Oh Boy. Where to start.
I was born into a Mormon family and was baptized at 8. Which right off the bat I have a few issues with. I believe the age of baptism should be at least 12, probably even 15 years. But looking back I never questioned the age and in fact defended people getting baptized at 8 without really thinking about it. (I'm going to face-palm a lot during this just looking back at myself)
I really started to question at about the age of 16-17 or so. I never really actually had the thought cross my mind that I was wrong, it was more of a problem with defending ideas that I had previously endorsed without question. For example - The mistreatment of homosexuals, Tithes and offerings, and straight up lying about not endorsing political issues. The most vile and despicable of which being the latter which I will explain in the next paragraph.
For all of my church going life I took great pride in the fact that if all else failed that at least I could count on my church standing for this one thing: They never told you HOW to vote, they only told you TO vote. I will bring the homosexuality issue into this because that is the issue the church leaders told us to vote on.
1. The Mormon church was the #1 donator for the political support of Prop 8 which denys Homosexuals the right to marry. Bam, reason one. Lets move on.
2. The Mormon church is also the largest contributor to the Boy Scouts. The church also denied Gays the ability to serve as scout masters or even to practically be in the organization at all. The mormon church told the Boy scouts they would take away all of thier support if it allowed gays to be in the Boy Scouts. As a Mormon youth you are expected to be in the boy scouts. In fact you are expected to be VERY active in the boy scouts. Most of what a youth will do at Youth Group (called "Mutual") is actually boy scout activities.
3. I remember being told from the pulpit to vote against the gay rights. The Proclamation to the World was the nail in the coffin. While I didn't think too much about gay rights at the time, the thought of them telling me how to vote was appalling.
4. I only include this comment to be fair to the issue: Homosexuals are invited to the Mormon church. However they must not do that which makes them homosexual. which means they basically have to either lie about being homosexual and simply try to be straight, or they must abstain from sex FOREVER no matter what.
----- Anyway that was my reasoning for being appalled at this one specific issue... On to how I broke the news to my parents. Because my reasons for leaving are somewhat unimportant because all you really have to do is think a little. I'll just tell my story.
As a youth in the Mormon church I was in church for 3 hours on Sunday, 1 hour every school day before school started in the morning, and Mutual (Youth Group) for another 2 hours on Wednesdays or Tuesdays depending on a couple factors. So I literally spent at least 10 hours physically at church in a normal week. Not to mention all the camping trips, Temple trips, volunteer work for members (which happened a lot), and other responsibilities due to the hierarchy of the local Mormon Ward (congregation). So I may or may not have specific responsibilities based on what leadership position I had (which was a lot of the time because of the size of my peer group). But anyways. Most of this ended when I got out of High School and started college
At the age of 18 I had just lost my job because the schedule was changed and I didn't receive the message because my phone was broken at the time when they tried to reach me. I was stupid and didn't realize I should have fought it. But I had other things going on in my life which I could focus more on and I was still living with my parents so it wasn't the end of the world.
I went home told my parents and since I lived in Dallas, Oregon at the time I decided I should go job searching in the Capital city of Oregon: Salem which is 17 miles away. So I hopped on my bike (we went on a lot of biking trips in the boy scouts) and rode my bike there and stayed at a friends house so I could more easily go to college and job search. Keep in mind this was about the time when the economy collapsed. These events transpired in January-February of 2009. Suffice it to say It was a little hard to find a job.
So I job searched for 3 weeks on my bike (I was pretty physically fit at the time) and at the end of those 3 weeks I decided it was time for me to head back to my parents place. When I arrived I sat in the living room for 3 hours with the TV on until my parents returned home from wherever they had been. And for some strange reason, my parents believed that I had been partying for 3 weeks since I wasn't home (even though I had told them what I was doing and checked up with them most every day).
A few things to note: I had never masturbated before this point in my life, I had never had sex at this point in my life, I had never had alcohol before this point in my life (in fact I waited until my 21st birthday for my first drink.), I could count how many times I had cussed on one hand, and I could go on. I was basically as moral as a person could be. I had never given my parents any reason to believe I was a terrible person.
My mother wanted to have a religious based conversation and I was a little depressed and stressed from the job searching situation and just wanted to sit down. I really didn't want to hear it but I humored her for the most point.
She wanted to know what I believed and I told her I couldn't do that because I had no beliefs. This was the first time I had ever told anyone I was agnostic or anywhere close to it. But finally, calmly and coolly explained that I could not take what she said seriously because its not based on reason and fact but instead based on faith and fiction. To that point she raged to a point I had never seen her rage before. I was kicked out. with nothing but a backpack, laptop, a few clothes and a bike.
So I sucked at life for a another 7 weeks while going to college. Luckily I had friends that would take me in (all of which were atheists). And found myself living at my grandparents house in a camping trailer which I actually liked. It was the first time I had ever had my own space to call my own.
This is the most important part of my de-conversion story.
I spent a lot of time by myself. Doing a lot of nothing. I sank into depression because of how my life was going, and was feeling very sorry for myself. I thought maybe God was punishing me somehow. I say 'somehow' in that I didn't believe but I thought that the events in my life were showing me that there was a God and he was displeased. But I started thinking with all the free time I had and realized that the reason I had been and still was sucking at life wasn't because of explainable external forces, but it was because of how everyone treated me because I had told them was an agnostic-atheist.
