X the "Ex" Prefix -- From a Grouch

I'm here, but I'm here under protest. I'm here because I think I have an audience here, more so than within the confines of the religion of my youth.

Most of what I see discussed on Exmormon sites, blogs, conferences, forums and discussions, I find boring, counterproductive and a waste of time. I don't see much point in say, dissecting point by point Conference talks, discussing whether or not polygamy is a good thing, discussing Adam/God theory, Book of Mormon historicity, and you name the discussion -- I'm not really interested.

Probably most blasphemously of all on an exmormon site -- I'm as sick of "exit stories" as I am of "testimonies." I know, I know, we are trying to create a sense of community, but a community of what? Whiners?

I'm actually more fond of the "Post" prefix, since it seems to signal moving past or beyond a previous location. At some point, almost everybody on this site has had their butt sitting on a wooden pew in a Mormon chapel. At some point, almost everybody on this site found enough redeeming aspects to the religion to be a participant.

The problem with religion is that on the whole it tries to be something that it is not. Religion is not physics. Religion is not history. Religion is not chemistry. Religion is not archaeology. Religion is usually more culture and race, than it is choice, Mormonism's missionary efforts aside.

Religion is not literal. The second you take religion literally you have wars, contention and strife. Thus the constant battles between the Mo’s and the Ex’s. Most of the Ex vs. Mo arguments are solved with one sentence:

“If you’ve taken anything in the Mormon religious doctrine (temple, priesthood, resurrection, atonement, the fall, etc.) as a literal fact, you were wrong.”

If I have a philosophy, it tends towards an atheistic humanism, colored by a rich metaphoric Mormonism that provides the mythological backdrop for my existence. I'm no more "ex"-Mormon, than someone could be "ex"-Jewish -- I am what I am – and I’m certainly not a believer and I’m certainly not an “ex”.

Views: 104

Comment by MikeUtah on October 31, 2008 at 8:28pm
Thanks for your input and I agree. Maybe I should make the focus of this site more something along the lines of "Post exmormonism" etc, life after you've read exmo material to death, etc.
Comment by Roth on November 2, 2008 at 8:38am
Certainly, the focus of a social networking site should be on what its members chose it to be, but if as you profess that you are “indeed tired of the rancor”, why wouldn’t you want a nascent site like this one to be the refreshing, non-rancorous wind blowing through the “ex”-Mormon on-line community? My post and everything I write on this board will be guided towards creating exactly the kind of social community I would like. If you are against the rancor, then you should be on my side.

You ask some questions and I’d like to answer them.

What will we choose to do with it [the ex- moniker]? As I said in this blog – loose it. Micah, Add “Post” or “Beyond” to Community title. Do anything so we aren’t like the Mormon Church and exclusionary. My biggest beef with the Mormon Church corresponds with yours JACW – it excludes people. So what is the first thing that people do that leave the church do? Create a new exclusionary group. Arrrrrgh.

How will we choose to tell our exit stories? I think we should tell our stories, forget the “exit” part. Again, the indoctrination of the religion wins out as the breadth of our ability to function seems to be going from “I know this church is true” to “I know this church isn’t true.” The beauty of hearing other people’s stories is that it engenders compassion. A testimony of “I know this church isn’t true” is an invitation for rejection and hurt from those who still believe. A story of a life opens up areas of connection and understanding that might not otherwise be possible. I’m not anti-story, just against the focus being on the exit.

The argument I am making in avoiding the “ex” part of the description is an argument against a “myopic world view” – whether it be the pro- or anti-world view.

I understand that this site’s glue is the movement away from Mormonism and it is exactly why I am here. I’ve found receptive voices for my thoughts within the Mormon community, but much more outside. The irony for me comes from the fact that I appreciate and understand how my ideas that I value were grounded in the religion of my youth. So I guess to come out and say that on an “ex”-Mormon site would be the “courage” you are talking about?

