Thursday, March 20, 2014

What One Mormon Had To Go Through For A Sandwich

Some years ago my husband, Mark, corresponded with a believing Mormon who posed the familiar question:

"If the Church is 'false' then why are there so many anti-Mormon groups out there aimed at helping people recover from it?"

His premise being: the mere fact that people who escape Mormonism are so damaged that they need years to recover PROVES that the LDS Church is true. -- After all, people who leave "false" churches aren't nearly as screwed up as we are, right?

Then there's that other familiar refrain:

"They can leave the Church, but they can't leave the Church alone."

Translation: ExMormons who criticize, poke fun at, or even question the LDS Church are crazy, bitter, obsessed borderline psychotics who need years to recover.

Which also proves the Church is true?

I confess I do not possess enough spiritual intelligence to decipher Mormon logic. However, in my travels around Outerblogness this week I ran across a painful missive over on ExMormon Reddit that answers the more relevant question:

How much damage can a Mormon sustain before he becomes an ExMormon?

How much? Consider this confession from a self-described "pathetic little man." Gripped by hunger halfway through sacrament meeting, this young father schemed to sneak out of church to the local Carl's Jr. After some subterfuge and one foiled attempt, he finally got his break halfway through the final hour of church. The following is an excerpt:

I break my personal record in how quickly I get my son secured in his car seat and in a matter of seconds, we're off! Approximately 1.5 miles to Carls Jr. I make it there in about two minutes. Pull in to the drive thru and see four cars ahead of me. " Why aren't these people in church?!" The clock is ticking. The driver of the car in front of me has apparently never ordered food from a drive thru before and/or speaks no English. There is much gesticulating at the menu/speaker thingy. Tick, tick, tick. Finally, it's my turn "Western Bacon cheeseburger please, just the sandwich, and that will be all." I sound panicked. 8 minutes until church ends. I get to the window and pay in cash so there's no evidence of a Sunday transaction on our account.
I eat while driving, cramming the sandwich into my mouth and swallowing without chewing. I stop at a gas station, throw away the bag, the wrapper, and the receipt. Brush crumbs off the seat, check my shirt and tie for BBQ sauce. After all of the evidence is disposed of I get back in the car and shove two sticks of Big Red into my mouth to cover the smell of delicious CJ all beef patties, American cheese, and onion rings. I look at the clock. 2 minutes remaining. I'm on the move again. Rolling through stop signs, weaving through traffic. . . . 
I am a grown man in my 30's. I have a job, and pay taxes. I have responsibilities and people rely on me. But when I want to buy a sandwich on a Sunday I have to treat it like I'm disposing of a body. I am a pathetic little man.
Read his entire account here.

Upon reading this, I had several strong and immediate reactions.

First, that this was so over the top that even I couldn't satirize it. I mean, you can't make shit like this up.

Second, I was aghast over the risk this poor schmuck took. He was breaking the rules in an organization that encourages men to report their roommate's masturbating lest they be "left behind on the battlefield." It's entirely possible that, thanks to the stunt this guy pulled, the church will be ordering the installment of tiny cameras and GPS tracking chips on all children under 18 months of age.

Finally, I had the horrifying realization that I know this guy, that I used to be this guy. So I know that a guy like this won't escape the Church until something so outrageous happens that if he doesn't bail he will go completely bonkers. And this sandwich incident isn't it. Probably not even close.

Which leads me to conclude that, based on experience, my own recovery is miles away and I will probably be writing this blog for some time to come.


  1. And, as someone who loves your blog, I am gleefully, selfishly pleased about that last sentence!

  2. The believing Mormon's questions were non sequiturs. I confess that I can't wrap my head about Mormon logic either.

    As for the sandwich man, I'm stunned that anyone would feel that much anxiety about skipping church and eating some fast food. Is church membership worth all this unnecessary angst?

    1. It's bizarre Ahab. I've been out of it for so long that it shocks me too when I read stuff like this. But, yes, looking back I remember that it was that rigid.

  3. You should know by now that everything proves The Church(™) is true. Resistance is futile.

    1. Oh right. Romney losing the election - gay marriage becoming legal in CA - Monson on trial in London - all of this proves the church is true. ;)

    2. It is so exasperating sometimes. Because what Agi says is so true. 'Everything' points to the truthfulness of the church. Persecution is the truth's best friend. I, for one, am so happy not to be in the confines of the church any longer.

      That being said; I will always be connected to the church in some way. Right now I'm trying to figure out how I can get hold of temple clothes for my 91 year old mother. She's a TBM who doesn't pay tithing so she doesn't have a temple recommend but she wants to have temple clothes for her burial when the time comes. Sheesh the things we do...

      There's one for you to blog about Donna. 54 year old lesbian (ex-mo) trying to get hold of temple clothes for TBM mom's future burial.

    3. OMG how are you going to pull that off? You may have to sneak into the temple like Lt. Ryan. :)

  4. I have little about which to complain regarding fast Sundays. It affected me over a few summers and when I stayed in Utah for a month when I was 5, but mostly i am unscathed.

    My dad was once beaten when he fed his really little brothers and sister a granola bar on a Saturday night during a fast weekend when they were crying because they were hungry. .My dad was 13 and his siblings were 3, 5, and 6. Even though the church itself doesn't insist that toddlers and young children must fast, neither do they tell parents NOT to make them fast. My dad's father thought it was a good thing.

    I think it was child abuse. I think it's even abuse to make a 13-year-old boy fast. I'm not sure it's even medically sound to force an adolescent boy to fast when he's probably in the midst of or on the verge of a major growth spurt. My parents wouldn't have allowed my brother or me to fast even had we wanted to.

    1. Alexis, I agree. Also adolescent girls on their periods. Totally irresponsible.