New member from California
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22-11-2017, 02:08 PM (This post was last modified: 22-11-2017 02:17 PM by jennybee.)
RE: New member from California
(22-11-2017 11:59 AM)Tennpenn83 Wrote:  Thanks for the warm welcome.

I grew up in a fundamentalist mainstream Mormon household. I remember never being fully committed but wanting to do the "right" thing and become a faithful priesthood holder to make my parents happy. I believed in the church, but likely because I never knew anything else. Once I graduated high school, I remember having no desire to serve a mission. A "mission" being a 2 year commitment to the church going wherever they choose to send you. Both of my brothers served missions, but I chose not to and enlisted in the Army instead. After my army enlistment and a few years of other jobs, I went back to school and got a college degree in Physics and Engineering. These fields had always interested me and learning about how things actually work in reality instead of fantasy (bible), I finally was able to leave Mormonism behind.

Even though I have been out of the church for years, and don't believe in any religion, I still have problems leaving certain things behind. For instance, I still "feel" that homosexual relationships are wrong, even though I have rationally talked and thought about it and have absolutely no problem with them. I think about those who I know in those kinds of relationships and I talk with them and have no issues with how they choose to live their lives. But for some reason I still harbor some inner feelings from what I was taught as a child, that homosexuality is wrong, breaking the law of chastity, which is the worst kind of sin next to murder.

I still "feel" guilty doubting that there is a god of any kind. I am truly skeptical, and I don't believe in god(s) and argue against them. But the feeling of guilt remains no matter what. If I had not grown up religious, then I don't think that guilt would be there, as is the case with my wife. She is also a non-believer, but has not the slightest bit of guilt. It does not bother her. I still have roots that give me uneasiness even though I am logically sound, have a rational head on my shoulders, and don't make decisions without a good deal of thought.

Oh well, it is just me. I have a lot more than I have written in my essay but I won't post any of that until it is done. It is a work in progress and I want to make sure I have everything right before I even think of sharing it.

I think that's the whole thing: What you grew up believing to be true. Religious brainwashing runs deep. It doesn't just go away overnight in every person's situation (even when you no longer believe). That is how brainwashing works (and organized religion is a form of brainwashing). It's cult mentality. If you look up characteristics of cult mentality, most religions hit every single characteristic. That's important to realize in order to fully understand what happened to you with your religious indoctrination and why you may still feel the way you do with old thought processes lingering behind.

Additionally, religion is not innate, belief in god is not innate (meaning it's not something you are born knowing). Religion and belief in gods are a learned behavior (meaning someone had to teach it to you). In keeping with this, if you grew up in another time, say in the era of Egyptian gods, your belief system would follow the likes of Osiris, Ra, and so forth.

I also found in my deconversion that your brain sometimes needs a little help in seeing the absurdity of the brainwashed beliefs. This is because religious guilt oftentimes works with the fear response. So the best thing to do is to take out trigger words. Instead of God, use genie and instead of devil use leprechaun. Keep doing that when the fear/guilt/whatever sets in. Eventually your brain will start to see the absurdity and the guilt will go away.

Example: Next time you think "I feel guilty doubting God's existence." Think "I feel guilty doubting the existence of a magical invisible genie"--because in essence, this is exactly what you are saying, except you have been brainwashed to believe that God is real.

Next time you fear the devil, think "Oops I did something wrong, I guess now the invisible magical leprechaun is going to throw Lucky Charms at me in middle earth for eternity. Tongue Anyway, you get the point. Listen to your beliefs in this fashion. Listen to what it is you actually believe. Then let your brain catch up so it can see things for what they truly are: the absurd.
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22-11-2017, 02:14 PM
RE: New member from California
Welcome to TTA Smile

A friend in the hole

"If we're going to be damned, let's be damned for what we really are." - Captain Picard
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22-11-2017, 02:19 PM
RE: New member from California
jennybee,

Thank you for that message. That absolutely hit the nail on the head. I have guilt because I was trained, brainwashed to have guilt.

It will be hard at first with the "genie/leprechaun" thing, but it's a very intriguing way of looking at it. I will definitely try. If only because life, to me, is amazing even (or especially) without the need for a deity, however, since this is always, always on my mind, it seems as though it is hard to enjoy this life to the fullest. Sometimes to the point of me asking "what's the point?" I'm not going to do anything drastic, I'm not going to leave my family with my loose ends, but if I wasn't already married with kids, who knows?
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22-11-2017, 02:23 PM
RE: New member from California
Welcome! I'm from California. I live in Oregon now but I miss the California weather.

Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors.... on Donald J. Trump:

He is deformed, crooked, old, and sere,
Ill-fac’d, worse bodied, shapeless every where;
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind,
Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
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22-11-2017, 02:42 PM (This post was last modified: 22-11-2017 02:48 PM by jennybee.)
RE: New member from California
(22-11-2017 02:19 PM)Tennpenn83 Wrote:  jennybee,

Thank you for that message. That absolutely hit the nail on the head. I have guilt because I was trained, brainwashed to have guilt.

