Hate Speech

chirstandmoneychangers

I have chosen to follow the teachings and example of Jesus Christ.  He got angry.  I’m going to make an angry post.  I’m not like Jesus.  Just trying to emulate.

This morning I woke up at 3:30am and couldn’t get back to sleep.  Maybe it was thinking about tonight’s Talkeria.  Several wonderful people with fascinating and heart rending issues and stories plan to come.

Then, I opened up the internet and found this ARTICLE.  It troubled me greatly.  You’ll find two of the reasons below.  But, first some background on my past.

Black People Are Inferior

Yep.  That’s what I was taught.  By my own church.  In my own church.  They were descendants of Cain.  Cursed with a black skin.  Denied the preeminent blessings of my church.  The only true and living church, by the way.  Those blessings being the priesthood, admittance to the temple and participation in the ordinances of exaltation.

Why had they been born into the accursed race?  Why…because they had not been valiant in the preexistence during the war in heaven.  I have a white skin…I was totally valiant.

In 1978, our racist practices were overturned by revelation.  But, NOT our racist theories as to why the blacks were smitten with the inferior color.  It wasn’t until December 8, 2013 that the church officially disavowed these teachings.  It took the form a an internet essay entitled “Race and the Priesthood.”  In it, the church CONDEMNS our past racist teachings and practices.  Thank heavens!  But, I wouldn’t  hear about this essay until the latter part of 2014, at the ripe old age of 62.

I don’t think I’m racist.  But I probably am.  For 62 years, I KNEW that blacks were cursed and inferior.   The church, that I KNEW to be the only true church, had given me that spiritual gift of knowledge.  Sure…it’s a condemned gift now.  But, a lifetime of belief is hard for the mind shake.

Homosexuals are Perverts

Now where would I get that idea?  From the true church?  You better believe it.  Taught from my youth.  Just as I was taught of the inferiority of black people.

We have been wrong about LGBT at every turn.  The apostles haven’t condemned our homophobic practices, teachings and policies…yet.  However, I give them great credit for having backed off many of the harsh and dead-wrong statements & practices of the past. But, we have a long, long way to go.  Dreadfully harmful views are still heard at street level in our wards.

For my part, I’ve made a strong apology for having condoned the wrong and hurtful attitudes of the past.  You can read it HERE.

Atheists are Evil

Well, of course, I grew up with that, too.  I did not personally know any atheists until this past year.  I have been very open about my faith transition.  You can read it HERE.  Since I have been open, people have opened up to me.  Over the last 7 months, I have come to know many atheists.  Both former and currently active members.

How about that?  We have atheists who find enough good in the church to ‘stay in the boat.’  They serve in callings. They say prayers.  They give great talks. They are great people.  And…they all keep their mouths shut.  Remember, atheists are evil.

And the atheists who have left the church?  They are every bit as awesome as those who stay.  Several months ago, at a Talkeria, I marveled as a resigned-Mormon atheist counseled a person struggling with doubts.  The questioning member had a traditional testimony and was struggling to come to terms with historical issues.  My new atheist friend gave great words of wisdom.  I thought, “those words would fit perfectly in a General Conference.”  Here’s a man who does not believe there’s a God, helping a believer maintain his faith in God.

So, within less than one year, I have come to know several atheists and find them to be normal, good, and moral human beings.  However, the term ‘atheist’ still leaves an aftertaste in my head.  Fortunately, I don’t have that same reticence towards my beloved black and gay brothers and sisters.  Maybe in a year or two, I’ll be able to say the word ‘atheist’ and not think it’s pejorative by nature.

Now to the article.  I have 2 gigantic issues.  I’m going to label them #1 and #1.

Reason #1:  I’ve Been Fooled Three Times…Already

“Atheism Is Paving the Way for a New and Destructive Moral Order.”  Nope.  You are painting a huge and growing group with a hateful brush.  Shame on you.  I’ll not be fooled again.

