Questions Answered

FINALLY, your questions!!

Here are some of our faves:

“Is his family LDS? What was his family’s response?”

YES, his family is LDS.  Fun story: his dad was an apostate Jack Mormon Utah boy who emigrated to the REAL Promised Land (cue: ‘O Canada’ here) after some time in the military and working for NASA and something about blowing up a phone booth with explosives for kicks and giggles. He eventually married my MIL, they had babies, and as happens, he ended up back in the LDS church, and brought his family, including my then-8-month-old-now-hubs with him.  He passed years ago, but my hubs mother and sisters remain strong LDS members.

What was their response?  Mom was devastated.  One sister was shocked, I think, but accepting and more or less okay with it in a what-a-stupid-moron kind of way (but way nicer; I’m the only one without the brain-to-mouth [or keyboard] filter). The other sister was hurt and furious. At the time, her reaction was my favourite! O:-) Hey, by now you KNOW I’m FAR from perfect!

Next question!

“Also, In that 5 myths and 5 truths video from John Dehlin, he thinks the GA’s should say something about marriages (and families – kids leave too) like yours at the next GC. Would you agree?”

I have to admit, it’s been almost a year since we sat together and watched that video, so I don’t remember specifically the reference you’re making as to his suggestion for the General Authorities.  Part of me thinks they DO talk about it regularly? I don’t know; watching the latest Relief Society broadcast at the end of September Pres. Monson spoke to THOSE women, without priesthood in the home. I remember it clearly because I felt like I sank about ten feet through my chair sitting there….it was the first time any of them had said that line and it actually applied to ME.

If the suggested mention about marriages and families like mine is to perhaps encourage that dogmatic differences need not result in the immediate termination of such relationships, then I am absolutely on board for that!  I think it would be safe to assume my mister would agree.  I think, honestly, if you look at what the Brethren teach about marriage, families, and the prevalence of divorce in society, and the arguably appropriate reasons for one to end a marriage, well, hopefully you’d understand my position on it as WE’RE STILL MARRIED.

Please don’t mistake me to say that divorce is inherently evil, all divorced persons are covenant-breaking scum or anything ridiculous along those lines. Just from my own experience and understanding THIS is not a situation which NEEDS such a drastic result. Does that make sense?  For the General Authorities to make that clear, that differences of opinion are work-withable, that marriage and family is SO incredibly important, and that differing religious views do NOT mean the end of the world, I cannot see that being a bad idea.

Next question!

“1 what’s the dumbest thing someone has said to you about….. [her]-Your belief, [him]-your unbelief, [her]-your decision to stay with an unbeliever.”

Oy, vey. That’s a doozy. If you haven’t watched the EIGHT MINUTE ridiculous chipmunk video we posted earlier…honestly, watch it.  The guy’s eyes are incredible – how do they move like that? And, honestly, people SAY those things! They really say them! They think them! We both know; WE’VE BEEN THOSE PEOPLE!! (We’re SO sorry!)

I think part of the problem is that we see people making choices that are different from ours, from what our normal is, what’s comfortable and safe for us, and so we have to rationalize so it makes sense.  My worldview and whole life says THIS is right, this is normal. You do something different. That doesn’t compute. Therefore…something is wrong with you.  It doesn’t make us bad people, it’s just something you learn to progress past, I think, with time and experience.  To use Church jargon, it’s that Natural Man about us.

The dumbest thing someone’s said? I don’t know. A non-member friend of mine started listing all the incredible pros of single-parenting; so glad it works when the alternative is a horrid, abusive marriage, buuuut my mister is an awesome dad, soooo….. yeah.   Dumbest thing to him? I don’t want him to answer that because I think it probably must have come out of MY mouth sometime in the last year!  O:-)  If it’s something good, or different than Mr Chipmunk, he’ll respond specifically.

NEXT:

“[her]- do you believe 100% in the truth of the church or do you believe that the church is a force for good and the best way you’ve encountered for someone to live their life”

This is a GREAT question. And a tough one in some regards.  Especially considering the source – I know you think I’m nuts for sticking with it!  hahaha 😛

I have spent a lot of time pondering that myself the past year. He has some excellent arguments basically, legitimately, calling into question the ‘warm fuzzies’ we Mormons get and have dubbed “The Spirit” as it testifies to us of the truth. Psychology of religion, don’t Muslims feel warm and fuzzy about THEIR “true” beliefs? Or Jews? Or Catholics? Or, goodness, yeah. Everyone? Explain THAT, he says. But, you know, with eloquence (he’s very well spoken. It’s frustrating when we disagree because I’m a bumbling idiot verbally hahaha).

