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Where would we be in a Post-Mormon society?

August 12, 2009

Many of our heritages are distinctly tied in with Mormonism. We have been raised Mormon, or perhaps we converted into Mormonism, or perhaps we simply married with it. Regardless of how we got into Mormon society, we became heirs and adoptees to nearly 200 years of Mormon subculture.

And many of us have not wanted that weight.

We have not wanted to continue with the foundation that was not what we thought (or were even taught) it was, or of the continuation of that foundation that reveals itself (for us) to be something distasteful to us. So, in our own ways, we have begun to travel outward. We have become disaffected, ex-, former-, or post mormons, and while we are prefixed Mormons (always ex- or former-, never just Mormon), certainly, the root of our experiences and a vital part of our lives is still Mormon (always, ex- or former- is followed by Mormon).

Sometimes, we want to escape. We want to leave. But we can’t, because many of us live in Mormon societies and non-Mormon societies (where our residual Mormonness is actually too much to blend int)…But what would happen if we lived in a truly post-Mormon society? Or a society where Mormonism itself had never entered the stage?

Needless to say, all of us would be tremendously different. We wouldn’t have the same unique quirks about us, and we might not have some of our hangups.

But this wouldn’t matter, because we wouldn’t care or recognize it. After all, we would have no scale to compare with — asking what it would be like to be Mormon in a post-Mormon world would be like asking what it would be like to be a hsafuuei on planet Kidu!dixu.

And perhaps…we might like that, if we can compare it to how we are now. We might say…we would never have been “deceived,” and therefore, we would never have been “betrayed” by the church.

yet…it is absurd. For we would still be deceived by something and we would still be betrayed by something. Because deception and betrayal aren’t the products of LDS, Inc., AT BEST, they are subleased or on time share. In fact, life includes strife, anxiety, deception, and betrayal. We can never live these things down unless we run away from life.

But even more importantly, if we were in a Post-Mormon society, we would lose our identities. Some may say they wish it could be so — after all, why be Post-Mormon and deal with the marginalization when you can just be regular and fit in?

And yet…do we even think about how much we are defined by this? I imagine…what would happen if I met chanson on the street (whether offline or virtual) in a post-Mormon society? She would be a stranger, because there would be no immediate cause for kinship. We wouldn’t have this vantage point of Mormonism and our experiences in or out of it to discuss. And this raises a bigger question…Letters from a broad would not even exist in its current capacity, and neither would Irresistible (Dis)Grace or any other blog. So, how would we connect. (Perhaps it would be from some other interest, some would say…but it’s not the same! Indubitably, we’d meet others so it’s not like we’d be all alone…but it wouldn’t be the same.)

So, when I hear of parent and future parent ex-Mormons discussing that they just want their children to avoid being hurt, to avoid the indoctrination, to avoid the cognitive dissonance, to avoid the possibility of broken family…I understand and empathize with this. But at the same time, I become a little bit frightened, for that immediately suggest children who will grow up never understand what their parents went through, and who go through different struggles the parents likewise cannot relate to.

As much as I would like to protect everyone from the struggles I have faced (especially with and around the church), I too recognize that the struggles were part of what have made me stronger. When I try to pre-emptively defend otherwise, it is from a malicious concept in my mind — it is because I know that some people collapse under the weight of it all and I feel that others are not strong enough to get out alive. I try to make myself trust in the strength of others to face adversity, so they can progress, but then I wonder if adversity through Mormonism is best, or even noble. Or: even if I trust in the strength of others, why should I encourage them to purposefully test their strength in this way?

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2 Comments
  1. That is the great question. Life will always be unfair and you will always get hurt no matter what you believe or do. The rain falls on the just and the unjust. So how do we bridge that divide between us and our children who will not share in our experiences in the church? How do we impart our heritage and history without the indoctrination that many of us dislike?

    We all have traits that temper our lenses to imbibe the world in particular ways. Male/female, black/white, Mormon/non Mormon, our experiences will always be different even in the same situations. I don’t have the answers. I don’t know. What I suppose is important is that we attempt to connect in other ways in our mutual exploration of this amazing world…or something like that 🙂

  2. Interesting post! When I think of how my grand children will view me from a completely non-mormon perspective (I left the church when I was 38), I suspect it will be in much the same way that I view my great grandmother who was the 3rd wife in a polygamist marriage. I can’t really understand what she went through, even though I try.

    My grand children will not completely understand what I went through growing up in the mormon church, but I hope that they will appreciate what I did to pass on to them at least one _less_ piece of baggage.

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