I’m Still Standing

I got an email today where someone left a comment asking what I believe in now.

I don’t really feel the need to obsess anymore about mormonism, so I (obviously) haven’t posted on this blog in a very long time. But I don’t want to leave my curious questioner hanging, so here I am, making a brief reappearance.

I believe in goodness. Honesty. Kindness. Love. Laughter. Joy. Truth. Friendship. 

I don’t have any opinion on the existence of a god or gods. I figure that what happens after I exit this life will make itself plain once I exit this life. Contrary to the opinions of some good mormons I know, the lack of a belief in any kind of a god didn’t automatically turn me into an immoral so-and-so who lies, cheats, steals, and does all manner of inquities. It turns out that believing in a god was never what kept me from doing those things to begin with. 

I believe in living with integrity. This was something I strived for as an active mormon and never felt I achieved, because I was always painfully conscious of how poorly I measured up to what were supposed to be my beliefs and standards. Now I can honestly say that my beliefs and standards are right in line with  my words and actions. That’s a great feeling, let me tell you.

I believe in living a good life, and being a good person, because that’s the kind of person I want to be. I’m motivated out of love, and out of a desire to be a positive influence in the world, instead of out of fear.

I hope that helps answer your question. If it doesn’t, or if you have more questions, please don’t hesitate to leave another comment, or you may also email me at aintnomonomo(at)gmail(dot)com.

Peace out.

I (wish I could) believe

Not in the mormon church, not at all. And not in pretty much any other church I have come across. I guess I just wish I could believe in something–anything–to give meaning to life. In kind and loving heavenly parents. In goodness. In true love.  I miss that, sort of, not enough to go back to the church and say “Oops, I was wrong. Can I come back now?”  Never that much. 

I guess I’ll have to do what I’ve been doing for the past couple of years. Finding meaning for myself. Making it for myself. Finding love in relationships with family and friends. Being open  to the differences that make this world such a beautiful horrible place. Accepting that I don’t know the answers, and nor do I need to know. Accepting that my thoughts and beliefs are not the reflections of some mysterious dude in the sky, but my own thoughts and beliefs. 

The Most Correct of All Musicals

I don’t know why I feel compelled to switch between The Book of Mormon musical, Chicago, and Wicked on my iPod. I actually listen to Wicked less than I normally would, because for some reason it loaded itself into multiple albums, instead of just being the Wicked cast recording. And Chicago, well, I’m always good for a couple of rounds of “Cell Block Tango,” but usually once I’ve listened to it all the way through, I’m done.

But the Book of Mormon musical–dang, I can listen to that over and over and over and over. It makes me laugh. And it’s sweet. And it’s raunchy as all get-out.  And sometimes I get goosebumps when I’m listening to it. Does that mean it’s true?

There is a potentially severe side-effect, however, of listening to the cast recording over and over and over and over. I have found myself walking through the office with a particularly raunchy earworm that I can’t get rid of. Heaven help me if I ever sing that out loud in just the wrong place. Maybe that’s why I like listening to it in my car. I can sing the filthiest bits at the top of my lungs and no one can hear me. I will confess, however, that due to not wanting to get lynched by people who would be offended if they heard Hasa Diga Eebowai coming from my car, I do turn that one down when I’m driving through a parking lot.

Anyway, yeah.  My earworm is from the song “Joseph Smith, the American Moses.” It’s the part referring to Brigham Young. And that’s all I’ll say.

Church

Someone I virtually met, thanks to Outer Blogness, has set up a get-together in October. I’m really looking forward to it.

My sister and I were talking about it on Saturday. Our social circle used to be almost exclusively through the church. And we each have a few amazing friends, and that’s wonderful. And through theatre, we have another group of amazing friends. I cannot tell you how thankful I am for all of my friends/sisters.

Neither of us is ready to go back to a church of any type, even UU, which we’ve agreed is the only one we’d even consider.  So I’m looking forward to much to getting to meet and know some more people. Widening my social circle is a good thing. (Here’s hoping I don’t come off as completely obnoxious, that person that no one wants to be around!!)

In other news, this is my last week in my current job. After thoroughly discussing the events of last Friday with my sister, my husband, and my best friend, and letting all the anger go, I’m ready to make this week super productive. I’m not going to let anyone dictate how I perform at work. I have high standards, and I’m going to keep them, and I’m not going to let anything or anyone persuade me to do less than my best.

Book club Friday night was a blast, even if only two of us actually read the book. I’m already looking forward to next month, and as soon as the book gets announced, I’ll buy my copy and get it read. and hope to goodness I like it better than the one we read for this month (which I must confess I chose).

