The Church killed what NOM was originally intended to be

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Not Buying It
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The Church killed what NOM was originally intended to be

Post by Not Buying It » Fri Oct 09, 2020 5:28 am

Once upon a time, 15 or so years ago when I first started visiting NOM, it was a very different place. We've had discussions before about how it once really was for those seeking a "middle way", and as time passed fewer and fewer of us were really about trying to be an active part of the Church while not believing in it, and more and more of us were those who wanted desperately to escape but were tied to it to some extent by family ties and mostly needed someplace to vent. I once thought some of the harsh rhetoric from some of us drove the true "middle way" posters away, and I still think that probably did change things.

But you know, I saw a quote today that made me realize that isn't the whole story. This quote from Elder Bednar helped me realize that while because of harsh opinions posted on the site NOM became less "middle way friendly" over time, the Church also made the "middle way" untenable. I mean, the "middle way" was probably never really tenable to begin with, it was a balancing act few people could ever truly pull off, but the Church actively made it less and less comfortable for anyone who wanted to keep participating in the Church if they didn't believe all of the truth claims.

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The Church killed what NOM was originally intended to be because it couldn't stand the idea it wasn't controlling the thinking of all of its members. Glad when I made my choice I didn't listen to that blowhard.
"The truth is elegantly simple. The lie needs complex apologia. 4 simple words: Joe made it up. It answers everything with the perfect simplicity of Occam's Razor. Every convoluted excuse withers." - Some guy on Reddit called disposazelph

lostinmiddlemormonism
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Re: The Church killed what NOM was originally intended to be

Post by lostinmiddlemormonism » Fri Oct 09, 2020 6:00 am

Never quite thought about it that way, but as someone that has been here for a while...I think you are right.

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moksha
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Re: The Church killed what NOM was originally intended to be

Post by moksha » Fri Oct 09, 2020 7:55 am

"I took the path less traveled, and that has made all the difference."
-- Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken

The road to the left is well worn by shysters, multi-level marketers, and perhaps generations of family members. Are you sure you want to think for yourself? Wouldn't it be easier just to pay, pray, and obey? Wait... we will withdraw your heavenly benefits if you cease paying us. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. "I, the Great and Powerful Oz, have spoken. Now get back in line!"
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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Corsair
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Re: The Church killed what NOM was originally intended to be

Post by Corsair » Fri Oct 09, 2020 8:49 am

That Bednar quote about having the "middle-road withdrawn" is quite a bold claim. This politely ominous statement is virtually the same as saying, "Will you apostates please hurry up and either leave the church forever or start paying your tithing and going to the temple!" The church would love to have easily defined boundaries to guard. All you NOM folks with your meandering and frequent theological border crossings are annoying the lay ministry of the institutional church.

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deacon blues
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Re: The Church killed what NOM was originally intended to be

Post by deacon blues » Fri Oct 09, 2020 10:22 am

This is so freaking true!! The temple endowment is an ingenious method for getting people to commit to the Church (I believe they literally make the CHURCH their GOD, in other words- IDOL :twisted: ) without quite realizing what they've done. When I went through the temple before my mission I was confused because I thought the endowment was inane- it didn't teach anything new. In my mind I tried to make it relevant, but it really didn't make sense until my shelf broke and I realized Joseph invented it as a tool of religious manipulation. It's significant that most people go through the temple without really knowing what they're getting into. And then they are encouraged to go again and again, and repeat the vows over and over- powerful manipulative techniques.

I've heard Evangelicals say they've turned their lives over to Jesus, or subdue their will to Jesus. But in the endowment the LDS literally promise everything to the organization, which changes leaders quite frequently. I believe there is a big difference. It helps me understand why Evangelicals are suspicious of Mormons.

The temple is a tool to force people off the "Middle Way." :(
God is Love. God is Truth

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Red Ryder
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Re: The Church killed what NOM was originally intended to be

Post by Red Ryder » Fri Oct 09, 2020 10:57 am

I think about this often because participation on NOM has changed my life for the better because it’s allowed me to process my awakening and I’ve met some great people in real life I’m proud to call life long friends.

