These things are always kind of hard... My transition has been fairly gradual over the last ten or so years, and it's hard to sum it up without sounding particularly pathetic or whiney. I'll give it a go, though..

I grew up Mormon. My parents are faithful, seminary teaching members, and we don't discuss the disaffection of their children. We don't discuss religion or philosophy at all, actually, as there is no room for anything but what they say is what. My relationship with them is worth nodding and agreeing. (Honestly, religion doesn't come up often. I think they realize that I am, indeed, just nodding and tuning them out.) I was a faithful member for years, I served a mission, so on.

There was a bit of exploration when I was a teen, but it was short lived, and mostly rebellious. I didn't really start wandering until some point during college. By this point, I'd already hit the stage where I wasn't convinced JS was a prophet. More nodding, I suppose... I wanted the rest to be true, so he had to have been a prophet... we all know the dichotomy. But, as a single young lady in college, I started wondering about the plan of happiness.

The next big step along that plan was marriage. I admit, I was still depressive from my mission years (which weren't that far behind me) and college life in a town away from the family lent itself to my being lonely. I wanted SOME kind of companionship, and more importantly, I wanted to do what the church said I needed to. Or did I? I wasn't particularly fond of marriage. The hype and expense people spend on it comes across as ridiculous to me. I've also always been unnerved by courtship, and am not the particularly flirty type. And I like a lot of 'me' time.

I digress (see, that's the pathetic part I was talking about.). Long story short, my time in college raised questions about the plan of happiness, and it's One Size Fits All application. Three years as a contractor in Iraq gave me plenty of time to think about it. I came to the conclusion that it just didn't make sense. There were too many people that just wouldn't be happy when living according to the plan, myself included. I didn't feel particularly evil, I just wasn't interested in marriage, or children (or sex in general). While leaders don't say anything about my particular clique, it does leave you pondering what your place is in a family/reproduction oriented organization.

My job didn't allow me to attend the small branch on base, and I admit I wasn't particularly interested in doing so. This continued on when I returned. I tried on a couple of occasions to return, thinking I might find I'd missed it. And I think I did, to some degree (likely the friends from my Families ward, who are grown up and gone now). However, it was the same boring talks, and I often fell asleep. Note, I snore. Loudly, I'm told. Heck, if I'm going to sleep, I might as well be comfortable, and I just started staying home.

I'm wandering off again, I guess. It's again hard to compile all the various little thoughts and feelings I have on religion, particularly as they're all fluid right now. My disaffection really started with Christ and whether or not he was truly divine. At present, I don't feel that he was. A great man with fantastic teachings, certainly, but a man. Of course, without Christ and the atonement, religions based on him, Mormonism included were moot.

Presently I define myself as rationalist, though I'm not entirely sure if that's accurate. Agnostic atheist is probably the best fit. But, honestly, what's a label?. I'm not a physicist, but I can look at their works, and I can see enough to picture a universe that doesn't require a creator to exist. I'm still a good person, I believe I'm happier, more open. And I'm not afraid.. ;3

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Discovering the goodness that is within all of us is so important.  We are all are blessed not by a polygamous deity, but by a real good God that loves us as we are.  I am happy, very fortunate and am so overcome with joy, history, tradition, the majesterium that I often get teary eyed in Mass.  Just think, God guided me from a young kid on food stamps, moving every few months to a new house, then moving several times a year to new relatives that took us for the money from the state.  Now, I am loved, warm, plenty of food (actually sometimes to much :), warm comfortable bed, and a secure life.  Man, what a change. I do not give credit to Salt Lake for anything.  They only provided the confirmation that the path I was on, was fine and I went back to it.  They are the epitomizer of self serving actions and intents. 

I determine my value and am the only qualified person that can.  Old self serving farts in Salt Lake that go to parties, eat others food, then leave in a hurry and get huffy do not.  

 

You are of value, of goodness and are good just as you are.  Don't change anything about you.  Just insist on being the best you. :)  "YOU" deserve it! :)

 

Don, in Las Vegas and memphis

 

 

 

 

 

 

akamar, what other languages do you speak? When someone shared that they survived a Mission it is always interesting to know if they learned another language. I served in Oakland CA and learned Ebonics (it was nothing new as I am from TN originally) and Spanish.

