Out of line?

Yesterday we asked some more of you guys – who are you, and why are you here?  I was NOT prepared for the amazing response we got in the comments.

First off, I’m SO sorry that life sucks sometimes.  It just does. No matter who you are, what you believe, what you DON’T believe, or whether your problems are first, or third-world trials, life SUCKS.  It’s just hard.  (My world view leaves me pretty okay with that, but that’s a whole different blog post for a different day!)

I’m sorry that in this sucky life some of you are experiencing the same situation we are here because I’m living this one so I KNOW it’s hard.  Suddenly finding yourself at a religious/spiritual/historical impasse with your committed life-mate and all the incredible repercussions that entails is HARDLY the worst thing in the world, but I promise you it’s not easy. Not by a long shot.

So when we hear directly from you that you’re in the same situation, my heart just aches for you.  I don’t know why we have THIS to go through, but we do.

We were asked by an ex-mormon reader if we think it’s out of line for him to wish to share the, um, let’s go with “more historically accurate” version of the Church’s beginnings and early days than the “whitewashed version…[taught] in seminary” with his teenage children.  Currently that practice is prohibited by his Mormon wife, I understand? Please forgive me if I am misrepresenting the situation – I’m watching “Star Trek: TNG” with one eye hahaha (it’s leaving Netflix Dec 1st and we are NOT DONE YET! NOOOOOO!!!!)

Here’s my two cents based solely on the information you shared in your comment: NO YOU ARE NOT OUT OF LINE.

My gosh.

Please, remember, we’ve been married for ten years, and our children are 6 years and 9 months, so we’re in a TOTALLY different place in life than someone married for 18 with two teenagers.  Except the split-religion thing.  But 18 years behind you? You guys are doing SOMETHING amazingly right; keep it up!! YAY!

Here’s what I’ve come to learn and understand to a whole different level in the past year dealing with my hub’s disaffection: LOVE.

Love isn’t just about wishy-washy romance with candles and jewellery, fattening chocolates and fancy nights out. It’s not just hugs and kisses, cuddles and snuggles. Nor is it just the physical connections of more intimate behaviours, of course.

No, love is so so so much more than all that.

Love is an agreement, a promise between two people to honour, respect, tolerate, support, uplift, accept and stand by one another.  Think about it: think about someone you love. What would you do for that person? What wouldn’t you do? Probably not much.  What could he/she ever do to make you stop loving him/her? YES, people end relationships, end marriages, but REALLY REALLY do you ever stop loving that person? (I know there are crazy circumstances with psychos – you survivors are excused my ignorant suppositions 😉 )

So, yeah.  So my husband decides not to be Mormon anymore.

So what?

If I love him, so what? Who cares?  I mean, it’s HUGE, and life-altering, but so what? I love him. I want what’s best for him. I want what’s best for my kids, for me.  I believe whole-heartedly that our family’s affiliation with the LDS Church IS the best for us, but he disagrees.  So, we agree to disagree. He respects me, my decision to remain involved, and I agree to let him disagree.  We are OPEN and HONEST with each other, and especially with our kids.

Now, honestly, the baby…this whole thing is pretty over her head at the moment.  hahaha  And the 6-year-old? Well, she’s six. Kids are amazing, though, they pick up LOTS. So, what is the point in my trying to censor and hide Daddy’s change in faith from her? She’s not stupid; she KNOWS something is up.

In my opinion, the BEST thing I can do, WE can do, as her parents, is be as open and honest with her as we are with each other.

YES, we go to Church. NO, Daddy doesn’t believe in Church. Mommy does, Daddy doesn’t. Mommy believes that warm fuzzy feeling is the Spirit. Daddy believes it’s just the psychological effect of community, safety, of the friendly atmosphere and whatever all other Freudian mumbo-jumbo that makes anyone adhere to one sect or another.

What a tremendous opportunity for learning and growth it will give her, to grow up with access to such wonderful, varying views! Our children will never be faced with the “whitewashed” version of the Church – Daddy won’t let them!  And I’m okay with that. What is this horribly difficult life if not a tremendous opportunity for learning? And WHY, if the nitty-gritty, nasty things about Church history are true, would I want to HIDE those facts from anyone? Does not learning history teach us about ourselves and help prepare us for the future? Would not making the decision to have faith in the Gospel as taught by the LDS Church WITH an advanced knowledge of history, politics, policy…wouldn’t that ENHANCE your testimony?  Or at least allow you the utmost ability to decide one way or the other to leave the Church or stick with it?

So, no, I don’t think it’s out of line at ALL to want to be able to talk to your kids about different views.

BUT, I DO believe it HAS to be done delicately, with respect for the beliefs of your partner and/or the children themselves.  You can’t come out attacking Mormonism any more than you like being attacked for not believing.  And vice versa.  When we feel attacked we get defensive, and when your back is up you’re almost NEVER open to new ideas, just posturing for an increasingly heated conflict.

So…yeah.  That’s what I think.  BUT it’s JUST what I think, so… take it with the grain of salt and all that jazz.

What do the rest of you think?  Is anyone out of line for wanting their religious conversation to be comfortably uncensored within their own families?

Good luck!

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? 🙂