A few years ago, after I had my sudden epiphany about Mormonism, I was really angry. I felt like I had wasted 40 years of my life putting all my efforts and energy into something that wasn’t real. And I wanted to blame someone for it. I took to calling the LDS church a “fucking cult” fairly regularly, and I think I meant it. I was pissed off, and I wanted everyone to know it.
My wife taught me something important a while back, and that is that anger is almost always a substitute for a deeper underlying emotion. For me, it was sadness and hurt. I can’t describe how sad and hurt I felt to discover that the life I had devoted myself to was based on a lie, and a pretty big lie at that. I remember the day that we went to talk to my bishop about my lack of faith. I lay on my bed sobbing harder than I have ever sobbed, except for the day I learned my brothers were dead. I could not be consoled, and my wife didn’t even try. She knew that nothing she could say would help.
They say anger is a natural part of grieving, and maybe it was for me. But I’m glad it passed. I’m glad I can drive past a church without flipping it off (I’m embarrassed to admit I did that a few times driving past our stake center in Texas). I’m glad that I can be respectful towards things I do not believe. I’m glad I can appreciate the good that the church does in my family’s lives and in the lives of millions of people.
That’s not to say that I believe in the church. I don’t. And I have solid reasons not to believe. I think one of the other reasons I was angry was that I couldn’t really tell my family about what I was thinking and feeling. It always ended up in hurt feelings and sometimes anger. I’m again grateful that I no longer feel that need to convince anyone that I’m right (though I know I’m right, natch).
My goal is a live-and-let-live existence. My wife has told me before that she backed away from her public forms of worship because she didn’t want to hurt my feelings. I’d like to think I’m beyond that, and it pains me to know that she ever thought that of me.
I have a long way to go, but I’m getting better every day, at least I hope I am.