We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.1

I hope this message finds you in good health, and that you are enjoying “another day in paradise.” I don’t expect you to read all of this. The TL;DR2 is this next paragraph:

I am no longer devoted to the church. I cannot believe in it anymore. For my sincere commitment to the sovereignty of truth and by my endowment of free will, I choose to no longer dedicate my life to any institution that places its authority over truth or that claims to be a physical Kingdom of God on Earth.

This may come as a shock. I expect your disapproval. I fully understand your perspective. In the past, it was difficult for me to conceive how anyone could allow themselves to begin to doubt, let alone dissent. I will never expect you to sympathize until you can empathize. You will understand only after you have crossed the bridges that I have crossed. This has been a long journey that began shortly after Steve died almost nine years ago. In just three months, I’ll be the same age as he was. I wish I could show him more unconditional love and take back some of the things I vainly said to him as a testimony.

You are receiving this message because I love and respect you. I do not intend to make waves. I need to come clean and confess about this for my own intellectual integrity, and because of my fear of the stigma our culture places upon anyone who dares to stand independent from the creeds and groupthink of our culture. This is not the “easy way.” It takes great courage to stand alone, against the crowd. The crowd is not “the world.” The most influential crowd is made up of relatives and peers. I wish I could avoid the shame, raised eyebrows, looks of contempt, silent conjecture, and secret gossip if I do not attend a temple event, or if I do not participate in priesthood blessings and other outward rituals or elite ceremonies.

I hold you in the highest regard, and I say what I say with reverence for your honest dedication to what you believe is true as well as for your innate goodness. Most of you are wholly devoted to the work and have consecrated your entire lives and practically everything you possess to the church. I like to think that I tried my best, too, at least to the extent of my abilities and personality.

I have never been a “jack mormon.” I was the opposite. I strictly obeyed. I am not too weak to adhere to commandments. I am not cheating on my wife nor anything like that, though I hope she will continue to love me for the essence of who I am and not for what she imagines I should be. I am the same person I have always been. I am still just as loyal to both truth and faith, if not more. I feel like the Spirit of Truth has enticed me to push beyond the barrier. My belief in a loving God has never been stronger. I consider my understanding of God as having graduated and superseded the god of Mormonism. I no longer believe in an anthropomorphic god. I believe God is infinitely greater than “The Man of Holiness”3 as Mormonism prescribes. I no longer believe that God needs the arm of the flesh to administer and judge for him. I do not fear the judgment of God. In my mind, I am not betraying covenants because I cannot believe that any infinite being would be such a brute as to require the swearing of infinite oaths during an ephemeral life.

From my perspective, I am now following the teachings of Jesus, himself, more rigorously. I think that most of his ideas are misunderstood. My ethics are now guided by my innate moral compass for their intrinsic value; not commandments of men, nor the threat of the loss of exaltation. I want to win trust and respect for the core of who I am, not for my allegiance to an institution. If you see me no longer constraining to the word of wisdom or wearing different underwear, it is not because of weakness. Because of my new conception of the universe, I no longer care about petty pharisaical bylaws, nor do I continue to revere what I consider to be modern idols. I believe that God cares about my heart, not what I wear or eat.4

I have arrived at my conclusions through intense prayer and study of the scriptures and because I have allowed myself to apply the same critical thought that my career requires to my religion. I do not wish to talk about this on the phone or in person, because that will demand hasty answers, and I fear that I will receive equally as quick judgments in return. I do not need replies with first impressions, especially thought-stopping clichés and platitudes. There are simple reasons, but there are no quick answers that can stand in contrast to a lifetime of Sunday School indoctrination. In many cases, I think that crystallized answers and the arrogance of certainty are part of the problem. This message is already too long. I do not want to list the mountain of questions that I have ascended to come to the pinnacle and tipping point where I currently stand. I am sad that I feel the need to send a pathetic message like this to try to retain my dignity at all. Either way, I would not expect you to be interested, because I would not have been interested when I was devout, either.

The more we see, the more we understand. The more we understand, the easier it is for us to have compassion and love. Understanding is the source of love. Understanding is love itself. Understanding is another name for love; love is another name for understanding.5

If you are genuinely interested and if you subscribe to the benevolent, non-judgmental spirit as Jesus exemplified, then if you ask, I will allow you into my mind by providing a dissertation6 that attempts to express some of the ideas from my journey in thought. Even so, if you did read the entire thing, it is still only the tip of the iceberg.

If you have read all the way to the bottom of this message, thanks for listening.

  1. Articles of Faith 11

  2. TL;DR: Too long, didn’t read

  3. Moses 7:35

  4. Luke 11:38-40
    1 Samuel 16:7
    Matthew 15:11,17-20
    Mark 7:15
    Mark 7:17-23

  5. Nhat Hanh

  6. www.lump.net