It’s Not Her Fault

There is a girl I love very much, more than anything else in the world actually. She likes nice things, she is a bit of a perfectionist, a rule abider, outspoken and friendly. We are opposites in a lot of ways. In a crowd she is sure to make friends while I sit in a corner. I am not a perfectionist at all and pretty much think rules are for other people not me.

When I first lost my faith in the church for a long time I was afraid to tell her. I feared I might lose her when I explained why I thought it was a fraud. Eventually I could no longer keep it to myself. She was very perceptive and knew something was wrong, there was something I wasn’t telling her. One day I broke down and told her I didn’t believe. She was devastated. We were temple married after all, we were supposed to be together forever. The fact I didn’t believe anymore tore out her heart.

It wasn’t easy for me to tell her either, lots of tears were shed, we even considered divorce. Eventually she considered the things I was telling her about the history of the church and how I had felt deceived and how I came to my conclusions.

She listed to me, for that I am eternally grateful. She didn’t just tell me to stop talking or put her fingers in her ears wishing I would go away. Nope she listened, really listened. She also heard where I was coming from and knew I was sincere. We decided to stick together. For a while I went to church with her. I kept going whenever she wanted me to even though at times I had to sit and bite my tongue in Sunday school so as to not make a scene that would embarrass her.  Over time she came to see and understand the things I had learned and eventually came to the same conclusion in regards to the church.

I was so happy, during my discovery of the truth I had met many people who’s families were torn apart due to learning the things I had and the conflict that can bring into a marriage. I feared that would be us. It wasn’t though, in fact after this great trial our marriage came out the other side far far stronger that before. We reached a point where we could tell each other exactly how we felt no matter how bad it got. We faced the worst and came out together on the other side.  Instead of being torn apart, thanks to a beautiful woman willing to open her mind and consider the facts we were together! Better yet I realized there was NOTHING that we couldn’t discuss with each other. Sure it might cause us grief, but we had known grief and found that our union meant more than anything else on the planet. Unless you have experienced this there is no way I can explain it. It is a bond beyond words.

shun

All this reminiscing is to give you background, I need you to understand who my wife is to me so you can understand my pain. Sometimes I feel that she is treated poorly, sometimes I feel like she is ‘blamed’ for my ‘falling away’ as it is called. Why do I think this? Probably because I have watched others avoid speaking to her, they recognize everyone else in the room, but it’s as if she were invisible. Not everyone does it, but there are those that do and it makes me sad when it happens. I am sure it is due to our leaving the church. I am fairly confident that those doing the shunning would justify it and say we brought this on ourselves and there are consequences to actions. (thinking in their mind that makes it ok to treat people as if they weren’t there). To those that justify avoiding people because they don’t believe like you do, remember that next time we aren’t there. If you treat a person like they are invisible, soon they will be.

Seeing my wife treated like this pains me. She is the more social one. I’m the one that likes to be alone. It hurts me because it hurts her. I can’t keep putting her in this situation because it’s not her fault. If it’s anyone’s fault that my wife and kids don’t believe in the church anymore, it’s mine. I was the one that did the research, I was the one that looked behind the curtain and saw Oz for who he was. I’m the one that didn’t keep my conclusions to myself. Not her. Don’t blame her and shun her and treat her badly. Blame me, because it’s not her fault.

shun meme

The church is perfect, people in it aren’t

This is a saying I heard a lot growing up. It was typically used to excuse leaders and their mistakes. As a believer I found comfort it in it too, I figured I wasn’t perfect and that is ok.

These days I see this meme crop up and I consider it from a new perspective. I realized that the first half of the statement is a subtle insinuation that I hadn’t ever questioned before. I still agree with the second half, every institution ever conceived of by man is full of imperfect people making their way through life as best they can. My reasons for leaving the church were not because it is filled with imperfect leaders that make mistakes. Its the first part of the saying I have issue with.

