Letter to my Family about my Doubts…

[I wrote this letter to a dear family member after they found out I had doubts about the church]

Dear [****],

How are you? I wanted to first of all thank you for our conversation Sunday evening and for you lending an ear to me. That was so helpful! I have said it before and I will continue saying it: I am very grateful to have a person like you in my life. I have also told [your daughter] many times that I see you as one of the most genuine people on this Earth. The letter you wrote to me while I was on my mission is still one I treasure immensely. I enjoy having you at our house and listening to your take on things. I can tell from your thoughtful remarks that God has blessed you with a very bright mind indeed.

I must say that after our talk outside [where we talked about my doubts] I was worried that you would talk to my parents afterwards about my doubts and feelings towards the Church. I was happy when you told me that you hadn’t said anything yet. I wouldn’t feel comfortable having others talk about me by themselves in a group or trying to make me “a project”. So thanks for respecting that. You might be surprised to find that I didn’t follow your council in not talking to my mom about these things. Yesterday night she called to her house to have a one-on-one conversation with her. Me being me, I was just completely honest with her about my current feelings. You know what, though? I still love the Church and its teachings and hopefully she saw that yesterday. The only thing I am doing is expressing my doubts and working them out. Yes that is generally not done inside the Church among its members because these topics can be seen as heretic or taboo but I am just being honest with myself and a few close to me. Most would recommend these types of conversation to be reserved between my patriarchal leaders at home and at Church, but what if they don’t know the issues that trouble me? I highly doubt that my Bishop has studied these things, and my dad doesn’t want to “meddle” for the time being so I’m left alone to work these things out.

I think we all of us are always working things out in our minds, making contradictions work, etc. This is how we figure out life- by contemplating the equations and conundrums surrounding us, and so it is with me in the Church right now. Some people, I believe, are born thinkers. What I mean by that is that some, by nature, are born to question everything and think “outside the box” if you will. I can see that you definitely are a thinker. My dad is too, although he now only allows his “orthodox” thoughts override his “unorthodox”. For me, I could see myself having this trait even before I was baptised. On one occasion, seven years of age, I saw a woman in a swimsuit on a cover of a magazine. The thought came to my mind about sex (my parents had talked to me beforehand about the mechanics). The funny thing is, I looked at that woman and thought to myself of all the sins I could now commit, and not be held accountable because I still had not been baptised. I still remember thinking, I can go and have sex, or do “this or that”, or steal, and still come out as “perfect” on the day of my baptism (and this being before my ‘age of accountability’).

Another example, also when I was around seven years old, was my problem with bearing testimony and the Spirit bearing witness of the truth. At this young age, I did not agree with how everyone would say they “knew” this and that from simply their feelings. At this young age I contemplated the idea that it could be their own minds or even (remember, I was a kid) feelings coming from a space ship from far away to fool the Earthlings. I thought “who’s to say that couldn’t be? Is it absoulutely impossible?” I still to this day, even after having very remarkable experiences with the Spirit, wonder if “feelings” should trump testable data and logic. Really, though, who is to say that my ideas as a kid are not worth considering? Once again, this is pretty “taboo” of me to be saying, but is it not something to consider? That is all I am doing is working out this masterpiece of what life is and trying to figure it all out. The mentality I have now I have had since I was an innocent little kid. The only difference is that I am now being open and honest about how I feel. That’s all.

[I have come across a lot of information about the Church that begs to be considered contemplated]. There are people who know the same information I know and continue faithful in the Church, though their testimonies become more complicated. It’s a tricky road to travel but others have done it. Heroes I look up to are Leonard Arrington (Church historian), Richard Bushman, Grant Palmer, Michael Quinn, Todd Compton, and others. There are even communities of people like me who know the issues and continue in the Church. They are good to look up to because they know what you are going through. A couple of good publications are Sunstone and Dialogue. Here, there are many members who can help each other deal with these issues and continue to live and focus on a Christ-centered life. You can get a free issue sent to your house by clicking here.

In closing, there is a presentation put together by a seminary teacher about members like me. Please check it out as to better understand your nephew. It is found here:

[****], thank you once again for being non-judgmental and so loving and sincere! I love you to death!

Yours,
Mark

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~ by bonoboi on June 5, 2006.

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