I’ve been having nightmares about my house work not going on, and it being December and we’re still in the apartment. And I even dreamed last night about the nephew of one of my bff’s (he committed suicide recently). It wasn’t a nightmare, exactly, and I don’t know why I was dreaming about him.

And lastly, I lolled around most of the weekend reading, napping, and watching movies. I saw a couple of really good foreign language films on Netflix streaming. The first was French, La Belle Endormie, a really interesting take on the Sleeping Beauty story. I didn’t care for the ending, but otherwise loved it.  The girl who played Sleeping Beauty as a child was so engaging that one couldn’t help but adore her.  And the other movie was German, The Downfall (Der Untergang), about the last 10 days of Hitler’s life. It was a long-ass movie, and I was sleepy, but it was so compelling that I had to keep watching. I enjoy watching movies from other countries (thank the FSM for subtitles), as I can see the difference in perspectives due to culture.  The actor playing Hitler did a superb job, as did all of the women. The woman playing Traudl Junge (Hitler’s secretary) was just lovely, and brought so much personality to the role. Eva Braun was portrayed as incredibly vivacious, someone who knew exactly what she was getting into (unlike Junge). And Magda Goebbels–wow. The scene where she is murdering her children while her husband sits outside the door, crouching against the wall, was painful, as was the utter contempt she showed for her husband. I definitely recommend the movie if you’re interested in WW II history.

Bad Poetry

Every now and again I get into a mood that can only be even slightly alleviated by writing bad poetry. Sorry about that.

_____________________________

gloomy grey skies hover over asphalt glistening with fat tears

cool wet air kisses my parched lips

intense hunger

unsatiated longings

melancholy

unexplainable sorrow

indefinable

loneliness

Work Crap

I am really seriously hot under the collar this morning. Well, I would be, if I were wearing a collared shirt. Which I’m not. I’m wearing a Colts tee-shirt. Don’t judge.

Okay. Here’s the deal. I work like a maniac. I type around 150 words per minute. I’m smart. I work hard, and I work fast. My team up until last month consisted of 3 people: the big boss, my boss, and me. Last fall the big boss was out for a couple of months with medical issues. My boss and I managed to get everything done. Then my boss was out for several months early this year, and I managed to get everything done. Notice that “I” there? Instead of “we”? Because the big boss was too busy to be able to do the stuff that my boss and I normally get done.  (That’s not snark–it’s fact; she had previously been my boss and had gotten promoted, and ended up doing a lot of traveling and conference calls.)

Last month we had someone come to our group via load leveling, and while I’ve enjoyed getting to know her and enjoy our chats, it’s made my life at work incredibly tedious, because I am fully capable of doing all of the testing myself, and my boss has helped some despite being on conference calls and other projects. So having another person to lighten my load was frustrating.

In the course of our conversations, I learned that I’m doing the work of an analyst (the next step up from my current position), but only getting paid for my current position. The big boss told me a couple of times that she tried to get approval to promote me, but was never able to make it happen. She told me that she told her boss that they were going to lose me if they didn’t promote me. Well, they didn’t, and they lost me. I’ve got one more week in this position. I took a lateral transfer because I can’t get a promotion from the position I’m in. I’m looking forward to learning a new process, and I know that going to it from having worked quality assurance and operational controls will be a huge asset to my new group.  I beat out over 60 people to get this job, and they even upgraded it a level so that I wouldn’t be taking a demotion to move to the new team.

So here’s why I’m hot under my non-existent collar this morning. The big boss let me know that since I’m leaving, she has gotten approval to replace me with an analyst. She said I wouldn’t have qualified for it, so don’t feel bad. (I don’t feel bad. I’m angry, for the record.)  So I can do the work of an analyst. I can do by myself the work that used to take 3 people to do. But for whatever reason, I couldn’t qualify to get the position and the pay.

WTFFFFFFFFFF??????????

Most times when I have left a job, it has taken at least a person and a half to replace me. Since there aren’t too many half people walking around, then we can say it took one full-time person and at least one part-time person. Or two full-time people, depending on how they work and how they learn.

When I leave this group, they’re going to realise just how much I actually accomplished. Getting verbal praise is all nice and good and everything, but dude, show me the money.

And you know what pisses me off even more?  About 15 minutes before the big boss told me about the analyst position, she’d said, “It’s not too late to change your mind!”

Bitch.

It’s How We Roll?

Okay, this just really pissed me off. Back in my TBM Molly days, I read a few books by Joni Hilton. Amusing enough, although so over the top ridiculous that I only read one or two. And that’s been a dang long time ago. Not that it has anything to do with what I’m about to write, or the article Joni Hilton wrote for Meridian Magazine.

