A little over 2 years ago I came to a realization, that the one thing that was supposed to bring ultimate joy and happiness was bringing depression and loneliness. The harder I tried to follow the teachings of the faith the further I fell away from my real self; the me inside that was trying to escape. He kept trying to break down the walls I had created to keep him inside. And then one day it hit me (another blog to come), I had to help him tear down the walls. I had to take off the mask. I had to be who I was inside. It was killing me from the inside and the me inside was trying to escape from the pain and torment I was unleashing upon him. So I gave in. I stopped fighting. I stopped pretending and from that day forth I have never felt more free.
Each day is a new day. Each day I can smile and really mean it. I am allowed to show my emotions, I no longer have to pretend about who I really am! Yes, it was rough at first, but with every step backward I was able to take two steps forward. I was confronted by "concerned" family and friends. I was asked questions about why I had denied the God that I had once believed in. I remember one such friend, at the time, that asked, "what happened? Why do you no longer believe in God? Why have you given up on the faith of hope and happiness? Are you gay? Do you have an illegitimate child? Do you have an STD and you are too afraid to you confront your bishop?"
I felt betrayed and hurt. This person, my friend, my confidant who knew just about every secret I had; thought I had to have a better reason than, "I don't believe in God." That there had to be something else that was pushing me away from the one and only true church. After that we drifted further and further apart till I no longer kept in contact with him. Each one of my friends who were so ingrained in their faith, lost me as a friend. Each one has a similar story about how they wanted to "help me." How they thought they could bring me back and save my soul.
Which brings me to my next point.... Why did I leave the church? Other than the never ending guilt and sorrow, what was it about the faith that made me feel so defiant in my belief in God?
For me I taught and baptized people in this faith in France (only when I felt like it. My mission was more of a vacation and those that have seen my photos can attest to this statement). I professed to believe in God. I taught people of a loving, caring God when in all reality I never really believed. I went because it was either go on a mission or get kicked out of the house. I think most 19 year olds would pick 2 years in Southern France over living on the streets, even if you have to pretend you believe in something you really don't. And I wasn't wrong believing this. I would guess at least 1 in 5 missionaries in my mission were on their mission for the same reason I was, because they did not want to bring shame to themselves and their family. The guilt was a stronger driving force than our own happiness.
As I was on my mission and studied more of the Gospel than I ever have before it hit me more and more why I did not believe. There were so many contradictions in the teachings of God. I couldn't believe in a God of love who was so racist, sexist, angry, jealous, abusive, prideful, etc... God was everything he told us not to be. God was the biggest hypocrite ever imagined. And the more I studied the more repulsed I became of this God, but I continued to hide my true beliefs of how I saw God. So I started studying more. I said, "ok, there are billions of people with a belief in some form of a God. Are any of the Gods real?"
The more I studied other religions, the more I realized it was the same God with just a different name, a different body, a different form. He/She/It became more of a pacifier for adults who could not explain what they thought to be the unexplainable. For me it became a pacifier for laziness and stupidity. So instead of turning to religion for my answers and to a God who did not listen to my prayers (another blog to come), I started to turn to science and agnosticism. I didn't fully give up the believe in God I just had no proof. I also had no proof that God did not exist so agnosticism set in.
The more I delved into science, our understanding of the universe, life, how we began, and that our planet is not 6000 years old; I became more and more doubtful as to who this thing God is or if it even existed. And so began my journey into Atheism....
To Be Continued....