I’ve danced around it in posts published, and addressed it directly in posts I was entirely too afraid to publish. I’ve wanted desperately to talk about the other thing going on, but was too afraid to for a lot of reasons. Reasons that might probably still be realized when I publish this post, but I hope not.
I no longer believe in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I can’t say I’ve ‘left’ the church completely as my husband still believes and we still take our children. It’s been a full year now since I came to this decision, and it wasn’t one I took lightly at all. When I was a member, I believed that people left for three reasons: 1. They never had a testimony to begin with. 2. They were offended by someone or 3. They wanted to sin. This was just not true for me, along with most people who leave.
I’ve written no less than a dozen posts that go over why I no longer believe. They defend the amount of time I’ve spent studying and the sources I’ve used. They went over in detail the reasons I have; both historical and current doctrines and practices, and went into detail into how much pain this has caused me. At the end of the posts though, I could never hit publish. They might have made me feel better, but they would have been hurtful to those I love. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in “coming out” to friends and family. I’ve caused pain that was not necessary in an effort to defend myself. I reacted in anger to misunderstanding. There is no manual for having your entire world view shift from beneath you. There is no guide for having the very thing you have built your life around not be what you thought it was. If I’ve hurt you in this process, please know that I did not mean to, and that I am very sorry. I was working from a place of deep pain and anger.
When I saw people leave, I misguidedly thought that they didn’t go through a great deal of pain. I thought that they excitedly embraced a life without church commitments, tithing and guilt. I was wrong. This transition for me is up there with some of the hardest things I’ve ever been through. I carried an ache of grief and pain that still lingers today. I worried so much before I told Lance that he’d leave me. When I told him I no longer believed, I also told him that if it meant saving our marriage and keeping our family intact, I would fake it. He then gave me the greatest gift when he said, “I don’t want you to fake it. I just want you to be happy. I just want you to be yourself.” We still love each other as much as we ever and are working through being a “mixed-faith” family.
The biggest reason I haven’t said anything here though, is because I was afraid. I was afraid of what people would say. I was afraid of readers up and leaving- even though religion plays only the tiniest of parts on this blog. I was afraid of the same kind of pain I went through and the horrible things said to me and of me after I posted dissent to ONE thing in the church- gay marriage. And I’m still afraid, really. But this blog is about me, and what I’ve gone through and am still going through is a huge part of that. Writing is my outlet, and I want to be free to use it for EVERYTHING I’m thinking or feeling. Not just the stuff that everyone can nod their heads in agreement to.
So, for whatever LDS members are left here I have a question for you. Can I be your apostate friend? Can we still be friends even though we no longer believe in the same things? I will never try to convert you to my way of thinking. I would never knowingly put someone through what I’ve been through in the last year or so. I’m willing to talk, and I think it’s important that members understand apostates better. It’s why I’ve addressed this directly: I want people to understand me- and people who are going through the same things I am- better. I want you to see that though I’ve changed in a lot of ways, I’m still me. I don’t hate the church and still fully believe that the members of the LDS church are some of the very best people in the world. I’m Mormon by heritage-my ancestors go back to Nauvoo. I can’t and don’t want to escape that legacy. The church is why I have my husband, and for that I will be forever grateful. If he can live with me as his apostate wife, surely I can be your apostate friend…