Friday, October 27, 2006

Deconversion Continued

I was married in 1996 in the Manti Temple. That remains as the best day of my life. I finished my undergrad at BYU in 1997, worked a couple years, and then applied to several law schools across the country. I was accepted to USC, where a good friend of mine was also accepted. I chose not to go there it was too expensive, I was set on going to San Francisco instead to attend Hastings. Once we visited the area, I fell in love with it, but my wife did not, she did not want to live downtown in a big city. Another option we had was the University of Minnesota, a highly ranked law school, which actually had offered me a scholarship. I wasn't initially thrilled with Minnesota, I grew up in Texas and did not like the cold, but because this was my wife's home and her family was still there, this is where she wanted to go. I prayed about what we should do, I felt as the patriarch of the family I am entitled to revelation as to where the family should go. I didn't receive an answer. I still wanted San Francisco and she wanted Minneapolis. After much discussion we decided on Minneapolis, and I was good with that.

I was surprised to discover that there were several LDS students at the law school there, way more than I expected. I got to know a few of them pretty good, but almost all of my law school friends were not LDS. One was Lutheran, one Catholic, one Agnostic, and me, the Mormon. We would eat lunch together regularly and discuss the two topics you are not suppose to discuss, politics and religion. We had great conversations about doctrine, faith, etc, etc and I felt that I was doing my job by bearing a testimony of truth to them.

While in Minnesota we attended a ward (Mormon for congregation) that was half families and half students. It was in this ward that I first told my wife that I did not "know" the church was true but rather I had faith, or a strong belief. I remember kind of getting upset at people who would bear testimony that they knew beyond the shadow of a doubt, etc. that they knew the church was true. I thought to myself that nobody could actually know, but rather you can have a strong faith. I remember even telling this to missionaries that came over for dinner once and was surprised to hear that they had a similar conversation with another member in the ward who was a professor who believed the same I did. It was refreshing to feel that there was someone else who felt you couldn't know and he was still a faithful, intelligent member of the church. I felt reassured.

In my third year of law school, we were blessed with our first child. I cannot even begin to describe that moment, but suffice it to say that I have never fell in love with anyone or anything quicker than I did at that moment. It is tradition in the Mormon faith to give your child a blessing shortly after they are born, this is usually done in front of the whole congregation and is done by the father. The father is the one who does it because he has, or is allowed to have, the priesthood. This enables him to give blessings that can include blessings of comfort, or for the healing of the sick, and father's blessings. My family from Texas came up for the blessing, it was a big event. The way that it is taught in the Mormon faith is that the priesthood holder, if truly faithful, will receive inspiration about what to say. This was for all blessings. I had given blessings in the past for other reasons and never really felt that inspiration; I felt all the words that I spoke were coming from me. I wanted this to be different; I wanted this to truly be a blessing that came from the lord through me, a righteous priesthood holder, to my first child. When I began the blessing, I waited a few seconds in silence, waiting for inspiration, nothing came. I continued on with the blessing, using thoughts and feelings that I had wished for my child beforehand. It was a beautiful blessing, but it came from me.

After finishing law school, I began an MBA program at the University of Minnesota. While in that program we had our second child and the blessing situation mirrored the first. Although it was a beautiful blessing, I wondered what was wrong with me, why was I not getting the inspiration that was taught to me if I had all this faith. I began to doubt some more.


At 11:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lack of inspiration is discouraging. I think we both experienced that more often than we would have liked in Germany.

I believe the inspiration you seek could be defined as a gift of God given in degrees.

What are your gifts?

I know I've seen a strong proficiency for arguing right and wrong along with a genuine sense and judge of character.

We are currently witnessing a strong open desire to seek the truth from you which I think is a gift.

I'm sure your patriarchal blessing has something to say about gifts as well.

Although you have the right by doctrine to inspiration for yourself and your family, it may not be your forte so to speak or not coming through as you anticipated.

I'm kind of discouraged that someone in your life hasn't come out to you with inspiration FOR you on this matter that could be life changing. But I'm personally not feeling like I have any answers for you, just a different point of view maybe which I hope is ok to share on your blog.

Maybe that's not up to someone else. I don't feel any special weight on my shoulders for your soul (forgive me for saying that) because I figure you for a good guy and you'll end up where you choose to be. Which hopefully is mostly full of joy for yourself and others around you (like I've experienced with you in the past)!


At 10:19 AM, Blogger Rob said...


As far as spiritual gifts go, I have absolutely no idea. I think there are some things that I may do better than others, and a lot of things I don't, but whether they are spiritual gifts, I have my doubts.

At 6:35 AM, Blogger Sam said...

I was happy to find a blog where someone's doubts and deconversion so closely mirrored mine. It helped me feel I wasn't alone. I felt like we had so much in common. This post in particular, however, blew my mind at how similar we really may be.

I'm originally from Texas, married my wife post-mission while at BYU, and am just about to begin 3L year at UMN Law School. I just had the same experience you did in blessing my first daughter in my half student/half family ward (New Brighton). Small world.

At 1:58 PM, Blogger Rob said...

That is strange, we were also in the New Brighton ward. I assume you are living in the Como student housing. I am actually in the area as i am writing this, we are back in town for my wife's grandparents' 50th anniversary


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