If you love me….

A common statement made about Christ is in reference to His love for us. God is love, God does not judge, He loves us unconditionally. This statement is no doubt the source of the traditional belief among many so called “born again christians” who add to this the idea that baptism is optional and that salvation comes by grace alone. There is no need for work on our parts, merely belief. On the far end of the spectrum is the idea that the commandents we hear taught to us are the ideas of men. God is, of course, accepting of all. We should simply be accepting of those who decry Gods Prophet in our day, we should be accepting of homosexuals and their desire to be seen as normal, we should allow anyone to believe whatever they want and stop all this talk of the one true church. I hear these types of things said often, and it is nonsense.

It must be understood that there is no salvation without a system of government. There is no salvation without a system of government for without such a system there would be nothing to be saved to. More

The Quotes That Haunt Me

I openly confess that I am by nature somewhat of a contrarian.  I like to argue just for sport.  Therefore, in a forum such as Mormon Expression, I feel a very strong pull toward playing the apologist role, since my impression is that the majority of followers of ME are non-believers in the LDS Church.  I realize that this attitude is dangerous, as people will call my motives and sincerity into question.  But I hope what I say here will come across in a sincere way.

At times, I have been accused of lacking integrity because my beliefs in the church are nuanced, and I have not just thrown up my hands and said, “it’s all a lie.”  Yet I still want to be understanding, and try my honest best to have an open dialogue with those who do not share my beliefs, whether Mormon, ex-Mormon, or never-Mormon.  While I have many doubts and questions myself, I find value in maintaining as healthy a relationship as possible with the church of my upbringing.  I have done my best to be honest with my family and leaders, and they still consider me a faithful, temple-recommend-worthy, member of the church. More

The Road Back . . .

I have been seriously considering throwing in the towel on my apostasy and going back to the church.

There are a few reasons for this.  First, it is tough being the lone apostate in your social circle.  My husband and family and friends tolerate me: In many respects they are much kinder about my ‘coming out’ than I expected.  Still, there is a wall between us that did not exist before.  My husband doesn’t want to hear my thoughts about the church, they hurt him too much.  My parents and siblings and friends keep that topic at a distance, and so I write and think and live in something of a bubble — a cushion meant to protect my dearest friends from me and my awful ideas. More

Borrowed Light and the Bourne Identity

Someone recently posted an interesting comment to my four year old blog post where I outlined my reasons for not attending the Mormon church anymore.  The commenter said he has been troubled by “a few things in church history”, and that if he had not experienced so many spiritual experiences, that he too might have left the church. He went on to say that, “as I’ve thought about it over the years, I concluded those who leave over the reasons you stated never acquired a testimony.  I believe they lived on ‘borrowed light’”.

I’m sure that there are at least some church members who continue to attend even though they haven’t had any powerful spiritual experiences with the church and are living on “borrowed light” – in my experience they are social and cultural mormons.  I also know a few members who go every Sunday even though they don’t believe any longer in the foundational stories of the LDS church – they typically attend for family reasons. More

Edelweiss

In the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music the Character of Captain Von Trapp sings the song “Edelweiss”. At the cusp of World War II, the characters are facing the destruction of an idyllic period of their history and a subsequent rush into the tragic future. The song is a nostalgic lament for what is about to be lost, but should have been forever. Through the voice of the character, the song expresses his love for his homeland of Austria. The melancholy melody and words of longing express a love for an Austria that would soon live no more.

But the unfortunate truth is that the song doesn’t really pine for what was to be lost, but really for something that never existed in the first place. The Austria that exists in The Sound of Music is a dream within a dream. The song really laments the loss of a dream that has crashed into reality. This is not just the reality of the war but the reality of the situation. Austria was not just a victim of the German war machine, it helped produce it. The same homeland the produced the edelweiss also played and instrumental role in the development of the Nazi movement and the horrors of World War II. More

Small Things

When your faith falls apart the process can be messy.  Shards of this or that belief cling to the framework of who you are and if you aren’t careful they can cut you.  This doesn’t feel right to me.  It feels wrong to be careful about my beliefs: If I believe true things shouldn’t it be natural to believe them?  Shouldn’t it be easy to not believe things that don’t fit into my new paradigm?  But if faith requires effort, logic does as well.  Sometimes not believing things requires effort on our part, which can feel very wrong — why am I working to cast away a belief or practice that I once held sacred and that people dear to me hold sacred still?

