things I used to believe

Sigh. I can already see all the Sweet Mollys and Righteous Peters who read my blog cringing over this one. That is okay, Mollys and Peters. My reality doesn't have to be your reality.

The point is, I feel totally fine poking gentle loving fun/critiquing Crazy Mormon Thoughts because I had/have a lot of Crazy Mormon Thoughts. It isn't me making fun of everyone else (at least not all of the time.) There is a whole lot of self-mockery going on too. So without further ado, things I used to believe:

1. That the most rebellious thing I could do as a youth is listen to non-LDS music on a Sunday.

2. That if a priesthood holder said it, in church (or similar setting,) it had to be true.

3. That when I died and went to the Celestial Kingdom (duh, obviously,) and people asked me what time period I lived in, they would audibly gasp and bask in my righteous glow when they found out I was a youth in the year 2000, since my generation was the greatest ever. Sorry, pioneers who buried babies in the cold frozen tundra/Abinidai/Helaman's Stripling Warriors/Emma Smith/Holocaust victims.

4. Speaking of Emma, I used to believe that it was just so sad that her testimony wasn't strong enough, since she obviously was going to hell for not sustaining Brigham Young as prophet. Good thing Joseph had a bunch of other wives to keep him company up in Heaven.

5. Speaking of polygamy, I used to believe that really righteous people would be chosen to practice polygamy in heaven. I would secretly pray to marry a nice but spiritually average man so we would not be chosen.

6. I believed that because I used to believe that women were inherently more righteous than men (hence why they needed the Priesthood to quell their wildebeest-like dispositions.) More righteous women=pairing up to share the few men effeminate (femininity=righteousness)enough to make it to heaven. I'm embarrassed to admit how long it took me to realize the obvious logical fallacies there.

7. I used to believe that if I said something in a prayer similar to a previous prayer, that I was engaging in vain repetitions, and would be sent to hell. Where bad prayers would be happy to be.

8. That Mormons don't talk about Heavenly Mother because she isn't important.

9. That I was personally responsible for keeping the thoughts of any male I encountered pure by dressing modestly and not tempting them with my awkwardly pale skin and non-existent boobs. (Boys=wildebeests.) If they looked at me and had lustful thoughts, and then got addicted to porn, and they turned gay, it was all my fault.

10. People unhappy in the church were weak people who probably just relied on their parent's testimonies, or had never read the Book of Mormon. Or something.

Any of these sound familiar?

What did you used to believe?

PS I'm going to tell you right now that my parents didn't teach me any of this. When you grow up Mormon, there are lots of people who try and teach you things, including aged slightly-racist relatives, weird Seminary teachers, EFY counselors (whoa....whole other post....), and some of it I just made up in my own warped brain.

Basically, when a village raises a Mormon, hilarity is bound to ensue.


aubrey said...

oh my gosh this is probably my favorite post you have ever written. Ever. I am DYING at some of these.

Linds said...

Wow, that all just makes my head hurt. How about crazy Christian thoughts? I'll contribute those instead...

1) I used to believe that anyone who didn't believe in Jesus Christ was doomed for hell (because that's what I was taught- yep, I was taught even those who NEVER got a chance to learn about Jesus through no fault of their own- they could just be born in the wrong place at the wrong time and not be able to travel away and not have missionaries sent to them were doomed for hell because that's what I was taught- STUPID!)

2. That woman was less then man because we were just a part of man on creation and were supposed to be his helper and that the woman should yield to the man no matter what. (yeah, we're not even going to cover how messed up that is).

3. That Revelations was LITERALLY going to happen back to back. Yeah that's just scary to view that way rather then happening gradually like how it is/ has.

There's a few to get ya started!

TheOneTrueSue said...

I used to believe that the second coming was going to be here SERIOUSLY ANY SECOND NOW. This is why I didn't finish college. It just seemed like such a waste of time when ANY SECOND NOW the Lord would return and cast me down to hell.

