Excommunicated.

Just got home. The event was full to the brim and spilling down the sides with courtesy. Surprisingly, it felt good to greet a few old friends (I’ve known some of the men for nearly 20 years). It will take me some time to process this, but I feel pretty damn fine at the moment.

Thank you, everyone, for your support. You rock so very hard.

Update:

The excommunication party has begun. These are the people who were on hand at 09:09pm. I feel so very loved–the mood is celebratory, like I just graduated or something!

09:09pm on 09/09/09. Excommunication Party!

Update #2:

Here’s the whole gang. I have the best friends in the world!

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141 Comments

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  1. Dana Dahl

    Also for James, it’s not just Lyndon Lamborn that may consider devotion to an organization like the LDS church (which exhibits every aspect of a cult) to be a reflection of mental illness or at least conditioned response.

    My own TBM daughter accused my lack of reverence for the LDS doctrine and practices to possible pre-menopausal loopiness. If that’s the case then many men seem to be pre-menopausal as well because they too feel that the doctrine and culture and leadership are less than worthy of reverence or worship.

    I don’t think Estrogen is going to cure what ails Joseph Smiths numerous illusions or make Tonto a Jew.

  2. Dana Dahl

    John, I’ve lived in your utopia and understand every nuance of it, even have a periphereal appreciation for some of it. (I just canned 85 quarts of peaches) but it seems a bit pre-emptive for you to make an assessment of my utopia since you’ve never lived here nor seen what I experience. That’s a bit like saying you don’t like sushi but you’ve never tried it. (I’ve tried it and don’t really care for it but would never give a blanket condemnation for sushi since so many others really really enjoy it)

    You should feel very safe in your utopia. Pull the blankets right up to your chin and hole up for the winter. Close the blinds, lock the door, and keep out all the evils and bad people that would try to get you to peek outside the window. You’re safe as long as you keep the wall tall enough.

  3. James

    I’m assuming your post was directed at me, not John.

    I don’t really know how to talk to you. You accuse me of assuming much, but you do plenty of assuming yourself.

    You assume that I feel perfectly safe, that I never doubt, that I never fear, that I never feel unappreciated, unloved or inadequate.

    You assume that I am afraid of the things you call “evil.” You assume that I fear all the people you call “bad.”

    I never condemned your world. I only said it’s not my cup of tea. I never said sushi is evil and you shouldn’t eat it. I only said I don’t prefer it.

    I can only wish you happiness and prosperity in your mormon-free life. Only your life is not mormon-free. You’re still hanging on to something. You still can’t let something go. I’m not sure why that is.

    I truly want you to be happy in your life without mormonism. What strikes me as odd is the sense I get from you that, deep down, you really don’t want me to be in my life with mormonism.

  4. James, I’ve been in your shoes, questioning why people leave the church but never fully “leave” it. It’s proof that you (and me at one time) don’t fully understand how integrated the church is in one’s life. It’s not like leaving a Lutheran church. It’s like leaving an entire way of how one does everything from sun up to sundown. So you may not understand it but I assure you it’s understandable when you’re standing in our shoes.

  5. John

    I’m going to venture that there are plenty of people who are happy in the security and community of Mormonism who would be utterly miserable outside. I’m good with that.

    What I resented is that so many worked so hard to keep me from playing in the sun and rain.

  6. apple (65):

    Thanks for coming back and answering the questions I asked you. Your position is clearer to me now.

    James:

    Are you the same James who commented extensively on the Lyndon Lamborn article about his excommunication online at the East Valley Tribune site?

  7. Dana Dahl

    Yes James, I meant you but got my J’s mixed up. I also can’t remember my phone number or SS # and write my zip code in the space for my signature when I write checks. Thanks for correcting me because I really do suck at paying attention to such things. I got it from my mother. She used to call us all “Sister” or “Son” so she wouldn’t have to remember who she was talking to. Sort of like when a guy calls his latest girlfriend, “Babe”.

    John, I sincerely want YOU to stay in the LDS church. They need folks just like you.

    They don’t need folks like me.

    My qualms and contentions with the present day LDS church (and probably why many think we can’t leave the church alone) comes from the fact that out of an immediate family of over 100 wonderful people, I alone am the only one who has stopped being Mormon. If I want to live in my community in S. Utah, if I want to have a relationship with my children and grandkids and mother and nieces and nephews and siblings and neighbors and business associations and the town cop and anyone else that is part of my daily life, I HAVE TO DEAL WITH MORMONISM. Every day, every hour, every way.

