Thursday, January 29, 2009

Are they for real?

Mouth agape...

Looks like they're trying to go all pseudo-hip, evangelical megachurch, JC is cool on us. So much for being a peculiar people, eh? I'm SO glad they didn't try this on me when I was a kid!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Welcome to the dark side

I wasn't really going to respond to a comment I received on my de-conversion story, but, I changed my mind.

The comment:
Blogger K.B. said...

I'm curious why people who leave the church always go to the polar opposite end of the spectrum and want to take everyone with them. I suppose misery loves that's understandable. What I cannot even fathom is how one would ever think there is no Father in Heaven. Whether you're LDS or not, if you can look at the beauty in nature or hold your new born baby in your arms and not believe there is a loving, generous Creator, you really have learned nothing.

My response to this line of thinking:

If you had actually read my post, you would see that I explained how (after 1.5 years) I made it over to the "polar opposite end of the spectrum." It was a long process. But basically, after rejecting one belief or teaching, logic holds that eventually I would reject them all. Doesn't it?

What indication have I given that I'm trying to "take everyone with" me? I didn't invite you to read my blog. It's on the Internet, so I'm well aware that this is not a private space, nor do I intend it to be. However, if you don't like what I write, don't visit my site. You're not a captive audience. I'm not trying to force anyone to read my thoughts or agree with them.

And seriously, what indication have I given that I am miserable, so I therefore desire other miserable company? In fact, my post mentioned how utterly happy I am. Perhaps if you read through my archives, you would have read the post about my severe depression during my teenage years. Of course, as a teenager, I was Mormon. I was unhappy because I was an imperfect person who knew she could never live up to Mormonism's picture of what I should be. I was unhappy because I constantly had to deny my feminism and liberalism and rationality to try to fit myself into this mold. I set my own expectations, now. I'm good because I like to be, not because I'm expecting a reward of love, or heaven, or anything else.

When you say: "What I cannot even fathom is how one would ever think there is no Father in Heaven. Whether you're LDS or not, if you can look at the beauty in nature or hold your new born baby in your arms and not believe there is a loving, generous Creator, you really have learned nothing." I have only one immediate response: What I cannot even fathom is how you can look at the destruction nature causes, whether it is in New Orleans, or China, or Thailand; how you can look at your new born baby who is deformed, or suffering from a debilitating disease, or dying before she lives her first day; how you can see the wars and the conflict and the poverty and cruelty throughout the world; how you can look someone in the face who has just lost a loved one AND STILL BELIEVE that there is a loving, generous Creator!

Have I really learned nothing? Who, might I ask, should I have been learning your lesson from?

Clearly, you have learned nothing about me, nor, do I imagine, you have any desire to learn about me. So, if you're afraid of being taken into the dark side to join the rest of us who are so miserable that we need your company, stay far away from this obviously risky blog.

Otherwise, read on.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

My quick de-conversion story

An old friend recently emailed me... not really asking why I left the church, but perhaps implying the question. Since I've never really included the story on here, I thought I'd copy what I wrote in my email back.

I have no problem sharing why I left the church. I'll try to make it really short, and then if you want to know more, you can ask. As you know, I studied history at USU. I love learning about history and doing research about people. My senior year in college, I ran across some things taught by Brigham Young that I didn't agree with. I went to the USU library and checked out all of the books by/about Young that I could get my hands on. The more I read about him, the more I disliked him, and came to believe that he was a false prophet. Because of that, I decided to read more about Joseph Smith, too, and was shocked to learn about his money-digging and early practice of polygamy (about 10-11 years before his revelation in D&C). So, after some research, I started to think that Smith was lying, too.

I still believed in a god, of course. When I started doubting Smith, I did research comparing the Bible to the BoM. I found a lot of contradictions between the two, and because of my loss of faith in Smith, I believed the Bible over the BoM. I stopped going to church and then eventually had my name removed from the records. I started going to a non-denominational Christian church instead. This was about November of 2003.