And as for your final attack on my psuedonymical, internet existence, I think you are ignoring few key points:

1. If anyone asks me who I am, I will probably tell them. Send me an email and I’ll tell you my name.
2. Avatars and pseudonyms are socially acceptable on the Internet and strip clubs.
3. Artistic freedom can come from being totally transparent, but it can also come from adopting and creating a persona to create through. Philip Roth did this with his fictional novelist Nathan Zuckerman. Authors routinely adopt pen names so that they can move into a different genre. For this site, I am “Roth, the anti-ex moving beyond (not stuck in) Mormonism.”
Comment by Roth on November 2, 2008 at 10:32am
But snarky is more fun to read, as your comments to me so amply show.

Very funny.

Most of what you've brought up in the comments I address in my Subversive Manifesto. Obviously, you and I are going to have a lot to talk about on here.

And do pray tell why are you called "Honey Rainbird."
Comment by Skepticat on November 2, 2008 at 5:00pm
I feel as though I'm stepping into a private conversation here and one that would have the earmarks of being contencious if both parties were not so logical and easy going to discover they are both in the same arena and on the same side.

As I told Micah when I first joined, I've not claimed to be Mormon since I was a child so the moniker of "ex" doesn't fit comfortably. It's only been used primarily with family. However, living in a state that is predominantly Mormon lays a certain amount of baggage on my doorstep. I, being of original pioneer stock, bear a certain stigma among those that know and are loyal to the church.

That being said, any arguments on the BoM or any other publications of the church, or beliefs for that matter, are not a worthwhile argument, as far as I"m concerned. Better yet to concentrate on where we are now and how we choose to conduct ourselves.

Though I believe that Micah's original idea was to offer something that would identify a group open to being accepting of those that choose to question and possibly remove themselves from the impact the church has had in their lives and invades every aspect of daily life in this area and in families and groups far removed in locality, it is still somewhat exclusionary in that it does not address other religions. This is not a problem to me as "post" Catholics, Protestants, Jehova's Witnesses and all the rest do not share the basic teachings and sometimes childhhood brainwashing of Mormonisms that the rest of us well understand.

Likewise, I've heard no proclmations that this is primarily an Athiest or Agnosic site. Those are well handled in other forums although it's not unusual for former Mormons to find that their faiths and beliefs have been transformed through the use of logic by expanding on their lack of belief in what the church has hung on their brows for all these years.

Both JulieAnn and Roth have excellent arguments and I side with both of them! LOL! Micah, it's your site, it's your decision and I'm fine with whatever direction you decide to take this.


PS, I'm more well known online by my monikers than my name and I take a lousy picture, so with everyone's permission I prefer to stay Logicat or Skepticat or LaGata or Laura. The "names" I most use.
Comment by Roth on November 3, 2008 at 8:24am
Welcome to the conversation, Skepticat and ScottyDoo.

I too like the changes in the site's name and potentially its focus. After all this is a social site, a bit more than say the "Boards" or the blogosphere which can get into the nitty gritty details for those who need that. I must admit, I don't do social sites very well as a compassionate misanthrope and narcissist.

For me socializing is about reconciling and I'd like to see more from ScottyDoo on the Buddhist take. Buddhism has always seemed to me to be a rather natural philosophical growth out of Mormonism, but more about that later. I agree too with Skepticat that the focus should be on " where we are now and how we choose to conduct ourselves."

Actually all of your comments have softened my grouchiness, as I have had the pleasant experience of finding out that maybe I'm not such an isolated misanthrope as I thought.

Finally, Honey, you can sweeten my tea -- anytime.
Comment by MikeUtah on November 3, 2008 at 5:38pm
Do you like the name "Life Beyond Mormonism" or "Life Beyond x-Mormonism" better? I figure with the little "x" and no "ex", it diminishes the importance of EX so as to be as little anti or offensive as possible. I am glad you are liking that change so far.


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