In spite of my various attempts to clarify my motives, people continue to ask why I have chosen to be so noisy and public as I exited the LDS Church. Most of these questions (and the occasional accusation that I’m insincere, or an attention whore) come from people who seem to be deeply connected to and invested in Mormonism. I’m realizing more and more that they’re not going to get it. And I’m ok with this.
I’m assuming that most of these folks are secure in their convictions of Mormonism and their place in it. I suspect that these people will not change their views much by reading anything on this site. It is my hope that maybe one or two will discover, perhaps against their expectations, that some ex-mormons and apostates aren’t quite as vitriolic and maybe a bit more thoughtful than they suspected. But maybe it will confirm their worst fears of us. I’m ok with that, too. They have the institution at their back, and the culture reinforces their views. I’m no threat to them.
But there are a contingent of people reading this, or who will come across this and other posts, and find that my account of my journey out of Mormonism and my excommunication resonate with them. The LDS institutional and cultural messages are a source of dissonance and anxiety for them. They’ll find comfort and companionship in my opinions and experiences and of similar ones voiced by other commenters. I know this because I once felt similarly isolated, and I’ve encountered many people over the years who feel the same way. This is one reason why the Church tries to limit the public voicing of doubts (I should note that this is not a pre-requisite of a faith organization–some, like the UU and liberal Quaker churches, welcome it) and warns against attending symposia–to keep people who struggle this way separate from each other. It’s one reason why I set up the Open Thread post: I want questioners and skeptics who are beginning to encounter serious doubts or those who feel trapped in religious institutions to realize that they are not alone, isolated, or aberrant. If you feel this way, I hope you’ll go check out the sites in the comments there. You are part of a large community. You may find more stories that resonate powerfully with you. If you’re like me and Jana, you might even find that some online conversations will grow into important and lasting friendships. If you don’t already have one, maybe you’ll start a blog of your own and reach out to another set of lonely and struggling souls.
But if you’re coming from the faith-promoting perspective, I don’t expect you to agree, sympathize or understand with anything of this. But that’s the point–I’m not writing with you in mind (though you’re always welcome here if you can stomach the subject matter and remain respectful of the individuals who comment here). You already have a strong community. I’m not reaching out to you. But thanks for stopping by, anyway.