When an honestly mistaken man sees the truth, one of two things happens: (1) he will either cease to be mistaken, or (2) he will cease to be honest. For he will either accept the truth or he will reject it. If he accepts it, he is no longer mistaken; if he rejects it, he is no longer honest. It is as simple as that. There cannot be such a thing as an “honestly mistaken man” who has once seen the truth.Fanning Yater Tant
We can be honest, and we can be right, but sometimes we can’t be both. Once we’re “woke” to the church, our efforts to continue being honest may include a lot of changes to our life. If we are more interested in keeping the status quo and avoid rocking the boat, we may cease to be honest or live any semblance of an authentic life. If we are more interested in keeping our personal integrity, we need to correct our mistaken trust in the organization. We can’t be woke (discover we are mistaken), and remain to be both honest and continue in the mistake.
It’s ironic that we credit the teachings and principles of the church to having taught us honesty and integrity, and then using that honesty step past the church and feel required to leave it to retain our personal integrity. Though, don’t go giving too much credit to the church, you may have integrity and believe in honesty. This may be a deep value of yours because you are human, not because you are mormon. You easily may have learned it on your own. The church talks a lot about being honest, but has it been honest itself? Half truths much? Sanitized history much? Would a mother allow her kids to give such “faith promoting” stories and get away with it? The church has told us to be honest, but it has not shown us how. They’ve asked us to “do as I say not as I do”. Perhaps, just as a child determined to correct a fault inherited from the character of their parent, we learned honesty despite the church.
When we are in a situation we don’t like we have a few choices: we can remove ourselves from the situation, accept it or seek to change it.
So being honest and retaining integrity, when we discover the church may be more through than true, what should we do? How can we cease to be mistaken to keep being honest? We can leave (quietly or while seeking attention), we can stay (quietly or not). Which do you prefer?
We can authentically proclaim our “new” beliefs, we can tell the world what is wrong with the church and work to de-convert others, especially our loved ones. Sadly, this option leads many of our loved ones to think less of us and our integrity. They are not (yet) woke. It is impossible to see when we don’t have that perspective. When the church being true is a given, it’s impossible to entertain a thought that does not fit within that paradigm.
We can leave, but leave silently. This option may cause the least waves, at least at first. Then we end up with awkward encounters with ward and family members stopping in to check on us, the feeling we’ve become a “project” of rescue. There are those times running into old home teacher (or ministering friend) at the grocery store and random but trauma inducing comments that could send us into a panic. Invitations to read a conference talk to resolve our concerns, or put things back on the shelf. Sometimes this can be an option, returning for the sake of peace in the home or with family. This is a fine line to walk with honesty that some can’t honestly consider while others somehow pull it off with grace.
Options also include working to fix the issues by becoming a church activist. We stay in the pew as a non-believer or a believer with a cause; we voice our concerns. Be prepared in this avenue, because it will also cause loved ones distress, they may wish you had gone away quietly. Even when you are living with integrity and bravely showing up in the arena of life, they will see you as deceived or even a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Your actions could be seen as disgraceful to your family and to the church. Many believe (as the church has taught them) not to air the church’s dirty laundry. Don’t soil the name of the church, do whatever it takes to keep the church looking clean, so that others will be able to join. Don’t make us look bad so it doesn’t hurt our image. Well, this seems to be the definition of a hypocrite. Jesus preached against this. Wouldn’t it be better to not have things that need covering up, than to constantly be rewriting history to promote the faith you profess?
However, this is the belief an orthodox Mormon will take to the grave unless they themselves become woke. So some, work to wake others. It is risky too, as many who take this route even though can make some real change in the end, do it at their own expense. The church is not above excommunicating you for rocking the boat. Plus they may end up taking your ideas and presenting them as their own revelations. You will not get credit for making the change, and may be ex-ed for bringing it up. Being labeled apostate and a heretic we at least don’t have to fear being burned at the stake or other tortures, but excommunication is still hard and a step most would not welcome. Going this route has many possibilities of making a mark, but it comes at a price.
What other options are there? So, you are honest and have discovered you were mistaken about the church? What have you done (or what are you currently doing) to continue being honest? Chances are you have done more than one of these options with different people or at different times. What have you learned? Tell your story here or in the comments!