Because I am still on that long road out, I have to term my story as in progress.

BIC in Utah county, I grew up in the Church, knew nothing but the Church, and was so awash in it that my sensibilities gave away to temptations of the flesh in high school and I was drawn to the forbidden.  I ended up not serving a mission, for altruistic reasons as I really did not have a testimony and felt like it would be a waste of my time and my parents money, not to mention offensive to those I would try to teach in the field.  This was before the "raising of the bar" thing, so even with my sins the bishop waved them away and tried to get me in the field. 

I spent my 18 through 22 years at the University of Utah where I finished a degree in economics and eventually found enough reasons in my life to venture back towards Church activity.  I met my wife shortly thereafter and we were married in the temple - I was back on the right track! 

15 years later I had stumbled through life as a saint with a few hangups and hiccups, but I tried hard to do the right thing and be the father and member that I was expected to be.  At age 37 I was called into the Bishopric and that caused me to commit.  I was either going to truly learn all I could about the gospel and be the kind of guy that is in the Bishopric, or I was going to die trying.  Guess I died.

I dove into as much Church history and literature as I could, in order to be a better Mormon.  I suddenly found out that my Church was nothing like the Church I thought I was in.  Church history became the agent of doubt and questions and I ran through Bushman, Compton, Quinn, Arrington, Palmer, Bagley, Brooks... the list goes on and on but the faith I once had was completely shattered. 

A strange but quick fascination in talking with the apologists proved the final straw, as their "answers" pulverized what faith I had left.  I asked for a release from my calling 6 months ago and much to their credit, I had very good, loving, and understand leaders in the ward and
stake that did not judge and wished me well on my journey to find
answers.  I very much respect them for the way they handled my situation.

And now I am in outer darkness.  Virtually alone in my community and family of TBM's, with a wife who is ever faithful to her Church, I am straddling the fence most days and it's really, really hard.  I try to be supportive as a husband, and I have found good friends at NOM and CALM of Utah County.  But it's still really, really hard.  I suppose it would be easier if I knew where it would all end, how the story would resolve itself, but right now it's a huge mystery.

Oh... and I really love coffee.  Guess I was doomed for apostasy.

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Welcome James. Your story definitely follows a common theme among the many I have read. Being that you're still married to a TBM and basically in the heart of Utah makes things somewhat more difficult. I sympathize with you there. We live in Springville and all of my siblings and extended family are still in. After I left, my wife told herself that if the church is true, it will stand up to the evidence. With that, she began her own study. Ironically, just as with yourself, it was the apologist websites and information that embedded the final nail in her church coffin too.

As to where to go from here, my advice is to find the joy in living in this moment. Your wife may or may not ever follow your individual path. If you are still able to love and accept her as a faithful TBM, you'll likely get past some of the hangups and upsets surrounding a split faith marriage. Hopefully you are both able to compromise as to how you choose to live and what path your kids take. Take it one day at a time. Good luck. Thanks for sharing your story.
Kerry, "because we here have no standards" LOL LOL, dying on the floor laughing!
Hello James. You may be in a bind but not necessarily. I joined at 14, served a mission, in 6 bishoprics and 7 yrs as a bishop. When I realized the truth I like many other stopped attending. I have spent the last 6 years in university taking biblical studies. I am now an atheist. Fortunately my TBM wife accepts me for who I am not what I am. The tough issue is what your wife will do. But whatever it is you need to be true to yourself. I you are not true to yourself then you may not be of much help to others ether. If you want my story I will share, but be warned it is 15 pages. Good Luck
Dan
I would love your story. 15 pages or 50. Thank you for offering.

Hi James. Ran across your story again. You said that you would like my story but I do not remeber sending it. Email your email if you want me to send it or if I did let me know if you have any questions.

Dan

danialstapleton@hotmail.com

I agree, it sounds pretty typical.

Living in the most homogeneous and xenophobic state I've ever seen, you wouldn't have had the same opportunity to know this, but there are many approaches to spirituality, personal growth, and development.

I think we were conditioned to think that if we dare to step outside of the imposed lines, that we are bad, "apostate" or going to hell. Its more about avoiding coffee, not saying bad words, and being "squeaky clean" than it is about social justice, following your personal conscience, exercising empathy, etc.

I wouldn't call your mental expansion and proclivity toward asking questions "apostate". I think it is just about finding the path that is a good fit for you.

Just a thought.
Well, when I say apostate I do so with rich sarcasm. Without some sense of humor and ability to laugh at it all, while at the same time agonizing, there would be no way to get through it.
Hi James...sorry for my poor English...I'm Spanish:)...I've just readen your story and I only want to say you are not so alone as you think. I think there are many, many people in the same situation as you. What happens is that it is also true that many people around you prefer to keep silence about their doubts in order of not disturb the peace of a TBM family. You have been courageous and consistent, true to yourself. There is no greater achievement in life that to go through it living honestly. I discovered it some years ago ... really James, peace at heart and personal ethics are the greatest achievements that we can get as human beings.It is difficult, hard to follow, as you say to us writing your exit story. But tomorrow, when you get older and think back about your life it will makes you feel proud of yourself and what you did with your life. As you can read in Marguerite Yourcenar's Memoirs of Hadrian, you will enter into death with "open eyes" ... proud of how you lived your life. There are others who never open their eyes. Poor people, I feel very sorry for them.

A sincere hug from Spain.
Mary J.
By the way; I think you also need to taste a big cup of strong Spanish coffee...you will love it:)...
Just joking*(...Hugs
If I am ever in your neck of the woods I will stop by for a cup.
Let me reply in general that while this is very difficult and the family situation can be hard from day to day, my wife and I have a strong relationship and 4 beautiful daughters that are our world. I don't foresee separation, let alone divorce. I see days that are hard, crying, arguments, but I simply can't imagine my wife being so set in her TBM ways that it would cause her to consider the termination of our marriage, which I know we hold more sacred than anything else. It transcends her faith and my disaffection.

Thanks much for all the thoughtful replies and the words of encouragement.
Thanks for the clarification and I am glad to hear that.

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