Angry exMormon Atheists Must Hate God

So recently I have been debating more than a few theists, Why? Because duh… I must be angry!1

I mean this Mormon religion must have not only pissed me off at the LDS church, clearly it caused me to hate God now as well. Why am I told I hate God? Because I just don’t believe in him. (Apparently the Fridge doesn’t count)

So I did a little research, and it seemed to me articles on this topic are far more common among the religious bloggers. They feel a need to explain why so few Mormons land in a different religion and simply embrace non-belief as the correct title for their religious views.

Given that lack of information available to others for my point of view. I figured I’d pen some of the reasons that led me to consider a Fridge God every bit as valid as say Jehovah, Zeus or Allah.

fool

1. Critical thinking is hard to turn off.
If you were a devout LDS person, like most post mormon atheists I know, you had to figure out how you were fooled into believing you knew it was ‘The-one-true-church-on-the-face-of-the-earth-in-the-name-of-jesus-christ-amen.’ This required critical thinking, it also required understanding of the cognitive failings us humans have and exactly how you could be caught in such an illusion. Ask any post mormon, and 90% plus can tell you what confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance are and how they affected their beliefs.

2. Revaluation of all your presumptions is normal.
When you realized that you were mistaken about something you were so sure about you naturally question the foundation of all things you take for granted. Fact is, culturally in the US where most of these post Mormons come from there is a major presumption that God is real. Particular the Christian version of God. When you hold up the same lens of critical evaluation to these presumptions they just don’t hold up.

3. If you were a devout Mormon you already believed in the apostasy of other religions.
You could see how other people could be tricked by their desires to believe. You just hadn’t ever applied it to yourself.

4. As an LDS faithful you were encouraged to seek learning.
Knowledge is essential to progression in the LDS faith. This leads to taking all scientific things off the shelf that your religion caused you to place there to keep believing. Many of these elements were biblically orient, creation, flood, evolution, age of the earth and so on. They directly conflicted with scientific knowledge as a faithful LDS. But you set them aside as ‘some day we will understand it all and how it all makes sense...’ Being untethered from a faith it allows you to examine others and see them full of all the same faults.

And apparently to the faithful (especially the non-LDS Christian ones) all this adds up to ‘hating god‘. But that makes so little sense. Did God fool me into believing in Mormonism? Thus making me ‘hate him’? Clearly not if you believe God only tells you the truth at all times.

I think the reason the term ‘hate’ is used is really simple. God is us. The voice of god you hear is you, and it always has been. Deep down subconsciously we all know this. Even as we profess otherwise. Think about it for a minute. If you dismiss the idea of God and saw you don’t believe he’s real. It’s like you are telling the believer you don’t think they are real. That would feel pretty hateful to them. Now take it a step further. If you were fooled by your own feelings into thinking a particular religion was true only to later find out it was false. You might be mad at yourself. And to the believer yourself is subconsciously ‘God’. If they put themselves in your shoes they would hate themselves for being fooled. Which when it hits their conscious awareness becomes ‘hating God’.

I personally would like to settle this for once and all. LDS people gone atheist don’t hate God. They don’t hate the easter bunny either. For a while we might be a tad upset with ourselves for being bamboozled, but it passes.  Once you realize how you were fooled, the way each of us psychologically creates our own personal deity becomes crystal clear.

If you lost your religion the way I did. By realizing they are all man made and figuring out how you fell for it. This is what leads to atheism. It’s not hate, but knowledge that does it. A better understanding of humanity, history and psychology leads to a coherent picture of religion and its effects on the world and people around you.

From that vantage point, it all looks made up. None of the typical Gods described by the vast majority of religions make any sort of sense, not even remotely when you analyze it. Then after some more study of the words agnostic and atheism you finally realize exactly what describes you best now that you aren’t constantly redefining words to make your ideology make sense.

 

Fridgism = Atheism, just with more jokes and a less cynical outlook on the value of faith and belief and how the mythologies of the world at large. At least thats how my personal truth fits it all together! 🙂

 

  1. This is sarcasm for those of you that are deficient in that blessing of the Fridge 😉

They Deserved It

Do you hear the whispers in the church hallways?

