angry ex-mo street-cred Post

The following happened a couple of weeks ago- it sat in my personal journal for a while but I feel like publishing it here because I doubt I will have many if any more rants like this about Mormonism. So here’s my “angry ex-Mormon street-cred Post”.

I feel that I need to write this now while I am still enraged. I just had one of the worst conversations of my life with someone very close to me- maybe a parental figure even (I don’t want to say who). I came home from a nice weekend night having watched a terrible movie (Evan Almighty) albeit in good company so it was still fun. I visit my parents on the way home, I sit on the couch, talk for a good couple of hours, B.S.’ing with them, we laugh, joke, enjoy each other’s company, and then one of my parental figures does it- he starts to ask about my belief in Christ, the afterlife, etc. I tell ask him nicely to please not go down this path of conversation because it always ends up in hurt feelings… he does not oblige. I feel the urge to get up nicely and leave, but I sense that in doing so will have him think that I must “fear the truth” or some other bullshit, so I answer his question quickly and change the subject- kind of like this: “well, I have my doubts in Christ… just like you said you did too, until you were much older-[change of subject] so mom, hit up any cool garage sales today?”

But my strategy fails. The good conversation has just taken a jagged turn. The driver did not signal. He did not check his blind spot. He carelessly takes the caravan on a wrong-way road with a semi coming head on. Okay enough of the lame analogies- the next half hour of my life went from delightful to a kick in the balls. Both balls. He insisted on me explaining my skepticism. I said there is as much evidence to believe in Christ as there is to believe in Muhammad. Just applying faith could take me to either deity. Just add faith. They both have their own scriptures, neither holy book was written by them, at least Muhammad’s was written in the same year or at least the same generation as the prophet [which after reading God Is Not Great, I’ve learned that Hitchens argues to the contrary], Christ’s earliest writings of his followers didn’t come until at least 70 years after his life. That’s just a story passed down through Gnostic generations, and has nothing to do with what one would consider evidence.

He smiled and said that I was acting just as I did when I was a small boy. He explained that when I was a child we went to the zoo- yes, the famed Zoo of Hogle itself. Apparently we went to see the giraffe exhibit. We climbed the concrete stairs to the second floor where we could get a head-on view of these large spotted creatures. After we got next to one of them, his head eating straw right next to us, I opted to look down at the ground and carefully analyze a stick- the giraffe’s head did not intrigue me. So daddy’s now saying that I’m being like that little boy, looking down when I could be looking up! “Just look up and you will find your evidence you are seeking!”

To that I obviously reply, “looking up is going to give me that evidence I am looking for? The evidence of Christ? Oh, I get it, you’re going to explain to me that I need not look with my physical eyes but instead my spiritual. Ahh. How vague”.

He explained, “no, just look around you,” he stretches out his arms in a prophetic motion “the creation testifies of him, the stars and this planet”.

Now instead of explaining how natural this world appears- in the naturalist of the sense- just that- natural, or instead of explaining some of the very logical points that Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse makes below which show how this world appears as it should appear if there had been no god who had intervened, (see video below- but wait till your done reading the rest of my story!)

instead of pointing him in the direction of literature which is hot off the press which scientifically argues how the natural world testifies of no god in the mix; instead of going down any of those roads (because I wanted to avoid this whole conversation from the beginning) I simply tell him that I have studied for hundreds of hours on the subject and that it has shown me I do not need to believe in a divine creator to take in this marvelous creation. This world. As amazing as it is.