You (Dustinandbrittany), nor the church, nor the leadership, nor anybody are going to suck me back into racist, homophobic or bigoted viewpoints ever again.  I know better.  I was oh so carefully tutored as a child.  I was oh so properly piloted as a young man.  I ever so fondly followed…right to the edge of my golden years.  Then…to find out I’d been led astray about people of color, about people’s gender, and now about people of no belief in God.

You basically equate a society of atheists to a society without morals.   I recognize that representation as horrid and hateful.  We should be reaching out to good people in all stages of faith including none.  Instead you villainize and demonize.  From your platform you reach a wide audience of faithful members.  Your post has been shared 25,000 times.  Certainly your views total in the 100’s of 1,000’s.  It’s my prayer that your mean message is soundly rejected by the good Saints of my church.  They should know better.

Reason #1:  Family & Friends

Speaking about critics of the church, you say, “They want us to look at our friends and family members who are leaving the Church and feel alerted to the idea that there is something wrong with the Mormon Church.”

Oh my friend, right here you are pointing out a huge “something wrong with the Mormon Church.”  It’s attitudes just like yours.  For 2 years, I have tried to alert members and leaders that family and friends are leaving.  People I love and care about.  The response…a big fat yawn.  Action?  Nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  Zero.  In the past 2 years, I’ve witnessed my mother leave.  All my siblings leave.  Five families in my ward leave.

Yeah, I’m a critic, alright.  My critique is that nobody gives a damn about friends and family leaving the church.  Well…they’ll say they care.  After 2 years of talking and no doing, it’s damning evidence that the church culture could care less.

And then your anti-atheist article comes along.  How hypocritical that we don’t care if someone leaves.  But, then bemoan the certainty that they’re destined to become an amoral atheist.

36 thoughts on “Hate Speech

  1. Thank you for sharing these feelings. I think the world of you, Sam, and I can tell that you love people as Christ asks all who follow him to do. Some people struggle with that one, but love is something you’ve got in spades, my friend. This “agnostic heathen” thinks you’re a great guy. I only hope this message finds as big of an audience as Dustin’s divisive message, but I’m afraid that it won’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello once again, Sam,

    I took the time to read the Dustin/Brittney article. I agreed with several statements he/she/they asserted. It certainly is more thoughtful than most apologist essays. Its fundamental flaw, as I see it from my ideal vantage point here at the Center of the Known and Unknown Universes, is excessive generalizations regarding God enthusiasts vis-a-vis God naysayers.

    One of the most ruined words in any language is “God”. There are most likely somewhere around 7.4 billion different definitions and concepts of what that word means. And most likely, around 7.3 billion of those definitions are delusional.

    The only people who are correct about God are those who agree with me.

    Since you may be curious, Sam, I will share my impressive wisdom with you.

    I freely admit that I do not know who or what God is. Not only that, I do not believe that I am even in possession of the capacity of understanding to even partially apprehend the concept of God.

    I am pretty sure, however, that God is not an omnipotent Caucasian geriatric superhero with anger management issues. If not believing in that version of God is someone’s definition of Atheist, then I plead guilty.

    I do believe there are lots of varieties of sentient, intelligent beings inhabiting this planet and this dimension, as well as other locations in the Universe and including other other dimensions. I also believe that if one were to encounter a sentient being from who has progressed in learning and spiritual maturity far beyond one’s own attainment, that it would be tempting to see such an advanced entity as God or at least Godlike.

    Here is what I will call an Oxymormonic Paradox:

    On average and generally speaking, I believe that it is more likely for a self-identified Atheist to treat and respect others as he or she would appreciate being treated and respected, than it is for a self-identified God enthusiast to treat and respect others in a Golden Rule manner.

    For some strange reason, the vast majority of Christians, and especially Mormons, are spectacularly and astonishingly unable to comprehend what Jesus meant when he taught, “Judge not … ”

    The number of innocent people who have been tortured and killed in the name of someone’s definition of God is measured by the millions, if not tens or hundreds of millions.

