Having grown up in an organization that uses brainwashing, then later managing to break out of it, it seems every time I turn around I discover something new that surprises me. I have fond memories of Young Mens activities and camping trips; and while I may not be in contact with any of those individuals now, at the point in my life when I was going through young mens their friendship was something I really needed.
More recently, I was able to talk to some female ex-mormons (alias BlissfulHeretic in particular) that shared with me what the equivalent experience for young women is like. And what I heard came as something of a shock. She described youth camp where they could force false emotions under peer pressure, particularly at the testimony meeting; they would do “spirit walks” where they would go blind folded to their campsite holding on to an “iron rod” (rope) while people try to “tempt” them into letting go — and failure meant starting over from the beginning. The description of girls still clinging to the rope as they carried it back to their campsite is still haunting to me.
Then there is the recitation of the Young Women’s Theme. Picture a room full of girls reciting this in a chant-like monotone week after week on Sundays:
We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him. We will stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places as we strive to live the Young Women values, which are:
Choice and Accountability
We believe as we come to accept and act upon these values, we will be prepared to strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.
The guys had nothing like this. I grew up completely oblivious to the blatant cult-like brainwashing my own sisters were subject to while we “priesthood holders” could barely keep straight who was supposed to cover a lesson that week. It is true that the men go on missions which makes up for this, but even then it’s still worse for the women; and most men won’t realize this without stopping to think about it.
Mormons have fairly desirable promises for men. In the hereafter we get virtually unlimited wives, get to become a god and stand atop own own topless throne for our own people to worship. Women get to sit back and spit out spirit babies as rapidly as possible (remember, they have to produce billions of spirits!) all the while disappearing into their spiritual kitchen to serve their divine husband that they have to share with other women. No wonder Utah leads the nation in depression!
It may seem that all that brainwashing is used to counter the misery that the church causes for women. On the contrary, the misery increases the level of commitment and by extension strengthens their emotional bond with the church. Believe it or not, the absolute misery the women in the Mormon church put up with works in the church’s favor. While there are some newer, more progressive sects of Christianity out there that don’t have this problem, they’re in the minority, since there is actually a scriptural basis for the mistreatment of women in the bible. Consider Genesis chapter 3 where God chastises Adam for partaking the fruit. He then turns to eve and… well, read it, verse 6:
To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.”
Read this in context. Adam gets a slap in the wrist while Eve is cursed with… painful child birth. The attitude of the bible authors becomes even more clear a few chapters later when they start a verse this way (emphasis added):
that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose.
When you consider the conspicuous absence of Lilith despite her being known to early Christians and even appearing in the Dead Sea Scrolls it’s apparent that Christians didn’t want their women getting any ideas. Joseph Smith continued the proud tradition of Christians mistreating women by the inclusion of D&C 132 and his practice of polyandry. Even so, if Mormon tradition doesn’t tear them down, the church’s Christian roots will.
Now, despite all this, I don’t think there’s much to be gained from overzealous feminism, changing the spelling of common words to remove masculine references (such as “womyn”) or anything ridiculous like that. My point in all this is to point out something for the men out there that they may not be aware of, or may not have noticed because they were themselves brainwashed by the same organization. Women are treated really poorly in the LDS church, and that poor treatment makes the brainwashing far harder to penetrate. It’s still possible, it just requires patience and understanding. They have a bigger barrier to overcome. But they have you to help them do it.
For women who are reading this and have male loved ones that are trapped by the bonds of brainwashing, understand that a mission can and often does give their brain a thorough scrubbing; but take heart. They don’t have the strengthening factor that comes with the sacrifice, which means there’s a lower barrier. You got out, so can they.
Describing how to get them out is beyond the scope of this post, but I hope this puts some new perspective on what’s happening and why getting your loved one out of the church would be such a huge blessing for them.