It will be hard at first with the "genie/leprechaun" thing, but it's a very intriguing way of looking at it. I will definitely try. If only because life, to me, is amazing even (or especially) without the need for a deity, however, since this is always, always on my mind, it seems as though it is hard to enjoy this life to the fullest. Sometimes to the point of me asking "what's the point?" I'm not going to do anything drastic, I'm not going to leave my family with my loose ends, but if I wasn't already married with kids, who knows?

I read a book by a cult expert who wrote that one of the women he rescued (and who no longer believes) was petrified of having children. When he questioned her as to why she thought that was, she said she did not know, just filled her with tremendous anxiety.

Since he is an expert on cults (and in this one particular religion she was a part of, it was one of those extreme offshoots from Xtianity) he asked her if the cult leaders ever threatened her with what would happen if she stopped believing, in particular with respect to getting pregnant. She then remembered that when she was very small, a cult leader told her that if she stopped believing, all of her babies would be born deformed. That seed stayed with her until her thirties--despite kicking religion to the curb with the help of a cult expert. Just shows how strong and deep brainwashing can go. But the good thing is, you can reverse it, by retraining your brain.

I think another thing that is helpful is learning about where your beliefs came from. I think you said you come from a Mormon background. Find all scholarly books (ones written by experts with no hidden agenda) on the history of your beliefs. I also think The Skeptics Annotated site has compiled a similar book to Wells' Bible series on the Book of Mormon. Also, check out Andy Thomson's youtube video on "Why We Believe in Gods."

Also read John Loftus' book entitled The Outsider Test for Faith. It basically calls for you to step outside of your beliefs and really look at what it is you truly believe(d). For instance, imagine you met someone who never heard of your religion. Now explain to them exactly what you believe. Do you think they would believe you? Now pick a religion different from your own. I personally picked the cargo cults (also available on youtube if you want to use that one) when I did my Outsider Test for Faith. Then you ask yourself why you don't believe what they believe. They have every bit as much of faith as you do/did. They believe with all their hearts, minds, and souls. Why don't you believe what they believe on faith alone? Now apply the same level of critical thinking to your own beliefs.

Again, all of these things will help realign your thinking in terms of cleaning out residual brainwashing.
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22-11-2017, 03:43 PM
RE: New member from California
Howdy and welcome!

Help for the living. Hope for the dead. ~ R.G. Ingersoll

Freedom offers opportunity. Opportunity confers responsibility. Responsibility to use the freedom we enjoy wisely, honestly and humanely. ~ Noam Chomsky
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22-11-2017, 03:44 PM
RE: New member from California
Believe me, I have read and researched literally hundreds of articles, books, essays, etc on the origins of the Mormon faith and why it is so controversial. From the fantastic story of the origin of the Book of Mormon itself, to the dubious claims made in the book itself, to the Book of Abraham, to the modern day fights of racism, bigotry and homophobia. It really is a case study of the darndest kind.

I actually have read that book by John Loftus. I remember it quite well. Believe me when I say that it was one of the most decisive factors in looking at religion in general in a much broader sense. The book actually echoed many of the same thoughts I had well before reading the book. Maybe, if you're interested, I'll send you the first part of what I am writing...
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22-11-2017, 04:15 PM
RE: New member from California
Welcome to the forum family. I like your honesty about your POV. And I think that recognizing where some of your "feelings" have come from is a huge step in the right direction. Un-training oneself about childhood beliefs is hard. Remember you are a work in progress.

I hope you like it here as much as I do!

Where are we going and why am I in this hand basket?
"Life is not all lovely thorns and singing vultures, you know." ~ Morticia Addams

"You're only given one little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it." Robin Williams
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22-11-2017, 04:16 PM
RE: New member from California
(22-11-2017 03:44 PM)Tennpenn83 Wrote:  Believe me, I have read and researched literally hundreds of articles, books, essays, etc on the origins of the Mormon faith and why it is so controversial. From the fantastic story of the origin of the Book of Mormon itself, to the dubious claims made in the book itself, to the Book of Abraham, to the modern day fights of racism, bigotry and homophobia. It really is a case study of the darndest kind.

I actually have read that book by John Loftus. I remember it quite well. Believe me when I say that it was one of the most decisive factors in looking at religion in general in a much broader sense. The book actually echoed many of the same thoughts I had well before reading the book. Maybe, if you're interested, I'll send you the first part of what I am writing...

Sure Smile
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22-11-2017, 07:38 PM
RE: New member from California
Welcome to the forum. I'm guessing that you've already read this little gem: Letter to a CES Director

---
Flesh and blood of a dead star, slain in the apocalypse of supernova, resurrected by four billion years of continuous autocatalytic reaction and crowned with the emergent property of sentience in the dream that the universe might one day understand itself.
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