Posted by: Jay | August 13, 2007

Why be bitter?

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Reading the blogs of other LDS members that have come to know various nuances of LDS history largely forgotten by the Mormon culture, I have noticed many that question the LDS Church become negative and hateful. I want to explore the reason for this in an attempt to understand my own frustrations and at times anger. I do not wish to become bitter.

From a Mormon perspective these feelings are the obvious result of allowing things into a mind that offend the Spirit of God. The feelings of darkness and destructive behavior are of Satan. I was told on my mission not to read any anti-Mormon literature. The idea being that it contained lies that would divert a missionary from their true purpose which was to bring souls to Christ.

Last year when I finally allowed myself to ask if the LDS Church was a hoax, I experienced this feeling of darkness. It came in on me like a weight. I carried it around everyday to work and home again. My life held no joy. The thing I loved had been utterly ruined and I was mourning. I wanted to believe that the information I had learned of was taken out of context or twisted in some way. I firmly believed that all I had to do was study more and all the controversy would disappear. That didn’t happen.

What did happen is that I became more depressed as the information I learned was confirmed by church friendly sources. I tried to understand what I was feeling from a new perspective. Was this a lack of the Spirit or was it something different? I began to realize that it was possible the negative feelings were a default defensive mode my mind kicked into because my beliefs were being challenged and not necessarily a lack of the Spirit. This didn’t help to improve my mood, but it did give me a different perspective on why I felt the way I did.

As the end of the year approached I sank deeper into frustration and sadness. I began to think about leaving the LDS Church. I was desperately looking for someone from the LDS Church to show me how foolish I had been, someone that could offer an explanation of why so many things seemed askew. To many questions I found answers; explanations that while plausible seemed for some reason to lack ability to bring peace of mind.

I began to feel the need to talk with people about the issues I encountered. I had of course been talking to my spouse. Unfortunately, she was getting frustrated with my seeming lack of faith. Ideally, I would of liked to talk with other members of my ward to see what they thought. While I had the desire to do this, I refrained. I knew how hard it was for me to deal with and didn’t want to hurt anyone else. A few months later I started this blog.

It was very liberating to talk openly and receive input from others that felt the same as me. The conversations involved non-LDS as well as LDS. I was beginning to understand how those outside the LDS Church viewed us and how members in the Church view the controversies raised by critics. I could feel some of my frustration begin to be lifted.

What do I do now? I feel like I’ve just scratched the surface in my study of Mormon history. I cannot reject the Church based on my present knowledge of past events because I still know so little. My first impulse was to write an angry letter to Salt Lake and leave the Church never looking back, but my true self knows that impulsive reactions are rarely the right ones. I now believe that I must have patience and temper my frustrations for a while. When I am satisfied that I have done my part I will know how to act. It is my hope that when I am satisfied I have honestly considered all the relevant information I will be able to look back and see how wrong I was to be frustrated and how glad I am to not have lashed out.

Why do so many people become bitter? Does the LDS Church really lie or are they just presenting an idealized picture of LDS history much like the version of American history taught in today’s school system?

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Responses

  1. I think for the most part, people become bitter because first they feel duped, and second, the church has conditioned members to treat doubting Thomases differently. My wife thinks I am damned and that I just don’t get it. She has contemplated divorce (and probably still is). And I have not changed anything other than what I believe. I even still go to church and still hold callings, etc. We have FHE and hold family prayer. I am not standing in the way of anything, yet all is lost and it is my fault.

    That is why I’m bitter.

    Anytime information is willingly distorted (whether it be through omission or revision) in order to sway opinion or belief, that is a lie.

  2. Isn’t the second stage of loss anger? When you lose everything you’ve ever believed you experience loss just like a death in the family.

  3. Jay you mentioned writing a letter in haste to salt Lake ?

    I wrote a letter to Salt Lake over a month ago and still have had no reply ? Why ? Because I simply was asking about How many church members leave each year ( resign) .

    The reluctance to be open about these figures suggests to me there is a growing exodus of members . The only convert baptisms I’ve seen in my 2 years of investigating are African Asylum seekers and they are not converts , just people in need and when the church has served its purpose they stop attending .They are more of a drain on church resources than they can contribute .

