Date: June 19, 2017 12:39AM
I've been having a lot of thoughts today because it was Father's Day and I thought I would share here.
This is my first Father's Day as a Dad. I have a perfect 5 month old son who is everything to me. About 3 months ago I finally started researching the church because I needed to know if working to go to the temple was the right thing. My dreams my entire life were centered around going to the temple to be sealed to my family for all of eternity. I went on a mission for this reason. I attended BYU-I to try and find a perfect eternal partner. I even graduated from early morning seminary because I thought it was all part of the plan.
Well, after "sinning" after my mission I decided to confess and started to discover some things. Confessing didn't leave to "an abundance of love" like I had been taught. I was shamed up and down for my actions over and over. I was disfellowshipped and put on the back burner while I struggled with going to church every week to "earn" my way back into God's good graces. I met the woman who would be my wife and we got pregnant and had a boy. We had been meeting with the bishop and stake president for over a year together, trying to get to the temple to be sealed, before I finally thought one of the most life changing thoughts I've ever had:
"What if this isn't true"
I remember driving home after meeting with the bishop with my wife and 2 month old after he told us it would probably be another 2-3 months, a sentence I've heard since I've been disfellowshipped at least 10 times. The difference this time was that my wife got to experience it. She was furious, justly, and it really struck me. I could handle the church stomping all over me, I had sinned after all, but I couldn't watch them do that to my family. It hit me in that same place I thought the feelings of the spirit came from and I knew I needed to do something.
I remember asking my wife if she would hate me for researching the church online. She was a convert and looked at me like I had just asked what color the sky was. "Of course, you can research whatever you want". I had lived my life hiding from the truth. I had been taught that information from outside the church was only trying to hurt me.
That night I started looking things up. I'm sure most of you experienced something similar. I stayed up all night feeling every emotion in the book. From denial to disgust I continued to read and see evidence from church sanctioned sources all of my worst fears coming true but I tried so hard to hold on. "Brigham Young needed to be a little crazy to get everyone across the plains" "The book of Abraham just has some strange translation interpretations" "the leaders can't be expected to live on nothing" were some of my thoughts that night.
All of that changed when I started researching Joseph Smith's polygamous marriages. As you'll recall from above, my main source of strength in the church was the temple and the sealing ceremony. When the light bulbs started to come on and I realized that Joseph Smith had created these ceremonies so he could be with other women my head started to spin. I was angry and hurt and sad. I tried to see how it could fit with my beliefs and if it would work. I couldn't. I couldn't get it all to fit together to make sense. The worst part of all, the thing that tore me to my very core and made me sit and cry was realizing that the temple was not a place I could insure I would be with my family forever. My wife and my perfect child were asleep in the other room and there was nothing I could do to make sure I would never lose them. Death became terrifying. What's going to happen to us? I had no answers.
But I had read too much. I had eaten of the apple and I couldn't go back. It was so hard. My wife believes differently than the average member and when we talked the next day she was fine with never going back.
It's been 3 months and I still get scared that I made a big mistake and sinned to the point that I can't "repent". This site has been a big help for me there. I also get so angry still with the church that I wish I could tear it down price by price with my bare hands. I wish I could go to my parents and siblings and tell them to wake up! But I can't. I already had been a missionary and discovered to trying to push my beliefs into someone else was wrong. It's not my job to tell them what to believe. It's my job to be ready if they need help. That help could be being there when they finally wake up. It could be just being a nice guy even though I don't go to church every week and pay my tithing.
My first Father's Day was great. We went to breakfast and not to church and I got to spend all of it with my family. No worrying about getting ready and being on time, no stressing about how much to pay for tithing, no more meetings with bishops and stake presidents about the being reinstated. It was great.
I only hope that eventually I can just set down the part of my life that can be titled "being Mormon" and completely move on. To a place without so much anger and sadness to a place of peice. A place where my beliefs are mine and my actions are not to please some God but are done because I want to. I was completely dedicated to the church and I know it'll take a while but I'm willing to look forward to the day where I can finally be completely dedicated to myself and what actually matters to me.