One of the most difficult things for me to deal with when I confessed my disbelief in the church was the look in my fathers eyes. I had let him down. I never wanted to let him down in my entire life. Sure I’d made mistakes and had screw ups but in this situation I couldn’t help thinking it would be better to keep pretending to believe and not disappoint him so. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I only did it because of integrity and ironically because of my own children and how I felt they deserved to know the truth even if it meant I had to wear the mark of apostate. I had already tried the pretending route, desiring to believe the good stuff cause it was a great way to raise my children. After all I had turned out pretty good and their beliefs were based on the religion I had just realized had been lying to me since my birth. It didn’t work though, I’m not made that way, I couldn’t carry around that internal contradiction and feel good about myself.
After telling them I no longer believed I tried to explain why. I tried to point out the issues, expose the lies so that maybe they would understand and not be so sad. The religion they trusted was the one really editing the history, tweaking it just so, a little edit here and there just enough to give you the impression they want you to have. Twisting the words of previous prophets to make them line up with todays doctrine while not letting on they were doing so.
It didn’t work. Luckily I wasn’t disowned and save for a few serious bumps along the road as we settled into a new level of mutual respect we are still a family. But helping my mom and my dad see what had led me to my conclusions, not a chance of it. This meant they were sad. They were destined to be sad because the biggest best thing in the whole Mormon faith is the idea of the eternal family. It is why you give up 10% of your money every year and on top of that swear to give the church everything you own and not ever talk bad about the leaders. This is what you do to make it to the temple. The last time I was there my dad shed tears of joy because seeing all his family in that place confirmed to him they’d be his for eternity.
Now I can only imagine the pain he and my mother feel when they sit in that celestial room and my wife and I are absent. I am sure they have cried many a tear for the loss they felt as from their perspective we tore apart the family.
As an apostate I often hear the ‘you can leave the church but you can’t leave it alone’ refrain. Some days I want to shout the reason I can’t leave it alone is because you Mr. church sold my parents a false hope. You got them so invested in it that they will believe you before they will even consider the possibility that their own flesh and blood might have a point. It is really simple. If you were lying to them with your promise that the only way their family will be together forever is to do what you say, then it is you that is responsible for the pain and the tears they feel. You are responsible Mr. church for the failures my parents now think they are because they failed to mislead me the same way that you did them.
You made my parents feel like failures after they gave me a great upbringing. So you are right I will probably never leave it fully alone. Because I can’t. I made my choice to hold to my integrity to call out deception and teach the importance of honestly. While you keep correlating your teachings, smoothing over the rough edges, telling people that polygamy was no big deal (while not even mentioning the polyandry). Chastising and kicking out members for simply asking hard questions like ‘why can’t a woman have the priesthood?’ You Mr. church have redefined the word translate, have hidden the details of things like seer stones in hats, only to pretend later you weren’t hiding anything. You justified deception of previous church leaders, discounted things they taught from the pulpit as doctrine as nothing more than theories of men while at the same time reassuring what you are teaching right now is totally legit.
You have repeatedly and systematically lied to members for decades all in an attempt to not upset their testimonies. Worse yet it is the kind of lie Mr. Church that you can’t blame on anyone. A leader that has never studied the history himself simply declares that anything that jeopardizes faith is wrong, so a peon in the system inserts three little dots … to take out three little words ‘who has means‘1 completely changing the original intent to correlate with the current idea that you should pay tithing even if you can’t afford to feed your children. But I can’t blame a single person, because for the most part every leader I personally know is a pretty decent bloke doing the best job he knows how, just as deceived by the previous generation of teachings as I was.
Either the church is true or it isn’t right? If it’s not then you have caused my sweet parents tremendous pain for no reason, you blame me for it sure, but why? Because I was curious enough to look at the past you didn’t want looked at? Because I was rational enough to test the critiques you taught me to use when considering other religions against my own beliefs?
Maybe it’s because I thought too much. Maybe it is because I couldn’t just shut up and pretend to believe. You could very well be right that if I had continued to hide your secrets that all would be well with my family. No one would be the wiser and the celestial room would still be causing my parents tears of joy instead of tears of pain.
