Welcome to My Continuing Online Journey!

Perhaps you've read my book by now, or maybe you've only heard of it and were curious about me, or maybe you're even just surfing the web and happened on one of my posts, but please take your time and wander around. I've got enough to say, I'll be posting for some years yet! Lots of resources, personal entries, and discussion to be had; please contribute (respectfully) to it without fear of being lambasted. (Read: all comments will be moderated for relevance and basic appropriateness.) Finally, if you are here because you have heard my story or one like it and are willing to lend your support to us indoctrinated folk entering the real world, Thank You. With love, Regina

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Bless the Ex-Mormon Community!

A former-LDS friend found some notes on apologist tactics and shared it with me, and I just HAD to pass it along. Enjoy!

1. Apologists start with the end in mind, and sift through available evidences, picking and choosing what they will use to construct an argument to support their previously determined conclusion.

2. Ad hominem attacks - when frustrated, apologists will typically attack the character or credentials of a critic, trying in some way to minimize the perceived credibility of the arguments of the critic.

3. Straw man construction - destruction. Apologists will take several of the weakest aspects of the critics argument, glue them together as if they are the entire argument, then proceed to attack the straw man characterization of the argument. This approach is used to discredit the entire argument and is fallacious. It relies on a logic that says, if this little part may be refuted, the rest of the argument is null and void.

4. Improper usage of sources, often using secondary sources as primary sources - also using sources out of context.

5. The lynchpin - invalid epistemology. If all else fails, the "spiritual witness" card is pulled, saying that it all relies on faith, or "once you have a spiritual witness, nothing can take that away." They fail to address the inherent circular logic or infinite regress that that causes. Why would a burning in the bosom, or feeling of peace be an indication of truth? Because the scriptures tell us so. How do we know the scriptures are telling us the correct way to find the truth? Because they are from God and God wouldn't lie to us. How do we know the scriptures are from God? Because the scriptures tell us so. Thus starts the endless loop.

Indeed. Better put on the armor of God if you're going up against a Hugh Nibley-type from FAIR! Good luck!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Little Busy...

Sorry, I'll be posting more and more regularly soon, but you can imagine I've been just a little busy with the publishing bit. I'm currently working on a "Christian" version of the book (you know, sans four-letter words!) and getting established on facebook, but a friend recently shared a youtube video with me, and I HAD to pass it along.

You see, I'm floundering terribly in my beliefs right now (whatever they are!), and this video seemed as close to what I'm able to accept and understand about God for the moment, meaning that, at least for the time being, I think I'm a Pantheist. (Click on the word for the video link.) I was thinking Humanist, maybe Deist...but this video describes where I am, and if that's a Pantheist, then that's me!

Enjoy, and please feel free to comment any time! 'Gina

Sunday, March 24, 2013


Okay, everybody...it's done! It'll be a couple days before I'm (No Longer) a Mormon is up on amazon, but for the time being it's available for ereaders everywhere! For Kindle, please go here. For every other format - including online reading AND Kindle format! - please visit smashwords; you'll need a free account. I'll put the print book link up the moment it's ready, and once the ebook is available direct from B&N, Kobo, iTunes, etc, those links will appear here, too! Enjoy, and thank you all so much for your support!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

When Your Child Rejects Your Religion: Dos and Don'ts by Kim Giles

Just finished an excellent article from KSL.com written by one Kim Giles, Life Coach. I do not claim the following to be my words in ANY way; if you are interested in reading the article via its original link, please click here. Otherwise, I've copied and pasted it below, I take NO credit for it, and only felt it was beautifully and wisely written, which is why it's located on this blog. More soon! Regina

SALT LAKE CITY — Life is a complicated and messy endeavor. Life Coach Kim Giles is here to help you with simple, principle-based solutions to the challenges you face. Coach Kim will empower you to get along with others and become the best you. 

Question: We have a son who wants nothing to do with our religion. This causes us a lot of pain. We can’t support the decision he is making to walk away when we know it is wrong. Besides praying for him, what is the best way to address this?

Answer: I will give you my opinion, since I am in this situation myself and this approach has worked for us in that we have a beautiful, close, loving relationship with our kids.

