Friday, June 3, 2016
What Do You do When You Stop Believing?
I have a very public profile online and you deserve to know that. I don't want to offend my fellow Mormons, but at the same time it's not fair to them to think I believe when in fact I don't any more. And the truth is, by just sharing the fact that I don't believe online I risk the fact that the culture and membership I've known my entire life could be stripped from me by church leaders. I love the traditions of Mormonism - the friends I've made there, the people I've met along the way, and the people I've served.
Truthfully, I've been debating how to share this with you. I don't want you to go through the same things I have. They have been gut-wrenching, soul harrowing. The entire principles and culture I grew up with my entire life had been turned on its side. If you begin to doubt and begin to research, you WILL eventually find the same things and have to decide what to do with it. That's not what I want - you need to decide if you're ready for that. I need to be transparent with you though.
I've been asked to do an AMA on Reddit about my story. I've been asked to be on John Dehlin's "Mormon Stories". I'm trying to decide if I'm really ready for that, or if there's really purpose in my going that direction. Clay Christensen was threatened with excommunication by just being on these shows (he resigned instead). I do owe it to you to share my story though and let you know where I stand.
I don't want to appear as "anti-Mormon". I don't want to be someone trying to convince others, or evangelizing against the Church. Frankly, I'd still fight for the LDS Church if they wanted to hire me again. I'm still against people sharing videos of the sacred LDS temple ceremonies on Youtube. I'm still against ex Mormons trolling Mormons on Mormon blogs. There are many good things the organization itself does, and like any former employer I enjoyed working for I would do it again if for some crazy reason they asked me. I just don't believe in the doctrines any more. Heck - I may even continue sharing my photos with LDS Create, as I have done thus far.
Lastly, I don't want to offend any of you. I know many of you, especially family, see someone who leaves as not going to the Celestial Kingdom. I don't want you to be sad. Frankly, you can try to convert me in the next life if I'm wrong (which I am 100% convinced at this point I am not, nor do I want to argue about it). I'm not a "sinner". I'm not "offended". In fact I'm at peace. I've prayed about it. I've read the Book of Mormon dozens of times. I've sought out the best books and sought the "Mysteries of God". The truth is I was, spiritually and ethically, moving faster than the Church, and this was my only next step in my life (or eternal) progression. I am completely at peace with my direction in life and I'm happier, and healthier than ever and a better person because of it.
As I've always said, this is my faith journey SO FAR. I anticipate this will change more and more in the future. Who knows where I'll be 10 years, or even 20 years down the road? I want you there with me. I want us to all be friends in our individual journeys.
As I've said on Facebook, my mantra is to be true to myself, and kind to others. God or not (I'm still figuring that out), the laws of Karma and the Universe still exist. What we put into this earth we get out of it. I hope you can join me on this journey, whether you're Mormon, non-Mormon, former-Mormon, or otherwise!
Please, reach out and say hi some time - not as a church leader, a home teacher, or visiting teacher, but as a real, true friend. Frankly, I'm not quite sure I can be sure of that if you have any of those callings and come to me, I apologize - I've held the callings myself and I KNOW I wasn't true friends with many of those I was trying to bring back to the Church. I can usually tell your true intentions - building trust with me is really important at this point. I'm hoping to discover who my real friends are from all of this! You can know if I friend you, I now have have none of those motivations - I expect the same.
I'll try to share what I can as I progress on this blog, so please subscribe! Let's all heal, in our own individual journeys, together. And if you're struggling, I'm here to help, no matter which side of the coin you end up on.