One year ago today I posted this on Facebook. I was pleased to receive so much understanding and support. There was disappointment, too, of course. That is to be expected. It was confirmed that the caliber of family and the friends I’ve surrounded myself with is very high. I am truly grateful for that!
My wife is amazing! I expressed concern to her about what others might say about me but she told me to send them her way and she’d straighten them out! She’s not just my wife and partner, she’s my best friend.
But, back to the post on Facebook.
Apparently, my LDS Church Priesthood leaders were less than excited about it. I think, though, that my Bishop was willing to let the post stand and would have worked with me through whatever questions I might have about Church Doctrine and History. With that thought, I need to step aside for a moment.
Questions about Church History? Doctrine? It used to be that people who doubted, went inactive or outright left the Church were offended or had “sinful” habits they couldn’t or wouldn’t give up. Or were just lazy. Couldn’t commit. Or didn’t have enough Faith. Now it’s “questions” and “doubts” that seem to be the culprits. Well, the others are still considered, just not as much. What it was with me, being unable to speak to anyone else’s case, was that I learned Joseph Smith, Jr. was a con man and a fraud. I learned the LDS Church was not true. No questions. No doubts. No sinful habits. Faith didn’t even apply! In fact, Church leaders seem to advise an increase in Faith will overcome my doubts and questions but even their own doctrine contradicts that. Faith leads to knowledge. Knowledge is the goal. Once knowledge about a thing is obtained, Faith becomes dormant with regard to that thing. (The Book of Mormon, Alma 32)
I have knowledge the Church is false. Faith no more.
Now, back to the task at hand.
This is my own impression of the motivations behind the sequence of events that this post “inspired”, but if there are differences in reality, I think they’re insignificant. Also, one year has passed and I’m 62. The making of this post here helps my recollection!
So, after interviewing with my Bishop the prior year (June/July), an appointment at my home was set up for the Stake President and our local Area Seventy. (Break: nutshell explanation regarding LDS hierarchy – Bishops lead congregations, several congregations – 6 to 8 or so – comprise a Stake, overseen by a Stake President, several Stakes comprise an Area, overseen by an Area Seventy, Area Seventies report to the Seven Presidents of Seventy, the First and Second Quorums of Seventy and the Twelve Apostles and the First Presidency of the Church are General Authorities and lead the global church)
They visited, I explained what I had learned. They bore testimony and left. January rolls around and I make my fatal FB post, mentioned above. Because of that meeting in my home with both the Stake President and his line leader, the Area Seventy, the two of them spearheaded my spiritual demise. I think this saddened my Bishop, who also a friend. In any subsequent conversation with the Stake President, he would reiterate that the Area Seventy was fully supportive and in accord with him, the Stake President.
Can you say predetermined decision coming up?
My “last chance” interview with the Stake President was held at his home. He asked me to take down the post which, by this time in late March, had been up for almost two months! I politely but firmly declined.
March 30, 2016, I was excommunicated. The fulfillment of the predetermined decision.
Well, my story caught the attention of the guys at MormonThink and they asked if they could post the short version of my story. It can be found here (including a link to my Disciplinary Council audio recording, where I was excommunicated from the LDS Church).
Do I have regrets? Just one.
I regret my own family cannot yet see.
Time, though, will tell.