Thursday, June 14, 2012

False advertising in an old video by the LDS church...

Check out this cheesy video from YouTube...



This video is called On the Way Home.  It stars Robert Pine (of CHiPs fame) and was made in 1992.  I had never heard of it until one day a couple of weeks ago.  I was on the Recovery from Mormonism Web site and someone posted about how this video had a subliminal anti-drug message in it.  Since I love cheesy videos, especially if they have not so well hidden messages, I decided to watch this dreck.  By the time I was finished with it, I knew I'd have to review it.  Though this video is just 30 minutes long, I ended up writing a very long review indeed!

And then I ended up baring my testimony as to why this video is utter bullshit and full of false advertising.  The following is an edited excerpt from my review...



Why I don't buy the Mormons' mantra, "Families Forever"

I have never been a member of the LDS church. My husband, however, was a convert about fifteen years ago. He joined the church as his first marriage was failing. At the time, he and his ex wife had been married for seven years. She had a son from her first marriage and they had two young girls together. My husband was not very happy in the marriage, but he loved his family and didn't want to get a divorce.

His ex wife one day decided that she wanted to try Mormonism and said she planned to take the kids to church. My husband went along with it, because he knew there would be trouble if he didn't. Apparently, the church was very welcoming and seemed like the answer to their problems. My husband felt accepted and loved by the members. It seemed like a way to stop the inevitable divorce that loomed on the horizon.

Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately for me), though my husband initially bought into Mormonism, it wasn't enough to save his first marriage. Within two years, he and his ex wife separated, even though they still attended church and had been to the temple to be "sealed for eternity" to each other. About six months after they separated, the ex presented my husband with divorce papers as they celebrated Easter at my husband's father's house. She later claimed that she had only meant to "scare him straight" and get him to change into the man she felt he should be. But he took her offer to divorce seriously and they split up in 2000. Now, in 2012, he has no relationship whatsoever with his daughters, who are now young women. They have shunned him and now consider their mother's third husband their "dad"... despite their real father's efforts to stay involved in their lives and despite the fact that he paid a generous amount of child support to their mother for many years.

If you watch On the Way Home, the overwhelming message you'll get is that joining the LDS church is a ticket to family solidarity, warm, fuzzy feelings, new friends, and good clean fun. The video presents a very appealing package, designed to attract people who are hurting, have experienced loss, or are in a bad place in their lives. But it does not present any of the negative aspects of church membership. Nothing is mentioned about your non-church member friends and family members who will not be able to attend your Mormon wedding unless they too join the church and become "temple worthy". It does not explain what happens if you ultimately decide Mormonism is not for you or how the church uses family ties to bind and gag its members.

LDS church members have a saying among themselves that they use when trying to get people to join their religion. They claim that members should always give potential converts "milk before meat". That means, they don't give converts any information that might make the church look bad or unappealing. They present only the really pleasant, positive, and heartwarming aspects of the church. For example, a member who is trying to recruit an adult child of an alcoholic might emphasize that the LDS church forbids its members to drink alcohol (or coffee or tea). If a potential convert has family that doesn't seem very cohesive, the member might emphasize the church's "family home evening", which requires families to do an activity together on Monday nights. If a family has experienced loss, the church member will tell the potential convert that Mormons believe families can be together forever.

But they don't talk about the less appealing aspects of the religion. No one wants to discuss some of the sketchier details of Joseph Smith's claims of how he founded the church. They don't want to discuss polygamy or the church's not too distant racist past and very recent homophobic policies. They'd rather not talk about the fact that none of the claims made by Joseph Smith are really verifiable; indeed, church members seem to go most on warm and fuzzy feelings and emotions (burning in the bosom), rather than facts, logic, or common sense.

In any case, my husband joined the LDS church and remained faithful to its teachings for several years. Despite his efforts, his marriage still failed and his kids still became very estranged from him. And while some might blame my husband for leaving Mormonism, the fact is, they were estranged from him before he left the church. In fact, their mother had a history of alienating her kids from their fathers. The church had nothing to do with it and did not stop it from happening! So much for "families forever".

