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

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Non-Member Experience

I just talked to a dear friend and neighbor who was recently forced to pull her child from a local preschool...because it was overrun by Mormons.

No, they didn't FORCE-force her to leave...but after the parents shunned her by treating her either incredibly awkwardly, or like she didn't exist, and after the kids - AND TEACHER, who is LDS! - shunned her daughter (also by treating her awkwardly or like she didn't exist), my friend had had enough.

And I can't blame her.

See, while I'm sure it wasn't intentional on the part of the members, the reality is that members just do not know how to associate with non-members...at least when there are too many members around. It becomes an unintentional clique; women who are in the same stake or ward and who regularly see one another just cannot find anything in common with non-member women. Worse, when they're surrounded by member-women, they don't feel a need to find anything in common. They look past the obvious - motherhood to preschool-aged kids - and think, "that woman wears a tank top" or "that woman doesn't teach her child to worship God the right way" or "that woman lacks the values and ethics we have as members" and they write those women (and their children) off as UN-relateable. EVEN worse, they sometimes fail to notice the non-member women AT ALL, choosing instead to focus on the Mormon women they already know. If they DO notice the non-member women, it's as a missionary opportunity, and not as a chance to build a long and lasting friendship with another capable, feeling woman.

And whether or not we want to admit it, their children absorb what their member-mothers do, notice with whom they do and don't interact, and accept or ignore other children accordingly. They also recognize kids from their primary classes and ward or stake activities and stick to the kids they know, rather than including the kids they don't.

We are trained to socialize within our own religious group, to make friendships in our religious group, to register our children in the same schools - and find ways to get them into the same classes - as those in our religious group, to sign up for the same sports teams as those in our religious group...and while this makes life a bit easier for the Mormon, it is unfortunate in the EXTREME. We are not part of a wider people; we remove ourselves from the rest of humanity, and as a result, don't function well in normal society if ever we have the option of clinging to members of our faith.

It does Mormons a great disservice, non-members a great disservice, and frankly, the entire human race a great disservice. We are not plugged in, not connected, and oblivious to the wants, needs, and feelings of those outside our group. We are separate, and it is damaging.

So whatever you think of me or my ideas about Mormonism, please heed my plea: welcome others. Love others. Extend the hand of friendship to others, not because they are or aren't members of your faith, not because you do or don't want them to convert to your faith, but because they, like you, are members of the human race just trying to get along in a big, scary world. Faith is not relevant.

Love is relevant.

And to those who all joined the preschool together, took it over, and ousted my dear friend by default: shame on you. You lost yourselves an amazing friend.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Intermission: I Can't Change Anybody

It's been a busy couple days, and I haven't been able to pick up where I left off on the Mormon sex talk. Sorry about that. More to come.

A quick intermission, though: after a visit with my parents this weekend, and my mother complaining that she didn't want to expose herself to the John Dehlin "Top 5 Myths and Truths" powerpoint presentation because she didn't want to me to try to change how she feels about her faith, I realized something more clearly than it has ever set in before:


The common argument against "apostates" is that we thrust our views and discoveries onto others to try to change them. True, we are baffled, appalled, and horrified by the truths we encounter, and often eager to share what we've learned, and it would be simply awesome if those we loved listened and were prompted to research the matter to come to the truth themselves, but whatever our motives, the argument is irrelevant.


No, seriously. For example, if I tell a faithful, active, true-believing member of the LDS church that Joseph Smith defied the law of polygamy he "received directly from God" by marrying non-virgin already-married women AND without Emma's permission...unless that individual has their own doubts, cognitive dissonance immediately kicks in.

The response isn't "Gee whiz, that fact just made me want to entirely abandon my faith!"

Instead, it's one of a few possible responses:
  • "I don't want to hear it."
  • "Those are anti-Mormon lies, and you've been deceived."
  • "Wow, I'd never heard that! Thanks for sharing. I love you. Now let's change the topic!"
  • "That may or may not be true, but it's just not pertinent to my testimony."
  • "Joseph was just as fallible as any other guy."
In other words, up that thought goes onto the member's proverbial shelf of "stuff I don't want to think about", and VOILA!, life continues on.

So, no, I'm not trying to de-convert you. Any former member of the church knows that that's just foolishness. Even if we WANT to de-convert you, the only person with the power to manage that feat is YOU. We may make a chink or two in the armor, but if you're a true-believer, even that's not terribly likely.

Why? Because you believe it. Because until you want to take a couple of those horrible truths off the shelf to examine them, until you open yourself up to the possibility that YOU COULD BE WRONG, until you are eager to know the truth no matter the cost, you're going to happily continue on as a Mormon...and there's nothing anyone can do to change it.

Including me.

