The Mutt’s Nuts

Where religion is about as attractive as a two week holiday in Afghanistan

Resisting the Mormon melting pot

with 5 comments

cookie-cutter.jpgWhereas IslaSkye had spent much of her church life thoughtlessly acquiescing to the opinions of religious leaders who she believed knew better than her by virtue of their position within the Mormon church, I struggled a lot with the process of “melting” into Latter-day Saint society.

I’ve always been stubbornly independent, so I found the very concept of becoming one with the Saints utterly oppressive. Nevertheless, occasionally, I would make a concerted effort to homogenise into Mormon culture, believing that it was for the greater good – towards building a Zion society – but as soon as I felt my individuality slipping and literally being lost in religion, I would retreat and resist the attraction that the idea of utopia held. It was truly a battle.

I completely believed the claim that the LDS Church was the only church on the face of the earth with which the Lord was “well pleased”, so you’d think that that would be enough of a reason to relinquish the mental hold that I had on myself and fully give in to the truths of Mormonism, sacrificing all and anything that held me back, but no. I truly didn’t want to become another cookie-cutter Mormon, as I thought that I would be, individually, much the poorer for it, notwithstanding that I felt that I was going against an important tenet of the Church – becoming one with the Saints. Often I would tell myself that I could get by with a semblance of balance with other members of the Church, but I couldn’t. Without the real thing I would forever be conflicted within and faced with choices that I didn’t want to make. When I think back on my church life, it’s easy for me to see that it consisted of much going backwards and forwards between blind faith and reason.

It was never easy for me to submit to the so-called “inspiration” received by church leaders because my mind would automatically act as a sort of filter by weighing it up to determine the usefulness or importance of said communication from on high. I’ve never been comfortable with just plunging blindly into somebody else’s conceptualisation of how an individual should regulate his life and thereby gain an unimaginable reward in heaven, and it makes not an iota of difference whether the person claims to be God’s mouthpiece on earth or not, so it was actually a foregone conclusion that my becoming one with the Saints would never materialise – something that I wish I realised at the time, as I wouldn’t have suffered so much heartache when I lost my faith.

Nevertheless, against my better judgement, I did my damnedest to conform to religious instruction as much as possible, mainly because I thought that that would one day constitute my ticket into the highest echelon of Mormon heaven in the hereafter. Obedience to leaders is a big deal in the Church, so much so that you’re reminded of it over and over again from the pulpit – think Chinese water torture and you can well imagine the amount of stimulation such indoctrination held where I was concerned. A church member’s exaltation hangs on how well they’ve heeded the words of their prophets, or holy geriatrics in suits who live in Salt Lake City.

Anyway, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t put behind me the stumbling block that required me to become indistinguishable from the crowd. And as I thought more about the doctrine of having all things in common with the Saints, the more acute my feelings of opposition became.

Eventually, I caught onto the thought that the very thing that I had grown to hate would be fully realised in heaven and so I became unhappy with the idea of heaven – where everybody would be a perfect clone of everybody else. Perfection in heaven seemed to me to be nothing more than the discontinuation of challenges, learning, individuality, progress, fun, wonder and amazement, discovery, excitement, among many, many other things. Or, in short, being perfect would bring to an end everything that makes me feel truly alive. It’s ironic, really, that heaven itself appears to be a kind of permanent death.

Curmudgeonly Yours

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Written by Curmudgeonly

October 29, 2007 at 7:12 pm

5 Responses

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  1. Curmudgeonly Yours,
    It’s not just the Mormons, it’s every faith based belief system and as a former Roman Catholic, I empathise fully with your post. . I live next door to Mormons, nice people, but I am flabbergasted at their acceptance of all sorts of weird beliefs, Especially sad are the missionaries they host, youngsters much too young to be thrust into this sort of a makebelief world.
    Gerry

    Gerry

    October 29, 2007 at 8:01 pm

  2. Found you! Muwahahahaha!

    kuri

    October 30, 2007 at 2:02 am

  3. Gerry,

    It’s only now that I’m on the outside looking in that I can realise fully the “weird beliefs” that I once embraced as a Mormon.

    Actually, I can’t resist berating myself every time I look back on my life as a church member, but it wasn’t all bad – at least that’s what I tell myself. There are some things that I thank the Church for. For example, my conversion gave me enough impetus to help me escape some bad shit that I was in. I guess an amount of good can be found in most situations.

    Kuri,

    I thought it wouldn’t be long before you found this place, especially as I put you on my blogroll and clicked from there to get to your blog. I’m not sure how much you’ll like this place though, considering that there’s a good chance that I’ll be finding fault with what you hold dear, but it’s good to have you around anyway. 🙂

    Curmudgeonly Yours

    November 2, 2007 at 6:32 pm

  4. You convey precisely the problems that individualists have within the church. I felt it too, but had no words to place to it. I grew up in the church, yet I always felt like an outsider – the oddball who questioned things that ought to be unquestionable. I didn’t want to look like the others, act like the others, or talk like them either.

    Great post.

    CV Rick

    February 1, 2008 at 5:34 am

  5. CV,

    Exactly. There’s just no room within Mormondom for individualism. Members who are comfortable being themselves stick out like a sore thumb among those who embrace the one-size-fits-all model that the Church provides. I found it hugely problematic, as I thought that individualism was very important, more so than giving up my whole self for something that just didn’t sit well with my personality. But I thought the Church was true, and thus began the cognitive dissonance that seemed to be more of a constant companion than the Holy Ghost throughout my active church life.

    Thanks for the compliment.

    Curmudgeonly Yours

    February 2, 2008 at 4:47 pm


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