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Andrew S (Dis)closed

For about the first fifteen years of my life, I had no problems being Mormon, because I had few thoughts about what being Mormon really meant.

Certainly, there was the time when time froze for me, as I realized for the first time that most of my classmates were not Mormon…and that most of the world’s population is not Mormon. And there were a couple of times when I despaired in the cabinet under my bathroom sink, wondering why I was so unlucky to be part of this weird minority group. This kind of despair was at least a double threat — wondering why I was part of the Mormon minority group, and wondering why I was part of the black minority group.

But these experiences were rare. For the most part, I had no problems being Mormon, because I had few thoughts about what that even meant.

Eventually, I came to another anxiety. The anxiety was in realizing that we weren’t all just playing church. Or at least, most of the other people in my ward weren’t. People actually believed in this church and what it could do for them and the world. And I had to realize that, even though I went to church regularly, even though I magnified my priesthood callings to the best of my ability, I was yet another minority: I was a nonbeliever.

It took me so long to realize that whenever I would say, I really don’t believe in god, that that meant something more stark and more peculiar than even saying I am a Mormon. It took me so long to realize that whenever I would think, I don’t really buy this stuff; I’m not convinced, that that meant something.

But now I can say it:

I was born and raised Mormon, but I don’t believe in the church’s teachings. In other words, I am an ex-Mormon, former Mormon, post-Mormon, Mormon alumnus, whatever you will say.

However, I cannot deny that my culture is Mormonism, so I am also a cultural Mormon, and this cultural Mormonism still informs many of my viewpoints and thoughts. I have lived through the moments of despairing over what I essentially (though without choice) am to own up to what I essentially (and without choice) am. I have come to realize that the privilege of “not thinking much about” my heritage occurs precisely because this is my native tongue and language. But now, I do want to think about my heritage, and I want to understand better that native tongue and language, even as I realize that I do not have the same relationship to it as a believing member.

As I wander, I see what I am through what I am not, what I would like to become through what I recognize I would not like to become. I see ex-members who are caught up in anger, and while I can begin to sympathize, I know that is not what I want to be. But I also see nonbelievers who try to hide their doubts for the sake of maintaining relationships with family and friends, and while I can begin to sympathize, I know that too is not what I want to be.

So what am I? Some guy who fences epee (but gets schooled by high schoolers), studies accounting (and does not apologize for his profession), thinks most social sciences are absolutely magical (but has no formal training), appreciates typography and presentation design (but is design-blind), tries to keep up with smartphones and linux (but is utterly allergic to coding and has low tolerance for troubleshooting), has taken a couple Chinese classes (但是听不懂,看不懂), and who loves to speak and present (OK, I did win something for this, hehe), as well as to write (but I need to work on this one). But for this blog, you’ll get me and my thoughts on Mormonism from an atheist perspective.

You can see my atheist declaration post here.

You can follow me on twitter — I’m @GASpriggs

In addition, Irresistible (Dis)Grace has its own email. Contact at irresistibledisgrace((at))gmail((dot))com .

19 Comments
  1. Andrew:

    Just wanted to thank you for reading my blog and posting a comment. It is always interesting to hear what a fellow ex-Mormon has to say about Mormonism. I posted a short response to your comment on my blog.

    Charles

  2. I wish I could say the same, Charles (about posting a “short” response on your site), but you’ll find that I’ve responded back with a considerably longer post…:3 my apologies!

  3. Hey,
    Where’s your RSS feed?

  4. psychochemiker, sorry for being so late to approve your first comments and respond…work sucks up time haha.

    If you look on my left-hand column, under the poll, you will see the RSS icon and the words “Subscribe in a reader.” My RSS is syndicated through feedburner, but that should be easy to use with whatever you may be using.

  5. Andrew, do you have an email contact? I have a question for you.

  6. You can contact me at irresistibledisgrace@gmail.com

  7. Andrew,

    I’ve finally gotten around to browsing your site and getting a decent taste of your writings. I must say that you are one of the most even-handed and fascinating people I’ve read lately in the Postmo community.

    Also, thank you for your always insightful comments on my own blog, Pure Mormonism. I love hearing from you.

  8. Thanks for the compliments, Rock!

  9. Hi Andrew,

    Per your fantastic suggestion, I have added the ability to subscribe to comments on my blog.

    Seth

  10. sweeeeet.

  11. Andrew. This is a fascinating perspective. Esp. because as a kind of post-evangelical–still evangelical but very much post-fundamentalist and pro-contemplative psychological. I really resonate with lots you are saying. I also sympathize and with Sabio Lanz’s perspective. I have found that i can connect with a number of people who are becoming more self aware of how they were immersed in a language and cultural construct and now want to consciously examine it. They recognize that they are shaped by their formative experiences, they are not defined by them. I went through a more angry phase against my religious heritage but now am at a much more peaceful, reflective phase. I think i will try to write more later.

  12. Thanks for the comment, James.

    I have seen a common thread here…I’ve seen a lot of people go through an angry phase of disappointment and perhaps betrayal at a religious heritage before coming to a more peaceful reflective phase. I hope more people who have these kinds of experiences make it to that latter phase.

  13. I am really new to the world of blogs (I’m a bit of a Luddite) but am trying to find a few to follow. Yours seems to deal with some of the same issues I’m dealing with. Do you think you might be interested in reviewing one of my books (“Mormon Fairy Tales” or “Zombies for Jesus” or one of the others)?

  14. Sourgrapes of Wrath permalink

    Hi Andrew,

    Your blog is very thoughtful and intelligent. I came to your blog because I have a very deep curiosity about the church of LDS, but I have absolutely NO desire to take part in it.

    I am a devout Christian without the religious craziness and cultural baggage and I am studying accounting too, so I appreciate the references about business school.

    Have a great weekend!

    Sourgrapes of Wrath

  15. Thanks for the comment, Sourgrapes!

  16. Duane Reade permalink

    Thanks for telling your story so honestly and clearly. You have grace to go with your (dis)grace.

  17. Andrew, glad to have found your blog. Fellow nonbelieving cultural Mormon here (aren’t we all?), AND I’m from Houston! Friendswood to be exact. I haven’t lived there in a few years and I won’t for a while as I’m heading to grad school in Illinois in a few months, but I have to say I will always have a soft spot for Houston!

  18. Thanks for commenting, Isaac!

    I know some friends up in Illinois! (haha, although I guess that doesn’t necessarily narrow things much…lots of people live and go to school in Illinois, after all.)

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