Nowadays, we lead a pretty religion free lifestyle. We drink whatever we want to drink and watch whatever films or TV shows we want to watch. We take trips. We wear whatever we want to wear, especially when it comes to our underwear. We spend our Sundays sleeping in. We enjoy each other's company. My husband and I have a very solid and happy marriage, despite the fact that church members promised my husband he'd be missing out on "blessings" if he left Mormonism. Some might say that my husband traded in his blessings in the afterlife for happiness now... And who knows? That could be true. But we are happy together and our marriage has lasted for almost ten great years, already longer than the first marriage he had with his ex wife. And no, we don't have kids together and his kids apparently hate him and are hellbent on erasing him from their lives. But we do have beagles who love us and don't place any conditions or expectations on their love for us. They accept our love and affection without any manipulation or guilt trips. Isn't that the kind of love the Mormons are advertising with this film?

Our lifestyle, in fact, is a lot like the colorful happy montages in On the Way Home... without all the black and white bad memories.

Overall

I don't want to rain on anyone's parade. I know there are people who are delighted to be LDS and love their religion. And that's just fine. If you're getting what you want and need from your belief system, there's no reason at all to change it. You should always do whatever makes you happy. But I can state without hesitation that Mormonism is not the only path to happiness and Mormonism in and of itself really doesn't lead to the joy that this film would have viewers believe.


****

My husband and I have reason to believe that his two daughters, whom he had cared for and supported their whole lives, might have either gotten their last names legally changed or were actually adopted by their mother's third husband. I make a point of not looking up my husband's ex wife or his kids because doing so always messes with my peace. But my husband keeps an eye on his daughters because he loves them. And he was very upset when he told me that his daughters had finally dropped his last name in favor of their stepfather's.


Their stepfather came into their lives when they were children, though they were not so young that they shouldn't be able to remember their real dad. They used to love him. I actually witnessed that love when they visited us once in 2003. The girls' stepfather has been around for more than half of their lives, but he was not around when they were helpless babies who needed diaper changes and doctor's visits. Hell, stepdad wasn't even a legal adult when those kids were babies!


And stepdad, by all accounts, didn't have a job when the girls were young. Yes, he was always around the house, but he wasn't paying the bills. And, by many accounts, he wasn't even interacting with them. He was playing video games.


But my husband's ex wife, in yet another showing of her nasty, vindictive, vile manner, has apparently influenced those two dumb girls to dump the only people they will know besides their mother and other half siblings who have a biological connection to them. Their mother was adopted and, by my husband's account, has always had issues with being adopted. Yet she has apparently decided to visit that reality on her three oldest kids. Eldest son's father never lost his rights, but was not involved in the kid's life until the kid was a grown man and the ex wanted to cut my husband (the man her son called "dad") out of his life.


My husband, apparently a bad person for leaving Mormonism and an abusive ex wife, faithfully supported three kids. He did not fight for his kids the way I would have... But he was there for them in more ways than they realize. And they have thrown him away, in part, for a ridiculous made up religion that they don't even understand.


In all fairness, Mormonism was really just a tool. My husband's ex wife would have done this regardless of whether or not the family had gone LDS. However, when I see a video that promotes Mormonism as a magic cure all for ailing families, I can't help but think about how my husband's family was destroyed. Mormonism didn't stop the destruction. Indeed, it enhanced it. My husband's daughters think he's going to go to hell for "turning away from the truth". Only Mormonism isn't truth.


Let me make one thing very clear. I don't mourn my husband's daughters. If I never heard from them again, I'd be okay with it. I don't like them and fear that they are just as toxic and cruel as their mother is. But my husband is their father and he loves them and always will. It breaks my heart to see him hurt over what they did. It makes me sad that I couldn't give him another child and another chance to be the dad he really is, rather than the absentee sperm donor father he has been painted to be.