    Anyway, Sam, back on topic in response to your post, I applaud your Anger. It is a fully rational and apprioriate emotional response to being LIED TO and DECEIVED most of your life by clever people who knowingly exploited your trust and innocence. And now these days when the proverbial Mormon Cat is out of the Bag for more and more previously devout Church members, both in and out, the fact that The Brethren continue from the pulpit to foment a culture that marginalizes doubters as Satan Chow can be … infuriating, as you expressed in your post.

    Having been out for 37 years by now, I personally am no longer angry. In fact, I hope The Brethren continue to offend the core values of the decent, loving Church members who are waking up. The Brethren’s uncivilized attitudes and behaviors make it easier for decent members to wake up and leave.

    Or stay … and pass out life jackets to those who are confused and floundering, as you are so kindly doing, Sam.

    I’ve never met you, Sam, but I really, truly do like you and respect you and what you stand for. On the other hand, I know at least 15 well-dressed gentlemen who will gladly ship you a Bushel Basket postage prepaid if you will agree to hide your light under it. Not everything that is true, is useful, Sam. And not everything needs to have a light shining on it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Gary…again,

      I do love reading your comments. I laughed during the first half and last section. The middle was serious and thought provoking. Actually, the entire thing was provoking.

      This got a big laugh: “The only people who are correct about God are those who agree with me.”

      Until our next encounter, all my very best wishes.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks Sam. I have had problems with the way the church has used the so-called ‘Essays’ to unconvincingly ‘repent’ of their wrong doing….. Do you remember all those talks and lessons that leaders would give on PROPERLY repenting? They would use the New Testament teachings which encouraged Saints to undertake a GODLY repentance – not a WORLDLY repentance. The WORLDLY repents was to be repented of and was more about being ‘found out’ and ‘admitting’ faults – rather than sincerely ‘confessing’ sins. Read the Essay on the Blacks and the Priesthood if you want to rediscover all the symptoms of WORLDLY repentance.

    https://robertbridgstock.wordpress.com/2015/01/22/race-and-the-priesthood-with-my-response-interjected-in-green-type/

    https://robertbridgstock.wordpress.com/2016/09/

    Liked by 2 people

    1. A fair question is this: What are the actual motivations behind the Mormon Church’s production and (virtually concealed) web publication of The Essays?

      IMO, Repentance is not even on the list of plausible reasons.

      Repentance implies the existence of some kind of Moral Center capable of: 1) recognizing and acknowledging behavior choices that have harmed others and caused them unnecessary suffering; 2) feeling remorse for having harmed others; 3) seeking to make amends to those who’ve been harmed; 4) changing behaviors to avoid harming others in the future.

      The Brethren do not exhibit evidence of the presence of an even minimally functional Moral Center. Evidence for this observation includes their consistent failure to have actually experienced items 1, 2, 3 or 4 listed above.

      Their motivation for The Essays then has to be something else. If we think of The Brethren as a collection of Lawyers with stereotypical Lawyer Ethics running the show, this perspective can illuminate a more plausible motivation for The Essays.

      Were The Essays authored and published to Mitigate Risk? It’s obvious that The Brethren are not proud of their work. Hiding The Essays on unindexed back pages of their website with no press release or General Conference announcement is very telling. This behavior suggests The Brethren felt they “had” to publish The Essays for reasons they were not proud of and want as few people as possible to find and read The Essays.

      So what is on the Risk Mitigation list? I imagine The Brethren’s list might look something like this:

      – No. We did not LIE to the members about non-faith-promoting details of our Church history. Look how we came clean and acknowledged the potentially troubling historical realities by publishing The Essays!

