I am writing this letter because sometimes I don’t do well in communicating what is in my heart and mind. I often stumble laying out the progression of reason and logic in my mind so I thought this would help. And if I never give this letter to you because I am too chicken of the consequences maybe it will help me find some peace and understanding.
Some years ago I set up a news feed in Google regarding Mitt Romney when he was running for president the first time. It sent news stories to my gmail about his candicacy. In the mix of this “Mitt Romney news feed” I also received other news stories related to the church and discussion around church culture. As I read the “news” I discovered alot of disussion around church culture as it relates to the “gospel”. This topic led me to other websites that discussed church history. From this I found many interesting facts related to the official church narrative that are quite a bit different. While they are too numerous to go into I can summarize by saying they made me go Hmmmm ….
I have been very dedicated to the church our entire married life. In spite of my weaknesses, swearing and anger, I have tried to live the “gospel” as best as I could. You also know we have struggled from time to time. Only now after 20+ years of marriage are we in a somewhat half decent place in terms of finances. I spent numerous hours in leadership meetings away from home as you struggled with the kids when they were young. As I have aged I came to feel that all these church demands were largely a waste of time and I felt no spiritual satisfaction from them. It felt empty and meaningless. I contrast this with the feeling I had delivering meals on wheels … I felt what I think to be how Jesus feels helping other people. It was incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. Something I never felt at church. My heart swelled up with happiness as the little old lady looked me in the eyes and said thank you and she meant it. I contrasted that with the fact that for years I have felt bored and uninterested at church. Maybe once a month I would feel spiritually uplifted at church. That along with the message I would hear over and over again … be perfect, you are not good enough and sacrifice, sacrifice sacrifice. This along with the pressures of life made me feel depressed. I also see the moment when I felt more concern and compassion from the people I worked with when my dad died than anything I felt from a group of people that was my church, my ward family. Seeing people who by their own choice volunteered in the community and were good people even though they didn’t exactly reflect “LDS” standards.
I know I have wandered a bit with this. But I want to say I feel that faith is a very personal thing. Between a person and god. My faith is evolved. I no longer hold to the same frame of thought and philosophy that I once had. I believe that god led me to the church to rescue me from my own self destructive tendencies. It has brought many good things into my life. But through my own process of maturation I also believe it teaches negative things that have brought uneeded strife and stress into my life. I believe that the church can be a force for good in people’s lives. That it can help people avoid dumb things. I believe in a god. Whether he has 10 finger and 10 toes, I don’t care. I choose to believe in a being who is loving and kind and forgiving. I believe he put us on this earth to learn and grow. I believe jesus was a great man and moral teacher. Did he save me from my sins? I don’t know. But I believe that by following his teachings and principles I can transcend the crap that is in this world and live on a higher more “godlike” plane of existence. That his teachings can free me from the bondage of human stupidity. If he is my savior in the traditional sense, great. If not I am a better person for trying to live like him. For years I have been thinking this and feeling this and it kills me to hold it all in and not talk about it with you. I am worried that you would be very upset by all this. And if you are I understand. My feelings and thoughts are very deep and heartfelt. I am sure this letter will open up a whole other can of worms but I have to let you know how i feel.
Your Loving Husband