Monday, June 28, 2010
But the earth is just the beginning of the wonder. Just imagine space; an area that has no end, no limits. And within a tiny fraction of this space lies the known universe. Within this universe, lie millions upon billions of galaxies; each galaxy containing millions upon billions of stars.
Even though the universe only takes up a fraction of the space, it is immensely huge. Light travels at a distance of 280,000 miles per second. Just imagine how big the universe is if it takes light 14 billion years to travel from one side to the other!
And how about life on other planets? If there was life on one planet out of a billion, then there would be a billion planets with life.
Speaking of life, how did it come to be, to exist? Even a single celled organism is very complex and to have all the right 'ingredients' come together in exactly the right formulation is a trillion squared chance. Yet somehow it happened. In order for life to exist, there had to be a strand of DNA. That DNA needed to be encased in a protective cover. Within that cover, there needed to be ribosomes, protein molecules that read DNA and build proteins from it.
This is just the beginning. If this new life did not find a way to reproduce quickly, it would die and life would be extinct. It also needed energy in order to function.
When life began, all of these things needed to be present. The great question of how it happened may never be answered. Maybe it is so simple that we simply overlook it.
With all the wonder of the universe and all the questions that seem to have no answer, it is very understandable to believe in a supreme being. How else could all of it happen? I don't know. But even then, if a supreme being did create it all, then the beginning wasn't really the beginning because the creator existed. Where did the creator come from?
Mormonism teaches that there was no beginning but there is an infinite number of generations of gods. Each god creates worlds and children. Those children grow up to become gods and a the cycle continues. However, according to science, the universe has an age. Even though it is a set given amount of time that is nearly incomprehensible to the human mind, it is still a limited amount of time. The universe is an estimated 12 to 14 billion years old.
The earth is about a third the age of the universe at 4.5 billion years old. Sometime during the last 4.5 billion years, life had to originate. Because the earth was constantly changing, the life that lived upon it had to adapt in order to survive. Hence the millions of different species that live on the earth today.
Science may never know the origin of life. But isn't it better to not know than to invent an imaginary father who lives out there in space somewhere who put it all together? Any time man asks the question "why?" and there is no obvious answer, just say that god did it.
Some of those "why?" questions that had no answer before, do have an answer now. And yet, for some strange reason that I will never understand, human beings want to continue to believe the fairytale rather than the given facts. I absolutely don't get it. This is as mind blowing to me as the wonder of the universe itself.
People actually choose to literally believe in magical fairytales rather than the evidence that is right in front of us. We all know that Peter Pan is an imaginary story. Superman is just a story. We know this. We accept it. No one actually believes that they are real. But they believe in Jesus, who, in all reality, is no different than Peter Pan or Superman. They all fly around. They all save people. They all have special abilities that no one else does.
When the world stops believing in fairytales, we will make remarkable progress. The former President Bush was Christian and therefore opposed to stem cell research. This study could very well hold the key to forever relieve human suffering and disease. But because of a fairytale, Bush denied federal funding to stem cell research.
As soon as the collective people of the world stop believing that their god wants everyone else to die, then there will be world peace. There will be terrific advancements in science. All we have to do is see the world for what it is. If we don't know an answer now, that doesn't mean that we never will. But stop giving the credit to a fairytale, who's only evidence is an ancient book that no one understands or can agree on what it even means.
Let's enjoy the splendor of the universe without giving it a label of "god". See it for what it is. A beautiful accident? Maybe. But still beautiful and mind-boggling none the less.
Religion is one of the main sources of violence in the world. The pilots who flew their airplanes into the World Trade Center towers believed that god would reward them for their sacrifices. Their god wants America in ashes. Americans believe that their god only loves America. Get rid of all the "god" nonsense and start seeing people from everywhere for what they are: human beings.
If there is a god, he doesn't want any nation to destroy another. That's pure arrogance. If he created us, he created us all. If he doesn't exist, then he obviously doesn't want us to wage war on each other. Let's get rid of the "god" nonsense. If god wanted America destroyed, he would just point his finger at it and blow it up. If he wanted a certain race eliminated, then all he would have to do is snap his fingers.
Since that hasn't happened, then god doesn't want us killing each other. God is nonsense. A fairytale. Look at the world and see it for what it is, not what religion dictates that it is. It is a really, really old rock floating about in the cosmos and somehow there came to be life on it.
Enjoy life and the beauty that surrounds us.
