Sealed to the church by shame

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Hagoth
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Sealed to the church by shame

Post by Hagoth » Mon Jan 10, 2022 7:31 pm

A recent Mormon Stories a guest, Matt Purcell, was talking about crippling shame after confessing teenage masturbation. John Dehlin gave what I thought was a pretty good summary of how the church uses shame to lock its members into a full-nelson of religious devotion:

If you’re feeling guilty and terrible about yourself, then you feel like you need something to help you, something to fix you, and that’s where Jesus and the atonement comes in. Jesus and his atonement can make it all right, but you don’t go to Jesus directly. They insert themselves in between you and Jesus. You gotta talk to your bishop, and you gotta confess and repent and forsake your sins, and so you’re on this shame, unworthiness cycle and spiral that kind of binds you to the church as the only way you’re ever going to get out of this, and that’s the way you get really sealed. Your commitment gets sealed to the church because without the church you can’t access the atonement, and without the atonement you’re going to die a sinful person and go to a bad place when you die.
Are shame and fear a primary motivator for most devout people, or does it only work on some? I know it really worked on me. The shame/self-hate/repent/recommit/shame/self-hate/repent/recommit... cycle resonates with me as a way to keep people pushing that boulder up the hill.
“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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Angel
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Re: Sealed to the church by shame

Post by Angel » Mon Jan 10, 2022 8:27 pm

I did not convert due to shame, I joined because I thought it was a safe group of people.

I was wrong. Kids were abused. Grooming vs. kind - difficult to see the difference when desperate for someone to be kind and supportive. I support myself now.

For those with problems - real problems - the shame culture makes those problems worse in my experience.
“You have learned something...That always feels at first as if you have lost something.” George Bernard Shaw
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Palerider
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Re: Sealed to the church by shame

Post by Palerider » Tue Jan 11, 2022 9:23 am

I probably didn't have the intellect at the time to break it down the way you have Hagoth. I don't think many teenagers do. And this post doesn't answer your original question but I do want people who read it who are guests here to have a clue how this works......or doesn't.

I think one of the places the church goes quite wrong is expecting young people who are just on the cusp of learning self discipline to be 100% successful in that effort before they are allowed to go on their missions and then during the mission and then after the mission as well. They expect 100% perfection from 100% of those kids. And they really are just kids.
Scientifically the human brain doesn't even complete it's growth process until age 21.

So yes, the church creates what is in most cases an unreachable standard of what they consider "righteousness" and withholds "blessings" in the form of pseudo-rituals if you can't be perfect against their measuring stick.

I mean, how many other religions literally control your ability to get married????

Oh you can get "married" civilly (which we ALL know isn't a real marriage) and bear the shame of having been unable to measure up. Then get sealed in the temple a year or so later but always know that you failed to do it the right way.

And the other problem is the comparison thing. You have to recognize that all those guys in leadership; EQ. pres., Bishopric, SP.... they all did it right. You are a weak link. You can feel very isolated and alone both before, during and after your mission.

Before I left for my mission a couple of friends and I decided to go deer hunting together. On the way the conversation drifted to girls, dating, and the difficulties encountered in staying "virtuous". One of those guys (who I didn't know really well) surprised me by saying he just absolutely hated masturbation because for him it was just so unconquerable. He expressed how terrible he felt all the time and that he had seriously considered cutting his penis off.

You had to be there to feel and understand his utter desperation and feeling of degradation. No young man should EVER have to put himself through such agony over such a common human issue.

But the mission worthiness "right of passage" brings an artificial, unnatural and psychologically unhealthy weight to bear on this issue and on the individual.

Having trained a number of horses during my life, I can tell you that you can absolutely ruin a young horse by asking him to do things that his brain is not prepared for. They can only take a certain amount of pressure and then they will blow up. Partnering with a horse is a long trust building process if you want a successful outcome. They have to be allowed to grow at their own rate or they can be ruined.

The church does great damage to young members by forcing unrealistic expectations (which I suspect many of leadership were unable to attain themselves, how would we know?) on the youth. And church leadership also pays a price for that stupidity in the form of high inactivity rates even though they can't understand why. Because as we all know, it's never their fault. :|
"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."

"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light."