    So it isn’t a matter of me not leaving the church alone. I would love it if I could go to a town party and not have a typical LDS blessing crammed down my throat (blaess that the evil doers will be run outta dodge) . I’d love it if when my new grandbaby was born I could just go and visit and not have to be subjected to having to listen to LDS conference while I’m there just because the re-runs are all they watch.

    I’d love it if when I wanted to wash my car on a Sunday morning my neighbors would not give me foul glares just because I’m in a tank top and shorts while they’re driving by on their way to their three hr. droneathon.

    It’s not me. Really, I would be thrilled if I never had to discuss a Mormon event, thought, practice, etc. for the rest of my life.

    I just wanna sip my coffee in peace but the Mormons won’t let me.

  8. Dana,

    You must be having flashbacks to when one guy says “I am James” and the other guy, in all other respects completely indistinguishable from the first guy, says “I am John.” That’s the only thing those poor dudes got to say in the whole movie!

  9. Dana Dahl

    Equality, I’m assuming you’re referring to the LDS temple movie. It’s been years since I had to sit through that but YES, I never knew the difference between any of them.

    For the first 15 years of my life I thought three Kennedy brothers were killed within years of each other, Jack, John, and Bobbie. What a tragedy!!!

    How is Jack a nickname for John? They both have four letters so it’s not an issue of shortening the name.

    I was a baby when Jack and John got killed (ironically on the same day) but I was sad for both of them.

    I also went to Alaska and through the fog saw Mt. Mckinley but did not see Denali.

    I still ponder over the lyrics “Bob Bob, Bob Bob-Iran”

  10. Yet Another John

    Dana, Dana, Dana. Come on, how many typical LDS blessings mention that the “evil doers will be run outta dodge”? And you want the over 100 LDS members of your family change their ways and feelings just to accomodate you? I kinda get the feeling you just want to be offended. Some people would complain if they were hung with a new rope.

    No, I don’t know you, but I think I would like to. Southern Utah is not such a big place. I’ll keep my eye out for the gal (sexist assumption, I know) washing her car in a tank top and shorts on a Sunday morning.

  11. Dana Dahl

    Yes, I WANT to be offended and to sin and that’s expressly why I left the LDS church. Like many who leave, it couldn’t possibly be for doctrinal issues or leadership corruption or oppressive culture, bigotry, racism, erronious doctrine or other qualms. It’s because I like coffee. Yes, that one delicious drink has made all the ostricization and judgement worth it.

    If you drive by and see a middle aged woman inappropriately dressed then you’ll know it’s me. Honk and I’ll show you my cleavage.

  12. Yet Another John

    “Honk and I’ll show you my cleavage.” I would but one of my wives might take offense. But you’ll recognize me by my long-sleeved, buttoned up shirt and the visible aura of superiority that hovers around me.

  13. Dana Dahl

    From what I’ve known of the good Plyg brothers that live in S. Utah they wouldn’t let a little ol’ thing like an offended wife stop them from putting the moves on another potential jewel in their celestial crown.

    With procreative sex being the only option the poor fellers have to keep looking for fresh meat when they’ve got their own flock fleeced or corral of heifers inseminated or buns in the oven or whatever they’re calling it these days.

    One of the crayons that I think is particularly joyful when one leaves mormonism is the “flesh” colored one. Takes on a whole new meaning when procreation isn’t a byproduct of such a fun passtime.

    The vagina, It isn’t a clown car!!

    Hey, that Christiany woman is pregnant with her 19th baby. She’s giving those Muslims a run for their money and doing her part in breeding for Christ. Squeezing them off like a fricking Pez dispenser!!

    The Mormons better get busy if they want to keep up with the Muslims and Born Agains to take over the world.

  14. Yet Another John

    Dana,
    It’s really not too hard to get you fired up, is it? Well, it’s been fun. Gotta run and do my part to take over the world.

  15. Dana Dahl

    Sorry Yet Another John, that’s not my Fired Up stage. That’s my playful teasing mode. Righteous rants are reserved for those with a week of free time to kill.

    Best wishes in your evil plot to take over the world. Hopefully you find a bevy of lovely ladies to join you in bringing down some spirit children to raise up in righteousness.

    I feel so worthless now. I guess I’ll just have to shuffle off to my art and literature and blogging and make a pie or something to validate my existence. (note to self, learn how to make a pie)

  16. jose

    John,

    I first remember hearing a podcast interview with you a few years ago. Decided to follow a to a tip-off from MM. I’m confused that people are wishing you sympathy for you being a victim of excommunication when you plan an excommunication party and compare it to a graduation party. It is contradictory and disingenuous to play the victim card (e.g., juxtaposition of anniversary celebration with summons) and simultaneously celebrate your new-found freedom.

