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I don’t want my money back.

November 16, 2009

The other day Madam Curie had a blog post, “Keep moving forward.” Therein she discussed the trend from certain ex-Mormons to describe their experience within Mormonism as victimization, and she wrote about her resolution not to see herself as a victim.

A commenter, Chandelle, wrote something I thought was pretty insightful.

Madam Curie, I feel much the same way you do about your membership. I don’t have regrets. Well, that’s not true. I do regret that I subsumed myself, my identity and my ethics, to the Church. I regret that I quieted my tensions, that I never spoke out and gave a voice to my concerns. But I don’t regret joining the Church or the years I spent within the system. If not for the Church, I wouldn’t have met my partner, and I might not have had children. How could I ever regret that? Without the Church, I might not have had the opportunity – the need, really – to so clearly define my individual beliefs and ethics. I only did that against enormous opposition. The Church has been instrumental in so many important transformations in my life. I’m not a victim. I don’t want my money back.

Obviously, my life isn’t that far along, but I can say that I agree with the sentiment. My experiences have made me the person I am today…and although I guess if things were any different, I wouldn’t be able to cry about the loss (or rather, the never-birth) of my current self, I still imagine that me as I am today is probably better than me as I could be under many other sets of conditions.

Through great opposition, torment, and strife was I able to emerge stronger, more secure. Heck, I still have to deal with some hangups…but I have what I believe to be some great strengths too.

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10 Comments
  1. I really appreciate this perspective. It’s something I agree with and will probably need to be reminded of from time to time!

  2. Great attitude Andrew… it’s one of the many reasons why I love your blog and comments.

  3. Guest Writer 800+ permalink

    My mom keeps pleading with me, “But the church has been such blessing in your life…”

    I find that I don’t even know what to say to her. If I had known what I now know 15 years ago, I would have left the church 15 years ago. There is a possibility that my life would be much worse right now had I done that. There is a possibility that my life would be much better. I like my life now, but wouldn’t be surprised if I would still like my life now had I taken a different path. With that in mind, I don’t know what to say to her other than, “What does that even mean?”

    Am I grateful to the church? No. Am I resentful? Only in the aspect that I feel that full disclosure was not met by an institution that I trusted more than any other institution to fully disclose. Do I regret having grown up in the church? Yes and no.

  4. Andrew,

    Great post. I don’t feel victimized by the church per say, and I hate thinking of myself as a “victim.” However I fully resent and hate the current situation I am in with my family. I wish that my experience with mormonism was my own. I think it would’ve been a lot easier for me to leave the church if my family wasn’t mormon and I had joined as an adult. However, when your family and in-laws all drink the koolaid, it’s hard to put it behind you. I can see now (I couldn’t before) why some people become so angry after leaving. It’s not the lies, the cover ups, the sheep mentality, it’s when your family looks down on you, treats you like the anti christ, and will never try to understand who you really are and what you believe.

    If my family had been non members, and if deciding to quit the church would’ve affected them just about as much as my choice to buy a new car, maybe I wouldn’t be so bitter.

    • Wow that is exactly my experience as well, at first I had no anger or hard feelings either …….. but I would like to get my tithing back!!!! 🙂

  5. I think that family truly is a clear distinction. My family has always supported me…they know I’m not going to wreck my life so they don’t treat me as if I will

  6. Well written! It is interesting how individuals perceive these things so differently.

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