From Not My God
Good news, everyone! I just read about this and I’m so excited I nearly spat out my spicy tuna roll:

South Park Creators’ Mormon Musical Set for Off-Broadway

Free tickets might inspire me to shower the musical with lots of PR on this blog, hint hint…

That’s not why I’m doing another post on Mormonism, though. It’s no secret that in the past year, I’ve read Under the Banner of Heaven and started watching Big Love, so this all-American religion, and particularly its fundamentalists, have piqued my interest like analogies pique my interest.

This Jew has only met a handful of Mormons in my life. Most of what I knew about them before this past year, and certainly my introduction to Mormonism, comes from the Great Brain books, which I loved. They were very funny memoirs of non-Mormon kids in Victorian Utah, featuring a greedy child prodigy up to no good. I never knew anything about “plural marriage” from these books (they were, after all, books for kids), but learned that Mormons don’t drink alcohol or caffeine and had a unique relationship with Native Americans. I thought maybe you ex-Mormons out there would want to know how other people learn about Mormonism.

Back to the point, here is another personal story of an ex-Mormon. Joshua Allen wrote about leaving Mormonism on the Facebook group Ex-Mormon Atheists and Agnostics:

“I sent my letter in at the end of January, and I got “the Dodge letter” this week. It’s pretty annoying being expected to jump through hoops that I know I don’t have to jump through. It’s like one last pathetic attempt to prove that they still have power over you. It’s ultra stupid.
I am still awaiting a visit from the local goons and anticipating my final release letter…I wrote about my experience SO FAR, here:

If you are in this situation or thinking about sending the letter, read that link. It’s more funny than annoying, what they do, so the blog post makes for lighthearted reading.

Buon Apetito!”

His link is worth reading in full. Does a resignation process simply take your name off the list of proselytizers, just like removing your name from telemarketing lists?

I get the impression that despite his bluntness and effort, Joshua is still not free.

Views: 35

Comment by Kirk Holden on February 4, 2010 at 3:50pm
A fever blister is less annoying than a Mormon.
Comment by Sarah Trachtenberg on February 4, 2010 at 3:58pm
Depends on the Mormon (I've met a couple "normal" ones), but yes. Jews hate perk!
Comment by Doug Reardon on February 4, 2010 at 4:57pm
Isn't the fact that you can describe any religious person, and especially Mormons as "Normal" a little bit frightening. I wake up every morning knowing I live in a world full of crazy people.
Comment by Sarah Trachtenberg on February 4, 2010 at 10:57pm
When I say "normal," what i meant is that they didn't act stereotypically Mormon. They weren't wearing suits, acting perky, etc. Last summer I had a roommate who was Mormon and he was cool. Never tried to proselytize to me, of course!
Comment by Eric Smith on February 5, 2010 at 12:10am
I was raised as a mormon and can answer most of the questions people have about them. Sarah, you wanted to know what the resignation process entails. It is much like removing your name from telemarketing lists, but there is more involved. They keep records of EVERYTHING, and when one submits a letter of resignation those records are removed and (presumably) destroyed. This usually takes place no sooner than 30 days after submitting the letter because they want to make a last effort to "reclaim lost sheep." After the person's name has been removed they receive one final letter from church headquarters stating that it has been done, but there is no promise that they won't attempt contact in the future. I'm sure that you've seen the mormon missionaries walking around trying to convert people; well, they are never given orders not to contact those who have left the church, so there is still a possibility of them showing up from time to time (especially if they find out that a person used to be mormon, then they will be sure to stop by from time to time just in case).

With regards to what you said about "normal" mormons, there are some who are like your former roommate. Not all of them are out to convert (but that doesn't mean that they won't try if they see a chance), in fact some of them are quite reasonable people; even willing to accept biological evolution with the exception of Homo Sapien.
Comment by Sarah Trachtenberg on February 5, 2010 at 12:04pm
Hi Eric,
I have a lot of questions about fundamentalist Mormonism maybe you can help me with. First and foremost, why don't the authorities apprehend these people? Assuming what I hear is true, men are marrying truckloads of middle school kids and bragging on talk shows about how quickly they got them pregnant, so it's no secret, right? Why don't the police step in? And if they can't help, why not?
Even more important: when these perverts are apprehended, do they get off the hook for practicing statutory rape/polygamy on religious grounds, as opposed to someone who was doing it for secular reasons? I'm betting that they do. And I think "pervert" is a charitable word to use in this context.
Comment by Eric Smith on February 5, 2010 at 1:36pm
Unfortunately I'm unable to explain much with regards to the fundamentalist Mormons. They are a group that broke away from the main body of the church when polygamy was made illegal and the church banned it's practice. I'm also sorry to tell you that what you have heard about them is true. The issue isn't so much that they aren't prosecuted, rather that they rarely are apprehended. All I can offer to explain why this happens is speculation. I would guess, as you suggested, that the authorities exercise restraint because this is a religious practice and they don't want people to think they are trying to restrict the freedom of religion. I would also guess that another factor in this is that the unions are "consensual," at least to the extent that the women don't seem to infringe on an individual's rights. In that church women are raised to think that they are inherently inferior to men, so most of them assume that such is their role in life and don't speak out against the practice or against their husbands, which makes it extremely difficult to prosecute.

On a side note, most of the men involved in polygamy in that church are middle-age and older because they try to drive out the younger males in order to keep competition to a minimum.
Comment by LWatts on February 9, 2010 at 2:39pm
I was laughing my *$$ off at the link you posted. That guys has a great writing style and it is crazy the hoops the church makes members jump through to leave. It surprises me how many people quickly become members of the church without researching it first. It is "almost" a life sentence.
Comment by Sarah Trachtenberg on February 15, 2010 at 2:50pm
The link was funny, and that's what made it all the more insightful and clever. Yes, he's a good writer. I still can't see why the LDS Church can't leave it's ex-Morgs alone. They do excommunicate people, right? Clearly they know how to let go!
We are told all our lives not to give up. Not true. Sometimes it's smart to quit... if people understood this, we wouldn't need things like restraining orders.
Religion often is a life sentence... one we inherit at birth.


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