A study of science is far more mind blowing than religion can ever conceive.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Here it is word for word:
"March 19, 19xx
"I just got off the phone with Bryan, an investigator who is studying anti-literature to find out about the church. He wants us to study them with them and choose a religion of facts rather than by the spirit. I told him that I believe the Mormon faith with all my heart and he tells me I'm just believing because I've been raised that way. But I believe because of the knowledge I have. I know that Satan is out there and, of course, he doesn't want anyone to find the truth. Those books may bring up valid points, but there is an explanation to all of them, and with those books written to tear down God's kingdom, it is a testimony builder to me that I need to stay strong in the faith and just remember that I know that this is God's only true church. Bryan said some things that made sense, but his heart is not open to learn new things. My heart is not open to learn new things because I have a testimony and, yes, I might have been born into this church, but I do know that I hold the Melchezedek Priesthood, the authority to act for God. It has been given to me by the laying on of hands, and I have been in the temple and participated in the activities that go on inside. I know that our leaders are guided by God and I know that Joseph Smith restored the truthfulness of the gospel to the earth once again...
"When I think of the things I know to be true, I cannot and will not ever let Satan's lies deceive me. I wish people would follow the spirit instead of facts because God's ways are not man's ways. To not rely on my feelings would be a lack of faith. And with the conviction I have that these things are true, I don't dare believe anything else, lest I should be cut off. I know that this church is true and no anti-LDS book will ever change my mind and lead me astray."
If anyone ever doubts that I was a close-minded TBM, there's the proof. When Bryan told me all that "anti" stuff, I immediately did the TBM thing and jumped right to the testimony, the safety net. Now I don't remember any of the stuff he told me on the phone, but that doesn't matter. What matters is my typical cookie-cutter testimony that I had rehearsed 100 million times.
I know this, I know that. The fact is, I didn't know jack squat! And at that point, I wasn't ready to know the real truth. A person can only be truly convinced of the LDS lies when they are ready. Some people are never ready. Some people never really bought all the bull in the first place. I was one of those that gobbled it all up, hook, line, and sinker. It took me a lot of years to figure it out. But I finally did!
Fortunately, I used my brain on my mission. If I hadn't gone, I might still be a TBM. I saw the complete lack of inspiration and by the time I was only out for 3 or 4 months, I was completely convinced that the missionary program was not inspired at all. Of course, I would have never admitted to that in my journal (I don't think. If I find it in there, I'll be sure and share).
Here's some other interesting quotes:
"March 21, 19xx (just days after my testimony)
"I really don't know who to turn to, to talk to. I definitely can't talk to [my companion]. I don't really trust the mission president, and I can't very well tell everyone at home... I just feel like crying. I feel like my only friend is God but often I feel like even God has abandoned me."
The quote above is referring to my overbearing companion who was abusive and manipulative.
"As missionaries, we are expected to give up everything we have, even our personality."
This is one of my true MTC experiences, and looking back, was when I learned what "keeping and feeling the spirit" was really all about.
I was in the MTC during the start of the Gulf War in the spring of 1991. Before the war, the MTC had an open-door policy for families and relatives hand-delivering gifts to missionaries in the MTC. But then the church decided to use the start of the war as a pretext to set a ban on accepting any hand-delivered care packages from families to MTC missionaries. I was an AP in an MTC Branch at the time the new rule took affect.
(As a sidenote, I learned later that somone started a business just down the street from the MTC, that would take family care packages and for a fee, "deliver" them to the MTC. For security reasons, said the MTC rule, the MTC would only accept packages from couriers but not from family members.)
There had been a long tradition for years that every Easter Sunday, a certain member family that lived directly behind the MTC, would make tons of cinnamon rolls and hand them over the fence to missionaries. My MTC Branch roomed in one of the buildings at the back of the MTC, closest to this member family's yard, which shared a fence with the MTC.
My Branch President pulled me in the Sunday before Easter Sunday and told me that under no circumstances should anyone accept cinnamon rolls from the family. He told me that the tradition violated the new rule against hand-delivered packages and he would hold me PERSONALLY accountable if anyone in the Branch broke the rule and got a cinnamon roll. He called on me to get up in Sacrament Meeting and talk on obedience and warn everyone not to take a cinnamon roll "lest we lose the spirit." The Branch President also insisted that I remind each missionary individually about the rule and admonish them not to go near the MTC fence on Easter Sunday. At the time, I was a TBM and took the whole thing to heart, obeying the Branch President's every word in order to "keep the spirit."
