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Are Mormons Brainwashed?

Posted by nebula0 on August 22, 2008


(Disclaimer: there are people who have suffered real physical and sexual abuse.  That’s not at all what I intend to talk about here.)

Or, Post Traumatic Mormon Syndrome

Those who have gone through cyber space looking up Mormon related sites will no doubt find many, many from ex Mormons.  Okay, I admit it, I’m one so it’s a little strange for me to comment on this, but I don’t plan on a little strangeness from stopping me any time soon.  For instance, check out exmormon.org, hundreds of so called ‘exit’ stories from the LDS church.  Pick any one at random, and you are most likely to see a couple of genres including first of all conversion stories from Mormonism to American neo-evangelism.  They go like this: “I was lied to and deceived in the Mormon church, but I found the true Jesus and saw the light!  Now I know that I was trying to work for my salvation, but now I know that despite my ability to measure up to the strict standards of Mormonism through God’s grace I’m saved.  Now I’ll witness to the lost Mormons still brainwashed into that awful cult.”  Another genre you are likely to find is the one that emphasizes victimhood.  It’s true, that the conversion to evangelicalism genre, or the “I saw the light, hallelujah” genre, usually involves some claims to victimhood, I’m talking about the extra whiny, never saw the light, poor me genre.  It tends to go like this: “Mormonism is nothing but a cult that brainwashes and abuses people.  I never had a chance, I was deceived and lied to.  My bishop asked me embarrassing questions and I was traumatized.  Mormonism made me feel awful because it’s standards of perfection are impossible to meet and I was made to feel like trash when I didn’t live up to them.  I had to wear garments and they were embarrassing.  whine whine whine… “.  Here’s the main thing that is similar in these two main genres, the notion that Mormons are brainwashed.  Is this true?

I answer no, this is ridiculous.  The only thing that comes close to true brainwashing includes physical torture, physical removal from family and friends, sleep deprivation, starving and the like, and even then it’s an iffy topic.  Mormon “love bombing” doesn’t even come close to this kind of coercion and torture.  The fact of the matter is, people freely join Mormonism because they think it’s a good idea at the time.  Deciding later that it wasn’t a good idea after all doesn’t mean the person was therefore brainwashed.  It means the person changed his or her mind.  Americans can really be victims, that’s the real problem.  Look in the so called self help section in any bookstore and that’s easy enough to see.  Everyone suffers from something.  I say, get over it, and take responsibility for your own happiness.  So there it is.  It’s true that Mormonism is a higher than average tension religion, meaning, Mormonism requires more and differentiates its members more from the rest of society than the average religion.  But brainwashing?  Nope.  If you were wrong, be man or woman enough to say “you know what, I was wrong” and quit passing the buck.  Really.  If the worst that happened is that you ‘believed a lie’ and felt bad about it how does obsessing over the fact help anything.  We’re all taken in by wrong things at one point or another, the best idea is to learn from it, explore it (as I intend to do here, as best as I can), but do not allow yourself to be such a sniveling non person as to insist that you had no will at all and were ‘brainwashed’.

For the record, my bishops when I was a Mormon ranged from great to okay.  Whereas one crossed the line, I never felt ‘victimized’ because I took responsibility to speak out.  I also recognize that some who have grown up in the LDS church do have real, bad memories that are more ingrained than my experiences, but still I say, get over it.  Unless there was real, physical or sexual abuse, there is no basis to claim that your will has been hijacked.  If you are so easily robbed of your will, how are you so sure that you aren’t brainwashed into your newest opinions?  After all, brainwashed people never do admit to being brainwashed…

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3 Responses to “Are Mormons Brainwashed?”

  1. nebula0 said

    Phew. Thanks for letting me get that out. I’m tired of ex Mormons saying that they are beyond judgement and that others just don’t know what it’s like leaving the LDS church! You just don’t get it! sniffle, sniffle, pat the back. What’s constructive about remaining in victim mode for 5, 10, 20 years?

  2. armyike said

    “After all, brainwashed people never do admit to being brainwashed…”

    Then in that case … I guess no one admits to being brainwashed.

  3. They are a cult. My friend who lives in salt lake city utah has been avoiding me for a year now simply because I won’t join her mormon church!! She got missionaries to call me to try and get me baptised. The extra effort toa turn me to the cult started after my mom passed away 3 years ago. They are cold people from what I experienced!! Her husband was talking down to me when my mom hasn’t even been gone a month.saying”since I don’t have my mom in my life anymore,I have to find a substitute for my mom and help others out instead” bulls___ on that!!!

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