…Let me backtrack- I have so much awe and respect for this world! In our previous two-hour conversation, I had just barely told them about a hike I went on today up Big Cottonwood canyon. I told them of the gophers and squirrels we saw on the trails. I told them how I had been contemplating how 99% of the history of the world’s species have gone extinct and how we have this “small” selection of animals left- a mere thirteen million (or potentially 30 million one day if we were to discover everything out there). I told them how so many animals have gone extinct and how when I see even a simple gopher, that creature is precious to me- it is a gift even. The Dodo bird very recently went extinct. It was a big dumb bird that would not run away from men with big sticks and very quickly and sure enough- *poof* extinct. How easily could that gopher be something only of the past- only in history books- it could be extinct right now. But it’s not. A couple were right there in front of me today, their chubby bodies running back and forth in and out of their holes. Our not so distant cousins, actually. I told my parents how yesterday I went to a local pet store and just stared at the small animals for over an hour. It was more interesting than the zoo! I told them how I saw some absolutely incredible little birds. One which was so white and pure with a light hue of blue towards the bottom part of its body. Absolutely gorgeous. I must have stared at him for twenty minutes just taking in the pureness of his coat of feathers. Next to him I marveled at the Love Birds who I found out yesterday are extremely social animals. With three or four vacant branches available, the Love Birds like to cozy up next to one another on the same branch, nesting a head in the shoulder of another, kissing occasionally. This was so intriguing to see in contrast to another cage of smaller birds who were crowded fighting and chirping loudly at one another.

I took in the other incredible creatures there like the snakes and amphibians, and puppies. I came out of the pet store with such admiration for animal life. Such amazement. But not once did I need to suppose that these were “God’s creations”. I understand how evolution works and can therefore understand where these creatures came from. But even with all of this awe and wonder, I still see the world as a natural place and there’s no evidence for me to see it otherwise.

So after going back to the story, I told my dad that I’ve studied sufficiently to not accept the mere existence of nature to testify of Christ. And I called him on it. “How do you connect the two together?” He said that it is in the scriptures. I don’t even need to go into what I said about the scriptures and how there is no reason to put any credence to them. The ridiculous stories, millions of species of animals in a large boat- their food and caca as well. Room for all! He stopped me right there- I really didn’t need to go into the ridiculousness of the Bible. It speaks for itself and he knows that and he didn’t want to hear it.

To skip some of the boring parts of this eventually heated conversation, he asked again if I believed in Christ. I told him there was no reason to. He was then inspired to grab an Ensign that, like on every good Mormon’s coffee table, it was within arm’s reach. This is where the conversation went to shit real fast. This is where for the first time I called a prophet’s words B.S. to my parents face- yeah: that puts me in the category of “Apostate” as one who speaks against the Lord’s anointed. I should have pulled out of the conversation earlier but I had endured to the end. It went something like this:

My dad: “Thomas S. Monson had something to say about skeptics in this talk. [To paraphrase] he said that Skeptic’s are fools. And they are those who would re-crucify Christ if he were here today.” He then asked me, “would you been one of those who would crucify Christ?”

Okay one eyebrow went up, the other chilled low as I looked at this man like a lunatic. “Dad, if someone came here in town doing miracles do you really think I would murder this man- that I would nail his hands to a cross? You don’t honestly believe that, do you?”

He then explained, “well, how would one crucify him today? Who would do that?”

I replied very slowly, “a…mur-dur-er. That, is what we call a murderer. Am I a murderer? I am a skeptic, yes, but I care for the well-being of my fellow man more than I would care about killing someone who professed to do miracles. The worst I would do to him would be skeptical of his claims- I wouldn’t kill him.”

He then softly threw out the word “adulterer”. I said “Whaaa??! Did you just call me an adulterer?? Is that because Joseph Smith once said”- he interrupted, “no, it was Jesus Christ. He said that ‘one who asks for a sign is wicked and an adulterer’.”

Thanks to my dad this was the first time that I saw Jesus as full of shit (thanks, dad).  No offense Jesus, if that was some jacked up things the scribes did to make it look like you said that, but I don’t care what you say- a skeptic, or one who seeks a sign (or evidence as we call it nowadays) does not mean he is an ADULTERER. Now I was getting enraged. First, Tom Monson calls all skeptics fools and “re-crucifiers” (or murderers), then apparently Christ said we’re adulterers as well. Ummm, the only thing worse I could fathom to come out of my fathers mouth as he called me names would be “baby-eater” or “grandma-raper”. Seriously! I told him, “I’m sorry, but Thomas “S” Monson was wrong”. And I said it just like that- I italicized my words as I went. And I said “and Jesus was wrong when he said that as well! That’s just B.S.!” I seriously had to hold myself back to not cuss at him or spit in his face. Across the room I saw Al-Jihad’s leader, going on faith, spitting horrible obscenities and labels in my direction. I mean what’s worse than a fundamentalist? Another kind of fundamentalist? Right there in front of me. Crazy dude. But yeah I had to hold myself back. If I got mad (which I did later) it would be “the devil in me” or “the truth hurting me” (which he said later).

