We all know that if we were not raised in whatever religion we happen to have been born into, we probably wouldn't believe in things like Jesus, large arks containing two of every animal, talking bushes, and the rapture.
I would have never believed... EVER... that a man named Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I wouldn't have been duped into feeling guilty that I didn't want to marry at 19 and have tons of babies with a return missionary, I wouldn't have gone through one of the hardest times I have ever had in my life. Realizing that Mormonism, and then God, were not really true.
After coming to the realization, I had to mourn my deceased loved ones all over again. Of course I was sad when they passed away, but in my heart I felt I would see them again, and that made me feel better. Now, understanding and taking into account all of the information at my fingertips, I have to realize that there might not be anything after we die, and that they really might be gone. Forever. It's not a good feeling, as a matter of fact, the first time I thought about this I cried for hours.
I was brainwashed into thinking these things. I didn't CHOOSE to believe in them, they were taught to me. By my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, neighbors, schoolteachers, and almost everyone I came into contact with in my hometown in Utah. Of course I believed them, why would they lie to me?
They didn't know they were lying to me.
Thats the thing.
They believed because they were taught to believe... just like I was.
I thought I would share some videos that really depict how kids are brainwashed into believing religious dogma. They are worth watching, and they really make you think... they might make you angry as well. :\
This kid reminds me of Lurch from the Adam's family:
Sounds like Lurch, too... doesn't he?
What is crazier than getting a group of teenagers together and having them make a video expressing the thought that everyone was going to die in the near distant future? Seriously... what the fuck?? Christians don't even think twice about this because they are so convinced the end of days in near, that we will all face judgment before a God, and that it is their duty to convince everyone else to subscribe to the same beliefs.
How would they feel if a Voodoo Priestess made a similar video, expressing the idea that all kids were going to die in the near distant future and she was the only one who could cast a spell and help them live for eternity? Is that really any different? Both sides are convinced they are correct, and both sides are mistaken IMO.
In this next video we see another approach to getting your kids to believe dogma:
Oh, that will teach him to be an atheist! Take away Christmas! No presents for the kid unless he agrees that Jesus Christ is his savior!
Again, WTF is this woman thinking? Is she taking into account that her Christian beliefs are not in harmony with her behavior to her son? Did she just walk up to him, threaten him, tell him to give her a "fucking break Michael," and get in his face like that?
This lady is a well-known wack-job who was the main focus of the documentary "Jesus Camp."
She had these kids crying, singing, speaking in tongues, convulsing on the floor, and promising to devote themselves to the "War" against the devil.
One of her comments in this video gives me the chills...
"I believe this so much, that I have given my whole life to see to it that you get there."
She is a gifted speaker. She has the kids right in the palm of her hand. Making the kids feel like they are really important to her, to God, to the supposed war that is taking place. Telling them Harry Potter is evil, challenging them that they are one person at church and another at home or with their friends, telling them that they do things they shouldn't do (HOW WOULD SHE KNOW???) talk dirty (HUH?) and the kids look at her with awe and tears in their eyes.
She has CONVINCED these kids that they are bad, sinners, that they don't deserve the things they have, that they are selfish in their lives. Why is this so important to religious groups? Guilty people want to feel better.
What does this do to a kids self-esteem, though?
Personally, I would constantly question myself and my actions as a child. Would God be okay with what I was doing? Was I trying hard enough? Was I good enough?
I had nothing to feel guilty about. I was a good kid. I was on the honor roll, I had friends that I loved dearly, I didn't lie, cheat, or steal... yet I was made to feel like I was scum, and the only thing that could make me better was Jesus, God, Joe Smith, the Mormon Prophet and of course the religious dogma that caused the guilt in the first place.
This goes on and on in a person's life. I was 28 years old when I stopped believing in Mormonism. I was a grown woman with a full time job, I volunteered, I was kind to EVERYONE, yet I felt I wasn't good enough. I wasn't good enough because I wasn't following God's plan for me. Marriage, children, temple, church attendance, tithing, and guilt.
This is so unfair.
Looking back at the people who shaped my religious experiences, I find myself wondering where they are now. I know my Mom is out of the church, and that she is happy. I know my brothers are okay and not really subscribing to any particular belief system, my cousins are somewhat believers but not active, and the rest of my relatives are pretty much the same as they were when I was a kid. Mostly on my Dad's side of the family. Very, very, very Mormon.
This is an example of Mormon videos meant to teach members of the church how to introduce their children to the doctrine and help them develop their own testimonies:
This is a perfect example of how over-produced and fake religious videos can be. The lack of sincerity, lets face it... not everyone is an actor... The cheesy music, the young boy sitting in the back of the car sad because he wasn't sure if he had a testimony, the father getting a serious look on his face as he comes to terms with the fact that his son is questioning the church and his lack of a testimony, the mother sitting there... silent... letting the penishood holder do all the talking. She is, after all, just a woman.
Then things get serious. Mom looks at Dad again, gives him an encouraging, adoring smile, and keeps her mouth shut. Dad shuts off the radio, because this is serious... we are talking about Mormon testimonies here...
Then Dad starts reminding his son about the warm fuzzies. How they are proof that God listens to our prayers. They aren't just "feelings." They are special feelings. Put there by the Holy Ghost! Then, 2:14 into the video, the actress playing the mother finally gets a line!
Mom: Remember the other day when we were reading the Book of Mormon and you wanted to keep reading? Why didn't you want to stop? Son: I got this tingly feeling inside... that's the Holy Ghost? Dad: That's right son! That's how a testimony FEELS.Um... sorry. Don't buy it. Nope. No little kid is going to sit down with his parents, read the Book of Mormon and enjoy it to the point that they don't want to stop. They would jump off the couch, run to the door and say, "Gonna go to Jack's house! Toodles!"
This video was made to tear at the emotions of Mormon parents. Making them connect with this man's parents who are probably long dead. That is another way the church tries to keep people in the fold. Reminding them of the sacrifices their ancestors made when they came across the plains to Utah for the church, the fact that they suffered for their faith, how many of them died and how hard it was. This was used on me countless times by MANY people. My ancestors came from Sweden, by boat, only to discover the saints had left for Utah. They were tired, hungry, and they had very little... but they made the decision to keep going and join the Saints in Utah.
I was told that if I left the church, I would be pretty much slapping them in the face and telling them that their sacrifices meant nothing to me. That I was telling them I didn't want to be with them for eternity.
Now look at this man's parents, how they helped him when he was a child realize that he had a testimony, and had they not helped him, where would he be?
Of course, any faithful Mormon thinks that nothing good happens to people who leave the church. Where would he be? Probably addicted to meth, in prison for rape and murder, and *gasp* drinking coffee on a regular basis.
Brainwashing puts irrational fears in your mind, consequences you will face if you don't do what the group wants you to do. It's actually quite scary how often they do this... and how MANY of them do it.
This next video is something I have shared before, but she says what I think so well that I want to share it again. She really takes the words out of my mouth:
I always had a problem with what she was describing, and I, too, never got up to share my testimony with the congregation on fast Sunday.
The paragraph repeated over and over to these young kids, and then they are encouraged to repeat it to everyone else, is a form of brainwashing. Let's also remember that everyone also fasts on this day, making the brain a little more easy to be manipulated. A child sits there, with their family, listens to the people they know and trust promise the church is true with tears in their eyes, and they believe them. Why shouldn't they? These are the people that love and take care of them.
It's sick. It's wrong. I hope it stops one day. I really do!