All this talk about me, I guess it’s about time I actually spoke up and put up a post. My wife has been receiving a lot of questions about me, about the reasons for my change of faith, and about what I believe now that I no longer believe in Mormonism. And since nobody knows the answers better than me, here I am.
What were your reasons for leaving the church?
I wish that this was a simple answer. If it were something as simple as someone offending me, or never really believing in the first place I’d be finished this post already. It’s hard for me, looking back, to find that one thing that flipped the proverbial switch in my head, from Mormon to non-Mormon. I don’t think there could be one thing alone that could have made me leave. But I do know when I started to really look for answers. It began when I started learning about polygamy in the early church in more detail than I was previously familiar with. Now don’t get me wrong, I was aware of polygamy for a long time. How could I not be? But I was okay with it. There were reasons why the early church practiced it. It was commanded by God. It was to care for the widows of those men who had been murdered by the mobs fighting the church. I went through many such stages of understanding, although full readings of Doctrine and Covenants section 132 never really sat right with many of those stages. But I was okay with it. It just wasn’t relevant, not important to my salvation, and for many other similar reasons, I didn’t look any further into it.
Then, as happens in life, I stumbled onto something unexpected. Polyandry. Early prophets of the church, specifically including Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, marrying other men’s wives. That was strange… It must be because they were not able to be sealed to their unworthy husbands… Nope, there’s a husband being sent on a mission to England… Maybe it was just a symbolic union… Nope, there’s a child… It was so out of character with what I knew of the church. I started to research more about what type of polygamy was practiced in the early church, and found secret wives hidden from first wives, teenage brides to old men, and suddenly it wasn’t just something I didn’t understand and could leave alone. It needed to be squared. But it wasn’t polygamy that led me to leaving the church. It started with what happened next. I asked myself one of the most surprising questions I had ever had.
If it wasn’t true, would you want to know?
And I had to answer honestly. Yes. It was important. “Is it good” or “were they justified” were not the right questions. Is it actually, literally, and fundamentally true? If God was what I believed he was, and this was his church, and the prophets are prophets, then “is it good” didn’t really matter. Lots of things are good. More things are relative. Everything that I couldn’t square with my inner moral scale could be safely boxed up and shelved if it was true.
And so I started trying to discover if it was true. Of course, growing up in the church I had already found out it was true. But had I really? I had come to the conclusion that it was true from a confirmation direction only. I hadn’t ever really considered the possibility that it wasn’t true. It’s like I had only ever looked closely at Ford cars, only discussed cars with Ford dealers, only researched cars from official Ford and Ford friendly sources, told other people how awesome Fords are, and then, having decided that I wanted to buy a Ford, tried to decide for myself if Fords really were the best cars. But somebody else similarity immersed in Toyotas would come to vastly opposing conclusions.
I knew the Book of Mormon to be true by spiritual witness, strong feelings that what I know is true, which feelings I believed to originate from God, after studying its contents; the same way that a Bahá’í knows the Kitáb-i-Aqdas to be true.
Now I’m not going to expound fully on all my reasons I left the church. I don’t think that is what my wife had in mind for this blog, and there are better places to find answers than here. But my wife recently asked me if I had doctrinal reasons, as opposed to historical reasons, that I don’t believe. My first response was asking her to define “doctrinal.” But since it was late, and my filter had already gone to sleep, I sort of kind of brain dumped on her. And that dump contained a virtual cornucopia (Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, yay!) of historical and doctrinal issues I have with the church. The honest outcome of my search for the truth of the Mormon church led me to find, from multiple fronts converging with unity, that it is not true. And if it’s not true, why does it matter whether or not it’s good?
What do you believe in now?
My search for truth, along with leading to my belief that the Mormon church is not true, also led me to a few other findings. Other churches’ claims to truth are generally no better founded than Mormonism. And, surprising as it would have been to myself a year ago, that’s okay. I do not believe in any God. I don’t have some revolutionary proof that God does not exist, I just don’t believe in any given god, and that lack of belief did not leave a god shaped hole in my world begging to be filled. I still have a sense of awe and wonder at the universe. I don’t find death to hold any great fear from the unknown. I have found that I still have the ability to morally reason without fear or hope for eternal consequences. I actually find that I may be happier and more at peace than I was as a Mormon. And both RedKin10 and I agree that our marriage is doing better now than it has been for a long time. Possibly better than it has been in all 10 years. And I couldn’t be happier about that.