In June 2004 my best friend (a Mormon) died. A Christian friend of mine, upon hearing of his death, reminded me that my friend would be going to hell since he was a Mormon (and not a "Christian"). Obviously, that made me really angry. My friend was a wonderful person who tried so hard to do everything right. How could a loving god just send him to hell?

After reading a biography of Gandhi, I was again confronted with the thought that an otherwise wonderful, decent human being was going to hell, just because he didn't believe in god "the right way." I decided to stop going to church altogether, even though I didn't lose my faith in god. I had decided that religion was made up, since they were all basically saying the same thing -- "I'm right and everyone else is wrong." But, I was still spiritual. This was probably around August 2004.

By that January, I had become very skeptical about even the idea of a god. It didn't make sense to me anymore. I called myself an agnostic for a few months, but kind of felt like that was a "cop-out." I'd say I considered myself an atheist by mid-2005.

I know that probably seems simplified and like I didn't really put any thought into what decisions I was making. To the contrary, it was a torturous couple of years. The thought of being wrong almost scared me back many times. I was constantly confronted with the knowledge that I could no longer believe in the faith of my family, my childhood, my ancestors. It tore me apart. I would have dreams, constantly, that friends of mine had died and come back to tell me that I really did have to be Mormon to get into heaven. I had a lot of demons to contend with, as my brain could no longer accept the teachings of any church, but the feelings that had been instilled in me since birth tried to pull me back, to go against what I considered rational, simply out of fear of what I couldn't know.

Many people ask me if I just had too much trouble following the commandments, if it was just easier to fall away than to feel guilty as a sinner. Not at all. I was a VERY good Mormon girl. I broke it off with a guy I was seeing in college because I felt like he wanted to kiss too much. I was the Sunday School teacher in my singles ward. I had taken the mission prep class the semester before with the intention off going on a mission once I graduated (on a side note, some of the things I learned in that class started steering me away from the church, even back then, but that's a different story).

In fact, the first time I went to get ice cream on a Sunday made me feel REALLY guilty!

It's been a long time, now, and my lack of faith no longer haunts me. In fact, I don't have any of those old demons of guilt and confusion to deal with anymore. I'm quite happy and content with myself -- EXACTLY how I am. Do I know if there is a god? No, but the evidence I see points me towards "NO." Do I know what will happen after I die? Well, besides making my loved ones sad, no. But, that's okay. I'm fine with not knowing. For all I know, NOTHING happens. I'm just dead. Nothing wrong with that -- it won't matter to me at that point, since I'll be nothing. I don't worry about that kind of stuff, anymore. I just live, and enjoy living. I'm good for goodness' sake, not for any other reason. I'm okay with that.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

The Apostate

I just found a new blog that I really like called The Apostate. In her explanation about why she left Islam, she writes:

The Koran and the Hadith are also very flawed as sources of law, or even as guidance, for the simplest human society, much less our complex modern societal structures. They fall apart at the least scrutiny – the edifice is built on ignorance, superstition, bad history and worse science. And most of all, the picture that revelation paints of our divine creator is very unpleasant and sounds like a patriarchal Middle-Eastern fellow into raping and killing and much intolerance. This holds for the Bible and the Koran. There is too much unpleasant talk of hell and eternal damnation, and this ignorant, controlling, jealous, merciless, petty, insecure God condemns me to hell for a sin I never even intended to commit: my apostasy.

I never set out to stop believing. When it happened, it was as much a surprise to me as it was to my parents. And I can’t go back – I can’t make myself believe in what I’m convinced are human lies. It’s not a matter of my will – so why should I burn for it? But this is apparently the unforgivable sin. How can there be sin without volition? A God who is that unjust, I cannot believe in.

And a religion that is as nonsensical and ludicrous as Islam plainly is, I cannot believe in.

Change all of those words to be Mormon-related instead of Islam, and you've got me. I'm looking forward to reading back through all of her posts!