If you have read Steven Hassan's book "Combating Cult Mind Control", or been around the postmo block awhile, you probably are painfully aware of just how fruitless it is to try get TBM's to critically analyze their own religion. Steven Hassan suggests helping them see the parallels in comparable organizations and let them figure out the blatant signs. I've been thinking perhaps there's another approach, that may or may not have been introduced before or at least not widely suggested or talked about: "De-conversion through Reconversion". This is more or less how I first left. Converting to a belief system that makes far more logical and emotional sense made my transition out of Mormonism nearly painless and far less dramatic. It also made a lot smoother transition to the possibility that nothing exists after death.

So what do we reconvert people to if you don't want them stuck in another cult? Reincarnation. If you think of "deconversion through reconversion" as a means to an end, I think we are fully justified, since powerful mind control tactics are employed to keep our family in the dark etc. Once they are deconverted/reconverted, they can much more easily turn a critical eye towards Mormonism and finally see it for what it is. They may or may not eventually drop what they were reconverted to, but at least their mind will be set free to decide what they'd rather believe.

To help in the reconversion, I wrote up the intro to "A More Loving and Logical Plan for Existence" as seen below. You may add, subtract or modify any or all of it to meet your customized conversion needs. Mormonism is by far one of the worst "plans of salvation" that I know of. Even if you don't like the idea of converting your loved one to believing in reincarnation (seems harmless to me), it shouldn't be that hard for you to develope some other customized belief system to convert them to all the while subtly deconverting them from Mormonism. I am open to all suggestions, comments, feedback and criticisms of this idea. If it helps even just one soul leave Mormonism, my joy shall be full in the presence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. On to "A More Loving and Logical Plan for Existence".

Note: I am not trying to start a religion or anything of the sort. This is just what makes sense to me if it so be that some part of us exists after death and seems like one of the most harmless belief systems one could adopt. The idea is to get their minds thinking about a "plan of salvation" that makes a lot more sense or more unconditionally loving than the POS they currently have.

A More Loving and Logical Plan for Existence


Assuming God exists and is an unconditionally loving and logical being, one would think that nothing less than the ascension of all beings would be acceptable, leaving none behind in an eternal "time out" or other condemned state for not passing the course - a kind of "no child left behind" methodology for heaven. Assuming that some part of each of us is immortal, our soul or spirit if you will, and that we exist for the purpose of evolving and becoming something greater, I put forth a more loving and logical plan for existence, that is based mostly off of the precepts of unconditional love with the application of logic and reason.

Due to the nature of our frail bodies, life varies in length and suffering for each of us. Life may be snuffed out anywhere from moments after birth, to several decades that may top a century for the longest lived amongst us Homo-sapiens. The experiences we pass through can also vary greatly depending upon the country of birth and the many environmental contributors ranging from the local economy to personal freedoms and more. One life time, no matter how long or fulfilled, falls short when compared to all that there is to learn and experience in the Universe. If you could compare the length and depth of one life time to a drop of water, and the vast experiences and length of eternity (aka infinity) to all of the oceans of the world combined, you'd still have to fill an infinite number of planets with an infinite number of oceans for this to be a real comparison and to gain an appreciation of just what it means to live forever and how insignificant one lifetime is in the vast scope of a never ending existence. Thus, basing an eternal assignment or condemnation off of just one single and brief lifetime seems short sighted at best and ridiculous at worst. With forever to burn and an infinite void to fill, an often ignored alternative seems so much more logical and unconditionally loving: Reincarnation.

Just as our education systems usually allow for one to repeat a grade when they failed to grasp the concepts, or because they slacked, rebelled or whatever, so too would a just and reasonable God allow one to live as many lives as necessary for them evolve and gain the greatest amount of experience, knowledge, wisdom and compassion possible. When viewing Eternity from this scope, it seems possible that we may already be ascended beings who choose to be reborn in this dimension from time to time to experience new things, learn new depths of suffering and compassion or just get out of the daily grind of heaven. Have you ever wanted to know what it was like to be King Arthur or perhaps Galileo? Why wonder when you can just take a brief vacation from the in-between world and live it in the flesh, a sort of plugging back in to the matrix so to speak. The possibilities of this type of school of learning are endless.

