My decision to leave was made a few weeks before Kate Kelly was excommunicated. My priesthood leaders know and have expressed their love and understanding. I will not ask to have my name removed from Church records, I will simply go inactive. My 15 year old daughter has chosen to leave with me. My sharing this decision is self indulgent for sure, but it is coupled with the delusion that it may help someone in some small way.
My wife has known this was a possibility for some time now. Nevertheless, the night it all came crashing down she was wrecked. (She wasn’t a wreck she was wrecked!) She cried as images of me kneeling at an altar, hands clasped with hers, disappeared like smoke from a candle suddenly snuffed out. Dreams of her oldest daughter standing on Temple steps with her new husband suddenly faded and were replaced by blurry images laced with uncertainty. She’s doing a little better now. She continues to go to Church with my 3 other daughters (who have the option to stop going at any time).
People may ask “why?” The answer is complex. To start, it was hard to look my LGBTQ friends in the face knowing I support a religious organization that openly persecutes and preaches hate against them. I won’t support hate anymore. I was uncomfortable talking to my non-Mormon feminist friends knowing I support a religious organization that persecutes and oppresses women. I have a hard time looking my black friends in the eyes knowing I support a religious organization that preached hate against them and still refuses to apologize. I refuse to beg for equality any longer. I feel like an Uncle Tom pleading with my master to give me a room in the big house. No man or woman will stand between me and God ever again. Besides, priesthood and priesthood offices are construct designed only to control. I refuse to be controlled when I have a choice not to be. I will not beg for that which is naturally mine.
Most of all, I can’t stand the corporate culture of the Church. The PRethren are apostate* and in no way stand as special witnesses of Jesus Christ. When they testify of Jesus it sounds exactly like my testimony. I can’t see how that is special. No one prophesies or reveals anymore. As far as I can tell they don’t even seek institutional revelation. I think they are afraid. I think fear motivates and shapes many of their policies and procedures. I think fear prevents them from giving more to the poor, sick, and afflicted. They hoard and invest for no other purpose than to hoard and invest in preparation for some rainy day in the future. Sadly, they can’t see that the rainy day is today and they are withholding umbrellas. The worship of money and mammon is preferred over working towards consecration and Zion. Oh there is the issue of redeeming the dead but that always gets drowned out in my mind by the sounds of malnourished Mormon children whimpering across global Mormon communities. I won’t support fear based religion. I Can’t do it anymore. I won’t do it anymore.
I will always be involved in Mormon stuff. I’ll agitate for change as loud as I can from the outside. Some people want to try and change things from the inside. That’s cool. I wish them the best. I hope they succeed. I just can’t prop up a hateful, fear driven, money motivated institution any longer.
I am happy to say that I left the Church as a member in good standing. I’m not running from sin or towards it. There won’t be any huge lifestyle changes for me.
My daughter asked me, “What will we do now Dad? I pulled a book off the shelf. It was a collection of Calvin and Hobbes comics. I turned to the last page and handed her the book-
It’s a magical world indeed.
*To suggest the PRethren are apostate is to assume they were ever not apostate. In my mind, they have fallen away from simple gospel principles and that is enough to justify the accusation.
Well spoken. I support your decision
Man reading this made me cry, cheer and clap. So much respect for you and your family. Your feelings, journey and conclusions are shared by so many others who have made this transition. Hugs and more hugs to all of you.
Alison sent me a note and told me to make sure to read this. I’m glad she did, because it is a great post! Thanks for sharing.
The Calvin and Hobbes cartoon is perfect.
Congratulations to you Viliami, your rationale for leaving mirrors mine — it isn’t the historical stuff that bothered me the most; its what is going on today. I’m sure you will find (like I have) that there is a very rich and rewarding life outside of Mormonism.
I rarely reply to blog posts, but I can’t let it go unsaid that this one is remarkably poignant in its honesty and grief. Best wishes to you and your family, my friend, as you all navigate this magical world.
Thank you Kimberly for taking the time.
Thank you all for the kind words and support. 🙂
Thank you for your honesty, Viliami. This hurts, but I understand. And I’m glad you know there is love within the church for you and yours, from me and from many others.
“Where love is, there God is also.” Go with love. Go with God, brother.
For Villiami to state that he’s leaving the church b/c he can’t support an organization that “openly persecutes and preaches hate towards the LGBTQ community” shows that he completely misunderstands what the church has taught and continues to teach on this subject. Viliami – I invite you to go to various websites starting with Voice(s) of Hope and others sites that are run by LGBTQ who are active members of the church. The church teaches the exact opposite of persecution and hate. I’m dumbfounded that an active member of the church could ever come to this conclusion.
There is a kind of hate and persecution implied when the corporate church says that it loves gays but that they can only be full church members if they abstain from expressing sexually their love for another.
There is an explicit hate and persecution when the church goes politically active against equality for gays.
I am concerned. Did not God create Adam and Eve? Doctrine.
Did not God make it where only man and woman can procreate?
Did not God establish His views on the up bringing of children?
