Last fall as my husband and I were meandering through Vermont with my very cute fun 18 yr. old True Blue Mormon (TBM) daughter I mentioned that we'd stop at the Joseph Smith birthplace in Sharon, Vermont so she could see something that was on her list as well as all the stuff on our bucket lists on our New England vacation. I was pretty cool with it till we got off the exit and saw a little church. It wasn't even an LDS church, but may have been the Methodist church Joseph Smith's mother went to. Then we went up this absolutely gorgeous hill past an absolutely gorgeous pond and trees and farms to the turnoff. Instantly I was overcome with anxiety and the panic attack washed up like a huge wave.
We passed a very tiny LDS chapel an up a tree lined asphalt lane and could hear "Praise to the Man" playing on speakers in the nearby forest. The monument is a typical tall granite phallic symbol as most monuments are and there was the traditional LDS visitors center with pretty grounds and pretty trees and pretty sidewalks and pretty decorations and nice placid looking missionaries walking around. There were a few tourists, excitedly jumping from their cars or a bus to go get a picture of the phallic symbol where their prophet first graced the earth.
I tried to be polite but as we walked toward it I knew it would be seconds before I was overcome with the bitter frustration that has welled up for all these years. Some of the missionaries were eyeing us as they are conditioned to do and I could tell that if we weren't careful we'd get some spiel and I was in no mood to take it kindly. The music was supposed to emit an aura of holiness and spiritual confirmation but it was just invasive and contrived. I felt like the whole place was one super frosted highly decorated sugar covered cyanide pill and was being crammed down my throat at the end of a pitch fork by smiling frumpily dressed Post-Amish type cult soldiers, hell bent on making sure everyone got their recommended daily dose whether they wanted it or not.
My daughter had veered off to have her own experience and BABB and I walked the perimeter of the loop and the tears just suddenly started flowing and bursting and I couldn't stop crying. The rage and frustration of the past 47 years of the LDS influence in my life and extortion of my family, my integrity, my creativity and heart just came over me. I was nearly on my knees with the pain I suddenly felt at the church that has drained so much from my life. The lies, the massive wall of lies and more lies and lies to cover lies and lying leaders, lying prophets, lying culture, lying community just came on like a freight train. BABB took me back to the car and I just sobbed for 15 minutes. I really keep thinking I'm over all this and then one little thing can bring it right back.
I know that suggesting that the LDS church is like a Rapist is quite a dramatic comparison and I certainly don't mean to minimize the experience of those that have experienced such a horrific theft of something so precious, but standing there in the place where it all started felt like I was facing the person who initiated all the crimes that have been done to me and many of you who have experienced similar pain at the hands of the LDS church and culture.
I felt so much rage that Joseph Smith had even been born, that he had used the gifts he'd been given to swindle, cheat, lie, and manipulate so many and we are the product of all those lies. I felt so angry, violated, so cheated of the things I can never have with my own family because of how the church and culture have conditioned them to shun and deny any who do not believe as they do. I felt angry on behalf of my children and grandchildren who will continue to feel and learn of the lies, the corruption, the frustrating numbing lifestyle and culture that they belong to. I felt loss at the things I can never have with them because of the barriers the church enforces between us. I felt sadness at the wonder they may never experience because they're held hostage by these backward beliefs.
The sugary sappiness of the whole place, and any of the LDS church history or temple sights offends me. It's all set up to entice people in like flies to a spider web. They have no idea the dark twisted things that exist inside but the prettiness of it all and the feigned placid niceness of the missionaries makes it seem like such a nice pretty pill to swallow.
Toward the end of the trip we stopped in at BABB's ancestral home near Albany. It's a beautiful old 1790s home on about 18 acres of rolling farmland and tree covered hills with a really incredible babbling stream below that has steps and schist’s of dark flinty shale that keep the water cascading gently and pooling into beautiful little ponds. On the property is a perfectly symmetrical mound that the family always considered a possible Indian burial mound but it's never been excavated. When BABB was a kid it only had grass on it but in the decades since it's grown up with trees and brush. Anyway, my daughter and I climbed to the top of the mound and determined our Indian names will be "Shops with a Fist" and "Hey, STOP THE CAR!! I JUST SAW ANOTHER CUTE OLD FARMHOUSE!!!-ahauntas".
I wanted so much to delve into the archaeological discussions regarding mound building but I certainly didn't want it to delve into the BOM legends so I just veered the conversation off into other stuff. What reams my hide sometimes is that the very easily discredited BOM has stolen some rich and varied Native American Histories and wrapped their own arrogant manifest destiny white European Christian bend into the ancient history. To have a conversation with any TBM about Native culture seems to only feed their own bias about how the "Lamanites" got here and traversed the continents. I didn't want to get into an argument with my daughter so I felt sequestered and frustrated that I'm compelled to help feed the illusion and lies with my heavily purchased silence.
As we've traveled through several New England states I can say with absolute confidence that the most ratty run down nasty rusted rat filled abandoned farm house is far more enticing to me than the pristine heated bathrooms of the LDS "History" sites. A dump is honest, it is real, it does not deny it's toxic sludge or rotted stink. It does not draw you in with false promises of glorified Heavenly Reward and then proceed to suck every breath of life from you. A slum is a slum and allows you to accept it on face value. I feel rage at the false facade that I've seen in a thousand dark ways with the LDS experience.