I found NOM back in 2006 but thought these “middle way” Mormons were crazy. Like why do you want to stay? Then I realized it was a soft landing spot for people who were just falling down the rabbit hole and learning to maintain their most precious relationships at the same time. I read the board every day but never participated. I had found my place in between the floorboards and was comfortable in my position trying to figure out how to get out of the church. Well that never happened mainly do to my wife’s emotional attachment to the church.

It wasn’t until 2013 that I actively started to post and for me “Peak NOM” was 2014 -2016. Thayne was always the guardian of the soft landing and would slap our wrists when we got too rough. He would always say there’s other places on the internet for that, go post over there. I miss that time tremendously from a nostalgic point of view. I still am irked the content just vaporized when Thayne walked. There was so much history and my personal journey captured in writing that I would have loved to keep given the chance to download or whatever. Oh well.

I agree the church has killed the middle way. But I don’t blame the church 100%.

I would often meet one of the guys I met on this site for lunch and we used to get into these long debates about the wave of apostasy That was coming. I think it came in two waves. First when the essays came out. Then with the CES letter followed by the excoms of KK, JD, and Sam.

In the last 7 years, the narrative has changed. No longer is the need to hide behind avatars and user names. People are now processing leaving the church in real time on Facebook under their real names. People are no longer scared and the church has lost its power and control.

Leaving the church has become normalized. We all know people who have openly left. We all have family members that have openly left. I still hear testimonies at church from a parent crying over their grown up kids leaving the church. It’s become normalized. Even the rhetoric coming out of conference every 6 months points to the exodus and the talks like Bednars are a response to that.

So where does this leave places like NOM? Inevitably it leaves us as a small insular group of friends bound together by our bond of understanding the nuance of survival within Mormonism with loved ones still in.

It leaves us as a small group of long timers too weak to walk away, too strong to let go, and time against us as we don’t have new members join to keep the balance. In some ways, we are like the church, slowly fading in relevance. Yet here we are. Internet friends who support the twilight zone we all live in.

The great Cwald once said (paraphrasing), “this ain’t NOM, it’s just an attempt to recreate the original NOM.” He was right, and he was wrong. This place may not be the middle way soft landing spot anymore, but it’s still a pretty damn great place to learn from each other.
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

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Fifi de la Vergne
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Re: The Church killed what NOM was originally intended to be

Post by Fifi de la Vergne » Fri Oct 09, 2020 12:57 pm

I found NOM in 2014 when the proverbial shelf collapsed. I didn't even realize that it was intended as a support for folks who wanted or had to continue to participate; I just found the level of interaction so much deeper and richer and more thoughtful than any of the other places that I visited. Being a convert made it easier in some ways to disengage, but I had a temple marriage and had raised my kids in the church which made it more complicated. Then I had a personal tragedy and no place to process it except on NOM and . . . yeah, I was devastated when old NOM disappeared too. It was a really special place/time.

DH and I are separated now and I don't even know where he's at with church -- if I had to guess I'd say still believing but mostly not practicing/attending. It's funny -- throughout our marriage, right up until the shoe dropped, I was the more literally believing, strictly observing, etc. of the two of us. Weird. One of my three living kids is still faithful, married in the temple and going to BYU-I, while the other two are so inactive that I don't think it takes up much mental space at all for them.

The Bednar quote really bothered me when I started seeing the memes. I don't care for myself what any of them say - I don't buy into their authority anymore at all. It bothers me because there are still people in my life who are important to me who I do care what they think, and the whole church narrative seems so . . . ridiculous. A ridiculous story by a self-important charlatan who made it all up a couple of hundred years ago but which manages to hold people's families and lives hostage.

I'm not sure what my point is - y'all just touched a nerve. It's not the old NOM, but it's kind of like the bar in Cheers: "you wanna go where people know . . . "
Joy is the emotional expression of the courageous Yes to one's own true being.

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alas
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Re: The Church killed what NOM was originally intended to be

Post by alas » Fri Oct 09, 2020 1:12 pm

I think I might have been around longer than anyone else, and yes, I think the church changed it’s tolerance of NOMs, and that has forced a different population to come to NOM. The church changed, Not that it ever openly announced that if you are not a full believer there is no place in the church for you. But I was NOM for 30 or so years before I just couldn’t take church any more. It changed and in a lot of ways it was the members becoming more ridged. Where 30-40 years ago I could make friends and keep my unorthodox views quiet, now I just don’t like the people. And while I could tolerate church long term, now new NOMs hit that point of just can’t stand the pretend in a matter of months.

