Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Why Being a Member of the LDS Church is like an Abusive Relationship



Abuse comes in many forms, and there are many religions.  I'm going to focus on Psychological Abuse,  and the LDS Church because I was challenged to do so by someone who claimed the above photo is a misrepresentation, and we were talking about the LDS Church at the time.  Simple enough reason; don't you think?

What is Psychological Abuse?   There is no set definition, but Wikipedia defines it as:

Psychological abuse, also referred to as emotional abuse or mental abuse, is a form of abuse characterized by a person subjecting or exposing another to behavior that may result in psychological trauma, including anxietychronic depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder.[1][2][3] Such abuse is often associated with situations of power imbalance, such as abusive relationshipsbullying, and abuse in the workplace.[2][3]

 According to the United States Government, ~ You may feel like if you're not being hurt physically, you are not being abused. But attempts to scare, isolate, or control you also are abuse. They can affect your physical and emotional well-being. And they often are a sign that physical abuse will follow.
You may be experiencing emotional abuse if someone:

  • Monitors what you're doing all the time
  • Unfairly accuses you of being unfaithful all the time
  • Prevents or discourages you from seeing friends or family
  • Tries to stop you from going to work or school
  • Gets angry in a way that is frightening to you
  • Controls how you spend your money
  • Humiliates you in front of others
  • Threatens to hurt you or people you care about
  • Threatens to harm himself or herself when upset with you
  • Says things like, "If I can't have you then no one can."
  • Decides things for you that you should decide (like what to wear or eat).
Have you been in an Abusive relationship?   Are you in one right now?   If you answered yes to the latter, then please click this link.  It's an outline on how to get help.  If you answered yes to the first one, then many of these behaviors will be familiar to you.   It might be pertinent to note that in all abusive relationships, not every sign above will be prevalent  and there will even be a few others not mentioned.

Story Time:  I myself was in an emotionally abusive relationship about a decade ago.   Going through the list, I was monitored constantly, always accused of being unfaithful, kept away from friends and family via rumors that they hurt her in some way, was always being yelled at for the stupidest things,  she managed all the money,  threw digs into me in front of other people to make me feel like less of a person, threatened to harm herself many times,  and she decided on what I wore, my haircut, what I ate, and various other things that I should have been doing for myself.  

The relationship itself was complete and utter hell.   As you can see, not all attributes were taken up, but many were.   I left that relationship a broken man, and have had to rebuild myself.     End of Story Time.

Examining an abusive partner, we can see some patterns:  Paraphrased, but Source.
  • Abuse itself is about control, and emotional abuse is a way for an abusing partner to demand more from a relationship then he/she/they are willing to give.   
  • No matter how much the abused gives, it will never be enough.  He/she will try, and try, and try, only to fail every time.   The reason for this is because the relationship is not about love, but control.   
  • When an abused partner becomes more independent, the abuser will become more abusive because he/she is losing control.   
  • The abused will never be forgiven for the slightest of legitimate mistakes even after the argument has ended and the problem resolved, but the abuser will expect to be forgiven for everything regardless of the infraction.   
  • The abuser will constantly expect change from the abused, and no matter how much the abused changes, it will never be enough.   
  • This list is by far from complete, but lastly, the abuser will deflect blame to every available source, and for the abuse itself, the blame will go to the abused.    

So let's examine the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in comparison to an Abusive Relationship, Shall We?   A couple of points to note is that the LDS Church is a hive mind with structured programs and LDS Children are conditioned from the time they are Sunbeams.  So a typical Mormon member might not be intending to be abusive while participating the behaviors that are.  I'll just go down the same 2 lists with a comparison.

Starting from the top.


Monitors what you're doing all the time:   The LDS Church itself is a society within society.  The structured programs to monitor the members are Bishop's Interviews, Visiting/Home Teaching (What I like to call 'structured friendship'),  Members Outreach programs to fallen away members, Missionary outreach programs, and the Strengthening Church Membership Committee that monitors what members publicize that's contrary to church teachings.   The SCMC is ran by two apostles.    

Unofficial programs are the rumor mill, church sponsored activities, and unscheduled visits to people who might be falling away.   Love bombing is encouraged too.  