As a human being, I pity them for being so colossally stupid. I don't see how they will get to enjoy their "dad" forever. Their mother doesn't know what commitment means... nor does she have a real concept of what family is. And as long as she is in their lives, she will influence them to do dumb things. Add in Mormonism and its magical thinking and you have a disaster of epic proportions.


So yeah, On the Way Home, with its promotion of Mormonism does, to me, seem like false advertising. I don't like this film. I don't think it's harmless or "nice". I think it's dangerous for anyone who is troubled and looking for a solution. Mormonism destroys families.


13 comments:

  1. Pathetic attempt at laying the blame of one person's problems on the LDS church. Grow up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fuck off, anonymous coward from Utah.

      Delete
    2. “As long as people want the Mormon Church to be true,
      more than they are willing to face the possibility that it is not,
      they will not entertain evidence or reason.
      Delusion becomes a choice.”
      ― Jim Whitefield

      Delete
    3. Yet if it had been a personal anecdote of a spiritual experience, you'd share it on FB as evidence that the church is true, right?

      Also, if you think that Knotty's personal problems are isolated, you're crazy.

      How many converts do you know whose families disowned them?

      How many missionaries do you know that came back with terrible parasites/illnesses? (or worse, those that don't come home)

      How many mormon families have lost their homes because they chose to pay tithing instead of the mortgage/rent?

      How many homosexuals have you known that committed suicide or ran away from home because of their dogmatic family?

      How many girls do you know who've been completely ostracized by church members or their family because they had premarital sex, which is next to murder in grievousness (according to LDS scripture)?

      How many LDS girls have low self esteem, or are completely submissive to men because they are taught that women are inferior (you can debate that the church teaches that they are "different" not "inferior", but policy dictates differently)?

      How many people have discovered that the church was a fraud, left it, and then were ostracized (or even divorced) by their families?

      How many mormon children have told a smoker or a drinker or someone with a tattoo that they are bad, because they've internalized the holier-than-thou attitude of members?

      How many young children have been molested by church leaders, because of the culture of secrecy and intimate meetings with church leaders?

      How many young people sacrifice schooling (especially outside of the USA) to serve a mission, only to completely and unrecoverably derail their career path?

      How many young families were rushed into an early marriage and financial troubles because they were prophetically told to marry young & not wait for education or financial security to have copious amounts of children?

      What's the rate of clinical depression among mormons? Do you think that the elevated rate has anything to do with harsh expectations enforced with eternal damnation (no, not hell, but "damnation" as the mormons church defines it: inability to progress, or anything other than the celestial kingdom)?

      If you don't know any of these people, you need to expand your social circles.
      The church isn't just a benign institution that may or may not be divine. It has real-world consequences associated with its doctrines.

      As for this particular movie, I don't have a strong opinion.
      But I have a strong opinion to your response.
      I urge you to take your own advice, and grow up. Don't assume that you are in the majority, and everyone else is in the minority. This is not "one person's problems" but a pervasive problem that has affected millions of people.

      Delete
    4. Word! Couldn't have said it better myself, Rob. Thank you!

      I don't understand what a driveby commenter expects to gain by leaving such a comment here. It's not like it changes my opinion one iota.

      Delete
  2. Rob - beautifully stated. I just wanted to mention that the data for mental health in Utah correlates with the LDS church being destructive:

    http://www.nmha.org/go/state-ranking

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/147767/Hawaiians-Least-Stressed-Residents-Utah.aspx

    http://www.forbes.com/2007/11/29/plastic-health-surgery-forbeslife-cx_rr_1129health.html

    http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=425506

    http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/state-us-bankruptcy-filing-statistics-2012-1276.php

    ReplyDelete
  3. Rob, i agree that your point was beautifully stated.

    Knotty, great blog.

    Jessica, that is an amazingly succinct yet profound quote. It essentially sums up belief in Mormonism in a nutshell.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Rob it would have been perfectly stated if you told the truth but yet another hate page which does not resemble the truth. here's an example. What I say here may have no affect as knotty said in another comment, but if truth is what you are interested in, read on.

