Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Blogging isn't easy for me. I am a shy, introverted girl who hates confrontation. Sometimes I go months without blogging because I don't feel like I have anything new to bring to the table; or because I am a full time worker, full time mother, full time college student, as well as a wife.
It wasn't easy for me to realize I had become someone that I would have hated, for no good reason, as a youth. Coming out as as atheist, first to myself, then to my husband, wasn't easy. Nothing about realizing so many dear to your heart beliefs are lies is easy. And it's not something you can back track on. Once you realized that Santa wasn't real as a child, there was no forcing yourself to believe. Anything past that point of realization would have been fake belief; empty belief.
I never would have imagined when I was a young member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, that I would be sitting here, on my day off, a week before Fall 2015 classes start, writing what my mother would refer to as Anti-Mormon Propaganda. Which was anything that spoke poorly about the church, specific members, or the beliefs. She would always tell me that someone who didn't know the truth about the gospel must have written it. I know now that isn't always true.
Sure, some things you come across on a quick Google search are written by people who were never members. It's easy to shrug off the things they say because 'they don't know' how wonderful the gospel is. I am coming from a different place. I have felt the holy ghost, I have been to the temple and felt the special feelings and I have prayed on my knees for guidance and help more times than I can remember. But none of the feelings I have felt throughout my life have been mystical or spiritual or the holy ghost, like I was told. Granted, it may still be easy to shrug off the things I write about because it's easy to push me into a different category because I am no longer a member. But the beauty of Mormonism is something that I experienced first hand. So don't tell me that writing my truth is an easy way out.
I lost my friends, and my immediate family because of this. I lost family traditions because of this. I felt like I lost an entire part of my identity because of this. This small little fact that crept up on me when I was least expecting it. That I was atheist.
It started off with a little research outside of church approved Mormon Propaganda. (Thanks Terrell!) That Joseph Smith was a confidence man. That he had been arrested for using a hat and seer stones to try to find treasure on people's property, the same type of hat and seer stones he used in the translation of gold plates. The same gold plates that would have been way too heavy for one man to carry from the hill to his residence, regardless of how thin they were pounded. That Joseph Smith was a Freemason, and that many of the Masonic Rituals that had been a part of that fraternity for hundreds of years were suddenly plagiarized and stolen to then become super secret temple rituals. The fact that the cryptic writing that Joseph did show as evidence, has been proven time and time again by scholars to be gibberish.
The fact that DNA tests have shown that the peoples that would have been the Nephites and Lamanites haven't a single hint of the Jewish or Middle Eastern DNA that they should have if the Book of Mormon were indeed true. That the Book of Mormon mentions horses, but there weren't horses there at the time. And no, tapirs are not the same as horses.
Just going off of history, anthropology, archaeology, and genetics we can see that there is no truth in the Book of Mormon. At least we can trace the Bible, we know it is a complied mishmash of stories from bronze age sheep herders that contradicts itself more times than it doesn't.
Every time I came across a different fact I would try to deny it. I would say things in my head about how it was gods way of testing his children, or that religion doesn't need evidence to back it's claims because it isn't of this world. And one day, my 'reasoning' in my head didn't convince me as much as it used to. Then slowly over time the excuses I had given myself about how it's true because I believe it, or because I feel it in my heart, were no longer enough to go on believing.
And it wasn't easy.
I identified as a Mormon first, before I identified as anything else. I was the girl at school that carried extra Books of Mormon with me, with my hand written testimony in the front cover, so that I could help save my friends. My husband still has the one I gave to him our senior year of high school, testimony and all. Mormonism was important to me, the most important thing. I had all the movies and watched them all the time. I still think I have Saturday's Warrior memorized. I can sing all the songs from the "I'm a Mormon" cassette tape. I think I still have a few pieces of sheet music in my basement. I would play "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" and "I Heard Him Come" so many times my mother asked me to play a different song just so she could sing something else in her head.
It's not easy worrying everyday if your boss were to find out you are atheist if it would put your job in jeopardy. It's not easy sharing my story with complete strangers nor is it comfortable. But I remember when I was shedding myself of the religion of my youth and I searched and searched for people I could relate to. I wanted to read everything and know everything about how others coped and dealt with the transition from fairy tales to real life.
Over time blogging has helped me heal. It has helped me be at peace with myself. And even though my mother would consider my blog to be Anti-Mormon Propaganda, I know it's not. I am not attacking Mormonism because I hate it. I am shedding light on almost 200 years of lies because extraordinary beliefs require extraordinary evidence. And Mormonism doesn't have it.