I’ve felt the pain of my lingering beliefs lately.  I’ve looked at the shattered window of my own faith and wished I could put it together again.  I’ve attended church a couple of times and thought about just giving up my independence and going back.  I yearn for the comfort of my Mormonism and the easy sociability I once enjoyed within the church.   I want to turn back the clock.  I imagine myself active again and for a moment it is easy to imagine.  I’ll just go back, put on the cloak of Mormonism, put my doubts away . . . and then the broken edges of my belief make their presence known. The middle of what once was my faith is missing — I don’t believe the Church is “true” and I cannot pretend to believe it. More

I’m Leaving the Church (Glenn Beck Said To…)

Every once in awhile, I come across a link in a totally pro-LDS publication that really blows my mind.  This morning, the stunning article came from none other than Meridian Magazine.  Usually, I get links from people I know from said magazine that talk about supporting traditional marriage, or about Joseph Smith’s great-granddaughter joining the LDS Church.  I read most of whatever comes my way, but I am well aware that Meridian Magazine is probably just as conservative as Sean Hannity or the Ensign on pretty much any matter you can think of.

However, today’s article was by Grant Hardy, and it was about The Book of Mormon and Social Justice.  Other than the fact that it came packaged with various scriptural reference from The Book of Mormon, this thing read like it came from the commentary section of the New York Times, or The Huffington Post. More

Raw Nerves

For a while now I’ve thought that the trauma and emotion surrounding our family leaving the Mormon church was behind us. Even though I haven’t been physically healthy this past year, I’ve felt emotionally healthy for some time now.  Then on Sunday a friend excitedly called to let me know about the new Stake Presidency in our area, and I felt like I was in a dentist’s chair and the drill had just hit a raw nerve. 

My friend didn’t know this, but as we were leaving the church in 2007, two members of our Bishopric (now called to the new stake presidency) met with my partner and I, and let us know that we were “worth fighting for”.  A noble sentiment, but unfortunately both of them were unprepared to deal with the substance of our concerns. Over four evenings we talked about polyandry, polygamy, blacks and the priesthood, women and the priesthood and the nature of testimonies. More

Cheating The Repentance Process

A Blog post in two parts; by Rich McCue & Bob McCue

Rich McCue Writes…

As a Mormon missionary in Brazil, I regularly taught investigators how to repent as part of the missionary discussions.  I’ve found the repentance process to be a good template for how to fix things when I’ve made mistakes in my post-Mormon life as well.  That said, it is ironic that the Mormon church as an institution has not consistently used the repentance process when it has made mistakes over the years.  For those who did not serve a mission or can’t remember from hazy mists of Sunday school, I’ll do a quick review of the 4 step repentance process:

  1. Recognize what you’ve done is wrong and feel genuine sorrow.
  2. Ask forgiveness of god & the person or people you have harmed.
  3. If possible, make restitution for the wrong you’ve done.
  4. Don’t do it again. More

The Toughest Talk, But the Most Rewarding

My eldest just turned 12, a big step in a young LDS girl’s life. She starts going to young women as a Beehive, and baptisms for the dead.

I found myself alone with her on her birthday. My wife was doing visiting teaching and my son had gone to bed. She and I decide to split the last piece of cheesecake left over from her birthday party the week before. This was the perfect opportunity that I was looking for to give her my last gift for this year. This gift was that I told her that no matter what she did, that I would always be here for her and that I would always love her. It is something that her grandparents never gave their daughters. I had a talk about drugs. Told her that they weren’t evil, but they allow normally evil people to do evil things.  More

Don’t Tempt Me

I spend a lot of time at the library.  I carry around two backpacks everywhere I go full of books.  I eat my lunch at the library.  It is quite a life.  But my days as a master’s student are numbered, thank heaven.

The other day as I was doing research for my thesis, I noticed a sign on one of the library tables that said something to the effect of “Don’t tempt other people to be dishonest.  Avoid leaving your personal items unattended, including laptops, cell phones, and backpacks.”  I don’t really understand the mentality.  Is it my fault something gets stolen because I tempted someone with my possessions? More

Thoughts on life, death, hope and obligation . . .

This week has been tinted with sadness. My dear friend lost her sister, not much older than me and the mother of three young children, to breast cancer last Monday. She sent an email to tell us, her friends, about the death. In it she bore her testimony about where her sister is and what she believes she is doing, she testified of God and her belief in “the gospel”. My friend spent the week buoyed up by the busy-ness of funeral arrangements, love of family and friends, and her faith in a kind and loving God and a beautiful life to come.

By Sunday she was obviously worn out and beaten down by the loss of, truly, her best friend. More