Thursday, November 3, 2011

The struggles of being a child raised in Mormon culture.

Typical Utah Mormon family.
When you look at this picture your instant reaction is,"Oh what a cute big family! They all look so happy." If you weren't born and raised in Utah you have no clue what the horrible truth is. Mormons are good at acting the part of happiness. They know how to dress well, look pretty and handsome, smile their white toothed smiles, and make it seem like their holy little lives are as happy as can be. It's a lie! Believe me underneath those bright smiles and fancy hairdo's lies people who feel very pressured to be something that deep down they know they're not!


I know because I lived it. I was raised in Utah, I was raised in Mormon culture, and I can look you straight in the eye and tell you that the misery and agony people go through in this religion runs so deep it's disturbing.

  • You are taught from a very young age that you had better go to church every Sunday and look nice and act nice or you won't be accepted.
  • You are taught from a very young age that those who are "none-members" are lost souls and that it's up to you to teach them to walk in the light of gods plan.
  • You are taught from a very young age if you are a boy that you will go on a mission when you turn 19 and go to teach complete strangers who you've never met to join the church as if you have any sort of clue what you're talking about at the age of 19!
  • You are taught from a very young age if you are a girl that if you want to be safe and secure in life that you better look really pretty all the time and marry a returned missionary at age 18 and have lots of kids and be subservient to your husbands every needs.
  • IF YOU FAIL TO MEET ALL OF THESE REQUIREMENTS LIFE IS GOING TO BE VERY DIFFICULT FOR YOU TO FIT IN AND HAVE ANY SORT OF SOCIAL LIFE! IT'S A FACT!

Me at age five
My mother was a devout Mormon while I was a kid. My father was not. I don't know why my Mom was so strongly devout at the time because now she no longer practices Mormonism and she is much more of an open minded individual now than she was back then. My dad was not part of any religion, he showed up to church at times to show support for his kids when any of us were giving some sort of talk in sacrament meeting. But I'm lucky to have had a father who wasn't a typical Utah male! I know I would be completely different if I was raised by someone who pressured me into being something scripted for me at birth. I'd probably be a conservative returned missionary who loves to hunt and play football.

Mormon culture is an awful way of life. It is especially hard for those of us who ever dared think outside of the narrow Mormon box. I remember so many times in my life where I was bullied by kids who were the Bishops son, or the high priests son. In fact I would say nine out of ten bullies I had in my life growing up were strongly devoutly Mormon! Why? I think it's because they are taught that they are above others. They believe that god is on their side so they can't do any wrong.


my daughter at age five
I now have a daughter who is the same age as I was when I started feeling the pressures of living up to what the church expected of me.I won't make the same mistake my mother made. I won't force her to go to some building every Sunday and be spoon fed propaganda from a corporation that calls itself a church! A church that has the gall to tell her how to be, what to feel, what and how to think, how to look, and what to say. And if she doesn't do what they tell her to do she's somehow lesser than all of her other brainwashed peers. FUCK THAT! It absolutely breaks my heart to know that no matter how hard I try she will face the same prejudices, same intolerance, same social  un-acceptance as I did! Simply because she won't be raised a Mormon. It sickens me and maddens me to know that as I type this, the majority of her peers are being taught that they are better than her, that she is lost and needs to be shown the way. I hope that her generation is a little more progressive, a little more tolerant, a little more inclusive than mine is. Because just like her mother and father before her, if you bother to get to know her you'll see that she is a smart, funny, loving, caring, heart-felt, awesome person!

She just started kindergarten and me and my wife made the wise decision of having her do K-12 home-school rather than Utah public school. First off, Utah spends the least amount of money on dollar to child ratio than every other state in America. Second, she won't face the bullshit of feeling like school is a popularity contest rather than an institution to learn and grow. Third, nobody knows their kids better than their parents. My wife knows how to teach her in a way that a stressed out under-payed teacher in an overstuffed classroom ever could. Fourth, she won't learn the LDS ways of being a girl. Girls especially have it rough in Utah! They are taught to be overly pretty and kind of slutty. They are taught to have their first and foremost goal be to attract the boys, and it's a big damn competition over who looks and acts most like a hooker and my little girl will take no part in that!

And we're being proven right by the way, we just got her first report card last night and she has straight A's!
Lets celebrate....

video

14 comments:

  1. what a freaking cute video.

    I agree with most everything you say. ps: I wasn't as devout as you think. :)

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  2. I know you weren't a staunch Utah Mormon like most in your family. I'm just saying that you're alot better now from then because you aren't told how to be anymore.

    I love the video too, it was from a year ago but I love it so much that I want to show it off!:D

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  3. Ugh, it looks like my other comment didn't load!
    I agree with much of what you say here. I wasn't Mormon (my religious education and lineage is various to say the least), but grew up as an outsider looking in. When I was younger I actually lost friends because once their parents found out that I wasn't Mormon they weren't allowed to speak with me. The funny thing was, I was best friends with the youngest daughter of a very devoutly LDS family. Both of her parents were very high up in the church and still are, but they accepted me as one of their own children without trying to convert me. They would answer my questions about their religion, and listen to my viewpoints on it, but they would not bring it up unless I did so first. This family lives next door to my grandparents who, for a long time, were known as the "heathens" on the street because they weren't LDS, but this family has always accepted and been there for my grandparents. Trusting my grandparents to watch their house when they go out of town and just last year they took my grandparents on a cruise with them.
    They are what I think the tenants of most religions want their followers to be. They aren't caught up in the little, petty things that their culture is trying to tell them they should be and recognize that the most important way they should be following their religion is to treat others with respect.
    That was long and rambling and I'm not really sure what point I was trying to make (it's not like I'm trying to turn you onto the LDS religion or anything, far from it), but there ya go.