Here is what I KNOW:

I KNOW that without absolute PROOF, i.e. ME actually having a tangible vision or something crazy like that, I can NEVER actually KNOW that “the Church is true.” I can’t.  It’s impossible. I can believe it, I can have faith in it, but I can’t know it.  But that IS faith, by definition in and outside of scripture, and as faith is the first principle of the Gospel, so far I’m good.

I KNOW what I HAVE experienced. I know that I have the warm fuzzies sometimes, and I know that so does everyone else. I know that I can within the doctrines of the Church try to rationalize and explain and whatever whatever – everyone has the Light of Christ even though only members have the Gift of the Holy Ghost kinda’ thing – or I can forget about rationalizing and ignore things that make me question.  OR, I can accept that there are some things that I don’t understand and move on.

I don’t mean to suggest that I purposefully turn a blind eye to the weird stuff. I think there is nothing more important than being educated extensively in whatever it is that you do, so why on Earth not in your religion, too? And education doesn’t mean brainwashed, one-sided, lollipops-and-roses only. It can’t. I just mean, that so far, when I come up on this stuff, I choose faith.

I KNOW what I have heard, what I have seen, what I have experienced. And while I don’t KNOW that “the Church is TRUE” per say, 100% every single teeny tiny bit of it, I do absolutely have faith that it is.  I believe that there are problems, there are mistakes, but as far as the pure, unadulterated doctrine of the Gospel of Christ goes, I have faith it’s true.

Sorry to disappoint 😉 hahaha

If you DO get the warm fuzzies about religion, don’t discount it just because someone else somewhere else is doing the same about their beliefs; the warm fuzzies help you recognize GOOD, and no matter what or where the good is coming from, good is good, and we need so much more of it in this world. EMBRACE good. Feed the Mormon missionaries when they come knocking. You don’t have to become a baptized member to be nice. Be kind to the JW’s that knock on your door and take the opportunity to learn about what makes them so passionate about sharing their message. Smile in the grocery store, leave big tips for your servers, and goodness gracious just do awesome stuff, will ya’? Stop all hating each other. It’s SO overrated.

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HIATUS and back to…normal?

Image from: http://downlopaz.com/featured/hiatus/

image from: http://downlopaz.com/featured/hiatus/ – I WISH there had been palm trees and a hammock in our hiatus! SHEESH!

OHmigosh. So so so so soooooo sorry. Here we get all these great questions from our faithful followers and we totally disappear off the grid for a few weeks!

Sigh.

Moving is HARD!!

We’re FINALLY pretty much moved, at least for the moment 😉 and as we’re settling into our new routines and figuring things out, here I sit with actually five minutes to myself. Boo. Yah!

(Please note: my five minutes I’m stealing right now includes ignoring all the kid-crap strewn all over the basement around where I sit…. Grumble grumble grumble….first world problems, etc. etc.)

SO, with that said, and again, our SINCEREST apologies, WE’RE BACK!

Watch for questions to be answered over the weekend, from both of us, and we’ll get back into the swing of this.

Cheers, friends, and thanks for understanding. You’re amazing! 😀

The Husband Responds

“If we have the truth, it cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not the truth, it ought to be harmed.”

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.

Was it the right decision?

bad-decision

This one cracks me up every time I see it! X-)

We’ll, we got our first question, and it’s a doozy! Thanks so much, for asking. Your asking questions allows us to examine our situation and work together to understand it a bit better, even. LOVE that.

Question: “in retrospect, was it still the right decision?”

My answer? No, of course not! My husband’s an idiot! 😉 hahahaha

HIS much more thoughtful, insightful response:

“To which decision is [the question] referring? Deciding to follow my findings and conclusions by expressing by disaffection from the church or staying with you and making our marriage work? I would say yes to both questions. I feel that both have been right decisions that have led to both great peace of mind and a happier home. You have been so good with our situation over the past year, giving me strenth and support and it has forced us into working on improving our myriad of other marital issues. I didn’t realise that I had managed to hold onto you because you wanted the priesthood in your home. Now I realise that I was that close to losing you, and that I no longer have that crutch to lean on.”

So, there ya go.

Honestly, I’ve never in my life felt more betrayed, heartbroken, or desperate for help. But for the most part those feelings have passed. I wish it could have happened a different way, of course – I DO believe and hold the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ very near and dear – so I wish regularly that my husband could have made a different “right” decision.  And yet I am SO thankful that he did.  This has been a wake-up call for us in our relationship and marriage. We have made such great strides together. And I am SO SO glad that although it took him time, he was secure enough in me, and in us, that he COULD make this decision.

