Oh yes, the brainwashing within Mormonism is endless... and it starts at a very early age. People sit in Fast & Testimony meeting (first Sunday of every month), and when little children such as this little girl get up, they think "Oh, how cute." And yes, it is cute... just adorable. But it is also very disturbing because the children are simply parroting what they are told at home and in church. These thoughts, of course, settle in their brains - and all of that, along with the programming they get at home and in Primary (the children's organization in the Mormon Church) with lessons and "singing time," the brainwashing starts to take full effect, as it becomes embedded in their brains. Between being taught Primary songs like "Search, Ponder and Pray," "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam," "The Golden Plates," and "Book of Mormon Stories," and the constant lessons about various religious themes, most very Mormon in nature, the programming takes root. And before long -- voilà, they are brainwashed. The next generation of Morgbots.
Looking back, I don't know what is more upsetting to me... the fact that I was brainwashed as a child, or the fact that I essentially participated in the brainwashing of my daughter. Naturally, since I was “born under the covenant” (a Mormon term for anyone who is born to parents who have been sealed in the Mormon temple) and married in the temple to her father, my daughter was also “born under the covenant.” And yes, she used to get up in Fast & Testimony meeting and bear her testimony (just like I did when I was a child and as an adult). That image is burned into my brain, and it really bothers me.
The thing that bothers me the most, though, is that if I had followed my instincts, I would have stopped being Mormon before my daughter was even baptized – and that would have been over 20 years ago. At that point in my life, I had already begun to realize many of the negative influences of Mormonism in my life, including the fact that the Mormon Church is a male-oriented, male-dominated, double-standard religious institution that brainwashes its members and uses guilt to try to control them. I had also begun to question whether I wanted my daughter to be brought up any further in the Mormon Church, and I had begun to think about not having her baptized when she turned 8 years old. It was with those thoughts in mind that I stopped going to church when my daughter was 7 years old around the time that I married my second, non-Mormon husband, and I didn't go or take my daughter to church for over 6 months. But unfortunately, the guilt began seeping in and I began to realize that if I didn't have her baptized, I would be making a public pronouncement of having left Mormonism – and because my father was very pious and dogmatic about Mormonism, and I was afraid to tell him (even though he lived in Utah and I lived in California), I began taking my daughter to church again and had her baptized when she turned 8. For that, I could kick myself to this day.
Luckily, though, my daughter realized that Mormonism is a pile of garbage on her own, when she was a teenager (although she continued to go not only to church but also to 4 years of early-morning Seminary) – and she finally stopped going to church when she was 21. As it turned out, she and I had parallel, but separate, journeys away from Mormonism – hers while she was living on her own, going to school in Salt Lake City, Utah (in an apartment that is only 5 blocks from Temple Square), and mine at home in California. When she came back from Utah, I decided to tell her that I had abandoned Mormonism because I didn't want to pretend that I was still going to church – and when I told her, I could see the relief on her face before she told me the same thing. When I began telling her my reasons, including the fact that I had discovered so many lies and contradictions, she literally finished my sentences for me, showing that she had discovered a lot of the same things as I had. It was very much a bonding moment, and I will never forget it.
One of the funniest parts of my daughter opening up to me about her long-term doubts about Mormonism was her description of me as "Mormon Mommy." When I told her that I had disassociated myself from the LDS Church, she told me that she was very happy that “Mormon Mommy” had gone away. Apparently, she always dreaded it when I would become "adamant" about various aspects of Mormonism (calling that aspect of my personality “Mormon Mommy”), and liked me much better during the times when I relaxed and was less concerned about it all. It really made me laugh – but it also made me examine myself and the way it which I had appeared, not only to her but to others. That revelation really made a deep impact on me, and has been invaluable to me over the years.
Naturally, active Mormons deny that brainwashing or programming takes place within the Mormon Church just as they deny that Mormonism is actually a cult. But it becomes very apparent when reading about the characteristics of cults, and its definition, that Mormonism is the epitome of cultism. Denying the obvious is useless.