I felt that I should post these here, to update those of you who know about my situation. I thank you for your support. I graduate soon and with that I am able to finally break free of the clutches of this cult. Along with this I must leave my family, due to their previous reactions to my unbelief. These two letters were difficult to write and probably two of the most difficult things I will ever have to write, essays and thesis papers be damned. The post following this one is the letter I've written for my sister. The names have been changed to protect the innocent, you know the drill.
Letter to Parents
"Mom and Dad,
It causes me great heartache to write this letter, but it is something I must do. I owe it to myself and to you. I owe it to my conscience and my integrity. I owe it to you because you've made me into the honest person I am. I owe it to you because you've provided much for me, love, shelter, food, advice and many other things that cannot be written due to their great importance.
A year ago I told the both of you something that broke your hearts, it broke mine as well. I told you that I no longer believed in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I've maintained this unbelief and am pained that I had to lie to you. Please know this, I acted dishonestly to preserve our relationship, to preserve my mental stability.
I won't go into great detail regarding my unbelief, but I will say this. I've discovered, through church verified sources, that the church isn't what it purports to be, that the doctrines and alleged facts being taught today are revised and sanitized through careful processes. Things said and done by Prophets passed, I.E Joseph Smith and Brigham Young are disregarded and hidden. My discovery of these hidden truths prompted me to realize, that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is not, in fact, the true church of God.
What is hidden, what is secret, what is disregarded because it is an inconvenient truth is the antithesis to truth. “There is a temptation for the writer or the teacher of Church history to want to tell everything, whether it is worthy or faith promoting or not. Some things that are true are not very useful.” Boyd K. Packer said this in his BYU speech 'The Mantle is Greater than the Intellect.' I cannot, with good conscience, subscribe to a belief system that promotes the sanitation of the truth. Anything which operates in the darkness cannot be of God, it cannot bring about positive spirituality because, it is in essence a falsehood, a lie of omission. You wouldn't purchase a car without knowing every detail and specification about it would you? The same applies to religious beliefs.
I love the both of you, I will love you both for time and all eternity. I love our entire family, Alex, Jen and Nora. I love our extended family, Grandma and Grandpa Howard, Aunt Anne, Joe, Great Grandma Howard, Grandma Johnson and everyone else. I'll always love you all, nothing can take that love from us, not even death. I know that you fear my unbelief will forever separate us in the next life. I cannot and will not believe that. The bond of love is much stronger than any priesthood or ordinance, it cannot be desecrated by the lack of some physical ritual. It's said in the 'Princess Bride' by Buttercup that the bonds of love cannot be broken, they cannot be broken even with a thousand bloodhounds nor a thousand swords. Love is infinite, love is eternal, love is binding and love is absolute. “Death cannot stop true love,” said The Man in Black.
I know I am unleashing a horrible burden upon you, especially with two young children, Jen and Nora, this pains me horribly. It pains me knowing that I've unleashed an emotional roller-coaster on you all. It pains me because I know what you are feeling, grief, anger, sorrow, remorse, guilt and shame. I'm going through the same emotional process you are. Acceptance will come for us, in time. I pray it comes swiftly for you, so that you may continue raising Alex, Jen and Nora unhindered by the burdens of grief.
I will not forget the things you have taught me, I cherish them, I hold them close to my heart. I want you to understand this, to accept me for who I am and not for what I believe or do not believe. I want your love for me to be unconditional, I pray relentlessly that you'll be able to embrace me regardless of my religious beliefs. Please note that you have not failed as my parents. If you ask anyone I've interacted with about me, they will have nothing but good things to say. You've instilled many great virtues in me and for this I am thankful.
I've attached on the back of this letter, a talk delivered by Bishop Steve Bloor, a Bishop of a ward in the United Kingdom. In this talk, he speaks of the importance of compassion for those who leave the fold. Compassion is one of the highest of Christ's attributes and I pray that–although you are grieving–that you will be able to have compassion for me. Let me reiterate that I will love you and our family for time and all eternity. Nothing can stop me from loving you, nothing will ever stop me from loving you. I've decided that we need a great distance of time and space to heal, to come to terms with this new adjustment. I hope you can forgive me for this. I hope you can forgive me for leaving on my Graduation. I'd prefer it not have to happen this way, but sometimes the most painful of decisions are necessary. I reiterate that I know the timing is difficult, but I know that Anne will support you through this tumultuous time. I pray that she may assist you in the grieving process.
Tell Alex, Jen and Nora that I love them and always will love them. I will love you regardless of anything you do or believe. I've reconciled our differences and I pray that you may be able to do the same.
Thank you for everything. Thank you for being you. Thank you for being my parents.
With love, your son,
Letter to Sister
A number of things have taken place that I wish hadn't. The road ahead will be incredibly difficult for you and the rest of the family. For this I apologize. But the fact of the matter is, I no longer believe the church is true. I won't go into any detail as to why I no longer believe, but I will tell you this. Follow your heart, no matter what anyone says to the contrary. Seek out what benefits you, what makes you truly happy. If you ever find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, or asked to do something that makes you uncomfortable, do not feel obligated to oblige.
Please know, that I love you, no matter what may happen, or what will be said. I'm going to miss our crazy antics, our repeating of movie lines and crazy songs. The silly games we play with each other, running around the house and making Jen laugh. You see, I have to leave because Mom and Dad won't treat me well due to my unbelief in the church. I don't want to go through that and I don't want you or Jen to see that. It isn't fair or healthy for anyone.
Although I am leaving, I don't want you to be bitter towards me. I know I'm leaving you with an incredible burden as Mom and Dad can be quite needy. I feel they've unfairly placed an unreasonable amount of responsibility on you. You're practically raising Jen and may very well end up raising Nora. Please don't be bitter towards Mom and Dad because of this. They have a difficult time of things, trying to pay the bills and dealing with pregnancies and infants and toddlers. Although it is an unfair situation, you must accept it and make the best of it. Own it! I have faith that you can and will make the best of the situation, ensuring the best possible outcome for yourself.
Don't you dare stop writing and don't let anyone tell you to stop. That's your gift, our gift. The both of us have a mastery of words, a command of the language, a certain creativity if you will. Don't let anyone attempt to stifle this talent, don't let anyone attempt to suppress you. Write what your heart tells you. Write what you feel you must and don't hold back. Use every bit of creativity in your soul and you'll do well, you'll succeed. I fear that if you let anyone stifle you, your talent will be wasted. So again, follow your heart! Do and write what you feel is right!
I love you and I hope you'll be able to overcome the pitfalls to come with relative ease. The road ahead is going to be difficult for you, I know, as it is difficult for me. Please, please know that my leaving is not to torment you in any way. I love you, I always will, for time and all eternity. Remember the Princess Bride? When Wesley says “Death cannot stop love”? I believe that. Remember when Buttercup said that love cannot be broken with a thousand swords? I believe that. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Love is the power that binds us, that permeates us, that invigorates our souls. Nothing can separate it. Remember that, nothing can separate our love, we're family for time and all eternity no matter what anyone else says.
I love you, Alex. I always have and I always will. I pray that you may forgive me for what I've done. Our contact will be limited at first, but I will establish contact with you once the storm passes. From that point on I will always be there for you. I will be an ear for you to speak to, a shoulder for you to cry on.
With great love, your brother,