This post has been a long time in the making. I have thought about it a lot and wondered if I could even fairly represent what my wonderful wife and children must be thinking. I’ve even asked my wife to write something expressing how my doubting had affected her so that those of us that question can see how it influences our loved ones. She agreed to do it, but I think it is low on her to do list. So I guess I’ll take a stab at describing how it is affecting her and others around me.
I don’t have any illusion that my questioning only affects myself, for that I am truly sorry. It saddens me to see my wife on occasion feel overwhelmed with it all. She puts on a brave face most of the time, but I know that sometimes it hurts her, which is the last thing I ever want to do. Though on the whole she is supportive of my spiritual wanderings, there are moments (just like for all of us) when she is overwhelmed with life and my current spiritual condition troubles her.
I also worry about my children. At this moment they are unaware of anything I am going through. I still read scriptures, pray, and attend Church with them whenever I am home. They are also very young still and probably wouldn’t understand even if I explained to them what I am going through. Most of all, I fear that explaining it to them would only cause confusion and make them loose faith in religion altogether as they continued to grow. I would much rather they slowly learn and decide on their own than have me impose my opinion upon them. However, My wife and I do agree that they should be informed about Church history as it truly happened. The question is when do we expose them to it and how.
I realize that my extended family is also affected by my doubting. This includes my own siblings and parents as well as cousins, in-laws etc. Right now they know very little of my condition. This is on purpose. My wife is afraid to her families reaction to me if they knew my current state of unbelief and if I expressed my true feelings to them and she is probably right to assume the worst. Eventually, I think it will come out that I’m not a “full” believer, but for now I am content with things the way they are and am not in any hurry to include more people in the drama of my life.
Another thing I struggle with is how this site is received by those that visit it. I have anywhere from 30 to 450 visits a day on this blog (depending on the post). Most of those people do not comment and I wonder what they are thinking. How has my blog affected them? Some of them are probably members that are finding out facts about the Church for the first time. Others are investigators that may wonder why the missionaries have not told them any of the information they find here. I’m sure that some are set against the LDS faith before they visit this blog and take my struggling as confirmation of what they already know, secure that their faith is true and right. What do all these people think?
Though I’ve thought about it a lot and felt some apprehensiveness about publicly posting my thoughts as I wrestle with Mormonism, I feel that it is important to be honest and open. Who are we, as LDS, to think that our faith is above such questioning? Why should we expect our history to be free from blemish when so many others are not? Shouldn’t we be troubled by such things as polyandry, racism, “lying for the Lord” and the like? I think we should. I don’t believe that ignoring these problems is a good thing. I don’t think that dismissing non-members that bring them up as “anti-Mormon” is good either. We should understand our own history and, if it is what we believe, be able to defend it. This doesn’t mean that we argue with non-LDS folk, it simply means we are able to explain “our side” to others not of our faith that may not understand.
So my doubts may be influencing or affecting others, but that may not be such a bad thing. I imagine that most of these people will be affected little by anything I have written. A few may begin to question and desire to study more to know for themselves what is true and what is not. I believe this is overall a good thing.