So even if I WAS trying to "make" Mom change her faith (and I wasn't; I was seeking to be understood), I know full well that that's a fruitless endeavor.

Of course, her fear that her faith could be so easily changed indicates that she realizes there are problems with the church and its doctrines. Her desire to avoid a powerpoint presentation makes it obvious that she likes living in ignorance of the issues others have with the church, its tenets, and its history. And I think there are a LOT of Mormons who turn to response "one" as a result: "I don't want to hear it." (Read: "Let me continue to live in ignorance because I'm so invested in it that I'm terrified of being proved wrong.")

But that's not me. It's her. Because I cannot change her. I lack the power to change anyone.

That power comes from within.

Good luck with your shelves.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mormons and Masturbation

Ooooooh, this is a loaded topic!

Look, I'm going to just go ahead and be as up-front about this as I was in my book, okay? I've masturbated since I was 11, tried exactly 1,125,393 times to stop (give or take a few dozen), lost interest in it after I got married (and my sex drive summarily died; I blame the lack of naughtiness and birth control), and in the last few years have discovered it again...not as a favorite pastime, by any stretch, but as a much-needed occasional release.

I have also suffered mass amounts of guilt over it, and if you've read my book, you'll know that I not only never confessed it to a bishop (because I believed I was a freak and the ONLY girl in the ENTIRE WORLD who did such a terrible, sinful thing!), but that I reconciled myself with BEING STRUCK DEAD BY GOD in order to NOT have to confess to it. No, really, I did; I went to the temple at 15 to do baptisms for the dead, and since I had neither conquered nor confessed my sin, I was absolutely certain that I would be struck dead when I walked through the temple doors.

And I was okay with that.

Because, really, the church has tackled the topic with guys. Remember Packer's talk from a couple days ago? Yup, only boys do that sort of thing. Except me, of course, because I was evil.

I didn't realize I was evil until I turned 12 and the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet was placed in my eager palm, of course. I thumbed through it (palm, thumb...I'm on a roll!) and asked my mom what masturbation was. She told me. I immediately knew I was destined for hell.

Way to introduce me to the Young Women's Organization!

So, I was evil. Turns out I'm not alone in thinking I was evil. That link? The one attached to "I'm not alone"? It's a former-LDS couple discussing in particular his struggle with masturbation, and a 5-part series totaling just over 20 minutes. It's also fabulous, shocking, moving, and beautiful. (Never thought you'd read "struggle with masturbation" in the same paragraph with "moving and beautiful", did ya?)

You know, it's really hard to follow those videos, but to summarize all my thoughts regarding masturbation:
  • It's not evil. In fact, it's quite pleasant. Don't waste your time feeling guilty for it.
  • It helps you learn about your body, including what you like and don't like.
  • It can train you to last longer and enjoy more and better orgasms.
  • Anything in excess is unhealthy; don't be excessive. (Multiple times a day is excessive!)
  • Lots of couples enjoy doing it together or watching one another engage in it. That's okay!
  • Doing it in front of your partner can help your partner learn what you like most!
So if you're still hung up on masturbation, rest assured that God chose not to strike me dead. You're not evil, you're not going to hell, and you're CERTAINLY not alone. After all, what are the stats? 95% of people do it, and the other 5% lie! Enjoy, y'all.

Oh, and...if it's not your thing...that's okay, too!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sex Abuse in the LDS Church

There are entire sections of my book related to sexual abuse in the LDS faith...and unlike in the Catholic church, none of them relate to homosexuality!

I have spent the last few weeks trying to understand why, exactly, when a Catholic who read my book asked if I was aware of any ecclesiastical homosexual abuse in the church and I couldn't think of a single incident.

There are gays in the church, after all! If indeed approximately 15% of the human populace is wired for same-sex attraction, that means approximately 15% of the LDS populace is wired for same-sex attraction, so why aren't LDS bishops molesting little boys the same way Catholic priests are?

Simple answer: LDS bishops are usually married men with flocks of children who breed happily with women. Catholic priests are single guys who often live amongst one another and sometimes devote their lives to God to help them overcome their "fallen" desires.

So we don't have a lot of gay leaders molesting boys...but you can imagine that we have LOADS of married men who are VERY thankful for the desk between them and the teenaged girls alone in their office. (How many mature men do you know who can prevent an erection when a cute 15 year-old girl is explaining her obsession with masturbation? Whether she's in tears or not, the very thought "causes things to come up.")

We DO, however, have loads of women who have been or are being sexually abused. There are a dozen women with whom I spend the most time who are active members: K, M, T, F, J, A, B, K2, K3, J2, P, and T2. (ALL of these names have been changed; even their sub-letter is unrelated to their real names, fyi.) Of those women, K, M, T, F, A, B, K3, P, and T2 have been abused in some way, ranging from rape to molestation. K, A, B, K3, and P have experienced it more than once. K3 in particular has been raped by NO LESS THAN THREE DIFFERENT MEN...and as she grew up in UT (and would attest if she could), all of those men are LDS. SOOOOO...9 of 12 women have been abused on some level sexually, meaning a full 75% have suffered. 5 of 12 have been abused multiple times. That's ALMOST HALF.

