They Got Me When I was Young
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18-02-2014, 03:29 AM
They Got Me When I was Young
I was born a Mormon. That seems like a perfectly normal English sentence, but it really doesn't capture just how strange a concept that is. Before I ever opened my eyes or drew breath the major values and decisions of my life were already planned on my behalf. I was born "under the covenant", or in other words, automatically grandfathered into the temple "seal" which binds my parents together for "time and all eternity". My parent's temple marriage awarded me adopted status into the lineage of Abraham and rights to his many promises from god. As a male, I would receive the Priesthood or "the power and authority to act in god's name." I would be joining an ancestry of Mormons stretching back to the time of Joseph Smith himself. All of this, and more, was my inheritance.

When I entered this world, I was named "A Defender of the Faith" and it was said by my parents, my father in particular, that I would grow up to be a strong protector of Jesus Christ and of his church. I was taught to read young, and exposed to Mormon children's books at my earliest ages. My education was constant and unwavering when it came to Mormonism. To me, Mormonism was not a religion, but a way of life. Family, community, friends, media, conversation, and fun all revolved around the central tenants of our shared faith in Mormon theology. Within this tight, safe, warm, shell I was shielded well from outside influence, and educated in all things Mormon.

When I was eight years old I agreed to be baptized an official member of the Mormon church. I was immersed in the water, and was then given "the gift of the holy ghost" by the "laying on of hands" by my father directly. When I was twelve, he placed his hands upon my head again and gave me "The Aaronic Priesthood", the first of two priesthoods within the church, that of lesser authority. At fourteen and sixteen respectively, further ranks within that priesthood were granted to me, although not always by the hand of my father as before.

Looking back on all of this now, I feel like a complete stranger looking into the childhood of another complete stranger. Who is this boy? What manner of childhood is this? How could I have allowed my life to be so rigidly controlled? How did I not notice the marionette strings making me dance to their tune? All I can think is "They got me when I was young. I didn't know any better."

What was done to me, was child abuse. Now, before anyone claims I am crying wolf, I have not told my whole story here, nor will I. Suffice it to say that an education was not my only childhood difficulty. There is more to the abuse, which I do not always discuss, but may choose to one day. When I say that it was abuse, I am deadly serious.

Am I alone? Did they get you when you were young? How did you make it out?

Am I alone in seeing religious children now, and feeling a deep hollow sadness within, knowing what they are experiencing every day?

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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18-02-2014, 04:24 AM
RE: They Got Me When I was Young
Very well written and its something I always try to keep in mind when I find myself conversing with theists.
You most definately won't be alone, thats for sure.

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18-02-2014, 04:45 AM
RE: They Got Me When I was Young
*waves* Utah Mormon born, one of the only people in my entire family to relieve myself of that madness and idiocy.

Almost everything you said I've thought and written down before. The difference for me, though, is I feel a bit of guilt for being complicit even after figuring out it was all BS. Just going along with it until I could get out from under my parents thumb and be courageous enough to weather the familial guilt trip instead of immediately refusing to participate in something I didn't even remotely believe. I resent a lot of my young mens leaders (though love some still for the life lessons they gave me), I resent particularly the bishop I had for much of my childhood, and how guilty he made me feel for being human.

It is child abuse, but I still try not to judge. I won't put my daughter through the misogyny, misery, and guilt they would put on her for being female or just being a person. But that is my choice, many don't agree with it, but that's where I sit with their decisions as well. I've told my wife I won't put up with that from any religion, and I will actively fight it.

Feel free to message me if you want to talk about anything.

"Good news, everyone!"
-Cody
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18-02-2014, 04:50 AM
RE: They Got Me When I was Young
You are wrong about being born a mormon, you were born an Atheist, welcome back to a natural state.
Carrying the genes of countless ancestors back to abiogenesis, is far more amazing then we are the chosen ones from this fairytale that says we are.

Theism is to believe what other people claim, Atheism is to ask "why should I".
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18-02-2014, 08:50 AM
RE: They Got Me When I was Young
I was born into a very catholic family so I was indoctronated since birth. I married a very catholic woman so our kids were being "raised in the faith". To be fair to her I was fairly catholic myself until a few years ago. Fairly sure I have instilled enough free though in my daughters that they are not religious, but stay quiet like me for peace at home. Not sure about my son, but he is still rather young. My girls have no interest in being confirmed, going to sunday school or participating in any youth group type thing. Both of them have not so good opinions of their religion teachers at school.
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18-02-2014, 09:45 AM
RE: They Got Me When I was Young
(18-02-2014 08:50 AM)wazzel Wrote:  I was born into a very catholic family so I was indoctronated since birth. I married a very catholic woman so our kids were being "raised in the faith". To be fair to her I was fairly catholic myself until a few years ago. Fairly sure I have instilled enough free though in my daughters that they are not religious, but stay quiet like me for peace at home. Not sure about my son, but he is still rather young. My girls have no interest in being confirmed, going to sunday school or participating in any youth group type thing. Both of them have not so good opinions of their religion teachers at school.

No one is "born a Mormon" or any other religion. People are simply unfortunate to be born into a religion-crazed family or culture.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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18-02-2014, 09:52 AM
RE: They Got Me When I was Young
(18-02-2014 09:45 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(18-02-2014 08:50 AM)wazzel Wrote:  I was born into a very catholic family so I was indoctronated since birth. I married a very catholic woman so our kids were being "raised in the faith". To be fair to her I was fairly catholic myself until a few years ago. Fairly sure I have instilled enough free though in my daughters that they are not religious, but stay quiet like me for peace at home. Not sure about my son, but he is still rather young. My girls have no interest in being confirmed, going to sunday school or participating in any youth group type thing. Both of them have not so good opinions of their religion teachers at school.

No one is "born a Mormon" or any other religion. People are simply unfortunate to be born into a religion-crazed family or culture.

Agree, that is why I said "I was born into a very catholic family...."
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18-02-2014, 10:05 AM
RE: They Got Me When I was Young
Born to religious parents, went to Catholic school for my first four years of schooling, Veggie Tales was regular viewing (I remember it as the best thing about faith).

The entirety of the rest of my family teaches Sunday School. Occasionally, when they're shorthanded, they ask me to help out and I have to relatively politely decline while holding back a lecture on how wrong it is to teach kids this crud.

(I assume you're not asking strictly for Mormons, I could be wrong.)
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18-02-2014, 11:00 AM
RE: They Got Me When I was Young
Dark, have you thought about starting a blog? Or being a public speaker? In all honesty, all your threads are very well written.
In response to your questions, no you are not alone. I made it out by being too inquisitive and asking too many questions. Also, I'm sure every member here feels for the children of the religious.

(18-02-2014 10:05 AM)CleverUsername Wrote:  Born to religious parents, went to Catholic school for my first four years of schooling, Veggie Tales was regular viewing (I remember it as the best thing about faith). 

Veggie Tales was my life at Sunday school. I have a few friends from that church still, whenever they play Veggie Tales I still find myself as mesmorized as when I was a child. Of course, I know now it's just a cartoon.

Atir aissom atir imon
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18-02-2014, 11:57 AM
RE: They Got Me When I was Young
I am too old for Veggie Tales but my kids were never very interested in it.

For me the show was Davey and Goliath. It helped to foster the hatred I have of claymation shows (Frosty, Rudolph).
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