The assumption that the church is perfect is what I no longer believe. Why do we have this saying in the church to begin with? It’s because of a doctrine of infallibility when prophets speak as prophets. Sure when they are speaking as a man we can ignore them but if they are speaking as a Prophet, then it’s God’s words and we’d better obey. Of course there are times when we aren’t really sure, like the number of earrings we should have or if we should play poker or not. Those might be opinions or commandments so play it safe and just do what they say. This is infallibility it stated in another saying I heard a lot, ‘when the prophet speaks, the thinking is done.’ There is a problem with this idea that when the prophet speaks the thinking is done though. It means you have to stop thinking. Which is true because if you keep on thinking about it, you will soon see conflicts and things that don’t make sense.

For example:

We have assurances by prophets that people will never be led astray because God is at the head and guides the church the way he wants it to go. Yet from Brigham Young to Spencer Kimball black people couldn’t have the priesthood. They had it before and after, but not in the middle. Did God really want decent men to not have the priesthood? Is he racist? or did those prophets in the middle lead us astray?

Or first prophets taught that polygamy and polyandry was A-OK even a good thing for a nation. Yet we walked away from that doctrine so we could be a state in the union and not fight a war. God has been willing to go to war before, like when Israel took over cannon, so why not this time? Why do we look in disgust at prophets like Warren Jeffs spending time in jail for breaking the law and when we look at our founding prophet who spent time in jail for breaking the law and give him a free pass? Why is polygamy A-ok once you die, but not before then? That is what the church actually teaches and practices right now. Is that perfect?

Joseph Smith lied directly to 300 saints about his polygamy, this is well documented in the churches own history books. Was that because he was an imperfect man? Does it make sense that God would tell him to start this religion to marry other mens wives and then tell him to lie about it?

One could go on and one with examples like this. Either God is telling the leaders to behave dishonestly with their followers, or the church itself isn’t perfect. I never expected men and leaders of the church to be perfect. We all make mistakes. I did however expect them to not be conmen. I did expect them to respect truth and strive for it rather than hide it. I did expect them to come clean with troubling facts rather than create web search engines so members could avoid them.

Yeah they people in the church aren’t perfect. Neither are the people out of it. Maybe you need a scary being up in the sky putting the fear go god into you so you act like a decent person. Maybe you need a hope of eternal reward to keep you from being an evil degenerate in society. Maybe to make all that work you need to believe the church you go to is true and perfect, even if the people in it are not. Consider this. Maybe there there are people that do not need all the same beliefs you do to be good decent people. You might even recognize the fact that for them to be good and helpful without threat of damnation or hope of reward in the next life makes them even more altruistic than you.

Most people that I have met that lost their faith in what they believed didn’t do so because the people in the church weren’t perfect. They did because the figured out the first half of that saying was a lie. The church itself is not perfect.

The Beginning

I lost my religion, why? Because I studied it and it didn’t make rational sense. After losing that one I studied others, still none made any sense. Eventually I began to lean agonistic, even atheistic the more I tested and probed.

When it was all done there was a hole in my soul, that is if there ever were a soul. I yearned to fill it. Why, because like most people I want to believe there is more to life, I want to experience the spiritual moments that once confirmed my feelings of my place in the universe. Belief however is a finicky thing. Especially when you begin to understand basic human psychology and how it leads to things like confirmation bias, circular logic and synthetic happiness.

Once you take a journey like this, your mind like a ballon can never return to the size it once was, once your eyes have been opened you cannot go back.

Mankind has had mythologies throughout the ages, ideals that communities hold up and individuals strive for. Usually these ideals are based on ‘revealed’ truth. They are presented as beyond question to give them veracity in the world at large. Thus a myth becomes a religion.

The problem is religions unify groups, and to survive they need to be unique which means other groups must be wrong or lost or just ‘not as good.’ This leads to war.

This is my experiment, to see if a myth can be a know myth and still engender the good things religions do, to inspire, to teach morals, to help others. To do this without the bad things that seem to occur when religions mature.

In the Church of the Fridge, everyone’s voice counts, humor is paramount, and life is meant to be enjoyed not endured. We welcome all who care to hear and contribute.