But here is the rub, in every single case, in every documented instance of every issue that you tell me I should just look the other way, it is you Mr. church that lied. Not me. Am I to blame for this? Are my parents to blame for raising a son that cherished integrity so much that he was willing to disappoint his own father with the truth? Is it my fault that you lied and I called you on it ultimately the reason our family isn’t as close as it once was? I don’t think so. Maybe it’s time Mr. Church you stop pretending that you are all about families because the truth is its all about you.
Good thing God doesn’t need a middleman.
Most of the people who leave the church do so because of problems with church leaders, past or present, and their actions/and or teachings. But if we remember what Jesus said, “Cursed be the man who putteth his trust in the arm of flesh (mortal men and women)”, we will not fall away. We must trust Him and Our Father in Heaven, and them alone. which can often be difficult to do. The Spirit of God bares witness of the truthfulness of the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, the temples, the various ordinances such as baptism, and of the need for a Restoration. Don’t put your trust in men – or women – put your trust in the Lord.
Your friend in Texas.
“Most people leave because of problems with church leaders…”
sorry, I know this is commonly taught from inside the church, However, it simply isn’t true, I’d suggest you spend some time on reddit r/exmormon and ask people why they leave. By and far it’s not because of ‘being offended’ It’s same as my reason, look at the foundational claims with the same measure you would investigate any other religion and it simply isn’t true. It just doesn’t hold up to examination.
When you look deeply at all of it (the history, the beginnings) you end up having to just believe because of your spiritual feelings, You need to believe in spite of all the evidence that it is a fraud. But how do you do that? I’m sure you would say trust the spirit. Because you did say that in your comment. The witness you trust can’t be fooled right? Here’s the thing though… you have no problem dismissing another person’s witness, well maybe not rejecting it outright, but at least asserting they made some sort of error because they ended up in the wrong religion.
Maybe the spiritual witness isn’t as reliable as we were taught it was? And if it isn’t then what would that mean about what you consider valid reasons? You might want to consider that thought. before being so sure of why people leave.
I suggest you watch this and see who you think is insincere about their witness… and if none are, then what does that mean about the mutually exclusive claims of what’s true.
Thanks for commenting!
your friend in the Fridge 😉
BTW… I just would like to point out that editing your pesky prophets statement is actually incorrect. If you notice there is a foot note and if you reference that foot note it will provide you the conference talk. I found that conference talk online which used the first quote above. https://archive.org/details/conferencereport1899sa
Publications do this all of the time in all sorts contexts. I have seen this used all of the times in LDS material and Anti mormon material. It is all about changing the material to meet the meaning you are trying to convey. Sorry I just had to get that in. 🙂
Finally had time to catch up on the comments. You mentioned that the meme was wrong. Referencing the original talk. I did look that up before posting it and it does have the three words that were removed in the quote.
I am not sure what you think is incorrect about my statement. Maybe to you because the original is referenced and foot-noted that makes it not misleading.
I would disagree. There was a clear change of meaning created by removing the words ‘who has means’ one that certainly wasn’t done for reasons of condensing the words (there were only three)
Don’t get me wrong I am glad they reference the original but I can’t see any reason for the edit other than to convey the idea that you should pay tithing even if you can’t afford to feed your family. Something that wasn’t in the original intent of the original document.
To me this is a dishonest, subtle, carefully crafted effort to slightly change things to support their interests. It counts on the fact that people are unlikely to look up the reference and simply trust them. You are right that organizations do it all the time, you are right that it is done by both sides. If called on it they can claim well I gave you the reference! To me personally that makes it no less dishonest.
For this reason I have for a long time now been looking up all references from all sides before drawing conclusions. One thing I discovered that was part of the reason that lead to my disbelief was the apologists were guilty of this far far more often than the ‘antis’ whom I were taught did nothing but lie.
The most honest approach I have found seems to come from those that have no religions ties at all. Funny how the Christian anti-mormons are far more willing to practice this type of deception than the atheist post mormons are.
But anyway, I do appreciate you posting that link to the original source so people can look it up themselves and see that the original talk had the qualifier ‘who has means’ it’s on page 28 of your link left page middle of the right column. Here is a direct link to the same book that goes right to the page.
