Whence the doubt?

I’ve had more conversations than I’d like recently about why I decided to leave the Mormon church. Of course, this conversation always comes from a Mormon, and it’s always in the spirit of “You Must Be Crazy What Could You Possibly Be Thinking Don’t You Know The Church Is True True True?” I have found that this conversation tends to follow a certain pattern.

First, they initiate the conversation by mentioning something about me not being in church, or not believing any more, and I try to deflect it with a short, generic answer. Sometimes people really do just want to make small-talk, and that’s okay. If they persist in wanting to know the reason I left, I still take things very slowly. Continue reading

Telling

I spent a lot of time with my parents recently. Every time I was talking with them, I wondered if it would be the moment that I would tell them I no longer believe the things they taught me growing up. How do you tell something like that to the people responsible for all the good you have in your life? How would they react?

My father has never been very vocal. I may have heard him one time affirm his faith in a public setting. I’ve sometimes wondered if he fully believes everything. Some things, like tithing, he’s always seemed fully committed to. Other things, like attending church regularly, seem like they’ve been hit or miss over the years. I figure if either of my parents would be willing to entertain my disbelief, it would be my father.

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Billions

This morning my wife mentioned that she’d like to go back to visit the people and places she knew when she was serving a mission. In the conversation, I mentioned that I too had been thinking about my mission. That surprised her, and she asked me for details.

I explained that I had just been thinking about some of the experiences of my mission, how I had interpreted them at the time, and how I was trying to reinterpret them now after the intervening years and knowledge. Continue reading

Affair

Affair is such a dirty word. A four letter word, if you will. And such a generic word. It could be applied to almost anything. But the way we use it in our society, to mean infidelity and betrayal and all that goes along with that, makes it a slimy word, a word you never want to apply to yourself. My wife asked me to apply it to myself.

“Research ‘Emotional Affair’ on the internet,” she told me. “And ‘Recovering from an Emotional Affair’ as well.” So I did.

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Lost

The truth is, I’m lost. I feel like I’m clinging to a piece of driftwood on an endless sea. The sun is directly overhead, and I don’t even know which way the shore is. I don’t know what I want, or how to get there. I feel so powerless. I have no control over my life. But even if I did, do I even know where I want to go?

I have amazing blessings, amazing gifts, amazing people in my life. Why do I feel like walking away from all of it? Why do I feel so trapped in a life I’m not sure I want, even as I recognize that there are people around me who would love to trade for what I have? Why am I so dissatisfied? So hopeless? So sad? Continue reading

Shattered

I’m not sure how to approach this post today. I am the one on the Frogstar. I am the one in the Partial Perspective Vortex. I can talk about myself and my flaws and weaknesses, my doubts and concerns, and I will be biased in favor of myself and present myself as favorably as possible by default. But there are other people in my life with whom I interact, and they haven’t volunteered for the Frogstar treatment. They haven’t agreed to be in the spotlight here. And they don’t even know that this blog exists.

So how do I tell a story that involves what could be seen as negative information about another person in my life? While still trying to be honest with myself and with the non-existent readership of my blog? Unfortunately I just have to stumble through this one and hope that I do okay. If I give too much information or if I give too little, I’m sorry; I’m feeling my way along in the dark here. Continue reading

Out

Late Sunday night my sister and her family stopped by. They were headed back from a family outing, and since they were close, thought it would be good to stop in and see us. As we were sitting in the living room chatting with them, my daugher whispered to me, “Have you told them you were released?” I shook my head, but then started thinking about it. Why not tell them that I was released? I didn’t have to go into the whole backstory; I could just say that I no longer held the calling that I had held previously. That’s a fairly common occurence in the Mormon church. You get callings, and you are released from callings. Totally normal. Nothing to be afraid of. I could say I was released without saying that I no longer believed.

So as I was talking to my sister a little later, there was a lull in the conversation, and so I said, just as casually as I could muster, “Oh, I was released from the bishopric today.” Continue reading

Atheism

I don’t really know where I’m headed. After Mormonism, what?

Because I was raised as a Mormon and spent my entire life trying to follow its teachings, my world felt like it crumbled when I realized it wasn’t true. Although it began as a question only about the veracity of Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, I feel now like I have to question just about everything that I had previously accepted only on faith, including the very existence of God. Continue reading

Release

I went to church today. I’m not sure if I would have gone or not, except my children invited me. It was Father’s Day, and my little ones wanted me to be there to listen to them sing a few songs about how much they loved their father. I agreed that it was a good day to attend church.

I also knew that today was the day that I was going to be officially released from my calling as a member of the bishopric. I had mixed feelings about being there for that. I wanted to be there, and I also didn’t really care about being there and would just as soon have stayed home. But my ambivalence was no match for my children’s request. So I went. Continue reading

Wisdom

For work this week we had a series of  business meetings with people gathered from across the country. As part of the team-building activities, we met for dinner afterward. As a Mormon, a major focus of the practice of the religion is refraining from alcohol. It’s almost as bad to drink as it is to commit adultery, at least in the way that you are accepted socially in the church. But since I no longer believe in the church, I also no longer believe that a prohibition on drinking is the will of God.

So I had a perfect opportunity to choose what I wanted in contrast to what I was taught was expected of me. Continue reading