I've been on TIME OUT from the Mormon Church for over 7 years now, but my fascination with "all things Mormon" is still very strong. Mainly, though, what fascinates me is trying to answer the question of why people believe in it when it is so obvious to me that it is a pile of crap. Believing in something by faith when there is nothing to actually substantiate it is one thing - but when there is so much evidence against Mormonism being true, it is not faith anymore, but rather denial.
My main question at this point, though, is why can I see the validity of that differentiation between blind faith and actual reason, but others who remain escounced in Mormonism can't... or won't. But then, as I've heard said, "There are none so blind as those who will not see." (Per a Google search, that idiom is paraphrased from the Old Testament of the Bible, Jeremiah 5:21 - "Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not."). As far as I am concerned, this scripture includes all those who accept things at face value and dig no deeper. Those who do not think for themselves. Those who accept what they are told, blindly and without any real thought.
I don't see any indications that my interest is going to wane any time soon, but perhaps at some point, all of this won't be quite so fascinating to me. Seeing younger people who have left the church being able to move on quicker than I have makes me yearn for that, but perhaps the reason I haven't "shed the skin" so quickly is because I spent 52 years in the Mormon Church and therefore it was very deeply engrained into my life and psyche. Even though I began to question some things when I was a teenager, I still stuck with it for many more years until I (finally) began to research church history (prior to going on a Mormon Church History tour in July 2001). That was the beginning of the end for me because I began to see how many lies are laced throughout Mormonism, and much of it I simply couldn't rationalize out. As I studied more and more, I began to feel almost physically ill because I had based my entire life on what they told me I was supposed to believe - and how I was supposed to live.
Of course, the Mormon Church uses a great deal of guilt to control the masses. Are you praying enough? Are you reading the scriptures enough? Are you doing enough service? Are you striving for perfection? And, of course, since the answers to those questions is often No or Maybe Not, the guilt ends up pouring over a person to the point of saturation. While I was Mormon, for those 52 years, I never felt like I was good enough... and the quandary of whether or not I was going to make it to the Celestial Kingdom was a constant struggle for me. If I didn't make it there, then I would be denying myself an eternity of blessings, of being with my parents, of having a forever family. And whose fault would that be? Mine per Mormonism. And I found it very debilitating to constantly feel that way.
For instance, I never liked (or understood) the temple ceremonies. But of course, since I was basically given the message that if that was the case, it was my own fault, that source of guilt pervaded my consciousness. And of course, when that sense of guilt invades your being, it can cause not only feelings of inadequacy but also deep depression. During my years in Mormonism, there were many times when I struggled with depression. But interestingly, since being on my TIME OUT, that has not been an issue for me at all.
Back to the temple. For many years, I just figured that I wasn't worthy enough to understand the temple ceremonies. Apparently, like "they" inferred, I wasn't righteous enough - but as I was told, if I prayed more, read the scriptures more, studied more, and just plain did more, then I would come to understand it. But that never happened. Of course, now I realize that the reason that never happened is because it never had anything to do with me. The Mormon temple ceremonies were lifted from the Masons. From what I've been able to discern, Joseph Smith apparently needed something seemingly awe-inspiring to take place with the temple walls, so he joined the Masons - and 7 weeks later introduced the very same ceremonies in the Nauvoo Temple. How convenient. Of course, since I am convinced that all of Mormonism is "made up," it's apparent that Joseph Smith was just doing more of what he had already done... and lots of people bought it, hook, line and sinker.
And of course, there are many other aspects to Mormonism that disturbed me for many years. Like the Book of Abraham. It has been proven not to be translated correctly per modern-day Egyptologists. The papyri that Joseph Smith purportedly translated has been shown to simply be Egyptian funeral papers, and not the writings of Abraham from ancient times. And yet Mormons continue to cling to its validity, continuing to hold it up as canonized scripture. They rationalize it out by saying that scriptural things can't be reasoned or examined with earthly eyes, that only God knows the truth. And God, they say, has revealed to them that not only is the Book of Abraham the word of God, but so is the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine & Covenants - and of course, the Bible, but only as far as it is translated correctly. To me, it is now clear that Mormonism in its entirety was made up by Joseph Smith. But TBMs still hold on to the ridiculous notion that it is all "true."
So why didn't I turn on my critical thinking skills prior to the Summer of 2001? That question still haunts me, and probably will continue to do so for many more years to come. It all is very clear to me now. I have no doubt but that the Mormon Church is not true. I have no doubt but that Mormonism was entirely made up by Joseph Smith and was perpetuated by others. I have no doubt but that there are so many lies and deceptions laced through Mormonism that it is actually a pile of garbage. What it came down to for me was that in order to continue to be a "good Mormon woman," I would have had to turn my back on all I had discovered against its validity, and simply buy the whole Mormon Party Line by faith. And I simply couldn't do that.
Naturally, it took me a couple of years to actually leave the Mormon Church after discovering what I did about church history and the lies laced throughout Mormonism. I kept thinking that perhaps I was missing something. Perhaps (as they would have me think), I wasn't worthy enough to understand the whole thing. I'm sure that's what TBMs all think of me now (including many of my TBM family members). But that's okay. I found the truth - the real truth. Not the white-washed version of the truth as touted by Mormonism. My discoveries about Mormonism are not a passing phase or a changeable opinion, but rather a fact. And knowing that for certainty has made all the difference in my life.
So the TIME OUT from Mormonism I called for myself a little over 7 years ago still stands.
I'm still on TIME OUT, and will be in that state for the rest of my life... and if there is an Afterlife, then to infinity and beyond...