Tuesday, August 25, 2009

of Terms and Titles

I was talking with my sister today about not being Mormon, and about this blog. She mentioned that she disliked the title. She feels it smacks of ex-Mo bitterness. Allow me to explain:

It started as a joke of Sarah's. But I liked it. So we kept it.

I don't know about Sarah's self-identification as a Jew. But I do know that I am proud to be an ex-Mo. Choosing to, and then actually extricating myself from, a religion and lifestyle that wasn't healthy for me, and from something that was taught to me as the Truth, wasn't easy. It was taught to me alongside my ABCs and primary colors, and accepted just as easily. At the time. And then when I started to doubt those Mormon precepts, it was like doubting that the sky was blue. I am not exaggerating. There were some things I counted on, that I had to let go of. There was the massive disapproval that I knew was coming for me from 50% of my world. There was rediscovering the world as a different place, with different possibilities, different fears.

And though this ball started rolling years ago, my emergence from such an all-encompassing religion/way-of-life is still resoundingly new. It's a huge part of who I am today, Wednesday the 26th at 12:43 in the morning. This departure is the best thing I've ever done for myself, and perhaps the biggest decision I have made in my life. Bigger even than my decision to choose Actor as a career. So yes, the first thing strange readers know about me is that I'm an ex-Mo. And I'm ok with that. I grew up with an intense religion, I found problems with it, I extricated myself from it, and I am un-baptizing myself every day in the waters of New York City.

I don't know how many of you are Mormon, and how many of you aren't. I do my best not to upset anyone, though people are bound to bristle at something I say. So I heed Polonius' words, "to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man."

And if you really have a problem, stop reading.


Rebecca said...

I'm not sure why it sounds bitter to say who you are. You're an ex-mo. And...? I'm not finding the bitter in that factual statement. It smacks of touchiness when someone calls a girl bitter simply because she states that she's left a religion.

Catherine Elizabeth said...

I think it "smacks" of bitterness to define yourself by what you aren't, rather than what you are. To me it seems to dwell upon a negative rather than a positive. I don't really care whether my sister is Mormon or not, but I do think embracing a full and rich life does not start by titling yourself an "ex"-anything.
In our private conversation we discussed why being a cultural Jew but not a religious Jew was so much more acceptable than being a "cultural Mormon," meaning that it's the culture in which you were raised; I believe that's how Sarah is defining herself in this blog title. Laura expressed a distaste for a cultural religious identification, so again, I question using it, if somewhat obliquely, in her blog title.
It's not something I'm losing sleep over, just a casual observation in a conversation.

Anonymous said...

I'm an ex-student, ex-Geo driver, ex-renter, ex-roller skater, ex-Mountain Dew drinker, ex-concert goer, ex-vegetarian, ex-signer, etc. What does that tell you about me? Nothing.

Not only is Ex-Mo an entirely inadequate description, it is absolutely meaningless to the vast majority of the world. The only people who might recognize the term is a very small (tiny) (minuscule) percentage of a Mormon readership. Guess how they perceive the term? Like you are flipping them off. Which, indeed, you are.

Extricate? Were you in prison? A cult? That verb would be much more apropos if you had been.

Baptizing yourself in the waters of NYC? Most people consider that to be urine. Such imagery.