(I wish I were kidding.)

AzĂșcar said...

This post makes me realize how lucky I was to have a noted scriptorian and religion professor as a father. He kept us focused on the plain and simple truths: refuted all the nonsense we ever heard and was a general touchstone on what was cultural and what was gospel. We could come to him with all questions so they never grew into crazy things. I never got to go to EFY (although I desperately wanted to) and my parents freely admitted they almost didn't move here because they were skeptical of release-time seminary.
Protected I was. My children should be so lucky.

AzĂșcar said...

I hope that didn't sound snotty, I didn't mean it that way. It just has become so clear to me how protected I was from some of the crazy things that used to go around.

Stephanie said...


I don't think it sounded snotty. I think it would have spared me a lot of agony if I had been a little more protected from the crazy. Mom and Dad tried, but it is hard with so many outside influences...


I totally believed that too!

@Linds-The whole "submit to men" thing is big with Mormons too. I don't believe it either.

@Aubrey- Wasn't I nuts? Oh well, Good blog fodder.

La Yen said...

1. Saturday's Warrior was scripturally accurate

2. Jack Weyland was scripturally accurate

Shum Girl said...

The "better generation because we have spiritual trials and not physical ones" is much too familiar and uncomfortable to admit I bought into for a while. Mormon girls learn a lot of crazy things at girls camp too. I will think up some crazy things and send them your way.

Daae' said...

I used to believe I was going to the telestial kingdom, no questions, no doubts. I mean I told some lies here and there - so that officially sealed the deal right?

Loved the post, it was hilarious.

Femme Facetious said...

I was totally into #5 and #8, and I was a convert! I also believed that because I had pissed off my family in joining the church, I would be revered in the next life because everyone in this life was telling me how brave and right I was for telling MY family that they were more or less going to hell (or at least the Telestial Kingdom) :)

The rest of them actually became problems when the rest of my mormon friends believed them and used them to judge those of us who didn't :P (Um, especially #1...raises hand...I was never particularly reverent on Sundays.) #10 became a huge issue when I found myself to be one of those "weak" people.

Colt said...

1-That Mormon Doctrine was actually doctrine.

2-That Cleon Skousen was NOT totally insane, but a noted scholar worth praise and study.

Wow, saying it out loud makes me embarrassed, but feel better all at the same time.

NIKOL said...

The only one of these I found surprising was #8. I always believed we didn't talk about her because she was SO important we didn't want to profane her good name or...whatever.

I used to believe The Curse of Cain is why there are black people. Or was it the Curse of Ham (Noah's son)? I forget. Anyway, I believed it was a curse. Embarassing to admit.

Shanon said...

When I was 16, my Sunday School teacher taught that anything I worried about would have to happen to me so I could be fully tested in this life. I am a gifted worrier so I figured my life was going to be pretty bad. At the time, there was a rapist on the loose in our small town. I was convinced that before I died I would have to be raped if I wanted to go to the celestial kingdom.

Rachel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brooke said...

I used to believe that you had to talk to your bishop for making out with someone because making out was a clear violation of the law of chastity. (I'm really glad that got cleared up for me before I actually had my first kiss.)

Cinderella said...

Stephanie, I must tell you how much I adore you. THANK YOU for letting me know that I'm not the only "crazy" Mormon woman who's not quite content with everything in the Mormon bubble and who's been married for 3+ years and has no babies in sight (and yes, I'm very aware that I'm 27 thankyouverymuch). You restore my sanity.

I used to believe that not just things priesthood holders would say in church (or at firesides, or morningsides...ha!) were true, but any adult.

I can go OFF about the whole modesty issue. My future Young Women are getting real talks about that. And porn.

I used to think that following all rules that parents and church adults made in my life would mean that I was good enough, and would be able to go to the Celestial Kingdom.

sara said...

hmmm, nodded my head through this whole thing. love your blog. I used to think it would be better to be dead that raped.

Love ya, and all, SWK, but I'm awfully glad to be alive.

