Share your de-conversion story
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13-04-2017, 07:26 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
(13-04-2017 01:05 PM)ResidentEvilFan Wrote:  
(11-04-2017 08:07 PM)slipknot0129 Wrote:  I was an atheist once, then when I found out how perfect life was. I began believing in God.

You have a very dumb definition of "perfect".
Life is perfect.
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13-04-2017, 08:08 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
(13-04-2017 07:26 PM)slipknot0129 Wrote:  
(13-04-2017 01:05 PM)ResidentEvilFan Wrote:  You have a very dumb definition of "perfect".
Life is perfect.

Stop it. This is for conversion stories, not arguments. You have a whole message board to argue in, stay out of this thread with it.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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14-04-2017, 12:46 AM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
(13-04-2017 08:08 PM)Dom Wrote:  
(13-04-2017 07:26 PM)slipknot0129 Wrote:  Life is perfect.

Stop it. This is for conversion stories, not arguments. You have a whole message board to argue in, stay out of this thread with it.
Life being perfect is why I converted to theism.
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14-04-2017, 01:04 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
The Forum is closer to perfect without you slipknot.

Way to go Moms.

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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14-04-2017, 01:09 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
(14-04-2017 12:46 AM)slipknot0129 Wrote:  
(13-04-2017 08:08 PM)Dom Wrote:  Stop it. This is for conversion stories, not arguments. You have a whole message board to argue in, stay out of this thread with it.
Life being perfect is why I converted to theism.

Yes, and in a perfect world, you wouldn't get banned. Shy

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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17-04-2017, 03:39 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
(10-06-2013 08:35 PM)Hughsie Wrote:  My own de-conversion was rather boring. I gradually realised it was all bullshit, .
Very gradually.
I asked questions in the CHurch when i still believed. I started to notice that the answers were platitudes or blame. It was my fault for asking questions, or for not accepting 'it's a mystery' as an actual answer.

Left the Church to seek a religion that had a better grip on the God i still believed in.

Decompressed from Mormon to Christain to experimenting with various other traditions... Woke up one morning and realized, Hey. I'm an atheist.
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20-04-2017, 01:42 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
I was raised in the christian church and was a believer until age 40 (I'm 49 now). My de-conversion probably started well before age 40, though I wouldn't have called it that at the time. I was a bit naive and didn't really know everything about the world and about atheism. All I knew is that I didn't go around preaching to people and church did nothing for me. I figured I just didn't believe as strongly as others, and that was ok. Even as a child I picked up on the things I saw in the church. In the church's I attend the longest, all three of the head pastors were fired for adultery with a member of the church. I knew that was against god's commandments, but kept my mouth shut. I heard about and witnessed infighting among elders in the church and fights for power among the clergy. Still I said nothing. At age 40 I got divorced, and that changed everything. I assumed my church friends and family would be there to pick me up and support me. Nothing could have been further from the truth. All I got was religion jammed down my throat and people saying they would pray for me. I also started looking at the religious people in my life and was shocked by the hypocritical behavior I witnessed. in both friends and my family. This started me investigating religion and the bible. Then I started reading people like Hitchens, Dawkins, Dan Barker, Seth Andrews, etc. I was amazed how much sense all of them made and how they encountered the same type of behavior from christians that I had. I read the bible critically and saw all the contradictions, violence, missogony, slavery, etc. I found it hard to believe anyone could take the bible at face value. I find it hard to believe that I used to believe all this bullshit.
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21-04-2017, 05:43 AM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
[quote= I find it hard to believe that I used to believe all this bullshit.
[/quote]

Well welcome to a world that is full of wonder and I hope you do not batter yourself to much in taking so long to work it out!
Enjoy TTA!

Arguing with a zealot is only slightly easier than tunneling through a mountain with your forehead!
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21-04-2017, 06:30 AM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
[quote= I find it hard to believe that I used to believe all this bullshit.
[/quote]

Well welcome to a world that is full of wonder and I hope you do not batter yourself to much in taking so long to work it out!
Enjoy TTA!

