Hi, I'm Adam
I'm a software developer who loves learning and can be a bit of a wiki wanderer. I also enjoy playing D&D with friends. I was a mormon.
I was raised in a very strict Mormon home—the kind where the only acceptable Sunday activities are writing a letter to grandma, reading scriptures, or taking a nap (no, we weren't allowed to play outside on Sundays, that wouldn't be reverent). Among my siblings, I considered myself the most obedient. As a teenager, I always called my parents for permission before watching a PG-13 movie, I never skipped mutual, and I didn't drink beverages with caffeine. I completed 4 years of seminary, went to BYU, served a mission, and got married in the temple at the age of 22.
By the time I was 30 years old, I think I'd missed church fewer than 5 times in my life. At one point, we realized we'd missed paying tithing on a few paychecks. We didn't have enough cash to backpay the tithing we owed, so we sold our couch, bedframe, TV stand, and keyboard (piano) in order to make the payment. Eventually my work in software started to bring more income, from which we were sure to pay tithing and generous fast offerings.
Up until the end, I felt like I was 100% in the church. I didn't doubt or question. I was obedient and faithful to the things I had been taught. I believed I had a firm testimony and had experienced many spiritual experiences to confirm that testimony.
On my shelf
On the Mormon Spectrum
# Why I left More stories of 'Why I left' the Mormon church
Looking back, I see that many, many items went on my shelf over the years. The first was actually during a conference talk by Gordon B. Hinckley. He explained how we invite members of other faiths to bring the truth they have and add ours to it (or something like that). I was just a teenager, but I had a rare moment of insight. I envisioned a member of a Christian church being told that they only had part of the truth and that the Mormon's had the rest of it. It occurred to me that they would feel the exact opposite: that *we* were the ones who lacked the full truth. That went straight on the shelf.
Other things came up over the years. Rumors that the endowment was based on Free Masonry. Questions about whether prayer could change the behavior of an all-knowing, all-powerful God. Non-member friends highlighting the absurdity of the Jaredite barges. Even moments of clarity when I realized my "spiritual experiences" had mundane explanations. These and many others went straight to the shelf. I dismissed them with thought-stoppers and as a result, never felt like I was wavering at all. I thought I had such a firm foundation.
The thing that brought everything crashing down was actually an attempt at apologetics. In a classic evening of wiki wandering, I read about ancient Egypt and Israel, including a page about the Dead Sea Scrolls. I realized that we have a complete copy of Isaiah from ~150 BC. In my mind, this copy of Isaiah should have matched the Book of Mormon Isaiah chapters much more closely than the KJV does. I thought I would be able to use this to prove that the Book of Mormon was true.
However, upon researching, I learned the exact opposite. The BoM matches the KJV much more closely than it does any older writings. In fact, the BoM contains text that was written long after 600 BC. I panicked and tried to rationalize this away. Every avenue I thought would help turned out to hurt more. Everything I researched about church history, Joseph's translation process, the testimonies of the witnesses, and so on turned out to point in the opposite direction.
After about a month of digging through all the information I could find (from reliable sources only!) I had no choice but to leave the church. I couldn't in good conscience continue pretending that it was true. What we were taught in church on Sundays was so drastically different from the history that the church itself had recorded that there was no way to excuse the church. It was readily apparent that the church was intentionally deceiving members and covering up evidence of the truth. So I left.
Questions about Mormons My Answers to Questions about Mormonism
#Link to this answer of 'Are you happy?' by Adam J Are you happy? See more answers about 'Are you happy?'
I'm happier now than I ever was in the church. As a Mormon, I perpetually felt like I wasn't good enough. My family was often in conflict over how to live the standards of the church and I was passing on the feelings of inadequacy to my children.
Now, as an atheist, I'm free from all of that, I am me. I don't need to be someone else. I'm the father of my children and I can choose to teach them what I truly feel is right, not what some old white dude says I should teach them. I can simply focus on my own goals and I can forgive myself of my own mistakes.
My life finally feels REAL. When I'm sad, I don't need to pretend that some supernatural being is making me feel differently. When succeed, I don't need to attribute my success to a deity to avoid being prideful. When I'm upset, I can evaluate the true causes of my emotions, rather than being afraid that Satan is attacking me. My life is mine, and it's logical, rational, and real. I love it.