Archive for the ‘double-bind’ Category

“Are your Mormon families all just waiting for your lives to fall apart since you left the LDS church? “

July 30, 2013

What’s really maddening is the whole double-bind embedded in most attempts to leave the LDS church: Mormons are so tied into their wards and church socially, psychologically, religiously, sometimes financially, that if one of them actually has the chutzpah to call shenanigans on the whole business and leave, there is tremendous social and psychological pressure often brought to bear on that individual. (This isn’t news to any exmo.) Guess what happens when people lose their social networks and most or all of their family ties? They get stressed out and depressed. Guess what happens when people get stressed out and depressed? They can make some bad calls in their personal lives. And what does the LDS church do? It tries to turn people who leave it into object lessons about what happens if someone leaves the church! The LDS church and 99% of its members won’t give you any exit counseling or support, at all, and so the usual advice for recent exmos is to take it easy, don’t go crazy with normal human enjoyments that the LDS church has controlled and denied in your life, give yourself time, breath, see a non-LDS therapist, and wait at least a year or two to get your own moral compass set-up. I was an adult convert and it took a huge act of will to drop it all, and it took two to three years to be in a position where I could talk to a Mo at the door without getting very angry. I can’t imagine the situation for BICs or for people in heavily Mormon enclaves, e.g., Utah. “Social suicide” isn’t just an empty phrase, especially in Mormondom.


Happiness and Freedom Despite the LDS Church’s Uses of Fear and Social Pressure

July 9, 2013

The first time I stayed home, telling the bishop I was sick (I was the Exec. Sec.), I just had this big grin on my face that wouldn’t go away. I was experiencing sweet freedom. I was so happy to be away from that burdensome church and those generally sweet but tedious people. I had my whole Sunday morning and afternoon to myself! I look back now and think of how the LDS church kept me in this subservient, servile, fearful, anxious, dreadfully pathetic state. You can’t be yourself. You can’t explore and find your own voice, your own interests. You barely know how to. Your individuality is suffocated; every thought has to be church approved or you feel terrible and guilty.

Being in the LDS church is a nightmare of being controlled. You don’t know who your real friends are until you get out of the church, because a lot of your LDS friends will be uncomfortable around you if and when you dare to not follow the script. They’ll begin to quietly avoid you, i.e., shun you.

Of course LDS friends and family think that when you become disaffected with the One True Church you are in “a dark place.” They are fearful, because the LDS church falsely teaches them that anyone who dares to leave the LDS church will suffer and bring only shame and terrible things upon him or herself and family.

My god, what a farce, what a sick, sad, terrible thing the LDS church and its culture of shame, intolerance, and fearfulness are, especially when you consider how the “darkness” they fear is partly their own creation: 1) an exiting person’s LDS social circle starts to variously pressure, shame, and abandon them, so no wonder some people go a little crazy, 2) their family will often be freaking out and even the person’s marriage can be destroyed, 3) they’ve been on a church created hamster wheel of obligation pressure and moral and sensual repression for so long that when they do actually first experience being free of it they might well use poor judgment in trying out new things–like socially awkward teens–and 4) the church makes its people so dependent and afraid of thinking and evaluating for themselves, that when the spark of real freedom, liberty, and agency does arise in them, they will often first try to gropingly get away from the church–hanging out in the bathroom, skipping third hour to go get coffee or a donut, making excuses–in ways that, looking back, seem awfully timid but that may just confuse the people around them who care at all.

Online exchange showing evasiveness of TBM mentality

September 3, 2012
So I re-tweet (RT or quote) this guy’s post where he is GRIPING about being called up in the EARLY MORNING by someone from CHURCH, telling him to teach the next day.

Here’s the exchange on Twitter:

RT @Stan_Way: When your #Mormon priesthood leader calls early Saturday AM it can only mean 1 thing: You’re teaching tomorrow #sucker #pwnage

@blakesgarden Well I’ve never looked at it that way, but I suppose everyone is allowed to their own opinions. Just an opportunity to serve.