Unfairly accuses you of being unfaithful all the time:  As previously stated, members are conditioned from the Sunbeam age, and are encouraged to go to the Bishop for all indiscretions.   Most do this faithfully because that is what should be done so the members put forth the work to be accused based on what they have been taught.  
After that, there is the weekly Sacrament where each member gets to go on a mental mind trip of how imperfect they were the prior week, and compares themselves with Jesus Christ who is perfect.   Any action that goes against church teachings is considered unfaithful.  The word of wisdom gives a special guideline on a lot of activity to be avoided.  Nobody is perfect, and everyone fails time and time again, then are forgiven only to fail again.

Here is one of my favorite Teachings by King Benjamin in Helaman 12:4-8:

 O how afoolish, and how vain, and how evil, and devilish, and how bquick to do chearts upon the vain things of the world!
iniquity, and how slow to do good, are the children of men; yea, how quick to hearken unto the words of the evil one, and to set their
 Yea, how quick to be lifted up in apride; yea, how quick tobboast, and do all manner of that which is iniquity; and how slow are they to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to cwalk in wisdom’s paths!
 Behold, they do not desire that the Lord their God, who hathacreated them, should brule and reign over them; notwithstanding his great goodness and his mercy towards them, they do set atcnaught his counsels, and they will not that he should be their guide.
 O how great is the anothingness of the children of men; yea, even they are bless than the dust of the earth.
 For behold, the dust of the earth moveth hither and thither, to the dividing asunder, at the command of our great and everlasting God.

Notice how the children of men are nothing, and less than the dust of the earth.  Kinda makes ya feel special, don't it?

 Prevents or discourages you from seeing friends or family: The Mission is when 18-21 year olds go on missions for 2 years for males, and 1 1/2 years for females.  During the mission, a missionary is not allowed contact from friends or family except via snail mail or email.   Important life events such as funerals, weddings, graduations, and so on are also not allowed.  The idea is to give 2 years of your life completely to the Lord, and it also tests how much a person is willing to sacrifice for the sake of the religion.

LDS Members will argue this one to days end, but associating with non-members is advised against however subtle.   When I was 16, I was kicked out my home, and a Baptist Preacher took me in.  He ran the Second Chance Ranch for troubled teens, and had moved to the heart of Mormon Country as a missionary to save the poor lost souls of the Mormons.   His children had the unfortunate experience of growing up in a 98% LDS community where they were ostracized for being non-Mormon.   Stay within the faith is the message that is given.

While that will be argued as conjecture by most active Mormons, Orson Scott Card, one of my favorite authors wrote Saintspeak The Mormon Dictionary which is a humorous list of Mormon Definitions that most Mormons will identify with.  Here are a couple that he has written.  



nonmember Someone who has lived in Salt Lake City for fourteen years and still hasn’t met his neighbors.
non-Mormons People that you’re supposed to convert to the gospel—but in the meantime don’t let their children go out with yours.
It is encouraged to stay within the faith when socializing.   Family is OK, but ex-mormon family members are to be tolerated, but not respected as their opinions on the LDS Church are flawed with unbelief. 

Tries to stop you from going to work or school:  Working on Sunday is a big no-no as keeping the Sabbath day holy is so very important.  Emergency personnel such as medical, fire, and police get a pass.   School itself gets skewed when the ultimate goal of every young LDS person is to go to BYU or one of it's affiliates.  This trumps Ivy league schools, and many have been offered admittance to Harvard or Yale, but turned them down to go to BYU which according to the world is a much less valued school.  

Gets angry in a way that is frightening to you:  This is bureaucratic when it comes to the LDS Church.   Striking out in anger isn't commonly seen, but it happens via large groups when there is a particular threat.  The Bretheren or Men of the LDS Church will take turns keeping an eye on the perceived trouble maker.   However, this is mostly self preservation defense, and is understandable.  When they are wrong, the ostracized pays dearly for something they know nothing of.  
Another way the LDS Church as a whole reacts to witch hunts is insane.  They will pressure members that are acting in a way the LDS Church disapproves of until they are either excommunicated, or just leave of their own free will.   Here is a fine example of this.   

Most punishments are known and enacted with bureaucratic efficiency .   However, the Mormon Church can and will send a tidal wave of destruction when threatened.   They are not always successful though, and when they are, it can cost dearly.  For example, Prop 8 took a lot of time, energy, money, and member support to fight it off, and the backlash they received for it was so painful that the LDS Church mostly stays out of the gay marriage debate with exception to the national level in which they try to remain as anonymous as possible. 