Need more details? K was repeatedly raped by her husband prior to divorcing him. (I only count that as "one" because it was the same man, even though I can by no means consider it "once".) M, A, and B were molested as children by (in no particular order) a cousin, an uncle, and a brother. T, K3, P, and T2 have all been raped...K3, again, by three different men. F was molested at BYU, by two different men on two separate occasions.


The question is WHY?! Why are the numbers so HIGH amongst a group of unrelated people who grew up in different places with only the church in common?

My theory is sixfold:
  1. Women in the LDS faith (whether we feel it or not) have been devalued outside of our baby-making capabilities.
  2. LDS men see themselves as both powerful and justified, thanks in great part to the "holy" priesthood.
  3. LDS women are hyper-sexualized in the male psyche by the efforts made to de-sexualize them.
  4. LDS men often become obsessed with pornography and many of its fetishes.
  5. Because sex is so hush-hush, curiosity abounds and morphs into twisted experimentation.
  6. When men are "found out", women are often blamed and men allowed to "sin" again.
I see very little need to elaborate on those points, but would love to hear your thoughts on the theory, or to hear you postulate your own! Comment away, everyone!

Monday, April 15, 2013


Yup, a post about sex. Why? Because when I chance to chat with ex-members who've read I'm (No Longer) a Mormon, it always, always, ALWAYS comes up. (No, that was not a dirty joke.)

Seriously. Always. Like this morning, when I had a phone conversation with a local ex-Mo ("the" word for former members in the ex-LDS community, I'm discovering), we chatted for probably 15 minutes...and then she brought up sex. "I read your book, of course, and you mentioned sex a few times, and I wanted to ask you..."

A few weeks back, I met up with another ex-Mo, and 30 minutes in, we were talking about SEX.

I've had many, many ex-Mos email to let me know that they are reading/finished my book, and fully 50% or more have something to say about sex!

The sexually-related topics range in nature, of course. Thus far I've had candid discussions about (and in no particular order):
  • masturbation
  • sex abuse
  • rape
  • single sex
  • married sex
  • sex positions
  • sex toys
  • sexual fantasies
  • individual sex drives
  • sexual experimentation
  • three-ways and orgies
  • the list goes on.................
Now, clearly I'm no expert, nor am I in any way qualified to offer bedroom advice, but I think I'm just now beginning to understand why so many former members are eager to talk through their sexual fears and/or proclivities: Once you're out of the church, there's a whole new world of sexuality to explore, but since our circle of friends is largely limited to members of our former faith (read: most of the people we know are still active members and not at ALL sexually liberated!), we have NO ONE to consult on these matters so near and dear to our hearts and our reproductive organs!

Not to mention sex therapists are EXPENSIVE, and we know that the issues we'd have to bring to a therapist's table are things that 90% of "normal" people don't need to discuss with a therapist! To keep ourselves from blowing the cash and from feeling like total freaks, we turn instead to each other...but so few ex-Mos get out there and say "Masturbation is normal!" or "Orgasms feel good!" or "It's okay to use sex toys!" that STILL we suffer.

Which brings me back to my book. I very candidly discuss my sexual history, my enjoyment of youthful masturbation, and the sex abuse I (and others I know) have encountered in the church in my book, and I honestly think that, at least when ex-Mos read it, the light bulb comes on. "WHOA! LOOK AT THAT! She's willing to talk about sex...openly! Honestly! Without shame! That's a chick I really need to talk to!"

And I DON'T MIND!!! I confess it was a little odd the first couple of emails to be email-chatting with strangers about masturbation or sex positions, but since they KNOW I'm not a counselor and that any thoughts or advice I share is just my own personal opinion, I've sort of adjusted to it. Hell, it's refreshing to hear that I'm not alone, and that others, too, have struggled to "normalize" their sex lives post-Mormonism.

Because of the number of emails and conversations I've had from ex-Mos about sex, I'm planning to write a few blog entries on the discussion subjects I've covered lately. No, I won't name names, no, I won't discuss anyone's personal situation, but I DO think it's important to post a few entries about some of those points...most especially sex abuse, masturbation, and "keeping it interesting." Look for those over the next few days. In the meantime, feel free to leave an anonymous comment with your thoughts, your woes, and/or your sex-related discussion requests! Always, Regina

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Another Boyd Packer Humdinger!

