September 18, 2021
I consider myself a Mormon because I was born into Mormonism and because Mormonism was the culture of my childhood and of two decades of my adulthood. I was steeped in Mormonism until John Dehlin excommunicated me from ex-Mormonism in 2012.
It is now 2021. I have had almost no interaction with Mormonism for nine years. What I once perceived from the lens of an ex-Mormon, I now perceive more from the lens of an outsider.
Mormonism is very fanciful and patriarchal. Aside from a couple obvious differences, my experiences inside of Mormonism remind me of Gilead in Margaret Atwood’s novels. As I consider the fanciful nature of Mormonism and the reasons people choose to dedicate their lives to something so fanciful and patriarchal, I have to remind myself that humans are prone to believe all sorts of fanciful, unreasonable and harmful things for all sorts of reasons.
I don’t mind the unreasonable and fanciful aspects of the culture of my past as much as I mind the fact that Mormonism was founded and continues to persist upon men’s exploitations of women. Where women are exploited, children of all genders are exploited too.
I can accept Mormons’ tendencies to believe the fanciful and unreasonable. I cannot accept their tendencies to believe in things that I know to be incredibly destructive to women and the developing people our bodies bring into the world. I know Mormonism is destructive to women because I survived that harm myself.
I continue to survive it.
Even now, John Dehlin and other ex-Mormon and Mormon men are happy to throw me and this story around as part of their rutting battles over silliness. It doesn’t matter if the church is True. There is no God who is as immature as these men and therefore immature enough to care about the Truth battles the Mormon and ex-Mormon men care about.
What the men are really fighting over is money, power and sex. They’re displaying typical human adult male behaviors —- certainly not Godly behaviors. This goes for President Nelson, John Dehlin and many of their followers. Men have fought wars upon wars on this planet over the same things. Those males who become more self-aware of their contributions to the powerful Mormon and ex-Mormon men’s rutting behaviors stop following them and find new places to put their energies.
Meanwhile, the women continue to survive and work to balance all their unpaid caretaking labor with their own desires and ambitions. They work hard to achieve with more people take care of and far fewer resources in their hands.
Any real God would be more involved in caring about people, including women and children, than about Truth. “Truth” is a red-herring that conceals men’s battles over power, money and sex from those who can be distracted into stressing about the fanciful. A real God’s fight wouldn’t be about doctrine and sex, it would be about whether or not individuals — including women and children — are supported or stifled as they grow, mature and develop.
A truly good person or god would want people supported. I don’t know any powerful Mormon or ex-Mormon men who actually fall into this category, although all of them claim to.
Instead, they fight. Their war is useless. Like all wars, it is itself fanciful, unreasonable and exploitative.
Truth with a capital ‘T’ is about fighting and fighting is about power and exploitation, not actually finding or sharing a real God.
I often wonder why men disgraced by these things don’t have anything better to do with their time and energy. Then I remember that despite being exploited within Mormonism themselves, they’ve lived very fortunate lives, never having had to face anything like the women of Gilead faced.
Many of them honestly believe their fancies are True. They lack self-awareness, in part because life is always easier from the top than it is from the bottom.
They’re blind because they’ve never been forced to see. I don’t like that I’ve been forced, but I don’t envy them their blindness.
They may enjoy a lot of power, but real strength is held within by those who weren’t handed anything and survived anyway.
This is what I believe.