      – If a member does find The Essays in spite of our patent attempt to keep them hidden from mainstream Mormon discourse, the information is carefully spun to minimize the faith-destroying potential in the psyche of an otherwise true believing member. Unfortunately, we were unable to figure out, despite the best efforts of our brightest and most creative LDS writers and wordsmiths, to completely hide the truth in The Essays purporting to disclose the truth. Some of the truth leaked out in The Essays. We tried to minimize the impact on member psyches with as many rationalizations and explanations as we could come up with. At the end of the day, we fully realized The Essays are ultimately faith-destroying, despite our best efforts, and will cost us nontrivial collateral damage in the form of lost testimonies and members leaving the Church as a result. We feel the need to be able to say we did not LIE to the members about Church history and doctrine outweighs the collateral damage that we wanted to avoid. Damn that Internet, anyway!

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Hi Robbie,
      I love that the church condemns and disavows in the Race and Priesthood essay. I also loved the great response on your blog….Thank you.

      Like

  4. Once again, I have to laugh – a TBM asserts that theirs is the only credible religion, and then doesn’t know why when people leave Mormonism they become atheist.

    I speak from personal experience – it took me years to decouple this attitude after I arrived at the conclusion that the LDS church wasn’t true. If you grow up being taught that the LDS church is the only true church, and that others range from charlatans to “the great Whore of Babylon,” all that negativity doesn’t just go away if you come to the conclusion the LDS church isn’t true. I was agnostic for many years thanks to attitudes like this that had been reinforced in my Mormon upbringing.

    Moral atheists are to be commended, for theirs is a moral structure that relies entirely on their personal convictions and not a Supreme Being.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This was exactly my experience. Upon leaving the church, I wanted to fit in somewhere, anywhere. But the ideas of God that the church taught me didn’t fit with any other religion on earth. Why would I suddenly sign up for a church I’d believed was misguided and wrong my whole life? I finally understood what mainstream Christians meant when they said Mormon Jesus is not the same as Regular Jesus. It’s so much more than just the visiting the Americas after he died thing.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Sam – I have to disagree with one statement you made.

    ‘My critique is that nobody gives a damn about friends and family leaving the church.”

    That isn’t true. I know of a guy named Sam Young that absolutely gives a damn and is doing everything he can, even risking some of his friendships, to do what he can to help others feel someone does care.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Dear Sam, my Facebook friend,

      We were taught to be sexist, homophobic and racist. It was our job to reject it. Many did not. Many did not even “hear” the words as being off. I have watched your awakening and wondered why the teachings in Seminary and Sunday School did not bother you. Women, LGBTQIA+, people of color and anyone in another church have always been inferior to the white, priesthood holders in Mormonism. I know that the November Policy was troublesome for you. But really, why now? This is nothing new.

      My experience of you is that you are kind hearted and proactive. Yet, you have accepted the discrimination without even blinking an eye for 60 years.

      The reason that I left: I will not participate in my own humiliation. The church was an abusive organization. Why would I want anyone to stay? The church can change–possibly. I think I have been patient. I haven’t seen any real change in 50 years. Don’t have another 50 to give them.

      Perhaps your priesthood holders realize that it is not such a bad thing to leave.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hi Holly,

        Wow! You may have a great point that I’ve never thought of before. “Perhaps your priesthood holders realize that it is not such a bad thing to leave.” I haven’t found a satisfactory explanation yet as to why no one seems to care. Could you be right?

        Why did I not see the problems for 62 years? Maybe I trusted people too much. Maybe I trusted what people told me too much. Maybe I wanted to please too much. Maybe I’m just slow. Oh, how that has all changed.

        Thanks for your thoughtful comment, my friend!

        Like

  6. I also read that blog and was concerned that the assumption was that anyone who leaves the church is leaving the gospel of Christ and inevitably become atheistic. My testimony of the LDS church is waning precisely because my testimony of Christ, and even Joseph Smith, is becoming stronger than ever. I know of many who were excommunicated or left the church for the same reasons. When they (and I) point out where the doctrines and policies of the church have strayed from those taught by Christ and other true messengers, we are threatened with censure.

    The article mentioned that many are leaving organized religion, and yes, often that may be due to a lack of faith. But it is also my observation that often it is due to an increase in faith in Christ and his teachings, and the realization that we don’t need to belong to any authoritative organization to be good, moral people, who find ways to treat others the way we like to be treated, to respect all our brothers and sisters on this planet, and that learning to have true, unconditional love IS the most important work we can be about in this life.

