***Update. This post seems to be recirculating, and while I would love to reply to everyone’s comments, this post was written a year ago, and I am no longer interested in reading any of the comments or replying to them. Feel free to find me on Facebook if you have any specific questions for me personally. I wish everyone the best in their faith journey and hope you find happiness and love in wherever your life story takes you. Let’s all be happy and respect peoples differing beliefs!**
This is my story.
I grew up in very faithful and committed home. The church culture I grew up with determined a lot of choices I made over my life. From what I wore, what I ate, and who I considered for marriage. As well as how I viewed education, motherhood, and a career. I grew up with love and support and I always knew of my value in my home and ward family. Mormonism is a culture as well as a religion and I never questioned the truthfulness of it’s teachings, it just was. It very much shaped who I am today. All my family and most of my friends growing up were Mormon. I am not ungrateful for the way I was raised. I was taught to love and serve. I was taught to work hard, have clean language, and have faith in God and the restoration through Joseph Smith. My parents always loved me and wanted the best for me and sacrificed everything for me and my siblings. We were/are a good family. I always knew my parents loved the Lord and strived to follow his teachings in the scripture and from latter day prophets of the church. They are GOOD people. About as good as they come.
Fast forward to summer 2015.
For at least the past last 3 years I struggled with my husband losing his faith. I didn’t understand it. I didn’t want to understand. I just waited and hoped and prayed that he would figure it out and come back to the truth. I didn’t understand why he had to overthink everything and question his beliefs. It broke my heart. I always knew there were some church history issues but I was taught to not look into it and definitely not to look on the Internet to ready anything that is “anti Mormon”. So why was he doing this? I didn’t want to lose my faith so I figured it was my job to be the “strong one” and to teach my children regardless of what he was going through, because surely he would come around eventually and we would have our happy eternal LDS family. This was my dream.
I didn’t talk to many people about it over the years but one day Josh told me that he wanted to let me know how he felt, what he had been going through, and to just be open and honest with me. Knowing this would likely be a long conversation we set aside a specific time a few days later. When that day came, I had my dad give me a priesthood blessing for comfort and strength. I always felt close to my dad growing up especially when we would talk about spiritual things. He was my spiritual giant and I loved those close moments we would spend together. This was no different. I left feeling like I could do this, I could be the strength my husband and children needed and I wasn’t alone.
That night blew my mind. I can’t even describe the feelings of emptiness and betrayal I felt once everything was said and done. I felt like he was throwing away all the temple covenants we had made and was being foolish. The prospect of my eternal family were slowly slipping away from me and I sobbed ALL NIGHT LONG. He was patient with me. He loved me and hugged me and poured out his love for me and our children. He told me that even though he felt this way he would always come to church and sit beside me and never tell the kids about how he felt. He would still pray with us as a family and read scriptures with us. He told me that he has never loved me more and that he would always be here for me and the best dad he could be. I believed him. But I still wanted my “mormon family” so I gave him “Moroni’s challenge”. I asked him if he would read nothing but the Book of Mormon until he completed it and to pray and ask the Lord if it were true. He did. He almost finished it, but about 2 weeks into it and after a few discussions with him and another friend of mine, I decided that I wasn’t being fair. I was asking him to do something the I wasn’t willing to do myself. I hadn’t been willing to be open to the possibility that I MIGHT be WRONG. It just hadn’t ever crossed my mind! When I finally realized how closed minded and prideful I was being, I forced myself to be humble and accept that I COULD be wrong.
So down the rabbit hole I went. I knew that there were multiple accounts of the first vision, so I read those first. Then I started a book he recommended called “Rough Stone Rolling” which is written by a faithful member of the church. It is a long and boring book. It would take me forever to read. I asked him if he had anything else I could read that might be helpful. He then sent me a Mormon Stories interview with the author of the CES letter and I promptly listened to it and within a few days I had finished the CES letter as well. Before I was even through the CES letter I knew I had lost my faith. I read the essays on the church website and FAIR’s responses to the CES letter and other issues I felt I needed further clarification to. FAIR danced around most of the topics and never really gave any clear explanations to the MANY problems with early church history as well as CURRENT issues with the church. I spent several days sobbing, on my knees, and contemplating my new found information. I knew the church wasn’t true. Joseph Smith never saw God and Jesus Christ, and the Book of Mormon was not a literal book. (though it does have some inspiring stories) We were only a couple months away from baptizing our nearly 8 year old daughter and I felt sick about it. I knew we couldn’t baptize her into a church we didn’t believe in. One thing I have always been is honest. I can’t pretend. I have to be authentic. I didn’t hate the church, I just didn’t believe in it anymore. I love my family. I didn’t want to hurt them but I wanted them to know how I felt. So we sat down together and constructed a letter. Josh wrote a portion that explained his faith crisis and I wrote my part about losing my faith. We put it together and sent it to all our family. We have family members in various cities and it would be impossible to meet in person with everyone. We also didn’t see a phone call to each of them being a very good idea since word travels fast and we didn’t want anyone to hear it secondhand before we finished our phone calls. So we sent the email to family and a few close friends and waited for the wrath to be poured upon us!
One thing that a lot of people don’t understand is that this isn’t a “phase”, we aren’t “going through something”. What we have discovered and believe to be true can not be undone. I can’t change history and I can’t change science to make this work. The mental gymnastics I would have to go through to make the LDS church work again is not going to happen. I love the people in the church and at a local level I believe people are being true to their beliefs and are good and honest and amazing people. Mormons are good people! The teachings of the church like honestly, charity, service, compassion etc are GOOD teachings, but they are not exclusive to LDS people. What the church does very well is it takes people morals and tells them that they are a “natural man” and an “enemy to God” and then “sells” them back their morals in order to be able to make it to heaven, and I am not buying it anymore. I am a good person too. I am still ME. I haven’t changed. But I do view the world differently now. A LOT differently. And… I like coffee. 😉