    I respect our ward for accepting them on good faith but unfortunately its presenting challenges to them . Missionaries baptise them because they are under pressure and as a result bring in problems to the ward .The figures may look good at General Conference but the reality is far from it .

    Back to the original topic .. Yes I believe the church does really lie .If they gave the correct version of events then no one would feel a desire to believe in it and get a testimony .It shows to me that testimonies are based on false information and once you’ve been in a while , conflicting information gets dismissed or excused away one bit at a time up to the point that anything , however ridiculous gets easily ignored . But eventually reality begins to creep in and a closer look at the history will reveal problems which will only make sense if one realises that its all a con .

    Joseph Smith seems to have deluded himself into believing his own thoughts were revelation . But a look at the history can easily show that he just adopted things from his own enviroment and repeated them in his way as revelation .

    As more and more people began following him , he just convinced himself even more he may be getting divine guidance . He was clever but he brought death and destruction on his followers and the promised Zion and return of Christ never materialised and the church has just evolved ever since .

    I believe its having problems getting real converts in western countries and this will manifest itself on the pressure to get more members to Tithe as The Shopping Mall cost gets bigger while at the same time looking to cut expenses to missionaries .

    If the church was true , I’m sure I would join it and want my family and friends to join too .

    But my conscience tells me there is something not right about the whole thing .The only thing the LDS church has to show its Authenticity is testimony .But what are the testimoies really based on ?

  4. Rick,
    What do you mean, “the church has conditioned members to treat doubting Thomases differently”?

    I’m so sorry to hear about your wife. That has to be a really hard thing to deal with. I don’t know what I would do if my wife said something like that to me. I love her so much. Luckily she doesn’t threaten divorce and is willing for now to let me walk my own path. I think I would probably feel bitter too if my wife was hostile toward me. I too have continued to be active and am willing to hold an appropriate calling. I even still pay tithing.

    I haven’t tried to influence my children, other than to not hold back information from them (i.e. stone in hat) as they are ready for it. I feel that because I am not sure about what I really believe, I can’t really expect my children to be pried from what they have grown up with. I think it would cause a lot of confusion for them. Eventually, I will teach them everything they need to know to make an informed decision. Then they will have to decide for themselves what to do and I will support them.

    Dando,
    In a way that is how I feel. I don’t know if I’ve lost everything I ever believed in. My testimony of the LDS faith is certainly not the same as it was. The almost arrogant “I know” has been replaced by the more humble “I believe” and in some cases “I want to believe”. It is the loss of the certainty I once had that I mourn.

    EJ,
    I don’t know if there is a mass exodus from the Church. Certainly there are many more people that are exposed to how controversial some Mormon beliefs are. In my ward there are two sets of missionaries and we have frequent convert baptisms (e.g. every 1-2 months). Our retention rate is not too bad. I can only think of 3-4 people that stopped coming out of a dozen or more. Their reasons for not coming vary, but I don’t think it is because of doctrinal disagreements. Really unless someone brings these things to your attention (i.e. polygamy, blacks, BOA, BOM DNA) you will probably never raise any questions. Its just not talked about among the average members.

    One problem I have with condemning the LDS Church for their version of history is that all history is presented in a bias way. Why should church history be any different? Just because George Washington is presented as a Saint in my history class doesn’t mean it was so. Does finding out about his failures and weaknesses later destroy my admiration of him as one of the founders of the United States?

    I think the Church shares part of the blame for the way it presents its history. One of the problems with the way it is done is that by presenting only the faith promoting parts of LDS history people begin to believe that’s the way it happened. Later when they find out that many messy details were left out they feel lied to. I know how that feels.

    I think it is important to emphasize that prophets are just people; that they too have weaknesses. Too many people think prophet = perfect. They refuse to allow an element of humanity in their behavior. Now arguments can be made as to how much humanity can be tolerated in a prophet, but personally I can’t condemn someone for being overcome by the very weaknesses we all struggle with. I believe there is a limit to how far a prophet can go and still be called of God.

