was repeatedly told growing up that former mormons were dark and hopeless. I’m sure it’s a little like chanson being told that if she weren’t mormon, she’d be an atheist).

While there are many things that I struggle with, I would have to say, my life is really pretty good.

And not only that, I have so many people in my life (or that I’ve known over the years) that I sincerely wish every happiness. Mormon and non mormon. American, Canadian and non American. Republican and Democrat. Friend and Relative. There may be people I disagree with, sometimes disagree with strongly. There may be people whom I’ve lost touch with. The path has not always been smooth. Maybe we’ve grown apart, maybe the relationship wasn’t healthy.

But with so many of those, I simply hope they have found what they’re looking for – or that they are on their way.

I do, actually, know quite a few former mormons/LDS who are really happy with their lives. At least they seem to be. I also know quite a few mormons/LDS who also seem pretty happy.

So this season, I’d like to wish everyone well. Bad stuff will happen, as it always does. Challenges, death, divorce, unemployment, illness, addiction, incarceration, natural disasters, war, etc. Until that time – here’s to making the most of what we do have.

7 thoughts on “Wishing you well…

  1. Yeah, except that being an atheist isn’t bad. 😉

    But seriously, even when I was in High School, I had several friends who self-idenitified as atheists, so it wasn’t really shocking or a question of wishing someone ill.

    What your sentiment more reminds me of is this post:

    If non-Orthodox people are pathetic or undignified, it makes him glad to be Orthodox. But then again, if non-Orthodox people lead “rich, full, interesting and accomplished lives,” it makes him… glad to be Orthodox.

  2. I remember a day in sunday school class when the teacher asked, “What do you think happens to people who are not members of the church? Or people who leave the church?”

    and the other people in the class gave standard seminary answers: “Oh, they will become unhappy and depressed because they lose the gift of the Holy Ghost and all the blessings they had in the church.”

    I was quite surprised when the teacher shook his head and said, “That’s junk. Nonmembers and ex-members will still have fun outside of the church. People we call sinners aren’t these terrible, unhappy people, because if sin weren’t alluring, no one would do it!”

    I wish more meetings were like that ^_^

  3. One of my closest friends left the church years before I did. Before she left, I’d accepted it as Truth(!) when people said that those who leave the church are unhappy – they might THINK they’re happy, but really they’re not. I’d just nod and furrow my brow and think how sad it was that anyone ever left and became so unhappy.

    After my friend left, I remember my mother saying something about how it was so sad. I wanted to defend my friend, so I said that she was happy with her life, and that it was just the path she felt was best for her. My mother replied, “Oh, she only THINKS she’s happy.”

    That was kind of a lightbulb moment for me. I answered back, “What’s the difference? If you THINK you’re happy, you ARE happy.”

    Really, it’s true isn’t it? Generally people who feel unhappy don’t think they’re happy. If they feel happy and think they’re happy, how is that different from BEING happy?

  4. chanson – well, I still don’t really understand the whole, if you’re not mormon, you would be an atheist lesson in general. Not that I think I will ever understand it. I didn’t know many open atheists growing up – I knew plenty of people who didn’t go to church (or worship services of their choice), but not many people who would self-identify as atheist. Thanks for the link to that other post, btw.

    Andrew S – sometimes I think the definition of sin could be debated. And for many mormons, the list of what “sinning” is contested. If sinning is not going to church each Sunday and drinking coffee, than I’m an admitted sinner. But if belief and practice are more complicated than that (and I firmly believe they are and can quote multiple scriptural references that support me)…The truth is just what your sunday school teacher said – there seem to be happy and unhappy people all over the world – including believing mormons.

    rebecca – I partially agree with your mom – there are sometimes when people are in denial about their current situation. But for the most part, it’s true – if you think you’re happy, you usually are.

  5. aerin: I completely agree about the debatable definition of sin. And it’s because of that debatable definition that ex-members are put into a bind.

    Because one of those stereotypes is, after all, that people only “leave the church to engage in some sin.” It’s tough to say, “Well, I’m not engaging in any of these sins (you’re not cheating on your wife; you’re not getting raving drunk — if you still consider that a sin, etc.,)” and the members will say, “But you aren’t active in church, so by default, you’re a sinner!”

  6. #5 – hi Tom – honestly, I can’t understand why Utah has the highest rate of anti-depressants. There is a part of me that takes an apologetic view about it. I question the numbers, how accurate they are, etc. I also believe that depression has a genetic component, and if many people in Utah share some genetic history (northern European, Scandanavian), I wonder if that’s a reason.

    Yet it could also be the very strict nature of faithful mormonism, the guilt and shame that some members constantly feel. It’s one thing to not be mormon outside of Utah, it’s quite another to be mormon inside Utah.

    In the end, I don’t think the medication issue is cut and dry. I would hate it if some LDS felt like they could absolutely NOT take anti-depressants because that makes “the church look bad”. There’s already enough things that some faithful LDS do (or don’t do) for that reason. I think as long as the medication is taken hand in hand with professional psychotherapy – I support it. No matter where people reside.

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