Sunday, July 09, 2006

What has Mormonism ever done for you? Or, to put it another way, where would YOU be, without Mormonism?

What has Mormonism ever done for you? Or, to put it another way, where would YOU be, without Mormonism?

This is something I have put a great deal of thought into, in recent years. I believe that, if my parents had left Mormonism when they both (as I now realise they did) came to the knowledge that the Mormon church was untrue, we would have returned to our home city from the rural backwater we had found ourselves in. The idea of moving was scotched by the church elders/bishopric in some way I never did fully figure out, but believe was guilt, guilt and MORE guilt. So my family never moved.

Had we returned to Birmingham I would have received a first rate education, gone on to university and, as they say, the world would have been my oyster. Sadly, this did not happen and I received an education that was very much below standard. It was basically designed to fit you for work in a large local factory as a machinehand or in a local munitions depot as a storesman.

But the local Mormon elders wanted my parents (and us their kids) and they did not want us to move away to another branch or ward. Never mind that my father would have been able to have commanded a salary of FOUR times what he was earning in Shropshire! That wasn’t important! What was important was local membership figures.

Years later my mother said to my father: “I am glad we did not go back to Birmingham. I do not think we would have continued being Mormon, there.” I thought to myself: “And what would have been so bad about that?”

Where would I be, now, had my parents done the right thing and returned home? I would certainly have had a better life. A life free of the constructed stupid guilt of Mormonism. A life when a cup of tea or a mug of coffee are not terrible sins against God.

A life where our family was not impoverished by having to give 10% of our income plus all the other little collecting scams for my father’s appallingly poor wages, in a low wage area.

A life where I would have been judged by who I was, not whether or not I wore a tie to shirt to shirt, or if I drunk a cup of tea. A life free of pre-programmed Mormon guilt.

Where would YOU have been without Mormonism? What would you be doing now, without the dead hand of Joseph Smith the child molester resting on your head? Please let me know.


C.L. Hanson said...

In my case it hardly makes sense to ask the question...

If it weren't for Mormonism, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't exist. My parents met at (Mormon) church, my mom's parents met at church, my mom's dad's parents met in Utah because they came from families that had crossed the plains with the Mormons, etc.

I don't mean that I'm thanking Mormonism for my existence here. A huge amount of chance is involved in who meets and marries whom and what kids they have, etc., and I'm not going to thank every random accident along the line... ;^)

Still, it's interesting for me to see this whole thing from your perspective. Basically it looks like you and your family were minding your own business when Mormonism came along and blindsided you -- sucking off a huge amount of energy and effort -- and giving precious little in return. So this question of "Where would you be without Mormonism" is as obvious and natural for you as it is unnatural for me. :D

FrenchExpat said...

Hey there, very smart post! I joined the Church when I was 19, got excommunicated when I was 25. I am now 30 and I have pondered that question too.

I think that Mormonism brought a lot to me. It did bring its lot of guilt and pressure and even depression, but it also brought me some notions I hold dear. It's such a shame that the LDS Church is about obedience, obedience, and obedience to what the leaders say, instead of developing a personal relationship and theology with God as I believe the reformer, if false prophet, Joseph Smith had intended.

Without the Church, I guess I would not have had the opportunities I had to go to the States to stay with former misisonaries and from that meet people, meet my first boyfriend, which made me come out of the closet and which made me analyze what my spiritual needs really were and how I could keep on progressing.

See, my family never joined, so it was a very personal thing for me and not something that was imposed. I am so glad I am not a member anymore. The last years of membership were a real nightmare, but all in all, I think Mormonism brought me a lot more that it took from me.

I've enjoyed your blog, will be back!

Cynthia E. Bagley said...

As CL Hanson said, I also come from a long-line of Mormons. But, if my parents had stayed inactive, we would not have moved to Utah. AND, I would not have had a below par education...

But, because I had to fight what for what I have now.. I appreciate what I have... Coffee... :-)