Have you read "To Young Men Only" by Boyd K. Packer? Probably not. Is it worth your time? Again, probably not...unless you need a good dose of amusement mixed with horror.


 Much like Kimball's "Miracle of Forgiveness", Packer offers one of the most unbelievable guilt trips I've ever read. It manages to make just about ALL men uncomfortable, and for those who are homosexual or who masturbate, I'm afraid it might provoke suicidal tendencies.

No, really.

Okay, first you have to read it. Click the link above, then come back.

Up to speed? Great. Let's talk over a few of Packer's finer points.

Women are railed on a needing to cultivate the attributes and desires of a good mother, yes, but it turns out, so are the guys! "This physical power...begins to shape and fit you to look, and feel, and to be what you need to be as a father." In other words, your body develops to you can make babies. But what if you don't desire to be a dad? What if you have other plans? You're S.O.L., apparently, just like the ladies. (Of course, you still get a career, but it ALL comes down to becoming a father.)

Next comes the "factory" section. Though he never talks about your testes producing sperm, that's exactly to what he's referring. (Imagine sitting through this talk with your dad, or worse, having your dad hand you a copy!) "Perhaps, one night you will have a dream. In the course of it the release valve that controls the factory will open and release all that is excess."

Read: "We're now going to discuss wet dreams, but we can't call them that, because that would be turning a sacred nocturnal emission of baby-making fluid into something perverse."

But then we get to the masturbation part: "Perhaps he is encouraged...to tamper with that factory. He might fondle himself and tamper with that release valve. This you should not do, for if you do that, the little factory will speed up."

Read: "Don't indulge your erections with release, because they'll just keep popping up demanding you attend to them!"

And the best part: "You can quickly be subjected to a habit, one that is not worthy, one that will leave you feeling depressed and feeling guilty."

There's your self-fulfilling prophecy, people: you're taught that masturbation makes you unworthy, and because it makes you unworthy, it was also leave you depressed and suffering from guilt.  But what if you weren't taught that is makes you evil, and instead discovered it just feels really good? What if you discover - without someone else's influence - that orgasms are highly desirable?

What about feeling good leaves you feeling depressed and guilty if you haven't been told that you're supposed to feel depressed and guilty???

"It does not make you feel worthy or clean."

Really? Because before you made me feel bad for it, I was kind of enjoying it!

Thank GOD he offers us a solution to the problem: "Choose from among the sacred music of the church a favorite hymn...on that makes you feel something akin to inspiration...Make it your emergency channel."

Like the emergency broadcasting system, "Praise to the Man" will drive away those lascivious thoughts...unless, of course, your struggle is with homosexuality. Then "Praise to the Man" might not actually help. Instead of a hymn, then, shoot for prayer and fasting. You know, because if you sufficiently weaken your body via lack of food, you won't have the energy required to beat off...or something like that.

The ending of the masturbation section is my favorite though. In reference to the "procreative power" of ejaculation, Packer says, "If you misuse it, you will be sorry." I rather wish he'd added, "...because I will guilt you to the point of wanting to CHOP OFF YOUR PENIS to make yourself stop," but really, it doesn't need to be said; the threat is implied.

On to gay-dom! The entire first paragraph of this section bears repeating, if only to highlight his homophobia: "Now a warning! I am hesitant to even mention it, for it is not pleasant. [Read: "If you're so inclined, you sicken me."] It must be labeled as a major transgression. ["Akin to coffee drinking and murder."] But I will speak plainly. [No, you won't. You haven't thus far. You've never used the word "masturbation" and you certainly won't say "homosexuality".] There are some circumstances in which young men may be tempted to handle one another, to have contact with one another physically in unusual ways. ["As in, you might be magically drawn to touch each others' penises, and since you're not even allowed to handle your own.........."] Latter-day saint young men are not to do this. ["In this family, we don't indulge in curiosity."] "...Such practices...are perversion. ...[S]uch experiences can misdirect [your] normal desires and pervert [you] not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well."

So, dear gays, you are perverts who gave in to temptation and you've now defiled yourselves not only physically, but emotionally - you'll never be normal again without shock therapy! - and spiritually, meaning you've sided with the devil in dragging souls down to hell, not the least of which is your own. Sorry about those genetics. You should have fought the magical draw to fondle your buddy. Oh, and those genes? Yeah, scientists are pernicious liars in league with the devil...but since we believe that the earth is only 6,000 years old while they preach "millions of years", we already knew they were pernicious liars.

My absolute favorite part, though, is his illustrative story about the missionary whose companion made a pass, and the missionary slugged him. Packer admits that he said, and I quote, "...[T]hanks. Somebody had to do it, and it wouldn't be well for a General Authority to solve the problem that way."