George Washington

Red Ryder
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Re: Sealed to the church by shame

Post by Red Ryder » Tue Jan 11, 2022 11:58 am

Nobody actually explained WHY masturbation was bad. Only that it was considered a sin against the law of chastity. However, in the temple the law of chastity only meant no sexual relations with anyone other than your legally wedded (opposite sex) spouse. As a kid you think your the only one with the “problem…”

Teachings often alluded to it as a sin because you would be waking those passions within your body.

These teachings really induced shame and taught you to lie in worthiness interviews. That’s the real rub (no pun intended).

The church teaches everyone to lie.

Masturbation? Nope…
Scriptures read for seminary? Sure (wink wink)
Mission stats? Yes we taught ten 1st discussions!
BoM’s handed out? Uh….. 26 sounds right.
Temple worthy for marriage? No we didn’t touch!
Home teaching stats? 100% of course.

Affinity fraud? Why would I lie and steal your money? My company was looking for investors just like you and the Stake President! It’s not a sham. Why am I wing charged with fraud?

Then Mormons end up lying to themselves in the form of repetition of testimonies. Doubt your doubts. Doubt your intellect and gut feelings.

The real shame is being born and raised as a Mormon. Then trying to figure your way out.

We’ve been watching the cult belief show on A&E. So many toxic religious groups doing similar damage to their members in the name of a Jesus to engorge the wealth and ego of its religious founders and leaders.

Use normal human behavior against humans to create a problem/sin that prevents you from living with God again. Then have the church solve the problem/sin through acting as the intermediary back to God. It’s a brilliant idea.

From now on, anyone eating any amount of sugar will now be cut off from Gods presence in the after life. UNLESS you absolve yourself from this “sin” and confess to me that you have struggled and failed. I’ll take 10% of your income*, a few hours of your time, a ton of your hero worship and attention… then perhaps tell you you’ve repented and can see God again. Unless of course you slip up!

Then we can repeat the process!

*Send tithes and offerings to:
President Red Ryder
PO Box 12345
Red Ryder Wing, Vatican Rome
Italy
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

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Linked
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Re: Sealed to the church by shame

Post by Linked » Tue Jan 11, 2022 12:47 pm

That's an interesting quote which gets to the heart of the scheme to convince you that you are broken and sell you the cure.

I think the shame acts as a false proof of the church's narrative. They tell you that it is bad and that you will feel bad, then when you do it confirms that they are correct. Masturbation in particular is a good choice because as a young person it's a confusing situation, which can add to feeling bad. It's also no surprise that when you do something that many people you trust say is terrible that you would feel terrible.

That feeling of shame is so real that it makes other things that may not be real seem real. So you get convinced that God hates masturbation and that the church has some truth because they were right about this thing. And then you spend tons of time and attention on this "problem" so there is no mental space to explore other possibilities. It also helps that the church poisons other sources of truth, so you discount an idea immediately if it's not from the church.
"I would write about life. Every person would be exactly as important as any other. All facts would also be given equal weightiness. Nothing would be left out. Let others bring order to chaos. I would bring chaos to order" - Kurt Vonnegut

Red Ryder
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Re: Sealed to the church by shame

Post by Red Ryder » Tue Jan 11, 2022 1:02 pm

Linked wrote:
Tue Jan 11, 2022 12:47 pm

That feeling of shame is so real that it makes other things that may not be real seem real. So you get convinced that God hates masturbation and that the church has some truth because they were right about this thing. And then you spend tons of time and attention on this "problem" so there is no mental space to explore other possibilities. It also helps that the church poisons other sources of truth, so you discount an idea immediately if it's not from the church.
Then when you’re on the right side of God you have access to the temple which we all know can be very repetitive and boring so your mind starts to make up things because of the “we will never fully comprehend the temple unless we go a million times” narrative.

The idea of personal revelation then cements these mind games as God’s will and refreshed spirituality and the cycle continues.

It’s really a crazy cycle when you step back and see the patterns that exist.

Shame leads to humility and repentance.
Repentance leads into access to temple and God.
Access to temple brings out feelings of constant unworthiness. Shame cycle continues.

The Mormon machine turns, and churns, and eventually burns spitting out clones and drones of little Mormons who’ll naturally rub their naughty bits and feel shame. It’s part of the Mormon recipe for success.
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

stuck
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Re: Sealed to the church by shame

Post by stuck » Tue Jan 11, 2022 4:04 pm

I am listening to the Mormon Stories episode on Austin Archer and he and apparently most of his high school friends had trouble with masturbation. They denied it before their missions but admitted to it afterwards. This was a downer in my life too. My dad pulled out the "factory" pamphlet by Boyd Packer and warned me against this, but despite this I still struggled with it, but did pretty good until about half way through the mission and then struggled again and again until even in my 40s I wanted to marry a girl but she found out about the problem and her dad was a former bishop and so that didn't pass muster. Oh well she was too conservative--even more so than my current conservative wife.

