Although pained in the beginning by her animosity toward me, I've come to a place of peace and understanding. With the objectivity of 2 years out of the church, I can more clearly see that my sister (and parents to a lesser degree) are simply products of Mormon culture. Their reaction to my questioning and leaving the church has only reinforced my understanding of some of the destructive elements of Mormon doctrine and culture.
Among these destructive elements are:
1- a paranoia of anything which is "anti-Mormon"
2- the belief that apostates (those who leave the church) are to be shunned
3- the belief that leaving the church (apostasy) is the worst of all sins and is unpardonable
4- the belief that family bonds are of ultimate value, can only be preserved through temple sealing, and are surely shattered when a member leaves the church.
5- the belief that we are saved through our performance and adherence to commandments/rules (such as the word of wisdom, temple rituals, obeying the sabbath, etc)
6- the belief that men (us mere mortals) can be ordained by God to sit in judgment on one another
7- the belief that God loves us conditionally (Mormons in turn love themselves and others
8- the belief that the LDS church is the only true church and that all other denominations are "an abomination in the sight of God" (words of Joseph Smith).
9- the belief that the best angle to investigate the church is from the church, itself (to me, this is akin to asking a homeowner to do his/her own home inspection for a home buyer - no one in their right mind would do this due to obvious bias)
10- the belief that drinking a cup of coffee or having a glass of wine are indicators by which you judge character.
I find the irony of Mormon culture pathetic. On one hand, they claim to be centered on family values and love/compassion, but on the other, judging, hating, shunning, are a big part of the culture toward anyone or thing not pro-Mormon. Pathetic.
This is an EXCELLENT idea!! Thanks!