Sep 13, 2012

Thanks, Brett.

Due to an upturn in my spiritual life and the time that I've been devoting to the humanitarian work that I've become heavily involved in the past couple of years with refugees, I haven't done anything with this blog in ages.  I've sometimes thought of doing a post about my long journey to where I am now, but due to laziness or lack of inspiration, I've let it go and devoted my time to writing about other topics.

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!!
To make a very long story short, this post has been at least 8 years in the making.  Or maybe more like 30 years, if I really think about it.  I remember when I first started this blog, I was looking for a safe place to talk about the things that no one wanted to talk about.  I was so afraid of being "discovered" and getting excommunicated.  If I'm that much of a threat, well, be my guest.

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.

Thanks, Brett.

12 comments:

Papa D said...

I enjoyed reading your blog while it was active, and I wish you joy and happiness in your journey. I've said for a long time that I find great joy and inspiration and fulfillment in the LDS Church (even knowing pretty much everything about the issues you mention in this post), but I also know that some have to leave in order to find those things for themselves.

Two of my favorite statements are short and sweet, and I offer them to you at this point in your life:

"Go with God."

"May there be a road."

Ray

Sanford said...

FD,

Good luck with your journey and congratulations on being able to make a definitive break. You're brave. I'm still hanging in half way in and half way out. I'm neither hot nor cold so I suppose I'll get spewn out at some point. Sometimes I think I don't have the nerve to commit one way or the other so I just wallow.

I would say this though, just because Brett was an Ass doesn't mean you can't come back this direction one day. Carving your own path in Mormonism is pretty messy and not for faint at heart but it's not completely impossible.

I'll miss you.

Ben said...

I really have a hard time when I hear people talk about how naive Mormons are and how they are spoon-fed stuff and they just digest it all in blind obedience. (Not saying that's how you are portraying it..) I just don't think that many dissidents realize that you're not the only one's who have wavered. Do I have questions about policies of the LDS Church? Yes. Do I realize a lot of Mormons are really mean? Yes. Do I realize there are some practices that have changed, contradictory words spoken, and uncomfortable prejudices still alive? Yes.

With all that said, I'm going to have faith that answers will come to those questions. Because there is one thing I can't deny, and that is all the miracles that I have witnessed individually and because of this church.

I hope you can find happiness in your journey, but please know what others, like you, have done their research, have undiscovered things, have questioned, but still I know that this Church was restored by the hand of God.

All the best.

Daniel Sankarsingh said...

Ahhh. I always enjoyed reading your blog and am disappointed in your decision to stop posting.
It is a shame that you have had such heart breaking experiences. I don't understand how so many in the church could so blatantly defy the direct teachings of the gospel. It is disheartening to all those who try and be a good Christ-like example. As a member of the church I will learn from your experiences and make sure I am not one of those people.

MH said...

FD, I hope things are going well for you. I miss your posts.

JR said...

I know how hard it is to try to get people to see the other side of Mormonism. You get labeled a heretic, unbeliever, etc. So I suffer in silence. I too have had many, many heart breaking experiences in the church, before I became outspoken about problems. Many members can't separate the gospel doctrine from the cultural church run by humans who make mistakes. I do believe the gospel was restored by Heavenly intervention which is why I stay. I do believe Joseph Smith was a true Prophet. I stay for the doctrine, not the church. I am silent now though. Thanks for the thoughtful posts and good luck to you.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Like JR above, I stay for the doctrine, not the Church. But I also have the advantage of not attending church meetings, which makes my life easier. I find I can embrace that which I find true (and which by and large are no longer evident in the LDS Church today) easier to embrace.

I've enjoyed your blog, and this was a fitting end. See you on Facebook.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sad for your you having severed your affiliation with the LDS church. I have found a way to reconcile myself within that faith but I believe that whatever path you choose is the right one. You have navigated your way through your spiritual journey with curiosity, knowledge, compassion, and grace. I wish you well along life's paths whichever one(s) you choose; wherever you go and wherever you are will be and is a blessing to those around you as you have been to us through your blog, your emails of support and kindness, and your humanitarian work and interests. Best wishes...and thank you. Rhonda deLorme, Canada

Anonymous said...

Kinda after the fact...the last post was in June (today is 8/19)...
However, anyone who doubts mormons are mean has never driven on UT highways! Sundays on the freeway look out for the minivans with white shirt and tie drivers...they'll run you off the road if you try to change lanes!
Seriously, Mormons are great people..as long as you are just like them. Try being different! Wear an open neck shirt, or jeans to church! Grow your hair long or>>heaven forbid>> talk about the mysteries in Gospel Doctrine class!
Good post.

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Anonymous said...

If you happen to check in once in a while I hope you see this. I am JR that commented above last year.

I was wondering if you asked Brett why the church no longer heeds the advice of Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith taught that we are to be kind to animals. To not sport hunt and to not kill just to kill, and many other things. Today, LDS do not heed this, among many other things (ha ha)! Neither do the General Authorities.

In the Old Testament the Jews thanked God for the animal that was going to be sacrificed or used for food. They also thanked the animal for being a sacrifice and went through some ritual.

It is sad and disturbing that of all people, the LDS people should be at the fore front of demanding better treatment for God's creatures and they themselves treating animals better and the planet too. In my experiences, LDS are among the worst for helping animals, environmentalism, helping the poor, volunteering, service, and so forth. According to Scripture, LDS should be involved in all of these worthy endeavors. How sad that the church has gone so far astray.

Thank goodness my family is vegetarian.

Take care. JR

Alan Rock Waterman said...

It would appear that Brett's greatest difference of opinion with you is the quoted price charged to hunt on the Deseret Preserve, but he didn't attempt to defend the most glaring problem: Why in hell is a church -any church- in the business of providing a place for people to hunt animals for sport?

I join my voice with JR's above who reminds us that our founding prophet decried such activity. And though I do not begrudge anyone who hunts animals for food, it seems a bit untoward for our Church to be in the business.

THAT is the controversy. It matters little to me what the Church charges people to hunt on its land. What bothers me is that the Church has set aside land for sport hunting in the first place.