    And I agree that atheists can live the golden rule as well as, and even better, than many “religious” people.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Once again, Sam, you have responded to ignorance and arrogance with intelligence and compassion.

    Initially I wasn’t going to reply as I found the article you referenced too silly to warrant spending time on. However, someone said they were curious what I would say, so I will write some thoughts.

    First, let me state my bias. I am an atheist. Actually, there is some ambiguity in the term atheist… does it mean strong/positive/explicit or weak/negative/implicit atheist? So, when describing myself I usually use Bertrand Russell’s description that I am a highly skeptical agnostic. I see no reason to believe in God. OTOH, if someone were to present credible evidence I wouldn’t reject it as an impossibility. I also don’t reject the theoretical possibility that elves exist, but given the lack of evidence I see no reason to give credence to a highly dubious albeit theoretical possibility. My skepticism of God is on the same order. However, that is a lot to say when asked.

    Unfortunately, the last time I claimed “skeptical agnostic” I was asked if I was afraid to just say atheist. I am not. I am, of course, aware of the opprobrium atheists have experienced over the years. The article mentioned continues that scapegoating, and I found it to be mostly non-sense and rubbish.

    I’m paraphrasing, of course, but as far as I could tell the authors basic arguments seems to be:

    – morality is based on belief in God
    – atheists don’t believe in God
    – amorality equals (or at least inevitably leads to) immorality
    thus
    atheists are immoral

    – Mormons are moral
    – Mormons who leave become atheists
    – atheists are immoral (see above)
    – immoral equals anti
    Thus
    Mormons who leave the church become anti.

    The absurdities appear numerous and blatant to me. The premises are so full of errors and false assumptions that it’s hard to know where to begin. However, as Sam and others have pointed out, the most egregious may be the argument that atheism will leads to a destructive moral code. I appreciate the author admitted atheists aren’t immediately and unconditionally immoral. Further, as a former believer who has become atheist, it’s hard for me to deny my former upbringing hasn’t influenced me. However, I find the follow-on, that atheism eventually will lead to the breakdown of the moral code to be completely devoid of evidence, and the argument egregiously false.

    I know that historically many have believed that one can’t be moral without God. Philosophers have argued if morality is because God says so, or if God says so because it is moral. My Mormon background lead me to believe it was the latter. I still believe in intrinsic goodness. Further, if morality doesn’t depend on God, then we don’t need God to be moral. I would present as evidence research done by psychologists, sociologist, and anthropologists, etc. (see “Good Natured” by Franz De Waal, or “The Science of Good and Evil” by Michael Shermer.)

    In fact, I would claim from a philosophical standpoint that if the reason you are “moral” is because you rely on external motivation (blind obedience because God told you to, fear of divine retribution, etc.) while the atheist behaves ethically for intrinsic motivation, the atheist is far and away the better and more moral. As others have pointed out, the history of religious persecution and atrocities committed in the name of God belies the argument that somehow God makes us more moral. (And, LDS history bears testimony to this as much as any.)

    The author claimed he would “expose” anti-Mormonism and show “it’s objectives”. Really? That is quite a tall order! Somehow, I felt he fell far short of the mark. But then, I missed the part where he defined anti-Mormonism (does it mean anybody who just thinks differently? Or only those who are actively out to destroy the church?, or???) Not knowing what anti-Mormonism is, in his mind, maybe that confused me. I mean, if it has “it’s objectives” that kind of sounds like something monolithic or cohesive, doesn’t it… and I missed where he showed that too. What I did see was a logical fallacy from gross over generalization.

