I am curious to know what others see as the biggest draw or attraction to mormonism? For my mom, who was a convert at 23 years old, it was the emotional intensity and the draw of being superior and knowing something that others don't know.
My 6 siblings and I were born into the church so we had no choice in the matter, but out of the 5 who have stayed active TBMs the draw is also the feeling of superiority and the default living. They live by default and don't have to think, parent, etc because they just default to all church teaching and outlines. The attitude of superiority is a hug divide between me and my TBM family members. I don't think that gap will ever be bridged because they refuse to respect the way I live, although I make a huge effort to respect their desire to live TBM.
Just curious to know what others see as the major draw or attraction of the LDS church?
I dont recall using the word "superiority" in my posting above but perhaps you are referring to another posting elsewhere. Suffice to say - count yourself lucky you have at your disposal so much 'out there' to draw your own conclusions in the end. It is a journery you, yourself must take.
I am not going to comment on your "only received kindness" - because in my walk with the church I too only experienced kindness and friendship - which very sadly changed 360 degrees when I started raising questions contrary to what I had been taught and eventually decided to leave. I have worked past that because kindness can be relative - the people are not what concerns me - it is the doctrine (mostly untold doctrine) and if you can accept what you are told AFTER full investigation for yourself and still want to be a part of it all then I can only wish you well.
Speaking for myself - I was very happy in my ignorance but then on investigation (which you are very strongly advised against in the church unless it is approved reading by them) I found I could no longer "live the lie".
May you find what you are searching for
There is no animosity. We are people that were Mormons. We are not speaking from the outside towards a perceived image given to others, but from out experiences on the inside, now outside and happy for it.
We have no animosity, just experience. My heart hurts for thew ones that want out and can't muster the abilities to accomplish it.
Mary, our animosity only comes from years and years of experience. None of us here on LAM are ex-mormons for one small act or idea. You will receive nothing but kindness as an investigator. If you decide to join the LDS church you will be applauded for years to come in the realm of church members.
The frustrations that I found with the LDS church after 20 years of membership, were the unattainable expectations of perfection, the politics that are done in the name of God, the superiority against other religions and other people, the lack of tolerance for the world beyond the LDS church, and the lies, the buckets and buckets of lies in countless categories.
The superiority I am referring to is related to the idea in the LDS church that they are the "only true church". The mentality is that they pity, and pray for, others who have not accepted the Gospel because they are lost and drifting. They may very well be the "only true church" according to them, but the reality is religion has been practiced by millions of other people in many other ways, for centuries. People who do things differently are not evil and misguided, just different.
If you decide to join the LDS church it must be entirely up to you. If you try to live according to mormon doctrine your life will change in every aspect imaginable.
Good luck with your journey!
So tell me Mary......just how much do you actually know about the history of the church, what it is based on, it's doctrine and also what will be expected of you once committed to baptism?
There is a lot more to Mormonism than not drinking or drugging and quality relationships.....
Whether you live in Texas or Timbuktu I am afraid there are rules to abide by and PLENTY OF THEM! (so that throws your theory of mormonism being more standard in Texas right out of the window) Some decisions you wont even have to think about because the thinking will have been done for you.
You say your mormon friends know that you live with your boyfriend - the question remains, do they accept that as OK? Will you have to change that for starters if you join? If you do, then judgement number one is already in place. Then there is of course what your Bishop will expect of you....
I think this is a path you are going to have to walk to find out for yourself. You sound quite naive and I say that with respect, but mostly out of concern.
It has been almost 8 years since leaving after a 26 year membership - I still dont drink, drug or do any of the 'forbidden' things...and my relationships are healthy - I do this.because it is my choice and not because I am told to..
<I am living with my boyfriend at present>>
In the church, having sex outside of marriage is considered a sin. So, I'm sure as they bring you more and more into the fold, you will be asked to move out and live in sin no more. I've been out of the church for a long time now, so anyone out there reading this, correct me if I'm wrong,
Also, I lived in Texas for many years, church principles weren't any different down there, other than more of the church population was made up of converts, rather than people born into it. So the wards there were somewhat more open minded than out West.
We are moving to Texas and I have lived several states and 3 different countries, eventually, the mormon mentality is consistent once you are a few years into it. The deception is very consistent as it comes from Salt Lake.
Being mormon can be confusing in many ways. Mormons give off the idea that they are so amazing because they don't do drugs, drink, etc. Reality is many people live very healthy lives and have good quality relationships, or even more authentic relationships than many LDS marriages, and they aren't practicing LDS members. The only thing unique about the LDS lifestyle when it comes to modesty, health, and relationships is they advertise it more than the average person or community. The Amish for example believe in the same things, they just don't blanket the earth with missionaries and try to convince everyone they are the only correct way of living.
Living with your boyfriend is considered very wrong in the LDS religion. You will not be fully accepted unless you marry him or live separate and abstain from sex outside of marriage.