When it comes to deciding what's important, it may be worth noting those things that likely continue with you in your between lives (life after death, before your next incarnation etc). This would likely be just our relationships, experiences and wisdom.. Service to others and respect for all forms of life would probably find its way up on this list. How you treat and respect others may eventually take precedence over how well you can obey a list of rules, which rules may or may not influence how you serve others and yourself. Doing good has its own rewards, even if only felt by yourself. Relieving suffering, feeding the hungry, bringing about peace and equality will probably seem more worthwhile than how many prayers were said or rules obeyed when you interact with those souls again in between lives. The cycle of re-births allows for everyone to progress and eternity means that we have forever to get there, if it is that we are trying to get anywhere. Perhaps even in this, the journey is the point, and not the supposed destination.

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Well, I'll be honest. I'm actually in the midst of "reincarnation" study, myself. I'm totally fine with it, open to it, etc. But it NOT a subject that goes over easily with TBM's. (though I always considered it a possiblity as a TBM). There's not really an easy door lead them into, IMO. Unless you all happen to be a family that likes to engage in debate. Mine doesn't.

I've read a couple of very interesting books lately about life between lives. If you are interested in the subject, and want to talk to your family about reincarnation, these might help make sense to get you started?? As they deal more with "heaven", as they would understand it. Though it's unfortunately, for their minds, NOT judgemental in any way shape or form, the way they think it will be there. If it's true, it sounds like a place I'd like to really be a part of....IF it's true. Who the hell knows.

The books are by Michael Newton, PhD.
Journey of Souls (make sure to read first)
Destiny of Souls

ok, now I'm going to duck for cover....
Cool, I'll look into those.
I think it might speak to your "we are one" beliefs very well. It's quite beautiful, honestly.
This is perfect, Micah. The logical conclusion that it leads me to is that in an earlier life I was the 14-year old Helen Mar Kimball and was violated by Joseph Smith.

I'm also pretty sure that at about the same time in an earlier life you were an American soldier from New Jersey who was sent to fight in the Mexican-American War and died of disease.

I agree with the concept that converting TO something else is a good thing to do. In many cases, I think a good first step is to convert from TBM to New Order Mormon. That often leads folks on to PostMormon and ExMormon status.

Reincarnation is interesting and fun, but I suspect Kath is right, it will seem nonsensical to Mormons and some kind of silly "magic thinking."

Perhaps a better tactic will be to teach Mormons that there are people who believe goofy things out there (like reincarnation) and help Mormons learn how to teach people to apply RATIONAL thinking to their goofy beliefs. This could be done to help "protect" Mormons from adopting irrational "magic thinking" as taught by Scientologists, Moonies, etc.
I reconverted to science, that and math are pretty much my new religion.
Although, I do look forward to the beer volcano the FSM has promised me. I try to commit at least one act of (digital)piracy each day in order to achieve my salvation.

rAmen.
Deconversion is a topic that I've spent a considerable amount of time thinking about. Having seen 'the light' myself, it is only natural to want to share this greater enlightenment with my wife and children. The pain and conflict that results from our spiritual disparity is great to say the least. While alternative topics on life after death and the purpose of our human journey are all interesting discussion points they do not address what I believe to be the fundamental problems preventing Mormons from breaking free of the mind control and group-think they are ruled by. In my opinion the roadblock to deconversion isn't the lack of creative or viable spiritual alternatives but the vilification of all things non-mormon. Until Mormons can see that being non-mormon is not inherently evil, they will have no motivation to change their direction, even when that direction has so many flaws in its thinking. From the mormon standpoint it is better to illogically act the part than to be condemned and miserable.

