Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A subtle form of child abuse

Anyone who was raised in a religious family can relate to the picture on the left.  It's one thing for kids to be taught to believe in innocuous fantasies, such as Santa Claus.  It is quite another to add to childhood fears and reinforce the idea that ghosts, demons, evil spirits, etc., literally exist.

People tend to forget that the comforting lies of religion come with a dark side.  Traditional religion, in attempting to deal with the problem of evil, has created a host of boogeymen over the centuries.  In my opinion, teaching children to fear the unseen world is tantamount to child abuse.

I really don't blame my parents, because they believed what they taught me.  However, what I want for my children is a world of science where they can laugh at childish tales of the supernatural.

Another form of abuse is teaching children about the idea of hell. I still have bad memories of parents and leaders telling me that bad decisions would result in permanent consequences (Mormons don't believe in hell, per se, but the idea of being eternally barred from living with your loved ones is certainly a form of hell, which is a Mormons teaching).


  1. When I began looking into the Mormon church because my teenage daughter had decided to "take the lessons", I went in with an open mind thinking that if it is generally a positive, self-affirming environment then I could support her decision. What I found was an extremely narcissistic god-figure - and anyone who has been raised by a narcissistic parent (or two) knows how destructive that kind of childhood can be. I had to set aside all my issues with religion in general, Joseph Smith, BoM science, prophets, Temple recommends, etc and focus on this judgmental, mean-spirited god-figure vs. what could be a loving, caring (non-fundamentalist) protestant god-figure in her life -- if she would only look at the options. As someone trained in scientific investigation, human development, and culture change in organizations, I can't overlook what I see from the outside (and is validated by all the many who have or are trying to break free).

  2. Excellent point. LDS doctrine can be very damaging to teenagers. Girls are taught that their worth is determined by their virginity. Frequently, the object lesson of the licked cupcake or chewed gum is used (i.e., if you lose your virginity, no one will want you). Boys are taught that masturbation is a sin next to fornication in seriousness, which is next to murder. What a mindfrak.