Easter Sunday came and went and I thought we had made it through the day without incident. Looking out my window, the family stood at the fence with plates of cinnamon roles and nobody dared go near them.
Three days later, the First Counselor in the Branch Presidency pulled me out of my language class for a "Personal Priesthood Interview." He escorted me to the Presidency's office, where the other counselor and the President were waiting. They were all furious. Apparently one of the missionaries in our Branch was caught eating a cinnamon roll in his room the afternoon of Easter Sunday. He got caught because someone else had snitched on him in the mandatory weekly letter confessional to the Branch President.
The hard thing was, the presidency was furious with me, not the missionary who had eaten the cinnamon roll. They ripped me up one side and down the other - for not being a true leader, dissapointing my family and losing their trust. I felt like a piece of sh*t, seriously. They quoted scriptures on obedience, priesthood authority and losing the spirit.
Worst of all, I felt like I had committed a terrible sin. I had repented for some things before my mission, but the guilt I felt for this incident was almost unbearable - worse than the guilt I had felt for other more serious "transgressions" prior to my mission. This guilt over the cinnamon rolls was the most horrible, incredible guilt I have ever felt in my life! I really feared that I had lost "the spirit" for good.
At the time, my only defense was that I didn't understand how accepting a cinamon roll from a member family violated Christ's spirit of love. But the First Counselor cut me off, saying in a raised voice, "Elder, I don't think you can even feel the spirit anymore!"
They immediately released me as AP and gave the calling to my companion - a fate I felt was close to death. As part of my repentance, they had me write a one-page paper on why I had failed as a mission leader, which was given to my Mission President when I entered the mission field. In my written confessional-of-sorts I wrote that I had disobeyed one of the Lord's Commandments and therefore, had lost his spirit and "amen to my authority as a leader."
That was the low point of my mission, for once I left the MTC I felt like I had "the spirit" again. I went on to prove my obedience and priesthood worthiness in the mission field, baptising in all of my areas and serving in several leadership positions.
It wasn't until after my mission, going through my papers that I stumbled across that confessional paper I had written in the MTC. I was so angry reading it again, realizing for the first time that they had manipulated my faith and desire to be righteous. All that guilty torment self-loathing over a cinnamon roll that I didn't even eat...
And then it hit me, the whole Mormon thing was a guilt trip! If my faith in the Mormon gospel meant the leaders could make me feel guilty about cinnamon rolls, then it meant they could make me feel guilty for anything. They used my faith to pull at my guilt strings, and they were doing the same thing with things like tithing too! The whole evil control process of the church unraveled in front of me.
That day I decided I would never let anyone play the guilt trip game on me again. I would decide for myself, based on true ethics (not external obedience or "keeping the spirit"), what of my own behaviors were wrong or right. I would never again turn that guilt control over to someone else - especially an instiution as manipulative as the church. It would take many years before I would eventually leave the church, but that decision helped me through all the other guilt headgames my family tried to play on me for "falling away." I hadn't fallen away, I had freed myself from it all.
I see petty rules come from the prophet against earrings, tatoos and beards and wonder how many people out there are suffering the "cinnamon roll guilt-trip" as my wife and I now humorously call it.
Story #2 as recalled by Will's wife
While we were reading Deconstructor's account of l'affaire du Cinnamon Roll (being rebuked and demoted for "poor leadership" after an elder under his watch ate a contraband cinnamon roll) my wife exclaimed: "That sounds like what happened to me while I was there!"
Korrin was in the MTC in 1992, and served in the Portugal-Lisbon mission. She was raised VERY TBM and was the proverbial "blonde bombshell" (when we met in '96 she looked uncannily like Dana Wheeler-Nicholson when she played Chevy Chase's love interest in "Fletch") -- two facts relevant to the following account.
Herewith Korrin's own experience with the MTC's "obedience police":
As a sister missionary, I had an MTC experience similar to what Deconstructor described. Like most missionaries I tried very hard to obey all of the MTC rules, and I found that no matter how hard I tried, it was never enough.
Shortly after I arrived there was a special meeting for the sister missionaries in which we were urged to share our talents. We were told that as sister missionaries we could have a great deal of influence on the Elders by setting a good example, and that by sharing our talents we could help the Elders improve. (It didn't occur to me at the time that it was somewhat demeaning to act as if we were there only to be of benefit to the "Elders.")