Go ahead, K-O your comp when he confesses his struggle with homosexuality. The GA (he even capitalized his own Holy Title!) would have, but when he can get a Porter Rockwell or a Bill Hickman to do his dirty work for him - like, bash a 20 year-old in the face! - he can walk away delighted by the outcome, but never having had to get his hands dirty. And as for the gay kid? Well, his comp sure showed him! That'll teach him NOT to be GAY! (I can't think of a better way to help someone who struggles with their sexuality than a fist to the jaw, can you?)

Following shortly thereafter, "Many of the world would...be amused by this counsel."

NO, Boyd Packer, I am NOT amused. Sickened, disheartened, full of rage and righteous indignance, yes, but certainly not amused. I don't consider punching out a young man living to a higher standard.

In fact, it all seems rather chicken-shit to me. You keep promising the Lord will be pleased, and these young men will be blessed, and all I see is the laying on of guilt, the denial of God's divine genetics, and a homophobic, sexually-starved old man taking it upon himself to counsel young men in God's name to deny themselves an understanding of the mammalian function of their own bodies...not to mention an added dose of unreasonable expectations meant to supplant, correct, or reinforce an individual's personal desires for their life path.

Quite simply, Boyd, if you outlive Tom Monson and become the next president of the corporation we call a church, I fear for the souls, stability, and sanity of our young people. May God have mercy on your soul.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Mark E. Petersen's talk, 1954

Yesterday was a talk by Boyd K. Packer that threatened LDS teachers to only teach the approved, happy lies of the church. Today I offer you a talk from apostle Mark E. Petersen given at BYU in 1954 that is so unbelievably racist, I have few words for it. Let's just jump in, shall we?

Turns out it's nearly impossible to post anything from a church website, so please go here. You can either download or print the talk, but either option leaves you with that disgusting, vile, miserable piece of crap on your computer, or as a hard copy you have to shred...and then burn to ashes.

Comments, anyone? Because I'd love to hear the same, tired old "speaking as a man and not a seer" argument. Let rip, people! 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Boyd K. Packer's CES Talk, 1981

Ever hear or read something that, to others, is perfectly innocuous, but makes you shake and cough like The Police? I just read Boyd K. Packer's CES talk from 1981 entitled "The Mantle is Far, Far Greater than the Intellect," and to a disaffected member, it sounds like a Hilterian proclamation at a Nazi function. I'm going to copy and paste it in its entirety; please read it twice. The first time, read like a faithful Mormon. The second time, read like a German hiding Jews in your attic...as a BYU professor whose research has contradicted the church's history. And buckle up. It's a bumpy ride.

No, wait, scratch that: I attempted to reformat the copy-and-paste from the pdf on the church website, and it's taking too bloody long, so I'm just going to post a link to the original.

Please go here.

Did you read it?


Really, what more can I say? That was the single least-veiled threat I've ever, ever read. It's quite literally terrifying, and honestly, it just kept getting more and more terrifying, the further I read.

It's a bit like my experience learning about the proverbial man behind the curtain: the rabbit hole goes so deep, I'm in a sub-basement of hell...and this talk was the welcome speech.

Good stuff, huh?

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Witness and a Warning?

A friend came to me today about a meeting yesterday between her husband and our bishop. (We'll call my friend Addie and her husband Seth for ease of reference, and because she doesn't want her name used lest someone think she was criticizing her leaders.)

See, Seth has been overseas for the last few months with his job, and now he's home. He apparently went in to see the bishop yesterday, to let him know he's home for a while, and to make clear to the bishop that he's available to serve.

That was when the bishop told Seth that it has come to his attention that Addie and I are friends...and then Bishop told Seth that he needed to forbid Addie from spending time with me at all costs, lest I destroy her testimony.

Ooooooooh, where to begin?! There are so many things wrong with that, I almost don't know where to start!

But first I should offer the bishop an out: he has been in a very long time, and he is clearly horribly burned out. Knowing what is involved in being a bishop, I cannot blame him.

That said, our bishop is also a notorious narcissist and a misogynist. He thinks amazingly highly of himself, and has painfully little respect for women.

Oh, and...I intimidate the hell out of him. I'm young, female, attractive, confident, well-educated, opinionated, and I have made it clear in the past that I am not impressed by the blustery, long-winded, self-aggrandizing writings on his want-to-be apologist blog.

Soooooo...let's start with a repeat: the bishop told Seth that Addie and I are friends...and that Seth needed to forbid Addie from spending time with me, lest I destroy her testimony.

Why the bloody hell is bishop interfering in ward members' friendships? Worse, why would he attempt to prevent an apostate from receiving the love and understanding of a good friend? STAY...OUT.

Also...if he's so concerned about Addie, why is he talking to Seth and not Addie? Why not call in Addie and talk to her directly???