Unconditional love is always the answer.

Unconditional love means you edify, honor, cherish and respect him, right where he is right now. It means you see him as the same as you (not as someone who is bad or wrong in any way) and allow him to find his way in life.

Here are some principles which helped us to understand our options.

Principle 1: There are only two states from which you can to respond to any situation. You can respond from love (focused on honoring, edifying and validating the other person) or you can respond from fear (focused on what you need). Every possible response fits into these two categories.

Principle 2: There are two core fears which drive most human behavior. They are the fear of failure and the fear of loss. When you let these two fears drive, your behavior is selfish, not loving.
Principle 3: Fear-based behavior triggers defensiveness, selfishness and resentment in the other person. They can feel that you are focused on your own needs, and this triggers them to get defensive. In this place they will defend their current behavior and resist changing even more.
Let me explain how these principles apply to your situation by giving you some dos and don’ts.
Don’t blame yourself. Having your adult children reject your religion triggers both your core fears. You are afraid of failure as a parent (if your child leaves the church) and you are afraid of loss (spiritually losing your child). If you continue to focus on these fears, you will make this situation about you and your child will resent you for this.

You can get away from these fears when you choose to trust that your value as a person, and a parent, is not on the line. Life is a classroom, not a test, so you cannot fail. You can trust that even though you weren’t a perfect parent, you were the perfect parent for your child. If you messed him up, you messed him up in the exact way he was meant to be messed up.
Trust the process of life. I believe that your life (and your child’s life) are playing out exactly the way they are supposed to — so you can both learn the specific lessons you are meant to learn here. You can trust this process is a safe one and put your child in God’s hands. You can trust that everything will be OK. You can do this because the only other option is fear and suffering.
Don’t say anything negative about his choices. Don’t criticize his ideas. Don't say, "I told you so," when things go wrong. Don’t say, "Things would go better if you were doing what’s right." Don’t say he should consider making different choices. Statements like these disrepsect him and his process of growth. If you talk down to an adult child you will damage your relationship. Just be quiet and love him through it.
Let life do the teaching. Life is a better teacher than you, and when you say too much, you make it about you again. If you have to say anthing, come from a place of compassion, humility and love. Treat your child as an equal and speak to him with respect.
Don’t manipulate, lecture, blackmail or use guilt. Don’t say anything that implies you are anything less than totally proud of your kid. Don’t deny love or approval. Don’t grant financial help only if they get active in church. Don’t spend time together talking about what you think they need to hear. This isn't about you.

You don’t have to agree with his choices, but you do have to respect and honor his right to choose his path. You should not act hurt or wounded by his choices. You should not expect him to change so you can feel better. These are selfish, fear-based reactions.
Edify, encourage, listen and validate your child. Spend every minute you have with your child building him up. Ask lots of questions and listen way more than you talk. (Listening is the key to good parenting at any age.) Ask about his thoughts and feelings. Validate, honor and respect his right to see the world the way he sees it. Make sure he feels loved, admired, respected and cherished. Look for the highest and best qualities in him, and tell him what you see every chance you get.

It is only when someone feels totally unconditionally loved for who they are right now that they will ever be open to changing. (Read that again.)

So love your children unconditionally, fully and passionately, and keep seeing the best in them no matter what religion they choose.

(By the way, this is how God parents — and I think he knows what he's doing.)
"Love is the ability and willingness to allow those that you care for, to be what they choose for themselves, without any insistence that they satisfy you." -Wayne Dyer

Monday, March 18, 2013

Publishing To-Dos

Boy, how quickly we forget! Self-publishing is ROUGH STUFF. All I want is to get my book out there, share my story with the world, and help the unindoctrinated understand the plight of the indoctrinated-leaving-their-indoctrination...and it's taking a bit of time.

That's just fine, of course, but I feel like I've been sitting on this for MONTHS waiting for agents to respond. (That's another blog entry in and of itself.) Now that I know I'm self-publishing, I feel like I have a MOUNTAIN of things to do. What sort of things to do? Well...I'll show you!

