The last time I went to church was for the Primary Program. The Primary consists of all the children in the ward (neighborhood) between 3 and 12 years old, and the Primary Program is when the whole hour of sacrament meeting is dedicated to listening to them sing. As I have two siblings that fall into the age range, my mother invited me and I didn’t resist going.
As the program went on and the children took turns walking up to the podium microphone to quote scriptures and dedications between songs, a lump slowly grew in my throat. The program that I used to find adorable as hell was hitting me in the face as full-blown brainwashing. They take the children at three years old and pump them full of lessons and songs and commandments to memorize and before they can realize they’ve been indoctrinated they grow up and the gospel way of life is all they’ve ever known. They’re the kind of Mormon adults that will quote the Church when asked for their opinion and won’t know the difference.
At five years old, the Church is teaching my brother and children everywhere that he is going to do things in his life that he should be ashamed of and that the only way to be happy is to “repent and come unto Jesus” (not to mention repenting to the 40+-year-old stranger behind the big desk). They are teaching my ten-year-old sister to run away from me in tears when I come home with a second ear piercing, only to come back later and beg me to take them out so I can be in heaven with her. The Church is engineering the children to think only white in what is taught as a black-and-white world.
When it came time for the congregation to sing the closing hymn with the Primary, I opened the hymn book like everyone else, but I couldn’t sing. When my sister asked me why I didn’t, I whispered back “Because I don’t believe God loves any of those children.” We laughed, because I said it like a joke.
But because I don’t believe in their god, I also kinda meant it.