I am new to the Nexus and by way of introduction thought it a good idea to tell my story.
I grew up a Rush Limbaugh talks to God right wing Mormon. I was on the fast track for bishop, believing as sure as I live and breathe that God was my father, Jesus my brother, and if I did all the right things I would have my own universe with all of my Goddess wives. To be clear, Mormons, no matter how they deny it, are still polygamists in that they believe righteous men will marry multiple wives in heaven as there will be many women who one way or another make it to heaven without a husband. That and they are polytheists. So you get an idea where I come from.
I was an Elder, served a mission, spent 4 years in the seminary in high school and took 3 more years at the college level. I have read the Bible more times than most ministers. I have also read the "holy books" of many other religions. For the first 20 years I was hardcore Mormon. Brainwashing will do that to you. At 10 I hit puberty so my parents decided to put me on lockdown. At 17 I went to college and the years of pent up puberty were unleashed in a way that would make Wilt Chamberlain blush. I still believed sex outside of marriage was a sin and repented MANY MANY times. I also discovered alcohol and had more to repent for.
At 20 I decided I wanted to settle down. I know, stupid idea. I confessed my sins to my bishop to be forgiven. I was excommunicated. Of course for a Mormon that isn't as big of a deal as it sounds. But I digress. I was re baptized a few years later. I know, pattern of dumb ideas here. By this point I am on my second marriage and have a daughter.
After re-baptism I worked to regain my priesthood and get sealed to my wife. For a Mormon, if you don't have the temple covenants, you don't get to be a God. Simple as that. So with that incentive, I busted my ass to make that happen. After a year or so, my bishop told me it was time to send off to Salt Lake for the paperwork to make it happen.
So here I was waiting for papers to be mailed. A month at the most, right? A year and a half later, I am still waiting. During this time the gears begin to turn. I have always been a science nerd. I never questioned the facts of the Theory of Evolution or the Big Bang. I called them "God's engines of creation." I kept my belief separate from my science. Over the course of that year the floodgates began to open. I re-opened my bible and read it, this time turning off the pre-taught crap and just reading it. The Bible really is the best case for Atheism. As I logically read word for word, logic flooded in and logic kills faith like poison. So I was left without the make believe bearded guy in the sky who had promised me a mansion. But I finally had truth. So I became what I thought was an agnostic, still unsure of anything. Then I read two things that generated the thought processes necessary to solidify me as the atheist you see here today.
First was the Scott Adams book, "God's Debris." It really set the wheels turning. Then I found the essay Penn Jillette wrote for This I Believe on NPR entitled "There is no God." It really calmed the chaos and unrest in my head and created the guy who gave this speech. Enjoy!