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BookOfMicah

Ex-Mormon Still Learning

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Greetings and salutations, board members! 

My name is Micah and I am an Ex-Mormon, and current Agnostic Buddhist. While "Book of Micah" is not one of my usual net-handles (I also go by Jason Tandro and FearAddict on other communities), I felt it was an appropriate / punny name to use here, given the biblical origin of my namesake.  I have a tendency to babble so I'll try to keep this introduction posts into short bite-sized chunks with headers so you can skim to the areas of my introduction that matter to you :) 

My Basic (Non-Religious) Details

 

I presently reside in Virginia, USA.  I'm 31, divorced and with a five-year-old daughter. I am employed as a Night Auditor for a local hotel where I work, quite literally, seven days a week with the occasional day taken off for my mental health (one or two a month).  I have been using the income to dig myself out of debt, a journey which I'm happy to say is mostly done.  I live in a "hippie co-op" apartment with a couple of friends.  I am also a writer, who got his start in fanfiction and has since written a few short stories of some note, mostly horror (under the FearAddict pen name).  I was also commissioned to write a fan novella for a Final Fantasy community event along with another author, which earned me a free trip to London and has made me some great connections.  Working on original content with the hopes of making it big one day, but until then I'm playing the hand that I'm dealt.  

My Religious Background

 

I grew up in a Mormon household and was a semi-active member until the age of 24ish.  I give myself a bit of a break during my childhood which is rife with its own trauma, the details of which I won't bore you with on my introduction post.  However from high school age until my deconversion I was a very different man.  I was heavily conservative, and held a lot of values that I now find fairly repugnant, most notably a low-level homophobia which I had to work past, especially given that three of my siblings are various shades of LGBT.  I bought hook-line-and-sinker the lie of "love the sinner, hate the sin" which I have since interpreted to be one of the most insidious lies of certain faiths, and can be better phrased as "judge the person with a smile on your face".  

Around age 24 I started having doubts about my beliefs brought on by a number of things, most important being some very good friends who were patient with my haughty arrogant nonsense.  I was pretty full of myself and certain that my religion was correct because I held my intellect and logic in such high esteem that I couldn't possibly be wrong (I was that insufferable.)  Even with my conservative views waning and my mind slowly opening, I didn't fully deconvert until age 26 when the church passed the controversial law preventing children of same-sex couples from being baptized and receiving blessings.  It was at this point that I just snapped and said "okay, I can no longer consider myself a moral being and excuse this blatant targeted bigotry."  

So I made a big declaration of my intent to leave the church and began a sort of spiritual journey trying to discover what I did believe.  

My Journey

I don't mean to step on any of the toes of ex-Christians here, but I consider Mormonism to just be "Christianity with a lot of extra rules", and by this time I'd had my fill of the whole lot of it.  Some of the elements of Mormonism made Christianity more palatable to me, rather than less, and so I decided that mainstream Christanity held no interest to me.  I had extended this idea to the entire Abrahamic trilogy, and didn't pay any attention to Judaism or Islam.  My focus was on other worldviews completely separate from the western big three.  I started, most for a chuckle, with The Satanic Bible as my wife at the time was Levaen Satanist (funny aside, on our first date she said our relationship was like the beginning of a joke:  "A Mormon and a Satanist walk into a bar...").  While the book actually had some pretty reasonable ideas, there were elements of it that I found personally distasteful - particularly a version of self-idolotry.  I'm actually more okay with that idea now than I was then, but even so I don't quite think that brand of philosophy is quite for me, though if there are any Satanists here, you guys are cool with me.  

