I am an Ex-Mormon.
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13-03-2015, 07:50 AM
RE: I am an Ex-Mormon.
This week's Dogma Debate podcast was mostly about mormonism with both an ex-mormon and a current one talking about the beliefs. The rationalizations needed to accept it were interesting, particularly the claim that baptizing people after death into mormonism is just an innocent offer and not the incredibly arrogant act that it looks like from the outside.

http://www.spreaker.com/user/smalleyandh...ts-at-cpac

The relevant part starts at 0:56:39

Atheism: it's not just for communists any more!
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13-03-2015, 10:27 AM
RE: I am an Ex-Mormon.
(12-03-2015 10:11 PM)Bows and Arrows Wrote:  just stopping to say, " hey, how's it goin'?"

As for Mormon stuff- I got nothing. oh yeah! a former manager went to Brigham Young. He said he was a minister because of the "laying of hands". i just thought he was whacked and walked away when he told me.

can you explain?

Hi. Things are hard right now. The community here helps. Thank you for asking.

I can explain,. but it might take it a while and is likely to not be entirely painless for me or you.

The "laying on of hands" refers to the biblical procedure for administering spiritual blessings, in which the hands are literally placed upon the head of the one being blessed. A "blessing" is essentially an evocation of supernatural power, drawn from the authority of god himself, to control natural events and conditions.

It all begins in Genesis 22 with Abraham's obedient yet interrupted attempt to sacrifice his son on an altar. The scripture quotes the words of an angel "calling unto him out of heaven".

"By myself have I sworn, saith the lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall the nations of the earth be blessed because thou hast obeyed my voice."

In Genesis 48 and 49 Israel passes on these inherited blessings to his grandchildren Manasseh and Ephraim by placing his hands on their heads. Since he was blind in his old age, his son Jacob guided the two boys to his outstretched hands. Israel made it a point to bestow the greater birthright upon Ephraim, the younger son saying "He also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations." This was despite the custom of the eldest son receiving all such blessings (not to mention physical property) and also despite Jacobs protestations to that effect.

As far as I understand it, these blessings were essentially the authority necessary to found a Jewish priesthood. The firstborn son, and only the firstborn son, would receive this honor and become a priest.

The method seems fairly consistent throughout scripture. For example, in Numbers 27 Moses is commanded of the Lord to lay his hands on Joshua, his successor, to "set him apart" with the authority and blessings of god necessary to lead the jewish people.

"And Moses did as the Lord commanded him: and he took Joshua, and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation: And he laid his hands upon him, and gave him a charge, as the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses."

It makes sense that Eleazar was summoned to perform the transfer of priesthood authority because the law of Moses as established after the flight from Egypt ended the practice of all firstborn Jewish males acting as priests. Now that the Jewish people were numerous, only the sons of Aaron, who would form the tribe of Levi, were now allowed that privilege.

Exodus 28:1
"And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office, even Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's sons."

Christianity's claim to this unbroken line of priesthood authority comes from Christ himself and his apostles. Although there is no explicit use of the "laying on of hands" in the ordination of the original twelve apostles of Christ, it is more or less suggested that it followed Old Testament precedent.

Matthew 10:1
"And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease."

Mark 3:14
"And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach."

It is in the New Testament that the method of physically touching someone while invoking the priesthood power of god becomes an explicit means of healing physical injury and disease.

Mark 6:5
"And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them."

According to The Acts of the Apostles, the twelve continued the priesthood succession after the death of Christ.

Acts 6:5-7
"...They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith. "

All of this matters to the Mormons because in order to claim that they are a restoration of the true gospel of Jesus Christ, they must show an unbroken line of authority passed by the laying on of hands. The catholics resolve this issue by claiming they have an unbroken succession from Jesus to Peter, and so on down to the current Pope.

The Mormons believe in a period which they call "The Great Apostasy" which took place after the death of the apostles and their ordained priests. They counter-claim that no such unbroken line could be possible given that all those in authority were murdered. In order to cement their claim to this priesthood authority in modern times, they did something unusual and interesting.

