Monday, December 27, 2010


I've mentioned this a few times before (I think) and I believe the sentiments are shared by fellow converts:

Y'all, I feel stupid for even complaining. BIC members had no fucking choice. Me? I was EIGHTEEN.

Yes, I know. Eighteen isn't exactly adult, except perhaps on paper. I could vote, couldn't drink, finally got my sorry ass out of high school, and had zero clue of what to do with myself. I had a great GPA, but not great enough to get into UC Santa Cruz--and it wouldn't take much to talk me out of even that. It just took a pretty girl full of energy who was willing to be my best friend and a group of people who loved me without even getting to know me (all they needed to know was that I was a potential inmate). Whereas once I was a social outcast, surrounded by people who had known me since preschool, I was a new person. They didn't know who I was. It was a relief.

And let's be honest: I needed to get the fuck out of my parents house. I needed to cut the cord, because my mom would never on her own.

So you have a convert who left the church and is now bitching about it. I feel lame for doing it, and like I said I'm not the only one. I know what the world is like without the church whereas BIC members have no clue.

But I've been doing some thinking.

I characterize myself as an ex-Christian girl, but if cornered you'd find out that I'm hard pressed to go very far in denouncing Christ. I may know what the world is like without the LDS church, I can largely break off from the hammering doctrine easily construed as brainwashing, but I can't get away from Christ.

For about a year following my disaffection I would denounce and bitch about the church, feeling rather confident in my feelings--but the second you put me with SIL for more than five seconds (if that), I'd leave with an enormous desire to go back. To figure out a way in. A compromise. In the end I knew I couldn't, but you can believe I tried. I believe I've said it recently, but that part is over now. Mostly because she has changed, and so have I. Because our friendship has fizzled, and I'm done mourning it nearly ten years after it began to crack.

That said, I still have Christ. I have entered into one church since leaving the LDS church that hasn't thrown me into a complete fit of anxiety and panic. I wasn't totally calm by any means, but I didn't freak out. And while that church is nowhere near me now (you wouldn't catch even a UU church within 45 miles of me), sometimes I think "you know, if I were to attend a church that would be the one."

But then it stops, because I don't believe. But I want to. Sometimes I want to so, so bad.

I want to compromise my beliefs sometimes, but I don't even try to. I don't because Eric is atheist through and through now and I don't want to deal with that, even though I know he'd deal with it. I don't because my desires always hit a brick wall when I realize I don't believe. Not really.

Christmas was weird for this. All the children's shows and whatever featuring characters who mentioned Christ and the way I'd react inside, wondering when we're going to have The Talk with the kids. Jason, I know, is interested. My views (my scrooge-ish views) on Santa changed: let 'em believe! then later we can use that as a lesson regarding how everyone can tell you one thing and yet it's still wrong: use yr brain, kids). I couldn't just relax. I'm on constant vigilance, and it hurts. It physically hurts.

I need to come to some sort of peace, but I don't know how. I've rejected Mormonism after some work, now I'm working on my feelings regarding Christianity which entails a lifetime of inherent belief. Even when I took the four year sabbatical from church, I still believed.

It fucks me up with regard to my kids. It just really sucks.


  1. Don't feel bad being a convert and complaining about the church. It does not take much for the church to mess with your mind. You have just as much right to complain as anyone else who has left not to mention that you shared some of your childhood religion stories. Complain away.

    I really understand what you are saying about wanting to believe, about trying to find a way to make it work. It is not longer truly about belief for me though... It is about not being at odds with the past. It is about not feeling at war with friends and family.

    I am sorry this is weighing on you so much right now. ((hugs))

  2. belief isn't a knowing, it's just a hope. whatever the outcome, i think it's honorable that you're so willing to be honest with yourself and your family. i really admire how transparent you try to be with your children, lisa.

  3. I think that a person can honor and love and even worship Christ without tying themselves to any of the denominations. I also think that a person can honor and love and pay tribute to any deity while still being a skeptic. If there is something in Christ that you are drawn to, you shouldn't have to quash that because you no longer have a use for churches.

    As birdinhand says, it's really admirable that you are even making these efforts with regard to your kids. Most parents I know, including my own, would recoil from the idea of telling their children as much as possible about everything.

  4. The thing about being transparent with the kids is I still don't know quite how to DO it. Sit them down? Eric and I have discussed having a FHE (Family Home Evening) (/twitch, twitch) type thing so we can teach them these things--but is this a remnant of church teachings that unless we do these structured things we're doomed?

    I do want some kind of structure. I believe we can teach them things as opportunity arises, but we have to be aware of each opportunity as it comes along. The other problem for me is that I don't always know where I stand, religious or not. Also, it's easy to pay lip-service, quite another to follow it up with action.

  5. Have you ever read "The Age of Reason" by Thomas Paine? If not, you can download it for free from a lot of sites. I agree with a lot of what Paine says in that book, not everything, but a lot. A couple of things came to mind after I read your post:

    One is that you can think about Jesus in a way other than as a god. Paine believes that Jesus was not a god but a great person and teacher. Maybe if you still have/want some attachment to Jesus you can just look at him that way and try to live some of the principles he taught. It doesn't have to be worship.

    The second thing is that there are a lot of ways to be "religious" if you decide you want some of that in your life. Paine mentioned that he believes "religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow-creatures happy." It sounds almost too simple to be meaningful, but if organized religions actually did those things it might be tempting to go back.....maybe.....maybe not.

    I'm sure none of this is the ultimate answer you're looking for, or even anything really new to you, but I thought it might be worth thinking about.

    BTW - love your blog!

  6. I'm with Wave. You can incorporate the "good" of the religions without the...well, you know.

    I have felt similar struggles (still do). The hard part is changing my personal paradigm from the religious "we have all the answers" to the secular "I don't know nor do I know if it is knowable" and having that be an acceptable answer.

    I'd rather tell them "I don't know" about the role of God, or the existence of one, than to affirm the truthfulness of a specific religion and watch them repeat the path I followed, namely: Faithful follower to heretic to apostate to happy bastard.

  7. I happened upon your blog accidentally. That this has been your experience with religion and the church absolutely breaks my heart for you. I could be wrong, but I really feel like a lot of the negative you have experienced is NOT who Jesus is. I would love to share with you this verse from Matthew in the Message paraphrase.

    "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

    I would love to pray this for you, not that you would become a good little conservative pew-warmer, but that Jesus Christ would interrupt your struggle and search by flooding your life with His incredible love, power, and presence. Not with pressure to conform or to know it all.