  1. Re-edit (nearly finished)
  2. Re-proof (also nearly finished by my proofer, to whom I send pages as I finish re-editing)
  3. Kickstarter...to help cover the costs of my proofer, cover artist, etc.
  4. Re-formatting...for createspace, smashwords, KDP, and espressnet
  5. Order and wait on a cover
  6. Create a facebook page
  7. Create a Twitter account
  8. Work on this blog
  9. Upload to all the places listed in point 4 (and wait for approval)
  10. Order and mail out createspace copies for kickstarter contributors
  11. Establish giveaways and "share contests" on facebook, twitter, and this blog
  12. Market, market, market
Gee whiz, I already feel like I need a nap! Anyway, I'll keep you all updated as the process continues, offer links to kickstarter for those willing to help with the (very sparse) self-pub costs, and links to the book on twitter, facebook, amazon, createspace, kdp, smashwords, b&n, espressnet, kobo, itunes...you name it. Hang tight, and thank you for your patience and support!

Much love, Regina

Sunday, March 17, 2013


I confess, I'm horribly, horribly selfish: I LIKE having TWO days to spend with my family and recuperate before the next workweek! Before, I had half of one! Now, TWO!

Half of one, you ask? Why, yes. You probably haven't heard the LDS children's primary song that goes, "Saturday is a special day. It's the day we get ready for Sunday! We clean our clothes and we polish our shoes so we won't have to work until Monday!" Yup...Saturdays are for getting stuff done and for engaging in preparation for Sundays, and Sundays are for worshiping. So long about midday Saturday, it's time to crack open those lessons, get everything set up and laid out for the Sabbath, and get yourself in the proverbial "spirit" for church the next day. The next day, you get to load up the crockpot, get ready for church in your Sunday best, worship for 3 hours, attend any additional meetings, pray, listen to church music, maybe watch church-related films, write letters to missionaries, take naps (my old standby favorite), and even visit the sick. (Jane Austin moment!) Beyond that? Wait 'til Monday, or you're breaking the sabbath. (And don't you even THINK of buying anything!)

Now? No Sunday prep. Saturdays are OURS. And guess what else? Sundays are ours, too!!! All that hard-earned money that would have gone to tithing (read: to support the retirement plans of Salt Lake church employees)? Keep it and spend a little on a fun family activity and/or meal on Sunday. It's GLORIOUS, people.

It's true, I'm selfish. The interesting part about it, though, is that since we now have 2 full days of fun on the weekend, we're MUCH more likely to devote part of it to community service! (I kid you not; 2 of the last 5 weekends, we've done exactly that!) Ironic, isn't it?

Anyway, I love weekends...more now than ever. Amazing how much happier a person can be when they take a step back, reassess, and CHOOSE. :)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Parental Responsibility for Kids' Spiritual Welfare

I'm leaving the LDS faith...which means, WHAT THE HECK DO I TELL MY KIDS?!

That's a difficulty in and of itself. For the moment, I'm teaching them the same moral and ethical values I was before: be kind to others, live by the golden rule, share, say sorry when you do something wrong, respect others, revel in both our differences and similarities, embrace all that is good and positive, and love others.

The "love" part is the most important, of course; it is how we, as a species, will evolve.

But what about God? I don't know WHAT to tell them about God, so for the time being I'm telling them that "even though Mommy doesn't always agree with what the church has to say, or what the prophet has to say, doesn't mean God doesn't love me for who and what I am! He loves all of us, and we show our gratitude for our lives by loving others and being happy." For now, I believe that will suffice...and it seems like it has, so I'm leaving it where it is.

But a friend of mine called the other day - an active member, of course - and informed me that I had a responsibility both to my elder child, now baptized, and to the church: the church NEEDS "people like [my elder child] because [that child] is so righteous, intelligent, forthright, and kind." I was then informed that I should not stand in the way of that child's participation in the faith, that my child will someday convert a huge flock on a mission and become a great leader in the faith, and that I owed it to my child and the church to let my child attend to reach their maximum potential. Then my friend extended an offer: They will pick up my children every Sunday morning for church and return them home to me afterward.

....................I appreciate the offer. It speaks volumes for the nature and inherent goodness of my children, and is an indirect compliment to my parenting skills.