Sari, I think you have pretty much summed it up when you mention 'the advertising it more than the average person or community'. One doesn't hear much though about the stresses and strains of being a member and how many resort to medication to cope.
I was always amused (and I am not the smallest of people myself), how even with the Word of Wisdom and it's supposed health benefits being such an integral part of the belief, how many morbidly obese people there were in the area I belonged. This was something I found very difficult to explain away when asked that question about the WoW from non members. I guess "all is not what it seems" is an apt saying.
From what I have read in several different places, the number of people, mainly women, in Utah who take prescription drugs for anxiety, depression, etc is highest per capita in the USA. Something to think about!!
Your WoW reference reminds me of a situation I encountered years ago.
I attended BYU for a few miserable years in college. I worked for the catering company. One night we catered an event for the stake leadership of a large stake not too far from BYU. Several of the tables I was serving had some morbidly obese women who just sat their shoving food in their faces. The had on standard church clothing but they were huge and very unattractive. I remember several of the husbands sitting their embarrassed and stunned looking very unhappy.
I think that was one instance that contributed to my drive to never be like that. While these women were considered "righteous" I could have cared less. They were appalling and I remember thinking that if "righteousness" looked like that I didn't want much to do with it.
This concerned me greatly. You are not making any decision here, if you will examine what you are doing. You are looking at either side, and letting them decide for you. THAT is just what will not ever benefit you in life. YOU are not making any decision. You are watching all the sides dance, and the one that intrigues you the most is the one you feel best about. And THAT must be a testimony...uh, back up and examine what is happening. This is a think issue and not a feel issue. Thinking is algebra, science, language, counting and the like. Emoting is what they are doing because people have a natural tendency to reflect back an emotion. They show you a smile, you smile back....right.
A decision is where you leave the information gathering phase, and enter a weigh and balance phase. You accept no more new information, but you process. In this "process" you cannot be given over to the voodoo that missionaries will try on you. You do not join a faith because of happy families, "happy happy joy joy" feelings they all give you because you are an investigator. Happy families are found in every faith, with atheists and agnostics. Happy families are something we create for ourselves. salt Lake has no patent on it. They emote their strong feelings called a testimony. You feel something inside and you emote it back and they tell you iit is from God. We men have been using this trick for 100,000 years with women, and it works. If you tell them you love them and they will more readily give you something in return.
It has been my experience, not my emotion, that they are clickish, they feel they are superior, an if you are good enough to stand in their shadow you will recognize it, they are judgemental and when you are not perfect...well, you will learn to be so to different people with differing standards of perfection. Joining the Mormons will be about the biggest mistake you ever made. This is from a guy that was one and got out. Not from a guy that is anti anything, even tho I have the right to feel as I damned well choose, as do you.
Tell them to go chase ferrell hogs in the TX desert. Rod Serling said it best, "You are about ti entr, the Twilight Zone".
The biggest attraction of any church is the community, the social interaction. Very few people (in my humble opinion) care about theology, they just want to get together with people and have social interaction. Mormons project this wholesome, All American, Red White and Blue (at least in the US) image. Of course it is well received!!!
When their religious leaders start talking about the finer points of theology (who God is, which books to read, etc) people start to tune out.
For instance the origin of the Native Americans. DNA evidence is clear that they came from Asia, but is that gonna be a deal killer for a convert? NO. Who cares?
When people get to be adults and start really hearing the stuff that religious leaders are saying, they do not want to cause conflict in the family by changing.
Catholics are taught that the priests can forgive sins - even those that are later revealed to be drunks, child molesters, thieves, etc. Would God give a hidden child molester the power to forgive the sins of others? Doesn't sound reasonable.
Muslims are taught that God spoke only a particular dialect of Arabic. Why Arabic and not Esperanto or Latin or some other language?
Mormons are taught that the males will go on to become God in the next life, with the power to forgive sins, raise the dead, etc. Well, there is no evidence one way or the other so why not give it the benefit of the doubt? I guess women go one to celestial bake sales.
People leave a denomination when they have a bad experience with a congregation - too many rules, interference from the local leaders, etc.
When you try to talk to people (almost any people) about the contradictions of their faith - expect resentment.
If you try to talk to them about how a different congregation is better they might listen.
I have to agree with you ModerateChuck. The default community and social interaction is a huge byproduct of the church. I completely agree that very few people are really all that concerned about theology.
I have a brother and a sister and they, along with their spouses, could care less about the actual doctrine of the church. They want the guide for parenting and socialization that they church offers them and IMO, I think they have nothing even close to a testimony. By they way the act most of the time, I'd be hard pressed to really believe they believe in all the "being Christlike" stuff because they can be some mean and vindictive people who are ultimately very self absorbed.
As for their 'wholesome' projected picture; the therapist that helped me in my exit of the morg taught me "bright sunshine casts a very dark shadow". Once I internalized that I felt much better. Mormonism shows off nothing but 'bright sunshine' but the shadows are very, very dark.