Does that answer your question? Any others? 🙂

Why now?

Some of you may be wondering why, after a year of holding this information pretty close to the chest, we’re suddenly so out in the open about it. Especially those of you who are our friends on Facebook who’ve seen my husband’s recent, uh, “coming out of the closet” status update!

Here’s what he had to say:

My Facebook friends and family, I apologise for the incoming wall of text, but I wanted to help settle some rumours that some of you may have come across, more of you have not, and many of you don’t really care about. Not all rumours are false, but even the ones that are true never really match reality. You may have heard that I have fallen away or apostatized from the LDS church. The fact is that while I no longer consider myself a Mormon in faith or creed, the terms “fallen away” and “apostasy” poorly represent the process I have gone through. It has been neither through an apathetic falling nor an embittered apostasy that I have come to where I stand today, but instead through a heart-felt, honest, and at times agonizing search for what I could accept to be true. It is a hard thing to have your world view disrupted, but I could not have come this far without the love and support of those with whom I have confided during my journey. It is the fear of many who experience a religious change that those they love, both family and friends, would shun them for fear of their own faith. I am happy to say that I have not experienced this, and for that I am grateful.

Many of the lessons from Mormonism that I have learned, especially those about honesty, integrity, courage, seeking truth and knowledge, charity and love have been invaluable to me and will continue to play an incredibly huge role in my life. Also many of the friendships I formed there are still important to me, not least of which is with my wife [that’s me!] , who has stood by me this past year despite not agreeing with me in my conclusions. In some ways I feel that we are closer now than we have been for years.

I’m not asking anyone to agree with me or to validate me, all I’m asking is that you don’t fear me or mourn for me. I am making a conscious decision that I feel serves the betterment of myself, my family and the world. I won’t spend my time trying to be antagonistic towards the church, as many of the people I love are Mormon and I owe my childhood and the greater part of my adulthood to them.

If you are interested in knowing more about my journey, feel free to talk to me privately. You can usually find me online, or even at church on Sundays. Part of my motivation for this post is also to let anyone who sees this, who is grappling with their own doubts and private struggles, know that they are never alone. There is always someone to talk to, and always somebody who has felt how you do. I do not seek to push or pull you away from what you hold close to your heart, and I am aware that many people have travelled similar roads as mine and have found ways to hold onto their beliefs. But I know it can be hard to find someone to talk to without fearing that you will be judged just for asking your questions.

To think that I tried to leave Facebook three years ago. While I still don’t always agree with its stance on privacy, there just isn’t another platform available that allows me to maintain this degree of contact with so many people with whom I have crossed paths with over the years.

To those of you who have read this far, thank you for your time and love. I hope that our travels through this universe we all share will continue to lead us through some marvellous places. Even better if we can travel there with good company.

As you may have read in my previous posts, I was pretty devastated when I first found out about the conclusions my partner had come to. And as we tend to do with devastating information, I hid it. I didn’t want anyone to know. I feared for the comments, the stares, the gossipmongers to get the information and rip my little family apart; I didn’t need their help in doing that because it was already happening on its own.

But having come so far together in our relationship and our marriage this past year, having welcomed our second, beautiful, perfect little baby girl into the world, and having withstood life having the dogmatic differences that we do, we’ve started to hit a bit of a stride. We’re okay. We’ve shown ourselves, I think, that we can do this, at least as far as we’ve gotten so far.

So when a few weeks ago my husband was asked by an unknowing acquaintance before the beginning of church services one Sunday morning if he would help administer and pass the sacrament to the congregation we found ourselves in a bit of an awkward situation. It definitely wasn’t the time to say, oh, by the way, he doesn’t believe anymore, so no, he can’t help with that.  Holy AWKWARD!!

Then, later, he was asked to participate in some home teaching, going into a member’s home to teach and review points and lessons of the Gospel that he claims no belief in.

Riiiiiight. ‘Cause THAT’S a good idea.

Another time he was asked to say opening prayer in our Sunday meetings.  We weren’t sure if the requester was kidding, knew that the prayer wouldn’t be offered by my mister after their somewhat jesting conversation, or what, so I finally said enough is enough, called him back, and said “you know he doesn’t believe the Church is true, right? He won’t be giving prayer?”

The time to keep it to ourselves has passed. We’ve dealt with our issues with it as they’ve presented thus far.  It’s time to share, and open up. And as he’s opened up via Facebook and subsequently within various text and personal conversations with various people, I figured it was my turn, too. I have a side, I have a story. So with his blessing, here we now sit.