    There were many other claims. One was that there is only one credible alternative to Mormonism. This is a blatant example of the “false dilemma” logical fallacy. There may only be one alternative *IF* you accept Mormonism’s claim for the need for “authority”, *and* you insist that authority must be based on apostolic succession, *and* you limit the possibility that such only happens in the LDS and Catholic faiths, *and* …. come on, there are so many caveats here as to amount to saying if and only if you believe exactly as the author. But if the only beliefs out there were the authors, we wouldn’t even have the article! This claim is just silly.

    Claim: The majority of LDS who leave become atheist. Response: Evidence, please. I see no reason why this must be so. Of those who become atheist, what evidence is there for how many become “anti” as opposed to those who just ignore. (Of course, we have to define what anti means! Maybe in his mind benign neglect is the same as being anti?)

    I don’t have time to refute all the absurdities. Let me just say, I think those who were put-off by the smug self-righteousness of the author, were justified. I think those who found his arguments to be devoid of merit, were justified. I think those who found his characterization of atheists as heralding a future wave of immorality to be offensive, were justified.

    As an atheist, I wasn’t personally offended, because the article didn’t ring true and there is so much other crap out there being foisted on us by religious zealots, this was like water off a duck’s back. However, seeing how quickly civility can decline when we start blaming others, I am glad there are those who are willing to point out the hypocrisy of Christians/Mormons who fail to heed the command to judge not.

    After having rubbed shoulders for many years with many highly faithful TBMs, and now having closely associated for some time with many self proclaimed atheists, I’ve got to say that I find absolutely no difference in the degree of “morality” between the groups. I know many good and moral people in the church. I know many who weren’t so good. I know many highly ethical and conscience atheists. But, I would fear far more a society where TBMs got to define morality than I would a society where atheist got to do so.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, Garth!

      Thank you for wasting that nontrivial chunk of time to respond deeply to a shallow puddle of serial logical fallacies.

      It is indeed telling that Mormon doctrine proclaims that the 8 year old human psyche is mature enough to comprehend and evaluate enough information upon which to base a lifelong choice of belief system.

      In many ways, the run-of-the-mill TBM’s spiritual,intellectual and social maturation/growth process gets truncated somewhere around age 8. That does seem to be the target audience for the Correlated Pablum dispensed from SLC.

      Milk before meat. OK. Got plenty of milk here. Done suckin’ on the LDS tit. Where’s the meat, Brethren?

      Children require some guidance and direction from (hopefully) more mature parents who understand the consequences of behavior choices that elude children because of limited experience. In other words, children truly benefit from guidance by an external authority who models healthy, non-self-destructive behavior. Even animal mothers and their babies have this figured out.

      A fundamental problem with the Mormon Church is that its leaders purposefully and intentionally do not want the members to EVER grow up and figure out Life for themselves. When the prophet speaks, the thinking has been done. The Brethren continue to rely on the immaturity and cluelessness of their members, and they do all within their purview to keep it that way. Maintaining a cult-ural belief that departure from the fold is an automatic ticket to debauchery and destruction is part of the Plan of Eternal Stagnation courtesy of the Spiritual Dwarfs who own and control the operation.

      You did not comment much on the seldom acknowledged problem of which definition of God DO you believe in or DO NOT believe exists. A presumption that a Mormon and an Atheist are discussing the same imaginary entity is not always addressed. If we are talking about Jesus’ flesh and bone Dad, that’s one version. If we are talking about a Creation Force or Ubiquitous Ineffable Nonanthropormophic Energtic Presence, that something else.

      Anyway, Garth, thank you for chiming in. I appreciate your remarks.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hey, Sam!

        Who am I? (You are about to regret asking . . . )

        Well, I was born a 4th generation Mormon as the second b.i.c. of two TBM parents. In other words, I am TBM Number 2.

