What Was Your "Ah-Ha" Moment?

Posted by: Andee / Category: ,

I must say that being on message boards to talk to other people leaving the Mormon Church certainly has it's advantages. There are times when I feel alone, and that no one understands that I have made the best decision for me. There are also times when I am looked at like a bad person from members of my own family because I choose to have a cup of coffee or because I no longer attend services. It is a definite comfort to know there are people out there going through the same thing, and that I am not alone. It's awesome to know that other people have come to the same conclusions that I have, and it's not because we are being mislead, but because we choose to live our lives demanding truth from ourselves and each other.

On one of my favorite message boards someone created a topic titled, "What Was Your "Ah-Ha" Moment?" The thread immediately became popular as people added why they came to the conclusion the church wasn't true. These moments of clarity were very different, and all very important.

With permission, I will share some of these "Ah-ha" Moments, and I thank them all for letting me use their thoughts on my blog!

I'm on my mission to Italy 1993-1995. Milan mission. The prez comes out and says that missionaries are ONLY to baptize Italians!! no more Africans, Phillipinos, etc...Just Italians....we are in ITALY for ITALIANS!!

So, i call up my cousin who is serving in the Paris France mission and ask him.....does he have a similar rule with the French...he says, "yes, weird, isn't it??"

I thought to myself: if God, the creator of the universe, is NO respector of persons, why does it matter if they are italian or not?? is God really that shallow? yeah, i didn't think so either...

So, the day after my mission, i left the church. it was only years later that i discovered the entire church was a sham and good ole joe smith was a fraud.... -poodledoodledude

Poodledoodledude asks some important questions. Why would the Lord care what kind of background the person had? Who cares where they were born and what language they speak? What difference does that make? It obviously made a difference to the Mormon Church, because apparently it was common for foreign missions to ask this of it's missionaries. A very big "Ah-ha" moment.

One major "Ah-ha" moment was last year when I read an email from a never-mo friend (who unfortunately lives very far away from me) where he mentioned "wondering what the Mormon church is all about."

Ugh.

I had been unhappy in TSCC (The So-Called Church) for a really long time. I didn't want to promote it to him and have him think I was some whack job who wanted to convert him to my crazy religion/cult (flirt to convert, ); but I was still attending on a semi-regular basis and hadn't become an "apostate" yet, LOL, so I didn't want to badmouth it to him either.

So I sent him a link to TSCC's official "missionary site" mormon.org (aka propaganda BS site that makes it look like a regular Christian church). Then I included a link for the wikipedia entry, and finally said "If those don't help you could try asking me."

He wrote back and said the site was "interesting and organized well." The he said that if I ever came for a visit, I probably wouldn't be able to go to church (fine by me, any excuse not to go...) because it's all Catholic where he is.

And we've never spoken of it since, thankfully.

It got me thinking, as to why I didn't want to talk about TSCC with someone who is important to me. Supposedly, this was a great "missionary opportunity," but there's so much in church history that disgusts me--polygamy/misogyny, racism, homophobia, and all kinds of other weird doctrine--I didn't want to have to explain it. It was bad enough trying to tell never-mo coworkers that "Even though the church says this, I actually think differently."

I was not going to do that with him.

And if I didn't want someone I care for and respect to associate me with TSCC, what does that say about the church?

It got me thinking, anyway, and that's always a bad thing as far as the morg leadership is concerned. -PurpleGoat

I always thought similarly when I lived in Orlando. When people found out I was from Utah they would always ask the same question. "Are you a Mormon?" Their eyes would open wide, and you could tell that they had questions but didn't want to insult me or my beliefs. I never once set foot inside a Church in Orlando, and when I was asked that question I would always reply with "technically."
Mine seems a little different that what has been posted so far.

The BOA (Book of Abraham) fraud has kind of a "final nail" in the coffin effect for me.

My "Ah ha" was when serving in local leadership positions for many years, I started seeing and experiencing cronyism, nepotism, hypocrisy, classism, etc. When I expressed to the Stake Pres. my concern about this, and an obvious class system in the Church, saying it is more like a social club than the Church of the New Testament he said "Bro. Columbo what are you concerned about, you are part of the club". That was the beginning of the end for me. The pedestal that I had put him and other local leaders was kicked over with those words.