But yes I agree with all of your comments. This one thing has brought so much guilt and shame in my life until my faith transition. This is another one of those dark things that the church does: uses someone's natural biology against them (I guess you could include homosexuality in this too right?).

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Hagoth
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Re: Sealed to the church by shame

Post by Hagoth » Tue Jan 11, 2022 4:35 pm

stuck wrote:
Tue Jan 11, 2022 4:04 pm
I wanted to marry a girl but she found out about the problem and her dad was a former bishop and so that didn't pass muster.
Crazy that the church can control the intimate details of people's lives to that degree. Speaking of former bishops, Dehlin mentioned that every former church leader who has been willing to discuss the topic with him has admitted to porn and masturbation, including bishops while serving. I'm gonna guess maybe this girl's dad wasn't some kind of uniquely perfect man, only that he expected that from his daughter's mate, as he probably did of the youth of his ward when he was a bishop.
“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."

stuck
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Re: Sealed to the church by shame

Post by stuck » Tue Jan 11, 2022 4:56 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Tue Jan 11, 2022 4:35 pm
stuck wrote:
Tue Jan 11, 2022 4:04 pm
I wanted to marry a girl but she found out about the problem and her dad was a former bishop and so that didn't pass muster.
Crazy that the church can control the intimate details of people's lives to that degree. Speaking of former bishops, Dehlin mentioned that every former church leader who has been willing to discuss the topic with him has admitted to porn and masturbation, including bishops while serving. I'm gonna guess maybe this girl's dad wasn't some kind of uniquely perfect man, only that he expected that from his daughter's mate, as he probably did of the youth of his ward when he was a bishop.
I thought that she was too perfectionistic (deeply entrenched in the Mormon purity culture). I believe that she is still single. I know her parents lived outside of Utah and some of her siblings were no longer active. Perhaps she wanted to be daddy's perfect little girl? It would be interesting to see how this part of Mormon culture compares with other religions right?

Red Ryder
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Re: Sealed to the church by shame

Post by Red Ryder » Tue Jan 11, 2022 5:35 pm

Another weekly reminder brought to you by the ghost of Zadok the Priest:

NEVER CONFESS!
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

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Angel
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Re: Sealed to the church by shame

Post by Angel » Tue Jan 11, 2022 7:49 pm

stuck wrote:
Tue Jan 11, 2022 4:56 pm

I thought that she was too perfectionistic (deeply entrenched in the Mormon purity culture). I believe that she is still single.
Perhaps she will grow up to be another Wendy Nelson - live her life single working as a marriage and family therapist telling everyone else how to have a perfect family while they remain without husband and children. Like Catholic priests who tell others it is prideful to have dogs instead of children, that others (not them) should have more kids.

Nelson getting married so quick to the likes of Wendy was another thing that just really really rubbed me the wrong way. Bragging about his "wives" - plural at GC.... uuuugh.

Whoever she marries, if she ever marries.... I'm sure it will be a perfectly happy household.
“You have learned something...That always feels at first as if you have lost something.” George Bernard Shaw
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Hagoth
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Re: Sealed to the church by shame

Post by Hagoth » Thu Jan 13, 2022 6:50 am

Angel wrote:
Tue Jan 11, 2022 7:49 pm
Whoever she marries, if she ever marries.... I'm sure it will be a perfectly happy household.
On the outside.
Angel wrote:
Tue Jan 11, 2022 7:49 pm
Nelson getting married so quick to the likes of Wendy was another thing that just really really rubbed me the wrong way.
Idea for a Mormon sitcom: through some kind of comedic mixup Wendy ends up married to Willy Nelson, instead of Russel.
“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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Angel
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Re: Sealed to the church by shame

Post by Angel » Thu Jan 13, 2022 1:09 pm

:lol: :lol: :lol:
Someone needs to add reaction buttons to these forums :lol:
“You have learned something...That always feels at first as if you have lost something.” George Bernard Shaw
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Linked
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Re: Sealed to the church by shame

Post by Linked » Sat Jan 15, 2022 11:23 am

“The antidote to shame is understanding” - Paul Conti M.D. (Psychiatrist)

Psychiatrist Paul Conti was on The Drive podcast this week and made this comment (around 1:34:00) which I really liked and thought added to this thread. The podcast is about trauma and how that often leads to shame and unhealthy coping symptoms.

