Attacking the Apostate

On October 4, 2014, Mormon Apostle Neil L. Andersen said the following, during LDS General Conference:

“We are especially saddened when someone who once revered Joseph retreats from his or her conviction and then maligns the prophet. “Studying the church through the eyes of its defectors,” Elder Neil A. Maxwell once said, “is like interviewing Judas to understand Jesus.  Defectors always tell us more about themselves than about that which they have departed.” 

Read that again…. A Mormon leader just called me Judas, the man who sold Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.  One of the worst villains in Christian dogma.  Why am I Judas?  Because I was suffocating in Mormonism?  Should I be compared to Judas because my morals of equality, acceptance and love didn’t match theirs of obedience, conformity and faith in men?   Did I betray God because I used my intelligence and searched diligently for years to find out if Mormonism was really as it claimed, “The One and Only True Church,” and came away with the answer that it definitely wasn’t?  

Apparently the answer to those questions is, “Yes.  I am now like unto Judas.”    

Here, let’s add one more gem to this discussion.  Here is another current Mormon Apostle, Boyd K. Packer:

“Remember: when you see the bitter apostate, you do not see only an absence of light, you see also the presence of darkness. Do not spread disease germs.”
Boyd K. Packer, “The Mantle is Far, Far Greater Than the Intellect,” speech given August 1981 at BYU, Brigham Young University Studies, Summer 1981

In summary, according to current Mormon leaders, those who have left Mormonism are Judas and have a contagious disease that causes bitterness and darkness that consumes their soul.  Got it.
 
QuietPut aside the real damage, pain and misery words like this cause Mormons, like parents who love their children that have left the religion but believe their church leaders are speaking directly for God, so they mourn and grieve the loss of their child’s eternal and temporal “happiness.”  For me, it hurts to know I’ve caused any amount of sorrow to those I love, while merely doing what I believe is right.
Elders Andersen & Packer, my Mom has cried because you’ve said her son is following Satan.  On top of that, other Mormon leaders have also told her that her personal righteousness will dictate whether I return to Mormonism, either in this life of the next, thus adding more pressure on her to be obedient and faithful to your rules because now she’s fighting for her eternal salvation and mine….  What manipulative bullshit.  Oh, and I’m lucky because my parents still love and accept me.  Many parents hear your words and believe any support or acceptance will mean they condone their child’s decision, so they completely or partially shun them.  It’s “Mormon Tough Love.”  Well, more like “Mormon Abandonment.”
 
So yeah, thank you Neil and Boyd….  You’ve definitely “comforted those that stand in need of comfort.” – Mosiah 18:9
Anyways, I got sidetracked.  Sorry.
 
Actually, No.  Allow me one more tangent because this story illustrates the ridiculousness of this doctrine perfectly.  Don’t worry, it won’t take long:
 
There is a Mormon belief that those who leave The Mormon Church will never find true happiness or success.  It derives from scriptures like Alma 30, in The Book of Mormon, and over 180 years of Mormon leaders saying this to their congregations.  They also believe God will humble those who leave, by causing them great pain and misery, in an effort to get them to come back to the religion (Alma The Younger in the Book of Mormon is one example).  This specific belief was a major motivator causing my very Mormon business partners to push me out of our company, just one year after I left Mormonism.  I know this because twice they directly told me it was a reason and I’ve heard from multiple people that once I left the company, they were celebrating because they honestly believed my lack of Mormon Faith was going to bring down their company, through God trying to humble me or punishment or something like that.  How illogical is that?  I left a religion that less than 1% of the world’s population is a part of and my very intelligent business partners believed God would punish me, making them collateral damage.  I guess my lack of faith was stronger than their faith… combined.  Damn, I’m Awesome!  Yup…..  True Story.  That Really Happened.
 
In hindsight, I’m glad it happened.  While I miss some of the incredible perks we had at my former office, like my basketball court, myself and the people who left with me are doing extremely well.  That environment was toxic, obviously.  We are in the process of building a culture we want and really looking forward to the future.
 
