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I was born fourth generation Mormon. I served a mission for the church and spent years defending the faith.
I’m currently in a place where I’ve come to regret the time and energy I’ve spent doing so, after having delved deeper into what I once vehemently believed.
I’m now agnostic, bordering atheist.
I only call myself agnostic for the simple fact that I’m done with that whole religious search.
I now believe in science.

Bligh 4 Apr 23

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38 comments

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10

Bligh, I identified as a skeptical agnostic, until I came across the term "agnostic atheist." Look it up on Wikipedia. You will be intrigued. I think that may be your best label. The fact is you are an atheist if you don't believe in God(s). You are agnostic if you acknowledge that you can't know with absolute certainty what forces run the cosmos. So both terms are legit. One does not negate the other. It is like being a sports fan and a lover of art. You are allowed to be both. ?

I honestly use and answer to either agnostic or atheist, depending on the context or situation. The unfortunate truth is there are still many religious people who take instant knee-jerk offense at the term "atheist," and there are times when self-preservation behooves us to steer around it, as unfair as that is. Ultimately, I think most conversations are more effective if we can describe our perspective rather than merely slappining a label on it. But "atheist" is great to use when we are expressing solidarity with others who are not religionists. ...my 2 cents worth.

Finally, I get the regret part. But try not to dwell too much on it. Our wisdom comes from learning from mistakes. Those learning experiences add depth to our understanding. It is analogous to an alcolic in recovery, who likely has a whole lot deeper understanding of what it means to lead a balanced, sober life than does someone who never gave alcohol a second thought. ?

9

Try to focus on the good things you did for people, which is never a waste of time. The waste of time in religion is the worship, prayer and ritual reinforcement that keeps you from thinking freely and rationally. Instead of searching for a god, search for the good in all living things.

9

Be brave Bligh, be inquisitive and adventurous. You have an entire universe to explore, but always question what you see and hear.

Inquisitive and adventurous may just be the two words that describe me best. ??

@Bligh I love that

8

ah young padawan (you may not get the reference here)
Please do not fall for the misconception that Science is a belief system. It is a method.
You should shift your mindset to trusting reason and rational thinking. Curiosity, observation and questionning is the first step in this method.
Otherwise... welcome! You are amongst good intentioned and open minded people here.

Thank you Jedi Master.

8

Even though I knew early that I didn’t believe, once I got older, periodically I would try to make something work...mostly from family pressure. I tried several religions out. Then I realized that I really, truly view it as a delusion. One that works for some folks, sure.
A ‘happy’ delusion: a place where there WAS a heaven, prayer works, etc.
But, I knew that was wishful thinking only, and I’m firmly in reality. (My reality, anyways!)

8

I was raised in a conservative Christian household, and I was a true believer for many years. I, too, regret many of those things I've said and done, all the energy wasted. But then you and I are in a peculiar position to have insight into the workings of religion. It can be a useful insight sometimes.

You beat me to it! I will never have the insight that the two of you have, and even though I don't want it, I am a bit envious of your experience. It is a reference I will never have.

7

Welcome, you will find a lot of support here. Please don't have regrets about time lost. You have a wealth of experience and knowledge that you have access to that will help those who come after you that will need guidance and understanding. That is a precious gift to have.

I admire your courage and determination in leaving a very tight-knit religious community. You have the whole world and universe to explore. Science is a beautiful thing. Enjoy.

Betty Level 7 Apr 23, 2018
7

Welcome to the community! ?

7

All we need to do is get Mormons to stop pronouncing the second "m" in their name.

I used to day Mormons with an m to many! So I agree completely

7

I imagine it must be pretty hard, letting go of a big part of your belief system, Filling the void. How many decisions you have made that were influenced by such strong beliefs that may now need to be reconsidered? I had 2 amazing neighbours, retired Catholics nuns/missionaries. Sadly 1 died a efe years back and the other is now is high care at an aged care home. Amazing ladies, so honest, such fun so kind. They know that I am an atheist, and although still religous and Catholic they are now far less so. They would tell me often of their regrets about what they did in the islands converting people to Christianity and admit it destroyed cultures and that the religions of the islanders were as valid as their own. They were very humble and most disenchanted with the Church.

Thank you very much for your words.
Indeed it was difficult and painful to suddenly realize that.
As per your neighbors, I’m from one such island country and iwhat you’ve described had become a pet peeve.
Thank you again.

6

It's a shock when we awaken. The comfort comes when we become aware.

Simple and elegant. Well said.

6

You know I harp on the mormons quite a bit, especially since I live in Mass and mittens came for a brief visit. Well, I have talked to the missions in days gone by. In my opinion they are misled from birth, there are multi generational, familial, communal misleadings, as you know. They are good people, meaning well. The one thing I remember one of them saying to me is, "Do you think anyone really knows?" One of them said this after I repeatedly (politely) insisted for evidence. I feel badly that there are millions of mormons that live thier lives completely bafooned. Good job getting through all the stuff that you must have had to figure out. Most people don't get to figure it out. Now that you have different views. There's alot more to discover.

It's the constant, required, reinforcement which takes the place of creative and free thinking that is not possible in such a narrow and repressive practice.

You’ve read me like an open book. Thank you for your kind words.

6

Awareness comes iin many forms and at different times. Look at the knowledge and strength of coonviction you have now Admirable indeed

5

Welcome, you live and learned from the experience. I wish more people would

5

Regretting the past is a complete waste of time!

5

It’s taken years for me to get to a place where I feel like I can appreciate what Mormonism gave me without being bitter for what it took from me. I talked a process for sure. Congrats on finding your way out!

Amber Level 4 Apr 23, 2018

Thank you very much. I’m currently tossing around ideas on how spread this new “gospel”. (Ok, maybe not the best word for it but...)

4

I didn't really know or even comprehend that atheist was a thing. I just eventually realized that the Bible was not consistent and that it contridicted its self. Then I asked myself questions.

Can a God be all powerful and all good when there is suffering in the world?

How was my god any more real or valid than any other god?

Did my god heal or perform miracles that were real while others gods did or did not?

If there were flaws in what I did believe how many more flaws were there in my beliefs that I was unaware of?

Was my relationship with god one sided and internally a self delusion and how could I validate what was real and not real?

Why were promises like "What so ever you shall ask in his name" not true?

Did I actually really, truely believe in my god or did I just want to?

Could it be possible that god was just made up by man and how could I know if it wasn't?

None of these questions made me more religious. I hope that they may help you with of difficulties sorting out what is real and not real.

4

Don’t regret the past. If anything, it was the last that led you down the road to the present, and how freeing logic can actually be.
But seriously. You should frame the bulletproof under-britches. ?

4

Glad to hear that.

3

No point in regretting - as it's past, and it was the journey that was likely necessary to bring you to where you are - a good place !

Though I'm not sure I see science as something you "believe" in - like a religion, but more of a state of opening your mind to what actually IS. Happy for you !

3

Good for you.

3

Welcome

3

did you learn the secret handshake?
do you still get your own planet?

Yes, indeed.

2

I went through much the same thing. Be gentle with yourself, and honor the roads that brought you to your present understanding.

I’m not aiming anything inward. My next plan of action is to spread what I’m now discovering.
Herculean task, to say the least.

2

Congratulations on making it out. It's amazing that you have been able to leave myth behind and embrace science. It's hard to let go of that last little bit of "faith" and move from agnostic to atheist. Enjoy your journey and don't worry about what was.

Thank you very much. I’m glad I have support here. Your words are encouraging.

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