The church causes people to feel shame for loads of things. That shame drives people to try to adhere more tightly to the church. The church’s teachings are what cause the shame, so there is little respite there. And the church’s teachings are mutually exclusive with shame-reducing understanding, so people cannot take the antidote.

ETA - I am wondering if psychedelics may affect ones feelings of shame and understanding? Some have mentioned them before. Would anyone in the know be willing to share their thoughts about that?
"I would write about life. Every person would be exactly as important as any other. All facts would also be given equal weightiness. Nothing would be left out. Let others bring order to chaos. I would bring chaos to order" - Kurt Vonnegut

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moksha
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Re: Sealed to the church by shame

Post by moksha » Sat Jan 22, 2022 10:17 am

If there were gradations for such shaming, then I think the LDS Church would come out number one as the most shaming. Most other churches regard masturbation as a normal human activity. The LDS Church also takes the lead in homophobia (although they were neck 'n neck with the Westover Baptist Church before they went defunct).

Inducing shame as a means of enforcing normative behaviors is not something a valid church should be engaged in.
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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Hagoth
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Re: Sealed to the church by shame

Post by Hagoth » Sun Jan 23, 2022 10:10 am

Linked wrote:
Sat Jan 15, 2022 11:23 am
ETA - I am wondering if psychedelics may affect ones feelings of shame and understanding? Some have mentioned them before. Would anyone in the know be willing to share their thoughts about that?
Yes, they can cut right through the fog. That's why psychedelics were the real cause of the "war on drugs," even though they have no resemblance to the other substances in that category. They can dissolve your respect for both dogma and authority figures who try to limit your personal access to your own mind and the Bigger Something (however you define that).

Here's one example. I know a guy who was a security guard at a public event where someone set himself on fire in front of the crowd. He was both traumatized by seeing it and deeply shameful for not being able to prevent it. His life was a shambles of intense PTSD for a decade. Then, after one guided session with 2 grams of mushrooms, his perspective was rebooted. The shame and trauma vanished.
“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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wtfluff
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Re: Sealed to the church by shame

Post by wtfluff » Sun Jan 23, 2022 12:17 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Sun Jan 23, 2022 10:10 am
...

the Bigger Something (however you define that).

...
The B.S.?

Man I hope I can remember that for use in some future conversation that will likely never happen.

"Oh yeah, I definitely believe in The B.S. !"
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

Keep the company of those who seek the truth - run from those who have found it -Václav Havel

The Beauty of Gray

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Hagoth
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Re: Sealed to the church by shame

Post by Hagoth » Sun Jan 23, 2022 3:10 pm

wtfluff wrote:
Sun Jan 23, 2022 12:17 pm
Hagoth wrote:
Sun Jan 23, 2022 10:10 am
...

the Bigger Something (however you define that).

...
The B.S.?

Man I hope I can remember that for use in some future conversation that will likely never happen.

"Oh yeah, I definitely believe in The B.S. !"
:lol:
In your case I think the Bigger Something goes by the name of The Blue Dome
“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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wtfluff
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Re: Sealed to the church by shame

Post by wtfluff » Sun Jan 23, 2022 6:14 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Sun Jan 23, 2022 3:10 pm
wtfluff wrote:
Sun Jan 23, 2022 12:17 pm
Hagoth wrote:
Sun Jan 23, 2022 10:10 am
...

the Bigger Something (however you define that).

...
The B.S.?

Man I hope I can remember that for use in some future conversation that will likely never happen.

"Oh yeah, I definitely believe in The B.S. !"
:lol:
In your case I think the Bigger Something goes by the name of The Blue Dome
Excellent point!

The B.S. which is more than likely related to The B.B.D. (The BIG Blue Dome.)

Wasn't it my favorite alien who typed something here on NOM about sitting on his deck, drinking his home-brew (or PBR) staring at the stars, and "talking to the gods?" (I guess in that case it's The Big BLACK Dome.)

I can definitely relate to "that kind" of "worship."
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

Keep the company of those who seek the truth - run from those who have found it -Václav Havel

The Beauty of Gray

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