As mormons, people use the church, the scriptures, the words of the prophet and the nebulous concept of 'personal revelation' as their moral compass. 

Since leaving, I've developed my own moral compass (okay, I did that before I left and that's why I didn't gel so well with a lot of what the church said.)  

Mine is based on individual freedom.  I believe everyone should be free to pursue the life that they choose, and it's not up to any other person to help them make the 'right decisions'.  'Evil' actions are those that limit personal freedom.  'Good' actions are those that help a person in their pursuits.

 

So obviously killing someone is pretty evil- it completely ends their ability to pursue their own goals.  Abusing a child is evil- it emotionally stunts that child so they're unable to progress as they might have.  Stealing someone's property is bad- it limits their freedom because the time they put in to obtaining that property is lost, and they will lose more time trying to regain what they've lost.  

Sex, which the church sets right next to murder, is only bad insomuch that it limits a person (ie, gives them an std, an unwanted pregancy- which I could argue isn't so bad because my extended family has grown through adoption =) or if that person was forced into it, or if someone lied to get them into bed.

Lying is terrible because it limits people's freedom- they can't make good decisions for themselves when information is hidden from them.  I really hate lies!

 

Your freedom ends where another person's begins.  

 

So far this 'moral system' has answered most moral quandaries I run into.  A grey area is children (how free are people to limit their children's freedom and to what degree should the government/bystanders step in to protect children?) and abortion (do you focus on the mother's freedom - having to give 9 months of her life and possibly limit her opportunities, or the baby's freedom to live?  As I stated above, I'm incredibly biased about abortion/adoption issues because adoption gave me my two amazing nephews and I'm SO glad their mothers endured 9 months of pregnancy and then labor to allow them to live.)

 

Anyways, post-mormonism, what's your moral compass?

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This is actually very interesting. I think you have some very good points. I just go on my heart. I often wander on Utahs beautiful landscape and just think of the issues and morality and take the wisest option available.

The Golden Rule is always a good rule to live by in my opinion. I like to think how I would react in a situation, how I would like to be treated, so I try to treat people in that manner. It makes the most logical sense to me. If you treat others like crap, they're gonna treat you as such in return. Well, sometimes they do it anyway, but more often that not it pays off.

 

As for abortion, I'm not in agreement with late term abortions. The child is not sentient in the early stages so I don't see a problem with it, but after a certain point in the pregnancy, for me, it's month 3, you shouldn't abort the child but place it for adoption. I may be biased for adoption because I placed my own baby boy for adoption. :P I do think that the mothers have an option to choose.

Izzy-chu, How insightful of you to care enough about your child to place him for adoption.  And how grateful I am that you could share that with this group.  I have always been hugely pro-adoption, for the sake of the mother, and for the sake of the baby.  My own brother has one child whom they adopted through an open adoption, and her biological family has been able to keep in touch, when they were comfortable doing so.  It was more difficult for the mother, so she didn't write as much, but still asked for pictures and updates.  They were all present at my niece's wedding a year ago, and my niece gave a speech honoring her bio mom for the courage she had to place her with her parents, who have given her a wonderful upbringing.  She's now doing her student teaching in Montana, and has a job interview lined up.  It's tough encouraging people to go into education now that teachers are treated like second class citizens, but she really wanted to do it, and was able to get a full ride scholarship to boot.  Sorry for the babble.
mistyjune, It sounds like your sister-in-law is a little slow on the uptake.
We've got tens of thousands of religious folks out there who are just plain dangerous in their thinking, because they don't follow simple tenets of peace, and kindness to others, rather, they follow leaders who tell them how to sway elections and how to piss off their neighbors.
Such a great conversation! Thanks for the heads up on TED!
God, it always comes back to abortion, and we simply cannot ignore the massive amount of brainwashing done within the church concerning new "spirits."  If I say I'm pro-choice, because I know for a fact it's not a cookie cutter decision, then a ton of women on this site are going to go crazy with how marvelous and precious it is for every rape victim, 12 years old, to give birth.  Or every mentally unstable woman who's on the fence of killing herself or not, and how she should get over herself and give birth.  Or every situation where the mother has had to take drugs for mental disorders that pretty much deem the fetus totally vegetative.  By all means, SHE should give birth, and if she doesn't, let's crucify her and blame her for using abortion as birth control.  I personally took care of 2 12 year old pregnant girls in the hospital while still practicing nursing, and in those days we didn't have epidurals.  I often wondered if their fathers were involved, because, neither girl ever said one word, not even hello, during her stay in the hospital.  I do remember one mother suggesting the doctor not give any pain medicine so she'd "learn her lesson."  Yeah, I bet that really made the girl whole.
Bar, I would not want you arrested, and further, thousands of embryos are destroyed in our country as a result of test tube manipulation.  I find it morally reprehensible that people feel the need to put their children at risk by going the invitro route, with multiple children being  born, a good number of those children with health problems.  And yet, everybody is expected to show up for feedings, diaper changings, laundry folding, you name it.  Look at Kate Gosselin.  She thinks she's special and is owed something because she selfishly spawned 6 babies at once, knowing full well they could have been mentally and physically impaired because of her choice.  When a man was convicted of killing that abortion doctor last year, on another site that I immediately got out of, one woman said she'd do the same thing.  Kill the guy.  You have more to fear from pro-life loonies than you ever will from someone down center field.

Wheather or not i will get caught. Just kidding, but in a sence we all do it. Taking ketchup packs from the fast food restarant. a pen from the office, or driving over the speed limit or what ever, The important question to ask is wheather your actions will hurt someone else.

 

 

I have to agree that common sense has taken the lead in a moral compass for many, if not most of us.  Once we become individualized thinkers, it can be harder, having had all those decisions made for us by a very large denomination.  I think most of it comes just from growing up.  Helping a child who's fallen down, not intentionally harming others, etc.

I've thought a lot about this in the last couple of decades. My basic morality came not only from church, but from school. I was educated by left wing Commie Pinko Bastards. My elementry school was surrounded by UWM (Milwakee) from 1968-1974. The Hippies passed out tracts and fliers to me. I took them all. I read them all with my unsophisticated mind.

They made more sense than what i was taught in church. Some bald Hippie gave me a hand silkscreened poster of a Vietnamese girl working a rice paddy while bombs dropped. It was cool, I took it home at lunch and pinned to my bedroom wall. When I got home later the shit had hit the fan. I was told that the war was about defeating the NVA so the missionaries could convert the people to "The True Church". I Knew at 9 yrs old That this was bullshit.

Fastforward to now. I believe my moral compass comes from the literature I read in my late 20s to mid thirties. The 4 authors who had the most effect me were Dostoevsky, Camus, Hugo and Arthur C Clarke. These gave me my Humanistic viewpoint.

I think it's time to stop kowtowing to an angry murderous deity and start trying to progress humanity.

My moral compass boils down to two things:

 

1. Improve whatever you can. Primarily your self, your community, and the lives of those around you.

2. Never, ever treat people as things. I got that one from a Terry Pratchett book and the truth of it really hit home for me. Treating people as things is the start of most horrible things you can do.

 

That's been the basis of my moral compass since long before I questioned the veracity of the church. It hasn't failed me yet.

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