A Healthy Dose of Skepticism

Posted by: Andee / Category: , , ,


It's official. My exit from the Mormon Church has turned me into a huge skeptic.

I can't begin to explain how weird it is to look back and realize that I once believed, "with every fiber of my being," that God the Father, Jesus, an angel (sometimes named Moroni, sometimes Nephi) visited a boy named Joe Smith. These heavenly beings led Smith to golden plates buried in a hill. Smith digs and digs and finds the plates. He picks them up, and takes them home (heavy, anyone?) and shows no one. Smith then takes his magic seer stone rock, throws it in a hat, covers the light, and translates the "ancient" writing into what is now the Book of Mormon. *Poof* A new religion is born.

What in the living Hell was I thinking?

Of course, I didn't know about the magic rock part, or the angel with changing names... so I have no problem laying some part of that blame where it rightfully belongs... on the leaders who lie and continue to lie. That isn't what this article is about.

When I speak with believing Mormons about the word "faith" we always come to a stand-still. I now require proof, research and science... where as they take the warm fuzzies and run with them. I don't think bad of them for doing it. I was once there. I was in their shoes... and I am glad to be out of them.

To demonstrate my complete 180 degree change in thinking, I decided to share an absolutely true story about a scary night I had in high school...

I was on the high school basketball team in my junior year. It was our last practice before Christmas break, and some of the girls decided to have a slumber party.

No, Gentlemen. We did not sit around in our nightgowns teaching each other to French kiss. Sorry to ruin the fantasy, but that didn't happen.

Most of you remember, but going into a slumber party of any kind there are plans to stay up all night and do fun and outrageous stuff. There were the usual promises of pranks if anyone was silly enough to lay their head on a pillow.

No, Gentlemen. We did not freeze our friends' bras. Get your minds out of the gutter.

We had dinner. Frozen pizza and french fries. So much for the diet we were supposed to be on for basketball... we just wanted to have fun and chill out.

We sat down to watch a movie in the living room. Speed staring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock kept us occupied until about 11:00 pm. I remember that distinctly because the VHS tape was ruined when we tried to rewind it. It was before the days of DVDs and flat paneled televisions. Good times.

A couple of the girls were starting to get sleepy, so we decided that a game of truth or dare was in order. We all sat in a circle and asked extremely personal questions and dared each other to do stuff like eat sauerkraut (ick) and run up and down the street screaming like a crazy person. It eventually got to the point that we would flat our refuse to do the dares because they got so outrageous. So... we started the inevitable.

No, gentlemen... we didn't make out with each other. Stop It.

Ghost stories.

Ahhh, yes. Ghosties in the night. None of the tales scared me, so I had the idea of pulling out a Ouija board. My friend knew that her sister had one in the attic (because it was, of course, possessed by evil spirits who wanted to take our bodies and roam the earth for small children to kill and then eat). Friend eventually talked her sister into joining us for a full-on, lights out, candle-lit make out session.

Just kidding. It was a seance.

Friends' sister had always intimidated me somewhat. She wasn't shy by any stretch of the imagination, and she had a forceful way about her. She was also very popular in our tiny high school, so most of my b-ball buddies were more than thrilled to have her hang out with us.

Friend's sister (lets call her... I dunno... Kelly...) insisted on being in charge (of course) and set the ground rules for the rest of us. She took on this look of complete authority and intelligence... she acted as if she knew everything there was to know about evil spirits that go bump in the night. Her performance could have easily won her an Oscar. I completely fell into her spell, and so did the other girls. We believed her, because we wanted to. We wanted to believe that the rules and guidelines she set before us were there to help and protect us. Here are some examples:

  • If the Pointer starts spinning in the center of the board, that means an evil spirit is trying to escape through one of the people touching the pointer. If this happens, move pointer to the "Goodbye" spot and wait for further directions.
  • If Kelly's voice, inflection, accent, personality, or appearance changed in any way that meant she was being possessed by the spirit that is trying to communicate. If this happens, do not take your fingers off the pointer or the board... if you do the spirit is loose forever.
  • Any spirit can communicate through the board. Good or bad. Most spirits are bad, and pretend to be good. They will do anything to trick you. Be careful.
  • No one leaves the room. It's for your own safety.
  • No one takes their hands off the pointer in the middle of a session. This is also for your safety.
We all agreed to the rules and we were eager to begin our spiritual night. We sat in a circle, with our legs crossed. Kelly said that was important... some kind of ancient American-Indian way of protecting ourselves. We thought she was so wise.

We opened the board game box, and stared at the board that supposedly had so much power and influence. It was at this time that I remembered my Mom telling me that these things were not to be messed with. I was getting a little uneasy, but I sure as hell wasn't going to be the one to open my mouth about it!

Around this time, girls began to make random comments like, "Oooh, I just got the chills," and "Did that candle just blow itself out?" It made the entire thing a lot scarier than it really was. It didn't help that there was a huge snowstorm going on outside and the thought of losing power was VERY real. It happened all the time in our town. If it were to happen, we would have been convinced it was due to an evil spirit and not the snowfall or wind.

Kelly placed the guide/pointer on the board and called for complete silence. This girl put on the performance of a lifetime. She would become "possessed" over and over again by different spirits. She would talk in accents, she would turn into a man, she would even recall certain events from our lives or families lives that would scare the hell out of us.

At times, she would move her eyeballs... slowly... and then again, slowly, turn the rest of her head to what she was looking at. The whole show was amazing, and I actually used her "possessed" look as inspiration when I was in a play a couple years later. I would like to think that she would be proud... haha...

We were all convinced. We would have all put our hands on a Bible and swore that Kelly was possessed by spirits that night. We believed it. We "knew" it. We were there. We experienced it. None of us could deny it.

This is kind of a silly analogy, but that is how I feel about my exit from the Church. We were all there, we believed it, we "knew" it. We were there, and we experienced it. We thought we could never deny it.

Someone was there, holding my hand, making sure I was "safe" and followed the rules... when there was no reason. None at all.

My, how things change.

Andee


4 comments:

  1. Demand More Says:

    I feel the EXACT same way. It just makes me mad how gulible(sp?) I was and now I question everyting.

    I like to look at this as a good thing though. Now if I only I convince this entire state of te same thing...

  1. Big Hos Says:

    Sorry what? I missed the point of the post that was between my wonderful fantasy of sleep-overs... ha ha ha

    But seriously, you're completely right. Hindsight is 20/20 and man were we gullible or what? Now someone asks me to do something for a client in the office I am like, "what? no way, not until you prove they exist, I ain't wasting my time."

  1. amber Says:

    Great story! And I actually don't think it's a silly analogy at all- it is quite accurate. Charisma is a powerful thing, as is the group mentality, and it is much easier to get sucked in if your peers are going for it too.

  1. Andee Says:

    Thanks for the comments, guys. :)

    I was sure that someone would call me out for an over-simplified or silly analogy, so I am glad it was understood the way it was intended.

    It's really weird, to say the least, to look back and think, "Oh my God! I actually believed that?"

    Wow.

    Thanks for reading, kind friends!