I was a sinner and unrepentant, so therefore I lost the Spirit. or... I wasn't a full tithe payer, so I as much as opened the door for Lucifer's influence. or... *insert stereotypical excuse here, because no WAY could it have been rational and/or logical*
I'm happy to tell my story, but it's not one I bring up in regular every day venues. I think I make it fairly clear that I'm not LDS (though I once was), but I don't give the reasoning very often at all. Some new friends have wondered, so I figured it's time to publish my thoughts. I don't think I've done this on my blog before! This is not a light-hearted subject for me, just so you know. As much as I've let Mormonism go, it's still a part of who I am and where I came from. For nearly three years I have truly been in a recovery process, though I'm sure that might be a difficult concept for some of my readers to comprehend.
All throughout my days of being a Latter-Day Saint, there were teachings and doctrines that I accepted just because I should, even though I couldn't really reconcile them in my brain. I knew that a lot of my questions could easily be brushed under the "we don't know the answer yet" rug, or leaving things to "God's plan", which naturally we don't know the full extent of. I was fine with brushing them away. I didn't have to have answers. I was content in the knowledge that someday I would know.
But late in the Spring of 2005, I happened to catch a minute of a Today Show segment, which was an interview with Martha Nibley Beck, the daughter of Hugh Nibley. She was talking about a book she had recently written called Leaving the Saints. In my brain, I wondered why on earth the daughter of Hugh Nibley would leave the Church, then go on to write a book about it. I wanted to know her story, so my sister and I got her book and, without realizing it, began our journey out from among the Saints as well.
The book wasn't much to speak of. She told a story of her father sexually abusing her, and her family ostracizing her when the suppressed memories surfaced. I read it with skepticism, because really, it was her word against her father's. There was one little part of the book that struck me to the core, however. I don't even really remember the context, but she was speaking of things that caused her to leave the Church. All it was that sparked my personal reformation was a reference to the symbols in the Book of Abraham being the same as ones commonly found on funeral papyri in many Egyptians tombs.
What?? I had to know more. Ancient Egypt is a personal fascination of mine, so this didn't feel like I was reading "anti" literature or anything. It felt more like research.
I finished her book with moderate curiosity, in regards to the true source of the Book of Abraham. I went on to read many more books, and see many more examples of funeral documents from ancient Egypt, and started to connect the pieces. The "translations" of the hieroglyphics from the Book of Abraham that I was so familiar with, and the revelations they unveiled, did not match up with the translations of the same hieroglyphics that were found in so many tombs, in so many other sarcophagi. Since the discovery of the Rosetta Stone in the late 18th century, and its decryption done through the 1800's, translating Egyptian hieroglyphs has been a fairly clear-cut process. Line upon line, precept upon precept, my testimony of the truthfulness of Joseph Smith and his Church started to give way.
I knew what was happening to me. I knew (sometime later) that I was letting "anti" material steer me away. But I felt so free! I felt so liberated! I didn't have to tuck strange concepts under any rugs anymore. I felt like I was hearing both sides of an argument and making a decision for myself. All my life, this religion had been there. It had been simply a fact of the matter. Even when I was older and found the "Truth" for myself, the only reason I had searched for the "Truth" was because I had always been challenged to do so.
But logic and research and science finally took hold. The Book of Abraham was only the first of many inconsistencies that I couldn't ignore. As tumultuous as it was for me, I knew I couldn't keep ignoring things that didn't make sense.
I kept teaching my Primary class, though it was a struggle to do so. I talked with my bishop about my concerns. He counseled me to give it time, study, pray, and not be hasty in my decisions.
By Fall of 2005 my testimony was all but history. I informed my bishop that I didn't want to teach Primary at the start of the new year, because I didn't want to get attached to another group of kids. January of 2006 was a new beginning for me. No more attending church, no more guilt for sleeping in or shopping on Sundays, no more pressure for living commandments or covenants or other one-sided arrangements. It was blissful!
I love my life now, though obviously it's not perfect. I love that my kids are learning rationality and reasoning and are discovering a world full of acceptance of all types of people and beliefs. I don't feel like I need to force my beliefs upon anyone else, nor do I feel that they will be better off if they believe the same things I do. Humans are strange creatures, and for thousands of years they've looked to higher beings to find answers and reasons. Who am I to discredit thousands of years? I find peace in my beliefs and I wish that for everyone.