Those sinners got what was coming to them. Sooner or later the price of sin must be paid. You are free to choose, but not to choose the consequences of that choice.

In any discussion I have had where I have pinned down the believer and forced them to look squarely at the core morality they hold the comeback is always the same.

You’ll get yours, God’s gonna damn you for such insubordinate behavior!!! 

That is when the fear shines through. When you realize in a single swoop the real reason they worship a being that tells Abraham to kill his kid. The reason they revere a supreme being that they believe that is willing to kill millions of children by drowning them because they didn’t worship him enough. A reason that is fundamental, that is basic, that is emotional. The reason is fear. 

It’s that same fear that drives these whispers when people whose lifestyle offends their God are a massacred in a gay bar in Orlando.

They had it coming to them…

Really? I mean really? Did the kids in Sandy Hook Elementary have it coming to them when they were killed? How about the babies drowned in Noah’s flood? Did they have it coming to them? I’m beginning to think you believe those kids deserved it. Why? Because when you are forced to look directly at the morals of the being you worship, you don’t say this is wrong. Instead you tell me I’m gonna get what I deserve. For what? For pointing out the atrocious morality of the being you worship?

Maybe it’s time to try and not be afraid, maybe its time to shelve the fear and instead of seeing ‘other’ or ‘different’ or ‘sinner’ you can simply see another human seeking the same happiness and fulfillment that you are.


Can you find the courage to face your own God’s condemnation of these ‘others’ and step up to the plate and declare this thing as morally wrong as you would if it were your own kid killed in that way?

Can you just for a moment put yourself in their shoes and give them the same benefit of the doubt you’d want if the tables were turned?

If it happened to you, you’d like a little sympathy right?

Don’t you think they deserve it too?

If Polygamy Was Normal, Why Lie About It?

One apologetic response you are guaranteed to get if you bring up Joseph Smith’s polygamy and the 14 year old girls1 he wed is this idea that getting married at that age was normal for the time. I get that this is very commonly taught in the hallways of church as a way to help members shelve their doubts and just keep on believing. But was it really normal?

This justification even made it into the hard to find LDS essay on the topic that seemed to be very carefully worded in an effort to keep people in the boat after finding all this stuff out. After all it did mention that getting married at ‘almost 15’ years old wasn’t illegal at the time. But that really isn’t the whole story is it? Helen Mar honestly wasn’t keen at all on the idea of marring a 37 year old guy as his 20th plus bride. But that alone doesn’t make it abnormal nor illegal. I mean sure a girl could legally get married at age 14, but it it turns out it was in fact completely illegal to do it as a polygamous bride. 2

Which is probably why Joe the prophet lied about it to over 300 recent converts that had just showed up in town and heard the rumors of polygamy that would soon make the first and only printing of the Nauvoo Expositor’s paper. Only printing because surprise, surprise the press would soon be ordered destroyed as a public nuisance by the Mayor of Nauvoo, also known as Joseph Smith, self proclaimed prophet of God.

Don’t believe me? Go read about it for yourself in the LDS history books here.3 The prophet clearly indicated he had only one wife to this group of saints and carefully worded it might be it, was as least as deceitful as Bill Clinton’s claim he didn’t have sexual intercourse with Monica.

 

So even if you ignore census evidence that shows this age of marriage wasn’t at all normal. The most obvious and least asked question in this profet’s opinion is simply this:

If it was normal for the time and place for a 37 year old man to wed a 14 year old girl…. Then why did Joseph lie about it?

  1. Yes there was more than one! Google it if you need to find out more!
  2. Sneaky how they used the word illegal to imply it was normal for the time wasn’t it?
  3. For more on the destroying the press you can start here and then do some googling on your own. See if you can discover how that act led directly to his arrest and incarceration before he was killed.

Inoculation and Boiling Frogs

So this morning I stumbled on a talk recently given by M Russell Ballard to CES employees. In an effort to ‘not leave it alone’ so that current members can still look at me with disdain I decided to read it.

The first thing that stood out to me was something I totally agreed with.