I am not to Judge, I am to only love. Yet right now because I will not let some person tell me when and if I can talk with my child, I am being cut out of her life.
I understand where you feel that we should love, but no where does it state in the bible to accept a pedophile. or a murderer, or someone that lies, or steals. So maybe we should accept them people if the law of man accepts them?
I feel for you. I believe the first commandment, Love God with your whole might, mind, and strength. The second Love your neighbor as yourself.
How many of us love ourselves? How many of us truly and honestly can say yep I am in love with myself and treat myself as I love myself?
How many of you are having weight problems? Are depressed? Are you filled with strife?
Let me quote something that many of you may have forgotten. And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgement-seat of Christ.
Is the prophet more purer? Do you remember the story of Jonah? Or how about Moses? Are you perfect? He that is without sin, please cast the first stone.
Here you go, JTS! “Concerned” feels justified in musing that
That’s the homophobia and hatred of LGBTQ people implicit and explicit in Mormonism. Acting on SSA and having gay relationships is, in the church’s view, a sure-fire way to earn God’s displeasure. Gay love is, in orthodox Mormon doctrine and culture, fundamentally immoral.
The fact that Mormons call that hate “love” and want others to call it love too doesn’t persuade those of us who actually know the difference between the two emotions.
No, god did not make Adam and Eve. Humans have been around for thousand and thousands of years prior to Adam and Eve supposedly being created. The LDS church even admitted in the DNA article in the gospel topics section of LDS.org that there was a migration over the Bering strait, that happened about 10-15k years ago….about 4-9k years prior to Adam and Eve esisting….so let’s just cut that argument out because it is a myth, a fairy tale, not true.
Did god establishing his views on upbringing of children….nope….no where in the bible. Unless we want to examine the Passover where god in a fit of rage causes the death of many many many first born children. I guess he was pretty clear on ere on how children should be raised.
No you state that no where in the bible does it say that we have to accept someone who is a pedophile, or a murderer, or a thief, etc. However, according to your words you are a true believing Mormon. So I’m guessing you believe that god flooded the earth….and murdered all but 8 humans…you also guess that god, the giver of the commandment to not steal or kill, is the same god that commanded nephi to kill Laban and steal the gold plates. I’m guessing you still support nephi.
You also mentioned should we support someone that lies….well. Do you support Joseph smith? He lied to Emma time and time again about his polygamy. He didn’t tell Emma the tru about marrying 14 and 16 yr old girls.
The fact of the matter is that every argument you use is weak and inconsistent…in fact hypocritical at best. Learn your Mormon history before coming out with your perceived sword of truth
King James Bible
And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:
This is my response to your comment of sexually expressing their love.
From JTS: “The church teaches the exact opposite of persecution and hate. I’m dumbfounded that an active member of the church could ever come to this conclusion.”
Really? Clearly you haven’t been paying attention. Have you heard of Proposition 8? Have you heard about the “World Congress of Families”? They have been labeled as a hate group and Dallin Oaks is on their board. IN their rush to defend the “traditional family” the church has literally trampled the rights of LGBTs, both in and out of the church.
I hope you will, when you are ready, seek out a bible-based non-denominational church to attend. You may have to try a few before finding one that works for you, but it will be worth it.
Why will it be worth it to keep following a Bible that is sexist, racist and homophobic – three of the reasons he just said he was leaving the LDS church?
Well-spoken, my friend. The “Church” has been apostate with the inception of Brigham Young. Even the idea of continuing revelation was Brigham’s.
If we are equal, as you say, you may come to understand that there is no such thing as personal revelation. It’s really called “common sense” and if one were to receive it while another didn’t, we would NOT be equal.
The veil is here for a reason. We are here to forget our advanced selves and see if we are able to embrace one eternal principle: FREE-WILL for ourselves and others
By seeing all of your associates as equal with you, you have already broken down the walls of religion. The “chosen” people can never submit to such a principle of equality.
It is not a delusion that your act will help in some way. It will. You have a platform. You have a voice. You have loved ones. It’s been said that all it takes for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing. You are a good man doing something.
Beautifully put. Congratulations on a courageous and very, very correct decision.
It’s easy to figure this one out. Go ask all the teens who have committed suicide as a result of direct or indirect Church influence. Oh wait, you can’t, they’re DEAD! Let’s go another route. Go find 100 gay Mormons and ask them if they’ve ever felt hate directly or indirectly from those representing the Church or are members of the Church. Do you think the percentage is above 50? How about more than 75%? How about above 90%? Now we’re getting close.
Hate is best measured by those who experience it.
^Exactly! The effect is far more important than the intent.
Beautifully said, Viliami. Solidarity, brother.
“My wife has known this was a possibility for some time now. Nevertheless, the night it all came crashing down she was wrecked. (She wasn’t a wreck she was wrecked!) She cried as images of me kneeling at an altar, hands clasped with hers, disappeared like smoke from a candle suddenly snuffed out. Dreams of her oldest daughter standing on Temple steps with her new husband suddenly faded and were replaced by blurry images laced with uncertainty.”