Another item that makes me question the honesty of ‘mr church’ is the fact that here and now in the day of the internet, it would be incredibly easy to provide a link to the source document or even just the source material so a student could quickly check for themselves the context.
Like FAIR and other pro church sites these links aren’t there when they could lead to information that would create doubt in the believer. On the other hand a ‘anti’ site as some would refer to mormonthink.com links to all the information they quote from. The only problem with that site I have found is if one of the links goes to a church controlled site that proves a critical opinion, it is unlikely that the link stays active very long as those links are often broken by the source (LDS) site. All the other non mr church controlled links such as this one to a google book stay up and active.
To me this is yet another subtle deception.
If I may I would like to offer not a rebuttal but a different viewpoint. My intent is not to argue however to offer a different viewpoint from your opinion. I am a firm believer that one has to consider both sides to actually find truth in this world.
I am a member of the LDS faith and I joined when I was 18. During this time I was trying to find something that filled a void that I had in my life for quite some time. I happen to meet a girl and through spending time with her and her family I became aquatinted with the LDS faith. For 9 months I lived the way the “Mormons” said I should live. I read my scriptures, said my prayers, paid my tithing, fasted, went to church and went out with the missionaries.
Like you I was searching and I felt that I had found something that filled the void and changed my life. Here is where our stories take a similar turn. My family was very much against the LDS faith and did everything in their power to convince me it was wrong. They gave me material and I read it. They gave me movies and I watched them. I looked at the LDS faith from both sides of the story because as I said that is where I believe I find truth.
For me it all came down to two scriptures:
Ephesians 5:9 “For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth” and Galatians 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith”. So I decided to join.
See during my 9-month informational gathering my family was much like yours. They were sadden to hear that my beliefs were different from theirs. Hopefully what was different is that your family did not argue all of the time about who was right and why they were right.
My family was upset because I rejected what they taught me their entire life. When you stated in your blog, “when I confessed my disbelief in the church was the look in my fathers eyes. I had let him down.” I could relate. When I told my family that I believed in the LDS faith and it was like I was turning my back on what my family taught me all my life. (By the way I was a member of the Catholic, Methodists, southern & northern Baptists, Presbyterian and Lutheran faiths. I had also been baptized three times – Catholic, Methodists and Northern Baptist).
Here is where my outlook on everything changed. I have many friends that are members of the LDS faith and I also have many many friends that are not members of the LDS faith however we do have one thing in common which is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This common bond allows us to share our beliefs in a manor that is pleasing to him. My friends and I share thoughts and scriptures with out any feelings of anger, hate or ill will.
This I believe that is what the Lord intended when he was on this earth. People speaking about the teachings of Jesus Christ and searching for truth. I believe that Jesus Christ would call out any one who is not following his teachings just like he called out the Pharisees of the New Testament. It would not matter what denomination they followed he would treat them the same if they were not following his teachings. I believe that he did this out of love because he wants us to follow him and when someone does not I am sure there is sadness.
This is where I believe their sadness and disappointment come from. In their eyes you are turning away from what they believe is true. However in your eyes you have been enlighten to the truth and in turn so desperately what to explain to them why you feel the way that you do.
This is where my point of view is now going to kick in. My I suggest that instead of trying so hard to “Make” your parents understand your point of view that you build on common ground. I do not believe that it is “Mr. Chruch” that is making your parents do all of the things that they do. We all have free agency and have the God given right to do what ever we choose to do on this earth. I believe that your parents do what they think is right is because they deeply believe it.
You said “Either the church is true or it isn’t”. Right now you don’t believe it and they do. Your belief is based off of logic, research and in your eyes proof. Their belief is based off of Faith, research and from the Holy Ghost.
Until they look at things from your point of view…all you are doing is wasting your time trying to explain your point of view. I would also say the same thing to them if they were on the other end of my keyboard. Sometimes you just have to step back, find some common ground and allow these wounds to heal on both sides just to realize that both of your actions are stemming out of one main action / feeling… Love. Thanks for reading and I hope that your life choices bring you as much joy, love and happiness as mine has.
I appreciate your experience in regards to changing faiths. On my mission we converted several people to their families angst much like you convey above.