After that meeting I thought a great deal about how i could help the Elders be better missionaries. Because of my Dad's influence and guidance I had learned the scriptures very well prior to my mission, and it seemed that this might be one of the talents we had been instructed to share with the Elders. Accordingly, between classes and during lunch hour, or in any free time I could find, I began teaching the Elders in my district the scriptures I had learned.
One Elder in particular seemed to enjoy studying the scriptures with me, and he seemed to enjoy the attention I gave him a little more than I had intended. Apparently, this Elder became infatuated with me, and he told several others about his feelings. [Note from Will: This is a 19-year-old guy we're talking about, after all.] He dutifully told our District Leader, as well as our Branch President about his "problem."
As a result, the District Leader and the members of our Branch Presidency all took me aside individually to upbraid me for "making" this Elder like me, as if that had been my intention. All I had done, of course, was to follow our "inspired" direction to use my talents to help the Elders improve.
It wasn't enough that the District Leader and his companion assumed that I had done something to "seduce" this Elder; all of them made a point of asking me if I there were any sexual sins in my past I needed to repent of. [Will interjects once again -- These are OTHER 19-year-old guys asking an attractive 21-year-old woman about intimate matters: Were they carrying out a "priesthood" function, or serving their own prurient interests? You make the call.]
The Branch President, in turn, called me in and browbeat me at length, making me feel guilty and -- of course -- asking me pointedly if there were any sexual sins "now or in the past" that I needed to clear up. I broke down in tears, and spent the remainder of my term in the MTC on an emotional roller coaster.
To make matters even worse the Elder at the center of this whole business came up to me after one of our big meetings and gave me a lingering handshake (a hug being out of the question) while gazing deeply into my eyes and telling me he loved me. But bear in mind that I was the one who was supposedly the source of this problem.
During the rest of my time at the MTC, I was frequently called in to be rebuked. Eventually I was told I needed to apologize to the Elder, with one of the District Leaders present as a chaperone. I did as I was told, and bawled the whole way through my apology. The Elder apologized as well, and he broke down, too.
What a stupid, mind-controlling place.
Predictably, I felt very guilty over that experience, and for the rest of my mission I avoided the Elders as much as possible. Even when my companion and I were required to call in our statistics each week, I would make up excuses to avoid talking with the Elders, insisting that my companion make the report.
Note from Mormon411:
If Jesus was in the MTC and some well-meaning family offered him a cinnamon roll, what would he do? He would take it and graciously eat it, thanking the members for their kind and thoughtful offering.
The Mormon church is all about control. If you let them, they will take over your life and make you hate yourself because someone else ate a cinnamon roll.
If this is the church of god, then I want nothing to do with him or his pathetic church.
Apparently over on MormonMatters.org there is a section similar to Dear Abbey, where people can submit questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. The following is the question of the day and I couldn't help but be amused as I read it:
"I am having great difficulty buying into the gospel principle manual being used in our Relief Society / Priesthood lessons. I just feel that I can get so much more out of a lesson by reading it myself, as the instructors have been asked to stick to the manual, or go do an in-depth study of a different topic on my own. I understand we have thousands of new members that need to learn the basics, but isn’t that what the gospel principal Sunday school class is for? Anyone else having difficulties with this?
"Perhaps it’s just me, but I think the church is really losing its 18-30 age group (both married and unmarried) due to church being dreadfully boring!! I know myself, and several others (in different wards with different teachers) just dread going to church due to the poor classes. No new material is being presented, and instead we’re learning things that have been pounded into us since Primary. Help?"
To see the reply and the follow up comments, please visit: http://mormonmatters.org/2010/06/14/ask-mormon-girl-sunday-lessons-are-so-basic-theyre-driving-me-crazy-help/#more-11687
What do ex-Mormons think about the new policy of the church to standardize all the lessons? Click here to find out!
"Pay your tithing first and god will bless you."
If the church was a fraud and they just wanted your money, what would they tell you?
"Pay your tithing first and god will bless you."
If Joseph Smith really was a prophet who really did see god, what would they tell you?
"Get your own testimony that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. Anyone who says anything negative about him is evil."
If Jospeh Smith was a lying fraud who just wanted money and pussy and they were trying to cover it up, what would they tell you?
"Get your own testimony that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. Anyone who says anything negative about him is evil."
If the church really was true and they really were prophets who walk and talk with god, what would they tell you?