        Curious factoid: My great uncle George wrote the beloved hymn “Oh How Lovely Was The Morning”.

        https://www.geni.com/people/George-Manwaring/6000000032527756647

        I was born in Orange County, CA in 1950 and grew up in Yucaipa, CA. I was an active, overachiever Mormon boy: 4 years of Seminary, Duty to God, Eagle Scout, High School Valedictorian and Senior Class President, McKay BYU Scholar runner-up, BYU Honors Program, mission to Argentina South, SLC temple marriage, BYU 1974 graduate Electrical Engineering, EE job with IBM, Boulder, CO. In 1980 I moved to Oregon working for HP Medical and concurrently stopped attending Church cold turkey. In 1983 I requested that my name be removed from Church records. I received a certified letter inviting me to a High Council hearing, which I politely declined. I never even met my local bishop in Oregon.

        Why did I leave the Church? The original reason was my unfortunate temple marriage to a sweet spirit who regularly transmogrified into a physically violent psychopath. Back in Colorado, I consulted with a Mormon mental health professional for help. His diagnosis was that I was being punished by God for my sinful failure, despite my best efforts, to abstain from masturbation. My bishop’s advice to repair my seriously broken marriage relationship was for us to have a baby.

        So initially, I parted company with the Church because the coping tools it offered me were not only useless, but self-destructive. Only later on did I seriously study the unvarnished History of the Church and discover the troubling, non-faith-promoting historical details that are intentionally hidden from easy access by Church members. I came to the same conclusion of Richard Bushman, only years eariler:

        Richard Bushman: “I think that for the Church to remain strong it has to reconstruct its narrative. The dominant narrative is not true; it can’t be sustained.”

        Leaving the Church did not solve my marital violence challenge. I allowed the violence to continue despite my failed attempts to save myself, including voluntary admission to a mental hospital for my own protection. My eternal companion eventually manipulated me back under the same roof, where I was nearly, eventually, serially bludgeoned to a slow death after 18 years of marriage. My self-preservation instinct finally kicked in when the beating I sensed would kill me was starting. I managed to dial 911 and saved my own life. I rode to the hospital in the back seat of a sheriff cruiser. I had lost over half of my red blood cells to internal bleeding from serial beatings administered with an oak table leg, belt buckles, kicking, scratching, biting, and occasional knife cuts and stabbing. I stayed way too long, likely because of core programming that I did not own my own life or even have the right to preserve it.

        After dialing 911 (1990), I eventually extricated myself from this disaster with a divorce. This was followed by a 21 year second relationship that ended also with help from a sheriff deputy, this time presenting me with a falsely sworn Restraining Order. That turned out to be a thinly disguised blessing and sprung me from yet another dysfunctional relationship.

        Let me be clear that I do not blame my relationship chuckholes on the Church, although receiving faux help when I sought guidance from my bishop was disappointing. I am doing fine now in semi-retirement and sans relationship. I like to tell people that my 40 years of Relationship Aversion Therapy has been a stunning success!

        So, Sam. With a disturbing dose of TMI, that’s Who Am I.

        BTW, even though I recounted my soap opera story, I am well beyond any “victim” mentality and have discovered that Life is Perfect! All of what happened was for good reasons and for my experience to help my spiritual growth and maturation. All is well. All is well.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I love you my friend. Man, what a story! I’m glad you finally landed in a good place.

        As I read your story, I guffawed in a couple of places. Most of the time I was riveted in amazement at the shocking things that happened to you.

        So, Gary, why are you on my blog? I’m super glad you are here. I’m just curious….and a little startled at our budding friendship.

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      3. Hey, Sam!

        I feel kinda tickled that you found my trainwreck Cliff Notes bio entertaining. There’s lots more to the story as you might imagine . . . no shortage of “stranger than fiction” adventures . . . mostly spectacularly dysfunctional relationship antics, including a second stint in the mental hospital after I dialed 911 . . . trying to put Humpty together again.