They claim that John the Baptist descended from heaven and appeared to Joseph Smith and his scribe Oliver Cowdery on May 15th 1829. He supposedly stated that he was acting under the direction of Peter, James, and John (As in the original apostles bearing those names) and had been sent to lay his hands on Joseph and Oliver and thus to give them the "keys" to the holy priesthood of Aaron.

Doctrine and Covenants Section 13:
"Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer gain and offering unto the Lord in righteousness."

As a young man of twelve years old, I qualified through age, gender, and worthiness based on behavior and obedience to God's commandments as taught by his "true church", to be given these "keys" to the priesthood of Aaron. I would from then on become a Deacon in the Aaronic Priesthood with additional spiritual gifts and responsibilities.

The practical side of this was that I was then required to administer the Sacrament (What most Christians would call Communion) which was offered to the congregation weekly. I was required to wear a white shirt while doing this, thus acting as one of the "ministering angels" mentioned in John's ordination prayer and simultaneously teaching the congregation the value of "the gospel of repentance". As they contemplated the atonement and suffering of Jesus Christ (As they are encouraged to do every Sacrament) they would benefit from my authority to perform that ordinance.

It makes me queasy now to remember how important I felt, especially when I was pleased to offer a salvation ordinance to my mother and other women, who would otherwise be unable to receive those blessings and reach heaven. Talk about 20-20 hindsight vision.

The "Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins" bit doesn't happen until you turn sixteen and are promoted to "priest". Then you may perform Baptisms for new members. Another promotion takes place two years before that. At fourteen you become a "teacher" and are tasked with preparing the Sacrament rather than passing it out to the congregation, as well as teaching gospel topics to other young people in the second and third hours of Church.

There is more, but I will spare you if only a little. Suffice it to say that he was talking about his position and prestige within the ranks of the church's priesthood.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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13-03-2015, 10:44 AM
RE: I am an Ex-Mormon.
(12-03-2015 10:50 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  "If anyone is willing to indulge me, I would like to discuss some of the goings on in my community that are associated with Mormons leaving the church."

I'm interested. Tell me more. It must be pretty depressing living in Mormonville. Who do you talk to? I imagine it would be pretty tough getting a real conversation out of anybody there.

It is depressing living here. As you can imagine, there are some really negative aspects to a community that is literally dominated by a single religion.

1. The community is insular. If you are an outsider, especially not of their faith, you are not to be trusted. This distrust is so strong, it overrides other cultural norms, like not staring at strangers and asking inappropriately personal questions about their religious beliefs.

For example, if you are a smoker, you have probably had loads of people give you dirty looks. Some people get pissy about it as a public health issue. If you want to graduate to the big leagues of dirty looks, smoke next to a Mormon Temple, or just on any sidewalk near BYU. People will bore holes in your chest with their laser eyes. Any particularly pious pricks might even say something to you about it, or preach to you about why its morally wrong.

2. People assume you are a Mormon until you prove otherwise. This contributes to an "Us Vs. Them" mentality because people like me go out of our way to make it obvious that we aren't members. I maintain a considerable beard for this very purpose.

Although this helps non-mormons find each other to socialize, it frustrates the Mormon majority that would rather have us conform to them and go unnoticed. They have a considerable victim mentality when it comes to Utah as their home, because historically they were driven out of every other place they attempted to settle. They are similar to Jehovah's Witnesses in the way they reject outside influences as "The world" which they see as morally corrupt, and heavily influenced by the devil. A community of non-Mormons, and especially Ex-Mormons blatantly drinking, partying, smoking, and generally ignoring Mormon moral values in the heart of the only Mormon dominated community they have left, is sometimes more than they can take.

It's not all bad though. In answer to your question, I hang out almost exclusively with people like me who have recently left the church and become Atheists. We have a coffee group (More the merrier because Mormonism forbids drinking coffee) and a facebook group. People plan and enjoy activities together with like minded friends while simultaneously discussing our stories and processing our deconversions. Although it doesn't surprise me anymore, the sheer numbers of those like me is astonishing, especially given where we live. There are literally thousands of us.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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13-03-2015, 11:05 AM
RE: I am an Ex-Mormon.
(13-03-2015 01:25 AM)Airportkid Wrote:  
(12-03-2015 08:25 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  ... I would like to discuss some of the goings on in my community that are associated with Mormons leaving the church.

