Finally found my testimony after 40 years

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Finallyfree
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Finally found my testimony after 40 years

Post by Finallyfree » Thu Jan 09, 2020 3:11 pm

Hi all,

I was born and raised in the church, did all the usual things, served a mission, held callings into pretty high leadership positions, married in the temple, and on and on. I am now 48 years and about 3 years ago my shelf started coming down. The thing is, I always kind of knew it would in a way. The best way I can describe it is that going back as far as a young teenager I never really felt "all in" and I just played the role because that was just what you did. I always felt that if I kept telling myself it was all true, and powerfully bearing testimony that it was all true, that I would someday feel the way I saw other people profess to feel.

Then about 3 years ago it all started, and I arrived at the point where my heart, my soul, my mind, my intellect, and everything that I am, all snapped into perfect alignment and focus. I finally felt that powerful knowledge in "every fiber of my being"....the problem was that my powerful testimony was that it was all completely full of shit. When I let myself fully embrace that idea, it all came into perfect focus. So, yes, I did receive my witness of the truthfulness of the church, BOM, JS, etc., but it's the opposite of what I am apparently supposed to feel, and think. I have since figured out that it's a mind game (praying to know something that has only one acceptable answer is brainwashing at best).

I remember a moment 3 years ago when I was completely beside myself about the whole garment issue. I believe in God (I think), and I prayed harder than I ever remember praying about taking off my garments. I felt a thought come into my mind like a WWE smack-down and it said:

"I am the creator of heaven and earth, and all that you know, I am the beginning and the end of everything, I gave you an opportunity to live an amazing life...please stop wasting this opportunity fretting about fu**ing underwear!"

So, the God I know uses the "F" word to get my attention, I don't know what that means.

After that I hit the "slippery slope" at full speed and threw my shelf into the dirt and stomped on it.

The hardest part is with my TBM wife and 4 kids.

I have many other experiences to share about TR interviews and discussion with wife, and I will share them. Right now I am feeling a lot of bitterness for feeling like I lost half of my life to stupid rules that don't have anything to do with God. At the same time I am grateful that I figured it out before I got in "too deep".

I only discovered this forum a few days ago, and think it may be a useful place to vent frustrations to people who seem to see the world in it's reality and aren't afraid to be honest with themselves.

Thanks, that's all for now.

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wtfluff
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Re: Finally found my testimony after 40 years

Post by wtfluff » Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:38 pm

Image
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

Keep the company of those who seek the truth - run from those who have found it -Václav Havel

The Beauty of Gray

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DPRoberts
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Re: Finally found my testimony after 40 years

Post by DPRoberts » Fri Jan 10, 2020 12:59 pm

Welcome, FF. And thanks for your post on temple recommend thread. I look forward to seeing more from you.

I have 4 kids also who, despite my best efforts, figured out the B.S. before I finally admitted it to myself. So i call myself the poster child for failing to raise TBMs. Still have a believing wiife, however.
Last edited by DPRoberts on Fri Jan 10, 2020 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
When an honest man discovers he is mistaken, he will either cease to be mistaken or cease to be honest. -anon
The belief that there is only one truth, and that oneself is in possession of it, is the root of all evil in the world. -Max Born

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FiveFingerMnemonic
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Re: Finally found my testimony after 40 years

Post by FiveFingerMnemonic » Fri Jan 10, 2020 1:55 pm

Thanks for sharing, a lot of similarities to my own story including 4 TBM kids and Wife. I still go to sacrament meeting with them but everything else is gone. My wife has gone full throttle in child indoctrination and I have no hope they will escape mormonism unless my passive non-participation causes enough dissonance someday to release them, but the pull of her extended family is strong.

Finallyfree
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Re: Finally found my testimony after 40 years

Post by Finallyfree » Sun Jan 12, 2020 10:26 am

My situation is a little different. I have 4 kids and the oldest is 16. The older 2 have significant issues with the church, and seem to gravitate towards my point of view in coping with the dissonance. They seem to have seen my example of acknowledging my dissonance as a valid way of thinking (I think in full TBM families that even acknowledging there could be conflicting feelings and dissonance is invalidated, thus it is suppressed or hidden).

My TBM wife is a good person, yet she was raised in a home where obedience was forced by extreme guilt, shame, and fear. She has tried to use that same technique on our kids, and I have not backed that up, so they see me as safe and accepting, and her as the “rules trump all” parent.

I don’t know exactly how the future will go, and I often feel uneasy about trying to be a father without the anchor of the church to fall back on. I have had to really think through what i feel is best for them and their future in making decisions, and not just telling them the policy/doctrine answer. In short, it has been a challenge when I try to figure out what governs my choices if it’s not church policy. It places a lot more responsibility on me as a parent to make good decisions based on my experiences and who my kids are as individuals.

When people say they are grateful for the church in raising children, it seems to be related to the fact that the church always tells you what to do, there’s not much thinking involved. Even though that is in fact easier, it deprives a parent and child of a tremendous amount of personal growth. Life is always easier when you have a set of defined rules to follow, but true growth occurs when you have to decide what your own rules of life are.

So, to sum up, my kids are not destined to be TBM’s but that fact both invigorates me, and scares me...but I truly feel that life is supposed to be that way. We all crave more security and predictability, and the church has provided a manufactured source of security, but life is just simply not that way.

