Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mormon Fight Songs Sing-a-long

Friday night at 7:00 P.M., Mormon Expressions will be hosting Mormon Fight Songs for Dummies at the University of Utah Post Theater.  I volunteered to direct the sing-a-long portion at the invitation from Zilpha Larsen.
In the lead up to rehearsals, Zilpha mentioned that they would be singing 'The Cave' by Mumford and Sons.  I took a listen, and realized I had no idea of the meaning of the lyrics.  A few minutes research on Google and it soon pointed to Plato's Allegory of the Cave.  I'd never heard of that either.  So I read through the Wikipedia page on it, and then watch a sort of silly animation of it on You Tube.
Friday Greg held rehearsal at his home.  They were learning a new song titled 'The Cave' by The Mumford Sons.  Greg was on electric guitar, Hans on banjo and bass, Monolo on drums and Emily on keyboards.  As they were rehearsing, they let me audition to sing it.  I haven't sung in quite a while, but I was pleased for the opportunity.  it was pretty raw (for me anyways), but absolutely fun.  Those guys were seriously moving through the music.  It was great.
So, I'll be conducting the Sing-a-long on Friday, plus trying out my vocals on Friday.  I'm excited.  The lyrics are quite expressive, unique, and therefore, have been somewhat difficult to memorize, but I think I've just about got it, memorizing it to and from work.  If you're not too busy Friday, you ought to come and visit!  See you there!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Leaving the Fold

In October, Colleen and I attended the conference for those dealing with leaving Mormonism. AKA: The Ex-Mormon Conference at the Embassy Suites Hotel in SLC.
We stayed at the Hotel there, and enjoyed most of it.
We attended Dr. Marlene Winell's presentation on 'Leaving the Fold'. At first, her message seemed somewhat drab. In other words, she didn't seem to connect really well with her audience very well. Which was somewhat strange and interesting at the same time because it seemed that her message would be spot on relevant to everyone in attendance, but something about the delivery seemed to put you to sleep. (If you're reading this Dr. Winell, sorry about the frankness of the message) However, as I concentrated, I could tell that she had done some pretty deep study, and practice around the topic.

She offered an after conference group therapy session which Colleen and I attended, plus a book. Frankly, the after conference session seemed a little bit too large to have its intended affect. It seemed somewhat similar to many of the CALM meetings I've held in my home, or at Dennis Borg's home. The difficulty that I found, however, was that I felt I had moved past that portion of my restorative therapy.

The book, however, as I began to read it, and take notes, and complete the exercises, has really begun to resonate with my trail. In her book, she outlines the process that folks leaving the fold may experience from twenty years or so as a practicing psychologist specializing in clients recovering from religious indoctrination both on the phone and person from her practice in Berkeley California.

In this blog, I'd like to begin to share with you some of the things she has shared, and perhaps open a window to myself, and in the process, perhaps you too may see some of the value contained there in. Especially as she has recommended as part of the exercises in her book to begin maintaining a journal to document the process.

Chapter 1
"The Recover Process" went into detail to help me inventory my own impact from Religion in my life. Colleen and I read this chapter, and answered it's questions on our last trip to Disneyland. The reading was actually somewhat uncomfortable because of unearthed issues that we had left buried for years, now rising like stinking, ugly zombies. But, there we were, and the zombies needed to be dealt with. So we talked openly about subjects we had been far to afraid to deal with.

The end of the chapter features an exercise: The Impact Inventory. 25 questions to assess the impact of particular issues on your daily life.

Issue/Feeling
1-5
Confusion
3-4
Anxiety or fear
4
Lack of clear identity and personal values
3
Negative sense of self
1
Emptiness, as if you have no core
4
Negative image of your body and discomfor with sexuality
5
Lack of meaning or purpose in life
5
Anger and bitterness
2
Loneliness
3
Loss and grief
3
Depression
3
Persistent guilt
3
Difficulty enjoying daily pleasures
3
Unreasonably high expectations, perfectionism
5
Trouble appreciating people
1
Difficulty with self-responsibility
2
Lack of deep self-love and skills for self-care
3
Trouble thinking for yourself
2
Difficulty feeling and expressing emotion
5
External focus for satisfaction
3

Colleen and I were quite surprised to see the impact still occurring in our lives.  We must have talked for quite a while around how religion definitely impacted our views of our body and discomfort with sexuality, and such topics.  I was very surprised to learn about how difficult expressing emotion was.  I'm working on it though.  I think that there is just a bit too much fear around that.  I fear rejection, etc.

Next up, an inventory of the benefits we used to share with religion.