Good Evening. Apostasy is my favorite word.
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13-01-2013, 08:24 PM
Good Evening. Apostasy is my favorite word.
I'm not good with introductions, so please bear with me.

My name is Mark...and I'm an addict. I'm addicted to thinking for myself, to science, and to the never ending thrill of learning new things.

I was born in Provo, Utah into (you guessed it!) a mormon family. That faith never really fit me. From a very young age, I remember thinking it didn't make any sense. Aside from the various internal inconsistencies, I just never believed in the whole God thing. It never clicked, and my parent's didn't seem interested in indoctrinating me. For that I am grateful.

When we moved to Oklahoma, the vague discomfort I felt with the church turned sour. While the Utah mormons I knew never banged on about hell, Oklahoma mormons LOVED it. For some reason, in my 8-year old mentality, hell was a very real threat, while God and Jesus seemed really more like fairy tales. My parents had divorced when I was 6, 2 years after we moved to Oklahoma, so I was quite afraid that my whole family was going to burn.

As I grew older and approached the critical mass of male mormon initiation, the Aaronic priesthood, distrust, discomfort, and doubt swelled. I talked to church elders, asked a lot of questions, and genuinely wanted to know what the heck was going on. I was afraid I was missing something. I didn't believe, and I never did, but I could still see the palpable comfort, and even joy, that some of my elders found in faith. I was afraid of doubting God and going to hell just because I might have missed something obvious.

So when time came for my deacon interview, I went in armed with some pointed questions. Basically, I wanted a reason (any good reason would do) to believe that their books were true, and that there was something simple I was missing. I eventually settled for just wanting to know why he (the Counselor I was talking to) believed. What was his faith about? Where did it come from?

Well, ultimately, he had nothing for me. It became painfully obvious that he had never given his faith any sort of intellectual once-over. I walked out of that interview a deacon in the LDS church, but also a closeted atheist (thought I had no thought of those words at the time). It was spring of 1989, I was 12 years old, and it would be 3 more years before I was allowed to stay home on Sundays. A few months later, my father, having moved back to Provo after the divorce, committed suicide.

As it happened, sometime during my fifteenth orbital repetition, my mother simply lost the desire to make us go to church. She said we didn't have to go anymore if we didn't want to. That summer, I went on one last trip with the church's boy scout trip, and never returned to the Sunday sacrament.

I didn't really think of myself as an atheist. By that time, I knew what the word meant, and I knew that it, strictly speaking, described my state of mind. But I didn't identify with it. That would come in time though. For my high-school English IV senior thesis, I wrote a paper called "Follow Me" describing the harm done to the world by various religious and spiritual groups. You can just about imagine the direction the paper took.

In my mid-20s, I began to be a great deal more alarmed by the evil being presently visited upon the world by religious fanatics. I was 24 in late 2001. Two years later, I was married with a child on the way. My wife was a closeted evangelical. I had no idea. She didn't say a word about it. I wasn't shy about expressing my opinions, and I regret that I probably used aggressive, possibly bullying terms to describe my opinion of Christianity. She didn't trust me with the truth, and she was probably right, and I feel a great swell of shame about it still. We split up and divorced shortly after my daughter turned 2. She took her to church, repeatedly, and I venomously objected, repeatedly. A lot of very bitter disagreement followed. Four years later, when my baby girl was 6, her mother took her own life.

At that instant, I felt oddly fortunate to have been through that situation before. I felt uniquely qualified to help my daughter through what will probably the most difficult and devastating loss of her life.

That was approximately 3 years ago. I've been doing my best to expose her to the wonder and awe of the world, and the universe. We don't avoid talking about religion, God, and faith, but we don't talk about it much. I am free with the details, and I do my best to relay them without bias. She has never expressed a desire to go back to church, but she does love her science class. She thinks Curiosity is about the most amazing thing humans have ever done (incidentally, Curiosity landed on her 9th birthday). She says she wants to be an astrophysicist when she grows up.

As for me. I work in South Oklahoma City for an evangelical fundamentalist. The business is not related to religion in any way, but it is hard not to notice the flagrant religiosity of my employer. He's a very kind, compassionate, generous man. I think it is a terrible insult to his character for him to put such stock in those horrendous fairy tales.

I am a hobbyist luthier, which means I build stringed instruments. Specifically, I build solid-body electric guitars and basses. I'd like to get into acoustic instruments, but the tooling to do so pretty expensive and the processes a bit intimidating for an amateur like me. I have sold a few, and I have a website. It's in my profile.

I guess that's it for now.
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Good Evening. Apostasy is my favorite word. - HaMMerHeD - 13-01-2013 08:24 PM
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