OK, back to it.  Reading these quotes caused me to ask, “Why the character assassination by Mormon leaders of those good people who have left Mormonism?  Why is it critical for them to demonize us and put fear in the hearts and minds of their members?”
 
I think back to comments some of our Mormon friends and family have said to us, and this carefully crafted strategy of Mormon leaders becomes clear.  People like us, whom have left Mormonism, can’t have any credibility or integrity.  We have to be following Satan.  Otherwise, other Mormons might want to understand and empathize with our journey, which might cause them to do their own research and self-discovery.  Possibly resulting in them leaving the religion and with it the power the Mormon Leaders have over them, not to mention 10% of their income that goes to the church.
 
For example, here are some of the comments we’ve gotten from those who truly know and love us, in spite of those warnings from “god’s chosen leaders:”

“I’m so confused about why you left.  Your testimony was strong.  Please tell me what happened.”  

“Y’all leaving really shook me.  It made me question things and look closer.  I’ve always had my own doubts.  What were the biggest issues for you?”

“I’ve also been questioning things but no one knows.  Thank you for being so open and public.  It gives me the courage to be more authentic and open.  Can you direct me to the information you’ve read?”

This was my Dad’s immediate response, after telling him that I had left Mormonism:

“Barry, I know you.  I trust you.  I want to understand why you’ve made this choice but I don’t doubt that you’re following your heart, mind and doing what you believe is right.”

These statements lead to wonderful discussions, as many of those who cared about us wanted to understand, empathize and listen to our reasons for leaving.  It was beautiful.

Many Mormons will start out by saying, “I know all the anti-Mormon propaganda, as I’ve heard it my whole life.  There’s nothing new.”  Without fail, every time I’ve heard that phrase, which is often, I’ve shared information with them, usually concerning Joseph Smith or Brigham Young, that they were not aware of, because of the Mormon church’s dishonest historical narrative.  It has happened literally 100% of the time.  (Yes, I know what “literally” means.)

Some of these people have told me this new information has caused them to question their faith and asked me to not share anything more.  I respect it and we continue to discuss the more current issues I have with Mormonism, finding common ground.  These individuals remain faithful Mormons and I love our relationship.

Others followed their curiosity and are now on their own truth seeking journey.  It’s a privilege, albeit heartbreaking at times, to watch people go through this process of discovery and have them confide in me, knowing they can trust the information I share, or the very least, trust my intentions.

Some have left Mormonism, or in the process of doing it, but many still remain active members.  However, those who stay will never have the same “testimony” they once had.  They say things like, “I don’t know or believe the church is the one true church and I’m OK with that” or “I’m going to live this religion by my own terms.  I’ll decide which rules I feel are good and necessary to follow, including laws like tithing, the word of wisdom and chastity.  I believe in equality and love.  I’ll no longer play Follow The Leader.”

They are taking back their agency, integrity, redefining their morals and carving a path through their personal conscience.  They are finding their personal power and authority.  Living their life as they see fit, not to be defined by a strict religious dogma that is becoming antiquated with each new sunrise.  It’s Fucking Beautiful.

I’m always really clear about one thing when a Mormon wants to talk to me.  I tell them, “I’ll respect any decision you make; whether you chose stay or leave Mormonism.  My only goal is to help you find the information you are looking for, enabling you to make the most informed decision possible.  Where that takes you is completely up to you and no one else.  I wouldn’t be any better than the Mormon Leaders who say, I’ve been deceived by Satan, if I didn’t honor and respect your choice.  I’m just grateful to be along for the journey.  I’m humbled by your trust and value our relationship.  Where should we start?”

My wife and I are actively talking to at least 10 Mormons that are questioning and in the varying stages of this wonderful, yet painful, personal discovery.  Imagine how many more Mormons would have felt comfortable reaching out to us, if they didn’t believe we were the dangerous Pawns of Satan……

Smart and Effective Strategy, Mormon Leaders.  Well played.  To this point….

