Intro: I would love to have the following conversation with my wife. However, we are at a point in our marriage where I do not believe the outcome would be a positive one. I don't think that our communication is strong enough to allow understanding and compassion. I fear that revealing this information to her would turn into immediate resentment and anger on her part. Also, I fear that admitting this will result in her using it against me throughout our marriage as she has done with other things I have been open and honest about. I am open to any suggestions or input regarding how I should bring this up, or even if it's worth it at this point.
I want to begin by saying that I am sorry. I apologize for not being open and honest with you about my thoughts and situations that I have dealt with in the past or that I'm dealing with now. I have avoided speaking honestly with you out of fear and feelings of resentment. That is something I hope can change. By trying to keep things internalized, I have experienced anxiety, anger, shame, depression, and an overall sense of being unauthentic. In order for me to heal and for our relationship to improve, I think being more honest with you will help me overcome some of these negative thoughts and feel like I'm not just putting on an act. It would help tremendously if you give me a few minutes to express myself, then I am willing to answer any questions.
Regarding the church, I no longer believe it to be true. I have struggled with church doctrines for a long time, even going back to when I was a missionary, and have even strived to defend those beliefs. But now, trying to be honest with myself and speak what I really believe, I don't accept the claims of the church to be true. I am thankful for being raised in a religious environment and still think there is great benefits in learning about faith and morals from the church, but at this point in my life, those things aren't as important as wanting to believe things that are actually true. I've been on this faith transition for a long time, trying to reconcile my doubts and questions, and keeping it all inside. I've been conflicted, ashamed, and scared. I chose not to tell you what I was going through because I was afraid of your reaction. But by coming to the realization that I no longer believe, I have felt some relief and comfort knowing that I am being honest with myself.
I want to experience joy and happiness and I do not feel that way with the church. I didn't feel optimistic or hopeful or joy when I use to believe. I usually felt anxiety, stress, and sadness. When I finally admitted to myself that I didn't believe it to be true, I felt relief and happiness. My transition away from the belief system isn't because I want to sin or do things that are against the church. It just comes down to not believing the claims of the church anymore. I am still grateful for our temple marriage and for my experiences as a member and a missionary, I wouldn't change any of that.
I can understand if this is upsetting and difficult for you to hear. I've seen first-hand, as I know you have also, how hard it can be for couples to work through something like this. But I want to promise you that I am not trying to turn you away from the church. I will not try to preach to you any kind of anti-Mormon stuff or belittle you for believing what you want to believe. I also won't try to turn the kids away from the church. I promise to support you and the kids no matter what. However, I would also ask that you respect my position and not try to reconvert me or try to make me feel ashamed for my disbelief. While I strive to be conscious of my personal beliefs and avoid talking negatively about the church or its teachings, I would still like to know that my input is valid. I need the freedom to speak my mind and answer questions honestly if the kids want to know what I believe.
It's my hope that we can work together and be understanding of each other's needs. I think the ideal outcome would be to provide the kids with an atmosphere of trust where they can feel comfortable asking us anything and knowing that we will be honest. Right now, I feel conflicted and dishonest when I try to defend things I don't actually believe. I want to be able to speak my truth and also reinforce yours and let the kids be free to seek out their own truth. I want them to make their own decision and have their own experiences. If they decide to serve a mission or to be active in the church, they will most likely have to deal with conflicting ideas and be able to defend their beliefs throughout their lives. Having parents that are open and honest and not trying to hide anything regarding religion will only help in their own journey.
I want you to know that being authentic and honest about this is important to me and I think it is essential in my recovery from depression. A huge reason for my feelings of depression have come from trying to keep these things internalized and hidden because of fear. I don't want to carry that burden anymore. I want you to know that I love you and trust you with this. I want our relationship to be a success story, I won't give up on us. It has been very difficult for me to feel comfortable enough to tell you these things and I have been struggling to keep it inside for so long. I am open to answering any questions or concerns you might have.