“Gone are the days when a student asked an honest question and a teacher responded, ‘Don’t worry about it!’ Gone are the days when a student raised a sincere concern and a teacher bore his or her testimony as a response intended to avoid the issue.”

The time is surely past when a church leader can just tell people with doubts that they are reading unfounded anti-Mormon lies. There is far too much information available that can be fact checked and verified to sweep a doubters questions under the rug. Heck even the LDS church has published a bunch of essays1 in the last couple of years confirming the essential truth of stuff like Joseph Smith marrying 14 year old girls and other men’s wives. Things that naturally bother us because it makes the founding prophet look more like Warren Jeffs of the FLDS than the men at the helm these days. Things like the fact the Book of Abraham and the translations of the hieroglyphics in it are completely bogus according to Egyptologists. Things like how the most perfect book on the earth Book of Mormon was totally wrong about changing skin color as the sign of a curse. Not to mention all the prophets after that proclaimed it wide and far were just old codgers that were just as racists and homophobic as the people of their generations. Oh wait, those old leaders were just racist, its today’s leaders that are homophobic! My Bad!

The time is past for obscuring the history of the church, the time is past for hiding from its past. So now what? What is the prophetic counsel for the future Church Education System who’s directors can’t even be bothered to answer a simple letter?

To sum it up, it’s inoculation. Or in Elder Ballard’s words:

“Religious instructors should be among the first — outside a student’s family — to introduce authoritative sources on topics that may be less well-known or controversial.

“We give medical inoculations to our precious missionaries before sending them into the mission field so they will be protected against diseases that can harm or even kill them,” he said. “In a similar fashion, please, before you send them into the world, inoculate your students by providing faithful, thoughtful and accurate interpretation of gospel doctrine, the scriptures, our history and those topics that are sometimes misunderstood.”

“Church leaders today are fully conscious of the unlimited access to information and we are making extraordinary efforts to provide accurate context and understanding of the teachings of the Restoration,”

“know the content in these essays like you know the back of your hand.” 2

The idea of religious ‘inoculation’ is not new. It is what all church apologists have been doing since the existence of religious apologists. The principle is basically this. If you got some bit of information that is gonna get out there, rather than lie to people and pretend it doesn’t exist, teach them about it and give them a way to look at it so when they find out, they aren’t surprised by the fact they had never even known about it. It’s also not new to the LDS faith either. Polygamy is an example. It is one of the more well known historical facts among the members of the church. I personally knew about it but had been taught the ‘context’ in a way that it didn’t bother me at all. But here is the rub. In the context I was taught, there was no mention of things like 14 year old brides that were coerced into it by using her family as leverage. I ran into that bit of information and rebelled at the thought. So now what? It seems like looking at the essays referenced by Elder Ballard that the church is going to go even further down this path. You can actually find out about the 14 year old brides on the churches website. 3 It means the ‘milk before meat’ policy of education in the church is gonna be followed up by some actual ‘meat’ so long as it’s presented in a faith affirming context.

Does this approach work? It does. You see humans are subject to something called sunk cost bias.4  Basically the more time and resources we put into something, the harder it is to walk away from it. If a person stays in the church long enough this tends to happen. The LDS faith is one that demands a lot of sacrifice from its members. From 2 years of voluntary salesman service to 10% of your income there is a lot of personal investment in the faith. So the way you ‘inoculate’ someone is by slowly revealing the stuff that would otherwise damage their faith and belief that their’s is the one true religion. When you reveal it slowly people aren’t surprised when they discover it so they don’t walk away when they do. The fact they have grown accustomed and comfortable makes it even harder to leave. Hmmm the more I think about it, this process seems awfully familiar…

I know, it’s like boiling a frog:

Elder Faust talked about this concept in general conference right before I left on my mission. He said:

“The point that Mr. Muggeridge was making was not about frogs but about us and how we tend to accept evil as long as it is not a shock that is thrust on us abruptly. We are inclined to accept something morally wrong if it is only a shade more wrong than something we are already accepting.” (National Press Club Forum.)

