Mormonism : Stages of Disbelief

Not everyone’s story looks the same as mine, but from hearing other stories I find there are similarities.

1. (First shock) At age 12 I heard from my neighbor that in church history old Mormon men took several very young virgins as wives. (What??? That couldn’t be true! I must dismiss that as a lie. )

2.  As a true believing adult I knew about polygamy, but I had dismissed it as the same thing that occurred in Biblical times. I was called to teach Gospel Doctrine class (Doctrine and Covenants) and discovered that a lot of Joseph Smith’s “prophesies” never came true.  This was also about the time I learned about the Mountain Meadow Massacre. Still I carried on.

3. I picked up a book about Mormon history on a whim from a book store – I can’t remember the title now – it might have been Mormon America. I didn’t even realize it wasn’t written by a Mormon author until I got home with it.  I felt it was time to finally learn the reality about polygamy which I had put on my back burner since I was 12. I discovered several shocking things and went to the Internet to try to find any evidence that the things I had read were not true. Instead, I found they were true, but the church had dismissed/minimized or ignored them or given excuses for them.  However, due to my strong emotional experiences with prayer and in church I concluded that even if the church wasn’t true, it was still acceptable/pleasing to God as one of many paths.

3. Just in case; however, I visited several other Christian churches in my area and joined MOPS (a christian group for moms) and a non-denominational Bible study.  I decided that I didn’t like any of the other Christian church Sunday services, so I went back to the LDS church, but stayed with MOPS and the Bible study. I also purchased a lot of Christian music (such as Newsboys, WOW Christian hits, etc.)

4.  Unlike before when I was beyond stalwart in the LDS church, I began slacking in my LDS church assignments and attendance (I would talk to friends in the hall throughout class, etc.). Outside of church, I would bring up controversial subjects at times just to see people’s responses.  I loved bringing up polygamy during visiting teaching visits.

5. Church became increasingly less tolerable. This partly coincided with my husband being called to the Bishopric.  He became more and more self-righteous as he took a break from his p*rnography habit to serve as 2nd counselor. I started reading more books about Church history by reputable historians (Mormon and non-Mormon) and became increasingly convinced that the Mormon church was not true.

6. As I read/watched the news I found myself becoming more and more liberal in my views which separated me more from church ideals. I couldn’t relate to my church friends anymore and I started drifting away from those friendships.

7. Surprisingly it was the anti-Mormon bigotry that started to repel me from the Christian groups I had been attending. This grew to its highest state of disgusting during the primary election between Romney and Huckabee. The bigotry that the Christian churches demonstrated against Mormons led me away from the Christian church groups  permanently. For me it was OK for Mormons to criticize Mormonism, but not for those who had never been Mormon – never read the Book of Mormon or attended any of their meetings.  There is a lot of goodness and good people in the LDS church. It certainly has its tainted history and its current problems, but most people in the church are simply trying to be good people.  I started attending church at the Universalist Unitarian church and found I could attend without feeling any of the angst I felt at the LDS church or among the Christian groups. I still attend LDS sacrament meeting with my family, but not the other meetings.

8. I found it difficult to make good friends with people who were not or never were Mormon and those who were orthodox Mormon. I discovered that the people I needed to meet were former Mormons or Mormons who were questioning their beliefs. John Dehlin and Mormon Stories has helped me with that.  I also have some good friends in my Unitarian meditation group.

9. I still pray in the mostly Mormon way – although I use God instead of Father (God in Heaven).  I have educated myself more about the Historical Jesus vs. the one I was taught in LDS Sunday school. Today I believe in symbols and metaphors in regards to religion and I believe in the goodness of humankind.  That is where I stand today.

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This entry was posted in Accept Christianity or Atheism?, LDS Members Don't Want To Know If Its Not True, Polygamy, Post-Mormon Road Map. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Mormonism : Stages of Disbelief

  1. Good Bill says:

    Sarah, I’m sorry that you find any questioning or criticism by “never mormons” to be bigotry. Would you consider all the negativity by Mormons toward Christians to be bigotry, as well?

    Unfortunately, I find that those who leave Mormonism, quite often are repulsed by any pursuit of the historical Jesus, and cut themselves off from ever finding Him.

    I care about you and am praying for you.

    • sarah says:

      I don’t have any problem with a Christian saying that they don’t believe in the Mormon church, but most of the criticism/prejudice I hear from Christian’s who have never been Mormon are things that reflect a complete ignorance of the LDS church. For people to say they won’t vote for a President because he is Mormon is pure bigotry. There is nothing scary or wrong (except traditional conservative views) that a Mormon would bring to the table as a President. If Christians really want to attract exMormons than they need to stop saying offensive things – like Mormonism is a cult or I am going to pray for your lost Mormon soul. After attending both churches (Mormon and Christian) I find very little difference in many of the core messages that are taught because both base their teachings on the Bible. The Book of Mormon just copied the Bible, so it has all the same messages. Mormons may be misguided, but they aren’t going to Hell and Mormons do not re-find the real Jesus in a Christian church. If they found Jesus in Mormonism than they still have found the same Jesus in another Christian faith. There is no different Jesus’s. These are the types of ideas that repel exMormons. Also I do think there are many Mormons who I would call bigots for how they speak of other Christian churches. This is more common among the older generation. For example, my sister was not worthy to get married in the LDS temple, so I suggested to my mother at that time that she find a pretty Christian church to get married in. My mother was aghast that I would mention such a horrible thing as this. My mom would have her married in a pig sty before her daughter would demean herself to marry in a Christian church. This is pure close-minded bigotry by my staunch LDS mother. I detest it from both sides, although Mormons do try to make a point to never discuss other religions in a negative way at their church services or in public. I can not say the same for Christian churches. However, the negative way the Mormon church speaks about homosexuality is similarly repulsive.

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