I said, “do you really believe those things? Because that makes me sick that someone would say something like that about me– you know me and I’m a nice guy!”

Now came the twisting and turning of logic and interpretation of what was just read. “no son, he was only speaking about some skeptics in this story”. I said, “I am a skeptic. I fit in that group. I demand a sign or evidence in order to put my trust in something. Don’t sidestep this- he is talking about me, your son! Do you believe what they said about me??”

Now he didn’t want to take literally what he just read. I asked him to read it back so that we could apply this simple equation to me (a=b or skeptic equals fool and murderer) but he didn’t want to do it. I wanted him to either accept the prophet’s words or reject them entirely as ridiculous. He wouldn’t do either now. But I was offended like hell. I’ve never heard anything spoken to me like that before. I wanted to leave and told him how offended I was and how he was acting like a crazy fundamentalist Muslim with talk like that.

He then got very snideful and said very slowly and condescending, “let me explain this to you so you can understand. You may be crucifying your savior without even knowing it and yes you are a fool because of your supposed skepticism.”

I said I couldn’t believe this and that I had told him we shouldn’t have started this conversation. He saw how upset I was and said “look at you, the devil’s got to you”. Wow, I wanted to knock him out right there but I controlled myself once more and said, “you know what, don’t ever talk to me again about these subjects- you scare the crap out of me” and I tried to give him a hug goodnight to show that…- I don’t know, I guess just to get out of there, really. He said that why I took those words as offensive is because “it hurts for the guilty to hear the truth” or some shit like that, I don’t know. I tried to get out of there- my mom on the other couch was saying over and over for him to calm down and to just let it go.

I left to my car and just sat there for a few minutes not believing the crazy family and religion I belong to- it was hard to take in those words that my own father said to me. It hurt just that he would opt to accept old men’s words as truth over what he knows about his own son. How stupid!

To make the story actually end on a good note, which it almost did, my father came out to my car after a few minutes. He said he wanted to apologize for anything. I called him on his own contradiction and said, “you said that those words weren’t meant for me, but you also said that the truth hurts the guilty- so those words were meant for me”. He twisted it around once again and said that he meant that it was my conscious in general that was making me feel hurt, not that I fit those labels or anything. I didn’t want to hear his b.s. and said, “whatever, good night- promise me to never bring up these conversations again like I had said earlier”. He said “promise me to never bring up that skepticism crap again”. I told him how I still couldn’t believe the things he had said earlier and he said that I shouldn’t have taken it personally. I was fed up with the roundabout we had going and shut the door “good night”.

Then, as he came to me to apologize I went back in the house and said, “okay, no more debates. In five seconds or less this will be done. Did you mean those labels you said earlier to apply to me (which, obviously he did or he wouldn’t have said them)”. He said “no”. I said alright well that’s good enough for me, I don’t want to hurt our relationship over this and gave him a big hug “love you dad!” yeah as weird as a scene as that must have been, we had actually made up after all, instead of a potential long period of not talking with one another.

For the first time, however, I couldn’t believe some of the shit that came out of Monson’s mouth or what Christ said, as well. I mean, did he really think that everyone that demanded a sign (ie looked for evidence) was “wicked” and “an adulterer”? If he did then fuck him. If not then we cool, Jesus! It hurts me too, to be so damn critical about Jesus and Monson- it really does but today their bullshit hit home for me– a classic skeptic. I was their target and the vehicle for their hurtful words was my very own father. I hope to never have a conversation about religion with my dad again.

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~ by Anubys on July 12, 2007.

