Why would a lifelong atheist suddenly decide to become baptized into Mormonism and be going on a missionary trip? To get married maybe?
The reason I ask is that my adult daughter just told me (in shock) that her dad, my ex-husband, just returned from a road trip he took to Salt Lake City where he got baptized. When my daughter asked him why, he simply replied that he “liked the lifestyle.”
What is it about the mormon “lifestyle” that would appeal to a 65 year old man? He doesn’t smoke nor drink caffeine, and he was never a heavy drinker. A person can surely avoid those “vices” without joining a religion.
We are puzzled. The only thing we can think of is that maybe he is planning to move in with or marry the lady he has been involved with for the past 15 years. He was involved with her for a few years before I asked for a divorce.
Has this happened to anyone else - if so - what were the reasons?
My ex turned very religious before marrying his 2nd wife who happened to be very religious. He's on his 3rd wife now. Not sure if the religion aspect is still there as they met because they are both into triathlons. Training for running, cycling, and triathlon events is the new religion.
So, yes I've seen this happen. As far as the reasons? My ex is a narcissist who needs someone in his life to devalue so he can build up his fragile ego. To hide this, because no one would want to be married to someone like this, he fakes commonality by mirroring characteristics of his partner. His partner thinks they have "found their soul mate," "found their other half," or found their "person" when in actuality they found someone who is good at manipulating and mirroring. He then begins the process of devaluing. I'm seeing signs of it already in this 3rd marriage.
I don't know if this applies to your ex or not since he's been in this relationship over 15 years. It sounds like its a case of ultimatum. More than likely he's pretending to get what he wants from her.
Could be a lady, and it could also be that if he does not smoke, drink, or do coffee, he is attracted to a lifestyle where he gets easy approval for what he does anyway, though he may find the approval fades when he joins and he is no longer a newby. However a lady will probably be almost certainly involved in some way, most men, and I speak as one, are dragged through life by the testicles.
I was raised to be a Mormon. Mormons are definitely helpful. They do provide a sense of community. Of course their helpfulnes does depend on how interested you are in becoming a member.
The church is a bit cultish in that they insist you only read approved church materials about the church. I know a lot of what I was taught as a child about the church history wasn't true. They claimed the founder Hoseph Smith had to keep moving from state to state because of religious persecution. As it turns out he kept moving around to avoid arrest. Before the Civil War a person could easily escape arrest wattnts by crossign state lines. Here is a link to show he moved to flee arrests. [en.wikipedia.org]
We were also told that back when Mormons married more than one wife, that the first wife had to approve the additional marriages. However when Joseph Smith died, his first wife, accordign to her letters, indicated that she had no idea of his multiple marriages.
There are also a lot of problems with the "Book of Mormon" as it claims many things which simply did nto exist in the Americas before European conquest. Not to mention many other problems. [en.wikipedia.org]
Anyway, your Ex most likely joined for the sense of community.
As animals we evolved in groups, gathering together for safety. Human are still animals and we still have animal instincts and still feel safer and more secure if we belong to a group. It is instinctual residue, if you will.
The Mormon church has managed to tap into the instinctual need to belong and be a part of a community better than most any other religion.
Religion is never a choice of logic, but one of emotions (emotions being an expression of animal instincts).
At this point, I'd say for the sake of your daughter, familiarize her with all the inconsistencies and inaccuracies of the religion, if you don't want her to also become seduced by the sense of community they offer.
Joseph Smith, the church's founder was a con man. However, he managed to form a community that has lasted and grown long after his death. Of course it is all based in the lies her told.
It hasn't happened to me, but I am from Mormon Country and a DNA pool full of faithful Mormons and most of my lifelong friends are Mormon.
Personally? I think the beliefs are batshit crazy. That being said? I also think they have a very secure, sound and wonderful way of viewing family and community.
Why would your ex wish to become Mormon? Why would I, a former Bible-thumper want to openly be Atheist? People change. Times change. Maybe he always wanted something he knew you'd not be interested in, maybe he decided last Tuesday he wanted to spend eternity "on high" with his own planet and the ability to allow his wife on up or not. That's what they believe. Maybe he is kinky and thinks those Mormon underwear are cool as shit. Who knows?
The best thing you can do is ask him. Do it respectfully and accept what he tells you. That's really the only way to know. (And Mormon's don't "live together" if they're practicing. That's a no-no. He likely is going to get married, but that's just my guess. *PS: Be prepared. Mormon's like to baptize the dead who are not Mormons that way they'll all end up on some Mormon man's planet or get their own planet. They're big on this planet stuff.
I notice that everyone here is suggesting social or psychological reasons for his sudden change. But, have you considered neurological causes?
Most of us like to think that we are rational creatures, and that we are consciously in control of our own thoughts. We pay lip service to the notion of brain chemistry, but we figure that it's a minor consideration. We control our brains! ...right?
But what if some small event - a mini-stroke, a new medication - changed your ex's brain chemistry? What if some little glitch caused a release of a neurochemical in response to stimuli which hadn't caused such before?
I think as mentioned previously by Varn, it could be filling a void, that's why I like agnostic.com. Or a woman is involved. It is not uncommon for people have change religious affiliation for a partner. But to go from an atheist to a Mormon is quite a shift in beliefs.
Please keep us posted if you find out a woman is involved
Religious affiliation appears to fill a void in some. Since Atheism is not organized, it may appear to some to lack the human guidance or involvement they crave. I suspect you’ve got it right with regard to the relationship driving his behavior. Having prettymuch lived his life, I doubt he cares to make the effort necessary to maintain the standards of an Atheist ..so has drifted to the dark side..
My ex was never religious, but then never much of ‘anything.’ Though remarried, still isn’t ..from all reports ~
If he has a Mormon lady friend and she is unmarried, she requires a husband who is a priesthood holder in order to get in to the highest mormon heaven known as the Celestial Kingdom. (Women cannot get in on their own merits)
Therefore she has probably pushed him in to it by emotional blackmail.
I have known mormon women divorce their inactive or apostate husbands for endangering their eternal families, they take this shit really seriously.
My guess is he is just doing it to give her a Temple Marriage and to keep the peace, and her in his bed.
It could be any number of reasons. I was always an atheist until my mid twenties then i became a JW what i giot out of it was a community friends and a strong sense of belonging. After a few years the gloss wore off I started to see the cracks but was trapped for years. It may bee that he sees something beside the religious dogma. The Mormons like the JW are very friendly to each other at first that does not always last though.
I can't read through all the other comments but I know a lot of people who essentially hang up their beliefs they had when they were younger because they basically got tired of fighting to keep believing in them and the alternative is convenient and/or comforting.
For others it's the "I'm getting closer to dying, what if I'm wrong?" that sets in.
I'd guess it's some combination of those plus his partner.