This week a team that was initiating a new project at my workplace came into town, and as part of the initial get-to-know-you activities, we all spent an evening together at a local sports bar. I decided that this time I would order an alcoholic beverage. However, I hadn’t thought it through beforehand, and when I stepped up to the bar and the barkeeper asked me what I would like to drink, I had no idea what to say. “Um … something with alcohol in it?” didn’t exactly sound like the sort of thing one says at a bar. So instead of ordering, I said, “Yeah. Gimme a minute to decide.” I spent the next few seconds searching deep into my lore of alcohol, and coming up empty, I texted Girlfriend: “I’m at the bar and have no idea what to order. Any suggestions?”
While waiting for her response, my coworker arrived and sat next to me. He effortlessly ordered a Blue Moon, and I quietly explained my dilemma to him: “I want to drink something, but I’ve never ordered at a bar before. Got any ideas?” He told me since I’d never drunk beer before, I probably wouldn’t like the flavor, but recommended maybe I start with Coors Lite, since it would be the mildest. I asked if he enjoyed any other kinds of drinks than beer, and after considering it a moment, he said his favorite was probably rum and coke. Short of any better ideas, I decided I’d give it a try. I placed my order and as I was waiting for the drink to come, my coworker asked the obvious question: why had I decided to drink that night? I mumbled something about having left the church, and he asked the next obvious question: what had caused me to abandon my religion? I’m sure he must have thought he had somehow been transported to the local aquarium, because I did my best impression of a fish: wide unblinking eyes with my mouth opening and closing several times without saying anything. It was only then that I realized: I have no idea how to be the ex-Mormon in the elevator.
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.
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
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
Yesterday I got home from work and the first thing Wife said to me was, “How did you like her haircut?” I didn’t fully hear the question, and thought maybe she was asking how I liked Wife’s haircut, so I stood there for a second looking at her and finally, not seeing anything different, realized maybe she was talking about Daughter. “Whose?” I asked. “Don’t tell me you didn’t see it. How did you like it?” Confused, I again asked, “Whose?” She again replied, “I know you saw it. She probably sent you a picture.” I asked, “Who?” and she said, “You really didn’t see it? She cut it all off. As short as a boy’s haircut.” I said, “Are you talking about Girlfriend?” And she said, “Yes. Are you telling me the truth? She didn’t send you a picture?”
That’s the problem with not being completely honest. Now she doesn’t know whether to believe me. “I haven’t had any communication with her since Saturday. She hasn’t sent me anything.” Continue reading