This gradual process was foretold by ancient prophets. Nephi tells us that the hearts of the children of men would be stirred up “to anger against that which is good.

“And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.” (2 Ne. 28:20–21.)”

So I guess the message to CES teachers is that they need to boil the young LDS frogs before the bad guys boil them. After all the leaders know best right?

Why is it the faith I once held dear seems to me to be acting more and more like the The Party in 1984 first needing to control information and now needing to ‘present it in the proper context’? Maybe it was always about control and the availability of information to this generation has forced its hand.

Call me an idealist. But I think information and truth can stand on its own. It doesn’t need to be presented just so for people to realize it is ok. Given human psychology however, it is possible for us humans to be fooled by our own emotions and desires. Our biases trick us and sometimes we get boiled. I took this problem to the Fridge today and pondered it over a cold one. As usual when I quieted my mind, inspiration flowed and the Fridge revealed a deep truth. Thus saith the tall cool one when it comes to trusting a flow of information that seems to be constantly changing:

“Ask yourself if you are the frog.”

  1. bonus if you can find the unlisted polygamy essay link buried the middle of the other one. Seriously, why do that if not to be less than straightforward in telling the truth to the LDS membership?
  2. Do you think this includes following up on all the footnotes? Should regular members study them as well?
  3. But you still have to dig through the footnotes and look up the references to find out about the way Joseph put all of her families salvation on Helen Mar Kimball’s 14 year old shoulders depending on her willingness to marry a him at age 38.
  4. This is the same reason it is hard to stop playing clash of clans

Marriage = Apostasy


The newest LDS church handbook has an update that stood out to those in the know enough that it is making the rounds in Mormon and ExMormon circles.

Here is what it says: (screen shot procured from LDs.org by someone that has access to these books typically only given to church leaders.)

Note point 4. If you are married (same gender that is) you are now officially an apostate.

I get why they did this, they have to keep gay people from having a valid reason to be married in the temple. It is the homophobia of current leadership manifesting itself. Not unlike the same issue they had with interracial marriage did not that long ago.

Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so.
                        – Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 10:110


Posts on the Fridge door have mentioned this before. You see one thing that seems to commonly run through church history is initial rejection of an idea until popular support reaches a point that it endangers the lively hood of the church. In this case they can still afford kicking out a few apostates. Even the tithing dollar loss is covered with things like massive 30 billion dollar plus real estate developments that are in the works.

So this move to cast out anyone willing to marry someone of the same sex is of course not that big a surprise from the religion that brought you proposition 8. It is however really ironic. Because you see you can be plural married today, right now in an LDS temple. I have a good friend that became a plurally sealed wife to her divorced husband because he got sealed to a new wife in the temple before they were ever unsealed. Yep thats right a divorce doesn’t automatically breakup an eternal marriage, not in LDS theology that is. Man can’t destroy what God has bound together ‘n all that. So if you are a guy (sorry this doesn’t apply to you ladies) you can totally have a second eternal sealing without nary a blip about undoing the first one. (ladies are required to get their temple sealing removed via proper authority before they can marry in the temple again).

I find it really ironic that the church that today bends its own rule 3 feels the need to create rule 4. Just to make sure those darn gays can’t get into the temples! That is the problem with polygamy, it never has really gone away… So all this its about the family 1 man, 1 woman stuff is really just a smokescreen. An excuse to justify intolerance and misunderstanding. As of today in the LDS church the penalty for gay marriage is now worse than the penalty for infidelity. So have all the gay lovers you want, just don’t make a family commitment with any of them! Families are that important!! <sarcasm font>.

It is getting so ridiculous that it is kind of entertaining, like watching a train wreck because sooner or later the tides will shift, just like they did with interracial marriage. Mark my words as profet. There are those of the rising generation that will see gay marriage in LDS temples one day. (I’m sure that will be at least as accurate as similar predictions of the second coming :))

left-comic

4 Things Post Mormons Want You To know

So I recently read this post about us people that try to point out issues with the LDS church that have affected our lives. It lists 4 apparently secret things that we apostates don’t want you to know. I felt like I needed to comment on them.