JustMe said...

If men didn't have the Priesthood they would have NOTHING to do. And that's the truth.


Stephanie said...


Knock yourself out...send me a link!

Natalie | The Bobby Pin said...

This is my favorite. Totally bookmarking. Can we please be friends.

The one about boys and girls dressing immodestly drives me crazy. As a YW leader, whenever one of the other leaders would bring it up, I would shut them down in the middle of a lesson.

Alexandra said...

I was told in my high school seminary class that it was a sin to put off marriage and to put off/limit having children. Didn't believe it, though.

Molly said...

Funny how black and white things are growing up.

I distinctly remember fourth grade, when Becca Grimaldo said the word "butt" during lunch. And all day, all I could think of was the word "butt" even though I knew it was a bad word — nay — a sin word.

I said a silent, apologetic prayer every time I thought that forbidden word. But during my prayers of recompense, I would inevitably think "butt," right around the time I was addressing God, making me feel double bad.

I had an exhausting childhood.

SammyStewart said...

I had a friend (we'll call her Sara) who always took great pains to say, "This is the gospel according to Sara," before she launched into space doctrine. I think that's smart. Understanding the difference between speculation/personal feeling/ personal standard and actual doctrine is a crucial skill that probably takes a lifetime to refine.

My big bubble pop came in college, when the "we chose our families in the preexistence" teaching was debunked. I didn't actually know about polygamy or mormons being racist/not Christian until my Catholic school religion teacher taught me...and I went home traumatized...

Stephanie said...


My version of "the doctrine according to Sara" is "my reality doesn't have to be your reality."

I used to believe some crazy (to me) stuff. But some of the things I used to believe are still very cherished ideas for other people.

That is okay. My reality doesn't have to be their reality. I think that helps me achieve my own sense of balance between personal beliefs/doctrine/standard/speculation, etc.

Navigating that balance is traumatic though.

Ru said...

1. That my seminary teachers were trained scholastically to teach religion. Yeah, even though my freshman year teacher was sexist (and possibly a fundamentalist) and my sophomore year teacher had us watch movies every day, I remained convinced that there were some sort of "standards" to be a seminary teacher, and so I should believe what they said.

2. That I didn't believe in polygamy because I was "selfish." It still bugs me when people say they couldn't be polygamists because they're too selfish, as if good people are more equipped to endure fundamental inequities in the treatment between men and women.

3. That a singles ward outside of Utah would be less weird than the ones in Utah. Sigh.

4. Ugh, that whole "women are extra special and spirichul" thing. So creepy.

Ms. Hobbs said...

This post is great!

I used to believe when I was a practicing Mormon, that God was going to tell the bishop or stake president about all my sins and they were going to call me in to confess. I once received a standard letter from the stake presidency and my heart sank, because I knew it was going to say that they "KNEW" my sins. It was awful and I suffered for years with totally messed up beliefs like those. I was a good kid too.

Stephanie said...

@Ms Hobbs.

I felt the exact same way. I put off having my patriarchial belssing for years because I thought for sure it would say something like "God is really really ticked at you." I didn't want my parents to come because they would be so ashamed.

I was a good kid too.

Sigh, oh Mormon Guilt.

SammyStewart said...

I suppose one just has to decide who is responsible for how they feel and what they believe-oneself or the rest of the world.

My husband and I have never wanted a TV. We have never owned a TV.

We feel blessed for this. Does that mean we think we're better than everyone else we know (we don't know anyone else without TV)? No. Does that mean we think everyone else should get rid of their TV? No. Does this mean that we think TV ownership/viewing is immoral? No. It's just what works for us. And somehow that can be offensive to others.

Plenty of people could read my comment about our TV free state and hear nothing but "I'm a bad person because I have a TV," "I should get rid of my TV." "Sammy Stewart thinks she's better than you because she doesn't have TV," "Sammy Stewart is a hypocrite for enjoying her TV free state because she has the internet." There's nothing I can do about those people's thoughts and feelings. I wish I could make those people feel better, but they have a lot more control over that than I do.

