Most of the time the issues surrounding the church are just not that relevant to me anymore. I spend little time being concerned with the facts of it all since I feel like I have accepted and moved on. I don't usually feel like shouting from the rooftops that the church is wrong and hurtful to it's members. Sometimes I will talk to a fellow exmo and feel a little fired up about an issue for the amount of time it takes for the conversation, and then it fades back into the distance for me. It's just where I'm at these days. I am happy about this, as it seems like a pretty healthy place for me with plenty of balance. I guess that's why I find it so unsettling when I have something pop up that throws me for a loop. I have been thinking about something since MLK day and it has been just under the surface for me. I have felt kind of weepy over little things lately and just kind of on edge. A feeling I haven't had in a really, really long time. I'm not exactly sure what to do about it. I am happy to listen to advice from you all because I have found so much comfort and help here. (thanks to all of you btw)

Okay, so here's what I'm getting at:

Growing up in a very hardcore tbm family always brought up issues for me. One thing that bothered me pretty much as long as I can remember is the race issue. My parents did their best to raise me right. They just have some wonky views that were passed to them. They were good parents and did their best. I remember asking them as a little kid about blacks and priesthood and issues around race and getting answers that even then made me sick to my stomach. For example, I was learning about MLK in school. I came home and mentioned it to my Mom and she jumped in to tell me just what a horrible person he was. When I asked her what was so bad that he did, she said that he had terrible politics, and oh yeah, he slept around on his wife.

At the time I remember trying to understand why they may not like him and just thinking they were weird. I didn't know at the time of course the Joseph Smith had been such a womanizer. Looking back over the years, those are the only 2 reasons that my parents could give me for not liking the man. How can they view him so harshly and not see how hypocritical that viewpoint is in light of their most beloved leader?? It boggles my mind. Makes me sad. Throws me for a loop. I don't even know why this is bothering me so much recently. I just keep letting it stew in my head and don't really know what to do with it. I guess I will just keep slogging along and hoping it will clear itself up like most other things do. IS this one of the moments that I shouldn't keep the peace in my family and question them on it? It won't change anything for them. It won't make them suddenly see that I'm not a lost soul. I don't really know what purpose it would serve to confront the issue within my family of origin. So, I guess I'm just looking for a place to clear my head. Thanks for looking through my cobwebs.

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I grew up in California and had afro-american friends. The black priesthood ban always bothered me. My mom would always say that the blacks were not ready for the priesthood. I didn't like her reply, but basically ignored the cog-dis I had with this doctrine. Low-and-behold, during my senior year of high school the priesthood ban was "magically lifted". I then end up serving a mission in the Dominican Republic which is about 90% black. The thing that frustrated me was that we were instructed as missionaries to avoid talking about the prior ban at all costs. Pretty much we swept it under the "Mormon History Rug" and pretended like it never happened. The church still does this, as they do with any other controversy, and hope that the passing of time and the younger generation are never exposed to these issues. Thank God for the Internet which now is lifting up the rug and exposing these ugly past controversies.
Seeing the history cleanup firsthand has to be one of the hardest things to live with on a "shelf" of doubt. How long did it take you to come to your senses after all this?
From 1980 to 2008. It was a slow arduous process until I finally came out of the closet and told my family that I did not believe anymore.
Beautiful! Thanks for your response!
Your mom thought MLK was a horrible person?  I'm so sorry, but that is so incredibly limited, that it be-speaks of racism.  Lots of LDS people belong to the democratic party.  Does she find them horrible as well?  It it's bothering you this much, clear it up with her.  She may have moved away from her stance somewhat.  Mellowed a little.  We owe it to our children to be truthful and well read, and if we perpetuate racist traditions, we need to stop.  Many here know what it takes to get a doctorate.  At least, if for no other reason, Luther should have been respected for doing that during the time school segregation was so severe that lynchings were still legal in the south. And whether or not the man slept around on his wife is a moot point.  There is so much evidence that Hoover planted to undo the man, it's pathetic.
My parents really feel that they have mellowed. Over the years they have softened on some things a bit, but she is still very staunch in most ways. It does amaze me that she can allow herself to have such a limited view of a person that she probably hasn't even bothered to study. I would imagine that most information she has on the entire issue was handed to her and she never has looked at an opposite opinion.

The rationale I was given for Joseph Smiths philandering was that he practiced spiritual wifery and, if God directs it, it must be okay and Joseph did nothing wrong.

 

Now here's the problem (and bear with me, but this has to be discussed). The LDS teaching on wifery stems from a misapplication of ancient polygamous interactions. You see, while true that Abraham, David, Solomon, etc., practiced polygamy and concubinage, there was nothing from God (even in Judaic law) permitting either and, when one reads the stories, it looks to me like practicing them leads only to unrest and trouble.

 

Sarah and Hagar hated one another; Rachel and Leah got into a pregnancy pissing contest; David had nothing but trouble (re: Amnon and Tamar story) and on and on.

 

But Joseph Smith read these accounts without looking at the lesson. Instead he said: well God didn't stop them so it must be ok!

 

Poor Joseph. He could've spared himself and his followers alot of heartburn had he not delved into polygamy.

 

I hope this explains a little insight.