And it is like RR says, now more people are leaving, so most people have another family member who has left, and people are just more open about it. It doesn’t need to be anonymous when you leave quickly, especially if you can convince you spouse to look at the evidence.

There was a big exodus of feminists when KK was exed. And saying you left became acceptable on feminist blogs, so we are not the only site that has changed in the tone and discussion subjects and allowance of anger at the church.

But Feminist Mormon Housewives didn’t even survive the changes because too many people lost interest, so, I agree with RR that we are a dying breed. At this point, I hang around because I like the discussions and people, not because I have anything left to process.

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deacon blues
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Re: The Church killed what NOM was originally intended to be

Post by deacon blues » Fri Oct 09, 2020 3:42 pm

In the early days of the Church, people were strongly encouraged to join the communitarian part of the Church at baptism. (the original United Order) This "body and soul" type of commitment became the ideal sought by Joseph ever after. However, for numerous reasons the United Order never functioned very well, and by the time of the Nauvoo period Joseph pretty much abandoned it. I believe he was still searching for some other way to compel the same deep commitment of the United Order and decided upon the temple ordinances and endowments as a tool to get this extreme commitment to the Church.

I believe the Church is getting more and more controlling. It pays a two way lip service to the cafeteria Mormon, ie. "There's a place for everyone" talks vs. Bednar's talk. Sadly, control has been in the Church's DNA ever since Joseph Smith.
God is Love. God is Truth

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slk
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Re: The Church killed what NOM was originally intended to be

Post by slk » Fri Oct 09, 2020 3:59 pm

And then you got crazy talks resurfacing (going viral) on coffee keeping a little old grandma from entering the temple and being sealed to her family. My co-workers (mostly inactive for years) thought this was the funniest thing they've ever heard. Yeah, kind of hard to choose the "middle way" when a nut job tells you coffee will keep you out of heaven. Dang, I wish they'd give more talks like this over the podium.

Wonderment
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Re: The Church killed what NOM was originally intended to be

Post by Wonderment » Fri Oct 09, 2020 10:59 pm

Red Ryder wrote:
Fri Oct 09, 2020 10:57 am
I think about this often because participation on NOM has changed my life for the better because it’s allowed me to process my awakening and I’ve met some great people in real life I’m proud to call life long friends.

I found NOM back in 2006 but thought these “middle way” Mormons were crazy. Like why do you want to stay? Then I realized it was a soft landing spot for people who were just falling down the rabbit hole and learning to maintain their most precious relationships at the same time. I read the board every day but never participated. I had found my place in between the floorboards and was comfortable in my position trying to figure out how to get out of the church. Well that never happened mainly do to my wife’s emotional attachment to the church.

It wasn’t until 2013 that I actively started to post and for me “Peak NOM” was 2014 -2016. Thayne was always the guardian of the soft landing and would slap our wrists when we got too rough. He would always say there’s other places on the internet for that, go post over there. I miss that time tremendously from a nostalgic point of view. I still am irked the content just vaporized when Thayne walked. There was so much history and my personal journey captured in writing that I would have loved to keep given the chance to download or whatever. Oh well.

I agree the church has killed the middle way. But I don’t blame the church 100%.

I would often meet one of the guys I met on this site for lunch and we used to get into these long debates about the wave of apostasy That was coming. I think it came in two waves. First when the essays came out. Then with the CES letter followed by the excoms of KK, JD, and Sam.

In the last 7 years, the narrative has changed. No longer is the need to hide behind avatars and user names. People are now processing leaving the church in real time on Facebook under their real names. People are no longer scared and the church has lost its power and control.

Leaving the church has become normalized. We all know people who have openly left. We all have family members that have openly left. I still hear testimonies at church from a parent crying over their grown up kids leaving the church. It’s become normalized. Even the rhetoric coming out of conference every 6 months points to the exodus and the talks like Bednars are a response to that.