Next..................FORBID?! Her husband needs to FORBID her...ANYTHING?! I'm sorry, I didn't realize Seth was Addie's FATHER...or that Addie, now 40-something, had the intellectual and emotional friend-selecting abilities of a 4 year-old. FORBID HER. ................. My butt.

Finally...I'll destroy her testimony? Really? Does he imagine she is so weak-minded that one lunch date with me could send her spiraling straight down into crazy rabid apostasy? Or that I have so much Satanic Power that being in my very presence will turn her? Or maybe that my goal is the deconversion of every Mormon, first in the ward, and then in the world!!! [Insert maniacal witch laugh here.]

Okay, it's true: I wouldn't necessarily object to every Mormon in the world waking up to the truth...or single-handedly exposing the church so that they'd have to come clean to their membership, thereby offering the membership all the facts about the church's history and current finances so that members could make a more informed decision about their beliefs.

But I am certainly not out to hijack anyone's faith. We all have a path, and far be it from me to attempt to sway anyone against their desire to believe.

Additionally, I lack the power to convince anyone of anything. I cannot change someone's mind about their faith, cannot make them believe or make them not believe. That is up to them. They have the freedom to choose, the freedom to study, and the freedom to ignore and apply cognitive dissonance, if they so choose. It really doesn't matter what I say...which is why this blog and my book are not intended for active Mormons. It's intended to be relate-able to former members, and instructive to non-members about the perils of indoctrination.

I can't change anyone. That's up to the person.

I can't change Addie. I don't WANT to change Addie. She's my friend, and I love her as she is...which, right now, is Mormon. I'd also love her if she wasn't Mormon. I just love ADDIE. Great lady.

I do not, however, love our bishop. I haven't been to church in the last 6 months, and do you know how many times he has called, emailed, stopped by, or sent anyone to check on us (other than men to collect fast offerings)?

Exactly NONE. Not ONE. He has never once asked me why I haven't come around, never once talked to me about my testimony, never once checked to see if even my children are okay. NOT...ONCE.

But he HAS advocated that Seth prevent Addie from being my friend. He has shown an utter lack of respect for not one but two women, and proved himself a complete misogynist. He has also shown me exactly how badly I intimidate him.

I wish I could say I was surprised...but I can't. Bishop has made abundantly clear his opinion of me and the degree to which he fears me, and frankly, I'm thrilled that he's stayed away.

Now if I could just get him to stay the hell out of my friendships...

Sunday, April 7, 2013

I'll Never Run Out of Things to Say!

When I was getting ready to publish my book, I'm (No Longer) a Mormon, my husband asked if I'd like to hold off a little longer...not because he was worried about my going public (since Regina is an alias), but because over the last few months I've added a considerable number of fun tidbits to the book as I remember them.

He had a good point, really; there is always more to say, and apparently always more to discover. After all, I still haven't reached the bottom of the rabbit hole, and I'm already in Hell's sub-basement #7. (I have a feeling that, after I read An Insider's View of Mormonism, currently on order from Amazon, I'll reach sub-basement #8. Looking forward to finally hitting magma, I gotta tell ya.)

And since he was right, I had to do something that would allow me to publish the book and still add to it...hence this blog. I seriously doubt I'll ever run out of things to say, because I seriously doubt I'll ever be so far from the church (thanks to family member-members) that I won't have a related opinion or experience to share...at least occasionally.

Yes, I may wind down after a while, I may lighten up, I may hit magma and spontaneously combust...but I'm really, really hoping I stick with this. I want this blog to become a resource for your average Jane and Joe leaving the church, and for your average Jane and Joe who know people leaving the church. And I'm optimistic. After all, I kept a Mormon journal for YEARS; why not a blog?

If YOU have something to say, please do so! This is an open forum, and I'd love to read your thoughts, good, bad, or indifferent. In the meantime, though, thank you. Thank you for visiting, thank you for relating, and thank you for caring.

More soon...definitely.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Testimony Meeting: Teaching Your Kids to Lie Publicly

I was very, very clear in my book that I have struggled with lying...mostly courtesy of the church and "lying for the Lord," I believe. No wonder: we teach our children to lie at least once a month...and to do it publicly!

What on earth am I talking about?

Testimony meeting.

You see, I've never had a personal witness that the BoM is "true." No whisper from the Spirit, no burning in my bosom (even when I was pregnant and it was ample; that was heartburn!), and no angels in my bedroom. But how many times did I get up during my tenure in the church, head to the podium, and claim sure knowledge of the truth of things that, as it turns out, are not actually true?

How many times did my parents walk me to the podium, whisper in my ear what to say, and then smile warmly while I delivered "my" testimony? WORSE, how many times have I done that with my own children?