    Rob you state, "How many mormon families have lost their homes because they chose to pay tithing instead of the mortgage/rent?".

    Btw, how many do you know or is that just a wild claim with no basis?

    Anyway, That is a completely false claim of yours and I will tell you why. Rob there is a welfare program. I have had to use it, others I know have had to use it. If a person has trouble paying their rent and mortgage, they need only see their Bishop for help. There are limits of course, the church cannot pay for a persons mortgage for years and years. There are other expenses we have such as food, gas, etc.

    I used to have a basic formula (not a church one) when I was a single father. I would pay, in this order, tithing, rent, food and gas. The rest covered bills and incidentals. If I needed help, it was for bills or food.

    In your example, you would have to also consider was the person renting a luxury penthouse, or was the mortgage on a million dollar property in an affluent suburb? Was the person eating at restaurants everyday for example?

    If anyone lost their homes, it was not from paying tithing, it was from other reasons and if you give me the facts, I will show you why.

    Would you like me to go through each of your claims and show you why they are incorrect?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I made no claims, I asked questions. If they anger you, ask yourself why.

      Your assumptions are false.
      While I only personally know a couple families who have lost their homes and were active tithe payers, I obviously don't, nor can, know the intricacies of their personal finances.

      I can tell you that when a poverty stricken family who lives near my parents had their trailer burn down, the church gave them some food, and nothing more. Their neighbors pitched in with money and labor and built them a new home & let them and their many children stay in their homes.
      It was a beautiful testament to the power of neighbors and communities, and the impotence of organized religion.
      (Yes, most of their neighbors are mormon. No, not all.)
      The point is that this poor family paid thousands in tithing, and got a few bags of groceries when they were in dire need.
      They were not leeches, and they did non ask the church for help before this point. Their father works a few janitorial jobs, and their mother works odd jobs despite extreme social anxiety.
      They were incredibly faithful and as such had far more children than their finances allowed, leading them to perpetual poverty. It didn't help that they had many children go on missions, and they all worked like mad to pay for those missions (they even had several daughters go on missions).

      In case you feel that information is too 2nd hand, I have personally suffered hunger because of tithing.
      The welfare program you mentioned has HUGE stipulations and I view your omission of that information as deceitful.
      The church handbook of instructions tells Bishops NOT to impart ward funds/food unless the member has exhausted all other options including family and government. Many Bishops forgo this, but it is the policy. Because of that policy, and the obedience of my parents, we relied on government aid, family help, and just going without, because every time the Bishop asked if we'd exhausted those resources, the honest answer was no. My uncle ended up giving us $10,000 over the course of my fathers schooling. I don't know how much money my grandparents gave us, but I'd suspect it was a similar amount.

      My parents are incredibly obedient and faithful. As such, my dad served a mission, returned, married, had kids, and went to school as he was commanded (both generally, but also personally by his mission president). It led to financial ruin, which led to a devastated career. My father is a brilliant artist, but because we were in debt (which you are commended to do everything you can to get out of) he abandoned a lucrative career in California so we could go live with relatives and get out of debt faster.

      You falsely degraded my integrity by asserting your assumptions as fact.
      If the irony weren't so funny, I'd be incensed at the double standard and dishonesty.

      Delete
    2. P.S. I would like you to go through each of my claims and tell me why you think they are incorrect.

      P.P.S. Just because you don't know folks who tithing (and other church practices) has bitten, it doesn't mean they don't exist.
      http://www.lds.net/forums/advice-board/40797-tithing-difficulties-2.html

      http://www.exmormon.org/mormon/mormon313.htm

      http://oxymormongirl.blogspot.com/2011/04/gospel-principles-32-tithes-and_02.html

      http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/new-economy/2010/0211/Foreclosure-mystery-Why-can-t-conservative-Utahns-afford-their-mortgage

      http://www.mormoncurtain.com/topic_tithing_section2.html

      Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
      If you are siding with "truth" then you need to go get facts (numbers, statistics, etc...), or you need to admit you are siding with "anecdote" and allow other people's anecdotes to be just as legitimate as your own.
      (I'm happy to switch to statistics if you prefer, but I warn you that every mormon I've ever done that with [including my educated & well-informed parents] regretted asking for that switch. Mormons tend to like "anecdote-ville" MUCH more than "fact-ville").