Although, I see cracks in your Weak Foundation.  I think your days are numbered.  Word is spreading and your members are finding the truth.

29 Comments

  1. I knew the Church wasn’t true when I was in 7th grade. I asked my Seminary teacher questions that he could not answer!! Finally, his reply to me was that “those are infinite questions, and we only have finite minds!!” In other words, he had no answer!!! When I was in the process of “coming out” as a Lesbian, my parents went to (or so I was told) Elder Thomas Monson. He told them that being gay was the next worst sin, next to committing murder!!! They, of course, disowned me, more than once!!!

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    1. Susan, that is so horrible and my words can’t express how sorry I am that you went through that. It is morally criminal how Mormon leaders destroy families that don’t fall in line with their definition of “normal,” through their evil rhetoric and doctrine.

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      1. thanks Barry!!! And really. Maxwell compared us to “disease germs???!!!” Oh, there is so much sickness there!!! It was OK for my “good Mormon father” to rape me, hit me, and abuse me and my brothers in other ways, and for my “good Mormon mom” to abuse us emotionally and verbally???!!! And then to go and sit in church, like all was ok???!!! Seriously. That is NOT Christ-like!!!!! I am so over this CULT!!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m actually thinking about doing a quick post titled, “Yes, Mormons, It Is A Cult.” I’ve got some ideas ‘m playing with…. We’ll see.

        Also, once again, my heart goes out to you Susan. I can’t even imagine the hell you’ve gone through and then to see your abusers respected and liked in that religion…. horrible. No. Words.

        You are strong and fucking amazing to be able to survive that shit!

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  2. You know, I think people misunderstand the leaders so often. The Bitter Apostate is not everyone who leaves the church, but those who become bitter in their thoughts and actions. I have met many people who have left the church that are not bitter apostates and are not what these great Apostles are speaking about. Generally, these simple and great people go about their lives quietly, generally ignoring the church as it is no longer a part of their lives and they are fine with it.
    The bitter ones are the ones that still watch conference, or read the manuals, pouring over everything so that they can have something to complain about. It is not uncommon for them to start writing blogs as a means to get their complaints out to more people.
    Now, if you think you fall into that description than, yes, I would say that these Apostles were talking about you, and I agree with them.

    Honestly, my heart breaks for you and for anyone that you lead astray. You may find a temporary happiness now, but what have you got to look forward to? Where is your life going to take you?

    Oh, and I can almost guarantee that you have nothing that I have not heard of regarding the church and its leaders.

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    1. My life is pretty awesome and take great pleasure in exposing Mormonism for the destructive religion that it is. Thank you for reading this post. Please continue to read the rest of my posts, as your comments are fantastic. I love being judged my strangers. If you get to Houston, look me up, so we can get some drinks and you can at least fet to know me before you judge me.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That talk sent me into a headlong spiral of depression that I was just starting to recover from! Being compared to Judas did a number on my head. I am a very sensitive person and that HURT! I am not deserving of such a label! Your article helped me put my jumbled feelings back into perspective. I find it so comforting to have knowledge that I am not the only one who feels the way I do. Thank you so very much for being willing to share your feelings. You don’t know how much it is helping people who often are made to feel very alone and misunderstood.

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    1. To the Mormon commenter just above Valerie’s comment….. This is why I blog and share my feelings. For myself and those like Valerie!

      Valerie, thank you! You are soooo not alone! I’m honored that you can relate. We are better than what they say we are!

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  4. Oh, I doubt you could write much of what I would say.

    Kat

    I know people want to believe that all people who stay in the church are mindless drones who can’t have an independent thought. That is a common way of deflecting anyone who actually might be able to challenge you.

