But this evening I received an e-mail from a disgruntled reader (certainly not the first one I've gotten) who challenged me to post his message. Brett Baltazar is an accountant that works for the LDS Church and he wanted to get his two cents in about his feelings surrounding my articles about the LDS hunting preserves, which I have written about extensively here. Brett's e-mail gave me the inspiration I guess I finally needed to bring this blog to an official end (I think).
I am sure you will not post this on your blog due to the incorrect understanding you have of the Deseret Land and other church-owned properties. Anyone can pick out pieces of any article and turn everything around. Just as I could pick speeches from any democratic party and use "their words" and turn it against them.I applaud you for your skills in doing so and admire the time you wasted to turn something good into what appears to be bad (according to your blog). There are too many topics to discuss the errors in your blog, but I can honestly say that I will be hunting on Deseret Land this year and all that I paid for was the cost to buy a hunting tag and permit($35 for the tag and $35 for the permit= $70)!!! So, next time you might want to do a little more research before posting a blog that states the costs are thousands and thousands of dollars!!good luck in your endeavors and may you research EVERYTHING before you claim something to be true or not. Oh, and I plan an killing a big deer this year!!
As I've uncovered the truth of LDS past and contemporary history and found solace among others who have gone through the same "spiritual trauma" -- which I really don't think is much of an understatement -- and seen many of them get dumped by their spouse, snubbed by their family, ostracized by their neighbours, or generally viewed as some sort of pariah by fellow Mormons, I've seen a side to Mormons and Mormonism that really breaks my heart. I will always know that there are so many wonderful, loving Mormons who really take The Golden Rule to heart. That's the side that I will try to remember.
But truth be told, besides all the historical and epistemological problems within Mormonism, the words and actions of some Mormons -- and maybe not as few as we want to think -- have repulsed me to such a degree that I no longer wish to be associated with Mormonism or regarded as "Mormon." Brett's words are a reminder of just how miserable and mean-spirited many of them can be. The satisfaction that many seem to get from defending "The One True Church" by deriding and ridiculing others is almost palpable. Not until I left the Church did I realize how little love there can be in it. Not until I left was I able to understand why I was so unhappy in it. And not until I left it was I capable of feeling pure, untainted love for another others that did not have to be coloured or marred by dogma.
It's been hard at times for me to accept that my family and friends are happy in the LDS Church. Truthfully, it has sometimes been excruciating to carry the burden of knowledge about the true origins and current operations of the Church that most of them seem to "know exists," but don't dare investigate themselves. But in the end, I think it is for the best that they have decided to spare themselves the pain of disillusionment and betrayal -- even though at the other end of it I've managed to find a peace and fulfillment that I couldn't have imagined before. I want to be happy, and for me, being happy means being out of the Church. But I also want my loved ones to be happy, and so, if the Church = happiness for them, I could never begrudge them that. I hope and I believe that we genuinely care as much about each other's happiness and well-being as much as I think we do. And that's what has kept us together.
I made many great friends through this blog, many of which I maintain to this day. Thanks for all who have followed along with me and who have poured out their own religious sorrows and struggles and lended me support.
And to all those who are still in the early stages of your journey, I think it's wise to follow Brett's advice:
"May you research EVERYTHING before you claim something to be true or not."
So very true.