I always felt like I spent my whole life following a map. Everything laid out for me ahead of time. "You will do this now... and when you get to this age, you will do this... and you will make these choices... if faced with this, you will do that... " Ad nauseum.
Born to LDS parents.
Baptized at 8.
Deacon at 12.
Teacher at 14.
Priest at 16.
BYU at 18.
Mission to Germany at 19.
Back to BYU after my mission.
Married in the temple at 21.
First child two years later.
Calling after calling. Elder's quorum presidencies, activities committees, scouts, cub scouts, teaching, etc. (You never say no.)
I felt like I was playing a part. Because to deviate from the norm was... unthinkable. I remember having a mini-breakdown the night before I was to go into the MTC to begin my mission. A huge part of me was screaming inside that I didn't want to go. But I never felt like there was a legitimate choice in the matter. Oh, I had a "choice", to be sure. I could choose between following the formula, and becoming "That Guy". The one that everyone whispers about. The one everyone's just a little bit... afraid of. Because he thinks differently. I was a square peg fastidiously trying to fit myself into a round hole.
I could feel the splinters breaking off.
There ware too many problems. Too many things that I had to "take on faith". Not just because logical explanations would be forthcoming, but because there were actual evidences against them. I couldn't handle looking in the mirror and seeing a hypocrite all the time. Seeing someone just going through the motions in order to avoid the problems that would ensue if he tried to stop. Taking the easy way out. Don't rock the boat.
I had actually talked with my wife periodically over the last few years about the things that I had problems with. (Inconsistencies in church history, the strangeness of garments, issues with the temple (Masonic stuff), etc.) And there was some mutual feeling there. We'd both expressed some feelings of "going through the motions". But I didn't know how far she'd come along that particular path, and frankly, I was petrified of bringing it up.
You are taught that if ever there is something that you find problematic in the church, if ever there is something that you have an issue with, or that you find... distasteful... "Put it on your 'Shelf' ". Table it. Don't think about it. Maybe you'll figure it out later. Maybe you won't get an answer "until the next life". The tacit suggestion being: There's something wrong with YOU. You don't get it. You're the problem. You're not faithful enough, not obedient enough. Read the scriptures more, pray more, pay more tithing, go to the temple more, do more Family Home Evening, etc, etc, etc. It can never be considered that the things you have a problem with might actually be real problems.
Please visit the website to finish reading Sean's Story! Stacy's story is also at the link below: