“I have been thinking back to my Mormon experience, and all I endured during those years. There were things that I could not tolerate then, and cannot think about now, without feeling angry. Some might be petty, but they rubbed me as wrong as the real history of Mormonism did. Its all part of the same heavy saddle Salt Lake puts on your back.
I hated the obsession with the Word of Wisdom. It was a monstrous thing, and it took on an incredibly ugly life of its own. Not content with what was listed in the actual Word of Wisdom, fanatic Mormons plugged in a tangled web of extension cords, and came up with cola drinks, cooking wine, and even prescription medications —my father’s step-mother would not allow my dying grandfather pain medication when he was dying of cancer, because it “was against the spirit of the Word of Wisdom.”
The Word of Wisdom is a huge bore, and it turns coffee drinkers into sinners, and tea drinkers into evil people with no hope in the afterlife. None of it had anything to do with spirituality, goodness, Christianity, or common sense.
Another one I cannot forget, or get over, was the ham fisted nonsense one had to take from “Priesthood authority.” Members have their lives pried into through offensive and intrusive interviews. Minor sins, once confessed, can be used as leverage to beat someone over the head, or get them kicked out of BYU. The knuckle dragging “Priesthood leaders” were, as a whole, a bunch of dopes who could not think, forgive, or see beyond the end of their own noses. They were incapable of answers, good advice, or practical thought.
They made Mormonism a huge and offensive intrusion. The took a good situation and made it bad, or a bad situation and made it worse.
I could not come to terms with the missionary experience either. It came as a complete shock to me. I went out full of idealism, and high hopes. I was going to embark on a splendid spiritual journey. I would gain that elusive testimony, know the church is true, and come back ready for a life of obedience.
What I got was a para-military nightmare, fresh from the exercise of totalitarian authority. I was told what to read, think, eat, and wear. I was not able to sit down in the summer heat without being made to feel guilty. I was expected to be out at night in sub-zero weather, knocking on doors at 9:00 p.m. I was rebuked for honesty, and humiliated for normal thoughts. I was pushed around, bullied, and misused. I came as a volunteer, asking for nothing. In exchange, I was treated like dirt. I never have forgotten the experience. After all, it was “the best two years of my life.”
Temple marriage is another thing I regret. I had heard so much, and I was sure it would be breathtaking. I would feel bonded to my wife for eternity, and there would be no problems. Sure, some of my relatives could not come, because they could not get in the temple, but I was still certain it was right.
The actual ceremony was a short, sorry little affair. I wore clothes that embarrassed me, and my poor wife did not look like a bride. When it was over, we did not even feel married. Both of us were terribly let down.
There was nothing special about any of it. I still look back, and feel rather sorry we were denied a real marriage I could feel good about, or look back on with any degree of nostalgia. We never went back to the temple after the day we were married. Neither of us felt any desire to go back at all.
I will also never be able to forget the social pressure, and the constant concern my family had with what everyone thought. My poor mother was terrified of what the neighbors , our “brothers and sisters,” would think.
Image was everything. Appearances were paramount. One said the right things, wore the right clothes, and went to the right places. Being caught out of the pattern could be damning. Heaven help the poor backslider who gets caught with coffee in their shopping cart. Such a thing could ruin a reputation, and cause a complete loss of friends. The suits were dark, the shirts were white, and the lives were regulated.
Even things from a person’s past could haunt them. I recall a lovely woman in “the ward,” who had been excommunicated years before. Soon, word got around, and she fell several pegs in many people’s eyes. And it was not kept secret. Nothing was kept secret. All sins were public, all confessions common knowledge, and all lives were an open book.
So many things felt wrong, because they were wrong. A person is not supposed to be owned by a religion, or turned into a robot. People were meant to enjoy life, and think for themselves. You cannot do that in Mormonism.”