Hi, My name is Bill Reel
I was a mormon. I love to read books, listen to podcasts, and learn new things. I love Faith Development, Mormon History, My family, and being with the most awesome friends on the planet.
I was a 17 year old convert to the Church. Got married in the Washington D.C. Temple and at 29 years old was called to serve as a Bishop of a small mid-western ward. I have an amazing wife and 4 incredible children and the best friends on the planet. I founded a charity "Mormon Discussion Inc." and am the host of several podcasts operated within it.
Why I left
I learned Mormonism had a messy and complicated past early on in my time in the Church. But as time went on I came to grips with other issues that further complicated my beliefs. First I learned the Church was causing real harm to people who did not fit the mold. The LGBT community was deeply at risk. Others included members who had doubts as well as members who concluded the Church was not what it claimed and left. I sensed just how precarious relationships are between people who loved each other but for which their doubt or disbelief led to believing family stepping back from full inclusive love. I learned the Church was not a safe place for many. Second was that I had to come to grips that the Church shielding its members and the public generally from learning the complicated history was at least in large part intentional. This was hard. Once I dealt with that I was opened up to whether the truth claims of my beloved faith truly held up against the history and against thinking rationally and logically. Over about a 6 year period I slowly deconstructed my entire belief system and lost Faith in Mormonism's truth claims and in Mormonism's ability to be healthy to others if those healthy interactions would damage the institutional Church.
In the beginning I thought I was having a faith crisis. That wasn't true. I wanted Mormonism to be truth more than anything else. If anything maybe I cared too much. Instead the Church had a truth crisis. And in my own personal growth and development, the Church no longer represented my values. I wasn't less than. I didn't want to sin. I wasn't lazy. I had outgrown Mormonism and it was no longer a safe place for me and the truths I held to voraciously.
Questions I've answered
It can be scary wondering what now when you deconstruct the faith you grew up in and/or had your identity tied to. For me and my family, we are happier. We live more abundantly. Outside the Church we can love each other and other humans more fully. We welcome diversity and differences. We have learned what makes us different is way more real than what makes us the same. People are broken but such is not bad. Outside the Church we have been able to be more vulnerable. More authentic. More real. And we make safe space for others to do the same. We show up. We lean in. And we try to be present each and every moment.
I believe in humanity. I believe there is mystery in the universe but I don't feel adequate naming it. I make space for people to believe differently and hope they give me the same with complete respect. I love people's stories and hope you recognize your story has value. Don't let anyone tell your story inaccurately. You have a right to your story being told. So with that I wish you the best on your journey.