Arguing with a zealot is only slightly easier than tunneling through a mountain with your forehead!
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19-05-2017, 07:00 AM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
Hello All,

If you get a disgusted feeling seeing my username pop up, I am going full disclosure by helping refresh your memory for why that may be, a thread from 2014:

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...s-Marriage

I have not frequented this forum for several years now, but I would like to share my deconversion as a Mormon losing belief in Mormonism and in the Mormon God.

Stage One, Detachment

When I was 19, I feel while skiing, breaking my fall with my left hand. When I got up and brushed off the snow, I went to grab my ski poles and discovered that I could not grip with my left hand. It did not hurt, but I could not make a fist.

The next day, my hand had swollen, then by the following day I met with a doctor who confirmed a broken third metatarsal and scheduled me for surgery, to insert a metal plate.

I think about that moment, now. My hand did not hurt, I did not know it was broken, but mainly it just didn't work.

That's similar to how I am feeling now.

This last year our family has undergone our own drama and hurtful actions by church leaders. I was denied a stake temple recommend interview because, according to the stake president, my husband was involved in "an intrigue of priests." Or, in other words, my husband and another male member of our ward were at odds in a legal dispute over a contractual relationship.

Shortly after I was given the green light for a recommend. Several months later, my husband wrote emails to the bishop and stake president explaining his disappointment about the way they intervened in this conflict. Shortly after the bishop denied him a temple interview due to his attitude in the emails.

About a week after, the bishop reconciled with us, but the stake president made an appointment with my husband for a preliminary disciplinary council regarding the legal conflict and the emails from my husband. By the time the interview rolled around, the SP had softened considerably. Instead of the interview being with the whole presidency, it was just him. He sat and listened to my husband explain the whole conflict for over an hour. He then invited me in to hear my thoughts for a few minutes. Then he apologized to us.

The apology meant a whole lot to me, it went a long way to salving the pain from the last year.

But, now, like I felt when I broke my hand, something is wrong. It's like something broke and I don't know what.

I grew up in the church, but in a scientifically-minded family. My mom taught us biology at home before we learned it at school. Both parents chief focus became that of acquiring a Christlike character, not on obsessing with rules or culture. My dad's major area of study is the Beatitudes and how to shift one's flawed perspective to a more loving, Christlike perspective in times of conflict. I can attest as his daughter that he's diligently tried to let this shape his life and enhance all our family relationships.

When I was quite young, I always processed gospel teachings logically to the extent that my age and understanding allowed. To me, God could be best understood as Love and Truth and Light. The core of the gospel has always been that we are His children, that He loves us and sent His Son for us.

My family has traveled extensively, living in different countries, over the years and most of that time, church has been in a foreign language for me. This means that for nearly a decade, my relationship with church has been mostly social with what is best called highlights of doctrine. I guess you could say that the language barrier has forced us to, or allowed us to, stay focused on the most basic gospel core, at Church.

So now, after the conflict we've had with the other ward member has been significantly resolved, I'm not sure what is yet undone, because that's certainly the case. When I was 18, several experiences of those close to me popped that bubble I enjoyed as a child, that essentially immunized our family from "bad things." By age 19 I had reasoned and developed a strong testimony that God truly judges by the heart, that no outward analysis could truly achieve that divine judgment: in other words, you cannot say that a young man who dies as an inactive is doomed, for example.

Likewise, for the twenty-plus years since, I've persisted in translating the black-and-white oversimplifications of the LDS culture into more nuanced, open-ended concepts. I guess that up until now it's worked for me.

Something about this last while has undone something.

The ward member has hurt us tremendously. He seems to be a pathological liar and is very skilled and charming. I know that, even though my lifelong acknowledgments that church leaders are fallible, it has been frustrating that our church leaders were tricked into believing him over us, even if temporarily. I see his fruits as truly evil fruits, I feel like he was like a wolf in our midst. (He threatened to kill us, intimidated us on several occasions, and eventually assaulted my husband.)

Maybe I also doubt myself, since I agreed that we trust him. For the record, I feel like we've grown and learned tremendously from this hellish experience. I feel that because of this, I will be smarter but also able to have more compassion on others and love more deeply.

