After resigning from a high demand group that I was born into and remained a member of for 45 years, I sought to find out what was and wasn’t healthy in any group, whether it be religious, social, political, theological, social media, etc. I started realizing that the group I was involved with had significant problems with its truth claims about eight years before I left, but it took me eight years to realize it also was not healthy for me and to pull myself out. What I learned from this constant study in the three months following my formal resignation, was that there were basic forms of unethical persuasion that had completely permeated all aspects of my life. As I read every book I could find on the subject (over 25), I had this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach because many of my children were still in the group and anything I said contrary to the group’s beliefs could or would be considered “anti.”
I wanted my children to learn the primary, repetitious principles that were common in ALL unhealthy groups according to the experts and their decades of research and findings. My reading and research took a great deal of time and I could not find any child/teen books written on this topic. So I made Book 1 with my children. I let them help illustrate it and copied it for each child still living at home. I felt that even if some of them decided to stay in the group, which has unhealthy group dynamics, at least they would know what was and wasn’t healthy if they began to experience what I had experienced. The concepts also lend themselves to today’s topics and issues in group politics, group social media, racism, sexism, and all other sorts of “isms” in our culture and education. I hope that knowing these top ten unethical persuasion methods will give everyone the information and knowledge to critically assess any group they choose to associate with now and in the future. The information contained in my Value Based Parenting Series is what I want to keep from my former group that was good, but also what I want to teach new, especially on unethical persuasion, US vs THEM thinking, and what choice really means.
While a member of this group with unhealthy dynamics, I found myself losing my voice more and more and healthy sharing of perspectives was not encouraged or really allowed. I found myself losing my voice with my friends. I found myself losing my voice with some members of my family and my own children. I didn't know about the principles of unethical persuasion at the time. Once I was educated on these principles, I FOUND MY VOICE. It's important that adults, teens and children know what is healthy and unhealthy in groups. Whether you speak from within your group for healthy change or you resign and speak from without, it is our RIGHT to have a VOICE! It is my hope that this website can serve as a source to bring all humans closer by teaching critical thinking skills and eliminating US vs. THEM thinking in the rising generation. We are all one! We can look past our differences and remain united as friends and family. No matter what you believe, RELATIONSHIPS are more important than ideology.
Gretchen is the mother of eight children and has taught or practiced yoga for over 25 years. She loves the principles of positivity and mindfulness and uses them by trying to be friends with all she meets, regardless of beliefs. It is her hope that she can help Mormons and post-Mormons continue healthy relationships even when their belief systems are drastically in direct conflict with each other. Nothing concerns her more than when she reads Facebook posts about Mormons shunning or inadvertently mistreating their inactive or post-Mormon family members. Not all communities do this, and she has been lucky in her community to be surrounded by amazing people. But even in her own community, she was shocked to see that the US vs THEM mentality still exists. The solution to resolving this is simply understanding each other’s languages.
The flip books under the "letters to my Mormon world" section of this website were originally e-mails or communication between me and my Mormon world. As I shared a few of them in private post-Mormon groups, I was asked to put them into a format where others could share them, as well. Thank you, Bobby Chambers, for taking my raw communication and making easily accessible flipbooks for others to read. I hope it helps Mormons and post-Mormons understand and love each other better. The concepts of choice, persuasion, and confirmation bias are important elements in today’s world, no matter your belief system. If we can all recognize these terms and biases instead of berating each other for believing differently, I believe the world will be a better place!
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