Monday, February 27, 2012

Spinning My Wheels

I've written several posts lately and ended up not posting them.  It feels like I'm spinning my wheels as far as life is concerned...  I want to change the world but find myself impotent.

I feel trapped, for the most part.  My brother is getting married very soon, and my mother has been pressuring me to see if I can't get a temple recommend.  I think today I'm going to call her and tell her there is no way that is going to happen.

Anyone who says the church strengthens families is full of shit.  The church happily tears families apart when it suits the church's dogmas and agendas.

School blows.  I need to get out of this damn place, but I keep pushing back graduation because my damned depression has sabotaged my academic performance for the last two years.  I feel so fucking trapped that I entertain thoughts of offing myself every day.

I'm a wreck.  I suppose I'm a disgrace to atheists, agnostics, and apostates everywhere, because I've been consistently less happy since I gave up on faith.  But I'll be damned if I go back to believing contradictory statements simultaneously just to make myself feel better.
Damn the church and its lies.  It's like an addiction I can't get over, that feeling of absolute truth and simple moral reality.  The feeling of objective meaning.  Damn them all for promising peace where there is none.
Damn them for speaking of rest where there is only death.
Damn them for teaching me to hate myself for being less-than-perfect.
Damn them for their precious "Atonement" and "Grace" and all the other righteous bullshit that they use to tell those who suffer that their pain isn't real.
And damn me for taking it all so fucking seriously that I have been no more than half of a man ever since I figured out that all of it is fantasy.


  1. Thank you for being transparent here. It means a lot, and I've been wondering how you are doing. I admire your courage and persistence in what is clearly a miserable time. That temple recommend thing and missing a loved one's marriage is a major bummer, I know. Keep processing in whatever way makes sense to you. It gets better.

    I'm not sure what to say to the content, other than that I have had similar thoughts at one time or another on many of the points. The comment about "teaching me to hate myself for being less-than-perfect" was probably most resonant. It's definitely possible to get through it eventually.

    I even had a philosophical discussion with your wife's aunt last week about 1) whether the church worldview damaged me; and 2) whether seeing/blaming a rejected worldview as damaging is a necessary and appropriate part of changing to a new worldview. I would have shouted YES to both a while ago, but now I've reached a point where I'm at least a little equivocal on both questions.

    On the first question, my parents' version of church certainly hurt me, but it also helped in some ways and led me to a new way of seeing. It was part of my past, and I can't change that. I take what good I can, and I try to move on. Every childhood worldview is limiting or damaging in one way or another, but we can also see it as a map that helped us survive and navigate childhood, as well as a teacher that brought us to a new, more accurate map. I imagine even faithful LDS shed their childhood understandings, even if they stay in the church and endure some of the disadvantages.

    On the second question about how healthy it is to see the old worldview as damaging, I'm still thinking. Hanging on to bitterness or feeling betrayed certainly wasn't helpful in my case. I definitely felt misled and full of dysfunctional assumptions, but I don't think anybody deliberately lied to me or intentionally harmed me. Most were sincerely trying to help as best they could. I'm now closer to pity, empathy, puzzlement or frustration than I am to anger. Mormonism is one of many approaches that don't work at all for me, but I'm not going to pass judgment on those that find it helpful any more than I would on a Muslim or Jew.

    I'm still torn, and I think feeling angry, betrayed, and damaged may be appropriate and healthy in some cases. Anger is often a healthy part of grieving a loss. Seeing the old worldview as inaccurate and limiting is certainly essential to any motivation to make a change. Even when it's healthy, though, I'm thinking it's best only as a stage to healing and a step to a more complete perspective. The anger and sense of damage would fade over time, I suspect, as the healthy new worldview takes over and the good and bad of the past gets integrated into a new sense of self.

    I wrote a lot for somebody who didn't know what to say. I hope I didn't miss the point, and I hope it doesn't come across as pontificating. I can't pretend to know what you're going through completely. I hurt for you, though, and I know it can get better.

    1. I really appreciate your comments and understanding. I think I more-or-less agree with everything you said.
      I recognize that some anger and hurt are natural and maybe even healthy, but that refusing to give those up is probably not. I'm still working on becoming calm, I guess.

      I always love to hear your thoughts, especially where you have gone through things that I am not going through. We should talk more often!

      When I look at things more objectively, I realize that my Mormon upbringing is very much a part of me and helped cultivate some of the things in myself that I value most. It's just hard to see that when I'm feeling hurt and betrayed and therefore focusing on the more negative effects.

  2. Dave. How come i never see you? You need to come out more often. I've been down lately, myself, but none of it has to do with the church or my change in beliefs, lol. I find most people are like you, when they look at what is causing them anguish it is usually related back to how the church influences families to actually put their families second.

  3. I've been meaning to get out and see people soon, but this last week I had a commitment I failed to dodge. Hopefully I'll make it this next week, though!

  4. Re: I suppose I'm a disgrace to atheists, agnostics, and apostates everywhere, because I've been consistently less happy since I gave up on faith.

    No. When you're down, you don't need to compound the problem by beating yourself up with guilt for not being the perfect poster-boy for atheism. It's one of the advantages of leaving Mormonism: "Turn it off!" and put on your happy/marketing face isn't the solution to your difficulties.

    It's good to see that you're analyzing your situation and that you have friends to help you!

  5. I'm so sorry that you're going through this. I know how it is. I don't know if you're already doing this, but it would probably help to see a counselor—you can see one for free at BYU. Having at least passive thoughts of death is definitely serious. I and a friend have seen counselors there, and both were fine with us being out of the church (i.e. they were very accepting and didn't report it). I'd have to investigate more to see if that is truly a policy, because I'd hate for you to get into trouble by seeing the wrong counselor.

    Again, I'm sorry for your situation. I think people in the church grossly underestimate how damaging the religion can be, and instead of seeing depression as a result of having emotions manipulated, etc., they see it as a sign of sin. It's quite awful.