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.