I was raised in an LDS (Mormon) home. I lived the LDS lifestyle until I was in my mid 30’s. For a number of reasons I decided to search for a better understanding of the history and sacred texts of my religion. I can honestly say I didn’t start with an agenda other than to have more knowledge regarding my religious culture and beliefs. As I started studying and researching I found that the history of the church was quite different from what we had been taught over the pulpit and in Sunday School etc. Sure, while on my mission and as an adult I would hear that there were some things in these books like Journal of Discourses and other publications written by the early church that were on the strange or controversial side. I didn’t think these things were of any consequence besides I could go and read what the apologetics had to say and they seemed to have the answers to my questions. I had not actually read what was said just the apologetics responses. This new search I felt should be more complete and I started to read the actual source material for some of the claims that I had heard about. I gradually grew more and more frustrated as I felt the apologetic response seemed to be more geared towards members that were taking my first approach, “I have heard about this book or information and without reading it, lets see if there is an answer, here it is Nibley says this and that and this person was just disgruntled anyway.” Good enough for me. As I started reading the source material and checking on the apologetics footnotes and cross references I found much of their source material was questionable. Things like using the Quetzalcoatl in support of Christ’s visit to the Americas or Nibley quoting an article about Jewish rituals among Native American tribes etc. These are just a few simple examples the path includes to many details to include here.
Having come to the conclusion that I could no longer believe in these things I had to analyze much in the way I believed and understand more clearly what spiritual witness actually was, what role all of this would play in my life. I think this was just about the scariest and emotional straining exercise that I have ever gone through. I have no regrets I am glad I did it. I truly understand and love myself now in a way that would not have been possible for me within the LDS belief system and culture.
When I first left the LDS Church I still considered myself Christian, my search soon took me past the LDS question. Soon I found myself no longer concerned with LDS thought and I definitely didn’t feel I had an ax to grind. My attitude was more of, if it works for you great. Aren’t we all looking for something that brings us happiness and peace? if you truly have found it fantastic.
What I had not counted on is how divisive it was going to actually be on me and my family. I had hoped that overtime I would be accepted for who I was regardless of being LDS or not. Certainly some in my family have continued in unconditional love and know me for who I am. Unfortunately however the more immediate members don’t seem to be able see past I am no longer a Mormon. I think that is perhaps why I ended up on the LDS blogs to be able to vent some of these feelings in a safe environment. It has truly helped in some ways. I do see that there are many LDS that can view the world in a way that is not in direct conflict with my views or at least willing to recognize that other views or beliefs are just as valid as theirs *more time on the blogs and I am not sure this is true it just seems more like lip service, or just part of the nicey nice*. Of course there are also the ones that seem to be incapable of such thinking. It seems the LDS culture runs the spectrum of different views just as diversified as the many Christians out there, fundamentalist thinking all the way to very liberal or progressive and or moderate.
Bottom line for me is that we as a human race love and respect life and all that is around us make the world a better place. It really is immaterial what your motivation is, belief in God or Nature or even the invisible pink unicorn. Morals and Values stand on their own and can be discussed and argued without bringing into the discussion some mythological figure that is unverifiable, in my opinion social conscience has clearly been the true catalyst for human growth and morals, and religious faith has and is holding us back and may well end up being the demise of our species.