The reason for this post is because I have noticed that since leaving the LDS church I have had no interest really in befriending anyone I meet who is LDS, and was wondering if that is normal and how people move past that. I have maintained some of my friendships with those who are open minded, but lost most of them who either didn't like that I left the church, or thought that I should have left quietly and not spoke my mind about it.
Granted, I do live in Charleston, South Carolina. Therefore, running into Mormons isn't something that I do on a regular basis, except for at the grocery stores or something, because this being a bit of a more personalized area, generally you will be recognized by people in the ward that live near you. I have only been to my ward here once, but people know my family and those who were home teachers usually will recognize me and say hello, and even though I don't have a problem saying hi back, I am a bit reluctant to make small talk with them. The bishop of the ward was very nice when I asked for my membership records to be removed and just left a voicemail saying he wanted to get the matter behind us, and I called him back but I was very anxious to end the call, and I get rather nervous when missionaries are over.
In reality though, this isn't because I think since they are Mormons I want nothing to do with them and I am better than them or anything, it is more or less because in person I am more sensitive to other people's feelings than I am online and I hate to tell some female missionaries I no longer believed when I was the only one home and they came to the door, but I didn't really like doing that even though they were very nice about it. Also, part of me has a negative feeling towards them, because I don't really want to be around the kind of person I was as a Mormon, or around many of the Mormons like I knew in my old wards.
I know it comes up a lot in discussions about Mormons defriending people who leave the church or shunning them, but as much as we hate to admit it, many Ex-Mormons do the same thing to active members once they leave the church, and I don't want to be like the very thing I preach out against. So what are some successful socializing strategies you would suggest when making small talk, and then getting on a more personal level that would avoid building up an aquaintence that is only leading to be destroyed eventually?
While I am posting, I am also going to come out and make another confession in addition to may many other ways I have come out of some kind of closet. Many people suggested that I might have asperger's syndome in the past in either the chat room, in forums, or on facebook, and I will tell them that I do match many symptoms of both asperger's and obsessive compulsive disorder, which is not saying I actually have it, but it is possible. The reason that is relevant to this post is because it somehow leads to major obsession over few things, and having many one sided conversations with people that took my years of working on myself and developing to improve, so my obsession over debating religion and other controversial topics turns a lot of people off from me in person and has for many years, but many of my friends are people that generally agree with me on those sorts of things so it doesn't bother them as much.
It's hard maintaining relationships because those relationships were based on our activities in the church. It's a little world insulated by like minded people, and there is so much constant work going on, participating with others in church jobs, that when your mindset changes towards those things, it's hard to hang on to relationships.
Great post Duchess.
Can't we all see how easy it is to feel or see symptoms of disorders when we leave the church, or, even when totally present in mind and body? It's partly because we were brainwashed into accepting everything the bishop wanted us to do, even though he and we knew many of those callings just weren't in our mindset. So we'd work our tails off trying to perfect a calling that clearly was not in our best interest. And I always felt amazement that the bishop would ask my husband before asking me if I could handle a new calling. Like, "What's he got to do with this since he's going to say yes anyway?" The wonderful news is that once you are out, even though you experience trauma for some time, you aren't beholden to anyone to do anything. If you still believe in God, he expects none of this works crap. If you don't believe, consider yourself free. I've been singing in a choir for 8 years, and was shocked to learn that just singing alone, something I love, was considered a job in most churches. Don't have to worry about being asked to do anything else. Except volunteer sometimes. For all feeling PTSD, hang in there, it will get better, and if you feel it isn't, go see your doc and get some meds for it, if you can afford it. If you can't afford medication, email me. There are ways to get around that.
I found this part interesting:
.......we were brainwashed into accepting everything the bishop wanted us to do, even though he and we knew many of those callings just weren't in our mindset. So we'd work our tails off trying to perfect a calling that clearly was not in our best interest.
I realized in reading this that I was never that person. I think you do everything with passion in your life now and I'm sure it was the same when you were a Mormon. I realize that I grew up somewhat critical of the church or the Bishop. The Bishop wasn't really someone I always looked up to. I believe I had respect for his position, but I was never the sheep following the Shepherd. I wonder now if that is why my transition out of Mormonism was so much easier than most. I do think a lot of people accepted the church and the leaders unconditionally. I don't think I ever did and oddly it was more because I didn't think they were following the teachings of the church correctly or that they didn't really seem to believe things as they were taught.
To me it was as if everyone was just winging it on doctrine. At any rate, in the end I had to be all in or all out. I am happy you found a religion that better suits your passion and your personality. I'm not particularly bothered about having Mormon friends or not, but love not having to exclude anyone because they drink etc. I will say that other religions are just as difficullt for me to deal with as Mormonism in a friendship, so I'm probably less likely to have a Holy Roller as a friend than a Mormon. A friend of mine can't send a letter without mentioning Christ every other word. That tends to get annoying over time.
Devil, I wish I'd had your thoughts and feelings during my years in the church. I was so involved with other women that it never occurred to me, for 35 years, that what I was doing was unhealthy, and that the bishop was treating me in an unhealthy way. As far as other religions, I can't move in directions with holy rollers either. Nor can I in most religions. I prefer something that encourages me to doubt, to think for myself, and to add differing perspectives in Sunday school class. That is, when I actually go to class. Lazy, lazy. Ahem. In the trash goes my political vote for a fundamentalist. Legality, legality, legality.
It's fine to draw boundaries around who is in your life and choose the people you wish to spend your time with. Personally, I give a wide berth to people who have the garmie lines. Been there, done that. I know what they are taught about apostates like me. If a Mormon were to seek me out as a friend (not a contact) and make an effort I would consider giving them a chance. I'm this way with all people. I ask what value they will bring to my life and if I really want to spend my energy on them.
I agree that it's fine to draw boundaries, but mormons just have an agenda. Like when we moved to our home 3 years ago, and a mormon couple lived across the street from us. They brought over bread, and sent the missionaries, and when that failed, they stopped visiting with us. It's like you know they aren't at your doorstep to just get acquainted. They're there to add to the flock, and I find that disturbing.
Don't you think mormons are encouraged to make a move or two to get them to church, and then encouraged to back off if it doesn't work? Things seem to have changed for the better, in some situations here, in that mormons will make strong friendships at work and maintain them. Even after my name was removed, and my mormon friends at church knew this, they still maintained a partial friendship with me, and part of it was my doing because I bad mouthed the church, when it really wasn't necessary to do so. I've learned over the years that beating mormons over the head with their Book or Mormon really doesn't solve much.