Controls how you spend your money:  Just 10 percent of it, and suggestions on how to spend the rest.  In the early days of the LDS Church, Joe Smith and Sidney Rigdon were putting together the United Order which is where members signed over all of their assets and money to the LDS Church.  Along with Joe trying to get fresh with a 16 year old, that got them Tarred and Feathered by the members of the church.  Still today, Members believe it was because Joe saw God, so an anti-mormon mob tarred and feathered them.   However, today, it's just 10%, and the financial advice given to the members is actually pretty sound.   

Humiliates you in front of others:  This one is a more refined action by the LDS Church in which members humiliate themselves, and act perfect in public.  They humiliate themselves by thinking they are worthless and imperfect as they have been taught, but we've already gone over that.  The LDS Church itself preaches to them that they are imperfect, and needing of constant redemption while at the same time brags about it's members and the fine addition to society they are to the general public. 

Threatens to hurt you or people you care about:  This one is a big one for the LDS Church.  "Families can be together forever." is a song that's sung frequently.  The LDS Church believes in Eternal Family.  However, Families can be together forever, but by no means is that guaranteed.   The LDS Church holds your family hostage against you because if you want to live forever, you have to live the Gospel, and so do they which means you not only have to keep yourself in line, but them too.  
Here is a very good example of this


Threatens to harm himself or herself when upset with you:  "Every time you curse, or masturbate, Jesus feels it on cross, and you're hurting him.  How could you cause him to hurt himself?   You insensitive asshole?"   Oh, the mental mind screw of this one.  

Says things like, "If I can't have you then no one can.":  1st commandment.  "Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before ME."   This is above murder, and if he is the one true God, why so insecure?   It's also the first line in the photo above.  

Decides things for you that you should decide (like what to wear or eat):  The Word of Wisdom the LDS Religion preaches has many things that members shouldn't do.  There is a clear modesty guideline on what to wear, and how to look.  The list goes on and on with what activities are OK, and what isn't OK.  

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That about covers the Psychologically Abusive Actions.   Let's see how the church relates to an abusive partner.

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Abuse itself is about control, and emotional abuse is a way for an abusing partner to demand more from a relationship then he/she/they are willing to give:   The LDS Church has clear guidelines about what they demand from their members.  It's cleverly disguised as suggestions like the Word of Wisdom, or the Honor Code.  Both of which are enforced through loss of privileges  and with the Honor Code, the loss of your education.

No matter how much the abused gives, it will never be enough.  He/she will try, and try, and try, only to fail every time.   The reason for this is because the relationship is not about love, but control:  The older you get as a member of the LDS church, the more rituals you are asked to perform.  It starts with folding your arms in prayer as a 2 year old, then Sacrament, and when you're an adult, a whole bunch of mind numbing temple rituals.   Time is also asked of for service, and it gets piled on more and more as you get older.   They as for more, and more, and more of your commitment, of your standards, of your life, and when you fail a time or two, they'll forgive you, and ask for more.  What do they give for your time, money, and effort.  A community.  Worth it?  Up to you.  

When an abused partner becomes more independent, the abuser will become more abusive because he/she is losing control:   A man by the name of Lyndon Lamborn was excommunicated a while back because he researched the LDS Church history outside of the guidelines set forth by the LDS Church.  Now this is OK so to speak, but he also told people what he found.  That wasn't OK for the church.  So he was excommunicated, and he recorded the proceedings which is an eye opening account of how the LDS church reacts to losing control.  

The abused will never be forgiven for the slightest of legitimate mistakes even after the argument has ended and the problem resolved, but the abuser will expect to be forgiven for everything regardless of the infraction:  This one I'll give to the Mormon Church because they give away guilt so they can sell redemption/forgiveness.  Forgiving people is how they make their money.  

The abuser will constantly expect change from the abused, and no matter how much the abused changes, it will never be enough:   Pretty much the same as the 2nd one, but mostly adherent to the rules.  Since you can't be perfect, you'll never be able to amount to the perfection being asked of you.  But you'll try and try and try and try.  

