Tuesday, July 29, 2008

It's fun to be an exmo!

In honor of my radio interview, Ray Agostini was kind enough to write a post here on things I've posted about how cool the exmo community is, and about how much fun it is to be an exmo!!!

Now you may be asking yourself "What's cool about having been part of an organization that is full of institutionalized sexism, racism, and homophobia, one which is actively fighting for public discrimination against homosexuals, one whose culture has emphatically embraced consumersim, not to mention that whole polygamy can 'o worms?" But the thing is that as an exmo -- a non-believer -- you're not obligated to convince yourself that any of those things are good (or inspired by a supposedly loving God, etc.). Instead, you can offer constructive criticism on such points as a friend and family member while focusing on what's fun about being a part of the Mormon experience!

Here's one thing I like about it:

Being part of Mormonism is like being from an exotic foreign country with its own history, traditions, culture, and even language to some degree! (or jargon at least...) Let's face it: being a white person from midwest U.S.A. is, well, a little bland. And (no offense, Christians, but) what is more boring than being from mainstream Christian stock like everybody else? Compare that to following the "American Mohammed" into the new world religion and looking back on making the trek across the plains to the wild west. And now, generations later, we have all that and mountains of jello jokes!!

What more could you want? :D


Bob said...

Hi, I stumbled across your blog and it looks interesting. I am also an ex-mormon, although I was raised in the Boston area so it wasn't as strict as it is in Utah. I have a friend who is still LDS and I was hoping you could give me some info on the LDS church actively pushing for discimination against gays. My friend has this habit of beleiving the church is as liberal as she is and I would love some ammo/cites for the next time she tries to pull that crap.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Bob!!!

Well, the most recent example -- which has been discussed all over the Bloggernacle lately -- is the letter that the church sent to all wards in California (to be read from the pulpit) encouraging members to donate their time and money to passing an anti-gay-marriage amendment to the state constitution. There are some articles about it here and here.

p.s. If you have a blog, would you like me to add you to Outer Blogness?

John Evo said...

I don't know C.L., I just can't work up any Exmo pride. To me, it wouldn't matter if I had been a Baptist, a Buddhist or a Brahman. It was just the silly tradition that I was born into and that I cleared my head of when I was about 18. Maybe it would have been different had I maintained a bunch of LDS contacts over the years. But I only really see a couple of people who were Mormons back then, and still are. If anyone wants to throw an Exmo Pioneer Day parade with hot dogs and root beer, I'd...

What I AM proud of is that I figured out, largely on my own, that my family religion (and everyone elses) was shit.

By the way, that cool about the radio show. I'm going get to it soon. Now that you are a star, we can at least consider you for an appearance here.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey John!!!

The thing is that exmos don't have a hot-dog and root-beer pioneer day parade. When exmos get together, they go out for beers, and I can tell you from experience that it's fun! Yet another reason why being exmo is cooler than being mo. ;^)

But seriously, I understand where you're coming from in terms of not having any particular attachment to Mormon culture. Different people have different levels of attachment to their traditions and to the random trappings of their culture, and this attachment is not necessarily linked to belief level. So what I'm saying in this post is that it's okay for people to like their Mormon heritage even if they don't believe in God. In fact, being an exmo is one step more fun because (as you point out) you get the experience of having figured it out on top of the experience of having been in it. That's why I wrote a whole novel about it. :D

And I'd love to join in your goddamned podcast!! I'll tell you when I get my skype working...

Matt said...

Well, chanson, putting it that way certainly does make it seem interesting. Exotic foreign country? How about exotic tropical island? Have you seen or heard of the TV program "Lost"?

Yeah, mormonism is something like that ... a cross between Lord of the Flies, Cast Away, and Gilligan's Island, but with other stuff even Fox wouldn't stoop low enough to produce ... The Stepford Wives (sure, no island but, meh, robots), Swiss Family Robinson, every book written by Ayn Rand but reconstituted with a mash-up sampling of every kooky 18th century protestant religious notion, and topped-off with a sticky dollup of PR-manufactured self-conciousness. Yeah, it's rich. Too rich.

So I totally see your point. It's fun. Not boring at all. Embarrassing though. :)

v_quixotic said...

Hey C.L.

I grew up in a secular family where I was pretty much left alone to develop my own philosophy/beliefs etc. And you know what? I sometimes feel I've missed out by not being subjected to the whole religious indoctrination thing, especially when there are cultures with the rich and quirky aspects of mormonism out there... As a youngster, I was jealous of my Catholic friends who had the whole confession and transubstantiation thing going on, but Mormonism is so much more fascinating! (I really looking forward to the next installment of your novel, by the way.)