"This is the lord's kingdom and only by complete and total obedience can you be saved."
If the church was a huge fraud and they just wanted to control you, what would they tell you?
"This is the lord's kingdom and only by complete and total obedience can you be saved."
If the prophets and apostles of the LDS church were really what they claimed to be (special witnesses of Jesus Christ), what would they tell you?
"I have personally seen and spoken with the resurrected Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ."
If the prophets and apostles of the LDS church were actually frauds and con-men, what would they tell you?
"I have had special experiences too sacred to talk about."
If they are so-called "special witnesses" of Jesus, how come NOT ONE of them has ever admitted to seeing Jesus? How come they get mad when people ask them if they have?
If the prophet receives revelation for the church by a special feeling (according to Hinckley) then how is that any different from the special feeling that normal, average Mormons get?
Bottom line: These liars and frauds claim to be special witnesses of Jesus, but if you listen carefully to what they are actually saying, not one of them has ever directly admitted that he has seen god or Jesus. They get revelation for the church by a good feeling.
"Special Witness". That's quite a title. Normal members get their testimonies by a good or tingly feeling. Special witnesses have seen with their eyes and heard with their ears. So why won't they ever witness about what they've seen?
I'll tell you why...
Because they are lying, fucking frauds!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thursday, June 10, 2010
The truth is, I just don't think about Mormonism as much as I used to. Oh, I still think about it, and I'm still very passionate about my feelings about it. But I think I'm coming to the point where I've had my say... I've said what I needed to say.
Why do I even blog in the first place? I've had all types of responses to this blog. Some praise it and think it is wonderful. On the other hand, I had one guy tell me that I sound like a whiny little boy who got dumped by his girlfriend (I laughed when I read that). But if you're an ex-Mormon living in Mormon central, who can you talk to?
No one wants to hear what an inactive apostate has to say. Not even my own wife.
I am healing but far from complete recovery. I am married to a Mormon and I live in SLC (both of those conditions will probably be rectified in the near future).
Every day at work, I interact with Mormons. In fact, I had an interesting thing happen, just today. I can't go into details, but I was speaking with two gentlemen (brothers) and one of them made a comment, "We will go down."
This is a quote directly from the temple ceremony. These two men are Mormons, of course, and when one of them said it, they both chuckled. I pretended that I didn't know what was going on. They have asked me before if I am LDS to which I responded that I am not religious. Most, if not all, of them assume that I have never been Mormon.
There is a girl at work (co-worker) who believes strongly in the church but lives anything but an LDS lifestyle. She has a lot of issues (and always brings them to work with her). I can only imagine the suffering she endures because she "knows" the church is true and yet does not live it. I am quite sure that she loathes herself, even though she is a very nice and sweet girl.
I just wish that for three seconds, I could put all of my knowledge and convictions into the heads of the Mormons around me so they could truly understand why I have chosen this path. I have tried to explain to my wife why I could dare "speak evil of the lord's annointed" (another quote from the temple ceremony).
She sees them as true prophets who walk and talk with god. I see them as lying assholes who would let a family starve just for another $10. It's amazing how two different people can look at the LDS leadership through their respective paradigms and see completely different attributes. Mormons see them as the mouthpiece for god. I loathe the very mention of their names.
I could never be Mormon again. The very thought that I might have not found the truth just makes me shudder. I can't even imagine living an entire lifetime as a Mormon. By the time I was 30, I was so burnt out by their demands that I stopped going to church. I can't even comprehend doing the Mormon thing for 70 or 80 years. Yet many of them do it.
I can't help but wonder how many of them follow the Mormon gospel out of fear. I know that some of them really do love it, but I wonder just how many. You see, in the Mormon gospel, you will become a god yourself if you comply with all the rules. If you don't follow all the rules then you will be a Son of Perdition and live in outer darkness with satan. How many follow because of the fear of outer darkness? I would love to know.
I did. Now that I have learned to be honest with myself I can truly say that I followed out of fear.
I am no longer afraid of damnation. It is nothing more than a control tactic to keep people (and their bank accounts) under control. I'll never account myself to a nosey bishop ever again. I'll never let them make me think that I am a huge piece of shit scum bag simply for being alive. I'm done with all the fairy tales and nonsense. It's time to start living in the real world.
And all I'm trying to do is bring my loved ones into the real world with me.
The ironic part is that they hate me for it...
How fucked up is that?