Monday, November 26, 2007

Guilt From "Sin"

The LDS church functions on two things, fear and guilt. Fear of damnation is a major factor that keeps members obeying. However, tonight I'd like to talk about guilt. There are different kinds of guilt.

One kind of guilt is the guilt felt when one isn't really living up to all the commandments and yet tells little white lies to get by. They really don't do their home teaching; maybe once every couple of months or so. They pay a part tithe just to look good to the bishop, but it's not a full "honest" tithe. This person is "getting by" in the church and looks good to everyone but has that secret, inner torment that eats away at them because they know they might be fooling the bishop and the ward members but they are not fooling god.

Sin in the Mormon church is a big, huge deal. Members are constantly taught all the no no's. If one falls into "sin" it is a lengthy process to repent and come back into full faith. Because of all the pressure all the time, members know it is just plain easier to avoid sin and dealing with it. First of all is the humiliation of confessing to the bishop. What will he say? Will he punish me forever? What if he tells me I can't take the sacrament anymore? Then everyone will know that I sinned. Second, what will my neighbors think? What will they say? I can't believe I was the weak one who fell into sin.

These are the exact things that went through my mind as a Mormon. And I am sure that many other people feel exactly the same way. So how do you deal with it? Just keep your mouth shut. You don't confess the sin because you are too damn ashamed of yourself and are so damn afraid of the punishment from the bishop and the rumors about you in the ward. So you say nothing. You keep that sin all to yourself and just go about the daily routine.

When the bishop calls you in for an interview, you are sweating bullets. The bishop has the power of discernment and will be able to tell if you are lying. He begins asking you questions. When he asks about certain things, which you are guilty of, you just can't bring yourself to tell him. You lie, and amazingly, the power of discernment must have had a glitch just then because he failed to detect it.

So you pass the interview and are declared "worthy" by the bishop. But that sin, and now that lie, are heaping down upon you like a ton of bricks. You feel like a worthless pile of scum. But you smile and go through life as though nothing is wrong. You must keep that air of righteousness, happiness. No one can know that you are secretly suffering inside. After all, you're LDS; you're supposed to be happy all the blankety blank time! So you are determined to keep that sin to yourself because although you are suffering now, the shame and guilt you will feel when everybody finds out what you did will be even worse.

You keep this sin locked away inside you for so long, that being miserable starts to feel normal. You've never committed any sins since and maybe your suffering has been enough punishment. Maybe god has already forgiven you. After all, you've prayed earnestly for years for forgiveness. You've gone through all the steps for repentance, except one. Confession.

Has god forgiven me? You really don't know. Maybe the bishop will know. But you can't go to the bishop now. First you would have to confess your sin and then you would have to admit that you lied about it before. So you go through your life, wondering if god has ever forgiven you. Deep inside, you know he hasn't. You didn't confess it to the proper priesthood authority.

You see, folks, this is the life of a Mormon. You must look good to everyone. You must uphold the standard of righteousness. It's impossible to say how many people feel this way, but I would guess that many, many do. And this is what Mormonism does to people. It makes them hate themselves for a simple sin that they committed many years ago. And ironically, people go back to the church to find strength to overcome this "weakness". The church heaps tons of guilt and pressure on them and they walk away hating themselves even more. This is the nasty, vicious Mormon cycle.

So many people live their lives in a lie. They unworthily partake of the sacrament. They go to the temple; they fulfill callings and give blessings. They bear their testimony about how true it all is and how happy it makes them. But the lie is growing and growing. This person now hates themselves so much that they begin to wonder if god hates them too. Each week they go to church and hear about the damnation that awaits the non-penitent.

What does this person do? Some people in the church are literally driven to suicide. Others take anti-depressant drugs. It is a fact that Utah leads the nation in teen suicides and Prozak consumption. Do we see a correlation here? We can't say for sure that being Mormon causes people to commit suicide and take anti-depressants, but the correlation is undeniable. So for the only "true church" and the only true source of happiness, it sure doesn't appear to work very well, does it?

Instead of producing happy people, Mormonism produces depressed people who know they need to appear happy. So they put on the happy mask and go about their daily duties, secretly miserable but outwardly happy. Their life is a huge lie. But the church is true, and if they are miserable, it's their own fault. Being Mormon is all about living a double life and having the appearance of happiness.

Some people endure this misery all their lives. They cling to the church which gives them strength but at the same time condemns them. They love and hate the church.

Other people, like myself, finally open our eyes and get out of that vicious Mormon cycle. Get out of the organization that dumps fear and guilt on you. You are not a horrible person just because you touched a girls titties once. You are okay! You don't need forgiveness from some jealous, angry god.

Of course, getting out of the church will bring even more gossip and shame upon you. But at this point, you don't care what people think. You are so sick and tired of living a lie that you seriously don't care what it takes. Becoming inactive was the first wonderful step of getting out of that double life as a Mormon. Simply removing the "happy" mask, has been a tremendous relief. No more living a lie, a double standard. You might be inactive, but at least you don't have to pretend that life as a Mormon is wonderful and great.

The fact is, you have been suffering nearly your entire life due to the lies and shame and guilt that the church eagerly dumps upon you. You ate up their lies and believed it with all your heart. The more you believed it, the more you hated yourself. The more you hated yourself, the more you relied on the church to "heal" you. That is why I call it a nasty, vicious cycle. Because that's exactly what it is.

I never did confess that sin and yet the guilt from it is completely gone! It's beyond gone! In fact, I regret that I didn't "sin" a whole hell of a lot more! Why? Because sin is a man-made concept. If two people willingly share a "sexual experience" then there is nothing wrong with it. If I have an occasional beer, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. There is no such thing as sin. Many people will not believe me and will cling to their religion to save them, but I can tell you that receiving the enlightenment that there is no such thing as sin, has been the most liberating event of my life.

Of course, Mormons will tell me that I just want to sin. I made all this up to justify myself. They can say whatever they want; the truth is, I just abandoned the fear and guilt of being human and I realized that human nature is exactly that: human nature. Seriously, if I am a sinner just for being human, then the Christian god has an extremely demented sense of humor.

I am okay! I am good! I don't need the approval or forgiveness from some god on a plant millions of miles away. If that god can't even take three seconds to show himself to me, then why should I spend my entire lifetime proving myself to him?

Do you want proof that there is no god? Just think about this simple phrase: "All things die". Plants, animals, planets, even stars. All things die. There is no such thing as an immortal being. It is a fact that all things die. If there is a higher intelligence out there, it is not alive. But how can it be an intelligence if it is not alive? Good question. What's the simple answer? There is no god.

Free yourself from the Mormon lies and discover a whole new world!

Just another evil apostate...

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