Friday, October 28, 2011

I KNOW IN MY HEART IT'S A FRAUD - LDS Hymn Parody #36



Another LDS hymn parody - this one addressing the issue of what happens to children who are born to TBMs, i.e. they become targets of brainwashing.  Being told from birth that "the church is twoo" and convincing them that they would "wike" to get up in Fast and Testimony to "bury" their testimony is definitely akin to brainwashing and mind control.  And even coercion (which is defined as use of intimidation to gain compliance - sounds familiar and applicable to me).  Looking back, I can remember numerous instances where the above scene actually took place with a parent standing beside the child, telling him or her what to say.  Even as a TBM, I thought that was wrong - and I never, ever did that to my daughter (although she says my "forcing" her to go to Seminary was just as bad, and these days, I tend to agree with her).

So without further ado, here is my latest LDS hymn parody... I'm cookin' again... up to 36 now...

I KNOW IN MY HEART IT’S A FRAUD

I was baptized in the Mormon Church
When I was a girl of 8.
I did not know all the doctrines then,
But there would be no debate.
For I was brought up to believe it all,
The only true church of God.
But looking more closely, it was so clear,
I know in my heart it’s a fraud.

(Chorus)
I know in my heart it’s a fraud for sure,
Filled with lies, it’s so plain to see.
So glad that I finally broke the mold,
I can be who I want to be.

I was a sheep for so many years,
I tried to just go along.
And even though I would question things,
I knew that I must be wrong.
For if I would study the scriptures more,
And pray more sincerely to God,
Then answers would come which eluded me,
But that process is hugely flawed.

(Chorus)
I know in my heart it’s a fraud for sure,
Filled with lies, it’s so plain to see.
So glad that I finally broke the mold,
I can be who I want to be.

Don’t hold me back, I have found my voice,
And I will not quiet be.
For I must say what is in my heart,
Won’t go away silently.
I know Mormonism is not the truth,
Created by Joseph Smith,
And if it's examined with careful eyes,
So apparent it's all a myth.

(Chorus)
I know in my heart it’s a fraud for sure,
Filled with lies, it’s so plain to see.
So glad that I finally broke the mold,
I can be who I want to be.

© Diane Tingen, 10/28/2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

WITHIN MY SOUL - LDS Hymn Parody #35

Well, it's been a while since I wrote a LDS Hymn Parody, so this one is overdue.  The hymn (Be Still, My Soul) that this parody is based on is absolutely beautiful.  Back when I was an active Mormon and was Ward Organist, I used to love to play it, and would sometimes play it as prelude music.  Of course, this hymn is not strictly Mormon - it is a Christian hymn originally written in German by Catharina von Schlegel (1752), and was then translated by Jane Borthwick (1899) who then set it to music written by the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius (also in 1899).

My parody of this hymn outlines my struggles with coming to terms with what I began discovering about Mormonism back in 2001 (prior to, during and after going on a Mormon Church History Tour) - that it is a fraud that was made up by Joseph Smith and perpetuated by various others since its inception through to the present day.  As I have explained in other parts of this blog and in my book, initially I began reading about the history of the Mormon Church prior to going on a Mormon Church History Tour so I would know more when we visited the key places.  Having been born and raised Mormon, I had never really studied the history of the Church, but had rather relied on what I was told to believe.  So when I began to discover the truth behind what I had been told, and the actual sordid history of the Mormon Church, I was flabbergasted.  At first, I kept thinking that I must be misunderstanding things, that I just needed to continue to have faith that it was true - to "just believe."  But eventually, as I began to see even more clearly that it was actually a scam, I began to realize that having faith in what I was told to believe was all fine and good, but when all the evidence pointed toward it being actually false, then it wasn't faith anymore, but rather denial.  That was the turning point for me.

And as difficult as this process was for me, in the end I felt incredibly peaceful, knowing that I had discovered the actual truth.  All the years of questioning things and the burden of being told to "just believe" were erased, and I felt complete and utter serenity.  What a gift.

WITHIN MY SOUL
Sung to the tune of Be Still My Soul, #124


Within my soul, the questioning was strong,
But still I tried so hard to just believe.
Accept by faith, and try to go along,
Deny the truth, the web of lies they weave.
Within my soul, I struggled with it all,
But now the truth is written on the wall.