Congratulations, you wrecked your wife.
Seems worth it. /sarcasm
Being “wrecked” can be good for us. After all, being wrecked is one way we force ourselves to leave the garden, and if there’s anything we learn from the temple, it’s that we never learn and grow as spiritual beings unless we leave the comfort and safety of what we’re used to and venture out into the lone and dreary world.
In terms of the enduring spiritual truths taught by Genesis, Villami has done his entire family a favor.
Wow….great takeway from that portion Pat. Note sarcasm.
You seem to imply that being honest, open, transparent and authentic with his family, friends and others are not worth it. Of course he’s wife is heartbroken…this is a huge change of expectation for her. The church views this situation as a tragedy no matter how wonderful, respectful, supportive and loving the spouse who stops believing is. That messaging, which goes out to members, is damaging to relationships. It will be a challenge for their family to navigate this change but it can be done. People can learn to get past the messaging (about this being a tragedy) and focus on the many things they continue to have in common and the love/respect they have for each other.
The martyr mentality of living….where you just suck it up and keep plugging along because you feel pressured and you committed at age 21 when you got married is unhealthy. This idea that you should just pretend, keep it to yourself, push down your own personal needs/discomfort/views/perspective, if they might cause unhappiness to someone, causes so much unhappiness, depression, suicide and dysfunction. Long term that doesn’t in a relationship.
Of course it means you have changed….and you are changing expectations that you had when you got married…that happens as we get older!! We adapt, we learn new stuff, we grow, we experience new things and we have to figure out how to respect/understand/accept each other’s changes.
Peace and strength to you Viliami. I made this choice almost a year ago and I feel so good about it today. It wasn’t always a peaceful feeling so take care of yourself and be patient as your life and testimony really become clarified now that the “obedience” noise of supposed spiritual leaders, isn’t hindering your spiritual growth.
As you walk with your new found hope I hope you will remember the woman you promised you would cherish most. Like all the other groups, she too has a heart and you can not imagine yet where hers will break or stop.
As I look around and watch religious, national, and world events I am compelled to wonder if there are any real wins – and not just piles of losses.
Don’t misunderstand, I have dear friends not of our faith who are LGBT. Each story and relationship is different and I work deeply to honor and include my life in theirs. I am grateful for their inclusion. I could answer the same about every interpersonal relationship I have.
Right now you chose, you will chose again or someone will chose for you. I wish you well on your journey – but I promise the suffering in life will not go away. The hurts, the betrayals – it’s everywhere.
Don’t forget you chose her first. Good luck on your new journey.
Very insightful comment from Carrie.
When John Dehlin did his survey on why people leave the church, one of the last questions asked what one message people would like to be able to tell the leaders of the church. The most common answer was, ‘please tell your bishops to stop advising members to leave their unbelieving spouses.’
You’re telling Villiami to remember he chose his wife first, when the church will tell her that choosing God first, even over family, is the only right choice.
Debbie – It is a two edged sword either way. I know Bishops and local church leaders who do council believing spouses to divorce non-believers, but I also know plenty who do the opposite or say nothing at all. Villani said in his post that she hurt deeply. As I read his post he wants to ease suffering in other deeply hurting areas. I empathize and support that I am not even asking him to stay – I am just pointing out that a choice he made to his number 1 companion will now cause a new rift of pain in this already deeply painful world. I don’t have answers, I don’t have enough information about his personal life – but he selected her first, above all the others, can he keep her heart, too, as he fights the other battles that call to him. I hope so. It won’t be easy. Today he feels free and empowered. What is she feeling?
Does “til death do us part” (not that those words are used in the temple) apply to religious devotion? When a couple that once shared religious devotion finds that one of them feels compelled to go a different direction, what is the proper response by both people in the relationship? Does the one who maintains the religious devotion they had when they married have the right to say “you promised me you’d be a devoted Mormon (or whatever the case may be) when we married. you owe it to me not to change that now?”
I don’t know Momo, that’s why I said I wasn’t telling him to stay or leave. I only find it ironic that he is leaving to support others who are hurting – a very important thing to do – yet at the same time he is now inflicting pain on someone else and that someone was a person he brought into his life and made a very strong commitment to.
She may be fine, she may follow him shortly – but what if his words and actions cut her as deeply as the friends have been cut by the church. Is his decision a good or not?
I really don’t know. But it sounds like he broke her heart and someone will have to find the glue to fix it.
Life isn’t easy – this discussion proves it.
Thanks for responding. You are absolutely right that life is not easy. In Proverbs it says that to everything there is a season and I think the best we all can do is to carefully consider whether it is the right “season” for whatever action we are thinking about. But even for those decisions we carefully consider, we can’t see the future to know all the consequences (good ones or bad ones) that may come.