    Barry

    I am wondering why Valarie watched the conference in the first place. I am wondering why you did.
    I am not judging you. I don’t know you and probably never will. But I can judge your words and your actions. It has been my experience that those who start these kind of blogs are bitter, at least in their thoughts. They lack the ability to simply let go, and actively seek out things to complain about. Does that describe you? I don’t know, as this is the first of your blogs that I recall reading. You can determine that for yourself, and I will let you do so. But if it does describe you; if you are actively seeking reasons to complain and attack the church; then I agree with the Apostles. Those who are in active opposition against an organization, especially when they were once a part of it, are not the best source for information concerning it.

    Now, I would love to take the challenge of reading something new from you, if you are inclined, but that is up to you.

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    1. Shematwater,
      My husband and family are still active, so it is on at my house. I don’t make the rules in my home just because I’m the “bitter apostate”. I allow them to believe and watch and live what they feel is best. It is very hard to know that the people you love the very most are sitting there hearing such negative things about you when in your heart of hearts you are trying to live a life of integrity and trying to allow those you love to do the same. But it still makes you feel like crap when what you need to do to stay sane and healthy doesn’t match what your family needs. I don’t consider my family mindless drones as you say. I realize that all of us are wired differently and certain things are non-issues for some and are damaging and harmful to others. I am not wanting to smear those that believe. I have never called them Judas! I am trying to be respectful, but what makes people who have to leave bitter is the often undeserved labels that unfairly get assigned to them. That is not to say that not all who leave the church are kind or respectful. I know that both sides are often severely lacking in that department. We forget to be Christlike arguing over who actually really is right or wrong. However, I am always grateful to be reassured that I am not alone. Because I don’t have the support team that my TBM friends and family have. It is hard to understand someone else’s mind and heart and motivations if you have never had to live in their exact mind and situation to understand what may have shaped their perspective.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Valarie

        I never made one comment about you, except to ask why you watched the conference. Given your situation I understand, but then I would also ask why you didn’t leave the house? I mean no disrespect, these are just things that occur to me. Would your family be offended if you choose to go out during the conference, or would they understand and support you? Maybe they could watch it at the church out of respect to you. These are just thoughts.

        Now, I can’t judge whether you are bitter except by your words, because that is all I have to go on. But I would suggest that you think about it. As I have said, in my experience those who run blogs of this nature are bitter people towards the church. Of all the people I know that have become disaffected from the church, it has been my experience that those who are bitter greatly exaggerate their experiences, or choose to take offense at the smallest of things. These kinds of people can never accurately portray the church, and to seek them out as a source for information is a bad idea. I would say the same thing about bitter former Catholics, or bitter ex-baptists. It is a sound principle that should be followed in all aspects of life.

        I don’t think it was the intention of these men to compare all those who have left the church to Judas. I might suggest that you read that talk again. This is just a brief quote in it. The rest of the talk is concerned with the honest enquirer; someone who has doubts or has found certain things troubling. From your comments I believe you would more likely fall into this group rather than with the bitter apostates, and I think the apostles would agree.
        I would also suggest reading Neal A. Maxwell’s quote in its context.

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    2. Definitely don’t watch conference. Haven’t in years. I’m familiar with some of the talks because my family and friends sent them to me each session. Plus, this one by Neil was a big one discussed in other forums. However, I do relish in helping people see how horrible Mormonism is…. that goes for Mormons and Non-Mormons. I consider it my act of charity.

      I’m actually getting a bit bored by you but again, I love the views and hits on my blog. You comments are also great entertainment. Please continue to read my other posts. I’ve got around 20 of them, so enjoy.

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  5. Actually, one more thought for our friend, Shematwater…. You accused me of only having momentary happiness and asked what I have to live for. I strongly encourage you to read some of my other posts. Specifically the ones about my incredible wife, Bonnie. She has bipolar disorder and while that makes life more difficult, at times, we have a beautiful marriage. I live for her and my two kids. I live for this life. I am far more charitable, kind and loving now that I’ve left Mormonism because I believe this life is all we have. I’m making the most of it. I’m bringing Heaven to my life…. now. It’s wonderful. It’s also why I fight against Mormonism so strongly. I believe Mormons are making great sacrifices, even missing out on happiness and relationships with people they feel they need to avoid, because of a false hope and believe in something greater in the next life. I want everyone to just enjoy and love NOW. None of us know what will happen when we die. NO ONE KNOWS. Live for what we do know. Love those you are with. That’s my life. It’s pretty fucking awesome!