I do NOT appreciate the fear-mongering. Though their perception may be that I am preventing my children from reaching their potential, and misdirecting them in the paths of salvation, my perception is completely different, and as their parent, my perception is the only one that matters in regards to my kids.

I owe the church NOTHING; in fact, they owe ME THOUSANDS of dollars in tithing collected from me based on a series of lies. My children owe the church nothing; it gave them an absent father when they were little and a stir-crazy mom. It also offered a series of incredibly negative, self-esteem damaging experiences courtesy of ill-behaved peers and adult leaders with an inability to conduct an orderly primary program.

Additionally, I will NOT steep my children's brains in dogma; I will teach them to think for themselves. If my child some day decides to embrace Mormonism, serve a mission, and lead a ward, I will back him 100%. If, however, he decides to embrace atheism and become the next Stephen Hawking, I will also back him 100%.

Finally, if my children want to attend church, I myself will take them, drop them off, and pick them up. I will even dress for church, sit by them in sacrament, and wait on them in the foyer during primary. I will NOT relegate that task to someone else in order that my children may be indoctrinated without my oversight...particularly if the suggestion might ever be made that "Mommy was deceived by Satan and has lost her claim on the Celestial Kingdom." NO FEAR-MONGERING.

So...thanks, but I'm fairly certain my children will go a lot farther toward reaching their maximum potential by assessing the world, deciding (dogma-free) who they will become, and then working their tails off to become those people. Yes, the church needs intelligent, capable, big-hearted people to serve in a variety of capacities...so let it draw from its pool of indoctrinated, power-hungry peeps. My children have more important ways to better the world around them.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

An Announcement to All Those I've Wronged.

We all make mistakes and have regrets. I would say that we are all sinners, but frankly, I'm not entirely certain I believe in the concept of "sin" as such anymore, so I can't say that with any degree of earnestness.

I have a guilt complex...an extreme guilt complex. I'm not exactly sure where it came from - I have my suspicions - but suffice it to say that my guilt complex exists, and it is extreme. I tend to feel the weight of my mistakes and regrets a bit more intensely than other people, and I have fought my entire life for the ability to forgive myself and forget...or at least to move on.

But I am willing to admit my mistakes. I have seldom done anything maliciously, but mistakes and regrets are still mistakes and regrets, and I'm trying to accept them, forgive myself, make my amends, and move on.

This post is, therefore, an announcement to all those I've wronged during the course of my 30-some years on this earth. I feel a need to leave no business unfinished, and I'd like to take this opportunity to finish it.

If I have wronged you in any way, shape, or form, whether or not I'm aware of it, remember it, or have apologized insufficiently for it, please accept my wholehearted and sincere apology for anything I said, did, or didn't say or do. If this apology will not suffice and you'd like a more personal apology, please contact me, let me have it, and I will explain myself and apologize appropriately, as required.

More importantly, please know that the woman I am today is not the woman (hopefully!) who offended or hurt you, however I managed to accomplish that. I am growing, changing, developing, and finding my place in the real world, and BOY!, is it a struggle. That said, part of becoming better is recognizing your faults and converting them into newly-developed strengths. That is my goal, and I can assure you that I am driven to become more than I was.

Sorry, I was reading Caroline Myss's Anatomy of the Spirit last night, and just wanted to utilize this blog to help me finish up any unfinished business. :) All my best to you all! (And my apologies wherever they're owed!)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Disclaimer: Just Because I'm Fallible Doesn't Make My Arguments Meaningless

As a member of the Mormon church, I used to occasionally hear arguments against the church, and one of two things happened, always followed by a third: 1) I'd dismiss the arguments because of something as simple and foolish as a typo, which typo confirmed that the person making the argument was an idiot and their argument needn't be heeded, or 2) I'd dismiss the arguments because of some character flaw in or sin committed by the person making the argument.

Yes, I really did.

And then the third thing hits, whether I accepted either the first or second situation: Cognitive Dissonance kicks in.