I said before, ask me anything;  I mean it. I want to know what you want to know. I want to know what you think you’d do in my/our circumstance.

I want you to know that’s it’s really weird sitting in General Conference sessions hearing the wonderful Brethren speak with such love and conviction and offer their support to those women and children in the Church without the Priesthood in their home…

….and be ONE of them.

I am one of THOSE women. And I never ever ever ever ever ever EVER dreamed in a million years I ever would be.  Ever.

I’m a Mormon. My husband isn’t. Not anymore. Maybe one day, again, but my reality has to include the possibility that we may differ in this for the rest of forever.

Ask me anything.

A new journey.

Almost a year ago now, my life changed.

With the odd up and down and of course road bump along the way, the first 30 years of my life were pretty boring.

I was born and raised a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. My membership is something I’ve grown to love and appreciate for many reasons, not the least of which is the knowledge and understanding I have of the incredible Gospel of Christ; I am so incredibly blessed to know of his service and sacrifice, and so many dogmatic issues that go along with it.

But I’ve led a pretty sheltered life. Somewhere along the line I put myself in a bubble, and I just stayed there.  A cliche phrase we use at church is “in the world but not of the world.” Honestly, I think that pretty much perfectly sums up my experience as a teen. I don’t know; I was weird.

I am so thankful for my weirdness, though. It kept me from experiencing some serious pain and problems growing through those vulnerable years of my youth. I have never done any of a large number of ‘normal’ teenage stupid activities. I somehow escaped ever having the desire to really participate, or being in situations where I felt pressured to abandon my faith.

I never really felt connected to the church group, though, either.  I guess I was a bit of a crazy loner.

We joke, too, at church, about girls marrying young and popping out babies. I was never, EVER going to do that. The first “date” my now husband and I had we sat across a table from each other sipping hot chocolate expressing our disgust at the moronic option some of our Church-member peers were selecting, marrying before graduating some form of post-secondary educational institution.

We were married less than a year later.

I laugh; I sort of accidentally have the perfect little Mormon life! Or, at least, I did.

I married a returned-missionary (he served two years for the Church preaching the Gospel in Korea) in the Temple of the Lord, sealed together in an eternal family unit by the restored power of the Lord’s priesthood. Childbearing was accidental and easy a few years later. We’re both educated with university degrees and lucrative career options ahead of us.

Then one night, last year, he dropped the bomb. It came out of nowhere. At least, to me.

“I need to talk to you,” he said. HE needed to TALK. When was the last time in a decade this geeky introvert I somehow fell head-over heels in love with as a teen attending church dances, needed to talk?

My mind was a whirr….  Ohmigosh, he’s having an affair. I KNEW we weren’t having enough sex.  Or maybe that’s not it. Maybe he’s addicted to porn…. I couldn’t think of anything of gravity he may need to tell me that didn’t involve his admitting having broken a vow of chastity between us.

I was not ready for what he said. NEVER in my life had I ever contemplated the need to be ready for what came next. The affair, the internet leading to disgusting, damaging images of sexual misconduct… I don’t even remember now what all flashed through my head, but ANY of those options I felt at least somewhat prepared for.

“I don’t believe the Church is true anymore.”

That… that I didn’t see coming.

In some ways, WHAT a relief. My husband was still, IS still, MY husband, and only my husband. No dalliance or horrid behaviour was creeping into my perfect little bubble world by him.

But in others… I can’t imagine, really, he could have said much more damaging to me at the time. My perfect world, my bubble, instantaneously shattered. My perfect Peter Priesthood to my not-quite-Molly-Mormon, changed his mind.

How do you even DO that?

That night, I heard the voice of the Spirit whisper in my ear the calming words I needed to hear; my reaction otherwise was fury, but with what I know was the influence of the Lord I was able to sit quietly and let this dear, wonderful man, explain to me the struggle he’d been having in secret for MONTHS which led him to his ultimate decision to separate his religious affiliation from the LDS Church. At least, mentally.

He poured his heart out to me. Promised he was still a good man. Expressed his incapacitating fear of losing me and our children; I was pregnant with our second daughter at the time. Feeling repulsed and horrified I listened intently, quietly. I eventually let him hug me, and asked a few questions. We cried together.

And thus began the beginning of a completely different life from what I ever anticipated living. Life is a journey, and currently, mine has led me here.

It’s a year later. In less than a week we celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary. We are closer as a couple now than we have been in years. I am an active member of the Church, and while he comes out with us regularly, he is not. We have a long way to go, and a long journey ahead of us, but I know we are an eternal unit, and we are worth fighting for.

Ask me anything.