The NOM Rules of Disengagement

The rules of disengagement are not arbitrary.  Following them can help make the changes in your attitudes toward Mormonism less traumatic, for yourself and for the people you are close to.



1. Put family relationships first.


Family and other loved ones are more important than most other considerations. People are more important than things, and maintaining family relationships is more important than many other things including emotional comfort with the institutional church. 


2. GO SLOW!!!


A major paradigm shift can be taxing in ways we would not imagine--on both yourself and important relationships. There is a strong temptation to bolt and run when we discover that the church isn't all it claims to be.  Don't yield to it.


 3. Share your doubts VERY selectively!

Don't talk about disbelief unless you are certain the people you are talking with empathize with you.  The NOM forum and this PoMo forum are safe places for such discussion (as are many other forums in the DAMU).

 4. Don't burn any bridges.


You never know when you may need to use them again or when you'll want others to be able to follow you.

5. Don't stand for ultimatums and don't use them.

That's not love.  

The moment you threaten, or your loved one feels threatened, the real communication ends. We go on the defensive and our fight of flight instinct and herding instinct kicks in and anything we say or do falls on deaf ears. We are in survival mode, which is not thriving.  We withdraw from each other or worse, retaliate in anger. No input gets through to our higher, more evolved brains when we are in a desperate state of mind. We can, in part, determine what state of mind others are in by the words we choose.


So chose your words and pick your battles carefully.


Telling somebody that the faith into which they have invested their entire lives and are deeply, emotioanally attached to is a cult and a fraud, will get you a predictable reaction. Tell somebody to just follow the dictates of their conscience, just like you are and they cannot take offense and might actually use their higher, more evolved minds to think about it.


6. Have the moral courage to be honest,

not only with your loved ones, but more importantly, with yourself. Have the moral courage to conduct the Socratic Imperative. Know thyself. Examine your life, which, unexamined, is is not worth living.


If you don't know the answer, don't pretend like you do. Engage your loved one in helping you find real answers to your sincere questions you can agree upon so that you can be united instead of being at each other's throats over really irrelevant dogmatic religious beliefs.


7. Empathize with your loved one.

Which is not the same as agreeing. Empathy is the most important human trait, according to Darwin. It is the old Ethic of Reciprocity at work. Excercise it. It's the old Dale Carnegie (stolen by Stephen Covey), How to Win Friends and Influence People principle, "Seek first to understand and then to be understood." You might be pleasantly suprised to find that your loved one's concerns are even more valid, real and pressing than your own. But if your loved one sees you are sincerely trying to understand them first, then they might reciprocate and really trust your sincerity and commitment to your relationship and family, which you should never miss an opportunity to reemphasize.


8. Research your loved one's issues, together.

Your issues might not be your partners issues. They might not be concerned with the same issues you're concerned with. Get to the bottom of your partner's issues. I used those quiet, tender moments when we were out together on LDS mandated Friday Night Date nights to get through to DW's rational brain, but some nuts are toughter than others to crack and it might take intensive counselling or some heavy duty introspection on both your parts, but if you care about your relationship, then do the work that's required to strenghten it.It's defenitely worth the effort. 


For example, my issue was always mainly racism and bigotry, which she didn't really care about nearly as much as I did, since she grew up in a pretty bigoted TBM household.


What she really cared about was misogyny (which is related), the temple, restrictive garments, polygamy and how we were going to raise our kids and what we were going to tell people when they asked why we left, which were all valid, I just didn't care about them until the rubber met the road. Once I really researched them, then I discovered her issues were really more significant and relavant than my own issues, which is what finally got her to wake up to the reality that her faith was a pack of lies.


I showed her In Sacred Loneliness and broke it all down for her and she was done. After 3 years.


#9. Evolve or die.

Keep moving, don't stagnate. Always keep evolving, adapting and working to establish a more tennable existential foothold as the sublime mysteries of life rise up out of the deep well of the earth and come to the light of conscious awareness, which nature is in a continual process of doing.


Certainty is the antithesis of discovering authentic nature, both the nature of the infinite universe outside you, the infinite universe within you and the infinite, mysterious energy which flows through you and connects you to the oceanic whole.


"I don't know" is probably the most profoundly spiritual statement you can make. Do not be afraid to use it. 




#10. Save your best ammo for last.

The 11th Article of Faith is the best weapon to defend yourself against manipulative Mormons, even your spouse. It's perfect. I call it the 11th Article of Faith Gambit. It works perfectly every time. 


Articulate a tennable alternative. 

It's pretty tough to convince somebody to abandon a relatively seaworthy ship, which has kept them comfortable and served many generations of their family well, for what? To jump into what they see as a hostile, vast, frightening, uncharted ocean, filled with sharks? Uh, no. 


But if over the course of a long period of time, you can take them down into the bowels of the SS Joseph's Myth and point out the deep structural flaws which cause you serious concern, not only for yourself, but more importantly, for your future family's well being, then you have a chance to convince them. Especially if you point out over time, how the ship is taking on water faster than the bilge pumps can pump it out. And then point out what the course of the ship looks like objectively, from the outside perspective in the big picture, it's just a great big slaveship holding it's passengers captive and exploiting them while it just goes around in circles and never really progresses to the promised destination, an imaginary Utopia.


It never delivers the payload, which doesn't even really even exist, except in the appocolyptic imagination of the scared herd mentality.


The only payload is the human cargo, which they're holding captive and mentally enslaving with fear.


The passengers are clueless about all of this because they're kept so busy rowing the ship, swabbing the deck and baling water to notice they're not going anywhere. The crew doesn't have your best interests in mind, all they care about is keeping their passengers in the dark so they can justify their own existence and the perpetuation of Joseph's Myth, which keeps growing larger and larger and more absurd, which is the only ultimate destination.


Then point out that you've got a plan to get your family to a real destination, quickly, via a seaworthy modern speedboat that will safely ferry you to your destination, life, liberty and pursuit of real joy on terra firma, which is paradisical compared to the rust bucket of a slave ship you were born onto, which you've been sailing around on aimlessly, unaware you were being enslaved the whole time, for a hallow promise, gripped by fear.


Then you've got a chance.

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