I agree with JS missing the lesson in Old Testament stories about polygamy. Leading edge archaeology, however, reveals those stories about Abraham, David and Solomon to be more than likely fictional... probably written thousands of years after their supposed lifetimes as an attempt to create a history and lineage for the Israelites to help bind them together politically. Point being, they are mythical morality tales at best, but perhaps good ones taken in the light you are using them. Check out the very enlightening PBS series by Israel Finkelstein and Neil Silberman "The Bible Unearthed". Fascinating insight on Old Testament and Archaeological evidence, or lack thereof.
I'm just starting to spend more time poking around the 'Life After Mormonism' web site.  This is my first post.  I joined the LDS Church as an adult and after the policy of not extending the priesthood to blacks had been ended.  You know, we come in full of hope and admiration for the family-centered nature of LDS culture.  The less admirable aspects of LDS history and culture can be easily missed and dismissed, if you want to be a true believer.  My path over the past 10-15 years took me from being a quite conservative Christian to being a fairly liberal agnostic, even as I accepted callings in the typical progression of things, including the Bishopric (I was never a Bishop) and the High Council.  Concurrently, I experienced working with out-of-the-closet same-sex attracted co-workers, and began to be increasingly uncomfortable with typical conservative prejudices toward gays and lesbians.  I was part of a Bishopric reinstatement of full membership privileges for a lesbian woman who was married, with children, to an active priesthood holder.  I saw the pain that they were experiencing, including the pain of having to talk about such personal things in front of, not only the Bishop, but we counselors and the Ward Clerk.  About a year later, I was invited to speak at Stake Conference, and I spoke about recent (not well covered) statements in the Ensign, indicating a softening Church position (at the time, at least, it seemed) that homosexuals are not "at fault" and didn't choose to be same-sex attracted.  I saw this couple after the session in the hallway, and they smiled at me approvingly, so I felt that perhaps I had done some small good.  Then, I moved to Arizona during the Prop 8 (Prop 102, in AZ) fiasco.  I was so turned off by the blatant politicization of this issue in church meetings, that I couldn't stay silent during Sunday School classes and such.  I went inactive, my marriage ended shortly thereafter and I'm more than a little bitter toward the LDS Church now.  I see the good things about Mormonism, but I also see it as a fundamentally toxic environment for mostly good people to socialize in.

I know what you mean. I went almost 20 years before I realized my parents, well my mom at least, was a racist. I didn't pay enough attention or even know many blacks in the church to know anything about the priesthood issue until later. It never came up when I was younger. I realized I, like you, was learning life lessons outside of my parents that I would have otherwise assummed were lessons they were teaching me. Love thy neighbor was something they taught me but they never specified that it was conditional until after I had friends that were black, gay, or what have you. Then it came out. My mom said "I have nothing against blacks but my kids better not bring one home and say they are marrying one" or "I'm not a racist but" and then say something totally racist. Blew my miind. I mean, she was never really the nicest or loving person but I just didn't know she was racist. And her reason? That god commanded we shouldn't marry outside of our race. I don't understand that one bit. What did it have to do with blacks? They are part of the human race. We dont' criticize dogs or cats or say they are going outside of their "race" when they mate with another that has a different color or body type. So why would being with a black person be such a big deal. Yet in her eyes it was ok if the person was Asian, Hispanic, White, or anything else other than being black. And she made sooo many snide comments. To this day I still cannot understand why she is such a racist, or why anyone would be anymore honestly. I just dont' get it.

 

Should you address it? I think only you know the answer to that. I've thought about addressing issues with my parents in regards to the Mormon religion but they aren't in a place where they want to hear it. They'll continue making excuses. I remember their faces when I first asked a question and this man, my dad, who taught me to never just believe what I was told told me that I was not to question the religion but just take things on faith. You may want to tread the waters lightly to gauge whether it would be productive to bring it up or not. Otherwise I like your live and let live philosophy. You are treating others the way you want to be treated. And don't feel too bad about your feelings in regards to wanting them to see the truth. IN a way, remember when they share religious thoughts with you they also think they are sharing an important truth with you.

If anyone is raising children whose grandparents are racist the subject needs to be addressed.  By doing nothing, you are opening the door for the children to pick up on things you may never even know happened.  For me, with biracial children, it should be a deal breaker.  Just because someone doesn't come right out and say to a black, asian, Indian, etc., child that they are inferior, doesn't mean it doesn't get through to them.  It's like this:  "If you make comments like that around my children, or, even infer that belief using religion, they will no longer be coming to your house."  I mean, really, boundaries and respect are screaming at me on this one.  My grandmother was indeed racist, against blacks, going so far as to suggest to a black neighbor one block away that he move.  I was vocal enough, loud enough, nasty enough, to get through.  Not to change her opinion.  But to change her behavior around us.
I agree about raising children around racist grandparents. I guess I did not mention that since my parents are no longer a part of their lives for other religions that have nothing to do with race or religion. My husbands step-dad is racist, more obviously so, and he has been warned with the same consequences laid out. We are not a bi-racial family but I do not want them picking up or learning to be racist from them. Before I came along my husband never stood up for himself and many things have changed that he didn't think would. I have no problem with sticking to what I say either (not a big fan of his stepdad anyway so that would make it even easier).

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