Is Mormon apostasy becoming a "thing"? We can only hope it is and is increasing.

I have to wonder, not just with Mormonism but any cult, what percent of its "believers" no longer believe, but maintain the pretense because social impacts are too significant to risk? What percent of cult leadership has lost belief but keeps the engine running because the economic repercussions of honesty are too severe? My personal belief is that these figures are substantially greater than we think, because I also personally believe that beyond some threshold of knowledge and intellectual competence it requires deliberate intellectual dishonesty to sustain an untenable belief - and it is my belief that the knowledge/competence thresholds are not at the fringe of the bell curve but nearer its center. Three beliefs. I'm just as bad as the religious with all that belief going on.

Well I hope you find discussion here to transport you out from under whatever cloud you're under.

I think it is becoming a thing. Here's a Newsweek article about the Salt Lake City branch of our little Post-Mo cabal. The article talks about some of the things we try to do to fight back against the church, especially when it comes to providing a safe and welcoming alternative for those who wish to leave, but are afraid of the consequences.

http://www.newsweek.com/when-saints-go-m...out-245158

I am also encouraged when I learn that the church's statistical claims about their membership in the United States (Their primary nation of influence, and from which they originated) are not accurate.

http://religiondispatches.org/mormon-num...adding-up/
http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/facts-and-...ed-states/
http://commons.trincoll.edu/aris/files/2...ns2008.pdf

"Official LDS Church statistics for 2011 count 6,144,582 Mormons in the United States in 2011, comprising about 2% of the nation’s population. Church statistics also show a 30% membership increase between 1990 and 2008—a rate double general US population growth.

But recent studies tell a different story—different because whereas LDS Church records count anyone who has ever been baptized, demographers and pollsters count only those who currently identify themselves as Mormon.

...Self-identified adult Mormons make up not 2% but rather 1.4% of the adult US population—that’s about 4.4 million LDS adults.

Phillips and Cragun also place LDS growth rates not at 30% but at 16%—a rate on par with general US population growth. “Despite a large missionary force and a persistent emphasis on growth,” Phillips and Cragun write, “Mormons are actually treading water with respect to their per capita presence in the U.S.” In fact, additional studies by Cragun and Phillips show that retention rates of young people (young men especially) raised Mormon have dropped substantially in the last decade: from 92.6% in the 1970s–2000s to 64.4% from 2000–2010. Rising rates of disaffiliation go a long way towards explaining the gap between LDS Church records and the ARIS population estimates."

The failure to retain the youth, especially the young men is huge. I am very encouraged.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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13-03-2015, 11:13 AM
RE: I am an Ex-Mormon.
(13-03-2015 01:38 AM)Free Thought Wrote:  I can't talk to the 'mormons leaving the church' thing, but I can ask questions which may be tangentially related...
Sooo.... Magic underwear, huh?

Yeah... Magic Underwear... *sigh* Hindsight is really, really, a bitch.

On a positive note, I never actually wore any myself. I became an Atheist before I completed all the requirements necessary for "Endowment", which is an ordinance performed by a priesthood holder in a Temple. It entails promises made between the individual and God, similar to the promises he supposedly made with the Jewish people as a whole. The "Garments" or "Temple Garments" as they are commonly referred to by members, are intended to serve as a constant physical reminder of this covenant with god. Over the years it has been used as a basic standard of public modesty as well. If they are showing, you better cover up.

If it helps put it in perspective for anyone, this seemed normal to me. On the other hand the catholic communion gave me the creeps. Just let that sink in for a minute.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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13-03-2015, 11:24 AM (This post was last modified: 13-03-2015 11:35 AM by Dark Phoenix.)
RE: I am an Ex-Mormon.
(13-03-2015 01:52 AM)Mathilda Wrote:  But at least you don't get bothered by Mormons knocking on your door early Saturday morning to convert right?

Or do they continue proselytising so they can act like the secret police and hunt out dangerous radicals in society?

