Reason #200: Guest Post –“Like Chewing Plastic”

Research confirms that we return to toxic relationships an average of 4 times before we finally call it quits.  Why do many return when they know it’s unhealthy?  And why won’t I ever return to the LDS church?

Ten years ago I never would have dreamed that I would be writing about Mormonism as a cult.  We were the good guys, the well educated, happy, productive givers with shining faces in our proper places.  We had the truth while other struggled with fragments of it.  Yet…

Why was LDS culture so judgmental?  Why would the Bishop tell me God wanted me to volunteer when I didn’t feel God confirming this to me?   Why was the temple so weird, oddly creepy and my inner alarm bells wouldn’t stop ringing?

Two years before I left, I studied the influence tactics of cults to help a friend.  As a Bishopric member, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities.  Unaccountable leaders who denied their history and wouldn’t open their financial books, even to members seemed oddly familiar.  The constant drone of “follow the prophet” rang through the halls of primary and youth classes.  Child encouraged to testify to things they knew nothing about.  Why hadn’t I noticed this before?

When a personal crisis pushed me to study LDS truth claims to replant my feet firmly on gospel soil, I ended up in the opposite place: beyond the Zion curtain.  It was a lie.  I had been duped.  And I wouldn’t be part of the charade.

After dealing with my anger, forgiving the past and present leaders for the deceit, denial, diminishment, and deflection tactics, I did a 360 degree walk around the Mormon experience, and my awareness of its dark past and current theological problems.  I began feeding my spirituality with other practices I found much more nourishing.

Why do some return when they know better?  It feels familiar; it’s what they associate as normal.  New spiritual communities feel different as you would expect from the heavy indoctrination and socialization that creates a mental habit.  That’s why abuse victims return to the guy who “gets a little angry sometimes.”  Toxic feels normal unless you know how to reprogram your mind and emotions.

Why won’t I go back?  Mormonism for me is like chewing plastic; it’s a form of Godliness that misses the spiritual nutrients that meditation, authentic worship, connection with spiritual seekers, and sitting at the feet of real spiritual teachers gives.  Accept no substitutes.

–Quinn Price

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