Thursday, March 29, 2007

Thinking About What Was Different With My Wife

There have been a lot of posts lately about believing spouses and how to deal with them. It has caused me to reflect on why my situation turned out so differently than the experience of so many others. I am not sharing this to make others envious or feel worse about their own situations. I am sharing this as a way of processing it and to help others who might have a spousal situation similar to mine.

My disbelief did not take place gradually. I had always had an interest in church history, deep doctrines, and apologetics. So, I learned little by little the troubling aspects of Mormonism, along with the popular faith-saving mental gymnastics that maintained my orthodox beliefs. My wife knew that I knew a lot more about Mormonism than she did, and although we were both TBM, I might have been a little more uber-TBM than she was. Occasionally, she would overhear me reacting vocally to myself over something I read of Quinn's, and ask me what it was. I was often reluctant to share because I was afraid that it might weaken her testimony. That holier-than-thou attitude would irritate her until I would tell her what I had just read (since she wanted to know what had caused the reaction). I would then go onto the FAIR website and see if I could find some apologetic interpretation for what I had just read and then share that with my wife. Those issues did not really weaken her testimony, but gave her something to put on her shelf. At the time she felt like her testimony was kind of stagnant, because although she was reading her scriptures and "Jesus the Christ", and attending the church and the temple, none of it was really doing anything for her.

Both she and I have the personality in which we don't want any secrets. If there is information out there, we want to know it, whether it be good, bad, or indifferent. When I finally finished my 6 month long investigation into the Book of Abraham and found that for me, Joseph was guilty of fraud beyond a reasonable doubt (I find Blake Osler's Expansion Theory desperate as well as the idea that the Spirit would lead one to a falsehood that they could still learn from), I knew that my integrity would not allow me to continue acting as a TBM and serving as a counselor in the Bishopric. I let go of all my mental gymnastics about the temple, the First Vision, restoration of the priesthood, the BoM, the polyandry, and Joseph marrying his own foster daughters, and let the weight of the evidence hold sway. I absolutely had to resign from my calling and quit acting like I had the priesthood, etc. My responsibilities in the Bishopric forced an urgency in my situation because I could not lie and lay my hands on people's heads and set them apart, etc. I had to resign my calling and I had to do it then or not be able to live with myself. So, before I spoke with the Bishop, I told my wife what I had found out about the Book of Abraham, and how I no longer believed, and how my integrity demanded that I resign my calling, etc. She was shocked at the possibility that the BoA could be a fraud and that my testimony that I had held to so firmly for so long was gone so quickly, but knew me well enough to know that I could not live a lie if I no longer believed. She trusted my ability to reason and knew that if I said that there was something to this, then there might be something to it. I invited her to look into it for herself, and due to her trust in me and her curiosity and my persistence she began reading some things within the week.

We discussed the possibility of being "foyer members" (you know the ones that don't participate and just come and sit out in the foyer). But, I could not bear the thought of it because I knew people would judge me, since in an instant I would go from counselor in the Bishopric to withdrawn, non-priesthood exercising member. I knew people would bug me to become more active, and I would have to listen to "Praise to the Man" and keep my mouth shut about a man who I felt deceived us all and abused his power and the trust of the people. Furthermore, I wanted to turn my focus to figuring out my own spirituality and theology, and I saw wasting time at the LDS Church as contrary to my goals. Nevertheless, I would have continued to attend if she had wanted me to. I was the one who changed, and she meant even more to me now than she had when I believed. So, I would have done anything for us to be together, but I needed her to know that my integrity would not allow me to deceive others. Thankfully, she did not demand that I keep going. So, within a week of coming to believe the Church was not what it claims to be, my wife and I met with the Bishop, I turned in my temple recommend, my bishopric books and keys to the building, caught the Bishop up on any assignments I had been working on, told him why I was leaving and that I would not be back. He was shocked, sad to hear it, but could tell my mind was made up. We hugged and that was it.

My wife continued to read and now knows just about everything I know. We resigned our memberships last October, six months after I quit attending. We now attend a Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, although my wife still goes to the LDS church about once a month and sits in the foyer just so that she can talk to old friends. My wife is known in the DAMU as "lilly of the field". So, if you want to ask her questions directly, you can.

This week is the 1 year anniversary of my no longer believing. I told my wife about it on the Sunday of April General Conference 2006. That may not be an occasion of celebration for some, but it is for us. Perhaps we will have a toast with margaritas Sunday night.

Other DAMU couples of which I am aware: BYH and Greek Goddess, Meg and Jack Slate, ChristFollower and Wife of Bath, Solistics and Chandelier, DisMo and Rose-Colored Glasses, any others?


Mother Nature's Son said...

Thanks as always for your observations and insights -
Our experience was somewhat similar to yours, with the Book of Abraham playing a major part.

Mother Nature's Son
- and -

Kullervo said...

My wife and I, but she doesn;t really blog about it like I do.

She, I, and my brother and his wife all kind of fell out of the church at the same time.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

There's Gluby and Lemon Blossom (although Gluby has a blog, I'm not sure if he posts on FLAK yet.)

I'm married to a never-mo.

Thanks for sharing this. That must have been hard. I felt the same about needing to resign my calling quickly, as I was a counselor in the primary presidency and knew that my month to teach sharing time was looming...

Hüffenhardt said...

Thank you, MNS, Kullervo, and SML!

Anonymous said...

my girlfriend was baptized by missionaries in Japan, I read the b.o.m and from there read five more books about it. I told her it was a sham, it hurt at first , and I felt bad about it. but she later gave up her faith when she noticed that as soon as the got you in , they lost interest in her and moved on to the next person!