There is more to my story but I don't really know how many people will really read this. But thank you if you did. If people are genuinely interested I may share more. :)
Thank you for reading my small novel. Religious programming can be hard to rewrite.
Have you seen the documentary called "Why I am no longer a Christian?" It was essential in helping me realize what was going on in my head.
I'll post a link here. But be warned it is super long but luckily its in segments because of how youtube works.
Nope, I'm currently working. I will be working part time and going to college in the fall though.
I now realize that I should have probably posted this in more of a blog type function. The discussion was a bad place because Its hard for me to continue my story. I will repost in my blog on my profile so that I can more easily expand on the story. Thank you all for your interest and for reading my words! :)
Good news! I was just hoping that you had posted more on this. Thanks for sharing part of your story!
I am one of you. Thank you for your story. The irony, for me, is that when you dive deep into the rabbit hole, mormonism is an atheist "religion" in the classical sense. (Thank you, BA Philosophy, Brigham Young University.) I could not care less what Mitt Romney might profess but mormons are not classical theists or christians. God-man principle and all that... Then again, they might be like other religions. They did, after all, have over a billion dollars in CASH to build a super mall in Salt Lake City. I wonder if it is all about that residual income. Tithing. Lease and rental income. God graft, if you will. You do realize that the legal title of their prophet is the CEO and President of The Corporation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Humble sack cloth and ashes and all that stuff. You have escaped the clutches of an economic cult that exerts control because they want you as part of their graft base.
My confession is that I am atheist because the assumptions and arguments in the defense of god are not necessary. I am not of the argumentative branch of atheism that demands proof of god and all that nonsense. I am one of those who find theistic principles not necessary in providing a ground for ethical human behavior and as a definition of universal reality. Living is real when meeting life experience with my own wit as the seeing glass. I borrow as much as I can from the experience of those that preceded me in life. I realize every day I know less and less. The less I know the more I wonder. I am good with not knowing. I like the wonder and awe aspect of not knowing. When the answer is absolute, all life process stops. Theism negates possibility, freedom, individuality. I wonder, therefor I am. The answer is not the goal, but the better question. Science. Reason. My mantra is to stop believing and start living. Without god, all things are possible.
I like the thought you brought up about them being an Atheist "Religion" in reference to all "worthy" Mormons being able to become gods, I never really thought about that. Though I would say that as a Mormon I certainly believed at the time that I was feeling spiritually connected to a Deity. Though
What funny is I find myself debating as a devil's advocate using with Mormons to make them defend their own wonky take on Christianity.
I tend to have a lot of fun pointing out logical errors in the Book of Mormon, which are many. I have actually read the Book of Mormon from cover to cover. I know it quite well.
One of my favorite errors is how the Groups that sailed to the Americas by boat (of which there were a few) must have had alcohol in order to survive the trip. Even during the time of the puritans colonizing the new world, alcohol was needed and the lack of such almost killed them all (until they made beer from of acorns once in the new world). The point is that how could multiple cultures forget how to make wine, especially since Wine is mentioned many times in the Book of Mormon. That's not something a culture forgets and as we all know there are no pre-Columbian peoples that had the knowledge of "spirits." Especially since the people that supposedly killed off God's favored people were wicked and perverse. Surely they would still have alcohol affecting them.
I found myself being an atheist when I could no longer support assumptions and superstitions with a straight face. I felt like I was lying when I told people what I believed. In the end I decided that I should only state that which I could show using evidence.
Man, can I relate. I was always a little smart-ass, questioning. But at morning school, when we were getting further teachings on the celestial kingdom, I asked since god had to populate the earth with his thousands of goddess wives through sexual reproduction in heaven, how did he have time to do anything else besides have sex? Since his goddess wives were eternally pregnant? Boy, that one not only got the bishop, but the stake president involved as well. I was 15-16 y.o. at the time. Can you say "bitch slap"? First time it had really happened to me. So, I had to "lay low" until I got out at 19. Small part of my story, can't wait to hear the rest of your's man. Keep us posted. We'll be waiting.
lolz. That's friggin' hilarious.
At the time I probably would have thought you were just being difficult. I bet the probably gave some BS answer like, "God is outside the Human perception of Time." or something
Yeah dude, it's funny now. At the time, all I remembered was being terrified. I mean the bishop and the stake president. I had to travel app 1 1/2 hrs. to meet with him, riding with the bishop there and back. My eternal life was in the balance! Ah youth. I can't even remember much of the discussion, some stuff about faith, acceptance, how we couldn't know the mind of god, etc.
But I do remember this, almost verbatum. " Your questions are not good for the others to hear. If you have any questions, you will take them to the bishop. No talking to others unless the bishop says so". Bitch slap. I mean, what happened to "if any lack knowledge, let him ask of god, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbradith not"? So, kept it all inside, then left when I got old enough. Well, peace, my brother. Be well, and let us hear some more. We are definately waiting. Peace.
I remember once I did Foam sword boffer LARPing thing and the Bishop called me in and asked me about it and then asked me if I was engaged in any activities that could be considered pagan or devil worship. I was like, "No.... I'm hitting people with foam swords..."