About 4 years ago I decided to change my relationship with the church. I felt like I could no longer participate in good conscience and so gradually (over the course of a year or two) stopped. My wife was devoutly LDS at the time and remains devoutly LDS today. At times, the past 4 years has been very difficult for our marriage. But looking back I don’t know what I could have done differently. What was I supposed to do? Keep quiet and go along to get along for the next 40 years? Was I supposed to pay tithing, wear garments, attend the temple, baptize/ordain/bless our kids, serve in callings, never share my feelings with our kids, and keep up every other Mormon appearance while trying to suppress all the troubling (to me) aspects of the church? I hope I would never ask anyone to pretend for my sake. Why should I pretend for anyone else’s?
The church (along with many other institutions) is a double edged sword of unity and division. It can, and often does, help build unity in a relationship and a family. Tragically, it can, and often does, cause division as well.
Momo – Thanks for the great reply. Just from reading it I see where our view points differ. You see I am your wife. I am the spouse still connected. I still feel the stayers struggle and am reminded daily that we at home are a divided branch. I am a more liberal member then my previous life and in someways still the same. Christ was always first to me. That firstness is the room I live in in Mormonism.
Yes, to everything there is a season. I don’t believe most people went looking for a loss of faith. I think most were painfully broadsided and wrung out. That pain is valid. And for healing we all have areas we need to walk away from. Religion included.
The divided walk is tough, some weeks are smooth and some weeks are tough. All in all we all just keep trying.
I just worried that his wife was now the rejected one, while he went off to “protect” or “support” others.
Our conversation here proves that there is no singular answer, just a bunch of us trying really hard to enjoy life and bring good to it.
Thanks for writing. I so appreciate your candor.
Good for you for acting on your convictions. I hope one day all of your family join you. Not sure why, if you see the deep flaws, you want to retain your membership, but at least you’re trying to make a stand against gender discrimination and bigotry.
V, Since I don’t know you personally, I would not presume to question any of your motives for leaving. We all stay or leave for our own reasons and I respect your courage. I do wonder though, if you have anything to say to those of us who agree with you about the problems in the Church, but choose to stay. Are we. by staying, implicated in the hate and bigotry you see in the Church by definition? I don’t mean to corner you into pointless black/white thinking, but you seem to be pretty clear that, by staying, that you yourself feel implicated. How do you view us?
I also wonder if your desire to stay would be different if you were not in Utah. I know the Church is pretty centralized, but in spite of correlation, I find the Church to be a very regional experience. For example, I know more than one openly gay Mormon in my Stake who is choosing to stay, my ward is more than 50% of African descent and the women in my Stake who are college educated professionals who hold feminist views seems to be not all that unique. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this all makes everything better, but it makes it much harder for me to dismiss Mormons as hateful bigots.
Again, I respect your POV and would be interested in some context.
V, thanks so much for this. I’m mostly a lurker, but I’ve always appreciated your posts here. I hope you continue to check in from time to time and let us know what you and Hobbes find out there. I’m quite curious myself.
WHAT’S GONE OR OUGHT’S GO
Let what’s gone or ought’a go, go;
There’s better to come what you come to outgrow.
Know what’s important, though,
To reap, to sow,
To keep, forgo
When ill winds begin to blow,
Hot air, religio bravado,
“It’s this way; you ought’a know!”
“You gotta keep the status quo!”
Detach, relax, let go the woe,
Suffice a simple, “No.”
Commanding your own balanced vessel be it sail, drift, motor, row;
Charting your own compassionate course throughout life’s ebb and flow;
Treasuring your own nurturing cargo in the soul’s hold below.
Let what’s gone or ought’a go, go;
There’s better, always better to come what you come to outgrow.
Vilami, my comment isn’t to challenge you, correct you or to try to persuade you, but you opened this up as a learning platform. The way you laid out your reasons for leaving begs a question, but it might take decades to answer. Your LGBTQ, black and feminist friends have legitimate grievances concerning our practices, doctrine and culture. We have consistently been behind the social curve and likely will be so for a long time to come. I am genuinely saddened by that and all of your reasons resonate loudly with me. But who would have been hurt or will hurt more? Your friends had you stayed or your wife and daughters because you leave?
If not causing pain to others is the reason for leaving, whose pain is greater and whose counts more?
I wish you and your family peace, love and understanding.
How much should someone be expected to do to spare the feelings of a loved one when their religious belief changes? Do you keep all your thoughts to yourself and never speak a word of it? Do you reinterpret temple recommend questions so you can keep a recommend? Do you share your true beliefs with your children or allow them to think you believe one way when you don’t? If you hold the priesthood, do you perform every rite (blessings, baptisms, ordinations) so as not to raise any red flags for your loved ones? Do you encourage your kids to serve missions and marry in the temple to spare the feelings of a devoted spouse? When does it end?
Amen, amen, amen.
This “leaving” is wishy-washy. It was sort of the Geraldo Rivera secret safe of leaving the church announcements. We all saw you get up on your high place and take a stand for….sleeping in.
See that’s where I get lost. This mighty blow accomplishes what? Aside from upsetting your wife and getting a few kudos in a blog post you have done nothing different from anyone staying away from church because they like football.