    Anyhow, congratulations and peace to you. Now stop pretending to be a martyr.

  17. jose

    I look forward to hearing your side of the excommunication. In some ways, I wish you could have recorded the meeting so we could hear the othersides as well.

  18. John

    jose, the long process of excommunication, as much as I wanted the final closure, is a difficult process. It is entirely appropriate wish sympathies on someone going through other trying situations with positive outcomes, like exams and operations.

  19. John

    Also, I set up the party because I thought that we would need the emotional support. We wanted to be around people, to know that we had a community of people who cared about us. It ended up being celebratory, too, for which I’m glad.

  20. Dana Dahl

    For Jose: I certainly can’t speak for John and what he experienced but having been through a similar “Court of Love” I feel it’s a very good characterization of a Kangaroo court, which really only has two players, the victim and the Judges.

    I’ve yet to see an LDS setting where intellectual integrity, fair play, and honest open discussion were welcomed or allowed, especially in a Kangaroo Court of Love such as John went through. In that realm, then John went in as a lamb to the lions knowing full well that they had already made their decisions and his presence was only a courtesy to them and closure for him.

    It takes a brave soul to face such a foregone arrangement and I consider his actions pretty damn gutsy. Most would just destroy the note, ignore the request for attendence and then summarily avoid any further contact.

    It seems to me he went in loud and proud and took his lumps well.

  21. Dana Dahl

    Well James, maybe I can describe the experience this way.

    Imagine you work for a large corporation and you are devoted to helping the company do well in exchange for what they promise you is a big fat bonus at the end of a few decades of service. You keep working, working, working and giving with your big reward in mind.

    Then you find out that the corporation is corrupt and polluting the groundwater and even covering up numerous evidences of toxic dumping. You don’t want to believe it because you have invested several decades into the company but pretty soon the evidences pile up and you can’t deny them any more.

    You try to bring them up to the powers that be and they tell you you imagined it, are wrong to notice, and even if it did happen, they’re justified.

    Finally you realize you can’t represent the company anymore no matter what they promised you.

    You walk away but they believe they still own a part of your pension but won’t give it to you unless you keep their secrets.

    You can’t in good conscience keep the secrets anymore because people are getting hurt and sick from the toxic sludge they’re pumping into the gutter every night behind the tanning plant.

    You cry foul and they tell you you’re a bad person. You cry foul some more and they still won’t fess up and point the fingers back at you.

    Finally they are sick of your efforts to get them to stop poisoning the water system and decide to revoke your pension and infer that you were embezzling the whole time you worked for them.

    The big bosses call a meeting and they’ve already framed you for embezzlement, even though they know they were the ones who poisoned the water system. You know they’re going to charge you with embezzlement and try to humiliate you with feigned kindness and intimidate you with a whole line of stark CEOs all glaring down.

    Now wouldn’t you call it pretty much a lamb to the lions if you were put in such a scenario?

    Lie-ons for the Lord are still Lions.

  22. That was an excellent metaphor for how many of us have been perceive our handling by the LdS church, and I think, a good representation of how John particularly was treated.

  23. Jose, according to things John has written on Twitter and this blog, “The other side” was very cordial. Don’t confuse John’s experience with that of others.

    “…congratulations and peace to you. Now stop pretending to be a martyr.”

    You’re very rude. John already addressed this quite specifically and indicated that is not his intent. Next time you opt to use sarcasm instead of civility consider this:

    “A sarcastic person has a superiority complex that can be cured only by the honesty of humility.” – Lawrence G. Lovasik

  24. Rainey

    Why is it that people who not only think that someone needs to be forcibly severed from a relationship also think that they can determine the manner in which the one summoned needs to frame his experience when it done to him? Was there ever any question just who would make the determination that severed the ties or that it was a mutual and equal playing field?

    A tad dictatorial maybe?, to prescribe the appropriate emotional and social decorum that follows? But, as everyone has said, this is an emotion-laden experience not only for the principles but for those who watch vicariously — even from some of the internet seats apparently. So it’s possible it’s more understandable than it appears to this non-Mormon.

    Still, making the accusation that the person evicted from their former life by the pronouncement of others is “playing a victim card” for not meeting the spectator’s concept of the required degree of contrition or depression is harder to defend, even in the abstract.

    I think someone wanted it to actually draw more blood than it did.

  25. Kiskilili

    Ah, I wish I could have come to the party! But I’m glad other people were there to celebrate with you. Cheers!