    I understand your hesitancy in joining the LDS Church and I think it is good that you think about things. The quality of baptisms would be much better if there were more people that really thought about what they were doing before they get baptized. It is an eternal commitment that should not be taken lightly.

    Much of the LDS doctrines make so much sense. It is hard for me to believe that it is false. I’ve really tried to understand some common orthodox Christian concepts such as the Trinity and I just don’t see the justification for such a belief in scripture. The LDS interpretation of the Godhead seems to fit much better with most of the biblical scriptures. There are many other examples of doctrines that I believe LDS have right also. I suppose that is why I have hung on longer than many others that jump ship after learning about the controversies. I don’t want to go down with the ship if it is going under, but if I can save it (my testimony) from sinking I will.

  5. Jay ,

    I can actually agree with you that some of the LDS doctrines make sense .
    Its a fact that Christianity is split over just an appeal to the bible , hence it makes sense that God might reveal clarification to his children .But is this what really happened or was Joseph Smith just clever to see this loophole and exploit it .

    I can’t get past the Book Of Mormon Hurdle by just praying about it . I’ve tried many times , so meanwhile I’m now studying the D&C and using the institute Manual . Are these revelations from Jesus Christ or are they just his own convenient chastisements to other church leaders/members to keep himself (Joseph Smith) in No 1 position of Authority .Its convenient that he got revelation that constantly gave him Authority over The Church and at the right time , seemingly when he was in danger of being challenged or undermined.

    Its also convenient that he got revelation on polygamy and seem to marry the girls who worked or stayed in his household .

    He always got the right revelation at the right time when he seemingly needed it .He got revelation to ask for other mens wives and did so too , yet he was never tested himself to give Emma away too another .

    I sometimes wonder what you are thinking when you see missionaries bring in Investigators . You must wonder if its right to withhold the information you know from them .

    Would they have gotten baptised if they knew what you know or what I know ? I wonder this alot myself .What will be the effect on them when they find out themsleves later on ?

    Where does a testimony come from .Is it the Holy Ghost or is it just an experience based on misleading events . The whole story sounds great until you look a little deeper and then it gets suspicious .

    I know that my perception has changed dramatically since knowing what I know , and the fact that the church would rather I didn’t know .

    So now I feel like a proper investigator , weighing up each side and not being laiden with one sanitised side .I still think its worrying that I had to find out about the church’s real past outside of the church and without any help from members .

    I also get frustrated with church members brandishing my knowleadge as ‘antimormon’ when I know full well its actually mormon reality of its history and foundational events ..

    I can see that for you its a huge dilemma , for me the consequences don’t matter either way as I have no family in church and wasn’t brought up in it . I just investigated out of curiosity really as I’d tried other churches for most of my life .

    I don’t believe that the Bishop has any power of discernement anymore than I have .He’s a nice man with a good family and just doing his best .

    I keep attending for now , but the chances of conversion get more distant as time goes on . I’ve probably decided that its all a great error , perhaps done with the best of intentions , but when I read some of the Arrogant remarks and outright daft teachings made by early church leaders , I’m inclined to think that they were just swept away on their own stupidity and arogance.

    The Journal Of Discourses is one of the biggest reasons not to join for me as well as the origin of the American Indians as we now know it compared to what the church believed from the BofM .

    There is a DVD called The Bible versus the Book Of Mormon and its done by living Hope ministries .I watch it over and over and its hard to argue against it .The DVD is very well presented and very conclusive to me .

    Just thinking about Hill Cumorah and the two great battles fought there , yet not one sword or shield or breastplate .Its a big concern . Then the clever excuse of another Hill Cumorah somewhere else ? But Joseph Smith identified a white Lamanite warrior’s remains in Illinois called Zelph .If there is a hill cumorah elsewhere in a limited geography setting then this Lamenite warrior called Zelph certainly lost his way !