      Delete
  5. Mick, a lot of the folks who have left comments have their own experiences with the church and its welfare program. Fortunately, I am not one of them, as I have only observed how the church has affected the person I care about more than anything in the world. But I suspect that if you try to explain why our opinions are wrong, you will not convince anyone of anything. Rob and several other posters have good reasons for feeling the way they do.

    If you are happy in your belief system, I'm happy for you. But I'm afraid you will be wasting your time defending Mormonism here. Most of the people who read this blog regularly have already made up their minds and came to their conclusions after a great deal of thought, observation, and personal experiences. And just because your experience is apparently different, that doesn't mean theirs are invalid.

    ReplyDelete
  6. "Just because your experience is apparently different, that doesn't mean theirs are invalid."

    Nor does it make my experience invalid. I'm not here to start an argument with anyone, I just wanted to point out that there are those of us who have had positive experiences with the LDS Church, which should also not be discounted just because there are those of you who have not.

    I also wanted to point out that just because you join the Church, it doesn't mean that you won't have problems. Nor does it mean that the problems that you had before you joined the Church are magically going to go away simply because you became a member of the Church. From what I can see, that seems to be the jist of the complaints here--being a member doesn't solve all of your problems, the Church didn't stop bad things from happening. For me, having God in my life gives me the tools I need to cope with the problems at hand. The problems don't go away, but I can handle them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sarah,

      I don't care what other peoples' religious beliefs are as long as they don't try to turn them into laws that affect my life. I understand that you want to defend your faith and if you are happy as a Mormon, I'm glad for you. If you are happy in your church and secure in your beliefs, what I write on my little visited personal blog shouldn't mean much to you anyway.

      This post was originally about a video about the church that I happened to watch on YouTube. The video presented the LDS Church as the perfect answer to a troubled family's problems. It made the Mormon religion look like the solution to the grief a family was going through because their youngest child died in an accident. It made the church look like a "family friendly" cure for what ailed the family-- the loss of a child and a dad who worked too much. For some people, maybe that portrayal of the church is accurate.

      This article was about those who didn't have that experience. My husband joined the church and ultimately lost his family. He could have watched this video with missionaries. They would have showed him this to help him make up his mind to be LDS. But in the end, the happy ending portrayed in this video did not come to pass for him. In fact, joining the church made things worse.

      I saw a huge discrepancy in what this video promised and what my husband ultimately got. His first marriage was not saved when he joined the church, nor did the church do anything to preserve his relationship with his daughters. In fact, it was an effective tool his ex wife used to further alienate them from their father. So much for families forever. Families are forever as long as everyone pays, prays, and obeys. My husband's daughters disowned him, in part, because he didn't want to be LDS. That is his reality, despite the fact that he was a perfectly good father who tried to stay involved in their lives, paid generous child support, and did all he could for them.

      How would you feel in his shoes? I'm sure you support religious freedom. Why shouldn't my husband feel free to believe as he chooses? Why should he be punished because Mormonism wasn't for him?

      Just so you know, you can have God in your life and not be LDS. Neither my husband nor I are atheists, but we are not fans of Mormonism. Happiness in the church was not my husband's experience and he and I have as much right to express that reality, especially on my personal blog, as you do in telling us about your positive experiences.

      If the church is good for you, that's great. But my husband's experience was that his life got better when he left Mormonism. He still has God in his life and he can still cope with his problems. But he gets to choose how he wants to live his life without having to answer to members of the church. And that is very liberating for both of us.

      Delete

Comments on older posts will be moderated until further notice.