It is for this reason that at least in my case it is so important to continue to be a sober, supportive husband and father. There is a very real tendency that I personally struggle with to simply walk away from everything and become a drunk in the gutter. Of course this will only serve to reinforce the disparaging notion that to be non-mormon is to be miserable and irresponsible and reinforce any and all other misconceptions associated with being anything other than mormon. While there are an infinite number of good reasons for Mormons to deconvert, the examples we set as ex-mormons will have greater influence than any logical conclusion on doctrinal misguidance and life's purpose.
Iron Lung: In my opinion the roadblock to deconversion isn't the lack of creative or viable spiritual alternatives but the vilification of all things non-mormon. Until Mormons can see that being non-mormon is not inherently evil, they will have no motivation to change their direction, even when that direction has so many flaws in its thinking. From the mormon standpoint it is better to illogically act the part than to be condemned and miserable.
It is for this reason that at least in my case it is so important to continue to be a sober, supportive husband and father. There is a very real tendency that I personally struggle with to simply walk away from everything and become a drunk in the gutter. Of course this will only serve to reinforce the disparaging notion that to be non-mormon is to be miserable and irresponsible and reinforce any and all other misconceptions associated with being anything other than mormon. While there are an infinite number of good reasons for Mormons to deconvert, the examples we set as ex-mormons will have greater influence than any logical conclusion on doctrinal misguidance and life's purpose.

I think what you say here is really the key Iron Lung. Nothing will really break through the mind control until the individual themselves makes a conscious decision to open their mind and consider that there may just be some truth from outside the morg. This is why the metaphor "when the student is ready, a teacher will appear" is so adept at explaining this paradox. No teacher will be adequate until the individual prepares themselves. I still find myself amazed that I made a break from Mormonism, especially since I wasn't really investigating Mormonism itself. Thanks for your comment. Good luck to you in your journey.
I think the idea is excellent but the believer must already be in some stage of readiness. How about brainstorming? Get the person to create his own universe and come up with his own laws/outcomes. See if there is any thing they would change from their current set of beliefs.

It has been suggested that the doubter ask the believer, "If the church were really false, wouldn't you want to know?" I tried this approach on my TBM wife and she replied, "No. I wouldn't want to know. I couldn't deal with it." The church encourages people to be very open minded when investigating but then wants the investigator to close his mind after joining.

Bruce Spackman
Bruce Spackman: How about brainstorming? Get the person to create his own universe and come up with his own laws/outcomes. See if there is any thing they would change from their current set of beliefs.

This is a great idea, and one I remember being introduced by Steven Hassan if I remember correctly. Ask your TBM friend/family questions to get them thinking. Questions like, "if you were an apostle, what would you do different" or, "if you were God, what would you change to try make more of your kids find their way back to your presence?" Good thoughts Bruce!
So to get people to realize that Mormonism probably isn't true, you want them to buy into some other idea that probably isn't true? :/
It worked for me, why not others?
I guess it depends on what you mean by "worked."

If your goal is to get people out of Mormonism, then sure, I guess it could work.

If your goal is to get people to discover and appreciate *truth* then I think you're just replacing one crutch with another. You might as well propose we convert Mormons to Catholicism. Or Scientology. Or....

Sure, some stuff out there is more dangerous or harmful than others, but converting from one idea to another doesn't do anything to equip the person to distinguish good ideas from bad ideas, true ideas from false ideas, positive ideas from negative ideas. You aren't giving them the tools or the methodology they need to think and evaluate... you're just dangling a different piece of shiny glitter in front of them. And in a year, they'll get distracted with something else.

And yes, you're right, after they've been distracted by enough pieces of shiny they might start to think about how at least some of those things might not be true and so they become more critical and skeptical. In the meantime, they've joined a couple other cults, they've lost a bunch of money to MLM schemes, and they've let a kid die because they prayed for a miracle instead of going to a hospital.

Getting out of Mormonism is not the end game. Mormonism is just one symptom of a much larger problem, and promoting other symptoms (even if they are less harmful) as a cure is, at best, a very long and painful way to get better.

I agree it's the road some people take, but I don't think it's the road we should be encouraging.

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