  6. Jay, it has been my experience that if I have doubts, it is supposed to be due to some sin of mine that is keeping me from the spirit and clouding my judgement. Otherwise, how could I possibly doubt the truth, especially if I once had a “testimony”. If it is not a sin, then it is a desire to sin, thus having the same effect. This is how members are conditioned to think. Not only have I witnessed this with other members, I have experienced it first hand.

    EJ,

    Regarding the 2 cumorahs theory, that couldn’t possibly make sense. (I know you don’t believe it either) For the 2 cumorahs theory to be true, Moroni would have buried the plates in Belize (or surrounding area) and then they would have had to disapparate to upstate NY so that JS could find them. We know that Mormon buried the plates save those that were being finished by Moroni, so that means that the earlier portion of the BofM was buried prior to Moroni finishing the last few chapters. Though it is not stated, one would have to conclude that when Moroni finished the BofM he would have returned to the original burial place and put the last of the plates there along with the first plates, the UandT, and the sword of Laban, etc., but this would mean that they were buried in NY and that there is only 1 cumorah.

    Of course the more logical conclusion, is that it is all false.

    Isn’t it funny that the book that is supposed to contain the fullness of the gospel, added the bulk of the gospel components at the very end almost as an afterthought…kind of like, I better put this in or the claim that the book contains the fullness will be false. Even then the “fullness” of the gospel is not contained in the BofM. Nothing in there about the endowment or celestial marriage or doctrine of polygamy. Pretty key elements to be missing if you ask me.

  7. Nothing in there about tithing either. In fact, you will not find any definitive language outside the OT that teaches the “law” of tithing. There is no law of tithing. That phrase is made up by the LDS church with no scriptural backing.

    EJ,

    You mention that you are now studying the D&C. Don’t you find it curious that the voice of the D&C is exactly the same as the voice of the BofM? Same language, vocabulary and sentence structure.

  8. Interesting blog. Personally, I think we (ex-Mormons) become angry because of Satan. No no – I’m not blaming Satan, but I do believe he tempts us to anger. What better “testimony” that those who leave the LDS church are demon-posessed, wicked, vile apostates than if we act and behave as such? I know over the past few months I’ve struggled with anger – at myself, at LDS posters who insisted I left because I was hiding some deep sin or was prideful and discontent within my ward – ANYTHING than the reason I gave (God pulled me out), at my family – the rejection I know is coming, and at God even for pulling me out of somewhere I loved so dearly. I still at times sit with my temple clothing and simply ponder the temple. I miss it. I wish to return – not because of truth, but because of the security I felt there.

    Jay,
    That’s terrible about your wife. When my husband and I were a little under two years into the church, he returned to being an “atheist” and I considered leaving him. Not because of returning to atheism – but because he become overly aggressive about wishing that our children be raised in a manner only he thought was appropriate. He never saw this, but I did. Perhaps the same is occurring with your wife? Regardless, she should not be giving you such ultimatums and I hope things get better soon.

    -Selah-

  9. Bishop Rick ,

    When the second Hill Cumorah theory is done away with there will be a third Hill Cumorah !

    Its all baloney , No Nephite/Lamanite civilisations existed and thats why there are no artifacts on Hill Cumorah .Its simlply beautiful and beautifully simple ….

    you are right about the BofM it seems that all the precious things lost in the bible were lost to Lehi and his descendants also .They didn’t even baptise for the dead .Jesus must have forgotten to mention it to them .

    The Book Of Mormon is based on the bible , Heaven and Hell , One God in three persons etc .

    The precious and plain things seem to evolve later on as Joseph Smith fitted comfortably into his new role as prophet .

    D&C , BofM are of course created by Joseph Smith.
    I notice that D&C spends alot of its time affirming that only Joseph Smith is in charge ( The Boss etc ) , a convenient set of constant revelations in favor of him . lol

  10. Jay,
    I am so sorry that you have had these feelings, My friend sandy who is such sweet heart recently went through the same thing when she watched “The Mormons”, on PBS and it rocked her to the core.

