I couldn't help but shake a thought as I woke up this morning. And though I wish I were dreaming about something way cooler, I had a "vision" you might say, in between waking and dreaming. I had heard before that the church is like a body. And so in my mind, I imagined being inside a body. Kind of a little like when the magic school bus gets shrunk and gets eaten by Arnold.
Anyways, the "body" was personified as the church. And I was a little cell in it. Well, I decided that I didn't like being a cell in it anymore, and stopped doing my assigned function. Then, the white cells started coming after me. They were alarmed that I stopped performing my assigned function, and wanted be back to what I was doing before or gone.
This is a very rough version of my actual dream but pulling the details together has been a little difficult. Anyways, the church really is like a body. And when the members, or cells, stop doing their assigned function, the body goes on alert and sends little white blood cells after them. Maybe I could call these visiting teachers? Anyways, it really reminded me of the fact that as a Mormon, my identity was not as important as the identity of the organization. I'm Mormon first, Hypatia second.
The organism, or the church, comes first within the eyes of the organization. It reminds me a little bit of the documentary I saw called "The Corporation." In that film, it argues that corporations are essentially psychopaths, since legally, they are real "persons" but they care not a whit as to whom they exploit, and what they do to be on top, as long as they are successful.
In a sense, organizations including the LDS church really do become organisms unto themselves. And as any organism takes necessary precautions to prevent itself from getting sick, the church has an inherent system of rooting out the pieces or parts that don't fit or aren't contributing to the well being of the "whole" anymore.
Anywho, ironically enough, I was looking for a quote by someone in the church on LDS.org referring to the church as a body. However, I got distracted by a couple of other articles I discovered here and here. They deal with "nurturing" and "caring" for the less active.
The "lost sheep" and "prodigal son" analogies aside, something very disturbing caught my eye. I noticed this little tidbit on the Caring for Members Who Are Not Very Active article:
Our salvation is dependent upon the salvation of others.
This is why its so hard to leave. This is why people go insane either trying to stay in or in the process of leaving the church. The organism will not have discord. It will not allow for any potential cancerous cells to linger within it. Me not going to church AFFECTS the others within it. It's like I'm a little cancer cell, and either the DNA structure in my nucleus needs to be changed or I need to be cut out of the body. This is the first time I have had the realization that ultimately I need to remove my name from the church. Not because it would help me any, because it would help others in the church not feel so guilty or sick that I don't go...like my visiting teachers.
Anywho, this is also the reason why family is so upset over us leaving the church. Because my actions affect their salvation. After all, they won't have their child with them in the celestial kingdom. It is so dangerous to put one's happiness outside oneself and one's own actions, but that is exactly what the church does. It encourages members to see another's actions as affecting their own happiness. (i.e. "If you're children break their covenants then you won't get to be sealed to them in the after life.")
What a recipe for disaster.
I don't believe in the judeo christian concept of god. I don't know that I even believe in god as is understood by most. But if I did, I certainly would not believe in one that would lead its followers to coercion and manipulation by punishing the one for the "sins" of the other.
The longer I'm out of the church, the more I realize how crazy it all is to me. I can't believe I ate up this bullshit when I was a teen. I get so angry with myself. I remember people I talked to or things I said in the name of "Christ" and I cringe. I was just a little cell then. A little cell of the organization. Doing what it was told. Regurgitating what it was told to regurgitate.
I was such a fool.