So where does this leave places like NOM? Inevitably it leaves us as a small insular group of friends bound together by our bond of understanding the nuance of survival within Mormonism with loved ones still in.

It leaves us as a small group of long timers too weak to walk away, too strong to let go, and time against us as we don’t have new members join to keep the balance. In some ways, we are like the church, slowly fading in relevance. Yet here we are. Internet friends who support the twilight zone we all live in.

The great Cwald once said (paraphrasing), “this ain’t NOM, it’s just an attempt to recreate the original NOM.” He was right, and he was wrong. This place may not be the middle way soft landing spot anymore, but it’s still a pretty damn great place to learn from each other.
Beautifully written, RR. Thank you. In my opinion, the church has always been right wing, but moved to embrace right-wing activism starting with the movement to oppose the Equal Rights Amendment and then to outlaw marriage equality by promoting Prop. 8 in California. The literature published was truly hateful. It was then that I felt compelled to speak up against COJCOLDS and all right wing churches which oppose social progress. I couldn't in good conscience keep silent any longer. - Wndr.

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Re: The Church killed what NOM was originally intended to be

Post by Mackman » Sat Oct 10, 2020 2:10 pm

Been here for the past 5 1/2 years under two different names but I must agree the church has forced all of us to abandon the middle way!!!!! The shaming, shunning and just flat out disrespect to members who think differently has become more out in the open and supported by local leaders as well as the Q15. Where I'm at if your not a Trump supporter you better just keep your mouth shut or your life will become miserable!!! I have red some good books such Bridges and others about people trying to negotiate the middle way and those are nice thoughts but not practical in today's church !! The church (in my Hmo ) has doubled down on its efforts to stay far right and will continue to do so.

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2bizE
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Re: The Church killed what NOM was originally intended to be

Post by 2bizE » Sat Oct 10, 2020 7:59 pm

One victory has been Covid. It has won over the church and has allowed us to live the middle way somewhat for several months...
~2bizE

Blashyrkh
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Re: The Church killed what NOM was originally intended to be

Post by Blashyrkh » Sun Oct 11, 2020 6:01 am

Mackman wrote:
Sat Oct 10, 2020 2:10 pm
Been here for the past 5 1/2 years under two different names but I must agree the church has forced all of us to abandon the middle way!!!!! The shaming, shunning and just flat out disrespect to members who think differently has become more out in the open and supported by local leaders as well as the Q15. Where I'm at if your not a Trump supporter you better just keep your mouth shut or your life will become miserable!!! I have red some good books such Bridges and others about people trying to negotiate the middle way and those are nice thoughts but not practical in today's church !! The church (in my Hmo ) has doubled down on its efforts to stay far right and will continue to do so.
It's interesting that you believe that the church has doubled down on its efforts to stay far right. As someone who is slightly to the right of Augusto Pinochet I see the church drifting to the left from its former Benson days. The church is slowly but surely opening the doors to the LGBTQ. Yes they have a way to go but compare today's church with that just 12 years ago. This past year they have all but denied the past doctrine surrounding the African descendants. I will go out on a limb but I predict that when the current generation kids in the church become the leaders and all the moronic Bednarites pass away that you will see lgbtq people married in the temple. The church has to do this to say even minutely relevant. Anyone who believes that the 1970s change regarding black men and the priesthood was anything other than the leaders of the church realizing that their old ways were dead and they needed to conform with society to remain relevant is fooling themself.

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Hagoth
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Re: The Church killed what NOM was originally intended to be

Post by Hagoth » Sun Oct 11, 2020 8:46 am

When I saw Bednar's name I thought you were going to talk about how he has changed the meaning of free agency. Once you get baptized agency "...is no longer individual agency. It is enlarged to become representative agency... the hymn is called Choose the Right, not Choose What Ya Want... Do we have the option not to pay our tithing? Nope... It is not the exercise of agency anymore, because what happened to our individual agancy? It was enlarged, now it is more important to represent Him... Read in the scriptures what happens to covenant breakers. I guarantee you, you will not go to sleep."
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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Hagoth
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Re: The Church killed what NOM was originally intended to be

