Friday, October 20, 2006

A break from the story

I will continue with the story of my "deconversion" (I'm not really sure what it call it) later, but I wanted to take a break and talk about my reason for this blog. I have been asked why I am doing this, what is its purpose or what is my goal. Am I wanting to convince others to leave the church? Why do I need to share this?

Well, the truth is, this is more for me than anyone who might read this. It is very therapeutic. I am not trying to persuade anyone to change their beliefs, in fact I would be disappointed in anyone who read this and said "I am done with the church." A testimony is supposed to be a personal experience, and although it is and should be influenced by non-personal elements (and I will get into this more later), it is ultimately something that comes from your own searching and not simply from what others tell you. I feel it is important to deeply self examine all of your beliefs, everything that you have experienced and everything that you have been taught. It is like Plato's 'Myth of the Cave', and allegory explaining that we can not just trust things in one world, as our perception might be limited, equally I can not just trust what I have been taught all of my life, without looking at what other credible information (I make this distinction because there is much non-credible information) might be out there that contradicts what I beleive to be true. (and I am aware that this is not exactly Plato's point in his allegory). So in summary, I am not trying to "deconvert" people at all, I do encourage self examination, but if that self examination, after considering information from all sources, leads you to reaffirm your existing belief, I am happy for you. For me it did not.

I also want to reaffirm the purpose for leaving the church. It is 100% absolutely because I don't have a testimony. I have had friends in the past who left the church because they didn't agree with its teachings or they didn't feel it was right for them. That is not the case with me. I may disagree with teachings, but if I had a doubt free conviction, which is promised, I could overlook everything, I would have to. But because I do not have that special witness, all I have to depend un is the physical evidence that I am left with. When I made my decision to leave the church I was temple worthy (mormon language for basically being really good at keeping the commandments and worthy to enter the temple). And for the most part I still am. I still beleive that mormon commandments are great ways to live, they are good, they are pure, and if you follow them you will stand a greater chance of avoinding many problems that people can face in this world. I simply don't believe that they are divine.

Please feel free to comment. Tell me if you disagree with me or if you agree with me, but please also give reasoning for your stance. Thanks for reading.


At 1:14 PM, Blogger Zoe said...

Hi Rob . . . it's me Zoe. Sterling has pointed me to your blog and it has been a topic of conversation between us for the last couple of days. I was sad to hear of your "leaving the church" and my thoughts first went to Dasha and your children. I hope that it is okay for me to ask how they/she is handling this. After reading, it sounds like perhaps this is not just a sudden thing but rather something that you have thought about and resisted for a long time. I believe that it is your right to know. I once had a friend who was feeling the same things that you are . . . no testimony, confirmation, etc. At first, I was afraid to even embark on this thought process with him or see him go there. But, I have realized that there shouldn't be any fear in this process. And, hopefully, you will one day come to a decision that will satisfy you. I know that to some it is given the gift of a sure knowledge while others have struggles with finding a testimony. I have been blessed with a sure knowledge of the gospel that I could never deny. However, there have been other instances in my life when I did not receive an answer. Mainly, when I married Sterling. I (once only) recieved a slight prompting that I was to marry this man. At the time, we were not even dating. So, later, after we were engaged, I prayed fervently for a reconfirmation or a more direct answer. None came. I remember being in the temple with Sterling when I got my endowments taken out and confessing my fears to him. He helped me to realize that some choices are ours to make on our own. Heavenly Father gives us the information and lets us govern for ourselves how we will use it/ act upon it. The confirmation never came but, I chose to marry him and have been very happy with that decision. :) Of course, I have had to nurture our relationship through the years and make a committment to Sterling. I chose to remain dedicated to it. Kind of like picking a major or choosing to believe. However, none of this come without much contemplation. I am not trying to influence you . . . I guess that I am just trying to let you know that you are not alone in feeling this way. I think that there are a lot of members who have struggled in similar ways. I hope that you can the peace that you are looking for.

At 9:55 PM, Blogger Rob said...

Thanks for your comment. As for how my wife and kids are handling the situation, I am sure I will eventually make that its own entry, once I am a little further along in the process.

At 1:17 PM, Blogger Lady D said...

Rob - I agree with you that it is okay to doubt or re-examine your beliefs. This doesn't make you a bad person. No matter what the outcome will be, I will still have the same level of respect for you. I'm very impressed by your honesty to yourself. I wish most people had guts like that in the world.

At 1:18 PM, Blogger Lady D said...

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