        My second relationship partner was the one who ended up in a psych hospital instead of me, and later as a ward of the state in a residential care facility with a court-assigned guardian. Her wingnut psychiatrist convinced her that I had tried to murder her on multiple occasions and would not allow her to return home from the care facility before a security system had been installed and I had been escorted off the property by a sheriff deputy flashing a Restraining Order full of BS allegations of abuse. It’s a complicated story that slowly transmogrified over 20 years as her health and cognition was slowly destroyed by medications prescribed by an overzealous doctor attempting to treat her intractable and worsening chronic fatigue and runaway anxiety. I eventually found myself in a healthcare disaster way, way over my head. Towards the end, she deteriorated into severe borderline personality disorder behaviors with repeated verbal assaults and eventually physically attacking me. Then 911 calls from both of us after I drove away. She told the dispatcher that she was being held hostage and that I had stolen her car. Fortunately I communicated with a deputy and explained the situation before the entire sheriff department was about to come to her rescue.

        I was unswervingly committed to stay with her and do all I could to help and support her. She previously had asked me from time to time why I did not leave, knowing that my care giving with her deteriorating health and mental functioning had to be taking a toll. I told her that there were only two ways that I would ever leave her: A) if I died; and B) if a sheriff deputy escorted me off the property. I kept my word, and I am still alive after Plan B happened. I later felt lucky that the relationship ended without my help. That was four years ago, and I have been happily single ever since, and in no danger of trying for Strike 3 in the relationship game.

        Why am I on your blog? Well, because of who you are in the world and in the Church, Sam. You clearly have an unusually expansive heart of gold, and you express yourself so beautifully with grace and eloquence. You are probably humbly unaware of what an unusually high quality human being you have become, Sam. You eventually awakened to your own awareness of some of the truly toxic aspects of being LDS and are courageously seeking to offer your love and support to your fellow members who are struggling with similar discoveries . . . and getting zero help from The Brethren.

        Sam, I am on your blog because your uncommon expression of true decency and high consciousness humanity makes me want to support you remotely and cheer you on . . . wherever your pathway leads you. That’s why.

        Like

      4. Ditto to what Gary said to Sam:

        You clearly have an unusually expansive heart of gold, and you express yourself so beautifully with grace and eloquence. You are probably humbly unaware of what an unusually high quality human being you have become, Sam. You eventually awakened to your own awareness of some of the truly toxic aspects of being LDS and are courageously seeking to offer your love and support to your fellow members who are struggling with similar discoveries . . . and getting zero help from The Brethren.

        Sam, I am on your blog because your uncommon expression of true decency and high consciousness humanity makes me want to support you remotely and cheer you on . . . wherever your pathway leads you.

        Like

    2. Oh man…that last sentence, “I would fear far more a society where TBMs got to define morality than I would a society where atheist got to do so.” It sent shivers down my spine.

      Thanks for your well thought out response. I am constantly amazed at how thorough, piercing and appealing your arguments are.

      Like

      1. History has shown us repeatedly that when Religious Zealots hold political power and the command of soldiers, millions of people are eventually killed in the name of God or whatever they use as an excuse.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Robert,

      Your inquiry certainly boosts my fragile male ego, so I will need to beat it back down into submission. I don’t write a blog myself, but I have posted many times on the Recovery From Mormonism board. Go to this link
      http://exmormon.org/phorum/search.php?2
      and enter Search Authors: beyondashadow and Search Forums: Recovery Board
      I have written 1,499 posts over the past 5 years. For some worthwhile content, I recommend you Search Messages: “Michael Newton” to read about the most exciting discovery of my lifetime. Go to the earliest date and read all about it.

      I also post on many of John Dehlin’s Mormon Stories podcast comments as Gary:
      http://www.mormonstories.org/
      Headzup that many of my posts have sharp edges and are not recommended for thin skins. John Dehlin frequently moderates my submissions into oblivion, but many have survived his filter.

      Thank you also, Robert, for acknowledging Sam as you have. Sam deserves all the high quality kudos we can throw at him, and more.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Long….slow….deliberate….and continuous clap!!! Very well done, Sam. I agree with every word you’ve written here. I too, have been seething about this childish, infantile article. I’m ashamed of the people who produced it. Here’s a clue…”instead of telling people what they think…why don’t you be respectful enough to ask them what they think; and then have the maturity to listen!. God speed, Sam.

    Liked by 1 person

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