The following message is from Eric's ex-Mormon mailing list in response to a message someone wrote that claimed that "The church does not ruin lives". The author granted permission to publish this here but wishes to remain anonymous for family reasons.
The church limits lives and curtails potential. The church promotes fear. Fear of ideas -- books you can't read, thoughts you can't think. Fear of people -- supposedly dangerous people; 'gentiles', apostates, gays, and those who hold unapproved meetings. Fear of losing those we love--pay the dues and learn the secret handshakes or you'll never see your family again.
The church promotes inappropriate guilt. Guilt about natural and healthy sexuality. Guilt about masturbation. Guilt for listening to rock music on Sunday [or virtually anything else not put out by Deseret Book]. Guilt for choosing to marry outside of the temple or for choosing to marry someone who isn't a TBM (True Believing Mormon). Guilt for having an opinion and wanting to state it. Guilt for disagreeing with the male who is in charge. Guilt for being who you are.
The church wastes time. Time spent searching out exact details about the dead to have them baptized into the Mormon church. Time getting baptized and 'endowed' over and over so dead people can supposedly get into Mormon heaven. Time reading the Book of Mormon. Time in meetings listening to people say "I know the church is true" over and over and over... [Time spent knocking on the doors of people both in and out of the church who didn't invite you to their house.]
The church limited my ability to enjoy all the wonderful things about me, and about other 'less worthy' (non TBM) people. I could have worn sleeveless shirts in the summer without feeling wicked. I might have felt less superior to my jack-Mormon dad [and others who I didn't think had the truth]. I might have felt more joy and spirituality if I hadn't been following an illusion for so long.