It was a nightmare! I wanted with all my heart for the church to be true; I tried everything I could within the limits that are recommended by the LDS Church leaders to bring back the testimony that I thought was always going to be mine. I was not disobedient; I was not mentally ill; I was faced with a dilemma regarding the truth.
When I allowed the missionaries to teach me back in 1967, I was impressed with their love for the gospel and integrity to their beliefs. They were so convincing, young and sweet; really, I mean that from the bottom of my heart. My own sons, who were barely more than babies at the time I joined the church, later served missions to Japan and England. I know that they went with full purpose of heart to teach people exactly what I had taught them and what they had learned through all their years growing up in the church. They believed it and wanted to share it with others. I want to make it quite clear as I post on this site, that I in no way hold the missionaries responsible for teaching what turned out to be a huge pile of lies. The people that I do hold responsible are the leaders of the organization from Joseph Smith down to the present day. Those who have been mind controlled to believe everything that they are taught from birth are not responsible for believing the wonderful dream.
We are all responsible however for what we do with the information that comes our way. We all have the right to dissect information and form our own opinions. This is what we do with any information that we encounter throughout our lives and it is not only acceptable, but very wise. Unfortunately, when it involves religion, there are so many taboos placed upon our dissection methods. The acceptable ones; answers that come through prayer or scripture study, the 'promptings that seem to come to many in the temple, keeping ourselves free of sin so that we are worthy vessels to receive promptings from the Holy Ghost and failing that, going for help to the bishop or others 'in authority' over us, just don't seem to help for many of us; hence the dilemma. What do you do when all of those efforts have failed? Many continue on though they have lost their belief; they believe that they can put on a front and they do until it wears away at their integrity and peace of mind. It eats at you and like a new cancer patient you frantically search for a cure. The cure is within you but you know or at least think you know how painful this will be for you and those that you may have born testimony to for many years; especially any children that you love or a spouse as in my case. You know that they will look upon you as an unfaithful person; one who could not endure to the end. They will think that Satan has his hooks into you most likely because you have sinned in some way. In fact in their eyes we sin the moment we look at pro-truth literature. I refuse to call it anti-Mormon because that is not what most people read unless you want to label the Doctrine and Covenants, The Book of Mormon, FARMS and FAIR articles and The Journal of Discourses as anti-Mormon literature. This is where faithful Mormons go for their information usually; though the latter has been largely ignored except for the favorable sermons that are still published in LDS lesson manuals. It is a shock to see these writings in a new light - frightening as you feel your faith wavering.
I felt the pre-shocks in South Africa on our mission and will post more about those in the future, but for now I just want to say that once a person's faith has been shaken so badly that they go in search of the cure and the answers, they will find them. If they finally decide that they can no longer keep up the charade and leave the church, they may go through more hell than any that Christians may describe as the just desserts of a sinful life.
I did let go 2 years ago; at least I thought I had, yet when I attended my very first Exmormon Foundation Conference in Oct 2008, I finally let go of the beautiful dream in a flood of tears during one speaker's presentation. Letting go means turning the corner and that is just what I needed to do. The cure is validation. Just as Mormons and other religious groups like to gather together for strength and enjoyment of one another's company, so do ex-Mormons. I have not felt so validated and loved since I was love-bombed into the church all those years ago.