I then studied Hinduism, reading through the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads.  I also read some of the Vedas, but by this point I had come to the conclusion that it wasn't really what I was looking for either.  It does have some wonderful mythology though, and the Bhagavad Gita in particular is definitely worth a read for its literary merit.  I kind of stuck with this eastern philosophy bent for a while, picking up some Daoism and reading the Tao Te Ching which I also rather liked, and I tried to pour through the I Ching but i quickly lost interest.  I also poked my nose briefly into modern Pagan and Wicca but I must confess I had a bit of a personal bias against these right off the bat, as - hypocritical as it might sound from an ex-mormon - I wasn't really interested in the mysticism.  

My Buddhist friend lent me a copy of the Dhammapada, which he bluntly described as "a little handbook about how not to be a c*nt".  Earthy recommendation notwithstanding, I actually found the book to contain several principles that I felt were ultimately true.  But while I found them interesting, I also acknowledged that their moral code was good independent of the gnostic elements of Buddhism.  I don't believe in Nibbana or an enlightened state of humanity, nor am I convinced that Siddharta Gautama attained such a state.  Therefore I adopted the title of Agnostic Buddhist (what you might consider Secular Buddhism).  

What Do I Believe Now

While I do meditate and read from the Dhammapada and other Buddhists texts, you could consider me an Agnostic Atheist in the sense that I am not convinced and do not know that a God exists.  I deny the claims of basically every theistic argument for God I've heard.  I, being a fan of the ridiculously tortured metaphor, describe myself as "Agnostic with a rich creamy Buddhist filling".  Basically it boils down to three core tenets of my theology (or lack thereof):

1.  I don't know that a God exists, and I will never know which - if any - God is true.  
2.  Therefore I should not concern myself with the question of God or the afterlife as I will never know a definitive answer, and subsequently should not base my life decisions off something I have no evidence for.
3.  Furthermore if God does exist and expects more of me than to be a good person, and would punish me with eternal hell for not believing in him, is not a God worth worshipping.  

My morals come from the same place as any human being, except I do not call them divine in origin.  I try to live my life as good as I possible can, maximizing the wellbeing and happiness in the world for those around me.  I also consider telling my story about leaving the Mormon church and how my views dramatically shifted to be important because I want to be as vocal a proponent for equality and justice as I was for the misguided ideals of my youth.  

Why Am I Here

Well as the title says, I'm still learning.  I think understanding how people believe and what led them to their conclusions is important.  The study of humanity is the study of our various belief structures and I think the only way we can grow is to take in as much experience as possible.  I'm hoping to make a few friends, have some lively conversations, and to share my terrible puns and dad jokes with the board. 

I spent much of my childhood incredibly sheltered and censored by my loving but strict parents and so I have vowed since I was 18 even to be an open book about all things.  You ask a question and I will answer bluntly and honestly.  If you have questions about the rat maze of Mormonism, I will answer to the best of my ability with the caveat that I did not progress far enough in the priesthood to see all the sordid details of the faith, not did I attend a mission where the BITE model goes from "a light touch" to "full blown cult".  

Either way, thank you for listening to, as Q would say, my "dull, plodding and pedantic" speech (much love to the Star Trek TNG fans out there).  

Peace! 

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How does one work 7 days a week as a Night Auditor?  😆  Welcome aboard.

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2 hours ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

How does one work 7 days a week as a Night Auditor?  😆  Welcome aboard.


Touche my good professor.  Thank you for the welcome! :)

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Welcome to Ex-C!

 

Perhaps the Buddhists haven't told you, but you are god!!!

 

Namaste, bitches. 😇

 

 

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20 hours ago, florduh said:

Welcome to Ex-C!

 

Perhaps the Buddhists haven't told you, but you are god!!!

 

Namaste, bitches. 😇

 

 

Thank you for the welcome!  

If I'm a god can I be one of those Norse or Greek ones?  They knew how to party.  

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Welcome to Ex-c BookOfMicah! So glad you found us. I loved reading your post (You are an excellent writer!) and I am looking forward to hearing more of your journey! 

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Welcome aboard! I enjoyed reading your story.