    I have a much different perspective which I would like to share with you

    I wrote in another comment this same thing,(but I will explain, with more detail)

    Like I said before I was raised in an Anti home. My parents taught me the “mormon beliefs” so that I could be prepared if ever approached by them (mormons)

    So I grew up believing what my parents had taught me, ( mormons re wrote the bible, Joseph was a womanizer, Mormons believed in a different Jesus etc. etc. etc)

    So when I was 26 I had missionaries knock and I thought I was prepared. I began by telling them what they believed and basically told them they were going to burn in hell. They were so kind and gracious, and they let me rant for a while, but then they asked me if THEY could explain their beliefs, So I told them they could :) and they went over EVERYTHING, (and they used scripture to back it, ONLY the bible, per my request)

    So I was basically proved wrong and they were so kind about it. So they continued teaching me and soon my husband joined in the discussions.

    When the Elders would leave they always asked me to pray and ask for myself.

    I thought this was a bit silly, I really had no intention of joining the LDS church. So I didn’t pray.

    That is until about 2 months into our discussion. I was so overwhelmed and confused.

    It was stuck in my head that Mormons had no chance, they were all going to burn in hell an I did not want to burn with them.

    But at the same time I understood what they had taught me and almost agreed with it.

    So I kept going back and forth and back and forth. I was so torn and so I decided I HAD to ask God. At first I pleaded with him, I cried and I poured out my heart.

    Then I asked specifically,” is this what i’m supposed to do IS this church YOUR church???

    In that very momment I was at peace, My heart had always been broken and scarred, even before all the confusion. I had been seeking something but I never knew what it was, I could never find it, but in that moment I was given that peace, and comfort.

    It’s hard to discribe feelings, I wish I was better with words. But all I know is that I went from being broken to being healed and whole.

    I DID NOT want to be Mormon! It meant I had to lose family, friends, and beer (that was tough) But I knew that this was infact His church.

    So my Husband and I joined the church 2 weeks later, and my heart has never felt that emptiness again (it was a little over 2 years ago)

    So my point in all this is that I came from Anti, yet I cannot deny what I know.

    I wish more LDS members knew what I know. I think it’s good to research it, and to even be conflicted and confused.

    It has made me stronger !!!!

    People can say all day long “Joseph this and Joseph that..”

    None of us knew him, there are 2 sides to every story.

    I know what happened 2 years ago when I asked my Heavenly Father for truth…

    THAT can never be disputed or taken away from me. I KNOW IT AND I CAN NOT DENY IT, and I never will :)

  11. steffielynn,
    I appreciate your conversion story. I was “born in the covenant” so my story is slightly different, but similar in the fact that I too prayed and got an answer. I had grown up in the LDS Church, but I was never very into it. Yes, I attended all my meetings every Sunday and participated in Young Men’s activities.

    When I was 19 I was ordained an Elder and went on a mission. In the MTC we were told that if we hadn’t received an answer that the Chruch was true we should pray and not get off our knees until we got an answer. I tried, but I received no answer. I didn’t let this get in my way. I wanted to serve the Lord and I was determined to go and convert people to the best of my ability. The time came for me to leave the MTC and I began my mission in earnest.

    My first companion was a great guy. He showed me the ropes. He was himself a convert of only a few years and about 3 years my senior. We both worked very hard and taught many people despite my struggle with the language.

    About two months into my mission it occurred to me that what I was doing was converting people into a church that I did not know was true. I allowed my thoughts to dwell on the possibility that the LDS Church was false. If that was true then I was leading people to hell and not to Christ. This was serious business. If I really wanted to serve Christ I had to know that I was doing the right thing.

    I determined to test Moroni’s promise once again. This time I decided that if I didn’t get an answer I would write a letter of resignation to the Mission President and leave the mission to find the true church if it existed.

    I began by reading Moroni’s promise again. I read carefully every word to make sure I was not missing something. I didn’t want something I was doing to inhibit the Spirit from answering my prayer. I went into an empty room while my companion slept and knelt in prayer.

    I asked God if this was His church. I asked if Joseph Smith was a prophet. I waited a moment wanting an answer, but none came. I was puzzled, but I didn’t give up. I opened the scriptures again and read Moroni’s promise. If it was true I should get an answer. I was sincerely seeking the truth. This prayer was not just a check mark to say I had tried and failed.