So I ask you to be more open-minded than I was. If you find my book and/or blog full of typos, sentence fragments, or even facts I've blown, please know that I am as fallible as anyone. I can only correct what I'm aware of; if you need me to fix a fact or typo, just let me know. (For instance, I referred to "Ricks" in my book by the name "Ricks" instead of "BYU-I." I fixed it when a friend reminded me that I needed to refer to it by its current name.)

If you've read the book, you know I've said and done some awfully stupid, unkind, idiotic things in my life. I'm guessing you have, too, so please cut me a little slack. My mind still functions relatively well, and my arguments still have merit, even though my life is full of mistakes and regrets. I am happy to listen to other arguments and concede to any correct point. Please be as open to discussion as I am, and as willing to scrutinize your faith. (After all, if it can't hold up to scrutiny, is it really "of God"?) I admit freely when I'm not sure, have no clue, or am entirely wrong, no matter how uncomfortable or humiliating that might be. I only ask for the same respect.

So. Thanks in advance for your patience with my grammatical errors, inadequacies, and foolishness. I look forward to honest and open dialogue, and hope you won't hold my foibles against me.

Monday, March 11, 2013

All the Reasons I DIDN'T Leave the Church...

When you announce that you're leaving the church, nobody asks why. Of the hundred-some people I've told, exactly ONE asked me about the reasoning behind it, listened patiently for a couple of minutes, and then the subject was changed.

NO ONE WANTS TO KNOW. It's not that they don't care; it's that they make assumptions in order to protect themselves from their own deep-seated fear...by dishonoring me.

Here's what I mean: someone leaves your faith...but there can't actually be anything wrong with the faith, right? That would make the person still clinging to it WRONG! None of us like to be wrong...particularly when we've devoted part or the whole of our lives to what we're wrong about. But it goes a step further: if we're wrong, eternal marriage and families evaporate, our social network is in danger, the possibility of salvation is called into question, and even Jesus becomes suspect. That's not a fun place to be! And since we don't want to consider any of that, we decide the church CANNOT be wrong, and so the person who is leaving must be wrong.

Take that a step further: if the person leaving is wrong, they are wrong in one (or all) of a few areas: righteousness/worthiness, impatience, laziness, taking offense, arrogance based on intellect, and/or they were duped by Satan.

Where does that leave me? As an impatient, lazy, arrogant, offended, grossly sinful dupe.

But what if that's not true? What if I left for legitimate reasons? I know it's hard to accept because it means they might be wrong, but Jesus has told us time and time again that the truth will make us free.

So I'd like to take this opportunity to make clear the reasons I did NOT leave the church:

  1. My life contains a laundry list of mistakes and regrets, just like yours, but I haven't become a swinger, I'm not a drunk or a drug addict, and my morals have not changed. If anything, my morals are more cemented by my choice to discover and live them than one who is moral under duress. I have not committed gross sin; there is no blood on my hands. And just FYI, having a cup of coffee is not gross sin.
  2. I have not been impatient for my Moroni 10:4 answer. I have tried over and over again for decades with complete sincerity, begging to know that the BoM is "true", and God has not seen fit to answer me. Until recently I had concluded that that was either because God didn't love me, or that God did not think I was a soul worth answering. Needless to say, as a result my self-esteem has never been good. The truth is, God hasn't sent an answer...and if he sent it to me in some "other" way, as has been argued before, what good is an answer that I can't understand?
  3. I admit, I'm incredibly lazy in many areas of my life. That said, my pursuit of truth (using the LDS Moroni 10:4 truth test) has probably been more intense than your own. I am also perfectly happy and willing to live any way that God might expect, including wearing a burqa, if I had to. He hasn't told me what he expects. The way I live is not for the sake of self-indulgence or being too lazy to keep the commandments. I just don't believe the LDS gospel has very many legitimate commandments to keep.
  4. I think most intellectuals are considered arrogant and instantly given a bad name for being intellectual...rather like wealthy people are given a bad name for having spent decades slowly acquiring their wealth. There is a fine line between intellectualism and arrogance, and in some ways, arrogance is important in an intellectual; it drives them to learn more, discover more, and become more. But the reality is, I don't consider myself a true intellectual. I consider myself someone with an overpowering desire to acquire knowledge and seek truth. If truth-seeking is arrogant, I am arrogant indeed, but I think the idea of arrogance is misapplied in circumstances of truth-seeking. The earnest seeker of truth is incredibly humble, willing to discard outmoded and outdated ideas as required. I seek truth. I may never find it. I'm okay with that, as long as I'm seeking, open to new ideas, and developing.
  5. I have been offended MANY, MANY TIMES by the church, its doctrines, its leadership, and its membership. It never, ever caused me to leave the church because I understand that the gospel and the people are two different things. The gospel can be perfect while the people can be idiots. I understand that. It just turns out that the gospel is not perfect, is not of God, and I'm done with it. It's not the people. Amazing Mormons are still amazing, and asinine Mormons are still asinine...bless all their hearts.
  6. How do you argue with "duped by Satan"? I mean, when all else fails, call on the supernatural Bad Guy to explain someone's lunacy! I can't argue over the bad guy tempter that I can't see, hear, touch, smell, or taste; somehow, even though I cannot see, hear, touch, smell, or taste him, he got to me. He persuaded me to accept lies as a bulk of evidence and not a giant CYA for the church; he duped me. 
The reality is that I leave the church of my own free will and choice. I choose to use my agency to walk away from a gospel that, in my mind, has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to be a farce.

