Monday, January 9, 2017

To be a kid again...

I'm not gonna go so far as to say the mormon church is a cult, but it certainly owns it when it comes to indoctrination.  As a child growing up in the mormon church, I got to witness first hand it's tactics. Then, later on in life when my own children were attending church, I saw them go under the same cycle of indoctrination.

As a mormon, you go to church on Sundays for three hours.  The first hour is the sacrament meeting.  During this session, the entire congregation meets together and sing hymns, listen to sermons (or talks, as the mormons call it), listen to music programs and also eat nuggets of bread and drink shots of water in symbolic gesture of Jesus' body and blood.

Today, I want to go into a little bit more in how I was indoctrinated as a child in the mormon church.  Once a month during the sacrament meeting, members of the congregation are encouraged to take up the podium and address the members with their testimonies.  There is usually some bat shit crazy stories that are told here, and I remember when I was serving a mission for the church, I hated bringing investigators (those looking into the church) to these meetings.  You'll hear stories that bolster someone's faith, as simple as they found their keys one day after saying a prayer and just knew it was God's personal intervention.  They will recite things like, "I know the church is true, and that Joseph Smith was and is a prophet of God.  That he truly translated the Book of Mormon by the power of God, and it is another testament of Jesus Christ."  Sometimes these testimonies go on and on and on.  Here's the really messed up part of this.

As a kid I was encouraged to do the same, even when I couldn't do it on my own.  So, what would happen is I would tell my Mom or Dad that I wanted to bare my testimony, and they would escort me up there and stand with me at the podium and microphone.  They would then proceed to whisper into my ear the exact words I would speak into the microphone.  So, I would basically recite my parents testimony, but call it my own.  In this simple way, I would reaffirm the church's teachings over and over.  It's my understanding the church discourages this now days, but it was applauded when I was a kid.  They still allow children to give their testimonies, but discourage parental assistance.  It doesn't really matter though, because after so many recited testimonies from every aspect of church attendance, your testimony becomes memorized and just say the same thing over and over.  As you get older, you tweak it here and there, but it's essentially the same.

Of course I didn't realize it until I stepped away from the church and actually put it's foundational claims to the test, but by getting kids to recite these things over and over, they cause a sort of brain muscle memory to occur.  It's the same thing that happens when a person forces themselves to remember something differently than it actually occurred.  It's scientifically proven that you can alter your memories by telling it how you want to remember it over and over again.  Why do you think your memories are often different than someone else's that was there for the same event?  I've experienced this in my own life, and never ever considered this within the church until I was on the way out.

This is only one aspect of the mormon church's indoctrination technique.  There's plenty more to delve into.  From the songs we sing as a kid, to the repetitive lessons and group activities, the church has mastered brainwashing.  It worked on me, and it continues to work on others.  In my opinion, it's almost child abuse, because a child's brain is just not developed enough to make much sense of these things and they look up to adults for guidance.  When the adults are only spoon feeding the kids the church's rhetoric, it's no wonder they grow up to believe.  The cycle must be halted.  I am all for the right to choose for yourself, but not as a child.  The mormon church says at the age of 8 years old, a child is ready to choose to be baptized.  Please, when I was 8, I just thought it looked like fun to be dunked in water.  Hell, I remember my dad allowing me to swim around in the baptismal font briefly after my baptism.  I didn't care about what I was getting into.  I just knew what was expected of me and how fun it would be to swim at church!  I really feel children should not be allowed by law to join any religion until l they are adults.

I will support my children in the decisions they make in life, even if they want to pursue a belief in a higher power.  But, I will not allow them to make these choices lightly or before they are mature enough to do so.  I want them to explore and learn of a multitude of beliefs and non beliefs, so that their decisions are well rounded and based on several points of view.  I want to be sure their decisions are their own, and not someone else's as mine was.  I will teach them how to think, not what to think.

1 comment:

  1. The twisted irony is that the church expects you are mature enough at 8 years old to make a decision and so lightly and quickly. Yet when wanting to leave the church, its doubt your doubts, study until you convince yourself otherwise. Don't make such a quick and rash decision.