That is why it is so devastating when we have realized that the unpredictable and scary parts of life are still there even though the church has made us think that going to church, and reading your BOM removes the uncertainty and pain out of life. It’s literalky like having your eyes opened, and realizing that it’s much harder to live with your eyes wide open, yet knowing that it is the truth of being a human being.

Sorry again to ramble on, but I’m in sacrament meeting and some guy is crying about something from the pulpit and I tuned out.

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Hagoth
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Re: Finally found my testimony after 40 years

Post by Hagoth » Mon Jan 13, 2020 12:19 pm

I'm glad you found us, FinallyFree! I'm looking forward to hearing more from you.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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moksha
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Re: Finally found my testimony after 40 years

Post by moksha » Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:15 pm

Finallyfree wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 3:11 pm
So, the God I know uses the "F" word to get my attention, I don't know what that means.
He probably has a thing for Old English expletives.

Welcome to NOM 2.0.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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Corsair
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Re: Finally found my testimony after 40 years

Post by Corsair » Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:54 am

Finallyfree wrote:
Sun Jan 12, 2020 10:26 am
My situation is a little different. I have 4 kids and the oldest is 16. The older 2 have significant issues with the church, and seem to gravitate towards my point of view in coping with the dissonance. They seem to have seen my example of acknowledging my dissonance as a valid way of thinking (I think in full TBM families that even acknowledging there could be conflicting feelings and dissonance is invalidated, thus it is suppressed or hidden).
Let me assure you that your situation is all too common. Your family situation mirrors mine and also several other forum members. This is a brand new world and you're going to be fine. You are not the crazy person in this situation, even if your family and ward may try to convince you of that.

Dealing with your newly discovered mixed-faith marriage is not going to be easy, but take some comfort knowing that you are surrounded by a bunch of people that have seen this before. We have seen it in our own families and can provide any guidance you want from us.

May we carefully ask where you live? If you are in the Phoenix area there is a group of NOM folks that meet for lunch on occasion. Utah and other locations have similar groups. We are happy to provide any support we can on this forum, but meeting people in real life will be extremely helpful to you.

Finallyfree
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Location: Phoenix

Re: Finally found my testimony after 40 years

Post by Finallyfree » Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:20 am

Corsair wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:54 am
May we carefully ask where you live? If you are in the Phoenix area there is a group of NOM folks that meet for lunch on occasion. Utah and other locations have similar groups. We are happy to provide any support we can on this forum, but meeting people in real life will be extremely helpful to you.
Yes Corsair, you may ask, I too am in the Phoenix area. I would love to meet for lunch or other gatherings to talk with other NOM's. Let me know when they are coming up, and I will try to make it.

Finallyfree
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Location: Phoenix

Re: Finally found my testimony after 40 years

Post by Finallyfree » Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:39 am

I would also like to add that I have the utmost respect for the level of privacy that anyone on this forum desires to have. What I mean by that is that anyone who wishes their "faith questioning" status to remain private can trust that I will not reveal who they are, or how they feel to anyone...period. I feel very open about the issues I am going through, but I know that not everyone has the same situation, and a few years ago I also felt the same way. It has been a painful struggle to reveal my thoughts and feelings with family, and especially my wife, but we are at a point now, I am happy to say that my TBM wife has occasionally ordered coffee for me when we are out if she thinks I might want it and I am in the restroom or something else. We still have hard moments, but for me to have revealed my thoughts even 2-3 years ago would have been frightening beyond belief.

I just want those of you that do meet in the phoenix area to know that I would not betray your confidence if that is your desire. I have walked the road of hell in a marriage wondering if I would ever be able to speak freely, and fighting through times when I thought my world was completely unraveling. I would never, ever, push someone over that line, it is a line that has to be crossed voluntarily, knowing the consequences, and the benefits for that matter.

I don't know if it is necessary to say all that, but I had to for me, so anyone here knows where I stand.

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IT_Veteran
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Re: Finally found my testimony after 40 years

Post by IT_Veteran » Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:37 pm

I was also grateful to the church in raising my kids. Was. Now I recognize how I sort of abdicated my responsibilities and just trusted that the church’s way was the correct one.

My relationship with my kids sounds a lot like your wife’s - bound to rules and expectations. When we discovered my teenage son was engaging with pornography the answer was, of course, go talk to the bishop. Stop doing that. Just control yourself.

Poor kid.

Now that we’re a little less worried about arbitrary rules we can actually have conversations about life. My LGBTQ daughter asked if she still had to wait until 16 to date, and it was awesome to have conversations around dating, safety, consent, etc.. Rather than an arbitrary rule, we can set guidelines that she sees are there for her safety.

Our relationships with our kids are vastly improved.

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Redcrown27
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Re: Finally found my testimony after 40 years

Post by Redcrown27 » Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:49 pm

The world is changing. People are becoming a little more out in the open about how they feel and what bugs them.

I was grateful for the fact that my extended family was always a mixed pot of awesome sauce. We have really active people and others that would rather not participate in church. We also have people who is okay with church but would rather attend a different church.

When I truly believed everything I will honestly say that I had this sense of pride that I was still in the church. I honestly believed that I had the complete gospel.

It was almost like everyone thrived off from gossip because they didn't know how to live their own lives.

The Gossip and Sunday school lessons on the Celestial Kingdom Keeps all the TBMs scared enough not to leave.


You have to keep in mind that you are a mixed pot of awesome sauce. You have family that believes everything LDS and others that do not.

You are still family and nobody can take that away from you.

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