Date: April 18, 2016 08:08PM
This is a rather brief summation of my exit out of the Mormon Church. I had reconnected with ne of my missionary buddy's who is still TBM. We had been talking about our missions and the discussion turned to our mission president, David Clark. My friend had been one of his assistants after I had come home.
My friend was trying to get me to reconnect to those times in the mission field when I had been so devout and believing and by so doing that I would come back into being a true believing Mormon.
This is the letter I sent to my friend in response to his trying to get me to see the error of my ways.
Friend, I agree that President Clark was a very special, kind, and fine man. I was his first assistant and so I got to see a side to him that I think many may have missed.
He gave me some very profound counsel in our final interview which served me well and I knew was a bottom line truth for me.
I do not know how aware he was of my pre-mission life. From the counsel he gave me, I would assume he had done some checking because I doubt I would have spoken about it to most people on my mission.
My bishop during my teenage years was a really hard liner and I followed his direction with dedication. (He, at the time of the end of my mission, was on the Stake High Council and continued to be ultra religious and rigorous in his adherence to gospel principles.
Before my mission, we had more like a 'father/son" relationship. I also had a 'best' friend in High School who adhered very closely to the Bishops directives as well.
As President Clark and I visited in our last interview President Clark suggested I not continue in my friendship with those I had associated with before coming on my mission.
At that time, I found myself in complete agreement with his counsel and appreciated feeling and knowing that he was on my side. In truth, I wish we could have discussed this in more depth but I was still much to wet behind the ears to hear more or be able to compute the seriousness with which President Clark was coming from.
I got home and my two old friends greeted me with fervor and dedication. My High School buddy, Scott, claimed to have been 'born again' on his mission to Cumorah (New York State) and my now ex-bishop, (Gordon) had been getting directives on building a city of refuge for the saints in the latter days. (When evil would have become even more rampant and the returning of the Savior was eminent and upon us.)
Both were eager to enlist me in the cause. I resisted their efforts in part because of what President Clark had told me and I used humor to respond to their never ending prodding to get me into their mindset. They considered me to be way too light hearted and light minded and they doubled down on their efforts to recruit me.
After about six months, Scott finally cornered me and asked me if I would answer one question in seriousness. I was quiet tired of the game and, after thinking about it, I decided there was not a question he could ask that I couldn't recover from or dance around so I told him I would answer his question... What was his question? He simply asked me, "What is your relationship to Christ?"
That was the beginning of the unraveling for me and they soon had me marching in the ranks of ultra conservatism and religiosity.
Fast forward four years. I was now married and had my first daughter. I was still well entrenched in the dogma and edicts of the the super religious. The remodeling of the St. George temple had just been completed and it was time for it's re-dedication. Scott was the Stake mission president and Gordon was still in the Stake High Council. Because of their positions they were invited to the re-dedication ceremony.
They went. I don't know what all the ceremony was about but when they returned they came to see me.
While in the Holy of Holy's in the temple they had both received a revelation. Our Stake presidency was going to be changed and Gordon was going to called as the new Stake President, I was to be called as his first counselor and Scott was to be called as the second counselor.
I was at a new level of being shocked. Pretty heady stuff but yet I somehow knew this wasn't quite right. I remember thinking to myself, "Finally, something concrete to base the future on. If this really happens, I will accept that it is from the Lord and that I need to double down and do as the Lord requests/requires. If however, this doesn't happen, it is my ticket to escape this over the top, zealous behavior and belief."
I had been ultra committed to living the gospel ever since my mission and doubly so since my renewed and active involvement with Gordon and Scott (who Pres. Clark had cautioned me to not continue my friendship with).
So the three of us contiued to go to the temple in St. George two or three times a week and during that time we selected the men who would be called as Stake High Councilmen. About a month later the present Stake President was being released and his potential replacements were being interviewed.
Gordon was one of them. The selection was made and Gordon was not the man. In fact, the person called was Gordon's Stake High Counsel Partner. Scott and Gordon were flummoxed and they came and told me the news.
A flood I relief swept over me as we stood there together. I looked at both of them and said, "At this point, I do not know what is right or wrong all I know is that I am through with talking religion with either of you. Do not approach me further on anything".
I took a job in Salt Lake City as a security guard on temple square and I began a quest to figure all of this out. Heber C Kimball had been one of my favorites and I found and reviewed his writings and the writings of his son David. I became very uncomfortable at what I was finding. Then I read about Parley P Pratt and found another part of his story that no one had ever mentioned before to me.
My journey would continue for another 20 years. I didn't have the Internet to go to, just the documents, the Journal of Discourse and the Journals of various men and women who had been Mormons. Polygamy became a rather large red flag for me as did the Mountain Meadows Massacre, the Book of Abraham, The Kinderhook Plates, The Book of Mormon and --- the list simply kept expanding and my devastation became such that no longer could I keep adding things to my shelf.
I am not wanting to disrupt your beliefs or get you to follow my path or agree with me. I simply tell you a small portion of my journey because in reality, it began with our Mission President, David G Clark. I wish I could review my journey with him now. I wonder what he knew and was aware of way back when, that we didn't speak about. He was a very smart man and extremely intuitive and a GOOD man.
Had I followed President Clark's counsel, I know my life's journey would have been considerably different. Not that I am complaining now. I've learned so much and it's all good and life is good and I love more completely and more passionately than I ever thought possible. I resigned my membership in March 1991 and then they held a Love Court on me in June. (Which I did not attend) and was excommunicated.
It took me a few more months to "come out" to friends and family but I felt a great freshness and freedom immediately. I have no regrets and today am able to feel compassion and love in a way that I never did as a Mormon. All is well.