    I prayed again in the empty room and still no answer. Determined to give God an ample chance to answer me I went and read Moroni’s promise again. Again I kneeled in that empty room. This time something happened.

    I asked God if this was His one true church. All of a sudden I felt the Spirit come on me. It was such a good feeling that I can’t express it. I then asked was Joseph Smith your prophet. The feeling intensified. I asked if the Book of Mormon was from Him. The same feeling was there. I then heard a voice in my head say “you now it’s true”. I ended the prayer thanking God for answering me.

    The feeling, although not as intense, stayed with me for the rest of the day. I remember wishing I could always feel that way. I also began thinking that I was special. Surely not everyone had had this experience. I was committed to make sure everyone knew they could receive an answer too.

    Needless to say I stayed on my mission and taught hundreds of people and baptized a few. Ever since then my testimony hung on that experience. I felt that nothing could ever shake my faith again. I was right for about 10 years. Last year I began listening to a podcast that took a more secular look at church history as opposed to a faith-promoting look. I began to see that LDS history was actually much different than the history I was given growing up in the Church. I began to see inconsistencies in the stories that made me ask that question I did 10 years before on my mission. “Is this really true?” I never thought I would have to ask that again. It kept me up at night. My wife and I began to have heated discussions about what I had learned. I was falling into depression as I wrestled with the controversies. I even considered leaving the Church.

    Luckily, I didn’t let my emotions get the better of me. I decided to continue studying and giving the Church a chance to explain to me why I had never heard or learned of these things before. It has been a hard road to travel and has taken time away from other important things, but I now that I have started down this path there is no way to back up. I can only press forward hoping that in the end my testimony will be restored to me.

    So you see, I too had that confirmation of the Spirit through prayer. I too felt that nothing could ever shake my faith. I miss that feeling. I hope that you never go through what I am. It is not an easy thing, but I have to believe that in the end I will come out with a stronger testimony of the truth.

  12. While I read the story of your experience, I got chill bumps!

    I know it’s not easy to maintain the feeling you had when you were on your knees. I have had struggles with things, and it has not been easy, but I just have to go back to remembering what it felt like to be broken, and then healed.

    The world wants me back, it would be sooooo easy to go there, it’s not easy to be a mormon. But I know that God answered me, and I know the sacrificies that were made for me. The least I can do is live for Him.

    Since it was missionaries who brought us to the church I have such a deep love for them.

    I often wonder how many are out because they have to be and how many KNOW it’s true. I do know of many who gained a testimony on their mission. I wish missionaries were more prepared for what is out there. Most seem naive and I’m sure it can get confusing and scary.

    I don’t want you to think, that I think, i’m invinsible or something. I know i’m not. I’m lucky to have been exposed to the church the way I was. I cannot imagine not knowing some things and then finding them out and feeling decieved.

    I believe members should know the good, the bad and the ugly of mormon history.

  13. Thanks for your encouraging words. I think it is important for members to know the whole history of the Church. If it challenges their testimonies I don’t think that is a bad thing. Truth will always win. I think it is important that members here about the controversies from both sides of the issue and learn to recognize biases and how they affect the spin put on a certain subject. Anti-Mormons are not alone in twisting facts. The very nature of the Church means that they must provide a faith promoting version of history and leave the non-faith promoting parts alone. I have found that each side has important parts of the truth, but you have to be careful what you accept.

    I’m glad you don’t feel invinsible. I did and that is probably why I was so affected by the warts of the Church I was exposed to (and I continue to be affected). Thank you for your comments.

  14. I think these testimony experiences are self-induced. They are a reflection of what we personally want to be true, not what actually is true.

    Many people in other religions have the exact same experiences. These are not by any means only experienced by Mormons or Mormons in the making.

    Why would God deliberately confuse mankind by telling members of all religions that their religion is true? The answer can only be that he has told no one this.

    I am not belittling anyone’s experience because I know that it was real. I do question where it originated from however.

    I don’t believe in a personal God and I certainly don’t believe in satan.