Your LGBTQ friends will benefit if they need a fourth for a 10:00 AM Sunday tee time. Same for your black friends. The only woman effected is hurt more than helped. Your daughters?
Even the timing is odd. The corporate church? It would have made more sense years ago when general authorities served on the boards of many corporations. One problem seems to be that the church is big. An organization with 15 million members spread across six continents cannot be as nimble as one where the president of the church was able to sign every temple recommend.
Yep, it would have been marvelous to hear Joseph preach or see Brigham transfigured. Apostles now-a-days rarely glow. They still speak with power and authority and, it appears from your writings, often say things that others don’t like. I believe it’s in the job description.
So, you’ve taken your ball and gone home. That’ll teach ’em.
Note: You might consider moving. Things really are different when you’re part of only 2% of the population.
Perhaps your idea of revelation is skewed. I found the following video of Elder Eyring very insightful on how God leads His church through imperfect but humble followers.
I have also felt revelation like this within our ward bishopric. It is real, the sweet fruit is evidence it is real. Unfortunately doubt, like weeds, creep into all of our lives easily and in abundance. I like what Elder Holland tells us:
“When problems come and questions arise, do not start your quest for faith by saying how much you do not have, leading as it were with your “unbelief.” That is like trying to stuff a turkey through the beak! Let me be clear on this point: I am not asking you to pretend to faith you do not have. I am asking you to be true to the faith you do have. Sometimes we act as if an honest declaration of doubt is a higher manifestation of moral courage than is an honest declaration of faith. It is not! So let us all remember the clear message of this scriptural account: Be as candid about your questions as you need to be; life is full of them on one subject or another. But if you and your family want to be healed, don’t let those questions stand in the way of faith working its miracle.” CR Apr 2013
I have found that when I am questioning or doubting my faith and I do an honest inventory of my life I find that I am not truly nourishing my spirit. Doubts are fine but obsessing about them, in my experience, leads to instability, misery as well as selfishness (focusing on just me). When I undertake to commit myself to once again studying the doctrines regularly (Standard Works, General Conference), sincere and regular prayer and finding time to serve and help others (big and small tasks), my doubts suddenly don’t seems so burdensome. I also find the temple to be a “Balm of Gilead” if you will, in soothing my spiritual soul. Hope my own insight may be helpful to someone else.
Elder Holland says: Sometimes we act as if an honest declaration of doubt is a higher manifestation of moral courage than is an honest declaration of faith. It is not! CR Apr 2013
One man’s doubt is another man’s faith. How many people have joined the church because they doubted another belief system? How many people left the church because they had faith in a different belief system? In different circumstances, either joining or leaving can be a manifestation of moral courage. How much courage did it take for people to join the church and travel across America (and in many cases, an ocean) to remain with it? A lot. They did it because they believed with all their heart that they were doing what was best for themselves and their family. How much courage does it take for someone to leave the church today. A lot. They do it because they believe with all their heart that they are doing what is best for themselves and their family.
Sounds like a great formula for brainwashing yourself out of giving proper thought to information that that supports the very real possibility that the church is not true.
That’s it? A little lackluster for my liking.
The pain this causes is not his fault in the slightest. It is a very, very unfortunate byproduct.
I loved this post V. You have a ton of big squishy hugs coming your way from me.
Viliami; none of us experiences anything exactly the same way as others. It’s your journey and your life. My husband and I have worked through the past 7+ years of me being out of the church. At first, the end of all the beautiful dreams wrecked me, but now they don’t even seem to make sense. You will be okay and so will your wife. It’s not the end of life just the end of a chapter. Peace and love friend.
Uh, no, actually.
You might want to review both Mormon doctrine and basic biology.
Women can bear children by more than one man, and men can impregnate more than one woman. The latter is even sometimes used as a justification for polygamy, which, as you might remember, is sometimes Mormon doctrine.
JTS…. I’m dumbfounded that yet again you find a way to be absolutely clueless to the actions of the church over the the years. Maybe….just maybe….you’ll decide to stop pretending like your experience and beliefs are what everyone else should experience and believe. I just spent the last few hours with a dear friend of mine who is gay and ex Mormon. I can tell you that the church was anything but kind to him. There are many who continue to fight to be in the church because they have been deceived into believing that they can actually be different. Get off your horse
Garrett – you’d probably sell more policies if you weren’t so argumentative.
Oh good grief. JTS, the guy who shows up to argue over blog posts he doesn’t agree with, the guy who trolls a blog that explores ideas he finds upsetting, is once again lecturing others on how they shouldn’t argue.
JTS, if you don’t approve of arguing, don’t do it yourself. If you are going to continue arguing, stop lecturing others on how they shouldn’t do as you do.
Show me where I was argumentative jts. You are clueless to your amazing levels of ignorance and hateful bias. You are the exact type of person that will remain strong in the church, and in turn, continue to demonstrate why it is much easier for many of us to choose to leave the church and hateful individuals such as yourself behind. The only thing you have going for you in your commentary is the ability to try and knock someone else down….the fact is that you fail on all levels with that and your ignorance and hateful behavior will do no good.