  26. Dana Dahl

    Again, this is just my limited experience and perspective but I’ve heard many others validate what I felt so here goes,

    Membership in the church of Jesus Christ comes with a whole lifestyle and consuming set of activities. It isn’t just a religion, it’s a culture, a corporation, the whole of one’s time while in the church.

    It’s the company store and the whole family buys their goods there, pays whatever price is set, and accepts the limits of the goods offered.

    So if you want to leave or even suggest that there might be a better way there is a whole bevy of involved people that will resist or shun you for such a simple thing.

    You can leave the company but they still own your house and your family and your car and all that you worked for.

    If you make waves they’ll turn your family against you and your family will see that they can either join you away from their support source and flail on their own, or accept the rules and prices set by the store owners.

    So you make the choice and leave the company and slowly find out that there’s a lot of other stores with better prices, more variety, more opportunity.

    You miss your family but you can only visit them on the terms set by the company they still work for and eat only the products the company dictates are appropriate.

    The company only offers stale oatmeal, day after day, year after year and the price is 10% of your income.

    Even if your family wants to try something else they know that the price would be expulsion from the company owned house, loss of transportation and other supports, so they make excuses for the company and defend it because the investment is just so high.

    Once you’ve experienced self employment it’s very hard to go back to working for “The man” and “the man” has little use for independent minded folks who have seen the world outside the company grounds. Having independent folks is disruptive and causes folks to ask questions.

    It’s just better for the Company to villify the one who left rather than look into why they left.

    Now I look back wistfully on my big family of 100 and wish I could offer them some really good granola but they’re so conditioned to believing that the stale oatmeal is the best they’ve ever had, even though they’ve never tried anything else that they look at my delicious granola with it’s bits of cranberries and slices of almonds and think it’s just downright sinful.

    Oh well, too bad for them.

    Some folks just like stale oatmeal.

  27. Nice to hear from you again, James. Let me just add a bit to what Dana said to be crystal clear.

    Yes the LDS church is a boat anchor to human health and happiness for most people. I think virtually all who are willing and able to falsify it will agree that part of their faith evolution felt like cutting the chain to the boat anchor.

    Mormonism is a memetic virus, and meets the criteria for being a destructive mind control entity, encouraging suppression of the authentic self, ever increasing dependence on the group, and top-down obedience. Mormonism has evolved to be very efficient at preying upon our innate cognititve human biases as well. The long term psychological ill effects of destructive mind control are well known, and abundantly evident among LDS membership – at least as I see the data.

    Understanding mind control tactics and how religion reinforces human biases was a huge help to me in my recovery from LDS mind control. It helped me realize that I was (dare I say?) a relatively normal human being to have fallen so deeply and become so completely assimilated by Mormonism for so long. Recovering from 45 years of mind control was not a simple undertaking. And it is a recovery process, that happens in stages. In fact, I wrote a book called “Standing for Something More” which summarizes my findings to help others speed up their recovery. In fact, writing the book was part of my recovery, and was recommended by a therapist. While I did not realize it at the time, but speaking to my former high council was also part of my recovery.

    Dana used a Company analogy, I will use the rabid dog analogy. If you and your children were bitten by a rabid dog, do you just say “That’s life!” and go on? Hardly. You seek treatment, go through a recovery and healing stage, and call animal control to try to make the neighborhood safe again. You might even participate in a “Rabid Dog Awareness” group on-line to do your part to help the human race. That is all we are doing as Ex-Mos. Helping each other and the human race by pointing out what is obvious to those who leave.

    In the second verse of the song, “The Man’s Too Strong”, Dire Straits accurately portrays corporate religion in general and Joseph Smith Jr. in particular as follows:
    I have legalized robbery, called it a belief.
    I have run with the money, and hid like a thief.
    I have rewritten history with my armies and my crooks.
    Invented memories, I did burn all the books.
    And I can still hear his laughter, I can still hear his song;
    The man’s too big, the man’s too strong.