For me personally there is no more common religious ground as like most that have gone through this level of epistemological searching and study I have landed in a position of agnostic atheism. It seems obvious to me that all religions are just as man made as any other and that means we don’t have the common belief of christianity anymore either. In fact that particular discussion lead to some pretty big emotional scars for me personally as my parents where even more dismayed to discover I no longer believed in the divinity of Jesus.
I do understand how much their belief drives this behavior. I do get how it makes them unbelievably sad as from their perspective I have destroyed the forever family they were promised. I weep sometimes when I think about the pain it causes my mother and father. I feel real anger towards a religion that has repeatedly misled its followers about its history in an effort to built up their belief because if they hadn’t been promised this hope in the first place it would come between us now.
I have come to accept there will be likely forever a lingering tear in our family that can never be healed. I have chosen to follow integrity and not pretend I didn’t learn what I did and pretend it didn’t affect the veracity of the church I believed in. This means I gave up a close relationship to my own parents and siblings so that one day my children would be free of dogma that is built on deception and untruth.
5 generations of heritage are what I had to leave behind. I was taught that my family name was the most important thing I carried and for me to leave the church I felt like I had forever blotted it in my fathers eyes. I hope that people that read this blog understand that it isn’t easy to do this, I think you have an idea of what it was like and I appreciate your comments in that regard.
These days I don’t challenge their beliefs in the open anymore. I keep this blog anonymous to try and not bring shame to the family name. But I feel that I must speak up, I feel that others out there are going through similar things and just maybe my experiences can help those that come after me.
I agree that time does heal wounds and for the most part we get along ok now, but the scars won’t ever quite go away. I think the elephant will always be in the room when I visit my family. In every other possible way I feel like I am happier, my kids and wife and I are all closer now than ever before, the only thing that still hurts on occasion is the scar of leaving the faith and letting my parents down. A wound that wouldn’t have happened in my opinion if mr church hadn’t been deceitful to begin with.
I really, really wish I could get my parents to read this. Not that I’ve ever had any problems disappointing them, but so they could more fully understand why a “forever family” is something that I just. don’t. care. about. Which means any and all attempts at guilt trips just drives yet another nail in the proverbial coffin that represents our familial bonds. Maybe then they could move past their hurt feelers and start to create a relationship with their adult children that is more than a passing acquaintanceship?
Always spot on as usual thanks
[…] In church watch, the CoJCoL-dS is building more apartment buildings. A religion professor at BYUI was unwelcomed to the point of resignation (apparently for being over-qualified). Plus there’s more discussion of the prophet’s dementia. In history, here’s an interesting new tidbit about the varying first vision accounts, one on Mormon improvement in Hebrew, and one on Mormons and conspiracy theories. And the family church is still at odds with actual families. […]
Great post! Thanks!
Thank you for the post. I puts into words how so many people feel going through faith transitions (usually ending in leaving the church). The disappointment from family hurts, and it is /so/ frustrating that really nothing I can say will make any of them feel better. You said it all.
Though it’s only one example of MANY (I’ve done my own research, too), I went ahead and read part of the conference report you linked to that had the quote. I agree that those three words being left out changes things, but it looked like President Snow still had the expectation that everyone had to pay tithing, because he talked about the law of tithing and he also said the saints would be forgiven for neglecting it (it sounds like there was a Come to Jesus talk the year before). So where those three words have significance, I don’t believe President Snow was more relaxed about who paid tithing or who didn’t (though maybe they didn’t have temple recommends taken away). Interesting things to think about.
Again, thanks for your post! I appreciate honesty, and this was all honestly.
If you dig back in church history, a full tithe was not a requirement to go through the temple, I forget exactly when that policy changed though.
Wow! Its like you know everything that I’ve been feeling about leaving the church but put it into words. Thank you for that!
Hell yeah. When I finally came to this same realization (thanks for articulating it better than I ever could), I was able to reinterpret the anger that my TBM spouse directed towards me, deflecting it to the rightful recipient: the church. I could finally not take the attack personally, freeing me up to love and comfort rather than react in anger. This was a key realization that has started my path out of the angry stage.
I always enjoy your posts.
Thanks you very much