But something is undone, and I'm not sure what. I'm hoping that by talking through it, I can understand.

Stage Two, Awareness

My deconversion wasn't a result of learning history and it wasn't from being hurt by the church, though it intimately involves both.

I knew that Joseph Smith was a man of shady practices. Somehow I allowed myself to suspend conclusions about him based on that knowledge. I figured that maybe God could still work through a man like that even if he screwed up that much.

Then, through church, we met a man like Joseph. This man lied to us, he acted in bad faith, he lied about us to our church leaders, he threatened my husband with violence and death, eventually assaulting my husband.

At the beginning in our relationship with the man we knew, we thought the issues could just be fairly normal misunderstandings. We granted that he had legitimate issues and understood that his poor health could also exacerbate his poor relationship skills. So, that time period was this quasi fog of undertainty tinted by us giving the man the benefit of the doubt and also acknowledging our own flaws and poor decisions.

However, as the relationship continued to deteriorate, it became clearer that there was no equivalency between the way our two parties were struggling with the relationship. We were acting in good faith, while he had never had any, but only maintained a thin veneer of fake good intentions until it was untenable for him. We saw that there was no way to reach this man with reason or kindness or compassion while maintaining a mutually responsible and honest relationship.

The day that he told my husband he wanted to kill him, and when called on it responded that he would not get in trouble as there were no witnesses, it was immediately after he had sent us an email saying he would be looking down from Heaven at us in Hell. He CC'd church leaders that email. In other words, he was publically invoking God's judgment against us for our supposed offenses while privately denying any risk to his own soul for his offenses against us. To me, this made everything terrifyingly clear. I saw that the lengths to which he would go were absolutely unacceptable.

To this day, this man still attends church with his family, having never acknowledged his actions or apologised for them. At first, when the stake president apologised for how he and the bishop has hurt us (after believing the lies) I did feel much better.

However, I realised that it all still felt different. I think my heart was broken, and my glasses were clearer: I knew that a man who lies consistently about important things that hurt people cannot speak for God. Whether he be the man who punched my husband in the face, or Joseph Smith. Neither of these pathological liars were a mouthpiece of the Lord.

In my case, I knew the church was false when I learned about human nature, with a certainty that Joseph Smith was not good enough to be who he is said to be. Having a broken heart helped as well, in seeing the church with more objectivity.

Stage Three, Transition

This has just begun!

Stage Four, Moving On

Not there Yet

In Retrospect, So Far

We all learn differently. I remember religion lessons at my Mormon university on Jesus Christ and how he merited his title as our Father, in part, by committing to come to earth to be our Savior, that he had a theoretical understanding of his mission but only came to realize it in near fullness in the Garden when he atoned. That's when his knowledge became complete, because of experience.

So when I was young and learned that there were credible issues with Joseph, I acknowledged my own epitemological limitations and suspended doubt by supposing that revelation might work differently than I thought. Then, with our recent experience, I learned that there are things men can do that repulse the Spirit of God and which do not allow the Spirit to dwell within them. Our "friend" did this, and so did Joseph Smith, even when acting as prophet.

Or, another way to look at it is that people can have and desire spiritual, charismatic experiences and that Joseph Smith found a niche by starting a religion based on his spectacular spiritualistic claims.

As this is all very new to me, I cannot say exactly where my belief is now.

However, I asked myself where did I, as a human being, cross that line between doing good to being conned by a prophet-man? I think it is at this point: when I forfeit my humanity and my conscience to the authority of someone else, I've crossed the line. My humanity and my conscience: my humanity in treating other people as just as human as myself, my conscious mind that thinks, reasons, and decides based on observations and honest evaluations of the best I can know about any given situation.

And now, one more thing. Since probably the majority of my pre-deconversion posts were opposing same-sex marriage, I woule like to share this as well:

The Long, Slow Death of My Homophobia


Mormon Stories is a podcast hosted by former Mormon John Dehlin. The podcast evolved over the years as he evolved and as his views increasingly separated from Mormon orthodoxy. For his openness, he was excommunicated from the LDS Church. Yet Dehlin has continued the podcast, focusing recently on Mormons who are leaving the church, and in order to help others who are also deconverting feel less isolated, share their own intimate stories of Mormon experience and leaving Mormonism.