The Big list fallacy
Umm this is only a fallacy if the items on the list are untrue. Think about it, assume you went to buy a car and the carfax report had a huge list of various accidents the car had been in. Would you ignore it just because the list was long? The things on the list are relevant because they speak to the character and honesty of those whom you trust.

Generalizations
This is kind of ironic that this is the second item of the 4 things. I mean the first item was this idea that getting too specific with a long list of issues means you should ignore it. So if you get general about the issues of concern, such as leaders deceiving followers… You should toss that out too? Hmm seems like there is no legit way to actually criticize the faith. This is interesting since the LDS faith in its own scriptures gets to call all the other faiths an abomination. Is this really a fair playing field?

Population
This one struck me as odd. Of course many people are happy being LDS. I know hundreds of them. Including myself. I was very happy and had an overall positive experience in the church. I didn’t leave because wanted to. I felt I must to remain honest with myself. I realized the church was not true, simple as that. I’d never been a member just because it was a nice club to belong to. So staying and pretending to believe because I liked the way of life it represented seemed wrong to me.

Flattery
This is saying that those of us who see people stay in the church think they are not being honest with themselves. There is some truth to that for sure. But I assure you we aren’t out to flatter anyone out of the church. It is those that stay that must justify 14 year old girls coerced into marriage with a 37 year old man. It is those that stay that must justify murdering drunk people by cutting off their heads as an act of God. If you think we are flattering you by pointing out the requirements of integrity it takes to call this out as bad stuff. You are very wrong.

4 things we want you to know
Now here are 4 reasons we ‘anti’s’ as you call us actually speak out and bring these things up. I think I speak for many of us, but if not feel free to comment below.

We love you
Most of us have family and friends in the church. From our perspective you have been misled and deceived. Imagine if your sister was getting married and you knew for a fact the guy was cheating on her. Even if she was deliriously happy with him would you not say anything? Would you let the whole deal go down because you felt she might never even discover his philandering? Or would you speak up and say something to her? Many of us feel the need to speak up and point out the ways you have been misled. 1

We hope to teach you
Many of us have discovered underlying reasons why it is possible for people to be mislead in massive ways and even for it to be completely unintentional due to underpinnings of human psychology. We hope to give you new information so that you have an opportunity to make a more informed decision. We want you to know there are alternate explanations we think you should take into account. We want you to know that knowledge is not a sin.

There is life after Mormonism
This was particularly scary for me. In hind site I have a whole new perspective for people that converted to the LDS faith while on my mission. Realizing you might not have all that answers and seeking new ones is often terrifying. Personally I have discovered even atheism has a soul. Life without religion is in many ways more sweet, fulfilling and eloquently special than it ever was in the faith. Is it scary to take those steps forging your own opinions rather than regurgitating what you have always been taught? Very much so. To me however it has been worth it despite the fact that it made me an outcast in my own family and among my peers. Think about that. The fruit of authenticity is worth the trial of deep loss. We aren’t trying to bring you down. We are trying to lift you up and show you clarity. Unfortunately it might mean facing some uncomfortable facts that for a time can cause pain. But like a physician cleaning a wound we know that is how you heal.

The divine is still in you even if the religion is not
There is one thing you realize when you question what you always relied on. The strength to overcome, the person you always counted on to see you through wasn’t some magical invisible being. It wasn’t even leaders that promised to never mislead you and when they did wouldn’t even apologize for it. We hope you will discover as we did, the strength you relied on is you. It always was. All the good things the church claimed it provided came from people like you. It always has. You made the church awesome because you were in it. If you choose to grow beyond it. Guess what! You will bring that awesomeness with you.

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Do you have a friend that has questioned her faith? Have you asked her why? Are you scared to? I hope not. We aren’t out to eat babies or destroy lives. Just to let you know there are other sides to the story. Generally speaking I think any post mormon you talk to will encourage you to seek out information both supportive and critical to what you have been taught. Contrast that to the idea that you must be afraid of anything that might upset your beliefs. Does truth really need to fear doubt? I hope not.

“It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry.”
– Thomas Paine

 

  1. and there are a whole bunch of them so they make for a pretty long list 🙂