Within my mind, it made no sense to me,
To reconcile it all became too hard.
The more I read, the clearer I could see
The stack of lies I knew I must discard.
Within my mind, I know that truth prevails,
And in the end that Mormonism fails.


Within my heart, I know without a doubt
That Joseph Smith created it from scratch.
It’s very clear, I want to scream and shout,
The lies are plain, none of the pieces match.
The truth is there for everyone to find,
All it requires is opening your mind.


Within my soul, I felt a great release
From all the years of being just a sheep.
I felt renewed and finally felt at peace,
No longer trapped, ensnared, deception deep.
Within my soul, tranquility abides,
Serenity, the gift that truth provides.


© Diane Tingen, 10/27/2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

THE "I'M A MORMON" AD CAMPAIGN HAS INVADED COLORADO AND...




The I'm a Mormon Campaign has been amped up here in Colorado.  The above billboard is currently up in Loveland, CO - and the one at the left is in Colorado Springs, CO. 

In addition to billboards, for the past couple of weeks, I have seen several "I'm a Mormon" commercials on television.  The fact that these ads are being played on network television (I've seen them on NBC) during Prime-Time is especially troubling to me since the cost must be quite high.  Tithing monies being put to good use, right?  I don't think so.

And last night, the News on Channel 9 (NBC) here in Denver did a news story about the I'm a Mormon Campaign.  Quite appropriately, they asked the question of whether this campaign is "politically motivated" since Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman are both running for President.  I thought it was very funny when a spokesman from the Mormon Church said NO, they are not politically motivated, that in fact the Mormon Church is "politically neutral."  Very funny!!  He said the ads are aimed at "clearing up misconceptions," to help Americans better understand Mormons, and to show that Mormons are normal people just like rest of the Christians out here.  He even went on to say emphatically that Mormonism is not a cult.  Me thinks thou doth protest too much...

According to this news report, there are several states in which these billboards and television commercials are being run.  Lucky Colorado - it's one of them. 

Also, an article in the Denver Post on September 29, 2011 stated as follows:
The "I'm a Mormon" campaign begins next week in Denver; San Antonio and Austin in Texas; Atlanta; Phoenix; Spokane and Seattle-Tacoma in Washington; Omaha and Lincoln-Hastings in Nebraska; and Indianapolis, Fort Wayne and South Bend in Indiana.

The 2011-12 campaign began in New York in June.
Ah, yes... let's not forget about New York and the massive ads that have been running on and near Times Square (see below).

Of course, some of the New York ads are near Broadway where the Book of Mormon musical is currently running.  Presumably, they are trying to "clear up misconceptions" there as well.




The Denver Post article went on to say: 

This is the second year of the "I'm a Mormon" campaign. Last year, it appeared in Colorado Springs; Rochester, N.Y.; Minneapolis; St. Louis; Pittsburgh; Oklahoma City; Baton Rouge, La.; Tucson; and Jacksonville, Fla.

The campaign is a direct result of the church's research in the past few years as to how Americans perceive Mormons, officials said.
Research.  Internet ads.  Billboards.  Television commercials.  So what will be next?


As the Denver Post article points out:
The ads will refer people to the Mormon.org website, where they can find profiles of more than 30,000 Mormons and chat live with representative Mormons.
"Our missionaries are known for knocking on doors to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ," Evans said in a release about the ad campaign.  "Mormon.org gives people the opportunity to knock on our door through the Internet and ask members questions about our faith."

Interesting.  Of course, if you want the truth, don't ask a Mormon since most of them don't really know the real truth about either the history or doctrine of the church and simply spout what they are told to say.

As I stated above, it is obvious that tithing monies are being used to fund the "I'm a Mormon" ad campaign, which has to be costing a tremendous amount of money.  And I have to ask:  Is this a good use of the money?

But then this is the church who is building a mall in downtown Salt Lake City - at a cost of over $6 billion so far.  Enough said.