Dehlin recently interviewed Lance and Nicki Miles, a couple who describe their faith transition out of Mormonism. Lance’s story of rejecting his father, who came out as gay after decades of trying to morm the gay away, is both tragic and important. It is tremendously moving and compelling. I now feel like every moment used against love between people is wasted.

So, borrowing courage from Lance and Nicki Miles, I'd like to share my own story about leaving homophobia.

I started out from the homophobic double whammy perspective as a Mormon in the Bible Belt. I noticed from a young age that homophobia existed because my middle name is associated with homosexuality. The laughs and smirks during roll call at school clearly indicated this to me.

So I thought about the gay stigma and slowly peeled away the prevalent assumptions about gays. I threw away presumptions attaching homosexuality to pedophilia, to AIDS, and to promiscuity.

Despite this, as a conservative Republican, it was clear that gay marriage could represent a major turning point and revolution of the way society defines marriage. I became a committed opponent of same-sex marriage, and logged hundreds of internet hours researching and debating, many of them with gay, lesbian, bi, and transgender people. I listened, sometimes I listened better than other times. Yet, after several years, I deeply wanted same-sex couples to be able to have legal protections.

When SCOTUS finally ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, I was genuinely happy for those benefitting from the legalization of same-sex marriage.

After getting to know and to love many people who are not straight, I still cannot completely relate to a same-sex relationship, but I’ve also realized that this doesn’t change anything. Do we have to understand each other completely to be decent and kind? I hope not. Do I get it? Not totally, but so what. I want you to be able to live your life, to love, and to freely commit to another person if you want to.

This is where I was before I left the church. At that point as a believing Mormon, I would empathize with the Brethren. I assumed that they, the protectors and stewards of the precious flock of humanity here on earth, had agonized over this issue. I hoped that they were even more aware than I of the suffering, heartache, and struggle felt by those in the church who are not straight. I assumed that the First Presidency had gone to the Lord and pled with the Lord for these children and asked for guidance and that they had received a “No” from the Lord.

From the compassionate believing-Mormon perspective, I believed that we are were stuck with the Lord’s ban on acting out on homosexuality. I believed that this ban was a burden separating us, generating pain and hostility, and that we as disciples of Christ were charged to love through that gap, to bridge the separation.

From within that bubble, I started to really believe that there might be some higher purpose in this dilemma, that maybe Mormons, when they learned to love gays despite God's ban on their desires, would lead the way for all devotees around the world. I believed we would show Muslims, Baptists, and other Mormons how to love those separated from us and how to bridge the distance.

My belief in the church didn't break over these issues, but my belief broke.

From outside the Mormon bubble, the dilemma Mormons suffer over homosexuality is so much clearer, and is absolutely tragic. It's so useless, this suffering. There's no reason consistent with love and hope to believe God is banning homosexuality.

As an ex-Mormon, I keenly feel the pain of being untethered from the comfort of dogma and religious certainty. It is frightening. It is unstable. It is dark sometimes. Yet, it’s only dark, unstable, and frightening if I leave the thinking to Mormonism. Every day requires me to do the mental exercise of building my own game plan and values. It takes work to undo the Mormonism programming and rebuild my own thinking.

But there is an interesting thing that happens almost every day once I do this deliberate mental exercise: life gets so exciting, everything is more valuable. Time and opportunities are more precious and meaningful. I just have to remind myself to do it. And one of the very best things about being an ex-Mormon is being absolutely free of the cognitive and heart-dissonance of homophobia.

If you’re not straight, I’m sorry for the hurt I have contributed to your life. To everyone, I’m sorry for the hurt I have contributed to the world by carrying the water for homophobia.

It’s a new day. Time to live bigger and better.

TL;DR Realised Joseph Smith wasn't a prophet, left the church, and am sorry for opposing same-sex marriage.

-BeccaBoo
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