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?