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    1. “I believe Mormons are making great sacrifices, even missing out on happiness and relationships with people they feel they need to avoid”

      I believe that some are doing that as well. But then I know atheists that do the same thing. This has very little to do with the religion and a great deal to do with personal choice.
      I did say you have a momentary happiness, because this life is momentary, and by your own words you don’t believe in looking forward to anything else. That is what breaks my heart. I don’t doubt you are happy in this life, and I wish you all the best in your pursuit of happiness. But once this life is over what will you have; what hope do you have?
      I too am married. I too have a family that I love and live for; not only for this life, but for all eternity. I have not missed any happiness by being a member of this church, and I can honestly say that my greatest happiness is because of the church.

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      1. You live for the next life and I’ll live for this. I’m good. There is nothing but dirt to greet us. That is my belief. I won’t make sacrifices and avoid places like bars, where I’ve met some of my now closest friends, because some old white men say alcohol will keep me from the celestial kingdom. Period.

        Please continue to read the rest of my blog. Glad you are enjoying it.

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  6. Really, Shematwater? You would ask why Valerie would not leave her house during conference? It’s her home and she has every right to be there. Why not ask her family to leave the house to go watch conference? You defenders of Mormonism are all the same. You think you know everything and then when someone challenges you, you call them bitter and say they can’t let go. You are pathetically predictable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know, it shouldn’t surprise me that people like you don’t read things but simply assume you know what others are saying. so, rather than being a jerk why not actually pay attention to my words. Let me repeat them for you so you can have a second chance at honest comments.

      “Would your family be offended if you choose to go out during the conference, or would they understand and support you? Maybe they could watch it at the church out of respect to you.”

      You see, I was simply thinking of ways to make the whole thing better for Valarie. I very clearly presented two possibilities: Her leaving and letting them watch at home, or them leaving and watching it at the church. By your comments it is obvious that you never got past the first two sentences that I wrote.

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  7. My son sang in Stake Conference and wanted me there, so I went for him. The Seventy that spoke said those who break Temple Covenants are damned and he did use that word. My son was scared by that and it upset me. Supposedly Apostates spread hate. Hmmm…who was spreading hate on Saturday night?

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    1. Yes. That is a difference. My point is that you’re making sacrifices in THIS life because of what you believe is in the next and those sacrifices, like not drinking, are keeping you from building relationships with people that could be great friends. Almost every exmormon has that experience, as their relationships with new people grow, once they allow themselves to experience more. You are also making very significant monetary donations to a religion purely for “worthiness” in this life and the next, when that money could go to actually helping people.

      Those are just two of the tremendous sacrifices you are making for a religion that is built on lies, thus proving it’s not true. If only you could see that. However, based on the extensive conversations you’re having with me and others on my blog, people you don’t know, I doubt you ever will.

      Keep the sacrifices. Our rewards will be the same when we meet Death.

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      1. I have sacrificed nothing.
        Even without the church I would have no desire to go to a bar or experience alcohol. That is not a sacrifice for me, and never will be. The assumption that all new experience is going to be good is silly. You may have met more people, but I think I have more brain cells. If you call that a sacrifice, then I am content with it.
        As to paying tithing, by your own words I would just be replacing one sacrifice with another; as you put it ‘actually helping people.’ This would only be a sacrifice if the alternative was to hoard the money and spend it only on me.
        So where is this great sacrifice that I am making that you are not. You have not given me one real example.

        And since you have admitted that you don’t know what will come after death you can’t say that our rewards would be the same.
        So you keep enjoying your life, and I hope you do. I will continue to enjoy mine just as much as you enjoy yours.

        Like

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