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  4. I recognize that the LDS faith has many people who are wonderful human beings. I myself have had plenty of Mormon friends through the years so I totally know what you're saying Wit.

    The point of the post was to point out that overall the LDS faith teach their followers to believe that those who don't practice the same religious beliefs as they do are lesser than they are.

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  5. Hi Justin,

    It appears that my comment a few days ago, never made it to the page. As you know, I was born in SLC, and then moved back there a few years ago, and then returned east after one year. Your side of the world is crazy (now, now, not literally) interesting to me. The way the cultures mingle provides endless material. I will look forward to reading more about your take on things. And oh yeah....Thanks so much for dropping in to say hi. It is always good to hear from you.

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  6. Hey Snee!

    Sorry about that! I was having issues with the "Disqus" comment format! I removed it back to the normal Blogger commenting format so that shouldn't happen again.

    Great to hear from you again as well, I hope you're doing good!:)

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  7. To build on Wit's comments. I don't think it is the religion but the people. YES Mormonism is very strict and a different life style, but in Utah it is a culture more than a religion. It would be like me saying I was bullied by a Human for example.. Why yes that is true because the majority of us are Human. So the majority of crap in Utah is going to happen by a Mormon the majority of the time. I have experience Mormonism out side of Utah and it is more of someones faith and determination than a popularity contest in the neighborhood. Just my thoughts.

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  8. I respectfully disagree Drag-man. The church willingly teaches it's followers that they are above those who are "non-members"

    I remember the maps in class where they had the households highlighted as "NM" for non-member! It is an awful thing to teach to 13 and 14 year olds that those are the different ones and that the church goes out of it's way to track down those who aren't members and put it on a map for all to see.

    Like I said with Wit, I totally agree that there are plenty of Mormons who are great people, but the religion as a whole teaches it's members that those who are not members are lesser than they are.

    Thanks for the input Dragon.:)

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  9. Justin: Sorry, my point wasn't to disagree with you! More like that was the most intimate example I had of my interactions with Mormons and I thought it was funny that it was different than yours, a person that actually came from the church. I certainly had my share of people that treated me as a lesser being because I wasn't LDS, but I mostly just blew them off.
    I almost wonder if your experiences happened BECAUSE they knew you were LDS and were not conforming? Because they are taught to see themselves as above everyone else they couldn't understand why you would choose to think differently? As opposed to me, who wasn't raised LDS, they would see me as someone who "didn't know any better".
    I do think, though, that this happens in more than the LDS church. It just happens that we live in a state where LDS is the majority so we are exposed to it more.

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  10. Hey great blog, Justin! A very well-written piece and on such a great topic! A fascinating and quite intriguing personal take on the Mormon culture. I agree with you whole-heartily and feel the same way about most all "organized" religions. I think Jesse Ventura said it best when he said that "Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers. It tells people to go out and stick their noses in other people's business."

    It used to be politics was politics and religion was religion, but somewhere along the line fundamentalists and extremists from every corner of the world eventually co-opted religion and corrupted it into some twisted version to fit their own warped ideologies. Thank you, but no, I think I'll pass on the repression and hate of their mythical worlds and just stick with good old fashion reality, facts and science. It might seem boring by comparison, but at least I don't have to kill anyone to defend it.

    Great stuff Justin! Keep up the great work!

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  11. I'm happy that your daughter has open-minded parents who will not subject her to religious propaganda. Life will be challenging for her amidst the Mormons, but she will learn to be her own person and think for herself.

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  12. Thank you Ahab! It's great to hear from you again by the way. I was once known as Virgil but now I just go by my real name.:)

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  13. Your daughter is so precious. No wonder you won't let Mormonism touch her with a ten-foot pole. But Christ is real. Mormonism screws up the gospel. Life is like that, right? You can't throw everything away because some kook from Upstate NY (who was run out of town on many occasion!) perverts the Good News so he can feel less guilty about his perversion and sorcery!

    My daughters have/are reading several books written about the doctrine of Mormonism and some autobiographies of people who have escaped it. The stuff is horrifying. It's also sad, because the doctrine has become so repulsive to these people that they struggle to find peace with God now. My heart cries for them!

    I like your blog, Justin. :) You have a great sense of humor. God bless you!

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  14. Thank you so much Rebecca! I'm glad you've enjoyed my simple little blog! Coming from a blogger powerhouse from you that's very flattering.:)

    I hope Christ is real, I really don't know for sure. I'm a passive agnostic. I believe we all have the right to believe what we will and nobody can tell anybody other wise.

    God bless you too Rebecca! I hope you visit often, I'd love to talk with you often.:):)

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I love a good discussion. I promise I'll respond to you when I get a chance. Please keep in mind that if my post offended you in any way it was not my intent. Any mean or offensive comments will be deleted so don't bother if that's what you're planning on.

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