Garrett – I suggest you live by your company’s policy and be a good neighbor. Second, what impression do you have that I’m strong in the church or will remain strong in the church? You obviously don’t know me and have some sort of weird hatred toward mormons.
Hatred toward Mormons…..you have an interesting way of interpreting….almost as interesting as Joseph smiths method of translation of the book of Abraham. In other words, you can take one set of writings, filter it through your mind, and have it come out to be something with a completely different meaning on the back end. No where, not once, have i ever expressed any hatred toward Mormons. What I do have is a dislike for complete and utter ignorance. You may continue down your path of personal attacks but just realize that when people come away from reading all of your ad hominem attacks, your personal swipes, your arrogant biased comments, etc that only you are walking away from this looking like the lesser person. Thank you for displaying an amazingly immature method of discussing things….and an immature ability to allow others to hold beliefs other than your own
I love the fact that you’re leaving the church “in good standing” but honestly I resent the fact that you’re leaving for the reasons stated.
See, I fight with all my might and strength obscurantism and hate (ok I should do better at it and start with myself) and homophobia and more and I feel alone. Knowing that there are people like you in the church helps me hold on but if you leave US then they win a little more and the church will go down a little more.
There is no fight against the church’s (human)wrong aspect outside of it, the fight is in the church.
The fight is not about writing articles, to me the fight is only about saying “no” when everyone else is expecting you to say “yes” so the choir will be united.
I hate this argument. “You have to remain in an adversarial relationship and fight over the future of an institution you feel oppressed by. You have to sacrifice your integrity and your happiness in order to change an institution that’s killing your soul and that makes it clear that you’re not welcome in it. You’re NOT welcome, but you have to stay and make those jerks want you. And you have to raise your kids in it too. You have to expose them to all these toxic ideas and behaviors so that some day the ideas and behaviors kids in the church aren’t exposed to aren’t quite so toxic.”
No. This is not true. For instance, much of the softening of the church’s rhetoric to Prop 8 was due to the backlash from outside the church. The leaders were shocked by the vehemence of the response to it.
There are all sorts of things you can do to affect change in the LDS church even if you’re not active in it. They may not be things you care to do, Gwennaelle, and certainly there are ways in which being an active, faithful member intensifies your actions in the church when you try to change it. But the truth is, the more effective you are, the more likely the church is to kick you out. Look at Kate Kelly and John Dehlin if you don’t think that’s true.
V. Pauli, you are a wicked man & have broken most Sacred Covenants in berating Christ’s Apostles. God’s Judgements will be poured out upon you soon enough. Repentance & the door to Christ’s Sheepfold in His only true Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is always open. Repent & live or die in your sins. It’s your choice.
Not sure if serious…
After reading the article, and the comments here I think this helps illustrate what is one of the most beautiful teachings, yet one of the most harmful narratives of the church because of the way it is presented. “Families can be together forever…” which, in reality is taught as “Families can be together forever… as long as you are part of the one and only true church.”
There just seems to be so much hurt caused by this. So much unnecessary pain. So many families/spouses feel forced to choose, or like they are losing something when somebody they love chooses something else, even if they are coming from just as much of a place of love as they are. It illustrates such a huge problem within LDS culture when spouses feel so devastated, and people even cite them as a source or reason to just stay a part of something you view as abusive, and hurtful.
When something is presented as the one and only way for everybody, it leaves no room for true compassion and understanding. We are such a diverse people, and there are just so many of us. I just can’t wrap my head around there being only one path, and one guide to the top of the mountain so to speak. There is just so much to learn, and so much beauty in the paths that others take. We can only gain by seeing their path, rather than trying to make them follow ours.
It just doesn’t make any sense to me. Why would a God of love and justice ever void a contract of love, and honor such as a marriage if that love is maintained between the people, regardless of faith for their whole lives? And it doesn’t make sense that some people have come to the conclusion that he is choosing something else over his wife, when what he seems to be trying to do is choose his wife, daughters, and their overall mental, emotional, and spiritual health over what he views as them being suppressed, and oppressed. He doesn’t want to see her marginalized. He doesn’t want to see his daughters brought up within a community that seems to think the best thing they can ever be is a mother and a wife to somebody else that presides over them. Yet, he also doesn’t seem to be requiring her to leave with him as part of his loving her or them. Seems to at least somewhat support their decision to remain part, or at least respect it.
My family background is Jehovah’s Witnesses. I have lost family members because of these backwards religious beliefs. I also had a friend who war gay in the mormon church. He committed suicide because the church was punishing him for loving another person. I mean, I’ve grown so numb by seeing religion destroying lives that it wasn’t a surprise to me that my friend went off the deep end. What do you all expect? You support an institution that was openly racist until a year ago, practices hate towards same sex couples, and says they practice peace but with a majority that supports war.
This doesn’t make you in the least bit furious?
To everyone, thank you so much for your thoughtful comments (most of them). I’ve had a busy day but tomorrow I have free time to respond and discuss. Again, thank so much for your support and even your disagreement.
