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 .