NOTE:  In direct response to the "I'm a Mormon" ad campaign, Dan Johnson of Alberta, Canada has begun a website called "I Am An Ex-Mormon," and it contains many videos of people who have left the Mormon Church for various reasons.  It is very compelling and definitely worth a "look-see."

Friday, October 7, 2011

YOUR TIME IS LIMITED, SO DON'T WASTE IT LIVING SOMEONE ELSE'S LIFE...


Such profound words from an amazing man.  With Steve Jobs' death earlier this week, the world lost a real genius, a true visionary whose life work truly changed the landscape of the world forever.  Quite a legacy.

The words he spoke in this quote are very thought-provoking.  Obviously he followed his own advice in all aspects of his life.  I've been doing some reading about his life this week, and I discovered that not only did Steve Jobs co-found Apple with Steve Wozniak in the late 1970's (from whence the world got the Mac computers, iPods, iTunes, iPads, iPhones, etc.), but after resigning from Apple in 1985 (after losing a power struggle with the Board of Directors), he acquired the computer graphics division of Lucasfilm, which was spun off as Pixar Animation Studios, and he became its Chief Executive Officer.  By doing so, he became a major force, both economically and imaginatively, of many computer-animated films (like Toy Story, Pixar's first release, for which Steve Jobs was listed as Executive Producer).  He remained the major shareholder of Pixar (at 50.1 percent) until 2006 when Disney acquired Pixar, and in the process Steve Jobs became Disney's largest individual shareholder at 7 percent and a member of Disney's Board of Directors.

In 1986, Steve Jobs founded NeXT, a computer platform development company specializing in the higher-education and business markets.  Apple's subsequent 1996 buyout of NeXT brought Jobs back to the company he co-founded, and he served as its interim CEO from 1997, then becoming its permanent CEO from 2000-2011 when he resigned due to health reasons.  After resigning as CEO in August 2011, Jobs was elected Chairman of Apple's board of directors and held that title until his death earlier this week.

In Steve Jobs' personal life, he was married for 20 years to Laurene Powell, and they have three children (a son and two daughters).  He has another daughter from a previous relationship, Lisa Brennan-Jobs.  Interestingly, Steve and Laurene were married by a Zen Buddhist Monk.  Also interestingly, Steve apparently once dated Joan Baez and also Diane Keaton briefly (at least according to two biographies that were written about his life).  His favorite musician was Bob Dylan, and he was a huge Beatles fan (which must be why he named his company Apple - after Apple Records, the Beatles' record company).

Very interesting man.

Of course, in my mind the above quote correlates directly with my Exit from Mormonism.  I spent 50 years of my life trapped by dogma, living with the results of other people's thinking.  Letting the Mormon Church decide what I did and when I did it.  I let the noise of others' opinions drown out of my own inner voice (in many ways).  But in the end, I finally had the courage to follow my heart and intuition - and become who I really am.  And yes, everything else is secondary.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I JUST REALIZED...

...that September 25 was the one-year anniversary of my starting this blog.  Looking back at the past year, I realize just how far I've come.  My beliefs were very solid a year ago, but starting this blog signaled my becoming much more vocal about my firm belief that Mormonism is a fraud - wanting to share my views and opinions as well as all the information that I have discovered (which points undeniably in one direction).  And I consider that to be a very good thing.

In thinking about all this, I also realize that this all ties in with the fact that yesterday (October 4) was the 34th anniversary of my mother's death.  So a year ago, it was the 33rd anniversary of her death - and that makes me also think back on the fact that when I started my blog, I began by posting the book I've written about my Exit from Mormonism and dedicating it to my mother (who I have missed every day for the past 34 years).

As I said in my first blog post...
The book contained on this blog is dedicated to my mother.  She passed away in 1977 when she was only 64 years old (and I was 25).  (NOTE:  Since I am turning 60 in December 2011, she seems even younger to me today than she did back then.)  Because of (my mother's) untimely death, I have always felt robbed of an adult relationship with her, and I have always wondered how different my life might have been if she had lived longer and been around for me to "garner wisdom" from her.  She has always been somewhat of an enigma to me, especially now that I have left the Mormon Church.  The woman who I knew as my mother was a very strong, independent woman who always seemed to have it all together.  I have always admired those traits in her, and I have always felt that I inherted many of those types of mindsets from her.  But she was also a devout Mormon - and that is a very big puzzlement for me.