Thank you for your post, V. I understand, I have traveled this road, and I concur.
It seems some people are happy with emotional warm fuzzies (like my home teacher who admitted he doesn’t give much thought to the doctrine because he just likes the people and “it works” for him) and others care a great deal about truth (like me). By the time a person is willing to take the painful and difficult step of leaving the mormon church, he or she usually has come to the point where truth–or the lack thereof–is of paramount importance and a real problem.
Someone thinks V’s point of view is “wishy-washy and someone else feels it’s “lackluster?” These are grossly superficial comments in the face of what V is experiencing. A couple of responses suggest V must not be smart enough to understand, suggesting he should pray harder, read more scriptures, and have more faith…in other words, he must refuse to see what is before his eyes and blame himself for recognizing the glaring problems the church serves up. How condescending. Actually, V’s response to this is spot on.
Someone belittles his pain mockingly calling it a “mighty blow” akin to “taking his ball and going home” as if V is laughably superficial and not to be taken seriously. The poster is unable to fathom that V’s aim is not to be vindictive and snide; that he isn’t trying to hurt the church, but is merely leaving something he can no longer believe to be true, with his integrity intact. Integrity! What a concept.
Someone else “resents” his reasons for leaving. Really? Please acquire some perspective and examine the assumption that the church is a real thing, that it’s true-because it’s not. It’s made up, fantasy, it’s pretend. Ouch. Joseph Smith was a very intelligent, creative, charismatic, persuasive, genius conman who, at some point, got sucked into his own charade. Dang, that hurts. Because Joseph didn’t really speak to deity, he didn’t really found a true church, and everything from this point on is also not really true or divinely inspired. Ouch again. Now, view the notion of improving the church from this perspective. It makes as much sense as asking V not to give up on the elves of Lothlorien (I resent your inability to engage to this extent in this mythology!!); it’s a beautiful story, but one everyone knows is fiction. It’s a silly demand.
V understands the believers’ points of view because, like most who leave the church after painful consideration, he once held them. Please give him the benefit of this doubt. If you, as a true-blue believer, feel so secure and unshakeable, please take your strong faith on a ride through church history. After all, why should the true church be afraid of it’s own history? Give it an honest, hard look, and when you know the issues and you’ve honestly wrestled with them, if you honestly still believe the “truth” claims of the church, then you can tell V about your experience and give advice about how to manage the disconnection. Unless you have done this, please consider the possibility you may not actually know what you’re talking about.
So do you feel the same way about all the families that were torn apart because a person decided to join the church?
JTS wrote, “For Villiami to state that he’s leaving the church b/c he can’t support an organization that “openly persecutes and preaches hate towards the LGBTQ community” shows that he completely misunderstands what the church has taught and continues to teach on this subject.”
Trust me when I say I’m familiar with Church doctrine and its quasi-theology.
Who wants to read some hate speech?!?!
“to admit to our campus any homosexuals. If any of you have this tendency and have not completely abandoned it, may I suggest that you leave the university immediately after this assembly….We do not want others on this campus to be contaminated by your presence. [emphasis added]” Ernest Wilkinson
“If we may believe that which is told to us, without going into researches ourselves, it and other kindred wickedness, is far too common. The same sin that caused the utter destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah! This and other abominable crimes are being practiced. How will these be stopped? Only by the destruction of those who practice them. Why, if a little nest of them were left that were guilty of these things, they would soon corrupt others, as some are being corrupted among us. In coming to these mountains we hoped to find a place where we could live secluded from the abominations of Babylon. But here in this secluded place wickedness intrudes itself, and is practiced in this land which we have dedicated to the Lord as a land of Zion! How can this be stopped? Not while those who have knowledge of these filthy crimes exist. The only way, according to all that I can understand as the word of God, is for the Lord to wipe them out, that there will be none left to perpetuate the knowledge of these dreadful practices among the children of men. And God will do it, as sure as He has spoken by the mouths of His prophets.” George Q Cannon
“There are said to be millions of perverts who have relinquished their natural affection and bypassed courtship and normal marriage relationships. This practice is spreading like a prairie fire and changing our world. They are without ‘natural affection’ for God, for spouses, and even for children.” Spencer Kimball
“Fornication and homosexual acts are inspired by the devil and are grievous sins in the sight of God.” Bernard P. Brockbank, Assistant to the Council of Twelve
“Every form of homosexuality is sin. Pornography is one of the approaches to that transgression.” Spencer Kimball
“The Church looks upon the homosexual act as a physical perversion” James O. Mason
“Today we are aware of great problems in our society. The most obvious are sexual promiscuity, homosexuality, drug abuse, alcoholism, vandalism, pornography, and violence.” Ezra Taft Benson
“…I have come to understand some of the behaviors that lead to transgression. What are they? Generally they are various personal indulgences based on selfishness. One of the greatest of these is the use of pornography. Pornography is related to such sins as self abuse, homosexuality, fornication, adultery, child and spouse abuse, incest, rape, and cruelty.” Theodore M. Burton, First Quorum of the Seventy
“I know another good man who was reared in a family without the blessings of the gospel. Through a series of unfortunate events in his early youth, he was introduced to homosexuality, and gradually he became a prisoner of this addictive behavior.” Spencer Condie
“Satan is only interested in our misery, which he promotes by trying to persuade men and women to act contrary to God’s plan. One way he does this is by encouraging the inappropriate use of sacred creative powers.” James E. Faust
It is because of hateful teachings like that I leave the Church. I will not support hate with my presence at church or my money.