Ashley said...

LOL @ Molly!

I used to believe that Noah fit every kind of animal, insect, fungus, moss, amoeba, parasite and bacterium on his ark because it was a miracle. My favorite satire of this here:

And men's job in the church is to hold the priesthood. Why don't women hold the priesthood? What is our role? Oh yes, we can have babies and men can't.

That church leaders were infallible. Oh, this one is debunked for me on a regular basis.

Ashley said...

Sorry, maybe my fancy html-ing didn't work.

Rachel_Hradecky_Portfolio said...

Let me just start by saying- I LOVE YOU. I think you are hilarious, witty and snarky. And I like to pretend we'd be the best of friends if we knew eachother for reals. I'm not LDS- in fact I'm about as far from LDS as you can get (I'm a heathen Unitarian). But I grew up with many LDS friends and have always had a great respect (and intrigue) for your religion. I think its really refreshing to hear honest and sometimes critical comments about the social/religious/political structures that we are apart of. But, always keep in mind that you are an 'ambassador' of sorts to those facilities. People who are non-LDS take a lot of stock in the words that you right regarding your religion, espcially the negative ones. I, for one, would love love LOVE to see you write a post about all the things you love about being a Mormon. I'm not trying to be critical, or maybe I am, but I like you (a lot) and would love to know WHY you are a Mormon, what makes you stay LDS- despite all those things you dislike so much.

Stephanie said...


I think that would be a good idea, but at the moment, I don't know how to write that post. I mean that sincerely. I've got inklings and feelings and thoughts for why I stick around, but nothing I know for sure. I want to be confident when I write that post, and I'm just not there yet.

I did sort of talk about things I liked at the end of this post:

I'm not a fancy link person, but there it is.

Thanks for the feedback. I mean that too even though it sounds sort of spammy.

Katrina said...

just found your blog.... this post is hilarious! i relate.

Lady Elaine said...

I believed that if you didn't repent for something & you were still taking the sacrament that the bishop could see a black hat on your head! I never wanted to make eye contact with the bishop because I thought for sure he would see a black hat on my head. I have no idea who told me this but I believed it!

Tiffany said...

Just found your blog, this post cracks me up! I used to believe that wearing shorts on Sunday was breaking the sabbath and that I would drown if I ever went swimming on Sunday. I also believed that seminary teachers were all-knowing and everything they said was as if the prophet was saying it.

Anna said...

hee hee, I think most of us used to think those things. Something about EFY and the Best Of it probably.

Ms. Quantz said...

I know I'm behind here, but I just found this blog.

1. That if I had a sexual thought I was evil

2. talking about anything controversial meant I wasn't righteous.

Glad I got over those things!

amers said...

I used to believe that if you got a calling, no matter what it is, that there's a reason you're supposed to be there. That was until I got called to be on the "Linger Longer Committee" and my brother got called to be Chair of the "Friendship Committee."
That offends me! Do NOT put me somewhere just to put me somewhere! Or just to keep me righteous! I'm fine, thanks. I don't need your useless placing to make me feel like I am needed in The Church.

Kristen Cawley said...

I used to think a temple marriage meant I had "made" my ultimate goal and we would grow forever in the gospel. I used to think I couldn't be happily married if my spouse disavowed the teachings of the church. I used to think I couldn't be active in the church or go to the temple alone. I still worry I will end up without him forever.

Maggie said...

I know this is an old post but I just wrote my own and wanted to share. Thanks for the inspiration!

Lauren said...

So, I know this post is forever old, but I just found your blog and thought I'd add one of my own.

I was going through old journals the other day and I found a statement to the effect of "Because of my religion, of course I have to support the death penalty."

WTF, younger self? I didn't even remember I thought that, or how I came to that conclusion. I guess that's what happens when your mom sincerely believes Glenn Beck is going to save America.