There are so many questions I would like to ask my mother, especially about the Mormon Church and her conversion at age 40, just a few months after I was born.  My father lived to be 92 years old, and he passed away in 2006.  About a year before his death, my father and I were talking and he told me that when he and my mother were investigating the Mormon Church, my mother had a hard time accepting that Joseph Smith as a Prophet of God - but that she finally was able to reconcile her feelings and decided to be baptized.  I wish I could ask her what settled that issue in her mind, although to a certain extent, it still remains questionable to me that she actually ever did.  Perhaps she joined the Mormon Church to please my father or because she thought it would be good for her children for her to have a unified religion with her husband (since he accepted it all from the "get-go").  I wish I knew her motivation - and perhaps, one day, I will.  After all, I still believe in God and an afterlife - to me, those are Christian beliefs, and the Mormons don't have an exclusive claim on God-related doctrine or the belief in an afterlife.  NOTE:  I was still struggling with my "Christianity" a year ago, still holding on to a hope that everything I believed wasn't for naught.  Now I'm much more of an Agnostic.  I guess I still hope, but I'm less hopeful...

More than anything, I would like to discuss my exit from the Mormon Church with my mother, and I really wonder what her reaction would be to what I have discovered that has negated my beliefs in its doctrines.  Perhaps I am being naive and engaging in wishful thinking, but in my heart, I think she would understand and would celebrate my growth and independent thinking.  At least, I hope so...
And I still hope so.  As I stated in my book, in looking back at my parents' lives when they were baptized into the Mormon Church, they were dealing with my oldest brother Bobby who was born in July 1947 and who was mentally retarded from birth, as well as my second brother Jim who was born in July 1950, and me who was born in December 1951.  My parents were baptized when I was 10 months old - so that would have been in October 1952.  Taking into account what my father told me about my mother's struggles in accepting Joseph Smith as a Prophet (and the fact that my father told me that he accepted Joseph Smith from the very beginning), I question whether my mother in particular was taken in by the family-oriented aspect of the Mormon Church as well as their teaching that mentally retarded children are perfect (and therefore do not need to be baptized) and only come to earth to get a body.  I'm sure that "knowledge" was very comforting for both my mother and my father at that time.
Of course, I also remember my mother telling me once that her and my father almost got divorced in 1949-50.  So the fact that they joined the Mormon Church in 1952 may have been an effort to keep their marriage together, at least on my mother's part.  I have found it interesting to look back at the circumstances surrounding their "conversion" to Mormonism and try to figure out what was going on way back when.

I really wish I knew.  Like I said before, perhaps one day...

Monday, October 3, 2011

A MILESTONE, TO SAY THE LEAST...

I've been reading some blog posts this morning about the Mormon Church's Semi-Annual General Conference which took place this past weekend.  And I'm jazzed!!  Because for the first time in the 7 years since I left the Mormon Church, I totally forgot it was General Conference weekend until late last night when I went on Facebook and read some posts about it (both from ExMos, Semi-Mos and TBMs).  Woo hoo!!

Being able to say that I didn't waste a moment of my life on General Conference and its endless moronic droning on about meaningless drivel means the world to me.  Truly, I have arrived.  Woo hoo again!!

Looking back over the past 59 years of my life - 52 in Mormonism and 7 outside of it - I can say with certainty that I am happier now than I have ever been.  I am living my life for myself, based on my own opinions garnered from information I have collected.  To me, that is very reassuring.

And to think, it all started with Mile 1...

As Confucius said, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

If we never take that first step, then we resign ourselves to be stuck in a routine that may or may not be beneficial to our future happiness.  Knowing that I am being true to myself and living an authentic life is its own reward.

Now if I could just get some of those Mormon hymns out of my brain.  I've written a bunch of ExMo hymns, and that has helped.  But every once in a while, a hymn like "Come, Come Ye Saints" pops in my head and keeps playing and replaying as if it's on a continuous reel (which is very annoying).  I suppose the fact that I was a TBM to the core for 50 years has something to do with that.  But one of these days...