People will continue to think of me what they wish, but I hope that, for the sake of all those of us leaving a religion, those who continue to practice it might be willing to consider that maybe, just maybe, the person walking away has actually put some serious thought into their decision. Maybe, just maybe, they've been willing to take the hard road because of their convictions, not because of their laziness or sinfulness.

You can't force someone to believe something they don't believe. I don't believe in the church, and I have good reasons not to. Please understand me anyway.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

So Here We Are, Just You and Me, Computer Screen!

Yup. No one knows about this blog yet. No one knows about my BOOK yet, outside of the dozen or so people who have already read it. I'm preparing to self-publish, you see...after being informed by a very publish-heavy book agent that as much as he would love to publish a slap-in-the-face to the Mormon Church, no one - NO ONE - in the publishing world will touch it. He said the Mormons have too much political power to piss them off. If I want to publish, I'll have to do what every other "open up the skeleton closet" ex-member has done, which is to self-publish...but if I DO self-publish, to let him know; he'd buy a copy.

Wow. Okay, then. That places a massive task before me. But why pursue it? Why bother? Because I honestly think that my life's experience (not my "life story", but my experiences as related to the church) demonstrates the psychological damage of Mormonism to an average human being. (Yes, I believe I am THAT screwed up because of the church, and I make no bones about it.) (No, really, THAT screwed up.) (And I have a major guilt complex, but if you've read my book, you'd know that...)

But here I am. Because about a year ago, an uber-liberal upstate New York friend challenged me to find a cause I believed in...and when I started to really, truly question my faith - to realize how important it was to hold my childhood faith up to the same skepticism I showed other beliefs - I had maybe two friends in the world I could talk to about it, and I feared losing them daily. This has required a complete mental and emotional overhaul...30-some years into life. Your reality was, since I was in my mother's womb, my worst fear. Entering reality tears you down in ways you could not have imagined, but buoys you with a remarkable hope for mankind's evolution. I'd say "All are One, Praise God!", but you would likely have NO CLUE what I mean yet. (Not that I find myself a genius by any stretch, but I think Carl Sagan would smile at my meaning.)

So this is my Star Trek-style "continuing mission", but in my case, continuing journey. (Sorry, it's the geek in me.) You'll get regular-ish updates on the weird inner-workings of my head, and I will attempt to read and respond to comments and to make sure ALL posts, pro or con, that are not attacking (either side!) will be approved. That said, I am a wife and mother and don't always have the time, AND I will not approve any posts that attack EITHER side. Please be civil and courteous, and keep your language appropriate.

By the way, I'm interested to see if and when anybody finds me, so if you see this, could you please comment with a "read it!" comment? Much obliged!

More soon, and I sincerely thank you for your understanding and support,

PS: No, Regina is not my real name. Yes, you could probably figure it out if you tried. Please don't try. There are reasons that this is anonymous, not the least of which is my family. Thank you.