Uploaded by iamanexmormon on Jun 20, 2011
I've actually been solidly an atheist since last Winter semester, but the process began in earnest years before that, and the first indications are among my oldest memories. In CTR 6 or 7, Mom was once the substitute teacher, and she gave a lesson on giving your testimony. She wrote "I know the church is true" on the board and called on me to say it. I refused, because I was not aware of any such knowledge, and I didn't want to lie. I got in a bit of trouble for this. I never thought I knew the church was true--not for sure. And later when various things led to an active search for truth, I could not find a single person who could tell me how they actually knew the church was true--how do you know the feeling was the spirit? Nothing was logically convincing. I questioned various avenues, getting so anxious that I simply wanted to have the answer, so I allowed myself to consider the possibility that the church was not true. Once that was on the table, things started lining up.
The issue of faith was the problem, and the basic form of faith and the foundation of all the religion I knew was a faith in God. Now I could understand the idea of trusting God--but to trust that he existed seemed unreasonable. I familiarized myself with the arguments for and against God's existence, and I found that there was absolutely no convincing argument that God was there. In fact, I found no reason to believe at all. Learning more about psychology and later anthropology made me realize just how simple it would be for masses of people to fool themselves into all sorts of states of mind, including a witness of the spirit. I'd even experienced such a feeling when dealing with a matter which made apparent that I had created the feeling myself--and this obvious impostor was as strong as any supposedly real spiritual experience I'd known. Then of course there was the fact that many people from many contradictory religions had similar convictions--with no outside reference, how could I trust the nature of my own experience?
If you wish to read more of Alex's exit story, please click on the following link: http://www.iamanexmormon.com/2011/06/my-name-is-alex-stout-and-im-an-ex-mormon/