I’ve dreamed of making this post ever since the day someone made a similar one on the exmormon.reddit.com site.
“Well, I’m done here. I know the church isn’t the real deal and I’m moving on with my life. Thanks for everything, but I don’t need this in my life.”.
It was a shocking concept. All my life I’d been told that people who left the church were taken over by the devil, and they could not leave it alone. They had to fight it the rest of their lives, and here was a person who was totally moving on in their life.
The church suddenly became nothing more than a club. Oh, it snapped back a few seconds later, but for a brief moment it was nothing more than a pushy, demanding club where the boys at the top were making good on everyone wanting to be in the club.
And suddenly I had a new goal. To leave it alone.
That’s no small goal for a person dealing with OCD. “Leaving things alone” takes a conscious mental effort. I started making my planned exit, like Nightcrossing without the weather balloon, I started to plan how, exactly I could let my OCD unwind.
I had years of notes collected, Beautiful Mind style and no way to stop delving into every question. And there were hundreds of questions that lead to more questions. I knew there was no way to just put it all down.
I made a plan. I’d post my notes online at various mormon subreddits. Mostly they ended up on exmormon because the very believing took offense. Either at the tone of the post, or the content, or that I didn’t finish off with a testimony. For a while I posted under a pseudo-name things I had either taught as an elder’s quorum instructor or I had born testimony of, but without the “up spin” at the end saying that it proved the church was true. I was attacked hostilely by those who were members of the church for creating doubt. Shocked, more of my posts moved into the exmormon sphere.
On I would go, posting notes, mentally taking down the pins, the threads, and the scribbles in my mind. Undoing each line, each need to find out more. My stress levels have dropped tremendously. My need to care about the details have fallen more and more until really, I see the religion as a club.
A club of rich boys playing with people’s lives. But not more or less than dozens of similar clubs. There are worse ones. And I understand that we as humans are very likely to find one of these clubs.
This week, I undid the last pin. Pulled down the last string. I understand there are those individuals out there who will see me as “Crazy as the guy in Beatiful Mind” or “Given to conspircy theory”. Others call me a hack.
That’s okay. I like the saying that one can judge a man by his enemies. So far, most of mine seem to be top caliber.
Others have sung my praise. I’ll admit, I enjoy that people enjoy my work, but my first posts had nothing to do with proving or disproving the church. It was solely about unwinding the OCD in my head by posting the notes.
Now, it’s done. I don’t feel the need to keep going. And it feels very very free.
So my advice. Find how you can leave. Begin with the end in mind. Once you know it isn’t true, move through the rage, and past the depression, and set a goal… how to leave it alone.
Find your own Zen. Your own thing that will let you let it go. And then pursue it. Do it with your whole heart. Do what it takes and then… let it alone.
Go on with your life. A happy fulfilled life where you don’t have to worry about what any organization is doing more than any other. Look at your spouse and children (or girlfriend and possible future children or whatever) take a deep breath and then move on.
I was making a small timeline I called Joseph’s sex life. It started with his marriage to Emma and included when his children were born and when their possible conception was and how that related to the polygamy. I found that the marriages stopped at the end of 1843 and then Emma got pregnant. I know there were marital issues between Joseph and Emma prior to this with the poison, the William Law thing, Partridge sisters etc. but it looked like they made ammends. I wondered if you included in your timeline Joseph’s relationship with Emma. It is hard not to conclude that something in their relationship contributed to polygamy. Would love to hear your thoughts on this idea.