Saturday, April 21, 2018

Flogging a Dead Horse While Skinning a Cat

“If you want to be invited to the secret goat rituals you need to be chill af.”

Editor's Note: we do not condone animal cruelty in any way. The second half of the title is taken from/reference to an 1840 article on money diggers in the 19th century (i.e., Joseph Smith) complete with Captain Kidd references and all. Now on to what you're here for...

Listen up, nevermos and neverjws. This blog’s for you.

Today we’re wrapping up our series on the Tapir/Sparlock Signal volunteers who have had close encounters of the cult-y kind but managed to avoiding joining the Latter Day Saints or Jehovah’s Witnesses. FSM_Noodly_Luv, Erin, and Ryan have all had loved ones impacted by these sects, and as such, they have some advice for current and aspiring volunteers – especially those who have never stepped foot in a cultural or Kingdom hall.

Here are some of the knowledge bombs they’ve dropped:
  1. Coffee: just roll with it.

  2. Mormonism and the Witnesses are all-encompassing religions with very insular communities.

    Both are incredibly high-demand religions, not only taking up numerous hours of the week but also at times dictating a person’s entire future. Many Mormon women are pushed into motherhood regardless of their desire for children, for example, and many Witnesses are strenuously discouraged from pursuing higher education.

    And unless you’ve left a similarly high-pressure environment, it can be difficult to understand and sympathize as a nevermo/jw.

    “Empathy. No judgment,” Erin advised. “In a lot of cases, these people have never known anything else. Give support. Lots of it. And learn.”

    Listen to peoples’ experiences and realize that Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witnesses are more than just religions; in many cases they’re lifestyles. Think about what it would mean for you to change fundamental aspects of your life – your career, your friends, your home. That can be what it feels like to leave the church.

  3. Tea: for more than just spelling!

  4. In some cases, you’re the face of life outside of the church.

    “One of the most important things I’ve noticed is that most of these communities are so insulated that members really don’t know there is an outside world,” FSM_Noodly_Luv said. “The most important thing you can do is show that there are people who are good and caring outside of the religious community.”

    Part of the doctrine of both the JWs and LDS is that the world outside of the church is sinful and should either be converted or avoided. That programming can be hard to shake off for people who are trying to leave. A friendly ear, a supportive word, and a kind gesture can go a long way in helping people forge new paths outside of the boundaries of religion.

  5. Milk: it's good for health both in the navel and the bones!

  6. This is not about you (editor's note: except when it is, like the last couple of blog posts, and we're okay with that).

    Let’s be honest; some of us are here because we can’t look away from these fascinating trainwrecks (Author’s Note: I am a nevermo/jw and I plead guilty to this charge). That’s fine as long as you’re respectful about it. Remember while you’re laughing at Joe Smith’s bullshit and the Governing Body’s weird obsession with dry-humping pillows, that many of the people that the Tapir/Sparlock Signal works with are in real pain, have experienced hardship, and are struggling.

    Leaving a religion like these can be an intensely personal experience with varying degrees of trauma – or sometimes it doesn’t faze an ex-member at all. What they feel is up to them. And be particularly careful if you happen upon people who still somewhat believe.

    “Let them make their own journey,” Ryan advised. “It’s just human nature to double down on beliefs when confronted with something that challenges them. If a person is starting to wake up, it means they’re finally allowing themselves to question things they’re not supposed to question.”

If you are in need of help, you can reach us here.

If you are feeling suicidal, please call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or 1-800-784-2433 (outside the US, these calls are free via Skype).

If you are LGBT+ and need to talk, please contact the LGBT National Hotline at 1-888-843-4564 or find them online here.

Know you are safe and among friends and we will do whatever we can to help.

Lastly, if you would like to be involved or volunteer, you can reach out to us here.

Tapir/Sparlock Signal is always looking for volunteers in a variety of areas including housing, employment, and other practical concerns as well as LGBT issues and suicide awareness. Contact us for more details.

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