So, yeah, if I could choose a religion to be excommunicated from, it would definitely be the Mormons. [sigh]

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Matt!!!

Exactly! See? You get it now. ;^)

Thanks V. Quixotic!!!

I hope my little novel will help those who never had the pleasure of intensive religious indoctrination to understand better what it's like. Because -- as amusing as it was -- it's one of those things that might be more enjoyable vicariously. I know it's a whole lot more fun now (in retrospect) than it was at the time. ;^)

Bob said...

Cool, thanks much. I have a blog, but it's not about being an exmo. It's about cooking. Heh. As for enjoying being an exmo, it certainly has it's pluses. But I do get sick of some of the questions that are *always* asked. "how many moms do you have?", "can you really not have caffeine?", "do you make pizza for old people?", etc. Especially since I have found I have to repeat "I am no longer a mormon" a dozen times before people actually believe you.

My biggest issue with it (and all revealed religions, really) is the whole reliance on faith. Faith, IMO, is bad. You should never believe something just because someone says you should, which is really what it boils down to. Oh, and the whole "still, small voice" thing is a load of bs. I have never heard of someone having it "tell" them anything they didn't already know was right.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Bob!!!

Yeah, that's true. While it's okay to have fun with being an exmo, it's also okay not to be into it. ;^)

That said, you can be listed in Outer Blogness even if you never talk about Mormonism on your blog. Just give me your URL -- you wouldn't be the only exmo on the list whose blog is exclusively a cooking blog. :D

Bob said...

Well then sure, what the hell. I'm at icookstuff.blogspot.com . Thanks. :)

Being an exmo can be amusing. My favorite time telling someone was when me and a guy I worked with were drinking after work and listening to some Slayer. Religion came up and I mentioned I was raised mormon. His eyes almost popped out of his head. Then he asked how many moms I had. Sigh. Heh. :) Although, despite my dislike of mormonism in general I do like setting peoples misconceptions straight. Not so much out of defense of the religion, just in defense of facts. And I am frequently surprised at the crap people think LDS people do/can't do.

The Sinister Porpoise said...

Some of your comments are a little off here. My ancestors were not pioneers, the ones who came to this country were Mennonites.

They stood up against the Roman Catholic Church, but they were farmers when they came to this country and for some reason, my father decided to become Mormon.

It's a little strange, but understandable when you consider the family history of heresy.

Joe said...

It is disconcerting to be defending Mormon doctrine while knowing you don't believe a word of it. It's even weirder when you're doing it with a believing Mormon!

On the other hand, I sometimes look back and can't figure out why I believed what I did so strongly. Then I talk to a TBM and realize I never did, at least not the way they do.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Bob!!!

I understand completely. I touched on this a bit in my post Standing up for Your (Former) Beliefs. Even if I don't believe it, that doesn't mean I like seeing people spreading misconceptions, especially when it's a prelude to explaining that their own religion (by contrast) makes perfect sense and inspires nothing but virtue, etc.

Hey Sinister Porpoise!!!

Good point -- not everyone has precisely the same amusing history with Mormonism. ;^)

Hey Joe!!!

Looking back on it now, and even reading my old journals, it's hard for me to say precisely what I believed and how fervently. It varied over time. But I was never sure I had a real "testimony" so I guess it's clear I never believed it quite the way some people do.

BTW -- so you're a former Mormon? Can I add your blog to Outer Blogness too?

Joe said...

You can add my blog if you want; it's mostly just rants about Visual Studio.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Joe!!!

lol, a popular topic that has historically been underrepresented in Outer Blogness. I've just added you. :D

Eugene said...

I really enjoyed your segment. Heck, the LDS publicity department should put you on retainer: "Ex-Mormon and not bitter! So can you!"

C. L. Hanson said...

Thanks Eugene!!!

I wish they would! But I'm not convinced that the LDS publicity department wants to spread the word that not all exmos are bitter -- it could potentially undermine the message that leaving the church is bad...

KC said...

I am brand new to the ex-mo community and your blog is officially the first piece of sacrilege I have read, aside from Leaving the Saints. Congratulations! (That's not sarcasm). You made me chuckle. I'm glad you're not bitter, hopefully I won't be in a few years either.

C. L. Hanson said...

Thanks KC Elaine!!!

I'm really glad you like my writing, and I'm always happy to welcome another exmo to the online community!!!

Can I add your blog(s) to Outer Blogness?