Kids are adorable, of course, and seeing them talking about how much they love Jesus into a microphone behind a giant podium is inexpressibly cute. Until you realize how intensely they're being indoctrinated. Then it sort of makes you want to vomit.

The typical child's testimony goes something like this: "I'd like to bear my testimony. I know this church is true, I know that Jesus lives and loves us. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and the Book of Mormon is true. I love my family, and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."

By this point, the congregation members are oohing and aahing. After the meeting, they congratulate the child on their wonderful testimony, reinforcing lying as good and admirable behavior (because really, how many 4 year-olds "know" the church is true, have ever met Jesus, shook hands with and examined the reputation of Joseph Smith, or have read the BoM?), and then congratulating the child's parents on doing such a great job raising their children to know and express "the truth."

Here, kid! Go up and stand in front of a room full of people and tell them all the things they want to hear, and we'll reward you with an outpouring of love and admiration. Maybe the bishop will even call you into his office and give you candy, like any decent pedophile would. If you tell everyone here what they want you to say, you might come to believe it...and if not, that's okay. Lie until you DO believe it, and let us tell you how awesome you are for lying through your teeth.

I had a YW teacher once tell me that if we weren't morning people, we should try leaping out of bed every morning to greet the day, faking it 'til we make it, and at some point we'd realized we had become morning people. Then she noted that a testimony worked the same way: if you don't have one now, act like you do, live it to the fullest extent, and one day you'll wake up and realize you have a testimony!

The problem, of course, is that I just woke up every morning knowing that I would be lauded for lies, and feeling miserable because God hadn't seen fit to bestow a testimony on me yet.

Talk about messed in the head!

And I've done it to my own sweet children. It sort of makes me want to slit my wrists, and while I'm at it, use that knife to cut through the indoctrination, it's so ruddy thick.

Don't be authentically you. Fake it. Lie.

I cannot possibly express how relieved I am to no longer be a Mormon.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Cult or the Corporation?

My husband and one of his brothers recently had a conversation that started over me and my disaffection, but led to my thanking my husband as wholeheartedly as I know how.

You see, his brother called to check on him; he knows that I don't believe, and was wondering how my husband was coping with his apostate wife. My husband said he understands my views, that they are valid, and that he loves me and we're hanging in there. His brother proceeded to quiz my husband about his own personal views about the church, and my husband revealed that he has been struggling, now that the things I've learned have come to light.

His brother then bore his testimony, and stated that he still believes in the truthfulness of the church.

Then comes my favorite part. My husband replied with a question: "Which church? The cult from history, or the corporation of today?"

It didn't go over all that well, of course, and his brother stated that my husband clearly knows things he doesn't, but that he still believes, nonetheless.

Blablabla, whatever. Point is, I LOVE-LOVE-LOVED his question. The cult, or the corporation.

Because that's what it is, you know. Actually, it's still a cult, but under Joseph and Brigham and the early church leaders, it was a downright mafia. These days, it's all about the proverbial Benjamins, and I ain't talkin' King Benjamin. (Still waitin' on getting a glance at those books I contributed to, Church!)

So, my dear Brother-by-Marriage, which is it? The cult or the corporation? Because for me, it's neither. I cannot worship a god who expects of me what the Mormon faith expected of its adherents 150 years ago, and I certainly cannot worship a god who contributes a few million to charitable causes...and $1.5 billion to a shopping mall.

The cult. The corporation. Really, who cares what it is today? I don't. I'm no longer a Mormon. ;)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

OMG, I Get to be a GIRL!

Had lunch with a fellow ex-member today (though, because my name is still on the rolls, I sometimes feel silly calling myself an ex-member), and she was a sheer delight...so much so that I wrote this entry early this morning, and I'm now amending it to include her.

Our conversation covered all sorts of things, but primarily our respective journeys, sex, and freedom...primarily freedom.

Freedom covers many, many things, but the topic of this entry is having the freedom to be a girl.

Specifically where fashion is concerned.

Let's start from under and work our way to outer, shall we?

I've worn garments for a very long time. I can honestly say that there is nothing more fun than waltzing into a Victoria's Secret with a credit card backed by my husband's blessing and picking out two dozen pair of assorted panties. Cotton, lace, boy-short, thong, satin-y, stretchy, easily-hidden, bikini, solid, stripe, polka dot...even cute clearance snowflake panties! And BRAS...bras that won't go over my garments! Bras that will lay against my skin and support my (not much of a) rack. Strapless, halter, lace, push-up, add-a-size, demi, patterned, t-shirt, racerback...dear heaven, the choices!!! And then to put them on for my husband!!!

Scratch that. There's nothing more fun than modeling for your husband all your new underthings. Talk about feeling feminine and sexy!

