I grew up in a mixed faith family. I say mixed faith even though both of my parents are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS/Mormon) because my mother was always the "spiritual leader" in the family with a long history of Mormon ancestors, and my father was a convert who regularly shared his alternative perspectives on church teachings. I guess you could say I had a healthy dose of skepticism even as a child since I was constantly exposed to differences of opinion regarding belief.
Even though I wouldn't consider my father a staunch Mormon, he supported our family going to church and participating in church activities. He baptized my siblings and I when we turned 8, kept a temple recommend, was partially active (maybe once every few months), and help fund my mission. He was never shy to tell us about his non-Mormon past and to encourage us to pursue truth. I see myself a lot like my dad in my own faith transition.
My mother grew up in a large Mormon family, whose parents were Mormon, whose parents were also Mormon, whose parents were also Mormons, whose parents were pioneers and Utah settlers who knew Joseph Smith personally. I was told stories about my amazing Mormon family history as a child and taught how important faith is. My mom's answer to almost any crisis or trial was to pray and have faith. I love my mom and respect her faith.
So how did I make the jump from full blown Mormonism to being a non-believing, heathen, apostate atheist? It has nothing to do with being offended at church, I don't have any favorite "sins" that I just can't let go of, it had nothing to do with church policy or doctrine. One day, I asked myself a simple question and tried to be as intellectually honest with myself as possible. I asked, do I really believe in God?
At first, my indoctrination answered for me "of course!" But the answer changed the more I asked myself follow-up questions:
"Well, I do believe...but what exactly do I believe about God?"
"How is God explained in the scriptures?"
"Do I accept that as true?"
"Do I believe in the supernatural?"
I've always been interested in other churches and belief systems, on my mission I was able to talk to many people from other religions and learn about different beliefs. I came across all kinds of supernatural claims, supposed miracles, answered prayers, and good feelings. But a foundational belief in God seems to always be based on the same thing, faith. So what is faith? Is faith reliable? I will explore faith in the blog and offer some of my own insights as to whether or not faith is a good enough reason to accept a belief as true.
My mental journey out of Mormonism and theism has been one I've kept internal and secret from my friends and family. As you can expect, coming out as a non-believer tends to result in major backlash and negative repercussions when everyone you love and interact with adhere to the same belief system. I've even kept this aspect of my personality a secret from my wife and kids as I am afraid of the tension and issues it would cause. Perhaps someday I will make the jump to reveal my unbelief, and if that day comes, I will do my best to document the results here.
I prefer to remain anonymous and I would please ask if you do know who I am or know my name to respect my privacy. Please do not comment or mention my name in this blog.