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4 hours ago, Margee said:

Welcome to Ex-c BookOfMicah! So glad you found us. I loved reading your post (You are an excellent writer!) and I am looking forward to hearing more of your journey! 

 

Thank you very much!  I can spin a yarn as well as anybody :) But I've also had some wonderful teachers too!  

Appreciate the welcome! 

 

2 hours ago, Tsathoggua9 said:

Welcome aboard! I enjoyed reading your story.


Thank you kindly!  

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Welcome, BookOfMicah.  Glad you are here and that you left Mormonism/Christianity.  Your name is very interesting.  In honor of your name, I thought this quote from Micah might explain a lot:

 

Therefore night will come over you, without visions,
    and darkness, without divination.
The sun will set for the prophets,
    and the day will go dark for them.
The seers will be ashamed
    and the diviners disgraced.
They will all cover their faces
    because there is no answer from God.”

 

Micah 3:6-7

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Welcome to Ex-C BookofMicah

 

I think most here are quite happy lumping Catholics, protestants and Mormons under the general umbrella of Christianity. I have noted that it is usually one of the other Christian brands who think the other two are not "true Christians", Enter the no true scotsman fallacy.

 

Sounds like you've done a great deal of working the religious out of yourself, so well done. I am also an agnostic atheist. I haven't looked much into Buddhism, but no doubt we share many of the same values. Like you I used to hold views towards fellow humans that now are abhorrent and shameful to me. Sadly my fundamentalist family still very strongly hold to such views.

 

Hope to see you posting in the various boards here. I agree with Margee, you are a very clear and good writer.

 

LF

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WELCOME!  As I studied my way out of religion I also gained a respect for Buddahism philosophy for living.

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On 2/11/2020 at 3:38 AM, BookOfMicah said:

3.  Furthermore if God does exist and expects more of me than to be a good person, and would punish me with eternal hell for not believing in him, is not a God worth worshipping.  

   

:58:

 

 

And welcome. Please stick around and join in the discussions.

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7 hours ago, Overcame Faith said:

Welcome, BookOfMicah.  Glad you are here and that you left Mormonism/Christianity.  Your name is very interesting.  In honor of your name, I thought this quote from Micah might explain a lot:

 

Therefore night will come over you, without visions,
    and darkness, without divination.
The sun will set for the prophets,
    and the day will go dark for them.
The seers will be ashamed
    and the diviners disgraced.
They will all cover their faces
    because there is no answer from God.”

 

Micah 3:6-7


Thanks for digging out the scripture.  I'm more of a dirty limerick / parody haiku guy myself.  

God is not at home,
leave a message at the beep,
Voicemail box is full.  

Thanks for the welcome! :)
 

7 hours ago, LogicalFallacy said:

Welcome to Ex-C BookofMicah

 

I think most here are quite happy lumping Catholics, protestants and Mormons under the general umbrella of Christianity. I have noted that it is usually one of the other Christian brands who think the other two are not "true Christians", Enter the no true scotsman fallacy.

 

Sounds like you've done a great deal of working the religious out of yourself, so well done. I am also an agnostic atheist. I haven't looked much into Buddhism, but no doubt we share many of the same values. Like you I used to hold views towards fellow humans that now are abhorrent and shameful to me. Sadly my fundamentalist family still very strongly hold to such views.

 

Hope to see you posting in the various boards here. I agree with Margee, you are a very clear and good writer.

 

LF


One of my video projects from my old vlog, which I have cleared out, was a rather detailed explanation of why Mormons did fall under the subset of Christianity.  Even though I took it down because I'm not Mormon anymore I'm kind of proud of the effort that went into it, digging out the Nicene Creed and doing some historical study.  I don't do things by half measures lol.  

But yeah it was and remains a constant journey, but that's the story of life isn't it?  While the religious concept of atonement isn't one that I feel has any particular merit, a "lowercase a" version that is secular in nature is something I think is worth working towards.  And it's not a "five Hail Mary's and a dab of holy water" affair, but something that requires true effort.  I won't give anybody any grief for dealing with their own struggles because I know too well what I'm going through - or at least I try not to.

