Three weeks ago, I was a true believer. I wasn’t the best at church attendance, but I would look forward to the days I could go and I would sit, rapt and eager, listening to the lessons and talks. I read the scriptures. I have a large library of Nibley, Talmage, etc… things considered “deep” doctrine. I thought I had seen all the “anti” stuff, analyzed it and came to the conclusion (really without even giving it serious thought) that it was all lies and propaganda from Satan, there to deceive the weak minded and the weak spirited. I knew that everything that I knew was true.
And then suddenly, without warning :P, the church released pictures of Joseph Smith’s “seer stone”.
I pulled up the news item, looked at the stone, and said to myself, “What an awesome piece of Church History… wait, what?!” “Seer stone”? I’d never heard of a seer stone. Was this part of the Urim and Thummin? It didn’t match what I thought those would look like. Within seconds I had clicked onto LDS.org and ran a search. All was good in Zion until the section on Translation Instruments. Apparently, Joseph had used a stone in a hat, “out of convenience”, instead of the Urim and Thummin to translate the BoM. It really struck a nerve with me that he would have an instrument given to him, straight from an angel of God, and still decide to use a magic rock (that he had used to search for treasure when he was younger) to do this all-important task of translating the BoM. Wait… “search for treasure”?!
And thus, down the rabbit-hole I went.
When I emerged, I was a different man. My faith had hit a concrete wall while going 100 mph. I didn’t go searching for this. I wasn’t looking for excuses to justify a life of sin. I didn’t have any agenda. I was just learning about church history, straight from the horses mouth. And that did me in. I was not influenced or deceived by some external force. Yes, I had been lied to — by the church, from the moment I was born. I was angry, I was hurt, I was done.
What was I going to tell my wife… She was born into the church, loved the gospel and is one of the most spiritual people I know. For the past couple of years, she has had some depression problems, relating to her sense of self-worth, and I saw that she was possibly in a fragile state. I couldn’t let my doubts hurt her. I would “fake it ’til I make it” back into a testimony.
I decided to find answers by praying, reading scriptures and going to church. That was the only remedy I could see. I needed a confirmation of anything. This last Sunday I got up and went to church eagerly, knowing that I would get an answer. I did, but not the one I was expecting. After a severely preachy and hypocrisy-filled sacrament meeting, a confusingly ill-prepared and off-the-track gospel doctrine class, and another “non-lesson” in priesthood meeting, I came home frustrated. I began venting that to my wife, starting with how I had heard only a couple of references to Christ in all 3 hours of church. Then it all started coming out, the seer stone in the hat, the polygamy of Joseph Smith, the lies and the seemingly willful deceit. I, a fully grown, bearded man, was in tears. I didn’t mean to bring it up to her this way. I sat, ashamed, as she silently looked at me.
Then she smiled and her response was akin to, “Well, what took you so long?”
We are stunned at how happy we are, how light we feel. It’s not official yet, but it will be. Damn the torpedoes!