As I was sitting her thinking about the many different things I have struggled with about Mormonism, I thought about when Brian and I went through the temple for the first time.
I remember being taught about what a “sacred” experience the temple was and what a great blessing it would be to finally be able to go through. Being “worthy” of going through the temple is a rite of passage in Mormonism and when we were given an opportunity to go through, how could we say no?
Going through the temple wasn’t the experience I thought it would be. I honestly felt let down after that experience because I felt I had been promised so much more. When Brian and I drove back to our apartment after that experience and we talked about it, we both agreed we didn’t ever want to go through that experience again. I told Brian the experience we had in the temple made me feel that the Mormon church could be a cult.
I know many of my LDS friends and family will just say we weren’t ready or didn’t understand. And that may be true. But, in Mormonism, you aren’t supposed to question things and if you do, you are encouraged to only use Mormon doctrine to find answers. Going through the temple left me feeling uneasy and uncertain. I didn’t know who I could talk to about it. So, we continued to go to church but didn’t go back to the temple.
As a Mormon, there were so many things I didn’t understand, and that I questioned, and I never really got an answer for. I remember growing up and thinking it was unfair that my non-LDS grandparents wouldn’t be able to go to heaven because they drank coffee. They were good people and I just didn’t understand how coffee made them bad people. As I got into high school I struggled even more with the coffee dilemma. How can it be bad to drink coffee or tea but it’s ok to drink Dr. Pepper, one of my favorites, or hot chocolate? There were no answers within the Mormon doctrine that made sense to me and so I just shoved it under the rug and went on with my life.
I never understood when the guys messed up on the sacrament prayer, why they had to say it again or if the slightest piece of skin was out of the water when someone was baptized, why they had to redo it. I always struggled to understand why 8 years old was the “age of accountability” and when you got baptized in Mormonism. I never understood and still struggle to understand why kids can’t date until they’re 16. Because turning 16 in June doesn’t make you any more mature than you would have been in May but you have to miss prom because you were a month away from 16. So many little rules and regulations that never made sense to me.
I remember when I was in grad school, I commuted with some amazing ladies, and we would have some great conversations. Two of us were Christians and one was a Mormon. I remember discussing forever families. We discussed many different scenarios and all my Mormon friend could say was, “God will work it all out in the end”. If that’s the case, then why does religion matter?
As I came out of Mormonism, I found that all the little things didn’t seem to matter as a Christian. The most important thing was my relationship with God. The best thing about being a Christian was I was told to question everything. I was no longer bound by the belief that questioning or not understanding something was a lack of faith.
When Brian and I found our home church, that we currently attend, we went through a Biblical Foundations Class. It was the most eye opening experience ever. I came to understand so much about God and the Bible. I loved every bit of it. We went through it a second time with our 2 older kids and now my 2 youngest daughters are going through the class. The best part of it was our pastor who taught the class never said, “take my word for it” or “believe everything I say because I’m pastor”. No, he told me to question. He gave me references and list of arguments on both sides. And in a world where you have access to unlimited information at your fingertips I was able to look for myself and find out why I believe what I believe.
Going from a belief system where I wasn’t allowed to question anything, it was refreshing to be encouraged to question everything. As I have grown in my Christian walk I have come to the conclusion the reason the Mormon church doesn’t like people to question or look outside of the LDS faith for answers is because they will find truth. As I was writing this blog I asked my pastor for a definition of truth, this is what he said:
“Truth corresponds to reality and is internally coherent. Truth is based on reality and “facts on the ground”. It also needs to be logical and not changed from the beginning of the book to the end like the trinity in the Book of Mormon.”
Referring to the original writing of the Book of Mormon which references the trinity of God but now it has changed to refer to God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost as 3 separate beings.
So basically, truth needs to be based on something that really exists and can be backed up by facts and real evidence. It can’t be changed. It has to be consistent over time. When you look at Mormonism, truth isn’t there and that is why they don’t want you to question. That is why you are asked to believe the Mormon prophets and other leadership and not question. If you don’t question, they don’t have to worry about a cover story. If you do happen to question, and they label it as a crisis of faith, and the only information that is allowable is church approved doctrine, then how are you finding truth?
Have you ever questioned anything? I think questioning is so important in everything, because if you stop questioning, you stop growing. If you aren’t willing to question things, then how do you know if you have truth?
I think those nuggets of doubt that you feel in your heart are God’s way of saying you need to look deeper into this. Brian and I were talking about this and he said if you investigate truth, it always leads you back to truth. If you investigate lies, it leads you to more lies or you find the truth. So, the bottom line of all of this is never stop questioning.
I’m just a small town girl… living in a world of questions.