7 Responses to “angry ex-mo street-cred Post”

  1. Jeez, that’s some story. Well done you. I dare say such conversations must be happening more and more often around the world as younger people reject the indoctrination of their parents.

  2. I think he was referring to this passage “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign;” (Matthew 12:39, also Mark 16:4) I think it’s inappropriate to interpret this as “seeking signs = cheating on your spouse” or saying only adulterers as for evidence from God. I think the passage’s intent is that Israel is being unfaithful to God when it seeks a sign. Whatever.

    I think it’s important to remember that many of the true believers in our lives act out of love and concern for us, even when it comes out as hateful as this did. People get frightened and don’t know how to communicate lovingly.

  3. Matthew 16:4 “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign”

    Let’s just say from the context of the chapter the standard Mormon interpretation of this is rather…. twisted.

    It’s not referring to individuals being adulterous when their seeking a sign, but to the whole nation of Israel ‘deserting’ their bridgroom, IE, God.

    None the less, normal Mormon screwing around with biblical interpretation…

  4. Well to shed some more background on why he would say something like this you have to know a story that had happened on his mission- it’ll make more sense after undertstanding this:

    One of his mission stories goes like this- he was talking with somebody that I think had fallen away from the church, a man. While he was talking to the guy who was explaining that he didn’t want to go back to church for whatever reason, the thought (ie revelation) came to my dad’s mind that the man must be an adulterer. He kept the thought private to himself but felt assured he must be one. Then, a little time later this was confirmed to him through gossip. “The adulterous seek a sign” took on new significance for him because he now felt he was inspired about that.

    Then, for him to say that quietly to me, almost under his breath, reminded me of his story and how genuine it was to him- and i knew that right there i was (to him) appearing to be that guy from his mission all over again. So that’s why I took it even more personal, I knew his experience behind those words.

    …But, i DO know that most of this is out of love for me. and that is why i didn’ want our relationship hurt over this and made up with him. we’re fine now, actually. we just need to respect eachother’s mentality and keep on loving each other.

    Thanks for the comments, guys.

  5. You stood strong. Good job.

    It amazes me how religion uses lines like “You shouldn’t look at what we have to say with a critical eye because it wont add up. Just beleive and have faith and it will all be swell.”. Thats fine when all you want is to be part of a group that will accept you, but if you really want to find “truth” then all of the other stuff they say just doesn’t make sense.

    I’m glad you ended it on “good” terms. Nobody wants to have that hanging over them forever. However, I think that he did mean everything he said, he just wanted you to think again about what you are doing so that you will come back to the flock. He wanted you to be hurt, but only enough that you would change your mind.

    Anyway, it sucks that you had to go through that.

    /paranoidfr33k

  6. Aw, shit, Anubys. I’m sorry you were put through that “in the name of love and righteousness.” I swear, my TBM dad didn’t come up and spend Christmas with me or my family, because I had told him that I didn’t believe anymore, but wanted to enjoy a good Christmas without religious debates detracting from the good family times.

    I have emailed him three times (our only method of communication) asking if he’d like to talk about it, but he never replies, ever. It occurs to me that he’s behaving as if he’s more worried about what the Church would have him think/do than what his own daughter might think/feel/need. But he’s a royal ass, so it’s easy to dismiss his crap as it is flung in my direction. I’ve seen him once since I left the church…I blogged about it here. He isn’t a very nice guy, though. He’s sad and alone, and he uses the church as a substitute for happiness and actual relationships with his kids. I was in Utah recently and he couldn’t be bothered to drive down from Brigham City to Kaysville to see us at his mom’s house, when all we had was a couple hours to visit. “I got up at 8 am to clean the church, you know, and I’m pretty tired now. Besides, I saw my mom yesterday. I think I’ll pass. It IS 100 miles round trip, you know, Lisa.” Oh, yeah. I can see where that may be a problem for you, Dad.

    Next time he comes to Montana, I may have planned a getaway trip with my family so we’ll miss him. Sigh. I just don’t know why I expend so much energy on and feel so much guilt over a guy like him.

    Sigh.

  7. Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Tuberculin

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