Post by Hagoth » Sun Oct 11, 2020 8:55 am

Blashyrkh wrote:
Sun Oct 11, 2020 6:01 am
The church is slowly but surely opening the doors to the LGBTQ.
But only because pretty much everybody else is a step ahead of them. They really have no choice. I believe they are only doing so out of desperation to stay somewhat relevant. Among recent major developments have been the Proclamation and the November policy. Hardly progressive. They DO however continue to deliver lip service without actually making any substantial progress. But you're right, at least some seeds are being planted for when the current Quorum of Curmudgeons die.
Blashyrkh wrote:
Sun Oct 11, 2020 6:01 am
I will go out on a limb but I predict that when the current generation kids in the church become the leaders and all the moronic Bednarites pass away that you will see lgbtq people married in the temple.
Maybe so, but they will probably be dead last in doing so.

I'm glad the church is trying to present a less toxic message. I would like to believe it's out of sincere concern for people on the fringes, but I am far from convinced that this is the case. It is a concession to the alternative of losing their next generation membership.

Also, let's not forget that Utah had the highest per-capita Trump voters.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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Hagoth
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Re: The Church killed what NOM was originally intended to be

Post by Hagoth » Sun Oct 11, 2020 9:04 am

Red Ryder wrote:
Fri Oct 09, 2020 10:57 am
The great Cwald once said (paraphrasing), “this ain’t NOM, it’s just an attempt to recreate the original NOM.” He was right, and he was wrong. This place may not be the middle way soft landing spot anymore, but it’s still a pretty damn great place to learn from each other.
I think Cwald (God love him) was mostly wrong in his evaluation of what he thought the current board was trying to do. I see NOM 2.0 as a way of continuing the community after the harsh realization that the church will never tolerate any sort of middle-way. NOM's role may have diminished, but for those who relish torture there is always StayLDS.

I totally agree that it's a damn great place.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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blazerb
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Re: The Church killed what NOM was originally intended to be

Post by blazerb » Sun Oct 11, 2020 6:43 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Sun Oct 11, 2020 9:04 am
I think Cwald (God love him) was mostly wrong in his evaluation of what he thought the current board was trying to do. I see NOM 2.0 as a way of continuing the community after the harsh realization that the church will never tolerate any sort of middle-way. NOM's role may have diminished, but for those who relish torture there is always StayLDS.

I totally agree that it's a damn great place.
I think this is an awesome spot. I thought I could do the middle way at one point, but it has become impossible for me.

It seems that many of the scholars in the church are able to maintain the middle way, after a manner. Many have beliefs that differ greatly from the traditional narrative. Personally, I think the church tolerates them because they keep a few more tithe-payers coming, at least temporarily. They create the illusion that nuanced belief is accepted at church. It is really only accepted for a small number of the elite that the leaders want to hold on to. The leaders do not want a large contingent of middle way believers. It would complicate their job.

Maybe NOM is not what was envisioned when it started, but it fits my situation really well.

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Not Buying It
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Re: The Church killed what NOM was originally intended to be

Post by Not Buying It » Mon Oct 12, 2020 5:27 am

Hagoth wrote:
Sun Oct 11, 2020 8:55 am
I'm glad the church is trying to present a less toxic message. I would like to believe it's out of sincere concern for people on the fringes, but I am far from convinced that this is the case. It is a concession to the alternative of losing their next generation membership.
I find it so fascinating that on the one hand they recognize some of those things were toxic, but so few people connect the dots regarding the implications of God's one true church having so many toxic things in it.
blazerb wrote:
Sun Oct 11, 2020 6:43 pm
It seems that many of the scholars in the church are able to maintain the middle way, after a manner. Many have beliefs that differ greatly from the traditional narrative. Personally, I think the church tolerates them because they keep a few more tithe-payers coming, at least temporarily. They create the illusion that nuanced belief is accepted at church. It is really only accepted for a small number of the elite that the leaders want to hold on to. The leaders do not want a large contingent of middle way believers. It would complicate their job.
I really hate when scholars in the Church pretend there is more room for middle way Mormonism in the Church than there really is. Terryl Givens is horrible that way.
"The truth is elegantly simple. The lie needs complex apologia. 4 simple words: Joe made it up. It answers everything with the perfect simplicity of Occam's Razor. Every convoluted excuse withers." - Some guy on Reddit called disposazelph

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