Heather wrote, “I hope you will, when you are ready, seek out a bible-based non-denominational church to attend.”
I won’t ever join or attend another organized religion. That said, I don’t have a problem worshipping God with like minded individuals. I’m in the middle of a critical analysis of the NT and I’m finding there are a few issues with the nature and reliability of our sacred texts.
Pat wrote, “Congratulations, you wrecked your wife”
This is one of the most ignorant and poorly thought out comments I’ve read. It’s shallow and juvenile and I’d be embarrassed if I were you.
Carrie wrote, “As you walk with your new found hope I hope you will remember the woman you promised you would cherish most. Like all the other groups, she too has a heart and you can not imagine yet where hers will break or stop.”
I have been and will continue to be sensitive and empathetic with my wife and children. That first night was difficult but she has rebounded quickly and is happy today.
Another comment from Carrie, “I am just pointing out that a choice he made to his number 1 companion will now cause a new rift of pain in this already deeply painful world.”
False assumptions. Non sequitur. There is no rift. We are still as committed to each other as we were that day I was sealed to her in the temple.
EHS wrote, ” I do wonder though, if you have anything to say to those of us who agree with you about the problems in the Church, but choose to stay.”
I do believe that despite your best efforts you are complicit in supporting and perpetuating hate.
If I were a member of the Klu Klux Klan and said that I’m working towards changing their views on race but won’t leave because there is still some good that comes from the organization. Even though I don’t attend the cross burnings and persecution of blacks I’d still be supporting the hate group and am complicit in their crimes and injustices.
But if you feel comfortable working towards positive change within a hate group then I applaud your efforts and hope they bear fruit quickly.
You compare the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the KKK? Heaven help you.
I feel for those who are affected and feel hurt. People don’t always handle these things the best way- even church leaders. But if I decide to have a sexual relationship with a person I’m not married to, whether male or female, I would be a sinner of the same sort. I can love many people, but acting in a physical way on that love is not appropriate. Just because I believe that those actions are a sin, doesn’t mean that I hate those who do it. I really only wish the best for all people and I think that many LDS people feel the same way I do.
Dave K. – Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Your support is appreciated. 🙂
STW wrote, “This “leaving” is wishy-washy. It was sort of the Geraldo Rivera secret safe of leaving the church announcements. We all saw you get up on your high place and take a stand for….sleeping in.”
You’re an idiot for reducing my honest and sincere decision to a desire to sleep in. Unbelievable.
“See that’s where I get lost. This mighty blow accomplishes what? Aside from upsetting your wife and getting a few kudos in a blog post you have done nothing different from anyone staying away from church because they like football.”
My choice to leave and to share this decision with others has born good fruit. I have made a decision that is authentic and has brought me a sense of peace and feelings of joy and excitement.
The rest of your comment is just as ridiculous as the beginning.
Jeff – you’re operating under the false assumption that “faith” will lead me back to Mormonism when the opposite is true. What you keep calling “doubt” is actually certainty from my perspective.
Gwennaelle you wrote, “There is no fight against the church’s (human)wrong aspect outside of it, the fight is in the church.”
It is going to take the efforts of those within and without the Church. I will publish material that challenges the Church. I will also take all types of actions to accomplish my goals. Specifically, I will love, forgive, extend grace, and empathize with those within my circle of influence.
Clark wrote, “V. Pauli, you are a wicked man & have broken most Sacred Covenants in berating Christ’s Apostles. God’s Judgements will be poured out upon you soon enough. Repentance & the door to Christ’s Sheepfold in His only true Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is always open. Repent & live or die in your sins. It’s your choice.”
This is my favorite critical comment. Thanks Clark.
Dusty- I’m certain God has the power to save and exalt all of his children. All of us will be together in the eternities.
Check out this post I wrote on eternal progression.
Viliami, I particularly appreciate your description here:
“I think fear prevents them from giving more to the poor, sick, and afflicted. They hoard and invest for no other purpose than to hoard and invest in preparation for some rainy day in the future. Sadly, they can’t see that the rainy day is today and they are withholding umbrellas.”
This seems spot on to me. It’s like the Church owns businesses and invests and makes money for no reason other than that’s what businesses do. Like there’s no larger making-the-world-better purpose for the money. It’s just inertia.
I love this!
And, pray tell, why can’t they get married? Oh, right now they can despite the best efforts of the church. Yet, married gay couples are being excommunicated before the ink is dry on their marriage license. Not really the same as you having an affair with another woman, is it?