Columbo

My "ah ha" moment wasn't profound. It was a gradual increase in intelligence and knowledge.

My biggest problem has always been the way callings were dolled out. Supposedly callings were inspired by god through prayer of a bishop or other leader. But then members got to be lulled into a sense of "choice" by "voting" on or sustaining the person before it was "official".

Should it really matter what the congregation thinks? I mean if it's God inspired then God doesn't need me to approve his decision, right?!

However it also led me to think and later believe that God never inspired these people to callings. First when in YW (Young Women) and a friend was made the Laurel pres a month before moving, and then confirmed when my own gambling, 'R' rate movie going, caffeine drinking father was called to be the bishop! Sorry but God inspired - my arse!

Then later confirmed several more times when the YW pres revealed that her father who was in a high Stake calling of some sort, had been molesting her and her sisters for years before anyone would listen to her and before he was ex'd. What I find more ironic is that she was still a TBM and spit out the whole "people aren't perfect but the gospel still is" line. Still encouraging us teen girls to marry in the temple and marry a RM.

Then let's top off some of these God inspired callings with some child molesters, abusive controlling husbands, and adulterers.

Goes to show you ANYONE can inspire God to call them to a position within the mormon church, LOL

I still have major problems with the homophobia, racism, and sexism. Tithing bother's me a lot too. -Enigma825

When my bishop told me my infant son would belong for all eternity to my husband and his ex-wife because they had been sealed in the temple and I had not. -Hypatia
Short Answer: Book of Abraham

Long Answer:
I used to be an amateur Mormon apologist and I believed strongly in the witness of the Spirit. It was my perception that I had more experiences with the Spirit than most members. On countless, various occasions I felt the warmth of the Spirit in my chest, peace in my heart and mind, overwhelming love, what I can only describe as a brightness and clarity in thought, a sure confidence, a connection with God that was so real that it approached tangibility, a knowledge that God was my friend and father, excited joy, a passion for helping the Lord prepare for his Second Coming, a sense of the immensity and beauty of God's plan, heart-aching in prayers, crying out of amazement and gratitude, I gave beautiful priesthood blessings that meant special things to the recepient that I was not aware of, people recovered from their illnesses and sometimes were given instant pain relief and peace, I felt my ancestors prompt and cheer me in my family history and temple work, I had what I believed to be an angelic visitation when I was 9 years old, I sometimes sensed that certain things would happen before they did, I miraculously got unexpected scholarship checks when I needed them, etc. I knew and loved the scriptures and tons about church history. I read "Joseph Smith Papers" (Joseph's diary) because I so wanted to know the man and be able to receive the revelations he received. I even tried to find my own peepstones so that I could learn how to focus more intently on the still small voice.

In my intense interest to soak up all things related to the Church and Kingdom of God, I read a lot of original works and got exposed to many issues that cause members to question Mormonism. Due to all of my spiritual witnesses and insight I felt I had gained, I always dug for the explanation, the way to understand why certain things were done the way they were (i.e., how polyandry was right and approved by God, how God used Joseph's interest in peepstones to train him to listen to the Spirit, etc). And with every issue I came across, there was always some way to interpret or explain the data in a way that was favorable to Joseph. That was until I came to the Book of Abraham. After 6 months of studying all apologetic and critical and original sources, I had to face the fact that there was no workable hypothesis that did not ignore data that sustained Joseph. The Book of Abraham was not only not a translation, in all likelihood it was not a revelation, and the evidence points to it being a knowing fraud by Joseph.

Well, that shook me to the core. This wasn't some "prophets are imperfect" situation. This was the chosen leader of this dispensation while acting in the office of prophet, seer, revelator, and spokesman for God, at a time when he is supposed to be as in tune with God as ever, purposefully fabricates false scripture that has been cannonized and accepted by the whole Church. I had previously had a spiritual witness that the Book of Abraham was what Joseph claimed it to be. This witness met all the requirements that we have been taught to be a true revelation and not some feeling I had created and mistook for the Spirit. Presumably there would be many members, even Presidents of the Church that had had the same witness, and yet I now knew that we had all been duped for the BoA is not anything close to what it is purported to be. This is not to say that it does not contain passages that can be meaningful and give comfort to people, but that does not make it scripture.

