Tuesday, January 11, 2011


"I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief."  Gerry Spence ("How to Argue and Win Every Time")

What a great quote.  Very thought provoking.  Of course, as an ExMormon, it brings up a slew of thoughts about the many ridiculous things I was told to believe "by faith" over my 52 years as a Mormon.  "Just believe."  In fact, that is what my very TBM father always told me when I was growing up and would ask him questions about certain doctrines taught by the Mormon Church - like Blacks being denied the Priesthood, differing versions of the First Vision, why polygamy and polyandry were okay, and other questionable Mormon teachings and doctrines.  When I questioned certain things about what the church teaches, if I didn't instantly accept what he would tell me, he would say, "Well, you better believe it because it's true."  Case closed. 

My father was very good at shutting me down - like when I would tell him I felt a certain way, and he would tell me, "Well, don't feel that way."  Very helpful.  As I got older, and I continued to question things, he told me that my "liberal thinking was going to get me into trouble one day."  I guess he was right - at least as far as TBMs are concerned.  Lucky for him, I didn't discover the real truth behind polygamy, or the fact that polyandry was also practiced by both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young as well as some others, until after my father passed away.  But then, because he was so pious and dogmatic about the whole thing, I never told him that I had left the church in 2004-2005, which was 2 years before he passed away at the age of 92.  And of course, I never told him that I had been excommunicated in 2002 because I knew what he would say (like I was going to HELL).  Since he passed away, I have thought about several conversations I wish I had undertaken with him before he was gone - but then again, as I said, he was very pious and dogmatic about Mormonism, so it probably wouldn't have done any good, and may have actually driven a wedge between us.   

To my detriment, when I was younger I never carried my questioning far enough.  In the end, I always buckled under and tried to accept it all by faith.  I believed what "they" said, believing that the problem was me - that if I prayed more, studied the scriptures more, and was a better person, it would all become clear.  Yes, the problem was ME and not the ridiculous doctrines and teachings.  It amazes me now that I was able to "accept" it all for so long.  But then, I was truly a Mormon Slave, which is very typical of so many Mormons - and unfortunately, it was true of me as well for a very, very long time.

In the long run, though, I continued to question the advisability of simply accepting things by faith.  Was I really supposed to do that?  Even things that have been proven false?  No, to me, when all the facts contradict what you are being told to believe by faith, it's not faith anymore but rather denial.  People whose minds are "closed by belief" are prone to simply accept what they are told - without questioning and without thinking.  In my opinion, that is very dangerous because it closes a person's mind off to the possibility that what they're clinging to is actually false. 

I'm so glad I finally realized that very important concept - and continued my questioning by actually starting to think, research, and analyze what I discovered.  Otherwise, I would probably still be grasping at straws and burying my head in the sand, like so many Mormons do so well.  And being a Mormon Slave.

In this day and age of the internet, though, things have become much more accessible.  So to paraphase a popular "Mormon" scripture, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of Google."

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