    No one is going to go to hell (if there is one) simply because of what religion they happen to believe in.

    If there is a judgement, it can only be based on one’s earthly merits, not which church you joined or which ordinances you participated in. That is the only fair judgement.

  15. I understand what you are saying and had I not experienced for my self what I did I would question experiences like mine also. I don’t know if you read the part about How “I DID NOT WANT TO BE MORMON.”
    So it’s most def. NOT what I wanted.
    I was brought up believing Mormons were Hell bound. This was ingrained in my head, I REALLY believed this… even when I got on my knees to pray!

    I know you aren’t trying to belittle my experience. I get where it is you are coming from, but i’d like to break it down for you a little.

    I was raised in a chaotic abusive home. My “real dad” ditched me so my mom married my step dad who couldn’t stand me. My parents were “religious” but EXTREMLY hypocritical and judgemental. I went through a lot of heart ache when I was a teenager. I was used, abused and then tossed away like a piece of trash. I was so sad and so lost. I went through many relationships trying to find “love” but looking in all the wrong places. ( I also had a baby at 18) Eventually though I did find my prince charming. He was kind and loving and soooooo good to me. We had 2 kids and everything was perfect. But I was still hurting, I didn’t know why and for 4 years i tried everything… Meds, counseling, alcohol, ingnoring it. But none of this worked. I was broken and unfixable.

    Until the day I knelt and I prayed. The pain and hurting and the sorrow were lifted. I of course always wanted that, but I did not have the power to take it away myself.

    My heart was truely healed. The pain I once felt is now only a memory. This really happened, this was my answer. I am so grateful for my past and for the hurt, because now I have my happiness.

    I do agree that others in any religion can get answers from God, I agree with you that you will not “go to hell” because of what religion you did (or did not) belong to.

    I used to think God was a mean God who would strike you down and cast you into “the lake of fire”. Now I believe he is a loving Father, who when my time comes to face him, will wrap me in his arms and love me the way a REAL father should!

    Bishop Rick it sounds to me like you have had some run ins with religion that were not pleasant. I was advised by my missionaries to remember “the church is true, the people aren’t” Had I not had this advise I probably would have left the church. I focus on the Gospel and not the other stuff. Now don’t get me wrong, I love LDS people and most have been kind and straight up wonderful, but some have been offensive. I know they are just human and imperfect, usually trying to do their best. So I look past that (and there really are only a few).

    I really look up to members of the church. Most are such wonderful examples to me.

    I love the gospel, with out it I would still be lost and hurting!

  16. Steffie,

    You say that you had all this pain and couldn’t figure out how to get rid of it until you accepted the church. Don’t sell yourself short. It is still YOU that overcame that. The church is merely the vehicle that you chose to help you thru this, but it was still you.

    The LDS church brings you comfort and fulfills a part of you that you can’t seem to fill otherwise. There is nothing wrong with this.

    I too feel comfortable inside the LDS church and am still very active. I just don’t believe it is “true” anymore, or in other words, I don’t believe JS actually saw HF and JC and translated the BofM. I think the church is based on lies and that is truly unfortunate, because I enjoy my membership other than that. If it were not for the false claims, I would have no problem whatsoever with the church.

    I have not had any personal bad experiences with anyone inside the church other than discussions with my wife about my current disbelief. As you can imagine, those discussions are not good, but other than my wife, I am a closet disbeliever. No one that knows my real identity (inside the church) knows that I no longer believe. This is at the request of my wife.

    I have heard many times that the gospel is perfect but the members are not. I used to believe that too. Now I know that neither are perfect, nor can they be. This is why I feel that religion is man-made. I don’t think HF would create imperfection, chaos and inconsistencies.

  17. Weird I was just thinking about the wife situation, with both you and jay and I’d like to say a few things in their (your wives) defense and I hope I do not over step my bounds,

    I don’t know why but i’ve been thinking about it all morning, even before i read your last comment.

    I can’t imagine how hard it must be for either of you, Jay for your confusion and need to find truth, and Rick for having to live a lie. Struggles are hard when you feel alone.

