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godasman served a mission for the Church in the Philippines and now has three beautiful children. Having taken seriously the injunction to study from the best books, he secretly carries with him to church a copy of Moby-Dick alongside his quad. For a long time he has considered himself a Mormon not in the traditional vein, though he has heretofore maintained a respectful silence about his less-than-orthodox views. Ever the self-justifier and amateur Church Historian, he has a ready defense for all of his oddities of opinion. You can check out his blog here and his first guest post here.
|Image via Wonderlane.|
We sat in silence. My psychologist was not writing anymore, his hands folded neatly on his lap. He stared at me, breathing slowly, unable to speak. For months I had been meeting with him to discuss my addiction to pornography, my crisis of faith in the LDS Church, and the growing divide between myself and my wife, which had recently brought us to the brink of divorce. For months we had worked together, my psychologist and I, trying to to find a middle ground, a workable solution to these divisive tensions within me. Maybe I needed a new profession in academia, a place to vent my intellectual steam in ways not related to the Church. Maybe I needed to move to a more liberal city, where I wouldn't feel so alone in my Ward. The other option, one which we were loathe to even mention, though it screamed silently from my falling tears and wringing hands, was the possibility that I needed to leave my wife and the Church, and pursue my intellectual interests without fear or compromise.
I felt like an outsider in the Church. For years I had devoted myself to the contemplation of philosophy and poetry. At first I looked in these writings for validation of my own religious teaching. When I read Socrates espouse a theory of learning as recollection, my mind went immediately to the Pre-Mortal realm and the veil of forgetfulness as taught by Joseph Smith. When a physics instructor challenged the Christian notion of creation ex nihilo on the basis of the First Law of Thermodynamics, I smiled and remembered that we Mormons understand that God only organized existent matter to form the Universe. But with time, I wondered if seeing everything through a Mormon lens might limit my understanding of these important ideas. I began to develop the ability to set aside my religious biases and encounter these thinkers on their own terms. Fidelity to dogma became replaced by permeability and open-mindedness. This led naturally to questions about the fundamental tenants of the faith of my youth: What if there isn't a God? What if Joseph Smith's claims to revelations and the origin of the Book of Mormon are better explained along naturalistic, rather than miraculous, lines?
We had stewed together for a month, my psychologist and I, over what seemed an impossible situation: I desperately love both my wife and my Church, and yet these represent an all out war on my most natural physical and philosophical inclinations.