@Stan_Way Dude, to be told to serve is what? Coercion of service isn’t voluntary service. It’s volnteering to be told what to do by someone

@blakesgarden I don’t think you have a firm grasp of how things work in my church. There is no coercion. I could have easily said no.

@Stan_Way What happens if you always say no? You know, you don’t do what you’re told but, let’s say, you just serve as you see fit?

@blakesgarden If I say no it’s no big deal. I do serve as I see fit & have a great time. Helping a friend by teaching tomorrow is a bonus.

So he’s helping an LDS church “friend.”  We know how deep that friendship likely must be, and he says he serves as he sees fit, but he really didn’t answer my question: What if he said no all the time and just did what he wanted? Seriously, that would not fly too long: He’d get grief from his priesthood “friends,” probably get pressure from his wife, and eventually be asked to talk with the Bishop and likely lose his Temple Recommend if he persisted in not being good and “church broke.”  He’d be castigated as “selfish.” Am I wrong?  Anyone else a bit astonished at the blinders he’s got on (though I’m sure most postmos have witnessed their like before)?

Where does the double-bind take us when examining damaging cults?

April 29, 2010

The “double bind” e-book at is a useful application of an idea to Mormonism, but I think a person would do well to learn more about the double bind by reading The Pragmatics of Human Communication or any of this guy’s work on learning and communication, especially any of his stuff on learning to learn. He’s largely responsible for developing the underlying theory. So one goes to the source!

The idea that there are paradoxical injunctions (phobias basically) that keep people in line with the church gets really interesting to me when thinking about family therapy, viewing the family as a system, and the problems of change in individuals and families.

How does one escape predatory organizations? Bob McCue said he views the church as a wolf or bear that one basically stays the he!! away from. Having been a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed convert, who eventually woke up and decided the church didn’t make him happy, and how that opened up a big can of WHAMMY!, I have to agree.

(Problem: Brief therapy recognizes that a therapist has a brief amount of time to make crucial interventions into a person’s behavior or a family to elicit change. Over time the therapist becomes more enmeshed in the same communicational problems that he or she is observing, and as a result is less able to find the best strategies of intervention (see the work of Milton Erickson.) But everyone leaving the church who wants to bring their families along is told to go slow during the detox. Maybe it’s just an insider/outsider vantage: the therapist has to act fast, while the family insider does not have that luxury–he or she is already so enmeshed that the process is more akin to getting honey off of one hand with the other–not too easy without outside aid, without soap, water and towel. How do you get the honey off without outside help? Careful, pressured scraping off. Time. Air. Activity. Sunlight. The elements. Dust and dirt. AND STAYING AWAY FROM THE SOURCE OF THE HONEY!)

The double-bind was put together when an anthropologist looked at the behaviors of schizophrenics and then saw the same behaviors in the context of a given schizo’s family. Tell me that the church doesn’t create a variety of socially induced schizophrenia in individuals–the idea of splitting from oneself, of splitting off from the wider culture, of trained ignorance or trained perceptual blindspots. (Cf. experiment of mothers and children with cameras in room: schizo moms pretend camera isn’t there; child left to doubt their own perceptions; healthy moms note to child the existence of the camera, why it is there, and then get on with assigned task.)

One of the keys to shifting out of double-binding communication is to stay focused on the context. What is the wider context of the communication? E.g., when the mishies come to the door or when the initial courtship of a promising investigator occurs, what’s the context? Each party wants something. There’s an exchange. To me the wider context looks like making a recruit. There’s a large organization attempting to mentally fondle someone into submitting to its view of reality. Why replicate the recruiters? What do the recruiters need? Hands, money, and more recruiters to add to the total of hands, money, and recruiters. And so on ad infinitum.

Doubting Mark

An atheist's adventures in a land of faith

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