According to Hilton, when members or missionaries visit a do-not-contact person or family, and the person/family indicates that it must have been a member of their family who provided location information, it shows a great, great love on the part of the family member and can bring tears to the eyes of the person doing the visiting.

Screw what the person being visited wants. And in a comment, Hilton stated that if people don’t want to be contacted they need simply resign, but she suspects more people don’t resign because deep in their hearts they know Joseph Smith was right and true. Enough people called bullshit on that one that I didn’t need to refer to that in the comment I left.

But here’s the deal. Before I left the church, I’d been inactive for quite some time, as was my husband. No one, except my visiting teacher(s) ever, ever contacted us. Oh, once in a while the missionaries would be tracting in our neighbourhood and we’d invite them in, but they never came back. Once my husband called the bishop to request visits from home teachers; the bishop told him that so many people were inactive in the ward that the home teachers were only visiting active families. “Exsqueeze me? Baking powder?” Visit only the families who didn’t really need the visits. Hey, makes sense to me.

And when I contacted the bishop via email to tell him I personally did not want any contact (and made it clear that I was not speaking for my husband),  he sadly told me that he’d had us on his mind a few weeks previous, and guessed he’d waited too long. Ding! Ding! Ding! My bullshit meter went off, because I knew good and well that if I hadn’t contacted him to say no contact, he never would have made contact with us.

He called my husband once, and was acting all chummy and jolly. He was actually trying to get me to talk to him, and since I refused to meet with him in person and refused to engage in any emails, he figured that if he called my husband and asked my husband to hand the phone to me, I would relent. Ha! I was adamant.  I’m as stubborn as a mule, once my mind is made up.

Then when our house burned down, my husband called our bishop to let him know and only got cold comfort. No one has contacted my husband, who is desperately longing for friendships and relationships. He has not left the church. He hasn’t been going, and I think he’s on his way out, but if taking care of the inactives and needy were so important, I think the Lord might have inspired someone at some point to call my husband. Nope.

So as far as the relentlessly rolling Mormons who are so busy contacting people who do NOT want contact go, why do they not instead go visit the people who actually DO want their visits and friendship, and have actually reached out to request it?

Oh, and Ms. Hilton? I did resign because I could no longer stand the thought of my name being counted as one of the members of the church. It devastated my husband when I did so, because it obviously dissolved our temple marriage. When I finally told my mother last week, it devastated her and my stepfather. I think they’d have felt better had I simply remained inactive, because then there would be a chance. I don’t know if my mother will ever understand why I made the decision I made. Thankfully, my husband has progressed a little, although it does still hurt him.  Other people would like to resign, but don’t do it for these very reasons. They don’t want to hurt their loved ones, don’t want to damage those precious relationships. So if they ask to be left alone, do them the courtesy of leaving them the hell alone.

 

To Do, To Do, To Do

I like to make to-do lists, because I love marking things off of them. Take today’s list, for example:

  • Pay Zipcash
  • Get toll tag for new car
  • Refill prescription
  • Get Prilosec
  • Call homeowners insurance company re check
  • Sarah sit with Denise & review Skip ISA

And it’s 8:37 and I’ve already knocked 3 items off! And I’ve been known to add things onto my lists just so I can cross them off, if they weren’t on the original list, because it’s nice to be able to see what I’ve accomplished.

Last week when I decided I couldn’t wait any longer to tell my mother I’d left the church, I thought I should do more reading, more research, heck, maybe even write a book. But I didn’t get 2 chapters into Rough Stone Rolling without feeling like I wanted to throw up. If it had been a paper book, I’d have hurled it across the room, maybe ripped it into shreds and danced on the remnants. As it was on my Kindle, however, I just returned it. Did you know you could return e-books? I didn’t, but I’m sure glad I could.

I decided that others have written excellent books, and I didn’t need to add to them. I’m not willing to do the research necessary. I’ve done enough research to feel comfortable with my decision to leave the church, enough research to know that I could never go back. I think in my twisted logic I thought that my mother would be more receptive if I could show her a volume of my research and conclusions. She values such things. But because it would be attacking the church she loves and in which she believes, I don’t know that it would have made any difference.

So I have crossed off my list–permanently–reading LDS books and mopologists in an effort to understand. I don’t need to understand. I don’t know if there’s a way to understand.

I have read so many fantastic books on my exit, both fiction and non-fiction.