    But can you imagine how your wife must feel? I assume they were raised in the church, and that your families are sealed. So I know how I would feel if everything I had ever known and believed in came crashing down around me. They are most likely terrified that they will loose you forever (literally). And because priesthood holders are the head of the family and the example for the family, they probably feel a sence ofloss.

    I’m not saying you should believe because they want you to or not search for the truth yourself, but if I were you I would go to them and tell them you are sensitive to their feelings as well, this might help all of you,

    Maybe you guys have already done this, I don’t know, but I can feel for your wives, and I hope you can too.

    The whole thing about my heart being healed was that it happened in a split second, I actually went from being shattered to being whole, I had felt that pain since i could remember, then it was gone. It was definetly not me, had it been me i would step up and take the credit, but I can’t.

    Rick these things REALLY do happen!

    So I was wondering something do you still bear your testimony? Or do you just kinda lie low???

  18. steffielynn,
    I think your comment is a valid one. I’m sure that Rick, like me, loves his wife very much. During this confusing time I have thought a lot about how this is affecting my family.

    Since I am not sure where I stand at the moment, I choose to offer no resistance to my wife’s or children’s unconditional belief. In fact I am willing to admit that I may be wrong in my doubting and they may be right. In any case, I don’t believe it would be healthy for them if I turned angry and cut down their testimonies at every opportunity.

    However, out a pure desire to have a clean conscious I must be true to what I know and what I feel; otherwise I would be lying to myself and I can’t live with that.

    My wife has been very understanding. We have times when I misspeak and say something hurtful, but I hope that is rare and I almost always apologize when I do. She sometimes forgets that I’m searching for the truth. Occasionally, that requires that hard questions be asked. The mere asking may sound like an attack against the Church. In reality it is just an exploration of a stream of thought.

    I don’t know if your question was aimed at Rick or I, but I will answer it anyway. I do not bear my testimony anymore. I can’t bring myself to say “I know” and I think that if I said, “I believe” I would get funny looks, so I just don’t bother. I used to go out with the missionaries almost every week. About 6 months ago I decided that was a bad idea. The missionaries asked me to bear my testimony about the BOM. I said the words I usually did, but my heart was not in it. My testimony felt hollow and wrong. Since then I haven’t gone out with them.

  19. Steffie,

    What shattered your heart in the first place?

  20. Tim there are so many reasons, I went over many of them in my comments, but there are many more!!!!!!!! Some I don’t share normally but if you REALLY want to know I can share it ALL.

    Jay I figured you to be a kind and loving husband, I just know that sometimes it’s hard to see anothers point of view. I was just hoping it would cause you do consider her feelings, (not that you havent been!)

    I was wondering about the testimony thing cause I wonder if there are a lot of LDS out there like you (who either question it or do NOT believe it) and what they must do. I have been in a ward where only 3 people got up, and I wondered why.

    You said something interesting to me, you said

    “I can’t bring myself to say “I know” and I think that if I said, “I believe” I would get funny looks, so I just don’t bother”

    I don’t know that there is much of a difference. All of us can study and find facts and KNOW something, but when we believe it is more faith than knowledge. Does that make sence????

  21. By believe I mean I’m willing to accept for the time being that something may be true (i.e. I’m willing to accept that Joseph Smith was a prophet). I’m willing to accept that I could be wrong by not embracing him and the LDS Church as fully as I have in the past.

    I see my future as open. This is a necessary part of seeking for truth. You first have to admit that you may be wrong. If you were right then your search will lead you back to where you began and thus you have nothing to fear. If you were wrong then you find a new path.

  22. Gotcha!

  23. Steffie,

    I have had all those conversations with my wife and do not stand in the way of raising my kids in the church. My kids do not know I no longer believe. I never speak about church topics to my wife unless she brings them up…even when topics are being discussed that I know are being misrepresented.

    I have not born my testimony for years. If asked to, I refuse. I have never agreed with random requests for bearing one’s testimony, even when I still believed. I think a testimony is a personal thing and should be given, not taken or requested.

    Of course now, I don’t have one to give.


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