So, at minimum, I had to conclude that the experiences that I had previously called the Spirit were unreliable as a method for discovering truth, not only for me, but apparently for modern day prophets as well. This is not to say that those feelings are wrong every time, but I could not tell when they were right and when they were wrong (and apparently neither could anyone else), so they should not be relied on. I thought back on the many personal experiences I had had when I interpreted the Spirit as telling me something and I was wrong. For example, on my mission I was certain through a powerful spiritual witness that when I blessed a convert of mine she would be healed of her endometriosis; or another time when I just knew by the Spirit that I would marry a particular girl. Neither thing happened. These things happen all the time in the church but we right them off as lack of faith or hormones or whatever. What if we did not find some excuse for them but stare them square in the face?

Those were big struggles for me at the time; I doubted myself after they happened and concluded that I was out of tune or did something unworthy to make the prompting not come true. But, now when I reconsidered those experiences, maybe I had not done anything wrong or was out of tune, maybe this unreliable Spirit never speaks to anyone and it is all in our heads. So, I tried out that theory. What if the Spirit isn't real? Can I account for everything in a purely naturalistic world? I found that I could. I have never come across any hard physical evidence that does not have a potential natural explanation. Now, is that explanation the right one, sometimes we may never know because we cannot cross-examine or replicate in a controlled environment. I have found tons of problems with interpreting reality with a supernatural component. I find the naturalistic view much safer and will stick with it, until compelled by evidence that naturalism is incapable of accounting for all observations. I don't want to be fooled again or taken advantage of by opportunistic charlatans that claim access to supernatural worlds.-Hueffenhardt

My Ah ha moment was seeing the color photographs of the Egyptian papyrus, and the Egyptian Alphabet with the notes in the margins about what the characters "meant".

I could (barely) cope with all the other BS like polygamy, 6000 year old earth, and no evidence of BoM stuff like horses, steel, etc. - but when I saw his "translation" work, that it was meant to look like translation, not inspiration, and that it clearly had nothing to do whatsoever with Abraham or the Book of Abraham, I was done. I was completely done. This was irrefutable evidence that JS and the church is a complete fraud. There is no way to answer it away, there is no twisty-turny apologetic response that can answer that away. There is no substitute for seeing the evidence with your own eyes. That was the piece, that was my first domino to send the rest cascading right before my eyes. Now my list of reasons is too long to even list why I don't believe in Mormonism and do not count myself a Mormon. -Rosetta Stone

For me, it was the temple. I had questions about the temple before I ever went (i.e. Why is it that Mother Teresa will not be allowed in the highest level of the CK just because she never went to the temple?) But then, actually going to the temple was SHOCKING! I was horrified at the clothes, the standing/sitting/standing routine, the signs, the names, the nakedness for the washings and annointings, etc., etc. It was everything. I went back a total of three times (once for my endowment, once for the wedding, then finally a second trip through the endowment ceremony) and that was enough for me. I wasn't going to sit (and stand) through that again. I couldn't believe MY church was involved in something so cult-like and obviously WRONG. -NotALemming


In closing, I would like to say that these people are not only friends, but they have helped me with my journey with their minds, hearts as well as their sense of humor. I might not be the smartest kid on the block, but I sure know how to make good decisions.

None of us left the Mormon Church because we wanted to sin, or because we couldn't handle it. We left because we were getting lied to. Thanks again to everyone who let me use their moment, and to Enigma who inspired this post.




2 comments:

  1. H├╝ffenhardt Says:

    Thanks for sharing our stories. The more people who read them, the more understanding for those who leave.

  1. Sydney Says:

    Thank you for taking the time to check it out, and thanks again for sharing your story. I agree that the more people who read it might have more understanding... and hopefully it will open their eyes a little. Thank you again!