Thank you for the welcome! :)
 

6 hours ago, Weezer said:

WELCOME!  As I studied my way out of religion I also gained a respect for Buddahism philosophy for living.


It's ultimately a solid guide, so long as its gnostic elements aren't taken too seriously.  But the Four Noble truths and Eightfold path seem pretty clear to me.  Maybe it's a bit pessimistic to say "Life is suffering" just makes perfect sense to me, but everything else that follows was on good footing, lol.  And I'm not especially into the self-abnegation of Buddhism (albeit the "middle path" is still less strict than the pure asceticism of some Hindu practices).  I am too... loud a person to accept that and as much as my life has had some hardships, I'm having too much fun.  
 

5 hours ago, older said:

   

:58:

 

 

And welcome. Please stick around and join in the discussions.


Thanks for the welcome!  I have been browsing, rest assured! 

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Welcome! Entertaining read - you're a good writer. I hope you'll stick around and contribute to the forums. 

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Hello,

 

Mormonism...to me it seems like the movement and leader have a lot in common with Islam, but just a little more close to the original Christian notions. As you might know, early Christian thought Islam, and I agree, was a Christian heresy. Even such close watchers of Islam, as John Damascene, ex member of court of a caliph in the 8th century I think. Both meeting with an angels, both a quite military vision, both reclaiming poligamy at the beginning. Modern Islamic countries like Turkey also banned poligamy, by the way, from what I know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 2/13/2020 at 9:24 AM, TruthSeeker0 said:

Welcome! Entertaining read - you're a good writer. I hope you'll stick around and contribute to the forums. 

 

Thank you for the welcome!  I definitely mean to! :)

 

8 hours ago, Myrkhoos said:

Hello,

 

Mormonism...to me it seems like the movement and leader have a lot in common with Islam, but just a little more close to the original Christian notions. As you might know, early Christian thought Islam, and I agree, was a Christian heresy. Even such close watchers of Islam, as John Damascene, ex member of court of a caliph in the 8th century I think. Both meeting with an angels, both a quite military vision, both reclaiming poligamy at the beginning. Modern Islamic countries like Turkey also banned poligamy, by the way, from what I know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interesting comparison, and one I hadn't considered.  

 

I hesitate to weigh in on arguments if what is or is not heretical to the "one true faith" because even the idea I find kind of foolish in an age where every major religion has hundreds if sects and as many interpretations of that sect as there are people who believe it. If anything can be said, I'd argue Islam is less obviously false than Mormonism because I mean... seer stones? I can't believe I professed this nonsense in my youth lol.

 

Pleasure to meet you!  Thanks for the interesting take! 

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@BookOfMicah,

 

Thanx for your post.

 

I too am former LDS and had very similar experiences to yours in that respect. Mrs. MOHO (flaming fundy through-and-through) goes bat-shit crazy when presented with the fact that Mormonism is Christianity on anabolic steroids. I too found the charismatic, blue-jean wearing, let's be friends, everyone here loves you, write the church a check, Low-key, not so crazy about rules, Jesus Freakdom to be a relief from the dastardly controlling religion I was raised with.

 

I always harbored a simmering contempt for what I thought, even in grade school, was mind-control. So, naturally, I began having the same feelings for my new clothes. Especially after watching the flock getting fleeced all the while hearing pastor ass-hat declare that money is not the focus and I did not have to contribute. This was, of course, a successful guilt-trip mantra for the masses.

 

Back to you and your jacked-up childhood. I am sorry you had to go through such crap especially at the hands of an entity that starts out promising ever-lasting life and thus has such control over us. Your three rules to live by, so to speak, indicate you are insightful, experienced, and have thought through the religion bullshit quite thoroughly.

 

    - MOHO (Mind Of His Own)

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