I spent eight years in the Mormon(LDS) church. My first husband was LDS and just about the first thing I did when that marriage fell apart was leave the LDS church. A couple years later I finally convinced the local Ward that I was not interested in coming back, had no intention of coming back and that they seriously needed to leave me and my children alone. The threat of legal action was what seemed to do the trick.
When I was LDS I really, really wanted to believe it. I wanted that “burning in the bosom” that is “promise” if you are just sincere enough. And after leaving the Mormon church I found I was really very angry at the institution. I felt betrayed. Rightly so I think. There is something very evil about telling people that if they are sincere enough that they will feel the truth of something. The bright eyed young missionaries, the people in Fast and Testimony meeting, your friends… you want what it appears that they have and so you pray for more sincerity and a testimony and you latch onto the smallest little part and cave. You find yourself “bearing your testimony.” You feel like a hypocrite because you know you have overstated your belief, when you tell this to your Bishop you are told “That’s OK, baring your testimony helps it grow.” then comes the weird suspicion… maybe most of those testimonies have been over stated. Maybe some people want to believe so badly that they convince themselves that they do.
And finally something happens and you leave. Then you look back with some regret and then the anger sets in. It is so bitter to hear over and over again that your lack of faith was something having to do with you. A fault in you. A shortcoming in YOU. Not that the whole idea from beginning to end was hog-wash. Not that the Book of Mormon is a fraud and not a really convincing one at that. No… it was supposed to be you? So the anger is justified and very very common.
This week I happened upon another ex-mormon Catholic’s blog, mormon2catholic. It is so interesting to see someone in the same place I have been. With so many of the same experiences. Even some of the same comments coming to her. Mormon double think never fails to amaze me and the comments she has received are like echoes for me from five years ago..