In response to some interest in my past, I thought I’d share a piece written by an author that I found influential and share a little of my time as a Mormon. I joined the Mormon church when I was 16. I fell for a girl and it was really important to her, so I looked into it. I loved history mysteries and the Book of Mormon purported to be the history of early indigenous of North and South America. I met the missionaries, took the discussions and joined the LDS church.
My father was great. He is not religious at all and his father was an outspoken atheist. I had to have his permission to join and he did so without much thought. Later when I decided to serve a mission, he was okay with that too, especially when he found out I was going to Australia. I served two years over in Oz, came back, dated, met a beautiful girl and got married in the Dallas Temple. We had three girls, all blessed in the church. Some time in 2006, I had been reading the Book of Mormon to Kassidy and we came to the passage in 1 Nephi 4:18. In this section, Nephi (“good” guy) cuts off Laban’s (“bad” guy) head. Kassidy turns to me and asks why? I try to explain, you know god kills bad people to make a point. Then she asks, “Is that true?” Had it been an adult, I would have said yes without thinking, but I just could not answer that.
So I spent the next year and a half trying to come to grips with the belief system I had come to accept as true. I spent a lot of time fasting, praying, reading the scriptures and church sanctioned commentary. I thne moved to other resource not sanctioned, one of which was “Farewell to Eden“. I was part of a newsgroup and had gotten into some long, heated debates with the author. I had the book delivered to the library (I was not about to spend a dime to support his “heresy”). I finished it in a night and realized I’d been duped. I could see the Book of Mormon was a fraud and a really clumsy one. A little over an hour spent at the local library would be all that is needed. It took me a while to understand how I could have been misled for so long. I read a book “Mistakes Were Made (but not by me)“. While it has nothing to do with religion, it is a good book on psychology and how we justify our decisions.
My wife’s side is still Mormon and mine are still, whatever, mostly non-religious. We tried the Unitarian Universalists for a while, and my wife still goes. I am an atheist and really have no need for religion, but I think it is important for my kids to learn about christianity as well as all the other worlds myths. I find the intellectual honesty I have with myself now is worth the trouble I went through to get here.