And then there are clothes. You know, things that before were feminine on other women, and immodest and inappropriate on me. GONE are the camis that extend the length of my top or shield my cleavage from the world. Gone are the below-the-knee skirts and - DEAR GOD! - SHORTS. UGH. It turns out my bust is a curve, there's a waist that differentiates my top from my bottom, and, lo and behold, I have SHOULDERS! And a CLAVICLE! And they're attractive!!!

No, I haven't gone overboard. No, I haven't bought any more hooker shoes - had those already! - and no, I don't have clothes to match those shoes. I own nothing backless, nothing bandeau, and nothing that will show off my brand new panties if I bend over to pick something up. I DO, however, have skirts above my knees...shirts without sleeves...stretchy stuff that hugs my curves without showing off my panty line...tops without straps...and the strapless push-up bras to make them look beautiful.

Because that's key. I get to feel beautiful now without worrying if I'm going to offend someone, or if I'm going to tempt a man to leave his wife when he sees my clavicle bone. I'm not dressing for a club; I'm dressed to feel good about myself. I dress to be pretty...without constraints or concerns. I wear what looks good on me, and I've learned what does.

I feel beautiful. I feel sexy. (Not skanky-sexy...more like "he looked at me and smiled!" sexy.) I feel desirable to my husband, and like he can be proud to walk beside me when we're out-and-about together.

And I love it.

I feel like screaming, "OMG! I get to be a GIRL!"

Seriously, I love no longer being a Mormon. Guilt is gone, self-loathing is gone, fear is gone...and guess what? I'm pretty.

Life is beautiful.

Monday, April 1, 2013

"What If You're Wrong?"

I have a very dear friend with whom I love to lunch and shop. She is LDS. I am No Longer a Mormon. (Sorry, had to.) Her kids are my kids' ages and older, so we have time during the day. (Yes, there are sometimes perks to being a stay-home Mom.) We went to lunch today, and talked, as we sometimes do, about "where I am now," as it were.

First, I adore her. She's one of my dearest friends in the world.

That said, today we were discussing how I DON'T sit down with true-believing members to recite all the Mormon Skeleton Closet History Tidbits I've absorbed in the last couple years because I have NO desire to blow anyone's testimony out of the water. I feel that if someone wants to know the truth, they will seek it out, and if they prefer to enjoy the delusion, it won't matter what I have to say, what evidence I have to offer, or what the real truth is...their cognitive dissonance will kick in, and they will continue to embrace the delusion.

That was fine with her. So fine, in fact, that she replied, "Good." Then came the kicker: "Because WHAT IF YOU'RE WRONG?"

.......................................Yes, what if I'm wrong? Well, then, I'd be acting as one of Satan's minions to drag people away from salvation, and I'd be destined for HELL.

Of course, that's if you're a true-believing Mormon.

So I told her I wasn't wrong, and I would gladly share all the information I've discovered with anyone who wanted to know what I had to offer. I told her I had no fear of the LDS version of God - no fear of God at all, for that matter, because a) if "He" exists, He is vastly different from what Mormons imagine, and b) I have come to understand that God is Love, and I have no fear of God.

Furthermore, I explained that "if" I was wrong, no one knows my head and heart like God ostensibly does, and He would understand my sincerity. Additionally, since He has never, EVER told me that this is "His" gospel, He must therefore take responsibility for my swaying people away from the church, as He has never directed me otherwise.

Then came the clincher, and she didn't like it much. I looked her in the eye and asked, "What if YOU'RE wrong?"

We were at an impasse.

She told me that she isn't wrong, either. She bore her testimony to me and confirmed that she has received personal revelation that the Church is True. And she told me that if she IS wrong, she will at least have lived a good and moral life.

But the Born-Again God won't welcome her Home. Allah will want nothing to do with her. Jehovah God will let her disappear into Gehenna.

My God? "He" just wants me to be true to myself, to seek out truth wherever I find it and however often I have to revise my thinking when new evidence is presented. Jesus was a hoax? Okay. I'm still me. The JW's are nuts? Still just Regina. The Jews could've clipped the side curls and walked right by the Wailing Wall? Regina is happily Regina. Allah is a crazy figment of a warped Mohammedan imagination? Regina's okay!

The Zoroastrians were right?! .......... Well, I'LL never know about it...and I still get to enjoy my coffee in the morning.

I don't need to be scared by threats of condemnation. If God exists - and I'm at about 60% right now in believing that some form of God exists, even if it's just "The All" - that's great; it means I might get to enjoy some sort of afterlife. If God doesn't exist - and frankly, I've seen no concrete evidence either way - that's fine, too; I'd better enjoy my existence while I have it to enjoy!

So what if I'm wrong? What if she's right, and I really DID need the patriarchal grip to get past the Celestial sentinels?

That's a God I refuse to worship...and I'm okay with that.

Besides.................I'm not wrong. ;)