Thanks,
Don, dstrevel, at//.gmail ...com
Oh, I went to Alaska. So I didn't really learn any new languages. :/
Cool. It is always nice to hear where others have been. :) I loearned "damnthug" on my mission. Everytime I went outon the street I spoke, "damnthug" getthe hell out of the way!

Don

We were just sitting there in our home in the beautiful jungles of Belize, Central America, talking about our many blessings, when the brethren from the Church knocked on our door.  They'd come from our branch leadership and from as far away as El Salvador to challenge us about our membership in the Church.  Ironically, the two senior missionaries in our area had just stopped by and left.  They were grousing to us about all the problems they were facing in their labors caused by the horrid inefficiency of the Church in this small country.  Problems that had forced them to ask for their early release from their missions so they could go home and lick their wounds.  Problems that we had seen, as well, that had troubled us and, in part, forced our withdrawal of our allegiance to and interest in the Church.

 

The two brethren wanted to know why we had posted an inquiry at a well known polygamy site---Polygamy Now.  Nothing could have caught us more by surprise.  They had been sent by the mission president to check us out.  Our first reaction, until we caught our breaths, was . . . did the Church really have a "gestapo" and "narcs" that were out there rifling through the dissident web sights, checking up on members who were in rebellion or, as with us, merely asking hard questions.

 

Accordingly, we told them, that we were too far down the road to enlightenment to ever return to their fold and function as fully enfranchised members, staunch members, as we had before, for many decades.  "Please remove our names from the records of the Church," we told them, after the discussion had died.  We were very upbeat and, interestingly, so were they.  They could tell that we were not going to be persuaded by all the things we'd heard before, ad nauseum.  And so the deed was done.  There had been too many lies heaped on our heads.  Too much revised history.  Too much silliness in the name of salvation and survival on this planet.  I had been branch president.  My wife had been a youth leader and seminary teacher.  The possibility that we might begin to influence others in ways contrary to the party line of the Church weighed heavy on the brethren's minds---which frankly we never would have done.  One of the big problems of the Church is that everybody is always being a missionary.  "Now that you have learned the truth, go an drag others into your persuasion"---that sort of thing.  What they didn't know is that we weren't going to do that any more.  No more missionary work.  We weren't going to try to convince others that the Church wasn't true---which it is not.  We were going to be content to live and let live.  We had found the path we wanted to walk and that was sufficient.  We were willing to give up family and friends (which we ultimately did) for the truth that we had found.  Because the truth was sufficient in itself.  And the happiness we've found is sufficient.  And the amazing revelation that the spirit did not leave us because we had "rebelled" or apostatized, as the Church has always taught us that it would do, has led us into amazing discoveries---each bringing to us an element of happiness and adventure that has enriched our lives.

 

What an amazing discovery it was for us to discover that God is not a tyrant, but that he loves us in spite of the "human" ways we live our lives.  God is in favor of enlightenment and experience, not obedience or control.  I've since decided that no longer will I be able to worship any god that wants me to worship him.  I mean, why would I want to do that?  That person doesn't sound like a very nice person at all.  The voice of the spirit has told us very clearly, almost daily if we engage in the conversation, that God does not operate by fear or guilt or shame---hallmarks of the Mormon Church (although they deny it) and hallmarks of Christianity, as it is understood in the world today.  The real Christ was not that kind of person, and it is sometimes clear from the occasional truths that seep out between the lines in the Bible and the experiences of women and men.  Otherwise what we read is usually fabulous fiction, and we don't have much to do with it any more.  Although, we do like the nice people that may espouse the views of contemporary Christianity and the Mormon Church---when they will espouse us and give us the freedom to think what we will, without feeling they have to change us or beat us up.  Otherwise we would be very lonely.

I really like the way that you expressed your thoughts about the "one size doesn't fit all"-

It's so true and so many people are just silently feeling like misfits, or guilty, because the don't want what the church says they "should" want.  I can't see any reason for marriage any more, and I really didn' tike being married much when I was.

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