This list is by far from complete, but lastly, the abuser will deflect blame to every available source, and for the abuse itself, the blame will go to the abused:    The LDS Church is perfect, and infallible, even when it isn't.  When a member acting on church teachings messes up, it's the member, not the LDS Church which is at fault.   When ex-mormons point out the fallacies of the church, then the ex-mormons are to blame for not being faithful enough, or are sinners.    When prophets speak, it's revelation.  Well, unless they are wrong, in which case, they are speaking as fallible men, not the infallible prophet of the LDS Church.    Homosexuals are blamed for attacking the freedom of religion when they are asking to not have to live by the LDS Church's moral guidelines.    So much blame, and it's never the LDS Church.

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Therefore, I must conclude, that on a scale of 1-10, if the LDS Church was being rated for being an abusive partner, it would rank about 50.   

An interesting correlation between Suicide Rates and LDS membership should put a fine cap on it.






13 comments:

  1. > Tries to stop you from going to work or school

    The Mormon church highly discourages working on Sundays. I turned down jobs that asked me to work on Sunday, even though they paid better and would have given me an advantage in my career. I also strained work relationships from being unwilling to occasionally work on Sundays. There is a lot of social and leadership pressure to work when the church dictates you can work, with little regard to your personal circumstances.

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    1. I have to work on Sunday. My ward will not even give a home teaching beat.They think that I volunteer to work on Sunday. It is really hard on my family. The ward is not supportive at all.

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  2. Here's one of my Favorite D&C verses

    And inasmuch as mine enemies come against you ... ye shall curse them; And whomsoever ye curse, I will curse, and ye shall avenge me of mine enemies (Doctrine and Covenants, 103:24-25).

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  3. I have a different perspective and a different experience. I find that although your conclusions and comparisons are true to yoru experience they are not true to my experience. I simply hope we will each find peace in our own way and in our own choices.

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    1. Agreed. My experience is much more positive.

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  4. >Tries to stop you from going to work or school

    You missed the fact that ALL women are supposed to be stay-at-home Moms. Sure, they can work or go to school until they have babies (hopefully by age 19), but afterwards working, studying, professional women are a no-no.

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  5. Holy Crap! How on earth did I miss that? Thanks.

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  6. This is a great read. Thanks for putting it down so well. I agree. Being in the LDS church, I never felt like I could measure up and I never felt I fit in. I'm so glad to have finally freed myself from such an abusive relationship.

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  7. wow, beautifully written. thank you.

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  8. Well, the title of your blog speaks for itself; weird crap! I'd just like to know what the 123 stands for! Best regards to you!

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    1. It's been 4 years since I created the blog, and I'm pretty sure that weirdcrap.blogspot.com was already taken, so nothing more than just taking the next available URL. This post is still valid, my blog title notwithstanding. Best regards to you as well.

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  9. LOVE THIS! Apart from all the women being cut off at the knees professionally and personally in having to get married at 19 years old and breeding...it's perfect. I was once at Institute and the Pres told me..."Sister Anonymous...you keep going to school until you meet your husband, then be willing to give it all up." Then he gave me an evil grin. Hell yes, these men know full well they have total control over the women.

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  10. 1. Black and White thinking fallacy: You're either with us or against us.

    2. Threats of unknown consequence: If you don't x, y, and z, you'll either be cutoff from the eternal familiar or cast into outer darkness.

    3. Flawed logic: You're saved by grace but if you don't do x, y, and z you'll go to hell and there will be no grace for you.

    4. Attempts to regulate knowledge and doctrine: If something is being hidden from you it's to protect you or because you can't be trusted with that knowledge yet. However everything can be Google'd so they have to shun anyone who reads the truth or seeks to find out anything by gathering evidence and not simply taking their word for it.

    Smear campaigns: Excommunication or blackballing/disfellowshipping members is just the church's way of performing a smear campaign.

    Being kept in a psychologically weak state of unawareness: The church will keep you feeling unworthy, repress your sexuality, and keep you as busy as possible while putting more pressure on you by draining financial resources so as to keep you in a psychologically week state and prone to it's abuse.

    Don't leave or else: Members are encouraged to shun you if you leave or to try and bring you back, unknowingly exploited as arms of an abusive "god"/organization.

    False testimonials: The church is so insecure it has to validate it's own belief every first Sunday monthly in testimonial form. If you hear something enough times you'll believe it without questioning it. Repetition is a form of brainwashing, and in this instance the entire church is gaslighting by lying with a straight face about knowing it's true, and there is pressure to do so in order to fit in.

    Generally speaking the church itself believes itself to be a god-given organization and exhibits many traits of an individual with a severe case of cluster b Narcissistic personality disorder.

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