Okay...soul baring time.
Last month a former LDS friend, now an Exmormon asked me a question.
"Norm, dont you sometimes wish you didn't know so much?" Referring to what I know about the fraudulent historical aspects of LDS history and doctrine.
His question kind of got me thinking....again:)
It must be said however that life in the Thompson home in so many ways is much less complicated than when we were members. Its also much more leisurely and more free.
Is it more fun? Yes!
Is it more comfortable? Yes
Is it more simplified.....ABSOLUTELY!
However, is it more fulfilling? Not sure how to answer that one. When your so busy and active as an LDS member you can often feel very fulfilled. Even if its all a fraud, you cant help but feel fulfilled when your so dedicated to serving the members.
Now it must be said that some of the members made this experience of service, truly beautiful in many ways.
Names? Sure, why not!
Members like the Bouwhuis family, members like Tom and Ruth Kebick, like Ken Stephens family or John Dunstall and the Crabbe family or Tim and Dave Davies family and many others (please forgive me so many others Rattray's, Nantias etc if I miss some names). They made it all worthwhile. These are generally good hearted, back row members with other things in their lives besides the LDS Church. Humble, good hearted people who have a broad variety of friends and associates.
The ones that did not, well that list is just as long and no......too much class in this 'ass' (hey its in the scriptures!) to give there names. No hard feelings now though. For the most part these are the most 'in' members in the area. Totally in....no room for anything else in their lives such as balance or caring. I kind of feel sorry for most of them now. They are the ones that if they found out, in an undeniable way that it was all a fraud, they would likely jump off a tall building or something because their entire world would collapse in an instant.
I was more like the people of the 'back row' group up until I was called as bishop I had not held any significant callings and was in the back row quiet comfortably, I had lots of non-lds friends, but....I believed.....I believed EVERYTHING "book", line....and sinker!
WHAT DO I MISS?
Yes, I miss some things, well, more....I miss some really fine people. I cant really associate with them, and they cant really associate with me.
Why? Not because they want to be mean or that I wish to be an angry Exmormon. The truth is....I know too much! And their belief system would not benefit from what I know. Additionally, me simply existing, and breathing and being alive and happy kind of conflicts with everything they have been taught about those who 'leave the fold'. It kind of messes with their 'cog-dis' (aka cognitive dissonance, see this blog regarding discussion on the subject http://www.dovesandserpents.org/wp/2012/04/28-mcs-dissonance-101/)
Basically, its not easy hanging around an exmormon family while you see them spending more time together, having more blessings (money prosperity etc) and basically seeing their lives, overall.....move forward. HOW CAN THIS BE?
Now, its important that you understand something. I am no longer angry at the LDS Church for its deception. Sure, it stole lots of time and money and talents from me, but to be fair, it also gave me some skills and experiences which will last me for a lifetime in a positive manner. I cautiously say that I am content with my time in the LDS Church. I might even admit, as my friends statement above indicates....that there are even some things I actually miss!!!
I am shocked to see this in writing from my hands.
I miss some of those amazing members, because really I have nothing good to offer them as far as 'my truth'. I don't want to cause them pain, like many of us have felt, due to finding out what I know.
Leaving the LDS faith was quite painful. In some ways, it would have been easier to simply look away from fact and history. It was simply something I could not do, once I noticed the big cracks that are part of the LDS culture.
I miss the 'next big activity'. Gabriele (my wife) was involved in activities while I was a bishop and...well......we had some pretty fantastic events supported by a bishopric who believed fun was a three, not four letter word! (guess who that bishop was :))
There was always something coming around the next corner on the calendar, okay well....all those meetings in between......uggg! Not fun! Not cool....and truly....not purposeful.
I don't know how to say this, but as I come to appreciating my former LDS life as part of who I am, instead of trying my best to simply burn the memory.......there are some things that I miss.
"Too bad" as my good exmormon friend said....."that we know so much".
Rebuilding a new life is not easy for many former LDS members. Especially for those more socially inclined.
My wife, well she was always more happy in a book or alone, then at and LDS activity. She does not miss it at all. The fact that friends disappeared overnight since our departure, is simply a truth for her that they never were 'real' friends to begin with.
I dont care, I miss my casual relationship with good hearted LDS people and families. I miss their hopeful attitude in the face of glaring truths, heck I still have family members......'preparing for the second coming' even after the LDS institute teachers stopped that type of conversation. The dates.....keep changing for the 'big event' but.....they have been preparing and still keep doing so into their seventies.
Might not have nice clothes to wear, or always have enough gas for the car....but they have their wheat and storage. I was one of them...now....trying to figure out.....who I can dump the stuff on to clear space for my potato chips and chocolate bars!
I miss your potlucks LDS Church..
Don't miss most things about it....but I miss some of the amazing, truly kind hearted people like those I mentioned above and many others.
Its hard to leave the LDS church because it really never leaves you alone? What with family members still so involved....you can never really get away from it and when you finally do, well....you are indeed.....alone.
There will always be a hole in my heart for the LDS church. I suspect that though the rest of my heart is strong and well....there will always be a small hole. Finding out that it was a fraud.....wow.....that was tough. You cannot imagine how tough that was.
I dont blame those who stay active in it though. It has some redeeming qualities about it.
Truth....NOT being one of them.