They don't knock on my door, but only because they already know who I am. My Mormon upstairs neighbors work for church headquarters. When we moved in and got to know each other, they pulled my records from when I was a kid and had them sent to the local "Ward" (Mormonspeak for "Congregation")

Before you are alarmed at my breach of privacy you should know I gave them permission. This way, all I have to deal with are the "Home Teachers" (Male members assigned to visit with and preach to member families in their homes) rather than one set of missionaries after another. Home Teachers don't preach full time and are often inexperienced and lacking in motivation. Manipulating them into never coming around is a candy from a baby situation. All I had to do was ask a couple of uncomfortable questions about Mormon history and theology, tell them I was an Atheist, and they figured right away that I am more trouble than I am worth. I haven't seen them since that first visit.

The only other annoyance is the occasional Ward activity announcements posted on our door, usually for some Relief Society (The Mormon's Female only service organization) bake sale or whatever.

In summary, the only people who knock on my door at odd hours are the Witnesses. You just can't win...

It is certainly true that the Mormons sometimes make a unified effort to bring back "troubled inactive members". I know that because as a Priest at the age of 16 I was called as the President of the Quorum of Priests, essentially making me their leader. As part of my duties I sat on a Ward Council with the Bishop (The leader of the Ward) and other leaders with similar callings to my own. Those meetings consistently and frequently consisted of mentioning a "troubled youth" or "troubled member" by name and then strategizing on how to "help" that person. It shouldn't surprise you to learn that we were primarily concerned with their activity and commitment to the church. Their personal well being was as second priority.

No such effort has been initiated against me, yet. If it does happen, which is still somewhat likely, I am prepared. I know how these people operate, so it won't be much harder than ditching the Home Teachers was.

The only other Mormon related solicitation I have received was for money. There were asking for donations to the Fast Offering Fund, which is common and expected on what is known as Fast Sunday. The members do not eat that day and instead give money equivalent or greater than what would have been spent on the day's meals to a church fund allocated for the caring of the poor and sick. A worthy cause no doubt, but I do not trust the church with my money. There are other charities I could give to and feel secure in the integrity of my donation.

When I opened the door and saw the familiar envelopes and receipts in their hands (I recognized them because collecting money for the fund is one of the responsibilities of the male 14 year old "Teachers" in the Aaronic Priesthood. I must have done it a thousand times.) I told them "I don't give money to the church." They were so startled by my bluntness that they nearly tripped over each other in their haste to get away and avoid my gaze. It made me laugh, which probably did more to fluster them.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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13-03-2015, 11:37 AM
RE: I am an Ex-Mormon.
(13-03-2015 02:29 AM)Rahn127 Wrote:  If I was mormon and dropped a nuke on Provo, I'll still go to the lowest heaven right ?

Sadly you would have committed what amounts to an unforgivable sin in Mormonism, Murder. You would be sent to "Outer Darkness" which Mormons insist is not hell and does not contain eternal torture, yet all references to it are decidedly unclear about (pun intended) what the hell it is.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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13-03-2015, 05:53 PM
RE: I am an Ex-Mormon.
I'm an ex Mormon From Southern California. I always had my doubts growing up. I was kicked out of my parents home at 18 and they moved to the promised land (utah) when I was 20. I am now 32. A few months ago I confronted my dad about all the problems with the book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. He called me a couple weeks ago telling me I'm confused and he wants to send me a book of Mormon and to open my heart to it blah blah blah.
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14-03-2015, 07:52 AM
RE: I am an Ex-Mormon.
I found these posts interesting and have a couple of questions Phoenix if you don't mind.
1) the coffee thing? I don't get it. I have heard that you also can't drink hot chocolate. Is that for the same reason?
2) I have been to the jail where Joseph Smith was killed in Carthage, IL. In retrospect, the lady giving the tour was probably mormon since she kept saying that he was "martyred". So what were you taught about the circumstances surrounding his death? Just wondering how it lines up with what we were told.
3) There are denominations of xtians that are "once saved always saved" but others are not. Is that true of mormans as well or if you leave the church for any reason, you are out?

Sorry about the questions, I have never talked with a mormon before (even though you are actually an ex).

"If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality.
The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination."
- Paul Dirac
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14-03-2015, 09:28 AM
RE: I am an Ex-Mormon.
Have you ever met someone from the FLDS? What would you consider the main differences between them and mainstream Mormonism?

Το βάρος της απόδειξης βαρύνει αυτούς που κάνουν την αξίωση
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