I want to take something back.
I characterized my transition out of the church as a "faith crisis" and quite frankly I don't want to call it that anymore. It wasn't a crisis. It was difficult and emotional and generally a suck fest, but crisis? nah. And that term 'faith crisis' implies in some sense that I had created the problem.
A while back I ran into someone, a mormon friend, and since our time was brief I didn't want to bring it up, but it came up anyway. "How is the ward?"
good, as far as I know. (non committal answer)
"How is the family?"
"So what is your calling these days?"
ummm. Actually we left the church in February.
that doesn't sound like you."
On the drive home that phrase bounced around in my head like a ping pong ball. "doesn't sound like you" it irritated me. It had nothing to do with me really. I dug into church history to solidify my faith, not lose it. What I found was NOT of my doing. History was history, I could not change it and I could not put it on the crumbling shelf anymore. How was I, almost 200 years later, dealing with the fallout of some other man's lies?
In the moment of our conversation. I gave my elevator pitch of my main reasons for leaving. She said what I had heard before:
"I know Joseph saw what he saw and did what he did."
And there it was, the "I know" I kept the conversation polite and kind but I thought:
NO YOU DON'T KNOW. You don't know. You just don't know. You just don't. I don't and YOU don't.
You have faith, but I no longer see the value in faith. Faith is lack of evidence. Or in the case of mormonism belief not only with lack of evidence but against a mountain of conflicting evidence. Faith is pretending to know something that you just don't know. Faith brings you here rather quickly:
When you really think about it, it's the things we have little evidence for that we keep fighting to believe. We are warned over and over again that our testimonies need "strengthening". What else in life once we have solid evidence for, do we need to keep strengthening our belief in?
Studying epistemology, thinking about thinking has really changed my entire world view. When religious, there were vast areas of science and ideas that I was just not participating in. I have this new world open to me and it doesn't deal in a realm where I have to suspend my logic. There were so so so many things that just never made sense to me.
I am still in the stage of processing. I am abandoning my native tongue. I can't just get up off my knees brush off the dirt and keep walking without deconstructing what I had worked so hard for - but now there is a whistle while I work.
When people share their stories now I'm not so much interested in what they know as much as how they know.
“There exists in society a very special class of persons that I have always referred to as the Believers. These are folks who have chosen to accept a certain religion, philosophy, theory, idea or notion and cling to that belief regardless of any evidence that might, for anyone else, bring it into doubt. They are the ones who encourage and support the fanatics and the frauds of any given age. No amount of evidence, no matter how strong, will bring them any enlightenment. - James Randi