  • Kay Burningham’s An American Fraud: One Lawyer’s Case Against Mormonism.
  • The Sins of Brother Curtis: A Story of Betrayal, Conviction, and the Mormon Church by Lisa Davis
  • When I Was a Fucking Mormon by Bailey Jones
  • The Mormon Missionaries: An inside look at their real message and methods by Janis Hutchinson (okay, novel written by an exmo kind of fundy, but it was still informative)
  • Forbidden Mormon Coffee by T. Warner
  • Leave Me Alone: Memoirs of an Exmormon by B.E. Hewson
  • Fifty Years in Polygamy: Big Secrets and Little White Lies by Kristyn Decker
  • Answer Them Nothing: Bringing Down the Polygamous Empire of Warren Jeffs by Debra Weyermann
  • When Men Become Gods by Stephen Singular
  • My Mormon Life: a Boy’s Struggle with Polygamy, Magic Underwear, and Racism by James Sanbourne
  • Hippie Boy by Ingrid Ricks
  • The Mormon Mirage by Latayne C. Scott
  • I Love Mormons: a New Way to Share Christ with Latter-Day Saints by David L. Rowe
  • Mormonism Unmasked by Phillip Roberts
  • All of Natalie R. Collins’s novels

There are more, of course, that I’ve read, but they all confirmed what I was feeling, what I was thinking. I also delved into the writings of some notable atheists, finding they’re not the demon antichrists I was always told they were. I have learned so much over the past year and a half that sometimes I hardly recognise myself.  My world is now full of colour, full of wonder. It’s a beautiful place.

I’m glad I was able to cross telling my mother off the list. That task kept getting larger and more terrifying the longer it sat there. It wasn’t pleasant, but it’s done. And I’ve been able to breathe a lot easier since then. I think I was feeling almost paralyzed because I’d built it up into such an enormous thing that got scarier and scarier the longer I put it off.

I love my mother. I don’t agree with her religion or her politics. But if we can be civil and loving to each other, the disagreements don’t have to matter as much.

And it’s funny, too, thinking of politics. Except for one year, when I was a precinct delegate in our Republican party, I’ve never been too involved in politics. Certainly never made any donations. But part of shedding my mormon identity has involved getting more involved. I’ve posted a lot of things on the book with a face, and for everything I post that is pro-Obama, my mother posts something pro-Romney. I’ve also donated to the Democrat party because I feel strongly enough in this election that I want to help make a difference. So if my puny $4 every two weeks helps, than I’m happy to do it (despite the fact that my mother thinks Obama is a traitor [she hasn’t explained why] and can’t understand why I support a party that throws religion out the window and funds abortions). (I think I have her response memorized, because it hurt so badly.)

Well this post strayed and meandered way beyond what I originally intended. Sorry about that. Thanks for listening, and you may now return to your regularly scheduled life.

 

My Own Personal Quest

“Don’t search for the truth until you can face the fact that those things you believe to be true may not be true.” Lloyd Gerber

It’s funny. Several years ago, I was on my way out of the church, but then I panicked and chose familiarity. I didn’t go to church any more often than I had been, but it was still something I knew, something that was comfortable, even though I simultaneously chafed within its bonds.

But last year, spring 2011, when I stood at that precipice again, I must have been ready to face facts. Because I took the leap and kept going.

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

Oy, has my mind stretched. There’s a teeny, tiny little part of me that wants to make my mother happy. But I know–I KNOW–I can never go back to believing. And I cannot pretend. I couldn’t squeeze back into the conformity. I’ve grown. I won’t pretend.

“I think no more of taking another wife than I do of buying a cow.”  -Heber C. Kimball

Well this just flat out pissed me off. Remember Johnny Lingo, and his 10-cow wife? She found her worth because he saw it in her, and showed her village that she was precious.  Nice, huh? But why did it take a man and a bushel of cows to show her that she is worth existing?  And no one, not Heber C. Kimball nor Joseph Smith himself, could afford to buy me like a cow. I am not a cow. I am not for sale. I am no man’s property. If Thomas Monson himself said that I had to marry him or else burn in the fiery pits of Mordor–oops, I mean, be cast into outer darkness–and even if my husband were foolish enough to agree, I’d laugh in his face.

“Religion does three things quite effectively: Divides people, Controls people, Deludes people.” ~ Carlespie Mary Alice McKinney

I’m dealing with the fallout of finally telling my mother. It’s uncomfortable. It’s the elephant in the room. She’s carefully not talking about it, but I know my mother well and I have a vivid imagination. Religion (or my lack thereof) has definitely divided me from my mother. Religion (and particularly in the form of my stepfather) has controlled my mother to the point she’s virtually unrecognizable. And the delusion speaks for itself.

I’m having a hard day today, but it will pass. I’m not going back. Never, never, never will I go back.

Oops! Sorry, President Brigham Young!

“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.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 10, p. 110).

Did you see that last sentence? “This will always be so.”

While I’m mostly from European descent, I am something like 1/64th black. My husband is from a Polish/German/Ukranian bloodline. No black there.

We’re both still alive.

I’m just sayin’.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.