    To amplify this excellent montage of how humanity justifies its conduct using religion (which I will refer to as “faith” in this poem), I add the following:

    An Ode to Dire Straits
    We have legalized robbery and called it faith, but that is not all;
    We have exalted gullibility and called it faith.
    We have censored the voice of reason, embraced delusions, and called it faith.
    We have granted power to demons, feared the imaginary, and called it faith.
    We have sanctioned discrimination and called it faith.
    We have numbed our intellect with conformity and called it faith.
    We have justified suppression of information and perpetuated lies and called it faith.
    We have condoned inhumanity and called it faith.
    Our elderly have abandoned life in preference for death and we called it faith.
    We have surrendered our free will and called it faith.
    We have declared ourselves the Chosen Ones and spat on our neighbor and called it faith.
    We have apologized for reality and called it faith.
    We have traded sanity for security and called it faith.
    We have abused our children with guilt and shame and unbridled fear and called it faith.
    We have demeaned our women, esteemed them as property, and called it faith.
    We have laid waste to families and called it faith.
    I sit on the sand and feel the rhythm of the waves.
    I lay down my burden and watch it dissolve with the tide.
    The water and the sand and the sky become one.
    I will study faith no more.

  28. Dana Dahl

    See, I told ya’ll that Lyndon is a smarty pants. Lyndon, that is a very telling poem. Perhaps the reason so much of what you say resonates with those of us who have left the church is that it exemplifies our individual experiences in words many of us can barely string together.

    I have the rich but occasionaly sad experience of reading dozens of exit stories each week. The common theme among every one of them is the loss of self worth while in the LDS church and the instant feeling of hope when they leave.

    I’ve met people that are twenty years away from having had Mormon ties and still feel the guilt and shame that was continually drilled into their heads and hearts while in the church. Two decades to undo the damage inflicted by this cult.

    I’m only at the halfway point and am feeling more and more whole every week. Learning to make new friends with the very backward and infantalized communication skills fostered in the LDS culture has been difficult. I find that shedding those poor habits is very complicated since I’ve not had balanced and intellectually honest methods modeled for me. I find many former LDS who struggle similarly.

    When those of us with huge extended families still deeply entrenched in the church are out here on our own, longing for the deep connections but gunshy about the manipulations exacted on us while in those LDS families and settings, it helps considerably to have places where we can gather (online and in real life) and share our common histories, our complex challenges, humor, lightness, and eventually find that there are many more wonderful things to discover BEYOND MORMONISM. I’m hoping to get there soon. I can’t bring my family but I can make new connections.

  29. John

    Nylon Mesh Scoopneck, I’m sorry that your comment didn’t make it out of moderation sooner-for some reason it got caught by and languished in the spam filter.

    You ask some good questions, which I may respond to in a post soon.

  30. Sorry to be a fair-weather follower, but I was wondering if you’re going to post any more details about your court. As someone who criticizes “The Lord’s Anointed” in my own blog, just wondering what to expect if the axe comes my way at some point.

  31. James

    Lyndon, I believe that your posts are a boat anchor to my soul. They are a memetic virus that seeks to control my thoughts and wash my brain of rational thought.

    I shall now create an online message board to help others recover from the ill-effects of reading your posts. I think I’ll call it ex-Lyndos.com

  32. John

    James, your latest comment is starting to cross into trollishness. They’re designed to provoke a specific individual, and the response will likely be less about the thread and more about responding to you.

    Please keep your comments civil.

  33. James

    John,

    I see satire is completely lost on you. This disappoints me greatly, especially since you are an aspiring writer.

    Sadly,

    James

  34. I am truly honored, James. Let me know when the website is up and running! Here is some stuff you can put up on there…

    I was just thinking abt what the LDS church would have to do to eliminate mind control tactics on my way to work this morning. It would be such a breath of fresh air to the membership, IMO. Here is a partial list:
    1. Eliminate threatening prophesies. Declare that Christ is not coming again, no impending Armageddon, the earth is not going to be bathed in blood and war in the near future, etc.
    2. Eliminate preoccupation with money. Tithing reduced to 1%, vast financial holdings sold and proceeds donated to humanitarian efforts, etc.
    3. Eliminate secrecy. Publish full financials annually, all meetings open to public, temple ceremonies made public, open archives, etc.
    4. No more shrines for the elite. Every member can attend the temple, get the second annointing, etc.
    5. Eliminate privacy infringement. No more confessions, youth interviews, annual PPI’s, etc.
    6. Remove hyper-purity demands & guilt. Word of Wisdom is just advice, advise abstinence early, but emphasize safe sex above all, masturbation and fornication not mortal sins.
    7. Remove illusion of certainty and foster tolerance. Teach that warm feelings do not equate to sure knowledge. Eliminate testimony meetings.
    8. Remove any requirement for top-down obedience, remove disciplinary action process.
    9. Remove information censorship, teaching the membership the whole history. Reward honest members with an honest rendering of church doctrines, history, etc.
    10. Eliminate ‘heavenly soldiers for God’ theme in song and in lesson materials.

    There is more, but this would be a good start.

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